It can be tempting to tackle home projects yourself but in the long run it may be better to leave some home renovations to the professionals.

Here are a few projects you might want to leave off the DIY list:

1. Roofing-Roofing can be a time sink. As a do-it-yourselfer you probably will not be able to complete the project in a short enough period of time to avoid exposing your home to damage from the elements.

2. Electrical-Poor electrical work is a safety hazard.  There are safety codes that need to be followed and just because you were able to wire something and it worked, doesn’t mean you haven’t created a safety hazard.

3. Insulation-Homeowners often assume that installing insulation like fiberglass is an easy project. It can be easy to leave gaps that draw heat and moisture into your walls creating a much bigger problem. Insulation contractors usually get a much better deal on the material costs than you would, offsetting the cost of the labor.

4. Structural work-The structural work on a home should always be left to a professional. Structural work or changes should be drawn or approved by an engineer, whose specifications should be followed to the letter. Don’t take chances here.

Have you ever tackled a DIY project you thought should have been done by a professional? Share your story.

With another storm approaching our area this weekend, and the growing concern of roof collapses and inside damage from all the present and expected snow, it’s important you understand what you can do for prevention.

How do you know if you have an ice dam?
One of the easiest ways to spot an ice dam is if you have large chunks of ice and icicles that have formed along the edge of your roof.  It doesn’t mean there’s actual damage yet, but it’s an indication that damage is almost imminent.  If you have water spots on your interior ceiling or any leaking then the damage is underway.

What can you do to help prevent ice dam damage?Ice Dams
• Remove snow accumulation from your roof with a roof rake.
• Place Roofmelt tablets on your roof where the ice has formed. Another option is to fill the leg of a pair of pantyhose with ice melt and then lay it perpendicular to the gutter across the ice dam.
• Create any sort of channel that the melting snow (water) can drain off the roof, instead of into your home.
• Make sure your gutters are clear so that any melting snow can channel away fromyour home through the gutters.

• Keep your roof the same temperature by not allowing heat from your living space to get into your attic. Good ventilation, added insulation, and well sealed entrances to the attic all keep warm spots from melting the snow behind the ice dams.
• In all of the above be careful not to damage the shingles or roof.
What if you already have damage?
Special companies are equipped to remove the ice dams.  Their services are costly, but far less than repairing extensive interior damage.  Call your insurance company, or our team member Michael Ng, for referrals and further advice on repairing ice dam damage.

 

 

Every homeowner has to have some fix-it knowledge. In order to get the job done you have to have the right tools. First you will need to assemble a proper home-repair tool kit. This suggested kit should cost approximately $200 and provide you with 90% of all the tools you’ll ever need to repair and maintain your home.

Here are the top tools you’ll need to get started.

1. Toolbox

First things first, you’ll need something to hold all of your tools. A toolbox will help you organize and quickly find what you are looking for in a pinch. A toolbox doesn’t have to be a box at all, it may be a bag and large container as long as all of your tools fit and are easily accessible.

2. Hammer

A hammer is the absolute must-have tool. You may choose a steel- or fiberglass-shaft hammer. Make sure to choose one with a smooth (not checkered) head.  You may also want to choose a hammer with a straight or “rip” claw they are more useful for demolition.

3. Screwdrivers (mixed set)

Go ahead and buy the set of screwdrivers. You will save money plus you will get all the sizes you need. Your set should have 1/4- and 3/8-inch flat heads and No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips head drivers. Some screwdrivers have magnetic heads; they can come in handy when looking for dropped nails etc. too.

4. Tape measure

Buy a good quality tape measure. Buy at least a 16-foot,  3/4-inch-wide model. Also look for one that is easy-locking.

5. Reversible drill with bit set

A reversible drill is the only electric tool you need and it is a must. Home centers are full of cordless models but you may want to opt for a corded version, they are less expensive and never run out of battery. Make sure to purchase a 3/8th-inch reversible drill this will be the most useful around your home.

6. Utility knife

Often there is nothing that can replace a utility knife. Make sure to purchase plenty of replaceable blades for your utility knife.

7. Handsaw

Even if you have a circular saw, you may still find some times when you will be happy to have a handsaw handy. A short handsaw is probably best, look for one with a 12-inch blade it will cut straighter and faster.

8. A level

A level is essential for hanging just about anything. Purchase a 9-inch torpedo level. This is easier and more accurate than laser levels.

9. Vise grips: $10

Clamp anything with vise grips. Also known as locking pliers, all you need to do is adjust the screw drive in the handle and clamp it on to anything that needs viselike stabilizing. If you don’t have vise grips channel-lock pliers can be a good backup.

10. Safety glasses

Better safe than sorry. Effective eye protection is a must in any toolkit.

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of things you can do to raise the security of your home from installing better locks to defensive landscaping.  A more active approach is to install an alarm system.  There are a few companies that offer an actively monitored home security systems such ADT.

The real benefit is the piece of mind with a security system.  You have to remember that an alarm system will not keep someone out of your home, but it does act as a deterrent.  The signs and stickers that are provided with the systems actually can help deter a break in passively.  This is a viable option for those who do not want to spend the monthly fee.  The job of the alarm system is to do one thing: alert.  When on vacation, a business trip, at work, or even out to the store your home gains a certain level of protection.  You can be alerted while away by a phone call from the provider or by the alarm when you are sleeping at night.  Sounds pretty good so far right?

The cost should be the next topic then.  You have to pay for a service, after all there has to be someone to call you 24/7 /365 and they have to gather information from you very quickly when needed.  Outside of any one time installation fees if they apply, the monthly cost is around $30-50 and the price can go higher.   There is one more thing to keep in mind while in consideration of this purchase, a discount on homeowners insurance.  You can save to the upwards of 20%.  Assuming insurance is around $800 a year, you could save $160 of that and bring a $360 a year security bill closer to a $200 annual piece of mind.

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