13 Ways To Improve Your Home One Step At A Time!

Improving your home is the way to make your house your dream home. Be certain you are aware of what you have to do, and that you do it right. This ensures that you’ll be satisfied with the efforts you put into your next project!

Keep an eye on the major home improvement chain stores and wait for a carpet sale that includes discounted installation. They often offer cheap installation to encourage people to buy their carpets. This is a great time to have new carpet put into your home, as the cost of labor and installation often can exceed the cost of the actual product.

Employing a roofer that is trustworthy is essential. It is in your best interest to research the roofing company before signing any contract. Be sure to check with the Dept. of Consumer Affairs and the BBB before settling on a company. Check the company website to read reviews, as well.

When you are decorating a room, it is best to use 60/30/10 as a rule. This simply means that 60% of the room should be the primary color with 30% of the room being your secondary color and the remaining 10% should be your accent color. This correlates to the main color being used on the walls, secondary color for the upholstery and 10% should be the accent.

When planning for renovations to your home, use the few months following the holidays to budget since this is when you will have less money. The reason for this is sometimes more money creates more stress, so you can ease the problem by budgeting during the first few months of the year.

Turning a basement into a usable room is a great idea. Your finished basement makes an ideal area for work, recreation or family time. You can also get the material from a discount outlet. It is said that finishing a basement can increase resale value by more than 30%.

There are many things that can be used as artwork including three-dimensional tiles. Use three dimensional tiles in two colors such as green and white and arrange them on the wall (rotating colors) behind your couch for an original kind of art.

Buying a microwave built for over-the-range installation can free up a little valuable counter-top real estate in your kitchen. The microwave replaces your existing range hood, and varies largely in price and style. This is not a suitable option for those who need high-powered ventilation, but it is a great idea for the everyday cook.

A fun project to take on is creating a bar in your basement. Many people enjoy designing bars for their homes and watching their vision take shape. No matter how it is done, a bar is a great home improvement.

Seal cracks in your home with caulk. This helps keep bugs out and lowers utility costs. Simply caulk up any cracks that you find. Once the caulk is dry, there will be no bugs getting in nor well tempered air getting out.

Consider your porch if you want to improve you home’s value. It is the first thing any visitor would see. You can spruce it up with a couple plants and fresh plants. You home’s value could actually increase more than the cost you put into your home improvement. It’s simple things like this that can make a big difference.

Use different items as your coffee tables instead of traditional store bought tables. You can get not only a unique conversation piece by using something like a chest or an old trunk but also some extra storage space. Put some reading material on your coffee table for added flair. You can even use a tablecloth and perhaps a tea set to create a country feel.

If you are offered a discount because you pay in cash, don’t do it. You want to have a paper trail, and paying with cash prevents that from happening which can hurt you if he decides to quit the job midway through.

If your home does not already have a shower, you should definitely consider installing one. This will decrease how much water you use, especially if there are children in your family, and showers are more accessible than tubs. One five minute shower will use less water than it takes to fill a bath.

Invest in caulk and a caulking gun that are of a high quality. Make occasional inspections of the caulk around your tub(s) and sink(s). Small holes can develop causing water to get into your walls which could result in mold. If water starts seeping through the holes and cracks in your caulking, it will find its way into the flooring, and eventually the floor will start rotting. When applying new caulk, completely remove the old caulk, and make sure the area is clean and dry. Doing so ensures that the new caulking can hold up to wear and water.

Improving your home will either be a massive headache or an amazing experience that boosts your home’s value. With the tips in this article, you are now on track to be as successful as possible with any home improvement project you look to tackle.

Choose Home Improvement Contractors From An Online

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to find home improvement contractors is an online directory. An online directory service will list home improvement companies and other similar industries and offer customer reviews of them.

The directory should have a set of standards and criteria by which reviewers rate the different services so that you may make an informed decision as to which company you choose to hire. You will have an easier time selecting a company when you are able to measure different home improvement companies against each other. There are five general categories that should be used to guide the reviews: price, timeliness, quality, cleanliness, and overall customer satisfaction.

Price refers to whether the initial estimated cost of the project is unchanged both before and after the job. It also indicates if the final price was competitive, better, or worse than the original amount. Timeliness assesses whether the project was completed within the fixed timeframe as well as punctuality, whether the home improvement contractors got to work on time. Quality pertains to the standard of work and whether the job went forward as intended. Quality also notes if all the appropriate licenses, permits, and inspections were completed. Cleanliness designates the tidiness and fastidiousness of the workers, before, during, and after the job. Overall Opinion allows reviewers to present their thoughts in more detail, which in turn gives you a better idea of the services rendered. These benchmarks help you become a smarter consumer.

Additionally, you should only use an online directory that allows reviewers to post before and after photos of construction projects. A picture verifies the review and summarizes the level of work better than any words. These visual aids will enable you to judge the work for yourself to determine if you want these home improvement contractors to do repairs, maintenance, or construction on your residence.

