Home Maintenance & Remodeling

Deck Treatments

Why should you use deck treatments? Within two months wood will begin to warp, crack, and cup. Wood will also begin to turn gray; light wood will become dark and dark wood will become light. These problems will become worse as more weathering on the wood continues. Because decks are horizontal they sustain more U.V. radiation from the sun. Vertical surfaces receive significantly less U.V radiation. To prevent the deterioration of your deck you need a deck treatment. Three basic types of deck treatments are opaque, semitransparent, and clear.

Opaque treatments are much like paint and they last the longest: about three years. These treatments do not allow the color or grain of the wood to show through and my leave a build up of film after several coats. This film can peal and chip just like paint. To refinish this type of treatment generally requires extensive preparation and is very time-consuming.

Semitransparent treatments generally contain a small amount of pigment but allow the grain of the wood to show through. This treatment ranges from just a little pigment to almost the consistency of the opaque treatments. This treatment would need to be refinished about every two or three years.

Clear treatments have no pigment but they do repel water and some repel U.V. rays as well. This treatment is for those who use expensive wood or who enjoy the natural look of wood. Of all the treatments this one last the shortest amount of time, needing to be refinished annually.

All treatments come in several brands and in a wide range of prices from as low as $13 to as high as $40 per gallon.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports
  2. Komo 1000 News
  3. Chatham Journal Weekly

Exterior Stains

The assignment I was given to research is household exterior stains. The purpose of stains is to cover and preserve the wood siding of houses. Stains are applied to houses in a similar way paint is with some exceptions. Stains come in three categories: opaque, semitransparent, and clear. Opaque or solid stains last longer. They provide a thicker film to the siding thereby protecting the wood from ultraviolet rays. The semitransparent and clear stains are affected by direct sunlight and need to be reapplied in 1 or two years depending on exposure.

If I were to purchase exterior stains for my home, I would consider several things. I would consider the location of my home. If I lived in a moist area like New England, I would choose a stain that has more mildew resistance to keep the stain from changing color. If I lived in a dry area like Arizona, I would choose a stain with more resistance to sunlight to keep the stain from fading. Also, if I had a certain type of wood (such as redwood) and I wanted to make the wood look more natural than if I were to paint it, I would use a clear stain to show the grain of the wood.

Consumers should consider the perimeter of the house they will apply the stain to and purchase the stain accordingly. A simple formula to follow would be:

• Multiply the house perimeter, in feet, by 10

• Multiply this number by the number of stories

• Multiply this number by 0.85 (to deduct doors and windows)

• Divide this number by the stain's stated spread rate (in sq. ft. /gal.)

The prices of the stains fluctuate with quality, so of course it would be wise to consider that a “cheap” price will cost more in the long run, since the more expensive stains last twice as long, and that is twice as many times you will have to apply the stain and even more times you will have to purchase a new stain for your home. The type of stain (color, opaqueness vs. transparency) to choose depends on the preference of the consumer.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions about Exterior Stains Do It Yourself.com
  2. Exterior Stain
  3. Consumer Reports.org /Paints and Stains


When looking for insulation, one must know how much they will need. In order to find out how much insulation is needed, the square footage of the attic needs to be given, and the type of insulation that will be most efficient for you. Different climates require different amounts of insulation. Generally, a colder environment will need more then a warmer environment. Although, an environment may be very warm, it still needs insulation, to keep heat out, and the cool in. Insulation works in both respects. An insulation calculator can be found online to help give a good estimate of how much insulation will be needed to be most effective for size and environment you live in.

Keep in mind, the cost/benefit analysis. This means, are you saving in energy costs the amount that you spent on your insulation. If we were to wrap a whole house in 20 feet of insulation, it would be very well insulated, but the savings in the energy cost would not be worth the amount that we spent. Therefore, keeping in mind how much you will be saving will be important in determining the amount of insulation that will be most efficient for you.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Insulation, Roofing Shingles, Basement Finishing and Fiberglass Composites at Owens Corning
  2. Insulation
  3. CIMA - Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association--Producer Members

Interior and Exterior Household Paint

One of the most inexpensive ways of transforming a room or home is to repaint it. Ultimately, the success of any such project is the quality of paint used. This is why it is important to find the highest quality paint to get the best paint protection and performance.

Top quality paints will out-perform lower quality paints in many different characteristics.

• They are more durable and long-lasting.

• They often have better hiding characteristics, which is especially important when you are painting over a darker color.

• They have more uniform color and sheen.

• They will continue to look good for a longer period.

• They frequently contain higher levels of additives—for example, more mildewcide to help keep unsightly mildew in check.

Top Online Resources:

  1. ConsumerReports.org - Interior and exterior paint Ratings and recommendations
  2. Best Exterior Paints
  3. Interior Paint Manufactures

Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Remodeling can be accomplished two different ways, either by doing it yourself, or by hiring people to do it yourself. It is important to know how much time it will take to do it yourself, as well as the price comparison between the two methods. It is also important to know the different styles and layouts important do different people's needs. When looking to remodel, it is important to consider price, style, and functionality of the kitchen. You need to find a kitchen that fits your needs as well as your budget. It is also nice to see pictures of other kitchens to see what you do and don't like about each one in order to come up with a kitchen that meets all of your needs. These websites do very well at recognizing all of these needs.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Superkitchens.com
  2. Kitchens.com
  3. HGTV Kitchen Design

Re-upholstering Furniture

My research project was on re-upholstering furniture. Researching this product was somewhat difficult because it was hard to differentiate and weed out the websites that give how-to instructions on re-upholstering furniture, and websites that actually address the product or service of upholstered furniture.

The research explains that household furniture is in fact an investment, and re-upholstering furniture is seen as a return on an investment. While re-upholstering furniture can be expensive and costly, most often and especially if the furniture is high in quality and value, re-upholstering the furniture would be better than going out to try to find another piece of high-quality furniture.

In addition to having furniture re-upholstered professionally, there are also many retail stores that sell forms of upholstery, including slip-covers, for example. Furthermore, there are furniture stores that sell upholstered furniture.

When making the decision of whether or not to get a piece of furniture re-upholstered, the consumer should determine what kind of quality furniture they want and if they need a new piece of furniture or if they should use the piece of furniture they have and just have it re-upholstered. Also the consumer needs to decide what kind and print of fabric they want their furniture to be re-upholstered with.

Ultimately the consumer has the final decision in what kind of fabric should be chosen to re-upholster with and also the consumer should decide which pieces of furniture are high enough in quality that they should be re-upholstered, or if they are low quality and should just be replaced. There are many websites that list furniture stores that could help the consumer in the decision-making process and there are also websites that give how-to instructions on re-upholstering a piece of furniture. Personally, I think a good website would be the website that lists all of the stores or professional organizations that provide advice and service for re-upholstering furniture.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Furniture: Upholstered Furniture Information
  2. Almar Custom Upholstery Reupholster or Replace
  3. Upholstered Furniture: Home furniture, furniture rating