Protect your deck this winter

Protect%20your%20deck%20this%20winter As the leaves start to change color, you may find yourself reminiscing about the hours of enjoyment spent outside on your deck. While warm weather gatherings and summer barbecues are a favorite pastime of the season, the combination of foot traffic, food spills and weather can take its toll on any deck.

Before the chill in the air turns into harsh winter weather, clean and protect your deck to prepare it for the long winter months ahead.

“Smart homeowners recognize that seasonal changes can wreak havoc on decks unless properly maintained,” says Fiona Seal, Rust-Oleum Wood Care brand manager. “But with a few simple steps, you can winterize your deck so it survives the onslaught of ice, snow, sleet and moisture that can cause damage during the months ahead.”

Here are a few deck survival tips that can keep your deck looking beautiful longer.

* Clean thoroughly: Ground-in dirt and barbecue stains can ruin your deck’s appearance and ultimately cause degrading of the wood. Exposure to sun can cause wood to gray and weather and exposure to moisture can create the perfect conditions for the growth of mold, mildew, moss and algae. So it’s important to clean your deck thoroughly to remove the remnants of summer and get it ready for winter.

Use a bleach-free cleaner specifically formulated for wood to restore your deck to its natural beauty without the bleaching or yellowing that chlorine bleach can cause. Cleaners like JOMAX Deck Wash loosen and lift dirt, and remove gray weathered wood and stains from mold and mildew to prepare the deck for a new protective coating. And the convenient hose mount applicators make these cleaners easy to use. Just attach to an ordinary garden hose and spray. It’s that simple.

If your stained or painted deck has seen better days, consider stripping any faded or deteriorating finish prior to applying a water repellent sealer or stain.

* Apply a protective finish: After cleaning, it’s important to apply a water repellent finish to protect your deck against the damaging effects of winter. Moisture such as ice, snow, sleet and rain can penetrate the surface if not protected, which can cause splitting, cracking and warping. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of premium exterior wood finishes that offer protection against the elements, while giving you the opportunity to achieve any look you desire.

For example, if you’re looking for a clear water repellent to protect against water damage without changing the color of the wood, choose a product like Rust-Oleum Premium Water Sealer. It will protect your deck against the elements for three years.

Or for maximum protection against water absorption and maximum durability, choose a product like Rust-Oleum Premium Deck and Fence Stain. It’s available in both solid and semi-transparent formulas in 22 different colors so you can choose any look you desire. What’s more, it’s backed by a 10-Year Satisfaction Guarantee so it will keep your deck protected and looking beautiful for years.

Rust-Oleum Premium Deck and Fence Stain also features breakthrough Cool Touch technology, which reflects solar rays to keep surfaces cooler to the touch. It’s the perfect preparation for next season’s warm summer weather.

For product information or more helpful wood care tips, visit www.rustoleum.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Reasons To Consider Using Keyless Entry Deadbolt For Your Home

Are you thinking about using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home, but are not sure this is smart? Then you need to be aware of the many reasons why it is smart for anyone.

There are a number of reasons that you have to be aware of, but the following are the most essential reasons for you to know.

One: Security – When you use a keyless deadbolt, this will make your security much better for your family. No burglar is going to be able to just break into your home anymore.

They will have a very difficult or even impossible time trying to get in. These deadbolts are designed so they will be able to keep people out that you don’t want in your home.

When you want to keep your family safe, security is the most important thing you can provide them against burglar danger. The only way to make sure that your family stays safe is to make sure that danger can’t get into your home and this lock was designed to do just that.

Two: Convenience – You will not have to worry about losing your keys and not being able to get back into your house, when you have this type of lock for your home. With it being keyless, it is very simple for anyone in your family to get in and not get locked out.

Three: Prevents theft of your keys – Using a keyless door lock requires the use of your fingerprints for your family to get into their home. This means that you will be safe from someone taking your keys and using them to gain access to your home and they won’t be able to make a copy of them either.

This will prevent anyone from being able to get into your home from the theft of your keys. That means better security and safety for your family, which is very important these days.

Four: Multiple users – You can choose to add as many people’s fingerprints to the deadbolt system as you need to. Adding and removing fingerprints is really easy for any family to do.

This makes it simple for everyone in your family to have their fingerprints added so that they never have a problem getting into your home.

