Easy Steps for Reviving Your Lawn
If your lawn looks pitiful after the tough winter months, early intensive care during spring may save it. On the other hand, if the lawn is past its recovery point, establishing a new lawn may be a better idea. If there's still hope for your yard, here are some easy techniques to bring out the green in your grass.
If the lawn is compacted with more than half an inch of thatch (dead grass and leaves pressed down among the roots), remove it by using a dethatching rake or a power-dethatching machine. Regular dethatching forces buds to grow near the base of the grass stems and frees new grass shoots to grow in thick and lush.
To aerate, use a coring device to cut 3- or 4-inch-deep holes in the soil, and leave the cores on the lawn to decompose naturally. The holes created by the aerator will provide a path for fertilizer, water and oxygen to get to the grass roots where they will do the most good.
Overseeding is used to fill in bare spots. To prepare your lawn for overseeding, get rid of weeds, rake over the bare spots to prepare a loose seed bed, then, follow these next steps.
- Choose a seed variety that matches the turf grass you already have. If you have blue grass, for instance, overseeding with any kind of blue grass will do the job.
- Sow the seed at twice the rate recommended for a new lawn, and broadcast the seed over the bare areas by hand. Broadcast a very thin layer of light organic top dressing (no more than 1/4 inch) on top of the seed so it won't dry out or blow away.
- Fertilize using a spreader to distribute slow-release granular lawn fertilizer over the entire lawn in the quantity recommended for a new lawn.
- Water regularly and keep the area damp by sprinkling until the seed germinates. Reduce watering when the seeds begin to grow.
Plant a New Lawn
Depending on the condition of your lawn, you may be able to revive it by simply dethatching, aerating and overseeding. However, if the lawn is completely overrun with weeds and patchy brown spots, or worse, it's just a solid mass of straw, the most economical thing is to till it under and completely start from scratch.
Color in Your Garden
Purple - The All-purpose Garden Color
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the color purple in the summer garden? Not necessarily that it adds a touch of coolness in what otherwise might be a hot landscape. Nor that it evokes passion or even a bit of regality. It is that purple is an all-purpose color that works well with others.
Purple works in any garden scheme or situation. That can't be said of many colors. Mix up flowers in the pink-red scheme with those in the yellow-orange range and a fight breaks out. But purple looks good with both so you can use purple as a bridge color to tie them all together.
Purple as the New Neutral
Call purple the new neutral, the one color (besides green, of course) that works in any garden, any time. It acts as a harmonizer between warm and cool tones and will unite all the colors in your garden.
Add purple to the summer garden with the deep velvet tones of annual petunias and clematis Etoile Violette, to pale shades of lilac and wisteria, to name just a few beautiful purple plants.
Combining Purple with Other Colors
Purple mixes well with gray, and some purples are naturally set off by their gray foliage, for example buddleia, caryopteris, cat mint, lavender, globe thistle and Russian sage.
Purple looks especially crisp with white, and adds a nice touch of contrast to a white garden.
Purple can have a different effect in the garden depending on how it is used and the plant combinations it is placed with. For a cooling effect, use purple to offset pink, lavender and white. In darker areas, purple tends to disappear so use it against lighter colors, such as heliotrope with pink and white impatiens or Johnson's blue geranium scrambling under pink roses.
For a hot, tropical effect, try purples with orange or red, such as salvia Purple Majesty mingled with Pat Austin or Gingersnap roses, or purple verbena bonariensis towering over orange canna lilies.
A sensational color mix is purple-foliaged plants with variegated or chartreuse colored leaves, such as heuchera Crimson Curls with helichrysum Limelight.
Because yellow and purple are complementary colors, pairing them makes both colors appear much stronger than they would otherwise.
Low Maintenance Purples
Many of the lowest maintenance perennials are purple. So a purple scheme is ideal for xeriscaping, or dry gardening, which focuses on using drought tolerant plants. Lavender, Mexican sage, statice and certain kinds of flax need little water once established.
