You might remember the ugly Frankenshed behind the Millie’s Remodel house. It’s finally time to try to move this ugly monster. Whether we’re successful or not, I’ll share the Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed!

Millie’s Remodel: The Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed

A long long time ago (back before we had children), Pretty Handsome Guy and I were making a move from Philadephia to Charlottesville, VA. We packed our rented UHaul full to the brim and were ready to start the new adventure.

We were backing the truck out when we heard a loud scraping sound and suddenly the truck was stuck. The front wheels were still in the driveway, but the back of the truck had bottomed out on the crowned pavement (turns out a road really isn’t flat from side to side.) We were blocking traffic and didn’t know what to do. I tried calling UHaul but they said it was operator error and we needed to call a large truck tow company.

As I was searching around for someone to help, our neighbor took one look at the situation and ran to the back of the driveway. He came back and created a lever with some blocks and a 4×4 post. Then he put one end under the bumper and proceeded to perch on the other end of the 4×4 bouncing up and down. He told Pretty Handsome Guy to give the truck a little gas. Although my neighbor couldn’t have weighed more than 125 lbs., the lever gave us enough lift to get us unstuck.

Here we are about twenty years later, and I still remember that 4×4 lever trick! But, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, because although you might be able to lift a shed with a 4×4 and some blocks, how do you move it from one side of your yard to the other?

The Easiest & Cheapest Way to Move a Shed:

Today, in the Millie’s Remodel updates we will attempt to move the Frankenshed.

This eyesore sits directly outside the back bedroom and I can’t even express how ugly it is with poor construction and ugly siding. Then there’s the piece of plexiglass screwed over the window opening.

ugly shed in backyard

But, the worst thing about this shed is the siding that is cracked, and the caulk used to fill the seams. Now you can understand why I don’t have high hopes for moving this monster in one piece. I kept the dumpster over the weekend because I think there’s a very good chance this shed will fall apart the minute we try to move it. If that happens, I’ll cut it apart in pieces and top off the dumpster.

But, hey, you’re no idiot. I’m sure you are thinking, “Brittany, if you title this post How to Move a Shed, that means you probably were successful. ”

Well, you’ll just have to see if you’re right and watch the video:

Materials:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ x 16′ (or as long as you can transport)
  • 3 – 4″ x 4″ x 10′
  • 6-8 Cinderblocks (depending on the size of your shed, you need least 6 to set the shed)
  • 4 – 3″ PVC pipes (at least as long as the length of your floor joists)
  • Drainage Gravel
  • Carjack
  • Level

Tips on Moving a Shed:

  1. Empty the shed (less weight is better)
  2. Have a helper or two
  3. Use longer lumber for better leverage
  4. Measure and determine the final resting location
  5. Make sure the final location is clear of obstacles (especially low branches)
  6. Pick a path and clear any obstacles
  7. Use 2x4s to act as tracks
  8. Use large PVC pipes to act as rollers
  9. PVC pipes roll best when perpendicular to the floor joists
  10. Elevate the shed on blocks off the ground (to prevent rot) unless you have a concrete pad

How to Move a Shed:

Set a block near the shed and slip the end of a 4×4 under the shed while resting on the block If you can’t get the 4×4 underneath, raise the shed up with a car jack, then slip the 4×4 underneath.

Lift the shed and slide 2x4s under the shed in the direction you want to roll the shed.

Set one PVC pipe under the shed in the middle of the shed. Release the 4×4 slowly. If the shed doesn’t tip toward you, you can add a little weight to the front to help it tip.

Lay two more PVC pipes on top of the 2x4s under the shed perpendicular to the 2×4’s and to the floor joists. Then slip one more PVC pipe in toward the front.

Remove the blocks and the 4×4 (but keep it nearby). Push your shed and let the PVC pipes roll underneath. As soon as one PVC pipe pops out the back, bring it to the front and roll onto it.

To turn the shed, put the 4×4 inside the door frame against one corner. Press against the other end of the 4×4 outside the door frame to pivot the shed. (You can see how this is done in the video.) Adjust your 2×4 tracks and place the PVC pipes perpendicular to the floor joists, then push the shed.

Perpendicular or Parallel to the Joists, why does it matter?

When the PVC pipes are placed perpendicular to the joists, the floor framing touches the pipes in multiple spots (as shown below.) This allows the shed to roll very easily.

The pipes can roll when parallel to the joists, but it’s much harder because the framing is not resting on the pipes at as many points, and the PVC may bow in between the blocking. You can certainly use the pipes parallel to the joists for pushing the shed out into an open area where you can then set the pipes perpendicular to the joists.

A Makeover for Frankenshed:

To clean up the look of the shed, my assistant Brett built a new door. Then he added trim and used the old bathroom window for a new window. Once my painter painted the trim and siding to match the house, it was unrecognizable.

I can’t believe this is the same shed, can you?

before and after shed makeover

The old patchy privacy fence between the neighbor’s property was removed (it practically fell down when we removed the patched section).

Brett installed a new PVC privacy fence to match the one in the front of the property.

PVC privacy fence

Now that the exterior has a beautiful front and backyard, it’s time to start focusing on finishing the interior. Stay tuned for more Millie’s Remodel updates!

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Get a load of this transformation! See Millie’s Remodel and her exterior front reveal. Plus, I’m sharing tips to help you keep your home protected from termites when landscaping.

Millie’s Remodel Update: Exterior Front Reveal

This update of the Millie’s Remodel project is sponsored by Corteva, the makers of Sentricon. I’m grateful to have Sentricon on board as a Millie’s Remodel sponsor!

Although I still have a lot to catch you up on inside the Millie’s Remodel house, the exterior siding, brick, and front door has been painted. I chose a pretty bright blue for the front door. It’s Loyal Blue from Sherwin Williams.

I built the shutters using leftover tongue and groove planks from the porch overhangs. I promise to share a tutorial for you in the near future.

And I added a modern address plaque beside the door. Also, a DIY I’ll share a tutorial for later.

