Choose Exterior Paint Color

There are so many things to consider when repainting the exterior of your home. After you choose a painter and decide on the type of paint you want to use, you then have the task of deciding on a color. For some people this comes easily, for others, decorating or changing the exterior of their home is daunting.

Here are some tips for choosing exterior paint colors:

Stay true to the traditional color scheme for your type of home. For example, a New England Salt Box looks great in blue-gray tones. Victorian homes can have a variety of colors, look at the bottom layer of paint for a clue to your home’s original paint scheme. If your home is in a wooded area, you might want to choose earth tones.

Many paint stores now offer computer imaging so you can get an idea of the look of the colors you are considering. This way you can avoid a surprise after buying hundreds of dollars worth of paint.
If, for example, you like a bright yellow or blue color, consider selecting a color in a slightly muted tone. A large area of bright color can have a larger impact than you may want.

Look at homes in your neighborhood or in decorating magazines. This is a great way to find paint colors. If you like the color of a house in your neighborhood, ask the homeowner if he or she would share the color name and brand of paint they have used. If you find a color scheme you like in a magazine, it is fairly easy to have the colors matched at your local paint store.

Use pre-selected color schemes from your local paint store. Many paint manufacturers will group complimentary color pallets. These are suggestions for trim, accents and the body of the house.

COLOR Frequently asked questions

How do colors effect room size?

Generally, warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows close in a space. Blues, greens, and violets tend to make a room look larger. Dark colors have a diminishing effect. Whites are always a good choice for making a room look larger.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors….?

This depends on the look you want to achieve. If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail darker allowing the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls…?

Use the same color to hide trim work, use a lighter or darker color to bring out the trim work and add highlights.

Will the paint I choose look lighter or darker on the wall?

Larger surfaces make the paint appear darker. As a general rule, always choose colors that are a shade or two lighter than what you want. Do keep in mind that colors can also appear lighter or darker depending on surrounding colors and lighting.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?

Take color chips home to determine the color of your room. A nice technique is to hold the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will effect your color choices.

What color should I paint my ceiling?

White or off-white colors will create the illusion of having a higher ceiling and more open space. Whereas medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling. Customarily, white or off-white tend to be used.

Will the paint actually match the color chip?

As a general rule, paint on a color chip will appear slightly lighter than when applied in a room. Always take into account the sheen of the paint, the lighting in the room, and other colors that are in the room.

Gas Detector Sounds

Problem: Alarm designed to detect presence of gas leaks goes off.

Background: Special alarms are available to detect natural gas or liquid propane (LP) gas leaks which could build up to concentrations that could result in explosions or flash fires. Similar to smoke detectors in appearance, they are de signed to sound before dangerous levels have been reached, giving you time to correct the problem or vacate the premises.

What to do: If your alarm sounds, take it seriously and immediately check for the odor of gas and for the cause. Situations that can result in gas leaks include:

1) attempting to relight the furnace when the electricity is off
2) pilot lights on furnaces, gas dryers, or water heaters have gone out or have blown out
3) chimney or flue malfunctions which return unburned gases to the basement
4) broken or cracked gas lines or fit tings caused by the movement or jarring of appliances or by metal fatigue
5) malfunctions of gas safety valves which should shut off gas when trouble occurs into the basement of natural gas found in the earth, or broken gas mains in the street, which allow gas to enter the basement along water or gas pipes.

Also check the electrical boxes of appliances for overheating. If none of the potential problems listed above exist, vacate the premises and call the fire or gas company.
Because of the way gas detectors work, false alarms can occur if the unit is installed beyond furnace areas where they can be affected by hydrocarbon gases that are found in items such as hair sprays, cleaning products, paint, cooking odors, and aerosol products. Alarms can also sound if the basement has been painted or fumigated recently, if furniture is being refinished, if cleaning is being done with flammable materials, or if gasoline or flammable liquids are being dangerously stored in open cans.

Special advice: Gas detectors are not intended to detect small concentrations of gas trapped by the walls of the furnace. (To avoid triggering an explosion, always open furnace doors and air out the area before trying to relight pilot lights A detector may have sensor lights, indicating that it is plugged in and operational. Gas alarms should be tested at least once a month by briefly holding either an unlit butane lighter or cotton dipped in alcohol under the sensor opening. If the alarm beeps, instead of sounding continuously, it indicates there is a problem and that the unit should be serviced.

Helpful hint: Gas detectors should never be plugged into outlets operated by a wall switch. To detect natural gas, detectors are normally mounted 6 inches to 12 inches from the ceiling and about 4 inches to 12 feet from gas appliances. To detect propane gas, which is heavier than air, the units are normally mounted 6 inches to 12 inches from the floor.

