Home Improvement – 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 8 Most Trusted Home Improvement Experts http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/8-most-trusted-home-improvement-experts/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/8-most-trusted-home-improvement-experts/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:48:52 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1666 Whether you want to remodel your home, fix a leaky faucet, or reinvent a room, seeking expert advice from a reputable home improvement specialist is a must. Put your next home improvement project in the hands of a top-rated contractor to ensure long lasting results and quality of work. Here are some of the most trusted home improvement experts in America.

 

  1. Bob Vila

    A prominent name in the home improvement industry, Bob Vila is one of the most trusted contractors in America because of his expertise in home renovations. From 1979 to 1989 he was the host for This Old House where he completely renovated old and historic homes. He went on to host several other shows including Bob Vila’s Home Again, Bob Vila, and Restore America with Bob Vila. He has also written more than a dozen books on rehabilitating homes and other home improvement guides. Today, Bob is launching a new pilot series entitled Building Green, where he educates home owners on the newest green building technologies. Besides appearing on regular television, he is well-versed in carpentry tools, using his knowledge to create his own line of tools, now featured at Sears and the Home Shopping Network. Bob frequently answers any questions homeowners may have online at his webpage, Twitter account, and other social media outlets.

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  3. Tom Silva

    Tom Silva has been renovating homes since he was a child, working with his father and brother. Their first project was installing a basement fallout shelter underneath their 1787 colonial home in Massachusetts. With decades of experience in remodeling, renovation, and restoration, Silva has hosted the show This Old House for more than 25 years, contributed to home improvement magazines, and published books. Silva is now a practicing contractor in Boston; he founded his own company, Silva Brothers Construction where he works alongside his brother and nephew.

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  5. Karl Champley

    Award winning master builder, building consultant, and environmental home inspector Karl Champley has earned notoriety in the building industry for his projects in residential and commercial construction. Starting off as an apprentice carpenter, he soon gained certificates in structural engineering, earning his master builders license. In 1990, he started his own business, KJC Building Services, earning the Australian Achiever award in 2001. Since then, Karl has been featured on the DIY Network, HGTV, DIY To The Rescue, and Wasted Spaces. He is a great source when it comes to any carpentry needs and advice in the home renovation industry, even judging home improvement competitions across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

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  7. Danny Lipford

    A veteran remodeling contractor, Danny Lipford has been helping homeowners with both small and large projects for many years. As host and executive producer of the show, Today’s Homeowner With Danny Lipford, and the radio show Homefront With Danny Lipford, he provides expert tips and advice on the home improvement process. He has also contributed to The New York Times, Better Homes & Gardens, and other publications, offering guidance on a variety of home topics including design, materials, and key renovation decisions. One of his specialties is demonstrating a variety of “How-to” projects in studio and on location. He has been a home improvement contributor to The Early Show on CBS for more than a decade.

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  9. Paul F. Ryan

    A nationally recognized home improvement expert, licensed contractor, home inspector, and insurance adjustor, Ryan has all the experience needed to be the ultimate handy-man. He’s hosted several television shows on the DIY Network, TLC, and HGTV, where he shares his knowledge of carpentry, home remodeling, plumbing, and other aspects of construction. Today, he is a regular and reliable source in newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and online home improvement websites.

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  11. Ron Hazelton

    Offering expert home improvement advice, safety concerns, and design/repair issues on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Inside Edition, Ron was actually the pioneer of reality-based, on-location home improvement television when he hosted The House Doctor in 1989. The series was so successful, it ran for more than 200 episodes; then aired for many years after on HGTV. Today, he delivers instant solutions, advice, and how-to content online on his webpage. His simple, straightforward format of instruction has been a hit among home improvement enthusiasts.

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  13. Mike Holmes

    Today’s host of HGTV’s Holmes on Holmes, Mike shares his expert knowledge on home repairs, managing large renovations, new-home construction, and sustainability issues. He’s built hurricane resistant homes in New Orleans and trained youth in skilled trades through apprenticeships. He’s also written two successful books and contributes to a weekly newspaper column.

