Category Archives: Home Improven

How to Make Air Ventilation is easy and very useful

Central air conditioning is a luxury, yes, but it does come with one particularly unsightly problem: air vents. Look around any room and your eyes are likely to snag on bright white slats marring otherwise perfectly lovely ceilings, walls, and floors. But all hope is not lost: We’ve found some genius solutions to this design dilemma, whether you want hide a vent completely or make it stand out in a good way. It might seem hard to fathom, but with the help of these ideas, it’s possible to forget those air vents were ever there.

Conceal it

Out of sight, out of mind. Architect and designer Ernesto Santalla covered the air vents in this home with architectural millwork. With its floating shelf, the installation looks like a piece of furniture.

Paint it

Hide an air vent in plain sight with a fresh coat of the same paint color you used on the walls. Voila!

Switch out the cover

Say goodbye to those sad slats and replace them with a piece of framed, patterned mesh. In illustrator and designer Jacqueline Schmidt’s bathroom, the vent is an artistic detail rather than an eyesore.

Go shopping

Aria Vent sells minimalist vents “designed for the perfectionist,” which you can customize to match your flooring, then pop into place yourself.

How much Park fee?

A garden without a shade structure is a garden you can only enjoy from a distance. Install a gazebo and you can relax and entertain in your garden. How much does a gazebo cost? We look at several types of gazebos and their costs.

Types of Gazebos

A gazebo is any freestanding garden structure that provides shade. A gazebo can be a removeable structure with thin aluminium poles and a cloth top. It can also be a more elaborate structure designed to be a permanent structure.

A gazebo can be small or large. It can be square, rectangular, hexagonal or octagonal. It can be installed on grass or can have a timber or concrete base. A gazebo can be anything you want it to be, from a small shade structure to a larger structure designed for entertaining guests.

Where Can I Find a Gazebo?

You can find inexpensive, portable gazebos at many better hardware stores. If you want a more permanent structure, gazebo suppliers have dozens of designs you can choose from. Often, they have a variety of designs in different sizes, from 3 metres up to 9 metres or more. Gazebo suppliers may make their gazebos out of powder coated aluminium, timber, vinyl or a combination of materials.

If you want a custom gazebo, a gazebo builder can construct one for you or if you have a design in mind, any builder can erect it for you. One advantage to having a gazebo builder do the job is that gazebos are their business and they will have a portfolio of designs for you to choose from. Since their gazebos are not factory built, they can customise your gazebo for you.

Do you want a tropical style gazebo with a thatched roof? A good gazebo builder can create one for you. Do you prefer a simpler metal roof? They can do that, too. If there is a design you like, a gazebo builder or builder can create it for you.

Before you decide to install a gazebo, ask yourself a few questions:

What do we want to use the gazebo for?

  • Where should it be located in our garden?

  • What is our budget?

The first question is important. You may think you just want a gazebo to provide you with shade. After it is installed, you may wish you had made it larger. A poolside gazebo can provide shade for the whole family or you might wish you had built a gazebo large enough to entertain guests.

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Fractured Value

First time home owners know that buying a home is one of the most important investments that you can make. And while signing the papers on your first home can feel like putting down roots in your perfect pad, the reality is that most millennial homeowners end up moving multiple times, due to changing family and career factors. That’s why your home’s resale value should be a primary focus right from the get-go.

Selling a first home can seem even more stressful than purchasing one, but these simple tips on boosting your home’s resale value can go a long way in removing the stress from the equation. That’s why we’ve partnered with H&R Block to bring homeowners a guide to home improvement projects with the best return on investment. Whether you’re looking to sell now or in the distant future, knowing how to boost your property value is a great investment in your future.

1. Landscape Wisely

Like a good haircut, a yard should frame the face of your house in the most flattering way possible. After all, your yard is wholly responsible for your property’s first impressions. While it’s pretty obvious advice to keep your lawn mowed and weed-free, certain outdoor renovation projects are more likely to add value than others.

Forget about add-ons like a pool or hot tub, which can signal to potential buyers more maintenance than enjoyment. Instead, focus on the classics. Making sure your yard has a couple of healthy, thriving trees is a trusty way to boost your home’s resale value more than you may think. Check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator to see how trees in your zipcode affects property values, stormwater runoff, and other homeowner considerations. You’ll also want to landscape with native plant species, which will boost your home’s value without adding significant maintenance costs. When considering whether to tackle a yard renovation project, think about whether it will appeal to most people. A deck? Yes. A hedge maze? Not so much.

