Winter prep tips for your home

Winter prep tips for your homeAs the weather gets colder, it’s important to make sure your home is winter ready. Here are a few simple tips on how to prevent exterior winter damage from Jack Rende, senior merchant of building materials at the Home Depot Canada.

Inspect your roof. Then, apply roof repair glue to any loose shingles in order to help avoid leaks or damage in your home.

Choose durable, weather-proof shingles. GAF Timberline High-Definition shingles can withstand category three hurricane-force winds of up to 246 kilometres an hour.

Install roof-heating cables. This will cut down on snow or ice buildup, saving your home from expensive long-term damage. Before installing, make sure your eavestroughs and roof have been well cleaned. Then, attach roof cable clips to your roof in a zigzag pattern. Finally, secure your heating cable to the clips.

Prep eavestroughs and downspouts. Seal any cracks with a silicone sealant and install a filter to prevent leaves from clogging.

Reapply exterior caulking. It’s important to do so in any gaps between your siding and window or door frames.

Turn off exterior faucets. Be sure to drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent pipe bursts. If your home is 10 years or older, consider installing frost-proof faucets.

4 ways to keep your home fresh as it gets colder

4 ways to keep your home fresh as it gets colderWith the chill in the air, furnaces are on and windows are closed for the next few months. But this can lead to dry, stale air inside the home. Here are some ways you can reduce dry skin and irritated airways without getting fresh air from outside.

Keep fabrics clean. Ensure a clean environment at home, especially in the rooms where you spend the most time. Sheets, blankets, pillows, rugs – all these fabrics are perfect allergen collectors. Wash them regularly and try to avoid down-filled duvets and pillows, especially if you are an allergy sufferer.

Keep pets out of the bedroom. Even though it’s winter and you want to get cozy with your furry friend, pet dander can wreak serious havoc on your body when you’re sleeping. To help with the transition, set up a sleeping area with toys and other items your pet likes, so you can feel confident they’re comfortable without you.

Reduce use of harsh, smelly chemicals. All winter, our houses are closed, which means anything with a harsh chemical smell can’t escape and we’re subjecting our airways to it. Experiment with all-natural cleaning products including white vinegar, lemon and baking soda.

Humidify your air. To keep the air in your house fresh, consider purchasing a humidifier. The Philips Humidifier Series 2000 has evaporative technology that spreads 99 per cent less bacteria compared to leading ultrasonic humidifiers. Plus, the 360° design evenly distributes humidified air throughout the room, making it the perfect solution for dry, stuffy air in your home.

Fresh ways to make over furniture

With more time indoors on your hands thanks to cooler weather, you finally resolve to refinish that forgotten wooden chair that’s been tucked away in the garage all summer.

Whether you’re only giving the chair a fresh coat of paint or refinishing it from scratch, be sure to protect yourself and those around you in the process. Keep these tips in mind before beginning a new refinishing project.

  1. Read the label. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products.
  2. Work in an area with lots of ventilation. Refinish old furniture outdoors, if weather permits. If you work inside, open the windows to make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps. This can create dust and fumes that may contain lead.
  4. Use a chemical paint stripper. Ideally, choose one with a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint strippers contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully.
  5. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. This will help ensure their safety.
  6. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a good-quality breathing mask. The label will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  7. Store materials properly. Make sure that you store refinishing chemicals in a dry, cool place. Keep any hazardous material away from children’s reach.
  8. Dispose of refinishing waste materials properly. It can be dangerous to throw away rags and certain other materials that have been used for refinishing furniture. Aside from potentially starting a fire, they can also cause serious damage to the environment.

Seasonal maintenance tips in and around your home

Seasonal maintenance tips in and around your homeAlthough some of us may be hanging on to warmer temperatures, it’s inevitable that cooler weather is on its way. With the change in seasons comes a change in home maintenance that’s needed to prepare for the cooler climate. So, get ahead on your chores while the sun is still shining and follow these four simple tips to stay on track.

Clean out your gutter and downspout. Once leaves begin to fall, they will fill your gutter and downspouts blocking water that is draining off your roof. While this step may need to be repeated more than others, cleaning out your gutter regularly until all leaves have fallen will benefit your home long term. If you come across little friends nesting, safely remove them to avoid them calling your attic their new home.

Check your windows and doors. With cool, breezy air upon us, it’s important to check windows, doors and cracks that need to be fixed. Feel around for any drafts that may be coming through and try caulking around these areas to repair any broken seal. Not only will this keep you warm, it will reduce energy use and save money on your heating bill.

