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Bob Vila Radio: Cutting the Crud on Your Kitchen Cabinets

Exposed to everything from cooking grease to children's sticky fingers, kitchen cabinetry slowly but surely builds up stubborn accumulations of dirt and grime. Fortunately, with a simple, effective mixture of common, non-toxic ingredients, you can restore the look of your cabinets, quickly and with relative ease.

In any home, no matter its age or design, the kitchen always seem to serve as the hub of daily activity—a gathering spot not only for household occupants, but also for the spills and stains that collect on floors, counters, and even cabinets.

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner

Photo: istockphoto.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON DIY KITCHEN CABINET CLEANER or read below:

There are plenty of store-bought cleaners capable of removing stubborn, deeply embedded grease and grime from cabinet doors. But you can also DIY your own solution using nothing more than a few pantry staples. You’ll need a bucket, warm water, baking soda or vinegar, and a few microfiber cloths.

To begin, fill the bucket three-quarters full with warm water. Next, mix in a couple cups of baking soda or alternatively, a few splashes of vinegar. Now dip a microfiber cloth into the bucket, twist the material, and squeeze to remove any excess water. You want the cloth to be moist but not dripping wet.

Before proceeding, first test your DIY cabinet cleaner in inconspicuous area in order to be sure that it doesn’t cause any harm to the cabinet finish. Safe to proceed? Wipe down all the cabinets and all their hardware, remoistening the cloth with the cabinet cleaning solution as often as needed.

Once the cabinets look clean, remove cleaning residue by wiping everything down with a fresh cloth moistened in plain tap water. Finally, wipe the cabinets with a fresh, dry cloth so as to leave them moisture-free as well as freshly cleaned.

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!


7 Types of Saws Every DIYer Should Get to Know

Familiarize yourself with these saws and their uses, and your next DIY project is sure to be a cut above the rest.

7 Types of Saws Every DIYer Should Know

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you want to build a rustic bench, install trim molding, or plumb a new sink, odds are that you’ll need to cut some material to size—and there’s a saw out there waiting to help you do just that. The following seven types of saws cover a spectrum of DIY scenarios, from wood to metal. Familiarize yourself with which specialties each possess, and you can tackle whatever project you have in mind.

It’s All About the Teeth

As you go about adding saws to your toolbox and workshop, you’ll find that many saw blades are rated by teeth per inch (TPI). These numbers range from 2 to 32. Blades with lower TPI numbers will cut quickly but produce rougher cuts. The higher TPI ratings will produce fine, smooth cuts in wood and similar materials.

 

Types of Saws to Know - Traditional Hand Saw

Photo: homedepot.com

TYPE OF SAW: Traditional Handsaw

No woodworker’s shop is complete without a traditional handsaw, with its large blade and sturdy handle. Though the handsaw is 100 percent muscle-powered, it steps in when a power saw just won’t do, such as when you need to cut through a post that is too thick for a circular saw blade. Choose the type of traditional handsaw you need based on the cut you intend to make and the TPI needed to make it.

If you need to rip wood (or cut wood lengthwise with its grain), choose a rip saw with large, angled teeth and an average of 5 TPI.

• Cutting across the grain of the wood takes a crosscut handsaw, which has between 10 and 12 TPI and shorter teeth than a rip saw.

• Looking for a do-it-all compromise? The dual-cut (or “hybrid”) handsaw features an average of 6 to 8 TPI and can both rip wood and cut across the grain.

Best For: Cutting wood by hand. For an all-around, affordable crosscut handsaw, you won’t go wrong with Stanley’s 26-Inch Short Cut Saw ($19.99 on Amazon). With 12 TPI, it produces quick and smooth cross-grain cuts. When you’re ready to invest in a saw with ripping power that will last for years, though, consider Crown’s 190, 24-inch Rip Saw and its 4.1 TPI ($82.85 on Amazon).

 

Types of Saws to Know - Hacksaw

Photo: amazon.com

TYPE OF SAW: Hacksaw

With thin, interchangeable blades ranging from 14 to 32 TPI, the C-shaped hacksaw is most often used for cutting metal pipes. Its range of TPI options, though, makes it useful for cutting sheet metal, PVC, and conduit as well—simply swap out the 10- to 12-inch blades, which are held in place by screw nuts on each end. A hacksaw also comes with a tension nut that allows you to stretch the blade taut for easier sawing. Depending on the thickness of material (metal or otherwise) that you’re cutting, you may also change out the hacksaw’s tooth pattern:

• Small teeth on the raker set hacksaw blade are arranged in sets of three for easy cutting of standard metal pipes.

• A regular set hacksaw blade features teeth positioned next to one another without spaces, but every other tooth angles a different direction, either forward or backward. It’s intended for cutting soft metal and other materials, such as PVC.

• On a wavy set blade, the teeth are positioned next to one another, but the tooth pattern features a slight wave from one side to the other. Choose this type of blade when cutting thin metal, such as ducting.

Best For: Cutting metal. For good cutting control, we like the rubber grips on both the handle and the front frame of TEKTON’s 2-in-1 High Tension Hacksaw, which allows the user to hold the saw with both hands ($12.99 at Amazon). The TEKTON saw comes with one 12-inch, 18 TPI blade and can store six more blades in its handle.

 

Types of Saws to Know - Coping Saw

Photo: homedepot.com

TYPE OF SAW: Coping Saw

The U-shaped coping saw has only one purpose: coping or “back-beveled” cuts for trim installation around inside corners. While it resembles and functions like a hacksaw, the coping saw’s frame is lighter in weight and the blade is shorter—typically 6-¾”-long and anywhere from 10 to 32 TPI. The tiny blades make it possible to back-cut curves and create precise joints when installing crown molding and other types of trim.

Best For: Creating professional-looking inside corner joints when installing trim. For sharp, accurate coping cuts, we like the Husky 6.5” Deep-Cut Coping Saw ($7.88 at Home Depot). It features a deep frame throat, giving you plenty of room to back-cut even wide pieces of trim, and its 32 TPI blade can be rotated a full 360-degrees to saw at virtually any angle.

 

Types of Saws - Jig Saw

Photo: amazon.com

TYPE OF SAW: Jigsaw

A versatile saw for DIYers, the jigsaw can cut straight lines like a circular saw (see below) but its real claim to fame is the ability to cut curves. Considered one of the safer power saws, the jigsaw features a large flat base called a “shoe,” which rests flat on the surface of the material you’re cutting and surrounds the blade and offers some protection. Many jigsaws come with an adjustable shoe that tilts, allowing you to cut on an angle when needed.

