Painting Tips for Homeowners  0

Posted on August 29th, 2012. About , Black Mold, For Sale By Owner, Home Improvement.
  • Comparing Oil and Latex Paints
  • Durability-Good adhesion is probably the single most important property of paints, because it helps prevent blistering , flaking and cracking.
    • Latex- Top quality latex paints that contain top quality acrylic binders provide maximum adhesion to most surfaces. Latex paints are also very flexible, so they continue to adhere even when temperature changes cause the surface to expand and contract. This elasticity helps forestall chipping, peeling, flaking and other common paint failures.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints also have excellent adhesion, and perform better than latex over heavily chalked surfaces. But with time, the alkyd can embrittle, sometimes resulting in cracking in just a few years.
  • Color Retention
    • Latex-Top quality acrylic latex paints provide superior resistance to bleaching and fading,, even when exposed to damaging ultraviolet sun rays.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints fade faster than latex paints. They are more likely to chalk (develop a powdery substance on their surface), which causes the color to whiten.
  • Ease of Application
    • Latex-Latex paints glide smoothly from the brush or roller onto the surface. Top quality latex paints are especially easy to apply, since recently developed additives provide even application and spatter resistance.
    • Oil-Compared to latex paints, alkyd paints are more difficult to apply,, especially when brushing a large area, because they have more “drag”. On the other hand, they go on heavier and give more complete one-coat hiding and coverage.
  • Mildew Resistance
    • Latex-Top quality acrylic latex paints contain mildewcides to discourage mildew and help the paint maintain a fresh appearance.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints, while also containing mildewcides, are derived from vegetable oils which provide nutrients for mildew growth.
  • Variety of Uses
    • Latex-Latex paints can be used on wood, concrete, metal, vinyl siding, aluminum siding, brick and stucco.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints should not be directly applied to galvanized metal. They also require special chemical pre-treatments before use on new concrete, stucco and other masonry surfaces.
  • Odor
    • Latex-Latex paints have little odor and are non-flammable.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints have noticeably more odor owing to the solvents and oils they contain.
  • Clean-up
    • Latex-Latex paints clean up easily with soap and water.
    • Oil-Alkyd paints require solvents for clean up, making the chore messy and complicated.
  • Drying Time
    • Latex-Latex paints dry in just a couple of hours, so you can recoat quickly. However they are vulnerable in case of sudden rain.
    • Oil-Drying time for alkyd paints can take up to two days- plenty of time for dirt, insects and people to come in contact with the surface and potential to mar it permanently.

Choosing Cabinet Knobs for Individual Style  0

Posted on August 29th, 2012. About .

Decorative cabinet knobs for your kitchen or bathroom, or any room in your house, can brighten the entire living space and bring your furniture to life. The special touches in decorating, such as picking out the perfect cabinet knobs or choosing the most fitting painted border, are the small details that make a world of difference in your environment. Today, thank goodness, we are no longer limited to our local hardware stores and sales catalogues to find the perfect decorating accessories. With the convenience of the World Wide Web, you can find hundreds of online stores specializing in cabinet knobs alone.

Cabinet knobs are available in a huge array of colors, shapes, styles, and designs. Whether your style is traditional, eclectic, modern or classic, or whether you prefer jeweled, rock, hand-painted, tiled, ceramic or sparkly dragonflies, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. With just a few clicks of the mouse you can find everything from unique, hand painted knobs imported straight from small villages in India, to custom knobs created for you from swatches of your paint and fabric.

When choosing knobs, the most important factors are: color and style. Make sure that your knobs will complement the themes and colors found in your home. Don’t fall in love with an art deco knob if your bathroom is decorated in a country motif! It is just as important to make sure that your chosen knobs compliment the cabinet and its particular finish and feel. Also make sure the knobs you have chosen are the correct size for the piece you are adding it to and that the knobs are placed in perfect symmetry. There is nothing wonderful about off-center knobs. It may draw attention, but not the kind of attention you are looking for!

Are you a little unsure about which style of knob you should choose for your bathroom or kitchen? Once you start looking you may be overwhelmed with the diversity in choices. Before you begin, know what basic style you are drawn to. After that, the sky is the limit!


If modern is your motif, think contemporary, post modern and retro. You can choose from a wide variety of metallics and high gloss finishes within contemporary designs, go for bold with unique shapes and sizes from the post modern era, or enjoy the sleek and satin metal finishes of retro.


