- By Steve Thompson | Yahoo! Contributor Network | Mon, Nov 5, 2012 1:29 PM EST | Comments
Bathroom and kitchen floors, by necessity, are usually covered with tile or laminate. This makes them easier to clean, especially after spills, and reduces damage in the event of an overflowing bathtub or leaking refrigerator. While tile might be the most appropriate choice, however, it is also the coldest. This is why many homeowners opt to install heated floors.
Heated or radiant floors are generally installed under tile, stone, or laminate, though there are also a few systems that work underneath carpet. If you plan to install heated floors in your kitchen or bathroom, it is important to first understand the process.
1. Exposing the Floor
Installing heated floors requires you to first expose the subfloor, which might currently be hidden under carpet, tile, stone, or wood. Keep in mind that the concrete subfloor might cause cracks because it expands and contracts based on changes in temperature. For this reason, homeowners often elect to spread a crack-suppression membra...Read More »
- By Carol Bengle Gilbert | Yahoo! Contributor Network | Mon, Nov 5, 2012 1:29 PM EST | Comments
A home recycling center is an effective tool for keeping your recyclables out of the trash. That means it needs to be convenient and easy to use.
Before Getting Started
Before setting up a home recycling center, Iowa State University suggests taking a look at local regulations to find out what your recycling facility will and will not accept. Learn their mandates for sorting, cleaning, and containing the recyclables you turn in.
Choosing Primary Location
Where should you put your home recycling center? That depends.
Adequate space is critical if you don't want recyclables spilling onto the floor or being tossed in the trash once the recycling area is at capacity. In planning the amount of space you'll need, consider the average person recycles 1.5 pounds per day, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
How often the recyclables will go out - whether you have curbside service or drive them to a plant - is another factor relevant to how...Read More »
- ConsumerReports.org | Thu, Nov 1, 2012 4:00 PM EDT | Comments
If you went shopping for a Toro snow blower last winter, yours was a single-stage model or a significantly larger and more expensive two-stage model with a 28-inch or larger auger. To find a more compact two-stage machine, which adds an impeller to the usual auger, you had to look to other manufacturers. But at the recent Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+Expo), a trade show for outdoor power equipment and related gear, Toro showed us three new models that fill the gap.
Among the many new Toro products on display at GIE+Expo, the company showed three gasoline-powered models in the Power Max series. (The former, higher-end Power Max series has been renamed the Power Max HD.) To keep the price of even the highest-end model at $1,000 or below, the three have one-piece frames that cost less to manufacture but, the company said, offer more strength and better support the auger housing. In place of shear pins, which break to protect the transmission in case the machine is ove...Read More »
- ConsumerReports.org | Thu, Nov 1, 2012 6:15 PM EDT | Comments
Homeowners in the dozen or so states affected by Superstorm Sandy are starting to get their lives in order. Unfortunately, for many people that means cleaning up a property littered with myriad branches, sticks, and other detritus thrown about by the storm. If you're considering buying a chain saw, you're not alone: Chain-saw sales spiked 16 percent last year following multiple storms such as tornadoes, Hurricane Irene, and the freak Halloween nor'easter. The 11 models in Consumer Reports tests range in price from $80 to $440.
While our chain saw tests aren't brand new, the results are current because this product category turns over less frequently than others—meaning that plenty of the models in our Ratings are still readily available in stores. For example:
- Husqvarna 316, $220.
- Poulan Pro 400E, $110.
- Stihl MSE 180 C-BQ, $440.
- Stihl MSE 140 C-BQ, $330.
- Poulan ES350, $80.
- Stihl MS 180 C-BE, $230.
- Echo CS-370-16, $270.
- Stihl MS 250 C-BE, $330.
- Poulan Pro P
- Y! Homes | Project Center | Wed, Oct 3, 2012 12:36 PM EDT | Comments
We've all seen photos and video of the elaborate home theaters in multi-million dollar homes. They're furnished with plush theater-style seating, state-of-the-art projection equipment and high-end sound systems. While you might not have the budget to dump $50,000 to $100,000 into your own home theater, you can still enjoy a movie in style at home with these helpful hints.
First, figure out where you plan to set up your home theater. A finished basement is the ideal place — the less light, the better. A den, unused bedroom or even your formal living room can also easily be converted into your personal movie theater. Keep in mind that if you're using your living room you may need to add a door to keep the sound in the room.
