Projects You Should Be Completing WHILE You’re Renovating

When you’re renovating your home, you already have a checklist of items to complete. And if you bought a fixer-upper, it’s probably an extensive list. However, there are other tasks that you may not be thinking of right now, but incorporating them during your renovation may save you time, money and heartache down the road.

Here’s a list of tasks worth taking on during your renovation.

Don't give termites a fighting change.

Don’t give termites a fighting chance. Image: Marina Pousheva/Shutterstock

Schedule your termite treatment

If you’re knocking down walls, treat for termites before new drywall goes up, advises Glen Ramsey, Entomologist for Orkin. “Termites can hide within the walls, so once those walls are covered in fresh paint and art, termites are often out of sight and out of mind.”

He also says that choosing the right materials can help to prevent pests. “It’s best to use lumber that is pressure treated or composite, making it resistant to insects and decay.” When selecting siding materials, you should also make sure that what you choose will be durable against pests long-term. “While more expensive upfront, vinyl, stucco or other non-wood materials are the best selections. You should also ensure siding materials don’t extend below grade at installation.”

Reduce the chances of an electrical fire.

Reduce the chances of an electrical fire. Image: Francesmoufotografo/Shutterstock

Upgrade your electrical

If you have an older home, 60 to 100 amp service won’t be sufficient with today’s technology. “Since you are hiring an electrician and pulling permits on your home, now is the best time to upgrade the main service and that old panel,” advises Mark Luongo, Owner and Project Manager at Luongo Electric.

Breakers and panels have a lifespan of approximately 30 years. If your panel is older than that, you should, at the very least, have it assessed by a professional. “Not only will a new panel ensure your home remains safe, but it will give you the extra space you need for all the new circuits you will be required to run for the renovation,” Luongo says.

And while the walls are open, he also recommends replacing as much wiring as possible. “By upgrading the wiring, you ensure there are no nicks or potential short circuits hiding in the walls after you finish the renovation.”

Plan for your electrical needs.

Plan for your electrical needs. Image: Andrew Angelow/Shutterstock

Plan your furniture layout

It might seem like you’re putting the cart before the horse to plan your furniture layout before you even finish your renovation, but it can actually save you some heartache in the future. “You’re setting yourself up for using extension cords by not planning furniture layouts,” warns Josh McCormick, VP of Operations at Mr. Electric.

“Failing to do so may leave you with all your receptacles blocked by bookshelves, sofas or beds,” McCormick says. “In addition, you may end up putting too great a load on one receptacle by using extension cords to get around poorly placed or too few receptacles.” And improper extension cord use can result in both fire and tripping hazards.

Insulation can help you save money on energy costs.

Insulation can help you save money on energy costs. Image: C12/Shutterstock

Check your insulation

“While the home, or parts of it, are opened up, I would highly suggest checking the insulation and adding new insulation as needed,” advises Nathan Outlaw, President of Onvico, a construction company in Thomasville, GA. “Many older homes don’t have adequate insulation and upgrading can help save on future energy costs.”

Luongo agrees and explains that many older homes were framed with 2 x 4 exterior walls – and either were not insulated at all or were insulated poorly. “We recommend, at a minimum, building out your walls to a 6″ depth and replacing the old insulation with new insulation.” Plus, he says new insulation can also absorb sounds and help to stop fire from spreading.

Don't let water damage ruin your new bathroom.

Don’t let water damage ruin your new bathroom. Image: vistastudio/Shutterstock

Upgrade your plumbing pipes and drains

If you’re adding a new bathroom or renovating an existing one, you may be thinking of ways to incorporate the latest trends in bathroom technology.  That’s because your bathroom needs have probably changed. “We want hotter showers for longer, and a bathroom in every bedroom,” Luongo says. “Gone are the days of one toilet and bath for the entire family.”

He recommends upgrading your plumbing to reduce the chances of leaks behind your brand new walls. “Old copper pipes and fittings slowly corrode over the years and become weaker. So it only makes sense to remove all the old piping that you can get to and upgrade it with new water lines.”

In fact, if you see grey plastic piping, Luongo says that’s definitely a sign to redo your plumbing. “This older grey piping is called Polybutylene Pipe (Poly B) and is notorious for causing floods,” he says. “It only has a lifespan of 12 years and starts rapidly deteriorating after that.”

“The Poly B pipe reacts and oxidizes with the chlorine in our water supply, which makes the pipe brittle,” he explains. “Eventually, the pipe fails. At this point, many cracks in the pipe cause large amounts of damage in short periods of time,” Luongo says.

Make sure your subfloor is up to par.

Make sure your subfloor is up to par. Image: VanoVasaio/Shutterstock

Examine your subfloor

If you’re renovating your bathroom, it makes no sense to build on a faulty foundation. “Check the bathroom’s subfloor and, if it’s damaged, go ahead and replace it with a new one,” Outlaw says. “I have seen individuals try to save money by skipping this step. It can often come back to haunt them as they deal with future problems.”

Take advantage of unfinished areas.

Take advantage of unfinished areas. Image: Zakhar Mar/Shutterstock

Add security cameras

If you’re thinking about getting a security system, this may be the time to add it. Outlaw recommends adding cameras and a security system to the outside of the home while the walls are open. “Even a cheap system running on your home wifi can give peace of mind while on vacations or sleeping at night,” he says.

