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Start Your Home Improvement Now

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Saying that our homes are extensions of ourselves is actually saying less. When you think of it, our homes are actually who we are. That maxim “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are” does not even come close. I mean, we do and we have most of our secrets inside our homes. It is the most private, personal place we can ever think of. And here we are, carefully dressing ourselves to be as pleasant to others as possible but leaving our homes slowly rotting away. Okay, That might be a real exaggeration. But, seriously, can’t you perform even a slight home improvement project?

Yes, your house may not be rotting away (at least not for now). But, how can you bear looking at yourself all dressed and dolled up when your house is as plain and boring as a shop assistant dressed in baggy clothes? Remember that people will always talk. No matter how we tell ourselves that what other people think is not important, appearances do matter. If that one prominent fact is not enough to drive you to perform home improvement now, I do not know what else.

How hard can it be to change the dull white tiles in your kitchen and bathroom to the bright or funky or dark personality that you are? After all, your home is who you are, right? You give such careful attention to your clothes and makeup. Why not try that faithful sense of duty to a home improvement project? Your home improvement project. Think about it. You will have nothing to lose here. Come on, who does not want a beautiful home? You will be a hypocrite if you say you do not. Either that, or you are just completely dull and dense.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to insult anyone. I’m just stating realities. The sooner we face things, the sooner we can go on with things and start our home improvement projects. Taking good care of your home is also one way of packaging yourself. An additional deck or a front porch won’t be that bad either. You have always wanted fresh air, haven’t you? And I bet that additional back porch will be perfect for your kid’s playhouse. A few paintings in your living room is also great. Or if you are not into painting, you can always choose from tapestry to figurines to vases. It is all up to you, really.

What I am trying to say is that we can’t just leave our homes feel neglected and lonely. They are like our best friends-when we talk about houses and buildings not people. Why not give them the love and care they deserve. Come on. Splurge a little for your home. It is yours anyways, not just anybody else’s. Home improvement does not come easy, of course. But the fulfillment and satisfaction you will feel in the end will be incomparable. Trust that all this will be worth that happiness.

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 15¢ 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.

Home Improvement

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Hallway

Designing a powerful and impressive front entrance and hallway sets the tone for the remainder of the house. The hallway needs to not only be both functional to greet guests and store belongings but also aesthetically pleasing. Traditionally, a hallway is a small and narrow space that requires a discerning eye to design both functionally and pleasing. Luckily, a boring and impractical hallway can be redesigned with simple and inexpensive home improvement projects.

To turn a poorly designed hallway into a practical and livable space thought must first be given to storage. Partitioning an area of the hallway for storing coats and jackets is a necessity by either constructing a small closet or using an armoire. For cramped or small spaces, a full-length mirror can be hung to increase the visual appeal of the room and its perceived size. Additionally, a small desk or chest can be used to store car keys, umbrellas, scarves and hats.

To create a warm and inviting atmosphere, choose artificial lighting to illuminate the hallway. Choose diffused lights that cast a softer glare and less of a shadow on pieces of furniture.

Living Room

In many homes, the living room is the most important space of the house as it is where families relax, dine and entertain. To make the room comfortable it is best imperative to divide the room into functional spaces. For example, the window is the ideal location for a relaxing sitting area. This zone can be further defined with a comfortable sofa, relaxing chairs, a coffee table and a television.

The dining area of the living room can be created closet to the door that leads to the kitchen. The space can be defined with an elegant dining table, chairs and a chandelier. When choosing furniture one must consider the size and décor of the room. Traditionally, the smaller the home the smaller the furniture should be and vice versa for a larger house.
After embarking on a home improvement project ensure that the quality of work is up to par by checking for any safety hazards. Furniture should not be blocking any exits and shelves, pictures and posters need to be properly applied to the wall with studs and nails to prevent injury.

Bedroom

The bedroom is the most important room of the house and needs to be placed in the quietest and most isolated part of the home. A bedroom represents a location for healthy sleep and a place for relaxation. Consequently, the room should be designed with the homeowner’s personal preferences and desires in mind. The larger the bedroom the larger the bed should be; however, for smaller rooms the bed might need to be adjusted to fit properly.

