Posted In:Home Improvement Archives - Pligg

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How To Start A Cleaning Blog For Your Industrial Cleaning Company

January 11, 2018 - By 

These days, it’s more and more common to hear people say they are a blogger.

The digital boom has opened doors for writers to turn this hobby into a full-time business or extra source of income. But, blogging is effective for more than trendy niches like fashion or travel.

It is an essential tool for any business.

In fact, if you’re struggling to get new clients, a blog might be the perfect solution for your sales to increase.

The following is a closer look at the value a cleaning blog can bring to your business.

Why Have a Cleaning Blog?

Many – if not all – of your business operations are focused on one thing: an increase in revenue.

This can happen with a blog, although it is because of other benefits at play. A blog expands your audience, makes it easier for them to find you, and sets you apart as an expert in your industry.

Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.

Expand Your Reach

Without a blog, your industrial cleaning website is missing out on content opportunities.

You can only talk about your services and your team so much on landing pages. But, when you add a blog, you can continue the conversation with your audience.

This is your place to talk about the best cleaning products, cleaning maintenance tips, and much more.

Plus, all of this content translates well on social media.

Improve SEO Performance

The more you post new content, on your website as well as on social media, the better your SEO ranks will be.

There are more things that go into this – like keyword optimization, local targeting, and link building. But, these all go hand in hand with a successful blog!

When you write content with SEO in mind, you are doing more for your business than you might think.

The blog is a way for users to find you, get to know who you are, and build a stronger sense of brand recognition and loyalty.

Establish Authority

Speaking of brand recognition, don’t forget to use your blog as a way to share your knowledge.

This isn’t about revealing your best cleaning secrets. Instead, it’s about making an effort to share your expertise.

The more you share your opinion on industry behaviors and cleaning tips, the more people will see you know what you’re talking about. Over time, trusting your advice may become using your services.

Here’s how to make all of these goals happen by starting a cleaning blog.

1. Set Your Goals

You should now understand the overarching goals of a blog: reach, SEO rank, and authority.

The thing is, these don’t happen without a clear sense of what you want your blog to be.

Remember, your cleaning blog is an extension of your industrial cleaning business. It needs to be aligned with your brand’s values and voice. The messaging should be consistent in each post, too.

Not everyone understands this, and they just start posting new content for the sake of having content. Such a process may do more harm than good.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make sure your blog’s goals make sense with the rest of your business.

2. Research Your Audience

Whenever you’re thinking of goals and objectives, do so with your audience in mind.

For a cleaning blog, this goes a bit more in-depth than demographics and expendable income. You want to know what your audience is most interested in when it comes to industrial cleaning.

Are they looking for regular maintenance or more extensive solutions? Do they want to know how to do some cleaning themselves, or are they interested in how to hire an efficient service?

Ask yourself these questions to guide you as you add to your buyer persona.

This is something you should already have in place for your marketing campaigns. But, the persona also helps you understand who it is you’re talking to when you create a blog post.

3. Make a Schedule

Once you get a couple ideas for an article, you need to create a schedule.

You can choose to write a blog a few times a month, once a week, or even once every couple days! But, try to have them planned ahead of time.

For instance, the blog you write today should be in anticipation of posting it a week or a month from now. Similarly, the blog you post today should have already been ready to go well in advance.

Aside from timing, your schedule allows the content to flow together.

You can create a different theme or series for each month. Incorporate a mix of cleaning tips and product reviews – like Haaker Equipment Company has done.

Also, pay attention to the changing of the seasons and holiday times.

These can offer new ways to approach the writing process, which helps keep everything interesting.

4. Track and Edit

As much as you might think you’ve thought of some great cleaning blog topics, you won’t know until you check the feedback.

Tracking audience engagement is crucial whether you’ve just started a blog or if you’ve been managing it for years.

It’s your way of knowing how effective your strategies really are.

If you see a rising trend in click-through rates and the time users spend on a page, you’re doing something right. But, if these numbers are dropping or you’re losing traffic overall, it’s time to make some changes.

This doesn’t mean edit old blog posts. It means taking a closer look at your schedule and topic ideas to change things moving forward.

Changes are often simple edits.

The following are easy things you can do to see a substantial improvement in blog performance:

  • Use different keywords
  • Post less or more frequently
  • Add relevant photos and graphics to your blog

Keep in mind effective changes won’t happen overnight. It will take a few new posts for you to see a difference in the numbers.

If you still can’t get it right, you might need to hire a content team to help you out.

Create Your New Blog

Ready to put these steps to the test?

The very first thing you have to do is claim a new blog domain!

Click here to discover how to make this happen.


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7 Modern Home Improvements That Will Add Value to Your Home

December 28, 2017 - By 

A home is something people take personally because, well, it’s where they live.

Or it’s where they’ve lived.

Either way, your home’s value is tied to two things: the memories you’ll make there, and how good of a building it is, overall.

Whether you’re buying or selling, modern home improvements make your home is a better buy.

There are always improvements to be made on any building, exterior or interior. From a paint job to more advanced smart technology and home security, your options for increasing the sale value of your home are boundless.

So, with so many options available to you, where do you begin?

Join us, today, as we take a closer look at seven innovative opportunities for improving your home, and making it more valuable.

Seven Effective Modern Home Improvements

When it comes to improving your home, it’s the little things that count.

All the thoughtful little ways we improve a house so that living in it becomes easier, more attractive, and fun. These are the types of modern home improvements that can make or break a house’s resale value.

And, with smart technology, better design, and refined finishes, there’s never been a better time to sell your home.

So, with that in mind, let’s start with a classic.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Curb appeal is a fairly common term among house sellers.

It refers to the idea that your home’s sale value starts with how good it looks from a distance, or “on the curb”.

And those good looks start with your home’s paint job. If your walls have scuff marks or the standard wear and tear that comes with age, a high-quality paint job is an inexpensive way to bring them back to life.

Research matching color combinations for the outside walls, gutters, and awnings. Then, use neutral colors like off-white and soft grays to paint your rooms, making them look roomier.

With the right combination of colors, you can transform your entire home for a better sale.

Better Landscaping

Of course, the color of your house isn’t the only factor playing into its curb appeal.

There’s always the question of your lawn.

Hire a professional to trim back your trees and shrubs, prune back dead plants, and mow your lawn. If your grass is patchy or thin in specific areas, you can plant new grass as needed.

Finally, take a leaf blower to your driveway to get rid of grass trimmings.

The effect of professional landscaping will be a refreshed, neatened look that will add to your home’s marketability.

Update Your Window Fixtures

Like a pair of glasses that goes out of style, dated window fixtures can make your home look older than it actually is.

A good rule of thumb is, if you inherited your blinds, drapes or curtains from the owner before you, they could probably stand to be updated.

Look into quaint wooden blinds, plantation shutters, or high-end draperies to bring a touch of modernity and class to your home.

Kitchen And Bath

The two most important rooms in the sale of your home are the kitchen and bathroom.

These two rooms are where the buyer will carry out the most important parts of their day, aside from sleeping. Preparing their meals, and cleaning themselves.

They have to be spotless but, moreover, you should consider renovating these as well. You can start with something as simple as a new coat of paint, as with the outside of your home, and move on to islands and sink fixtures later on.

In your bathroom, look into new hardware and countertops. Wall mounts look better than overhead lamps, and low flow toilets continue to be very popular.

In the kitchen, new tile can add a needed flair, and stainless steel fixtures and appliances create a sleek look that’s hard to turn down.

And, as natural stone looks continue to be a hot seller in the housing market, it makes sense to research a reliable granite company to source your countertops from.

A Backup Power Generator

There are two simple facts when it comes to home electricity. Anywhere you live, there’s no guarantee against power outages. And nobody enjoys spending an evening in the dark.

A practical step you can take to make your home stand out is to invest in a backup power generator.

Maybe you’ve considered getting one for yourself but never committed to the price. This is understandable, but it’s an investment that will put a check in favor of your home when it comes time to sell.

And anything that holds a potential buyer’s attention for even a few minutes longer is worth the effort.

Make Your Basement Better

In real estate, more is almost always better.

Increasing the floor plan of your home is a great way to increase the value of the property as a whole. And one room that remains criminally underused in most homes is the basement.

If you have a basement room, invest money into remodeling it. If you can turn it into a viable bedroom, study or nook, that’s just more reason for somebody to want to live there. If the basement is big enough, you might even consider turning it into an additional apartment.

Smart Features

One of the most exciting developments in real estate and modern home improvements is smart technology.But, if you are going to buy into high tech, it has to be smart.

Audiovisual systems, for instance, lose value at an alarming rate because the technology evolves too quickly.

Certain smart devices, however, can have a positive impact on a home’s value. Nest thermostats link to smartphones and tablets for easy adjustment and can learn your preferences. Smart lighting, door locks, garage door openers and security systems, similarly, add a high degree of value to a home.

Sell More Effectively, With Modern Home Improvements

Making your home better can mean different things to different people.

Ultimately, the more you can do with what you have, the better chance you’ll have of selling your property.

Interested in learning more about modern living, home maintenance, and a range of other fascinating topics? Check out some of our other great articles, and learn how to get the best out of your daily life, today.