These types of saws can cut nearly any type of wood using blades with a TPI between 8 and 10. The teeth on a standard jigsaw blade point upward, so the saw cuts on the blade’s upstroke. Reverse blades, which cut on the downstroke, are available for cutting materials with a finished surface, such as a laminate countertop. While blades come in a variety of lengths, width depends on the curve: Choose one that is 1/4”-wide to cut tight curves and 3/8”-wide blades to cut standard curves.

Best For: Cutting curves in wood. If you’re looking for a dependable jigsaw for DIY projects, large or small, consider DEWALT’s corded 5.5 Amp Top Handle Jigsaw kit ($99 on Amazon). It has a variable speed dial for adjusting cutting speed, and it comes with its own carrying bag.

 

Types of Saws to Know - Circular Saw

Photo: homedepot.com

TYPE OF SAW: Circular Saw

Designed to cut straight lines in dimensional lumber, plywood, rigid foam board, and even concrete, the circular saw is one of the most popular saws for framing and can substitute on the jobsite for a table saw. It features an encased circular blade and a wide base that fits flat against the material you’re cutting and, on most models, adjusted so you can vary the depth of the cut.

Circular saw blades are labeled for the type of material they’re designed to cut: Wood blades cut plywood or lumber, masonry blades cut joints in a concrete sidewalk, and so on. Circular saws come in a variety of sizes, determined by the diameter of the blade they use. While the most common blade diameter for circular saws is 7-1/4 inches (suitable for most construction tasks), you can find saws with blades as small as 4 inches for light woodworking projects or a large as 12 inches for cutting heavy timbers.

Best For: Cutting framing materials, including wall studs, joists, rafters, and sheathing. If you enjoy building garden sheds, playhouses, and other structures, the RYOBI 7-1/4-inch 13-Amp Circular Saw is an affordable, yet dependable, circular saw ($39.97 at Home Depot). It comes with a spindle lock for easy blade changes, and its 13 Amp motor is suitable for cutting through plywood and standard dimensional lumber.

 

Types of Saws to Know - Miter Saw

Photo: amazon.com

TYPE OF SAW: Miter Saw

The main purpose of a miter saw is to make precision crosscuts when framing, installing molding, or even cutting siding strips. Today’s miter saws make angled cuts based on the same principle as their manual “miter box” siblings, although they can perform even more complex cuts. A miter saw’s heavy steel base can be mounted on a workshop table for stability, and a steel guide along its back edge, called a “fence,” aligns the material to be cut. The actual saw blade is housed in a large disk on an adjustable arm that can be raised and lowered as well as swiveled from side to side to cut on virtually any angle.

While all miter saws make angled cuts, a compound miter saw has the ability to tilt on its axis to make slanted cuts in addition to angled cuts. On a sliding miter saw, the arm can be pulled forward when the saw is operating, making it possible to cut wider boards or strips of siding. Some high-end miter saws feature laser guides for extra-precise cuts. Miter saws are available in 10-inch and 12-inch sizes and range in price from around $100 to over $600, depending on quality. The larger 12-inch size is usually reserved for commercial use.

Best For: Framing and finish carpentry when you need to make simple or complex angle cuts. The Hitachi 15-Amp, 10-inch Compound Miter Saw features a 24 TPI blade for angled cuts and simple bevel cuts—making it a solid choice for most DIY building and trimming projects ($109 on Amazon).

 

Types of Saws to Know - Chain Saw

Photo: amazon.com

TYPE OF SAW: Chainsaw

The chainsaw is designed to cut tree limbs or fell entire trees with its dozens of sharp teeth that rotate around the guide bar. Guide bars range from 14 inches long (for light cutting and pruning) up to 36 inches long (for use by lumberjacks) and can be interchangeable on some models of chainsaws. For most DIYers, a chainsaw with an 18- to 20-inch guide bar is sufficient. Keep in mind that a 16-inch chainsaw bar will fell a tree that’s 32-inch in diameter by sawing systematically around the entire trunk of the tree. While some smaller, corded chainsaws work for trimming and pruning nearby the house, most are fuel-operated and can be taken into remote areas for harvesting firewood. Prices start under $100 for lightweight electric models and run into the thousands for commercial-grade chainsaws.

Safety Note: Chainsaws are among the most powerful saws around, but they’re also dangerous because the tip of the guide bar can kick back during operation. Before operating any chainsaw, read the owner’s manual carefully and familiarize yourself with the saw’s safety features and safe operating techniques.

Best For: Cutting firewood and trimming trees. The Husqvarna 44E 16-inch 2-Stroke, X-Torq Gas-powered Chain Saw makes quick work of pruning branches and harvesting firewood ($299.95 on Amazon). It comes with a 16-inch guide bar, and it can be fitted with a longer 18-inch bar if desired. Though not the cheapest model on the market, this 10 lb. chainsaw is powerful and relatively lightweight, so you can cut without suffering too much arm and back strain.


Quick Tip: Unusual Ways to Use Coca-Cola at Home

Here's proof that Coca-Cola deserves a place in your fridge, tool box, cleaning caddy, and garden shed.

When’s the last time you cracked open an ice-cold Coke? If you’re like two-thirds of Americans, it’s probably been a while. According to Gallup polls, many Americans are cutting back on their consumption of soft drinks, and sales of bottled water have eclipsed soda. But there’s still good reason to buy soda, even if you’ve given up drinking sugary beverages.

Instead of guzzling down a glass of Coca-Cola, try one of these unusual ideas. Use a can of Coke in your garden to banish slugs or speed up the decomposition process in your compost pile, or pour a splash of soda on a grease spot to lift tough stains. Learn more about these and other uses for Coca-Cola in our short video.

For more alternative uses for everyday items, check out:

9 Surprising Uses for Alka-Seltzer

14 Unusual Uses for Vaseline

9 Surprising Alternative Uses for Toothpaste


Wood Filler: Your Secret Weapon for Fast and Easy Furniture Fix-Ups

Learn how an easy-to-use, stainable wood filler let this satisfied homeowner sidestep a time-consuming refinishing job and still end up with a beautiful, professional-looking end result.

Photo: JNoonan

In the above photo, you’re seeing what used to be a playroom for my two daughters. For years, the space contained the chaos of their picture books, art supplies, and plastic toys. But once the kids entered elementary school—and once their afternoons became dominated by endless extracurricular activities—the playroom grew quieter and quieter. Gradually, it became clear to me that the girls needed not a no-holds-barred play area, but a quiet place to concentrate and do homework. That’s when I struck upon the idea of a family office, one that would be functional both for my kids and for my husband and me.