2. Refresh Your Front Door

If you’ve wowed house hunters with your stellar landscaping, the next place their eye will travel to is the front door. And it plays a big factor in your home’s resale value. In fact, according to a Cost vs. Value report conducted by Remodel, replacing an outdated entryway can have one of the biggest returns of any home improvement you could do yourself. Update the appearance of your whole home with a door that uses modern materials and a new color scheme.

3. Refinish The Floors

Floors are another make or break factor for most buyers. Gone are the days of wall-to-wall carpeting signaling luxury; instead they just signal lots of dust mites and vacuuming. Wood is always a classic choice, with varieties like oak being safe bets amongst house hunters. Replacing floors that have signs of wood rot or termites is another great way to add value to your home. To show your floors some less costly TLC, repair broken tiles or add a well-placed nail to conceal a pesky squeak.

4. Make Your Home More Energy and Cost Efficient

According to an annual survey done by the National Association of Realtors, millennials comprise 35 percent of all first-time homebuyers. This tech-savvy generation is looking for properties with smart home technology upgrades that will offer enhanced security, energy efficiency, and savings. Smart thermostats, lighting, and door locks can be a big draw for millennials, who value the ease of controlling their home by a smartphone app, even when they’re away from home. And smart thermostats can save up to 10 percent annually in home heating costs, proving that connected home apps aren’t just a passing trend.

Energy efficient upgrades can also bring tax credits to homeowners, so be sure to check out which updated homeowner credits are available through the U.S. Department of Energy. A 30 percent tax credit for installing solar energy systems has been extended through 2019, and credits are also available for several other energy efficient home improvement projects.

5. Update The Kitchen

The average cost of a kitchen remodel is $20,000, according to Home Advisor. This is no small renovation cost, but when you consider that updated and modern kitchens are a main selling point, the cost of remodeling can significantly boost your resale value. And you may not need to go all-in on a renovation when a facelift can go a long way. Consider adding some combination of new stainless steel appliances, cabinets, flooring and a modern countertop to refresh your kitchen on a smaller budget, depending on which aspect of your current setup could most use a facelift.

Top 5 Home Renovations in Canada

1. Windows and Doors 6%

Despite the hype over energy efficient products, window and door upgrades were the lowest ranking home renovation on our top ten list this year. Understandably so. On average, window and door upgrades can cost $8,522! This project is particularly expensive given that these fixtures add little to change a room’s appearance.

Window or door upgrades involve a few services along with replacing existing fixtures. These products can be expensive, so some homeowners avoid upgrading everything at once and do small replacements over a few years time.

Case example Price range for new windows:

Windows come in various styles, shapes, and sizes. Bear in mind that projects costs vary from province to province. Experts have determined an average price range for window installations:

  • Basement windows: $450-$800
  • Bedroom/kitchen windows: $800-$1,600
  • Living room: $1,800-$3,000
  • Bay window: $2,800-$3,000

On average, Alberta and Manitoba homeowners were willing to budget $9,288 for their window and door installations. A homeowner should expect to pay between $7,200-$14,000 to replace 9 middle and upper-level windows in their home.

Manitoba and Alberta homeowners budgeted accurately this year. However, Saskatchewan ($6,200), Nova Scotia ($4,025), and BC ($6,404) had low budgets for 2016.

This year, Canadians across the country budgeted $8,522 for window and door installations. This is a fair budget; however, slightly raising the budget would be a good idea.

Pro Tip: Window installations are very complicated. Mistakes can lead to damaged windows, leaks, or worse. Avoid issues by hiring a pro–don’t DIY this project!

2. Roofing 6%

Canadians weren’t particularly keen on re-doing their roof in 2016; the numbers were better in 2014. Nevertheless, roof improvements still made it to our top ten list this year. On the bright side, homeowners who took on a roofing project will be ready for the approaching harsh winter.

Roofs are diverse. Thus, a roof refinishing project can involve anything from a total replacement to a simple re-shingle process (involving the outmost layer of shingles).

Roofers have a dangerous job, which means that you need to do your due diligence as a homeowner by investigating your roofer’s Workers Compensation Insurance (WCI). Always remember to ask your roofer about their WSIB insurance coverage and verify it with your provincial board.

