DIY Tips For How To Remove Vinyl Flooring, Old Linoleum Or Glue

One of the most frustrating home remodeling tasks is trying to remove an old linoleum or vinyl floor. Even when the linoleum is pulled off, things only get worse. Now you’re faced with gobs of old glue that seem harder than meteorites all over the floor.

Before getting depressed while reading this article, remember that there are a few ways around this formidable task.

Alternative Approaches

One common alternative to removing old linoleum or vinyl floors is to put a new one right over it. If the existing floor is still smooth or can be smoothed with a few patches of FixAll, then the new floor can be laid directly on top of the old.

In some cases, a layer of 1/4-inch plywood is laid over the old floor to provide a smooth base and then the new resilient floor is laid on that. In still another approach, the old floor is floated with a self-leveling concrete that is about 1/8-inch thick when dry. The new floor is put on that.

When adding a new floor, particularly when adding plywood or self-leveling concrete, consider that this process is going to raise your floor noticeably. The most important concern is that it will not connect smoothly with the adjacent floors. This height difference could trip the unwary, particularly guests or the elderly. Also, you will not have the same clearance under the toe kicks and you may have a problem in the future sliding out your dishwasher, refrigerator, or stove.

Removing old linoleum or vinyl is generally quite difficult because wood, a common subfloor, is porous, thus absorbing the adhesives. One reason why the old glues must be thoroughly removed is because some older adhesives had oils in them that chemically react with new vinyl to cause a yellow discoloration. Most warranties on new vinyl do not cover this type of failure.

Another reason the old adhesives must be removed if you’re installing vinyl stripping is because they can eventually become brittle. If old glue breaks loose under new vinyl, it can cause failures in the new floor covering. Moreover, any bumps or cracks in an old floor will soon appear as bumps or cracks in your new linoleum.

Homeowners also need to be aware that asbestos was used in some old linoleum and flooring adhesives, particularly in those made in the 1970s and earlier. Removing this material involves a health risk. If in doubt about your resilient flooring, break a small piece from a corner or behind the refrigerator and take it to an asbestos abatement firm for testing. Wetting the vinyl as you break it off and putting it in a baggie will keep any possible asbestos fibers from flying around. Asbestos abatement firms can be found in the Yellow Pages.

If asbestos is not present in your flooring, below are three ways you can remove it yourself, depending on the subfloor.

Plywood Subfloor

With a plywood subfloor, you have two choices: a) scrape away the linoleum or vinyl and glue or b) just cut out the subfloor and linoleum or vinyl flooring as one piece.

  • To remove old resilient flooring, first cut it into parallel strips about 6 inches wide with a utility knife. Use a hammer to tap a stiff putty knife or brick chisel under the linoleum to break it loose. Pull the linoleum up in strips to reveal the backing or the glue. Once the surface layer is gone, use a paint scraper to remove the glue. You can also use a heat gun to soften the glue as you scrape it away with the paint scraper. Some old linoleum has tar-based adhesive, which can be softened by applying mineral spirits.
  • To remove the linoleum and subfloor together, drill a hole through the floor to determine how thick the plywood is. Set the saw blade to cut just 1/8 inch deeper and cut away a section of flooring on one side of the room. To cut flush against the walls, use a reciprocal saw, but be careful you don’t cut the floor joists. Cut the floor into manageable sections about 3 or 4 feet long as you continue to remove it. When laying down the new subfloor, nail crosspieces between the joists to support adjacent plywood subfloor edges, particularly if the old floor was tongue and groove plywood.

Hardwood Floors

It’s not uncommon to find a perfectly good (or what used to be) hardwood floor under linoleum or vinyl. Peel away enough covering in a corner until you can judge which way the flooring runs. Cut through the vinyl in about 6-inch-wide strips in the same direction the floor runs to minimize any chances of cutting across the grain. Set the utility knife blade just deep enough to get through the linoleum or vinyl. Heat the linoleum with a heat gun and then pry it and the glue up while the glue is still soft. Scrape away as much of the glue as you can while being careful not to gouge the floor. Once you have cleaned the floor as well as possible, sand away any remaining glue and refinish the floor.

If you are having trouble deciding between hardwood and carpet flooring, see how they compare.

Concrete Slab

This is probably the easiest type of subfloor to get linoleum or vinyl off of, but it’s still no picnic. Again, it’s the same process of cutting the flooring into strips, heating it with a heat gun to soften it, and then pulling it off. The remaining glue can be scraped with a floor scraper or soaked overnight with water and dish soap, which helps soften the glue.

As you struggle with your old flooring, just keep thinking good thoughts and reminding yourself that you and the house will both be better for it when you’re finished.

The ‘Empowered Homeowner’

Working Together to Get the Job Done

Any professional in residential construction knows that keeping customers happy likely presents the biggest day-to-day challenge. Today’s homeowner has fundamentally changed the construction model for design and renovation for both homeowners and the home industry professionals and vendors who serve them.

How Has Renovating Changed?

1. Technology is disrupting old models

The barriers that previously limited a homeowner’s ability to access information, ideas, and find talent are no more! Mobile technologies such as Internet-based apps, software, and social networks have helped to educate the homeowner online and instill a new confidence and desire to not only be informed, but to also be more involved.

