Sunday, August 31, 2008

7 Cheap Bathroom Remodeling Tips

A bathroom remodel to most people means clearing out the interior of the area until it is just an empty box with a couple of drainpipes sticking out of the floor. Then the space is fitted with new fixtures and faucets that may or may not work as well as the ones replaced. In other words a bathroom renovation has a lot to do with style and getting rid of old, familiar items.

As well, when remodeling a bathroom space has a lot to do with it but if you can get along with the same amount of space then there is a lot of benefits that can be had:

* Save money
* Save time
* Less mess
* Less wastage

In other words there are a lot more benefits to remodeling that just saving money – but then, that’s enough.


A dingy, yellowing fiberglass shower/tub can make anyone want a complete remodel. Some people scrub it with an abrasive cleanser only to find that the next time they shower the surface absorbs the color of the shampoo and leaves a tell-tale stain. The truth is that even a tub stained with hard water rust stains can be cleaned with a good dish soap and a mild, nylon cleaning pad. This is the same with toilets and sinks. Before ripping them out try a different cleaner. Search the web for ideas from other homeowners. There are lots of them out there.

Bathtub-style: If your shower is a bathtub with a shower attachment on the wall, and you don’t mind the color, a new shower enclosure really spruces up the area. These come in a variety of styles with built-in shelves for condiments. Don’t break the bank on this. You should be able to get a decent one for under $200.

Fixtures: Check the local hardware stores for up-to-date fixtures. You can really spruce up your clean tub and give it a new look and purpose with a new shower taps and showerhead. There are many different styles and uses to choose so take some time shopping.

Water Saver Showerhead: To save more money buy a water miser showerhead. This can save you over 50% of the water and hot water costs for the same duration of shower.

Shower Curtain: This is what most people notice the first time they walk into your bathroom. Shower curtains and shower curtain hangers set the mood of the whole bathroom and should be coordinated with towels and toilet cover. If your bathroom area is small you should go with a lighter color. Also, if there is a window in the bathroom you can match the shower curtain with the window curtains.


If the toilet matches the bathtub or shower then you are half-way home especially if the toilet tank hardware is fine. Fortunately, compared with other fixtures, toilets are not really expensive but good, low-flush toilets are not cheap. Rather than get rid of a decent toilet to save water try a toilet tank water saver. This is a mechanism that fits in the toilet tank and only lets enough water in the tank to do the job. And it’s adjustable.


If the present sink is chipped or cracked, and is a drop-in style, then a replacement can be had for under $100. A full acrylic model that is yellowed or cracked can be had for about $150. If the sink is okay but looks bland then look at new fixtures at the same time you buy the new ones for the showers. In addition you can buy a towel rack and toilet paper roll hanger in the same mode.


The best thing about a built-in vanity is that it’s built-in and solid. Changing the look can be as cheap as a different paint tone or changing out the doors. Or the latter, take the measurements and go to several cabinet places. They usually have an odds-and-sots section where odd-shaped bathroom cabinets sets and doors can be found. Check the measurements and you may come home with a cheap pair of beautiful doors. Get new hardware to match the racks and water fixtures.


Linoleum: In a small or medium-sized bathroom changing out a floor can be as easy as rolling out a section of beautifully-designed linoleum over the present floor and gluing it down. If the present flooring is linoleum you can get a neutralizing agent to scrub the floor and then apply the mastic. The new linoleum will go down easily. Then install molding to hold down the edges.

Tile: This also cheap and can go over other flooring. For small spaces it can be a do-it-yourself job but a handyman can do it quickly and cheaply. Big tile can also be used on the walls from the floor to the ceiling for a grand, European look.


Usually the lighting is overhead and/or framing the mirror. This might take a couple of hundred bucks for an electrician but installing sconces on each side of the mirror will really give the bathroom a makeover. In addition, spend a few dollars on a quality, quiet fan.


Bathroom paint design is the cheapest remodeling technique going and usually one gallon of finish will do the job. Cleaning is very important and so is a good bathroom primer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Be More Energy Efficient -- Winterize Your Home

Even homes with adequate insulation material and water pipe heat tape can be further fortified for winter months. Regardless if winter is already well under way, it still isn’t too late to winterize your home. The following steps can save you time, money, and help you avoid inconvenient cold-weather emergencies.

