Common Painting Mistakes

In his role as the “Paint Doctor” for Purdy—longtime makers of handcrafted paint brushes and roller covers—Bruce Schneider fields queries from intrepid do-it-yourselfers on a regular basis. Who better to ask about the most common problems that homeowners encounter in their interior painting projects?

Mistake #1
Choosing Inferior Applicators
Solution: “To get the job done right, you need good quality tools,” Schneider says. “It always boggles my mind that people are willing to spend $40 or $50 on a gallon of premium paint but decide to go cheap on the applicators. Later, when they see a hair on the wall or lumps of roller lint under the paint, they’ll realize the mistake. Investing in good brushes or rollers up front is worth the extra expense.”

Mistake #2
Improper Preparation
Solution: “It may seem obvious, but you always want to do repair work first so that your walls are smooth, clean, dry, and free of loose debris before you begin painting,” Schneider advises.

Mistake #3
Overextending Each Dip of the Brush or Roller
Solution: DIYers often continue applying a dip of paint until the brush or roller becomes dry. The problem? “When you overextend each dip, the paint can dry in the brush bristles, and the fabric on rollers can mat down,” he cautions. “Be sure to always maintain a smooth line of paint. Once the paint appears to break up, it’s time to re-dip.”

Mistake #4
Breathing the Wrong Way
Solution: The way you breathe when painting—especially when cutting in near edges—can affect the steadiness of your hand. “When you need to be precise, hold your breath or breathe out,” Schneider suggests. “Your body moves more when you’re breathing in.”

Mistake #5
Letting Touch-up Paint Dry Out
Solution: To extend the life of your leftover paint, try these tricks. “For water-based paint, place a piece of clear plastic wrap directly on the surface of the paint, then reseal the container,” Schneider offers. “For oil-based paint, add about a half-inch of water on the surface before resealing.”

5 Favourite Picture Hanging Tricks

Hanging a picture is about as DIY as many homeowners get. But although it may seem easy, hanging a picture properly is much more than a haphazard task. Here are five favorite tips for taking a one-hole approach to hanging a picture on the wall.


1. Don’t eyeball it! If you’re hanging multiple pieces of artwork, you need to figure out how they’ll work together before you start making holes. My recommendation is to make a template. Use newsprint or butcher paper to create true-scale templates of your frames, then use painter’s tape to figure out the best arrangement. Young House Love has a great walkthrough of the technique.

2. Don’t use nails—well, not JUST nails. I know every one of you has hung a picture using a simple brad nail. I’ll even admit there are several in my own home hung this way. But they are the pictures most likely to fall off the wall or require regular straightening. A single nail hammered into drywall is not stable enough to support much weight, so invest in the right hardware. My go-to options are self-tapping threaded anchors and screws, which provide a wider balance point without using wire. I’ve  also used steel, hooked wire hangers to great success.

3. Use math—really! If you purposefully stagger art so nobody can tell that your frames are not straight, fear not. A little math will enable to hang series of perfectly spaced art works. I shared my favorite technique on the ReadyMade blog. You can just plug your dimensions into the calculator and be good to go (no fancy equations required).


4.  The best-ever picture hanging tip. Kristen from Celebrate Everyday with Me dubs this trick “the best ever”, and I think she might be right. I’ve seen all kinds of methods for marking a hole on the wall before drilling, but this one tip renders the rest unnecessary. The idea is to create a portable hanger on which to suspend your picture, so that measuring and marking drill holes becomes significantly easier. So brilliant, you should make two!

5. Use a sticky note to capture dust. Since hanging artwork is usually a task done in a finished room, it can create drywall, plaster, or concrete dust on your carpet, floors, or furniture. So just use this little tip: Add a simple, folded Post-It underneath your marked hole to collect most of the dust made from your pilot hole. Genius, right?


By: Chris Gardner –

A Palatable Palette

Few things have a greater impact on the atmosphere of a room than the color of its walls – maybe that’s why picking paint can feel so daunting. But with the help of these tips, you’ll be able to pick your paint colors with more confidence and get results you can happily live with for longer.


