Painting Can Polish a Sale

A good paint job can turn an otherwise drab, dark looking home into a bright, and airy mansion that would be the envy of the neighborhood. Even the most aged and dreary homes can be given a new lease on life with a paint job.

However, a bad paint job can spell doom for home selling hopefuls. Instead of making magic and turning your home into a dream house, a bad coat of pain can scare away potential buyers.   This is easily avoidable with just a few tips, a good brush and roller and the nerve to start painting your house armed with the following information:

Choosing The Right Color

Make sure the color combination you choose fits the existing furnishings in your home.

Remember that the most attractive homes to purchase are the ones that have a light, spacious, and cozy feel. The way your furnishings contrast and complement the color combination you choose will be critical in the success of your paint job.

Paint Considerations

Consider the lighting in the room you will paint. As a general rule, you will want to purchase paint that is one or two shades lighter than the shade you want, since paint generally seems darker when spread over a large area. It would also be safer if you tested the paint on a small area to see how the color plays out.

To control the illusion you want your room to project, you will need to understand how colors affect people’s perception of space. There are what’s called advancing colors–these are the striking, warm toned colors such as orange, red, and yellow that have the effect of making the closed spaces of the room more pronounced. To improve the perception of space in your room, it would be nice to use cooler-toned, receding colors such as blue, green, and violet.

It is not only the color that affects the perception of size; the saturation and intensity of these colors also play a part in the room’s ambience. If the paint you choose is too dark or saturated, the room will still seem cramped. To achieve a spacious effect, you might want to stick to light, or neutral colors – white, pearl, or beige will do fine for this job.

You should also paint your ceilings a light color to give the impression of additional height.

The finish of the paint will also have a great deal of effect on the overall ambience of the room. Flat finishes are good for hiding minor imperfections on the walls. Eggshell finishes are great for adding a warm glow to the room, and are easy to clean and maintain. Glossy paint is good for emphasizing details and is the easiest to clean.


Island Innovations for your Kitchen

The kitchen island has become the icon of the modern kitchen – the 21st century equivalent of the old-fashioned hearth.  Centrally located, islands are easily accessed and ideal for various kitchen tasks from food prep and cooking, to clean up and entertaining. They often are the focal point in the kitchen and typically blend in with the décor. According to our home improvement professionals, an island, at a minimum, should be 4 feet long and a little more than 2 feet deep.

As the attractiveness of kitchen islands continue to grow, so do the innovations. In fact, the number-one design feature on consumer wish lists is a central island cooktop. But cooktops aren’t the only island innovations. Following are the newest kitchen finds and options to consider when building or turning your fantasy island into a functional – and stylish – workspace.

Create Levels
When deciding on the layout for your kitchen island, why not customize your fantasy and create levels? Multi-level islands are becoming increasingly popular since most homeowners not only want a work area, but also an informal place for entertaining guests.

With the kitchen as one of the main gathering areas in a home, your guests will be able to sit, chat or rest their beverage glasses on the high-top counter, while the lower tier of the island should feature an ample work area for you to whip up your decadent cuisine. Additionally, be sure to incorporate enough drawers and shelves below the work area to keep key ingredients, utensils and your favorite cookbooks right at your fingertips. If you love to entertain, also consider adding wine chilling drawers or a wine refrigerator to keep your beverages close at hand and maintain proper temperatures for your reds and whites.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
Turn up the heat and get cooking. Homeowners want a central island cooktop as part of their kitchen island, reports Kitchen & Bath Design News. Installing cooktops brings countertop burners within easy reach, while also creating room for amenities below, such as additional storage – or even warming drawers.

Topping It Off
Add character to your island countertop with a dramatic surface finish. While high-end materials, such as granite, metal, solid-surface and marble are still popular, new custom, hand-applied finishes with unique designs, such as full circles and waves, can add unique beauty to your island and set your countertop apart. And, be sure to finish off your counter with a thick butcher block. Not only will it be an easy spot for all your cutting needs, you’ll be sure to protect your beautiful countertop surface.

Finishing Touches
With your fantasy island now becoming a reality, spruce up your space with some finishing touches. Installing long, vertical drawer and cabinet pulls add some flair to the kitchen, while also doubling as towel bars. Offer your guests comfortable and stylish seating around your island with new bar stools that fit comfortably under your high-top counter. Finally, shed some light on your new fantasy island with pendant lighting. Manufacturers offer a variety of shapes, styles and finishes to illuminate and showcase your amazing new island.


