Painting your home can be inconvenient and time consuming, but it’s easier than it seems. It’s a good investment that extends the integrity and good looks of what, for most people, is their single greatest asset.
Paint is your house’s first defense against the elements and the first impression guests and potential buyers receive. Here are 8 signs it’s time to paint a house.
1. Flaking, bubbling or cracking paint
These signs often signal dry rot, wet rot or mold caused by failed weatherproofing. Strong sunlight, harsh winters, extreme humidity, storms, blowing sand and ocean breezes can contribute to the damage.
2. Hardened caulk
Most caulks are designed to expand and contract along with your house. As your home is exposed to more extreme weather cycles (think sunny days and freezing nights) caulking will lose its elasticity. If the beads are hard and resistant when you press down, it’s probably time to call an expert to re-caulk and check for damage.
3. Fading paint
Sun bleaching is common, and dark hues tend to fade faster than paler shades. Fading on shady sides of the house, however, indicates problems with the vapor barrier or with water intrusion. Look for seemingly mysterious stains dripping downward on the paint. If water-soluble materials designed for home interiors end up outside the house, it’s a sign of water leaks. If you can’t pinpoint the source, call an expert.
4. Patching stucco
To minimize costs without re-stuccoing the entire house, patch stucco cracks and repaint the whole house. Otherwise, homeowners will be left with streaks or a patchwork from paint that doesn’t quite match.
5. Because the paint color morphed
UV rays cause the paint to fade and, sometimes, transform to an undesired shade after painting. Beige can transform to pink in a matter of weeks. To prevent that, make sure the paint is an exterior grade that can withstand UV effects.
6. To boost curb appeal
If the house looks faded, the trim no longer stands out or there is nothing to make the house ‘pop’ against its surroundings, a fresh coat of paint usually will do the trick, making it look fresh and allowing the value of the home to increase.
7. If your house is new
Typically, contractors spray one coat of paint over pre-primed wood. That primer minimizes warpage at the lumber yard but generally is insufficient to prevent swelling or shrinkage. If possible, prime the wood before it is installed. Then plan on painting a new home within five years to ensure a good layer of protective paint, before much damage has occurred.
8. Before paint chips or peels
Don’t wait until paint chips are visible from the street to repaint. Painting your house early minimizes damage to the exterior of the home and also minimizes the need for preparatory work, like scraping flaking paint, caulking seals or replacing wood. Minimizing the need for prep work lowers painting costs.
Most homes need to be painted every 7 to 10 years, but the actual timeframe varies by material and region. For example, cement fiberboard siding needs repainting every 10 to 15 years, but more traditional cladding needs painting more often. In areas with intense sunlight, stucco, vinyl or aluminum siding should be painted about every five years. Wood siding may need to be painted every three to seven years. In regions where sunlight is less intense, paint should last four to 10 years on wood and 20 years on vinyl or aluminum siding.
If you’re interested in other home renovation projects, find out what you can do yourself and what you need a contractor for with this helpful guide.
When you’re looking for extra space in your home, garages are logical places to turn. Whether you need an extra room, a bit of rental income, or just want to spread out, chances are, with some modifications, your home has the space you need.
Before you convert your garage to livable space, you must attend to a few issues. Here are a few suggestions to help ensure converting a garage to a living space goes smoothly:
1. Meet building codes
“To get a building permit, you may need a plot plan, a floor plan of the house and an elevation plan showing setbacks,” says Andy Baker, residential land use attorney from Calabasas, Calif. Before finalizing those plans, he advises getting feedback from the city or county planning office to be sure they meet the current building codes. Then go back to your contractor or architect for the final versions you will submit for a building permit.
“If you can’t meet the requirements, you may apply for a variance,” Baker says. Applying for a variance is a better option than renovating without a building permit, where penalties can exceed $1,000 plus the cost of reconverting the space.
2. Comply with zoning ordinances
Converting a garage to a room means you lose parking space. In many jurisdictions, “zoning ordinances require covered, off-street parking.” Baker says. “If you take parking from the garage, you must provide it elsewhere.”
In dense subdivisions, that may be impossible, requiring you to rethink your garage conversion. If your goal is to gain rental income, check local zoning to find out if there are any related restrictions, such as those on the number of rental spaces allowed per lot. The objective is to avoid any changes that affect the neighborhood.
If the garage conversion changes the footprint of the residence, check the zoning laws to determine the mandated setbacks for the side, back and front yards.
