Category Archives: Home Improvement

Lets Make A Big Difference In Home Accessibility

 

While our homes are beautiful, they are also a place where a family must function harmoniously. If you have a family member that requires special accommodations, I’m sure you want to do everything you can to make sure they are comfortable.

While remodeling for accessibility is important, there are smaller things you should be doing around your house to make movement and functionality less challenging. They may seem like details, but they can make a huge difference in home accessibility. See a few ways you can improve your home for universal design and function.

 

Install An Elevator Or Chairlift

If you live in a two-story home, simply removing stairs is not an option to help those with mobility issues travel up and down. A chairlift or an elevator can be helpful to all. While the costs are significant, adding a chairlift or elevator can increase your home’s value. The average cost to install an elevator or chairliftis $16,397, with most homeowners spending between $3,004 and $5,849.

 

Build A Wheelchair Ramp

For those coming in from outside, a wheelchair ramp can improve overall accessibility to your home. Even if you have one or two steps to your entryway, this can pose a problem for those with mobility issues. By building a ramp, you can easily solve this issue and increase the value of your home. The average cost to build a ramp is $1,585, but can greatly vary based on the size of the ramp.

If you’re looking to save money on this project, it’s possible to DIY. However, there are many considerations before taking on this project, such as weight and use of the ramp. To learn more about this DIY project, read How To Build A Wheelchair Ramp.

 

Replace Your Handles

You may not notice it, but the type of door handles you have play a big role in the universal design of your home. Knobs can be difficult for those with accessibility issues to turn and fully open. This is especially true if a family member has mobility issues. A simple way you can make this easier is by changing your circular knobs with levers. These are easier to open and close.

The same is true for cabinet drawer pulls. The ADA recommends drawer pulls that can be easily utilized with one hand. U-shaped kitchen cabinet hardwareis usually the best choice for accessibility.

 

Lower Light Switches & Controls

If a family member needs wheelchair accommodations, the obvious modifications like door width and ramps may come to mind. But a little detail that is often overlooked is where light switches, thermostat and other home controls are placed in a room. Often, they are high off the ground, while the ADA recommends light switches be 48” off the ground, so they are easy to turn on from a sitting position.

However, moving a light switch is not easy work. This is best left to the pros who can properly relocate your switch.

Pest Control Solutions For Your Home

I bet I can guess what really bugs you about seasons changing! While we never invite them into our home, little critters seem to find their way in, even if you keep a clean home. From a trail of ants to a scampering mouse, it’s time to show them the way out. It all starts with preventative measures to ensure your home stays bug-free.

If you have small children, pets or like to keep harmful chemicals out of the house, using a commercial product to eradicate your uninvited guests might be out of the question. The good news is that many natural pest control solutions exist, starting with prevention. Here are a few DIY ways you can keep unwelcomed guests out of your home.

While you might be able to take care of a few bugs here and there, a large infestation will require the help of a pro. Contact a pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

1. Know When To Call A Pro

While there are many tricks and tips you can use to prevent and eliminate some infestations, it’s not always a guarantee it will work. For insects like bed bugs, which can rapidly multiply and be difficult to get rid of, it’s best to contact a pest control pro as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the problem will worsen and become more expensive to take care of. They are trained and can safely remove the critter that’s bothering you. The average cost to hire an insect control service is $212, with most homeowners spending between $135 and $199.

2. Clean The Area

If you notice a trail of ants, fruit flies or other bugs congregating in the same area, it’s time for a deep clean. Cut them off at the source and examine the space to see if there has been any food spills that would lure them in. Sugary spills such as juice or wine can be the culprit. If you have pets, dry dog and cat food may also be what’s drawing them in. Eliminate this from the area and clean with soapy water to ensure the contaminants removal.

Home Improvements You Should Never DIY

DIY has taken the home improvement world by storm. Homeowners are discovering more of what they can do themselves. With technology readily available, it’s easy to find instructions and videos on how to complete the project you desire.

However, there are certainly some projects that shouldn’t be DIY-ed. A skilled professional can help you avoid any damage to you or your home, ensuring the project is done correctly. Before you begin your next DIY home project, see our list of what you should leave to the pros.

 

1. Electrical Work

Outside of replacing a light fixture, you should leave most electrical projects to the pros. Unless you have the skilled ability and background knowledge on the wiring system in your house, it’s best to leave it to a pro. Not only are you putting yourself at risk of electrocution, but an electrical fire can cause significant damage to your home. An electrical pro can ensure the work you need is done safely.

