Category: Home Improvement

Just Purchased A Home? Make Sure To Check These Items

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It’s hard work becoming a homeowner. After you move into your new Maui house, realize that the work may not be completely finished yet. Here are a few things you should take a look at right away in order to maintain your new home.

Gutters

Your gutters are an important part of your home. They’re designed to prevent water from damaging the foundation of your home by redirecting the flow away from the base. They’ll also prevent ice dams from forming on your roof by creating a path for the water to flow off of your roof. You should inspect your gutters and clean them if necessary, as gutters can become easily clogged with leaves and branches – and even sustain damage over time if not taken care of.

Air Conditioner

Unless the air conditioner is brand new, you should ensure that it gets maintenance. You’ll need to have the filter changed, since it’s responsible for removing dirt, dust and allergens from the air. A dirty filter will cause your HVAC system to work harder, as well as produce poor air quality. You may also need to have your HVAC system inspected and serviced by a professional. Air conditioner maintenance will help you save money because the unit will use less energy and last a lot longer.

Water Heater

Your water heater likely needs to be drained if it’s been used before. Sediment has a tendency to build up in water heaters over time, and few sellers have this taken care of before they sell their home. If the sediment hardens, your water heater will become less efficient. Draining the water heater will help get rid of the sediment and ensure your heater works normally long after you move into your new home.

Plumbing

Inspecting the pipes in a property you’ve just moved into is crucial. Look under your sinks to make sure the pipes aren’t leaking. Additionally, you’ll need to check your faucets for drips. If you notice any problems, call a plumber who can ensure that your sinks, toilets and pipes are in good working condition. Plumbing maintenance can help you save a lot of time and money further down the road.

Behr Announces 2021 Color Forecast

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Behr Paint Co. unveiled 21 versatile colors on Monday to make up its Color Trends 2021 Palette. The colors include neutrals mixed with some lavish bolds to create “energizing, yet comforting” focal points in a home, Behr says.

“This has been a year of unpredictability and 2020 has significantly changed our relationship with home,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color at Behr. “When our color team began exploring a palette for the coming year, we knew it needed to be grounded in what we’ve been craving: comfort and personalization. A new, ‘elevated’ articulation of ‘comfort’ goes beyond traditional beige, gray, and green hues and embraces color in a way that can redefine and enhance any type of space inside or outside the home.”

Behr says color will play an increasing role in setting a mood for a space, creating a positive atmosphere, and providing a sense of well-being that ensures living and workspaces feel “pleasant, light, and productive.”

The 2021 Behr color palette is organized into six color themes: casual comfort, subtle focus, optimistic view, quiet haven, calm zone, and outdoor escape.

Here’s a breakdown of each theme, according to Behr:

• Casual comfort: Light and cozy neutrals that strive to offer an updated take on the casual farmhouse look (warm-toned hues like Almond Wisp and Sierra).

• Optimistic view: An eclectic mix of bright hues that allude to a Mediterranean or ’70s “glam” vibe (Saffron Strands or Kalahari Sunset).

• Subtle focus: Soft pastels that are inspired by modern versions of art deco design (Seaside Villa and Wishful Green).

• Calm zone: Nurturing blues and greens continue to trend in creating calm, restorative spaces (Jojoba and Voyage).

• Quiet haven: Darker, evocative colors are presented as fit for traditional and maximalist decor (Royal Orchard and Broadway).

• Outdoor escape: Behr says that any of its 2021 color picks also can be used for exterior spaces and in expanding a home’s livable space outside too (Barnwood Gray or Cellini Gold).

Source: Behr

Popular Home Updates During Pandemic

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Many Americans turned their attention to their homes during the pandemic. Home improvement big-box retailers reported a swarm of traffic as homeowners looked to spruce up their nests while sheltering in.

What were homeowners working on?

Outdoor spaces were fueling much of the demand, according to Houzz, an online home remodeling platform. For example, new decks or patios, pools, and fences have gotten a lot of attention.

Homeowner Justin Sullivan shared with CNBC his feelings about his pool, home gym, and sauna projects. “When you’re not able to go out, your house is an enjoyable space where you can live bunker-style and still be active, still feel comfortable, and still enjoy,” Sullivan says. “The kids will have spaces to make sure they can work from home, and when it gets really hot in the summertime, they’ll have a place where they can cool off.”