2. Communication must be flexible

More often than not, homeowners are using websites and apps on their tablets and mobile devices to plan their home project. Homeowners now expect more frequent, visual, and mobile communications, and less in-person meetings.

3. Homeowners are empowered

The new construction model places the homeowner at the centre of the project as an active participant, not bystander. They want to source and hire and the best professionals, with personalities they like and trust can execute their vision. They want to purchase products and materials that meet all of their criteria. They are empowering themselves with knowledge and information that will help them effectively manage their projects as participating partners.

4. Professionals must build compelling online brands

The empowered homeowner does their research and starts to plan their project up to a year in advance, because they are passionate about their home. Their contractor due diligence will include viewing a professional’s portfolio, reading online reviews, and using community activity to gauge personality and assess how easy the person may be to work with. This all leads to the conclusion that professionals must invest time to develop and manage their brand presence online; for it is here, where their next customer is looking. Will you be found?

The Reno Facts:

  • 41% of renovation projects exceed initial budgets.
  • 83% of homeowners are motivated to renovate to improve the look, feel, flow and layout of their home.
  • 58% of renovating homeowners are planning to hire professional help.
  • 81% of homeowners rated “good reviews & recommendations” as “very important” when selecting a professional to work on their home.

Positive Reviews Gets You More Views

Online reviews are second only to personal advice from a friend as the driver of hiring decisions. TrustedPros is dedicated to bringing quality construction professionals together with empowered homeowners in search of the right contractor for their home improvement project. TrustedPros contractors gain access to potential customers by building their brand presence and reputation online through testimonials that have been verified by a third-party. Homeowners are now empowered to hire their pro with confidence. Don’t forget the importance and power of a customer review. Contractors depend on referrals and word of mouth to sustain their business.

Renovate Better with RENOMii App

Contractors and Electricians and Plumbers, oh my! Collaboration between trades and homeowners on any renovation, or remodel is taxing on a good day. However, the matter is further complicated by poor communications, or when one party loses sight into other aspects of a project. “Why did the installer the homeowner hired not show up today? Did plans change? I needed them to complete their work, so I could do mine. Now I don’t know what to do”. This scenario sounds costly for both 1) the frustrated tradesperson, and 2) the unaware homeowner. Unaccounted for costs at the end of a project can lead to disputes, bad reviews, or even litigation. Next time, manage your project in RENOMii, a unique collaborative software solution for renovation management that tracks your project’s budget from contract signing to homeowner sign-off. All homeowner communications and approvals are tracked through an automated change order approval process. Contractors create change orders outlining costs and timing, and submit for homeowner approval. Since all approvals are tracked and stored if something is disputed, you can quickly reference approved change orders and negate a potentially negative review, or legal battle saving you time, money and most importantly – your reputation! It only takes 5 minutes to create a project in RENOMii and invite your homeowner to collaborate on their renovation. free for professional members to try. Automatically save 20% when you subscribe! Contractors and Homeowners Agree: Renos Go Better Using RENOMii!

“No other software has generated that type of [homeowner] response
in my 31 years of home building”.

“Communication with my home buyers during the construction of their homes has improved immensely through the use of RENOMii. It clarifies the process of work change orders for everyone and as a result reduces a huge amount of stress for both builder and home buyer. The transparency and instant availability of information helps to promote a higher level of trust from the home buyer that is invaluable to the process. On the several projects that I have used RENOMii, I have received unsolicited offers from home buyers to do testimonials for my company following the completion of their new home build. No other software product before has generated that type of response in my 31 years of home building”.

Richard Trapp, President at Emerald Homes Ltd.

“RENOMii is easy to use, and helped keep everything detailed, in writing, and under control, which removed a major source of stress in managing the project”.

“RENOMii gets to the heart of many contractor/client disputes – how much are changes supposed to cost, and what exactly is expected. Our General Contractor, Catalyst, used it on our front porch rebuild project it was easy to use, and it definitely helped keep everything detailed, in writing, and under control, which we found removed a major source of stress in managing the project. RENOMii forces clients and contractors to put their requests and comments in writing, and ensures that both have to agree in order to change the cost of the project. If you know how to have a conversation on Facebook, you know how to use RENOMii, and your project will be better for it.”

Home Theater Installation Costs

There’s nothing like sitting back, reclining and enjoying a five-star film right in the confines of your home. One way to amplify the thrilling action you see on your screen is by watching it in your own home theater.

What once was considered a luxury only for the very rich has become much more typical for homeowners in the twenty-first century. It is a terrific outlet for families who love watching home movies, staying in on Saturday nights and really being part of the action. Frankly, a home theater is like an oasis from reality.

Nevertheless, there is always a cost involved. Surprisingly, if you know how to shop, many families can install a new home theater system for less than $1,000. Below, I will discuss all factors, as well as costs, that go into home theater installation.

Home Theater Installation Cost

The overall price of your home theater install will largely depend on what you need. If you are clearing out the basement, adding new soundproof walls, all new wires, a new speaker system and screen, then of course, the price will inflate. However, if you just need the wiring and other components installed, you should expect to pay no more than $500. In fact, according to our home theater installation cost estimator, the average price is $334.

Surround Sound Installation Cost

While the overall design may look different, installing surround sound for your home theater is not very different from any home sound system. Therefore, as HomeAdvisor points out, the average price to install a surround sound system is $492.

