Apps for Home Improvement – Infographic

Beginning a home improvement project, no matter what size, is exciting but it’s a bit daunting too! There is so much to consider. It’s important to take time at that stage to carefully think out what you want from the project, your budget, suppliers and so on. Even a project as small as creating a feature wall in your living room, for example, can make a real impact but effort is required to get the “project” done and done well.

Ask advice from (well informed) family and friends or if it’s a big enough project obviously professional advice is relevant. It’s a good idea to take notes at the outset about what you wish to achieve i.e. what are your goals. Perhaps you need more space in your kitchen or you wish to create a dedicated home office from a space under the stairs; it’s important to put your goals to the forefront and not let the project take over. If your purpose was to create extra storage space, don’t get deviated by side projects like updating paint colors without fulfilling your end goal.

Our friends over at EZ Living have put together this useful infographic that highlights some phone and tablet apps that will make the project (however big or small) a lot more planned and even fun. It also includes some handy quotes from relevant experts. Check it out below.

Apps-For-Home-Improvement

Home Safety: Tips To Consider When Picking Your Windows And Doors

Home Safety Tips To Consider When Picking Your Windows And Doors

A home’s doors and windows are the first lines of defense against burglars and intruders. Doors are by far the most important because they are the main entrance to the house and logically where the burglars will try first. While taking simple steps, such as always securing the locks and repairing broken doors and windows is certainly important, there are a few ways that homeowners can go beyond the basics when choosing new doors and windows for the home.

Go Solid

Doors that lead to the outdoors should always be solid. While hollow doors are often used indoors for improved cost as well as a lightweight feel, front and back doors as well as doors leading to the garage should be made of solid wood or metal with inner reinforcements. Other good options include fiberglass and reinforced steel. Consider options like these attractive and inviting New Jersey doors that look beautiful and are sturdy as well.

Consider Windowless

Numerous doors come with decorative windows to let in light and to provide a curbside statement. However, these same windows also provide easy ways for predators to peep indoors or for intruders to reach into the home to unlock the door. Homeowners that must have windows in their doors should consider choosing ones with metal reinforcements or smaller windows that are quite far from the door’s lock.

Always Include Deadbolts

Instead of using only the small locks that are part of the doorknob, all homeowners should have deadbolts installed with their new doors. Deadbolts extend far into the doorframe, creating another layer of protection for the household. In addition, homeowners should ensure that the doorframe is sturdy to protect it from being kicked out by an intruder.

Choose Reliable Brands And Companies

Of course, any door or window is only as reliable as the company that sells it is. Homeowners should choose reputable companies to buy from. A reputable firm will be able to direct homeowners to the sturdiest doors and to the most secure windows for the home. A good installer will be able to make these recommendations without sacrificing the style of the home.

sliding doors

Beware Of Sliding Doors

Sliding glass patio doors are some of the easiest options for intruders looking to break into a home. Not only are these typically solid glass, but also many of them can be easily forced open. Homeowners that have these patio or balcony doors should only choose options made from reinforced glass or polycarbonate and should always install a sturdy, solid metal or wooden dowel in the track in addition to the door’s traditional lock.

Choose Reinforced Glass

Windows should be made from reinforced glass, such as laminated glass, or from polycarbonate or Plexiglas, which are quite difficult and time-consuming to break. All homeowners should consider installing reflective coatings on the glass to ensure that potential intruders cannot see into the house even if the curtains are open.

Add Window Bars

Homes that are built along the street or that have windows that are very low to the ground are at particular risk from intruders. Window bars can protect the home even if the glass is broken. Homeowners need not worry that these bars will ruin the look of the home. Many options are quite decorative with scrollwork and even shapes that can extend over window boxes.

Homeowners who do not know too much about the windows and doors that are currently on the market today should check with professional installers to determine what the most secure options are. While safe, solid doors and windows almost always cost more than the baseline models do, they are certainly worth it for peace of mind as well as for home and personal safety.