Houzz reports a 58% annual increase in project leads for home professionals in June as homeowners looked to update their spaces. Searches for pool and spa professionals tripled this summer compared to a year ago, Houzz reports. Deck and patio professionals saw more than double the demand.

Also, demand for interest in fence installation and repairs jumped 166%, Houzz notes.

The desire for more space has been common for homeowners during the pandemic. That may explain why Houzz has seen a 52% increase in professionals being called in for home extensions and additions.

Kitchen and bath remodels also have been popular, seeing a 40% jump in demand in June compared to a year ago, Houzz reports.

Homeowners have seen record high amounts of home equity during the pandemic, which may be one motivating factor to tackle more house projects. More than 15 million residential properties—or 27.5% of all mortgaged homes–were considered equity-rich in the second quarter, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. (That means the mortgages on those properties is 50% or less than the value of the home.)

Homeowners don’t appear to be done sprucing up their nests. More than three-quarters of homeowners recently surveyed say they plan to tackle a new house project over the next 12 months, according to Porch.com, a home remodeling website. Their top motivators were “finally having time,” “adding value to the home,” and a desire to make their home “feel more cozy.”

Source: “Pandemic Home Remodeling Is Booming: Here’s What Your Neighbors Are Doing,” CNBC (Aug. 7, 2020)

Home Improvement on a Budget

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You finally have the time to work on home improvement projects, but you don’t want to stretch the budget. The good news is you can make a big difference and enhance your Maui home with these easy DIY projects.

Change Out Lighting

Replace those dated ceiling lights with modern fixtures. Make sure you choose lighting that can handle the space and light requirements, and stay within the wattage guidelines when you install bulbs. And whenever you work on electrical projects, turn off the power before starting.

Redo Bathroom Caulking

Bathroom caulk can attract mold and will yellow with age. Cracked caulk lines will allow water to soak behind walls and floors, causing more grief in the future. Remove the old caulk with a putty knife or similar tool, and clean the area with a bleach and water solution before replacing it with a clean new bead of silicone caulk.

Upgrade The Thermostat

Energy Star reports that homeowners can save up to 8% of their heating and cooling bills by switching to a smart thermostat. Programmable thermostats are available for less than $30, so it’s a win on the savings front.

Change Door Hardware

Changing the interior and exterior doorknobs to matching finishes and styles can make a bigger difference than you might think. Plus, you’ll add a level of security by replacing loose keyed knobs and adding deadbolts to the exterior doors.

Replace Cabinet Pulls

Replace those old cabinet knobs or pulls with classic choices to immediately update the kitchen. Measure the “spread” between the two screws on your existing hardware, or take one with you to compare to new ones. Make sure the attached screws are the same length as the old ones or buy proper lengths of screws for your cabinets.

Drain Your Water Heater

No one will notice this project, but it will save you money and help you avoid plumbing problems. Drain a few gallons of water from your water heater two or three times per year to clear sediment at the bottom of the tank. This keeps the buildup to a minimum and allows the heater to work efficiently and last longer. Turn the gas and pilot light off or unplug the unit before starting and check the heater for leaks, which could cause headaches down the road.

Don’t Forget About These Summer Home Tasks

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Many associate cleaning with springtime, but summer cleaning tasks are just as important. With warmer temperatures and longer days ahead, there’s no better time to open the windows, throw on a pair of gloves, and get to work. Cleaning your Maui home is important, but don’t forget to take care of heavy-duty home maintenance tasks as well. As you cross items off your summer maintenance checklist this year, be sure to add these tasks as well.

Examine Your Home’s Exterior

Power washing is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give the exterior of your home a quick refresh. Blast off any residual grime that may have built up during those spring showers. However, be sure to do this before the very hot months make extraneous water use irresponsible. Keep an eye out for any chips or cracks in the exterior paint—exposed wood and siding can be subject to rot, so protect areas with a fresh coat of paint, if needed.

Rain and snow can lead to branches, leaves and other debris clogging foundation vents, gutters and downspouts. Clogs and leaks in your gutter system can lead to expensive damage to the roof or even the interior of your home. Check your gutters and downspouts for any accumulated gunk that might cause an issue—you’ll want to make sure they’re prepared to drain properly for those spring showers. If you do come across a clog in your gutters, try removing the debris or using a garden hose to force out any built-up material. If the debris proves to be too difficult to remove on your own, consider hiring a professional.

