Sunday, April 24, 2005

Lowes Home Improvement

Although out of character from my normal posts, this post is going to be about Lowes Home Improvement. Why? Two reasons. First, I had this lovely picture of my local Lowes Home Improvement store. Second, I really wanted to tell the world how addicting home improvement projects are. You see, after my husband and I moved into our first home together and were bombarded with fix it projects, he decided to go to work at Lowes down the street!

Having my husband work at Lowes Home Improvement is great for so many reasons that I don't even know where to begin. He can walk to work, which cuts down on our gas bill and leaves more money for home improvement projects every month. He also gets a discount. Let me tell you, it's not a great discount, but with all the home improvement projects we do, it really can add up. I'm positive we've saved thousands from his discount.

As for Lowes Home Improvement, It is so much better than the Home Depot. (That's the only competition here aside from very small local stores) The people at Lowes are always nice and helpful. I went to Home Depot the other day and asked if one of the workers worked in the area I was looking at. He simply said, "no," and kept walking. He didn't offer to find anyone, try to help in any way shape or form. I was simply to figure out my home improvement project by myself. (I was looking for cabinets for my laundry room by the way).

There are a few downfalls of my husband working at Lowes Home Improvement. The main one is that he hardly goes a day without going there! We have all sorts of projects that require stuff from there like cabinets, wood for the deck he just built, flooring, switches, or whatever stuff we need for our current home improvement

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Vinyl Replacement Windows

All of the neighbors are installing their own vinyl replacement windows, why can’t you? The best part is you can! (I mean really, they probably aren’t home improvement experts either!) My husband and I have successfully installed our own vinyl replacement windows and you can too.

For our project, we chose Milgard windows because they are the cream of the crop. Not only do they reduce energy costs by trapping the hot air in during the winder and the cold air in during the summer but the come with a lifetime warranty. No other manufacturer offers this so our choice was easy. They were a little pricier than some other brands but we were able to find discounted windows and it’s a name we know we can trust.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Before we even considered what windows to buy, we had to figure out how to measure the hole so we ordered the right window!

Measuring for new vinyl replacement windows
Vinyl replacement windows are very simple to measure for. The easiest thing to do is to leave the existing window frame in, however, when you replace the window it makes the actual window a bit smaller which in turn decreases incoming light and changes the size of yourwindow coverings. If you choose to leave the existing window frame in, that’s ok, it’s better if you don’t feel comfortable ripping out the whole window. To measure for this type of replacement, go from the edge of the window from and measure in 3 spots vertically and horizontally. (Just in case the window isn’t quite square and to make sure you have it done correctly.) Take these measurements to order your new vinyl replacement window.

If you want to rip out the old window completely, including the frame, go ahead and take off any casing inside (if any) to measure the windows. Again, you need to measure 3 separate times going across the window, once in the middle and once on either side. Take the smallest of these measurements both vertically and horizontally and go order your window.

When you place your order for your new vinyl replacement windows, be sure to get a new window with a flange on the outside. A flange is the strip that goes on the outside of the house to hide any old holes and trim area. For easiest installation (this does not require repair of stucco or wood outside) these are the windows to get. Other windows will cause you much grief and added expense.

Installing the window
Break out your old window. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, you can try to salvage it or you can smash it out. Once you get all of the glass out, go ahead and use a Sawzall (a reciprocating saw) to cut out the frame running down the middle of the window. If you are taking out the entire frame, go ahead and unscrew any screws you find and take out the frame.

You’re ready for your new vinyl replacement windows! From here, it’s so easy you won’t believe it. Pop the window in after caulking on the inside of the flange. Have one person hold the window in place while the other person screws it in to the frame. Make sure it’s level!

Caulk where your new vinyl replacement window meets the window sill or fill the gap with a vinyl strip (you can order this with your windows) if you chose to leave your windows in.

If you still have questions or aren't sure if you have the hang of it, check out this comprehensive window replacement guide.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Changing a Light Fixture

One very simple home improvement project is to change out your light fixtures.

