Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Choose Outdoor Light Fixtures for your Home

Choosing outdoor lighting fixtures for your home can seem an overwhelming decision when you walk down the aisles of your local home improvement super center. There are so many to choose from!

But taking a few moments to break down the components involved in making this decision may make it just a bit easier for you.  READ MORE

Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Choose Interior Paint Colors for Your Home

Choosing interior paint colors for your home is an enjoyable challenge to some. But to others it feels overwhelming.

Here are a few things to think about as you make this important decision.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How to Paint Wrought Iron Railings

Wrought Iron railings can be beautiful if properly cared for. If yours is pitted and rusty, don't worry, with a little (or a lot!) of elbow grease, you can get it looking like new in no time.

Wrought iron railings will last forever and with proper maintenance and care can make your house look elegant and charming. Follow these instructions to take rusted, unattractive wrought iron railings and make them beautiful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Every Home Needs a Toolbox - Here's how to put one together.

Every household should have a tool box with basic tools. Even if you're not a do-it-yourself kind of person, you never know when you might need a tool to do a small project.

There are a few basic tools that will give you every thing you may need for basic home repairs and maintenance.        READ MORE

Monday, November 2, 2009

What You Need to Know Before a Plumbing Emergency!

Plumbing problems are often a home owner's worst nightmare. How the water goes in and out of our house is a mystery to most of us and for the most part we only care when it's not happening or happening too much! But there are a few things every homeowner should know so that should a plumbing disaster occur, it won't seem so overwhelming.

Here's what you can do to handle a plumbing emergency. Read more

Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Choose Paint Colors for the Exterior of Your House

Choosing an exterior paint color for your home is not always easy. Many homeowners find it difficult to visualize what their house will look like when it is painted, particularly when considering a drastic change in paint color.

In addition, choosing an exterior paint color for your home often involves choosing several coordinating paint colors such as those needed for the doors, shutters and trim.

Here are a few things you can do to help make choose a paint color for your home that you will like.

Read More....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How to Clean Your Gutters Safely & Easily

The gutters on a house should be cleaned twice a year. It will depend somewhat on how close you are to trees and other falling debris. If you ever see the rain pours off your house in sheets rather than traveling the gutters and down the downspout, you know it is definitely time to get them cleaned.

Keeping your gutters clean will not only prevent waterfalls from occurring where you don't want them :), but will also prevent potential damage to the structure of your home in rotted wood and leaks.

The easiest way to clean the gutters is to call a professional! This generally costs approximately $100 so if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, save yourself some money and follow these steps.
 PLAN HOW BEST TO REACH YOUR GUTTERS - To clean gutters you will want to either use a ladder or stand on your roof, whichever is safest and makes reaching your gutters easiest.

When using a ladder, choose a ladder that is strong, sturdy and will reach high enough for you to clean gutters without leaning. Before resting a ladder against a gutter, place a 2 x 4 block in the gutter to prevent the pressure of the ladder from denting the gutter.

LADDER SAFETY TIPS: Make sure the ladder is placed at the proper angle which is usually indicated in a picture on the side of the ladder. It should not be too steep or too slopped. Always keep your body center between the outside rails of the ladder. Never lean out and away from the ladder. Never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder. When possible, have someone stand at the base of the ladder and hold it in place.


This is easiest to do when the debris is neither too wet or too dry. Working from one end using a garden trowel or your hands, scoop the debris from the gutter. When possible place directly into a garbage bag to prevent additional clean up.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Use a leaf blower to the blow the leaves from the gutters. Be sure and wear protective goggles and a dust mask when cleaning gutters this way.

Using a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle wash the gutters cleaning in the direction of the downspout. It is not necessary to use a lot of water pressure and too much pressure can damage the spout. Also be careful not to splash muddy water over your siding or you will have another clean up job when you are done. Use a scrub brush to remove any debris that has become stuck on the gutter.

Lastly, make sure the downspout are free of debris. Force water down the downspout using your hose. If there is a blockage, use a plumber' s snake, a straightened hanger or some other long tool that will enable you to reach the debris. Sometimes you can just loosen it enough to dislodge it and then flush it out with the hose.