Spruce Up Your Outdoor Areas

Spring isn’t the only season known for its beautiful blooms, so tackle those annual landscaping tasks to boost your curb appeal. Summer landscaping can include planting drought-resistant plants, covering gardens with mulch to protect roots from the hot sun and picking out summer-ready flowers like sunflowers and lavender. Make sure branches and shrubs are trimmed away from your roofing and siding to prevent moisture damage and provide pest control.

Mowing and weeding your grass now will help you stay on top of any sudden growth that takes place when the weather warms up. Planting annual perennials, which love the summer heat, is a low maintenance way to give a dash of color to your yard and increase your property’s curb appeal as you begin to enjoy the outdoors more and more.

Have Your HVAC Inspected

Your Maui home’s heating and cooling system should be inspected, serviced and cleaned at least once a year, and it makes sense to do so when the temperatures will be changing drastically. Your heating system likely worked hard all winter, and as you switch to your cooling system, regular maintenance can extend the life of your furnace and postpone expensive replacements.

Change the air filters regularly to prevent major HVAC issues. If your home has foundation vents, be sure to clean them by hand or with a shop vacuum. Foundation vents usually have screens that become a catch-all for leaves, twigs and assorted debris.

Article provided by Brentnie Daggett

Basement Improvement Projects

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Even though the country is reopening, we’ve all had plenty of time to stare at the walls in every room in the house. For families desperate to create a new gathering spot that they’re not sick of being in, the basement offers plenty of potential. Here are a few projects to transform your Maui basement into a light-filled, inviting space for relaxation and fun.

HVAC Upgrade

If your family complains about hanging out in the basement because it’s too chilly, too damp, or just plain not cozy enough, this might be the perfect time to upgrade your heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system. Boosting the air efficiency in your home makes an immediate difference and your basement should feel just as comfortable as the rest of your Maui house. Check into multizone HVAC equipment and creating a separate zone for the basement that can be controlled by its own smart thermostat.

Lighten Things Up

Think of the word “basement” and the first thing that probably comes to mind is … dark. Luckily, this is one of the quickest and least expensive things to fix. Roll on a coat of fresh paint for instant impact. Wood paneling all but disappears under white or light-colored paint, making the room appear much larger. Many basements make do with lamps, but it’s worth paying more to illuminate your space properly. Use recessed lighting, it’s stylish, and it doesn’t take up precious space in the ceiling.

Create a game room

If you already have a separate room in your basement that can’t become a legal bedroom, that could make a pretty awesome gaming room your kids will thank you for. Paint this room dark and dramatic, throw in a few oversized bean bag chairs, and your kids may have a new favorite spot in your home. This setup is also perfect for watching movies, or for a man cave, where you don’t need much light.

Repurpose Your Wet Bar

If you’re lucky enough to have a finished basement that just needs a modern face-lift, there are affordable ways to do it. For example, remember when many basements featured a massive bar as a focal point? You can incorporate this into your remodel. Bars generally have pre-existing plumbing in them that can be re-routed. Add a new granite counter with seating, and then put in a kitchenette by adding a cooktop, a small refrigerator, and a sink. Having a kitchenette in the basement works especially well if you also have a bedroom and bathroom downstairs, as it makes the perfect guest suite.

Projects To Tackle Around The House While You’re Stuck Inside

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The longer you spend at home, the more likely you’re starting to nitpick everything about your space. You know what will help? A home makeover project. Below is a list of easy, but impactful home improvement projects that can increase enjoyment of your space.

Ultimate Spring Cleaning

Past spring cleaning efforts have been valiant—this year, take it to a new level.

Depending on how long it’s been since your last cleaning, this project may take some time. Thankfully, time is something we have a lot of right now! There are plenty of ways you can go about a deep cleaning and decluttering project.

Move top to bottom—start with your walls and windows and work your way down, before moving further into your home. Using an all purpose cleaner, wipe down your ceiling (if you can reach), crown molding, walls, cupboards, kitchen appliances and baseboards.