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  15. John Gidding

    After earning his masters in architecture from Harvard, Gidding went on to open his own design firm, John Gidding Design Inc. His portfolio includes impressive projects like Union Square in New York, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the master campus plan for Carnegie Mellon University. Now a host for HGTV’s show, Designed to Sell and Curb Appeal: The Block, he offers invaluable design and technical advice for any home or landscape improvement needs.

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20 Common Household Problems That Can Turn into Nightmares http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/20-common-household-problems-that-can-turn-into-nightmares/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/20-common-household-problems-that-can-turn-into-nightmares/#respond Thu, 24 May 2012 20:18:46 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1534 When it comes to many household problems, some people just think “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow,” and don’t address the issue until it’s too late. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, a crack in the wall, animal infestation or a dirty chimney, these common problems don’t seem like a big deal to most people but in reality, they can end up costing you a lot of money with significant damages to your home and can even endanger the welfare of you and your family. It is important to maintain and keep good care of your home and all that goes into it. With that said, let’s take a look at 20 common household problems that can turn into nightmares.

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Top Ten Spots for Roof Leaks http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-ten-spots-for-roof-leaks/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-ten-spots-for-roof-leaks/#respond Thu, 17 May 2012 14:52:36 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1506 Roof leaks are among homeowners’ biggest fears. Every now and then, they can be signs that a roof needs to be completely replaced, and no one wants to deal with such a major expense. Not surprisingly, most leaks are initially discovered during powerful rain storms. However, if water has built up beneath the shingles over time, they can occur at seemingly random times too. Ice and snow can also alert homeowners to roof leaks. One thing’s for sure: You shouldn’t ignore the problem. As soon as evidence of a leak occurs, you need to track down its source. It’s more than likely coming from one of the following ten places.

  1. Chimney

    The chimney is a common spot for roof leaks to originate. Four different types of flashing can be used to seal water out of the chimney, so there are many possible causes. Even the tiniest of cracks in the flashing can cause water to pool up and cause leaks. At the soldered corners of the flashing, cracks are often found too. Caulk should never be used in this case. The damaged flashing or counter-flashing should be replaced instead.

  2. Gutter

    Clogged or damaged gutters are often to blame for roof leaks, which is why it’s so important to keep your gutters in good shape. Clean them out regularly, or hire someone to do it for you. The goal is to keep water flowing off the roof as quickly as possible.

  3. Ice Dams

    If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, your roof’s ice dams can block melting water from moving down and away from it. In turn, water can build up beneath the shingles and under the flashings. If this continually happens, you’ll need to have membranes installed beneath the roof.

  4. Wall Step Flashings

    Step flashing is used where slanting areas of the roof meet with vertical walls. At each new row of shingles, another piece of flashing is used where the roof meets the wall. When it’s in good shape and properly installed, each piece of flashing should extend partially onto the wall, and the other end of it should be partially covered by a shingle. Rust and holes commonly occur on these flashings, or they may become loose. If holes or rust have developed, the flashing should be replaced. If the flashing is simply loose, it should be secured again with fresh caulk.

  5. Head Wall Flashings

    This type of flashing is used where roofs end directly at vertical walls. In these areas, each piece of flashing should extend at least three inches over the shingle. Caulking won’t work if there are cracks or gaps. Roof cement and tar won’t either. The flashing should be secured firmly again if it is loose, or it should be replaced if it is damaged.

  6. Furnace Flashings

    These flashings are used to seal the areas around furnace vents, which extend out of the roof. They consist of aluminum flashing, a rubber seal and a metal storm collar. A loose storm collar can cause leaks. If yours is loose, tighten it. The vent itself may be damaged and should be replaced. Cracked rubber seals can also be the source of the problem. Each component should be carefully examined.

