5 Points to Consider When Cleaning Your Gutters

Cleaning gutters is a big job and it’s no wondering many people neglect it year after year. Most of us dread this annual or semi-annual chore. It’s dirty, disgusting, hard work, not to mention dangerous. One wrong move and you could be spending the day in the emergency room – or worse. If you’re a homeowner it pays to know how to do this job as safely as possible. We developed a five point guide to cleaning your gutters safely and efficiently, the same way the professionals do.

Rust

The first point isn’t about the tools of the trade for cleaning gutters; it’s about what happens if you don’t clean them. In many cases they will rust out. Standing water leaves, and dirt in many types of gutters will cause rust holes. These will have to be repaired and eventually the whole gutter system will have to be replaced. Prevention goes a long way. Cleaning or, better yet, using aluminum or plastic gutters will prevent rust. A thin coat of zinc will also prevent rusting.

Ladders

It should go without saying that your ladder should be sturdy. You’ll want to use a four legged ladder (three legged orchard ladders are definitely not a good choice), preferably aluminum or fiberglass. Wooden ladders tend to be less stable than these other options, although if the ground around your home is exceptionally flat, a wooden ladder might be OK.

For a single story home, a taller stepladder is an excellent choice. A strong, wide shelf is also a good thing to have, since you can use this for a bucket to hold the debris you’re cleaning out of your gutters.

Before you get up on any ladder, make sure that it’s stable, any fasteners are secure and the hinges are locked firmly in place. If necessary, place a piece of plywood underneath the ladder for added stability. Better still, have someone else there to hold the ladder and keep it stable. Keep three limbs on the ladder at all times so that you don’t lose your balance – forgetting this is what leads to the majority of gutter cleaning injuries.

The Right Tools for the Job

Heavy duty work gloves help keep your hands clean while you’re dealing with all of the decaying leaves and other muck that ends up in your gutters. Gloves will also protect your hands from sharp edges, bee and wasp stings and anything else you might come across while cleaning out your gutters.

A scoop is also a good tool to have. You can find plastic gutter scoops at nearly any hardware store and they can save you a lot of time and trouble. They’re usually only a few dollars and would be a bargain at twice the price.  A garden trawl will also work in pinch.

Check the Downspouts

Before you finish, use a hose to spray out the gutters and check to see if the water is draining properly through your downspouts. If not, you’ll need to clear whatever is clogging it. These clogs can usually be cleared by tapping on the side of the downspout and giving it another flushing out with the hose – repeat as necessary.

Avoiding Cleaning Your Gutters In The First Place

Cleaning out the gutters is a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you install a high quality gutter guard, you won’t need to clean them as much! A micromesh guard like Gutter Glove can protect your gutters by keeping out leaves, dirt and other debris, which means you may never have to face this dirty and dangerous job again.

Redecorating Ideas to Rejuvenate Your Home’s Interior

Does your house’s interior look drab or boring? If your answer is yes, then your house needs a bit of rejuvenation and redecorating to enhance its appearance. Luckily, we have a list of things below that you can do to your house to accomplish this task.

Change Paint Colors of the Walls and Trim

Repaint the walls and trim with new paint and new colors! This will brighten your interior and could even make you feel like you are living in a new house. You must take the right enough time to match the paints, though, as you do not want them to clash with each other or the furnishings.

Do not just depend on the small paint samples from the home store to make your decision. You can now buy small containers of the paint to try on a wall in a place that is out of view. This way you know what each color looks like after it is on the wall and trim.

Add Colorful Throw Rugs

Colorful throw rugs brighten up carpeting that has seen better days. You can use the rugs to cover stains and worn spots. These come in a wide range of prices, colors, patterns, sizes and shapes. It is surprising what a big difference this makes in the house.

Of course, if you have a large enough budget to work with you could replace all your carpeting, but it is nice to know that throw rugs provide a cheaper alternative solution for worn carpeting. You would need to choose the carpet and have a professional install it for you. This is an expensive way to freshen up the appearance of the carpeting.

Don’t Forget the Kitchen

You use the kitchen on a daily basis cooking food for your family. The cabinets and cabinet doors most likely are starting to show the wear and tear. Repaint or re-stain the cabinets and shelves, whichever is your preference. If you need to, you can purchase new cabinet doors to match the cabinets. These doors also may need a coat of paint or stain depending on the look you are going for in your kitchen. Attach the new doors when the paint or stain dries. Add new knobs if necessary. Easy fix for a rundown kitchen.

 

Tips to Give Your Home a Designer Look on a Budget

designer-bedroomDesigners don’t have a set of rules that they use. While they understand colors and patterns, they aren’t pigeonholed with a few ideas. Instead, they look at the size of the room and begin to design a room based on the potential it has. Here are some of the tricks they use when designing the homes of the rich that you can incorporate while sticking to your budget.

The first thing to remember is that rooms need breathing room. When you walk into a room, have a few places for seating and fill empty space with objects of interest. A room with a couple of couches and a handful of unique statues and vases will have more of an impact that a room littered with items.

