Tips on Saving Money During Home Improvement Projects

Many people may think that it will cost lots to remodel home. As a matter of fact, home improvement will not cost you much as long as you know some useful tips. When you are deciding to remodel your home, try the following tips which can save you much money on home improvement.

Firstly, you should see which part of your home need an improvement. Go around and note down these parts. After a long-time usage, these parts need to be remodeled.

You can seek the help from your friends, especially from the friend who is an interior designer. They can give you lots of helpful advice on how to remodel your home effectively and economically. These advice may differ from one person to another. When this is in case, you should compare these tips to see which is more favorable to finish the entire project.

Hiring a good contractor is also very important. You would better find one you are familiar with. These contractors can do the job for cheaper prices. Keep in mind that you can hire these professionals at an favorable price when there is not much work going on in the neighborhood.

Repainting the ceiling or walls is one thing most people will do when remodeling their home. This is easy. You just need to buy some paint and find a time to do it. You should do the task weekly so that one area of the house is finished before moving on to the next.

Certainly, you can do your home improvement whenever you like, but remember you can save much money when you do it in the lean months.

How to Protect Trees During Construction Work

The trees on your property add much value to it. Whether it is a commercial or residential site, shade trees are important not only because they contribute to the looks of the place, but also because they offer practical use.

When nearby construction work occurs at a given site, the importance of preserving the trees is even higher. As a matter of fact, homes are often constructed near trees due to their environmental and aesthetic value. It is construction work that causes the most damage to a tree. To avoid both long and short-term tree damage, you need to consult with arboricultural consultants and every other party involved in the project. Here is what you should be mindful of:

Protection of existing trees – heavy machinery and construction work within proximity of trees can cause irreparable damage. According to arborists, fixing tree damage is considered far more expensive than preventing it. For this reason, establish visible and durable barricades that keep trees protected. Young trees of 1 to four years require minimal protection of 30 cm area for each 2.5 cm of trunk diameter. For mature trees, the protected area should span two meters from the widest measure of their crown.

Protection of root systems – trees contain two types of roots: large and small absorbing roots. The large system expands in a horizontal direction and is 15-60 cm in depth. They serve to provide anchorage and nutrient transport. The smaller roots average 0.16 cm in diameter and serve to absorb nutrients and water. Damaging any of the two systems can have a significant impact on tree’s health.

Soil compaction – once a tree is established, any soil changing activity can prove detrimental to its health. With construction traffic near the tree, soil can become severely compacted, thus reducing permeability. Compacted soil significantly restricts root growth and contributes to less water and nutrients. A layer of 10-15 cm mulch of wood chips can reduce compaction.

Soil fills – adding an excessive amount of soil around a tree interferes with proper moisture and air circulation. With soil fills, roots can be exposed to improper gas exchange and build up carbon dioxide. The only soil fills that are harmless to trees are those with topsoil less than 8cm. Excessive fill symptoms include small leaves and premature autumn discoloration.

Direct physical injury – construction equipment can damage the bark in what is known as ‘skinning’ process. A tree cannot possibly survive without its bark, making that sort of damage particularly problematic. Trenching can also physically damage a tree’s roots. Boring a tunnel under the roots is the best way to save them. If trenching is not avoidable, it should be placed as far back from the trunk as possible.

It is wise to consider a tree survey before and after construction work takes place on your property. That is the best way to ensure trees are in good shape or what measures should be taken to minimize damage.

Home Improvement Tips to Help Sell Your Home

With the real estate market fluctuating, there comes a period every couple of years where there are more sellers than buyers and hence the people looking for a home can be choosy. They know that sellers desperately want to move on to their next home and will do anything reasonable to close a deal.

With so many homes on the market, many sellers resort to home improvement tips and tricks to make their house stand out from among the competition. However, the key lies in knowing which home improvement tips can increase the value of your home and which won’t make much of a difference. Here are some of the most popular home improvement areas that can help sell your home faster and for a better price

Paint

The cheapest home improvement aspect can also give the best payoff. You can save even more money by doing the job yourself. A fresh coat of white or taupe can really improve the homes appearance. It looks cleaner, looks bigger and looks like the people who live here care for their property. However, one word of caution here is to stick to neutral tones if you want to sell your home. Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

Window Treatments

Again, if you can make window treatments yourself you can save some money. But even if you cannot, new curtains and blinds are home improvement aspects that really spruce the place up. Again, stick to prints and patterns that people of all ages would like so that you appeal to more buyers. Better still, opt for solids rather than floral or abstracts as they are a safer bet.

