Show Notes: New Skills, New Home
You ever learn a new skill and want to do something with it immediately? That’s the goal of today’s show!
We want to encourage you to learn a new skill that will help you with your home improvement.
How does one learn a new skill besides the obvious listening to our radio show (or YouTube if we’re being honest)?
Well, tune in to the show, read our show notes below, or check out the podcast of the show (Check it out here.) for ways you can learn a new skill today, tomorrow, or in the near future.
Wallpaper is Back!
Here’s What You Need to Know Before Committing to the Perfect Bathroom Wallpaper
“Wallpaper? In the bathroom?” the trend is a bit of a newfangled idea, since traditionally wallpaper in a hot and steamy environment has been known to bubble or even fall off the wall altogether. At least that was true of old-school products, but today, there are several styles and materials that will work in virtually any space.
Before you fall in love with that vibrant abstract print or floral motif, you need to know the pros and cons of each type of bathroom wallpaper.
Paper Bathroom Wallpaper
Let’s say you’re totally smitten with a wallpaper print, only to discover that it’s made of traditional paper, which isn’t ideal for the bathroom. You can either put it up in a powder room (since it won’t get steamy from a shower or be prone to splashes) or you can waterproof it yourself using a water-based varnish, emulsion glaze, or a primer.
Removable Bathroom Wallpaper
Removable, or peel-and-stick, wallpaper is all the rage these days and for good reason. They give homeowners the ability to live with it for a while and then take it down whenever they like without damaging the wall. Along with creative freedom, it’s a material that holds up well in bathrooms and won’t break the bank either. You can easily install removable wallpaper yourself, but keep in mind that it’s often a fun, temporary fix in a space and not the most durable option on the market. This is due to the fact that it’s designed to be removed, which means the adhesive isn’t as strong as those used with more standard wallpapers.
Waterproof Bathroom Wallpaper
When searching for bathroom wallpaper, look for the words “waterproof,” “washable,” or “water-resistant.” These include vinyl and can also represent fiberglass varieties or even PVC, a type of plastic polymer. These options are extremely hardy, easy to wipe down, and are resilient against damage and stains. They can be applied to most any surface, from concrete to paint, and many types of waterproof wallpaper are affordable. In our book, there aren’t any cons when it comes to waterproof wall coverings.
Vinyl Bathroom Wallpaper
Vinyl or vinyl-coated wallpaper tends to be the go-to option for strong, durable, and washable bathroom wallpaper. Since it’s thick and resists water stains, it works best in a space with a shower that tends to get hot and steamy, and it’s a great choice if you want to really scrub down your walls. The only downside is that it can be a bit on the expensive side.
How about volunteering? There are many places and events that could use your help.
Learn Some New Home Improvement Skills!
Visit Your Local Hardware Store
Most hardware stores, especially large national chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, both host classes and workshops designed to help new homeowners get comfortable with doing their own work around the house, making their own improvements, and fixing their own problems without spending a ton of money on contractors or specialists. For example, Home Depot’s weekly workshops will show you how to do things like install decorative moulding, install tile flooring, properly paint interior walls, and more—all things you may never have had to do as a renter.
Of course, the classes at your local hardware store aren’t enough to really prep you to be a professional by any means. The classes are too short, and the instructions too vague. However, they are a good starting point for further research, and there’s plenty of additional information available online as well.
Use Technology to Help You
Don’t underestimate the internet here. There are a lot of people out there willing to show you how to do things incorrectly, but I’ve found a number of truly useful and helpful how-to videos on YouTube for basic home repairs. Check out tutorials and how-to guides on sites like The Family Handyman and This Old House—good, reputable sources for home improvement information. Cross reference anything you find with multiple sources though, just to make sure you’re getting good information. We mentioned above that the major hardware stores have their own tutorials and how-to guides online, check them out as well. If you see a video of someone replacing a garbage disposal, for example, or installing a new sink, make sure you watch multiple videos and make sure that what they’re doing is applicable to your situation.
Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, or Another Home-Building Project
Another great way to get hands-on experience with home improvement projects is to volunteer at your local Habitat for Humanity, or any other home-building project in your area. In some cases, you’ll find yourself building a home from the foundation up, other times you’ll be inside the house, roughing out the interior or putting the finishing touches on the kitchen, bathroom, or bedrooms. If you make it a bit of a regular thing, you’ll accomplish two goals: You’ll do something good for your community, and you’ll learn home improvement skills you can put to good use when you get home.