Another trick that designers will tell you is to pick an item to be the central focus of the room. This is something that you want people to instantly look at when they walk in. Once you’ve determined that item, incorporate wall colors, flooring and patterns in the room around it. This can also reduce the amount of time spent trying to find shades and styles of paint and flooring. That item should also be place towards the front of the room when people enter.

As you are setting up your room, know the right height to hang artwork. Don’t just toss something up and say it looks good. The mid-line of any piece of art should be approx. 57”. This is the average height of the human eye. This brings a room together and gives it a professional feeling.

Rugs are another item that can make or break a room. When you have a rug, furniture should be placed on it so there is 12” – 18” of surface on all edges of the furniture. This gives it a natural look. The rug should also accent the rest of the room and not command attention. Otherwise, visitors may end up focusing on a floor that needs to be vacuumed when they walk in.

If you follow these tips, you can have a home that looks like a top home designer came in and helped you to redecorate your home. All without the hefty price tag that they often come with.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

popcorn ceilingPopcorn ceilings are soooo ’70s. Not only are they well past their prime, bumpy ceilings are tacky. If you’re tired of living with these monstrosities, let’s talk popcorn ceiling removal.

Experts strongly recommend an asbestos check before you disturb the status quo. You can buy an asbestos testing kit or mail some scrapings to a laboratory for analysis.

In the event asbestos is present, put away your tools and contact state-certified asbestos abatement professionals. Asbestos removal is not a prudent DIY project.

Under the best circumstances, popcorn ceiling removal is a dirty job. You should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including: face mask, goggles, close-toed sturdy shoes, coveralls and work gloves.

Gather your tools before beginning the project. You’ll need: ladder, 6″ putty knife or plastic trowel, spray bottle or garden sprayer (preferred), plenty of plastic tarps and a couple of rolls of masking tape. You may need a sander.

Prepare the room by moving contents to another area. Turn off the electricity in the room where you’re working and take down light fixtures and/or ceiling fan. Cover the floor and walls with plastic and secure with tape. Put on your PPE.

If it appears somebody has painted over the bumps, you will need to sand the ceiling before wetting.

Wet the textured ceiling thoroughly, using your garden sprayer or spray bottle. Using side-to-side motions lightly spray the same small section several times until you have properly saturated the entire ceiling. Let the water soak into the ceiling about 20 minutes.

Now it’s time to get down to serious popcorn ceiling removal business! You might want to crank up your favorite tunes. Get your putty knife and start scraping. Don’t get overly vigorous. Keep your putty knife level so you won’t gash the drywall.

There is no doubt this work is tedious, but very important. Just keep scraping until done. If it seems your work is getting harder, give that section another drink of water. Wait the requisite 20 minutes, start scraping and the “popcorn” should pop right off.

After you finish scraping, get a damp (not wet) sponge and remove any stragglers. Now, eyeball the ceiling for gouges or rips. If necessary, use drywall compound to repair the damage and conceal any nail holes. Be mindful, you’re aiming for a smooth surface, so that you will likely need to do a final sanding prior to painting.

Now, stand back and admire your popcorn ceiling removal work!

Why I Picked Carpet Tile for the Game Room

PS-AMERICANOYou might ask about a perfect way to cover a game room floor. Most families are like mine with a limited budget for home improvement. The game room takes priority because the kids and guests enjoy gathering in this comfortable spot. I knew right away I would be doing some serious research time before making my decision. The results led to choosing carpet tile for several reasons. Because of all the foot traffic the game room gets, in addition to moving furniture from one spot to another, quality is as necessary as style. I was lucky to find peel and stick carpet tile at bestcarpetvalue.com. They provided great over the phone help and the tile was fine.

Great Designs

One of the first things I looked for was a floor covering that would provide the design I had in mind. After all, the game room is a warm, inviting area. I certainly didn’t want something delicate in appearance, like white plush. I did find some rolled carpet with patterns, but not what I wanted. Tile and linoleum aren’t suitable on cold days. A friend suggested looking at carpet tiles, which are easy to install and offer incredible variety.

Fantastic Choices

I admit I was expecting to see a bunch of bland 12 x 12 inch squares and flat topping. Instead, I found out the carpet tiles also come in pile carpeting, designs, a bunch of different shapes and colors, and affix to the floor in a variety of ways. Imagine my surprise to see so much variety and style! What a delight to find the size and pattern I was looking for in a self-stick form. The reason? Installation was a cinch!

Simple to Care For

Guests, as well as the kids, try to be careful and not spill food and drinks or track in dirt. Well, I can honestly say I am quite easygoing about the game room floor as long as they try. Unlike the living room rolled carpet with its tedious cleaning, I just have to lift up the dirty tiles, clean them and put them back after they dry. One hint I’m glad to have heeded was ordering extra tiles in case a replacement was needed. So far it’s not been required, but I’m prepared in the event it does.