DIY Home Upgrades To Do with Someone You Love


Forget about wine and flowers, this Valentine’s Day do something together you’ll both appreciate for years to come – a small makeover to your home. Even if you’re both DIY-challenged we’re suggesting 4 easy to complete projects for the less than handy homeowner. These goofproof projects will make your home more attractive and make living there more comfortable and convenient. We chose these upgrades because it take two to more easily accomplish when there’s partners involved. You know which of you is best at the different phases of any project so make that decision first. Who’s good at planning the job, handling the tools, acting as helper (aka supervisor) and cleanup? That’s for you to decide.

Here are four projects to enjoy doing it together this month.

  1. A wall mirror hanging above a cabinet or in a hallway is an attractive and practical enhancement. Here’s what’s involved, and how much time and money it takes to Hang a Wall Mirror.
  2. The perfect way to showcase a treasured piece or collectible is on a glass shelf. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to install.  Learn how much time and money it takes to Install a Glass Shelf.
  3. No more digging into the back of a kitchen cabinet to find something with an accessible rollout. It take more time to empty the cabinet than to  Install a Cabinet Rollout Shelf.
  4.  You’ll both appreciate the added space in a small bathtub enclosure by adding a curved shower rod. Learn what’s involved, and the time and cost to Install a Curved Closet Rod.

Visit to compare the cost of hiring a pro or doing it yourself for hundreds of improvement projects.

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Home Checklist for February

These inspections and maintenance chores will keep your heating and hot water systems working at peak capacity, the other suggestions will keep the rest of the house clean and maintained.

  • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
  • Remove sediment from build up in hot water heater tank; if it’s warm to the touch, cover the tank with a water heater blanket
  • Clean the exterior of range hood and its filter
  • Clean range and oven
  • Reorganize contents inside kitchen cabinets
  • Clean inside and exterior of kitchen cabinets
  • Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks, condensation or frost build up and clear vents
  • Remove and clean the intake screens of clothes washer water supply hoses
  • Remove snow and ice from evergreens

If you’re considering any home improvement jobs visit us at and find the cost of doing it yourself compared with the cost o hiring a contractor.

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Growth in Remodeling Projected for 2017

Diy362aAre you noticing longer checkout lines at your local home improvement center? If you’re remodeling or thinking about it you’re part of a trend that’s increasing. Strong gains in home renovation and repair spending are expected to continue according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released recently the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that annual growth in home improvement and repair expenditures will continue to increase, surpassing eight percent by the second quarter of 2017 before moderating somewhat later in the year.

Homeowner remodeling activity continues to be encouraged by rising home values and tightening for-sale inventories in many markets across the country, says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center. Yet, a recent slowdown in the expansion of single family homebuilding and existing home sales could pull remodeling growth off its peak by the second half of 2017.

Even as remodeling growth trends back down, levels of spending are expected to reach new highs by the third quarter of next year, says Abbe Will, Research Analyst in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. At $327 billion annually, the homeowner improvement and repair market will surpass its previous inflation-adjusted peak from 2006.

We hope you’ll visit us at our to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and advice about doing it yourself or hiring a professional contractor.

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Easy Ways to Age Proof Your Home


Rug tape

Rug tape

Prevent slipping on a throw rug by adding rug tape to its bottom.

Daily check-in for neighbors. Condo dwellers who live alone can check on one another with a simple sign or indication. A colorful greeting card in the window sends the message “I’m up, I’m here and I’m OK”. In a neighborhood a house flag on a front porch works too.

Untangle cords of cell phones and power adapters Get a charging station to keep them in order in a one-stop landing pad for all the devices. I found them sold at Staples and online. Or use a wooden bread box by drilling a hole in the back of the box for the cords.

Be prepared for a kitchen fire. For about $25 buy a fire extinguishing spray and keep it handy. It’s not big and cumbersome so it’s easy to handle.

Easy access to well used kitchen items. Add an inexpensive folding plastic-coated wire shelf for frequently used items on the counter. Or install a backsplash accessory like a hanging rack or shelf to store things you use everyday.

