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6 Simple Renovations to Boost Your Curb Appeal

6 Simple Renovations to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Not everyone wants to boost their curb appeal so they can sell their house rather they want a home that they love coming home to everyday. They want to create a space that is warm and welcoming when friends and family come to visit.  Creating curb appeal doesn’t have to take a lot of time nor a great deal of money.  Here are 6 simple renovations you can do to boost your curb appeal.

1. Get a New Front Door

A new front door not only looks good but it adds an incredible amount of value for such a small investment.  If you are selling then a new front door makes your home look safe and well maintained.  Fiberglass doors are energy efficient, they look fabulous and they handle even the worst weather well with getting dented and rusty.

2. A New Steel Door for the Garage

Like your front door a new garage door can make your home look better, improve the security and be more energy efficient.  Again, you will get a great ROI if you plan to sell.  Garage doors are usually made from steel or you can have them made from wood, steel doors mean low maintenance.  Wood doors require you to stain and maintain them each year.  Make sure that your garage doors are insulated to save you on energy costs.

3. A Composite Deck

Cedar decks look amazing but you will be sanding and staining them every spring.  Choose composite decks instead, they are a little more expensive than a wooden deck but far less work.  You never have to worry about termites, broken boards or sealing.  A PVC deck will last forever, you can spend the summers enjoying your backyard with family and friends.  Decks also add great value to your home.

4. A Fresh Coat of Paint

Nothing brightens up a home like a fresh coat of paint and while you can do this project yourself you are better off bringing in a painting contractor who can get the project done in a few days.  You have a choice between oil and latex paint, ideally you want to use latex, it handles the weather and settling of your home better than oil. Latex can also be used to paint over almost any kind of exterior finish that you may have.

5. Use Brick or Concrete Edging

Using edging not only looks good but it defines your space.  Edging can keep the mulch from around your trees and flower beds from spreading everywhere, it makes your lawn easier to mow and trim.  If you decide to use bricks then you have options on the color and look you choose.  Don’t get too carried away, brick and stone can get expensive.  Talk with a landscape designer to get some help choosing the best option for your yard.

6. Local Plants and Shrubs

If you want landscaping that is low maintenance then use plants that are native to the area.  They thrive in the local conditions so you don’t have to spend everyday out there watering them or worry about them getting frostbitten in the spring and fall.  You don’t need to use fertilizers or pesticides to keep them healthy and your home will blend with the local landscaping.

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Don’t Make These Mistakes When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Remodeling Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most common renovations that homeowners undertake, the kitchen is a reflection of your tastes and who you are.  The kitchen is more than just the place where meals are prepared it is the center of the home and arguably the most important part of your home.  When it comes to the value of your home having a modern well-structured kitchen cannot be stressed enough.  People by houses based on just how much they love the kitchen.  Homeowners can take up to two years to plan out their new kitchen, before they even start a renovation.

Kitchen renovations are also pretty stressful and tons of things can go wrong, from the wrong colored grout to your cabinets being on backorder.  Some things are beyond your control but most of the time the homeowner is to blame.  Before you know it your kitchen has been ripped apart for months and you are thousands of dollars over budget and you don’t know where things went wrong.  It turns out homeowners make the same mistakes, leaving them frustrated and the contractor isn’t much happier. Don’t make these mistakes when remodeling your kitchen.

Getting in the Contractor’s Way

You hired a kitchen remodeling contractor for a reason, so stay out of his way and let him do his job.  There is nothing wrong with getting updates on how the project is going but being there constantly looking over his shoulder trying to oversee everything is more hinder than help.  Your contractor does this for a living, he knows when to bring in the plumber and electrician to make the job go smoothly, let him do that.

Hiring the First Contractor You Speak With

Even if the contractor is recommended by your best friend in the world it doesn’t mean that he’s the right contractor for you.  You want to get a couple of estimates from different contractors along with check online reviews, check the BBB to see if there are any complaints.  Check and make sure they have the right licenses and insurance.

