• Whole House Fans Have a Lot to Offer

    Updated: Tue, Dec 23, 2014

    Whole house fans have changed -- for the better! Although this natural home cooling method has been around close to a century, it's begun gaining in popularity in recent years. Today's whole house fans are much quieter than they used to be. In addition, they are more energy efficient than standard air conditioning, important news as electricity prices rise. The cost to run a whole house fan is only 1-5 cents per hour, compared to 15-10 cents for central air. Now that's cool! How Whole House Fans Work A whole house fan works to cool your home by circulating air. The system pulls fresh outdoor air into your rooms through open windows and possibly door, moves it through the house, and vents it out via your attic and roof.

  • Bed Bugs and Fleas and Ticks! Goodbye

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Insect bites are unpleasant and often painfully itchy. Even worse, they may lead to infection or spread dangerous diseases. Here is a guide to three common biting insects -- bed bugs, fleas, and ticks -- and practical pest control steps you should take for each kind. Bed bugs In May of 2014, The New York Post reported that numbers of bed bug infestations had declined sharply over the past several years, due to increased public awareness of the problem. However, the key word is "declined"; there were still 520 bed bug violation reported in multi-family dwellings over the 2013 fiscal year. Bed bugs live on human blood. In return, they leave behind small itchy red bumps on their victim's body, which are easily confused wit

  • Creative Uses for Concrete in Your Home and Garden

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    One of the most contemporary and versatile materials we know, concrete is very much in the home decorating spotlight these days. You will be amazed at the wide variety of concrete applications. It can be used for exciting designs that run the gamut all the way from stylish, hardwearing countertops to a tres chic garden bench. Here are 8 cutting-edge concrete projects from Hometalk. 1. Concrete Kitchen Island How do you come up with the ultimate kitchen island? Create a sinuously curved concrete island wall! The Chirping Frog had her heart set on this distinctive design for her new home. Eighteen bags of concrete later, she loves the finished product, which was sanded and then re-sanded to bring out its subtle gradations of co

  • Planning to Build a Barbed Wire Fence

    Updated: Thu, Dec 18, 2014

    Barbed wire is the type of fencing commonly used on farms to confine livestock, keeping valuable animals safe from predators, motor vehicles, deep water, and other hazards. Good quality barb wire fencing will last as long as 25 years, which helps to justify its relatively high price tag and the fact that it is one of the most difficult fences to install. Before ordering this type of fence, do your advance planning in order to know exactly what you want and have a good idea of its cost. Map Your Property Start with an accurate map of your land so that you can determine exactly where to install your barbed wire fence and calculate the quantity of fencing material that will be needed. Obtain an aerial map from your local Agricul

  • Feeding Birds in Winter

    Updated: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    Winter is a difficult season for birds who stick around in northern climes. They need extra stamina to keep themselves warm, just at the time of year when their usual foods are in short supply. Feeding the birds in winter is a kindness not only to our feathered friends, but also to yourself. The sight of a hungry flock helping themselves at your outdoor bird feeder is a special snowy weather pleasure. Just be sure that you place feeders in a spot which is sheltered from the worst of the wind, and that you make healthy food choices. Here are some inspiring winter bird-feeding ideas from Hometalk members. 1. Make Suet to Enrich the Birds' Diet (Winter Only) Birds need extra fat and protein in the wintertime.

  • Basement Remodel? Don't Forget the Egress Window!

    Updated: Tue, Dec 16, 2014

    There are so many good reasons to remodel your basement -- more usable room, additional privacy, increased resale value, and energy efficiency, to name just a few. The best part is that basement remodeling costs only about 10-15 percent as much as building out. So get busy choosing pretty and practical light fixtures and floor coverings to enhance your newfound space, but don't forget one important item ... the egress window. What Is an Egress Window? Every room used for the purpose of sleeping requires a direct opening to the outdoors, to allow for emergency escape and rescue. Therefore, unless you have a walkout basement, you will need to include some form of egress from each bedroom.

