The Hidden Dangers of Traditional Paints

The Hidden Dangers of Traditional PaintsYou want to keep your home environment healthy and safe by locking doors, using smoke alarms and routinely checking your home for possible safety hazards. One aspect of home safety that you may have overlooked is the paint and related solvents that you use and store in your home. How can paint be harmful to your home environment? And what can you do to keep paint and solvents from being a hazard in your home?

What Makes Paint Toxic?
Paint, strippers, and thinners can contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are gases emitted from the paint that can cause health issues. Glycol, xylene, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride and formaldehyde chemicals can be emitted from both solids and liquids and cause health problems for some time after the paint has dried on your home decorating project. Paint fumes can also cause illness issues when paint or paint-related products are being stored. While all people can be affected by breathing in these toxic fumes, babies, children and pregnant women are the most likely to be harmed due to their high respiratory rate.

People who routinely work with paint should protect themselves from the harmful fumes that paint emits. Persons with respiratory problems, children and babies should also be protected from exposure to paint and paint fumes. Government regulations regarding using paint only pertain to professional painters who paint often. These laws do not concern to folks who paint occasionally. Therefore, people who only paint occasionally in their homes need to use some common sense methods to protect themselves and their families from paint-related illness.

Potential Health Problems Associated With Paint Toxins
Lead-based paint is no longer made due to some of the side effects and health problems associated with using the substance. If your home was painted or built before 1978, it is possible for you to have lead-based paint in your home.

Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning due to to lead paint are:
· Nausea
· Coordination problems
· Language and behavior problems
· Slow growth patterns
· Headaches
· Organ damage
· Seizures

Children, babies, and pregnant women are especially susceptible to health problems due to exposure to lead-based paint. Even if your paint contains no lead, the fumes from some paint chemicals may cause health problems.

Some of the health issues caused by paint fumes include:
· Trouble breathing
· Vision problems
· Dizziness
· Allergic skin reactions
· Nose irritation
· Eye irritation
· Headaches

Ways to Reduce the Amount of Toxin Exposure from Paint
One way to reduce the amount of toxin exposure you or your family may receive from paint is to use paint that has a low or no VOCs rating. Also, using water-based paint rather than oil-based paint will go a long way in reducing the VOCs the paint contains to protect your family.

Some other ways to keep you safe and your family from health-related problems due to paint toxins are:
· Read the paint’s label and follow any instructions the manufacturer recommends
· Protect your skin by using painter coveralls
· Use proper ventilation when painting and when the paint is drying
· Store paint and paint-related products in a safe place
· Do not use lead-based paint
· Be aware that your walls may contain lead-based paints if the home was built before 1978
· Clean your skin thoroughly after painting
· Keep paint and paint related products away from children
· Clean up paint splatters and paint chips to prevent children from accidentally eating paint or paint chips

Modern paint is vibrant, holds its color for a long time and is safe when used properly. Paint manufacturers continue to work on making their products safer for the public’s use. People who purchase paint can stay safe from potential paint-related illnesses by following manufacturer’s recommendations as well as following the above suggestions to keep their home a healthy place to live and looking great as well.

About the author:
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy > living, food storage techniques, and self reliance.

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Choosing the Right Doors for Your Home

Choosing the Right Doors for Your HomeWhen you are outfitting your home with all the things it needs, one of the most overlooked elements are the doors. People often underestimate just how important it is to pick out the right doors for their homes. When you are choosing doors, there are many aspects you must consider in order to make sure that they are right for your home. To help you out, here is a smart guide to choosing the perfect doors for your house.

Take Care of Your Doors
If you take good care of your doors, they will last a lifetime. Make sure that you do take care of your doors well. They are one of the few things that is not covered by home warranties. If you treat them well and avoid using them roughly, your doors will look beautiful and stay undamaged for as long as you own your home.

Door Styles
The first thing that you have to think about when you are selecting the doors for your home is what kind of door style fits your needs and wants. Some people like French doors, which are two-piece doors that open down the middle. These can be perfect for areas where you know that you will want to move big items in and out of the adjoining rooms. Dutch doors divide horizontally rather than vertically, which is an old-fashioned look that can add a lot of style to a room.

Some people like gliding and sliding barn doors. They are certainly stylish and functional, but you need to make sure that you always select sliding doors that come from high-quality manufacturers. Anyone who has lived in a home with sliding doors that go off the tracks frequently is well aware how important it is to choose sliding doors of the highest quality to avoid frustrations later on.