  • First – or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say last – don’t choose your wall color until you’ve decided on the other, more permanent elements of your decor, like your flooring and furniture; unlike these elements, paint is relatively inexpensive and easy to change. It’s must easier to match your paint to your carpeting and upholstery than the reverse, as paint is available in literally any shade and your local paint or home improvement store offers custom color-mixing – just bring in a sample, like a fabric swatch, for them to match.
  • Familiarize yourself with the color wheel. It’s a very useful tool that’ll help you understand concepts like warm and cool, active and passive colors, complementary colors, located opposite each other on the wheel, which really make one another pop when used together due to their high contrast, and analogous colors, located next to each other, which share a hue and combine to a more harmonious effect. When you understand the wheel’s fundamental concepts, you’re better equipped to pick color schemes that achieve the look and feel you’re after.
  • Ask yourself some questions about what you need the room to do and be. Want that small and/or dark room to feel bigger and/or brighter? Stick to light, bright shades. Wish that big, open-concept space felt more cozy? Opt for darker shades. Will your bedroom be a relaxing retreat or a place of passion? This is where your color wheel really comes in handy – passive or cool hues like blue and green have a soothing effect, while active or warm hues like red and pink have an invigorating effect.
  • Paint chips may be gree, but it’s well worth the few bucks it costs to buy actual paint samples you can try on for size. If you don’t want to apply them directly to walls, you can always paint over some white poster board and tape it to your wall; this may be preferable as white backgrounds give the truest color rendition. Just be sure you apply your samples or hang your poster board on the very wall(s) you’ll be painting, which leads us to our next and last point….
  • Consider the effect different types and levels of light will have on your paint choices. Check out your samples in morning, afternoon, evening and night light; cooler, paler hues, for example, won’t produce as much glare when exposed to lots of sunlight. Move your samples around as necessary (another advantage of using poster board) to see how the color looks under natural light, which shows color at it’s most true; traditional incandescent light, which casts a warm, yellowish pall; and fluorescent light, which casts a cool, bluish tint.


The Green Advantage

Making eco-friendly improvements to your house is obviously good for the environment, but what’s in it for you? Here’s what you stand to gain by going green.


  • Saving your money. Beefing up your insulation; swapping single-pane windows for double-panes; replacing your outdated appliances with new ENERGY STAR.- rated models; swapping out old lighting for energyefficient lighbulbs and fixtures and installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets will help lower both your energy and water bills – that means that over the long run, more money stays in your pocket each and every month. Plus, certain energy-efficient improvements may even qualify you for tax break, saving you even more money.
  • Making your house a healthier place to live. Traditional paints and carpets, for example, off-gas volatile organic compounds, contributing to indoor air pollution. By applying low-VOC paint and opting for eco-friendly flooring alternatives (such as bamboo, cork, linoleum, or low-VOC carpeting), you’ll improve your home’s air quality. The results? Sleep better; breathe easier; have fewer headaches; and experience less risk of any associated nausea, dizziness, and ear, nose, and throat irritations.
  • Boosting your home’s resale value. Homebuyers are increasingly seeing the value in a more eco-friendly house, precisely due to the lower utility bills and health benefits discussed above. Green improvements both big and small can increase your home’s attractiveness to potential buyers (who are themselves concerned with resale value), helping sell your house faster and for more money.

10 Ways to Get Your House in Tip Top Shape Prior to Selling It!

…and maximize the most income!

Many people want to know what the secret is to getting the most out of their real estate and to appeal to the consumers looking for real estate today. This report will guide you through doing many of those things that will help you get the most money when selling your property:

