Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Renovate a Kitchen Using Safe and Healthy Building Materials

When it comes to home improvement projects, remodeling or renovating the kitchen is generally considered to be one of the most important things on the "to do" list for many reasons. The kitchen is not just another room in your home, it is a eating area, a work area as well as a gathering area for family and often times guests.

The choices you make when you are renovating a kitchen for your own use may be different than if you were renovating to sell the home, but in both cases you will want the same end result; a space that is comfortable yet practical, appealing to the eye and that is within your budget. But you also want it to be a healthy space, and in order to keep your renovation, and ultimately your family as healthy as possible, you must know which building materials are potentially harmful.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Install a Deadbolt Lock

Today everyone seems to be a little more security conscious than they used to be. New state of the art security systems with remarkable capabilities are now widely available to homeowners, but it is important to remember that all good systems should include deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.

Deadbolts come in two styles. One requires a key to unlock from the outside but is operated on the inside by turning a knob. These are best suited for doors with no glass and they are safer in the event of fire as there is no fumbling for keys to make your escape.

The other requires a key both outside and the inside. If your front door has a pane of glass in it, you should probably opt for this style so that would be burglars cannot break the glass and simply reach in a turn the knob. However, they double keyed style is harder to operate in a fire. Should you install this style, always be sure that the keys are easily accessible in case of fire or some other emergency. The installation of these two styles is basically the same.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Keep Your Family Healthy with Nontoxic Housekeeping Products and Techniques

If you ask most anyone who is concerned with maintaining a healthy lifestyle what they do to stay healthy, you`ll probably hear the same answers over and over. You`ll hear them say that they have quit smoking, joined a gym or they have started eating better. Rarely if ever will you hear anyone say that they have changed their cleaning habits to try to attain better health.
There are no two rooms in the home that require cleaning more often than the kitchen and bathroom, and although wiping surfaces down is sufficient for every day cleaning maintenance, occasionally a deep-down cleaning is in order. But that does not mean that harsh fumes from commercial cleaners need to be involved in the cleaning and sanitizing process. Cleaning is supposed to make you healthier, not sicker. Some simple everyday household items will do the job without the fumes that can be so harmful to humans and the environment.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

How to Cut Down on Utility Costs by Properly Sealing Your Home

Heating and cooling bills probably add up to as much if not more than all of your other household bills combined. The simplest way to cut back on the already-high cost of these utilities is to ensure that your home is as energy efficient as it can be. A home that allows heat and cool air to escape or to enter through cracks and gaps will cost far more than a home that has been properly sealed.

Finding Cracks and Gaps

The good news is, that most cracks and gaps can be found pretty easily by the homeowner. Simply light a candle and hold it close to areas where you suspect there might be air escaping or entering. The air movement will move the flame of the candle.


* Check for any cracks or gaps in siding, mortar or foundations.
* Check anyplace where two different building materials meet up on the exterior of the home. For example, where siding or brick meets up with the foundation or roof.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

How to Keep a Clean House in Just Minutes a Day

There is no need to be obsessive about every tiny little detail in order to keep a home that looks and smells as though it has just been freshly cleaned. Having a schedule for housework and following it is half the battle. By following a good schedule you can keep your home clean in just minutes a day.

In order to keep your home looking fresh and clean there are some jobs that must be done daily, but others are jobs that can be done weekly, some done monthly. Some larger jobs only need to be done seasonally.

Start With a Clean Slate

It is not as difficult as you might think to have a home that is neat, tidy, well-organized and easy to maintain, but you must start with a clean slate. This means a good old fashioned spring cleaning. Not the kind of spring cleaning where all you do is take an afternoon to clean the windows and re-stack old magazines. Spring cleaning is a time to purge the home of all unnecessary clutter and debris that has been allowed to build up over the course of the year(s) and it can be done at any time of the year, not just in the spring.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waging War on Waste: try to repurpose before simply recycling

Over the past several years most of us have become well acquainted with the task of recycling. Instead of tossing everything into one or two large containers on garbage collection day, we now take the time to sort bottles, cans, plastics, paper and in some cases even our table scraps so that they can be collected and given new life. Taking the extra time to do this is good for the environment, but is that all we can do? What about the things that we are recycling?