The post Projects You Should Be Completing WHILE You’re Renovating appeared first on Freshome.com.

How Much Should You Water Your Lawn in Spring and Summer?

Knowing just how much to water your lawn can get tricky. Water it too little, and you end up with a wilting, faded lawn. Water it too much, and you risk fungal growth from too much moisture and runoff that can unnecessarily boost your water bill. So below we’ll cover just how much to water your lawn in both spring and summer, when needs can differ. Also, we’ll cover ways you can save water but still have a healthy lawn.

Watering your lawn is a task that can run in the thousands of dollars or only require a hose and sprinkler attachment, based on how you choose to water or save on water. Some people may choose to install drought-resistant landscaping that can run thousands of dollars. Or you might be on board with manually watering straight out of a hose with a spray attachment. However, it can take no time at all to water your lawn if you choose an automated system or several minutes daily manually.

Water Your Lawn Damp Grass

Your lawn has some basic watering needs no matter the season. Image: @just.cle / Twenty20

General Lawn Water Needs

No matter what time of year it is, lawns have some basic watering requirements:

  • Generally, lawns need at least about 1 inch to 1 ½ inches of water per week.
  • That being said, check with a lawn care professional about what type of grass you have if you don’t know. Different types of grass can have different watering needs.
  • If your grass is brown and doesn’t respond when you water your lawn, it can be a number of other issues like fungal growth or simply not rotating a pet’s bathroom area enough. You may need to consult a lawn care specialist.
  • A common test to make sure you are watering enough is to stick a flathead screwdriver down into the soil right after watering. If it doesn’t easily go down 6 inches, you’re not watering enough.

But lawn needs vary between spring and summer, so below we’ll cover how to water your lawn between the two seasons.

Water Your Lawn Wet Green Grass

Keep an eye on your lawn during the spring especially to adjust watering needs based on recent rains. Image: @lindaze / Twenty20

Watering in the Spring vs. the Summer

The main point that makes watering your lawn in the spring and summer so different is the varying amounts of rainfall. Simply, more rain in the spring means you can get away with watering your lawn less. During spring, or even rainy periods in the summer depending on your local climate, you will have to keep a close eye on your lawn to see whether it needs additional watering from you.

It can help to have either a digital or analog rain gauge to tell you how many inches of rain has fallen recently. That way, you can see if the rainfall has hit that 1 to 1 ½-inch weekly water mark.

There are also several signs that you need to water your lawn more, which you can tell just by looking. The number one sign is that the lawn has a dull green cast, or even a grayish color, to it. Also, while walking on it, your footprints should disappear right away. If not, the grass doesn’t have enough moisture to return to its original position.

Water Your Lawn Sprinkler Setup

Using a sprinkler can help you get even coverage over your lawn so you’re not letting water run down into the street. Image: @JulieK / Twenty20

How to Save Water

According to the EPA, if the average-sized lawn is watered for 20 minutes every day for seven days, it can be like running a shower constantly for four days or taking over 800 showers. That’s a lot of water. But you can still keep a green lawn and save on water with the following ideas:

  • Try installing smaller patches of lawn and complementing them with drought-resistant landscaping. That way, you don’t have to water your lawn as often.
  • Always water in the morning before 10 a.m., otherwise the water will evaporate during the heat of the day.
  • Water slowly and evenly to prevent runoff. You can place containers around your yard while the sprinkler is on. Then make sure each is getting a similar amount of water. You should also water slowly by using sprinklers or a spray attachment on the hose. Water different areas of the lawn in short and multiple bursts to allow the water to absorb.
  • Never water for so long that you see water running down the street.

The post How Much Should You Water Your Lawn in Spring and Summer? appeared first on Freshome.com.

How to Pick a Garden Color Palette

garden color palette

Want to add color to your garden while preserving a cohesive look? Pick a garden color palette and let it guide you. Image: 1000 Words/Shutterstock

Maybe you plan your garden meticulously as soon as the first signs of spring pop up. Or maybe you wait until summer, see what grows well and add as needed to keep things looking lush. Whatever your approach, thinking about one small thing can take your garden from looking haphazard to looking completely curated. It’s your garden color palette.

You think about the color palette for the interior of your home, so why leave your garden unattended in this way? Choosing a few colors for your exterior spaces and growing plants in those colors will make your outdoor spaces look polished and vibrant.

And, like all good design, choosing a garden color palette is a lot easier when you have a few principles to guide you. Here’s a quick look at some of your color palette options in your outdoor spaces.

garden color palette - monochrome

A monochrome garden will always look polished. Image: SingjaiStock/Shutterstock

Monochromatic

Want to keep it simple? Go monochrome. Choosing plants in a single color gives your garden a cohesive, seamless look that helps it blend together so your outdoor spaces look established and attractive.

The easiest way to work with a monochromatic garden color palette is to go green. Grow virtually any type of foliage and you’re right on track. But you can still go monochrome if you love colorful flowers. Just pick a color — whether that’s pink, white, purple, blue or another fave of yours — and stick with plants that bloom in that color.

garden color palette - complementary

Choosing colors opposite one another on the color wheel can add a serious dose of vibrancy to your yard. Image: dvoevnore/Shutterstock

Complementary

Remember color theory? (If you need to brush up, we’ve got a great color rule guide here.) Complementary colors are those that are positioned opposite one another on a color wheel. That makes it super easy to follow. Even if you’ve shied away from complementary color pairings in your home’s design up to this point, consider it for your garden color palette.

