How To Buy Good Firewood For Less!

how to choose firewood

More and more families are discovering the advantages of firewood to heat their home. Unfortunately, when you first buy firewood there’s a few things you need to know to always get the best deal.

Where To Buy Firewood

It is not hard to find firewood for sale. One can buy wood at a wide variety of places. Supermarkets, gas stations, landscape companies, firewood dealers and even internet retail websites sell various types of firewood.

While most  firewood dealers are honest, there are some unscrupulous dealers who will cheat unsuspecting customers by inflating measurements and/or providing low quality wood.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying  firewood for a stove or fireplace. They will help you understand what type of woods should and should not be used, how firewood should be stored, and more.

Measuring Cords of Firewood

Firewood is measured in cords. A full cord should be four feet deep, four feet high and eight feet wide. It is also possible to buy a half cord of firewood, which would be two feet deep, eight feet wide and four feet high.

Measuring FirewoodThere is also a measurement known as a face cord. A face cord is not the same as a full cord of wood. A face cord is sixteen inches deep, eight feet wide and four feet high. Three face cords make up a full cord.

Never buy wood from a firewood dealer who claims that two face cords make up a full cord. This is not true and is a common tactic used by unscrupulous dealers to cheat customers.

Firewood can be measured with a tape measure once it has been stacked. It is a good idea to have the firewood stacked by the delivery person to ensure that one has gotten all the wood that he or she has paid for.

Types Of Cuts

There are various ways to cut  firewood. If the wood is to be burned in a wood stove, it should be cut in pieces of twelve to eighteen inches. Wood that is meant to be burned in an average fireplace should be cut in pieces of twenty to twenty four inches.

However, when using a fireplace, one will also usually need small, medium sized and large pieces or logs of wood. Small strips of wood, such as slab wood, are a good buy, as they will enable a person to start a fire quickly and easily. Slab wood is cheap and can often be purchased from a saw mill.

Once the fire is going, one should avoid using slab wood as it contains a high level of bark and will clog up the chimney. A fire will burn well once the kindling has gotten going and one can add pieces or logs from one to two feet long. Such logs will take time to burn, giving off plenty of heat. Larger pieces also do not clog up the chimney as fast as smaller slab.

Types of Firewood

There are several different types of firewood often divided into the terms hardwood and softwood.  In terms of tree identification, have nothing to do with how hard the wood is.  A softwood tree is one that has needles while a hardwood has leaves.  Another way of describing trees are  deciduous and evergreen.

Poplar is called a soft hardwood because the wood is physically soft yet it comes from a deciduous ( broad leafed) tree.  Some types of wood burn better than others. Softwoods such as pine, aspen (technically a hardwood ~yet softer than pine)  and poplar create creosote in the chimney that will have to be cleaned out by a chimney sweep.  These woods are lighter in weight and will also burn faster than heavier hardwoods.

Hardwood v Softwood

Many people find these softwoods attractive as they are relatively cheap, especially when buying wood by weight.  However, when buying  firewood, the best buy is hardwood instead of soft wood.

Hardwood v SoftwoodSome good hardwoods to choose from are Pinion, Cedar and Oak. These types of wood are relatively common, so most dealers will have at least one of them.While hardwoods may cost a bit more than softwoods, they burn for longer and do not contain as much creosote.

However,  Please note that statistics indicate that more creosote is created from hardwoods than from softwoods, such as pine.  The main cause for creosote buildup is a “smoldering fire”.

A fire and chimney need to be hot so that all of the acids and combustible gases in the chimney and flue are ignited before they have a chance to harden and leave the creosote residue on the inside of a chimney.Be sure to ask your chosen dealer what type of wood he or she is offering before finalizing the purchase.

Firewood Humidity Levels

When buying firewood, it is important to make sure that the wood is not overly humid. Good wood should be dry. Moist wood is hard to burn and it will also cause the chimney to get clogged up faster.

