Home Construction – HomeownersInsurance.org http://www.homeownersinsurance.org Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 7 Reasons to Opt for a Single-Story Home http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/7-reasons-to-opt-for-a-single-story-home/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/7-reasons-to-opt-for-a-single-story-home/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2012 14:12:26 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1386 7 Reasons to Opt for a Single-Story Home

A single-story home, or ranch-style house, has many attractive benefits that distinguish it from the multi-story home. Those looking to move into a new home should consider the pros and cons of both, factoring in their individual situations. Mobility, the presence and absence of children, and cleanliness are just a few of the things that should be taken into account when deciding on the number of stories in a home. Likewise, the overall value of a home should always play a role in a homeowner’s decision to buy or sell a house.

  1. Child and Senior Safety

    The elderly can struggle with staircases, and if you’re looking for a house that will serve as your home for the foreseeable future, you might want to take into account how difficult a second-floor bedroom could eventually be on your arthritic joints. Having an elevator installed later in life is costly, but by having a bit of foresight, you can decide whether it’s worth it to you to have that second story despite the fact that it may present a problem once old age strikes. Likewise, staircases can present a hazard to toddlers who can walk or crawl, but are less than graceful on their feet or hands. Slipping on the staircase can be lethal, and it’s a serious factor to consider. If you must live in a two-story home with a toddler, it is of utmost importance that you invest in a baby gate to partition off the staircase.

  2. Easier Escape

    In the case of fire, a single-story home is easier from which to escape. Should the doorways be unusable because of hot door handles or flames obstructing the exit, one can utilize first floor windows safely without jumping from a dangerous height. This also applies in case of a break-in, when trying to flee from present danger imposed by people or obstacles. In a two-story home, smoke from a fire downstairs will rise to the second floor, which can make it difficult to see or breathe when looking for an exit. In a single-story home, doors can be shut behind you to stem the flow of smoke and fire from entering the part of the house you’re in. Once you’re a safe distance, you can climb out of a window to safety.

  3. Heating and Cooling

    While having a two-story home in the winter may be nice as heat rises, cooling the second story of a home during the summer can take quite a bit longer than cooling a ranch-style home. In a two-story house, you may have to compensate for the heat by knocking the thermostat down lower than you would in a one-story house. This may prove frustrating when you’ll likely sleep upstairs, and sleeping in the heat can be tricky. Your bills could be costly in your attempt to cool down the second floor. Some two-story homes even require a second heating and cooling system for the second floor, since it is so difficult to keep the house at a reasonable temperature. A one-story house is heated and cooled down evenly, keeping the thermostat at a moderate temperature.

  4. You’re Lazy

    If the idea of climbing up and down the stairs throughout the day makes you squirm, opt for the single-story home. Most people keep the bedrooms and a bathroom or two on the second story, which means that all of the major necessities are downstairs. You will have to descend the staircase anytime you want to cook a meal or enter the kitchen. Laundry will have to be lugged up and down the stairs from the bedroom to the laundry room, unless you have a laundry chute built in. When cleaning, carrying a heavy vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs can be exhausting.

  5. Sound Travels

    In a two-story home, the rooms directly above or below another are subject to whatever noisiness travels between the floors. For example, if someone is watching the television downstairs while someone tries to sleep in the bedroom directly above, the sound may make it difficult for the person upstairs to get a good night’s rest. A ranch-style home allows for more privacy by spreading out the rooms to allow less traveling noise. While you may hear a distant television blaring a few rooms away, sound doesn’t travel as well horizontally throughout the floor, and will mostly disperse before it causes too much disturbance to others in the home.

  6. Cleaning Is Easier

    In a two-story home, dust can gather in odd nooks and crannies, making your job more difficult when it comes to cleaning. There are more out-of-reach spots in a two-story home, and if they’re truly a pain to access, odds are that you won’t clean them very often. Thus, a single-story home is not only easier to clean, but will also generally be cleaner, since it requires less effort. In a one-story home, you will be able to see the entire area that needs cleaning and access it readily. Aside from high ceilings, there isn’t much impeding you from cleaning every inch of a one-story home so that it shines spotless.

