Home Improvement

Essential Improvements for Your Home

It’s fun to plan and design improvements for your home. But when it comes to essential improvements, here is helpful information to know and our top ideas.

If you are addicted to home improvement shows, you probably dream of open-concept kitchens and luxurious en suite bathrooms. While these rooms can definitely add value to your home, the most important home improvements you can make are slightly less glamorous, but likely more necessary to the long-term health and safety of your home. Taking care of these essentials first helps you avoid unpleasant surprises when you are ready to move on to home improvement projects that you might consider more exciting.

Also, one of the keys to successful home improvements is choosing a project that will add value and functionality to your home. Not all additions or renovations actually increase your home’s value. Before you commit to a project, understand how it will affect your home’s resale potential.


Having a solid, well-maintained, quality roof helps you avoid problems like leaks and pest damage. If your roof is more than 20 years old, it is probably time to consider replacing or repairing it. At the very least, have it inspected. Making roof repairs early is key to preventing long-term damage to your home. Upgrading your roofing can even improve your home’s energy efficiency.


If you live in a home built in the last 30 or so years, you probably do not have to worry too much about electrical. But if your home is more than 40 years old, replacing the electrical should be at the top of your list. Doing so can avoid power surges, give you increased efficiency, and prevent the possibility of an electrical fire.


The biggest source of energy usage in your home is your refrigerator, and other high-use appliances include your heating and air conditioning and your water heater. Having Energy Star rated appliances saves you money on your electric bill by being more efficient and better insulated. They are also more appealing to potential buyers if you are in the market to sell.


Adding solar panels can cost you a little upfront, but give you savings for decades. Look for rebates and incentives in your area to help subsidize the cost. You will appreciate the difference in your electric bill. Solar is also appealing to home buyers and may help your house to sell faster.

Once all of the important working parts of your house are in order, you can confidently move on to other home improvement projects. Keeping your home safe and up-to-date is essential to living comfortably and makes it easier to sell.

Replace Your Front Door

Surprisingly, the simple task of replacing your front door yields a 98% return on your investment. Plus, this is also one of the cheapest and easiest home improvement projects you can do. It greatly improves curb appeal without adding to your existing home maintenance.

Upgrade Your Siding

Siding has the most impact on your curb appeal because it covers most of your home’s exterior. Old and worn siding can knock up to 10% off of your home’s overall value. You can choose from vinyl, fiber-cement, wood, and other materials. Each siding type has its own pros and cons regarding design, durability, and cost.

Remodel Your Kitchen

When you hear kitchen remodel, you probably imagine a home improvement show where the entire space is gutted and redone. However, your transformation does not need to be so dramatic if you do not want it to be. An upgrade in appliances, countertops, cabinets, etc. can go a long way in adding resale value to your home.

What if You Live Near the Coast?

If you live near the coast, you might be wondering how you can get the most out of your wonderful location. There are a number of home improvements that can turn your ordinary home into a beach abode. Whether you recently purchased a run-down beach condo that needs some major TLC or own a lovely Cape Cod that could use a little sprucing up, here are some easy ways to transform any home into the perfect coastal retreat.

Open It up

Open floor plans are perfect for coastal homes, especially if you have postcard views of the ocean. An open floor plan makes the home seem much larger and lends a light, airy feel to any space. Combine the dining, kitchen, and living areas into one bright, large room and allow cool sea breezes to waft through the area from open windows. Use a casual, neutral palette to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Bring in the Light

Skylights are perfect for coastal homes. They can transform any dark, stale room into a bright, sunny space. Use skylights to flood your interior spaces with plenty of natural light. Strategically placed skylights can give a home a breezy feel and highlight stunning water views. In addition to diffusing your home with natural light, operable skylights can also help allow warmer air to rise and escape to the outside.

Create a Cozy Backyard Sanctuary

With gorgeous outdoor coastal scenery, you want to make the most of your outdoor space. Make use of your outdoor space by transforming it into a comfy living area. If your deck is not very large, extend it to allow for extra seating for parties and outdoor gatherings. Use durable, lovely outdoor fabrics to make your outdoor space both useful and stylish.

An outdoor deck, especially one that has an unobstructed view of the water is the perfect place for a summer bash or a quiet drink. If you live near the coast, it is important to maintain your deck to prevent sun damage and moisture problems. Periodic waterproofing and deck coating will ensure that your deck stays in top shape for many years of use.

Give Your Landscaping a Makeover

Updating your landscaping will help boost your home’s facade and add curb appeal. Use native plants in your landscaping design, as these plants require less maintenance and enhance your natural surroundings. Low-lying plants are perfect for coastal settings as will not obstruct gorgeous ocean views. Wide-leaf plants and delicate flowers add beauty to the landscape without being too distracting and taking away from the natural surroundings. A water feature is a great way to enhance the coastal feel of your yard. It can provide tranquility and drown out nearby noise.

