Your home is falling apart...unless you're doing regular maintenance
"From small things, Mama, big things one day come," as the song goes. It's especially true when it comes to your house. Left unchecked, seemingly minor things (a gutter pitched the wrong way, a bit of crumbly grout) can lead to bigger and expensive issues. The good news is that, in many cases, all it takes to head off catastrophe is a little preventive maintenance. "Don't wait until it's an emergency," says This Old House master carpenter Norm Abram. "Spot-check areas around your house, preferably twice a year, in the fall and spring."
Is mold taking over behind your walls?1. YOU'RE ALLOWING MILDEW TO TAKE OVER FOUNDATION WALLS
Potential problem: Overgrown foundation plantings can channel water down exterior walls, leading to mold and sill rot. What's more, roots can work their way into foundation walls and pipes.
Fix it now: Trim shrubs yourself. Better yet, replace them with dwarf varieties that won't be a perpetual pruning headache. In many parts of the country, planting in early fall gives shrubs a head start at
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
- This Old House Magazine | Team Mom – Wed, Jan 16, 2013 5:36 PM EST
Your home is falling apart...unless you're doing regular maintenanceRead More »from 3 Ways You're Destroying Your Home by Accident (and How to Fix it with DIY)
- This Old House Magazine | Healthy Living – Tue, Jan 15, 2013 3:57 PM EST
Flu-proof your homeHave a touch of the cold? Catch the flu? You probably did it to yourself...because you're gross. Truth is, even the most diligent OCD cleaners among us are likely to overlook these cesspools for ick. According to the Hygiene Council, here are the nastiest parts of every home. Get disinfecting, folks! - Elizabeth Lilly & Tabitha SukhaiRead More »from 7 Germiest Places in Your Home to Keep Clean This Flu Season
SEE ALL OF OUR DIY WAYS TO FLU-PROOF YOUR HOME AT THISOLDHOUSE.COM
1. Kitchen sponges. Wiping up all that spilled milk and all those cookie crumbs can add up to lots of disgusting bits lodged in the nooks and crannies of your favorite cleaning companion. If you don't want to spend on replacing your sponge every week or two, nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds or run it through a cycle in the dishwasher (along with a full load) to antibacterialize.
2. Kitchen faucets. The spout may help you wash up, but it holds on to its own fair share of yackiness. Give your kitchen faucet routine wipe downs with anti-bacterial wipes or some good- old-fashioned
America's most trusted home improvement brand shares tips tp help you save on your remodelThe holidays may be over, but 'tis the season for planning remodels! Homeowners everywhere are designing the homes of their dreams...and dreading the price tag. We canvassed dozens of industry pros to catalog ways you can wrestle your renovation costs back down to earth this year.
RELATED: How to Afford the Kitchen You Want
1. Increase Efficiency, Not SizeIf you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you'll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you Read More »from 3 Easy Ways to Save on Your Remodel
- This Old House Magazine | Team Mom – Tue, Nov 27, 2012 1:10 PM EST
Steal ideas to create a gorgeous space for gathering friends and family this holiday season.
1. Festive Farmhouse Dining Room
Homey Holiday Spread
Vintage furnishings set the stage for a homey holiday spread. Here's how to re-create this welcoming feel using thrifty finds. Don't shy away from hanging wreaths indoors! The ones shown here, hung with extra-wide ribbon on the inside on windows, are also visible from the curb! See what else you need to get this look in Create a Festive Farmhouse Dining Room
2. Colonial-Style Dining RoomRead More »from 6 Delightful Holiday Dining Room Designs You Can DIY
Classic American furnishings and colorful accents create a room that's equally inviting for a holiday feast or an everyday dinner. Thinking outside the box about paint colors really makes this otherwise traditional room pop! Other ideas to steal: Flank wall art with lighting sconces and add an ornate mantel.