Purple Looks Great in Any Light
And, finally, purple looks great in any season under all kinds of light. Pinks and light colors disappear in the summer, especially in very sunny regions where they are overpowered by the sunlight. Many summer flower colors look great in the summer, but garish in the winter. But purple flowers look good in any season, whether the sun is high or low.
Whether you want to tie together some disjointed colors in your planting scheme or enhance others, take advantage of the color purple’s ability to blend with all the other colors in your garden.
Pruning Trees and Shrubs
When it comes to your shrubs and trees, gardening experts will tell you that pruning - or cutting away dead, diseased and dense growth - is a perfect way to invigorate your plant. Done properly, pruning can strengthen a plant’s structure, allow more light and air to reach the interior portions, stimulate growth and enhance flower and fruit production.
It's important to prune in the right season and in the right way otherwise your plant could be exposed to disease and decay.
Types of Pruning
There are three methods of pruning: tip pruning, thinning and shearing.
Tip pruning is considered the simplest method; pruning shears are used to trim back wayward stems at an angle.
Thinning is done with lopping shears to remove entire older stems and branches where they split from the main trunk. It is done to preserve a shrub's or tree's natural shape and to rejuvenate older plants by allowing both light into interior regions and space for new growth.
Shearing requires hedge clippers or shears to create formal hedges with sharp-edged, even sides.
Rules of Thumb for Pruning
Remove damaged, dead branches at any time of year with a sharp, clean saw.
- Pinch off the ends of branches that are growing too long.
- Remove suckers - strong, fast developing shoots that grow straight up from roots or branches - from the main stem.
- Remove flowers once they fade. Otherwise the total number of flowers produced will be significantly reduced.
- In the second season of growth, cut back weak or spindly growth to strengthen your plants.
- Remove any dead, damaged branches you missed during regular maintenance. If the bark is rubbed through where two branches meet, cut the weaker or inward growing branch to the base.
When to Prune
Pruning won’t help your plant if you don't do it in the right season.
Spring flowering shrubs, such as magnolias, azaleas and gardenias, should be pruned immediately after they have bloomed so they can have the entire summer to develop flower buds for the next season. If you prune later in the season, you'll cut off the flowers they might bear.
Summer flowering shrubs, such as hydrangea and Rose of Sharon, should be pruned in early to mid spring. Focus on pruning the shrub's tender, new growth once every spring because the best blooms and foundation come from the older, stronger branches.
Ornamental and fruit trees and shrubs, should be pruned during their dormant season in order to prevent disease and insect problems. Most gardeners prune woody plants when they're dormant because they're less vulnerable when cut.
Choosing Patio Furniture
Sunshine is pouring down and you just want to revel in it, spending all your free time this summer in the privacy of your own back yard reading a novel or sharing a pitcher of drinks with friends. But where is everyone going to sit? That's where patio furniture comes in.
If you are looking to furnish your outdoor space, you can be daunted by the wealth of choices in styles and materials and prices.
Your emotional expectations can complicate matters further. You want outdoor furniture to do more than just look good, you also want it to be efficient and functional, and to have lasting value. Quality patio furniture is an investment – for many people, it may be the only set they buy.
When buying patio furniture, consider construction, style and value for the investment.
Look for durability. Make sure pieces are sturdy and seams or joints are firm.
Think about how much time you want to spend to maintain the furniture. Wrought-iron is guaranteed to rust: it definitely requires maintenance. Wood also needs work: it will weather to a natural silver or gray if a sealant isn't applied up to several times a year.
Other materials include resin, aluminum, cast aluminum, wicker and rattan. There are combinations such as wood and metal, metal and glass, glass and wood, all in an array of finishes. Metal is powder-coated for durability.
Decide among cushion sets, sling sets or strap sets. Cushions are more expensive and demand more maintenance, liking cleaning and storing for the winter. But they are also the most comfortable. Sling sets are the most popular and can last 5-10 years.
