Fool-Proof Tips for Cleaning Wood Surfaces

To keep the wood surfaces in your home clean and beautiful without damage, you need to consider the kind of wood and the treatment it receives.

General Cleaning for Wood Furniture and Paneling

One of the first rules of cleaning wood is this: never soak it with water.

Wood is porous, and applying water will swell the pores. Water can also damage many types of finishes – the proof is that most of us have a table or desk with tell-tale rings on them left by wet cups.

While dusting with a barely-damp cloth shouldn’t harm painted wood surfaces, any application of water to oiled, lacquered, or unfinished wood is likely to leave permanent, disfiguring marks.

Opt instead for a dry dusting cloth, or use the dusting attachment on your vacuum cleaner to keep wood furniture and paneling clean.

Dry or Damp Wood Dusting Cloth
Use A Dusting Cloth Like This

Can You Clean Wood With Vinegar?

It isn’t a good idea to clean wood with pure, undiluted vinegar. In addition to leaving water marks, the acid in the vinegar could “eat” certain kinds of finishes.

However, for polishing wood, a homemade treatment of half olive oil and half white vinegar can buff up stained and oiled wood finishes nicely. Simply apply with a soft clean cloth and rub in well. Blot off any excess with a second cloth.

How To Clean Wood Floors With Vinegar

  • Add a cup of white vinegar to your mop bucket for extra grease-cutting power. Don’t let pools of water stand on the wood afterwards, or you may wind up with water marks, especially on darker woods.
  • Stand on a towel and “walk” it around the room to wipe up any excess water.

While vinegar can be safe, DON’T use other solvents like alcohol, ammonia, or acetone-these will damage your furniture or even strip off the paint.

How To Clean Wood Floors (without vinegar)

Don’t want to use vinegar? Follow these steps to clean your hardwood floors like a pro:

  1. Clear The Space. First, clear the room of any furniture that is easily moveable. Chairs get in the way and are easy to move.
  2. Dust The Floor. Begin by sweeping or dusting your floor with a microfiber mop. Use a microfiber mop instead of a broom. This will trap dust and allergens instead of pushing it around the room. Be sure to keep the mop on the floor so you don’t release any dirt. You won’t use water in this first step.wet and dry microfiber mop
  3. Apply Hardwood Cleaner. Next, you’ll lightly spray the floor with hardwood floor cleaner.hardwood floor cleaner
  4. Mop The Floor. Use a dampened wet microfiber mop pad (included in this kit) and walk it back and forth in direction of the grain. Be sure the mop isn’t dripping wet and clean up any standing water right away. It only needs to be slightly damp.

How To Polish Your Wood Floors

Want your floor to really shine? You’ll need to polish it. This doesn’t have to be done every time you clean the floor. Once every 3 months is the recommended schedule. It will really make your floor look great and protects it at the same time!

  1. Follow the steps above for cleaning your floors.
  2. Shake the hardwood polish well and spray on the floor in an “S” pattern.hardwood floor polish
  3. Use a clean microfiber pad to massage the polish into the wood against the grain.
  4. Smooth the surface with the grain.

It helps to polish your floors in small sections and be sure to start in one corner and end in a spot where you won’t have to walk over the floor for an hour. Avoid heavy traffic for 24 hours if possible. If your hardwood is heavily worn or old, you may need to think about refinishing it. Enjoy your great looking floor!

Types Of Waxes For Wood Surfaces

Adding a shine to wood furniture, especially antiques or exotic woods, is as easy as applying some wax. Waxes made specifically for wood furniture are designed to provide extra protection from moisture, dust, and stains as well as a pleasing soft sheen. Even better, if you want to refinish your furniture at any point, wax will not cause problems.

Liquid waxes are the easiest to apply, and often dry quickly, but you may need to apply more than one coat to really see results in terms of both looks and protection. The results from liquid wax usually last up to four months, depending on how much wear your furniture gets.

Paste waxes offer superior, long-lasting protection to fine wood furniture. It isn’t necessary to apply more than one coat to most woods, but the extra effort can take your wood from looking good to looking great. The hard, shiny finish given by paste wax is well worth your time for treating lacquered and oiled woods.