Despite your best efforts to prepare, you'll probably encounter a blip or two during your family gathering. Here's how to handle the unexpected __Karen Ziga, thisoldhouse.com
Murphy's Law states that the one day a year you use your best linens is the same day someone will knock an entire glass of red wine onto them. And onto the carpet or your favorite blouse. The key to fixing the red-wine-spill problem is speed. Immediately treat the stain. Start by blotting the stain (don't rub!) and pour cold water on it. Then, sprinkle it liberally with salt. For fabrics, it's ideal to sit the stain in a small bowl, then pour boiling water over it and let it soak until the stain is gone. If that doesn't work, steep the stain in diluted white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water). See more in this video on removing a red wine stain from our friends at Real Simple.Read More »from Thanksgiving Host Survival Guide
For a carpet spill, blot first to remove as much liquid as possible. Then, make a paste of baking soda
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Thu, Nov 8, 2012 2:25 PM EST
Built-ins all-access barThe holidays are upon us. For help getting party-ready, we've assembled a portfolio of bars and servers that pack style and utility into the typical untapped spaces in a home.Read More »from Gorgeous Built-In Storage Upgrades that Will Make Holiday Entertaining a Breeze
SEE ALL: 12 Amazing Built-Ins That Will Make Holiday Entertaining a Breeze at thisoldhouse.com
All-Access Bar. This wet bar was designed and built as part of a kitchen addition by handy homeowner and frequent entertainer Aaron Cover of San Diego, California. The doorways on either side were once dining room exterior windows, which Aaron enlarged to create easy passage between the new and old spaces. Structural posts determined the length of the bar, which he fitted with small drawers for corkscrews and other cocktail accoutrements; a double-drawer fridge for mixers under the counter on the left; and, for symmetry, a look-alike panel on the right that tilts out to access plumbing for the sink. In the upper cabinets, puck lights illuminate liquor bottles. Aaron's collection of vintage-look signs announces that this
The annual TOH Pumpkin Carving Contest is under way. (Make sure to enter your own carving creation by October 29!) Here are 10 great carvings of much-loved cartoon characters!
See ALL of the entries so far and enter the 2012 TOH Pumpkin Carving Contest
1. Sulley of Monsters, Inc.
Sulley from Monsters, Inc.
"My theme started out as the monster sully from Monsters Inc. but ended up being just a monster. I used linoleum cutting tools that I bought for $4.99 from Hobby Lobby. The entire outside of the pumpkin is painted with acrylic paint "Cool Blue" and "Christmas Green" both by Apple Barrel bought at Walmart for about $1.35 ea. His ears are one gourd difficultly cut in half with a breadknife and gutted and glued on with hot glue, his hair is made out of an old rope I had laying around the house that I unwound and cut and individually glued onto the top of his head. His eyes are kind of 3D effect and have 2 different layers. shaved off one of those layers and painted it green to better stand out.Read More »from 10 Pumpkin Carvings of Kids’ Cartoon Favorites
This Old Monster House PumpkinRead More »from How to Carve the Best Pumpkin Ever
Here are the expert carvers' tips for every step of the pumpkin-carving process. Follow their advice to create a potentially award-winning pumpkin, and enter our annual Pumpkin-Carving Contest for your chance to win prizes and be featured on This Old House website. -Tabitha Sukhai, This Old House online
See More: Inspirational Pro Pumpkin Carvings
Select a Pumpkin
1. Select It
Want to go traditional and carve a gourd straight from the patch? Or would you like your creation to last forever by carving a synthetic pumpkin? Whichever one you choose, make sure you consider your design or pattern when selecting a gourd. Get one large enough and in a shape that will accommodate the length and width of whatever design you're going to carve into it. And before you leave the pumpkin patch, Ryan Wickstrand of ZombiePumpkins.com recommends the following: "Make sure it can stand well on its own, and never carry a pumpkin by its stem."
If you dread seeing your hard work turn to mush-even with good care, a
This Old House
Sure, there's something to be said for splurging on marble mosaic tile or a handblown sconce shade. But nailing a vintage look doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. To prove the point, we turned to our favorite big-box retailers, online megastores, and renovators' catalogs for low-cost look-alikes of pricey reproduction fixtures and finishes. The result? The wallet-friendly finds here and on the following pages, from a pedestal sink full of period charm to prefab wainscoting that delivers a paneled look in no time. -Danielle Blundell, This Old House magazine
SEE ALL 13 classic home details that won't break the bank at thisoldhouse.com
Victorian-Style Pedestal Sink
by Barclay Products
With its 18½-inch-wide basin and integral backsplash, this vitreous china pedestal is a perfect fit for the smallest of baths.
About $160, vandykes.com
by GlomarRead More »from Period-Style Home Products to Suit Any Budget
Seeded glass and a weathered-bronze finish make this fixture a natural for the walls
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Wed, Sep 5, 2012 7:16 PM EDT
The know-how you need to finally make that nagging fix. Let's start with a couple of easy plumbing repairs.Read More »from Stop Procrastinating! 5 Quick DIY Fixes You Can Tackle in No Time Flat
1. Leaky or Runny Toilets
If you're going to make your own leaky or runny toilet repairs, you're going to have to learn the anatomy of the thing. For example, it's worth knowing that a refill tube replaces water in bowl after flush. If a toilet runs intermittently, check that the tube's end is above water level in the tank. Identify more parts in How to Fix a Leaky or Runny Toilet.
thisoldhouse.com2. Dripping Kitchen Faucet
"Most people will ignore a dripping faucet out of fear or ignorance," says TOH plumbing expert Richard Trethewey. If they deal with it at all, it's usually by cranking the handle so hard they risk tearing a rubber washer or cracking something and making the leak worse. If your kitchen faucet is a single-handled one like the one shown here, Richard will show you how to stop the drip in just 4 easy steps.
Got a different kind of faucet? See How to Repair a