A little prep and a few precautions on your next home improvement project can save money and help you avoid having to do the job over again. Here are a few tips from Jacquelyn McGilvray of DIYnetwork.com:
Rule #1: safety. Don’t ignore safety on any home improvement project. Simple precautions like wearing safety goggles, not overloading outlets and turning off breakers will only take a few minutes or a few extra bucks, but these steps can save you from disaster.
Painting is all in the prep. The key to a successful paint job is always the prep. Use joint compound to patch holes. Make sure it dries thoroughly otherwise you might be left with a dimple on your wall. Use sandpaper to smooth out the patched areas then wipe the walls with a damp rag to remove the sanding dust. A coat of primer will seal the surface, provide durability and create a solid bond for the paint to adhere. The only time primer may not be needed is when painting latex over latex and the colors have a similar intensity. Either way, plan on two coats of paint.
If you end up with drips after the paint has dried, use a razor blade to scrap off the drip or use sandpaper to smooth it out, then touch up with paint. If your walls turn out uneven, plan on another coat of paint making sure the paint is mixed thoroughly, and be sure to load the roller evenly every time you dip it back into the tray.
Seal the deal on grout. You can spend a lot of time and money installing tile, but if you don’t properly seal the grout it can absorb water, dirt and other stains. To clean stained grout, try oxygen bleach powder – there are several cleaning products on the market made specifically for grout. If that doesn’t work, you may have to chip out the stained grout then regrout. For removing grout, a manual grout saw is less than $10, but if you have a rotary tool, there are attachments available that will make the job much easier. If the tile is porous, it is important to add a release agent to the tile before you regrout to prevent the grout from adhering to the surface of the tile. Once you’re done regrouting, be sure to use a sealant. Oil-based sealants have a tendency to work better than water-based sealants.
Tree trimming. Tree “topping” — cutting a tree back so severely only the stumps of large branches are left — is a huge blunder. This stresses the tree by taking away its main food source – its leaves. The tree will send out many new branches in an effort to produce more leaves quickly, but they won’t be as strong as the previous branches and will easily break off. Tree topping can also result in unattractive tree.
The proper way to trim a tree is to cut at the joints. A joint is where either a leaf or a branch grows out from the stem. Cut down the tallest branches at a joint, instead of leaving a bunch of stubs. This will reduce the height significantly and the tree will be able to heal itself.