April 2013

Found 5 blog entries for April 2013.

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

By: John Riha

Published: July 2, 2012

Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

Types and cost:

  • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
  • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
  • Rope lights have small LED bulbs
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Low-VOC Paint Protects Health, Pocketbook

By: Joseph D'Agnese

Published: October 13, 2010

Low-VOC paints are kind to your health, and they won't break the bank, either. Learn more about these eco-friendly ways to brighten a room.

VOCs health hazards

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are solids and liquids that convert easily to gas or vapor at room temperature. VOCs are contained in many paint products and have been linked to a variety of health problems--watery eyes, headaches, asthma, respiratory diseases and cancer.

Common paint VOCs

Common VOCs in paint include ethylene glycol (the same chemical compound found in antifreeze), formaldehyde, benzene, and a variety of other flammable or toxic chemicals. The paint’s materials safety

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According to NAHB's (National Association of Home Builders) recent study using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2011 American Housing Survey, homebuyers can purchase a more expensive, newer home and have the same annual operating costs as a less expensive, older home.

 The study found that homes built before 1960 have an average maintenance cost of $564 a year while a home built after 2008 has an average yearly maintenance cost of $241. And when it comes to operating costs, newer construction averages less than 3% of a home's value while an older home's operating costs averages nearly 5% of a home's value.

 NAHB's study says that although mortgage payments are more expensive for a higher-price

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Property Zoning Laws for a Workshop or Studio

By: Dave Toht

Published: April 27, 2010

Check local zoning laws, ordinances, building codes, and covenants before adding a workshop or studio to your property.

Typical zoning ordinances

Zoning ordinances vary by locale, but in general they exist to keep your new structure from adversely affecting quality of life and real estate values in your neighborhood. Zoning ordinances affecting a backyard structure boil down to these essentials:

  • Setbacks are the required buffers (typically about 12 feet) between your structure and your neighbors’ lot lines. They also specify at least 20 feet of front yard and 25 feet of backyard.
  • Lot coverage (sometimes referred to as Lot Coverage Ratio or LCR)
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  Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®." www.HouseLogic.com.

5 Great Gardening Apps

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: April 11, 2012

These apps take the guesswork out of gardening. All you have to do is dig.


Let’s just agree there’s an app for everything, and gardening is no exception. I tried out a number of apps for the iPhone (though some of these have Android versions) and picked a few that will help your garden grow.

1. Food Gardening Guide (free for iPhone, iPad, Android): Mother Earth News has produced this delightful and comprehensive guide on how to grow your own food. Chapters are titled “All About Growing (whatever),” and they

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