Home Remodeling Archives - Wood Haven Construction

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Custom Cabinets can Make or Break your Kitchen Remodel!

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wood-haven-custom-kitchen-cabinetsWhen homeowners remodel their kitchen, there are a number of things that are always high on the “must have” list: marble or granite countertops, new appliances, updated flooring. But quite often, giving your cabinetry an overhaul follows behind those other requests.

But there is no better time to re-think your existing storage in the kitchen than when planning a remodel! If you’re upgrading your countertops, your existing cabinetry is already prime for removal. And new appliances will often be slightly different in size than your original models. And new counter tops often mean a new backsplash to tie things together. It’s the best time to consider how your storage is — or isn’t — working for you.

Some things to consider when evaluating your current kitchen cabinets:

* Are the things you need most easily accessible?
* Are your cabinets over-crowded?
* Do you find yourself wishing for more drawers than doors, or vice versa?
* How do they look? Will they fit in with the rest of your remodel?

Remember, custom cabinets these days aren’t just about doors and drawers. There are open slots for storing larger items, like roasting pans and cookie sheets, bookshelves, and more. Talk to the experts at Wood Haven Construction for a complete list of options. We guarantee you’ll be happier with your new cabinets than you ever thought possible!


Replacing Your Windows at the Right Time

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Selecting the correct replacement windows for your home can be an intimidating adventure. Where do you begin? With the vast array of replacement windows available in the Houston market, choosing a proper replacement requires guidance from a professional.

But, how do you even know WHEN you need to replace your windows?

In our opinion, you should consider replacing your existing windows when:

  • You notice drafts in cold weather, or feel that your home is uncomfortably warm from outside heat penetrating through your windows.
  • Your heating and cooling bills both seem abnormally high, and continue to increase!
  • Your windows feel “loose” when you open and close them, creating concern over security.
  • Your windows are faded, and therefore make your home look dingy or dirty.
  • You have cracked panes in your windows, or any of the existing hardware needs to be replaced.
  • You have exceptional difficulty closing your windows completely.
  • Window maintenance – caulking, putty, painting – continues to rise in frequency.
  • You’re looking to increase “curb appeal” and sell your home.

 

Even just one of those points are a good reason to consider replacing your windows. New windows can help cut your energy bill by a substantial amount, especially when you buy Energy Star energy-efficient windows.

If you find that it’s time for you to replace your windows, we have some tips and advice to share with you as well:

TIP 1: Educate yourself. The best way to feel comfortable with your decisions is to learn everything you can about your investment.

TIP 2: Replacement windows come in a variety of styles, designs, and colors. This is the perfect opportunity to not only make your home more energy-efficient, but to also make some cosmetic changes as well.

TIP 3: Look for ENERGY STAR qualified windows. This qualification means you are buying replacement windows that can help cut your energy costs when it comes to heating and cooling your home.

TIP 4: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. While many people are afraid of being “sold” on windows they don’t need, Wood Haven Construction will ensure that you only get what you need and want to have the best for your home.


DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY INTERIOR PAINTING: A LITTLE TIME AND TINT GO A LONG WAY FOR IMPROVING ROOMS!

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DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY INTERIOR PAINTING: A LITTLE TIME AND TINT GO A LONG WAY FOR IMPROVING ROOMS!

 

The walls in a home provide the background for everything in it. Your family photos on the wall, those intimate holiday gatherings, every decoration and every memory in your home are displayed against the backdrop of a wall. If you’re unhappy with the color that wall is painted, you’ll be unhappy with all those memories. Don’t let this happen to you; with a little paint and a few simple tricks, you can repaint your walls and refresh your home.

 

Buying Paint

 

You probably already have a paint color in mind, but if you don’t, your local home improvement or paint supply store will have huge displays showing hundreds of different paint colors that you can choose from. Browse around, sleep on it, and select a color or color scheme that makes you happy.