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6 Signs It’s Time For Driveway Resurfacing

December 22, 2017 - By 
driveway resurfacing

We know driveway resurfacing is not the most exciting household job you’ll ever pay for. And many people like to sort out individual problems at a time, as simple problems can be relatively cheap to fix – as low as $300.

When a driveway is reaching the end of its life, this strategy feels like whack-a-mole. You fix one problem and another pops up in its place.

At this point, driveway resurfacing makes financial and aesthetic sense. But at what point is your driveway due for a full overhaul? Here are the signs to look out for.

1. Water Pooling

If you see water pooling on your driveway, it may have drainage issues. This can happen if the driveway is uneven, as all the water is running to the lowest spot and staying there.

Over time, this will weaken your drive, but the effects won’t always be visible until it causes cracks and potholes. In the winter, if the water freezes, it will push these cracks apart further.

If you live in a rainy area, adding a drainage channel when having your driveway resurfaced can help to avoid this issue in the future.

If you do notice water pooling after a storm, you can help to minimise the damage to your driveway. Push the water out of cracks and dips with a brush or a mop.

2. Cracks

Cracks are often the first sign that a driveway resurfacing job might be necessary in the near future.

While they’re not going to damage your car right away, they don’t look great. And they’ll only get worse over time.

You can try to fill in or cover up cracks. But the more you do this, the more your driveway starts to look like patchwork.

You should also know that sometimes, fixing cracks only covers up the problem, and doesn’t actually fix an underlying issue. For example, if an asphalt drive has already been damaged all the way through, it may be that a pothole is inevitable, even if you fix the crack on top.

3. Potholes

A step beyond cracks, you get potholes. These are caused by cracks getting worse and worse over time, as well as the ground beneath the paving shifting.

Water (and other fluids) seeps into the cracks and weakens the ground underneath the paving. The ground is also compacted as you drive your car over it.

The paving or tarmac starts to break up and sink downwards, forming a pothole.

Large potholes can damage your car’s suspension, and increase the wear and tear on your tires.

You might decide to fill a small pothole in, but this will never totally fix the issue. You need to look into a full driveway resurfacing job to make sure the problem is tackled at its source.

4. Your Driveway Looks Rough and Weathered

Wind, rain, sunshine, and snow all wear down your driveway over time.

This is inevitable, but the good news is that it’s largely cosmetic. For example, you might notice colored slabs are losing their hue, or paving slabs have slight chips and cracks.

However, if a driveway has been in place for a very long time, the weathering can mean it’s less stable than it used to be too. A driveway will only last for a certain amount of time.

You should expect it to remain stable for around 20 years if it’s asphalt. Or 25 if it’s paved or concreted. You still need to remember your maintenance tasks to make it last this long though.

So if your current driveway has been in place for a long time, you’ll need driveway resurfacing after a while. It might be better to get it resurfaced right away.

If you’re unsure, you can always call up experts like Pavement Planet to get their opinion of whether resurfacing is needed or not.

5. Tire Marks

Particularly noticeable on gray concrete, black tire marks end up being very unattractive after a while. These tend to appear faster if you live in a hot state.

You can’t avoid this unless you decide to never drive on your driveway!

By the way – if you do have a concrete or asphalt driveway, do you remember to reseal it every few years? This process helps to stop it cracking so quickly, and from getting chipped off at the edges.

By protecting the material, you’re helping your driveway to last longer. If you don’t keep it protected, you’re pretty much asking for cracks – which will lead to more frequent driveway resurfacing jobs.

Save yourself money by adding a reminder to your calendar to get this done.

6. It’s Too Old – Driveway Resurfacing Time!

Everything reaches the end of its useful life at some point or another.

If it’s for cosmetic reasons, or you just want a change, a new driveway can really add to the appeal of your home.

Perhaps you’re selling up and want buyers to be attracted to the house. Or maybe you’re sick and tired of being outdone by the neighbors.

Eventually, your driveway will develop one or more of the problems listed above. Replacing it now and again can save your car’s suspension and keep your home looking great.

My Driveway Looks Great – Now What?

If you’ve now sorted out your old, worn driveway, and done away with the cracks – what’s next?

How about bringing an old garage up to date? Consider some of these cool automation devices for your garage door.

Or if you’ve put in a new driveway because you’re looking to sell your home, heed our 5 solutions for a fast sale. No potential buyer will be keen on moving into a new home and having to replace the driveway themselves right away.

Whatever your objective, we hope this guide has helped you identify common driveway problems. Browse our archive for more great advice.


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5 Interior Design Apps That Will Help You Remodel

December 19, 2017 - By 

Has it been too long since the last time you gave your home a little makeover?

Maybe you’re noticing that the dining room wallpaper is a little shabby. Perhaps that living room couch has seen better days.

Chances are, it’s been a while since you’ve updated your home. According to a survey, 47% of Americans haven’t revamped their home decor in over 5 years. Life gets in the way, and home maintenance often falls by the wayside.

It’s understandable. Doing a remodel or redecorating is a big task. Luckily, there are hundreds of apps that can help you with this undertaking.

Getting started on a home improvement project can be daunting. Check out these awesome interior design apps that will make the project so much easier.

1. Hutch

Know that your home needs a change, but you’re not sure where to start? Use the Hutch app to play around with different ideas.

Start by uploading a picture of a place in your home that needs redecorating. Within an hour of submitting your photo, Hutch will virtually erase all clutter from the room.

Then apply one of their “filters” like, “flea market finds” or “eclectic chic.” The filters are basically the names of whatever style you’d like the room to have. The filter will superimpose potential room designs onto your photo.

Everything in the space are items you can buy. The app itself is free, so there’s no harm in trying it. You can buy as many or as few of the furniture and decor as you want.

If you don’t want to use one of their filters, you can try out a totally new look on your own. You can use photos of furniture and decor from their vendor’s list. Mix and match items until you get the look you want.

From there, you can buy all the pieces you’ve found. You can also hold on to the picture for inspiration. Take it with you next time you go home goods shopping.

One downside to the app is you can only use their features on living rooms and bedrooms.

2. Color Capture

Color Capture by Benjamin Moore is like the Shazam of color.

Do you love a color used in a random piece of street art? Is there a particular shade of green you saw on your camping trip? Take a picture of it using the app and it will help you match the exact shade with one of their paints.

The app lets you save your favorite color inspiration pictures. You can also browse through the Benjamin Moore paint collection. Once you know what you want to buy, the app can direct you to the nearest store location.

There are other interior design apps that are similar to color capture. Sherwin William’s has one called Color Snap and Behr’s is Color Smart.

Using any one of these apps will ensure that you get the perfect color for every room during a remodel.

3. Modsy

For some, interior design is an exciting fresh start. For others, designing might not be their strong suit. What are those people to do if they can’t afford to hire a professional designer?

Luckily, Modsy is a relatively affordable way to get the help of pro.

The service costs $69 per room. Start by taking eight pictures from different angles of the space you want decorated. Then you’ll take a quiz to figure out your desired style.

Finally, you’ll let Modsy know what your approximate budget is. Then from there, they’ll get to work!

Modsy will send you back a personalized, 3-D rendering of how you should decorate. From there, you can buy what you want from the rendering straight from the app.

Still not feeling so confident and need a little more help? For $199 you can speak virtually with a designer and ask them all your questions.

4. BrightNest

Maybe you love a good home design project but you’re just not so good at staying on task. There’s an app for that!

Everyone loves looking on Pinterest and finding a cool home project. But, often we never end up getting around to it.

With BrightNest, you can browse through their app and find design and maintenance projects. When you see one you like you can save it and schedule a time to try it.

They’ll send you a reminder when it’s time to get started. There are also hundreds of articles to check out for home design and DIY inspiration.

5. PRO Landscape Home

You’ve put a lot of time into the interior, but what about the exterior? Make your backyard like another functional entertaining and relaxing space.

The Pro Landscape Home app is similar to other interior design apps. Take a picture of your backyard and upload it on to the app. Then start designing your outdoor sanctuary!

With this app, you can see how different landscaping options would look in your yard. Add grass, mulch, and fountains. There are thousands of photos of shrubs, trees, and backyard accessories to choose from.

Play around and see which area would best accommodate a fire pit and patio set. When you’re done, you’ll know exactly where your BillyOh garden furniture should go.

Are you also a gardener? PRO Landscape can help plan and map it out.

Tell the app your location and it will pick out plants and flowers that will thrive in your home’s climate.

Done designing your dream yard? View what you’ve done in “before and after” mode. Then share it all to your social media.

There are Tons of Interior Design Apps Out There

But, we think these are some of the best and most innovative.

Doing a home remodel can be stressful and time-consuming. Interior design apps like these can help take some of the guesswork out.

Are you looking to do some home improvement projects and need a little inspiration? Then check out some of our other blogs!


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10 Interior Design Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier

December 14, 2017 - By 

While many smartphone and tablet apps are strictly for entertainment purposes, many put a powerful tool in the palm of your hand.

There now seems to be an app for everything. In fact, as of March of 2017, there were 2.2 million apps to choose from in the Apple Store alone.

The interior design world hasn’t missed out on exciting apps that help bring creativity to your home improvement projects. From accurate planning to help with color schemes, there are interior design apps for all steps in the decorating process.

To help you choose the best app for your next home improvement project, we’re going over ten of the most popular apps on the market.

Let’s start designing.

