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Myrtle Beach Area Home Improvements – DIY or Hire Help?

Myrtle Beach area home improvements can be expensive, but doing it yourself could end up costing you even more, if you don’t know what you’re doing, or don’t have the proper tools.

Video on Myrtle Beach Area Home Improvements:

Are you trying to decide whether to make your Myrtle Beach area home improvements yourself, or hire a professional? Post your project in our comments box and see what our other readers think you should do.

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Home Maintenance: Fixing Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Home Maintenance is something you can do yourself to save money and energy. An average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks. The most significant air leaks tend to occur around windows and doors. To stop air leaks and prevent your home heating and cooling dollars from vanishing in the wind, it’s important to seal any air leaks around windows and doors.

Home Maintenance - Seal air leaks around windowsCheck for Air Leaks

With windows and doors closed, hold a lit stick of incense near window and door frames where drafts might sneak in. Watch for smoke movement. Note what sources need caulk, sealant, and weather-stripping.

Seal Air Leaks Around Windows

If you have old windows, caulking and adding new weatherstripping goes a long way toward tightening them up.

  • Bronze weatherstripping (Around $10 to $12 for 17 feet) lasts for decades but is time-consuming to install.
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  • Self-stick plastic types are easy to put on but don’t last very long.
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  • Adhesive-backed EPDM rubber (About $8 for 10 feet) is a good compromise, rated to last at least 10 years.
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Nifty gadgets called pulley seals (About $9-$10 a pair) block air from streaming though the holes where cords disappear into the frames.

Home Maintenance: Seal Air Leaks Around Doors

Check for air leaks, and replace old door weatherstripping with new.

  • Foam-type tape has an adhesive backing; it’s inexpensive and easy to install. If it comes loose, reinforce it with staples.
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  • Felt is either adhesive-backed or comes with flexible metal reinforcement. It must be tacked or glued into place. It’s cheap and easy to install, but it has low durability.
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  • Tubular rubber, vinyl, and silicone weatherstripping is relatively expensive and tricky to install, but it provides an excellent seal. Some types come with a flange designed to fit into pre-cut grooves in the jambs of newer doors; check your existing weather stripping and replace with a similar style.

Check exterior trim for any gaps between the trim and your door frames, and the trim and your siding. Caulk gaps with an exterior latex caulk (About $5 for a 10-ounce tube).

Seal Door Bottoms

If a draft comes in at the bottom, check the condition of the threshold gasket. One of the easiest home maintenance things you can do to save money is replace worn gaskets. If you can see daylight under the door, you may need to install a new threshold with a taller gasket (Around $25 for a 36-inch door). Or, install a weather-resistant door sweep designed for exterior doors (About $9). Door sweeps attach directly to the door and are easy to install.

For more tips on home maintenance you can do yourself, check our other articles under “Home Improvements“, or give us a call at (843) 497-9867 for a complete, in-home analysis of your home’s energy efficiency. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab our 20% off coupon for your next service call with Brown and Reaves Services, Inc.

Home Repairs: Knowing When To Do It Yourself

In these tough times, “Do-It-Yourself” is a tempting way to go for many homeowners looking to save a few dollars on anything from dripping faucet to running toilets.

Know when to do it yourself, and when not toThe savings can add up in a hurry when you don’t have to call a repairman, especially for things like painting, plumbing and appliance repair.

There are some home repairs, of course, that an unskilled homeowner should avoid, among them situations where having heavy equipment makes the job go much better, especially outdoors.

Many household repairs and projects can be tackled by a do-it-yourselfer who takes the time to learn what’s required. The Internet is great for learning what to do and how to do it.

When taking on a project, begin by finding out where in your home you turn off the water and gas, and how the circuit breakers work. If you need a professional to show you, hire one.

Some of the jobs a do-it-yourselfer can learn include repairing drywall, replacing a deadbolt, or installing a new light fixture or ceiling fan.

Good rule of thumb: Avoid jobs where you could injure yourself or damage property. Other than that, do your homework, and go for it. Happy repairs!

Home Improvements That Never Go Out of Style

Home Improvements That Never Go Out of StyleIf you’re looking to remodel or upgrade your house these days, creating lasting value is sure to be a top concern. You’ll want to add features that won’t be outdated just a few years from now — reducing your home’s marketability and making your house look like it just crawled out of a time machine. Many people have the idea that a home remodel has to involve a new kitchen or bathroom. But some simpler, less expensive projects, can also bring lasting value to your home.

Lighting: Adequate light is more than just brightness — it’s a major contributor to our sense of comfort and well-being. Good interior lighting reduces fatigue and stress by reducing strain on eyes; outdoor lighting adds curb appeal and safety. Interior and exterior lighting fixtures — recessed ceiling lights, sconces, track lights, and flood lights — contribute to the overall value of a house and property, making it more marketable when it comes time to sell.

