Home repair http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1644/all en-US 19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74322623_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal ways to update an old home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though I have a tight budget for home improvement, my wife and I have been able to make cheap changes that have the neighbors complimenting us on how nice the house looks, and in one case even asking if we replaced the siding and the roof! The truth is that we spent nowhere near the cost of big projects like new siding or a new roof. We spent only a few dollars to make some highly visible changes that made a big impact.</p> <p>So what are these cheap upgrades you can do yourself to make your house look so much better? Here are some of the cheap upgrades I did at my 1980s house over the past two years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget?ref=seealso">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. Add an Architectural Mailbox</h2> <p>Our house is at the end of a street with the mailbox right out front. Unfortunately, our faded old mailbox made a terrible first impression with its wasp nests in the newspaper slot, battle scars from having trellis nailed to it, and being overgrown with vines over the years. My wife found a black steel &quot;architectural&quot; mailbox set on clearance and we decided to upgrade. Now we have the fanciest mailbox in the neighborhood for only a few dollars more than the standard plastic mailbox kit that everyone else seems to have.</p> <h2>2. Paint the Front Door</h2> <p>A new front door can cost a few hundred dollars or more. Painting the front door you already have costs about $30. You can add some color to your exterior, and painting your front door can protect it from the elements and make it last longer as well.</p> <h2>3. Paint Shutters</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/painted_shutters.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>My house has vinyl decorative shutters on each side of the windows, but they were looking faded. We were able to easily take them down, paint them, and replace them since they are attached with screws. We painted the shutters a bold color to add some interest and make the windows more prominent.</p> <h2>4. Hide Ugly Utilities</h2> <p>The central air conditioning unit, gas regulator, and other utilities are installed right at the front of our house, probably because it is at the end of a street. My wife built a low fence about eight feet wide out of cedar pickets in front of the utility stuff, and stained it a nice golden color. She hung some flower baskets on the fence posts and installed some nice black steel house numbers on the new fence that match the mailbox. Now instead of seeing ugly utility equipment, you see a nice feature that is coordinated with the house.</p> <h2>5. Replace Front Porch Light</h2> <p>I removed the faded and out-of-style early 1980s porch light next to the front door and replaced it with a modern unit for about $30.</p> <h2>6. Housewash</h2> <p>A neighbor generously offered to let us borrow their power washer for an afternoon, and my wife happily signed me up to take advantage of this offer! We washed the moss, mold, and mildew off of the vinyl siding &mdash; making it look almost new again.</p> <h2>7. Slash and Burn</h2> <p>While doing the other exterior projects, we gathered up several truckloads of clutter from the yard. We hauled the stuff that someone might want to the auction house and hauled the junk to the landfill. The yard had a number of overgrown bushes and flower beds filled with weeds. We pruned back the bushes, weeded the flower beds, and added fresh mulch. Finally, we had a huge bonfire to finish clearing the yard.</p> <h2>8. Install Bathroom Floor Tile</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/bathroom_tile.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>An inexpensive upgrade to the bathroom was to install a porcelain tile floor. We got some tiles on clearance at the local carpet warehouse and installed these on top of cement board that went down right over the old vinyl bathroom floor.</p> <h2>9. Install a One-Piece Toilet</h2> <p>We decided to replace the leaky old toilet with a new one since we had to take it out to install the tile floor anyway. Much like the architectural mailbox, a one-piece toilet is not the cheapest way to go, but it sure adds a lot of style for a few extra dollars.</p> <h2>10. Replace Light Switch Plates</h2> <p>We went around and replaced all of the old faded plastic light switch plates and outlet plates with nice brushed nickel ones. This cost about $5 per plate, but this is a cheap upgrade that adds style and consistency throughout the house.</p> <h2>11. Replace Bathroom Vanity</h2> <p>We found a deal on Craigslist for a bathroom vanity with solid surface top and a built-in sink. It even included the faucet with the sink. This is just what we needed to replace the old bathroom vanity set and provide a nearly instant upgrade. We also installed a new mirror and light above the sink.</p> <h2>12. Install LED Recessed Lights</h2> <p>The old recessed spotlights that are used as primary lighting in much of the house were hot and used a lot of electricity. I replaced all of them with LED recessed light fixtures that will last thousands of hours and use a fraction of the electricity.</p> <h2>13. Replace Light Fixture in Entryway</h2> <p>The old light fixture in the entryway was one of the first things to catch your eye when you walked in the front door. We replaced this with a nice new light fixture that has a glass shade that looks like tile for about $50.</p> <h2>14. Paint Old Light Fixture</h2> <p>In the dining room, we decided to keep the old light fixture, but painted it black with spray paint to make it look more modern. This project cost about $5 for a can of spray paint. This light fixture was installed on an adjustable track, so it could be easily unplugged and taken down for painting. If your fixture is wired-in, you will need to turn power off at the circuit breaker in order to disconnect the wire nuts and take it down safely for painting.</p> <h2>15. Install New Kitchen Sink, Faucet</h2> <p>We picked up a kit at the home improvement store that included a heavy-duty two bowl stainless steel kitchen sink and faucet for under $200. Replacing the stained porcelain sink and leaky faucet fixtures was a great upgrade.</p> <h2>16. Paint Subfloor With Porch Paint</h2> <p>The carpets were stained and worn out, so we removed them and found raw subfloor underneath. Ideally, we would have installed hardwood flooring, but this is quite expensive. Instead, we painted the subfloor with a $30 can of brown porch paint. This was a quick and easy project, and it is easy to touch up any scrapes or scratches that may occur with a bit of porch paint.</p> <h2>17. Paint Tub and Shower Surround</h2> <p>Replacing a bathtub and shower surround would be a big, expensive ordeal. We decided to apply some white epoxy tub paint to our old fiberglass bathtub and surround instead of replacing it. This project cost about $60. I must say that painting the tub and surround with the sticky epoxy paint was a lot of work, and the strong chemical odor of this paint was unpleasant. But hauling out the old bathtub and shower surround and replacing it would have been much more difficult and expensive.</p> <p>We found a replacement kit and installed a new shower faucet and bathtub spout. We also upgraded the shower head with one that provides a bit more pressure. The shiny new plumbing fixtures look sharp against the freshly painted bright white tub and shower surround.</p> <h2>18. Paint Interior Walls</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/painted_walls_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>My wife led the charge in painting the interior walls. The walls were a faded off-white color. now they are several colors including a modern light gray, dark blue, green, and orange. Putting some modern color on the walls is a cheap way to make an older house look more modern.</p> <h2>19. Install Closet Organizers</h2> <p>We installed closet organizer kits in all of the bedroom closets, adding more places to hang clothes and additional shelves to amplify storage. I changed the light bulbs in the closets to cool white LED bulbs to better show the color of clothes and avoid the possibility of something falling against a hot incandescent light bulb and catching on fire.</p> <p><em>What are the best frugal home upgrades that you have done? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-47-best-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: 47 Best Back-to-School Shopping Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home budgeting decor frugal living frugal repairs home improvement Home repair home updates Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:30:18 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1773895 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000057954298_Large.jpg" alt="doing easy and frugal home repairs themselves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're a homeowner or a renter, sooner or later, something is going to break. And when that time comes, you'll have two options: fix it yourself, or get someone else to fix it. The latter usually costs money &mdash; unless you happen to know someone who'll help for free &mdash; and yet, so many of these repairs require minimal skill and effort to get the job done. Here are 10 of the easiest household repairs every frugal person should have under their belt.</p> <h2>1. Changing a Faucet Washer</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/15A0V7lj_Lo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Drip. Drip. Drip. It can be the annoying sound that wakes you up at night, or one that constantly bothers you in the kitchen. You have a leaky faucet. The most likely cause of that leak is a worn washer, and they are very easy to replace. No need to call a plumber, because all you need are a few basic tools and a new washer.</p> <p>Turn off the water supply, remove the faucet cap, unscrew the handle, and unscrew the nut. You'll reveal the valve stem, which you remove, and voila&hellip; the old washer is revealed. Replace it, and then do everything in reverse. Here's an instructional video that explains a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15A0V7lj_Lo">basic washer change</a> in just a few minutes. You'll save water, and a lot of money on a plumbing charge.</p> <h2>2. Replacing a Furnace Filter</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SGYrVgFSzV4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>It's amazing that some people still hire someone to come and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGYrVgFSzV4">replace the filter</a> on their furnace. This is literally a job that takes less than a minute to do, and anyone can do it. What you need to do is find the correct size of filter, which will be written somewhere on the furnace. When you have the dimensions, you can go to a hardware store for replacements or order online. Don't go for the cheapest type; you want one that traps not just dirt, but allergens and other air hazards. Remove the furnace door &mdash; this will almost always deactivate the furnace, but if not, turn it off at the switch. Slide out the dirty filter, and replace it with the new one, making sure to insert it with the arrows pointing in the direction of the airflow. Then, close up the furnace. It's that easy.</p> <h2>3. Unblocking a Drain</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YwANFKK__kk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So, simple blocked drains on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwANFKK__kk">sinks are easy to unclog</a>. Get out the plunger, and go to work. It should clear in seconds. If it doesn't, don't run to the phone to call a plumber, because 99% of the time, you can do this yourself. There are various tools available for this, including snakes, liquid plumber, and even wire coathangers. In all instances, most of these clogs or blocks are caused by old hair, debris, grease, and food. So, you may want to invest in a pair of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BE02FH6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00BE02FH6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IBAELM4ETCRRSBVG">rubber gloves</a>. Here are a few videos showing some basic drain unblocking; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF2RAJUye58">clearing the trap</a>; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKZjQxabLjA">using a snake</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains?ref=seealso">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a>)</p> <h2>4. Painting a Room</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jFVYvSxLawg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Some home repair jobs can actually be a lot of fun, and this is one of them. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFVYvSxLawg">Painting a room</a>, especially a kid's room or playroom, can be creative and fulfilling. But whether it's a bedroom, living room, or kitchen, you'll need some basic tools and a few tips before you start. Get a variety of paintbrushes; you'll need some for small, fiddly areas, others for big areas like doors and walls. You will also need a paint roller and tray, or a paint pad. Plus, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010O5HZVW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B010O5HZVW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5EH4DIPGUM5KIWPB">dropcloths</a>, painter's tape (Frog is excellent), paint, a stepladder, and some clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Make sure to block off any areas you don't want paint to land on &mdash; including the ceiling lines, window trim, door frames, and baseboards. Paint around those areas first, then fill in with your roller or paint pad. You will usually need to do two coats, and maybe more if a light color is going over a dark one.