Brighten Your Home with Sliding Glass Doors

Is your living room or kitchen a bit gloomy? Or do you have a beautiful backyard landscape that remains hiddenMHG,JG.,G from inside the house? These problems are probably due to the lack of windows in your home. Additional light in any room can make it look bigger, more open, and bright. Plus, you are then able to have a better view of your backyard, garden, or patio. Though creating a window space in a wall is certainly possible, another more affordable option is to replace you entryways and exits with sliding glass doors. These doors not only provide windows, they also make for easy entrances onto decks, porches, or patios.

Different Designs
Sliding glass doors have come a long way in the past few years. They no longer use clunky plastic panes and trim. Today, these units come in many different design options. Maybe you want multiple doors joined together; or maybe you want them small and subtle. Would you like them to come in aluminum, vinyl, woods, metal, or fiberglass? Do you want them top-hung from your entryway in order to avoid any dirt, leaves, or debris in

Interior Decorating Ideas

Now that you’ve built or bought a new home, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to decorate it. It’s anZFMHF,JG, exciting time for any new homeowner, and like life, it’s open to nearly endless possibilities and paths you can take. Of course, once you get started, you may be inundated with these limitless options, and suddenly you have no idea where to start. Or you may have a few good interior decorating ideas and no way to choose between them. For every choice you make, after all, there is one that’s left behind. If you’re having trouble with a specific room, search HomeAdvisor for that specific room. We have articles on decorating specific rooms inside your home. If you’re just starting out, though, we can help you brainstorm and decide how to create a home decorating scheme that you will be proud of.

Use Specific Styles to Generate Interior Decorating Ideas
Specific interior decorating ideas are a dime a dozen: wrought iron wall decor, flowing water for relaxation, vessel sinks, soft colors, little color, lots of color. Almost all of these ideas purport themselves to be

The Importance of Chimney Repair

On a cold winter’s day, nothing is as inviting as a roaring fire in the fireplace. But did you know that the coziest partgnmfgzmfhym of your home can also be the most dangerous? Regular maintenance and repair of your chimney and chimney flue are important in keeping your family safe and warm for many years to come.

Why is Chimney Repair so Urgent?
The function of a chimney is to draw smoke and gases away from the burning fire and out of your home. This is not merely a matter convenience, though. The smoke from a fire can contain dangerous gases, among them carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness, or even death, in large amounts.

The other function of your chimney flue is to keep excessive heat from building in your home. Cracks in a chimney can leak heat into the surrounding walls, and lead to structural damage or even house fires.

For these reasons, it is important that chimney flue problems are detected and repaired early.

Common Chimney Repair Issues
One of the most common issues in chimney flue maintenance

Window Screen Repair

Window screen repair is one of those home improvement tasks that is well within the reach of your average home handyman, if you possesses the right tools. Of course, it is a time consuming chore, and many homeowners choose to hire the job out to save time, and just to be safe. If you don’t count yourself among the world’s handiest people, there are window screen repair specialists available for hire so that you won’t have to lift a finger, or lose a minute of your day, in order to get your screens back up in working order.

Window Screen Repair 101: The Basic Patch
The most common screen repair is patching up small, or larger, holes in existing screen. If that sounds like your problem, you’re in luck. All you need is a piece of replacement window screen and a little patience to keep the bugs at bay. Cut the replacement screen to the proper size, and then get out your sewing needle. You’re going to need to “darn” the new screen into the old by using a piece of the new screen to sew the patch into the hole.

Repairing Window Screens 201: Screen Replacement
Repairing window screens by replacing

Going Green with Interior and Exterior Window Treatments

A lot of emphasis is placed on energy-efficient windows these days, so much so that many homeowners overlook the simple and effective advantages of installing green interior and exterior window treatments. When it comes to home energy efficiency and reducing energy bills, however, how you choose to cover your home’s windows can make a big difference. In this guide, we’ll give you some tips on what you can to do to improve home energy efficiency with well-chosen interior and exterior window treatments.

The Cost and Value of Green Window Treatments
Estimating the cost of your green window treatments is really a matter circumstance and the perspective you start with: If you were planning on a cheap set of venetian blinds from the local department store, you’re probably going to pay a little more to go green than you initially budgeted for. If you were going to install quality window treatments in the first place, however, then you’re unlikely to spend much more by going green than if you go a more conventional route. Of course, dollar and cents aren’t always the best way to assess the value of going green. While green window treatments will keep your home cooler in the

Storm Window Frames

The whole point behind storm windows is their inherent energy efficiency. The extra barrier they provide helps insulation. Their low-emissive panes block harmful UV rays from entering the house and impede additional heat transfer. And they also protect against any seeping air flow which may occur. However, in order for these products to achieve all these goals several things have to work together. They have to be properly sized, sealed, and installed, all of which depend on their framing. Though often forgotten about or ignored, storm window frames are an important part of any window unit and must be paid attention to throughout the year.

