Categories
kitchen kitchen remodeling remodeling

Planning to remodel your kitchen? Here’s advice

Living through a kitchen remodel involves adjustments for everyone in the house but the result is a wonderful new space with things just where you want them. But I can’t say enough about the importance of planning and defining and then refining what you want.

Spend a lot of time doing preliminary footwork. Go to home centers and kitchen design shops and take pictures of what you like with your phone or camera. Keep a digital or paper list of features that are “nice to have” and “need to have.” Keep notes in your smartphone or a notebook of the room with dimensions of your walls and where windows and doors are located. Talk to salespeople about the cost of different materials to keep you within your budget. Tear out pictures in magazines with cabinets you like. Print out Web site pages with the kind of appliances you want. Collect samples of wallpaper, cabinets, countertop and flooring materials and store them in one place – a folder, a box, a crate in your car – whatever works for you. Then over time take a second look and review what you have. Keep what you like and toss what you don’t.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Plan to spend a few months absorbing all these ideas and somewhere along the line you’ll be able to focus on exactly what you want and how much you can afford. It’s not easy, but all your preliminary work will help you create the kitchen you want within the budget that you have.

For a quick overview of what should be on your planning radar go to an article on DIYORNOT Kitchen Design Basics and pick up some pointers on creating a floorplan with all the elements to make a perfect new kitchen. And for specific costs of all the projects involved in remodeling visit us at www.diyornot.com. 

 

Categories
attic flooring Attic Remodeling attic stairs

Bonus Storage Space in the Attic

Listen to anyone who has moved from one house to another and they sound like born again zealots preaching that they will never again accumulate stuff they don’t need or want.  We’re guilty of being in that crowd despite our best efforts to downsize and scale back to fight the urge to live large.

But I have to admit two of the best improvements we ever made to a house were adding pull-down stairs and installing an attic floor to tap the storage potential up there. Without a basement or garage the house was screaming for storage space. In a second floor bedroom there was a small opening hatch that barely anyone could fit through so we poked a hole in the ceiling and added a folding attic stair unit.  Then we installed floor sheeting to span across the rafters and provide easy access to boxes and must-have stuff. Considering the cost of each upgrade I think it was money well spent.

How much should you budget for these jobs? The national average cost to hire a contractor to install an attic stair unit is $647, or if you have carpentry experience and are comfortable cutting a hole in your ceiling, you can buy the unit for $220.  Here’s a link to our cost analysis  Install Attic Stairs.

You’ll pay a carpenter $487 to install flooring in a 10-foot square area, but you can do it for $180, the cost of the material. Follow this link to learn more Install an Attic Floor.

To find the cost of hundreds of improvement projects costs and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor go to www.diyornot.com.

Categories
Buying a House Real Estate

In the Market to Buy a House? Be a Snooper Shopper

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. If you end up buying the house, you’ll have a more realistic idea of its good and bad points and can negotiate the price accordingly.

Take notes 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 under eaves, near trees or bushes too close to the siding and on the north side of the house.

Check out the system of gutters and downspouts (binoculars help here.) 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 in the gutters 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 when you’re looking for the cost of home improvement projects.

Categories
Uncategorized

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.