Choosing the Right Color for Your Home Exterior

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You have a great-looking lawn, a beautiful garden, and gutters that can keep up with the rainy season. Now, it is time to give your house the final touch-up that it needs. Updating your home’s accent color is a small change that can sometimes have more of an impact than painting the entire house. How do you pick the perfect accent color, though?

Here are eight steps to help you find the right look for your home.

Choose what you’ll be painting. Do you just want to stick with giving some flair to the front door, or are you adding shutters and trim to the list? Once you know what you plan on painting, you can make better decisions about color choices.

Find your brand. Before you have your heart set on one color, look at the benefits that different brands offer. You may need weather-resistant paint or paint made for metal surfaces. Glossy, semi-gloss, or matte sheen options are also worth inspecting.

Pick a shade. Help yourself by narrowing down if you want something light, dark, or in-between. If you’re hoping to brighten up your property, then you may already have your heart set on a light color. If you’re looking for something more reserved, you might know that a deeper shade is right for you. Once you have made this decision, you can have an easier time picking the exact color for your house.

Match your style. Consider the current colors of your house’s siding and roof, along with any brick, stone, or wood accents. Finding the undertones of these materials will help you decide which accent color options will achieve the most balanced look. Also, consider your internal design choices. The color of your living room might be the perfect color to bring outside. Color theory and design guides can help you make your perfect pallet; a quick search will help you plan. 

Take notes from nature. While considering the colors of your home, also look at the surrounding elements. Are there any colors in your garden that you would like to recreate? Or, maybe, you’re hoping to blend in with the trees. Find inspiration anywhere in and around your home.

Color visualizer. Technology now allows you to virtually test different colors on your house. This is great for helping you visualize how a color may look on a larger scale than just a paint chip. Using this technology can help you narrow down your top choices before buying paint samples.

Test it out. Once you’ve settled on a color, get a sample-sized can and paint a small area. Leave it up for a few days to confirm that you like the color before buying more. Take note of how the color appears during various times of the day or during different weather conditions to see the full range of possible looks.

Paint. You’re at the final steps now that your color is tested and approved. Clean and repair the surfaces you will be painting before you prime. Find a day with mild weather to get your painting done. Painting while it is too hot can cause the paint to dry too quickly and clump. On the other hand, painting while it is too cold can cause peeling. Don’t forget to use painter’s plastic to protect the areas you don’t want to paint.

How can Steelcoat® help? High-Density PE Painter’s Plastic will keep all of your paint where it belongs and off of where it doesn’t. Our Low-Density PE Plastic Sheeting will cover your porch or any other spots you want to keep clean while painting.

Thanks for following along with our spring exterior home improvement blogs. Stay tuned for future series and updates. Follow our socials on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Springtime Gutter Cleaning

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Your next step to a great exterior is giving your gutters a check-in. Gutters can go through a lot of wear and tear in the fall and winter, so it is a good idea to make sure they’re ready to handle the spring rainstorms.

Here are six steps to get your gutters prepped for spring.

Rainy day check. Wait for a rainy day to see how your gutters are performing. This litmus test will give you a better idea of how clogged your gutters may be or what type of damage they have. If they are overflowing and not draining properly, there’s a good chance that there are dead leaves and other surprises in your gutter system. Also, check the downspout to see if water is correctly exiting the system. Gutters can sag and pull away from the boards, so look for these issues as well.

Decide course of action. Now that you’ve assessed your gutters, you need to decide if they need cleaning or if it is time for a replacement. Do your research to find a trusted professional to install your new gutter system.

Clean out debris. Wait for a dry day to clean out your gutters – you don’t want to deal with soggy, dead leaves. You may just need your hands or a leaf blower to clear everything out. If your gutters are really clogged, there are special gutter cleaning tools for you to invest in. Professionals suggest starting near the downspout and working your way towards the closed end of your gutters. Always be safe and careful when dealing with a ladder or being on a roof. Practice precaution and stay alert.

Flush with water. Once all of the gunk and junk is out, take your garden hose and clean up the dirt and left-over debris. Doing this clears out anything left behind. This time, start from the closed end of your gutters and end with your downspout.

Make repairs. Now that everything is clean, you can inspect for any small repairs that need to be made. Caulk any holes or manage any rust you find. Tighten up any areas that are coming loose or sagging. If you are noticing multiple issues, it might be best to call in a professional to repair or completely replace your gutters.

Mark your calendar. If you live in an area with a lot of tree coverage, it is a good idea to clean your gutters on a more frequent basis to prevent any damage. Leave yourself a note to check back in on your gutters in a few months.

