Home Improvement Advice: Is It DIY or Time to Call a Handy Man?

When to hire a contractor

When to hire a contractor
Being a homeowner definitely comes with its share of ups and downs. Having a place to proudly call your own is priceless, but unfortunately routine home repairs and improvements do come with a price tag.

The best way to avoid expensive home repairs is to make sure you continuously maintain all the areas in your home. Upon doing so, you must repeatedly answer the following question – Is a project I can complete myself or is it better to hire a handyman?

You may think you are equipped to perform certain home improvements around the house, when actually a professional should be brought in for optimal results. Since your home is a lifetime investment, you need to make sure that you aren’t potentially damaging your house by doing the work yourself. The tips below should help you determine which projects are DIY-friendly, and which ones should be left for the pros.

1) Wonder Walls: When it comes to painting indoor walls, you can do this job yourself. Make sure you purchase the appropriate tools, tape out the rooms efficiently, and use the ideal type of paint. However, if you have especially difficult to reach places or especially high walls, it is better to hire a professional. Painting the exterior of a house is much more complicated and is typically a service that you should pay for. Professional painters have equipment that is meant to properly cover the exterior of a house.

2) Floor Fixes: The general cleaning of your household floors should be done in-house, and on a regular basis. Replacing broken or cracked tiles is something you can do yourself, but if the project is large, it is better to hire a professional. If you want to install new flooring all together, it is definitely best to enlist the help of a reliable handyman company.

3) Weary Windows: Basic window washing is a chore that you can do yourself, with the help of the proper products and equipment. If you want someone to physically scrub all your household windows from the outside, only a professional can complete this job safely and thoroughly. Any kind of window replacement or installation should be left to the pros because there is no room for error.

4) Plug-in Practices: There are a few electrical related tasks that you can do yourself but for the most part, anything that falls under that category should require a phone call to a professional. Pretty much the only thing you should be doing is changing out light bulbs, switching the exterior plates if needed, and tripping breakers when necessary.

Daily household chores are nobody’s favorite thing, but it’s a small price to pay for being a homeowner. In addition, continuous completion of these household tasks will ensure that your house stays in good condition, and will require minimal emergency repairs. In the long run, the time, effort, and money that you invest in regular

Before you hire any kind of professional to come in to your home and complete various projects, make sure you do your research. Read reviews online and ask friends for recommendations so that you select the most reliable handyman.

Read more >>

10 Surefire Ways to Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

Avoid common DIY mistakes

Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice and much time and three times the money they thought they would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

Here are 10 surefire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

1. Take out the required permits – It’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. Sure, it takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — Starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment.

3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — When your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

4. Don’t skimp on materials — For example, don’t use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. Use at at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

5. Prepare the walls for painting — Clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

6. Use the correct paint — Use flat paint for ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

7. Keep safe while working — You don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

8. Measure twice and cut once — This is one of the most important rules of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

9. Know the limits of your abilities — You’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own house — If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask.

You probably won’t eliminate all of your DIY home improvement mistakes, but you can surely reduce them with these 10 tips.

Read more >>

Does Your House Need a Kitchen Remodel?

Kitchen Remodel Advice

Is it time to upgrade your house with a kitchen remodel? While professionals all agree that remodeling your kitchen can dramatically increase the sales value of your house, there are other considerations to ponder.

First you should consider the overall condition of your house, and that of your kitchen. Is your house a showplace, with beautiful rooms, except for the kitchen? If all the rooms of your house are freshly painted and beautifully decorated, but you’ve been holding out on remodeling the kitchen for reasons of budget or time, you might want to think again. The two rooms of the house which offer the most immediate rewards in terms of increased house value are the bathroom and the kitchen. Most estimates put the value of a kitchen remodel at 80 to 90 percent. That’s a lot of potential value for your house, so it makes sense to remodel as soon as possible.

Even if you aren’t planning to move anytime soon, a kitchen remodel is a huge boon to your house for quality of living considerations alone. Most families and couples spend an enormous amount of time in their kitchen. Over and over again the kitchen is referred to as the heart of the house, because so many activities take place there-cooking, eating, homework, entertaining, to name only a few. Why not make this high-traffic room the most inviting of the house?

If your appliances are out of date or prone to constant break-downs, it is a sign you might want to consider a kitchen remodel. There are so many new energy-efficient models on the market, it makes good sense for your house budget to invest in these appliances. You’ll get more pleasure from using them, too. If you find yourself going out to eat repeatedly during the course of any given week, it may also be time for some upgrades. Not wanting to spend time in your house is a sure sign it needs some attention! If a kitchen is awkwardly laid out or inefficient, it can certainly affect your desire to cook or entertain. Who wants to invite guests to their house when it is difficult to cook a meal for them?

Another thing to consider is the needs of your family. Additions to your brood may require additions to your house, and the kitchen is going to be one of the first spaces that will show the strain of over-use. High traffic in a room wears it out more quickly. Since the kitchen is one of the highest-traffic areas in the house, remodeling it with durable yet attractive materials simply makes good sense. You’ll enjoy the bright new improvements now and reap the benefit of added resale value when you are ready to move.

Even if you’ve not actively considered remodeling your kitchen, you might want to take a look at it. The pleasure you will gain from your house and its increased value will make it worthwhile. Start doing some research today and before you know it, you’ll catch the excitement about remodeling.

Read more >>