Once you've decided on the room you plan to use, it's time to outfit your entertainment space. In addition to a nice big flat-screen TV (and maybe a wireless surround sound system), every fully functioning home theater needs the following features.
Room-darkening sha...Read More »
- Ilyce R. Glink | Y! Homes | Project Center | Wed, Oct 3, 2012 12:36 PM EDT | Comments
To give your personal hideaway some pizazz without a ton of work, dress up your windows with these easy DIY window treatments. Change fabric or designs to match your current décor, showcase a beautiful view (or hide a bad one) and reflect your personality.
With a coat of paint, some new throw pillows and one of these gorgeous window treatments, your bedroom will feel like a spa in no time. Once you've gotten these under your belt, try these DIY draperies in other rooms of your house.
Bring in natural elements. To make your room feel like a woodsy retreat, use natural elements like wood, leaves and grasses in your décor. Instead of using a plain curtain rod to hang your drapery, opt instead to hang panels from an old branch. Head out to your yard to find a medium sized branch, or purchase a decorative one at a home store. Try to find some...Read More »
- Ilyce R. Glink | Y! Homes | Project Center | Wed, Sep 5, 2012 9:22 PM EDT | Comments
Kippie Leland of Leland Interiors used Schumacher's Ming Cherry Blossom wallpaper in aqua in this bath.
Love it or hate it, wallpaper is back.
But these new designs aren't your grandmother's wallpaper. Gone are the pasty old flower patterns and shiny stripes that more closely resemble wrapping paper than something you'd want to put up on your walls.
"In the last three or four years you've seen a resurgence of wallpaper," said Kippie Leland, designer and owner of Leland Interiors. "People are kind of tired of plain walls and they're ready for more pattern. So you're seeing some of the old traditional patterns being re-interpreted in either a more simple pattern or a more updated color palette that looks fresh."
Today's wallpapers feature crisp, modern trellis patterns, energize a demure damask pattern with bright pinks and oranges, add texture and interest to a scroll pattern through beading and velvet, or offer detailed mosaic tile designs.
Designers have long utilized wallpaper as a way to bring life to a room and create artistic interest where there otherwise would have been a matte,...Read More »
- Ilyce R. Glink | Y! Homes | Project Center | Wed, Sep 5, 2012 9:32 PM EDT | Comments
If you're like a lot families, you rarely use your living room. A few times a year, generally around the holidays, is when you living room might get a work out. But generally it sits empty while you and the kids congregate in the family room or den.
Instead of letting your living room collect dust, turn it into a fun space you and the whole family can enjoy. Or, if you need a place to get away, convert your living room into a relaxing retreat where you can unwind.
Here are some fun design options for taking your living room from stuffy and formal to warm and inviting:
... Family-friendly library. This easy conversion makes your living room a great place to read books, help your kids with their homework, play games and enjoy some quality family time. Paint a neutral gray or cream on the walls, hangs some shelves and fill them with books and other family mementos. The shelving you choose depends on your aesthetic. For a more classic library look, choose one wall and build or buy shelving uniRead More »
- Y! Homes | Project Center | Wed, Sep 19, 2012 2:23 PM EDT | Comments
It's a fact: summer is nearing its end and fall is on the way. Although it's hard to think about prepping your home for winter while it's still 90 degrees, getting your house and yard ready for the cold in the fall can save you lots of money in the spring. Improperly winterizing some of your big hardscape investments like your deck, landscaping and pool could mean big losses long term.
When the leaves start to change colors, it's crunch time. To avoid last-minute scrambling, make a list of all the things you'll need to check on before cold weather hits. Get a handle on all the jobs you'll need to tackle this fall, and decide what you feel comfortable handling yourself — and where you need to call in a professional.
Getting your deck cold-weather ready. This is one job that you can do yourself, provided your deck isn't completely falling apart. It's a lot of work, but it will save you a lot of money and ensure you will be able to use your deck again at the first sign of warm weather.
B...Read More »
What you need in your shed depends on what you plan to use it for. If you're using it as …
… a DIY project area: Make sure you have plenty of space to work. Keep your crafting essentials off the floor and neatly organized by hanging them on a wall. Use a magnetic knife holder — the kind found in kitchens — to hold things like paintbrushes and scissors.
