Home Upgrades that Really Work
Bathroom and kitchen upgrades are among the most popular home renovations, but not just because the improvements are likely to increase the home’s value. Renovations to these high-use areas can enhance the practical enjoyment of your home while adding aesthetic appeal and style.
Home Upgrades that Really Work
Ideas and inspiration to create more functional spaces
(Family Features) Bathroom and kitchen upgrades are among the most popular home renovations, but not just because the improvements are likely to increase the home’s value. Renovations to these high-use areas can enhance the practical enjoyment of your home while adding aesthetic appeal and style.
A Better Bathroom
Aging and Accessibility
Create a New Kitchen
It’s the hub of the home, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners start with the kitchen when they’re planning functional upgrades. New appliances, countertops and tilework all add to the style and function of a kitchen, but don’t overlook these highly functional features that can make your home more enjoyable.
Find more ideas and inspiration for your kitchen or bathroom upgrade at jcpenney.myhomeprojectcenter.com.
Planning Your Project
Define your desires. Although obvious, many homeowners find this to be among the most challenging aspects of a renovation. Start by determining the scope of your project. It may be just a new tub or shower, or it may be the entire kitchen. Some homeowners find it helpful to consider their project in terms of must-haves and nice-to-haves so it’s easier to make adjustments as obstacles or finances require.
Set a budget. The easiest way to overspend on a renovation is to go into it without an established budget. If you specify what you can afford from the outset and plan against that budget every step of the way, you’re more likely to feel satisfied with your investment in the long run.
Expect the unexpected. If possible, review a blueprint of your home (or have your contractor take a look) to identify details behind the wall, like the layout of the plumbing and electric lines, which can be costly to relocate. It’s also a good idea to take a thorough inventory of your current space so you’re aware of any damage or wear that will need repaired before you begin.
Hire the help (or not). With some preliminary information on the complexity of the job and a better idea of exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish, you should be able to make a decision about whether the project is something you’re prepared to tackle on your own or if hiring professionals is more likely to provide the results you’re seeking.
Monitor progress. Even if you’re handling the project on your own, it’s a good idea to continually monitor the project in terms of budget, timeline and quality of work. It’s easier to make corrections as you go than to get to the end and discover a problem that needs reworking.
Photo Courtesy of Getty images (Main image Kitchen with brown chairs)SOURCE:
JCPenney Home Services
Home Improvements with High ROI
If the ultimate goal of your home improvement project is aesthetic, the greatest benefit may come from your personal enjoyment of the new space. However, if you’re looking to add true value to your home, it’s important to consider which projects are likely to bring the greatest return on your investment.
Home Improvements with High ROI
(Family Features) If the ultimate goal of your home improvement project is aesthetic, the greatest benefit may come from your personal enjoyment of the new space. However, if you’re looking to add true value to your home, it’s important to consider which projects are likely to bring the greatest return on your investment.
With a variety of styles available, you can find a metal roof to match nearly any home style. For example, CertainTeed Metal Roofing offers profiles crafted to simulate Spanish barrel tile, slate and wood shake. Made from high-performance, deep-drawn steel, these roofing systems offer a lifetime-limited warranty and are engineered with a special multi-layered paint process that resists the elements while offering realistic color details and gradations. Find inspiration and explore a design gallery at CertainTeed.com.
If you’re still uncertain about the right investments for your home, it may be wise to consult a local real estate expert who can provide insight on the features that bring the most value in your market.SOURCE:
3 Top Kitchen and Bath Trends
When it’s time for a home remodel, specifically of a bathroom or kitchen, many homeowners turn to trendy looks as inspiration. Color, texture and material variance, like using different types of tile, lead the way in this year’s kitchen and bath trends. To help amplify the look and appeal of your space, consider these tips.
3 Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2018
(Family Features) When it’s time for a home remodel, specifically of a bathroom or kitchen, many homeowners turn to trendy looks as inspiration. Color, texture and material variance, like using different types of tile, lead the way in this year’s kitchen and bath trends.
To help amplify the look and appeal of your space, consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry:
Try Different Shades
Combining different shades of white, gray and other neutral colors like beige is an effective way to create a warm and inviting space. One important note to consider when mixing these hues is that they need to be in the same color family. When incorporating white and gray, go for colors that have the same base – either yellow or blue. Mixing a yellow-gray with a blue-white can result in discord that may not “feel” right. A qualified remodeler who has experience in design can provide expert advice and guide the decision-making process to help avoid costly mistakes.
Consider Various Tile Types
Scale provides another way to create interest. To achieve a mosaic feel, look for 1-by-1-foot tiles prepped on larger 12-by-12-foot sheets. Sometimes these sheets include a pre-defined pattern that can help simplify installation.
