Renovation

6 Great Home Remodeling Uses For Reclaimed Materials

As a homeowner, you’re bound to do some remodeling at some point. Whether it be replacing the windows or doors, swapping the carpet for a newer, spill-free version, or removing outdated drawer pulls and door handles, something will come up eventually.

And with the world-wide surge in environmentally friendly living, what should you do with these materials? Here are a few great ideas.

Cast iron sinks.

Let’s face it- industrial-looking cast iron sinks can be an eyesore. This is especially true when they’re installed in a clean, modern kitchen that has just undergone a facelift.

This is why homeowners who have an older home that includes one of these sinks, often choose to replace them.

The cast iron sink in question doesn’t have to go into the landfill, though. Instead, it can be put to use in the laundry room or garage, if you have one.

Bricks.

When renovating an older home, bricks are one of the first things to be removed.

Should you end up with piles of bricks that are in decent condition, you may be able to use them to make a brand new fireplace or redo a chimney or porch steps.

Carpet.

When carpets are ripped up, they’re often done so because they are old and worn, or simply because their colors are outdated and unwanted.

If you have a basement in your home and are ripping up the carpet in any of the rooms or floors in your home, you could always use your carpet downstairs.

Even if you don’t have a finished basement or basement bedroom, a warm plushy carpet underfoot while doing laundry is always nice.

Wood.

Wood is one of the most diverse building materials around. It is easy to reclaim and reuse, and looks great used in virtually any project.

Wooden furniture such as old chairs and tables can be up-cycled and transformed into something new, dresser drawers can be turned into planter boxes, while wood beams and slats can simply be removed, touched up, and used as panels for creating a unique “wooden wall”, and pallets can be used to DIY a porch swing or outdoor furniture.

Unpainted lumber can be ground and turned into mulch, which can be used as plant bedding or for erosion control.

Doors and windows.

Although doors and windows lack the versatility that many other materials do, they can still be reused. They can either be fixed up and used for their intended purpose, or they can be used as a piece of vintage decor.

Broken tiles and bricks.

Once tiles and bricks have been broken, they become a lot harder to reuse. However, they can still be salvaged; they can be ground down and turned into gravel.

This gravel can be used for creating driveways and walkways. In addition, porcelain and ceramic pieces that have seen better days can also be ground and used as gravel.

4 Ways You Can Improve Your Home

Costs. Dispelling the myth.

Many people think that home improvements are an expensive luxury but they don’t have to be. There are lots of great ways to improve your home, giving it a new lease of life, freshening it up to make it look as good as new and help you feel like you’re in a brand new home. Without needing to re-mortgage your home, you can work with the resources you have to make those desired improvements. I’ve put together four ways that you can get started on improving your home today, that won’t break the bank!

diy

  1. Paint Your Walls And Ceilings

Equipment that you will need:

  • Ladder. You should have a good solid ladder with good rubber grips on its feet. Using a ladder safely is crucial. Depending on the height of your walls and/or ceilings, a short two-step ladder might do or you may need something a little longer to allow you to reach those high corners without over-reaching.
  • Airless paint sprayer. This is a great invention and can dramatically speed up your painting time. If this is your first time to use an airless paint sprayer maybe do some practise sprays beforehand.
  • Paint brushes. Good quality paint brushes are essential for getting a fine finish on cutting in at edges and reaching those places that require finer detail.
  • An old sheet or lots of news paper. Having good protection on your floors is so important or you could end up painting the floor too with little polkadots!
  • Painter’s/decorator’s tape or masking tape. You’ll need to tape down your floor protection mentioned above. This may also be required to prevent paint from getting on your ceiling.

Erica’s Tip: Completely clean the surfaces and let them dry before you start painting.

  1. Give Your Carpets A Good Deep Clean

Equipment you’ll need:

  • You can go over your carpet before giving it a wet clean, in order to remove and big dirt and dust particles.
  • Powdered carpet cleaner or carpet shampoo. You can apply the powder overnight allowing it to do its work, then simply vacuum it up the next morning. For shampoo, use just enough to cover the area. Scrub on the stained areas with a hard bristle brush. Let the carpet dry and then vacuum it.
  • Steam cleaner. This is a more professional grade device and a lot of people probably don’t own one but you can always hire one out for a day or two.

Erica’s Tip: If you are not comfortable cleaning your own carpet or require more professional equipment, you can hire an expert like 580 Carpet Cleaning in Livermore, California. Check out http://www.livermorecarpetcleaners.com for your carpet cleaning needs.

