Remodeling Your Bathroom For Your Health

By: Dave Robert

You might be cleaning your bathroom on a regular basis, scrubbing the bathroom tiles and the toilet bowl, as well as wiping down the shower and changing the towels regularly, but are you doing enough? The motivation for contemporary bathroom might not be about creating a modern style, but rather making sure that your bathroom is clean and healthy to use. In order to keep you and your family safe, here are some bathroom remodeling tips you need to use.

What is lurking in your bathroom?

One of the biggest problems in the bathroom is bacteria and this makes sense given the fact that you use the bathroom for germ filled activities, using the toilet and cleaning off your body. However, these bacteria do not normally cause problems for healthy adults when you clean regularly. If you have someone in your home that might be more sensitive to these kinds of germs, you can start a contemporary bathroom remodeling project that includes surfaces that are easier to clean, i.e. flat surfaces and metals, so that germs cannot congregate. Black mold can be much trickier to find, residing in the walls and underneath bathroom tiles, so there is more work to be done for that kind of grime.

Battling mold with a remodel

When you suspect that you have mold in your bathroom, the first thing you will want to do is call in someone to test your speculation. A mold testing professional will come out to your house to see just how many spores are in your bathroom and whether or not you need to hire someone to remove the mold or you can remove it yourself. If you are able to remove it yourself, you will want to get rid of all of the items that are infested with the mold, fixtures, wall pieces, cabinets, bathroom tiles, etc. This will get your bathroom off to a clean start. If you cannot remove a particular item, you can clean it down with a bleach solution or as recommended by the tester or other professional. In this remodel, you will also want to install a high quality bathroom fan that will keep the air from being moist and allowing mold to grow in these conditions.

Other tips for remodeling for health

Those with allergies will need certain help from your contemporary bathroom remodeling project. Those with allergies to dust and mold will need the bathroom to be easy to clean. Surfaces need to be flat and smooth, without any cracks or crevices that might harbor dirt or allergens. If you currently have bathroom tiles, these will probably need to be removed and replaced with a flat tiling setup. Those with immune system problems will need surfaces to be made from anti-bacterial materials, which are expensive, but worth the additional costs. The biggest concern is simply the regular use of a good, high quality bathroom fan. This fan should be used during any showers or baths and then be run for at least thirty minutes after the bath has ended. The fan should be cleaned on a monthly basis, if not more regularly. You might also want to look into HEPA air filters for your bathroom, if severe allergies are an issue.

Your bathroom is always going to be a popular room in your house, but when you plan a contemporary bathroom remodeling project with health in mind, it will be the safest room in the house as well.

How to Avoid the Most Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes

By: Dave Robert

Whenever you’re making an investment of either time or money, you need to know what you’re getting into. While contemporary bathroom remodeling can seem like a simple task (as many home improvement shows and books might have you believe), there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind before you get started with your contemporary bathroom designs and ideas. And in doing so, you’ll start saving time and money before you even get started.

Mistake #1 – Don’t have an idea.

Contemporary bathroom remodeling has become increasingly complex with all of the choices that you have now. With constant innovations in design and technology, it has also become amazingly simple to make mistakes that might go unnoticed, that is, until disaster strikes. But you can avoid these kinds of situations by looking over various contemporary bathroom designs to get a sense of what you want and what might fit into the space that you have. When you take the time to plan out what you want and what you need to do to create the bathroom that you desire, you won’t run into common problems – space concerns, the wrong equipment, etc. You’ll know exactly what you need to do and what you need to buy.

Mistake #2 – Install everything yourself.

When it comes to contemporary bathroom remodeling, you might want to cut down on your spending by taking on the work yourself. However, if you’re interested in saving time and money, you may want to consider outside expertise. This is especially the case in contemporary bathroom designs that include complicated plumbing and piping. For those kinds of tasks, you will want to make sure that you are calling in professionals that are trained in the installation of your faucets and other water-related pieces. Calling in the pros helps you stay within your budget by getting it done the right way, the first time.

Mistake #3 – Go shopping without a plan.

