Industry Trends

Not Sure What DIY Project to Do Next? Ask a Professional

realtor tips for home improvementsTrying to decide which home improvement project to tackle next? When in doubt, ask people in the know. A professional realtor, interior designer or home inspector can steer you in the right direction on DIY projects that will add more value to your home.

How Professionals Show You the Way

Want to know how much money to spend on renovating your house? A realtor can help you decide on projects that will bring in buyers. An interior designer can advise you on the latest trends and colors to use while a home inspector will flag potential problems for you, like leaks, electrical issues, termite damage and building code violations. These professionals can help you separate what is an important improvement from a personal preference.

Focus Your Efforts on these 7 Areas:

  • Curb appeal – Sprucing up the landscape and front entry boosts the value of your home. Some of the ways you can do this are to:
    • clean up the grounds, edge and prune bushes
    • plant new flowers and shrubs for color
    • update lawn furniture, especially on porches
    • replace an old doormat
    • paint or re-stain the front door
  • Floors – Dirty old carpets are a turn off to buyers and are bothersome for allergy sufferers. Consider replacing it with engineered hardwoods or laminate. At the very least, have your carpets cleaned professionally.
  • Windows and Doors – Energy efficient windows and doors will help cut your power bills and provide a big selling point when you do decide to sell.
  • Paint – This is a great way to freshen up your entire house. Realtors will encourage you to use neutral colors to help buyers envision how their furniture and artwork will fit in the space.
  • Clean up – If you aren’t going to paint them, then scrub your walls. Make sure there are no dings or scuff marks. Don’t forget to clean the window blinds, baseboards and trim.
  • Cabinets – Even if you aren’t selling right now, declutter. It will save you time and effort, especially when it comes time to pack and move:
    • Add drawer and cabinet organizers
    • Fix loose drawers and hardware
    • Dust and clean out drawers and cabinets, especially in bathroom
    • Wipe down the outside of kitchen cabinets to remove grease from cooking
    • Paint or re-stain
  • Lighting – Like fashion, lighting fixtures go out of style. Update them and use new energy efficient bulbs. Natural light sells a house so consider installing a skylight or sun tube in dark, small rooms.

Small Fixes Bring Big Returns

You don’t have to take on a big renovation. Small do-it-yourself projects can make a big impact on the value of your home so don’t discount them. Just changing out an old vanity and the sink fixtures can revive the look of a bathroom. Focus your efforts on projects that will boost your home’s selling potential while adding to your family’s enjoyment. So ask a professional for their opinion, you’ll be glad you did.

Expert Advice

A fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to liven up any home – inside or out. Check out our blog, Paint Like a Pro – Tips for Painting Your Ceilings and Walls for the helpful hints you need to get started. From floor sanders and drills to paint sprayers and carpet cleaners, our expert staff is always on hand to help you get ready for your next home improvement job. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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8 DIY Projects That Boost the Value of Your Home

diy home improvement projectsThinking of selling your home or just wanting to update your surroundings? Before you start an expensive kitchen remodel, consider how a few DIY projects could not only add value to your home, they can make your house more appealing to potential buyers.

Home Improvements Increase Real Estate Value

First, make a list of all the improvements you would like to accomplish. Talk with or a realtor or an interior designer for ideas on how to enhance your home’s appeal. Keep renovations in line with the sales value of your home and neighborhood. Your goal is to get a good return on your investment.

Fix Essentials First

Buyers typically look for existing houses where the basics like the roof, foundation and plumbing are in good shape. A remodeled kitchen cannot make up for a leaky roof; however, replacing a worn out roof can return as much as 80 percent of its cost at resale.

