Top Five Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home

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This house needs work! How many times have you said that? How many times have you looked around and wondered where your renovation dollars would be best spent?

The answer to that question may well surprise you. If you’re considering selling your home or you’re simply looking at the best ideas for renovation that will give you a solid ROI on your home maintenance or modernization, it may amaze you to know that some of the smallest updates can give back big dividends.

Before you consider making huge home improvements like tearing out that wall or making the room larger, take a look at these top ways to get a good return on your investment of renovation money.

  1. New garage doors can give you a vast ROI on your investment of about a thousand dollars or a little more. Installing a new set of garage doors may raise the price of your home as much as 5K.
  2. New windows–Your windows may be leaking heat or cool air to the outside world. Setting in a few new energy efficient windows, even if you can only do one room, will give you a nice return on your investment. It may raise the value of your home as much as two or three thousand dollars.
  3. Painting your home can raise the value as much as five thousand dollars. The colors that you paint your home make a big difference in how much it will raise the value. For example, pale yellow or cream colored homes typically sell faster and may sell for a slightly higher price.
  4. Add a spare bathroom. Even if it is only a half bath or a shower stall and a small bathroom, a second bathroom will raise the price of your home and give you a return on your investment that may be twice what you spent. If you can’t afford a new bathroom then spend a little and update your current bathroom. You could consider some low cost but sleek looking items such as a wall based towel warmer or other amenities and the return on the investment will be at least twice what you spent.
  5. As of 2011, the kitchen went back to being the most important room in the home. It was more valuable to home buyers than the living room and the way that the kitchen looked and was laid out was very important. A facelift to your kitchen, stainless steel sink, a coat of paint or new facings in the cabinets can net you a very positive return on your investment.

Every investment in your home is a positive one, but some will give you a far greater return on your investment. The largest outlay isn’t necessarily the best outlay when it comes to home renovation, so choosing carefully based on what will give you the biggest draw to the home buyer and the best return on your investment of money is in order.

Spot Cleaning Your Carpet

Very few things can add beauty to your home more than new carpeting. It can brighten a room and give it a sense of warmth to any who enter. Likewise, there are very few things that can detract from a room like a dingy, worn, or dirty carpet. While vacuuming helps to keep your carpet looking good and extends its life, vacuuming alone is not enough. Your carpets need a deep, thorough cleaning at least once or twice a year, more often if you have children, pets, or smokers in the home. While most people have a rug shampooer in their homes, it is recommended that you have the job professionally done at least once in a while. A professional carpet cleaner can get the job done in about half the time it would take you and they have specialized equipment to make sure that the carpet is truly clean. In addition to that, most professional carpet cleaners are able to treat your carpets so that they remain stain resistant. However what do you do if spills or accidents happen between cleanings?

Having a carpet cleaning machine in your home is a good start, but you can’t always drag it out immediately to deal with stains. In cases like this, it is helpful to know how to spot clean your carpet, or at least treat the stain immediately so that it doesn’t become permanent before you can clean it properly. If you have a bottle of commercial spot remover you can use, then by all means do, but if you don’t have any on hand there are some common household items that will work just as well. The easiest and gentlest on the carpet is cream of tartar. Mix about ¼ cup cream of tartar with enough lemon juice or vinegar to moisten it Using clean, dry towels, blot up as much of the spill as you can and then spread the paste over top of the stain and work it in thoroughly. Allow the paste to dry completely and then vacuum any residual powder out of the carpet. This works very well on stains like red wine, grape juice, or spaghetti sauce. Much as you would with a commercial spot cleaner, test the cream of tartar paste on an inconspicuous area to make sure that the carpet is colorfast. While this will remove small stains completely, you should still clean the area thoroughly as soon as possible.

Carpet Tips You May Not Have Heard

New carpets can contain a lot less chemicals than older ones. It’s worth your time to trade in your carpet if it is more than five years old.