 

  1. Retile Your Bathroom

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Electric grinder. You will need this to cut the tiles from the wall or floor. Using this requires some experience and it is very loud so is probably not suitable for night time use!
  • Hammer: Hammering away any bits of tiles and grout will help you clear the surface.
  • Chisels: Chiselling away at the tile adhesive and grout will help you to level off the surface and prepare it for the new adhesive, grout and your lovely new tiles.
  • Grout sealant. This is basically a preventative measure to stop water and liquids from penetrating the grout. This is not needed if you are using an epoxy-based grout.

Erica’s Tip: You should use two coats of grout sealant.

  1. Clear Out Your Storage Rooms and Wardrobes

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Four-wheeled dolly or box dolly: This will save your back! Some of your items may be heavy or bulky so using a dolly to transport stuff is a good idea, especially if you have a lot to move.
  • Storage boxes. Either a strong cardboard box or a plastic storage box would be ideal for storing your belongings. Try to get ones with good handles and don’t pack too much weight into any one box.
  • Suitable transportation vehicle. If you have a van that is great. You might need access to a truck or larger vehicle depending on what you are moving or disposing of. You can minimize your transport to and from your storage location. Hiring a driver to do this might suit you better.

a clean carpet

Erica’s Tip: Sort and create an inventory of your belongings before moving them into storage.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

So there you have it, four cost effective ways to improve your home by using many tools and resources which you may already own. Some of the above may require you to learn new skills or to seek some expert advice or even hiring someone for a more professional job. Remember, if you don’t own some of the tools mentioned and you aren’t sure of what to do, it’s ok to ask for help!

3 DIY Outdoor Home Improvements

The great outdoors

As brighter evenings approach, a lot of you will start planning improvements that you could to with the exterior of your home. These might include your garden, driveway or simply the outer walls or roof of your house. These outdoor improvements can be fun to do. The level of improvements you want to make is really bound by your imagination, budget and time.

I’ve put together three different outdoor home improvements that you can do today.

  1. Tidy up your garden and plant some flowers

Equipment and resources that you will need:

  • Shovel: You can use a shovel to dig any weeds or unwanted wild flowers. You can find a shovel in most good DIY department stores.
  • Sweeping brush. Maybe your paths just need a good sweep after the winter.
  • Rake: Raking your grass to rid it off any stones and leaves is a good starting point when cleaning up your garden.
  • Topsoil and flower/plant seeds. Planting some seeds in a designated area is a nice way to brighten up your garden with flowers and plants.
  • Garden hose. This is something that most people have and is relatively inexpensive. You can use the hose to wash down your garden paths and of course to water your newly planted flowers.

ladder photo

  1. Build a new driveway or refurbish your old one

Equipment and resources that you will need:

  • Rake. You can go over your carpet before giving it a wet clean, in order to remove and big dirt and dust particles.
  • Sweeping brush. Depending on what type of surface you have on your driveway, you can sweep it to clean it up, especially if you are laying down a new surface or power washing it down.
  • Garden hose.
  • New pebble stones. If you have a pebble stoned driveway, you may want to purchase some new stones to lay down to give it that fresh, new stoned look. Over time, stones may wear away from cars, people walking on them and of course the weather. A new bag or two will work wonders for you.
  • Cement. Maybe you need to fill some cracks or your driveway has some pot holes in it. Filling these cracks and holes with cement is a solid solution and mixing cement is quite easy to do.
  • Tar macadam. This is a more professional improvement and will require an expert. Make sure no children are near the tar macadam as it is extremely hot while it is being laid and thereafter until it sets in.
  1. Wash your outer walls or roof

Equipment and resources that you will need:

Over time, roofs can build up fungus and surface dirt from the elements. Roofs would be considered as horizontal flat surfaces and since they usually cover a large area, you will need some more sophisticated gear in order to make your pressure washing job that bit faster and more efficient. Walls are obviously easier to wash with a pressure washer as you are on the ground! So if you have a fear of heights then maybe hiring a professional roof cleaner is the way to go for you.

  • Pressure washer. Roofs would be considered as horizontal flat surfaces and since they usually cover a large area, you will need some more sophisticated gear in order to make your pressure washing job fast and efficient

That’s just the beginning!

So there you go, three great ways to improve the outside of your home. The above are just a taster of what you could do. Some require more experience and involve more health and safety than others but most of them won’t break the bank and the more expensive ones are much longer lasting anyway.