Window Installation – Do It Yourself or Not

With the high costs of maintaining a home, many homeowners turn to the DIY approach to save money. This can work very well for some small projects, and can give you not only more cash in the bank but a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

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Unfortunately some projects are more conducive to calling in a contractor from the start.

Window installation is one of those questionable projects that falls in the middle: Should you call a contractor or tackle it on your own?

Here are a few questions that can help you decide.

Do You Have Experience in Window Installation?

Those who have worked with windows in the past probably have a good idea of how things will go. But for those who have never tried to install their own windows, it pays to consider exactly what type of work needs to be done.

For instance, an insert window – one that allows you to keep the existing window frame and trim – is much easier to install than a full-frame

4 Likely Causes of Skylight Leaks

A leak is often many homeowner’s worst nightmare. Leaks can turn your beautiful skylight from a source of warm sunlight to a source of headaches and water damage.

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Worse still is the fear that this will be an extremely expensive problem. After all, you may never have had to deal with a leaky skylight before.

Fortunately, skylight issues are usually quite easy to diagnose – and the majority can be resolved with minimal time and money invested.

However, the first step to repairing a leaking skylight is to diagnose the cause of the leak.

Read on to learn some of the most likely causes of skylight leaks.

1. Condensation

Sometimes a leak isn’t actually a leak. In colder climates, and especially in rooms with high humidity (like the bathroom or kitchen), moisture can collect on the underside of the skylight glass – eventually dripping back down.

Before you go any further, take a close look and try to verify whether water is, in fact, entering from outside.

Solution:

Humidity is going to be a fact of life in certain rooms, but if it proves consistently problematic you can try to offset it with a dehumidifier. Shortening shower time can help as

Does Your Garage Door Provide Enough Security

Here’s a scary fact: Garage doors are often the weakest link in home security. Enterprising thieves know how to get through one.

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In fact, they might even know how to mimic your remote opener so that they can enter the garage without a hint of damage.

And what happens when they make it inside your garage? They can simply close the door and give themselves the time and privacy to sort through your belongings, or worse, enter your home.

What can you do to keep your door closed, locked and secure?

Garage Door Safety Tips

There are many basic garage door safety tips which can greatly lower your risk of burglary and keep your home more secure.

Keeping the Garage off Putting to Potential Burglars

Start on the road to safety by eliminating temptation. That means keeping your garage door closed and locked at all times. If the door has clear windows, frost them to keep prying eyes out while still letting the light in.

Speaking of light, now is the time to install motion-activated lights around the garage to

Pros & Cons of Retractable Skylights

If you’re considering installing a skylight in your home, you’ve got some decisions to make. From choosing the best style of skylight, to factoring in the placement in the home, there are many variables to consider.

When it comes to basic skylight types, you can go with a traditional, inert skylight – or opt for a retractable version, one that can be opened up to provide a direct link to the great outdoors.

But are retractable models all that they’re cracked up to be? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of retractable skylights.

The Benefits of Retractable Skylights

• Aesthetics – Skylights bring a flood of natural light into any room during the day, and provide an absolutely incredible starry view at night – especially in areas with low light pollution. With a retractable skylight, the benefits are even greater – you can draw back the intervening layer of glass or plastic and see straight through.

• Ventilation – The natural chimney effect of an open skylight allows cooking smoke, volatile organic compounds, and moist, stale air to escape from the home – and without the noise or energy of fans.

Adding a Gazebo to Your Deck

Have you thought about how wonderful it would be to spruce up that old deck with something new?

Gazebos can be a great way to enhance your deck and your evenings. Besides their beauty, they give you a great place to lounge, have dinner, and just enjoy yourself.

But as with any other home improvement project, there are pros and cons to consider before you take the plunge.

The Pros of Adding a Gazebo

When you add a gazebo to your deck, you are immediately enhancing the look and feel of the area. This can definitely add to the curb appeal, and if you are looking to sell your home, it could easily add a big “check mark” in your favor with potential buyers.

Planning to stay in your home? The gazebo can become something that you enjoy all the time, especially during the heat of the summer. It becomes a natural gathering place for family and friends, especially if it is a covered model that blocks out the heat of the sun.

If you opt for an open-air gazebo, that gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to

How Big of a Job Requires a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects can deliver some incredible results when it comes to outdoor design, but they aren’t the only players in the game.

So how do you know if your project requires a landscape architect’s specific skillset?

Let’s take a look at what it means to hire a landscape architect, and when they are needed.

What is a Landscape Architect?