To remove stains from your carpet, you can scrub a wine stain with club soda. Let it absorb the wine and scrub. If it remains, wipe it down with a few drops of white wine vinegar and it should remove all of the residual stain.

To remove muddy footprints or to clean your carpets well and make them a lot brighter, sprinkle them with ordinary table salt and let the salt stand for about an hour on the carpet. Then vacuum normally with a hepa filter vacuum for better suction.

When properly cleaned and maintained, your carpet may actually help to prevent allergic reactions. Carpets are highly effective places to trap dust and allergens and prevent them from staying airborne. When you vacuum correctly and regularly your household air quality may actually be better than without a carpet.

To get gum out of your rugs, press and hold an ice cube on the carpet to freeze it. Snap off the gum and then use a spot cleaner to get out the remainder. If small bits or particles remain, a VERY light going over with a safety razor may remove the residual.

IF you have a large water spill it is imperative that you remove all residual water and place a fan on your carpet or have it professionally cleaned. Stachybotrys is a household mold that can grow rapidly on wet carpeting and can cause dermatitis and other problems.

If you have depressions in your carpet that are left there by heavy furniture sitting on the rug, you can use a steam iron to remove them. Hold it close to the rug but not touching it and allow the steam to hit it until it is slightly dampened. Using a popsicle stick or flat craft stick lift the carpet fibers gently.

Removed dripped candle wax from your rug by covering it with a paper bag and ironing over the bag. Most of the wax will be ironed into and absorbed by the bag. Clean the rug below with vinegar or club soda. Remember to clean your iron.

Carpets or Hardwood Floors?

Carpets or hardwood floors? If you’re remodeling or building a new home or business, this is one question that’s going to come up throughout the planning stages.

Both carpets and hardwood floors can provide benefits to interior spaces, whether that be in comfort, practicality, or looks. When deciding if you should in fact go the route of carpet, it’s important to understand the reasons why. To help you with your decision we’re going to list the top five reasons why you should use carpet over hardwood and other alternative flooring options for your next project.

Carpet Allows More Personal Expression than Hardwood Flooring

While hardwood flooring can look beautiful in the right setting, carpet easily beats it as a creative outlet. Whether you are trying to build specific colors and branding for a business premise, or create the perfect interior space in your living room, carpet will allow you to express yourself through colors and textures in a way that hardwoods can’t compete with.

Carpet Is More Comfortable

You can choose carpet that is soft underfoot, which will help to create a more inviting feel in a home or business. Retail operations can benefit from carpet because it creates a more welcoming space that is also comfortable to browse through.

Carpet Is Safer for Active Children

If you have children in the home, carpet is the safest flooring for them. Hardwood can mean more injuries from falls and bumps, whereas carpet provides a softer layer of protection.

Carpet Allows for a Warmer and Quieter Home

Carpet is an insulator and it will work in two ways in a home or commercial space. Carpet will insulate against cold, and can trap heat. This means that a carpeted room is more economical, especially when you’re using climate control or indoor heaters/air conditioners. Carpet also insulates against sound which is a beneficial in offices, as well as in homes.

Carpet Is More Cost Effective than Hardwood

Carpet can be had for a fraction of the cost of hardwood, and even when compared to laminated wood or vinyl tiles. Carpet can last for years in a home or commercial space and is easily maintained. For projects where managing cost is a key consideration, carpet will always come out on top.

When it comes to flooring, carpets are the best choice because of their relatively low cost, ability to insulate, variety of designs and colors, safety, comfort, and longevity. When you want to create a unique and practical look for your home or commercial property, choose carpets for your floors.

5 Home Projects You can Start Today

When it comes to projects around the home there are usually two kinds of people involved. Those who do, and those who dream. If you’re reading this article, maybe you’re one of the latter, or maybe you just needed some ideas to get started out on a new decorating project. The first thing to understand is that making changes around your home isn’t difficult. Usually when you keep putting something off it’s because the job you’re planning is too big, or maybe you didn’t realize how easy it is to get started right away.

