Increase the Value of Your Home

Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

  • Adding or remodelling a bath
  • Improving the kitchen
  • Adding a new room
  • Landscaping
  • Adding a bedroom
  • Adding or enclosing a garage.

If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

Buying Cheap Kitchen Units

Many of us would like to makeover our kitchens, although we don’t want to spend more than we have to. By shopping around, it is possible to find the best cheap kitchen units, without sacrificing quality. Contemporary kitchen cabinets today are available in a variety of styles, colors and designs and it is a question of choosing the one that is right for you and your budget. You also have to know where to look to find a bargain. It is possible to have a new kitchen without breaking the bank, if you use some of the following tips and advice.

Kitchen cabinets are widely available to suit all tastes and existing color schemes, regardless of whether your kitchen is modern or more traditional. One strategy is to shop for discount kitchen cabinets at those times of the year when manufacturers and stores tend to put them on sale. The price may be lower, but the quality of the product is still the same – these are the same kitchen units that normally sell for a higher price. Many retailers routinely sell kitchen cabinets at a lower price partly to make room in their store for new stock; it’s an excellent way of snagging a bargain and making a start on that much-needed kitchen makeover.

One of the biggest costs can be that of having to pay a professional builder to come to your home to install your new cabinets. An obvious way to save money is to do this yourself, although you should at least have the basic knowledge necessary to make sure the job is being done correctly. Stores that sell kitchen cabinets usually offer both high end brand names as well as less expensive units; a few minutes spent researching on-line should give you an idea of which stores to visit to get the best deal. It is also possible to shop on line as well of course, although for a purchase such as new kitchen units, you should visit the store first to check the product.

Buying directly from the manufacturer or supplier, and not a store can also be an effective way of buying the best cheap kitchen units. The quality is still the same; however as the manufacturer’s overheads are lower, the savings are passed on to you. Regardless, it is always a good idea to buy only brand names that you trust and to make sure you have a warranty. A new look kitchen is possible without breaking the bank!

Easy to Clean Kitchen Design Tips

The following will point out ways you can improve upon what you already have:

Starting with simple planning

Redesigning your already existing kitchen will be something of an ongoing effort for your aesthetic and functional project solutions. You can take care of the already available space by working on new ways to make it work. Whether you want to have a good and traditional look made of countertops and similar choices is up to you. You can make a difference however by using something new and improved by using a different set of appliances and more, all the while keeping things practical and easy to use.

Making better use of your storage

One of the more common mistakes out there you can see is not providing enough storage space. If you have a lot more than your kitchen can handle, then you will need to do a house clearance to make work in a useful and practical way. Overhead cabinets of a more controlled nature that utilizes all available wall space, as well other more creative and innovative ways can be a good way to ensure you have ample storage for your needs. Make this happen after an efficient house clearance and you will have more freedom to choose as you see fit.

Keeping the kitchen well lit

Kitchens will need more than enough lighting to function right and you will need to make this a priority in your interior design plans. Lighting is a necessary step since you will keep yourself from accidentally slicing a finger open, not to mention you will be able to see the food you’re cooking way better and without fail. This is something you can do without way too much work, simply making use of wall sconces, creative chandeliers if need be and overhead lighting for your counters. Keep the light powerful and you will have zero issues with making it matter in the long run.

Choosing the right surface types

If you want to have a kitchen that is not only easier for handling chores, but more useful in the long run, then you will need to focus on using the right materials to make it happen. Although most kitchens out there have tiles as part of their setup, that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many materials and solutions you can use that would do the same job without being too much of a problem. Backsplash glass, as well as vinyl and more will be a great and flexible way you can handle all of this freely.

Staying away from traditional countertops

You would do well to stay away from any of the usual countertops if you can find better solutions such as stainless steel, laminates, quartz and other similar surfaces that would make for a really good look. They will not require as much scrubbing and will lack grout lines. Granite is also a really good solution due to its ease of cleaning and the need for the occasional use of a sealant. Its large size will also result in a good working area you won’t have to worry about at all.

Making a better backsplash

The backsplash material you are using will also need to be made with low maintenance in mind and easier cleaning as well. Full sheet materials such as back painted glass will also help remove the grout lines from your design entirely. You can use quartz and laminate for a large sheet and low cost approach that would be much cleaner than mosaics of any kind. Make that happen and you will have a unique and beautiful look for your kitchen that also carries a practical edge.

