Ironclad Construction

(Family Features) Home improvement projects often focus on updating the aesthetic of your house, but upgrades that make your living space more secure and comfortable for you and your family are sometimes even more important.

From your front door to the interior of your home and more, these ideas from the experts at Masonite, a global industry leader in interior and exterior doors, can help provide greater peace of mind – ensuring what matters most is always protected.

Ensure Your Home is Well-Lit
A well-lit home exterior makes it easier to spot potential threats and may even deter people and animals that don’t belong on your property. Automatic outdoor lighting, either set to a timer or triggered by motion or light sensors, can help you see what’s going on outside. Ensure fixtures on your porch, patio and garage are in good working order and replace burned out bulbs or lights that no longer function. Adding landscape lighting can also aid in security while boosting curb appeal.

Protect Your Home with a Secure Front Door
Upgrading your front door can do much more than just improve the look of your home – it’s also an important part of providing enhanced security for you and your family. With four times more impact resistance than a standard deadbolt lock, the M-Protect Multi-Point Security Lock offers homeowners unmatched protection to keep what matters most safe. The lock works like a standard deadbolt, but with more points of contact, and it is compatible with a wide array of handle sets and hardware, including electronic deadbolts. It can be added to any Masonite Performance Door System – an innovative solution that provides superior energy efficiency, performance and comfort – which is available in a diverse range of finishes, colors and glass styles to fit any home design.

Reduce Fire Hazards
Many elements of a home like furnaces, chimneys, hot water heaters and other gas appliances provide value to homeowners through comfort and convenience but can pose risks without proper maintenance. Hiring a professional to check your heating and air conditioning system annually can help you avoid costly repairs while also protecting your loved ones. Keeping the chimney clean of debris, creosote and soot helps lower fire risk and ensures smoke, carbon dioxide and other gases are safely carried out of the home.

Control Home Systems On the Go
Installing security systems, doorbells, lighting and other systems that can be controlled from a smartphone app, like the Masonite M-Pwr Smart Door, can provide added convenience and peace of mind. You can remotely turn lights on and off, unlock doors, change the temperature, open or close garage doors and check camera feeds while away.

Replace Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A simple project to make your home safer, it’s essential to check your smoke detectors regularly and replace the batteries every six months. If you discover the date of manufacture on the back of your smoke detectors is more than 10 years ago, replacement is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. While checking your smoke detectors, test or install carbon monoxide alarms to ensure you have a way to detect the invisible, odorless gas that can cause serious health problems if left unchecked.

Visit Masonite.com/mprotect to learn more about the latest innovations in home security.

 

SOURCE:
Masonite

(Family Features) Spring is nature’s cue to renew and refresh. Whether you’re looking to add value for potential sale or simply create a more comfortable living space, you can make the most of the season and breathe new life into your home with projects that provide a high return on investment (ROI).

Consider these top home renovation projects to tackle this spring from the experts at Westlake Royal Building Products – a leader in innovation, design and production of exterior and interior building products including siding, trim, mouldings, roofing, stone, windows, outdoor living and more – based on the 2024 Cost vs. Value Report from “Remodeling Magazine.”

Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom
The average seller can expect an 96.1% return on a light touch to the kitchen, according to the report, and 73.7% on a modest bathroom renovation. Because personal preferences can vary widely among buyers, minor upgrades can provide a higher ROI than large, upscale remodels. A few easy ways to refresh your kitchen or bathroom include updating shelving or adding new hardware. Decorative trim and mouldings are also cost-effective ways to add visual interest.

Upgrade with Stone Veneer
As natural and textured home trends continue, homeowners are gravitating toward stone veneer, or manufactured stone, as it can replicate the look of real stone, adding comfort, character and beauty to homes. An option like Versetta Stone from Westlake Royal Building Products offers the authentic, handcrafted look of stone in a panelized format that’s easy to install with nails and screws. There’s also no need to paint, coat or seal once installed. Ideal for its ability to add texture and dimension throughout both home interior (accent walls and fireplaces) and exterior applications (siding, entryways and walkways), stone veneer – which comes with a 153.2% ROI – can influence mood, emotion and energy levels while serving as a focal point of your home’s design.

Install New Windows
Depending on the harshness of winter in your area and the age of your home, you may notice certain windows have developed drafts, allowing cold air to enter and heat to escape. Replacing drafty or outdated windows with modern, energy-efficient models is one of the most effective ways to enhance your home’s energy efficiency. Additionally, a vinyl window replacement brings approximately 67.1% ROI.