We’re going to look at five of the top projects for around the home that you can start right now. Not next week, or next month, but as soon as you finish reading this article.

Increase your living space. You don’t need to expand on your home to get more usable space, in fact all you need to do is open the door and go outside. Outdoor living is a great way to create new spaces to cook, eat, and entertain. Take the concept of the BBQ area to the next level with outside seating and a table. You’ll soon be on your way to creating your new outdoor kitchen and living space.

Invest in a fire pit. Similar to a bonfire but much safer, a fire pit could be just what you need to improve your outdoor space with warmth and a new focal point. There are gas burning and wood burning pits available at almost any home improvement store. They’re portable, safe, and immediately improve your outdoor space with just a small investment.

Change your curtains. Many homeowners choose the safest colors for their curtains. Neutral tones are great if you have other décor to carry some style, but in most cases curtain choices could be greatly improved. Try some new styles, colors, or even curtain types. Just be sure they complement the rest of your décor, especially the flooring.

Try outdoor lighting. When you’re going to be spending more time outside, improving the lighting is a simple way to make any space more comfortable and practical. Lighting doesn’t have to be permanent. There are numerous options on the market for solar recharged patio lights that will improve outdoor living for only a small cost.

Have your carpets professionally cleaned. This might seem like a strange entry for a home improvement, but you might be surprised at what a professional shampoo and treatment can do for tired carpets. Over time carpets can discolor, especially the lighter varieties. There is also the problem of the pile being disturbed after regular use. Vacuuming only gets you so far. A professional cleaning service could restore your carpets to near new conditions, making you feel as if you’re stepping on a whole new floor.

Redecorating is an easy way to fall in love with your home all over again. Be creative and practical, and remember that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have stylish new decorations or minor home improvements today.

Installing Carpets

Installing carpets is the perfect way to beautify your home while introducing your own character in to your interior design. Modern carpets are highly durable, comfortable, and best of all they can be surprisingly inexpensive.

The actual installation of your carpets is just as important for the look, feel, and durability of the carpet as the quality of carpet that you choose. A lot of times you will find installers offering cut rate prices for a basic installation.

Because it can be easy to be misled, and eventually caught out by sub-par carpet installers, we’ve put together this short list from Best Value Carpet explaining what you should look out for when you choose an installer for your next project.

Are You Purchasing Your Carpet from a Big Box Retailer?
Many of the big box retailers offer an accredited ‘basic’ carpet installation, sometimes for less than $100 for a full home. Surely there must be a catch? The catch is that ‘basic’ literally means the most bare-bones carpet installation service possible. Therefore these deals often don’t include installation materials, glues, and even certain requests like the carpeting of stairs or split level steps.

If possible, avoid big box retailers, or if you do decide to buy your carpets there it’s best to arrange for your own professional to install them. You might pay a little more but your carpets will be installed to a higher standard. This will help them to last as the manufacturer intended, and prevents follow up work resulting from poor installations.

Is Your Installer Licensed and Insured?
All installers should be licensed and bonded. This not only tells you that you’re dealing with real professionals, but it will also protect you from liabilities from on-site accidents and unforeseen events.

Ask for References.
No matter how great a company or private contractor might seem, you need to do some research to choose the right installer. Ask for two or three references so that you can get an idea of the work the installer has completed. An installer who is cagey about references is not worth the risk.

Choose an Installer Who Provides a Comprehensive Installation Warranty.
Carpet installation is a critical aspect that contributes to how good your carpet looks, and how long it will last. Carpet that is installed incorrectly may void manufacturer warranties, and may bunch up, be misaligned on corners and walls, or in the worst cases may even fray and unravel at certain points.

Ask about a warranty on the installation. This will protect you from poor workmanship, and also gives an indication of how confident the installer is in their work.

With the right installation, carpets can transform your home. The installation is just as important as the carpet itself, so exercise caution when choosing your installer. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal that sounds too good to be true, or that doesn’t offer protection for you in the way of licensed installers, references, and installation warranties.

