Need an interior re-do? Winter's the time to do it

Cold weather doesn't have to put all home projects on hold

Cold weather doesn't have to put all home projects on hold

February 04, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

It's too cold to paint the outside of your house, but the icy cold weather can't put a stop to interior painting.

Nor can snow, ice nor sleet stop a lot of other indoor home improvement projects.

Here are several projects experts say average homeowners could accomplish on their own:

Paint your walls

Paint is an inexpensive way to spruce up your house, said Ed Salmon, owner of Handyman Matters in Frederick, Md.

Water-based latex paints can be applied this time of year without cracking a window for ventilation, experts said. Some paint brands have a low-odor version of latex paint.

While painting, you want moderately-heated rooms that aren't too warm, said Don Vandervort, the former host of HGTV's "The Fix," who provides home improvement tips at The paint might take a little longer to dry if there is high humidity in the house, but air in homes tends to be drier in winter.


Install ceramic or laminate flooring

Ceramic flooring might require a cutter, which can be rented, said Duane Kinna, who owns a Williamsport home improvement business.

Laminate flooring, an interlocking flooring system that looks like hardwood, needs to adjust to your home's indoor temperature for two to three days before being installed, said Mike Bolt, sales manager at Lowe's off Wesel Boulevard.

This helps when interlocking the pieces so the floor doesn't buckle, said A.J. Mazzola, store manager of the Hagerstown Home Depot.

Put up drywall

Install drywall or patch a hole in a wall using a self-adhering patch and drywall compound, Kinna said.

Seal areas around windows and ceramic fixtures

Interior caulking can be done if the home's interior temperature meets the caulk's guidelines.

Replace a leaky faucet

Many newer bathroom faucets come with parts that can be screwed onto the cutoff valves and do not require a lot of adjustable wrenches, Kinna said. While kits usually come with a drain, if your existing drain is working, just leave it in because that can be a little tougher to tackle.

Install a programmable thermostat

The heating system will have to be down for a short time when you replace your regular thermostat with a programmable unit, but it will be worth it for the long-term savings on energy costs, Vandervort said.

Install window treatments

Drapery or miniblinds can help deflect cold and sunlight, which can stain carpeting if your windows don't have ultraviolet protection, Bolt said.

Replace interior doorknobs

Check the pipes for leaks

Examine pipes in the basement and other out-of-the-way places, looking for cracks. There might be a tiny pinhole, noticeable from the drops on the floor, that could turn into a bigger problem, Bolt said.

Install weatherstripping

Cold or windy days are good times to look for drafts and see where the house needs insulation. Check around windows. Spray insulation can be used to seal gaps, Salmon said.

Install molding

Allow wood molding to acclimate to the home's temperature before cutting and installing it, so the joints will be snug, Vandervort said.

Check your heating system

Change the filter and make sure the registers are open in rooms you want heated or closed in rooms that you don't want heat, Vandervort said. Make sure registers are cleared of dust and not blocked by furniture or draperies.

If you're sanding indoors, remember to wear a mask and crack a window open to allow ventilation, Kinna said. If using adhesives, read the instructions to see how much ventilation is needed.

If you can't get motivated to do-it-yourself right now, take the time to plan a future project -- perhaps a kitchen renovation or bathroom remodel, Vandervort said. Examine different designs of flooring, fixtures, countertops and cabinets so you're prepared when you're ready to start the remodel.

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