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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Remodeling - Homeowner best return on investment

How much can a Homeowner expect to recoup from theirs home improvement investment incase they decide to sell theirs home?

According to the 2009 / 2010 survey published by Remodeling magazine, here's how it breaks down:
For a mid-range priced home, you can expect the average cost and recoup for the following projects:

Average Cost vs Expected Return on your investment

Bathroom Remodel $19,000
Recoup 60% of your costs

Bathroom Addition $48,000
Recoup 56% of your costs

Garage Addition $72,000
Recoup 63% of your costs

Convert a Bedroom to a Home Office $32,000
Recoup 47% of your costs

Major Kitchen Remodel $65,000
Recoup 72% of your costs

Minor Kitchen Remodel $24,000
Recoup 76% of your costs

Window Replacement (vinyl) $13,000
Recoup 74% of your costs

Backup Power Generator $17,000
Recoup 75% of your costs

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sprinkler Head or PVC Pipe Repair

If sprinkler head is damaged, or there is a crack in PVC pipe, it is very easy to replace. (This PVC pipe repair tip can be used on any PVC material)  Most sprinkler heads screw on and off. To make a Sprinkler head replacement, take the head off and take the broken head to the store that sell them and get the same one. Before you install the new head, turn the water on to flush out the line, in case some dirt got inside and install the new sprinkler head. If there is dirt remaining in the pipe, and there is a loss of pressure, the head will not work.
If the sprinkler head does not screw on and off and attached directly to the pipe, then the end piece of pipe needs to be replaced, which is also a very simple repair. If pipe is cracked, you will need another person to turn the water on, while you look where the leak is. After you find the leak, turn the water off and locate the pipe.  Dig the dirt and expose the pipe. Find the crack or break in it, cut the section of the pipe and take it to the store so you can get the right pipe size. Purchase a section of pipe long enough to replace the broken section of pipe, you will need a few couplings and if  pipe is cracked near the end, where the sprinkler head is located, the end piece which is threaded must be replaced and must be the same size of you sprinkler head thread. You will also need  PVC cleaner and PVC cement, Box stores like HD or Lowe's sell small a set that contains 2 small bottles of each.

PVC Coupling image:

How to repair PVC pipe.

After PVC pipe is cut, remove any small pieces left on the edges from when you cut the pipe. You can do this with a rag or some sandpaper. Use PVC cleaner that came with the set you purchased, it will be purple color,be sure to use that on both sections of the pipe,i.e. new and old. Next open second bottle which is clear, the bottle also has a brush inside as the other one... Use the brush on both pipes new and old and apply PVC cement about 1 inch on the outside and also inside the coupling, then push the new pipe into the coupling and give it a half of turn. Do the same thing on the end piece on the inside of the screw adapter and push them together. Give a few minutes and screw on the sprinkler head. After you done test the head and make sure it works properly and after everything is ok, cover the pipe with dirt.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wood Decks.

Great news...Wood is coming back into our backyards for our enjoyment.
Yes, the real wood is back and thanks to a unique combination of science and nature, it is real wood and it only got better.

Process is 100% free of added chemicals and metals... Non-toxic ... no health, disposal or environmental issues...Resists rot and decay...Performance enhanced with factory-applied, premium sealant...The result is a real wood product. Excellent dimensional stability... 25-year transferable warranty.

The Thermally Modified Wood Decking begins as natural, renewable lumber. Then it undergoes a unique heat-based, chemical-free process that changes compounds in the wood. Then is further enhanced with a factory-applied, premium sealant specifically designed for thermally modified wood.
No matter how you cut it, sand it, stain it, or anything else you do with it... wood is real wood with unreal performance, and not only can you use wood like regular wood in construction, you can mulch it, burn it as fuel, even recycle it. It’s as pure as nature itself, so disposal is as easy as yard-work.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kitchen Cabinet Installation Tips for DIY

If you purchase your cabinets directly from HD or Lowe's first thing you should do is check everything when kitchen arrives, to make sure that they match your order, make sure cabinets are not damaged and everything is there.

First is the measurement stage. Before you mark the wall, try to find the "high spot" on the floor where the kitchen cabinets will go. Some floors in older homes are not level and cabinets must be adjusted to the condition of your home. Check walls for plumb and square, because even in new construction they could be out.

