Category Archives: Home Improvement

How To Remove Vinyl Flooring

One of the most frustrating home remodeling tasks is trying to remove an old linoleum or vinyl floor. Even when the linoleum is pulled off, things only get worse. Now you’re faced with gobs of old glue that seem harder than meteorites all over the floor.

One common alternative to removing old linoleum or vinyl floors is to put a new one right over it. If the existing floor is still smooth or can be smoothed with a few patches of FixAll, then the new floor can be laid directly on top of the old.

In some cases, a layer of 1/4-inch plywood is laid over the old floor to provide a smooth base and then the new resilient floor is laid on that. In still another approach, the old floor is floated with a self-leveling concrete that is about 1/8-inch thick when dry. The new floor is put on that.

When adding a new floor, particularly when adding plywood or self-leveling concrete, consider that this process is going to raise your floor noticeably. The most important concern is that it will not connect smoothly with the adjacent floors. This height difference could trip the unwary, particularly guests or the elderly. Also, you will not have the same clearance under the toe kicks and you may have a problem in the future sliding out your dishwasher, refrigerator, or stove.

Removing old linoleum or vinyl is generally quite difficult because wood, a common subfloor, is porous, thus absorbing the adhesives. One reason why the old glues must be thoroughly removed is because some older adhesives had oils in them that chemically react with new vinyl to cause a yellow discoloration. Most warranties on new vinyl do not cover this type of failure.

Another reason the old adhesives must be removed if you’re installing vinyl stripping is because they can eventually become brittle. If old glue breaks loose under new vinyl, it can cause failures in the new floor covering. Moreover, any bumps or cracks in an old floor will soon appear as bumps or cracks in your new linoleum.

Homeowners also need to be aware that asbestos was used in some old linoleum and flooring adhesives, particularly in those made in the 1970s and earlier. Removing this material involves a health risk. If in doubt about your resilient flooring, break a small piece from a corner or behind the refrigerator and take it to an asbestos abatement firm for testing. Wetting the vinyl as you break it off and putting it in a baggie will keep any possible asbestos fibers from flying around. Asbestos abatement firms can be found in the Yellow Pages.

Tips for Retile A Shower

Nothing in the home lasts forever, including tile, and since the bathroom is the most trafficked room in the home, retiling a shower is a project one must consider. Even more so, a shower gets rid of dirt, sweat or any other unwanted growths on your body. As such, it deserves to be as clean as possible.

Existing tile can only be cleaned so much. Many choose to revitalize their bathroom by retiling the shower. It can be a lengthy and sometimes timely project, but those who do bite the bullet almost always agree that it is well worth it.

 

How to Retile A Shower

Retiling a shower consists of completely knocking out the existing tile and installing new tile. For those of you with larger showers, this is by no means a short project. However, before you can get started, you must first choose your existing tile, which I will get to later, and gather all your tools. The tools you will need to retile your shower are:

  • New tile
  • Utility knife, chisel or putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Sander
  • Scrub brush
  • Grout
  • Grout trowel
  • Mortar mix
  • Mortar trowel
  • Paint remover
  • Tile spacers
  • Caulk
  • Goggles
  • Gloves

First, remove the shower head and shower handle. You may need a drill or screwdriver. Then, cover the shower floors to prevent damage from falling tile. You can use multiple towels or cardboard.

Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place chisel on side of tile and use hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out.

Some of the shower tile may chip, but your goal is to get each individual piece off by itself. As you move your way inside the shower, you may have to the use putty knife or flat bar instead of a chisel. Go across one row first and then move your way down. It makes the process much easier.

Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.

Tip: Be very careful with tile along the wall and ceiling. Use your utility knife and make a cut along the top, bottom and side tile along the ceiling, floors and walls. Be very careful with these tiles. You don’t want to ruin the walls, ceilings, or floors.

Tips To Refinish Hardwood Floors

Your hardwood floors are an important investment in your home. However, caring for them can be a challenge. After years of use, your hardwood flooring can become dull and scratched. But, you can make them look like new again without fully replacing them.

If you like to DIY and have time to patiently take care of your floors, this project could be right for you. Here’s how to refinish your hardwood floors.

