Month: February 2016

9 painting tips that will make you look like a pro

Here are nine tips that will help you achieve a quality DIY paint job at home. Don’t be surprised if your friends start asking you for painting advice!
1. Choose the right paint

There are three types of paints you should consider.

Water-based paint (latex) is washable and dries quickly. It takes well to most surfaces but is less resistant than oil paint.

Oil-based paint is durable, resistant, and offers excellent coverage. However, it has a strong odour, is polluting (because it’s not water soluble), and dries slowly. Those who have odour sensitivities should avoid it.

The newer water-based alkyd paint dries quickly, does not smell strong, and gives good coverage. It can be made from plant-derived sources.

2. Choose the right finish

There are also three different finishes.

Chalky to the feel, matte paint is good for hiding imperfections, but it is not readily washable. It is the paint of choice for ceilings.

A gloss finish makes a room feel bigger, but it doesn’t forgive any imperfections in the surface to be covered. Several coats are required for a good final result.

Satin finish paints are versatile and suitable for all kinds of spaces and rooms.

3. Buy the right amount of paint

One of the most important painting tips is to be sure to buy the right amount of paint. To do this, you’ll have to measure the total square-footage of wall space to be covered. Give the dimensions to your paint retailer, who will calculate the amount of paint you need.

4. Empty the room

It’s always best to work in an empty room. If you have to leave some furniture, gather it all together in the middle of the room and cover it with a tarp for protection from splatters. Cover all floors and remove all light switch plates and wall outlet covers, plus any other hardware you would otherwise need to paint around.

5. Prepare all surfaces to be painted

Before painting the walls and ceilings, seal any cracks with spackle. Remove old, peeling paint. After any repairs, sand the surface to be painted and then wash the wall with a clean cloth. Use masking tape or painter’s tape to delineate surfaces to be painted and those to be left alone.

6. Use the right equipment

Opt for flat brushes for baseboards and rounded brushes for moldings. Use synthetic bristles for water-based paint and natural bristles for oil paint. Use a short-nap roller for gloss paint and a regular roller for satin or matte paint.

7. Apply a primer coat

This stage is often overlooked, but it is one of the most crucial painting tips. Applying a primer will give you better paint adhesion and coverage. One layer of primer will save you an extra layer or two of your tinted paint.

8. Pour paint into a single container

If you need more than one can of a same colour of paint, mix all the cans together in one big container. Although paint pigment is measured carefully to standard at the hardware store, it’s still good to make sure there are no variations in tone on all your walls.

9. Get all the right painting tips from the people who know best

Talk to your paint retailer or paint specialist at the hardware store. A real painting pro is the best person to help you choose exactly what you need for your moving or renovation project, and to help you stay on budget!

Now you know how to paint like a pro. Although for a truly impeccable job, you could always leave it to the real pros!

5 simple exterior renovation ideas to boost the value of your home


They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. That’s why a nice looking home exterior can increase your home’s curb appeal. Any real estate agent will tell you it’s one of the most important factors in determining the value of a home. Simply put, exterior renovations offer the best bang for your buck in improving your house value, whether you plan to sell now or sometime in the future.

A good rule of thumb to remember with any renovation—exterior or interior—is never replace what you can restore. Most of these ideas are easily done on your own, but know your limits. Don’t be afraid to call in an expert when needed. Here’s how to get started:

1. Re-paint

Adding a new coat of paint can work wonders to freshen up the outside of a house. If it’s your aluminum siding in need of a facelift, use a low-luster, acrylic exterior paint . It will hide surface irregularities better. If there are any small dents or tears, be sure to fix them before painting.

Keep in mind that older houses may be in danger of having lead paint used in its original construction. Lead paint has been banned as an environmental hazard. Removing lead paint can be costly and dangerous. It should only be done by trained professionals.
There are government-approved measures to seal lead paint and allow you to paint over it, but again, leave this to professionals. Consult your local hardware store or contractor for more information on how to deal with lead paint.

2. Remove dirt

A power washer can remove years of dirt and grime from exterior siding, garage doors, paved paths and driveways. Your local hardware store should rent power washers.

Don’t forget to wash the outside of windows as well to have you whole house sparkling.

3. Tend to landscaping

Upgrades to the exterior landscaping not only increase your curb appeal, but it’s money you can make back.

Tall plants and shrubs are great for hiding water meters, air conditioners and even neighbouring houses.
Prune overgrown trees for the most polished look.
Tend to flowerbeds by topping them up with soil and adding flowers for a dash of inviting colour.

4. Build a deck or patio

If space and budget allow, add a deck or patio. For long-term gain, if you can afford to build new, invest in something that extends the active living space of your home.

These days it’s common to see decks complete with living rooms, outdoor kitchens, hot tubs and fireplaces.
Use as much space as you can—the more functional, the more value you will get out of it.
Keep in mind, a wood deck may not work on older houses. A stone or brick patio might be a better option.

If a new build simply isn’t affordable, you can also renovate the deck or patio with fresh wood stain or a thorough cleaning. Replace any rotten wood or cracked stones.
5. Accessorize

Don’t overlook the power of accessories to brighten up the outside of your home. A new address plaque, mailbox or garden accent can bring charm and personality to a house. A new exterior light can modernize an old home and help visitors see your house in the dark.

