You’re planning the home improvement project you’ve always dreamed of—congratulations! This will be an exciting time full of creativity and possibility. But before you get started, make sure to do your homework so that you can avoid common mistakes and make your home improvement dreams come true!
Find a Trustworthy Contractor
Not all contractors are created equal; make sure that you find a trustworthy, reliable contractor with experience doing the kind of project you want done. Interview several contractors and get quotes from each one before choosing one; don’t just hire the first contractor you see. While it may take you some extra time, putting in the necessary legwork before choosing a contractor will help you find someone who can do great work for a great price. Listing sites such as HomeAdvisor are used by 44 percent of homeowners.
Look for Financing Options
Financing is huge when it comes to making your home renovation dreams come true. After you know your budget and the projected cost of your renovation, spend some time researching financing options. Some common home renovation financing options include payment plans, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and refinancing your home. Each of these options come with its pros and cons. As you research each option, you might be surprised to find that your renovating dreams are more possible than you thought.
Make a Plan
The planning stage is arguably the most important part of any renovation project. Don’t skimp on this part—while planning will take some extra time, it will be worth it. There are many items which you should include in your renovation plan: budget, aesthetic, décor, scope, design, and contractors are only a few of these items. Don’t be afraid to make a sizable wish list at this stage! This is the time to think about all the home improvements you’ve always wanted, get creative, and make them happen. While you may not be able to accomplish every single bullet point on your list, dreaming big will help you accomplish more than you think.
It’s true that renovating your home will be a lot of work. However, this work will turn out wonderfully well if you spend time choosing a trustworthy contractor, looking for financing options, and making a solid renovation plan. These three suggestions will empower you to become your own home improvement fairy godmother and finally complete the renovation you’ve always wanted.
Read this next for more great tips: Starting a Home Remodeling Project
A home is often one of the most valuable assets a person has. Disaster-proofing your home is essential, even if you don’t live in an area with frequent natural disasters. There are many different types of disasters you might experience in your lifetime; taking the necessary steps to protect your home will give you the best possible chance of surviving these with as little damage as possible.
Secure Your Foundation
The foundation of your home is critical to its survival during a natural disaster. Knowing that your foundation is strong enough to withstand extreme natural forces will give you peace of mind. Many older homes and houses built more than two decades ago have foundations that will not be able to withstand an earthquake. You should secure your foundation by making sure it’s directly connected to the upper portion of the house. Connecting the two structures will do wonders for the strength of your foundation. If you are unsure about the strength of your home’s foundation, taking steps to get it professionally inspected is a wise choice.
Update Old Electrical Systems
Old electrical systems can cause numerous problems—even disastrous ones. One of the most dangerous problems associated with old electrical systems is that they are more likely to spark fires. The best way to know if your electrical systems require an update is to ask a professional electrician. You can even ask multiple electricians for advice and quotes as to how much a new system will cost. While updating your electrical systems might seem overwhelming and expensive, it will be worth it in order to ensure the safety of your home and family in a disaster.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed
There are more benefits than just aesthetic ones when it comes to trimming your trees. Keeping your trees trimmed will prevent branches from falling onto electrical wires or causing structural damage to your home in the case of a disaster and high winds. Taking the time to keep your trees trimmed will save you from often catastrophic consequences.
Secure Your Roofing
A damaged or compromised roof can cause all kinds of problems, especially during a disaster. Make sure to fix your roof if it’s leaking or in disrepair. There are several signs that can alert you to a possible leak in your roof. These include water stains on the ceiling, drips or moisture on the walls, water spots on your exterior walls under the roof line, moss or mold on an exterior wall, and missing shingles or debris in your downspouts. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get your roof checked for a leak. Even if the leak seems small and insignificant, it can still be dangerous. Additionally, the material of your roof can affect your home’s disaster readiness. A metal roof is safer because it isn’t flammable like asphalt.
Water is one of the leading causes of disasters throughout the world. Whether it’s as dramatic as a hurricane or as common as a flood in your basement, you should invest in waterproofing for your home. Water damage can be hard to recognize because it often builds up over a period of months or years before it causes a major disaster. You should make sure to waterproof your foundation, roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors. Make sure these are free from structural damage and that any cracks are sealed from the elements. You should also make sure to keep your gutters and drains free from obstructions so that they don’t break or overflow.
For basements, exterior waterproofing is the best solution, although it’s expensive. This process will involve excavating the outside of your house down to the foundation, and then installing a waterproof coating or membrane topped by drainage panels.This helps to stop water from entering your basement.