Pick Alternate Patterns
Many manufacturers now include textured tile, featuring patterns that carry the look of wood grain; tiles are also available in three-dimensional textures adding movement and interest with easy care. For example, using a variety of gray hues can create a relaxing and warm environment.
Find more trendy tips for home design at NARI.org.SOURCE:
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Healthy at Home
Limited fresh air and light during the day can negatively impact mood, sleep and performance. To help alleviate some of these concerns when inside your own home, consider these tips.
Healthy at Home
How to improve indoor airflow and quality
(Family Features) More efficient, tightly built homes than those constructed in previous generations are generally well-regarded, for the most part with good reason. However, when you consider people spend 90 percent of their time indoors on average, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), such airtight environments raise some concerns.
All that efficiency cuts down on airflow, effectively trapping allergens and toxins inside. According to estimates from the EPA, the air inside the average home may be as much as five times more polluted than the air outdoors, even in a bustling city.
“We know instinctively that spending so many hours in stuffy places isn’t good for us,” said Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight energy and indoor climate at Velux. “According to research, living in damp and moldy homes increases our risk of asthma by 40 percent and leaves us vulnerable to developing other ailments.”
Limited fresh air and light during the day can negatively impact mood, sleep and performance. Air pollution can also pose a health risk through irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; headaches, dizziness and fatigue; and respiratory conditions, heart disease and cancer. To help alleviate some of these concerns, consider these tips.
Bring the outside in.
Rely on natural air flow.
Eliminate potential obstacles.
Creating Cleaner Indoor Air
Creating more airflow is an important step to improving your indoor environment, but considerations like air quality should not be overlooked. More air is a good thing, but more clean air is better yet.
Everyday home life activities such as cooking, showering, lighting candles, sleeping and doing laundry can all contribute to polluted indoor air, which over time can lead to the development of illnesses.
These tips from the indoor climate experts at Velux can help make the air inside your home healthier:
1. Keep bathroom doors closed and turn on the extractor fan or open a window or skylight when showering.
2. Turn the hood fan on when cooking and open your windows, if weather permits.
3. Avoid burning candles excessively; look for alternatives such as sprigs of lavender to add a natural fresh scent.
4. Dry clothes outside when possible, which reduces carbon emissions from the dryer and minimizes potential pollutants traveling through the dryer vent.
5. Clean regularly with non-chemical based cleaning products, and pay attention to ingredients in cleaning products that may create hazardous fumes.
Increasing Natural Light
Find more tips for creating a healthier home at veluxusa.com/indoorgeneration.SOURCE:
(BPT) - The real estate market is heating up, and if you're planning to sell your home in the future, you want it to sell quickly and for as high of a price as possible. By taking proactive action now, you can make a few strategic home improvements that can help you achieve both your goals.
To boost your home sale and reduce time on the market, consider these top home improvement ideas to catch buyers' eyes.
Garage door: When potential buyers visit your property, you want to make the best first impression before they even come inside. That's why it's wise to replace your garage door. It takes up a significant amount of exterior visual real estate and helps define the home's aesthetic. What's more, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2018 Cost vs. Value report, a garage door replacement recoups an astonishing 98.3 percent of cost upon resale.
Bathroom addition: More bathrooms typically mean you can charge more for your home. Think you're limited based on existing construction? Think again. With Saniflo, you can add a complete bathroom where no drainage existed before thanks to above-floor plumbing features like a macerating toilet and drain pumps. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.
Kitchen upgrade: A complete kitchen remodel is costly, but a few smart upgrades can make the heart of the home shine. Consider replacing worn laminate countertops and updating hardware for a fresh look. For extra 'wow factor,' add an island and use Saniflo Sanivite technology to add a sink to the space for additional functionality. Learn more at go.saniflo.com.
Fresh flooring: You don't have to replace all your flooring, but focal areas like the kitchen or family room, as well as areas that tend to experience higher wear, such as the entryway, can benefit from a new floor. Forget expensive tile or hardwood replacements. Vinyl wood flooring looks incredibly similar to real wood, and modern luxury vinyl tile mimics the gorgeous look of stone or ceramic tile but is more durable and affordable. You may be able to simply add new flooring on top of old, making it a much easier DIY project.
Neutral paint: Don't ever underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint throughout your home. Walls get dingy and colors get dated. Repaint rooms with modern, neutral tones. As much as you love plum, buyers may not, so stick with whites, creams and grays whenever possible. Visit your local paint store and you'll see there are many neutral options to add excitement to interior spaces. Don't forget the ceiling, too! A fresh coat of white can do wonders.
These five projects will enhance your listing so you get more attention and book more showings. You may even start a bidding war with enough interest, and that can really drive up the price. Take action now and these home improvement efforts are sure to make an impact.
(BPT) - When it comes time to sell your home, not all rooms are created equal. Sure, potential buyers will walk through the entire house, but their opinion of a few primary rooms can ultimately determine whether they choose to offer or walk.
