3 Simple DIY Projects to Tackle this Summer

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors, even if just in your own backyard. Spruce up your yard or patio with these three simple DIY projects to make your next outdoor summer party a huge success!

Summer is halfway over and it’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors, even if just in your own backyard.

Does your yard or patio need a little sprucing up? Perhaps you’re dreaming of hosting a summer party but your outdoor space isn’t quite guest-ready.

Don’t worry, we’ve got some simple and affordable DIY projects that might help you inject a little curb appeal and make your home the place to be this summer.

Freshen Things Up with a Coat of Paint

One of our favorite DIY projects to freshen up patio furniture involves simple spray paint.

You will want to thoroughly clean your furniture first to remove any dust or debris. If older layers of paint are chipping off, a wire brush might come in handy to smooth the surfaces. Anytime you are removing old layers of paint, take precaution by wearing a dust mask (available at your local hardware store).

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This is one of those DIY projects that allows you to get really creative and let your style shine through. There are so many shades and textures of spray paint to select from, with options for painting nearly every type of surface.

Bright cheerful colors are sure to pop on your summer patio while peaceful neutrals and trendy metallics can create a more lush, sophisticated result.

Create a Multi-Purpose Container Herb Garden

Another great way to add some life to your backyard or patio space is by planting a container herb garden. Not only are they fairly easy to create, but container herb gardens are also one of those DIY projects that serve many purposes.

First, fresh herbs add lots of flavor to your cooking, which will come in handy as you plan a menu for your next summer party.

Next, you can choose colorful containers or pots that complement your patio style for lots of visual impact.

Finally, certain herbs are known to repel insects, including those pesky mosquitoes that love to crash outdoor gatherings. Basil, lavender, and mint are three great multipurpose herbs to grow.

Assemble a Portable Summer Party Kit

One great way to make sure you are ready for every possible impromptu summer gathering is by assembling a summer party kit.

Your DIY party kit might include things like disposable plates, cups, and napkins as well as fun decorative items such as a piñata or strings of colorful lights. You could also include sunscreen or battery-powered, handheld misting fans for your guests. And don’t forget skewers for roasting hot dogs or marshmallows for s’mores.

An old wooden crate or a plastic bin makes a great container for your party kit. This is one of those DIY projects that requires a little work on the front end but makes things much easier later on. Having all your essential party supplies gathered together will make organizing your next outdoor summer party easier and less stressful.

Removing Carpet: Easy, Expensive, or Exasperating?

If you’re thinking of removing carpet from a room in your home, you’ll need to figure out if you’re going to do it yourself or if you’re going to hire a professional to do it for you. Removing it yourself can be done if you know what you’re doing.

You may think removing carpet is not a “thing”  because it seems like everyone you know has hardwood flooring. You’d be surprised to learn that many people, especially those buying older homes that have been untouched for years, have to figure out how to remove carpeting that’s been around for generations. People encounter old carpeting in old brownstones, limestones, estate apartments, and single family homes in the outer boroughs. They usually remove carpeting because they want to expose original hardwoods underneath, put new hardwoods or some other type of hard-surface flooring in, or even put in brand new carpeting. Whatever your motive for removing carpeting, you’ll want to be careful not to damage the surface underneath. Following are some options for safely removing old carpet.

Gather Your Tools

In order to make easy going of removing carpet in your space, you need to make sure that you have all the tools necessary for the job on hand. Luckily, you don’t need many: knee pads, utility knife, work gloves, goggles or safety glasses, pair of locking pliers, and something to wrap the pieces in are all you need to get the job done.

Clear the Room Before You Begin

Remove all obstacles (furniture, clutter, curtains, etc.) before you begin. There should be nothing in the room except you and the carpet. If there is a door to the room and it swings inward, see if you can remove it from its hinges. This will help prevent any obstructions getting in your way as you remove the carpet in places like doorways and corners.

Start In a Corner

Start in one of your room’s corners, and put on your gloves. Next, use pliers or even a crow bar to dig into the corner of the carpet and start pulling. If your carpet was installed using tacks, you’ll feel them start to pull loose as you edge along. The carpet should start to raise as you move along the wall. As you move, bend the carpet down a couple of feet. When you come to the end of one wall, take a knife and cut the carpet into strips. Doing so will make it a lot easier to gather the entire carpet and remove it all at once when you’re done with the task.

