Helpful Hints for the Handy Homeowner

Hispanic homeowners across the country are loading up their tool belts and taking on home more improvement projects than ever before. With the housing market still sputtering many of Latino families are looking for inexpensive ways to making their homes look and feel nicer.  There are many simple projects that won’t ‘break the bank’ but will make a surprising difference in improving a home’s aesthetic appeal.

The experts at Black & Decker offer Casa Latina readers some tips on how-to make four of the most common projects a little easier.

Rejuvenate Cabinets. Instead of replacing your kitchen cabinets, stain them for a fresh, new look.

  • Wash cabinets with mild detergent. Let dry, then scrape off loose paint.
  • Sand all surfaces. Try Black & Decker’s all-new Complete Sanding Kit with Smart Selectä Technology. Then wipe away sanding dust and prime all bare wood with sealer.
  • Paint cabinet interiors back walls first, then tops, sides and bottoms. Paint bottoms, tops, and edges of shelves last.
  • Paint both sides of doors, beginning with inner surfaces. With panel doors, paint in this order: 1) recessed panels, 2) horizontal rails, 3) vertical stiles.

Assemble Furniture Yourself. Adding even one new piece of furniture, like a bookshelf, can help transform a room. To help eliminate some of the frustration that can come with following assembly instructions, follow these tips:

  • Set aside a work area that’s big enough for unpacking and maneuvering the preassembled pieces.
  • Spread out all the furniture pieces and hardware. Compare what you have with what’s listed in the instruction manual. Make sure you have everything before you start.
  • Be ready with the basic tools. Some furniture is simple enough that no tools are required, but more complex pieces will probably call for a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches and maybe even a power drill.

Add a Chair Rail. It’s the perfect way to create a new look in any room without the pain of painting the entire space.

  • To determine how high the chair rail should be, divide the height of the ceiling by three. The general rule is that the chair rail should be about 1/3 of the way up from the floor (between 32 and 36 inches for an 8-foot ceiling).
  • Following a cutline with a saw can be difficult, especially in poorly lit work areas. One tool that can make the job easier is a jigsaw.
  • Using a jigsaw can be tricky when you first start out. Practice on a piece of scrap wood to avoid costly mistakes on the actual project and get you acquainted with using the saw and what to expect.

Install New Blinds. New blinds can help change the look of a room in no time. They also add privacy and can be an added form of insulation in the cooler months.

  • Take accurate measurements before you buy. Inside and outside mounted blinds are measured differently. You can find measuring guides online to help you get just the right fit.
  • Open the package carefully. Don’t use a razor blade or knife to open the boxes because you could accidently cut a cord.
  • Predrill pilot holes for screws to avoid splitting the work piece. Use a slower speed and moderate pressure. A steady and patient approach works best with wood, to avoid slipping and misaligning holes.
  • Screwdriving in difficult to reach areas is made simple with the Black & Decker Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver.

For more information and other DIY project guides and tools, please visit

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