Have you ever walked into a store without having any idea of what you want to buy? If you’re heading to the contemporary bathroom designs stores without any plan, you might be tempted to buy everything that they see. But this can create the feeling that you need to purchase certain items when you may not have to – again, wasting your time and your money. And even if you can go back and return the items that you accidentally purchased, it’s time that you could be spending doing work on your bathroom – getting the remodel done more quickly. Try to get a sense of what you might need from the store before you head out – why come back over and over when you don’t have to?

Mistake #4 – Buying what’s popular.

While you might want to follow the contemporary bathroom designs of the day, purchasing what’s ‘in vogue’ at the time can lead to problematic remodels. Keeping up with the ‘Joneses’ can cost you time and money. Some of the newer bathroom faucets and sinks will not work with some older home designs. If you’re trying to complete a simple remodel, you might find that adjusting your bathroom to accommodate these trends will results in more work and expense. It may be best to work with the style and the bathroom that you already have first.

The carpenter’s idea of ‘measure twice, cut once’ should be the guiding force to how you approach contemporary bathroom remodeling. Realize that while you might be remodeling a smaller room in your home, it’s not a small project. However, by knowing what to avoid, you can take the necessary steps to creating another beautiful room and save yourself time, money, and even a few headaches along the way.

If you’re looking for top notch bathroom accessories and remodeling ideas, go to Not only will you find low prices and plenty of ideas, you can start your bathroom remodel in the right direction by creating that all-important plan.

Home Inspections—The Trouble With Termites

By: David Haigh

What do teenagers and termites have in common? They’ll both eat you out of house and home. The difference is, termites do it literally by doing serious damage to wood structures.

Termites invite themselves into your home, but you may not know it. If they go unnoticed for a long time, they can cause tremendous damage. When your home inspector conducts his inspection, a home inspection engineer should thoroughly check for evidence of termites. Your mortgage lender may ask for a clear termite certificate.

If termites are discovered, an anti-termite chemical, or termiticide treatment, or a termite baiting system will be needed to get rid of them. A licensed professional engineer may then be necessary to design repair procedures for the damaged structures.

Though there are different types of termites, it’s the subterranean termites that make their home in the ground near a source of moisture, warmth, and wood. They send workers to find food for their colony, and they start in the lower parts of your home.

Food for ttermites is any source of cellulose, such as the wooden framing of your home, wooden flooring materials, and sub-flooring. They also like paper on sheetrock walls, newspapers, magazines and just about anything that contains cellulose.

Here are a few steps to lower the chances of termite infestation. Make sure there is no wood to earth contact of any parts of your home. Don’t allow landscape chips from flower beds to come in contact with your home’s siding. Keep gutters and their extensions clean so water can drain away from the building. This is a good idea for several other reasons as well, but don’t invite termites with a moist environment.

Some homes are at greater risk of termite problems. For example, slab on grade homes with radiant floor heating are a natural breeding ground for termites. If you own a home with radiant floor heating, a wise maintenance procedure is to periodically have inspections done by a competent and qualified exterminator.

Detecting termites is difficult because termites eat out the inside of wooden beans, leaving the outer shell. Signs of termite damage include the following:

* A termite swarm flying or crawling around your property

* Damaged wood, especially pulp or saw dust around the house or under wooden overhangs

* Termite shelter tubes—sand colored tubes about the thickness of a pencil

* Change in sounds, such as woodwork that sounds hollow when struck or you hear extra creaks in floors

The best time to inspect for termites is in the spring and fall of the year. Any inspection should thoroughly check the basement, crawl spaces, and upper floors as well.

If you’re planning to buy a home, you could find yourself in serious trouble by moving heavy furniture into an area where termites have damaged flooring. A home inspection can determine the extent of termite damage and whether major repairs or replacement is required for flooring or other structures.

The possibility of termite trouble is one more critical reason to have a home inspected before you either buy or sell.