Or . . . Hire a Reputable Professional

Seriously, if you can spare the expense, the easiest way to remove carpeting is to get someone who knows what they’re doing to do it. There are carpet removal companies that can seamlessly remove carpeting in a matter of a few hours — give or take depending on the job. Getting a company with great recommendations is key; you don’t want to have to worry about a damaged floor after you have the carpet removed. Some companies that specialize in junk removal are also experts in carpet removal. You could also turn to carpet and floor restoration/installation company.

8 Summer Projects for Creating the Ultimate Backyard

Is your piece of the great outdoors feeling a little uninspiring? It’s time to add a little more fun to your backyard space. We’ve rounded up eight easy summer projects to help you design the ultimate backyard!

Is your piece of the great outdoors feeling a little blah? It’s time to add more fun to your backyard.

We’ve rounded up 10 summer projects to help you design the ultimate backyard for your DFW home!

1. Create Shade

It’s undeniable . . . DFW summers are hot! Don’t hide inside. Make your backyard more pleasant by creating shade. Install a patio awning, build a shaded pergola, or add umbrellas for instant shade.

Is it still too hot? Generate an instant breeze with outdoor cooling fans.

Summer Projects for Creating the Ultimate Backyard: Adding Shade

2. Add Fun with Lawn Games

Create friendly competition with lawn games. Set up an outdoor game station for endless summer fun. From cornhole to croquet, select a range of games for everyone.

Feeling crafty? Browse Pinterest for DIY inspiration. This giant Jenga looks so fun!

3. Set Up the Ultimate Al Fresco Dining Room

If you love entertaining, creating an outdoor dining room should be at the top of your summer projects list! Start by investing in a table or cleaning up the one your already have. Add color with outdoor cushions and pillows, and use a rug to anchor the space.

Set the table with fun and inexpensive plastic dishes and pretty linens that will last this summer and beyond. Don’t forget candles and flowers.

4. Arrange Ample Seating

Choosing the right seating is a high priority for any outdoor space. For large spaces, break your backyard into distinct areas. Set up separate spaces for eating, cooking, and relaxing.

Create an outdoor living room to relax at the day’s end, add a couple chairs in a quiet corner, hang a hammock, or place a bench in your garden. This DIY outdoor bench made from a salvaged door looks like a fun summer project.

For small backyards, a cafe table and chairs are charming and compact. Add comfort with chair cushions.

Summer Projects for Creating the Ultimate Backyard: Add Ample Seating

5. Brighten and Add Character with Lights

Make the most of breezy summer nights with a well lit backyard. Just like you would inside your home, layer lighting to create functionality and ambiance. Start by adding wall lights or lanterns to brighten the whole space. Next, add task lighting, such as mounted light by the grill or an outdoor lamp next to your favorite chair. Finally, accent your space with strings of globe lights, candles, or spotlights on landscaping.

6. Arrange an Outdoor Bar

Create the ultimate outdoor entertaining space by setting up a bar. A bar cart is the perfect place to store your favorite drinks during parties and lazy afternoons. Repurpose a vintage table or make your potting bench do double duty by clearing the top. Install hooks to hold towels and bar tools, add plenty of ice, and top the cart with a large tray to make transporting drinks and glassware easier.

7. Grow Something

No summer projects list would be complete without talking about plants!

Before you plant anything, consider how much time and patience you have for maintenance, then make a plan. Window boxes and container gardens are perfect for beginners, or if you’re more ambitious, create flower beds or a vegetable garden. For best results, choose plants that thrive in our DFW climate.

8. Create a Grilling Station

Love grilling? Then, creating your very own grilling station is a must!

Sure, you’ll need a grill, but add a cart for holding serving plates and tools, too. Use the cart to store your favorite spices, clean towels, and other grilling accessories.

When you’re finishing cooking, simply roll the cart to the table and dinner is served!

Summer Projects for Creating the Ultimate Backyard: Create a Grilling Station

Have It Made in the Shade with These Pretty, Energy Efficient Window Treatments

You don’t have to sacrifice style for energy efficiency! Here’s how to beat the heat — and boost your home’s aesthetic appeal in the process!

The following is a guest post by Erin Vaughan  of Modernize 


It’s almost that time of year where any room in the house is a welcomed relief from the outdoor heat — as long as it’s air conditioned! But your ice-cold interiors come with an associated cost for your utilities, and if you’re not careful, that first summer electric bill can be a shock.