-Check insulation: be sure your attic, basement, and exterior walls are properly insulated and up to code. Depending upon insulation product used, replace or add to batt insulation (also known as blanket insulation) or other insulation material. If you have blown in insulation, a building contractor can determine whether or not more is required.
-Check for cold air entry ports: give your house the once-over; look for areas where cold air can seep in, and inside heat escape – adding to fuel costs. Check external wall electrical outlets, switch-plates, and gaps around windows and doors. Foam insulation made for outlet and switch placement is inexpensive, a breeze to install, and effective. Door weather stripping and window weather stripping made from metal, vinyl, sponge, felt, or foam can also help considerably. Caulk draft areas where weather stripping is not appropriate.
-Check furnace: this may not fit under the winterize your home category, but replacing the furnace filter every 4 to 6 weeks will help your furnace run more efficiently and cut down on heating costs. If you suspect your furnace isn’t running at top performance, have a heating repair contractor inspect it.

A programmable digital thermostat is another fuel bill cost cutter. They are not difficult to install and are more temperature precise than older types of thermostats. They can be programmed to automatically lower temperature at night when everyone is asleep, and during times when the house uninhabited.

Of course, prior to winter months make sure your gutters and downspouts are free from debris. And outside hoses should be disconnected and stored away; insulate outdoor faucets.

More Pre-Winter Ways to Cut Down on Fuel Costs

Aside from adequate home insulation, the use of either foam insulation pipe or electric heat tape, and the suggestions listed above to winterize your home, consider the following:

-Install an overhang above the entry way into your home to reduce ice build up on steps and make them safer.
-A double efficient energy pane window can help cut heating and cooling costs year round. An insulated window treatment, such as an insulated window shade or insulated window curtain, will also prove effective.
-Have chimneys, fireplaces, and woodstoves cleaned before winter sets in to avoid problems caused by accumulated soot and other debris.
-Acquire the services of a roof repair contractor to check loose gutters, damaged shingles, or other repair needs.

One other tip – avoid applying rock salt or calcium chloride to your roof to melt ice and snow. Use of either can damage shingles, and possibly void the shingle manufacturer’s warranty.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Interior Decorating on a Budget

Having a large budget to work with may be great when it comes to home interior decorating. But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on improved home design. Tasteful interior decorating on a modest family budget is possible if you follow a well-planned strategy.

Budget Decorating Tips for Enhanced Home Décor
Successful home decorating on a limited household budget takes preparation and planning. The most important thing is to decide how much money you have to work with before making decorating plans.

Follow these helpful tips when decorating on a tight home budget:

-Pace yourself; accept the fact you won’t be able to get it all done at once.
-Set a budget limit and target date for project completion; this will help avoid the tendency to keep adding to the room design, increasing overall cost.
-Concentrate on one area at a time. For instance, a single room decorating project, instead of the house as a whole.
-Have a clear cut idea of the type décor and design you want; including color scheme, decorating theme, and the type mood you want to create.
-Look at the contents of each room with a fresh eye. Sometimes by keeping and rearranging base pieces of furniture and adding a few new accessories, the desired effect can be achieved.
-When redecorating, don’t over do it. Keep in mind the main function of the room; select a style, and stick to it.
-New wall paint, wallpaper, and the addition of wall borders are all cost effective ways to improve home interior design.
-Accessory items (such as a wall mirror, pictures, decorator throw pillow, vases and lamps) are quick, economical decorating solutions to brighten a room for a more modern home design.
-Quality used furniture or unfinished furniture that you paint or stain can be a big cost-saver.
-If you plan on using crown molding, consider decorative molding made from Styrofoam. It costs considerably less, is easier to install, and is every bit as attractive as molding made from wood.

Home Interior Decorating Tricks of the TradeHome designer professionals are experts at finding cost-effective ways to improve interior design. To produce the type decorating style and atmosphere you want; for a more attractive home design; one that will fit within your budget – large or small.

An interior design consultant can help steer you in the right direction when it comes to color scheme and fabric selection. Or when deciding how to rearrange furniture; for optimal visual effect, ease of movement, and to enhance room use.

For instance, one insider decorating tip is to “float” room furniture, rather than placing it up against the walls. This helps appoint select areas of the room for a specific purpose. For instance, create an inviting environment for intimate conversation or relaxed reading by grouping two easy chairs and a love seat together at one end of the living room.

Position the furniture on a colorful rug to define the area and create a visual separation from the rest of the room. A folding room divider or large potted plants increases privacy.

An effective small space decorating tip is use a wall mirror to give the illusion of more space, create more light and add dimension to the room. Position mirrors so they reflect an attractive element; a fireplace, scenic window view, etc.

