Category Archives: Home Improvement

two men making a construction plan

Increasing Property Value by Successful Remodeling Projects

two men making a construction planSuccessful home remodeling projects can increase its value. This, however, requires thorough planning and execution to make the most of your investment. It’s not just about making your property look more appealing to other people. You also need to be efficient on how to allocate your resources. This means setting your priorities right in place.

Running a Thorough Inspection

The first thing you need to do is to inspect your property room by room. Take note of the areas you need to improve. Focus on the fixtures or hardware that require immediate repair. Before proceeding to the overall design of the house, it is advisable to prioritize the functionality. Remember, there should always be a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Make a draft of everything you need.  As much as possible, start with the simplest tasks such as decluttering, cleanup, and other quick temporary DIY fixes.

Creating a Home Renovation Plan

Once you have an idea of the things you need to accomplish, you may now start with the actual plan. This should include all the important details such as the budget and your desired output for each area. This is where you should audit and allocate your resources accordingly. Weigh the pros and cons of each renovation project.

Find ways on how to cut down the costs without compromising the quality, especially when choosing the materials. Remember, the goal is to make your investment worth it from these renovation plans.

In addition, there should always be a timeline for each project. Create an organized schedule so it would be easier for you to keep track of the progress and ensure the tasks can be completed on time. Make sure to coordinate with the contractor, as well.

Making your Property More Attractive

modern houseWhen it comes to increasing value, you need to identify the best features of your property. According to real estate investors, home buyers usually pay more attention to the most functional areas of the house. Curb appeal is also a big factor. Here are some of the areas you might want to prioritize:

  1. Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most functional areas and could be one of your best selling points. According to real estate investors, a successful kitchen remodeling project in Kansas City can actually up to 100% of your investment, as long as you don’t go overboard.

There’s no need to spend a fortune to come up with a well-designed kitchen. The key here is to maximize floor space. Check those bulky kitchen cabinets and other storage containers. Aside from they eat up most of the space in the kitchen, they are also more expensive. Some of these furniture can cost around $1,000. On the other hand, mounted or hanging shelves can only take around $100 or even cheaper. It also saves up a lot of space in the kitchen.

For countertops, you may check out granite materials for style and durability. Others also use vinyl to match the overall design of the kitchen.

  1. Bathrooms

Well-designed bathrooms can increase by about 50 to 70% of your investment. Again, you don’t have to overdo this. Focus on efficiency and functionality. Fix faulty pipes and leaking faucets. Just like the kitchen, you need to maximize the space. For smaller bathroom areas, you can make it look bigger by putting mirrors strategically.

You may also enhance those countertops and vanities by simply repainting them. Upgrading the light fixtures is relatively a small investment that can give you instant results.

  1. Exterior Area

Updating the exterior area can boost your property’s curb appeal. You can invest in small landscape projects to make the entryway look more inviting. The objective here is to give other people the right impression of your property without even entering the house just yet. Check those interior windows, as well. Replace them if necessary.

Revamping your property before making them available in the market is a good idea. These remodeling projects can even make the selling process faster. Always put yourself in the buyer’s perspective.

woman calculating her bills

Be a Smart Homeowner: How to Lower Maintenance Costs

woman calculating her billsThe last thing you need after buying a home is additional expenses popping up unexpectedly. Surprise bills not only eat into your budget but can also cause you to fall behind on your mortgage. Avoid such nasty surprises to enjoy your home owning experience.

Lower Utility Bills

Water and electricity make up the bulk of your utility bills. A plumbing repair expert from Woodbridge, VA can help you keep these bills low and affordable. For starters, they can ensure that your pipes are free of leaks, which translate into a considerable waste of water. A dripping faucet, for example, could waste up to 7 to 10 gallons a day; that’s 3,600 gallons in a year.

A faulty air conditioning system, meanwhile, could also drive up your bill for consuming a lot of electricity. The same applies when your house is poorly insulated or has lots of heat sinks, such as gaps beneath doors and windows. Stemming the loss of heated air from the house reduces the amount of work the furnace has to do to keep your home warm.

Plumbers are skilled in handling both plumbing and heating problems in the home. They will help you eliminate any water leaks and ensure that your piping systems operate efficiently. They will also help you improve the insulation in your house and reduce energy loss.

