Choosing the Right FencesSometimes it’s not an easy task to choose where to put up fencing, the type that will best fit a property and the most effective for a particular purpose. Here are a few tips that might help as you face this particular dilemma.

Choose a style that meshes with your property style. For example, if your home is a Victorian, look for old-fashioned fencing designs that bring back the days of old, like a white picket style. Instead of the painted wood framework that quickly peels and can easily rot, you can now get vinyl fences that look like traditional wood but will actually hold up much longer and require little maintenance.

Look for fencing that will fit your property structure. For example, even if you love wrought iron spikes, they may not look that great on your country farmhouse lawn. Choose a design that flows with the overall theme of your yard or lawn. You might want to get a few sample pieces and try them in various places of your open space to see how they fit. Or check out images on the Internet and possibly drive around the neighborhood for some ideas on how to use fencing in creative ways.

Get the type of fencing that serves your purposes. An invisible dog fence will help to keep your pets from wandering off the premises. But it will not keep other dogs or animals from approaching your dog. You may need a chain link fence to prevent other kids or pets from wandering over your lawn and perhaps doing damage or causing problems by digging up a flowerbed or chasing your cats.

Decorative fencing adds attractive accents. Consider adding a wooden rail fence in just a corner of your yard as a focus point, perhaps accented by clusters of daffodils or mums. A low vinyl picket fence makes a nice border along the side of the garage or shed. Use your creativity while shopping at lawn and garden stores or browsing catalogs to select a useful or attractive fence that will add to your property’s value.

Fences can be functional or aesthetic in nature; it’s really up to you. There are numerous styles, materials, and designs available today, and you can shop online if you aren’t able to get out to the stores. Fencing all or part of your property can help to protect it, discourage intruders, and make it attractive simultaneously. Don’t overlook fencing options when planning next year’s lawn or garden.

Adding a privacy or safety fence to your property is a great idea, but sometimes fencing can get expensive.

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Cleaning Your Wooden FurnitureDespite extreme care, accidents with your wooden furniture are bound to occur, especially when there are kids around the house. They invariably tend to spill something on or drag something across your wooden tables or your precious wooden furniture causing stains and scratches which soon become eyesores.

But there is a lot you can do restore all that. Here are some ready guiding tips for the most common stains and problems that may arise with your precious wooden furniture.

Wax or dirt: To clean wooden furniture of wax or dirt, dampen a clean rag with some mineral spirit and wipe across the wooden surface. Do this until all the dirt is picked up into the rag. To remove the dirt that collects in the grooves and crevices of carved areas use a cotton swab dipped in spirit.

Water stains: For recent and mild stains, cover the stain with a clean, thick blotter and press down hard for a few minutes. If that doesn’t work, rub with salad oil, mayonnaise or white toothpaste and leave it on for about 15 minutes. For older or tougher stains leave it for more time, even overnight if required. Then wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Milk or alcohol: For milk or alcohol stains rub it with a paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone with the grain. Substitute pumice instead of rottenstone for dull finishes. Or rub with a cloth dampened with some ammonia. Wipe the surface dry and wax or polish.

White marks: Rub the stain with a clean cloth dipped in a mixture of cigarette ash with salad oil or lemon juice. Once the stain has been removed, wipe the surface dry and wax or polish.

Light cigarette burns: Rub the stained surface with scratch-concealing polish. If that does not work you could try rubbing it with a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone with the grain until the burn mark is completely gone.

Nail polish: Try to blot the spilled nail polish as soon as possible while it is still wet. If it has become dry, rub it with fine steel wool dipped in wax. Wipe the surface dry and wax or polish.

Heat marks: This may be slightly tricky. Rub gently with dry steel wool soap pad or a cloth dampened with camphorated oil or mineral spirits. Be careful not to cause scratches. Use the finest steel wool available. Wipe the surface clean and wax or polish.

Paint marks: If the paint is still wet, it can be removed with water or oil-based paint solvents with mineral spirits. If it has become dry, put some boiled linseed oil on the stain and wait until the paint softens and scrape carefully with a knife or wipe with cloth dampened with boiled linseed oil. Wipe the surface dry and wax or polish.

Scratches: Rub a shoe polish closest in shade into the scratch. This is a very effective and easy solution. You could also use a felt-tip pen of a matching shade to fill into the scratch.

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Backyard Play StructureA child’s dream backyard includes a play structure complete with a slide and swings just like the one at the neighborhood park. Once you have made the decision to make your child’s dream come true then you have several avenues from which to select depending on the amount of money and time you can invest.

