ACE tips and advice PDF Print E-mail



Your perfect color could be on any object in the room. Look at pillows, rugs, artwork and other decorative objects for inspiration. Flip through home décor magazines for color ideas. Then bring the item or picture to your local Ace store and they can match the color for you.

  • Blues, greens and purples are calming, contemplative colors, perfect for favorite retreats like bedrooms and libraries. Blue evokes harmony and peace, while green suggests safety, nature and revitalization. Purple is associated with creativity.
  • Bright and bold colors like red,orange and yellow project energy and vitality. Use them to bring a stimulating and cheerful air to dining rooms, family rooms and any other space devoted to activity and socializing serenity.
  • Neutral colors like whites convey an aura of simplicity, purity and cleanliness, as well as creating a sensation of openness. Whites work well in kitchens, bathrooms and smaller spaces.


Even after a homeowner has chosen the perfect color for a room, there's another very important decision to make. With 5 or 6 paint finishes to choose from, you should learn the benefits of each and determine the right one for your job. Should you use flat or satin and why? Browse these tips on selecting the perfect paint finishes for your interior home applications.

  • Matte Finish: Whether called flat finish or wall paint, this type of interior paint has a matte surface. This paint finish is usually used on interior walls. It's expecially good if you have to camouflage small wall bumps, cracks, or other imperfections, as this finish does not reflect light. While some flat paints are advertised as washable today, you may need to touch up scratches or marks by covering with a bit more paint, so be sure you keep some on hand after you've finished painting.


  • Flat Enamel: Flat enamel is a paint with a durable flat, matte finish. It's a good choice for powder rooms and halls, as it holds up to occasional cleaning.


  • Eggshell Finish: If you can picture the very low sheen of the shell of an egg, you have an idea of how an eggshell paint finish will appear. With only a slight hint of shine or gloss, it's good for walls and holds up better with cleaning than a flat finish paint.


  • Satin Finish: Satin finish paint has a smooth, velvety look with a bit more gloss. It is most often used for windows, doors, trim, or ceilings, but can also be used as wall paint. This is particularly suitable for kids' room walls, kitchens, or bathrooms, or in areas, which get a lot of traffic. Paint with a satin finish is formulated to hold up to cleaning and light scrubbing.


  • Semi-Gloss: Semi-gloss paint is most often used on doors, trim, and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms. It is easily cleaned and lays down a nice, subtle shine, without being too glitzy. Take care with pre-paint preparation work, as poorly prepared surfaces can be a bit distracting when highlighted by a semi-gloss surface.


  • Glossy: High gloss paints have an almost reflective quality, as their shiny finish mimics the look of enamel or plastic. Though not widely used in home interiors, it is becoming more popular for a dramatic look on cabinets, trim, and furniture in very formal and very contemporary settings. This finish will magnify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding is essential before painting with high gloss paints.





  • Take time to caulk all joints, cracks and seams in the surface before painting This is easy and quick with a caulking gun and caulking cartridges. Don't start painting until the caulking is finished and thoroughly dried.
  • Before painting windows, check around the windowpanes for loose or missing putty. Replace the putty in these areas before starting the painting job. Use a good grade of putty and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Always clean the surface to be painted. Use a wire brush, sanding block or power sander to remove loose paint and grime before applying the primer coat. If you try to cut corners and save time by failing to clean the surface, you'll likely end up with trouble later.
  • Fill in any cracks or large holes appearing on the surface with wood putty before starting the painting job. The putty should have the texture of paste, as illustrated. Allow time for the wood putty to dry before applying the primer coat.
  • Use a special V-shaped putty knife for puttying along a window. This special tool is inexpensive and helps you do a professional-looking job much faster and easier.
  • If you need to remove a heavy build-up of old paint, use a propane torch to help make the job faster and easier. A wide-mouth burner tip is available to spread the flame over large areas. Use a long-handled scraper to keep your fingers away from the heat as you work
  • Use your power drill for smoothing rough spots before painting Purchase a sanding wheel drill attachment to make sanding much easier. A wire brush attachment for your power drill is an excellent tool for removing rust and scale from metal.
  • Use plastic or paper drop cloths to cover sidewalks, shrubbery or other areas needing protection before you start the painting. Use drop cloths to cover floors, furniture, etc., for indoor painting. These cloths are inexpensive and save you a lot of clean-up time.