Enjoy Your Creature Comforts

woman sitting in her sofaAt the end of a long day at the office, you’re no doubt craving a hot shower before curling up with your current read or significant other. Now, imagine getting home to find that you can’t have a warm bath because your hot water system isn’t working. Or worse still, having to turn down the thermostat in the dead of winter to save on electricity bills. These are some of the problems you’re likely to encounter if you neglect your plumbing and heating systems.

Surprisingly, these systems require little in the form of maintenance to operate at their optimum levels. Instead of waiting until something breaks down, call a plumber to carry a routine check at least once a year. Preventive maintenance increases the lifespan of your home systems. It also saves you a considerable amount of money in the long run.

Lower Maintenance Costs

With proper usage, most components of a plumbing system can last years without breaking down. Supply pipes, which are often made of galvanized steel, brass, or copper, have a life expectancy of between 40 and 70 years. Drain lines, usually made of cast iron or PVC, have a life span of 50 to 100 years. Fixtures such as faucets and water softeners will last up to 20 years.

Pipes that are often under a constant amount of pressure are likely to spring a leak, burst, and cause water damage in the home. Having a plumbing expert check your system annually keeps them in great shape while limiting the wear and tear.

Keeping your home’s plumbing and heating systems in great shape is an incredible way to ensure a great home owning experience. It lets you create a lovely and comfortable home environment all year round without saddling you with huge bills.

Exterior of house with landscaping

Having a Stress-free Home

Exterior of house with landscaping

Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to get a moment of peace. Everywhere you go, you are exposed to different kinds of stress, which can leave you feeling tired or fatigued all the time. Good thing there’s always that one place that can help you recharge and get away from all the unnecessary noises: your very own home.

There are a variety of ways to make your home even more of a sanctuary. From turning a garden room into your very own reading nook to creating a gadget-free zone, make your personal domain the ultimate stress-free environment.

Transform your garden room

If you love the idea of having a secret place where you can read your favorite books in peace, why not turn your garden room into your private library? Anytime you want, you can prop up a cozy seat, turn on the warm lights, and begin your reading adventure, all without leaving your home.

A reading nook is just one of the ideas for a great garden room. You can also use it as a private home theater where you can binge-watch all the series and movies you want. You can also turn it into an office where you can work in peace, free from any distraction.

Sweat it out

Working out is also a great stress-buster. Plus, you can just skip the hefty membership fees and make space instead where you can do exercises and calisthenics in your room. You don’t even have to bring in huge fitness equipment. A few dumbbells, kettlebells, and a yoga mat are some of the few exercise essentials to get your active lifestyle started. It’s also easy to find exercises online that you can do at the comfort of your home.

Go on a digital detox

Technology and social media have taken over people’s attention these days. What better way to take a break from all information overload than to have a digital detox? Choose a place in your home where everything is unplugged, from the computer to the television. You can put tabletop games or books that can positively stimulate your brain. You can also just put on relaxing music and lie down and rest.

Declutter

Person carrying a pile of clothes

Lastly, declutter. Often, all you have to do to make your home a more comfortable and stress-free abode is to get rid of the unnecessary stuff. Take out all the things you don’t need anymore. You can even sell some if you want to earn a bit of money or give them to people who really need them.

Decluttering can help you clear your head, manage stress, and make better use of your living space. You don’t know how much space you can still make use of unless you get rid of the clutter and organize your home better.

Your home is where you should feel safe and energized. It’s the last place where you can feel stressed and overburdened by unnecessary worries. With these nifty little tricks, you transform your home into the peaceful retreat that you genuinely deserve.

Man installing a gutter protection

Innovative Home Improvements That Can Save You Time and Money

Man installing a gutter protection

Admit it, when you think of home improvement, you automatically think of large-scale renovations and add-ons. However, you can actually add to your resident’s value and comfort without breaking down walls expensive installations or major renovations. Yes, most likely any kind of add-ons will cost you, but it doesn’t need an extensive amount of money or time to complete these said updates. There are some that will surprise you with their low cost. Here are a few of those economical, practical, and efficient additions that can make your home a better place to live in:

Gutter Protection

Most likely, cleaning your gutters should be done at least once a month for the best results. If you compute the amount of money needed to hire experts to do this for you, you’ll be surprised at the overall amount. If you to choose to do it yourself, consider the number of hours necessary to complete these tasks and the other alternative work you could do instead. Investing in a LeafLock gutter protection system adds savings of both time and money to your household. Also, it can be a selling point that you can use when putting your house on the market.

