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Monthly Archives: August 2017

DIY Kitchen Makeovers

Having trouble removing old wallpaper in your kitchen? Get a tool called a Paper Tiger that scores the paper, making tiny holes all over. Don’t press too hard with it, though, or you’ll score the wallboard underneath, too. Then spray on a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part fabric softener on the walls. Let it soak for a few minutes then just peel the paper off. Repeat as required.

When picking a colour for your Corian or Granite countertops, avoid darker solid colours. Dust, food crumbs fingerprints, grease stains, water stains, will all show up more prominently and make frequent cleaning mandatory. Lighter colours, while less dramatic, are more practical.

A good flooring material for the kitchen is porcelain tile with non-slip texturing. You’ll want to use a darker grout colour, which will show less dirt build-up. Porcelain tile holds up well over the years and cleans up easy.

For lighting, you should locate the brightest lights directly over the main countertop area and/or kitchen island. The reason for this is to prevent any shadows on you kitchen work surfaces. Show off those countertops to highlight their beauty. Accent lights can be located under cabinets, against walls, or other areas. Additional lighting can be added in larger kitchen spaces with wall sconces.

Remove Ceramic Tiles

Before starting a removal job, decide whether you have anything there worth salvaging. It could be that while you want to redecorate the shower stall, that tile would like great on the wall in the laundry room. And it can be used over again, as long as you are careful in removing it. Ceramic tile has lots of compression strength, but very little tensile strength. That means you can put weight on it, but to twist or bend the piece, will likely break it.

First, you’ll need to remove any trim that covers the edges of the tiles. Next, remove all the grout you can between the tiles. They’re glued to your wall or floor, so nothing is going to fall off when you do this. But the grout must be removed, because in attaching them all together, it’s like creating one giant sheet of ceramic, and it will be just as brittle as a single tile. So forcing one tile, can end up breaking a number of them.

Once the grout is cleaned away, take a very thin putty knife and start by working a corner under the edge of one tile. Work along the top, gradually inserting more of the blade as you go. You can use a hammer to gently tap the handle of the knife to help insert it. When the blade is about halfway down the back of the tile, you can exert slow, upward pressure, which should pop the tile off.

If you plan to re-use the tile, the backs will need to be cleaned, either with an adhesive remover, or by grinding, if they were applied with thinset.

Painting Wall Murals

Properly Prepare Your Site for Painting

The first step is to properly prepare your site. Painting wall murals is just like any other painting project. To do it right, pull out the masking tape and drop cloths. Many people also apply a fresh coat of paint to the room before painting wall murals. Use a satin finish or eggshell finish latex wall paint for the best sheen and chose a color that will look great with your mural. If you are not putting on a fresh coat of paint, make sure the wall surface is completely clean to ensure the best adhesion. Use a product specially formulated for cleaning walls for best results.

Choose the Right Paint

You may read elsewhere that oil-based paints are the way to go when painting wall murals. If you are a professional muralist, that statement is probably true. However, if you’re just an average homeowner that wants to do something creative and original with your home, acrylic paints are actually your best option. Acrylic paints are quick drying and water soluble. They are very similar to latex wall paints, but can be purchased in smaller sizes. You can find acrylic paints at your local hobby store or even the craft section of your local Wal-Mart.

Do you have some latex wall paint left over from another project? If you want to use it, go ahead! Latex wall paints and acrylic craft paints are compatible products and can by used interchangeably when painting murals.

Choose the Right Brushes

As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to raid your son’s crayon box for the paintbrush that came with his watercolor set. However, a quick trip to the craft store may leave you scratching your head. There are so many options when it comes to paintbrushes. How do you pick the right one for your project?

Paintbrushes are made with natural animal hair, synthetic fibers, or a combination of both. The best brushes for use with acrylic paints are high quality synthetic brushes. The heads on brushes also come in many different shapes and sizes. For painting wall murals, you will need more than one type of brush. At a minimum, you should purchase a wide, flat brush for painting the large areas of your mural and a round paintbrush for adding details and outlining images.

Applying Varnish

When painting wall murals, the last step is to protect your finished masterpiece. After all, you want it to look great for many years to come, right? If your mural is located in a high traffic area, such as an entryway or busy hallway, it is especially important that you seal it with a water-based varnish.

Guide to Fence Building

There are a lot of reasons one might have to build the fence, and these considerations control the decision as to what type of fence to build and the materials that will be used in its construction. Privacy is a prime consideration, and usually leads to a desire for a high and forbidding type of material selection. It is important to control this a bit. You do not want to spoil any possible views by making the fence too high.

It is also true that thieves are not very fond of fences and the presence of a fence can protect you from unwanted access to your property, but when a fence is too high it provides a sanctuary for them. Once they are inside the fence, they are shielded from view.

When the major purpose for the fence is to provide a pen for a pet, and privacy is not a major concern, this would suggest a smaller and more open type of fencing. Chain link would get the nod here. It might also be possible that the fence has a limited purpose beyond the closing in of the entire property. A fence around a garden is an example of this. When this is the case, a good choice might be vinyl fencing. This is a newer and very versatile fencing material.

Once the decision is made as to the type of fence, and the material is selected, it is a good idea to take a good look at the code requirements for the area where you reside. Codes vary widely from locale to locale, and you need to make sure you have this area covered before you begin. It is also a good idea to have a survey of the property done prior to getting started. Nothing ruins a day more than finding out your new vinyl fence is two feet onto your neighbor’s property.

When the preliminary matters are all tended to, it is time to begin the actual construction process. It is pretty much accepted that you are going to have to dig some holes. In fact, the digging of the holes, and the placing of poles constitutes the major labor output of this project. A good post hole digger, an item that can be easily rented, is a necessity here. The placement and distance between poles is going to depend on the type of fence and the building material selected. When the fence is going to be wood, and you are planning on doing the carpentry yourself, you have a little more leeway in the hole placements. The use of chain link, or the very popular and versatile vinyl fencing material, or the use of precut and prepared lumber dictates the placement, and you should be sure to follow the recommendations of the supplier.

Once the holes are dug, and the poles firmly planted, it is a simple matter of attaching the rails, nailing together the posts, or installing the chain link. Then you can sit back and enjoy your privacy, and perhaps your security, and certainly your new and improved relations with your neighbors.