A surround sound system can include two small speakers plugged into a wall outlet, or it can include a dozen mounted speakers located throughout the home for cohesive sound. Either way, we highly recommend buying a pre-packaged system. They ensure that all parts are included and oftentimes, can be cheaper as opposed to buying a la carte.

If you do want to buy each piece by itself, you should look for:

  • A center channel speaker
  • Two front speakers – one for each side of the screen or on the side walls
  • One or two subwoofers
  • Two or more surround speakers or speakers behind

How to Save Money with Home Theater Installation

Many homeowners end up hiring a pro, which I will get to later, but like any home remodeling project, there are always tricks and hidden opportunities to save money.

 

If you have some electrical knowledge or woodworking skills, you may be able to take some projects off your contractor’s hands. Just make sure your contractor knows what aspects of the job you are undertaking. Communication is key with all home improvement projects. If it is not there, delays will occur.

Next, if you know enough about the technology such as the sound systems, electronics and so forth, you can purchase all the equipment yourself (remember, always look for sales). Home theater pros are used to purchasing the equipment themselves, so one less trip to the store should save you cash on your overall installation.

As always, you can take your DIY skills to the next level by installing the home theater system yourself. Just beware that there may be certain local legal requirements in your neighborhood. Nevertheless, if you do decide to go with a pro, make sure you shop around. Get at least four quotes for your job. Don’t go with the cheapest and don’t go with the most expensive.

Hiring A Pro

Besides their experience, one of the biggest advantages of hiring a professional is the fact that they can customize the theater to your liking. If you are talking a new home theater system, many companies can design entirely new systems from scratch, including your existing furniture.

On the other hand, if you want to upgrade your current system, pros can create a new setup based on existing equipment that can still be used while incorporating new purchases to replace outdated components. If you are looking to save, updating old furniture and obsolete technology is an easy way to vastly upgrade your home theater.

To find a pro, check out HomeAdvisor or the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.

What Goes Into Home Theater Installation

Home theaters should be designed to separate yourself from the rest of the house. The walls are almost always soundproofed so as not to disturb others. If your walls are not soundproofed, you should look to your pro to add the extra insulation. If you want to see how it’s done, watch the handy video below.

Oftentimes, the installation will involve cutting into walls. You or your pro will need to rewire most of the system, add all the acoustics and visuals needed to create that one-of-a-kind home theater experience.

Final Home Theater Considerations

The Room

Unless you are looking for a man cave, make sure you leave enough room for all the necessary components of a terrific home theater.

Furniture

Finishes are selected to provide not only an aesthetically cohesive space but also to work in conjunction with the room acoustics. If you don’t have space for four or five recliners, consider adding a U-shaped couch. If you’re looking for something smaller, you can always try actual theater-style conjoining chairs or a simple array of armchairs. Don’t forget about cup holders!

Lighting

Never underestimate the power of light. A healthy combination of recessed lights and wall sconces lends itself perfectly to home theater lights. Overall, lighting fixtures serve not only to accentuate the details, but also to provide acoustically reflective surfaces.

Time To Get Festive Decorating Your Windows For The Holidays

It’s December, so you know what that means; it’s the holiday season! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you may want to decorate your home. Each holiday has its own customs and decorations and what better place to show them off than your windows.

There are several ways to decorate your windows for the holidays. Whether it be candles, wreaths or other options discussed below, your windows present a big opportunity to show your holiday pride. See several ways you can decorate your windows for the holidays.

Light Up Your Home

Show your holiday spirit with lights! Whether they’re red and green for Christmas, the traditional Kwanzaa colors of red, black and green or a wide array of different colors, stringing lights around your windows looks great for any holiday. They’re also good for drawing attention to other attractions you may have inside of your window.

Speaking of inside your window, you can also hang image-shaped lights. Most designs you can imagine have been made into a light display, such as snowflakes, The Star of David or even Santa Claus. They hang inside of your home and can be easily seen from far away.

Use Your Window Treatments to Decorate for the Holidays

Your window treatments are a great way to decorate your windows from the inside. Seasonal and holiday curtains can add a festive touch to your home.

If you don’t want to buy new curtains to only hang them up for a couple months per year, there are other creative ways to use your window treatments. Hanging garland or homemade crafts from your curtain rod is a creative way to show your holiday spirit.

Hang A Wreath in Your Window

While wreaths are traditionally made from flowers, leaves and twigs and are typically door decorations. They can be made from almost any material and can be hung anywhere. Since they’re usually large, they are visible from both inside and outside your home. Many wreaths also come with lights built-in so they’re easier to see from outside. Wreaths are great to add in combination with other decorations as well.

Wreaths are usually associated with Christmas, but they can be used for any holiday. Many homeowners are creating their own wreaths now so they can be almost any shape and size to celebrate any holiday.

There are Many Display Options with Window Seats

One of the many benefits of bay and bow windows are the window seats they create by extending beyond your home’s façade. The additional space is perfect for adding holiday flair. There are several different ways you can use a window seat to decorate for the holidays

Christmas Scenes

One of the most famous images associated with Christmas is the nativity scene. It includes baby Jesus in his crib in the manger with Mary and Joseph. It’s popular to recreate this scene using statues and figures. The window seat created by a bay or bow window is the perfect place for it to be displayed. By adding a few candles or lights, it’s easily seen both inside and outside your home.

