Better Paint Job

painttips

How to get a better paint job

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few top tips to getting a better paint job, make your painting experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths

A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters

At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape 

Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.

A DRY FOUNDATION IS A HAPPY FOUNDATION

A DRY FOUNDATION IS A HAPPY FOUNDATION

Foundation Maintenance

Keeping water away from your home’s foundation is an important part of maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Water can cause soils to expand and contract as well as do damage to the interior of the home should it flood.

wet foundation

Keep your gutters clean and make sure downspouts will divert water to a place where it can drain away. If your home is equipped with a sump pit you may want to install a pump, or if you have a pump make sure it is operating properly. If your basement has a drain be sure it is clear in the event that you have an interior water leak, such as a broken pipe.

downspout maintenance

TACKLE SPRING AND SUMMER MAINTENANCE

HOme Maintenaince

START HERE IF YOU NEED TO TACKLE SPRING AND SUMMER MAINTENANCE

Winter is hard on your home even in the south.  The cold expands and contracts the materials your home is made of.  Now that the winter weather is behind us, here’s a few quick tips to get started on your spring and summer maintenance.

roof maintenaince

Roof and shingles: It’s pretty common for shingles to get damaged or detach completely after a long cold winter. Thoroughly inspect your roof to ensure that shingles are in good condition and the roof is structurally sound. It may not be time to replace your roof yet, but consider how many more years it has left and start preparing a budget.

Gutter Maintenaince

Check your gutters: The weight of heavy melting snow and debris is more than enough to make your gutters sag or loosen. Clear out all the leaves and other debris that’s collected in the gutters, and make sure they’re still securely attached at all points.

Concret Maintenaince concretcrack2

Check concrete surfaces: Fluctuating temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract. This can lead to damaged driveways, walkways, and other surfaces, and that can spell bad news for water drainage. Fill the cracks with an appropriate material, and seal your surfaces if possible.

 

 

Hvac maintenaince

HVAC service: Before you put your central air conditioner through a rigorous summer, clean the coils and change the filter. Better yet, bring in a professional for yearly maintenance.

TURNING A BEDROOM INTO A LUXURY BEDROOM

TURN YOUR BEDROOM INTO A LUXURY BEDROOM

For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.  One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite, or a luxury bedroom (or something comparable).  If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

Compartmentalize Your Activities:  Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.lux bedroom

Make it Chic:  Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.

lux headboardAlso, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

Light it Properly:  Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.lux bedroom 3

Choose Your Accents Wisely:  We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space. very-luxury-bedroom

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.

ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS

vacuum cleaner

Technology is most helpful when it makes daily tasks easier and more efficient, and that’s most certainly the case with robot vacuum cleaners. It’s especially true if you’re in a climate that lends itself to lots of dust on your hard-surfaced floors or in your carpet.

Robot vacuum cleaners typically retail from $100 to about $700, and if you’re interested in having your home swept and vacuumed daily with little effort on your part, it’s a great investment. Here’s what to look for if you’re shopping for a robot vacuum cleaner.

Battery life
The best robot vacuums can run for two hours or longer. That’s particularly important if you have a big place—you don’t want to have to keep recharging your vacuum between cleanings. It’s especially convenient if you have a vacuum that can automatically dock and recharge between uses.

Cleaning patterns
Simpler, more inexpensive vacuums may only clean in a random or back-and-forth pattern, while more advanced vacuums can virtually map a room for more precise cleaning. It’s also better if the vacuum is capable of making multiple passes in its pattern, as it’ll lead to a more thorough cleaning job.

Size and design
Most robot vacuum cleaners are no more than four inches tall, so they can move under furniture. Still, pay attention to the height of your vacuum and the clearance of your furniture, so that you don’t end up with a vacuum that can’t get to important spots. Also, consider your floor type—some vacuums are better-suited for hardwood floors and tile, while others are better for carpeted floors.

Securing Your Smartphone

5 TIPS FOR SECURING YOUR SMARTPHONE

smartphone security

Phones have come a long way in the last few years, and there’s a ton of sensitive information—email access, bank accounts, photos, contact lists—that are easily accessed if your phone falls into the wrong hands. Here are a few tips for keeping your smartphone secure.passcode

Use a passcode!  This is one of the easiest steps toward securing your phone, but research shows that 54 percent of smartphone users do not use a passcode. Whether it’s a four-character PIN or a pattern lock, set up the passcode on your phone so that only you can get past your lock screen.

 

bluetoothBe careful with WiFi:  Smartphones can be set to automatically connect to available WiFi networks, but this can lead to your phone being vulnerable over an untrusted network when you’re not aware of it. Turn off WiFi when you’re not knowingly using it—it’ll also help with battery life.

