The first and second fixings in your home are probably the areas that you notice the least, but these pieces of carpentry are vital parts of the home. They are designed perfectly well for their job which is why they so often go unnoticed, and when they do eventually require attention we are confounded at how to solve it. So, here are a few pieces of advice on fixing the fixings in your home to get you underway.
Wood can warp and shrink with age, or expand and contract in differing weather conditions causing squeaks and other noises. There are several simple solutions to this problem:
1) If the boards are tight, brush some talc or chalk dust between them.
2) Tighten loose boards with 50mm screws as opposed to nails. Makes sure you drill the boards first to prevent splitting. Always check for cables and pipes.
3) The board may move due to lack of joist support. In this case screw a 25x50mm batten to the side of nearest joist and affix the board back on top of it with screws.
If floorboards are damaged or you need to look at the area beneath, it will be necessary to remove the floorboards. It is an easy task, but if you have never done it before it helps to have a little guidance.
Square-edged - Using a cold chisel apply gentle leverage near the end of the board. Repeat this action up the side and then along the other until it is free. The board will need to be tipped near vertical to remove it from under skirting. Watch out for nails jutting out.
If the boards are laid the entire way across the room with both ends under the skirting, only lift up a board on a joist.
Tongue and groove - This will require the use of a tenon or circular saw to cut through the tongues. If this does not succeed in releasing the board, it will need cutting to match the edge of the joist using a padsaw or jigsaw.
The job of the skirting board is to protect the bottom part of the wall from damage by furniture or feet. In this position it is inevitable that the skirting fill receive a fair amount of wear and tear and will probably require replacement at some point. There is now a wide range of skirting styles available so you can change your skirting simply to modernise your home. Choose from primed MDF or softwood, or for that classic look of luxury, use hardwood. Before you go to choose your replacement skirting, measure the wall lengths and buy sections that run the entire length to avoid joins.
To remove the old skirting, use a brick bolster and club hammer and lever it off. Protect the plaster from damage by positioning a piece of board behind the lever. Prise out any remaining nails from the walls.
Cut the first board to fit one of your walls and rest it in place. Draw the profile from this board onto the end of the next and cut along the line with a coping saw. When the board is cut to the length you need, fit it so that the angled end fits over the other board's end. You can then attach this board to the wall with screws or masonry nails.
Continue this process for all the other walls until you arrive at the first board again. External corners can be met be cutting mitres to make a corner joint using a mitre saw or jigsaw with a 45 degree setting. This join will require glue when the boards are set.
When you arrive back at the first board, remove it and scribe the end so that it slots over the end of the last board fitted. Once affixed, cover all the screw or nail heads to complete the look.
Both a functional and a decorative fixing, an architrave is the piece of wood that covers that gap between the wall and door or window frame. Again, replacing a worn or old-fashioned door architrave is a relatively easy process. Use the measurements from the existing architrave so you can purchase that correct size.
Remove the old architrave by levering with a wide chisel. Take one of your side door pieces and mark the position of the inner end for the mitre cut. Cut the mitre and repeat this step with another piece from the other side of the door. Nail both pieces to the edge of the door frame.
Hold a section of architrave upside down across the top of the two side lengths so that you can mark its desired length from their top corners. Cut the mitres into the top piece and fit it into place. Use a panel pin to close the joint at each end of the piece. Any gaps can be sealed with wood filler.