  7. Better for Selling

    While it may cost more to build a single-story home, they also sell for more. You should always keep resale value in mind when buying a house, even if you don’t intend on selling it. Circumstances can always change. People have children and may need more space, people have to relocate for work, and people get divorced. In the event of such a change, you may put your one-story house on the market for a higher listing price than the two-story homes in your neighborhood. The difference in the amount you make off of selling your house in the end may be more than noteworthy. It could help supply the funds needed to move into a new home.

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50 True Stories of Home Makeover Remorse http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/50-true-stories-of-home-makeover-remorse/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/50-true-stories-of-home-makeover-remorse/#respond Mon, 08 Nov 2010 05:09:18 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1239

Everyday we hear and read stories of homeowners and renters who have attempted to make improvements to their home’s structure. Some decide they would rather tackle the inside and redecorate. There are many success stories but there are just as many horror stories to tell. Many home makeover remorse stories come from homeowners who are serial decorators and purchase unnecessary items for their dwellings. Other homeowners end up hiring shady and unprofessional contractors who can create a complete nightmare for them.

Home improvement projects can go badly very quickly. Most people find themselves ready to punch the wall or give up on the project when they see their wallets getting smaller and nothing has been accomplished. Homeowners do not have to be remorseful if their makeovers are completed in a sensible cost effective way. It does not matter if the homeowner is attempting these renovations or if they decide to hire a contractor, it is important to keep these basic tips in mind.

It is important to plan the project well. A do it yourself project or renovations completed by a contractor will be sure to fail if the project is not well planned. It is important to do research and learn everything. The costs and the materials needed are important things to consider before undertaking any home makeover project. After careful consideration a homeowner may decide not complete the project alone. They may risk wasting materials or become frustrated and that always equals to a loss of money. A contractor will have to be called in to correct the mistakes.

If a contractor is hired it is essential to make sure they are reputable and reliable. It is always in the homeowner’s best interest to ask for references and to actually contact them before proceeding with hiring the contractor. An honest contractor will not mind providing this information. A homeowner should not hire the first contractor they meet.  They should hire the one they believe will help their vision come to life without a lot of problems.

There are many unexpected issues that can arise from shoddy contractor work or poor planning by a homeowner. If these tips are followed the end result from a home makeover can be much more enjoyable.

