5 Easiest and On the Budget Ways to Quickly Improve Your Kitchen

We all have a dream kitchen we badly want – and yet, we find ourselves not cooking in that wonderful kitchen and instead, dealing with our current kitchen’s inconvenience and quirks every single day. Want to change that and level up on your kitchen improvement skills?

You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to have your Kitchen remodeled. Follow this tips and see a drastic change – you might even slowly be able to achieve that dream kitchen of yours! Just a few materials and your creative skill are needed.

Have an Accent Wall

kitchen accent wall for home improvementAnd what I mean by “Accent” wall is a shade that you usually don’t do. Paint a single wall if you don’t have the time to do the whole room. The paint may be the same shade but 3x darker, or give your kitchen a Pop! Paint a contrasting color but still compliment the entire room. You can also add a Big Painting or paint something catchy on a portion of a plain wall.

Paint Your Cabinets

brown painted kitchen cabinet for improvementBored of your old, plain cabinets? Give it some life again! Paint can do a LOT when it comes to appearances and can make your kitchen look a lot different. You just need to know how to combine colors and see that they complement each other. Keep in mind too, drawers and cabinets should be painted properly.

Have Some Small Stylish Appliances

green appliance for style in kitchenYes, you read that right! There are now appliances everywhere that have a stylish look and color that can really pop and make an accent in the room. Opt for a few pieces of this and distribute them in the Kitchen evenly with some of your plain-looking appliances. These appliances can be a toaster, mixer, coffee maker – as long as they’re small. Treat them like an accessory or jewelry in the Kitchen that you can move around or put away anytime you want.

A Splash of color in front of the Sink

rags on the kitchen floor home improvementThis has two benefits: makes your feet comfortable and gives your room an added attraction. Opting for a colored rug would be best. And I suggest choosing dark colors to keep it looking clean longer since you’ll be stepping on this rug often and stuff may spill on it – and a dirty looking rug in the Kitchen floor is not pretty to see.

Lighting!

lights under kitchen cabinets home improvementSometimes, to see the beauty of your kitchen, you just need to change the lighting! To seriously add to your Kitchen Improvement- if you’re opting for a bright, fresh looking Kitchen then go for a Cool White bulb. But if you’re looking to make your Kitchen have a warm, cozy feel, then get a Warm White Bulb that may look yellow or even orangey. Don’t forget about drawer interior lights!

There are a lot more ways to improve your kitchen but these are the 5 most basic things to do that shows a drastic change in the improvement of your Home Kitchen quickly. Just remember to keep your goal in mind and add some creativity to it!

Audio Everywhere

The new components available these days allow all kinds of cool setups. If you’re a music lover (or even if you’re not) and you like projects, consider wiring your house for audio and controlling everything by remote control with your smartphone. Sound esoteric? It used to be but with today’s products it’s not only do-able, you do-it-yourselfers can have fun, get creative and wind up with sound everywhere.

Only a few years ago, a project such as this would have not only been fairly complicated but expensive. Today, you can do it for a very reasonable cost. The most common system today uses A-bus technology. There are several manufacturers of A-bus components. Such a system uses the same cables as the ones you use to connect to the Internet, the so-called cat-5e cable. Its eight wires can do everything needed for the task. This article is too short to describe the details. You can get the help you need where you buy the components. From a cost standpoint, you can probably do a reasonably comprehensive system for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000.

The most difficult part of the project is running the wires from a central location without destroying the walls or giving yourself a new plaster and paint project. Once that’s done, installing the local connector boxes is not very difficult for our handy readers. However, choosing the right location for the components and hence the terminals should be thought about carefully. Be aware that you’ll need an electric outlet nearby to power the central transformer. Most installers put the central unit in the basement, out of the way. Each room with the sound needs a low voltage box. The cat 5-e cables and speaker wires are mounted in the box.

If you look online, you can find several good descriptions of a system with wiring diagrams. Many suppliers will even give you suggestions about which manufacturer’s components you should buy. They would probably love to sell you the components and would even like to contract with you to do the job. But if you want to do it yourself, find a company that represents a line of components and check their willingness to be available to answer questions when you get stuck. Most companies are happy to do so. They want you to be satisfied since most of their customers will add capabilities as they improve and recommend them to their neighbors.

