The basement is usually an afterthought in homes, especially if it’s not already finished when you move in. The lack of natural light compared to the ground floor and above doesn’t always make for the most inviting space. However, there are plenty of ways to improve your basement that will both increase your home’s value and give you more space to enjoy.
1. Home theater: Basements can be the perfect space for a home theater, as they already have little lighting and offer ample space and an escape from summer heat or winter cold. A TV mount and some simple built-in seating can be accomplished for under $2,000.
2. Play room: Kids have a tendency to scatter their toys all over the house. Creating a playroom helps keep the mess confined to one area, plus basements often offer great storage capabilities. Just update the space to make it kid-friendly with features like egress windows, carpet, and a safe, finished staircase.
3. A bar: Grownups need a play space too! Creating a bar in your basement is an easy upgrade and allows you to keep your gatherings focused in one room, making post-party clean up easier.
4. Utility room: If you do a lot of gardening or other DIY projects around your home, add a sink and hose to give yourself a space for cleanup and storage. This is especially useful if you don’t have much room in your garage.
5. Family room: You can keep your formal living room upstairs and add a second space that’s more focused on relaxation and watching TV as a family.
Fall may have just began, but winter will be here before you know it. The best way to have a great lawn come spring is to get started now, and here are four tips that will kickstart your lawn before the snow arrives.
Aerate Aerating pulls up pellets of dirt from your lawn, giving the remaining turf room to breathe and allowing water to and nutrients to get deeper. You can rent an aerating machine if you don’t want to purchase one, or you can call a professional.
Seed Fall is a great time to seed your lawn, because that’s when turf roots are very active. The seeds need to germinate, so once you’ve seeded your lawn, water it every two weeks or so.
Fertilize Fertilizer helps your grass survive those bitter cold winter temperatures. This is your last chance to fertilize before the snow covers your lawn, so use a fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus.
Mulch Don’t feel like raking up leaves all the time? No problem—you can use them for mulch! Make several passes over the leaves with your mower, and it’ll grind them into a mulch that first serves as a barrier from the wind, and then will decompose into valuable nutrients for the grass.
We’re well into the fall season and winter is right around the corner. This is the time of year when it’s especially important to make sure your home is properly sealed. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home properly heated and can lead to high utility bills. Here’s quick guide to checking your home for air leaks.
Do an air pressure test. You can quickly check for air leaks with a simple test using household items. Seal your home by completely closing all doors, windows, and vents and turning off exhaust fans. Then pass a burning incense stick along the edges of all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside. If the smoke is forced into or away from an opening, you’ve found a leak.
Inspect doors and windows. To check for leaks near your windows, attempt to rattle the frame. This will reveal whether there are gaps along the edges. Also check for cracks in the frame, loose screws in locks, or gaps anywhere in the window.
Door hinges and thresholds are common places for air leaks. Deteriorated weather stripping can also lead to leaks and the door itself can develop cracks that allow air to pass through.
Skylights are a little trickier to test and examine, but you can still do it yourself. Check for water stains near your skylights, which is a dead giveaway of a leak. If you suspect there is one, you’ll have to get on the roof for a closer inspection. Look for loose shingles, cracked roofing cement, and debris.
These simple maintenance tasks can save you from expensive repairs and big headaches over the next few months.
1. Take care of hoses and faucets: Disconnect your hoses before the freezing temperatures arrive, because they can cause water to back up in your faucets—and eventually cause the plumbing to crack. Then, if possible, shut off the valves for your exterior faucets.
2. Winterize the lawn mower: Either run the mower dry, or use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas in your mower from degrading and damaging the engine.
3. Clean the gutters: Twigs and leaves will build up in your gutters throughout the fall. Make sure to clean the gutters before there’s heavy snow, because the weight of both the leaves and the melting snow could cause the gutters to break away from the house.
4. Get the furnace ready: Your best bet is to call in a professional to give the furnace a tune up, but at the very least you should change the filters.
5. Inspect the roof: As snow accumulates and melts from your roof, it can cause major water damage if the roof isn’t in good shape. Look for loose shingles, rust, moss—anything that could lead to decay or water damage. It’s best to be proactive with your roof—repairs can be extremely expensive—so don’t hesitate to call a roofing professional if necessary. It’s worth it in the long run!