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Spring Home 2014

March 26, 2014

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Spring Forward
Home improvement
projects perfect
for spring
Caution While
Painting
Caution mysbe be
exercised when
painting indoors
Termites
Spotting damage,
preventing and
treating termites.
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Douglas Lumber, Kitchens and Home Center
125 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917
(401) 231-6800
www.douglaslumber.com
125 Douglas Pike
Smithfield, RI 02917
(401) 231-6800
www.douglaslumber.com
3 March, 2014
F
ew people might think of
potential safety hazards when
planning to paint the interiors
of their homes. Though every home
improvement project can lead to injury
if safety measures are not taken
seriously, painting is widely considered
a project where do-it-yourselfers are
at minimal risk of injury. But in addition
to the injury risks associated with
climbing up and down ladders to paint
ceilings or out-of-reach corners, there
are some health and safety concerns
that painters must consider before
beginning their projects.
According to the Environmental
Protection Agency, the majority
of paints contain chemicals that
evaporate in the air, and these
chemicals can adversely affect
human health. Problems associated
with chemicals found in some paints
include eye and throat or lung irritation,
headaches, dizziness, and vision
trouble. Professional painters exposed
to paint vapors over long periods of
time can develop problems with their
nervous systems, liver and kidneys,
and some chemicals found in paint
have been linked to elevated cancer
risk.
Though painting is often an enjoyable
home improvement project, painters
still must take the following precautions
to ensure their safety when painting the
interior of their homes.
Read product labels carefully.
Paints vary considerably with regard
to how hazardous they can potentially
be, so it’s best to read paint can
labels thoroughly regardless of how
experienced you are at painting. Labels
provide safety instructions specific
to that particular paint, including
suggestions to reduce hazards and
advice on what to do should users
develop any adverse health effects.
It also helps to reread labels once the
painting project has been completed.
Labels often include instructions on
how to clean or discard products and
tools after use, as well as suggestions
Caution necessary
when painting indoors
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F
ew people might think of potential
safety hazards when planning to
paint the interiors of their homes.
Though every home improvement
project can lead to injury if safety
measures are not taken seriously,
painting is widely considered a project
where do-it-yourselfers are at minimal
risk of injury. But in addition to the
injury risks associated with climbing
up and down ladders to paint ceilings
or out-of-reach corners, there are
some health and safety concerns
that painters must consider before
beginning their projects.
According to the Environmental
Protection Agency, the majority of
paints contain chemicals that evaporate
in the air, and these chemicals can
adversely affect human health.
Problems associated with chemicals
found in some paints include eye and
throat or lung irritation, headaches,
dizziness, and vision trouble.
Professional painters exposed to paint
vapors over long periods of time can
develop problems with their nervous
systems, liver and kidneys, and some
chemicals found in paint have been
linked to elevated cancer risk.
Though painting is often an enjoyable
home improvement project, painters
still must take the following precautions
to ensure their safety when painting the
interior of their homes.
Read product labels carefully.
Paints vary considerably with regard
to how hazardous they can potentially
be, so it’s best to read paint can
labels thoroughly regardless of how
experienced you are at painting. Labels
provide safety instructions specific
to that particular paint, including
suggestions to reduce hazards and
advice on what to do should users
develop any adverse health effects.
It also helps to reread labels once the
painting project has been completed.
Labels often include instructions on
how to clean or discard products and
tools after use, as well as suggestions
on where to store paints or other
products used during the project that
may be flammable.
Paint during the right time of year.
Exposure to chemicals found in paint
can be reduced considerably if you
paint during the right time of year.
Spring and fall make ideal seasons to
paint, as the weather outside during
these seasons is typically pleasant,
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Recognize termite damage
H
ome ownership can be an
unending series of adventures,
especially for those homeowners
who love good home improvement
projects. Some projects are fun and
improve the value of a home instantly,
while others are undertaken to address
a potentially serious issue.
Discovering that termites are taking
up residence where you live can be
disconcerting, but termites are a very
common occurrence. Understanding
termites and recognizing the signs
of termite damage early on can help
homeowners reduce the havoc that
such critters can wreak on their homes.