  • Thoroughly mix the paint- Pour off, into another container, any thin portion of the paint that is floating on top. Use a paddle to stir the paste settled in the bottom of the can. Stir in a small amount of the thin portion of the paint and use the paint paddle to stir with a figure eight motion. As you stir, gradually mix the thin portion back into the main paint can. Finally, pour the paint back and forth from one container to another. This will thoroughly mix the paint and bring it to the proper thickness for application.
  • Save a lot of clean-up time by lining your roller tray with a plastic tray liner. If you do not have a plastic liner, use aluminum foil. Press a large piece of aluminum foil tightly against the sides of the tray. When you're finished painting, you can simply remove the aluminum foil and throw it away. This leaves little or no clean up.
  • Use masking tape where two paint colors come together for a much neater job. Apply the masking tape at the point where the two colors join. Then remove it when the paint is dry for a much smoother joint between the two colors than what you would get by free-hand painting.
  • When you're painting corners, always use the flat side of the brush. Painting with the side of the brush causes "fingering." Your paint job will be neater and your brush will last a lot longer when you use the flat side of the brush.
  • To use a paintbrush for best results when painting exterior surfaces- First, dip the paintbrush into the can to load the bristles about half-way with paint. Never dip more than half of the brush into the paint. After loading half the bristles with paint, touch the brush lightly to the surface at several points to apply spots of paint. After applying the spots of paint, use long leveling brush strokes to smooth out the spots. Finish each area with back and forth motions and zigzag strokes. A little practice with a brush will enable you to complete a professional-looking painting job with minimal effort.


  • If you've had the paint for a long period of time, it may contain impurities such as dirt or lumps. There is no need to throw this paint away. Instead, cut a disk of window screen to fit just inside the paint can. The screen will sink down into the paint and carry the lumps to the bottom of the can as the level of the paint is lowered.


  • You can avoid paint rings and drips on the floor by sticking a paper plate to the bottom of the paint can before you start the job. Just apply a little paint to the bottom of the can and press the paper plate against it. The paper plate will stick to the bottom of the can and prevent the paint from dripping onto the floor.


  • Avoid paint ridges and lap marks on a flat surface by always stroking into the wet paint area, never away from it. Blend each stroke of the brush toward the wet paint area, bringing the layer you're applying into the wet paint previously applied.


  • If you are planning a small outside painting job, insects flying into the newly applied paint may bother you. To avoid this problem, add a small amount of insect repellent to the paint when it is mixed. Do not use too much-a small amount will do the trick without damaging the color or quality of the paint.


  • Paint wire fences with special, long nap rollers. As this type of roller is pushed across the face of the wire fence, paint is applied to the front and sides of the wire. Repeat on the opposite side and the job is done. The fence can be painted in almost a single stroke if the correct roller is used.


  • When you're painting with a roller, start the job by making several criss-cross strokes on the area to be painted. After you've made these strokes, continue to work up and down to spread the newly applied paint evenly over the area. For painting trim work, use a special trim roller or a brush.


  • You can purchase special rollers for painting beveled or weather-boarded areas. Use a special "doughnut-shaped" roller to paint the under edges of weather board. Use a wider type roller for painting the main surface area. By using rollers of these special types, you can paint the entire exterior of the house without touching a brush.


Special waterless hand cleaners remove both latex-base and oil-base paints easily and quickly. These waterless hand cleaners will not irritate your skin like many solvents. Wipe the paste-type cleaner on your hands, wipe it off and the paint will come off with it.


  • Take care of your brushes by cleaning them carefully after each painting job is done and then wrapping and storing them for future use. Fold wax paper around the brush and seal it with a rubber band.


  • Wash latex paints out of a brush with clear warm water.


  • Clean brushes used with oil-base paints with regular paint cleaner or some type of solvent. Clean the brush thoroughly, then wrap it in wax paper and store it for future use.


  • Clean rollers in the same basic way as paintbrushes. Take time to clean them thoroughly.



  • Determine what your lighting goals are: Direct or task lighting is focused in the space you are trying to work. Ambient or indirect lighting is used for ambiance and for overall lighting of a space. Once chosen you can begin to choose lighting options.  Each room in your home should have a mood you want to set, as well as a function you want your lighting to serve.


  • Provide lighting for safety and security on the exterior of your home: Walkways, sidewalks, perimeter of your house, and the front entry should be lit with ambient lighting.  Too dim of lighting on the exterior is a welcome sign for intruders. While too bright of exterior lighting is costly and disturbing to neighbors. Consider installing flood lights at the exterior corners of your home that are motion activated to further deter intruders.


  • Use exterior wall sconces for décor: Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to only be utilitarian.  Wall sconces can provide washes of light against the exterior walls of your home to create ambiance in the evening hours.  Directional sconces pointing upwards or downwards can focus on architectural elements on your home, and draw attention to exterior niches and plantings around your home.