Programmable Thermostats

Hand adjusting thermostat

To keep your household comfortable, you have to make the place warmer when it’s cold and cooler when it’s hot outside. However, people often leave the HVAC system at a certain temperature for too long, wasting precious money in the process. You can remedy this by purchasing programmable thermostats. They are small devices that you can plug in and set so that they will make changes to your house’s temperature according to certain times or even the weather conditions outside. You can buy programmable thermostats at a very low price, so you don’t have an excuse not to use one.

Smart Power Strips

Another home maintenance activity that many people overlook is unplugging any devices that aren’t in use. These appliances and other items can still suck and use up energy even when they’re turned off, so you’ll end up paying for more than what you actually use. Smart power strips are handy additions to your home as they’ll take care of the unplugging for you. They detect whether an appliance is turned on and then cut off power when necessary. They’re relatively inexpensive, and you can even take them with you if you decide to move to a new home later on.

As you can see, you don’t have to start with anything expensive to kick off your home improvement drive. Even these installations will already give you a lot of value and convenience for your money. Of course, it will still be worth it to pay for more major improvements such as insulation and water-efficient plumbing later on, whether you decide to stay for long or choose to sell the house and move to a new residence. If you’re still set on those, then these ones will help you save money so that you can afford them.

Couple meeting an interior designer

What to Do When Your Partner Has a Different Home Design Taste

Couple meeting an interior designerWhat’s more difficult than designing a huge, empty space and making it pretty? Well, doing it with your partner. Two people with two different decor tastes on one big creative project, adding the itch to get things done fast, and together you have the perfect storm for a relationship.

If you want to avoid this big mess though, you have to learn the art of compromise. Fortunately, there are timeless design principles that would put you in that sweet spot of good aesthetics. Here are some of them.

Mix and match

The best approach to pull this off is the 80/20 rule. Choose which between your different styles would be the “dominant” one, which would be reflected on 80% of the design elements in the room, and the “accent” one, which would be on 20% of the space.

The 80% would cover the walls, flooring, ceilings, furniture and color scheme, while 20% would have the statement pieces of furniture, wall art, lighting fixtures and window treatments. So, if you’re going for the industrial-classic look, for instance, you can match your concrete walls and floors and exposed beams, with candle chandeliers and plantation shutters from Fair Haven, NJ.

Go for clean lines

Couple choosing a new wall colorClean always wins. It’s pleasing to the eyes, so you and your partner will most likely agree that this is a must-have in your design. How can you reflect clean lines exactly? The key is contrast. A difference in colors or textures can make each element distinct and show clear, smooth transitions between the materials.

You can go for a pitch-black accent wall as your backdrop for a sofa or bed in neutral tones. You can add chair rails and crown molding to define that design element further. Another way you can show off clean lines is by dedicating negative space. Simply put, negative space is a blank, empty area, like a wall or a corner in the room. Not only does this offer rest for people’s eyes, but more importantly, avoid visual clutter that tends to blend edges and materials.

Choose your space

Lastly, the best way to make you and your partner happy about your home design is to assign a room where each of you can be free to make your individual aesthetic decisions. It’s like designing an open-concept space: break up the space and the style.

If your partner chooses the kitchen because it’s their favorite place, let them take the reins in choosing the color scheme and furniture. If you get the bedroom, your partner has to hold back on their design preferences. Here’s the thing though, even if you’d have the license to do whatever you want with your assigned space, make sure that you still reflect the overall theme or style.

Otherwise, you’d have a hodgepodge of aesthetics that just creates confusion from room to room. You don’t have to break your style; you just have to add a few hints of the overall theme to tie the entire home’s design together.

It’s tough to design a home, but even tougher when you’re doing it with a partner. But with these timeless design principles, for sure, you can pull off the art of compromise in this creative project.