Build a Party Dock

If you live right on the water, it is almost imperative to have a boat dock. Instead of a traditional dock, consider building a party dock. A party dock combines a floating lounge with a boat dock. These versatile docks are perfect for docking your boat and throwing huge summer bashes. You can outfit your floating dock with a swimmer’s platform, wet bar, television, and comfortable lounge chairs for the ultimate in fun.


As you pursue your home improvement options, do not forget to consult with professionals to get a realistic idea of the possibilities. Especially if you are looking at an invasive procedure like roof replacement, you will likely need to contact a contractor.


What You Need To Know Before Starting A Skylight Installation

A skylight installation is an excellent addition for finished attics or loft extensions.

They allow lots of light to come in, sometimes up to three times more than a regular side wall window. With skylights, you can transform a dark and dingy room to a light and airy one, perfect for a bedroom, study, or bathroom.

Skylights are trickier to install than a regular window though, so here’s what you need to know before you start getting one installed in your home. 

Benefits Of A Skylight Installation

Why would you want to have a skylight installation in your home? There are lots of reasons why you may want to look into having one added including: 

  1. Extra light – Firstly, they let in lots of extra light. Attic rooms are dark by nature, so you need to find a way to let that natural light in. Skylights let in so much light and they’re the perfect option for rooms that often don’t get much. 
  2. Reduce lighting costs – Sick of having to turn the lights on in a dark room, even during the day? A skylight can change all that. It helps reduce lighting costs as they let in so much more light overall. 
  3. Increase privacy – The problem with side wall windows is that if you want light and privacy, you need to find ways of covering them while still letting the light in. A skylight is situated in the roof, allowing you to get that light in without feeling as though you’re being watched. 

Starting A Skylight Installation

If you’re thinking of starting a skylight installation, then it may be tempting to go the DIY route. Those who are used to making alterations to their own homes think they could take this on, but honestly, it’s better not to.

This is because you’re dealing with creating a hole in your roof to allow that light in. Your roof is a vital part of your home, and you don’t want to make any mistakes. If you do, you’re going to have issues with the roof structure, such as leaking. These will lead to more expensive repairs over time, so it’s best to leave the installation to the professionals. 

When you call in professionals, you’ll see they’ll recommend different types of skylights depending on the roof you have. These are:

  1. Stick framed roofs: These are well suited to skylight installations, as they have more than four feet of space between rafters. That allows you to put good sized skylights in, without damaging the structure of the roof itself. 
  2. Truss framed roofs: These are prefabricated roofs, and aren’t as well suited to skylights as they’re not designed to be cut open after being installed. You’ll see a lot of installers won’t want to work on a truss framed roof. If they do, they may not want to install skylights larger than two feet wide, which may not be enough for your needs.

Be aware that even if you have a stick framed roof, you may not be able to have a skylight installed. The slope of the roof may pose a challenge, as standing water could cause problems. Ideally, water needs to be able to slide off the skylight without a problem.

Air Flow And Skylights

You’ll see that skylights come in two different types: vented and fixed. A fixed skylight is one that is fixed in place, and cannot be opened. A vented skylight, on the other hand, can be opened in different ways. Some need to be opened manually, while others can be opened with a crank or motorized option. 

Fixed skylights are good for some rooms, as they reduce the chance of leaks and keep in heat. However, they don’t allow for better air flow in a room. If you have a room that already has good airflow and just needs extra light, this is the option for you. 

A vented skylight is better if you need the option to let air into a room. If heat builds up in a room, you want to be able to open the window to let it escape. It’s also a good option for bathrooms, as they allow steam to escape, stopping moisture build up. 

Choosing The Right Location

The location of your skylight is so important, if you’re going to get the most out of it. You want to get the most light from it year round, in order for you to really reap the benefits. Most installers recommend installing the skylight on the north side of your roof, as this allows in the most light, year round. 

You’ll also need to think about what can be seen out of the skylight. You don’t want your view to be blocked by overhanging trees or taller buildings, as you won’t get as much light as you should through them. 

Your location must also meet the minimum slop requirement, as detailed with the manufacturer of your skylight. Your installer will be able to tell you if your roof meets these requirements. 

Maintaining A Skylight

Once you have a skylight installed, you’ll need to take good care of it in order to keep it in the best condition. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to do that. Here’s how to take care of your skylight:

  1. Inspect rooms with skylights regularly for signs of leaks. This includes mold on the walls or floor, or water coming in around your skylight. If you see anything, call an installer right away to have the problem corrected, before it gets worse. 
  2. Dust your skylight monthly with a telescoping dust mop, and clean them annually with a sponge mop and soapy water for the inner panel. Outside, a telescoping power washer will get rid of any dirt that has accumulated. 