Although the shutters have been hung and the house numbers look amazing, I feel like something is missing. The house feels a bit naked from the waist down if you catch my drift. It needs some landscaping!

Unfortunately, I’m a little over budget on all the renovations at Millie’s Remodel, so I need to save some money on the landscaping. I decided to plant a few bushes out front and call it done.

Budget Landscaping for a Mid-Century Modern House:

With my budget being under $200, I was able to put in some foundation plantings and one feature plant to give Millie a more finished look outside.

I planted three Fatsio Japonica bushes (the wider bushes with bigger leaves).

Between the Japonicas, I planted two Golden Ticket privet bushes. They should fill in a little over time, but for now, they certainly help ground the house.

For the feature item, I chose a pretty yellow Amber Gold arborvitae for the small bed between the front door and the driveway. I like the color and the tall skinny look of this tree. When full-grown it may be up to 5′ wide and 10′ tall. But, hopefully, it won’t reach full width and can stay a little narrower. I’ll have to keep an eye on it and trim the sides if it starts to get too big.

Luckily, I had a pile of wood chips in the backyard where I had to take out a large rotted tree that was hanging over the house. I was able to use the chips as fresh mulch around the plantings.

Although it’s hard to tell, in the above photo, I kept a barrier of bare earth (and no wood chips) against the foundation of the house. Why? Let me take a moment to talk about how to landscape while keeping your house protected from termites.

Landscaping While Keeping Your Home Termite Free:

I know we live in an area that is overpopulated with termites, so I’m very careful about protecting my homes from conditions that could lead to a termite infestation. Most plants need moisture to stay alive, but unfortunately, termites love wet mushy wood because it’s easier to chew and more tempting! For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to moisture around your home’s foundation. All the tips below will help you reduce the likelihood that termites will find your home tasty.

  • When spreading mulch around plantings, keep it away from the house. Leave at least a one-foot perimeter along the foundation clear of mulch and other organic matter
  • Plant bushes so as to maintain a three-foot clearance from your home (be sure to look at the mature height and width information on new plantings)
  • Never pile firewood, lumber, mulch, soil, or other “termite-friendly” matter against your house
  • Don’t use wood timbers or lumber to create garden beds against your house
  • Install gutters and use downspouts to move water away from the foundation
  • Always make sure your land is graded with a slope away from your house
  • Keep gutters clear of debris to prevent them from overflowing.
  • Contract with a good termite treatment company (you can read how I chose Sentricon in this post.)
  • Keep up with scheduled inspections with your termite company.

My local termite company that installed the Sentricon system came back two weeks ago to check on the system to see if there was any termite activity and inspect the bait stations to see if they needed to be replaced. My technician was able to find most of the bait stations from the map he created during installation.

But, if the stations were buried, he could use the detector to find them.

You can learn more about the Sentricon system and how it’s installed by watching my previous video:

We saw some minor evidence that they had found the stations. This is good because it means they are feeding off the bait stations and taking it back to the colony.

Unfortunately, the memory card in my camera was corrupt, or I’d show you the bait station after almost a year. Luckily, Sarah has an excellent photo of her Sentricon bait station after being in the ground for almost a year.

A Look Back at Millie’s Front Exterior Transformation:

Together, I think the landscaping (although only 6 plants and some mulch) and painting made a big difference. We should look back to when I first bought the house. Remember how she looked? The greenery you see was all weeds!

Then, after painting, she looks great, but still needs some architectural pizzazz.

Finally, the shutters and painted front door made a big difference, but she was a tad naked around her base.

Now she has some beautiful modern greenery out front.

Did I do okay on my minimal budget?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Corteva, the makers of Sentricon. I was provided complimentary termite protection for a year and was compensated for my time and efforts to promote Sentricon. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post.

Today we’re prepping to tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Having seen firsthand how much damage water can cause to a home, I want to show you this tutorial for How to Waterproof Floors!

Waterproofing Floors in Any Room

Renovations are finally moving forward at Millie’s Remodel. This is the point where I feel like we already hit rock bottom and now we’re finally on the rebound. You might remember we used a self-leveling concrete in the kitchen last week. Now it’s time to waterproof the floors to prevent damage from ever happening again!

Last year I took two Schluter classes and learned about waterproofing, uncoupling membranes, and tips and tricks to keep your tile job looking flawless for a lifetime. What I learned over the four days blew my mind. I learned why and how shower systems fail. But, most importantly, I learned how to properly prepare surfaces for tile using waterproofing membranes. Today we’ll just be talking about waterproofing a floor, but I’ll have another tutorial for you soon so you can learn how to waterproof walls too.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Why should you waterproof a floor?

Before we get started, I want you to fully understand how waterproofing a room can actually save you money and save you from the headache of having a leak in your home.

If you have a kitchen or a bathroom, chances are you’re going to have a leak in your lifetime (or your home’s lifetime) if it hasn’t already happened. One of the best things you can do is to install waterproofing materials so water can never damage your floors or floor framing again. I believe so strongly in the Schluter products, that all the properties I’m working on (including my own) will have Ditra installed on the floor before tiling.

By using the Schluter Ditra uncoupling and waterproof membrane in conjunction with Kerdi band around the perimeter of the room, I can waterproof the entire floor. Which means I don’t have to worry about rot or mold happening. Any little leaks will sit on top of this membrane until I see it because the water will rise instead of seeping into your floor or walls.

Ready to get started? Let me show you how to waterproof any room in your house!

For your convenience, I made a video to help show how to install Schluter waterproofing products and how to fully waterproof a room!

