Sunday, February 4, 2007

Painting Basement Walls?

I am going to be painting my concrete foundations walls to help brighten my basement, but the walls are not very smooth (lines from the foundation forms, bolt holes filler, etc...).

Does anyone know any tricks on smoothing the walls before I paint them? I am not looking to get them super smooth, but want to take the high points down. I am hoping I do not have to take a grinder to the wall or chisel away and potentially leave larger holes.

There are a couple of ways to mask imperfections that come to mind. One is to paint the walls using a true flat finish to soften the rough spots when the lighting hits them. The other is not so simple: They make a product called liner paper, which is a fiber based 36" non pasted wallpaper designed to mask some imperfections (maybe 90%). Once this liner paper is installed you basically have a blank canvas to work with. I've installed several liners over the years and have found them to work very well for painting or hanging wallpaper over the new surface.

How to handle wallpaper at doorway?

Question for Jerry:

I recently had a room wallpapered, and am now trying to figure out how to handle a doorway that goes from the wallpapered room into another. Currently, the wallpaper just ends right at the edge of the doorway, but already, the edge is starting to peel up some.

The previous wallpaper had one of those common plastic corner things over it, but I would like to avoid doing that again, since I think it looks ugly. I'm considering putting some molding around the door, but I'm trying to think if I have seen that anywhere before. Any input on this?

If I do put the molding around the door, should I just put it over the top of the paper, or do I want to try and cut the paper back a little bit?

If the passageway is in a heavy traffic area I would recommend installing wood or plastic trim right over the paper. If the passageway is not in a heavily traveled area you may want to try trimming the paper back first by holding a razor knife at a 45 degree angle in an attempt to take the exposed edge of the paper and moving it behind the outside corner of the doorway. You can always try this first and if it doesn't hold up to the traffic you can then install the trim.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Energy saving tips to fight winter's chill

Winter time means cranking up the furnace, fireplace, portable heaters, and other heating devices. Running the heat constantly to keep warm may be a sign that something isn't right. The more we run such items to heat our homes, the drier we make our indoor air. The drier the air, the colder it feels. I'm sure you're familiar with the heat index in the summertime when, for example, the temperature may be 85, but, because of a high relative humidity reading, it really feels like 98. Well, the same thing happens in reverse. The less humidity in the air - the colder it feels.

If you have a humidier on your furnace then check and make sure it has been turned on for the winter and is running well. If you have an older furnace, the humidifier may not work at all. If this is the case, then, at the very least, pick up a room humidifier for your bedroom. Besides static cling, very dry air also causes dry skin, dry mouth and contributes to poor respiration which leads to a lousy night's sleep.

The humidifier on my furnace died years ago and instead of paying an HVAC contractor to put on a new one for $400-$500, I bought a whole house, portable humidifier for a little over $150. I placed it near an air intake for the furnace and let it run constantly. The humidity in that room will reach 70% at times but, when the furnace kicks on, the humidity in that room will drop 10-15% fairly quickly as it sucks in moist air and shoots hot, humid air throughout the entire house. And believe me, humid air feels a lot warmer and much more comfortable than the bone dry stuff.