  7. Plumbing Vent Flashings

    These flashings seal plumbing vents that extend out of the roof. They’re nearly identical to furnace flashings. The main difference if they don’t have metal storm collars. Look for cracked rubber seals and loose or damaged flashing.

  8. Valleys

    Roof valleys are easy to identify; they are where to planes of a roof meet to form a valley. These can be sealed in several different ways. If metal flashing is used, check to make sure that it’s securely fastened and doesn’t have any rust or holes. If rolled roofing is used, check for corrosion and make sure it isn’t loose. Sometimes, shingles are simply laced together at the valley. In this case, the best solution is to install a metal flashing. There’s no way to use caulk or cement to patch holes reliably.

  9. Shingle Fields

    It’s exceedingly rare for roof leaks to occur on the broad expanses that are known as shingle fields. When they do happen, it’s usually due to small holes and loose shingles. In the case of small holes, don’t simply patch them with caulk. Slip a piece of flashing beneath the shingle first. Once that’s done, go ahead and patch the small holes with caulk. As for loose shingles, simply secure them into place. It doesn’t hurt to check the roof for loose nails from time to time as a preventive measure too.

  10. Other Spots

    This last item isn’t about a specific spot on the roof. Instead, it deals with other problems that can make you think your roof is leaking even though it actually isn’t. For example, condensation in the attic can leak through. This happens during hot, exceptionally humid weather. The crown of your chimney may develop cracks and begin to crumble. It’s easy to assume the crumbling is occurring because of a leak, but it actually isn’t. Finally, wind-blown rain, which happens during fierce storms, is sometimes an issue. The best way to deal with it is by using ice dam membranes and tar paper.

As you can see, the majority of roof leaks occur in places where intersections are located. Whether it’s at the valley of a roof, alongside its chimney or near one of the vents that poke out of it, a leak isn’t necessarily a sign that your roof needs to be replaced. Working on the roof is dangerous, however, so it’s generally best to let professionals do this work for you. You’ll generally enjoy a warranty of some kind too, which allows you to get a little peace of mind. It’s smart to have them come out to look at your roof on occasion too. Preventative maintenance is the best way to keep roof leaks at bay.

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Little Things You Can Do to Increase Your Homes Value http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/little-things-you-can-do-to-increase-your-homes-value/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/little-things-you-can-do-to-increase-your-homes-value/#respond Wed, 03 Nov 2010 02:11:15 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=1188

Everyone likes to make improvements on their homes as the years go by, and every project you do only helps add to your homes value while also making sure it remains comfortable for you and fits your tastes. One thing many people dont consider is that there are even very cheap and obvious things you can to to make your house look nicer while improving the homes value.

One thing that can help keep your house looking nice is having it power-washed once every year or even every two years. This will help the house keep a clean appearance, which is always important when you are having an appraisal done. Another thing yo can do to help the appearance and value is by planting some small shrubs around the yard, or even around the house. You do want to remember with any plants to keep them a little bit away from the foundation, especially plants with heavy thick roots since they can cause foundation damage which will just hurt the homes value.

Keeping your yard looking nice and clean and also clear of weeds and a well maintained lawn always help and are very easy and cost effective to maintain and improve upon. Also making sure any sidewalks are free of cracks and weeds will keep your home value up. if a new crack appears due to weather then just fill it right in, it is a quick easy DIY job.

Other things that can be quite costly are replacing any old windows and doors (inside and out), replacing siding or repainting when needed, making sure the roof stays in good shape, and fixing or having redone if there are problems. these are all things you should be doing for maintenance every so many years anyways, but if you keep on top of all the little problems as they arise you will avoid bigger problems and you will also keep the value of your home up.

Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36122696@N08/3354077450/

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50 Do-It-Yourself Blogs: DIY Must-Reads for Home Improvement Projects http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/50-do-it-yourself-blogs-diy-must-reads-for-home-improvement-projects/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/50-do-it-yourself-blogs-diy-must-reads-for-home-improvement-projects/#comments Fri, 28 May 2010 19:20:01 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=505

You look upon your new (fixer) house, with its peeling paint and sagging floors, and think to yourself “I can do that. Couple weekends, little elbow grease…” Then you read the wisdom of these hardened DIYers, and you’ll either roll up your sleeves and get started (a little smarter) or, you’ll knuckle under and hire a contractor. Either way, there is much to learn, grasshopper. Read on.

  1. No list of DIY blogs would be complete without a mention of Houseblogs, a community of bloggers who can’t seem to stop working on their houses. So…much…to…learn…
  2. Retro Renovation is another must-read, especially for anyone into mid-century modern.
  3. The Old House Web blog offers savvy advice on a wide range of projects for the IDY homeowner.
  4. House in Progress, written with a wry wit, chronicles the adventures of a Chicago bungalow and its owners during the home improvement process.
  5. The Home Improvement Ninja will sneak up behind you with his sharp, lethally accurate sense of humor and make you laugh, and you won’t even see it coming because he is so stealthy.
  6. The 1902 Victorian blog has been on the DIY home scene for a long time and is a treasure trove of stories and information.
  7. Likewise, Young House Love is an iconic home renovation blog by two enthusiastic DIYers.
  8. Greg at the Petch House is restoring lovely 1895 Victorian to its true glory, a project not for the faint of heart. Go Greg!
  9. Read This Old Crack House to see Gary Leitzell take the concept of urban renewal to a whole new level.
  10. Casa Decrepit no longer lives up to its name, thanks to the heroic efforts of its owners.
  11. Anyone who appreciates history—not only architectural history but also the histories of individual people—will enjoy Foxcroft; the blog does a nice job documenting the stories of previous owners.
  12. If you’ve ever wanted a craftsman or bungalow with some lovely woodwork, you’re sure to enjoy the Tiny Oak Park Bungalow.
  13. Beacon Hill Bungalow documents a renovation in Beacon Hill (Seattle, not Boston) with good humor and useful details.
  14. Dawn & Jeremy Peterson’s Bungalowcious is a yummy smorgasbord of renovation strategies and stories about a bungalow in Portland, Oregon.
  15. Bungalow Insanity: Insane? Or…brilliant? Perhaps a bit of both. You decide.
  16. There must be something about bungalow style that brings out the DIY instinct. (They’re architecturally interesting and historic, yet seem relatively small and manageable…at first…) Bungalow 23 is a thorough and thoughtful look a renovating a Twin Cities bungalow.
  17. Home Sweet Split Level brings you the 1950’s in all their shiny glory.
  18. Mid Century Modern House on the Prairie brings you home renovation goodness from Calgary.
  19. Life in the Prairie Box takes you on a journey through an American Foursquare renovation, with meditations on sustainability along the way.
  20. Project Ranchalow brings you 1940’s style and DIY tips with wit and verve.
  21. Save the Pink Bathrooms will help you appreciate that 1950’s tile in your powder room. Besides, it would be a pain to replace, right?
  22. Nick and Trissa’s Pigeon Point Project in Seattle is a great compendium of stories and advice.
