5 Tips to Help You Save Money on Your New Home Improvement Project

Summer is the perfect time for many activities, including home improvement. Like most homeowners, you probably have a long list of to-do items that have accumulated over the winter, and now is the time to begin checking them off that list!

It doesn’t matter whether your next home improvement project is big or small, indoors or outside, you are most likely look for a way you can stretch your money a bit further so you can accomplish as much you can without spending all of your hard-earned cash. Here are just a helpful few tips to help you save money and still accomplish everything on your list.

Saving Money on Home Improvement

  • Plan Ahead- No matter what project you are thinking about starting, planning a head can make it easier and less expensive. Sit down and write out a list of everything you will need for the project, including tools, fasteners and fixings, materials, and any assistance you might need. Doing so will help you see the project more clearly from the beginning, help you avoid last minute (and multiple) runs to the hardware store, and allow you to reduce the amount of changes needed once you have started the project.
  • Do Your Homework- If you are going to need the assistance of a contractor, do your homework before you hire one. Look at their cost, their craftsmanship, their previous experience, their licensing, and their insurance.
  • Be Realistic- While you may know your way around nuts and bolts, you need to take a good look at your home improvement project before you begin and determine whether it is really something you can do on your own. One of the biggest mistake homeowners make is thinking that everything cost less if you do it yourself. This isn’t always the case. If you mess up your DIY project, you could be looking at a price tag that is much more costly than if you had simply hired a professional in the beginning.
  • Re-Purpose- When it comes to home improvement, you don’t always need to purchase new materials. Get a little creative and look for inspiration at yard sales, antique stores, or your own basement. With a can of spray paint, a few bolt fasteners, and a little thinking outside the box, you can bring old items to life at very little cost.
  • Sweat Equity- Even if your project is beyond your expertise, and you have decided to hire a contractor, there are still small things you can do to save a bit of cash. You might be able to help the contractor with certain parts of the process or you may be able to get a discount if you pay in cash.

What projects are planning on conquering this summer? Cut that to-do list in half without spending a ton of money by hiring a professional, doing your homework, re-purposing old items, and planning ahead to make sure you have plenty of materials, tools, and industrial fasteners you are going to need for your projects.

The Workshop Warehouse has a growing catalogue of high quality fasteners and fixings. We carry a huge selection of quality fasteners and fixings, especially for industrial and home use.

5 Top Tips For DIY Solar Panels

Let me start this article with a very short story. Two years ago, I discovered how great solar power for homes is and I started studying how to build DIY solar panels. It was extremely difficult for me at that time because I did not have any knowledge about that. But after studying for two weeks, I had built my first functional DIY solar panel.

And now, with my homemade solar power system, I am living completely off-grid, which means that I need not pay for the electric company anymore. Also as I have a rather big-scaled system, the electricity it generates is much more than I need. I sometimes get paid by the electric company because it has to buy my extra electricity by law.

I know you now face the same problem. You want to start a solar power house project but you are overwhelmed. You do not know what to do, where to start. However, this feeling will disappear soon because you will quickly realize it is really just a piece of cake, as long as you get the right instructions.

Before you start the project, there are some considerations for you. No matter you just want to build a solar heating system or a solar electricity system, you first have to calculate how long you will get financial return. It is not worth if you have to wait 10 years to recover the investment although the Earth will thank you because you will be making the world cleaner. To do the calculation, you can just browse the Internet and find some tools that teach you the process.

Below are the five top tips for all homeowners who are ready to start the project.

  • Check if your roof is big enough for the solar panel arrays. Of course, you can also place it in the garden.
  • The place where you pit the solar panels arrays should receive at least six hours sunlight directly. It is pointless to build DIY solar panels for areas with no sunlight.
  • Make sure the trees near your house are not close to the homemade solar panels. You can cut down some of them when necessary but do not overdo it because it is harmful to the environment.
  • Normally you can build the solar panels in just two days so you should schedule you time for the installation beforehand.
  • For safety reason, the closer your solar panel arrays to the wiring area is, the better.

Those 5 tips are the basic of your project and you will need to get some tools to let you build the solar power system fast. First, you have to get a copy of a DIY solar power house guide online. Before you purchase it, make sure it is of high-quality. You can do so by reading some reviews. Second, you have to prepare some simple tools and parts. You may not know what you have to prepare right now but a good DIY solar power house guide will tell you everything about that.

I hope you enjoy my story and the 5 top tips. I am sure that as long as you would invest a week and $50 for the DIY guide, you will be living off-grid quickly as well.

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6 Handy Hints For Building Pergolas

Before you can get to work on your new building project there are some finer points to be taken into consideration. Some of your initial decisions might be whether you take on the building yourself or need to contract someone else and if it’s feasible to attach the pergola to your veranda or make it freestanding.

1. Self build or contract?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. Think about your level of expertise, whether a contractor is affordable and if you have the tools required to get the job done if you can hire them readily, especially if most of the work is being done on the weekend.

2. How much can you afford to spend?

As with any renovation project it makes sense to prepare a budget. Pergolas can range in price so it is important to know what ready cash you have on hand before you begin. You may need to tweak the budget along the way but if you have allowed for those incidentals there won’t be any nasty surprises before the project is finished.

Make a list of the materials you’ll need and price them. Get quotes from builders or other workers you may have to bring in for work you can’t do yourself.

3. Create the design

One of the most important decisions will be if this is going to be an extension of an existing veranda or freestanding. Keep in mind if it is attached to the main roof there may be structural issues and extra building approvals required.

The best way to create a design is with some graph paper, a felt pen and ruler. Measure out the area and use a scaled version on your plan. Get ideas from other outdoor areas, magazines and trade displays.