</p> <h2>5. Changing the Locks</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/48SrVmlbZpQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Walk down the Locks and Doors aisle in any hardware store and you'll be greeted with a plethora of different options. You have so many choices here, and it takes very little time to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48SrVmlbZpQ">change out a door lock</a>. (However, installing a lock from scratch is a lot more involved). The hardest part of all this is making sure you get the right replacement lock to fit the one you're swapping out. Take a look at it first, remove it, take photos, write down model numbers, etc. Take that information to the hardware store, and they can guide you to the correct one. Then, with just a few screws, and you're good to go.</p> <h2>6. Sewing<strong> </strong></h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9XHRaym3qLQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Never let it be said that <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XHRaym3qLQ">sewing</a> is a hobby. It's something we should all know how to do, because it can save us a lot of money on clothing and other repairs around the home. From torn curtains and sofa cushions, to holes in jeans and shirts, some basic sewing repair skills are essential. You don't need to be a master tailor, but having a grasp on the basics &mdash; such as sewing on a button, darning a sock, or patching jeans &mdash; will really help you out in the long run. You don't even need a sewing machine. Just a very simple <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V8BH8VE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00V8BH8VE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QJ57PPNDY43EBD2C">sewing kit</a> will do, for under $10.</p> <h2>7. Unclogging the Garbage Disposal</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qC8LN32ep_Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You flick the switch, and you hear one of two things: complete silence, or a faint buzz. Either way, it's not the growl of the motor and the blades that you were expecting. When this happens, your <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC8LN32ep_Q">garbage disposal is clogged</a>. You may be tempted to call a plumber, who will either fix it for you, or suggest an often unnecessary replacement. But this is a job you can do easily yourself.</p> <p>First, it may have stopped working due to a jam. Unplug it, and reach in there to see if something is stopping the blades. Fish it out, if that's the case. If not, you will still want to go underneath the disposal and turn the blades using the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0025ZA3EQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0025ZA3EQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CHUBCDBFY2TKT2G7">Allen wrench</a> that came with it. After turning it several times, you should feel the blades loosen. Hit the reset button on the base, plug it back in, and hit the main switch. Your disposal should now be working again.</p> <h2>8. Replacing Screen Door Mesh</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vBS-UP37fI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So many people I have talked to, including family members, have bought a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vBS-UP37fI">new screen door</a> when the mesh has ripped or worn out. This is a huge waste of money. If the screen door itself is in great condition, you only need to replace the mesh, and that's a job most people can do in less than 30 minutes. You'll need to buy replacement screen mesh and a screen door spline roller. The pair will cost between $20-$30 depending on the store you buy them at, and the type of screen mesh you opt for. The hardest part is actually removing the screen door from the track. Once that's done, you remove the old rubber cord and mesh, place the new one on the door, roll in the new rubber cord, and trim the excess. It's that simple.</p> <h2>9. Recaulking Sinks and Tubs</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nHwmqkoz1tE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Over time, the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHwmqkoz1tE">caulk surrounding bathtubs and sinks</a> will need to be replaced. Sometimes it gets discolored or moldy. Sometimes, it can actually begin to peel away, and start causing issues with leaks or water damage. In that case, you need to replace the caulk. And the good news is, it's really easy.</p> <p>All you need is a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CSR5PS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000CSR5PS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ATGFIZOB5GKODBHF">caulking gun</a> and caulk, which comes in a wide variety of colors and types. Talk to an expert in your hardware store about your needs. Clear out any of the old caulk, which can be done using a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002X201/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00002X201&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AC2E7BTPBV6EJWB6">Stanley knife</a> and a scraping tool. Make sure the area to be caulked is clean and dry. Then, apply a thin bead using the caulking gun, and with a wet finger, swipe away the excess to form a beautiful new seal.</p> <h2>10. Banishing Squeaks</h2> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3iAseVZZKlY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Squeaky doors, windows, stairs, and floorboards are more an annoyance than anything else, but they don't have to be. They are usually a very simple fix. For squeaking doors and windows, some spray lube, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JCGU8U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000JCGU8U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NMR24HOGV5D3R6Y4">WD-40</a>, or white lithium grease will usually eliminate the problem. If none of those are available, even a little olive oil or Vaseline can work. You are simply looking for a way to reduce the friction. For <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iAseVZZKlY">floorboards</a>, it's a little more involved. Most of the time, it happens because the floorboard has raised up from the main floor joists or the subfloor. In that case, a shim can eliminate that gap, and thus, the squeak.</p> <p><em>What other home repair should every frugal person learn? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-household-leaks-you-can-fix-without-a-plumber">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-besides-frugality-to-do-for-yourself">The many reasons--besides frugality--to do for yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home DIY diy repairs frugal Home repair household repairs Fri, 25 Mar 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Paul Michael 1678795 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn't Try) http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-painting-86495282-small.jpg" alt="couple painting" title="couple painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I bought our first home, I was glued to all those television DIY shows. There were so many things we wanted to do to our starter space, and the Internet hadn't yet exploded with tutorials and inspiration boards. Now? Any and every project you could ever want to do can be found with a quick search. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=related">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the best home and decor improvements even novices can tackle.</p> <h2>1. Leather Refinishing</h2> <p>Have an old, worn leather couch smelling up the place? You can totally revitalize it on the cheap with these <a href="http://knoxvilleflowerpot.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-dye-or-stain-leather-furniture.html">easy instructions</a>. You'll need leather cleaner, a good quality dye, and some type of finish coat &mdash; but all the supplies should come in less than $100, depending on the size of your sofa.</p> <h2>2. Blinds Revival</h2> <p>I dream of gorgeous plantation shutters in my home. Thing is, I'm on a plastic blinds sort of budget, so I love this idea to dress them up <a href="http://www.home-dzine.co.za/crafts/craft-sprayblinds.htm">using spray paint</a>. The possibilities are endless! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=related">40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating</a>)</p> <h2>3. Fireplace Makeover</h2> <p>Neutralize the dated aspects of your home with &mdash; again &mdash; our friend, spray paint. Those brassy accents disappear with a nice coat of black or, in for a more refined color, &quot;oil-rubbed bronze.&quot; With the fireplace, you'll want to choose a formula specifically <a href="http://www.creationsbykara.com/2011/06/fireplace-makeover-spray-paint-magic.html/">designed for high heat</a>.</p> <h2>4. Like-New Appliances</h2> <p>Our new home has a great, spacious kitchen, but the appliances don't match. Since they're all in good working order, we're considering <a href="http://cozycrookedcottage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/diy-painted-refrigerator/">painting the refrigerator</a> versus buying a new one. You can use special appliance paint or kits, but the tutorial makes use of standard semi-gloss paint.</p> <h2>5. Light Fixture</h2> <p>Though I don't recommend doing your own electrical work, you can <a href="http://www.lowes.com/cd_Change+a+Light+Fixture_279093251_">replace ceiling light fixtures</a> without much trouble. Just be sure to turn out the power to the room you're working in and connect the wires according to your new light's instruction pamphlet.</p> <h2>6. Board and Batten</h2> <p>Adding architectural detail to a room is simple with this detailed <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/07/home-improvement-diy-board-and-batten.html">board and batten tutorial</a>. You need boards, construction adhesive, nails, and a few other supplies. If you aren't handy with a saw, you might even consider asking the folks at your local lumber supply to do the cuts for you at an extra charge to speed up the process.</p> <h2>7. Television Hide-and-Seek</h2> <p>I drool over media cabinets from those expensive home decor stores. Then I found this <a href="http://dixiedelights.blogspot.com/2013/01/honey-does-diy-flat-screen-tv-cabinet.html">smart solution</a> online &mdash; and I can't wait to get my hands on some 2x4s. This project isn't well detailed, but if you have a somewhat experienced woodworker in the family, the concept is easy to follow. For my &quot;doors&quot; I might use (or create) a piece of artwork that comes in two pieces.</p> <h2>8. Tile Re-Grouting</h2> <p>If you have a section &mdash; or entire room &mdash; of tile that looks dingy and old, consider whether the tile itself really needs fixing, or if you can just fix the grout. You can pick up the supplies to add some new life to those dirty grout lines for very little money &mdash; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTddQ-4EVl8">here's how</a> you do it!</p> <h2>9. Rustic Accent Wall</h2> <p>When I came across this <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2010/02/nursery-news-accent-wall/">cozy pallet wall</a>, my jaw literally dropped. It takes some skill, but once you hang the underlayment, it's mostly a puzzle of what pieces look good and where. The author installed it in her son's nursery, but I'd love to put one in my basement recreation room!</p> <h2>10. Custom Built-Ins</h2> <p>When I first came across these <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2013/07/dining-room-pretty-organization.html">dining room built-ins</a>, I knew they'd be perfect for almost any room in the house. The author gives <a href="http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-build-built-ins.html">step-by-step instructions</a> for how to select the right cabinets, cut the wood, paint for more artistic flair, etc. &mdash; just note that this project isn't done in a day. However, the time involved is worth it!</p> <h2>11. Smart Shelving</h2> <p>If you're looking to add some unique flair to a room, look outside the home decor department. This <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/nesting-ladder-display-makeover.html">ladder turned shelf</a> could hold anything from plants to books, and it's a great way to turn something old into something treasured. All you need are some planks of wood and wood glue! Leave your ladder unpainted for a most rustic look or use a bright color for some cheer. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves?ref=related">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>12. Shaker Cabinets</h2> <p>I'm hoping to complete this next project by the end of the summer. Trim out your plain kitchen cabinets <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/02/diy-inexpensive-cabinet-updates/">using yard sticks</a> (or standard trim) for that Shaker look. A little grain filler and paint, and your kitchen will look entirely different for pennies on the dollar.</p> <h2>13. Revived Tub</h2> <p>You can shine up your bathtub without replacing or covering it. Just follow these <a href="http://www.beautifulmatters.com/2013/01/diy-bathtub-refinishing/">simple instructions</a> that explain how everyday products and a tub refinishing kit can take your soaking place from freaky to fab in no time at all.