Tips That You Can Use To Make Your Home A Better Place To Live

Image 347
Source: Flickr

It is hard to get home from your job and face another task–however home improvement are rewarding. These tips will help you decide when to hire a professional, and how to find a good one. They will also help you figure out how to do a great job on the remodeling or repair tasks you decide to do yourself.

If a contractor appears at your door and offers his services to you, be wary. Some companies like roofers or fence builders are known to use this tactic, but you should still do your research before you decide to hire them. Check the BBB, online reviews, and all supplied references.

If you are doing a home improvement project that involves demolition, slow down and take your time. It may be exciting to smash that wall open, but you could damage structural supports, plumbing, or electrical connections. The same is true of pulling down cabinets and other fixtures. Once you’ve demolished it, it can’t be put back, so pay attention to what you’re doing.

Landscaping is the largest component of curb appeal. Make sure that your lawn is green and mowed, that there are no weeds growing in your flower beds and that all bushes, trees and shrubbery are trimmed and shaped nicely. These things can make your home look well cared for and put together.

If a person has pet cats they should consider building a catarium or screened in play area for their pet cat. It will give the cat the stimulation of being outdoors with the safety and control of being screened in. Also it will provide the person a place to play with their cat or enjoy the outdoors.

When doing a home improvement project that involves sanding of joint compound or plaster, use a wet-sander. A drywall wet-sander features a sanding sponge with two sides, one for course work and the other for fine sand for finishing. This will help reduce the dust produced from the sanding and prevent other areas from getting dirty with the fine dust.

Put in an outdoor motion detector for your outside lighting. This way the lights will only be on when they are activated and not all day or all night unnecessarily. Most people don’t need their outside lights other than when they come home or leave after dark.

Locate the studs in the wall prior to beginning to hang your new cabinets in your kitchen. Using a finishing nail to mark each stud is going to save you the time of missing the stud and having to put multiple holes in the cabinets trying to find the stud to hang them on.

You now have some conceptual tools for your home improvement projects. They have also clued you in about the tools like wrenches and saws which you will need in order to do a professional job yourself and have addressed the question of when it makes sense to hire a professional. You may want to create a new “to do” list now!

How You Can Make Your Home An Oasis With Some Improvements (2)

How You Can Make Your Home An Oasis With Some Improvements

Let’s say you can see that there are some home improvement tasks ahead of you. The bathroom faucets may need replacing. The kitchen cabinets may need refacing. As any homeowner knows, the possibilities are endless. Once you recognize a need, the question becomes: “How do I go about it?” This article offers tips to answer that question.

For an awesome impact on your homes curb appeal, think about resurfacing the concrete in the driveway and entry walk. Replacement of concrete can be very expensive, but for a fraction of that cost you can have it resurfaced in a multitude of colors and patterns which adds significant value to your homes curb appeal.

If you want to do contracting, you need to make sure that you have the proper insurance before you begin. There are a lot of people who choose to do home improvement jobs without being properly insured who then end up owing a lot of money when something goes wrong that they did not even consider.

If you feel your home is too small, consider a basement renovation. In many cases, a basement can be turned into a second living room or climate-controlled storage space. If your basement has exterior access, you could even renovate it into an apartment for rental income or a mother-in-law suite for family members and other visitors.

Do not overlook common household objects for solving organizational or storage problems in your home. You can make a coat rack from a board and some old cupboard knobs, for instance, and you can use baby food jars for storing small fasteners and pieces of hardware. Not only does this help you to get organized, but you are saving money and recycling, too.

Take your trash out at least once a day. Don’t let your trash pile in the kitchen because it attracts flies and ants as well as mold. Make sure that you don’t let your trash take over your kitchen and set aside three minutes a day when you throw it out.

Whenever you are taking on a home improvement project in the bathroom or the kitchen, be sure to turn off the water first. Any time you work near water pipes, an accident can happen resulting in a leak. You want to take steps to minimize the damage so that you do not end up with a flooded room. Be sure to know where your water shutoff valves are, and turn the water off before beginning your work.

To cut down your home’s energy costs, replace your current thermostat with one that can be programmed. Many families save close to $200 yearly through programmable thermostat use. A programmable thermostat can be set to change when your family is sleeping or out of the house, keeping you from paying for heating and cooling you don’t need. They’re also inexpensive, and can be picked up for less than $40.

Home improvement tasks never end for the homeowner. But they become not so much a bother as a source of pride once you complete projects successfully. Then, seeing the handiwork you have accomplished, you can say to yourself with pride: “Yes, I did that, and did it well.”

