What is Home Improvement?

Home Improvement is not just a popular sitcom from the entire length of the 1990s. It’s what millions of home owners do every year to keep their property in tip top shape!

Sometimes keeping up on your home can be a major headache! (But you could hire someone to do it for you if it’s not your forte). Or assert your authority by acting like Tim Allen in his hit TV show “Home Improvement” that aired on ABC from 1991-1999.

But let’s be serious, it’s important!

When we catch a cold, we’re laid up in a doctors office, or even a hospital where our bill adds up quicker than a teacup in a rainstorm! In order to prevent trips to see our care providers, we (as a collective) will spend millions of dollars per year on healthy food and supplements to keep from getting sick! So, why would your home be any different?

It’s important to maintain your home to make sure it retains the value you paid (or are still paying) for it. Along with updates/remodels and fixes, this is all home improvement! So, break out your tool belt and get down to business.

Typical Maintenance

In order to maintain a healthy home, we have to check areas seasonally! Each season brings about change in moisture/humidity, air temperature, and pests, all of which could affect your home! [Did you know that as the temperature changes, the joints in your home with swell and contract? Ever notice how your doors may shut easier in the winter time?]. So, you want to make sure to check gaps in trim/doorways/window sills, foundation, and all other places that have a “seam” in your home.

It’s important to know what kind of materials are used on your home. Do you have a stone foundation or a poured foundation? What year was your home built? Is it up to safety and zoning codes for your area? These are questions you should get the answer for, since many people purchase homes as investments, it will be important to know about local and state zoning/safety regulations.

You can always contract a skilled handyman/home improvement specialist to inspect your property, if they have the experience in your area of the country (or world), they’ll know what common issues to look for. In the Northeast we experience problems like roof damage, likely caused by harsh winters [if moisture gets under your shingles it can freeze in the winter causing the plywood to swell and degrade]. Today there are materials available that are specific to areas with harsh weather, such as an “ice and water shield” for roofing, which protects the wood under the roofing material from becoming moistened and damaged by weather.

Dangers of Home Improvement?

Perhaps your home was built between 1930-1950; beware that during this time roofing shingles and/or siding may contain asbestos. If your home was built in this time period, it’s wise to have a professional assess your home, as disrupting this material poses serious health hazards and it should not be touched without proper safety equipment!

If you’re going to check the roof, make sure to secure your ladder or have a helper hold the bottom while you’re climbing up and down. According to the CDC in 2011 there were 113 work-related ladder fatalities (and those were likely professionals).

Maybe you’re planning to re-stain your deck, and you’ve gotten all of the supplies but no safety equipment… Think again! A good rule of thumb is to wear gloves when handling any chemical you wouldn’t drink, because either way it can be absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream (kind of unlikely, but it could be cause for concern with lacquer thinners or heavy duty chemicals).

So there are inherent risks with doing work yourself. But, there’s a feeling of accomplishment by finishing up the deck on your home, or throwing a new color on the walls in your bathroom, or even remodeling your entire kitchen!

You’re going to need some tools

So, of course if you want to build a doghouse for the Fido, you’re going to need some tools (even hand tools will be fine for most small tasks). After investing $150,000 or more in the purchase of your home, it’s a drop in the bucket to spend another $500 on quality tools to keep up on the home. Everyone has their personal favorite brands, which is especially true when it comes to power tools. Some people will argue all day over which are the best, but the best tools are the ones you will use! If you are on a tight budget, and just want a low level set of power tools, don’t feel ashamed to pick up Ryobi or Black and Decker tools (some people swear by them!). At the very least, you’ll want to have a power drill, a saw and a hammer to handle most simple fixes.

You can go crazy collecting an entire arsenal of tools to handle everything from hanging a picture frame to building your own spaceship. (I would like to see the garage needed for that second thing!) But what is important is that you’re prepared to maintain your home if the need arises.

In this series, I am going to cover the problems you may encounter, the update options you should know about, and emerging trends/technology that is released to make your life easier.

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