What To Check For When Buying a Home

What To Check For When Buying a Home Buying a home is the biggest purchasing decision a person can make. It can be a very daunting task and you can easily get overwhelmed with the number of items on your new home to-do list. Completed_roofs_40 There are a million little decisions to be made such as if you need that many bedrooms, the flow of the house, if the backyard is big enough, etc. However, there are a few very important things to check for to make sure you don’t have unexpected maintenance bills down the road. Here are some simple things to look for when you are considering a potential home:
  • Roof – The roof is one of the most important items to check. If the roof is leaking, it can affect many other aspects of the home.
    • Check to make sure the external roof lines are straight and free from deflections.
    • Check the inside of the roof gutters to make sure they are rust free.
  • Water Damage – If the house has issues with internal pipe leaks, they could turn into a costly repair bill.
    • Check the inside of the cupboards for mildew, dampness, and mold.
    • Check for water stains and corrosion on the walls that back onto showers and baths.
    • Check for mold on the ceilings and walls. If it has been cleaned recently, the walls will look like they have grey clouds on them.
  • Drainage – This is an important item to check as it will save you costly water damage bills to your basement.
    • Check the drainpipes that come down from the roof and make sure they drain to the sewer and not straight onto the ground.
    • Check for drain holes on the exterior door and window frames. These allow water to escape the cavity walls so water won’t penetrate the interior walls.
While these are the most important things to check your new home for structurally, there are more items that most people look for in a home:
  • Steepness of the lot
  • Window size for natural light
  • Driveway length and street parking
  • Heating and cooling devices
  • Kitchen features
  • The neighborhood
There are many features to check when buying a home. Buying a home is a big decision and you should make sure you absolutely know what you are buying. Looking at all these areas yourself is fine but make sure you also have the house checked out by a qualified home inspector. A good home inspector knows where to look and what to look for, and will lend their expert opinion on things such as the quality of the foundation, electrical wiring and general durability – among others. If your home does need some repairs you can count on Grennan Construction to give you the best service and advice there is. Grennan Construction specializes in siding, gutters, windows, roofing, insulation, painting and drywall, masonry, weather damage, and general repairs. Grennan Construction can help you turn the home you buy into the home you want!

The Best Method to Wash Your Home

The Best Method to Wash Your Home 369D8C305ADuring the summer months, your home can take a beating from nature’s elements. Dirt, mildew, pollen, and other materials can build up more easily on the outside of your residence over the course of several months. To get your house looking as new as the day it was built, give it a high-quality wash! Depending on what type of siding you have on your home, it is important to choose the proper method to clean your house so as to not damage the siding. Most people will automatically think to opt for the pressure washer (who can blame you? It’s a fun tool!). While it is often the best (and fastest) method if you have some serious dirt on your house, some materials just can’t handle the intensity of a pressure washer. If you have a home made from stucco, brick, or delicate woods, it would be best to avoid the pressure washer and stick to your garden hose. If that isn’t strong enough, or if you have heavier dirt that your hose just won’t handle, there are many different chemicals and nozzles that will easily remove dirt, and keep your siding safe. Homes made of vinyl, wood, and hybrid materials are generally strong enough to withstand pressure washing, but even so it is usually better to start light and work your way up. Most dirt and grime will come off with your garden hose so that’s always the best place to start, just in case. If you do opt to use a pressure washer, here are a few important safety and procedural guidelines to follow in order to make sure you get the most out of your pressure washer:
  • Make Sure Windows and Doors Are Closed – Self-Explanatory! No one wants a wet carpet.
  • Wear Safety Glasses – While you obviously don’t want to point a pressure washer at your, or anybody else’s eyes, there will be dirt and other particles flying off of your house that could still strike your eyes.
  • Keep Others Inside – Other family members, children, and pets should be kept indoors during pressure washing because of flying debris, as well as the potential dangers of the pressure washer itself.
  • Test First – Pressure washers are very powerful. Before starting on your whole house, test its effects on a non-visible portion to be sure that it won’t cause damage.
  • Keep Moving – Keeping the hose moving will prevent the pressure from damaging your house. Use a side to side, sweeping motion will effectively remove the dirt from your home.
  • Point the Hose Downward – Regular dirt from rain, snow, and wind come from above so it is important to make sure you spray from the top down. If you don’t then getting pressurized water up behind your siding or into cracks will be very damaging.
  • Avoid Spraying Windows – While your windows might be just as dirty as the rest of your house, there is a chance that the intense pressure could crack or break the windows, especially in older homes.
  The best way to make your house look beautiful for this summer is to give it a nice wash! Just make sure you know what type of washing is best for the siding that is on your house and be safe when doing it. Remember, if it is too big a job, or you don’t feel safe on a ladder, consult a professional.