How can Steelcoat® help? Our quality Trash Bags and Contractor Bags collect all of the gunk you get out of your gutters. Our Low Density PE Plastic Sheeting is easy to lay down on your lawn under your gutters to prevent any debris from falling into your garden or grass. 

Next week we will be posting the last installment of our spring exterior home improvement series. Get ready for some great tips on giving your house a new coat of paint. Follow us at Steelcoat Products to see all our updates.

How to Prep Your Garden for New Plants

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Now that you’ve spent some time on your lawn, it’s time to move focus to your garden.

Before you decide what you’re planting this year, you’ll need to clean up your flowerbeds and manage any existing vegetation. Clearing this area up will help prevent weeds and keep your garden looking its best. Make sure to add any organic waste to your yard waste or composting bins.

Here are 11 steps to get your garden growin’.

  1. Wait for warm weather. The best time to give your garden its spring makeover is when the weather is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a week straight. Along with this, you’ll want to wait for your garden to be thawed and dried out before you start your work. Starting too soon could cause the soil to get too compact and hinder new growth.
  • Check for bugs. Be conscious that many insects that are beneficial to the ecosystem may be using your garden as a shelter until warm weather. It would be best to look up what bugs may be in your area and learn how to properly clean your garden while allowing them to still emerge in a few weeks.
  • Get rid of thick layers of leaves. It isn’t necessary to remove all the leaves from your garden because they help the soil as they decompose. It is a good idea to clean up areas with too many leaves, though, as these areas can attract disease. Any mulch you add later can be added on top of the leaves you leave.
  • Remove winter mulch. Take out any winter mulch you applied so you can apply a fresh layer after your planting is done.
  • Weed. Get rid of any weeds you see while their roots are still shallow. For any harder-to-manage weeds, you may need to purchase weed killer.
  • Pull any annuals from last year. These plants do not come back after winter and need to be taken out of your garden. Make sure you get all of the roots and make room for any new plants you may be adding. 
  • Get rid of dead veggies. Along with weeds and annuals, you’ll need to remove any leftover vegetables from last year’s garden. Try not to leave anything behind so you will have growing space for your new crop of vegetables.
  • Remove dead leaves or branches from perennial plants and shrubs. These plants come back year after year and will need some care after the winter. Prune branches or remove any dead leaves on these plants. Be mindful of new growth while trimming — you do not want to cut off any yet-to-bloom buds. This is the time to trim back any overgrown shrubs or vines. As you would expect, each plant will likely have different needs, so we recommend doing your research before your get to trimming.
  • Plant. This step is entirely up to your vision. Find those flowers you love or the veggies you need and get them in your garden. Don’t forget to stake anything that might need help growing upwards. Just fasten your plants gently with some plant ties to give them extra support.
  • Fertilize. Depending on what type of plants you have growing in your garden, you may need different types of fertilizer. This would be another step where you will need research your specific plants and what is best for them.
  • Edge the garden. Grass is great in your yard, but you don’t want it creeping into your garden. Edging is the process of establishing the shape of your garden. There are many different tools you can use to accomplish this, like a spade or a rotary. Create a crisp line to separate your garden and lawn and take out any grass growing in your garden.
  • Mulch. Now that your garden is planted and cared for, it’s time to add the final touch. Mulch will prevent weeds as well as help conserve water and keep the roots cool. It also completes the work you did to edge the garden and keeps grass out.

How can Steelcoat® help? We’ve got quality Trash Bags and Contractor Bags to help you when clearing up your garden. Our Low Density PE Plastic Sheeting can act as a weed barrier and moisture trap when laid in your garden before planting and mulching or can cover any materials and keep messes off your lawn as you replant your garden. Don’t forget, next week we’ll be walking you through how to keep your gutters clean. Follow us at Steelcoat Products to see all our updates.

How to Care for Your Lawn After Winter

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Getting your lawn ready for warm weather can feel daunting, so we’ve broken down each step to make it a little more straightforward. Before you get started, remember that all yards are different and can require distinct care and products. We do recommend researching specific care tips for your type of grass and climate.

Here are nine steps to get you on your way to a lush lawn.