Making use of better flooring

You would do well to go for flooring that needs nothing more than a damp mop to keep clean. Linoleum, sheet vinyl and marmoleum will be a really good way to make that happen. It won’t require way too much work to pull it off. Hardwood may handle easy cleaning with a damp mop or a dust mop, you will need to wipe any spills right away to prevent damage, so you will be wiping a lot more often than you think. On the other hand the abovementioned materials will be a lot more useful in the long run and will need less maintenance.

Tips for Various Floor Surfaces

It’s not so much the decor and the theme of your home that makes it beautiful, but the cleanliness of it and how much you know about how to clean a floor. You can have the most expensive and beautifully designed home but if your floors are filthy and dirty, all the appeal of your home will be lost. It won’t only affect the visitors you have in your home but it will also affect your reputation. And for this, you have to take note of the kind of floors you have and know what and what not to do to get them clean.

Wood

When thinking about how to clean a floor made of wood, your best solution is preventative maintenance. If you accidentally spill something on it, you should clean it up immediately. You also have to sweep the floor regularly of any kind of dirt, soil and other particles. Once a week, you can also vacuum your floor to get all the dirt that you couldn’t get with sweeping. You should never use water to clean your floor if it’s made out of wood. This can cause warping which is even worse than just having dirty floors.

Vinyl

On the question of how to clean a floor made out of vinyl, regular sweeping and vacuuming is advised. For dirt that’s just too tough, you can clean your floor with a mop dampened with lukewarm water. If you need to make use of soap, use detergent type solutions like Pine Sol or Mr. Clean. If you have vinyl floors that are waxed, you can remove old wax simply by soaking and scrubbing your floor with wax remover. This would only be a once a year chore that will keep your floors looking beautiful and clean.

Stone, Brick, Tile

As for floors made of tile, stone or brick, there are also specific methods for how to clean a floor. First off, you have to use cleaning products that are manufactured for these materials. For brick and stone floors, make sure that you wet the floor first before you apply any brand of cleaner. Make sure the floor is wet during the cleaning process. Rinse thoroughly and you’re done. If you want to deep clean ceramic tiles, you can scrub your floor with a mixture of a cleaning powder and water. You can clean the floor with equipment like a rag mop or a sponge but it’s better to use a rag mop for floors made of brick, tile or stone.

Carpet

Finally, with carpeted floors, even before you get carpets installed on your floors, choose a color that will hide soil and dirt. That said, the vacuum is your best friend with carpeted floors and you have to vacuum regularly to keep your carpets clean. With vacuuming, you take care of 80% of dirt and dry soil. You also have to do a periodic deep cleaning through methods like shampoo, dry extraction, steam cleaning etc. For these particular deep cleaning processes, you can hire a professional or learn how to clean a floor using these devices and do it yourself.

Flooring Tips

Did you know that real hardwood flooring can add significant value to your home? This is not only because it is a high quality flooring material, but also because of its timeless charm and ability to suit most décor. Now, if you’re going to invest in the considerable cost of installing real hardwood flooring, you should be prepared to protect your investment by putting in place some ground rules and also make a few adjustments to ensure that your pride and joy remains in beautiful condition for a long time to come.

There are several culprits responsible for damaging real hardwood flooring. UV rays from the sun, wet spills, overzealous cleaners and harsh contact with furnishings can all do significant harm. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy your floors without being a slave to them.

1. Attach felt or plastic pads to the bottoms of chairs, tables and other furniture so that they can be moved around without scraping the floor.

2. Lift furniture, and don’t scrape it, as you move it around the room.

3. Avoid the use of toys, large or small, with wheels. The wheels are often made of hard plastic that becomes rough with use.

4. When vacuuming, use the brush attachment. It’s even advisable to conserve one particular brush attachment for the real hardwood flooring and use a separate one for other areas of the house.

5. Sand and dirt are abrasive so keep mats at doorways to the rooms where hardwood flooring is in place. Wiping feet removes most traces.

6. Ask your flooring consultant about the correct cleaning agents to use on your floor. Different treatments on floors can require specialized products for cleaning.

7. While sunshine streaming in through the window makes us feel good, it has the potential to fade your floors over time. Keep drapes and blinds closed whenever possible.

