How to Change an Air Conditioning Filter

9e7c34ccfc469bb38c72197014ca0a43The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You’d be amazed how much builds up on there in a very short amount of time. Just think about the air quality in your area and how much grim can accumulate on your floors, countertop and appliances if you didn’t clean the filter for a month… That’s how much debris is clogging your air filter, and mush more if you haven’t remembered to change the AC filter in a while. Don’t know how to change your AC filter? Don’t fret or look anywhere else. Here are 5 simple (and quick) steps to change your AC filter.

  1. Turn off the Power: This is important for two reasons. First, there is your safety. Don’t risk touching live voltage. The second is the safety of your equipment. If the unit is still running while you’re removing a clogged filter, dust and debris can get sucked in the unit. It’s important that you switch off power at the unit itself, and also at the circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the Old Filter: Simply slide it out of the slot that holds it in place.
  3. Check the Condition: Once you’ve taken the filter out, check the condition. Does it look clogged with dirt and dust? If you hold it up to the light, you probably can’t see much light coming through. This filter needs to be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter that you are using. Even if it’s been in use for less than the time recommended by the manufacturer, replace it anyway. Many factors can impact how fast your filters get clogged.
  4. Clean the Filter or Grab a New One: Are you using disposable filters or reusable ones? A disposable filter typically has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface. A permanent, reusable filter is made of a more sturdy material with a metal frame and a special coating to make it washable. If you’re cleaning a reusable one, check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing. You’ll probably just need to rinse with water and let it dry completely. Or in some cases, you can just vacuum away the dust.
  5. Insert the New or Cleaned Filter: Now you just need to put it back in the right way. An arrow on the filter’s frame shows you the direction that air should flow through the filter, which is always away from the return air duct and toward that air handler mechanism. When you insert the filter back in the housing, make sure that arrow points away from the return and toward the air handler.

See, wasn’t that easy? Now that you know how to change an AC filter, set a reminder for yourself so you remember to do it every month. And, don’t forget about your furnace if its filters are separate from your air conditioner.

How to Install a Chandelier

3f4ba329e3c54f45d70b4c9ecabfa8efA chandelier helps bring your entire kitchen and dining room together. It becomes the main source of light for the dining room. Many family dinners, laughs, and memories will be had under this fixture. Choosing a chandelier is, of course, a hard choice. However, installing that chandelier does not have to be as hard as choosing it. Follow these handy steps to install the chandelier of your dreams to complete the dining room you’ve always wanted.

Step 1: Turn off the power.

Switch off the power to the circuit where the chandelier will be located or unscrew the fuse for the fixture that you are replacing. If the circuits are unlabeled, you may to test them with trial and error until the current fixture turns off.

Step 2: Determine the weight of your new chandelier.

Typical mounting boxes are intended to support no more than 50 pounds (22.7kg). If the chandelier is heavier, you will need to install a fan brace or box that will support the weight of the chandelier.

Step 3: Remove the existing mounting box.

The plastic or metal box should be attached to the ceiling or a brace bar using screws or nails. Remove these with a screwdriver or hammer, and pry the box away from the ceiling.

Step 4: Saw apart the existing brace bar.

If there is a metal bar resting on top of the ceiling, use a close quarter hacksaw to cut it in half. Pull the two pieces through the hole and discard them.

Step 5: If the fixture is between ceiling joists, use a fan brace.

Purchase a fan brace rated to support a higher weight that your chandelier’s; most can support a weight up to 150 pounds *68kg). Put the fan brace through the hole in the ceiling and rotate it so it is resting on top of the ceiling, across the hole. Turn the bar between your fingers to extend its arms until you feel both ends make contact with the ceiling joists. Use a wrench to tighten the brace firmly, but do not put tension on the joists by using excessive force. The spiked ends should dig into the wooden joists, and the rectangular bar should end up with sides parallel to the ceiling.

Step 6: If the fixture is under a ceiling joist, use a pancake style box.

Heavy-duty junction boxes are round metal objects sometimes referred to as “pancake boxes”. Make sure to choose one that is able to support the chandelier’s weight. Mount it to the ceiling joist using only the high weight capacity screws that came in the box.