While this can be a pretty in-your-face color combo in interior spaces, complementary colors are ideal for outdoors where they have plenty of room to breathe. Pair yellow and purple, blue and orange or red and green for a lively looking garden.

garden color palette - analogous

Keep things in the family color-wise and your yard will look curated. Image: satit_srihin/Shutterstock

Analogous

Another color theory basic, analogous colors are ones that are placed next to each other on the color wheel. And using analogous colors in your garden can help different plants blend visually, giving your yard a cohesive but still colorful look.

Just a few examples of analogous garden color palettes you could choose include: blue, green and yellow; red, orange and yellow; purple, blue and red. Clearly, there’s room to play here. And sticking to a specific section of the color wheel gives your yard a clear vision even if you go wild when choosing plants.

garden color palette - multicolor

Choose a main color, then accent from there. Image: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

Another go-to for designers, the 60-30-10 rule is also a pretty simple one to follow. You pick one color to make up 60% of the space (the green in the photo above). Then, you choose a secondary color to make up the next 30% (above, it’s indigo). Finally, you round out the space with an accent color that completes the last 10%. It’s usually a bold color like the red in the image above.

The 60-30-10 rule gives you plenty of flexibility while building in guidelines that ensure your garden will look balanced when you’re finished. And that final 10% is a fun opportunity when you’re talking about blooms. Choose something surprising and vibrant to take your garden to the next level.

Armed with these garden color palettes, you’re ready to make your outdoor spaces shine all year round. Which one will you choose?

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The Painting Experts Explain How to Fix Painting Mistakes and Problems

Painting is undoubtedly one of the quickest and least expensive ways to transform your home. It can update an area, hide flaws, highlight architectural details and so much more. If you follow the 10 commandments of painting, you’re on the road to success. However, mistakes and problems do happen. If you encounter a hiccup, the painting experts explain how to fix it.

Blistering can be caused by heat.

Blistering can be caused by heat. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

The paint is blistering/bubbling  

Fortunately, this type of blister doesn’t hurt, but it can be painful to look at. “Paint blisters or bubbles occur when the paint film lifts from the underlying surface,” says Mike Mundwiller, Field Development Manager at Benjamin Moore.

So what causes a paint blister? “The loss of adhesion between the paint film and surface is usually caused by heat, moisture or a combination of both,” Mundwiller says. And it eventually leads to peeling. While it can be corrected, he says you need to figure out what’s causing the problem or it will occur again.

Moisture is another cause of blistering.

Moisture is another cause of blistering. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

How to fix blistering/bubbling paint

You can scrape and sand the blisters to remove them (if they don’t go down to the substrate). Once the area is smooth, Mundwiller says you should apply a coat of primer and then apply the paint. “However, you’ll need to find and remove the source of moisture if the blisters go down to the substrate.”

To stop paint from blistering or bubbling, Mundwiller says you should always start with a clean, dry surface. “Apply primer-sealer over any stains and give it time to dry completely,” he says. “Always make sure that the paint is completely dry before you expose the surface to moisture,” Mundwiller adds. He also recommends using (or installing) exhaust fans or vents in high-humidity areas. 

Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.

Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

The paint is cracking or flaking

When you see a hairline crack, don’t ignore it. “Cracks in paint can start small, but will worsen over time if they are not fixed,” Mundwiller says. Cracks or flakes can be caused by a variety of issues, including not preparing the surface or applying oil-based paint over latex paint. “Also, if you use a cheap paint, it’s not going to adhere properly or be flexible,” Mundwiller says. Sometimes, the paint is old, or it’s being applied in the wrong environment and, therefore, is drying too quickly.

Extreme cracking, sometimes called ‘alligatoring,’ is caused when a second or third coat of paint is applied before the previous coat dries completely, or when the undercoat is incompatible with the finish coat,” he explains.

Always remove loose paint.

Always remove loose paint before repainting. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

How to fix cracked or flaking paint

You can use a wire brush or scraper to remove loose paint (if the cracking isn’t down to the substrate). “Then, sand the area to feather the edges, prime any bare spots and repaint the surface,” Mundwiller explains. You may need to use a filler if flaking happens in multiple layers of paint.

“If the cracking goes down to the substrate, remove all of the paint by scraping or using a heat gun, sand the surface until smooth and even, prime, and then repaint with a quality latex paint,” Mundwiller says.

For a perfect finish, use the right amount of paint.

For a perfect finish, use the right amount of paint. Image courtesy of PPG Paints.

The paint is spread too thin

Colors are powerful and that’s why your color choices are important. But it’s also important to use the proper techniques when painting. A common mistake is spreading paint too thin, according to Jenny Burroughs, PPG Paint Brand Senior Product Manager. “Always ensure that your brush is evenly covered but not soaking wet, and follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for application,” she says.

Touch up paint should be seamless.

Touch up paint should be seamless. Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.

Touch up mistakes

Sometimes, you don’t need to paint a whole room, you just want to touch up a small area. “It’s not uncommon to see a noticeable difference in appearance between the original finish and the touched-up areas,” according to Mark Eichelberger, Senior Product Manager of Architectural Paint at Sherwin-Williams.

Always clean the surface before applying touch-up paint.

Always clean the surface before applying touch-up paint. Image courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.