De-clutter

Perhaps the biggest payoff as far as home improvement tips are concerned is to make your home look bigger and less messy. You may have accumulated a lot of stuff (and junk) over the years. Ideally, go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.

Understanding Lap/Channel Siding Grades

When it comes to siding, homeowners have so many different options. Not only with the materials being used, but also with the areas of the house where the siding is located. For instance, we have lap siding, along with board and batten siding, and each type of siding has its own functionality. We are going to focus on lap siding, and we are going to assess the different siding grades that are available to consumers.

A type of lap siding, channel siding is great for homeowners who want their house to have a rustic appearance on the outside, while still maintaining a modern structure and proper protection for the home. The great thing about channel siding is that you can get it installed in many ways. It can be placed horizontally, vertically or even diagonally, depending on how you want the home to look. And if the process is done in the right way, you can end up with some terrific looking shadow lines on the outside of the house. And this will ensure that you are maintaining that rustic appearance for many years. And if you are getting high quality siding, you will never need a replacement for decades.

Lap/Channel Siding Grades

The highest grade of lap/channel siding that you can get is the clear heart grade. These are pieces of heartwood, with many of them being 100 percent clear. Some may have a slight imperfection, but they are still going to look stunning. It will be completely clear, and is probably good for homeowners who want this type of siding, but still want a very modern look.

Then we have “a clear,” which is almost as good as the clear heart siding grade. However, you are going to end up with quite a few more imperfections with a clear, which is why it is a lower grade. The next option is select knotty, which is available in both kiln dried or unseasoned. You are going to see quite a few darker spots on the wood, but it will still look very pristine and impressive.

Homeowners who want to go with such siding, but want to save money on the process, will be interested in the last two options: proprietary grades and standard and better. These are both fine options for exterior siding, but they are not going to look as impressive. The upside is that you will get a much better price on the materials.

If you are confused about what type of siding grade to use on your home, we would suggest that you speak with a cedar siding specialist. These companies, who offer both the materials and the installation services of those materials, can assist you in making an informed decision. Talk with them about your budget, what you are expecting from the siding you want installed, and how long you want it to last. They will give you expert recommendations on the siding options that you have for your home. And you can be sure that you will get a very good end result.

Mistakes In Choosing Posts For Letterboxes

Post mounted letterboxes are still popular these days since it is more visible than other types of mailboxes such as brick in, fence mounted as well as wall mounted ones. Not to mention, these boxes can easily improve the looks for your front yard. However, in order to obtain these features, you need to make sure that you partner this letterbox with the right post. Unfortunately, some homeowners neglect this, which can affect the safety and appeal of post mounted mailboxes. To help you, below are some of the most common mistakes in choosing posts for letterboxes.

Failing to consider mailbox designs

One of the main mistakes that homeowners make when buying mailbox posts is they fail to consider the design of their boxes. As mentioned above, there are numerous mailbox styles. But, there are also a wide selection of posts to choose from. Because of this, there are cases when individuals forget about their mailboxes when choosing a post. As a result, combinations can be odd. Or perhaps, mailboxes are too stylish than its posts making it unsightly.

Neglecting post composition

The next mistakes that individuals make when choosing posts for their mailboxes is they neglect post composition. Some individuals think that mailbox posts are all the same. However, there are numerous factors that differ posts from each other. For instance, when it comes to composition, individuals may find wood, steel and even composite posts. Each post provide certain features that can accommodate the need of homeowners. Sadly, this factor is neglected which can affect the looks and reliability of letterboxes. Not to mention, harsh weather conditions as well as vandalism can easily damage mailboxes due to inappropriate posts.

Not checking mounting options

Another mistake that homeowners make when choosing posts for their letterboxes is they do not check mounting options. As of now, homeowners can install mailboxes on posts in numerous ways. Sadly, when this factor is neglected, you are unable to install the mailbox properly. Not to mention, safety can also be compromised. So, it is best to ask letterbox providers if what posts are suitable for the box they purchased to make easier decisions.

