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Choosing Your Perfect Paint

paint buckets

Get the most design bang for your buck with a new coat of paint. Of all the improvements you can do around your house, painting involves the least amount of money and achieves the most dramatic results. You can paint an entire room in less than a weekend and update its appearance, mood and charm.

And although painting is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project, choosing the right paint for the right project is key to getting the job done.

Oil-based vs. latex

There are two common types of interior paint: oil-based and latex. Oil-based paint dries slower than latex, and cleanup requires turpentine or paint thinner. However, oil-based paint flows better, which results in a smoother finish. Once dry, it’s also harder and withstands scrubbing better than latex.

“Oil-based paint is useful where extra adhesion and hardness are required,” says Carl Minchew, director of color technology for Benjamin Moore Paints. “It is also useful for suppressing stains, such as tannin bleeding from cedar wood.”

On the other hand, latex paint dries relatively fast, and cleanup requires only soap and water. “Latex paint dominates the architectural market because of its ease of use, durability and quick drying properties,” Minchew says.

“Latex paint is available to fulfill virtually every need.” It’s also generally less expensive than oil-based paint, and it’s fade-resistant and environmentally friendly.


Once you’ve decided on an oil-based or latex paint, you need to decide on the sheen, or the term used to describe the degree of light reflection paint has. Manufacturers use various terms to describe sheen, but the most common names include flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss.

Choosing the right sheen is as important as choosing the right color, as shiny surfaces have different appearances than flatter ones. “Sheen (or gloss) is largely a matter of taste, but there are practical considerations,” Minchew says.

Diana Passig, paint department manager for Lowe’s in Marietta GA, agrees. “The most popular sheens are eggshell and satin because they provide a low gloss on the wall, but are good for cleanup. Eggshell and satins can handle light cleaning solutions, high-gloss can take heavy chemical cleaners and flats can’t handle much more than a damp rag.”

Aside from appearance, there are several factors to consider when choosing sheen:

  • Overall appearance. Low-gloss finishes have a softer, smoother look, while high-gloss tends to amplify minor dents and dings in the drywall.
  • Ease of use. Low-gloss or flat paints are best for inexperienced painters—especially on walls and ceilings.
  • Serviceability. High-gloss finishes tend to resist marks and smudges, and they clean better than flatter paint. However, flat paints tend to touch up the best.

In general, use flat-finish paints on the ceiling to minimize glare; flat, satin or eggshell on walls; and low-gloss or semi-gloss on trim and woodwork. And avoid flat paint in mildew-prone or damp areas like the kitchen or bath.

Passig says she recommends painting kitchens and bathrooms with paint that is designed to help prevent mildew from developing. “And if you’re painting a room that is dark and doesn’t have too many windows, go with a satin sheen because light from lamps can bounce off the wall and give you more light,” she says.

The right color

Choosing Your Perfect PaintIf you’re considering a new color—especially a bold or vibrant shade—buy a small can and paint a section of the room.

“Paint at least a one-foot area either beside or directly across from a window.”

Passig says. “This will give you a chance to see if the paint is something you can live with.”

Keep your flooring, window coverings and fabrics in mind, as well. “Most of the time, the color will have to work with existing furniture and carpet. These don’t have to limit creativity, but they can provide some direction.”

Passig also suggests choosing a feature in the room for inspiration. “If there is something vital that you want to bring attention to, like the fireplace, bedspread or wallpaper, that’s where you want to begin,” she says.

Consider coverage as well. Repainting with a new color may require several coats of paint. Using a similar color to the existing paint can save you time and money.

Prepping the surface

“The most important step in a paint job is the surface preparation,” Minchew says. “A new coat of paint simply can’t do its job over a poorly prepared surface.” To ensure your paint goes on smoothly, follow these steps:

  • Clean the surface of peeling or chipped paint, dirt, grease or chalk. Look for signs of trouble, like water stains, excessive mildew, blistering or severe peeling and repair damages.
  • Patch holes, cracks and other imperfections with a premixed spackling paste, and sand the patched areas once they are dry.
  • Dust and wash the ceilings, walls, baseboards, windows and door moldings.
  • Clean wallpaper can be painted over, but in almost all cases, it’s best to strip it, because once you paint over it, you’ll never be able to remove it. If you do paint over it, test in an inconspicuous area and wait a few days to see if the pattern bleeds through or the paper begins to peel.
  • Use a primer on any new construction to condition the surface for paint, or where you’ve made repairs so they blend in.

