Eco-Friendly Home Repair Tips That Will Pay Off
When you own a home, it seems as though there is always something that needs to be taken care of, from leaky faucets to crooked shutters. When you make home repairs, it can be costly and time-consuming, and you may wonder which repairs will be worth it should you ever decide to sell your home. The good news is, there are some DIY home repairs you can make that have a big payoff when you sell your home; better yet, they are eco-friendly and can help you save money on energy bills while increasing your home’s value.
When you have to replace lights or lighting fixtures, you should opt for low-energy lighting options. A small investment in low-energy lighting can save you money while you remain in your home, but it also is appealing to potential buyers who are concerned about energy costs. With low-energy lighting, you are able to light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Most households dedicate nearly 5% of the energy budget to lighting, but switching to ENERGY STAR bulbs can save about $75 per year.
Energy-efficient appliances do more for your home with less energy. Most people can remove and install their own appliances with just a few tools and a little patience. Energy-efficient appliances that are ENERGY STAR rated save homeowners money on energy bills, making them appealing to potential homebuyers. Of course, all energy-efficient appliances are good for the environment because they save energy, but ENERGY STAR dishwashers especially are a good investment because they use less water than older models. Switching just one appliance to an energy-efficient model is the equivalent of planting 1.7 trees and can save an average of 10%-50% of energy.
Attic and Roof Insulation
Insulating attics and roofs is a DIY home repair that will increase your energy savings and pay off when you sell your home. First, you’ll have to decide whether you want a cold or warm roof space. Cold roofs require insulation at the joists to eliminate heat escaping through unused roof space. Warm roofs are insulated between and under roof rafters. Of course, saving energy by adding insulation to your attic and roof is eco-friendly in itself, but choosing recycled insulation is a green alternative.
Recycled insulation has become popular because it is eco-friendly and does not cause people to itch as traditional fiberglass insulation does. The insulation process itself is the same, but recycled insulation is much easier to work with because you don’t need to worry about reacting to it. Just be sure to check the instructions on the recycled insulation to ensure you install it to the proper depth requirement.
Natural flooring is a green choice that is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and made from sustainably harvested, recycled, or reclaimed sources. Bamboo and cork flooring are two types of natural flooring that easily lend themselves to DIY home repair. These types of natural flooring also are much less expensive than traditional hardwood floors and are more resistant to moisture than solid wood. They also do not require any chemicals for cleaning and maintenance and are highly durable.
Water-Saving DIY Repairs
Any time your water heater, toilet, pool pump, or sink begins to leak or go on the brink, you should replace them with water-saving tankless water heaters, low-flush toilets, updated pool pumps, and aerator sinks. You also should consider replacing leaky shower heads with water-conserving heads to save gallons of water during each use. The bathroom and kitchen are responsible for 60% of a home’s water consumption, so any DIY repairs you make should be with water-saving goals in mind. Not only are these repairs eco-friendly, but they will save you and potential home buyers money.
If you are going to do DIY home repair, you should consider going an eco-friendly route to save yourself money and to save the environment. Your eco-friendly repairs also will make your home more appealing to potential buyers who want to save money on energy and water bills, which will lead to a big payoff for you.
Paul Denikin got into DIY home repair projects after his daughter was born with special needs. His initial efforts were all motivated by the desire to make his home more accessible for her. He learned everything he knows through trial and error and many helpful Youtube videos. He created DadKnowsDIY.com to share some of the great resources he’s come across and to offer home improvement project how-tos and other accessibility information.
At WoodStairs.com, we understand that you have options when it comes to your new stair project. We appreciate your business and we are proud of our product. We will do everything we can to make sure that you love your new stairs.
Sometimes the vocabulary of the stair industry is unfamiliar or confusing. There are so many different styles, types, sizes, and species that the decision can be a bit daunting. Here we’ll discuss some of the terminology and theory of stair design.
Think about scale. A stairway provides utility within a specific dimension but also should contribute to the spaces it joins. The actual dimension of the material in your stairway has an effect on the way the space is perceived. While thin cast iron balusters allow almost complete transparency into the stair space, thick, blocky painted balusters partition and obscure visibility.
Think about Balance. Bold colors and rich wood may be out of place around more muted tones. Also remember that massive handrail and large balustrades require Newel Posts that are and appear strong enough to support them.