A Handy Guide on How To Install a New Chimney Flashing

Rainstorms are always a good reason to stay home and spend all day with your loved ones. One of the many reasons why a storm can ruin your day is when water leaks out from your ceiling. There are many causes for this to happen. Foremost among them is a roof that has a few or many holes in it. While this is the most common reason, your chimney can also be a culprit to your water leak problems. If this is the case in your house, one chimney component you should check first is its flashing.

Basically, a flashing is pieces of sheet metal that connects the chimney to your house’s roof. Apart from creating the aforementioned connection, the chimney flashing also prevents water and other harmful elements from entering your home. Although it should withstand all kinds of weather conditions, its lifespan can deteriorate as time passes by. When this happens, you should take some time off to remedy this problem before it can affect your residential living experience.

Before you start on the task itself, you will need to gather the necessary materials and tools to replace your old chimney flashing. First off, it is essential you obtain a large piece of sheet metal. Go for sheet metal with a 26 gauge and is prefabricated to ensure quality. Plus, you can have this piece of metal bent and customized according to the measurements of your chimney. Next, you will need Polyurethane caulk, roofing membrane, and a couple of roof brackets. When it comes to tools, you will need to obtain a ladder, cutting snips, a pencil, hammer, chisel, tape measure, a spirit level, and a grinder. Of course, don’t forget safety gear like gloves, eye goggles, and a roof harness.

Get rid of the old flashing in your chimney

Once you have determined your house’s chimney is causing trouble, you need to take it out right away. Set up your trusted ladder and use a roof harness to prevent any accident from occurring. Then, locate the chimney flashing and pry it out using a hammer and a chisel. Chip away at the roof cement that’s holding everything together until you have removed the defective flashing.

Customize the size of the base and step flashing

Now that you have cleared your chimney from its old flashing, you should take out your tape measure, pencil, and spirit level. You need to take the measurements of your chimney so you can cut accurately through the sheet metal you purchased.

Once you have those measurements, step down from your roof and cut the customized sheet metal using the snips. Make sure the metal is bent accurately at 45 degrees to ensure its durability. Afterwards, cut several other pieces of metal for the step flashing and saddle. Use your grinder to smoothen out the edges and make everything equal. Do remember to visualize how these separate pieces of metal will come together on your chimney so they will turn out alright.

Install the step flashing and chimney saddle

After cutting your sheet metal, you can now return to your roof to install them onto your chimney. First, lay down the base flashing on your chimney and seal it with some roofing membrane. Use your spirit level to keep your base flashing equal to the roof. Then, place the metal saddle and seal it with more roof membrane. Allow it to dry and you can move on to the next step.

Add step flashing on the base flashing

Now, get your tape measure and pencil to mark where you’re going to install the step flashing. Afterwards, attach it to the side of your chimney on the markings you made using roof membrane. Focus on how each step flashing overlaps with one another to ensure water won’t seep in through them. Complete the installation process by hammering down roofing nails on the base flashing to secure it.

Apply a coat of paint on your new chimney flashing

Once you have installed a new flashing to your chimney, it’s now time to make it more presentable. Get a primer and apply it on your chimney flashing to help the paint stick on it. Afterwards, apply the main coat of your chosen paint color and allow it to dry. When the paint has dried up, your chimney flashing installation work is now down.

INSULATION 101

Finding leaks where much of the heat is dissipated is the first thing you should do. But definitely, you should consider the effects of lack of insulation on your heating bills. The worst culprit in a home is the attic. Keep in mind that insulation materials are relatively inexpensive and are a worthwhile investment. First because a modest investment can have dramatic results. Another thing to consider is that reduction in energy use has an effect on air pollution.

There are several types of insulation and what you use depends on where you have to put it. There’s fiberglass that comes in rolls or sheets of varything thickness. Cellulose has to be blown in. And finally, there are several types of foam. Fiberglass is rated with an R number. When you’re ready to go ahead, your supplier can tell you what rating you need. It’s likely to be different for a floor, wall or ceiling.

