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10 Musts To Consider Before Renovating Your Basement

If you are looking for some additional living space, your unfinished basement might be an excellent place to find some. When you are considering throwing money at a Winnipeg renovation contractor to fix up the basement, there are a lot of things to think about ahead of time. Before you dig right in, these are the ten things you have to know to make your basement area exactly what you want with no stress.

Basement Room

Prevent water

If you want to ensure that your basement stays dry, inspect it for any signs of pooling water or drips that might be coming from the walls or foundation. Also, check the outside of the house to look for any problems with the foundation, such as cracks. It is important to fix them before you even consider renovating. Also, for additional protection you might want to consider drain tiles. They help cut the risk of flooding by redirecting water away from your foundation, which can create cracks and let water in.

Know your local codes

Some ordinances require that you have a building permit and some don’t. If you don’t take out the proper permits, it can cost you in the end. If you are planning on doing any electrical or plumbing work, make sure to call your local building department to find out what steps you have to take before you start working.

How are things going to stay together

Renovating a basement is different from other types of additions. It might not just take a couple of nails to fasten things together. Sometimes you need to anchor things, fix parts with masonry work, or even work with blocks or bricks. It is important to make sure that things can be put together before you get halfway into the project and get stuck.

Create a barrier

When you are renovating your basement, moisture can be an issue. To prevent build-up, you will want to create a barrier between the walls and the foundation for condensation. There are a ton of really great materials that will help to not only keep out the cold, but also will stop the walls from trapping in moisture, which can lead to mold or other water issues.

Even things out

If you have uneven walls or rifts in the walls, that will make it very difficult to frame them. You have to create a flat surface by adding symmetry before you attempt to put your framing in for you to put up drywall. Otherwise, your drywall will be a disaster.

Insulate

Because your basement is below ground level, it will be harder to control the temperature unless you insulate properly. Not only will you want to provide the moisture control, but you might also want to add spray foam insulation.

Consider a drop ceiling

The basement will probably have a lot of piping and wires that supply water and energy to the house. Putting in a drop ceiling will ensure that you can still get to things when you need to. Making equipment easily accessible makes things a lot more convenient and inexpensive if you ever need to get at the pipe work to repair it.

Consider baseboard heating

Because heat rises and putting in heating vents on the floor is probably not possible, consider adding baseboard heating to keep your basement warm during cold weather. You can tie the baseboard units into your HVAC system. It will eliminate the need for you to use dangerous space heaters to keep things warm.

You don’t have to finish the utility room

Make sure that you don’t finish the utility room space. That is where you store your furnace, your water heater, and all the other whole-house appliances that service your home. Don’t encase them and make it impossible to service or access them when needed. If you try to cut out too much space and sacrifice convenience, you will end up being sorry in the end.

Your basement can be an excellent way to add living space to your home, but only if it makes good sense. If you have a basement that is prone to flooding or a foundation that has issues, you have to address them before you even consider a basement remodel. Taking the right steps before any work is done will save you money and headaches in the long run.

8 Home Maintenance Tips That You Can Effectively Do This Summer

Summertime is the best time to clean up and upgrade the looks of your house, especially the exterior part. There are lots of things you can do to give your house the “pampering” it needs while the weather is warm. Below is a list of easy-to-do home maintenance projects that you can immediately start up anytime you wanted this summer.

Summer Home

Exterior paint touch-up

Repainting the exterior part of your home is a quick and easy way to give it a brand new, fresh and cool look this summer season.  This is a surefire way to improve its curb appeal and even its market value. You can easily do this by yourself or you can hire some pros to make sure that everything will be done proper and right – from the type of paint color to use up to the painting process and procedure.

Wash exterior windows

Summertime is the only time of the year you can fully wash your windows from the outside. You might need some elbow grease to get your windows squeaky clean as it can effectively remove stubborn dust and dirt. If you are the type of homeowner who cleans exterior windows very often, a bit of soap, water and good cleaning solution could be enough to finish this project.

Clean window screens

Take off all of your window screens to fully clean them from top to bottom. You might need a good cleaning solution to remove and kind of dust, dirt and debris caught up between its tiny openings. If they are too dirty to be cleaned or you are seeing damages beyond repairs, then it’s time for you to replace them.

Clean air conditioner filter

Before blasting out your air conditioner, make sure that its filter is clean as ever. You can remove dirt and dust from it by washing with warm water or by the help of a vacuum cleaner.  Do this every two weeks to make sure that your air conditioner is working and cooling your home effectively.

