(BPT) - The words home improvement usually conjure up images of major undertakings like tiling your bathroom or kitchen or tearing down a wall, taking hours and hours to complete the project. The fact is there are some meaningful home improvements you can do that can be accomplished in under two hours.
First, have you ever wished your home had more daylight? Maybe you want to bring in daylight to a small place like a closet or laundry room. Or maybe you have a room with a window but still not enough light. One solution is a daylighting system from Solatube. This product can be installed in under two hours and floods the interior with natural light. For more information, visit www.solatube.com/residential.
Concerned about security? Installing a Ring doorbell takes just a few minutes and you can monitor visitors at your front door on your smartphone through an app. This is a way to add some security to your home. You can be anywhere with your phone but answer your front door and see who’s there. They have no idea where you are, home or otherwise. For information, visit https://ring.com/.
Indoor air quality can be poor. The upstairs can often be hotter than the downstairs. Air can be humid and wet. House odors from cooking, pets, etc., can hang around. A Whole House Fan is quiet (with a light white noise) and can be installed without reframing. When you open the windows with the whole house fan on, it strips out the heat from the home as well as the unwelcome smells. In summer months it keeps the house cooler and eliminates stale air in the winter. For information, visit http://www.solatube.com/whole-house-fans.
Another product that installs quickly is an upgraded bathroom fan. It comes with a variety of options such as heaters and lights. An upgraded bathroom fan can dramatically reduce bathroom humidity and odors and run more quietly. For information, visit https://na.panasonic.com/us/home-living-solutions/ventilation-indoor-air-quality.
An easy home improvement project is to swap out light bulbs for LEDs. Even CFL bulbs can’t hold a candle to LED bulbs, which, while more expensive, last up to 20 years or more. One source for LED bulbs is 1000 Bulbs, www.1000bulbs.com.
This gives you an idea of some ways to spruce up your home in under two hours. But the changes will be long-lasting!
(BPT) - You don't have to be a pro to tackle many home improvement projects. With a little elbow grease and a few smart tools, DIY novices can easily complete all kinds of household tasks efficiently and correctly.
Here are 10 common DIY projects for beginners that any homeowner (or apartment dweller) can learn to do. Not only will your house look great, but you'll feel a great sense of pride too.
1. Install a kitchen backsplash: You don’t need to learn how to cut and install tile. Instead, add a stylish backsplash by using inexpensive alternative materials such as tin ceiling tiles, wooden beadboard or wallpaper.
2. Loosen rusty bolts: For stubborn nuts and bolts, reach for a Bernzomatic TS3500 Multi-Use Torch. This easy-to-use tool empowers all levels of DIYers and can be used for dozens of tasks. For this one, simply heat up the bolt to loosen the rust, then turn with a wrench to remove. Discover more torch project ideas at Bernzomatic.com.
3. Conceal wall blemishes: From nail holes to furniture bumps, repair wall blemishes by using a putty knife to spread a resurfacing compound. For larger dings, you can use an adhesive patch and add an all-purpose drywall compound with a trowel. Allow to dry, then sand and repaint.
4. Give furniture a vintage look: The rustic look is “in,” but rather than splurge on trendy furniture, get the same look for less money and have fun creating it yourself. Add an aged look to wooden furniture such as patio sets or console tables, or decor items like picture frames using a torched patina effect. The Bernzomatic TS3500 Multi-Use Torch provides ultimate control for steady strokes back and forth on raw wood to bring out the natural wood grain without having to apply a stain. It only takes seconds.
5. Create a perfect patio: If you want a new patio, but don't want to deal with mortar, consider flagstone. These flat stones fit together like puzzle pieces so you can create a small patio, meditation garden or reading nook virtually anywhere in your yard.
6. Repair equipment: Need to repair the grips on your bike, tennis racket or hockey sticks? When you want to regrip them, take off the old grip and use a torch to soften the adhesive to make it easier to remove the old grip. Simply add new grips around the now adhesive-free surfaces.
7. Eliminate picture-hanging snafus: When hanging small pictures, put masking tape on the wall before hammering or drilling. This will help ensure the wall or paint doesn't crack. Additionally, place a folded sticky note on the wall before drilling and it will catch all the dust.
