Ten Tips for Staying Sane While You Remodel: Plan Ahead to Maximize Safety and Minimize Disruption



  1. Schedule a pre-construction walk through with your contractor because if you are planning even a minor remodeling project, your home is about to become a construction site. Decide where they can drop lumber and store materials and where you and the crew will park for the duration. Where does the trash get stashed? And where, if at all, is smoking permitted? Which bathroom will be available to the crew?
  2. Discuss how the contractor will protect floors and carpets in areas of the house that are not involved in the construction from dirt and dust. Pack away antiques, fragile and/or valuable items. Consider sending window treatments to the dry cleaner or packing them away for the duration.
  3. Temporarily close off the job site from the remainder of the house. A plywood or plastic blockade keeps the kids from being in the wrong place at the wrong time and cuts down on the dust and dirt that inevitably gets dragged into the areas you are still living in.
  4. Collect on babysitting favors. Don’t wait until you’re in the thick of things to call on friends and family who might be available to help with the kids. Pre-plan play dates for your kids off-site. Or try to schedule the project to happen during the summer months when the kids can be away at camp or visiting grandma or Aunt Liz, at least during the most dangerous phase of construction, usually from the start of demolition until the walls are enclosed.
  5. Make sure the fence is in good repair. And that latches and locks are in working order before the project begins if you’re relying on existing fences and gates to protect neighborhood kids from harm and you from lawsuits.
  6. Make plans for pets too. Don’t assume your dog will behave well during the stress and general upheaval. Contractors can’t carry long lumber through a gate or door without propping it open, which means the dog could run off unless he’s securely leashed or in a pen. Confine indoor cats to an out-of-the-way room with food, water and litter. Tape a large sign on the door at eye-level to alert everyone that the cat is temporarily in residence there.
  7. Set up a temporary kitchen. But not in the bathroom or you’ll disrupt the two most crucial family spaces at the same time. Better possibilities: the laundry room, basement, garage or even the deck in the summer months. Don’t discard the old refrigerator. Move it to your temporary kitchen. Ditto for the base cabinets and countertop. Keep cooking utensils in covered containers so you don’t have to wash them all before you cook each time.
  8. Simplify life for a few weeks. Live on soup, sandwiches, salads and take-out. And use disposable paper or plastic plates and cups. If you must cook, plan meals that can be prepared in an electric fry pan, the microwave and/or a charcoal grill. (Always set up outdoors.) If you have time make up a few of the family’s favorites (meatballs, chili, meatloaf, a casserole) ahead and stash in the freezer in microwavable containers
  9. Don’t move back into your new space too soon. Wait until the project is completely finished and for the construction dust to settle a bit or you’ll clean shelves and everything you put on them four times.
  10. Most importantly, keep your sense of humor. If you can implement these suggestions they’ll go a long way toward helping you stay sane during the exciting, but messy process of remodeling.

Using Granite Countertops to Improve Home Value

granite countertops

Why Installing Granite Countertops Makes Sense

All over the country granite countertops are being installed in kitchens, baths and patios at a rapid pace due not only to its intrinsic and aesthetic value but also for its versatility and durability. But what is it about having granite countertops that has everyone wanting to have them? Are they really all that? To help one decide if granite countertops are right choice, be sure to understand the pros and cons of granite countertops.

The Hard Facts about Granite Countertops

granite countertop facts

Granite is truly one of the most beautiful countertop choices available for one’s home. But before spending hard earned money on granite consider the following:

  • Granite countertops come in over 3,000 colors each one with its own unique pattern and movement, and can be given custom edges and finishes.
  • Granite countertops, when properly sealed and maintained, are virtually scratch, stain and chip resistant.
  • Granite countertops are great for making cookies, candies, bread dough and other foods that are best prepared on a cool surface.
  • Granite is heat resistant. If one forgets to grab a heat pad for that pan of lasagna, it won’t matter if it is set it on the granite countertop.
  • The only surface that is harder than granite is a diamond.
  • Granite countertops add a minimum of 10% to the re-sale value to your home.

The Disadvantages of Granite Countertops

Of course, like anything else, there are some disadvantages to having granite countertops installed. They are:

  • Cost-granite is expensive due to the labor for its removal from the quarry, the work involved in cutting it and the work necessary for installation.
  • Granite will dull knives if used as a chopping block, just purchase a good cutting board and save on wear and tear.
  • Granite countertops should be installed by a qualified professional—it is not a DIY project.
  • Granite countertops need to have the sealant re-applied a least once a year to prevent staining or fading.

Quick Tips for Selecting Granite Countertops

selecting granite countertops

Once the decision is made to have granite countertops installed, there are several steps to take in the selection of the type and color of granite countertops.