Another option is to create a Christmas village. You can purchase various buildings, people and item statues to create a small town on your window seat. Christmas villages are popular, but can take up large amounts of space. With the window seat, it will be contained to a designated area.

Candles are Perfect for Any Holiday

Many holiday cultures center on the theme of lighting candles. For instance, while celebrating Hanukkah, you light one candle of the menorah each day for eight days to symbolize the miracle of the oil. What better place to display your menorah than right in your window. The addition of a window seat allows you to proudly show your Jewish faith.

Same can be said for a kinara. Kinaras are used during Kwanzaa to hold seven candles, three red candles on one side, three green on the other side and one black in the middle. The seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Like Hanukkah’s menorah, showcasing your kinara on your window seat or in front of your window is a great way to demonstrate your pride during Kwanzaa.

Putting candles on your window seat will enhance your decorations. They can create some mood lighting that is perfect for the holidays. However, be very careful when using candles for your holiday display. Don’t let the flame touch any window treatment and keep them away from pets and children.

Stick on Some Window Clings

An easy way to decorate your windows is by using window clings. There are sets of window clings featuring iconic images associated with any holiday. The only issue is that they aren’t easy to see from outside, but the addition of lights might help.

Fly Your Flag

Most holidays don’t have a flag associated with them, but Kwanzaa is the exception. The traditional red, black and green flag is a staple of the holiday and can be hung throughout your entire home. Each color symbolizes something different – black for the people, red for the struggle and green for the future and hope that comes from the struggles. What better place to hang your flag than the window.

Placement Can Make A Difference

You can decorate your windows without putting anything in them. Think of your window as a picture frame. The way you place decorations inside your home could create a beautiful look from the outside. For instance, if you put your Christmas tree in an area that could be seen from the outside, it can have the same effect as actually hanging something in your window.

The same can be done with menorahs and kinaras. Putting them on a mantle or shelf that can be seen outside will have a similar look to putting them in your window. While your decorations aren’t front and center, your entire home becomes the display.

Hot Tub Costs

Whether it’s for relaxation, health or entertainment, hot tubs provide a home getaway like no other. Surprising to many, hot tub costs are not as high as many assume. While it certainly depends on your location, as well as model, type and accessories, you can oftentimes buy a new tub for less than $500.

Below, I will explain all the costs that come with hot tub installation, hot tub repairs, as well as the costs surrounding the various types and features.

Note: The terms hot tub and spa are used interchangeably, though spas are usually considered to be in-ground, permanent units, often installed in conjunction with a swimming pool. Spas will not be addressed below.

Hot Tub Installation

Hot tubs are not expensive to install? According to our hot tub cost estimator, it costs $298 to install a new hot tub. Keep in mind, this price takes all hot tubs into consideration, including very inexpensive portable versions.

Nonetheless, many would agree that $298 is a small price to pay for a spa-like retreat, a romantic destination or a therapeutic tool to help you unwind at the end of the day. On top of all that, high-quality hot tubs can even increase the overall value of your home.

Hot Tub Types

There are certain hot tubs that provide a more luxurious feel than others. The general rule of thumb is the larger or more complicated the model, the more it costs to install. As our friends at HomeAdvisor have iterated, there are the standard two-person models with a couple of jets at the lower end of the price spectrum. In the mid-range, there are models with jets and built-in seats that hold five to seven people. The luxury models can have up to 160 jets and other amenities like underwater lighting and drink holders.

Dialing it down a bit, there are two main types of hot tubs; wood fired hot tubs and portable/inflatable hot tubs.

Note: While we are only reviewing hot tubs, many consumers spend more and go with an outdoor Jacuzzi.

Wood Fired Hot Tubs

Back in the day, wooden tubs were all we had. They are typically built using redwood, cedar or teak with a simple design. While seating is limited compared to newer models, they do offer a permanent, rustic touch not many hot tubs present.

 

Rather than using electricity or gas (saving money on utilities), these tubs operate by burning traditional logs of wood to heat the water. Because they hold a greater volume of water, they’re very heavy and must sit on a base of solid concrete or a specially engineered and reinforced deck.

While they may be heavy, they don’t require any electric wiring or plumbing since they are standalone items that can be placed anywhere. Plus, wood fired hot tubs typically cost less than traditional versions

Portable Hot Tubs

Certain locations, such as Chicago, don’t allow for year-round hot tubs (even though we need them in the winter). As such, many opt for a portable or inflatable hot tub that can be taken out in the spring or summer or removed before winter. These versions are very cheap and you can install without a pro in under an hour

Hot Tub Repair Costs

There are few aspects of the home that allow you to set it and forget it and sadly, your new hot tub is not one of them. Just like mowing your lawn or cleaning out the filter in your furnace, your hot tub requires regular maintenance throughout the year. As you can see with our hot tub repair cost guide, this includes periodic draining of the tub, scrubbing the surface and shocking the water with chemicals. On average, it costs $185 per year to maintain the tub.

Wood Fired Hot Tub Repairs

It takes a lot to damage a wood fired hot tub, but nonetheless, certain repairs do come up. The most common wood hot tub repair is resurfacing the wood, a project that can take as little as four hours and cost anywhere from $325 to $1,300, depending on the quality. As you can assume, whenever the issue is on the outside of the tub, the repairs will never exceed exorbitant amounts.