  1. Paint the interior: Most buyers appreciate a good fresh coat of paint and this will help enhance your properties value. It will also help brighten your house, giving it a new, clean appearance. Stay away from bold, dark and bright colours and focus more on the lighter and softer, earth tone, shades. This will also help make the rooms feel larger and appeal to a broader demographic.
  2. Paint the outside: Curb appeal is important! Of course, depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions. As noted above, stick to lighter neutral colours and stay away from bright colours that people might not like.
  3. Pick up any outside debris, trash or clutter: First impressions make a huge impact on potential buyers. Should your property have unwanted clutter at the initial greeting point, it will not help the marketing and selling of your home. A few hard hours of raking, cleaning and picking up odds-and-ends could add money to your pocket!
  4. Reduce extras and odds and ends from your home: Rooms with too much furniture or decorations can often detract from the showing of your home. Usually too much decor can make the rooms look smaller and may hurt your chances of selling your home. Store unneeded furniture or items that you can do without during the marketing stage of your property listing. Your goal is to make your property look spacious and comfortable. Buyers also want to see rooms that appear and look spacious to them.
  5. Be sure to open blinds and draperies: This is a great idea to help aid the salesperson to sell your home. When your property is in tip top shape and ready to show, having as much light as possible helps brighten your home and gives it a welcoming feel.
  6. Avoid playing music: Although you may like the music playing in the background, it can be a deterrent to the agent and buyers while looking at your home. Keep music off while your home is being shown.
  7. Price your property right from the beginning: Many buyers take the approach and attitude that they can always come down on price. This can be a bad thing to do. Many buyers feel if a home has been listed for a long time that there is something wrong with it. Most agents will tell you that the best activity occurs during the first two to three weeks of the listing begin date. After a few weeks the activity will begin to taper off and showings will decrease, If your home is priced incorrectly from the beginning it will not get a lot of showings and the longer your home is on the market, the more buyers will feel that it’s tainted. Price your home right at the beginning to help get the most activity and a quicker sale. Win-win.
  8. Have your carpets cleaned: It is a good idea to have your carpets cleaned or your hardwood floors polished/waxed. This is normally not too expensive and can usually add a lot of appeal to potential buyers.
  9. Hire a staging company: If possible, hire a staging company to help show you ways to maximize room appeal and value to your residence. Robyn Moser and Associates works with Designing First Impressions with all listings, at no cost to the client.
  10. Purchase new linens and towels for bathrooms: This can help aid in giving a new appearance to your home.

Socket Science


Replacing your burnt-out light bulbs has become a more confusing task of late, not just because of recent legislation that means some products will no longer be available, but because of the dizzying array of new products on store shelves. Below is a guide to help you find the right bulb for the job.

  • Watts: It may surprise some to learn that watts don’t refer to a bulb’s brightness, but to it’s energy use. The lower the watts, the less energy the bulb consumes, and the cheaper it is to use.
  • Lumens: Lumens measure the amount of light output – the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. Being able to compare the lumens (brightness) of bulbs of the same wattage (energy consumption) is very handle for determining which bulb is more efficient.
  • Color Temperature: Despite being measured in Kelvins (K), color temperature refers not to heat but to light appearance. At the bottom of the scale (2,700K to 3,000K) is “warm” or “soft” light, that yellowish glow we associate with traditional incandescent; in the middle of the scale (3,500K-4,100K) is “cool” or “bright” light; and closer to the top of the scale (5,000K-6,500K) is”daylight”, that bluish light that’s been a source of complaint for many CFL and LED light bulb purchasers.
  • ENERGY STAR: Light bulbs bearing the ENERGY STAR logo have met strict, third-party tested and certified standards of energy efficiency; as a result, they use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

As incandescent light bulbs disappear from stores, let’s look at the three basic types of bulbs you’ll have to choose from for your indoor lighting needs:

  • Halogen: These bulbs are as close as you’ll get to traditional incandescent’s. They look the same, offer comparable light quality, are dimmer-compatible, and produce light the same way. Unlike incandescent’s, they use halogen gas (which isn’t hazardous), making them slightly more energy-efficient. Costing more and lasting longer than incandescent’s, halogens are a suitable choice for ambient, general lighting. Just don’t touch their glass and be warned that they get very hot.
  • CFL: Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a significant step up from halogens in terms of cost, energy efficiency, and lifespan. Their life is shortened by frequent on/off switching, though, so they’re  best used where they can be left on at length. Common complaints – the bluish hue, long warm-up time, and lock of dimmer-compatibility – are being addressed by manufacturers. Containing a small amount of mercury, CFLs require special cleanup and disposal methods.
  • LED: Slightly more energy-efficient and significantly more costly than CFLs, light-emitting diode bulbs are much, much longer lasting, making them far and away the most cost-effective option. Unlike halogens and CFLs, however, LEDs are unidirectional, meaning they cast light in only one direction; as such, they’re best used where bright, focused (or task) lighting is needed, While LEDs are dimmable, many bulbs are compatible only with certain dimmers.



