Home Improvement

Protecting Your House After Snow

Who doesn’t love a snow day? Cuddling on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa while watching holiday movies can make anyone not want to venture out into the cold. Next time you find yourself in this spot, it will be a good idea to head out for half an hour to protect your home, especially if you want to sell in the future. Once your driveways and sidewalks are shoveled, check out these tips on protecting your home that you may not have considered.

Clear Your Vents: Make sure your furnace vents are clear of snow. Carbon monoxide could build up if your furnace vent is blocked.  A blocked vent may also cause a hot water heater to quit functioning. Use a broom to remove any snow.

Uncover Fire Hydrants: If you live near a fire hydrant, you should take a few minutes to dig it out if you notice it is covered - this can help a firefighter if there is an emergency!

Unblock Ice Dams: Be sure to check your gutters for ice dams. When ice dams are present and water backs up, it slows the water melting off the roof behind it and that water then seeps under the shingles and into the house.

Sweep Off Hot Tubs: Always broom off your hot tub if you happen to own one. The weight of heavy snow can cause the cover to buckle in the middle.

Shovel Decks:  If there is more than half a foot of snow, you may want to consider clearing it from your deck. Using plastic shovels can help prevent unwanted scratching on your deck material. Avoid using ice melter or salt as it could damage wood decks.

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5 Tips to Create a Home Bar

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So many businesses have been affected by the events of 2020, causing permanent and temporary closures of many of our favorite spots—including the corner bar. The local watering hole has always been a great place to meet friends, watch sports, and unwind after work. Many homeowners have used this time at home to work on home improvement projects. Why not consider adding or improving a home bar to the list? Making simple changes can have a large impact.

1. Moody Paint – Carve out an unused nook and paint it a dark, masculine color. Think of the old speakeasy with dark wood and soft lighting.

2. Sophisticated Seating – If your space allows, create a lounge-style atmosphere with barstools or a bistro set. A black or wood finish will emphasize the feel of a bar.

3. Stock Up – The key to a great bar is having the right tools and ingredients. Retailers offer a variety of styles for such items as shakers, muddlers, corkscrews, among others. Don’t forget the alcohol and mixers.

4. Open Up – Open glass shelving will showcase your style. Save money by displaying the liquor bottles themselves instead of decanters.

5. Make It Mobile – If you don’t have extra space for your bar, there are a multitude of bar carts to not only suit your style but allow you to go where the party is.

If you’ve exhausted your weekend honey-do list, consider spending a little time to create a home bar. With a little thought and attention, you can entertain in style, even if you’re alone.

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Home Improvements During Labor Shortage

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Tight labor markets are affecting industries across the country. Skilled and unskilled jobs remain unfilled as employers struggle to find prospective employees. For anyone ready to hire a contractor or handyman to perform home improvement projects, this shortage is causing frustration. As more people embrace the “staycation” and seek ways to upgrade their homes, many are finding few tradesmen to even come to provide estimates, much less schedule the work. If you are trying to find good people to help with home improvement projects, there are still a few ways to achieve your goals. Here are a few tips to help you find a professional to help with your project.

• Social Media – One great way to find reputable laborers is to ask for help from local social media groups. Apps like Facebook and Next Door have local groups where you can ask for help. Make sure to mention where you got the referral; the tradesmen will want to live up to the referral and are more likely to provide good, timely service.

• Big Box Stores – Home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer a wide variety of in-home services. They also have referral services for projects outside their scope and these contractors keep the stores happy by providing good service to homeowners.

• Online Service – There are sites like Angie’s List and Home Advisor where professionals pay for leads. Because they have paid for the contact, they tend to be more likely to follow through on the project.

The labor shortage is affecting all aspects of life right now. If you have a home improvement or upgrade project, there is no reason to put off the work. Try these tips for finding qualified and vetted help.

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