A WORD ABOUT GUTTER GUARDS: Gutter guards do not always prevent debris from being trapped inside the gutter. When you purchase gutter guards, make sure they can be removed for cleaning gutters when necessary.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Choosing a Paint Color for a Small Bedroom

Choosing a paint color for any room can be a challenge for many homeowners. There are many things to take into consideration, from the room's existing decor, to the condition of the walls, the amount of lighting and the purpose of the room. These things hold true for a small bedroom as well, but there is another consideration to be made in this case.


A small room presents its own unique decorating challenges. In most cases, homeowners want to make the room look as big as possible. The best way to make a small bedroom look larger is to use a light colored paint. The lighter the paint, the bigger the room looks. The darker the paint, the smaller the room appears. This becomes a bit tricky because even certain light colors will have more of an impact on size than others.


When selecting a color for a small bedroom, you will want to take into consideration the purpose of the room. If the room is a nursery then you will probably want to choose a light pastel, such as a soft yellow, a pale pink or blue, or an off white. A soft yellow or warm off white will provide a warm, cozy feeling to the room. A soft blue, less so. The amount of natural lightening will factor in here as well. I will get to that in a moment.

For an older child's room you will want to move into a less babyish color, but still keep it light. The more furniture you have in the room, the smaller it will look. A small bedroom to be used for an older child can be painted an off white, a light lavender, or a light green and still make the room larger than if it were a dark shade.

A small room used as an office looks fantastic in a soft taupe or pale gray. Again keep the colors light. Try working from a color deck of just whites. You will be amazed at how many options you will have. When they are put on the wall, they actually have more color than you would think at first.


Natural lighting in a small room plays a big part in paint color choice, particularly if you are trying to make the room appear bigger. A room on the south side of the house that receives plenty of sun will be naturally warm and inviting. A small room in the basement or on the north side of the house that gets little natural lighting will need all the help it can get from a warm tone paint. The naturally darker room should almost always be painted with a soft yellow or off white if you want it to look inviting.


If the small bedroom walls are in good condition, an eggshell finish will give life to the room's walls. They will look richer, warmer and more inviting. They are also easier to clean. If, however, the wall has bumps and imperfections, a flat paint will make them less visible. This is true no matter what room you are painting.

A quality paint such as carried by Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams will provide the most durable, attractive finish available. Other paints such as Behr Paint, sold by Home Depot offer a more affordable option. Most paint stores and home improvement centers provide color chips, brochures with suggestions and ideas, and sample size containers so that you can try before you buy. If they do not offer samples, buy a quart only and try it out to see if you like it before you buy enough for a whole room.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to Find the Perfect Home Improvement Contractor

Making the decision to have work done on your home is a big enough decision. You have thought long and hard about what you what to have done and how to pay for it. Home improvements will raise the value of your home and you know this, but hiring the wrong home improvement contractor could turn your dreams into one long nightmare.

But you can find the perfect home improvement contractor by just following a few simple steps and doing your homework. Do not hire the first contractor you come across, even if your best friend swears they’re a dream come true. Always evaluate the contractor from your own perspective. You may have very different standards.

Follow this link and read the rest of this article

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Prep Your House for Exterior Painting

Whether you are going to paint your house yourself, or hire someone to do it, it’s important to know what goes into preparing a house for exterior painting. It will make all the difference in how the paint job holds up over time and will protect the subsurface (siding, wood, etc.) from the effects of weather. If water is allowed to seep beneath the painted surface you will end up with rotted wood that needs replacing and that adds up to more expense in the long run. Properly prepping a house for exterior paint is preventative maintenance that can save you money.

Remove the shutters, downspouts and screens from the house. Many professional painters will skip this step to save time and money. But it will not save you money. The only way to properly prepare and paint the siding and corner boards beneath the shutters and downspouts is to remove them.

Replace any damaged wood or siding. Do not paint over rotted wood. It will not save you money as the paint will peel and the problem will only be more costly to repair in the future.

Caulk any area where water could seep in and damage the wood. This means caulking between the siding and the corner boards on every corner; around window frames; in the joints of deck ceiling boards; gaps in the siding boards. If old caulk is loose, remove it with a 5 in 1 tool and apply fresh caulk. Allow caulk to dry over night before applying paint.