  • Inside your home use multiple light sources for one space: For rooms like the kitchen, bedrooms, and living spaces, multiple light sources will help you achieve a variety of functions and activities in that space. In the kitchen, under counter lights can provide great task lighting. While in a living room, opt for a floor lamp next to a couch or favorite reading chair. In bathrooms the lighting at the mirror should be free from shadows and glaring light.


  • For high ceilings and modern décor use recessed lighting: “Can” light fixtures, so called because of the metal recessed “can” that is inserted into the ceiling and the light fixture fits inside. These fixtures are subtle and can be directional, and can be connected to dimmer switches to give a range of light from subtly dim to full brightness to illuminate an entire room.
  • In nurseries and kid’s rooms, remember night lighting: Think about the lighting for when children sleep when planning lighting requirements.  Night lights can help small children from being scared, but can also help parents navigate through dark rooms.  For nurseries consider a dim wall sconce, or table lamp that can be used for changing diapers, or rocking infants to sleep.


  • In formal living and dining areas, research chandeliers wisely: In spaces that a formal chandelier is considered; choose one that will not date your space. Often time’s chandeliers are bought without thinking of the space and the décor that surrounds it.  Chandeliers come in extremely simple designs that include faux candles, small bulbs, or a few lights to the ornate and expensive crystal varieties. Whichever is your décor choice, measure out the space, and ceiling height before ordering to ensure enough head room will be available below the hanging chandelier.



  • How Many Holes Are in Your Sink: If you're replacing an existing faucet, choose a new one that requires the same number of holes in the deck of the sink as the one that's being removed. One-piece faucets (with integrated handle and spout) need one hole for the handle / spout piece and usually require a separate hole for a sprayer. Traditional faucets, with hot and cold taps, require three holes for the taps and spout, and a fourth for a sprayer. Other options, such as integrated sprayers and soap dispensers, can create other requirements.

If you're starting from scratch with a new sink, you can put any holes you need in the sink to accommodate the faucet you want.


  • What Kind of Handles Do You Want: Typical kitchen faucets have either one handle that rotates directionally to choose a water temperature or two handles for mixing hot and cold water. One-piece faucets can have a handle that's attached to the faucet unit or a handle that sits to the side (in the same position a traditional sprayer would be).

Traditional faucets can feature the classic look of the rounded X-shaped tap — a more contemporary, cylindrical silhouette — or an easy-access lever shape. Lever taps are often easiest to manipulate. They fit in well with the concept of universal design, an attempt to make living spaces as accessible as possible to people of all levels of physical ability.


  • What Do You Put in the Sink: If you wash a large number of bulky pots and pans, choose a faucet with a tall, curved neck. You'll have an easier time sliding big pots in and out of the sink and rinsing them thoroughly.


  • What Style and Finish Do You Want: For a unified look, choose a style and finish for your new faucet that matches your kitchen cabinet hardware.
  • Some faucets mount from the top of the sink, while others mount from the bottom. If you're hiring a professional to install your new faucet (perhaps along with a new sink), they'll likely be familiar with both types. If you're installing the new faucet, make sure you understand all the steps before you begin.

There are four main types of faucet mechanisms: ball valve, ceramic disk, compression valve and cartridge. Which type your new faucet has won't make a big difference in day-to-day use, but some are easier to repair than others.





  • Styles: The design of your sink plays a large role in determining which style of faucet you decide to install. If a sink has only one hole, you'll need to install a single-hole faucet. These units often have one handle connected to the spout, though some may have separate handles for hot and cold water. Center-set faucets combine the handles and spout on a 4" base unit. These are the most commonly used faucets and are usually the least expensive and easiest to install. Widespread models feature hot- and cold-water valves that are separate from the spout. They are often more expensive than other styles but allow for a wide range of placement flexibility. For something different, choose a wall-mounted faucet. Pair one with an above-counter basin for an especially striking look. While they may be more difficult to install, wall-mounted faucets reduce clutter on the sink and make cleanup easier.
  • Single-hole faucets are simple to install and maintain and are compact and easy to use
  • Single-hole faucets are often used on smaller sinks and may have an optional cover plate
  • Center-set faucets are ideal for smaller, predrilled or preexisting basins
  • Widespread faucets have a standard spread of at least 8"
  • Mini-widespread, or minispread, faucets have a spread of 4"
  • Design: Along with the style, you'll also need to choose a spout, handle and valve for your new faucet. Spouts may be aerated or nonaerated. Aerated spouts mix air with the water and utilize a screen and restrictor to limit flow while simultaneously improving water pressure. Nonaerated spouts do not have a screen and allow water to flow freely, causing a waterfall-like effect. Handles come in a wide range of styles including ring-type cylinder, round, cross and lever and may be a single unit or separate for customized hot- and cold-water control.
  • Finish: Once you've selected a style and design, you'll need to select a finish. Many manufacturers offer lifetime finishes that won't tarnish over time to ensure that your faucet stays looking great for years. Commonly used finishes include chrome, brass, colored, gold plate, nickel, stainless steel and PVD. The following points identify some of the primary benefits and considerations of these finishes.