These are the main reasons that you want to consider using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home. There are many benefits to using this type of lock for your home, as you can see. Now, you just need to decide if this is the right type for your home, or if you prefer another type that may not offer these benefits for your family.

 by: Jeff Schuman 
http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6661.shtml

Winter habitats for the winged visitors

As temperatures fall and nature’s food supply dwindles across the country, some birds will migrate to more hospitable areas while others will stay and tough it out. Regardless of where you live, the bird populations present in your area this winter could use your assistance. Attract and welcome these feathered friends to your backyard with a bird-friendly habitat.

Creating a habitat is simple, and can be done without a full re-landscaping or owning a 20-acre farm. All it takes is a source of food, water and shelter. Even a small apartment balcony can become an urban oasis for birds this winter with just a few simple additions.

“Birds need help finding enough food and water all year round, but especially in the winter when natural resources are limited, and ice or snow may make access to berries, seeds and water more challenging,” says ScottsMiracle-Gro Chief Ornithologist, Ghislain Rompre. “Even in warmer climates, food and water availability changes seasonally – and wildlife benefits from supplemental sources.”

Food:
Birds enjoy finding new supplies of food and eat constantly in the winter to retain their body heat and energy. In fact, birds may come to rely on feeders, especially in severe weather, because feeders offer an easy-access meal close to their home. Quality bird food mixes are a great way to supplement the diets of these little visitors. For suggestions on which bird foods to purchase and which products are available in your region visit www.scottswildbirdfood.com. Remember to continually refill feeders to encourage return visitors and always keep bird feeders clean to prevent diseases.

A simple bird feeder can be hung from a tree or stuck to a window with a suction cup to provide the essential supplement that birds appreciate all year long. But, why stop there? Get your whole family involved creating outdoor winter decorations that add a pop of color and whimsy to the backyard or balcony. Use pinecones, peanut butter and bird food to make your own mini feeders. Add slices of apples, pears and oranges to a festive evergreen wreath that the aviary community will eat up. String whole nuts, cranberries and even popcorn into attractive garland for the porch for the wildlife to enjoy. Cut oranges or grapefruit in half, scoop out the middle and fill with bird food for little feeding stations that will last all winter. In snowy regions, kids will enjoy leaving “drawings” for the birds to dine on. Stamp down the snow under a feeder and use birdseed to “draw” an outline of a large cardinal, robin or any other bird. Then, simply fill the outline in with seeds, nuts and berries to create an original work of art that the birds and squirrels will eat up.

Don’t forget that birds can also get food, as well as shelter, all year round when native shrubs and plants are used in the landscape. Whether in a pot on the deck or spread out around the yard, native shrubs like sumac, holly, saltbush, hackberry or hawthorn can provide berries and seeds that birds love to eat. For more ideas on native plants that grow in your area, visit www.nwf.org.

Water:
Water is the single-most important asset for visiting birds in your backyard. In the winter, birds can become dehydrated even when surrounded by snow and ice. That’s why providing a water source is even more important in the winter. Moving water is most attractive to birds so an electric or solar-powered fountain or birdbath is ideal, but any clean fresh water will do. An easy solution is to place a shallow container of warm water in a sunny spot and refill it often. In colder regions where water is prone to freeze, bird enthusiasts may want to invest in an electric birdbath heater to encourage those feathered visitors to return frequently.

Shelter:
Offering protection from the harsh weather or from predators is essential in creating a welcoming habitat for birds. Shrubs and evergreen trees are ideal, but there are other ways to provide shelter as well. A simple bird house or nesting box can be hung from the porch or fence. Leaves and sticks can be piled up in a remote corner of the yard to be used as shelter or as nesting material.

Winters are long and cold, but providing a little comfort for the birds may just warm you up. Watching the different kinds of birds visiting your feeders can keep you entertained for hours, and knowing that you’ve helped those winged visitors get through the winter can make you feel good too. Share and find tips, projects and ideas for attracting specific breeds of birds by joining the conversation with the Scotts Wild Bird Food Facebook community. Or download the Scotts Bird ID App from the Apple App Store and post and track birding activity in your area.

Courtesy of BPT

Five tips for choosing a new cellphone provider

If you’ve reached your limit with paying for unused minutes and features, overage fees, and long-term contracts, it may be time to shop around for a new provider. With cellphone service providers being as numerous and diverse as today’s phones themselves, it can be a daunting prospect. However, with a little legwork, you can find a cellphone company that works for you and your changing needs.

1. Reputation – It’s not hard to learn which companies are considered the best cellphone service providers in the country. A quick Google search for the best in the industry will provide a number of independent reviews and ratings, taking into account various features and services. Also, you can poll family and friends for recommendations on companies they’ve found to be customer-friendly and worthy of consideration.