</p> <h2>14. Plywood Planks</h2> <p>Looking for an inexpensive wood flooring solution? These <a href="http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2014/03/diy-wide-plank-floors-made-from-plywood.html">plywood plank floors</a> can be painted or stained and seem pretty darned easy to install. Just be sure to start with a solid, level subfloor and measure twice, cut once. This is another project where you can take advantage of low-cost cuts made at your hardware store.</p> <h2>15. Distressed Look</h2> <p>I'd file this one under <em>Proceed With Caution</em>, but if you like that distressed leather look, <a href="http://desertwillowlaneblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/distressing-new-leather-furniture-diy.html">this tutorial</a> is for you. Even a shiny, brand new piece can turn into that &quot;old favorite&quot; with some sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, a blow dryer, and a few rags.</p> <h2>16. Console Table</h2> <p>Sometimes the furniture you need can't be found at the store. Or maybe what you see in catalogs and online is outrageously expensive. Either way, this <a href="http://somethingisdone.com/diy-behind-the-sofa-table/">behind-the-sofa table</a> appears to be beginner-friendly. Just assemble a few 2x4s and 1x4s, and you're set to paint or stain it anyway you prefer.</p> <h2>17. Shutter Install</h2> <p>Plantation shutters are one of my favorite design elements because they are both beautiful and functional. They are also quite costly, so if you can order online at a discount and then <a href="http://foxhollowcottage.com/2014/04/easy-diy-plantation-shutter-installation.html">install them yourself</a>, it's worth your while.</p> <h2>And Three Things You Should Hire the Pros to Do</h2> <p>It's true that you can do a lot to improve your home and decor (and have a lot of fun doing it). However, it's also important to know and obey your limits, and we all have our limits. Here are a few projects you <em>shouldn't</em> tackle on your own.</p> <h3>Asbestos Removal</h3> <p>A lot of us have those 9x9 titles in our basements and kitchens, but if you suspect your flooring might contain asbestos, it's best to have it tested before doing any DIY demolition. When in good condition, asbestos tiles doesn't pose much threat. When damaged, the fibers become <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family">airborne and crumble easily</a>, so it's best to leave the work to experts or leave it alone entirely.</p> <h3>Amateur Handyman</h3> <p>If your local municipality requires a permit for something &mdash; like <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/tradesmen/diy-electrical-work-an-experts-opinion-8548135.html">electrical work</a>, plumbing, or knocking down walls, etc. &mdash; you might not have the skills to tackle it on your own. Rather than search around for a quick fix, you'll probably save more money (and your health and safety) in the long run by calling in a professional.</p> <h3>Roofing Repairs</h3> <p>My neighbor recently tore off and re-installed roofing on his garage. A project lower to the ground might be okay, but if you're going to go on a super tall ladder, you should leave it to the professionals. That goes for anything up high, as falls from ladders sent <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/articles/emergency/do-it-yourself-projects-that-lead-to-the-most-er-visits">246,733 Americans</a> to hospital ERs back in 2009. Don't become a statistic!</p> <p><em>Have you tackled any DIY home projects lately? How'd it come out? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home DIY home maintenance home projects Home repair Tue, 24 Jun 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1146613 at http://www.wisebread.com Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-inspection-78751705-small.jpg" alt="inspection" title="inspection" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congrats! You've received an offer on your home and agreed upon a sale price. The papers are signed, and the next step in the process is your home inspection. Chances are that a satisfactory report is the last major hurdle toward sale &mdash; so it's important you put your best foot forward. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a>)</p> <p>I recently accompanied a home inspector on a 3-&frac12; hour tour of a home we were considering purchasing, and these were some major points I picked up along the way. In general, it's good to have intimate knowledge of your house's nooks, crannies, and weak spots. The following items are things you should consider before the inspector visits your home, possibly bringing up major and minor issues that could cost you money off your sales price or worse &mdash; the deal itself.</p> <h2>1. Clear Access</h2> <p>Ensure access to critical areas of your house are clear. Think about your electrical box, furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning units, attic door, and any other possible locked spaces. Also make it easier to access under sink plumbing work and back access, as well as any areas blocked off by storage, etc. If the inspector cannot gain access, he or she will be unable to include them in the report, raising questions for your buyers.</p> <h2>2. Banish Clogs</h2> <p>Go through your entire house to all the sinks drains &mdash; one by one &mdash; and run the water. If you notice a slow drain, you can try using store-bought clog removers (consult with staff to find the right one). For very slow or even totally clogged drains, call in a plumber. Same goes with any slow flow or blockage at the water source.</p> <h2>3. Replace Bulbs</h2> <p>Examine your attached light fixtures. Make sure all the light bulbs are working. Inspectors only get an overhead view and cannot determine if the bulb itself is out or if there's possibly an underlying electrical problem.</p> <h2>4. Filter Out</h2> <p>Replace your furnace return air filters. Not only do dirty filters impact the efficiency of your overall HVAC system, they also show neglect, which isn't the type of impression you want to leave with your inspector.</p> <h2>5. Mind Your Monitors</h2> <p>Be sure to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test before inspection day and look at the expiration dates. You should have a smoke alarm on <a href="http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/alarms/">every level of your home</a> &mdash; including the basement. As for carbon monoxide detectors, there should be <a href="http://www.kidde.com/SafetyMadeSimple/Pages/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx#.U4XECNxofwI">at least one</a> in your home, in the sleeping area.</p> <h2>6. Observe Grading</h2> <p>Check to see that the earth slopes away from your home versus toward it to avoid basement water issues. Even if there's no evidence of water entering your home, it's a good idea to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hYIda7tWqA">slope dirt away</a> in flowerbeds and other areas that come in contact with your foundation.</p> <h2>7. Check Cracks</h2> <p>If your home has any cracked windows or broken screens, you may want to fix them before the inspector comes. Even if a crack isn't a big issue on some basement window, it will still show up in your report.</p> <h2>8. Get the Bugs Out</h2> <p>Do you see a lot of carpenter bees hanging around? Or perhaps a steady line of ants near your home? Any sort of infestation &mdash; especially of wood destroying insects like termites &mdash; will show up on your inspection report. It's best to take care of it proactively.</p> <h2>9. Cap It Off</h2> <p>Any sort of caps needed in and around your home should be there. Any unused gas lines &mdash; even if shut off &mdash; should be capped. As well, any chimneys or flues should be capped to prevent debris, including leaves and animals, from clogging off critical vents. For example, a home we recently had inspected had a clog in the water heater flue creating a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.</p> <h2>10. Trim Your Trees</h2> <p>Or at least take a look at any overhanging vegetation at your property. Trees that are over roofs can prematurely shorten roof life by inviting moss and lichen to take hold. Rodents can gain easy access to your chimney and other openings. And the obvious: If there's a low-hanging or unhealthy branch, it could always fall onto the roof.</p> <h2>11. Think Big</h2> <p>If you know you have asbestos, lead, or other health and safety issues in your home, it's good to disclose this information before embarking on the sale process to begin with. Otherwise, be prepared for these items to show up in a report. Though they are usually not confirmed without further testing, &quot;suspected&quot; hazards could certainly scare away potential buyers.</p> <h2>12. Go With the Flow</h2> <p>Flush your toilets to see if any aren't performing as they should. Sometimes a fix is as easy as adjusting <a href="http://www.home-repair-central.com/slow-flushing-toilet-introduction.html">the water level</a> in your tank. Other times, a clog or hard water (creating sediment) might be to blame &mdash; or perhaps a faulty design.</p> <h2>13. Spark Interest</h2> <p>Go to each outlet in your home to see if any aren't working. It's also a good idea to note any weird issues with your electrical system that you have observed and lived with in your time at the home. Any flickering light fixtures or slow switches, etc., can be signs of a problem for an electrician to investigate.</p> <h2>14. Crack It Open</h2> <p>Many older homes, especially those with plaster walls, have hairline cracks. Many of these cracks are not concerning, as they mostly indicate the expansion and contraction of the wall material with normal house settling and temperature fluctuations. If you have <a href="http://realestate.msn.com/is-that-crack-serious-foundation-issues-101">cracks in your foundation</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;exterior, or your doors and windows aren't closing from misalignment, you may want to have them checked before inspection.</p> <h2>15. Swing Around</h2> <p>While you're at it, open and close all your windows and doors to look for anything that's creaking, loose, or otherwise not functioning properly. Look at hinge pins, door knobs, and anything else that seems amiss.</p> <h2>16. Address the Issues</h2> <p>If you bought your house only a few years ago, chances are you still have a copy of your old home inspection from purchase. Go through the report and look for any unaddressed issues you've come to live with over the years. It's almost like having a cheat sheet.</p> <h2>17. Hire a Professional</h2> <p>If there are any issues in this list that you're not familiar with fixing, it's best to call a certified professional before your inspection date to do the work. Not only will amateur fixes not fare well on inspection reports, but you could also put yourself in harms way, say, if you've never climbed onto your roof or trimmed a tree before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs?ref=seealso">Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Home Repairs</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have any items to add to this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Home Maintenance and Repair: What&#039;s an Emergency and What Can Wait?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-home-sale-horror-stories">The 8 Worst Home Sale Horror Stories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home inspection home maintenance Home repair Thu, 05 Jun 2014 09:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1141614 at http://www.wisebread.com WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-462144225.jpg" alt="demolition" title="demolition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What makes a project a good Do-it-yourself candidate? Low-risk, for one: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art">making a collage</a> isn&rsquo;t going to implode your roof, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans">cutting up your old denim</a> to make a quilt isn&rsquo;t going to result in a trip to the emergency room. (Unless of course you forget to take the jeans off before starting&hellip;)</p> <p>But some home projects just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">shouldn&rsquo;t be attempted</a> by anyone other than a professional. Don&rsquo;t believe it? Just watch these crazy DIY fails.</p> <p>1. Starting with the most obvious potential no-no: demolition. If it involves knocking out support beams, call a contractor and avoid demolishing yourself.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lOoD-KWNREM"></iframe></p> <p>2. If a tree falls on an ill-advised DIY project, does 911 hear it?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UXjjqEX80Q4" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>3. And for exhibit B that massive trees (especially those next to your lovely house) should be cut down by an expert:</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JteV8r8YnN0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>4. Think interior construction is safe? Then check out the results of poor bathroom design in possibly the scariest video yet.</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jEBp5cUJi20" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>5. What&rsquo;s worse, not being able to reach the toilet paper, or this painful home improvement fail?