It’s Annual Fence Fix-up Time

If you’ve watched home improvement shows that focus on “curb appeal,” you know that a coat of paint or stain on a fence can make a huge difference in the attractiveness of your home. But visual appeal isn’t the only reason to renovate your fence –a worn out enclosure can also put the safety of your home and family at risk.

It’s important to inspect fences, gates and gate hardware around your property to ensure all are in good working condition. Secure fences, with no gaps underneath or between sections, gate hardware that functions properly and with gates that self-close every time, can ensure the safety of the occupants and property in your home, and keep toddlers and pets from getting out into dangerous traffic. They can also reduce your liability from claims resulting from a defective gate.

Weather, from extremes in temperature to ordinary rainfall, can affect gate operation either through the creation of rust, or through freezing and thawing that affects gate alignment. Rusty metal hinges and latches or gate misalignment can lead to gates that no longer close securely, creating conditions that can be dangerous or even deadly if ignored. When was the last time you checked each gate around your property?

Selecting the right gate hardware can easily solve most of these problems. Choose gate hinges and latches that are made of super strong engineering polymers that will not rust, and are adjustable and self-lubricating, requiring little or no maintenance.

Updating your gates so they are self-closing and self-latching, improving the security and overall look of the fence, can be done in just a few minutes with these products.

“In our research, we found that when homeowners consider their fencing needs, rusty metal gate hardware that no longer functions properly was their number one concern,” says Jim Paterson, a senior vice president with a leading manufacturer. “Common gravity latches are inexpensive and function fine when new. However, as soon as rust sets in, these latches no longer close without manual assistance.”

For the fencing itself, rust can present greater challenges. Steel fences and gates, if not protected with an effective sealant such as powder coating, must be periodically repainted with rust-resistant paint to prevent weather-related damage. Existing rust should be removed before painting, and a rust-preventive primer should be used as the first coat.

Wood fencing can be repaired by prying the damaged section out with a pry bar or cutting it out with a handsaw. Try to use the same type of wood as the original, and don’t re-use the original nails. For wood fences, use paint specifically designed for fencing.

On wrought iron or other steel fences, if rust has worn through metal pickets at the ground level creating a large gap that children or pets can get through, sections of the fence will need to be replaced.

“Aluminum or vinyl fencing can protect against rust on the fence itself,” Paterson says, “but the hardware must still be rust-free and adjustable to ensure the gate will be in working order. A quick inspection, and if needed, the minutes spent installing new gate hardware, can help protect your family and property, increasing security and decreasing liability.

“All gates should close and have the ability to be locked, but gates leading to pools or spas have an additional requirement,” Paterson says. “They need to have a child-resistant latch so that young children cannot open the gate without an adult’s assistance.”

For help with all of your fencing needs, contact the experts at Handyman Matters today.


Bathroom Remodeling Guidelines

Throughout the your bathroom remodeling course, remember to think and look of the remodeling project from all angles such as functionality, overall design, aesthetic appeal, comfort, materials and colors.

Here are basic questions that you should ask yourself to help you design your bathroom:

– What do you want to accomplish?

– Which do you prefer more, sink or counter space?

– Do you need one more shower compartment?

– Would you like to put in a whirlpool or spa setting?

– Do you need lots of cabinets or just open shelves for storage space?

Establishing A Realistic Budget For Your Major Bathroom Remodeling

Remember, it is less expensive when you don’t relocate your bathroom’s plumbing fixtures, like sinks or toilets.  Unless there’s ample room in your budget for these kinds of changes, incorporating your present bathroom plan into your new bathroom design is simpler, more economical, and oftentimes just as serviceable.

Furthermore, the cost of your bathroom remodeling project will greatly depend on your choice of fixtures and quality of bathroom appliances you would like to have. Some bathtubs, fixtures and even tiles could be expensive because of their brand names.

Today’s bathroom is no longer just a place for taking a bath, brushing your teeth, etc. It now can a place where you can relax in the tub, light a candle and read a book and just take pleasure in its calming ambience. If these goals are part of your remodel objectives, it may be well worth the added financial investment to achieve and enjoy this level of comfort.

