Should You Pay To Have An Awning Installed Or DIY?

installing a sun awning yourselfA sun awning will definitely provide that fresh change that you want for your home. Not only will it enhance the architectural quality and appeal of your house, it will also save you money on energy and protect you from warm weather, rain, and strong winds. Sun awnings block the sunlight and reduces your need for air conditioning.

Once you have decided which type of sun awning will best compliment your home, you are probably debating on whether or not you should install it yourself or hire a professional awning service to put it up for you. When deciding on installing a DIY sun awning on your own or paying somebody else to do it for you there are some important things that you need to consider before making this decision.

Cost of the project

Shopping around online for awnings that you can install yourself, you will find that a DIY sun awning will typically cost between $300 to $1000 depending on the size and the design. This cost will already include everything that you may need to install the sun awning, such as the frame, the mechanisms, brackets, and other accessories. Bottom line is, the sun awning itself costs a considerable amount of money.

Many sun awning sellers already provide free installation upon purchase of their high-end items. Most DIY sun awnings will come with complete instructions that are very easy to follow even for those who don’t have any background in awning installation, carpentry or construction. Most can be installed in as little as an hour.

Having a professional awning installer do the work for you will cost you a whole lot more than when you do it yourself. Having your sun awning installed by a professional ensures that everything is done correctly and you leave no room for error. But if you are on a budget, unless there are special needs based on where you want your awning to be, this is not a difficult project to take on yourself.

Expertise

Hiring a professional sun awning installer means paying for their expertise and their experience. They do this for a living so you can trust that they know what they are doing. When faced with a difficulty during the installation such as a problem with the space or the area where the sun awning will be mounted, you can be sure that they can come up with a contingency or a sound suggestion to install the awning as you wish. Professional installers can also make suggestions as to how you will be able to maximize the benefits of a sun awning with proper placement or location.

It is always best to hire a professional awning installer for more complicated projects that will require technical, electrical, and plumbing skills. But if you have basic knowledge of carpentry or if you are just installing a simple sun awning then there is no need to shell out hundreds of dollars to have them installed by a pro. DIY sun awnings come with fail proof instructions that will provide the necessary information for you to install your sun awnings even if you only have knowledge of the basics.

Total Experience

Many people take pride in being able to build portions of their homes by themselves without the assistance of hired help.  Being able to install a sun awning by yourself can be a very rewarding experience.  Installing a sun awning on your own will give you total control over the project and allows you to change any of the details as you see fit.

If you find yourself at a dead end, you can always go to your local hardware store and ask for the best tool to use and the internet is full of information about DIY projects.  You will be surprised how many articles you will find on the simplest hurdles that you may have in your installation.

Buying a New Garage Door

Garage door repairHaving a damaged garage door can be not only inconvenient, but also detrimental to the overall appearance of your home. A badly damaged garage door can be dangerous as well as unsightly. Here are some things to consider before buying a new garage door:Cost
A garage door is a big investment, but it does not have to break the bank. The most inexpensive garage doors usually cost several hundred dollars, and fancier doors can cost several thousand. Simple steel and wood doors tend to be less expensive, and doors with more complex styles or windows are more expensive. Insulation and mechanisms will also affect the cost.

Style
Garage doors come in dozens of styles, from simple steel doors to ornate wood and glass. The material and style should match the overall look of the house. A garage door made of light brown wood will not compliment a grey and white house. Consider the pros and cons of each type of material, keeping in mind how the color and style of the door will match the house.

Other Considerations
When shopping for a new garage door, here are some things to keep in mind besides cost and style:
1) Consider what type of climate you live in and how it will affect the door. Garage doors in Charlotte, NC are going to go through much different conditions than garage doors in Hartford, CT. If your garage door is at the bottom of a slope, will it resist water? If you live in a cold climate, will it withstand snowdrifts year after year?
2) Look for a door that fits your lifestyle. If you live in a quiet neighborhood, or do not have kids, than you have the option of choosing a fancier, more expensive door. If you know your door may be damaged by reckless drivers or bikers, or the occasional stray football, you should chose a door that is both affordable and sturdy.
3) Consider the door’s insulation and how it will effect the environment in your garage and house. If you do a lot of work in your garage, or have a room located directly above, a well-insulated door will keep you comfortable and keep heating costs low. If you live in a warm climate, insulation is not as important, and you can choose an uninsulated door. Keep in mind that steel doors tend to be lower maintenance, more durable and more energy efficient than wood doors, as wood doors cannot be insulated.