 

In order to figure out how much paint to buy, you need to do a little math. Measure the length of each wall that you plan to paint. Add all these measurements together, and multiply that number by the height of the wall. Count the doors and windows, and subtract 20 for each door and 15 for each window.

 

The large number you have now represents the paintable square footage of your walls. Each gallon of paint will cover about 350 square feet of wall, so divide by 350 to see how many gallons you need. If you plan to do two coats (recommended especially for dark colors), double that number. We recommend rounding your estimate up to account for spills and for touch-ups later. It is also a good idea to order ALL the paint you expect to need at one time, so it is all mixed at the same time and therefore matches exactly.

 

Don’t forget the primer! If you are painting new walls (i.e. directly on the drywall), this is important because drywall will absorb much more paint and demand more coats if it is unprimed. It’s also a must for painting over a dark color, to ensure that the old color does not show through. Even if you’re painting over a light color, though, primer is a good idea. It is designed to help the new paint stick to the wall, even if the surface is damaged or dirty. It’s an extra step, but it provides you with a much easier job and gives professional results.

 

Supplies

 

Most of the tools you need are fairly obvious, such as trays for the paint, ladders, and the like. Don’t forget to get some dropcloths to protect your flooring! You’ll also want some painter’s tape to protect your doorknobs and trim around doors and windows. Some manufacturers now produce special tools to help with filling in the edges.

 

Roller or brush? Many first-time painters feel more secure with a brush, but we recommend choosing a roller. A paint roller provides a much more even coat of paint, with no brush lines, and gets the job done much faster. You may still need a brush for small corners and hard-to-reach areas, though.

 

Preparation

 

The amount of time you need depends on how much wall space you are painting, but also is heavily influenced by drying time. It will only take a few hours to prep and paint each wall, but each coat has to dry thoroughly before the next coat (usually overnight). Because of this, it will usually take a whole weekend to paint either an accent wall or an entire living room, even though one is obviously much bigger. If you are painting many rooms, or are including special techniques like stripes or stencils, you may need up to a week to finish the project.

 

Since drying time is so crucial, the best time to paint is when it is the least humid in your area (less water in the air means it’s easier for water to evaporate from the paint). Heat also helps the drying process, but the hottest times of year are often the most humid. Spring and fall are generally the best time of year for painting. If you live in an area that is humid year-round, you may want to invest in some fans to help keep air moving around the room to speed the drying process.

 

Techniques and Tricks

 

Before you begin to paint, apply painter’s tape liberally to all the trim areas that you’re not painting (or are painting a contrasting color). Spread your dropcloths at the foot of the wall.

 

Painting technique is simple, and actually pretty fun! If you’re using a roller, use it to create large W-shaped lines of paint. Repeat this shape all over, layering and overlapping it to fill in the whole wall. The W shape ensures even coverage and texture and helps to eliminate paint lines.

 

When you’re done for the day, clean your rollers and brushes thoroughly. To protect your paint, press a layer of plastic wrap from your kitchen down on the surface of the paint in the can; this will prevent the paint from developing a “skin.” If you are getting up early and painting with the same colors in the morning, you can cover your trays (and even your rollers if you are brave) with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator so you can get a faster start.

 

Homeowners are often intimidated by an interior painting project because of its size and the time it requires. It’s true that painting can really take up a chunk of time. But it’s also easy and fun, and yields lasting results that make a huge impact on your life in your home.


CREATING A CEMENT PRECAST MOLD WALKWAY: A PERFECT POLISHED PROFESSIONAL FINISH FOR YOUR HOME GARDEN.

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CREATING A CEMENT PRECAST MOLD WALKWAY: A PERFECT POLISHED PROFESSIONAL FINISH FOR YOUR HOME GARDEN.

 

There’s just nothing like a pleasant walk in the garden, is there? To create a fantastic professional experience, consider installing a beautiful concrete walkway, using a precast mold to simulate the appearance of bricks, cobblestones, or natural rocks.