 

Costs to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Depending on the type of wood used, care and the installation method, hardwood flooring can last up to 25 years or more. Refinishing damaged hardwood floors will ensure that your floors last a lifetime. The average cost to refinish hardwood floors is $1,455. This cost depends on the area that is being refinished and the amount of wear and tear on the wood. Keep in mind, if you’re doing it yourself, you may need to factor the costs of renting a sander and other materials you may not already own.

 

Refinishing Considerations

When taking on this project, it should not be done hastily. There are many decisions to make that can impact the way your floors look and last. Here are a few questions to consider.

How Much Time is Needed?

Refinishing hardwood floors is a time-intensive project. Many of the materials used will take hours to fully dry, making this project longer than a weekend DIY. If there is carpet or vinyl covering the wood, you’ll need to factor in removal time. Additionally, if you plan on changing the stain of your floor, more time should be factored into applying the new stain.

What Kind of Stain & Polyurethane Should Be Used?

Changing the stain color of your floor is possible, but will require a heavier sanding process. The stain you choose when you’re refinishing can drastically change the look of the room and appearance of the wood. Know what kind of wood your flooring is made of before moving forward. Some woods don’t take to stains as well as others. Oak has the most variation of stain options, while harder woods, like walnut and maple, tend to look best left natural.

Polyurethane comes in two varieties; water-based and oil-based. Water-based is quicker to dry and leaves a clear finish, likely best for a wood you want to naturally show off. Oil-based will give the wood an amber color and takes longer to dry. Remember that floor finish is specific to flooring. Furniture finish will not work here.

What’s the Condition of the Floor?

In some cases, wood flooring must be replaced rather than refinished. Refinishing hardwood floors can only be done a few times, so know how many times the floor has been finished before you sand the boards too thin. Any damaged boards should be repaired and floors with water damage should not be refinished.

Additionally, if you have engineered hardwood floors, leave this to the pros, as the layers of wood could be damaged if not done correctly. This DIY project should only be done if you have solid hardwood floors.

Design Around Bad Carpet

Carpet, while soft and cushioned on top, can sometimes wear both on your feet and eyes. When it comes to the touch, there is little you can do to bring it back to its original life. With sight, there is plenty you can do to draw attention away from the carpet that was so vogue 10 years ago.

Despite relatively cheap carpet cleaning prices, many homeowners are finding new ways to design around the carpet they can’t stand. While some ideas below are costly, all of them take the focus away from your dated carpet to a more pleasant design in the room.

 

1. Remove It

The first option you must consider is removing the carpet altogether. Looking at current flooring trends, more and more homeowners are choosing hardwood over carpet and tile. As opposed to carpet, hardwood is easy to clean and offers a wide array of options. Then again, it doesn’t offer that homey feel we all seek in our bedrooms. For a full comparison, please see Carpet & Hardwood Flooring: How They Compare.

 

2. Cover It Up

Going the less drastic route, you could always just cover the carpet with a large area rug. It’s not only the fastest and easiest way to cover a dated carpet, but also the cheapest. Additionally, if your carpet has grown thin over the years, a new rug offers extra cushion as well. Your feet will certainly thank you later.

If you really want to go bold or have to cover a large carpeted area, you can always stich together a few different rugs and lay over your old carpet. It’s not the cleanest of looks, but it will surely take attention away from that carpet you demise.

 

3. Use Your Furniture

Depending on the location of your ugly carpet, you could always use your furniture to cover it up. Smart designers know how to use every inch of the room. They, and well-read homeowners, know how to cover as much carpet as possible.

In the bedroom, add a small dresser, a bookshelf or an extra nightstand to cover up that dated carpet. In the living room, add that side table you always wanted. For a dining room, add a leaf to your table and extend it out.

Finally, if the room has a focal point, such as a gorgeous fireplace, a big screen TV or a fabulous dining room table, create a seating area that makes that feature the focal point of the room. All eyes will be on the feature as opposed to your dated carpet.

 

4. Change Your Wall Color

No matter how unpleasant your carpet may be, the dominant color in most rooms comes from the walls. As such, if you are ready for a bigger change, consider painting the room.

Fortunately, a coat of paint on the interior can help any space look newer, brighter and even a little more spacious. Even better, new paint always takes the attention away from any unsightly views in the room.

