10 Easy Ways to Age Proof a Home

Rug tape

Rug tape

Thinking about age proofing your home? Here are common sense ideas to make your home an easy place to live whether you’re young or old, able or disabled.  Every home should be accident-proof so it’s a safe haven for everyone who lives there. These are simple solutions to make your home family-friendly so so you can stay in control – and in your home – as you age.

The picture is me with the help of Samantha, our grey tabbly, adding a rug tape to secure a throw rug.

1. Use nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways
2. Secure extension and appliance cords to the base shoe molding at the bottom of a wall with u-shaped staples
3. Tame the tangle of home electronic cables and wire with cord managers, covers and cable protectors
4. Remove throw rugs (especially at the top and bottom of a staircase) or secure them with a rug grip or rug tape
5. Install a grab bar in a tub or shower for safe footing
6. Increase bathroom lighting for putting on makeup or reading the tiny print label on medicine
7. Add under-cabinet lighting for chopping food or reading a recipe in the kitchen
8. Add rollout storage shelves in cabinets to easily see what’s inside
9. Add a second hand rail on the wall of a staircase and increase the lighting to assure safe passage
10. Bridge the gap between different floor levels of two rooms by installing a multi-level door threshold reducer so they are level

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of 100s of home improvement costs so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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Plenty to Consider Remodeling a Bathroom


If a bathroom makeover is in your future and you’re in the “noodling” stage of planning the project, take a look at these suggestions and guidelines in Bathroom Design Basics about the spacing and placement of all the fixtures so you allow for enough clearance space around the fixtures. It’s a good first step to knowing your options for placing the fixtures. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a contractor you’ll be able to plan the project so the end result of your labor is a stylish, comfortable and convenient bathroom to enjoy for years to come.

At www.diyornot.com you can compare the cost of bathroom remodeling projects, that is, how much it costs to do the work yourself vs. hiring a contractor. Bathroom remodel projects are some of the most popular projects because the room is so frequently used. A major challenge in a small bath do over is its small footprint limits where the fixtures can be placed. Of course, your budget is the prime factor that will influence all of your decisions, but don’t assume it’s easy placing and optimizing the plumbing fixtures in a minimal space.

In one house we remodeled the location and size of a bathroom window was the challenging issue because we couldn’t find space for the new fixtures unless we replaced the old double-hung with a casement window. That solved the problem and we made it work. In another, a second floor addition, we were forced to position a new bathroom below the existing bathroom on the first floor to eliminate extensive and costly plumbing work. Most recently we had to tuck the smallest size shower stall into a corner in a tiny narrow space we carved out for a ½ bathroom. It worked but it took some doing.

Here’s a link to Costing Out Bathroom Upgrades with the cost figures for some projects that make any bathroom, no matter its size, work more efficiently and look better.

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Home Buying Advice about What to Look For – Sept 16

Gene and Katie Hamilton
http://www.diyornot.com

When you’re looking at a house to buy it’s easy to be enamored by its location on a leafy street or the new kitchen cabinets and stylish decorating. But before you make an offer and pay an inspector to do a thorough inspection, do a little investigating yourself. Take a walk through looking for telltale indications of a not-so-perfect house. You may end up buying the house but you’ll have a more realistic idea of its good and bad points and can negotiate the price accordingly.

Keep a notebook or PDA handy to record what you find, a cell phone or camera for taking pictures and a flashlight to see into tight spaces.

Walk around the exterior of the house looking at the roof for missing or curled shingles. A pair of binoculars helps. Look for rust around the flashing and roof vent.

Look at the siding to see if it’s damaged or loose. Look for signs of mildew which are usually found on the north side of the house.

Check out the system of gutters and downspouts. If it’s a one story house you can usually stand at an angle to see if the gutters are clean or filled with an accumulation of leaves or debris. If it happens to be raining you’re in luck because you can see if there are any leaks and if the rainwater flows through the downspouts. At the base of downspouts there should be a diverter or splash block for runoff that carries the water away from the foundation of the house.

Next, go to the basement looking for signs water stains on the walls and floor. Also look on the wall and foundation for cracks and termite tunnels. A trail of them indicates they’re there or have been there and should be eradicated.

Look at the furnace for its last service date and hopefully it’s recent indicating it’s been maintained. Rust at the bottom of the furnace is a telltale of possible water damage.

Go up to the attic and crawl around if you have to looking on the underside of the roof sheathing for stains.

This isn’t a complete list of what a certified inspector will look for but it should give you some initial background into how the systems of the house have been maintained, an important thing to know if you’re considering being its owner.

We hope you’ll visit us at www.diyornot.com.

 

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Beware of DIY Project Deadlines

When a neighbor asked me how long she should schedule to remodel her bathroom before a family party I was quick to respond “as long as it takes.” I’ve learned that a carved in stone deadline (like an anniversary) is not the best incentive to complete an extensive improvement project because it creates added stress to an already stressful project. Having part of a house torn apart is unpleasant enough, it only gets worse with a looming completion deadline.