Enjoy the excitement and fun of your bathroom remodeling project and take pleasure in the many years of contentment and gratification the end result will provide.


Tips to Keep Your Trees Healthy

Trees and plants are living things just like ordinary humans and they not only need attention from time to time, but they also need the proper care and protection that enables them to live longer, healthier lives.

Trees and landscapes face various problems such as pests, storms and seasonal endurance, and it is up to you as the tree-owners to make a difference. Just giving water to your tree every day for a minute does not equal tree care.

No magical procedures are essential for a tree’s healthy survival, just a little time and some simple steps to ensure vitality. Dangerous pests, storms and disease imperil their lives in various ways. You must recognize the pests and tree diseases in the landscape and the damage they pose. Any threat should be dealt with through pesticides and insecticides, although it should be noted that some bugs are actually valuable to the trees.  It is important that these are not mistakenly harmed.

Storm-struck and disease-affected areas should be quarantined without delay to prevent additional damage or problems spreading to other trees.

Landscapes need deep-root fertilization at intervals but it should be conducted so that trees are not harmed in any way. Likewise, tree pruning and trimming are necessary for general health, and for fruit trees, this helps stimulates production. However, pruning must be conducted with care and expertise.

For the best possible results and no damage to the vegetation, it is best that you employ a trustworthy and certified arborist who can conduct the work expertly. Certified arborists make sure that they make no more changes to the original structure than necessary, to prevent unnecessary trauma or risk.  These include such delicate tasks as re-planting trees in new locations, preventing tree chopping, pruning trees in their best season, helping landscapes survive all seasons, fixing any potential storm damage, using correct fertilization techniques, treating tee diseases and tree bugs, as well as root grinding and stump removal.

If you opt to undertake these tasks on your own, make sure you are well-informed and take no steps that could endanger the life or health of your own foliage.


One-Weekend Painting Projects

Updating the decor in your home doesn’t have to be a long, laborious or expensive process. Instead, get a little instant gratification by using paint to easily refresh areas and items throughout the house. With a little cash and a free weekend, you can makeover your house right now.

Furniture facelift

Whether it’s an old pair of chairs in the attic or a desk that’s seen better days, it’s easy to breathe new life into pieces of forgotten furniture with a fresh coat of paint. You can add interest and a pop of color to any room. A semi-gloss finish works best when painting furniture because it’s easy to clean and hides any imperfections.

  • Make sure the surface is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime with a stain blocking primer to ensure the surface is properly sealed. This will help the paint go on evenly and uniformly.
  • With a high-quality mini-roller, apply the paint of your choice to achieve the best finish. These tools are versatile, lightweight, and can quickly and easily deliver a perfect finish with smooth rolling action.
  • For extra protection, brush on two thin, even coats of water-based polyurethane.

Door do-over

Changing the color of an interior door can make a big impact in any room. The key to getting this update right: color selection. Choose a color similar to your walls for the door, because you don’t want the contrast to be jarring. Be sure to paint the frame too, so the door doesn’t seem to float in space, and use a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

  • Remove door and hinges from the wall.
  • Make sure the door is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime bare, sanded woodwork; there’s no need to prime previously painted surfaces if they’re in good condition. However, if you are going over an existing oil-based paint with a latex paint, follow the instructions on the paint can on how to prime.
  • When applying paint or primer, work from the center of the door outwards in the following order: molding, inside panels, rails, stiles
  • Once paint is completely dry, re-hang door using existing hinges.

Step to it

For an unexpected update, paint an area of the house that doesn’t usually receive a lot of love – your stair risers. They can get nicked and scuffed easily, so a fresh finish – and color – can really perk up the staircase. If you’re unsure of which shade to choose, cut and paint cardboard pieces the same size of the risers and position them on the steps to get an idea of the effect.

  • Dust risers with a broom and cover steps with masking paper; secure with painter’s tape.
  • Apply latex primer to wooden risers or metal etching primer to metallic ones. Brush horizontally and let dry for at least two hours. Mini rollers are another tool to consider especially over metal.
  • Apply gloss, latex paint with a clean brush or mini roller. Let first coat dry two hours, then apply second coat.
  • Wait a day for the paint to cure and then add a third coat for the most durable finish.