Tip: If you do decide to paint the walls, be sure to cover every inch of that carpet. Once paint hits that carpet, it is very hard to remove.

Bath Space Savers Worth Trying

No matter how big or small of a house, all homeowners want to know how to save on space, especially in their kitchen and bathrooms. Regardless of how much room you have, it’s likely you’re always collecting and, therefore, utilizing your square footage to its full capacity.

Smart space savers declutter your home, make it easier for you to find what you need and improve the aesthetics of any room. Before knocking down your walls, see eight kitchen and bath savers worth trying.

 

1. Crate Shelving

Looking for easy, budget-friendly bathroom storage ideas that don’t require installing cabinets? Well, look no further. One crafty solution is to purchase a few inexpensive crates, or hunt them down at a craft store, and slap on a fresh coat of paint in the color of your choosing. Hang them on a wall to save space, or keep them at hand on the vanity. This will create a decorative and functional storage solution in your bath.

Another option is to take inventory of any free floor or corner space in your bathroom. Blank space is your friend when searching for storage enhancements. Collect, paint and arrange multiple crates from the ground up and display your items in attractive containers, or use them to store towels.

 

2. Ladder Linen Tower

This is one of my favorite storage ideas, because it’s practical, and also looks attractive. On a side note, it can be used to hold your items in any room of your home, not just in the bathroom. Once again, paint or style the ladder tower to fit your personal preference, or that of the surrounding room décor. Wicker baskets add another level of charm for organizing and displaying on the individual shelves.

 

3. Built-In Storage & Wall Cabinets

As you did with the floor space, take inventory of available wall real estate. Install built-in storage shelves as a quick and budget-friendly space saver that doesn’t require you to spend the money remodeling the entire room. Built-in storage hides and stores your items charmingly and unobtrusively.

Bathroom Amenities Ideas

Regardless of how large or small your bathroom is, you can still find ways to upgrade it to the bathroom you desire. After all, it’s a room that requires function to get a fresh start on the day ahead, but it needs features to help you relax at night.

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than these luxury bathroom amenities. They will have you dreaming of all the changes you can make to create the relaxing bathroom you’ve always wanted.

 

Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Besides being a space to rest and relax, if you’re selling your home, the bathroom could be a large factor in those looking to buy. The look and feel of a bathroom can impact a buyer’s decision. If you’re considering selling your home, now is the perfect time to consider a bathroom remodel. Much of the cost depends on what luxurious amenities you decide to add to your new bathroom. The average cost to remodel a bathroom is $8,748, with most homeowners spending between $6,535 and $9,788.

 

1. Luxury Bathroom Vanities

If you’re looking for a bathroom amenity that can change how you function, look no further than a double bathroom vanity. Instead of fighting over a single sink in the morning, this gives you and your significant other the space you need to prepare for the day. Choose a countertop material like marble to really give the look of luxury to your bathroom vanity.

 

2. Luxury Bathroom Faucets

Simply changing out your faucet with a newer model can sometimes give your bathroom the look you desire without the price tag of a complete remodel. Wall-mount sink faucets will give your bathroom a sleek look and not get in the way of your vanity display. The average cost to install a faucet is $235, but if you’re installing a wall-mount faucet, you may have a few additional costs to consider.

 

3. Luxury Bathroom Sinks

Once you update your faucet, you must update your bathroom sink to complete the look. Nothing quite says extravagance like a vessel sink. Not only is it a modern upgrade, but it’s also a décor focal point of the bathroom. The average cost of a ceramic vessel sink is between $80 to $120 and glass vessel sinks between $150 to $300.

Flooring Trends

If you think of any room in the house, what do you consider to be the largest decorative statement? Maybe your wall color or a light fixture comes to mind. But, your flooring can impact your room more than you may realize.

With new décor trends in 2017 pointing to natural and sustainable materials, now might be the right time for you to upgrade any outdated flooring. Durability and longevity is a common theme among any type of trendy flooring. If you’re upgrading your floors this year, consider these trendy flooring ideas for 2017

 

Kitchen Flooring Trends

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home and it receives many visitors. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel or ready to update an old kitchen floor, you’ll want to choose a replacement that’s sure to last. Here are a few trendy kitchen floor ideas for 2017:

 

Luxury Vinyl

Gone are the days of tacky looking vinyl flooring. For your kitchen, you need something stylish and durable. Luxury vinyl is a hot trend for 2017, giving the look of hardwood and tile without the price tag. This material is easy to clean and comes in a wide variety to match your style. The average cost to install vinyl flooring is $2,355, but this price can vary depending on the materials you choose and if you’ll be hiring a pro to help.