 

Tools and Supplies

 

To create this walkway, you will need these supplies: walkway mold, concrete mix, concrete color (if desired), and concrete sealer. You will also need, but may already have: wheelbarrow, trowel, bucket, shovel, protective equipment (mask, goggles, boots, gloves), sand, wooden stakes, plastic sheeting, and a garden hose.

 

This project can be accomplished by one person working alone, and all but the largest walkways can be completed in a single day (not including curing and sealing of course).

 

Preparing the Area

 

Lay out the perimeter of your walkway and mark it with stakes. Remove one inch of sod from the area for a professional finish. Save the sod and use to fill in gaps when the concrete has cured. Just set it aside in a cool place and keep it moist.

 

Follow the manufacturer’s directions to mix concrete, adding color if desired. You will find it easiest to mix the concrete in a wheelbarrow, so you can easily move it along with you as you lay the path.

 

Wet the mold with water before beginning. This will help ensure that the mold releases from the concrete easily.

 

Laying the Walkway

 

Starting in one corner of the walkway, set the mold carefully in place. With a bucket or trowel, fill each cavity of the mold with concrete, leveling it with the top of the mold. Smooth the surface with the trowel.

 

Wait 5 to 10 minutes (follow the manufacturer’s suggestion) and lift the mold carefully. Rinse any remaining concrete from the mold. Butt the mold up against the first section and continue building your walkway. If you want a more varied and random-looking pattern, try rotating the mold one-quarter turn each time.

 

Creating a curved walkway is easy! Rotate the mold to align with desired curve, overlapping the existing concrete on the inside of the curve, and matching up the outside corners. Press the mold into the soft concrete, and fill the mold cavities. When removing the mold, blend the combined castings to eliminate the cut lines.

 

Repeat steps above until your walkway is all cast. If you want to decorate your walkway with handprints or inscriptions, now is the time.

 

Finishing the Project

 

When the entire walkway is cast and set, sprinkle sand or dry mortar mix over the top. Use a broom to brush it carefully into the joints, and mist it all lightly with a garden hose. Cover the concrete with six-mil plastic sheeting for 2 or 3 days, to prevent too-rapid drying and cracking.

 

After the concrete has cured, protect the finish with concrete sealer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to apply. This will provide a tough water-resistant finish that can withstand anything that nature throws at it.

 

If desired, you can fill in the gaps between each “stone” with your previously-removed sod for a professional look.

 

Nothing completes the look of a well-maintained garden better than a polished walkway. With only a few hours of work, you can transform your backyard into a natural haven.


CONVERT YOUR GARAGE INTO A PERFECT HOME GAME ROOM FOR YEARS OF FUTURE FAMILY FUN!

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CONVERT YOUR GARAGE INTO A PERFECT HOME GAME ROOM FOR YEARS OF FUTURE FAMILY FUN!

 

Most people, children and adults alike, dream of having a room in their home dedicated to fun. Most of us don’t have a room to spare though. One way to solve this problem is to convert all or part of a garage into a game room!

 

Determine What You Have

 

Your first step will be to determine what you have to work with. Go spend some time in your garage. The most important thing to see is the size of the space. A multi-car garage will offer more space than you know what to do with, but one stall will be plenty. A single-car garage also offers plenty of space. Also make note of divisions in the floor plan such as raised areas. Get out your measuring tape and take notes about how much space you have to work with.

 

Now look around. Is there enough lighting? Most garages tend to have very little. If you’re planning to use your game room with the door open, then this may not matter too much. But if you’re dreaming of night funtime or want to keep the door closed, you may need to add to your lighting. Likewise, count your electrical outlets. If you’re planning to install a refrigerator, an entertainment system, or lamps for lighting, the number and placement of the outlets will be important.

 

Before you leave, also make a note of what spaces you are already using for storage, such as mechanic’s tools or holiday decorations. You can move these items elsewhere, like to a dedicated storage shed, or leave them where they are. Just make sure you know they’re there and plan accordingly.