The most important thing to remember when doing this type of home improvement project is to TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY!!! I can't stress this aspect of the project enough. My husband once got a little too cocky in his home improvement expertise and decided to change out my sister's chandalier without turning it off. The only thing that saved him from SEVERE electric shock is that he hooked up the ground wire first. When he hooked up the last wire, he completed the circut and electrocuted himself. He was out of it for the rest of the day.

Back to changing out a light fixture. It's so easy and inexpensive and you'll be so proud of yourself when you complete your first light that you'll have the whole house re-lit by the end of the day!

Connect each wire in the light to it's respective wire in the wall. Black goes to black, white goes to white and the ground gets tucked around a little screw on the wall plate.

Then all you have to do to complete this easy home improvement project is screw the light up on the wall and turn the electricity back on.

Ta-da! You have a brand-spanking new light in 15 minutes or less.

Don't forget to put in a bulb!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Soundproofing a Wall

My most recent home improvement project was soundproofing a door area that connects me with my neighbors. We’ve just gotten used to hearing each other’s every movement - and our even louder children. But the other day I decided to go ahead and do something about the obnoxious sound problem we were having.

It started out as a simple home improvement project. I ran over to Lowe’s to pick up some insulation to fill in the door area but when I got to the insulation aisle… eeek! There were so many different types of insulation to choose from. They all had writing on them like R-15, R-25 and R-30. I assumed that the bigger number meant better and as it turns out, once I read the package, I was right.

Then I ran into all sorts of problems like finding the right size, deciding whether or not I need fully encapsulated batts or if the big piece of foam insulation was going to be enough. So I did what any God fearing person would do: I went home to sleep on it.

I popped into this home improvement forum to see if anyone had any ideas. You can read my eloquent post in the door and casing section here. (By the way, while I was poking around on that site, I found a great resource for kitchen cabinet refacing that’d I’ve filed away for when I reach that point.)

Meanwhile I ran a Google search on how I could best insulate the area for sound and ran into some pretty heavy information on Resilient Channels (RC as they are know in the technical building world). Some places say they are great and others have sworn them off with a Haitian voodoo curse. I decided they wouldn’t work for me because they are basically metal strips you attach between the drywall and the studs (i.e. not so great for an existing wall).

I decided my best bet would be to insulate with fully encapsulated batts. I figured it would reduce the amount of itch I would experience later since I didn’t want to invest in gloves for such a small project. When I got back to Lowe’s I decided that I would also cover the entire wall area with some alien like thin foil insulation. It looks like a metallic version of that bubble wrap you loved to play with as a kid.

All of the headache of starting the project done, I was ready to rock and roll. (Uh, or at least start to muffle the rock and roll coming from my house!) Let the soundproofing begin!

After that, it was a piece of cake. Getting the game plan is always the hardest part of home improvement projects. But if I’m in the mood for a home improvement project and I’m not sure where to start I check out this home improvement site for ideas on what to do next.

Back to my soundproofing project – I slapped up the insulation in a mere matter of minutes. Just me and my staple gun was all I needed to become a soundproofing expert. I jammed two pieced of insulation in the door area side by side and stapled those in. Then I took of the door casing so that the whole wall would be flat for when I [eventually] put drywall over the whole wall and I staples up the alien insulation to finish off the wall. (It’s a small wall).

That’s it! My home improvement project is done! Well, at least for the time being. We’re soundproofed anyway. I’ll see about getting my husband to lug some drywall home from Lowe’s one of these days.

Until next time, I leave you with this article on home security - Home Security Tips

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My home after ALOT of work. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

First Home Improvement Post

This is my first test post to my home improvement blog for the mere sake of seeing how it looks. Really, I think just a few lines will help me see how it all looks when it is put together. I think that the google adwords should go on the left hand side somehow. I'll have to look into how to do that. I'm not sure this template has a left hand side.

While I figure out the blog, take a look at our home improvement site.

Have a great Monday!