Welcome to Bob Vila

Step Inside a 1930s Beach House Revamped for the 21st Century

A beautiful weekend home uses sustainable building practices to earn Energy Star and LEED Platinum certifications; features an energy-efficient, thoroughly modern heating and cooling system.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

When its current owner first encountered this home on the shores of Truesdale Lake in Upstate New York, it was in a wretched state of disrepair. Built in 1932, the bungalow had deteriorated slowly but surely, inside and out, until nothing short of a whole-home gut renovation would be enough to make it appealing as a lakeside respite. In purchasing the property, however, the new owner set out to build it back even better than before, combining contemporary design with sustainable materials and energy-saving technology.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

To achieve her vision, the homeowner called on Absolute Green Homes, a firm steered by Sylvain Côté, who routinely marries stand-out beauty with eco-friendly pragmatism. In each of his projects, Côté adheres to the philosophy that, “If it is not beautiful, it is not sustainable.” Just consider: If a design fails aesthetically, it’s only a matter of time before someone replaces it, creating waste in the process. There’s no danger of such a fate for the revamped bungalow. This embodiment of sustainable beauty not only offers jaw-dropping good looks, but also—literally—prevents waste, producing nearly as much energy as it consumes—no small feat!

Consider that on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index—the industry-standard measurement for residential energy efficiency—new construction typically earns a score of 100. The Beach House, impressively, boasts a score of 30. (On the HERS scale, lower scores are better, with 0 signifying energy self-sufficiency). In recognition of its achievement in efficiency, the project garnered a number of coveted designations, including both Energy Star and LEED Platinum certification. In addition, Green Builder chose The Beach House as its “Green Home of the Year” in 2015.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

It’s easy to see why. In designing this home that fuses rustic authenticity with contemporary style, Côté relied on a wide and diverse array of salvaged, locally sourced building materials to shrink the total carbon footprint of the building. Much of the wood used in the renovation came from a dilapidated barn nearby, while the fir floorboards formerly served as framing joists in a big-city factory. The emphasis on the reuse of resources percolates down into the countless smaller details that give the home character—for example, the antique ship’s lantern used as a bathroom pendant light.

The Beach House also conserves resources on an ongoing basis, thanks to a suite of energy-conserving features that figure prominently in its design. The solar shingles on the roof are a case in point. Though manufactured to resemble traditional slate, each roofing shingle incorporates photovoltaic cells—the same kind you’d find in regular solar panels.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

Equally important to the efficiency of The Beach House is its unique climate-control system. As cooling and heating account for more than half of total household energy consumption on average, the right equipment can make a big difference on the bottom line. In choosing a system for The Beach House, however, Côté couldn’t focus on efficiency alone. He also needed to contend with the fact that the house had never had ducts and would need to be modified to accommodate them. That, in turn, would limit the possibilities for the architecture and interior design of the home—not a welcome prospect.

Rather than recalibrate his creativity to meet the demands of a climate-control system, Côté instead sought a solution that would adapt to his preferred design. He opted for the same technology he had installed in his own house—the Unico System. In a class of its own, Unico trades full-size, rigid metal ductwork for small-diameter, flexible tubes that snake behind walls and between joists for an unobtrusive installation that requires no aesthetic compromise. Moreover, the air handler is a third the size of a traditional system but provides the same output; this saves valuable space.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

On the energy efficiency side, Côté knew the Unico System would help achieve the performance he needed for the certifications. Remember that standard air ducts are infamously leaky, losing enough energy to hinder overall efficiency by 25 percent or more. By contrast, there’s next to no thermal loss with the Unico System, as its ducts are insulated to minimize leakage, maximize efficiency, and ensure that the homeowner pays no more than strictly necessary to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Further savings come in the summer when, using the system to cool the house, the owner can set the thermostat a few degrees higher than normal, thanks to the fact that, in comparison with its peers, Unico removes 30 percent more humidity.

As Michael Carlo of Innovative Air Solutions, the specialists who installed the HVAC system, notes, “This is a small house with limited wasted space; no other system would work here.” At the very least, Carlo continues, if a less versatile climate-control system had been chosen, The Beach House “wouldn’t have gotten done the way [it had been] envisioned.” Ultimately, the Unico System was “the obvious choice,” because the groundbreaking technology was uniquely well suited to support the two main goals of the ambitious project—excellence in design and boundary-pushing efficiency.

