A Foolproof DIY Home Improvement

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Among the biggest winners of the 2012 stock market was Home Depot – up just a tad over 47%. This reflects renewed confidence in the housing recovery and the willingness of home owners to once again sink some money back into their properties in the form of home improvements.

Many of these projects are of the DIY variety such as decks, patios, or bath and kitchen upgrades.

Although most of these do it yourself projects have happy endings, many languish in a half finished state for months or are never completed. Worse yet, some end up looking like, well, I don’t want to be unkind, but we’ve all seen examples of what I’m referring to.

But who can blame a guy or gal for trying? If these do it yourself projects were so easy there wouldn’t be a need for trade schools or apprenticeships.

There is, however, one DIY home improvement that guarantees a 100% success rate no matter how skillful you are (or not) as a home handyman/woman. The foolproof home improvement I’m alluding to here is the electric fireplace.

Now I know some of you reading this probably wouldn’t put an electric fireplace in the same category of home improvement as a bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets, but before you pass judgement, consider these criteria for what qualifies as a home improvement.

A home improvement should:

1. Provide a tangible benefit: An electric fireplace provides supplemental zone heating to any room in your house for as little as 15ยข an hour. Many models are also capable of operating with the fan only for year round use and include a washable air filter.

2. Beautify your home: An electric fireplace is sure to become the focal point of any room where it is installed.

3. Retain as much value as possible: According to a recent article in Bloomberg.com titled “The Real cost of Home Improvement” the most popular upgrades recoup between 51% and 72% of their cost when the house is subsequently resold.

Since an electric fireplace is not a permanent fixture, it can be moved from home to home without incurring any additional costs and loses not of its value.

Now for the “Foolproof DIY Home Improvement” claim. Electric fireplaces do require assembly which is the DIY part. But if you can follow simple directions, and have mastered the art of the screwdriver, you’ll not only do it right the first time, your finished mantlepiece will look like you spent years studying the fine art of cabinet making.

Home Improvement

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When it comes to any kind of home improvement undertaking, many homeowners will be tempted to try to do the work themselves. After all how difficult can it be? You just get onto the internet and you can find tons of information on how to do just about anything. Surely, it should be easy to do the home remodeling yourself, whether it is bedroom, bathroom or kitchen remodeling. With help just a click away, do you really need to hire a professional contractor at all to do your home improvement work?

It’s Not As Easy As It Looks

The first home truth you will realize when you attempt any DIY project by seeing a video on the internet or reading the instructions online is that it is not as easy as it looks especially if you are an amateur. If you have some experience with DIY, you may find it a tad easier but that would depend upon the complexity of the project. As with everything else from cooking and sewing to constructing and remodeling, doing it yourself can be quite different and many times more difficult than reading about it or seeing a video about it. This is especially true for intricate home improvements jobs.

Be Realistic & Practical

Even if the job is completely within your scope but it is one that is likely to take a long, long time, think about whether or not you can afford to spend so much time on it. Also, does the job require specialized tools that you do not own in your tool kit? If you have to buy tools only for this project and you are not likely to use them again, is it worth it? You may want to consider getting a general contractor who has the time, expertise and tools to get the job done for you. A skilled handyman will complete the project in a much shorter time and is sure to do a more professional job using the right tools.

Straying On The Wrong Side Of The Latest Building Codes

This is something not many homeowners take into consideration when messing around with doing their home improvement themselves. Others may have a general idea and mistakenly think all will be okay if they just stay more or less within the guidelines. This is not necessarily true. If your area has rigid building codes and you happen to fall foul of these codes, you will end up having to pay a stiff fine in addition to taking down whatever you’ve newly constructed that contravenes the area codes.

When it comes to home improvement, unless you have the time, tools and knowledge, it is far better to call in a professional and get a stress-free job done.

The Most Effective Energy-Saving Home Improvements

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We all know that there are energy saving project we could start this weekend that would save us a boat load in energy bills, but what projects have the biggest return? When you are deciding on which home improvements will be worth your time, it can seem overwhelming. There are a few facts, however, that can help you make these decisions with more confidence.

Considering the project payback is the quickest way to make a strongly backed position on which project will be the biggest money saver for you. Payback is the calculation that will tell you how many years it will take to recuperate your expenditures on the energy investment with energy bill savings. A good example of this is if you install a new energy efficient water heater that costs three hundred dollars more than the standard (less efficient) model, and it saves you about $30 dollars a year it will take 10 years to recoup your investment in the more efficient water heater model. If the water heater were to save you $50 a year the pay back period will be much quicker. Once you have made the money you spent on the new appliance back, the investment is paying you back in savings. There are several terms that factor in to the rate of payback including inflation, age of the house and lifestyle habits, but in the end the shorter the payback period the better the investment.

If you are looking at lowering your energy costs and increasing the efficiency of your home, you should consider one of the top 4 energy-saving home improvements (listed below). These top rated improvements consider not only how much energy they are saving; they also factor in the payback period, cost and skill needed to complete the jobs.