Chrome may have a polished, brushed or matte finish and is durable and economical

Brass is ideal for traditional styles, and faucets with lifetime finishes resist fading, scratches and corrosion

Colored finishes may be epoxy or baked-on enamel coating and are easy to clean

High-quality gold plate won't tarnish, though it is more expensive

Nickel may be brushed or satin and is stylish, durable and easy to clean

Stainless steel is stylish and won't show water spots, though it is often more expensive

PVD, or physical vapor deposition, is highly durable and resists abrasion and discoloration

  • Installation and Care: Wall-mount faucets will require a longer spout for extended reach. Taller faucets are easier to get your hands under for washing, but shorter faucets will minimize splashing.
  • Avoid using harsh, abrasive cleaning chemicals that may damage the finish
  • Gentle soap and warm water will generally be sufficient for cleaning faucets


  • Slow Draining Sinks: If your sink drains are slow and you live in an older house, the problem may be an accumulation of sludge in the pipes. Plunging and drain chemicals may fix this. If you are using a plunger trying to unblock a blocked sink, cover up the overflow holes with a damp cloth. Otherwise the pipes need to be removed and cleared and replaced.
  • Blocked Tap: Make sure you turn the water off at source before attempting to clear a blocked tap by taking it apart.
  • In the event of a burst pipe: You can avoid serious water damage by shutting the stop valve. There is always a main stop valve to shut off the mains water flowing in. Always find out where this is - under kitchen sink, or on the footpath outside your house. If your water pipe has split, a temporary fix you can do whilst waiting for a plumber is to wrap torn strips of fabric very tightly around the break. Keep a large saucepan or bucket underneath the join to catch any drips.
  • Stop a leak on connecting pipes: If connecting two pipes together don’t forget to wrap the screw threads in teflon tape in order to avoid any leaks. Wrap clockwise when viewed from the end of the pipe is the correct way to put it on.


  • Showers: If the water pressure is very poor in your shower it may be due to lime-scale build up. If you live in a hard water area you should clean your shower heads every three months or so. If the scale is too bad it may be an idea to get either a new hose, or a new shower head.



  • Always read the label before using insecticides. Note ingredients, use directions, warnings and cautions each time before opening the container.
  • Keep all insecticides out of the reach of children and pets
  • Always store insecticides in the original containers and keep them tightly closed.
  • Never smoke or eat while spraying or dusting. Avoid inhaling sprays or dusts.
  • When handling pesticides, wear a long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants. Some chemicals may require waterproof gloves and goggles. When spraying overhead, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • After spraying or dusting, wash hands and face and change into clean clothing. Wash clothing immediately.
  • Do not spill sprays or dusts on the skin or clothing. If they are spilled, remove contaminated clothing immediately and wash.
  • If symptoms of illness occur during or shortly after spraying or dusting, contact a physician or go to the hospital. Take the label from the chemical with you.
  • Cover food and water containers when treating around livestock or pet areas. Do not contaminate fish ponds.
  • Use separate sprayers for applying herbicides to avoid accidental injury to susceptible plants.
  • Always dispose of empty containers so they pose no threat to humans, animals or wildlife.


  • Ideas for some not-so-common plant containers might be household vessels that have never held soil or vegetation. For example, a weathered wooden bucket or an antique urn that's just sitting around gathering dust can make a great planter that reflects your style. Just make sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom to allow for proper water drainage.


  • Keep in mind the size of your plants and the space they will need for healthy growth. A planter that's too shallow could inhibit root growth. Also remember that the shape of the planter can influence a plant's growth as it develops vertically or horizontally.


  • Hanging containers dress up both indoor and outdoor living areas.