Step 7: Assemble the chandelier base.

Screw all parts of the chandelier together, except for the canopy that will be attached to the ceiling. Don’t install the light bulbs yet as it will be easier and safer to mount the chandelier without them.

Step 8: Shorten the chain if necessary.

The chandelier may have more chain that you need. Decide how long a chain you would like, then use a pair of heavy pliers to open one of the chain’s links at the chosen point and remove the excess length. The base of the fixture should be at least 30 inches (76cm) above table surfaces.

Step 9: Install a mounting strip to your mounting box.

This small metal bar with holes in it should come with your chandelier, or there may be one already installed. They are also available at hardware stores.

To install a mounting strip, simply screw it into the junction box at the existing screw holes, the placements of which vary with junction box design. Be sure to use screws of suitable size to make a tight connection.

Step 10: Thread the chandelier wires through each section of the chandelier. 

Thread all of the chandelier’s wires through every other chain link. Continue to thread them through the metal canopy the will cover the electrical box, the small chain holder that attaches to the top of the chain, and finally the thin metal nipple which holds the wires together. They should extend fully through the nipple, far enough for you to work with them easily.

Step 11: Mount the chandelier.

In order to attach each of the wires, you will need to have the chandelier stable in place near the ceiling. Either have a strong assistant hold the chandelier in place, or hang the chain or chain holder from a strong hook hanging from the mounting strip.

Step 12: Wrap each bare copper wire around the grounding screw. 

Both the chandelier and your home electrical system should have a bare copper grounding wire. Each of these should be wrapped around the grounding screw attached to your junction box, making sure the two wires are in contact with each other. This screw is often colored green.

Step 13: Strip the ends of the chandelier’s insulated wires. 

Use a wire stripper to remove about 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) of each wire’s insulation, so the bare wire is exposed.

Step 14: Join the neutral wires together.

The neutral wires carry current to the ground in normal use. Find the chandelier wire that has an identifying mark such as a groove, ridge, or lettering. Place the bare end of this wire together with the end of the white-insulated wire coming through the junction box, and twist together with a wire connector.

Step 15: Join the hot wires together. 

These are the wires that carry current to the chandelier. The black insulated ceiling wire should be joined with the insulated chandelier wire with no identifying marks should be connected the same way. Twist the bare ends together with a plastic wire connector.

Step 16: Bolt the chandelier into place. 

After mounting and wiring the chandelier, screw in the bolts or lock nuts to secure it to the ceiling. This process may vary according to your chandelier model, so you may need to read the instructions to locate the attachment points.

Step 17: Test the chandelier. 

Install the bulbs, switch on the power and test the chandelier. If it does not come on, you may have connected the wrong wires. Be sure to switch off the power before attempting to switch the wire connections. Call an electrician if you cannot get the chandelier to work yourself.

 

How to Install a Door Knob

dabe53601cfd8fbd882c5024bb0dde2dDoor knobs may be small, but they hold some incredible power when it comes to opening and shutting a door. Without a door knob, there would be either a hole in the door to allow people to open and close it, or the door would be a swinging-type door, where you push it and it opens, but you can’t control it enough to close it. There does come a time when it is important to change out a door knob. Whether that be when the door knob is out of date, broken, or just needs repaired, follow this step by step guide on how to install a door knob (but keep in mind that all door knobs are slightly different, so why this may work for some door knobs, it may not work for all).

Step 1: Remove the old doorknob

You will only need a Phillips screwdriver for this task. Start by removing the two screws that hold down one side of the old knob into place. For some knobs you will need to remove screws from the other side, too.

Step 2: Pull Knobs Apart

Both knobs should come off along with the plate that covers the hole in the door. A square steel peg that connects the two knobs and slides into a square hole in the latch will most often come out with the knobs.

Step 3: Pull Out the Latch

If the latch stays in, simple slide it out. Some latches will slide out the edge of the door with just a little bit of persuasion. With most, you will have to remove the two screws that attach to the edge of the door.

Step 4: Take off the Strike Plate

Remove the two screws that hold the strike plate into the door frame.