Case example Price range for a new roof:

A cost estimate for a new roof is difficult without any project specs. There are several factors that affect price including roof slope, size, valleys, and condition, as well as desired materials and garbage disposal.

Professionals suggest that a 2000 ft2 home roof replacement can cost about $4,500 and above. Alberta and Ontario homeowners had an appropriate budget for the project this year ($5,923).

Saskatchewan ($3,000), Newfoundland ($3,000), and New Brunswick ($3,000) homeowners budgeted too low this year.

This year, Canadians budgeted $4,906 on average for roof installations. This is a great target.

Pro tip: Inspect your roof when it is 15 years old, and replace an asphalt roof every 20-25 years. Install a new roof if you experience leaks in the home, witness shingles curling, find granule loss, or see moss or plant growth on the roof.

3. Floor Laying 8%

Floor laying making it to the top ten list is no surprise to us! Although it wasn’t at the top of our national list, new flooring projects were most popular in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Floor installations are a fabulous renovation because they have a great return on investment, and make a huge impact on the appearance of a room. The average price that Canadians were willing to spend on this reno was $3,258.10.

Flooring is a popular project because of the product diversity and affordability based on that fact. Products and installation vary in price range. Homeowners will find that laminate andceramic flooring products and installation services are the most affordable, whereashardwood (and engineered wood) and concrete products and installation services are more expensive.

Case example Price range for new flooring:

The flooring product market is extensive. This makes it difficult to establish an average price range for floor installations. One Ontario company suggests that 150 ft2 of mid-range laminate floor would cost $928.50 to purchase and install. Ontarians budgeted $4,456 for their flooring installations this year. This suggests that Ontario homeowners have budgeted well if they wish to install 800 ft2 of laminate flooring in their home.

Canadians living in BC ($3,199), Manitoba ($2,550), and Saskatchewan ($2,100) may want to increase their budget (depending on the material and project size).

On average, the nationwide budget for flooring projects was surprisingly low this year, sitting at $3,258. Homeowners who wish to install hardwood must increase their budget significantly. Flooring projects tend to be more costly than one would expect!

Pro Tip: Choose your flooring materials wisely. Sometimes beautiful options are impractical for a certain environment. Moreover, be wary of laminate and engineered woodproducts on the market that may contain formaldehyde. Do your research!

4. Tiling 7%

It’s the first time that tiling projects have made it to our nationwide top ten list! Tiling projects are growing in popularity and it’s no surprise to us! Tile projects have quick installation timelines, and the product selection is extremely versatile. They are great for indoor and outdoor backsplashes, flooring, walls, and ceilings. Tiling projects ranked as a top three project in British Columbia this year.

Case example Price range for tiling

Tiles come in many shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. These variables affect the price of the installation. Pros from our forum quote installation labour between $5-$10 per ft2, plus materials. Tiles can range in price from $0.50-$15.00, and above. The project price depends on the size of the room, the tile material, and tile location (floor, wall, counter, or ceiling).

A 100ft2 bathroom floor tiling project using good quality ceramic tiles may cost $2,000. This year, Canadians budgeted $1,558.60 for tiling projects. It would be best to raise the budget if one wishes to tile walls, or use higher-end materials.

For more information on tile products, project costs, and installation and labour prices check out our ultimate tiling guide.

Pro tip: Consult an expert on the materials before you jump into a project. Some tiles are much too porous for certain environments. Leaks can occur if the tiles are used improperly.

5. Kitchen Renovation 8%

Kitchen renovations have only made up 8% of the nationwide top ten projects. This year, Maritime homeowners in Newfoundland and PEI were more partial to kitchen renovations. Kitchen renos made it to the top three home improvement projects for 2016 on the east coast. Meanwhile, the demand for kitchen renovations dropped in other provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia.

Case example Price range for kitchen renovations

It is challenging to suggest an average’ price for a kitchen renovation. Pros on our Forumsuggest that a kitchen remodel may cost between $20,000-$40,000. Location, project scope, and materials impact the price of a kitchen renovation. Custom finishes will increase project costs by tens of thousands of dollars.

Canadians were ready to budget $14,479.10 for a kitchen renovation this year. This budget may be appropriate for those who will not buy new appliances or cabinets. This budget may be suitable for a renovation with low-end finishes and recycled appliances.

