Doors & Windows - Bob Vila

Category: Doors & Windows


4 Reasons Why Homeowners Choose Fiberglass Doors

Keep your home secure, weather-sealed, and stylish for years to come with a fiberglass entry door.

4 Reasons Homeowners Choose Fiberglass Doors

Photo: jeld-wen.com

While a front door’s primary job is to provide security and protection from the elements, a great entry is one that balances function with form. A memorable entry makes a statement—and increasingly, that statement is being made in fiberglass. The material has long been appealing for its strength and durability, but now style is taking center stage. Door-shopping homeowners today enjoy ever-growing design options, thanks largely to JELD-WEN, a leading manufacturer of windows and doors that provides the widest range and selection of fiberglass doors on the market.

“Fiberglass has unique attributes that make it a great material for doors,” says Dan Jacobs, JELD-WEN’s Director of Product Line Management for Exterior Doors. Top among the selling points? Durability, energy efficiency, and sheer strength. “It’s a type of door that performs well in any climate and offers looks for every style, from traditional to modern. We’ve built, over the years, a great selection of fiberglass offerings, and we expect to continue to add to options and styles in the future.”

Today’s manufacturing technology combines both beauty and security, giving you the style you want and the peace of mind you demand. No matter your budget, odds are you’ll find a JELD-WEN fiberglass door that meets your high standards.

1. ROBUST DURABILITY
After investing time and money in selecting a suitable entry door, homeowners don’t want to deal with rusting, rotting, or warping only a few years later. Fortunately, fiberglass doors withstand the elements—including frigid temps, the harsh rays of the sun, and driving rain—without cracking or bowing. They aren’t susceptible to corrosion or insect infestation, either.

4 Reasons Homeowners Choose Fiberglass Doors

Photo: jeld-wen.com

To ensure that their fiberglass doors are strong and durable, JELD-WEN uses PolyMicro foam core technology, a process that permanently bonds the frame and the skin of the door together to create a sealed unit. This significantly increases the door’s structural integrity and prevents the damage that can occur when moisture penetrates a door’s surface.

An additional upside to a fiberglass door is its weight. Not as heavy as steel or solid wood, fiberglass’s light weight reduces tensile stress on door hinges and increases the likelihood that the door will continue to open and close without sticking or binding. While steel and solid wood are still fine choices for entry doors, fiberglass’s combination of durability and performance in a lightweight package make it an exceptional option.

2. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Drafty, poorly insulated doors are a major source of energy loss in the home, where they lead to higher utility bills and lower levels of indoor comfort. But with high-efficiency fiberglass doors, you can say goodbye to this wasteful loss of heat—those manufactured by JELD-WEN have even earned the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR® rating. These doors feature fully insulated cores designed to reduce thermal transfer between outdoors and in. Prehung entry doors sell as a single unit (already mounted within their frames), complete with top-notch weather-stripping, a leak-resistant sweep at the bottom of the door, and an adjustable threshold sill to help prevent drafts and moisture from entering your home. By replacing a drafty door with an ENERGY STAR®-rated door, you’ll be able to use less energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

For added energy efficiency, homeowners can choose triple-pane or low-E (low-emissivity) glass, which allows optimal visibility while reducing unwanted heat transfer. Low-E glass also filters out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays to protect rugs, draperies, and upholstery fabrics inside the home that might otherwise fade in the sunlight.

4 Reasons Homeowners Choose Fiberglass Doors

Photo: jeld-wen.com

3. REMARKABLE SECURITY
Quality door hardware plays a role in a secure door, but door design is equally, if not more, important. For starters, the solid construction of a fiberglass door goes a long way toward making it more secure than a wooden door. Here, too, JELD-WEN design improves upon the already strong material by installing a reinforced steel plate within the door frame along the latching side. The plate greatly reduces the possibility of forced entry through a closed and locked door, yet because the plate is hidden within the door frame, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the door.

Another important safety feature located within JELD-WEN doors is a 12-inch solid wood lock block that comes double-bored for installing a deadbolt and handle set. Together, the steel plate and the lock block provide superior kick-in resistance. Prefer an extra deadbolt? You got it. On select door styles from JELD-WEN, the option of upper and lower deadbolt latches in addition to a center deadbolt takes security a step further.

4. A STYLE BONANZA
Your home’s entry says a lot about you and your sense of style. JELD-WEN understands this and offers a broad selection of fiberglass door designs that help you create a personal statement. Choose an authentic woodgrain texture or a multi-coat factory prefinishing option that promises the longest wear—or, if you prefer, you can paint or stain your door yourself! For natural light and an airier feeling, incorporate windows in the door itself or in the form of sidelights and transoms, with glass options ranging from clear to highly ornate. Then splurge on the perfect finishing touch: a wrought-iron grille, knocker, or even a speakeasy grille—a small, bar-covered opening at eye level, through which in the old days you would have whispered, “Joe sent me.

Homeowners can choose from JELD-WEN’s good, better, or best line of fiberglass entry doors and rest assured, whichever level they select, that they’re getting a quality door for their money. Many of the design and security options are available at all price points, while the highest-end line, the Aurora Collection, offers exclusive options. Read on to learn more about the three fiberglass collections and their many options.