8 DIY Projects That Boost the Value of Your Home

  • First impressions – The front entryway is your first an opportunity to make a good impression. A freshly painted door, an awning and a working doorbell go a long way.
  • Address the basics – Add insulation, repair leaks, clean windows, rugs and wood floors. In addition, have the furnace and septic tank (if applicable) inspected.
  • Let in the light – Dark rooms are uninviting. Add new light fixtures and consider a sun tube or skylight to bring in natural light.
  • Improve the landscape – Curb appeal gets buyers in the door. Unkempt bushes and trees obstruct views. Mow the lawn, prune and plant shade trees and drought tolerant plants.
  • Go green – Use energy efficient appliances if replacements are needed.
  • Don’t forget your floors – Repair cracked tiles and squeaky floor boards. If you do replace the floors, consider engineered hardwoods or tile as an allergy free alternatives.
  • Paint – Neutral wall colors help buyers visualize their belongings in a room.
  • Declutter – Purge and organize clutter to help rooms look larger.

Add More Space for a Future Pay Off

If you’re simply looking to make improvements that will pay off down the road, consider building an addition. Every 1,000 feet increase of space can boost the sales price as much as 30 percent, especially when you keep the total square footage in line with the houses available in your neighborhood.

Quick and Easy Bathroom Fixes

Renovations don’t have to be overwhelming. Tackle one room at a time. If you can’t afford a major bathroom redesign, try some of these easy repairs:

  • Clean the grout
  • Apply fresh caulk
  • Replace the faucets
  • Add a new toilet seat
  • Update the vanity
  • Install a low flush toilet

Your DIY Efforts Will Show Big Results

Home improvements can help sell your home faster as well as make your life more enjoyable. Come up with a game plan, do your research and go for it. Take things one step at a time and soon your efforts will show big results.

Expert Advice

Still not sure what DIY project to start first? Our blog, Check These 10 Indoor and Outdoor Improvements Off Your Spring Checklist has helpful tips to get your house in awesome shape.

From circular saws and drills to paint sprayers and pressure washers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you get ready for your next home improvement job. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Industry Trends, Restore and Renovate | 1 Comment

Turn Post-Holiday Clean-up into a Fresh Start for Your Home

Post-holiday clean-up in 3 simple stepsWhen all those festive lights are turned off at the end of the holiday season, it’s easy for a do-it-yourselfer to get a little melancholy. After all, boxing up the shimmer and shine can make any room in your home seem a little less bright. And if you’ve had your fill of crumb-covered buffets, leftovers in the ‘fridge, overflowing trash cans and more dirty dishes than the dishwasher can hold after celebrating, you’re in for a treat – because it’s easy to turn your post-holiday clean-up into a fresh start for your home. Not only that, you’ll already be preparing for next year’s festivities!

Here are three tips to take to task:

1. Operation Decoration De-Clutter

  • Decide on a deadline for taking down the tree and storing holiday decorations. Whether it’s New Year’s Day or a week after New Year’s Day, it helps keep you focused on your clean-up efforts.
  • Purge holiday decorations of things that are no longer of use before boxing everything up for the season.
  • Consider buying color-coded storage bins for different kinds of decorations. For example, red for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, light green for Easter, orange for Halloween. This way, you won’t have to open each box to see what’s inside come next holiday.
  • Box up decorations by room or area rather than type. You may have several different holiday displays for mantles, living room, foyer, etc. Next year when it’s time to decorate, you can pull out one or two storage totes and have everything available to re-create those looks quickly and easily.
  • Rather than storing ornaments and other decorations in the boxes they come in, wrap each in recycled wrapping paper and place in a larger container. Wrap Christmas lights around the wrapping paper tubes. Use tree skirts and other large pieces of material such as table cloths at the bottom of storage bins for added protection.

2. Spring Clean by Winter’s Clock

  • Lots of homeowners remove regular pieces of furniture and home décor to make room for Christmas trees and other decorations. Before arranging rooms back to normal, give the carpets a good vacuuming and check them – and your furniture – for stains. If you spot any, clean immediately.
  • Vacuum drapes and curtains, and clean windows before the furniture is re-set.
  • Repair and/or polish wood pieces before lamps and other room décor are replaced.