  1. Laurel Street Blog: This is a web home for the house. This blog tells stories of buyer’s remorse and serial decorating.
  2. Apartment Therapy Unplggd: This blog is for those who love technology. There are stories of regretting many television purchases and other electronics.
  3. Straighten-Up-Now:  This is a blog that discusses organization. It teaches how to makeover a home in baby steps without remorse.
  4. RemodelorMove: This site helps homeowners make the right decisions about remodeling. It lists various examples of reasons why homeowners should remodel.
  5. Canadian House and Home:  This blog is an informative site for homeowners looking to renovate. It discusses home makeovers and regrets that some homeowners have.
  6. Sound Home Resource Center:  This blog talks about nightmares of manufactured home owners. They tell stories of problems they had after purchasing their homes.
  7. Califinder Remodeling Blog:  This blog should serve as a cautionary tale for all prospective home buyer and homeowner. There are stories of inspectors and realtors who willingly leave homeowners in the dark.
  8. Klondike:  This site focuses on basement renovations. It helps educate homeowners on what to avoid during renovations.
  9. The Kitchen Blog:  This blog discusses the importance of a kitchen remodeling project increasing the value of a home. It is also talks about having a professional complete the project.
  10. OrganizingLa Blog:  This is a blog that talks about home makeover disasters. There is a story where the contractor leaves work unfinished.
  11. Mosby Building Arts:  This blog talks about deck renovations. There is a story where a family’s deck begins to crack after remodeling.
  12. Gosmetic:  This blog gives homeowners advice when hiring a contractor.
  13. JoeMaintenance:  This blog is about installation nightmares. It has stories of people attempting their own home improvements.
  14. Mark of Excellence:  This is another site that discusses home improvement nightmares. There are different stories of home contractors being prosecuted.
  15. Excellent Electrician:  This blog discusses electrical issues with home renovations.
  16. The Money Pit: This blog gives advice on finding a good contractor. It also explains the downside of hiring a bad contractor.
  17. Handy Man Fix Home Repair:  This site is dedicated to DIYers. It gives examples of common mistakes homeowners make when attempting renovations.
  18. Do It Yourself:  This blog discusses PVC pipe repair and how to install them correctly.
  19. How to fix Your Stuff: This site discusses common do-it-yourself mistakes. There are stories of people being creative with home renovations.
  20. My House Home Repair:  This is a creative homeowners’ blog. They share their adventures of remodeling their home.
  21. Wise Bread:  This blog is dedicated to homeowners who like to complete their own makeover projects. It also discusses avoiding costly mistakes.
  22. Home Repair | Home Improvement & Interior Design Blogs:  Homeowners can learn about interior design. It also talks about minimizing mistakes when completing projects.
  23. Home Improvement Time:  This blog describes home improvement options. It also explains how to install laminate flooring.
  24. Home Repairs for the Whole Family:  This blog discusses how to involve the entire family in remodeling projects. It also explains how to avoid shady contractors.
  25. Home Envy:  This blog may cause laughter or shock. Different readers share their makeover experiences.
  26. Rocky Mountain Bathrooms:  This site explains how to avoid a bad remodeling experience by offering the homeowner 10 thing to avoid.
  27. Renovators Place:  Homeowners will learn how to avoid mistakes when renovating their kitchens with islands.
  28. Mineeds:  This site helps homeowners avoid home improvement mistakes by describing what they should be looking for.
  29. Arnone Building and Remodeling, Inc.:  This site exposes unprofessional contractors and what a homeowner should be looking out for.
  30. Build Improve:  This blog discusses how a homeowner should respond when a contractor wants to cut corners.
  31. Bid My Services:  This article is dedicated to landscaping. It gives 5 things to avoid when working with a landscape contractor.
  32. MMPCIA:  This blog discusses frequent home remodeling mistakes.
  33. Mega Builders:  This site discusses home renovations after water and fire damage.  It gives homeowners advice.
  34. Remodel Estimates:  This site has articles that are dedicated to helping the homeowner make the correct decision when completing a whole house renovation.
  35. Cool Serve:  This site has information that helps homeowners learn about cooling systems for their homes.
  36. Chesapeake Hydro Wash:  Some homeowners will benefit from learning about pressure washing their homes. They will also learn how to choose the correct contractor.
  37. Concrete Network: Contractors can also mess up your flooring. This site discusses that and shows homeowners ways that can repair the damage.
  38. Home Furnish:  This site gives a quick education on choosing a professional contractor.
  39. Your Cheap Home:  This article lets homeowners know the correct things to ask before hiring a contractor.
  40. Signature Contractors:  A lot of people have decided to install solar panels in their homes. This site describes the correct to install them.
  41. All City Improvements:  This site helps residents in Minneapolis choose a reliable roofing contractor.
  42. Whole House Fan:  This site talks about the mistakes homeowners make when choosing a cooling system for their home.
  43. Neighborhood Home Services:  This site is a guide to home improvement projects.
  44. House-N-Home-Building:  This site has newsletters that give advice to homeowners about renovations.
  45. CT Home Network:  This site helps homeowners in Connecticut choose professional and honest contractors.
  46. Spokane Builder:  This site helps potential homeowners with home building advice.
  47. Face Your Kitchen:  Re-facing kitchen counters are important in adding value to a kitchen. This site gives advice to homeowners about re-facing kitchen cabinets.
  48. Spray Foam Direct: Some homeowners may choose to use spray foam for their installation needs. This site shows how to install it correctly.
  49. Home Improvement Corner:  This site is all about bathroom renovations and how they can be done easily and without mistakes.
  50. Jim Salmon: This site helps homeowners learn about how home inspections are supposed to be conducted.

