Upgrading Your Home’s Exterior

There are many ways for you to upgrade the exterior of your home. Of course, some cost a lot more than others, but with good planning and a little hard work, you can add some nice updates that look wonderful without breaking the bank. Below are some great inexpensive home updates you can do to your exterior.

  1. Clean it Up: cleaning up your home’s exterior and keep it looking that way is one of the lowest cost updates you can do for your home. Spruce up your flowerbeds, clean up debris, power wash your house, trim your bushes and shrubs, and cut the grass. You will be amazed at how good these few things help the look of your home.
  2. Painting: painting is an easy way to give your home a fresh look. If the budget is tight, simply paint the trim around your windows and doors to give your home a new look.
  3. Landscaping: the majority of home designers agree that your landscaping is the most important part of your home’s exterior. If you are doing renovations, include updating your landscape in the plans. Stand back and look at your home from a distance the you can view the entire yard. Perhaps you have flowers that don’t match your homes color that need to be replaced. Maybe some lighting needs to be added to bring the focus to a certain plant or feature in your yard. Try to see your yard from the perspective of a home buyer rather than as the homeowner.
  4. Add Lights: the exterior of your home can be completely transformed by adding lights or updating your current light fixtures. Again, stand back and take a good look at your yard to form your lighting plan. You may simply need to replace old bulbs with ones that are brighter. Proper lighting in your yard can improve your home’s safety and reduce theft.
  5. Simple Updates: after the above items have been done, look for other simple updates you can make to the exterior of your home. These may include changing your door handles, replacing your mailbox, or simply replacing your house number to freshen up the look.

There are many things you can do to help the exterior of your home look fresh. Use the items above as a starting place to get your home looking great again.

These landscaping and outdoor design tips come courtesy of experts.







Finding Your Stud

Most home improvement projects require you to have specific tools. In order to find a stud in your home, you may think you need a stud finder. If you don’t need to find a stud often, though, you may not be able to justify the purchase. There are ways you can find the studs using an old-fashioned way. This requires you to have some basic information on how your wall is constructed. There are many similarities throughout homes when it comes to wall construction.

Windows and doors are typically mounted beside a stud. Also, most light switches and outlets have a stud directly to their left or right. The trim in your home is typically nailed to a stud. Using this base knowledge and the tips below, you should be able to find a stud no time without a stud finder.

Corner Measurements

You can calculate where a stud is in your home by measuring from a corner in the room. Rooms are typically built with studs that are 16 inches on center, so at least one corner will have a stud 16 inches from it. Try knocking on the wall to determine if the side you are on has a stud 16 inches from the corner.

Use the Trim

The trim in your home is attached to the studs. Look closely at your baseboards to see if you can determine where the nails were inserted. Most contractors will paint over the dimples, so you may have to look very closely. When you find a nail hole, or dimple, then you have found a stud. After you look at the first one, you can find the additional studs by measuring in 16 inch increments.


As stated before, light switches and outlets are mounted on a stud. Tap directly beside the outlet to determine which side has the stud support. Once you find a stud, measure using your 16 inch increments to find the rest of them on the wall.


As you can see, it’s not too difficult to find a stud in your wall without using a stud finder. Save the money you would use to purchase one for further home-improvement renovations.

Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home

The front of your home says a lot about you and your property. This is typically called curb appeal. There are several ways you can increase your curb appeal using simple ideas, increasing the value of your home and making you the envy of your neighbors.

Front Door

One of the first things people notice about your home is your front door. A new door can create a focal point that says a lot about your home.

If you’re looking to install a new door, consider your home’s architectural style. You want to find a door that will complement your home. You also need to decide if you want glass included in your door. Glass can allow more light into your home, and bring color and a decorative nature to your front door.


Your landscaping design should take into consideration the shape and size of your home and property. The plants and shrubs should never overwhelm the area. Also, choose shapes from your home to include in your landscaping design. If your home is curvy, use a landscape design that includes curves as well.

When choosing colors for your landscaping, use hues that complement your home. Doing so will help the trim around your home really pop. If your home is painted in neutral colors, try adding landscaping that gives it a splash of color. You can also add accessories such as water features and benches if you have the room.

