2012 is right around the corner! It’s time to start new, make lists and accomplish goals. With all the New Year resolutions scattered on your mind, don’t forget to write out your list of home-improvement resolutions you’d like to accomplish in 2012.
AZCentral.com has offered tips and instructions throughout the year to keep your house protected, save money and do your part to protect the environment. Do the math and figure out how much you can afford to spend on your home this year. Here are five important recommendations provided by AZCentral.com.
Secure your home. Don't wait until someone breaks in before finding the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've done everything you can to keep intruders out of your home.
While most of the steps you need to take can be performed by a handyman or security professional, there are a few you can do yourself.
Start by increasing the visibility of your windows from the street by cutting down shrubs and bushes, so intruders have no place to hide. Replace door locks at any access points to your home. Leaving outdoor lights on overnight or installing motion-detection sensors can also help ward off bad guys.
- Building a hidden safe into a wall or floor
- Upgrading single-pane to double-pane windows with security glass
- Adding metal screen doors or decorative wrought-iron gates
- Covering up unused doggie doors or replacing them with a secure, locking version
- Cutting a mail slot into your door instead of using an outdoor mailbox and drilling a peep hole into your front door if you don’t already have one
A security professional can install an alarm or upgrade your current system to include some of the exciting innovations in smart-home automation. Together with a few well-placed exterior and interior cameras, you can easily monitor the action around your home while you're away by simply taking a look at the screen of your smartphone, notebook or iPad. While it used to be a luxury of only the very wealthy, mobile home security monitoring is now within reach of any homeowner.
Resolve to recycle. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Salvaging second-hand materials before they reach the landfill not only helps the environment, but can also save you money.
More builders, re-modelers and homeowners are recognizing the great opportunity that using salvaged building materials can present. Often, these second-hand treasures cost far less -- and come with more character and whimsy -- than similar accessories you could buy new.
Always recycle or reuse leftover lumber, misfit windows and doors, scrap metal and spare masonry materials.
For a remodeling project, the waste might be even more valuable, especially if the home is older. Items such as decorative hardware, light fixtures, sturdy wood cabinets, ornate molding, appliances, hardy oak floor boards and plumbing fixtures can easily be re-purposed.
Get a permit. You may be aware you need to get a permit to add a new addition to your house, but you may be surprised to learn that other more simple improvements also require permits. Anything you mess with in your home -- including electricity, plumbing or structural changes -- will most likely require a permit.
Projects that require permits include replacing a water heater; putting up a fence or retaining wall; replacing shingles; changing the location of a toilet, sink or tub; converting your carport or patio to an enclosed room or garage; adding electrical outlets; changing a window to a door; replacing a small window with a bigger one; removing or moving a wall inside your house; or altering your driveway.
It's safe to say, before you start any home-improvement project, you should check with the city.
Stay up to code. While you're not required to update your house as codes change, you may want to consider doing it for safety's sake, especially if your home was built before 2000. If you're considering doing some remodeling or additions, it's never a bad idea. While there are probably hundreds of outdated codes an older home faces, voluntarily upgrading a few can save you money and keep your home safe:
- Hard-wired smoke alarms in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of sleeping areas.
- Ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, garage and any other space where both water and electricity are available
- Larger, dual-pane, windows -- with at least 3½ feet of open, removable area -- big enough for a firefighter and his air tank to fit through.
- Powerful and efficient toilets to replace old, water-guzzling ones.
- Handrails on all staircases -- indoors and out.
- A water heater expansion tank, which can prevent extra pressure and the possibility of an explosion.
Prep for the monsoon. If there's one thing we should take preventative measures on, it's rain, snow and gusty winds. Take some precautions to make sure your home stays protected from a beating by mid-summer storms, winter blizzards and an occasional North East hurricane.
You can start by plugging leaks in the roof and trimming branches that are close to the house. But your windows and doors are equally at risk of causing problems during the storm if they let water get inside.
If you have a skylight, check to see if there are any weep holes that need sealed, as the caulking only lasts a few years. If you need to reseal any areas, make sure you remove all the old and cracked caulk completely before adding a new layer. Use a polyurethane caulk, which will ward off the wet better than acrylic or latex.
Replace worn-out door sweeps so water doesn't come through the bottom. Also, change hinges and door locks if they're preventing the door from latching securely.
If you're looking to tackle a bathroom project in the New Year, contact Lighthouse Shower Doors to help with your bathroom needs, wants and desires. Lighthouse Shower Doors provides professional design and installation services for your shower enclosure needs. For more information, visit LighthouseShowerDoors.com.