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddomanbot/138049379/

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One Bite at a Time http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/one-bite-at-a-time/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/one-bite-at-a-time/#respond Fri, 16 Jul 2010 14:59:47 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=743 If you’re anything like the overwhelming majority of us, your first home probably isn’t a ready made mansion with all of the furnishings you could ever dream about. More likely, your first home, like ours, is a modest house with a few issues that need addressing. A house with promise, as some people call it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re just buying your first home, welcome to the world of property taxes, homeowners insurance, escrows, and best of all, home maintenance.

If you’re anything like us, the little dings and bruises your house needs really didn’t seem like such a big deal when you were buying the house. You were just excited to be buying your first home. But that paint job the house kind of needs, the dripping faucet, and the bathroom makeover that really should have been done sometime 20 years ago have a way of becoming a much bigger deal once the papers are signed and you’re in the house.

In fact, the to do list can get overwhelming to the point that you might find yourself wishing you had just stayed in an apartment, where everything that needed to be fixed was someone else’s problem. But don’t let it get the better of you. Take a deep breath, you’re going to be OK.

One wise man (or wise guy, we’re still trying to figure out which) once said that you eat an elephant the same way you eat a cheeseburger: one bite at a time. We’d like to suggest that you tackle your household projects the same way. One at a time.

If you look at a fix it up home in its entirety, it can seem like you face a daunting task, but the reality is that you face a lot of much smaller tasks. You’re not going to get the house completely fixed overnight. You might not have it completely fixed before you move on at all. But you can improve your house one project at a time.

Whether you’re a do it yourselfer, or you pay to have most of the work done for you, you can improve both the livability and value of your home with each and every home improvement. Your best bet, unless you plan on flipping the house quickly, is to prioritize your projects in terms of which ones makes the house most comfortable to live in.

Focus on those things which affect you the most first. Everybody’s different in this respect, and that’s OK. You don’t have to have the same priorities as everyone else. List all of the projects you know need to be done, then list them in order from most to least important.

When picking the project you’re going to work on next, choose the project closest to the top of the list that you can afford. Remember, one bite at a time, and you’ll slowly build your home’s value.

Photo via mini true

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Top 50 Home Improvement Blogs http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-home-improvement-blogs/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-home-improvement-blogs/#comments Mon, 17 May 2010 15:50:05 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=469

Your home in a majority of cases is the biggest purchase of your life.  Once you own your home you want to learn to properly maintain it and also start to add improvements.  Did you know that improving the Kitchen and Bathroom in your home will bring you the biggest return on investment?  There are many things you can do to improve your homes value.  Just to name a few you can update your bathrooms, kitchen, add and addition or improve the landscaping on your lot.  All of these things can improve not only the quality of your life but the value of your home.