Scrape any loose paint from exterior siding and trim. Sand to smooth surface.

Apply Peel Stop primer to any area where there is extensive peeling or where bare wood is showing. Follow the drying instructions on the can before painting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Deck Treatment & Pressure Washing

Once March Madness has vacated the Triangle and tax season wraps up, we all start thinking about what needs to be done outside. We cheerfully (or not so cheerfully) start to dig in our gardens, fertilize and mow our grass, wash our cars, and get out the lawn furniture. Spring is the absolute best time to take care of your house's exterior. The weather is not too hot yet, and the days are warm enough to be comfortable working.

Spring is the best time to think about pressure washing your house, decks, driveways and stoops. Hop on it before your shrubs and blooming plants are big enough to be susceptible to water and bleach AND big feet! Pressure washing and staining your deck is an easy and inexpensive way to bring new life to an area of your house that can be enjoyed so much this time of year. Pressure washing will remove unsightly mildew and bring the wood color back to a neglected deck. Treating it with a good quality stain such as a Cabot Stain product will help it hold it's looks through the heat of summer and protect it from the weather.

Unfortunately stain doesn't hold up well in the hot North Carolina summers and decks should be treated at least every other year. Cabot is one of the best stains on the market, unless you want to pay the price of Sicken which will make your deck look like a hard wood floor.

If you're not up for doing your deck yourself, or don't have the time and equipment, give Durham Painting Company a call. You'll be glad you did when you sit back with your glass of ice tea and enjoy your new deck.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to Save Money When Your House Needs to Be Painted

Having your house painted is often an unwelcome expense. Particularly when money is tight, as it is for many of us right now, there are ways to save money while still keeping your house in good condition. Here are some options to consider.

DO IT YOURSELF: Painting your own house will save you the most money, but only if you have the equipment and the experience to do it right. If you need to purchase ladders and brushes and all the odds and ends that are required, you will quickly eat up the savings. Also, painting a house correctly takes some skill, but that’s another article!

SPRAY INSTEAD OF BRUSH - One of the options most professional painters offer is painting the siding by airless sprayer. This will save you money as it is much faster. It is not the best option for every type of siding but in many cases it will do fine. Just make sure the painter uses a quality paint that is not watered down and sprays only the siding. You will still need the trim painted by brush.

PAINT ONLY TRIM - This is an excellent way to spread the cost out over a period of time. Paint either the trim or the siding one year and the other at a later time. You will get a better price from your painting contractor if you do the whole house at once, but if you’re selling the house or are having a difficult financial year, this may be your best option. Very often the trim of a house needs to be painted more frequently than the siding.

- When you change the color of paint on your house, it usually requires two coats of paint to get complete, even coverage. The second coat will cost you almost as much as the first as painting is labor intensive. Therefore, you will save money by keeping the color the same and applying only one coat of paint.

PRESSURE WASH - If your house is dirty and dingy and you think it needs paint, try pressure washing it first. This may buy you a year and you may find that much of what you thought needed painting, just needed cleaning.

SPOT PAINT BAD AREAS - By painting only the areas that are in bad shape you can delay a complete house painting and save money. Window sills and doors often show signs of needing painting before other areas. If one side of your house receives full sun in a warm climate, the trim may peel within a few years of being painted. Keep on top of these areas by scraping, priming and painting two coats as needed and you can put off painting your whole house until it needs it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to Know When It's Time to Paint

Many homeowners are unaware of the actual condition of the exterior of their home. First time home buyers in particular may not know anything about exterior painting. But there are several very easy ways to tell whether or not it is time to paint your house.

The most obvious sign is peeling paint. If your window sills or siding are actually peeling you waited to long and need to call a painting contractor today. Many homes have one side that gets the most exposure to sun, wind and/or rain and snow. This will be the side where the paint begins to show signs of wear first. Your peeling window sills undoubtedly get a lot of sun. Peeling paint allows water to seep into the wood or siding beneath and can cau se the wood to rot. If left unpainted you will have to pay for repairs as well. Preferably, you want to paint before the last coat of paint starts to peel.

