Fall-Winter Fire Safety Tips

Avoid Devastating Winter Home Fires

Fall and winter are the most popular times of the year for special home decorating, and entertaining. Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in property damage. Here are ways you can ensure a safe and happy holiday:Christmas Tree

Is the tree too close to the fireplace?

 

TREES

    • Buy a freshly-cut tree
    • Green needles, hard to pull back from the branches and almost impossible to break (TIP: If needles fall off when you bounce the tree on the ground, don’t buy it!)

Don’t Be Cheated by “Kickbacks” and “Referral Fees”!

Is Making Money with Kickbacks and Referral Fees That Important?

Money Changing Hands - Referral Fees

A custom cabinet manufacturer was upset about a designer who, after referring a remodeling project to him, asked for a referral fee. Unfortunately, getting/giving “kick-backs” is not a new practice. Does this practice bother you? Here’s how it impacts your remodeling investment, and what you can do about it. (more…)

Detailed Remodeling Plans — Why Bother?

 What Remodeling Plans Are, and How They Can Help You

Jobsite With Full-scale Backsplash Detail by Diane Plesset If you’re thinking about, or planning to remodel your home, this article will help you. You’ll understand how detailed remodeling plans can help you achieve the best results and reduce chances for costly mistakes. You’ve heard the quote, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” So true, especially regarding home remodeling plans. This information applies to every type of home improvement project:

  • Turn-key: all labor provided by a contractor.
  • Partial D-I-Y: specific labor provided by trade specialists, as needed.
  • Full D-I-Y: all labor provided by homeowners.

WHAT ARE DETAILED PLANS?

  • Translation of everything you want, spoken in contractors’ terms.
  • Dimensioned schematic drawings drafted to scale, usually 1/4” per foot, or 1/2” per foot.  Larger scale allows details to be shown more clearly.
  • Visual “GPS” that gives accurate directions, so everyone gets to the desired destination.
  • Scale and dimensions accurate to 1/8 inch. (more…)

Exhaust Fans: The Best 6 For Under $150

Exhaust Fans: So Many Choices!

G-H-Main-Bathroom-Tub+-Exhaust-Fan Exhaust fans are often an after-thought when Homeowners are dreaming about transforming their ho-hum bathroom to have a spa-like experience, or they need to comply with the code that requires an exhaust fan in their new laundry room. It’s easy to get excited about all of the wonderful plumbing products that soothe and pamper. But bathroom ventilation is very important to sustain a healthy environment. The technology has improved to make bathroom exhaust fans more efficient and quieter (detailed technical information is contained in“Why Do You Need a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?”. Still, the selection is overwhelming and comparison is challenging. There are at least 90 different bathroom fans to choose from, from eight major manufacturers. Achieving good bathroom air quality without a lot of noise is possible, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. This article whittles the list down to six great bathroom fans under $150.

Exhaust Fans: The 6 Best For Your Bathroom

(more…)

Bathroom Exhaust Fan: Why?

A Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is Necessary

To Have a Healthy Environment, and a Healthy You!

New Bathroom With Powerful Exhaust FanA bathroom or laundry room exhaust fan helps you maintain clean air, an important part of an environment that helps to keep you and your family healthy. Stale, moist air, and contaminated air caused by personal-care and bathroom cleaning products is hazardous (see the blog about how to clean bathroom grout). Experts in the remodeling and building industry have been warning homeowners about the effects of mold, mildew, and trapped pollutants that contribute to the sick building syndrome.

Questions To Help You Find The Right Fan

1. How powerful does the exhaust fan have to be to achieve eight air exchanges an hour? 2. How quiet do you want the fan to be? 3. Is a straightforward fan okay, or do you want more features for a higher investment?

> Overhead lighting

> Heater

> Nightlight

> Motion sensor

> Humidity sensor

To select the right bathroom exhaust fan, you need to know how powerful it must be, and how quiet you want it to be, what features you need, and how much you can invest. The final decision in this process, if the installation of a new exhaust fan is a stand-alone project, is your choice to install the fan yourself or hire a contractor to install it.

(more…)

Bathroom Tile And Grout

Bathroom Tile & Grout: A Love-Hate Relationship

Grout-Cleaners-300x300Do you have a love-hate relationship with bathroom tile and grout in your home?.  You may love the look, but hate the thought of becoming a lifelong slave to cleaning grout.  Here is a proven D-I-Y remedy for cleaning and sealing heavily-stained grout, so you can enjoy your beautiful bathroom tile for a long time.

