Home Maintenance Feed

October: brisk, bright, busy in Monmouth County NJ

I find every October when it starts to get brisk and the air is crisp and earthy I need to start a project. This year I decided to concentrate on the 2nd bedroom. We are anticipating a visitor from overseas so I want it to be welcoming.

I live in an original 1929 modular ranch bungalow and the rooms are not very big so you have to be minimal with furnishing etc.; which I have a difficult time with. We inherited my husband's family maple 4 poster  bed without the canopy (too bad) and mahogany dressers that were repainted sometime with gold distress look. These are really nice pieces and worth working on. Teh room we painted in Home Depot paint Linen which has a yellow cream cast and we have cream carpeting.

I had a friend a friend of ours paint the bed headboard and footboard with Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. OMG! what a difference! Now when we put the bed together and dressed it up the room looks like a little bed and breakfast bedroom. We now want to sleep in this room that's how good it looks!

I have come across some interesting handy hints as I am doing this project and thought to share with you.

  • When you have finished a painting project, write on a masking tape the date and how many gallons of paint were needed for the job. Stick the tape on the back of a light sitch plate. Also to get the exact shade next time include the color formula sticker from the paint can. When the room is due for a fresh coat, you'll be ready to go!

How many times have I miseried over what to paint first in a room.

  • Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls.  That's because it is easier and faster to tape off the trim than to tape off the walls. When painting the trim you do not have to be extra neat. Just concentrate on getting a smooth finish on the trim. Don't worry if the paint gets on the walls, you'll cover it when painting the walls. Once the trim is completely painted and dry at least 24 hours, tape it off with painter's tap then paint the ceiling then the walls and it will be gone
  • For mess proof painting I use the cartons(case) that come from buying bulk water or cat food. I put the paint can inside and open it and leave the lid in there too, this way I don't accidentently step on the lid and track paint and believe me I have done it quite a few times.
  • Cardboard box as a spray booth for small items. Right now when it gets cold the wind also picks up so using an aeresol spray paint is difficult and messy. I have started to use a any largish(?) carton and poke thorugh a dry cleaner style hanger as my holder I hang whatever I need painted, spray it and no mess!
  • My last tip I jsut learned now is storing paint cans upside down. By doing this the wieght of the paint will form an airtight seal around the rim. Of course make sure you have closed the lid tight so when placing it upside down it doesn't open on you or leak. When you're ready to use it again turn the can upright and shake it real hard to get all the solids off the lid and presto the paint is like new.

As I continue with this autumn/winter project I will post whatever else I learn. Right now I will start working on the dresser. I want to change the look of the dresser.

Til later will let you know the progress.

How Long Should It Last...

Replacing a homes window's appliances or roofing can be pricey; so knowing how long before the refrigerator is likely to stop working or a roof might spring a leak can have value to buyers and home owners.

Buyers want to know replacement costs for aging components beforee making an offer and homeowners can use the information to decide whether to replace it before a move.

A new study by the National Association of Home Builders provides some insight that can help estimate the average useful life of more than 100 household appliances and building materials. The true longevity of anything depends on maintenance, use and quality of installation as well as climate conditions.

Here are just a few:

100 years or more
Brick siding: Lifetime of home
All wooden floors: Lifetime of home
Cellulose insulation material: 100 plus years

50 - 100 years
Slate, copper, clay and concrete roofs:
50 plus years
Copper gutters: 50 plus years
Kitchen Cabinets: up to 50 years
Modified acrylic kitchen sinks: 50 years
Vinyl Floors: 50 years

30-50 years
Thermostats: 35 years
Wooden Windows: 30 years
Wood shake Roofs: 30 years
French Interior Doors:30to 50 years

10-20 years
Built-in Audio system: 20 years
Aluminum Windows: 15-20 years
Asphalt Shingle roofs: 20 years
Faucets, kitchen sinks: 15 years
Gas ranges: 15 years
Cultured marble counter tops: 20 years
Dryers and refrigerators: 13 years
Air conditioning units : 10-15 years
Lighting controls: 10+years
Interior and exterior paints: 15+years
electric or gas water heaters: 10 years
Air conditioners
: 10-15 years
Furnaces: 10- 15 years

5-10 years

Security systems: 5-10 years
heat and smoke detectors: 5-10 years
dishwashers: 9 years
Microwave ovens: 9 years
Carpet 8-10 years

Information on Garage Door Tax Credit of $1500 for 2009

Last weekend I was getting ready for an Open House and all my items are stored in my garage so I went and got all my stuff put it in my car  clicked on the garage door opener and backed  out of the driveway and off I went not looking back at the garage door.

