Seasonal Renovation: 4 Home Upgrades Better Done In Summer

home improvement new windows

The impulse to do home upgrades can strike at any time. Some upgrades you can do any time you want. Carpet replacement is not season-dependent. As long as you use low-VOC, water-based acrylic paint, you can do interior painting year round. There are, however, some upgrades that will go off much better in the summer.

Deck Building or Repair

Decks are a functional way to extend your home’s summertime living space. Installing or repairing a deck is a summertime job. Deck installations require holes in the ground for the corner posts. No one wants to dig holes in the frozen soil. Repairs often require you to do some staining and sealing. Stains and sealants almost always need to be applied at temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Replace Doors and Windows

New doors or new windows can help shore up your home’s environmental envelope and temperature control. While they can be replaced at any time, in theory, having gaping holes in your walls during the winter isn’t a great play. Summer replacements make temperature control substantially easier and cheaper if you can tolerate some extra heat in the house. Plus, it’s not a crisis if all the finishing touches don’t get finished until the next day. For extra convenience, get a company like Gilkey Windows to come out so the job gets done quicker and easier than doing it yourself.

Refinishing Floors

Much as with deck stains, the varnishes used to refinish floors work best above the 50 degrees mark. Oil-based varnish fumes are potentially toxic, but also flammable. Having a furnace on in the winter to keep temperatures over 50 degrees is a potential fire hazard. While not flammable, water-based varnishes have a substantial odor. You’ll want to be able to throw open the windows to air out the house, which simply isn’t practical or cost-effective in the winter cold.

Concrete Repairs

If you have any damaged concrete at your home, such as a walkway, summer is the only practical time to repair it. Winter isn’t an option because the water in the wet concrete will freeze. This interrupts the chemical curing process that hardens the concrete and leaves you with shoddy concrete. Spring and fall are also problematic because rain exposure is a possibility, which also damages the curing process.

Summer is an excellent time for home upgrades, but it’s especially good for exterior projects and projects involving chemicals or strong odors. Door and window replacement also go more smoothly courtesy of more moderate temperatures. Just remember to consult product instructions or a professional any time you’re in doubt.

Creepy Crawlers: How to Eliminate Pests in Your Home This Summer

Creepy Crawlers How to Eliminate Pests in Your Home This Summer

The weather is warming up outside, which means that insects and other creepy crawlers will be coming out of hibernation soon. And they are all going to be looking for places to provide them with food, water, and shelter. So houses all over the country will become rapidly infested with them if they aren’t prepared. Luckily, when this happens, there are three ways to eliminate the pests quickly and safely.

Store Food Properly

Proper food storage habits will help keep pests at bay by making the place unappealing to them. All food must be put away in containers that seal shut. And nothing should ever be left out at night that they could snack on. That means, dirty dishes and leftovers all have to be cleaned up before heading to bed.

Keep Things Dry

Most pests can’t endure hot, dry conditions because they need a steady supply of water to drink. So naturally, they tend to congregate around areas that are damp and wet. That is why one of the easiest ways to deter them is to remove as much moisture as possible in the house. This can be done by fixing all of the drips and leaks and removing any sources of water that might be tempting to them. All the sinks in the house should be towel dried in between use. And water dishes for the pets have to be put away at night too.

Remove Trash and Clean

According to Allrid Pest Management, homes with an excess amount of trash and debris make the perfect environment for pests to live in. And the pests will end up spreading to all of the surrounding houses, which perpetuates the problem. That means, even if someone has an immaculate house, they can still end up getting an infestation of pests because they have a dirty neighbor. So the best thing to do in this situation is to report the problematic house to the local authorities to ensure that it gets cleaned up quickly. Then, the neighbors who live in the vicinity need to have their houses treated as well.

Everyone needs to participate in these pest-deterring procedures for them to be effective. That way, the sources of food, water, and shelter are all taken away, which makes the area uninhabitable for the creepy crawlers. But remember, those who already have a severe infestation may need to call in a professional pest control company if these procedures aren’t enough.

 

Summer Project Bring Shade to Your Deck or Patio

Summer Project Bring Shade to Your Deck or Patio

While some people wait for summer in order to undertake interior remodeling projects, the best thing about this season is that it allows you to spend most of your free time outdoors. Sure, you could go to a park and simply sit on the bench, but the satisfaction of making a real-life oasis of nature in your own backyard is simply much more appealing. The most important part of this garden during the summer should be your deck, patio or even a gazebo, where you can sit and rest with a group of your closest friends.

Now, the aforementioned gazebo always comes with a roof construction, which means that shade is not an issue, alas, the same could not be said about your deck and patio. With this in mind, here are few projects that will help you make your patio into a pleasant place even during the hottest summer days. Let’s take a look.