Fixing Drywall Cracks And Nail Holes

If you take some time to examine the walls in your house, chances are that you’ll find one or two spaces where the surface isn’t completely perfect. Many walls in residential homes are made from drywall or wallboard – and as many homeowners will discover – drywall isn’t necessarily as sturdy and reliable as it should be. The walls of your home will contract and expanding according to humidity, and the temperature of the weather. Because of this, the framing of a house can easily swell and shrink over time, leading to cracks and damage in the drywall. Fortunately, although this material is particularly easy to damage, it is also quite simple to fix, depending on the extent of the problem – and where it is located.  With that in mind, here’s a step by step guide for how to fix nail holes and cracks in drywall. drywall cracks

Fixing Nail Holes

Whether you’re handing a painting, or simply doing some DIY around the home, it’s easy to make holes in drywall that you may want to get rid of further down the line. There are lots of reasons why a nail might be used to hold two pieces of material together. However, it’s all too easy to push the nail head too deep beneath the surface of the wall, causing it to lose its holding power and result in surface damage. After all, even small holes provide a perfect opportunity for moisture to enter into the drywall and start to cause rot. Fortunately, these problems are usually quite easy to fix. To fix a small hole, all you’ll need is some vinyl spackling compound, a damp sponge, a hammer, a 3-inch putty knife, and some steady hands. To fill small holes:
  1. Start by denting the surface of the wall where the hole is located very slightly, so that you can produce a clean void.
  2. Clean the hole and dampen the surrounding area with a sponge
  3. Apply your compound with a 3-inch putty knife and draw it smoothly across the dent, to ensure you have a clean, level surface.
  4. Sand down the surface as evenly as possible, and repair the wall with a coat of primer and paint.
If you have a particularly large area of damage within your drywall – perhaps from a DIY-gone-wrong nail hole – then you may need a piece of new drywall to replace over the space. Importantly, the new piece of drywall should be of identical thickness to the existing surface, and it should fasten securely, and blend seamlessly with the remainder of the wall.

Fixing Cracks In Your Drywall

Hairline cracks that appear in drywall, particularly around the tops of doors and windows, can be a sign that the wall framing has moved or settled slightly – a common condition for most houses. Fortunately, cracks that appear on flat surfaces are generally quite easy to repair – but if the repair isn’t completed properly, it is far more likely to re-appear.
  1. Using a sharply-bladed utility knife, carefully widen the crack within the drywall into a V-shape that is readily available to accept compound.
  2. Using a broad putty knife, spread either spackle or joint compound over the groove that you have created so that it completely fills the void, and also covers a couple of inches on either side. Smooth the compound out, and allow it to dry.
  3. Sand the area as smooth as possible with fine sandpaper – be careful that you don’t go over-the-top here or press too hard, as you could end up ruining your repair completely.
  4. Touch up the area with paint and primer to match the wall, or repaint the entire wall if you’re looking for a completely seamless job.
Remember, if a crack appears on a flat surface, you can use spackle or joint compound to repair it. However, if cracks appear where the ceiling meets the wall, it may be better to use caulk which is more flexible – and capable of withstanding some movement.