People often assume that in the course of renovating an existing home or constructing a brand-new one, it’s necessary to prioritize either aesthetics or performance; they believe that the two are not complementary, but rather mutually exclusive. That may have been true in the past, but as technology advances with each passing year, that conventional wisdom becomes more and more outdated. Today, homeowners enjoy a rich variety of options, from solar shingles to all-but-invisible cooling and heating, for making their homes as energy-smart as they are visually appealing.

Photo: absoluteremodeling.com

This article has been brought to you by Unico. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

Bob Vila Radio: The Key to Choosing a New Front Door

Sure, good looks are important. But when it's time to pick out a new door, smart shoppers look at what's on the inside first. Read on to compare three popular options—and find out which door will help you save on your next energy bill.

When shopping for a new front door, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, your choice should complement the style and color of your home. More importantly, make sure it’s built to last! Ideally, the door should be weather-resistant and sturdy enough to withstand would-be intruders.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON CHOOSING A NEW FRONT DOOR or read below:

Many traditional homes feature wooden doors, and with good reason—it’s a style with classic curb appeal. But because the material is porous, cracks and gouges in the finish can let moisture in and cause warping. The other downside is maintenance: to keep that like-new look, you’ll be sanding, ­staining or repainting yours every few years for as long as you own the house.

In comparison, steel doors are cheaper, stronger, and do a better job of insulating than wood. Today’s options are even available with glass inserts and faux-wood finishes. If heavy metals aren’t your thing, there is another option—fiberglass, a dent-resistant material that won’t rot or rust. Of the three, fiberglass doors provide the best insulation, which will help trim your energy bills.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing a New Garage Door

Before you start shopping for a new garage door, learn what you should be looking for and get a sense of the vast possibilities this popular home improvement offers.

How to Choose a Garage Door

Photo: clopaydoor.com

Americans love cars. For evidence, look no further than the design of the average postwar home. The garage often claims front-and-center position on the facade, making it as convenient as possible for drivers to come and go. Though the garage itself is usually a markedly utilitarian space, the garage door, because of its prominent placement, plays a big role in defining the outward appearance of your home. If, after years of hard use, your garage door is looking the worse for wear—or if it was never particularly attractive in the first place—replacing the old door gives you a huge opportunity to transform your home’s exterior and boost curb appeal, even as you enjoy a suite of performance improvements. There’s only one catch: With so many garage doors on the market today, it can be difficult to choose just one, particularly if you’ve never before shopped for a new door. Don’t know where to begin? These guidelines can help you narrow your search to a door design that fits your needs and suits your preferences perfectly.

DO select the right style. 
If a worn-out garage door can leave a first-time visitor with a bad impression of your home, the opposite must hold true as well. Upgrading your garage door will enhance the visual appeal not only of the garage, but of the entire exterior. Here’s the key: Select a door style that complements your house. For instance, if you live in a Craftsman bungalow—distinguished by deeply overhanging eaves, extensive woodwork, and divided-light windows, look for a garage door that features the same hallmark characteristics. Meanwhile, if you live in a clean-lined modern home, concentrate on simple garage door designs with limited detailing, which will reinforce the streamlined appeal of the architecture. Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb and calling attention to itself, a successful selection looks right at home on the exterior. Garage door manufacturers offer no shortage of options, or if you have a specific vision, you can even design a custom door to your exact specifications.

DON’T forget insulation.
Many homeowners use the garage as their primary entrance. If you’re one of them, consider an insulated garage door. For one thing, insulation ensures greater comfort in the garage. In fact, on a cold day, a well-insulated door can keep the garage 10 to 20 degrees warmer, according to a study by conducted by residential garage door manufacturer Clopay. It’s not all about comfort, though. There are savings at stake, too, because as the largest opening in the home, the garage door can affect your home’s overall energy efficiency. In a home with conditioned living spaces next to and above the garage, a poorly sealed, uninsulated garage door can make the home’s climate-control system work harder (and consume more energy) to maintain the target temperature. By minimizing drafts and thermal energy transfer, an insulated garage door can help lower monthly utility bills. That said, much depends on the quality of the insulation. To understand the insulating capacity of a garage door, consult its listed R-value. The higher the R-value, the better the door’s performance.

How to Choose a Garage Door - Double Doors

Photo: clopaydoor.com

DO choose a practical door type.
Different types of garage doors operate in different ways. Traditional swinging doors open outward from a central split, while others slide right to left like the entrance to an old barn. Far and away, one type surpasses the others in terms of popularity— overhead sectional doors. There are a couple of reasons why homeowners favor the convenience of an overhead sectional design. For one, in contrast to swing-style doors, which require ample clearance, sectional doors roll up and down on mounted tracks. And, overhead sectional doors are easy to pair with an automatic garage door opener. That’s not to say you can’t automate other types of garage doors, but doing so typically entails greater cost. You can get the best of worlds. Many garage door companies offer models that look like old-fashioned carriage house doors but operate with modern overhead convenience.

