4 Tips for Refinishing Your Basement

You probably have an idea of your perfect basement fixed in your head, but there are many decisions that go into achieving the space you’re envisioning. What are some commonly overlooked dos and don’ts that you should know before you begin to finish or refinish your basement?
Basement new construction home

1. Assess Structural Issues Before You Begin

If your basement has any structural damage, sagging joists or leaky walls, it is much easier to address these issues before you begin the renovation. It is best to take care of any potential problems now—you will thank yourself down the road.

2. Preplan the Order in Which You Will Build the Walls

It is significantly easier to build the walls on the floor and then put them in place than to build them upright, but this requires careful planning and a fairly large, open space.

Construct your outer walls first, and then work your way inward. If possible, you should build all the interior walls and place them somewhere out of the way before you start to put any of them up. This will ensure that you have space to work while you are constructing the final walls.

3. Complete Electrical and Plumbing Work Before Installing Walls

It is much easier to place your pipes if you do not have to cut through several studs in the process. Attach the pipes to your foam insulation—tape works, and it does not have to be permanently
attached—then place the wall in front of that. You will then be able to attach the pipes to the studs and nail the studs to the wall.

The one downside to this method is that there will be a gap between your wall and your foam insulation, slightly decreasing the available floor space once your renovation is completed. However, this method is much easier than the alternative, so you might want to consider whether you really need an extra few inches of floor space.

4. Consider the Room’s Airflow

If you are planning to divide your basement into separate rooms or areas, you will want to make sure that each portion has adequate airflow. Using long ducts with an inline fan can be a straightforward way to make sure that the heat from the furnace makes it all the way to the other end of the room. You can wire these fans to run all the time or to just turn on when your furnace turns on. They typically have their own control panel, so you will be able to easily access your inline fan when you need to.

Keeping these tips in mind can help make your basement remodeling as straightforward as possible. Call or email us today if you have additional questions.

4 Reasons for Keeping Baking Soda Around the House

Most people, by now, know that baking soda isn’t just for baking: It’s also a fantastic fridge deodorizer. (If you didn’t know that, rename the title of this article “6 Reasons to Keep Baking Soda Around the House.”) But did you know that baking soda has about a bazillion other uses?

To save us both some time, we narrowed down the uses we focus on to just four. Here they are, in all their glory.

1. Use Baking Soda as Toothpaste

We know, we know – putting powdery baking soda straight into your mouth sounds like one of the least appealing things, ever. Hear us out: Just dip the tip of your toothbrush bristles into some baking soda, and start brushing those soon-to-be pearly whites. Baking soda whitens and brightens your smile like crazy.

If you’re really having a hard time stomaching the flavor, you can always drop a bit of mint into your baking soda for something a little more toothpaste-like.

2. Use Baking Soda to Soothe Your Skin

Ever been stung by a bee or a wasp? There aren’t many things that hurt like that hurts.

Baking soda can actually relieve the pain from stings. Take out the stinger first, and then apply a baking soda paste (mixed with water) to the wound.

This home remedy also works for itchy bug bites and even sunburn.

3. Use Baking Soda as Elbow Grease

Pans can be a pain in the pot to clean. Cooked-on food is basically human Kryptonite. Your mother always told you that everything can be cleaned with a little bit of “elbow grease,” but if you haven’t been hitting the gym lately, sometimes your “grease” is on short supply.

That’s where baking soda comes in. Using a paste similar to the skin-soothing remedy, you can remove stuck-on food like you have, in fact, been hitting the gym.

Bonus feature: Baking soda also makes stainless steel pots extra shiny.

4. Use Baking Soda to Clean Your Bathroom

Sure, that name-brand spray cleaner gets the job done in your bathroom, but have you ever stopped to think what kind of chemicals are in there? What kind of chemicals you’re breathing in every time you clean your porcelain throne?

Skip the poison shower, and just use baking soda. It’s not just good for porcelain – it also cleans tile, counters, faucets and other stainless steel fixtures. If you want things fizzy clean, spray everything with vinegar first. Adding baking soda to the mix will fizz away all the grime, eliminating the need for the “elbow grease” we talked about earlier.

You want your house to be spotless when showing it to prospective buyers. If you need more tips on how to make your home sparkle before you sell it, give us a call.

Tips for Creating a Small Home Gym for the Minimalist

Minimalism is a trend that we hope sticks around for a while. It not only declutters your home, but also it makes budget decorating that much easier. Every item has to be carefully considered for its design and utility.working out in home gym

If you want to create a home gym using minimalism as a guide, these five tips are just for you.

1. Invest in dumbbells

Depending on your fitness goal, you may feel obligated to get a giant set of weights for your home gym. They will not only be expensive and difficult to move in and out, but also they’re pretty unnecessary.

Instead of the heavy weights, invest in some dumbbells. You can purchase them in many different weight classes. To gain strength, try going for more reps with smaller weights. These dumbbells will also take up less space in your home gym.

2. Stretch your budget with bands

If you’re trying to take your weight-less workout to the next level, you should think about getting some stretchy bands. They position your body in such a way that you’re almost using yourself as a “weight.” These bands take up such little room that you can easily hide them in the closet – or, if you don’t have one, tuck them under your exercise ball.

3. Toss in an exercise ball

For the ab workout of your dreams, you don’t need any of the bulky, infomercial loungers. All you need is a squishy – but firm – exercise ball that’s less than two feet in diameter. Just sitting on this ball is great for core strength (that’s why you see so many people sitting on them instead of rolling chairs at your office), and it will barely take up space in your home gym at all.

4. Look into (getting) a mirror

Get a mirror for your minimalist home gym. It not only creates the illusion that the room is much larger than it actually is, but also it can help you reach your fitness goal. Looking into a mirror while lifting weights, practicing balancing exercises and doing body-only workouts can improve your form and, therefore, your results.

5. Set up a TV

This may sound counterproductive, but you can really lose time in your home gym by watching TV while you work out. You can also flip the channel to watch group exercises and get some creative ideas on the many ways you can work out in your home gym. Adding a TV is a small way to make your home gym a “luxury” gym without sacrificing the minimalist feel.

Pro tip: If you’re going to do TV group exercises, you should also consider getting a yoga mat. Even non-yoga workouts involve yoga mats these days.

A minimalist home gym isn’t just great for exercise and utility. It also shows prospective home buyers the many things they could do in your home if they bought it. For more ideas, reach out to us.