 

2. Wall Removal & Structural Changes

So, you want a new open floor plan kitchen and living room. It’s as easy as taking down a wall, right? Think again. You don’t know what’s hiding behind a wall as well as what it could be supporting. A few holes and you can damage your home systems or create structural damage. Additionally, structural changes will always need a permit, which can be can be difficult to navigate if you’re not familiar.

With any remodel, you’ll be making an investment. The last thing you’ll need is a mistake to set the whole project behind or overbudget. To help your structural changes go as smooth as possible, contact a remodeling pro who can help you transform your home.

 

3. Roof Repairs

Your roof is an important part of your home’s structure. While they have longevity, it’s common that after a few years, a repair may need to be made. However, this is not something you should consider doing yourself. Not only is it unsafe heights for those without proper equipment, to the untrained eye, the problem may seem smaller than it really is. As the roof is such a vital part of keeping the home comfortable and water-free, you’ll want to be confident that your roof is fixed completely. The average cost to repair a roof is $648, with most homeowner spending between $376 and $693.

 

4. Asbestos Removal

As a DIYer, safety should always be your first priority. Some projects, you can’t avoid danger without proper equiptment and training. One of these projects is asbestos removal. This harmful material is commonly found in older homes built between 1930 and 1950. If disturbed, asbestos can cause significant damage and long-term illness. That’s why you should always contact an asbestos removal pro if you think you’ll be working with flooring, insulation or anything that may contain this material.

Alternative Uses For A Paint Brush

For those who love to DIY, it’s likely you have plenty of paint brushes in your home. Instead of letting them sit in the corner, waiting for your next project, try a few alternative ways to use a paint brush in your home.

From cleaning up a small home improvement task to spring cleaning, you can get these jobs done more efficiently with the help of a paint brush. Our friends at MyFixItUpLife are here to share with you three ways you may have not considered using a paint brush before.

 

Alternative Ways To Use A Paint Brush

  • Removing debris from computer keyboards
  • Dusting fabric lampshades
  • Removing cobwebs
  • Cleaning up dry food spills in the kitchen

 

Conclusion

Paint brushes aren’t the only item you can start to utilize differently. Consider what other things you have around your house that can be used for a different purpose to get a second life out of them.

Tree Maintenance Tips On Your Home

From old to new, the trees in your yard need proper care to thrive and look their best. Trees can be beneficial to any yard. Not only do they help the environment by reducing pollution, they also improve the value of your home and cut utility costs.

The benefits of trees in your yard are truly endless, but an unhealthy tree can cause problems for you that cost you money and curb appeal. See seven tree maintenance tips that will help keep the trees in your yard healthy and happy.

 

1. Regular Tree Maintenance

Regular tree maintenance can mean a variety of things. From tree trimming to regular watering, entrusting your trees to a pro can mean a longer and healthier life for them. It also has the benefit of taking that landscaping project off your plate. The average cost of tree maintenance is $425, with most homeowners spending between $247 and $470.

 

2. Tree Trimming

Much like we all need a haircut every few weeks, trees need to be trimmed to maintain their beautiful, healthy appearance. Tree trimming is a task you can do yourself or with the help of a landscaping pro. Regular tree trimming is important to remove dead branches and leaves so new ones can grow. You may also find that your tree needs some trimming if it’s getting a bit too close to the house. High winds, storms and loose branches can cause serious damage to your home, if not taken care of properly.

 

3. Soil Testing

If you’re finding that your trees are looking less than their best, soil may be the culprit. This is especially important if your tree is a seedling or you’ve recently replanted a tree. Soil testing can help you determine the pH levels and minerals already in your soil, and how you can improve it to see your trees truly thrive.

The average cost of soil testing is $1,142, with most homeowners paying between $947 and $1,515. Keep in mind, this is the cost for professional services. There are plenty of DIY services available at your local home garden store, however, they may not reveal all the details about your soil that could be important to tree growth.

Organized Kitchen Countertop

As a prominent feature in your kitchen, the countertops see a lot of traffic. For most of us, the counter is a place for more than just food prep. Children may sit here during homework time or it can be a gathering place for weekend entertaining. With so many daily functions, it’s important to guarantee a clean kitchen countertop for your health and aethstetics.

Finding what works to keep your countertop clean might be a challenge. But we’re here to share solutions to ensure a clean and functional kitchen countertop for all to enjoy.