While it’s tempting to just hop over to the thermostat at the first sign of sweltering weather, you do have other options. Efficient treatments like awnings and heavy curtains offer plenty of in energy savings, and they can spruce up your home’s windows, too. Here are some of our favorite ways to beat the heat and boost aesthetic appeal in the process.


Modern Awnings and Overhangs Add Contemporary Flair to Exteriors
Exterior window coverings have come a long way from the candy-striped canvas awnings we all know from our local pizza parlor or bodega. Custom-designed acrylic or polycarbonate canopies can be manufactured in curved shapes that make modern accents to entryways, while long angled metal awnings positioned over large windows or outdoor living spaces have a more industrial swagger.

These kind of additions can have a major impact on your cooling needs, as well. Awnings installed over south-facing windows may reduce solar heat gain (SHG) by as much as 65%, while west-facing awnings stand to lower SHG by up to 77%. The angle of the overhang can make all the difference, so if you’re designing a permanent overhang or custom awning, it may pay to consult with an architect or contractor who has experience with passive solar design.


Stylish Curtains Have Drawing Power and an Effect on Your Cooling Costs
Dramatic draperies are both fashionable and energy-forward. The Department of Energy notes that the right kind of draperies can reduce solar heat gain in homes by as much as 33 percent. What does the “right kind” mean? For starters, there’s the weave. Heavy, closed-weave fabrics, such as broadcloth or velvet, block the most sunlight and heat. If you can get them with a white plastic backing, even better. Don’t be stingy with the fabric, either: extra folds and pleats reduce the amount of heat radiated back into interiors through the process of convection. Pull the drapes shut during the day and you’ll have an instant cooling boost!

Design-Friendly Interior Shutters Are a Boon for Overall Bedroom Comfort
Looking for something unusual to fill out your bedroom decor? This year’s trendsetters have been all about solid interior shutters on bedroom windows—which, coincidentally, have plenty to offer in terms of energy savings, as well. Wooden shutters shade and cool interiors by blocking out excess heat and light. They also prevent light pollution from entering your room while you sleep, which makes your bedroom extra comfy day and night.

Solid panels make a cozy addition to any home, especially when paired with large, energy efficient windows that will allow you to throw open the shutters when you want to let a little daylight inside—without suffering the effects of excess heat in the process.

Good looks and energy smarts? This summer is definitely off to a very cool start!


About the Writer

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

Five Tips to Identify Fixer-Upper Homes Worth Investing In

 

When shopping for a fixer-upper home, some properties have potential beyond their appearance. Keep the following tips in mind as you look for that home.

When shopping for a new home, be aware of properties that have potential beyond their current appearance. Home buyers often overlook a great property because they are too focused on the cosmetic appeal, which can be easily altered. Keep the following tips in mind as you search for your perfect home:

  1. Finding the Best Neighborhood for You
    Location is one of the most crucial factors to consider as you look for possible homes. Unlike the style and even structure, no amount of time, effort, or money can change a home’s location. To find the best neighborhood for you, it can help to visit the area multiple times at various hours. This will help reveal the local culture and activity to be expected from neighbors.
  2. Identify a Cost-Efficient Fixer-Upper Home
    Look for a home with sound fundamentals and an appealing floor plan. Cosmetic improvements like new paint, lighting fixtures, and flooring are relatively cheap and easy to change, while work on plumbing, electrical systems, structural walls, or cabinets are more difficult and expensive. Typically, the most expensive change involves altering a home’s structure.
  3.  Hire a Contractor Before Buying a Home
    You may want to hire a contractor in your search if you know you want to make changes to a home you plan to purchase. A contractor can help you better understand what kind of commitment a given home will require. Many remodelers will visit a potential purchase at no charge to give an estimate of how much the work would cost. This is valuable information when comparing different homes with one another.
  4. Know What to Check Before Buying an Old Home
    Examining a home can be a complex process, and looking for one with unused potential can make it more difficult. Keep in mind that homes older than 50 years are likely to have similarly aged plumbing, electrical, heating, and other systems. The home may also be worn out or too outdated to remodel.
  5. Real Estate Agents Can Help
    Real estate agents are valuable resources. They can help you understand a home in the context of its neighborhood and area, and may be able to offer advice on how to increase the value of the property after purchase.