Portable Hot Tub Repairs

Portable hot tubs are not nearly as sturdy as their wooden friends. They can be damaged quite easily, but thanks to their inexpensive nature, repairs are not very expensive, rarely exceeding $300. In fact, given the repair price, many just opt for a new portable or inflatable hot tub.

Reasons to Get A Hot Tub

On top of relaxation, there are certain benefits to owning a hot tub that we outlined below. To see more, please see Hot Tub and Spa Benefits.

  • A recent study shows that 70% of employed Americans suffer stress-related conditions, such as depression, ulcers, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.
  • A National Sleep Foundation study found that a 15-minute soak in hot water can actually help you fall asleep faster.
  • Studies show that warm water allows your blood vessels to dilate, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow to your muscles – and you relax!

Home Improvement Project Organization Tips

We’ve all done it. You’re in a hurry to dig into a home improvement project, so you barrel off to the hardware store, home center, or lumberyard without first taking inventory of exactly what you need. Multiple trips later to the hardware store, home center, or lumberyard, the job is completed, but you’re exhausted. The idea with the list that follows is that it forces you to think through every step of the job. In doing so, you’ll be more likely to do the job efficiently. You’ll eliminate unnecessary trips to the hardware store, or even to the toolshed or workshop.

Preparation

Much like anything in life, preparation is key. The more you plan ahead, the smoother your project should be. Below are the steps you should take before every home remodeling project.

  • Gather information, preferably from more than one source.
  • Identify the processes involved (see list below).
  • Identify tools needed.
  • Make a sketch or a plan of the project.
  • Prepare and protect the work area.
  • Bring tools to the work area.
  • Bring materials to the work area.

Materials

Every project needs tools and materials. Believe us, they make a world of a difference.

  • Make a list of all materials needed.
  • Divide the list into what you have and what you need to buy.

From Start to Finish

No matter what type of project you are undertaking, there is a set of steps one must go through. While each step will largely depend on your project, most projects processes will have to go through the following steps:

  • Carpentry
  • Cleanup (dust and debris removal)
  • Demolition
  • Drywall installation, taping, and finishing
  • Earth moving
  • Electrical
  • Finishing (staining, varnish, etc.)
  • Flooring
  • Masonry
  • Metal fabrication (welding, brazing, riveting)
  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Sheetmetal work
  • Surface preparation (cleaning, grinding, sanding)
  • Tile
  • Woodworking

Example Project

You want to install a wood post set in concrete by the edge of your driveway. The post will have a sign with your house’s number and your family’s name on it. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that you already have had the sign made and the bracket it will hang from. Let’s also say that the concrete that the post will be set in will be flush to the ground, so there’s no need to build a form or be concerned about fancy concrete finishing.

Preparation

  1. Gather information: If needed, look up how to install a post and concrete footing.
  2. Identify the processes and their sequence: The job involves surface preparation, earth moving, carpentry (placing the post in the hole and bracing it), masonry, painting, and then carpentry once more (attaching the sign bracket to the post). Another option is to prepare the post and sign and install the completed assembly in the hole with the concrete around it.
  3. Identify the materials needed: Post, bagged concrete, screws to attach the sign bracket to the post, sandpaper to smooth the post, primer and paint.
  4. Identify tools for each process (below):
  5. Carpentry: Square, pencil, saw, sawhorses, tape measure, safety glasses, extension cord, level (to plumb the post), drill, drill bits, screwdriver bits or screwdriver.
  6. Cleanup: Brooms and shop vacuum.
  7. Earth moving: Pick, prybar, shovel, wheelbarrow and rake.
  8. Masonry: Wheelbarrow, water hose, hoe or shovel for mixing concrete and concrete finishing float.
  9. Painting: Brush or roller, paint pot or roller tray, roller cover, paint stirring stick, rags and screwdriver to open paint can.
  10. Surface preparation: Sandpaper, hand-sanding block or sander and dust mask.
  11. Make a sketch or a plan of the project: Draw out the post and how far into the ground it goes. Determine the volume of concrete in its footing.
  12. Prepare and protect the work area: Not much is needed here unless a shrub needs to be moved.
  13. Bring tools to the work area: Get together your tools. Place them in the wheelbarrow.
  14. Bring materials to the work area: Park the car or truck in a convenient location to unload the materials and bring them directly to the work area.

Materials

  1. Post, sandpaper, primer, paint, screws, scrap lumber, and nails for bracing post in position, grass seed or grass-patch repair kit.

Processes (listed alphabetically; the sequence will depend on the job)

Carpentry

  1. Set up in garage. Prepare your tools and extension cord.
  2. Measure post, mark it, and cut it to length. (Is that circular saw blade in good condition, or should you buy a new one?)
  3. Mark the location of the sign on the post.
  4. Drill pilot holes in the post for the sign bracket screws.
  5. Attach bracket to post.

Cleanup (dust and debris removal)

  1. Sweep up sawdust and dispose of it or use a shop vacuum.
  2. Clean concrete from wheelbarrow and tools.
  3. Clean paint from tools.
  4. Store leftover cans of paint.
  5. Dispose of debris (rags, spent roller, paint cans).
  6. Rock and soil have to go somewhere. Where?