Interestingly enough, provinces such as Alberta ($20,338), BC ($22,774), and Manitoba ($15,307) had the most realistic renovation budgets. Nova Scotia ($9,333) and PEI ($7,750) had the lowest and most unrealistic budgets. On average, Canadians were ready to spend $14,479 on kitchen renovations this year.

We strongly recommend that homeowners invest in quality craftsmanship. This project involves complex electrical, gas, and plumbing; This project could endanger your and your family if completed incorrectly.

Pro Tip: Be cautious of any contractor who gives you a price that seems too good to be true’. Some shady businesspeople will intentionally low-ball a project to get you to sign on. Then, they proceed to increase the price as the project continues.

Easy Way to Find Many Houses of your dreams

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare–you find that dream home only to take a look at the asking price and have your stomach drop.

Can you afford it? Is there a way to pool your resources and assets to make it work?

And what if you settle for something small and pokey, in a bad area of town because you think you can’t afford better, only to find out (after you’ve signed the papers) that you could?

Before you commit to signing on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to research just how much home you can afford and whether you could scale up or if you should dial it back.

Here are some simple ways you can find out just how much you’re entitled to borrow against the cost of a property and basic tips on how to prepare your financial information to help you start out on the right foot. Plus we’ll make it even easier with a home loan calculator that saves you the math!

Find out what the lenders will be asking

There are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration before you head off to trawl the net for borrowing solutions.

1. Gross monthly income
How much do you make a month, before your bills and expenses go out?

2. Debt and monthly expenses
If you have any credit cards, existing loans or rolling monthly expenses, you’ll need to make a note of them before you start.

3. Credit score
Use an online tool to find out what your credit score is. The quality of your score will affect how much a bank will be willing to lend you.

4. Down payment amount
How much can you afford to put down in a lump sum and how much is required?

Get all your financial information together before you approach a bank or lending company so you know where you stand.

Even the practice of collecting this information will give you a rough idea of what you can afford, so avoiding disappointment is easier.

You may also want to get together a list of questions to ask your bank or realtor, such as the tax on the property and how much the closing costs on the property are likely to be.

Use a home loan calculator

This is the fastest and easiest way to figure out how much home you can afford.

Just use an easy tool to enter all your monthly outgoings and the costs you’d expect to pay on the new house.

The home loan calculator will show you how much you can afford to borrow, so you don’t come away with more than you can handle or less than you can afford. Easy!

Consider the costs going forward

The cost of a home isn’t just about the ticket price, you know. Every property comes with monthly costs going forward:

– Utilities
– Home maintenance
– Tax
– Insurance

You also have moving costs and home interior expenses to think about, so don’t forget to add those to your list!

If you’ve got all your finances together and you’ve used a home loan calculator to see just how much you can borrow, you’re ready to plunge into the world of the housing market!

4 Ways to Solve Water Heaters Fail at Your Home

1. Water Is A Strange Color

This is a telltale sign that your hot water heater is on its way out. If the water in your shower has been consistently running with a yellowish or reddish tint, it’s time to think about an upgrade.

This is happening because your heater is starting to rust.

Before you buy a replacement, drain about ten gallons of water from the heater. If after that, the water is still coming out with a strange color, it’s time to move on.

2. It’s Just Old

We all have to go sometime, and your tankless water heater is no different. Generally, you want to begin to think about replacing your water heater once the ten-year mark rolls around.

Sometimes, electric hot water heaters can last a bit longer than their gas counterparts. If you’re looking to extend the lift of your water heater, you’ll need to perform regular draining.

You’ll also need to keep the area around the heater clear. This won’t just make your heater last longer, it’s also a safety feature. A failure to properly clean your water heater (or any other heating appliance in your home) accounts for nearly 30% of all home heating fires.

To determine the age of your hot water heater, check the serial number.

3. Water Is Collecting Around The Heater’s Base

If you notice a pool of water around the base of your heater, it’s likely gotten a crack. This crack will only get larger over time.

Still, make sure that the leak is truly coming from the tank itself before you get a replacement, instead of the fittings or in the pipe that connects the tank.

4. It’s Making Crazy Noises

If your water heater sounds like your teenager’s attempt to play the drums, it’s not just an annoyance. It could be a sign that it’s time to invest in a new model.