During the open house my husband called me asking me what did I do to the garage door I said nothing. Well he said it is broken and we cannot close it. You and your stuff got in the way of the door.

So now I am a nervous wreck another major bill I can't really afford, but it is a necessity. So I started researching about prices on garage doors etc., when I came across this article and was pleasantly surprised so here it is for your information also.

 The U.S. government is offering financial incentives to homeowners to buy qualifying insulated garage doors.

Under the stimulus legislation signed by President Obama on Feb, 17, 2009, tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements have been extended and increased significantly. That means that adding a new garage door in 2009 or 2010 can save you money by helping to lower home energy consumption and costs, AND it will help pay for itself this year through the tax credit incentive.

Important details regarding the tax credit:

  • The new tax credits are available for qualifying garage door purchases "placed in service" from Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2010. Garage door purchases made in 2008 are not eligible for the tax credit.
  • The maximum tax credit that a taxpayer may claim from all qualifying improvements combined is 30 percent the cost of each product and $1500 over the lifetime of the tax credit periods (2009 and 2010).

Homeowners now have another significant reason to buy qualifying insulated residential garage doors – a tax credit. Tax credits are more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only decreases the amount of income that is taxed.

To be eligible for the tax credit, the purchased garage door must meet all of the following criteria:
  • The door must be an insulated residential garage door.
  • It must be installed on an insulated garage.
  • The door must have a U-factor equal to or less than 0.30, even if the door contains glazing.
  • The door perimeter must have a means to control air infiltration.
  • The door must be expected to remain in service for at least five years.
  • The garage must be part of the taxpayer's principal U.S. residence.
  • Dealers should provide homeowners with a Manufacturer’s Certification statement and a breakdown of the material and labor costs.
The homeowner's tax credit is based on the total material cost of the purchase (the cost of installation does not qualify). The tax credit is equal to the sum of 30 percent of all qualified energy-saving improvements installed in an existing home in the calendar years of 2009 and 2010. The maximum credit is $1500.

For example, if a homeowner paid $2,500 in material costs for two qualified insulated garage doors, that individual would be eligible for a $750 tax credit. If the material costs were $1,000, the tax credit would be $300.

The tax credit essentially gives the homeowner a 30 percent savings off the material cost of the door. If additional incentives are offered by your dealer, the savings could be even more attractive.

This kind of opportunity may never happen again in your lifetime. How often has the government helped you purchase a garage door or upgrade your home? If you play your cards right, this tax credit promotion can help you make the improvements to your home that you never dreamed you would be able to in a down economy.

For more online information on the garage door tax credit, check out:
Tax Credits Available for Qualifying Garage Doors Purchased in 2009 and 2010 – GarageWowNow.com
Text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [PDF download]. See pp. 208-210, Sect. 1121
About the Manufacturer’s Certification Statement
Energy Star’s Comments About the Tax Credit
Energy Star’s Comments About Garage Doors

www.Garagewownow.com  is sponsored by the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers' Association (DASMA), and by the International Door Association (IDA). All dealers in the GarageWowNow search database are IDA dealer members who practice the IDA Code of Business Conduct, which signifies their commitment to quality, excellence and customer service.

Hope for Homeowners Program

FHA Mortgage Rescue Program

Part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, passed in July 2008, includes provisions to help struggling homeowners replace their mortgages with 30-year fixed-rate loans backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). Available from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2011, the Hope for Homeowners program is designed to help homeowners who can no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments and have mortgages that exceed the market value of their homes.

Find Out More
More information about the Hope for Homeowners program is available online at www.HUD.gov (type “Hope for Homeowners” in the search window) or by calling (800) 225-5342. Both resources also offer information about the FHASecure program -- a program designed to help qualified homeowners who may be facing foreclosure due to an interest rate increase on their mortgage.

Saving Money on Household Items and when to buy them

Planning to remodel, “stage” for a sale, or furnish a new home, it pays to schedule purchases. Here are some suggestions for saving money on various household items by waiting to buy during certain sale times.

Here are several months of the year to find bargains on specific merchandise:

January—Radios and TV's, small appliances, blankets, quilts, fabric, and linens
February—Bedding, floor covering, furniture, and house wares
March—Washers and dryers, air conditioners, china, and glassware 
April—Kitchen ranges, paint, and wallpaper 
May—Radios, TVs, and linens
June—Bedding, floor covering, furniture, and storm windows
August—Linens and rugs
September—China and glassware
October—Rugs and fabrics

Enhancing The 3 Main Rooms In The Home

Enhancing The 3 Main Rooms In The Home

1.     Kitchen

Light and airy kitchens set the tone for the rest of the home. Thoroughly clean the windows, floors and counters. Then replace with necessary items such as greenery, pottery and linens. Open the curtains turn on the lights and set the table with your best china! If your kitchen appears small, take out extra chairs and tables leaves. Also, try re-positioning your table for a better effect visually.