8. Spruce up landscaping beds: If your landscaping is looking drab, mulch is an affordable way to limit weeds and protect plants while making the space more visually appealing. Use cut outs of landscaping fabric to line the beds before spreading mulch evenly on top. Quick trick: use a torch to singe the ends of the fabric to keep it from fraying.
9. Replace outlet plates: Faded or dated outlet plates can make an entire room look old. Update your space by installing new covers. For little cost, you can buy new plates and all you have to do is use a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver to swap out the old for new.
10. Evoke elegance with crown molding: High-end homes often feature crown molding where the wall meets the ceiling. To get the look for less, purchase foam crown molding from your local home improvement store, paint and install with foam-board adhesive. No nails required!
(BPT) - What would you rather do: Pay your utility bill or take a much-deserved vacation? With an endless stream of bills each month, you might wonder where you can find the money to jet off to the beach or mountain resort of your dreams. There is a solution.
The average U.S. household spends more than $2,200 yearly on energy bills, with about half of that for heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). As a large portion of that energy is wasted, making your home more energy efficient will pay big dividends.
With only a couple weekends of work, these three simple low-cost DIY projects can significantly reduce your home cooling costs, freeing up money year after year so you can take vacations or do other fun activities. Best of all, the three actions work together to not only reduce your utility bills, but to make your home more comfortable year-round.
1. Add insulation
Chances are your home lacks sufficient insulation, despite when it was built. Some 90 percent of U.S. homes are under-insulated, reports the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA). Fortunately, adding insulation is simple, with products readily available at your local home improvement store.
One of the most cost-effective and easiest types of insulation to work with is expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid foam boards. EPS panels are simple to cut to size without creating a mess, are recyclable and can be installed throughout your home, including in walls, floors, ceilings and foundation walls. A similar material, graphite polystyrene (GPS), also is easy to work with, and provides even higher insulating power, according to manufacturers. One of the EPS and GPS brands available at home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s is R-Tech insulation from Insulfoam. “R-Tech EPS and GPS insulations offer some of the highest insulating power per dollar,” says Michael McAuley, Insulfoam general manager.
2. Seal air leaks
While inadequate insulation allows heat to pass out of your home in winter or to come in during summer, another path for energy loss is air leaks. Insulating your home and sealing air leaks can save you up to 20 percent on home heating and cooling costs, notes the DOE. Common places to look for leaks include attic access hatches, around windows and doors and in crawl spaces. Readily available weather stripping, caulks and spray foams can help keep your home airtight. For step-by-step instructions, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “DIY Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR."
3. Install a programmable thermostat
With your newly insulated and sealed home, a third step you can take to cut energy bills is to install a programmable thermostat. The DOE estimates you can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. In the summer, keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and set the thermostat to 78 degrees when you are at home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
These three utility bill-busting tips are within the skill set of many homeowners, but if you want a little extra help, hiring a contractor is also cost effective, as these are not large projects.
(BPT) - This time of year was made for DIY projects. The weather is perfect, the projects have mounted, you’ve got the time and the motivation. Now if only you had the budget.
Not to worry, DIY doesn’t have to be synonymous with expensive! There are plenty of impactful DIY projects that can be tackled quickly and affordably in just a single weekend. Below is a list of five projects that you can use to scratch that project itch without putting a noticeable dent in your wallet.
* Seal the gaps. Hidden gaps and cracks in your home could be allowing air to escape, making the temperature in the house more difficult to regulate and your energy bill more expensive than it needs to be. Seal these gaps with an innovative air-sealing insulating foam to help protect against air and moisture infiltration. It will create a tighter building envelope that helps to reduce your energy waste and your monthly bill.
* A fresh coat of paint. How many times have you walked by that wall, those cabinets or that wooden chair and thought, "I need to repaint that"? Well, now’s the time. Painting small spaces and furniture yourself is a small, inexpensive project that can be finished in a single weekend. So start picking colors today. Once you’re done, you can feel proud knowing that you put in the hard work to give your home a fresh look.
* Ward off vermin. You’re not the only one who’s happy to see that warmer weather has arrived. Vermin of the mammal, reptile or insect variety will also be more active during the warmer months and they may set their sights on your home. GREAT STUFF(TM) Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealant helps block vermin from entering your home through gaps, cracks and holes. Spray the foam to block these points of entry and the only guests you’ll greet this season are those you actually invited.