Replace Siding
In some cases, applying a fresh coat of paint is enough to refresh your home. However, if you’re looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal while making a long-term impact, consider installing new siding or replacing existing siding. Because vinyl siding serves as an additional layer of insulation, improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, it offers a 80.2% ROI. Weather-resistant, low-maintenance siding like Celect Cellular Composite Siding, which is now available in on-trend colors including Imperial Red, a robust shade of red; Deep Pewter, a compellingly modern forest green; and Timberland, a rich, natural brown, won’t warp, sag or buckle and is built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Its patented interlocking joints provide a seamless look and it’s easy to install in small spaces, like along a knee or pony wall.

Update Decking
If you want to entertain guests outside, spring is a perfect time to get your patio or deck ready. While a new coat of stain can update your existing deck’s appearance and help protect it, spring is also an ideal time to build a deck if your home doesn’t currently have one. When choosing a decking material, cost and maintenance are two factors to consider. Composite decking offers a 68.2% ROI and is low maintenance as it’s not susceptible to cracking, warping and weather damage.

Find more ideas to update your home this spring at WestlakeRoyalBuildingProducts.com.

 

SOURCE:
FamilyFeaturess

(Family Features) To understand the mood of a room, look no further than its walls. Wallpaper can add instant texture and flair, and today’s DIY-friendly options make it easy to create inspired spaces with little fuss.

The key to successful wallpapering is in the preparation. Clean, dry walls are a must, and any holes or cracks should be filled and sanded. To avoid paste that absorbs into porous surfaces, take time to apply a light, even coat of primer before beginning.

Choose a corner or space behind a door as your starting point. Mark your starting point using a level to draw a vertical line from floor to ceiling. Next, cut a length of wallpaper several inches longer than the height of your wall from the baseboard to ceiling.

Apply paste or activate the adhesive according to the manufacturer’s directions. Be sure to fully cover or dampen the paper surface; dry spots may result in unsightly bubbles.

Begin smoothing the paper onto the wall using the vertical line as a guide. Begin at the ceiling and smooth using a brush or plastic smoothing tool. If you encounter wrinkles or bubbles, gently lift the paper and smooth, relaying the paper as you go.

With each strip, you should end with several inches above the ceiling joint and below the baseboard line. Ensure the paper has firmly adhered top to bottom then trim using a sharp blade. Smooth each seam as you go.

Continue this process around the room, aligning your paper pattern as needed. If it isn’t possible to completely match the pattern, focus on the middle third of the wall, which is most likely to be at eye level.

To maneuver corners, cut a slit in the paper overhanging the ceiling and floor. This allows the paper to lay flat for a smoother finish.

When you round back to your starting point, overlap your original strip of paper with the final strip. Make a single cut for a clean, crisp seam. Gently wipe away excess adhesive from the trim and seams.

To prevent rips and ripples, allow paper to dry completely – at least overnight – before replacing furniture and hanging artwork to complete your space.

Find more easy home improvement tips and ideas at eLivingtoday.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

 

SOURCE:
Family Features

(Family Features) For those beginning the process of home buying, there are many factors to consider. Keep these ideas in mind as you conduct your search – whether it’s online or at a series of open houses.

Consider Future Needs
Because life is always evolving, it’s important to move into a home that has enough space for your family’s anticipated changes. While features and space are always prime considerations, don’t forget to, look into the area schools, day care options, parks and other kid-friendly amenities if you plan to grow your family in your next home.

Look for Flexible Spaces
Seek homes that offer rooms with multiple functions. For example, an office area may be suitable for a small child’s room, or a sunroom may be converted to a laundry area down the road. Unfinished basements are also blank canvases that can be customized to meet your family’s wants and needs.

Get to Know the Area
The purchase of a home goes well beyond the property line. Be sure to examine the neighborhood in which the house is situated. From the condition of the neighbors’ houses to highway access and the proximity of necessities like grocery stores and gas stations, be sure to take every factor into account to help ensure you’re selecting the right location.

Find more tips to aid you in your home search at eLivingtoday.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

 

SOURCE:
Family Features

(Family Features) If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, you’ve probably heard cautions about avoiding overly trendy designs that can diminish your home’s value and limit its appeal to future buyers. That’s sound advice, but many of this year’s trends are relatively neutral and have long-term staying power.

Kitchen upgrades are typically all about making practical updates to meet the needs of a family. The key to smart design is incorporating functional elements a family requires while striking a balance between style and trends that quickly become outdated.

Before you dive into a kitchen project, consider these on-trend design recommendations from the experts at Wellborn Cabinet.