Buying a Parasol

Those who intend to cover a small area of their patio (just enough to cover the seating) should definitely consider buying a parasol. The advantages of this solution are quite obvious and even straightforward. First of all, it costs next to nothing (compared to some other methods), it is highly portable which makes it easy to remove during the colder part of the year. Most importantly, however, you can buy it in person or order it online and install it on your own. This is actually a simple procedure and you won’t need more than several minutes to set it up. All in all, most people would agree that, while going with a parasol may not be the most creative, or stylish, solution, it is definitely the most flexible one out there.

A Roof Construction

For those with more time, more energy and definitely a bigger budget, the optimal option would probably be to go for a roof construction. This way, you are giving your garden a lasting upgrade by putting a real roof over your patio. The best part of this solution is that it is durable, protects you from a sudden summer downpour (something parasol may not be able to do). Unfortunately, in order to make it you would either have to learn a thing or two about this type of construction or hire someone to do this for you. No matter the effort, it is undeniable that this is definitely worth your while.

summer projects

Shade Sail

Another great idea for protecting your deck or patio from sun would be to do it with some shade cloth. Shade cloth and mesh banners are impressive printing advertising tools, however shade cloth also serves another purpose. By using it to cover your deck or patio, you can decide on the size, shape and position on your own and perhaps even find someone who will allow you to print on it whatever you like. In this manner, you can turn this sun protection method into a great stylish addition to your backyard. You don’t even have to stop there. By adding few curtains to the mix, you can get that exotic Arabian Nights look, as well. Your only limitation is your own imagination.

Retractable Awning

In case where your patio is right next to your home (or some other construction) you could always invest a bit in a retractable awning. The ingenuity of this device is quite astounding. First of all, it provides you with the shade you so desperately need. Second, you can use it on your own accord and keep it retracted when you don’t need it. Finally, it covers a fairly large area, which will give you quite a bit of room to rethink and redesign your patio. Unfortunately, like the above-mentioned roof construction, it is quite immobile, which means that you will be restricted to the area it covers, without any possibility of further advancement or expansion.

hammock

Planting Your Own Shade

In the end, it is by far the most satisfying but also the most difficult way to provide your deck with some shade to just plant a tree above it. Nonetheless, this is a process that can take years (even decades), which is why it is recommended only for those who have settled there for good. Keep in mind that not any tree would do. You want fast growing trees that provide a lot of shade. Moreover, having a tree so close to the patio, will mean that in the autumn, you will have quite a bit of work cleaning the surface (especially if it is a wooden and not a concrete construction we are talking about).

As you can see, your options are quite numerous and it is up to you to decide which of them suits your needs the best. Naturally, for those who expect to relocate sometimes in the future, awing, tree and a wooden construction are not the best of solutions (although they add quite a bit to your home’s resale value). At the end of the day, this is mostly the question of finding a solution that fits both your budget and your personal taste.

Guest Post By:

Leila Dorari is a marketing consultant and a freelance writer from Sydney. She has been working with different companies for 5 years now. When taking a break from making new marketing slogans, she is either window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.

7 Ways to Cut Down on Home Maintenance Costs this Summer

home maintenance

After spring cleaning comes the joy of home maintenance in the summer. Keeping your home in tip-top shape gets expensive, as the typical American home costs $1,126 to maintain every month. Ideally, the homeowner should spend at most between one to four percent of their annual income on home repair, but there are ways to curb the costs.

Don’t sweat expensive repairs when it comes to home updates or renovations. Try these seven ways to cut down the costs, before you empty your bank account:

  1. Use Energy Efficient Lighting

For $5 to $15 invest in a few CFL lights that are dimmable or mix it up. Purchase dimmable switches for incandescent lights and CFL lights, which last longer and save energy, at your local depot store. Though LEDs will save about $170 more every year than incandescent lights, they’re expensive and incandescent lighting is phasing out.

CFLs take several minutes to reach full brightness, but only start at $1.25 per bulb and save more money than incandescent lighting. Instead of hoarding old bulbs, invest in a brighter, equally eco-friendly and budget friendly bulbs.

  1. Replace AC Filters

Don’t overwork your central air conditioning or raise your utility bills by avoiding the simple chore of replacing the air filters. This simple task will keep the air free-flowing through all ducts and stop the blower motor from being too strained. Your new filters extend the life of the overall unit by keeping mold and dust off the condenser coils.

For the price of a greasy spoon dinner, grab a few filters and save more on your utility bill. Your HVAC is responsible for about half of your energy costs monthly, and by replacing your filters every three months you save 7.5 percent a month and decrease energy consumption overall by 15 percent.

  1. Pick a Cool Roof

If you have to replace your roof, anyway, pick a cool roof with a lighter color. While the color of your car doesn’t matter when it come to auto insurance, the color of your roof affects the cost of your energy usage.