What do you like? We’ve already discussed coatings and finishes. If you’d like to see several different style options, check out our selection of Box Newels and Turned Newel Posts. Think about the other elements in your home. If you have Shaker cabinet door fronts, you might be looking for a simple Box Newel Design. We can also match your elaborate turned corner posts. The kitchen is a great place to start if you are looking for inspiration. If there’s a question about profiles or you’d like us to match something, you can send us a photo or call and ask. We can match any design in one of our 20 species of wood.
Depending on the design of your home you may have a set of stairs leading hear basement that are unsightly an may also present a hazard. This may be a great place for you to invest in the value and the utility of your home. For the purpose of this post I will consider a rough framed stairway that I would like to finish with carpet and a wall-mounted handrail.
First inspect the existing stairs notice what the wall construction looks like. Be sure that you have completed the drywall. Locate the studs and mark their location on the wallso that you can mount handrail hardware. Is there other work that needs to be completed before you finish your basement stairs? Look at the current tread material. In many cases the rough tread material was meant as a temporary and was intended to be removed.
It is important to ensure that there is as little variation as possible between the final tread riser heights. This includes the initial rise from the finished floor. This really can’t be stressed enough and is the primary rule in calculating stair stringer cuts: Every rise of every step has to BE the same. If you find yourself rebuilding an entire stair, weyerhouser sturdi step system is a great place to start.
You’ll usually encounter stringers that have been framed from one and a quarter inch rim joists or one and seven-eighths inch micro-lam beams. If you are down to bare stringers, lay out your skirtboards. Lay them on the stringers and use a framing square to mark your cuts, remember to plan to meet your baseboard. Start the cuts with a circular saw and finish with a jigsaw. They will be seen so take your time. Once your skirtboards are cut, take some measurements and plan your cuts for the risers and treads. Note any spacing blocks running past the center stringer. These can be great spots for added glue and screws or nails. The better you fasten your treads and risers, the fewer squeaks you will have.
So you’ve decided on wood balusters, you may have even settled on a design, but the question inevitably comes up: ‘Painted or stained?’ Although this typically comes down to personal preference, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are selecting your finishes.
First, It is important to understand that the wood that is being offered as ‘stain-grade’ is generally just better. You can paint almost any species of wood- even MDF- and end up with a very similar looking baluster. This is where WoodStairs.com differs from our competition. We only sell solid wood balusters. Even our paint grade balustrades, handrail, and newel posts are solid Poplar. The difference, of course, is the hardness, durability, and quality. Consult the hardness scale found on any of our product pages if you would like to see how different species compare.
Second, nicks, dings, and dents tend to show up more on a painted surface than a stained surface. The woodgrain and texture of a stained baluster tend to hide blemishes in the wood. This apparent drawback, however is also a strength because a good painter can prepare and repaint worn or damaged balusters or just touch up trouble spots much more easily than with a stained wood surface. The final clear varnish coat on a stained baluster is much more difficult to sand, often requiring the entire baluster to be refinished, limiting your ability to perform spot touch ups.
Building or remodeling the home is a very personal experience. People who were successful in the industry understand this. Building relationships and earning referral business are part of the job. You’ll want to find someone you whom you can communicate and who can understand and realize your vision.
The right contractor will bring industry knowledge and experience to your project. There is still just no substitute for sawdust in your hair. Woodworking and Carpentry require familiarity with the material and an understanding of how wood will react once it’s installed. Due to its organic nature wood is constantly moving adjusting an experienced carpenter will be able to utilize this tiered vantage maintaining tight trends and a sturdy banister.
You also need to trust them. After all you’ll be inviting them into your home. It’s important that you find someone who will be where they say they will be in complete the work they say they will complete. Ask them if they are licensed and insured to work in your area and expect them to be able to prove it. I doing business with a reputable company you can limit your risk and protect your investment.
If you have friends or relatives who’ve recently had work completed on their homes, ask them about their experience. That way you can see some of their work and get an idea of what it’s like to business with them. Of course you can always reach out us. We will be happy help you find a qualified installer in your area.
Remodeling, updating, and re-finishing your home can be great ways to increase its value and livability. Whether you’ve just purchased your home or you’ve been in it for a while, making custom updates can be a great way to personalize your home and make it work for you. By focusing on the highly visible areas of your home, you can maximize your return on investment.