If the paint on shows no signs of peeling or checking (spidery cracks that ha p pen before peeling), it may still be time for a fresh coat of exterior paint. Look closely at the siding paint. Does it look chalky? Is their a whitish cast to the paint and when you rub your fingers across it they pick up a bit of residue? This tells you the paint is beginning to break down and it's time to repaint.

Another thing to look for is wood rot. Are there soft places in your corners boards? This will be found typically wherever they are exposed to a lot of moisture, such as at the bottom near the base of a downspout. Press against the wood and see if there is any give to it. If so, the wood should be replaced as soon as possible and two coats of paint applied to seal the wood. If left unprotected the area needing repair will just enlarge. Window trim and sills are another place where wood rot often occurs as well as door sills.

When you purchase a house, ask the seller when they last painted, what type of paint they used and how many coats were applied. Depending on the quality of paint they used, and how many coats were applied, the house will need repainting anywhere from five to ten years or less. New houses are often sprayed with a low grade paint and many need painting within three years.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Home Repairs: Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor

In these difficult economic times, many of us are asking ourselves more often, "can we afford this?" When it comes to home repairs, there are some things we just can't put off. When it involves water, plumbing, or electric, it usually can't wait. These are most often the repairs that require a professional as well unless you are fortunate enough to have some knowledge in these areas. When you are trying to make a decision as to whether or not to "hire a contractor there are a number of things to consider.

1. Are You Physically Able to Do the Repair?

Can you climb up on the roof to look at the leak and fix it? Are you in good enough physical condition to spend an afternoon on your hands and knees repairing the floorboard in your bathroom? Many home repairs are not pysically difficult and can be handled by a reasonably fit person. Some require more strength and agility. In order to "avoid injury, it is important to make a realistic decision regarding your ability to handle the repair in question.

2. Do You Know How to Do the Repair and/or You Willing to Learn?

There are dozens of home repair manuals available in the books stores and home improvement stores as well as numerous on-line sites with carefully written instructions. If you want to learn, you can find the information. Stores like "Home Depot and Lowe's offer classes and their employees are usually willing to answer questions and offer suggestions. Learning how to do your own home repairs may take you time, but if you are willing and able, it will save you money.

3. Do You Have the Equipment and Tools?

Once you have decided whether or not you are physically able to handle the home repair you have in mind and are willing to do the necessary research and learn how to do the repair, the next question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you have the equipment and tools you need. Do you own a 24 foot "extension ladder to reach the roof? If you are trying to save money by doing your own home repairs, buying expensive tools and equipment that you will only use once may not be worth it. If, however, you will use the tools again in the future, or the equipment required is minimal, then it is an easy decision. Sometimes you can rent the necessary equipment and still save by doing the repair yourself.

Doing your own home repairs can not only "save you money, it can be very satisfying. If you like to do hands on projects and have confidence in your ability to learn, you may find yourself taking on all sorts of projects. There is always something to do around the house the keep it in tip top shape. Keeping your home in good repair will not only make your life more comfortable, it will increase the value of the house should you decide to sell.

If, on the other hand, you just don't feel up to the challenge, by all means, "hire a contractor. If you do not have the physical ability, skill, or tools for a project, chances are you will be glad you did. Just be sure to get three estimates and three references when you are looking for a contractor. Not only compare prices, but chose someone you know you can trust to do a good job.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Buyer's Guide to Paint Finishes

Choosing a paint finish is an important consideration when selecting paint for a painting project. Regardless of whether you are sprucing up the interior or painting the exterior of your house it will have an impact on the final results. With a little bit of information, you can make an informed decision that will make you happier with the way your walls, siding or trim look, last and clean when the job is done. Here are a few things to consider.

The finish, or level of gloss of paint, has an impact on its appearance, its durability and its washability, particularly when using latex paint. Oil based paints are still available but latex paint has improved so dramatically it has become the paint of choice in most situations. The finish options are the same for oil and latex.


FLAT paint has no sheen and reflects very little light. It is an excellent choice for ceilings and any area where there are surface imperfections. If there are bumps and dents in the walls or siding that cannot be repaired, using a flat paint will make them less obvious. Keep in mind that you will not want to use flat paint on an interior wall that will receive a lot of wear and tear. It is not as durable nor stain resistant.