8 Tips and Tricks to Get More Storage From a Small Closet

Get ideas for arranging your clothes closet with 8 combinations of shelves, hooks, rods and drawers.

Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

Large, luxurious walk-in closets may be the stuff dreams are made of, but they are not always the reality. If the closet space you have to work with is on the petite side, there’s still plenty you can do to make the most of it. From ultraslim shelving to wall-mounted storage, here are steal-worthy ideas from eight closets that put every inch to work.

1. Dresser + hanging rod + curtains. Replacing the closet doors with curtains has freed up some much-needed space in this small bedroom, allowing access to every inch of the reach-in closet. Inside the closet, a high shelf holds baskets (perfect for storing less-used items) over a hanging rod, with a dresser below. The dresser top is put to work too, with a wire storage basket and space for a few pairs of shoes.

Best for: Reach-in bedroom closet.

See more of this bedroom

2. Tall bookcase + hanging rods + wall hooks. A tall, shallow bookcase anchored to the wall provides ample storage space for folded clothes and accessories in this petite closet. Opposite the shelving, rods hold hanging clothes and a set of wall hooks provides a handy drop spot for scarves and jackets.

Best for: Narrow walk-in closet.

3. Shelves under eaves + short hanging rod. Shelves in graduated sizes make the most of this space beneath a sloped ceiling. Two wide drawers hold folded clothes below, and a short rod provides space for hanging items.

Best for: Bedroom with sloped ceiling.

4. Wall-mounted shoe rack + hanging rod + high shelf. A slim wire shoe rack mounted on the wall holds plenty of pairs without taking up precious floor space. At the back of the closet, two high wire shelves over the hanging rod hold luggage and other infrequently used items.

Best for: Deep, narrow closet.

5. Shelves + crates + lidded boxes. A simple setup with wall-mounted shelving is made more functional with the addition of crates to keep bulky items from toppling over. Wall hooks hung both low and high keep bags and belts neatly stowed, and lidded boxes provide a spot for stashing small accessories.

Best for: Small closet with more folded than hanging clothes.

6. Hanging rod + high shelf + floor basket. An easy setup for a petite closet, this allows room for hanging items on the single rod, with a storage shelf above and a basket on the floor to hold accessories (or clothes to be dry-cleaned). If your closet is a bit wider, add shelving to the wall opposite.

Best for: Small closet with more hanging than folded clothes.

7. Extra-high hanging rod + step stool. Take advantage of a space with a high ceiling by hanging a second rod extra high, and use it to store off-season or less-used clothes. This frees up the lower portion of the closet for shelves, with wire baskets to keep small items and accessories neat. Be sure to keep a step stool handy to reach the upper rod.

Best for: Petite closet with high ceiling.

8. Shelves + drawers + dressing table. With shelves on one side, a short hanging rod on the other and dresser drawers in the center, this petite closet fits in a little bit of everything. The mirror against the back wall turns the drawer unit into a dressing table with room for jewelry, perfume and other getting-ready essentials. Open bins on the highest shelves keeps less-used items out of the way but still easily accessible.

How to Make Your Move Less Stressful

Make your move less stressful by taking these steps to protect yourself and your belongings

Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

From horror stories of lost, stolen and broken items to surprise charges tacked on to an already high bill, moving is not for the faint of heart. And after recently pitching in to help my mom through a downsizing and a big move, I’ve learned a few things about working with professional movers. If you have a move coming up, read on for eight tips to help your move go smoothly.

1. Take the time to research movers thoroughly. We’ve all heard horror stories about movers stealing, losing or recklessly damaging belongings, but with a bit of diligence on your part you can make sure you’re choosing a reputable, licensed company with ample experience. Check reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings and references before committing to hire. It’s also a good idea to purchase appropriate insurance for your belongings, just in case.

2. Don’t wait till the last minute to book your movers. Moving companies do book up, especially during the busy summer months, so don’t leave this decision until the last moment. Start looking for a company early and get on its schedule.

3. Honestly assess your belongings before getting a quote. If you end up bringing more items than discussed with your movers, the best-case scenario is that you get a higher bill — but the worst-case scenario is that there isn’t room on the truck for everything you plan to bring. The reverse can also be problematic: If you pare down your belongings a great deal between the time of your quote and moving day, you may find yourself paying more than you needed to.