Repair Damage Quickly
One of the best ways to protect your home from disaster is to repair any existing damage as quickly as possible. If you ignore or procrastinate these problems, the damage can increase over time and easily turn into a disaster all on its own. Common causes of structural damage to houses include water, improper drainage, roof damage, clogged or broken rain gutters, broken windows, and broken doors.
Complete a Home Hazard Checklist
In almost every home, there are certain health and safety hazards that the owners don’t even realize exist. Completing a home hazard checklist can help you identify common safety hazards within your own home. Common items on a home hazard checklist include anchoring pictures and mirrors, bolting bookcases and shelves to the walls, storing breakables in cabinets with a secure latch, securing hanging lights and plants with anchors, and removing furniture and debris from the outdoors. You should also make sure your smoke and C02 detectors have new batteries, know how to shut off your utilities, use a fire extinguisher, and check gas or electrical lines for leaks. After completing a home hazard checklist, make sure to follow up on items needing repairs or updates.
Invest in Insulation
Making sure your home has good insulation will help protect it from a disaster. In freezing temperatures, homes without good isolation can be infiltrated by cold air and wind. If your pipes are left without sufficient insulation the water can freeze, expand, and rip open the pipe, which will obviously cause a major leak. Adding enough weather stripping and pipe insulation can help prevent this problem. Pipe insulation is effective, affordable, and easy to install.
Prepare Emergency Equipment
It’s important to recognize that even if you have gone out of your way to disaster-proof your home, severe emergencies and disasters can still cause significant damage. In cases such as these, it’s wise to have emergency kits prepared ahead of time. Consider preparing basic emergency kits for each member of your family. A basic emergency kit usually includes items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle, duct tape and plastic sheeting, toilet paper, wrench, can opener, maps, and back up cell phone with chargers.
You never know when a disaster might occur, so it’s always good to be prepared just in case.These are just a few ideas to help you get started in disaster-proofing your home. If you need extra help in your preparations, calling a professional contractor is always a good idea.
Read this next: Flood Recovery Tips to Get You Back on Your Feet
Hardscaping products, including segmental retaining wall units (SRWs) and interlocking concrete pavers, are a landscape’s best friend. Landscape professionals know that hardscapes are the backbone of a great design. Homeowners, too, shouldn’t be afraid to explore do-it-yourself landscape features using hardscape materials.
Spring is a great time to update both the interior and exterior of your home. Since it's usually pleasant outdoors, it can be a good time to deal with your heating and air conditioning systems. However, there are challenges to springtime home improvement projects.
Be Smart About What to Improve
Springtime is your opportunity to check out any windows that need to be glazed or exterior surfaces that need to be painted. You can also review your foundation for any frost damage and check the basement or crawl space for water seepage. Tackle projects that use products with strong odors in the spring. While it's nice to be able to open up the windows, it's important to carefully time renovations that require plenty of fresh air. For example, you need to get plenty of air moving to refinish floors or apply oil-based paint, but if it's going to rain or be especially humid, the drying time to a final finish may be too long.
Watch the Weather
If you plan to do any foundation work, review the precipitation risk. If you're working indoors and need fresh air, you may have to mop up a lot of rain after leaving windows open. Keep an eye on the wind direction and weather severity. For moving large equipment around in your yard, you may need to lay down temporary stabilizing mats. If the ground is too soft or things are too wet, then you may not be able to use portable roadways, depending on the material.
Mind Curing Times and Temperatures
Spring is a great time to work on your driveway. Sealing cracks and crevices in asphalt or concrete is much easier before the heat of summer. Take care to work on dry days. When you're making changes to the edging of your drive or trying to add fill dirt, don't start too early if the dew is often heavy in your region. Finally, if you're applying any sealants, make sure that the temperature won't get too cold for the product to cure completely.
Keeping your home in great shape takes the right repairs at the right times. If you get outside as the temperatures warm up, you can stay on top of frost heaves and moisture damage that can cost a lot later. Take the opportunity to open up your windows and enjoy the fresh scent of spring.
There is nothing more inviting than a luxurious, well-appointed bathroom, but no matter how ambitious the remodel, there are unique challenges that come with every project. Learn how to conquer your bath remodel - and make a striking design statement at the same time.
This year’s biggest outdoor living trends are all about enjoying your backyard alfresco — but with the comfort and ease you expect from your indoor spaces. Today’s outdoor spaces are transforming into an extension of the home.
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