How To Remove Water Stains On Wood

As with stains on carpet, it’s best to treat water stains on wood as soon as possible after they happen. Blot up any excess moisture and try one of the following home remedies, depending on what you have lying around the house:

  • Apply shaving cream. Leave for 5 minutes and wipe up.
  • Apply real mayonnaise on a cloth. Let rest on the stain for up to 10 minutes and wipe off.
  • Gently apply metal cleaner. Leave for 5 minutes and wipe away excess.

All-In-One Wood Cleaners

Finally, many products are available that treat wood while cleaning it. These products, while effective for painted, sealed, and laminated wood surfaces, should be tested in an inconspicuous place on unsealed or oiled woods before trying. These cleaners can be a convenient and effective solution for wood surfaces in areas that are frequently soiled, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Try products from Bona, specially designed to clean sealed woods. Check out our recommended wood cleaning kit below.

Bona-Kemi-4-Piece-Hardwood-Floor-Care-System-WM710013358
This Kit Has Everything You Need!

5 Best Gutter Cleaning Tools You Need For 2017

gutter cleaning tools
Try this gutter cleaning robot

The remnants of summer are packed into your gutter.  Probably leaves, shingle particles, and some runaway baseballs or tree branches.

The rainy season is here, and if your gutters are already occupied, you’re likely beginning to experience water damage to your home’s caulk, windows, and wood.

If you’re not one for using your hands to clean out the gutters, check out this top 5 list of the best gutter cleaning tools you need to get the job done in 2017…

  1. Pressure Washer Attachment Turn your pressure washer into a gutter cleaning pro.  Need a pressure washer too? The AR Blue Clean AR390SS is a great choice that won’t break the bank.
  2. Gutter Cleaning Robot – The Roomba is not the only one of its kind.  While it may not quite be AI, these inventions are a fun, hands-free way to clean out your gutter.  Loosen your gutters and drain them into a sack with this helpful bot.
  3. Gutter Cleaning Water Wand Do you have a multiple story home?  Scaling the side of your home on extension ladders can be a terrifying feat.  Gaining altitude while wielding a hose can be even scarier.  Clean your gutters from the safety of the ground with this wand hose extension.
  4. Gutter Guards When there are trees all around your home, there is also likely leaves and debris all around your gutters. If you live in a lush area, there are extra steps you can take to avoid clogged gutters.  Gutter guards are like drain catchers, filtering out larger chunks of debris while letting water flow through.
  5. Extension Ladder Are you trying to save money by cleaning gutters the old fashioned way – with your hands and a hose? It is possible, but only if you have the assistance of a sturdy, reliable extension ladder.  These ladders are the bare minimum for your gutter cleaning.

One of the best parts of fall is getting rid of the dust and grime accumulated during summer. Equip your home to have a successful, worry-free winter!

Flooding, water build up, wood rot, and other expensive repairs will be a thing of the past when you have clean gutters.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, or you just want someone to take care of your gutter cleaning so you can stay on solid ground, check out our new Clean & Cover Package.

Considering the (Hidden) Costs of Finishing a Basement…


The popular concept is that refinishing your basement is a good way to obtain additional living space, as well as increasing your home’s resale value, and this is certainly true.  But before you plunge full-tilt into a remodeling project, it’s important to check carefully for all the possible—and expensive—stumbling blocks that you might not unearth until you are midway through the renovations.  When it comes to home improvement, research is key.  Consider these hidden costs before you begin finishing a basement…

  • How many support pillars are present in your basement?  What kind of remodeling do you have in mind, and will the current structure support the changes you want to make?
  • Window egress.  If your remodel plans include adding a guest or bedroom, ample egress is legally required.  There must be easy escape from these rooms, so if the basement doesn’t already have these, add the cost of installing additional windows to your bottom line.
  • Are the floors level and the walls straight?  How much reconfiguration will be needed to install flooring, paneling, etc. so that it doesn’t warp or shift with time?
  • What potential drainage and ventilation issues might you encounter?  Particularly humid climates may require the addition of a dehumidifier to keep the location dry and usable.
  • How much of the pre-existing materials can be used in the remodel?  How much new materials will be required?

