Home Construction Improvement http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com Expert Home Improvement Advice Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:29:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Inground Swimming Poolshttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/inground-swimming-pools/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/inground-swimming-pools/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 15:45:35 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12421 Inground Swimming Pool Project As a kid growing up I always dreamed of owning an inground swimming pool. I grew up with an above ground pool that was great fun, but not nearly as awesome as an inground pool. After recently completing our own inground pool in our backyard I wanted to share my thoughts…

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Inground Swimming Pool Project

As a kid growing up I always dreamed of owning an inground swimming pool. I grew up with an above ground pool that was great fun, but not nearly as awesome as an inground pool. After recently completing our own inground pool in our backyard I wanted to share my thoughts and the knowledge I’ve gained on this topic in hopes that it will better inform those of you considering a new pool.

inground pool

Types of Inground Swimming Pools

When we started the process of building an inground swimming pool I spent quite a bit of time researching and learning about the different types of pools. Today there are several choices when it comes to the type of inground pool that’s available including:

  • Gunite Pools – Gunite pools are by far the most durable, most expensive, and allow for endless designs. These pools are built by creating a matrix of reinforcing steel  inside of an open excavation and then spraying concrete to form the walls of the pool. The shape and size of gunite pools are really only limited by your creativity. Gunite pools have the highest maintenance cost due to resurfacing and retiling the pool every 10-20 years. Gunite pools also have a porous surface that requires additional chemicals to combat algae and the surface roughness can be bothersome to some users.
  • Vinyl Liner Pools – Everyone knows about vinyl liners for above ground pools but I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t realize they are regularly used for inground pools as well. An inground vinyl liner pool is a bit of a hybrid that uses a combination of steel wall panels and gunite or vermiculite to form the sidewalls, and a vinyl liner to hold in the water. Vinyl liner pools offer lots of shapes and sizes along with a huge selection of liner patterns and colors. The vinyl liner typically will need to be replaced every 7-15 years. However, the smooth surface of the liner is typically more pleasing to users compared to a gunite pool surface. The smooth surface does not promote algae growth and typically is easier to maintain than a gunite pool.
  • Fiberglass Pools – Another common inground swimming pool option is a fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are the quickest to install and offer the lowest maintenance costs of all the pools listed above. Fiberglass pools are typically limited to approximately 16′ wide and must be small enough to truck to the site in one piece.

Pool and Pavilion

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Surge Protection for Valuable Circuitshttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/surge-protection-for-valuable-circuits/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/surge-protection-for-valuable-circuits/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 10:00:35 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12365 Adding Surge Protection To Computer and Entertainment Circuits We live in an electronic gadget age that sees most of us spending significant money on the gadgets that make our lives more enjoyable. Many of us have a home computer network, home entertainment, and even home automation all powered by our homes electrical service. Most of…

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Adding Surge Protection To Computer and Entertainment Circuits

We live in an electronic gadget age that sees most of us spending significant money on the gadgets that make our lives more enjoyable. Many of us have a home computer network, home entertainment, and even home automation all powered by our homes electrical service. Most of us use small surge protectors as a last line of defense to help protect those devices but often times that’s simply not enough protection.

Entertainment Center and Electronics

An average home entertainment center can easily be worth in excess of $5,000! Home automation can be even more expensive and the value of a fried computer is hard to put a price tag on with valuable photos, documents, and even business files. Luckily there are some options on the market that provide significantly better protection than a power surge strip alone.

Intermatic Surge Protection

One such solution is the Intermatic Surge Protection Device with Consumable Modules (SPD) which provides surge protection to individual circuits in your home. The SPD uses consumable modules (much like a fuse) to protect your valuable electronics in the case of a power surge. Each consumable module has a LED light on it to give you an indication if the module has been compromised. The module is easy, safe, and fast to replace.

Intermatic Surge Protection Device

The SPD retails for $299 (including 3 consumable modules) and the replaceable modules retail for $50 each. When you consider the cost of the items that you might protect with this device I would say it’s a very affordable insurance policy!

Intermatic Surge Protection Device

Because this device needs to be connected to your electrical service panel I highly recommend you use an electrician. This isn’t a big job for an electrician so the cost should be fairly reasonable (I’d guess $100-$200) would be in the ballpark.

Intermatic SPD

The Intermatic SPD comes with a 10 year warranty and a $25,000 connect equipment warranty in the event equipment connected to this surge protector is damaged due to a power surge.
Consumable Module

Intermatic Surge Protection Video

Learn more about this innovative product here:

 

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Comfortable, Durable Work Wearhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/comfortable-durable-work-wear/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/comfortable-durable-work-wear/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:57:23 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12396 Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR® I spend a lot of time either on construction sites as a project manager or working around my own home doing all kinds of projects including a recent basement renovation. Finding comfortable, durable work clothing is very important to me and something that I think about often. I recently tried several pieces…

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Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR®

I spend a lot of time either on construction sites as a project manager or working around my own home doing all kinds of projects including a recent basement renovation. Finding comfortable, durable work clothing is very important to me and something that I think about often. I recently tried several pieces from the Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR® collection while building a stone accent wall and wood panel ceiling in my basement.