Step 5: Bring Out the Tape Measure

Measure the distance from the center of the big hole in the surface of the door to the edge of the door. This distance, known as backset, typically equals 2-3/8 inches or 2-3/4 inches. Many replacement doorknobs will work with either backset, but be sure your new knob is designed to work with your measurement.

Step 6: Installation

Start the installation by determining the style of the latch plate you need. Depending on the mortise on your door, you might have to swap out the latch’s standard rectangular plate for a round one included in the package. If needed, pry off the standard one with a straight-bladed screwdriver. Then, place the new round plate on the latch.

Step 7: Insert the New Latch

Slide the latch into the edge of the door. If it has a rectangular plate, you’ll need to attach it with the two provided screws.

Step 8: Time for the New Knob

One half of your new door knob will have the square steel peg. Insert that half into the door first, placing the square peg through the latch mechanism.

Step 9: Line Up and Push

Align the other half of the door knob with the square pin and the screw holes.

Step 10: Attach the Knob

Attach the new knob with the two screws included with the knob set. If the new door knob does not cover the screw holes, mortises, or any impressions left by the old hardware, it’s time to break out the wood putty. First, sand down any surface imperfections and fill the screw holes and excess mortise areas with a hardening-type wood putty. You can try touching up the affected areas with stain, clear finish, or paint.

Step 11: Attach the New Plate

Attach the new strike plate to the door frame with the two screws provided If you need to enlarge the mortise for the latch plate or the strike pate, make sure you have a sharp chisel and fresh blade for your box cutter. To enlarge the mortise, first define its outer edges with a box cutter. Then position the chisel to remove the excess material.

Imperfect Walls No More!

fb36668012e0bc5496bbbf13d2f12436Whether you, your family, pets, etc. have damaged your walls, trying to cover up the damage never seems to be an easy task. That’s because old and damaged walls require a special wall painting technique in order to cover up the surface imperfections- be it loose and cracking plaster or gouged and peeling drywall. Wall flaws can be a real eyesore, but drywall installation or replacement is not the best or only solution available. In fact, the right wall painting technique offers you a faster, cheaper, and easier way to handle the problem. One of the following 3 ways will surely work for your situation.

Fix It Up- With Proper Surface Prep:

Even if the walls look really bad to you, chances are they can still be restored and made smooth. Never underestimate the power of a good, thorough surface preparation. Depending on the extent of the damage, some walls may need to be skim coated entirely, to create a new surface. This is a very labor intensive, multi-step process that requires skill and is left better to the professionals if you want really smooth results- arms with some caulk, compound and his tools, and experiences house painting contractor can create what seems like magic and make the surfaces look like new again. After the repairs and surface prep, follow it up with 2 coats of quality flat paint for a velvet-like finish that will help to further blend in any minor imperfections still left, and make them “disappear”.

Cover It Up- With Wall Paint Textures:

If your walls are really ugly and you aren’t married to the idea that they have to be flat and smooth, using a textured pain may be a better alternative to skim coating (you will still need to deeply gouged spots first but you won’t have to make it perfect). With textured wall painting techniques, not only can you hide many surface flaws, but you will also add a decorative value to your home at the same time. And if you have seen some wall texture style and didn’t care much for the look, think again- there are dozens of ways to texture a wall, so no matter what your preferences are, you are bound to find the look you’ll like.

Depending on the technique, materials, and tools used in the process, you can create a mildly, moderately, or heavily textured surface in any color and finish-brushes, wide knifes, whisk brooms, rags, sponges and even your fingers are all great tools to create a unique, one-of-a-kind pattern. You can also use texture stencils to create raised abstract or theme-based designs on the surface, and some people even use their babies’ little hands and feet to leave cute, adorable imprints on the walls.

Play It Up- With Faux Painting Techniques:

What if you could use those unsightly wall flaws to your advantage? Well, with painting techniques, you can! With faux painting, you can deliberately highlight and enhance any surface “defects” and turn them into benefits, where they will now look intentional, and play an important part in creating a lived-in, distressed or antique look and feel. And unless you have some major holes in the walls, you don’t even need to do any repairs to the walls, because then incorporated into a faux finish pattern, all the dents, scratches and uneven spots will actually add to the chic and authenticity of the finish. The best techniques for this purpose are those that use at least 2 colors for an effective play on textures: color-washing, lime-washing, glazing, rubbing, and sponging.