Quality counts

No matter what you do, choose high-quality paint, because performance matters. “Quality paints apply better, last longer, and are easier to clean than inferior counterparts,” Minchew says. “Better paints cost more to produce, so they cost more to buy, but it is important to look at the cost of a paint job as a whole, and not just the price of the paint.”

Considering that the surface prep and the labor to apply the paint are the same, the additional cost for a high-quality paint is really very small. In return, you get a more durable paint, a much better color selection and easier application.

What Do I Do If I Am Locked Out Of My House?

locked out of houseWhen heading out of the door to school or work, it always seems like there are more and more things we need to remember including keys, lunch, cell phones, backpacks/briefcases, etc. Losing the keys to your home or locking them inside can induce quite a bit of panic. However, you need not panic.

If you ever encounter such a situation, all you have to do is simply follow the steps outlined in this article, and you will gain entry into your house. The key thing is to ensure that you are always safe when attempting to access your locked home and avoid breaking any windows or doors.

  1. Check The Entry Doors – The first thing that you should do if you find yourself unable to gain entry into your house through the regular entrance is to check any other door on your property in the hope that it might be unlocked.
  2. Check For Open Windows – If your home has any ground-level windows that you can reach easily, you can try giving them a shove and see if they will pop open. Should the window be equipped with a window screen, you will need to remove it first.
  3. Contact Somebody Else That Lives In  The Home – In case you live with a loved one, spouse, or roommate, you can try to call them to find out whether they are around to help you gain access. This will only work if you did not lock in your phone in the house too. You might also need to wait for a few hours for the person to arrive.
  4. Call In A Locksmith – Considering that you probably don’t leave any doors or windows unlocked, the first two options are unlikely to help you gain entry into your locked house. Contacting someone else that lives with you in your house might seem like an excellent idea but has its shortcomings. The person might be far from home and waiting for them could take up too much time, your phone might also be locked in the house.

A better alternative is to call a locksmith to help you access your locked home. The locksmith will come equipped with all necessary tools and will have you back in your house within a very short time.

In conclusion, if you are ever locked out of your house, you should try the four ideas discussed in this article. However, of the four, calling in a locksmith is the most effective option that will definitely help you gain access to your locked home.

Making Things more Beautiful with Stamped Concrete Contractors

stamped concrete contractors working

To have a beautifully designed house or building is to have the right materials, right? Well, that is not really the case. To have a house full of aesthetics or even a road with designs is to use expensive materials such as bricks, tiles, wood, and other materials that provide a pattern that are pleasing to the eyes. With the use of concrete which is an affordable material, aesthetics that has patterns can be done. Concrete are easily moulded when it is still in a state of slowly hardening. A method was introduced by concrete contractors during the 1970s and that is stamping concrete.

Stamped concrete contractors use several techniques and processes to make concrete look like the real thing. This method is done to satisfy the client’s wants. This type of contractors trained through a specific learning experience to learn such a method. These concrete materials, when finished, will be looking like the same material as the one that should be used such as bricks, tiles, and other materials.

These contractors are professionals when it comes to providing aesthetics to the concrete. They add colour to the concrete to make it look similar to the supposed to be material, and this is done through adding colour hardener or any other alternative that provides a dye colour to the mixture. They also stamp patterns on the concrete following the client’s request. These patterns reproduce the shape of the natural material they are to follow.

Stamped concrete contractors are usually hired for:

  • Roads or driveways
  • Floors
  • Wall designs
  • Other projects that needs an affordable alternative to its natural material.

Stamped concrete contractors are experienced in this line of work and they will also provide clients with preferences on how the design should look to help them visualize the outcome better. These contractors are also equipped not only with experience but with tools and machines that makes the job quicker and more efficient, taking less time to make but still in its best quality.

The job of a stamped concrete contractors may seem easy but it actually is a difficult job when lack of focus because of the concrete being not the natural material, these experts should make the outcome look as close as possible to the real deal. It requires focus and experience to be able to do the job the right way because a single mistake on the making of the pattern may ruin the design since the concrete may harden at any time.

