Weekly home and garden rail, with tips for painting preparation, how to keep automatic garage doors safe, interior lighting advice, and more.
Decorating Tip: Three easy steps to perfect painting
We've all seen the do-it-yourself paint job gone wrong, with thin spots, drips and streaks. Paint, however, isn't usually the culprit of a bad paint job. But cutting corners while prepping a space is.
A chain is only as good as its weakest link, and the same is true when undertaking a painting project. By forgetting to do any of the steps in the pre-painting process, you're putting your entire project at risk to fail. Instead, ensure your success with a little forethought and elbow grease, and you'll have a perfect finish each time.
1. Assess the situation
A major factor to consider when starting a new project is the condition of the walls and cleanliness of the surfaces you want to paint. Item number one on the pre-painting checklist is to inspect the wall. Any loose paint, holes or cracks should be fixed before priming, and especially before painting.
If your old paint is peeling, it prevents your new coat of primer, and eventually your new color, from adhering to the wall, resulting in cracks and continued peeling. Don't sabotage your makeover before it even begins. Scrape away old paint until all the loose material is gone.
2. Clean, patch and prime
After you're done scraping, you need to clean the wall. Any dirt left on the wall can create problems, causing the paint to peel or, in some cases, slide right off. Using a good grease-cutting detergent will remove most of this unwanted material from the surface.
Once the wall is properly cleaned, the next step is to patch any flaws before priming and painting. Make sure to use the proper patching materials and tools, match the repairing material to the surface and assess the amount of damage. Use wood filler to patch wood imperfections and spackling for drywall.
3. Use quality tools
The quality of the tools used is going to affect the final finish. Just like brushes or roller covers, a cheap prep tool can bring down the quality of your entire project.
Brushes that shed or rollers that leave lint should be avoided, as they'll ruin the look of your finished products. Scrapers made of cheap metal will leave rust marks on your walls, ruining all your hard work and doing as much damage as good.
A good set of good painting tools will last longer and perform better over a longer period of time, saving you money and time.
How To: Keep automatic garage doors safe
- Never let children operate or play with door controls. Keep the remote control away from children.
- Always keep the moving door in sight and away from people, pets and objects until it is completely closed. No one should cross the path of a moving door.
- Test the door operator monthly. The garage door must reverse on contact with a 1 1/2 inch high object on the floor.
- The emergency release is only intended to be used when the door is closed. Use extreme caution when using this release with the door open.
- Keep garage doors properly balanced. Have a qualified service technician make the necessary repairs to cables, spring assemblies and other hardware.
-- Underwriters Laboratories
Home-Selling Tip: Clean the outside
When preparing your home for a sale, you don’t necessarily need to repaint the entire house. But it will help to clean the exterior, including window casing, shutters and doors. And don’t forget to wash windows inside and out.
Did You Know …
Nearly 75 percent of American households have top-loading washers, according to research from Whirlpool Corporation.
Home Improvements: Which light is right?
Trying to figure out where to put lighting throughout your home? Here are some tips:
- Table and floor: Strategically placed floor lamps can provide a warm, soft environment for a room, or they can be used to accent items. Table lamps prove ideal for evening reading.
- Ceiling, recessed and overhead: These fixtures provide general lighting. Recessed lights are ideal for rooms with low ceilings or where hanging lights might not fit.
- Accent and wall: This type of lighting is ideal for highlighting artwork, shelves, bookcases or some other item or architectural feature. Without adding excessive light, accent lights draw attention to your chosen focus.
-- Home Depot
Garden Guide: Help your plants survive
The best way to ensure your outdoor landscape thrives is by picking plants appropriate for your region’s climate. Here are some tips:
- The USDA plant hardiness zone map divides the country into zones based on their average annual minimum temperature. This will help you pick plants that are more likely to make it through winter. Visit www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html.
- For information on flowering plants, check out Cornell University’s Department of Agriculture guides at www.hort.cornell.edu.
- Contact your local Cooperative Extension office, whose experts can help you with plants, soil and pests. Visit www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension.
- Talk to the green thumbs in your neighborhood, or to experts at local nurseries. These gardeners can share their knowledge and advice.
Backyard Buddies: Attract birds to your garden
Proper planning can make your backyard or garden ideal for attracting birds:
- Plant for shelter: Several shrubs close together can form dense, protective thickets, great habitat for small birds.
- Plant for food: Small birds eat nectar from native flowers and seed from native grasses, as well as associated insects. Local plants will provide the right food and shelter for local native birds.
- Reduce lawn area: Replace unused lawn areas with garden beds or native grasses which produce attractive seed heads that provide food for finches and other seedeaters.
- Provide water: Birds need fresh water. This can be provided in a bird bath or garden pond. Remember that birds are vulnerable when they are drinking or bathing and need to feel safe.
GateHouse News Service