Carpet – A Little History

A carpeted home is something we take for granted. Step back in time to the early 1800s and the average home would have been very different. Unfinished hardwood floors were not uncommon in the United States, and a rug laid out in a sitting room was something of a luxury for the average family. Even affluent families would have found it hard to afford carpeting in all of their rooms.

This all changed with the industrial revolution and automated looms. Before the introduction of mechanized looms, carpets were hand woven in methods similar to those used for Persian and Oriental rugs to this day. Just as these rugs command a price premium today, the case was the same 200 years ago.

1791 was an important year in the history of carpets as Philadelphia became home to the first woven carpet mill. By the early 1800s there were mills popping up all around New England providing more cost effective carpeting solutions for a growing middle class.

Some of the early players in the modern carpet industry still have a legacy in the industry today. Bigelow carpets are known throughout America as some of the most durable, attractive, and cost effective flooring options. Erastus Bigelow invented a powered loom in the early 1800s that would go on to triple productivity in carpet production by the 1850. Bigelow was such a prolific inventor that he went on to patent 45 technologies relating to carpet and textile manufacture, always in pursuit of the most efficient methods that would produce quality carpets. Today his name lives on through the Bigelow carpet lines.

As manufacturing technologies advanced and new materials came, Americans witnessed the advent of affordable carpets, and you will find carpet in almost every home in the country today. Carpets are great for insulation, they reduce energy costs, and most importantly they create a timeless, elegant, and comfortable look which can transform a house in to a true home to be proud of.

Today we have a variety of cut pile design carpets, we predominantly use long lasting nylon instead of wool, we can make use of special backing that increases durability and comfort, and there are even options for advanced treatments like Scotchgard which help to resist stains and odor. We even have outdoor carpets that resist UV rays, moisture, and bacteria.

Next time you’re looking for carpets for use in remodeling or a new home, take a moment to consider the history that helped bring you the hi-tech carpets of today. Names like Bigelow and Mohawk are examples of the pioneers that shaped the industry, and you’ll still find their names on some of the most trusted carpets in America.

How to Extend the Life of Your Carpet

Good carpeting is not inexpensive and it is a large investment of both time and money. First there is the time it takes to search through the various choices until you find the carpeting that best suits your needs, budget, and taste. After paying for the carpet and installation, you still have to schedule the day of installation and wait some more. All in all it is not only expensive, but time consuming as well and it is a procedure that no one wants to repeat unless it is strictly necessary. This is one reason that everyone should know how to properly maintain and care for their carpets. Proper maintenance will keep the carpet looking its best for as long as possible, but many people don’t know that caring properly for their carpets will actually extend its life. Just a few relatively simple tips can prevent the need for replacing the carpet in the near future.

The most effective, as well as the easiest, way to ensure that your carpet lasts as long as it should is to keep it as clean as possible. Don’t walk on the carpet with the same shoes that you wear outdoors. Aside from the obvious issue of muddy footprints, whether your shoes look clean or not, there is always dust, sand, or other debris lurking on the soles of your shoes. Wearing house shoes or slippers is the best option when it comes to keeping your carpet clean. Even bare feet can leave behind oil that will get into the carpet and act like a magnet to attract dust and dirt particles.

Vacuuming on a regular basis is another thing that will lengthen the life of carpets. Even if you don’t wear shoes on the carpeting, dust particles float through the air and debris finds its way into the fibers of your carpeting. This is especially true if you have pets. Vacuuming at least every two days will keep the worst of these things from becoming embedded in the carpet. Dirt, dust, and other particles (no matter how small) are abrasive. As they embed themselves into the carpet fiber they damage the integrity and cause the fibers to break, fray, or mat down and walking on the carpet hastens the process. This also involves making sure that your vacuum is in good working order. No matter how often you vacuum, if the machine isn’t functioning properly, it can’t get the carpet clean.