Monthly Archives

December 2020

Renovations

What Are Your Options for Insulating Your Home

What Are Your Options for Insulating Your Home

A properly insulated home can make a huge difference on your comfort level and how much you spend to keep your home comfortable.  Insulating your home can seem like it costs a fortune but you will get much of that money back by what you save to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. What are your options for insulating your home?

Let’s have a look at what your choices are:

Your Insulation Options

You have three options when it comes to insulation.  An insulation company can install any of them fairly quickly anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.  Here are the three options:

  1. Fiberglass Insulation:  You are probably familiar with this pink fiberglass insulation, you may even have some in your attic.  The fiberglass insulation that you put in between the walls is a bit different.  In this case it is blown fiberglass rather than sheets, it is more efficient and is better suited to keep the walls insulated.  This is also your least expensive option, that is one of the reasons it is so popular.
  2. Foam Insulation: Foam is ideal for insulating between the walls, it can be put even in the smallest spaces. This insulation comes from seawater and will quickly fill up all of the spaces between the walls.  It is also far more expensive than the other options.  If you have family members that suffer from allergies this may be the best solution as it doesn’t create any dust.
  3. Cellulose Insulation: Small particles of cellulose insulation gets blown in between your walls. This type of insulation is made from recycled paper with some other chemicals.  The chemicals are there to help keep away insects, mice, mold and to keep your home fire resistant.  It is very dusty and it will take a few days to settle.

If you’re worried about blown in insulation causing damage to your home, you don’t have to be most of the time it can be blown in without any damage to your home.

Keeping Your Home Warm While Saving Money

Proper insulation can help to keep even the oldest and draftiest homes warm during the cold winter months.  Choosing the right insulation and having a professional insulation team come into insulate your home is the first step.  If your home has the proper amount of insulation you will notice a large difference in you energy bills almost immediately.

While insulating your home is a great first step in making your home more energy efficient there are still more steps that you can take.  You may want to have an energy audit done to see what other areas may need your attention.  You want to keep your home comfortable without spending a fortune and an energy audit can help you do that.  You may have to implement other improvements such as upgrading your thermostats and covering your windows to prevent heat from escaping.  Making your home more energy efficient not only reduces your cost it is also better for the environment.  The less energy you need to use to heat and cool your home the better.

Plumbing

Common Plumbing Problems

Common Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems are always a headache, even the ones that are an easy fix.  Knowing some basic plumbing can help you fix minor issues but for the most part you’re going to have to contact a plumber to get the situation rectified.  Here are some of the most common plumbing issues that you will face as a homeowner and what you should do about them.

Dripping or Leaking Faucets

This is a common problem but the constant dripping can drive you nuts.  There are small washers that are in the faucet and with time they wear out and that allows small drops of water to leak through.  It can start as an occasional drip and turn into a constant stream of water.  This is an easy problem to fix, you can buy washers at any home improvement store and change it out yourself.  There are hundreds of videos on YouTube with step by step instructions.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are another issue that you will inevitable have to deal with.  The problem is caused by putting things down the drain that don’t belong there, for example pouring grease down the kitchen sink.  It is typically the kitchen sink that is the culprit but hair clogs in the bathtub are common enough too.  Try some over the counter solutions first or plumber ’s snakes, if that doesn’t work then you need a plumber.

Clogged/Leaking Toilets

A leaking toilet if not repaired right away can destroy your bathroom floor.  Not only that it can end up costing you a small fortune in water bills.  Clogged toilets are every bit as big a problem and both need to be fixed.  You can try removing the clog with a plunger or a plumber’s snake and again if that doesn’t solve it you need a plumber.  Toilets will start to leak when the seal around the base of the toilet breaks down, clogs are usually caused by someone flushing something they shouldn’t.  Both are fairly quick fixes but you may need a plumber to handle it.

Broken Pipes

Broken pipes don’t happen that often but if they do then this is not a DIY project, you’re going to need a plumber.  Often the breaks are in the pipes that take waste away from your home.  It can be caused by tree roots or any number of causes.  This is not a small problem and you will need a plumber to come in and find the break and fix the problem.

Broken Garbage Disposal

Most of the time the garbage disposal has an obstruction, if you turn it on and hear it running but nothing is happening, that’s the problem.  You need to be careful what goes into your garbage disposal, for example it really doesn’t like potato or banana peels.  Your garbage disposal isn’t an alternative to your composter, so be careful what you put down there.

While plumbing problems will happen to every homeowner, they can vary from an easy fix to big an expensive.  If you feel comfortable fixing small problems yourself then feel free, but don’t hesitate to call a plumber on big jobs.

