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5:28 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

Questions from the floor of the YCCA Home and Garden Show

What a great community turnout we had for the 33rd annual YCCA Home and Garden Show. Whether you are building, remodeling, decorating, landscaping or just getting some ideas for your next project to give your home a new look, the event provided a terrific showcase of futuristic technology and exciting new products and services.

Based on comments received, I promise we will have more gardening companies at next year's show. We would love to receive your feedback, so if you attended our show, please let me hear from you at 778-0040 or ycca@cableone.net.

Throughout the weekend, I had the opportunity to overhear questions being asked of our participants, and would like to share some of them with you:

Q: What is the best type of paint for the interior of our home?

A: Paint can be oil-based, water-based, latex or acrylic, and there are several types of finishes for interior walls: flat, semi-gloss and eggshell. As I heard one painting contractor tell a visitor, "there are positives and negatives" to each.

Some interior painting projects are more suitable for water-based paints versus oil-based. Oil-based paints are considered a good option for trim and doors - but they are not considered to be the most eco-friendly due to their strong chemical odor. However, they do have a smooth, finished look. Water-based paints clean up very quickly and are fast-drying. Water-based paints are great for walls and ceilings in the livable areas of a home.

The finish is also important to consider, and this refers to the look and feel of the painted area when it dries. Flat finish is great for walls in livable areas; semi-gloss also works well in these areas if you want a little gleam and polish. High-gloss paint works well in bathrooms and kitchens as it is easier to clean. I did overhear one painting contractor tell a consumer that it would be best to paint a large sample on the wall and live with it for a few days to see how the finish and the color feels in the room.

Q: Is it easy to refinish hardwood floors?

A: Hardwood floors are beautiful, will never go out of style, and are one of the most durable floor coverings available. As with any floor covering, there will be a point when the luster is gone and "renewing" must take place.

"Refinishing hardwood floors takes time, patience and equipment and an understanding, patient wife" were the words from one flooring contractor. Refinishing is pretty straightforward, but it is hard work. There is the sanding process, the staining process if you do not want to retain the natural tone, and then the finishing process.

Does your floor just have a few scratches that need to be removed and then only a coat of finish applied, or is sanding necessary to bring back the luster? The flooring contractor mentioned that maple floors are more difficult to sand and stain. It is important to know that your hardwood floors must be at least 3/4 of an inch think to survive the sanding process.

Personally, after hearing references to drum sanders, floor edgers, buffers, shop vacuums, dust masks, safety goggles, ventilation, hand sanders, spongy board replacement, three days' drying time and lots of dust, I am calling in a professional to refinish my hardwood floors when the time comes.

Q: How do I install crown molding?

A: Crown moldings add immediate elegance to any room and, according to a trim contractor, can be a do-it-yourself project. However, in the same breath, the contractor told a couple that installing crown molding can also make you crazy and turn into a nightmare.

Crown molding must make contact with the wall and the ceiling and, according to the contractor, it is not flush where the wall and ceiling meet. On the miter saw, the crown molding will touch the bottom plate and the back plate that serve as guides. The molding must be turned upside-down so that the part of the molding that touches the ceiling will be on the bottom plate of the saw and the part of the crown molding that touches the wall will be on the back plate of the saw. As I listened to this, I became somewhat dizzy from the turning and flipping and various angles and mitered corners. Then there was the cutting of the molding with the saw blade angled 45 degrees one way and then 45 degrees another way. Then, after all of this, the crown molding pieces are to join properly. I am not sure if I will ever understand how to make crown molding fit together. This sounded more like a lesson in geometry.

Today, many people are choosing to take on their own home improvement projects to save money. In many cases, these projects can be completed without any issues. However, some projects are too precise or confusing to start without a contractor. Whatever your needs are, even if you have questions from the DIY end, YCCA is here to help you through the process. So for any home improvement project, from painting to refinishing hardwood floors to installing crown molding and beyond, YCCA and our members can assist you with deciding which step is right for you.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.