Brighten Your Home with Glass Tiles

A dark and dull home interior is not usually what homeowners strive for. It still occurs probably because of light-absorbing carpets and hardwood. For this reason, many people are deciding to integrate glass tiles in parts of the house. Glass is reflective, making areas seem brighter and larger. Adding radiance to a home is only one draw of glass tiles. It offers many other beautiful and practical benefits to a home.

Glass tiles come in an array of colors, shapes, sizes and designs. A homeowner can choose from a wide collection of either standard or custom tiles or they can hire a tile artist to create a one-of-a-kind piece for their home. This method has become trendier recently because of the endless custom possibilities and aesthetic appeal. Glass has been used for centuries in every type of constructions because it is resilient. Water-proof and non-porous, glass resists moisture and will never stain or harbor mildew growth, making it a natural non-allergenic material. In addition, glass tiles never fade, scratch or decay, which means endless application possibilities without the risk of damage. These facts have been proven through time.

Since glass tiles can withstand harsh conditions unlike many other surface coverings, it is ideal for a multitude of applications. Fireplaces, wall backsplashes, kitchen and bathroom floors or countertops are just a few examples. Glass is even weather-proof enough for outdoor use. It is very popular as pool tile because of its strength and attractive mosaic design possibilities. From a “green” standpoint, the developing innovations of recycled glass make it healthier for the environment. Recycled glass is in no way inferior to non-recycled glass. It creates a unique and often sought-after appearance that can resist the same conditions as any newly-created glass.

Glass has extremely easy maintenance. Everyday glass cleaner will do the trick. Due to its recent increase in recognition and competitive availability, glass is very reasonably priced. Glass tile applications have seen an increase lately due to recent anti-slip products, making it ideal for floor applications. Be aware, however, that while glass is resilient, it can still break due to abuse. Floor-rated tiles are recommended in high-traffic areas. These are more resistant and less likely to crack.  If you decide that glass is for you, remember these specialty tiles require specific installation methods, so be sure to hire a professional. From design to finish, glass tiles make a beautiful addition to any home.


Window Energy Efficiency

Homeowners are always on the lookout for ways in which to increase their home’s efficient use of energy for the dual purposes of lowering heating and air conditioning bills and in an effort to go green.  Some improved window designs currently being offered these days will block the heat that can leak through the glass, and that will reduce your heating costs considerably.

For a small upgrade cost per window you can choose double paned windows that are several times more efficient than the standard windows that are offered by builders. These newer style windows actually use a specialized gas that is sealed between the panes and it will help lower the transfer of heat through the panes and also it will reduce drafts.

Upgrading these windows now will allow you to reduce your heating and energy bills and will pay for itself a number of times over the life of your house. Also changing these windows out for more efficient models when the home is being built is a lot less expensive, since the window frame is still exposed.

Window placement is also important. Energy efficient homes will often have larger windows on the side of their building that receives the most sun to allow them to take advantage of sunlight, thereby reducing electricity bills for lighting. To help you with your lighting requirements, skylights also can be easy to install and can be fairly inexpensive, as well. By using this natural light for your home you will have to have fewer lights on during the day and can reduce your energy consumption considerably.


Aging in Place with Style and Grace

Aging in place – updating one’s home to accommodate changing needs and abilities as one ages – doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a home’s style and decor. From attractive lighting designed to work well for aging eyes to barrier-free shower stalls that compete in beauty and practicality with what you might find in a luxury community for those 55 and older, plenty of home modifications now make it possible to age in place gracefully and stylishly.

It’s no longer necessary to give up your home’s good looks for a more institutional-looking appearance just to achieve a safer, more usable house; you can age in place and retain the style that makes living in your home comfortable and safe, and maintain your independence at the same time. With more than 78 million baby boomers growing older in the United States, aging in place – and how to do it well – is a hot topic for many homeowners. If you’re planning ahead or thinking it’s now time to update your home to accommodate changing needs, Handyman Matters has a few things for you to keep in mind:

Kitchens and baths are commonly the most challenging rooms in the house for people, like many seniors, with mobility issues. Updating these rooms can go a long way toward helping you stay in and enjoy your own home for as long as possible. Bathrooms, in particular, pose safety issues because falls are one of the leading reasons seniors must go into nursing homes.

When renovating your bathroom, focus on the important elements, including low-level entryways, accessible grab bars, easy grip faucets and showers with safety screens. Other elements include safer, slip-resistant flooring; brighter, more flexible lighting; and safe access to the shower or bathtub. Handyman Matters professional craftsmen can prepare your home for the changing needs of the future.

Stepping in and out of a tub or shower is one of the riskiest times for people with mobility challenges. Appropriately placed grab bars – now available in designer colors and textures – can help improve safety in these high-risk areas. Another option that’s high on safety and style is to replace a current shower or tub with a walk-in shower. The walk-in showers are a good option for wheelchair users or in rooms where a full-size tub is not practical. Have these items installed properly by the professionals at Handyman Matters.