Forgetting about installation processes

Finally, some homeowners also forget to ask about post installations. Just like mounting, there are different ways to install posts. Therefore, you need to check which process will meet your needs. Apart from that, you also need to make sure that you have the right tools when installing posts to ensure reliability.

These are only some of the mistakes that homeowners need to consider when searching for letterbox posts.

What Are the Best Siding Options?

If you are constructing a new home, or you are performing full-scale renovations on your existing property, you will be concerned about the type of siding to use. There are a few different options out there, but the main theme is that you will need durable siding that can stand the test of time. The last thing you want is to invest time and money into siding that starts to give away after a few years. Siding should last a minimum of a decade, if not longer. But what are the best options among siding for your home?

Lap Siding

Lap siding will typically have a very smooth or saw textured face and it often features a very rustic appearance. Also called channel siding, it is perfect for homes where you are going for a more old-fashioned or rustic look. It is possible to install lap/channel siding in three ways – horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The way that you install the siding will depend entirely on how you want your home to look from the outside. For durability, the installation method does not matter too much.

One benefit of channel siding is that each board has the profile of overlapping the next board in a slight way. These small overlaps ensure that you are getting a shadow line effect, which is perfect for getting added weather protection for your home’s sides.

There are many lap/channel siding grades, with the better grades being more expensive. The grade that you choose for your project will mostly depend on your budget, and the type of look you are hoping to achieve. The highest grading is clear heart, while A clear and select knotty are the next two grades.

Board and Batten Siding

Another siding profile that you may enjoy is board and batten siding. The main characteristic of this type of siding is a vertical design that is created by using wide clear or knotty cedar boards. These boards are spaced apart by using narrower boards to cover the join area. The combination creates a very beautiful and rustic look, but also ensures that your home’s sides are fully protected for many years to come.

Most of these boards that you get for board and batten siding are rough sawn and unseasoned. The top two grades are clear heart and A clear, similar to lap siding. The great thing about board and batten siding is that even if you go with the lower grades, such as proprietary and “standard and better,” you are getting a very unique and interesting look. For those who have a lower budget, but still want siding that can create a very unique and beautiful look, we believe that you will love what board and batten siding has to offer.

Ultimately, you have so many choices where siding is concerned. The main goal is to choose the best materials and designs for your home, and then get a great company to complete the installation. With siding, the installation matters a lot, so make sure you hire top pros for the job.

Knowing Everything About Home Repair Grants

For any homeowner, repairing the residence might be actually costly, that is why home repair grants are getting issued to American citizens who cannot afford to acquire their homes fixed. Millions of dollars are becoming offered to thousands of US residents who could require urgent home improvement every year. It’s also possible to qualify to acquire some!

Tips to follow

These home repair grants are given for free of charge to ensure you don’t have to ever repay it. Even so, there are certain requirements that you need to qualify for. The very first necessity is that you might be who owns the residence or property that requires the fixing. Along with this, you must provide supporting certificates and documents that you are indeed the owner of the house. You should also belong to the low-income bracket. But if you are the kind of person that just wants his home being renovated then you are still be able to give it a shot.

You have to also know what is to be fixed, like leaky walls and roof, garbage disposal, or complete gutter replacement. Ask your municipal contractor for a quick estimate of how much is going to be needed for the repair or upgrade, he will be glad to assist you. This will help you determine what home repair grants will provide you.

Where you should go

Because the government is the major distributor of these grants, you could find them by visiting your local departments like the HUD and FEMA and check if definite grants that you could apply for. There are also private organizations that are more than willing to help needy families. Millionaires also employ helping the less fortunate by giving out grants. The advertisement section of your local newspaper will assist you to find them. You may as well search on the internet in looking for home repair grants seeing as there are also private sites that offer selected grant funds.

Whatever your financial status might be, wherever you look for them, looking for ideal home repair grants requires persistence and patience.

Home Improvement is Best Left For the Professional

Many people now prefer a DIY home improvement which they think can save much money. But some people hold the opinion that home improvement is best left for these professionals. Highly skilled and experienced, they can give your home a perfectly new look. But you should be wary which kind of contractor you hire.

Without the help of a contractor, the homeowner will feel indirect and do not know where and how to start. Many homeowners who have backgrounds in home improvement will seek the help of the professional, for the idea from a professional really can make difference.