Storage: Storage is one of the most sought-after features of prospective home buyers, and built-in storage solutions always deliver. Built-ins have a neat, fitted appearance that takes advantage of every available square inch of wall area. Because they make use of existing structural components, such as wall studs, built-ins generally cost less than free-standing furniture of comparable size, quality, and function. Fit built-in storage solutions under stairs, as window seats, and in closets.

Paint: From boring beige to rocketing red, your rooms will never go out of style. Why? Because you can easily redo them — a new paint job is one of the simplest, least-expensive of all remodeling projects. A Do-It-Yourself paint job on a 12-by-12-foot room costs only about $150 for paint and painting tools; if you’re not the do-it-yourself type and need to hire someone, expect to pay a licensed paint contractor $300-$400.

Wood Floors: Shag carpets come and go, but wood flooring has the uncanny ability to look great in any setting, whether traditional, contemporary, or country. The warm, upscale ambience of wood floors helps preserve the value of your home, and the cost isn’t prohibitive: Pre-finished wood floors in oak, maple, and bamboo run $8-$12 per square foot, installed.

Molding: Adding architectural interest with trims and moldings is a good way to bring rooms to life. Little details can have a big impact when it comes to creating homes that really stand out. You’ll pay $1-$3 per linear foot for a 5-inch-wide, paint-grade crown molding; $1.50-$6.50 for wood.

Stonescaping: Masonry materials used to create walkways, patios, and retaining walls helps define and shape outdoor spaces. Making your yard usable for sitting and strolling increases living area, which contributes to your property’s value. Materials, such as brick and stone, are virtually indestructible, readily available, and have timeless good looks. You’ll pay $17-$28 per square foot for professionally installed natural stone pavers.

5 Tips For A Cheaper Winter

When it comes to bang-for-your buck home improvement projects, there are few that top making your home more energy efficient.

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Remodeling Mistakes Homeowners Make

House Remodeling Tips and MistakesBecause fewer and fewer people are deciding to take the plunge into the troubled waters of buying or selling a home, remodeling projects are on the rise. Instead, home owners are refinancing and investing more into their existing homes to make them more comfortable, to modernize them or perhaps to make it easier to sell in this competitive market.

In their haste to make their house beautiful, people face a lot of the same problems over and over again. Whatever the reason for the remodel, it’s important to do your research and plan, plan, plan, so you don’t make many of these common remodeling mistakes.

Setting an Unrealistic Budget

Most homeowners underestimate their budget by at least 25 percent. As you can imagine, not having enough money to complete a project can not only stress you out, but can also force you to live with a half-finished project for a lot longer than you expected. Most experts suggest calculating your budget and then increasing it by 20 percent. It will help provide a financial buffer zone for when you run into unexpected costs – like finding out your kitchen pipes had a leak when all you budgeted for was a new countertop and sink.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

One of the biggest mistakes people make is remodeling or redesigning a space for what’s most popular right now. The more trendy the project, the more likely it will feel out-of-date in a few years. That’s not to say you shouldn’t update your home to match your style and interests, but if you’re looking to sell in the near future, do not get hung up on trends. A good idea would be to match the redesign to the style of your home. If you have a craftsman style bungalow, chances are investing in a very stark modern industrial look isn’t going to age well. Investing in classic styles with spots of your personality thrown in here and there will always stand the test of time.

Over-Improving

A lot of the time, homeowners invest in remodeling their home hoping that when they do sell, they will be able to maximize their return on investment. However, they fail to consider the quality and state of the homes in their neighborhood. Say you invest in a $50,000 swimming pool, top-of-the-line products – marble counters, glass and imported hardwoods – to make your remodel a true showplace, but the rest of the homes in the neighborhood are modest and average, then you run the risk of having an even more difficult time selling the home.

You will be hard pressed to find someone to pay $250,000 for a home with extra amenities in a neighborhood with $100,000 properties.

Doing it Yourself

This is probably the biggest problem homeowners make when deciding to remodel. In order to keep budgets low or reduce the costs of some projects, many homeowners think they can tackle big projects themselves. HUGE MISTAKE. Unless you have the right tools, training and connections, you could actually cause more problems down the line – including doubling your budget when you have to call a professional to come in and fix your mistakes.

Remember, when hiring a contractor, don’t try to cheap out by hiring the contractor who simply offers the lowest bid. It’s easy to find someone who will charge less just to get the job. It’s harder to find one who not only fits within your budget and your personality, but also is licensed, insured and comes with a list of great references.

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