1. MagicPlan

Do you have a vision of your new room but aren’t so great at crunching numbers when it comes to dimensions? MagicPlan has your back. With this helpful app, you can take a picture of your room and it will tell you the dimensions.

You can also use the app while you shop. If a piece of furniture catches your eye, take a picture of it and the app will let you know if the dimensions will work in your room. MagicPlan takes care of the mathematics and leaves the vision to you.

2. Zillow Digs

We all know Zillow, the online real estate database. Now they provide an app that brings price estimation to the interior design world. Zillow Digs provides estimates on design projects to help you get a bird’s eye view of the cost before you start.

Need help finding retailers that carry the products you need? The app will point you in the right direction.

3. ColorSnap

Interior design apps need to enhance your eye for color, and Colorsnap does just that. Sherman-Williams has built an app that lets you find a paint color that exactly matches your source of inspiration.

By taking a photo of your favorite piece of art, car, window curtains or just about anything, the app will tell you exactly which shade of Sherman-Williams paint matches your object. You can also look through 1,500 shades of paint and apply it to virtual rooms in the app.

4. Houzz

This is a monster when it comes to interior design apps. Houzz contains over 5 million high-resolution images of homes and rooms for you to peruse. These are all categorized and tagged based on style, type of room and location.

Houzz works as your ultimate idea guide. Save your favorite ideas and let the app’s design consultants give feedback on the direction you should take the room. Think of this app as your own personal interior decorator at your fingertips.

5. Homestyler

This app calls itself a “virtual fitting room,” and this makes sense once you see what it can do. Homestyler allows you to sample different styles for your home by superimposing virtual models of furniture, light fixtures and more onto a picture of the room you’re working on.

This gives you an accurate look at a rooms end result using certain products. Definitely a huge time and money saver. The app also includes a gallery where you can view other user’s ideas along with portfolios of actual interior designers.

6. Chairish

If you love pre-own or vintage furniture, this is the app for you. Chairish provides a buyer and seller market for used furniture. And rest assured, quality is key when it comes to Chairish products.

The app lets you browse furniture, save your favorites and message sellers if you’re interested. Even the buying process is done through the easy-to-use interface.

7. Curate

If you need interior design apps that help with choosing artwork, Curate is the way to go. With this app, you no longer have to use your imagination when trying to decide how a piece of art will look in a room.

Curate sets up a virtual environment where you can upload a picture of any wall and see how a piece of art will look. If also lets you browse art by your favorite artists or art galleries. Forget about playing a guessing game when trying to pick artwork for your home.

8. MyPantone

Think of this app as your color guru. If you’re questioning the exact color of a shade, MyPantone will set you straight. The company has included its entire library of colors in this app so you never have to question if you’re looking at teal or green.

MyPantone also lets you share your color choices with decorators and manufacturers so they can provide you with news about their products and services. It can also identify colors in a specific photo and give feedback on complementary color choices.

9. BrightNest

Interior design apps are meant to help, but this one goes above and beyond. BrightNest acts as a virtual personal assistant during your home improvement project. Using this app lets you remain organized, making sure you maintain your initial vision throughout the project.

Keep track of tasks and stay on schedule with helpful reminders. BrightNest even gives you advise on completing tasks more effectively. Projects you thought would never get done finally become attainable with this app.

10 Sun Surveyor Lite

This cool app helps you achieve the perfect amount of natural light in your home. Sun Surveyor Lite includes a 3D compass that measures the angle of the sun with respect to your home.

By walking through your house with the app, you can decide where to position furniture or plants in order to get the best natural light. Also, use it when planning for a remodel or if you plan on adding new furniture.

Which of These Interior Design Apps Are for You?

The first step in successfully completing an interior design project is knowing exactly what you want. While you may not have a use for all of the apps listed above, it’s likely that two or three will benefit you.

Ask yourself what you need help with the most and go from there. You’re sure to find something that works.

Visit Pligg.com for more articles on home improvement to help out with your next project.


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How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher?

December 7, 2017 - By 

Nothing beats the scent of a clean house, right?

Today, we’re going to share the frequency with which you should clean out dishwasher in your home and give you the step-by-step process.

It’s so simple, it makes cleaning fun! And once those good, clean vibes get ahold of you, you won’t want to stop with your dishwasher.

Let’s take a look at the quick and easy steps that will leave all your kitchen appliances sparkling like the day you brought them home.

Clean Out Dishwasher Once a Month

Technically, things get pretty clean in your dishwasher every time you run it. There’s enough steam in there to melt away our biggest messes.

But this is not enough.

Food, grease, and soap scum get caked onto the dishwasher over time.

Whether or not they give off any unfavorable odors, their presence means germs are on your horizon.

We have to combat any of that residual bacteria left behind by our delicious green bean casserole.

Once a month, give your empty dishwasher a spin to make sure you clean out every last nook and cranny.

How to Clean Out Dishwasher

First, run the garbage disposal. You want to filter out any lingering muck sitting in those pipes since it filters into the dishwasher anyway.

Then, pull out the bottom rack.

Next, take a Dobie pad to the dishwasher drain on the bottom. Give the cleanup process a leg up by removing any built-up food, grease, or detergent.

Then, place a Pyrex cup filled with distilled white vinegar on the top rack and let ‘er rip. Make sure you run a full cycle, using the hottest water setting you have.

Next, you’ll want to deodorize the scent of vinegar from the dishwasher by pouring a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the tub.

Finally, run one more cycle. This time, a half cycle will do. It’s best to leave your dishwasher open for a few hours afterward to fully air it out.

If you ever have any doubt about how to clean your dishwasher, feel free to use Dishwasher Wizard. This is a dishwasher additive that targets the machine itself while your detergent cleans up all those pots, pans, and dishes.

Other Appliances

Don’t forget about the other appliances hard at work in your kitchen and home!

Since their cleaning process is quite similar, let’s take a quick look at some of the most important appliances.

Coffee Maker

Fill the coffee maker’s reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water.

Then, place a paper filter in the basket.

Stop the brewing process halfway through and let the solution sit there for 30 minutes.

Pour out your solution and then run water through your machine twice more.

Washing Machine

Run a load with hot water and about a cup of distilled white vinegar.

This will wash away any lingering germs from those dirty gym clothes.

Garbage Disposal

Cut up an entire lemon and throw it down the drain.

Follow that up with a couple tablespoon of salt and a few ice cubes.

Then, let ‘er rip.

Do this about once a month to prevent any yucky odors from emanating.

Microwave

Fill a bowl with a cup of water, several slices of lemon, and put in a couple tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.

Then, run the microwave for three minutes.

Make sure you see it getting good and steamy in there.

When that’s complete, wipe it down from top to bottom and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You now have a spic and span kitchen.

We Love Learning!

Pligg provides you with all you need to know about a variety of topics, including household repair manuals.

We love hearing from our readers! Let us know how your dishwasher cleaning went in the comments below.

And if there’s another topic you’d like to see us cover, feel free to reach out to us today.


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5 Automation Devices for Modern Garage Doors

November 30, 2017 - By 
modern garage doors

Home automation devices are designed to make your life just a little bit easier. Who doesn’t like convenience?

In a world with so many distractions, it’s easy to have your attention diverted from a task. Maybe you’ve misplaced your house keys in the hurry to leave the house, or maybe you’ve forgotten to close your garage door.

With modern garage doors, the latter doesn’t have to be a problem anymore. Read on to find out our top 5 automation devices for modern garage doors.

1. Chamberlain MyQ-G0201

The Chamberlain MyQ-G0201 is everything you could want in a garage automation device. This nifty gadget will monitor, open, and close your garage door from anywhere as long as you use your smartphone.

It’s compatible with most modern garage doors’ opening systems made after 1993 that have standard safety sensors. Its easy installation makes it super convenient.

If you’re in the process of a garage door installation and the thought of setting up a tech system feels intimidating, fear not! It doesn’t take long at all to set this little thing up.

Since it’s controlled via smartphone, it comes with its own MyQ Garage App. It’s compatible with both Apple and Android devices. For security purposes, you can choose whether you want the app to notify you when your garage door opens and closes.

2. Garageio Garage Door Opener

The Garageio garage door opener is another easy to install beauty. With this neat gadget, you can open or close your garage door with a simple swipe of your smartphone. This particular model is also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

The great thing about this model is its range. You can implement modern security for your garage from the other side of the world if necessary. Wherever you are, you can rest assured your garage and its contents are safe and secure.

You can also easily grant and remove device access to anyone. There’s no limit on the number of users, so there’s no need to share existing codes or invest in extra openers.

3. Asante Garage Door Opener

This device is compatible with multiple modern garage doors.

The Asante door opener also offers the option of LED lights for better night vision.

You can not only control but also see your garage with their amazing free app. It boasts unlimited cloud access, too, as well as an optional push notification system.

4. GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4

This model makes a great addition to established smart homes. Easy to install and use, it also provides both visual and audio warnings before any garage door movement occurs.

The GoControl has a range of roughly 100 feet and is compatible with most garage door openers.

With an average rating of 4-5 stars on Amazon, you know you’re getting quality with GoControl.

5. LiftMaster MyQ Universal Garage Door Opener

This reasonably priced and reliable model is compatible with both older and newer garage door openers.

This is perfect if you’re not the most tech-savvy homeowner. The device can control up to two garage doors at once (provided you have an extra door sensor), as well as up to 16 MyQ enabled devices.