How to Install a Toilet

515bdcea8fe1e93905351d43cb36b9edAre you in need of a toilet replacement, but don’t want to spend the money on buying a new toilet and hiring someone to put it in for you? Fear not, below you will find step-by-step instructions on how to install your new toilet to complete your bathroom.

Step 1: Remove the old toilet

Turn off the water at the shutoff valve located either on the wall or floor behind or beside the toilet. Flush the toilet to ensure that all of the water is drained from the tank and the toilet bowl. If there is any remaining water, use a plunger to force it down the drain line and then remove any remaining water from the tank with a sponge and bucket.

Step 2: Disconnect the supply line:

Use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the supply line. If the line has never been removed or has been connected for an extended amount of time, it might a little harder to loosen at one or both of the connection points. Keep the water pipe secure while trying o lose the supply line at the valve. Do not loosen or damage the water pipe or its connection inside the wall or floor in process of trying to loosen the supply line connection.

Step 3: Lifting the tank and toilet bowl:

Disconnect and remove the tank from the bowl by removing the bolts from the bottom of the tank with an adjustable wrench. The tank bolts travel from inside the toilet tank to below the bowl. Remove the tank by lifting it straight up. If you feel resistance, twist from side to side as you lift.

Step 4: Unbolt the tank and toilet bowl from the floor:

Pop the toilet bolt caps and use a screwdriver if necessary. Use a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove the nuts and washers on the bolts that secure the bowl to the floor. If you find the nuts are rusted in place, you can use PB Blaster penetrating catalyst to loosen the nuts.

Step 5: Check for caulking around the bowl base:

Check to see if your toilet bowl has been caulked around the base where it meets the floor. If it had, you will need to use a utility knife to score through the caulk seem. For your new toilet, avoid caulking around the base. Gently rock the toilet bowl back and forth until you work it free and can lift it.

Step 6: Check the bolt around the flange:

Check the state of the old toilet bowl bolts in the flange located at the floor drain. If you cut rusted bolts off, those bolts should be replaced at this point with new bolts that came with the new toilet. Remove the old wax ring using a putty knife and wipe away an access with a damp rag or sponge. Stuff a rug into the open line in the floor. This will prevent sewer gases from venting into your home.

Step 7: Inspect the flange for damage:

If the flange is cracked or broken, use a flange repair ring.

Step 8: Place the new wax ring:

You have two options for a new wax ring:

  1. You can rest the new toilet bowl on its side on a padded surface to protect the floor and the toilet and attach the replacement wax ring to the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Place the wax ring in position on the flange prior to lowering the bowl into place.

Step 9: Place the bowl on the flange:

Place the toilet bowl onto the flange, aligning the bolt holes in the base of the bowl with the bolts in the flange. If it helps, you can hold the bowl by the inside rim instead of the outer edged to get a better grip and more control as you lower it. Press down to set the seal.

Step 10: Secure the toilet:

Place a washer and nut on each toilet bowl bolt and evenly tighten the nuts onto the bolts. Alternate from one side of the toilet to the other as you tighten the nuts a little at a time. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts and crack the porcelain bowl. If the bolts extend too far over the top of the washers and nuts, cut off the excess with a hacksaw. Place the tank onto the bowl, aligning the shank of the bolts with the boles in the bowl. If the bolts extend too far over the washers and nuts, cut off the excess with a hacksaw.

Step 11: Attach the tank to the toilet bowl:

Place the tank on the floor. If not already attached, install the “tank to bowl” gasket onto the base of the flush valve and insert the tank bolts and washers from inside the tank. Place the tank onto the bowl, aligning the shank of the bolts with the holes in the bowl. Secure the tank to the bowl by alternately tightening each tank bolt until the tank pulls down and comes in contact with the bowl. Reattach the supply line to the exposed portion of the fill valve sticking out of the bottom of the tank and to the supply valve coming out of the wall or floor. Test the toilet for leaks by slowly turning off your old water supply valve, and allow the tank to fill.

Step 12: Choose a toilet seat!

