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How to choose best hair clippers for home use on Amazon

How to choose the best  hair clippers (click  here to read more ) is one of those decisions that families need to take with a number of considerations in mind. This is because the home setting is a very different environment from the commercial one and hence the selection process of hair clippers needs to factor in this reality.

As a buyer, clippers for domestic use cut across and beyond the personal divide especially for those who have kids in their homes. Before we delve into the factors that you need to look for as you choose these clippers, the following paragraphs will give you some of the benefits of buying these clippers.

  • First of all, home clippers are great tools for enhancing personal moments with one’s self when you take that moment and groom yourself.
  • Second, these clippers will become tools for enhancing priceless family moments with your kids. This is because you can use that very time that your kids would have spent in the salon and bond with them.
  • The third benefit that will come with this decision is that it will facilitate and cultivate a culture of frugality where your family can make tremendous savings that you couldn’t have made of you went the professional way of hair grooming.
  • Third, the every presence and usage of these clippers in the home can be a great tool to pass time and unwind.
  • Lastly, the very sense of convenience that comes with this tool is a great reason for you to take its buying pierces seriously.

Weight matters matter

Perhaps this is one of the most important features of a good set of clippers that most buyers overlook. But the truth is that the weight of the clippers will greatly affect the way and ease with which you use the clippers. You need to ensure that the machine is long enough to allow you to shave through the hair swiftly. In addition, when the clippers are too heavy, they will strain your wrist and make your experience as a user regrettable.

Think about the cord

Another factor to consider is the cords in the clippers. As a domestic user, the cord is not a necessity because you use your clippers once in a while. The reason why the cord is important for the barber is that they use it all day long.

Some f the benefits of using a cordless set of clippers are as follows:

  • First of all, cordless clippers will not confine you to a particular area near a power source. This means that you can decide to do the shaving anywhere on the home.
  • Second, you enjoy the freedom of going mobile and you are not going to be affected by power disruptions. In addition, you can always carry your clippers with you whenever you travel and do your grooming anywhere because they come with their mobile charging systems.
  • The third benefit of you going for the cordless option is that it is safe for use in the home. This is more so especially in a home that has kids and pets. The cordless provision ensures that no kid or pet stumbles over the cords accidentally and gets injured or cause disruptions in the process.

Money matters

Of course as a domestic buyer, one of the reasons that will prompt you to buy your own clippers is the ability for you to save some bucks. That’s is why you need to ensure that you create  balance between buying cheap and buying something that will serve you better and give you long-term benefits.

So where do you draw the line? You need to ensure that you buy the right machine even if it may seem to cost more than some other cheaper ones. So make sure that the choice you make regarding pricing will be able to yield long-term benefits. But having said that, you need to ensure that you get the best bargain for the same model where it costs cheapest.

A Review of the Top 2 Best Wood Router for Heavy Duty Use


Getting the best wood router ( more information)  is one of the inevitable decisions that every wood worker needs to make from time to time. Even though the circumstances that lead to this decision may vary from time to time and user to user, the bottomline remains that you need to find the right router that will serve you best. As a workshop owner who is engaged in commercial woodwork, the effectiveness and suitability of your tools is an important ingredient on the menu of your enterprise’s success.

It is in view of the above that this review article seeks to take a comprehensive look at the top 2 best wood routers that are suited for heavy duty jobs. In this article, we shall examine these selected brands under the following key areas of interest to you as professional woodwork dealer who handles heavy duties: the features of the routers; the pros and strength of the routers; the cons and limitations of the routers and; the final verdict on the routers.

Porter-cable 7518 Speedmatic 15 Amp 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

To start us off, we take a look at the 7518 Speedmatic 15 Amp 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base 5-Speed Router from Porter-Cable. This 15 amp wood router offers you sufficient power supply and it is one of the most durable catches that you can get o the market in 2016. It is fitted with a powerful electronic 5-speed motor that has different RPM setting that include 10,000,13,000,16,000,19,000 and 21,000 respectively.

Salient features

  • Soft-start features that minimizes the torque
  • Auto release collet system that allows you to remove the bit easily after using
  • An AC-only 15 amp capacity
  • It is able to maintain constant speed while working
  • Comes with a user operation manual



  • Ease of usage and handling
  • Ease of storage
  • Excellent grip
  • Excellent in safety-related features
  • Quick-releasing chunk
  • Strong



  • It is heavy and needs to be confined to workshop use



This is an excellent machine that offers you the best service for a profitable woodwork venture and it performs excellently on all fronts. It is a strong machine that is stable, durable and it is built not just with performance in mind but also your personal safety is taken into account due to its safety features. If you are looking for what will serve you best in this season, then Porter-cable 7518 Speedmatic 15 Amp 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base 5-Speed Router is the best direction to look.




Festool 574342 OF 1400 EQ Router


This is another favorite heavy duty wood router that deserves attention in the 2016 season. The router is crafted with an easy-to-use handle that ensures you get better handling and control of the machine. It is also fitted with a soft-start speed control that ensures you maintain a stable load speed.



Salient features


  • It is fitted with a 1,400 watt motor that ensures better performance
  • It offers precise depth adjustment
  • Dual column clumping
  • Tool-less insert functionality



  • It collects dust and debris
  • Comes with a longer warranty
  • Comes with a convenient carry case
  • Ergonomically designed


  • It is a bit expensive compared to other brands
  • Reduced visibility during use
  • A bit noisy



This is a great woodwork tool that has curved itself a name given that it is a not a product from a company that is not very popular in this field of manufacturing. But that nit with standing, the router has gained acceptance among many users due to its effectiveness and hence the higher price that Festool charges for it is highly justified. In addition, it is built with excellent performance and safety features that make it a worthy choice for those who wish to get their first or another heavy duty wood router.


How to Choose Cheap Memory Foam Beds doralpuertoricofacts

So, you are interested in buying a memory foam mattress or bed, but are unsure about where to start shopping. Chances are that you have already sampled a few different memory foam mattresses and maybe even had a nap on one, but the price tag you see in the local furniture store makes you cringe. Memory foam can be an expensive material, and there are plenty of mattress manufacturers that will sell you one at a price up in the four digits. Nonetheless, if you know where to look and what to look for, you can still find some cheap memory foam beds and mattresses that will feel great when you sleep on them and still last you for a very long time.