Minimalist living room

Three Ways to Make Your Minimalist Home Feel Warm

Minimalist living room

There’s no doubt that the minimalist interior design reflects so much sophistication. It’s not surprising that every luxury home or high-end hotel has touches of minimalist elegance. But as much as it’s praised for all its posh style, there’s one strong criticism about it: it looks so cold.

It’s so reminiscent of luxury spaces that it feels like you can’t sit on the couch or the bed because you would ruin its crispness. If you have a minimalist space, you have to add a little bit more effort in creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Here are some ways to pull that off.

Light it up

Light can instantly change the mood in the space. Your best bet in warming up the minimalist space and bringing the cheery vibe is maximizing natural light. Be smart in choosing window treatments. Roman shades may block off most of the natural light coming in, but sheer drapes or Venetian blinds can give you the shade, while still letting in some glow.

Such window treatments in NJ stores come in different colors, and it’s best to go for lighter hues. Choose ‘light’-weight as well in terms of material—avoid velvet and go instead for linen and cotton. Another way you can invite more light and warm up your space is to use mirrors. They reflect light that when you put them opposite your windows, you’d illuminate the space further.

Fill a wall with art

Minimalist styles are known for their use (sometimes, overuse) of negative space. This is one of the reasons a room could look lifeless and impersonal. To bring warmth to the place, fill up one empty corner with art, say, a painting, a series of photographs or a tapestry. The patterns and colors of these pieces would make the space more inviting.

So pick at least corner in your space for art. In the bedroom, you can use the blank space above your bed. In the living room, choose the one that’s farthest from the entrance. These are spaces most likely to be first seen by people entering the room, so keeping art there would instantly create the homey vibe.

Add texture

Modern minimalist living room

In a minimalist space that often tends to repeat crisp, clean elements to keep the visual clutter, the texture is very much integral. It doesn’t just introduce a new sight to see in the room, but also a new atmosphere. Texture refers to the perception of an element’s tactile quality, like the soft feel of the silk pillow cover or the ragged surface of hallway runners.

This principle makes the minimalist space inviting because it triggers the sense of touch, the sense of closeness and intimacy, especially when you prioritize textiles. So consider bringing this alive in your space. Add layered beddings, floor pillows, draperies and rugs. Or if that’s not your thing, go for nature’s elements: indoor plants. These can very well add texture also.

It’s good to have the minimalist place that looks straight out of an interior design magazine. But don’t make it too perfect that it loses the warm, welcoming vibe. Keep these tips in mind as you spruce up your home.

Two senior citizens talking to a caretaker

Great Ways to Increase Elderly Mobility at Home

Two senior citizens talking to a caretakerWhen people get older, one of the biggest challenges that they face is a loss of mobility. This can come from any number of reasons. Foremost among this is a weakening of the bones and muscles that once allowed for a great range of mobility — which could use a portable wheelchair ramp to alleviate.

Other causes include heart and respiratory problems that affect stamina and endurance. Whatever the case, you would do well to invest time and effort to assist in improving mobility at home. Here are the best investments you can make.

1. Clear spaces.

One of the most effective ways to improve mobility for the elderly in your home is actually to clear away the spaces that they can walk through. It’s often easy for homeowners to fill their homes and spaces with a lot of furniture and stuff.

When these collect around the home in every available space possible. This can clog up hallways and walkways and make it very difficult for people to navigate around the home. This is especially true for elderly residents that might readily trip and fall.

2. Add railing.

Another common investment that people look for in terms of mobility is railings. These are often installed in the bathroom where it can be very difficult to stand up and move around. These are then paired with anti-slip mats that will help to prevent slips and falls.

Railing, however, should be installed everywhere that there is a difficulty with navigation. For instance, stairways would do with added, sturdier steel railing to ensure that there is a better way for your older loved ones from to mount the stairs leading to the higher floors.

elderly citizens taking a stroll around elderly home

3. Use ramps.

If the mobility problems are so bad as to necessitate the use of a wheelchair, then you also need to consider the use of ramps. These should be set at a proper angle to ensure that they’re easy to mount with a wheelchair. Ramps can be very difficult to put in in a home that has little space, to begin with.

