Category Archives: Home Care Tips

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Cabinet Hardware

There are a lot of details that go into kitchen and bathroom remodels. Picking out the correct cabinet hardware is a hard choice for many. A lot of the decision making comes down to personal preference on esthetics. There are a lot of styles and sizes to choose from, and many people don’t realize that there are design “rules” to picking the right products.

Depending on the face of the cabinet or drawer, the hardware you select could look undersized or oversized. When selecting the size of the hardware for drawers try to remember the rule of thirds. The drawer pull can be up to 1/3 of the overall width of the face of the drawer. Don’t get too stuck on this rule, but it is one that many interior designers use when choosing the right hardware for their clients.

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Cabinet doors are a little different and should be a smaller version of the drawer pull since they are typically placed on the lower edge of the door. If it’s oversized it can throw off the balance of the whole room. Cabinet hardware is typically less than 6″ in length for upper cabinet doors.

Like we said before, there are a lot of colors and styles of cabinet/drawer hardware to choose from. Choosing the color of the hardware comes down to personal preference. If you really want your hardware to make a statement you can use copper or metallic pulls.  Also keep in mind the other “hardware” in the area. What color/finish are light fixtures or appliances? If they’re stainless or nickel, you could consider getting cabinet hardware to match.

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Ergonomics shouldn’t be ignored.  Keep in mind how often you’ll actually be using these cabinet and drawer pulls. What works best for you? Are knobs or pulls more comfortable and easier to use? Most of the work done in these areas requires the use of one hand or even a few fingers while cooking, so choose something that is practical.

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Sometimes different brands and finishes can be intermixed, depending on the material and product, but typically it’s best to find a manufacturer that has pulls and knobs that you like.

Builders, like Englund Construction, are excellent resources when it comes to choosing the best hardware for your kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel. We help our clients make decisions like these every single day!

Wallpaper Nightmares

Wallpaper has come and gone out of style countless times in the interior design world.  It can help you achieve a different look, and there are many tempting patterns and styles to choose from.  Wallpaper can even seem easy to install, and many manufacturers have come out with “new and improved formulas” that claim to be maintenance free and fool-proof.  If you are considering wallpaper in your home or office, make sure you think long and hard about it before jumping in.

Installing wallpaper is never as easy as it seems. If you want it to look good, a lot of measuring and skill is needed to make it look right, and even if you have a ton of experience, it can end up looking like a disaster or take you ten times longer than you thought it would.

Installing is one half of the story.  What you like today will likely soon be out of style. The cost of removal and repair typically outweighs the benefits of installing. Taking wallpaper down is quite the process and getting everything removed is almost impossible.

The moral of the story is to think before you decide to plaster you walls with glue and paper. Is this style something you can live with for years to come? Are you sure you want to deal with the hassle in a few years to remove it?  If it were up to us, wallpaper would be outlawed across the nation. Paint is a far easier to work with and a lot more budget friendly.

Don’t Re-muddle Your Home,Remodel It!

The internet is full of ideas on how to DIY everything, from small ideas to whole home renovations. People are looking for ways to save money any way they can, and going the DIY route can seem like the best choice. DIY jobs may seem like you’re saving money at first, but they can end up costing you much more down the road. While we believe it is good to see people starting to try things on their own (example – fixing a leaky faucet or landscaping), some projects should be left to the professionals.

Most of the “cool”, new, “easy” projects you see on the internet aren’t what they seem. Understand that most of the tutorials you see out there are filtered representations from professionals. Chances are your project won’t look as good as it does in the photos. 90% of the stuff you see won’t add value to your home, and will be a trend that comes and goes with the wind.

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Many homeowners who have decided to try to take matters into their own hands to remodel a room in their home have regretted that decision a few hours into the project. A botched DIY project can end up costing you twice as much as it would’ve if you went with a professional at the beginning.

Materials and tools can cost a fortune. Your time researching the proper methods could be spent doing better things. Most DIYers greatly underestimate the amount of time they will actually be spending on researching, preparation and cleanup, not to mention the time spent actually doing the job. The project will likely take at least twice as long to complete if you choose to go it alone.

Mental anguish and embarrassment are bad enough. Remodeling can be dangerous, not only to your home, but to your health. If you’re not used to operating tools or working on a ladder, don’t start now. It’s not worth the risk of losing a finger or hurting your back.

Consider your time. Is it worth it to spend 10-15 full hard-working hours to do something you could pay a professional to do? Is this how you want to spend your free time?

Professional remodelers and contractors can assess the area and help you see what is actually structurally doable. Don’t go knocking out that wall without consulting a professional!

One of our Family’s mottos has always been “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right!” Don’t settle for the cheap looking alternative. Hire a contractor for your remodeling needs.

