Monthly Archives: March 2017

Simple Way for Repair Your Staircase

Staircases can see a lot of foot traffic. While many are designed to last, that doesn’t mean they will always stay in perfect condition. With so many people moving up and down, you can expect to see some wear and tear over time.

However, some instances can be dangerous to your family. A small crack in the wood can lead to a dangerous situation if not taken care of properly. While you may not realize it, your stairs may be telling you they’re in need of repair. How can you tell? See the signs that it’s time to repair your stairs.

 

Stair Repair Costs

If you suspect something may be wrong with your stairs, it’s good to know that stair repair is just a phone call away. Unless you have a background in carpentry, a pro must be called to help identify the problem and provide a solution. The average cost to repair stairs or railings is $597, with most homeowners spending between $361 and $678. This depends on the extent of the damage to your stairs and what needs to be replaced.

 

1. Repair Creaking Stairs

A squeaky stair is bound to happen to anyone. Most of the time, it’s more annoying than permanently damaging. However, when you’re heading up or downstairs in the middle of the night, you don’t want to wake the whole family up! The good news is that this typically is an easy fix. You first need to locate the squeak. If you have access to the underside of your stairs, this will be easier. Typically, a squeaky, creaky stair is due to a gap in the stair riser and tread. You can use carpenter glue to fill the space if it’s small enough. Otherwise, contact a pro who can help.

 

2. Cracked Treads Or Risers

Safety is a concern when it comes to cracked treads or risers. Typically, it will be the tread that cracks due to lack of support or a change in humidity. It’s important that your step gets repaired as soon as possible, as not to do further damage to your staircase. This is not a project that can be simply glued together. You must replace the tread. This can be an issue if you have carpeting over your stairs. While you can DIY this project, a pro can help you get the exact repairs you need.

 

3. Loose Stair Tread

Over time, your staircase can loosen, which can cause additional creaks and stair movement. This can become a serious problem if it’s not fixed. If you have access to the underside of your stairs, this work will be a little easier. While it is often caused by gaps and spaces between the wood, a pro can tell you the cause and how to address it.

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.

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.

How Impacts Your Home

For those who enjoy to DIY, it’s always exciting to start a new project. From large projects like new flooring to smaller room decorating projects like painting, you have the power to make your home exactly how you’d like.

Experienced DIYers know that there are just some projects you should leave to the pros. After all, we want to keep home improvement fun and safe. If you live in an older home, there are certain materials that DIYers should let the pros handle, one of those being asbestos. See what you need to know about this toxic material and how you can handle it.

 

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with six variations, each one a hazard to health. It’s known for its strength and heat resistance within materials. You can commonly find it in homes built between 1930 and 1950, as that was when it was most popular.

Until 1970, the use of asbestos was unregulated. There have been multiple attempts at banning the material all together, but those have been overturned. In the workforce, exposure is highly regulated by OSHA and the EPA. The use of asbestos is banned in some products such as paper and flooring felt. However, it’s still allowed in homebuilding materials such as vinyl tile. Generally, asbestos is no longer used in new construction.

 

Where Can Asbestos Exposure Happen?

Asbestos is linked as a cause of lung disease, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses. Frequently, it’s found in older insulation, flooring and walls. Alone and undisturbed, it’s not hazardous. However, you are exposed to asbestos when you inhale the fibers. For homeowners, exposure can happen when these fibers are released into the air, such as a remodeling project.

Since asbestos is odorless and tasteless, it’s highly important to know if any of the changes to your home may involve removing asbestos. Here’s a few common household places you may find asbestos:

  • Floor Tile
  • Plaster
  • Window Caulk
  • Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Plaster
  • Siding

Given the number of places that can contain asbestos, testing before starting a new home improvement project is crucial. Projects like removing a popcorn ceiling, new flooring installation or remodeling in older homes should always be tested for asbestos before beginning. While it is a cost you must factor into your project, the hazards of the material are too great.

The average cost to test for asbestos is $907, with most homeowners spending between $497 and $1,027. There are home-test kits that cut costs. Homeowners can pick up a kit from their local hardware store and mail in the sample to a lab. Though, due to hazardous qualities of the mineral and the challenge it may be to identify, we recommend contacting a pro who can help.