You’ll really pick up the skills you’re looking for if you become a regular though, and volunteer on those down-days when there aren’t big groups mulling about. If there’s anything I learned working on a Habitat site, it’s that work slows down when there’s a big volunteer group around—the vets have to stop actual work to give out assignments and show people how to do things safely. That’s a good thing for you, since you need to learn. Once you have the basics down though, your visits will be more productive and informative, so don’t give up! Keep going back—you’ll learn more every time.
Work On Your Friends’ Home Improvement Projects
The fastest way to get some hands-on experience with the tools and projects you may want to do in your own home is to do the work in someone else’s. If you have friends or family tackling their own home improvement projects, they’re likely looking for help. You’ll have the opportunity to go hands-on with the tools you want to learn, and the projects you want to know how to do—and ideally you’ll be able to learn from someone who knows how to use those tools and already has a plan for the project that you want to tackle. After all, your friend needs help with their project, and you need some experience doing home improvement work, so it’s a win-win.
Know Your Limits, and Get Help If You’re In Trouble
Remember, part of owning a home is being responsible for it. There are just some repairs and projects you shouldn’t tackle without the right tools, know-how, or manpower. If you’re in over your head, admit it and get outside help. You don’t want to wind up hurting yourself, seriously damaging your home, or wasting a ton of money on a half-assed repair or improvement that should have been done properly the first time. Like we mentioned above, you can always hire someone willing to let you shadow them or help out a bit, and see how it should be done, take your lumps, and get it right next time
Flying Ants vs Termites
Odds are, at some point, you’ve seen swarms of flying ants or flying termites buzzing around your home – but which is which? The ant vs. termite question isn’t an easy one to answer. To solve the ant vs. termite riddle, you need to carefully inspect them.
At their adult, sexually mature age, flying termites and flying ants can be easily confused. Both species grow wings to take flight as they make an exodus from their original colony. Scientists call this process swarming, but homeowners know it better as trouble.
Termites Vs. Flying Ants: Which Is More Harmful?
When it comes to termites vs. flying ants, termites take the cake. Flying ants usually are more of a nuisance than they are harmful. Termites, however, can be destructive to houses and other structures and can lead to a more serious problem. When these unidentified flying objects descend on your home, make sure you know how to tell the difference between the two, and more importantly how to take action against these aviator invaders.
How To Tell The Difference Between Termites And Flying Ants
There are simple characteristics that can be used to differentiate a winged ant from a winged termite. Start with the antennae. Does it bend like an elbow or is it beaded? If you see a distinct right angle bend, you’re working with ants. In contrast, the beaded antenna is a quality of termites. Also, check out the size of the waist. A broad-sized waist signifies a termite. Ants, on the other hand, can be recognized by their constricted waists, which resemble a small “waistline.”
Typical signs of termite infestations include swarming in the spring and autumn, as swarms only occur when a colony has grown to a certain size. Other indicators include:
- Small tubes of mud, about the size of a pencil in diameter
- Resting on your foundation or protruding from cracks between boards and beams
- Hollow sounds from infested wood when it is tapped
- Extreme softness when probed with a sharp object
Hoarder, Pack-rate, or Just Messy?
How can you tell if someone is a collector, a “pack-rat”, or truly a hoarder? Here are 3 ways to tell if you need to seek professional help:
Collection vs. Compulsion
There are differences between collectors, pack rats, and hoarders.
- Hoarders have no organizing system and items take over all available spaces, causing health and safety concerns, as well as structural problems and issues with animals and pests. Based on the level of hoarding, a team of professionals (therapists, biohazard specialist, city services) may be needed to help.
- A “pack-rat” compulsively acquires everyday items and “saves them for a rainy day”. Pack rats often become burdened by the amount of possessions, leading to guilt and shame.
- A collector safely displays and maintains their collection. Although collections may become large, as long as there is a system in place, there is no cause for concern.
An acquaintance has an aging parent who has collected obituaries from her hometown newspaper for years. Is this behavior collecting, being a pack-rat, or hoarding?
- If the years of obituaries were pulled from the paper and in a large stack to be looked at “someday”, that would be considered being a pack-rat.
- If there were years of full newspapers stacked on the floor, blocking exits, or causing safety concerns, or full of pests, that is hoarding behavior.
- But this woman carefully clips the obituaries from the newspaper, pastes them into scrapbooks, and has the scrapbooks organized by year. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of the family histories with others. This makes her a collector.
Being messy doesn’t equal being a hoarder
Knowing the difference between a collector, a pack-rat, and a hoarder can be immensely helpful to families. There are professionals available to help families at every step: seek them out if needed.