To anchor the office, I envisioned a desk large enough to fit two (pint-size or full-grown) people comfortably. A thrift-store junkie, I didn’t even consider buying something brand new. Instead, I set off on a tour of the local secondhand stores, thinking that if I didn’t strike upon a beautiful vintage piece of the right size, then at the very least I’d be able to snag a temporary solution. In the end, though, I managed to get lucky. On my first day out hunting, for $10 apiece, I purchased a trio of Art Deco vanity cabinets, and for a couple of bucks more, an oversize laminate board to serve as a durable work surface.

Photo: JNoonan

I happen to love the Art Deco style, but the cabinets had no doubt seen better days. Most of the damage came in the form of minor, barely noticeable scratches and dings, but there were also a number of deep gouges that anyone could spot from a mile away. No problem, I thought. Eliminating those eyesores would be as simple as refinishing the cabinetry. But simple though it may be, refinishing takes time and effort, and months passed before I faced up to the fact that overhauling the cabinets would never reach the top of my to-do list. In other words, it was time for me to pursue a speedier, more pragmatic fix.

In the past, in situations roughly similar to my cabinet conundrum, I had used wood filler with tremendous success to conceal flaws in both interior and exterior wood. Of course, if the cabinets had not been structurally sound, it would have been necessary to mount a more ambitious fix. But under the circumstances, with the cabinets having suffered only superficial damage, I felt confident that wood filler would do the trick. If I was concerned about anything, it was the challenge of blending the patched areas with the existing cabinet finish. After all, you can’t stain wood filler—or so I thought.

Photo: JNoonan

At Lowe’s, I was delighted to discover the first and only wood filler on the market that you can stain—Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler. Although wood filler typically comes in an array of colors, you would normally have no choice but to settle for one that didn’t quite match the existing finish of the wood you were patching. Any areas that you repaired would stand out as obviously having been repaired. In other words, you would have to accept an imperfect result. Stainable wood filler, meanwhile, enables you to conceal your repair work with any stain you like—whichever offers the closest color match.

Besides its ability to accept stain, Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler also appeals to do-it-yourselfers because it’s easy to work with. In fact, you can use virtually any tool to apply the compound to damaged wood. For my project, I opted to use a putty knife, but I could have relied on a paint stirrer or a cotton ball or even my index finger. After a bit of preparation—removing dust and debris from the damaged areas and sanding down the rough edges—I proceeded to the main event: Working the wood filler into chips and gouges until each sat flush with its surroundings. All told, it took me half an hour.

Photo: JNoonan

Note that with other wood fillers, you need to take care to account for shrinkage—that is, you must overfill your repairs in order to counteract any contraction that takes place once the compound has dried. With Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler, however, you can ignore shrinkage altogether, and thanks to its unique formulation, you can expect that the compound will never crack. Yet another reason to like the Elmer’s product: It dries quite quickly. In my case, because I was repairing relatively shallow gouges, the filler dried in only 15 minutes, giving me the chance to proceed directly to the next step—sanding each patch until smooth.

Finally, to complete the job and erase evidence of the repair, I set about staining each patch of wood filler. In the garage, where I like to hoard paint and stain cans, I had scrounged around and found a stain pen whose color looked almost identical to the walnut cabinet finish. But rather than go full speed ahead, I first tested the stain on the least conspicuous, most out-of-the-way wood filler patch. Once I was sure that the color match would be as good as it had initially seemed to be, I went about staining the remaining patches. It took more than one coat, but eventually, any sign of my repair work had all but disappeared.

Photo: JNoonan

True, I’d initially planned to refinish the wood, but with the desk looking as good as it does now, I see no reason to go any further. That said, considering the project in retrospect, I’d say the quality of the outcome wasn’t even the best part—it was the “no muss, no fuss” process. If I’d gone the refinishing route, I would have needed to empty the cabinets, haul them out to the garage—you get the picture. It would have been an ordeal. But Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler enabled me to get right to it, working on the pieces just where they stood, and finishing the project in a fraction of the time it would have taken to refinish.

Having purchased an eight-ounce container of the product, I now have plenty of it left over, and I’m glad. Wood filler comes in handy, not only for furniture fix-ups, but also for a wide variety of repairs, both around the house and in the yard. Scarred flooring, rotted fence boards, nail-hole-ridden wall trim—common issues like these can lead to time-consuming, energy-sapping, and wallet-emptying repairs. Or they can be dealt with quickly, easily, and affordably with nothing more than Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler. If you’ve never experimented with this stuff before, get excited: It could very well become your go-to home repair favorite.

Photo: JNoonan

This article has been brought to you by Elmer’s Products. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


So, You Want to… Install Blinds

Get the lowdown on these popular window treatments, from styles and materials to must-know measurement and install info.

How to Install Blinds Throughout the House

Photo: istockphoto.com

To filter the light that enters your home and control your level of privacy, you can’t go wrong with blinds. These easy-to-adjust slatted window treatments can be pulled out of the way for an unhindered view or closed completely to ensconce you. Since blinds are available in a host of sizes, materials, and price points, we’ve got the scoop on how to determine the best choice for your home—and how to install blinds in any window.

Select the Right Style

Blinds are made from “hard” materials, such as vinyl or wood, as opposed to shades, which are constructed from fabric. Horizontal blinds feature individual slats, while vertical blinds have “vanes,” the term for slats that hang vertically. Horizontal or vertical blinds can be a stand-alone window treatment or paired with curtains for a softer effect.

 

How to Install Blinds in the Kitchen

Photo: istockphoto.com

Horizontal blinds work well on small, narrow windows to add visual appeal while controlling light and privacy. They’re less desirable on expansive windows where the wider span can cause blinds to sag in the middle. Horizontal blinds feature individual slats that overlap when the blind is fully closed. By twisting a wand that controls a series of connected cords, you can adjust the slats to let in as much or as little light as you choose. Horizontal blinds can also be raised or lowered as desired.

“Mini” blind slats are approximately ½ inches wide, while retro-style slats can be up to 3 inches wide. You can go as wide as you like, even with blinds installed inside the window frame as long as the slats fit without protruding past the frame. Basic horizontal blinds can cost as little as $15 for small windows, but you could pay $200 or more for custom blinds or those for large windows, depending on material choice and quality.

 

How to Install Blinds in the Office

Photo: istockphoto.com

Vertical blinds, which feature a top track from which individual vanes hang, won’t sag, so they’re great for sliding glass patio doors and wide windows. Many vertical blinds can be slid aside using a wand; the wand can also be twisted to rotate the individual vanes, adjusting light flow. Some vertical blinds operate by pull cords located on one side. Like horizontal blinds, vertical versions come in a wide range of material choices and prices, from around $50 for no-frills models to more than $400 for custom orders and higher-quality materials.

Safety Note: Long pull cords pose a known risk of strangulation to pets and small children. Many blind manufacturers have voluntarily done away with them, but some pull-cord models remain on the market. For anyone with toddlers at home, the best choice is cordless blinds that feature an alternative operation method, such as a push-button lift mechanism in the bottom rail.