Gas Appliance Venting Faulty

Problem: Inadequate air supply within home.

Background: Gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, and gas logs, must be connected to a flue vented to the outdoors and have an adequate fresh-air supply. If vents, flues, or chimneys are not kept clean and in good repair, toxic carbon monoxide can accumulate. Signs that indicate a gas appliance has an inadequate air supply may include indoor condensation, a yellow or wavering flame, soot in your home, a gas smell, over heating, sick houseplants, or a pilot light that keeps going out.

What to do: Turn off the appliance and call a technician if you have any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include: an aching head, smarting eyes, ringing ears, nausea, weariness, or frequent yawning. If you have weatherized your home with caulk and weather stripping, and have closed off the normal air flow through walls, at tics, windows, and doors, you may need a fresh-air intake duct to pro vide sufficient oxygen for your furnace. A heating contractor can in stall one for you.

Special advice: Make sure flues and chimneys are kept clear of debris such as nests, branches, or ivy. Avoid blocking air vents, valves, or controls if you add insulation around the water heater. Don’t cover the top of the heater or the space between the floor and heater.

Helpful hint: To make sure your home is safe, hire a qualified heating contractor to inspect and tune up your gas furnace and water heater each year and check any automatic vent dampers in use.

Garage Door Opener Won’t Close

Problem: Garage door opener automatically reverses as soon as it closes, with no obstruction in its path.

Background: All garage door openers must have a reversing mechanism. If your opener doesn’t have one, replace it. If the opener reverses and refuses to keep the door closed, the “sensitivity,” “open,” or “close” knobs may be out of adjustment. Important: This safety feature should be tested regularly so the opener closes the door, but does not exert dangerous force which could lead to serious injury or death.

What to do: First set the “close” knob so the door makes full contact with the floor. To test the sensitivity adjustment, open the door and place a 1-inch thick piece of wood flat on the floor in the door’s path at about the center of the door. If you don’t have a piece of wood 1-inch thick, use a 2×4. The door should reverse and open the door when it strikes the wood. To test the force of the opener, repeat the test with a corrugated carton under the center of the door. The opener should reverse the door when it contacts the carton without crushing it. If, after experimenting with adjustments, the opener doesn’t reverse readily, have it re paired or replaced.

Special advice: The sensitivity knob should be adjusted, beginning at the minimum pressure setting, so that the door will close without reversing. The door should reverse within 2 seconds after hitting an obstruction. Should the sensitivity need to be raised to maximum pressure set ting, do not use the opener and have the system checked by a technician for problems such as worn tracks or broken springs.

Helpful hint: Discuss garage-door safety with children. Explain the danger of being trapped under the door, and do not let them play with or use the transmitter or push-button switch. Teach them never to play under or near an open garage door. The push button should be at least 5 feet from the floor so it is out of children’s reach. Always keep the door in sight until it completely closes.

Floors or Stairs Squeak

Problem: Floors or stairs emit annoying squeaks when stepped on.

Background: Floor or stair squeaks are common in homes and are usually caused by floor components rubbing against each other. Squeaks can be caused by floor materials that have dried out and become loose or separated. They may also be caused by loose X-bridging between the joists, by gaps between the joists and sub flooring, or by plumbing pipes or ducts rubbing against the joists.

What to do: First try to pinpoint the area of the squeak and see if the problem can be fixed from below the floor or stairs. Check to see if the squeak may be caused by the X bridging lumber, which is used between the joists visible in the basement. You may be able to correct this by cutting away wood where the Xs cross with a handsaw. Check and readjust any loose pipes or pipe hangers in that area. If there is a gap between the joist and sub-flooring, try driving in wedge- shaped shims above the joist. The squeak may be caused by the separation of the sub floor and floorboards. In this case, try driving screws through the sub floor, into the boards above, to draw the two together. (Make sure the screws reach only about halfway into floorboards.) If this doesn’t work, try using concealed nailing from above, or lubricating the squeak area.

Special advice: Before driving nails through hardwood flooring, drill pilot holes that are slightly smaller than the nail size to avoid splitting. Start the pilot hole at the edge of the board and angle it down and toward the center of the board. When refastening stair treads to risers from the top side, drive flooring nails at an angle toward each other. In either case, you can use a nail set to avoid marring board surfaces, and wood putty to cover the nail holes.