Suffice it to say, you’ll be getting your money’s worth with LiftMaster.

More on Modern Garage Doors?

For more about modern automation devices and smart-tech, check out our archives.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch!


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3 Qualities to Look for in a Great Access Door

November 13, 2017 - By 

Having a great access door means more than just providing entry for plumbing or electrical units. It can offer safety and security when used as a safe.

There are many purposes you can use an access door for but it ultimately ends up being an easy way to conduct necessary maintenance repairs. Whether that’s what you intend to use it for or want to convert it into something else, we have advice on the qualities a good access door should have.

Ready to find out what they are? Here we go!

Hidden Hinges

Concealed hinges are great if you’re wanting the door to be flush with the wall. That way, it doesn’t stick out awkwardly.

They also come in handy if you’re using your door as a safe. When the hinges are located within the door itself, it’s impossible to be tampered with. Crooks looking to gain access won’t find a way because they can’t locate the hinges.

Not only do they offer security when used that way but they’re easy to install. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do the install, most concealed hinges work like a puzzle. All that needs to be done is to click one piece inside the other.

Fire-Rated Access Door

Since most doors are used to conceal electrical units, it’s best to invest in a door that’s fire-rated. Why?

If a fire were to happen, one that’s fire-rated limits the amount of smoke that’s produced. Also, it has properties that prevent the fire from spreading past the doors.

These types of doors prove themselves useful because when installed, it creates a tight seal against the wall. When used in the kitchen, for example, the material it’s made out of won’t become hot to the touch. All that’s heated inside the door won’t transfer onto the door itself.

Companies like Best Access Doors understand consumers want to keep their home protected. Therefore, they offer a wide variety of fire-rated access doors.

Can Withstand the Elements

Most doors can be used indoors and outdoors. While it’s great to have one that can do both, it’s best to consider the type of weather in the area you live in if the door will be on the exterior of your home.

If it’s strictly indoor, sticking it outside won’t put it to good use. It’ll slowly deteriorate from the outside elements.

Harsh winters or even blazing sunlight can cause damage. When shopping, be sure to pick up one that’s specifically for the outdoors.

It can also withstand mildew and warping caused by weather. It’s worth the investment so you don’t have to replace the door three years from now.

Wrapping Up

When picking out an access door, it’s best to remember these three qualities. Your door should be able to withstand the outside elements and keep your valuables safe.

Whatever you decide to use it for, make sure it fits your needs. There’s plenty of options to choose from so you won’t be stuck with one that’s useless.

For more information on a plethora of topics, check out our recent blog posts!


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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

If there’s a better option for a deck than hardwood decking, we couldn’t tell you what it is. The strength and beauty of hardwood is without match, and its durability seals the deal for anyone considering hardwood as a deck building option.

Hardwood decking provides the best long-lasting alternative to synthetic materials or softwoods. It boasts a natural beauty that gets better with age, much like a fine wine.

Nobody can deny the durability of hardwood. As an example, the hardwood Ipe Decking used on the Coney Island Boardwalk lasted 70 years. When torn down, the wood was re-used on other products.

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable outdoor oasis for your house then hardwood is where you should start.

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY hardwood decking.

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

The first step is choosing the right hardwood for your project. Here, we’ll break down 5 of the most popular options so you can choose the right one for your project.

If you’d like to know what other types of hardwoods are available, then give this a click!

1. Ipe Wood

This is the most popular decking option for builders using hardwood. Color options range from olive-brown to dark brown. Some even have a blackish tone.

The wood grains vary widely.

Ipe wood will provide a gorgeous, long-lasting deck. It’s incredibly hard and will last over 40 years with the right installation and care.

If you live in a harsh environment with extreme weather, you can’t go wrong with Ipe wood.

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

Grarapa decking features a beautiful golden brown to light yellow color. As it begins to weather, it turns a silvery gray.

The best part about Garapa is that there’s no need to apply an annual sealer. It’s naturally resistant to decay, rot, scratches, splinters and even fire.

Also known as Brazilian Ash, its moderate cost makes it a great alternative to Ipe or Teak hardwoods.

3. Massaranduba

This type of hardwood is one of the most durable timbers on earth. It’s a very cost-effective sub for Ipe decking in many applications.

It has a straight grain and reddish-brown hue. Some people refer to it as Brazilian Redwood.

If you’re looking for a Mahogany appearance, Massaranduba is a great way to go.

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru provides a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative for hardwood decking.

It glows in a warm and attractive golden-brown color that’s unmatched by most hardwoods. It also ages gracefully and is long-lasting.

Cumaru has a similar density as Ipe but at a much more moderate cost.

5. Teak

Teak surpasses most all other woods for outdoor use. True teak decking, known as Tectona Grandis, has natural oils which completely eliminate the need for sealants or preservatives.

It’s the most expensive hardwood option but is also the highest quality. It’s so high quality that it’s used on many luxury yachts.

If you’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind deck, Teak is the best material.

Choose the Right Profile

The decking profile you’ll use will depend on the fasteners you’re using and the location you’re installing the deck.

Standard Decking

Use this profile for face screwed decking. Then, plug it to give your deck a completely seamless look.

Pre-Grooved Decking

Use pre-grooved decking when you want to allow hidden fasteners to be installed so that the decking boards don’t show any of the fasteners.

Tongue and Grooved Decking

Use this profile for porch flooring or when your deck will be covered. It should only be used when you aren’t concerned about water drainage.

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

First, note that all hardwood decking requires stainless steel screws. You’ll also need to pre-drill each hole due to the hardness and density of the wood.

Stainless Steel Screws

No matter what type of hardwood you’re using, employ stainless steel screws. The wood is going to last 40 or more years, so you’ll want your screws to last just as long.

In addition, other fasteners cause discoloration and staining in hardwoods.

Use stainless steel screws for hidden fasteners, face screwing and if using wood plugs.

Wood Plugs

When face screwing, wood plugs can be used. You’ll need to counter-sink each screw to allow you to cover the head of each screw with a wood plug.

Typically the wood plugs will then be planed or sanded to be smooth with the deck surface.

Hidden Deck Fasteners

When you’re using pre-grooved decking, you’ll want to use hidden deck fasteners. They’re used to clip the decking boards to the span and are almost completely hidden by the deck grooves.

Sanding and Finishing

Once your deck is installed, you’ll want to consider treating it will an oil-based finish. That’ll depend on the hardwood you’ve chosen and the look you’re going for.

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

First, you’ll want to seal all of your fresh cuts with AnchorSeal. Then, spot-sand as needed. It’s not recommended that you do orbital sanding because it will leave unsightly circular scratches in the wood grain.

Finishing

If you’re OK with your deck developing a natural “silvering” color, you don’t need to worry about finishing. Your deck will still last many, many years.

However, if you’re looking to keep the wood coloring of the original hardwood you should look for a penetrating oil-based finish that’s transparent. It should also have UV protection.

Before you apply, clean and brush your deck’s surface to remove all dust and dirt. Then apply several transparent coats and you’re good to go.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of hardwood decking is that it’s very low maintenance. However, you can still help improve its appearance and make it last longer.

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

A couple times per year put together a simple water and soap solution and take a stiff brush to your deck. This will keep is shining like new.

Pressure washers are rarely recommended for a hardwood deck. When it’s time to rinse, a garden hose and spray nozzle will work just fine.

Refinishing

When you need to remove stains or age from finishes, look for a commercial cleaner that’s made specifically for hardwoods.

When refinishing, make sure to clean the deck thoroughly before you start. Some finishing products may not need to be stripped off the deck prior to applying a new coat. If you have questions about this, contact the product manufacturer.

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

With all the options, durability and beautify of hardwood, it’s difficult to see a better option for your new deck.

If you learned from this article, take a look at some of our ebook downloads that can further expand your knowledge base.

Good luck with your deck project!


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Are You Breathing Toxic Air? 5 Ways to Monitor Air Quality

November 8, 2017 - By 

In a world where pollution is rampant, you need to get a handle on your breathing air.

There are some tips you need to know to protect your breathing air, whether dealing with indoor or outdoor air quality.

If you’re looking for ways to analyze toxic air and prevent from breathing it, read the tips below.

#1: Get Up-To-Date EPA Toxic Air Reports

Knowing that toxic air is present is the key to preventing breathing it.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues reports that let you know all about the air quality where you live.

You can get this data by researching the reports by city, county or other geographical location.

#2: Stay Tuned To Your Daily Forecasts

Aside from EPA reports, you need to stay tuned to daily forecasts.

Look for weather forecasts that include thorough breakdowns of air quality — to include the presence of toxic air due to wildfires or other issues. You’ll also be able to look into aspects like carbon monoxide, smog, pollen count, and other potential issues.

The more you know about the air quality, the easier it’ll be for you to take the appropriate measures.

#3: Buy An Indoor Air Monitor

Air problems can be as dangerous to your home as asbestos.

You can get measurable data on the air quality when you invest in an indoor air monitor. On top of a carbon monoxide alarm, this monitor will let you know info about humidity and whether any potentially toxic elements are present.

The investment in this monitor is worth your peace of mind.

#4: Take Care Of Your HVAC System

The better you care for your heating and cooling, the better the indoor air quality you’ll experience.

