5 Mistakes New Homeowners Make That Attract Pests
(Family Features) Spring is house-hunting season and with warmer temperatures and increased rain, it is also the season when pesky creatures can invade homes. Even minor flaws in a new home should not be ignored as they can potentially lead to pest damage.
Ron Harrison, Ph.D., entomologist with Orkin, recommends new homeowners avoid making these five mistakes:
Overlooking tiny cracks
A rat can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter and a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Cockroaches, ants and spiders can enter through tiny crevices, too.
Pests are attracted to shelter, food and water. Homeowners should promptly clean up all water and food spills, seal any cracks and crevices around doors, windows and pipes and install weather stripping around and under all doors, including garage doors.
Obtaining second-hand furniture
Once inside, they can spread from room to room. That’s why it’s important to inspect and quarantine – for several months if possible – all second-hand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
New insulation technology incorporates materials specifically designed to help deter household pests.
Ignoring flooring and siding damage
House foundations, wood framing, furniture and shelves are all possible feeding sites for termites. In spring, termites can be seen swarming around windows or doors. Other signs of termite activity include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings and areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage.
Brick and mortar homes are not termite-proof as they have wooden components, such as framing and flooring, that can host termite infestations. It’s important to work with a licensed professional to provide regular inspections.
Not repairing leaks
American cockroaches, “camel crickets” and springtails can enter homes through tiny cracks and are attracted to damp areas, both in the attic or crawl space and indoors in the basement, kitchen or bathroom.
Small steps make a big difference. Fix leaking faucets, water pipes and A/C units and eliminate standing water on the roof or in gutters to help prevent an infestation.
For more information to help prevent common household pests, visit Orkin.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Switch It Up In the Kitchen
(Family Features) Whether cleaning up after a busy weekend or hosting company, having a few quick kitchen shortcuts on hand is a great way to be prepared for whatever life brings. Many of the best shortcuts come from switching things up and using typical kitchen items in not-so-typical ways.
Aside from being the de facto mess cleaner, paper towels are among the most versatile kitchen tools you can have on hand. They can prolong the life of produce, be used to prep beverages and clean up spills. In fact, paper towels have so many uses, they may render some kitchen “staples” unnecessary.
Check out these tips from Viva Vantage paper towels that show you how to switch-up your kitchen routines and tap the full potential of the paper towel:
Finding non-traditional ways to use common household tools is a handy trick to make kitchen maintenance easy. So switch things up and see what a difference one item, like a paper towel, can make! Visit Vantage7DaySwitch.com for a coupon to purchase and try Viva Vantage paper towels, share your switch up experience and enter for a chance to instantly win a $100 gift card.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
BPT) - Home is all about entertaining — barbecues, parties, pool parties, family dinners and the like. All of a sudden, your kitchen is the nexus of activity as family, friends and neighbors grab drinks from the fridge while you’re prepping those burgers and mixing up the fruit salad. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little more space — prep space for you, more chairs for them, more floor space for all the through traffic to the backyard and throughout the house?Enter the sliding door, creatively equipped with wall mount door hardware. A wall-mounted sliding door can add up to 14 square feet of floor space, which opens up the kitchen to many different arrangement possibilities, including more prep space, additional tables and chairs for more guests. Sliding doors also provide better flow to the room. When your house is full of kids running around, no one has to worry about a swinging door opening in their face, knocking food or drinks from their hands, or the door slamming from a sudden gust of air.
The Johnson 200 WM is a heavy-duty wall mount sliding door hardware that’s ideally suited for walls that don’t accommodate a pocket door, and can hold any type of door up to 400 lbs. The 200 WM features a thick walled precision extruded aluminum I-beam track and heavy-duty extruded aluminum mounting brackets that can be positioned along the track to anchor into wall studs. Four-wheel ball-bearing hangers assure smooth operation.
The 200 WM includes everything you need, including adjustable, detachable door hangers for easy door installation and removal (doors not included). An experienced handyman can complete the installation in about an hour.
The jump-proof aluminum box track is available in lengths up to 96” for single doors, and up to 192” for double door configurations. The smooth rolling door hardware and track exceed ANSI standards, which means it can successfully complete 100,000 opening and closing cycles. They are also made in the USA.
For more information, visit www.johnsonhardware.com, or call (800) 387-5664. Follow the Company on Twitter: @JohnsonHrdware and Instagram: johnsonhardware.
A Crafty Storage Solution
(Family Features) A desk or workspace is one of the most difficult spaces to organize. Between the things you need to keep within reach and the mementos and treasures you want close by, chasing away clutter may feel like a losing battle. Especially when surface space is at a premium, try turning to your walls for creative storage solutions.