 

How to Install Blinds in the Bedroom

Photo: istockphoto.com

Make Sense of Materials

Blinds are available in a host of materials to suit your taste, needs, and pocketbook.

Vinyl is a top seller because it’s inexpensive and easy to clean, and you can choose from a variety of colors and sizes. Vinyl blinds are the most economical, ranging from $15 for light-gauge vinyl for a small window to more than $100 for larger sizes or heavier-gauge vinyl.

Wood blinds add a warm, natural look to a room and come in many popular finishes, including oak, walnut, cherry and mahogany to match your trim or furniture. Prices range from $35 to more than $200, depending on window size and wood type.

Faux wood blinds, made from PVC or a composite material, closely mimic the real thing, but they resist humidity better than wood, making them a smart choice for steamy bathrooms. Prices range from $15 to $100+.

Sleek aluminum blinds give windows a contemporary look. Expect to pay between $20 to $100+, depending on size.

Specialty blinds offer optional material features, such as fabric-wrapped slats or increased light-blocking ability. Prices start at $20 but vary widely, up to $400 or more for fabric-covered custom slats or vanes to match curtains or upholstery.

How to Install Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

Measure Precisely

Precise measuring is crucial if your blinds are to operate smoothly and effectively block light. You’ll not only measure the width and length of the window or door frame, you’ll need to “round down” or add as directed below for proper fit and function.

Before you begin reading your model’s specialized set of instructions on how to install blinds, decide if you want inside-mount blinds that install within the window frame or outside-mount, which attach to the wall. If you prefer the look of inside-mount blinds, your window frame’s depth must be able to accommodate them. Measure the depth of your inside window frame and check the blinds’ minimum depth requirement (listed on the product specifications) to ensure fit.

If you’re ordering custom blinds, the company will cut them to your specs; DIY stores will also cut blinds to fit your window’s measurements.

Inside-Mount Blinds:

• First, measure the inside width of the window frame at three different spots—the top, the bottom, and in the middle. It’s important to measure all three areas because window framing can be out-of-square, even if you can’t see it with the naked eye. Record the shortest measurement to ensure that you won’t end up with a blind that’s too wide to fit in the tightest spot of the window frame.

• Next, measure the height of the inside window frame in the same manner, from top to bottom on the left, then on the right, and again in the center. This time, record the longest measurement to make sure that the bottom rail on your new blind will be long enough to reach the windowsill even if there is a discrepancy in the window framing.

• Now, round both measurements down to the nearest 1/8” increment. For example, if the width measurement is 18-15/16, round it down to 18-7/8”. Likewise, if you came up with a length of 30-3/16”, round it down to 30-1/8”. Rounding down the width measurements allows for a small space on both sides of the installed blind—just enough to pull it up without rubbing the window frame, while still offering maximum privacy and light control. The precise length measurement will ensure that the bottom rail will rest a hair above the windowsill, without laying on the sill itself, when lowered to its lowest position.

Outside-Mount Window Blinds:

• Measure the width of the window at the top, from outside edge to outside edge, and then add 3 inches.

• Measure the length of the window in the center and add another 3 inches. The extra inches are necessary to ensure sufficient light blockage and privacy around the edges of the blind.

Outside-Mount Vertical Door Blinds:

• Measure from the top of the door frame to the floor. Add 3.5 inches to allow sufficient room to install the track 4 inches above the top of the door frame, while keeping the bottom of the vanes ½ inches above the floor, so they won’t drag when you slide the blinds. Many vertical blinds require 4 inches above the door frame to accommodate the track.

• Measure the width of the door from outside edge to outside edge and add 4 inches. The extra width will block unwanted light from the sides of the blinds.

How to Install Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

Learn Installation Basics

The blinds you buy will come complete with all hardware you need including brackets and screws, but a drill and a Phillips head drill bit are generally required for installation. The standard process for how to install blinds is to attach the brackets that will hold the blind, either inside the window frame (for inside-mount blinds) or on the wall on either side of the window (for outside-mount blinds). Especially wide blinds often come with an additional center support bracket to keep the middle of the blind from sagging. Once brackets are in place, fit the upper rail of the blind into the brackets (for horizontal blinds) or hang the vanes on the upper track (for vertical blinds). Both horizontal and vertical blinds often come with a finished front piece that snaps in place over the top rail to cover the brackets and give the blind a finished look. Keep in mind that installation varies by type and brand, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Keep Your Blinds Clean

Blinds do collect dust, so care for them regularly to keep them looking new.

• Swipe all blinds periodically with a microfiber duster or a blind-dusting tool designed with “fingers” that fits between individual slats.

• For occasional deeper cleaning of vinyl, composite, or PVC blinds, lift them from their brackets and take them outdoors. Spray with all-purpose household cleaner and wipe the slats with a damp cloth. Rinse with a fine spray from your garden hose and allow to dry completely before re-hanging.

• For wood blinds, lightly mist with furniture polish and wipe each slat or vane clean with a soft dusting cloth.

• Vacuum fabric-covered blinds with the brush attachment to banish dust, but leave spot-removal and deep cleaning to a professional cleaner.

 

DIY Projects Anyone Can Do

All of the Best Hands-on Tutorials from BobVila.com
Get the nitty-gritty details you need—and the jaw-dropping inspiration you want—from our collection of the favorite projects ever featured on BobVila.com. Whether your goal is to fix, tinker, build or make something better, your next adventure in DIY starts here.


How To: Dye Carpet

Give your plush a fresh, clean, stain-free reboot with the guidance here. But keep in mind, it will be permanent, so be sure you can commit before you proceed.

How to Dye Carpet

Photo: istockphoto.com

Carpet is a costly investment that should last at least 10 years, but discoloration—thanks to spills, pet mishaps, and lots of sun exposure—can make it look old before its time. Rather than replace that pricey plush, consider this crafty alternative: a dye job. Recoloring your flooring with professional quality carpet dye (not fabric dye) can affordably, effectively cover the sins of the past. And, lucky for handy homeowners everywhere, the color-fast and fade-deterrent DIY supply comes in virtually every color. The market offers some 70 colors, and, with powdered dyes, color depth can be adjusted by mixing with either more or less water. Shop for it at home centers, carpeting stores, or online (try the AmericaColor Dyes & Chemicals shop) and read on for how to dye carpet to achieve dream flooring.

Before you commit, keep in mind that this process cannot convert dark carpeting to a lighter shade, and the color on the package may not be quite the color you get, depending on your original carpet shade and type of any stains. To get an idea of the final result, test on a small, inconspicuous area, such as where a couch or other large piece of furniture will be replaced.