DON’T ignore care requirements. 
As a hardworking component of today’s home, the garage door must be maintained properly in order to look and perform its best. Certain construction materials require more care than others. For instance, while there’s no denying the beauty of natural wood, some homeowners avoid it because it requires periodic refinishing. Other materials offer the look of wood with considerably less upkeep. Composite—a combination of wood fibers and synthetic resins—emulates the look of wood but provides superior durability, and won’t rot, warp or crack. Steel is a great option no matter where you live. But if you’re near the coast, you’ll need to wax your door like you would a car to prevent surface rust. The best advice: Understand the upkeep requirements of any door on your radar, and don’t commit to purchase one that you’re unable or unwilling to take care of.

How to Choose a Garage Door - Stained Wood

Photo: clopaydoor.com

DON’T underestimate severe storms.
Due to their large size, garage doors are especially vulnerable to high winds. In fact, if a tornado or hurricane manages to break through the garage door, the resulting surge in air pressure can produce destructive, if not devastating, consequences. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a windproof garage door. But in many areas prone to severe storms, the municipal government requires code-compliant doors that can withstand a minimum level of wind resistance. To determine whether any such regulations apply in your neck of the woods, consult with county officials or a local garage door dealer. Wind-rated garage doors cost more than non-reinforced models, but there’s no discernible difference in exterior appearance. The heavy-duty parts that lend extra strength—reinforced struts, for example, or upgraded springing—are all inside the garage, behind the door itself. In other words, there’s no need to sacrifice curb appeal for storm preparedness, or vice versa.

DO experiment with visualization tools.
At the start of your search, it’s a good idea to visit a dealer showroom to get a sense of how different door styles and construction materials actually look and feel. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few options, it can be helpful to experiment with an online visualization tool, like the Door Imagination System from Clopay. Here’s how it works: After uploading a photo of your home to the site, you can see how different garage door designs (and different combinations of windows, finishes, and hardware) would look on your home. Tools like this often make it easier to arrive at a final decision and add a bit of fun to the process.


From style to construction material, from the R-value of the insulation to the presence or absence of windows—a number of variables can affect the final cost of a garage door. Prices run the gamut from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand (not including installation). It’s important to point out, that garage door replacement is one project that can increase the value of your home. In fact, among the most commonly completed home improvements, upgrading the garage door ranks near the very top of the list in terms of cost effectiveness and return on investment. In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine estimates that at resale, people recoup nearly the total sum invested in the project—91.5 percent, to be specific. It’s no wonder that for budget-savvy homeowners in pursuit of improved curb appeal, few projects are more exciting, more popular, or more rewarding. What are you waiting for?

How to Choose a Garage Door - Carriage Style Close-Up

Photo: clopaydoor.com

This article has been brought to you by Clopay. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

Weekend Projects: 5 Designs for a DIY Hanging Planter

Perfect for indoor or outdoor use, these DIY hanging planters will help you hold on to your summer greenery and transition it smoothly into winter.


‘Tis the season for winterizing your garden, a task that gives you the opportunity to bring your most beloved plants indoors. What better way to display these seasonal visitors than on a perch in your direct line of vision? (And one that takes hardly any counter space, at that.) Get inspired by these five DIY hanging planters that make it a cinch to showcase your favorite greenery and protect it from the chilly weather ahead.


DIY Hanging Planters

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

Although glass terrariums are a sleek, functional way to showcase prized greenery, the price of a store-bought glass design can be steep. Take a cue from A Beautiful Mess and make your own budget-friendly version instead—from none other than a clear plastic fishbowl (or two or three, depending on how many plants you’d like to display). Turn each transparent bowl on its side for easy watering, but enjoy an unobstructed view of your buds from nearly any seat in your living space.



DIY Hanging Planters

Photo: iheartnaptime.net

Raise not one, not two, but four terra-cotta pots off the floor using this vertical planter from I Heart Naptime. The best part? Scrap wood and rope are all you’ll need to build it—and likely already on hand! Although the rustic display looks great with succulents, you could also build your own hanging herb garden with each seasoning—from basil to rosemary—displayed at a different height.



DIY Hanging Planters

Photo: vintagerevivals.com

This faceted teardrop planter from Vintage Revivals elevates your greenery, both in height and in elegance. And because it requires so little in the way of supplies, the finished project is a steal, costing only about $15 to assemble. You’ll need round brass tubing, floral wire, and a mini tubing cutter before you can get to work. Then, all that’s left to do is channel those geometry skills. With a bit of patience, you’ll be able to string this DIY hanging planter together in a few hours.