Clean the walkways and driveways

With the help of ever reliable pressure washer, wash away those dirt, dust and debris that invaded your walkway and pathway. You can also check it from any kind of cracks and damages as it can allow unwanted weeds to grow by themselves. If you found any, clean it up and repair it after.

Clean your baseboards

When is the last time you took the time to wipe your baseboards clean? If you can’t remember the date, then maybe it’s about time to do it this summer. Get down on your knees and start scrubbing and wiping the dirt away from your baseboard. Yes, it’s quite a grueling task for an adult person so why not ask the help of your younger family members? Just make sure to give them some sort of reward afterwards.

Inspect your hoses

Check the hoses of your dishwasher, dehumidifier, toiler, refrigerator and other appliance around your home. Look for any signs of leakage and repair immediately if you found any. Remember, hoses are prone to breaking especially if they are quite old.

Clean up your attic and your basement

Clean up and organize your attic this summer. Remove old and broken stuff to clear up some space. Look out for pests, insects, mold or mildew that might be hiding at your attic or basement.

These home projects are quite simple and easy to follow. So before you plan your summer vacation, spend a day or two cleaning and tidying up your home.

A Different Way of Living: How Technology is Changing our Homes

The sort of properties we live in today might share some of the same basic amenities that previous generations also enjoyed but the similarity ends there when you consider the technology now widely available to enhance our safety and enjoyment in the space we call home.

Here is a look at some of that technology and how it is being used in our homes and what it can do to transform so many aspects of your daily life, including a way to take greater control of your energy use, how to control your home from your smartphone, and a modern approach to going to the toilet.

Smart Home

Energy use is a big issue

Every home uses energy and the cost of providing the heating and lighting that we need on a daily basis is something that should concern anyone, especially when there is a growing awareness of the need for greater fuel efficiency and to reduce our carbon footprint.

Modern homes can now be equipped with a home energy management program, like the one designed by Powerhouse Dynamics, for example.

The energy management system monitors your energy use and costs 24/7 and lets you know the sort of details that can make a difference to your costs and appliance repair bills, by telling you when your fridge isn’t working properly or needs defrosting, and why it thinks your energy usage is spiking.

This is all closely related to the general idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT), where all your devices are connected to the internet and use the chips in them to collect and communicate the sort of data that can help improve efficiency and enhance your safety and enjoyment of your own home.

The power of your phone

Smartphones are taken for granted now as an everyday item but they do offer you access to the sort of home technology that can make a difference to how you enjoy and use your home.

You can now use apps to control the lighting and heating in your home even when you are not there and if you want to you can even switch the kettle on remotely so that you can arrive home and brew up some coffee straight away.

There are so many different useful apps, like a real-time weather app, you can get it on Google Play, that lets you know how the temperatures are going to affect your home.

A lot of the devices you get for your home come with an app that you can download on your smartphone, giving you the power to monitor and change many different aspects beyond heating and lighting.

Even your toilet can be transformed by technology

There seems to be no aspect of living that can be touched by technology and even the toilet in your home can get an upgrade that could prove to be more useful than you might think.

There are already a number of “smart” toilets that have been developed, which are capable of taking a urine or stool sample when you pay a visit and checking for any abnormalities or issues that could suggest you have a medical problem which needs further investigation.

There is no doubt that the rapid growth of IoT and smart technology in our homes is creating a different way of living and who knows what the house of the future is going to offer?

 

4 Practical Tips That Can Help Sell Your Home Fast!

There are lots of reasons why people wanted to sell their property fast and one of those reasons is the need to relocate ASAP. Some even lowers their property’s price drastically just to get it sold before they move out.

If you are one of the money who wanted to get their property sold as soon as possible, here are few tips and advice that could help you out.  With these tips, you won’t need to lower your house’s price value just to attract buyers around.

Home For Sale Pixabay

Meet and greet all type of buyers

Always maintain a happy, welcoming and pleasant personality when talking with potential buyers, even with those who don’t look so serious in buying your property. Be patient enough and give them a good tour around your house. Even they don’t end up buying your home; they might recommend it to their friends who are serious in buying a property. So being nice with them could help you land a good, potential buyer.

Maintain the cleanliness around your house

Once you put up your house on the real estate market, potential buyers might come at anytime of the day. So always prepare yourself and your house by maintaining its cleanliness. Organize everything that’s visible to the naked eye. Don’t forget the lawn or garden as it can add curb appeal to your house. Doors and windows must be properly kept too as they can easily attract the attention of people passing by.

Add color to your home

Adding colors to your home gives it an attractive, lively and vibrant look. You don’t need to paint your wall or ceiling to attain this. You can use a good arrangement of flowers at your living room and kitchen. The color of the curtains, carpet and rugs can also help. Couch pillows and lighting fixtures can surely help as well.