This happens because, with age, debris builds up at the bottom of the tank. This debris gets heated by the tank, and eventually, it hardens. This makes it pretty impossible to clean off.

Even if you decide to keep the water heating going for a few more months and just deal with the noise, keep in mind that this will make things much less efficient for you. Translation: your energy bill is going to be higher.

Since your water heater already accounts for between 15-24% of all the energy used by your home, any steps you can take to lower your use will make a big difference in your bill!

5 Beautiful Garden Walk Ideas and Fresh Looks for Your Home

1. Take the First Step

Stepping stone walkways are always in style. They appeal to everyone – especially children. They love using them for their summertime chalk art!

Stones come in a variety of colors. You can choose what suits your style best.

Comprised of large stones placed in a bed of gravel, these walkways allow you more creativity and flexibility in your yard design. You can place the gravel in any shape you like.

You can also decide whether your walkway will be single-file, or if it will accommodate two people side by side for a leisurely stroll. Single file paths are usually used for access around the side of a house, or to a shed, for example.

2. Lead The Way

Garden pathways aren’t about getting from point A to point B. They’re about enjoying the journey.

Meandering paths through scenic gardens are healthy for you. They help your brain relax. Create peace in your home garden by using a curved pathway.

Curving walkways create a sense of calm. They can also help small yards feel larger because they elongate the walking space. These informal pathways work best when surrounded by lush vegetation. Plants that stand about 6 inches to 1 foot high are a good fit.

Try large, fluffy plants like lavender or mondo grass to help flesh out your serene garden space.

3. Stay on the Straight and Narrow

Straight walkways give off a more formal vibe. They pair well with colonial style homes and larger yards, though they can work well with any space.

Lean toward plants that you can trim and arrange. Box hedges and sculpted topiaries all pair well with the crisp and clean lines of a straight walkway.

To add interest, consider a trellis covered in colorful blooms. Those with larger yards might invest in a water feature or small pond.

Small yard? Setting pavers on a diagonal will elongate the space. You can even grow moss between them for a refined feel.

4. Choose Your Palette

Whether you decide to create a zen garden or a garden inspired by Versailles, it’s important to choose materials that mesh with your theme.

Different shapes, textures, and colors of stone can each give off a different feel. For a cozy sensation, add lots of texture, asymmetrical shapes, and deep, rich color.

Going formal? Try angular, flat pavers in a neutral shade.

5. Mix It Up

Some of the best gardens are a blend of styles. Try breaking the rules. Mix textures and colors (like smooth slate and red brick) for a surprising satisfying pop of color.

Did you know that gravel comes in colors? Pair bright, unconventional colors and patterns to amp up your creativity.

By adding a few pavers for walkway, you can transform a garden into a wow-worthy space. There’s no better time than right now to start creating the garden of your dreams.

3 Reasons to Hire a House Cleaning Service Today

But keeping your home as clean as you want it is almost impossible. Who can keep up with the endless sweeping, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing? Not to mention the deep cleans for those more serious issues.

It can seem like a consistently clean house is a pipe dream. You may have even resigned yourself to living in a perpetual state of messiness.

But don’t give up hope just yet. There’s another solution: hiring a cleaning services company.

A cleaning company might seem like a luxury. But when you weigh the benefits of a cleaning service against the cost, it’s a pretty easy decision.

In this article, we’ll look at all the benefits that a cleaning services company can offer at a surprisingly affordable price.

1. The professionals clean better

No matter how well you clean, there’s a good chance you aren’t as skilled as the professionals.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And nobody spends more time practicing cleaning than professional cleaners.

Commercial cleaning services hire only highly-skilled individuals with years of experience. Many reputable companies only hire certified technicians, so you can be assured that your house is getting the deepest clean possible.

Cleaning companies also provide their employees with the highest quality equipment and materials.

And it’s more than just brooms and mops. Professional cleaners have access to industrial carpet cleaners, caustic grout cleaners, and more.

When you pair this high level of expertise with access to top-of-the-line supplies, you get a deep clean that is impossible to match on your own.

2. It’s surprisingly cost effective

Take a moment to figure out how much you spend on all the various cleaning supplies in your house.

How much do you spend on larger items, such as renting a carpet steamer or a power washer?

Or what about expensive stain removers that you buy in a large container and only use once?