The Average Cost of Homeowners Insurance In 2019
We found the average cost of homeowners insurance to be $1,083 nationwide. Homeowners insurance rates have continued to rise steadily throughout the United States, up almost 50% in the last 10 years alone. If you’re in the market for a policy, we did some digging to show what parts of the country are the most and least expensive. Read more below, or enter your zip code in one of the boxes above to find the cost of homeowners insurance in your area.
We reviewed homeowners insurance premiums in every state on both a monthly and annual basis. Below, we’ve also included how each state stacks up against the national average annual premium of $1,083. A positive number in the “% Change vs. Avg” column represents a state that’s more expensive than average, while a negative value represents a cheaper than average state. Homeowners premiums in different states vary widely, and depending on where you live, the average cost of home insurance may range from approximately $600 to $2000 per year.
States With the Highest Average Homeowners Insurance Costs
Predictably, the priciest states in which to insure your home are the states most susceptible to large scale natural disasters. Florida and Texas were clearly the two most expensive states for homeowners insurance, with rates respectively 90% and 80% above the national mean. Both states are frequent victims of disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi—also no strangers to natural disasters—rounded out our top five. Overall, we found that homeowners in these five states would spend 67% more per year on insurance premiums than the typical U.S. resident. The graph below shows the five most expensive states for home insurance:
States With the Cheapest Average Homeowners Insurance Rates
Compared to the most expensive states for homeowners insurance, the five cheapest states aren’t nearly as susceptible to damaging natural phenomena. Four of the top five most lowest cost states for homeowners insurance are located in the West, with three in the Northwest corner of the country. Wisconsin, in the Midwest, rounds out our top five. Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington.
What’s the Biggest Cause of Homeowners Insurance Losses?
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) found that 97% of homeowners insurance losses are due to property damage. The balance of non-property damage losses comes from liability cases like personal injury. Delving deeper into the numbers, we can look at what usually causes the property damage that occurs. The ISO lists the following perils as the most frequent causes of homeowners insurance losses, with wind and hail damage leading the way at 33.1% of all homeowners insurance losses.
Property damage as a percent of total homeowners insurance losses…
- Wind and hail (33.1%)
- Water damage and freezing (29.5%)
- Fire and lightning (26.8%)
- Other property damage, including vandalism and malicious mischief (5.7%)
- Theft (1.9%)
Liability damages as a percent of total homeowners insurance losses…
- Bodily injury and property damage (2.7%)
- Medical payments and other (0.2%)
- Credit card and other (less than 0.1%)
Included in the property damage claims are perils like theft, the fifth ranking category for total homeowners insurance claim losses but fourth, ahead of fire and lightning, for claim frequency. Among claims filed with insurers for theft or damage to contents of the home—as opposed to dwelling damage—jewelry is typically the number one most claimed item based on number of claims. Our chart below shows you the other nine most claimed household items on an annual basis by percentage.
Take One Hour to Update Your Homeowners Insurance
#1) Do you know what type of coverage you have?
- Replacement Cost?
- Extended Replacement Cost?
- Guaranteed Replacement Cost?
- Actual Cost Value?
#2) What’s particular about your home?
Do you own an older home? Think of your plumbing and sewer system. Do you have parts of your home that would be detrimental in case it was damaged or finally gave way? Discuss specific aspects of your home with your insurance agent. Some risks are not covered by your standard policy.
Do you live in a weather-prone zone? Do you live in a flood or earthquake zone? Coverage for these disasters are not included in a standard policy and it’s worth having the conversation with your agent.
#3) What’s new in your life?
Do you have additional family members? Did anyone move away? Have you gotten divorced? Life status changes could impact your liability requirements.
#4) Have you done any home improvements?
Anything that changes the structure of your home can change your policy. Home improvements can increase the value of you home and your coverage should reflect the increase in value to maintain adequate coverage. Conversely, home improvements can also trigger lower premiums which result in savings.
#5) Do you have the right deductible balance?
In other words, are you paying the right deductible for your needs? You can lower your monthly premiums by increasing your deductible, resulting in overall savings.
#6) Are there any special discounts you can take advantage of?
If you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know. Be firm in your conversations with your insurance agent about the savings you’d like to see. If they are a good agent, they will spend the time to listen and help you find savings and different options. It’s not uncommon to meet homeowners who have shied away from asking because they’ve filed a claim in the recent past and have felt certain they couldn’t lower their overall cost of homeowners insurance.
Top Home Tech Products You Need to Add
Homes are getting smarter all the time, thanks to great advances in technology. Check out our favorite home tech products and add a little brains to your abode!
Get organized in the kitchen with the GeniCan, which easily installs into your existing garbage can or recycle bin and allows you to add items to your grocery list automatically as you dispose of them. You’ll never forget to add items to your list again.