Deal with property buying firms

There are firms out there that can buy your property in an instant. The catch is, it’s either they buy it in a very low price or they’ll get a huge chunk of your selling price once they successfully sold it on the market. If you are a busy person and you just wanted to sell the house fast, this is a good option for you. With this, all you need to do is sign all the legal papers needed and the rest will be taken care of by the firm you trusted your property with.

5 Home Remodeling Don’ts Every Homeowner Must Know

Home renovation and remodeling doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right planning and adequate preparation, it can be done without too much fuzz or trouble.

Hiring a contractor is the best way to go when it comes to home remodeling. With a contractor, you can be sure that your home will get the fix it needs and deserves. And for them to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner, you, the homeowner, must follow the following rules and tips until renovation is finished.

Home Remodeling 1

Don’t delay important decisions.

Your contractor won’t do anything until it gets your approval. Decision making is very important if you want your remodeling project to go well. So make sure that all stuff that needs your approval is taken care of before handing them your house.

Don’t buy your own materials.

If you think that if you buy your own materials instead of getting them through your contractor could save money, think again. Yes, they might mark it up a bit but in the long run, you’ll save more if you buy through them. Why? A contractor knows where to get quality materials for a good price. Let them know your budget and surely, they’ll come up with an idea or two on where or how to get your much needed materials.

Don’t work without contingency fund.

Aside from the project budget, it’s also best to set a contingency fund. You’ll never know what needs to be bought or to be paid while renovation is on the way. If you have a good contractor, they can surely give you a good idea on how much contingency fund you must set up.

Home Remodeling 2

 Don’t let kids and pets get in the way.

It’s best to keep your kids and your pets away while home renovation and remodeling is underway. If you can let a relative or a good neighbor take care of them until project is finished, much better. Aside from not being safe for them to be around while contractors are working, they can also cause some unexpected delay onto the project.

Don’t be a distraction.

Let the contractors do their job. As much as possible, don’t interrupt them and if you have to say something or wanted them to do something, best to talk with the man in charge. But as much as possible, don’t distract them at all. This is also why tip number 1 is very important.

Following these tips and tricks can surely make your home remodeling project fast, easy and worry-free!

5 Home Improvement Projects You Shouldn’t DIY

There are lots of home improvement projects that anyone can do by themselves. Simple projects like re-painting the wall and ceiling, changing carpet and area rugs, changing the lighting fixtures and hanging new set of wall art can be done by anyone in an instant.

DIY TOOL

However, there are also home improvement projects that are best left to the professionals. These projects need special skills, tools and experience that only the pros have.  Some of them are as follows:

Electrical works and projects

Electrical repairs and upgrades must be done by a licensed and experienced technician. Yes, replacing a light fixture can be DIY but repairing or upgrading a circuit board is best left to the professionals. Aside from saving yourself from electric shock and harm, you can be sure that there will be no faulty wires and lines around your house.

Major plumbing work

Fixing a leaky faucet is as easy as 1-2-3 but any troubles beyond that must be fixed by master plumber. Don’t attempt to fix your plumbing unless you are truly knowledgeable with it. If you wanted to renovate your bathroom or kitchen (where major plumbing is installed), better call a plumbing pro to help you out.

Changes in home structure

Don’t knock down a wall or a part of your home unless you know it’s really safe to do so. It’s highly recommended that you hire a professional when it comes to changing a home’s structure. This way, you can be sure that everything is safe and in perfect condition.

Window replacements

Replacing windows is not an easy feat. Although you can do it yourself, it’s way better to hire professional help for this project. This way, you can be sure that it’s perfectly placed and sealed thus improving the energy efficient of your home.

Roof replacement

Repairing a roof can be DIY as long as it’s just a small repair job. But when it comes to bigger problems that needs a complete roof replacement, better hire the professionals. The pros know what kind of roof is perfect for your house. They know the proper and easy way to install it. They got the right tools and equipment that suits for the task.

Although it’s quite tempting to DIY some home improvement projects, better think about the results that you’ll get especially if you little or no knowledge about it.

 

4 Best Bathroom Accessories For Seniors

Bathrooms are the most accident prone places in the entire house for every person, especially the seniors. Water, slippery floors, hard ceramic fixtures and increased mobility in the bathroom enhance the risk of falls and injuries, and also require proper cleaning. To improve bathroom safety for elder lies, a variety of products are available in the market. These products can be installed easily without major remodeling of the bathroom and can be purchased online at sites like ABL Tile Center.