Choose The Best Brands of Dishwashers

83b23477ff5b76278060149f59fdd994Dishwashers are a vital part of your kitchen. They help to complete the look of the kitchen, but most importantly, they help make the chore of washing dishes seem not so bad. Picking out a dishwasher is a big deal and there is a lot to consider. Would you rather have a low-cost dishwasher that may not be up to the standards that you have for a dishwasher or a high-end, expensive dishwasher that may break the bank? What is the best dishwasher for you? Keep reading to find out.

KitchenAid

KitchenAid has many good dishwashers that can help keep your dirty dishes clean. With almost 20 models to choose from, it is likely that you’ll find on that fits both your kitchen and your personal needs. While KitchenAid dishwashers are typically more expensive than other dishwashers, they are well worth the price given their high capacities, powerful cleaning cycles, energy efficiency and quiet running.

Bosch:

A German company that produces some of the best dishwashers available on the market today. They’re well designed, handsome, and get your dishes as clean as, or cleaner than, machines made by other manufacturers. They are also some of the quietest dishwashers you can buy. No matter if you have a small, large, or medium sized kitchen, Bosch likely manufactures a model that fits your family’s needs.

Frigidaire:

Frigidaire dishwashers are both economical and efficient machines. The company manufactures a variety of models that range in price from just over $1,000 to less than $400, which makes them some of the least expensive dishwashers. These dishwashers are also the most basic. If you don’t need a lot of extra features and want to save some cash while still getting your dishes clean, Frigidaire dishwashers are worth your consideration.

GE:

General Electric (GE) is the creator of hundreds of the electronics, appliances and other devices we use every day. It currently makes more than 80 dishwasher models ranging in price from nearly $1,700 on the high end to $299 on the low end. These dishwashers also come in a variety of sizes, capacities and styles. You can choose from a built-in, under-the-sink, and portable models. So, no matter what your needs are, you can likely find a GE dishwasher that meets them.

Samsung:

You may associate Samsung with consumer electronics like smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computers, but it also makes excellent household appliances, including some of the best dishwashers you can buy. Samsung dishwashers have several unique technologies that ensure your dishes are clean and sanitary. Each of the dishwashers are Energy Star certified to help protect the environment. Although the selection is slim, you can probably find a model that’s in your price range.

LG:

LG, best known for its high-tech electronic devices like smartphones and tablets, also manufacturers high-quality appliances. Like its smart TVs and surround sound speakers, LG dishwashers are among the best you can buy. They feature powerful cleaning technology and high load capacities. They are also quiet, LG’s selection of dishwashers is relatively slim-there are only 24 available- but you should still be able to find one that suits you and complements your kitchen.

Maytag:

Maytag has been a heavyweight brand name in household appliances for more than a century Unfortunately, there aren’t that many Maytag dishwashers to choose from anymore. They have powerful cleaning tools, easy-to-use control and high load capacities.

How to Get Rid of Scratches on Hardwood Floors

wood floors

Have you ever fell in love with a house, but saw that the hardwood floors were all scratched up? Or have you ever got a pet that scratched up those beautiful floors? You may have thought that it was time to give up the hardwood flooring and get carpet, but don’t change your mind so fast. You can repair your own hardwood flooring, so you can keep the floors you love looking the way you want them. Follow these 7 steps to ensure that your hardware floors always look their best.

  • Step 1: The first step to fixing any problem is assessing the damage. Light scratches in hardwood flooring with require a different repair approach than deep scratches.
  • Step 2: If you see that you have a light scratch, gently rub fine steel wool over the scratch. Make sure to rub the steel wool along the grain of the wood or you could have more scratches to repair.
  • Step 3: For those deeper scratches, use lightweight sandpaper on the scratch. Again make sure to sand along the grain of the wood or you will end up causing more damage than good.
  • Step 4: Rub mineral spirits over the sanded area. Rubbing mineral spirits over the area will help to smooth it out and pick up the fine dust that came from the sanding.
  • Step 5: Fill the scratch with premixed wood filler. Use a plastic putty knife to fill the scratch with wood filler that matches the color of the floor. Let the filler dry thoroughly. Be sure to use a plastic putty knife for the filler so you won’t create any new scratches.
  • Step 6: Take the sandpaper to the filler and then wipe up all of the dust. Once the filler has dried, use the lightweight sandpaper (180 grit). Be sure to only sand the excess filler.
  • Step 7: Seal the sanded area. You will want to refinish the board with varnish, polyurethane, or a similar product to match the rest of your floor. Caution: Don’t use a foam roller or a brush to apply the polyurethane or you will end up with air bubbles in the finish. Instead, choose a lambswool applicator or a natural bristle brush.