If you want to create a more formal setting without spending a lot of money, take similarly proportioned works of art and group them together on the wall. The bold presence of a wall fountain is another great way to add an air of sophistication and ambiance to a room, as well as the tranquil sound of nature for a relaxed atmosphere.

Home decorating tip: instead of spending a lot of money on designer frames, make your own picture frame; one that perfectly enhances other room elements. Simply purchase an inexpensive picture frame and cover it with wallpaper or fabric. Or decorate it with buttons, dried flowers, stained glass shards, etc. Select mats that reflect the room’s color scheme.

Low-Cost Mood Enhancers; a Compliment to Room Décor and Design
Every interior designer knows the importance of mood enhancers when it comes to room design. Elements that add to the interior decor of a home, creating just the right atmosphere.

For instance, afresh cut flower centerpiece that follows the room’s color scheme can pull other elements together. The fragrance can create an enticing, invigorating, or relaxed atmosphere; depending upon flower type. Note: a floral designer can create a dry or silk flower arrangement that goes perfectly with your room’s décor; request floral spray or aromatherapy oil as a mood enhancer.

Mood lighting is another designer technique for creating room ambiance. One technique is to create multiple pools of warm ambience lighting from lamps strategically placed around the room. Tip: a three way light bulb is more versatile than a standard bulb. Providing brighter light when required for reading and other activities; subdued light for a cozy atmosphere.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Using wallpaper wall covering is a concept that has been around since first utilized in China over 200 years B.C. And who can forget the timeless charm of parlor walls clad with cottage rose designs; landscape or the horse and carriage scenes so popular during the Victorian era?

Wallpaper as a wall covering is as vogue today as it was a100 years ago. A timeless option that has evolved into new innovative ideas. With a wide variety of styles, materials, and designs from which to select.

Today’s Wall Coverings – Countless Styles and Innovative Materials
Today, wallpaper and coverings made from other materials - such as vinyl wall covering, bamboo wall covering, fabric wall covering, wood wall covering, textured wall covering, and even leather wall covering are available. Popular options with vogue interior décor in mind.

An interior wall lavishly adorned with a stunning wallpaper mural, or even fabric wallpaper can give a room that flamboyant flair. Even infinite styles of wall covering borders are available to accent any wall covering style; whether muted and understated, or brash and bold.

Common Problems
Along with the innovations and limitless choices in wall covering material or style, comes the possibility of a wallpaper problem of some type after installation.

One of the most common problem is seams that open up or curl. This can be caused by one of several mistakes when installing:

-Not enough wallpaper paste on the edges when seaming.
-“Over rolling” the seam edges, forcing paste from behind wallpaper.
-Taking too much time aligning the seams; allowing paste to dry along the edges.
Special adhesives are available for gluing down open seams without re-papering the whole wall. An effective and quick solution.

Another problem is curling and loose ends, caused by:

-Inadequate preparation of the wall surface. Such as not sealing the surface, or not applying sizing. While in many cases wallpaper removal in not necessary, surface preparation is a must.
-Too high a room temperature during installation; causing paste to dry too quickly.
-Insufficient paste, or the wrong type paste, used during application.
If the problem exists just on the ends and seams, using the special adhesive can solve the problem without re-papering the whole wall.

Some other problems include:

Tears when being trimmed – usually caused by using a dull blade. Change utility knife blades frequently.
Streaks on the surface after application – usually caused by excess paste, which should be wiped away with a damp cloth each time a new section of wallpaper is hung. In some cases a special solution may be necessary for removing wallpaper paste.
Shading variations – some types of wallpaper or wall covering can vary from roll to roll, causing a noticeable contrast when butted together. Alternating strips for a consistent appearance or sorting and matching rolls to lessen contrast can help. Some types of wall covering can be affected by not using a non-staining adhesive or by improper rolling techniques.
Gaps between pieces – can be caused by improper surface preparation, or incorrect butting and seaming.
Wallpaper bubble or blister – caused by improper smoothing, or hanging in low temperature (below 50°F). Improper surface preparation or improper booking can be other culprits. This type problem can sometimes be solved by pricking and smoothing. Or on a larger area, slitting and applying more paste.
Sometimes during surface preparation, old deteriorating wallpaper must be removed in order to obtain a suitable surface for new wallpaper. Many homeowners, after trying to scrape off old wallpaper, are left wondering how to remove it more quickly and efficiently. Using a wallpaper steamer is the best, most efficient method; they can be found in most rental stores.