Bathroom Accessories

The range of products includes:

Grab Rails

Available in different sizes, these comfort bars provide a stable surface to hold for increased stability. They can be strategically installed in high risk areas of the bathroom like near the toilet seat or bathtub. Grab bars can be installed permanently or you can use suction rails. These versatile and inexpensive bars are a good protective measure to alleviate bathroom injuries.

Toilet Seats

Toilet seats come in three varieties; elevated seats, seats with backrest and seats with arm rests. Elevated toilet seats make toilets higher and more convenient to get on and off. These are ideal for old people or those with restricted movement. They come with integrated, detachable or foldable arm rests for further ease.

Shower Seats

Bathtubs are most susceptible to accidents due to their slick surface. Besides installing grab rails near them, shower seats can also be used to minimize the risk of falls. They allow you to sit comfortably in the bathtub. Moreover, they are a perfect solution to the people who have balance issues or those who cannot stand for long and get tired easily. The different varieties among shower seats include shower stool (without back), shower chair (with back), foldable shower chair (to save space) NS shower board. Each type serves its own purpose, so buy the one that suits your requirements.

Hand Held Shower Heads For Elderly

In old age, simple tasks like taking bath can get tiring because of constant movement, bending and stretching. In such cases, hand held shower heads can prove to be a blessing. With extendible shower hose and adjustable height features, you can easily wash yourself without any assistance. These hand held shower heads with temperature adjustment can be installed at home with minimum effort and time. They also come with messaging feature, especially for people with stiff muscles.

Every year thousands of senior citizens get injured or die due to tripping in the bathroom If you have senior persons in your home, it’s wise to install the right bathroom safety accessories to prevent accidents.

7 Handyman Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

Having a good set of handyman tools is very important for homeowners. These can be very useful in times of emergency or when there’s something that needs to be repaired immediately.

Below are some of the most basic yet very important tools that each and every homeowner must have at home.

Handyman Tools

Hammers

One hammer is good but if you can get two, much better. Get one heavyweight hammer and one lightweight hammer. The heavier one can be used for outside repairs and maintenance while the lighter one can be used for light materials such as pins an tacks.

Drill and Drill Bits

A multipurpose, battery operated drill can be really useful for a number of tasks. Just buy a set of drill bits with a selection of Philips-head, square-drive and slotted that comes in different sizes and you are good to go.

Screwdrivers

Even if you already have a batter powered drill and driver, a manual set of screwdrivers can be also useful. You can use it for simple tasks that don’t require much time and effort. You can either buy a variety of different types of screwdrivers (flathead, Phillips, slotted) or just get one with interchangeable heads.

Adjustable Crescent Wrench

An adjustable crescent wrench can work wonders. And because it can be adjusted to fit any size of nuts and bolts, you’ll only need one at home. There are also crescent wrenches available nowadays that can adjust automatically to the size of the bolt.

Extension Cord

This might not be considered as a real handyman tool but it can serve a lot of purpose. Extension cords can be used for portable lights that you might need when you worn on dark areas or corners of your house. You can also use it when you are working outside your home.

Tape Measure

This one is a total must have for homeowners. You can use it when there’s a need to measure your window, doors, furniture and other stuff around your home. You will surely find a simple tape  measure truly useful around your home.

Pliers

But a set of pliers that comes in different sizes and types. Locking pliers are for multipurpose gripping, channel-lock pliers for pipes and vales and long nose pliers for tiny spaces and corners. You can also include the electrician’s pliers at your tools for stripping and cutting wires.

These simple tools can surely help you a lot in case of emergency or trouble! So check your toolbox now and see if you already have them all.

Increasing the Value of Your Real Estate Investment

Real estate investing has reached an all-time peak, and this profitable business venture has enticed entrepreneurs from all walks of life to dip their toe into the real estate pool. If you’re one of the many who have recently invested in a property and you’re considering the ways you can increase its value, consider these strategic home improvement upgrades and make the most of your investment.

House For Sale - Real Estate

Open Concept Renovations

Modern homeowners and renters are looking for open concept spaces, and this likely isn’t news to you. Turn on your television and watch any of the many home improvement shows that now grace our channels and you’ll see this trend isn’t going out of style any time soon. If you want to make your real estate investment more desirable, consider renovating any closed off rooms into open concept spaces. The best spaces make the most of available light and capitalize on the available square footage. Spaces that are both open and functional can be an enticing aspect for many renters and buyers, and investing the money on framework renovations like this can pay off in the long run.