3. Consult your CC&Rs
If you’re part of a homeowners’ association, your garage conversion project must also meet the requirements of its Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). While the details will vary among communities, homeowners who do not meet these requirements may find themselves in mediation or being sued by their association.
Some CC&Rs do not allow garage conversions, while others consult the board of directors for discussion. Other conversions, such as to the attic or basement, may gain easier approval because they don’t effect on-street parking. However, be aware of neighbors’ privacy concerns, as attic conversions may provide new views into their homes or yards.
4. Work with the right professionals
Even if you plan to do the work yourself , involve professionals who are active in the field. For example, practicing architects should know the current building codes. The building and safety division of your city or county’s public works department can help too.
If you hire a contractor, choose someone who routinely performs the type of work you want done. A handyman may have the necessary skills, but be unaware of recent building codes.
Depending on the conversion, you may also need to hire an engineer. This is more common for attic or basement conversions as they “need a structural engineer to determine whether they can support habitation,” Baker explains. This includes ensuring that attic structures can support the extra weight and that trusses can open properly, in addition to adding or modifying the windows.
5. Start and end construction on time
Converting a space may take three to six months, including the time required to gain the necessary permits. “Planning departments typically allow six months for renovations, but you may buy an extension,” Baker says. If you don’t start within the allotted time, you will need a new building permit. Projects that exceed the allotted time frame may incur fines.
These aspects of garage conversions are often overlooked. Attending to them initially makes your project proceed much more smoothly, rather than getting caught up in a legal predicament. Be sure to contact your Nationwide agent before work begins to ensure that you are protected during the remodeling and, afterward, to ensure that your insurance policy is updated to reflect the additional square footage of your new living space.
Before you put that recreational vehicle in gear, it’s best to prepare thoroughly.
That will ensure your next trip is a joy, not a drag. It also means looking beyond the basics, such as a full gas tank and stocked refrigerator. Before you start your next journey, you might assemble a to-do list. Here are the essential things you’ll want to double-check before you pull out of the driveway.
Certain things are optional for travel, but in today’s world there are a few things that you just don’t want to leave home without. They include:
The Simple Things
Even though space can be limited, here are a few everyday items you don’t want to leave home without:
Working from home is the next big thing. According to the State of the Remote Job Marketplace report, in 2018, nearly 4 million people, or 2.9% of the population, worked from home. That’s a 115% increase since 2005, and that number is projected to grow even faster in the coming decade. Upwork’s Future Workforce Report predicts that as many as 38% of full-time staffs will work from home by the end of the next decade, and nearly 60% of hiring managers are using remote and freelance workers — that’s 24% more than were using freelancers the year before.
As more employers and hiring managers recognize the benefits of remote workers, employees have more opportunities to find jobs and enjoy careers with a commute from the bedroom to the home office. Even better, these legitimate jobs may pay comparable wages to what in-office workers are earning.
Finding great opportunities
Certain fields lend themselves to remote jobs; knowing what types of businesses and industries are more likely to have work from home opportunities can help guide your search. According to FlexJobs, the top five fields for working from home are:
Of course, these aren’t the only industries that offer telecommuting jobs. Define what kind of work you’re interested in and have good skills in. Then, you can start looking for jobs that are a good fit. If you want to figure out how to work from home, start by looking at what’s available in the area where you live.
Identify work from home job scams
The Internet has made it fairly easy to find work from home jobs, but it has also made it easier for scammers to take advantage of people looking for those jobs. Because of that, you’ll want to choose your search options carefully.
Using search terms like “work from home” or “work at home jobs” is more likely to lead to scam sites. Instead, use keywords like “remote jobs,” “telecommuting jobs,” “home-based positions” and “virtual jobs.” When you find a company you’re interested in applying with, conduct a quick search for reviews of the company to see what experiences others have had with it.
According to the FlexJobs report, there are about 60 to 70 scam listings for every one legitimate work from home job opportunity. Always conduct your due diligence to make sure you’re working with a reputable company. Look for red flags, including:
If you’re working from home, your company may require you to have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers part of your house as a home office. Contact Sterling Peaks Insurance to make sure your coverage meets your needs. This is particularly important if you have a significant amount of business property or conduct business in person with customers in your home.
 “The State of the Remote Job Marketplace,” FlexJobs
 “How to Find a Real Online Job (and Avoid the Scams!),” FlexJobs
 “Got Remote Workers? 8 Key Points to Include in Your Remote Work Policy,” Business Insider
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