For instance, a poor HVAC system is known to breed mold, so you’ll need to get this under control.

Mold is known to irritate your respiratory passages, making your own home a health liability. Getting professional services from someone like Biological Health Services mould removal after an outbreak will help you protect your breathing air.

You can take care of your HVAC system by changing the air filters and cleaning out any passageways. This keeps your HVAC system in great condition while also protecting your breathing air.

On top of caring for your HVAC equipment, make sure to insulate your attic to get the best service from it.

#5: Get A Home Audit

The best way to know for sure whether you’re dealing with toxic air is to contact a professional that can perform a home audit.

This audit will let you get the best service from your indoor air components while shoring up any problems.

Air issues are sometimes undetectable without the right instruments and data, so bringing in a professional can help.

Browse our site if you’d like to learn more about air quality and ways to improve your household quality of life.


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How a Home Design App Can Turn You Into an Interior Designer

November 8, 2017 - By 

Whether you are a new or seasoned homeowner, redecorating is something that usually happens more than once.

But paying a professional interior designer can become very expensive. Do you still want that professional look without the high price tag? Enter design apps.

Read below for some fabulous ways a home design app will help you achieve your goals all by yourself!

Choosing Colors

Paint is often the first step in any redecorating plan. It can also be a scary choice to make. Fear of a color being overwhelming once on a wall prevents many people from beginning at all.

Luckily there are apps that can help you see what a color will look like. Many paint brands have their own apps that once you upload a picture of a room, you can apply any paint color to one or more walls.

This process will help you have an idea of how a color will actually look before you take the plunge.

Color apps can also help you figure out what a color is. Did you damage a wall and need to do some touch ups? Unsure what the paint color is? Snap a photo and most apps will be able to find you the exact color or a close match.

Get Inspiration from a Home Design App

If you have the urge to redecorate but lack inspiration, a design app may become your best friend.

These apps can provide you with different types of rooms all decorated in different styles. There is something for everyone regardless if you like modern furniture or country styled pieces.

Try Out Layouts and Furniture

Rearranging the furniture in your home is an easy way to bring new life and a new look to any room.

But sometimes the thought of moving heavy couches and tables sucks.

If you want to only rearrange once, consider using apps that let you create a 3D image of your room. These let you pick room shapes and put windows and doors where you have them.

Once you have a shell that matches your room, you can place images of furniture pieces in the space. When you move furniture, you can be sure it will look how you want!

Some apps even let you customize floor materials or window treatments.

For example, with a home design app, you can sometimes test out some blinds and designs to find something that works perfectly for your space.

Stay Organized

Staying organized during home renovations or redecorating is important. Managing your time well will ensure your project will help increase your home’s value.

Find an app that can act as a virtual assistant. Create all your tasks that need to be done and create reminders for cleaning tasks that will help you maintain

Start Creating Your Dream Home

As you can see, a home design app can really help make your dreams come true with your home.

Have some friends who want to do some redecorating? Be sure to share this article with them.

Also be sure to check out some other home decorating resources!


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5 Signs You May Be Walking on Asbestos Floor Tiles

September 19, 2017 - By 
asbestos floor tiles

Although asbestos use is at an all-time low in the United States, did you know it’s estimated that over a million workers are still exposed to its harmful effects?

Asbestos can be found in many areas including walls, pipes, and flooring. It can be also found in paint and insulation. There is a high chance that at least something was constructed with asbestos in your home if it was built during certain years.

Are you concerned you may have asbestos in your house? Continue reading below for five signs that you may be walking on asbestos floor tiles.

1. Know Your Construction Year

Be especially wary if your house was built during or before the 1980’s. This is because homes built during time would commonly be built using many materials that contained asbestos.

This could include walls, ceilings, and insulation. Certain pipe products like cement were also known to have asbestos. This information is important to know as asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma cancer.

2. Asbestos Floor Tiles — A Large Concern

You could be walking on floor tiles that have asbestos in them without even knowing it. Unfortunately, you can not usually see asbestos, as the particles are too small. You should look for classic warning signs.

Make sure to be wary of flooring tiles with nine by nine inches patterns. Most floor tiles of this size used asbestos.

3. Questionable Fireproofing Material

Because asbestos insulation had fireproof qualities, gray or white asbestos was widely used as insulation for pipes and on the fittings. White asbestos tape was also commonly used on house pipes.

If you see any white tape on your ducts, don’t immediately worry. It likely will not cause any issues unless it is disturbed.

4. Check Over Your Head

Old homes can sometimes have textured ceilings. Think those popcorn ceilings that were once all the rage. While not all popcorn ceilings are dangerous, many textured ceilings in older houses used materials containing asbestos.

Take care when cleaning around a textured ceiling until you have it tested.

5. Other Signs of Disturbed Asbestos

As mentioned, you can not readily see asbestos. Instead, pay attention to disintegrating pipes and insulation. Be mindful of excessively worn walls, tile, and stovetop pads.

Plan to keep a close eye on anything that has been in the house since when it was built. Keep a lookout for any dirty or dusty areas. Cracks or spots that look like they are breaking down are also a concern.

What To Do if You Find Asbestos

If you have found asbestos floor tiles or other problem areas, don’t do anything. Asbestos isn’t dangerous when it’s still in good condition, but when it starts to break down and the fibers are released into the air, it becomes toxic.

When cleaning, avoid disturbing areas where possible asbestos is. Do not scrub any surface you suspect could be harmful.

When in doubt, consider getting any suspicious material looked at a professional. Price ranges can vary depending on location and scope of the problem. If it is difficult to collect samples, be prepared to pay more.

Properly handling asbestos can be important in preparing to sell your house.

Stay Informed

Now you should be able to tell if you are being exposed to asbestos floor tiles or harmful walls.

Looking for other home repair and remodeling guides? Visit our site today!


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5 Surefire Ways to Rapidly Sell Your House

August 7, 2017 - By 
sell your house

When it comes to selling your home, the first ten days are the most important. The longer that your home sits on the market, the less likely it is that it will sell without you having to drop your asking price.

The longer a home sits unsold, the more likely buyers are to wonder why it’s not selling. They will think there is something wrong with it that’s driving other buyers away.

That is why it’s so important to sell your home quickly. These tips will make sure you sell your home lightning fast!

1. Store that Clutter!

Buyers are way more likely to be interested in an uncluttered home. Shelves and tables overflowing with clutter make the rooms in your home feel smaller.

This also goes for extra furniture. While you may get good use out of the extra seating and end tables in your living room, too much furniture makes rooms feel cramped.

Consider putting some of your extra things into storage while you are showing your home.

2. Clean Homes Sell Faster

Your home should be spotless for every showing. Dirty floors or a moldy shower can actually lower the price that buyers are willing for your home.

A messy or dirty environment puts buyers in a bad mood and makes them think more negatively about your home.

3. Stage Your Home Inside and Out

Once you’ve tidied and cleaned, it’s time to stage your home.

Staging basically gives your home a makeover. You need to redecorate in a way that is appealing to buyers.

This can include repainting rooms in more neutral tones. You can buy cheap decorations such as flowers, fruit, and decorative soaps and towels for the bathrooms.

Staging your home’s outside is also important. Planters with bright flowers, a well-mown lawn, and good outdoor lighting all make your home look great. Some quick landscaping can make potential buyers feel more positive about your home before they even open the front door.

4. Have an Open Schedule

The more opportunity for people to come see your home, the more likely it will be sold.

You should try to have a very flexible, open viewing schedule. Weekends are absolutely key. It’s when most people will want to view homes, so make sure you are completely available.

It may be frustrating to have to organize your schedule around viewings but remember: if you sell your home fast, it won’t be a problem for long.

5. Price Your Home Competitively

You might be wondering, “What’s the most important tip to sell my house now?”

Competitive pricing.

Pricing a house too high will turn off many potential buyers. If they think it is out of their budget range, they won’t bother coming for a viewing.

A house with an attractive price, on the other hand, brings in more viewings. And when you’ve used the above tips to stage your house, buyers who have fallen in love with your home will submit competing offers.

Find an agent who can market a competitive price without dropping too low. You still want to sell your home for as much as possible!

Bringing It All Together

These five tips are key to selling your home fast. An open viewing schedule and competitive pricing will entice buyers. Clearing clutter, cleanliness, and a well-staged home will make them fall in love.

With the right agent and the right attitude, you can start getting ready to sell your home fast, today!


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10 Unique Vinyl Siding Ideas for Your Home

July 20, 2017 - By 

Most people take time to consider the interior of their home and what it will look like.  But when was the last time you thought about the exterior of your home?

Vinyl siding can make your look clean and new.  Bonus points because it has low maintenance.  But if you’re thinking about the exterior of your home, you want to differentiate your house from the other homes with colorful paint and lawn jockies.

How do you do that?

Picking out vinyl doesn’t happen overnight.  There’s a lot to consider.

Here Are 10 Unique Siding Ideas for Your Home

1) Split Level Vinyl

Vinyl can be the perfect material for a split level home.  This type of home offers lots of opportunities for attractive vinyl in a mix of textures, orientations, and colors.

One level of vinyl on a split level home offers a modern twist on a vintage style. With many stylistic options to choose from, vinyl siding can offset colors and styles in a split level home.