3. Dare to Prepare for Next Year’s Holiday

  • Make next year’s baking and cooking clean-up easier by lining baking sheets with silicone baking mats and broiling pans with foil beforehand.
  • Decrease clutter in the kitchen by rotating new gifts and gadgets with the tried and true ones.
  • Turn the dishwasher on before your go to bed and unload it in the morning, so it’s empty before guests arrive.
  • Line trash cans with several clean bags, which will already be ready for more trash once you remove a full one.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with any kind of clean-up project. From vacuums to carpet cleaners, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Create Unique Ambiance with a Wallpapered Accent Wall

Hang Elegant Wallpaper for a Lasting EffectHanging decorative wallpaper is back in style, and when done right can really give new life to a room…creating truly unique charm. Albeit somewhat difficult for someone who’s never wallpapered before, when only applying to an accent wall the process is totally doable. Not to mention, peel and stick wallpaper is a popular new option — much easier and less permanent.

Essential Tools

  1. wallpaper {duh!}
  2. paste
  3. tape measure
  4. level
  5. ladder
  6. sandpaper
  7. spackle*
  8. putty knife*
  9. bucket*
  10. water tray*
  11. sponges*
  12. rags*
  13. utility knife
  14. smoothing brush
  15. seam roller
  16. screwdriver {to remove outlet and light covers}*

*don’t be deterred by the tool list, these are optional

The Sticky Process

1. prep the area/surface: remove outlet and light covers from the wall, move any furniture that may be in the way, spackle any holes or divots in the wall and sand them down, wash any dust or dirt off the walls and lastly, set up your wallpaper work station (sawhorses or a worktable are ideal).

2. measure and cut: look closely at the wallpaper design and determine how it should be aligned and where you want it to meet the ceiling. Measure the length of the wallpaper and make a small mark to indicate where it should meet the ceiling (try to leave excess on the top and bottom so you can cut it down to the right size at the end). Then measure and cut your strips based on the width of your wall.

3. activate adhesive and apply paste: for pre-pasted wallpaper, loosely roll up the first strip and immerse it in room temperature water and allow it to unroll slowly, then lay it flat on your work surface, paste side facing up. Next, “book” the ends by pulling them towards the middle and allow the paste to activate. If your wallpaper isn’t pre-pasted use a paint brush or paint roller to apply pre-mixed paste, working from the middle to the ends. Try not to crease the wallpaper in either scenario, and keep the ends folded into the middle. [For more specifics on how to prep and activate wallpaper, read this blog post.]

4. hang the first strip: start at the ceiling and unfold the top half of the first wallpaper strip so it is lined up on the side with your measured line (or the corner crease where the wall ends). Remember to leave a few inches excess at the top. Then drop the bottom half down gently. Use a damp sponge to remove any air bubbles and a seam roller to press down the edges of the wallpaper.

5. smooth and hang the other strips: take care to line up the next strip next to the first, matching the pattern and overlapping the edges where necessary. Continue leaving excess for ceiling and baseboard (floor), smooth out air bubbles and press down the edges.

6. trim the edges: finally, after all strips have been laid, use a putty knife to crease the strips at the ceiling and the base of the wallpaper in preparation for cutting the excess. Once you define the top and bottom borders, take a utility knife and carefully cut the excess paper. Use the sponge to remove any air bubbles or extra paste.

7. final touches: as a final touch, press the seams together once more, making sure all the wallpaper lays even and flat. Once your wallpaper is all in place, you can replace any outlet or light covers and put your furniture and pictures back in place. Then voila! You have a beautiful accent wall.

[Note: for peel and stick wallpaper, the process is less involved. However, keep in mind that you should peel the back off slowly, moving your way down the wall (from top to bottom). Don’t try to align an entire sticky piece all in one go. For more details on how to apply peel and stick, watch this video.]

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t go too quickly.
  • Cover all of the wallpaper pieces with paste.
  • Smooth the paper down gently.
  • Calculate precisely how much paper is needed.
  • Heavier paper is easier to apply.
  • Wet the self-adhesive paste {on the wallpaper} before hanging.
  • Don’t take the backing off all at once {peel & stick}.
  • For peel & stick, save the backing for future application.