Once you narrow down the possibilities, do some additional research to learn how long the provider has been in business and the results of its tenure. For instance, Consumer Cellular has been around for more than 15 years and has been named the No. 1 cellphone company in the country for two years in a row by the leading consumer reporting magazine.

2. Selection – While you may be able to get the latest, most expensive phone for a discounted price through a big-name carrier, you may also find that you’ll be tied into a two-year contract with severe penalties for early termination. It is possible to get a top-tier phone at a reasonable price without a long-term agreement, as many no-contract providers now offer phones from leading manufacturers. 

A phone may only be as good as its plan, and it’s important to shop around for a plan that fits your anticipated needs. However, needs may change, and it’s helpful to have some flexibility to upgrade – or downgrade – your minutes, texts or phone model without penalty. Look for a provider that offers a range of plans and the ability to move between them without penalties. Don’t be surprised to find that some of the best cellphone plans could end up costing you the least.

3. Service – At some point, you’ll likely need to call upon your cellphone provider for some assistance, and companies can vary greatly in what is considered good customer service. Think about features that are important to you, such as 24/7 phone or online availability, a domestic call center to minimize miscommunication and flexibility in selecting and changing your plan. Also, consider how well a provider will help you avoid fees, such as alerting you when you may be reaching your plan’s limits.

4. Price – Cellphone charges can add up quickly, particularly when you start finding hidden charges, such as activation fees. Spend some time reviewing a company’s pricing structure and history to answer a few questions: How often does the provider raise its fees and prices? What is the least amount you’ll need to budget for each month? Are there lower cost options for casual users? How much will shared plans increase your costs? With some providers, basic services can run as little as $10 a month.

5. Coverage – Finally, consider a cellphone provider’s coverage area. If the price seems too good to be true, there may be some gaps in coverage or you may be looking at steep roaming fees. Some providers, like Consumer Cellular, use the networks of the largest cellular networks in the country, ensuring top-of-the-line coverage without the price to match.

Keep in mind these five points, and you’re sure to find a cellphone and a plan that is a perfect fit for your needs.

Courtesy of BPT

Ideas for Small Bathroom Remodeling

Basic Design

While you plan to re-work the bathroom space, the first thing you need to consider is its design. While working on bathroom remodeling ideas for small bathrooms, try not to change the existing layout and plumbing. You can either add or reduce the elements, but avoid shifting the major elements. If you have a bathtub then you can consider adding a shower enclosure. With the required shower fixtures and a classic shower curtain, you can enjoy the soothing shower as well as the relaxing bathtub. Apart from this, add a wall hung vanity to the basin. Corner, wall hung basin is best to be added instead of pedestal basins that occupy a lot of space. Utilize the corner space as much as you can. If you are adding a shower stall consider using glass as this will not give a blocking effect.

Add Storage

Once the basic design is worked over, you need to add some extra storage here. Remember that lack of storage is sure to make your small bathroom look cluttered and messy. As mentioned above, add wall hung bathroom vanity that will not occupy the floor space. Make arrangements to place your towels, bathrobes, etc. Have a vertical mirror over the basin and add small shelves on either sides of the mirror. These shelves will help you place the toiletries. One of the best small bathroom remodeling ideas is to add more shelves and closed cabinets on a side wall where you can keep grooming essentials and other bathroom accessories.

Color it Fresh

Giving a fresh coat to your bathroom needs no mention while you remodel it. Browse through the remodeling ideas for small bathrooms and you will find a lot of lively colors covering the bathroom walls. While it is best to paint small spaces in lighter shades like white, peach, lemon yellow, you can consider adding spicy element with a hint of flashy shade. Go for wall texturing or add a dark shade between the light colors. If bathroom walls are covered with tiles, make sure you clean them and the grout thoroughly and make them anew.

Spice it Up

One you have finished implementing the basic bathroom remodeling ideas for small bathrooms, it is time to spruce up the area. Add decorative accent pieces like potted plants near the entrance and empty shelves. You can use decorative show pieces, wall hangings and frames to play up the bathing area. Use colorful, scented candles and decorative candle holders to further brighten up the small bathroom remodeling designs.

With the aforementioned bathroom remodeling ideas for small bathrooms, get ready to have a great looking bathing space. Make sure you maintain uniformity in terms of colors to get the best effect while bathroom remodeling for small bathrooms. With latest bathroom fixtures that area available in classy finishes and designs, you can give a grand touch to the area. Fresh and bright colors will help give a lively look to the bathroom designs for small spaces. So when are you remodeling your small bathroom?

by: Mamta Mule 
http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7148.shtml