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.


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