Your best investments are: A new tablecloth, place mats, area rug, valances, plants and fresh flowers.

2.     Bathroom:

What’s your best investment in this room? A new shower curtain, coordinating towels and bathroom rug. Simply, they make the biggest impact because they cover the most space visually. Clear off un-used items on the vanity and replace with just a few attractive soaps, magazines and towels.

3.     Master Bedroom:

Remove any clutter. Any pieces that are overcrowding the room. Soften the harsh lines with fabrics and plants and, make sure it’s light, airy and comfortable. Re-arrange furniture when necessary, to appear spacious.

Your best investment: An attractive comforter, throw pillows and matching valances. A few well placed pictures (hung at eye level)

"A Quick Fix"

“A Quick Fix”

Focus on:

1.      Identifying the focal points in the 3 most important rooms: Kitchen, Master Bedroom and Baths.

2.      Furniture placement.

3.      Lighting

4.      Accessories

“Assessing A Home”

-         3 Key Points- Comfort, Style Warmth and Character.

1.      Starting at the front door. Ask yourself….

What is your true 1st impression?

Remove the screen door and place potted flowers by the entrance. Yards should be freshly mowed and trimmed. And don't’ forget, a fresh coat of paint on the front door and hang a wreath, and you are on your way to a beautiful 1st impression!

2.      As you open the door, is it bright and inviting? Or dark and uninviting? Now, open the curtains and turn on all the lights (yes, even in the daytime) does the living room feel spacious and bright? To make a room appear spacious, simply rearrange the furniture. Sometimes a new layout can change the entire personality of the home. A quick inexpensive way to enhance your living room is to buy throw pillows, fresh plants and flowers. For those bare corners, use inexpensive decorator round tables with charming linens, and top the tables with family photos and other interesting items. Remember work with odd numbers. It is more pleasing to the eye. From doing this simple task, you can fill space with warmth, character and all very inexpensively. For a fireplace mantel, start with 1 large picture, place larger items 1st and then fill in the rest of the space with smaller items of interest.

3.      Mirroring the Space:

Strategically placed mirrors will always visually expand and brighten any room.

Money Saving Tips

Piggybank Money Saving Tips

·        Freshen up paint – Only where needed

·        Have carpets cleaned (Chem –dry does a great job) And use area rugs over the carpet in hallways and focal points,

·        Re-arrange furniture for best impact. Make sure that focal points and furniture groupings have the proper lighting. Use inexpensive lamps when needed, it’s the light that accents the accessories that make the greatest impact.

·        Use fresh flowers in living rooms, kitchen and master bedroom when possible

·        Don’t re-landscape your yards! Instead, mow and trim bushes and add some colorful flowers for the front yard and on the front porch or by the front door.

·        Re-paint kitchen and bathroom cabinets when needed, instead of replacing.

·        Put brighter light bulbs for more effect.

·        Clean or replace switchplate covers where needed

·        Replace toilet seats and shower curtains

It’s Show Time Check List

Checkmark ·         Daily To Do List

1.  Make beds and put away clutter

2.  Vacuum and sweep floors

3.  Pick up kids toys

     4.  Open all curtains and drapes

     5.   Turn on lights day or night

Tips on Keeping Warm

Tips on Keeping Warm

Homeowners should ensure their heating system is economical and efficient. the Department of Energy suggests the following:

q       Insulate attics, ceilings, exterior and basement floors and crawl spaces

q       Caulk, sea, weather-strip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside

q       Consider replacing single pane windows with double pane windows

q       Install storm windows and tight fitting shades

q       Close curtains at night and open during the day

q       Service and clean your home heating oil system annually. The oil   company should be able to perform an efficiency test

q       Set thermostat back

q       Keep radiators and vents clean

q       Insulate pipes and ducts since most leaks from heating go out the ducts

q       Seal air leaks in ducts

q       Provide balanced air return and air filter as needed

q       For warm-air furnaces, replace air filter as needed

q       For steam systems, clean and replace radiator vents as needed

q       For hot water boilers, purge air from system

q       To modify or replace the system, you can buy programmable thermostats to control heat automatically

q       If all else fails, you can buy a high efficiency furnace or boiler

q       For more information call (800) 363-3732

Source: The energy efficiency and renewable energy-clearing house,




As seen in the Asbury Park Press Feb/2000