There’s a lot you need to know before you get a skylight, but if you follow these guidelines you’ll see that they give you so many benefits. They bring in heat and light, and give you privacy while making a room feel airy. Talk to an installer now about getting them for your home. 

Home Improvement

DIY Apartment Projects to Make Your Newly Purchased Apartment a Unique Space


Not everyone is interested in owning a house and having to take on all of the yard work, roof maintenance, and other tasks associated with that kind of real estate. The ideal solution for some people is to purchase an apartment and set about making it into a unique space. Many want to improve their space with DIY apartment projects to make it somewhat different from the other apartments in the building.

If you find that the latter option is a good fit for you, there are all sorts of ways you can update the newly purchased space and make your apartment unique. Here are some DIY apartment projects that will help you begin formulating a plan.


Benefits of DIY Apartment Projects

You don’t have to be some sort of creative genius to succeed with DIY apartment projects. The following projects are simple, cost-effective, and will make your new apartment home. These improvements help you to make your apartment perfect. Here are some of the best DIY apartment projects that you can do to create the perfect apartment for you.


Changing the Floors

When you purchased the apartment, all the floors were carpeted with the exception of the kitchen and the bathroom. While you have nothing against carpeting, it would be nice to go with something different. There are three different DIY apartment projects that you could use throughout the apartment or even mix and match to suit your tastes.

One strategy is to rip up the carpeting and install wood veneer over the existing floor. Wood veneer comes in many different shades and styles. That makes it easier for you to choose something that’s in line with your vision for the space. Some of the perks associated with installing veneer are that the project won’t take that long to complete, upkeep and maintenance is a snap, and you can expect the flooring to last much longer than the standard wall to wall carpeting.

Another way to go is to install vinyl flooring throughout your space. The nice thing about vinyl flooring options today is that they can take on just about any look you want. Does the idea of having what appears to be a marble floor in the dining room sound appealing? What about a living room floor that appears to be a mosaic made with a mixture of stones? You can have these looks and many others by choosing vinyl as your floor covering of choice.

Don’t overlook the possibility of making the best out of whatever is lurking under the carpeting. Once it’s pulled up, you may find that there are already hardwood floors in place. Have them cleaned thoroughly before you decide if they need to be refinished. While there may be some imperfections, those little nicks could add character to the place and fit right in with your decorating vision. If so, then all you need to do is have an expert apply some type of protective coating to the newly cleaned wood and it will be time to bring in the furnishings and accessories.

These three DIY apartment projects can help you find the perfect flooring for your new apartment, and create a space that is truly yours.


Doing Something About the Windows

While you are not a hundred percent happy with the condition of the windows, the cost of replacing them seems prohibitive. Before deciding you’ll have to live with what’s in place, consider these DIY apartment projects.

Have you considered the idea of installing what’s known as retrofitted windows?

There are a couple of reasons why retrofitted windows for your apartment makes a lot of sense. One has to do with the ease of installation. Unlike investing in replacement windows, the retrofit design makes use of the existing window frame. That means there’s no need to rip out the frame and possibly some of the interior and exterior wall materials in the process. Instead, the windows are designed with what’s known as a Z-bar. That bar helps to fill in any tiny gaps between the existing frame and the actual window. Once the window is fitted in position, a few screws and a little caulking is all that’s needed to finish the job.

Another benefit of retrofit windows is that the cost of purchase and installation will fit into your budget easily. Depending on the size and type of windows you want, the difference in overall cost could be as much as 50%. Think of the other DIY apartment projects you could do with the money you save on the window project!


Softening the Look of the Walls

The neutral color of the walls does make it easier to go with just about any type of furniture, but you would like something that’s a little more visually interesting. Using darker colors like jewel tones is not what you have in mind, but adding some color would be nice. You can accomplish this by utilizing a method that was all the rage a few decades ago but doesn’t receive as much attention today.

All you need is a gallon of paint in a color you like, a little water, and some old rags. Mix two parts paint with one part water to make a thinner solution. Dip the rag into the paint and then begin to wipe across the existing wall color.

As you move along, it will be easy to add swirls, somewhat straight lines, or any other effect that you want. You can even bundle up the rags into a ball, dip them in the paint, and daub the wall surface if you like. The result will be a wall that has a textured look unlike anything found elsewhere. Even if a neighbor decides to use the same approach, they will never be able to come up with the same pattern you created.


Mix and Match to Your Heart’s Content

It’s easy to create a picture-perfect room by sticking with one period or one style. It takes real talent to utilize an assortment of odd pieces and come up with a space that’s visually cohesive and inviting. Instead of trying to make your room into some type of period piece, step back and have fun mixing and matching furnishings that most people would find a little out of the box.

