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Your home is a huge investment when you buy it, plus monthly operating costs like utility bills. We help you spend less, get more value & build homeowner equity like a savings account.

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You've probably never hung a door or shingled a roof. That’s why problems are scary. We share concepts, terminology so you can make smart decisions about your home ... with confidence!

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With Pinterest, Houzz and so many shows about home improvements, it's natural to have a wish list. We share our ideas, your homeowner stories and support you in achieving your dreams.

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Saving $$$

Electrical Building Code Changes Coming

Building codes are used to improve the safety of of our homes (read: Short History of Building Codes). The latest electrical building code, the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), was recently published by the National Fire Protection Association.

electrical outlets like this one are regulated by the electrical building code

GFCI outlet in a bathroom …

Builders, remodelers and licensed electricians are responsible for staying up to date on changes to the building code. This is one very important reason why … [Save More…]

How to Fix Water Damaged Art

Most of the time your artwork is hung on walls or placed on shelves. My challenge was dealing with water damaged art that was sitting on the floor in several inches of water. That's typical when you're moving into a new house. When unpacking, I placed things in the room where I thought they'd go. Fortunately this was the only bedroom left to organize, plus the front hallway.

the only bedroom with water damaged art ...

Only bedroom with water damaged art sitting on the floor …

You can imagine how upset I got when [Save More…]

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Replacing Baseboard After a Flood

Every house has baseboard which is installed when a house is built. You might replace your baseboard when remodeling or refinishing your floors. If your house floods, replacing baseboard will be one of the many things needed to return your home to it's pre-flood condition. The big question is when to remove the baseboard?

decorative baseboard can dress up a room, which is why homeowners are replacing baseboard installed by builders

Decorative baseboard can dress up a room …

Unless you've lived through a remodeling project, you probably aren't familiar with what is hiding behind baseboards. [Learn More …]

Cheap House Windows You Want to Avoid

The emphasis on low cost products drives lower quality products. Poor quality means products have to be replaced more often. When you have to replace building materials frequently, they cost more when you include installation costs. Walmart focuses on consumable products, ones that aren't expected to last a long time. They don't sell cheap house windows because …

cheap house windows & screens installed by Richmond American Homes at West Haven, outside Orlando

Houses last 40, 60 or 100 years. Walmart does sell window accessories like screens, shutters, window film, window awnings and window insulation kits.

Sadly many production builders, to save a nickel here and there, [Learn More …]

Best Furniture Pads to Protect Floors

When you move into a brand new house you want to decorate, organize and protect your home so it sparkles forever. Furniture pads will let you move furniture around, knowing your floors are protected from scratches and gouges. The challenge is finding the best furniture pads for your floors and furniture.

More homeowners worry about their hardwood floors but my experience says it pays to protect all flooring. With wall-t0-wall porcelain tile, I expected my floors to be pretty indestructible … [Learn More …]

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Your Dream Home

Thanksgiving Tablescapes on a Budget

Thanksgiving tablescapes are more than a nice tablecloth and your best dishes. Tablescapes like landscaping, bring together many different colors and textures by using lots of decorating accessories to create tables with incredible personality. You can create tablescapes on a budget by using your existing glassware plus gifts from nature. Skip buying and storing things. Instead go for a walk and collect brightly colored leaves, pinecones and more. Grow your own pumpkins or buy them.

using pumpkins, here they're white, for Thanksgiving tablescapes

White pumpkins & dinnerware dressed up …

One of my favorite tablescapes [Start Dreaming …]

Mold Remediation Process: Steps & Sequence?

Experience in residential construction, maintenance and repairs hasn't made negotiating the mold remediation process any easier. If anything, it's a reminder of how overwhelmed many homeowners get with various home repairs and remodeling projects. It's a lesson making time to research, learn and follow the mold remediation process, one step at a time.

Maybe knowing more than the average homeowner has added to my challenge. With multiple players involved, it's been a challenge figuring out who does what? Who really understands the big picture? And what's the best sequence for mold remediation steps need to be performed. Everyone I've talked to has offered a different opinion.

  • One mold remediation company said they could only provide an estimate for the areas with visible mold (shown above). They explained they would need the mysterious “protocol” from a mold testing company before they could provide details on how to handle personal property like furniture.
  • Another mold remediation company seemed to agree with my concerns including the wall cavities in testing the indoor air for mold. Together we came up with a two-step process:
    • Remove baseboard and do test cuts in each wall before the mold testing. But a few days later, they said the job was too small and the price tag too high, so they recommended finding someone else.
    • They agreed to provide an estimate to remove 2 feet of drywall throughout the house, the standard approach to drywall that's gotten wet. Unfortunately it's been a week and … no estimate!
  • A mold testing company confirmed testing the wall cavities is important. They explained there are different ways to test for mold inside the wall cavities, including thermal imaging that can see through the drywall.

