It happens: Your niece draws a crayon masterpiece on your living room wall, or you scratch the molding while moving furniture . . . and now you’re searching the basement for touch-up paint. Before you pick up that paintbrush, check out our top ten touch-up tips to follow—and the five biggest mistakes to steer clear of!—if you want to avoid repainting the entire room.

DO:

  1. Decide if painting is really necessary. First, try removing marks by wiping the wall with a damp, sudsy sponge. You can also gently rubbing the spot with a paste made of baking soda and water—but be careful, because this mixture is mildly abrasive. No luck? Follow these tips for a flawless touch-up.
  2. Prep the surface: Wipe it with a damp, soapy sponge, then rinse it with a fresh damp sponge and dry it with a clean towel.
  3. Open the windows to get some ventilation going before you start painting.
  4. Prime the part of the wall you intend to paint. Use high-quality latex primer, and don’t go beyond the area you’d like to touch up.
  5. Match your touch-up paint to the wall color. It’s always a good idea to store excess paint from the original can specifically for repairs, but if you don’t have any left, visit a store with color-matching technology and ask them to mix an identical color in the same finish.
  6. Maintain the surface texture by using the same applicator as the first time you painted the wall. If the wall was painted with a brush, use a similar brush; if the wall was painted with a roller, use a small, handheld roller.
  7. Dilute the paint slightly (about 10 to 15%) with a thinner recommended by the paint manufacturer. A thin layer of fresh paint will be much less noticeable than a thick patch of paint.
  8. Stir the paint thoroughly, especially if it’s been sitting in your basement for a while.
  9. “Feather” out the paint to create a smooth transition between the patch-up spot and the rest of the wall. If using a brush, extend your strokes slightly beyond the touch-up area. If using a roller, sweep out from the center of the area with a clean, dry roller, slowly lifting away from the wall as you go.
  10. Be patient and wait until the paint has dried completely before evaluating. A touch-up that’s very noticeable when wet may dry into an exact match.

DON’T:

  1. Forget to match the finish. To achieve a seamless look, knowing your satin from your semi-gloss is as important as picking the right color.
  2. Overload your brush with paint. Start with a small amount and reapply as needed so you don’t wind up with a thick, unruly touch-up blob.
  3. Store leftover paint in a hot or sunny spot. Keep extra paint in a cool, dry place, like a basement. Make the paint can as airtight as possible by cleaning the rim before closing the lid.
  4. Shake the paint can before opening it. If this is a can that’s been hanging out in your basement for a couple of years, it likely has a thick film on top. Open the lid and remove this layer before stirring the paint.
  5. Pour paint down your sink or throw it in the garbage—it can clog your sink and is bad for the environment. Take liquid paint to your local recycling center. Dry paint can generally be tossed in the trash. To dry it out, mix it with kitty litter and let it harden.

The idea of black mold is alarming enough, let alone seeing something you suspect is black mold in your home. As is so often the case, however, knowledge is power — including the power to calm fear and deal with a current or potential problem head-on. Here’s what you need to know about black mold, the health problems it can cause, and what to do if you think you have it in your home.

Black Mold: What is It?

Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as “black mold,” is a mold that’s often black in color (but it can be green-ish or gray as well) and can grow in homes in humid or damp areas. The mold feeds on “organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture,” as HGTV describes.

As the mold proliferates, it can release toxic substances. It is these that cause health problems. The CDC explains it this way: “The term ‘toxic mold’ is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.”

However, though the release of mycotoxins does not always occur, the possibility that it can is reason enough to take care of any mold problem (black or not) right away.

Identifying Black Mold

Black mold growing in a visible area is easily seen. However, sometimes you may not be able to see a mold problem that’s occurring behind your walls or in your insulation, for instance. In these cases, you would smell a mold problem and then need to investigate where exactly it is as well as the moisture source that’s causing it. SFGate says, “Just follow your nose. A musty, earthy smell, like dirt and rotting leaves, is a telltale sign of mold’s presence. Stachybotrys smells especially strong.”

