January 2, 2017

A New Year’s Resolution for Homeowners!

A traditional New Year’s resolution may focus on your career, finances, health, personality, physical appearance, relationship status, or social circle. However, this year we challenge you to go against the norm and set a goal that caters to the needs of your home. By doing so, you not only create a sense of achievement for yourself by tending to simple tasks; but you also create the potential to significantly increase the value (and safety) of your residence. Believe it or not, a resolution pertaining to the care or upgrade of your home can easily be started by taking a walk around your house with a pen and a piece of paper. Make a list of all of those small repairs that you have been meaning to do, and then make time this New Year to get them done. It is much easier to accomplish these tasks if they’re written down, and making small repairs now is much less expensive than making large repairs later due to neglect. Along with tending to minor repairs and cosmetic upgrades, consider adding true value to your home by renovating your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other basement and recreational areas of the home. Home renovations cost a lot less now than just a few years ago and it may be a good alternative to moving, lol.

Need some inspiration? Well, here is a whole list of ideas to get you started!

• Fresh paint. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the look and value of your home.
• Move your furniture for a new look and to optimize space. Changing the layout of your furniture will change your mood. If you feel stuck, it might be time to repurpose some rooms.
• Create a space for fitness in your house. Almost everyone places "lose weight" and "exercise more" at the top of their New Year's resolution list. You don't need an expensive home gym, just a little reorganization and an exercise mat.
• Reorganize your closets by installing a shelving unit. Take some time and sort through old clothes, papers, and possessions. Clothing can be donated to a charity. Papers and boxes can be recycled or thrown out. Nothing says, "I'm getting my life together" like a clean house.
• Declutter your basement and attic. Clean storage spaces mean fewer pests and fewer hazards.
• Clean out the garage and make your home bicycle-friendly. Common sense says that if you could get your bike out of the garage, you'd ride it. Biking is a green solution that promotes fitness, and more people would do it if their homes were more bike-friendly.
Swap out old light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs. An ENERGY STAR qualified fluorescent light bulb can save money and reduce your electricity bill.
Install GFCI outlets. Get your house up to code and prevent electrical fires. Even if you have to hire a local electrician to do the work, it will probably cost you less than you expect.
Seal drafty windows and doors. Sealing windows and doors can save on heating costs by reinforcing drafty window frames.
• Install programmable digital thermostats. By replacing your thermostats with programmable models, you can save on heat and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
• Wrap your pipes: It's cheap, simple, and prevents freezing and bursting over the winter.
• Clean the lint from your dryer hose. It’s easy to do and will significantly reduce the risk of fire.
• Install on-demand hot water or a solar thermal water heater. Stop wasting energy and money on keeping your water tank hot 24-7.
Service your heating and/or air conditioning. Professionally service your home’s HVAC equipment every year to maximize efficiency and avoid any major maintenance issues.
Clean Gutters. Gutters should get a good cleaning every fall, but this is a chore that is often procrastinated.
Install gutter guards. They'll make your biennial gutter cleaning much easier. This year, embrace preventative home maintenance.
Ventilate the attic. Roof vents and gable fans are two of the most overlooked and most effective ways to keep your house cool in the summer.
• Inspect Your Roof. Many roof repairs are simple. Identify and fix leaks early by inspecting your roof before and after winter.
• Landscape the exterior of your property. Give your home some added curb appeal to make a great first impression to potential buyers. Otherwise, you may as well place a sign in your front yard that says, “The inside of the house is as dumpy as the outside.” Hence, that’s exactly what buyers will think as they drive past your home and move onto the next listing.
Secure your home. Don't wait until someone breaks in before finding the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've done everything you can to keep intruders out of your home. While most of the steps you need to take can be performed by a handyman or security professional, there are a few you can do yourself. Start by increasing the visibility of your windows from the street by cutting down shrubs and bushes, so intruders have no place to hide. Replace door locks at any access points to your home. Leaving outdoor lights on overnight or installing motion-detection sensors can also help ward off bad guys. A handyman can help with the following: Building a hidden safe into a wall or floor; Upgrading single-pane to double-pane windows with security glass; Adding metal screen doors or decorative wrought-iron gates (they provide security while adding value to your home); Covering up unused doggie doors or replacing them with a secure, locking version; Installing solid-core doors or sturdy steel models to replace hollow entry doors; and Cutting a mail slot into your door or garage instead of using an outdoor mailbox (preventing thieves from stealing checks and credit card numbers); and drilling a peep hole into your front door if you don't already have one. A security professional can install an alarm or upgrade your current system to include some of the exciting innovations in smart-home automation. Together with a few well-placed exterior and interior cameras, you can easily monitor the action around your home while you're away by simply taking a look at the screen of your smartphone, notebook, or iPad. While it used to be a luxury of only the very wealthy, mobile home security monitoring is now within reach of any homeowner’s budget.
Hire a home inspector to check your house for structural problems. Rotting beams, hidden termite nests, an old electrical system that's about to go on the fritz, leaking pipes, etc....most structural problems are hidden until they reach the breaking point and become expensive and disruptive repairs. Find them now and plan your home repair and maintenance schedule accordingly.

Now that you have plenty of ideas to choose from, it’s time to get started! Do a survey of your home to discover what projects are essential for your safety and peace of mind. Pace yourself - - there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by trying to get them all done at once. Schedule projects based on your availability and budget. While most of the projects listed above can easily (and safely) be accomplished on your own, don’t be afraid to seek out a professional to deal with those involving electricity, plumbing, heights, or the use of dangerous tools and equipment. Should you need assistance with any of your home improvement projects, contact us at (412)965-9361 or ck@ckremodeling.com for a free consultation and estimate. Please visit our website for more information and direct access to our online portfolio. Also, we encourage you to follow us on all of our social media sites to keep up to date with our latest activities. While it's clear we enjoy building products, we also enjoy building relationships; so we respectfully "follow back" every person or small business that chooses to follow us on our social media sites. We wish you all the best in this coming year and hope that our suggestions add value (and safety) to your home!

Happy New Year to all!

Charles Kirby, Owner of C.K. Remodeling & Design