• For affordability and style, it’s tough to beat JELD-WEN’s Statement™ Collection, featuring their prefinished line of Smooth-Pro™ exterior fiberglass doors in 11 designs and a variety of multi-coat finishes. Smooth-Pro™ doors are 6’8” to 8’ high and come in standard 32”, 34”, and 36” widths and as either prehung door systems or individual slab doors (without an attached frame). Customers can choose from contemporary, classic, or rustic colors, such as Denim, Stone, Saffron, Black Cherry, and Juniper. Like the Smooth-Pro™ line, JELD-WEN’s Design-Pro™ line of fiberglass doors comes prefinished and in standard sizes, but instead of featuring bold colors, the Design-Pro™ line mimics the look of real wood, with the choice of Mahogany, Oak, or Fir. If you want a different color or stain, the doors may be ordered and finished on the job site.

• JELD-WEN’s premium Architectural™ Collection offers even greater choice, including the ability to select a specific type of woodgrain texture as well as a choice of finish stain. The look of an entry door in the Architectural™ Collection brings you as close to the look of authentic woodgrain as you can get without installing a solid wood door. Woodgrain options include Cherry, Rustic Cherry, Oak, Maple, Mahogany, Fir, and Knotty Alder. Choose from a multitude of panel designs and various styles of glass, then complete the look with a pair of sidelights. With standard door widths and door heights up to 8’, the Architectural™ line of doors gives homeowners the ability to create a dramatic entry.

• Even the knots on the surface of the fiberglass doors in the Aurora® Collection feel authentic! JELD-WEN’s top line of fiberglass doors leaves nothing to be desired. It offers the look and feel of real wood, luxurious finishes, and a wealth of glass options that, in combination, constitute nothing short of a work of art. The Aurora line offers custom as well as standard door sizes and includes arch-top doors and double doors. In fact, JELD-WEN is the only manufacturer today with a 10-foot-high entry door. This premium line is also awash in customization options, including custom carvings, raised decorative moldings, custom door glass, sidelights, and transoms as well as grilles and accessories above and beyond those found in JELD-WEN’s Architectural™ line.

 

4 Reasons Homeowners Choose Fiberglass Doors

Photo: jeld-wen.com

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JELD-WEN. The opinions and text are all mine.

 


How To: Soundproof a Door

Tune out the ambient (or annoying) noise outside by following the key strategies in this guide.

3 Key Strategies for How to Soundproof a Door

Photo: istockphoto.com

While closed doors do a decent job shutting out the noise outside the room, cracks between a door and its casing or threshold offer just enough space for some sound to filter in. Complete quiet requires that you mix and match a handful of strategies in order to adequately seal these gaps. For example, if you install weatherstripping but do not have a snug-fitting threshold, you’ll still hear some noise. Do a thorough job of securing all areas and surfaces mentioned in this guide for how to soundproof a door, though, and you’re sure to get the maximum level of soundproofing.

Determine your needs for the space—whether that’s just enough quiet to fall asleep or complete silence for your basement recording studio—and get to work with one of these three methods.

METHOD 1: Seal the Door…

Using Spring-Metal Strips

Create a better door seal and prevent noise from penetrating through the cracks by installing new spring bronze weatherstripping. This type of weatherstripping performs the same task as your average vinyl or foam stick-on weatherstripping, but can do so better and for longer—up to 30 years. It’s especially ideal around doors that face the outside, which needs to be reliable enough to seal out water and bugs.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Tape measure
Marker
Bronze spring weatherstripping
Tin snips
Awl (optional)
Hammer
Nails

STEP 1
After any previous existing weatherstripping has been removed, measure the width of the door frame and the length of the door jamb (the vertical parts of the frame, one of which the door hangs on). Unroll your metal weatherstripping and use a marker to identify your cuts based on the dimensions taken. Then, cut the spring metal weatherstripping using tin snips to the appropriate length.

If your spring metal weatherstripping does not feature pre-punched holes, dot along the lip of the metal every 1-1/4 inches so that you know where to place your nails. For the top piece, you may even want to pre-punch manually: Place the tip of the awl at each mark and tap with the end of a hammer.

STEP 2
Hang your first cut of weatherstripping along the door jamb from which the door hangs so that the material nearly touches the threshold. Use tin snips to trim metal away that may impede the operation of hinges.

STEP 3
If your metal weatherstripping with pre-punched holes, slightly drive in a nail in the first hole (at the top) and the last (at the bottom) of the strip, neither all the way in. Visually inspect that the strip appears to be straight, and adjust if necessary.

Working with weatherstripping without any holes? Simply add the nails through the first and last dots.

STEP 4
Tap a nail partway in the center of the weatherstripping. Then, continue adding nails along the strip at consistent intervals.

STEP 5
Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for the second strip.

STEP 6
Once all the nails are in place and you’re comfortable with the weatherstripping positioning, complete the process of driving the nails or screws into the strips. Keep the fastener head flush with the strip. In other words, do not pound or drive it into the metal as this can damage the metal.

STEP 7
Finally, place the top strip following Steps 2 through 4.

Or, Using Rubber Weatherstripping

Like metal weatherstripping, rubber is designed to seal and block not only drafts but also noise. While you’ll find a few different versions of rubber weatherstripping available, the easiest one to use (and what we’ve detailed here) is the kind with an adhesive backing.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Rubber weatherstripping with self-adhesive backing
Tape measure
– Putty knife
– Cloths
– Utility knife

3 Key Strategies for How to Soundproof a Door

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 1
Before buying rubber adhesive weatherstripping, measure the thickness of the door and the gap between the door frame and the top of the door. Weatherstripping comes in various width sizes and you will want to buy the right size that will snugly fit and not be too large that will hinder the door closing properly.