Fabrics include cotton and acrylics. If you want longevity, look for material that resists fading, is washable, will not mildew and repels stains.
As for comfort? That's personal. Test out the furniture to make sure it’s comfortable for your body.
Don't choose a design based just on what is in style. Take a cue from your home’s architecture: look at the lines of your home - the simplicity or the complexity of them - and make decisions on whether you want to contrast or complement them.
If your house architecture is very busy, you might want to contrast it with patio furniture that is extremely elegant.
Conversely, you can take a modern house with sleek lines and complement it with Asian-style furniture because of the cleanliness of lines. You can mix cross culture styles when you use the same aesthetic in all your pieces.
Be aware of just how big – or small – your furniture will be outside. Scale can be tricky. A big chunky Craftsman-style house would not be complemented by small, fussy Victorian wrought-iron patio furniture when wood would be a better choice.
You can also consider your outdoor furniture as an extension of your home’s interior decoration and make a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.
Price and Value
If you can't afford to buy more than a table and chairs on your initial shopping trip, remember most manufacturers carry their lines for at least 4 years and some up to 20 years, depending on the popularity. Later, you can add chaise lounges, bar chairs, gliders or love seats to your collection.
Kitchens: Remodeling the Heart of Your Home
Fifty years ago, kitchens were the heart of every home. Today, the appliances may be high-tech and the fixtures sleek and shiny, but the old-fashion sentiment is returning. Now more than ever, kitchens are the gathering place for the whole family. Decorated warmly, they invite you in and keep you cozy as you share the events of your day.
Unlike 50 years ago, the cost of renovating your gathering place now averages $15,000 to $40,000. And what does that buy you? A $15,000 kitchen includes low- to mid-range cabinets, a laminate counter, and perhaps a new floor. Move into the $40,000 range and the cabinets are hardwood, the counters are granite, the floor and backsplash is tile, and the lighting controls look like the control panel of a 747. But is it worth spending all that money if the other kitchens in your neighborhood are more middle-of-the-road?
If you’re concerned about recouping the cost of your kitchen remodel, you can consult with a real estate agent who provides local market information. You may find that your home is in the upper-end of values in your neighborhood. If that’s the case, you’ll get a lower return on your renovation than if you owned the home worth the least in your neighborhood
Before embarking on a major home improvement, consider the option of moving to a home that has a new kitchen and the other amenities that your current home lacks.
Remember that remodeling a kitchen is stressful. It will take you a month or more to complete. That means you’ll relocate your kitchen, perhaps to your dining room, for a month. Your refrigerator will be there – perhaps a stove, microwave, your pots and pans, and all of your food. It will be messy. Ripping old cabinets off of the wall, cutting holes in the ceiling, and preparing the floor will also make your entire home dusty even if the kitchen is sealed.
Remodeling a kitchen is best done when the weather is moderate. Then your living space expands to include your yard and what may become your best friend during the process – your gas grill. Your other new best friend will most likely be the pizza delivery person.
Hire a Contractor
Unless you’re a whiz at do-it-yourself, you will want to find a contractor. Ask relatives, friends, and neighbors for referrals. Be sure to see the work they have done first hand. And get additional referrals from at least three other contractors.
Before you make your selection, drop by unannounced to one of the job sites. Check to see how the site is kept. Are trucks parked on the lawn? Is the yard full of building materials and debris? Is loud music playing? Would you feel comfortable having the workers you see on this job in and around your home for a month or more?
The time you spend looking for the right contractor will pay off in how satisfied you are during and after the remodeling process.
Take Time to Plan
It’s important to take your time to ensure that your kitchen will meet your needs today and in the future. Many new houses include an island that separates the kitchen from either the dining room or family room. This open floor plan allows the cook to participate in family activities without feeling excluded. When remodeling your kitchen, consider removing an entire wall to help your home flow better and appear larger and brighter. This will not only help your kitchen’s functionality, it will improve its value since homebuyers always prefer light and airy spaces.
