If your home is newly built or renovated, you’re probably wondering why you still need to add weather stripping, particularly in the doors and windows. Well, the fact that homes these days are built according to the strictest standards doesn’t mean it is already energy efficient. Even the most expensive and sturdiest door and window materials aren’t an excuse for the lack of weather stripping.
Now if the builder of your home decided to use cheap materials in those doors and windows, everything becomes prone to deterioration, contraction, and some significant changes due to the foundation settling. As a result, gaps will eventually show up in between the frames and the walls. There even might be instances in which the door frame suddenly becomes slightly misaligned. These occurrences are the primary reasons why drafts are going in or the heat you produce inside using your heating equipment are escaping at will.
Therefore, it really makes perfect sense to add some weather stripping in your home if you really want to maximize the use and consumption of energy. It’s just way too impractical to be using your heating and cooling equipment at their maximum level but you’re still not comfortable enough inside. But if you’re not particularly sure if you need weather stripping or if you’re losing energy inside due to gaps and leaks, the best way to figure that out is to get an energy audit. There are three ways to do this. First, you can tap the services of contractors that specialize in whole-house audits. But if you think you don’t have to spend that much cash for that kind of service, you can instead do a low-cost audit using inexpensive kits. Finally, you might want to visit your local electric utility company since they might be able to provide you a free energy audit.
The purpose of an energy audit in relation to weather stripping is that it will tell exactly if there is a problem with your energy use. And if it is proven that you are indeed wasting away energy, it only means that you can start doing something about it, beginning with weather stripping doors and windows that have drafts. There are so many other things you can do like adding insulation or upgrading your HVAC system, but all those will need some significant monetary investment. With weather stripping though, you’re addressing the problem without having to break the bank.
When it comes to the type of weather stripping to use, there actually are quite a few options out there, including foam strips which aren’t just convenient and quick to install but also are affordable. They come with a glue backing for easy adhesion. Another option is metal strips, which are tight-fitting and are known to be more durable and permanent compared to foam strips. The nice thing about metal strips is that they offer a more effective cushion between the window and its frame, which means its function of opening and closing won’t be affected. As for doorframes and window corners, you need to find cracks and seal them using putty or caulk.
The roof is one component of the house that needs constant attention and maintenance since it plays a crucial role in protecting everyone and everything from outside forces, particularly the elements of nature. It protects you from the scorching heat of the sun, heavy rainfall, snow, strong winds, and others.
So when the time comes that it needs replacement, you as the homeowner must take the necessary steps to act on it the soonest possible time. For the most part, homeowners don’t feel alarmed or perhaps they’re just clueless that the roof is already in need of replacement. The most common problem is a leak, and although it’s something that’s quite easy to fix, frequent leaks could mean a more serious problem up there.
So how do you know if you need a roof replacement? Well, that’s the question we’d like to answer for the remainder of this article.
Now let us first learn from these tips, courtesy of the article titled “7 Warning Signs You Need a New Roof” from AngiesList.com:
1. Roof age
How old is your existing asphalt shingle roof? Most experts agree that a typical roof will last between 20 and 25 years. It also depends on whether the old roof was removed and you only have one layer of shingles, and if it is properly ventilated. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers and it is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof.
2. Shingles curling and buckling
Shingles that are curled or buckling are another sign that you may need a new roof. Look at the slopes of your home that get direct sunlight and if you notice the shingles are curling and losing granules, it could mean the shingles are past their life expectancy. There could also be a possibility that the roof is defective. Contact a licensed roofing contractor to see if you could be eligible for reimbursement.
3. Roof valleys
If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in this area, it’s a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof. Snow and rain flow through valleys and into gutters. If the valley is compromised, you could be susceptible to roof leaks.
4. Missing shingles
These are another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact.
This homeowner noticed missing shingles after a storm and ended up needing a new roof. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Krista M. of Lexington Park, Maryland)
5. Chimney flashing
This is another area to be concerned about. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, water-tight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system.
6. Shingle granules in the gutters
Look in your gutters to see whether they are loaded up with shingle granules. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistent or darker color on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away.
7. Daylight through the roof boards
You notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, which means the underlying decking is weakened from moisture. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation.
The most critical element in figuring out if your roof is already in need of replacement is its age. You have to understand that the different roofing materials have different lifespans. The typical roof for instance lasts up to 25 years. So if yours is already older than that, then it’s about time to think about replacing it.