STEP 2 (optional)
If you are replacing old material, pop the old weatherstripping out first using a flat tool (either a putty knife or flat head screwdriver).

STEP 3
Scrape away any remnants of old caulk. Then, wipe the bottom of the base and the door jamb surface thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove dust and remaining residue, either of which will prevent the new adhesive from sticking properly. Follow with a clean cloth to dry.

STEP 4
Measure the width of the door frame and the length of each door jamb and cut these dimensions from the rubber weatherstripping. You should have three strips total.

Alternatively, you can line up the end of weatherstripping with the corner of the door base and run the strip along the base until you reach the other corner, then cut.

STEP 5
Peel away the backing to expose the adhesive and, with the door open, start to apply it to the frame.

Stand on the side of the frame on which the door opens, and start by addressing the door jamb without hinges. Stick one end of weatherstripping in the top of this door jamb, and run the weatherstripping down along slim edge facing out; this is where the door comes into contact with the frame. If the rubber adhesive impedes the door lock from catching, carefully notch it, or cut out the excess, using the blade of a utility knife.

On the opposite door jamb, you’ll run it along the edge that the hinges screw into.

STEP 6
Run the final strip along the top edge of the door frame, again facing out so that the door closes on it. Press each for a firm seal.

 

METHOD 2: Replace the Threshold

Over time, daily traffic may wear down or loosen your existing threshold, the raised part of a doorway that serves not only to cover the line where flooring meets between rooms but also seal out sounds. Installing a better threshold—which you can pick up at your local home improvement store—should keep unwanted noise from slipping through under the door.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Power screwdriver
– Hacksaw
– Pry bar
Hammer
– Broom
– Vacuum
Tape measure
– Interior door threshold
– Screws

3 Key Strategies for How to Soundproof a Door

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 1
Use a power screwdriver to undo any screws holding the existing threshold in place. How you actually remove the threshold depends on its position in relation to the door jambs:

• If the threshold extends from door jamb to door jamb, wedge a pry bar beneath one side and tap its end with a hammer in order to lift it enough to remove.

• If door jambs don’t meet the ground but stop short above the threshold, you’ll need to cut through its middle using a hacksaw and slide each piece out one by one.

STEP 2
Use a broom or vacuum to thoroughly clean out accumulated dirt and debris before you put a new one in place.

STEP 3
Measure the opening left for the threshold. (You may also put together and take the dimensions the old threshold, which can serve as a template for the new installation.)

STEP 4
In pencil, mark the exact measurements onto the new interior door threshold. Then, cut the excess off from one end using the hacksaw.

STEP 5
Slide the new threshold into place between the door jambs, and use a power screwdriver and screws (perhaps those saved from the previous threshold installation) to fasten it to the floor beneath.

STEP 6
Test the installation by closing the door to detect any problems.

 

METHOD 3: Install an MLV Sound Barrier

Those looking for serious soundproofing can find peace and quiet with a mass loaded vinyl (MLV) mat. Though often used underneath carpet as a vibration cushion, MLV hung on the back of the door significantly reduces the noise that would otherwise pass through. This guaranteed silence comes at a premium cost: It retails for upwards of $60 for a roll from online shops specializing in acoustics (about $2 per square foot, depending on weight, length, width, and thickness), which is often more than you need for a single door. Thickness ranges from 1/16 inch to ¼ inch, and thicker is better for sound-blocking. If you don’t see thickness listed within the product description, you can rely on weight per square foot of coverage:

• Half-pound MLV is 1/16-inch thick

• One-pound MLV is 1/8-inch thick

• Two-pound MLV is ¼-inch thick

Before you start on this soundproofing project, find another do-it-yourselfer to help hold the material in place—the flexible foam mat is about as heavy as lead.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Flat-head screwdriver
– Drop cloth
– Roll of mass loaded vinyl
Tape measure
– Pencil
– Utility knife
– Scrap wood
– Cloth
– Construction adhesive

STEP 1
With the door shut, remove it from the hinges. Push a flat-head screwdriver into the bottom of the hinge (aimed at the end of the pin), and tap the tool with a hammer. This should cause the pin to pop up so that you can pull it out. After you repeat this process on all of the hinges, use the door knob to help wiggle it free and lay it on a drop cloth–covered work surface.

STEP 2
Measure the length and width of the door. Then, make note of the location (how high and how far in from the side) of the doorknob and any additional locks.Your measurements should allow for which way the door opens.

Your measurements should allow for which way the door opens:

• If the door opens inward (toward you) and you plan to cover the surface facing you, measurements of the door itself should be adequate.

• If the door opens outward (away from you) and you are covering the surface facing you, you will need to subtract a sliver of space at the top, sides, and bottom of the door. These areas where the door “meets” the door frame should not be covered with MLV, or else it will not close properly. In this scenario, it’s best to close the door and measure the amount that is exposed.

STEP 3
Place the roll of MLV on a flat surface and transfer your door measurements to the material, including the precise space and location of door knob and lock(s). Considering how pricey as this material can be, heed the old adage, “Measure twice and cut once.”

Using the door measurements as a guide, cut the material with a sturdy utility knife. (Doing so on top of scrap wood would be wise to protect your floor or work surface.) Cut away the material that will cover the doorknob and locks.

STEP 4
Clean the door surface of any dirt using a dampened cloth, and allow to dry.

STEP 5
Apply the construction adhesive to the side of the door panel where you’ll mount MLV.

