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5 Non-Decor Uses of Pallets

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I’m sure you’ve been online and seen many articles written that detail the many uses of pallets in home decor. Nothing wrong with that, people have made some really cool stuff that way.

I wanted to suggest a handful of uses for pallets that get outside the home decor arena. Some of them fall into the category of home improvement projects, but not as decor. 

Fire Wood

If you have ever decided to start a fire to sit around and cook with, you will know that it requires a lot of wood. A pallet is a perfect item to use. It is big enough that you have a lot of wood to use. The smaller boards can have parts shaved off to use as kindling, and then can be broken to meet the needs of your growing fire. 

The bigger boards would be for when the fire is growing strong. Whatever your need in firewood, a pallet is a great option.

Shelves

You can stack pallets easily, that is what they are made for. If you have a need for some extra shelves, then look no further than pallets. All you would need to do is build small posts in each corner to give some space in between the pallets, and voila! You have some easy shelves to increase your storage space.

Again, I consider this home improvement rather than home decor. 

Storage

Storage is much needed. Many homes just don’t have enough. Pallets are great for storage, as noted above. The reason I separated this from the shelves category is that pallets are versatile in their storage capability and don’t need to be made into shelves. Plus, there are lots of things you probably wouldn’t put on a shelf. 

If you have some heavy items you are worried about putting marks on your garage floor, a pallet is a perfect answer. It is low to the ground, so it makes for minimal lifting. Pallets are strong and can hold heavy objects. They also won’t be as easily moved as if you put a mat or pad down. 

It can also keep things off the floor in case of flooding. You can avoid damage to your possessions without spending a ton of money. Pallets for the win. 

Scrap wood

I can’t tell you how many times I could have used a piece of wood for something around the house. The last time was when my AC unit didn’t have a plastic guard to make sure the window was covered. I really just wanted a couple pieces of wood to put on either side of the unit so bugs couldn’t get in.

There are many uses for scrap wood around the house. A pallet is great because it provides a lot of wood that can be used in that way, and it isn’t terribly hard to tear apart with the right tools. 

Nails

I have known some people that will get a pallet, tear it apart as they need it and keep the nails. It works great for them as they just hang onto those nails and use it the next time they need a nail or two. 

It may not make a huge difference unless you consistently buy pallets, but it is a plus. Some pallets are held together with staples which may be less effective for your next home improvement project. 

Conclusion 

Pallets are versatile, handy things to have if you like doing your own home improvement projects. You can easily contact nearby businesses and see if they have any used pallets they will just get rid of, or if not a search for “pallets near me” can help you locate a pallet supplier. 

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Log Home

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Have you ever dreamt of building a log home? Many of us dream about living in a beautiful, towering log cabin somewhere, surrounded by nature and cozy wooden walls. 

Building your very own log cabin isn’t as simple as it may seem, however. There are many things that people who dream of building a log cabin aren’t aware of. Financial factors and other unforeseen variables can derail your dream before you’ve even begun the building stage if you aren’t informed on the process. 

Let’s go over 5 crucial things you need to know before building a log cabin, so you can put forth your best effort at turning your dream into a reality.

  1. The Cost

On average, it costs about $35 per square foot when using a kit to build a log cabin. That’s not all, though! You’ll also need to take into account the cost of labor, utility lines, site preparation, permits, and the land itself.

One way to estimate the approximate cost of building your log cabin altogether is to take your building kit cost and multiply it by 2.6. If you are handy enough and decide to build yours straight from scratch, the cost will be a lot lower (though it will probably take much longer). For example, one man built a log cabin from scratch in a month for somewhere in the neighborhood of just $500.

You should factor in log home restoration costs as well as general log home repairs.

  1. Shrinkage and Settling

Even a log cabin built with kiln dried logs will shrink and settle a bit. This is due to the wood losing its moisture content once felled. To plan for and adjust to this, you’ll need to use chinking, caulk, and the appropriate finishes to prevent the cabin from experiencing air leakage. 

  1. Maintenance Will Be Continuous

Like a regular house, your log cabin will require maintenance. You should inspect it at least 2 times per year, in the spring and fall. This will involve inspecting the chinking, looking for any pests infestations, and assessing the overall condition of your log cabin. You should wash your cabin at least once per year to clean off all the surface level dirt. You’ll also need to stain it at least once every 3 years. It’s extremely important to stay up to date on your log home maintenance.

  1. Location is Vital

Depending on where you build your log cabin, there will be different planning laws, zoning laws, and other varying factors to consider. In addition to this, you’ll also need to consider amenities and resources. You need to be close enough so that you can have things like running water, power, phone service, and access to emergency services. Unless, that is, you want to live completely off the grid. 

  1. The Energy Efficiency of a Log Cabin

Log cabins are notoriously energy inefficient unless properly insulated. If you insulate the floor and the roof while sealing up all air leaks, your log cabin will likely be more energy efficient than the average residential home. This is because logs absorb and radiate heat.