Care For Your Home

Most of the time, drywall repairs don’t require a great deal of effort in terms of DIY, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from accessing the help of a professional. Even something as simple as filling in dents, embedding popped nails, and patching holes can lead to further problems in the future if not done properly. How frequently do you notice cracks and holes in your drywall, and have you tried to fix the problems yourself? Let us know how it went in the comments below! Image source: Flickr

7 Trees You Should Never Plant In Your Yard

Most homeowners know the value of curb appeal, and want their properties to be aesthetically pleasing on the outside, as well as the interior. Because of this, we frequently plant all kinds of organisms, from flowers and shrubs, to grass and vegetables throughout our lawn. The chances are, if you’re passionate about exercising your green thumb, you’ll eventually decide to plant a tree or two of your own as a way to maximize the visual appeal of your home, and access great summer shade. Unfortunately, there are a few trees that you will need to avoid for a variety of reasons – from weather dangers, to damaging your foundation, pests, and even making allergies worse. Here are just some of the trees that you should never plant in your yard. 7 trees you should never plant

1. Cottonwood Trees

Plenty of tree lovers enjoy the appeal of the cottonwood tree – particularly because of its charming appearance and low need for maintenance. Unfortunately, the cottonwood tree encompasses a soft and shallow root system, which makes it prone to instances of rotting, and can mean it becomes unstable throughout periods of bad weather and severe storms. Besides the fact that the wood itself is highly brittle, it’s worth noting that diseases and insects frequently damage it too, creating all the more risk that it will end up on your roof, car, or garage after a rough storm.

2. Mulberry Tree

Though some trees, such as the cottonwood, struggle with a weak root system and soft wood, the Mulberry tree is dangerous for a radically different reason. Most people should avoid planting this tree in their yard simply because it produces huge amounts of pollen, which attracts insects and pests. Though it can offer some great summer shade, it’s not worth the extra creepy-crawlies that will infest your home.

3. White Pine

Though the white pine doesn’t typically reach extensive heights – like many other trees, an issue arises in the fact that this tree is particularly sensitive, and requires a lot of maintenance. In colder climates, the white pine often suffers winter or ice-related damage, and also attracts plenty of pests, ranging from bagworms to sapsuckers.

4. Leyland Cypress

The Leyland Cypress is a tree that grows incredibly fast – meaning that it needs trimming frequently to ensure you don’t end up with branches everywhere. This is another form of tree that can frequently be uprooted during periods of severe wind or stormy weather, even if they are decades old – making them quite dangerous to grow around houses. What’s more, pests like bagworms love to reside in this particular kind of tree.

5. Mimosa Tree

Similarly to the cottonwood tree, the mimosa tree has particularly weak wood that makes it highly unpredictable during storms. What’s more, this type of tree attracts webworm and pests – what’s more, the Mimosa is also famous for producing quickly-germinating seeds. This could mean that you might end up with a huge forest of mimosa trees quicker than you could possibly imagine.

6. Bradford Pear

Plenty of professional gardeners and homeowners alike love the aesthetic appeal of the Bradford pear tree, as it’s durable, beautiful, and requires very little in the way of long term maintenance. Unfortunately, the naturally pyramidal shape of the tree serves to make it particularly fragile. The way that the branches grow ensure that ice, snow, and high winds are not its friend, as the branches cannot take the weight and the limbs will quickly start to split. If that’s not enough, the flowering blooms also have a particularly unpleasant smell.

7. Quaking Aspen

Found often in northern climates, the quaking aspen has gently vibrating leaves and white bark – making it highly attractive in most yards. Unfortunately, the root system is insidious – sending up numerous suckers that turn relentlessly into brand new trees. In other words, when you plant a quaking aspen, you could be fighting against a forest that’s quickly trying to overtake your home.

Plant Carefully

Too many homeowners fail to regard all of the necessary factors when choosing the right tree – thinking instead about how pretty it might look when combined with the other aspects of their yard. However, some trees have deep strong roots that slowly destroy the foundations of your house, whereas others have brittle branches that could destroy property when caught in the throes of a storm. Which kinds of trees do you prefer to plant in your yard, or do you know of another variety that should stay away from homes entirely? Let us know in the comments!

Weather The Winter With These Winter-proofing Home Tips

Warm up your home without the thermostat
Warm up your home without the thermostat
After some mild fooling around, winter’s finally here for real. We’re never surprised by the cold, but we know winter can also deliver incredibly harsh storms that cost a serious amount of cash to repair, and wreak havoc on your home. As the days get progressively colder – there are few things more comforting than being able to retreat into the warmth of your home. However, having this spoiled by a sudden property emergency can lead to serious problems. Planning ahead today can be a good way to ensure you remain protected against future problems. Here are some simple ways to avoid the winter blues and keep your home defended as the temperature starts to drop.