Traditional choices include antique, country, mission, colonial, old world and classical classic. Antique knobs offer everything from bronze mushroom styles to antique hammered pewter. Charming country styles offer everything from white and colored porcelain, to wooden knobs of all shapes and sizes. If you’re thinking ‘arts and crafts’, look for mission style knobs. If you are dreaming of twisted wrought iron or pewter swirls then search for a colonial period look or old world style. For everything in between, check out the traditional classic look.

Novelty Knobs

Themes can include everything from nautical, transportation, nature and culturally enlightened! Novelty knobs are a great way to add a personal touch and keep with a decorating theme. For your kitchen your can choose anything from garden fruits, to hummingbirds. For the bathroom aquatic themes are popular, utilizing shells, sea creatures and water inspired designs.

Specialty Knobs

In the world of design, there are a plethora of specialty knobs to choose from. From handcrafted, hand painted, jeweled, eclectic and artistic inspired creations, the choices are endless.

No matter what your style or preference, with a little research you are sure to find something special to suit your individual style!

Basic Wood Floor Care  0

Posted on August 29th, 2012. About .


Wood floors should be protected with a sealer. Penetrating sealers go into the wood pores; worn spots can be resealed. Lacquer, shellac, varnish stay on top of the wood; if worn off in traffic areas, usually the whole floor has to be sanded and refinished. Prevent scratches when moving furniture by putting heavy socks over the legs.

Wood Floor Top Coat: Vegetable Oil and Vinegar. Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of oil and vinegar into a solution and apply a thin coat. Rub in well.

Painted Wooden Cleaner: Washing Soda. Mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon hot water and wash the floor with a mop, sponge, or soft bristled brush. This solution can also be used to remove mildew.

Oil Soap: Use according to package directions.


Vacuum often to keep dirt from grinding into the floor finish or sticking to it. Wipe up spills immediately. A damp (not wet) cloth may be used on a well-sealed wood floor to wipe up food spills or mud. Wipe dry with cloth or paper towel. Clean when necessary with a solvent-based liquid wax for wood. Follow directions on container. Solvent removes dirt and old wax, and leaves a thin wax coating which must be buffed. Apply with:

  1. A dry cloth, rubbing floor and refolding the clean part of cloth as dirt is taken up; hard on knees
  2. Cloth over long-handled wax applicator, rubbing and refolding cloths as above
  3. Electric floor polishers, can be rented at many supermarkets, changing to clean brushes or pads as dirt and wax are taken up.
  4. Buff wax left on floor: immediately if by hand; or after 20-30 minutes if with electric polisher.

I Needed This Today! Thought I would share it with you.  0

Posted on August 28th, 2012. About .

How do you turn things over to God? Start by making the choice and declaring your resolve. Simply say, “Father, I choose to let You be God of this situation. I take my hands off. I trust You.” Then, choose to worship Him. Worship is one of the best ways to set your heart and mind in the right place. You can’t worry and worship at the same time! Worship is a sign that you are trusting God; worry is a sign that you are trying to control things.

Today, take the pressure off yourself and turn things over to God. Give Him control and let Him take your setbacks and turn them into comebacks. Remember, the God who holds the universe holds you in the palm of His hand. Trust Him and let God be God in every area of your life!

And this prayer topped my day…..

Father, today I choose to release every care and concern into Your loving hands. I refuse to worry and choose to trust. Fill me with Your peace. Show me Your ways as I surrender every area of my heart and life to You in Jesus’ name. Amen

I don’t share much of my religion on the site, but now that I have turned 50, I think it’s time to turn everything over to God and relax a little bit. If the Lord is willing to take the lead, I’m going to let Him. That should free up a lot more time to spend with you all.

God Bless.

Jimmy McDonald – YOUR ” Local Hard working Remodeling Guy “


Jumping the Gun a Bit – Helpful End of Summer Cleaning Tips  0

Posted on August 26th, 2012. About , Black Mold, For Sale By Owner, Home Improvement.

Let’s tackle the in-depth, do-it-yourself cleaning projects.

Walls: The walls are covered with a winter’s worth of grease, dirt and all-around yuck. You can make painted walls a couple of shades lighter with a good cleaning. Use 2 ounces dry measure of trisodium phosphate (TSP) per gallon of water. If the kitchen walls are greasy, add 1/2 cup of household ammonia per gallon of the TSP solution. You can also use Dirtex instead of TSP.

Wall washing is an excellent two-person job. Each person should be equipped with a 2 1/2-gallon bucket, a long-handled sponge mop, rubber gloves and goggles. One person’s bucket is filled with the cleaning solution. The other person’s bucket is filled with rinse water. The long-handled sponge mops keep you from having to bend, stretch, or climb a ladder. Start from the bottom and work up. The first person applies a liberal amount of cleaning solution. After letting the solution work for a couple of minutes, the second person finishes the job with the rinse water. Change the rinse water at least every wall.

