Working on Home Improvement Projects

Remodeling a house can be an expansive and complicated mess if the right precautions and measures are not taken before even beginning. Planning and developing ideas to the fullest extent may help to avoid many problems and errors that have become commonplace in the remodeling game. With the help of professional contractors, many homeowners are able to avoid these problems and plan their project to perfection so that things run smoothly and the homeowner is left with a beautiful house when all is said and done.

Home improvement projects often cause a great deal of agony to the homeowner. With so many different projects in a remodel, homeowners may begin to feel overwhelmed. That is where the importance of planning is most evident. With effective planning, homeowners will be able to keep their head above water and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of projects that are often part of these remodeling projects. With professional help and the right planning, homeowners can realize their dream of an efficient remodeling project that finishes on time.

The best home improvement projects are the ones that finish on time with little headaches to the homeowner. With little frustration to turn the experience into a negative one, homeowners will be pleased knowing they are getting quality work that will be completed on time. Taking advantage of the quality work of professionals is important if the homeowner wants to have a beautifully painted home with little hassle to them. With professionals handling the work, homeowners are often able to focus on other areas of the remodel. So hiring a professional often proves to have its perks in the planning aspect of the project and when it comes to physically painting the house and completing the project on time.

7 Low-Cost, High-Impact Home Improvements You Can Do This Weekend

Whether you’re putting your pad on the market or just want to impress dinner guests, here are seven cheap, fast, and easy home improvements you can do on your next day off.

  1. Add shoe molding. You know that little rounded border that goes around the base of the trim? It costs about $3 for eight feet, and installation is idiot-proof. Head over to your local home-improvement store and pick some up.
  2. Paint your trim. It’s amazing how much a quart of paint and a little patience can brighten up a room. Grab a 1-inch angled brush and a quart of glossy paint, and touch up your baseboards, windowsills, and door trim to make the whole room look brand new.
  3. Shampoo the carpets. For about $30 and four hours, you can rent a rug shampooer from most local grocery stores and clean all of your wall-to-wall carpeting and large area rugs. Don’t forget to vacuum first!
  4. Remove overgrown bushes outside. If you don’t feel like digging (and, later, filling) an enormous hole to yank out your slowly browning shrubs, just grab a Sawzall and cut them off at ground level. Once you get the leftover branches out of the way, a bag of mulch is all you need to cover the evidence.
  5. Wash the windows. Clean windows make your home look newer while letting in more light. Don’t really do windows? Suck it up on the inside, but grab one of those hose attachments with window cleaner included for the outside.
  6. Cut the clutter. Want to make your house look twice as big? Get rid of half your stuff. No, seriously. Go through your closets, cabinets, and bookcases and gather up the things you never use and/or don’t particularly like. Donate or Free-cycle what you can, and throw out the rest. Found some things you don’t use often but can’t bear to part with? Pack them up neatly and stash the boxes in your attic, basement, or closet.
  7. Clean, clean, clean. Don’t just stop with the windows and the carpets. Break out the Soft Scrub and make your kitchen sparkle. Call on Mr. Clean to make your floors shine. Bust the dust on all your surfaces to make everything look new. It makes a huge difference.

All it takes is a few dollars and a couple of hours, and your house will be looking like a million bucks in no time.

Tips to Cut Expenses During New Home Construction

Every second earning person carries this dream of building a house in the future. For this, they start saving since very early in their life. However, sometimes, the saved money is not enough to build a dream space. At this place, they severely need an idea to cut costs during a new construction.

Cost cutting will enable the person to have an affordably built house and bear the expenses of one of the new home builders.

Let us see how to enable cost cutting in new home construction.

Prepare an early budget:

When you start planning the budget early, you have the time to include and seclude certain necessary and unnecessary things. You can add the important things like plumbing, HVAC installation, electrical work, and furniture work, and leave the unimportant things like the interior etc. for later.

Research the market and prepare the estimate:

Before you actually go to a new home builder, make sure you have researched the market for the price of materials, tools, etc. This way a builder will not be able to cheat you. Also, this way, you will be able to follow the point number 1.

Keep the design of house simple:

When you go for complex design, the price of overall projects starts increasing. Therefore, to cut the cost, keep simple design and stick to the rectangular platform. Also, avoid complicated roof-line and keep the ceiling simple.

Choose energy efficient lighting:

To invest less in energy, choose energy-efficient solutions. The list may include the appliances, HVAC system, solar lights, LEDs, etc. Also, make sure you choose star-rated products only.

Choose quality material, but at an affordable price:

Building materials are touching sky height and therefore, research for the materials and contact a good dealer. A good dealer will provide all the materials at affordable prices and thus, it will cut the overall cost of the budget.