 

Decide What You Want

 

Now for the fun part: deciding what you want in your new space! Popular choices include pool table, ping-pong table, entertainment and gaming systems, or a home bar. You’ll also want to think about furnishings such as couches, barstools, and a small table or two. Before you buy, measure your items (remember to include space around items like pool and ping pong tables for playing!). Use a sheet of graph paper to sketch a layout to make sure that everything you choose fits comfortably.

 

Decorating the space is another thing you may want to consider. It’s not necessary, but many people choose to finish the walls and add themed décor such as old road signs, license plates, a dartboard, and posters.

 

Renovating Your Garage

 

It’s time to work! It’s likely that your garage needs some work before it’s habitable. Most garages have cold hard concrete floors, bare framed walls with no insulation, and insufficient lighting. Before you get to installing anything new, give the whole place a good cleaning. Get the cobwebs out of the corners, recycle the old newspapers, and make sure to get any automotive fluids off of the floor!

 

Insulating your garage might be the most effective thing you can do to improve the space (and it adds value to your home equity). Make sure you learn about the process and follow the manufacturer’s directions, but in a nutshell, you’ll buy a few rolls of insulation and stuff them in the spaces between the studs in your garage walls. You can install drywall over the insulation to keep it securely in place and give yourself beautifully finished walls.

 

If you determined that you needed more light fixtures or electrical outlets, you can also take this opportunity to install them. Make sure to do this safely; if you’re unsure about it, call a professional electrician for help. Electrical wiring can be dangerous. And if you have enough plugs but not enough light, you can buy light fixtures that plug in, from floor lamps to hanging chandeliers.

 

Another improvement you may consider is flooring. At the very least, you’ll probably want an area rug to protect your feet from that harsh concrete floor. You can also install tiles, carpet, or even hardwood for a beautifully polished finished room.

 

Moving In

 

The renovations are done and it’s time to set up for fun! Move in the biggest objects first – that would be your new bartop pool table, wet bar, or entertainment center. Fill in around them with seating for the comfort of you, your family, and your guests. Finally, accessorize. You’ll want a rack to hold pool cues or table tennis paddles, some tables to set drinks and snacks on, and maybe even some décor.

 

A garage game room, sometimes called a man cave, is a great addition to your home and your life. Who says you have to grow up when you become an adult? With a few simple renovations, you can convert your garage into the playroom of your dreams and get playing in no time.


JUST HOW MUCH DOES A LEAK COST? COUNTING THE COST OF A DRIPPING FAUCET ON YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR WALLET.

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JUST HOW MUCH DOES A LEAK COST? COUNTING THE COST OF A DRIPPING FAUCET ON YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR WALLET.

 

Many people don’t worry too much about a small drip in their faucet. It’s just a drop of water, right? No big deal? WRONG. Those drops of water add up to billions of gallons of wasted water, and that water isn’t free.

 

A leak that drips only once per minute will waste more than 52 gallons a year (more than a gallon a week). That doesn’t sound like much, but most leaks are much faster, and many leaks deteriorate over time. The EPA estimates that the average home leaks 10,000 gallons of water a year from various faucets and pipes.

 

Water Waste Scenarios

 

Faucets are used so often that their leaks are usually caused by wear and tear. Replacement of washers, gaskets, or seals is usually a simple task with minimal investment. A faucet leak isn’t always seen as an immediate concern, but a leak can cause rapid deterioration to the whole faucet, requiring replacement of the expensive fixture, as well as causing damage to the sink or bathtub and maybe even the drain and the pipes below. Fix these as soon as possible to avoid huge water waste and the need to replace expensive fixtures.

