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Update Your Home with Home Improvements

Mar 16, 2008
Floor sagging, warped or worn? In need increased storage space? Such defects, even in older homes, are often corrected by a few simple steps and modest skills.

How to Fix Sagging Floors

Even serious defects often can be remedied easily. For instance, the floors of older homes often tend to sag at weak spots. Prospective home buyers may refuse to look further when they see such a condition, passing up what might be an exceptional bargain because they fail to realize that it can be repaired at low cost.

An adjustable steel jack post, placed in the basement, can be used to lift the sagging floor. These inexpensive jack posts have an adjusting mechanism so that you can lift the floor by almost imperceptible amounts every few days. They will support ten tons permanently.

Old floors sometimes develop a spring and bounce up and down when you walk across them. This indicates that the floor joists are not well braced. You can provide bridging for the joists so that weight placed upon one is partially borne by the adjacent joist as well. Wood bridging, placed so that it connects joists at the center of the span, will help give your floor a solid feel.

Rooms that are too small are also characteristic of many older homes. More often than not, the partition between two small rooms can be removed to make one large room. If the partition does not support any joists or other overhead weight, it can simply be torn down. If it is a load-bearing partition, a long girder generally can be used to span the new opening and support joists or rafters.

Adding Storage Space

If you're a typical homeowner, you want more storage space. There are several reasons. You probably have more material possessions than ever before. You may have a bigger family than was the average 15 or 20 years ago. The solution to your storage problem? Try built-ins. Put them in spaces which would either be completely wasted or used inefficiently: under the stairs leading from the first floor to the basement, for example.

This space generally is neglected because its low headroom makes it impractical as a walk-in closet. But if you use it for a home music center with radio, phonograph and television set or built-in desk, the low headroom will not be a liability.

Attic space often is wasted because it is difficult to reach. This is especially true of the area under the eaves. When built-ins utilize the space you can approach them standing erect. No stoop, no squat.

If you want extra room for built-ins, you might learn a few lessons from experts at utilizing scant space, the trailer-makers. They put storage space under the bed and over the bed. In one trailer, the entire bathroom wall, an area many homeowners consider too difficult to reach, is occupied by cabinets for linens and medicines. Another bank of storage cabinets occupies a wall in one end of the living room, over the sofa. In the kitchen, box-like compartments under dinette seats are used for storage.

An attic bathroom is an ideal location for built-ins. Usually the five feet or more of wall space over the toilet is wasted. You can use it for a cabinet for linens, bath towels and soap.

Over the lavatory, and along the adjacent wall you can build-in an oversize medicine compartment. Under the sink is space for a built-in hamper for dirty clothing.

If you have small children, a good idea is to build in a drawer below your vanity. The drawer should have a hinged cover that can support a child. He pulls out the lower drawer, steps on it, and thus can use the sink conveniently.

Try any of these simple improvements and you will make your home more attractive and liveable.
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