Wrangler RIGGS Workwear

Over the years I’ve worn all kinds of different brands and styles of work wear. One of the biggest challenges is finding a good combination of comfort and durability. The balance between comfort and durability can be a real challenge as durable clothing is seldom comfortable. After trying two different styles of the Wrangler RIGGS pants and shirts I was very happy with this balance.

Wrangler RIGGS Workwear Basement Project

Comfort

The first thing I noticed in both the pants and shirts that I tried was how comfortable they were. I’m a big guy (over 6′ tall and over 200 lbs) and it can be tough to find work wear that feels comfortable wearing all day. The pants were very roomy and the shirt was plenty long (I ordered a “tall” size). I like that Wrangler offers big and tall sizes so that there’s a large selection of sizes available.

RIGGS Workwear Loops

Durability

This clothing line was definitely built to last. The pants offer reinforced stitching areas (some seams have as much as triple stitched seams), leather reinforced pocket edges, and reinforced knee areas. I tried two pair of pants, a denim pair and a of ripstop pants. Both pair of pants used heavy material that provides additional durability when combined with the stitching and reinforced areas.

RIGGS Workwear

The work shirts I tried were not only comfortable but they are definitely heavy duty. The 7 oz cotton is definitely made to last on the job. I wear out the elbows on many of my work shirts and the heavy material on these shirts is welcome on my part as it will make the shirts last much longer than some of the lighter weight shirts I’ve worn in the past.

Value

There are so many choices for work wear on the market today. Walk into any clothing store and the choices make your mind go crazy. Decent work wear comes with a price so when I learned how much Wrangler is selling their products I was pleasantly surprised. You can get a pair of denim work pants for $30 and the ripstop pants for $45. Compared to other similar style/Brands on the market that’s an excellent value. I found the shirts to also be a good value.

Wranger RIGGS Workwear Leather Reinforced Pocket

Overall Impression – Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR®

It’s been many years since I wore a pair of Wrangler pants so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried on this new line of work wear. The Wrangler® RIGGS WORKWEAR® line is comfortable, durable, and a great value. I’ll definitely be wearing more of their clothing now and suggest you check out their selection as well. The best part is you can purchase any of their items directly from them online and they offer free shipping on orders over $100.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Wrangler. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Repairing an underground dog fencehttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/repairing-an-underground-dog-fence/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/repairing-an-underground-dog-fence/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 03:52:14 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12406 Repairing an Underground Dog Fence Of all the home improvement projects tackled in the past 5 years the most useful one has been the underground dog fence. It’s a low voltage loop of wire that runs the complete perimeter of the yard. We can just open the sliding glass door on the deck and the…

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Repairing an Underground Dog Fence

Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-10Of all the home improvement projects tackled in the past 5 years the most useful one has been the underground dog fence. It’s a low voltage loop of wire that runs the complete perimeter of the yard. We can just open the sliding glass door on the deck and the dog can run hot laps around the yard. He loves it, we love not having to untangle a chain or cable every time we let him out. I cut a channel with the grinder where the asphalt driveway meets the concrete curb cut so that the underground fence was continuous across the driveway as well. Recently a big storm toppled some trees and cracked the power pole out behind our house. The power company came an replaced it yesterday but in the process broke the wire to the dog fence with their tracked utility crane.

Locating the Break

The hardest part of repairing an underground dog fence is locating the break. Obviously you start in the areas where work has been done. Any digging, overweight vehicle traffic, or rodent activity. Thankfully I was home when the utility crew broke the line so we had a good idea where to start looking but also they used their locating equipment to assist in locating the break. The last break we had was caused by a gopher and it was located by walking around the yard until I found the place where the wire was sticking out of the ground.

Expose the Wire

Once the break has been located remove enough dirt around the area to be able to work comfortably. For me that was around 6 inches of wire out of the ground on each side. Also strip the ends of the wire at this time. A 1/2″ of wire is fine but I stripped about an inch so that it showed up better in the photos. Now is a good time to get a length of wire to span the gap between the split. I like to have enough wire to make a 2″ diameter loop to bury in the ground between the splices. This gives enough slack for any future movement near the area; lets the wire give a little instead of breaking.Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-1

Prep the Wire for Soldering

There are a couple ways to repair an underground dog fence. Some manufacturers supply a couple silicone filled wire nuts. They tell you to mark any splices on a map so that the next time it breaks to check those spots first. My kit didn’t have any of those and I wanted a more reliable connection so I always use the solder method for repairing an underground dog fence. Direct burial splice connectors will also work just fine but cost more than a couple inches of solder and some heat shrink tubing.

