NEWS

Home Help: The golden rules of painting

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Home Improvements: Plan ahead for successful paint job

Are you eager to finish renovation projects before the snow flies? Be sure to avoid the most common mistake of weekend warriors -- hastily beginning projects before you've planned your work. Planning your project from start to finish will save you both time and money.

With a plan in place, there are fewer opportunities for blunders and mishaps. Consider these basic preparation skills before your next painting project to help ensure everything comes together without a hitch.

Timeline

Before beginning your project, make sure you determine how long each step will take. Allow for appropriate drying time for primer and paint application. If you begin applying paint over wet primer -- or a second coat over a wet first coat -- you'll have a big mess on your hands. Best practices call for at least an hour to two hours of drying time for most interior latex paints.

Start from a clean canvas

Many people simply want to slap the paint up on the walls -- they don't take the time to think about surface preparation. If you paint a new color on top of walls that are already cracked and full of nail holes, the new paint is not going to adhere correctly.

Instead, plan on washing the walls thoroughly and spackling any holes in the drywall before you apply the first coat of primer. A clean surface allows for a more even application and better quality finish. And don't forget to use primer. Primer allows the paint to better grip the wall surface and thus helps to avoid cracking and peeling.

End with a clean canvas

If you start clean, you'll end clean. That means you have to prepare for the final cleanup. Always be sure to secure drop cloths and painter's tape to any area you don't want covered with tiny little paint flecks.

If you make sure to cover any exposed furniture, electronics, appliances and keep small children out of the room, you'll spend far less time cleaning up after you've finished painting.

The brushes

Consumers sometimes forget that the tools they use to paint are just as important as choosing the right paint. A good rule of thumb is to have a multi-use painter's tool, a sturdy roller frame with multiple roller covers and a few different sized brushes.

The paint

Although the color of your paint is the most visible aspect, the quality of the paint is much more important. If you choose the cheapest paint available, and then it starts to fall off the wall, it won't matter what color it is.

Make sure to research your paint selection. If you don't plan on purchasing good quality paint, plan on a lackluster result and constant touchups.

Color conscious

There are a multitude of tools available to help you choose the right color for your space -- everything from handheld color chips to poster sized adhesive sheets to actual sample size containers of paint. More importantly, don't forget to choose colors that will flow from room to room.

-- ARA

Decorating Tip: DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces

- Fruit bowls: Use large, clear containers and fill them with seasonal fruit like mini pumpkins, red apples and cranberries. Accent with mums, gourds or leaves.

- Candles: Place think candles on a platter and surround them with greenery fruit and pinecones. Garnish with a few smaller items like nuts, acorns or kumquats.

- Fruit and nuts: Fill a low platter or bowl with a pile of autumn fruit or a bed of nuts. Add a few leaves or berries.

-- "BHG.com's 100 Days of Holidays," www.bhg.com/holidays

Home-Selling Tip: How walkable is your neighborhood?

A recent study found that homes in areas where shopping and social destinations are in walking distance command up to $34,000 more than homes that aren’t. If your home is in an area with good walkability, make sure to let buyers know.

-- www.realtor.org

How To: Save energy with water heater

If your storage water heater doesn't have heat traps, you can save energy by adding them to your water heating system. They can save you around $15 to $30 on your water heating bill by preventing convective heat losses through the inlet and outlet pipes.

Heat traps — valves or loops of pipe — allow water to flow into the water heater tank but prevent unwanted hot-water flow out of the tank.

A pair of heat traps costs only around $30. However, unless you can properly solder a pipe joint, heat traps require professional installation by a qualified plumbing and heating contractor. Therefore, heat traps are most cost effective if they're installed at the same time as the water heater. Today, many new storage water heaters have factory-installed heat traps or have them available as an option.

-- www.energysavers.gov

Did You Know …

Add finely ground dried rose petals, lavender or other herbs to baking soda for a natural carpet deodorizer.

Garden Guide: Houseplants for beginners

Here are a few plants that are good choices for people who need a more low-maintenance plant.

- Low light: Plants prefer or can tolerate minimum light. North-facing windows or the interior of a room are a good place for one of these. Try a snake plant, kentia palm or Chinese evergreen.

- Medium/indirect light: Bright light but no direct sun. Keep plants a foot or two from west- or south-facing windows. Look for ficus, fishtail palms or spider plants.

- Bright/direct: Here are the sun worshippers. Put them on the windowsill facing south or west. Cactus, croton and ponytail palm are sun-lovers.

-- www.lowes.com

Backyard Buddies: Keep wildlife safe

A little education is key to keeping birds and other creatures out of harm’s way.

- Before mowing your lawn or rototilling your garden, walk through the area first to make sure there are no rabbits or ground-nesting birds that could be disturbed.

- Check trees to make sure there are no active nests before cutting them down.

- Educate children to respect and care for all wild creatures and their habitats. Children need to learn that wild animals are not playthings. Children should also be told not to destroy nests, burrows and other wildlife homes.

- Pick up litter and refuse that could harm wildlife, including six-pack connectors (after cutting each circle to reduce the risk of entanglement), monofilament fishing line, and batteries that contain toxins.

-- Wildlife Haven

GateHouse News Service