Home Improvement

New to Homeownership? Buy These Tools to Keep at Home

Which Tools Are Best for New Homeowners?New homeowners spend a lot of time making repairs, assembling furniture and making home improvements. Having the right tools for the job is very important. Homeowners who buy a new home with tools already on hand can get started with their home improvements on day one. These tips can help new homeowners decide what kind of tools to purchase when escrow closes, so they can be prepared upon move in.

Hammer and Nails

Everybody needs to have a good hammer on hand, and many homeowners need more than one. There are a variety of different types of hammers that can serve different purposes around the house. Most homeowners own at least one curved claw hammer for hanging pictures, installing shelves, assembling furniture and other common tasks around the house. When choosing a curved claw hammer, look for one that is between 16 and 20 ounces for most DIY projects.

Other hammers that homeowners often find helpful include the ball peen hammer (with a rounded end that can be useful for removing dents) and a sledgehammer for demolition work. On a related note, many homeowners also keep mallets on hand for pounding items that might suffer damage under the hard surface of a standard hammer.

Homeowners also need nails: lots and lots of nails. While nails have a way of accumulating in the house over...

4 Kitchen Projects with Excellent Returns

How to Get Better Returns from Your Kitchen ProjectsSprucing up a kitchen isn't just a popular project for the cook of the family, but for everyone who lives under the roof. No matter how a person feels about preparing food, everyone has a relationship with the feeling of Saturday morning breakfasts and midnight snacks. When it comes increasing the resale value of the home, experts say to think small for better returns. Major kitchen remodels net about 63% of the initial while minor remodels net up to 80%. Because there are some kitchen projects that are ultimately more profitable than others, learn more about how to get the most from your endeavors, whether you make renovations yourself or hire a professional.

Upgrade Your Appliances

For many years, it was common to walk into a kitchen and find a white refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher against white or cream walls. It's no wonder people started opting for stainless steel and black appliances instead of the standard machinery of yesterday. When upgrading appliances, keep in mind both the form and the function of each piece selected. Not only will homeowners want their microwave to have relevant technology options, but they'll also need that microwave to fit the decor of the rest of the kitchen (and the home itself).

Replace the Counters

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4 Best Roofing Materials Rated By Cost and Durability

4 Top Roofing Materials by Price and DurabilityChoosing the best roofing materials for a home requires careful consideration of a number of factors, but cost and durability are two of the most important. Homeowners generally want to invest in roofing materials that will protect their home and family from the elements for years to come, but they may not want to take a big financial hit when doing so. The price of materials can vary drastically depending on the type when replacing your roof, but costs will also reflect their quality.

One of the most important quality factors considering durability and longevity is the material's standard impact rating. Because durability can directly effect energy-efficiency, buyers should also factor in any potential long-term pros and cons when creating a roofing budget. To ease the decision making process, here are four popular roofing materials ranked by cost and durability from lowest to highest.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for homeowners for two primary reasons: their affordability, and their reputation for lasting up to three decades with proper care in moderate climates. However, durability will depend on the products impact resistance and hail rating. Unfortunately, manufacturers aren't required to disclose hail ratings as with impact ratings, and those who don't could be reluctant to admit their...

How to Save Money With a Home Insulation Upgrade

Guide to Home InsulationA cold house can be frustrating, especially when it feels like the HVAC system is always running to keep up. Insulation plays a big role in temperature control around the house, so in homes that are excessively cold in winter or warm in the summer, insulation could be the problem. These tips will help homeowners to determine whether or not their home needs more insulation, and if so, what they can do about it.

How Can You Tell If Your Home Needs More Insulation?

There are many different ways to tell when a home needs more insulation. Some of the most basic warning signs include:

  • Cold or hot spots. There may be rooms that are always cold or rooms that are always hot; this could be a warning sign of poor insulation.
  • Ice dams. Ice dams occur when "hot spots" in the attic cause ice and snow to melt early; installing more attic insulation can fix the problem.
  • Drafts. Drafts can occur when the home has not been properly sealed.

A good way to check on your own if a home needs more insulation is to peek into the attic. There should be insulation between and covering the floor joists. If the insulation does not rise high enough to cover the floor joists, this is a sign that a home needs more insulation in the attic.

Another way that...

Keep Pests Out Through Good Home Maintenance Practices

Tips to Protect Your Home From PestsPests like insects, mice and small animals are often attracted to homes where maintenance problems go unaddressed, so homeowners who want to protect their house from pests can do so by staying on top of certain home maintenance practices. These tips can help homeowners who wish to manage their home maintenance and avoid pest infestations.

Seal Holes

Pests of all kinds can enter the home through holes in the roof and exterior siding. Sometimes these holes are very small, allowing small animals and insects into the house. Other times the holes are very large, and allow larger animals to gain access to parts of the home like the basement or attic.

Homeowners can avoid these problems by periodically walking the perimeter of their home and looking for cracks and other ways that animals can access the house. Getting regular roof inspections can help, as some animals will create holes by chewing through boards or screens that protect attic vents.