Termites are social insects that live
together in colonies. These colonies
eat nonstop, dining on wood and other
cellulose plant matter. They also eat
materials made from plants, like fabric
and paper. According to the National
Pest Management Association, termites
cause more than $5 billion in property
damage a year. Studies show that
queen termites can live up to decades
under ideal climate conditions while
workers and soldiers live approximately
one to two years.
While there are many varieties of
termites, all are silent destroyers
capable of chewing undetected through
housing structures. To eradicate
termites, homeowners must first identify
the insects and then contact a termite
management specialist to address the
pest problem.
Spotting termites
Termites may not always be visible.
Subterranean termite homes are usually
formed in soil, where the termites build
elaborate tunnel systems that channel
through to above-ground food sources.
Drywood and dampwood termites may
live within the wood they consume and
be undetectable until the wood collapses
or rots away. Homeowners often realize
they have a termite problem when
they witness swarming termites. At this
point there already may be a mature
colony at work damaging a home.
Swarming, winged termites form in a
mature, established colony. Winged
termites emerge and fly off looking
for mates. Afterward they will locate
a new breeding site and form another
colony, potentially spreading infestations
through multiple locations. Winged
termites are attracted to light and can be
seen by windows and doors in spring.
Other signs of termites include
accumulation of soil or dirt at the base
of wood structures or the foundation of
a home. There also may be fissures or
cracks near wood surfaces. Sometimes
“frass” or termite droppings can be
seen. They appear as rough, granulated
sawdust.
Covered mud tubes, or channels of mud
leading from the soil up the foundation of
a home, are indicative of the presence
of termites. Even if termites are no
longer present in these tubes, that does
not mean the termites have moved on.
They simply may have chosen a new
path to your home.
Keeping termites away
Once termites have been identified, it
is time to eliminate them. This means
getting rid of water and food sources
that are close to a home.
• Repair leaky faucets and other water
drips in and around the house.
• Keep gutters and downspouts clean.
• Seal entry points around water
and utility lines or pipes.
• Divert water away from
the foundation.
• Keep lumber, firewood or paper
away from the foundation
of the home.
• Clear away stumps and tree debris.
• Prevent untreated wood from
contacting the soil.
Treating termites
It is very difficult for homeowners to get
rid of termites by themselves. Very often
they require the work of professionals.
A termite exterminator will conduct
a visual inspection of a home and
property and may do extensive testing
involving expensive acoustic or infrared
equipment to probe the soil beneath the
house.
Depending on the species of termite,
the exterminator will suggest various
treatments. These may include the
application of pesticides and making
areas around the home less hospitable
to termites. Severely damaged wood
may need to be removed and replaced.
Termites are problematic in many areas
of the world. These insects often stay
hidden and do serious damage that can
cost homeowners a fortune. Treating
termites promptly is essential.
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6 March 2014
Make a plan for garage organization
S
pring cleaning plans are on the
minds of many once the weather
warms up. Many homeowners
feel a sense of renewal in the spring,
when the desire to clean house and get
organized becomes a priority.
Garages are often targets for
homeowners hoping to target clutter.
Once a space reserved for cars,
garages are no longer strictly for
vehicles, used instead to store items
that simply do not fit inside the home
or a backyard shed. Organizing the
garage is typically a weekend or
several-day project. Here’s how to turn
a garage from a cluttered mess into
a space suited for storing items of all
shapes and sizes.
Enlist a helper. Organizing a garage
is a significant undertaking that is
best tackled with two or more people.
Enlist a helper to make the project less
intimidating.
Decide what is important to keep.
Start the organization process by
clearing out the garage and taking
inventory of what you have. Items that
have not been used for several years
can likely be tossed. Make a pile of
what will be kept and then put the rest
at the curb or donate useful items to
charity.
Give thought to where you want
to store particular items. Tools and
items that are used more often should
be stored within reach or where easily
visible, while items that are not used
as frequently can be stored higher up.
Think about how you operate in the
garage. Recycling bins can be stored
closer to the door into the home, while
bicycles and skates can be nearer to
the garage door for easy access.
Group like items together. Categorize
items that will be kept. Garden tools,
camping gear, sporting equipment,
and automotive supplies should be
categorized and stored in their own
areas of the garage, determining if
certain items can be stored inside
the home to free up garage space.