1. Installing compact fluorescent bulbs. This task is very easy and will only cost you about four dollars a bulb. The typical payback for this improvement is a half to a full year.

2. Seal any ceiling air leaks. Sealing the air leaks of your home’s ceilings is an easy task and takes very few tools. The cost is only about $45 (unless you have an inordinate amount of leaky areas. The payback for this improvement is only about 14 months.

3. Install a programmable thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat in your home is very valuable. This task is more difficult that the first ad second home improvements because it involves meddling with the electric system of your home- it is not an impossible DIY project though. The pay back term for this improvement is only about 8-12 months

4. Seal air duct leaks. Leaking air ducts are a common problem in homes built before the year 2000. Even if your home is band new you should have an HVAC or home energy audit professional come and check how effectively your ducts are sealed. The cost of sealing your ducts on your own is only about $40, but for the duct work you are unable to assess on your own, calling a professional could cost you more in the 150-200 range. Still the payback period on this improvement is substantial. It should only take about 1-2 years to see your investment payback.

Home Improvements Make Good Sense

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Do you think big when it comes to improving your home? You’d be forgiven for thinking along these lines, and yet there is a lot to commend the idea of thinking on a smaller scale.

If you need convincing, perhaps these three reasons will help. As you are about to find out, small improvements can be just as good – if not better – than big ones.

1. They’re much cheaper and thus more affordable
Small home improvements are indeed cheaper. Instead of building a new extension, why not redecorate a room and repurpose it instead? A spare bedroom could be repurposed into an office by replacing the bed with a sofa bed and adding a computer desk instead. You’ll have to spend money on the furniture of course, but it is cheaper and more practical than finding the money for a new conservatory or extension.

2. Small changes can still make a big visual improvement
People tend to forget this aspect. Certainly, a new extension would have the wow factor, but it would also be expensive and difficult to afford for many people. If you want to improve your home you can easily redecorate a room or change one aspect of it – such as the colour of the walls. Try changing the scatter cushions on a sofa or adding some mood lighting; you might be surprised at how different the outcome is.

3. Small improvements can help to reduce the chances of needing bigger improvements later on
In this sense we’re talking about the likes of preventative improvements. For example, if you have wood framed windows they will gradually rot away unless you take regular steps to protect and preserve the wood. If you have painted frames you will need to check their condition and maintain them every year or two. If you do this, they’re only likely to need a quick sand down and a fresh coat of paint. You can also check the condition of the putty holding in the glass and replace any sections that require it. Compare this treatment to the situation you’d find yourself in if the frames rotted and you can see how the cheap and easy upkeep is better than not doing anything and paying for new windows as a result.

As you can see, it isn’t always necessary to spend a significant sum of money to get the result you want. Before you go for the big home changes, think about the small changes you could make quite easily (in a weekend, perhaps) that would improve the look and feel of your home. You may be surprised how many possibilities you come up with.

Revitalize Your Living With Affordable Home Improvement Ideas

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A home is a prized asset that you love and cherish for life. To make sure that your home lasts a lifetime and looks beautiful throughout, you must take good care of it. Along with the regular maintenance activities, a little bit of home improvement is also required from time to time to retain the fresh and stylish appeal of the property.

As a homeowner, you would for sure want to learn about some home improvement ideas that make your home look gorgeous and last longer, and are also easy on the pocket. Let us take a look at a few such ideas:

    • Installing halogen track lighting is a great decorative option that is also very practical. The lights look classy and add to the brilliance of specific corners or areas in your home.

    • You can consider getting wallpaper for your walls. If you want to add drama to a room with the least expense, go for wallpapering one wall only.

    • Save on your energy bills and brighten up your rooms by replacing the old tube lights with energy-efficient and smart looking LED lamps.

    • Install smartly designed closets, shelves and other storage solution. It is a great practical idea that gives you a more efficient, clean, organized and beautiful home.

    • Get the plumbing of your home inspected carefully and have all the leaky, malfunctioning and worn-out fixtures replaced.

    • You should also get your roof and flooring inspected to make sure that they are strong and functional enough. If required, get the essential repairs or replacement. To break the monotony and give a new look to the place, think about selecting a different style, material and color if the roof or flooring has to be changed.

    • Give a new look to your kitchen and bathrooms by having new countertops, faucets and fixtures installed. You can also try to increase the storage space with smartly designed cabinets.

  • You could even get your siding replaced so that the exteriors of your home get a refreshing look and remain well-protected against the extremities of nature.

If you want your home improvement features to bring about maximum increase in the beauty and functionality of your house, you should always turn to the experts. Consult with well-established home improvement professionals and utilize their expert suggestions and services to give your home the desirable facelift at the most reasonable prices. Log on to a local business directory to look up the home improvement companies offering their expert services in your area.