This whimsical organization board, a project designed by the crafting experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, lets you create a fully customized storage center to stash whatever you need. This design allows for everything from jewelry and charging cable storage to paper filing and photo displays to functional tools such as a clock or mirror. Choose fabrics and paint to fit your space; there’s plenty of room to go bold with bright patterns and colors or tone it down for a more subtle look.
Room Organization Board
Lay out cork board, dry erase boards and canvas, leaving some space between each piece for pops of color with fabric.
To create a fabric covered board, cut foamcore board to proper measurement. Cut batting 2-3 inches larger than board all the way around. Place batting on front of board and wrap around to back. Fold corners so they are neat and not bulky. Adhere with craft glue, using straight pins to hold in place until dry. Iron fabric. Once each piece is finished, place back into layout to make sure everything is still properly lined up and measurements are correct, making adjustments as needed. Repeat to make as many fabric boards as needed to fill the open spaces.
Leave fabric covered boards as is or add some storage. Hang ribbon and grommets for cable organization. Stretch cording as clothesline and use clothespins for displaying pictures. Add diagonal fabric pocket for papers.
Paint canvas pieces in solid colors or patterns to coordinate with fabric. The stretched canvas can also provide interesting storage options. Hang it backward for a quick shelf. Add pegs for hanging storage. Turn it into a clock with a simple 3-piece kit or add a mirror. Double it up with another canvas for extra dimension.
Once all pieces are finished, hang together on wall.
Find more ideas for creating storage with crafts at joann.com.
Beat Wardrobe Blahs with a Closet Makeover
(Family Features) It’s that time of year when everything in your closet just seems drab. But instead of investing in a new wardrobe, try dressing up your closet. By getting organized and sprucing up a little, you’ll get a fresh perspective and maybe even find some lost treasures.
Start by evaluating your closet. You may have heard of the Pareto principal, commonly known as the 80-20 law, and chances are good that it applies to your wardrobe. If you’re like most people, you wear 20 percent of your things 80 percent of the time. This means a lot of clothes are just taking up space. Weeding out the unnecessary items is your first step in a closet makeover.
Once you’ve done the preliminary clean out, it’s time to reorganize. If you don’t have a closet system in place, you might want to consider a simple DIY product like ClosetMaid ShelfTrack. It’s a system that is completely adjustable and customizable, and a smart solution for someone seeking an affordable, easy-to-install closet product. The system also offers a variety of accessories, such as wire or laminate shelves, drawers and shoe racks, so it will serve as a good foundation for a functional closet.
Once you have the right organizing system in place, it’s time to get creative and design a look that makes your daily trek to the closet more exciting. These ideas will help boost your outlook on all those clothes that seem tired and worn.
Shine the light. Bad lighting can be a hindrance in any closet. In a crowded one, clothes are hard enough to find, but if it is packed tight, it’s almost impossible. Proper lighting is essential. A trendy light fixture can be lots of fun, but make certain it will provide adequate lighting to illuminate everything. Be sure to eliminate shadows by using diffused lighting.
Add style to your storage. Colorful and patterned fabric bins can be your closet’s best friend. They provide a home to hide and consolidate more personal belongings and add pops of color and style to your shelves.
Hang clothes with care. Get rid of the wire and pamper your clothes with good hangers. Critical for maintaining order, they help keep your wardrobe in tip top shape by eliminating garment stretching. Slim velvet hangers, available in an array of colors, are optimal for saving space, but if you have the room, a heavier wooden version is better. Whichever you choose, remember that a uniform set makes for a streamlined look.
Whether it’s a full blown makeover or a modest face lift, you won’t be disappointed in how a newly organized closet makes you feel. The tricky part is to be vigilant about keeping it organized. Dedicating about 15 minutes a week to your closet should keep it in great shape for seasons to come.
For more closet makeover tips and tricks, visit ClosetMaid.com.
Top Trends for Upgrading Your Outdoor Space
(Family Features) No matter the season or the region, outdoor living is hot. As spring approaches, here are six of the top trends that will influence the look, feel and function of outdoor spaces in 2016.
Outdoor rooms: Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, furnishings and accessories, you can outfit an outdoor living space in much the same way that you would any room in the home. As a result, expect to see decks with features such as integrated benches with upholstered cushions, privacy walls and ornamental post caps and railings with decorative balusters similar to those found inside the home.
Railings that rule: Another outdoor element that’s being influenced by indoor styling is deck railings. When it comes to selecting the best railing for your outdoor space, design experts recommend using one of the “Three C’s” – coordinate, contrast or customize. To make the selection process even easier, Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing, recently introduced a set of curated railings that pair beautifully with the brand’s most popular decking colors.
Cooking with class: Americans have taken backyard cooking and dining to a whole new level. Heading into the outdoor living season, expect this trend to continue with increasingly functional outdoor kitchens complete with cooking islands, pizza ovens, refrigerators and all-weather cabinetry and storage features.