8. Spills should be cleaned up immediately as liquids, including water, can stain real hardwood flooring.

9. Never walk on hardwood floors while wearing high heels, especially those with stiletto spiked heels.

10. If pets are housed in the area, make sure their nails are trimmed to avoid scratching the floor.

While the above list may seem like a lot of bother, it’s worth paying attention to these points so that your real hardwood flooring can stay in top condition for the long haul. Enjoy your home and your floor and use it … an unused room is a wasted expense, regardless of what’s on the floors, walls or ceiling.

Wall Painting Techniques

When it comes to home decor, there’s nothing like an unusually textured wall to grab your attention. Many of us have secretly desired a textured wall in our homes but have never really implemented it for lack of funds. Professional wall jobs that involve texturing do come for a price. However, if you are willing to put in just a little extra time and effort, here are some simple do-it-yourself wall painting techniques that are sure to impress your guests.

Before you start, remember there is no right or wrong way of texturing your walls. You may not be able to achieve a completely uniform pattern but that could well become the fun element in your wall decor!
The simplest and most inexpensive tool that you can use for painting walls is a regular sea sponge. The better ones are available at craft stores but the ones from your local drugstores work just as well. To begin, dip the sponge in water and then wring it out to remove any excess water.

Now dip the sponge in the paint of your choice and just press it against the wall. Don’t try to achieve a smooth effect. Press down the sponge at irregular intervals and leave out blank spaces here and there. After your first coat of paint has dried, you should try to touch it up with a second coat so that the paint becomes more durable.

Feather dusters work just as well as sponges when it comes to wall painting. In addition, they are just as much fun to use! First, apply the paint of your choice over a small area, using a regular brush or roller. Don’t paint too large an area or the paint will dry before you have the time to work on it.

Take a feather duster and make a series of sweeping strokes over the small patch of paint on the wall. To make a slightly irregular pattern, you can vary your strokes or even use a set of different types of feather dusters. The trick is to work on a small area, complete it and then move on to the next.

You can use your imagination to try painting your walls with different material like crumpled plastic bags, spatulas, twine dipped in different colored paint o even bottle caps. As you experiment, you may discover completely new techniques for painting your walls. If you don’t like the results of your work, you can easily cover it up with paint.

Bathroom Painting Tips

Painting is almost an indispensable part of bathroom remodeling. The entire get up of your bathroom changes whenever you bring in new color to it. If you are planning to paint the bathroom in your own hands, search the net for some useful painting tips. You may also join some professional painting classes in order to smooth your amateur hands.

Tips for Bathroom Painting

Before applying new paint, you should carefully check the walls of your bathroom. Get rid of damp areas. Call a professional to remove the molds as well.

Decide on what kind of paint you would like to purchase. Research well before you choose one. Since you are purchasing paint for the part of the house that would often be exposed to damp, go for mold and mildew resistant paint.

The color of your paint is also a determinant factor for the over all look of the bathroom. Choose the one that is best suited for the bathroom. Usually soft cool colors are preferred. But if you are living in a cold country cool colors like blue might make the bathroom appear more cold than otherwise. So be smart while choosing your bathroom color as it would influence your mood while in shower. Let me serve you with some tips for choosing bathroom colors.

1. If you have considerably a large bathroom, you are open to go for any shade of color, light or dark.

2. In case your bathroom size is small, a lighter shade would do the best. Small bathrooms with lighter shades of color would look larger than otherwise in dark colors.

A very useful but not that essential tip for bathroom painting is to remove your toilet before you paint. As mentioned it is not mandatory, certainly your toilet would appear to be more warm than otherwise.

Painting is an art. Even if it is your bathroom walls, you need to have the passion for painting. So, starting from choosing colors to painting the walls, you are required to be patient and faithful to your work. After all you would thank yourself later on for using a gorgeous bathroom that too painted by yourself.

Tips for Cleaning Windows

Windows are a view to the world. They give customers – and potential customers – a peek into what’s happening inside your business. Windows also bring in light that can make any space appear vibrant, friendly and welcoming.

Unfortunately, cleaning glass windows and keeping them clean can be a challenge. Glass reflects every tiny fingerprint, slight smudge and touch that has ever come in contact with its surface. In addition, windows tend to be a magnet for children who enjoy pressing their little noses against the glass to get a better look outside or drawing invisible pictures with their fingers.