Meanwhile, TheHomeWisePros.com recommends that you put extra attention on the shingles. So aside from buckled or curled shingles, there also are other signs of serious damage or deterioration, which in turn could no longer be addressed by simply replacing them.
If the shingles are either missing or falling apart, it’s a sure sign that the roof is very defective. Therefore, you need to replace it immediately. Remember, rain or snow flows through the roof valleys into the gutters. On that note, if the valleys are not working as they should due to missing shingles, your house is susceptible to roof leaks. Also, you need to make sure that all the tabs in the roof are intact to avoid any disasters.
Loose Granules In The Gutter
If you’re suspecting that your roof is defective, you need to look through the gutters for loose granules. At the end of their lifecycle, asphalt shingle roofs have more loose granules which might affect the sturdiness of the roof. Clean your gutter regularly and sort through the dirt to look for loose granules. If that’s the case, you certainly need to repair your roof immediately.
Moss On The Shingles
Moss usually grows on most roof surfaces without direct sunlight especially during the cold weather. This can result in moisture being trapped in the surface of the roof and eventually damage the granules on the shingles, especially during winter. Many Maryland residents choose to brush off the moss but it eventually grows back. Therefore, if you notice excessive growth of moss on your shingles, which can’t be brushed off easily, it’s time to contact a professional roofer to replace your roof.
Stains On The Ceiling
If you notice stains on your ceiling, it’s a sign that your roof is leaking which could be caused by cracked or missing shingles. If any moisture falls through the roof into the ceiling, it’s likely to start staining and eventually rot your drywall. On that note, any stains on your ceiling should be immediately inspected.
The signs above may or may not directly lead to roof replacement, but it’s a question that you cannot answer all by yourself. If you’re in doubt and is quite worried that your roofing problem isn’t a minor one, then call in a roofing contractor to inspect your roof. A professional roofer knows what to look for to particularly determine if your roof is left with no other remedies but to be replaced.
Why do you need to increase your home value? Well, there are several possible reasons, but the most obvious one is because you wish to sell it in the immediate future and by improving it aesthetically, you will be able to sell it for a price that’s well within your expectations. Simply put, selling a home or property that’s not in its best condition possible means the prospective buyer will find several reasons to low-ball the price.
In the article “Brokers Tell All: 10 Ways to Boost House Value” from ThisOldHouse.com, there are secrets that realtors and brokers wouldn’t normally tell you when it comes to increasing a home’s value. Fortunately for you, here are some of them given for free:
1. Create Space
Knock out a non-structural wall, or even remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens the space and creates a sense of flow in the house is generating a response from buyers who can afford to be choosy. For the price of a few hundred dollars, you’ll transform the feel of the house. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces,” says Kristin Wellins, Senior Manager of Program Development for ERA Real Estate.
Seattle broker Reba Haas says a kitchen island can be an asset, creating needed storage space. But if the kitchen has enough cabinets, it could pay to haul the island away. Haas says homeowners might want to consider a moveable island. “You can adjust them to you needs,” she explains.
2. Prune, Limb, and Landscape
Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold, and block a good look at the house.
“People forget about their trees more than almost anything,” says Roger Voisinet, a thirty-year veteran of the Charlottesville, Virginia real estate market. Yet, landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return. According to a 2007 survey of 2,000 brokers conducted by HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, an investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping, can bring a return of four times that. “It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house,” says Voisinet.
Reba Haas agrees, “Overgrown landscaping is a problem at all price points.” Haas says it hurts with marketing too. “People say, ‘Where’s the house?” If buyers can’t see what they are getting, they just move right on.”
And if neglected, mother nature may go wild at considerable cost. Voisinet looked at one house recently where a fallen limb from a poorly cared for tree caused $2,000 in damage.
3. Let in the Light
The number one item on the 2007 HomeGain survey, lighting—everything from a dimmer switch to the increasingly popular sun tubes—noticeably enhances a home’s appeal. California broker Robert Bailey says, “Dimmers allow you to create a mood.”
He’s a booster of sun tubes, too. Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sunscoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room. Bailey says, with tubular skylights, sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer. “I’m putting six of them in my house. I don’t need a skylight, but I do want the natural light.”
A few other ways to light things up: Fix broken panes, make sure windows open, and consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off. Remember high wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces.
We totally agree with those three tips above. Putting more light inside the living space, adding space, and fixing the yard are three of the most essential things you need to be doing if you want your home to look better than it previously was. Although you might not give that much value to lighting, the garden, and space, remember that every buyer out there wants those three.