Door Materials
Just as there are many different kinds of door styles, there are lots of different door materials that you have to choose from. Many people still like to go with traditional wood doors, but there are so many different types of wood that doors are made from. Many people like doors made from pine, ash and mahogany that are elegant and sturdy. For those looking for an even more stylish wood, going with a high-end option like cherry or oak adds an undeniable feeling of luxury to a door.

Of course, there are lower end woods that you can go with as well. Some people like to use alder wood, which give a causal feeling to a door. There are also doors made from particle board. They will be much less expensive than doors made from solid, more expensive woods, but particle board doors resist warping and are more fire-resistant than traditional wood doors.

Some people choose to use other materials for the doors in their homes. Aluminum doors are inexpensive, but they do not offer as much durability or energy-efficiency as other materials. Steel doors are a sturdy option that offer great protection, but they are also easily dented.

Accessories
You also have to think about the accessories that you choose for you doors. If your doors have windows, you should consider going with windows made from Low-E glass. It offers a high level of energy-efficiency and durability. The knockers, hinges and other hardware are also important.

When you are picking out the hardware, make sure that you choose styles that fit in with your home’s design scheme. Many people these days are choosing to use barn door hardware, which offers an old-fashioned charm that fits in with a wide range of designs. Both your hardware and the doors themselves must be chosen with care to ensure that they fit in well with the look of your home.

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Enhance Your Backyard With a New Deck or Patio

Enhance Your Backyard With a New Deck or PatioMany homeowners have the desire to improve their home so that they can enjoy spending time more comfortably in their backyard. In many homes, the property was constructed originally with a basic concrete patio slab that is rather small in size and nondescript. While this area may provide you with a space to put a few lawn chairs, it may not give you the full outdoor living experience that you are dreaming about for your home. Because of this, you may be dreaming about adding a new deck or an upgraded patio to your backyard. As you make your decision about which option to consider installing, there are a few points to keep in mind.

The Different Features You Can Add to Your Outdoor Living Area
Both decks and patios can be as gorgeous and elaborate as you would like. However, if you plan to add special features to your outdoor living area, you may determine that one is more feasible than another. For example, if you want to install an outdoor kitchen, you may enjoy a concrete or paved area more fully. This is because a masonry surface may be resistant to fire and may be more durable to holding and using items like a large grill, an outdoor refrigerator or other items. If you plan to include these on your patio, consider if they are covered under your home protection plan before you install them.

The Elevation of Your Yard
Both concrete patios and wood or synthetic materials can be used for decks, but it can be more expensive to pour concrete. More than that, if you have a steep grade to your yard, your cost for a concrete patio may be even more significant due to the increased amount of concrete that will be required. If you have a level surface to work with, you may consider either option. However, a more affordable option for a basic patio or deck on a level surface will be a wood deck.

The Maintenance Factor
When you invest in a new deck or patio, you may want to have ample time to relax and enjoy it, and you may not want to spend all of your time maintaining and repairing it. The type of material that you choose to use for a deck or patio will play a key role in your repair and maintenance efforts and cost over the years. A wood deck may require the most upkeep, and it may need to be stained every year in order to keep it looking great and preventing it from splintering due to exposure to the elements. A vinyl or synthetic wood material may be a better option if you prefer the look of wood. With vinyl, concrete and stone materials used for a deck or patio, you can essentially expect the majority of the maintenance work to include power washing the surface from time to time.

The Style
A final point to consider as you determine whether to construct a deck or patio for your home is the style. Decks and patios both can be rather basic or elaborate. Both use natural materials or materials that mimic natural materials. However, with concrete, you may be able use decorative concrete, staining and other techniques to have greater flexibility with the final look.

While it may seem like a difficult decision on the surface, your decision about whether to install a deck or patio may be easier than you might think. After you have reviewed and considered these points, you may be able to make a better decision about your outdoor living project.

AUTHOR BIO: David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about real estate tips, home maintenance and DIY home repair.

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See Scott Sidler of the Craftsman Blog for Free

See Scott Sidler of the Craftsman Blog for FreeThe Amelia Island Museum of History is hosting a Historical Preservation Workshop and you can see Scott Sidler of The Craftsman Blog at this workshop for FREE!

Scott will be discussing topics concerning plaster in historic homes including a hands on demonstration on how to repair plaster; and he can answer all your questions about historic homes.

Scott is the owner of Austin Home Restorations, a company that specializes in renovating and restoring historic homes in Orlando, Florida. He is also the creator of The Craftsman Blog and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling book, Living in the Past: An owner’s Guide to Understanding & Repairing an Old Home.

When not working on, teaching about or writing about old houses, he spends time fixing up his own old bungalow with his wife Delores and their son, Charley.