1. Remember Routine Roof Maintenance

The chances are you don’t want to come home from a hard day of work and clean out the gutters – but a little bit of routine maintenance can actually do a great deal of good for your home. Start by checking the roof for missing or cracked tiles that might allow rain or snow to seep through and cause rot or damp. If you don’t want to climb up there yourself – you can always have us come and do the check for you. While you’re at it, make sure to clear all drains and gutters of any leaves, debris, and plants which can lead to a buildup of water in the system. Clearing these spaces out is crucial if you want to protect your home from water damage – and you should also ensure the gutter junctions are tight too!

2. Make Sure Your Home Is Properly Insulated

Dedicating some time to properly insulating your home can be beneficial not only for your comfort and family health over the winter months – but also for the health of your wallet. The right insulation can reduce the amount of heat your home regularly loses, meaning that you are more likely to cut down on household bills, and conserve that much-needed energy. When it comes to insulating, the loft is usually a good place to start, as you can lose anywhere up to 25% of the heat in your house through the roof without the right loft insulation. You can also consider cavity wall insulation if it’s suitable for your property, and don’t forget to take time to insulate the water tank too.

3. Double-Check Doors And Windows

If your windows and doors aren’t in great shape, then you could be letting rain water, snow, and cold air into your home on a regular basis. This means it might be a good idea to ensure that everything is air-tight now – so that you can carry out repairs before the problem grows to be too significant. Remember to check the woodwork outside of your house as well – even on the upper floors of the house – around the windowsills, for damage or rot.

4. Insulate Your Pipes

If you have un-insulated water pipes throughout your attic, or crawlspace, it’s a good idea to insulate them before the winter hits. Aside from simply helping you to avoid the pain of frozen pipes – which can lead to serious damage and bursting – insulation also helps to prevent condensation and keep the water in hot-water lines at a good temperature. Many hardware stores are packed with foam tubes that you can install yourself – or you can easily contact a home-improvement or DIY provider to do the renovations for you.

5. Take Prompts From The Snow

Even a light spattering of snow can be enough to assist you in finding maintenance issues that you might struggle to notice otherwise. Try going outside after snow has fallen and watching how it melts. If you see numerous strips of bare roof between lines of snow – the chances are that you’re dealing with inadequate insulation. If you regularly notice that icicles form rapidly when the weather isn’t even warm enough to melt the snow – this could mean that warm air is circulating in the attic – meaning that a leak needs sealing, or the insulation is too thin. How do you look after your home during the winter months? Do you have any winter-proofing tips that can help fight off the chill this year? Let us know in the comments!

7 Home Improvement Ideas For Increasing Property Value

home improvementAs property prices remain high, and interest rates continue to bite, many homeowners are staying in their houses for longer instead of moving elsewhere. Instead of having to pay out excessive amounts of cash on survey and estate agent fees, legal costs and more, they’re investing in their current properties by maximizing the space they already have and adding value for the future. However, if you don’t know which improvements may be the most beneficial to carry out – you’re unlikely to see much of a great return on your investment. Indulging in a garden makeover or new swimming pool may seem like a great idea as things that add to the quality of your life – but they may not be the best way of boosting your home’s value. Here are some home improvement ideas specifically tailored to help you get more out of your property in terms of financial appraisal.
  1. Convert Your Loft
One of the most common and popular ways of adding space to a home is with a loft conversion – and these upgrades are capable of increasing the value of a property by as much as 20%. In certain cases, it may be possible to complete the work without planning permission under permitted development rights, but you will need to do some Detroit-based research before getting started.
  1. Consider An Extension
Another way to add extra space to your home – something that can be a common factor when it comes to increasing value – is with an extension. Providing you choose the right materials and building professionals to get the job done – an extension can offer significant extra value to your home, and may offer an easier, cheaper alternative to having a basement installed.
  1. Install An Extra Bathroom
Everyone loves having an extra bathroom in a house, but you’re going to need to use your common sense when it comes to making this home improvement. Converting a small bedroom into a bathroom may be a good idea if you have a five-bedroomed house with only a single bathroom. On the other hand, it may be a poor idea to transform your three-bedroomed property into a two-bedroom home with two bathrooms.
  1. Work On Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is often more important than many homeowners think. It’s the factor that draws potential buyers into your home and underestimating its importance is a huge mistake if you want to increase your property value. Consider investing in professionals to help you improve your landscaping if you feel as though a lot of work needs to be done. Remember, curb appeal shouldn’t stop at the front garden – you can also extend your efforts to the back yard too.
  1. Offer Plenty of Storage
Most new homes that you view today will be equipped with numerous innovative solutions for storage, whereas older homes lack even some of the most basic options. If you don’t have the space to add new storage spaces or closets – consider redesigning the area you have to make the most out of space. There are plenty of stores around today dedicated completely to offering incredible storage options.
  1. Go Energy Efficient
Many buyers today shop for homes with energy efficiency in mind. In a world where we all want to save as much cash as possible – old and drafty windows can be a serious problem. Adding energy-efficient windows to your home can not only save you money on your cooling and heating costs, it also ensures that your home is more appealing to future buyers.
  1. Don’t Forget The Basic Updates
Remember that sometimes it’s the simplest things that can add value to your home. Fixing the roof when it starts to leak, replacing rotten wood, getting rid of mold and keeping the paint fresh are all important in ensuring that your home doesn’t begin to deteriorate over time. Buyers want a home that is safe, solid, and healthy – so they’ll be sure to check for signs of regular maintenance. Boost Your Value Improving your property value can be an expensive task, or a cheap one – depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. However, one thing you’re sure to find is that the challenge is on-going. You’ll need to dedicate time and effort to ensuring your home stays in top condition over the years. What are some methods you use to increase property value? Let us know in the comments!