  • The purpose of the plant: First of all you need to consider why you want this container. Is it to look pretty, to grow food, or to brighten up a shady spot? Do you want it for year round effect or just for a particular season? Do you want to focus on specific colours, or have a real mix up? Should the plants be eye catching, or blend in with the surrounding garden? What is the size and type of container – and what sort of plant would suit it?
  • Where your container will go: Take a look at the spot where you want to put your container. How much sun does it get? Does it benefit from the warming effect of a house wall? How easy is the access for watering? The answers to these questions will help define the types of plants you need. Here are some example locations for containers and the advantages/disadvantages of each.
  • Around the outside of your house: Houses provide both shelter from winds and warmth to plants so can be ideal spots for more tender species. However, this also means that temperatures in the summer months can be higher against a house wall, which can damage roots and cause a water deficit. The house wall and roof overhang may cause a ‘rain shadow’, preventing rain reaching the containers. You need to consider the aspect of the house wall in question, as north-facing walls will provide significantly less sun, limiting your choice of plant. Frost tender, drought tolerant plants are a good choice for next to a house.
  • Next to other walls or fences: Other walls or fences may not provide the same warming effect as houses but may give shelter from winds. They can still cause a rain shadow and may be too shady for many plants, particularly if the spot is north facing.

  • On a patio: If you are sitting your container on an open patio you need to take into account the lack of shelter, and therefore look at tougher, hardier plants for that location. As the site is more open you will benefit from rainfall reaching plants (there is no rain shadow) and you are less likely to have a problem with shading. So open patio sites are great for hardy, sun loving plants.
  • In a bed or border: In these locations the conditions can be variable, depending on the height and density of surrounding plants. The more open the spot the quicker the container will dry out, but it will have less competition for sunlight and rainfall. Conversely, containers within more crowded borders may be more shaded and receive less rainfall, but the additional shelter should help them conserve the water they do receive.
  • On a wall: Containers on walls (eg window boxes) tend to be smaller (due to weight restrictions), hot (as they are usually against a house) and buffeted by winds. Not very nice conditions! Plants for these containers need to be drought tolerant, heat tolerant and flexible so they will bend with the wind, not snap.
  • Roof garden: As well as the weight restrictions inherent in roof gardens (you should seek professional advice to ascertain the type and number of containers your roof can hold) they tend to be very open and, therefore, windy spots. The plants you use need to be very tolerant of exposed conditions and drying winds.



  • Get the right tool for the job: Are you confident that you know what you’re looking for? Could you tell the difference between a sander, an angle-grinder, a circular saw or a jigsaw, and describe exactly what each one does? If in doubt, seek advice before you buy.


  • Make sure you understand what is and isn’t included: One of the first lessons we all learn in DIY is the frustration when you get home and find you haven’t got what you need. Don’t get so carried away with the prospect of shiny new toys that you ignore the extra blades, bits or sanding belts that aren’t included and that are crucial for you, right now. Also ask questions about battery life and the cost of replacements, especially when they are rechargeable – these can be significant.

  • Plug-in vs. cordless: Plug-in tools are cheaper, more powerful and much more convenient to run – so long as you’re in range of a socket. Cordless tools, on the other hand, can be taken anywhere and don’t leave you struggling to reach things or avoid getting caught up in the cable. They are also sometimes less bulky and therefore easier to get into those tight, inconvenient little corners that every job seems to throw up. After that, it’s up to you – as ever; consider the kind of jobs you expect to do and assess which best meets your needs. The first cordless tool in your toolbox should definitely be a drill/driver.

  • Branded vs. own-brand tools: Many big-name DIY retailers, such as B&Q or Wickes, stock own-brand power tools. Popular brands in the UK include Erbauer, DeWalt, Makita, Black & Decker, Ryobi, Trend and Hitachi. So, which should you opt for? Well, the choice is very large but we would counsel keeping sight of your goal – basic tools, not loaded down with unnecessary features, which are sturdy, right for the job and good value for money. And you also need to ask how much you will be demanding of them – intense, heavy-duty use such as may occur during a long project will probably call for quite a different set of criteria from occasional home repair use.

  • Kit yourself out with the basics: Don’t run before you can walk. A basic set of power tools might include a decent electric drill or cordless drill/driver, a circular saw and maybe a cordless screwdriver if your kit doesn’t do the job already. This will be more than adequate to find your feet with, and will give you a chance to find out what you do and don’t like to use. The wonderful world of belt sanders, tile cutters, planers, grinders and mitre saws awaits – but don’t get ahead of yourself and spend a heap of cash on these more specialist items until you actually find yourself needing them.