Interior Painting: Give Your Home a Touch of Life

By: Eugene Makeev

Colors do make life a lot more attractive, livelier and simply vibrant. Your everyday hectic New York life could use some refreshing change and nothing beats a fresh coat of paint to achieve this. Especially if your current home is new or pre-owned, chances are the interior walls would be in neutral shades or stark white. What seemed to work with the realtors may seem lifeless to you. Inject your home with a flare of lively color and indulge in the comforting ambiance that it brings through Interior Painting.

‘So what are the benefits of undertaking an interior painting project?’ you might ask. For one, it is the least expensive and least time-consuming project you can take for a splash of change. Other than enjoying the result in no time, the job result is both functional and decorative. Interior painting breathes life into a room, sets the mood and impression you want to get out of guests, highlights architectural details while hiding flaws, and protects the walls.

But though the project seems easy enough, do not get fooled and fall into the pitfall many New York homeowners have already fallen into. If you really want the most bang for your every buck, do not sacrifice quality over the dollars that you ‘think’ you’ll save. Craftsmanship and product selection are crucial in making a success out of your interior painting project. So if you are not skilled and experienced enough to undertake the task then, hand it over to a qualified contractor.

Product and color selection is often the interior painting phase where many homeowners get stuck. With all the available colors, types of paints and the many manufacturers; choosing the right paint can be daunting. To help you out on this, here are several things to consider:

• As you will be the one most exposed to the change, it is important that the color that you choose is something that you like. Choose a color that matches your taste as well as complements with the rest of the décor and furnishings.

• When you choose a color, pick up a shade that is neither too dark nor light.

• You can also pick a color in accordance to its psychological effect.

• Paints are manufactured according to use which may range from multi-purpose to specific areas. When choosing from the different types of paint, choose one that is appropriate for the room you want painted.

Wall preparation makes up most of the interior painting project and is among the most crucial stages. This could make or break the project, adding a good deal of years to the result if done right. This the time when every area needing repairs should be attended to, to make the wall ready for the actual application of paint.

Interior painting is also a great opportunity to unleash the creativity in you. Using various application methods and tools, different textures and patterns can be actualized. Create a wall for your fantasy through faux painting where any environment from outer space to fairyland is possible. For designs with specific patterns, you can either opt for wall stenciling or rubber stamping.

Bathroom Remodeling: Let Your Imagination Bring About Transformation

By: Eugene Makeev

Throughout the decades the functions of a bathroom have greatly revolved turning it from simply essential to so much more. The changes have been somewhat the answer to the hectic lifestyle of modern people, and are especially needed in the bustling big cities. In the City that Never Sleeps—New York, it definitely pays to be creative in creating a haven of comfort out of your baths. Some imagination integrated into your bathroom remodeling project could give you more than a good boost to your home’s value. It could also afford added luxury to your and your loved ones’ quality of living.

Depending on your lifestyle and taste, you could recreate your personal space through bathroom remodeling, achieving the most functional and stylish transformation. Typically, it is in the design phase that homeowners get stuck. With the thousands of possible ideas that they could use as inspiration, the task can seem overwhelming. To help you out on this, here are several creative ideas that you can choose from to integrate into your bathroom remodeling:

A Dash of Modernity

Your contemporary home could use a modern bath. If you are a homeowner who wants everything downright functional in a stark, sleek look then this bathroom remodeling style is perfect for you. Organization and surfaces are keys to achieve modernity in the design. Clean lines will give an effect of needed spaciousness. High sheen black counters, stainless steel sinks and features, glass and mirrors would also do great in the design.

Tropical Extravaganza

Wouldn’t it be great to be seemingly transported to some tropical resort each opportunity you get to take your time in the bath? Of course.

This bathroom remodeling idea could be realized through using earthly elements. Plants, mini-waterfalls and even some white pebbles could do just the trick. You could even have an open shower if your property could afford you the needed privacy even if your shower area opens up to the heavens.

Asian Invasion

Give in to utter peacefulness and feel the Zen. With a modern Asian bathroom remodeling design, oriental crafts can spruce things up inside your bath. Some of the things that you could implement in your design include jars and other forms of pottery, bamboo walls, and even French doors overlooking a rock garden.