  • What to Do About Common Cabinet Problems

    Updated: Tue, Dec 16, 2014

    Uh oh! There it goes again -- that cabinet door that always bangs annoyingly or the almost-impossible-to-open drawer from Hell. Even if you've gotten used to living with problem cabinets or drawers, cabinet repair should really be a priority on your "Let's Finally Get Organized" list. At best, a non-functional cabinet is an inconvenience. However, if left neglected, it can be a safety hazard to your household members, resulting in anything from pinched fingers caused by an uncooperative kitchen or bathroom drawer all the way to serious injury from a falling cabinet. Here's a checklist of 7 common cabinet problems and their often surprisingly simple solutions. 1. PROBLEM One of your drawers sticks, making it difficult to open

  • Commercial Painting: More than Just Pretty Walls

    Updated: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    If you are a commercial property owner, investor, or manager, you tend to have a lot on your plate when it comes to maintenance. Certainly, you want your building or complex to look its best, but at the same time, it is essential to keep in mind the bottom line. Functionality and productivity are just as important as appearance, sometimes more so. In addition, any refurbishing needs to be done with minimal disruption to your business or tenants. A good commercial painting contractor will help you achieve your goals. Beyond a fresh new appearance and an appealing color scheme, experienced commercial painters can provide a whole range of related services, together with the smallest possible amount of down time and inconvenience.

  • Do's and Don'ts to Brighten a Dark Room

    Updated: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Is there a room in your home that you tend to avoid? Chances are it's lacking in sufficient natural light. A dark room tends to project a gloomy, forbidding feeling, which gives off the message, "Stay away." The good news is, though, that you can turn a depressing room around. Use these decorating do's and don'ts to brighten up your dark room. Don't despair. Do take inventory of the room and see exactly what's causing the dark feeling. Don't neglect a room because of its dimness.   Do lighten up the room's "mood" by decluttering and cleaning till it shines. Don't paint the walls a stark white to try to make the space appear brighter. Do use paint to prettify, but add a drop of egg yolk or other wa

  • How to Find a Roof Leak (So You Can Get it Repaired!)

    Updated: Sun, Dec 14, 2014

    Even a small roof leak can result in serious damage to your home's structure, as well as wasting substantial amounts of water. What's more, it may lead to mold growth, which is hazardous to human health. Find the source of your leaky roof and take care of the necessary roof leak repair fast before it ends up costing you a bundle of cash and aggravation. Signs of a Leak The sound or sight of dripping water is an obvious indication of a trouble spot. However, it may not be quite that easy to detect. If you have any hint of a leak in your roof, you might need to do some in-depth investigative work. Suspicious signs include a ceiling, wall, or floor which has wet, stained, or discolored patches; unexplained bulges; or peeling pai

  • Garden Hardscape that Makes Magic in Your Yard

    Updated: Wed, Dec 10, 2014

    Planning your garden? Don't forget to plan for your hardscape as well. Hardscape is the inorganic part of the garden or yard, such as walkways and pergolas. Put a strong emphasis on "part of the garden"; any hardscaping should be carefully planned to integrate with your plantings and your house. Create a flow by combining two or more hardscape features to turn your yard into a truly magical place. Imagine strolling a rustic cobblestone path that leads to the surprise of a charming pergola ... or emerging from your backyard swimming pool just in time to grill supper on the adjacent patio. Design Traditionally, hardscape has meant non-living outdoor decor made of masonry and wood. However, these days that definition is expandin

  • Butcher Block Countertops: How Do They Hold Up?

    Updated: Tue, Dec 9, 2014

    Who else loves the look of brand new butcher block countertops? The natural wood gives a rich, cozy feel to a kitchen. But I've always wondered how these beauties hold up over time. Among folks who actually installed butcher block counters in their home, opinions tend to be sharply divided. After several years of heavy use, some call them a "disaster" while others have grown to love them even more over time. This polarization of opinion is related a number of factors: installation, type of surface treatment, and the level of care their owners are prepared to lavish on them. What People Like About Butcher Block Countertops Appearance is mentioned again and again as an enormous advantage of butcher block countertops.

  • The Secrets of Smooth, Even Drywall Finish

    Updated: Tue, Dec 9, 2014

    Drywall installation can be described with those "three little words" that mean so much to homeowners in the midst of remodeling: quick, easy, and inexpensive. Also known as wallboard, plasterboard, Gyproc, or Sheetrock (although these last two are really trademarks), drywall consists of a layer of gypsum plaster enclosed by two mats made of fiberglass or heavy paper. Compared to concrete construction, panels formed in this way are lightweight and simple to use as non-load-bearing interior walls. They can be attached to ceiling joists or wall studs, using screws, nails, or even glue. For good looks, drywall does require a finishing process before painting. Let's take a look at what that entails.

