Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Changes Under One Hour

Little changes around the house make a world of difference - and they all take less than an hour.

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One-Hour Improvement Projects

Paint Your Front Door
"I always like to see a front door with a fresh coat of paint. It makes a home really welcoming. Just sand down any old lumps or peeling paint patches, then brush on some exterior paint (semigloss) in a color that stands out."

Time: 50 minutes

Change Your Furnace Filter
"You can't see this, but you'll feel it: If you have forced-air heating, change the furnace filter -- before you start the heating season. You'll notice a difference in the air quality, and your furnace will run more efficiently."

Time: 10 minutes

Power-Wash Your Walkway
"Power-wash a brick walkway. Layers of dirt and moss built up on a path can really look dingy. It's easy to rent a power washer and hook it up to your hose. Just make sure you start with a low-pressure nozzle; only go up to high if you don't see results. Afterward, the whole entry will look fresh and bright."

Time: 30 minutes

Dress Up Doors
"I once dressed up some flat door casings in a house I was selling. On top, along the outside edges, I added this new band molding, which has a little ogee detail on it. I mitered the corners and nailed it on with 4d finishing nails. It turned each doorway into a nicer detail."

Time: 45 minutes (per doorway)

Recaulk Your Tub
"No one loves doing it, but recaulking the tub is one of those things that can change your daily outlook. Gently scrape out the old stuff, then fill the gap with a fresh bead of siliconized acrylic caulk. A tip I learned from the pros: Fill the tub with water to expand the gap as the caulk dries, so it won't crack later when you put your weight in it."

Time: 60 minutes