Avoid wood that is sold wrapped in plastic, as it is moist and will not burn well. Ideally, it should be seasoned for at least six months and have a moisture content of twenty percent or even less. However, it is also possible to buy wood that has a moisture content of over twenty percent and let it dry out at home.

Many people save a lot of money by buying “green wood” a couple years in advance and then letting it dry out. Green wood, as the name implies, is wood that has just recently been cut down. It usually contains a humidity level of around thirty five percent.

Firewood Storage

Firewood storage is important. Many people simply pile the logs in the back yard. This is never a good idea. Firewood that is exposed to the elements will get wet, which is something that should be avoided at all costs.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”300″ identifier=”B000I1R41Y” locale=”US” nw=”y” src=”http://toolsdaddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/51r7vQ8J4ML.jpg” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″ width=”300″]On the other hand, it is usually not a good idea to store large quantities of wood inside the house. In some instances, termites and other small pests will invade your home and cause damage to wooden furnishings.

The best option is to invest in a metal firewood rack and store it outside on a porch. Metal racks come in varying sizes and can be purchased at a local brick and mortar store or via an online retailer. Good firewood should then be stacked in the rack and the top layer should be covered with a tarp to protect it from getting wet.

Knowledge is Power!

By learning about firewood, one will know which type of wood is the best buy. It is not hard to find, but not all dealers provide good value for money.

Take the time to find a reputable dealer that provides good hardwood that has been properly seasoned as it’s always worth the additional cost .

DIY Tips for Home Painting Projects

DIY Tips for Home Painting

Applying a fresh coat of paint adds a new lease of life to your home. It can also significantly increase the resale value of your property. While painting is not difficult, there are a few tips to know that will greatly improve the way a finished wall, ceiling or surface will look.

It’s well documented that colors can affect people’s mood. But did you know paint color changes varies depending on the time of day?  Subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

Use these tips for your exterior and interior home painting projects.  Your home will be the envy of the neighborhood without breaking the bank.

DIY Exterior House Cleaning

Before embarking on an exterior house painting job, start with a little cleaning. Remove all loose or peeling paint by scraping and sanding the exterior house.  Follow this by washing with a power washer or garden hose and scrub brush to remove dirt and loose chalking.

If mildew is found on the house exterior, treat and clean with a solution of one part water and three parts bleach. Apply the bleach solution to the mildew and allow to set for 20 minutes. Rinse the bleach solution off, wash the area with soapy water to remove all traces of bleach and mildew, then rinse again. Allow the house exterior to dry completely, which can take up to a week depending on weather conditions, before painting.

DIY Repair, Replace And Prime

While waiting for the house exterior to dry repair or replace any rotten, cracked or split boards. Replace the dried chalking that was removed during the prep work and fill in any cracks around doors and windows. Apply a coat of primer to any new boards or other bare wood surfaces of the house exterior.

Mix Paint to Avoid Shade Differences

Subtle shade differences in paint color can occur if the paint batch numbers differ. Or if the paint is mixed at different stores or by a different sales person. To avoid paint shade differences after application, first mix all the paint together in a large container then return the paint to the original cans.

Paint a Small Test Patch

Paint a 2 foot by 2-foot test patch on a wall and observe the paint color at different times of the day before you commit to painting the entire exterior or interior. The way the sunlight reflects off the paint can turn a color you love into a color you hate.

* This is also a good DIY tip when painting the interior of your home.

Check Weather Forecast

A weather forecast of between 60 and 85 degrees with no wind or rain forecasted for at least 24 hours is an ideal weather setting for DIY exterior house painting. Applying the exterior paint in direct sunlight can cause the paint to blister, so don’t tackle the DIY painting job on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon.

Choose The Right Paint Brushes

A power spray painter will enable you to get the DIY painting job quickly, but there will always be a few surfaces that must be painted with a brush. Using the right brush is essential for achieving smooth paint coverage for the surfaces.