Used materials which are recycled:

To cut the major cost of the project, you can use the recycled materials that are not only pocket-friendly but earth-friendly. The recycled products are cement composites, recycled steel, sawdust and a lot more. You can also use recycled plumbing fixtures, fireplace fixture, window lumber, etc. Although in new home construction, you would love to add first-hand items, yet what a big deal if you save and still get the best.

Start small and build tall:

In the starting, start small and build rooms which are most needed. There is no need to include guest rooms, etc. A small project will cut impeccable cost and enable you to have your dream house. Also, rather than expanding the area of the house, expand the height. The tall building will have smaller roof and foundation, thus cutting the cost of the budget.

So, these were some of the tips with which you can save the overall cost of your new home project. Also, for more ideas, consult the best home advisor.

8 Tips to Consider Before You Buy Plantation Shutters

If you want to buy plantation shutters, you may want to consult an experienced professional. They will help you buy the best plantation shutters to help you meet your needs. However, if you are going to purchase plantation shutters for the first time, you may want to consider the following tips.

1. The type of wood

Since poplar wood is light, straight, and smooth, it’s a great choice for plantation shutters. The average height of a poplar tree is 160 feet and the trunk can be as much as 80 feet in diameter. So, it’s a good idea to opt for this type of wood.

2. Poly or Wood

Most of clients go for wood shutters because of their advantages over the artificial material known as poly.

As far as strength goes, wood is stronger and lighter. So, wooden shutters can be up to 37 inches in width. So, you won’t need more than a few panels for the window openings. Aside from this, wood gives you a lot of other benefits as well.

3. Louver Size

The size of most of shutters is 3.5 louvers. But there is a rise in demand for louvers that measure 4.5 louvers due to sliding glass doors and bigger windows. Actually, people want modern interior design as well as openness.

4. Midrail

If you don’t know, midrail is a horizontal plank. Over the midrail, the louvers open and close without relying on the louvers that are under the midrail. Many buyers like midrails since they leave the upper section open to let more light in and leave the lower section shut for privacy reasons. Moreover, a midrail is an ideal choice should you have metal casings.

5. Vertical Tilt Bar

You will find shutters that feature “hidden tilt”. In this type of shutters, the frontal wooden tilt bar is missing. In its place, you can see a metal tilt bar, which is almost invisible. So, you can have more visibility and open space.

6. Sliding Glass Doors

As far as sliding glass doors is concerned, plantation shutters are an ideal choice. For a consistent feel and look, your house should have shutters. Actually, plantation shutters are fixed on a track to let the panels open without any hindrance.

7. Cost Of The Shutters

Usually, plantation shutters are sold by the square foot. However, by paying a bit more, you can benefit from other options, such as hidden tilt, stain finishes, and specialty shapes. You should be ready to spend a good deal of money to get the required shutters.

8. Procedure

Plantation shutters are also made to order. First of all, the sales representative will visit your house to measure the doors and windows to give you a proposal. Then the installers will do a detailed measurement. Once the product is made, it is handed over to the finishing department. In this department, the product is sanded, primed and painted. Finally, they are installed.

If you are going to buy plantation shutters, consider the tips given above.

Gutter And Downspout Cleaning – Helpful Tips On Cleaning Rain Gutters

Have you been dreading the job of gutter and downspout cleaning? It’s not hard to understand why. Going up on the roof and trying to get all the junk out of your rain gutters isn’t something that anyone looks forward to, but it is definitely something that is necessary for any homeowner to do at least once a year. Here are some tips to help make this job a little easier.

Obviously, keeping your rain gutters and eaves free from leaves, sticks and other debris will help prevent clogging and keep them from sagging or coming apart from the roof and creating a more serious water problem in the future.

We don’t often consider the fact that our rain gutters and downspouts really do protect our home from damage. They aid in preventing water from pouring off of your roof and getting into your foundation and eventually into your home, as well as preventing rotting of your roof.

When it comes to cleaning gutters and downspouts you have a couple of choices; having a gutter contractor come out and do it for you, or climbing up the ladder and doing it yourself.

Before you go to climbing that ladder be sure you are physically able and comfortable in doing it. My father fell from a ladder a couple of years ago doing this and broke his leg in the process. He could have easily had the work done for him, but chose to do it himself even though he knew he shouldn’t have. I urge you to give this some careful thought. Using the services of a guttering company is not out of the reach of most budgets and it will prevent any possible accidents.

For those who are going to do it themselves you will need a good ladder, a garden hose, safety glasses, gloves and pole or something similar to help get some of the leaves and sticks out with. It may be possible to go on the roof and use a leave blowing machine if your gutter is dry and doesn’t have that much in it. It’s another option.