  1. Apartment therapy Home improvement blog which teaches you how to maximize your apartment one room at a time. This blog has a cool Home tours section which allows you to get ideas for your apartment.
  2. Jetson Green Learn how to improve and make your home green. You will not only increase the value of your house but you will also save cost on energy every month.
  3. Lets blog construction Construction and home improvement blog.
  4. Young house love Follow along with a young married couple as they fix up an older house. Extensive how to videos and a excellent before and after photo section.
  5. I can fix up my house Just as the name implies you can learn how to do your own home improvements.  This blog covers all the major categories and also has some more advanced carpentry lessons.
  6. Cottage Magpie Angela the blogs founder teaches you how to setup a quaint and beautiful house in the Cottage style. A huge benefit is Angela teaches you how to do this all on a small budget.
  7. House blogs Excellent blog of home improvement blogs. There are many different projects to look at and follow progress of.
  8. Happy home and family This blog covers everything from cleaning, to Feng Shui to wall coverings.  Interesting home improvement blog with a ladies touch.
  9. The Home Masons Home build and improvement blog by the company HomeMasons. With active building and remodeling going on you can learn new things from the team.  This blog also provides a form to ask Mason a DIY or remodeling question.
  10. Calfinder Remodeling blog Lets face it sometimes we do need a contractor.  If you feel your home improvement is above your comfort level then Calfinder can find you a local contractor for your project.
  11. Do it yourself  guides and blog A whole series of do it yourself guides. Blog is updated frequently and covers various topics such as recycling, plumbing and whatever else needs to be improved.
  12. Maries home improvement blog One lady showing the world how to take control of and complete home improvement projects.
  13. Learn to remodel your dinning room Learn about different designs and furniture for your dinning room.  Get an idea if you want a plain design or a complex one.
  14. Learn to remodel your attic The attic is one area in most homes that can be improved.  Check out some of these unique concepts, furniture and designs.
  15. Learn to remodel your basement The basement is often a cold drab area why not turn it into a place where family and friend can hang out together.
  16. Chic Tip Blog We all want to add some class and even some flash to our homes check out the newest home improvement and design trends.
  17. Are home improvements tax deductible? Many of your home improvements will not only increase your homes value but are also tax deductible.
  18. What are the benefits of hardwood flooring? Learn why hardwood flooring can add value to your home.
  19. Granite counter tops blog Granite countertops can add value and beauty to your kitchen and home. Learn about pricing, installation and care.
  20. Kitchen cabinets blog.  New kitchen cabinets can add color and freshness to your kitchen.  Find out more about different designs, pricing and installation
  21. Danny Lipford Home Improvement Veteran Danny has assembled a whole team of DIY experts. You can watch videos, TV spots, even listen to there radio shows and learn about home improvement.
  22. Home Décor Blog Follow along as one couple completely update and remodels the whole house.  The blog also has some great technical posts.
  23. 1 800 Anytime Blog. Company blog which offers home improvement tips about Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Air Conditioning
  24. The Build Direct Blog. If you want to learn about wood flooring, tile or decking this is a great blog to check out.
  25. Renovating in Australia Join Bill and his wife as they go through a second house renovation. This blog contains a full list of categories about home improvement.
  26. Luxury Housing Trends If you are going to do home improvements then there should be at least one room you go all out on and pamper yourself with. Learn about all the newest luxury gadgets and trends.
  27. Fixr Blog Unique website and blog not only can you learn about home improvement you can also post a project you want done and get estimates from contractors.
  28. Direct buy blog and articles Blog of the well know home improvement and furnishings club.  There are some good DIY tips and you can also see if you can save some money on your next home upgrade or repair.
  29. The Building Brows Seven children and building a house with no debt. Very heartwarming and informational blog about a family doing all the home improvements themselves.
  30. Construction 411 Blog . Home Improvement blog which educates provides a cost value chart and a free pricing tool. These tools give you a realistic idea of what your project should cost if you have to approach a contactor.
  31. Bathroom remodeling blog Learn to turn your bathroom into a calm relaxing sanctuary.  Look and size of the bathrooms are very important to the overall value of your house.
  32. Learn the right way to build your deck Learn what you should know before you hire a deck contractor.
  33. Charles and Hudson home improvement blog A leading home improvement blog and website. Some of the interesting categories include tools and green building.
  34. Learn how to design a nursery for your new baby. Build a special palce for your new addition to the family.
  35. Do it yourself  woodworking  blog This blog covers most of the home improvement areas but the real gem is different  woodworking sections.
  36. Tips to keep your kitchen remodel cost low. The kitchen is the heart of the home learn how to upgrade on a budget.
  37. How to improve your lawn and add value to your home. Your lawn sets one of the first impressions for visitors and potential buyers. Learn how to properly take care of it.
  38. Moonworks home improvement General home improvement blog, which also has some great information about energy efficiency.
  39. Green Life smart life blog Why not go green with your home improvement.  You can not only help the environment you can also save money.
  40. Reliable remodeler blog Some jobs are just to big to tackle alone, that is when you need some one you can trust to help you remodel.
  41. Energy savings tax benefits.  Did you know you can upgrade your appliances and furnace and get a tax credit?
  42. Solar energy house Should solar energy be part of your home improvements? Many experts say yes, learn more.
  43. Increase your curb appeal. Curb appeal is a factor in the initial impression of friends, family and potential buyers
  44. Winshome Home improvement blog Winshome is an all around home improvement blog. The lessons are simple and straightforward.
  45. Home4family blog With over fifteen years in the home improvement business Home4family is a blog you should check out before you invest in any DIY projects.
  46. Fresh home blog The most up to date and fashionable furniture, interior design and architecture
  47. Addicted2decorating blog Do you find yourself thinking about changing the color of your paint often? How about wanting to revamp the whole house?  If you are into decorating this is a must see blog.
  48. Home construction and improvement Very detailed home improvement blog by a civil and structural engineer. This blog covers the technical aspects of home improvement as well it has some great sections and post about the tools you will need to complete your improvements.
  49. The Woodworkers blog With simple tools you can build sheds, patios, and decks each of these will increase both the value and pleasure of the house.
  50. How to pain the exterior of your home like a pro The Tailored Paint team take us through a three step process to make sure we get it right..
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The 10 Most Important Tools for Home Improvement and Maintenance http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/the-10-most-important-tools-for-home-improvement-and-maintenance/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/the-10-most-important-tools-for-home-improvement-and-maintenance/#respond Wed, 12 May 2010 17:52:05 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=458 If you’re a new homeowner, you might be absolutely shocked at how much maintenance is involved in owning a home. It’s not like when you lived in an apartment. Back then, if your faucet leaked you could call the landlord and he’d send someone to fix it. When you live in a home, you either need to fix it yourself or actually pay someone to do it.