Remember: Painting is the easiest way to make a dramatic and instant impact on a room and Handyman Matters is your one stop shop for making changes to your home for 2012! To find a location near you visit, or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

How to Air Your Home

 A simple, eco-friendly way to live green and healthy is to periodically air out your home. Taking advantage of this routine releases out the reused, polluted air, and lets in a bath of fresh, cleaner air.

If not enough outdoor air gets inside a home, wafting pollutants and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can accumulate and rise to levels that can pose health and comfort problems, such as increased allergens and asthma attacks. High heat and humidity also contribute to the problem of indoor air pollutants.

Begin by checking the air circulation system already in your home. Start with a clean, up-to-date, energy-efficient ventilation system. A number of mechanical ventilation systems built into homes successfully and consistently circulate the air. Many homes also have outdoor-mounted fans that intermittently remove air from a single room, and intricate air-handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air while filtering in air-conditioned outdoor air. (Hint: These are air conditioners).

In addition to the mechanical processes, here are two simple, home-airing methods endorsed by allergists and environmentalists.

1. Passive method: Choose an afternoon when the temperature is above freezing, turn off the heat (if applicable), open the windows, and allow your home to air out for an hour and a half. If you’re home, open more windows or doors. Don’t cook anything. Let the house breathe for a bit, without wasting much natural energy.

2. Active method: Like the name suggests, this airing-out practice takes more effort. Again, pick an afternoon when the temperature is above freezing. In addition to turning off any heat sources, extinguish any fireplace or stove fires and close any flues. (If you heat your home with an unsealed furnace, stove, or fireplace and the air source is your home, you can only use the passive method.)

Begin by installing a fan in a window or attic to exhaust the air. Clean your home thoroughly, and wear a mask when vacuuming. After cleaning, open a window where the fan is not located, and then open the window with the fan and turn on the fan.

Go into another room and open a window, and then return to the original room with the open window, and close it. Continue this until you have consecutively done each room, but leave the last window open. Go back to the fan, turn it off, and close the window. Return to the final room and close that window.

This active method’s advantage is that less home energy is wasted and if it’s cold out, albeit above freezing, the house warms up faster than when you use the passive method.

More tips to consistently keep your home’s indoor air cleaner: Reduce the number of VOC emitters, such as wood furniture and vinyl shower curtains. Only use low-or-no-VOC paint. Eliminate cleaners that release toxins into the air, re-polluting it; instead use homemade cleaners. Don’t smoke indoors.

Just think about how good it feels to go outside for a breath of fresh air after being cooped up indoors. Your home feels the same way.


Refinishing Your Wood Flooring

It may be time to refinish your wood flooring and make it look new again.

How do you know it is time to refinish the floor?  Do this simple step: Go to the area where the floor is mostly used. Get a tablespoon of water and pour it onto the floor. If the water forms beads and can easily be wiped out, there is no need to refinish it yet. Your floor is still in good condition.

If the water that you just poured slowly seeps into the floor and creates a visible spot, probably needs refinishing touches. You may want to keep it in your to-do list and schedule a time when you can do the refinishing. However, if the water seeps in as quickly as you had poured it, then don’t put it off any longer. Your floor definitely needs refinishing.

Refinishing your wood flooring requires equipment such as a drum sander. You need not buy this, though.  Sanders are available for rent in your local home repair outlets. You can rent them on a daily or weekly basis.

Different grit papers are used in the drum sander for different floor types. The lower the grit paper number is, the coarser it is for use on more damaged woods. Consult with a knowledgeable clerk at the home repair store. Once you have chosen the right grit paper, you can now start sanding the wood. It is suggested that you do the sanding diagonally on both ways then along the grain.

Once you are done sanding the whole floor with that procedure, repeat the process again using a finer grit paper (one with a higher number). After sanding the whole floor again, you can now sand the edges using a spinner/edger machine, which you can also rent.

Vacuuming is the next step to clean off the sand dusts. Should there be gaps present after the sanding process, fill these in using the sand dust mixed with varnish to form a paste. Then leave the floor alone for some time.

After a few hours, repeat the sanding process again, this time doing it along the grain with a much finer grit. Do this twice, using the highest grit number on the last sanding. After this, vacuum the floor once more and sweep off the dust.