  • Think about storage: Your tools will need to be stored in a place where they can’t cause a hazard, for example by cutting or falling on someone, or hurt inquisitive children or pets. They also need to be secure. Electrical equipment is best stored somewhere dry and relatively dust-free. You may want to consider getting some extra garage-shelving units especially for them or even a lockable storage box.

  • Keep an eye open for labour-savers and safety features: Check what safety features come as standard – and learn how to use them. For example, some cutting tools come with two-handed operation to save you from reaching into the blade. A circuit breaker, or RCD plug, can be a life-saving investment designed to prevent electrocution from a damaged cable. Never skimp on things like eye protectors and dust masks if the job demands them. Make sure you consider the safety aspects of any job and act accordingly. And don’t forget those items that will make your life easier – a good stepladder that you feel happy using and that prevents you having to stretch, a decent workbench and an adequate extension cord.




  • Drills and bits: Power drills are most commonly used in woodworking and metalworking to create holes and fasten work-pieces together. You can look for a few features when selecting a drill:

Drill Features

  • Bits: Some drill sets come with a variety of the most used sizes of drill bits. You can also find separate drill bit sets with many sizes and types of drill bits.
  • Torque: A power drill with adjustable torque settings will allow you to adjust the power tool for working on different materials. If you start drilling with too much torque, you risk stripping your screw or bolt and damaging the material you are working with.
  • Power: A higher voltage means more drilling power, but it can also mean that your power tool is heavier. Also, a balanced design means that a power drill rests easily in your hand and is easier to work with.
  • Power saws: A power saw is designed for cutting wood or other materials. A power saw can be hand-held or table-mounted, each having a different purpose and cutting method. Saws vary widely, depending on the type and size of the material you are cutting.

Types of Saws

  • Jigsaws and band saws: Jigsaws and band saws are used to make intricate cuts, such as stenciled designs, into wood or other materials. They give you a lot of control to create shaped edges.
  • Circular saws: These hand-held power tools have a circular blade and are commonly used for cutting lumber. Look for safety guards and adjustable cutting depths on these saws.
  • Chain saws: You'll primarily be cutting raw timber with a chain saw. The hardness and sharpness of the blades is important, as is the power of the gas or electric motor.
  • Table saw: This is a necessary tool if you plan to cut a lot of wood. These power tools are great at handling plywood sheets, beams and planks because you can adjust the height of the blade and install guides on the table to make sure your cuts are straight and perfectly measured.
  • Reciprocating saw: This saw has a blade resembling that of a jigsaw and a handle designed to allow the saw to be used on vertical surfaces comfortably. Reciprocating saws are hand-held and great for cutting shapes in drywall or plywood.
  • Steel cut-off or abrasive saw: Also known as a steel chop saw, these saws are portable and hand-operated. This power tool uses a composite friction disk blade that abrasively cuts through metal held in place by a vise.
  • Concrete saw: Concrete saws are used for cutting concrete, masonry, brick and asphalt. The blade of the saw gets very hot and is often cooled by water as it cuts. Blades are either abrasive or diamond-tipped.
  • Radial arm saw: Consisting of a circular saw blade mounted on a sliding horizontal arm, radial arm saws are used for cutting long pieces of wood to length. An adjustable radial saw will shift either the blade or the work-piece to cut accurate angles.
  • Tile saw: This type of saw is used to cut tiles and bricks to a required size. The blade may be diamond-tipped and water-cooled.
  • Miter saw: A miter saw is the tool used to create miters and crosscuts in work pieces. Miter saws are used to achieve accurate cuts for indoor woodworking, such as molding.
  • Routers and bits: Routers use a variety of bits and attachments for cutting and carving, sanding and grinding as well as polishing wood. Wood routers are great for pattern makers and staircase makers because of the decorative edges they create. You can also use a router to make dovetail joints to fit wood pieces together. These power tools come in handheld and table-mounted models with a large variety of bits for cutting, hollowing and shaping.
  • Sanders: Sanders are rotary power tools used to smooth wood and automotive or wood finishes. Auto body sanders are pneumatic, using compressed air, while woodworking sanders are usually electric. Sanders include everything from belt sanders to orbital sanders. Each power tool is designed to smooth surfaces differently, so your choice will depend on the type of project you're working on.
  • Lathes: Lathes are another rotary power tool. These power tools spin a block of material, such as wood, at a high speed. You then apply chisels and other shaping tools to the spinning work piece to shape it. Lathes are used in woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, glass working and pottery.
  • Air tools: Pneumatic tools are heavy-duty power tools, usually found in professional settings or used on large projects. Air tools use compressed air to power the tool; the air hose supplies air pressure from the compressor tank. Air tools like pneumatic drills and nail drivers produce a lot of power and you don't have to worry about a run-down battery.