Home Gutter Cleaning & Maintenance Guide

The rather unloved task of cleaning out and regularly maintaining gutters is one that is frequently overlooked. High up and often hard to reach – the chore of cleaning out your gutters can be a frustrating one – but if you want to keep your home in the best possible condition – you shouldn’t let a little hard work put you off. Without properly working gutters, the exterior of your home can become extremely compromised, leading to excessive maintenance issues and expensive repairs. The reason for this is that gutters:
  • Prevent water from draining into the basement and interior walls of your home
  • Reduce the chance of water settling through the foundation of your property
  • Prevent excessive damage to woodwork, exterior paint, fascia, and walls
  • Guide rainwater away from your home instead of allowing it to gather on your roof
It’s safe to say that water can cause a wide range of different and distressing problems once it starts to pervade your home. Mould may start to grow – causing health problems, while woodwork perishes, damp patches spread, condensation forms, and brickwork erodes. With that in mind, here is a quick guide on how to clean your gutters and maintain them over time. gutter maintenance roof tips
  1. Start By Removing Loose Debris
Starting at the lowest point of your gutter, use a garden trowel or narrow instrument to carefully scrape out and remove any loose debris like dirt and leaves – working outwards from the drain outlet. This is usually easier to manage when the debris in question is pliable and damp rather than dried or soggy.
  1. Use A Hose On Gutters
Next, once the debris has been removed, use a high-pressure on-off nozzle at the end of a water hose to clean out the full length of your gutter, moving towards the drain outlet. Remember that this part of the job can be somewhat messy, so try to avoid covering the outside of your home in dirt. You can always use a stiff brush to scrub away encrusted dirt if necessary.
  1. Get Rid Of Drainpipe Obstructions
If you find that water has trouble draining easily through your drainpipes, try using your hose to flush the debris away. If that doesn’t work by itself, try using a snake or plumbers auger to pull the debris free from the bottom, or push it to the top of the drain. Maintaining Your Gutters Maintaining gutters starts with inspecting them on a regular basis. You should examine the state of your gutters during autumn and spring to make sure that no damage has taken place, and that debris hasn’t been allowed to build up too much. From time to time, you may find that you have to loosen away dirt that has blown into the gutter, or scrub it away with a stiff brush. What’s more, flushing your gutters now and again will clear away material that has been lodged in downspouts and eave troughs. Occasionally, you may need to adjust the sloping of your gutter to ensure that the water moves towards the downspouts efficiently. To check whether this needs to be done, simply run water through the system and measure how quickly the liquid drains. If necessary, you’ll be able to add downspout extenders to improve the removal of water. Another good tip is to frequently check your downspouts for peeling paint, rust, flaking, and leaks. Make sure that they remain tightly affixed to the fascia boards and don’t begin to break away at any point – especially after storms or bad weather. Don’t forget to check the fascia boards too to avoid any dry rot or other damage, and be prepared to replace them when necessary. Be Wary Of During your maintenance cycles, be wary of:
  • Weak joints around the gutter sections and downpipes.
  • Blocked downpipes that need to be cleared to operate efficiently – leaf guards may be useful here.
  • Insufficient outlet capacity – some older systems can only handle rainfall of low volumes – increasing your outlets can help to ensure that rainfall drains well from your gutters.
  • Corrosion – Remove any grime or rust as quickly as possible to see what lies beneath – rust can create small holes in the guttering which make it ineffective over time.
Remember that looking after your guttering regularly is an important part of maintaining a home. Do you have any important tips that you think we’ve missed? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