Investing in A/C: Key Factors to Remember

central air conditionerWhen it’s time to buy a new air conditioner, you don’t want to set out and pick out the first contractor that you come across on the Internet. Instead, you’re going to want to take your time researching, learn how air conditioners work and find out the questions you’re going to have to ask a contractor to make sure your unit is properly installed.

Studies have shown that more than one half of all air conditioning units in the United States are installed improperly. Most of the time, these units don’t work right because they are oversized. An oversized unit leads to higher utility bills, more noise and a higher start-up cost.

To avoid an improperly installed unit, it’s so important that you learn what to ask and look out for. Before you even have a contractor start a job, here are some things to keep in mind:

Cooling Load Calculations

Always make sure that the contractor gives you a copy of their cooling load calculations. These calculations are useful to know what size air conditioner your home should have. If you don’t understand these numbers, don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for more help. A good contractor is going to take their time measuring the floors, wall, attic and other parts of the home to create this detailed report. If you feel the contractor is rushing through the process, it’s probably best to consider another bid.

Consider an Efficient Unit

By law, newer air conditioners must have a SEER of at least 13 or higher. The higher the rating is going to be, the more you’re going to probably spend. However, don’t be afraid to dish out the extra money because what you’re going to find in the long run is that initial investment will be paid back in energy savings. Remember if you are looking for air conditioning in Las Vegas or another hot climate, your system is going to be running a lot. It’s a good idea to have an efficient unit. Aside from the SEER number, look for the Energy Star label too. Replacing an outdated unit can potentially save you hundreds in annual utility bills.

Location

If you’re installing a new unit, the best place to install one is on the north or east side of the house, out of the direct sunlight. Always make sure that the contractor leaves enough room on all four sides for an adequate airflow, and be sure to keep the area free of any debris, shrubs and trees. Since these units can draw in a lot of air, any obstacle in its path is a disaster waiting to happen.

Purchasing a new unit can easily cost a few thousand dollars. With this kind of investment, it’s best that you set aside a few hours in the day to talk with some contractors, receive multiple bids and ask lots of questions. By doing so, you can be assured that you made the best choice for your home.

Removing Mildew and Odor

Q: We have begun the process of re-covering old lap siding on our old farmhouse. Is there anything that you would recommend for disinfecting the old wood to remove  mildew and odors before we re-cover the farmhouse? – John

A: You will find mildew removal products at your local hardware store that you can buy. An alternative is to simply mix bleach and water. You want to use about one part bleach to four or even five parts water. Dress appropriately when doing this to protect yourself. You do not want to coat yourself in this solution as you are cleaning. The solution will kill both the mildew and the odor. When finished, hose it off.

If there are any plants near the farmhouse, it is recommended that you hose them down first. If you spill any of the cleaner you are using on the plants, you can hose them off again. The solution will be less likely to stick to the plants as easily if they are already wet.

Getting Your Yard Ready for Winter

It’s getting to that time of year again. Cold weather is on its way for many of us. Here are a few tips I found at HGTV on preparing your yard for the winter.

Tips for preparing your lawn and garden for the cold weather ahead.

Fall typically means cooler temperatures, more dependable rains, fewer pests and disease problems and an amazing burst of foliage color.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where fall color can be spectacular, you get to watch how deciduous plants can go from solid green to an amazing array of yellows, oranges and reds. Keep in mind that a plant’s ability to produce vibrant fall color depends largely on genetics. Weather plays a minor role, but unless a plant is genetically hard-wired to produce color, there’s nothing you can do to change that.

So enjoy the color for as long as it lasts, knowing that as fall turns to winter, more changes will take place. Here are some tips on getting your yard ready for the chilly season:

  • Fall overseeding helps to maintain a green lawn throughout the winter. In the fall, turfgrass tends to develop a distinct two-tone look, as if half the grass is dead and the other half is alive and well. This look, which is common throughout the country, is the result of overseeding a warm-season grass, such as Bermuda, with a cool-season grass like fescue.The warm-season grass isn’t dead; it just goes dormant once temperatures drop below freezing. The cool-season grass, on the other hand, remains green despite freezing temperatures. Other combinations of warm- and cool-season grasses might include Bermuda and rye or Zoysia combined with fescue or rye. With all these combinations, the result is often the same — a two-tone lawn.