Once you are on the roof, pick out the large areas of debris in the gutter before hosing them out. You want to avoid washing the leaves and everything else down into your downspout or you run the risk of getting it clogged up. Then, once you have the major junk out of the gutter you spray the channel with water and get them cleaned out.

Although this is not a tough task to accomplish it is vital to the upkeep of your home. Depending on how many trees you have around your home you may need to do this once in the spring and once again in the late fall in order to keep things flowing freely.

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Free Grants For Home Improvement Repair Costs

If you would like to fix or repair your house, home improvement grants provide free money to Americans who can use some financial assistance when it comes to covering the cost of home repair. These grants are typically provided by the government. More specifically, your local government has the greatest interest in helping you finance your home improvement projects, as they are the ones to benefit the most.

The home owner, also benefits greatly from these programs. Home improvement grants provide free money that never has to be paid back. As long as these funds are used for the purpose agreed upon in your grant application, the cash is yours to keep.

Once you access the grant database to find the government grant programs that you are eligible to receive, you’ll realize that there are a number of grants to choose from. Some provide money for home repair, others provide free grant money to expand your home, while others offer the cash you need to upgrade your appliances to energy efficient equipment. It all depends on what government programs are specially available in your community and how much funding is left for you to claim.

When you apply for home improvement grants, you do not have to worry about your credit score, collateral or down payment money. Because these are not loans, the government is not interested in this information. What you will need, however, is the details on your project, an estimate as to how much it will increase the value of your property, and a good idea of how much money your project will cost.

Home Improvement Contract Tips

Many a soul has hired a contractor to do repairs or improvements on a home only to find something is fishy. Here are some tips to avoid problems.

Home Improvement Contract Tips

Hiring a contractor to do work on your home is not always as easy as it sounds. Many people call themselves contractors, but really are not. The first step to avoiding problems is to make sure you hire someone with who is actually licensed as a contractor. If you subsequently have problems, you can contact the licensing board to raise a dispute.

Most contractors are ethical, honest people and businesses. There are, however, others who are not. These individuals assume you do not really know what is involved in the construction process. This provides them with an opening to make substantially more profit. While you might think this means they will overbid the project, it does not. Most contractors believe you will pick the lowest price, so they rarely run up their estimate. There are, however, two other ways to boost profit.

The first thing unethical contractors will do is use low quality supplies. As with anything you buy, there is a high quality and lower quality version. While you may want the high quality version, you may have a hard time determining if you received it. The difference between high and low quality is often how long something lasts, not how it appears. The way to beat this problem is to specify the exact brand, size and part number [if possible] in your contract. Doing so accomplishes two things. First, it puts the contractor on notice that you know how the process works. Second, you can always resort to legal action if you later find the correct materials were not used. Since you have everything in writing, the contractor has little defense.

A second unethical tactic is the bait and switch. In this process, the contractor gives you a bid price that can’t possibly cover the project. You think you are getting a deal, but the contractor starts coming to you after the project has started requesting more money. The contractor refuses to continue work if you do not pony up. In this situation, the best defense is again to have everything in writing in the project contract. Make sure to include an attorney’s fee clause in it. If the contractor tries this tactic, you should contact an attorney. The attorney will set the contractor straight. If the contract refuses to finish the job, you will probably be told by the attorney to hire a new contractor while he sues the unethical one. Since an attorney’s fee clause is included in the agreement, you should end up paying no legal fees. This is not the best situation, but it beats getting scammed.

In general, the best way to find a contractor is to ask for referrals from trusted friends. Next, get everything in writing. With these two steps, you should avoid any major problems.

Common Sense Home Improvements

In more prosperous markets, the mention of home improvement ideas meant double-sink vanities, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and spa baths. Today, upgrades have come down to earth with the focus on money saving, practical improvements meant to not only appeal to a prospective buyer’s sense of style, but their wallet. Here is a top 10 list inspired from Forbes.com and their “10 Recession-Proof Improvements”.

1. Cork Floors – This Eco-flooring is not only economical, but practical as well. It provides good sound insulation, is much more comfortable for standing on than ceramic or slate, and has allergy resistant properties.

2. Bamboo Counter-tops – Also an Eco-friendly alternative to standard counter-tops, bamboo can be harder and denser than maple. It comes in various vertical or parquet grain designs, and in a selection of colors.

3. LED Lighting – LED lighting systems use far less energy than standard bulbs. Although initially more expensive, they pay for themselves over time. Lower electric bills can be a great selling feature in any market.

4. Garage Doors – Gone are the stark white, plain, windowless doors we were so accustomed to. One of the most popular exterior features of an up-to-date home is a new garage door in one of the current designs such as a carriage style with a row of small windows.