Beautiful Facade: 4 Simple Ways to Transform Your Home’s Exterior

Beautiful Facade: 4 Simple Ways to Transform Your Home's Exterior

The outside of the home is the first thing that people will see. You want the exterior to be presentable and to be a reflection of your personality and what you enjoy in life. The designs featured could be something simple like a few flowers and a swing on the front porch or an extensive design that includes a pond in the yard with fish or a water fountain.

Roofing Tiles

One of the things that will make a drastic change to the outside of the home is to change the roof tiles. You could add shingles or transform the entire look to a metal roof. A metal roof is becoming a trend with many houses, especially those that are in rural areas. There are different colors that you could use that will blend well with the exterior of the home.

Entry Doors

Another idea is to change all of the entry doors of the home. When you go to a hardware store or even a retail store that sells home improvement items, you’ll see that there are numerous door designs available. Companies like Shank Door offer everything from security doors that are thicker in design to artistic doors that have intrinsic designs and windows. The entry door should be one that is easy to operate by all family members and that matches the colors and other designs of the rest of the home.

Landscaping

From adding a few flowers to installing a large bird bath or fountain in the yard, landscaping can make a world of difference when it comes to the exterior view of the home. You could create a large flower garden with flowers that will grow all year. Another option is to make a pathway from the driveway to the front of the home with lights on the side to make it easier to see where you’re walking at night. Landscaping is a way to show your creativity.

Porches

One of the ways that you can change the exterior of the home is to add a porch. Once the porch is designed, add a few chairs or even an entire patio set. Avoid building a porch that is too large as it can wash out the exterior appearance. However, you could add a slender porch that runs along the front of the home that features railings and a concrete walkway. This is a common design with older homes and farm houses.

Changing the look of the outside of the home is easy if you take the time to plan. A large remodeling project is an option that will drastically update the look of the home, delivering a beautiful appearance that you’ll enjoy.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks

Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

How to Turn Your Home into a Wheelchair-Accessible Living Space

How to Turn Your Home into a Wheelchair Accessible Living Space

If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair or any other similar mobility device to get around, then you might benefit from making a few changes to your home. Even minor alterations and upgrades can make a big difference, and your home will be much safer to live in after the renovations. Here are a few steps you can take to make your home wheelchair-accessible on almost any budget.

Start With the Entryways

Installing at least one or two entryway ramps is an absolute necessity if anyone with a disability is living in your home. These ramps will give everyone the ability to exit the home in the event of a fire or another emergency. According to the ADA, the ramp should be at least 36-inches wide between the handrails. Although some people like to make their ramps out of plywood, you may want to consider making yours out of something a tad bit more sturdy—like a ramp made out of redwood 2-by-4’s. This is because some people use electric wheelchairs scooters which are heavier than the push wheelchairs. No matter what material it is made from, however, the top should be covered in a non-slip coating such as rubber.

The Bathroom Checklist

A very large percentage of accidents that take place in the home occur in the bathroom. One of the reasons for this is because most bathrooms are not designed to accommodate those who have mobility, dexterity, or balance issues. Some disabled individuals can make do with handrails near the toilets and baths, but that depends on their strength and age. Those who do not have enough strength to pull themselves up might need to invest in a hoisting device if they want to remain as independent as possible. Sinks that have vanities underneath will most likely need to be modified so that the wheelchair can be brought closer without bumping into the cabinets.

Master Bath Renovationgrab bars in the bathroom

Room Design

The layout of each room depends on what type of mobility device is being used. Those who are using a power scooter have much different clearance requirements than those who are using traditional wheelchairs. Once you finally decide on a particular device, you will then need to tinker with the layout of each room until there is enough space between the furniture to comfortably turn around.

