Category Archives: Home Improvement Ideas

How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

The wintertime is especially harsh for most areas of the country. Frigid temperatures, heavy snow and high winds can wreak havoc on the comfort and stability of your home. Before those cold months come crashing down on you, it’s crucial that you ready your home for the brutal weather.

The first thing you need to do to prepare for the winter is have your heating system checked and maintained. Whether you are using a wood burning stove with a chimney or you have a gas-powered furnace, your system needs to be manually checked by a professional before it can be turned on for the season. Fires and insufficient heating are two problems caused by a heater that hasn’t been fully maintained and checked before being turned on. If you know how to check the heating system yourself, this can save you a lot of money every year. If you aren’t sure of how to maintain your heater, you need to get an expert in to do the work for you. During the maintenance check, filters and air flow valves can be changed to improve the efficiency of your system.

Apart from your home’s heating system, you should consider having your driveway sealed before the ice covers every part of it. Asphalt is notoriously unpredictable during the cold months because it shifts and contracts when weather patterns change. You might have entered the winter with a beautiful smooth driveway but it turned into a cracked mess when everything outside thawed and melted away. Sealing your driveway can be an investment, but it is well worth it because you’ll keep your driveway looking its best for decades by preventing cracking. You should expect to have your driveway sealed professionally at least once a year and the best time to do it is at the end of the summer well before winter hits your area.

How to Tell If Your Home Has Pests and What to Do

Having a pest infestation in your home can be frustrating and scary. The problem with most pest issues is that they go undetected for long periods of time before you realize there is an issue. Once the infestation is able to grow and thrive within your home, it is more difficult to get rid of the bugs, rodents or fungus infiltrating the house. It is crucial that homeowners do a self-check of their homes several times a year to inspect for any signs of an infestation.

With bug infestations, you should look inside cabinets that you might not necessarily use on a regular basis. Look for dead bugs in inconspicuous areas or wings that might have come off of flying creatures like termites. With rodents, you’ll notice droppings and urine stains where the animals are living. Rodents like to live in warm and dark areas like basements and attics. If you have pets in the house, you might notice that they go after the pests from time to time, so this is a great way to be alerted of a problem.

For mold and mildew growth, look in areas where water might be present such as a crawlspace, basement or around plumbing inside the home. Mold likes to grow in dark and humid areas, so it’s possible there is mold underneath kitchen cabinets without you even knowing it. When doing a pest inspection, look in areas that you normally wouldn’t look because this is typically where you’d find the culprit. If you sense that there is an issue in the home, don’t hesitate to contact a local pest control company to rid your property of the infestation. It is better to nip the problem in the butt before it gets out of hand and costs a lot of money to obtain remediation.

How to Know if a Home is Secure Enough to Buy

When you’re in the process of house hunting, you probably have a list of things you want in a potential home. This might include multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms or a swimming pool in the backyard. What you might not have at the top of your list is how secure, stable and sound the home’s structure is so that it’ll last for years without having to be fully repaired. Sure, as a homeowner, you should expect to do some minor maintenance from time to time to keep the property looking its best, but if the home has an infestation or a driveway that is old and crumbling, this is a more major investment that will affect you sooner rather than later.

Before buying any house and closing the deal, have a qualified inspector go in and do a thorough evaluation of the home. The inspector will evaluate the roof, basement, substructure, foundation, walls, septic system and driveway of the home to give you an estimate of future repair work. While hiring one of these professionals costs a fee, you can add in the cost to the closing of the home or take it as a minor investment into the security of your future. After all, having a simple inspection that costs a few hundred dollars is nothing compared to the thousands you’d spend repairing damage that you didn’t see before making your purchase.

Buying a brand new home is the largest investment you’ll ever make in your life, so you need to know that your hard-earned money is going into a property that will last for years before it has to have any major work done on it. Another aspect of a home to look for is a warranty that guarantees that any found work will be covered by the warranty company.

Saving on Heating Costs Throughout the Winter

Most areas of the United States deal with some type of frigid winter weather. While you may not necessarily be dealing with below zero temperatures where you live, it’s likely that you still have to run your heating system a little bit throughout the colder months of the year. Heat loss is a major expense for most American families since it is often the most costly bill a typical household will have. Whether you have gas-powered heat or are running solely on electricity, you need to know the different methods responsible for preventing excessive heat loss to save yourself thousands of dollars each fiscal year.

Insulation is the most important part of any home when it comes to energy efficiency. Without a properly insulated house, your heat is literally being blown through the walls. Sheet rock, which is what walls are made of, does not offer any insulation whatsoever, so you’ll need that blanket of protection between your interior and exterior walls to keep the warmth inside. A qualified technician can come to your home and install insulation easily and quickly without having to rip down your walls.

You should also feel for drafts inside the home, which could be a sign that there is a structural issue that is causing heat loss to occur. Older windows and thin doors are often culprits because you’ll feel a cold draft constantly in the home despite cranking up your heating’s thermostat. If you don’t have the money to install brand new windows, consider using a shrink wrap window kit specifically made for wintertime heat loss. These kits are easy to use and are far cheaper than you’d ever spend on new home windows. Having your heating system well-maintained throughout the year will prevent it from over-consuming energy or fuel and save you a lot of money.

