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House Improvements

Budgeting for a Home Renovation

Budgeting for home renovations is always tough. Even when you plan for everything and even a few glitches along the way budgets often find a way to be busted. In order to keep your progress from ending in a budget stale mate here are a few things to keep in mind when renovations are planned for your home.
First decide why you are renovating your home. What do you hope to accomplish with the renovation? Are you adding space for a new addition? Are you adding space for a kids play room or do you hope that with your renovation you increase the value of your home. Knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish with your home renovations will make it easier to create a budget and stick to it. It is often when a plan is not created that we go overboard with spending. So the more you can think out ahead of time before renovations on your home begin the better your finances will look in the end.
Speaking of a budget determine how much you can afford to spend on this home renovation. If you realize that what you hope to accomplish is not possible within the funds you have allotted for the project than you can easily put it on hold at this stage of the process. Determine the cost of all materials, tools and furnishings that will be needed to complete the renovation. If you are doing a kitchen renovation make sure to take into account large items like stoves and refrigerators. If you are doing a bathroom remodel take into account a new tub, sink and vanity. A toilet and new fixtures should also be added to the budget.
Next ask yourself are you up to taking on the challenge of a remodel or is it better for you to hire a contractor to ensure a smooth renovation. If you are the handyman type simple renovations can easily be done on your own and can save your contractor fees. If you are going to hire out a residential contractor make sure to look at examples of their previous work. Ask for references and check out their website. The detail put into their work, references and website will give you a good idea of their work and work ethic. It is also important to make sure your gut tells you that the contractor you have chosen is right for you and your home renovation.
A timeline is also important in home renovations. It is important to go over this with your contractor and get in writing a plan of attack. It is important that each step is broke down into a time frame so that you and the contractor can work together to make sure progress stays on track.
Making sure that the contractor you hire is on the same page as you is one of the most important steps in home renovation. You can have this by opening the lines of communication from the start. Know that sometimes things can take an unexpected turn but that you are interested in keeping up to date with the progress and would like updates even when something goes haywire
Once you have agreed upon a plan do not keep changing things. Nothing makes a contractor bitter more than an indecisive customer. They to have a time frame to stay within so that they can continue work with other clients. Every change adds time and money to the budget so stick to the original plan of attack. It will ease the schedule and budget if you stick to the initial renovation plan.
The last thing you will need to decide is if you plan on living in your dwelling during the construction or if you plan on finding a place that is more conducive to your life. If you decide to live in your home during the renovation make sure that you do not interrupt the progress. A happy contractor makes for a happy homeowner.…

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House Improvements

Bathroom Blinds

The bathrooms in our homes are often our own personal sanctuaries where we retreat at the end of the day to relax and forget the day. Homeowners across the country are investing more money into their homes and one of the primary places that the investment is best spent is in the bathroom. Bathrooms now are much larger than they were in the past and often have lavish showers and spa tubs.
When shopping for our bathrooms, textiles are an important part of the progress. It gives us the opportunity to add our own personal touch to our baths and leave our own unique mark. We, of course, want our textiles to follow a common theme. Bathroom blinds are a great way to tie-in our tastes in our baths. As we are spending more time in our bathrooms as a personal resort from the world, blinds have become a necessity.
We find ourselves sometimes spending hours in the comfort of our bathrooms and don’t want to be bothered or seen by outsiders. Bathroom blinds come in a variety of designs and styles, but functionality should be the foremost concern. Cloth blinds are not good for bathrooms as they will become moist and possibly become moldy. Solid woods are a better choice, but synthetic woods are the best bet. These types of blinds will not be susceptible to bathroom moisture or aging due to the humid bathroom conditions.
Finding the perfect bathroom blinds can give you the privacy that you need while adding your own personal style to your home bathroom.…