Instead of building shelves, repurpose old milk crates. Hang them on the wall and stash twine, extra tools and other odds-and-ends inside. If you don't have milk or wooden crates handy, you can purchase wire baskets for a minimal cost.
To create the perfect workspace, scour garage sales and Craigslist for used desks or tables. There's no need to buy...Read More »
Starting early with lawn care is the best way to get results. Act just before spring or right at the beginning of the season to provide your lawn with the foundation it needs for a lush, green cover. The following tips can be a great help:
Tools and Materials
Lawn mower Lime or sulfur amendment Lawn fertilizer Sprinkler system Weed killer or herbicide
Step 1. Boost overall soil health. Spring is an excellent time to check soil health. If your lawn is compacted, aerating it will help. The holes created by the aerator allow air and water to reach roots and fertilizers to settle in. Test your soil to determine its nutrient levels and acidity/alkalinity (pH) level so you know what to add. All soils benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as compost.
Spreading a thin layer over your entire lawn will enhance your soil’s ecosystem, which in turn will support healthy grasses. Also, if your soil pH is too acidic, apply lime to raise the pH or “sweeten” it; use sulfur to ...Read More »
Sinks get clogged and backed up when soap, hair and grease build up and clog the trap or the drain line. When that happens, don't reach for the drain cleaner. Instead, try to clear the drain by cleaning gunk off the sink stopper or plunging the sink.
Tools and Materials
Pliers Plunger Rag
Step 1. Take the stopper out of the sink. Some pop-up stoppers lift out directly; others turn counterclockwise. Some older stoppers have a pivot rod that has to be removed. Under the sink, you'll see a locking nut where the rod enters the drain pipe. Remove the nut, and pull the rod out.
Step 2. Stuff a wet rag in the sink overflow opening. This prevents air from escaping as you work with the plunger. Place the plunger cup over the drain opening, and run enough water to cover the rubber cup. Move the plunger up and down rapidly to clear the clog.
...Read More »
You can fix minor holes and tears in window screening with glue, an awl, metal thread and pre-manufactured patches. A fiberglass screen can be fixed by sewing a patch over the hole. Typically, you won't have to remove the screen window unit to make this repair.
Repairing a metal screen with a patch means removing the screen window unit to do so.
Tools and Materials
Scissors Large sewing needle Metal snips Small pieces of screening for patches
Step 1. Repair holes in plastic or fiberglass screens by sewing a screen patch over the hole. Pull "threads" from the patch material. Small holes can sometimes be closed with waterproof glue. Use it sparingly, and wipe away any drips before the glue hardens.
Step 2. For holes in metal mesh, pull cross threads from the patch's edges. Bend the wires, push them through the mesh around the hole, and crimp the ends. Smaller holes can often be fixed by reshaping the mesh with a toothpick or a straightened paper clip.
...Read More »
Mildew stains often make an appearance in damp locations, such as bathrooms and basements. Before painting, you'll need to eliminate this black, speckled growth to make sure new coats of paint adhere well.
Tools and Materials
Sponge Bucket Sandpaper Rubber gloves Eye protection Drop cloth
TSP solution Bleach solution
Step 1. Test the stains by washing with some warm water and mild detergent. Ordinary stains will wash out, but mildew won't. If the stains don't wash out, gently sand them out with 150-grit sandpaper.
Step 2. Put on some rubber gloves and eye protection before you wash walls with bleach, which will kill the mildew spores. After the bleach treatment, wash mildew away with some TSP solution or a phosphate-free substitute, then rinse the area with clear water. Allow the wall to completely dry.
...Read More »
You've worked hard to keep your home in top shape, inside and out. But don't forget to renew the driveway—often the last (or sometimes forgotten) piece to a picture-perfect property. The best time to repair your driveway is summer and early fall, while the hot sun is working its hardest. (Newly paved driveways need to cure 1 year prior to sealing).
Most of the time you spend will be preparing the driveway and waiting patiently. Allot 3 days from start to finish for this project. Make sure the forecast calls for sun and warm temperatures, above 60 degrees. (Make sure at night it's above 55 degrees, as the sealer will not adhere if it's below that.)
