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March 2009: Small Changes Big Impact

*Tips from a professional handywoman to make your home look fresh for spring

Paint walls and ceilings
Paint is reasonably cheap but has a big impact on making the small feel fresh and clean, if you are on a limited budget try the mis-tints offered through the larger box stores.

Re-caulk around tubs and showers
Remove old caulking first prior to starting, clean the surface with TSP Trisodium Phosphate, replace with silicone caulking available in a number of colors, use a dish of soapy water to dip your finger in to make the final job look professional.

Remove borders and wallpaper
Add fabric softener to a bucket of warm water, apply with a sponge, let sit for a few moments and then remove.

Add new hardware to your kitchen cabinet doors
Old hardware that is worn and outdated tends to make your kitchen look like it is caught in a time warp, remove one of the old handles to take with you to the hardware store, there are a variety of sizes, you want to match up the holes to a new handles with similar spaced holes on the back, think about donating your old hardware to your local Habitat for Humanity Store

Paint cabinets and doors
Lightly sand the item to be painted, give a thorough cleaning, let dry, mask off areas not to be painted with green painters tape, apply a good primer with a foam roller, let dry based on the time listed on the can, apply a Melamine paint available in a variety of colors, allow each coat to dry the time listed on the can before applying the next thin coat, let cure

Change out-dated looking plumbing with new fixtures
Make sure the plumbing has a shut off valve under the cabinet prior to trying to remove, otherwise the main water line to the home will have to be shut down while the repair is being made, this might be the time to think about adding shut off valves to each set of taps in the home making it easier for quick repairs in the future. Some kitchen taps require that you replace with another unit with the same number of holes for the water lines to come through the counter. Also, keep in mind that some taps have the option for a soap dispenser. Check if your present set up will accommodate this style.

Make repairs to well travelled areas of your home
Small holes and dents can be repaired with drywall compound while larger holes can be repaired with a patch of drywall, mesh tape and drywall compound, lightly sand with a foam sponge, wipe away dust. Be sure to prime the repaired area prior to painting.

Give a fresh coat of paint to doors and trim
Marked doors and trim make your home feel dirty or neglected, freshen up with a fresh coat of paint, check to see if previous paint used was water or oil based, when painting outdoor you must wait until the outdoor temperature will remain above 10 degrees Celsius otherwise the paint will not cure properly.

Do your research on the internet and through the stores prior to hiring a contractor. Be informed.
You are less likely to be taken advantage of when you have done your research. Have a general idea what an item should cost so you know the quote is fair and ask at your local hardware stores for ballpark figures to complete a particular project.

Miss Fix It
Mary-Catherine Zwambag
ashtin@sympatico.ca
905-690-6921 home
905-512-8303 cell

Mary-Catherine is a home renovator in the Waterdown area. She enjoys looking after customers needs. She receives her biggest praise sometimes for the smallest jobs because customers appreciate her honesty and ability to get the job done quickly. In the past she has been part of completing large and small projects from basement renovations, building decks to everything including installing the kitchen sink. Now is the time to take advantage of the new government rebate for home repairs.