To hire an expert or professional to do a job is expected to have high fees but it can be assured that with these experts or professionals then it would be worth the pay. Even if there is a fee, high or not, but with the material being concrete then it is assured that it is already cheaper due to its material cost difference. As long as you hire a professional or expert to do the job, then rest assured that the outcome will surely be what is expected.

Kitchen Remodels That Scoff at the Recession

As the family meeting ground and the room where it all gets done – cooking, entertaining, conversation, math homework – the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whatever lifestyle revolves around your kitchen, making it a place you want to spend your time is an exciting venture. The folks at The Detroit News recently highlighted this fact in an article titled “Remodel your kitchen, the heart of your home.”

Therein, the newspaper cited Remodeling magazine’s 2008-2009 “Cost Versus Value” report to reveal that “nationally, the average cost for … a major kitchen remodel is about $56,000, while the cost of a minor remodel is roughly $21,000.” While that may sound like a lot of cash, fortunately, a kitchen remodel affords homeowners an excellent return on investment.

In spite of a firmly entrenched recession, the phrase “The kitchen is the heart of the home” holds especially true today. And “with more people staying in their homes rather than moving, kitchen remodeling is a hot topic” even at the hefty price tags quoted by Remodeling magazine. The economy is simply causing homeowners to approach kitchen remodeling differently. “Today’s typical homeowner is more cost-conscious and is leaning toward more sleek and simple designs. For example, “people [are] remodeling with general cabinets, but spending more on their countertops and backsplashes to provide the accent.”

Other kitchen remodeling trends the recession is spurring include a toning down in design choices and a leaning toward “green” kitchen designs. Homeowners are yearning to get back to basics and many of them are opting to make their kitchen makeovers an environmentally friendly one. Price, of course, is still the determining factor when it comes to implementing eco-conscious kitchen elements.

Perhaps that’s why, then, many kitchen remodeling experts are seeing their “remodelers coming in to buy the low-end cabinets because their customers just want to replace their old ones at the least cost, or do-it-yourselfers who are buying the high-end cabinets because they are saving money on the installation.”

Cabinetry isn’t the only place remodelers are cutting corners, however. They’re also opting for less expensive countertop surfaces. Because its prices have remained stable, granite is still a very popular kitchen countertop selection. And no kitchen makeover would be complete without new appliances, where the global financial situation is leading to “a shift away from all-stainless appliances toward a fully integrated look that blends in with the kitchen design.”

It’s in their new appliances as well that homeowners can realize their yen for a greener kitchen without breaking the bank. That’s because “appliances are much more energy efficient today.” In fact, many of today’s refrigerators can be run for “about the same cost as a 100-watt light bulb, which is around $70 a year.”

An online kitchen super center can provide ideas, sparks of inspiration, assistance and advice, so that homeowners can save money while still getting the kitchen of their dreams. With links to major manufacturers of kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances, hardware, faucets, sinks, flooring, lighting, windows and wall coverings, it can also assist homeowners in making that single focalized impact they’re craving.

Clean Your House This Spring with These Tips

As spring gets underway, it is once again time to partake in the annual spring cleaning tradition. Regardless of how you feel about this extensive task, there is no point in putting it off.  Here are a few tips to keep your spring cleaning from driving you absolutely crazy.

Before beginning any cleaning, you should first create a plan of action. You do not need to go to the extent of writing down every single chore that needs to be done.  However, it is important to have a clear idea of what tasks you want to tackle and the order in which you want to complete them.  There is little point in spring cleaning, if you cannot see an improvement when you are finished.  You want to know ahead of time what rooms and areas of your home, such as the attic or garage, you plan to focus your attention on.

Spring cleaning is a great time to get the entire family involved. Getting your entire family to pitch in is essential to the spring cleaning process while bringing the family together for an all around bonding experience. Delegating jobs will help prevent everyone from attempting to tackle the same task, and can speed up the entire process.  Let everyone know what tasks they have and what changes you would like to accomplish.  This will prevent arguments as well. More often than not if you have children, they have completely contradicting opinions than you on what it means to be clean.  Be careful, and try not to delegate any tasks that you know they will be unable to accomplish, or tasks that you are particular about.

If you have younger children that are eager to help you out, you can turn your spring cleaning into a game that will get them helping and keep them happy at the same time! You can play music and your family can dance and sing together while making improvements to your cluttered living area. You can also try to race to see who can finish their task first, awarding the winner with a prize. Treat your family and yourself to a special lunch or dinner to thank them for their hard work.  The idea is to get your family to have pleasant memories of your spring cleaning and good times together. This will also make it easier to get them to pitch in the following year.

