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Tips For Refreshing Your Home With Paint Color

(ARA) - For many people, the onset of spring and summer is the ideal time to take on a home improvement project. Paint is a popular choice for those looking to freshen up their space, given that it is an easy, economical activity and a fun way to make a dramatic difference.
In fact, painting tops spring home improvement wish lists, according to the 2012 Spring Home Improvement Survey by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). With seven of 10 homeowners planning home improvement projects, nearly half (49 percent) cite painting as the most-desired need. They say that bedrooms and bathrooms are the first targets for fresh paint (both at 29 percent), followed by living or family rooms (28 percent). To help people jump start spring endeavors with low-cost project ideas and tips, NARI and Sherwin-Williams are launching National Painting Week on April 16. "People are looking for more cost-saving ways to enhance their spaces," says NARI chairman Paul Zuch, certified remodeler. "Some of the most dramatic transformations are projects like resurfacing cabinets or changing kitchen or bathroom hardware, as well as painting the interior or exterior of your home." With today's technologies at your fingertips, determining the right paint color is easy and anyone can be their own interior decorator.

* Choose colors like a pro using coordinated color collections. "It's easy to achieve designer looks in your own home with HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams," says David Bromstad, HGTV designer. "Each of the collections represents a style to match your own, and features colors that work together in any combination. The wallpaper coordinates with the colors and the exterior color collections highlight your home's architecture to achieve a harmonious look room to room, inside and out."

* See your finished look without picking up a brush with Sherwin-Williams' color visualizer, where you can digitally repaint your space, or get inspired with Chip It! (www.letschipit.com), which instantly turns any online image into a color palette using more than 1,500 colors. With the mobile ColorSnap app, you can turn anything that inspires you into paint colors. Capture an image with your smartphone and you will be able to see the paint color and two complementary colors.

* Liven up your living area by revamping the bedroom, giving new life to an old piece of furniture or staining the deck.

* Define your style. Make a statement combining bolder paint colors with their neutral counterparts.

* Use high-quality materials. Spending a little more at the outset saves money in the long run.

For more tips, visit www.NationalPaintingWeek.com.

Ten Cold-Weather Plumbing Tips For Homeowners

(ARA) - That first chilly autumn morning is the perfect reminder that when winter arrives it can be sudden, often leaving homeowners unprepared for the plumbing problems associated with cold weather. The number of frozen pipe claims nearly tripled nationally from 2008 to 2009, to more than 26,000 claims. This hassle and extra expense is easily prevented with a couple hours worth of weekend chores or a quick call to your local plumber.
Failure to prepare early might prove costly when pipes freeze, which is why the plumbing experts at Roto-Rooter recommend taking these winterization precautions early, when time is on your side, instead of waiting until cold weather arrives.

These 10 tips that can save you a bundle are easily managed in between raking leaves and carving pumpkins.

1. Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, water in hoses will freeze and expand causing connecting faucets and pipes to freeze and break.

2. Inspect outside faucets. If dripping or leaking, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before a freeze.

3. If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from the pipes.

4. Cover outside faucets using an inexpensive faucet insulation kit.

5. Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.

6. Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing. Note that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day.

7. Your water heater works harder during winter months. Drain corrosion-causing sediment from the tank, which reduces energy efficiency if it's not removed.

8. Set water heater thermostat to 120 F for optimum performance without risk of scalding.

9. Clear any leaves and debris from roof gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage throughout the winter season.

10. Inspect and clean sump pit. Remove any rocks and debris from pit then dump a bucket of water into the sump pit to test the pump. If it turns on and pumps water out then turns itself off, it is operating properly.
Visit www.RotoRooter.com/plumbing-basics to view an instructional video on winter plumbing preparation and what to do in the event that a pipe does burst. Become a fan on Facebook to stay up-to-date on plumbing tips for every season.

Don't Let Stink Bugs Hibernate In Your Home

(ARA) - School carnivals, college football and cooler temperatures all mark the arrival of one thing - the fall season. While you may welcome the temperature change, it's important to remember that pests such as stink bugs seek a cozy place to settle as fall weather creeps in. Your home can provide the perfect place for warmth and shelter for these unwanted guests.
Stink bugs, which get their "smelly" name from the pungent odor they emit when disturbed or squashed, begin looking for warm places to hibernate in preparation for the winter, such as attics, crawl spaces or inside walls. After the fall move-in, homeowners typically don't notice these brown-colored pests again until they become active in the spring, gathering on walls and near windows looking for an escape route.

Originally from Asia, brown marmorated stink bugs were first introduced to the U.S. in the late 1990s. Currently, these nuisance pests are in 17 states - mainly east of the Mississippi River. Because they reproduce quickly, stink bugs have the potential to spread to more states, infesting homes along the way.

"Female stink bugs can lay up to 240 eggs in a lifetime, making them nearly impossible to control without a professional's help once they've invaded a home," says Orkin Mid-Atlantic Region Technical Director Kim Kelley-Tunis. "One of the most important things homeowners can do is pest proof in the fall to prevent stink bugs from entering."

Kelley-Tunis recommends the following tips to help prevent stink bugs from getting inside your home:

* Use caulking materials to seal any cracks around doors and windows. * Protect vents in attics and crawl spaces with screens. * Repair torn or damaged window screens. * Install weather stripping on doors to seal gaps. * Eliminate food sources in and around your home, including weeds, overgrown foliage and excess leaves. * Remove vegetation around the exterior of your home. * Contact a licensed pest control professional with experience treating for these pests. Don't let stink bugs ruin your fall season. To receive a free home inspection or for more information on stink bugs, visit www.orkin.com.

