4-Step Approach to Improving Your Garage and Basement Storage
Jan30

4-Step Approach to Improving Your Garage and Basement Storage

Year after year it’s the same ole problem, admit it … both your garage and your basement are cluttered-up messes. That’s the case, at least, if you’re like the vast majority of homeowners. It just seems to be a natural trend over time for those two places to gradually and inevitably become ever more cluttered and junky. But that doesn’t mean, of course, that they have to stay that way. After all, anyplace that gets messed-up can also be cleaned-up. And that’s certainly true of both basements and garages. In fact, you can make the job of cleaning-up your garage and/or basement go faster and smoother by following this 4-step process: #1: Start with Stairs and Doors Makes sense, doesn’t it? Clearing the clutter from stairways and entryways will certainly make the rest of the cleanup job easier. And importantly, it will also make the job safer. That’s why clearing away debris and clutter from your garage or basement entryways should be the very first step of your cleanup process. #2: Let There Be Light! Both garages and basements tend to be murky, poorly lit places. And it’s certainly difficult to clean what you can’t see. And let’s just be honest: When you’re cleaning a long-neglected basement or garage, you REALLY want to be able to see what you’re doing. It’s not just a matter of safety. It’s also a matter of avoiding some very nasty surprises. Because it’s quite likely that there are some creepy critters lurking in your garage or basement if it has long been neglected! The best way to temporarily increase the lighting is just to grab a couple of long extension cords and plug them into a couple of portable lamps. You can move the lamps as you work in different locations, assuring that you always have a clear view of where you’re working – and of what might be coming at you! #3: Survey the Job Now that you have accessibility and light, take some time to survey the project before you launch into it. Scope out special problems that might require special attention – areas that are or have been flooded, for example. Or places where rodents have run wild, requiring some very special cleanup attention (yuck!). Also be on the lookout for areas of mold or mildew. These can pose risks to your health, so you’ll need to take appropriate cautions while cleaning these areas. Get a good feel for what you’re facing, and any special problems you’ll need to deal with, before getting into the middle of it. That way you’ll have a game plan for helping the project go...

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Dealing with Winter’s Damage to Your Garage Floor
Feb14

Dealing with Winter’s Damage to Your Garage Floor

Winter can be brutal for garage floors. In particular, the road salt residue that drips from your car after you park it in your garage can be very damaging. Road salts aren’t composed of the type of salt that’s in the saltshaker sitting on your dining room table. Instead, road salt is composed of a chemical cocktail that typically includes ingredients such as calcium hydroxide, calcium magnesium acetate, and sodium acetate. And that chemical cocktail dripping onto your garage floor does very bad things. How Road Salt Residue Damages Your Garage Floor When residue from road salts drip from your car onto the bare concrete of your garage floor, here’s what happens… The briny mixture drips onto the surface of the concrete, but it doesn’t stay on the surface. Instead, it gradually seeps deep into the porous structure of the concrete. This mixture, of course, is no longer pure road salt. It has been mixed and diluted with the water remaining from the ice and snow that the salt helped to melt. So what drips onto your garage floor is a weakened, diluted version of road salt. That’s a bad thing, because this diluted briny mixture will freeze at a much higher temperature than pure road salt. And that’s exactly what happens. When the temperature drops in your garage, the road salt residue – which has now worked deep into the pores of your concrete floor – will refreeze. In the process of freezing, it expands. And when it expands, it damages the structural integrity of your garage floor’s concrete. The result can be a garage floor with a chipped and broken surface. It’s called spalling. Cleaning The Stains You can do something about the ugly stains left on the surface of your floor from the accumulated residues of road salt. If you’ve tried just rinsing those salt stains off with water, you know that that’s not terribly effective. Instead, mix up a solution that’s composed of: 1 gallon of warm water 1 cup of vinegar A squirt of liquid dish detergent Pour some of this solution on the salt-stained areas, and scrub with a stiff brush. After giving the stains a good scrubbing, use a mop or a wet vac to remove as much of the residue as possible. Then rinse with lots of clean water. For particularly tough salt stains, you might have to repeat the process a couple of times to get the best results. Good luck! P.S. One alternative to dealing with the damage and staining caused by road salt residue? TLC’s Polyaspartic Polyurea system. It’s like a magic shield that makes your garage floor...

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Is DIY Landscape Lighting a VGI (Very Good Idea)?
May03

Is DIY Landscape Lighting a VGI (Very Good Idea)?

Are you a DIYer (Do It Yourselfer)? If so, you’re part of what seems to be a rapidly growing movement. It’s likely rooted in the traditional American spirit of independence and self-sufficiency; roll up your sleeves and git’r done! The DIY movement also encompasses a yearning for retaining more control of our lives, in an age when the trend seems to be moving in the opposite direction. And unquestionably, a BIG proportion of the DIY movement is motivated by the need or desire to economize – particularly after the rough and bouncy economic ride of recent years. Kits Are Big Lots of businesses have sprung up to cater to the desires of DIYers. And many that have been around for decades have boomed in recent years. In particular, lots of businesses these days offer kits to cater to the DIY boom. What kind of kits? Just about anything you can think of! If you’re a DIYer, you can buy a kit to: Build a boat Build a car Build a beehive Build a chicken coop Build a greenhouse Build a log cabin Build a computer Build a house The list is virtually endless. You can even buy a kit to build an airplane – yes, a real airplane, the kind you’ll get in and fly among the clouds (if you dare!). These kits offer sort of a compromise for DIYers. You’re still building something yourself, but you’re saving a whole lot of time and trouble compared to building from scratch. Mostly, DIY kits are beneficial. They can be a great boon to a DIYer. But in some cases, not so much… Landscape Lighting Kits…NOT! One type of DIY kit is for installing your own landscape lighting system. The basic motivation for buying such a kit is well founded; landscape lighting offers lots of benefits to homeowners. Every home should be equipped with a landscape lighting system. But should you install that system yourself? In a word: No. The truth of the matter is that some jobs should just be left to professionals. While DIYing is great, it’s not for everything. Some tasks simply require a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to achieve the best results. And knowledge and experience cannot be packaged into a kit along with all the bits and pieces and parts. That certainly applies to landscape lighting installations. Part of the reason to leave this job to professionals is the electrical work that’s involved. When you install a landscape lighting system, you’re dealing with extensive wiring and expanded electrical loads. You really need to know what you’re doing when you tread into that territory. But...

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