Instructions:

  1. Cut open your roll of Ditra and roll it out onto a scrap piece of wood or something you can cut on.
  2. Measure the room you want to waterproof and transfer the dimensions onto your Ditra membrane. Use a straight edge and a sharp utility knife to cut the Ditra. You might need to make a few passes with the knife to cut completely through the Ditra membrane.
  3. Test fit the Ditra in your room. Cut out a hole for your floor vents by pressing your knife through the membrane where the vent is and remove the material up to the edges of the duct. Cut the rest of the pieces to fill the room. Do not overlap the Ditra material.
  4. Now it’s time to mix the thinset. When using Schluter Ditra it’s highly recommended to use the Schluter All Set. This mortar is specifically manufactured to cure against the waterproof membrane. Read the instructions on the packaging and mix your thinset as directed.
  5. Use a wet sponge and clean water to clean and wet the subfloor. Spread the thinset onto the floor using the Schluter Ditra trowel. Make sure you have good coverage on the floor.
    Then use the notched trowel to comb through the thinset at a 45° angle.
  6. Lay the Ditra membrane on top of the thinset and use a smooth float to press the membrane into the thinset. In the beginning, you should roll back a corner of the Ditra to make sure you have full coverage onto the backing of the membrane. Place the Ditra back down and use the float again to make sure the membrane is pressed into the thinset.
  7. Use a wet sponge to clean out any mortar that has squeezed out the seams or edges.
  8. Once all the Ditra has been installed into the subfloor, you’re ready to seal the perimeter and seams. Grab a Kerdi corner piece for each corner of the room. Using the Kerdi trowel, apply thinset mortar to the inside corner of the room. Use the notched side to comb through the thinset. Place the Kerdi corner into the thinset and use the flat side of the trowel to embed and scrape along the Kerdi.
  9. Now you’re ready to install the Kerdi Band on the straight sections of wall. Be sure to cut your Kerdi band so it overlaps the corner pieces by at least 2 inches. I like to pre-fold my Kerdi Band by creasing it in the middle so it’s easier to install in the corners. Apply the Kerdi Band to the wall and floor using the same technique as the corner.
  10. Clean up any excess mortar leaving a smooth surface for tile installation.
  11. Now it’s time to complete the waterproofing of the room by sealing the seams between the Ditra sheets. Cut your Kerdi Band so it overlaps any perimeter band by at least two inches. Apply the thinset over the seam, use the notched trowel to create ridges in the thinset.
    Then embed the Kerdi band into the mortar and run the flat side of the trowel over the band to smooth the thinset and embed the band.
  12. Clean up any excess and allow the thinset to cure before tiling.

Once the thinset has cured you can tile your room and rest easy knowing this room is waterproofed and there’s no way the subfloor will rot from a sneaky little leak. Or a big leak if you have kids that like to splash out of the bathtub. I know this risk all too well from my own boys.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and you’ll consider using Schluter waterproofing materials before you renovate your next “water” room.

Disclosure: I was provided with some Schluter materials for this project. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a post with complementary products or a sponsored post.

This is the next update in the Millie’s Remodel series. Recently I had to decide whether I needed to replace the HVAC unit for Millie. Although it was an expensive proposition, the decision on brand was an easy one for me.

Millie’s Remodel: HVAC Update + How to Extend the Life of Your HVAC System

Thank you for your patience with the Millie’s Remodel series. Today I have the next update and this one could actually save you money and the dread of replacing your HVAC unit sooner than you want to.

Just so you know, TRANE is a Millie’s Remodel project sponsor. But, if you’ve been around my website for a while, you know I don’t promote just any brands. If I’m going to mention a brand, you can be sure I’d recommend them to my best friend or my own mother. Now that we’re past the legal disclosure stuff, read on to find out why I like TRANE so much and how to extend the life of your HVAC system!

Millie’s Remodel Inspection:

During the home inspection at Millie’s Remodel, the inspector told me the exhaust fan for the gas furnace was no longer functioning in the unit. Given the age of the HVAC, he recommended replacing it instead of fixing it. Plus, the unit was incredibly loud and sounded like a helicopter! I knew it would need to be replaced.

When TRANE contacted me about being a Millie’s Remodel sponsor, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to share how we decided to purchase a TRANE in the past and how long it lasted.

Back in Time:

The year was 2001 and Pretty Handsome Guy and I had just moved to Raleigh. The Dot Com bubble had burst and we were left without full-time jobs. We had just purchased our first house—needless-to-say—money was tight. We were surviving, but money was still not flowing in. Despite our financial situation, we decided to host a party for some of our new friends. Midway through the party, I looked at our friend Jaye, who was 8 months pregnant. Sweat ran off her forehead and I suddenly realized it was a bit hot in the house. I kept turning the thermostat lower, but each time I checked it, the temperature was climbing instead of going down.

After the party, I walked outside and discovered the unit was covered in ice. I knew enough to know that was not a good sign. We called a few HVAC companies and got the news that it was probably best to replace our old HVAC.

Although we were cash-strapped, we knew we didn’t want to make a poor decision on a major system for our home. After a lot of research, we decided to purchase a TRANE unit. Little did I know that this same unit would still be pumping conditioned air almost two decades later. Our rationale for choosing a TRANE was: if we chose less than stellar HVAC equipment we could be looking at replacing it within 10 years. Whereas, if we chose a TRANE, we could expect to have the same unit for 15+ years. It made sense to spend a little more money now, and hopefully, only have to replace the HVAC twice over 30 years versus paying for three systems in the same time frame? Now doesn’t it make sense to spend a little more up front to save you money in the future?

Guess what! Our rationale was correct. In case you weren’t aware, we moved in 2007 to the house across the street from our first home. Over the years we’ve watched three families move into our old house. Recently I was talking to the current owner and I asked her if she still had the TRANE unit we installed. She told me yes, she did, and it’s still working perfectly! Here it is:

Deciding what brand HVAC system to buy for Millie, is obviously an easy decision. After seeing the old TRANE we put in at our old house still pumping heat and cool air after more than 18 years, why would I choose anything else!

How to Select a New HVAC System:

Ask around. Find out from friends, family, or neighbors which system they installed and who installed it. Ask how old their system is and if they’ve had any issues with the equipment. When I mentioned I was having a TRANE installed at Millie’s Remodel I received several messages from my followers who were also happy TRANE owners:

 

How to Hire an HVAC contractor:

I recommend finding local TRANE contractors in your area by going to the TRANE website. Then look up the recommended contractors on Better Business Bureau and search for Google or Yelp reviews. When you call, ask for references and call the references. (Not sure what to ask? I have a great article on How to Hire Contractors with suggested questions to help you get the most information from references.)