Tips for Hiring the Right Plumber

Being a homeowner can often be frustrating when you begin to deal with plumbing problems. There are certain plumbing-related issues that you can handle yourself, such as a clogged toilet or leaky sink, but there are many other issues you’ll find need a professional’s touch. Professional plumbers are trained and experienced to handle just about any water-related dilemma. Before hiring a plumber, you need to ensure that the expert is licensed and insured. This prevents them from being able to sue you if they get hurt on your property because they have the proper insurance. A license will guarantee that the particular individual you’re hiring has gone through extensive training and schooling to obtain that state-issued license.

It’s crucial to note that just because a plumber is licensed and insured it does not mean that you’ll have a good experience working with them. Certain plumbers overcharge for their services or aren’t professional when dealing with clients, not showing up for the work that you’ve hired them to do. Reading reviews online and asking friends and relatives who they use can help you choose the expert who’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the plumber questions regarding their skills and different projects they’ve completed in the past. If you have a more complicated job on hand, ask them how often they’ve done that particular type of work. You are ultimately the one who is going to be paying for their services and you have all right to know about their work experience and ethics. It’s also important to get a solid price for the work before hiring the plumber and having them start. Avoid hiring a plumber who has hidden fees and secret charges that you won’t know about until they hand you the bill and demand their money.

Home Improvements to Increase Your Home Value

As the saying goes, a home is not a home until it has a personal touch. A house is genuinely yours after it is tailored to fit your particular lifestyle. Home improvement tips are there to aid you in coming up with remodeling styles that fit your personality. Here are some common home improvement ideas that you can try out.

Exterior Design and Landscape Changes

One improvement is expanding the landscape and creating a family fun hub. This is done by constructing a deck that is low to the ground. The deck provides ample square footage and in the case of a family, great areas for social engagements or play space for children.

Replacing the Front Door

An excellent home improvement is one that is low maintenance, good quality and less costly. One thing you should consider is changing your front door, which is crucial since this is usually the first part that greets everyone who walks into your house. Consider using a steel door since its more appealing, not to mention, cost efficient and has an artistic touch.

Use of New Wall Siding

Another tweak is the exterior and interior siding, which is the outer material applied on a wall. Fiber-cement siding is preferred since it has a real payback. Also, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the majority of new homeowners are completely satisfied with this kind of siding.

Paint Makeover and Caulk

Applying new paint on walls is another great way to improve a home. When painting, one should be aware of good painting habits such as perfect paint lines, use of color preservers among others. Also, the use of smooth caulk is essential in having a perfect finish on the exterior paint of a wall.

Art Straighteners

Crooked art in a gallery is most often unappealing and distracting, and so is the art in your home. Use art straighteners to straighten your pictures to make them more appealing. Straightening of art requires the use of adhesive strips which are placed at the back of a picture frame to keep it straight.

Other excellent improving tips include wood refurbishing and finishing, which liven your overall house aura. These among other improvements are small adjustments that make a big difference in your home.

Minimalism: The Most Interesting Home Improvement Trend of 2017

A series of lifestyle articles published in 2016 about life in Japan are influencing Americans to decorate their homes with less. Getting rid of clutter and learning to live with minimal furniture and personal items is a Japanese trend that is being adopted not only by cash-strapped members of the Millennial Generation but also by middle class families. The idea is to maximize living spaces and making lives easier and more meaningful.

The current trend of Japanese minimalism has some roots in Zen Buddhism; however, the real inspiration can be found in the technological austerity and style of the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. The white iPhones, iPads and MacBooks feature clean lines and a simplicity that can be easily emulated in homes by removing most of the furniture and excess decorations.

The basic home improvement strategy of minimalism for a bedroom would be a fresh coat of white paint, a hardwood or laminate floor, a single painting on the wall, a bed, and a small nightstand. Instead of dressers, minimalists maximize closet space.

Smart home automation can also be incorporated into the minimalism trend with a single Amazon Echo or Google Home device to control all appliances. Alternately, homeowners can program their smartphones to function as single remote controls.

Lighting also plays an important role in minimalism. Simple and stylish ceiling lamps are enough in this regard. One floor lamp can be added to the living room. Families who are used to eating in restaurants can also cut down on the amount of kitchen appliances they own.

Home Improvement Ideas to Make Your Home Look Beautiful

People are constantly looking for ways to beautify their homes, and these days, there are some simple fixes that make a big difference. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a remodel, and you can start with small ideas and build from there.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to spruce up the decor in your home.

Teak Wood Furniture

Bringing teak wood furniture into your home makes any room look like a luxurious resort. The wood is taken from the teak tree after 80 years, and the wood retains oil which makes it look sleek and refined.

Door Remodeling

Give your doors a makeover and change the way the entire space looks. You can give your front door a fresh coat of paint and add a silver or gold door knocker for instant sophistication. If you’re making over the doors to your bedroom or living room, add wallpaper to the borders of the door in a metallic color to make this part of the home stand out.

Shelf Upgrade

Making your shelves especially eye-catching makes your den or home office look much more inviting. Attach wood to the walls in whatever arrangement or shape you like. Instead of traditional straight shelves, you can even use rustic wood pieces and sand or smooth them on top so you can place your favorite books or decor on them. Paint the shelves in your favorite colors so they’ll provide a nice contrast to the walls, and you’ve given your room a small but significant makeover.

These are just a few of the weekend projects you can take on to make your home a little cozier and to show off your personal decor style.