Going Overboard with the Fixtures

The latest, greatest refrigerator with the transparent door is pretty cool, but is it really necessary?  Do you really need that $5,000 stove that has all of the bells and whistles when you don’t really cook?  When you are planning out your kitchen and shopping around for appliances and fixtures it can be pretty easy to get carried away with all of the shiny new features that are available.  Choose what you need to have a comfortable kitchen that works for you.

Constantly Changing Your Mind

Once you have picked out the cabinets, countertops, flooring and lighting then don’t set foot into another home improvement store until the project is done.  Changing your mind halfway through is a bad idea.  It will cost you more money, it will make your renovation take longer and frustrate both you and your contractor.  Make up your mind once and then go with it.

Kitchen remodels are stressful enough, but you can make them go a little smoother by not making these mistakes.  Take your time and plan out your renovation based on your tastes and budget.  Then you need to stick to it.

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How to Moisture Proof Your Basement

How to Moisture Proof Your Basement

Before you finish your basement you are going to need to make sure that the basement walls are waterproof first.  Basements, as a rule, have higher moisture levels than the rest of your home.  There are cracks in the walls, windows that leak and condensation on your pipes that contribute to the moisture levels.  Too much moisture in the basement can cause all kinds of problems. If you are wondering how to moisture proof your basement, then here are a couple of ways that you can go about it.

Basement Drainage Systems:

  • Wall Sealers: There are a bunch of different wall sealers that you can apply to the walls. You essentially paint them onto your basement walls to keep the moisture out.  This is probably the easiest method of sealing the basement walls.
  • Sump Pumps: A plastic tank is installed below the floor and the sump pump collects the underground water that is gathering under the floor. You can also use a sump pump with a floor drain.
  • French Drains: This is another interior drainage system that goes under the floor to collect moisture. You will have to dig a trench around the perimeter of the basement.  You install a perforated plastic pipe and then surround it with gravel.  You can connect a French drain to a sump pump

Even with a drainage system that doesn’t meant that your basement walls will stay dry.  You may want to consider damp proofing or waterproofing, it is cheaper and easier to keep your basement dry.

Damp Proofing

Damp proofing your basement involves applying to the walls a tar like material.  It is cheap and you can pick it up at a local hardware store.  These damp proofing products have limitations, they keep moisture at bay but they don’t prevent it from happening.  Once the sealant cures it gets brittle and you can get small cracks along the walls.


Waterproofing is meant to prevent water from getting into your basement even during the worst weather.  These products have rubber and that allows for it to stay flexible as your house settles and stretch across small cracks.

Applying Waterproofing

Of the two options you are better off waterproofing your basement and the pricing is pretty close.  Applying water proofing to your basement isn’t hard and you can get the job done in less than a weekend.  It is an easy DIY project and here’s a look at just how easy it is.

In the past homebuilders paid very little attention to basements and keeping them dry, it was just going to be unused space.  Now that more and more people are opting to have a finished basement for more living space there are dozens of products and options to keep your basement dry and comfortable.  Renovating and finishing the basement is a great idea, it adds to the value of your home and gives you options for media rooms, play rooms or a home office.  Before you take on that project you need to make sure that it will stay dry first.

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6 Signs You Have a Drainage Problem

6 Signs You Have a Drainage Problem

Finding a lake on your front lawn that wasn’t there yesterday is a pretty good indication that you have a drainage problem.  Most of the time the issue won’t be anywhere near that obvious, drainage problems don’t just leaf a pond in your yard they can actually damage the foundation of your house.  Here are 6 signs you have a drainage problem.

1. Overflowing Gutters

When leaves or other debris are clogging your gutters, instead of the water flowing through the gutters to the downspouts it overflows and you have waterfalls all around your house. You will see streaks of dirt running down the side of your home and if it has been going on long enough then the paint may even start to peel.  You need to get this fixed before there is real damage done, fortunately it is as simple as cleaning out your gutters.