If your house is old, likely it is not insulated enough and you’re energy bills are likely to be high. If so, begin in the attic. That’s where you are likely to be emptying your wallet. If you don’t use your attic for storage, things get easier. The best is to lay fiberglass on the attic floor with the vapor barrier (which is on one side of the fiberglass sheet) toward the living area. A thickness of about twelve inches should probably be used. This gives you double duty because not only does the fiberglass insulate but you also get an air area which is effectively a second insulation. If you have to insulate the attic ceiling which is the roof, you need to install spacers to keep the fiberglass from contact with the roof.

The skill set required for fiberglass insulation is minimal . You have to be able to measure and cut. So you will need a tape measure and sharp blade . For safety reasond, in addition, you should have a mask to protect against inhaling fiberglass particles, safety glasses and gloves.

Insulating walls requires blowing in a foam which is another task entirely and needs different equipment. You can usually rent blowing equipment. Esssentially you have to drill a hole, usually in the outside siding big enough for the tube to fit. You also have to be aware that vertical beams separate sections of the wall so a hole has to be drilled for each section to blow in the insulation. After you finish, plug up the holes.

Insulating your basement has two results. First of all, it makes the basement livable for whatever use you want to put it to – storage, ping-pong, playroom etc. Secondly, an insulated basement helps keep the rest of the house warm. Before insulating the walls you should insulate the spaces between the joists in the ceiling with fiberglass. Insulating the walls requires installing a vapor barrier by taping it to the wall and then putting furring strips horizontally and vertically over the barrier to hold the insulation. The details on installing the basement wall insulation is for another time.

Wallpaper

Getting Started

Hanging wallpaper yourself is a project but with the right attitude it can be fun, but you have to be careful. The first thing to do is pick out the paper. There are sample books in the stores that won’t quit. Sometimes I think picking out the paper is the hardest part of the job. Get yourself a kit of tools if you want to do the job without pain. Most stores will have such a kit and some tools to supplement the kit. Let the store personnel advise you. If you don’t have the tools you need, the job will be more difficult.

Removing the Old

If there is already paper on the wall, you should remove it. Sometimes you can paper over it if it’s in great condition but I’ve found those situations rare. And why would you want to take the chance? There are several ways to do it. Use a spray bottle of vinegar and water or commercially available removers. But before spraying, it’s a good idea to remove the outlet and switch covers and turn off the circuit breaker. Then use a puncture tool which will make holes in the paper without damaging the wall behind it. Spray the old paper well and the old paste gets very wet. Wait fifteen or twenty minutes and use a scraper to get the paper off. This is the worst part about papering, – removal. Re-spray if you have to. After removing the paper, wash the wall down thoroughly. Plaster any bumpy spots and make the wall as smooth as possible.

Paint the Ceiling First

Take this tip. If you plan to paint the ceiling, do it before papering. You don’t want paint dripping onto freshly hung paper.

How Much Do You Need

The next step, although you probably would have done this first is to measure and estimate how much paper you need. You don’t want to add paper later. It may not come from the same printing batch and be just different enough to drive you crazy. The best thing to do is measure your walls and take the measurements to the place you’re buying the paper. They’ll be able to give you a proper estimate of how many rolls you need. Get a sample to put on your wall to see how it looks. Also, depending on the pattern, you need a sample to plan how the edges should match up.

Enjoy it

Finally, take your time and enjoy it. It can be a fun project for a family. And if you have any questions, the store personnel will be happy to advise you. They love do-it-yourselfers. If they can make it easy for you, they’ve got you as a customer.

How to Powerwash Your Driveway – DIY

Driveways tend to gather a great deal of muck and stains over time. Luckily, cleaning your driveway is easy to do and effective with a power washer.  

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Broom
  • Stiff brush
  • Spray on degreaser
  • Pressure washer cleaner
  • Pressure washer (rent one or borrow one, you don’t have to buy)
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape
  • Garden hose

