As hard as it is to believe, fall and winter are right around the corner. Is your home ready for rain, sleet, snow and colder weather? Hiring a professional to take care of projects around the house may not be in your budget, but that doesn’t mean these projects aren’t doable and can’t be done, by you guessed it…YOU! I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t paint, DIY anything to save my life” (I know, because I’ve said this way too many times myself), but Today show DIY and Home Improvement expert Lou Manfredini thinks otherwise. He was kind enough to join me recently to share all the tips you need to get started on adding insulation to your attic, restoring items you have laying around the house, tips for staying safe while attempting these projects, and much more!
Candace Rose: With fall and winter fast approaching, what are some DIY projects to get our homes ready for fall and colder weather?
Lou Manfredini: “The biggest thing that anyone can do to really give them the most bang for their buck on saving energy and being more comfortable is adding insulation to their attic space. This is something that a DIYer can do- whether it’s a rolled insulation like I have right here on my counter (see video above) or it’s a blown in insulation, this is really one of the most inexpensive ways to make a difference. It is something that people can do themselves, but what I want to stress with any kind of home improvement that people are going to do is that they’re keeping safety in mind. Now when you’re doing things like blowing in insulation, it’s really important to wear some type of mask to protect your lungs from sucking in the fibers that are going to come through there. 3M makes a bunch of different masks, but they have this innovation with a cool flow vent on the front. What’s nice about this vent is when you exhale, all of the air goes out of the vent. When you inhale, this vent actually closes so that you don’t suck in those fibers, and the filtering on the mask helps protect your lungs. Trust me on this, Candace, if you don’t wear some type of mask when you’re doing insulation, you’ll be coughing for a week and then you’re never going to want to do this project again.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips for those of us who are beginners trying to take on a DIY project?
Lou Manfredini: The safety part of it is paramount. First of all, you need to know your limitations. I want to make sure you’re wearing some type of eye protection. On any project you do, it should be second nature that you grab a pair of safety glasses when you’re working and you stick it on to cover up, to do whatever- you’re running a piece of wire, you’re doing some painting, whatever it is that you’re doing.
When it comes to the projects that you’re going to do, you want to make sure that you know your limitations. You want to start out on littler stuff. Don’t tackle ‘you know, today I want to build a deck’. I tell people when it comes to any kinds of home improvement or maintenance projects, it’s sort of like a train ride. You have different stops along the way, and the very first stop is painting, because anyone can do it, and if you make a mistake the worst that happens is that maybe you didn’t put the right finish on the wall or maybe you chose a bad color, or maybe you spilled some on the floor- it’s not life or death if you make a mistake so that’s the very first thing that you try. And then from there you go to maybe light carpentry. For instance maybe you want to change the door knobs in your interior doors or you want to change the handles on the kitchen cabinets, and then maybe a little bit of plumbing after that and your very final stop is any kind of electrical repair because that takes a solid understanding, a solid respect for the electrical system in your home is before you try to tackle on those projects.”
Candace Rose: Is there a simple way to spruce up our old stuff?
Lou Manfredini: “There’s a category of products you can find at the hardware store and the paint store called a wood amalgamator. If you have a dining room table that has some scratches on it that doesn’t look that nice; maybe you have a heat ring on a coffee table that somebody put a pizza box down on, this wood amalgamator along with quadruple zero steel wool (the more zeros, the finer the steel wool), you’re going to take that and go across the surface of the wood amalgamator. It’s essentially like giving your furniture a facelift. It’s the secret of the antique world, and then you take a cotton rag and then you wipe it away, and you’ll be amazed at the results. Know that those products are petroleum based, so you want to make sure it’s well ventilated- open up the windows in there, and then again, eye protection, lung protection with a mask.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Lou Manfredini: “Sure! If you have children, chances are you have some of that plastic furniture that they use outside. This is great, because you know that old car that the kids push, like the Little Tikes car? It gets kind of beat up and it doesn’t look that great, and people toss in the garbage can. Millions of pounds of this plastic go into the landfills every single year; manufacturers now make paints that you can repaint that product like we did here with this one (see video above). You can either match the color or you can change the color, and you can bring this thing back to life. It’s a great project to do in the fall- you get it all cleaned up, you wrap it in a plastic bag and put it away for next year. You saved the landfill, you saved some money and you did it yourself.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Lou Manfredini: “For more information on keeping yourself safe with do it yourself projects, you can go to 3Mtekk.com.”