Tag Archives: Bathroom

4 Quick and Inexpensive Bathroom Repairs-No Plumber Required

Ahh, the throne of your home for the king or queen of the castle is located here.  A place to relax and wash the troubles of the day away.   For a room that arguably gets heavy daily use in your home, you can expect that there are many small repairs that can creep up on you in a bathroom.  The good news is that most of the fix-its are very quick and easy and don’t require an expensive plumber bill.

Here’s a quick run down of common problems that can be remedied quickly and inexpensively:

1) Clogged Shower head: Hard water causes calcium buildup over time and clogged holes will cause uneven and reduced water flow.  Before resorting to removal or replacement of the head, you can try using a toothpick to remove the mineral deposits from the holes.  You can also try to soak the head in vinegar by filling a ziploc baggie full of vinegar and attaching it the head with a rubber band or tape and letting it soak for a few hours.  If this doesn’t work, you might consider replacement.

To remove the head, put a piece of masking tape around the arm (flange) for protection of the surface and using a wrench, loosen the shower head by turning to the left. The (flange) arm will stay in place.   Simply discard the old head and screw on the new one.  There are some pretty nice water saving heads available for less than $20.   Make sure you ensure a new watertight seal with white plumber’s tape.  The tape spool is usually blue with white vinyl tape and costs around $1 but well worth peace of mind to be leak free.

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How to maximize your home value with home improvements

Many areas across our country have been hit hard with declining real estate values.  As a result, more and more people are looking at ways to stay in their current home and ride-out the decline.  As I like to say, learn to “love the home you’re with”.  By completing a few critical home repairs or improvements, homeowners can actually add value to their home by increasing its equity and marketability.  Even better, there are many options that can be done yourself that won’t break your bank.  When you can tackle smaller projects yourself, you save even more money.

Invest wisely:

Invest your time and money into wise improvements.  Before tackling larger projects, consider the resale value of those improvements.  Will you get all or most of your money spent back equally in the increased resale value?   Renovating your home can also improve your quality of life.   Any upgrade should reflect your style, but try to choose colors, building materials and furnishings that will bring you maximum marketability for resale. Even low cost improvements like painting can go a long way.

Consider Functionality

Will the renovation serve a purpose for your family?  Does it fit into your lifestyle?  Will it improve the use of a current space?  Consider the size, location and layout of any addition to ensure it blends well into your current surroundings.

Go Eco-Friendly

Let’s face it, with current tax credits available and all the buzz about carbon footprints and going green, this should be a very important part of your investment decision.  Not only do energy efficient improvements save money on utility costs or take advantage of recycled building materials, they are becoming a hot selling factor in homes which increases your marketability resale value to buyers.  Insulated windows, lighting, solar panels or other energy saving features are among the available options to homeowners.    There are also a variety of building materials that are available in eco-friendly options such as flooring, natural fiber carpets, VOC free paints, recycled material countertops, etc.

Popular Options for Home Improvements:

Fresh Paint Inside and Out: By far, this is the least expensive and easiest way to get a lot of bang for your buck.  Don’t overlook door trims, exterior paint, corners and doors.  Chipped or dirty paint in a desirable color does nothing for resale value, but a fresh coat of paint says “welcome in”.  Go over your home inside and out from a buyer’s perspective and ensure your paint is in its best condition and clean.

Landscaping/Outdoor Amenities: As families are getting back outside to enjoy time together and entertaining, patios and decks are a good option for any property. Decks and patio additions can recoup at least 75% of their cost in extra home value.  Flower beds, brick walkways, fresh mulch and other landscaping add instant curb appeal.  Curb appeal will be the first thing any real estate agent will look at when you go to sell your home.

Kitchen or Bathroom upgrade: These two rooms historically bring the best resale value to homes when updated in current finishes.  You might be surprised that by doing even a budget kitchen makeover, it will go a long way on the value you get in return.

Survey your floors and cabinets to determine if they should be updated.  Consider sanding, staining, or painting dingy looking cabinets.  Replacing old cabinet hardware can add a lot of visual appeal for a low cost.  Old and worn sinks and fixtures should be replaced.

For some budget kitchen makeover ideas:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/21/6-quick-and-easy-tips-for-a-budget-kitchen-makeover/

For some budget bathroom makeover ideas:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/portfolio-bathroom-remodel/

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/28/portfolio-bathroom-remodel-2/


A Home Remodel Series (Part 5-Retile a Shower)

At last, today is moving day for my friend!  Her mini-home remodel is complete and the construction dust is gone.    My friend went from vanilla everything to “wow” by making subtle changes with color and a few finishes.  Concluding our home remodel series we started last week, her master bath shower and tub, like the rest of her home,  were white on white.

To see where we started and what we’ve done, click here:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/a-home-remodel-series-part-1-before-demo/

For such a large and bright space, it lacked a lot of personality.  With some paint and new tile, see the room take on a new life below.

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5 Things Women Should Know About Home Improvements

Recently  Scott McGillivray  from HGTV’s “Income Property” appeared on the Today show and discussed 5 things that every woman should know about basic home improvements:

1)  Have a few basic tools on hand

Scott recommended a 12 volt cordless drill which is small and easy to hold and it is rechargeable in 20 minutes and can be used for a variety of projects.  Also recommended were a tape measure, stud finder (used to find the framing studs in your wall which is useful to know when hanging heavier objects on your walls), drill bit set, and a “sawzall” which is a handheld mini-saw

Here is an expanded version of what I recommend that every basic tool box should have:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/basic-toolbox-and-tools/

2)  How to properly insert a screw into drywall for hanging a picture

If you just insert a regular screw into drywall, it runs a good chance of becoming loose and creating a bigger hole when it wiggles out.  The best method is to use a molly bolt (also known as a drywall plug).  Look in the “fasteners” section of your local home improvement store for the drywall plugs; several types even have “weight ratings” to guide you on the type you might need for your task.

3) Patching a small hole

Oops you goofed and drilled the hole in the wrong spot or maybe you don’t want a picture in a certain spot on your wall any longer and a hole remains from the old nail or screw. Small containers of drywall patch are available at most home improvement stores in the paint section.  Some are very handy and even change colors as they dry to let you know they are ready to sand and repaint.  For small holes such as nail holes or screw holes, you can use the drywall patch and a putty knife and spread a little dab of the patch into the hole and smooth it out even with the wall surface.  Repaint as desired.

4)  Your toilet is running

The never-ending noise of a running toilet is not only annoying, but costly due to high water bills.  Common fixes for a running toilet: a) handle gets stuck  so you can just jiggle the handle to make it stop; b) sometimes the chain inside comes loose so all you need to do is reach inside and reset the chain on the hook;  and c) sometimes its the flapper at the bottom of the tank that doesn’t reset itself inside properly so it just needs to be pushed back into place.

5) Reset circuit breaker

Sometimes, a circuit gets overloaded in your home and causes the lights in one part of your house to go out.  All homes and apartments have circuit breaker panels and when a circuit is overloaded, a breaker switch clicks off.  Go to your circuit breaker panel and find the switch that went off and reset the breaker by turning the switch back on.  Obviously if there is an overload, you need to try to determine the cause and adjust.  Usual culprits are high voltage appliances like hair dryers on the same circuit as other high demand appliances.

See the complete video here:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/33448782#33448782

Bathroom remodel inspiration

A Girl Can Do It!!!

One project truly does lead to another when you are able to start small and gain confidence in yourself along the way.  My friend and neighbor, Marian Takushi,  recently completed one bathroom remodel when she decided to take on another.

Check out her before and after for a little inspiration:

Before

What the project included:

Existing counter top and cabinets were replaced with standard order black cabinets (available in a variety of finishes and sizes from Lowes and Home Depot and these are very reasonably priced from around $200-500); granite top was done at a steal from scrap pieces for around $350.

Existing builders grade mirror was removed to reveal about 3 layers of wall paper. Ordinarily, this could have been a nightmare.  But instead of removal, Marian repeated the stucco finish on her wall by troweling stucco patch in the same stroke pattern as the rest of her bathroom and painted over it.  New framed mirror is now in place.

Smartly, she re-used the existing light fixtures but repainted with  Krylon’s hammered metal finish paint to give them a new look.

And this is a neat idea….instead of replacing her medicine cabinet which would have cost $200, she found a picture frame for around $20, placed hinges on it and mounted it to the existing recessed medicine cabinet box.  Now she has a framed art medicine cabinet.  Very cute and practical.

Now Marian has a chic and updated bath that took less than a week to finish!  You can do it too!

A Home Remodel Series- Part 2 (replacing bathroom faucets)

Continuing the progress at my friend’s home remodel  http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/a-home-remodel-series-part-1-before-demo/ , they had 5 bathroom faucets to replace.  With new faucets running as inexpensive as $40 and up, this is an affordable update to make to your space style-wise.

First and most importantly,  make sure that your new faucet needs the same number of holes as your old faucet.  In other words, some sink faucets only need one hole in your counter tops whereas some others need 3 or 4.  Sometimes it might just be easier to take the old faucet with you to your local store to ensure a match.

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Frame a mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, you ARE the fairest of them all!


Mirrors never lie, unless you find yourself in a fun house.  You stand in front of the big rectangular beast every day, and you don’t like what you see and surprise, it has absolutely nothing to do with YOU.

Besides its plainness, your mirror may be *gasp* showing the harsh truths of its age with the little age spots setting in around the edges.  Kindred spirits.  The plain and drab favorites of builders everywhere do a lot for making a room appear larger but very little for actual aesthetics.  Before you decide to spend money on a cuter, sleeker model, there are few things that you can do to boost your mirror’s self esteem.

Sizing it up

First determine where you want the frame to be.  If you want to attach the frame to the mirror on its edges or cover up age spots, it will reduce the mirror’s apparent size.  Opting for this method, you will simply want to measure the width and length of the mirror.  If, however, there is a space between the mirror and the wall and ceiling, you have the opportunity to make your bathroom mirror look even bigger than it really is, by having your frame attached to the outside edges of your mirror.

To go bigger, use a level, draw a line on the wall around the mirror at a distance of least 2-4 inches (depending on your frame selection below). This line will be your guide showing where the frame will end and will be your new measurements.   I highly recommend adding 1 or 2 inches to any measurement you take, to offset any errors when it comes to cutting the corners of the frame.

Picking the frame

There are a wide variety of wood trim options: unfinished ready for staining with wood finishes, pre-primed (great for painting), less expensive MDF board frames (also great for painting).  The wider and fancier you get, the more expensive.   You can match the color of your cabinets, paint them to contrast the room or whatever you desire.  Semi-gloss paints make the best finish in wet areas for ease of clean up.  The simplest of trims can make a lot of impact for as little as $20-30 to complete this entire project.

Whatever trim you choose, you will need 4 pieces, long enough to measure the longest length or width of your mirror.

Making the cut

Imagine a picture frame; the 4 pieces you have will each be cut at 45 degree angles at the ends so they fit together to form a square.   If you have a saw at home that can cut at an angle (like a miter saw or miter box guide), then simply cut your wood at 45 degree angles. You will create two pieces for the width and two pieces for the length.  Remember to switch between right and left as you go so that when placed together, they make 90 degree right angles.

If you don’t have access to such a saw, most stores offer wood cutting services at no charge.  You may also find that many Home Depot stores provide a table with a handsaw and a frame for sawing at a 45 degree angle so that you can cut the wood yourself.

Frame it

After your pieces have been cut to measure and you have stained or painted as you desire, you are ready to frame it up!  Using a heavy duty adhesive (I like Power Grab because of its easy clean up and quick set time), apply the adhesive to the backside of your wood pieces that will make one corner. You will need to hold the pieces in place until the glue begins to set up.  You can also use some heavier duty painters tape or a brace of some sort to hold the wood in place firmly until it dries.

Once this first half of the frame is affixed, you can now attach the other half the same way, completing the “square”.

A small twist in the plan

If you aren’t convinced that wood cutting or framing is your thing, think of what your mirror would like like if you “framed” it with smaller bathroom tiles, or seashells, or glass mosaic tiles or whatever style your bathroom takes on?  Heavy duty adhesives can go a long way to adhering things directly to the mirror.  Tiles can be applied to the surrounding wall with a tile mastic.  Let your imagination run wild.  Your mirror will thank you for it!

Whatever you decide, your mirror will now look like a sharp finished companion that will share your deepest darkest secrets for days to come.

**In case you aren’t convinced, let me also add that these mirrors are also usually very heavy and glued to the wall; so proceed cautiously if you still decide to opt for replacing it.

Portfolio Bathroom Remodel 2

Another portfolio for bathroom makeover ideas!  This bathroom was a late 80′s vanilla room with oak cabinets, tulip track lighting, marbled vanity and tub with white tile and beige carpet. See how it goes from “ho-hum” to “wow”
Some of the projects completed like tile and faucet replacement will take a little more know-how, but in time, will be talking about all of this on this site.

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A Home Remodel Series (Part 1-Before Demo)

One of my friends recently purchased a beautiful new home and has decided to complete certain improvements before moving day.  Basically, with ivory walls and beige carpet along with white tiles in all baths, the home is a virtual blank canvas for aspiring do-it-yourself’ers!!  My friend has generously agreed to let me take photos of the work before, during and after in order to follow the progress; at the same time, I will provide step-by-step advice on how to complete some of the work so that you may choose to do the same in your own home!  Some of the projects have a varying level of difficulty that you may opt to hire profession help for.

Stay tuned!!!

The blank canvas awaits:

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Portfolio Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodel-Before

Bathroom Remodel Before

Bathroom remodel progress

Bathroom remodel-After

Bathroom remodel-After

This bathroom update project involved:
1) repainting existing cabinets in a satin black
2) Installing new cabinet hardware in brushed nickel and retro glass knobs
3) framing the existing mirror
4) new glass mosaic tile counter tops purchased from Home Depot, drop in sinks and faucets from Home Depot
5) new floor tile (4″ x 4″ black, 12″ x 12″ white and 4″ x 4″ blue glass)all from Home Depot
6) new tiles dispersed in shower(chiseled out random tiles so that a complete shower demo would not be required)
7) Paint-”Shale Blue” by Ralph Lauren from Home Depot
If you’d like to complete a project like this and just don’t know how, comment back and I’ll try to help with the “how to” advice!  Many of these topics will be covered on this site.  You CAN do it!