During your spring cleaning separate items that can be sold, donated, or trashed into separate boxes or piles. The overall goal of spring cleaning is to ultimately decrease the clutter in your home. Getting rid of some stuff is vital.  Do not let emotions and sentiment keep you surrounded by twenty years worth of your children’s clothes that will never be used again. Instead, donate those clothes to a charity helping children and families in need.

After giving away unneeded items, look for better ways to organize the stuff that you plan to keep.  See what items can be stored away in trunks, totes, or chests.  Understand that putting everything back where it was prior to your cleaning will detract from all of the cleaning that you have done. Better organization does not always mean storing items away.  You may find a better way to display stored items such as pictures, trophies, and figurines.  For instance, a shelf kit could give a stylish and affordable way to display smaller items that you have not had the opportunity to enjoy in years.

It is important to try and clean your floors last.  This may go unsaid often, but cleaning your floors last will keep you from having to clean your floors over and over again.  As you and your family clean, you will pull out items onto your floor repeatedly.  Not to mention the fact that, dust, dirt, and mud tracked in from cleaning the yard, garage, and basement areas often keep floors pretty dirty throughout the day.

Another good tip is to remember that spring cleaning may take longer than a day to complete. Getting your house to this point took your family months or years and cleaning will take some time as well, especially if you are including major cleaning projects such as attics, garages, and basements. When you realize that it may take you longer than a day to clean, start to look for good stopping points.  Reaching a good stopping point before you decide to call it a day, will help you quickly assess what tasks are left while hopefully keeping your home from looking like a disaster area in the mean time.

Spring cleaning will probably never be as exciting as a family vacation, but hopefully if you follow these tips you can get through it with help and maybe even a laugh or two.

Tips To Help You Improve Your House

  1. It is expensive to buy new furniture. You can spice up your rooms with nice furniture by using previously owned pieces that you have found at a garage sale or similar location. You might uncover some true gems among things that someone else didn’t want. Some items may need a little fixing up, but by investing time, it will be a great addition to your home.
  2. Vinyl tiles can be a cost effective product for tiling floors if you want something cheaper than stone or ceramic.Vinyl is easy to install, durable and water resistant. You can buy this flooring as individual tiles or by the roll for large area.
  3. Use bleach in your toilet bowl. Although you may dislike the smell of the bleach, it is quite effective. Scented bleaches can also help keep the smell.
  4. It can be rather costly getting rid of all the rubbish, so having a plan ahead of time is essential to saving you money and ensuring that your project continues as scheduled.
  5. Homes with an appealing view can sell for a lot more than like houses on the market.
  6. A well-made and contemporary front door can potentially increase a home’s value up to 10 percent. If you want to add a bit of pizzazz to your front door, you can choose from a lot of options.
  7. Landscaping work that does not relate to your house or even clashes with it will be a waste of time and money, while landscaping that clashes can really lower the total value of your home.
  8. Mounting a tv from on wall mounted bracket can free up floor space from the no longer needed stand, which can make a huge difference in a small room. This can take as little as 30 minutes to install if the instructions are followed correctly.
  9. You can save money if you purchase your materials in a bulk fashion. A lot places have a long lead times.
  10. If you are going to do any work outside of your home, tell your neighbors about it before it happens. Your neighbors deserve some warning before you start the work and inconvenience them this way.
  11. You should drain all of the water out of the hot water heater in your home at least every six months. This will help your water heater running efficiently for as long as possible.Just attach a hose on the drain value and release the spigot.
  12. A great time to do remodeling or add space to your home improvement projects is during a real estate market. There is no set time-frame for home improvements. When you make renovations during a slump, those improvements will be even more valuable.
  13. Make sure the contractor you are considering is properly insured.If they do damage to your house and do not possess any insurance, you might have to take them to court if they are not insured. All you must do to find out if a contractor and ask for their proof of insurance.
  14. Again, learning as much as possible about home improvement and your ability to complete a project is in your best interest. If you abide by the guidelines in the article, you can prevent yourself from make expensive and possible catastrophic mistakes. A little research and planning can makes things go smoothly, while saving you time and money.

Stay tuned for more home improvement tips!