Your Everyday Spa

Wellness and rejuvenation has become more than a therapy thing as it has revolutionized the way people live through its integration in home improvement designs. This bathroom remodeling idea is made possible by innovative spa products that you can find in the market today. From steam showers, to home saunas, whirlpool tubs, to chromatherapy; the options are many. And the best thing about having such is that these products are equipped with state of the art features like radio, telephone, CD player, remote control full-dimensional massages and others.

So which serves as the most tempting way to spend time in the bathroom? But if you can still squeeze out a little more of those creative juices, then by all means do so. Exhaust every possible option to make your bathroom remodeling idea fit your way of living perfectly.

How to Save Money With the Help of a Plumber and Green Plumbing Methods

By: Andrew Stratton

Looking to cut back on the household bills while doing something that's good for the planet and generations to come? The solution to this problem is easier than you may think.

By simply hiring a plumber to install "green plumbing" methods in your home, you can significantly cut down on your monthly payments to the Water Company and electric company, while doing something good for the environment at the same time.

As you may already know, earth's inhabitants are consuming the fresh water supply at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, 6.8 billion gallons of water are wasted daily just by flushing toilets. Another statistic shows that over half of our states anticipate fresh water shortages in the next 10 years as a result of such waste.

Believe it or not green plumbing methods have a direct impact on our environment and the long-term health of our planet. One of the first ways green plumbing impacts the environment is in the area of water conservation.

However, a green plumber can work his plumbing magic to significantly reduce the amount of waste coming from our homes in the form of toilet flushing, leaky taps or high flow fixtures.

For example, a plumber may install a high efficiency toilet to help cut back on the amount of water used throughout the day. Similarly, a good plumber can also install systems to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing and other tasks to avoid using the fresh water supply at all.

Faucets with a 'low flow' or front loader washing machines can also be installed to reduce the daily water intake from the household.

And while the reduction of water will help conserve our precious resources, it also helps to reduce the monthly water bill as well. Furthermore, some states are even offering cash back rebates for homeowners that purchase and install these high efficiency products that reduce waste.

Again, a good plumber who is knowledgeable in the area of green plumbing can direct the homeowner to these rebates and other bonus for installing eco-friendly products in the home.

In addition to saving on water costs, hiring a green plumber can also help to cut back on a person's monthly electric bill. Specifically, the plumber can install a solar hot water heater in place of a traditional hot water heater powered by oil or gas heat.

Now rather than wasting energy when taking a hot shower, running the dishwasher or doing anything else that requires hot water, a solar hot water heater will harvest the energy from the sun, free of charge to the homeowner.

And as mentioned before, certain states offer rebates to help cover the installation of a solar hot water heater, as it helps to further the states 'ultimate goal' of preserving the planet and community in which we live.

But remember, not all plumbers specialize in green plumbing methods or savvy ways to save money on the heating or electric bill via their services. In that case, be sure to be upfront with the plumber on what you expect out of the job and the long term goals you have for the reduction of your monthly water and energy costs.

Benefits Of Bamboo Flooring

by: Ken Morris

Bamboo flooring is a beautiful alternative to hardwood. This type of flooring is becoming very popular for its decorative value and because it is one of the most environmentally friendly materials currently used. Major manufacturers, such as Armstrong flooring, Columbia flooring and Mohawk flooring offer a bamboo product.

Bamboo is nearly as strong as steel. It is much stronger than any other material used in discount wood flooring. This durability makes bamboo perfect for use on floors. It is stronger than linoleum flooring and more comfortable to walk on than stone flooring. The weight, feel and density of this material are nearly the same as real hardwood.

Floors can be made of solid bamboo or be an engineered product. This means the bamboo is combined with another type of wood. Most often, engineered materials contain a bamboo surface with a plywood core. The bamboo can be stained and given a coat of urethane, as you would with any other hardwood.