 

1. Refinish Your Countertops

In some cases, your countertops can look old and worn. No amount of cleaning product can bring your countertop back to life again. Many homeowners worry they must replace their entire countertop, but refinishing can make it look new again for a lower price. The price largely depends on the type of finish you choose. Here’s what you can budget for:

  • Epoxy Finish: $2.92 to $7.17/sf
  • Laminate: $1.67 to $4.18/sf
  • Paint & Sealant: $1.17 to $2.33/sf

 

2. Know Your Countertop Material

Before you start cleaning the countertop, know what material it is and what solutions will work best. From butcher block wood to ceramic tile, a cleaning solution that works on one may not work on another. Here are a few tips for your specific kitchen countertop:

 

Ceramic Tile Countertops

One of the biggest issues when it comes to cleaning ceramic tiles is the grout. While day-to-day maintenance will help with aesthetics, most of the bacteria and staining can be found in the grout. Using grout cleaner two to three times per year for a deep clean will help keep your countertops in the best shape

 

Glass Countertops

While most cleaning solutions will work on glass countertops, be sure to not use a scouring pad or any other rough cleaning tools. This can cause scratches in the surface.

 

Laminate Countertops

Similarly to glass, laminate countertops also can’t withstand rough cleaning tools. A simple rag with soap and water will do the trick. Always wipe up spills as soon as they happen on laminate countertops, as they are more likely to stain this surface.

 

Natural Stone Countertops

While natural stone countertops look great, they can be sensitive to staining based on how absorbent they are. Natural stone countertops should be sealed regularly depending on the stone to prevent stains. Additionally, never use citrus cleaners on natural stone.

 

Quartz Countertops

Engineered stone, or quartz, countertops might be the easiest to clean and keep stain-free. Spills wipe up easily with a damp cloth and cleaner.

 

Stainless Steel Countertops

While stainless steel countertops are making a comeback, it can be harder to keep this material from streaks. While clean-up tends to be easier than most, to get a streak-free shine, buff with an olive or mineral oil regularly to maintain a beautiful shine.

Decorate Your Stair Risers

Depending on their placement in your home, your stairs can be a prominent decorative feature that shouldn’t be overlooked. The stair risers present a unique opportunity to decorate your space and give your stairwell a fresh, new look.

If you’re feeling stuck on how to decorate your stair rises, don’t worry, there are plenty of options. From traditional and timeless to bright and colorful, see a few decorative stair riser ideas.

 

What Is A Stair Riser?

While you may think about your stairs as one complete set, there are many parts that make up your stairs. The stair riser and tread are the two major parts that make up a staircase. The stair tread is what your foot lands on as you walk up the stairs and the riser is the vertical support that fills the space between each tread.  According to the International Association Of Certified Home Inspectors, the average height of a stair riser should be between 4” and 7 ¾”.

Before you consider your stair riser décor, you should inspect your steps to be sure they’re in good shape. With average wear and tear, creaks and squeaks can occur due to gaps occurring between the tread and riser.  With older stairs, you may find a crack or two. These should be repaired as soon as possible so the damage does not worsen and become a safety hazard. The average cost to repair stairs is $597, with most homeowners spending between $361 and $678.

 

1. Wallpaper Stair Risers

If there’s a pattern you love and want to incorporate it into your home, wallpaper is a great option to incorporate a seamless look into your home. This is also a great project to DIY. For those looking for a less permanent option, temporary wallpaper is a great choice to see if it’s truly the wallpaper pattern for you.

 

2. Painted Stair Risers

Paint is what most homeowners turn to when it comes to painted stair risers. Paint allows you to get creative and find the exact match to your home’s décor. It can also be an easy and fun weekend DIY project. Here are a few popular ideas in painted stair risers:

 

Multicolor Painted Stair Risers

Can’t decide on a painted stair color? Mix it up! Utilize a blend of your favorite hues to create a unique look for your stair riser décor. Paint each riser a different color. I love the look of various pastel colors for a pop of color. Or, contrast a neutral to a bright color to really make your stair décor stand out.

 

Solid Color Painted Stair Risers

For one cohesive look in your room, solid color painted stairs are the way to go.  If you have a color that matches perfectly, paint each riser for a uniform look.

 

Ombre Painted Stair Risers

The hottest look in painted stairs right now is the ombre style. This takes a lighter color and transitions it to a darker shade with each step. Blue, red and green make great choices for ombre painted stairs.

Water Filtration For Your Home

Water is vital. We use it to drink, cook and clean with. Of course, we want the best for our families and that’s why having clean water is so important. It impacts the health of all those who enter.

Do you stop to consider where your water comes from? This all differs on where you live, but tap water is treated with chemicals to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants. Some of these chemicals, however, you may not want in your body when you reach for a glass of water. If you’re ready to take control of what’s coming into your house, see a few water purification options for your home.

 

What’s In Your Water?