  23. Chicago 2-Flat: Now that they’ve renovated, it’s on to décor with thrifty vintage finds aplenty. Check the archives for great DIY info.
  24. If you feel that you might need to be talked out of this whole renovation thing, check out the Devil Queen. It will make you think twice, and if you choose to go ahead…well, at least you know what you might be getting into.
  25. Step right up and get your Stucco House restoration tips from this friendly Twin Cities blogger.
  26. How do Andrew and Meredith at Our Castle get all that work done with a baby around? Secrets, please? Do you two sleep?
  27. Just a Girl With a Hammer tackles it all, with energy and heart.
  28. Go on—see what’s behind Door Sixteen. (A lovely Victorian rowhouse, but don’t take our word for it—go check it out yourself.)
  29. Kathy at Pineapples and Parquet has a good eye for design—take a peek!
  30. 416FixerUpper shows you what’s possible with a dream and a lot of sweat equity.
  31. Meryl at The Picardy Project documents a multitude of DIY projects and also shows you how to make a stellar lemonade (assuming that you, too, have access to a bountiful Meyer lemon tree.)
  32. House flipping might not be quite the trend it was a few years ago, but the Flipping Couple stays in style.
  33. The Quarry Orchard keeps it real. Who can’t relate to “Project ADD?”
  34. We Could Make That is a stunningly appropriate motto for a DIY blog, and Chris and Amy truly capture the risk and reward of doing it yourself.
  35. Shane and Casey are the epitome of can-do spirit, from flipping stairs to stripping wood.
  36. Notes From the Heartland is a delight to read— and worth it for this wallpaper removal tip alone.
  37. Hip House Girl is slowly renovating her 1926 brick bungalow and we get to follow the process. Yay!
  38. Discover life at the Chateau Whitman with Kristi and Rob as they renovate, decorate, and relate their adventures in fixing up their house.
  39. Kelly likes to spend time Tearing Up Houses (and putting them back together) and she’s gotten pretty good at it over the years.
  40. Kim and Scott’s Yellow Brick Home showcases their Chicago style beautifully.
  41. Sara at Russet Street Reno has a great slogan: “DIY or die trying.” An honest and humorous look at the joys of DIY.
  42. Sunny’s Life in Rehab shows just how hard it can be to kick the DIY habit…but really, would you want to?
  43. Kevin and Layla over at The Lettered Cottage are a “little bit country and a little bit rock n’roll” and their home is lovely.
  44. Micah and Casey have opened their Yellow Front Door to readers who can now witness them tackle everything from unexpected mold to dog-related rug issues, all with good cheer
  45. Ann Marie at White House Black Shutters shares her adventures in DIY, along with the occasional mouthwatering recipe and cute photos of her little girl.
  46. The DIY Showoff is a treasure trove of useful ideas with great before/after inspiration…and the place to go if you want to boast about your DIY successes!
  47. Aren’t we all just One Project Closer? Then how come it never seems to end? Fred, Kim, Ethan, and Jocie can sympathize (and offer up some A+ blogging while they’re at it.)
  48. Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog shows how she budgets her DIY projects, and learning from her insights is WAY better than waiting for Great-Aunt Esme or the Tooth Fairy to leave you some cash.
  49. 3 Acres and 3000 Square Feet highlights life in a 1973 fixer-upper from one very busy couple…check out their list. After you stop feeling bad because you haven’t done nearly as much with your house, be sure to check out posts on going geothermal.
  50. Last but most certainly not least, the DIY Diva definitely knows her way around the power tools.