Let’s start by defining the term. A landscape architect is, naturally, a professional in the field of landscape architecture. What this means is that their job is to plan and design outdoor areas, making them both beautiful and functional.

Landscape architects must consider everything from the placement of flora and pathways, to the gradient of the land and flow of water, to the energy demands of their finished product.

“Landscape architect” is a regulated term – meaning that to operate as one, individuals must meet certain education requirements and must be licensed by the state. The American Society of Landscape Architects oversees this practice.

Who Hires Landscape Architects?

Landscape architects are often contracted by townships, universities, and business to design everything from parks and playgrounds, to campuses – both academic and corporate. Even the federal government may enlist their services to design monuments, promenades, and recreation areas

DIY Carpet Stain Removal Before Using Pros

Everybody loves a clean, comfy carpet to walk across or sit on! It provides a soft and plush walking surface, dampens the sound of your footsteps, and of course can add beauty to your home.

Sounds perfect, right? We wish.

Your carpet is subject to any number of problems, ranging from dirt and dust tracked over it to stains from things like red wine, blood, pet stains and more.

Removing these stains is vital, but should you hire a professional to handle the problem immediately, or should you take a crack at it yourself first?

Removing Red Wine Stains in Carpet

Did the carpet wind up drinking more of your Merlot than you? Whoops!

While it may look like a nightmare at first, red wine stains can be removed from carpet quickly with the homemade recipe below.

First, blot up as much of the wine as possible with paper towels or wash rags.

Next, mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap with two cups of warm water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Apply the mixture to the stain using a white cloth, dabbing a little bit at a time, blotting it

6 Unique Hiding Spots for House Keys

Remember how your parents kept a spare key underneath the doormat, right at the front door?

Or maybe the key was underneath a flower pot, in the mailbox, or hidden behind a brick lining the flower bed.

If you were lucky, you lived in a quiet neighborhood where the door was rarely locked. Those were the good old days, weren’t they?

Unfortunately, the world is no longer so simple, and home security is more important than ever to lower the risk of burglary. Even in a safe neighborhood, you still need an emergency key to use in case you lock yourself out of your home.

So where can you hide that key so that no one else will find it?

Fun Hide-a-Key Spots No One Will Ever Guess

Feeling creative? Try these clever ways to hide your emergency key:

1. Bury it.

That’s right – bury it right in the yard. Wrap the key in a zip-lock bag to protect it, place that bag inside a small pill bottle, and bury it a few inches deep. Just remember to mark the spot with a small rock or other tell-tale sign

5 Awesome, Yet Affordable Outdoor Patio Ideas

Enjoying your outdoor patio can be one of the true joys of summer. Everyone loves throwing fun events to bring their friends over, enjoying the hot weather and sharing laughs. And quite often, the outdoor patio is the main congregation area.

But what if you’re on a budget?

Fortunately, there are many ways to score awesome outdoor patio ideas without breaking the bank.

Here are some great cost-effective options for those who want to spruce things up.

Cozy Up to an Outdoor Fire Pit

An outdoor fire pit can bring ambiance to an otherwise so-so backyard. During the summer, it makes for a great gathering place to roast s’mores, and during the cooler months it gives off enough heat to keep you outside longer.

While a built-in outdoor fire pit, complete with a seating area, can run into the thousands, a simple pit purchased from a home improvement store can run a few hundred dollars.

Relax Under the Pergola

A pergola over your existing patio or deck can give you a great new look as well as protection from the sun. Leaving the pergola open and investing in a few

Does Your Home Have the Right Gutters

You might not think about your gutters at all – as long as they continue to do their jobs without hassle, they tend to fade into the background. In fact, until reading this, you probably haven’t given much thought to your gutters before.

When it’s time to replace them, or choose gutters for a new construction, you might be surprised by how many different types there are.

Understanding the pros and cons of aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper and even wood – yes, wood! – can help you choose the best gutters for your home.

So how do I decide which is the best type of gutter for my home?

Which Material Works Best for Gutters?

Not all gutter materials are created equal, and some are much more expensive than others. Here’s the basic rundown of what to expect from each:

• Galvanized steel. These gutters can stand up impressively in storms, and at $4 to $8 per linear foot, it’s one of the most economical on the market. However, these gutters do eventually rust, so might have to be replaced sooner than other types.

• Aluminum. These are slightly

5 Neat Ideas for a More Attractive Yard

Your lawn is like a canvas, just waiting to host a masterpiece of design. And to bring out the best in your yard, you’ll need to improve and add new features throughout.