While you may be comfortable drinking water directly from the tap, depending on where you live, you could be ingesting harmful materials. You might not be able to taste or see it, but your tap water can contain chemicals, bacteria, debris and more from your municipality. Here are few contaminates you can find in tap water according to the EPA:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Viruses

 

Water Filtration System Costs

The best way to eliminate unwanted chemicals and contaminants from the water is with a filtration system. This helps rid tap water of impurities and can provide peace of mind that the water you’re drinking is safe. There are many ways to treat tap water at home. The average cost to install a water treatment and purification system is $1,517, with most homeowners spending between $997 and $1,742.

 

Pitcher & Faucet Filtration Systems

The most common and cheapest option for your home is a pitcher or faucet filtration system. These use charcoal filters to remove contaminants from tap water. The pitcher must be refilled when used while other methods involve a simple faucet attachment. The filters must also be changed regularly.

The drawback to this system is that it does not remove all the chemicals and contaminates from the water. It will reduce the amount of added chlorine and may improve the taste. These tend to be the budget-friendly options for homeowners, with systems costing between $30 and $100 as a first investment, but will require more filter changes and purchases over time.

Keep Small Rodents Out Of Your Home

There’s nothing worse than sharing your home with an unwelcomed guest, especially when they can cause so much damage to your home. Small rodents can cause problems both in and out of your home, with a mess left for you to take care of.

The discovery of small rodents in the home is certainly a surprise to both you and the animal. The process of safely eliminating can be a challenge for all. It’s important to make every effort as humane as possible too. However, the first step to eliminating small rodents from your home is prevention. Here are a few tips to do so.

 

Small Rodent List

You may be wondering what qualifies as a small rodent. It could be any mammal, from a hamster to a rat. But for this article, we’ll be focusing on the animals we don’t typically take in as pets. Here are a few of the small rodents you don’t want in or around your house:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons

 

Pest Control Costs

While there are many humane DIY options available for pest control, it’s a good idea to prepare for any costs that might be associated before purchasing materials or deciding to call a pro. The average cost to hire an animal control is $291, with most homeowners spending between $206 and $313.

 

Technology For Your Home Theater

New innovations are changing the way we experience entertainment. For those who love having the newest technology in your home, it’s likely you have new home theater equipment on your mind. If you don’t have the latest audio/visual equipment for your home, you could be missing out.

From voice control to home automation, there’s a new technology available that can change the way you experience home entertainment. See what’s hot in audio/visual technology and how you can utilize it in your home.

 

Home Theater Costs

To have the latest and greatest in audio visual equipment, an upgrade to a home theater is necessary. While costs can vary depending on the technology updates you decide to make, there are other costs to consider such as getting all your new equipment to work properly. It’s best to contact an audio/visual technician who can help properly hook up your equipment and hide your wiring. The average cost to install home theater wiring or components is $363, with most homeowners spending between $216 and $379.

 

Home Automation

At the forefront at new technology, home automation systems are taking center stage. From ensuring your front door is locked to adjusting the thermostat, it seems to be able to do it all. And it doesn’t fall short when it comes to the home theater. Gone are the days where you have multiple remotes for one screen. Crestron makes an all-inclusive remote that can do everything from dimming the lights to starting the movie.

Don’t forget about other aspects of home automation that may not be obvious, but certainly helpful. Since you have the latest and greatest entertainment products in your home, make sure they are secure. Nest’s home camera line can alert you to any unusual activity in your home. It can connect to other smart technologies, like televisions and lighting to turn them on even if you’re not home.

 

Voice Control

With the latest technology in voice control available, you’re now able to tell your TV to turn on. The capabilities of the Amazon Echo have been a hot topic in tech this year, by allowing homeowners to give multiple voice commands for everyday things. This can be a great asset to your home theater. Imagine sitting down and telling “Alexa” to turn down the lights and turn on your favorite movie via Netflix. I don’t think it gets easier than that! To do this, you must have the add on Logitech Harmony Elite, which is a compatible product with the Amazon Echo, allowing you to access their entire home theater though voice commands. This can also connect to a Nest thermostat to control the temperature without leaving your couch!

 

Multiple Screens

One of the hottest trends in home audio/visual technology is no longer confined to one screen. More commonly, people are including more than one screen in their theater for multiple activities. This is great if you’re a sports fan! You can catch every game at the same time.

However, putting a few televisions on the wall with multiple cords and remotes is not the answer to a new home theater. If you’re planning on including multiple screens in your home theater, you have a few options. The one that requires less equipment is a projector that can create multiple screens. Another option is to invest in multiple TVs. Instead of one large TV, choose a few high-tech flat screen TVs to have mounted on the wall. Contacting a pro can help you get the look you want in your home theater. The average cost to install a flat screen TV is $281, with most homeowners spending between $217 and $311. You can also find one remote to control each screen, instead of having multiple remotes per TV.