These floors are installed like other hardwood floors. They are most often nailed or glued to the sub floor. Newer products are made to work like laminate flooring where the pieces lock together and create a floating floor. These don’t need to be nailed or glued in place.

The sub floor needs to be level prior to installation. If it isn’t level, asphalt shingles can be used to level it out. Make sure the sub floor material is completely dry and there is no moisture, which could damage the new floor.

Bamboo Flooring: Environmentally Friendly

More people are becoming concerned about the depletion of the hardwood forests on our planet. Many tree species take generations or may years to grow, such as walnut or oak. There is not enough replanting and even when new trees are planted, they can’t grow fast enough to satisfy the demand. Efforts are being made to prevent the deforestation of the rainforests.

Bamboo grows much faster than any tree used in manufacturing wood flooring. Plants only take five years to become mature. After they are harvested, new shoots begin to grow almost immediately. This happens automatically with no need for replanting.

Caring for Bamboo Flooring

Remove dust and dirt with a broom or dust mop. You can clean the floor using a water and vinegar solution containing 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar. To do this, use a barely damp sponge mop. Dry the floor right away with a towel. Don’t allow the floor to become soaking wet, as this can damage the bamboo.

Use a damp cloth for occasional spills or sticky spots. After you wipe up the spill, dry it with a towel right away. If the floor becomes dull, you can buff it with a buff sander to restore the shine. With proper care, your new floor will last for many years to come.

The Esteemed Bookcase

by: Christine Loxley

Many homes and living rooms are made complete by the addition of a bookcase – its passive presence both creates a lived-in feeling and lets homeowners put pieces of their own character on its shelves. The installation of a bookcase is often the crowning moment of interior decoration; one of the last things to be set up after moving into a new house. Consequently, choosing the right piece of furniture can take a lot of deliberation and trips to the department store.

The wide and diverse selection can make it difficult to pick a good bookcase, if only for the bombardment of good design ideas. These days, bookshelves are as small and as big as you can imagine, and they are made in so many shapes, colours and materials that there is bound to be a good candidate for your own living room or bedroom – or even every room of your house!

A well suited bookcase should adequately reflect the mood of a room, so it is important to decide before you go shopping just what you want the place to feel like. For a rustic atmosphere, a wooden shelf could do the trick. Are you more modern in taste? Try out a sleek and slim aluminum case, and it might satisfy that simplistic, functional urge.

What many people don’t consider when choosing a bookcase is to consult a furniture builder. There are a great deal of builders out there, who use a range of different materials and unique designs. If the store products aren’t impressing you, or you have a particular idea in mind for your shelves, it might be wise to speak with a builder. This way, your shelf can suit your home, your style and you aren’t likely to bump into the same one at a friend’s dinner party!

Plenty Of Tips On Keeping Your Home Secure From Intruders

by: Jon Kilminster

There's no place like home. A man's home is his castle. Home is where the heart is. To most people, "home" is a comforting word, a suggestion of safety and warmth, a haven from the outside world. That's why home security is such an important issue to so many people. To have one's car or office burglarized is bad, but to have the sanctity of one's home breached is somehow even worse.

When it comes to home security, there are a number of fairly basic things you can do that don't require a lot of time or money. First and foremost, you must make sure all the outside doors on your home have deadlocks. You'd be surprised how many people have a front door that is completely secure, yet have a garage door or side door that is protected only by an ordinary locked doorknob.

Windows, too, should be lockable, and if it's feasible to put screens over them, even better. Some homeowners put thorny bushes and shrubs below windows to make the idea of climbing in less appealing or even physically dangerous. Most burglars don't want to put forth a lot of effort, so anything you can do to make your home unappealing will help.

It is also wise to keep a record of the serial numbers of all your valuables. If any of the items are stolen, the serial numbers may help police investigators recover them. Homeowner's insurance policies -- which are also highly recommended -- sometimes require this record-keeping.

Neighborhood watch programs can be an effective, low-tech way of discouraging burglaries, with residents keeping an eye out for suspicious activities in their own neighborhoods and calling police if they see something. In addition, burglars avoid areas that are well-lit, neatly kept and that don't have a lot of hiding places. Home security is a vital concern, but it needn't be difficult or expensive to maintain.