DIY Hanging Planters

Photo: helloglow.co

Instead of sending empty coffee creamer containers to the recycling bin, use them to fashion this hanging planter, as demonstrated by Hello Glow. Creamer containers are typically plastic, so use scissors (or an X-Acto knife) to carefully remove the tops and fill the majority of the containers with potting soil and greenery to turn the canisters into a tall planter. Holes poked in its sides for threaded twine make it ready to hang! A fresh coat of colorful paint is optional, but it really dresses up the planter.



DIY Hanging Planter

Photo: northstory.ca

Do you have a few extra needlepoint supplies lying around? If so, follow this tutorial from Northstory for a different sort of craft: creating a lovely DIY hanging planter. All this one-of-a-kind design requires is an embroidery hoop and a ceramic bowl. Glue the two materials together and let them bond overnight; the next day, you can hang your upcycled creation from a length of rope, and admire your gorgeous greenery as it sways in the breeze.

All You Need to Know About Soil Types

Is your soil chalky, sandy, or silty? Is it acid or alkaline? Before you put in a flower garden, add some trees, or plant your vegetables, figure out what type of soil you're dealing with and how best to amend it to have the healthiest, most flourishing plants ever.

Soil Types

Photo: istockphoto.com

Every gardener wants to grow the best-tasting tomatoes, the brightest zinnias, and the healthiest shrubs, but no one type of soil will guarantee success for each of those types of plants. Soil type—which is a classification determined by texture and relative proportions of sand, silt, and clay—will define the dirt’s ability to retain nutrients and moisture and therefore what it’s suitable to grow. Sure, you can always guess at the properties of your soil, but in order to aid your soil in producing its best crop, take a soil sample to your local extension agency and have it tested. For a minimal fee, you can find out the soil type (or types, because there are varying degrees), its pH level, and how it can be improved. Read on for the most common soil types, how they affect your landscaping projects, and how to better yours using the right products.


Your soil’s pH value is a measurement of its acid-forming capacity. The pH scale numbers from 1.0 to 14.0. Values below 7.0 indicate soil in the acidic range, and the lower the number, the greater the soil’s acid-forming ability. Values higher than 7.0 are in the alkaline range, and the higher the number, the greater the soil’s alkalinity. Soil pH that falls within the slightly acidic range, between 6.0 and 7.0, is considered optimal for most plants and flowers. Amend soils that are too acidic with the application of products that contain lime or wood ash. To reduce alkalinity, apply a product that contains aluminum sulfate, urea, or elemental sulfur.


Soil Types - Clay Soil is Good for Wisteria

Photo: istockphoto.com

BEST FOR: Woody, moisture-loving perennials

Clay soil particulates are so tiny that they pack tightly together, locking in moisture and nutrients, but restricting oxygen and drainage. Till clay soil only when it’s bone dry to prevent creating rock-hard clods. Amend clay soil by adding a thick, three- to four-inch layer of mulch (dry leaves or bagged wood chips) in the fall, and then allow it to remain on top of the soil all winter long, waiting until spring to till it under. Work additional organic matter into the soil in spring before planting to reduce compaction and promote drainage.

Most types of soil, including clay, which tends to be slightly alkaline, will benefit from the addition of organic matter. Organic matter is often vegetal, meaning it comes from plants or trees, and includes substances such as dried leaves, straw, wood chips, and even cardboard; animal-related organic matter—manure from cows, goats, chickens, and llamas—contains a wide variety of micro- and macronutrients for soil-amending wherever you are growing (or plan to grow) plants. Fresh manure can burn any existing tender plants and kill seedlings, so aim to apply a layer of fresh manure in late fall and allow it to winter over before tilling it under in spring for the best results.

Woody perennials, such as wisteria, tend to do well in non-amended clay soil. Because clay is high in nutrients, with frequent amending to increase drainage and airflow, you can even expand its growing ability to accommodate a variety of vegetables, shrubs, and flowering plants.


Soil Types - Sandy Soil is Good for Crepe Myrtle Trees

Photo: istockphoto.com

BEST FOR: Drought-tolerant plants

Made of up ground rock particles, sandy soil neither holds the amount of moisture nor retains the vital nutrients needed to grow many types of vegetables and flowering plants. Homeowners with sandy soil should mix in organic matter every spring and fall to expand its growing ability. The added organic matter acts like a sponge to suck up moisture and retain it, making it available to plant roots for a longer period.