Helpful hint: In some cases you may be able to stop the squeak by using powdered graphite, available at hardware or auto parts stores. Spray the graphite into visible cracks in the area of the squeak. This may lubricate the parts that are rubbing together and stop the noise. Another option is to reinforce the tread/riser joints with wooden blocks, using construction adhesive and wood screws.

Glazing textured walls

Painting is the simplest way to add dimension and texture to your old tired looking walls and revive them with new character. There are lots of interesting ways to add color to your walls and glazing is a popular technique often used by professional decorators.

The natural beauty of any color is greatly enhanced when you use glazes to build more layers on your wall. The more layers there are to reflect your light the more intensely the color will develop.

Always wear disposable gloves when working with glazes and be aware of your rooms ventilation.

After your walls have been base coated, apply your glaze working left to right in a two or three foot wide vertical area. Starting at the top of the wall and working downward in this way will help the glaze to blend with your new coat while it is still wet. Using a partner can be especially handy. One person rolls on the glaze while the other person follows up with the finished ragging or combing technique.

Ragging is a painting technique that can be done in a variety of different ways. Linen or cotton rags make good rags but knit fabrics can provide an unusual look as well. Experiment with different rag fabrics, wadded plastic sacks turned inside out or even cheesecloth until you find the ragging pattern right for you.

You will be using rags to apply diluted paint and glaze to a wall or to texture glaze that is being newly placed on a wall. The harder you press your rag on the surface of new glaze the more glaze it will remove. Be sure and work in a random pattern and change the hold on your rag often to avoid a pronounced repetition in your method.

Color Washing
This technique produces a soft finish and is obtained using a very thin glaze. Color Washing is effective with both water and oil based paints and are a great way to cover up blemishes in your walls. You will want to choose colors that are very similar in tone. You are trying to build up many translucent layers to create depth and interest. First apply the glaze with a roller and lightly brush the walls with a wide soft bristle brush stroke. Try not to leave any brush hair lines. The glaze may dry quickly and make blending difficult, in that case use a acrylic paint retarded to slow down the drying time and give you time to work.

Using a large household sponge or a sea sponge you can sponge like a professional painter in a short amount of time. If the household sponge is to precise in the sponged look, use scissors to cut out pieces of the sponge to round off the corners and create a imperfect look. You can use a up and down bouncing method to apply your glaze or diluted paint to a wall or wipe the edge of the sponge across the surface in short random brush strokes. If applying glaze, start with a moistened sponge and wring it out as the paint builds up.

Dragging a comb through your wall glaze can create an interesting patina. You can pull the teeth of the comb through in a wavy pattern or in a straight line to simulate wood grains or basket weaving. Combing techniques require a steady hand that can continuously produce a smooth motion.

General Information about Caulk

There are several common types of caulk. Silicone-based caulk bonds to almost anything, but isn’t paintable.
Acrylic or latex-based caulk – similar to silicone-based caulk, but is paintable. Clear caulk – primarily good for allowing the project surface to show through. Concrete or Masonry caulk – ideal for concrete and masonry surfaces.

Caulk comes in cylinders or squeeze tubes. Cylinders requires the use of a caulk gun while squeeze tubes can be applied directly to a project surface.
Many types of caulk come in colors for matching the caulk color to the surface color.
Caulk can only fill in spaces about 1/4 inch deep, so large holes or voids must be filled in with some other material first. Then, caulk can be applied on the surface as a sealant.

Handy Person Tips

1. Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easy.
2. To keep white paint from yellowing, add 10 drops of black paint to each quart of white.
3. When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
4. An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
5. When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
6. Before starting to paint with enamel paint, lightly coat your hands and underneath your fingernails with any name brand hand cleaner. After the painting is finished, your hands will be easy to clean.
7. Line your paint tray with aluminum foil. When its time to clean up, just roll up the foil and throw away.
8. To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
9. To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
10. When painting trim around windows, doorways etc. try using stiff paper to cover the area you don’t want painted. (An old phone book cover works well.) Slide paper along as you paint. It’s much faster and more economical than using masking tape. Works well with either a roller or brush.
11. When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact color with you and can match accessories in stores.
12. When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more evenly.
13. Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
14. When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
15. When painting old woodwork, fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.
16. When painting stairs, paint every other step first. When these are dry, paint the rest.

Gas Smell in Home

Problem: Natural gas or propane gas smell is detected in home, or in particular area of appliances.

Background: An odorant is added to natural gas and propane gas to alert people of its presence. Gas build-up can be extremely dangerous and should be taken very seriously. Gas leaks, which can result from a number of causes, can produce tremendous explosions, so it is wise to be overly cautious.