Helpful Tips on Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs

By: Annie Deakin

Reupholstering is a great way of enhancing the look of those old dining room chairs that you have in your home. You can not only change the way that piece of furniture looks, but also improve the look of an entire room.

Although many people will seek the help of a trained professional who specializes in reupholstering furniture, it is also possible to do the entire job by yourself.

An added bonus to doing the task by yourself is that you will have that feeling of self worth that is provided by a job well done.

Tips on reupholstering

Although taking on the task of reupholstering your dining room chairs may seem intimidating you can easily accomplish the job by simply following a few easy steps.

The first thing that has to be done is pick out the material which you plan on using. There will be many considerations that go into making this choice such as color, durability, and stain resistance. Make sure that you match the fabric to the rest of your dining room and purchase more than you need. As a rule of thumb it is recommended that you double the amount.

Once you have the fabric picked out you will need to remove the old cushions from all of the chairs. This can easily be done by using a screwdriver and taking out all of the screws anchoring the cushion down.

Take the material off of each one by using the same screwdriver and a pair of needle nosed pliers. Gently pry the staples up and pull them out. Take care to dispose of them properly so that nobody steps on one at a later time.

Measure the seat and them double that measurement before tracing and cutting each piece of material. This will ensure that you have plenty of fabric to cover the area of the seat and still have enough to fold under.

Lay the material down on a flat surface making sure that the right side is placed upside down. Place the chair seat onto the middle of the fabric and start folding the material around the seat.

After making the first fold be sure to staple it on the back securely, and continue the step with each of the folds. Take care to pull the fabric tight to reduce bunching or wrinkling on the top side. Also, don't forget to pleat all of the corners as you go along.

Once all of the fabric is folded and stapled to the back of the seat take some scissors and trim away all of the excess material. This will help when you are trying to reattach the cushion back on the chair.

Now that you have finished the chair seat the only thing that will be left is to put it back on the chair. Put all of the screws back in and your job is done.

By taking care to go through each step accurately and with precision, you will soon have the chair of your dreams at fraction of the price. It will boost your self esteem and save you lots of money in the end.

Wardrobe Boxes and Simple Tips on Packing Clothes

By: John Clayton

Moving to a new home? Then you most certainly need wardrobe boxes. However, there are people out there who choose to do otherwise and simply opt to use whatever box is lying around. This is the wrong thing to do. The thing with these ordinary cardboard boxes is that they are not equipped to hold your garments and neither are they durable enough to endure the load and the bumps that you will inevitably encounter during the transit to your new home. In fact, a lot of these ordinary cardboard boxes fall apart even before you get them inside the moving truck. They are that fragile. Besides, there are certain perks to using these wardrobe moving boxes that no other moving box can provide you with. First off, these boxes actually have rods in them from which you can hang your more delicate clothing such as your suits, evening wear and so on. These are the items that you can’t fold inside a box because doing so might damage their fabric permanently. If you have designer items in your wardrobe that require extra care then it is recommended that you get these specially designed boxes to hold them. After all, they are investments as well.

Now, here are a few tips by which you could utilize your wardrobe boxes when it comes to packing your clothes for the big move.

- Make a list before you start packing. This would allow you to organize everything beforehand and enable you to pick and choose the ones you want to take with you and the ones that you ought to sell during a garage sale or donate to your local Goodwill. After all, you have very limited space and you simply can’t afford to take everything with you.

- Instead of piling your clothing on top of the other, try rolling them instead. This would reduce any signs of creasing and give you more space inside the box. In fact, you can even insert various fragile items such as glassware or figurines inside the rolled up garments in order to protect them from damage. Remember, the fewer boxes you use, the more space you have inside the moving truck.

- Pack your clothes seasonal clothes in a separate box. Your heavy coats for winter shouldn’t mix with your clothes for spring and so on. Doing this would definitely save you time when it comes to unpacking simply because you need not take out your winter garments out of the box unnecessarily. You just simply store them away up until the time when they are finally needed.