Cool roofs are designed to reflect more light from the sun and don’t absorb as much heat as typical roofs. The material itself is highly reflective and are used on shingles, tiles and other types of roofing. Changing the roof color will also lengthen the life of the roof, while protecting it from UV rays.

home maintenance summer

  1. Plant a Tree

More specifically, choose a deciduous tree to plant on the east, west or south side of your home. This provides additional shelter over your roof to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next hundred years. A few of the fastest-growing trees to plant include nuttall oak, hybrid poplar, northern cattalpa, weeping willow and red maple. Conduct a land survey to avoid planting to close to underground lines.

This will prevent you from overworking your HVAC system and save money, while giving back to nature and adding a beautiful addition to your yard.

  1. Put it all on a Timer

Extend the life of your electronics and household systems by placing them on a timer. Do this for the hot water and on your lighting systems, and note that you can save gallons of water by using an irrigation controller.

Program computers and other electronics to cut on and off at specific times. By unplugging your computer or timing your usage, you could shave a few bucks off your utility bill every year. Remember to use your battery powered devices to their full extend before recharging.

  1. Save Your Septic Tank

It’s important to treat your septic tank right, and when it starts to fail, know when you need a new one. In urban areas, sewer lines are more common than septic tanks, which are usually found in rural areas.

There are many pros and cons investing in a septic tank, especially when it comes to being eco-friendly and saving money. For example, fiberglass septic tanks won’t rust or crack like steel or concrete ones, yet they may change position with damp soil or be vulnerable to weight above ground. Septic tanks don’t have monthly costs associated with them, since they are independent of city services.

Septic tanks are durable and eco-friendly. They usually last for several years, and utilize drain fields as natural filters, while benefiting local plant life as water for the soil and food for small creatures. To extend the lifespan of your septic tank, only run full loads of laundry and a full dishwasher.

  1. Keep a Maintenance Routine

One major source of expensive maintenance costs is letting the work pile up, eventually leading to risk for a disaster. Don’t wait, and don’t cut corners with repairs.

Save more money in the long run by developing a home maintenance routine now. This way you can make a game plan for saving for more expensive costs you know are coming, like a new water heater that needs to replaced after ten years.

Don’t let home maintenance costs creep up on you and rob you blind in the middle of a beautiful summer’s day. Save more time for grilling, gardening and fun with the family.

Get in front of home maintenance with a solid routine, and take a few preventive measures now, such as replacing your AC filters and switching to more energy efficient lighting. These ideas will help you cut down on home maintenance costs this summer and save you more money in the long run.

Author Bio:

Kacey MyaKacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

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How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

barbeque

There is nothing quite like the taste of world-class barbeque, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about what type of hardware you want in your backyard this spring. Welding your own barbeque together gives you full control over its size, cooking power, appearance, and features. With a little patience and some hard work, you will be able to start cooking up mouthwatering meals for your family and friends in the customized barbeque of your dreams.

Choosing the Right Materials

One of the most important steps of building a barbeque is choosing the right material. Not only are some materials inefficient at maintaining a consistent temperature, but they might even be dangerous when exposed to flames. As a general rule, barbeques should never be made from aluminum, copper, or brass. Many professional pit masters prefer stainless steel barbeques that have been coated with a high-temperature sealant.

Tools

Anyone who doesn’t regularly work with metal will most likely need to purchase at least a few new tools including a stud welder, calipers, a small machinist’s square, center punches, and a drill press. Some companies, like Northland Fastening Systems, knows that if you are not sure of which tools you would like to invest in, then you might want to see if there is a local metalworking shop that allows does equipment rentals. Once you have spent a few hours learning how to cut sheets of metal and weld them back together, you will know exactly which features you would like to see in your own tools.

How to Weld Your Own Barbecue Together for Spring Entertaining

Dimensions

It might be tempting to build yourself an enormous contraption, but larger barbeques are very difficult to use properly. Most home cooks will only need a grilling area of around 500 square inches. Trying to control the temperature of a barbeque that is much larger than that is very difficult. When you are working on the height, you want to be sure that the grill itself is as tall as your midsection so that you don’t have to bend down or lean across open flames.

Additional Features

After you have chosen a type of metal and decided on the overall size, you can then start adding any features that you would like to see on the barbeque. At the very least, you should plan on having a small preparation table where you can put plates, sauces, and seasonings. Many pit masters also like having a warming chamber that will keep their food warm without overcooking it.

Once you have finally put the last few pieces on your barbeque, you should then heat treat it for at least a few hours before cooking any food. Even if you carefully clean the barbeque, there might still be lingering contaminants in the smoke chamber or firebox. Bringing the barbeque up to a very high temperature should destroy any dangerous toxins or chemicals.