Show Notes: Refreshing Your Space
The windows have been closed, the patio furniture stored safely in storage, and your AC was on vacation.
But not anymore!
Throw back those curtains, open those windows, and liven up your outdoor living area. The weather demands it!
The Carey brothers talked about how to select the best finish for your deck or porch, how to care for your solar panels in terms of bugs and birds, prepping your AC after winter, and how to brighten a room that has no natural light.
Dig into the notes below and let’s refresh some rooms, some patios, and some spaces for these warmer months!
How to Select Finishes for a Deck or Porch
Finishes do more than make the wood look good. The right finish will protect your deck and help it seem a natural extension of your landscape design.
When you’re out shopping for deck finishes, think first about the color you want—for example, brown, red, or green. Then consider what shade of that color your deck should be—dark brown, tan, pale red, or dark green. Then give some thought to what sheen (flat or glossy) will look best. Decks generally look best with a flat sheen
Types of Sealant
- Oil-Based Clear Sealer
- Latex Clear Sealer
Types of Stain
- Semitransparent Stain
- Heavy-bodied Stain
Stains are somewhat less expensive than paints, take less time to apply, and go on easily over rough and smooth surfaces.
Paints conceal some defects and tend to last longer and look better than stains on smooth surfaces. Exterior alkyds (oil-base products) are more costly, more difficult to clean up, and slower-drying. Water-base latex paints cost less, clean up easily, and dry quickly. Each comes in a range of colors and sheens (gloss, semigloss, and flat or matte). New, unpainted surfaces need to be primed first. Oil-base primers provide better protection on raw wood than water-base primers. Add stain blockers to stop bleed-through from redwood and cedar. A good-quality acrylic-latex top coat applied over an alkyd primer makes a durable finish.
How to Know if You’re Deck is Properly Sealed
Is your deck sealed properly? In some cases the answer is obvious. Old wood with a dried-out look clearly needs a stiff dose of sealer. But boards that look OK may also be in danger of drying out. So do a quick test once or twice a year. Sprinkle a little water onto the surface. If the water beads up and does not soak in within two minutes, the board is sealed well enough. If water soaks in within 2 minutes, apply additional sealer.
Birds and Bees VS Solar Panels
Birds poop; it’s a proven fact. And they are not too picky about where they do it either.
Solar panels create a nice, cool spot that is perfect for helping to keeping your house cooler during the summer. It’s also the perfect place for birds to build their nests. This in itself is generally fine, but with nests come lots of poop. And most people don’t like the idea of mounds and mounds of bird droppings piling up on their roof (and definitely not on top of their panels).
What to do? Fortunately, there are a variety of solutions to the problem.
From practical to wicked awesome, here are a few items that can help protect your panels:
- Bird mesh: To seal up the area under the panels, you can install a wire mesh that clips directly to the solar panels and goes completely around the entire array. Or for a less expensive version, plastic bird netting will pretty much do the same thing but may not weather the elements as well.
- Spikes: they may look medieval, but spikes along the edges of your panels make things uncomfortable and will help keep the birds from hanging out long enough to make a mess.
- Plastic birds of prey: The old fake owl trick still works, believe it or not. Especially if its head swivels around in the breeze. Or if you want to go really high-tech, take a looksy at (he even has his own Twitter feed).
And sometimes it’s not the birds you need to look out for. Bees and wasps look for cool spots to build their nests and hives too. But they tend to get their creations tangled up in all of the wires. Wasps are a lot more aggressive than birds when you disturb their home so be careful when examining them. It’s a lot harder to try and keep them away but if they do become a nuisance, best to call a professional for hive removal. Remember, safety first!
Whether you decide to live in mutual harmony with your panel-dwelling friends or take steps to keep things animal/pest free, choosing the most humane way to do so is always the most eco-friendly way to proceed.
Get Your AC Ready For Use After Winter
Before the warm weather changes to the hot summer months, it is a good idea to ensure your AC is ready for the task by following a few simple steps to ensure the system can handle the heat and you can head off any possible issues that may arise before the temperature gets too hot! Here are just a few of the tips provided by DIY Round Table.com. Click here to learn all of them!
- Remove any covers installed on the condenser.
- Make sure the condenser is clean, including the fins.
- Check the refrigerant lines for insulation around them.
- Clean or replace the air filter.
- Ensure the condensation line that carries water away from your unit is not clogged. If it gets clogged it can back up into your home and cause a lot of damage like mold and mildew.
- If your unit has a humidifier, make sure you turn it all the way down.
How to Brighten a Room That Has No Natural Light
Nothing is quite as depressing as a dark room. If you have a room in your home that lacks sufficient natural light, you can take steps to brighten it up. With a few tweaks, your room can feel warm and inviting again.
- Add More Natural Light
- Install Glass Doors
- Add Lighting
- Hang a Reflective Surface
You can learn more about how to brighten a room with the above techniques at ExtremeHowTo.com.
The Carey Brothers also mentioned Wet & Forget Weekly Shower Spray. A product you can spray in the shower and leave overnight to keep your shower clean.
- Deck Finishes: https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/deck/ideas/selecting-deck-finishes/
- Birds, Bees, Solar Panels: https://ilovemysolar.com/birds-and-solar-panels/
- AC Ready for Summer: https://diyroundtable.com/how-to-prepare-your-air-conditioner-for-summer/
- No Natural Light: http://blog.extremehowto.com/2014/04/22/how-to-brighten-a-room-that-has-no-natural-light/
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
Thank you for tuning in to refresh your home! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Refreshing Your Spaces” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired May 18, 2019.