Your Home’s Finest

The question we probably get asked the most, when looking through our clients’ homes, is; “What improvements can I do, that will increase the value of my property?” Millions of people have made money by buying properties, fixing them up and turning them over for a profit. While you may not be in the property investment business, the concept is no different.

In this article, we have provided some insight into the home improvement game and its components. We have also provided some guidance into where you should focus your time and energy.

Market Value


The market value of your home is the price you can expect to receive from a buyer for your home. This is based off of the location, motivation, market conditions and, of course . . . the features and improvements of your home. When making any major upgrades to your home, it is best to be sure that you will see a tangible increase in the market value when it comes time to sell.



The saleability of a home is best described as the overall impression your home leaves in the minds of potential buyers. These simple maintenance items may not add dollars to your market value, but will certainly ensure your home sells as quickly, and as close to your asking price, as possible. REALTOR®s and appraisers will give a range of value for a property. By increasing your saleability, you can ensure your home will fall into the high end of the range.

Don’t Put a Nickel In, Unless You Will Get a Dime Back Out 

Canada Cents-10 (2006)(Dime-Elizabeth II-D.G.Regina)

What is your time and effort worth? Too many times we meet people who are eager to do the work, but don’t consider the buyer’s perspective. Some people may pay more for a finished, insulated garage, while it just doesn’t matter to others. In addition, if you spend $50,000 on ponds and landscaping, it is unlikely that a buyer will also feel it is worth that amount of money (perceived value).

Consult a professional to determine if the improvements you choose will be worth your money and will give you a return. Make sure this number is worth your time. If the improvement is an emotional decision, and simply to increase your enjoyment of your home, then don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Market Value

Flooring – Upgrading from carpet & lino to hardwood & tile makes an enormous difference. Go for look, rather than price, as most buyers cannot tell the difference between premium hardwood and mid-grade.

Kitchens – This is usually the focal point of the house. Open concepts, and modern colors are the key. Consider refinishing existing cabinets and just replacing the countertop to save money.

Bathrooms – The upgrades are similar to the kitchen here. Freeing up room in the bathroom makes a big difference. Pedestal sinks can work well for this. Modern looking tile goes a long way here.

Paint – Interior and exterior. Use neutral or modern colors, and unless you are a pro, avoid creative patterns. No murals.

Floor Plan Alteration – People like to entertain and see their guests. When you enter an open home it also feels much larger. Furthermore, three small bedrooms may work better as one large master and a spare.

Professional Basement Development – Builders, contractors, or professionals only, please. Poor workmanship will be adjusted for at the time of sale. You can do some work yourself, but leave the finishing to the pros.


Renovations that could help sell your home!

What are the best upgrades or renovations you can do that add value and help you sell your home? That’s the question on homeowners’ minds as house prices just posted their largest annual gain since 2005 — congrats to those no longer “underwater” on their mortgages — even as interest rates remain tantalizingly low. But here’s the catch: Those same higher prices can make buyers as choosy as a Michelin restaurant reviewer.

Thunder Bay has a hot real estate market right now. While it might seem that a home owner doesn’t have to do anything, adding a little extra before listing your home can really help. With prices at higher levels, the market might seem like the seller is in control. However moving your home faster with a little extra work will put more money in your pocket.

“A house with a $1,600 mortgage payment last year now has a $2,000 mortgage payment,” one broker told the Wall Street Journal. “Buyers are saying, ‘I better like it.’”

To increase your home’s “like” quotient, read on to see which upgrades are worth making and which aren’t.

Worth It: A new front door. Strictly in terms of return on investment, a steel one topped the list of Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2014 — recouping 96.6 percent of the average price. But a fresh coat of paint can work wonders, too.

