Recoup Majority of Your Investment With Replacement Windows

Nothing does more to enhance the look and feel of a home than windows – especially if your house still has rickety single-pane glass windows. But replacing old windows doesn’t just add comfort by eliminating drafts – CNN Money says homeowners can see a significant return on their investment from increased resale value. Replacement windows can also help save money on energy bills every year.

According to a survey by Remodeling Magazine, the return on investment for replacing your windows is among the highest of typical remodeling projects. Not to mention, these estimates are modest with the emergence of more energy-efficient windows. Windows that not only can regulate temperature but also maximize sunlight in winter make a significant difference when heat and cooling bills are due.

Which Home Improvement Projects Are Worth the Fix?

Okay, don’t panic.

If you’re one of those homeowners who’s been moaning about how hard it’s been trying to sell your house, your bargaining power (you remember that concept, right?) hasn’t been devastated just because a flood of new foreclosures is expected to hit the market as a result of the recent $25 billion “robo-signing” mortgage settlement.

In fact, while studies have shown your own property value could take up to another 4 percent hit if you’re within a quarter mile of a foreclosure ultimately snapped up at auction or taken back by the lender, the thing to remember is this: Most buyers today are only interested in homes that are “move-in-ready,” so if yours isn’t … well, there’s your problem.

Take a Break From Home Improvement, Chores

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For the young homeowner, each year presents a new set of home improvement projects. The year 2012 is no different.
As each task — from kitchen remodeling to hardwood floor installation — is completed, you can feel the momentum building. Inching your way ever closer to the ultimate dream-home goal, you keep pressing. But as any doctor will tell you, too much of one thing is rarely good. That’s why 2012 is the year to supplement your home improvement pace with some fun filled activities designed to reduce stress and reinvigorate that designer spirit.
Here are five ideas that can help you feel renewed while you continue your home improvement dream:
1. Get out of the house. Whether you are simply going for a walk or taking a weekend camping trip with the family, some time away from your canvas can rejuvenate those creative juices. Trips to art galleries can be especially helpful as new themes spark creative ideas that make your home improvement job more enjoyable.
2. Watch a funny movie. Sometimes all you need is a good laugh to rebuild your spirits and relax your tired brain. The latest comedy from Seven Arts,
“The Pool Boys,” stars Matthew Lillard (“Scream,” “The Descendants”), Brett Davern (MTV’s “Awkward.”), Efren Ramirez (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Eastbound & Down”), Rachel Lefevre (“Twilight, New Moon,” CBS’s “A Gifted Man”), and Hollywood’s favorite comedian, Tom Arnold. Learn more about “The Pool Boys” movie and see the R-rated trailer at www.ThePoolBoysMovie.com. The movie is currently playing “On Demand” from your local cable provider and premieres on computers, mobile phones, tablet computers and DVD.
3. Start a weekly game night. If you have a family, board games are a great way to strengthen that bond. If you are a single bachelor, grab some cards and poker chips. A Texas hold ’em poker night will be a great way to ease some stresses and can also bring some buddies who can help with larger projects in your house.
4. Keep up with your favorite hobby. Even if you think that your home improvement project is your hobby, you need to find something else to take your mind off of it for a while.
5. Have a party. Break up your home improvement projects into weekly tasks. As each task is completed, throw yourself a small bash to celebrate. When the festivities subside, regroup and refocus.

Do-It-Yourself Projects That Offer Big ROI

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Earn Federal Tax Credits for Insulated Window Treatments

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In a struggling economy, Americans are taking a closer look at their heating and cooling bills. Keeping a home at a comfortable temperature can use considerable energy — especially if hot and cold air fly out the window.

Windows can be a major area of heat transfer. During winter, cold air comes in through the glass. During the summer, heat enters the home through the window, making the HVAC system work harder to maintain its set temperature.

If your home could use some upgrades, now might be the time to work on energy-efficient home improvement projects. In February, President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act contains benefits for adding energy-efficiency products into existing homes. Specifically, tax credits are available for up to 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 and 2010, for windows, doors, insulation products and systems, roofs, HVAC, non-solar water heaters and biomass stoves.

Replacing existing windows with energy-efficient models isn’t cost-effective in terms of energy savings, but insulating existing windows will help lower your heating and cooling costs while also making you eligible for a tax credit.

One product in particular, the Comfortex ComforTrack Plus Energy Saving Sidetrack Insulation System, uses a double honeycomb cellular shade with removable sidetracks to insulate windows. The insulation system seals all of the gaps between the fabric edge and the window frame, preventing heat transfer through the glass.

Consumers purchasing the ComforTrack Plus Insulation System will reduce energy loss up to two-thirds when compared to an uncovered window.

For more information on home improvement projects eligible for tax credits, visit www.energystar.gov. To learn more about the ComforTrack Plus Insulation System, visit www.comfortex.com.

Outdoor Rooms Help Expand Homes

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – If the economic downturn means a new house isn’t realistic right now, consider adding an outdoor room to your home. You can extend your kitchen, expand the family room, create a meditation place — the possibilities are endless. The best part? There’s no need to take out a second mortgage, because you can do it yourself.

“Most do-it-yourselfers will find that a brick patio is less expensive than a comparably sized wood deck — and there is much less upkeep,” said Laura Schwind, a registered landscape architect for Pine Hall Brick, America’s largest manufacturer of genuine clay pavers.

To get started, place your outdoor furniture, the grill, kids’ toys, and other objects that you will want on the patio in the area of the proposed patio. Outline the area with a garden hose to see how much square footage you will need. You’ll also need to choose a pattern, keeping in mind that some patterns require more cuts than others.

To install, dig approximately eight inches down and six inches out beyond the area you will pave. Slope the soil about one-quarter inch per foot to allow for proper drainage.

Next, tamp the soil down with a hand tamper or a vibrating plate compactor.

Put down four inches — eight inches for driveways — of crusher run gravel, and compact it well with the tamper or plate compactor. Lay down two lengths of one-inch PVC pipe, parallel to each other and several feet apart. Cover the pipes with concrete sand, which is course and jagged, then use a board across the top of the pipes to screed the sand level.

Remove the pipes, and use a trowel to fill and smooth the voids. Lay the pavers in place. Then, install edge restraints, which can be metal or plastic; a row of finished pavers stood on end and buried to finished height; or troweled concrete that’s later covered with backfill.

For more information on do-it-yourself home improvement projects using brick pavers, contact Pine Hall Brick at 1-800-334-8689 or visit www.pinehallbrick.com.