  • Go to a granite warehouse or show room with a wide selection of granite slabs.
  • Bring along items from the room the granite countertops will be used in—cabinet door, floor sample, fabric swatch, wall cover, etc..
  • Ask to see several slabs of whatever color is chosen to be sure it will work with the room.

By taking the time to select countertops that at are perfect for the living environment, one can ensure that the end result is pleasing to all who enter. Yes the choices are many, but deciding the perfect granite countertops cna be the difference between “just a room” and a beautiful showpiece.

Even with the disadvantages, granite countertops are making strides in kitchen, bath and patios. They are a beautiful way to add style, personality and re-sale value to the home. So, take the time required to select the granite countertops , choose a contractor that is reputble and can be counted on to do a proper installation and get ready to enjoy beautiful, longlasting grantite countertops.

Natural Gas Fireplaces

natural gas fireplaces

Benefits You Can Cozy-Up To

Crackling wood. Delicious smoky aroma. Roaring flames encased in a classic masonry brick setting. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces certainly are delightful! But, when it comes to effective heat generation, these charming hearths fall short.

natural gas fireplaces

Consequently, increasingly more natural gas fireplaces are making their way into new and existing homes in many parts of the world. What makes them so appealing? Let’s look at what they can offer:

Increased Energy Efficiency

Compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces–that actually may remove more heat from a home than it produces–new natural gas fireplaces are at least 75% efficient. This means, the bulk of the fuel going into the system is successfully converted into household heat for the family’s enjoyment.

Reduced Total Energy Consumption

Though difficult to quantify, a natural gas fireplace may also help reduce overall home heating costs. For example, turning on the gas fireplace when the family gathers in the TV room for a few hours enables you to lower the thermostat that operates the main heating system.

Environmental Benefits

Gas fireplaces are also better for the atmosphere. They are clean burning and don’t create smoke, ashes or other particulate. On days when air quality is low outside, you can operate a gas fireplace with peace of mind.

Immediate Health Benefits

Since natural gas fireplaces don’t produce smoke or soot, people with allergies, asthma or other medial conditions don’t have to fret over the impacts of the fireplace.

You can breathe easy knowing that the entire family, along with your guests, will stay healthy whenever the fireplace is on.

Safe Operation

With natural gas fireplaces, the risk of fire is greatly reduced.

Carpet-burning sparks and dangerous creosote build-up in the chimney become obsolete when a wood-burning fireplace is replaced with a natural gas unit.


With just a flick of a switch or the push of a button, a gas fireplace provides instant warmth along with attractive flames. The chore of storing wood and cleaning ashes is replaced with a continuous supply of fuel to a unit that rarely requires cleaning.

If you want to replace an existing wood-burning fireplace, and already have a gas hook-up, natural gas inserts are available so you can conveniently make the switch.

When purchasing an energy-efficient natural gas fireplace, look for the following features:

  • Electronic ignition–eliminates the need for a standing pilot light that uses energy even when the fireplace is not operating.
  • Sealed-combustion direct vent design–uses air from the outdoors to feed the system, unlike traditional fireplaces and vent-free systems that depend on indoor air. The entire operation is separate from the household air, resulting in no drafts or heat loss.
  • Ceramic glass front–transmits heat better than temperate glass and is shatter-resistant.
  • Wide temperature control–offers a range of temperature-settings.
  • A squirrel-cage type circulating fan–helps to push heat across the room.
  • Ducting capabilities–that enable the fireplace to distribute heat, like a furnace, to other rooms in the home.

A Perfect Time for Spring Cleanup

spring cleaning

Time to Clean Your Life Up

It is that time of year when a person thinks about getting rid of all their piles of things that they have accumulated throughout the years. Sometimes it can be hard to get rid of a knickknack or collectible that you have been holding onto but there is no time like the present to reevaluate what things you really need and what things are just collecting dust. Now with spring upon us it seems like the perfect time to begin to throw out those old hand me downs.

Spring Cleaning – Where to Start

A good rule of thumb is if you have not used or worn something in a year it may be time to take it out of the closet and get rid of it. Pick one room in your house as a starting place and then methodically move to the next one. A good idea is to make selective piles of what you want to throw out such as clothes in a clothes pile, toys and knickknacks in another pile and so on. This will help later when you decide where you are going to take all your junk.

Spring Cleaning – Make a Plan

spring cleaning

Most towns have a local thrift shop so why not donate some of your old clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Your load will be lighter and you will feel better about yourself because you will be helping someone less fortunate then you out. Remember one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. In the event that you have a lot of technical junk lying around try taking it to a local pawn shop, you will clear your space as well as possibly make a few dollars off of it in the process.

Heavier messes may require a trip to the dump to dispose of all the clutter. While this may be expensive depending on what you have, there is no doubt that you will feel better about yourself and it will make your living space much more presentable.