If you do require flexibility in truck space for your move, be upfront about it. Some companies allow you to pay by the foot, which means you pay only for the space you end up using. Usually this involves sharing space with another customer, in which case your belongings will be divided with a locked partition inside the truck.

4. Don’t assume that professional packers are also pros at labeling. If you’re planning to hire professional packers, it’s smart to ask about their policy for labeling boxes. If they don’t label (surprisingly common), plan to be present while the packers work (a good idea anyway) and make it your job to label each box as it’s completed.

Packing tip: Label your boxes with your last name as well as the name of the room in your new home where you want the box to end up. When labeling rooms, use language that will make sense to the movers: Instead of “Katie’s room,” you could label a box “Upstairs small bedroom.”

5. Block out close parking in advance to avoid long-carry fees. If your movers can’t park the truck close to your home, you’ll probably get stuck with what’s known as a long-carry fee — and the farther the movers have to walk to bring each item, the longer it will take. To avoid this, do whatever you can to ensure there’s a close place to park the truck at both your old home and new. You may want to notify neighbors in advance, park your cars in the closest spaces to hold them, or put cones and signs in the space in front of your house on the day of the move.

6. Remember to measure openings at your new home. After one harrowing experience attempting to get a giant sofa through a narrow stairway (our movers eventually gave up), I now know the value of measuring doorways and stairwells in advance. If bulky furniture doesn’t fit, you may be forced to leave treasured pieces behind, or — if you simply can’t do without an item — you may need to ask for hoisting services, which aren’t cheap and may not be available right away.

7. Take the time to read the fine print. Before the movers leave at the end of the day, you’ll be asked to sign off on the inventory sheet and bill — and you’ll be exhausted when this happens. It’s easy to breeze through these last steps and just sign whatever papers they thrust in front of you, but it’s important that you take the time to actually read what you’re signing.

Double check that everything that went into the truck has actually arrived. Look over the bill carefully and be sure there are no extra charges. Especially if you were sharing space, belongings can get missed quite easily, so it’s a good idea to take a look inside the truck before it pulls away. And look close: Tiny (but necessary) items like drawer knobs and shelf brackets can easily get overlooked on the floor of a big truck.

8. Just get the big stuff into position; the rest can wait. Think rugs and major (read: heavy) furniture pieces — anything you can’t easily move on your own — are the things that should be put into position by the movers. Ideally, you’ll already be armed with a floor plan of the new space with furniture positions marked out. But if you didn’t get anything that elaborate organized, no worries. Just station yourself in the new place as early as possible before the movers arrive and make some decisions about where things will go.

Then locate the box with your bedding, because you’re going to be ready for a good night’s sleep!

Tell us: Have you moved recently? Share your tips in the Comments.

10 Ways to Rock Minty Hues in Your Home

A touch of this light green can freshen up any room or style.

Houzz Contributor, Laura Gaskill

If pre-remodel bathroom tiles are what immediately come to mind when you think of mint green, think again. There’s a lot more to this hue than retro appliances and vintage bathrooms. From bungalow charm to midcentury cool (and beyond), mint is a design chameleon that can work just about anywhere.

1. Mint looks cheerful on cottages and bungalows. Mint makes a cheery first impression when paired with earthy siding or natural shingles on a craftsman bungalow or cottage. Repainting your house not on your to-do list? Give your bungalow a curb appeal boost with a mint green mailbox and copper house numbers that will develop a natural verdigris patina over time.

2. Mint makes a refreshing change of pace from all white. All-white kitchens have been the star of the show for years. If you (and your kitchen) are ready for a change of pace, why not try mint green? On walls, cupboards or both, soft mint green brings a hint of vintage nostalgia, yet plays well alongside more contemporary features like stone counters and sculptural wood stools.

See more of this kitchen

3. Mint lightens up a room full of antiques. Have a full-blown antiques obsession? Show off your treasures while steering clear of the musty antiques-store vibe by painting the walls fresh mint green. The light walls offset dark wood and lacquered pieces beautifully.

See more of this home

4. Mint and midcentury style are a match made in heaven. Since mint was a popular color in design from the late 1930s through the early 1960s, it makes sense that it looks right at home alongside furniture and decor that reference that era. Pair up midcentury-style furniture (like the credenza shown here) and eclectic art with mint walls for a happy, modern look.

5. Mint can be elegant. Paired with chinoiserie panels, gourd lamps and neatly tailored linens, mint brings a bit of cool, Grace Kelly glamour to your space, especially when used in a luxe fabric like velvet or silk.