  1. Pick up debris. Once the last of the snow has melted away, go through your yard, and pick up any branches or litter that may have gotten trapped all winter under snow piles.
  • Lightly rake. On your first rake-though be gentle with your grass. It is easy to accidentally rip the blades out of the soil when it is wet. To avoid damage, give your yard a quick brush. Light raking will help it breathe and promote growth.
  • Check for mold. Once your yard has been cleaned up, check for any molds that might have grown since the fall. Snow mold is a common mold that appears as pink or gray spots throughout your yard. As you may have guessed, this sometimes happens to yards after heavy winters. Snow mold is dealt with by gently raking it to give healthy grass room to grow. If you notice other molds, do your research or contact a lawn care professional before treating anything. You will want to deal with any molds before moving forward.
  • Rake again when dry. Once you’re sure the ground has completely thawed and the soil is not too wet, you can rake your yard as normal. Focus on clearing matted grass to avoid suffocating new growth.
  • Aerate. Aerating your lawn is a good way to give it a boost in the spring. Aeration is the process of penetrating the soil to allow air and water to reach the grass roots and help them grow. This step is something you may want to give extra consideration if your grass and soil are compacted. Aerating does not need to be done yearly, but it can lead to better grass health.
  • Seed. Re-seed any parts of the lawn that are bare or patchy. Make sure to be attentive to these areas to make sure the grass is growing properly. This process takes around five weeks.
  • Fertilize. Fertilizing gives your grass a good dose of nutrients. Keep in mind that every yard is different. The best time to fertilize and the best type of fertilizer is something you’ll need to research before buying anything for your lawn. You will also want to be mindful of when you last fertilized; you may not need to add more.
  • Water on a schedule. Typical grass types need 1.5 in of water per week. You don’t need to water your yard every day, but it is a good idea to set a schedule to make sure your grass is getting enough moisture. You’ll need to take into account any rainfall throughout the week and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Watering your lawn in the morning is usually recommended for optimal results.
  • Mow. Before you get to mowing, make sure your lawnmower is ready to go. Do any tuning up or repairs necessary before your grass gets too long. When deciding when to mow, you’ll need to find out what type of grass you have. Research the best length to keep your type of grass and when to cut it.

How can Steelcoat® help? We’ve got quality Trash Bags and Contractor Bags to help you when clearing up your yard. Don’t forget, next week we’ll be walking you through how to prepare your garden for spring. Follow us at Steelcoat Products to see all our updates.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

petoskeyplastics DIY Advice, Home Improvement, Painter's Plastic, Painting, Seasonal

Spring is the time to begin anew, start fresh, and update your house. You heard right – it’s time to give your exterior a new look. 

You may have already done all your spring decluttering and renovations inside, but there’s still more you can do to give your home the attention it needs and deserves.

Lawn

You can start with your lawn by giving it a helping hand as it comes back from the weight of the winter snow. Get the dead leaves and any litter stuck under the snow up and off your yard. Raking helps the grass breathe and get ready for new growth.

Garden

Other new growth comes in the form of new plants, fruits, or vegetables in your garden. Before you decide what you’re adding this year, you’ll need to clean up your flowerbeds and manage any existing vegetation. Clearing this area up will help prevent weeds and keep your garden looking its best.

Gutters

Spring often comes with rain – lots of it. Take a look at your gutters to see if they’re clogged up by leaves or maybe even animal nests. All that debris can block your gutters and cause damage to the system and your roof. It’s also a good time to check for any existing damage so you can get that fixed up before it becomes a bigger headache.

Paint Accents

It might be time to give your exterior a fresh coat, or maybe it’s time for a whole new look. You can focus on the details and update the color on your front door, your window shutters, and even your door and window frames. You can also go all-in and give the whole home a makeover. Either way, go get some paint swatches and get ready to turn your vision into a reality.

Start planning and block off some time in the coming weekends to get your projects going. Don’t worry, though, we’ll be there with you every step of the way. In the coming weeks we’ll be going through each suggestion here and giving you all the best tips. Stay tuned for next week: spring lawncare! Until then, prep your Pinterest boards and we’ll see you next time.

And, of course, we wouldn’t give you all these ideas without also helping you accomplish them. Check out our products that will help you on your spring sprucing up journey:

Your Easy Fall Lawn Care Checklist

petoskeyplastics DIY Advice, Home Improvement, Seasonal

For many people, fall is an enjoyable time of year filled with pumpkin patches, hay rides, and sports. It also happens to be when people need to get their lawn ready for the following year. Performing lawn maintenance in the fall is the best way to get a picture-perfect yard next spring and summer. Below are five lawn care tasks to take care of before winter comes. 

  1. Pick up any debris and rake the lawn.

Fallen leaves, branches, and weeds can suffocate grass during winter months if not cleared properly before the cold weather. You can either shred leaves and other debris to use as mulch for young foliage or bag it up and recycle. Strong, durable, and environmentally-friendly, our Steelcoat® Lawn & Leaf bags are the perfect option to help you clear your yard before the snow falls. 