Depending on the type of rock particles and other matter your soil contains, its pH level could be in the acidic or slightly alkaline range. If your soil is sandy and you don’t intend to amend it, limit your garden landscape to plants that thrive even when their roots dry out between waterings. California poppies, crape myrtle, cleome, gazania, yarrow, and cosmos all do well in sandy soil with regular watering.


Soil Types - Silty Soil is Good for Weeping Willows

Photo: istockphoto.com

BEST FOR: Moisture-loving plants

If you live in an area that was once a riverbed, chances are good that you have silty soil. More fertile than sandy soil, silt particles are very fine and soft, making this soil type a top choice for growing lush vines and flowers that thrive in moist soil. Its pH level can vary from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. The downside to silty soil is its tendency to compact, which reduces drainage and restricts oxygen from reaching plant roots. To reduce compaction problems, add a few inches of compost or composted manure and work it into the top six inches of soil before planting in the spring. Apply additional compost around plants during the growing season, and spread a layer of dried leaves or other mulch over the soil bed in late fall, leaving it to winter over.

The best plants for non-amended silty soil are those that tolerate “wet feet” (i.e., a mostly damp root system), including all types of willow trees, dogwood trees, many iris varieties, peonies, roses, and many types of vines. With just a little amending to improve drainage, silty soil is excellent for vegetable gardening.


Soil Types - Loamy Soil is Good for Flowering Perennials

Photo: istockphoto.com

BEST FOR: All plant types

In a gardener’s mind, if there’s any near-perfect soil type, it’s loam. Loamy soil is a balanced blend of clay, sand, and silt. It drains well and it’s high in nutrients. Homeowners with naturally loamy soil can grow virtually any type of plant. Depending on the pH level, which can vary, you may need to add either an acid or alkaline fertilizer if you intend to grow acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, or alkaline-loving ones, such as wisteria. A light application, about one inch thick, of dry leaves or mulch is usually all that’s needed to keep loamy soil healthy. Spread the leaves or mulch on top in the fall and allow it to naturally decompose over the winter. Till it under in spring before planting.

Vegetables, annual and perennial flowers, and most types of shrubs thrive in loamy soil.


Soil Types - Chalky Soil is Good for Lilies

Photo: istockphoto.com

BEST FOR: Alkaline-loving plants

Chalky soils register an average of 7.5 on the pH scale, making them best suited for bulbs, tubers, and flowering shrubs that thrive in alkaline soil. Chalky soil, which is commonly found in areas with heavy limestone formations, dries out rapidly in hot weather, making frequent watering a must. If you want to grow a wider variety of plants, you’ll have to amend the soil by adding organic matter, such as composted manure or peat, and tilling it into the top eight inches of soil. When wet, chalky soil clumps, making it difficult to work with, so wait until it’s dry to work in organic matter.

Alkaline-tolerant plants, such as lilies and lilacs, can thrive chalky soil, but even with amending, it’s difficult to grow acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, or heathers.

How To: Remove Rust from Cast Iron

Whether it’s a favorite frying pan, piece of patio furniture, or even a radiator, you can bring it back from a state of oxidation with these techniques.

How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron

Photo: istockphoto.com

Cast iron is so strong and durable, it can serve for a lifetime and beyond. Yet rugged as the material is, it only takes a little neglect to send it from stately black to reddish and wrecked-looking. Rust damage can arise from storing in a damp environment, failing to maintain good seasoning on cookware, or being lax about protective anti-rust painting on furniture. Thankfully, most of this is reversible surface damage, if you put in some time and elbow grease. So to make that skillet or garden bench heirloom-worthy, employ these trusty rust-busting moves.


If your skillet is even a little rusty, quit cooking in it ASAP. Once you get it back in shape, you’ll season it anew and be good to go.

- White vinegar
- Steel wool scouring pads
- Liquid dish soap
- Clean cloth
- Cooking oil
- Paper towel

Check the skillet for pits or craters. If lightly pitted, it might be fine with some extra seasoning, but deep pitting means your skillet is likely beyond repair.

If the skillet has a thick layer of rust and very little visible black iron, soak the pan in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water in a plugged sink. Let it sit for at least an hour but no more than 8, since as soon as the rust lifts away, that vinegar will start on the metal itself.

Rinse the skillet with water and then scour it with a small amount of dish soap and fine steel wool. Work up a sudsy scrub and keep at it until you’re down to raw cast iron. Rinse under warm water and dry thoroughly.