- Lastly, make full use of your wardrobe boxes. There would still be a bit of space underneath the clothes that you have hanging so use that extra bit of storage wisely. As for the clothes hanging in the box, do cover them in garment bags or make one out of a clean garbage bag. This would prevent dust from sticking to the fabric.

So there you have it some simple tips on how to pack wisely and how to make full use of your wardrobe moving boxes.

Home Inspection Tip—Move Your Clutter!

By: David Haigh

When any self respecting housewife invites company for dinner, she cleans the house to impress her guests. If you’re selling your home and are having it inspected, as you should, you’ll need to do some house cleaning, too. That’s not so you can impress your home inspector, but so he can do his job.

Many times home inspectors can’t fully do what they’re supposed to do because certain areas of the home are inaccessible, due to clutter. When it’s time for your home inspection, you want to get your money’s worth. You don’t want the report to say, “Inspection limited due to the excess possessions blocking access and view.”

This isn’t about being a neat freak. The American Society of Home Inspectors ASHI ®, Standards of Professional Practice, says inspectors are not to report on components or systems which are not observed. Your inspector isn’t required to disturb insulation or move personal items out of the way. If you’ve got furniture or plants in places your inspector needs to see, like the doorway to a utility closet, you’ll have to move that stuff. Clear off any snow and ice if necessary as well.

What if the water heater, electrical panels, or attic are places your home inspector can’t get to? Those are areas he must check if your home is to be inspected properly, and if you’re going to get the report you need. The bottom line: Don’t let junk ruin your home inspection.

In some homes water heaters are found in utility closets or garages. If the water heater is surrounded by clutter, your inspector can’t tell if there are possible problems, such as a fire hazard. If an electrical panel has been improperly installed, but is hidden from view, your inspector won’t know that, and neither will you. What if that panel causes a fire for the next home owner?

Walk through your home before your home inspection is to take place and make sure all doors and passageways are accessible. Move stored items out of the way or elsewhere altogether. If the home being sold is vacant make sure that the power, water and gas remain on so that all systems are operable and can be inspected.

If items on the report can’t be inspected, you as the seller may be asked to have the home inspected again after areas in question have been cleared out. Similarly, if you’re the buyer, you can ask for another inspection. Another option is to request that the seller pay for a warranty if a certain component is not inspected.

Granted, if a home to be inspected is being lived in, there will be personal possessions throughout the house. Some areas will be less accessible as a result. If you’re the seller, make sure things can be moved out of your inspector’s way.

Show some common courtesy and make sure key areas around your property can be seen by your home inspector. You may not be trying to impress him at a dinner party, but you’ll make his job easier, and you’ll get a more complete report. That, after all, is what you’re paying for.

Home Inspection Tips—Dealing With Grading and Drainage Problems

By: David Haigh

Let’s face it. Your basement is a hole in the ground, and you don’t want water getting into that hole. Grading and drainage are issues every home owner faces. Home inspectors find grading and drainage problems to be quite common.

If grading collects and holds water near a foundation wall it can cause basement flooding. That can lead to mold growth as soon as 48 hours after flooding, something you definitely don’t want. Of course, any amount of flooding can damage those valuable items you’ve stored in your basement, and you don’t want that either.

If you’ve lived in an area for quite a while, you maybe familiar enough to detect certain weather patterns, such as a wet spring that could cause flooding. You may already know you have to be on guard concerning water getting into your basement. However, aside from immediate flooding, water leakage over a long period of time will rot and damage wood framing structures and also cause damage to the foundation. That’s something to be aware of, too.

The grade is like a roof on a house. A grade that pitches or angles towards a home can direct water right to your home. If the ground is frozen in winter, heavy rain can cause flooding next to your foundation wall. Of course, heavy rain any time of year can cause flooding. The problem is that the water will leak into any cracks it finds. Thus, you get water in your basement and damage to your foundation.