Add a Bathroom

If you’re hoping to rent out your real estate investment to families, it’s important to consider your property’s bathroom situation. Large families need more than a single master bathroom, and adding a bathroom, or even a half bathroom to the home can increase your home’s value exponentially. Research current estimates on the costs for a bathroom addition, then compare this cost to the rent rates similar properties are pulling in. In most cases, you’ll find the addition more than covers the investment, and then some.

Bathroom Real Estate

Incorporate Energy Efficient Features

Modern homes are filled with energy efficient features, and as building focus continues to shift onto sustainable practices, getting ahead of the game could serve you well. There’s truly no limit to the ways you can increase the value of your property with energy efficient upgrades. From solar panels to energy efficient roofing, Energy Star kitchen appliances to window and door replacements, almost every room in any given home can be improved through sustainable home upgrades.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to improve the value of your property is by painting. Hire a professional painter to give your property a fresh coat, both on the interior and exterior. If budgetary concerns prevent you from hiring a professional, pull on those overalls and get to rolling on the paint yourself. The effects of a fresh coat of paint are truly significant, and can greatly enhance the overall look of the space. Also be sure to keep up with painting maintenance; this will help prevent costly repairs and repaints down the line, and keep your property looking its best.

Landscaping Features

Curb appeal counts, so take a step back and consider the exterior of your property. Is there obvious signs of damage or weather wear and tear? If you’ve been less than committed to maintenance, it’s likely that your property needs a little tender, loving care. One of the easiest ways to improve your curb appeal is through landscaping additions. If your property’s yard has brown grass and scraggly bushes, it’s time to call in the professionals. Adding the right landscaping features means immediately adding value to your property. Simply adding mature trees to your front yard can increase your home’s value by $10,000, and the addition of earth berms can help keep utility costs low. Why? Earth berms can help your home stay cool during the summer and retain heat during those chilly winter months.

If you’re looking for ways to add value to your property, keep these important upgrades in mind. While there are undoubtedly plenty of upfront costs associated with these property improvements, they’re generally more than worth the investment. Paying the money now can result in massive dividends later, and protect your investment as a supplementary income for decades to come.

The Lowdown on Underfloor Heating

You’ve probably heard of underfloor heating by now, and you may know a couple of households that have installed it – they probably extol the virtues on a regular basis and now you’re thinking about it yourself. If you are, here’s what you need to know.

Underfloor Heating

What are the advantages?

Your friends will probably already have told you all about how there are no cold spots or freezing cold bathroom floors in the mornings.

There are also no more bulky radiators taking up space – generally a radiator takes an entire wall out of service – there’s not much else you can do there.

Underfloor heating also means that there’s no hotspots either; the heat is very uniform and gentle and because it comes from the ground, very little is wasted.

What types of underfloor heating (UFH) are there?

There’s the wet system, which uses warm water straight from the central heating. This warm water is pumped through a network of plastic pipes that are laid in a sub-floor, underneath the eventual flooring surface.

Wet UFH uses fairly low-temperature water – 40C to 65C – to achieve a floor temperature of 23C to 32C.

Electric UFH uses cables, attached to mesh mats, and these mats are laid onto the floor, connected together and then connected to the thermostat and the mains power.

Electric systems are cheaper to install, and they are shallower in profile so there’s less need to dig down into the sub-floor, but they cost more to operate in the long-run.

Where can UFH be used?

Most UFH systems are installed on ground-floors, but increasingly, newer systems are being developed that can be installed in upper floors and even in walls.

Wet UFH is more suited to floors that are under construction, so if you’re about to head off to a discount flooring depot, ask about the possibilities for heating while you’re there. Wet systems need more excavation, so installing it at the same time as a new floor is the best way forward.

Electric systems don’t need much excavation, if any, to fit in. There are even some systems that can simply be placed under rugs, which makes them ideal for upper floors.

What do I do once it’s installed?

Not a lot, especially if you have a wet system, as once the pipes are encased in the sub-floor, that’s it. You’ll need to do some prep and thinking beforehand, though.

You need to look at the rest of the house, to make sure that it’s well-insulated. You also need insulation below the pipes, so that heat is directed upwards and not into the ground below.

If you have a wet system, you’ll need somewhere for the controls to go – many UFH systems let you control each room and all the controls can be placed in one spot, usually alongside the timer.

As with any heating system, a condensing boiler will be the most efficient, but you can use pretty much any type of boiler, really.

The science bit

Your installation company will plan everything out for you, including your optimum temperatures, ceiling height, heat loss and so on. If you’re putting a wet system into an existing room, that floor will need to come up, so bear this in mind before you start.