Be aware that cheap memory foam mattresses and beds are very appealing due to the benefits that memory foam possesses. However, cheap will often mean that less of the memory foam material is actually used in the product, limiting the effects and the benefits that you’d expect. Here are some shopping tips to help you weed out the poor memory foam beds on sale.

Pay Attention to the Manufacturer

There are many different companies and manufacturers retailing memory foam products, and each of them are likely marketing themselves to you as the best thing out there. Tempurpedic might be the first option to look into, especially as they are considered to be one of the founders of elastic foam mattresses. However, there are plenty of other manufacturers that offer similar mattresses without the hefty price tag you tend to see associated with a Tempurpedic product.

A good way to find a reliable manufacturer is to read customer reviews, ratings and comparisons built around furniture products. You can find a wealth of information from several places online that will help to give you a clear idea about the mattress brand that would offer you the most for the lowest price available. At the same time, although you might not want to spend a fortune on a brand new mattress, chances are that you do not want to sacrifice quality. This is why you should know a thing or two about memory foam and how it works.

Cheap memory foam bed

The Importance of Memory Foam Density

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness and comfort of a best memory foam mattress, the words “memory foam density” are used most often. There are various degrees of density and these are typically measured in pounds per square foot. A mattress with a low density of memory foam usually has less than 3lbs per square foot, while high density memory foam will have over 6lbs per square foot. The higher the density of the memory foam, the more expensive it will be. This is because high density foam does not have to be very thick for it to provide an excellent standard of comfort and support.

If you are trying to go for the cheapest option available, you will stick to lower densities. The only disadvantage of this is that the quality of the memory foam and the way it interacts with your body’s weight will be inferior. You can solve this problem by buying thicker layers of lower density foam. This means that you might need a low density mattress and a low density topper to achieve the same level of support and comfort as you would expect from a high density mattress.

Stay Away From Offers That Sound Just Too Good To Be True

A high density memory foam mattress from a reputable manufacturer like Sleepaid or Tempurpedic can cost up to $2,500. Conversely, there are a number of different no-name manufacturers offering incredible deals on supposed memory foam beds and mattresses. However, the quality of this memory foam can often be inferior and will not provide you the same outstanding level of comfort and support as you could get from a higher quality mattress. In general, try to look for mattresses that are sold in the medium price range, and stay away from offers that sound ridiculously good. As the saying goes, “if it’s too good to be true then it probably is”, and this is often the case with cheap memory foam products.

CD players

The familiar console CD player is rapidly being replaced by more capable devices. Delivering superb performance at an affordable price, the CD is the music medium of the moment, having turned vinyl LPs into niche products for audiophiles and music collectors. But regular console CD players are losing ground to DVD players, which can play CDs along with DVDs, and to units that can record as well as play CDs.

Niche models are still thriving. Jukebox models can hold hundreds of discs. Portable players are now incorporating MP3 capabilities.


Sony dominates the CD-player category, making nearly one in three CD players sold. Other big sellers are Pioneer and Technics.

Console models

Single-disc models have virtually disappeared. Multiple-disc changers, typically holding five or six discs, can play hours of music nonstop. A magazine changer uses a slide-in cartridge the size of a small, thick book. Cartridges double as convenient disc storage boxes. Carousel changers are easier to load and unload than the magazine type. (Most let you change waiting discs without interrupting the music.) They’ve taken over the market. Price range: $100 to $250.


CD MegachangerAlso known as CD jukeboxes, these typically store 100 to 400 discs. Marketed as a way to manage and store an entire music collection, most models let you segment a collection by music genre, composer, artist, and so forth. The unit flashes album titles as you hunt through the discs. Inputting all the necessary data can be a tedious task (made easier on models that connect to a computer keyboard). But it’s worth the effort, because you can then set a jukebox to shuffle and play random selections all night or play discs only from your genre choice. To fit all those CDs, megachangers can be quite large. In fact, some may not fit the typical stereo rack. And all models aren’t equally efficient: Some are inconvenient to load, or noisy and slow in selecting CDs. Price range: $170 to $450.

Portable players

Small, sporty, and single-disc, these have simple controls. A growing number of models also play CDs you record yourself, using both the CD-R and CD-RW formats and digital file formats such as MP3. Early portables often skipped or had poor-quality headphones. Today’s players skip less, and many have good headphones that will convey decent sound. But some still have mediocre headphones; you’ll enjoy better listening if you replace them.

Battery life is improving, but it varies considerably from model to model: batteries typically lasted 16 to 30 hours but went as high as 40 hours. Some models come with an AC adapter, and some have a built-in battery charger. Most portable players can be connected to other audio gear and in that case many will play music as well as any home unit. Price range: $30 to $200.


Console models come with more features than portables. Their controls should be easy to see in dim light. A calendar display shows a block of numbers indicating the tracks on the active disc and highlighting the current track. As play continues, previous track numbers disappear–you can quickly see how many selections are left. A numeric keypad on the remote gets you to a particular track more quickly than pressing Up or Down buttons.

CD remote

A remote control is convenient and now nearly standard equipment. Buttons should be grouped by function or color-coded and should be visible in dim light. Most CD remotes operate the player only. Some changers and jukeboxes have a handy single-play drawer or slot so you can play a single disc without disturbing any already loaded. Cataloging capability offers various ways to keep track of the many CDs stored inside a jukebox, such as categorizing by genre.

Memory features that make track selection easy include delete track, which allows you to skip specified tracks but otherwise play a disc from start to finish, and favorite track program memory, which lets you mark your preferences. Music sampling (also called track scan) plays a few seconds of each selection. Most models can be programmed to play tracks in sequence, to shuffle play (look for non-repeat shuffle), or to repeat a track. A volume-limiter switch lets you hear softer passages without having other sounds at ear-splitting levels.