 

We are all familiar with the sound of a running toilet, and that’s an easy fix too. Usually all that’s needed is a quick swap of parts in the tank. Like faucets, this is another repair that should be done as soon as possible to prevent deterioration. However, it’s also possible to have a silent leak! One way to test this is to put a few drops of dye in the tank and see if it starts to appear in the bowl. A leaking toilet can cause problems with the wall or floor, and should be taken care of immediately.

 

Leaking pipes are a much bigger concern. Pipes do experience gradual wear and tear, and can spring a leak without you being aware of it. A small leak can often be absorbed by surrounding materials in the cabinet or wall, which means you won’t notice until your water bill spikes, or the leak has grown so much that you begin to see water. A small leak in a visible pipe can sometimes be fixed easily with materials from the hardware store, but when it gets big, you’ll want to call a plumber or general contractor, who can fix the problem and assess the damage.

 

Damage

 

If a leak is left unchecked, the fixtures involved will deteriorate and eventually fail. Obviously, a new faucet is much more expensive than a replacement gasket. Additionally, as mentioned above, the leak can cause damage to the sink or tub, which is also a costly repair.

 

Walls and cabinets are frequent casualties of a leak. Water will soak into any porous material such as wood or sheetrock and cause damage. Sometimes these materials can be dried, but some cannot and will need to be replaced.

 

If the dampness is not properly taken care of, mold and mildew can quickly become a problem, causing widespread damage throughout the home as well as causing health problems for family members.

 

All of this physical damage is accentuated by the wasted water itself. The average homeowner pays only $1.50 for a thousand gallons of water, but all those drips add up quickly, increasing the cost of your water bill each month. Additionally, each wasted drop is an irreplaceable resource for the planet, which is something we should all be concerned about.

 

It’s clear that a leaking sink is much more than an annoyance. When you start to hear that telltale drip, take the necessary steps to fix it quickly, before it causes even more damage!


HOW TO CHOOSE, REMOVE, AND INSTALL A WATER HEATER: REPLACE YOURS NOW FOR HOT BATHS AND SHOWERS LATER.

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HOW TO CHOOSE, REMOVE, AND INSTALL A WATER HEATER: REPLACE YOURS NOW FOR HOT BATHS AND SHOWERS LATER.

 

There’s nothing worse, especially in cold weather, than a shower that’s only lukewarm. If your water heater is disappointing you, it’s probably time to look for a new one (manufacturers recommend a life of between 8 and 12 years for most models). Since the water heater is an appliance we rarely see, it’s common to be intimidated by it, but don’t let that stop you!

 

Choose a New Model

 

Before you go shopping, gather some information from your old unit. There should be a nameplate on the appliance with information such as capacity, wattage and voltage, pressure, insulation R-value, and obviously the brand and model. Additionally, take careful measurements of the space your heater is stored in: height, width, and depth.

 

There are many different choices that you will face when choosing a new water heater. You may want to learn more about the different fuel sources available to you, as heaters are available in electric, natural gas, propane, oil, solar, and heat pump varieties. Tankless heaters are also an option you may be interested in. Each of these options have their own pros and cons, so we recommend learning as much as you can before committing to a new type of water heater. If you do decide to switch fuel types, you may do best to seek a professional for your installation. Laying or removing gas lines, for example, is not a job for amateurs.

 

Whether you stick with the type of heater you had before or choose a new one, your next decision will be about size. There are two important points in sizing: the actual amount of water it holds and the recovery rate, which is the amount of water it will be able to heat in one hour. The recovery rate is also known as First Hour Rating (FHR) on the Energy Guide sticker. Generally, if you live in a two-person household, you will be looking at a 30 to 40 gallon heater. Three to four people require a 40 to 50 gallon tank, and five or more should go with a 50 to 80 gallon model. (Be sure to think about potential growth in your family over the next several years, as well!) If you are considering a larger model, make sure that it will fit in the space you have for it!

 

Your final selection, after choosing type and size, will probably come down to brand and price, but don’t ignore the Energy Star sticker. Choosing a more efficient model, even at a slightly higher initial cost, will pay dividends for you in savings on your energy bill throughout the life of the appliance.