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House Improvements

Thrifty Retirement: Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

You’ve lived in your home for many years now. It’s beginning to show its age or perhaps its configuration no longer fits your needs, but you really don’t want to move, to leave your convenient neighborhood, or to be farther from your friends or family. You decide instead to remodel. Finding a reliable, trustworthy contractor is the first thing you must do. The second is to pay attention to what the contractor is doing. This is your home and your money: stay on top of the project.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
Our kitchen had an odd layout and some of the appliances needed to be replaced. I went to an annual remodeling show held in our town and spoke with several of the companies there. I told them all what I wanted, which was to save most of the cabinets, which were in good condition, but to replace just a few to fit the new floor plan I had in mind. I wanted to be able to reuse those we would tear out. I easily dismissed several contractors, as they weren’t interested in a project that wasn’t all new, and I narrowed the selection down to just a couple.
I called one and talked with him. I liked him immediately, but asked for references. I phoned all the references, and to a person, they all had glowing reports. I hired him to do the work in the kitchen and I couldn’t have been happier. He was able to preserve more of the cabinets than I had planned on and had to make only one new cabinet door. I was impressed with his reasonable cost, his excellent workmanship, and his clear concern for the environment, as well as with his pleasant return to fix a couple small blips.
A couple years later when we decided to do a major remodel of our master bathroom, he was the obvious choice. He even used the same crew boss as had worked on the kitchen. I had high hopes and no reservations. However, as the work progressed, I found questions popping up. The crew boss was showing up later in the day, or some days not at all. The job was taking longer than I expected. This wasn’t quite right; that had to be redone. We had ordered a custom-made vanity that was delivered and installed while we were gone for a long weekend.
When I first saw the cabinet, I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It took two weeks for me to pinpoint the problem. The style wasn’t what I had ordered. Where did this go wrong? The estimator blamed the cabinetmaker, and the cabinetmaker said he made what the estimator ordered. Meanwhile, my contractor was left holding the bag, as he was financially responsible for getting me the right vanity cabinet.
My contractor returned several times to fix small things the crew boss had messed up, but it’s been a year now and I still don’t have the vanity I ordered. The contractor is still the nicest guy in the world, but he has already lost money on this job and he still owes me a vanity. Will I ever get it? I don’t know.
The bottom line is that you must stay on top of the workers and the job, even if you know them. Check every day. If you don’t like a specific detail, speak up right away. In my case, it turned out the crew boss was having family problems he hadn’t mentioned to the contractor. His mind was somewhere else while he was working, and my contractor and I both paid for it. When the wallpaper was stripped, instead of washing the old glue off the walls, they painted over it. The floor tiles are not level and have created an uneven floor. The towel racks were mounted too high and had to be removed and remounted. The toilet was not level. And of course, the vanity is still wrong.
I keep hoping to hear from the contractor. I call every couple of months and he always says he’ll get to it. Maybe I’ll be lucky: maybe he will.…

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House Improvements

Three Important Steps to Easy Log Home Maintenance

There are three important log home maintenance steps that need to be completed to ensure that the home lasts a long time and maintains its beauty. While maintenance of any home is very important, maintenance for a log home is especially important to ensure that the structure of the home remains solid and without defect. These three steps can ensure that it lasts a lifetime and longer.
Inspect the Home at Least Once Each Year
One of the most important steps in log maintenance is to inspect the entire home from the foundations to the roof at least once a year. During this inspection, look for anything that indicates damage to the wood or the structure of the walls and ceiling. This can include looking for water damage, insect damage or the like. This maintenance step might need seem like it improves anything, but a visual inspection can ensure that any issues are discovered long before they affect the beauty of the log home or its structure. It is especially important to inspect the areas around the foundation as this is where water can settle and cause problems.
Refinish and Seal the Logs
A great maintenance taste that results in the home lasting as long as possible is the refinishing and sealing of the logs. Ideally this should be done as often as recommended by the manufacturer, refinishing and sealing a log home can be a time consuming task but it should be done at least once every couple of years. Refinishing the logs ensures that they are as beautiful as possible and removes and debris or dirt from the outside of the home. It also ensures that the original luster of the logs is restored. After refinishing, sealing the logs can help hold in their beauty and keep out water and other damaging things. A seal also can increase the beauty of the logs.
Repair Small Problems Before They Grow
The final log maintenance step that ensure the home will last a long time is to fix any small problems before they become large. With a log home this is especially important because wood can show only a small area of damage but have larger problems hidden further in the wood where it is hard to see. So, if there is a problem, addressing it quickly can ensure that larger problems are swiftly identified and corrected as well. When repairing a log home, hiring a professional is always a good idea because a professional has the experience to identify problems early and correct them properly.
There are three main steps to proper log home maintenance. First, always inspect the home at least once each year to identify any problems before they become major issues. Also, ensure that any small problems are addressed quickly and by a professional to make sure that they don’t become larger problems. The final step to maintaining a log home so that it lasts for a lifetime is to refinish and reseal the home as often as possible.…