People who do a lot of taping will appreciate auto edit (also called time fit for recording): You enter the cassette’s recording time, and the CD player lays out the disc’s tracks, usually in sequence, to fill both sides of your tape. With comprehensive time display, you check time elapsed and time remaining for the current track and for the entire disc. Running-time total lets you total the time of tracks to be recorded to fit the maximum on a tape. Music-peak finder scans for the loudest passage in a track you’re going to record, allowing you to adjust the tape deck’s recording level correctly and quickly. Fade out/fade in performs the audio equivalent of a movie fade for less abrupt starts and endings. Auto spacing inserts a few seconds of silence between tracks.

With a synchronizing jack, you can connect a cable to a tape deck of the same brand so you can run both machines simultaneously. Those recording digitally to a MiniDisc recorder or a digital tape deck need a digital output jack to attach a fiber-optic or coaxial cable.

Portable features focus on sound-quality enhancement and power management. Most portables have a bass-boost control to compensate for the thin bass of poorer headphones. Some have a digital signal processor (DSP), which electronically simulates the ambience of concert-hall music.

Most portables have a liquid crystal display (LCD) showing which track is playing and a battery-level indicator that warns of low batteries. (The best indicators show a shrinking scale to reflect power remaining.) An AC adapter runs the player on house current and enables some players to charge rechargeable cells. Rechargeable batteries may cost extra.

Colorful “sports” models tend to be pricier than the rest of the pack and differ in a few other respects: Their lid is secured with a latch and sealed with a rubber gasket, and they have rubberized plugs covering jacks for an AC adapter and headphones. The latch keeps the lid closed so successfully that some sports models are a bit hard to open. The gasket and plugs help resist sand, dirt, and moisture, though you’ll need to wipe off a player that’s dusty or wet before you open it. Keep in mind that these players are water-resistant, not waterproof–the difference between a splash and total immersion.

A car kit, standard with some portables, consists of an adapter that powers the unit through a car’s cigarette lighter and a cassette adapter that pipes the player’s sound through the car’s tape player and speakers. (You can also buy aftermarket kits at electronics or auto-supply stores.) Some adapters add noise to the sound or otherwise compromised performance. A line-out jack is a better choice than the headphone jack for connecting a portable to a component receiver or other gear.


Performance differences. Many CD players can produce excellent sound–accurate tonal balance and free of coloration or distortion. However, not all CD players are equally convenient to use.

Better home units have an uncluttered front-panel display with clearly labeled main buttons grouped together by function. They also include features that make it easy to produce tapes from CDs. For portable players, skip-free performance depends on a good buffer, a memory feature that scans the disc, continuously storing upcoming music (typically from 10 to 45 seconds, sometimes more) so the player won’t cause audio dropouts. Some models skipped with just a mild jouncing, others only when jolted hard. Battery life in recent tests varied from 5 to 40 hours of continuous play.

headphonesHeadphones differ in comfort and performance. Comfort is very subjective, depending on the individual. Headphones ranged from decent to mediocre. For some models, at least, you can improve sound by buying replacement headphones. A decent set costs about $10 to $30.

Recommendations. If you’re looking to play CDs in a home-theater setup, consider getting a DVD player instead of a CD player. Some are nearly as cheap as CD players are now. They’ve become less expensive. The price of CD player/ recorders has also dropped enough to make them a reasonable alternative, with the premium for the extra functionality perhaps $100.

If you want to play only CDs, a multi-disc changer will save you from having to swap discs in and out. Shoppers for portable players should weigh battery life heavily if they’re frequent listeners or pay particular attention to antiskip performance if they’re active users.

Sliding Miter Saw Understand The Sliding Miter Saw

In the past articles in you are revealed with the different types of miter saw. Introducing you one of the miter saw, the best compound miter saw.

What you need to know about the sliding miter saw is this is the tool that specialized in cutting mostly on wood and it is widely used in building construction. The name that has the word “sliding” is already showing that this tool is named under its ability to hinge backward and forward in cutting material to give you the precise and and clear result.

A lot of builders using the sliding miter saw to cut a large piece of wood into the shape and length that needed. This is a tool that using the sliding arms in order to cut a different straight and angled of a material with a good precision and accuracy.

A sliding miter saw is available in single or dual features. The single sliding miter saw has the ability to tilt only on one particular side. The dual sliding miter saw is the tool that poses dual compound sliding meter that tilt on both sides. Most of sliding miter saws are having these types of features, so you can choose your favorite one according to the brand, size and models that you can find in the hardware store near you.

Here are the features of a sliding miter saw:

  • A Sliding feature that enables movement from forward to backwards for the saw blade
  • To give you a clear indication on your cutting, sliding miter saw has a laser guide that casts a shadow-like beam that shows you a clear indication on where the cut is going to be.
  • You can see a blade guard on the sliding miter saw. This feature is to cover the sharp end of the blade teeth. It is also available to retract easily. You can retracts the blade guard by lowering the blade and then it will back into cover position if you raised the blade again after using.
  • A sliding miter saw has a dust bag that helps you to collect the dust that created from your daily work. This is an environmentally friendly tool that connected to the saw to keep the area dust free and clean.
  • Some of the sliding miter saw are designed with a special safety clamps that used as a lock to the piece or material firmly to the working surface so the miter saw can cut it nicely.

The advantages of using a sliding miter saw

A sliding miter saw comes with several benefits that you can enjoy to work with. Here are the benefits of a sliding miter saw as a work tool for you.

  • The biggest advantage is you can see how portable this tool can be. It designed with a holding handle and you can bring it from your workplace to another. It is not too heavy even the women can carry it and you will be comfortable to work with this tool.
  • You can read the manual instruction before start to use it for the first time. This is not a complicated tool so you can use it easily and setting it confidently. You can practice and adapt yourself to use your brand new sliding miter saw and you can master it fast. You just have to mount it, lower it, and cut it. Read the manual so you can find out more.
  • This is a good and reliable tool for you to create an accurate and precise cut without a fuss. Sliding miter saw is capable to produce a very clean and precise cuts according to the shape and angle that you already planned for the project. You can draw the line on the material or wood that you intended to cut and slide it all along and you can see it will cut the wood precisely according to your drawing line.
  • It is not only giving you a precise cut, but it is also saving your time in cutting material and you can move on in building or distribute the material on the same day. This is the reason why it helps a lot of builders and contractors.