STEP 6
With your DIY partner, place and position the MLV onto the door surface. While the helper holds the material in place, visually check that the material is lined up properly to cover the entire door’s surface and adjust as needed. Then, after waiting out the dry time recommended for your particular construction adhesive, reattach the door to its hinges by lining up the hinge plates and sliding each pin back into place.

 

How to Soundproof a Door with Caulk

Photo: istockphoto.com

Caulk the rest!

As noise can seep in through the tiniest places, you’ll want to seal any cracks around the door jamb, casing, and trim. If you pinpoint any cracks, holes, or deteriorated caulking material in a visual inspection of the entire doorframe, grab that caulk gun and load it up with a fresh tube. (Don’t forget to snip off its tip before you start!)

• For cracks and holes, place the tip of the caulk gun above and slowly press the caulk gun’s trigger to dispense an appropriate amount of caulk. Fill in the crevice with a bead of caulk and smooth with your finger.

• For instances of crumbling old caulk, you’ll do the same—just be sure to remove the old stuff using a putty knife before you apply the fresh seal.

 

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.


Bob Vila Radio: Transform Your Home with Transom Windows

After falling out of fashion for a few decades, transom windows are enjoying a modest popularity rebound, thanks to their practical benefits and period style.

Transom windows rest on the horizontal support beam above a window- or doorframe, enhancing natural light while adding a distinctive architectural touch.

What Is a Transom Window?

Photo: flickr.com via Peter Stevens

CM_BVNOTES-1716-7

Listen to BOB VILA ON TRANSOM WINDOWS or read below:

Transom windows range in style from simple, uninterrupted panes to elaborate, Arts and Crafts-style diamond patterns. Some models even open to provide natural ventilation.

If you’re planning to install a transom over an exterior door, consider one that’s part of a larger door system. For one thing, it’ll be simpler to install. For another, the one-piece sealed construction may provide better protection from weather and pests over the long term.

But double-check your ceiling height before you do anything else. Obviously, you can’t install a transom window if you don’t have room for one. That said, there’s no fixed rule as to how much clearance a transom requires. Different designs call for rough-ins of different dimensions.

For installation, unless you’re a skilled do-it-yourselfer with extensive framing experience, the wise course is to consult a contractor. Generally speaking, though, installing a transom window over an interior door tends to be simpler, easier, and cheaper than doing so over an exterior door or window.

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!


Buyer’s Guide: Door Locks

The key to home security? Purchasing the best lock for your place, lifestyle, and budget!

Three Picks for the Best Door Lock

Photo: istockphoto.com

Good home security starts at your front door. A home burglary occurs approximately once every 18 seconds in the United States, and thieves prefer homes that are easy to enter. A deadbolt—so called because the locking bolt is nonmoving and can only be operated by manually turning the locking mechanism with a key or a thumb-knob—offers the best security for most entry doors. Not all deadbolt locks are the same, however. They range in quality, price, and the level of protection. If you’re ready to upgrade your home’s first line of defense, read on to understand what makes a lock the best door lock and consider our top three picks.

Types of Deadbolts
Choosing a new lock can be confusing if you don’t know the lingo. While all deadbolts work on the premise of a solid steel bolt sliding into place to prevent the door from opening, there are
several different designs to choose from—and not all are ideal for the typical house or apartment.

Three Picks for the Best Door Lock

Photo: istockphoto.com

Single Cylinder Locks: A single cylinder lock opens with a key from the outside and operates inside by turning a thumb-knob. In addition to the exterior key hole, some newer single cylinder locks feature a keypad that permits residents to enter a numerical code to unlock the door. A keypad makes it handy for family members who wish to avoid fumbling for keys in a purse or pocket. A simple single-cylinder deadbolt starts around $25 but can cost $100 or more for a high-end model in bronze, solid brass, or the inclusion of a keypad.

Double Cylinder Locks: Like the single cylinder lock, a double cylinder lock opens from the outside with a key, but instead of a thumb-knob, the same key is used to lock and unlock the door from inside. Double-cylinder locks offer break-in security on entry doors that contain glass windows, since an intruder cannot break a pane and then reach in to unlock the deadbolt because there is no thumb-knob. Local fire codes often ban these locks, however, deeming them a hazard should a home emergency occur and residents need to get out quickly. Double cylinder locks cost between $25 and $50, depending on brand and quality.

Vertical Locks: Also called “jimmy-proof locks” for the additional security they provide, or “Segal locks,” after the company that designed and first manufactured them. This type of lock employs a vertical bolt that extends through a set of rings to secure the door. The strike plate (the metal plate that attaches inside the door frame—see below for more info) features steel rings that interlock with additional steel rings on the lock itself when the door is closed. Vertical locks can incorporate either single cylinders or double cylinders and are most commonly used in commercial applications, such as hotel doors or large apartment complexes.

Smart Locks: As technology advances, so do ways of securing our homes. Smart locks, which use your home’s Wi-Fi network to send and receive information to your phone or PC, may be operated by voice control, from your smartphone, or by fingerprint recognition. In addition to locking and unlocking your door, some smart locks feature motion-activated cameras to record all visitors at your door. They range in price from $200 to $300.

Know Your Strike Plate!
The strike plate, or just “strike”—the metal plate that attaches inside the doorframe—is an important aspect of your home security locking system. When you lock a deadbolt, the steel
bolt extends into a hole in the strike plate. Inexpensive locks may come with flimsy strike plates that bend easily when the door is kicked. Look for quality locks that come with reinforced strike plates for better protection against a would-be intruder.