Luckily split level floor plans are pretty common in the United States.  So if you have a split level home don’t forget to call the vinyl professionals for a unique twist on an old style.

2) Gray Vinyl Siding

Gray Vinyl is the new black.  Gray is the perfect neutral color for either white or black shutters and trim.  Offering bright clean lines on a canvas that’s easy on the eyes.

Really every color goes with gray.  So let your imagination shine with some cray gray vinyl siding and other colorful accents.  Accents can include the front door, shutters, and trim.

A siding contractor can give you an evaluation and help you identify the best colors to make your home stick out in a crowd.

3) Mixing Textures, Vinyl Siding with Stone Entryway

Mixing textures is one of the coolest things you can do with vinyl siding.  This material is enhanced when paired with a stone entry way or garage.  For a modern twist on same old, same old.  T

For a modern twist on same old, same old.  Try mixing textures in your home.  If your home is more like a cabin or bungalow, mix vinyl with a wooden entryway for a different take on a typical look.

4) Colorful Vinyl Makes Your Home Pop

Some companies offer a variety of colors for their siding options.  With dozens of colors to choose from, there are a ton of mix and match options to introduce curb appeal to your home.  If you want to do vinyl, don’t hesitate to go with some color.

5) Not All Vinyl is Horizontal

Introducing some vertical vinyl in an otherwise horizontal home is a creative way to make your home stick out.  If you have a loft or section of the house that would be accented by vertical vinyl.  Go there.

6) Bright White Vinyl with a Colorful Door

Bright white vinyl can be a real asset if you have color accents. One way to do this is a bright red or blue door.  Using neutral vinyl with colorful trim is a creative way to breathe some life into your home.

Have you seen those homes with colorful doors?  Make them pop even more with vinyl.  We see this a lot with wooden homes but vinyl is way easier to clean. Keeping colors sharp for years with low maintenance.

7) Vinyl Siding with a Metal Shed Roof

A lot of people don’t associate a metal shed roof with high fashion.  But when paired with vinyl siding, a metal shed roof can give your home a cool pinstripe effect.

If you want a roof and siding that is both practical and fashionable try this look for your country cottage.

8) Tiny Home with Vinyl Siding

If you are into tiny homes, vinyl siding can make yours the hottest one in the commune!  Don’t wait to discover vinyl for your tiny home.  If you’re trying to learn the hottest trends for tiny homes find a consultant in your area.

9) Laying Vinyl Siding

Vinyl for your home is 0.44 – 0.55 inches thick. The width makes it resistent to sagging.  Unlike wooden panels, vinyl panels are only nailed in at the top of each panel.  So they hang a little.

This is because the vinyl needs to be able to breath. It expands and contracts with moisture.

It’s reasonable to lay vinyl a quarter inch apart for best performance.  It will fade over time, but not substantially.

10) Cleaning Vinyl on Your Home

Homeowners love vinyl because it’s low maintenance.  But you should really clean it to keep it looking its best.  Here are some tips for cleaning vinyl.

Wash with a soft bristle brush to remove mold, mildew and other sediment.  If a brush and water isn’t enough.  Use a gallon of water with 1/3 cup laundry detergent and 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner to clean the exterior of your home.

Because vinyl is only snapped at one end.  It’s easy to replace damaged panels.  Just use a zip tool to unhinge the product and replace it with a new one.  Simple as that.

Keeping your vinyl clean is the key to making it last and to making your house look clean and new.  So don’t skimp on the upkeep just because vinyl is durable.

To Vinyl or Not to Vinyl?

Picking vinyl siding for your home can be tough.  But remember when you choose a home there’s a lot to consider.

Location. Neighborhood.  Type of construction can all be considered when buying a home.

That doesn’t include the preferences like private pool, community pool or no pool.  Acreage and other considerations of a homeowner.

There’s so many things to consider when buying or renovating your home.  Don’t get lost in a sea of vinyl.  Call a professional to help you with your vinyl needs.


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Should You Go Gas or Electric for Your Water Heater?

March 27, 2017 - By 
electric water heater

Gas or electric?

This question is becoming more common, and with water heaters, it’s no different.

If your water heater needs replacing, you’ve probably asked (or have been asked) the same question.

But what’s the difference? Besides the obvious (powered by gas vs. electricity), there are some details about each to consider before buying.

How water heaters work

Before taking the plunge into the world of water heaters, it’s helpful to understand the differences between your options.

But first, let’s begin with the basics. Water flows into your home via a network of pipes.

This water is typically quite cold at first, and heating the water requires, you guessed it, a water heater.

You know, that large and unsightly tank sitting in the basement.

On the outside, it looks rather unremarkable, other than its size. But the inside contains an array of devices which make your morning showers so pleasant.

Water heaters work by heating the incoming cold water and retaining the heated water within the tank (unless it’s a tankless water heater, then the water is heated on-demand).

Heat rises, and in a water heater, it’s no different.

Cool water flows into the bottom of the tank. As the water is heated, it rises to the top where it awaits to flow to the showerhead or faucet.

Below you’ll discover the basics of how both a gas and electric water heater operate, as well as some pros and cons of each type:

Gas water heaters

Gas water heaters use a burner at the bottom of the tank.

A venting shaft runs through the middle to dispense of carbon dioxide and water vapors outdoors.

Pros:

  • Gas is less expensive than electricity
  • Heating is more efficient
  • Higher hot water flow rates

Cons:

  • Requires connection to gas lines
  • Requires additional venting systems
  • Greater initial costs

If your home is already connected to a gas line, consider going this route.

Gas burns clean and heats water more efficiently than an electric unit.

Electric water heaters

Electric water heaters utilize large coils submerged in the water.

Electricity is passed through these coils until the water is heated.

Pros:

  • Easy and inexpensive to install
  • Electricity rates are relatively stable
  • Little maintenance required

Cons:

  • Not as efficient as gas
  • Lower hot water flow rates
  • Not ideal for large families

If your demands for hot water are minimal, an electric unit might be your best option.

Electric water heaters aren’t as efficient as their gas-powered counterparts.

However, their ease and low cost of installation make them attractive options for those working with a tight budget.

What to consider before buying

While there is no specific formula for selecting the right water heater for your home, there are a few key items to consider:

Your budget

How much are you willing to spend?

Depending on your needs, you can get away with spending a little or a lot.

You can easily spend thousands of dollars on the best and the latest, just ask yourself if it’s really necessary.

Availability of space

Is space within your home limited?

Some heaters are smaller than others, so it’s important to compare your water heating needs with the amount of space available.

Efficiency and flow requirements

Do you have a large family?

You might want to purchase a larger unit if multiple people will require hot water.

Nobody wants to listen to their loved ones complain about the water temperature, so make your decision accordingly.


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How to Choose the Perfect Retractable Awning

March 14, 2017 - By 
Retractable Awning

Relaxing outside on your home’s patio or deck…

Whether it’s taking in a sunset or entertaining your family and friends, there’s no better way to spend a summer day or evening.

That is until the sun beats you down or the rain drives you back inside.

You’re then left to gaze longingly out the window, pining for the touch of a soothing summer breeze on your skin.

If only there was a way to extend the inside of your home outside.

Installing a retractable awning to your home’s exterior may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Benefits of a retractable awning

Adding a retractable awning to your home affords many benefits, including:

  • Ease of installation and use
  • Provides protection from harmful UV rays
  • Increases home equity
  • Creates comfortable space for enjoying the outdoors
  • Entertain guests rain or shine
  • Protects home interior and exterior

Whether you want to spend more time outside (comfortably) or add value to your home, installing a retractable awning is the best way to enhance your time spent on your deck or patio.

What will work best?

Before you run out to a box store like Home Depot, evaluate the outside of your home to determine what retractable awning system will suit your needs the best.

You’re making an addition to your home and it should be treated as an investment, not a new toy.

Examine the exterior for anything that may interfere with awning installation. Are there any structures like pipes or chimneys that will get in the way?

Also, remember that awnings are only able to extend out from your home’s exterior without installing additional supports.

Features to consider

Your awning doesn’t have to be fancy to enjoy the full benefits.

But if you want increased ease of use or increased protection from the elements, there are a variety of options available. Consider installing features such as:

  • Screens to provide shade from a rising or setting sun
  • Stabilizing bars to create more headroom and a sturdier structure
  • Fabric enclosures to protect awning fabric while retracted
  • Motorized and remote controlled systems for increased ease of use
  • Fabric options to customize and accent the color of your home
  • Sun sensors to adjust light and temperature requirements set by user
  • Wind sensors to protect the awning from damaging high winds

Additional features will not only impress your guests. Increased ease of use will ensure worry-free operation, as well.

Furthermore, add-ons such as sun and wind sensors can be integrated into your home’s existing automation systems.

Controls and accessories

For extended home protection and usability, consider installing the following controls and accessories:

  • Infrared heaters
    • Outdoor heater bars allows for more time enjoying your awning
  • Control switches
    • Extend or retract your motorized awning from inside or outside
  • Wireless switches
    • Allows for remote operation from a distance
  • Battery backup
    • Provides further protection from severe weather and power outages
  • UV ray and rain protection
    • Long-lasting awning fabrics designed to withstand harsh weather

Now that you’ve explored the different options available, it’s time to evaluate the retractable awning that is best suited for your home and your needs.

Share your project ideas with a local product specialist to help determine which retractable awning system is the best fit your home.