Working underneath a street rod or at your workbench

Any project can be an ordeal or a satisfying moment, and oftentimes the determining factor is the tool or tools we select to do the job. The right tool for the job has always been a true statement but nowadays with portability (rechargeable batteries, lightweight, and compact design universal) it’s never been more easily attainable.

Hot rodders are all about cutting metal and putting it back together. Chopping a top or fabricating a bracket requires cutting. The problem that often occurs when working on a hot rod is one of location, much like real estate, location, location, location is often the determining factor on whether or not a job is done well.

Working underneath a street rod or at your workbench convenience is paramount. Cutting metal, wood, or “whatever” can be a challenge inside, outside, or underneath your street rod. The latest in portable tools, the MasterForce (PN 241-0440, $99.99) 18-volt cordless band saw is something you will appreciate from the get-go when working on your pride and joy. The MasterForce line of tools now offers a cordless band saw (sold at Menards) that functions with a Lithium-ion battery (but can work off of a NiCad battery as well; battery and charger are sold separately).

And what can the saw cut? According to the manufacturer it can handle a 2-1/2-inch cutting capacity, which is enough to slice your way through 2-inch square tubing and up to 5/8-inch rebar.

At a measly 7 pounds, 11 ounces with battery, the band saw is truly portable and working underneath a car isn’t a problem when holding on. Speaking of holding on, the soft grip handle and the non-slip auxiliary handle make handling the band saw that much easier. Swapping out for different or new blades is also an easy task given the tool’s quick-change blade release.

We asked Rod & Custom Tech Editor Kev Elliott to put the saw through its paces and give us some feedback.

When asked what he thought about the portability of the MasterForce portable band saw Elliott told us: “The band saw really came into its own when I had to cut the exhaust tubing while the tubing was still underneath the car. Truly portable and with enough battery power to complete my exhaust system project within one charge.”

When asked about the clean-up process after the job was finished he says: “Quicker and with less mess to clean up than when using a cutoff wheel in a grinder.”

Selecting the Best Blade for the Job

Using the correct band-saw blade can extend blade life, improve cut quality, and reduce costs. Selection begins by understanding the properties of various blade materials, tooth forms, and the effects of changing the number of teeth per inch.

Reducing tooling costs associated with band-sawing operations while continuing to meet productivity requirements can challenge the best fabrication shop manager.

To help customers meet the challenge, distributors need to cover four issues: selection of the band-saw machine, selection of saw blade products, determination of proper machine operating speed and feed parameters, and establishment of a machine preventive maintenance program.

Choosing the Best Band Saw Machine

  • The most difficult part of the process is the first–determining which saw to buy. Machine designs typically suit certain operations better than others. The specifics of machine design are beyond the scope of this article. Specifying certain features will help match the machine to the job.
  • Machine capacity is one of the most critical issues. The capacity specified is usually the width and height of material that will fit in the machine’s vise.
  • Keep in mind that as the width of the material, or bundles of materials, increases, the machine blade width capacity greatly influences its ability to cut straight.

For example, the capacity of the blade to resist bowing is called “beam strength.” During sawing in the horizontal blade position, while the guides push down on either side of the material being cut, the material pushes the blade up in the middle. When the upward force of the material exceeds the beam strength, the blade bows up in the middle, causing the tooth edge of the blade to become unstable, or buckle, resulting in a crooked cut.

The width of the blade and the distance between band guides determine a blade’s beam strength. Shops that anticipate cutting larger material, like wide-flanged beams or large bundles of material, need enough beam strength to make a straight cut. Other machine issues can affect ability to optimize blade use. These include feed control capabilities, band-speed range, and ability to adjust machine parts that effect blade alignment.

Even with existing band saw machines there is plenty to do to improve operations.

Selecting the Best Blade for the Job

Selecting the correct band saw blade is an important step in order to achieve longer blade life and reduce tooling costs. Consider three aspects of the saw: blade material, tooth form, and number of teeth per inch.

Band-saw companies manufacture three types of blade one piece carbon steel, bi-metal, and carbide-tipped blades. These account for the vast majority of all sawing.

Interior paint: a brighter picture

This is a good time to buy paint. Manufacturers have survived a period of struggle with changing technologies to meet stricter environmental regulations. Now the paint companies seem to be back on track.

Paints are better than their predecessors in several important respects: They spatter less and have ample tolerance for scrubbing. They also keep stains and mildew at bay. Those are major improvements if you’re ready to paint parts of the house that get heavy use–a family room, kitchen, hallway, or bathroom.

exterior painting

Such improvements result from several reformulations by many leading brands over the past few years. Two brands in particular have made large strides. The current versions of Home Depot’s Behr Premium Plus and Lowe’s Valspar American Tradition paints perform extremely well across the board and are very moderately priced. We’ve judged both CR Best Buys.

Major national brands aren’t the only good choices, however. A number of regional brands perform well and offer reasonable values.

There are also more celebrity paints to choose from, now that the home-improvement guru Bob Vila has lent his name to a Sears brand. Bob Vila Signature Collection joins Martha Stewart’s Everyday Colors for Kmart and Ralph Lauren’s paint. Among the celebs, Lauren’s was the best by a very small margin; none was excellent overall.


Begin with the color. Computerized color matching can produce a paint that’s the shade you want when dry, to complement draperies, upholstery, or accessories in the room. If you’re not sure you’ve made a good choice, many paint departments have interactive computer programs that let you see how a specific color will look in a room.

You can also select a color the old-fashioned way, using the color-chip samples on display. Color chips usually show the shade in a flat finish. A glossier finish may look different. If an exact match is critical, buy a quart of the paint and test it on the wall.

color chips

The color you select will be custom-mixed using an appropriate base, the uncolored paint formulated to accept a range of tints. A pastel base is meant for light colors, white for the very lightest shades, and a medium or deep base for darker ones.

Many aspects of paint performance depend on the quality of the base, not the color. We test each brand’s pastel and medium base as well as white. So if you want, say, a medium or dark color, it won’t matter if it’s brilliant red or deep blue or anything in between. Its performance should track with our findings.

