Do-It-Yourself Projects

  • Thompson Creek Reviews Ways to Combat Winter Cabin Fever

    1/2/2013 5:34 PM

    Are your kids or grandkids stuck inside on a cold winter’s day?  Are you tired of hearing, “I’m bored!” every five minutes? Here are some fun and easy activities to enjoy and combat the boredom of being stuck indoors. Make homemade playdough. Mix two parts white glue with one part liquid starch in a bowl. Let dry until the dough is pliable; you may have to add a bit more glue or starch. You can add food coloring for different shades. Be sure to store in an airtight container.  

  • Easy Home Renovation Projects

    1/2/2013 5:32 PM

    As you put away the last of the decorations, you realize that January provides you with a lot more free time than you’ve had during the holiday season. With spring still a long way off, why not stay inside to ride out the cold winter by checking off some projects from your to-do list? Repaint a room. Whether your family room walls have seen better days or you want a more updated palette in your bedroom, a bucket of paint and a weekend day can transform a room. Be sure to repair any drywall damage, sand, and allow to dry before painting.

  • Thompson Creek Window Company Reviews Winter Weather Safety Tips

    12/31/2012 12:13 AM

    When winter weather hits our region, the outside of your home can become a treacherous area. If there’s measurable snow, you need to remove it from your sidewalks and driveway. That’s straightforward enough – shovel or plow the areas to clear a path for vehicles and pedestrians. How can you make sure your sidewalks are safe? First, clear off all the snow. If a lot of snow is predicted, you may want to clear your walkways a couple of times during the storm rather than waiting until it’s over and shovel 10, 12 or more inches all at once. Be careful; snow shoveling injuries send on average more than 11,000 people to the hospital every year. A recent long-term study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine determined that snow shoveling can lead to bad backs, broken bones, head injuries, and even deadly heart problems.

  • Gift Wrap – Recycle It? Reuse it? Rip it?

    12/21/2012 2:30 PM

    The holiday season generates a lot of trash. According to the Clean Air Council, an additional five million tons of waste is generated during the holidays. Four million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags. And for every pound of wrapping paper that we throw away there are several pounds of cardboard packaging, plastic blister packs, and twist ties.   To help keep excess waste out of landfills, what can you recycle? If you order gifts online that are shipped in cardboard boxes, break them down and add to your paper recycling pile. Or save them (nest them inside each other to save space) and use them for larger gifts or for storing holiday decorations. Save the packing peanuts and bubble wrap to reuse.

  • Embedded thumbnail for Want Clean Gutters for Winter?

    Want Clean Gutters for Winter?

    12/5/2012 2:15 PM

    Just about all the leaves have dropped from the trees in our area. If your property is wooded, no doubt you’ve spent some time over the last few weeks getting the leaves up off your yard. But what about your gutters? Now is a great time to inspect and clean out your gutters before any winter snow or freezing temperatures arrive. Otherwise, you could be faced with backed up and overflowing gutters. Or ice dams could form during periods of heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Cleaning gutters isn’t necessarily an easy task. If you don’t have a professionally-installed gutter system that blocks leaves and debris from entering the gutters, you’ll need to get up on a ladder to clean them out. There’s the risk of injury from a ladder fall, so if you have any hesitations then call in an expert.

  • Cold Weather and Ice Dams

    11/1/2012 3:41 PM

    If you were in the mid-Atlantic area during the winter of 2010-2011, you may have first-hand experience with ice dams. Ice dams are caused when melting snow from your roof runs down and refreezes at the edge of your roof. But what causes ice dams to form, and is there anything a homeowner can do to prevent them? After falling snow builds up on a roof, it eventually melts from exposure to the sun as well as heat rising up through the house – especially if you have poor insulation allowing heat to escape through the roof. The melted snow drains downward until it reaches the eaves or gutter. Once it reaches this area, it often refreezes because eaves and gutters typically don’t warm up like the upper areas of your roof. Because these areas remain cold, the ice is allowed to build up. Eventually, an ice dam is created along the edge of your roof.

  • Winterize Your Home

    11/1/2012 3:36 PM

    Whether you’re a ski fanatic or prefer lounging on a warm beach, cold winter weather is inevitable in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. But like it or not, homeowners need to prepare their homes to face whatever winter decides to throw our way. has predicted below-average temperatures and above-average snowfall for our region for the 2012-2013 winter season. So get ready! Start with the exterior of your home. Make sure that your gutters, downspouts, siding, shutters and roof shingles are secure and not loose. Winter winds and storms can easily cause damage to these areas. After all the leaves have fallen, perform a thorough gutter cleaning so they are free-flowing. If you have any drafts, caulk around the exterior of windows and add weather stripping to exterior doors.  Look up at your trees and trim any branches that may be overhanging your roof or driveway. Turn off the water supply to outdoor water valves and drain the lines.  

  • It's leaves and gutters season! So what does that mean?

    10/23/2012 1:49 PM

    Autumn can be a challenging time for homeowners, especially if you have larger trees on your property. All those beautiful colored leaves eventually turn brown and fall. Not only do you need to rake them up from the lawn, but you also need to get them off your roof and out of your gutters. If allowed to collect in your gutters, dead leaves will cause all sorts of problems and potential damage. If the gutters or downspouts clog and can’t carry rainwater off your roof and to the downspouts quickly enough, they will overflow. This can cause moisture issues inside the soffit, fascia and exterior walls, leading to rot and mold. Water accumulating on the ground below the overflowing gutters can lead to foundation damage and water in the basement or crawlspace.  

  • Fall Yard Maintenance Tips

    10/23/2012 1:47 PM

    With autumn’s cooler weather, residents in our area are treated to a full palette of colors to enjoy. Trees begin to put on a beautiful show of fall foliage, many shrubs develop berries and nuts, and fall perennials bloom in all their glory. But homeowners still have a few yard tasks to take care of before putting away the garden tools. Fall provides a great opportunity to get yard growth established, giving you a head start for next spring. If you plant grass seed now, it has time to sprout and establish a good root system before winter dormancy. With the summer heat behind us, this also makes it easier to keep the seed moist for germination. When next year’s heat arrives, the new grass had the fall and spring seasons to mature, giving it a much better chance of surviving summer temperatures.  

  • Chimney Cleaning: Annual Maintenance Protects Your Family and Home

    10/10/2012 3:24 PM

    According to the American Red Cross, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined, and 80 percent of those fire deaths occur in residences. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys. Your fireplace needs regular care and cleaning to ensure a safe and efficient fire. With fall’s cooler temperatures in our near future, now is the time to have your chimney inspected and cleaned. Don’t wait until the cool weather makes you want to build a fire, only to remember you haven’t scheduled the chimney cleaners yet. Creosote, a flammable tar-like substance that accumulates in the chimney and flue, should be removed by a professional.