The fact is that almost everything that we throw out or recycle can be used in ways other than what they were originally intended to be used for.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

How to Update the Look of Your Kitchen With Painted Cabinets

The kitchen is often referred to as "the heart of the home." It is where the family`s day starts, where homework is done and where evening meals and tales of the day are shared. But over time, even the nicest kitchens can start to look drab, run down and in need of a little remodeling.

When remodeling a kitchen, keep in mind that new cabinetry is by far the most expensive part of the job. The cost of new cabinets alone can cost far more than all other costs combined. So what can be done to add new life to an old kitchen without breaking the budget? Painting is a quick and inexpensive way to give old cabinets a face-lift.

Regardless of the style or original finish on your cabinets, they can be painted and completely transformed. Because painting cabinets is such an inexpensive makeover, splurge on a good, high-quality paint. Paint the ceiling and walls to freshen them up, lay new flooring or install a new counter top and voila - your painted cabinets have become the centerpiece of a very nice, yet inexpensive kitchen makeover.

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How to Hang and Finish Drywall Like a Pro

Drywall is available in many different thicknesses: five eighths of an inch, half inch and three eighths of an inch. The size of the boards can be four by eight feet, four by twelve feet or four by sixteen feet. Professionals usually use four by twelve foot boards in order to cut down on hanging time and have fewer seems, but four by eight sheets are lighter and easier to handle, which makes them the choice of most do-it-yourselfers.

Cutting and Hanging Drywall

When hanging drywall, the sheets are attached to studs or ceiling joists with either screws or drywall nails. Most professionals use screws and a screw gun for installation because they are less likely to become loose later and cause damage to the painted/papered finish. When installing drywall, the heads of the screws/nails should be driven extra deep so that they leave a dimple or depression in the drywall board. These dimples can later be hidden by covering them with joint compound and then sanding them to a smooth finish.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting Homes and Gardens Ready for Winter

By the time the growing season draws to an end, even avid gardeners seem glad that they can take of the gardening gloves and put away the rakes, shovels for the season. But a true gardener knows that the work does not stop when the blooms begin to wither and die off. In order to maintain a healthy lawn and garden during the spring and summer months, there is plenty of work that must be done in the fall.

The same applies for the home. If it is expected to run efficiently and keep its occupants warm during the winter months, there are things that must be done each fall.

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How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home to Restore and Flip

Over the past decade property flipping has become more and more popular with investors who want to make some quick cash. The idea behind flipping is to buy properties at greatly reduced prices, fix them up and then quickly sell them at or above market value. Estate-sale homes, older homes that are outdated or damaged, and homes facing foreclosure are all potential gold mines for both new and experienced flippers.

The biggest problem that all, but particularly novice, flippers face is that they may not get back a good return on their investment. Many investors try too hard to make the investment property look as upscale as possible and overspend on materials and renovations, making it nearly impossible to make a profit. Others lose their profit before the renovation process even begins because they neglect to properly inspect the home before purchasing it.

If you are thinking of buying a fixer-upper to restore, either to flip or to live in yourself, it is always best to get the advice of a professional. A building contractor, architect or a knowledgeable friend that can to help to determine the condition of the house and the magnitude of work involved in restoring it.

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How to Convert an Attic Into Living Space

When space becomes becomes cramped in a home, moving is not always the only solution. Quite often extra living space can be arranged using the resources already at your disposal - and usually at a much lower cost than moving.

There are two ways that you can gain extra living space. One is to extend the home physically by adding an addition; and the other is to make use of what is usually wasted space in the attic. The latter is often preferable because it provides extra living space without cutting down on the size of the property itself.

How Much Space is There?
Because there are so many factors involved in obtaining the most usable space available when converting an attic, it is best to hire an architect or qualified builder to determine if your attic can even be converted. All of the work done to convert your attic into living space must comply with the requirements of the Building Code, and before work can begin, accurate plans must be drawn up and submitted to the Building Department for approval. In most cases the architect or builder will handle the building code part of the job for you.

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