Match the paint’s performance to the room. These are characteristics that matter:

  • Scrubbing. Heavily used rooms need a paint that can stand up to scrubbing. That characteristic depends on the tint base; the Ratings show how the bases for each brand perform.
  • Fading. Sun-filled rooms need paint that won’t fade quickly. In very general terms, that means avoiding colors such as yellow, tan, and green, which include yellow pigment; yellow is more likely to fade than other pigments. The Ratings highlight brands with yellows that are more likely than others to fade, based on our testing.
  • Mildew. Mildew can happen in any warm, humid room, not just a bathroom or kitchen. A paint with high mildew resistance won’t kill mildew already on the walls (that requires cleaning with a bleach solution), but it will slow the buildup of new deposits.
  • Sticking. This affects glossier paints, which are used to paint woodwork and trim. Even when dry, a paint that suffers from sticking makes doors hard to open and books seem glued to shelves. Check the Ratings. Many good brands don’t have this problem.

Stay with the top of the line. Most paint companies offer grades of paint, often dubbed Good, Better, Best. We have found that lower grades do not perform well and often entail more expense and work. Where two coats of a top-line paint will cover all but the darkest colors, a lesser paint may need three or even four coats. But plan on two coats even with a top-rated paint.

Choose the right gloss level to prolong a room’s good looks.


flat paint

Looks completely matte, with no shine.

Best for formal living rooms, dining rooms, guest bedrooms, and other spaces that don’t see lots of heavy use.

On the downside Flat paint may not hold up to heavy scrubbing. Rubbing with cleanser can burnish the finish, leaving shiny spots.

Low Luster

satin paintAlso called eggshell or satin; has a slight shine.

Best for family rooms, kids’ rooms, high-traffic hallways, and the like. Resists staining and scuffing. Holds up well to cleaning.

On the downside Some may be too glossy or too close to a flat. Check our Ratings. Looks best on a smooth, well-prepared wall; the shine will bring out imperfections.


It’s easy to pick a high-quality paint. However, even fine paints differ in important qualities. That’s why the Ratings highlight paints that hold their original color well and that slow the growth of mildew. We also show which paints can be scrubbed without damaging the finish.

We tested most brands in three finishes: flat, low-luster, and semigloss. In a few cases, we couldn’t represent a brand in all finishes because of reformulations.

The Ratings list paints strictly by overall performance. The Quick Picks, below, highlight paints that are well suited to specific situations.


Fine choices for most rooms and CR Best Buys:

1, 25, 45 Behr $20 to $22

3, 26 Valspar $18 to $20

6, 29, 51 Dutch Boy $13 to $16

Behr and Valspar are excellent overall. Given its price, Wal-Mart’s Dutch Boy represents an outstanding value. Most of these paints are excellent at resisting mildew, making them good choices if you have to paint a bathroom or kitchen.

For a very sunny room:

2, 32 Benjamin Moore $19 to $35

4, 36 Pratt & Lambert $33 to $34

5 Ralph Lauren $23

46 Dunn-Edwards $35

These faded the least in our tests, The Benjamin Moore (32) and the Dunn-Edwards (46) are glossier than advertised and may be more suitable for trim.

For the kids’ rooms:

27 Sears $20

28 True Value $21

29, 51 Dutch Boy $15, $16

These low-luster and semigloss paints hold up well to scrubbing and stains. If you want a durable flat paint, the best values are Behr (1) and Valspar (3).

For bookshelves, sills, and trim:

31 MAB $25

32 Benjamin Moore $19

53 Kelly Moore $33

These hold up well to scrubbing and don’t let objects stick. MAB (31) is sold in the East. Kelly Moore (53) is sold in the West. Benjamin Moore (32) is available nationwide.

How To Paint And Decorating Exterior Walls of A House

About painting exterior walls of the house, by doing it on your own, it will save you a lot of money. It is an advantage if you know how to paint the exterior of your house and also the decorations. Here you are going to be revealed with the steps to paint your exterior walls, the suggestions of tools and how to do the preparation before start painting. It is easy to do this on your own, and you will never need a tradesman to do this for you.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Paint

choose exterior wall paint colorYou need a fresh coat of paint to improve the exterior of your house and the decorations are also becoming even more interesting and better. It is also can brighten the decorations and looks much tidier and newer.

For the best result, choose specialist exterior masonry paint, and you can choose what kind of color you wish for. Do not forget to discuss the color with your neighbor if your property is attached to theirs. For the joined buildings, different colors can look a little strange if you choose the wrong combination of color.

Most common colors to paint with are white and cream, but for the exterior, the color is too bright and blinding, it is also easy to show a speck of dirt.

Step 2: Painting the exterior of a house

You need to buy enough paint to start your painting job. You have to check the square meter coverage that’s available in each container. This information can be asked directly to your salesman in the paint store. Before deciding on the painting, you have to ask for permission to alter the exterior if your property is in a Conservation Area.

Step 3: Preparation for Painting Outside the Walls

First and foremost, you need to prepare the painting site. Lack of preparation is only increasing the chance for you to repeat the job all over again before you meet the perfect result. You have to make sure that the wall is clean and no dirt attached to the surface. Make sure the surface is dry as well for the easy application and it will avoid clotted look.

Use a wire brush to remove any mold or dirt with bleach and water solution for a complete dust, dirt and cobweb removal. You need to remove any flaking paint if the walls have been painted previously.

If you see any cracks on the surface, you need to fill it first to create a smooth finish after paint.

Mask all windows and door frames, to avoid the unwanted area to get painted. A part of preparation is also about safety, if your house is facing directly onto the street, a bright safety cones are needed.

Step 4: Equipment for Painting Exterior Walls

painting tools

Here is the equipment that you need to start painting:
-Scaffold tower or ladder to paint higher spot

-Roller to coat larger areas or you can use a paint sprayer to cut down the painting time (You can find more information about paint sprayer

on this website:

-Wide brush to paint a rougher surface

-Long extension handles to reach any spot easier

-Small brush for painting in small and hard to reach areas as behind or under down-pipes.

-Paint canister if necessary

-Comfortable flat shoes while working

-Coverall to cover you from splashed with paint

-Eye goggles to prevent your eyes while painting something that on top of your head

Step 5: Get Painting Your House Walls

After you’re done with all required preparation, you can start with the painting part. To make everything effortless, you have to start at the top and work all the way down. With this way, you can ensure to finish your job early without excessive drips and runs.