Lock Quality: Making the Grade
The rating issued by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) can help homeowners suss out the strongest door locks available. Locks are given a grade rating of 1, 2, or 3 based on a lock’s durability and its potential to withstand attempted forced entry.

Grade 1: This is the highest rating a lock can receive. Grade 1 deadbolts were once primarily limited to industrial buildings but in recent years, more lock manufacturers are
making Grade 1 locks for residential use.

Grade 2: Many locks found on today’s homes are Grade 2 locks. They feature high-quality steel construction and are designed to deter most attempts at forceful entry. Unless you have high-security needs, a Grade 2 lock is probably sufficient.

Grade 3: While a Grade 3 deadbolt still offers a measure of protection, it may contain substandard components that will not hold up to a determined intruder, and it won’t last as long as a higher quality lock.

Installation Issues
Most residential deadbolt locks, no matter the type, fit the standard pre-drilled hole in an exterior door, so installation is a DIY-friendly endeavor. Quality locks often come with 3-inch screws for attaching the strike plate to the door frame. If your deadbolt’s screws are shorter, it’s wise to purchase 3-inch screws separately and use them in place of the shorter ones, which won’t embed deeply enough in the wall framing that lies behind the door frame. The longer screws will make it more difficult for an intruder to kick the door open.

Top Three Picks for the Best Door Lock

After thoroughly comparing door lock reviews from consumers and publishers alike, we’ve rounded up three of the most highly rated models available today to help you find one that fits your home’s needs and your family’s budget. Check out the best door lock options below!

 

Best Door Lock - Schlage Single Cylinder Deadbolt

Photo: amazon.com

Schlage B60N Single Cylinder Deadbolt ($38)
Considered the “best lock for most people’s front doors” by The Sweethome, the Schlage B60N Single Cylinder Deadbolt is an affordable yet highly secure Grade 1 deadbolt. It comes with an anti-pick shield, an oversized bolt, and a reinforced strike plate for increased kick-in resistance. Amazon customers award the Schlage deadbolt 4.5 out of 5 stars, citing ease of installation and smooth operation. Like other single cylinder locks, the Schlage accepts a key on the exterior and features a thumb-knob on the inside of the door. The thumb-knob is large and simple to turn, qualifying it for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) status. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty against mechanical and finish defects. Available from Amazon.

 

Best Door Lock - Medeco Maxum Single Cylinder Deadbolt

Photo: amazon.com

Medeco Maxum Single Cylinder Deadbolt ($139)
Consumer Reports‘ testing found this lock to excel for superior resistance against kicking, lock-picking, and forced entry from attempted drilling of the lock. This certified Grade 1 lock features solid brass construction, high-tensile steel mounting screws, an oversized, hardened steel bolt, and a secure reinforced strike plate. The deadbolt fits a standard entry door hole, making installation DIY-friendly. Amazon customers give the Medeco Maxum a hearty 4.3 out of 5 stars, noting appreciation for the peace of mind that comes with a high-security deadbolt lock. Though a little pricier than other standard single cylinder locks, it’s certainly a top-quality deadbolt sure to last for years, and it comes with a 2-year warranty against factory defects. Available from Amazon.

 

Best Door Lock - August Smart Lock 2nd Generation

Photo: amazon.com

August Smart Lock 2nd Generation ($199)
The August Smart Lock 2nd Generation won the Editor’s Choice award in independent testing by tech-savvy site PCMag.com for its “easy installation process, user-friendly app, and overall smooth performance.” The August Smart Lock works with an existing deadbolt instead of replacing it (hence no ANSI grade rating), installing on the inside of the door and replacing the thumb-knob on a single cylinder lock. The lock monitors each time the door opens and closes, and it can be configured to send notices to a smartphone. Through the use of separate apps, the lock can operate using voice commands. The August Smart Lock also utilizes “geofencing technology” to unlock the door when you approach from the outside if you’re carrying your smartphone. The August Smart Lock, which Amazon customers gave 3.5 out of 5 stars, is compatible with Apple’s phone, TV, computer, and tablet products and requires downloading one or more apps in order to install and run some advanced features. At present, it does not work with Android-type devices. The August Smart Lock comes with a 1-year limited warranty against defects. Available from Amazon.


5 Reasons to Replace Your Window Treatments ASAP

As it turns out, there's never been a better time to upgrade your home with brand-new blinds, shades, or drapes.

5 Reasons to Update Window Treatments in Summer

Photo: blindsgalore.com

Everyone loves summer for its long, relaxing days and the prospect of endless fun. But if you’re torn between lazing around on a lawn chair and taking on a home decorating project, know this: There’s no better time to swap out old window treatments than right now. The reasons might surprise you, so read on to find out why and benefit from helpful shopping tips courtesy of Blindsgalore, a leading supplier of custom-made window coverings. If you act quickly, you can save money, stay cool, and still wind up with window designs that really wow!

Old window treatments are glaringly obvious in the bright light of summer.
In darker, colder months, it’s easy to overlook shabby shades, busted blinds, or other worse-for-wear window treatments, but not during the long, sunny days of summer! In the bright sunshine of those extended daylight hours, you’re bound to notice faded, yellowed, or discolored materials; bent or warped slats; and frayed fabric or cords. If you see these defects, so will your summertime houseguests. Replacing tired window treatments can polish the look of an entire room. As an added benefit, with your home’s interior all spruced up, you won’t feel compelled to quickly shoo friends and family away from the air conditioning or out onto the patio.