If you’re like most folks, you’d rather see if you can handle it on your own. To do so, however, you’re going to need to have some tools.

Here are the 10 most important tools to have on hand when you own your home:

  1. Homeowners insurance. OK, technically homeowners insurance isn’t a tool. But if you wind up putting a hole through your bathroom wall or if your roof falls in while you’re working on the gutters, you’re going to need to be covered.
  2. Screwdriver set. Today’s screwdrivers come in plenty of options. There are hand-held screwdrivers that accept bits, for example. Of course, those bits can get lost or broken, and you wind up with a useless screwdriver. Instead, you might want to invest in a quality set of screwdrivers with a number of styles.
  3. Hammer. You need a good ripping and framing hammer. Claw hammers are a think of the past. You can be much more accurate with a ripping hammer.
  4. 5 in One tool. This kind of tool is a painting tool with 5, 7 or more different uses. It’s also sometimes known as a “painters multitool.” There are tons of uses for these, and they’re easy to find in the painting section of your hardware or home improvement store.
  5. Tape measure. You want to have a tape measure that’s at least 25 feet in length.
  6. Safety equipment. You need eye protection, gloves, a dust mask and knee pads.
  7. Wrenches. You need a set of open-ended wrenches. You don’t need anything fancy here. A basic set is fine.
  8. Pliers. Consider getting linesman pliers That have a built-in wire cutter. Get ones that are more like nine inches in length rather than the standard short six inchers.
  9. Pipe wrench. You need a pipe wrench for any time you need to thread a pipe together or take a pipe apart.
  10. Chanel lock pliers. Chanel locks let you adjust large nuts. This gives you more leverage without having to apply extra grip. Get a good set, because they’ll be the most-used tool in your kit.

Photo via Elsie esq.