So what’s a business owner to do? Stay vigilant and arm yourself with tools that will make frequent cleanups pleasant and effective.

Start with good cleaning products. It seems like everyone has their own “secret” formula for keeping windows clean. Some swear that newspapers can keep windows streak-free. Others prefer wiping away cleaning solutions with paper towels, soft chamois cloths or humble dishrags.

Get the right cleaner for the job. There are many different types of glass cleaners on the market, so you want to be sure to stock your cleaning closet with the right cleanser.

Steer clear of streaks. If possible, schedule window cleaning for a cloudy day as bright sunlight may dry out your cleaning product of choice too quickly, creating unsightly streaks.

Another tip for finding and eliminating streaks faster: Clean the inside of windows in a horizontal direction while wiping the outside of windows in a vertical direction. This way if you observe a streak, you know immediately if it’s on the inside or the outside.

Speaking of the outside… You may think that the outside of windows don’t need to be cleaned as frequently as the inside, but that’s just a myth. Think about it: You wouldn’t wash the front of your shirt and not the back or shampoo only the back of your hair and not the front. The entire window – inside and outside – needs regular cleaning.

While inside windows may be more susceptible to smudges and fingerprints, outside the weather and its harsh elements are the main culprits of filthy windows. Raindrops can leave behind unsightly spots and forceful winds can deposit all kinds of dirt and debris on windows.

Squeegees are an excellent way to clean a window outside as they can cover a large area quickly and easily while helping to eliminate nasty streaks.

Set a cleaning schedule. When everyone is busy doing their jobs and taking care of customers, it can be difficult to recall when the windows were last cleaned. Make it a habit to check regularly or develop a daily schedule of chores that includes window cleaning.

Clean, sparkling windows can really set the tone for a business. In a food establishment, for example, customers want to enjoy their meal with a great view of the outdoors and don’t want to see greasy fingerprints greeting them instead. This gives the impression that the entire restaurant is dirty and unkempt, when in fact; it was just a matter of the last customers dining with young children.

Be aware of special circumstances. When customers do have young children with them, ask your employees to keep an eye out for dirty windows. All it takes is a quick spray and rub for the slate to literally be wiped clean.

More Daily Tips To Make Your Life Easier

In the first part of this article series we talked about some tips to make your life a little bit better. Those tricks are all the good advices everybody seems to know when something happened to you. They cover anything from the carpet cleaning technique to how to avoid phone calls from solicitors.

So here are some more tips for your pleasure.

1. The dating game is a fun game to play when it’s being played with respect. You will earn in confidence every time you will keep eye contact with a girl or a boy. The first one who breaks it up lose. These moments can make you feel uncomfortable. But as you become more and more comfortable with it, you will make more successful approaches with the opposite sex.

2. In the same train of thoughts, You can look at someone’s nose if you can’t stand his or her look. They will not notice it.

3. If you don’t remember where you parked your car in a big parking lot, and that your unlock/lock key doesn’t work, use your body as an antenna. Press the remote under your chin. Your skull will amplify the signal.

4. Be polite and friendly with janitors, secretaries and support staff. Having them by your side can be more useful than you think. Their jobs are as important as any other jobs. Their friendship is a big bonus professionally and personally.

5. Having a parking ticket is a real pain in the neck, especially when parking spaces are hard to find in big cities, If you get a ticket, keep it on your windshield. You can then keep your spot for the day without any other trouble. I hope you liked this.

Tips to Heed Before Starting

Replacing the roof of your home is an expensive venture. Therefore, the homeowner ought to take all necessary precautions to ensure that he or she does not have to pay more than is necessary. Be reminded that a leaking roof can cause a lot of damage to a family’s belongings and other assets within the home. Furthermore, the homeowner’s home insurance premium could increase if responsible action is not taken when replacing the roof. The tips provided in this article will put the homeowner on the right track and, if followed, will save a lot of unnecessary expenses and headaches.

Tip No. 1
Do not rush out and engage a roofing contractor even if he or she is recommended to you. Beware of a contractor who wants to give you a lump sum price for doing the work.