Know what you’re up against before you begin finishing a basement.  When you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how much you need to budget for the home improvement project, and whether the ultimate cost can support your plans.

And remember that Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with this and with any other remodeling or repair projects around your home.  Contact us at 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code on our website to start your home improvement project’s free estimate!

The Troubleshooter and Handyman Matters Answer your Home Improvement Questions

The Troubleshooter

Today the CEO and Founder of Handyman Matters, Andy Bell, appeared for the second time on Tom Martino’s Troubleshooter podcast.  Andy first visited the show back in 1998 when Handyman Matters was just him and a couple of craftsmen. Handyman Matters has since grown into a nationally recognized franchise with over 60 locations, becoming a leader in the home improvement industry.  On this episode of Troubleshooter, Andy joins Tom to field some of the listeners’ burning questions on home maintenance.  Tune in to find more about…

  • Checking your own sump pump
  • Adding window coverings to steel doors
  • Maintaining an air vent or furnace
  • Repairing hardwood floors
  • Installing ceiling fans
  • Assembling and installing Ikea cabinets
  • Adjusting water pressure

Have any burning home repair or maintenance questions that weren’t answered on this episode of The Troubleshooter?  Give us a call – 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Ideas For Your Summer Bathroom Remodel

The most telling room in any home is the bathroom.  Whether it be a master, a full, a ¾ bathroom, or a powder room… the state of the water closet is like peering through a keyhole to the condition of the rest of the home.  Is it outdated, dirty, or broken?  Bathrooms should inspire a feeling of cleanliness and hospitality, not of unease.  Take care of your home and its inhabitants by having a relaxing lavatory.  Handyman Matters has identified a few bathroom ideas, to improve each powder room in your home.

  • The Master Bathroom – Vanity

     
The biggest challenge for the master bathroom is organization.  For a room designed for the daily routines of (typically) two people, storage can be hard to come by.  For those of us with more beauty products than we know what to do with, there’s the bathroom vanity.  In modern bathroom designs, the vanity can be tucked away, between sinks, in extra counter space, or it can stand out as a small table.

  • The Full Bathroom – Free Standing Tub

     
A full bathroom is designated as having a shower, a tub, and a toilet.  When you have a full bathroom you typically have a spacious room.  What’s better in a large space than a statement piece?  The latest design trend for the modern bathroom is the free standing tub.  Whether it be Victorian inspired, contemporary, or more of the Jacuzzi vein – there’s a variety of kinds to help you bathe in style.

  • The Powder Room – Wallpaper

     
The smallest bathroom is the powder room.  When it comes to the ½ bath, the powder room has just a toilet and a sink. It may be small, but it is one of the most functional bathrooms in the home, most commonly serving the needs of your house guests.  Although this room is compact it doesn’t have to be bland.  The best way to add interest to a small bathroom is by installing printed wallpaper.

  • The ¾ Bathroom – Tile

     
Just the essentials in this room: a shower and toilet.  Smaller rooms with showers often fight the effects of humidity.  For this room think water resistant, think tile.  Unlike wood flooring and wallpaper, tile rarely warps or peels due to water damage.  A bonus feature is that there are many graphic options for tile to add a little intrigue as well as functionality.

Add a little luxury to your life and the lives of your house guests with a bathroom remodel.  The summer is a great time to revamp different areas of your home.  Whether you need repairs, extra cabinets, new appliances, or an accessible install – Handyman Matters is here to make that a reality.  Call us today to schedule your free estimate, 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head to handymanmatters.com.

Wintertime Roof Repairs: Warning Signs and Solutions

Signs to look for…

  • Leaks – Internal leaks come from external cracks. If your roof is leaking, that means its structure has been compromised.
  • Sounds – While indoors, do you hear irregular creaks? Is the area of your doorways changing and causing doors to open on their own? These symptoms while small can indicate a very large problem, and may be reason to vacate your home immediately to avoid a collapse.
  • Sagging – This is probably the easiest way to tell that your roof is about to go. If it is sagging from the inside or outside, or if it’s bending any of the ceiling structure or pipes, that roof is on it’s way out.
  • Snow – More than a couple of inches of snow on any roof is not good. If you get caught in a snowstorm, be proactive and clear some snow from your roof when the weather clears up. Gradual buildup of snow and ice during the winter is the quickest way to ensure you are going to need a new roof.