</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ww3ZxHMwG7Q" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>6. Contractors aren&rsquo;t the only pros you should consider calling for home jobs. Furniture movers can be a solid call too, just ask the guy in this video, as soon as he digs himself out&hellip;</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCRPphWMREc" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>7. And finally, a fail for possibly the simplest task in home maintenance as a reminder that anything can be risky when done carelessly. How many dumb DIYers does it take to screw in a lightbulb anyway?</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" frameborder="0" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Xl-SajEV14M" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-use-pool-noodles">20 Ways to Use Pool Noodles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Real Estate and Housing DIY Home repair Mon, 19 May 2014 15:04:32 +0000 Joe Epstein 1139271 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-5268659-small.jpg" alt="home" title="home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm currently in the process of selling my house, and it's been quite an ordeal getting it up to snuff for listing. Over the six years my family has lived here, we've surely settled in. Things like dirty baseboards, slow draining tubs, and a rogue dead outlet didn't seem so horrible; we got used to all these little inconveniences because our minds were elsewhere. When it came time to fix everything, however, we were quite overwhelmed with our to-do list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market?ref=seealso">Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home</a>)</p> <p>Now that we've finished going through our house from head to toe, I can surely tell you &mdash; tiny changes add up to something big &mdash; mammoth, actually. And you don't need to put your house on the market to improve your habitat and your life. Even if you are living in your forever home, there are 25 super easy projects you can do inexpensively or even for free to really put some extra shine to your house that you didn't know you could get back!</p> <h2>1. Deep Clean</h2> <p>We all try to keep our homes tidy and clean, but when's the last time you lifted all your carpets and vacuumed the floor underneath them? What about scrubbing behind your toilet? Dusting off the blades of your ceiling fans and blinds? Think of all those dark corners and slowly chip away at dusting and scrubbing them. Once they're totally clean, it's amazing the difference you'll feel. I like to start with one room or floor at a time and plow right through. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning?ref=seealso">One-Month Guide to Spring Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>2. Toss and Donate</h2> <p>Then comes clutter. Spring is a great time to go through your hoard and see what you want to keep, to toss, and to donate to local thrift shops and charities. I always start with my closet and then work my way through the rest of the house. Old pots and pans or anything I haven't actually used in the last six months are up for debate. I'd rather have open spaces than store stuff I may never use again anyway. If you are questioning if you should purge something, put it (and like-items) in a box to store in your basement or attic for three months. If you don't miss it, clear it out of your house.</p> <h2>3. Scrub Appliances</h2> <p>&quot;Our refrigerator isn't too bad,&quot; I told my husband. And then I moved the food around and saw lots of drips and spills that had hardened into quite a sticky mess. I took a couple hours one day and set the oven to self clean, took all the food out of the fridge and freezer and scrubbed it with an all-purpose cleaner, and then finished off with cleaning out the filter in the dishwasher. They're like new again! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-fridge-last-almost-forever-with-these-8-tips?ref=seealso">8 Tips to Make Your Fridge Last Forever</a>)</p> <h2>4. Rummage Through Your Pantry</h2> <p>While you're at it, go through your food to see what's stale, expired, or might be headed that way soon. You'd be surprised how much space you gain by taking stock, and you might actually find foods you didn't know you had. I have definitely saved some grocery dollars by using up ingredients instead of letting them go to waste in the back of a cabinet.</p> <h2>5. Oil Your Hinges</h2> <p>Open all your doors and hinges and spray a little WD-40 to get those suckers sliding quietly. If you don't feel like running to the store, you can also use three different <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-silence-16316">household items</a> &mdash; soap, petroleum jelly, and paraffin wax &mdash; for the same silencing effect.</p> <h2>6. Wipe Down Trim and Molding</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I never wash my door jams or baseboards. I didn't think they were too dirty until I looked closer. Coffee splashes, fingerprints, dust, and other (toddler) messes were very apparent on ours, so a little elbow grease (and a few <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001339ZMW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001339ZMW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Magic Erasers</a>) got them bright white again.</p> <h2>7. Or Even Paint Them</h2> <p>Beyond the general cleaning, some of our molding was actually dinged up from years of moving furniture, accidental kicks and scrapes, and even damage from that time when we hung a doorway pull-up bar. I went to our local hardware store and got some paint samples to find a glossy off-white that matched closely and then got a sample size can of paint. I took an artist's paintbrush around and blended them back in again.</p> <h2>8. Safeguard</h2> <p>Take a tour of your home's fire alarms, extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. If they need new batteries, get new batteries today. If they are expired, broken, or are missing entirely &mdash; buy new today. Safety is one area not to skimp on or leave until tomorrow.</p> <h2>9. Filter and Maintain</h2> <p>As a first-time homeowner, I didn't really know we needed to maintain our furnace every single year. Now, that's not a hard and fast rule, but it's certainly a good idea. At the very least, we put in a new filter each year and make sure to call in help if we suspect there might be an issue. Keeping a furnace, water heater, air conditioning unit, or whatever else in working order is much cheaper than buying a new one. All it takes is a quick call to make an appointment, and be sure to check websites of bigger companies for coupons.</p> <h2>10. Clean Windows</h2> <p>On the inside and out, our windows are exposed to a vast number of icky things. Whether it's handprints, dirt, bugs, or whatever else that's obscuring your view, all it takes is some glass cleaner and time to get them clear again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">The Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>11. Shine Up Floors</h2> <p>We have gorgeous wood floors that we clean with basic water and vinegar, but we called in the big guns with some store-bought <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005V9Z9NI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005V9Z9NI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Orange Glo cleaner</a> to get them gleaming. It's something I'd love to start doing once a month, as it helps condition the wood beyond my basic washing. One bottle was only about $6, but I think it will last four or five applications in our small home.</p> <h2>12. Freshen Linens</h2> <p>I'll just come out and admit that we don't make our beds every day. So, doing so has majorly changed how we feel upstairs. Beyond that, we try to change our sheets more frequently these days to keep everything fluffy and smelling great. Be sure to add towels, shower curtains, bath rugs, curtains, and any other cloth item to this list.</p> <h2>13. Caulk Around</h2> <p>Our bathroom caulking had seen better days. Instead of scrubbing the mold and mildew, we decided to start with a fresh application. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Simply rip out, re-do, and let dry &mdash; <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-re-caulk-a-bathtub/index.html">here's how</a>.</p> <h2>14. Repurpose and Reimagine</h2> <p>Have a hall closet continually crammed with random junk? Follow the steps above to clean and perhaps clear out and then try to come up with a purpose for that space so it doesn't become a catch-all. We have a small closet near our kitchen that we hung some cheap shelving in and we now use as a pantry. It's actually &quot;supposed&quot; to be a coat closet, but that just didn't work for our family. Give spaces jobs to do, and you'll maximize your living spaces. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too?ref=seealso">How to Declutter and Keep Your Stuff Too</a>)</p> <h2>15. Focus on Window Treatments</h2> <p>I'm sure we all have a few curtain rods, panels, blinds we bought long ago but haven't yet taken the time to hang. Why not skip the sitcom tonight and take that half an hour and finish that project today? It's incredible how simple window treatments can change the feel (and function) of a whole room. Plus, you'll gain back some storage space.</p> <h2>16. Patch and Paint Walls</h2> <p>I love the deep grey color of our living and dining room walls. However, if you look closely, you'll see some thin spots where the light blue beneath is still peeking through. Beyond that, you can see some holes from where we moved artwork or other nailed or screwed in decorative items. A container of lightweight patching is only a few dollars (and some people just use toothpaste!). If you don't have leftover paint, just head to the store and get a sample sized can in a matching color.</p> <h2>17. De-Clog and Decide About Hiring a Plumber</h2> <p>There's a quick and easy way to determine if your slow-draining tub or sink is a plumbing issue or not: Buy a container of de-clogger and follow its instructions. If you get things moving again &mdash; great! If not, call in a professional. Letting clogs go untreated can cause bigger issues in the long run.</p> <h2>18. Rearrange Furniture</h2> <p>Staging is something I'm no good at, but it makes a huge difference in the flow and feel of a house's interior. Why wait for potential buyers to do something like this? Consider moving around your couches, tables, and chairs to a new style that works well for you. And feel free to change your floor plan a million times until you get it just right.</p> <h2>19. Shine Some Light</h2> <p>Check out all your light fixtures to see where new lightbulbs are needed. Consider investing a little extra money in the energy efficient compact varieties. Not only do they use less power, they also purportedly last longer &mdash; which I have learned from experience. We didn't replace our overhead light in our bedroom for several months. Ridiculous, but it made such a difference to get it working again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso">Best Energy Efficient Light Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>20. Match Your Outlet Plates</h2> <p>I surveyed our interior and discovered that most of our light switch and outlet plates didn't match. Now, this isn't an issue beyond surface aesthetics, but new plates need not be expensive. If you can, try to get consistency going in your house. It's a subtle detail, but every corner counts.</p> <h2>21. Head Outside</h2> <p>Taking care of our spaces isn't limited to the indoors, unfortunately. Look around your yard to find any debris. Rake up any leaves or brush away any dirt that's on your patios or decks. Consider planting a few low maintenance flowers or shrubs to spruce things up a bit. No need for heavy landscaping, which might just require more work to maintain.</p> <h2>22. Tackle Simple DIY</h2> <p>One of my favorite cheap projects is to use vinyl tile ($1 a square foot where we live) to refresh an old floor. Painting a room a new hue can have big impact, too. Hanging smart shelving is another project most novices can undertake in an afternoon. Make a list of items you'd like to undertake and be realistic about your expectations. For example, if you've never tried your hand at plumbing, you could cause more harm than good.</p> <h2>23. Hire Help for the Rest</h2> <p>Then make a list of things you <em>don't</em> have the ability to do (whether for time or safety reasons). We had a light switch that was giving us trouble and a toilet that was leaking and our fix wouldn't hold. Calling the neighborhood handyman once versus multiple times can actually save you money. Many charge a flat rate just to come to your home, so it's best to get your money's worth while you can!</p> <h2>24. Nest</h2> <p>Sometimes all you need for renewed pride in your house is something homey. Slap an inexpensive wreath on your front door or add a flag pole with a festive banner. Hang a picture. Get a couple new throw pillows or even a new rug. We waited to do these things until our house was listed, but once we did &mdash; we were surely sad we didn't do it sooner.</p> <h2>25. Live Like You're Listed</h2> <p>From there, it's just a matter of keeping things clean and tidy, which is much more difficult in practice than it sounds in theory. I suggest following the 5- or 10-minute rule. If you can pick up, clean, or fix something in less than 5 or 10 minutes, do it right away. You'll keep up your spaces easily this way. Leave bigger projects to the weekend, but make a running list so you don't forget anything.</p> <p><em>Anything I've missed? Please tell us in comments your best, low-effort, high-impact home care projects!