Earth moving 

  1. Dig post hole to adequate depth.
  2. Smooth soil around post before applying grass seed.

Masonry

  1. Position garden hose.
  2. Tear open concrete bags and mix concrete in wheelbarrow.
  3. Position post in hole, brace it, plumb it, and place concrete around it.
  4. Smooth concrete at base of post using the float.

Painting 

  1. Open can of primer and stir. Pour into paint pot or tray. Apply to post.
  2. Repeat with finish coat of paint.

Surface Preparation 

  1. Sand post smooth with progressively finer sandpaper.
  2. There you have it. As you can see, an incredible number of processes have taken place to do this tiny little job.

4 Exterior Paint Colors That Will Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal

The visual appearance of the exterior of your home is extremely important to your resale value and curb appeal. Oftentimes, homeowners are so worried about the interior of their house that they forget to give proper attention and care to the outside.

A fresh exterior is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to boost your home’s curb appeal. Although some of us like our home to be noticed, it’s important that the color and appearance blends in with neighborhood. I’m going to share with you what experts rank as the top four home exterior color schemes that will help you sell your house and boost your curb appeal.

1. Shades of Green & Brown

Various shades of green and brown are great because they’re colors found in nature that easily blend in with surrounding landscape. In established neighborhoods, it’s suggested that the darker of shade the better. If you want to incorporate a little more color then it’s advised to mix in some red with your shades of green and brown.

 

In order to liven up your home the right way, This Old House suggests selecting colors that are opposite each other on a color wheel (i.e. green and red). Be sure to tone down the colors and avoid using pure red and green. Otherwise, you risk your house looking like Christmas all year round. Tone down the effect by adding similar amounts of gray to both colors.

Earthy hues mixed with rich brown tones is one of the best ways to win with brown. Bring in some light brown and tan elements to brighten up the overall appearance. Another option is to use lighter shades for your siding and trim and paint your garage doors a darker brown.

A traditional mossy green can be accented by a misty gray trim for a warm and welcoming look. If you prefer incorporating a wood exterior, then you should consider using green for the trim instead of the siding. Picking out a shade of green can be tough, so we’ll let you in on which Gardenista picked as the top nine shades of green paint.

2. Light & Dark Blue

If you choose to enhance your curb appeal using blue then select either light or deep shades of the color. Gray and off-white are a few of the recommended accents you can use for your trim and doors. Blue is one of those colors that just illuminates a feeling of calmness. No other hue out there promotes Zen-like emotions like the color blue. It’s said that the psychological effect of the color blue is less pronounced on the exterior versus in a room, therefore, it’s suggested you bring in elements of white and green which will help make it look cool and crisp.

Since blue isn’t rooted in an earth color, it can be a little daring to use. That’s why it’s advised you stick to light and dark shades of blue on your exterior. Grayish shades of blue are a bit safer because they’re similar to that of slate, which is very pleasing to the senses. At the end of the day, your goal should be to create a canvas that’s visually appealing and well-maintained. According to the pros, you can’t go wrong with using primary colors and gray.

3. Neutral Hues

Once again, neutral hues work because they blend in with the natural surroundings. A few options you may want to look into are, a warm taupe, gray hues and cream. A neutral palette presents you with the perfect opportunity to bring in a pop of color to your front door or shutters. The one nice thing about choosing a neutral exterior is that you can guarantee it’s going to look classy and timeless.

When picking out paint colors, remember that perception of color is all relative. I recently came across a good example to help you understand this better. “If you put a mid-value color, such as tan, next to pure white, it will look beige. But if you put it next to dark green, it will look off-white.” Keep this in mind when choosing colors, main and trim (Reader’s digest).

4. White & Black

To achieve a traditional and classic exterior, you should stick with white or off-white as your main emphasis and incorporate black accents. I also love the idea of bringing elements of wood into this scheme, as shown in the example above. It’s all about securing clean lines and perfecting the details with a white and black color scheme.

Shutters bring a whole new level of possibilities to the outside of your home. They create an entire new dimension of color and style for you to work with and highlight. Black shutters deliver a contrast like no other to a white backdrop. Installing black iron light fixtures is another way to add charm and charisma to a traditional exterior.

Pros & Cons Of Mounting A TV Over A Fireplace

Mounting a TV over a fireplace was not possible in 2000, but given the technological advancements and modern design trends over the last decade, a TV over the fireplace is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception.

As is the case with any design trend, there are pros and cons. When you’re talking about heat and tech, you better believe drawbacks will come about. Nonetheless, there are two sides to every story.

After reading the pros and cons of mounting a TV over a fireplace below, you can determine if this hot design trend will hit your home next.

Flat Screen TV Costs

Thankfully, gone are the days of those bulky televisions that were impossible to move. Not only did they take up valuable space in your stand or dresser, but they more often than not gave the room an eyesore.

With the creation of flat screen TVs, homeowners were able to clear the space by mounting them on the wall. While many of you do not need a pro for such a task, others seek out professional guidance.

According to our cost estimator, the average price to mount a TV is $298. Just know that the cost can fluctuate based on the size of your TV and the location of the cables.

Pros of Mounting A TV Over A Fireplace

Ample Space

The most obvious benefit of hanging a TV over a fireplace is more space. If you do not mount your TV over the fireplace, chances are, you will have an entertainment center, dresser or TV stand occupying the area. While many TV stands are getting thinner by the day, they still take up valuable living room space.