Choose a synthetic or natural bristle paint brush when using oil based exterior paint and only use a synthetic bristle paint brush for latex paint. Natural bristles are hollow and can clump during the painting process when using latex paint as the natural bristles absorb the water in the latex paint.

A paint brush with angled bristles will allow for better precision painting around the house trim, doors, and windows. Test the paint brush for a snug hand fit and dampen the paint brush before the first use so the bristles will load the paint more evenly.

Interior Painting

Before choosing a paint color for an interior space, consider how the room is used. Paint colors set the mood of a room and you want to select a paint color that embodies and evokes the desired mood. For example, red stimulates the senses and the appetite, making it a perfect paint color for a dining room or restaurant, but not for a bedroom.

Color Cues

When you don’t know where to start on the paint color wheel to pick a color, start by looking around the room you want to paint. What’s in the room that you love and what is the dominant color of that object? It could be a rug, a chair or a painting. If there’s nothing in the room you love and you plan to refurnish the room after painting, then it’s time to go shopping.

Find something that you want for the room and choose the wall paint color from the object. Repeating the wall paint color throughout the room will help tie everything together.

Be Bold

Any room can handle a bold color paint, even small rooms. Neutral paint color come in bold shades, so if you want to stick with neutral, go with bold neutral. Try a deeper shade of the traditional beige or green, like warm caramel or sage green, if you want to remain true to neutral colors but also add a pop of bold room color.

Look Up and Around

Consider painting the ceiling the same shade as the walls. It will erase the stark line between walls and ceiling and make the ceiling appear to be higher. Since the wall and ceiling surfaces are on different planes, the ceiling paint color will appear to be a shade or two lighter than the walls.

Look around the room and make any architectural elements pop by painting them in an accent color. Any unsightly elements you wish to minimize, paint in the same shade of wall color to make them blend in.

Flat / Matte Finish Paints

The paint finish needed for an interior room should be determined by the function of the room and the condition of walls, cabinets, etc.

A flat paint, also called ‘matte’ finish, will give a room an elegant chalky look. Flat paint hides imperfections, is easy to touch up, but difficult to clean. Flat or matte finish paints are best reserved for rooms that are seldom used, like a formal living or dining room. A flat finish is perfect for ceilings too.

Eggshell Finish

This is the most popular paint finishes because of its versatility. An eggshell finish has a slight sheen, hides imperfections and creates a surface that is easy to touch up and easy to clean.
Satin Finish

Aptly named for the smooth, satiny surface it creates, satin finish paint works well in high traffic areas like kitchens, children’s rooms, family rooms and bathrooms. The satin finish is durable, has a slight sheen and easy to clean.

Semi-Gloss Paint

Slightly glossy, this is the paint finish applied to trim work and molding around the room. Semi-gloss finish is easy to clean and very forgiving when a baseboard or door molding gets bumped or scuffed.

High Gloss Paint

High gloss paint is a finish that provides a lacquer-like look to whatever it’s applied too. It’s usually applied to kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, room molding, and furniture. High gloss paint provides the most durable, easy-to-clean finish of all paints, but it also highlights every imperfection.

Primer

Never skip applying primer when undertaking a DIY painting job. Applying a coat or two of primer will smooth out surface imperfections and make paint adhere better, leaving behind the smoothest and most durable finished surface possible. paint color sets the mood of a room and subtle variations between paint finishes can make or break the room.

How to Remove Oil Stains From Your Driveway

How to Remove Oil Stains from Driveway

Is your once pristine concrete driveway now spotted with oil stains? Want to know how to remove oil stains from your driveway?

Fortunately, we can help! The following tips can help your driveway look new again in no time at all.