Weighing The Costs And Benefits Of Energy Saving Windows

Energy Efficient WindowsWindows are a crucial part of any home environment. They transform a property from a dark and constricted block of bricks and cement, into a warm and welcoming location in which to thrive and grow. A collection of carefully designed windows situated throughout your home will provide rooms with warmth, light, and ventilation – however there is one negative. Most people are shocked to learn that up to 25% of the heat in their home can be lost through their windows alone. This means that windows have a huge impact on your energy efficiency. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce energy costs and lower your negative impact on the planet by installing energy-efficient windows into your home.

What Are Energy Efficient Windows?

Energy efficient windows look just the same as conventional windows – however, they utilize special material and construction efforts to ensure that their design keeps warm air in, and cold air out. These types of windows are usually known as “multiple-glaze” windows and are equipped with low-E coatings. Common features of energy efficient windows include edge frames and spacers intended to seal your home to maximum benefit. Unfortunately, as useful as energy efficient windows may be, they are generally quite expensive to purchase and install, which can put people off who are struggling to maintain a particularly tight budget. If you’re unsure about whether going energy efficient is right for you – it may be worth weighing up the costs and benefits.

The Benefits of Going Energy Efficient

Installing energy efficient windows opens a homeowner up to a wide range of different benefits. First and foremost, by going energy-efficient, homeowners can rest assured that they are doing their part for the planet, as insulating glass tends to reduce the amount of CO2 a home puts out into the environment – thereby lessening your carbon footprint. Of course, the advantages don’t just exist for those looking to go green. Energy efficient windows also allow you to keep more money in your wallet by reducing energy costs. Because you will lose less air through leakage during both the winter and summer months, you will not have to overcompensate with your heating and air conditioning – therefore reducing your overall bills. You may even find that you are able to install a much smaller HVAC system, which will also cost you less in the short-term. One of the most common complaints surrounding older windows is that they often let in drafts and uncomfortable changes in temperature – creating cold spots in rooms and increasing the need for excess heating devices. Because energy efficient windows are constructed specifically to eliminate drafts, you can also benefit from a more comfortable home environment. You can even benefit from better views and light throughout your home, as energy efficient windows do not require tinting in order to perform well.

Weighing the Costs

The truth is that the most significant – and perhaps the only disadvantage of installing energy efficient windows is the costs that you will incur. It’s safe to say that you can expect to pay out a great deal more in initial finances when installing your windows initially – however, it can be easy to see that over time, the amount of money you save on air conditioning and heating bills will gradually offset the cost. What’s more, it’s not just the energy bills that you’ll save cash on over the long term. Energy efficient windows generally cause less damage to furniture, meaning that you have to replace your interior furnishings less often. Most people know that the harmful rays of the sun can have a negative impact on fabric, carpet, artwork, wood, and even wallpaper, but energy efficient coatings can reduce the damage caused by ultraviolet rays by as much as 75%. You could even find that you spend less money on maintenance as a result of mold caused by condensation – as energy efficient windows use low-E glass – a form of window protected by a thin layer of metal. This type of glass is ideal for repelling condensation that can cause frost to build on windows and lead to moisture within the home.

Should You Get Energy Efficient Windows?