2. Prune trees and shrubs.

Fall is the time to trim any dead branches, shrubs, or other bushes. Cut back overgrown trees and foliage to ensure a clean start in the spring. It is also a good idea to prune and divide any perennials for next spring. 

3. Aerate and water the lawn.

Even during cooler weather, plants need water which is why it is extremely important to keep watering your lawn up until freezing temperatures. Making sure that the lawn is aerated as well will help keep water from pooling at the top and ensure more nutrients will reach the roots of the plants. 

4. Mow the lawn one last time.

Your grass might not be growing much right now, but it is still something that needs to be done before winter. Keep mowing the lawn until winter arrives. This will help the soil and grass dry out faster once warmer weather arrives and it also prevents snow mold from occurring. 

5. Protect the deck.

This last one may not directly be lawn-related, but it still very important to do before winter. Give your deck a good wash. Once it is dry apply a weatherproofing stain. This will protect it from moisture during the winter months and stave off mold and mildew

5 Helpful Tips When Installing New Kitchen Cabinets

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Installing new kitchen cabinets can be tricky. You have to make sure all of the cabinets are plumb and level, sometimes shimming and cutting to make them fit better. A savvy DIYer will probably have no problem installing their own kitchen cabinets. However, it is much easier and less time consuming to hire a professional who knows what they are doing. No matter who you are, professional or DIY, we have some quick, helpful tips for installing new kitchen cabinets. 

  1. Plan the Space – Before you even start ordering cabinets, it is important to know what the plan is. Is the layout of the kitchen staying the same? Are appliances moving? It is imperative to know where plumbing, sinks, appliances, and electric will be located. Make sure you know the cabinet placements and then go from there. 
  • Protect Furniture & Appliances – Removing and installing cabinets can make a mess. Dust and debris can get on kitchen appliances, furniture, and flooring. Protect everything before the construction begins by using Steelcoat®’s extensive line of plastic sheeting and masking film. 
  • Take Off Doors & Drawers Before Installation – Cabinets usually come with the doors attached and drawers installed but trust us on this one, it will make the cabinets so much lighter and easier to handle if you take off the doors and pull out the drawers before installation.
  • Start with the Uppers – Hanging wall cabinets before base cabinets has a couple of benefits. First, it is easier to use a step ladder to hang the uppers if there are no base cabinets in the way. Secondly, since the base cabinets have not been installed, there is no worry about potentially damaging the finish or safety concerns when reaching over them. 
  • Find the High Spot – Floors are not always level, especially in older homes. Floor height variations can be corrected by shimming base cabinets or cutting down the toe-kick. This will keep all of the cabinets perfectly level with each other. 

We hope you found these tips helpful! Come back for more tips, guides, industry news, trends, and updates!

10 Tips to Reduce Your Heating Bill this Winter

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Keeping a home warm in the winter can mean high heating bills, especially if your home isn’t winter ready. Heating bills can really take a toll on household budgets, more so for those living on a fixed income or on a tight budget. These tips will help you reduce your heating bill while still staying warm this winter! 

1. Lower the thermostat-This is an easy and free way to lower your winter heating costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save an average of 10% per month on your heating bill if you lower the thermostat while you sleep.

2. Insulate your home better-Insulation helps keep warm air inside the house and the cold air stay outside. This will help your home stay warmer longer and cut down on heating costs. Depending on what type of insulation you use, it can actually be tax deductible. If you end up increasing the amount of insulation in your home, Steelcoat® Products are great for keeping the construction and surrounding areas clean and mess free. Check out our full product line here: https://www.steelcoatproducts.com/products/

3. Seal and insulate heating ducts-Most ducts actually have leaks that can let warm air escape, costing you more money.

4. Seal the leaks in your house-Make sure you also seal any other leaks in your house. The most common areas where air warm air can escape and let cold air in are doors, windows, attics, basements, where wires and cables enter your house, and electrical outlets.

5. Keep vents and radiators clean and clear-Keeping vents and radiators clean and clear of furniture or other objects allows the warm air flow freely into the room. Dust and furniture inhibit air flow which makes it harder to warm up a room.

6. Keep ventilation fans off when not in use-Ventilation fans for bathrooms and kitchens can suck out the warm air in your house. Make sure they are turned off when not in use.

7. Change your furnace filter-Changing the filter allows for a better air flow and can help extend the life of your furnace. It can also cut down on the amount of energy needed to circulate the air.