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Must-Have Tools for Home Improvements http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/must-have-tools-for-home-improvements/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/must-have-tools-for-home-improvements/#respond Wed, 31 Mar 2010 14:52:43 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=275 Many people who go from renting to owning a home are shocked at the sheer amount of time and energy they wind up having to put into home improvements. The fact of the matter is that there is a lot more upkeep on a home than there is on an apartment. It makes sense, because so many things that used to be the responsibility of the landlord are now your responsibility.

You may not even know where to start. The more you try to do, the more you’ll find you need tools. Here are some of the most common tools you’re going to need as a homeowner to do basic home improvements:

  • An electric drill. Cordless is best and most convenient. Make sure to get one that’s reversible, has variable speed and is 3/8″.
  • Plenty of drill and screwdriver bits. Keep them together in a bag that you can seal so they don’t get lost.
  • A claw hammer.
  • Plenty of screwdrivers of all sizes and types.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Channel-lock pliers.
  • A level. Laser levels are especially inexpensive today and very useful.
  • A utility knife. Don’t skimp here. Cheap utility knives lead to lost fingers.
  • A hand plane.
  • A wood chisel.
  • A magnetic stud finder. (Single ladies, insert your own joke here.)
  • A Tape measure. Try to get one that’s at least 25 feet long.
  • A T-square.
  • A container of screws, nails, and bolts of various sizes.

In addition to those tools, there are other tools that aren’t must-haves, but are nice to have. They include:

  • A Jigsaw to cut curves, wood or drywall.
  • Clamps to help any time you need to glue.
  • A torpedo level to line up cabinets, shelves or pictures.
  • A power miter box. This lets you make accurate crosscuts and angled cuts.
  • A circular saw. This is particularly handy if you need to cut plywood.
  • An orbital sander. This kind of sander is better than a belt sander because it’s less likely to gouge, cheaper and lighter.

Finally, before you start any home improvement project, make sure your homeowners insurance is current. You don’t want to have an accident and only find out after the fact that the damage isn’t covered.

Photo via fotographix.ca

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Chinese Drywall Kills Home Insurance Policies http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/chinese-drywall-kills-home-insurance-policies/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/chinese-drywall-kills-home-insurance-policies/#comments Sun, 18 Oct 2009 16:57:24 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=80 iStock_000005131023XSmall

Back in March, officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission began looking into the claim that certain drywall manufactured in China may be causing problems in homes. As a response, many homeowners insurance companies have actually canceled homeowners policies.

The drywall in question was imported during the peak of the housing boom in the United States. The drywall is especially common in southeastern states, including Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. The drywall materials are thought to emit certain fumes that contain trace amounts of a chemical that can cause a rotten-egg odor when it gets warmer and more humid.

These fumes are causing other damage, as well. They are causing copper pipes to become corroded, causing problems with electronics equipment such as televisions, and even causing silverware to be blackened. Some homeowners who have the Chinese drywall installed believe it is making them ill, although the health risks aren’t entirely clear at this point.

Not all homeowners insurance companies are being so hasty, however. There is one company in Florida, for example, that has decided to renew some policies, despite the presence of Chinese drywall. The company is Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and it is one of Florida’s state-backed insurers of last resort.

Politicians have gotten into the mix and are trying to advocate for Florida homeowners in the situation. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, for example, has sent a letter to 11 different Florida insurers, asking them to clarify their policies on Chinese drywall. The letters also express the senator’s outrage at the policies being cancelled.

Repairs to homes with the drywall in question can be extremely costly. The entire interior of the building has to be gutted, and all the while the homeowner has to pay their house payment, as well as pay for somewhere to live on a temporary basis. Further complicating the matter is the fact that the insurance companies are considering the problem a preexisting condition, and unable to continue to insure the home. In some cases, the costs of repairs exceed the purchase price of the home.

How widely spread the problem is isn’t known. However, based on shipping records, one company estimates that as many as 50,000 of 2,000 square feet or more may be affected. Of that number, Florida ports actually received drywall enough to make 30,000 of those homes, meaning that the primary location for these homes is likely to be that state.

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