Today, energy-efficient windows seem to pay for themselves more often than not, through a combination of lower cooling and heating costs, lower lighting costs, and even reduced expenses for furniture and maintenance. When properly selected and carefully installed, energy-efficient windows could make your home more comfortable and economical than ever. Image: Bryn Pinzgauer

10 Home Storage Hacks to Give You More Space

Not a minimalist? That’s ok, there are still several ways to get creative with your space and use it to the best of its abilities. Here are 10 home storage hacks to give you more space. 1) Garage Pegboards Is your garage now less of a home for your cars and more of a storage center for everything you don’t want in your house? Outdoor kids toys, gardening tools, and all the holiday stuff. Pegboard sections may be hung together all across the back wall facing in to prevent any possibility of driving in and scraping anything. Aside from the base usefulness of being able to suspend things from the ceiling to about three feet from the floor, all sorts of home improvement stores have assortments of baskets, and holders ready for these pegboards. These may be intended for a variety of tools, but let’s be honest, they work just as great for everything else. The kids toys like scooters are hung from a rack where they can reach, while the Christmas lights are wound around two longer hooks and come off untangled.
peg board, pegboard panel
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2) Patio Storage Bench The backyard patio may be a quiet place one minute and a war zone the next. Dog toys, things that ended up becoming dog toys, and the chairs that hang around for big get-togethers are constantly in the way. Benches or empty plant pots for outdoor patios or decks are perfect for getting everything sorted and stored. Plastic Storage Bench 3) Patio Chairs For the chairs, you may have a small collection of fold up chairs that could be used for summer backyard cookouts. After the first summer though they may start getting shuffled all across the patio and even the lawn. Why not use a laundry bag holder from Target that’s just some plastic tubing that clamped in together into two rectangles with four supporting posts. This can hold two folding chairs side by side and about four coming outward.
Chair Storage Hack
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4) Fruit Bowls One of the most popular indoor storage hack is utilizing hanging fruit bowls. You can put one over your computer at your desk and which holds three separate tiers: USB Flashdrives, Cables and charger plug-ins. You can utilize the hanging fruit bowl in your closet where it can also hold starch and ironing supplies. You could also have one in your kitchen –besides for fruit, It can keep your my measuring cups, and not so commonly used utensils out of the way. 5) Bathroom Suspension Rods Okay, they’re technically called ‘Tension Rods’ but they’re cheap and magical. You could place a shorter one under the sink that holds a caddy with all the hair brushes, ties and bobby pins, then another with toothpaste and backup toothbrushes. When you’re using caddy’s that normally sit under the sink, be sure to spread the weight with multiple shower curtain rings so they don’t fall down under pressure. 6) Under the Bed Everyone tries to stuff something under their bed. Planning what can be put down there methodically that can help you save more space. You might retain boxes from all sorts of things, because, well they’re super useful – right?. It’s not easy to play Tetris with all your square shaped items under your bed. Shallow storage boxes with wheels can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, without having to get down on all fours with a flashlight and ruffle through several items to find what you’re looking for.
Under The Bed Storage
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7) Double Up in the Shower You can also use a second tension rod in the shower against the back wall. Use shower curtain rings to suspend a metal wire basket or two and suddenly the short people have all of the ledges to themselves. It’s devious but the tall people will get the benefit of more space too by having less clutter on the shower corners and floor. 8) Out of Season Clothes Once of the biggest storage needs comes from people rotating through their seasons wardrobe. It’s not just holiday lights and ornaments. Most people have a giant portion of their wardrobe that’s meant for specific type of weather. Now many women also may have purse-hoarding problems. Use the roll method and pack your clothes as neatly as possible into larger purses and luggage. The luggage sits in a closet anyway and you’re going to go out and buy a bag that slides under your bed to hold you clothes? That’s crazy. Pack your clothes away, then rotate your wardrobe when you hit the next turn in season. 9) Book Shelves Bookshelves now aren’t always filled entirely of books. The empty spaces that look fancy with candles or have cutesy decoration need to go. Most stores now have cloth drawers that pop up and they look nice in a big variety of colors. You can use these shelves to hold a variety of household items, crafts on one shelf, DVD’s on another and vases or sculptures on the next. 10) Over the Fridge Say what you may, but if you’re not using the space over your fridge you’re missing out on a great storage space. Anything goes up here, though it is most appropriate for ‘buy-in-bulk items’, which is great if you think you can’t buy in bulk because you don’t have the space. Paper towels, laundry products and dry goods are all great as most of them belong in the kitchen to begin with. If space allows, you may even be able to create or buy a custom cabinet or storage piece that fits perfectly around your fridge.
Fridge Cabinet
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If you’re running out of spaces to store your every day items and looking to de-clutter your life, use these 10 home storage hack solutions and get ready to see how much space you can save!