Not Worth It: A home-office remodel. We know what you’re thinking: With so many more people working from home, wouldn’t it be brilliant to rewire the space for electronic equipment, say, and install commercial-grade carpeting? Not really. The magazine gave it the lowest return on investment (48.9 percent), and the guy who oversaw the study says, “Home offices don’t sell houses.”

Worth It
: A back-up power generator. It’s the biggest gainer in the study, jumping 28 percent over last year, and plays especially well in areas brutalized by storms.

Not Worth It: Major bathroom work. “You could install the most spectacular jetted tub, and it still might not suit a buyer,” says Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, NJ. “Meanwhile, you’d have spent tens of thousands of dollars.” That explains why it made’s list of “6 Worst Home Fixes for the Money” and why you should stick to things like re-grouting the shower.

Worth It: Roofing replacement. There’s a reason this ultimate “curb appeal” enhancer consistently makes Remodeling’s list and is up 11.2 percent over even last year: A roof is the first thing prospective buyers notice even before exiting their cars, and you can kiss that sale good-bye if yours looks like it’s been through hell.

“It’s a huge turn-off,” says O’Neill, “and makes buyers predisposed to find even more things they don’t like.”

Not Worth It: Major kitchen renovations. Again, the key word is “major,” and again it’s a “taste” issue.

Original Source

Engaging the Senses

They may be called viewings or showings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enlist your other senses, in addition to sight, to help you sniff out the right home when visiting potential properties.

Smell: Odours caused by pets, smoking, cooking, or trash are always off-putting, but may or may not be difficult to get rid of. Musty odours, however, may be bigger cause for concern: where there’s a musty odour, there may be mold, and where there’s mold, there maybe a water problem. Whatever strange or offending odour you smell when you walk into a home, make sure you determine its source in order to ensure it’s not symptomatic of a serious problem.

Hearing: Dripping faucets, squeaking doors, running toilets, and rattling appliances might signal a home that hasn’t been well maintained. What about traffic noise? Can you hear music pumping from the corner bar? Can you tell what TV show the neighbours are watching? Is there a train that passes through the area? Be sure to revisit any home you’re considering at different times of the day and week. While things might be quiet on a weekday afternoon, things might sound distinctly different during the morning commute or on a Saturday night.

Touch: Your sense of touch is handy in determining whether a home might have water problems. Note whether hardwood feels soft or springy underfoot. Do carpets feel damp? Press your food down on the flooring around the base of toilets, sinks, fridges, and washing machines to see if there is any give. Feel discoloured spots on the walls – are they damp or soft to the touch? Press a finger into the wood around windows; if it’s soft, there’s rot. 


The Right Stuff: Choosing a contractor well saves time, money & grief

If you are dealing with a major renovation following the devastating June floods, you simply can’t take chances when hiring a contractor.

It may not be a sure thing, but a little homework to identify issues and verify information can be just the thing to save you time and money.

Here are ten tips to help you choose the right contractor:

  • Visit the Better Business Bureau website at to view unbiased business reviews or use the free Request a Quote on-line service to obtain estimates, proposals and general information from BBB Accredited contractors. Your BBB has an extensive data base designed to help you make an informed choice
  • Solicit bids from two or three different companies – all bids should be based on the same criteria
  • Request all estimate be submitted in writing
  • The lowest bid is not necessarily the best
  • Excessively large down payments can be a warning sign – the work should be completed to your satisfaction prior to the final payment
  • Ask a lot of questions – never sign a contract with blank spaces or information not fully understood.
  • Determine whether permits or inspections are required through your local municipality.
  • Ask to see any required provincial or municipal permits or licenses; contact Service Alberta for information on licensing required in this province.
  • Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance
  • Work with contractors who have a verifiable track record

Businesses accredited by the BBB must meet a strict set of standards including building trust and maintaining a positive track record in the marketplace.

BBB President and CEO Sandra Crozier-McKee says, “We’ve been working very hard to get information to home-owners on how to avoid being scammed and how to go about choosing the right contractor.”

“When home-owners engage a BBB Accredited Business, they can have confidence in their choice.”

Sandra adds, “BBB should be top of mind for both consumers and businesses.”

Remember: be savvy – check before you buy at 403-5631-8784 or

– Article Courtesty of Better Business Bureau