 

Remove the Old Water Heater

 

First step first: if you’re working with an electric water heater, turn off the breaker, and lock the box so it can’t be turned on again while you’re working. Disconnect the wiring from the old unit, and mark them or make notes so that you can reconnect them easily. Likewise, with a gas unit, turn off the gas and disconnect the inlet valve.

 

Turn off the water supply to the heater, and turn on all the hot water faucets in the house. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve to remove all the water from the tank. Disconnect the cold water inlet pipe, and remove the unit. (They are heavy and bulky even when empty so you may want some help.)

 

Install the New Unit

 

Installation is basically the reverse of removal! Position the new unit in the space. Reconnect the water inlet and hot water outlet pipes (soldering if necessary).

 

All your hot water faucets should still be open – leave them that way until water begins to flow from all of them, to clear all air from the lines. Let them flow for one minute.

 

Reconnect the fuel source. Double check to make sure that it is safely installed before proceeding to turn on the fuel. After about an hour, run your faucets again to make sure that the water is heating properly.

 

Installation of a water heater can be an intimidating task, and with some reason: it does involve plumbing skills as well as requiring you to work directly with electricity or gas. If you’ve got the skills, though, you should be able to replace yours in a day, and be back to your life in no time.


CHOOSING KITCHEN CABINETS FOR YOUR REMODEL: AN IMPORTANT CHOICE FOR FUNCTIONALITY, DESIGN, AND STYLE.

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CHOOSING KITCHEN CABINETS FOR YOUR REMODEL: AN IMPORTANT CHOICE FOR FUNCTIONALITY, DESIGN, AND STYLE.

 

A kitchen remodel (or building a new one from scratch) is a long and expensive process. The largest purchase you will make is definitely the cabinets, and it’s not a choice you should make lightly. Cabinets that function well for your needs are well worth an investment, while poorly-chosen cabinets will be a source of daily frustration. Read on to learn more about your options when purchasing cabinetry.

 

Quality and Choices

 

Cabinets represent about half of the budget of an average kitchen remodel, so obviously the cost is an important consideration. If you looking to cut costs, this is an obvious place to do it. But keep in mind that when it comes to cabinets, you get what you pay for. The cheapest cabinets you can find will often be made with substandard materials that break down and need to be replaced, and may be made in such a way that makes them difficult and frustrating to use.

 

Cabinet purchases can easily be divided into three categories: stock, semi-custom, and custom. A stock purchase would be walking into the home improvement store and selecting items right off the shelf, with little or no choices for upgrade or adjustment. This is often the most budget friendly option. Semi-custom cabinets are obtained when you select from a pre-set list of options from the manufacturer; these cost more but allow you more control over your purchase. Custom cabinets are designed top to bottom by you (or your architect or designer). These cost the most but provide you with exactly what you envision for your space.

 

Materials

 

The choice of materials in your cabinets has a big impact not only on cost but on the overall look of the product. Your choices include particle board, MDF (medium density fiberboard), plywood, solid wood, metal, and laminate or melamine. Particle board and MDF are found in the lower-cost varieties. Keep in mind that these can be covered with veneers to give the look of solid wood. Plywood is sturdier than those and may also be covered, or left in its own form for a more modern look. Solid wood is more expensive, and more luxurious. Depending on manufacturer, you can choose from oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, or even bamboo or other exotic woods. Veneers will never quite achieve the look of solid wood. These are often found in more traditional styles. Metal, laminate, and melamine all deliver a sleek modern look.

 

Hardware

 

The hardware is often completely invisible after installation, but makes a huge impact on the usability of the cabinets. Drawer slides vary in quality: the best use ball bearings while others use nylon wheels or rollers. Physical location of the slides on the drawer (side or bottom mount) affects available drawer space. Hinges on cabinet doors can be mounted entirely interior (invisible when closed) or with a piece showing on the outside (more traditional). Some hinges are also manufactured to be soft-close, which reduces noise and banged fingers.