Types of Storm Window Frames
Though often prefabricated, pre-hung, and standardized to fit any traditional opening (double-hung, casement, egress, etc.), there are different materials you may want to consider when it comes to their construction, each coming with their own pros and cons:
Aluminum: Aluminum is the most popular. It’s light yet strong, often inexpensive, and easy to install. However, since metal is a great conductor of energy, it quickly transfers heat towards the home, making it a poor insulator.
Vinyl: These are made with polyvinyl chloride which contains UV stabilizers. Since these windows are installed

Keep Your Window Screens in Good Repair

Even the highest quality screen available will deteriorate over time; screen replacement or screen repair is a job that just about every homeowner will have to consider at some time. While not the most glamorous task on the planet, window screen replacement and repair does offer homeowners a few different options. Screen manufacturers have made vast improvements on their products in the past few decades, leaving you with a much wider variety of screens to choose from to better suit the needs of your household.

Insect Screen Replacement and Repair
Most of the screens that you see on a house are considered insect screens. This type of screen is meant to allow air flow, but block bugs and debris from coming inside. Insect screen mesh is now available in metal and fiberglass models as well as in different colors, so consumers can upgrade in style. One thing to consider with a job like window screen replacement is whether or not you need all the screens on your house to match. Since most people find this desirable, replacing all of your insect screens at the same time is usually the way to go. Households with pets might consider replacement screens specially designed

Buy Local when You Build

With America’s Main Streets in need of help like never before, the push to purchase from local businesses and support local manufacturers is more important than ever. Along with trying to buy locally-grown produce and locally manufactured goods, you can also help by planning your next home improvement project with the little guy in mind.

Benefits of Buying Local
At times, supporting local business can be a tough pill to swallow at times; however, the money you spend purchasing goods and services from local companies can make a big impact in several ways. Here are a few benefits of supporting your local businesses:

Local businesses produce more income, jobs, and tax receipts for local communities than big box stores do.

Local businesses are more likely to utilize local ads, banks and other services.

Local businesses donate more money to nonprofits and are more accountable to their local communities.

Supporting local businesses preserves the economic diversity of our communities and the unique character of our neighborhoods.

Supporting local businesses is good for the environment, because it cuts down on fuel consumption. Buying locally produced goods reduces the need to ship goods from thousands of miles away and also cuts down on the distances shoppers travel.

Finding Local Contractors

Lighting Design and Designers

Lighting design is the planning of a lighting system to achieve an optimal lighting effect in a given space. The process may include landscape lighting, exterior architectural lighting, improving the lighting in a specific room or area, or designing the lighting for an entire home remodel or a new home build.

A competent lighting designer will be able to determine your lighting needs based on your tastes, decor, personal habits, use of space, and your budget. And they will be able to provide you with a custom, personalized lighting plan to meet those needs. Even if you only want to add a couple of lights, and plan to do-it-yourself, you can still benefit from the specialized knowledge and advice of an expert in lighting applications.First Talk to a Lighting Designer about Major Projects
If you’re undertaking a major home remodel or a new home build, then it is wise to search out a lighting designer that you’re comfortable with during the early planning stages. Lighting design is one of the most important aspects of a home, inside and out, and a good lighting specialist will be able to offer you valuable, and innovative, ideas that may be incorporated into the structural

Why Do I Need a Landscape Plan

Landscaping plans are far more involved than just deciding which plants to purchase and where to plant them. It’s a holistic approach to landscape design, which entails utilizing a bevy of landscape ideas, including hardscape, decks, patios, walkways, swimming pools, and ponds, as well as plants and other gardening additions. If your goal is a beautiful landscape, then solid landscape plans, and the services of a landscape designer, are definitely worth the investment and time they require.

Landscape Ideas
One of the most important reasons it’s important to develop landscaping plans before you visit the local nursery is that there are more aspects to landscape design than most homeowners realize. The possibilities are literally staggering. Gazebos, ponds, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, landscape lighting, decks, patios, retaining walls, pathways irrigation, swimming pools, spas, trellises, awnings, and fencing are just scraping the surface of what your options are when it comes to landscape design.An Extension of Your Home
It’s a long list, and hopefully it gives you a general idea of what goes into solid landscaping plans and the things you’ll want to consider incorporating into your general design. Remember, landscaping isn’t just trees and bushes. It’s an extension of your home. And

Bedroom Interior Designer

We all have trouble decorating bedrooms. We look at our neighbor’s beautiful color scheme, a magazine’s breathtaking decor, and we see dozens of tasteful homes on the TV everyday. The trouble is that there are so many options out there that it’s hard to make a decision about what works best for your house. Another problem that we encounter is that sometimes a room isn’t originally engineered or constructed in the way that fits our desired vision. Fortunately, interior bedroom designers are available to offer their wisdom and experience when simply rearranging the furniture in your bedroom doesn’t cut it.