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-homes-value-with-these-5-projects">Boost Your Home&#039;s Value With These 5 Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance Home repair home sale Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:48:21 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1135888 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Your Home Repairs http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-3778626-small.jpg" alt="man holding drill" title="man holding drill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My family spent most of this year with work crews roaming around our house. The month of March began with the construction of a family room and August concluded with a repaired and refurbished basement. In between, we had a number of smaller repair jobs taken care of. It was stressful and expensive, but we're certain we saved hundreds of dollars in the long run by getting multiple projects done at once. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Home Maintenance to Do ASAP</a>)</p> <p>We love our contractor, Steve. He and his cronies have built or repaired things all around our house for years, and we almost always find that he'll discount the price of his work if we ask him to do several jobs during each visit. I suppose it's possible that Steve is just a nice guy and appreciates the business we give him. But my sense is that combining jobs also allows him to buy more materials at a lower bulk price and lets him to coordinate jobs in an efficient way, thus saving costs in the long run.</p> <h2>Never Do One Job at a Time</h2> <p>Everyone has a list of things they need done around the house, but aren't sure where to begin. I would suggest hiring a contractor to handle the biggest job, but also asking if he or she will do some smaller jobs while they're there. Looking to build a backyard deck? Ask about power washing your siding, too. Getting new windows installed? See if crews will replace the gutters while they are on site. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">Top DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <p>Our contractor is usually so pleased to be working on the big and expensive job that he'll consider doing the small jobs for little or no charge. When he built our family room, for instance, he installed motion-detector lights and extra electrical outlets for free. When he refurbished our basement, he patched up a large piece of damaged drywall and put in new light bulbs, and that work never showed up in the final invoice.</p> <p>Combining jobs also allows contractors to keep working if there is bad weather. A rainy day might prevent workers from installing a roof, but they can always come inside and fix your closet door.</p> <h2>Everything in Your House Has a Lifespan</h2> <p>A typical roof will last about 20 to 25 years before it starts to wear out. Carpeting can go about seven years before it starts to get shabby. If you know when something was first installed, you can effectively plan when it might need to be replaced, and possibly combine the project with other jobs on your list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>When our basement recently flooded, it required us to get new downstairs carpeting. But we also knew the carpet on the upper story was getting old, so we went ahead and asked Steve to arrange for that to be replaced as well. By combining the jobs into a single project, we saved time and some money on a square-foot basis. Steve also agreed to paint our large basement stairwell at a 25% discount while he was there and replaced some light bulbs for free.</p> <h2>Where Do You Find A Good Contractor?</h2> <p>Hiring a contractor can feel like a leap of faith, but there are easy ways you can check on their quality of work and what they charge. We found our contractor through the website of the <a href="http://www.bbb.org/">Better Business Bureau</a> (look for a business with no complaints). <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10461305" target="_blank">Angie's List</a> is a good way to get customer reviews, but it costs $3.50 per month or $8.99 per year. Community news sites and message boards may also be a great place to look.</p> <p>Perhaps the best resource may be your friends and neighbors. Look on your street for contractors at work and ask the homeowner their opinion, or even ask to see the finished work. Generally speaking, once people find a contractor they like, they are not shy about touting their services.</p> <h2>Find a Contractor Who Can Do It All (Or Knows Someone Who Can)</h2> <p>It's tempting to simply call a plumber when you have a leaky faucet or to just call an electrician when you have a faulty switch. But you will find it easier to combine jobs by instead working directly with a residential contractor with his or her own network of tradesmen.</p> <p>Our contractor does a lot of building construction himself but has relationships with folks ranging from roofers to carpet installers to HVAC experts and even tree removal specialists. He stands behind the quality and speed of their work and ensures we get a fair price. We pay him directly, and he's the only person we ever have to call. This makes it easy for us to bundle jobs together, because he'll coordinate to make sure everyone's working at the same time.</p> <h2>Where Else Can You &quot;Bundle&quot; Services?</h2> <p>Home contractors aren't the only ones who will offer discounts if you ask for more than one job or service. Auto mechanics may also do this. Telecom companies are experts at bundling phone, internet, and television services for less than if you paid separately (just read the fine print). Caterers might offer a discount if you able to book more than one job at a time. Day care centers offer &quot;multi-child&quot; discounts, and you may be able to get similar breaks on babysitting services. It never hurts to ask. And even if you don't get a break on price, combining jobs will at least save time and spare you some hassle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save">Save Money By Bundling</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you bundled services for a discount with a home repair contractor &mdash; or any other contractor? How much did you save?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master">10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home contractors Home repair negotiation Fri, 13 Sep 2013 10:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 982668 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Maintenance and Repair: What's an Emergency and What Can Wait? http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-5230053-small.jpg" alt="man with wrench" title="man with wrench" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When money's tight, even a minor home repair takes on a new and stressful dimension. But when you're looking a laundry list of things that need to be done with limited funds, it can be overwhelming. If home repairs have you longing for the days of apartment life, don't despair. Here's how to take a step back, prioritize what needs to be done, and embrace a slow, steady, and budget-friendly approach to home maintenance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-really-costs-to-own-a-home">What It Actually Costs to Own a Home</a>)</p> <h2>1. Electrical and Wiring</h2> <p>Safety comes first. Wiring and electrical problems can damage sensitive electronics, and lead to fires and even electrocution, so it's best to address them head-on and with the help of a licensed professional. If the lights in your home dim when you turn on multiple appliances, if your circuit breakers trip frequently, or if your outlets are hot to the touch, it may be time to call an electrician. The cost of rewiring a house varies based on the size of the home, but typically ranges between <a href="http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/electrical/do-you-need-electrical-service-upgrade/#.">$3,500&ndash;$8,000</a>, according to houselogic.com. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>2. Roof</h2> <p>Water intrusion is one of the quickest ways to rack up big-dollar expenses. Rot, mold, insect infestation, and electrical problems can all result from even small leaks in your roof. Be aware of dank or damp smells in your home, stains on drywall, and damaged shingles, algae growth, or pooling water on the roof.</p> <p>Because roof problems usually progress quickly, if you notice an issue, contact a roofer right away. An initial inspection is usually free of charge. Again, roof replacement costs depend on the size of your home and can <a href="http://www.ehow.com/facts_4870641_typical-cost-roof-replacement.html">run anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000</a>.</p> <h2>3. Basement and Foundation</h2> <p>A solid footing supports (literally and figuratively) everything else in your home. Protect it.</p> <p>As homes settle naturally or shift due to extreme rain or flooding, structural problems can occur. If you notice sagging beams, large cracks in the masonry, or floors that develop a new dip or slant, it might indicate a larger problem. Hire a contractor to inspect your home and if there are significant issues, retain a home inspection engineer to get an accurate picture of the solutions and the associated costs. You can search for a qualified home inspection engineer by visiting the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers website at <a href="http://www.nabie.org/">NABIE.org</a>.</p> <h2>4. Gutters and Drainage</h2> <p>Gutters help your roof do its job and without good drainage, even the highest quality roof can't protect your home from water damage. Look for dented, damaged, or split gutters and downspouts that don't connect properly. Also, survey your home immediately after a rainstorm; look for clogs, leaks, or pooling water that may indicate larger problems with your gutter system. The cost of new gutters varies depending on the size of your home and the complexity of roofline. For a handy calculator on the price of seamless gutters, try <a href="http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_install_seamless_gutters.html">this calculator</a> from homewyse.com.</p> <h2>5. Exterior Paint</h2> <p>Paint does more than beautify your home &mdash; it provides protection from the elements that damage wood and other siding products and helps discourage boring insects. Look over areas with cracked, flaking, or blistering paint. Small areas can usually be sanded and repainted without hiring a professional. A full paint job usually runs <a href="http://home.costhelper.com/painting-exterior.html">between $3,000 and $5,000</a> according to costhelper.com (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a>)</p> <h2>6. Heating and Cooling Systems</h2> <p>Upgrading the heating and cooling systems in your home can help reduce energy costs and minimize the chances of a malfunction that could lead to frozen and burst pipes in winter.</p> <p>If your system is working properly, replacement is, of course, elective. But if you're not sure how well your system is performing, keep an eye out for frequent on/off cycles that may indicate a bad thermostat or equipment that's struggling to regulate temperature. Call in an expert if you have other concerns or would like an estimate on the price of new equipment. Typically the price of a new HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system runs between <a href="http://www.realestate.com/advice/heating-and-cooling-systems/">$5,000 and $7,000</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-seal-leaks-and-reduce-your-winter-heating-bill">9 Ways to Seal Leaks and Reduce Your Winter Heating Bill</a>)</p> <p>For broader information on how to plan for and buy a new heating and cooling system, check out from HomeAdvisor's <a href="http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/heating-and-cooling/#closing-article">Heating and Cooling Cost Guide</a>.</p> <p>Although we can't always predict when home repair or maintenance issues will arise, we can plan for them and be strategic in how we react to them. By understanding that not all issues are emergencies, we can leverage our resources to take care of what's essential first and phase in less urgent repairs over time. As with any expense, it always helps to anticipate likely repairs based on the condition and age of your home and begin to set aside funds for those inevitable expenses before they become critical.</p> <p><em>Have you prioritized your home maintenance to-do list?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-reduce-mortgage-closing-costs">8 Ways to Reduce Mortgage Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years">Choosing the Right Mortgage Loan: 15 or 30 Years?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-boost-your-neighborhood-and-your-homes-value">8 Ways to Boost Your Neighborhood and Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing first time home buyer home maintenance Home repair refinancing Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:24:28 +0000 Kentin Waits 981652 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don't Require a Plumber http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-repair-1177464-small.jpg" alt="plumbing" title="plumbing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I wrote for the HVAC and plumbing industry, DIY articles and blog posts were frowned upon. After all, why teach people to do it themselves when the plumbers can overcharge them for an easy repair? Now that I no longer work in that industry, I'm free to educate homeowners about small repairs and upgrades that do not require a plumber.