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5 Home Renovations That Bring in Awesome ROI

March 10, 2017 - By 
Fiberglass attic insulation

Did you know Americans spend over $100 billion every year on home renovation projects?

In 2015, the amount hit $326.1 billion!

This can only mean one thing: homeowners across the country are investing thousands of dollars into their homes.

Whether you are planning a renovation project because you want to sell your home, or you just want to turn it into a dream home, it’s important to consider the return on investment.

You see, home renovation projects are not created equal.

Some will fetch you more bang for your hard-earned bucks, and others will have little impact on your home’s value or curb appeal.

In this post, we’re sharing the top 5 home renovations that will unlock more value from your home.

Let’s dig in.

Attic Insulation

The number of people who want to live in green homes is increasing by the day.

As a result, greener homes are fetching higher prices in the real estate market.

If your home wasn’t built with ‘green’ in mind from the start, there are renovations you can do – such as fiberglass attic insulation – to enhance its energy efficiency levels.

Fiberglass insulation is used in the majority of residential properties, poses no fire risks, and can cut your energy bills by up to 40 percent.

With increased energy efficiency, your home’s value will shoot up!

Driveway Repair or Replacement

When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter.

What potential buyers see the moment they enter your gate influences their purchase decisions.

Since driveways typically occupy large chunks of real estate, they greatly improve the value of a property when in excellent condition.

If there aren’t many damages on it, call in a professional to perform repairs. But if it has large holes and cracks, or patches from old repairs are visible, replace the entire thing.

Flooring

Flooring is one of the top features people look out for when shopping around for a new home.

Even if your home is in a good neighborhood, you may have trouble selling it if the floor isn’t in a perfect state, or isn’t made of the right material.

The vast majority of buyers prefer hardwood flooring, so you should consider installing it. The major drawback is the high cost of acquisition and installation, but it’s an instant customer magnet and adds great value to your home.

Other flooring materials you can consider include laminate, vinyl, and tile.

Kitchen

The kitchen is where the heart of the home is. And where the heart is, great value is bestowed!

When renovating a kitchen, pay attention to modern standards. More and more people are developing a large appetite for large and open kitchens, modern cabinets and storage units and built-in kitchen appliances.

You are probably thinking this reno project will cost you an arm and a leg. Sure, it can cost upwards of $50,000, but your home’s value will increase by double this figure.

Doors and Windows (and Other Minor Renos)

A tidy home is a valuable home.

There are minor renovations that you can implement to make your home look neat and inviting. Fixing or replacing broken doors and windows is a good place to start.

You should also inspect your home thoroughly to find spots or features that need basic repairs or maintenance.

Such minor renos will go easy on your pocket and increase your home’s overall appeal to buyers.

Conclusion

Renovations are part and parcel of owning a home.

Reno projects will not only add to your piece of mind and make your living environment safer, but also pump thousands of dollars into your home’s value.

With these tips, we hope you now know the kind of projects that will bring in an awesome ROI. Good luck!


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How Installing 12V LED Lights Can Increase Home Security

February 9, 2017 - By 
security lights

Home security is not a priority to take lightly. The feeling after someone violates your home is something you won’t soon forget.

Most people have the same “Yeah, but it won’t happen to me” attitude. Well, with on average almost 4 million home invasions per year, you’re chances are worse than you’d think.

Though even beyond the odds, losing personal possessions to a break-in is always devastating, and something that’s easily avoidable.

Imagine if a burglar stole irreplaceable family heirlooms or anything at all you had earmarked to stay in the family lineage.

We’re willing to guess that you wouldn’t take kindly to having your personal belongings messed with. Not to mention the sense of creeping doubt that you’re not safe in your own home.

It’s why burglar prevention solutions are so popular. Home security systems, a mean dog; you know the drill.

What surprises people is that many of these systems pale in comparison and value to simply leaving a few lights on when you leave the house.

Choosing the correct lighting to leave on is paramount to making this strategy work. When we leave the house, and even when we’re home, we turn to 12V LED lights.

Wondering why? Keep reading to find out.

12V LED Lights For Home Security

If you’re not familiar with LED lights, they acronym stands for light-emitting diode. They’re lights designed with efficiency in mind.

Twelve volt LED lights are rather bright. If you think about it, even a 12V “normal light” is going to cast a large swath of illumination.

When we’re protecting against home invasion, it’s this light swath we’re interested in.

LED Lights Are Bright

LED lights are brighter than your average bulb. Get your hands on a 12V LED light, and you’re lighting up the yard.

This why they make such excellent burglar deterrents. The bulbs are bright enough that no one can approach your house unseen.

If you were a burglar, would you rob the house shrouded in darkness, or the house illuminate in light? Obviously, you’re robbing the dark house.

Set up these 12 V LED lights around your home’s perimeter. It should only take two or three to achieve maximum coverage.

While you can also achieve the same effective with fluorescent lights, LED lights aren’t nearly as intense. There’s no piercing light to shine through your own, or your neighbors, curtains.

Not only will you family thank you for the low-intensity light, but your neighbors won’t angrily knock on your door at bedtime.

Energy Efficiency

LED bulbs are energy efficient and last for long periods of time before blowing out. This is perfect for your home security needs.

Low-cost security? Check. Reliable? Check. Efficient? Check again.

Reliable? Check. Efficient? Check again.

Efficient? Check again.

For people living in your average neighborhood, LED lights are the best security bang for your buck.

You certainly aren’t going to install a home security system for the same cost as a few high-quality 12V LED lights.

Don’t believe us? Shop around and see for yourself. We’re betting you settle on a few high-quality 12V LED lights instead.


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How to Know When You Should Just Call an Electrician

February 7, 2017 - By 
Electricians

There are a million DIY TV shows and websites. You can paint it, you can stain it, you can cover it with fabric.

For the advanced DIY’er, you can learn how to build a deck chair. Or, even the entire deck.

But, when it comes to electricity, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Here’s how to know when to call an electrician.

Your home’s electricity

For most of us, there are two times we think about electricity:

  • When it’s time to pay the bill
  • When we flip a switch and something doesn’t work

The majority of the time, electricity is our silent friend. It keeps our food cold and lights our way.

But it can also be a dangerous friend if you’re not careful. Yes, it is more likely that lightning will kill you instead of your outlets at home.

But why take that chance?

It doesn’t matter whether you need something fixed or something brand-new installed.

Certified electricians can help you with any of your home’s electrical needs.

When you should call an electrician

Octopus outlets

There are so many things that need to be plugged in, in a typical household. From cellphones to hair dryers, lots of things need electricity.

The problem comes from plugging too many things into too many outlets.

Do you have multiple outlets that look like an octopus is trying to escape the wall? If so, your home’s electrical system may be overloaded.

An electrician can help sort out what you need and get it taken care of safely.

Those annoying, flickering lights

Have you noticed that when you turn on a major appliance that your lights flicker?

When the motor in that appliance starts up, it can draw a major amount of current.

It may be good to have that appliance on its own dedicated circuit instead.

You’re trippin’

Your breakers, that is.

Your octopus outlets and flickering lights may leave you in the dark when a breaker trips. Yes, they’re a safety measure meant to keep the system in check.

But they shouldn’t trip every time when you start the microwave.

Having an electrician assess your home’s electricity needs and use will help.

Warm isn’t good when it comes to electricity

Unless it’s an actual space heater, then it’s probably OK. But if you notice a switch or other power point that’s warm to the touch, something’s not right.

Older homes may have older wiring, too. Homes over 25 years old should be regularly inspected.

If you have anything that’s warm to the touch that shouldn’t be, you should call an electrician.

You’re grounded but your appliances aren’t

Especially in an older home, not all of your outlets may be of the 3 hole variety.

The bottom hole provides a ground for whatever you’ve got plugged in. This is even more important for larger appliances, like refrigerators and microwaves.

Don’t break that ground off the plug!

Call an electrician who can install new outlets that are safer for you and your family.


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Rearrange Your Furniture to Keep Your Style Fresh

February 7, 2017 - By 
Furniture Pads

Are you bored with your home?

When you buy a house, you often sign the lease papers with the intention of staying for years, sometimes for life. These days, though, you can’t help but notice how your home feels drab and uninspired. You know that home is where the heart is, but your heart’s not in it anymore.

When was the last time you rearranged? This doesn’t mean you have to call an interior decorator and redo your whole house.

By moving decor and furniture (and using furniture pads to keep your floors damage-free), you can make a huge difference in the way you see home sweet home.

How? Allow us to explain.

Make Some Space

When you first bought your house, did you marvel at the size of the rooms? Do you often wonder what happened to all that space?

It’s easy (a little too easy) to clutter up rooms with stuff. Small piles become bigger piles you’ll get to later. Those bigger piles become unmanageable, so you ignore them.

With furniture on top of that, the room can start to feel a little stifling.

It’s time to declutter. Grab two boxes and label one “keep” and the other “toss.” Go through the room and put things in the appropriate box.

If the space still feels too cramped, move your furniture around. Instead of the couch being next to the loveseat, try pushing the loveseat to the opposite wall. You’ll be surprised how much more floor space you have.

Find a New Focus

What’s the focus in your living room?

It might be the TV. It might be an eye-catching piece of artwork. It may be something else entirely.