Kitty Litter Method

The kitty litter method is a tried-and-trusted way of removing oil stains from concrete. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase the least expensive brand of [easyazon_link identifier=”B004UMLZXA” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]super-absorbent kitty litter[/easyazon_link] you can find. Don’t buy the clumping type, it will not be as effective as the cheaper brands for this task.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of kitty litter (completely cover the stain) on the oil stain, then wait.
  • Give the kitty litter plenty of time to absorb every bit of oil. A small, new oil stain will need about 15 minutes to be absorbed. A large, old stain may need to be left alone overnight so the kitty litter can do its work.
  • After the kitty litter has been on the stain for an amount of time you deem sufficient, put on an old pair of hard-sole shoes and grind the litter into the oil stain by stepping on it repeatedly.
  • Really work the litter into the concrete. This will crunch the kitty litter into tiny particles and force it into all the nooks and crannies where the oil was absorbed. Sweep up and discard all of the litter.
  • Apply a concentrated form of liquid detergent to the spot and scrub into the concrete with a stiff brush. Scrub detergent in using a circular motion and with a heavy hand right where the stain was located.
  • Use a lighter hand to scrub the concrete around the location of the stain. This will help blend the color of the concrete and make the location of the oil stain seem less noticeable once it has been removed.
  • Rinse with water from the water hose set at full blast.
  • Once all the detergent has been rinsed away, inspect the stain location.
  • If the oil stain is still visible, repeat the scrubbing process.

Chemical Removal

A good chemical stain remover can remove oil stains from your driveway. You can get over-the-counter products like “[easyazon_link identifier=”B005FMZ40Y” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Krud Krutter[/easyazon_link]” pretty cheaply.

Here’s how to get rid of that oil stain:

  • Start with a clean, dry surface.
  • Sweep away all dirt and debris, then apply the chemical product as directed bythe manufacturer.
  • Let the cleaner settle on the stain for the recommended amount of time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rinsing and product removal.
  • If any trace of the oil stain remains, repeat the cleaning process again.

Alternatively, you can DIY your own solution using powdered laundry detergent and water. If any stain remains after scrubbing, you can try[easyazon_link identifier=”B00BFIRBTY” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Esp Granilozorb[/easyazon_link] or a [easyazon_link identifier=”B005OQUGZ4″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]cheap, clay-based kitty litter[/easyazon_link].

Oil Eater Cleaner

It may sound like something taken from a SyFy movies, but oil-eating microbes can and will remove oil stains from your driveway. A product that has got great reviews for this is [easyazon_link identifier=”B000EALHHG” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”toolsdaddy-20″]Oil Eater[/easyazon_link]. Here’s how you can use it to remove stubborn oil stains:

  • Wet the stain with clean water, then mix one part Oil Eater with three parts water.
  • Place mixture into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray stained area, then brush with a stiff-bristle brush or broom. The brushing action will activate the microbes and get them started eating away at the oil below the concrete surface.
  • Observe he area carefully so you can determine what the next cleaning step will be.
  • The microbes will do their work below the concrete surface, then froth up above the surface. the color of the froth will tell you what to do next. If the froth color has a brown tint to it, that means some of the oil has been captured and pulled up by the microbes.
  • The brownish colored froth must be rinsed into a receptacle and properly disposed of, then another application of Oil Eater needs to be applied and brushed in so the microbes can finish the oil removing job.
  • If the froth is white, do not rinse with water. Allow the spot to air dry.
  • If any of the oil stain remains visible, repeat the microbial removal process again in seven days.Stubborn, deep-set oil stains in concrete may require 2-4 treatments before completely disappearing, asphalt may require up to 10 treatments before the oil stain is no longer visible.

Follow-Up Cleaning

If removing the oil stain left you with a white patch in your driveway which is almost as unsightly as the former oil stain, a little follow up cleaning may be needed. Cleaning the entire driveway with a pressure washer will lighten the color of all the concrete and blend the colors together so the former oil-stained area won’t be as visible.

Clean any subsequent oil drips as soon as possible with an application of kitty litter to prevent them from becoming unsightly stains on the driveway.