The event will be held October 25, 2014, at 233 South Third Street, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. Please RSVP to Kayla@ameliamuseum.org or call (904) 261-7378 for more information.

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Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your Backyard

Outdoor Lighting Ideas For Your BackyardMaking your backyard space bright and inviting can be achieved by using pole lighting. Once relegated to curbside appeal of the front yard, lighting poles utilized in a back yard can also create magic behind your home as well. With the right type of lighting, you can achieve a dramatic outdoor room that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Lighting Poles

A lighting pole is a light fixture, usually constructed of weather resistant materials, mostly aluminum or steel and is constructed to resist elements. The pole can either house the wiring and controls that lead to the light fixture that it supports or serve as a base for a self-contained unit such as a solar, candle or other type of self-powered light.

Lighting poles can either attach to an existing structure with mounting brackets or be freestanding. An outdoor lighting pole can make a dramatic statement about your home or business as well as illuminating an area for visibility and safety.

lamp-post-cropWith Outdoor lighting poles and fixtures are becoming less expensive, create a vintage, gaslight look with a post light or hanging lantern that hails back to a bygone era. This French outdoor accent light is both beautiful and functional. Fulham ballasts are used for light fixtures to provide simple and hassle free process.

When decorating an outdoor space, choosing the right type of lighting poles can be important. This Asian or Craftsman style lantern is beautiful in nearly any type of landscaping project and gives off an aura of mystery.

The warm glow evocative of the desert is especially alluring when coupling a Moorish lamp that has been electrified and suspended as part of a lighting pole. The cut-outs in the lamp cast beautiful patterns on walls and around green spaces.

You can construct your own lighting poles and string cafe or even Christmas lighting to light up your patio, deck or garden space by using lighting poles constructed of electrical conduit, conduit pipe straps and end caps. (http://brightjuly.blogspot.com/2012/09/diy-outdoor-string-lights.html) You can even use wooden poles to hold the conduit straps and hold your lighting in place. You can anchor these by attaching them to your deck or putting them in the ground or large planter pots.

These are just a few different choices in using lighting poles to give patio entertaining its own special glow.

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Historic Window Workshop A Success

Historic Window Workshop A SuccessOur Victorian village is full of historically accurate windows and doors, and it takes a bit of know-how to restore, repair and replace these dramatic piece from centuries past. A recent workshop was held in Fernandina Beach. Here is that press release:

Fernandina Beach, FL – In order to help current and prospective historic property owners learn more about the value and importance of historic windows, the City of Fernandina Beach hosted a first-ever historic window workshop on February 9, 2013 at a downtown residence.

This FREE event provided assistance to current and potential historic property owners through an afternoon workshop designed to highlight historic window restoration. The session addressed a variety of topics:

    • Removing and repairing sashes,
    • Securing openings,
    • Removing putty, glass, and paint,
    • Glazing,
    • Reinstalling sashes and weights, and
    • City permitting processes related to window repair.

Jodi Rubin of CCS Restoration in Sanford taught the workshop. Mrs. Rubin has extensive experience in historic window restoration. She was previously the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Orlando for 15 years, taught historic preservation at Rollins College for nine years, and was a residential contractor specializing in historic properties.

Fifteen attendees received an overview of the entire window restoration process. First, Ms. Rubin and Scott Kahlig, of Restoration Concepts, LLC, demonstrated how to remove double-hung window sashes and weights in order to begin the restoration process. Mr. Kahlig also demonstrated how to secure the space after removal of the window sashes.

The group then watched a short film on the sash restoration process that occurs at CCS Restoration, which involves steaming paint and glazing off of the window sashes, repair of any wood and glass pieces, and glazing and priming. Adrienne Burke, Senior Planner with the City of Fernandina Beach, provided a brief overview of the Historic District Council and building permit processes involved with window restoration. The scope of work conducted during the workshop did not require permitting.

Next, the class learned about proper glazing techniques for historic windows, and got the opportunity to do some hands-on work with practice window sashes.

Finally, the group came full circle and observed restored window sashes being returned to their framing, including installation of weights and hardware. Ms. Rubin had worked with the homeowner to obtain the sashes in advance, so that they would be ready for their debut at the workshop. The City thanks Ms. Rubin, Mr. Kahlig, and the generous homeowner for teaching and hosting this event.

The City’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund funded the workshop speakers. City ordinance established the Trust Fund to provide educational opportunities, grant programs, grant matches, and other historic preservation activities for the community. Starting this year, a percentage of HDC application fees will be diverted to the Fund.

For more information on the workshop, please contact Adrienne Burke, Historic Preservation Planner, at 904-277-7325 or aburke@fbfl.org.

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