Crock-Pot WeMo Enabled Smart Slow Cooker
Give your oven a break and control your dinner from anywhere with the WeMo Crock-Pot slow cooker. Just use your smart device and the WeMo App (free) to adjust or schedule cooking time and temperature. Dinner will be ready when you are!
The HAPIfork is an electric fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you’re eating that grilled steak too fast. The information is then uploaded via USB or Bluetooth to your online dashboard on HAPI.com to track your progress.
Perfect Drink Pro
You’ll make the perfect drink every time with the Perfect Drink Pro. Great for your home bar, tell the Perfect Drink Pro via the app what you have in your liquor cabinet. Choose a recipe and this bar-top appliance will help you measure out just the right proportions for your drink. Then shake or stir.
Pantelligent Frying Pan
Want perfectly cooked burgers, fish fillets and steaks every time? The Pantelligent Frying Panhas a temperature sensor inside and connects to an app which will tell you when to flip the food, stir the ingredients or adjust the heat on your stove. And when you’re not cooking, just store it with the rest of your pots and pans.
Wixey Digital Angle Gauge
This Wixey Digital Angle Gauge is 21st-century fun! Yeah, you could adjust your saw’s angle using other methods and eventually get it perfect, but this gizmo saves lots of time, and did we mention it was fun? Just crank the blade up, set the magnetic base on the blade and square up the blade to the table (the body of the tool is absolutely square). Then push the zero button to calibrate the tool.
Once it’s calibrated, you can adjust the blade to the desired angle, all the while getting an accurate digital readout. When you get the desired angle, whether it’s 22-1/2 or 45 degrees, you know it’s right on, and you can proceed with your project instead of spinning your wheels micro-adjusting.
Keep Your Components Cool: CabCool 1202-M
The hard drives in DVR-type cable or satellite boxes run full time and can really pump out the heat. If you keep yours behind closed doors in your entertainment center, you risk overheating all the electronic devices you store there. But there’s an easy solution—tiny fans like the CabCool 1202-M. The kit comes with two 120mm cooling fans, an assortment of grilles, a power supply and a preset thermal controller. The controller turns the fans on and off when needed. Or upgrade to the programmable LED thermal controller and set your own on/off temperatures and keep track of cabinet temps on the LED screen.
Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back
You may think this Crowley Jones EV1850 Eye-Vac Pro Electric Dustpan represents the ultimate in laziness. But if you have back issues, this smart vacuum/dustpan is for you. Just set the unit to automatic mode and sweep the debris toward it. The motion sensor detects when your broom is within range and starts up the vacuum. Aim the dirt pile toward the suction port and the vacuum will suck it up. If you have pets, they may activate the motion detector when they walk by. That’s why there’s a switched manual mode to activate the vacuum.
TrickleStar Motion-Sensor Power Strip Trims Your Electric Bill
Your cable/satellite box, Blu-ray player, TV sound system and streaming devices all draw power 24/7, even when the TV is off. It’s the same with your computer and its attached printer, scanner and accessory speakers. The TrickleStar Motion Sensor PowerStrip shuts off those power-sucking devices when they’re not being used. It takes its cues from whatever device (TV or computer) is plugged into the ‘control’ receptacle, along with input from the attached motion sensor.
Here’s how it works. When you turn on the TV or computer, the power strip immediately powers up three switched receptacles for your accessories/peripherals. When you turn the TV or computer off, it shuts off the switched receptacles. And, if the TV or computer is on, but you leave the room for 30 minutes or longer, the motion sensor shuts off the switched receptacles. Come back and it powers them back up. The unit has one control receptacle, three switched receptacles and three always-on receptacles, along with built-in surge protection (1080 joules) for all outlets.
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
- Wallpaper: https://www.hunker.com/13720075/heres-what-you-need-to-know-before-committing-to-the-perfect-bathroom-wallpaper
- Learn New Skills: https://lifehacker.com/where-can-i-learn-home-improvement-skills-1535195959
- Flying Ant vs Termites: http://www.terro.com/articles/flying-ant-vs-termite
- Hoarders: https://www.sageorganizingco.com/sage-advice-organizing-blog/hoarder-pack-rat-or-just-messy
- Home Insurance: https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-of-homeowners-insurance
- Update Home Insurance: https://www.muntzinsurance.com/take-one-hour-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance-for-2019/
- Tech Home Products: https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/the-50-top-home-tech-products-of-2017-you-need-to-add/
Thank you for tuning in to learn new skills to make your home like-new! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“New Skills, New Home” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired August 17, 2019.