The HVAC Installation:

Once the day arrived to install the new HVAC system at Millie’s Remodel, the contractors removed the old unit. I was not sad to see that eyesore and earsore go! (It was incredibly loud.)

Luckily the ductwork was almost brand new, so we all agreed to keep it so I could save a little money. The contractors did remove the old pad and put down a new one.

Tip: Always make sure your contractor levels the new pad. Non-level pads can put undue stress on your unit. Do not let them throw mulch or leaves (compostable materials) under the pad to level. They need dirt or gravel or other non-composting material. If you have eagle eyes, you may have noticed a piece of lumber leveling the old unit. This is not an acceptable way to level your HVAC pad.

While the guys were installing the new TRANE unit (I chose the TRANE XR14c which is not a top of the line model, but is still energy-efficient and quiet.) I asked the foreman a question after he finished installing the unit. I specifically asked him what he saw in terms of age of units when removing old HVAC equipment specifically TRANE units vs. other brands. Watch the video to hear his unscripted response:

How to Keep Your HVAC System Running Smoothly:

If you only do one thing to prolong the life of your HVAC unit, it would be to change the filters regularly. Whether that means monthly or up to three months will depend on your home’s dust levels (and any pets you have.) Keep an eye on your filters. If they are showing more dust and hair before three months is up, change them more regularly.

Did you know TRANE has filters specifically designed to meet the balance of reducing dust and lint while keeping your HVAC system running longer? Best of all, you can order them from Walmart and receive them the next day!

If your home is going through a renovation, it’s important to change the filters after a lot of debris has been released into the air. The day after my drywall contractors finished sanding, I replaced the filters. And immediately after the floor refinishers sanded the floors, I replaced the filter. When the renovations are complete I’ll replace them again.

Other things you can do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly is to keep vegetation and landscaping at least 18 inches away from the unit. There needs to be proper airflow around the unit for it to work efficiently.

Call for a maintenance tune-up and check on your system in the Spring and Fall. Don’t wait for temperature extremes to find out your system was stressed and you are now without heating or cooling.

For more maintenance tips and ways to keep your system running a lot longer, read these maintenance tips from TRANE.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this nice, quiet, and efficient new HVAC system from TRANE!

Do you have any TRANE stories? Have a system that proves the saying, “It’s hard to stop a Trane.” Please share in the comments!

Have a great holiday, I’ll be back in January with the next Millie’s Remodel update!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for TRANE. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post.


How to Protect Your House From Termites or Why I’m Canceling My Termite Treatment

You may have seen my update at the Millie’s Remodel and how I found termite damage under the laundry room floor. I was just completing demolition and discovered the two exterior rim joists crumbled in my fingers. I quickly called my framing contractor and begged him to come out as soon as possible to repair the damage. Then I quietly cursed the former owners of the house for not properly knowing how to protect the house from termites.

Unfortunately, work on the house had come to a screeching halt until this fix could be completed. Luckily, my framers came at the end of the week and replaced the destroyed joists and subfloor. But, all this could have been avoided if the owners knew more about termites. So, today I’m here to beg you to educate yourself on termites and the costly damage they can do to your home. Learn how to protect your house from termites! If you live in the United States (with the exception of Alaska), you have termites! All you Northerners, stop shaking your head at me. I know you’ve been told termites aren’t an issue for you. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why you do need to be concerned!

As a general contractor, a real estate investor, and all around handy girl, I’ve seen my fair share of termite damaged homes (including my personal home.) Therefore, when I hear from people that they don’t believe in termite treatments, I give them a dumbfounded look.

Termites can damage your home, causing costly repairs—or worst yet—an unsafe home. Did you know there is a termite species that can cause major structural damage to a house within six months! And these termites (Formosan Termites) love warm and humid environments. If that describes your area, you are playing with fire (or little wood eating insects) if you don’t have a termite prevention plan.

Top Myths Why People Don’t Have a Termite Treatment Plan:

  • Termites Aren’t Common in Our Area
    Currently termites have been reported in all of the United States with the exception of Alaska. Warmer temperatures have created a friendlier atmosphere for termites, even in northern states.
  • My House is Made of Brick
    You may think because your home’s exterior is brick, you aren’t at risk of a termite infestation. But, what’s inside your walls? If your home’s framing (interior walls, floor and ceiling system) have any wood, you are at risk. Not to mention those beautiful wood floors you cherish. The only exception would be if you live in a concrete bunker (or concrete block house) with vinyl or tile floors. And even still, if you have any wood in your house, it can be at risk.
  • I Get an Annual Termite Inspection
    Some people think they can have their home inspected on a regular basis, and if termites are discovered they can treat the infestation. Remember what I said about the aggressive termite colony that can do major structural damage in as little as six months. This is a new strategy I just heard about, but frankly I believe in prevention vs. repairs.
  • I’ve Never Seen Any Termites Near My Home
    Most termites are subterranean, meaning they live underground. It’s not likely you would see them or notice an infestation until your home has sustained major damage. Termite tunnels can be detected inside a crawlspace or on the foundation walls. If your home’s foundation is close to ground level, you may not see anything at all until it’s too late. Also, if you have an enclosed crawlspace or encapsulated crawlspace, you may not see the tunnels behind a vapor barrier.

