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Handy Harry; YOUR GUIDE TO DIY.

YOUR home is your biggest investment - but does it look like a million dollars? Poorly maintained properties look terrible and are not as valuable as those which get a bit of tender loving care from their owners.

There is always time to make amends and here are some ways to create the right impression.

The first thing visitors see when they arrive at your home is the front door. If it's covered in peeling paint or rotting they get a bad first impression.

Take a weekend to repair damaged doors, paint or stain the timber and polish or replace the door furniture. While you're at it, improve the security of the door by upgrading locks and fitting a spyhole viewer.

Rotten windows make a home look like an unloved slum. But they can easily be given a new lease of life with simple repairs - cut out rotten wood and let in fresh timber or use a patching kit to fill holes.

Finish off by using a long life paint protection system - with primer, flexible undercoat and topcoat to ensure good looks for years to come.

Suddenly, your home will stop looking shabby.

Carry on the good work by repainting the rendering or pebble dash. Scrape off flaking patches, kill the green mould that looks so dreadful and repair the chalky surfaces with a stabilising solution.

Finish by applying a couple of coats of sparkling fresh paint. A day's work can transform the house.

Flowering plants outside the house can give your home a charming appearance. Plug the walls on either side of the front door and fit hooks to hang plant pots. Change the plants every few months to mirror the changing seasons and enjoy the lift it gives your property.

Outside lights can improve security and give your home a touch of class as the nights draw in.

Fit a light inside the porch and over the front door.

Put another on a gate post at the end of the garden path or drive. Control them from a switch inside the house, or have a sensor that switches them on at dusk and off at dawn.

You could also run low voltage lights through the branches of trees for twinkling beauty at Christmas time. You can also highlight particularly beautiful trees by using carefully placed floodlights.

Broken and cracked paths and driveways look terrible, particularly if they're dirty or provide a home for slimy growths. They can be power-hosed and spruced up with simple repairs to make them much more presentable.

A broken down wall or fence is an awful advertisement for your home. Spend some time repairing or repointing the wall and you will notice an immediate improvement.

Rotten wooden fencing is prone to sag and sway and could collapse or blow away in a winter gale.

You can give it some vital support by using concrete spurs to hold up rotten posts. If it's gone too far, you should replace it altogether and give it a coat of paint or timber preservative to ensure many years of good looks.

A QUICK FIX Q: What is the best time of year for painting outside?

A: Now, in late summer or early autumn so that the previous warm weather has dried out the structure of the house. Do not try and paint when it is likely to rain or in direct sunlight.

Q: What is the best way to break up old concrete paving?

A: Save yourself a great deal of hard labour by renting heavy breaking equipment from a tool-hire company.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 25, 2002
Words:593
Previous Article:garden cuttings.
Next Article:Sisters doing it for themselves; interiors.

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