Instructions for pressure washing your driveway

  1. Clear debris and dirt from the driveway using a broom.
  2. Cover exterior surfaces that are nearby using the painter’s tape and the plastic sheeting.
  3. Read the manual thoroughly before starting to use the pressure washer.
  4. Spray the surface degreaser on tough spots and scrub with the stiff brush. The pressure washer is going to do most of the work, but elbow grease is still required.
  5. Connect the pressure washer hose and its wand to the pressure washer according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Choose the tip that’s specifically for washing, it might be labeled “soap”.
  7. Connect the hose to the pressure washer and the garden hose to the water supply portion of the pressure washer.
  8. Turn on the water.
  9. Place the siphon tube (this should be supplied with the pressure washer) into the pressure washer detergent container and attach the pressure washer.
  10. Hold the spray handle and turn the pressure washer on. Keep your distance 10-18 inches from the driveway surface.  Use a smooth, back and forth motion along the driveway, overlapping strokes about six inches.
  11. Allow the detergent to sit on the driveway surface for five minutes.
  12. While the detergent is sitting, change the tip on the pressure washer to the “25 degree” tip. Detach the detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  13. Work your way back along the driveway now with water to remove the detergent in the same manner as you sprayed on the detergent.
  14. For tough stains, hold the tip just three to four inches from the surface and use even, slow strokes to remove the stain.

Once your driveway is clean, consider sealing it to protect it from future stains.

(FYI I did some powerwashing for my friend Tony in the south suburbs of Illinois, and he offered me some free financial advice in return. I did so well on the tip he gave me I recommend him to all my contractor friends who have a little bit of money to invest.  He offers a financial advisory service outside of Chicago.)

How I Opened My Stuck Garage Door

Not too long ago, my garage door got woefully stuck in the down position. It was a fair nightmare, as I had to get to work and it seemed like a huge hassle. With some quick research and a little ingenuity, I was able to get the door unstuck and get on my way, just a little late. I’m thankful for an understanding boss.

One of the primary purposes of a garage door is security. We don’t want just anyone to be able to open our garage door easily, just like we wouldn’t want anyone to be able to open our front door easily. Just like everything in life, garage doors can malfunction. That might mean leaving a garage door stuck in the closed position or stuck in the open position. Neither one is a good thing. As homeowners, we take it for granted that things will work – until they don’t!

If your garage door is stuck, you don’t necessarily need to call in a service. I didn’t! It’s possible to do it yourself, getting your garage door unstuck DIY style. You can often get your door open and shut manually with a few simple steps, avoiding an emergency call to a garage door servicer. Incidentally, I did end up calling a service to get my garage door fully serviced after my emergency open. But I was glad to be able to take care of it in a pinch.

Understand the mechanics of a garage door

Garage door openers are made up of two primary parts.

  1. The powerhead (that motor mounted to the ceiling)
  2. The rail (the long track that the door runs along)

Different garage doors are driven differently. Mine is a chain, but they can also be belt or screw driven. The door itself is connected to the carriage, which goes back and forth along that rail we just talked about. So door > carriage > rail. The carriage travels up and down the rail to bring the door open and then to close it.

Generally, garage doors have a manual release cord that’s connected to the carriage. You’ll need it if you ever have a power outage and need to get the door open, or if your power garage door just quits working. It was certainly glad to have it! Otherwise my car might still be in the garage as you read this.

Steps to unsticking a stuck garage door

Your first goal is to disconnect the garage door from the automatic opener.

  1. Unlock your garage door and ensure it’s in the closed position
  2. Pull the manual release cord down. (Mine is red, and yours probably is too). This disconnects the electric operator from the door.
  3. Open and close the door by hand.

As long as your door has been decently well maintained, this should work like a charm. The manual effort you need should be minimal. I’m not a giant muscly guy, and I got mine open pretty easily.

If the door is super heavy feeling or if it catches as you open it, just look at the mechanical pieces for anything that might be broken. Sometimes there are obstructions that prevent the door from opening. Don’t mess with any cables or springs as you’ll just be begging for trouble (those things are packed with tension), but tightening screws, etc. is absolutely doable.

Once you’ve got the thing open, your car is out, and you’re ready to reconnect for security purposes, you can just follow these quick steps to re-power your garage door.

  1. Put your garage door in the close position.
  2. Press the “close” button on your automatic door controller. This should move the trolley back down to the towbar arm, where it will reconnect.
  3. If your door doesn’t have an electronic reconnection option, you might have to pull the manual release cord all the way to the door to reconnect it yourself.

That’s not so bad now, is it? Once I got my feet under me, I had my garage door open my car out, and my door closed and reconnected in less than twenty minutes. I wasn’t even that late to work!

Good luck, and may your garage doors always open easily.

Are you looking for an expert to repair your stuck garage door? Check out this list of companies that offer professional garage door repair services in Boston. They are available for both residential and commercial projects.