“To avoid this, I recommend trying to clean marks with a soft sponge and liquid detergent before touching up,” he says. If it’s possible, he also recommends using the original batch of paint and a similar applicator to the one used in the original job.

 

New boards must be properly cured.

New boards must be properly cured. Image: BondRocketImage/Shutterstock

Deck staining issues

Interior paint isn’t the only place you can run into issues, either. Staining a newly replaced deck can produce undesirable results. “People do not allow for proper curing time. Once cured, they also don’t know that they have to remove the mill glaze prior to staining,” says Michael Nungesser, Owner of Five Star Painting of Central Georgia and Fayette/Coweta.

“Allow 30 to 60 days for new boards to cure,” Nungesser advises. He says that most homeowners aren’t aware that the new decking has a mill glaze (a glossy film that forms on the deck). The glaze can be removed with a wood deck cleaner, but Nungesser says this is another area prone to mistakes. “People often wash a deck with bleach and don’t neutralize the bleach with a wash prior to staining.” He also warns against using a pressure washer since it will impregnate the wood with water. For the best finish, he says to “allow the deck to dry to 20% moisture, and then apply two new coats of stain.”

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These 10 Swimming Pool Floats Replace Last Year’s Unicorn and Swan Pool Floats

It was all about swans and unicorns at the pool last year. This year’s best pool floats focus on comfort, novelty and pop culture trends like Game of Thrones and our craze with avocado toast. Here’s a roundup of this year’s best pool floats. Bring on summer!

1. Kai Seat Lounger at Pottery Barn, $199

Everyone loves a beanbag. And a swimming pool. Put both together and this is bound to be the hottest pool float this summer. Pottery Barn’s stock of the product sells out fast. If you catch it when it’s sold out, you can also buy it at Brookstone.

2. Glow Float at Front Gate, $129

How about a floating lounge chair that lights up at dusk? The Glow Float is not only one of the best pool floats this year, it’s a great pool light at night.

3. Glitter Rosé Pool Float at Urban Outfitters, $36

Rosé wine is making a comeback – and the pool float is the perfect lounge accessory. Pink is hot right now, so this chic float is also on-trend.

4. Flamingo Pool Float Rose Gold at Target, $19

Since we’re talking about pink’s popularity, it’s highly likely that this modern pink flamingo pool float will be popular in Florida.

5. Avocado Pool Float At Bed Bath & Beyond, $20

The avocado toast obsession drove avocado prices up. The phenomenon sparked the Washington Post to write a story on how millennials can’t afford houses because they’re spending it on avocado toast. Have your toast and float on it this summer.

6. Ice Dragon Party Tube Inflatable Raft at Amazon, $20

Game of Thrones is over, but themed accessories including dragons, crowns and thrones aren’t. This ice dragon party tube will hopefully have a better happily ever after than the show’s finale.

7. Canopy Island Inflatable Lounge at Amazon

This is the best pool float for when you want to lounge at the pool for hours. It’s sized for two and features a canopy to keep you from getting sunburn.

8. Poolcandy 2-in-1 Chair & Pool Lounger in Gold At Bed Bath & Beyond, $50

Gold isn’t going out of style anytime soon. And this pool lounger is perfectly blinged out for the most luxurious pools around.

9. Monterey 4-in-1 Multi-Purpose Inflatable Hammock at Amazon

Amazon shoppers swear by this versatile pool float and rate it high. You can use it as a saddle, lounge chair, hammock or pool drifter. It’s inexpensive enough to have a few, and plenty of fun.

10. Christine Pup Pool Mat at Wayfair, $75

Don’t forget man’s best friend. Wayfair hasn’t. This bone-shaped pool float means Fido can float right with you this summer, too.

All images courtesy of the retailer.

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The Pros and Cons of Purchasing a New Build

We all love “shiny and new” — and newly-built single-family homes are downright irresistible.  And when the existing home inventory is limited, and consumers  have confidence in the market, a significant number of homeowners will consider a newly-built residence.

However, it’s not a slam-dunk decision. There are benefits and disadvantages to purchasing a new build. These are some of the factors to consider.

New build pros

A new build can incorporate your wish list.

A new build can incorporate your wish list. Image: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

A new build isn’t someone’s leftover home

The only thing better than new car smell is new house smell. The first home I ever purchased was a new build and, as a germaphobe, I loved the idea that no one else had ever hung clothes in my closets, cooked in my kitchen, parked in my garage or sat in my garden tub. Admittedly, I have no idea what the contractors and workers did before I moved in. As a true germophobe, I still scrubbed every single surface. But I didn’t have to scrub as hard since there weren’t any previous owners.

A new build won’t have old pipes and wiring.

A new build won’t have old pipes and wiring. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

A new build is up to code and up-to-date

“People like to say that we ‘don’t build them like we used to.’ This is a good thing,” Nathan Outlaw, President of Onvico in Thomasville, GA, says. “Code and energy requirements have come a long way and buying a well-built new home will be much less stressful than remodeling an older home.”

That’s because homebuyers can avoid those unexpected expenses that occur when workers find issues like asbestos or old plumbing that needs to be replaced. Homeowners can also incorporate the latest trends in kitchen and bathroom technology to maximize the home’s potential.

You can usually pick your flooring and other materials

You can usually pick your flooring and other materials. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

(Sometimes) the sky is the limit with a new build

Michael Menn, a Chicago-based architect who builds new homes and remodels existing homes, says there are pros and cons to purchasing a new build. “When a homeowner purchases an existing home, there will be compromise on the floor plan,” he says.