To re-season, pour a tablespoon of vegetable or other cooking oil in the pan and use a paper towel to rub it in to the entire skillet, including the sides, handle, and bottom. Place it in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Allow it to cool completely before use.


How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron

Photo: istockphoto.com

To keep your cast iron cookware happy:

• Never put it in the dishwasher or use soap. Instead, simply wipe it clean under hot water after use.
• After cleaning, dry the pan thoroughly with a clean cloth or by popping it in a warm oven for a few minutes.
• Wipe with oil after drying to maintain a good non-stick seasoning.
• Always put paper towel between the pan and anything you stack it on, or in it, to protect seasoning and prevent rust.
• Keep any lids ajar so moisture isn’t sealed in, as closed lids can trigger oxidation.



Unless you’re experienced using a sandblaster, call a pro for larger areas of heavy rust. But for typical rusting, roll up your sleeves and try these tips.

- Clean rags
- White vinegar
- Sanding paper (medium grit)
- Steel wool brush
- Work gloves
- Mask (optional)
- Paintbrush
- Rust-proof metal paint

For small, pesky spots, soak a clean rag in white vinegar. Wipe and rub the spot until you see bare iron.

For tougher spots, sand them with medium-grit sandpaper or a steel wool brush. Pull on a pair of work gloves and mask (especially if removing paint in the process) so that you don’t inhale the dust. Wipe with vinegar-soaked rag occasionally as you work, to see if bare iron is visible.

Use a water-dampened rag to wipe the surface clean and to stop the vinegar from further corroding the surface. Dry well with a clean cloth.

For larger sections of heavier rust, sand using circular motions. Avoid working in any one spot too long so you won’t leave obvious sanding patterns in the metal. Continue as directed in the previous steps, being sure to rinse with water and dry completely.

Apply a coat of rust-proof metal paint. Oil, alkyd, acrylics—check with your paint supplier or product label to ensure it will bond to cast iron and protect it from surface rust. (Keep paint handy for touch-ups, like spot treating any scratches or chips that may crop up.)

How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron

Photo: istockphoto.com

3 Fixes for Dried Glue

Spilled glue can create quite the sticky situation. But you're not stuck without options: Try any of these simple, smart solutions, and you can rid nearly any household surface of glue residue quickly.

How to Remove Glue

Photo: istockphoto.com

Glue is an essential product for home repair mavens, DIY enthusiasts, and recreational crafters alike. But when the sticky stuff results in a sticky situation spilled over an unwanted surface, cleaning up the residue can be a tedious task. We’ve already covered the steps to take when battling superglue stains; here, three more fixes that easily remove dried school glues, craft glues, and other common adhesives from everyday household surfaces.


How to Remove Glue

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you’re dealing with melted painter’s tape on a window or stubborn sticker residue on a jar, scraping glue from glass be frustrating without an assist from some sort of adhesive solvent. You can always recruit the help of household staples like nail polish remover and white vinegar, but the lubricating ingredients in WD-40 make it the most effective product for the job.

Before using WD-40, ensure that your space is well ventilated. Spray the product onto the glue, let it soak the residue for a few minutes, then remove the glue by wiping with a clean cloth. Repeat these steps, if needed. Once the surface is clean, spritz it with your everyday glass cleaner for a spot-free finish.



How to Remove Glue

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether your toddler went sticker crazy on your dining room table or you can’t get rid of lingering stickiness from the price tag on your wooden furniture, one unexpected hero can save the day: your hair dryer. Switch the appliance on at its lowest setting, and direct the heat over the dried-on glue for about 15 seconds. Just keep the nozzle 2 to 3 inches away from the sticker, or else you risk overheating the wood and damaging its finish. Then, using a plastic scraper, slowly peel off the sticker or its residue from one edge as you continue heating the area. Extra-sticky glue may require more heat before peeling. Lightly clean the wooden surface after removing the glue.

But stickers aren’t the only problems that plague your easily damaged wooden tabletops—you may also be stuck with remnants from DIY repairs and school projects alike after forgetting to cover your work surface with newspapers and the like. When you’re dealing with a thick layer or drip of glue, try carefully sanding the residue or scraping its surface to remove excess before moving on to the following methods:

• Heat: Some dried glues may loosen from treatment by a hair dryer and plastic scraper, as described above.

• Pretreat: Other glue stains may respond better if you apply petroleum jelly overnight, which saturates the adhesive just enough to ease it off with a plastic scraper the next day.

• Try a remover: Commercial glue removers like Goo Gone, or household products like vinegar, may also work. Both, however, have the potential to damage wood finishes. If you decide to try a commercial glue remover, be sure to read its label first and, before using, test the product in an inconspicuous area according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.



