3 Simple Home Improvements For Under $100

It seems everyone is applying for loans so that they can make improvements to their home. Some individuals will burn through thousands of dollars to improve the look if their home. Major improvements such as new flooring or a deck can require a significant amount of money. However, you don’t have to go to those measures to make improvements to your home. There are three key areas of your home that can make the most difference in the appearance of your home – the entrance, kitchen and bathroom. Just doing one of the ideas listed below can make a huge difference in your home. But why not do all three when it can be done for less than $100?

Entrance

The old saying that, “First impressions are usually the last”, can easily apply to the way people react when they enter your home. Has your welcome mat lost its welcome appeal? It’s time to spice up your entrance so what you hear are “oohs” and “ahhs” when people cross your threshold. If you have a spacious porch, a potted plant in a metal planter can create a pleasant atmosphere. Contemporary planters are about $10.

If you’re really adventurous, a coat of brightly-colored paint on your front door can create a splash. If you take on this challenge, it’s a good idea to make sure that the paint complements your home. For example, if your home is mostly red brick, a red door would make a dynamic look. A gallon of interior/exterior gloss enamel in red or any other bright color will set you back no more than $30-40.

Kitchen

When you look in your kitchen, what catches your eye first? Probably all those nifty cabinets that discreetly tuck away your dishes, right? After a number of years you might crave a different look. For starters, you might want to give them a good cleaning. This one step alone can make a difference. You would be surprised the amount of dust and grease that can accumulate on cabinets. Depending on the material that your cabinets are made of, simply removing the cabinets from their hinges and wiping them down with the damp cloth is sufficient. There are chemicals on the market, but you need to make sure that the chemicals are made for your cabinet material.

Once your cabinets are shining again, you can then add or replace knobs. Knobs range from simple unfinished versions that cost as little as $.50 to decorative insert pulls that costs around $3. With the average kitchen containing about 12 cabinets, your cost won’t go over $36.

Bathroom

Guest bathrooms are usually confined to a small space. Why not give this room a lift? You undoubtedly have a nice set of guest towels and matching accessories. These items are not necessarily cheap so unless you want to go over your $100 spending limit, you can leave those items as they are. What you can add are wallpaper trim, artwork, and color. There are numerous styles of wallpaper trim that you can choose a new look for your bathroom. You can go as conservative and as creative as you want. To complement the wallpaper trim, you can add artwork. You don’t have to go out and purchase expensive artwork. You can use your imagination to come up with some ideas. For example, a few seashells, colorful fabric, and an empty picture frame are all you need to become your own favorite artist.

If you have any leftover paint from your door, you can use this to paint a wall in your bathroom, as long as the color doesn’t clash with the other elements of your bathroom.

 

Want to make an even bigger impact with that entrance? Find out just how attractive and affordable a Lifestyle Lifetime Door System can be, and how ordering right now can save you money on the best hardware in the industry, CLICK HERE to book an appointment with our design experts today!

Energy-Efficient Windows: It’s About Home Comfort

If any of the windows in your home are leaking air and you are thinking about replacing them, a little bit of planning will cut your energy bill and guarantee you a more comfortable, draft-free home for years to come.

When buying new windows, it’s worthwhile to select the best high-performance models available. They’ll pay you back in increased comfort, better draft and moisture control, improved health and lower heating and cooling costs. The difference is because of the use of insulated spacers, low-E film on the glass and an inert gas, such as argon or krypton, to fill the space between the two panes of glass. Because the inert gas stops heat transfer between the two panes, the inside pane stays much warmer and comfortable to the touch. High-efficiency windows will increase the resale value of your home by making it more comfortable, and they also help block outside noise.

Windows should be installed properly by a qualified contractor. That’s why Lifestyle Home Products trains and certifies our own team in the proper manufacture and installation of every custom window we build.

To find out just how efficient our Canadian climate windows are, talk to one of our product specialists today. Getting your windows up to the highest standard now, before the weather gets colder, can save you a lot of money on your energy costs over the winter while greatly enhancing the indoor comfort of your home year-round. Call 1-800-465-0593 for more information, and book your free consultation today!

Home Renovations and Resale Value!

Getting the best return on your real estate investment

By Mike Carroll
Regional Sales Manager

If you are thinking about doing some renovations around your house, even if you are not planning on selling this year, you may want to consider how they will affect the resale value of your home. Understanding the resale value will help you prioritize which project you start with as well as determine the net cost of the renovation. If you need to pay $10,000 for a project but have an expected 70% return on investment it really only costs $3,000 – not to mention any savings you may occur through energy bills or government reimbursements.

You can ask almost any real estate agent and they will tell you the importance of the first impression of your home. The term ‘curb appeal’ is used all of the time across the industry. The first impression is usually done in the first 60 seconds a potential buyer looks at the house – and lasts forever, and that first 60 seconds is usually spent outside. Rotting windows, faded doors, and failing gardens are all things that may deter a buyer from choosing your home without them even realizing it.

Numerous studies will agree that top renovations as far as resale value goes are; Entry Doors, Vinyl Siding, Vinyl Windows, and Garage Doors followed by bathroom, kitchen and basement remodeling. One may have expected kitchen and bathrooms to be at the very top, but first impressions, as well as personal preference and countless home improvement tv shows are leaving home buyers to tackle these renovations afterwards.

