We answer your renovation and decorating questions with help from industry experts. E-mail questions to email@example.com.
Design SPACE SENSE photography VEE CHIN
What are some furniture pieces that can give my living room an industrial feel?
As the inspiration for the industrial look can be traced back to the style of a specific period of time – the industrial age – its elements are quite easy to identify. The industrial age saw the introduction of power-driven machines for mass manufacturing, and that’s why so many industrial-style pieces feature “machine” parts such as gears, wheels and metal piping. Just one of these pieces, such as a coffee table with oversized wheels for castors, or a shelf which uses exposed metal piping for its frame, can make an impressive industrial statement in your space! Make sure the style of the space is complementary to your furniture pieces. Think of warehouse or factory spaces, and how plain and devoid of decoration they are. So, for this look, it’s best to go for raw concrete floors and walls. But as it’s your home after all, you might want to soften the look of those hard-edged pieces with a fabric or leather sofa, a simple rug, and some colourful accessories. My contractor left dried up grey concrete on the white plastic plumbing pipes in the bathroom after the renovation and it looks terrible.
How can I clean up the mess?
If your renovation is very recent, you might still be able to get the contractor back to clean up the mess. But if it has been a while, then you will have to do it yourself, which might be a little troublesome, for the tools needed. Desmond Chew of Three-D Conceptwerke recommends using an acid wash to clean it off. Get the acid from the hardware store – just ask for the right type to clean off concrete. “Be careful and wear rubber gloves when you handle acid. Pour a little into a small pail diluted with some water (depending on how concentrated you want it), and use a sponge or brush to apply it on the concrete. “Avoid touching stainless steel surfaces with the acid as it will corrode,” he says
Photo PATRICIA HOFMEESTER / 123RF.COM
How can I prep my wooden doors for repainting?
If you want your paint job to last longer, and have that clean professional finish, make sure you prep the surface properly. The painting process might need more than a day, even for a door, so give yourself enough time to finish the job. Follow these steps, as advised by Kitty Tan of Nippon Paint. First, you will need to clean the surface thoroughly, removing any dust, dirt or matter on the surface. Sand the door lightly with sandpaper to remove any loose paint, and to even out the surface. Sanding it will also help the new coat of paint adhere better. Clean the door with a damp cloth and leave it to dry completely.
Before painting, make sure you protect your floor with a drop sheet to catch any drips! Apply an undercoat, which will ensure your topcoat goes on smoothly and look more even. Look for water-based paints such as the Nippon Paint Aqua Bodelac undercoat and acrylic gloss enamel topcoat, which is lowodour, and low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as compared with regular oil-based formulas. This paint is also specially formulated for doors. When the undercoat is dry (two hours for water-based paint and one day for oil-based paint), apply the first layer of your topcoat paint and wait for that to dry (three hours for water-based paint and one day for oil-based paint) before applying the second layer of paint. Leave it to dry completely.
Design PIU DESIGN photography VERNON WONG
Is there a way to remove a stain from a tile?
Would it be better to replace it? What should I do if I don’t have replacement tiles? Without knowing what caused your stain, it is difficult to advise how to remove it. Usually, applying warm water and a PH-neutral liquid cleaner, which you can find at hardware stores, would be sufficient, says Simon Cheong of tile specialist Hafary. You can apply this to stains caused by liquids such as coffee, tea or juice. “It is very important to follow cleaning instructions on the bottle carefully to prevent further damage to the tile,” he says. If you want to be ultra careful, do a test and apply the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the floor first. Also, he doesn’t recommend replacing the stained tile as the tiles surrounding it may be damaged during the process of removing the stained piece. He suggests removing a stained tile only if you are already looking at a minor home renovation.