6. Chalky mint makes a great furniture paint color. If farm-fresh eggs, fabulous quilts and ironstone pottery are what make your heart go pitter-pat, the natural matte look of milk paint and chalk paint are probably right up your alley. Update a thrift store furniture find or pick up a new piece in unfinished wood and give it a coat of mint green milk or chalk paint.

7. Mint works equally well for boys and girls. If you’re planning a room for siblings to share or your child just isn’t a fan of pink or blue, consider mint, the modern alternative to gender-neutral yellow. It’s fresh, hip and especially current when you paint just half the wall a minty hue.

How to Get a Half-Painted Wall Just Right

8. A hint of mint goes a long way. Whether you add mint green barn lights or a collection of jadeite kitchenware, a few mint accessories are all you need to elevate a basic all-white design.

9. Mint is beachy without being blue. Love the easy breeziness of beach style but don’t love true blue? Choose a softer shade of sea-glass-inspired green rather than the more common navy or turquoise.

10. Mint is timeless. With a rich history in design (you can find beautiful shades of mint among historical paint color palettes) and its ability to work anywhere from a traditional farmhouse to an urban loft, mint green may be trending, but it’s also here to stay.

Tell us: Are you a fan of mint green? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments.

Painting & Staining: The Quick Guide to Renewing Your Wood Fence

Besides providing security, a good fence can also offer pleasant curbside appeal.

By Chelsea McGrath

There’s something about a fresh coat of paint or stain that really helps a fence pop! Keeping a fence painted or stained also helps maintain the condition of the fence so you can enjoy it for years to come. Besides providing security, a good fence can also offer pleasant curbside appeal.

On the other hand, a worn, damaged fence can be an eyesore. And then there’s the dread of having to replace a part or even the entire fence because of on-going wear and tear, which could be costly. Fortunately, a bit of easy maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your fence in good shape.

The simplest way to maintain a wood fence is with paint or stain.  Covering your fence with a protective coating helps in a number of ways including:

  • Preventing sun and other weather damage
  • Keeping the posts from excessive drying or cracking
  • Keeping the wood from being damaged by mold and mildew
  • Helping to lengthen the lifespan of the wood

Getting Ready for the Project:

As you prepare to embark on your fence restoration project, you might want to begin by taking a walk around your fence-line. Ask yourself the following questions as you inspect your fence. The answers to these questions will dictate your next steps, and help you to craft your shopping list.

  • What’s the square footage of the fence?
  • Are you are going to be painting/staining one or both sides?
  • Are there some severely damaged post slats that might need to be replaced before beginning the painting or staining?
  • What materials will you need to purchase prior to beginning?
    • brushes appropriate for the type of cover you are applying
    • paint trays and paint cups
    • gallons of exterior paint and primer – the amount needed dependent on size of fence
      • if using stain, consider purchasing enough gallons to apply at least two coats
    • scrapers
    • stir sticks
    • tarps
    • sandpaper to smooth out rough spots in the wood
    • screws and screwdriver to fasten loose or replace missing screws

The more prepared you are at the start of the project of painting a fence, the smoother the task should go!

Paint or Stain

Deciding on whether staining or painting a fence is better, the answer is basically up to you.  Both have advantages.

Paint

Paint offers you the flexibility to match colors for aesthetic appeal. For instance, if you want the fence to match exterior building colors or enhance the landscaping, using paint may be more effective for this purpose.

Paint covers the wood rather than being absorbed into it like stain.  There are two types of paints to use on a wood fence: semi-transparent and solid.  Semi-transparent offers a painted cover with the wood grain showing through.  With a solid paint, the wood grain is covered by the smooth color finish.

For previously painted fences, there is often a bit more work required to get a good finish on the wood.

The best way to maintain it is by the following steps:

  1. You should scrape the old, peeling paint first. This is the biggest difference in painting versus staining, but it’s an important step. Scraping helps to keep the new paint layer laying smooth and adhering better to the wood surface.
  2. Wash the fence off with water to clean out the dirt, remove loose old paint chips, and provide a clean work surface.
  3. Cover any proximate surfaces you don’t want to have accidentally painted!
  4. When painting a fence, be sure to prepare the surface with a paint primer. A few considerations to keep in mind with regard to primers are to:
  • Be sure the primer will work with the paint you are going to use on the top-coat for the fence. Not all primers work with all paint types. So once you choose the paint, check that the primer is compatible with it.
  • Check that the primer provides protection for what you may need, such as mold
  • Be sure to apply the primer as directed and allow it to dry completely before starting the top-coat layer. This will insure a more even finish, avoid moisture pockets, and help with the effectiveness of the primer coat.
  1. Apply the paint top-coat. Consider painting a fence with a brush rather than sprayer for a smoother, more complete application.

