Category Archives: Home Improvement

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.

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.

Easy Tips To Paint Trim

If you’re looking to make a change in your room, one of the first things you might try is a new coat of paint. However, a subtler change can be painting your trim. This small detail can make a big difference in your room, without having to invest in a completely new color.

Painting trim is an easy project that most homeowners can do themselves. It’s a great way to see if you enjoy DIY projects without risking too much change. The trim is the first place you should start if you’re painting an entire room. See how you can update your room with a fresh coat of paint for your trim.

 

Best Deck Paint

The first step to a great looking painted deck is preparation. Clean with deck wash and fix any broken boards that need it. You’ll need to remove any stain or sealer that’s on the deck as well. You also must choose a deck specific paint. Not only does this help fill in cracks and holes, but it also keeps water out.

Paint can truly refresh the look of your deck. You can keep your deck one solid color or try various colors to create a pattern.

 

Best Paint For Cabinets

Painting cabinets is a good choice If you want a new and updated look for your kitchen. Create a bold look with a bright color or stick to a classic neutral for a timeless kitchen. Keep in mind, a lighter color might get dirty more frequently. For that reason, you’ll want to choose a paint with a finish that’s easy to clean. While flat paint looks great on cabinets, it’s not easy to clean. Instead, choose a semi-gloss where fingerprints and stains will wipe right off.

 

Best Paint For The Bathroom

Unlike other rooms in your household, the bathroom sees more moisture and humidity than other rooms in the home. This is important when selecting the best paint for your bathroom walls. While color choice can be based on your current style and preference, you’ll want to make sure it’s also the best paint for space. Mold and mildew resistant paint is a must for the bathroom. A good tip for keeping this paint looking it’s best is to wipe down the walls after showering or bathing.

Projects To Complete This Weekend

When it comes to DIY, there are an endless number of projects you can do in your home. From larger upgrades to smaller details, a little bit of time and DIY expertise can go a long way.

If you have a free weekend, why not spend it on a few home improvements? There are many ways you can use your free time this weekend to spruce up your home. The hardest part is choosing what fun project to work on next! See a few DIY ideas to inspire your next home project.

 

1. Paint Your Flooring

Paint is an instant transformation for any room. But would you ever consider painting your flooring to change your look? Vinyl flooring can be painted and is cheaper than a complete flooring replacement. You can even paint in different patterns to give it a unique look. See this tutorial from Designer Trapped for more instructions on how you can complete this project.

 

2. Change A Window Treatment

If you’re looking to change the look of your room without making a permanent change, swapping your window treatments is a smart choice. For a custom look, a sewing machine may come in handy to hem the fabric into your own window covering yourself. The average cost to install window treatments is $161, but this largely depends on how many new treatments you’ll be adding in a room.

 

3. Paint Your Trim

If you change the look of the trim, it can change the entire look of the room. It’s a small detail in your room that you may not think about often. This is a great project for DIY beginners to tackle, as it can easily be done in a weekend and has simple instructions. See our tutorial for How To Paint Trim.

 

4. Recaulk The Bathtub

Not only does freshening up the caulk give your bathtub a clean look, but it also helps prevent mold and mildew buildup. Recaulking a bathtub is an easy project that those beginning with DIY can take on. Even better, this project can be done on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon!

Picking Out The Best Paint

When it comes to paint, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As exciting as it is to transform a space with a new coat of paint, between color and finish, the choices can seem endless. The decision-making process can leave you frustrated and choosing a paint that might not be best for your room.

From interior to exterior painting, it’s time to make the process a little easier. We’re here to help with your guide to pick out the best paint.

 

Painting Costs

If you are planning a DIY paint project, the largest cost you must account for is the paint. Every estimate is different due to the variety of paint projects you can do. One gallon of paint covers approximately 400sf. You’ll need to add extra 10% to have on hand just in case you need more than expected. For room painting estimates, use our Paint Calculator to help.

 

Best Interior Paint

Painting an interior room can be the paint project you have the most leeway with. The color should match your décor, but it could be as bold or as neutral as you’d like. However, if you intend on selling your home, you might want to consider a hot home neutral color. Often, homeowners choose an eggshell finish for walls, however a matte finish will work well to hide imperfections. Matte finish paints are harder to clean than eggshell, so you may want to save it for an area that sees less foot traffic.

For a clean look, you may want to contact a pro to help. The average cost to paint a home interior is $1,671 with most homeowners spending $1,129 and 1,815. This price can depend on the quality of the paint and size of the space.

 

Best Exterior Paint

Looking to transform your curb appeal? You can paint your home’s exterior and give it a fresh new look. However, this paint must be able to withstand the elements like rain and temperature changes. A good exterior paint has a lifespan of about 10 years. A flat, eggshell and semi-gloss finish all work well for your exterior painting, depending on personal preference. While many homeowners choose a neutral or white for their home, there is a trend of bolder exterior colors, like blue and red, becoming popular.

Painting the entire exterior of a home is a big job that can have some falling dangers if you don’t have the right equipment. For that reason, we recommend hiring a pro. The average cost to paint a home exterior is $2,490.

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.

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.