BALL PEEN HAMMERS: Ball peen hammers are used with small shank, cold chisels for cutting and chipping work, rounding over rivet ends, forming unhardened metal work and similar jobs not involving nails.

The striking face diameter should be approximately 3/8" larger than the diameter of the head of the object being struck.

The hammer is designed with a regular striking face on one end and a rounded or half ball or peen on the other end taking the place of a claw. The hammer face is heavier than the peen end. Hammer sizes range from 2 to 48 oz. Twelve and 16 oz. are most popular.

MALLETS: Mallets have rubber, plastic, wooden or rawhide heads and are used to drive chisels or hammer joints together. They are used in jewelry, brass and automobile work where the blow of a metal hammer could mar the finish. They also are used in applications where it is necessary to avoid sparks. With the exception of wooden mallets, sizes are specified in either head weight or diameter, such as 2-1/4" Wooden mallets are specified by head diameter only.

There are a variety of mallet shapes and sizes for specific tasks. A carpenter's mallet with an angled head provides a natural strike resulting in less wrist and arm fatigue. A shop mallet with an octagonal head is used for flat strikes and is constructed for balance by mating the head and handle weight, while a pestle-shaped mallet with a round horizontal strike is generally used with a chisel or other carving tools.

NAIL HAMMERS: The two basic nail hammers are curved claw and straight claw. Curved claw is used most often in a home, while straight claw (ripping hammer) is more likely to be used by professionals to rip apart nailed wooden components.

Common head weights are 7 oz. for light-duty driving; 10 oz. and 13 oz. for cabinetmakers and householders; 16 oz. for general usage; 20 oz. for heavy crating, framing, etc. All sizes are available with curved claw, while the straight claw comes in 10-, 16-, 20-, 24-, 28 and 32-oz. weights.

Straight claw hammers are now available with milled or checkered faces to grip the nail head and reduce the effect of glancing blows and flying nails.

Nail hammers may have handles made of a number of materials-wood, jacketed fiberglass, jacketed graphite, tubular steel or jacketed steel I-beam Each offers a different combination of stiffness for efficiency delivering the force of the blow to the target, and shock absorption to reduce shock and stress on the user's hand, wrist and arm. Wood flexes and offers some degree of shock absorption. Stiffer materials such as graphite or steel I-beam deliver the full force of the blow but require cushioning in the jacketing and grip to provide long-term user comfort.

Nail hammer handles are available in a variety of lengths from 13" to 18".

HAND DRILLING HAMMERS: Hand drilling hammers, weighing 2 to 4 lbs., are used with star drills or cold chisels on heavy-duty work. They have short handles and are recommended for pounding hardened nails into concrete or for using with tools that drive nails and pins into concrete, brick, etc. Larger striking surface, generous bevel and special heat-treating minimize chance of chipping the striking face.

SLEDGE HAMMERS: Sledgehammers are used for extremely heavy jobs, wherever great force is required. They have long handles that range from 14" to 36" and heads that weigh from two to 20 lbs.

SPECIALTY HAMMERS: Specialty hammers include riveting hammers to set rivets; setting hammers to close and open seams and dress edges in tin work; straight and cross peen hammers for riveting, stretching and bending metal; scaling and chipping hammers for general chipping in welding and cleaning torch cuts; bricklayer hammers for cutting and setting brick and tile hammers to set tile.



  • Bolt Length: One of the first things you need to consider when buying deadbolt locks is their bolt length. The bolt is designed to lock the door into the frame. You should make sure that the bolt will extend at least one inch into the door. Deadbolt locks with longer bolts won't be susceptible to being pried open.


  • Strike Plate: One of the next things to consider when buying deadbolt locks is the strike plate. The strike plate will help prevent would-be intruders from damaging the door and lock. You should look for deadbolt locks that have reinforced strike plates. You also need to make sure the screws are long enough for the strike plate to be attached to the framing.


  • Cylinder: You will also need to think about how many cylinders you want the deadbolt locks to have. Designs that have a single cylinder are opened from the inside with a twisting knob. They require a key in order to open from the outside. deadbolt locks with two cylinders require that a key be used on both sides of the door. This can make it more difficult to escape from your home in the event of an emergency.


  • Roll Pin: One of the next things you need to think about when buying deadbolt locks is the roll pin. The roll pin can be a target for people wanting to defeat the lock. Therefore, you should look for deadbolt locks that have hardened roll pins. These pins will be able to withstand cutting and sawing better.



