Monday, September 9, 2013

Let's talk basic maintenance

I was lazy and did not grout the kitchen backsplash.  That will be done next weekend....I promise.

In the meantime, I thought this would be a great time to talk maintenance.  I find most move in to a new (or "used") house, hang the tv, place the couch, maybe paint a wall, and relax.  There are many small things you can do to ensure your house will last.  I will tell you what I do and you can comment on what you do or how you do it different.

Of course this list will cover what I do and what I plan to do.  I will note when it's something I plan to do.

  1. Water Heater - Most will tell you to drain fully once a year.  That's a bit of a chore as I did this in my last house.  When I moved in, I checked the water heater manual and it recommends draining one gallon a month.  This removes sediment extending the life of your water heater.  Draining a gallon is easy, just keep a hose and bucket handy.  
  2.  Furnace - change your filter.  Seriously, change it.  I buy the more expensive and change every 2-3 months.  I am amazed when I talk to people that have no idea this should be done.  Do you want your furnace to last longer then a few years?  change it!
  3. Caulk - This one could get a list of it's own.  It really isn't hard.  I have already re-caulked the edge of the counter (in kitchen), around the tub faucets, and around the tub surround.  It cracks, splits, etc...  It's not hard (but can be time consuming) to cut/pull out the old stuff and throw some new down.  If you don't know WHAT to buy, ask your local Home Depot.  Don't know HOW to do it, google it or youtube it.  I use painters tape and get a perfect edge.  But I can be anal like that.
  4. Tub drain - If your house is like mine, your tub has a little flippy disk that can be pushed "level" to stop the water.  I found it works great to catch my wife's hair.  I check that thing every couple days and pull out the hair that would otherwise head into the pipes and possibly create stoppages.  My daughter is not so diligent which is why a week back, I went at the drain with one of these  easily the best, and cheapest drain snake every home owner should have.  I managed to dig out her "hair turd".  Now I go in there every few days and check my damned self.  kids......hmmmpf
  5. Driveway - have you sealed it yet?  It really isn't hard.  It took a few hours to power wash (rent one if you need to), then I borrowed the neighbors pump sprayer (Because a friend of mine ruined mine!  friends......hmmmpf)  Time consuming, but easy.  Now I have a gratifying sheen on my drive way and I am ready for winter!.....kinda, I hate shoveling.  
  6. Deck stain - Do you have a wooded deck?  do you have plans to have it look nice longer then a couple years?  I suggest you get out there and get it stained/sealed.  It's a crappy chore, but the few hours you log maintaining your deck will be worth it.  I let me last deck go and it looked like a hairy dog's ass.  I did a bunch of research and found ReadySeal is the shit!  seriously, it's worth the shipping.  I have used other sealers and I get permanent drips.  ReadySeal is "goof proof".  
  7. Lawn - I find this can be very confusing.  What, when, how.......ugh.  I found this article to be the most help, the most detailed on when and what.  I have yet to find the SoilActivator.  But I am a chicken poop convert.  That stuff is great.  My back yard was seeded and has lots of weeds to deal with.  I am still using Scott's Yellow bag in the back.  The front gets Chicken poop.
  8. Lawn cont. - Do you aerate?  you could!  Myself and two neighbors split the cost of a rental aerater and have done it last fall and this last spring.  We have plans to do it again.  Ryan's landscapping sucked and the soil needs all the help it can get.  So for $20, I aerate.  Followed this year with re-seeding.

I am sure I am missing something, but this covers what I do or have done. 
Consider this, how much time have to dedicated to your favorite tv show versus time you spent on your house last month?  You got one house, take care of it.

carry on.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Back Splash of color

WARNING, I'm not done.  But I can't wait to post and I can always throw up another post with the finished results.

We finally got the Kitchen Back Splash tile up.

So you should know, a kitchen back splash, under cabinet lights, and nice sink/faucet were a requirement for me when buying a house.  See, I completely tore out and rebuilt my last kitchen.  When looking, I told my wife that I want a kitchen as nice or nicer then what I left.  I decided, to save money, I could do all three items myself.  Well, you move in, spend money, and things get pushed back....a year and half in this case. 
In our defense, a year back we found a mosaic tile we liked and proceeded to buy a sheet or two every pay day.  We missed some here and there, but we kept going until we had about 30 sheets saved up.  Then along the way, we got the pencil tile, grout, caulk, and seal.  So we managed to spread the cost over a year.  Not bad.

But HOW to do it?  For Ravenna owners, you totally understand the difficulty to figure out how to navigate the area around sink where the upper cabinet ends and the bar counter begins.  I found this image on pinterest a while back and it gave me some inspiration.
note: I did smaller tiles diagonally in the last kitchen....what a pain!
I liked how it wrapped around and down to the bar counter.  My wife wasn't sold on this one.  So I modified it a bit, added some pencil tile and think it worked great.

Our "Before" picture

my "at work" picture.

I had just finished putting up the pencil tile and took a pic

My solution for the area of concern.  Found a black pencil tile that we liked.  A few measured cuts on a tile saw and boom!  I used the pencil tile at the end of the counter as well.
So I still have to grout, caulk, and seal.  I will post some better, finished shots when done. 
All total, we spent about $325. 
Tile sheets were $5 each.  I believe we used 30 (12"x12"). 
4 sticks of pencil tile at $10 each.  I used 3. 
About $60 for seal, caulk, and grout. 
$35 for tile saw rental. 
$25 for the pre-mixed tile set
Bought a plastic v-notched trowel for $10-ish (can't remember as I bought months ago). 
I already had tape, painter's plastic. 

Next....under cabinet lights and sink/faucet. 
stay tuned kids