For many homeowners, the closet may be the most important part of the bedroom and can be either freestanding or walk-in. A walk-in closet can be one of the best home improvement projects as it is a great way to build equity in the home. Today, many homebuyers want houses with large walk-in closets and having one can make the difference between a quick sale and a house sitting on the market for several months.

Nursey

Most importantly, a nursery needs to be designed with safety as the first priority. Ensure that electrical outlets are baby proof and that nothing in the room could cause a safety hazard to the child. The specific design of the room will depend on the age and sex of the child; however, common themes can include sports, princesses, dancing, vehicles and more.

The furniture chosen for the room is also age dependent with younger babies require a crib. The crib should have high enough rails that the baby cannot climb out of and hurt themselves while still providing a great night of sleep. Older children can opt for slightly larger beds that have movable mesh that makes changing the sheets an easy process.

Tables and/or desks for school-age children or for playtime make a great addition to any kid’s bedroom. Additionally shelves can be installed to store books, toys and other items.

Finding The Best Home Improvement

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So you finally decided to take on that home remodeling project. Good for you.

While I admit there is something about doing your own home remodeling, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you are truly up to the task. If, after doing some research and inner searching you decide that you need to have a true professional home improvement company do the job, there are a few things to do to get the job off the ground.

Figure Out Your Budget

Home improvement projects aren’t cheap. Even the smallest of laundry room could cost over one or two thousand dollars.

If you know anyone that has had a similar renovation recently completed, you can ask them how much the project costed if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, the best idea is to search online.

There are many forums and other websites that people talk about their home improvement projects. However, you need to know that prices are relative to the area which you live. It is best to do a local search so you have a better idea what it will cost in your area.

My rule of thumb is to double whatever figure I first thought of. I recently had a local home improvement company completely renovate my laundry room. I was estimating it would be around $1,000. Well, the final price was $2,000 after a $300 addition to the project after the original estimate was completed.

Find Local Contractors

This isn’t the hardest task really. You can easily find a list of 30 to 50 contractor by using websites like Manta.com or the Yellowpages.com.

The problem is that much of the details on those sites are incorrect. After painstakingly building a database of contractors over an hours or two, there is nothing worse than finding out the information is incorrect. What a waste of time.

Of course you can do a simple search on Google for home improvement companies in your area, and that should get you a fine list. But the problem is that some of the best and most affordable company’s websites aren’t optimized for Google Searches. By using this method, you are finding the most internet marketing savvy companies, which usually means they charge the highest prices because they get the most calls.

Another option you have is to use a local website that partners in the with the top local home improvement companies. A site like this is PittsburghHomeImprovements.com. All you have to do is enter your information and they will provide it to their incredible database of the top home improvement companies in the area. All you have to do is sit back and let the companies call you.

Accepting A Bid

However you find your contractors and receive your bids, the next step is to accept a bid. While you might want to simply go with the lowest estimate, there are a few things that you might want review prior to accepting that bid.

First, how soon can each contractor start your project. If you are in a hurry, and the cheapest bid can’t start for a month or two, you might be forced to go with another bid. Also, how fast will the project be completed. Some companies will over promise and say a job can be completed quicker than they can actually do it.

Home Improvement Ideas for an Energy Efficient

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Many people think about whirlpool tubs and designer kitchens when they consider a home improvement plan, but there’s increasing interest in energy efficiency as an attractive feature in a home. With gas and electricity prices on the rise and green issues now high on many people’s agenda, energy efficiency can increase the selling price of a home.

Improving a home’s energy efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean investing in an expensive solar power system. A few simple changes and improvements can result in more effective use of gas and electricity, and lower monthly bills. Unlike some home improvement projects, making better use of energy is something you can develop over time. The following home improvements can bring substantial savings over a year.

Plug leaks and improve insulation.

Most homes are poor at retaining heat, and this can get worse as a home shows signs of age. Small leaks and gaps around windows and doors are often the cause of valuable heat loss. Cracks in external walls and loose roof tiles are another common source of warm air escaping.