Types of Termites in the Colony:

  • Termites workers (the ones that do the actual damage) are small white insects approximately 1cm in size. They are actually very fragile and need moisture to live. Therefore they will bring moisture with them, which helps break down the wood fibers faster. The workers feed the colony.
  • Soldiers: Like their name suggests, the termite soldiers have armored heads and powerful jaws eager to defend the colony from enemies such as ants.
  • Swarmers: In the spring and early summer, termites will swarm. This is when they grow wings and mate. Sometimes swarming termites are mistaken for flying ants. Although similar, upon closer inspection termites do not have three distinct body segments that ants have. Termites also have four wings the same shape and size. If you see swarmers (or a collection of wings) anywhere around your home, you should contact a professional pest control company immediately!
  • The Queen: This Mother can reach up to four inches in length and is responsible for increasing her colony size. Her sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs. At a pace of one egg per second, she can lay up to a million eggs in her lifespan. Lest you think the colony is dead when she dies, another queen is merely waiting in the wings (so to speak.)

How Can You Tell if You Have Termites?

  • Swarming termites or termite wings around or inside your home.
  • Cracked, bubbled paint, or pin holes can be a sign of termites trying to get out of the walls to swarm.)
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes or tunnels on your home’s foundation, walls or crawlspace.

Top Ways to Protect Your Home from Termites:

  • Eliminate water from around your home:
    • Fix leaky faucets and pipes, repair or replace defective gutters or downspouts, get rid of standing water, and trim excessive vegetation from around your home.
  • Eliminate food sources for termites on and around your home:
    • Keep firewood, paper, and untreated lumber away from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure your home’s siding is not touching or below the ground level. Only concrete, cinder block or brick should be in direct contact with the earth.
  • Keep up with all home maintenance and inspections.
  • Siding should be in good condition. Replace rotted siding as soon as possible.
  • Keep mulch and organic bed coverings at least a foot or more away from foundation walls.
  • Inspect your foundation and crawlspace walls for mud tunnels.
  • Have an annual termite inspection and termite contract with a reputable company

What to Do If You Find Termite Damage in Your Home?

Dealing with termite damage can be as easy as adding a sister board to a damaged joist or stud in your crawlspace or attic where the framing members are accessible. Worse damage may require replacing the framing member. Some damage requires removing interior finishes and drywall to replace damaged studs and wall members inside the wall. Severe damage may require a structural engineer consultation to determine how to repair, support, or replace load bearing framing, beams, or girders.

Types of Termite Treatments:

  • Soil-Applied Barrier Treatment – a trench is dug around the home and chemicals containing termiticides are poured into the trench.
  • Bait Stations – Cellulose and insect growth regulator housed in bait stations are installed in the ground around the perimeter of the structure to be protected.

 

Why I am Canceling My Termite Treatment:

Here’s where I want to let you know this is a sponsored post for Corteva, the manufacturers of Sentricon. I think you know by now that I don’t write sponsored posts unless I thoroughly believe in a product. Yes, I was compensated for my time, but I care more about getting the best information and advice into your hands than I do about collecting money in my account.

Now, let me tell you why I’m canceling my traditional termite treatment plan and how I’ve decided to switch to the Sentricon bait system.

Several months before I found the termite damage at Millie’s Remodel, I renewed our termite contract on our personal residence. The scheduler told me I was due for an inspection and the booster treatment. I knew this meant they had to dig a trench and create a liquid barrier around our home. But, I had no idea how much liquid (aka chemicals) had to be poured in the trench. I was shocked as I watched the technician pour a small river around the entire house. Secretly I thought to myself, “There has to be a better solution.” At the time I wasn’t convinced there was a better termite treatment available. And I certainly wasn’t going to gamble the safety of my house with termites.

A few days later I couldn’t get the images of all those chemicals being poured into the soil out of my head. As an environmentalist, I don’t like using any chemicals around my home, so why would I want massive chemicals dumped into the soil at the base of my house? I ended up doing a lot of research and came across an excellent source of information about termites and EPA approved treatment plans. One of the things I saw on the website furthered my concern about using the traditional soil-applied barrier method to protect our home from termites.

A quote from the EPA website regarding Liquid Soil-Applied Termiticides (aka trench and liquid pour):

If conducted improperly, these treatments can cause contamination of the home and surrounding drinking water wells and will not protect against termites. For that reason, it is important to hire a pest management professional who is licensed and trained to take proper precautions.

I still wasn’t ready to forgo a termite treatment plan. I had seen first hand the damage termites did to our kitchen walls. The problem was our house was not treated before and after a garage addition was built. (Always talk to a termite contractor before building a home or addition. A treatment has to be applied before framing while the crawlspace or slab is open.)

Therefore when Sentricon approached me about their termite system, I was all ears. You should know I was skeptical about bait systems. I mistakenly thought they would attract more termites to a property. After asking a lot of questions, I agreed to try the Sentricon system. But, I talked to several experts at Corteva (the manufacturers of Sentricon), and after thirty minutes of me peppering them with questions, I felt at ease about trusting my investment property with their termite system.

Want to do your own research about the Sentricon System? You’ll want to read more about home treatment on the Sentricon website. Plus, you’ll find the FAQ page extremely helpful for answering a lot of your questions.

How the Sentricon Termite Bait System is Installed:

I scheduled my local Sentricon specialists to first inspect the property to see if it was a good candidate for the system. The tech came out and looked in the crawlspace and around the property. Then he drew a map with a plan for where to install the Sentricon bait stations.

Next we scheduled an installation day. Dave from Arrow Exterminators arrived promptly on install day and was polite enough to answer another list of questions I had. Instead of making you read them, you can watch my video from the Sentricon installation date.

Let me tell you, it was definitely a lot less shocking watching Dave from Arrow Exterminators installing the Sentricon system versus watching chemicals being liberally poured against the foundation.

After numbering the stations, the tech removes the cap on the bait station and scans both the cap…

…and the bait.

The information is stored and makes their job easy when they come back out to check the stations.

Small holes are drilled into the earth around the perimeter of the house.

Then the bait station is inserted into the hole.

The tech may kick dirt over the station to make it invisible to humans! But, it’s not invisible to termites. Although they are blind, they will find it.

When the termite company returns next year to check on the stations, they can use a special wand detector (like a metal detector) to locate the bait stations (after checking the map saved in the file.)

