The money Clinic
If your home needs a serious revamp but you don’t have the funds for a major makeover, the Real Homes team is here to help you achieve a stylish look for less
Q I want to develop my DIY skills, where do I begin?
If you want to save when renovating, tackling as many jobs yourself can be the answer. If you need a place to begin, learn the art of tiling. You can start small with a splashback and before you know it, you’ll be brave enough to retile the bathroom. The Real Homes team give their tips on getting that professional finish. A When you’re tiling a floor, a wall or kitchen splashback, it’s likely you’ll have some awkward gaps to fill along the way – mainly at the edges. You can still learn how to cut tiles without using wet saws and other electric tools. A manual cutter is used for straight cuts; they’re a cheaper alternative to power tools and simpler to use if you’re learning how to tile or replacing a few damaged tiles. They have a handle which runs on a rail, allowing you to make a smooth cut. You can also find cutters where a blade is pushed down from above – Christina Chrysostomou A Painting your splashback or other tiling that’s looking lacklustre is a cheap and easy DIY fix. Just clean the tiles thoroughly, sand lightly so the paint adheres, prime and then paint with a small brush. Apply several thin coats to avoid heavy brush marks showing through and stop the paint peeling after a few weeks – Camille Dubuis-welch A If you want to give your bathroom a revamp without starting from scratch, there are more inexpensive options than you might think. Glitter grout can be applied between tiles to add a personal touch and introduce a new colour into your bathroom scheme, whether you clash bright tones or go for something more subtle. Contrasting grouting, be it sparkly or not, will instantly create a more striking and defined look – Millie Hurst A When learning how to grout, in an ideal world we would all do it perfectly without it smearing and staining the tile. In practice all of us make mistakes. If it’s fresh, warm water and a non-scratch scouring pad will remove stillsoft grout. If it’s dried on, kitchen specialist Naveen Tikaram suggests pouring a
50-50 mix of water and vinegar over the grout, after first layering with paper towels, and let it sit for a few minutes. The grout should bead up and can be cleaned off with a toothbrush or sponge – Anna Cottrell