On the way down, give your windows a good cleaning (both inside and out), dusting blinds and shades, and washing anything that’s machine washable, like your curtains. And don’t forget about wiping down shelves and other built-ins.

Finally, take a vacuum to your vents and suck out any debris or dust that’s been gathering there. This is also a good time to change your HVAC filter, if you haven’t in a while.

New Furniture Arrangement

When you’re getting bored of your space, rearranging furniture is one of the fastest and easiest ways to refresh your home! There are so many creative ways to optimize the furniture in your Maui home. You’ll have to play around a bit to find out what sort of new arrangement works best in your space.

Here are a few additional rearrangement ideas to get you started and inspire your refresh:

  • Move decorations and accent pieces to different parts of the home
  • Organize your books by color or size
  • Swap out throw pillows and blankets
  • Switch up artwork
  • Try using different pieces for different purposes—for example, maybe a side table becomes a plant or lamp stand
  • If you have paint sitting around, paint a piece of furniture a new color

Minor Repairs

Examine your Maui home and make a list of all the repairs that are needed. Even if you work consistently to maintain your space, chances are there are a few outstanding projects you haven’t had time to get around to.

This is a great time to tackle those minor projects—particularly the ones that you can do all on your own. Many homeowners have used this time to:

  • Re-caulk tile
  • Touch-up paint
  • Replace lightbulbs
  • Repair broken fences
  • Fix squeaky doors
  • Oil wood cutting boards and kitchen tools
  • Tighten loose fixtures

Plan for the Future

If you’d like to make bigger upgrades to your Maui home in the future, now is an excellent time to start planning! Maybe working with a home remodeler isn’t possible for you right now—you can still use this time to make progress on future plans:

  • Make a list of what you’re dreaming about for your home
  • Talk to your family about what changes and upgrades they dream about
  • Create a Pinterest or Houzz account to save ideas
  • Consider how much you’ll be able to budget for this project, when the time is right
  • Research design-build companies and contact them to learn more about their services

You’re likely spending a lot more time than usual at your Maui home, so you have an excellent pulse on what’s working and what needs improvement. Take advantage of this opportunity to dream big and think about what sort of changes will benefit you and your family most.

Don’t Make These Gardening Mistakes

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Gardening and gardens are great for physical and mental health. However, there are important things you need to be doing, and not doing, in terms of avoiding common mistakes for those who are new to it.

Planting Too Soon

Do your homework with regard to seedlings. They all have their optimum times at which to plant them. If planted at the wrong time seedlings may rot or go dormant. Don’t worry, handy instructions are found on all seed packets, and garden-center workers will be pleased to advise you. A decent soil thermometer is always a useful investment, as well as a working knowledge of when the average date for the last frost is in your area.

Planting Too Late

Between first planting and first harvest (maturation time), you have to plant at the right time; not too late, otherwise plants may freeze before their time. One way around this is to cover them with floating covers, and also to know the average last frost date for you area and count backwards to determine when is the latest time you can plant certain things.

Soil Management

It’s not quite as simple as planting, watering, harvesting. Different soils need different approaches; for clay-heavy soil you should add sand and organic matter to reduce compaction. For sandy soil, you’ll have to add compost or manure so as to boost the moisture and presence of nutrients. There are further online guides you can consult in order to achieve that perfect balance between sand, silt, clay, and organic matter.

Bunching

Plants must have space between them, or else they’ll be fighting for survival, not able to get enough nutrients, moisture, and sunlight. Seed packets will recommend the correct spacing between plants, and you can also use seedling tags in order to mark off the correct measurements in between. It won’t seem obvious at first but will become apparent over time, when they are expanding and growing.

Depth

Certain larger seedlings – peas, beans, and corn, need to be planted deeper in order to keep the right moisture level for sprouting. Smaller seedlings; lettuce and some herbs, need light to germinate. They should be put in loosened soil, pressed in, but not deeply implanted. Some transplants should be planted at an equal depth to what they were in the pot, to stop the stems from rotting. Tomatoes and peppers must be planted deeper to encourage greater root growth. The seed packet will guide you; make sure you stick to it.

Mulch Less

A little bit is fine; too much can be counterproductive. It can be similar to planting seedlings too deep or adding excess nitrogen. It is vital to get the balance right in order to keep those weeds at bay, enhancing moisture retention but not drowning or choking the seed so that it never sees the light of day!