Grouping items together will make them
easier to locate in the garage.
Move boxed items into clear storage
containers. It’s much easier to see
what you have when it is stored in
clear containers. Some containers are
interlocking or stackable, making it
much more convenient to store items
vertically and free up more floor space.
Invest in vertical storage systems.
Moving items from the floor and putting
them on shelving or behind cabinets
can make the garage more organized.
Hooks and bins also can be used.
Employ a peg board full of hooks for
oft-used tools or other items you need
at the ready.
Leave space for hobby and work
areas. Garages are where many
improvement projects begin or where
hobbies, such as woodworking or
crafting, take place. Leave space for
these tasks and hobbies.
Give the space a fresh coat of paint.
Some garages are dingy and dark.
Bright paint on the walls and floor can
open up the space and, when combined
with more lighting, can make it lighter
and brighter.
Garage organization is a common
spring cleaning project. But it shouldn’t
be reserved for this season alone.
Periodic checks of the garage and
straightening up can keep a garage
clean and organized throughout the
entire year and make yearly spring
cleaning much more manageable.
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T
he rejuvenating spirit of spring
makes this beloved season an
ideal time for homeowners to take
stock of their homes and properties and
address any issues that arose during
the winter. While some homes make
it through winter unscathed, the harsh
weather of the year’s coldest season
can add several tasks to homeowners’
springtime to-do lists.
While some projects are best left to the
professionals, others can be tackled even
by those homeowners with little or no DIY
experience. The following are a handful of
projects tailor-made for spring.
Inspect the gutters
Gutters tend to bear the brunt of harsh
winter weather, and come spring gutters
are in need of inspection if not repair.
Winter winds, snow and heavy rainfall can
compromise the effectiveness of gutters,
which can easily accumulate debris and
detach from homes during winter storms.
In addition, gutters sometimes develop
leaks over the winter months. As a result,
homeowners should conduct a careful
inspection of their gutters come the spring,
being sure to look for leaks while clearing
the gutters of debris and reattaching
gutters that might have become detached
from the home on windy winter days and
nights. When reattaching loose gutters,
make sure the downspouts are draining
away from the foundation, as gutters
that are not draining properly can cause
damage to that foundation and possibly
lead to flooding.
Take stock of roof shingles
Much like its gutters and downspouts,
a home’s roof can suffer significant
damage over the course of a typical
winter. Shingles may be lost to harsh
winter winds and storms, so homeowners
should examine the roof to determine
if any shingles were lost (lost shingles
might even be lying around the property)
or suffered damage that’s considerable
enough to require replacement. Summer
can be especially brutal on shingles,
especially those that suffered significant
damage during the winter. If left
unchecked or unaddressed, problems
with damaged shingles can quickly
escalate into larger issues when spring
rains and summer sun inevitably arrive,
so homeowners should prioritize fixing or
replacing damaged shingles as quickly as
possible.
Check for freeze damage
Frozen temperatures can be hard on
humans and homes alike, but unlike
humans who can stay inside when
temperatures dip below freezing, homes
are forced to withstand the elements
throughout the winter. External hose
faucets are often susceptible to freeze
damage. To inspect such faucets, turn the
water on and then place a thumb or finger
over the opening of the faucet. If your
thumb or finger can completely stop the
flow of water, the pipe where the water
is coming from is likely damaged and will
need to be replaced.
Examine the lawn for low spots
Once a lawn has thawed out,
homeowners can patrol their properties
looking for low spots in the yard or even
low spots within spitting distance of the
home’s foundation. Such spots increase
the likelihood of flooding. Flooding near
a home’s foundation increases the
risk of potentially costly damage, while
low spots on the lawn that go ignored
can make great breeding grounds for
insects, including mosquitoes, when the
weather warms up. When low spots are
detected, fill them in with compacted
soil. Compacted soil can prevent spring
rains from flooding a yard or damaging a
home’s foundation.
Assessing potential property damage
is a rite of passage for homeowners in
the spring. Though some damage is
significant, oftentimes even novice DIYers
can work their homes and properties back
into shape in time to enjoy spring and
summer.
Each spring, homeowners should
inspect their gutters to ensure the
gutters are still attached to their
homes and free of debris.
Home projects
perfect for spring
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8 March, 2014
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