How to Remove Glue

Photo: istockphoto.com

When planning to remove a blob of unwanted glue from plastic, proceed with extreme caution. Often, you don’t want the color of the plastic to fade or disappear due to treatment. Even more importantly, however, you don’t want to use a chemical solution that will melt the plastic or emit dangerous fumes. You can breathe easy during cleanup with one of these two all-natural aids: white vinegar or cooking oil.

First, grab a plastic scraper and attempt to lightly chafe the glue. You may find that, thanks to the wonders of chemistry, the glue didn’t bond properly to the plastic in the first place. If the sticky remnants won’t budge after a light scraping, saturate the spot with either vinegar or oil. (Before you commit, test the solution in an inconspicuous area to see if it damages the colors or the plastic surface and, if you don’t see a negative reaction, proceed with the pantry item of choice.) Dab the vinegar or oil to the glue, and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen its dried-on residue. Rub it with a clean, dry cloth until you see the glue coming off, and then wash the plastic item as you normally would.

Official Rules: Bob Vila’s 3rd Annual $5,000 Fall Gutter Give-Away


Bob Vila’s “3rd Annual $5,000 Fall Gutter Give-Away” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by Vila Media, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes consists of one (1) random drawing. The Sweepstakes and entry period begins at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) on September 30, 2016 and ends at 11:59 a.m. EST on October 31, 2016 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ONLINE ENTRY ONLY AND INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED.

Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted. Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes.

You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at http://www.bobvila.com and submit your name and email address using the online “3rd Annual $5,000 Fall Gutter Give-Away” submission form. Each entry submitted in response to a Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries submitted through either method within one day will be deemed void. If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for each Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. One (1) alternative entry per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void. Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply. All entries become the property of the Sponsor. By entering any Drawing during the Sweepstakes, you will be agreeing that any information collected in connection with the Sweepstakes may be used by Sponsor in accordance with Vila Media, LLC’s Privacy Policy, a current copy of which can be found here. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Rules. At the end of each Entry Period, there will be one (1) drawing in which one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) shall be selected from all eligible entries received for each prize available during that Entry Period by employees or representatives of the Sponsor to receive the prize designated for the Drawing for that Entry Period. Each winning entry will be chosen at random. The number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period for a Drawing determines the odds of winning for that Drawing. The Sweepstakes will be conducted under the supervision of the Sponsor. If the Winner is determined to be ineligible, forfeits or does not claim the prize, the prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion based on a subsequent drawing from the pool of eligible entries. Other restrictions may apply. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Sweepstakes. All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. Must be over 18 to win.

To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment, Vila Media, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request. The Winner will be notified by email, or in the case of alternate entry, by phone; Sponsor reserves the right to determine the method of notification. The Winner must claim their respective prize within twenty-four (24) hours after the date of notification of their prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified twenty-four (24) hours will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. Sponsor reserves the right to ship prizes directly to the mailing and/or email address (as applicable) provided by Winners during their entry to the Drawings.

The prize for the one (1) Drawing held during the Sweepstakes Period shall be the installation of LeafGuard gutters, up to a value of $5000. If the Winner resides in an area that LeafGuard does not serve, they will receive a cash prize of $5,000. No transfer, substitution or cash redemption will be awarded in lieu of Prize. Limit one prize per entrant. Prizes shall be delivered within 30 days from end of the Sweepstakes Period. An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk.

Sponsor shall not be liable for (1) failed, returned or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the Drawings entry forms, (2) entries and responses to winner notifications which are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, (3) any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in part or wholly in the Sweepstakes, (4) any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer on-line system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions or other failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human, mechanical or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this Sweepstakes or (5) any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize. Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant.

By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, the Winner agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner (or, if the Winner is a minor, the Winner’s parent or legal guardian) may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax forms to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize. By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor and each of its respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control.

The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes.

Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation. If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect.

This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.

Enter Bob Vila’s $5000 3rd Annual Fall Gutter Give-Away TODAY!

Enter today and every day in October for your chance to win $5000 of gutters and installation from LeafGuard!


LeafGuard Gutter ContestAutumn has arrived, which means it’s time for the biannual ritual of cleaning your gutters. Removing debris from your gutters is essential to keep them in working order. Clean gutters help you prevent ice dams in the winter and protect your home’s foundation from rainwater in the spring. But what if you never had to drag out the ladder and scour your gutters again? Enter Bob Vila’s 3rd Annual Fall Gutter Give-Away with LeafGuard for a chance to win new, maintenance-free gutters.