And make sure you think about technology – even in the kitchen. Include at least one phone jack, plenty of electrical plugs, and a cable hookup for that flat panel television you always wanted.
Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck
To realize maximum increase in value from your kitchen renovation, consider these tips:
► Select a counter surface carefully. Just as hardwood floors say quality, so do granite countertops. When you put your home on the market, granite countertops will give a quality feel to your entire kitchen. But remember, granite requires periodic sealing. Laminates are the least durable, but also the least costly (and new dramatic colors are available). Some solid surfaces can incorporate seamless sinks which make cleanup a breeze.
► Beware trendy kitchen cabinet finishes. There’s a myriad of finishes available from washes to faux. But just as people grew tired of Harvest Gold appliances from the 60s, these finishes will likely mark a kitchen as outdated in 10 years. Traditional medium wood finishes or white cabinets don’t go out of style. And with a simple hardware change, they can be made new again.
► Choose your floor carefully. Vinyl floors are the least expensive and the least durable. New laminate products on the market are growing in popularity, but nothing wears like tile. To make your kitchen look larger, select 12x12-inch (or larger) tiles and have them set on a diagonal. Be sure to choose a neutral color. Hardwood is another popular choice. Just make sure hardwood suits your lifestyle as it doesn’t work very well with a young family.
► Installing a tile backsplash adds a touch of class, even with a laminate countertop. You can also add accent tiles to create a dramatic effect.
► Lighting really makes a kitchen. Unlike 50 years ago when there was one light in the middle of the room and another over the sink, new kitchens include several recessed lights in the ceiling and under-cabinet lighting to create a warm, inviting feel. Adding many small lights brightens a dark kitchen, even with darker cabinets and countertops.
Ask your friends and neighbors if their contractor:
- Completed the job on time.
- Finish the job on time and on budget.
- Kept regular, reasonable hours.
- Was a professional they would hire again without hesitation.
When you meet with a contractor. make sure you ask:
- How long have you been in business?
- Does your company carry Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance?
- How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?
- What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?
The last question is very important. Quality contractors work almost exclusively through repeat and referral business. A contractor who puts up his sign in one neighborhood and completes quality work, can stay for an extended period of time through referrals.
Decks & Patios
Will That be a Deck or Patio?
Back yard circa 1960: charcoal grill, pine picnic table.
Back yard circa 2006: outdoor kitchen complete with stainless steel, multi-burner gas grill; sink and counter area for preparing foods; glass outdoor dining table; separate sitting area with synthetic wicker couch, rocking chair, reading light, and chair; elaborate deck or patio.
According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Housing Survey, homeowners across the nation spent more than $40 billion in 2003 on improving outdoor living areas, and that number continues to grow as homeowners seek to create outdoor spaces designed for relaxing and entertaining.
While in the past a back yard was somewhere you just occasionally ate at a picnic table on the lawn, today’s homeowners are looking to create their own backyard retreats. These retreats often begin with an area off of the mosquito-infested grass, most commonly in the form of a deck or patio.
So, what is more popular, a deck or patio? For the homeowner with the uneven back yard, often the most appropriate choice is a deck, as you can sink piers into the ground, and then add on a level deck. Also, for those seeking to track as little into the house as possible, decks are often the choice, as even the best-maintained patio can be a place on which stone dust or sand gets trapped in shoes (or pet feet) and tracked into the home.
For those with flat backyards, the choice can come down to personal preference. There are pros and cons to having either a deck or a patio. Read on to find out which might be most appropriate for you.
First, the deck was made of pine, which didn’t hold up very well to the elements. Maintenance was an annual event, and that only helped to slow down a pine deck’s eventual demise.