Consider Everything Before Building a Log Cabin

If you take into account everything in this article and plan accordingly, you should have no problem building an energy efficient, sturdy log cabin that’s well within your budget. 

By considering all the various factors you need to, you can build the log cabin of your dreams without running into any unexpected roadblocks. 

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Farmhouse Flooring Ideas for Your Home

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There are many different flooring materials to choose from to achieve the look you want for your home. Today, farmhouse styled design is at an all time high. When it comes to your flooring, homeowners can use rustic materials to bring their farmhouse design to life.

There are several ways to get a rustic look with your flooring, including hardwood and wood planks. By adding farmhouse flooring to your home, you have a base in which to create a rustic design. Learn more about the flooring options below to get started on your new farmhouse styled home. 

  1. Distressed Hardwood

One of the most popular options for farmhouse flooring is distressed hardwood. Manufactured and created from reclaimed wood, this flooring type will be durable for many years to come. Such wood is found in old barns and buildings then reconfigured to be used as flooring. With distressed hardwood, you have the perfect backdrop for a farmhouse style in your home.

Distressed hardwood can be installed in a variety of wood types as well as coloring. Choose to go dark or light, or even have wood planks that vary in color for more visual appeal. Easily find a style you like and have it installed in your home. The wood pieces will add character to any room, adding to the overall design. 

  1. Whitewashed or Grey Wood Planks

For a lighter and brighter look, whitewashed or grey wood floors are a great option to consider. This type of flooring is created with planks of wood that have been painted in a particular way. The whitewash look is a painting technique that involves watered down white paint. The flooring creates a light base for your room, perfect for that farmhouse look. This option can be installed in any room and give you the foundation for a newly designed home. 

  1. Neutral Carpet

If you enjoy a plusher flooring type, choose to install new carpet throughout your home. Many homeowners like the comfort carpet has to offer, especially in the bedrooms. You can still achieve an overall farmhouse look with carpet. To maintain the farmhouse style, choose neutral colored options. Opt for a beige or gray tone to compliment the overall style of your property. 

  1. White Tile for Bathrooms

In the bathrooms of your home, tile is the best flooring type. You want to use a material that does well in a wet environment. Tile is durable and can easily last for many years to come. When choosing tile for a farmhouse style, white is the top choice among homeowners. White tiles can be added in a solid with no pattern or with texture or pattern to create interest. 

Choose to add larger tiles or smaller settings depending on the size of your space. You want to add tiles that will make smaller rooms look larger or create the right foundation for a larger space. 

These are just a few ideas you can use when it comes to flooring and creating a farmhouse style home. Consider the rooms in your home that need flooring and how you can integrate any of these options to achieve your overall design style. 

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Clever Insulation Tips to Improve Your Energy Efficiency

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In terms of improving your energy efficiency, there are few more effective ways to do it than by adjusting your insulation strategy. Every home has basic insulation in the wall cavities and other spots, but that leaves something to be desired for many homeowners. In case you need a boost in energy efficiency and want to accomplish it by upgrading your insulation, let’s go over a few easy ways you can do just that.

Check your HVAC Ductwork

Your ductwork has no insulation in it, which is why it’s very crucial that it doesn’t have leaks, either. Unfortunately, many homeowners DO have leaks in their ductwork, meaning the only way to shore up that drain on energy efficiency is to get them patched. HVAC patching can be done in DIY duct sealing fashion, but you might not be able to reach holes or leaks that are tucked away in the far corners of your ductwork.

Using a professional air duct cleaning team is the best option because they will seal up your ductwork, identify the leaks, then use patented technology to seal all of them up without you ever having to get your hands dirty. They can even provide you a before and after snapshot of how much energy you’ll be saving once your HVAC energy efficient ductwork is fixed.

Install Roof Insulation

Roof insulation like ACFoam polyiso insulation is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency. Much heat is lost through the roof of a home, making an underlayment a critical part of energy efficiency. Foam roof insulation will boost your energy efficiency while providing extra moisture protection for your roof, which could save you money down the line as well.

Use a House Wrap

A house wrap works much like a roof underlayment does. It’s an added layer of continuous insulation that goes beneath just about every other part of your exterior walls. A house wrap will help to seal up some of the tiny gaps and cracks that normally aren’t bothered with. This can boost energy efficiency by a great deal since even these small little cracks and gaps are enough to let warm air out and cold air in, or vice versa.

Insulate Your Attic and Basement

Attics lose a lot of heat if they aren’t insulated properly. This is because they are located above the rest of the home, and heat rises. Use sheets of unbacked insulation in between every one of the floor joists in your attic, or apply a new layer on top if there’s already some there. Insulating exposed hot water pipes is a good idea too.

If you have a basement, proper insulation is important. Consider a below grade continuous insulation for your basement.

