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  • We had a chimney breast knocked out before Christmas. Have finally finished replacing joists, insulating and fitting reclaimed floor. Before we start on plastering, sanding and all that, my partner wants to hide the landing step and tidy up the weird mini-roof above the window with a stud ceiling.

    Our builder had a laser line out and the bottom of the step is level with the wood trim at the top of the window. Initially I was thinking of screwing 4x2s around the perimeter of the room, and running studs off them across the width with a couple of rows of noggins for the plasterboard, as shown below:


    Given the dimensions of the room (~4.4x3.2m), it seems like it would make sense to add some sort of "hanging beam" along the length of the room, possibly attached to ceiling joists above? I couldn't find timber span tables for a suspended ceiling, but guess I'd be at risk of sagging if there's no support.

    The other option of course is to pull old plaster down and go from there, building 5 or 6x2 frame, or maybe there's another option?

    tl;dr: should I try and build a stud ceiling myself or is it all going to end in tears?

  • Lots of the our solid woods doors have a varnish type finish on them which has darkened them quite a bit. I've sanded a few of them to make sure its not a stain and doesn't permeate too far, so I think its a surface varnish. And, I really don't want to have to sand every single one if there is something out there I can use to remove it.

    What is the best route to removing this varnish and getting them back to a lighter natural finish?

  • Sanding is the best method, big floor sander and an edger. Having done a bunch over the years

    You’d have to get some sort of paint stripper and that would be messy compared to sanding.

  • Ok cool, nice one @konastab01 !

  • I'm just starting to tackle the same problem myself. I did remove a stain once using hydrogen peroxide and that worked very well. I am coming to the conclusion that sanding is the best way but I always find the surface retains some marks from orbital sanders so the big drum sanders make sense.

    I've been thinking about using a handheld belt sander the Festool BS105 is one of the few I don't have and I have a big excuse. I know I'll regret it when it takes hours to do the job and costs a fortune in sandpaper but I'll have the tool which will make me feel better.

    I meant to try and answer the earlier question about removing varnish and stain from wood with ir stripping. I just don't know if it works and can't find anything to test it on. In principal it should work, I'm hoping to find a way to test it soon.

  • You can’t beat the big sanders and they ain’t even expensive to hire. Like £100 for the weekend plus paper buttons for all the time it will save never mind your back.

  • We have similar in our house. Done both bedrooms and landing with a belt sander so far. Couldn't get a floor sander last summer, all booked up locally.

  • Thanks all, would an orbital sander be ok as opposed to a belt sander? Only because I have one.

    The doors are fairly standard four and six panel pines - imagine I’ll be hand sanding all the rails to avoid losing the details too?

  • Heating query. We changed from oil heating to gas about a year ago. We had two new rads installed as part of the change. The issue is that our house now feels cold. More so upstairs than down. The gas works on a mobile thermostat and we have tried putting it in the coldest room but that doesn’t seem to matter much.
    Questions -

    1. Why is this happening?
    2. I am considering trying to get someone to do some form of heat loss survey etc - has anyone done this and who would do it?
    3. The gas chap said that gas warms a house quicker but it also cools quicker as once the temperature is reached the pump stops. With oil heating the pump continues to run. Is this accurate?
    4. We had an extension built last year and it seems much warmer than the rest of the house. It is insulated much better than the rest of the house. It is also closer to the boiler so is that why it’s warmer?
      Any input very welcome.
  • some form of heat loss survey

    We had these guys in

    Was very cheap and quite interesting. They seal up your house with plastic, you heat it nice and hot on a cold day outside, they use big fans to increase the pressure inside, then they use a temperature gun thing and you get a nice video of all the heat escaping.

    I haven't actually got round to addressing much of it but it was quite illuminating. For example I never would have suspected about half our light fittings have much bigger holes than necessary and tonnes of heat escapes through them. You couldn't see it until the light fittings were removed.

  • That looks like the sort of thing I need but I’m in Northern Ireland and they wouldn’t be to handy for here. Thanks for the tip though.