Cabinets & counter tops: Use a 2-ounce-per-gallon solution of Simple Green or Clear Magic to get rid of the stickies. Follow up with a thin coat of Doozy Furniture Polish by Mr. Furniture Finish Products. It’s a secret weapon used by the pros and will bring back the luster to counter tops.

Wallpaper: Mix up a 40- or 50-to-1 solution of a general purpose cleaner such as Simple Green or Clear Magic (that’s about 2 ounces of cleaning solution to a bucket of water) and put it in a spray bottle. Spritz on and wipe off.

Clean delicate wallpaper and lampshades with the brush attachment to the vacuum cleaner. If very dirty, wipe them down with the Soot & Dirt Remover sponge. This sponge can also be used for cleaning acoustical tiles or any surface you want to clean without water.

Vinyl flooring: Use a 50-to-1 solution of Simple Green. If you have to strip wax or acrylic build-up I suggest New Beginnings Floor Cleaner and Stripper by Armstrong. To put the shine back on, apply Armstrong’s Shine Keeper.

Hardwood floors: For light cleaning just spritz on liquid glass cleaner WITHOUT AMMONIA and damp mop. Do not use any product with ammonia. It can damage your expensive hardwood. For tougher work use a specialized cleaning product such as Clean ’n Strip Wood Cleaner by Bruce or Enforcer Products’ Hardwood Floor.

Tile & grout: Clean the tile with a general cleaner or a specialized tile cleaner like Armstrong Floor Cleaner for No Wax & Ceramic Tile Floors.

Clean grout with a specialized grout cleaner from Tile Helper, Tile Pro, Aqua Mix or SCI (Stone Care International). Then seal the grout with a liquid penetrating grout sealer by the same company.

Grout is best cleaned on hands and knees with a cuticle brush. This is strong stuff so wear rubber gloves and goggles. Dip the brush into the cleaner and scrub the grout, then rinse with water. When clean and dry, seal with a liquid penetrating grout sealer. The sealer closes the profile of the grout and keeps it looking good longer.

Windows: To clean inside windows use a solution of 4 ounces of household ammonia and 1 teaspoon of liquid hand dish washing detergent to a gallon of water. Apply with a sponge, then remove the solution with a squeegee. Wipe up drips from sills with an old bath towel.

If the temperature is over 50 and you have really dirty windows outside, use 2 ounces of TSP, 4 ounces of white vinegar and a gallon of water.

Where to find products: Most of these cleaners are available at good hardware stores and home centers. You’ll also find strippers and specialized cleaning products at cleaning supply stores.

Good Luck from ‘The Crew.’

Using ancient secrets to sell your home faster !!  0

Posted on August 26th, 2012. About , Black Mold, For Sale By Owner, Home Improvement.
Using ancient secrets to sell your home faster
When a modern new skyscraper goes up in Taiwan, the owners routinely consult a feng-shui geomancer or xiansheng to determine the optimum position for the main entrance. Geomancy (feng-shui) is the branch of classical cosmology which helps man build his dwellings in optimum harmony with the elements of his or her natural environment. The Chinese exponents of feng-shui say that where you live and how you allocate and arrange the rooms or elements of your home or workplace can significantly affect the harmony of your health, wealth and happiness. By acknowledging and augmenting the all-prevalent life energy or Chi you can affect the whole tenor of your well-being. Move the furniture, change the color scheme, avoid the elemental conflicts such as placing water (i.e. the refrigerator) next to fire (i.e. the stove). Such conflicts encourage harmful Sha or the opposing force to Chi and thus must be avoided.Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary defines this ancient system as such:      

“Feng Shui is the art of locating tombs, cities and houses auspiciously. Mountains, hills, water courses, groves and neighboring buildings can be useful either in channeling the male Yang influences or in deflecting them.”

While feng-shui is thousands of years old and seemingly steeped in esoteric rules, it contains much common sense useful to and understood by anyone. For example, feng-shui says the best site for a home to take advantage of the vital Chi is to put that home on a south-facing slope and preferably between two hills of unequal size (the Azure Dragon and the White Tiger) to best channel the Chi. Ideally, a river will be running along one side of the structure. The river should then turn in front of the building and then disappear.

Looked at another way, such a home on the south slope gets the maximum hours of sunlight, is shielded from the chilly, health-sapping north wind and has a good supply of water for drinking and cleaning. By then conveniently disappearing under the ground and gravel, the river carries away effluents and other “dirty” water. (If the water doesn’t want to disappear, feng-shui says this requirement can be satisfied by using a small brick wall, or hedge or shrubs to screen the river as it passes the boundary.)

