The Three Money-Saving Home Improvements You Should Tackle Right Now

May cost a lot but it will cost you more if you take this Home improvements. Better make these your priority.. Thank you for this article.

If you own a home, chances are you’ve got a long list of renovations and upgrades you’d like to do on it. (From painting to refinishing floors, it never ends!) When it comes to saving money and preserving the value of your home, however, some home improvements are more urgent than others. Here are three high-priority improvements you should consider doing as soon as possible.

First, let’s get this out of the way: these projects aren’t sexy or even fun. After you do them, you probably won’t be inviting friends over to marvel at the upgrades. They are, however, improvements that will save you the most money in the long run, just in terms of resale value and keeping your home from falling apart. (Because what’s the point of new granite countertops if your roof is leaking over them?) Once you’ve tackled these basic improvements, you can focus on the more fun kinds of upgrades like redoing the kitchen or adding on a bathroom.

Project 1: Get Rid of Drafts

Usually experts recommend insulating your home and sealing windows and doors as preparation for winter, but no matter when you take on these tasks, they’ll always pay off. By getting a good seal on your windows and doors (or replacing them with more insulated ones) and adding insulation in key areas like your attic, you’ll not only keep heat in when it’s cold out, but also keep your house cool during the other seasons. You’ll want to seal all the air leaks, both obvious and less obvious (like outlets and switches) for both a money-saving and a comfort upgrade.

Cost: Caulking and weatherstripping are two of the easiest projects, taking just 1-2 hours of your time and costing between $3 and $30 per window or door, according to Energy.gov. Plus, they also say that these improvements could save you 30% on your energy bill. (Americans, on average, spend about $2,000 a year on home energy costs.) Adding insulation is a project you can either do yourself or hire someone else to do (the average cost for insulation projects is $1,571, according to Home Advisor), but either way, the upgrade will pay for itself in just a few years.

If you change the entry door and replace windows, you’ll not only likely see energy improvements, you’ll also improve the look of your home and recoup much of the cost when it comes time to sell the house. Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 report says that changing the entry door has an 86% return on investment and replacing vinyl windows has a 71% return on investment. Not bad for both a cosmetic and energy-efficiency upgrade.

Keep in mind also many utilities will offer a free energy audit to help you identify where you can save money, and Energy Star also offers personalized energy-saving recommendations. You can even get tax credits for upgrading your insulation, windows and doors, air conditioning, and more.

Project 2: Update Your High-Energy Appliances

In a similar vein, you’ll get the most bang for your home improvement buck if you upgrade inefficient appliances in your home. The top energy suckers in the home are: heating systems, air conditioning, hot water heaters, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, according to Energy.gov.

There are easy ways to adjust the energy usage of these appliances, such as installing a programmable thermostat and running appliances at night. At some point, though, you’ll have to decide between repairing (or hacking) your home appliance or replacing it. Here’s our guide on which appliances are worth upgrading and when.

Cost: Varies, depending on which appliances you need to replace.

Project 3: Clean Your Gutters and Look for Structural Problems

Water is often the cause of the most expensive home repairs, so while the snow is melting and the rainy season is approaching, it’s time to stop the leaks and control the water around our homes.

A few leaves and twigs in your gutter don’t sound that dangerous, but gutters are the first line of defense against: water problems in your basement, cracked foundations, rotten wood fascia, leaking roofs, wood-destroying insects, and other serious problems. So, first, clear the gutters or have a handyperson do it for you, and install gutter guards to prevent future water damage.

Now’s the time to also take a walk around your home and look for any foundation cracks, mold or mildew in the basement or other areas, loose shingles or other roof issues (a binocular helps), any other signs of water damage, and pest issues (like termites).

Cost: Professional gutter cleaning costs $182, on average, while repairing gutters and downspouts is $396. If you need your foundation repaired, the average national cost is $4,337. Repairing a roof costs $828 on average, but installing a roof is $6,774. (All figures from Home Advisor.)

Water-based problems are often costly to repair, but maintenance/prevention can be do-it-yourself cheap. DIY gutter cleaning, for example, costs only your time and comfort getting on a ladder.

These projects are mostly about regular inspections and upkeep—the stuff of homeownership. If your home doesn’t have drafts, your appliances are in tip-top shape, and you don’t have to worry about water issues or pests, you can next focus on other home improvement projects that will make your home more enjoyable to live in and/or sell. Going by Remodeling’s 2013 report, that includes a wood deck addition, minor kitchen remodel, attic bedroom addition, and basement remodel…but that’s up to you.

How to Repair a Cracked Drywall Ceiling

Shopping List for Repairing a Cracked Drywall Ceiling:
– 5/8-inch plywood
– 2×4
– construction adhesive
– wood shims
– 2-inch-wide painter’s tape
– fiberglass mesh tape
– joint compound
– 1 1/4-inch drywall screws

Tools for Repairing a Cracked Drywall Ceiling:
– drill/driver, fitted with 3/16-inch-diameter drill bit and 1-inch diameter spade bit
– drywall tip, for driving drywall screws to precisely the right depth
– hammer
– caulk gun
– utility knife
– flat trowel and plaster hawk

Remove Mold From a Leaking Roof

Rid Your Home of Mold Caused by a Leaky Roof

A roof that is damaged can cause problems both inside and outside of your home. Leaks are a common symptom of a damaged roof. A leaking roof will provide the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold is a potential dangerous problem that can cause serious health risks to all who are exposed to it and its spores. When mold is found, it should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home and your health.

roof leak mold

Stop the Leak

Before the mold process can begin, you must correct the leaky roof. If the leak is not fixed, the mold will continue to grow even after clean-up. Fixing the problem may be as simple as replacing the damaged shingles.