These DIY homeowners show that full-scale renovations require dreaming and determination in equal measures. Many thanks to them for sharing their insights, missteps, goals, and victories with the rest of us. After…it’s not really home if you don’t work on it, right?

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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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Top 50 Landscaping Sites for Help and Inspiration http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-landscaping-blogs/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/top-50-landscaping-blogs/#comments Fri, 16 Apr 2010 15:02:15 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=328

Landscaping your property is the absolute best way to improve the “curb appeal” of your home. Whether you’re looking to improve the property value, or you just want to make your lawn & gardens look nice, it sure isn’t easy. It’s tough enough coming up with inspiration for the look you desire that will work with the challenges of the land you’re working with. What makes it more difficult is the up-keep and knowledge that must go along with it. We’ve compiled a list of our top 50 favorite sites to help you with inspiration and information for making your property the talk of the neighborhood:

Professional Landscaping

1.      Green Bay Nursery: Landscaping and gardens

2.      Backyard Oasis: Designer landscape and swimming pool creations.

3.      Partridge Design: Fine landscaping design since 1977.

4.      Clearwater Summit Group, Inc.: Residential landscaping services – Commercial, Residential, Renovations, Other Landscaping Projects.

5.      Hanselman Landscaping: Garden Design and Installation, Japanese Gardens, Garden Care, and Specialty Trees.

6.      Garden Designer: Landscape and garden design and ideas.

7.      Landscaping Blog | Landscape Design: Landscaping and garden design ideas.

8.      Landscape – Urbanism: Focus is on landscaping and vegetated architecture, urbanism, green roofs, living walls, and ecological planning.

9.      Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping Blog: Santa Cruz backyard landscaping designs.

10.  Elizabeth Carmel’s Landscape Photography Blog: Fine Art Landscape Photography.

11.  House Landscaping Ideas: Ideas for house, front yard, and backyard landscaping and free landscaping software.

12.  Unique Landscaping: Specializes in luxury pools and landscaping designs.

13.  Matt Anders Landscaping Blog: Landscaping guide, Austin, TX.

14.  O’ Connell Landscape: Design and build landscape contractor.

15.  Studio G: Landscaping design products, inspirations, ideas, and destinations journal.

16.  Exterior Worlds: Home and garden landscaping.

17.  Tree Hugger: Green resources.

18.  Land+Living Network: A modern world’s lifestyle and design.

19.  Free Soil: International collection and collaboration of everything landscape and environment.

20.  Plant NJ: Swimming pools and landscaping design and construction.

21.  Our Gardner: Horticulturists working as residential estate gardeners.

22.  Glorious-Landscape: Landscape fine art photography.

23.  Garden Visit: Find gardens, garden tours from around the world, and trip planner.

24.  Great-Landscape-Photography: Great landscape photography guide.

25.  Copy Landscape Blog: Texas landscaping design horticulturist.

26.  Solid Ground: Specializes in high-end commercial and residential landscaping.

27.  Garden Minnesota: Expert outdoor living landscapers.

28.  Digital Landscaping: Landscaping design, land art and training.

29.  All States Landscaping: Transforming Utah’s landscape since 1985.

30.  HLI: Houston Landscape Images uses your vision to design your landscape.

31.  Fine Gardening: Plant guide, design ideas, how to’s, videos, discussion and gallery.

32.  CalFinders: Connecting homeowners with contractors nationwide.

33.  Sounds Green: Landscaping lifestyles blog.

34.  Nations Harvest: Lawn Care Fundraiser.

35.  Green Landscaping: Sustainable green landscaping.

36.  Go Green Tool Shed: Ecological landscaping and going green.

37.  The Greenview Spring: All things green and garden resource.

38.  Lawn Care Landscape: Affordable, Eco-friendly professional lawn care for Ohio residents.

39.  The Lawn Blog: Fun, current information for the lawn and “green” industry.




DIY Landscaping

40.  CURBappeal: Living luxuriously on a limited budget.

41.  Backyard Landscape Ideas: Tips, Ideas, Resources, and How To’s.

42.  Go Green! Blog: Landscape supply helping people beautify the planet and their yards.

43.  Green Industry Pros: Tips, lawn equipment sales and repair.

44.  Farmington Gardens: Front yard and backyard gardening for beginners – vegetables and fruit trees.

45.  Front Porch Ideas and More: Porch and yard curb appeal landscaping.

46.  Savvy Landscaping: Tips, ideas, and tricks for adding curb appeal to your landscape.

47.  Black Forrest Co.: Beginner to expert designs specialized for the DIY landscapers.

48.  Danny Lipford: Home improvement advice.

49.  Great-Backyard-Landscaping-Ideas: Ideas, tips, landscaping information, and news letter.

50.  Landscaping Videos: Landscaping videos, plans, and pictures.

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Before You Finish a Basement http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/before-you-finish-a-basement/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/before-you-finish-a-basement/#respond Tue, 30 Mar 2010 18:22:42 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=272 One of the things that many first-time home buyers look for is a basement. They imagine that a basement can be a wonderfully private area for a workshop, family room, play area or office. Unfortunately, many of these folks look back years later at an unfinished basement that is used for nothing more than storage. It becomes in many ways a liability rather than a benefit, because you may wind up adding a flood rider to your homeowners insurance just to protect your Christmas ornaments in storage.