Use a small brush first to cut-in around the edges while painting, and then continues with a bigger or larger brush to finish the part. If possible, try to follow the sun around the building, so the paint dries perfectly.

You need to have a good time management so you can finish your painting in one go, so you can avoid visible lines that occur when you stop the job and continue again the next day.

Cover all the surfaces well, use your roller and brush with enough paint to give a good thick coat of paint to the walls and decorations. The paint need to be not too thick, but not so much drips and runs while applying them to the wall.

Be careful when using the roller, and cover yourself well before getting splattered with paint.

Most exterior paints require two coats of paint at least. You can refer to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time and second coating.

If you want to paint behind downpipes, you can wrap around the pipes using an old newspaper so that you can paint easily without getting the paint on the pipes.


Remember to use these steps to complete your painting job for exterior walls of your house:

Step 1: Choosing the Right Paint – Important step to have a tidy and new finish

Step 2: Painting the exterior of a house – Estimate how much of paint you will need

Step 3: Preparation for Painting Outside the Walls – Remove all the dirt and let the wall completely dry before start painting

Step 4: Equipment for Painting Exterior Walls – Get all your equipment ready for the job including your personal protective equipment

Step 5: Get Painting Your House Walls – Paint it thoroughly, covered the unwanted spot to paint, and give two coats of paint for exterior wall


Whether you’re throwing a fancy holiday party or having a casual celebration with family and friends, chances are your home could use a festive face-lift. Target spaces where visitors tend to congregate: the living room, kitchen, dining room and family room. Don’t forget the powder room — a common stop for most guests. Since shopping, baking and gift wrapping top most people’s “to do” lists, four metro Atlanta interior designers offer spruce-up-the-house tips that don’t require a lot of time or money.


living room decoration for holiday

Cynthia Florence, owner, Cynthia Florence Interiors (e-mail:

“The mantel and the living room are usually the first thing people see when they come in. They set the tone for the whole ambience in the house,” Florence says. “Stay with one scheme to create harmony. If there’s too much going on, your eyes go from one thing to another, and it’s too busy. It just causes chaos.”

Pick a theme and color scheme that complements furnishings. Don’t be afraid to incorporate nontraditional holiday colors, such as bronze and copper. Lime green, orange, purple and pink are also hot.

Choose a focal point, such as the mantel, and decorate around it. Framed art above a mantel doesn’t have to be removed; drape garland around the top of the frame.

The sight, smell and feel of the holidays can be created by using candles, fresh greenery and a cozy throw. Accent pillows also warm up a room and add to the decor. Adorn coffee and sofa tables with floral arrangements and potpourri.

Less is more. Use a few striking festive items, and pare down the knickknacks. “People are going toward more elegant decorations than the cutesy stuff,” Florence says.


dining room decoration holiday

Bob Brown, vice president, Pineapple House Interior Design (Web:

“Don’t be intimidated. Setting a table is so basic, anyone can do it. Everything can be pulled from your everyday china, your grandmother’s china or china from a tag sale,” Brown says. “I like to have a flower on the table for each guest; it makes them feel special. And don’t worry about place mats. I love to show my table.”

Chargers — oversize plates that sit under a dinner plate — decorate the table even after the meal is over. Chargers with silver, gold or metallic finishes add glitz this time of year.

Repetition is the key to smart design. Instead of dressing a table with one candle and one centerpiece, consider placing votive candles and flower buds at each place setting.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match plates, stemware and eating utensils as long as they complement, rather than compete with each other. Table linens don’t have to be traditional fare. Consider using a throw or quilt as a tablecloth; substitute a decorative washcloth, tea towel or hand towel for napkins. Chairs can be adorned with scarves or throws instead of slipcovers.


powder room decoratingVonda Dickerson, designer, Vonda Dickerson Interiors (e-mail:

“Powder rooms should be jewel boxes. They should be something that when your guests close the door, they feel like they’re in a special environment.”

The space should look like you, not sterile and new with items you just ran out and bought.

Be creative with bathroom accessories. Instead of holiday towels with Christmas emblems, use colored towels you already have. Embellish them with ribbons and jewelry such as beads, earrings or shoe clips, to give them a festive look.

If the powder room is large enough, add a chair or bench to provide another canvas to display decorative pillows or wrapped, empty boxes that look like presents.


kitchen decorating for christmasBeth Farwig, designer/retail manager at Insperience Studio (Web:

“Take things you already have and put a new twist on them. Most people don’t use their kitchen appliances every day, so why not have fun and put last year’s ornaments in them?” Farwig says.”Ornaments come in so many colors, it’s easy to find something that blends with the color scheme in your kitchen.”

Add seasonal flair to kitchen cabinets by arranging faux garland on top. Hang wreaths over windows or above the sink.

Decorate surfaces such as cake stands and dessert trays with holly, garland or ornaments. Put peppermint and other Christmas candy in cookie jars.

Use festive napkins, tea towels and area rugs to spread holiday cheer. If counter space permits, display a few holiday cookbooks.

Plugged in: with this new option, adding home automation to a home plan is as easy as flipping a switch

Installing structured wiring typically hasn’t been that easy when working with a pre-drawn home plan–until now. A new option for the plans in this magazine allows you to include home automation details for just $250.

These details provide direction for wiring every room and beyond–from the front porch to the backyard, and from the attic to the basement. This infrastructure will give your clients centralized control over the systems and electronics in their home.

Unlike robot maids and other gadgets of an imagined future, home automation improves upon the functionality and convenience of devices today’s families already depend on–televisions, smoke detectors, thermostats, speakers, security systems, and motion sensors.

home automation

For example, the door and window sensors of a typical home security system are triggered separately wherever monitored doors and windows open or close. Any motion sensors located on the property are also triggered wherever the hardware senses motion. The triggers are isolated, binary events in a typical system and are not interfaced to provide a more meaningful report of the home environment. By contrast, an integrated home-automation system creates relationships between hardware components.