 

Kitchen Tile

Tile is an obvious choice for your kitchen as it is durable and easy to clean. When it comes to material, ceramic tile flooring is a great choice. The average cost to install ceramic tile floor is between $425 and $1,200 per 500 square feet. When it comes to ceramic tile style, a trendy choice that’s here to stay is gray tile. An emerging trend is wood-look ceramic tile that mimics wood, which means you can get the look of hardwood flooring without risking the damage.

 

Bathroom Flooring Trends

Because the bathroom is a high-moisture and high-traffic area, finding the right flooring is crucial to the condition of the room. One of the best options for bathroom flooring is tile. This can withstand foot traffic and hold up well against water and moisture. Bathroom tile trends this year include geometric shapes, like octagons and rectangles. Look for colors in white, gray and black to mix and match or create a continuous look.

Tile, that doesn’t actually look like tile, is also making its way into the bathroom. Cement and marble look-alike tile provide the look without all the upkeep.

If you’re looking for a flooring type that will never go out of style, hardwood is the answer. However, the type of wood and finish helps determine the popular choices of the year. This year, we’re seeing wide plank wood floors add to rustic décor as well as reclaimed wood floors. Bamboo hardwood floors are popular as they add to the effort of creating a green and sustainable home.

When it comes to wood type and stain, this year’s trends couldn’t be more different. Homeowners are either choosing an ultra-light blonde or dark hardwoods. This all depends on the style of room you have. Lighter woods work great in a contemporary room, while dark wood creates the warmth needed in a rustic room. If you’re considering a hardwood floor installation, the wood you choose will factor into your total cost. The average cost to install hardwood floors is $4,013.

Bathroom Trends You Should Know

Your kitchen and bathroom are two rooms in the home that get used most often. Guests and family alike will frequent these areas, so it’s important you have them looking their best, regardless of their size.

Whether your old bathroom or kitchen needs a quick update to refresh the look, or you’re planning a complete remodel, you’ll want to see what’s trending in 2017 before you begin.

 

Kitchen Trends

As the heart of the home, a kitchen is an area that should be welcoming and functional. If you have an outdated kitchen, you may be considering a kitchen remodel this year. While it has larger costs upfront, it can have a great impact on the ROI for your home. The average cost to remodel a kitchen is $18,727, with most homeowners spending between $12,986 and $21,306. Materials tend to be the costliest items when it comes to a kitchen remodel.

However, if you’re just looking to make a few changes, there are plenty of DIY options to update your kitchen quickly. Whatever you decide, be sure your kitchen incorporates a few 2017 kitchen trends.

 

Black & White

If you’re looking for a kitchen color trend that will stick around, black and white is your answer. This clean and timeless style is impacting kitchens this year in a big way. White walls and cabinetry with black hardware are perfect ways to get this look. The best news about this trend is its versatility. As kitchen décor trends change, you can easily incorporate the look.

 

Tech Savvy

If there’s one room in the house where innovation has changed the way we use it, it’s the kitchen. From connected cooking to smart appliances, there seems to be a gadget for everything in the kitchen. Incorporate some of the new kitchen technologies this year and create a more connected home. Here are a few you may find useful:

  • Genican is a garbage can that scans barcodes as you throw them away, adding those items to your digital grocery list.
  • The Smart Crock Pot is connected to WeMo home automation so you can control temperature and cook time from your smart phone.
  • Various oven brands now have features allowing you to control settings from your smartphone.
  • Whirlpool now offers a dishwasher model that connects to Amazon Dash that will order detergent refills when needed.

Common Chimney Problems

Having a working fireplace is a wonderful and cozy luxury to have on a cold winter day. When the weather gets colder, many people are preparing their fireplace for use. However, if you’re intending on utilizing your older chimney, it’s important to inspect it before use, as a damaged chimney can cause problems for the house overall.