Spring Cleaning – Try Not to Horde

Hording is considered an illness by many professionals nowadays and extreme cases may need extra help. If you are a hoarder, why not ask a family member or friend to help you get rid of things. They will most likely be more than happy to help you sort through your possessions and decide what should be kept and what is no longer needed. Having a clean place will make you feel great so why not start today and begin your spring cleaning.

Time for a Water Heater Replacement


Water warmers are non-issues until you are hit by icy shower or monster puddle in the storm cellar. At that time, you must think fast: to repair or replace?

Keep in mind the replacing your water heater will depend on its age, condition and budget. Here are some of the tips to help you know whether you should replace or repair a malfunctioning water heater.

How to spot Water Heater Woes

Ordinary water warmers are straightforward. Chilly water enters the tank and is warmed by an electric component or gas burner. An indoor regulator controls the temperature, typically 120 to 140 degrees. As the water warms, weight works inside the tank. When you turn on a tap, pressure sends heated water out the spigot.

• Since water radiators contain few moving parts, just a couple of things can turn out badly.
• Pilot light on gas water radiator flashes out
• An electrical switch for some electric warmer outings.
• Burner or warming component falls flat.
• Thermostat breaks.
• Valve sticks.

Repairing or supplanting any of those parts is economical: A handyman can carry out the employment for $150 to $300. If the tank is over ten years of age, or if it’s releasing, another water tank likely is in your future.

Sometimes replacement is the only option

After some time, water minerals respond with steel, eroding water radiator tanks. At the point when water radiators spring a hole, repair isn’t a choice.

However, modern water heaters are more energy-efficient as compared to the old models. These recent water heaters have foam insulation between the tank and the outside wall and this increases the heat retention. Besides, new glass liners make the recent water heaters more immune to corrosion.

Figure Hidden Costs of Water Heaters

Indeed, even with conventional water radiators, substitution won’t be as basic as pulling out the old and connecting the new. Numerous nearby construction laws now oblige you to redesign the accompanying:

• Water warmer mount
• Size or kind of venting framework
• Deplete container underneath the radiator
• Supply funnels
• Before beginning work, request that your installer plots all expenses.

If plumbing is your thing, you can install the new unit without contacting a professional. Note that most manufacturers will include an instruction manual and therefore, you will may not experience difficulties while installing the new unit.

Maintaining your water heater

Whether you are repairing or replacing a water heater, it will function well you maintain it well. For example, you may need to flush the tank at least once every year to remove sediments and other solids in the tank.

Additionally, check the anode pole — in some cases called the conciliatory pole — like clockwork. Aluminum or magnesium test inside the tank, it gathers destructive components and ought to be supplanted when solidified or destroyed.

You may opt for the tankless water heaters as they are more efficient when it comes to fuel use. However, they are very expensive.

The Most Efficient Method to Protect your Home from Severe Cold


For every homeowner in cool climate atmospheres, for example, the Northeast, mountain ranges, and Midwest confront cold conditions, snow squalls, and other icy weather storms. Apart from experiencing difficulties when going to pick milk or sugar from the nearest shop, ice, snow, and freezing rain as well as the extreme weather conditions threaten your home’s safety and structure. This creates the need for taking measures and invest in the right resources that you will need to effectively deal with winter challenges.

Comprehend the Threats

Here are some the threats you may expect during the winter.


Storms with strong winds and a lot of snow aggregation can bring about rooftop or other auxiliary harm and abandon you disengaged.

Ice tempests and ice dams

At the point when ice softens amid the day and afterward re-solidifies during the evening, ice dams, which square water from streaming in the canal, may frame. This condition can constrain water back under the rooftop line and cause spills.

Slush or solidifying precipitation

Combinations of snow and solidifying precipitation may bring about tricky conditions and coat streets, walkways, and carports with ice when temperatures drop.

Protect yourself from the harsh weather

The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends that you should have a shovel and melting agents such as salt like the rock salt. You should stock these items before the winter sets in becomes it can be hard to get them one winter comes.

Protecting Your Home

Before winter, there are a few precautionary measures you can take to shield your home from the desolates of chilly climate storms:

Winterize your home: Check screens, siding, and other outside materials to guarantee they’re secure, says resigned temporary worker and home change master and author John Wilder of Jacksonville, Fla. High winds, ice, and dampness from winter tempests can without much of a stretch strip off such outside components if they’re free.

Winterize channels: Make certain your channels, particularly those uncovered or in unheated regions like slither spas, are wrapped in protection to avoid solidifying and blasting. Likewise, realize where your water close off valves are so you can kill the water supply if there should be an occurrence of a hole.

Trim trees: Branches that are overhanging in your garage, rooftops, or simply overgrown tree branches poses a danger to vehicles, buildings and people. Therefore, it is advisable to trim the trees in your home and do away the branches that seem weak to prevent them fall falling near or on your home. Unless you are skilled in trimming trees, you should call an expert to help. Besides, you should first find out if there are tree trimming restrictions in the neighborhood especially if you are living in an urban center.