Your bathroom(s) — especially your master bathroom — are among these key rooms. As you prepare to put your home on the market, it’s time to take an honest look at these spaces. What do the bathrooms say about your house? Do they say "buy me now" or "no thanks"? If it’s the latter, then it’s time for a few home improvements that will turn the sale of your house from stale to sold.
A sound investment?
Yes, it is. In fact, bathroom remodeling projects are some of the most cost-effective improvements you can make to a home, according to HGTV. A minor bathroom remodel has an average return on investment of 102 percent at the point of sale. A major remodel returns 93 percent of your investment. That means your newly upgraded bathroom will actually help sell your home for more money in the long run.
So what are you waiting for? Improve your bathroom today with these six tips below.
* Replace that old flooring. Carpet and tiny tile flooring — offering two different looks and feels — are both similarly outdated when it comes to bathroom decor. Alternately, hardwood floors can add a more current, upgraded touch and can be achieved with water- and stain-resistant ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. This delivers a distinctively modern look in a medium ideal for the humid bathroom environment.
* A new look for a familiar soak. Nothing conveys the comfort of an extraordinary bathroom like a luxurious soak in the tub. To set your bathroom, and your home, apart from the competition, replace your existing tub with the Studio Fold Over Edge tub from American Standard. This tub uniquely allows for a custom finish to the front apron to match wall tile and décor, creating a handsomely coordinated room. Plus, the tub’s spacious bathing well and extra lumbar support mean relaxation and enjoyment for you before the sale.
* Shed a new light. Proper lighting is essential in any bathroom and up-to-date light fixtures are a great way to increase the wow factor for potential buyers. If your bathroom currently displays the outdated style of exposed bulb fixtures, try replacing them with contemporary wall sconce lights to create a look that is sure to draw your visitors' attention.
* Find a first-rate faucet. Even a perfectly functional bathroom can be discredited by potential buyers if it showcases dated brass faucets and accents. If your space is guilty, try replacing the existing faucet with an American Standard Patience bath sink faucet. Offered in widespread or single handle models, these classically chic styles allow for easy operation by all users in the home. Plus, the choice of popular polished chrome or brushed nickel finishes provides a high-style look to entice home buyers, while delivering a water-efficient performance.
* Sink that old sink. Those rounded-edge Formica sinks had their share of the limelight, but now their time has passed. Today’s modern bathrooms have become edgier, especially when it comes to sinks. Straight-edge designs, made from natural stone, quartz or contemporary solid surface material, are popular sink solutions today. Replacing your old sink with a newer style helps ensure your bathroom isn’t left behind. Home buyers notice sinks, and this is one project you should tackle for higher return when you sell.
* Shower your bathroom with a new upgrade. Your showering experience should be as customizable as it is enjoyable. The GROHE SmartControl thermostatic trim offers intuitive, push-and-turn button operation for water temperature and flow rate control, all in a sleek, low-profile design. Available in both round and square styles, in stylish chrome, brushed nickel or white finishes, it’s the shower system you’ll enjoy every morning — and so will your home’s next owners.
Start your bathroom project today
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home for potential buyers. It can also be one of the most enjoyable rooms while you're still in your home. Make these upgrades to your bathroom so that you can relish these improvements, as well as entice buyers when it comes time to sell.
For many homeowners, aesthetics and function are the primary considerations of a kitchen renovation. However, before you lay out your space and start selecting colors, there is another essential factor to explore: the materials you will use for each feature.
(Family Features) For many homeowners, aesthetics and function are the primary considerations of a kitchen renovation. However, before you lay out your space and start selecting colors, there is another essential factor to explore: the materials you will use for each feature.
In fact, there are numerous factors to consider as you narrow down your options. Giving special attention to the material composition of your kitchen, particularly when it comes to the aspects that take the heaviest use – the floors, sink and countertops – can help ensure your renovation stands the test of time.
Tile is an excellent choice for the kitchen because it stands up well to the heavy traffic and spills common in that space. However, tile can also be slippery and can be uncomfortable if you spend long amounts of time on your feet in the kitchen. Ceramic tile is the easiest to install but not as resistant to damage as porcelain or stone tile. The latter options require more skilled installation, and stone especially tends to be more expensive. You’ll also need to pay attention to factors like water resistance and texture, both of which affect safety and how easily the floors can be cleaned.
When it comes to wood, one of the first decisions is whether you prefer engineered or solid hardwood. Engineered versions tend to offer greater durability and flexibility in installation while the texture and appearance of solid hardwood are its strongest appeals. Other variables include the wood type, which further affects the look and strength. Oak is most common, but other traditional selections include options like maple or cherry and specialty woods like teak or bamboo. Plank width influences overall aesthetic, with slimmer boards lending a more modern look. Color is also a consideration, as you’ll need to determine whether you want to match, complement or contrast your cabinetry.