 

How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet

bathroom faucetTired of your old bathroom faucet? Maybe it came with the house and you never got around to replacing it, or maybe you just think that it is time to replace it. While some people may think that it is a challenge replacing a leaky or outdated faucet isn’t always as difficult as you may think. You can easily tackle the project with a basin wrench and a few other common tools. Usually, it will only take about an hour. The same steps will apply if you are installing a new faucet onto a new sink.

Removing the old faucet:

Step 1: Turn off the water supply. The valves are typically under the sink. If not, turn the water off at the main valve. Then turn on the faucet to relieve any water pressure left in the lines.

Step 2: Disconnect the supply lines from the faucet. Use a basin wrench if you can’t reach the connections with your hands.

Step 3: Disconnect the lift rod, and then remove the nuts from under the faucet.

Remove the drain:

Step 4: Unscrew the slip nut on the P-trap. Put a bucket underneath to catch water in the trap.

Step 5: Disconnect the drain flange from the tailpiece. It should unscrew.

Step 6: Clean around the old drain and faucet holes. Mineral spirits can help to remove old silicone sealant.

Install the New Faucet:

Step 7: Follow the manufacturer’s directions for specific installation instructions. Most installations begin with installing the gasket on the bottom of the faucet. Some require sealant of plumber’s putty. Then put the faucet through the mounting holes in the sink and tighten the mounting nuts.

Step 8: Not all faucets come preassembled, so you may have to attach the handles. It is relatively easy. Slip the guide ring onto the bottom of the handle, position it on the faucet base, and secure with the setscrew. A setscrew is the tiny screw on the underside of the handle. Your faucet probably came with a hex wrench to tighten it.

Step 9: Next move onto the drain. Screw the nut all the way down on the drain body and push the gasket over it. Some gaskets are threaded and simply screw into place.

Step 10: Apply just a little bit of silicone under the flange. Position the drain body on the bottom of the sink- making sure the pivot hole is facing the back- and screw the flange on from the top side.

Step 11: Underneath, tighten the nut and gasket. On the top, use mineral spirits to clean up and excess silicone.

Step 12: Install the drain rod next. Unscrew the pivot nut on the drain body, insert the horizontal rod through the hole in the stopper, and replace the nut. Push the horizontal rod down and secure the lift rod to the strap with the screw. Test the lift rod.

Step 13: Reconnect the supply lines to the faucet. If your sink is already in place, use a basin wrench to reach the faucet shanks.

Step 14: Flush the faucet by removing the aerator. This gets rid of debris or sediment in the faucet. Some faucets include a handy little tool to unscrew the aerator. When you’re done, keep it inside your vanity or with the rest of your tools. Turn on the hot and cold water for about a minute. Check all of the connections for leaks and retighten if necessary. Screw the aerator back on and you are done.

How To Clean and Stain Your Wood Deck

cleaning wood floor

Before you start cleaning or staining your wood deck, you will want to perform a water test. A water test is the easiest way to ensure that the wood can absorb sealer or finish. Sprinkle some water on the deck and if it soaks in immediately, the deck can be sealed. If the water beads up or stands on the deck, your deck may not need sealing yet.

Cleaning

UV rays penetrate the wood, which causes graying. Deck cleaners help to remove dirt, nail stains, algae and mildew. If your deck isn’t brand-new, always use a cleaner before applying finish. Lack of preparation is the most common reason for deck stains and sealer to fail. Don’t skip out on this important step.