It’s fine if the sofa is a Mediterranean style and you choose to pair it with a couple of overstuffed chairs. The styles may be different, but you will unify them with the use of color. The throw pillows on the sofa can pick up the upholstery color in the chair. Use the sofa upholstery as your inspiration for the throw pillows gracing the chairs.

These are only a few DIY apartment projects to make your apartment fit your personality and stand out from the other units in the building. Take the time to explore unique ideas about accessories, painting techniques, and even doing something with the doors and windows. Over time, with all of your DIY apartment projects, it will take on a life of its own and be everything you want it to be.


Signs Its Time To Replace Your Roofing in Simi Valley, CA


The roof of your home provides protection for your family from the elements so it is important to keep it well maintained and functioning properly. One or two small leaks are typically not a problem because they can be easily repaired; however, the roofing  in your Simi Valley home will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Here are some signs that it is time to contact a roofing contractor to replace your existing roof.


Buckling and Curling

A sure sign that your roofing in Simi Valley needs replaced, is curling shingles. Shingles that are curling on the edges have already started to pull away from the structure, which weakens the shingle, so the entire shingle will eventually break away from the sub-roofing. Buckling is also an indicator that it’s time for a new roof. Buckling is when the shingles look like they are raised in the middle. When shingles are buckled, moisture can seep under the shingle and inside your home.

Missing Shingles

When you notice missing shingles it may be time to replace the roof. Sometimes missing shingles are the result of a heavy storm, in which case it is recommended that you have an experienced roofing contactor inspect the roof. An inspection will determine if the missing shingles can be replaced or if the entire roof must be replaced.

Lose Granules and Color Changes

As roofing shingles age they begin to lose granules from the surface of the shingle. If you find granules accumulating in the gutters or on the ground directly under the roof, it is typically a good sign that the shingles need replaced. Another thing to look for is a change in the color of the shingles. If you are notice white spots on the shingles, it may be the fiberglass underneath that is showing, which means it is time to replace the roof.

If you aren’t sure about the age of your roof, it is beneficial to contact a company experienced in roofing in Simi Valley to do an inspection. A roofing contractor may not be able to determine the exact age of your roof, but they will typically be able to determine if the roof is still functioning properly. If you are having repeated leaks, it is best to go ahead and replace the roof, instead of risking the stability of continued repairs.

Deck Deck Coating

Top Acrylic Deck Coatings for Homeowners in Santa Barbara, California

As summer quickly approaches, many homeowners in Santa Barbara, California are searching for a durable coating for their deck. Water-based 100 percent acrylic coatings are often a good choice as these products can create a flexible protective film that is resistant to the sun’s glaring rays. The three most popular types of deck coverage products are semi-transparent acrylic stains, solid color acrylic stains, and wood restoration acrylic coatings.

Deck Coating Deck Water Proofing

Protect a Deck from Moisture

If you have a deck outside your home, then it is vital to protect the materials from sunlight, moisture and insects. It is possible to apply coating solutions to plain wood, or you can stain or paint the wood first. There are benefits from applying a coating over paint or stain because the sealants help to protect the stain and paint from the damages of weather, heat and ultraviolet rays. The majority of decking materials lay flat, making it easy for moisture from morning dew and rain to rest on the wood on a daily basis. Small amounts of moisture begin to seep into the wood, causing decay such as warping and splitting.


Installation of Commercial Roofs is Complex

High-quality commercial roofing for businesses is just as important as having a sturdy roof on a private residence.

However, in many cases, installing a commercial roof is more complex because the surface is larger or has specialized features.

In addition, the building code regulations for commercial structures are frequently more stringent than for private residences because the risks of injury to employees or the general public is higher.


Pros and Cons of the 5 Most Common Types of Roofing Materials

One of the most important parts of your home is the roof. It is responsible for keeping you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and most importantly, protecting your family as well as your personal belongings from the elements. While the roof of your home provides a certain aesthetic value, using certain roofing materials, such as metal or wood, can also increase the value of your property. When choosing roofing materials, you need to consider several factors, including the cost, quality, style and durability. To help you make the best decision for your needs, here are the pros and cons of the most popular types of roofing materials.

Roof Repair

Signs That Your Roof May Be Leaking

Your roof is probably the most important component of your home, as it protects you and your family from the elements. But over time, just like anything else, your roof will start to wear out. It also can sustain acute damage from a storm. In these cases, your roof might start to leak, which can cause big problems. Be on the lookout for signs that your roof might be leaking.


Roofing Inspectors Can Help Protect Your Roof

Roofing inspectors help protect one of the biggest investments a person ever makes in their lifetime. It is their business to inspect the roof of homes and businesses for any damage that may have been caused by a storm or just from natural wear and tear. Many people like to have annual inspections done as a preventative measure. Staying ahead of a potential problem saves homeowners money and stress.