For the savvy DIY-er, wallpapering the traditional way may be a breeze. However, peel and stick wallpaper or simply covering only an accent wall are options for the novice wallpaper-er. If you have any questions about this process or the tools necessary, please contact one of our experts or comment below. Happy wallpapering!

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DIY Projects: Spring Cleaning Ideas and Inspiration

In continuing with this week’s Spring Cleaning theme, I’d like to share some of my current projects to get you thinking about projects you can do around your house. Although it is a holiday weekend, maybe you’d like to knock a few things out before family gets in tomorrow or Sunday. So, take a look at some of my pictures below and get inspired!

Again the importance of organization: I’ve been cleaning out my closets and garage, which as you can see are full of shoes! I used to work at a shoe store, hence the exorbitant amount. You can also see some of the boxes and storage bins I’ve started to use though, a key to keeping things in their respective places and all together. We’re moving furniture and getting clean under the beds too. It’s been a month of sheer work, but once summer is here, it’ll be nothing but fun!

Closet and Garage Organization

Give your rooms new life: In addition to organizing, I’ve been redecorating and sprucing up some of our furniture and decor in various rooms. You can see below our bathroom. We’re having a new shower put in and I’m getting ready to paint above the toilet. There used to be a cabinet there and a while back we painted around it, but recently we removed it, so now the wall needs painted. Also, the living room furniture is brand new, bringing a modern chic vibe to the space. The bar chairs we’ve had for a long time; I bought them at a furniture store by Castleton several years ago, so they were a tad dated. To give them a fresh and updated look, I cleaned them up with a new coat of paint and reupholstered the fabric. You can go to the hardware store and get touch up kits for furniture in all colors to get the knicks out and keep it looking new. And remember, now is also the time to take things up a notch and clean ceiling fans, light fixtures and bulk heads.
Spring Decorating and Home Updates

Get your yard in order: Below are before and after pictures of a dead tree we cut down in our front yard. It once added to our curb appeal, but then it started to rot, so time to go! We cut it down with a chainsaw, easy as pie. Now is also the perfect time for planting spring flowers. Poppies can be planted safely in pots. Oh, and another thing, it’s a good time to spray around the exterior of your house so insects cannot make their way in. If you need more tips on which yard clean-up tasks should be on your checklist, read this post.

Cutting Down a Dead Tree

Hopefully this DIY project recap helped give you a few ideas for your home. If you need any advice for which tools to use for your projects, let us know! And please post your own ideas for Spring Projects in the comment section below. For more inspiration, be sure to read the post from earlier this week.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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3 Elegant Trends for This Year’s Holiday Get-Togethers

The season of good cheer offers so many opportunities to bring family and friends together that do-it-yourself party planners are on the lookout for the best ways to spend less time planning and more time creating unforgettable memories.

Here’s a list of decidedly hip ways to dazzle everyone on your guest list – including yourself!

Trend #1 – Keep Holiday Entertaining Deceptively Simple and Stress-Free

Planning last-minute is really not the same as impromptu party-making. Why? Not giving you enough time to prepare the house, the food, the music and the mood is seriously stressful! And not cool.

Holiday Party DecorPlan your party as one singular sensation that your guests will remember. Feature a favorite signature dish that you can prepare in advance, and pair it with an easy appetizer like roasted nuts and a sophisticated drink you create just for the event. Set the mood with a homemade mix of music, or choose one of the music channels on cable TV or the Internet. Dim the lights, light some candles and invite magic into the room along with the partygoers.

Speaking of singular sensations, party experts say one of this year’s most popular holiday looks is all-white décor. From decorations to wrapped presents to elegant displays of food (silver works well with white), the simplicity of one color wraps the evening up in style, is timeless and easy to create.

Trend #2 – Protect Your Belongings and Rent

Make your house party-ready by re-arranging the furniture to create places for mingling, intimate conversation, comfortable dining and even dancing.