That tile floor that you adored in your 40s can be a slip hazard when you reach your 70s. In fact, any hard bathroom floor surface such as linoleum, vinyl or tile can put you at increased risk of slipping and falling. Carpeting might be a better option, one that is slip resistant and warmer and softer on the feet. Many manufacturers now offer materials that are attractive and able to repel moisture. If installing carpeting isn’t practical for you, use area rugs with sticky backing to help ensure safe footing in high traffic areas, like in front of the commode, sink and bathtub.

Aging eyes not only need more light to see, they need better quality light, especially at night. Avoid dim lighting; older eyes need several times more light than younger eyes to see well. Increase the amount of light in your bathroom and consider using naturally brighter bulbs like compact fluorescent bulbs, which are also energy-efficient.

Be aware of glare, as well. Bright lights bouncing off all-white bathroom surfaces can create glare that makes it difficult to see and navigate for older people, especially at night when they may not be fully awake. If your bath is all white, Handyman Matters can paint the walls a light color in a finish that will help reduce glare. Use area rugs on white floors to help break up the expanse of white and reduce glare.

Boomers aging in place will find more options than ever before to do so with style, but safety should be your first concern – that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good style and beautiful design as well. Take it from the professionals and let Handyman Matters prepare your home for you to age in gracefully and with good style.


How to Decorate Your Home for Less

Here are a handful of tips to consider before you open your wallet—or substantially reduce the amount of money in your bank account—to “change up” your home.

Furniture, lighting and pictures can all be moved to offer a new perspective on an old living space.  A simple re-arrangement of the items you already possess can have a dramatic effect.

Installing curtains or shades is another way to give a room a new appearance.

Shopping for raw materials and creating something from these is less expensive than purchasing ready-made items. These include such things as pillowcases or simple wooden shelves. Shop at discount stores for reasonably priced accessories. Custom-made things are certainly a nice luxury, but they aren’t always necessary or worth the high price tag.

Painting an accent wall is a task easily within the reach of even the most tentative do-it-yourselfer.  Keep in mind that the prep work will be the most challenging step you face—take time to prepare the surface of the wall you will be updating so that the new paint job looks its best.

Walls should be clean, smooth and dry. Wash off all dirt and grease with a powdered household cleaner and water. Stick to colors in the neutral range, white or cream, say, as a clean backdrop for the rich textures and shades of furniture pieces and accessories.

When it comes to new purchases, begin with inexpensive basics, like environmentally friendly shower heads and lights, then consider the benefits of ceiling insulation and whether you can save on electricity costs by installing solar panels.

A few strategically placed items can change a room from dull to dramatic! Change out cabinet handles, or add a houseplant.  A new frame on a cherished photo or painting can create a compelling new point of focus.

Once you’ve made a handful of economical changes and updates, take a step back and consider the overall effect.  Has this given you the breath of fresh air you are seeking from a makeover?  If not, then it’s time to consider larger—and more expensive—renovations.


Preventing Bathroom Hazards

We’ve all heard tragic stories of the elderly being injured in the bathroom. That might leave you to wonder, how safe is the bathroom in your home? A small area with frequent water use makes it a prime location for injuries from falls. And for older people, the bathroom can be a real hazard.

Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous areas in a house and to make sure your home is up to safety standards for the seniors in your life Handyman Matters has come up with some ideas for you.

“Falls are the leading cause of death from injuries among older persons and the death rate from falls continues to climb. Each year, one in three Americans age 65 and older fall and almost a third of them need medical treatment as a result,” according to the AARP.

Research shows that 75 percent of household accidents happen in the bathroom, making it crucial, especially for older individuals, to create a bathroom that is both accessible and safe.

For most elderly, remaining in their home to live an independent lifestyle is extremely important. And a safe home environment can be possible if the bathroom is assessed and if need be, renovated to fit their needs. Installing the following items are not only good for seniors that want to stay in their homes, but for families that are having their parents move back in with them. There are many ways that you can avoid injuries in your home and Handyman Matters is here to help!

  • Installing grab bars
  • Non-slip rugs
  • Bright lights
  • Bathtub

By adding these items into all of your bathrooms you are making your home a safer place for all to enjoy. The professional craftsmen specialize in small jobs around your home. Safety is also one of our priorities, if you would like to make your home safer call today!

Whether you and your spouse are aging and you want to remain independent in your home, or you have parents and you’d like to help them live more comfortably, consider making the bath a safe and secure place that will remain free from accident and injury. Call Handyman Matters today, don’t delay in the safety of your family.


The Value of a Home Inspection

The purpose of a home inspection is to inform the individual buyer of the current condition of the home. The purchase contract the buyer and seller signed is contingent on the home inspection. A buyer will generally have the option, based upon the inspection, to opt out of the purchase, ask for repairs or credit towards repairs or a purchase price reduction.

Many home buyers do not adequately research the profession before hiring an inspector.  What should a home buyer be looking for in a home inspector?

Licensing: Some states require home inspector licensing while others do not. In states that do require licensing, ask for the inspectors’ FULL license number and write it down. This includes any letter-type distinctions in front or in back of the number. This will help tell you if he is a fully licensed home inspector or an intern or apprentice.

