A growing list of free websites and smart-phone apps can help you narrow your choices of paint colors, figure out how much paint you'll need—and even "paint" your house before you open a can. When you're ready to buy make sure you get a paint that can weather the elements. Not all do, as Consumer Reports discovered in its exterior paint tests.
Green may be all the rage on the runway. But when it comes to the outside of your house, think blue if you're selling and more neutral colors if you're staying awhile. Experts we talked to about colors that help sell a house say traditional trumps trendy. No matter what color you choose, pick a paint that lasts. In Consumer Reports tests of exterior paints, the best still looked excellent after six years and very good after nine.
With the unofficial start of summer just a few weeks away, now's the time to do a thorough safety check around the yard to prevent the slips, trips, falls, burns, and other accidents that each year send tens of thousands of people to the emergency room. A recent outdoor safety survey of nearly 1,300 adults by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed the top danger spots.
It's never been wise to play around with lead paint, the kind kicked up during the renovation of homes built before 1978. Nowadays, doing so can be costly in more ways than one, as the Environmental Protection Agency continues to fine violators of its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP).
New cabinets can make a huge impact on your kitchen—and an equally huge dent in your budget. Consumer Reports' surveys have shown that readers who hired contractors paid an average of roughly $9,000 for new cabinets, with about a quarter of them spending more than $15,000. It's usually the biggest single investment you'll make in your project. The good news: Many once-premium features, such as dovetail joints, have moved down to lower-priced stock cabinets, available as near as your local big-box store.
With their low prices and ease of use, aerosol fire sprays are a tempting purchase. But the sprays are no substitute for a fire extinguisher. In fact, in Consumer Reports' tests the sprays sometimes made a grease fire flare up, which could make it spread. Performance problems caused us to judge two aerosol fire sprays—the First Alert AF400 Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray and Shield Fire Protection Kitchen Guard—Don't Buy: Performance Problem. Now we've found a third brand being advertised called Knockout 360 that's also an aerosol fire spray.
With names like Minnie's Polka Dots, Eeyore's Rain Cloud and Belle of the Ball, Walmart has introduced a line of Disney-themed paints. Sold in colors that match Disney bedding products, the retailer hopes to appeal to parents who continually redecorate their children's rooms as they grow. Claimed to be kid-tough, the paints are made by Glidden, a brand that has typically done well in Consumer Reports paint tests.
High-end cabinets offer a wide variety of storage accessories, including roll-out shelves, vertical sliding spice racks, and small appliance lifts. But you don't have to rip out your existing storage to get those clutter-busting extras: You can buy and install them yourself and save thousands over a kitchenful of new cabinets.
Each year more than 5,200 children suffer falls from windows and at least one in four is injured badly enough to be hospitalized. So it's no accident that National Window Safety Week occurs in early Spring when the weather is mild enough to open the windows again. Safety experts take advantage of this week to remind parents and caregivers about the dangers of window falls. And there's evidence in at least one state that it's working. The Oregon Trauma Registry reports it is seeing a decrease in the number of falls.
Planning a home remodel? Take note: An estimated 535,000 (2.6 percent) of U. S. children ages 1 to 5 years have blood lead levels greater than or equal to the reference value of 5 micrograms per deciliter, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead-laced paint chips and dust kicked up during renovation projects is a common source of contamination.
Sherwin-Williams' Chip It, an online color tool, creates paint palettes based on images that catch your eye. Simply find an online photo with colors you love—a Maui sunset, Parisian café—or use an image saved on your computer and upload it to letschipit.com. A palette of up to 10 Sherwin-Williams' colors instantly appears, corresponding to the hues in your photo. And while we like this online app, not all Sherwin-Williams paints measured up in Consumer Reports paint tests.
Home Depot has agreed to pay $8 million dollars in fees and costs for selling paints in southern California that violate the region's limit of 50 grams of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, per liter. Set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the standard is a big reason why paints have become better for humans and the environment nationwide. And as Consumer Reports' interior paint Ratings have shown, these healthier paints can also deliver top performance.
A simple phone call could have averted a blaze last month that scorched a home in Berkeley, California, and started a fire in a nearby van. Caused when a worker hit a gas line with a pick axe, the incident illustrates why homeowners or workers should call 811 to learn the location of underground utilities. Unfortunately, that's a precaution many Americans ignore when planning projects that require a hole in the ground such as installing a mailbox, putting up a fence, or planting a tree.
Food Network's Ted Allen develops and tests recipes for his cookbooks so when it came to redesigning his Brooklyn kitchen he knew exactly what he wanted—a space that works both personally and professionally. To keep guests from getting underfoot during dinner prep, Allen's partner, Barry Rice, an interior designer, created separate zones for food prep and cleanup with an adjacent seating area. Of course, not everyone has space for two dishwashers like they do but Rice has plenty of other ideas for creating a kitchen fit for a foodie.
A report on smoke alarms on Sunday's episode of Dateline on NBC has triggered further debate about which type of alarm works best: photoelectric or ionization. If you're familiar with Consumer Reports' smoke alarm tests, you know that the answer is ... neither. We recommend both technologies to ensure maximum protection from fire. Here's why.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: