Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/21/2021


 Photo by Atner Yegorov via Pixabay

Do you have an old fence that has good bones but nonetheless is detracting from the overall aesthetic of your outdoor living space? If so, consider giving the fence a facelift rather than tearing it down and replacing it with a brand-new version. You don't have to be a professional fence contractor to breathe new life into an ailing fence. Here's what you need to do:

Inspect the Fence Carefully

The first step in giving your fence a facelift is performing comprehensive, honest inspection. Are the fence posts still firmly rooted, and are the railings relatively free of rot and fairly intact? Identify any problem areas and mark them clearly with a waterproof marker so that you can easily find them again. 

Make a Game Plan

The next step is to repair and reinforce your fence -- resist the urge to pressure was it at this time because that will only make any existing damage worse. If necessary, replace broken or rotten railings and posts. Because fences feature sectional construction, you don't have to take the whole fence apart in order to replace posts and rails.

Wash the Fence 

It is not necessary to own or rent a power washer to clean your wooden fence. If you do decide to use one, keep it on the lowest possible setting. A garden hose will work just as well, although some people do prefer to use a power washer for larger fences. 

Wash your fence by sections. The first step is to thoroughly wet the fence before cleaning it with a soft cloth, a fiber brush, and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Let the solution sit for several minutes on areas of the fence with significant grime or stains -- and use the brush to remove stubborn patches of dirt. Add up to two cups of bleach to your cleaning mixture if your fence has multiple stained areas. Be sure to rinse each section thoroughly before moving on to the next. 

Paint or Stain the Fence

A fresh coat of paint or stain works wonders to increase the aesthetics of a wooden fence. White paint provides a fence with a classically upscale look, while staining it a neutral tone enhances a natural look. Whichever you choose, it's bound to elevate the overall curb appeal of your property.  

Depending on the size of your fence, the extent of the damage, and whether you decide to paint or stain it, the project will probably only take a couple of days. Most homeowners do the cleaning and the repair work one day and save the painting or staining for the following day. 




Tags: home impovements   DIY   fences  
Categories: DIY  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/1/2020

Image by David Papazian from Shutterstock

Porch lighting is an essential part of a home's curb appeal. It offers much more than help navigating in the dark or a pretty accent for your front door. A brightly lit porch can enhance security and also save you money on your energy bill.

Where will you place it?

The location of your porch light helps you choose the right fixture. When updating an existing light, your choices may be limited if you don’t want to relocate your electricity or create additional patching or painting tasks. If your project is bigger or you are starting from scratch, your options are unlimited. In addition to the traditional placement on either side of the door, porch lights can be hung from above or be installed on posts.

What is the style of your home?

The architecture of your home also dictates the kind of fixture you should choose. If your home does not have any defining characteristics, your style is all you need. Porchlights can be found in several styles and designs with modern, casual and traditional options widely available. Consider a traditional style for a colonial home or a rustic fixture for a log cabin.

What is the size of your entry door?

The size of your porch light should balance with the size of your door. For example, if you have a standard-size door of six-feet eight-inches, it is recommended that your porch light be between 5 and 9 inches wide. A porch light that is 10 to 12 inches wide will balance with an eight-foot door. Choose the same or similar widths when installing multiple fixtures.

What are the features?

Motion sensitive porch lights feature a built-in sensor that turns on the light when a person or pet moves into the range of the sensor. A daylight sensitive light has a timer that automatically turns on the lights at dusk. Most decorative porch lights feature built-in dusk to dawn photoelectric eyes, which means you won't need to think about turning on the porch light. 

If you want a bright porch light, check the wattage recommendations for the fixture you’re considering. Do not exceed the fixture's wattage as this could cause damage. Replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs or outdoor-rated compact fluorescent bulbs.

Installing the right porch light can add charm to your home and significantly boost your curb appeal. If you need guidance or installation assistance, ask your realtor for recommended lighting professionals or contractors to help with your project.




Categories: home improvement  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/3/2018

In times of rising temperatures and growing concerns of climate change, many of us are looking for small ways we can make a difference in our everyday lives. What better place to start than your own home?

It can be overwhelming to plan drastic eco-friendly changes to your home. That’s why we’ve broken these tips down room-by-room so that you can make changes in just one area and then build from there. Starting small will help you see your environmentally-minded project through to the finish.

Read on for tips for each room of your home to make your life more eco-friendly.

Bedroom

We’ll start with a small and easy one: the bedroom. Odds are your bedroom isn’t hogging too much power or creating a lot of waste. However, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you save some money while helping out the environment.

If your bedroom tends to get chilly at night, try using insulating curtains to help keep the cool air from slipping in through the windows. Similarly, on hot days close the curtains at peak sunlight hours to keep the bedroom cool. This small change could save you from having to turn up the heat or air conditioner when you enter your room each night.

The next time you clean out your closet, bring your items to a local thrift store or charity drop-off. You can even ask for a receipt which will make your donation tax-deductible. This way your clothes can extend their lives and stay out of a landfill a bit longer, and you’ll be helping out someone who could use the clothing.

Kitchen

Kitchen appliances offer a lot of opportunity for energy and water waste. When shopping for appliances, seek out appliances that meet Energy Star standards.

When it comes to water, forego the plastic bottles and buy a glass or metal refillable water bottle. Tap filters can greatly improve the taste, and you might find after a few days that you don’t even notice the water tasting differently.

Consider composting kitchen scraps in a composting bin. You can later use this for fertilizing plants in your yard and garden. And, finally, be sure you’re recycling all of your empty food and beverage containers.

Living Room

Is your living room your entertainment center? If so, many of your devices, like cable boxes and streaming media devices, might continue running on “standby mode” wasting electricity. To prevent this, simply plug all of your devices into a power strip and turn it off at night.

Bathroom

Start by using refillable hand soap containers rather than buying a new one each time you run out. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and save you trips to the store as well.

If your hot water takes a long time to heat up and you find yourself running the tap often, consider installing a recirculating water pump in your bathroom.

House-wide improvements

To save on electricity throughout the house, make sure you’re using compact fluorescent bulbs and only keeping the lights on when you’re in the room.

When cleaning, try using non-toxic cleaners or making your own from solutions of water, vinegar, and citrus essentials. 





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/30/2015

As an individual's taste changes, there often comes the need to make some adjustments to the environment in which they live. Making changes to the home is typically where one starts. Home renovation projects can range from a complete overhaul, to changing out dated decor and appliances, to simply repairing or replacing furnishings and accessories. The most important factor in fixing up your home is that the end result reflects your personal taste and style. Another reason for renovating a home is for the purpose of expansion. Additional rooms may become necessary when children are born, or relatives move in. The decision to add a tenant to your home will also results in the need for renovation and expansion. The correct balance of living space and occupants is key in maintaining a happy home. A home can also be renovated to increase its value. Homeowners often decide to fix up their house when they are preparing to sell. Home improvements typically increase the value of the property, as well as improve its general appearance. Prospective buyers are attracted to houses in excellent shape as opposed to those in need of repairs. Government assistance programs can also assist individuals in need, such as the elderly and disabled with renovating their homes. Taking on projects that improve the living condition of the home as well as raising their standard of living. Renovations to an older home may include the replacement of a heating system, upgrading a bathroom and installing safety accessories, or simply applying fire resistant paint or wall paper. Their main focus being placed on providing a safe living environment. The following factors should be considered prior to starting a renovation project: Budget The home owner must first decide how much they can afford for home improvements, then base the extent of the renovation accordingly. Setting a strict budget will help guide the choice of materials to be used, and determine whether the job will need to be done by the homeowner or a professional can be hired. Materials The choice of materials, equipment and accessories to be used for home improvement projects is very important. Substandard materials should not be used. This is where the advice or services of professionals comes in handy. It is also advised that a professional accompanies the home owner when purchasing the materials to ensure their taste is also taken into consideration. Government Policy There could be a local authority directive on materials, paints and structure restricting how homes in a particular areas should be renovated. Thus, the owners have no choice but to follow the government’s directives. Skills For projects that are not very big and where the owner has the required skills, time, tools and equipment, they can go ahead and do it themselves. However, when the renovation project is large, requiring multiple skills, the services of licensed professionals is mandatory. Always be careful with who you hire, do your research to ensure they will provide the services you need at a competitive price.