  • Use a Patio Planter to Grow Fresher, Easier Veggies

    Updated: Mon, Dec 8, 2014

    Who says you can't grow vegetables on a concrete patio? When you use a raised container, it's as easy as spinach pie -- even easier, in fact, than conventional veggie gardening. You can either buy a patio planter readymade or build it as a DIY project. Besides the way it simplifies planting, there are lots of other advantages to this type of patio gardening. Advantages of Raised Bed Patio Planting Planters may be purchased or constructed in a wide array of sizes and heights to suit your outdoor space. They can even come with lockable casters, enabling you to wheel your veggies around and catch the sunshine. This type of planter allows you super-easy access to your vegetable garden from the house.

  • 15 Facts About Ants and How to Keep Them at Bay

    Updated: Sun, Dec 7, 2014

    1. Ants are related to wasps and bees (as evidenced by their trim abdomens, or "wasp waists"). All of these creatures are members of the insect order Hymenoptera. 2. Although human beings tend to look down on them, ants are actually organized into a sophisticated society, which researchers study as a model of cooperation. 3. Ants are to be found almost everywhere on the planet, with the exception of Antarctica and a few isolated islands. In some places, they comprise as much as one quarter of the land animal biomass. 4. All ants hatch from eggs, which are laid by the queen of their colony. These eggs do not require fertilization in order to hatch. If they are fertilized, they will result in female (worker) ants. Unferti

  • How to Fix Common Aluminum and Steel Fence Problems

    Updated: Sun, Dec 7, 2014

    Aluminum and steel fences are famous for their long life expectancy. Under normal circumstances, well-maintained metal fencing can last 30 years or more. However, unusually harsh weather, heavy use, or shifting of the ground may cause unexpected damage. How can you repair common problems? When will replacing your fence be the best option? Causes of Damage to Metal Fences Natural movement of the soil could cause steel or aluminum fencing to shift position over the course of several years, resulting in sags and droops that not only look unattractive, but may also interfere with proper functioning. Severe weather such as hurricanes, windstorms, or lightning can batter or uproot sections of your fence, especially one made f

  • The Best Flooring Choice for Your Home

    Updated: Thu, Dec 4, 2014

    House decor is a very personal topic. Each family has its own tastes and priorities when it comes to filling their residence with the things that will make life more convenient … and more beautiful. Flooring is no different from other home accessories in this respect. The good news is that these days, DIY home decorators can find flooring solutions that will suit just about everyone. Decide what's important to you in a floor covering and make your choice, armed with the facts on ceramic tile, concrete, hardwood, linoleum, vinyl, and laminate flooring. Durability Vinyl flooring is extremely sturdy and resists staining, fading or discoloration from the sun, wear, and scratching.

  • How a Broken Hinge Can Damage Your Garage Door

    Updated: Thu, Dec 4, 2014

    Small in size though they are, hinges are essential to the proper functioning of your garage door. Should they break or wear out, opening the garage will be difficult, if not impossible. Even worse, broken hinges can cause serious damage to the door itself. Look for signs of deterioration -- and get them fixed -- before you are faced with a major repair bill. What Causes Breakage Your door hinges are subjected to a great deal of stress every time you open or close the garage, and even more so under exceptional circumstances such as someone backing their car into the door. The best type of hinges to cope with this heavy wear and tear over the course of their life are full size and manufactured of heavy steel. They should last

  • 8 DIY Ideas to Put the *Splash* into Backsplash

    Updated: Wed, Dec 3, 2014

    Backsplashes are one of the most exciting home decor features we know. Much more than mere wall protectors, they define your kitchen's style. The right backsplash can even increase the indoor curb appeal of your home. While beautiful tile backsplashes are traditional -- and with good reason -- other materials are making an appearance as well. Here are 8 DIY backsplash installation inspirations from readers of Hometalk. 1. Stick on faux wood flooring Want to add unique appeal to your kitchen without major hassle or expense? This cheap 'n' easy (yet lovely!) plank backsplash by Mom4Real can be crafted from peel-and-stick flooring in less than 90 minutes. Choose a moisture resistant variety made for basement and bathroom

  • What to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Roofer

    Updated: Tue, Dec 2, 2014

    Choosing a commercial roofing contractor is an enormous responsibility for you as a building owner or manager. Whether you are planning to install or replace the roof on a shop, mall, factory, warehouse, office tower, apartment complex, or house of worship, you'll be looking for a reliable professional service. You need a high-performance roofing system that will protect your premises and possibly valuable equipment and inventory as well. What's more, you want your new roof installed on time and within your budget. At this time, it pays to clarify some essential questions and make sure you find the best roofing solution for the job. About the Contractor 1. Is the roofing contractor licensed and insured? 2.