Improve Your Energy Efficiency with the Right Insulation

As you can see, the number of ways to improve your energy efficiency through insulation is almost endless. Whether you want to try insulating your attic, installing a roof underlayment or house wrap, fixing your HVAC ductwork, weatherstripping doors and sealing up windows, or any other method, you’ll run into no shortage of new tips. Try using multiple tips at once for an even more air-tight strategy.

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Tools Every Homeowner Should Have for Small Projects & Repairs

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As a homeowner, you know that keeping your home in order is not easy. Your house can seem like there’s one problem after another--therefore, being prepared to fix any problem when it occurs as fast as possible requires the right tools to tackle them in short order (or at least knock out the projects until the professionals can handle them). Let’s take a look at the basic tools for home repair that every homeowner should have on hand. 

Hammer

If there’s one tool that you’re going to need, it’s a hammer. Make sure to get a clawhammer so that you can remove nails and pry materials apart easily.

Vise Grips

Vise grips can help you get a grip on tough surfaces or hold something in place while you work on the other end. By adjusting the screw at the end, you can widen/narrow the open end and stabilize all sorts of materials hands-free. 

Tape Measure

There are plenty of construction measuring tools out there so it’s important to find the right ones for your needs. You’re going to need to measure materials sooner or later, so a diameter tape measure makes it a cinch. Make sure to purchase an easy-lock tape measure that measure at least 12 feet or more. If you need something a little bigger and more visual, consider a wide blade tape measure. Pocket rods are also good to have depending on how much DIY you actually plan to do.

Combination Pliers

For all manual applications, pliers come in handy (pun intended) in nearly every situation in your home. Whether you are tightening bolts, twisting/cutting wire, removing screws, and more, you’re going to need combination pliers to get a grip.

Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are mandatory when it comes to most small projects and repairs around the house. Make sure to have a variety of screwdrivers of different head sizes and types, such as the common Phillips and flathead varieties, but also Pozidriv, Torx, Hexagon, and Security T which are included on new products and appliances.

Level

Symmetry is the name of the game when it comes to making perfect fits and a beautiful home. From leveling your kitchen counters to hanging a picture, a bubble level is the perfect tool for the job. For more involved projects, invest in a laser level for enhanced precision. The type of level you want depends on the projects you plan to do. For more masonry focused crafts, choose the best level for masons

Power Drill

When you’ve got a lot of materials to bring together or tear apart, there’s nothing like a power drill to handle most tasks around the house. 

Utility Knife

Don’t sacrifice the silverware. By using a utility knife, you can make precise cuts and scores on most materials (i.e. drywall). 

Tapes

There are few things as indispensable as tape for semi-permanent repairs. Gather a wide variety of tapes of different strengths and applications, such as electrical tape, duct tape, plumbers tape, teflon tape, and more.

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Tornado Safe Room Under Stairs: How to Reinforce

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If you live in an area that has even a remote chance of experiencing a tornado, it’s probably a good idea to have a safe room. A strong enough tornado can completely devastate your house and cause serious bodily harm or even death to you and your loved ones. 

Many people think that building a tornado safe room is complicated and will take up a lot of time, energy, and money, but this simply isn’t true. You can create a simple, yet effective tornado safe room right under your stairs in just a few basic steps. 

Building a Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs is Easier than it Looks

The space beneath a stairwell is actually one of the most naturally safe places to build a tornado safe room. The structure of the stairs provides overhead protection, while the lack of windows or nearby water pipes provides added protection against flying debris. There are, however, a few ways you can make this space even safer for you and your family, turning it into a full-blown safe zone in the event of a tornado.

Adding Protection to your Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs

If you want to really solidify this space, try using thick planks of solid oak to reinforce the stairs themselves. You can add them to the tops of your stairs as well as the underneath area where you’ll be hiding. Putting planks beneath the stairs can create an even stronger framework for added protection from falling objects.

Adding layers of protection on the floor is a good idea as well. Not only will this increase your comfort level, it can prevent minor injuries if anybody should accidentally fall down. Use some rubber tiles as the base for your flooring material, and then add some extra layers of memory foam on top of them. This can turn a hard cement floor into an extra comfy safe zone. 

Keeping Your Safe Room Airtight is Not Ideal

Although you don’t want any windows or open spots for rain or debris to come flying in, you don’t actually want your shelter to be airtight. You need to leave some space for vents that can let air in but which are not big enough to let debris in. 

As far as the door to your tornado safe room is concerned, it should open outwards and not inwards. You should also keep this area stocked with hand tools in case you need to dig your way out of a mess when the tornado has passed. The regular essentials like first-aid kits, food, water, flashlights, and more are also crucial to ensuring you can safely make it through the storm.

Tornado Safe Rooms Under the Stairs Are a Great Idea

If you’re lacking a tornado safe house, there’s no need to worry. Having a safe room under the stairs is the perfect solution for two story homes. This area is naturally reinforced, and with a little extra work, you can turn it into a completely fortified safe zone for you and your family to wait out any tornado in comfort and security. 

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