&nbsp;</p> <p>Depending on how comfortable you are with DIY repairs, you can complete many minor plumbing jobs with the right tools. Many of these include ways to upgrade and save water, which can save you a ton of money in the long run. Some plumbers will even walk you through the steps, especially if you have used their services before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <p>Find a good online DIY source that you trust. I recommend <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/" target="_blank">This Old House</a> for detailed and easy-to-understand instructions on common plumbing repairs you can do yourself. Make sure you know where to locate the main water supply and the supply to each plumbing application, which is typically located under a sink or behind the toilet. Lastly, familiarize yourself with local codes and regulations. Some municipalities require that you hire a certified plumber for certain plumbing jobs.</p> <p>Here's a list of what <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-tool-youll-ever-need-to-buy" target="_blank">you should have in your toolbox</a> for basic plumbing tasks:</p> <ul> <li>Plunger (one for the sink and one for the toilet)</li> <li>Adjustable wrench</li> <li>Screwdriver</li> <li>Pliers</li> <li>Utility Knife</li> <li>Plumbing Tape</li> <li>Caulking Gun</li> </ul> <p>You may need other tools depending on the job, but these should cover the basics.</p> <h2>1. Leaky Faucet</h2> <p>A leaky faucet can be a relatively easy fix depending on the type of faucet, so get to know the basic types of faucets and how to take them apart. You can look for instructions online; YouTube videos are the most useful. A slow drip usually means that all you have to replace is a washer, but make sure you know which size you need before buying a new one.</p> <h2>2. Installing a Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet</h2> <p>For more difficult repairs, it may be easier to replace the entire faucet, and there will be instructions included with the new one. Anyone at your local hardware store will be able to assist you in finding the right replacement parts and giving you tips on how to locate the cause of the problem and what you need to do to fix it.</p> <h2>3. Clogged Drain</h2> <p>Knowing how to prevent a clogged or slow drain is just as important as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains" target="_blank">knowing how to fix it</a>. Use hair catchers in bathroom drains. Avoid putting grease or food particles down kitchen drains, and be sure you know what types of food are okay to put in your garbage disposal and how to properly operate it.</p> <p>Keep in mind that a slow drain could be an issue with a plumbing vent, which regulates the air pressure in the pipes. Plumbing vent issues should be handled by a plumber, but if you have debris caught in your drain pipes, then you should be able to fix it with a sink plunger or snaking the drain with a cable auger. You can find these at any hardware store.</p> <p>Also, don't use conventional drain cleaners. These can harm your plumbing system and damage pipes made of soft metals. They are also a temporary fix. Keeping drains clean and using natural solvents, such as baking soda and vinegar, on a regular basis are highly recommended.</p> <h2>4. Running Toilet</h2> <p>A running toilet is usually caused by a faulty stop valve or floater switch. This is also called the floater valve or float cup. Essentially it's the large bulb in the back of the toilet that stops the flow of fresh water into the toilet once the tank is full. While jiggling the handle to stop a running toilet may fix the problem temporarily, you can fix it permanently by replacing the entire assembly. And don't be afraid to put your hands in the water. The water in the tank is clean!</p> <h2>5. Replacing Kitchen Sink Sprayer</h2> <p>This is one of the easiest DIY plumbing jobs. Make sure that you know what type of sprayer you have. Does it have a detachable hose? Most older sink sprayers can be replaced without having to replace the hose. If there's a tear in the hose, you may need to purchase a new hose and a new sprayer nozzle. Newer models usually come as one piece. If you have to replace the hose, then you'll need to make sure you have plumbing thread. All new parts come with instructions.</p> <h2>6. Upgrading Showerheads</h2> <p>Did you know that upgrading to low flow showerheads can save you anywhere from 20-30% on your monthly water bill? You'd be surprised at how much you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-water-energy-money-the-world-in-one-afternoon" target="_blank">reduce your water consumption</a> with this simple upgrade. These are available at most plumbing supply or hardware stores.</p> <h2>7. Caulking Bathtubs and Showers</h2> <p>The trick to caulking tubs and showers is using the right type of caulk. There are many different kinds of caulk out there that are used for home repair, from filling cracks in drywall to sealing off plumbing appliances. Make sure you check the label, and only get caulk that is designed for tubs and showers, or ask someone at the hardware store for help. Go for quality when you purchase a caulking gun. They aren't that expensive, and they are easier to use and last longer.</p> <h2>8. Installing a Toilet</h2> <p>If you are installing a new toilet, consider a dual flush toilet, although any upgrade will save water if you have an older toilet. You can get them at any plumbing supply store. Make sure you understand the instructions, or find a good online DIY source that includes clear images and instructions, such as <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-remove-and-replace-a-toilet/page-2.html#step3" target="_blank">this one</a>. If you don't get a proper seal, it could cause a leak and bad odors.</p> <h2>9. Sump Pump Repair</h2> <p>Not every home has a sump pump, but this can be one of the most labor-intensive plumbing repairs. I recommend calling a plumber if you aren't comfortable with doing any sort of electrical work. <strong>Always unplug the motor before doing any work</strong>. Be sure to double check with your local building inspector before making any major changes to your sump pump system.</p> <p>One easy repair is fixing a constantly running motor. If you have a submersible motors (ones that are designed to sit inside the pit or well), this is usually caused by dirt or debris getting lodged under the float switch, which is the large floater bulb that looks very similar to the one in the back of your toilet. Make sure you know how to drain and clean out your sump pit, or have your plumber show you the next time you hire one.</p> <h2>10. Garbage Disposal Repair</h2> <p>Clogged or jammed garbage disposals are some of the easiest repairs to make. You don't even need an extra tool because every new garbage disposal should come with a hex wrench attached to the disposal itself. Your garbage disposal should also come with instructions on how to properly repair the disposal if it gets jammed. <strong>Always make sure the power to the disposal is turned off at the source before you attempt any repairs</strong>. Make sure you know what types of foods are intended for garbage disposals, and run it as often as you can to prevent clogs or jams.</p> <p><em>Have I missed any DIY plumbing repairs? Please share your tips in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape">10 Great Ways to Use Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY bathroom Home repair plumbing repair Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:39:37 +0000 Ashley Watson 980086 at http://www.wisebread.com The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-tools-3760668-small.jpg" alt="home repair" title="home repair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Doing it yourself is a great way to save money. Home improvements and repairs can be costly, and any contractor you hire to do the job will mark-up prices on materials and labor. Some will also charge for an estimate, although that is rare these days.</p> <p>So, with that in mind, and with the Internet being such a vast resource of free information, it's very easy to be tempted to do a lot of these expensive jobs yourself. However, you can soon find yourself out of your depth and spending even more money than the initial job would have cost to correct your own mistakes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <p>I talked to several professionals over the last few weeks, some of whom I have hired to work on my own home. They outlined a list of jobs that you should think twice about attempting. Of course, if you're a skilled handyman or handywoman, or have experience doing particular repairs, go ahead and do your thing. But if in doubt, get a professional out.</p> <h2>1. Roof Repair</h2> <p>We recently had to replace the whole roof due to hail damage. Insurance picked up the $12,000 tab, but there's a reason it costs a lot of money to repair or replace a roof. It's time-consuming, it's labor-intensive, it takes a lot of people, it's dangerous, and it can mess up your whole house if you do it wrong. If it's replacing one or two shingles, and you are confident you can do the job well, that's one thing. But any major repairs you should leave to the pros. A roof should last 20 years or more; it's worth the investment.</p> <h2>2. Tree Removal</h2> <p>Big, bad tree taking up too much of your yard? Well, think twice before pulling that sucker out.</p> <p>If it's a large tree, you need to know exactly how to make it fall in the right direction. One false move and you have a tree in your bedroom. If you do manage to plan it correctly, and it falls just where you want, you now have a stump to remove. A huge, heavy stump with a root system that could spread 20 to 40 feet. After all that heaving and pulling, probably with a truck, you now have a very heavy stump to haul away, plus the rest of the tree. Is it worth it? Nope. Hire a tree service; they do this daily and they're reasonably priced.</p> <h2>3. Structural Improvements</h2> <p>Most people know about load bearing walls. They may not know exactly how to handle them though, and if you don't do it right, your whole house is at risk. But even if you avoid the load bearing walls, you still have other walls to deal with that contain water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, and ductwork for the HVAC system. If you're planning on taking out a wall or two, plan to bring in the professionals.</p> <h2>4. Major Plumbing or Electrical Work</h2> <p>If you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet" target="_blank">a blocked toilet or a leaky faucet</a>, don't pay big money on a contractor when you can do the job in a few minutes. Similarly, installing a new ceiling fan or light is no big deal either. But when it comes to anything that involves rerouting pipe work or significant rewiring, don't save a buck and do it yourself. This requires the work of professionals, and when you consider the house could burn down or be flooded by your actions (not to mention you could kill yourself in the process) it's not worth the risk.</p> <h2>5. Installing New Windows</h2> <p>My wife wants a new window in our bathroom. Well, she wants a window in our bathroom period. There isn't one in there right now. I'm tempted to do it myself; it would be so much cheaper. You may feel the same way, too. But when you consider you are literally cutting a huge hole in the side of your house and have to make sure it is safe and watertight, is it worth saving the money? What if you don't get it quite right, and the window falls out? It could kill someone. Even a small mistake could result in serious damage to your home and the contents. Hire a contractor.</p> <h2>6. Attic Insulation</h2> <p>What? Just throwing a bit of insulation in the attic? No worries. Well, think again. If you don't know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap" target="_blank">which type of insulation to use</a>, how much to use, and where to put it, you can actually create new problems. These include improper ventilation, home overheating, and even wood rot from moisture buildup. And if you don't watch your step, you could come right through the ceiling. If you feel confident and have done your research, you could give it a try. But I would recommend a professional service.</p> <h2>7. Replacing Exterior Siding</h2> <p>A little piece here or there, well, that's something you could attempt to do if you consider yourself handy. But the whole house? If the siding on your abode is looking past its prime, it will take a serious amount of time and knowledge to replace it. This is what is considered a major DIY task, and one most homeowners know better than to take on. Remember, this is not just making your home look good; it is protecting it from the elements. Mess this one up and you can severely impact the value of your home and its ability to stand up to the elements.</p> <h2>8. Gutter Repair or Replacement</h2> <p>At first glance, it seems easy enough. A few screws here and there and you're done. Easy. But consider this&nbsp;&mdash; the guttering system is directly linked to the roof, and it is virtually impossible to repair it without impacting that roof. It's also tricky work, done on a long ladder with limited stability. It should certainly not be attempted alone. But save yourself the headache and the risk of injury to yourself and damage to the roof. Call the pros.</p> <h2>9. Basement Finishing</h2> <p>If you have an unfinished basement, you have probably already thought about the option of getting it transformed into a livable space. No doubt you have even looked into the costs and cried a little. It is expensive. And there's a reason for that. It takes time, planning, and a lot of experience.