Add Health-Focused Features
As the hub of nutrition, it’s no surprise wellness design features are making their way into the kitchen. Some examples include appliances with air frying or steaming features, and double ovens are appearing in more homes, making home meals for the family easier to manage. Also look for technology that simplifies meal planning and managing your pantry inventory, as well as features that regulate food storage temperatures more precisely, including during power outages.

Shift Back to Wood Stains
Painted cabinets had their moment, but the latest designs are revealing a movement back toward warm wood grains, specifically oak. As trends continue to shift toward embracing natural elements, as well as exploring diverse color palettes, cabinet manufacturers are constantly innovating to meet the demands of consumers and design professionals alike.

To elevate contemporary cabinetry design, Wellborn Cabinet introduced captivating finishes that celebrate natural materials and textures. Inspired by the highly desired white oak at a more accessible price point, Boardwalk offers a breath of fresh air, allowing the unique oak wood grain to take center stage. The striking finish of Peppermill introduces a versatile darker brown hue with a subtle gray undertone, adding depth, dimension and sophistication. If you’re not quite ready to fully embrace natural wood tones, Alabaster may be a perfect alternative; this hue provides the timeless elegance of neutral white.

Dedicate Space for Beverages
Food prep may be a mainstay in functional kitchen design, but a growing number of homeowners are calling beverages a close second with the addition of built-in coffee bars or smoothie stations and specialized storage for beer and wine. Countertop or supplementary nugget ice makers are another example of trending kitchen accessories that reinforce a growing focus on beverages for all occasions.

Go for Contemporary Cabinetry
Your kitchen’s cabinet doors play an important role in defining your design aesthetic. Consider Wellborn’s wide variety of door styles, several of which have been redesigned to support the trend toward a simpler, smaller rail that’s in favor among designers and homeowners alike. With softer, more up-to-date appearances, they feature eased profiles to produce simple, straight, clean appearances. Options like Breckenridge and Ridgebrook offer updates to the modified shaker style with a clean, modern, less clunky aesthetic. Made of quality, solid wood, they feature a reversed raised center panel to coordinate with a variety of design styles.

Embrace the Middle Ground
Kitchen islands are hardly a new design element, but an increasing number of homeowners are making them a major focus of their renovations. A kitchen trends study by Houzz revealed 42% of homeowners are opting for islands that are 7 feet long or more. That’s extra prep space, but also more room for casual seating or socializing while hosting. Also gaining popularity are double islands for double the workspace.

Skip Bland Backsplash Tile
The wall space between your countertops and upper cabinets may not amount to much, but it’s a sure place to make a style statement. This year’s designers are saying farewell to stark white subway tile backsplashes. Instead, nature- and earth-inspired tones are trending. You can still use subway tile but consider a variation from the traditional stacked design. Texture is another option for modernizing your backsplash; think handcrafted tiles or earthy textures but take care to avoid overly busy patterns.

Find more inspiration for your kitchen remodel at wellborn.com.

 

SOURCE:
Wellborn Cabinet

(Family Features) Your home’s first big impression is its curb appeal, so if your place is in need of some sprucing up, you may wonder how you can make some updates without breaking the bank.

These 10 ideas are easy on budgets, but they can also make a big impact on your home’s exterior image.

  1. Paint your front door. As long as your front door is in good condition, there’s no need to replace it completely. A fresh coat of paint can instantly update your home’s facade. Go bold or stick with a classic hue – it’s all up to you.
     
  2. Dress up the windows. Add character and charm by enhancing your front windows. You might add wooden shutters, window box planters or both. Also look at the trim around the windows. If it’s chipped and peeling, adding a fresh coat of paint doesn’t just look nice, it can protect your windows from damage, too.
     
  3. Clean up flower beds. An unkempt flower bed can drag down an otherwise stunning home. Keep beds tidy and vegetation trimmed, even during the offseason. Watch for weeds and replenish mulch or rock ground cover as needed to keep the beds looking healthy and inviting.
     
  4. Install new lighting. Replacing outdated light fixtures can give your exterior an instant upgrade. There’s no right or wrong style; just choose a color and look that matches the rest of your design.
     
  5. Replace worn welcome mats. A cheerful mat at your front door can be an inviting sight for visitors, but those mats inevitably wear with time, and what was once bright and charming becomes dingy and dull. A new mat can help bring back that cheery entry you once cherished.
     
  6. Pressure wash the drive and walk. Over time, driveways and sidewalks collect an incredible amount of grime. Pressure washing not only eliminates the filth, but the clean surfaces also add to your home’s visual appeal.
     
  7. Add new vegetation. Landscaping is a relatively inexpensive way to introduce more personality to a yard. Aim for a mix of pretty and practical, such as some low flowering bushes and some trees or bushes that offer privacy and shade.
     