Keeping energy costs down is crucial.
When the heat is on, quality window treatments help reduce your cooling bills by reining in the amount of heat transfer through the glass panes. (Window treatments also help ensure a warmer home in winter by preventing heat from escaping.) At Blindsgalore, you’ll find the ideal option for all your windows, no matter their size or shape. Consider energy-efficient cellular shades, which help maintain comfortable temperatures thanks to their unique honeycomb shape that traps air between the pane and the room. Or perhaps your best bet will be sun-blocking solar shades that prevent damaging UV rays and distracting glare from entering without obscuring the view of the outdoors.

Installing Simple Fit Pop-In Shades from Blindsgalore

Photo: blindsgalore.com

You’ll get big impact for less effort.
Summertime and the living is supposed to be easy, so no one wants to stress or sweat over complicated projects. Fortunately, replacing window treatments can be super simple, thanks to the installation guides, step-by-step instructional videos, and customer service pros on call at Blindsgalore. DIY novices, take note: The company’s Simplefit Pop-in Shades make the job even easier, with a no-tools-required installation. The effortless push, peel, pop, and lock process means you’ll have great-looking, hardworking shades installed in a matter of seconds.

Privacy is more important than ever.
Long days and balmy nights mean lots of time spent outdoors, and that can translate into more people peeking into your home. While those people may simply be curious neighbors enjoying a leisurely stroll, crime statistics show that the highest percentage of burglaries occur during the summer, so the last thing you want is to put your valuables on view to possible intruders. While Blindsgalore offers a large selection of opaque privacy blinds that prevent view-through, even when backlit, less sophisticated treatments can also offer adequate privacy. Whatever you choose, rest assured that you’ll be able to keep your home the sanctuary it was meant to be and feel safer this summer.

You’ll find unbeatable prices.
You probably already know about summer steals on garden equipment, school supplies, and bathing suits, but you may be surprised to learn that this season is also the best time to save money on window treatments. For example, Blindsgalore’s blowout Fourth of July sale is one of their biggest sales of the year, offering incredible savings up to 50 percent! So buy now, install simply, and enjoy the beauty and function of new window treatments this summer and beyond.

 

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


All You Need to Know About Doorway Casing

As few as three pieces of trim can greatly improve a room's style and sense of architecture. Before you set out to dress up any interior door or doorway, get the lowdown on buying and installing the decorative casing.

All You Need to Know About Door Casing

Photo: istockphoto.com

The trim around a door frame—also known as doorway casing—is installed first and foremost to conceal unsightly construction gaps left between the frame and the drywall. But while it minimizes seams in your home’s construction, the clean visual border around the door can also enhance the architectural beauty of any home. Whether you want to install new doorway molding or update your existing one, start with this guide to doorway casing.

Detailed Doorways

In new construction, one the most common types of doorway casing consists of three separate pieces: two long pieces for the sides of the door and one shorter piece (called “head casing”) for the top of the door. You’ll notice that the casing boards slope slightly, typically thicker on one edge than the other. The thinner edge will be installed toward the inside of the door frame to reduce bulk in the doorway, while the thicker outside edge matches the depth of the base trim to create a cohesive threshold.

When setting out to design doorway casing, homeowners will find a wide variety of options, from simple trim with a completely flat surface to more elaborate (and often wider) options with intricate moldings and protrusions. Two major considerations when finding a favorite style are joint choice and sizing.

• Many builders install doorway casings with mitered joints, which allow matching trim pieces to connect at equal angles in the top corners. Others—especially those designing for homes with high ceilings—opt for styles butted joints, which are characterized by a wide head casing that rests on the flat tops of the two side casing boards. This butted style of casing lends itself to custom above-door designs wherein the head casing is often decorative and detailed. Whether you choose mitered or butted casing, you can choose to dress up the three main pieces of trim by integrating two decorative blocks (called rosettes) in the top corners.

• Doorway casing trim comes in several different widths. While 2-¼”-wide trim is the most common, you can often find widths up to 3-½ inches at a home store. Anything wider must typically be custom ordered. The standard 2-¼-inch width works well in most newer constructions where doors are located near the edges of the room and carpenters won’t have enough room to install anything wider.

 

All You Need to Know About Doorway Casing

Photo: istockphoto.com

Popular Picks for Materials

What you use to build doorway casing is just as important to your style (and your budget) as the joint design and trim width. For homeowners and homebuilders, the choice comes down to these types of casing.

• Paint-grade wood casing, perhaps the most popular molding option, consists of bare wood that homeowners can paint. Sometimes the wood even comes primed—one less step when it comes time to install! The material runs anywhere from $1 per lineal foot (LFT) to $2.50 per LFT, depending on the width and design of the casing. Paint-grade wood casing labeled as “finger jointed” means that smaller pieces of wood were joined together to make a longer casing length. Painting the casing will effectively hide the joints, but staining will not. If you intend to apply wood stain, keep reading for another more appropriate option.

• Hardwood casing is more expensive than paint-grade casing, but it’s the best option for areas with exposure to moisture (it will not warp) or wherever you plan to stain all molding. The hardwood won’t streak when exposed to stain or include any joints that visibly disrupt the design. Simple oak casing starts around $1 per LFT but can run as much as $6 per LFT, especially if you opt for a wider design with ornate details. Expect to spend even more for exotic hardwood casing, which must often be custom ordered.

