Friday, March 30, 2012

Tips to get your cabin in shape

Opening your northern Arizona cabin for the summer could present a bigger challenge this spring than it has in years past.

The unusually large amount of snow that fell in the mountains and surrounding areas caused quite a bit of water damage to homes—especially to those that sat empty all winter. So when you enter your summer place for the first time this month or next, don’t be surprised if you need to do some extra work to get it in shape for the season.

First, look for visible signs of water damage, like puddles on the floor, water rings on the ceiling or walls, soft spots on the drywall , rot, or mold or mildew spots. If you’re lucky, these telltale signs will easily lead you to any problems that need repairing—and straight to the leak that let the water in.

But don’t stop there. Here are some areas to pay special attention to as you inspect your place for signs of snow-related damage:

  • Crawl into the attic or crawl space and check your insulation. If water got into the attic, the insulation might have gotten wet and pulled away from the ceiling or walls it should cover. If that’s the case, you’ll need to reattach it—or, if the insulation is damaged, replace it. Look behind the insulation for water spots. If you have to remove drywall from the ceiling, you’ll have to replace the insulation, too.
  • Inspect your double-pane windows. Even the slightest crack in the glass or the frame can allow water to seep between the panes. You’ll be able to tell if you can see water between the panes, or streaks, which indicate that water was there but has dried. Your windows also might look cloudy, a sign that the energy-efficient gas that once was between the windows has escaped and has been replaced by outdoor air and moisture. Replace the whole window—not just the glass. It costs $250 to $300 to replace the glass, and you’ll get a five-year warranty on it. If you spend a little more to replace the whole window, you can upgrade to a higher-quality product, and you’ll get a warranty of up to 20 years. Plus, you can also resolve any problems with the flashing that might be what let the water into the windows.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

What are the best ways to use water features in my yard?

  • Start by adding a mister. A misting system can cool your patio, gazebo or Arizona room by about 30 degrees. The system creates a curtain of cool air around your outdoor living space that keeps everyone comfortable, even on 100-plus-degree days.

  • Use water to nip the noise. If you live near a busy street, your yard won’t be much of a respite if all you hear is traffic. A water feature like a fountain, waterfall or moving stream will blend the background noise into the flowing water’s soothing sounds.


For more information and for answers to all your Home Improvement, Landscape and Gardening questions, visit our website,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What are the pros and cons of building a patio with concrete pavers?

Description: Concrete pavers, or paving stones, are concrete shapes in various colors and textures that interlock to form a patterned surface.

Benefits: Because these long-lasting pavers aren’t set in mortar (except around the perimeter of the patio), they can be removed and replaced if there’s a problem with a particular tile. Pavers come in an endless array of shapes, styles and finishes, and can mimic almost any kind of stone.

Drawbacks: Expect weeds to grow in the joints of your pavers; a regular spray of herbicide should keep them under control. Also, the same “efflorescence” that sometimes appears on poured concrete - whitish, water-soluble salt deposits - occasionally appear when the pavers are new. To remove, scour the spots with a stiff brush.


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Friday, March 9, 2012

What are the latest laundry-room trends?

The latest trend in laundry rooms is convenience. Here’s how to get a laundry room that makes wash day more convenient:
  • Move your laundry room so it’s next to the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom. Design the laundry room so it blends in with the rest of your house. If the room next door has crown molding and hardwood floors, put those items in the laundry room, too.

  • Make the room bigger so there’s plenty of space to comfortably work.

  • Add more counter space to fold, iron or sew clothes.
  • Consider granite or high-end vinyl countertops that match the ones in your kitchen. Install lots of cabinets for laundry detergent and other products. Choose wood finishes similar to your kitchen cabinets. Or choose built-in cabinets and closets to hide the appliances when you’re not using them.

  • When you’re ready to replace your washer and dryer, buy big ones. The new models can handle huge loads so you don’t have to do so many.
For more tips on organizing your laundry room, click here

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

I never use my swimming pool. Is there a way to cover it permanently?

It’s not a good idea to fill in or permanently cover an old swimming pool. A better solution is to build a temporary deck over your swimming pool so you can remove it if you decide to sell your home later. A pool can add value to your home.

Plus, if you fill in a pool and hide it under the dirt, you must disclose that fact when you sell your home. And the excavation costs for a new pool in the location where the old one was could be astronomical.

Rosie recommends that you cover your unused pool with a deck made from a composite material like composite wood.


For more information and for answers to all YOUR Home Improvement, Landscape or Gardening questions, visit our website
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