If you really love your carpet’s current color and would only dye it as a last resort to hide stains, consider having it cleaned by a pros with the knowledge and experience to banish years of unsightliness. And if you doubt that your first try at how to dye carpet will produce even results, there’s a professional you can hire to do that, too. However, if you’re feeling up to the DIY challenge and prepared to make a permanent change, dedicate at least half a day for the dying process—once you start spraying, you must finish the job!

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Scissors
- Ceramic plate
- Matches or lighter
- Fire extinguisher
- Claw hammer (optional)
- Pry bar (optional)
- Trim Puller (optional)
- Vacuum
- Steam cleaner for carpets
- Newspapers
- Masking tape
- pH stabilizer for carpets
- Work, latex, or rubber gloves
- 1-gallon bucket
- Carpet dye
- Funnel
- Paint or weed sprayer
- Stiff-bristled plastic or nylon cleaning brush

STEP 1
Determine if your carpet can take dye, because only nylon and wool are dye-friendly. If you don’t remember your carpet’s content, cut a small tuft of fiber and carefully set it alight atop a ceramic plate. (Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case plans go awry.) Ideally, one of two things will happen:

Wool is naturally fire-resistant, so it will burn slowly, smell vaguely like burning hair, and leave ashes.

• Nylon will melt under fire, creating a plastic-like bead as it curls up and solidifies.

If your test proves inconclusive, cut a one-inch square from an inconspicuous corner and take it to a carpet showroom for a professional opinion.

STEP 2
Prepare the room by clearing out every piece of furniture. Then, remove all baseboard molding using a claw hammer and either a prybar or a more specialized Trim Puller. Take care not to damage baseboards if you intend to reuse them (you may even wish to give them a fresh coat of paint). For a truly updated room, install new baseboards when the carpet is dyed.

While you don’t need to remove the baseboards, it’s recommended. Doing so will ensure the dye job extends all the way to the wall (as opposed to leaving the edges along the baseboards a slightly lighter shade of dye). Plus, re-installing baseboards after the job might cover any color bleeding along the bottom of the wall.

How to Dye Carpet

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 3
Empty your vacuum or replace the bag, because suction ability can be hindered when the unit is one-third full; then vacuum thoroughly. Follow with one of these deep-cleaning methods depending on your carpet material:

• If you’ve got nylon carpet, clean it with a professional/commercial steam cleaner, rentable for about $30 for 24 hours from home centers, supermarkets, and department stores. (You’ll need a deep cleaning, so skip those “domestic use” models.)

• For wool carpets, which are “washed” rather than steam-cleaned, engage a pro who’ll have the right chemicals and processes for the job. Tip: Tell the cleaners you intend to dye the carpet; they might be able to offer advice and even “stabilize” the carpet for you, allowing you to skip Step 5.

Let the carpet dry thoroughly overnight.

STEP 4
Protect walls from overspray. Use masking tape to attach newspaper all along the walls, and take particular care to tape the bottoms of the papers so that they won’t prevent any portion of the rug from receiving dye.

STEP 5
Correct any alkalinity and pH imbalance issues in your carpet, which might’ve occurred if you’ve steam-cleaned wool in the past or have stains from pet accidents. Since there’s no way to test for such imbalances, it’s best to assume they exist. If you skip this step, you could wind up with uneven results. Purchase a pH stabilizer from the same place you buy the dye, then follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully to prepare and apply it. Be sure to don work gloves and ventilate the room before using.

STEP 6
With the windows still open and your work gloves on, spread additional newspaper out beneath the 1-gallon bucket and mix the dye, following manufacturer’s directions carefully. Many carpet dyes are acidic and require mixing with hot water; if so, pour the dye into water that’s between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit and be ready to spray immediately after mixing. Depending on the manufacturer, 20 ounces of powder dye could cover up to 1,000 square feet of carpet.

STEP 7
Insert the funnel in the sprayer and carefully pour in the mixed dye. Close the sprayer up, shake it a bit and do a test on an area sure to be covered with furniture later. Try spraying from one to two feet away and gauge the coverage. Adjust position until you get the level of coverage you like. Then use the bristle brush to brush the dye in with a light, semi-circular movement. Once you’re happy with the results and know the best distance to spray from, proceed with the remainder of the room.

STEP 8
For the ideal exit route, start spraying in the corner opposite the door. Spray only as much as an arm’s length at a time, because you’ll need to crouch down and rub the dye in with the brush. Once you finish brushing each section, stand back and assess application; if uneven, adjust. Mix more dye as needed throughout the process.

STEP 9
Let dry per manufacturer’s suggested drying time, at least 24 hours. When carpet is dry, replace baseboards and furniture—perhaps rearranging the layout while you’re at it to complete the new look!

 

DIY Projects Anyone Can Do

All of the Best Hands-on Tutorials from BobVila.com
Get the nitty-gritty details you need—and the jaw-dropping inspiration you want—from our collection of the favorite projects ever featured on BobVila.com. Whether your goal is to fix, tinker, build or make something better, your next adventure in DIY starts here.


How To: Cut Concrete

With a diamond blade and proper safety precautions, you can cut through concrete for your sidewalk, countertop, patio, or DIY project.

How to Cut Concrete

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you want to create a countertop or expand your sidewalk, cutting concrete yourself may not be as daunting as you imagine. Slicing through slabs thicker than six inches is best left to a pro, but anything less than six inches—a depth that would include most concrete walls, patios, and sidewalks—can be cut by a DIYer with the right equipment and proper know-how. Any handy homeowner looking to cut concrete needs one crucial tool: a diamond blade. While abrasive blades can cut concrete, they wear out quickly, potentially needing to be replaced multiple times in the course of one project. Abrasive blades may lead you to “force” the saw, a dangerous move that could result in losing control of the saw and suffering a potentially life-threatening cut.  Don’t take the risk; instead, invest between $30 and $55 for a diamond blade.

On the subject of safety, take note: All of the protective gear listed below is necessary. A filtration mask will keep you from breathing in concrete dust that can damage lung tissue, potentially causing lung cancer and silicosis. Kneepads and shin guards, on the other hand, will protect your legs from injury. The ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected extension cord will not only protect you from power surges, shocks, and overloads, but the waterproof exterior is designed to withstand dangers posed by rain and any other contact with water. Manufacturers recommend plugging it into the power source and then, if needed, plugging in an indoor/outdoor extension cord from there. (Though GFCI cords as long as regular extension cords can be triple the price, they’re worth it for anyone who routinely works outdoors.)

