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Choosing wallpapering tools

Although you may be able to improvise on some jobs, putting together a proper wallpapering kit is not expensive and worth the investment. In addition to the tools described below, you will need a steel tape measure and a stepladder.

Plumb bob and line

A metal weight (plumb bob) on the end of a string will mark a true vertical guideline for positioning the first length of wallpaper on any wall (few walls are straight). More expensive versions have a hollow plumb bob with retracting string, which is coated with chalk every time it is withdrawn. Snapping the taut string against the wall leaves a chalk line making positioning even easier.

Pasting table

To lay a length of wallpaper for pasting, a long flat surface is needed. A purpose-made pasting table provides a convenient surface: higher than an average dining table but only just wider than a standard roll of wallpaper, it avoids getting paste on the worktop. It is light and easy to carry and folds flat for storage.

Pasting brush

Use either a wide wall brush or a short-pile roller to apply paste to the back of wall coverings. Use a bucket to mix the paste in and tie a piece of string across the top of the bucket to give you somewhere to rest the brush between pastes.

Water trough

This is only necessary for pre-pasted wall coverings, for wetting each length before hanging. They are inexpensive and are often made of polystyrene.

Wallpaper scissors

Scissors with extra-long blades achieve a long, straight cut both at the pasting table and when trimming wallpaper to length on the wall.

Paperhanging brush

A wide soft-bristled brush for smoothing out air bubbles, creases and excess paste. Also suitable for brushing the trimmed ends of wallpaper strips - for example, against the skirting - once they are positioned on the wall.

Craft or trimming knife

A knife for trimming round light fittings and switches, and for cutting vinyl wall coverings. The blade must be razor sharp, so choose one with disposable blades or a continuous blade which snaps off in short sections to leave a sharp, new edge.

Seam roller

A small hardwood or plastic roller for pressing down the seams between strips of wallpaper once they have been smoothed into place. Not for use on embossed or relief wall coverings since it will flatten the pattern.


Choosing a garden shed

A good shed can last twenty years or more, a bad one can cause you a lot of problems. When shopping for a shed it is essential to buy the best you can afford, the higher the quality of the materials used, the longer you shed will serve you.

Checklist

If you are considering buying a timber shed check the timber carefully. Large knots can reduce the strength of the framework, and can sometimes fall out, creating holes. Make sure, also, that any metal fittings like nails, bolts and screws are galvanized to prevent rust. Check display sheds for signs of wear and tear on fixtures and fittings. Also check for poor workmanship – irregular gaps between boards, protruding nails or screw heads, and split timbers are all giveaways. Timber floors are not always included in the price, so check before you buy.

Standard sizes

When it comes to shed size the best advice is to buy the largest size you can accommodate, it will provide much more scope for storage and could even accommodate a bench too. Really think about what you will be using the shed for. For example, if you want your shed to double up as a workshop make sure you choose one with a large window. The standard shed sizes are 1.8 x 1.2m (6 x 8ft), 1.5 x 2.1m (5 x 7ft), 2.4 x 1.8m (8 x 6ft). Most sheds come with between one and three fixed windows, if you particularly want an opening window ask a sales assistant, as you may be able to order one at an extra cost. Check the available head room, and also the width of the door. Remember you want the door to be wide enough to wheel in gardening equipment, like wheelbarrows. If you are on a limited budget or space is at a premium a Wallstore, typically measuring 0.9 x 0.6m may be your best option.

Choosing a site

Try to visualize what the shed will look like in the position selected. It is important that there is a solid base for the shed to stand on – concrete is ideal, although paving slabs can also be used. Make sure that access will be adequate for the intended use of the shed as once the base has been laid it is difficult to change the site.

Construction

A well-constructed shed is essential if you are to avoid problems developing in a year or two, such as difficulties closing the door, or leaning walls, especially if the walls are supporting heavy shelves. Look out for thin floorboards as these are a sign of poor construction. A good indication that a shed is well constructed is the number of upright timbers, a large shed should have at least four uprights across the ends and five along each side. Make sure the door should is of solid construction, ideally with three strap hinges. To get a good idea of how strong the shed is jump up and down and lean heavily against the walls.

Roofing

A shed roof needs to be strong with plenty of overhang. It should also be covered in heavy-duty, high-grade roofing felt. Stand inside the shed and push upwards against the roof on one side, if it flexes it may start to sag in time.

Security

If you are planning to store expensive garden equipment in your shed choose a model that comes with a sturdy lock or bolt that cannot be prized off.

Log Cabins

For a luxury shed with great aesthetic appeal and extra character look out for log cabin style shed that feature thick log cladding to give an Alpine appearance. Chalet style sheds and summerhouses also make an attractive, if more expensive alternative.

Metal sheds

Although not as visually appealing as timber sheds metal sheds are very rigid and are considered to have a really solid construction. They are also rot, rust, rodent and fireproof and tend to be fairly secure. One of their greatest advantages is that they are completely maintenance free. Pre-fabricated timber bases are sold separately.

Green sheds

If you want to do your bit for the environment, look out for sheds made from timber endorsed by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), an organization that sets standards for improving forest conservation. The timber can be treated to prevent rot and decay. If an untreated shed is purchased it should be treated immediately to prevent decay. Methods of treatment application include pressure treatment, dipping, brushing and spraying treatments.

Plastic sheds

It is possible to buy small plastic sheds. Easy to assemble and convenient to use, plastic sheds have the advantage in that they will never rust or rot.

Feature: Erica Miller