Fortunately, you can readily get a portable wheelchair ramp for easy installation — and removal — across your home when you need them. This will ensure that your loved ones can travel well around your home.

4. Get exercise.

Finally, if they are still able — and only if they are still able — you should also encourage exercise for your elderly loved ones. This doesn’t have to be excessive and should actually be simple and relaxed. Go for stretching as these can help to get the muscles more active and firing.

You should also encourage walking — even slow walking — to help to tend to the heart and lungs. Even little bits of exercise daily can be a good thing for your elderly loved ones.

If you have older loved ones at home, it can be very heart wrenching to watch them struggle with moving around. It might come part and parcel with growing older, but they don’t need to be completely helpless. These simple investments go a long way toward helping alleviate the pains and challenges of getting older.

Residential car port

How Carports Fare in Comparison to Garages

Residential car portMany homeowners consider installing structures in their property for parking and additional storage space. Garages and carports serve this purpose and can be attached to a home or stand freely on a property. Carports are steel structures with semi-covered fabric. They normally adopt an open-style structure and consist of a roof supported by posts and beams.

Purpose of Garages and Carports

Carports and garages are both versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. Beyond use for vehicle storage, they can provide equipment protection, bulk storage, and off-season gear storage. Garages can include a workspace with tools and equipment laid out. Carports can be used as a shade for your patio, pavilion and outdoor workspaces. They can also house entertainment venues, especially when unexpected weather drives guests away from an outdoor party. Your carport can provide cover and serve as protection from the rain or snow.

Advantages of a Carport

Garages are traditional solutions for creating more space in a property. They are also permanent and can provide complete security from theft and the elements. However, carports hold several advantages over these permanent and fixed structures. Before deciding on the construction of a garage or a carport, you need to take price, property space, and intended use into consideration.

Carports are a lot cheaper than enclosed garages because they use fewer materials. You also have more design options when it comes to carports. For instance, the roof can be flat, pitched, or garbled. There are steel and wood options when it comes to deciding on the material to use for frame and roofing.

car entering through garage door Flexibility

In addition, the structures of a carport do not have the same foundations garages have. You do not need to account for the weight of a concrete slab. As such, a carport can easily be disassembled and moved to suit your changing needs. They also involve quick installation. Setup can take a day or two so you can immediately take advantage of the storage space it provides.  You also won’t be impacted too much by the construction process.

Carports can be placed anywhere in a property and are subject to fewer building regulations and codes than garages. Flexibility and ease of movement, however, still depend on the materials used and the size of the carport.

Protection and Durability

Garage structures provide your vehicles greater coverage, concealment, and protection compared to carports. Installing lockable doors offers secure protection against theft. You can store tools, garden equipment, and sporting goods here without concern they will be stolen. Carports, on the other hand, are less private. They have an open-style structure and do not offer the same protection benefits as garages.

A carport can protect your parked vehicles from damage from elements like rain, sun, hail, snow, and wind. However, they may not keep vehicles safe from extreme temperatures, sideways rain, and wind-driven dust. Garages still provide the ultimate protection against these elements.

Before you decide the best way to protect your vehicles or to create additional space in your property, consider the main use of garage and carport structures and determine whether you will need protection on a permanent or a temporary basis.

How Much Should You Spend on Installing Blown-In Insulation at Home?

blown-in insulation

Households in the U.S. that want to invest in blown-in insulation should expect to pay $1,393 on average for professional installation, although the usual price ranges from $886 to $1,899. Several factors may affect the actual price of installation.

The location serves as one factor for determining the total cost. For instance, the cost of installing blown insulation in Kansas City, might be cheaper — with service providers such as A+ Insulation — than in New York or Los Angeles. Another factor involves the size of your house, the place where you plan to install it and the type of insulation system.

Price for Different Parts of the House

The attic can be a simple place for blown-in insulation, and installation for a 1,000-square-foot space may cost between $500 and $1,000 for the materials alone. Rental equipment may cost around $100, but ask the professional installer if this is already free upon contracting a certain price for their services.

The cost of labor will also be dependent on the company’s rates. On average, you would need to pay between $40 and $70 per hour for their work.