  • Step 1: Remove all deck furniture and other furnishings.
  • Step 2: Sand splintered areas with a pole sander with 80-grit paper. Repair or replace any damaged boards. Make sure to drive in any popped nails first- or even better, replace them with deck screws.
  • Step 3: Sweep off loose debris and clean between the cracks of the boards with a putty knife.
  • Step 4: Wet surrounding pants and shrubs. Then over them with clean plastic sheeting to prevent spotting with chemicals. Also, cover siding with plastic or paper before staining.
  • Step 5: Use a paint roller with an extension handle, a garden sprayer or a stiff-bristles push broom to apply cleaner to the entire deck. Don’t allow cleaner to puddle in any area.
  • Step 6: Keep the deck wet with cleaner. Don’t allow the cleaners to dry. Speed up the process by having one person apply the cleaner and another person back-roll the deck. Back-rolling is a process in which one person uses a roller or broom to spread any puddles.
  • Step 7: Scrub tough areas with a stiff brush or brrom. Avoid using wire brushes or brooms. The bristles can break off into the wood and cause rust spots.
  • Step 8: Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood. Soaking time is no more than 10 minutes, but always check the product instructions.
  • Step 9: Rinse the deck thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer.
  • Step 10: Wash equipment with soapy water. Rinse plastic sheeting with water and remove.
  • Step 11: Allow deck to dry at least two days before applying a sealer.

Applying a Stain or Sealer 

  • Step 1: Check the weather. Try to find at least two days of dry weather with temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Step 2: Remove all deck furniture, plants, and furnishings.
  • Step 3: The entire deck may require sanding with a pole sander or palm sander to speed up the process. Sand in the direction of the grain. Be sure to wear a safety mask so you won’t inhale the sawdust. Drive in popped nails or replace them with deck screws. Replace any damaged boards.
  • Step 4: Sweep off loose debris and clean between the cracks. Make sure the deck is dry.
  • Step 5: Wet surrounding plants and shrubs and cover them with clear plastic sheeting to protect them. Also cover siding with plastic or paper before staining.
  • Step 6: Stir the sealer or stain thoroughly. Don’t shake sealer. Bubbles will form in the finish.
  • Step 7: Apply a thin, even coat of the sealer or stain over a two- to three-board section with a paint roller with an extension handle or sprayer. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat that doesn’t properly adhere or dry. Don’t allow the finish to puddle. To speed up the process, one person applies the stain or sealer and another person uses a roller or broom to spread puddles and to work the finish into the wood, a process known as back-rolling.
  • Step 8: Repeat the above process for the entire deck. Use a paintbrush to apply the sealer or stain in corners and other difficult areas, such as steps, railings, end grain, and cracks. A second coat is optional.
  • Step 9: Rinse the plastic covering the plants with a hose and remove it.
  • Step 10: Allow the deck to dry completely.

Give Your Exterior Some Attention

Exterior Paint

The exterior of your home is the first impression that you are portraying to the world, whether the world be prospective buyers or friends and family stopping by for a visit. Do you want that first impression to have your guests snickering at what your house looks like or would you want them to be drooling over how good your home already looks? There are a ton of exterior paint colors that people are falling in love with that may just be what you’re looking for to give your home an edge up on the curb appeal.

Black with Light Trim:

Black is definitely the new black. Believe it or not, black siding is become a huge hit as an exterior paint color. It leaves a strong statement, but the light colored trim, whether it be white, light gray, pale yellow, etc., stands out against the darkness. If you want to leave your guests drooling over your house, this is definitely an option worth considering.

All Black:

An all-black exterior can play up the structural feature of the home. It will even begin to draw attention to the architectural qualities of the home.

All White:

A completely white exterior is always a great choice. It’s traditional, classic, and it looks beautiful. There may be a little more exterior maintenance that will be needed, but it is definitely worth it.

A Contrasting Front Door:

If the exterior of a house being one single color seems to be too boring for your taste, try spicing it up by painting the door a different color. You would be surprised at how far this little bit of color can go. You will typically see a lot of doors painted red, but whatever you feel is your style will do.

Dark Colors and Natural Wood:

A lot of suburban homes have accents that feature brick, stone, or even wood. All of these add a little bit of style to the house and can help to add some contrast between the siding and the natural wood accents. The brick, stone, and wood helps to complete the look. However, this look can run a little expensive.

Black Trim:

Black trim looks fantastic when it is paired with a white or any light colors exterior. It helps to draw attention to the architectural features that may be special to your house.