Archive for November, 2010

Bathroom Tile Walls

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

598538105_a1904c7df8_tThere are plenty of different types of wall coverings for bathrooms. But tile has definitely stood the test of time for its versatility and attractive finish. You can tile the area around the tub, put in a backsplash behind the sink, or cover the whole wall with tile. It all depends on the effect you want and how much time/money you are ready spend.

Getting It Right

An enormous range of sizes are available, but walls generally feature smaller tiles than floors. If you can find tiles that will fit edge to edge across a wall exactly, that’s perfect. If that’s not possible, a larger tile size will usually look better cut in half than a small tile. If you do use very small tiles, pick ones that come fixed in a matrix in prefabricated sections. This makes installation faster and more accurate.

Tips & Know How

  • Dry surfaces are required. Give the entire bathroom space time to dry out completely before starting. After the project is completed, you will need to allow another 48 hours of drying time.
  • Include proper spacing between the tiles for grout during the initial measuring process.
  • Insert spacers to help keep the tile in alignment while the adhesives dry. These are especially important for wall tiles because gravity tends to make them shift downward.
  • Use a good grout sealer as a final step once everything else has been cleaned up and dried out.

Cleanup After Roofing Repair

Friday, November 26th, 2010

roofing-debrisA complete cleaning up after roofing repair is absolutely necessary for safety reasons and to make your property tidy again. A professional who does the repair for you should perform this service as part of the contract. You should sign off on their work only after you have inspected your yard to make sure they did a thorough job. It’s not unreasonable for you to ask them to check the yard one more time for nails before they leave.

What about DIY Roofing?

If the repair is a do-it-yourself project, you’ll need to really know what to look for when you do the cleanup. Loose shingles and packing materials are the easy things to spot and pickup. 

Look on top of the roof too. Some items such as tools or leftover materials might be left in places where they can subsequently be moved by wind and rain. These can damage the repair job that you just completed. In addition they can clog or damage your gutter system. Speaking of which, remember to check the gutters. Nails can easily find their way there during construction or repair work. From there they can end up near downspouts on the lawn below.

Check for nails on the lawn anywhere near the edge of the roof. Most will fall within a few feet of the edge, but you need to look six to ten feet out to make sure. This is especially true for a multiple story home. If there are slopes in the landscape or paving, then loose items can travel even further. Any leftover materials strewn out on the grass can damage your lawn equipment. Nails can also turn into dangerous projectiles if you hit them with a mower or weedeater.

You can usually purchase or rent a magnetic sweep from a home improvement store. This tool will help you locate nails more easily and effectively than searching visually.

Wasps and Gutter Maintenance

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

wasp-nestGutters with guards are often touted as being basically maintenance free. While they may keep out some debris, they don’t protect against colonization by social wasps that prefer secluded areas to build their nests. You should inspect your gutters regularly and be on the lookout for any wasp activity in the vicinity of your roof.

European paper wasps are the most likely species you will encounter when cleaning your gutters. These insects typically only become aggressive and sting when their nests are disturbed. However, a home owner cannot ignore gutter maintenance to avoid the danger posed by wasps. A large paper wasp nest can easily clog the gutter system and make it basically useless. Also, one nest can turn into many in a fairly short period of time when the population is left unchecked. Young queens will build new nests as soon as they have the opportunity and will look for protected places to hibernate over the winter.

Controlling Social Wasps

Inspection for paper wasps is particularly important during the spring and autumn. The fall months are when the male drones are raised and the entire colony becomes easily agitated. These males fertilize numerous female queens who will then start building nests the next spring. The only effective method to control these pests is to spray a colony with wasp killer as soon as you detect the nest.

Spraying at dawn or dusk is most likely to kill the whole nest’s population. Wear heavy protective clothing and place the ladder as far as possible from the site you are spraying while still being in range to spray accurately. You don’t want the wasps swarming around you and causing you to lose your balance in a panic. After the nest’s population is completely eradicated, you may be able to use a coat hanger to detach the nest. If the nest is small enough, you can then use a hose to wash it through the downspout. Otherwise, you will have to disassemble that section of gutter to remove the nest.

Creating A Tuscan Effect In Your Kitchen

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

wall textureIf you love the old fashioned look of Italian interior design, you may want to add this motif to your home. Kitchens are an ideal location for this style of décor. Tuscan texture for the kitchen or dining area is a characteristic wall finish that cannot be replicated using wallpaper. There are two methods you can use to create this effect. Both require a bit of artistic flair to pull off properly.

Simulated Mudding

Apply a much thicker layer of mud or joint compound (tapping mud) than normal over the sheetrock. This forms rough and random angular patterns over the entire wall surface. Randomness is the key to success.

Don’t worry about any so called mistakes as you apply the mud on the wall with a trowel. Any imperfection actually adds beauty to the surface. Try to create some sort of balance and consistency over the entire wall’s surface, but don’t get too detailed. Just slap it on.

Apply a light colored latex paint over the mud with a rectangular roller. Don’t press down too hard. Let the paint roller go where it wants to. Don’t work the paint into all the crevices created by the mud. Let it dry.

Use a lint free rag to apply a heavy layer of oil based stain over the wall. Then use a second lint free rag to wipe off the excess.

Faux Color Painting

Faux paint techniques create a similar visual effect over an initially smooth sheetrock surface. Sand the wall surface completely smooth. Use a W pattern to apply a base color of latex paint. Let it dry and do a second layer with the same base.

Highlight the wall with a mixture of a small amount of white gloss paint and a dark colored latex paint (in the same color family as the base paint). This combination creates a textured appearance similar to the mud. Do not cover the original coat completely; let some of the base paint show through.

Another dark color of paint can be used to create an additional layer of highlights over this surface. Load only the tip of the brush and wipe off any excess before applying the paint.

Use a damp rag to lightly lift up the paint in a tapping kind of motion. This creates additional texture. You can leave this step out or do additional one of wiping off the paint with a different rag. It’s your choice. Success depends on drying times and how fast you work.

Instant Kitchen Makeover: Making Grout Look New

Friday, November 19th, 2010

When tile grout in the kitchen begins to get grungy and nasty, most of the grime is composed of dirt, oils, and mashed food particles. Sometimes a bit of mildew will also grow on the grout if the conditions are moist enough. This is both unsightly and unsanitary. Even grout that is properly 4597911831_0fd299b3c4_tsealed can start looking old and dirty after a while. However, kitchens with tiles floors can look like new again if the grout is spotless. Mopping the floors doesn’t usually accomplish this goal. These surfaces must be rinsed to get rid of any soap or cleaning agent used. If any detergents are left behind, these will attract more dirt and grime and trap it in the grout over a short period of time.

  • Regularly sweep or vacuum any loose crud. Clean hard to reach corners, behind cupboards, underneath refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers. Tiny food particles can attract roaches and rodents that will leave behind feces. These disgusting substances can be inadvertently mashed into the grout.
  • Use a heavy duty plastic scrub brush to clean the grout. An old toothbrush is not stiff enough. Do not use a wire brush. The metal bristles can damage the grout and create additional problems.
  • Common tile cleaners often work well enough as long as you are willing to scrub. Try the least harsh products first and then switch incrementally to the more caustic ones as needed. Hydrogen peroxide or bleach may do a good job removing stains but can ruin colored grout. Do not mix chemicals (it’s dangerous).
  • Use a squeegee to help rinse the floor. Water based vacuums and floor cleaning machines can sometimes be used to get rid of most of the dirty water. Rinse twice for best results.