Finally, if you’re doing a large project requiring more than seven feet of cutting, consider renting a “walk-behind” wet-cutting saw instead of using a diamond blade. Although it can be a pricey rental (around $100 a day, plus wear of blade, for a cutting depth of nearly seven inches) and heavy to work with, a wet-cutting saw will ensure the straightest and deepest of cuts, with far less work overall—no chiseling, no hammering, and no need for repeated shallow cuts. You pay for the machine and the extent of blade wear, measured in 1/1000ths of an inch and charge accordingly.

These instructions on how to cut concrete focus on smaller projects, which are completed with a diamond blade.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- For concrete slabs under 4 inches: Circular saw (15 amps minimum) with at least 7” blade
- For concrete slabs 4 to 5 inches thick: Hand-held cut-off saw with 14” blade
- Dry-cutting diamond blade (sized to saw)
- Wet-cutting diamond blade
- Drop cloths
- Duct tape
- Chalk or chalk line
- Heavy long-sleeved shirt and pants
- Shin guards
- Knee pads
- Steel-toed boots
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Full face shield
- High-filtration dust mask
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter–protected extension cord
- Garden hose
- 1”-deep scrap wood the length of your cut
- Broom
- Dustpan
- Wet-dry vacuum
- Sledgehammer
- Prybar
- Claw hammer (optional)
- Mason chisel (optional)

STEP 1
Choose the type of blade you prefer to work with for the job: dry-cutting diamond or wet-cutting diamond. The former works with a circular saw or handheld cut-off saw, although you will want to wet the concrete to minimize the dust that flies while you cut. Wet-cutting blades, on the other hand, require water on the blade constantly—which can be achieved with most tools but works most easily when you rent and use the proper “walk-behind” concrete-cutting saw. By renting this job-specific saw, you’ll also get a greater cutting depth than using a circular or handheld cut-off saw. A 7” circular saw, for instance, can only cut to 2-¼ inches deep, meaning you’ll need to sledgehammer the rest of the concrete away; a 14” wet-cutting blade attached to a concrete-cutting saw, on the other hand, gets you to 4-5/8 inches of clean cut.

STEP 2
Prepare the workspace to keep concrete dust from entering your home. If working in a basement or garage, tape drop cloths to any doors; if outside, ensure that all nearby windows are closed. If close to any air intakes, tape a drop cloth or plastic sheet over them.

STEP 3
Mark the places you want to cut on the concrete slab either using chalk line (good for long, straight edges) or chalk. Apply the line as thick as possible. You’ll ideally run a trickle of water over the concrete as you cut in order to keep airborne dust at a minimum, and you don’t want the line to disappear.

STEP 4
Take every personal safety precaution necessary: Don your heavy clothes, shin guards, knee pads, and steel-toed boots, plus protection for your eyes, ears, and face. Always wear a properly fitting filtration mask. If using an electric saw as opposed to a gas-powered saw, plug the GFCI-protected extension cord into the power source to eliminate power surges, shocks, and overloads, as well as any dangers that come with using a power tool near water.

How to Cut Concrete

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 5
If possible, position a garden hose to distribute a trickle of water directly over where you will make the cut. When working on a flat, horizontal project like a patio slab, extend the hose to the work area and turn the water on to a trickle, in order to keep the surface damp. Hold the hose in place so that the steady stream flows over your chalked line.

If working on a vertical job, like cutting into a concrete retaining wall, then water can be trickier to employ. Ask a friend to spray water on the slab of concrete as you work, or nix this step altogether. Without water, you’ll just have a bit more dust and need to run the saw in the open air between cuts to let it cool off.

STEP 6
Starting at one end of the cut area, whichever side is easiest for you, put a “guide board” (any 1”-deep scrap wood as long as the cut line) along the outside of the chalk line.

STEP 7
While the saw is still completely off, set its blade depth using the depth lever or knob (refer to the owner’s manual for instructions) so it cuts a maximum of a half-inch deep. This will keep you in better control of the saw as you work with shallow cuts. Proceeding with a series of shallow cuts is safer—offering more control and a chance for your blade to cool off—than going all-in at once, unless you’re pushing a big walk-behind saw that can handle the depth.

Power up the saw at the lowest revolutions per minute (RPM) setting, and begin your first cut along the guide board. Maintain a constant, firm, two-handed grip on whichever saw you’re using, and slowly move the saw forward tightly against the guide board. Always let the saw do the work; simply guide its direction, but don’t push it down into the concrete. You only need a quarter-inch cut at this point, but if the saw bites in a bit deeper, that’s fine too. This first guided cut will ensure you keep your cuts straight during the rest of the project.

Cut for 30 to 45 seconds.

STEP 8
Remove the saw from the concrete and let it spin freely; this provides an opportunity for the saw blade to spit out any dust clogging it up and cool down. Alternate cutting for 30 to 45 seconds and cooling for the same amount of time until you finish the project.

STEP 9
After you’ve made the guided cut, remove the guide board. Go back into the ¼”- to ½”-deep cut and continue doing intermittent cuts that are no longer than 30 to 45 seconds of running the saw. Nice, shallow, straight lines will soon add up to a 2”-deep cut in the concrete.

STEP 10
Dust will collect during the cutting process, despite your efforts to keep the concrete wet. Take breaks to clear it out. Sweep it up or enlist a wet-dry vacuum to suck it all up.

STEP 11
To proceed with deeper cutting, shut the saw off and increase the blade depth by ½-inch increments with the depth lever or knob. Resume cutting when you’ve set the new width following the technique outlined in Steps 7 and 8.

Once you have cut as deep as you can using the maximum blade depth on your saw, you’re ready to switch to a sledgehammer. A walk-behind wet saw may have finished cutting through the concrete completely; if this is the case, you can skip ahead to Step 14.

STEP 12
Clean up the work area of dust (using either a broom and dustpan or a wet-vac), and put away the saw and power cord. Then, with protective gear still on, hammer away at the cut concrete. Start near the cut line, but not on it, working outside of the cut area. Staying one to two inches away from all cut lines, swing the sledgehammer with enough force to break the concrete. As you split the concrete, use a prybar to dig chunks out and remove them.

Once you’ve knocked away most of the concrete around the cut line you’ve made—and perhaps cut through the concrete altogether—you can go back and carefully tap away the excess concrete for a cleaner line. If you’ll be pouring new concrete to replace a weathered, crumbling, cracked driveway or patio slab, however, leave the edge jagged and jutting out by an inch or two, as it’ll give the new concrete something to bond with.

STEP 13
To achieve a cleaner edge beneath the saw-cut line, you’ll need a claw hammer and mason chisel. Starting at the bottom of the clean cut line at one end of the project, position the chisel blade flush against the concrete, tap the top of the chisel firmly with the hammer so that concrete crumbles away bit by bit until you’ve cleaned up the rough edges to your liking.