Careful with Bluetooth, too:  Bluetooth isn’t as vulnerable to security breaches as WiFi, but it’s still a good idea to have your Bluetooth set to undiscoverable.

 

Consider the downside of rooting:  Many cell phone users will root or “Jailbreak” their phones to open up new features, but this can override your phone’s security settings—and void your warranty.unlocked phone

And one of the Best tips around…..

Choose better passwords:  Definitely don’t use “password” or your name! Instead, make a passphrase—a short sequence of words that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for anyone else to guess.

5 INEXPENSIVE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

5 INEXPENSIVE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

The cost of some home renovations can seem daunting, but not every home improvement has to break the bank. Here are 5 simple improvements you can make that will have a major impact, but are still relatively inexpensive.

landscaping trees

Add some trees:  Want to add some curb appeal to your home and feel better when you’re pulling into the driveway after work? You won’t believe the difference a few trees can make. And compared to the cost (mature trees starts at around $1,000), they provide a great return on investment for you property value and can lower energy bills by providing shade.

 

 

Add Moldings:  Molding instantly adds a classy, sophisticated touch to any room, and if you do it yourself, it can cost less than $2 per foot. If you ever sell your home, buyers consistently say that molding is a big plus.molding

 

ceiling fanUpgrade your ceiling fans:  An efficient ceiling fan costs far less than air conditioning, and if your current ceiling fan is on its last legs, a replacement can totally change the look of a room.

 

 

 

 

energy efficiant

 

 

 

Energy efficient appliances:  Still using the appliances that came with the home? Upgrading your range, fridge, or dishwasher won’t just give your kitchen a sleeker appearance. Newer, more energy-efficient appliances will also lower your utility bills.

 

 

StorageInvest in storage:  One of the biggest ways to improve your home is to declutter. Throw out what you don’t need, and invest is some good storage solutions for what you keep.

Bluetooth Security

BLUETOOTH SECURITY:

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR BLUETOOTH SETTINGS

phone

Most of us aren’t careful enough when it comes to Bluetooth security.  Bluetooth offers great wireless convenience for your smartphone, allowing you to connect to your headphones, car stereo, wireless speaker, and other devices without dealing with a tangle of cords and wires.

As a general rule, you should turn Bluetooth off on your phone whenever you’re not connected to a device.

Forgetting to turn it off will reduce your battery life because it continues to drain power even when there’s no device connected. But, there are even more serious concerns than that.

New hacker technologies, called “Blueborne” can scan for open Bluetooth connections and gain access to your device. Once a device has been hacked, it can then be used to gain access to additional devices. It’s not limited to one manufacturer either. Samsung, Google, Apple, and several car audio systems have all shown vulnerabilities.

So as a best practice, follow these two tips:

  1. Keep your phone updated. When Apple or Android releases an update, it’s not just for new operating system features—it also patches security issues.
  2. Make it a habit to turn off Bluetooth. As soon as you step out of your car or power down your headphones, you should turn off the Bluetooth on your phone. If nothing else, your battery will last a little longer.

HOW TO LOWER YOUR CABLE BILL

Can you cut your Cable bill?

cable companies

More and more people are cutting the cord and going without television service, but for many—especially those who watch a lot of live programming— cable is still a necessity. Cable and satellite companies love to sign customers to a two-year contract, but will dramatically raise your bill when a promotional period ends after one year. Suddenly, you’re paying $50 or more per month for the same services.

Here’s how to get (and keep) the best deals on television service.

 

Know what’s in store: Cable and satellite companies seemingly make it impossible to go online to downgrade your services, cancel service, or choose a new bundle. Even online chat support gives the cable company the upper hand. Picking up the phone and negotiating remains the best way to get the lowest price for your television service.phone

Knowledge is power: Before you call, do some research. Understand the terms of your current contract, see which bundles your cable provider is currently offering to new customers, and price out similar service offerings from other companies. You’ll be in a better bargaining position if you have the freedom to cancel on your current provider.

Make the call: Make it clear to the support representative that you are calling because your rates have increased and you’re considering cancelling if they cannot lower your bill. The support representative will initially try to offer higher-priced bundles or short-term freebies, but don’t give up on the negotiation—remember, you already know you can switch to another provider. If the sales representative won’t budge, you can even end the call, and try again with a different representative. In most cases, they would rather find a package that works than lose a customer.

5 SECRET WEAPONS FOR DIY PROJECTS

diy

5 Simple Ingredients for some of your Dreaded DIY Projects

 

 

 

Is there a DIY home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store?

Here are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.

  1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
  2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
  3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
  4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.