Do you think those rooms on TV look that way by themselves? That’s why many homeowners seek the counsel of a trained bedroom interior designer. Not to be confused with decorators, who tend to focus more on the look of a room, a bedroom interior designer combines the two different roles of remodeling: part artist, part engineer. They must be both creative in terms of their aesthetic and technical in terms of their approach.

Collaborative Bedroom Design
These professionals are the voice of compromise, in more ways than one. They must combine your tastes with their own abilities. They must be able

TV Stands and Mounts

Now that you’ve invested in a new big screen TV, not only do you need to figure out where you’re going to put it but also what type of TV stand or TV mount you’re going to use. There’s no shortage of TV stand designs and materials out there, but given the many different sized TVs, storage cabinet spaces, and decorating preferences, it can still be quite the chore finding the stand or mount that’s right for your home. In fact, finding your TV stand may end up taking more time and energy than finding the TV itself.

TV Stand Materials
The most common building materials are steel, wood, glass, and acrylic. Steel stands are usually self-assembly kits for DIYs. Steel stands don’t match every home decor, however. Plexiglass or clear acrylic offers a classier look, and although more expensive, are safer for you and your TV. These stands also typically offer more tailored home entertainment shelving. Wood TV stands are great for a strong, classy, and customized stand. You can build them yourself, buy them at a furniture store, or have a woodworker custom build your TV stand.

Lower end TV stands are also available in wood veneer, laminates, and medium

Exterior Painting Techniques

Rapidly changing technology affects every aspect of modern life, even when it comes to painting our homes. The methods used to apply modern paints and coatings have changed over time, as well. Understanding all the new products and procedures used in exterior painting techniques enables consumers to get the best, longest-lasting paint jobs possible.

Using a Sprayer
One of the most common homeowner questions when it comes to current exterior painting techniques has to do with the widespread use of automatic sprayers. In past days, homes were painted the old fashioned way: with brushes and rollers. Those days are long gone for a number of reasons. A power sprayer has many advantages, both for the painter and for you as the homeowner.

Saving the Painter Time
Perhaps the biggest reason power sprayers have become the norm, rather than the exception, is the time factor. There is really no comparison when it comes to painting a house by hand as opposed to applying to the primer and final coats using a pneumatic sprayer. It cuts the time to paint a house down from weeks to days, and is one of the most efficient and innovative exterior painting techniques to hit the industry since

How to Prepare for Interior Paint

For any home improvement project to be successful, you need proper preparation. There’s nothing worse than skipping a crucial step, taking multiple trips to the store, or making stupid mistakes because you’re in a hurry. The job will go faster if you simply take some time and make a thorough checklist. This is especially true for interior painting. Many people get in a rush because it’s a boring job we want done quickly, so we end up slapping it on before taking the correct paint prep steps. If you want to avoid the chore, hire a professional painter who comes with their own supplies and training. But whether you hire a pro or do it yourself, make sure you follow this paint prep tutorial.

Interior Painting: The Tool Checklist
To avoid trips to the store, buy everything at once. Here’s a list of tools you’ll need:
Applicators: Rollers are best for large areas of interior painting; however, you’ll also need small brushes. Buy an angled trim brush (2″) for baseboards and a smaller brush (1″) for window and door trim. A trim edger comes in handy: it looks like a sponge with little wheels that you set on the trim and

Furnace Repairman

When it comes to your HVAC system, there are some simple tune-ups that you can take care of yourself. You can change those disposable filters frequently. You can wash your electrostatic filters occasionally. You can make sure your pilot light is lit. However, these heating and cooling systems are also very complex, so when the furnace is on the fritz, it’s always best to call a professional for help. In fact, even when things are running smoothly, it’s never a bad idea to get an expert out to your house for inspections, cleanings, and overall maintenance.

Keeping Up to Date
In any part of the home, your equipment is only as reliable as its maintenance. Therefore, heating and cooling systems need a lot of attention to keep them performing at their finest. It’s important to hire furnace repairmen to inspect your system occasionally in order to ensure against future problems or damage. They can see if you’re up to code. If something needs to be replaced or repaired. They can replace old corroded parts and valves with newer, safer models. This is especially important if you have an older system that may be out of date with the current technology.

Can’t Do

Removing Exterior Paint or Stain

This article is brought to you courtesy of the Paint Quality Institute.