STEP 14
Move whatever crumbled concrete remains to the yard as fill, sell or give to someone else to use as fill, or haul it to a landfill for proper disposal.

 

How to Cut Concrete

Photo: istockphoto.com


Solved! How to Choose The Best Paint for Bathrooms

Feeling wishy-washy about painting around the shower? Take this advice about the best paint for bathrooms and send your worries down the drain.

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Best Paint for Bathroom

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Denver, CO

Q: My master bath is in need of a quick refresh, but I’m worried about paint peeling. What’s the best paint for bathrooms? I’m looking for some guidance on both color and finish.

A: While there are no hard rules about the best paint for bathrooms, a few key choices can steer homeowners in the right direction and give a satisfactory result. Read on for some guidelines on color choices, finishes, and the painting process.

Wall color can affect mirror reflections. Whites, creams, grays, and pastels are popular bathroom color choices for good reason: they’re calming, easy on the eyes, and flattering to your reflection. These neutral shades don’t recast light in a way that alters complexion in the mirror. A vibrant blue or green, on the other hand, may cast an unnatural sheen onto your skin after interacting with the bathroom’s natural or artificial light, exaggerating dark circles and blemishes.  If anyone in the household uses the bathroom for primping and priming, a subtle neutral wall color might be the wisest (and most flattering) choice.

Best Paint for Bathroom

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

Bathroom paint should offer mold and mildew resistance. Since bathrooms are splash-prone areas that retain moisture for long periods of time, they are prone to mold and mildew–especially if the bathroom doesn’t have proper ventilation. To prevent these health hazards, homeowners should opt for paint with anti-microbial additives that resist mold. Many options for this type of paint exist on the market today, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura® Bath And Spa Matte Finish and Zinsser’s Perma-White. Once on the wall, these paints will kill existing mold and prevent new mold from growing.

Use a moisture-resistant primer to prevent peeling. Peeling paint occurs as a result of moisture seeping between the paint and its surface–a common occurrence in unventilated areas like showers, where steam rises and gets trapped. To prevent peeling, apply a coat of moisture-resistant primer to the ceiling or walls before you add your mildew-resistant paint color. An ounce (or rather, a pint or gallon) of prevention can save you quite a bit of hassle in the long run since you won’t have to touch up the paint job nearly as often.

Or, select a semigloss or high-gloss paint. As an alternative to mold-resistant paint, homeowners can coat their bathroom walls in a paint with a semigloss or high-gloss finish. Glossy paints don’t prevent mold, but they’re easier to clean and maintain than paint with flat and eggshell finishes. If mold ever pops up in the bathroom, removal won’t be overly difficult. Homeowners who don’t like the sheen of glossy paints can opt for satin instead; it’s slightly less reflective, yet still not difficult to clean.

Be sure to prep before painting. Before applying mold-resistant paint, clean the bathroom walls and remove any existing mildew with a DIY solution of three parts water to one part bleach. Use painter’s tape to block off your corners, doorways, floorboards, and any other spots you don’t want to paint, and make liberal use of drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect the floor, countertops, and toilet. Start painting in the corners and work your way across the walls. If possible, let the paint dry for a couple of days before taking a hot shower. Ventilation is your friend when it comes to long-lasting paint, so keep the air flowing through open vents, doors, and windows. Then watch that fresh coat of paint thrive for many years to come!

 

All of the Expert Painting Advice from BobVila.com
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.


Buyer’s Guide: Bathroom Fans

Save your bathroom from excess moisture and the problems that come with it—from cracked paint to mildew growth—with this shopping guide and our top picks.

Best Bathroom Fan - Buyer's Guide

Photo: istockphoto.com

Nothing beats a hot shower at the end of a long day. But while the steamy water works wonders on your nerves, it has the opposite effect on your bathroom—especially if the enclosed space isn’t properly ventilated. Excess humidity settles on every available surface in a bathroom, causing damage in the form of cracked paint, peeling wallpaper, and warped cabinetry. What’s more, the buildup of moisture also encourages mold growth in drywall and caulking, which threatens indoor air quality. Some homeowners can ventilate their bathroom by opening a window after every bath or shower. Those without windows, however, should consider installing a bathroom exhaust fan. The best bathroom fan removes excess moisture to save your bathroom from damage, eliminate mirror fog, remove odors, and—most importantly—protect your family from mold-related health problems.

When shopping for a bathroom fan, you’ll find options available in a wide range of prices, from around $50 for a bare-bones model to a couple hundred dollars for high-end models that include lighting, heaters, and motion sensors. Add to the cost of the unit a professional installation for another $200 to $400, and it turns into quite an investment. Given the sum of expenses, homeowners must understand the ins and outs of bathroom fans before pulling out their credit cards. Here’s our guide to the best bathroom fan on the market today.

DETERMINING FAN SIZE AND POWER

Bathroom exhaust fans are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), which gives the amount of air moved by the fan each minute. The product’s box will list the CFM number, and it will typically give a suggested room size as well. As a general rule of thumb, homeowners should buy a fan with a minimum CFM rating that equates to your bathroom’s square footage. For example, you’ll want a 50 CFM rated fan for a 50-square-foot bathroom and a 100 CFM rated fan for a 100-square-foot bathroom.

For even more accuracy, measure your bathroom and use the following mathematical formula from Home Depot:

Length X Width X Height X 0.13 = Suggested CFM

Suppose your bathroom is 8 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 8 feet high. Then you’d multiply 8 by 10 by 8 by 0.13 for a total of 83.2. In this case, a fan with a CFM rating of 80 would probably be sufficient for your bathroom.

 

Buyer's Guide - Best Bathroom Fan

Photo: istockphoto.com

THE NOISE FACTOR

In addition to CFM measurement, consumers should consider a fan’s noise level. The noise emitted by an exhaust fan is rated in “sones,” and most fans have a sones rating between the range of 0.5 to 6.0. The lower the sones number (which is typically printed on the fan box), the quieter the fan will be when operating. Since a sones ratings of 1.0 compares to the sound of a quiet refrigerator, any fan with a sones rating of 1.0 or less is considered very quiet. On the other end of the scale, a sones rating greater than 4.0 might be loud enough to drown out your shower singing. Nowadays, many manufacturers produce bathroom fans that operate quietly. If you’re very worried about sound, consider installing a 6-inch ducting attachment for your fan rather than the standard 4-inch attachment. Air can move easier in a wider duct, so 6-inch duct puts less strain on the fan and allows for quieter operation.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Many homeowners opt for a bathroom fan with an integrated light. These fan/light combinations allow the buyer to remove their current light and install the new fixture with the existing wires, making installation easy. Some of these models also have motion sensors that automatically turn on the light when someone walks into the bathroom. Other optional features in bathroom fans include humidity sensors that activate the exhaust fan when the moisture levels reach a specific level, nightlights that offer a comforting glow for midnight bathroom visitors, and built-in heaters that warm the bathroom quickly on chilly winter mornings.  Keep in mind that some features can add anywhere from $50 to $200 to the fan’s price.