Even if the building’s owners don’t really believe in feng-shui, they will still follow the geomancer’s advice because they know perfectly well that many prospective buyers and renters will consult their own geomancers about the building prior to moving in. The xiansheng considers four factors: the Chi or “breath of life” potential of the neighborhood; the site orientation or the importance of the direction in which the building faces; the five elements — fire, water, wood, metal, earth — and their mutual influence upon a location; the power of water and its significance in relation to the property.

Over the years, several major new buildings in downtown Taipei have remained unoccupied and their owners have gone broke because they failed to follow the dictates of Chinese geomancy during construction.

One Chinese restaurateur endured heavy financial losses for two years, despite excellent food and service and massive advertising campaigns. Finally, in sheer desperation, he consulted a geomancer, who coolly informed him that the position of his main entrance caused money to flow out rather than into his restaurant. He spent a small fortune to tear down and reconstruct the entrance according to the geomancer’s instructions, and before long you couldn’t find a seat in the place at night! Even the massive Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei, with its extensive gardens and numerous gates, was all laid out according to the laws of Chinese geomancy to provide maximum harmony with the elements and spirits to the cosmos.

Conversely, other building fronts are unhappily positioned for easy ingress by sources of evil. The following are some basic laws of feng-shui necessary to avoid Sha:

  1. A straight road leading directly to the home, with people coming and going, or a small stream flowing in a straight course from it, dissipate the good influences.       

  2. The front entrance should not face the upstairs stairway.
  3. The front door should not have a view of the back door (through hallway).
  4. Heavy beams in the rec room are a burden and interfere with Chi.
  5. To have the right side low and the left side high are both unlucky signs. The Dragon should be on the left and the smaller White Tiger should be on the left, therefore be it a grave or a home, the hills to the left should be higher than those to the right.
  6. Houses or buildings on triangular plots of land are ill-omened as the strange shape attracts Sha.       

  7. Water is very important and its positioning is vital to good Chi and to confound Sha.

There are ways to rectify the defects:

Avoid building on the junction of a T-street or at the end of a cul-de-sac will be on the receiving end of the straight-flowing Sha; a dead-end street only traps the bad Sha. If the left is too low, plant trees to raise the height. Alter the stream or river to give it bends and curves. Don’t make the bends too sharp or the Chi will “run off” and dissipate. The vitality of water is best conserved in a gently meandering stream. A pool of water (aka a fishpond) is especially useful to conserve Chi. If your neighbor builds a house higher than yours, add to the height of yours so your view of the stars in not obstructed. (Of course, this could lead to some problems with the zoning authorities.) If the plot is triangular, placing the door on the side of the triangle rather than on the point will counter the ill-omen.

There are other ways to improve the natural benefits:

In properties which back onto a river, the entrance must be at the rear of allow Chi to gain entrance. If the ground slopes upward from the front of a building, then again the entrance should be at the back. Properties facing open space to the south (a valley, a section of land such as a heath or even the sea) are especially good as the resulting gentle winds from the south usher the Chi and allow it to enter unhindered.

The Chinese also believe that a house with a front slightly lower than the back is useful in dispersing the influence of Sha. Similarly, a large tree immediately opposite the front door is ill-omened as it deflects the entrance of wealth. Again, both of these concepts might seem strange to Western architecture and West Coast philosophy and has caused some problems in regards to new owners and the neighborhood’s dismay about sudden tree clearings.

The neighborhood also affects Chi in other ways. In a built-up area, the positioning of a home in relation to other properties can be very important. If a corner of a neighboring building such as a block of condos or terrace of homes “points” to the home in question, this “secret arrow” can direct harmful Sha straight into the home. These “arrows” supposedly also create an unhealthy environment in which illness is a constant factor.

Sharp angles can be especially unlucky on an office or commercial building as these angles and straight edges drive off money, whereas curves attract money. Then again, the flat edges of buildings which lead toward the front of your property are fine conductors of Chi. But then again, if there is a road in front of the place which turns at a sharp angle, this can bring about the same unhappy effect as a “secret arrow”. To counter this, a driveway leading up to a front door should always approach in a gentle sweep to so gentle in the good influences.

Whether you believe in it or not, feng-shui is seen by millions as an ancient science full of philosophy and practical wisdom. As such, it can’t be summed up in a few pages such as these. If interested in learning more, read (as we have done) the very fine book: The Way of Feng Shui: Harmony, Health, Wealth and Happiness by Philippa Waring.

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