 

Shelf brackets are pretty standard, and generally made of either plastic or metal. In some cases, you may find cabinets with optional adjustable brackets, allowing you to rearrange the shelves as needed. Door knobs and drawer pulls are a purely cosmetic choice that has a big impact on the overall style of the room. If you are unhappy with the ones that come with your cabinets (or just want a change), they can be replaced inexpensively at any hardware or home improvement store.

 

Construction and Design

 

Framed versus frameless is the main difference in construction of cabinets. Framed cabinets, as you may expect, are built with a skeleton frame, and frameless are not. Most common styles of cabinets are framed.

 

The style and design of the cabinets are one of your main concerns as a homeowner. You may have a specific style in mind, or want it to match well with the style of your home. Or maybe you don’t know what you want at all! Our recommendation would be to browse at home improvement stores and online and discover what styles you like best. Remember, if you grow weary of a style after a few years, in many cases you can change them! Veneers can be changed, wood can be painted, and doors can be removed and replaced with ones in a different style.

 

Cabinets represent a huge investment in your home, as well as an important piece of functional furniture. Learn as much as you can about your choices before purchasing, to ensure that you make a choice that you’ll be happy to live with for years to come.


PAINTING YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR: AN EASY DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR THE NEW HOMEOWNER.

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PAINTING YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR: AN EASY DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR THE NEW HOMEOWNER.

 

Painting is a common choice for a homeowner’s DIY project. It requires relatively few special tools and the skills are easy to learn. If you are new to the do-it-yourself world, painting your house is a great first step. Follow this guide to pick up some tips, tricks, and techniques to get your first project off on the right foot.

 

Selecting Exterior Paint

 

Choosing paint for exterior walls is easier in some ways than interior choices. Exterior paint is much more limited, so there are fewer options to overwhelm you (you can’t get it in eggshell finish, for example). The color options are also more limited, and many people find it easy to choose an exterior paint color – most people stick with the existing color, in fact.

 

You should always make sure to choose quality over cost when choosing paint. A high-quality paint will cost more than the lower-quality brands, but it will also last much longer, and look much better. Quality paints are also formulated to be easier to apply, making your job that much easier. A cheap paint will chip, flake, crack, peel, and fade, requiring you to repeat the painting job more often, and costing you more money in the long run.

 

Estimating how much paint to buy can be slightly difficult. Different surfaces will need different amounts of paint, so simple math with the square footage won’t always get you the right answer. Smooth surfaces will generally conform to that estimate, but surfaces such as stucco or overlapped siding will require 10 to 50 percent more paint. Ask at your paint store for help with the estimation, or try one of the many “paint calculators” available on the internet.

 

While you’re purchasing your paint, don’t forget the exterior primer! Primer, as its name suggests, prepares the surface for the new paint, ensuring good adhesion. Don’t be tempted to skip this step to save time or money, because without primer, even the best paint can begin to peel quickly.

 

Select Your Tools

 

Power sprayers are often the first choice for professional painters, and may be a good option for you as well. These can often be rented for use over a week or a weekend. A power sprayer will apply the equivalent of two coats of paint at one time, and is great for covering large areas quickly.

 

Whether you choose a paint sprayer or not, you’ll still need brushes. The sprayer cannot get into tight spaces and corners, and is not suitable for painting trim. Even the highest quality brushes are relatively inexpensive, so choose a good one. Well-made handles and bristles will lead to a smoother coat of paint and easier application.

 

Don’t forget the other equipment! You’ll need a sturdy ladder, of course. Depending on your specific case, you may need buckets, trays, mixing sticks, dropcloths, paint remover, or specialty tools such as an edger or sander.