</p> <p>I have a friend who just finished his basement remodel. He started it five years ago. He said he's probably spent twice what it would have cost to get it done by a professional firm, taking into account his own time, the amount of mess-ups he had to replace, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" target="_blank">the &quot;money&quot; he spent learning on the job</a>. This is a massive undertaking. Some call it an adventure, others, a potential nightmare. And if you do it wrong, you may have to pay someone to rip it out and redo it. Unless you have some major DIY chops, a stockpile of equipment, and a lot of friends who can help, give this one a very wide berth.</p> <h2>10. HVAC Systems</h2> <p>HVAC, if you don't already know, stands for Heating, Ventilation &amp; Air Conditioning. This is complicated stuff. Your air conditioner, your furnace, your boiler, the ductwork, the electrics, the pipe work&nbsp;&mdash; it goes on and on and on. You may know a few things about HVAC, but certainly not enough to rival the professionals who do this for a living. This is what makes your home livable. It keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, and if it's done wrong, it can seriously mess up your home's value. This is not something you want to tackle, even if you consider yourself fairly handy.</p> <p><em>That's my top 10 DIY jobs homeowners should avoid. Did I miss anything? Is something on this list that you believe is easier than I've made it sound? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY home improvement home maintenance Home repair Mistakes Thu, 23 May 2013 10:38:36 +0000 Paul Michael 974180 at http://www.wisebread.com Is DIY Home Renovating for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-repair-4429409-small.jpg" alt="renovtion" title="renovation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The DIY movement has really taken off in the last couple of years, and the average homeowner can easily access Internet tutorials on pretty much anything from crafting your own DIY art to installing new can lights to completely gutting and overhauling the plumbing in your master bathroom. But are you cut out for DIY?</p> <p>Not everyone may have the temperament or skills to effectively renovate their home on their own, and a botched DIY job can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" target="_blank">end up costing you thousands of dollars</a> in labor and materials. Before you start swinging that sledgehammer, consider whether DIY renovating is for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips" target="_blank">Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Are You a Meticulous and Patient Person?</h2> <p>DIY home renovation shows make complex tasks such as installing a lighting fixture or mitering corners for crown molding seem like simple, fast, and easy jobs. However, if you're a beginner to DIY, figuring out these tasks can take a long time and require careful study of tutorials, plans, and measurements. In some cases, a slapdash, haphazard approach can be dangerous and cause major problems down the line (especially with electrical and plumbing). Even if we're not talking about dangerous jobs, you can end up wasting a lot of material and time if you're not careful.</p> <p>Are you the sort of person to measure twice, and cut once? Will you carefully study directions on how to install things correctly, or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants? Will you get frustrated quickly when things don't seem to fit together perfectly? Will your project sit half-done for the next six months (or years)? Consider your own personality before tackling a major DIY job. Although if you aren't a meticulous and patient person, this might be a good challenge to help you grow in that aspect.</p> <h2>2. Is It Worth Your Time?</h2> <p>Yes, providing your own labor <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars</a> on a renovation project. But consider how much your time is worth. After over a year of renovating our home, my husband and I have adopted the motto, &quot;Everything takes longer than you think.&quot; If you're planning to DIY after a long day of work, consider that you may only have a couple of daylight hours every evening. Also, spending your time doing DIY jobs can take you away from spending valuable time with your family.</p> <p>On the other hand, working on DIY projects together can be a bonding experience for your family, especially if everyone enjoys working with their hands. And if you don't mind having a construction zone in your house for several months, the extra time needed to complete the project may not be an issue for you.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have the Tools?</h2> <p>Doing your own home renovation requires a lot of tools. Do you own, or can you rent or borrow the tools you need? If not, factor in the cost of buying the requisite tools into the cost of the project. Even rentals can cost quite a pretty penny, especially over several days while you learn how to use the tool in the first place. It might be worthwhile to hire in a contractor who brings in his own tools and can knock out the project in a couple of hours.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have the Skills?</h2> <p>Sure, those TV shows make DIY seem like a breeze, but believe it or not, many home renovations take skill. If you're a very handy person, you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice" target="_blank">may be able to acquire those skills</a> in the process and produce something that at first glance approaches professional quality. In many cases, however, your project may end up looking a little &quot;too DIY.&quot; If you don't have an intuition for how things work, an eye for symmetry, and decent hand-eye coordination, DIY might not be for you.</p> <p>Consider whether you can handle skilled jobs such as cutting and installing tile, leveling concrete, and drywalling. For example, my husband and I put up new drywall in our master bedroom. We completed it, but smoothing on drywall mud was a much more laborious and difficult job than we expected (and to this day there are still minor imperfections in the drywall seams). When it came time to tackle the drywall for the family room, we hired a contractor. For a few hundred dollars, he did a beautiful, professional job, and only took one day (it would have taken us a week or two).</p> <h2>5. What's the Worst That Could Happen?</h2> <p>If you're new to DIY, ask yourself what the worst-case scenario could be before you tackle a new project. If it's something with relatively low stakes, why not try it out?</p> <p>Painting your front door or building a coffee table from scrap lumber are fun projects, and if they don't turn out perfectly, it won't really affect your home that badly. However, trying to install your own marble countertops could turn out very badly if you end up breaking a thousand dollars worth of stone. Roofing your own house could turn out extremely badly if you fell and broke your neck. So start small.</p> <h2>6. Do You Understand Workplace Safety?</h2> <p>Every year, <a href="http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2011/06/the-five-most-common-do-it-yourself-accidents.html" target="_blank">thousands of DIYers</a> are blinded, lose fingers, inhale noxious chemicals, fall off ladders, or are otherwise hurt or injured while working on a project for their home. Be informed on the necessary safety precautions to take. Invest in good safety glasses, filtering masks, gloves, and clothing.</p> <p>The considerations above aren't to discourage you from attempting a DIY project. However, it may be wise to start small and work up to a larger project. Doing your own DIY can also be a great opportunity to grow as a person &mdash; to become more patient, more detail-oriented, and to see a task through to completion. And while some jobs may be best left to the pros, others can be successfully tackled by amateurs like us!</p> <p><em>Have your home DIY efforts been successful? Have they been failures? Tell us about them in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spruce-up-your-unfinished-basement-for-under-100">10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Unfinished Basement for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Personal Development budget home projects home renovation Home repair maintenance Tue, 21 May 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Camilla Cheung 974178 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Great Ways to Use Duct Tape http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/duct_tape_shelf.jpg" alt="Shelf of duct tape rolls" title="Shelf of duct tape rolls" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone knows that duct tape is very useful for fixing things (and it has some wacky applications), but I bet you didn&rsquo;t know these 10 great ways to use it! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-unusual-uses-for-duct-tape">Top 10 Unusual Uses for Duct Tape</a>)</p> <h2>1. Splinter Remover</h2> <p>Instead of breaking out the tweezers and ripping your finger open, remove splinters by placing a piece of duct tape over the splinter. If the splinter is exposed, lift the tape straight up. If the splinter is not exposed, leave the tape on for a half hour, then slowly peel away the tape and the splinter along with it.</p> <h2>2. Keep Snacks Fresh</h2> <p>Chips getting stale? Use a piece of duct tape to keep the air out of bags of chips. I&rsquo;m always losing my chip clips, so a cheap, disposable method works great for me!</p> <h2>3. Wart Treatment</h2> <p>Remove warts with duct tape. The <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/14/health/main525523.shtml">duct tape acts as an irritant to the wart</a>, which causes the immune system to attack it. Place duct tape over the wart for six days, then soak the wart in water and scrape the area using a pumice stone. Reapply the tape the following day and repeat this treatment until the wart goes away.</p> <h2>4. Bandage Replacement</h2> <p>Run out of bandages? Place a tissue or cotton ball directly onto the wound and use duct tape to hold it in place. That&rsquo;s all a bandage is anyway, and this guy won&rsquo;t come off as easily as a Band-Aid.</p> <h2>5. Lint Roller</h2> <p>Remove lint, hairs, and feathers from your clothing by wrapping a piece of duct tape around your hand and pressing the duct tape to your clothing. This is a great way to remove pet hair, too!</p> <h2>6. Book Covers</h2> <p>Create a durable, creative, and waterproof book cover using different colors of duct tape. First wrap a book in newspaper, and then cover the paper with a few layers of duct tape. This is a great idea for people who try and sell their books back at the end of the semester.</p> <h2>7. Shoe Waterproofing</h2> <p>Create a pair of waterproof shoes for gardening or hiking. Cover your shoes with duct tape to prevent water and dirt from getting in. (Bonus tip: Protect your ankles from ticks by wrapping duct tape around your pant cuffs to seal out the nasty bugs!)</p> <h2>8. Hem Pants</h2> <p>If your pants are too long, use duct tape as a temporary fix by folding the pants under and taping them from the inside. This one is perfect for hand-me-downs where you want to leave room for growth.</p> <h2>9. Extend Sports Gear</h2> <p>Whether you need to tighten your shin guards (using tight strips of duct tape), extend the life of a hockey stick (wrap the bottom of the stick), or fix torn ski pants (patch them up), just put some duct tape on it.</p> <h2>10. Fly Catcher</h2> <p>Hang strips of duct tape on your porch or in your cabin. The sticky tape will catch the unwanted bugs and flies that are ruining your good time.</p> <p>Don't you just love when household items can serve several purposes and save you money? Check out some of these novels ways to use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace">vinegar</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-dozen-uses-for-toothpaste-aside-from-cleaning-your-teeth">toothpaste</a>, too!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-packer">Daniel Packer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber">10 Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don&#039;t Require a Plumber</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-diy-clothing-projects-for-men">13 DIY Clothing Projects for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY clothing Home repair kitchen hacks Fri, 28 Oct 2011 10:24:16 +0000 Daniel Packer 763533 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000033513446.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know the warning signs. The sink takes a little longer to drain. You begin to notice water pooling around your feet in the shower. And the odors. The strange, unpleasant odors. They're all signs that you may soon be facing a clogged drain. And then one day, boom. Your drain is blocked completely. It's something you need to deal with quickly, or face the wrath of a burst pipe or a useless bathroom.</p> <p>So you remove the excess hair and gunk that has built up at the surface of the drain. And nothing happens. You try some l<a href="http://amzn.to/1UY9Pxv">iquid plumber</a>. No good. Then, the plunger. But what happens when it doesn't come to the rescue? Here are 10 ways to deal with the blockages before resorting to that expensive emergency plumber. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h3>1. The Bent Wire Hanger</h3> <p>Simple enough, but surprisingly effective. Take a regular wire coat hanger and straighten it out as best you can. Then, bend one end over to create a small hook. Push that past the drain cover and start fishing. You should be able to get all sorts of hair and nasty stuff out of the drain. Remember, you always want to be pulling gunk out, not pushing it further. When you've got as much out as you can, run the hot water, and it should clear things up nicely.