Tip No. 2
Hire a registered architect to prepare the contract documents for the roof replacement. The contract documents should include working drawings, specifications and a bid document. The specifications should list the guarantees and warranties required on materials and workmanship. Some homeowners believe that an architect is expensive. While this is not necessarily true, the cost of the architect’s fee will more than pay for itself in protecting the homeowner by helping to ensure that the work is done in accordance with the contract documents.

Tip No. 3
Ensure that the architect’s plans are filed with your municipality to obtain building approval unless the municipality waives this requirement. Remember, as the homeowner, you do not want something to be built which is not approved by the municipality as this could cause serious consequences pertinent to your Certificate of Occupancy. One such consequence is that a building violation could be attached to the deed. This could make your home unsalable when you decide to sell. Another consequence is that it could be quite costly to have the violation removed. If there is a homeowners’ association, make sure that it is advised and fulfill any obligations the association requires.

Tip No. 4
Once the architect’s drawings are approved by the municipality, search for competent contractors to furnish bids for executing the work in accordance with the architect’s drawings and specifications. In order to get responsible bids, invite three or four competent contractors to bid on the construction.

Tip No. 5
Ensure that each of the invited contractors is bondable and can furnish a performance bond. Having a performance bond protects the homeowner against any default by the hired contractor. The homeowner will have legal recourse to have the work completed satisfactorily by the bonding company or another competent contractor in the event of a default. A bid bond is sometimes useful especially if the work has to be started in a timely manner.

Tip No. 6
Request the architect to review and analyze the bids from the contractors and make a recommendation of the contractor who should be hired. The architect will examine many aspects of the bids to ensure that the bidder did not overlook anything in his or her bid submission. This is another example of the worth of the architect who is there to protect the homeowner’s interests.

Tip No. 7
Make sure that you, as the homeowner and employer of the contractor, sign a written contract with the hired contractor before the construction commences. There should be a start date and an end date in the contract for the construction to be completed. There should also be a clause in the contract that provides liquidated damages in the event that the contractor does not complete the work on time.

Tip No. 8
Do not allow the contractor to commence the construction before he or she presents a performance bond and other documents required by the municipality.

Tip No. 9
Never give the contractor a large down payment for mobilization. This is a mistake that many homeowners make.

Tip No. 10
If interim payments are made to the contractor, ensure that at least ten percent (10%) is held back. This requirement should be enshrined as a clause in the contract. The amounts retained will eventually be released at the completion of the construction after the homeowner is fully satisfied and signs off on the work.

Efficient Roofing Tips

Roofing is absolutely one of the important parts of building. Whether you are building yourself a new house or some other building, or if you are just after re-roofing, there are some important installation tips that become quite central for you to consider. Let us go through such tips to understand this well and acquire some knowledge on the subject.

The Installation

There are quite a number of points that you should begin with. You must consider whether you are after installing metal roofing, or if you would like to go for some of the other options like the solar, corrugated fiberglass or steel roofing techniques. Even if you think that you can take care of it on your own, you need to do a good deal of investigate for it before you can really do it.

You must pay careful attention to the underlayment as well. The underlayment is an important shield against rainwater and ice seeping into the building, as it provides a secondary shredding role along with the roof. There are a number of options that you have with roofing underlayment.

Synthetic underlayment has been found to be one of the most useful options to go for in such cases. Originally, asphalt saturated felt was considered to be a good option to go for these structures, but they have been replaced with the synthetic option today for better shield and durability.

However asphalt roofing shingles are still favored in some cases due to the ease of repairing them, cost effectiveness and a good tolerance power.

Other vital Considerations

Considering a standing seam metal roofing setup is also an central factor to consider. These are quite easy to design and are an brilliant way to keep the water and seepage outside, no matter how bad the weather is. With such roofs, you can forget about repairing leaks in your roof for a considerable amount of time. They provide a good deal of resistance to storms compared to the others.

Another good option to consider is the Owens corning roofing shingles. These have a number of reward for the builders. You can very easily feature your individual taste and style. Whether you are after something traditional, or if you consider going for a unique style that will stand harsh weather, you can meet your expectations exactly with these shingles.

Some of the varieties of the Owens corning shingles are the Berkshire collection, the Woodcrest and the Woodmoor collection, the Weather-Guard HP shingles, the Oakridge series, and the 3 tab shingles. Try to determine what would go best with your preferences only after a good deal of examine on each of the above mentioned roofing options.