When working on a roof take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Make sure the ladder is secure and you are wearing shoes with good traction on the bottom to prevent slipping. Once you have gotten onto the roof, remove the damaged shingles by lifting the edges of the shingles and removing the nails. Before laying down the new shingles, prepare them by rounding their corners with a utility knife. This will make sliding the shingles back into place. Slide the shingle into place and secure with a 6D galvanized roofing nail at each corner. Use a putty knife to smear a dab of roof cement on each nail head.

Before the Mold Removal Process Begins

mold removal process

Equip yourself with the proper safety items during the mold removal process. Anyone involved in the mold removal process needs to wear an N-95 respirator, rubber gloves, safety goggles without vent holes, a long-sleeve shirt and pants.

Discard any porous items that have been ruined by mold. Porous items, such as paper and drywall, cannot be cleaned and disinfected. These items will need to be discarded and replaced. Place the items in a garbage bag and secure closed. Place the bag outside.

Removing the Mold

Use a wet vacuum to remove any standing water that is present. Mix 1/4 cup of a mild dishwashing liquid and 1 gallon of warm water in a 5-gallon bucket. Remove as much mold as possible with a sponge saturated in the dishwashing liquid-water mixture. Apply an approved fungicide to the area. Follow all directions and warnings printed on the fungicide. Allow the area to dry completely. Point fans towards the area to aid in the drying process.

How to Inspect your Gutters

The function of the roofing system is to drain rainwater through gutters put in place to make sure that the water from rooftops does not damage the foundation and the basement. Gutters and downspouts are fixed along the edges to serve this purpose. When the gutter system is clogged or damaged, water will not drain away and can lead to paddling leaks and structural damage. Gutters are to be cleaned and inspected at least twice a year.

 

Besides, you should also trim or cut down nearby trees for they can potentially clog the gutters. You have to be extra careful when using a ladder while trimming the trees. Make sure that the ladder is firmly positioned on an even ground to avoid falling off the ladder.

Begin the inspection by checking for loose gutters and downspouts. Ensure that all the gutter joints are firmly fixed. You may also need to check the spikes where you have attached your gutters to make sure that they are strong. Besides, you can check the downspouts for materials that can clog them and eliminate the dirt if any.

 

Checking for small animals that might reside on your gutters is also a great idea. Some creatures such as squirrels and termites might destroy your gutters. If you find such animals, you may need to get rid of them together with any leaves, twigs and debris in the gutters.

 

You can start by scooping leaves and debris from the gutters. Put the removed materials in a bucket securely placed to the ladder or drop them onto the ground. Flush smaller debris using a hose pipe since the fine material will be moved by pressured water.

Look for cracks beneath the gutters that could lead to leakages. If the water is not moving freely unclog the downspout and it is connected to the underground pipe, remove it from the pipe. Using a strong pressured hose to loosen the debris and it it fails to remove the debris you can use a plumber’s snake to break up the clog.

Look for standing watering the gutter. If the water is moving very slowly the problem might be that the slopes inadequate. Hangers require relocation up or down to create a slight slope towards the downspout.

How to Build a Fireproof Home for Wildfire Areas

Protection With ICFs, Flame-Resistant Roofs, and Cement Fiber Siding

While it’s true that no home can be truly fireproof, measures can be taken that will come close to reaching that ideal. Even structural steel beams will turn to spaghetti when exposed to sufficient heat. As an analogy, a water-resistant diver’s watch can’t survive the Mariana Trench but no damage is sustained during a normal dive.

Building a Fireproof Exterior

Fireproof Exterior

Put simply, a fireproof exterior is simply one that isn’t combustible. Typical residential wood framing (“stick framing” in the industry) won’t stand up to a blaze. Even what’s referred to as a brick home is almost always a brick veneer home with wood studs behind the masonry.

Concrete is the most logical and inexpensive construction material to go with. There are two popular ways to go about this. The first is insulated concrete forms (ICFs). This is also a green, sustainable building practice that contributes to a LEED certification.

ICFs will withstand fires for up to 4 hours

The second exterior building material is the cinder block. These blocks are simply built up from the ground up by masons, in a manner similar to laying brick.

Both of these building practices also lend themselves to areas that are susceptible to hurricanes and tornadoes.

Flame-Resistant Roofing Materials

flame-resistant roof

Roofing material is classified with fire ratings of Class A, Class B, and Class C, with A being the best. So what materials are good candidates in a fire? It depends. Some composition 3-tab shingles get a Class A rating with an estimated 30-year lifespan.

Clay and concrete barrel shingles (think Mediterranean-style) also have a Class A rating and are great for curb appeal and home resale value, but are more expensive. But, their lifespan far exceeds composition shingles.

Metal roofs also do well in fires, and like clay shingles, have a long lifespan. They can also reap a savings on homeowners insurance for protection both from fires and hail damage.

Flame-Resistant Siding

flame-resistant siding

Although cinder block homes are sometimes simply primes and painted, ICF homes need siding. A good bet is a cement fiber product like those produced by Certain Teed and JamesHardie. Cement fiber products are also termite proof and rot proof.

This siding is also considered by the industry to be a green and sustainable building material and counts towards LEED certification. A major benefit is that it comes pre-primed, which eliminates the overhead and time taken to prepare for painting.

Building a fire and wind resistant home just makes good sense. Nobody wants to re-build from the ground up after a natural disaster.