However, when his clients purchase a new home, Menn says they can customize and personalize every detail. He adds that they can pick “everything from the floor plan to the flooring, cabinetry, plumbing, etc.” So homeowners can decide, for example, if they want tile or hardwood floors in the kitchens and baths or they can make the home as plush as a hotel.

There’s more competition for existing homes.

There’s more competition for existing homes. Image: Carol Franks/Shutterstock

There’s less competition for a new build

“According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average time an existing home is for sale on the market is 30 days — although this depends on the part of the country, time of the year and other factors,” Menn explains. Homes sell fast because there’s a lot of competition to find an existing home. But when you build a home, he says the competition is eliminated.

You can drive up, get out and start your new life.

You can drive up, get out and start your new life. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

There are no renovation issues with a new build

Many homeowners purchase a home and then renovate it to fit their needs. “But they have to live in the mess of a renovation,” says Adam Helfman, Home Improvement Expert at Hire It Done. “Having no interruptions in your daily life is a huge benefit to buying a new home.” Also, some people don’t know where to draw the line when purchasing a fixer-upper and could end up with a money pit.

New build cons

Older homes may be built with better materials.

Older homes may be built with better materials. Image: Pics721/Shutterstock

Older may be better

Although newer homes have new components and materials, newer may not always be better. “New homes today are generally not built as solid as old homes of yesteryear,” Helfman says. “Old homes had better bones. For example, a 2×4 in the 50s and 60s was actually 2 inches by 4 inches — whereas a 2×4 today is 1.75 inches by 3.75 inches.”

Recycling extends to houses. Image: Carol Franks/Shutterstock

Renovating is better for the environment

When you build a new home, you’re starting from scratch. “The environmental impact of building a new home is much higher than in buying an old home,” Helfman says. “Renovation is essentially a form of recycling.”

Also, homeowners have a tendency to focus on cosmetic features when buying a home and often choose a new build because of trendy extras. However, most cosmetic features — like architectural details — could be added to an existing home during a renovation.

Older home have lush landscaping.

Older homes can have lush, well-established lawns. Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Existing homes have more mature landscaping

Landscaping can cost a pretty penny and take a while to fully develop. “Older properties can come with landscaping benefits like mature trees to cast shade,” Helfman says.

Sidewalks and street lights are important.

Sidewalks and street lights are important. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Existing homes have established neighborhoods

If you’re building a home in a new area, it’s still in the process of being established. “Older homes come with the benefit of established neighborhoods with established communities and desirable features like street lights, sidewalks and neighborhood watches,” Helfman explains.

And there are other potential disadvantages to not being in an established neighborhood. “There’s a danger of purchasing inside a non-fully formed community where amenity costs were miscalculated,” warns Michael Kelczewski, a realtor with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. “Also, homeowners may purchase during an initial development phase only for the developer to become bankrupt.”

Pray for sunny days.

Pray for sunny days. Image: Karamysh/Shutterstock

The new build timeline is subject to change

Unless you’re buying a new home that has already been completed, you could be trapped in a waiting game. “You won’t be able to move in until the home is completed,” says Menn. And he warns that weather-related construction delays are always a possibility and could extend the build timeline indefinitely.

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Follow These 4 Tips To Stay Organized When You’re Moving On A Short Deadline

Moving is never easy, but when you have to move quickly, it can feel like a much more difficult task. With that in mind, we’ve brought you four tips on how to stay organized when you’re moving on a short deadline. Whether you’re moving for a new job that’s starting soon or because you want to be settled in time for the kids to start school, these tips will help you keep your cool as you go through the moving process.

Start by making a master to-do list for the move. Shutterstock/kitzcorner

Make a to-do list

Finding out that you need to make a move can be overwhelming, especially when it needs to happen on a tight deadline. That’s why the first thing to do in this scenario is to take the time to organize your thoughts by creating a to-do list. This will give you the structure you need to move through the rest of your move.

Start by doing a brain dump of all the little tasks you can think of related to your move. Include everything you can think of from scheduling movers to buying packing supplies or having a charitable service come pick up donations.
Then, once you’re done, write the list out once more. This time, do your best to put the tasks in a chronological order.

Once you’re done, keep the list close at hand so you can refer back to it during the moving process. Don’t be afraid to add to it any time you think of something new that you need to do. Additionally, remember to check tasks off as you complete them.

Create deadlines to help keep yourself on task. Shutterstock./Brian A Jackson

Give yourself deadlines

Once you have your to-do lists in order, your next task is to give yourself deadlines. Go through the list and create a deadline for each item. If it’s easier, you can work your way backwards from moving day.

If you need to give yourself extra incentive to finish on time, try setting some hard deadlines for yourself. For example, you could schedule your donation pick up for the same day you’ve scheduled to pack up your bedroom. Since other people are depending on you, you’ll be more likely to stay on task.

Make sure you pack in a systematic manner. Shutterstock/archideaphoto

Follow a packing system

As you pack, you’ll also want to follow a system that will help keep you as organized as possible. Every person knows what type of system will work best for them, but we have a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Start by gathering all the packing materials you’ll need for the room,
  • Use soft items like t-shirts or oven mitts to protect more breakable items
  • Don’t pack your clothes separately from their drawers. Simply secure the drawers closed with and move them as-is.
  • Create a color-coded labeling system with markers that allows you to see where boxes belong with just a glance.
  • Make a list of all the items in each box. That way, you won’t have to go hunting for items that you need when you arrive at your destination.