When a hole or crack into the home is discovered, it must be properly covered. Caulking can be used to seal cracks, while hardware cloth can cover larger holes. Hardware cloth is especially helpful in parts of the home where proper ventilation is important.

Fix Leaks

Leaks can attract pests in a variety of ways. Pests seek out leaks because they need water. When leaks are left unrepaired for a long time, the resulting wood rot can create an inviting environment for wood-eating pests....

Guide to Home Security Systems

Home Security Information for HomeownersNot all homeowners choose to install a home security system, but those who do often appreciate the feeling of safety and peace of mind that they get when they leave their home. Home security systems can take different forms, so homeowners who are thinking about getting a security system for the first time must decide what type of security system is right for them and their San Geronimo home.

Who Needs a Security System?

Many homeowners who seek a home security system are those who live in areas with high crime rates. Other homeowners choose to install a home security system because they live alone, feel vulnerable, or simply have a lot of valuable possessions that they would like protect. Some homeowners choose to install a home security system because it will lower their homeowners insurance rates. Every homeowner must decide for themselves whether or not a home security system will be beneficial and meet their needs.

Monitored Versus Non-Monitored

In the world of home security systems, there are generally two types: monitored, and non-monitored. Monitored home security systems are connected to a home security office. The office sends someone to the home in the event that an alarm or sensor is triggered. Homeowners pay a monthly fee for their home security system to be monitored, and often pay a fee every time a security guard is called to the home.

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Home Safety Hazards to Watch Out For

How to Make Your Home SafeHousehold safety is important, but oftentimes can be overlooked by busy homeowners. Household hazards can cause illnesses, accidents and even injury. Homeowners who watch out for household hazards can better maintain their property and protect the members of their household. While there are many potential hazards, these are among the most common hazards are found in many homes.

Bad Electrical

Often bad wiring can be difficult to identify because wiring is hidden in the walls. However, some electrical problems produce warning signs homeowners can see. For example, an overloaded circuit may produce heat behind the outlet. An overloaded circuit may also cause the lights to dim when large appliances come on. Since an overloaded circuit can cause a fire, this should be investigated by an electrician.

Mold

Mold is common in homes with high humidity, leaks and condensation. Mold often grows on walls and ceilings, and can sometimes be found growing on carpet or upholstery. It can be green, gray, brown, white or yellow. Mold causes illnesses, respiratory problems and allergy-like symptoms, so remediation must be sought as soon as a problem is identified.

Wobbly Hand Railing

A wobbly hand railing, particularly on a high-up walkway or deck, can be a serious problem. Young members of a household and seniors...

What You Need to Know About Mold Remediation

Five Steps to Take for Better Mold RemediationWhen excess moisture starts to build up in the home, it reacts with the chemistry of the air surrounding it. Mold remediation is the process of removing mold from a home and treating its root cause. Because there are so many types of mold, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for homeowners, but learning more about general mold safety and removal can be the key to safeguarding the home from future infestations.

Safety Basics

Mold usually irritates people's systems in some way, shape, or form, even if that irritation seems like general illness or allergies. If anyone has been feeling unwell in the home, it's time to take them to a doctor. Regardless of how people are feeling though, everyone should be kept away from the mold to ensure they don't become sick. Homeowners should swab a sample of the mold to present to the doctor so they have a better idea of what they're up against.

Test the Mold

Every kind of mold comes with its own dangers, so it helps to have the mold tested. Each kind thrives under different conditions, and an expert should hopefully be able to provide more insight into where the infestation is hiding. They should also be able to identify the original cause of it. Homeowners need to do their research so they hire someone reliable. Some mold potentially can be easily treated, but it wouldn't be difficult for an expert to misrepresent the severity of the danger.

Address the Real Problem...

Lighting Tips for Different Parts of the House

Tips to Pick the Right Type of Lighting For Your HomeWhether a homeowner is trying to sell a home or simply trying to create a more pleasant environment to live, updating the lighting can have a very big impact on the appearance and functionality of the interior space. These lighting suggestions can help a homeowner who is trying to improve the appearance of their home.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a part of the home where people need a variety of lighting conditions. For example, someone preparing food at the counter can benefit from task lighting, whereas someone cutting vegetables at the table might prefer lighting from all angles to prevent shadows. Providing a variety of light sources including overhead lighting, task lighting and pendant lighting can help prevent accidents like burns, cuts, slips and falls.

Bathroom

Like the kitchen, the bathroom should come with a variety of different lighting types in order to reduce the chance of accidents. The bathroom is a place where people commonly slip and fall. Lighting can help people see the hazards in the bathroom to prevent these slips and falls from taking place.

Recessed lighting over the shower and toilet is especially important because these are two areas where accidents commonly occur. In addition, pendant lighting over the vanity and mirror make it easier for the bathroom user to arrange hair, put on makeup and examine themselves in the mirror.

Dining Room

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