These contractors have experience and practice which homeowners do not possess, even those with backgrounds performing this type of work. These qualities can leave each job in the best shape. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize the value of a professional, skilled job. They do this tough job by themselves partially because they want to save money, partially because they do not believe these contractors.

These homeowners are likely to fail in improving their home, for they always start without the comprehensive knowledge. Many homeowners are jumping into home improvement projects they have no idea how to handle. Hiring a skilled professional to do the work will usually end in delight for the homeowner as they are left with a great looking job for a pretty affordable price.

Certainly, there are many dishonest contractors out there; therefore, you should be careful to find a good one who will keep the client’s interest in mind. If you just make some changes on your home design, you should better find a smaller company, instead of a larger one. Smaller companies often will give a home more care and attention, while the larger company usually focuses on the larger projects for they think the small project do not deserve their attention.

Do not hire a contractor who does not seem to take your project seriously. Whatever the project, it is a big deal to the homeowner. They hope for a good result. So it is important to find a contractor who takes a special interest in your project and give much care and attention to your projects to ensure a desirable outcome.

Repairing Laminate Floors

The best way to prevent your laminate floors from damage is to take care of them. By utilizing regular maintenance and care strategies you will be able to remove elements from your floor’s surface that could potentially damage their appearance. One way to protect your laminate floors is to sweep them regularly. This will remove abrasive debris that can dull your floor’s finish, cause gauges and discolor them. The second thing that you can do to keep your floors in good condition is to wipe up spills immediately after they happen. This will minimize damage to the floor planks and keep your laminate flooring from warping. Finally you can use a mild detergent or cleaning product to remove stuck on grime. Do not scrape your laminate floors as this will damage their finish.

If your laminate floors get damaged them you should try to address the problem as soon as possible to protect the integrity of your flooring. Repairing laminate floors can be tricky, especially if the damage makes it necessary to replace a plank. The easiest way to replace a plank is to use a skill saw to cut the plank from the floor. When cutting out the plank be careful not to cut too deeply. To fit the replacement plank you will need to cut off the tongue on the plank. After the tongue has been removed you will need to apply wood glue to the edges of the plank and fit it into place. Wipe any glue that floats to the surface. Finally tape down the plank to keep it in place while the glue sets up.

If your laminate floor is scratched or gauged then you can buy a repair kit to fix the problem. Most laminate flooring manufacturers will offer their own repair kits. These kits will have the right color wood putty to fill in the gauges in your floor seamlessly.

The Trouble With Granite

Your granite counter-tops are beautiful, and you were attracted to them because they are a natural product, but now comes all the news coverage of their potential health threat. How do you know if your granite counter-tops are giving off radiation?

The easiest way to find out is to hire someone with a Geiger counter to measure the levels coming off the granite. The truth is, most granite will emit a tiny amount of radioactive energy. What is coming off the granite counters is called radon progeny or radon daughters, and is the result of naturally occurring radioactive elements such as uranium or radium decaying. It can also emanate from basements, or any place the earth is exposed. In an outdoor setting it’s harmless, as the radon becomes diluted with fresh air. But in confined settings such as basements or kitchens, it can build up, posing more of a health risk.

If your counter is emitting just a tiny amount, this isn’t something to worry about. But some counters tested have hot-spots that emit levels of radiation that, with continued exposure, could cause health problems later on in life. And while some reports state that these dangers are more common in exotic colors like reds and purples, they’ve also been detected in the mottled beige to yellow counters that are actually quite common.

As gorgeous as granite is, it might be a good idea to have yours tested. The Environmental Protection Agency states that about 20,000 people die annually from lung cancer related to radon exposure. That’s not something to ignore. If your levels are low, like at or below 2-3 picocuries, it may be enough to install a good air exchange system in your kitchen. But if the level are high, replacing your counter may be the prudent thing to do. But don’t worry. Unless you’ve had these counter tops for decades, and work in the kitchen all day, you’re probably perfectly healthy. However, limiting your exposure to radon is always a good idea. It is probably best to consult a professional to determine whether your radon levels are high enough to be a concern.

If you haven’t bought granite yet, but are considering it, ask the supplier about radon levels. Find a responsible dealer that has invested in a Geiger counter. If the granite or marble dealer simply denies any risk, consider them uninformed. Of course they want to minimize the perception of risk. Their business depends on it. But a responsible business owner will test the product and only sell low to no-risk granite. That’s who you want to buy from.