With landscaping, you will need to make sure you have enough time to keep it maintained, or be willing to hire a service that will do so for you. Many homeowners start their landscaping project with ambition and create a beautiful front yard, but find it takes too much time and energy to maintain and let it slowly deteriorate.


If you receive mail at your home, you may want to upgrade your mailbox. This is a simple home improvement project. The mailbox is the first thing someone sees from the curb. There are many choices in mailbox on the market today, made with a variety of materials. A wood mailbox is durable but will need regular painting or staining to keep it looking new. A PVC mailbox looks like wood but needs less maintaining. You can also find a metal mailbox. Whichever mailbox you choose, find one that complements your home and meets the regulations of the United States Postal Service.


When your home has curb appeal, you not only become the envy of your neighbors, but increase the value of your home. Use the simple tips above to add curb appeal to your home.

Simple Upgrade Ideas for Your Home

Most families don’t have enough money to do a full home renovation at one time. There are some cheap and basic home improvements you can do to help rejuvenate your home, though. Below are five ways to improve your home’s appearance:

  1. Repaint: you can transform any room with a fresh coat of paint. Try adding a new color to the room to give it a complete new look. After painting, you can add new accessories that boost the appearance of your room. For example, paint your bedroom in your color choice then add linens that are a complementary color to tie it all together. If you don’t have the time or money to repaint now, or if you like the color the room is currently painted in, simply clean the walls thoroughly and touch up the paint. This will give the room a fresh look without the cost.
  2. Add a tile back-splash: it can be very expensive to remodel a kitchen. It’s a lot of work as well since you have several major appliances that will need to be moved. A simple change you can make in your kitchen is to add a tile back-splash. Not only with this protect your wall behind the sink, counter tops, and stove from stains and moisture, but it can add visual appeal to your kitchen.
  3. Install crown molding: this can give your room depth and a decorative flair. There are many options available with crown molding, so choose one that fits your room and style.
  4. Lighting upgrade: changing the lighting in your room can greatly improve the appearance. Start by buying fixtures to upgrade areas in the room that are high impact, such as your entryway or above your dining room table. Use lighting to focus on elements within the room where you want to draw attention.
  5. Replace household and cabinet hardware: it is very costly to replace your kitchen cabinets, but simply replacing the hardware can make them look like new. Try to find pieces that are the same shape and size as your current hardware to make the project simple. Remember, though, that some hardware will not be able to be changed, such as those on appliances. Keep those pieces in mind as you shop for new hardware if you want them all to mesh.

As you can see, there are many ways to update your home without a lot of expense. Be creative and save money at the same time by following these tips.






Keeping Your Deck Looking Good

Keeping your deck maintained is important since your deck is an extension of your home. Your deck is likely a favorite place for spending time with friends, relaxing on the weekends, and enjoying family barbecues. Even though you mostly use it in the summer, your deck remains exposed year-round to the elements. This is why it’s so important to establish a routine to keep your deck in good shape that will help you keep your deck protected and prevent needing future repairs. The maintenance tips below will help you keep your deck looking new for longer.

Clean it Regularly

Debris on your deck, such as dirt and leaves, can lead to rot by causing mildew and mold. You can use a power washer to easily remove any debris from your deck. Most local hardware stores rent power washers if you don’t own one yourself. It is important to keep the power washer nozzle moving, though, to avoid gouging the wood on the deck. After washing the deck, allow it to dry overnight. Cleaning your deck should be a regular chore.

Regular Repairs

If you have boards that are loose or broken, replace them immediately. Pay close attention to any area where the boards are over joists, especially in areas under the deck. Also, be sure to fix any loose screws and nails. This is a simple but necessary component of keeping your deck maintained.

Keep it Stained and Sealed

Protect any shrubs or plants around your deck with plastic sheeting. Use an 80 grit paper to lightly sand your deck, then apply the stain. Always wear gloves and protective eye wear, and give yourself two days with moderate temperatures and clear skies. Give your deck 48 hours to dry, then add the sealant as your final step.


Following the simple steps above will keep your deck looking nice for many years to come.