These costs add up over time. Compare your yearly cleaning budget to the cost of professional cleaners, and you might be surprised to find that a cleaning service company is surprisingly affordable.

And when you consider how much time you save, there’s really no comparison.

3. Your time is precious

How much time do you spend cleaning?

Half an hour a day? A few hours on weekends? Maybe you have a few all-day cleaning sessions a year.

Now imagine if that time was freed up. Think of everything you’d do instead.

Would you take a hike with your family? Pick up a new hobby? Maybe you’d go to the movies or read more books.

Hiring a commercial cleaning service frees up your time so you can get your life back.

What are you waiting for?

Hiring a professional cleaning service can seem like an extravagant expense. But when you weigh the time and money you save against the quality of services you receive,

But when you weigh the time and money you save against the quality of services you receive, you’ll wonder what you’ve been waiting for.

So don’t wait any longer. Call your local cleaning company today and get your time back.

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How Concrete Stamps Can Help Overcome Appeals

Has your patio or walkway been looking a little drab? You can add flowers and lawn décor nearby or you can even try cleaning it. But still, it’s boring. Start fresh with stamped concrete.

With many varieties and shapes available, stamped concrete could be the answer to spice up your outdoor décor. You can add a unique feature to your landscaping and increase your ROI. See how stamped concrete can help boost your curb appeal.

What Is Stamped Concrete?

If you’ve ever walked along a path and noticed the texture and shape, it’s likely you’re observing stamped concrete. The process of stamping concrete adds texture and pattern to the concrete. Often, it’s designed to resemble tile or stone, at a lesser cost. The texture aspect of stamped concrete is a good idea around pool decks and patios, to help prevent slips and falls.

If you already have a concrete path or patio and don’t want a complete replacement, a stamped concrete overlay can give you the same effect.

Stamped Concrete Cost

The cost of stamped concrete can vary greatly by the grade, finish and area you’re covering. The least expensive option will be one color and exposed aggregate. Additional customization options will increase the price. Here are a few of the average costs and factors of common places to stamp concrete.

Stamped Concrete Patio

If you want to dress up your patio for less, stamped concrete is the answer. While some wood and stone patios can be expensive, the average cost of a stamped concrete patio is between $8/sf and $20/sf.

Stamped Concrete Walkway

A stamped concrete walkway can be a welcoming addition to yard. You can add the impression of cobblestone, flagstone or even various colors. The minimum cost of a stamped concrete walkway is $6/sf and the maximum cost is $10/sf.

Stamped Concrete Driveway

A beautiful addition to the home, a stamped concrete driveway can add instant curb appeal. Consider replacing your old driveway with stamped concrete. The average cost for a concrete driveway is between $4/sf and $15/sf. The process of stamping and finishing will cost more.

Stamped Concrete Pool Deck

Not only will stamped concrete add style, but the textured surface will add safety to avoid slips and falls. It’s an affordable alternative to natural stone patios or wood decks. The average cost of a stamped concrete pool deck is $12/sf. Additional features or texturing can increase this cost.

How To Stamp Concrete

You may be wondering how this process actually works. First, you should know that stamping concrete is not a DIY project. It’s necessary to contact a masonry contractor who can do this job correctly. But, you can still better understand how the process is done to have the best results.

Of course, one of the largest parts of the job is placing the concrete into the walkway, driveway or patio. The surface must be perfectly level to stamp the concrete. Then, if chosen, color must be added to the concrete. There are a few ways to do this, through liquid and powder. Discuss your options with your contractor.

With a pre-designed stamp, pros will complete your desired pattern before the concrete dries. This could take some time to complete depending on the area and the type of pattern you’ve chosen. Once the stamping process is complete, the concrete is left to cure or dry. Once dry, the concrete will be sealed to complete the look of your stamped concrete.

Stamped Concrete Patterns

When it comes to the design of your stamped concrete, the possibilities are endless. Often, stamped concrete is made to resemble another material, giving you the look you want for less. Rectangular cobblestone and various shapes can formed via stamped concrete.

Stamped concrete to resemble brick is another popular option. This can be cheaper than a brick walkway, as the average cost is between $8/sf and $18/sf.

However, not all stamped concrete patterns have to resemble something. With your contractor, decide what unique patterns might be a good fit for your patio or walkway.