An automated system can distinguish between “motion sensor triggered, window contact triggered” (homeowner walks across room, opens window) and “window contact triggered, motion sensor triggered” (someone opens window, enters home). The first event has bearing on the temperature system, which would compensate by lowering the thermostat in the affected area of the home. The second event concerns the security system, which would notify the monitoring center about a possible break-in.

Home automation providers can work with pre-drawn plans to provide a whole-house wiring map and components list in the same way modification designers provide customized blueprints. The components list also serves as a cost estimate and payment schedule that the subcontractor or “system integrator” will use to order the hardware used in the design. The integrator will, of course, also charge for labor and any additional design that becomes necessary on site.

Developed by Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA)-certified installers, the Home Automation Upgrade package equips your blueprints with everything you need to hire and work with an installer during construction. It provides a short explanation of the various subsystems, a wiring floor plan for each level of the home, a detailed materials list with estimated costs, and a list of CEDIA-certified installers in your area.

Flip a Switch

Among the systems Home Automation can manage:

home theather

  •  Shade control
  •  Video surveillance
  •  Entry access control
  •  Video gaming

Custom Blend

Home automation is just one of the ways the blueprints in this issue can be customized. If you want to add living space, change a roofline, adjust ceiling heights, or just about anything else, there’s no need to wrestle with redrawing blueprints or finding a local architect to make changes. Hanley Wood can help you customize a plan in five easy steps:

  1. Purchase the reproducible master for the chosen home plan;
  2. Pay the $50 consultation fee and you will be sent a customization Change form via e-mail or fax. Complete and return the form, outlining the changes and tensions you want the customization specialists to make. (Note: if you decide to use the customization service, the $50 consultation fee will be applied to the total cost of the modifications.)
  3. The customization specialists will review your changes and provide a detailed cost estimate within 48 hours or two business days.
  4. After you review and approve the estimate. return a signed copy and the customization specialists will complete the plan.
  5. The customized plan will be completed in two to three weeks following the approval of any preliminary designs. You’ll receive either five sets or a reproducible master of your modified design, plus a detailed materials list and any other options you select.


Choosing a mower: the world of walk-behinds offers many options (Final part)

High-powered high wheelers

The usual solution resorted to by home owners facing an acre or more, or even upwards of half an acre, is the riding mower or lawn tractor. With cutting widths ranging from 30 to 50 inches, these machines can lop a third to more than half off your mowing time. For people who want the faster cutting speed but still prefer to walk, there are two other types of machines to consider. Both will let you cut a wider swath while still enjoying the exercise afforded by a walk-behind mower.

powered high wheel mowerThe first of these are what I call the high-powered high wheelers. These machines are superior to, and should not be confused with, the less expensive highwheeled models mentioned earlier. These mowers also take advantage of the flotation and hole-hopping ability of large wheels, but because their engines and their balance points are located over their rear-wheel axles, they turn and pivot easily, a capability enhanced by swiveling, caster-type wheels in front of the deck. In addition, the large models of this type are powered with 8-, 8.5-, and 9-horsepower engines that are far more ruggedly constructed than consumer-grade mowers, so they can safely and efficiently handle extensive rough-cutting chores. This versatility makes them ideal for rural owners who have not only lawns but other areas that need a mowing once or twice a season to keep the place neat and the alders out.

One example of a high wheeler is the DR[R] Country Lawn Mower sold by Country Home Products. The model I favor is their largest, the 825, which has an 8-horsepower engine, cutting heights ranging from one and a quarter to three and a half inches, and a 25-inch cutting width. Because it is five inches wider than my present mower, this model would knock at least 20 minutes off my mowing time on my heavily obstructed lawn. Country Home Products estimates their machine can handle half an acre per hour at moderate speed, three-quarters of an acre per hour “at a fast pace.” List price for the 825 is $1,238. If you watch for special offers, you can buy it for around $1,000. That may seem expensive, but you get a lifetime warranty on the deck and frame, a five-year warranty on all other nonengine parts, and Briggs and Stratton’s standard warranty on the engine.

Another company with an even more extensive line of self-propelled, highwheeled mowers is Sarlo Power Mowers. Sarlo offers models with cutting widths from 22 to 30 inches. Again, for the combination of shortest cutting time, maneuverability, power for the rough stuff, and a rugged, professional quality machine, the 26- and 30-inch mowers are the best choice. Cutting heights are one and three-quarters inches to four inches. With an 8-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine, the 30-inch mower lists for $1,299; with a 9-horsepower Kawasaki engine, the price is $1,499.

The ultimate pros

The last category of mower is one that most home owners probably never consider, thinking these professional, self-propelled, walk-behind machines will be too big, too heavy, too expensive, or too something or other. But you get a machine that cuts fast and smooth and has refined control features such as heavy-duty wheel brakes and up to seven forward speeds. Perhaps most important, you get a durable machine that will probably outlive you, and what may seem like a lot of money to spend up front will be a savings in the long run. If you have a large, well-kept lawn that you want to keep looking spectacular with the least investment in time, one of these professional mowers makes great sense.

Snapper professional walk mower

Unlike the high wheelers, these machines are not designed to do double duty as rough-cut machines. They are exclusively lawn and turf types of equipment. Some manufacturers–like John Deere and Snapper–may be familiar to you from the lawn and garden center, some others–like Bunton and Exmark–may be new to you. (In the world of riding mowers there are similiar commercial lines offered by well-known manufacturers such as John Deere and Kubota and by lesser-known companies such as Grasshopper and Dixon.)

The smallest of the professional self-propelled, rotary mowers cuts a 28-inch swath. Cutting widths typically available are 32, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 60 inches. A 36-inch mower of this kind can mow an acre in 40 or 45 minutes, which is ideal for a large home lawn, and combines cutting speed with excellent maneuverability for tight quarters. If you have narrow gates to go through, then a 32-inch model may be the better choice. Like the high wheelers, these mowers balance their weight over the rear axle and have caster-type front wheels that allow extremely tight, controlled turning. The wide tires provide the extra flotation needed by a heavier machine.

Bunton specializes in golf course equipment ranging from huge five-gang reel mowers for fairways down to exacting, precision-cut greens mowers. The list price on their 36-inch commercial rotary mower with a 14-horsepower engine is $3,200. This is a hefty price, granted, but not when compared with the prices of consumer-type riding mowers and lawn tractors. A Gravely 32-inch model with a 12.5-horsepower engine lists for $2,350.