5.Energy Star Windows – If your home needs new windows, then ensure that you choose energy star rated models. Not only will you save on heating costs, but you’ll provide an extra incentive for a prospective buyer.

6. Tank less Hot Water Heater – Tank less hot water systems have become a popular, energy saving alternative to conventional hot water heaters. Their initial cost is a little higher, but they save 30-40% more in energy, are made to last 20 years or longer, and are designed to allow multiple water flows at once. This means two of the kids can be having showers at the same time the dishwasher is running.

7. Water-Saving Toilets – The demand for water-saving toilets has grown over the last couple of years and technology has improved to the point where these units use less than half the water of their older counterparts.

8. Nicely Landscaped Gardens – You can’t beat good old curb appeal when selling a home. Your yard is often the first thing a buyer sees when house shopping, and the opinion they form can make or break a sale before they even set foot in your home.

9. Door-less Showers – Door-less or walk-in showers with sleek chrome trims are replacing large spa tubs by leaps and bounds. It’s become a popular feature in most high-end condos and apartments.

10. Painting – A fresh coat of neutral paint on your interior walls can make a home feel like new. Paint or stain touch-ups can brighten up an otherwise worn home exterior, making it appear updated and well cared for.

DIY Home Repair

Those who prefer DIY home repair may believe that DIY home repair will cost much less than hiring a professional. Yes, for someone, it can be. But for some others, it may cost much more and even worse, it may lead to an unsatisfactory result. If you want to start your DIY home repair project, you should take into consideration the following four things – a full research to have the knowledge, a good planning, available time and tools, and taking local regulations and health concerns into the account.

Firstly, you should conduct a research to learn the tips and necessary information. It is indispensable unless you have background in this field or you have conducted the similar task before. Through research, you may know some useful steps and several methods.

Secondly, you should work out a good plan. When you are making your plan you should be considerate enough to cover all the bases. If you are too careless to ignore some detail, you will meet a headache later on.

Thirdly, available time and tool are essential. Many people may underestimate this aspect. You should plan when you should start and when you can finish. You can break a project down into smaller projects and plan time accordingly. Having the proper tools at hand when you need is also not easy. Before starting, you should find the tools you will need and gather them together at the project. Have the proper tools available before beginning.

Fourthly, you need to know the local regulations and permit requirements for projects. Your projects may disturb your neighbors, even worse, violate the local regulations.

If you master the tips above well, you will find DIY home repair is a fun and money saving accomplishment.

Attic Ventilation – Ensuring Enough Attic Air Circulation

Your home has a number of critical areas that need all the attention they could get. The attic for instance, plays an important role in ensuring that your roof lasts as intended. Proper air circulation of the attic is essential in keeping that the roof remains structurally sound over the years. You can determine whether there is adequate ventilation in the attic or if it is lacking. If you happen to notice some sort of musky smell in the attic, it is often not caused by the items being stored, but because of insufficient airflow. Fans are commonly used to resolve this problem. However, do roof ventilation fans work? Let’s find out.

How can I know that there’s enough air circulation in my attic?

Your attic, like most areas of your home, requires proper air circulation. There different ways on how to achieve enough airflow in this particular area. A homeowner can buy ventilation solutions in the market of apply different techniques to ensure there is sufficient air flowing through the attic.

What are my options?

Should you find signs of poor ventilation in your attic, you should consult professionals immediately. The sooner you find and fix the problem, the better it is for your home. There are a number of solutions available, but there is no single solution for everything. The homeowner or the professional paid to fix the problem must assess what type of solution would work best and for the long-term. Here’s a number of solutions for your home:

1. Ridge vent – this type of solution is, as its name suggests, a vent installed along the ridge line of your house. Before this type of vent is installed, roof decking is cut to allow air to flow through. It is highly essential that no other areas of the home block air from coming in or out.

2. Soffit vents – every roofing system needs to have air entry and exit points to keep it cool and dry. The soffit vents also work in conjunction with ridge vents and let air pass right through. However, in areas where the roofline meets the attic floor, insulation baffles must be put in place to prevent airflow from being restricted.

3. Attic fans – this solution is quite better as it does not rely on natural wind to ventilate the attic. Fans can be installed on the roofing system which sucks the air out when needed. Some newer models incorporate a thermostat which automatically turns on the fans to keep a stable temperature in the attic. Solar powered fans are also available, which would be beneficial since this would mean the fans can be self-sufficient. However, the costs associated with this solution raises a couple of questions. So, do attic ventilation fans work at all? The answer is yes.

As it is commonly known, fans dedicated to ventilate can easily introduce air or push air out of a home with ease. Unlike natural, free-flowing systems, these fans work at a much more efficient pace. There’s also the option for users to control the temperature within certain areas to prevent moisture buildup and other problems caused by stale air.