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Tips to Homeowners

May 31, 1987|Armand L. Fontaine

Question: What do the letters "UL" mean on electrical and other building products?

Answer: The letters stand for Underwriters Laboratory. This is a nonprofit organization established more than 90 years ago to test products for their safety.

Many government agencies require the usage of UL products virtually exclusively, particularly in areas of fire protection, mechanical, chemical, petroleum and other general engineering classifications.

You usually see "UL Approved" on most electrical appliances, and the UL standards are not only accepted throughout the United States, but in most major countries of the world.

Q: What is the easiest and simplest do-it-yourself home-improvement project that will enhance the value of my property?

A: The best value received in upgrading a home is by painting. Painting a room is probably the easiest home-improvement project. However, there are a few basic rules that you should follow:

Prior to painting, you should wash your walls with soap and water or a mild solution of bleach and water.

If you have an area where old plaster is chalking and crumbling, it can be corrected by washing the area with a solution of white household vinegar and water. Repeated washings might be required. You can clean and seal stains and blemishes with spackle.

Let the wet wall dry thoroughly before you begin to paint. It is better to use two coats of thin paint rather than one thick coat because the results will be much more professional looking.

You should be careful in your choice of colors. Darker colors have a tendency to make a room look smaller; light colors make an area look more open and airy.

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