Inspect your furnace. Hire a professional to inspect your furnace before the cold weather arrives. Since the heat has been turned off for months, it’s important to complete a general maintenance to ensure your furnace is ready for another winter. Remember to clean out your filters regularly and replace as needed; this will benefit the air quality in your home and keep your furnace running efficiently.

Make the switch to winter tires. It’s important to make the switch from all-seasons to winter tires so that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving conditions. Even before the first snowfall, the drop in temperature requires a different type of tire to grip the road. Winter tires should be replaced every two to three seasons. If you have old tires that are no longer in use, drop off up to four for free at a registered Ontario Tire Stewardship collector. Recycling used tires helps keep the circular economy rolling by turning your old treads into sustainable products manufactured in Ontario.

 

Preparing your home’s exterior for the fall

Spruce up your home’s curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint. Not only does a paint touch-up maximize the first impression, it protects your investment from the elements. Follow these five easy steps to increase durability and create maximum wow factor.

  1. First, make sure to inspect the exterior of your home and identify any problem areas. Look for things like peeling paint, cracked caulking and water damage. Pay particular attention to your roof’s peaks, since sun exposure makes them more susceptible to wear and tear. Correct any issues before painting to avoid a spotty finish.
  2. Make sure to prepare the painting surface(s) to ensure a professional-looking finish. Sand, scrape and pressure-clean the areas you wish to paint to ensure uniformity.
  3. Pick colours that pop. Everyone admires an entrance that draws the eye, and there’s no better way to create big impact with just a little effort than with paint. A bold colour for your front door gives your home personality and creates a lasting impression. For a clean, vibrant look, I’ve picked Para Paints’ Jadestone 116F (pictured).
  4. Ensure that you have the proper tools and products for the job. Get yourself an angular tip brush, paint scraper, rags and a durable, top-quality paint. Be sure to choose a paint that can be applied and cures well in cold weather. A reliable choice is Para Paints’ new ultra-low temp velvet or semi-gloss paints. These products can be applied at 2°C, lengthening the fall painting season. They’re weather resistant, dry quickly and come in a wide range of colours.
  5. Now comes the easy part— the painting. For best results, apply a primer before starting, followed by an even application of paint. You can complete your refresh in one coat without issues, but consider two coats if the old paint is very dry or if the surface is very porous.

After applying the finishing touches, let the paint dry for a day or two and you’ll have a home that’s beautiful, inviting and resilient.

Scott McGillivray is the host of the hit HGTV series Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays, a real estate investor, contractor, author and educator.

Refresh your home with new cabinet doors

Looking for a way to update your home? If you’re happy with your existing cabinetry layout, refacing with new cabinet doors is all you need. The timesaving, no-fuss solution will make your space look brand new in a week or less.

By using an in-home cabinet refacing service such as ReNuIt, which provides turnkey, in-home consultation and installation, all you have to do is pick your style and watch the beauty come to life.

Cabinet refacing is perfect for quickly refreshing kitchens as well as many other areas of your home where storage and organization are key. Here are some ideas for how to revive different spaces with fresh cabinets.

Laundry room. Updating cabinets in your laundry room is a great way to stay on-trend while keeping organized. You can use the cabinets to store detergent, laundry sheets and cleaning supplies. Consider updating with new cabinet doors in neutral tones such as beige, white or grey. These colours will bring a fresh feel and look as clean as your clothes.

Home office. Let style inspire you in this space. If you envision an energizing room, opt for cabinet doors in bright colours. There’s a variety of blues, greens or yellows that will get your creative juices flowing. Perhaps you’re looking for a luxury feel with warm tones. For this, consider a rich brown or dark burgundy, as they offer that ready-for-business vibe.

Hallway and mudroom. It can be hard to find a place to store all your shoes and outerwear. Having cabinetry near the front door will provide you with that extra storage space. Consider adding cabinetry to an unused alcove or entry nook. You can have them installed with shelves, dividers and hooks so that everything has its place. This will help hide all the clutter, creating a seamless space perfect for greeting guests.

For more information on cabinet re-facing and installation check out homedepot.ca.

Staying safe during home renovations

The first back-to-school sale catches you by surprise. Where did the summer go?  With the return of shorter days and cooler temperatures, perhaps there are some neglected renovation projects that you can finally tackle.