Now that all the wires are stripped, slip on the heat shrink tubing and slide it up the wires a little way so that it doesn’t start shrinking as heat is applied to the wires.Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-2

Weave and twist the wires together so that they are inline with each other. Now apply heat to the wires with the soldering iron. It’s helpful to have something to set the iron on so that both hands are free. I used a metal handled wrench. When the wires are hot enough the solder will start flowing into the braid. I touch the solder to the point where the iron and wires meet. It should readily flow when there’s enough heat. All of the exposed wire doesn’t need solder in it but it should go all the way around and fill most of the exposed braid.Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-3

Seal Up the Splices

Slide the heat shrink over the splices and run the edge of the iron up and down the heat shrink. It shrinks equally on all sides so you have to heat it on all sides. When it’s all shrunk you should be good to go to the next step. I added a couple pieces of butyl tape that the utility company left me. The heat shrink is good enough but I wanted a belt and suspenders type of fix. The butyl was easily moldable and stuck to itself very well.Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-6

Test and Bury

The final step is to test the repair. Plug everything back in and bring Fido’s collar near the wire but be sure not to touch the contacts while your doing it. If all goes well then go ahead and bury the newly repaired area. Lay the loop of wire flat so that you don’t accidentally snag it with the lawnmower. Water the area to help the grass grow back and in no time the repair area will blend in with the rest of the lawn.Repairing an Underground Dog Fence-8

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New DESIGNRAIL Colors: “Express Yourself By Feeney”http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/new-designrail-colors-express-yourself-by-feeney/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/new-designrail-colors-express-yourself-by-feeney/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:48:30 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12388 New DESIGNRAIL Colors: “Express Yourself By Feeney” DESIGNRAIL Feeney DESIGNRAIL is a complete railing system for residential and light commercial spaces that make a bold statement. Sleek, modern, and functional; Feeney DESIGNRAIL is the perfect choice for contractors, designers, and homeowners who want to make a bold statement. And making a bold statement just got…

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New DESIGNRAIL Colors: “Express Yourself By Feeney”

DesignRailbyFeeney_Coloroptions-300x250

DESIGNRAIL

Feeney DESIGNRAIL is a complete railing system for residential and light commercial spaces that make a bold statement. Sleek, modern, and functional; Feeney DESIGNRAIL is the perfect choice for contractors, designers, and homeowners who want to make a bold statement. And making a bold statement just got easier with the addition of five new colors in the “Express Yourself by Feeney” line of DESIGNRAIL aluminum railing colors.

The Feeney DESIGNRAIL System

Feeney DESIGNRAIL is not just a deck and railing product but a customized system made from high strength 6000-series aluminum extrusions that are cut on site for a custom fit, but screw and snap together integrating pre-engineered components.

The Feeney DESIGNRAIL System contains recycled materials and is low maintenance, long use cycle option for style and eco-conscious consumers. Furthermore the durable powder coated finishes offer superior color retention, impact resistance, and weather protection. Preventing rusting, cracking, peeling, or repainting, which means it’s beauty lasts!

EY_Red_Railing Deck photo

Options and Upgrades

Feeney offers designers, builders, and style conscious homeowners a myriad of options and upgrades to further customize the DESIGNRAIL system. In addition to the exciting new “Express Yourself by Feeney” colors; ‘Margarita Green’, ‘Blazing Blue’, ‘Red Hot Red’, ‘Orange you Sassy’, and ‘Not a Mellow Yellow’, Feeney offers eight traditional options for a more formal look.

Upgrades include custom infills, hand rails, glass gates, intermediate horizontal rails, and low voltage lighting. Fenney DESIGNRAIL system not only adds a modern, clean look to your space, but also allows you to further enjoy the beauty of your outdoor spaces with stainless steel cables, glass, and low voltage lighting to illuminate your surroundings.

DesignRail_Lighting6-300x336

Design and Installation

Detailed drawings, 3-part specifications, and design support are available from Feeney and technical support is just a toll free phone call away. This ensures you or your contractor have the support they need to install the DESIGNRAIL safely and beautifully.

Fenney provides you with all the tools you need to design a system in your space that meets your needs and also adds a distinct look to your home or office. Installation instructions are detailed, keeping you from scratching your head, but simple enough to keep your project moving!

Feeney also has a library of How-To’s available here: http://www.feeneyinc.com/Video !

There are some great informational videos, including a few from a Concord Carpenter and Home Construction Improvement…

“Express Yourself by Feeney”

Needless to say Feeney’s offerings for modern, durable, and customizable railing systems are plenty. Not to mention the options the bold new colors bring to the table for design concepts. “Express Yourself by Feeney” not only add to the catalog of options from Feeney but provide a designer the opportunity to build a space around the distinct color of the railing system.