Tools and Materials
Asphalt crack filler Asphalt patch mix Shovel or spade Stirring stick Tamping tool Gloves Wire brush Oil spot primer Driveway cleaner Driveway sealer Chisel or screwdriver Push broom Driveway squeegee Trowel Hammer Shop vacuum Lawn edging tool
Garden hose with spray nozzle
Step 1. Clean your ...Read More »
It's always a great time to get organized, and what better place to start than the kitchen? Visit the Home Depot to get great storage solutions in a range of seasonal colors. We have tons of affordable organizational items to meet all your needs.
With home storage solutions such as kitchen shelving, pantry organizers (how about a new wine rack?) and specialized storage containers, getting your ducks (dishes, pots and pans) in a row is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here are a few storage ideas to get you started:
Tools and Materials
Hammer Measuring tape Screws and nails Screwdriver Latch boxes Fabric drawers Hanging shelf
Wire cabinet organizer Shelving storage unit Broom and mop holder
Step 1. Out with the old. The first step toward organized living is to remove clutter. Evaluate your kitchen cabinet-by-cabinet and take stock of the items you regularly use. Carefully package and store seasonal items in storage containers such as stackable latch boxes or stylish fabric ...Read More »
... How do you bring together home decorating elements to truly express and reflect your personality? How do you decide on the right color for the dining room walls, the right molding and trim for the study, the curtains for the bedroom windows, or the perfect floor covering for your living room? After you've put the pieces together, how can you be sure you'll like living in what you've worked so hard to create?Read More »
By asking yourself these questions, you're doing what designers or decorators do as they begin to formulate a plan for a client. Decorating pros know following a rigid set of rules doesn't work; the key lies in combining decorative elements and styles best suited for the setting and the homeowner's preferences.
Most decorating schemes are a mix of styles. Yet it's still important to know the basic elements of each style as well as the keys to selecting appropriate color so you can begin creating a design that reflects your personal taste and makes good use of the objects you love.
Hardwood floors typically last for the life of a home, but eventually they will need refinishing or refurbishing.
If the floors are simply dirty from years of use but aren't worn through to bare wood, you can probably clean them with household detergent and elbow grease, or you can rent a floor-buffing machine with an abrasive pad. After all the dirt and wax is removed you can then apply a new finish coat.
If your floors are in bad shape, you can often sand them back to their original state. If the floor is reasonably flat and free of dips and gouges, all you need to do is remove the finish with a vibrating sander. Vibrating sanders work on the same principle as handheld finishing sanders: The machine's flat pad with sandpaper vibrates and oscillates to remove the old finish.
Solid wood-strip floors can be sanded and refinished several times. Engineered wood floors, however, are made from laminated wood products and can be sanded only once and only with great ca...Read More »
Sometimes you don't want to lay a whole new floor, but just replace a tile or two in the old one. Here's how to do it, step by step. Make sure you have the proper tools and safety gear and remember to buy cold chisels with plastic safety handles to protect your hand from misplaced hammer blows.
Tools and Materials
Ceramic tile Thinset mortar Grout Grout saw Metal straightedge Scoring tool Safety glasses Center punch Cold chisel Hammer Bricklayer's chisel Notched trowel Grout bag
Step 1. Remove the grout. Grout locks a tile in place, making it harder to remove and increasing your chances of damaging a neighboring tile. Remove the grout from around the tile with a grout saw or rotary tool, cutting as deeply as you possibly can.
Step 2. Score the old tile. Put a straightedge across one of the diagonals. Guide a scoring tool along the straightedge, scratching a line in the tile. Repeat until the line is at least 1/16 inch deep. Repeat on the other diagonal.
Step 3. Break up the old tile. P...Read More »
... Stripping furniture to the bare wood is necessary only when applying a new wood finish. Paint will cover most surfaces if they are properly scraped, cleaned and sanded before application. Although stripping away the old finish is a messy process, it's necessary for a professional result.Read More »
Strippers are divided into paste and liquid types. Paste strippers are thick and gooey and cling to vertical surfaces as well as nooks and crannies on carved or turned parts of furniture. They're great for stripping thick layers of finish equally. More difficult to apply evenly, liquid strippers work well to remove thin finishes as well as small parts that can be dipped. After using a paste stripper to remove most of the finish, use a liquid stripper to remove remaining finish in hard to reach spots.
Products labeled “furniture refinishers" and “restorers" are designed to remove finishes along with steel wool. They require more elbow grease and they work well on finishes that are not heavily built up.