No matter what type of system you create, consistency is the key. Follow the same system for all of your boxes. Not only will doing so help you become more efficient at packing as the system starts to become second nature, but it will also help you stay organized so you’ll have a better idea of what you’re unpacking when you get to your new home.

Don’t be afraid to hire movers to help get the job done. Image: Shutterstock/levelupart

Consider bringing in assistance

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to bring in assistance if it turns out that getting ready for your move is too big of a job for you to tackle on your own. Many moving companies also offer packing services that can help you get the job done in a fraction of the time of doing it alone. Of course, this assistance does come at an added cost so, just like with any other convenience service, you’re going to want to get quotes and read online reviews before hiring any particular company for the job.

If money is an issue, consider bringing in some of your family and friends to help out with this task. You could host a packing party, where your guests can enjoy food and beverages provided by you in exchange for helping you meet some of the deadlines on your to-do list.

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These are the Most Popular Rooms to Remodel – And the Cost for Each

A new report by Houzz reveals that kitchen renovations are still the most popular remodel – and also the most expensive. In 2018, the kitchen was the top interior room renovation among homeowners who renovated last year.

The report also notes that costs are rising. “Last year’s 10 percent increase in tariffs on imported building materials is clearly hitting consumer pockets in areas such as kitchens and bathroom remodels that are heavily dependent on imports of cabinetry, countertops, ceramic tile, plumbing fixtures and vinyl flooring from China,” Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist, tells Freshome. “We expect similar effects to take place in 2019.”

Below, Freshome breaks down the most popular rooms to remodel, along with Houzz’s median cost data and the percentages of homeowners who did a remodel vs. an addition.

Homeowners are recreating designer kitchens.

Homeowners are recreating designer kitchens. ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Kitchen: $14,000

28% remodel/30% addition

Kitchens remained the most popular and most expensive room to renovate in 2018. In fact, the median spend on kitchen renovations jumped 27 percent in 2018, following a 10 percent increase in 2017,” Sitchinava says.

Some homeowners are looking for ways to expose concrete walls in their home, but Josu Gaubeka, President of La Cuisine Appliances also recommends concrete countertops in the kitchen. “Concrete is definitely in when it comes to kitchens. Even though marble and quartz countertops will never go out of style, what is currently trending is the industrial touch that cement adds to the designs.”

There’s plenty of room in this Kitchenaid Built-in French Door Refrigerator.

There’s plenty of room in this Kitchenaid Built-in French Door Refrigerator. Image courtesy of La Cuisine Appliances.

No matter the style of kitchen that you have, from the most elaborate in terms of sophistication to the simplest and utilitarian, if you have a stylish appliance in the kitchen, the appliance will certainly make the difference,” Gaubeka says.

Another trend that Gaubeka has observed is having everything out in the open. “Obviously, kitchens with open shelves or storage areas require a lot of order, but it’s also a simpler way to optimize time in the kitchen, since everything is on display.”

The 2019 faucet trends include vintage styles. “Even though the use of vintage faucets is a matter of taste, they are frequently found in many current kitchen designs. It’s part of a new country chic trend that recently became very popular, and works well with farmhouse styles, Gaubeka says.

Guests are no longer relegated to small powder rooms.

Guests are no longer relegated to small powder rooms. Image:Krista Abel/Shutterstock

Guest/other bathroom: $3,500

25% remodel/27% addition

“Median spend on guest bathroom remodels, the most popular type of bathroom to renovate, grew by 17 percent,” says Sitchinava.

If you’re remodeling your home for resale, the best return on your investment will come from focusing on bathrooms and kitchens, according to Jonathan Self, a realtor at Center Coast Realty in Chicago. “Using a reputable designer can be a smart money saving – and possibly money making – move. Also, depending on how large the scope of work, my pro tip is to factor in the cost for a project manager.”

Even if you have a general contractor and a great designer, Self warns that neither position is really tasked for project management. “Both of them end up getting roped into the job of project managing, and you end up adding more chaos to a chaotic process.”

Bathrooms recreate spa experiences.

Bathrooms recreate spa experiences. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Master bathroom: $8,000

22% remodel/23% addition

“Median spend on master bathroom remodels, the third most popular room to renovate, grew by 14 percent,” says Sitchinava. Homeowners want spa-styled bathrooms with natural light, open showers, and bathtubs that make you want to soak for hours.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, transitional bathrooms are the most popular design style. It’s a mix of traditional and contemporary styles, with clean lines.

Homeowners are also incorporating some of the 2019 bathroom technology trends, including Wi-Fi/cloud-based digital showers with personal presets to control the temperature, outlets, and shower time. Intelligent toilets with personalized cleaning and dry functions, and a heated seat, can help to create the ultimate master bathroom.

Living areas can recreate the elegance of hotel suites.

Living areas can recreate the elegance of hotel suites. Image: Pai/Shutterstock

Living/family room: $3,400

21% remodel/23% addition

Whether a formal living room or a more casual living/family room where everyone – including the family’s pets – can feel right at home, homeowners are updating these spaces. Open floorplans that create clean sightlines to the kitchen are also popular for entertaining and keeping an eye on the kids.