  8. Keep up with basic maintenance. When your home is in poor repair, it shows. Pay attention to bent or rusting gutters, imperfections in the roof and other maintenance matters that aren’t just aesthetic; left unrepaired, they can also result in major damage.
     
  9. Pay attention to details. Functional items like the mailbox might not seem like much of a design element, but these small details can be a big distraction if they’re not in good condition. Update or replace as needed to keep your aesthetic in sync.
     
  10. Add seasonal decor. There’s no need to go all out for every occasion, but some timely decorations that celebrate the holiday or season can make your entry fun and festive. Coordinate wreaths, planters, signs and other accent pieces for a cohesive look that says, “come on in.”

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

 

SOURCE:
Family Features


(Family Features) Your home’s first big impression is its curb appeal, so if your place is in need of some sprucing up, you may wonder how you can make some updates without breaking the bank.

These 10 ideas are easy on budgets, but they can also make a big impact on your home’s exterior image.

  1. Paint your front door. As long as your front door is in good condition, there’s no need to replace it completely. A fresh coat of paint can instantly update your home’s facade. Go bold or stick with a classic hue – it’s all up to you.
  2. Dress up the windows. Add character and charm by enhancing your front windows. You might add wooden shutters, window box planters or both. Also look at the trim around the windows. If it’s chipped and peeling, adding a fresh coat of paint doesn’t just look nice, it can protect your windows from damage, too.
  3. Clean up flower beds. An unkempt flower bed can drag down an otherwise stunning home. Keep beds tidy and vegetation trimmed, even during the offseason. Watch for weeds and replenish mulch or rock ground cover as needed to keep the beds looking healthy and inviting.
  4. Install new lighting. Replacing outdated light fixtures can give your exterior an instant upgrade. There’s no right or wrong style; just choose a color and look that matches the rest of your design.
  5. Replace worn welcome mats. A cheerful mat at your front door can be an inviting sight for visitors, but those mats inevitably wear with time, and what was once bright and charming becomes dingy and dull. A new mat can help bring back that cheery entry you once cherished.
  6. Pressure wash the drive and walk. Over time, driveways and sidewalks collect an incredible amount of grime. Pressure washing not only eliminates the filth, but the clean surfaces also add to your home’s visual appeal.
  7. Add new vegetation. Landscaping is a relatively inexpensive way to introduce more personality to a yard. Aim for a mix of pretty and practical, such as some low flowering bushes and some trees or bushes that offer privacy and shade.
  8. Keep up with basic maintenance. When your home is in poor repair, it shows. Pay attention to bent or rusting gutters, imperfections in the roof and other maintenance matters that aren’t just aesthetic; left unrepaired, they can also result in major damage.
  9. Pay attention to details. Functional items like the mailbox might not seem like much of a design element, but these small details can be a big distraction if they’re not in good condition. Update or replace as needed to keep your aesthetic in sync.
  10. Add seasonal decor. There’s no need to go all out for every occasion, but some timely decorations that celebrate the holiday or season can make your entry fun and festive. Coordinate wreaths, planters, signs and other accent pieces for a cohesive look that says, “come on in.”

Find more affordable ideas for upgrading your home and garden at eLivingtoday.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

SOURCE:
Family Features

(Family Features) For those beginning the process of home buying, there are many factors to consider. Keep these ideas in mind as you conduct your search – whether it’s online or at a series of open houses.

Consider future needs
Because life is always evolving, it’s important to move into a home that has enough space for your family’s anticipated changes. While features and space are always prime considerations, don’t forget to, look into the area schools, day care options, parks and other kid-friendly amenities if you plan to grow your family in your next home.

Look for flexible spaces
Seek homes that offer rooms with multiple functions. For example, an office area may be suitable for a small child’s room, or a sunroom may be converted to a laundry area down the road. Unfinished basements are also blank canvases that can be customized to meet your family’s wants and needs.

Get to know the area
The purchase of a home goes well beyond the property line. Be sure to examine the neighborhood in which the house is situated. From the condition of the neighbors’ houses to highway access and the proximity of necessities like grocery stores and gas stations, be sure to take every factor into account to help ensure you’re selecting the right location.

Find more tips to aid you in your home search at eLivingtoday.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

SOURCE:
Family Features

(Family Features) A reliable, environmentally friendly energy source, propane can help power key home systems and appliances. Readily available in the United States, the portable, low-carbon energy source is stored on-site, meaning it’s always accessible to help keep homes running regardless of severe weather or other interruptions to the power grid.

Watch this video for helpful tips this season!