Stain

If you are considering staining the wood fence instead, the process is a little simpler. For instance, you won’t need to scrape off the old stain or apply a primer.  If you purchase a stain with primer and/or water-proofer in it, that step can be removed from the process completely.

Stain is nice for providing a natural look with the grains of the wood exposed. The most important point to keep in mind with stain is to apply it in the direction of the grain.

If you are using colored stain, be sure to have it mixed well before applying. Also, as stain absorbs into the wood rather than covers it, you might want to do more than one coat for stronger protection.

Don’t Want to Deal with Painting a Fence?

If staining or painting a fence isn’t a task you have time for, consider replacing your wood fence with a fence made of another type of material.  There are many maintenance-free alternatives that don’t require painting or staining including metal, vinyl, aluminum, and composite fencing.

These options may be more expensive than a traditional wood fence though might last longer and require less time to maintain over the years.  However, putting these types of fences up could require a bit more work up font. For instance, most metal and vinyl pieces come in panels which could be heavy or awkward to install alone.  If you have an uneven or hilly property, installation might require a professional for the best result.

Resources:

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/fences-and-walls/fence-revival-a-guide-to-painting-and-staining

http://www.paintquality.com/en/advice-and-tips/faq/exterior/difference-between-paint-and-stain

https://www.familyhandyman.com/garden-structures/fences/maintenance-free-fencing/view-all

Five Tips on How to Sell Your Home in a Competitive Market

What does it take to sell a home in a competitive market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives?

What does it take to sell a home in a competitive market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives? From cosmetic to strategic, smart sellers can take advantage of a few simple tips to get the most out of their properties. Here are five suggestions on how to help secure a “sold” sign:

Price Point is Paramount When getting ready to put a home on the market, determining the right listing price is the number one most important element in the home selling process. After you have carefully chosen an agent, the trust you have established will come into play immediately. Have those tough discussions with your agent about where to price your home. Make certain you understand how the agent has arrived at the price, including how previous sales and current homes on the market make an impact. If necessary, jump in the car with your agent and see some of the homes on the market in the area. This will provide first hand knowledge on homes that are available in your neighborhood.

Appeal to Your Audience Work with your agent to determine how to get your home to stand out. Providing incentives is a great way to draw in potential home buyers, and monetary bonuses don’t just have to come from negotiation of the listing price. Sellers can also choose to contribute to closing costs, or conduct pre-home inspections, which can comfort potential home buyers in knowing that the property is in top shape.

Leave a Great First Impression Everyone talks about curb appeal, but a first impression is truly lasting. Remember, your agent is your trusted advisor. They will know the necessary updates and upkeep you should make to get the home ready for showings. But some of this is fairly easy and the front door is particularly important. This is the area where a buyer will first step up to a home – and likely wait for a moment providing time to look around. Do this ahead of time, stand directly in the front door and look up and around at the home from all angles – cobwebs that have not been noticed in years could be the first thing greeting a potential home buyer, so it’s important for this area to give a great first impression.

Everything is in the Visual Don’t underestimate the power of visuals in marketing your home. The National Association of Realtors found that, more than 90 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Your agent may push hard for you to have the home prepared for vivid pictures and video of the property that can be posted on websites such as Coldwell Banker Slegg Realty.

Hit the Right Note with all Five Senses When a buyer comes to look at a home they want the full experience. To help a home stand out, your agent may ask you to focus on appealing to all five senses. Small and inexpensive upgrades to the home such as getting the walls painted, de-cluttering and making minor improvements to the outdoor landscape. In terms of “touch,” remember that buyers aren’t just going to look – they’ll be turning on your faucets and opening closets, so make sure closets are clean and organized. When it comes to making a home smell good, many agents prefer the smell of baked goods rather than fresh flowers or air fresheners which can be overwhelming. All of this is being done to allow the buyer to properly visualize living in the home.