* Update your window treatments. If “treatment” is a generous word when describing the accent pieces around your windows, it’s time for an upgrade. Whether curtains, blinds or drapes, window treatments can be as cost effective as you want them to be, so don’t be afraid to be picky. And once you find treatments that appeal to you, use them to block the sun on the hottest days to reduce your energy expenses.
* Expand your DIY. Your DIY projects don’t have to be confined to your home; they can also involve your boat, your RV or your other vehicles. GREAT STUFF(TM) Multipurpose Black Foam Sealant can be used to fill unwanted gaps and cracks in vehicles, allowing you to cruise into vacation with no worries.
You can scratch that DIY itch without a month-long commitment or completely draining your bank account. All you have to do is pick the projects that match your budget, your time frame and your goals, and get to work. And when they're done, you'll have the rest of the season to enjoy your new and improved home. To find more simple projects you can tackle with GREAT STUFF(TM) Insulating Foam Sealant, visit greatstuff.dow.com.
(BPT) - Looking for some easy ways to breathe new life into your home? Whether it's the air inside or the decor itself, freshening things up can make your home look and feel more welcoming at any time of year. You don't need a lot of time or money to reinvigorate your home; just a few simple and affordable, yet high-impact DIY projects will do the trick.
Here are a few projects you can easily accomplish in a single weekend:
* Paint an accent wall, trim or ceiling. Decorators often say painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to freshen your home's appearance. You don't have to redo an entire room in order to leverage the freshening power of paint. Simply painting a single accent wall for a pop of color, using paint to create graphic wall art, or repainting the trim or ceiling will create a whole new look. If you're looking for inspiration or simple solutions to help seamlessly transform your space, Dutch Boy Paint offers unique project ideas and easy-to-follow how-tos that will make the process a breeze.
Choosing the right paint for the job can also ensure the painting project is a breeze, from start to finish. Dutch Boy Refresh paint + primer with Arm & Hammer odor Eliminating Technology, eliminates the need for a separate primer. It saves time since you don't have to take that extra step of priming first. Plus, it's great for reducing common household odors. Refresh paint is a perfect choice for laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms and even kids rooms. It gives you added assurance that your home will smell fresh and clean.
* Don't forget about your furry family members. You may love your pets, but the truth is they can contribute to a stuffy atmosphere in your home. Wash pet bedding, litter boxes and cloth toys regularly. Contain pet clutter by placing your pup's or kitty's toys in a pretty basket where he or she can reach them.
* Add some indoor greens. Plants not only make a room look bright and homey, their ability to filter carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants can help make your home smell fresher, too.
* Give your kitchen some TLC. Like most, you probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen. However, you don't need to do a complete makeover to give your kitchen a fresh look. Start by decluttering countertops and dropping some lemon rinds down the garbage disposal. Next, replace dated cabinet hardware with new handles, knobs and pulls. Adding in a faucet in a contemporary finish will go a long way too; as a focal point of the kitchen, it will help tie everything together in a subtle way.
* Upgrade your entryway. The front door is one of the first things visitors notice. If yours is old, worn and outdated, replacing it with a new one can be an easy, cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your home's exterior. Even if your door is in good shape, painting it a bright, appealing color can make your home's facade look fresher and more inviting. Be sure to use a paint formulated for doors, such as Dutch Boy Cabinet, Door & Trim paint. Add decorative lighting fixtures like sconces or a hanging light, dress up front steps with potted flowers and wash sidelights and windows around the entry.
* Some sources of stuffiness may surprise you. That old shower curtain not only makes your bathroom look shabby, it can detract from the air quality in the room as mildew builds up over time. Replace old shower curtains with something bright and appealing, and be sure to clean the grate on the bathroom vent fan. Stuffiness hides in the laundry room, too. Cleaning dryer vents and the washing machine regularly, and keeping laundry items and accessories organized can help make even a small laundry area feel fresh.
Freshening around the home doesn't have to be a seasonal project. With a few simple steps, you can create a new look and feel in and around your home at any time of year. For more on these products and inspiration for your next paint project, visit www.dutchboy.com
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