The price for installing blown-in insulation for walls and floors are almost the same for attic space. However, this job is more complicated due to the presence of wiring systems underneath. Whichever part of the house you choose, there are several benefits of using blown-insulation.

Benefits of Using Blown Insulation

An insulated attic through a blown-in process protects your roof and shingles. This also prolongs their shelf life, aside from creating conditioned spaces in the area. By reducing heat on sheathing, the system prevents shingles from deteriorating ahead of time.

In other words, you save money from spending on roofing maintenance. Blown insulation also reduces your electricity consumption since it covers as much space as possible, even small spots and holes.

Unlike batting insulation, blown-in systems seal open spots in attics and walls. As a result, your furnace or air-conditioning system doesn’t have to work harder to provide heat or cooling inside. Before you expect to reap the benefits, it’s important to distinguish the different types of blown insulation.

Different Types of Insulation Systems

wall insulation

Most homeowners use fiberglass for blown-in insulation due to its affordability, which is perfect if you don’t wish to spend a lot. At the same time, you have more flexibility in choosing the design despite a small budget. This system is naturally non-combustible and reduces sound pollution.

If you are after energy-efficiency, then cellulose is probably the best type for your house. This system is considered the most energy-efficient among different types of blown insulation.

It is also resistant to airflow, non-corrosive to aluminum, steel, and copper, and has fire-retardant qualities. You should consult a professional about the suitable type for your home if you are not sure about the best choice.

Blown insulation improves the quality of life at home by controlling humidity, which is helpful especially for household members with respiratory illnesses. Some insulation systems may also double as a pest repellent, so ask your preferred service provider about this before paying them outright.

Crack on a conrete wall

Here’s How you Know if Your Concrete Needs to be Repaired or Replaced

Crack on a conrete wallNothing is forever – not even concrete. While concrete can last for decades before needing replacement, you will find that catching small signs of structural problems will help you extend its life through a basic repair.

But, what signs should you look out for? Here is how you know whether you should replace your concrete or just do some basic repairs.

Multiple Cracks Deserve Utmost Attention

Listen, if your concrete driveway has multiple cracks, then it is better to replace the whole thing instead of just repairing the areas. The repair is likely going to cost as much as the replacement, but with less guarantee of the results.

Multiple cracks are indicative of a deeper problem, which needs fixing from the ground up. Concrete replacement here in KS should be able to help you assess the extent of the problem and offer a straightforward quote.

Broken Edges are Salvageable

One of the most common concrete problems includes broken edges of steps or driveways. This makes sense since the edges are highly vulnerable and have less grip on the overall cement. You can easily repair this or have professionals do the repair if you are not used to mixing concrete.

It’s a quick fix that will cost way less than having the whole space repaired.

Underneath Roots Ruining Concrete

If the concrete is damaged due to underlying roots, then a repair is not enough. The roots are going to grow upward and outward, further damaging the exterior surface. The best way to address this is by replacing the concrete completely, but only after removing the roots so that the main floor is not disrupted.

Check to see if there are lots of plants, shrubs, or huge trees around the concrete. There is a very good chance that they are the cause of the problem.

Settled Concrete Depends on the Sink

Contractor fixing a wall crackSettled concrete means the concrete has sunken. This situation may be fixed through replacement or repair – depending on the extent of the sink. If it is anything less than 8 inches, you can have that portion elevated for a less substantial amount than a complete replacement.

This is why you will have to act quickly and have the concrete raised even before it sinks to 5 inches.

Uneven Slabs Can Be Topped Off

Sometimes, the concrete can sink just enough that it can be a walking hazard. You might have this long stretch of the driveway with that small square footage being just a few inches deeper where water tends to pool after a rain.

Topping it off with more concrete to even out the area is a viable alternative and can take only a matter of minutes.

Slab Cracks are Structural

Structural problems require a complete overhaul. The slabs are where most of the weight is centered, which means that cracks on it will eventually lead to structural problems. Safety becomes a concern, so immediate action by a professional is crucial.

Regardless of whether it is repair or replacement, it is usually better to have professionals take care of the matter. Concrete problems, especially if it is close to the foundation of your house, might need an expert eye to guarantee excellent results.