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Germ’s Paradise – Your Kitchen

We’re not germaphobes here at Englund Construction, but we know that if left unattended, certain microbes can make your family sick. This is especially true this time of the year when our immune systems are doing their best to deal with the constant bombardment of new strands of colds, flus, and diseases each day.

When we think of the grossest (germiest) and dirtiest rooms in our homes, oftentimes the kitchen gets overlooked. Whether your believe it or not, the kitchen is most likely the most germ-ridden place in your home. There is typically more traffic in the kitchen, and new germy items get introduced everyday.

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Photo Cred – allstategoodhandsnews.com

From the countertop to your fridge, germs can flourish, building their own colonies right before your eyes. Below we’ve outlined some of the biggest germ hang outs and how you can keep those areas/items clean:

Kitchen Sink Drain. The drain in your kitchen sink is a catch-all for all of the items you don’t want hanging around. Regularly scrubbing the drain with a mix of detergent and disinfectant can help keep it clean. There are typically a lot of nooks and crannies in this area along the rim and down inside the folds of the disposal rubber, so using a smaller scrubber, like an old toothbrush can help keep the buildup on those areas to a minimum.

Blender Gasket. Your blender can be a tricky item to clean. Depending on how often you use it, the whole thing should be taken apart and washed separately. Liquids can easily get in between the gasket and mold can grow.

Faucet Handle. The faucet on your kitchen sink gets touched by dirty hands more than you would probably like to think about. After the dishes are done each evening the faucet (and whole sink) should be wiped down.

Refrigerator Compartments. The compartments for meat and vegetables can get really grimy quickly. Each month or so remove the compartments of your fridge and wash them with a mild detergent and warm water. Dry them completely before putting everything back together.

Sponge. Sponges soak up everything, including bacteria. Disinfecting your sponge every single time it is used is very important. Sponges are a breeding ground. For nonabrasive, cellulose sponges, you can put them in the microwave (while they’re damp) and heat it on high for two minutes (keep an eye on it, and be careful when removing it as it will be really hot). Other types of sponges can be put in the dishwasher, but all should be replaced every few months, depending on how much they are used (and what for).

Thanksgiving Safety

Happy Thanksgiving from Englund Construction!

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Did you know that Thanksgiving Day home fires cause more property damage and claim more lives than fires on any other day of the year? Obviously, cooking is the leading cause of the home fires on Thanksgiving Day.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially on Thanksgiving Day. The area can be quite chaotic with all of the main and side dishes being prepared all at once. Prior planning and preparation can prevent throwing things together last minute, and can help you organize your time more efficiently.

With the large groups of people and football games going on, it can get crazy. It’s not hard to forget about a pot of something cooking in the corner, but this can be very dangerous. Most of the fires on Thanksgiving are caused by unattended appliances.

Deep frying your turkey is more dangerous than more traditional methods. Turkey fryers can be tricky, and they can tip over and spill hot grease all over the place. Grease fires can be deadly and spread really quickly. If you do like deep frying your turkey, use extreme caution and never leave it unattended.

If you want to make sure your kitchen is free from fire damage this year, you can try to follow some of our Turkey Day safety tips:

  • Pay attention to your turkey. If you plan on letting it cook for hours on end, have a “keep watch” schedule with your housemates and check it regularly.
  • Plan out your day and meal plan. If you want to watch the game, plan to have most of the cooking already done before it starts, so you are not distracted while cooking.
  • Do not overfill the oil in the fryer pot. If you overfill, it can lead to hot oil spattering and spilling over when you lower the turkey into it. Oil can hit the burner on the stove and instantly catch on fire (and spread quickly)
  • NEVER spray water on a grease fire. It will spread and get out of control. Keep a fire extinguisher handy especially if you are deep frying
  • If the cooktop is on, do not leave the kitchen. Keep an eye on the food.
  • Check food that is baking or roasting regularly
  • Keep your pets and children out of the kitchen while the dangerous tasks are being preformed.

We hope you all have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

Garden Spiders

spiderIt’s October, the “scariest” month of the year and to many, the spider is the scariest animal of them all. People tent to react to spiders, big ones or small ones, with fear.  Many forget the immense size difference between the tiny arachnids and themselves and run for the hills. Others go on a rampage trying to exterminate any trace of spiders on their property.

While spiders IN the home can be a little “freaky”, keeping them around the perimeter or in the gardens can be beneficial. Spiders can eat insects that cause problems for humans, such as mosquitoes and wasps. They are especially helpful in the garden.

Studies show that spiders are the most beneficial insect of all in the garden. They are more efficient controlling pests that birds or other types of insects. Spiders eat aphids, armyworms, leafhoppers, flea-hoppers, leafminers and spider mites. They eat caterpillars, thrips, plant bugs, cucumber beetles, grasshoppers and flies, among many other insects that are harmful to your plants.