But if you overseed heavily enough with the cool-season grass, you should be able to achieve a nearly solid green lawn all winter long. The best time to overseed is six to eight weeks before the first hard freeze.

If you notice bare spots once the seeds begin to germinate, seed those areas again. Bear in mind, however, that if cold weather comes early, the grass that comes up following the second seeding may not have time to develop a strong enough root system to survive winter. But it’s worth a try.

  • Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on lawn surfaces. Large leaves in particular, especially when they get wet, can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below. So it’s a good idea to routinely rake or blow them off the lawn or, better yet, use a mulching mower to shred them into fine pieces.
  • Put the raked leaves in the compost pile or use as a mulch. Whatever you do, don’t waste fallen leaves because they’re an excellent source of nutrients and organic matter. You can also add them to flower beds to put a winter blanket on your garden.
  • Keep an eye on browning needles on conifers. Various conifers undergo changes in the fall. When those changes include needles turning brown, many homeowners panic. It’s normal for some needles to turn brown, however, as long as the browning takes place primarily within the interior of the plant.If you’re bothered by the look and the tree or shrub is small enough, you can remove the dead growth by shaking the plant vigorously or cutting it off with pruners. Or leave well enough alone, and in time the dead growth will drop to the ground. Remember, there are deciduous conifers like bald cypress that begin to lose all their leaves in the fall.
  • Remove dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials. Annuals typically die when temperatures drop below freezing. But perennials often appear as though they too have bitten the bullet. That’s because their top growth dies back, although in most cases the root ball is hardy enough to survive even extreme temperatures, especially if it’s covered with a layer of mulch. The best time to mulch perennials is after the first hard freeze. Just make sure you don’t cover the crown or center of the plant, because that can lead to rot.
  • Prepare tender and hardy plants in containers. Perennials in pots may require additional protection because they aren’t as well insulated. In extremely cold areas, consider placing potted perennials in a sunny spot and covering the pots with mulch or leaves.Many plants grown as annuals outside their native zone, such as tropicals and cacti, can be overwintered as houseplants. Just make sure you give them a fair amount of light, and mist them daily to maintain humidity. Also, cut back on watering and skip fertilizing altogether until spring.
  • Prepare and monitor the progress of the compost pile. Significant changes begin to occur in the compost pile with the approach of fall, and you need to adapt to those changes. Basically, as air temperatures drop, so does the internal temperature of the compost pile, which in turn slows down the process of decomposition. For example, the center of a compost pile in the middle of summer may reach 160 degrees F but drop to only 120 degrees during the fall and winter. At that temperature, there’s still activity within the pile, but it’s a more passive process. However, you can boost the temperature by continuing to turn the pile during cold weather.More abundant rainfall can lead to anaerobic conditions within a compost pile, which not only slows the decomposition process but can also cause the pile to stink. Top your compost pile with a thick layer of leaves or straw during the fall and winter. This simple step accomplishes two things: It helps prevent excess moisture from building up and insulates the pile so that it maintains a higher internal temperature.

8 tricks to expand a small space

From hanging floor-to-ceiling curtains to using mirrors strategically, find out how to make a small room look bigger by tricking the eye with these design tips. See more ways to make the most of a small space.

1. Window Treatments
Hang curtain rods and draperies at the ceiling to make the room feel taller.

2. Furniture
Pick furnishings made of glass, Lucite, or Plexiglas, which seem to disappear.

3. Walls
Give walls and floors the stripe treatment to expand the sense of space.

4. Lighting
Place lighting judiciously to bounce your eye around a room.

5. Architecture
Wallpaper or paint can bring a sense of architecture to walls — without wasting even a half-inch of floor space.

6. Hidden Details

Hidden door hardware like touch latches and recessed pulls make closets and doors invisible.

7. Artwork
Use art to fake a view or distract from architectural flaws.

8. Mirrors
Use mirrors and reflective finishes, from bed frames to side tables, to create a vista, bring light into dark spaces, and create faux doorways or windows, all of which make a room seem bigger.

Design by Jonathan Berger