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House Improvements

Kick Pests Out With These Useful Tips

Finding out that you have a pest problem is never fun. Being unaware of solutions can cause your anxiety to grow. Lucky for you, you have found the information that will help you get rid of them quickly. Keep reading and learn how to eradicate household pests.

DO you have a fruit fly issue? The problem may be with your drain. Place plastic wrap over your drain, keep it there for a handful of days, and see if any flies have begun appearing. If fruit flies still appear, scrub around your drain after pouring boiling water. That should keep fruit flies from breeding there.

Attack a pest problem at its source. That means getting rid of what attracted the pests in the first place. Pests may be drawn to your house because water, food and shelter can be found there. Search for and get rid of food scraps, leaks or entry points.

Check your local building authority and ordinances for available options for pest control. If you are trying to sell your house, you might not want to spray pesticides that are illegal. This happens only rarely, but it is still wise to seek out pest control products that are legal and effective.

If you want a real test for detecting a termite problem, use a dog trained to sniff out the bugs. Human inspectors only have the ability to render a verdict on 1/3 of the house. Trained dogs can actually check out your entire home. They smell for methane gas, which is a byproduct of the wood the termites are eating.

Bedbugs hide in a variety of locations, making them hard to completely get rid of. All holes should be sealed before beginning any type of extermination. This will ensure that bugs cannot hide in the holes during the extermination process, only to emerge later.

Look around your house for any cracks or places that pests could enter, and seal them right away. These are just the places that pests love to find as they are looking for ways to get inside. If you close them off, the pests won’t be able to get in.

It is notoriously difficult to eradicate fleas and their eggs once they get into your house, but there are a few things that can work. Start by vacuuming them every day and then using a flea spray. Be sure that you get rid of every vacuum bag that you use as soon as you are done.

It is important to have your home checked for pests on a regular basis. If your home has an underground component to it, you may be susceptible to subterranean termites. Check out your basement and any other underground area.

Electronic pest control can work really well. You plug these little devices in every room, and they make a tiny buzzing sound that keeps rodents away. Even though humans can hear it, the sound does not harm people or animals at all. Rodents do not like the noise and will not stay in the same area.

You should now know enough to start taking action and get rid of the pest that has invaded your home. Use the information you’ve learned here for your war on the pests. Pretty soon, your pests will be gone and your life will be back to normal.…

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House Improvements

Growing Healthy: Organic Gardening Tips And Advice

Whether it is basic lawn care or meticulous focus on a flower collection, everyone wants to have an appealing lawn and garden. This desire is often not fulfilled, not because of a lack of effort, but because certain small things can be overlooked. A few special tips for your home garden can make sure you get what you want.

Save seeds from the garden for a new crop next time. Not only are seeds expensive, but why even bother with going to the store when they can be obtained from the previous crop. The convenience from having a steady supply on hand is also a plus. Use vegetables that are harvested when fully ripe such as melons, tomatoes, beans and squash for best results.

