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Home Beautification

Little Touches That Can Make a Big Difference

By | Buying/Selling Homes, Happy Home, Home Beautification | No Comments

You are probably already aware of the major things you need to do around your home to get it ready for sale. These include getting rid of clutter, doing minor repairs, and making everything clean and tidy so every room is as much of a showcase as possible.

But there are a myriad of little touch ups you can do that you may not have thought about before… touch ups that can make a big difference in how attractive your home looks to potential buyers.

Here are just a few:

  • Paint or replace the mailbox.
  • Add a couple of flowering plants to key areas, such as the dining room, living room, and just outside the front door.
  • Patch up any minor cracks in the driveway and walkways. (If there is a major crack, consider getting it repaired by a professional.)
  • Put out the welcome mat. Literally! If it’s not clean and completely free of stains, replace it.
  • Clean your stainless steel kitchen sink using a special stainless steel cleaner and brightener. The effect will be dramatic; the sink will look like new.
  • Use a special spot cleaner to lift any stains from carpeted areas.
  • Replace plain or out-of-style light fixtures in the main areas of your home, such as the hallway and living room. Without spending a fortune, you can make a big difference in how these areas look.
  • Consider replacing the hardware on the doors and drawers of old kitchen cabinetry. That, along with some touch-up paint or varnish on worn areas, can make your older kitchen look young again.

These simple ideas can have a big impact on first impressions, yet they don’t cost much to implement, and you can probably do most of them in less than a day.

Robin Spiers & Associates

Call/Text: 403-813-6346 | Office: 403-202-4798

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Easy Guide to Staining Your Deck and Fence

By | Home Beautification, Home Maintenance | No Comments

Easy Guide to Staining your Deck and Fence

Applying a wood treatment such as a stain or paint help prolong the life of your exterior wood by protecting it from the sun’s rays and moisture. Skipping maintenance on your exterior wood you risk having the wood dry, crack, split, warp, turn grey and rot.

PREPPING TO STAIN

Sand
Adam’s favorite thing to do! Not… Sanding is never a good time, though it is very important to sand to avoid splinters if you have splitting and cracks in your deck. For a semi-transparent stain it is important to sand in the same direction of the wood’s grain to avoid the scratches & resulting staining lines caused from sanding against the grain. Therefore, a sanding puck or a belt sander would work better than an orbital sander. We rented a handheld belt sander from Home Depot for $16/4hrs or $23/24hrs and a 2-pack of belts for $15.

Clean
Whether your deck has been stained before or not it is important to clean the wood with a deck cleaner before staining. It took me awhile to wrap my head around this, as I was looking to save time by skipping this step as our deck hasn’t been stained before so I thought it would be considered cleaned. However, it helps open the pours, removes BBQ grease, dirt, and bits of grass or whatever may be in your deck or fence. With your fence it may be more difficult to spread the cleaner on, so I was told that you COULD wash the fence with your garden hose (NOT A PRESSURE WASHER – this will damage the fibres of the wood) if it hasn’t been treated before. Though it is always best to use a wood cleaner on all exterior wood before painting/staining, nonetheless.

Tips for Applying a Wood Cleaner:
1. Spray the wood with your garden hose first
2. Apply the cleaner however you feel is best – could use a painting roller or pump sprayer. We chose to use a painting roller.
3. Scrub the cleaner on wood using a push broom.
4. Let sit for 15 Minutes.
5. Rinse off with garden hose.
6. Let it properly dry for 2 days before staining.

APPLY WOOD STAIN

Selecting Wood Paint/Treatment
You can go with a transparent, semi-transparent or solid color. If you prefer to see a wood grain you need to select a transparent or semi-transparent stain (this is what we chose!). For Alberta’s climate it is important to find a stain with good sunscreen properties and UV protection in order to extend the lifespan of your exterior wood. Having some waterproofing properties is important as well, though in Alberta we don’t get tons of rain so I was told this is less of a priority. When you have higher water-resistant stain you will likely have a glossier and more smooth of a coating on top which will make your deck more slippery, especially when there is snow on top of it. With us having kiddos we are going to choose one that is less glossy in order to prevent falls and accidents.

Stain/Paint
For solid stains or paints you could use a roller to apply, with following up with a brush to get the stain into the cracks and seams. With a semi-transparent stain you will want to use a brush to apply the stain on the wood. It is best to complete a piece of wood then move onto the next in order to have the stain blend nicely in. Be cautious around siding when applying the paint, you may like to use green painters tape to prevent paint and splashes from getting on your siding. Be sure to apply 2 coats, this helps your color and wood protection to last longer. It should be able to last 1-3 years.

After all that hard work, be sure to pour yourself a cold one and enjoy your beautiful deck/fence!