How to Clean and Seal Bathroom Grout So You’ll Love It (Again)

Most bathroom grout is porous, easily stained by everything we do and use.  It needs to be sealed so you don’t have to spend hours cleaning it.  Non-porous epoxy grouts are available, but these products are best for new and remodeled bathrooms.  It’s a BIG job to replace existing grout.

Most stains can be removed with non-toxic home remedies like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar.  Try these first, before investing in heavy chemicals.  If these everyday cleaners don’t work on deep stains, then it’s time  to get and use products that will clean the grout, so you can seal it and be free of the drudgery.

Words of caution before you begin:

>  Read the labels and instructions, and follow them.

(more…)

D-I-Y Home Remodeling Success

D-I-Y Home Remodeling Success Is A Recipe!

Basement Rec Room

Found space in a basement is great for many purposes!

 THE GOAL: How To Make A New Room Using Leftover Space

Classic, time-tested recipe for D-I-Y home remodeling success. The goal: To convert a leftover basement area, approximately 280 square feet, to be a multi-purpose bonus room for the entire family to enjoy.  One  corner of the area, approximately 24 square feet, can accommodate a powder room for occupants’ convenience.  An existing doorway accesses the rear garden for indoor-outdoor parties. Delicious possibilities for year-round entertaining!

The key to D-I-Y home remodeling success is to be honest about what you can do yourself, and what you can’t do (i.e., hire others!)

(more…)

Recipe for D-I-Y Home Remodeling Success

The Key To D-I-Y Success: “Know Thyself”

Basement Rec Room

Found space in a basement is great for many purposes!

 How To Make A New Room Using Leftover Space

Classic, time-tested recipe to convert and remodel a leftover basement area, approximately 280 square feet, to be a multi-purpose bonus room for the entire family to enjoy.  One  corner of the area, approximately 24 square feet, can accommodate a powder room for occupants’ convenience.  An existing doorway accesses the rear garden for indoor-outdoor parties. Delicious possibilities for year-round entertaining!

The key to D-I-Y success is to be honest about what you can do yourself, and what you can’t do (i.e., hire others!)

(more…)

Remodeling Treat -OR- Trick?

Achieving D-I-Y Treat Was Tricky

Trick or Treat Construction Witch The title of this blog is seasonal, but unfortunately, “Trick or Treat” remodeling happens year ’round. The “treat” is homemade. If you follow the Recipe for DIY Home Remodeling Success,” you’ll end up with something very sweet. If you try to change the recipe, your treat may look like it’s sweet, but it  could be face-puckering bitter — the kind of bitter that you’ll never forget.  This is a true story about one family’s DIY Treat that turned into a Trick.

It Was Supposed To Be a Treat

Imagine how great it must  feel to discover that you have 280 square feet in your basement that you can convert to usable space. Wow! What a treat! Remodeling is going to be a lot of work, but there are many ways to use the space. Storage? Possibly. How about a bonus room? Yes! It will require at least two of the four structural posts to be removed, to open up the room, but it can be done. Using the exterior doorway that’s already there is an added bonus, because you can build a deck for summertime inside/outside parties. And, as long as you’re doing the work, how about adding a powder room, so family and friends don’t have to climb a flight of stairs to use the bathroom? Sure! Wonderful idea!

This is the shorthand version of what often happens during DIY  brainstorming, talking

(more…)

Home Remodeling: How to Cope With Change

Six Examples: What TO DO and What NOT TO DO to Cope with Home Remodeling

State of ConfusionWhy does change overcome many of us with anxiety?  Is it fear of the unknown, or fear of failure, or a combination of the two? Marilyn Ferguson describes the anxious feelings beautifully: It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer.” Following are brief stories about six remodeling projects, for couples in different stages of life.  Three projects flowed smoothly, like chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream, and three of the projects were like curdled milk, filled with sour lumps.

Have you ever noticed that people who embrace change ultimately enjoy life more, and achieve more success personally and professionally? Relating this to building and remodeling, homeowners who enter into a project with an adventurous spirit and maintain a positive attitude throughout, achieve the best results.

If you’re thinking about building a new home, or remodeling your existing home, please take a few minutes to think about how you feel about change, and the period of transition that you’ll be going through. There are no absolute right or wrong answers to the following questions:

  • Why do you want to remodel (or build) your home? (more…)