Rent a dolly to help with moving your furniture. Attractive tables and chairs are also available for rent, and assure enough seating for everyone. Rent a coat rack and hangers to avoid having guests pile coats and jackets on your bed. You can even rent china, glasses, serving dishes and silverware, saving your own from any accidental breaks. With the room in party mode, you can enjoy the company you’re with, instead of worrying if everyone is comfortable.

And when it’s time to wind the party down, you can dole out leftovers in fun Chinese to-go boxes and call it a night. Most of the clean up and rental return can wait until morning.

Trend #3 – Make Your Own Holi-date

As the ultimate party planner Martha Stewart likes to say, “There’s no expiration date on glad tidings!” Avoid the strain of too many festivities in one month by choosing a special date in January to throw a party, when life is back to normal.

Invite your friends and family over for brunch –to celebrate the start of a new year, or for an evening of movie-watching or game-playing, or to enjoy a potluck dinner. You can still make it a singular sensation, only planning the entire event may be more relaxed. And all of a sudden, you’ll have an event to look forward to – an unexpected present!

About the Author

is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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4 Smart Guidelines for Hanging Christmas Lights Safely

Decorating your home and yard for the holidays is a festive neighborhood tradition that brings out the designer in all of us. In communities all over the country, so many families vie for “Best Holiday Lights Display” that they’re competing in a national competition on television. That’s right – just this week, ABC premiered a new series called The Great Christmas Light Fight, the first Christmas lights competition of its kind where 20 families transform their homes for the holidays and compete for a total of $250,000 in prizes. Holy Clark Griswold! The show airs through December 23, and will probably give you some fantastic ideas for decorating your own extravaganza.

Christmas Lights

Before you’re ready to flip the switch on your Christmas lights though, here are a few guidelines to help you work smart and stay safe:

  1. Create a Master Design. Break out the camera, some paper and pencil, and get to work. Taking a photograph of your yard from an appropriate distance can keep you focused on the overall look of the display. Choosing a focal point to anchor your design, whether it’s a unique architectural feature of the home or a winding path or the intricate branch patterns of a tree, and start designing from there. Consider including the backyard in your design this year, which you can also enjoy from inside your home. Use a tape measure to determine how many light strands you need, as well as, the distance to the power source. Experts recommend 100 lights for every 1-1/2 feet of tree or shrub you want to cover. The denser the lights, the brighter they shine, so look for light kits where the bulbs are spaced close together, or place two sets of lights side-by-side for the same effect. Choreograph your design using different colored lights to highlight different areas and have fun with the many types of lights available, such as icicles, blinking, LED, light nets and more.
  2. Safety First. This is a big one. Check the roof, shingles, gutters and other surfaces you’ll hang lights on for strength and flexibility. Decorate trees that do not touch power lines. Work with another person, and secure supplies to the ladder safely. Use UL approved extension cords and light kits for outdoor use, and follow manufacturer recommendations on the number of lights you can string together safely. Do not use lights that have frayed or damages cords, and test all lights before you hang them. Choose plastic light clips to easily secure lighting to gutters and other surfaces.
  3. Set a Timer. To save on energy bills, use an outdoor timer to turn lights off later in the evening. These days, timers also come with sensors that automatically turn on at dusk –especially nice when you’re away from home.
  4. Plan the Power Source. In addition to creating a master lighting design, planning the best way to access power for your display is key for safety. Experts suggest that outdoor lights be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault interrupters (GFCIs) that protect against shock. Power stakes are portable and bring the power to where you need it, instead of running too many extension cords all over the place.

If you rent a generator, be sure to follow all manufacturer safety instructions, such as operating it outside, because carbon monoxide exhaust fumes can be fatal. Protect it from rain, snow and wind with a cover made from plywood and 2x4s. Follow state, local and national fire and electric codes and do not connect the generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel because it might feed into the electric system and endanger any utility workers in the area. Check County noise ordinances if the generator is noisy, or choose one that’s quiet. Turn off the generator when away from home and while you sleep.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: How-To's, Industry Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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