Today and everyday this month (from noon EST Friday, September 30th, through 11:59 a.m. Monday, October 31), you can enter to win new LeafGuard Brand Gutters and installation for your home (up to $5,000 value) and never worry about gutter maintenance again! See Official Rules below.


LeafGuard Gutters

Photo: leafguard.com

LeafGuard Brand by Englert is the original and only one-piece seamless gutter system. The gutters deflect leaves and debris with a built-in hood that covers the large gutter bottom. The patented design was founded on the scientific principle of water adhesion, allowing rainwater to travel down and around its curved hood and into the gutter. LeafGuard gutters, which are backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, come in a variety of colors and style options. They are designed to:

  • Eliminate gutter clogs and keep rain water flowing
  • Prevent leaks and water damage to your home’s roof and foundation
  • Withstand storms and winds (unlike add-on gutter hoods)
  • Complement all architectural styles

With LeafGuard gutters, you’ll never have to worry about climbing ladders to clean your gutters again. Enter Bob Vila’s 3rd Annual Fall Gutter Give-Away today and everyday (through 11:59 a.m. Monday, October 31) to increase your chance of winning.

To learn more about LeafGuard Brand Gutters, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s 3rd Annual Fall Gutter Give-Away” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, September 30th, 2016 through 11:59 a.m. Monday, October 31, 2016. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

A Guide to Protecting Your Greatest Investment from Wood-Destroying Insects

Of all the countless types of common household pests, there's one that homeowners dread most—wood-destroying insects. A threat to homes nationwide, insects like termites and carpenter ants cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each and every year. Keep reading now for advice and how to safeguard your home—and what to do if damage has already been done.

Wood-Destroying Insects

Photo: istockphoto.com

One of the biggest threats to your home can come in the form of small pests—from termites to carpenter ants to beetles. Often referred to as wood-destroying insects, these pests have an uncanny ability to launch silent attacks on the wood found in the rafters, windowsills, support beams, flooring and other structures used to ensure the stability of your greatest investment.

Of all wood-destroying insects, termites are by far the most problematic and economically important in the United States, occurring in every state but Alaska. They are classified into three groups based upon nesting preferences: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites species, using their scissor-like jaws to chew through wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With as many as two million members in a colony, subterranean termites can bite off enough wood over time to collapse an entire building. More alarming, though, is the fact that termites in general cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)—a cost typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance.

Wood-destroying beetles, on the other hand, are more widely distributed than termites. They are found in every state; however, they come in second to termites in their destructiveness to wood and wood products. The powderpost beetle, which falls into the category of wood-destroying beetles, attacks hardwoods – the same lumber materials used throughout many homes.

Another type of wood-destroying insect to keep an eye out for is the carpenter ant. Its name alone says it all. Carpenter ants are found throughout the United States, but they are most commonly discovered in cool, damp climates in the northern states. These ants create tunnels through wet or rotted wood to build their nests. The tunnels are usually found in window frames and doorframes, and crawlspaces under roofs, chimneys, sinks and bathtubs. They are difficult to spot with the naked eye, but homeowners may notice small piles of wood fragments and sawdust around the property, both of which are telltale signs of a carpenter ant infestation.

Wood-Destroying Insects - Termite Damage

Photo: istockphoto.com

To protect your home from these and other wood-destroying insects, consider completing a handful of simple, do-it-yourself tasks around the house before the change in season. Follow these tips from the NPMA for year-round protection against wood-destroying insects:

• Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.

• Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home.

• Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles.

• Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.

• Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

• Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.

• Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.

• Remove rotting tree stumps from the property.

• Homeowners should have a termite inspection completed every one to three years. Homes with previous termite infestations should be re-inspected every year.

• Before finalizing the purchase of a new home, homebuyers are encouraged to obtain a wood-destroying organism (WDO) inspection, separate from a standard home inspection, which assesses only the condition of the home’s physical structure. A WDO inspection typically lasts for about an hour, during which time a termite management specialist will probe the home from the attic to the basement for telltale signs of termite damage and conditions conducive to an infestation.

Given the severity of damage that these types of pests can cause to the home, and the huge expense that comes directly out of the homeowner’s pocket, it’s important to contact a licensed pest control professional at first indication of an infestation. Don’t wait until it’s too late. And better yet, is a regular, recurring inspection to help keep your home pest-free.

For more information about wood destroying organisms, other structural pests and to find a qualified and licensed pest professional, visit PestWorld.org.

Wood-Destroying Insects - Pest Control Professionals

Photo: istockphoto.com

This article has been brought to you by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).