4. Permissions and approvals

There’s no point spending time or money if the council has reasons not to let you build. There are regulations for attaching anything to an existing structure and distances from the post to boundary fences. Find out what planning permissions and building approvals are required before you start.

5. Styles and colours

Flat roof, dome shape, pavilion style, with so many choices of styles and colours available it may be difficult to make up your mind. Get inspiration from other people. Look at where the pergola sits in relation to their verandas. Many suppliers of pergolas have structures pre-built and on display.

Colours may be determined by your existing surroundings or maybe you want to brighten up your drab veranda by adding some bright colours or create a Mediterranean feel.

6. Choosing the right materials for your project

As difficult as choosing the right colour may seem, getting the materials right is worth careful consideration. While pergolas have been predominantly made out of timber, there are many other materials more durable and better suited to Australia’s harsh climate such as metal, fibreglass and plastic.

As much as you may want to rush down to the hardware store this weekend and get your pergola on the way there are any number of other considerations to keep in mind before building your pergola. Will it be roofed? What about the flooring, paved or grass? Remember whatever you decide a little time spent before spending money could mean the difference between a disaster and a stylish addition to your home.

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5 Tips to Ensure Efficient Home Removals

The process of moving can be a time consuming task that many people find quite stressful. You can make your move smooth by planning well in advance. Do not wait until the last moment to contact the movers or to start packing.

When you start preparing early, the process can be stress free and you do not risk forgetting some items. The following tips will help you to prepare for the move.

Create lists and label the boxes

To help you when packing, you need to make a list of all your belongings to help you keep track of what each box contains. Label the boxes to make sure that you can identify where each box goes and which boxes need extra care.

By creating a simple system, you can know exactly what you are carrying with you and you can make sure that all the items go to the right room when you get to your destination.

Color coding system

Another way to enhance efficiency is using a color coding system. You can have different color labels for each room allowing the movers to place the boxes in the right room. You can use color-coding to organize your family, where each member can have a different color to identify their belongings.

Avoid over or under filling

You need to ensure that you pack the right amount of stuff in each box. When you overfill the boxes, they will be too heavy, which is not a good thing when they have to be lifted.

When you overfill the boxes, they can break due to the strain. Under filling is also a bad idea especially when the items inside can break when they move about. Make sure that you distribute your items evenly for best results.

Sufficient packing materials

Make sure that you have sufficient packing materials to hold all your items. Purchase the materials well in advance so that you can start packing early enough. Some of the materials you need include boxes, markers, adhesive tape, bubble wrap, string and any other items you might need. It is not a good idea to use newspaper to wrap valuable items, as the print tends to rub off.

Packing fragile items

Make sure that you pack fragile items separately and mark the boxes clearly to avoid damage. If you have valuable items that are very delicate, it is a good idea to get professional packing and removals. Professionals have materials that will protect your valuables and they have the expertise to make sure that your items arrive safely at the destination.

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7 Reasons to Build Things Yourself

Do you have a lot of free time? I’m sure you don’t. I barely find spare minutes to do the things I love, to do my work and to have some sleep at the end of the day. Most probably you are in a similar position – today everyone is so busy. Yet I am offering you to spend some of your precious time in building things yourself. Instead of buying all your indoor or outdoor furniture, all the toys for the kids and and all the stuff you use every day, I am suggesting you to build some of these things yourself.

And I have good reasons for this – well, at least 7:

1. Save money. While this is pretty obvious reason, it shouldn’t be your main action trigger. Usually you do save cash when building things yourself, but that’s only before you calculate your hourly rate and the time spent for the task. Sometimes when you add your time as expense you will end up “paying” more than you would pay for the item if you purchase it built.

Still, if you don’t have paid engagements for that time or just aren’t willing to spend it doing your regular work, you can consider your time free and the money saved. Especially if you add the next benefits of building things yourself.

2. Learn new things. While working on a do-it-yourself project you are going to learn new things and master new skills. Often you’ll be doing to do some woodworking, cutting, painting, calculating and planning. You’ll learn things that probably your regular job isn’t going to teach you. Maybe the new skills and knowledge aren’t going to generate income but they can be useful in many indirect ways in your work and life.

3. Have exactly the item you want. Sometimes the only way to have an item with the design and functionality you want is to build it yourself. For example you may have an idea for a great bench that fits your patio design and space but none of the benches offered in the stores is close enough to it. Then you either need to build it yourself or hire a craftsman to do it for you. The first is cheaper and most often more fun!

4. Break the routine. Just a century ago people worked with their hands all the time. Today we mostly use our hands to type on the keyboard and move the mouse (or scratch on the iPad). Going in the garage and working with your hands crafting things can be a great way to break the everyday routine and relax actively. It can be totally engaging in a great way.

5. Meet new friends. With the forums, Facebook groups and local communities you can easily get help about the stuff you are trying to do. And asking for help is a great way to make new friends – that’s especially true in hobbyists communities. Building things yourself can help you meet interesting people and some of them often become your friends for life.

6. Know what’s inside. Usually when buying toys for your kids you can’t be sure what’s inside. The label may be saying that there is no toxic stuff and no child labor is used but you can never know that for sure. When building things yourself you know exactly what materials and stuff you are putting inside. And this is valid not only for toys – think about your clothes, carpets and so on.

7. Be active. Building things is a physical activity and most of us live so sedentary life today. Most of the do-it-yourself project don’t involve such intensive activity as most sports so they are appropriate for people of almost every age. It’s a nice way to exercise your muscles without the overloading that often happens in the gym.

Next time when you have few spare hours, don’t spend it watching TV. Go outside and build something. Maybe it’s not going to be perfect, but it will be your own achievement and pride.

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