Water

This sounds so obvious but fledgling seedlings and new transplants need sufficient water. Depending on your soil, this is a good rule of thumb; if loamy, check two inches into the soil and if moist then it doesn’t need more watering. If you have soil which is more sandy check four inches down, and with clay-heavy soil two inches. If you can’t reach down into those depths it is a sign you need to apply more water. On the other hand, waterlogged roots become oxygen starved. This can produce a wilting effect on the emerging plants. Consider watering less often but more deeply.

Pruning

Contrary to popular belief, pruning is best in spring. This is because pruning stimulates new growth, and so is best just after the plants have finished flowering. If you mistakenly prune in the fall, thinking that the growing season is over, then you are taking a lot of energy out of the plant, and making it less effective in the long-term.

Source:Avoiding Garden Mistakes that Cost Big

5 Ways to Protect Your Maui Home From Burglars

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Burglars are most active during the summer and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will likely be a desire to leave your home on vacation if travel restrictions are eased. Here are some steps you can take to protect your Maui house against criminals during the warm days of summer:

Stop Posting About Your Vacation Online

Burglars like to target homes while the family that lives there is away. There are many ways to determine when a family is on vacation, but one easy way is to watch homeowners’ social media accounts. When you post about being on a trip, you’re telling burglars that your home is empty and unprotected. Save your vacation photos for after you arrive back home, and make sure to indicate that they were taken in the past.

Secure Your Garage Door

One point of entry into your Maui home for burglars is your garage. If your garage door isn’t properly secured, criminals may take advantage of that weakness. Consider upgrading to a door that’s designed to be resistant to burglars. Discuss your options with a garage door dealer, and consider installing a safety device to prevent burglars from exploiting this common method used to break into homes.

Install Smart Security Cameras

Home video surveillance systems are cheaper and easier to use than ever before, so you really don’t have an excuse for not installing one. Often, the mere presence of the system is enough to ward off burglars. Modern systems now use smart technology, which means that you can review live security footage from your smartphone while you’re away from home.

Install Flood Lights

Flood lights are another thing you should consider installing to protect your Maui house. Use flood lights with motion detectors above all entrances to your home. Burglars often work at night to avoid being seen, and motion-detecting flood lights will deter them away from your home.

Install an Alarm System

Your security system should also include an alarm, because it is effective at scaring off criminals. It also alerts you of threats. However, if you can, go beyond that and ensure the police are immediately alerted if your security alarm goes off. Many security companies offer this service for the highest degree of protection possible.

Article provided by Anita Ginsburg

Paint Trends to Watch

Maui home improvement
Is gray cooling for interiors? Where do those trendy blues work best? Paint can do a lot to upgrade a space. Fixr, an online marketplace for home improvement services, spoke to home design experts to gather insights on the hot color trends for 2020. Here are a few trends they found in their study:

Gray interiors are falling to the wayside

Gray has been the go-to color in design, but it may be losing some of its appeal. Only 20% of designers say that gray will remain popular this year. Others feel it’s on its way out. That said, despite it losing popularity, 57% of designers say people likely will continue to use it.

Cool neutrals reign

Neutral earth tones can go well with many different design styles, Fixr notes. Fifty-seven percent of designers surveyed say that cool neutrals will be the most popular interior paint colors of 2020 (the next most popular group—at only 20%—was jewel tones).

Gray and white exteriors sell best

Gray may be waning for interiors, but not on the exterior. Fifty-two percent of designers said gray is the best exterior color choice for someone who wants to sell their house, 52% of designers also said white is a good color choice for the exterior. “If you’re looking to sell your home this year, gray and white are the top recommended colors for the exterior of your home,” the report notes. “This gives your home a neutral look that appeals to a wide range of buyers, helping them picture themselves living there.”

Pale blue is best for small spaces

Blues have been trending, including a pale blue that designers see as their top choice for small spaces. Thirty-seven percent of designers surveyed said that pale blue is the best color for small spaces, while 22% said gray or green is a great choice. “While the size of a space is a key factor in selecting a paint color, it is only part of the equation, as lighting and architecture can also play a major role in the color selection process,” the report notes.

Source: Paint and Color Trends in 2020