Next up, let’s see what BankRate.com, in the article “10 cheap fixes to boost the value of your home” could offer us:
1. Make your kitchen really cook. The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated.
For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.
If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. “Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company,” says serial remodeler Gwen Moran, co-author of “Build Your Own Home on a Shoestring.”
“Many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes, then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.”
If you’re handy, you can order your own replacement cabinet doors and door fronts from retailers like Lowe’s Home Improvement or The Home Depot and install them yourself.
2. Give appliances a facelift.If your kitchen appliances don’t match, order new doors or face panels for them. When Nicole Persley, a Realtor in Boca Raton, Fla., was sprucing up her own home to sell, her mix-and-match kitchen bothered her. The room had a white dishwasher, microwave and wall oven mixed with other pieces that were stainless steel with black trim.
When Persley called the dishwasher manufacturer to see about ordering a new, black face panel, the customer service representative clued her in on a big secret: Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other.
“All I had to do was unscrew two screws, slide out the panel and flip it around. Sure enough — it was black on the other side!”
Persley, who has remodeled numerous homes for resale, says that a more cohesive-looking kitchen makes a big difference in the buyer’s mind — and in the home’s resale price.
3. Buff up the bath. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. “Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath,” says Moran.
Moran also suggests replacing an old, discolored bathroom floor with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. “You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one,” she says.
If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.
It’s no easy task if you’re faced with the necessity to do some fixes to improve your home’s value. But one thing you do have to understand is that you don’t have to do it on your own. You can either ask for help from a willing friend, from your family, or maybe tap the services of a contractor. You just have to be reminded that although you’re likely going to spend money on fixes, you end up getting more in return since you’d be able to sell your home at a very good price.
Mistakes in interior decorating happens to every single homeowner. It’s not like when you commit one it’s the end of the world. However, it doesn’t also mean you just ignore those mistakes and end up making them over and over again. The thing with interior decorating is that you actually have some bit of room to be creative on your own terms. With that in mind, some minor mistakes can be tolerated. However, there are those that you should completely avoid, and this article is about those mistakes.
Let’s start things off with this article called “Avoid These 10 Common Interior Design Mistakes.” from AngiesList.com:
1. Scale of furniture
Most people tend to buy furniture that is too large for the space. This is a very common issue and one that I see time and time again.
When purchasing furnishings, keep in mind the size of the room and the amount of space each piece will occupy and still allow for ease of movement. I suggest using painter’s tape to mark out the space that each piece will occupy before making purchases.
2. Small rugs
A common problem in even otherwise well designed rooms is using a rug that is too small. Rugs should ground a furniture group.
Legs of the chairs should sit on the rug, or at the very least, the front legs should be comfortably on the rug. With a dining table, the rug should sit under the chairs, even when pulled out. Having the right size rug can even make a space seem larger.
3. Inadequate lighting
Unfortunately, most spaces are designed with inadequate lighting right from the get go. Lighting should be layered within a space, taking into account ambient, task and accent lighting.
The guidelines of layering are function, mood and harmony. Function is based on the activities that will take place in the room, Mood conveys the feeling that you want to express in the room. Harmony asks if all of the lighting elements in the room work with each other.
4. High wall art
There is a tendency among some homeowners to hang art too high. Art should be hung at eye level, although small pieces can be hung lower.
As a guideline, when art is hung above furniture, make sure that it is 8 inches above the top of the furniture piece. It should look like they sit together.
Read the rest of the tips from this article by clicking on the link.
If you get the chance to talk to an expert interior designer, the one thing he or she tells you is to follow your heart when doing this kind of project. But sometimes, you tend to be way too preoccupied with personalizing everything that you become blind of the mistakes you’re committing such as the insufficiency in lighting and buying furniture that is way too large for your space. There’s nothing wrong with following your heart, but be smarter in doing so.
Next, let’s talk about another set of possible mistakes you can make in interior design. This time, information comes from the article “Top 10 Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid” by Clint Calder:
Not using mirrors
Mirrors are a bit under-rated. Using mirrors will make rooms appear much more spacious. The lack of mirrors or windows seems to give the room a boxy feel. Don’t hesitate to hang a decorative mirror or two on your walls. Be creative. You can find many different shapes and sizes of mirrors at your local home-improvement retailers. Not only will your room look bigger, but it will also make the room brighter as it reflects the lighting.
Not allowing enough time for the design process
It is not a race to the finish. Effective interior designing requires a lot of planning and organization. If you rush through a few steps, you may find yourself making decisions that have unfortunate consequences. So be careful!