How to Perform a 15-Minute Health Check on Your Home

Living in Michigan, we’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t like the weather…wait 5 minutes.” Well maybe it’s an exaggeration, the frequent changes in weather can take a serious toll on your home’s well-being. To make sure that your house stays in great condition, here is a 15-minute exterior home health check you can do today.

1. Check Your Exterior (Brick, Siding, Trim, etc.)

If your home has bricks, there’s a good chance they suffer from some problems when winter’s snow melts away. If any of your bricks’ faces look chipped or cracked, it’s time to fill them in. Neglected bricks can crumble or suffer water damage. If you see odd deposits of a whitish hue on your brick walls, remove them with a dry brush. If you have siding, it’s likely that the winter has left it a tad dirty. No worries, since a bucket of water and cleaning solution will do the trick. Check your siding manufacturer’s website for the proper cleaning solution to use. Perform a simple rinse, soap, and rinse pattern. To make it easier, focus on attacking 10 sq. ft. sections at a time. If you have a 2-story home, please be careful using the ladder. If you’re not a professional, it’s not recommended that you use a power washer. Power washers can get water behind the siding and cause mold. A professional cleaning will run you a few hundred bucks if you’d rather hit the golf course on a nice Saturday. Your siding and trim can become rotten and damaged over time with exposure to the elements. If you notice damage to your siding or trim, let us know, and we can talk to you about the best way to fix it. You may just need some repairs and not all new siding.

2. Make Sure Your Gutters and Downspouts Are in Great Shape

If you have gutters that are cracked or damaged, you can experience big problems during a rainstorm. Leaks and obstructed flow can cause water to backup around the base of your home. We don’t need to explain why this is bad, right? Often, weighty snow during the winter can also lead to cracks, causing damage to your gutters. Downspouts are the small attachment at the end of a gutter that exit out onto the ground. These can become damaged, so be sure and check your downspouts and replace them if necessary.

3. Inspect Your Roof

Your roof is the most important part of your house. Shingles may end up curling upward or downward after winter. This is dangerous because it can allow water to get in underneath your shingles, allowing it to leak into your home. Take a careful look at your roof for any of these signs of wear. We’re always here to answer any questions you have about your roof.

4. Check Your Air Conditioner

Head over to your air conditioning unit and check the outside of the unit for any debris. Debris and build up will cause your a/c unit to work harder than it needs to and cost you $$$. Use a shop vacuum to remove dirt from the exterior of the unit. If you see a build up of debris inside the unit, you can remove the cover (usually just a few screws) and clean the fan and coils. IMPORTANT: Be sure to cut off the power to your unit before doing any cleaning.

5. Check Trees For Broken Limbs

Snow storms, ice storms, hail storms, thunder storms, we have them all in Michigan. These storms wreak havoc on your trees’ limbs and branches. Do a careful inspection of the trees around you home for broken and leaning branches. Pay attention to areas around your power & cable lines, tree limbs are the number one culprit for damaging lines to your home.

6. Doors and Windows

Michigan weather can be harsh on many aspects of your home, and your doors and windows are no exception. Inspect doors and windows, looking for cracks in the sealant or the door or window itself, and reseal where necessary. Proper seals are necessary for keeping your home energy efficient. Remember, on a hot day keeping the cool in is just as important as keeping the cold out in the winter.

7. Check Concrete, Walkways, and Fences

Concrete is one of the most durable materials available, but even concrete is not immune to the weather’s wrath. Driven on our roads lately? Concrete can crack from water damage, extreme temperature change, and tree root growth. When the time comes that your concrete does crack, apply sealants where needed. As you do a lap or two around your home, also check your fences. Over time critters can dig holes underneath your fence, or tree limbs can damage the integrity of the fence. A nice durable fence will ensure that you keep critters out, and your pets in. In order to keep your house well maintained this summer, make sure you follow this checklist and if you ever have any questions or need assistance, you can always submit a question for us here!