</p> <h3>2. Baking Soda and Vinegar</h3> <p>Mix 1/3rd of a cup of baking soda with 1/3rd of a cup of vinegar in a measuring cup. It will fizz immediately, and you should waste no time pouring it down the clogged drain. The fizzing action will help to remove the gunk, hair, and grime that has built up in the pipe. Let it sit for one hour or even overnight if you can. Flush with hot water. Alternatively, get as much of the dry baking soda as you can down the drain first, then pour on the vinegar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace?ref=seealso">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a>)</p> <h3>3. The Wet &amp; Dry Vacuum</h3> <p>If you have a wet &amp; dry shop vacuum, it can become a terrific tool to unclog drains. First, set it to vacuum liquids. Cover up the vent to prevent a mess. Then, create the tightest seal you can over the drain. You may want to get creative and adapt an old plunger head for this purpose. With the vacuum turned on its highest setting, it can be powerful enough to draw the clog up the pipe and into the vacuum bag. It doesn't always work, but it's worth a shot.</p> <h3>4. Boiling Water</h3> <p>Tips don't get any easier than this. Put the kettle on (or use the stove or microwave if you don't own a kettle) and boil up as much water as it will hold. Now pour it slowly down the drain in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to work for a several seconds in between each pour. This is usually the easiest and quickest way to unclog a drain. If there's any water left, congratulate yourself with a cup of tea.</p> <h3>5. Caustic Soda</h3> <p>Get some rubber gloves and eye protection. Caustic soda (also known as Sodium Hydroxide) can cause nasty chemical burns. You can pick some up from your local hardware store, but always use caution handling it. Pour 3/4 gallon of cold water into a mop bucket, and then add 3 cups of caustic soda. Stir it well with an old wooden spoon. It will begin to fizz and heat up. Pour it into the clogged drain and leave for 20-30 minutes, then flush the drain with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.</p> <h3>6. Cleaning the Pipe</h3> <p>There are some plumbing jobs that I won't do, but this one is easy. First, place an empty bucket underneath the U-shaped pipe (the trap) beneath the sink. The bucket will collect the water that will spill. Using a plumber's wrench, loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe. You should be able to finish the operation by hand. When the trap is free, remove it and turn it upside down, emptying the contents into the bucket. You may also need to fish around inside it for debris, and do the same with the pipes that were holding it. An old toothbrush is good for getting the tough gunk out. Rinse the trap with water and then put it all back together. In most cases, that will have done the trick.</p> <h3>7. The Drain Snake</h3> <p>This is a fairly low-tech piece of equipment that works wonders. It's basically a long flexible metal rope with a spiral of metal at the end. The following video shows you just what to do.</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1a7a3ZTQHQM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <h3>8. Salt and Baking Soda</h3> <p>Mix 1/2 cup of table salt with 1/2 cup of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-&ldquo;yuck&rdquo;-to-yes">baking soda</a> and pour down the blocked drain. Leave it for 10-20 minutes, then pour boiling water down. The salt, baking soda, and boiling water will produce a chemical reaction that should dissolve some of the nastiest blockages. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesomeness-of-sodium-bicarbonate-27-uses-for-baking-soda?ref=seealso">27 Uses for Baking Soda</a>)</p> <h3>9. Dish Detergent</h3> <p>If your toilet is clogged, pour 1/4 cup of dish detergent in the bowl. Then boil some water. The dish soap will act as a lubricant and help break up any greasy residue. Then pour the hot water down, and get ready to start plunging. If the plunger doesn't cut it, rubber gloves may be the next option.</p> <h3>10. Baking Soda, Vinegar, Gravity, and Pressure</h3> <p>If your bath drain is clogged, mix up some of the baking soda/vinegar mentioned in tip two. Pour it down the drain, and then place the stopper over it. After 45-60 minutes, fill the bathtub with water. Then, remove the stopper. The pressure of 40-60 gallons of water should be enough to dislodge the blockage that has been loosened by the baking soda and vinegar. You could also try some plunging or the drain snake in conjunction with the weight of the water.</p> <p>Those are 10 quick and easy tips that should help you deal with the most stubborn blockages. Do you have any great tips? Let us know.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics of Making Your Home Sparkle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-clammy-to-clean-9-ways-to-fight-mildew">From Clammy to Clean: 9 Ways to Fight Mildew</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Home bathroom cleaning clogged drains Home repair Wed, 16 Mar 2011 11:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 504707 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006796079S.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring is right around the corner, and with it comes the season for cleaning, fixing, and repairing things around the house. The problem is that many people simply open their wallets and pay for work that they could probably handle themselves, from leaky faucets and downed tree branches to pest control.</p> <p>You don't have to be a professional handyman to take care of common hiccups. In fact, a little bit of patience and diligence can eliminate repair and maintenance costs and help heal your bottom line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a>)</p> <p>Given that, here&rsquo;s a look at five household fixes and chores you can probably handle solo:</p> <h2>Landscaping</h2> <p>Hiring somebody to rake your leaves, mow your lawn, fertilize, and mulch your shrubbery isn't always worth the cost. Instead of getting an itemized list of tasks done by a lawn service, you&rsquo;ll get physical activity and money to put in your savings. Plus landscaping your yard gives you the freedom to do whatever you want creatively with the peace of mind that it&rsquo;ll be done to your specifications. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-lawn-mowers">The 6 Best Lawn Mowers</a>)</p> <h2>Vehicle Maintenance</h2> <p>Minor car maintenance and repairs don&rsquo;t require a new skill set. Changing your oil, replacing a dead battery, and installing new headlight bulbs all take a few minutes to learn but can save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Beyond repairs, clean your cars at home. Washing your cars inside and out lets you scrub every nook and cranny. Now there won&rsquo;t be anybody to blame if crumbs litter your passenger seat, except your messy passengers.</p> <h2>Plumbing Repairs</h2> <p>Leaks and clogged drains happen. They&rsquo;re inevitable. But don&rsquo;t call a plumber who solves the problem in 10 minutes and charges you for an hour. O-rings, plumbing tape, and clog-removing chemicals easily save you a bundle of money. If trying to fix simple plumbing problems sounds intimidating, at least give it a try before diving for the phone. Worst case scenario, you have to call a professional. At the same time, avoid exacerbating problems by taking on projects beyond your means. There's no shame in knowing your limitations.</p> <h2>Pest Control</h2> <p>Pesticide sells for less than $15 at hardware stores and comes with spraying mechanisms. Pay close attention to the directions and clear areas you plan to spray beforehand. Be sure to mind the pets, too. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Killing the insects</a> yourself keeps the pesky ones away, but you still need a hired hand to take out termites. Don&rsquo;t let a termite bond lapse, and keep a pest-control company under contract for termite extermination if termites are prevalent in your area.</p> <h2>Mending Walls</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s common for drywall nails to pop out, be an eyesore, and ensnare clothes. Use a nail set to hammer obtrusive nails back into the stud. Then, about two inches above or below the loose nail, tap in another nail flush with the wall. Spackle the dents, let dry, and sand smooth. Paint as necessary.</p> <p>These are just a handful of do-it-yourself fixes. Please feel free to share your tips below.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home car repair Home repair landscaping Fri, 18 Feb 2011 14:00:08 +0000 Chris Birk 491468 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home winterization.jpg" alt="home winterization" title="home winterization" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two kinds of home winterization tips. The first variety often involves spending a load of money to upgrade your energy efficiency. While definitely worthwhile and timely with many <a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/2010-irs-federal-energy-tax-credit/">federal energy tax credits</a> expiring this year, these fixes can still be very costly (think adding insulation, getting a new energy efficient furnace, energy efficient windows, etc.).</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-water-energy-money-the-world-in-one-afternoon">5 Ways to Save Water, Energy, Money, and the World in One Afternoon</a>.)</p> <p>The other variety of home winterizing tips focus on the things that you can do on a weekend afternoon for very little money (or free) with a little bit of elbow grease. The cost savings of doing such work generally comes in the form of preventing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">costly fix-it repairs</a> that come from neglect. Here are seven things that you should do around the house every year before the first sign of snow hits.</p> <h3>1. Clean Out Your Gutters</h3> <p>Gutters that are dammed up with leaves can result in ice dams, which can lead to all kinds of costly outdoor repairs &mdash; damaged shingles, roof leaks, broken gutters, etc. Additionally, if your gutters are clogged up, water could be falling right next to your foundation and leads to possible flooding in the basement.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: Free, as long as you don't fall off the roof and end up with a medical bill.</strong></p> <h3>2. Drain Your External Faucets</h3> <p>Water that is sitting in pipes that lead to outside faucets can freeze and burst, ultimately flooding your basement and leading to possible water damage and mold problems. Simply close off the interior faucet valves by turning them clockwise all the way to the right. Then go outside and make sure that every last drop has come out of the faucet.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: Free</strong></p> <h3>3. Caulk</h3> <p>Search for drafts around windows and doors on a cold windy day. Place a tissue paper over the suspected draft area. If the paper flutters, you've probably located the draft. For drafts under doors, you may have to buy a rubber draft stopper to place at the bottom of the door.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: $3/tube (One tube should be more than enough.)</strong></p> <h3>4. Repair Your Shingles</h3> <p>If you have cracked, missing, or otherwise damaged shingles, have them replaced immediately so that you don't get roof leaks. Strong winds, falling tree limbs, and sun weathering can all lead to damaged shingles. You might as well check them out while you're up on your roof cleaning out your gutters.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: $1/shingle</strong></p> <h3>5. Flush Your Hot Water Heater</h3> <p>You can <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Flush-a-Water-Heater">flush a hot water heater</a> any time of year, but you might as well throw it in with the other maintenance work you'll be doing since you really only need to do it about once a year. If you don't, sediment can build up at the bottom of your water heater and cause it to lose efficiency or even leak.</p> <p>Simply take one of your water hoses and fasten it to the water faucet at the bottom of your water heater. Turn off the water heater so that you don't get burned by hot water accidentally. Run the hose outdoors, preferably, but if you can't do that, then a laundry tub should be sufficient. Open the valve and let the water drain out completely, rinsing out the sediment with it.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: $0.001 for the water</strong></p> <h3>6. Replace Your Furnace Filter</h3> <p>Furnace filters, in a clean basement, can lead to a more efficient furnace when replaced about every six months. I usually replace mine when I first turn on the heat and then when I switch over to air conditioning in the summer.</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: $5-$15, depending on the furnace</strong></p> <h3>7. Programmable Thermostat</h3> <p>Most programmable thermostats can be purchased for $30-$70. In a cold climate, you might be able to save that much in a month alone if you set one up to be cooler while you are out of the house and at night, and warmer when you are at home. And they are easier to install than you may think (half-hour job, max.).</p> <p><strong>Estimated Cost: $30-70</strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing (and 3 You Shouldn&#039;t Try)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home home improvement home maintenance Home repair winterizing Tue, 19 Oct 2010 12:00:19 +0000 G.E. Miller 264957 at http://www.wisebread.com