Once you’ve decided to undertake a home improvement project, it’s time to do a little research. Look around for images of homes you like, and take note of the styles, trends, and finishes you would like to incorporate in your own project. At this point, you may want to start discussions with a licensed contractor or someone who has recently completed a project that is similar to yours; they may have money-saving tips and ideas to help you plan your project.
Be sure to consider the way you intend to use the space during and after the remodel; you can replace a mantle in a matter of hours, but if you’re gutting your kitchen, you may not see a home-cooked meal for several months. It’s a good idea to discuss your upcoming project with other members of the household so everyone knows what to expect.
In addition to planning the function and design, you will want to have a clear idea of the budget for the project as well as the schedule and scope.
Sometimes it helps to think about your project in phases. By beginning with the end in mind, you can ensure that the finishes you select at the beginning of your project match the finishes that you will be selecting as you complete it.
This year, I think I’d like to start at the beginning and for us that means Starting Steps. Starting Steps protrude into a room at the base of a staircase and may be visible from several sides. We can use this added surface area to showcase material and finish of the Risers and Treads. We can also use this space as the base for Newel Posts or an elaborate Volute. Blocky stable Starting Steps can also give scale and balance to a staircase by providing a believable base for wider Newel Posts and Handrails.
Recently, we have seen Starting Steps make a resurgence in contemporary stair design. These exaggerated first stair treads are a great way to establish a tone for your stairs and to draw the eye up the Newel Post and across the entire balustrade. Starting Steps also provide utility and functionality when your stairs incorporate a landing by allowing multidirectional access to your stairs.
Starting Steps are typically described as “Single Bullnose” or “Double Bullnose.” This designation refers to the overall shape, specifically whether the step has room for a radius cap or Volute Base on one (“Single”) or both sides (“Double.”) The deciding factor is usually a wall on one side of the step. Also, notice that there are specific Starting Steps designed for use with Box Newels.
When ordering a new Starter Step, measure across the existing stairway. This will ensure the correct fit. If you have any questions, contact us here.
A newel posts is the largest single component of a staircase. Because of the size and complexity of newel posts they are also often one of the most expensive stair parts in the balustrade. It is for this reason that the newel post doesn’t always match the scope and style of the railing system. Simply put, while you do need a post, you don’t necessarily have to have a large, luxurious one. Also, because your railing system is near the end of the project if it wasn’t considered early on, you may have gone over budget on the other items and no longer had the money to spend on the balustrade.
Often builders, original owners or even we ourselves may have decided to save a little money by downgrading the newel post. Usually we tend to financially progress, so while the home we bought at the time may have been all that our budget would allow, we are hopefully in a different, better position a few years later. This means that we might be considering a little upgrading and that earlier downgraded newel post may provide a good place to start.
If your balustrade is safe and secure and was a good design to begin with then you might want to upgrade the posts now. Changing newel posts is an easy and inexpensive method of upgrading the look of your banister. The starting posts of the stair are the easiest and require very little skill to do. The existing posts are removed, the new posts are cut to length, then they are installed. They can be prefinished or finished after installation.
Today I would like to offer a simple solution to a common problem. We receive calls on a fairly regular basis from customers who want to know how to stop loose balusters from rattling. It is a common occurrence for both dowel top wood balusters and wrought iron balusters and there is an amazingly simple solution, but I’ll get to that shortly. First, let it be known that even professional installations occasionally result in a loose baluster or two, so don’t be too hard on yourself or whoever installed the balustrade. If the system as a whole is structurally sound and a quality product, don’t worry too much about one or two loose balusters. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to live with the constant reminder rattling at you every time you walk up the stairs.
Most balusters, wood or iron, are installed into holes in the floor or shoe plate and also into the handrail. This is true as long as they have a dowel top. Usually wood balusters are installed with a small amount of wood glue in the hole, then finish nailed. Sometimes the finish nail can curve up into the hole and not actually penetrate the handrail or a hard bump can even break the glue joint. The best way to fix a rattling wood baluster is to simply re-nail it. This is done by shooting a finish nail into the baluster where it meets the handrail. The nail goes through the dowel top and into the handrail on the opposite side. However there is another method if you don’t have a finish nail gun or if you have wrought iron spindles, a toothpick. Yep, that is the professional secret to securing loose balusters. Wood toothpicks are perfect miniature shims for this application.