Your Home and Gutters

If you have recently bought a home, you may have noticed that it lacks gutters. Looking at the costs associated with installing a full-blown gutter system, you may question if you need gutters in the first place. Below are some reasons you should consider installing gutters on your home.

Erosion Control

If your home was built to code, it sits on a slight slope so water will not sit at the foundation. When rain pours off your roof rather into gutters, it can cause the soil around your home to erode. This will wear down your landscaping and allow the water to sit near your foundation instead of flowing away from it. As the erosion continues over time, the foundation will begin to settle. You may eventually began noticing cracks in the walls and uneven floors.


The majority of homeowners have shrubs or flowers up against their home. These plants can serve as a windbreaker against the cold winter winds. Water flowing directly off your roof can wash away those plants. Even if you don’t experience much erosion in the area, your plants could drown from the puddles of water that form. This is especially bad when the snow melts off your roof and drips onto your plants, freezing and potentially killing your evergreens.

Prevent Flooding in Basement

Soil that is saturated with water is very heavy. When the water runs off your roof and pools around the house, a lot of pressure is formed around the foundation. This can cause your basement walls to be pushed in, eventually making them crack. Of course, any cracks that form in your foundation walls become an opening for water to flow in, thus promoting basement flooding. If you live in the area that doesn’t get a lot of rain, the little bit of moisture that does get in your house could create a health hazard as mold begins to grow from the excess moisture.

Protect Your Siding

When it rains, the water carries particles such as asphalt, dirt, and leaves down your siding. This can leave stains on your siding. Over time, your home will look dirty and your curb appeal will be impacted negatively. If the rainwater flows down the siding enough, it can begin to make the wood rot. This is not only unattractive, but it becomes an open invitation for pests in your home. It can also affect the integrity of your home structure, a problem that can be quite expensive to fix.


Gutters should be installed on any home, new or old, to help protect your investment long-term. Installing gutters is not a difficult task, as the video below shows.

Budgeting for Your Home Improvement Project

If you own a home, it is likely a work in progress. Perhaps you have decided you need more space, or are tired of fixtures and features that are outdated. Maybe you want to update your home to increase its value. Regardless of your reasoning, you will need to figure out how to pay for your home improvement project. Below are some ways to help you budget for your upcoming renovations.

Wise Investments

The overall value of your home increases as you make improvements. Before beginning any project, make sure you will be able to recoup the money spent when you sell your home. You want your renovations to have real value to your home without overdoing it.

Create a Realistic Budget

A budget is necessary to determine the amount of money you can spend realistically. This includes money on credit and in your savings. Before you borrow money, ensure you don’t overextend your finances by first calculating the amount repayment will add to your budget. Also, add your interest payments to the cost of the renovation.

Discuss Your Plans

If you are working with a general contractor or designer on your project, go over your plans with them to get a better idea on how much your project will cost. Always add around 10% contingency to cover any expenses that are unexpected or unforeseen.

Be Flexible

is a good chance you’ll be making adjustments to your original home-improvement design to keep in your budget. Determine up front what you can and can’t live without, as well as what you can hold off on until more money is available. This is one of the best tips to stay in budget.

Use Your Own Skills

If you do some of the work yourself, it’s possible to reduce some of the costs involved with your home-improvement project. If you can remove your own cabinetry or flooring, or if you can lay tile are use a paint brush, it will save money you can use towards other home-improvement expenses. You should also look at sourcing out your projects materials so you can get a better price. Any skill you can add to the project may save you money, so it is worth looking into.

Dealing with Pesky Pests

Whether you rent or own your home, household pests can be a big headache. It is essential to address the pest problem early so it doesn’t become a bigger problem. We will give you some helpful advice in this article to help you solve some of the more common pest problems found in homes.

Every pest enters your home looking for something they need, whether it’s food, shelter, or something else. The best way to get rid of the pests is to find what they want and get rid of it. Get rid of any food scraps they may be eating, and fix any cracks where they may be entering your home.

Speaking of cracks, check your window screens to look for any rips or cracks that insects may be penetrating. Also, check for gaps around your doors and windows that may be allowing pests to enter your home. If you find any, fix them immediately to help keep pesky pests out of your living area.