Insurance: Does the home inspector carry Errors & Omissions and or liability insurance, and can they provide proof of insurance upon request?  Not all states require insurance. Inquire as to the state insurance requirements and be sure the inspectors have the proper type and amount.

Training: Has the inspector had formal training from a recognized training school? State regulation in the home inspection profession is relatively recent (Many states still do not have licensing or regulation!), so formal training has been mostly optional. Many “old timers” were carpenters, electricians or builders and learned to perform home inspections “on the job.” However, there is no single trade that qualifies someone to move into the field of home inspection without extensive training.

Experience: This is can be a misleading qualification if the right questions are not asked. Years of experience are not as important as the total number of home inspections completed. In a 2005 national home inspection business operations study conducted by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), over 80 percent of respondents said they were full time home inspectors. Yet almost 40 percent said they perform less than 100 home inspections a year. This discrepancy may indicate that many home inspectors are working at other jobs or are semi-retired individuals. Be sure to ask how many inspections the inspector completes a year:  At least 200 or over would be a good standard. It is also still important to ask overall years of experience and total number of home inspections.

Continuing Education: Even well trained, experienced home inspectors must continually update their skills and knowledge. Licensing requires a minimal amount of continuing education for inspectors to renew their license. Look for home inspectors who go beyond the necessary minimum and spend the time and money to keep their skills current.

Association Membership: Home inspectors who have made the commitment of time, training, testing and money to belong to a reputable professional home inspection society are generally more committed to doing a high quality job for their clients. But be careful; not all home inspection organizations are equal. Some ask for little or no training, knowledge or experience to become a member, while others are very rigorous in their qualifications for membership. A membership logo means little; it’s what’s behind the symbol that counts. Inquire about and research this area fully.  It will provide you with great insight into the home inspectors’ abilities and dedication to performing a top notch home inspection.

The Inspection: How long does the home inspection take? As previously mentioned, short inspection times mean poor quality. A thorough home inspection on an averaged sized home, (1500-2500 sq. ft.) should last 2-4 hours. Also ask if the inspector would like you to attend the home inspection. If they say no, this should alert you that something is wrong with this particular company. A good home inspector should insist that you attend the home inspection if at all possible.

The Report: This is why you hire a home inspector, to provide written detailed information about the house. The first and most important question:  When and how will you receive the report? On site, within 24 hours, a week, by email, regular mail or delivered by the inspector?  What type of report does the inspector use, what is the approximate length, are there pictures included?  Be wary of short reports, 10 pages or less, and long report turnaround times.

Other Qualifications: Ask if the home inspector has additional certifications or licenses in services that you may need in addition to the home inspection. For instance, radon testing is a very common ancillary service provided by many home inspection companies, but many inspectors are not certified or formally trained. Some states may even require certification or licensing in these services. If you are looking to have other services done, be sure to ask about the inspectors’ qualifications to conduct the tests you require.

Miscellaneous Items: There are some things you should confirm when calling to hire a home inspector. Be positive that the inspector that will be doing your home inspection possesses the qualifications stated by the person on the phone. This is especially important when talking with multi-inspector firms. Also will the home inspector be readily available for follow up questions?

Price: The very last question you should ask, not the first. Put quite simply, you get what you pay for. Good home inspectors demand higher prices because of experience and money invested into training to improve their skills and their business for the benefit of their clients. Remember the money you pay a good inspector is an investment. You will very likely receive back from the seller monies well in excess of the home inspection fee. Be certain to choose your inspector wisely.

Having a good home inspection will provide you with valuable information on your prospective purchase and ultimately piece of mind going forward.


Garage Floor Tiles

Garage floors are exposed to a selection of corrosive substances every day. Chemicals like grease, battery acids, antifreeze solutions, salt and motor oil will corrode concrete after prolonged exposure. Despite this, garage floors are usually the most neglected portion of any house. Folks might put up granite or marble tiles in their kitchen and bathrooms, but few give a second thought to the cold, damp garage. Some kind of protection for the garage floor is critical, if it’s to be expected to last long.

Flooring can be shielded from everyday corrosion by a variety of protecting measures. Vinyl or lacquer paints can be applied, but the process is both time consuming and laborious. For the folks with precious little time to devote to do-it-yourself projects, garage floor tiles are the simplest options.

They are available with adhesive backing, making them easy to apply to concrete flooring, and require minimal equipment.  Generally a set of kneepads, a measuring tape and a utility knife to cut the overlapping tiles to shape will handle the job nicely.  And of course, before application, you will want to thoroughly clean the concrete of grease, oil, dust and other substances to ensure a solid fit.

Garage floor tiles come in a variety of colors, patterns and shapes.  They fully resist any sort of corrosive substance and can be washed, swept or hosed to clean them.  They are heat- and chip-resistant and can stand up to the load of even the heaviest vehicles.

Tiling is an easy “fix” that provides protection from general wear and tear and enhances your garage’s personality, giving it increased appeal when the time comes to place your home on the market.  It’s a worthy addition to any house.