If you find yourself with a basement that’s just not being used, you really need to find a way to finish it. Before you get started in the process of finishing a basement, however, there are some things you need to thoroughly consider:

  • Be realistic about the cost. You can finish a basement rather inexpensively if you know where to look for materials and how to do it on the cheap, but it’s still going to cost some money. Do some research so you know what to expect when it’s time to get your materials.
  • Be realistic about your abilities. You might be able to frame in a few walls and install some drywall. But, there are some things you are going to need an expert to do. Things like electrical and plumbing require extensive knowledge, and it’s knowledge that you usually can’t get from reading a book either.
  • Be realistic about the possibilities. A basement can indeed be a great place. There are many things you can do with a basement to make it into usable space. However, you need to realize some important things. For example, you may not be able to get rid of an overall dank smell and feel to your basement. Also, windows tend to be at a premium, so you need to recognize that many rooms will be entirely closed off from sunlight.
  • Obey local home improvement laws. In some areas, you’re required to get a building permit in order to make improvements of a permanent nature to your home. Make sure you know and follow any local ordinances.
  • Update your homeowners insurance policy. After you’ve completed improvements, make sure you let your homeowners insurance agent know. You may need to make changes to your policy to reflect the added value in your home due to the basement being finished.

Photo via AdamSelwood

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Want More Money for your Home? Polish It Before You Sell It! http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/want-more-money-for-your-home-polish-it-before-you-sell-it/ http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/want-more-money-for-your-home-polish-it-before-you-sell-it/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2010 15:34:05 +0000 http://www.homeownersinsurance.org/?p=201 polishGetting a home ready to sell is a chore, but it’s something you just have to do if you’re going to get it to sell. The fact of the matter is that the housing market is a buyer’s market right now. There are plenty of homes for sale, and some going for much less money than what you want to get out of your home. You need to compete not only with other homes, but with distressed homes and foreclosures. You need to do anything you can to make it stand out.

To Stage or Not to Stage?

Sure, you can hire a home stager to get your house up to snuff. A professional home stager will decorate your house, organize your closets and just spruce it all up in general. They will maximize your living space, help make your rooms look better and bigger and make the home more desirable and inviting. Staging can cost as little as a few hundred bucks or as much as $5,000 or more, depending on what you want to have done.

When You Can’t Stage

Still, you might not be able to afford a stager, or you might live in an area where there just isn’t anyone offering this service. Fortunately, there are some relatively inexpensive and easy things you can do to put the shine back on your home.

Here are some steps to take that will really make your home pop:

  • Depersonalize the home. Hide anything and everything that will remind a potential buyer that this isn’t already their home. That means photos, trophies and family heirlooms need to be safely tucked away. If you do leave out your stuff, make sure it’s stuff that a potential buyer would like to own. This even goes for the shower – make sure there isn’t a used bar of soap.
  • Declutter the home. If you’re like most folks, you’ve got too much stuff. Gobs and gobs of stuff. If you’re going to sell your home, you’re going to have to move all that stuff. Why not toss the stuff you don’t need now? It can help make your closets look bigger, for example, if there aren’t boxes and boxes of stuff piled up in them. If you must, consider renting a storage unit to store some of your extra stuff while you try to sell your home.
  • Clean your home. That doesn’t mean pick up dirty laundry. That means scrub bathroom tiles. You want to get into every nook and cranny. You even want to clean the corners of the inside of your fridge. You have no idea where people might choose to look. You also need to eliminate smells, especially if you’ve got pets. Consider inviting a neighbor over to inspect the home for grime or for odors.
  • Paint a room or two. You’ll be surprised what a fresh coat of paint can do for the marketability of a house. Trust me.

Photo via A tea but no e

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