Basement Insulation

Basement-Wall-InsulationBasement insulation is a necessary component of basement finishing, and can also make your home more energy-efficient even if you have an unfinished or partially finished basement.  In order to effectively insulate your basement, it is necessary to select the appropriate type of insulation and install it properly.  In many cases, it may be advisable to consult a professional for this project.  For basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many available contractors.

Types of Basement Insulation

There are several different types of basement insulation, and each has its advantages and disadvantages:

Blanket insulation is the most common type of basement insulaton, and is made of flexible fibers, usually fiberglass.  It comes in rolls, sheets or batts, and is hand cut and trimmed to fit the wall studs.  Blanket insulation is cheaper than most other forms of basement insulation, so is a popular choice for this reason.

Rigid foam board insulation is made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) and polyurethane.  It is highly efficient, and also keeps water vapor in its gaseous state, preventing accumulation of moisture.  For these reasons, rigid foam board insulation is one of the best basement insulation options.

Loose-fill insulation is comprised of small particles of fiber or foam that can conform to any shape or size, and is typically installed by pouring or blowing.  Loose-fill insulation is typically made from cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool or a combination of two or more components.  Loose-fill insulation isn’t quite as efficient as rigid foam board, but its ease of installation makes it a desirable choice for DIY basement finishing.

Installation Basics

The most important aspect of any basement insulation project is preventing accumulation of moisture in order to prevent mold and water damage.  Because an improper install is a costly mistake, it may be best to seek the help of an experienced basement finishing contractor unless you’re an experienced handyman.  For basement finishing contractors Toronto homeowners have many excellent options.

Budget Kitchen Renovations

kitchen remodelRemodeling your kitchen can significantly improve your home’s overall ambiance and increase its resale value.  However, kitchen renovation cost is also fairly high, and is a substantial investment.

 You can stay within a realistic budget by prioritizing the aspects of your kitchen you’d most like to improve while leaving other features unchanged or simply repairing them when necessary.  You can also save a substantial amount of money on labor costs by doing at least some of your kitchen renovation by yourself.  These budget kitchen renovations suggestions can score you the kitchen of your dreams while staying within a realistic budget.

 Identify Your Priorities

 If you’re remodeling on a budget, take practical matters into account first.  Consider which features of your kitchen are in poor repair or otherwise difficult to use, and make replacing or repairing these features a priority.

Once you’ve taken care of the essentials, think of which aesthetic aspects you’d most like to improve, and select reasonably priced replacements or improvements.   Changing wall treatments and cabinet colors can dramatically freshen your kitchen’s look but is inexpensive.

 Select Inexpensive Materials

 When selecting new countertops, appliances and plumbing fixtures, opt for items that are pre-manufactured and in stock.  Unusual colors or other custom designs are substantially more expensive, so more generic options can help cut costs.  However, be sure not to compromise quality, as replacing easily broken cheap parts is typically more expensive than doing things right the first time.

 Contractor Selection

 If you’re planning a full kitchen renovation, you will likely need to hire a professional contractor for at least some aspects of your job.  It’s not advisable to simply select the lowest possible bidder, as this often compromises the quality of workmanship.  However, shopping around and finding a competitively priced but well-qualified contractor can save a lot of money.

Ask several local contractors for quotes, and mention in the consultation that you’re looking to stay on budget.  A competent kitchen renovation professional can help you determine your priorities and develop a kitchen remodeling plan that meets your needs but stays within a realistic budge.  Fortunately for kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many such contractors available.

If you’re currently planning or are engaged in a budget kitchen renovation, we’d love to hear all about your money-saving tips.  Tell us all about how you stayed on budget in the comments section.

DIY Bathroom Renovation Ideas

bathroom renovationsIf you’re looking to update your bathroom on a budget, you can save a lot of money by doing at least part of the job on your own, and perhaps prioritizing the most important aspects of your remodel and leaving other features unchanged or simply repairing them.

 Unless you’re a master craftsman, it’s best to keep a DIY bathroom renovation reasonably simple.  Here we suggest a few potential features that can easily be installed by novice or intermediate homeowners.

 DIY Bathroom Flooring

 Installing your own flooring can save a substantial amount of money on your bathroom renovation.  If you wish to remove prior tiling, it will be a simple but labor-intensive job.  Laminate flooring is somewhat easier to remove.

The most simple bathroom flooring option is stained concrete, which lends a simplistic modern appearance.  If you’re looking for something with a bit more personality, laminate flooring is another good DIY option.  Tile floors are somewhat more difficult to install, but are manageable if you’re an intermediate handyman.

 DIY Bathroom Cabinetry

 Cabinetry in un-renovated bathrooms is often care worn and outdated, and many homeowners wish to replace or improve cabinetry in bathroom renovations.

Cabinets are fairly expensive and somewhat difficult to install, so if you’re on a budget you may opt to paint your existing cabinets and perhaps replace the hardware.  This can significantly update their appearance but is relatively easy and inexpensive.

If you have your heart set on new cabinets, you may need to consult a professional to design your new cabinets and determine the proper dimensions.  Fortunately for bathroom renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available.

 DIY Bathroom Ceilings

 Popcorn ceilings were previously vey popular, and many un-renovated homes still have them.  Fortunately, popcorn ceilings are fairly easy to remove, although it’s a labor-intensive job.

To remove a popcorn ceiling, use a lawn and garden sprayer to apply a mixture of water and unscented fabric softener to soften the texture, and subsequently scrape it off with a putty knife.  Patch any rough patches with plaster and sand prior to painting.

A Note of Caution

 Although doing some aspects of your bathroom remodel can save money, some aspects of a bathroom renovation are best left to professionals, particularly those concerning plumbing or electrical work.  These mishaps can be dangerous and also do substantial, costly damage to your home.  Use discretion in this, and consult professionals where appropriate.

If you’re currently in the process of renovating your bathroom, we’d love to hear some of your own DIY bathroom renovation ideas.  Tell us all about in the comments section.