• Multi-density fiberboard (MDF) casing, formed from sawdust and resin, is a durable material that looks similar to paint-grade wood casing. Here, too, most varieties are primed to ease the painting process. You can pick up a simple MDF casing for under $1 per LFT, but costs run upwards of $3 per LFT for intricate designs or stainable varieties, which feature a thin wood veneer on the surface that can be stained to match other trim work. Keep in mind that MDF swells when exposed to water, so consider avoiding the material in moisture-prone areas (such as the bathroom).

 

All You Need to Know About Door Casings

Photo: istockphoto.com

Installing Door Casing

Looking to save some money on labor to invest more in the materials themselves? Lucky for you, any homeowner can install standard door casing with some simple instructions. The DIY carpentry task takes about 15 minutes per each side of the door, once you become familiar with the tools and technique.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Power miter saw
18gauge finish nailer
1” and 2” finish nails
Carpenter’s wood glue
Pencil

If you’re installing casing around one or two doors, consider renting an 18-gauge finish nailer and a power miter saw from a construction rental store (for a combined cost of about $60 per day). But if you plan to complete more extensive trim work, or if you’re an active handyman, you may opt to purchase the items instead. A decent consumer-grade power miter saw costs between $150 to $200, while a finish nailer costs an additional $100 to $150.

Before installing any type of casing, you’ll need to determine where, exactly, to place it along the doorframe. Measure and draw a line about ¼-inch from the inner part of the door frame; the line should be the same distance from the frame on the sides and the top of the door. This “reveal line” will serve as a guide for installing the inside edge of the casing. The quarter-inch of extra space is necessary to give the door hinges room to operate.

Cutting and installing the casing will vary depending on your finished design.

All You Need to Know About Door Casings

Photo: istockphoto.com

• If you’re working with mitered casing, simply hold the head casing piece in place, then make a small pencil mark on it where the top reveal line crosses the side reveal lines. Using a miter saw, cut a 45-degree angle at the site of the marking. Install the head casing to the wall with an 18-gauge finish nailer, making sure the longer edge is on top. Use 1”-long finish nails to attach the inside portion to the door frame, and 2”-long finish nails to attach the thicker outside edge to the structural framing that lies beneath the wallboard.

Now measure the side casing pieces against the installed head casing. Hold the pieces of side trim in place, and make a pencil mark where the inside corner of the head casing meets the inside of the side casing board. With your miter saw, cut a 45-degree angle that will fit flush with the angle of the head casing. Attach the edges of the side and head pieces together with carpenter’s wood glue, and nail the side pieces in place (with the same technique you used to nail the head casing). Wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth when finished.

• When installing butted casing, there’s no need to cut angles into the pieces. Simply position the head casing so it’s level with the reveal line on the top of the door frame, then secure with nails. Make straight cuts to the tops of the side casing boards so they fit snugly underneath the head casing, and secure those with nails as well.

• If installing decorative corner blocks (or rosettes), attach them to the wall first with the nail gun. Then cut the head casing and side casing to fit snugly between the blocks, and secure them to the wall with the nails.

Homeowners can create more elaborate door frames by adding multiple pieces of trim above the original casing board. The general rule of thumb with built-up head casing is to add progressively wider trim as you go upward on the wall. Virtually any trim can be layered to create the look you want; consider using chair rail, bed molding, or concave cove molding. Professional finish carpenters often use crown molding at the very top of a built-up head casing for a uniquely ornate 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: Clean Mini Blinds

Are your mini blinds covered in the grit and grime? You can restore them to spotless condition in no time with this easy cleaning routine.

How to Clean Mini Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

Available in a wide array of materials from vinyl to wood, mini blinds make an attractive feature in any interior. But the popular window treatments also act as a magnet for dust, dirt, mold, and mildew caused by everyday activities and moisture exposure. In direct sunlight, these particles can harden into stubborn grime that stains and discolors your blinds while aggravating allergies. Adding to the dismay of busy homeowners, the narrow slats of mini blinds make them more tedious to clean than Venetian blinds. Thankfully, the following cleaning ritual saves time and effort while keeping your mini blinds beautiful and blemish-free year-round. Here’s how to clean mini blinds with a few common household essentials.

ROUTINE CLEANING

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Feather or microfiber duster
Clean cloth
Sock
Vacuum cleaner
Compressed air sprayer (optional)
Hair dryer (optional)

Whether you have vinyl, metal, wood, or fabric mini blinds, you can banish light dirt and debris accumulations by dusting the blinds on a weekly to monthly basis. The key to reaching those narrow slats is fully extending the blinds, then turning the slats closed until the convex side of the slats face you. Using a feather or microfiber duster, soft cloth, or clean sock, gently sweep in the direction of the slats, making contact with each one. Turn the blinds ninety degrees and sweep the sides of the slats. Then, turn the blinds another ninety degrees and sweep the convex side of the slats.

To combat heavier dust accumulations, enlist a vacuum cleaner with a small brush attachment to draw out the debris from your mini blinds. Adjust the vacuum suction to a low setting, and then vacuum the blinds from side to side in the direction of the slats. In lieu of a vacuum cleaner, you can also use a compressed air sprayer or a hair dryer set to the cool setting to blast away any loose particles.

When stubborn grit and grime take root in your mini blinds, a deeper clean addressing the specific type of material is necessary. Following these more thorough instructions for how to clean mini blinds on a semi-annual to annual basis will help lengthen the lifespan of your window treatments.