Over the years the top renovations for return on investments have been, for the most part, fairly consistent, with an expected increase of an additional 10% on the resale value for replacement vinyl windows and front doors for various reasons; the unpredictable and extreme weather we have been seeing, the rising energy costs and a growing interest in social and environmental responsibility that has lead buyers to demand greener homes.

If you are thinking about a home renovation project, call Lifestyle Home Products now at 1.800.465.0593 to book a free, no obligation, in-home consultation to discuss your many options and find the best project for your home. Book before June 30, and you could even WIN $2,500 towards your new home improvement project!

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Ontario Energy Prices to Rise ANOTHER 1.7 Percent in November

Brace yourselves, we’re not only in for a bitter cold, hard winter in Ontario, we’re also going to be paying more to try to minimize the chill. According to the Ontario Energy Board, Ontarians will see a 1.7% increase to our energy bills starting in November — you know, right before the start of the holiday season when money is the tightest.

You’re likely wondering how much more you’ll probably be paying each month. On a $300 per-month bill, you can expect to pay around $5 more each month, or an extra $60 per-year. On average, OEB reps say most customers can expect to see a $2 increase, or in Canadian terms, the price of an extra large Tim Horton’s coffee. In financial terms for major energy providers like Hydro One, that equates to at least a 2.6 million dollar revenue increase from its 1.3 million customers here in Ontario.

Keep in mind this increase is in addition to the “temporary” natural gas price hike customers were hit with earlier this year (the wanted to raise rates by 40%) and are paying for over 27 months. Although we’d like to believe that the government is being forthright with us and that they will indeed abolish this relief effort as soon as conglomerates like Enbridge top off their coffers, but we all remember the last time a “temporary tax” was put in place here… (*cough… income tax… cough*).

With the soaring cost of energy and heating, ensuring that you aren’t wasting these precious resources should be at the top of your priority list as a homeowner. Dryer vents, chimneys, and furnace vents aside, anywhere where heat escapes your home needs to be looked at and fixed. Otherwise you are literally throwing money away every month when you pay your heating and energy bills.

So how can we ensure that our homes are as energy efficient as possible? Check for faulty window seals and door weatherstripping first.

If your windows are 10-15 years old, the seals around the frames and and the inert gas between the panes can start to fail. One way to check to see if your windows are in good health is to clean them individually so you can make sure that there is no condensation between the panes and that all of the seals are making a positive air stop. Holding a lit candle, burning incense stick, piece of paper, or extinguished match close to the seals can indicate whether or not air (and heat) is escaping. The flame (and smouldering match smoke) will bend and blow away from the air leak.

This method can be used on all exterior windows and doors.

window-draft
(The smoke/flame will bend and blow when the seals fail on windows.)

 

A good window seal should not bend the smoke or flame.

Call us today to see how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home.

1-800-465-0593.

Canada: Home of the North American Energy Pig

Well, it’s official. We are officially the biggest energy-wasting country in North America. Hold your applause. That’s a bad thing. The optimists would say, “But hey, at least there are seven other countries that are worse energy pigs than we are.” That’s one way of looking at the oil barrel as being half full.

A study released this week by OilPrice.com revealed that Canada (at a whopping 7333 kilograms of oil equivalent (KOE) energy per capita) is the  eighth biggest energy glutton country in the world, ahead of the United States, who took the number nine slot with 6793 KOE.

Here’s the breakdown:

8.    Canada – 7,333 kg. Oh, Canada. Kind, peace-loving Canadians certainly love their cars, along with space heaters, hot tubs and other energy-sucking toys. But while many equate Canada’s energy sector with the oil sands, it is, in fact, other forms of energy that account for the lion’s share of consumption. EcoSpark published a pie chart showing over half (57.6 percent) of Canada’s electricity comes from hydro, with coal the second most popular choice at 18 percent. Nuclear is third (14.6 percent), with oil and gas comprising just 6.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

With hydro rates and gas prices here at an all-time high, and analysts predicting that energy and heating prices will continue to rise as this anticipated long, hard winter progresses, saving on our energy bills should be our number one priority.

Here are five ways you can lower your power and heating bills during the big chill thats on the way:

5. Buy (and use) a programmable thermostat that lowers the temperature in rooms that you don’t use at certain times of day and night. Here’s what Natural Resources Canada suggests when it comes to programming for your lifestyle.

4.  Upgrade your home’s insulation and draft prevention. Sometimes simply using Tuck Tape to seal your vapour barrier under your door and window trim can make a huge difference. Another great product for stopping unwanted drafts are switch and wall plate insulator kits. The key is to make sure that the relentless blowing winter wind doesn’t make it inside your house.

3. Use timers and motion sensor switches to turn off lights when nobody is in the room. These products have become much more affordable and efficient over the past several years. They are WAY easier than lecturing your children about the cost of electricity four or five times a day, that’s for sure.

2. Plan showers, laundry, and dishes for non-peak hours. Showering before 7 am and setting your washer, dryer, and dishwasher to cycle after 7 pm will make a noticeable difference on your yearly hydro bills, and you’ll be able to brag to your friends on social media that you’re environmentally responsible.

1. Replace your old windows and entry doors with EnergyStar-certified windows. Make sure they are EnergyStar certified and not just approved. There’s a BIG difference. Energy-certified products are strictly tested yearly for program compliance. A sample of approved or qualified products are tested once. All of our doors, windows, and sunrooms are EnergyStar certified.