8. Run ceiling fan in reverse to circulate hot air-Did you know that you can use your fan to push the warm air that rises downward? This is a simple and free way to use heat that is already there to make your home feel warmer.

9. Install plastic window treatments-Plastic window treatments are an inexpensive way to reduce heat loss from drafty windows. Most are easy to install and can end up saving you a decent amount of money on your heating bill, especially if you have old or single pane windows.

10. Use insulated curtains on windows-Insulated curtains also help reduce heat loss from drafty windows. In addition, keeping the windows covered when its dark out helps keep cold air outside and warm air inside.

The majority of these tips require little time, money, and effort and are well worth the investment. Little changes can end up saving you a lot of money and energy, which is great for both your wallet and the environment.

Steelcoat® Products is a division of Petoskey Plastics serving multiple markets in the construction, home improvement, and retail industries with a variety of products. Our combination of innovative design and technology with specialized engineering makes our products some of the best in the market. Steelcoat® Products include painter’s plastic, plastic sheeting, contractor bags, trash bags, can and drum liners, and much more, in addition to private label solutions for our customers. Learn more at steelcoatproducts.com.

Your Easy Fall Lawn Care Checklist

petoskeyplastics DIY Advice, Seasonal, White Page

For many people, fall is an enjoyable time of the year filled with pumpkin patches, hay rides, and sports. It also happens to be when people need to get their lawn ready for the following year. Performing lawn maintenance in the fall is the best way to get a picture-perfect yard next spring and summer. Below are five lawn care tasks to take care of before winter comes.

  1. Pick up any debris and rake the lawn.

Fallen leaves, branches, and weeds can suffocate grass during winter months if not cleared properly before the cold weather. You can either shred leaves and other debris to use as mulch for young foliage or bag it up and recycle it. Strong, durable, and environmentally friendly, our Steelcoat® Lawn & Leaf bags are the perfect option to help you clear your yard before the snow falls.

  1. Prune trees and shrubs.

Fall is the time to trim any dead branches, shrubs, or other bushes. Cut back overgrown trees and foliage to ensure a clean start in the spring. It is also a good idea to prune and divide any perennials for next spring.

  1. Aerate and water the lawn.

Even during cooler weather, plants need water. That is why it is extremely important to keep watering your lawn up until freezing temperatures. Making sure that the lawn is aerated as well will help keep water from pooling at the top and ensure more nutrients will reach the roots of the plants.

  1. Mow the lawn one last time.

Your grass might not be growing much right now, but it is still something that needs to be done before winter. Keep mowing the lawn until winter arrives. This will help the soil and grass dry out faster once warmer weather arrives, and it also prevents snow mold from occurring.

  1. Protect the deck.

This last one may not directly be lawn related, but it still very important to do before winter. Give your deck a good wash and once it is dry apply a weatherproofing stain. This will protect it from moisture during the winter months and stave off mold and mildew.

Steelcoat® White Page: How to Prep for Painting Walls

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Painting walls is a fairly easy way to switch up the look and feel of a home. Some people paint their own walls, while others may hire a professional to get the job done. And some happen to be the professionals who do the painting. Whoever you might be, we have some basic tips for prepping walls before you begin the painting process.

First, you need to move the furniture away from the walls. You can either remove the furniture from the room entirely, or just move it to the center and cover it with a protective film like our Steelcoat® Painter’s Plastic or Masking Film.

Then you’ll want to clean the walls. For most rooms, dusting and wiping down the walls with a towel will do. If the room you’re painting is a bathroom or kitchen, you’ll want to use some sort of solution to clean and disinfect. Make sure to remove any chipped paint with a paint scraper and to use sandpaper to smooth away any imperfections or remaining bumps.

Next, you’ll want to have everything you’ll need in order to paint. This includes the paint, primer, paint can opener, stir sticks, paint brushes (make sure you have an angled paint brush for hard-to-get-at corners), paint rollers (with an extension pole if you need it), paint trays, gloves, goggles, drop cloths, and cleaning materials.

Now that you have everything that you need and the walls have been prepped, it’s time to start painting!

Steelcoat® Products is a division of Petoskey Plastics serving multiple markets in the construction, home improvement, and retail industries with a variety of products. Our combination of innovative design and technology with specialized engineering makes our products some of the best in the market. Steelcoat® Products include painter’s plastic, plastic sheeting, contractor bags, trash bags, can and drum liners, and much more, in addition to private label solutions for our customers. Learn more at steelcoatproducts.com.