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’ll want to ask the owner about any flooding in the past. Was this a wet year? What about wet years within the past ten years? Such years are bound to happen. You don’t want to be surprised by unanticipated flooding in the basement. Any possible evidence of past flooding is important to learn about before you buy the home. You want to be able to wisely make an informed decision on purchase or negotiation with the seller.

If you’re selling a home yourself, here are some ideas to reduce water leakage into the basement.

First, angle or pitch all grades away from your home. The ground right next to the foundation should be sloped away from a building at a slope not less than 1 inch per 1 foot of grade over a distance of no less than 8 feet. Of course, if the house has a hill side directed to the house, following this recommendation may be cancelled out as water runs down the hill.

It may be necessary to install a grade or below grade drain. This will direct water away from the ground next to the foundation. An engineer may need to design such a drain. Though this could cost several thousand dollars, consider it an important investment to ward off problems that could cost much more in the long run.

You could also drain water from gutters into dry wells placed at least 20 feet from the building. This depends on several factors, such as the soil conditions and general pitch of the surrounding grade. Consider the elevation of the house, too, such as when living in coastal flood plains or wetland areas. High water tables may be as close as 3-4 inches underneath a home’s basement slab throughout the year. A word of caution--don’t drain sump pumps into city sewers, as it’s illegal in most places.

Another suggestion is to keep grass clippings from piling up around the perimeter of your home. Over time grass clippings can raise the grade a little and make something like a low moat that collects water. That water will likely seep into the ground and find small cracks in your foundation and end up in the basement.

Water where it doesn’t belong is a plague to most home owners and home inspectors. Taking preventive measures now will make life easier for you, your inspector and prospective buyer.

5 Easy Ways to Accessorize a Room

By: Dina Solise

If you find that the current look of your home is rather boring or you’re just looking for something different, there are many simple ways to spruce things up by accessorizing any room in your home. To give any room an entirely new look, you don’t need a lot of money or an interior decorator. By following these simple suggestions, you can accessorize any room in your home.

Add Some Extra Flair with Throw Pillows

An easy place to start is by adding throw pillows to the sofa or chair. Another simple way to accessorize is to add a throw blanket to the back of the sofa. Just be sure that these items aren’t the exact same color as the sofa or chair, as they should add some interest and design element to the room. For instance, if you have a tan sofa, find decorative pillows where tan is not the main color in the design or pattern. By finding accessories that match other complementary colors in the room, you can really pull the room together.

Update Your Lighting Fixtures

You can give your room a whole new glow by updating your lighting fixtures. Installing new lighting in a room can make a big difference, whether you’re replacing older fixtures or small ones. A variety of fixtures are available that are both inexpensive and easy to install. Be sure to get a fixture that gives off plenty of light to make your room brighter. At the same time, find a design style that fits the room.

Go Green with Your Living Room Accessories

With a simple houseplant or vase of flowers, you can easily add more color to any room. There are some really beautiful fake flower arrangements available at craft stores. If you’re creative enough, you might even make one yourself. Be sure to place the flower arrangement in a prominent spot in the room so it garners lots of attention. You would also want to do this for a houseplant, whether it’s real or fake. To draw more attention to the fireplace, for instance, consider placing two houseplants on either side of it.

Fill Up a Blank Wall with Framed Pictures

Are your walls boring? Try hanging a few picture frames in various shapes and sizes to spice things up. There are so many picture frames available these days that are both unique and stylish. They not only allow you to display your favorite pictures, but they also add some interest to the room. Black-and-white pictures or those with just a touch of color will provide a dramatic look, as will matted images.

Reorganize Knickknacks with Shelving

If your various knickknacks in a room are getting lost in the mix, consider grouping them together on a mantle or shelving on wood bookcases. This way, you can display them together in a stylish arrangement and thus better accessorize the room.

Adding simple accessories allows you to easily redecorate or switch around the style design of a room. If you want to go a little further in reinventing the look, consider moving the furniture around or add new pieces, such as new oak dining room tables. It should be neither hard nor expensive to accessorize a room. By simply getting creative, you can really let your style show.