If I owned a few acres of velvety greensward, I would select one of these professional walk-behind mowers. But with my half-acre of Maine bumpysward, I’ll stick to the push reel mower most of the time, haul out the little rotary if I forget to mow for two weeks in June, and once during the summer borrow my neighbor’s high-powered high wheeler to knock down all the knee-high stuff that will never be lawn but that I don’t want to become woods. Fitting the tool to the job is what it’s all about, and, happily, there are more tools available than just the ones in front of your neighborhood hardware store.

Choosing a mower: the world of walk-behinds offers many options (Part 2)

Small rotary mowers

Small rotary mowerWe’ve already touched on the main reasons why the little rotary mower has become Our National Lawn Mower–modest price, adjustable cutting heights, ability to handle rough patches and grass that has been allowed to grow too tall. If these are the virtues you want and if your lawn is small enough that a 22-inch swath (the largest on this class of mower) is sufficient to let you mow your lawn in what you consider a reasonable amount of time, then the small rotary mower remains a sensible choice.

Note that there are two types of rotary mowers–push and self-propelled. On push rotary mowers, the blade is mounted on an extension of the crankshaft. That’s it. Self-propulsion in mowers this small has always seemed to me a questionable proposition, adding weight, complexity, and expense to an admirably simple machine. The push mower has next to nothing to break or readjust. If the engine runs, the mower works. (In fact, a 1990 Consumer Reports survey showed that self-propelled mowers go into the shop for repairs 40 percent more often than push models.)

As far as effort is concerned, you have to walk around behind either type of mower. The lighter weight of most push mowers requires little additional energy in straight mowing, and it allows you to maneuver the machine easily around obstacles. If you disengage power to the wheels of a self-propelled mower to maneuver in tight corners, the machine becomes heavy and unwieldy. By and large, self-propelled mowers are heavier and bulkier than push mowers. Then, too, with a push mower, you can walk as fast or as slowly as you want without having to shift gears or adjust the throttle.

Because push mowers are so simple there are no significant differences in design from one make to another. Every company offers a mulching mower, often with bagging or side-discharge options. There are, however, differences in size and power that may seem small on paper but will matter to you in terms of how good a fit the mower is for you physically and how well it will do the work you want it to do.

Weights vary from around 50 to 90 pounds. If you want a mower you can whisk around easily, you’ll want to choose a lighter rather than a heavier model, realizing there will be a tradeoff in durability. The wider the cutting width, the shorter the cutting time. The difference in mowing times between a 20- and a 22-inch width, however, will not be immense.For dramatic reduction of mowing time, you need a dramatically wider mower, though cutting width is not the whole story. A 20-inch mower with a 5-horsepower engine, for instance, may have the power needed to slice through heavy stuff at a faster pace than a 3.5-horsepower mower with a 22-inch swath.

And then there are the subjective matters of fit”: Can you adjust the handle to a height suitable for you? Are the handle and controls manageable for the size and strength of your hands? Is this machine going to prove friendly to you the user, or become an enemy you hate to go out and face every week?

An option available on some rotary machines is oversize rear wheels. Instead of having the standard seven- or eight-inch wheels all around, these mowers have 14- to 16-inch rear wheels. Large wheels have better flotation on soft ground and easily roll over small holes and obstructions. Unfortunately, the wheels stick out in back, thus lengthening the wheel base of the mower. This, together with the location of the motor (and therefore of the machine’s weight) midway between the axles, makes the mower difficult to maneuver. (More on better high-wheelers later.)

Another point to consider when purchasing a rotary mower is what type of blade-stopping system you want. The lightweight, less expensive (about $200) push mowers use, logically enough, the cheaper of the two systems, called the “zone system”: When you release the deadman control, both the engine and the blade stop. If you rarely stop while you’re mowing, restarting the engine is no great inconvenience. If you are making fairly frequent stops to empty a grass catcher or move outdoor furniture, however, you might prefer the blade-brake-clutch system (BBC), which stops the blade but leaves the engine running. This safety system increases the price to the $500 to $600 range. For that money, you will generally get not only the BBC system but also a more powerful engine, a somewhat smoother cut, and a heavier machine.

Electric mowers

Electric mower

Electric mowers have never taken the gardening world by storm because they have to be plugged into an outlet, and the idea of dragging a cord around the lawn rightly strikes most people as ridiculous. In the past, electric mowers generally lacked power. All that may be changing now, however. Small, off-road engines are drawing EPA attention as sources of air pollution, and the incentives for building truly practical, effective, battery-powered electric mowers are growing. Ryobi already has its 18-inch “Mulchinator” on the market, a 7 5 -pound electric mulching mower that the company claims will mow half an acre on a single charge.

Self-propelled mower

Self-propelled mower

Now, despite all my blandishments on behalf of push mowers, both reel and rotary, you may decide you just plain don’t want to push any kind of mower anywhere, period. If you aren’t able to push a mower and have even moderate uphill grades, it’s probably wise to get a self-propelled mower. The most readily available makes are lined up beside the push models at your hardware store, and one of them may be just the ticket for you. But before you leap, analyze your particular needs. These mowers will save you effort on straight-out mowing, but if they have the same cutting widths as their push cousins, they will not necessarily save you time. A 20-inch mower propelled by a motor at three miles per hour is not going to cut grass any faster than a human-propelled 20-inch mower moving at the same speed.

If your lawn is small enough to be manageable with a self-propelled mower (probably not much more than half an acre), then the same considerations hold as for the push mowers, though there are a few others to keep in mind. The engine on a self-propelled mower not only has to cut grass but also move the machine along, so more power rather than less is called for. A 5- or 5.5-horsepower engine should get the nod over smaller ones. Front-wheel drive is also preferable, enabling you to tip the mower up on its rear wheels and pull it backwards without having to disengage the power.

Self-propulsion costs extra. Scanning a representative price list, I found 5-horsepower self-propelled mowers with zone safety systems ranging from $369 to $599 list. Add on a BBC safety system and the price range is $549 to $849.

Click here to read final part.