The information you find on an online directory is provided by objective third parties; you are under no obligation to choose one company over another. If you get recommendations from friends or family, you may feel pressured into hiring people they recommend, like their respective family or friends. You do not want to hire a company or an individual based on peer pressure. Using an online directory permits you to hire the service based solely on the appropriate qualifications.

Home improvement projects should be exciting, not stressful. Choosing home improvement contractors from a reputable online directory gives you the freedom to find the best people for the job.

Should You Extend Your Home or Move?

Speak to your local council

Although very minor extensions (up to 3 metres beyond your original wall) can usually be undertaken without obtaining planning permission, it is still always best to check with your local council before you commit to extending your property. You could be in a lot of hot water afterwards if your extension flouts the rules and permission is not in place – the council could insist that the extension is demolished, leaving you not only back where you started but also out of pocket, having paid for an extension you cannot enjoy.

Ensure your plans are properly drawn

You might think you know something about extension planning – maybe you were good at technical drawing at school, or you did a course in college. Do you really want to risk the value of your home, though, to save a few pounds on professional planning? Depending on the size and scale of your project, a structural engineer or architect can do a great job for you, offering their expertise. For smaller and more straightforward jobs, your builder should be able to help you with the plans. Don’t forget, there is technical knowledge needed which involves angles, weights and in-depth understanding of materials to ensure the structure is safe – things which you probably didn’t pick up in GCSE Graphics! More importantly, your extension needs to conform to safety regulations which industry professionals will be used to handling.

Look at the loft

You could expand backwards, forwards or sideways, but what if you don’t have the room? Consider building upwards, creating rooms in your loft area. The loft is often a wasted space which houses unneeded junk, and if your roof is high enough, you might not even need to do a lot of building work to turn that unused space into a lovely new bedroom or office.

As you probably won’t be changing the layout of the building significantly, you may not need planning permission – but again, always check to be on the safe side. Your loft conversion will need to meet Buildings Regulations, which take into account safety measures such as fire safety, and the finished work will be checked by a qualified inspector. Don’t let this put you off, though – your builder should be able to advise you of how to ensure that you can meet these regulations, and you can also speak to your local council for further advice. Particularly if your family is outgrowing your house, building into the loft can be a great solution to provide extra space.

Consider the potential to add value

One of the reasons that many people consider extending is to add value to the property. An extension often offers this potential, meaning that the initial cost of building the extension is not lost. You can often, in fact, gain money when you come to sell by having an extra bedroom upstairs or a conservatory on the back.

You need to be canny about your investment, though. Do a bit of research into similar properties on the sales market in your area; if they have had a loft conversion or a kitchen enlarged, for instance, are they being marketed at a higher price that those which haven’t had work done? If the extension isn’t going to add value, then you might want to think again about how you choose to extend; having four bedrooms instead of three is going to make more of a difference to a property’s value than enlarging one room slightly. You might also consider getting a professional opinion from a local estate agent who can give you a potential “before” and “after” valuation for your property, allowing you to determine whether it’s better for you to extend or to move.

It’s worth remembering that extending is usually a cheaper alternative than moving and saves you money on fees like stamp duty, furniture removals and legal costs – not to mention avoiding the stress of moving!

Combine work on your home to keep down costs

Although extending could be cheaper than moving, you are still going to have to find the money from somewhere. If you’re lucky enough to have some cash tucked away for a rainy day, that’s great. But if you haven’t, you might need to think about other options, like reviewing your mortgage, for example, to see if you can liquidate some funds.

Another good tip is to get your money’s worth; you should have as many minor alterations done alongside your extension as you foresee being necessary in the near future, so if you have had a few small jobs piling up, ask the builder for a quote for the whole lot. This way, you can haggle for the best price on both materials and labour, establishing a blanket fee for the works rather than having lots of little jobs done, which could prove costlier.

Find a reputable builder

We have all heard horror stories about disreputable builders who knock holes into your home and then fail to complete the job, or undertake shoddy work which requires repairs within a few months. There are plenty of builders who can be trusted, though – and the best advice to follow is to take a recommendation. Have any friends, family or colleagues had work done on their homes recently? Are there any builders in your extended family? If you don’t have any luck finding someone, then look into the government’s TrustMark scheme, which vets tradesmen before recommending them to consumers.

Potential changes

The government is currently in talks over whether to relax planning laws for a three-year period, allowing people to extend their homes by up to 8 metres without seeking planning permission. The idea is to ease housing shortages by making existing homes bigger and to help create more jobs for the industry. This plan has received significant opposition, however, from local councils who are worried about a “free-for-all” on extensions which could affect the appearance and function of local communities. If you’ve been thinking about extending but couldn’t face waiting for planning permission, though, it’s worth watching this space to see how this story develops!