Mold Remediation Process #1 – Mold Testing

The water mitigation team took much too long to dry the house out, so my biggest fear has been mold inside the wall cavities. Knowing this was a possibility, it didn't make sense to do the mold testing with all the walls buttoned up.

While talking to these various companies, I started to remove the baseboard myself (read: Replacing Baseboard After a Flood) and making test cuts like the one above. The challenge isn't removing these materials but rather putting things back together when done.

Homeowner tip #1 – By making test cuts below the baseboard line, there is less work to replace the drywall because the patches will be covered up by the new baseboard. This means you don't have to apply the three coats of mud needed to cover up the seams or match the wall texture.

Mold Remediation Process #2 – Remove Mold

Once the test results confirm the presence of mold in unhealthy (red numbers above) amounts, it's time to begin mold remediation. Here's where it gets tricky because you need to separate items that can be cleaned and reused from those that must be discarded.

family room before the flood, now undergoing mold remediation process before it can be put back together

Family room before the flood …

Mold Remediation - Sorting House Contents

Clean & Reuse
(Unless Damaged)

  • Indoor air “scrubbed”
  • HVAC system
  • Ceilings & walls
  • Windows & trim
  • Exterior doors
  • Light fixtures & mirrors
  • Cabinets & countertops
  • Toilets & showers/bathtubs
  • Non-porous flooring, e.g. tile
  • Undamaged furniture

What Gets Discarded
(Porous & Damaged Materials)

Family room chaos after flood & before mold remediation process starts

Family room chaos after the flood, not pretty!

Mold Remediation Process #3 – Clean, Clean & Clean

With no first hand knowledge yet, I'll defer the details until after the work is done at my house. For now I can tell you cleaning means wiping everything from the ceiling to the floor, all non-porous surfaces and a whole lot more.

If you are determined to DIY this work, the best documentation I've found is New York City's report, Guidelines
on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments. They lay out in detail (training, cleaning methods and quality assurance indicators), the mold remediation process steps for:

  • Small, isolated areas less than 10 square feet, like ceiling tiles or small areas on a wall.
  • Medium size areas that are isolated, between 10 and 100 square feet.

For large areas (greater than 100 square feet), they recommend “Properly trained and equipped mold remediation workers should conduct the remediation.” introduce the type of equipment used in the mold remediation process.

here's mold waiting for the mold remediation process to begin, to remove this bright orange mold ...

Orange mold because water didn't dry fast enough …

Look what I found today … bright orange mold hiding behind the baseboard. You're right that there isn't much there but here's why my mold problem needs professional help. In addition to the mold here, there's a lot more black mold on the other side of this 7 ft long kitchen island. There's also mold on another kitchen wall that has 6 ft of cabinets. We haven't taken off all the baseboard in the kitchen yet, so after the mold test results come back next week, the mold remediation process will begin!

Homeowner tip #2 – It's tempting to do everything yourself to save money. It's also true that if you don't have the experience, the right tools and the time/patience to do it right, you'll end up paying someone to redo things. Your family's health is too important. If you need to save money, ask what steps you can do to reduce the cost of the mold remediation process at your house.
keeping your home healthy during the mold remediation process includes using this zip wall ...

Temporary wall to contain dust & mold spores …

Tools Used in the Mold Remediation Process

For most DIYers, you're going to be dealing with a fairly small area with mold. Before you disturb the mold, you should put up a plastic wall to prevent mold spores from spreading throughout your house. Here's the ZipWall (above) that contractors use which makes it easy … or go ahead and devise your own solution. Either way, you'll need to use 6 ml plastic and dispose of it when done.

Dream Home Ideas

https://youtube.com/watch?v=aY_L9A734KU

How to Create Your Dream Home

Have you got a long list of projects that never seem to get done? We’re here to help you prioritize what needs to get done now, along with tips to create your dream home and the lifestyle you want. Our free report will help you remember what’s really important, what you loved about the houses where you’ve lived.

Owning 12+ houses through the years working for I’ve Been Moved (IBM), gave me lots of experience to share about what works, and what doesn’t. Then I settled down to live/work in one place, and started a handyman business (8 years, 2,000 homeowners). I discovered my passion for helping women learn to manage their homes with confidence. So let’s connect and create the house you’ve always dreamed of!

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