SATIN Finish, also called EGGSHELL, looks just like its name implies. It has a soft luster finish similar to an eggshell. A satin finish is harder, more durable and stain resistant than a flat finish. It is easier to clean and is an excellent choice for interior walls. It adds warmth to the look of a room and is a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms hallways and stairwells. It is also a good option for siding that does not have imperfections.

SEMI GLOSS paint has a higher level of sheen and luster than eggshell paints. The finish is harder, more durable and stain resistant. Semi gloss paint is most often used in high traffic areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms and on interior and exterior wood trim and cabinets. It shows imperfections more readily than eggshell but not as much as gloss.

GLOSS paint is the hardest and most durable finish option. It has a high sheen and is very resistant to stain and easy to keep clean. The downside of using gloss is it does make defects in the surface much more noticeable. Gloss paints are a good choice for wood trim, doors, handrails, cabinets and furniture, floors, handrails, and stairs. It is sometimes used for walls in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.


There are three basic things to consider when selecting the type of finish for a painting project. First, how much wear and tear will the surface you are painting receive? Secondly, what kind of look would you like to create in your decorating scheme? Do you want the warmth and richness of a satin finish or are you comfortable with the shine of a semi-gloss or gloss paint and want a more durable surface? Third, are there unsightly imperfections in the wall surface you would like to downplay? Do you have ridges or bumps that will stand out if you use a higher gloss paint?

As a general rule, flat or satin finishes are used on exterior siding and semi-gloss or gloss finishes are used on exterior trim. Siding that has peeled and been repainted and is not longer smooth will look better when a flat finish is used. If, however, the siding is in good shape, an eggshell finish gives a warm, rich look to siding and is more durable and resistant to the affects of the weather. The same rule applies to choosing between semi-gloss and gloss for exterior trim, the lower the sheen, the less obvious the imperfections.

When choosing a paint finish it comes down to finding a balance between appearance and function and which is more important in a given situation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tips for Getting an Affordable Exterior Paint Job

There are several very important steps to take to ensure you receive the most for your money when having the exterior of your house painted.


Promise yourself to hold off making any decisions, signing any contracts or spending any money until you have received at least three and preferably five estimates from reputable painting contractors. To gather five names, start first by asking friends, acquaintances and neighbors who have recently had their homes painted. If you see someone having their house painted and the people doing it look neat and reliable don't hesitate to stop and ask the homeowner about their experiences and get a business card from the contractor.


There are some very important questions to ask each contractor when they come to give you an estimate.

Does my house really need to be painted? If so, why?
Is there any wood, trim, or siding that is rotted and needs replaced?
How many coats of paint do you think it needs?
What paint do you think is best and how will it be applied? Will it be sprayed or applied by brush? If so, which is best and why?
Will you pressure wash first?
Will you remove the shutters and/or downspouts and screens prior to painting?
Will you open the windows from both top and bottom prior to painting the trim?
Will you scrape loose paint and caulk thoroughly?
Do I need mildew treatment in the paint?
How long will it take?
How many people will be here working on the house?
Will you provide me with a written contract and include everything that is covered by the price?
Do you have liability insurance?
Do you have a business license?
How long have you been in business?
Can you provide me with a list of three recent references and their addresses so I can look at their homes?
Do you offer a guarantee and if so what does it cover?

Use this list of questions as a master and ask each contractor the same questions. In the process you will learn a great deal about the condition of your home and the contractor and how he/she works. In the end, it is not always the cheapest price that will secure the best, longest lasting paint job. Quality products and workmanship can provide a paint job that will last as many as ten years whereas poor workmanship and cheap products can require a re-paint within several years.


In the end, this information will help you make your decision. Consider your budget, consider how long you plan to own your house and find a contractor you feel comfortable working with. If this is the first time you have had your house painted, you may have sticker shock at first, but securing multiple estimates will give you a good idea of the going rate in your neighborhood and you can adjust your thinking accordingly. Keeping your house well protected will save you money in the long run by avoiding the extra expense of extensive prep work and wood repairs when paint has begun to peal.


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