You can say a lot about Feeney’s new colors, but Andrew Penny may have said it best “Homeowners, architects, and designers are looking for ways to personalize residential and work spaces .We have added a splash of brilliant color at the railing to give them the inspiration to enliven any indoor or outdoor living space,”

The new colors of “Express Yourself by Feeney” are definitely HCI approved!

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Getting Your Home Ready To Sellhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/getting-your-home-ready-to-sell/ http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/getting-your-home-ready-to-sell/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:57:13 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12372 Getting Your Home Ready To Sell Nine years ago I bought my first home and had all of my college buddies move in. It was awesome. We slapped a little paint on the walls and set up a big TV for sports and video games. That was the end of my project list. Then I got married.…

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Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

Nine years ago I bought my first home and had all of my college buddies move in. It was awesome. We slapped a little paint on the walls and set up a big TV for sports and video games. That was the end of my project list. Then I got married. All my buddies moved out, my wife moved in, and it was awesome. The project list got quite a bit longer but was completely doable. We added insulation, new windows, siding, hardwood stairs, and a bunch of other stuff. I thought the house was finished. Then we started having kids and the project list grew a bit again. Now as a family of 4, we want to move closer to the grandparents. The home that seemed perfect, just the way we liked it, no longer fit our needs.Getting your home ready to sell-8

We brought in a trusted realtor to help us objectively evaluate our property so that we could get the most value out of it. We knew that having a professional with years of experience would have the best pulse on the current market and what people were buying in our area. She could tell us if our remodeling choices would help or hurt us.

Maybe you’re in a similar situation, your home no longer works for the needs of your family. If so, read on for some tips on getting your home ready to sell.

Finish the outstanding projects

Getting your home ready to sell-6When buying a home, the number of people that want to finish someone else’s projects is few. There may be some of us that read this site that like buying fixer-uppers but a majority of home buyers do not. A majority of buyers want a turn-key home; One that can be lived in and enjoyed right away.

To get my home to turn-key, I have two major projects that need finishing. I need to finish the fireplace and built-in cabinets and build a new deck. The fireplace was something I picked up at auction about 8 years ago and sat new, in box until about last year. I still have to finish the cabinets and lay up the stone but it will be done in a few short weeks and the pay off should be well worth it. Many of the other comparable properties in the area do not have anything close to this.

The deck is also a project that I’ve been thinking about rebuilding for the better part of a decade but other projects have always taken a priority. In the last year though, a previous owner’s fix for a rotted post has started to fail. The deck seems mostly sound currently but there is no way it is safe enough to sell. Unsafe items in a home can be a deal-breaker for buyers so be sure to address them. Besides, a new deck adds a lot of value especially when there is a nice view.

Paint over the bold colors

I heard a statistic from a realtor friend recently that 95% of perspective home buyers start their search for a home online long before they line up properties to visit. To tell you the truth I think it is probably closer to 97-98%. People head out to their realtor’s (or other agent’s site) and look up properties matching their criteria in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and then scroll through the pictures of the home. The ones that don’t show well get passed over rather quickly. Page through Pinterest or Houzz quickly. I’m betting you notice a trend. White or antique enameled trim and gray or tan walls are the most popular. They main be somewhat plain and boring but they go with pretty much everything and that appeals to the masses.

We had wine colored walls down in our lower level family room. It was really warm and cozy but it is on the dim side and doesn’t photograph well. If we were staying at our home for the long haul we would probably leave it. Instead we are switching to Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray (SW 7016). I suggest grabbing a number of swatches (or a fan deck) and taping them to your walls. See what they look like with your lighting conditions.

One thing to note, buyers are more forgiving of bold colors when it comes to children’s rooms. Your listing agent may choose not to take a picture of that one to post online though.Getting your home ready to sell-1

Knock out the punchlist

The final thing to do when getting your home ready to sell is to make a punch list. A punch list is what we contractors call a list of damaged or minor repair items that need fixing before a building can be turned over to the owner (and everyone can get paid). Use this same idea in your own home. Start in one room of the house and document all of the paint touch ups, trim repairs, or other not quite finished items in that room. Then move on to the next room and do the same thing. Keep doing this until you’ve hit every room in the house. Then you go back through the list and start finishing up those items. Fix those squeaky hinges and loose door knobs. Touch up the walls where your buddies tried to move the couch down stairs. Redo the sealant around the tub. You get the idea.Getting your home ready to sell-4

Final thoughts

Finishing the outstanding projects, painting over bold colors, and knocking out the punchlist should help you get your home sold closer to the asking price and in a timelier manner but we want to hear from you. What did you do when getting your home ready to sell? Did you get the price you wanted? Did it sell fast? Let us know in the comments.

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