DIYers are often the worst homeowners for assuming everything will work flawlessly according to the plan with no unforeseen kinks in the process. They believe what they see on the DIY shows where everything is completed in a 22 minute program. Their blinded optimism doesn’t account for Murphy’s Law throwing a wrench in the progress of the work.

Even with well thought out planning, measuring, ordering and installing of new materials you can’t always account for the unexpected. When an old bathroom vanity is pulled away from the wall you might expose plumbing lines that need to be replace or rerouted. A new line for an electrical outlet might not be as simple to reroute as anticipated. More time can be eaten up if a building permit is required. The shipment for new floor tile or fixtures can arrive on time, but when inspected they’re found to be damaged or not what you ordered. Any of these setbacks will add time and money to the job and plenty of frustration.

As you plan any DIY project and do your due diligence, consider doubling the time you estimate because it’s better to be early than late. We have guidelines for the cost and time requirements for more than 350 home improvements at www.diyornot.com. We hope you’ll visit and use the information for your next project.

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An Underdeck Ceiling Makes the Most of a 2 Story Deck


One of the advantages of a second level deck is its expansive view of leafy treetops, another benefit is the untapped potential of the space below the deck. Since the open decking makes the area below it unprotected from rain and snow it’s vulnerable to weather conditions so it’s often allocated as a catch all area. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s a whole lot more that the space can be used for with the addition of an underdeck ceiling. You can create found space and redefine it as a ground level living space or protected storage area with a vinyl ceiling material.

At www.diyornot.com you can compare the cost of doing a project yourself with hiring a contractor. You could hire a contractor to install the underdeck ceiling below a 14-by-20 foot deck for $2,436. Or, because the material is designed for a handy homeowner to install, you could purchase the materials for $1,750 and do the project yourself, pocketing a 28 percent savings. To learn more go to Install an underdeck ceiling.

And visit us at diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing hundreds of home improvement projects yourself with hiring a contractor.

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How Long Should an Appliance Last?

Just how long can you expect the appliances in your home to last? That question often doesn’t come up until the food in your freezer feels soft or you’re standing in a shower without hot water. We tend to take these things for granted until they stop functioning and we call the service folks to repair or replace them. When our refrigerator/freezer stopped working we looked into the question to get a handle on just how long we can expect all our appliances to keep working.

The National Association of Home Builders and the Bank of America Home Equity did a study about the life expectancies of the components of a home and offer these findings. The caveat: it all depends on the quality of the installation, how they are maintained and very importantly the climate conditions where the house is located and how often things are used. Here are the life expectancies in years for major home appliances.

  • Electric range 13 years
  • Gas range 15 years
  • Refrigerator 13 years
  • Dishwasher 9 years
  • Microwave oven 9 years
  • Compactor 6 years
  • Garbage disposer 12 years
  • Clothes washer 10 years
  • Clothes dryer 13 years
  • Electric water heater 11 years
  • Gas water heater 10 years
  • Electric furnace 15 years
  • Gas furnace 18 years
  • Oil furnace 20 years
  • Heat pump 18 years
  • Visit us at www.diyornot.com and compare the cost of home projects whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

    Gene and Katie Hamilton
    http://www.diyornot.com

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Anchor Furniture to the Wall and Prevent an Accident

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is recommending that consumers secure TVs and furniture to walls in their home with an anchoring kit. The kit is inexpensive and it takes just 5 minutes to install.

Toddlers are involved in two-thirds of TV and furniture tip-over fatalities. Parents, grandparents and family members in households with young children or homes where young children visit should know that families with toddlers between the ages of 2 to 5 are about 60 percent of child tip-over fatalities.

“Ninety-one percent of furniture tip-over fatalities occur in the home,” says CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle. The CPSC cites the importance of anchoring furniture and TVs and suggest following their Anchor It! Campaign which you can learn more about at their website www.anchorit.gov.

Here are 6 take-aways to prevent a tip-over incident and protect your child from injury from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
1. Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over.
2. CRT televisions should only be placed on furniture designed to hold a television, and should be anchored to the wall or the TV stand.
3. Secure top-heavy existing furniture with inexpensive anti-tip brackets. New furniture, such as dressers, are sold with anti-tip devices. Install them right away.
4. Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.
5. Purchase anti-tip devices sold online and in-stores for prices ranging from $5 to $25. Visit your local home improvement, electronic or mass merchandise store to purchase anti-tip devices. An online search for “anti-tip strap” or “anti-tip kit” will result in a variety of purchase options.
6. Install the anti-tip devices according to manufacturer instructions, and always double check the attachment points to make sure the device is secure.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to learn the cost of home repair and improvement costs and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

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