Not involving nature One of the greatest ways to improve the feel of a room is to add a few plants here and there. Adding plants creates a more natural feel to the room, and with the right plants, you will have a new and refreshing essence to fill the air. When designing a room, never forget to include the five senses in your decision making.
Not paying attention to acoustics
How you arrange the room for acoustics may be one of the more difficult decisions. This will be most important for the theater or entertainment rooms. Nothing is more important than sound when it comes to watching a movie. Don’t use a lot of hard surfaces in the theater rooms that allows the sound waves continue to bounce around. Capture them with carpets and soft sofas. Hardwood floors look great in living spaces, but you may want to throw a few rugs on the floor to keep the noise down. You may be surprised at how important acoustics really are.
Over-furnishing a room
It has been said that your bedroom reflects your state of mind. A room that is overcrowded with coffee tables, couches, footstools, paper baskets or whatever, can cause the mind to feel the same way. Be sure to leave plenty of walking space. Stay away from the tendency to fill in the empty spaces. Leave some room. It will be much easier for you to relax and kick back.
Just like everything about life, too much isn’t a good thing in interior design. So even if you have so many things in your mind that you want to incorporate in your project, the key is to take it one idea at a time.
No homeowner in the face of the Earth wants to see bugs crawling and creeping at home. Although majority of them are harmless, it still doesn’t mean you should welcome them in your home. Aside from the fact that it’ll turn your visitors off, some of them can also bring disease to you and your family.
Therefore, we should come into an agreement that your home has to be free from any bugs. The question now is how would you do it? This is where we come in…
Just as a locked door can keep intruders out, a properly sealed door can help keep out unwanted pests. If you examine your entrance ways carefully, you’ll likely be surprised by the number of unsealed gaps you see, each of which makes an easy entrance path for bugs.
To keep insects from crawling under your door, install a sturdy steel or aluminum threshold under the door. For even better protection, combine this with a door sweep. A sweep is a cheap device that can be found at most hardware stores, and helps to cover the gap between a threshold and the door bottom. Choose nylon brush sweeps over vinyl or neoprene, as they offer the best protection against bugs.
Add weatherstripping or door-seal kits to the perimeter of the frame to keep insects from entering along the sides or top of the door. Use a clear caulk to seal the joint where the door frame meets the wall and also along the bottom of the frame, at the area where it meets the ground.
Many homeowners rely on natural ventilation from doors and windows to bring fresh air into the home. This can be especially tempting during the hot, humid days of summer. Unfortunately, summer is also the worst time of the year for mosquitoes, fleas and other pests to invade your home.
To enjoy the feeling of fresh air without the annoyance of insects, install screens in windows and doors. Choose a 20-mesh or finer screen to keep out most common household pests [source: Gouge, Olson, Snyder, Stoltman]. Screen installation is relatively simple and requires only basic tools.
Don’t forget that bugs can also sneak in through holes or tears in your existing screens. Try using a screwdriver or scissors to carefully push the broken wires back into place. Add a coat of household cement or clear nail polish to seal the hole and prevent insect entry. If the screen has simply come loose along one side or corner, use staples (for wood frames) or a splining tool (for aluminum frames) to reattach it to the frame.
Maintain Your Yard
Yard maintenance can have a big impact on bug infestations, especially when it comes to mosquitoes and fleas. Mosquitoes need a water supply in order to breed, so eliminating pooled water in your yard is one of the top ways to reduce the mosquito population. This can not only help you to better enjoy time spent in the yard, but will also reduce the number of bugs that are trying to enter your home.
To eliminate pooling, look for areas where water tends to collect in your yard. If you find standing water on your lawn, you may have a thatch buildup. Aerating the lawn can reduce this problem and allow water to naturally absorb into the soil. Another common problem is poor drainage, which is related to the slope of the Earth. You can try to add fill dirt yourself to correct this, or have the yard professionally regraded
If you want all the information from this post, simply click here.
Based on the three tips given above, it’s obvious that the main weapon against bugs and insects is giving them zero access to your home. They thrive outside because they get everything including food, shelter, and water. However, they always will be intrigued by the prospect of greener pastures inside your home and many of them are attracted to light. So do something about gaps, holes, and spaces that could serve as entry points for the bugs.
