DIY help: Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh on how to fix a warped wooden floor

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh is sharing his DIY tips and hints exclusively with

This week he answers the question: how to fix a warped wooden floor?

Natural wooden floors add a nice touch to any property.  They create character in new builds, and leave a sense of authenticity in older properties.  The juxtaposition between old and new can often create stunning results, but it’s not without its problems.  In this week’s blog, we will be looking at how to prevent the age old problem of warping.

Warping often happens as a result of exposure to too much moisture or too much sun, which can cause the floor to swell, or even worse, shrink.  The best way to prevent it is by ensuring the floor is correctly finished.  It might sound a bit silly, but a thin coat of mineral oil can do wonders on a wooden floor, and can help to absorb moisture.  When applied regularly (i.e. once a month), it can help to enhance the sheen of the floor.

Freak temperatures can wreak havoc on a wooden floor, so try to maintain a consistent temperature in your property, without jumping from extreme high temperatures to extreme low temperatures and vice versa.  A good dehumidifier can help to regulate the atmosphere, so it’s worth investing in one.

Frequent problems with warping could be a sign of a damp property, so ensure you get it investigated.  If your floors, do become warped, don’t despair – warping is treatable, and the best way to treat it is to put some damp towels over the warped area for a couple of days; re-screw the floor down, and fill any holes, with the correct filler.   However, an overly warped floor can be dangerous, and should be replaced.

*To see more DIY tips, products and deals visit Trades Supermarket

August 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM 3 comments

First-time buyer blog: What you need to know about getting on the ladder

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

In my last blog I wrote about the art of negotiation (or rather the lack of it). We didn’t end up getting the property we liked for the value we felt reflected the condition. Eight weeks from going on the market, it is still there, but we’ve  moved on, as you often need to do in this game.

During the past few months house hunting (yes, we are beginning to wonder whether it really should take this long), it has been a huge learning curve. I’ve  never read so many books, blogs, articles; watched so many programmes; or responded to as many tweets relating to property before in my life.  It’s sucked me in. I’m constantly trying to find out as much information, advice and top-tips.

To make it a little easier for other first-time buyers who’ve just begun their house search, these are a few of my favourite reference points:

1. How to Buy Your First Home by Phil Spencer This has been a little gem. Brilliantly laid out, easy to understand, up to date and rammed full of top tips. Every now and then it’s great to refer back to refresh my memory.

2. Newspaper property sections One I always go back to is the Guardian, today the top story is “Mortgage rates hit record lows, but first time buyers remain squeezed”. It may not be the most uplifting article, but it does give you some indication of the current market.

3. Mortgage comparison websites You may already have your agreement in principle from one lender, but always worth keeping an eye on other options as you are continuing your search. Some lenders have come up with more attractive offers since we have been looking.

4. TV programmes I had watched quite a few Location, Location, Location episodes before we started our house search as I’m quite a fan. It’s entertaining, and sometimes I do wish I had Kirstie and Phil to call the agent with a bunch of cameras pointing at the phone to give added pressure. I got through a few episodes of Help! My House Is Falling Down before it scared me senseless, but it did hammer home the need to check drains and to pay good attention to your survey.

5. Twitter  This adds the humour into the proceedings with estate agents, buying agents, sellers and buyers all giving their perspective on the property market. It’s pointed me in the direction of some great blogs, and it’s incredibly interesting to read things from a seller’s and agent’s point of view.

Probably the most information and advice we get is from work colleagues, friends and family who’ve  been through the process before. Everyone has a different story to tell. It’s rather exhausting knowing that we’re at the beginning, with a long way to go….

Follow Emma on twitter @polkadotcherry.

August 22, 2011 at 11:44 AM 2 comments

Premier League Property

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

As the Premier League gets into full swing, turns its attention to some of the less reported news of the season. We’ve been crunching the numbers that matter and made some quirky discoveries, including the true cost of each goal, just how many football stars really “play away” and, of course, who owns what homes, how much they’re worth and who’s top of the property league table. Infographic by Gareth Davies.

Embed the Premier League Property video infographic on your site and share it with your visitors – copy the following code and paste into your webpage:

August 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM 2 comments

Football Infographic – the Home Game

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Take one dash of colour, add a sprinkle of wit and stir in a huge dollop of property knowledge. What do you get? The latest creative and quirky infographic, of course, all packed into an easy to download format for your enjoyment. This is where the magic happens.

The first of a series of infographics with a football theme.

The Home Game Football Infographic

The Home Game Football Infographic

Embed the Home Game football infographic on your site and share it with your visitors – copy and paste the following code into your website:

<img src=”” />

August 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM Leave a comment

Could Abramovich be eyeing a Kensington Palace Gardens home?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Rumours abound at the moment of a sale on Kensington Palace Gardens, one of London’s most exclusive streets. Dubbed “Billionaires’ Row”, Lakshmi Mittal, the UK’s wealthiest man, owns property on this tree-lined park-side road, as does Foxtons’ founder Jonathan Hunt and the Saudi royal family. So we sent writer Jessie Hewitson to dig a little deeper.

Houses here have very rarely come onto the market – until now. According to sources, Belgian hedge fund manager Pierre LaGrange and his wife Catherine have put their million-pound pad up for sale. LaGrange is co-founder of GLG Partners, one of the most successful hedge funds in the country. This year’s Sunday Times Rich List placed him at #201, with a fortune of £331 million.

The rumoured price tag for the Kensington Palace Gardens property is £30 million, which will boost LaGrange’s personal fortune still further. Its unusually long Land Registry report shows that the 10-bedroom house was bought for £19 million in 2004, and despite being a house it is leasehold, with 118 years left to run. The Crown Estate (i.e. the Queen) owns the freehold and the ground rent is predictably steep: in 2004 it cost £10,000 a year, but according to the Land Registry report this could rise to £160,000.

The house sale coincides with the office-relocation of an even wealthier businessman: Roman Abramovich, who has moved his headquarters from Chelsea to Knightsbridge, close to Kensington Palace Gardens. As a result property industry insiders have been speculating that the Russian oligarch may be aware of the sale and is taking a strong interest.

If he is interested in purchasing the property it is likely to be because he can’t resist snapping up such a rarely available trophy home, or perhaps he is viewing the purchase as an investment or to gift to a family member. It’s unlikely to be for his personal use, as work is currently underway on the mega-home he owns in Knightsbridge, which he plans to share with girlfriend Daria Zhukova and their two-year-old son Aaron. They are knocking together two adjoining townhouses on Lowndes Square, creating one palatial residence. The houses were originally home to a combined nine flats, and when finished will feature eight bedrooms and span a jaw-dropping 30,000 sq ft, five times the area of the average five-bed home.

August 18, 2011 at 10:39 AM Leave a comment

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