2. Misplaced Downspouts

Downspouts are supposed to take the rain from your roof and gutters and dump it into the ground away from your house.  If they aren’t installed properly you can have all that rain dumping against your foundation and then it will end up in your basement.  Flooded basements are huge problems, that can cause you thousands in damage.

3. Water Stains Along Basement Walls

There are two possibilities for why you have water stains on the basement walls.  The first is caused by rainwater coming in through the foundation and believe it or not that is the better of the two.  If the problem is cause by underground water then you have much bigger and more expensive problem. If the stains are higher on the wall then it is a good sign that it has been caused by rain.

4. Cracks in Your Foundation

It is normal for cracks to appear over time as your house settles, most won’t cause you any problems at all then don’t reach the inside of your home.  You need to keep an eye out for bigger cracks, anything that is more than a ¼ inch wide.  Check the width from time to time and check and see if it is growing.  The small cracks that happen as the house settle can easily be fixed with some caulking or hydraulic cement.  Widening cracks mean a drainage problem that is ruining your foundation.

5. Must and Mildew in Your Attic

Most homeowners look for drainage problems in their basement and not the attic but the attic can be a problem area too.  If rain is pooling on your roof it can start affecting your attic.  You will start seeing mildew on the underside of the roof and it will smell musty up there.  It can also be caused by your bathroom venting hot moist air into the attic and causing condensation.  On the other hand you could have a leak in the roof and may need a roofing contractor to come have a look.

6. Mineral Deposits on the Basement Walls

If you notice a white or grayish film on the walls of your basement, that is an indicator that there was water there.  It is the mineral deposits left behind after the water has dried.  It can indicate that water is getting in through the foundation, usually because your downspouts are sending water away from your home.  It can lead to bigger problems if it hasn’t been treated.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Home Renovations

Do’s and Don’ts of Home Renovations

Renovating your home is a big investment, an investment that is meant to increase the value of your home and make it more comfortable.  It’s pretty easy to let the budget and the pace of the project get out of control.  You need a plan and you need to stick to it, here are some do’s and don’ts of home renovations that will help you keep your project on track.

Here are the Do’s:

  1. Measure everything twice. There is an old saying “measure twice and cut once” that holds true.  Before you start planning out your renovation you need careful and accurate measurements so you know the size of flooring, doors and cabinets that will be installed in your home.
  2. Vet your contractor. There are a million horror stories about an unscrupulous contractor ripping off an unsuspecting homeowner.  Either they do substandard work or just take the money and run.  You don’t want either of these situations so make sure you triple check the references, licenses and insurance for any contractor you hire.
  3. Put together a budget. If you don’t want the expenses to get out of control then you need a realistic budget. Your budget needs to not only take into account the materials and labor but any unexpected emergencies that may happen while you’re renovating.  Murphy’s Law applies, if it can go wrong it will.
  4. Stay organized and on top of things. While you’re working with a contractor most of the work will fall on them, that being said live up to your responsibilities.  If that means that you have to buy the flooring or countertops then make sure they are bought and delivered for when your contractor is ready to install them.
  5. Be nice. Not all contractors are out to rip you off so treat them well.  You can be polite and professional with everyone that is working on your project.  You don’t want to butt heads throughout your project, it will make everyone miserable.

Here are the Don’ts:

  1. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. The bigger the project the more opportunity there is for things to go wrong.  You can prepare as much as you can but still expect the unexpected.
  2. Don’t expect things to be clean and tidy. Renovations make a HUGE mess, so much so that you may want to leave your home until they are done.  If you are sticking around or will be there to supervise then cleaning up as you go will help.  The dust may never seem to go away but keeping the workspace clean helps keep everyone more productive.
  3. Don’t forget to cover the floors. If you are keeping your existing flooring then you need to protect it.  Through down some drop cloths while the work is being done.
  4. Don’t paint until all of the work is done. When work is going on there is a chance the walls can get damaged, it is easy to fix drywall but not so easy to fix paint.  Painting should be the absolute last step in your remodel.
  5. Don’t get stressed. That is easier said than done, but try and keep your cool throughout the project.


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