Extra storage in the bathroom. We added a metal Space Saver unit (about $35) is designed to fit over a toilet for storing extra towels and toilet tissue on reachable shelves.

Don’t slip in the tub or shower. To prevent slipping on the wet floor of a bathtub or shower stall add inexpensive adhesive safety strips, decals or a mat to prevent slipping. Use a rug with non-skid backing nearby.

Make an escape plan. Make a rough sketch of the floorplan of your house and identify two exits from every room. Decide on a safe place where everyone will meet after they’ve left the house to account for each other. It might be the garage or a neighbor’s house.

Document emergency numbers Make a list that’s easy to locate to keep telephone numbers for all doctors, and an ambulance that you and family members can access quickly. Make copies of the list, one for each telephone in the house, and to give to family members or caregivers who don’t live there so they can put those numbers in their cell phones.

Better tissue holders. A typical spring-loaded tissue holder inevitably comes apart and drops to the floor when you try to replace an empty roll. Choose one with a different style, either a single vertical post open arm design or one with a pivoting arm; both styles make it easy to refill.

Step up instead of reaching. Don’t use a chair as a step stool because a chair is designed for sitting, not standing on. Buy a sturdy step stool, store it in a convenient location and use it when you need something that’s difficult to reach.

Visit to compare the cost of doing it yourself vs. hiring a contractor for hundreds of improvement and repair jobs.


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January Home Checklist


After all the holiday decorations are packed away and stored for another year and your home life schedule gets back to normal, your home probably seems empty like ours does when all things red and green are removed. It’s a good time to pay attention to your home and take a little time to assure that all its systems are clean and functioning in proper order. These 10 items are inspections and basic cleaning jobs to make sure all systems are working.

  • Replace filters or wash permanent ones in heating system
  • Check for leaks in forced air heat duct joints and seal with duct tape
  • Look for indoor condensation on windows and cure
  • Vacuum coils of refrigerator condenser
  • Check refrigerator door seal for airtightness by closing it on a dollar bill half in and half out. If it pulls out easily the hinge may need adjusting or the seal may need to be replaced
  • Inspect and clean the spray arm and strainer of dishwasher and flush with vinegar
  • Unclutter the utility closet and reorganize
  • Inspect air leaks in electrical outlets and install foam gaskets to seal them
  • Label the electrical outlets in the power circuit panel
  • Compile product warranties

If you’re considering any home repair and improvements in the coming year, visit us at to compare the cost of hundreds of project whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

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Work this Holiday Crossword Puzzle with Family and Friends

Enjoying some quality time with the kids while you wait for Santa to arrive?  Here’s a word teaser to work with the kids, either online or print out copies and work with a pencil. It’s your call, either way, enjoy being with the kids this holiday season. Home for the Holidays

Visit us to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects at Do It Yourself or Not.

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Make This Charming Log and Stick Reindeer with the Kids

Diy192a You’re sure to be the envy of your neighborhood with this charming log reindeer on the front porch to welcome guests. Or position him in your garden or on a deck looking inside. Wherever the reindeer resides, he’ll be a popular addition to your holiday tradition. We’ve enjoyed ours for years, and the body parts can be taken apart and easily stored. This building project is especially fun for kids, who can gather all the body parts and assemble them.

Since the reindeer is made of unsplit firewood and tree branches, there’s no cost to make one, but you’ll see them selling for $25 to $50, depending on their size.

Here are some guidelines for the size of their parts: a log that’s 4 to 6 inches in diameter and about 20 inches long will make about a 6-inch head and 12-inch body. For legs, use four 24-inch long, 1-inch diameter branches and a 2-inch diameter branch for the neck. For antlers and a tail, find 1/2-inch branches about 8 to12 inches long.

You’ll need a saw, electric drill with spade bits, utility knife and some wood glue. Cut the firewood to make a body and head, and drill holes at angles for the neck, legs, antlers and tail. Whittle their ends to fit into the holes and glue on some button eyes. Decorate the neck with a colorful bow or bandana.

We hope you’ll visit us at our to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and advice about doing it yourself or hiring a professional contractor.

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