Solutions for snow removal…

It’s all about being proactive. The best way to avoid costly roof repairs is to make sure your home is ready when there is severe weather on the horizon. Attic insulation can help roofs from becoming to cold, and causing ice to build up. Another solution is to keep your gutters clear. Ice buildup in gutters can cause a lot of extra weight as well as compromised draining as the snow begins to melt. Finally, after a snowstorm, raking your roof is the best way to relieve your home from extra roof tension. Roof rakes are even designed to be used from the safety of the ground, so don’t worry about walking on the roof when it’s icy out.

 

Severe weather is often a difficult event to prepare for. If your busy schedule isn’t allowing you enough time to prepare for winter storms – give Handyman Matters a call. Our craftsmen can take a look at your roof and help decide what your best solution would be – whether it’s replacing the roof altogether, adding insulation, or simply raking off old snow and ice, we have you covered. Give us a call today 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head fill out our free estimate box at the top of this page.

Preparing Your Home for a Storm

Home Repair

It’s on the weather channel, it’s a storm, and it’s headed your way.  Is your home ready?  Especially when it comes to nature, certain events can seem overwhelming and totally out of your control.  While you may not be able to change the forecast, you can take measures to prepare your house.  Handyman Matters has helpful insights for equipping your home for a storm.

  • Step 1:  Landscape

There should always be a clear path leading from the entrances and exits of your home.  This means pruning trees and removing potentially problematic branches.  It also means laying down some preparatory rock salt (if needed), and removing any potential obstacles.  Additionally, check your gutters and downspouts to see that they’re functioning correctly – you don’t want water build up or any flooding.

  • Step 2: Bunker

You don’t necessarily need a storm shelter, but you and your family do need to find a safe meeting spot within the home.  An ideal safe spot would be on the lowest floor (preferably in the basement), with no windows, and without any shared walls with the outside.  This will be the place where you wait out the storm.

  • Step 3: Stock Up

Turn your safe space into a true bunker by stocking it with the emergency essentials.  Think non-perishable foods; back up essentials like medications, batteries, and first aid; and lots of water.  The ratio is one gallon per day per person.  You also want to stash a change of clothing – layers in case it’s cold – and sturdy shoes.  If you have any animals, remember to keep some of their basics in the room as well: food, leashes, and a carrier.  Lastly, trash bags are a must to keep things from getting too gross.

  • Step 4: Heating

Think about the heat sources in your house if you’re facing cold weather.  More specifically, think about the heating that doesn’t require electricity to function.  If you’re in a rural area, a backup generator may be a great investment for your home so you don’t have to worry.  If you’re in a city, think smaller, less noisy, alternatives. Does your home have a wood burning stove or fireplace?  If so, stock up on wood.  If not, consider getting some battery powered space heaters to store in your safe room.

  • Step 5: Lighting

Anything that does not require electricity will fulfill this need: candles (just have the fire extinguisher nearby), battery powered/solar/crank lanterns or flashlights.  There’s a blackout light that’s especially handy in weather related scenarios because it’s a light that stays plugged in, and only turns on when the power is out.  Place these around your home so you can easily navigate through the dark during a blackout.

  • Step 6: Emergency Gear

The last items to consider keeping in your safe rooms are the ones that may come in handy in inclement conditions.  Chainsaws may be necessary to cut apart fallen trees blocking exits. Shovels for the snow, a fire extinguisher for unexpected fires.  Finally weatherseal tape is great for sealing cracks in your home as they happen during a specifically rough storm.

  • Step 7: Reinforcements

When a storm hits, the last thing you want is a leak in your home.  Reinforce your home by making sure it has a secure roof, sturdy walls, and sealed windows.  If you have a crack – now is the time to fill it.

