ProParts Direct

5 Tips to Properly Maintain Your Tools

You cannot maintain a decent home without having the proper tools. Unless you wish to call a handyman for every little thing, you will need to get a decent set of tools and use them periodically. Unfortunately, some devices can be pretty expensive. And while most homeowners understand the value of having proper tools, not all know how to maintain them. This is why we will use this article to give you five ways to properly maintain your tools and ensure they will serve you for years.
How to Properly Maintain Your Tools
Proper tools maintenance is by no means arduous. Once you understand the basics of it, you will be able to keep your tools in pristine condition with relative ease. What's important is that you always adhere to these methods, as forgoing them can cause your tools to deteriorate quite quickly.
Clean After Use
The first rule to adhere to is that you need to clean your tools after use. How much you will have to clean them depends on the tools and what you used them for. But a good rule of thumb is that they must be in the same condition as before usage.
Protect From Moisture
Moisture is the most common destroyer of household tools. Especially when it comes to metal ones, yes, they can break, bend, or chip. But nothing causes such irreparable damage as moisture. Therefore, if you wish to maintain your tools properly, it is paramount that you keep them away from moisture. If you keep them in a shed, ensure no rain can seep in. If you keep them in a basement, make sure that a sudden flood won't touch them. All in all, try to predict various circumstances and see that your tools won't come into contact with moisture. This is important to remember if you plan to store or transport your tools. Seeing that you won't be able to dry them off quickly, you need to know how to get them ready for transport or storage and pack your power tools so that poor weather won't cause problems.
Proper Storage
Moisture, temperature fluctuations, dirt, and even some common pests. All can cause damage to your tools. This is why it is paramount that you find proper storage for them. While it may seem that any old shed will do, we invite you to think again. Consider all the hazards that can come about and how they can damage your tools. In almost all cases, investing in decent storage is much more cost-efficient than risk damage. A tool shed can be enough. But it would help if you made sure to insulate it properly. If you have valuable tools, you might look to invest in some extra safety measures. A dingy old lock might not be as protective as you might think.
Properly Stored Tools
You need to have decent, well-organized storage if you wish to properly maintain your tools.
Learn How To Use Them Properly
Tools are meant to be used. And to make full use of them, you need to understand how and when they are meant to be used. You'd be surprised at how often people forgo doing basic research and misuse their tools. This causes them to waste their energy and puts their tools in danger. If you don't use your tools properly, you can hardly hope they will last a long time. So, whatever tool you have, and however confident you feel about it, try to do a bit of research. It is always best to use the tools as they were intended to be used.

* If you don't clean painting tools after using them, you can consider them ruined.
Even if you feel that some dirt won't harm the tool in question, we would still advise you to clean it properly. Doing so will keep your tool primed and ready for subsequent usage. And you will maintain the helpful habit of keeping your tools clean. The more you see this as something that has to be done, the more likely your tools will last for decades to come.
Keep Them Sharp
If a tool has an edge, that edge needs to be sharp. Regardless of how often you use the tools or how precise your cuts need to be, keeping blades sharp is in your best interest. Again, there are multiple reasons for this. The sharper the edge of a tool is, the less force you need to apply for it to be effective. As a result, you will save energy and put less stress on your tool.
Secondly, understand that sharpening is a skill. While there are sharpening tools that can aid you, none can substitute a sharpening stone. The more you use one, the better you will be at it. So, don't forgo a bit of practice simply because you feel you won't use the tool soon. Finally, it is essential to remember that you never know when you will need to use a tool and whether you will have the time to sharpen it. And regardless of what DIY project you have in mind, you will need a sharp tool.
Therefore, it is best to keep your tools sharp, then hope you will have enough time and patience to sharpen them before use.
Final Thoughts
As you can see, there is not much you need to understand or do to properly maintain your tools. What you need is just some common sense. And a bit of responsibility for your property. Therefore, we are still surprised at how often people ruin their tools simply due to a lack of care. If you've already decided to own and use tools, don't do so haphazardly. Make sure that you understand what they are about. And make sure that you know how to use them properly.