Next was pressure-treated lumber, the first generation of which included arsenic as a preservative, raising health concerns. Pressure-treated wood today does not include arsenic, and is the most common type of decking used because of its low cost per square foot.
A variety of manmade decking materials are also available today. These manmade materials often consist of a mixture of recycled plastic and bits of wood or sawdust. These materials are growing in popularity for one simple reason: maintenance. With any type of wood deck, you must maintain it or it will begin to look old, worn, and also become prone to splintering. Depending on the type of preservative you choose and your climate, you’ll likely have to maintain a wood deck every year or every other year; manmade materials require no maintenance.
Stains are the most common choice for preservatives because they go on easily and most don’t peel. Clear coat preservatives tend to last the shortest amount of time, followed by semi-transparent, and then solid stains.
The downside to manmade materials is that because they are more dense than wood, they can get quite hot in the sun, making shoes a must for those with tender feet. And while a variety of colors and patterns are available in synthetic products, the choices don’t come close to the wide color palette available with stains. Decks built with composite materials often include structures made of pressure-treated wood for strength.
Other choices for decking include redwood, which requires little to no maintenance, and other exotic woods, including mahogany, ipe, and cedar. Vinyl decking is also growing in popularity, available in a variety of colors – and maintenance-free.
Slate and concrete are two of the oldest choices. Slate is a durable choice which can add a finished look to your back yard. Most commonly the base is prepared with processed stone, sometimes followed by stone dust, and finally the stones are set into sand. While slate is a durable choice, weeds can become a maintenance issue over time.
There are many different choices when it comes to concrete. While that simple grey look is possible, a variety of colors are also available, as is stamped concrete, which adds a pattern to your patio, looking more like a slate, brick or stone (color can be added as well). Concrete is often a low cost option, although choosing a colored and stamped concrete can make the price jump. It is also prone to cracking.
Brick pavers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and finishes, and are often the most costly option. That’s not only due to the preparation being similar to that of slate, but also because the individual pieces are smaller and labor costs are much higher (the materials are more costly per square foot as well). In terms of durability, quality brick pavers can also be used for driveways, and most products are durable enough for plows. Building bricks are a poor choice because they are not designed for ground contact and deteriorate quickly.
Most stone options do require a bit of maintenance – every other year you may have to sweep a bag of colored sand into the cracks to fill in the areas that have settled. Because of this, pavers are less likely to have weed issues, although grass and weeds still can creep in around the edges.
So, will a deck or patio provide you with higher resale value?
There is really no clear-cut answer to this question, but given that many homebuyers are looking for less maintenance, make your choice one that requires little or no maintenance.
Here are a few other guidelines to keep in mind.
- If you choose a wood deck think twice before applying a solid stain because it will show wear marks first.
- Floors of wood decks built with 5/4 boards look more like an interior floor and are the most popular.
- Patios built on a deep base (8 to 12 inches) will likely hold up well and look like new for years
Ten Easy Projects to Renew Your Kitchen
Need a creative, quick save to rescue your faded kitchen but have limited time and money? Here’s how to have a “like-new” kitchen on a slim budget.
These are projects any do-it-yourselfer can accomplish on a barebones budget and still end up with a dynamite result. Some of these projects can even pull together a rented apartment kitchen without upsetting your landlord.
Get started in the morning and be finished in time for dinner guests.
1. Paint. The first and primary hint: paint works miracles on everything. If it holds still, paint it neatly, inside and out. Don't think colors; think both shine and texture. Old wood tone cabinets spray-painted high-gloss white or hand painted with oil-base in creamy white provides yards of look for very little cash.
Then repaint the walls with latex satin enamel in soft sheen or no sheen. Use a color to contrast with your " new cabinets." Feeling adventurous? Paint pulls and hinges, too. If you have poor cabinetry, this technique can really pull it together.
2. Pulls. When renovating cabinetry, new pulls add punch. In a small kitchen, put money into pulls and hardware. Expensive pulls can make the worst cabinets sing. Consider vintage pulls.
3. Exposed shelves. Less is more. Look at the cabinets and consider which doors could be removed to expose the shelving. Open shelving helps a kitchen look bigger. Display your favorite dishes, baskets, etc., for a new, updated look. Paint the inside of the cabinets the same as the outside or contrasting or bright color for snap.
4. Glass doors. Replace solid cupboard doors with glass fronts. The glass can be clear or frosted or you can get vintage doors and master them to fit. Showcase dishes, glassware, silver - anything displayable. You can also line the inside glass with sheer fabric. And if you’ve removed some doors to create open shelves, the glass fronts add beautifully to the look.
5. Lighting. Track lights brighten up any kitchen. Wire suspension lights can make the space look contemporary and new. Paper lanterns add life and freshness. All three types of lighting put light where you need it, create space or raise the ceiling. If you have a very small kitchen, make a box or rectangle of lights with extra small halogen bulbs.
6. Tile. Have new countertops in a day. Here’s when it pays to have a small kitchen. If the counter space is not too large, go ahead and splurge on expensive tile. It will make the entire kitchen look luxurious. Or, for small counters, consider buying vintage tile. Tiling a small countertop is simple. Don’t be afraid of irregularities.
7. Floors. Today there are countless self-stick tiles that can be added for a quick floor revamp. Floating wood floors and wood tiles can be done in an afternoon. Or, paint the floor a dark color such as black, then tie in the wall or cabinet color by using that paint to rag or faux finish over the darker floor color.
8. Faucets. Here’s another feature to invest in. Flashy new faucets can make an old sink fade back. Faucets in white or chrome with pull-out sprays look great and, for the money, say " new kitchen."
9. Mirrors. One of the best ways to add space without permanent alterations is to attach a glossy white-framed mirror to the wall at the end of a galley kitchen. It will add dimension and space. Place one above the refrigerator, or hang one on a cabinet for drama.
10. Window coverings. A new window covering makes the window and the wall look fresh. A matchstick blind cut to size or a metal-tone miniblind adds texture and controls light. Small shutters loosely fitted into a window frame can be installed in an afternoon and are readily available in white or natural. Paint them, faux finish them, stain them or leave them alone.
Safety Tips for Childproofing Your Home
One of the biggest concerns a parent can have is keeping their child safe. With so much going on in today’s world, it can be easy to overlook the dangers within your own home. Whether your child is running or crawling, here some tips for childproofing your home.
- Childproof latches: use on cabinets and drawers that contain dangerous or fragile items
- Cord shorteners: use with blinds and electric cords to eliminate twisting, tripping or strangling
- Cushioned corner covers: use for tables, countertops and other sharp corners
- Electrical outlet covers: it’s amazing what those little fingers can get into, so don’t let them get zapped
- Gates: use around stairs, balconies, or other risky areas
- VCR lock: because VCRs are made for movies, not sandwiches!
- Window guards: use to prevent falls; set them loose enough so that older kids can undo them in case of an emergency
- Door stops and door holders: use to prevent fingers from being crushed in doorways and hinges
- Safety netting: use at windows and balconies to prevent falls
- Rugs and mats: tape down or remove loose floor coverings
- Lockable/latched cabinets/drawers: use for knives and sharp tools and for breakable items like glasses and plates.
- Cushioned faucet guard: use to prevent head bumps
- Slip-proof mat or nonskid appliqués: keep those feet on solid ground
- Toilet latches: because toddlers are top heavy and can easily drown
- Antiscald devices: use on faucets and shower heads
- Childproof latches: store all medications, cosmetics, mouthwash, razors, cleaners, etc. safely out of reach
- Water temperature: Set hot water heaters at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the chance of a burn
- Rubber or nonslip treads: use on wooden stairs.