 

Handyman Matters is here to help you prepare for the everyday and the unexpected.  Don’t wait until the day-of a storm to try and prepare your home, think ahead, and save yourself time and money.  For help weather proofing your house, give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

 

 

 

 

Improving–and water-proofing–Your Basement

If you’ve been giving some thought to updating or remodeling your basement—particularly as an area that will see more frequent use as, say, a playroom, den or entertainment area, you’ll want to take some precautions before beginning, once in particular:

Check for excessive moisture—and take steps to prevent it.  You can make a simple moisture test to ensure there aren’t hidden water hazards.  Place a piece of cardboard about two feet square on the basement floor with its edges held down by bricks or other heavy objects.  If the cardboard remains dry for several days after a heavy rainfall, you can be confident that you don’t have an underground water hazard.  Make the same test on the walls by taping cardboard to the foundation about two feet above floor level and after a storm, remove it and check to see if the side pressed against the wall has remained dry.

Water proofing of basement walls has been simplified by the development of easy-to-apply paints with a cement base.  They are typically sold in powdered form and can be mixed with water and brushed on.

If your basement walls are bare, cement paint can be applied directly.  But if the wall has previously been painted, then that paint should be scraped off first.  A water-soluble remover will do the job with wall paint.  And muriatic acid, scrubbed on with a brush and rinsed off several times, will remove whitewash.

It is not difficult to apply cement-based paint.  Wet the walls thoroughly with either a brush of spray.  Then apply the waterproofing paint, working from the bottom up.  After the wall has dried thoroughly—in two days or so—add another coat.

 Once the walls are effectively water-proofed, you can begin making more specific plans for transforming your basement into something more appealing.

A Home Improvement & Maintenance Checklist for Your Home

The health of a home is a lot like your own personal health. If regularly checked and maintained, the chances of problems arising are less. Here are some of the things in your domicile that should be checked periodically.

WATER

checklist

Leaks are seriously trouble and should be remedied as soon as they are detected and before they have the chance to become bigger issues. They can damage walls and sub flooring and can create mold issues. Make regular checks in those areas that are most prone to leaks from heavy use, such as the caulking and grout in bathrooms and under sinks in kitchens. If you see corrosion, there is a leak at work.

Check around your water heater for accumulating pools of water on the floor. Water heaters ideally should be drained periodically to remove sediment and reduce the risk of problems. If you notice problems, hire a licensed plumber for further inspection, repairs and general maintenance.

Vent exhaust ducts for the clothes dryer and cooktop to the outside and keep the drip pans from your air conditioner clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly. In the kitchen you should clean the dust from refrigerator condenser located at the rear of unit.

Inspect your roof and flashing periodically for missing, worn or broken shingles and any flashing that has separate from adjacent surfaces, allowing water leakage. A licensed roofer can inspect these areas and make repairs. Also, inspect your gutter and drainspouts and remove any debris to assure unobstructed water flow away from foundations.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Exterior items that should be on your maintenance list include inspecting veneer and siding. Watch for deteriorating bricks and masonry. For siding, look for warping or rot. Check caulking around doors and windows, and glazing around window panes. Make sure your cooling and heating units are free from obstructing debris. Change filters and check coils for build-up.

You should also have periodic termite and pest inspections conducted. Remove accumulation of tree limbs, branches and other debris that might attract wood eating insects. If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, don’t store your firewood too near your house, in case it contains termites.

Courtesy of Content4Reprint.com

Common Issues Arising In Bathroom Remodels

Bathroom-remodelBathroom remodels are more work than just some paint and a little bit of tile. A remodel creates a good opportunity to uncover issues that might eventually lead to larger problems if left undiagnosed and untreated. Some issues are obvious, while others are inconspicuous.

These types of issues include moisture damage from old and corroded plumbing, as well as flooring issues created by poor framing and damaged floor joists. New flooring placed atop a subfloor with problems will likely lead to cracking and buckling in the new surface. Other areas demanding close inspection include mold issues arising from moisture build-up and proper venting issues. Vents may be hooked up and running without being properly vented.

Doing a major bathroom renovation will help homeowners to spot issues that require attention before they become even bigger issues. And remember: A completely flawless bathroom that functions with zero problems will add not just aesthetic value, but monetary value, besides.

By Kevin Germain

Courtesy of EzineArticles.com