Protect Your Deck This Winter

(ARA) - As the leaves start to change color, you may find yourself reminiscing about the hours of enjoyment spent outside on your deck. While warm weather gatherings and summer barbecues are a favorite pastime of the season, the combination of foot traffic, food spills and weather can take its toll on any deck.

Before the chill in the air turns into harsh winter weather, clean and protect your deck to prepare it for the long winter months ahead.

"Smart homeowners recognize that seasonal changes can wreak havoc on decks unless properly maintained," says Fiona Seal, Rust-Oleum Wood Care brand manager. "But with a few simple steps, you can winterize your deck so it survives the onslaught of ice, snow, sleet and moisture that can cause damage during the months ahead."
Here are a few deck survival tips that can keep your deck looking beautiful longer.

* Clean thoroughly: Ground-in dirt and barbecue stains can ruin your deck's appearance and ultimately cause degrading of the wood. Exposure to sun can cause wood to gray and weather and exposure to moisture can create the perfect conditions for the growth of mold, mildew, moss and algae. So it's important to clean your deck thoroughly to remove the remnants of summer and get it ready for winter.

Use a bleach-free cleaner specifically formulated for wood to restore your deck to its natural beauty without the bleaching or yellowing that chlorine bleach can cause. Cleaners like JOMAX Deck Wash loosen and lift dirt, and remove gray weathered wood and stains from mold and mildew to prepare the deck for a new protective coating. And the convenient hose mount applicators make these cleaners easy to use. Just attach to an ordinary garden hose and spray. It's that simple.

If your stained or painted deck has seen better days, consider stripping any faded or deteriorating finish prior to applying a water repellent sealer or stain.

* Apply a protective finish: After cleaning, it's important to apply a water repellent finish to protect your deck against the damaging effects of winter. Moisture such as ice, snow, sleet and rain can penetrate the surface if not protected, which can cause splitting, cracking and warping. Fortunately, there's a wide variety of premium exterior wood finishes that offer protection against the elements, while giving you the opportunity to achieve any look you desire.
For example, if you're looking for a clear water repellent to protect against water damage without changing the color of the wood, choose a product like Rust-Oleum Premium Water Sealer. It will protect your deck against the elements for three years.

Or for maximum protection against water absorption and maximum durability, choose a product like Rust-Oleum Premium Deck and Fence Stain. It's available in both solid and semi-transparent formulas in 22 different colors so you can choose any look you desire. What's more, it's backed by a 10-Year Satisfaction Guarantee so it will keep your deck protected and looking beautiful for years.

Rust-Oleum Premium Deck and Fence Stain also features breakthrough Cool Touch technology, which reflects solar rays to keep surfaces cooler to the touch. It's the perfect preparation for next season's warm summer weather. For product information or more helpful wood care tips, visit www.rustoleum.com.

How Roofing Brings A Custom Look To Fine Homes

(ARA) - For some people, selecting roofing material is an afterthought, but savvy homeowners, remodelers and builders know a beautiful roof creates architectural appeal that can top any other residence in the neighborhood.

Distinctive roofing completes the visual picture, accenting steep gables and supplying attractive color fields to hipped roofs. Existing homes can also benefit from the striking rejuvenation of a new roof, which adds instant attractiveness where roof appeal may not have been much of a consideration before.

Slate roofing has long been prized for its beauty, following its rise in popularity through America's early years. The picturesque look of slate is now available through the advanced technology of composite slate, created with molds cast from real slate. Unlike natural slate, it won't break or delaminate. InSpire Roofing delivers Old World elegance to both expansive and more intimate size homes, ranging in style from rustic to contemporary.
For homeowners who want to achieve a custom look, composite slate combines a perfect blend of high style and high technology to complement a multitude of architectural styles and exteriors. "Coming in the industry's widest color palette, InSpire adds richness, deep texture and the authentic look of natural slate, without the high cost and heavy weight that comes with it," says Jonathan Wierengo, vice president of marketing for The Tapco Group. Crafted from compressed limestone and virgin resins, including recycled content, InSpire is an innovative green product that even performs better than natural slate and is backed by a transferable limited lifetime warranty.

Composite slate brings artistic flair to homes clad in stone, wood, fiber cement or other materials, and adds interest on dormers, multiple gables and cross gables. Its beauty draws the eyes upward to soaring ridges, and also complements features like chimneys and eyebrow windows. Renovated brick or stucco homes can deliver a dramatic architectural statement with a new roof.

To achieve an historic look, homeowners can choose nuanced grey hues, even combining Dover Grey, Slate Grey, Pewter Grey and Charcoal Grey. These are offered among the seven standard and 11 premium colors available from InSpire, along with seven blended colors to help homeowners create custom looks that can be bold, rustic or traditional. The elemental feel of Emerald Green, the dark earthiness of Red Clay and the depth of Stone Black, also partner well with grey shades. The nature-inspired textures and colors of Moss Green and Red Cedar are a perfect fit for timber homes and rustic cabins.

To visualize your home with the natural elegance of InSpire Roofing, visit www.inspireroofing.com to pick the right color or color combination for your roof or call (800) 971-4148 for more information. InSpire Roofing Products is a division of The Tapco Group and a U.S. Green Building Council Member.