  • Clean house at the old place: Be strong and rid yourself of anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent of your old stuff: wobbly furniture, faulty appliances, and questionable accessories you received as gifts. This is the perfect time to start over. Pare down your accumulated possessions to the minimal amount.
  • Start with the bedroom: It's where you'll be spending almost a third of your time when you're at home, after all. If you're on a tight budget, opt for new bedding first. Paint the bedroom walls to complement your new bedding. Add coordinating window treatments. Early risers should opt for a lighter palette of colors and more translucent treatments. Night owls who like to sleep in will probably likely be more satisfied with deeper tones and more substantial coverings that block out the light. If you can afford it, buy that bed you've always dreamed about. It should mirror your personality, fit your room comfortably and stay with you for years.


  • Don't buy everything all at once: Live in your new house for at least two months before you make any significant purchases. How you think you're going to use the house and how you actually live in the house are commonly two different things.


  • Fight the urge to match: Retail stores love to perpetuate the fallacy that everything has to match. They would love for you to buy everything in sets, but don't do it! A few pieces with the same styling are fine, but any more than that and your home has the lifeless, generic look of a furniture showroom. Make sure your own personal style shows through, which most likely isn't bland, beige and boring. Top priority should be proportion, scale and balance of your furniture and accessories within each room. Don't shove five pieces of oversized lounge furniture into a 15x5 room that has a modest 8-foot ceiling. It will look like a clown car. Conversely, putting only a low buffet and a delicate, round dining table for four into a 20x30 room with a soaring 12-foot ceiling will look equally awkward and unsatisfying.


  • Tie everything together with color: If you've moved into your first place with furniture that spans the 1960s to now, don't worry. The easiest, most economical way to overcome this seemingly insurmountable problem is unifying through color. Let's say you have a sofa that has only one thing in common with the furniture in the rest of your living room: a tiny bit of the color in the fabric is the same as the less dominant color in the rest of the room's upholstery. Solution? Play up that similarity and make it your living room's unifying wall color. If that's too much hard labor for you, find curtains, rugs or accessories in this common hue and see how the pieces begin to complement each other.


  • Solve practical problems inexpensively: If your kitchen cabinets are drab, for instance, freshen them with paint and change out the hardware. And don't bother installing overly decorative (and very expensive) cabinet hardware on cheaply fabricated woodwork — it will look out of place and the money can be put to better use elsewhere. In the bathroom, something as simple as replacing the lighting can immediately improve the room's appearance.



Fabrics can fulfill a fascination with textural elements more so than any other interior decoration. The variety of colors and patterns offers a vast opportunity for articulating a specific look. Here are some tips for accomplishing it:

  • If you've decided on a particular style, research the look in magazines, books and online, tour show houses and browse furniture stores to get a feel for the textiles that best set the mood. Certain textures and sheens are befitting of specific styles and can make or break the design.


  • Choose your fabric before painting a room-you can always match the paint to the pattern. Take note of the background color, the intensity of the hues and the scale of the print. Then select two or three fabrics in smaller patterns and possibly varying textures, all within the same color story. Another option is to go with the same pattern in various sizes (depending, of course, on how much you love the pattern). Cut swatches to size in proportion to how they'll be used in the room; the upholstery fabric should be the largest swatch, followed by the window coverings, table drapes, pillows, etc. Layer the swatches together to see how they relate. If you can't find other fabrics that match your favorite or just don't want more than one, bring the colors together through different materials, such as leather, stained wood or metal. (If you're more color-conscious and it's the hue that inspires you, get it on the walls to stimulate your creativity if you're not committed to a specific theme.)


  • Select upholstery based on how the room is used. Delicate textiles such as silk and lace are probably not the best choices for rooms that see a lot of activity. If kids and pets have the run of your place, look at sturdy woven materials like chenille and denim for informal rooms and damasks and tapestries for more formal settings.


  • Coordinate not only colors and patterns but sheens and textures as well. You could have sensory overload in a room full of shiny chintz and silk if it's not tempered with enough matte fabrics or accessories.


  • Use fabric in unexpected places. Line the back wall of a shelving unit, use it to decoupage furniture, hang a pretty piece as wall art, to slipcover a coffee table or cover an entire wall.


  • Look beyond traditional fabric stores for your inspirational piece. Maybe you have a beautiful dress, blouse, tablecloth— that can be turned into a fun pillow cover and dress it up with buttons or beads instead. Fabric can usually be made into whatever you want, whether it's bought off the bolt or as a pre-made bedspread. Open your eyes to the possibilities.