These simple home exterior renovations can breathe new life into your house, which should make living in it that much more enjoyable. Plus, it can also increase the value of your home.

The 5 Interior Features To Consider When Renovating Or Building Your Home

If you’re about to renovate or build a new home, then no doubt you would have given great consideration to the style and feel of the home you’d like to be in.

Whether you choose to use an interior decorator or not, here are 5 top tips that you should keep in mind, to ensure that the home that’s finally built is one that you’ve always wanted in terms of its style.

See, most people, when they’re building their first home, are not aware of how important these features are when it comes to the overall feel of the home that they’re trying to create. But if you’re aware of them, you’ll be able to visualise and achieve the style you want in your home.

Tip 1

The interior doors in your home.

Yes, apart from the architectural design of your home, the next most important factors that will influence the style of your home include the doors.

Ensure that the internal doors fit the overall style of your home.

For example, a classical and elegant style home would require character and French, rather than plain doors , to create this elegant feel. Every detail in the home is noticed by the eye, either consciously or not, and the doors are part of this impression too.

So have a look at a door display center to find the front and internal doors, which could include feature and French doors, to create the feel you want in your home.

Tip 2

The windows in your home.

The windows directly compliment your doors. With the example above, if you want a classical look, then classical windows with panes may suit your needs. On the other hand, a modern themed home may need more modern and minimalist windows.

In any room, the windows, being a feature which frames the outside view, are usually consciously or unconsciously noticed both by you and your guests.

So again, research and find the windows that compliment the style of your home.

Tip 3

The internal cornices, architraves and skirting boards.

Here’s where it starts to come together. Your doors and windows should fit the overall theme of your home. The architraves, cornices and skirtings come next to further compliment this feel.
For example, more ornate cornices, architraves and skirtings will be a gorgeous match for a classical home, but will not be necessary for a modern home.

There are a large variety of these features available, and again it depends on your personal taste and instinct.

Tip 4

Your choice of flooring.

The floor is up to one third of what the eye will see, and generally, light to medium floors will open up a space, whereas dark flooring will make a room look smaller or more sombre.

The best way to judge the effect of any floor material is to see a showroom with the tiles, wood flooring or carpet that you’re considering. This is the best way to see what the overall effect will look like in real life.

Tip 5

Curtains and blinds.

If all the other features are all set, then one of the last finishing touches which make a great impact on your home is the curtains or blinds. Why? Because they cover a large area of the room, and they frame the windows which is where a lot of people naturally look at in a room.

Curtains provide either color or pattern to a room, so check to see that they blend well with the colors in the rest of the room, which includes the walls and floor, and also whether the pattern is pleasing to you, as well as to others around you.

If it passes this test with more than 5 people, then the pattern is one that will stand the test of time and will not look dated in years to come.

So there you have it.

You now know the 5 major elements in a new home or a renovation that makes the most impact on the style of the home that you’re creating. Keep in mind the overall theme of your home, and always test out your choices by seeing examples of them in a quality showroom and bringing samples home as well. So enjoy your home renovation or construction and use these tips to help you achieve your interior decor goals.

Unique Green Homes

Everyone has their ideal home that they one day hope to live in. Some people dream of a cozy little cottage on acres of land, some think about having a mansion that could make a king cry, others may want an authentic Italian Villa in Tuscany. But, there are some homes that are very unique that people would love to live in. Tiny Houses have started to pop up just about everywhere, literally everywhere. Tiny homes can fit in someone’s back yard, or even a parking space. Other homes are built out of old metal containers, some out of hillsides, or even dirt and soda cans.

One of these types of houses is called the Earth Ship. These houses are made from tires, tin cans, bottles, wood, any type of “waste” that can be reused, and natural resources. Earth Ships generate most amenities all on their own. Electricity is created using solar and wind power, water is created from rain and snow, it even has its own sewage system that is sanitary. Many of these houses have gardens inside and outside to allow the person to grow their own food. What about the weather? The Earth Ship is designed to have no leaks during a storm, and can heat and cool themselves from the sun and the earth. Many people who have moved into these homes have said it is the best way to live and is eco-friendly.

While you could probably have an Earth Ship as big as you want it, some homes are tiny, like super tiny, not these “one bedroom, one bathroom” tiny. Tiny Houses are designed to be user friendly and extremely affordable. These homes can range anywhere from about 65 to 843 square feet. Just like normal sized homes, there are different styles that you can find. There are cottage style homes, which seem to be the bigger ones. There are homes on wheels for those who like to travel or move a lot, this way you don’t have to pack, just hook your house up to a car and head out of town!

Some other homes that may be surprising are underground homes. These homes are built in hill and mountainsides, or even just underground. Like the Earth Ship homes, these homes can heat and cool themselves helping to save fossil fuel and conserve energy. Underground homes are meant to blend in with the environment to help promote wildlife instead of displacing it in order to build. Safety is very important to those build these homes, they are designed to withstand earthquakes, fires, freezes, and even act as shelter from vandalism and war.

Just like people, houses come in all shapes and sizes and different ways to fit consumer’s needs. These houses are all unique and able to help save the environment by promoting green living. The costs of these homes can vary, and the location can too. Buying one of these houses is the same as buying a normal house, it still requires a mortgage. Talk to your lenders to see what types of homes they can give a mortgage rate for, and of course for how much. Living in your dream home doesn’t have to be a fantasy.