Mounting a TV over a fireplace frees up the area below the TV. Whether you use that area to install a fireplace, store firewood or leave blank to prevent a sense of clutter, additional empty space always opens up other design possibilities.

Hide Wires

Perhaps the most prevalent reason to mount your TV over a fireplace (or on any wall) is to have the ability to hide those ugly wires. Yes, one could throw TV wires behind the TV when placed on a stand or dresser, but those are still visible to anyone walking by.

Mounting a TV over a fireplace gives you the option to place all those ugly wires in the wall. Many pros just fish the wires through the walls and some install wall plates. Either way, if you’re installing your flat screen TV above your fireplace, make sure you place those ugly wires within the walls.

Design Flexibility

Many of you will not add many design elements around the TV and fireplace as they can both clearly act as focal points to the room. However, with less occupied space below, you have more design flexibility to decorate around the room.

Oftentimes, if you are installing a TV on a large wall, the wall will need other elements to add to the overall look and feel. Less “noise” below gives the ability to do so. Nonetheless, if you feel the TV and fireplace are enough, don’t feel obligated to add accompanying pieces.

Cons of Mounting A TV Over A Fireplace

Neck Pain

The ideal viewing experience puts the television at eye-level. Chances are, if you’re mounting your TV, this will not be possible. Nonetheless, the farther up your TV is, the bigger strain you are creating on your neck.

 

Think of it as sitting in the first three rows of a movie theater. No one sits there because of the poor view, but more so, due to the neck strain many of us get later on. It’s much more comfortable sitting higher up.

Brad Simpson, a Physical Therapist and Clinical Director at Life’s Work Physical Therapy, says staring at a raised screen for long periods of time can hinder the function of your neck. You lose the ability for your neck to stabilize he added.

As I will get to you next, due to its proximity to heat, a TV mounted above the fireplace needs separation.

Electronics & Heat Do Not Mix

Perhaps the most obvious reason to not install a TV so close to a fireplace is its juxtaposition to heat. Electronics and heat do not mix and as such, both are typically kept in separate corners.

Most TVs operate best when placed in settings with lower temperatures. Many argue that placing a TV over a fireplace vastly reduces its lifespan, costing you more money in the long run. Additionally, even if you don’t light the fireplace often, smoke is another element that TVs do not like.

If you’re mounting your TV over the fireplace, make sure you clean it often. Otherwise, a hazy film can start to form from the smoke, quickly ruining your Saturday night home movie.

Visibility

Most of us spend upwards of $500 to $1,000 on terrific TVs due to its pristine picture and viewing experience. Well, if you are not watching your TV at the right angle, all that money could go for nothing.

Picture quality changes the farther you get from the center of the screen. In fact, manufacturers even recommend viewing angles and if those requests are not met, your $500 TV could have a picture of a $250 TV.

One way to help reduce the angle is with a swivel mount. The swivel mount allows you to point the TV downward, vastly improving the viewing angle of a mounted TV.

How to Mount A TV

While the steps needed will certainly be a bit different if you’re mounting your TV on a brick wall, the same general principles apply. If you want to forgo the price of hiring a pro, please see DIY Tips For Mounting A Flat Screen TV.

Brick Vs. Concrete Patios

An outdoor patio is not only the perfect way to take advantage of summer and fall, but the best way to relax and unwind after a long hectic day at the office. Fortunately for eager homeowners, there are a few options as far as patio materials, the most popular of which are concrete or brick.

Concrete patios are the standard across the country. They are durable, look great no matter the size and require little if any maintenance. Brick patios, while also durable, offers numerous different designs and gives any home that traditional look so many of us crave.

Nonetheless, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. See the ongoing debate between brick and concrete patios.

Concrete Patio Cost

To no surprise, concrete prices will largely depend on the size of your patio. The larger the patio, the more expensive the project will be. However, according to our concrete patio cost guide, average concrete prices range between $6/sf and $15/sf. The safest way to really determine how much you will spend on concrete is through a concrete calculator.

Besides the size, other factors that can decrease or increase the total concrete patio cost are the type of concrete (basic concrete is the cheapest), the color (if you choose to add color) and the design (complex designs raise the price).

Brick Patio Cost

Just like a concrete patio, the total brick patio cost will largely depend on labor. More often than not, the cost of labor is more expensive than the cost of materials. Nonetheless, the type of materials does play a role.

 

According to our brick patio cost guide, the average price for a brick patio can range from $10/sf to $50/sf. Needless to say, if you use premium materials, the project will be more expensive.

As far as materials, most homeowners will go with concrete brick pavers or clay brick pavers. Surprisingly, clay is more expensive than concrete, but overall, will depend on the quality of brick you choose. Just beware that it is quite common for homeowners to save a buck or two and go with an inferior type of brick patio, but sadly, pay more in the long run after repairs and maintenance.

Durability

Concrete Patios

Concrete patios are very durable no matter where you live. Whether you live in Chicago with long winters or Seattle with all that rainfall, a concrete patio can stand with the best of them.

One of the reasons concrete patios are so durable is due to the sealant many masonry pros add. The sealant prevents moisture from oozing inside the concrete. Sealants are also good for concrete around a pool, providing a barrier to common pool chemicals.