To cut down on the time you spend pruning and pulling weeds, make sure that all the tools you use are sharpened and cleaned. A dull or dirty tool will make basic gardening tasks much more challenging, and can significantly increase the work you have to put into your garden. Caring for your tools regularly is more than worth the effort it takes.

Don’t plant your seedlings or young plants too deeply. The top of a root ball of a large shrub or tree seedling should be just above the soil level, and then covered up with mulch to protect it. This allows the roots to breathe and keeps the tree or shrub healthy.

If you do not have a lot of square footage for gardening, try using trellises or posts in your garden. Allowing certain vegetables to grow up a trellis or post rather than spreading out along the ground will allow you to grow more per square foot. You can do this with tomatoes, peas, and climbing beans.

Take the time to plant your roses properly and you’ll enjoy greater success down the road. Dig a hole larger enough to easily accommodate the roots and enrich it with organic matter. Build a mound of soil in the hole and drape the roots over it. Fill half way and water to remove any air bubble, then finish filling the hole.

Choose certain plants for shady areas. All plants need light to survive, but not all of them require bright sunshine. Woodland natives, for example, are happiest when given a little protection from the sun’s rays. Be generous when enriching the soil if the plants are under a canopy of trees, as they are competing for the food supply with the big guys! Ajuga, anemone, foxglove, cyclamen, hosta, viola and allium all enjoy a shady area.

Mini roses are very popular and are low maintenance. They come in many bright colors and offer a variety of interesting flower shapes. However, if you want to add a rose to your garden for the fragrance, then a mini-rose may not be a good choice because they produce little to no fragrance. If fragrance is your preference, try a larger, hybrid rose for the most intense fragrance.

The perfect lawn or garden takes a lot of hard work, time, and devotion. Even with these, though, many gardens can fall short of your goals. By following the tips given here, you can make sure that doesn’t happen, and that your lawn or garden is as good in real life as it is in your head.…

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House Improvements

Want To Improve Your Home? Be Sure To Read These Tips!

Are you going to be doing your first home improvement project? You probably don’t even know what to do. It can be somewhat overwhelming to do a project, at first. Read what you can do to make your home improvement job easier.

There are times when only one little improvement can increase the value of your home. When you are hoping to sell your home, a couple of small improvements should be considered. One thing you can do is to paint you home inside and outside. Doing this simple job, which only costs a few hundred dollars, can add almost $1,000 to the value of your home!

Porches need repainting at times. Make sure you apply a high quality exterior paint product. But be sure to use a paint with the same base as the old paint, i.e. oil over oil-based, and water (latex) over water-based paint. While oil-based paints are great for trim due to their durability, they generally shouldn’t be used on outdoor floors or decks, because they can become very slippery when it snows.

Prior to making home customizations, consider what style suits you. Narrowing down what style you will decorate in is a big step. It’s extremely tempting to switch things up a bit halfway through a project, at which point it is too late to turn back. Avoid extra expenses by mapping out your style and plan before you begin your home improvement project.

Consider the character of your neighborhood when you plan your home improvements. A Victorian house on a block that is otherwise full of saltbox cottages will stick out in a bad way. When doing a remodeling, take into consideration what the home will look like in the context of the other homes around it.

When considering home improvement projects, choose one room to tackle first. When you take on a single room it will take less time and money to see the results you want. Plan ahead for your projects and watch for deals and discounts on the supplies you need. Plan ahead to save the most money when improving your home.

Your first tool purchase should be a great drill. You can make holes and even attach screws. It is recommended that you have a cordless drill with 9 volts or more of power, and the basic drill bits and attachments for working with Phillips or flat-head screws.

When you start a home renovation, take great care when it comes to demolition. Don’t tear down a cabinet or wall until you’ve properly checked the structure behind it. If you find electrical components, it might cost a lot to repair any issues you have created.

If you plan to hire a professional to work on your home, always get references. Pretend like you’re hiring someone at your own business. You have to know who they are before you select them for the job.

As you have seen, improving your home is not as scary as it may appear at first. Instead, focus on the many benefits it brings, along with the money you will save.…