Many people don’t know where to start when looking at their chimneys, or some even discover problems upon use. By understanding these five common chimney problems, you can quickly find a solution to resolve any issues and go back to relaxing by the fire.

 

Chimney Maintenance Is Important

On the list of priorities for your home, chimney maintenance may not make it to the top. However, if you’re eager to use your fireplace every year, you should consider an annual chimney inspection as part of your winter home maintenance checklist. Without proper care, your chimney can actually become a fire hazard to the home. If not cleaned and maintained, it can cause a fire or even water damage in time. By inspecting your chimney and taking action when something doesn’t look quite right, you can continue to safely enjoy your fireplace.

 

1. Buildup In The Chimney

After many uses, your chimney will have soot buildup known as creosote. It’s important to keep an eye on the buildup in your chimney as Creosote is combustible and can be the cause of chimney fires in homes. If you shine a flashlight into your chimney, you can identify creosote by its black and brown crusty appearance. Creosote comes in different degrees of severity, first degree being the easiest to remove and third degree is highly combustible and has the appearance of tar.

To eliminate this dangerous material from your chimney, it’s best to contact a chimney pro who can ensure it is cleaned properly. The average cost for chimney cleaning is $200. If you intend on using your fireplace regularly, it’s a good idea to clean your chimney at least once a year. Additionally, burning hardwoods can help you keep your chimney clean.

 

2. Chimney Blockage

Outside of the natural buildup from burning wood, there may be an occasion where you have some sort of blockage. Unlike creosote, chimney blockage like a bird’s nest or tree debris easily seen be seen. You’ll need to inspect your chimney flue to see if it is blocked before beginning to use, because these items can easily cause chimney fires as well. If you see that it’s a nest of some sort or living animal, you may want to contact a pro who can help safely remove the critter.

To prevent outside chimney blockage in the future, invest in a chimney cap. It will protect your chimney from unwanted guests and debris. You can find a chimney cap at your local hardware store ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the size and style you choose.

 

3. Brickwork Problems

If you live in an older home, brickwork problems can often be seen. You may see cracks or missing bricks in your chimney. This can be a danger to the structure of the chimney itself, leading to large cracks that can permanently damage it, leaving it unusable. If you notice any signs of wear on your chimney, it’s important to contact a masonry pro as soon as possible to preserve its condition and update it to match with local codes.

Incredible Rooms That Belong In Your Dream

At some point in your life, you find yourself imagining what your dream home would look like and brainstorm ideas about how to personalize each room. It’s hard to snap back to reality after you map the details out in your head, but visualizing what could be is fun for many of us.

Your dream home definitely needs to have rooms that are impressive and out of the ordinary. I’m here to let your mind run wild for a few minutes, as I show and describe eight incredible rooms that belong in your dream home. Remember, never stop dreaming!

 

1. Kitchen

Building your dream home requires a financial investment and professional expertise. Constructing your dream kitchen comes with its pros and cons. You’ll need to set a budget, hire a contractor and pick out your materials.

I selected this kitchen for your dream home because of the gorgeous hardwood floors, lavish pendant light fixtures and numerous windows that draw in natural light. Are you considering remodeling your kitchen? If so, see our kitchen renovation cost estimator to make a plan before you begin your project.

 

2. Bathroom

It’s not a dream home without an extravagant bathroom to relax in after a long day. According to costs reported by ImproveNet members, the average bathroom remodel costed approximately $8,400 in 2016, with most homeowners spending between $6,000 and $9,000. Given that I’m showing you incredible rooms that belong in your dream home, your budget will need to be expanded in this particular instance.

A dream bathroom requires a thoughtful transformation with personal touches and lavish enhancements. This luxury bath has a round Jacuzzi tub installed under a charming chandelier, which I think is the perfect touch. The gorgeous tub is surrounded by more storage room than most of us have ever seen in our lifetime.

 

3. Bedroom

Your dream bedroom should be big, bright and beautiful. The more lighting options you have the better, so you can set the right mood. While hardwood floors are becoming more popular to install in the bedroom, carpet is a comfortable and appealing choice too.

A dream bedroom needs to have the right aesthetic appeal. This means applying paint color, hanging curtains, purchasing cozy bedding and using décor that brings the room to life.