Bedrooms are luxurious and comfy.

Bedrooms are luxurious and comfy. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Master bedroom: $2,000

14% remodel/15% addition

Master bedroom remodels continue to be popular as homeowners strive to create a sanctuary. Sometimes, this entails a master suite addition. Other times, it involves remodeling the area, and may include knocking down walls to open up the room. This allows homeowners to create an area for lounging on a sofa or large chairs.  Other upgrades include painting the walls, ceiling, and trim, adding a ceiling fan and lighting, and changing out the flooring.

Closets are as glamorous as bedrooms.

Closets are as glamorous as bedrooms. Image courtesy of Ornare

Closet: $700

13% remodel/15% addition

Closets, in general, and walk-in closets, in particular, are increasing in popularity, according to Claudio Faria, Director of Ornare USA, which offers luxury kitchen, baths, closets and cabinetry. In fact, he says he’s seeing the highest rise in closet orders. “People are putting more importance into them as the home for all their most valuable possessions. Many are looking for a more retail/boutique design with clear glass doors to showcase their favorite items,” Faria says.

“Others are looking for new solutions for more efficient storage with a more glamorous experience for themselves. That might include dedicating an entire room to also work as a dressing lounge or integrating it with the master bedroom to make it part of the design.”

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7 Common Weeds & How to Get Rid of Them

Ugh, weeds. You put a lot of work into your yard with the hopes of helping it look its best so you can relax and enjoy it this summer. Then you spot a weed and all that relaxation goes out the window. Suddenly, you’re on the offensive, prepping to battle an invasive species. Fortunately, you can avoid all the stress by knowing how to spot and eradicate the most common weeds. And we’ve put together this guide to help you do exactly that.

Here are seven of the most common types of weeds — and what you can do about them.

common weeds - lambsquarter

You can spot lambsquarters thanks to its gray undersides. Image: seven75/Getty Images

Lambsquarters

If you live in the northern half of the country, odds are high you’ve encountered this broadleaf annual. You can spot it by looking for its scalloped leaves with gray undersides. It’s a fast grower that sucks the moisture out of your soil, so don’t dally in removing it from your garden.

Pull lambsquarters by hand or extricate it with a sharp hoe. You want to get all of the root because it can survive for decades in the soil. Alternately, you can treat it with a post-emergence herbicide.

And, bonus, if you haven’t been using chemicals in your yard, you can actually eat lambsquarters. It’s a little like spinach and you can enjoy it raw, steamed or sauteed.

common weeds - amaranth

Why not make a salad with the weeds you pull? Image: arousa/Getty Images

Amaranth (Pigweed)

A summer weather lover, this annual weed springs up tall with a taproot that’s red. Amaranth grows clusters of green flowers that look like they have little hairs. But you don’t want them to get to that point, because once this plant goes to flower, you’re fighting a much bigger battle.

Pull pigweed by hand or use a post-emergence herbicide on it. Mulch your yard to prevent it from coming back.

This is another edible weed. The greens can be used in a tossed salad or cooked.

common weeds - dandelion

Allergy sufferers know to steer clear of dandelions. Image: Tina Caunt/EyeEm/Getty Images

Dandelion

Who doesn’t love puffing a dandelion’s seedhead like Belle in Beauty & the Beast? People who don’t want their yards overtaken, that’s who. Those signature seedheads make this plant spread like, well, a weed.

If you’ve got dandelions in your yard, dig them out (they can have a deep taproot, so keep digging to ensure you’ve got it all) or spray them. If you choose the spray route, kick them a bit beforehand. No, you’re not just getting your aggression out. Wounding their leaves helps the herbicide absorb better.

And if you didn’t spray, this is another edible weed. The Farmer’s Almanac has quite the variety of recipes awaiting you.

common weeds- nutsedge

Hand-pulling can take care of this grassy weed. Image: charti1/Getty Images

Nutsedge

This stiff, V-shaped, grassy weed can produce a yellow or purple flower. Nutsedge grows underground tubers, also called nuts or nutlets. Get rid of those bad boys before the weed can spread.

The best course of action is to pull the weeds by hand, but you can also spray with a post-emergence herbicide. Just be sure to read the labels because you need something that’s specifically formulated to get rid of sedge.

Nutsedge can actually be a helpful indicator of soil quality. If you’ve got it, it’s a sign your soil isn’t draining very well.

common weeds- chickweed

Its flowers might be pretty, but you’ll want to catch chickweed early. Image: Stefan Rotter/Getty Images

Chickweed

This annual likes shady, moist spots. It’s got small, white flowers and if you let it get to seed, you’ll be dealing with as much as 800 seeds per plant. A lot of the other common weeds on this list prefer the summer’s heat, but you’ll usually start to see chickweed springing up in the spring, so start checking for it early. When it spreads, it will create a mat of green.

Hand pull chickweed or look for an herbicide formulated to treat chickweed. Mulch can help you keep it at bay, too.

common weeds - crabgrass

This low-lying, grassy weed is easy to squeeze out of your lawn. Image: Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

Crabgrass

As its name suggests, this summer annual looks like a grass. But you can spot it because it keeps close to the ground, spreading out along its surface. It likes hot and dry conditions. And, good news, it’s easy to control.

