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A Handyman's guide to odd jobs

Guttering

Have your gutters cleared annually, or twice a year if your home is in a leafy environment.

This can stop blockages in downpipes, rainwater over-spill and joints freezing and becoming faulty, all of which cause damp. Leaf guards alone won't prevent all problems.

Shed roof

If your shed is more than five years old, the roof is likely to be weathered and in need of attention.

Act sooner rather than later and you'll probably get away with replacing just the felt covering.

Leaving the felt until it cracks or splits means the decking underneath might become saturated and need replacing, driving up the cost of the job. It can also spell water damage for the stuff inside your shed.

Shelves

Shelves with books

Before putting shelves up, consider the type of wall surface they'll be attached to and the weight they'll bear.

Use an electronic detector before you start to make sure you won't drill into any wiring or pipes. You can pick one up at a DIY shop.

Blinds

It's often cheaper in the long-run to buy custom-made blinds.

If you go for initially cheaper off-the-shelf blinds, bear in mind that you may also need to pay for them to be cut down and fitted.

Shower curtains

Bathroom drawing and pencil

It's common to find that a shower curtain pole can't take the weight of a wet shower curtain, or the joints on the pole are weak and wobbly.

If the shower curtain needs to run along the whole length of a bath, it'll probably need fixings from the ceiling for mid-way support.

Garden gates

Locks, latches and hinges often seize up over time.

It's easy to replace just these parts if the rest of the gate is sound, but rusty screws can be tricky to remove.

Applying a silicone spray to the screws the day before you want to extract them will make the job easier.

Waste disposal

Waste disposal skip outside a house

After having work done on your home there's often waste to get rid of.

Ask to see evidence that your contractor is licensed to remove waste by the Environmental Agency or you could be fined along with the contractor.

New lawns

Always lay turf on new top soil.

This may involve removing some old soil first to keep the lawn at the level you want it to be once you've added fresh topsoil.

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