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Home Improvements Resolutions

Home Improvements Resolutions

The holidays are over and the new year is here. For those who have promised themselves they are going to get their homes in order, possibly even in preparation for a sale, it’s time to get going. In just one month, you can give your home the light touches it needs to freshen up well in time for spring.


Weekend 1: Take Down the Decorations
Start off easy by doing the relatively simple job of taking down the holiday decorations. If you had wreathes or a Christmas tree, make sure to vacuum up the fallen needles. While you’re taking everything down, also take the time to inspect for any minor damages that should be addressed in your home and the decorations (it might be good to keep a list). If you need to replace a Christmas light, do it now while everything is discounted in the stores. To stow strings of lights and beads, cut a piece of cardboard (or the box they came in) into a 12 x 9 rectangle. Hold one end down and wrap the string around the cardboard. This prevents the strand from tangling during storage and taking up too much space in the bin. Use a clear plastic bin to keep your ornaments in. This will both keep out the moisture and allow you to see what is inside the box while you’re searching for it next holiday season.


Weekend 2: Seal Wall and Ceiling Cracks
As houses swell and shrink according to the changing seasons, unsightly cracks may develop along the seams where walls or the wall and ceiling meet. This is a natural development that results from the shifting drywall. The structural integrity of the home is fine, but that fact doesn’t make the cracks any more charming. Fortunately, these cracks are a fairly easy fix.
First, remove the old piece of drywall tape. The area will be repainted later, so don’t worry about damage to the surrounding paint. Apply a long strip of meshy fiberglass drywall tape over the crack. After that is down, apply a thin layer of joint compound using a spackle knife. After it dries, apply two more, stopping to let each layer dry. After these layers are applied, the spackle tape should be fully covered, and you can sand the area down with fine grade sand paper. Then repaint it to match the surrounding area.


Weekend 3: Clean Tiles and Grout
Grout can keep its original color indefinitely if it is properly cleaned periodically, and it can give new life to a kitchen or bathroom. The cleanser you use should be determined by the type of tile you have and how dirty they are. For unglazed tiles, use natural cleaners, like a homemade solution of water and baking soda. Work in small circles with a toothbrush then rinse the tile clean with water. For glazed tiles and stubborn stains, you can use a stronger chemical cleanser. Bleach diluted in water, and maybe even a bit of liquid dish soap, can handle most chores. If a stain is particularly resistant, you may have to use a chemical stripper. After the grout is fully cleaned and dried, apply a grout sealer, acrylic, or epoxy to protect the grout against future discoloration and staining.


Weekend 4: Fix Squeaks and Creaks
As the damp winter months set in, your hinges could suffer from the excessive moisture. If you notice more resistance or creakiness on your doors, cabinets, windows, etc., use some WD-40 to lubricate hinges and sliding tracks, first making sure to clear away debris. You can even put some WD-40 on your key and turn it in your lock a few times to keep the mechanisms inside operating smoothly.


These projects are an easy way to keep up with your home improvement resolutions as you start the new year. If you plan on selling your house, home values in Pittsburgh can be increased through relatively minor restorations and cleanings like the ones listed above. Weekend projects could also be a rewarding way for you to pass the time while staying productive and meeting your goals.