If you are having problems with noisy crickets in your home, try using duct tape. Simply cut a strip off and lay it face up with the sticky side exposed. Put the tape on the ground where the crickets are heard. The tape will attract the crickets and they will quickly find themselves stuck on it.

If you decide to use a pesticide in your home, make sure you read the label thoroughly. This is imperative if you have young children or pets. Many pesticides have side effects to humans and animals. Because of their harmful nature, you should always know what you are putting in your home and how to keep your children and pets safe around it.

Pests in your home can cause a lot of damage if not addressed quickly. It is always best to take care of the problem as soon as you notice it. Otherwise, your pest problem may soon become uncontrollable. Use the advice that you have read here to get rid of any pests in your home.

Staining Your Deck

If your home has a deck, you likely understand the importance of protecting it from the elements. It is necessary to re-stain and seal the wood every few years. Doing so will prolong the life of your deck by preventing damage that could otherwise cause the wood damage prematurely.

If you are staining your own deck, you need to find a day that has the ideal temperature for staining. Your project can be greatly affected by weather conditions like heat and humidity. Follow the tips below to get the right weather situation you need for staining.

Not too Hot

One of the biggest concerns when staining your deck is high temperatures. The stain could dry too quickly when it’s hot, potentially causing uneven penetration and lap marks. If the weather is above 90°F, avoid staining your deck. If necessary, stain your deck in the morning before the weather gets too hot, or simply wait until a cooler day. Once the stain is applied and is drying, higher temperatures will no longer affect it.

Not too Cold

Staining your deck in low temperatures can also be detrimental. Doing so can make the drying time longer. If you stain your deck in the fall or spring, try to wait for a day that has temperatures above 50°F. Also, make sure the forecast for that night is above freezing. If the stain has not completely dried before freezing weather, the curing process will be hindered. It can also compromise the adhesion of the stain, or the stain may not penetrate correctly.

No Direct Sunlight

Regardless of the temperature outside, you should never apply stain while in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the stain to dry too quickly, preventing it from properly penetrating the wood, thus shortening its longevity. It can also give your stain a blotchy appearance as it dries unevenly. It is best to wait for a cloudy day to stain your deck.

Rain & Humidity

Obviously, you should never stain your deck in the rain. In fact, it’s best to wait to stain your deck on a day when rain is not in the forecast for at least a full 24 hours so the stain as it washed away. Also, the higher the humidity, the longer drying time your deck will need.


It is best to choose the day that is not windy. Otherwise, you may be left with unsightly imprints in the stain from debris such as twigs and leaves blowing across your wet deck.

Deck staining is a job that many do-it-yourselfers enjoy. It is imperative to find a day with the ideal weather situation, though. If you will be staining your deck soon, save this page is a reference to come back to.


Getting Started with Home Improvement

Home is a refuge, a place to shield you from the stresses of the world. When you make improvements in your home, it can give you an added feeling of security and peace. Having the right information to help you with your home improvement project is imperative. Below are some pointers to get you started with your home improvement project.

Before you start any home improvement project, get a better idea of your style. This will help to narrow down your choices as you shop for paint or other things needed in your home. Start with a basic decorating plan, then mix it up a little as you go. This will help you easily make adjustments and save money throughout the process.

If you are having problems deciding on a style you want for your home improvement project, take a quick look online. There are many web pages and articles that can help you find what you like. Besides, the more knowledge you have before starting the project, the better. You will want to have confidence in your decision before starting the process. The extra research can help you finish the job smoother and quicker.

If your home improvement project includes fixing squeaky doors, you may need to use a wire wool if lubricant doesn’t work. Simply take the door off the hinge and remove the center pin. Use the wool to wipe off any debris such as dirt and rust, then replace the pin and put the door back on the hinge. Once this is done, add lubricant and your problem should be solved.

When your walls have holes let from paintings, spackle and paint can help you with repairs. Your local home improvement store will have spackle for any wall type. Only add as much spackle as needed to fill the hole. Once it is completely dry, sand over it then paint it. This is a quick and easy way to make the hole disappear.

Hopefully, this article has helped give you ideas on getting started on your home improvement project. With a good attitude and a little knowledge, you can tackle any home improvement project with confidence.