Often the central area for barbecues, family outings and friendly get togethers, you may want to improve your yard in preparation of summer.

The best lawns and yards are those that compliment the home they surround, and that’s why we’ve prepared a list of tips and project ideas to help you get the most out of your yard.

Install a custom walkway (or walkways)

A well-laid path guides the eyes as much as the feet. Consider how you want yours to flow. Step back and picture your dream walkway overlaid on the lawn in front of you – then trace the route to feel it out.

You can double the impact by selecting a style of path that works seamlessly with your home and other décor. There’s a walkway for every type of lawn: try incorporating bricks, stone tiles, wooden beams, gravel, lava rocks, bamboo, and even tumbled glass.

A reliable landscaping company can suggest proper styles to compliment your existing

Should I Do My Own Pest Control or Hire an Exterminator

Who appreciates an uninvited guest in their home?

Nobody, especially when the uninvited guest is a bloodsucking, disease carrying pest.

With the advent of all kinds of natural pest removal products, it’s well within your reach to free your house from the misery of pests yourself.

Unfortunately, sometimes these pests may have too deep a head start for you to combat the issue yourself. Thus, it’s important to know when it’s necessary to pull the trigger and seek professional help.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches will in all probability inherit the earth. They are the most resilient of creatures, likely to escape most predictable disasters, man-made or natural, scientists say.

Hiding in small corners of the kitchen, in unreachable nooks of drain pipes and crannies of the wardrobe, they are difficult to spot and even tougher to fight.

Natural methods to kill cockroaches

Many anti-roach sprays may leave behind harmful-to-breathe chemical residue in the air, making this a poor choice for anyone, especially those with children.

Instead, try natural roach killing remedies like mixing borax with sugar at a 3:1 ratio and leaving it in a presumably high-traffic roach area.

The sugar

3 Tricks to Get the Most from Your House Cleaner

We get it – you’re busy. Your home’s gone from castle to disaster area and there’s no hope in sight.

Hiring a house cleaner seems like an ideal solution. You get a vetted, professional cleaner to tackle your mess, all while you get to relax with your hands free.  It seems like a win-win, doesn’t it?

Actually, if you’re not following the right tips and tricks, you may not be getting the most for your money. That’s not to say that your cleaner won’t do a great job, but you might be inadvertently hindering your results.

Here are three of the most important tips to get the most out of your house cleaner.

1. Give Them a Specific List

Every home is different and every homeowner has different wants and needs when it comes to cleaning.

Some want the cleaner to tackle the master bedroom, but others want that area kept strictly off limits.

Others homeowners want the cleaner to handle kitchen counters, while others are more concerned about the mess in the kids’ playroom.

You should make a detailed list of all the important areas that you feel need the

5 Things to Consider When Hiring an Arborist

Trees are important landscape features that add eye-catching beauty, tie in with your overall design theme, and increase your property value. They can also provide shade for your home, helping to reduce your cooling bills during the summer, as well.

Of course, trees can be damaged in any number of ways, including from storms, pest infestations, drought and even species-specific issues like weak wood or a propensity for deadwood.

A professional arborist helps care for your trees and removes threats before damage your home, car or other outbuildings, but there are a few things you should know before hiring one.

1. Check Your Property Lines

Think that tree threatening your home is on you property? It might be worth it to check the lines against your plat. If the tree isn’t on your property, you can’t cut it. You’ll need to discuss the problem with your neighbor first.

Fortunately, the chances are good that your neighbor will understand the issue, particularly once you point out that any damage caused by the falling tree would be paid for by their insurance.

It’s best to approach the issue delicately, without making demands or accusations.

Are Solar Panels Right for Your Home

Other than your house and car payments, your electricity bill is probably your largest monthly cost. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could kiss the power company goodbye without actually turning off the power?

Solar panels seem to promise just that, plus the ability to sell unused energy back to the power company and add a bit of cash to your pocket at the same time. Of course, it’s not really that simple, and depending on your home, your area and your lifestyle, solar panels might not be the right choice for you.

What should you know before making the choice to install solar panels in your home?

Cost of Solar Panels

The single largest hurdle for most homeowners here is cost. The average solar system runs somewhere around $20,000. That’s a chunk of change, and chances are good you don’t have that much money lying around. You might consider taking out a home equity line of credit or even a second mortgage.

It is important to note that you can also lease solar panels in many areas of the country now. However, it might not make sense, particularly if you end up not

Pressure Washing Your Deck Safely and Successfully

On the surface, pressure washing your deck sounds like a pretty simple task. You just connect the hoses to the washer, turn it on and off you go, right?