Meanwhile, Patrick Allan’s article for LifeHacker.com called “Keep Your Home Bug Free with These DIY Pest Control Methods” talks more about control methods. See some of his tips below:
You see, bugs, regardless of the kind, are really no match for you only if you know what you’re doing. So before everything gets out of control, you must start contemplating on following all the tips we’ve mentioned here.
Having a garden at home is very fulfilling. It keeps your surroundings fresh and natural. But just like anything else you love, you need to take care of it so that it remains healthy. The sad thing about maintaining a garden is that there always be external factors that contribute to its deterioration. That’s why as a homeowner, you have to exert additional effort and time to learn how to keep the garden healthy for as long as possible.
According to the blog post titled “10 Ways to Keep Your Garden Healthy” from FineGardening.com, the keys to a healthy garden include cleaning up during the fall season, monitoring bugs, and using the right yard waste for the soil.
USE FULLY COMPOSTED YARD WASTE
Not all materials in a compost pile decompose at the same rate. Some materials may have degraded sufficiently to be put in the garden, while others have not. Thorough composting generates high temperatures for extended lengths of time, which actually kill any pathogens in the material. Infected plant debris that has not undergone this process will reintroduce potential diseases into your garden. If you are not sure of the conditions of your compost pile, you should avoid using yard waste as mulch under sensitive plants and avoid including possibly infected debris in your pile.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BUGS
Insect damage to plants is much more than cosmetic. Viruses and bacteria often can only enter a plant through some sort of opening, and bug damage provides that. Some insects actually act as a transport for viruses, spreading them from one plant to the next. Aphids are one of the most common carriers, and thrips spread impatiens necrotic spot virus, which has become a serious problem for commercial producers over the past 10 years. Aster yellows is a disease carried by leafhoppers and has a huge range of host plants. Insect attacks are another way to put a plant under stress, rendering it less likely to fend off disease.
CLEAN UP IN THE FALL
It is always best to clean out the garden in the fall, even if you live in a moderate climate. This is not only an effective deterrent to disease but also a good way to control diseases already in your garden.
Read the other tips from this very same post by simply tapping this link.
It may be true that bees help your plants and flowers, but all other types of bugs are of no use to you and your garden. As a matter of fact, some of them may even carry disease that could result to all of your plants dying out.
Now aside from those three, here’s another set of tips in keeping your garden healthy from the article “5 tips to keep your garden healthy this summer” courtesy of Revell Landscaping:
1) Choose waterwise plants
By choosing plants that are suited to the climatic factors around you (such as sunlight, heat and water requirements), you will be able to create a garden that will look good throughout the summer – a season that can be quite harsh on not suited plants.
Think about Succulents, Kangaroo Paws and Rosemary – these plants thrive throughout the summer as they are best suited to hot over head sun exposure.
The Water Corporation have a handy little waterwise plant search that’ll show you what plants are best suited to the suburb you live in. Check it out here.
2) Work the soil
The more time, money and effort you put into improving the soil before planting will ensure that your plants will look better for longer, due to the increased nutrients and water supply. The majority of Perth is built on sand, which due to the lack of structure and large air pockets between particles, looses water very quickly. You can improve the structure by adding natural products such as bentonite clay and sheep’s manure or using a ready-made soil improver which you can find at your local gardening store.
3) Update your retic system and irrigation to suit the area
Due to our warming climate and increasing water restrictions, reticulation systems have progressed lot in the last 10 years and have been designed to make the most efficient use of your water.
Choose irrigation that suits the area e.g. Drip irrigation for garden beds reduces evaporation rate that sprayers have, as the water is being directed exactly where it is needed. However, drip irrigation isn’t going to work for trees, as bubbles would be better for these.
4) Schedule your retic for optimal absorption
In accordance to The Water Corporation guidelines, reticulation can only be used before 9am or after 6pm on your allocated water days. Early mornings or late evenings is the best time to schedule your retic for, as the cooler temperatures will reduce the evaporation rate and avoid scolding the leaves.
5) Give your garden a helping hand
Due to the drainage in pots, they loose water quicker, which can affect the plants, veggies or herbs that you’re growing within them. To help your pots and plants retain water for longer, use products such as water saving crystals or soil wetter, which will help by absorbing water, and then re-releasing back into the soil it slowly over time as required.
Need we say more? In the end, the garden is one part of your home that needs a lot of attention. That’s why if you want to build one, you should understand and recognize the importance of maintaining it. If you think you can’t do it or you don’t want to spend money to pay a gardener to do it for you, then revert and cancel your plan of building one, because if you do continue, you’re doing injustice to the plants.