Renovations

5 Types of Flooring for Your Bathroom

5 Types of Flooring for Your Bathroom

The bathroom may be the smallest room in your house but it is one of the most used rooms that you have.  That makes the choice of flooring materials so much more important.  You can splurge for higher end materials because the space is that much smaller.  New flooring alone is enough to give your bathroom a facelift, here are 5 types of flooring for your bathroom that can change the look of your bathroom.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic is a commonly used flooring material especially in high end renovations, it looks absolutely stunning.  The ceramic is made from natural clays that is mixed with different sediments.  Unsealed tile should never be used in the bathroom, it can be damaged by water and it stains easily, but glazed ceramic tile is covered in a coating that seals it perfectly.  You can get ceramics in a bunch of different colors and patterns.  You will need a  professional installer and that’s where it can get pricey, but your bathroom is a small space it may be affordable.

Standard Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is extremely common, especially in rental properties.  It is cheap, easy to  install, durable, water resistant and matches any bathroom.  You can get a variety of patterns and colors and it is ideal for the homeowner with a smaller budget. You can get standard vinyl in two ways, the first is a single sheet that can be installed as one piece, the second is with vinyl tiles. For the bathroom you are better off with a single sheet, it eliminates the potential for water getting under your tiles. If you’re planning on doing it yourself then vinyl is the easiest choice.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl is world’s away from standard vinyl and can cost nearly as much as ceramic tiles.  It is thicker, rigid and it is built to look like hardwood or ceramic tiles.  It is easy to assemble with a “click lock” system and many homeowners who used it in their home have it installed in all rooms including the bathroom.  One of the drawbacks is that water can get between the cracks. Here is how to install luxury vinyl flooring in your bathroom.

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum has been around forever, made from natural materials it appeals to homeowners who want to keep their homes as green as possible.  It is very similar to vinyl in durability and color options.  It is easy to install yourself and it is fairly inexpensive.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete flooring is a relative newcomer to bathroom flooring options but designers are using it more and more.  Generally you will find concrete in higher end homes with very modern design themes.  It is actually pretty affordable but if this is a second floor bathroom then you will need a cement board underlayment installed first.  Even with the underlayment concrete can still be less expensive that ceramic tile or luxury vinyl.  Concrete is porous so you will need to have it sealed to keep it from staining.  Concrete can also be pretty cold so it is recommended that when you put in the concrete you also add in floor heating.

 

Renovations

5 Questions You Must Ask Your Contractor

5 Questions You Must Ask Your Contractor

Your contractor can make or break your home renovation project, that’s why choosing the right contractor is so important.  You want the project to be done right, on time and at a price you both agreed on.  To make sure that you are trusting your home to the right contractor here are 5 questions to ask your contractor before you go ahead with your renovation project.

1. Please breakdown your quote

Most contractors will give you a final price for the job without breaking down how that money is going to be spent. While that my work for most homeowners you really should know how your money is being spent along with what’s included in the job.  It will breakdown the costs of things like, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, flooring along with drywall and painting.  This makes it easier to compare prices with a couple of different contractors.

2. Is this an estimate or the final price?

Lots of contractors give estimates without letting the client know that the final price can end up being a lot higher.  The last thing you want is a case of sticker shock, so ask ahead of time if this is an estimate or the actual price.  There are some contractors that tell you final prices are impossible to give because you never know what can happen when demolition starts.  For instance you lift up the flooring and then find termite damage. Neither of you can predict that, so make sure you have contingencies in place if any extra work is needed.

3. How long have you been in business?

A contractor who has been serving their clientele for 5 years or more has spent time building his business.  They have made connections with other tradespeople and suppliers.  This makes is easier to check references and trust that they will complete the job.  They likely have a long list of happy customers who love their work or some very angry customers leaving scathing reviews.  If they have been in business that long it will be easy for you to find out.

4. Who are your suppliers?

You can judge the reliability of a contractor by his relationship with his suppliers.  Does he do business with local businesses?  Does he pay his bills on time?  Does he have a professional reputation or a long list of unhappy customers and really unhappy suppliers?  Where a contractor gets his materials shouldn’t be some deeply held secret and they should have no problem telling you.  You also want to make sure that your contractor will be using quality materials and not a cheaper option.

5. Can you introduce me to the foreman that will be running the project?

For the most part your general contractor is more of a manager and doesn’t spend much time swinging a hammer.  It is the foreman that is onsite every day and makes sure that everybody shows up on time and gets the job done.  If you are doing a small renovation then you want to see if your contractor will be the one there every day.  Regardless you want a point of contact that you can discuss any issues with.