That item should be the center of attention, literally. The rest of the furniture and decor in your living room should flank the main item.

Let’s say your focus item is the TV. If this is up against a wall, your couch should be several feet back but centered with the TV. Loveseats, recliners, and other chairs should be arranged around the couch.

This informs you where everything else should go. For example, you might put a coffee table between the TV and the couch. You could position lamps on either side of the recliner and loveseat.

With a main item to focus on, your room is more cohesive.

Move Away from the Light

Speaking of lamps, the positioning of the furniture plays a key role in how bright or dark a room is. If you have a standing lamp in the corner and you put a recliner in front of that, the chair blocks most of the light.

If your rooms feel a little dark, you don’t always need brighter bulbs. Just rethink your furniture. Your couch, for instance, can be a huge light hog.

Of course, thus far we’ve only mentioned artificial light sources. Your furniture can also block natural sunlight.

This is detrimental for two reasons. First, you’re missing out on the mood-improving effects of sunlight. Second, your furniture can get discolored and faded from long-term sun exposure.

Rearranging your furniture can transform any room. This frees up space and lets more light in.

However, moving furniture can be risky on hardwood or marble flooring. You don’t want to accidentally damage your floors while lugging around a heavy couch.

Furniture Buffers pads keep furniture and floors safe during your remodeling project. To learn more or shop for furniture pads, contact Furniture Buffers today.


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What are the Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home for Cash?

February 3, 2017 - By 
selling your home for cash

You’ve likely seen roadside signs promoting the buying of houses for cash.

It sounds pretty good, right?

If you’re wondering if this is an opportunity you should jump on but are unsure of what exactly it entails and how it works, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know—from the good to the bad—about selling your home for cash.

Pros & Cons Of Selling Your Home To A Real Estate Investors

Pros

Flexible Options

Since investors offer various payment methods, your payment options are flexible.

Investors can accept payment via methods such as certified funds, cash, or pre-scheduled cash payments. In some cases, they may even take over the existing mortgage completely.

Multiple payment options allow sellers to find the solution that fits their needs.

Fast Cash

Selling houses for cash is a legitimate option, as investors are often willing to pay in cash for a home with the recent tightening of financial restrictions. This is usually coupled with the growing number of complaints about low appraisals.

Selling “As Is”

Many times, investors offer to purchase a property sight unseen.

What does this mean for sellers? That as the seller, you can avoid any costly repairs that would normally be considered financial responsibility.

Quick Closings

Believe it or not, there are investors who can close a deal within 7 days.

Are you wondering how that’s possible? Good question.

Investors are able to close quickly because the sale of the property is not reliant on approved financing, appraised values, home inspections, etc. By bypassing all of these sometimes-lengthy steps, the closing processes is expedited considerably.

Cons

Most Investors Don’t Have A License To Buy

Since investors don’t need a license to buy a house, this means you know nothing about the person or people offering to buy your home.

Some investors are corporations, while others are individuals. Individual sellers usually are also real estate agents.

Because of this, many sellers are concerned about the motive behind the purchase.

There Are Scam Artists Posing As Investors (And Plenty Of Them!)

When selling your home for cash, you run the risk of fraud.

While this risk can exist in any financial transaction, it’s especially critical to avoid scams when dealing with large assets, such as your home.

When selling your house, you’ll want to take all necessary precautions to avoid any issues.

Start by getting the name of the investor and research him/her online to see whom he/she is. Ask for references, and question your listing agent to do some research on your behalf as well.

Homeowners Often Sell Below Market Value

Since investors will have their own cost challenges, you can be assured that those charges will be factored into their offer price.

Don’t be fooled. Investors are well aware of the power behind their cash offer. They also are conscious of the fact that they are taking a risk by purchasing a home “as is.”

Because they may be relying on your motivation to get out quickly, or for whatever their reason may be, it’s unlikely that an investor will pay market value for a home at its peak.


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5 Incredibly Easy DIY Pest Control Solutions

December 19, 2016 - By 
Got pests? No problem. These DIY pest control tricks are your ticket to getting those bugs off your back. Before you call the calvary, give these a shot.

It’s Friday night. You’ve got a hot date coming over. You’ve cleaned the house. Shoved your dirty laundry under the bed (hope he doesn’t look under there). And you’ve lit a few romantic candles while you fixed him dinner.

It’s going to be a fantastically romantic evening. And then you see them. Your biggest nightmares. A cockroach, a horde of ants, and a mouse trooping across your kitchen like satan’s army.

It’s too late to call the pest control services. What do you do? Your hunk of a date is going to be here anytime.

Don’t scream. It’s going to be ok. There are some easy things you can do to take down the pests in your home.

1. Garlic Mint Spray

This could also work as vampire repellent. But it’s really for bugs. Blend some mint leaves and garlic cloves. You were just cooking, right? So you should have these. Add some cayenne pepper and some dish soap. Boil the stuff.

Now, if you need it this instant, you could probably just pour some on the sucker right away. But it will make a mess. But for future use, chill it overnight in the fridge and then strain it into a spray bottle.

2. Coffee Grounds

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah! Until they encounter coffee grounds. Then they run away. Really. They do.

All you need to do is put on a pot of coffee then sprinkle the used grounds around the house. Find out where the ants are coming from. Your date won’t think it’s cool to step on coffee grounds all night.

3. Hot Pepper Spray

Even the mice will run away from this one. But it’s really just for bugs.

Take one gallon of water. Mix it with three tablespoons of hot pepper flakes. Heat it in a pan on simmer for about fifteen minutes. This brings out the hellfire in the spray i.e. pepper oils.

This is another one you will have to let sit for about 24 hours to let the flakes release all of their torment into the spray.

Once you’ve let it sit, strain it. Drop some dish soap in. Put it in a spray bottle. And now you have the cruelest insect repellent on the planet.

Spray it on plants or in cracks where ants and cockroaches might come in.

This is also a great way to keep squirrels from getting into bird seed. You see, birds don’t have salivary glands and thus they can’t feel the heat of the peppers. But squirrels sure do. Spray down that bird seed with a dish soap-less version and watch the squirrels freak.

4.  Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

Really, any kind of alcohol will work for this one.

But fruit flies are the worst infestation. They are gross. Just nasty. And you will always have a hard time getting rid of them.

First, put all fruit in the fridge. Don’t leave any out.

Then, get a salt shaker, fill the bottom with apple cider or rum. Drop in some dish soap to break the water tension. And then set it out. Watch them flock to it. They’ll crawl into their sweet and drunken death.

5. Borax And Sugar.

Certainly not sugar and spice. But ants sure think it is. Until they die!

Take 1/2 cup of sugar. 1 Cup of warm water. Mix the two with 2 tablespoons of borax.

Put it in a shallow lid of some sort and place it where the ants march. They’ll even take some of it to their next and kill more over time.

Conclusion:

So, now you can enjoy your Friday night. Just don’t let the bed bugs bite!


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The Worst Home Renovation Advice We’ve Heard Yet

December 16, 2016 - By 

Thinking of a home renovation? Awesome. But, read this first. We’ve collected the worst home renovation tips out there, and we’re sharing them with you.

Renovating your home is always a big deal.

Sometimes it’s just time for a change. Other times, it’s time to move and renovating is one step in that direction!

With so many shows out there that show renovations as they happen, whether professionally or with DIYers, it’s hard not to feel like a reno-buff yourself.

But is home renovation really as fun and straight-forward as it’s cracked out to be? And what advice should you be taking and what should you be ignoring?

Though you’ll be working with your own home renovation contractors, you’ll want to make sure that the best options are selected beforehand.

Figuring out what direction you’ll be taking your home renovation in is hard. That’s why you should read this helpful guide of the worst home renovation advice we’ve ever heard.

Why? Because knowing what’s right comes with knowing exactly what you and your home renovation contractor shouldn’t be doing!

The worst home renovation advice you need to stay away from

Add a bathroom

Having too few bathrooms is always a problem.

Maybe it’s just you and your significant other right now, but add in some kids or visiting family and friends. What then? It’s a recipe for an all-out brawl to get to the shower in the morning.

Some people thing that renovating their house to add a bathroom as an addition is a good idea.

But, we’re here to point out that’s not actually such great advice to take!

It turns out that bathroom additions can cost around $50,000! When you go to sell your house down the line, though, you can only really expect half of that money back.

Creating a dream closet

This one may sound conflicting, especially since we all love big closets.

But spending a lot of money to create a huge, organized closet may not always be the greatest move.

It’ll cost you around 3k, but you’ll only get about half of that back when you sell.

So, for this one, don’t stay away completely, but make sure you’ll get your fair use of it just to make that value loss worth it.

Gutting everything at once

Those renovation shows do a great job at making demolition day look fun. And it is fun!

But make sure you put the hammer down long enough to figure out if you really want to be destroying those cabinets.

Consider repainting them or removing them intact to sell. Saving money is a good thing, so don’t demolish it!

Getting too trendy

Do you remember those insanely busy patterned curtains that hung in everyone’s grandmother’s house?

Do you remember ever looking at those and thinking, “those would look great in my house, in 2016?” The answer is probably no.

Back in the day, though, those were all the rage! So when you’re working with home renovation contractors, be wary of going too trendy.

You’ll want to avoid jumping into the latest trends headfirst. Make sure to keep things modern yet classic to see your home age gracefully.