home improvement toolbox
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DESCRIPTIONThings to know about Remodeling, Adding on, Buying or selling a home.
Dont Move - ImproveMAY 2011
Thinking About Buying, Selling, Remodeling, Adding On To Your Home Or Splitting Up Property?
Consider a property survey to protect your major fi -nancial investment. A property survey describes, maps and locates land ownership boundaries and corners, land features and man made improvements. A property survey must be performed by a Professional Land Sur-veyor who has been licensed by the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design.
The legal description of your property and related records will be evaluated. The property survey will locate, measure and monument the property boundar-ies and corners so they can be easily identifi ed. This survey will be completed in compliance with applicable state, county and other local government laws, codes and regulations. As a property owner, it is important to be informed of any property description, boundary loca-
tion, trespass, encroachment or other related problems that are present prior to purchasing, selling or mak-ing any costly improvements. Upon completion of the property survey, it is recommended that the boundary corner monuments be protected and preserved by the property owner.
A survey can assist with the planning of your pro-posed improvements. The survey will provide a clear un-derstanding of the sites opportunities and constraints to assist with providing an economical design when de-veloping your overall plan. When applying for construc-tion or land use permits, documentation may need to be provided that illustrates the amount of impervious coverage that exists on a lot prior to development and post development, what the required setbacks are and compliance with these standards, how is the property to
be used or divided and how will any potential impacts be minimized as a result of the proposed improvements. A survey can assist with providing this information and put the compliance responsibility on the appropriate professionals.
Depending on the proposed improvements, many lo-cal jurisdictions may require a property survey. Aware-ness of your local jurisdiction is essential in ensuring compliance with the appropriate regulations. Complet-ing a property survey can be considered an inexpensive insurance policy on protecting your most valuable in-vestment.
Information provided by Westwood Professional Services, Inc.
1. Check and clean mechanical ventilation system (HRV/ERV). Check your manual and follow manufacturers recommendations.
2. Clear air intakes, exhaust and meters of debris, nests, etc.
3. Check gutters and downspouts and clean if needed.
4. Be sure to check settling after spring thaw.
5. Open outside hose connection.
6. Check and clean central air conditioning system.
7. Check landscaping sprinklers to ensure proper alignment (do not let them soak your siding or foundation).
8. Replace air conditioning or furnace fi lters monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer.
9. Clean A/C condenser.
10. Inspect pressure and temperature valve on water heater.
11. Maintain proper grades for drainage throughout the property.
12. Inspect roof for damage and make repairs when necessary.
Basic Home Care
Green Is Good for the Home: Choosing the Best Eco-Friendly Options
From paints to fl ooring to carpeting, the options in green building materials have expanded by leaps and bounds. With so many environmentally friendly options available, homeowners may have diffi culty determining what are the best and most cost-effective buys.
Eco-friendly options to choose may differ based on geographic region and what installation procedures are well known by local carpenters and builders. For exam-ple, a person in a drought-stricken region may want to look for items that conserve water. However, there are certain items that are green across the board.
InsulationOne of the most environmentally friendly things a
homeowner can do is to improve the insulation in his or her home. Adequate insulation reduces the amount of heat and cooling loss, which then reduces the amount of energy needed to cool or heat a house. There are many materials from which insulation can be made; many are recycled materials, such as glass or even cotton. How-ever, cellulose -- a plant material -- is one of the more cost-effective and greener options available. Look for the highest R factor on the insulation. The higher the number, the greater the resistance to heat fl ow.
FramingThinking about adding on another room or remodel-
ing an existing one? Then consider using sustainable harvested wood products. They may be more costly, but theyre certainly a greener option. Some construction materials are made from salvaged wood or items made from composite materials. Wood that bears the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo means it was grown and harvested without depleting or destroying natural surroundings.
WindowsJust like insulation, windows are essential to pro-
tecting against heating and cooling loss. Inadequate windows could be costing homeowners hundreds of dol-lars in energy waste from drafts or air leakage. New windows are generally rated on a number of factors: air leakage, condensation resistance, U-factor or level of insulation, and solar heat gain, or the windows ability to block heat from the sun. Homeowners can talk with a window professional to determine the right windows for the climate and direction the windows face.
FlooringOne of the most eco-friendly options in fl ooring is us-
ing a sustainable product, such as bamboo or salvaged or FSC wood. It is milled using less energy than many other fl ooring materials, such as stone or tile. When choosing bamboo, however, work with a reputable retail-er. Much of the bamboo used comes from China, where toxic chemicals or poor manufacturing procedures can reduce the environmental benefi ts of the product. Wood looks good in any room, but in rooms where moisture may be an issue, such as kitchens and bathrooms, con-sider cost-effective materials like tinted concrete. Con-crete enhanced with added recycled industrial ash, re-cycled glass and other materials decreases the amount of cement that has to be mixed and used.
When making renovations to the interior or exterior of the home, consider green building materials.
Brainerd Dispatch | www.brainerddispatch.com 2S Tuesday, May 24, 2011 HOME IMPROVEMENT
Top Tips for the Best First ImpressionIts called curb appeal, that good impression people get of your home when they
pull up in a car, or when walking by. Real estate agents can be as pleased with ex-terior curb appeal as they are with a well-maintained house on the inside. When it comes to residential property value, this book is indeed judged by its cover.
Exterior trouble areas include peeling paint; rotting wood on window frames; buckled roof shingles; overgrown shrubs; ignored lawns; and weeds growing through interlock paths, steps and the driveway.
The lawns and landscaping that frame our home are as important as the quality inside, says Reinie Drygala, lawncare products manager for Clear Choice, a leading name in innovative garden products. And the good news is: when it comes to fi rst impressions just a few little tips and tricks can make a big difference quickly.
If youre frustrated about overgrown weeds, for example, the newest herbicide technology is tackling that, Drygala continued. Now there are alternatives to tra-ditional herbicides that effectively kill weeds, but also provide the homeowner with options if they are looking for ways to have less impact on the environment. The formulation for our Clear Choice selective herbicide, for example, contains up to 85 percent less active ingredients as compared to other products using the same in-gredients. As importantly, microtechnology built into the formulation creates much smaller droplets that more effi ciently deliver the herbicide to the plant. Clear Choice is effective on over 60 varieties of broadleaf weeds, killing them quickly while being friendly to your lawn.
In addition to beautifying your lawn, try these quick tricks to give your home in-stant curb appeal:
Scrape and spot-paint problem areas. This might be a temporary fi x, but even a touch up is better than peeling paint.
Add colour by planting some annuals in the front yard fl owerbeds. Replace or paint rusty fi xtures like the mailbox, railings, house number, and
Tackle pesky weeds on interlock paths and driveway. Use hand sprays for tar-geted jobs, or larger jugs for a big surface area.
Install lighting along your walkways and steps, or to spotlight the shape and architecture.
How to Build a Laundry ShelfLaundry rooms are essential spaces in the house these days. While many are
equipped with an area for the washer and dryer, some do not have room for a folding station, where you can fold all of that cleaned laundry.
In this case, build a removeable laundry-folding shelf that can make your laundry time easier. Heres how.
1. If you have a front-loading dryer or washer, you can create the shelf so a por-tion rests on the appliance and then can be attached to a wall or free-standing supports.
2. Measure the space you have and cut a piece of plywood or particle board to those specifi cations. A hardware store or home center can even cut the wood on premises if you dont have the tools or the space to do so.
3. Attach 2x4 wood to the wall with screws to serve as a shelf support in the area where the shelf wont rest on the washer or dryer. If you dont have a wall nearby, you can erect a wood fra