Testing for Black Mold

You can have your mold tested to find out exactly what kind it is. Cost varies, but you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars to determine the type of mold.

There are also black mold testing kits, available at the hardware store or on Amazon, that you can purchase for around $35-50. With this DIY route, you take samples from a suspected affected surface, then send off to be tested in a lab.

Black Mold Exposure Symptoms

Symptoms of exposure to black mold are similar to symptoms that can occur with exposure to many types of mold. Most commonly, these symptoms include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and irritated throat and nasal passages. Exposure to black mold has also been reported to cause chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Those with allergies to mold are of course more likely to be affected by mold exposure.

As is usually the case, children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of experiencing adverse reactions to mold. Black mold exposure may cause asthma in children who live in an infested environment, and can cause pneumonia in older, susceptible individuals. Fungal infections can also occur upon exposure to mold.

Cleaning Black Mold

Black mold, as well as any other mold that you find growing in your home, should be cleaned immediately. Mold on hard surfaces can be cleaned with “commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water,” per the CDC’s recommendation.

Any time mold is being cleaned, non-porous gloves and eye wear should be worn, along with a mask. Open doors and windows for air circulation. These EPA guidelines, though intended for commercial buildings and schools, can also provide some helpful information about cleaning up mold.

Black Mold Removal

Any porous material that has become moldy should be thrown away. This includes ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet. In cases of extensive mold damage, professional mold remediation specialists should be called in to do the job. Even dead mold can cause health problems, so the affected are needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried.

To ensure that the mold doesn’t re-grow, the source of the dampness or moisture must be addressed. This means locating and fixing any leaks or broken pipes that are causing the situation, before replacing other material and furnishings.

The bottom line is that though “toxic black mold” is a buzz phrase we’ve all heard and fear, black mold is not necessarily more dangerous than other molds. Any mold growth in the home can be potentially dangerous and should be addressed swiftly and thoroughly.

 

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Halloween celebrations for some imply the landing of fall: Kids are back in school, leaves are descending, and storms are beginning to come in off the Pacific. As summer get-aways blur to charming recollections you might need to take a couple of minutes to refresh your fall home change agenda. Hold up, what’s that? You don’t have one? Here are the best 5 things you ought to do to prepare your home for winter:

FALL HOME PREP: REPLACE THE FURNACE FILTER.

fall home prepIndoor air quality is particularly critical amid Fall and Winter, considering we will be shutting the windows and progressively recycling indoor air.

FALL HOME PREP: COVER THE HOSE BIBS.fall home prep

They call them “hose tuckers,” however they’re really the open air spigots around your home. It’s still somewhat early, yet preferred to be right on time over late — nobody needs to call the handyman to settle solidifying funnels.

fall home prepFALL HOME PREP: REPLACE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS/THERMOSTAT.

It’s a decent normal, each Labor Day and Memorial Day supplant the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide indicators. What’s more, while you’re busy you should supplant them in your indoor regulator too. (A few people go similar to supplanting every one of the batteries in their TV remotes.)

FALL HOME PREP: MAKE SURE YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR MEETS THE GRADE.

Stroll around your home and ensure the dirt is evaluated far from the building. Guarantee no soil is touching the outside wood dividers, and prune trees and bushes so they’re not touching your siding or rooftop.

FALL HOME PREP: LOOK FOR LEAKS.

Check around your windows and particularly entryways. Are there any crevices? Presently is an extraordinary time to apply climate stripping to seal up those vitality sucking crevices and gaps. It can spare you cash later.

A few of us are upbeat to state “farewell” to all the warmth and dry climate, however others are tragic to see the long days get shorter. Whichever way you take a gander at it, it’s best to be set up for a difference in season: It’s coming — “climate” you’re prepared or not.

Here’s six Home Improvement Tips for You

Tip #1: Organize home change records. Survey guarantees and item manuals to keep an eye on suggested support for heaters, apparatuses and devices. Stamp your timetable to track planned upkeep and administration.

Tip #2: Inspect furniture, cupboards, and vanities for free handles, pulls and pivots. Fix or repair as important. Grease up squeaky entryway pivots with lightweight machine oil. Free sticky entryways by trimming edges or shimming pivots with thin bits of cardboard.

Tip#3: Deep clean dishwasher, waste compactor and ledge machines.

Tip #4: Remove deplete traps under sinks and clean them completely. Tidy fly up deplete plugs. Examine the linkage for fly up channels to ensure they are set legitimately. To modify the linkage, crush the finger worked weight bolt to discharge it and slide it up or down as fundamental.

Tip #5: To shield valves from adhering and to check for spills, kill all water valves and on. This incorporates outside spigots and valves to toilets, lavatories, kitchen sinks, clothing and bar regions, and so forth.

Tip #6: Inspect grout and caulk around tubs, sink and showers. Chip out broke grout and supplant missing grout.

Thanks to the best kayaking tours in Sarasota for sponsoring my blog.

Getting up to speed with home care after the long winter months? Spring without hesitation with 25 home support tips:

1. Survey the substance of your drug cupboards and discard dated solutions and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Make sure all medicines are far from kids or contained in a bureau furnished with childproof locks.

2. Clean the carport! Hold a yard deal or sort out a group yard deal with neighbors. To securely discard acetones, family unit cleaners and pesticides, contact your city or district’s waste administration office to discover the following booked accumulation of dangerous materials.

3. Clean the icebox, inside and out, with a gentle cleanser. Evacuate all plate and retires, wash and dry altogether before supplanting them. Expel old ice from ice-production plate.

4. After substantial downpours, examine your cellar dividers for indications of dampness. On the off chance that you identify wetness, run a compact dehumidifier. In the event that the condition continues, counsel a contractual worker like Neil Kelly.

5. Test the weight and temperature alleviation valve on your water radiator by opening it and enabling some water to stream out. Assuming practically no water streams our or it doesn’t close off, supplant it. Awful valves can cause blasts.

6. Spring is a decent time to fabricate a puppy house! Make a point to give satisfactory rooftop ventilation to enable hot air to get away. Try not to utilize weight treated wood in any region where your puppy may bite it up.

7. Setting your clock to Daylight Savings Time is additionally a decent time to supplant batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide locators.

8. Assess screens (both house and vents to storage room spaces) for tears and bowed casings.

9. Clean window screens. Lay them level on an eating area or sawhorses and clean them with a delicate abound brush and a gentle cleanser arrangement. Wash with a garden hose and permit to dry totally.

10. Examine open air structures for crumbling – particularly indications of dry decay. Utilize a little bit to test posts, railings and window ledges for weaknesses. In the event that you discover any, plan to supplant or repair them when the climate turns reasonable — Neil Kelly can offer assistance.

11. Get ready for the outside cooking season by assessing gas flame broils. Evacuate cooking flame broils and altogether clean them with foamy water and a brush with metal swarms. Expel aggregated oil from pumice and fired briquettes by turning them over and touching off the burners. Permit 10 minutes on high warmth to clean the briquettes.

12. Assess cultivate hoses for spills. Make transitory repairs with electrical tape. Pry out old washers and supplant them. Try not to leave hoses associated with outside nozzles until the point when the risk of ice is totally finished.

13. Caulk open joints, especially around windows and entryways.

14. Review the creep space or cellar after downpours for water amassing or over the top dampness. Search for indications of water harm on the sub floor and joists underneath washrooms, kitchen and clothing. Find and fix spills now or pay the cost later.

15. Stop water to the clothes washer, expel the water supply hose and analyze them and the washers. Supplant worn and harmed ones.