10 Easy DIY Renovations To Protect Your Home

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to maintaining your home. Your property has a lot of value, so you want to do everything you can to keep it in tip-top shape. If you fail to properly maintain your home, landscape, or appliances, you may pay huge amounts of money to repair and replace these things later on. Hopefully, this list of 10 easy DIY renovations will save you the trouble.
Fill Gaps Around Your Foundation
Rain, wind, and inclement weather can slowly erode the soil around your home's foundation. While this won't cause significant issues right away, gaps near your foundation will eventually accumulate a lot of water. In turn, cracks will form and expand in your foundation, and water may get into your basement. Left unchecked, this can lead to flooding, mildew, rotting support beams, and severe foundation damage. Scanning your foundation and leveling any gaps with soil is a quick and easy task, but it can protect your home and save you a ton of money in the long run.
Caulk Around Pipes and Water Sources
Over time, the caulk around your faucets, toilet, and pipes may wear away. As a result, they'll leak small amounts of water, which may encourage mold growth and damage cabinets, walls, and floors. Re-caulking your pipes and water fixtures will keep them sealed so that water stays where it belongs — in your plumbing system.
Install Leaf Guard For Gutters
High-quality gutters are crucial for any home. They redirect water from your roof, so it doesn't damage your siding or erode the soil around the foundation. Gutters do a lot of work for your property and undergo a lot of stress, so it's essential to ensure they're in good shape. With that in mind, installing a high-quality leaf guard for gutters is a good idea. It's super easy to install and will stop leaves and other debris from clogging up your gutters and weighing them down.
Stain and Seal Your Deck
Not only is a rotting deck unsightly, but it can also be a considerable hazard. Rain and constant exposure to the sun are sure to make your wooden deck crack, rot, and wither away in no time. Staining your deck will make it look good, and sealing it will keep it fresh and protect it from the elements for a long time.
Add a Kitchen or bathroom Backsplash
Oil, water, sauces, and food can quickly wear away the paint on the walls in your kitchen. While you might be as careful as possible when preparing meals, some water or oil will inevitably find its way to the walls behind your counters. A tile backsplash is much more durable than paint and only takes a few hours to install. You can also install one in your bathroom to keep the space behind the sink fresh, sanitary, and easy to clean.
Programmable Thermostat
The less your thermostat has to work, the longer it will last, and the less maintenance it will need. A programmable thermostat gives you finer control over the temperature in your home. No longer will you have to worry about the heater running when you're already comfortable or aren't home. A programmable thermostat will optimize your family's comfort, decrease your energy bill by up to 10% per year, and lessen the wear and tear on your furnace and vents from regular use.
Add a Stair Runner
Families put a lot of weight and pressure on the stairs, so they're often one of the first parts of the home to show signs of wear and tear. A stair runner will protect the wood from damage and cover up any unsightly scuffs or scrapes. Moreover, a stair runner will improve traction on the stairs, so guests and members of your household will be less likely to slip and fall.
Seal garage Floor
Whether you simply park your car in the garage or use it for various projects, your concrete garage floor has probably taken a beating over the years. Sealing your garage floor will make it much more durable and slip-resistant. Also, it will be easier to clean up oil spills, sawdust, and debris. Just ensure you thoroughly pressure wash your garage floor before sealing it and maintain good ventilation while doing the job.
Install Awnings Above Doors and Windows
Wind, rain, and debris can wreak havoc on your doors and windows. Moreover, the sun will fade the paint and trim around doors and windows. Simple awnings will enhance your home's aesthetic while giving your doors and windows shade and protection from the elements.
Dig Drainage Ditches
Your landscape probably isn't completely flat, so water will inevitably accumulate in certain areas on your property. Stagnant water can slowly erode your soil and find its way to your foundation. On top of that, it's a breeding ground for mosquitos and other nasty pests. By digging simple drainage trenches and filling in major gaps on your property, you can prevent flooding and stop rainwater from making your landscape look like the Grand Canyon
Save Time and Money with Easy DIY Renovations
As a homeowner, you must take proactive steps to ensure that your property always stays safe, functional, and presentable. While none of these renovations are complicated, expensive, or time-consuming, they will save you time, effort, and money over the years. If this has been helpful, leave a comment, and while you already have your tool belt on, you should check out this handy guide on making your property safe for kids and pets.

Winter Wonder: What Can You do With Your Yard?

By Guest Blogger Carrie Spencer
When winter weather runs amok, it may seem more like time to hibernate than worry about your yard. As tempting as it is, hibernation isn’t in the cards for us humans. So instead, use this time when there’s less foot traffic and slower growth to tackle some of the not-so-routine jobs in your personal green space.
Things like trimming trees and cutting back plants, tackling pesky weeds, and mulching can help your yard over winter, and get it ready for a vibrant spring. Here, ProParts Direct shares some tips on how to prep your yard.
In The Zone
Start by learning about your USDA Hardiness Zone and any microclimates in your area. If you’ve ever wondered why that bush you planted didn’t flourish, even though you planted it exactly as directed, it could be related to your zone. If you’re certain that you’re in a specific zone, you may want to check again. Hardiness zones are subject to change, based on the most recent 30 years of data. If you’ve done your homework, and picked the right plant for your zone but it still didn’t thrive, it could be a microclimate specific to your property or neighborhood.
Understanding all these factors will help you with your yard work all year-round, not just in the winter months
Time to Trim
It’s actually best to prune or trim many trees, ornamental grasses, and woody shrubs back during the winter months while they are dormant. When done correctly, this can lead to extensive new growth and flowering the following season. Removing dead or decaying branches can also eliminate safety hazards from your yard that may fall and injure children or pets.
This is also the time of year when many lawns go dormant, making it easy to spot stubborn weeds that seem to outlive all other plants. You can attempt to physically remove the weeds if you only have a few, but if your lawn is covered, it’s best to tackle this chore in the spring. If you are in an area that has extended periods with freezing temps or gets heavy snowfall, it’s best to keep everyone and everything off the lawn altogether to avoid permanent damage.
Time to Mulch
Mulching in winter will help protect your plants from unseasonably warm or cold weather. It will also help you avoid fungus that can grow during the damp fall months, and deter rodents that might be attracted to it during the fall as well. Mulching with leaves from your yard or the neighborhood can help you save a buck, all while nourishing your plants in a manner similar to compost.
Speaking of compost, winter is a great time to start. Composting is both beneficial for the environment and economical. Just keep in mind that your compost area should be isolated from where your kids and pets play to avoid any potential contact with dangerous mold spores or allergens. If you live in an extremely cold climate, it may take a little longer for your pile to decompose, but it will prove to be worth the wait.
Prepare to Sell
While you should tend to your yard every season, you may be especially concerned now if your intention is to sell your home in the spring. If this is the case, take care of what you can during the winter months, and be prepared for cleanup and replanting in the spring. You want to give your home a competitive edge by sprucing up the exterior prior to starting your marketing efforts.
When the time comes to list, make the most of those marketing efforts with a great presentation of your home. In addition to boosting your curb appeal, make updates to the interior and then carefully stage your home. Take quality photos to capture your home in the best light, and then make a point to post your listing on your favorite social media platforms. For a professional look, consider designing a logo specific to your home sale. Adobe Spark’s free logo maker is perfect for novice designers, and you can quickly create a fun design that speaks to your home and your aesthetic.
Winter brings a much more subtle color palette to the yard than other months, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Pruning trees and woody plants in winter, while protecting others with mulch, will lead to enhanced beauty during the other seasons. Understanding the climate in your area is essential for lawn and garden success year-round, and will help you maintain it appropriately this winter and beyond.
Photo Credit: Unsplash