Installing a Brick or Paver Walkway

Installing a Brick or Paver Walkway

The use of Bricks or Pavers to create a walkway or patio complements a home in a way that is unmatched. It adds a level of quality and elegance to a home entrance that can not be achieved with either concrete or asphalt. Brick and Pavers also come in many different colors and shapes allowing for unique color schemes and patterns to be achieved. In addition, installing a Brick or Paver walkway does not necessarily require a pro. With some basic knowledge and a relatively simple walkway plan, a homeowner is capable of undertaking such a project.
The key to installing a Brick or Paver Walkway is to first properly prepare the area where the bricks/pavers are to be installed. The area should be dug out at least a foot down, removing all topsoil and clay soil. In addition, string lines should be strung on each side of the walkway. The string lines indicate the finished height of the walkway.
Once the area has been dug down, 3/4″ gravel stone should be laid in and tamped down tightly. Then 2” of sand, or stone dust should be spread over the gravel. Again the sand/stone dust should be tamped down. Stone dust is preferred. The height between the tamped down sand and the stringline should equal the thickness of the brick or paver.
Now that you have a stable base, place a 1″ pipe or ledger board the length of the walkway on either side of the walkway. Then using a flatedge, e.g. a 2″x4″ board, slide it over the two lengths of the pipe/ledger board. In doing this you will create a level surface area to lay the bricks/pavers.
Now place on the level sand/stone dust strips of plastic brick borders. Install a run on both sides of the prepared area. These strips will act as your walkway border and help to maintain the integrity and shape of the walkway. You can get these plastic strip borders at most home improvement stores. The strips should be anchored down with 12″ galvinized nails. You should sink these nails into the ground and through the strips every foot.
Once this is done, you can then begin to lay the bricks/pavers. There are many patterns you can lay. I particularly like the Herring Bone pattern. The key to laying the bricks/pavers is to ensure that they interlock with each other. Always stagger adjacent rows of bricks by 1/2 of a brick to interlock them. This will again help maintain the integrity of the walkway.
Inevitably bricks/pavers will need to be cut or split when building the walkway. Unless you want to buy or rent an expensive wetsaw, I would suggest purchasing a simple brick/paver splitter. It is basically a chisel with a wide end that is the width of the bricks/pavers. To actually cut/split the brick/paver, lay it in a bed of sand and place the chisel at a 75 degree angle over the spot where you want to break the brick. Then using a hammer strike the butt end of the chisel firmly. You may need to do this a couple of times. You may also want to flip the brick/paver over and strike the other side of the brick using the hammer and chisle. Within one or two strikes the brick/paver should break cleanly. If your walkway has curves you will need to buy/rent a wetsaw.
After installing the bricks, build up the outside edges with additional sand, and then shovel in the topsoil and pack down firmly.
Finally, spread stone dust over the new walkway and sweep into the cracks. Repeat this process a couple of times to ensure the cracks are fully filled. This will complete the interlocking of the bricks and help to eliminate any weed growth. Just add grass seed to the outside edges and you should have a beautiful entrance to your home within a couple of weeks.

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile


Increasingly, homeowners looking for an inexpensive way to make their home more livable and increase curb appeal with an eye toward resale are embracing the nationwide trend of creating outdoor living spaces.

These areas usually feature spaces for entertaining friends and family while grilling, dining, eating and relaxing. That often means room for a patio, a grill, a sink or a fireplace. Some think of it as adding a family room without the roof.

For many, the building technique of choice when creating these spaces calls for using segmental concrete paving. This technique employs interlocking units-called concrete pavers-that are strong, durable and are growing in popularity worldwide. In Germany, for instance, there are 15 square feet of pavers installed per person annually. In the Netherlands, most of the streets and sidewalks are made of pavers.

Often used in walkways, patios, plazas and historic restoration projects, pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes, textures and colors and can be easily removed and reinstalled.

One kind of home-improvement project where pavers are increasingly being used is a raised patio. These patios are known for their durability and can create a new sense of space in a yard, particularly when extended to meet an existing deck. Such spaces can be used as an outdoor entertainment area, complete with hot tub or barbeque pit.

There are a number of reasons why pavers have become popular in projects such as these:

• Their uniform size and quality allow them to fit tightly together for a strong, interlocking surface.

• Paver joints allow for a small amount of movement without cracking. That means they won’t crack like asphalt or poured-in-place concrete.

• Their design makes them easy to install and repair

• They’re available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures.

• And they can be installed by either a professional or a skilled do-it-yourselfer.

One of the newest styles offers the high-end look of stone for a more modest price. Called “tumbled” or “antiqued” pavers, they can be used to add a stately look to a walkway, patio or driveway.

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile

2 Pool Shade (9)
Source: Flickr


Increasingly, homeowners looking for an inexpensive way to make their home more livable and increase curb appeal with an eye toward resale are embracing the nationwide trend of creating outdoor living spaces.

These areas usually feature spaces for entertaining friends and family while grilling, dining, eating and relaxing. That often means room for a patio, a grill, a sink or a fireplace. Some think of it as adding a family room without the roof. At times you would need to consider long term pest control to ensure insects don’t damage your property.

For many, the building technique of choice when creating these spaces calls for using segmental concrete paving. This technique employs interlocking units-called concrete pavers-that are strong, durable and are growing in popularity worldwide. In Germany, for instance, there are 15 square feet of pavers installed per person annually. In the Netherlands, most of the streets and sidewalks are made of pavers.

Often used in walkways, patios, plazas and historic restoration projects, pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes, textures and colors and can be easily removed and reinstalled.

One kind of home-improvement project where pavers are increasingly being used is a raised patio. These patios are known for their durability and can create a new sense of space in a yard, particularly when extended to meet an existing deck. Such spaces can be used as an outdoor entertainment area, complete with hot tub or barbeque pit.

There are a number of reasons why pavers have become popular in projects such as these:

• Their uniform size and quality allow them to fit tightly together for a strong, interlocking surface.

• Paver joints allow for a small amount of movement without cracking. That means they won’t crack like asphalt or poured-in-place concrete.

• Their design makes them easy to install and repair

• They’re available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures.

• And they can be installed by either a professional or a skilled do-it-yourselfer.

One of the newest styles offers the high-end look of stone for a more modest price. Called “tumbled” or “antiqued” pavers, they can be used to add a stately look to a walkway, patio or driveway.