16. Check fire quenchers to ensure they are not obsolete, have lost weight or are harmed.

17. Clean canals. Review canals to guarantee all spikes, ties and clasps are firmly secured. Utilize a garden hose to flush flotsam and jetsam from downspouts. Ensure downspouts or splashbacks coordinate water no less than 3-feet far from the establishment.

18. Clean rooftops. Expel free trash and note any harm caused by winter storms. Try not to give greenery and green growth a chance to get an a dependable balance. Neil Kelly is putting forth 15% off Roof Cleaning through April 14, 2017.

19. Wash windows, inside and out, utilizing an answer produced using 3-tablespoons of non-sudsy smelling salts to 1-gallon of water. Try not to work in the immediate sun – the arrangement will dry too quick and streak. To clean windows with genuine (not removable) flame broils, utilize a hacksaw to cut a squeegee so it fits in the window sheets precisely.

20. Have your focal air-cooling unit checked by the suggestions of the unit’s maker. Supplant the channel in the constrained air framework. Clean garbage from the condenser or warmth direct situated outside.

21. Expel mineral stores from fixture aerators and shower heads by absorbing parts white vinegar and cleaning with an old toothbrush.

22. Have swimming pools cleaned. Investigate and administration pool liners and channels.

23. Tidy roof fans.

24. Set indoor regulators and programmed sprinkler frameworks to alter for climate changes.

25. Before setting metal porch furniture outside, coat with auto clean.

Everybody adores the “Ooh and Ahh” factor of a vast, extravagant kitchen. However, let’s be honest, the vast majority of us can’t stand to victory an outside divider to oblige a huge space. So with regards to little kitchen configuration there are a few traps to make a minor space live vast.

“I like dealing with little kitchen outline the greater part of all,” says Neil Kelly Design Consultant Karen Richmond. “I generally tell my customers that a space doesn’t should be substantial to work well,” she says.

LIVING LARGE

The space ought to be as adaptable as could be allowed. Since you don’t have the advantage of numerous ‘zones’, the space ought to be intended to adjust — for prep, cooking, cleaning, and engaging — however much as could be expected.

Long Table in a little Kitchen designA great case of adaptability of a little kitchen configuration is utilizing a long table that serves as an island. At left, the table is utilized for cooking arrangement, at that point it’s re-purposed (after an exhaustive cleaning!) as a feasting table. Different cases incorporate seats with worked away, haul out cutting sheets, and so forth.

The requirement for imaginative critical thinking is increased in little kitchen outline, however so is the open door for some truly cunning space-sparing thoughts. For example, in the kitchen at right, the customers were ardent pastry specialists. While most people may not need a fly out blender that barges in on a door, these customers truly wanted a blender free zone on the ledges.

Versatility

The little kitchen configuration must be adaptable AND versatile. “It’s frequently gainful to have a portable surface like a prep table on casters or a table that folds out from the divider,” Richmond says.

Concentrate ON COLOR

The utilization of shading in a little kitchen outline

Swedish plan firm, Bemz, spends significant time in little kitchen outline, and proposes that the best possible utilization of shading and central focuses make the figment of more prominent space. “A smart thought is to keep the general shading plan toward the milder range with accents of shading,” says Bemz Marketing Project Manager, Sara Herring. “A gentler shading plan is simpler on the eye and can trap the mind into suspecting this is a quiet space.” She includes: “Utilizing the greater part of a similar shading makes a dull look, so I prescribe spicing it up by giving splendid hues as a point of convergence.”

Little KITCHEN DESIGN: SEE THE LIGHT

Lighting outline in a little kitchen

Common light in a space likewise helps make it feel bigger. To the extent simulated light, Herring says to blend diverse sorts and abstain from having only one major light swinging from the roof in a kitchen. Spotlights under cupboards give light to the ledges and wipe out dim corners. Highlight lighting can be utilized to enlighten darker specialties.