 

How to Clean Mini Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

DEEP CLEANING: METAL AND VINYL BLINDS

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Inflatable yard pool (optional)
– Liquid dish soap
– Soft mop
– Sponge
– Non-abrasive brush
– Degreaser
– Hose with spray nozzle (optional)
– Towel (optional)

STEP 1
After lifting the entire mini blind from the mounting hardware, rest it in an empty bathtub, shower, or inflatable yard pool, depending on the size of the blind.

Note: Lead dust can form over time on the surface of older vinyl mini blinds that contain lead. If you’re unsure if the blinds contain lead, use a lead testing kit before cleaning. Safely dispose of any blinds that contain lead.

STEP 2
Fill the tub or other vessel of choice with water, and add enough liquid dish soap to create suds when swishing the water. Let the blinds soak in the solution for five minutes to loosen up grit and grime.

STEP 3
Gently but firmly glide a soft mop, sponge, or non-abrasive brush saturated in the dish soap solution, wiping the top and bottom of each slat from side to side. Spread the blinds to work the solution between the narrow slats.

For particularly dirty mini blinds, like those in the kitchen that have been exposed to cooking fumes, skip the soap and instead apply a degreaser (like 409 or Simple Green) directly to the slats. Let the blinds soak in the degreaser for a few minutes before wiping them down.

STEP 4
Rinse the blinds thoroughly with a shower attachment or the spray nozzle of a garden hose. Do this quickly after washing, so the suds don’t leave dried spots on the blinds.

STEP 5
Once the blinds are clean, hang them on a shower rod to air dry, or towel dry them. Then re-mount the blinds in the window frame, keeping the slats partially open to encourage the slats to dry completely.

 

How to Clean Mini Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

DEEP CLEANING: WOOD BLINDS

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Furniture polish
– Soft cloth
– Clean sock

STEP 1
Wood can warp or discolor with prolonged exposed to water, so your go-to weapon for combating grime on wood mini blinds should be a high-quality furniture polish. Spray a small amount of furniture polish onto a soft cloth or clean sock.

STEP 2
With the blinds fully extended, use a circular motion to gently rub the furniture polish into both sides of each wood slats. Dry the blinds completely with a clean cloth.

STEP 3
If stubborn spots remain, or if you don’t have furniture polish on hand, go over the slats with a clean cloth or sock dipped in water. Immediately remove the excess water with a soft cloth before it settles into the slats.

 

How to Clean Mini Blinds

Photo: istockphoto.com

DEEP CLEANING: FABRIC BLINDS

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Vacuum cleaner
Clean cloth
– Liquid soap

STEP 1
Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dust and debris on fabric mini blinds. If you notice any stains on the blinds, you can remove them with a simple spot treatment. Dampen a clean cloth with warm water mixed with enough mild liquid soap to create suds.

STEP 2
Blot the offending spot, taking care not to rub the fabric, as this can worsen the stain. The discoloration should diminish in appearance as the fabric dries.

STEP 3
Still seeing spots or stains on your fabric mini blinds? Take the blinds to a professional dry cleaner to get them looking like new again.

 


Bob Vila Radio: The Evolution of Energy Efficient Windows

Windows have changed a great deal for the better over the past 20 years, and with the pace of innovation continuing unabated, the future promises ever more stunning technological achievements.

For decades, window manufacturers have been coming up with incredible new ways to make glazing more like a wall—that is, less drafty and more energy efficient.

Energy Efficient Windows

Photo: istockphoto.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON THE EVOLUTION OF ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS or read below:

First came insulated windows that provided a buffer zone of air between multi-pane glass. Then there were windows with micro-thin, highly reflective metallic coatings, ingeniously designed to block heat gain in the summer while retaining heat in the winter. Some window makers even go a further step by injecting denser-than-air argon or krypton gas into the layers between panes as a method of increasing insulation R-value.

Now, at the cutting edge of technology is a new breed of switchable windows, able to admit, at the flick of a switch, the precise level of light you choose. So-called “smart” windows even come with sensors that lighten, darken, or virtually black-out the window automatically, based on the intensity of sunlight or time of day.

It may be years before switchable windows go mainstream, but with the number of companies vying to dominate the marketplace, we’re bound to see a number of new and exciting window products over the next few years.

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!


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.


Bob Vila Radio: Conquering Window Condensation

Drops of water on the inside of a window may seem like a minor nuisance. But if you don't take steps to address the issue, runaway condensation gradually becomes a real problem. Here's what to do.

You may notice condensation on the inside of your windows and figure it’s nothing worry to about. Believe it or not, though, condensation can lead to mold, mildew, and water damage. What’s going on?

Condensation on Inside of Window

Photo: istockphoto.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PREVENTING WINDOW CONDENSATION or read below:

Condensation appears on the inside of windows when moist indoor air comes into contact with a cold window surface. That being the case, it’s an issue faced by homeowners in homes new and old, across the country. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true methods homeowners use to keep condensation under control.

First off, if your house still has the original single-pane windows, installing storm windows and/or weatherstripping goes a long way to prevent condensation from ever forming. If you have double- or triple-pane windows, a faulty seal between panes may be to blame.

Something else to be aware of: Plants release moisture as they’re growing, so if you’ve got a collection of potted houseplants near the affected window, try relocating them. By the same token, be sure to turn on the bathroom fan every time you take a shower and to run the range hood exhaust fan whenever you cook on the stove.

Finally, double-check that the vent on your clothes dryer remains securely in place. If the connection has come loose, the appliance may be filling your home with warm, moist air, instead of expelling it outdoors.

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!