 

 

Barbecue Cleaning Tips

By | Home Beautification, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized | No Comments

How to Clean & Maintenance your BBQ

Last summer we had an incident where the grease in our tray caught fire in our BBQ, requiring us to use our fire extinguisher to put out the fire before it spread.  Grease fires can be extra dangerous as often someone’s first instinct is to throw water on it, which only causes it to spread! We hope everyone has a fire extinguisher in their home for the unexpected times such as this.

With the arrival of barbequing season we wanted to share some tips on how to prevent fires such as this through proper cleaning & maintenance on your BBQ.

How to Clean a Gas BBQ Grill

  1. Turn off and disconnect the gas bottle(propane tank).
  2. Clean your BBQ grill while still warm.  Use steam cleaning trick (below) to keep it warm while eating.
  3. Brush and/or scrape your grill grates and hot plates to remove burned on food.
  4. Use your dishwasher to clean your grates and hot plates.
  5. Clean inside of grill with warm soapy water and a stiff brush.
  6. Rinse off Teflon grill sheets.
  7. Clean the drip tray by discarding foil and absorbent material.
  8. Clean outside if grill with warm soapy water and a soft sponge.
  9. Re-assemble grill grates and hot plates.
  10. Replace drip tray foil and refill with BBQ grease absorbent mix or kitty litter.
  11. Re-position Teflon grill sheets.
  12. Reconnect your gas bottle and check connections for leaks with soapy water.
  13. Run the BBQ grill on high for 15 minutes to burn off any remaining soap or water.
  14. Apply cooking oil to grates and hot plates to re-season.

Remember to be careful with painted and stainless steel surfaces.

Use non-scratch scrubbers, always test on a small area and follow the grain on any stainless steel.

SOURCE: Elgas.com

15 Tips for a Speedy Home Sale

By | Home Beautification, Uncategorized | No Comments

15 Tips for a Speedy Home Sale

  1. Sell your home first, then buy.
  2. Know your hidden monsters.
    – Have a pre-listing home inspection
    – Have answers and information for any areas that may be of concern (Ex: quotes)
  3. Obtain a new Real Property Report if there has been any changes to the exterior structure of your home (Ex: Deck, a RPR costs roughly ~$900)
  4. Get permits for any work that has been done to your home.
  5. Paint! Painting is one of the few renovations that you earn a positive return from.
    – Have a paint consult to ensure an appealing color is chosen.
  6. Sell the potential
    – Purchase plus improvements can often be built into mortgages for your buyers
  7. Look organized.
    – Collect warranty information, manuals, label keys etc…
  8. De-clutter. Soon this home will no longer be yours.
    – Closets and cupboards too.
    – Purchase new display towels for bathrooms.
  9. De-personalize
    – Remove photos.
    – Have fresh and appealing bedding.
  10. Creep on show homes for staging ideas.
  11. Pay attention to curb appeal.
    – Make the pathway inviting
    –  Flowers
    – Clean up leaves, snow & dog feces.
    – Clean oil/vehicle spills off driveway.
  12. Use special feature signage around home.
  13. Leave during showings.
    – Bring your pets too.
  14. Get professional photos taken of your home for your MLS listing.
  15. Beware of overpricing. Be competitive

We work with a large number of realtors every month, if you are looking for a referral to a top-notch realtor – Just Ask! We would love to learn exactly what type of realtor you are looking for and help pair you up with the right one!

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Creating Hygge In Your Home

By | Happy Home, Healthy Home, Home Beautification | No Comments

Creating Hygge In Your Home

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word meaning “Cozy Living”

  • Comfort
  • Relax
  • Peace
  • Social

“Hygge inspires joyful living, simple pleasures, togetherness, peace and warmth. It celebrates family and friends and taking time for relaxing and recharging. Hygge embraces community and the everyday; it is sharing a meal at the kitchen table and sitting quietly by a roaring fire on a rainy night.”  – Krista Hermanson of Krista Hermanson Design

How can we create Hygge in our home? It is more than just design, it includes taking time out of our day to relax, recharge and connect in our home. I believe a space influences our feelings, mood and activities; so by creating a space conducive to these hygge activities, we will be off to a good start!

  • Textures (thick knitted pillows or blankets, soft throws, lush area rugs)
  • Natural items (wool, fur, raw wood, ceramics)
  • Your favorite photos & things that you love
  • Candles (or room diffusers)
  • Music
  • Delicious foods and drinks
  • New bubble bath & pajamas/loungewear
  • Time spent with friends & loved ones
  • A good book or boardgame
  • Take up a new hobby (turn off the TV and reconnect in a calming activity, ex: knitting, poetry, writing, journalling, or crossword puzzles)
  • Simplicity – indulge in the simple pleasures of life. No need for extravagance
  • Flowers & plants