Once the floor is dust-free, it is now time to apply the urethane seal coat. You will need a roller to do this. Before using the roller, make sure it is clean first using a stiff brush to remove dirt and loose hairs that might get into the finish.

The urethane coating can now be applied across the floor grain by strips. Once the whole array of strips is completed, go back to the starting strip and make sure there are no roller marks or urethane build up.

Let the first coating dry for some time. When the coat is completely dry, the next step is to sand the whole floor using an orbital sander. Vacuum and sweep the floor afterwards to remove the dust.

Finally, the second coating can now be applied using the same procedure as the first. When you do the second coating, make sure the sun doesn’t shine through the window to any part of the floor, as this can cause uneven marks.

Refinishing your wood flooring is relatively easy as long as you have the right equipment.

Nicely finished or refinished floors make your home look more beautiful. It is also a healthy alternative than carpets. Carpets are known to cause allergies because they are difficult to clean. Having just bare, nicely finished wood flooring will help you have a healthy environment inside your own home. Dusts, pests, molds, and animal stains can easily be cleaned up as well.


Bathroom Accessories

The bathroom is a place to relax away from the tensions of our hectic lives. It is necessary for that corner of our homes to be soothing and tip top. Modern bath accessories are the perfect way to add panache to the bathroom.  Contemporary accessories enhance the style and beauty of the bathroom and are designed to provide the user with techno savvy things. The fashionable accessories for the bathroom would give you vanity tops, sinks, cabinets and mirrors in the great styles and designs.

Sinks are the logical center of attraction in the bathroom. The different materials and designs used in the modern sinks make them give the bathroom a fabulous look. Faucets can be fixed in the counter top or the wall. Vanity tops are also available in different—and durable—materials.  Marble, granite, ceramic tiles are are scratch and water resistant.

 Showers also increase the magnificence and comfort of a bathroom.  Keep in mind your specific needs and budget when selecting a shower.  Single shower heads and hand showers are available for more economic prices, but perhaps you have your heart set on a multiple yet shower.  Have your choices uppermost in your mind before you go looking.  

 Designer mirrors, also available in a wide range of styles and budgets, can also add style to the bathroom.

For the best results, make sure you’ve done your due diligence before starting the renovation project.  Know the types and availability of accessories inside and out—some online research or a few conversations with a knowledgeable clerk at your local hardware or home improvement store will reap great benefits.  You’ll go into the process informed and prepared for some of the eventualities that may crop up during the bathroom makeover.

 In this era of going green, don’t neglect checking out the organic choices available to you—not only do these provide some additional options, but you are making environmentally sound choices at the same time.

 Bottom line?  Make sure that all the information regarding accessories is collected by you for the best renovation. Go in for the accessories that fit well in your budget and bathroom.


Decorative Concrete Resurfacing

A concrete driveway has become an essential part of the landscaping plan that imparts an inviting image. The wide variety of texture, color, and patterns of concrete available today has elevated the driveway to the status of a landscape design element meeting today’s homeowners’ exacting demands. However, these have a tendency to develop cracks and potholes over a period of time. Concrete driveway resurfacing involves revitalizing and fixing concrete to add curb appeal and value to a home.

Not only is concrete functional, it lends itself to a wide variety of design options which can make a dramatic difference in home landscaping plans, as well as enhancing property values. In addition to the traditional look, concrete can have the decorative appearance, feel, and color of brick, tile, slate, or stone. Today concrete finishes have expanded to include an astounding array of decorative options. Sometimes referred to as a cement driveway or painted concrete, decorative concrete is one of the most reasonable ways to spruce up the entrance to a home. Although plain gray concrete is still installed most often, more people are catching on to the dazzling effects possible with decorative concrete, and seeing the instant curb appeal a decorative driveway can give to any home, no matter what the style.

The growing demand for decorative concrete has been fueled by pragmatic considerations, including green building benefits, relatively low cost and simple maintenance requirements that eliminate the use of harsh chemicals. Concrete is also one of the greenest materials to build a driveway. Good driveway paving contractors work towards maximizing the green attributes of concrete pavements.

Concrete provides the perfect canvas for creating an economical replica of more expensive materials, and yet still maintaining a very natural, authentic look. An endless array of decorative effects are available to have the concrete floor colored and textured to resemble almost anything.  Check online or consult with a local home maintenance provider to get more information.