 

Techniques and Tips

 

Choose the right time for painting. Autumn is a great season to paint. Paint has to have time to cure, and rain is its worst enemy. Intense humidity can get underneath the paint and cause irreparable bubbling. In a very humid area such as Houston, the driest time of year tends to be fall or winter, so check the weather reports and bring out your paint when the weather gets cooler.

 

Before you begin to prime and paint, you need to prepare the surface. Rent or borrow a power washer (or get a big sponge), and thoroughly clean your walls. Once clean, use an electric sander to smooth the surface, if your wall is made of wood. While you are cleaning and sanding, check the siding for signs of rot, mold, mildew, or other damage.

 

If you have multiple cans of same-color paint, combine them in a big bucket to ensure a uniform color. Even a very slight color difference can become obvious when it’s applied to large areas.

 

Always start at the top! This will prevent streaks and drips down an already-painted surface. While painting, use broad, even strokes to get smooth coverage. Apply two coats of paint over one coat of primer to ensure solid coverage.

 

If you’ve never painted before, take some time to visit the paint department of your home improvement store, or a specific paint store like Sherwin Williams. The staff there should be more than capable of helping you figure out how much paint you need and which equipment you need, as well as answering all your questions.


CHOOSE FIBER CEMENT BOARDS FOR A LONG LASTING, STYLISH SIDING FOR YOUR HOME, FOR MANY YEARS TO COME!

Posted on by The Home Remodeling Experts in Home Remodeling Comments Off

CHOOSE FIBER CEMENT BOARDS FOR A LONG LASTING, STYLISH SIDING FOR YOUR HOME, FOR MANY YEARS TO COME!

 

As a homeowner, the durability of your home is one of your main concerns. You want a home that can withstand the elements where you live, but you want it to look good at the same time. Worry no more, because here is the solution! Fiber cement boards are a highly durable and highly attractive material for siding your house. Read on to learn more about this manufactured material.

 

What Is It?

 

The concept of fiber cement boards was patented in the early 1900s, and has been a popular building material ever since. For much of the 20th century, the product was made with asbestos fibers, but that practice has been completely halted. Fiber cement sheets are now made with other, non-harmful organic fibers. As the name indicates, the boards consist of cement, cellulose (plant-based) fibers, and sand. This material is often called HardiePlank, which is a reference to JamesHardie, the most common manufacturer of fiber cement products.

 

Fiber cement boards are produced in long horizontal boards for use in cladding or siding a house, to imitate the look of traditional wooden siding. It is also available in large sheets and tiles, and is often used to line eaves or as a laying surface for tile in bathrooms and decks. It is also often substituted for wood in areas with a high fire risk because it is highly flame-resistant.

 

Why Choose Fiber Cement?

 

Fiber cement, when used as cladding on a structure, is highly superior to traditional wooden siding. It is not susceptible to rot or termites, and is non-flammable and non-absorbent. Thicker sheets are also highly impact-resistant. It is a highly durable material, requiring very little maintenance. This durability has led to the product being incredibly popular in areas with harsh weather conditions, such as the deserts of the Australian Outback and the hurricane-prone coastal United States. It is longer-lasting and has a better look than competing materials such as vinyl. It is also “greener” than many other building materials, causing less damage to the planet and using more sustainable raw materials.

 

How It’s installed

 

Installation of fiber cement boards is much the same as other building materials. Planks for siding are formed and cut by the manufacturer and ready to install. Any piece that needs to be cut to size can be cut by mechanical saw, and thinner boards may be able to be scored and snapped by a knife. Good ventilation is a must while the boards are being cut. The boards, especially the large sheets, are very heavy, and installation will require at least two people at all times.

 

Once installed, the planks can be painted just like wood. Areas of exposure, such as exterior siding, should receive weatherproof exterior paint. It will occasionally require a new coat of paint, but is otherwise maintenance-free.

 

If you’re in the market for a siding material that’s durable and provides great curb appeal, ask your local contractor about fiber cement boards. You won’t regret it.