INSTALLMENT AND DUCTING

When you draw moisture-filled air out of the bathroom, it needs somewhere to go. Some bathroom vents release exhaust into a home’s attic; however, this setup isn’t ideal, since excess moisture in the attic can lead to mold-related issues. Therefore homeowners should opt to vent their bathroom fans to the outdoors.

If the bathroom is located on the first level of a multi-story home, you’ll want to vent the air through the side of your house. A standard ceiling-mounted fan is suitable for this type of venting, as long as you can run the ducting through the ceiling joists to an exterior wall. If you can’t run ducting between the joists, and if your bathroom has at least one exterior wall, you can install a wall-mounted fan that vents the exhaust directly out the side of the house. For any bathroom located on the floor directly below the attic, your best bet is to direct the vented air to the attic and then, via ducting, either to a soffit under the roof’s eave or out through a vent pipe in the roof.

Homeowners should install a new bathroom fan between the shower and toilet, in an area of the ceiling without any obstructing joists or pipes. Replacement fans should be installed in the same location as the existing fan. Keep in mind that larger bathrooms may require multiple fans to effectively ventilate the space. Fans with added features—such as lights, heaters, and nightlights—may require additional wires or a designated circuit to operate. Follow manufacturer guidelines for specific directions, and consult an electrician if you’d like.

TOP THREE PICKS

Using the criteria outlined above, expert opinions, and consumer reviews, we’ve rounded up three choices for the best bathroom fan on the market today. Having a properly ventilated bathroom has never been so easy!

 

Best Bathroom Fan - Buyer's Guide

Photo: amazon.com

 

Broan QTXE080 Ceiling Exhaust Bath Fan ($98.20)
For its affordability and nearly silent operation, The Spruce speaks highly of the Broan QTXE080 Ultra Silent Bath Fan, calling it “a great deal from a solid manufacturer.” The fan receives an admirable 4.5 stars from Amazon buyers, who rave about its quiet 0.3 sones rating. With 80 CFM ability, this Broan model is designed for small- to medium-sized bathrooms up to 75 square feet in size. The Energy Star qualified unit has top-notch moisture-reducing performance and a large 6-inch ducting attachment. Homeowners needing a basic fan without added features or lighting can consider the Broan QTXE080 a safe bet. Available on Amazon.

 

Best Bathroom Fan - Buyer's Guide

Photo: amazon.com

Panasonic WhisperGreen ($149.99)
Panasonic, a leading bathroom ventilation fan manufacturer, produces some of the most popular exhaust fans on the market. Consumer Reports recommends the Panasonic WhisperGreen fan for a “fog-free bathroom without the racket” of a traditional noisy fan. Amazon buyers agree, awarding the WhisperGreen a resounding 4.3 out of 5 stars. With three operating speeds that correlate with 50, 80, and 110 CFM ratings, the WhisperGreen is suitable for small, medium, and large bathrooms. A sones level of less than 0.3 ensures an extremely quiet operation. The model comes with two additional ports for adding customized features, such as a condensation sensor, an LED nightlight, or a motion sensor (each sold separately). The dual duct adapter allows the fan to work with either 4” or 6” ducting. Available on Amazon.

 

Best Bathroom Fan - Buyer's Guide

Photo: istockphoto.com

NuTone QTXN110HL Ultra Silent Bath Fan ($303.28)
Best Consumer Reviews gives the NuTone QTXN110HL Ultra Silent Bath Fan its highest approval rating. Although the fan has a steep $300 price tag, it includes several impressive features, such as an overhead light, a 1,500-watt heater, and a soft-glow nightlight. Some Home Depot customers rave about the fan’s fast-working heater and ventilator. Since the fan has ratings of 110 CFM and 0.9 sones, homeowners will hear a low gentle hum when the fan is operating. The NuTone QTXN110HL comes with a 6” ducting attachment for optimal performance, and it works best for bathrooms smaller than 100 square feet. Keep in mind that the fan needs a dedicated 20 Amp circuit in order to provide sufficient electricity to power the heater. Available from Home Depot.


Enter Bob Vila’s 2017 Love Your Lawn Giveaway from John Deere Today!

Enter for your chance to win a zero-turn riding mower from John Deere!

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John Deere Riding Mower

Photo: deere.com

Spring has officially arrived, bringing along warmer weather and thriving outdoor greenery. Homeowners are starting to undertake seasonal maintenance tasks to keep their lawn and garden in top-notch shape throughout the year. After all, lush green grass brings major curb appeal to any home. That’s why we partnered with John Deere to give away a Z345R Residential ZTrak™ Zero-Turn Riding Mower!

John Deere Giveaway

Enter Bob Vila’s 2017 Love Your Lawn Giveaway from John Deere today and every day this month (starting at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 31, 2017 through 11:59 a.m. EST on April 30, 2017) for your chance to win!

ENTER HERE

The founder of John Deere originally manufactured agricultural equipment to improve the lives of farmers. About 175 years later, John Deere is now one of the best-known lawn equipment manufacturers in the world. The company’s innovative American-made products are catered to those who work with the land – whether it’s a farm or a front yard.

Designed for residential use, the Z345R Residential ZTrak™ Zero-Turn Riding Mower is perfect for homeowners seeking a high-quality machine at a reasonable price. The mower has top-notch performance capabilities and many innovative features, including:

• A 22 HP V-twin John Deere branded engine and 42-inch Accel Deep™ Mower Deck, which allows the user to cut the lawn quickly and efficiently at speeds up to 7 mph.

• A well-designed and heavy-duty build. The mower has large tires, a durable steel frame, an adjustable seat, and easy-to-use controls.

• Compatibility with the MulchControl™ kit to easily switch between mowing and mulching. Thanks to this feature, homeowners can use their lawn clippings as a fertilizer.

• Access to the free MowerPlus™ App, which works with your smartphone to provide tips regarding use and maintenance of the ZTrak™ mower.

Enter today and every day in April to increase your odds of winning the Z345R Residential ZTrak™ Zero-Turn Riding Mower from John Deere! To learn more about John Deere, click here.

“Bob Vila’s 2017 Love Your Lawn Giveaway from John Deere” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period for Prize runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, March 31, 2017 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Sunday, April 30, 2017. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Must submit name and email address using the online “Bob Vila’s 2017 Love Your Lawn Giveaway from John Deere” submission form. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By entering, all entrants agree to the Official Rules.