A range of products is available from any DIY store to tackle the problem of losing heat from leaks and cracks around your home. Expandable sealant and weather stripping are cheap to buy and easy to apply. This is a home improvement project you can complete in a weekend. If window frames are beyond basic repair, consider replacing them. Fitting new windows to your home isn’t cheap, but it’s a home improvement project which will deliver returns on the investment.

Look at energy efficient lighting.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in some countries as they use so much energy. Modern compact fluorescent bulbs and light emitting diode bulbs are just as bright, and use around seventy percent less energy. Switching to energy efficient bulbs throughout your home can be expensive, but the savings on electricity bills will soon cover the initial costs.

Lighting is one of the main uses of energy in most homes, and it’s worth looking at how you light each room and what the room is actually used for. It’s possible to make better use of natural daylight in some rooms, and there may be very little need for light bulbs. Painting rooms in pale colours and clever use of mirrors can make a room appear might lighter.

Introduce some alternative energy.

Solar panels have fallen in price in recent years, and installing a basic solar energy system is cheaper than many people believe. There’s a misconception that a home has to be a in a warm climate to make use of solar energy, but daylight rather than bright sunshine is all that’s needed. If you have a south facing roof and live in an area with good daylight hours, you have the potential to generate some electricity from the sun. You can start with just a few solar panels and build up a system over time.

Green and renewable energy technology is developing at a rapid pace, and geothermal energy is becoming a practical option for home heating. A geothermal heat pump can be used to heat or cool your home and supply hot water. A small wind turbine is another option for creating some green energy for your home. Anything you can do to reduce your home’s reliance on traditional energy sources will save you money and make your home more attractive to most potential buyers.

Make use of technology.

Intelligent thermostats and smart meters are now commonly available, and they can deliver significant savings on your home energy bills. Most families waste around twenty to thirty percent of the energy used at home, and modern technology can help you to understand this and make better use of the gas and electricity you are paying for.

Revitalize Your Home With Excellent Home Improvement

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Your house is subject to wear and tear, thus over the years, you may notice that it needs some revitalizing and improvements. This is where home improvement ideas come into picture. Revitalizing your home doesn’t need to be expensive for there are actually lots of cost effective ways. This only means that you don’t actually need to stretch your budget, spend a lot of money, and put a whole in your pocket just to make improvements to your home.

Your home is your prized investment that you will definitely cherish and love for the rest of your life. And in order for you to ensure that your house will last a lifetime and for it to look beautiful all throughout, you should take care of it. Aside from maintenance activities, home improvement is also needed time after time in order to retain your home’s stylish and fresh appeal.

Some Affordable Home Improvement Ideas

• Install some halogen track lightings in your home; it is one of the best and cost effective ways of decorating a house. These lights look elegant, classy, and they can definitely add brilliance to specific areas or corners of your home.

• Brighten up the rooms in your house and be able to save energy expenses from your electricity bills by installing or replacing your old lights with smart looking and energy efficient LED lights. This is becoming more and more popular to a lot of households from the different countries across the globe.

• Consider adding excellent yet affordable wallpapers on walls of your home. If you are after reinventing your bedrooms or any other room inside your house, opting for affordable wallpapers can be the best option.

• Install exceptionally designed and constructed shelves, closets, and other types of storage solution. But you should forget to opt for those inexpensive storage available on the market. You don’t have to spend large amount of money just to offer your home with such excellent storage.

• Get your flooring and rood inspected in order to ensure that they’re still highly functional and strong. If needed, you should get replacement and even repairs. Remember, your house is supposed to offer a safe and secure environment for you and your family.

• Also, you should also have your plumbing inspected by experts in this field. Have the malfunctioning, leaky, and work out fixtures repaired or even replaced if necessary.

• When it comes to your kitchen or bathrooms, you can revitalize or reinvent it by installing new faucets, countertops, as well as fixtures. This will not just add value to your home but will also increase your storage space inside the house.
These simple and affordable home improvement ideas will definitely provide maximum increase to the value, beauty, and functionality of your home.