Actually, there’s a bit more to it. If you’re not careful, you might be doing more than washing away dirt and grime. You might be removing your finish, or even eating away at the wood itself.

If you’re new to the world of pressure washing decks, there are a few things to know to ensure the project goes safely and successfully.

Pay Attention to PSI

PSI, or pounds per square inch, is a measure of pressure. Depending on the pressure washer model you rent, you might see ratings into the thousands of PSI. You don’t need to crank it all the way up! Most decks need no more than 1,500 PSI. Going beyond that can damage the finish and even the wood itself.

Very high pressures will actually erode the wood, leaving you with an uneven surface and no waterproofing or stain left.

However, remember that your wood type will have an effect here, too. Soft woods like cedar should only be washed

4 Common Locksmith Scams to Watch Out For

Virtually everyone will need the help of a locksmith at some point – usually more than once in their lifetime.

While most locksmiths are honest, hardworking professionals, the sad fact is that scammers do exist.

Without knowing the types of scams you may be subject to ahead of time, you open yourself up to being successfully ripped off.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common locksmith scams, and learn how to avoid them.

#1: The Bait-and-Switch

You call up a local locksmith, and they quote you a low hourly rate. “$35 an hour sounds fair”, you reason – how long could this simple task take?

Fast forward: your locksmith arrives late, is slow to work, and hands you a bill for upwards of $100. At this point, you’re exhausted and frustrated – and they’re counting on you just paying up and getting this nightmare over with.

How to avoid: Simply request a flat-rate over the phone. There’s little reason that a company can’t provide one, and it eliminates the fear of getting ripped off.

If they won’t play ball, hang up and try someone else. Don’t

5 Affordable Summer Home Improvement Projects

Summer is the season for all the things you put off during the winter – including great home improvement projects that can make your home much more comfortable, beautiful or efficient.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the warmer weather to spruce up the old homestead, you’d better start brainstorming for great summer home improvement ideas now!

We’ve put together several cost-effective summer projects that will make you happy but won’t break the bank.

Plant an Outdoor Vegetable Garden

What veggies taste the best? Those from your own backyard!

Early summer is the perfect time to prepare all the things you need to create a beautiful vegetable garden that will produce year after year.

Think in terms of longevity: Invest in raised wooden beds, plenty of good top soil and compost, and place them in an area where constant sunlight is the rule.

At about $60 per pot, including fresh soil and compost, planters are a very affordable expense when you consider the return you’ll receive. With raised garden beds costing between $50 and $150, outdoor vegetable gardens prove to be a great investment in healthy eating.

Spruce Up the

5 Tips to Hire the Best Moving Company

Unfortunately, moving can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll go through in life. Hiring the right moving company can play a major part in keeping your sanity.

Of course, there are plenty of locals moving companies to choose from, all promising to transport your prized possessions safely and at a minimal cost.

But which company is right for the job and isn’t simply telling you what you want to hear? Use our 5 tips below to ensure the company you’re considering hiring is worthwhile.

Trusted Few has put together a few simple tips to help you hire the right moving company and avoid problems like a lack of insurance, theft, damage and more.

  1. Get Personal Recommendations from Others

You know people who’ve moved – get recommendations from your friends, family and coworkers. You’re not required to use any of these recommendations, but it can provide you with a very good starting point.

Once you come up with a list of different moving companies, you can begin researching them online to narrow down the field.

  1. Narrow Down your List of Estimates

You’ll want to start with at least three moving companies to get estimates from.

Each

How to Clean Vomit from Carpet

If you have children, pets, or even friends who can’t hold their alcohol, you’ll eventually have to clean vomit from your carpet.

Unfortunately, puke is one of the ickiest messes one can deal with, so proper cleaning procedure is paramount.

Due to the stomach acids contained in the vomit, you’re likely to wind up with staining if the mess isn’t cleaned immediately. You may also have to worry about potential odors left behind, which make the cleaning experience even more unpleasant.

For the best results, follow the tips below for cleaning vomit from carpet.

Remove Physical Chunks of Vomit Immediately

No matter which cleaning method you’re using, you must start by removing all of the bigger pieces of vomit. Ideally, you’ll use paper towels or a disposable cloth to scoop the vomit from the carpet.

For tougher or more settled in pieces, you may have to use a tool like spatula. Sounds gross, right? Well, it is, but your nose and carpets will thank you later.

Do not allow the vomit to dry on the carpet and do not rub the vomit into the carpet.

Sprinkle Area with Cornstarch or