If something a little less traditional is more your speed, an option like foot-friendly cork or a modern take on vinyl may be more to your liking.
Classic stainless steel is not only practical, it’s also extremely versatile. It complements any kitchen and is a favorite of enthusiastic cooks and designers alike. While stainless steel’s neutral color and sleek looks work with a wide range of kitchen styles, it’s most often found in contemporary, professional-style kitchens. This classic, durable material lives up to its name. Hot pans won’t hurt it, and it’s less likely than harder materials to damage delicate dishware that may slip from your grip.
If you’re looking to make a statement, an enameled cast iron sink may be the answer. These sinks withstand whatever your family dishes out, from heavy pots to searing skillets, and with a range of colors to choose from, you can go bold with deep hues, be subtle with pale tones or choose a finish that adds dimensional character.
When your kitchen requires both rich color and a rock solid design, a composite sink will deliver. An option like Kohler’s Cairn sink offers a transitional style to suit contemporary and traditional kitchens alike, but it’s also made of Neoroc, a matte-finish composite material designed for extreme durability and unmatched beauty. Richly colored to complement any countertop, Neoroc resists scratches, stains and fading and is highly heat- and impact-resistant. Learn more at kohler.com.
Concrete and wood are popular and stylish alternatives, but their susceptibility to stains and other imperfections may make them impractical for a busy family. For the budget-conscious renovation, there are ample options in laminate, which falls in the mid-range for durability, to achieve an eye-catching look for less.
Selecting a Sink
Materials aside, there are many factors to consider when choosing the right sink to complete your new kitchen.
How to Maintain Marble Floors
Veins of color and unique patterns give marble tile a truly stunning appearance. However, maintaining that elegance may seem anything but effortless. It may seem impractical to care for a marble floor, but once you understand the basics, it’s actually quite simple.
How to Maintain Marble Floors
(Family Features) Veins of color and unique patterns give marble tile a truly stunning appearance. However, maintaining that elegance may seem anything but effortless.
Common advice cautions against using vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners, while taking care to prevent scratches from the wheels of an old vacuum or basic sand and dirt is paramount. With all these rules, it may seem impractical to care for a marble floor, but once you understand the basics, it’s actually quite simple.
Know the difference between etches and stains. “Marble is porous and can stain when it absorbs liquids,” said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of the family-owned stone restoration company International Stoneworks in Houston.
Stains can discolor marble and have a dark appearance; they are oftentimes caused by kitchen grease or makeup and lotions.
An etch mark is a chemical corrosion of the surface layer of the stone caused by the acids found in most household cleaners and in substances like tomato sauce, lemon juice and alcohol. Etch marks are often most visible at an angle, when they appear duller and less shiny than the surrounding surface.
If a spot is lighter than the surrounding stone, it’s most likely an etch mark. If a spot is darker than the surrounding stone, it’s probably a stain.
To remove stains, use a poultice, which you can buy at a hardware store. Spread it on the stain then cover the area with plastic wrap, holding it down with painter’s tape. The next day, remove the plastic, allow the poultice to dry completely and gently wipe it up. If the stain is still there but noticeably lighter, repeat the procedure. If it’s just as bad as it was, it will only come out with the help of a professional restorer. Etch marks can usually be prevented by wiping up spills immediately and using the right cleaners.
Be careful what you use to clean. Acids are the main enemy of calcitic marbles. Avoid cleaners containing vinegar or citrus, as well as abrasive powders and creams, which can scratch softer stones. Strong household cleaners like toilet bowl cleaner, metal cleaner or oven cleaners can cause irreparable etching or permanent color changes in stone.
Tabbah recommends a cleaner with a pH level of at least 7 or 8, or buying one that specifically mentions marble.
Mop carefully. “A microfiber mop is the main line of defense for your marble floor,” said Tom Workman, owner of Floor Cleaning Experts, a Florida company that cleans and restores commercial and residential floors.
A dry microfiber mop draws in dry hair and dirt. For deeper cleaning, saturate the mop with water. The thin microfibers have tiny triangular wedges that lift grease and oil as the mop glides across the floor. The small amount of water won’t stain your marble.
Soften water in showers. “If you have hard water, a water softener is a must,” Workman said.
Mineral deposits build up slowly but surely, requiring professional honing and polishing to remove. If you don’t use a water softener, leave the vent fan on after showering and squeegee the walls after use.
Use a doormat. Place a mat outside your front door and another mat or rug inside. They’ll absorb dirt and sand before it gets to your marble floors.
Don’t shy away from marble. Caring for it is easy if you follow these simple rules. For more information for caring for marble floors and other stone surfaces, visit naturalstoneinstitute.org/consumers/care.
Shower image courtesy of MS International
Building Stone Institute
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