  • It leaves a crazy pattern in the grain. There are ways to mitigate it but I've never achieved 100% smooth grain after orbital sanding and it usually only shows up in the varnish. It's honestly not a deal breaker for a lot of situations.

    Except of course that it will cost a fortune in sandpaper and take forever with a domestic size.

    I once planed a floor with a no. 6 plane. Took me months, waxed it and you could slide across it in socks like that guy from Blade Runner.

  • Have you had cavity wall insulation fitted? Thats usually a great bang for buck in terms of heat loss and not a massive expense.

    In terms of the house being cold with gas than oil well it shouldn't. The pumps dont just shut off when the boiler goes off as they modulate.

  • House has cavity wall insulation. What about the gas chap saying the pump stops when temperature is reached?

  • If its a modern system which you've said a year old, the min the flame goes off the pump just doesnt shut off. Thats not the way boilers work.

  • K. Thanks. The rads do get cold very quickly once the boiler goes off though and with the oil I don’t think that happened.
    Out house was always very warm with oil, now not so much - my friend has commented on it being very warm (with oil). What has changed? The two additional rads may be a factor.

  • Its a hard one to guess why its cooling down a lot faster. You've basically switched fuels so thats what your burning but the systems are essentially the same.

    Pipe goes out and pipe comes back to the boiler, so no matter what the fuel is, it should make much difference to what kind of heat your getting and you should be saving money too as oil is fuckin expensive.

  • On the expense front - no real difference in cost. The installers said it wouldn’t be a big difference and so far, they are right.

  • Is it bottled gas or mains.

  • Surprised it the same money tbh.

  • Everyone said it would be cheaper but it is about the same as oil. We have friends who had it installed in a house identical to ours and they say the same. The convenience of instant hot water is the best bit.

  • depending on the boiler the pump will run after it finishes burning for a period of time. But even if it wasn't and both oil/gas had stopped burning the time it takes the radiators to cool down with/without being pumped i can't imagine being much different.

    I'm guessing your thermostat is just saying on or off to the boiler? I guess you could check a) if the boiler is still on when it's under the target temp or b) if the temp reading is actually accurate.

  • I read something on one of brands website that said no, so haven't even bothered trying tbh. Makes sense as the stain on our woodwork clearly permeates the grain a bit.

    I picked up a new sheet sander last night as well as a random orbital. Between those and the belt I'll have another go at it properly this weekend. Even tempted to pick up one of those little bobbin spindles for a drill for doing the Newell post curves.

  • Why is this happening?

    Something to do with the set-up isn't right. Could be a lot of different reasons - individual radiator set up, radiator sizes, badly calibrated thermostat, timer settings or the system as a whole could be underpowered.

    Good place to start would be setting the thermostat to something unrealistic, i.e. 30 degrees, setting the boiler to 'always on' if it has a timer, then see if the place becomes uncomfortably hot. If it does, this will tell you the issue is with either your thermostat on your boiler, or your timer - both have to be in agreement to call for heat for the boiler to fire. This is what you want, sorting a thermostat or a timer is easy.

    If the place remains disappointingly tepid it means there is some issue with the system. Check the the control valves on the radiators and open them fully if they are not fully open. If all the radiators are really hot and continue to be really hot but the place is still uncomfortably cold it's possible that the system is underpowered - the radiators are not big enough.

    If the radiators are not really hot - i.e. you wouldn't mind hugging them for a bit - then it's the boiler - either not powerful enough or simply not on a high enough power setting. Or it's fucked. Check for error codes.

    if some of the radiators are really hot but some are cooler, the control valves might be buggered or they need balancing, i.e. the flow rate needs to be changed to stop other radiators from pinching all the hot water before it gets to them.

    If bits of the radiators are cold and other bits hot there's a load of air in them and it needs bleeding and refilling.

    The likelihood of the system being underpowered is fairly low I reckon - it's probably a combination of weird timer and thermostat settings and some air that has found its way in.

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Home DIY

Posted by Avatar for hippy @hippy