Experts Say

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Match wall colour to furnishings

I have had white and beige walls for a long time. I would like to try more colour, but I am not sure how. Any advice?

The first thing to do is not to use a paint chart immediately.

Ask yourself if you are keeping any existing furniture or curtains. The colour you select has to be viewed against the pieces you are retaining.

If you want a total revamp, start with what inspires you and look for images - not just of interiors, but also those that evoke a certain mood or ambience. Use these images as the base for a mood board and add the other elements of the room: furniture, lights, soft furnishings, art and accessories.

Also, consider your floor colour as it is the second largest surface to the walls. Wood or wood-look floors have a shade, whether it is yellowish in bamboo, grey in limed or distressed wood or reddish in teak parquet.

Certain colours are associated with particular moods. Hues commonly found in nature, such as blues and greens, are calming and suitable for most rooms, while yellow and orange are energetic and a good option for the kitchen.

Then arm yourself with a paint chart and pick a few suitable colours.

Buy a sample portion of paint because a paint chart will not give you a good idea of how a whole wall will look. Instead of painting on the wall, paint an A4-size cardboard and hold it up against the wall. This lets you try out hues without the hassle of covering them up later. Make sure you look at the colours in daylight and under lighting.


Best to remove tiles before carpeting floor

What can I do if I want to change my flooring to carpet? Do I have to remove what is underneath?

Wall-to-wall carpeting is not common in Singapore homes, says Mr Melvyn Khong of The Rug Maker.

When it is done, it is usually in home theatres for its sound insulation properties. In this case, an underlay is a must.

He recommends removing the parquet, laminate or tiles first. But this can be a costly procedure, so carpet can also be installed over an existing floor with or without an underlay.

"However, when this is done, you would most likely have to shave your doors to ensure you have the space to open them.

"If you glue down carpets that are 4mm to 6mm thick, you should not face any problems with the door. But such carpets are usually for commercial spaces and provide little comfort for the feet," he says.

Also, expect some damage to the existing floor, regardless of the installation method.

Proper installation is the key to carpeting that keeps its shape over the years. There are two methods: Underlay with gripper rods and the glue-down technique.

One of the steps in the first method is to stretch and cut the carpet to fit the room. "You will need to stretch the carpet to a good tension to prevent any warping over time with foot traffic. If the carpet is not stretched well, the edges may flip up," he says.

With the second method, the floor has to be clean and relatively dust-free before the glue is applied to the entire area. "This is to ensure that the carpet does not warp and form bubbles over time."


Check water pressure before buying shower heads


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I am renovating my Housing Board flat and plan to install a rainshower. But I am worried the water pressure will not be strong enough. What do you suggest?

Start by engaging a certified plumber to measure the water pressure in each bathroom. Wear and tear, air locked in pipes, choking and a malfunctioning booster pump all affect water pressure.

The responsibility of maintaining water pipes leading to a unit is divided among the town council, national water agency PUB and the flat owner. Go to www.tinyurl.com/ HDBpipes for details.

A spokesman for luxury sanitary fittings maker Hansgrohe says: "The optimal water pressure differs for different shower products, so it is important to share information about your site condition so the sales representativescan advise accordingly. As a guide, it is not recommended to install shower products with large shower faces or multiple functions for sites with weaker water pressure."

The type of water heater installed also plays a part, as handshowers that require high water pressure are not suitable for instant water heaters. For gas heaters, it is best you seek the advice of the supplier on the flow rate of the heater to determine which shower head to pick.


Loose parquet strips due to water damage

The parquet flooring in my bedroom is old and some strips have started coming loose due to water damage. Can I just glue them back or will they come loose again?

According to Mr Kelvin Tan of Maywell Lifestyles, which makes products from natural wood, properly maintained parquet floors can last up to 50 years.

Parquet strips are laid in the tongue-and-groove method, which means one links to the next.

"If one strip comes out, the rest will follow," says Mr Tan, who has more than 20 years' experience working in wood repairs and restoration.

The most common reason for popping parquet is water damage. The majority of such instances occur just outside the master bathroom entrance.

Mr Tan puts it down to the accumulative effect of post-shower wet feet. "When I look below the loose parquet, I usually find rotting plywood, which is the base layer parquet is installed on."

Most contractors prefer to remove the entire flooring and install new parquet, which can be costly.

If the damage is limited to a small area - of about 3 sq ft - Mr Tan prefers to saw off the damaged pieces and plywood and replace the subfloor with marine plywood.

Though marine ply is the most expensive, it resists rotting, warping and shrinking, and repels moisture.

To ensure colour and grain matching, he reuses the old parquet and refinishes the floor.

• Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the August issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

• Have a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, Level 7 Media Centre, 82 Genting Lane, Singapore 349567 or e-mail maghomedecor@sph.com.sg. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2017, with the headline 'Experts Say'. Print Edition | Subscribe