Consider these ways to integrate the clean energy source into your home from the experts at the Propane Education & Research Council:

Home Heating
Whether you use a furnace, fireplace or boiler to heat your home, propane can power your heating source in any climate. Propane-powered heating sources are highly efficient, typically cost less overall due to their longer expected lifespans and emit fewer greenhouse gases than electric or wood- or oil-burning alternatives.

Backup Power
When power from the electric grid is interrupted, a propane-powered generator can provide supplemental power in as little as 10 seconds to keep vital systems like smoke and fire detection, refrigeration, heating and cooling, Wi-Fi and other health and safety equipment operational for several days and nights. Plus, propane doesn’t degrade over time, unlike diesel or gasoline, making it an ideal standby power fuel.

Appliances
Because of their high performance and energy efficiency, propane-powered appliances such as cooking ranges and stoves, clothes dryers and tankless water heaters can increase the value of a home and decrease the strain on the electrical grid. Generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their electric counterparts, propane-powered appliances can heat and cool quicker, reduce standby losses and dry clothing faster, reducing energy usage and cost.

Learn more about propane and its benefits at Propane.com/ForMyHome.

SOURCE:
PERC

(Family Features) When building your budget, utility bills – especially the electric bill – are likely one of your largest monthly expenditures. One of the biggest culprits: home heating and cooling, which account for more than half of the average American household’s annual energy consumption, according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration.

In fact, 83% of homeowners are concerned about the impact of energy bills on their household budgets, according to a survey conducted by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), with 54% saying it cost “somewhat more” or “much more” to heat their homes this winter compared to last year.

To help dial down your energy costs, consider these tips from the heating and cooling experts at METUS.

Adjust the Temperature
While you’re sleeping or away from home, adjust your thermostat up 5-10 F in the summer or down 5-10 F in the winter, which can help lower annual heating and cooling costs if done consistently. A smart thermostat can monitor your energy use and behaviors then automatically adjust to make your home more energy efficient.

Look for Incentives and Rebates
Qualified homeowners may be eligible to save money on qualified home energy improvement projects. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) offers tax credits and rebates, including a credit of 30% (up to $2,000) for qualifying heat pump installation, an energy-efficient option to replace fossil fuel-burning furnaces. Other incentives under the IRA include offsetting costs of electrical panel upgrades and rebates for homes with energy usage reductions of 20% or more.

Switch to a Heat Pump
Among survey respondents, 54% ranked government incentives like the IRA as one of the top reasons they would consider installing a heat pump to replace a traditional air conditioner. Options like Mitsubishi Electric’s all-climate heat pumps use two units – an exterior heat pump, which replaces your existing air conditioning condenser, and an interior unit installed on your furnace – to deliver cost-effective, eco-efficient, year-round heating and cooling. These smart systems not only improve air conditioning efficiency on hot days, but also determine the best source of heat (gas or electricity) on cold days, so your HVAC system is always running at peak efficiency and comfort.

Have HVAC Systems Serviced Regularly
For best performance and efficiency, regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system is imperative. Keeping outdoor units free of debris and changing air filters are tasks most homeowners can handle on their own but bringing in a professional – usually in the spring and fall – can help ensure your HVAC system and all its components, including electrical and ductwork, are functioning properly.

Improve Your Insulation
Poorly insulated attics, walls, ceilings, floors and crawl spaces can lead to energy waste and increase costs by requiring more energy to heat or cool your home. Because air can escape through these spaces when your HVAC system pushes air through your home, adding insulation can help reduce losses and keep your home more comfortable.

Use Appliances During Non-Peak Hours
Rather than using your oven, stove or clothes dryer from noon-6 p.m., peak time for many electricity providers, consider doing so in the morning or later at night. Using these appliances outside of the peak timeframe, when conventional heating and cooling systems are often running full bore, can help lower energy costs. Some utilities may also offer plans that incentivize limiting energy use during peak hours.

Think Multi-Zone
Consider upgrading to an all-climate, multi-zone heat pump, which can seamlessly connect to multiple indoor units, revolutionizing the way you experience comfort in your home. By eliminating problematic hot and cold spots in your home, this system ensures personalized comfort tailored to individual zones and optimizes energy usage by directing it only to the areas requiring heating or cooling. Replacing an outdated HVAC system with a multi-zone solution can also help achieve cost and energy savings. By efficiently managing temperature in different zones, you can experience improved energy efficiency, resulting in a more sustainable and economical solution for heating and cooling.

Find more solutions for improving your home’s efficiency and increasing energy savings at MitsubishiComfort.com.

SOURCE:
Mitsubishi Electric