If you’re looking to build or maintain a beautiful, lush garden, then keep some of those scary spiders around. The truly deadly spiders are a very rare find, and the chances of you actually being bit by one is very remote. We’re not saying that you should collect spiders everywhere you go for your garden, just don’t get violent at first sight. Try to see the big picture and you’ll be happy you did when your flowers and vegetation start growing like weeds.

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Prep Your Home for the Colder Months

Severe fall and winter conditions can come out of nowhere quickly. It’s important to be prepared for these quick temperature drops and high winds. Your home and your bank account will thank you for it later.

icedamYour home’s biggest threat in cold temperatures is ice. A frozen water pipe can burst and destroy your basement with flooding, while an ice dam in your gutters can cause water seepage in your interior walls (see our dry rot post) and even damage your foundation.

Here are some easy tips anyone can do to prevent any damage to your home in the upcoming months :

  • Clean out your gutters. Clear out any debris to avoid any backups of standing water. Pay attention to your roof as well. If there are any fallen branches clear them away.
  • Disconnect and drain all of your outdoor hoses
  • Repair any suspected roof leaks or weak spots. Snow can be surprisingly heavy and weak spots can cave under the pressure.
  • Protect your pipes. Wrap any “at risk” pipes with insulation. You can also let water drip slowly from faucets to prevent freezing.
  • Purchase a quality home generator and keep it tuned up. Make it easy to get to if you need it, and also easy to hook up to your most needed appliances (refrigerator, freezer, heater)
  • Prepare and restock emergency kits around the home. Keep at least one in your home in a place where everyone knows where it’s at. Place flash lights (with fresh working batteries) in easy areas throughout the house.

The best time to do these is NOW. None of the tips are necessarily hard to do, and can all be done on a Saturday morning. Prepping your home for the winter is important, and skipping it can cost you big time in the future.

Dry Rot – Where to Start?

All homes in the Northwest are dangerously susceptible to dry rot. There’s just not too many ways around it. Living in our damp climate only accelerates it’s path of destruction. I’d say just about 1/2 of our jobs this summer involved fixing a dry rot problem. Prevention, early detection and treatment/removal is key to costly repairs down the road.

Last week, we spoke about quality exterior home products. Installing quality materials is the first step in dry rot prevention. Inspecting and your gutters can also help your home displace water properly and prevent water from seeping into your walls and ceiling.

The term “dry rot” actually refers to a type of fungus that can grow in wet wood. Dry rot is wood decay caused by certain fungi that digest and break the wood down, causing it to break apart.

Many homeowner’s don’t know they have an issue until it’s too late. A lot of times the problem is found when they’re doing other work to the house, such as painting it. If you notice any bubbles, cracks, or abnormalities on any surface of your home you should have it checked out by a contractor ASAP. We’ll be able to figure out what the problem is, how large of an area has been effected, and get it fixed and patched up in no time.

Call Englund Construction today to get rid of your rot!

Quality Exterior Home Products

Quality exterior home products are extremely important especially for homes in the Northwest. Exterior home products (siding, roofing, windows and trim boards) are your home’s last line of defense against water damage.

Water can be a home’s worst enemy. When it finds its way into a wall or roof cavity it can wreak havoc structurally and cosmetically.  Water, when trapped, can start breaking down the material from the inside out. The products your builder uses on your home’s exterior need to be made right, and made out of quality materials. Exterior home surfaces take a beating from mother nature all year round, and cutting corners on cheap materials can end up costing you down the road.

When exterior home products fail, it typically shows up as a minor problem. Usually a homeowner will notice a window not functioning properly or a siding bulge or bubble on the side of their home. After inspection, it turns out a larger area around the visible problem has been effected, and it is necessary to tear it out and replace it

Quality house siding, roofing and windows can help seal out water if installed correctly.  They should last a long time and selected to suit the house’s aesthetics and the climate’s demands.

If you have any concerns about your home’s exterior products give us a call today!

Window Screens Away for Winter

Weather for open windows has sadly ended.  As homeowners prepare their houses for the upcoming cold seasons, it’s a good idea to think about taking down your window screens before the real cold is here.

If your windows get direct sunlight, taking off the screens for winter can be very beneficial, especially if your windows are single paned. Screens can block up to 30% of sunlight, which can directly effect the way your home is heated naturally. Also, if left on, screens can accumulate extra snow and ice, which can damage the screens and even your windows.  Taking off your screens in the winter can help you save money on your heating bill and help keep your window screens in proper condition.

Don’t worry about cleaning your screens now, just store them in a safe area where there’s little traffic and less chance of being damaged.  Inspect them for damage before storing and repair them if possible. In the spring time, when you get them out of storage, hose them down and scrub them gently before reinstalling.