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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:23 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

New inventions make DIY projects infinitely easier

I have a confession: I am turning into a cellphone app wild child. There are exercise apps, medical apps that record heart rates, song apps, notepad apps, calorie-counting apps. I recently discovered a new exciting variety of wall paint and wallpaper apps. You can virtually see what the rooms of your home will look like with different colors. How cool is that? I tried it and I know that I do not want to paint my living room walls purple or fuchsia or any shade of yellow. The app also worked on the exterior of my home, and I have already selected the color for spring painting - thanks to my cellphone.

It is easy as 1-2-3. You just snap a photo of your room with your smartphone and use the app PaintingWalls to see what your room will look like with different colors. You can build a design of your home using the Home3-D app, and then go through a virtual wonderland of paint colors and wallpaper. You can access these apps through itunes.apple.com if you're using an iPhone or iPad. Do a search for similar apps compatible with other phones and tablets.

I also want to share another great invention - the most wonderful recent addition to my life next to Papa Murphy's pizza. I discovered caulking singles. I have never been keen on figuring out how a caulk gun works, from inserting the caulk tube to cutting off the tip and making the hole the perfect size, figuring out how to make the trigger work and applying it just so. Caulking Singles are packaged caulk tubes that dispense caulk in an even line, and I mean even and perfect, in the right consistency. It is just like squeezing toothpaste. There is no pulling, twisting or tearing. They are incredibly simple to use and all it take is one hand. For a change, I do not have to use both hands, feet, a set of vice grips and a power saw.

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Q: I started to paint a wall in our spare bedroom with line designs, using of painters' tape in various sizes. After pulling off one strip, I did not have a perfect paint line - some of the paint leaked under the tape. Can you please offer advice?

-Ed, Chino Valley

A: After taking with Dave Berry of Century Painting and Bruce Strike of Emerald Forest Painting, both agreed that to obtain a perfect paint line, one should use an adhesive made by 3M for delicate wall surfaces. It has supplementary adhesive that keeps the paint from leaking below the tape and onto the wall.

Q: We recently had the exterior of our home painted by what my wife and I thought was a licensed local contractor. We have since discovered that the company was not licensed and was more of a traveling company. The price was too good to pass up - but we were scammed. The exterior of our home looks like a huge alligator. What is happening?-Tom and Lucille, Dewey

A: More than likely, there has been a mismatch in paint types from the initial paint to the newly applied paint. The too-good-to-be-true price was more than likely due to the workers using leftover paint that did not fit the criteria for exterior painting.

Once the exterior surface has been scraped and cleaned, the surface should be primed with a high-quality primer and then painted with a high-quality latex paint.

Q: We have noticed a fine, powdery caulk-like coating on our masonry walls. What is occurring?-Mike, Prescott Valley

A: If white chalk or crystals are marring your attractive brick, block, grout, stonework, masonry, garage floor, driveway, flagstone or pavers, do not despair: Correcting the problem can usually be accomplished quickly and inexpensively.

Virtually every form of stone, block, concrete, cement and masonry is susceptible to this white, salty "efflorescence." Moisture from within the material and from the atmosphere combines with salt and lime molecule to form this chalky substance. Efflorescence most often occurs during our monsoon or cold wet seasons.

To fix the problem and to eliminate or minimize the reappearance of efflorescence, a simple step should be taken. First, the efflorescence needs to be cleaned from the surface. Brushing the area with a stiff nylon brush and 50-50 mix of warm water and vinegar. Rinse but do not saturate the surface: Remember, moisture is the prime instigator of the chalk-like material.

You can also consider sealing the area, but remember that brick or stone cannot be sealed completely because moisture must be permitted to exit the material.

Before you begin any sealing restoration project, contact your local material supplier or contractor for help and ideas.

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.