Despite its durable nature, concrete can chip or crack over the years. Likewise, concrete patios can only take so much abuse. Sadly, if you chose a colored or stamped concrete patio (more later), the repairs will not be cheap. Just like paint or carpet, it’s not always easy finding an exact match if you didn’t purchase extra before installation.

Finally, weeds have a tendency to grow in between concrete pavers, but common weed killers or pesticides are readily available at your local hardware store.

Brick Patios

Very similar to concrete, brick patios are durable and can last for decades if cared for properly. It can stand up against inches of snow and rain. Nonetheless, depending on the material and color of choice, the brick can chip and fade after a long period of time. Likewise, if your area sees heavy rainfall, don’t expect that bright red to last forever.

Additionally, brick can also chip, crack and form weeds over time. Fortunately, repairing brick patios is easier than most concrete patios as most homeowners purchase extra bricks. Remember, it never hurts to buy extra material for any home installation or improvement project.

Versatility

Concrete Patios

As I have already iterated, there are few different options when it comes to concrete patio designs, the two most common of which are stamped and colored concrete.

Stamped concrete is the process of decorating the concrete once it has been laid. The name explains it all. When the concrete is still wet, the professional places a stamp above it. When it finally dries, the design will be imprinted into the concrete. There is no limit to what designers can do with stamped concrete.

Colored concrete is another option. Believe it or not, you can color concrete to match that red brick color or go totally out of the box and add a blue-green design to your concrete patio. The pro will either use a concrete dye or concrete stain. Either way, colored concrete will add between 10% and 30% of the total cost and is rarely completed by a homeowner (call a pro).

Brick Patios

While many homeowners use brick to add a traditional, red color to their patio, much like concrete, there are plenty of colors and designs to choose from. If you are looking to go bold, below are just a few of the possible brick colors to choose from:

  • White
  • Cream
  • Tan
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Burgundy
  • Brown
  • Black

Likewise, brick allows you to incorporate multiple different designs. From a basket weave to a complex herringbone design, there are plenty of brick patio designs to choose from.

Maintenance

Concrete Patios

Given their long lifespans, both concrete and brick patios require little maintenance. Other than the occasional clean and weed spray, both need little if any care over the years.

However, if you want to ensure a long life for your brand new concrete patio, I highly recommend at least one coat of sealer every few years. This is especially important for areas that see a lot of rainfall or snow.

Additionally, make sure you fix any cracks or chips as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely the chip extends to other areas of the patio. Fortunately, a small crack, for example, can be filled in with epoxy and take less than an hour to complete.

Brick Patios

Brick patios can become uneven, dirty and like concrete pavers, form weeds between bricks. For uneven brick patios, homeowners should fix any drainage issues around the patio and then pull up the brick in the uneven area and check the sand/base of the patio. If you need to, add a few extra layers.

Brick should be cleaned on a consistent basis and sealed every two to three years. You can purchase a masonry detergent at your local hardware store to clean the pavers. Might as well purchase when you buy weed killers.

If you follow all the steps above, your brick patio should last for decades, if not generations.

Getting Your Property Tenant Ready

If you currently own a home and are thinking about using your basement or condo as means of generating some extra income, you are not alone. According recent statistics about 1 in 20 Canadian households own some form of income property. The perks of leasing a property can far outweigh the negatives, if done properly.

Before you decide to post an ad on Kijiji or contact a real estate agent, it is very important to understand what leasing a portion of your property may entail. This quick list will get your property rental-ready in no time.

  1. Fire and Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention

    Ontario law requires all homes to have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector and it is your responsibly as a Landlord to ensure that your property is equipped with these essential products. Make sure you hire a licensed contractor to install the detectors if you are not confident in your ability to do so on your own. This may cost you a few dollars but it will protect your tenants from harm and will absolve you of any responsibility for damages that may occur from fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

  2. Plumbing

    If you are leasing a property which requires use of a basement, you will want to take an extra step to find a reputable plumbing company that can assess your home and determine if it is at risk of experiencing water or sewage damage. Repairing damage caused by flooding can be incredibly expensive and in this case it is always better to be safe than sorry.

  3. Electrical

    Have you ever walked in to a room and noticed that the lights are flickering or that the on switch actually turns off the lights? Not only are these electrical issues annoying, but they pose safety hazards as well. No one wants to live in a home with unpleasant lighting, so do not subject your tenants to such conditions. Electricians can install attractive and high efficiency lighting to suit your style and budget.

  4. Mold and Asbestos Removal

    Most homes, new or old will likely have instances of mold build up due to moisture or poorly ventilated spaces. Although a little mold in a bathroom can easily be removed through regular cleaning methods, there are instances in which mold contamination requires professional removal. Attempting to clean large areas of mold with bleach is ineffective and can be dangerous.

    Exposure to Asbestos is also very dangerous and has been known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and many other health problems. Various companies offer testing for asbestos within your home. If you plan to do any type of renovations on your income property, Health Canada highly recommends you research the ways in which you can lower human exposure to the harmful chemical.

  5. Add some Pizazz

    A beautifully designed space with eye-catching features will convince potential tenants to put your income property at the top of their list. Find a competent contractor that can help you transform your property. By adding shiny new faucets, trendy artwork that can be found at IKEA and installing crisp white baseboards you can create a space that adds value and also feels like home.