Next mark out your studs. Use a stud finder to locate all the studs and mark them with a pencil. Take a small nail and double check to make sure your mark location right on the center of the stud.
Wall cabinets always installed starting in a corner, and working them outward according to kitchen layout and cabinet sizes marked on the plan. When cabinet is being installed,check to make sure it is level,plumb,and square.

The base kitchen cabinets before installation, they should be lined up against the wall and connected to the wall and one another. They should be clamped together so they aligned perfectly and then connected through the sides by screws. Be sure you use proper screw sizes so they will not penetrate the surface of another cabinet.

You will need a bundle of shims because shimming will be necessary, if something need to be aligned properly or leveled.

In some cases hanging rails must be used, they get screwed to the studs and you will be provided with a cabinet material to cover the gaps between the cabinet and the wall.

After everything is installed and leveled, you install your toe kicks that will come with the cabinets, they can be brad nailed or glued in place, crown and scribe moldings for finishing touches.

To install kitchen cabinets you will need a helper, 18 or 23 gage brad nailer,air compressor,miter-saw, screw gun, drill bits, level, square, screws, glue, shims and other various basic carpentry tools. It is good to have advanced carpentry skills doing this type of work.

Good luck

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chinese Dry Wall

About 3,000 homeowners, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with the Chinese-made drywall, which was imported in large quantities during the housing boom and after a string of Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The drywall has been linked to corrosion of wiring, air conditioning units, computers, doorknobs and jewelry, along with possible health effects. Tenenbaum said some samples of the Chinese-made product emit 100 times as much hydrogen sulfide as drywall made elsewhere.

The agency continues to investigate possible health effects, but preliminary studies have found a possible link between throat, nose and lung irritation and high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the wallboard, coupled with formaldehyde, which is commonly found in new houses.

Now is the question who will pick up the tab to replace all that Drywall...Southern members of Congress have sought to make it easier to sue Chinese manufacturers and to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help homeowners pay for costs not covered by insurance. They also say the U.S. needs to pressure the Chinese government, which allegedly ran some of the companies that made defective drywall.

About 2000 homeowners already  filed suit in federal court in New Orleans against Chinese manufacturers and some of  U.S. companies who sold the drywall.
There is seperate claims by thousands more homeowners against Chinese manufacturers are pending, said Jordan Chaikin, a Florida lawyer whose firm represents about 1,000 homeowners.

They are ''continuing to live in their homes with Chinese drywall, patiently waiting for this thing to be resolved so they can move on with their lives,'' Chaikin said. ''We're not waiting for the government to move quicker than we are in the courts.''
In some cases, homebuilders have paid to gut and rewire homes. In others, homeowners who can afford it have paid for the work themselves.

On Friday, Knauf Plasterboard agreed that high hydrogen sulfide levels appeared to be the main concern, but it noted the commission's studies were preliminary and may not reflect conditions inside a home. The company said its studies have shown that drywall should be removed, but that plumbing and wiring do not need to go.
Daniel Becnel, a New Orleans lawyer representing Chinese drywall plaintiffs, including Sean Payton, the head coach of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, said the government guidelines issued Friday were ''word for word what our experts said.''
He also said Congress should give homeowners grants to cover the cost of home gutting.

''Get these people out of this environment,'' he said. ''You're making these people sicker and sicker and sicker. You will have long-term effects.''

In Cape Coral, Fla., Joyce Dowdy, 71, and her husband Sonny, 63, plan to move out of their $150,000, 1,600-square-foot home while it is gutted to get rid of tainted Chinese drywall.
Joyce Dowdy said she suffers from nose bleeds and her husband has a persistent cough. They blame the drywall.
''We can't live like this anymore,'' Dowdy said.
They're borrowing money to do the gutting, which means that instead of a mortgage-free retirement they will be paying monthly bills cover the costs of repair.
''It's costing us as much as we paid for the house,'' Joyce Dowdy said. ''But we can't just walk away ... Our house is worth nothing at the moment.''
But Randy Noel, past president of the Louisiana Home Builders Association, said the Chinese drywall problem has been exaggerated. He called the new guidelines ''overkill.''

''Nobody has come up with a house yet that has caught on fire from the Chinese drywall, no one has come up yet with a house that leaks water or gas because of Chinese drywall,'' he said.
He has examined numerous homes containing Chinese drywall and found minor problems, he said.
''It's a black soot on top of the copper, brass and silver,'' he said. ''You wipe the stuff off and it looks as good as new.''

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