Five ideas, tools to ease home maintenance tasks

Doing the necessary maintenance now will give you time to enjoy the summer days ahead. To help with home maintenance, I have selected both established and dependable tools plus some newer ideas.

1. For a few years I have been using a well-established 40-volt Black & Decker string trimmer and have been very satisfied with how the tool performs. Black & Decker has recently launched its new POWERCOMMAND Outdoor Power Tools and I am now trying the newer 20-volt MAX* EASYFEED string trimmer that extends the string with just the simple push of a button. Both tools use extended life lithium batteries and Black & Decker’s advancing battery technology is simplifying the lives of homeowners. The lighter weight 20-volt trimmer has additional features and is capable of doing most yards, but I’m old school and I still like the power of the 40-volt battery trimmer, which is also available.

2. Maintenance often means having to touch up or repaint items exposed to the weather. The problem I have, besides hating to paint, is the cleanup. I have tried to save expensive paint brushes by washing and then rinsing in a fabric softener or wrapping the brush in plastic food wrap and placing it in the freezer. Now I use the Paint Saint, a paintbrush in a can solution that enables you to quickly and easily touch up paint. The high-quality brush is built into the lid of an airtight can. The brush never dries out and never requires cleaning. The lid twists off and on, no screwdrivers or mallets needed.

Inside ridges let you wipe off excess paint, and the lid serves as a drip catcher. No need for old newspapers or paint cloths. Finally, you can effortlessly do touch-up jobs quickly and then easily store the tools. A single brush and can retails for just $13.49 and is available online at

3. One of my favorite old-school repair items is Duck Tape. It has been said there are 1,001 uses for Duck Tape. The standard silver color of Duck Tape, which I sometimes use as a temporary repair, is colored to remind me I need to remove the tape and finally make a more permanent repair. Duck Tape is also available in a large variety of colors and designs. Now Duck Tape has introduced Duck Tape Transparent Tints for craft or repair projects. Duck Tape now comes in three transparent tint shades that can be applied without hiding what's beneath the tape. It will bring a little pizazz to any project. ShurTech Brands, the maker of Duck Tape, is also introducing "T-Rex" which the manufacturer represents as "Ferociously Strong Tape" saying that is stronger and will hold longer than similar utility tapes. The tape is also said to be super durable, extra thick and sun resistant to work in all kinds of weather. For more information, visit www.ducktapecom or

4. Everyone knows the frustration that can happen when clutter takes over the garage or when it's impossible to even open the door on the tool shed. No more unsightly pegboards or hanging tools from nails or screws fastened to the walls. The shelves designed for the home are really not strong enough to hold home and garden tools normally stored in a garage. These are all too common problems that can be easily solved with the storeWALL system. The wall panels and accessory shelves, baskets, hooks, totes and bins can be quickly installed to turn your chaotic garage or shed into an organized and accessible space. For information and pricing, go to

5. Outside air exhausts for bathrooms, kitchens and dryers and intake ports for high-efficiency appliances are always susceptible to pest infestation. A new and easy-to-install powder-coated metal product called The Defender can help protect your home from bird and rodent entry. The Defender comes in three sizes and several colors and sells for around $30. For more information and purchasing The Defender, as well as a variety of other venting products, visit


C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, Ind. 47702 or e-mail him at