Want to learn more about termites? The Sentricon blog is full of amazing facts and good information about termites and treatment plans. If you want to find out more about the Sentricon system, you’ll find their FAQ page helpful!

Hopefully I’ve helped educate you on termite treatments. I leave you with these questions: How confident are you with your termite treatment plan? Is it worth risking your home’s health? From past experience I can tell you I’d rather have a prevention plan than a wait and see plan. How about you?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Corteva, the makers of Sentricon. I was provided complimentary termite protection for a year and was compensated for my time and efforts to promote Sentricon. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post.

9 ways to make your home warmer pinterest image9 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Warmer this Winter

Winter brings snow days and memories of snuggling up under the blankets with hot cocoa, but one thing that isn’t fun about winter are the cool drafts, cold floors, and wasted energy trying to heat your home. Today I have 9 ways to make your home feel warmer without turning up the thermostat! Implementing some or all of these tips will be sure to make your home more energy efficient this winter. I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have!

Insulate Garage Door:

Are there gaps on the sides of your garage door? Do you see light coming through? If so, you need to add some foam rubber weatherstripping to your garage to keep it warmer in the winter. Foam rubber weatherstripping prevents drafts from entering your garage. Use it to block gaps between doors and the door frames. In about an hour you can seal the gaps around your garage door. This could make a big difference in the temperature of your garage year-round. It can also improve the temperature in adjacent rooms. After installing the weather stripping we noticed a huge difference in the temperature of our bonus room that sits on top of the garage. Read my full tutorial on Installing Weatherstripping to the Garage Door.

Seal Doors and Windows:

Do you feel a draft by your window when the wind kicks up outside? Can you see daylight seeping through your door? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you are throwing away money on heating and cooling your home. The solution is as simple as buying a roll of foam weatherstripping. To check for drafts, wet your hand and run it around the window edges to see if you feel any cold air. Peel off a section of weatherstripping. Press it onto the door jamb. Peel off the protective paper. Test your door by closing it and look again for light.

You can also use the same weatherstripping on the bottom of your old windows. Most windows and doors should have it, but old houses may not. Seal the gaps in your windows and doors. Some homes have metal weatherstripping which isn’t the best because they bend and conduct cold through them, but it can still work in some places. For gaps underneath doors you can add the strip that screws onto inside of door and when closed it presses up against the threshold. There are a few options here, but the real priority is to just get it done and start saving on cooling and heating your home.

Engage Deadbolts: How to Replace Door Knobs | Pretty Handy Girl

When you are out of the house, or when everyone is home (and no one will get locked out) engage the deadbolts to stop drafts on your front door. It will tighten the door up against the weatherstripping. Check your weatherstripping to make sure it’s in good shape. If your door doesn’t close tightly, it may be a simple fix. Try to move your strike plate to get a tighter seal. You might have to chisel a little more into the door frame to completely engage the deadbolt.

Single pane windows:

Newer windows are typically double-pane which allow them to have a layer of gas between the two pane of glass. This helps insulate the house. If you have single pane windows, don’t immediately jump to replace them. One option aside from buying new windows is to add a storm window to keep the warmth in. The second window imitates the double layer of the double-pane but costs a lot less! Just be sure to close your storm windows in the winter. In the summer you’ll want to add a screen so you can open up the window and let the warm air out, or use a fan to blow the air out.

Add Curtains:

Add lined curtains to your windows. Get solid curtains with a liner and keep them closed at night in the winter. During the day, open the curtains when the sun starts to come in. You’ll be amazed at how much it impacts the room and limits the drafts that are trying to sneak in. Your room will be much warmer and you didn’t have to spend a fortune. Need to learn how to hang curtains? Read my tutorial on Hanging Curtains (and a no-iron solution!).

Block a Drafty Fireplace:

Create an insert for your fireplace by buying some rigid foam, wrapping it with batting, and gluing it to masonite. This will make a nice front cover that keeps the drafts from seeping into your home. Find a full tutorial here on how I built a beautiful draft stopper for my fireplace.

Seal Pipes and Vents:

Seal the space around your pipes and vents with Great Stuff. This will keep the drafts from coming through but also unwanted critters. The holes around plumbing are common places for bugs and critters to enter homes, but it is a quick and easy project to seal them up and prevent entry!  Great Stuff is easy to use, simply shake the can for 30 seconds, add the spray nozzle and fill your gap about half way. It expands as it cures so be sure not to overfill. It is helpful to have paper towels to wipe off drips and a serrated knife to cut off any unwanted parts after it is cured. You can read my article: using GREAT STUFF to seal gaps around pipes.

Insulate Attic doors:Attic Insulating Pull Down Cover

There are a few options for insulating between your attic to prevent drafts. You can add weatherstripping around the door or you can add rigid foam insulation glued to the attic side of the access door. This works for both walk-in attics and pull-down doors. Another fancy option is an Attic Stairway Cover, which can be found here (affiliate link.)  Any of these options can help you save on your energy costs!

Warm Up Floors: 

The final tip I have is to use rugs on tile or wood floors to keep your feet warmer. Rugs will also keep your room warmer and make a big difference on the comfort level in your home. It’s such a simple tip, but really can make a big difference.

I hope these tips help make your home warmer this winter and for many winters to come. And I’d love to hear if you have any tips for making your home warm during the cold winter days!

A few years ago I gave my stepmom’s screen porch a much needed makeover. At the time we noticed the seat cushions were starting to sag, but decided they still functioned. This year, my stepmom told me they had to be fixed. Boy was she right! Today I’m going to show you the easiest (and most permanent) way to fix sagging furniture seat cushions for good!

If you’ve ever dealt with sagging porch furniture I have a simple solution for you! Let’s get fixing!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Track Saw
Tape Measure
Chalk Line
Centipede Portable Work Stand
Palm Sander
Screws
Scissors

Fix Sagging Furniture Seat Cushions Instructions:

Feel free to watch the video or read the full tutorial below. It’s your choice.