One of the most economical means of obtaining a play structure is to buy a used one. Since children eventually outgrow their play structures you can often find a used one at a fraction of the cost. Your time investment will require disassembling and reassembling the structure. To make the task of reassembling easier, you should take a photo of the play structure prior to disassembling.

Check your newspaper classifieds and once you find one, call immediately since they tend to sell quickly. You should also check to see if your newspaper places their classifieds online. Many times the online version is available sooner than the print version which will give you a leading start.

If you decide to build your own play structure you have many options available. You can build totally from scratch by designing a set of plans, purchasing the material needed, and building the set. This is obviously very labor intensive and probably not the best home improvement project for a beginner.

Another option is to purchase a kit from a store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. You can purchase a kit for as little as $299 which includes: design options, some accessories, hardware, brackets, and plans. You must separately purchase slides, lumber and the remaining accessories.

You can also purchase a complete kit which contains all material including lumber. These options are as labor intensive as the previous option but they take the guesswork out of design and building. The final and most expensive option is to purchase your playground already built.

Whichever option you decide upon you need to make certain that the structure is built safely and that your children know how to safely play on their new play structure. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year approximately 205,860 preschool and elementary children receive emergency treatment as the result of injuries sustained on playground equipment.

Therefore, when it comes to playground equipment, safety definitely comes before price.

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We will continue our previous discussion about the types of vacuums that are available these days.

Wet/Dry Vacuums

Wet/Dry vacuums may be the most versatile vacuum cleaner on the market, with numerous attachments and functions it is handy appliance to have around the house. Canister sizes can vary greatly from the smaller 6 gallon to the larger 22 gallon. Horsepower ranges from about 2 H.P. up to 10 H.P. Try to match the size of unit to the size of the job and the frequency of use. Some beneficial features to look for in a wet/dry vacuum include:

Pleated Cartridge Filter: These filters will save you time and money. Just pull it out when it’s full of dust and rinse it off with water.

Wheel Base: Make sure your machine has a wide wheel base, this will help stop it from tipping over, and they generally pull easier.

Drain Valve: To make it easier to empty liquids some units have a drain valve or nozzle located at the bottom of the canister.

Auto shut-off: This sensor has the ability to tell when your vacuum is full of water and automatically turn off the motor.

Some of the tools you can add to a wet/dry vacuum cleaner include: a scrubbing brush, crevice tool, water nozzle, combination nozzle (wet & dry), extension wand, cleaning kits and some larger models have the ability to attach a leaf blower.

Upright vacuums

One of the most common features of an upright model is the bagles system. In addition to increased performance, there is no need to purchase any bags saving you time and money. Emptying the bagles canister can be a little dusty.

Some bagged upright vacuums feature a full-bag alert which will notify you when the bag is getting to full. Both bagged and bagles styles may offer a dirt sensor that notifies you when there is a certain level of particles in the air stream indicating there is still some dirt not being sucked up into the bag. An on/off switch for the power brush is good safety feature to have in case the vacuum accidentally gets pulled over your feet or cord as you focus on using the attachments.

Most upright models come with a standard set of attachments that may include an upholstery tool, a crevice tool and an extension wand. A retractable cord, manual or automatic pile-height adjustment are two more handy features. Some vacuums allow the dirt to be sucked through the bag initially before it reaches the fan, other systems have the dirt goes through the fan first then to the bag, this may damage the fan. A HEPA filter is another common feature found on upright vacuum cleaners.

Canister vacuums

Retractable cords are common on canister vacuums and considering most cords are around 25 feet in length this handy feature helps from having to drag the cord around and possibly damaging furniture. A push of a button or slight tug on the cord will retract it into the vacuums canister.

The nozzle is usually one of two types, a suction nozzle or a power nozzle. To thoroughly clean the carpet it is recommended that you use the power nozzle which will agitate the carpet and loosen up the dirt for a deeper cleaning.

Another feature to look for on a canister vacuum is a suction-control switch; this allows you to adjust the airflow for cleaning delicate material like drapery and upholstery. Some handle grips also have an automatic shut off should you lose your grip and let go of the handle.
Pile-height adjustment is another feature that may be offered on a canister vacuum. Being able to match the height of the vacuum to the height of the carpet will improve cleaning. Automatic pile-height adjustment does not seem to work as effective as manually adjusting the height of the vacuum cleaner.

 

I hope this information helps to narrow down your search to the style of vacuum cleaner that is best suited for your cleaning needs. Next you just need to compare the different manufacturers’ models and features in your price range.

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