A Homeowner’s Guide to Winterizing: Inside & Out

By Guest Blogger Carrie Spencer
Winterizing a home is one of those tasks that few people enjoy. It’s not so much the work but the departure of the warmer months that makes folks dread it. However, making sure all the right steps are taken, both inside and out, can save money and reduce the time it takes to transition items back into use during the warmer months. Here are a few considerations to prepare your residence for colder weather, whether you are a homeowner, renter, or caretaker.
It’s important to shield the home against winter weather. Keep in mind that while completing these tasks can become increasingly difficult as it gets colder, embracing the colder winter season and spending time outdoors can give your mood a boost.
Tidy the yard. In addition to mulching leaves, getting in that final mow, fertilizing, and cutting back plants. It’s also important to cut down any dead tree limbs since they have the potential to come down on a fence, deck, or other structure, or possibly even the house in the event of a severe winter storm.
Store outdoor items. This includes lawn and patio furniture, grills, garden hoses, tools, and any toys, balls, or other fitness equipment that might be left in the yard. Disconnecting garden hoses from the spigot is really important to avoid the possibility of having the spigot freeze and rupture. Depending on your climate, covering your grill and furniture may suffice, but storing it along with any tools and outside toys in a garage or shed will increase its longevity.
Prep water features. If you have a koi pond, fountain, swimming pool, or hot tub, you likely already know the hazards of not properly winterizing these items. Koi can live through the winter months in a pond as long as there is air circulating, but fountains should be drained and stored to avoid potential damage. To save water, consider purchasing a cover for your pool or hot tub rather than draining it. Always use proper pool supplies to treat the water before you cover it for winter and return it to use in summer.
Maintain outdoor structures. If your yard is fenced, or you have a porch or deck, inspect and perform structural maintenance on these items. Save painting and aesthetic issues for the warmer months, but freezing and thawing cycles throughout the winter can exacerbate structural issues.
Add home security features. Before it gets too cold, now is a good time to focus on home security. Incorporating features such as smart cameras, smart locks, and smart lights can protect your home so you can sleep easier at night.
While many of these items can be done after the cold arrives, taking care of them early reduces the potential costs. The following indoor maintenance suggestions are for the ones that pose the greatest risk to the home itself and should not be neglected.
Inspect and replace seals. Drafty doors and windows are winter budget busters. To ensure warm air isn’t escaping, it is important to inspect the seals around your doors and windows. Don’t forget to take a look at your outlets as well. Those on exterior walls in particular can let in a lot of cold air. Use foam sheets to seal up any that may be a problem. It is also a good idea to consider putting plastic on windows and to close off rooms that are not being used.
Maintain heat sources. Furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves should all be maintained annually by a licensed professional. Failing to properly maintain these items not only increases the risk of being without heat during the coldest part of the year, but it increases the risk of fire. If temperatures fall below freezing in your area, you are also at increased risk of frozen or ruptured pipes inside your home.
Test detectors and extinguishers. Every home should have smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and at least two fire extinguishers. Replace batteries and test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors need to be replaced regularly as well, and each home should have one in the kitchen and near the furnace, fireplace, or woodstove.
These are all relatively simple tasks that most homeowners can tackle themselves. Consider hiring a professional to maintain heat sources and for removing large limbs from trees if needed. Making a proper effort to winterize your home will ensure no major maintenance is required mid-winter or in the spring.
Visit ProParts Direct to find quality parts for lawnmowers, chainsaws, engines, snowblowers, and landscaping equipment!
Photo Credit:

2015 © ProParts Direct. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Site Map Design & Development by The Scribbit The Scribbit - Marketing, Graphic Design and Web Development