If your furniture has removable seat frames, take them off the seats. Measure the seat frames and figure out how much plywood you’ll need to cover the seat frames.

Lay the seat frames onto the sheet and mark around the seats. (Alternatively, you can make a paper template of your seats and transfer them to the plywood.)

Cut the plywood to the size of your seats using a circular saw (or my preferred tool: the track saw.)

Here’s a tip for cutting sheet lumber:

Put a piece of rigid foam insulation under your plywood sheet. Set the depth of your blade just slightly deeper than your lumber. Cut the plywood on top of the insulation. The insulation supports the plywood while the saw blade cuts into the insulation and not your work surface.

If your seat frame has webbing, go ahead and cut it off the frame. Throw away the webbing.

Trace around any corners or specific shapes of your seat frame.

Use a jigsaw to cut off these shapes.

Sand all rough edges and give the entire plywood seat a good sanding to remove splinters.

If your plywood seat will be exposed to the elements, it’s a good idea to seal it with primer and/or paint.

To secure the plywood to the seat frame, drive a screw through the plywood at each corner of the frame. Stop when the screw head is resting on top of the frame. Add more screws at any cross supports. The screws are mainly to keep the plywood centered on the frame, so they don’t have to be super strong structurally.

Set your plywood seat frame back into the furniture. We chose to have the old frame on top otherwise you would see the edge of the plywood.

Fix for sagging cushion. Plywood under cushions

If your furniture didn’t have a removable frame, you can put the plywood directly onto the seat (under your cushions.)

“Ahhh, much better. ” 

I hope this tutorial helped you fix your sagging furniture cushions! Let me know if you tried this fix and how it worked for you.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Did you like this video? If so, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get notified every time I have a new video published.

*Many have asked me about the photography and video equipment I use. I finally put together a list of the equipment I used here.

 

How to Fix Cracks in Door Panels - An Easy RepairHow to Fix Cracks in Door Panels without Taking the Door Apart

Wooden doors will develop cracks over time, especially if the panels aren’t free to expand and contract. Most of the time, years of paint or caulking the seams around the panels will cause the wood to stick and not allow the panel to expand and contract with the weather. The result is a big vertical crack along the wood grain. Today I’m going to show you how to repair the crack without taking the door apart!

You may remember right before I purchased the Saving Etta house, I discovered a discarded door by the dumpster behind our local grocery store. It had a big crack in the panel and was very dirty. But, otherwise, it appeared to be structurally sound. Pretty Handsome Guy and I salvaged the door on a late night rescue mission, and had a good laugh about it afterwards.

The door sat in the garage until the addition was framed and rough openings were created at the Saving Etta house. With the windows set to arrive, I knew I had to take a day out of my busy schedule to repair the cracked door and prepare it for installation.

Dirty Front Door found in the Trash

First the door got a good cleaning with soapy water.

Cleaning Front Door with sponge and soapy water Looking better already!

Cleaned front doo

Now it was time to fix the door. Let’s learn how to repair a cracked door panel without taking the door apart.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Lay the door on a flat surface like a workbench or saw horses.

burgundy side of dumpster found door

Using the Dremel with a cut off wheel, clean up the crack and open it to the width of your wood spline.

Open door panel crack with dremel cutting wheel

Sand smooth any jagged edges along the crack and any dings on the rest of the door.

Sanding door smooth

Test fit the spline into the crack. Make any adjustments to the crack as needed or cut a narrower spline on a table saw.

Insert wood spline into door crack

The spline should fit snuggly in the crack.

Test fit wood spline in door crack

Remove the spline and apply a liberal amount of wood glue into the crack.

Add lots of wood glue to door crack

Insert the spline and clamp the door until the glue hardens.

Clamp door repair overnight.

Chisel off the excess spline (you don’t need to get it perfect, but you’ll want to remove as much of the spline that protrudes beyond the door panel.)

Chisel off excess wood spline

Sand the repaired crack until the spline is even with the rest of the door panel.

Sand fixed door crack smooth

There will probably still be some minor cracks or voids, but these can be repaired with putty. Mix up a small amount of Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty (just add water!) Apply along the repaired crack and fill in any small holes or dings on the door. Let the putty cure.

Use Durham wood hardener to smooth imperfections

Flip the door over and repeat the process of removing the excess spline material and adding the wood putty.

Add Durham Wood Hardener on back side of door repair

After the putty has dried, sand until smooth. Start with a 120 grit sandpaper and work your way up to 220 grit.

Sand cracked door panel repair smooth

Clean the door of any sanding dust. Tape off the window edges (if applicable). Prime the door on both sides (allowing one side to dry before priming the other side.)

Prime repaired door with KILZ 2 primer

Paint your door any color you like!

Paint repaired door with Magnolia Home Magnolia Green paint

Want to Stain Your Door Instead?

If you prefer the natural wood look on your door, be sure to choose a spline that matches your door’s wood species and skip the wood putty step.

Installing the Door:

Back at the house, my framers had some fun with the house wrap at the front door.

After I added an exterior door frame kit to my repaired door, the framers hung it in the rough opening.

Because I didn’t paint the exterior of the door yet, you can barely see the repair above. But, after a fresh coat of paint, I challenge you to spot the repaired crack!

Do you like the color I painted the door? You might remember my decision making process when selecting the exterior color scheme. Ultimately I chose Magnolia Green and Locally Sown in the Magnolia Paint line.

Magnolia Green Door with Locally Sown Magnolia Home Paint on Siding

And just in case you thought I was only good at saving doors, apparently now I’m also a house saver! The Saving Etta house received her plaque denoting her name as it’s registered in the list of National Historic Properties.

Saving Etta: 1900 Home Saved from Demolition and restored into a beautiful Triple A construction modern farmhouse.

Hopefully she’ll last another one hundred plus years!

A funny story about the green door: Originally I was going to hang the door with the handle on the opposite side, but made a last minute change. The interior of the door was supposed to get painted gray to match the rest of the doors in the house (minus the salvaged 1900 doors shown above. They were left raw to show off the original wood grain and square peg construction.)