Caring for Stamped Concrete

A concern many homeowners have when it comes to their new stamped concrete installation is care. Stamped concrete walkways are likely to develop additional cracks over time. These cracks can ruin the appearance of the intended style. Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market that can patch the cracks, with an invisible epoxy.

Color may fade over time, but if you’re regular maintenance includes resealing, you shouldn’t run into a problem.

Caring for stamped concrete in the winter is important, as this is when the most damage could be done. Avoid using salt on stamped concrete, especially before the first year of installation. Never use steel shovels on stamped concrete as it can scratch the finish when it comes to removing snow.

Conclusion

Stamped concrete is a beautiful way to enhance your curb appeal. It will give you the best-looking driveway on the block and make your neighbors think twice about their current walkway design.

Want a Green House and look hejuk?

Creating a greener household is a hot topic in home improvement right now. Not only is it smart for your wallet, but it also benefits the planet. There are many steps you can take to do this in your home such as recycling more or turning off the lights when you leave the room. But, what if you took a bigger step towards a green home?

A home energy audit can tell you how efficient your home currently is and how you can improve. Think of it as a home check-up to see how each part of your home is working. Not only will you learn how you can update to save money, but you can see how you can help the earth. Here’s why you should consider getting a home energy audit.

What Is A Home Energy Audit?

While you may check to see what’s working in your home, a home energy auditor will inspect it. They can look to see what parts are functioning at their best and what might be impacting the comfort of your home negatively. They will test your home systems and features to see where you can upgrade, to save you money. Here’s what they will test:

  • Windows and doors to see if there are any leaks
  • HVAC system for the age of equipment and if it’s working properly
  • Insulation throughout the home and if it’s effective
  • If there are any moisture-related issues in the home
  • Gas lines to ensure it’s not leaking
  • Appliances for electrical usage

It is possible to conduct a DIY home energy audit and you should consider inspecting your house on a routine basis. However, we recommend having a professional examine your home. They have the proper tools and knowledge to know what to look for. They are trained to spot problems and suggest solutions.

Why Do You Need One?

According to the Department of Energy, making the right home upgrades can help you save between 5% and 30% on your utility bills. For many homeowners, this is reason enough to have the necessary tests performed. Old appliances and faulty systems can increase your bills in ways you may not even realize. Over time, you’ll see the savings and know you’re doing the best you can to help save the earth’s resources.

Additionally, a home energy auditor can help recommend next steps and how you can create a more efficient home.

How To Prepare For Your Home Energy Audit

To get the best results from your home energy audit, you should prepare for your visit. Gather your utility bills from at least the last six months and if possible, the last year, to show to your auditor. If there’s a specific reason you’re contacting the auditor, such as an insulation issue or a drafty room, write them down and address them. The auditor will need to have access to all rooms of the house during the inspection, so be sure to have the spaces ready for entry.

What Does A Home Energy Audit Cost?

Depending on the depth of the home energy audit, your cost of hiring a professional to conduct the inspection can vary. At the maximum, a thorough test should cost around $1,300. The average cost for a home energy audit is $383, with most homeowner spending between $262 and $357.

How You Can Improve

Once the test is completed, the auditor will explain the results and problem areas. If you live in an older home, this could mean an upgrade for your systems. Here are a few items they might mention after the test:

Smart Technology

With the latest innovations in home automation, you might find that this is the right time to invest. Many electric companies offer incentives for smart thermostats, that monitor your temperature habits and adjust accordingly when you’re away. This can help save you money over time.

Windows & Doors

If they found that your older windows or doors are creating draft, they may offer the suggestion to have them replaced or resealed. Energy Star certified windows and doors are focused on keeping comfortable air in your home, without creating a draft. It could be a smart option for your home if you need to replace your windows and doors.

Old Appliances

One large appliance could be the culprit of a higher energy bill. Your home auditor will find it and make a recommendation to replace. You can see a dramatic difference in long-term costs simply by investing in a new, energy-efficient appliance. The average cost to install a new appliance is $185, with most homeowners spending between $129 and $185.

Insulation Improvements

A home energy inspector might find that your insulation in your home does not meet recommended levels, especially if it’s an older home. Installing new insulation will help improve the energy retained in your home, meaning your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to save money or improve the way your household uses resources, a home energy audit is a helpful way to discover and prioritize improvements that need to be made. They will give you all the details you need to create an energy-efficient home.