If you’ve got crabgrass, hand pull it or treat it with a post-emergence herbicide. If it’s growing in your lawn, mowing regularly and keeping your turfgrass healthy should be enough to crowd it out.

common weeds - bindweed

Don’t be fooled by bindweed’s flowers. Image: jamesvancouver/Getty Images

Bindweed

Sure, it’s pretty. But bindweed, also known as perennial morning glory, is one of the most common weeds — and one of the most difficult to control. A single weed can spread 10 feet in all directions, often under the soil thanks to its wandering roots, so getting rid of bindweed can be a hassle.

You can identify it by its vines filled with arrowhead-shaped leaves and small white or pink morning glory flowers.

Getting rid of this weed takes some work. Keep pulling it every time it emerges and you’ll eventually wear out the root. Or treat it with an herbicide that can kill it at the root — but don’t expect it to work in one go. Keep reapplying the herbicide as needed to get rid of bindweed.

Now you’re ready to deal with the most common weeds and keep your lawn looking great this summer. But if you’re sick of fighting a losing battle against the weeds in your yard, a dedicated lawn care professional can help you keep your yard lush, beautiful and weed-free.

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Porthole Windows: They’re Not Just for Ships and Boats

Porthole windows are standard on ships and boats. However, they’re now showing up in residential homes. Just as garage doors aren’t just for garages anymore, porthole windows are being used in other applications. And since porthole windows are available in a variety of materials and sizes, they can add a completely unique touch to your house (from both the interior and exterior). But, how do you know if a porthole window is right for your home?

Advantages of a Porthole Window

Porthole window perfect for stargazing

This porthole window is perfect for stargazing. Image: Relentless_one/Getty Images

“Porthole windows have the ability to turn a seemingly plain room anywhere in the home into a unique space,” according to Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor. He says bathrooms are a popular location. “Why should bathrooms be boring? A porthole window can enhance even the simplest spaces, and that includes bathrooms,” Roberson says.  “And as a bonus, it can also give the nautical illusion of being on a cruise, and who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on vacation?”

Porthole window artwork

A porthole window can also serve as artwork. Image: asbe/Getty Images

Porthole windows can also be used to line the walls of a staircase, according to Roberson. “Using these rounded windows there can help not only draw in light when transitioning levels but also create the illusion of more space,” Roberson says.

Another fun place for them is in the ceiling. “We all have seen a skylight, but circular windows in the ceiling can create a fun illusion of the sun when the light shines through.” Roberson says.

Porthole window above the door

When the curtains are drawn, this porthole window takes center stage. Image: Astronaut Image/Getty Images

Many homeowners use porthole windows as artwork.  “Depending on your home’s scenery, whether it’s overlooking a beautiful beach or lake or the city lights, a large circular window can be thought of as a piece of artwork and a focal point in any room, particularly a living room.” Besides bathrooms, attics and loft areas, porthole windows are also being used in other areas of the home, and there are even doors with porthole windows in them.

Porthole bunkroom

This bunkroom porthole window helps to create a nautical feeling. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, principal at Designs Northwest Architects, has installed porthole windows in several projects. In the photo above, Nelson installed a porthole window in this bunk room. Due to the room’s design, which includes an arched ceiling, a porthole window works well.

Porthole home gym

Portholes add a stylish touch to this home gym. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Nelson also installed a series of porthole windows in this exercise room. “We use porthole windows quite a bit in our work because we specialize in waterfront residences,” he explains. “Porthole windows fit naturally into the nautical theme of many of our homes.”

Disadvantages of a Porthole Window

Porthole complements design

The porthole complements this home’s design. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

However, there are some factors homeowners should consider before installing porthole windows. “I think porthole style windows are fine as long as a home owner is just using them for aesthetic purposes,” according to Nathan Outlaw, president at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA.

“They can look great with an appropriately themed room or home but don’t serve much of a purpose,” Outlaws explains.” The light brought in is minimal, they can’t let as much breeze in.” He says another issue is that they don’t serve as egress windows. In the event of an emergency (like a fire), you need a window large enough, and placed low enough, to crawl through. If you’re considering a porthole window, make sure that you have at least one other larger window in the room.

This metal porthole fits perfectly in the metal wall. Image courtesy of Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

“There is also the problem of making them look good in relation to the outside of the home, Outlaw says. “Many times they look great in the room they are placed but mismatch the exterior architectural style.” That’s not a problem for the well-designed homes in the two photos immediately above, but it is something to consider.

Resale Value

Porthole window light and air

Porthole windows can be designed to let in a cool breeze. Image: BenAkiba/Getty Images

Porthole windows are trendy, but will they affect your home’s resale value or not?

“I do think that buyers may see the window type as an obstacle when they start to think about reselling in the future,” says Nicole Durosko of Warburg Realty.

“Anything that a homeowner does that is too specific, no matter how trendy or cute, will narrow the audience of potential buyers,” warns Steven Gottlieb of Warburg Realty. “If a potential buyer doesn’t want a porthole window, it adds to the number of ‘renovation tasks.’” He believes that it won’t widen the potential buying audience, but says it could narrow the field of buyers.

Porthole windows focal point.

Porthole windows can be a focal point. Image: numismarty/Getty Images

And Karen Kostiw of Warburg Realty believes a porthole window could be a distraction, and it might turn off a buyer. “Today’s buyers are looking for large windows and lots of light,” she says. However, if there are other windows that provide natural light, it probably won’t be a deal-breaker. And in waterfront homes, it could actually be a selling point.

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