Many of you loved the green color and voted on Instagram to keep the front door green on both sides. Which is why Etta has a green front door inside and out!

Saving Etta: 1900 Home Saved from Demolition and restored into a beautiful Triple A construction modern farmhouse.

What do you think? Do you like the double-sided green door? Do you have a cracked door panel in need of repair? I know you can fix it.

Do you have those old discolored recessed can lights in your home that use big hot flood bulbs? If so, it’s time for an upgrade!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED
How to Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED Lights

Today I want to show you how to update ugly recessed can lights with energy saving LED recessed lights. This process is quick and easy, not to mention the new lights will look better, last longer, and save you money on your energy bill! What more could you want? Change out all your ugly recessed lights in no time by following this simple tutorial.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Here is what my old lights look like. Not only are they ugly, but they use the large flood light bulbs that use too much energy, radiate heat, and burn out quickly. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of changing these burned out bulbs.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Want to see how quickly you can change out your lights? Here’s a one minute video (that’s how fast you can do it):

The first step to replacing these recessed lights is to remove the light bulb by simply unscrewing it from the socket. Unless you’re extraordinarily tall, you’ll probably need a step ladder for this project.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Next, find two small springs inside the baffle, as shown in photo below. They look like a wire with a loop in the center. Pull up and out on the springs to release the baffle inside your can light.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Remove the trim by simply pulling it off the ceiling.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Grab your new retrofit LED recessed light and screw the adapter into the light bulb socket, exactly as you would screw in a light bulb. It’s that easy!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Inside the opening, find two metal clips. Squeeze the spring hinges on your LED light and insert them into the clips inside the old recessed can. These will hold the light in place.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Finally, gently push your light up into the ceiling. Believe it or not, you’re done!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Now you have a beautiful, white, and energy-efficient LED recessed light. Take some time to admire it.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Now you can easily change out all the can lights in the room and voila, your lighting is upgraded! This is such a quick, easy, and inexpensive project. There is no point in putting it off any longer.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to share any questions or thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Liked this project? I know you’ll love these other lighting upgrades:

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Change Out a Dated Hollywood Strip Light

 

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

How to Convert a Recessed Can Light to Accept a Hard-Wired Light

Saving Etta exterior color decisionsExterior Paint Color Scheme at Saving Etta

Things are moving along on the house. I know I owe you another Saving Etta chapter. Please know it’s on my to do list. The past two weeks have been absolutely insane. My electrician, plumber, and HVAC contractors have been putting in lots of hours in the 95 F degree heat to get everything installed and ready for the rough in inspection. I’ve spent numerous hours up and down the ladders helping my electrician with marking light locations and nailing nail plates. As things progress, I am forced to make decisions quickly. Right now it’s time to get the siding up on the house — which means it will be time to choose the exterior color paint scheme for Etta. I can’t believe she will be beautiful again soon.

I’m extremely excited to be working with Magnolia Paint by KILZ as a Saving Etta sponsor. I had the opportunity to meet Chip & Joanna Gaines and try their new paint line last February in Waco, Texas. While there, I fell in love with the Magnolia chalk style paint. It’s thick, smooth, and has great coverage. I can’t wait to use it again on a small project (when I have more free time.)

At the Magnolia Home paint event, I enjoyed talking to one of the KILZ chemical scientists about my favorite interior wall paints and what I look for in a quality paint. I was pleased to find out that the Magnolia Paint Interior Paint offers the same Low-VOC, thick stain coverage, and durability I demand in paint. I’ve been itching to really put these paints to the test, and now I can because I have a whole house interior to paint!

Truth be told, the exterior house colors were ones I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But, I wanted to share with you some of the Photoshop sketches I created for the house so you can let me know your favorites.

I am very partial to the simple white house with a light blue door. Although this is my favorite combo, there is a real rivalry between NC State (Red & White colors) and University of North Carolina (Carolina Blue & White) in our area. In other words, this color scheme would appeal to a UNC fan, but an NC State fan would never be caught dead owning a house with a light blue door. So, I’m leaning toward some other color schemes:

I have always wanted to use orange as a front door color. I love fall colors and this Work Worn Wood paint color has me dreaming of fall again (especially since it’s been in the mid-90’s all week.) Of course, I also like the color because of the orange leaves in the photo. So, I’m wondering if an orange door would still look fabulous in the winter and summer. What do you think?

Navy has had a huge resurgence in home design. I’ve seen some amazing houses painted a dark navy with white trim. This is a color combination I wanted to try for Etta, but ultimately my realtor talked me out of it. She likes the color combo, but said the dark colors fade faster. Ultimately I’m trying to provide a low maintenance house for whoever buys Etta, so I chose to stick with light colored siding and reverse the palette by painting the front door navy. What are your thoughts on this combo?

My final options are inspired by nature. Painting a front door green is suppose to be good luck (at least that’s what I’ve heard.) Regarding the siding choice, I bought some samples and painted swatches of Locally Sown, Blanched and One Horn White on foam board to see how they look on a larger scale. Blanched was a little creamy for what I wanted.  One Horn White had a hint of a green undertone (it would be pretty, but I wanted something more neutral for the siding with a green door.) Ultimately, I really like Locally Sown. It’s a very light neutral warm gray (almost white) color.

Right I’m leaning toward Locally Sown siding and True White trim colors. Any front door color would look great with these:

These are the options I mocked up. What do you think? Are there any combinations that appealed to you? Any others I should consider?

Disclosure: Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ is a Saving Etta material sponsor. I’m honored to work with them on this project. All words and opinions are my own. I have not been told what to say. As always I am very particular about the sponsors I work with and you will be told if you are reading a post that has been sponsored or in which materials were provided. 

If you liked this post, you’ll love learning about color compliments and choosing paint colors:

How to Choose Color Harmonies | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Choose Color Harmonies

 

how-to-pick-paint-colors

How to Pick Paint Colors

 

My Home Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint Colors in My Home