What to do: If you smell a strong gas odor upon returning to your home, do not enter. Call for help from a neighbor’s phone. If you smell gas within any area of your home, do not try to light any appliance. If faint gas odor is detected, put out any smoking materials, don’t turn on any light switches, don’t use any phone in the home. Shut off any valves to appliances suspected of leaking the gas, then call a technician. However, if you are in doubt or if the gas odor is strong, leave the home immediately, call your gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone, and follow their instructions. If you can’t reach the gas supplier, call the fire department or 911.

Special advice: Liquid propane (LP) gas is heavier than air. If there is a leak in a propane system, the gas will settle near the floor. Basements, crawl spaces, skirted areas under mobile homes (even when ventilated), closets, and areas below ground level, can serve as pockets for accumulated gas. Before at tempting to light or relight a pilot light, or turning on a nearby electrical switch, be absolutely sure there is no accumulated propane gas in the area by sniffing at floor level in the vicinity of any appliance.

Helpful hint: Be especially cautious about gas leaks whenever new gas appliances have been installed. Check all gas pipes and fittings for leaks with a soapy water solution. Before lighting any newly installed appliance, factory fittings on appliances should be checked by a qualified technician.



To paint a door and frame between two rooms in different colors, follow this procedure: open the door and stand in one room (marked A on the picture). Paint the lock edge, the adjacent edge of the frame, the doorstop, and the door front. Open the door wide so that the hinge is visible and stand in the other room (marked B on the picture). In the second color, paint the hinge edge, the flat of the doorstop, and the door front.

Painting in two colors


Unpainted and painted woods benefit from a couple of coats of varnish. Varnish protects against wear and tear. It is available in gloss, semi gloss, and matte finishes. To change the color of the wood, use a pigmented varnish.

1. Pour some varnish into a bucket and dip a lint-free cloth into it. Rub the varnish into the wood, working against the grain. Wait for the varnish to dry (up to 12 hours).

2. Lightly rub the surface with fine sandpaper wrapped around a cork block. Wipe dust particles off the surface with a lint- free cloth that has been dampened in turpentine.

3. Apply another coat of varnish using a clean brush. When the varnish has dried, lightly sand the surface down and wipe clean. The results should be smooth and dust-free.

Book – Household Solutions

Household solution simple and effective products is fun and economical. We think you will be happily surprised with the results.

Book > Book Covers

Reynolds Freezer Paper. Make a dust jacket to protect a book cover with a sheet of Reynolds Freezer Paper and then secure the cover in place by gently sealing the edges with a clothes iron set on warm.

Saran Wrap. To protect a book cover, use a sheet of Saran Wrap to safeguard a dust jacket.

Scotch Packaging Tape. To repair torn book covers, adhere the cover back to the binding with Scotch Packaging Tape.

Book > Cleaning

Huggies Baby Wipes. To clean spills on a book, wipe the book cover with a Huggies Baby Wipe.

Wonder Bread. To remove grease stains from books, take a piece of bread from the center of a slice of Wonder Bread, cut off the crust, and rub the affected area.

Book > Dampness

Bounty Paper Towels. To prevent the wet pages of a book from wrinkling, place sheets of Bounty Paper Towels between every wet page, close the book, place a heavy book on top, and let sit overnight. The quicker picker-upper will absorb the dampness from the pages of the book.

Kingsford’s Corn Starch. To prevent or kill mildew in damp books, sprinkle Kingsford’s Corn Starch throughout the book to absorb the moisture from damp pages, wait several hours, and then brush clean. If the pages are mildewed, brush the corn starch off outdoors to keep mildew spores out of the house.

Book > Leather Bindings

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. Clean a leather binding on a book by rubbing in a dab of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and buffing with a soft, clean cloth. Let sit for several hours and then repeat.

Book > Mildew

Kingsford Charcoal Briquets. Place an untreated Kingsford Charcoal Briquet in a closed bookcase to absorb moisture and prevent mildew.

Book > Musty Odors

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. To remove musty odors from old books, place the books in an airtight Rubbermaid or Tupperware container, sprinkle some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda inside the tub, seal the container closed, and let sit for a week, turning the books over every few days to expose both sides to the baking soda equally.

Bounce and Ziploc Storage Bags. To eliminate musty smells from an old book, place several sheets of Bounce throughout the pages of a book, seal it inside a large Ziploc Storage Bag, and let sit for two weeks.

USA Today. To deodorize musty books, place the books inside a paper bag filled with crumpled up pages from USA Today and let sit for several days. The newsprint absorbs the musty smells. Repeat if necessary.