An Ergonomic Kitchen

The kitchen is another area where many people must spend a little extra time and energy in order to make them as accessible as possible. To turn the wheelchair or scooter around, most kitchens must have a clearance of at least four or five feet between all of the cabinets and counters. Lazy Susans are a great investment, and these inexpensive devices will make your pantries and cabinets much more functional. Moving the appliances and switches is a slightly more difficult project that almost always requires assistance from a certified electrician or contractor. Those who like to cook their own food might benefit from installing lower workspaces such as drop leaf shelves.

Stairs

Figuring out a solution for the stairs could be the most difficult part of your renovation. There are many devices on the market that are designed specifically to help disabled users go up and down the stairs, but they can be a major investment. You might want to rearrange the rooms of your home so that whoever is using the wheelchair can sleep, eat, and bathe downstairs. If you have extra money to invest into your home, then you can have a swiveling lift installed alongside the stairway.

Even if you do not plan on carrying out all of these projects immediately, you should still start making at least a few changes as soon as possible. Minor alterations and upgrades such as entrance ramps and safety bars will create an environment that is much more comfortable and ergonomic for those who have any disabilities.

Home Remodeling – from House to Home Sweet Home

Renovating a home is one of the nicest projects in the world – it means you’re financially stable and willing to make your living space more comfortable and enjoyable. However, it can also be quite stressful. Not knowing what you want to achieve or not being sure if your ideas will work can make renovation harder than it should be. It’s important to have a clear vision of what you wish to achieve, while an open and honest communication between clients and contractors is a must. Here are some of the things all good renovations have to include and a few to avoid.

Home Remodeling – from House to Home Sweet Home

Having an Image in Your Head

Knowing your needs and desires is essential for a successful renovation. Since clients already know their homes the best, it’s always good to start with their pitch and listen to their input and feedback. Nevertheless, absolute freedom is sometimes counterproductive – they might want to change too many things or, alternatively, simply not know what they want.

No matter how precise clients’ ideas are, they need to remember that some concepts can’t be achieved. Unless they want to tear down every wall and start from scratch, of course. Therefore, both clients and designers need to be flexible, especially when it comes to the budget. Having a vision is quite all right, but reality is something completely else.

Hiring a Professional or Two

Before starting a home renovation project, every client needs to figure out whether they want to do it alone or hire a professional. Small renovations – laying new kitchen tiles or installing wall-mounted toilets – can be done by basically anyone who can handle a hammer and power tools, but more complexed tasks shouldn’t. Except if you’re a pro.

Some of the people clients need to consult are architects, interior designers and decorators, and all of them offer new and unique insights into the matter. However, no renovation should begin without talking to trustworthy home improvement contractors as they’ll basically be the ones doing all the actual work. Having contractors inspect a client’s home is an essential part of the process and no client should skip this step.

home improvement contractor

Think Fast!

Once clients decide their home needs remodeling, there are a number of decisions to make – who to consult, who to hire, which colors to choose, which materials to buy and what’s the budget? The problem with most clients is that they take too much time to answer these questions and thus delay the work. Hence, it’s best to think about these things beforehand and make firm decisions as soon as possible.

Another problem with clients is that they change their minds too often – from altering the color of the bedroom walls to changing the pattern of the drapes and everything in between. It’s quite understandable to have second thoughts, but too many changes hurt the project and affect the schedule.

Purchasing Wrong/Cheap Material

There are two problems with clients purchasing the material on their own: they don’t know what’s good and also have a tendency to opt for cheaper choices. And that’s one of the worst things they can do – never try to save money on this part of the project! Otherwise, you’ll end up with faulty material that will, consequently, produce faulty results. Therefore, it’s always better to consult contractors when purchasing material or trying to save bigger amounts of money where it’s possible.

The End Result

If they follow these tips and study remodeling do’s and don’ts, clients will definitely be more informed about what they should and shouldn’t do when renovating their home. Ultimately, they’ll be able to do plenty with the space they have and turn an average home into something quite luxurious.

Guest Post By:

Stacey CooperStacey Cooper is an business consultant and a blogger with genuine love for decor, creativity and home improvementShe enjoys spending time in nature with her husband, writing  and learning about other cultures by travelling