- Fences: use around swimming pools and other dangerous areas (some states have laws on this)
- Bolts: tighten any protruding bolts or loose nuts on outdoor play equipment, fences and gates
Little emergencies are bound to happen during your parental experience, but there’s no need for avoidable tragedies. These few simple steps for a more child-friendly home can help to ensure the safety of your child in the years to come.
5 Fix-It Projects
Five Spring Fix-it Projects
For most homeowners April showers bring rust, clogged rain gutters and all manner of sticky doors and windows. To help with these troubles, here are some sure-fire solutions to common spring problems. They’re easy enough to tackle in a weekend so you can spend more time smelling those beautiful spring flowers.
Rain Gutter Repairs
Nobody likes to clean or repair gutters. However, there are a few ways to make the job easier. First, for clogged downspouts, try using barbecue tongs to reach in and pull the leaves out. This doesn't always work, but considering the alternative of using a hose to flush out the clog and getting wet and covered with gutter goop, it’s worth a try.
Second, to repair loose gutter nails try replacing them with extra-long lag screws. The lag screws tend to be stronger, hold better and can easily be installed with a cordless drill equipped with a nut driver bit.
Repairing Cracks in Concrete
Concrete always cracks. For most cracks less than 1/4" , applying concrete caulk is a good way to make repairs. Just clean the crack out with a high-pressure hose nozzle, let it dry and then apply the caulk into the crack. For larger cracks, substitute concrete patch for caulk.
Large cracks or small, repair is necessary because water that seeps into cracks will soften the ground underneath and cause more cracking. The situation worsens if the water freezes.
Sticky Windows and Doors
With all the wet weather that spring brings, wooden windows and doors can't help but swell and stick. To repair a sticky door or window, first mark where it is sticking, next remove the door or window by taking out its hinge pins, prop it up securely, then use a hand plane to carefully remove any excess material that is causing the sticking. Power planes will also work, but they tend to remove too much wood. When the wood shrinks back during the drier, warmer days of summer, the gap will be too wide.
For sliding windows, the trim around them is often the cause of sticking. Trim must be removed and reinstalled to allow for more movement. To do this, carefully remove the trim with a flat bar and pull the nails out backwards, that is, grasp the nail point with pliers and pull. If the trim was installed properly with finishing nails, you should be able to do this without damaging the wood. When reinstalling, keep the fit snug but not as tight as it was. If you reinstall the trim too loosely, the windows will rattle when the wood shrinks again.
To keep windows and doors from sticking in the first place, make sure that they are sealed with a good coat of paint, including the tops and bottoms. But don’t paint the channels where windows need to slide. Instead, use a light coat of linseed oil as a sealer.
Painting over Water Damage
The problem with water stains is that painting over them will not make them go away unless you use a primer-sealer first. When looking for a sealer, follow these basic guidelines: First, oil-based sealers usually work better than water-based ones. Second, choose a sealer that has a high amount of solids, which are the pigments and other elements that do the actual covering of the stain. Paint, hardware and home centers carry primer-sealers, sometimes called sealer-primers.
Another tip for using an oil-based sealer is to use disposable brushes and rollers. Cleaning up after using oil-based products can be messy and often requires that you spend more on paint thinner than your brushes and rollers are worth.
Painting and Repairing Rusty Fixtures
It used to be that the only way to do a good paint job over rust was to get out the naval jelly or wire brush and remove the rust first. Thankfully, paint additives are now available to help paint stick to rust while also neutralizing the rust and stopping corrosion from continuing under the paint.
Left untreated, rust will eventually cause fixtures to lock up. Prevent this by keeping fixtures well lubricated. One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lubricate outdoor fixtures with light oil or silicon from spray cans. Because these oils are so light, they often evaporate and/or dilute existing lubrication thereby making the problem worse. For fixtures like gate hinges and latches, use heavy grease. It will not evaporate and its high viscosity is the best thing for heavy-duty parts. Most auto parts stores have heavy grease.
443 South Lamer Street Burbank, CA 91506