Home Improvement's Popular Posts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shift to savings: Practical home improvement is popular

Shift to savings: Practical home improvement is popular

When it comes to home improvement, taking on the challenge yourself is "in." Today's savvy homeowners are tackling practical renovations, like adding energy-efficient replacement windows to update their home and save money on heating and cooling costs.

Practical doesn't have to mean boring. Hiring someone to complete home improvement projects for you or tackling do-it-yourself (DIY) jobs can add style and functionality. In fact, mastering new DIY skills has become a badge of honor for many homeowners, according totrendwatching.com. Wielding a hammer and fixing a broken faucet are now considered "status skills."

"Homeowners are tackling practical projects to enhance their homes as they seek to add comfort plus save money and energy in the process," says Pella Windows & Doors spokesperson Kathy Krafka Harkema. "There's a strong sense of personal satisfaction in making home improvements. Whether it's learning how to shingle, paint window trim or install a patio door, practical and functional projects are in."

Give your home a check-up
Tackle this checklist to help spruce up and maintain your windows and doors:

* Inspect interior and exterior finishes around windows and doors. Look for peeling or chipped finishes. Refinish if necessary.
* Check windowsills and tracks for dirt and debris. Clean out the area with a dry paintbrush. Do the same for patio doors.
* Feel for uneven sliding and sticking when you open and close a window. Try using a non-oil lubricant, like paraffin wax, on surfaces to help the window glide more easily.
* Inspect weather stripping around doors and windows. Reattach or replace as necessary.
* In coastal areas, rinse exterior metal components and cladding to help minimize the corrosive effects of salt spray and fog.
* Position sprinklers to water your landscape, not your windows or doors. Extended exposure to water can lessen the life of building products.
* Trim plants and shrubs so they are not brushing up against windows or doors.
* Make sure windows and doors close and lock properly to help seal out moisture.
* Inspect weep holes or breather holes designed to allow water to drain away from your windows, if your windows have them. Clear blocked holes with a wire or toothpick.
* Check exterior sealants and caulking on and around windows and doors. Remove damaged material and reapply new sealant.
* Look for signs of air leakage around windows. If it's significant, consider replacing them with energy-efficient windows, installed properly.

Is it time to replace?
Do you have worn-out windows or a broken door? For safety's sake, replace windows and doors that are jammed, painted or nailed shut. Also make sure you can open them quickly to escape during an emergency.

You can find energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified replacement windows and doors, like those from Pella at your local Lowe's. Need a versatile, affordable replacement? Look for ThermaStar by Pella vinyl windows with maintenance-free frames and advanced Low-E energy-saving glass. Choose from in-stock options or special order a custom window or door. Or pick up vinyl sliding patio doors featuring popular between-the-glass blinds that never need dusting.

If you're looking for more design flexibility and ready to make a statement, look for wood-clad windows and patio doors, as well as entry doors and select storm doors. Walk through the Pella Design Center at Lowe's for more inspiring options or visit lowes.com/pella

How-to hints
Need help with your home improvement project? Watch Lowe's Home 101 DIY online videos for expert tips. Check out the "Paint Door & Window Trim" for simple steps to revitalize your front door or windows with a fresh coat of paint. Or watch Pella's "Pocket replacement windows" video to see how easy window replacement can be.

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