Even if it’s only painting the kitchen, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Is there asbestos in your house? If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos — like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles — contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin the renovations. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself. If left undisturbed, there are no significant health risks from asbestos.
  • Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of anything left over.
  • Be sure to pick up gloves, a mask and a pair of safety glasses. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  • Keep all chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where kids cannot see or reach them.
  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing wall-to-wall carpets using glues or adhesives.

Tips to remember when revitalizing old furniture

Whether you’re stripping a chair you found in a garage sale, staining a vintage dresser or painting dated kitchen cabinets, be sure to protect yourself and those around you in the process. Here is what to do:

  1. Read the label. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products.
  2. Work in an area with lots of ventilation. Refinish old furniture outdoors, if weather permits. If you work inside, open the windows to make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps. This can create dust and fumes that may contain lead.
  4. Use a chemical paint stripper. Ideally, choose one with a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint strippers also contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully.
  5. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. This will help ensure their safety.
  6. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a good-quality breathing mask. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. These are essential to protect you and your family.
  7. Store materials properly. Make sure that you store refinishing chemicals in a dry, cool place. Keep any hazardous material away from children’s reach.
  8. Dispose of refinishing waste materials properly. It can be very dangerous to throw away rags and certain other materials that have been used for refinishing furniture. Aside from potentially starting a fire, they can also cause serious damage to the environment.

How to clean tricky areas in your home

Some nooks and crannies in the home can confound even the most fastidious housekeepers. Fortunately, a little elbow grease, the right tools and some simple techniques can go a long way toward an exceptionally clean home.

Get rid of gunk. When showering or using the bathroom sink becomes an unpleasant experience, it’s time to de-grime. Remove limescale and other gunk with DIY techniques and an ingredient already stocked in many homes — white vinegar. Soak shower tracks and the tub in vinegar for 30 minutes and wipe clean. Similarly, a rub with vinegar-soaked cotton balls on faucets, handles and other areas will leave the bathroom shining without any damage from abrasive scrubbing.

Conquer crevices. The many hard-to-reach areas of your home such as baseboards, vents, around appliances and under furniture might be neglected even when doing a thorough clean. Fortunately, Beam Central Vacuums feature lightweight hoses and ergonomic crevice and multi-tools that make it easy to maneuver and tackle even the most aggravating areas for an ultimate clean.

Freshen the fridge. The refrigerator needs a good cleaning every few months. Decrease the stress on its motor by pulling it from the wall, mopping the floor and vacuuming the coils in the back. Inside, soapy water will keep the shelves sparkling, while a damp cloth will remove smudges on the outside.

Denounce your dirty oven. You need to use some elbow grease to get rid of the actual grease. Remove hood vents, racks and burners, soak in soapy water and rinse twice per year. Wipe down the doors and crevices thoroughly before replacing the racks, then blast away any remaining grit by running the oven’s self-cleaning option.

Learn more about cleaning tricky areas of your home at www.buybeam.ca.

Essential home cleaning tips for pet owners

Even the biggest pet-lovers know furry friends can leave an endless mess around your home. Fortunately, an effective home cleaning routine can minimize the mess left behind on your floors, furniture and guests. Try these tips to keep your home happy, healthy and clean so both two- and four-legged family members can flourish.

Stop dirt on sight. Rain, leaves, mud and mischief are a recipe for disaster when pets are coming back in from some outdoor playtime, but it’s possible to keep dirt and debris outside. Think ahead and keep all-natural pet wipes at the door to capture dirt and moisturize paw pads and fur at the same time.

Say no to furry furniture. You want your living spaces guest ready, not full of fur and pet hair. With Beam Central Vacuum accessories like a pet grooming brush, upholstery brush and hand power brush cleaning those favourite pet nap spots is effortless, removing fur along with any dirt, dust and allergens they brought in from outside.

Roll hair away. Even once furniture and floors are clean, fur is likely to stick to clothes. Keep a lint roller in an accessible place near the front door. This is especially helpful for sending appreciative guests on their way as fur-free as they arrived, with fond memories not fur balls.

Protect what matters. Curious teeth and paws can wreak havoc on valuable home items. To stop pets in the act and keep them away from areas where they aren’t allowed, use furniture-safe products like bitter-tasting pet sprays. Keep non-toxic wood fillers on hand to mend scratches and gashes in case of an incident.

Learn more about keeping your home clean with pets at www.buybeam.ca.