Warming features: One of the hottest trends – literally – for 2016 is the incorporation of warming features into outdoor spaces. From candles and tiki torches to fireplaces and lighting, products that lend physical and ambient warmth will be in high demand. Look for increased use of LED lights integrated into deck railings, stairs and yards as homeowners seek to enhance the ambiance and safety of their outdoor space and extend the time they can spend enjoying it.
High-tech decks: Home automation is hugely popular right now, so it’s only natural that the tech trend should migrate outdoors. From lighting and music controlled from a smart phone to motorized rear-projection screens synced to outdoor LED televisions, homeowners are now able to bring their entire entertainment system outdoors.
For more outdoor living tips and ideas, visit trex.com.
Accents to Update Any Space
(Family Features) Accent pieces are an easy way to update any room. Introducing fresh colors and styles with decorative items and textiles can instantly transform the entire ambiance at a fraction of the cost you might spend completely refurbishing the same space.
Throw pillows offer a clever way to add new color, texture and patterns. Introduce a more luxurious look with this pillow trio featuring the new Buttercream collection of continental craft components, finished home decor items, baking supplies and unique print fabrics create by and available only at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.
Buttercream Stenciled Art Pillows
Begin by creating the red repeat patterned pillow. Place stencil onto pillow cover and tape off all areas on stencil that are not shown in photo. Repeat large paisley flower as shown using Lipstick Red paint and small stencil brush. Let dry.
Complete the floral design pillow by placing stencil onto pillow cover and stenciling design as shown with multiple colors. Stencil first color by taping over all areas that are not that color in photo. Then stencil next color, taping off areas that are not that color. Repeat so entire front of pillow is covered. Let dry before inserting pillow forms.
For long daisy blossom pillow, cut two 13-by-19-inch pieces of fabric. Iron fabric.
Tape off 10-by-16-inch large rectangle in center of one fabric piece. Paint base coat inside rectangle with Dainty Pink and large brush. Let dry.
Stencil daisy floral element from stencil onto pillow as shown with Ginger. Repeat covering rectangle area. Let dry.
Add leaf element to pillow as shown. Stencil with Ivy Lane. Repeat around flowers as shown and let dry.
Place fabric with “right sides” touching and sew three sides closed. Turn inside out and insert pillow form. Hand sew closed.
Find more inspiration for home updates with accent pieces you can make yourself at joann.com.
Room-to-Room Home Additions
Add quality and comfort to your favorite rooms
(Family Features) When considering a home renovation, think outside the box for design inspiration and setting the overall tone.
With homeowners staying in their homes longer due to the economy, renovations should focus on usability and personal style. For those homeowners looking to sell, the market is still very much a buyer's space, so quality additions that increase value are certainly top of mind. Luckily, there's no need knock down walls or move plumbing to make an impact - simply start with small, quality updates to pack a dramatic punch for less money. Here are some ways to add quality and comfort within the different spaces of your home:
As the first thing visitors see, your front door should always provide a good impression, reflecting the beauty that emanates throughout your home. With doors, matching the exterior and interior creates a flow into outdoor living spaces. Using doors as a part of the overall aesthetic can also allow for some creativity with glass accents or bold color choices. Choose a reliable door manufacturer, such as Masonite, that offers a wide breadth of finishes and styles using wood, steel and fiberglass.
Add decorative touches to your living room with repurposed items found around the house. Fill a decorative pitcher or an old tin watering can with fresh flowers from the garden to add elegance to your coffee table. Wrap assorted globe lighting fixtures or mason jars with wire and hang them in a grouping to display votive candles. For an eclectic and shabby chic feel, turn a vintage drawer on end to use as a bookshelf or bring in an old wooden crate to use as a side table.
Refreshing your kitchen doesn't require a major update. Add a new color to existing cabinetry by refinishing or addinga new coat of paint. Would you like to add a glossy shine to the kitchen? Simply apply mesh-back glass tile to fit the dimensions of cabinet door panels. Finish the update with a modern touch by replacing outdated hardware with the many new, stylish options available.
From tiles and countertops to faucets and showerheads, the options are endless for bathroom updates. With wall-hung, stand-alone or pedestal styles, your choices for a new vanity are no exception. During a renovation, some homeowners begin their project by focusing on other bathroom elements like those mentioned above. But starting with the addition of a new vanity, like one of the many beautiful options from Ronbow, will set the stage for your bathroom and provide a focal point for the other design elements.
From the master bedroom to the hall entryway, hardwood floors provide the ultimate in beauty and ambiance. Refinishing gives your existing tired, worn out floors an instant upgrade that shines from room to room.
By focusing on a few quality updates, you can add beauty and comfort to your home to be enjoyed for many years or add value in a competitive housing market. For more design ideas and tips, visit www.ronbow.com or www.masonite.com.
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