There are a number of ways to effectively remove old coatings and your particular job may require a combination of approaches to get the results you want. Review the methods explained here and see which ones best suit your project.


This is a traditional effective approach for many flat surfaces from smooth masonry and hardboard to wood and ferrous metal. For maximum effectiveness, keep the scraper sharp and apply even pressure as you scrape in one direction, then at 90 degrees. Use shaped scrapers like triangle or oval shapes to get into corners and on rounded profiles. Take care not to gouge or score wood and be sure not to apply pressure when scraping hardboard.

For heavier scraping on hard or metal surfaces try a two-hands scraper. Feather sand all rough edges of remaining paint with medium grit sandpaper such as #100 grit to achieve a smooth finish. Wear goggles or face mask for eye protection, leather or work gloves to protect the skin and limit dust intake by wearing a protective mask or respirator. Scraping is less effective on rough surfaces such as stucco or cinder block.

Wire Brushing

A stiff metal

Portland Heating System Repair and Replacement

Although “green” heating systems garner all the headlines, Portland homeowners are more likely to need repair and troubleshooting services for their current heating systems. Should your Portland heating system fail, energy efficiency will fall into the background faster than you can make a cup of hot chocolate or macchiato. If you’re already in this dilemma, submit a request and you will begin to hear from our prescreened contractors immediately. Our online database of customer ratings and reviews shows you what other homeowners have thought about their experience with individual contractors. It also shows that some homeowners have even gotten their heating system repaired the same day! In addition, as with any quality-controlled database of customer reviews, it provides a powerful motivator for contractors to meet and exceed your expectations.

Ideally, you should look to identify problems with your heating system before it fails. A diligent eye is great, and you should turn your system on for about an hour during the fall, so you can have a professional fix any problems before the winter season rush makes schedule openings rare for contractors. With a little planning, there is no reason you can’t take great care of your current system and be

Heat Pumps

Depending on the area where you live, there may not be a long period of time each year where your home requires constant heat or constant cooling. For most of us, however, annual temperature changes are marked enough that we need a little of both. Instead of having two separate units for each task, a heat pump is designed to heat your home during cooler months and cool it during the summer.

How a Heat Pump Works
Heat pumps transfer heat from one place to another, providing both heating and cooling. They work on the fundamental principle that heat exists in air even at extremely low temperatures. In the winter, a heat pump extracts heat from outside air and delivers it indoors. To cool a house on hot summer days, it works in reverse, extracting heat from room air and pumping it outdoors.

Heat pumps give off less heat at one time than a conventional gas furnace. This means they offer a mellower type of heat, stay on longer, and circulate more air throughout the house. They’re controlled by the same type of thermostat used for forced-air heating systems. On really cold days, a heat pump must work especially hard to collect

Protect Floors with a Fireplace Screen

There’s nothing as serene and beautiful as a flickering hearth on a cold winter day. However, there is always danger when you intentionally create a fire inside your home. Therefore it is important to invest in safety equipment to keep fire hazards to a minimum, and the easiest way to prevent these exposure risks is to invest in a fireplace screen.

Blaze Barriers
When it comes to firesides, everyone enjoys the flash of the flames and the snap, crackle, and pop of the wood. And even though a hearth is designed to control these elements, if you have a wood-burning unit you may find occasional debris entering into the room. So a fireplace screen is the best way to create a barrier between the blaze and your home:

Scorches and Singes: When wood is being consumed, sometimes embers, sparks, and cinders could pop out of the hearth. So these partitions protect your wooden floors and expensive carpets from any ash that could stain or burn your flooring.
Keep Hands Out: If you have inquisitive kids or rambunctious pets, these dividers separate the flames from the curious wanderings of those who don’t know any better.
Wind Resistance: Sometimes a burst of wind from

Air Conditioning Repair When to Call in a Professional

As air conditioners have become standard fare on most homes, so has the need for air conditioning repair. When you’re experiencing problems with your AC there are a few common sense solutions you’ll want to check before you call in an AC Repairman. If those don’t get you back up and running, however, or if your air conditioner’s symptoms point to bigger problems, you’re wise to call in a professional to take necessary measures.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine
Of course, the best way to avoid costly AC repairs is to schedule an annual maintenance visit with an AC technician. An AC repairman will come out to your home, inspect your unit and your ductwork, perform all necessary upkeep, and address any maintenance issues before they become major problems. Be sure to schedule these visits in the spring if you can. The onset of hot weather in the summer means your AC repairman will book up quick. By having him out in April or May, you’ll be beating the rush, and you’ll be addressing any repair issues on cool spring days, instead of having to shut down your system in the middle of summer when you need your AC the most.