By keeping your home in decent shape and stocking up on the provisions you’ll require before the scramble for shake salt and scoops starts, you’ll be as prepared as could reasonably be expected to intense out the tempest.

The Truths about Thermostat you need to Know

You know, sometimes we are misguided, and when we act on such inaccurate information, the consequences might be harsh. It’s anything but difficult to envision your vitality charge going high as can be the point at which you hear your heater start up. That is the reason such a variety of individuals think keeping a consistent temperature of 68 degrees is the way to vitality reserve funds. That is a myth.

Here are some different truths judgments about and tips for lessening your warming and cooling costs.

Crank Up the Thermostat (you must fight the temptation)

Turning up the indoor regulator past your sought setting won’t speed warming. Your heater works at a similar pace paying little mind to temperature settings. That additionally applies to your AC; setting the indoor regulator to its coolest temperature won’t cool your home any speedier. So, whoever told you that you can manipulate that speed to use lesser energy than usual lied to you.

A Programmable Thermostat Doesn’t Automatically Reduce Energy Use

Introducing a programmable indoor regulator with production line settings wouldn’t do you much good. You can just decrease the measure of energy that your home devours if you make a customized warming and cooling program that benefits as much as possible from your particular vitality sparing open doors. For example, consider warming the water that you need instead of warming huge volumes that you will not use now. Also, switch off the lights if they aren’t in use. 1-week writing software is a decent decision if you adhere to a similar timetable each day of the week. It permits you to make a solitary warming and cooling arrangement that rehashes day by day.

Some Smart Thermostats are a Lot Smarter Than Others; Choose Wisely

Savvy indoor regulators aren’t all the same. Indeed, all offer Internet network for remote administration utilizing your cell phone. In any case, every indoor regulator Mark uses another exclusive self-programming innovation.

Try not to expect each keen indoor regulator is easy to understand. A late study on indoor regulator ease of use by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District uncovered that the ballyhooed Nest indoor regulator isn’t all that easy to use. The Nest was tried against a blend of 11 keen and programmable indoor regulators for usability without utilizing a manual. It got the second-most noticeably awful appraising.


Having misguided information about thermostat and how it can help in reducing energy expenses can result in unnecessary actions. This article has presented some truths that you should know about your thermostat.

Recognizing House Foundation Problems

Have you ever realized that foundations issues mean more expense? Knowing the early cautioning indications of establishment inconveniences can take off issues that at last could cost a huge number of dollars to settle. The sooner you recognize potential issues, the less demanding — and less costly — it is to alter them.

The 4 Basic Indoor Warning Signs

Houses settle after some time, and a little unevenness isn’t the reason for frenzy. In the meantime, you’ll need to be aware of these notice signs that more emotional changes are occurring:

1. An entryway starts to stick or neglects to hook.
2. Breaks show up in dividers, particularly over entryways, windows, or where dividers meet roofs.
3. Airs out in vinyl or fired tile over a solid floor.
4. Windows that used to open and close effortlessly abruptly start to stick or won’t close totally.

Test Concrete for Weakness

If your home has a poured edge establishment and the solid gives off an impression of being chipping and chipping, jab it in a couple places with a tough screwdriver. The solid ought to be hard to the point that you can’t harm it. But if you find that it is soft and can be penetrated easily, that’s an indicator of a weakness and you need to do all you can before it becomes a bigger problem.

Check the outside

Try to sightsee down your foundation wall from each of the house corners to find out if it is straight. Note that these walls must be straight. If you notice that they are bulging inwards or outwards, then that’s a problem.

Step by step instructions to Prevent Water Damage Perusing Foundation Cracks

As solid cures, it contracts marginally. Where the solid can’t contract uniformly, it tends to break. Cement and piece establishments more often than not have no less than a couple of splits. The trap is perceiving which are unimportant and which are not kidding. Here’s a rundown from minimum to generally genuine:

• Hairline breaks in the mortar between solid pieces are once in a while worth stressing over.
• Breaks at an L-shape segment, for example, where an establishment ventures down to take after a slope, are most likely shrinkage splits, particularly if they wind and decrease down to a hairline.
• Stair-step breaks in brickwork joints are a greater concern, particularly if the divider is protruding or the split is more extensive than ¼ creep.
• Flat breaks are genuine. It might be that water-soaked soil solidified and extended, pushing in and breaking the establishment.

If you notice that your foundation wall has issues, it will be a bad idea to try and correct the problem on your own. Instead, you should consult an expert, to analyze the extent of the weakness or the damage and advice accordingly. Besides, the same expert can repair the foundation and check it regularly.

Note that you must be prepared to incur some costs.