How to Assemble Wall Cabinets with Glue and Cam Locks

You don’t need be a professional or spend a ton of money to successfully assemble your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. A glue and cam lock assembly is very easy to do yourself- which is one of the benefits of choosing ready to assemble cabinets. Installing your wall cabinets should take less than 10 minutes, leaving you with plenty of time for other home remodeling projects. All you need for this is wood glue and a screwdriver- the rest should come with your cabinet kit.

1. Prep for assembly. Open your box and separate all of the parts. Place the door and face frame facing down on a protected surface. Apply wood glue to the edges of the face frame, but be careful to not add too much.

2. Start to assemble. Use a screwdriver to make sure the cam locks are in an open position on the side panels. Insert the side board so that the male and female parts of the cam lock fit effortlessly. The glue will also help these pieces adhere. Do the same on the opposite side panel. Now you will have your base and two side panels all secured together.

3. Continue assembling. Add glue to the dadoes (the grooves in the wood of the side panels). Install the top and bottom panels and lock the cams. You now should have the bottom/base, top and both side panels installed.

4. Finish assembling & add shelves. Add the back panel with the unfinished side facing out (it will fit into grooves nicely). Tighten all remaining cam locks and wipe off any excess glue. Install shelf clips and slide in the cabinet shelf. It should fit snugly. You’re done!

After you’ve assembled your wall cabinets, it’s time to mount them to your wall. There are various tutorials for this online, but you can always consult a professional contractor for further help. Below are the very basic steps for mounting cabinets to your wall.

Measure the space from the floor up to the cabinets, taking into consideration the base cabinets, counter tops and more (if they aren’t already installed). Using a level and a pencil, mark a line on the wall where your cabinets will end. Use a stud finder and mark them so you know where to drill. Most people secure a ledger board to the wall for support and screw it into the marked studs to support the cabinet’s weight temporarily. Install the cabinets on the ledger board and secure them into the wall at the studs.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Counters

countertop

After you’ve spent the time and money remodeling or upgrading your home, it’s important to keep each room in top condition. Taking care of your home by cleaning it properly and periodically is the easiest way to keep your home looking great. Cleaning your kitchen counters is a simple step in this process, and it’s important to know how to clean each type of surface.

For granite countertops, the first step is to seal them upon installation. This will help to prevent deep stains over time and ultimately making cleaning easier. For daily cleaning, you can use warm water and your choice of mop or cloth. For tough stains, find a household cleaner that is made for stone- make sure to carefully read the label. Don’t ever apply bleach or other acidic cleaners, as they will damage the surface. If you can, avoid soap since it can etch the stone. When placing dishes and other utensils on the countertops, use placemats and trivets to prevent scratches and rings.

For marble countertops, you will need a little bit of patience. Because marble is soft and delicate, it scratches and stains easier than other materials. Because of its porous surface, anything acidic will stain easily. Make sure to clean up spills and stains as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting. Use hot water and a sponge or soft cloth for simple cleaning. Always dry the countertops yourself instead of letting them air dry. Because marble is delicate, stay away from any cleaner that is abrasive or includes vinegar. Marble is easily damaged by heat, so don’t set any hot dishes or pans on the counter.

For ceramic countertops, there are a few steps. First, clean up any dry debris with a vacuum or by sweeping. Then you can clean your surface with warm water and a gentle cloth. Any gentle, neutral-PH cleaning solution will work as well. Like most materials, avoid bleach and acidic cleaners which will damage the material. If your ceramic countertops have tiles, make sure to scrub the grout and remove mildew that can collect in the grooves. There are a variety of grout cleaners on the market (including spray and foam options), so it’s easy to find one that will work for you.

For wood countertops, the cleaning process is a bit different. To prevent the wood from drying out or warping, only use food-grade mineral oil (avoid olive and vegetable oil). Periodically applying mineral oil will keep the wood looking moist and in top shape. Clean up any spills as soon as they happen so they will not stain. Wooden countertops absorb odors easily, so rub the surface with a slice of lemon to get rid of the smells.

For soapstone countertops, you have a few more options in terms of cleaning. Since it is usually dark and non-porous, stains don’t show up as well. To keep it clean, wipe soapstone with a cloth or sponge and some dishwashing liquid and warm water. A fine sandpaper (used carefully) can remove any scratches. Avoid abrasive cleansers and steel wool.

For stainless steel countertops, you’ll need to dedicate some time to their cleaning. Steel is very sensitive to harsh chemicals and wet materials. Keep your counter dry at all times to avoid discoloration. Clean the surface with warm water and a small amount of baking soda. Avoid rough cloths and sponges, since they can scratch easily.

If you are ever in doubt, call your countertop manufacturer and ask for specific cleaning and care instructions. As a general rule, always use gentle cleaning supplies and wipe all surfaces dry to prevent mildew and germ build-up.

How to Install Shelving in Your Home

An easy way to add storage and give your room a new look is to add shelving. While certain home remodeling projects should be left to the professionals, installing basic shelving in your home is fairly easy if you have a couple hours, a little cash and some DIY talent. Here is a basic guide on how to install shelving in your home.

What you’ll need:

a level

adjustable shelf brackets

shelves

wall standards

screws

pencil

stud finder

electric drill and drill bit

tape measure

Directions:

1. The first thing to do is to measure and prepare. Figure out how many shelves you want and what size each needs to be (width and depth). Choose what type of material you want your shelves to be (wood, MDF, metal, etc.) and if you need to sand, prime or paint them before installing.

2. After all the preparations are done, it’s time locate the wall studs. Use a simple electronic stud finder to locate the studs before you start to install the shelving. You can find these at your local hardware store for a reasonable price. The sensor will beep or light up when you have indicated the stud’s edge. Repeat doing this on opposite ends of the wall and mark these spots with a pencil. Typically studs are located either 16 or 32 inches apart from one another.

3. Now it’s time to install the standards, which are the bars that hold the shelving brackets. After you’ve located and marked the studs, use your electric drill to screw the first standard to the wall corresponding to the stud locations. After the first standard is installed partially, use a level against the edge of the standard to make sure it is vertically centered. Put screws in the bottom hole, then the rest of the holes to finish installing your standards. Make sure you install enough standards to hold the contents that will be placed on the shelves- you don’t want the shelves to sag (twin-track standards will take more weight than single-track ones).

4. After the standards are in place, it’s time to install the brackets for extra support.

Make sure that they are wide and long enough to support the shelves, and that you install two or three for extra support. These can be screwed in with an electrical drill right into the standards or hooked into them depending on how they are made. Again, make sure you use a level in this process before securing the screws in all the way. If you want to add drama to your shelving unit, install corbels and supports with intricate details and carvings.

5. Place the shelves on the brackets and screw them in to the front of the bracket for added support.

How to Store Your Winter Gear

With winter coming up in a few short weeks, your home is sure to become abundant with coats, boots, shovels, skis and more. Certain rooms in your home, such as your entryway, mudroom, closets and garage become places to store all of this winter gear and can become messy and crowded. To keep everything organized and in its proper place, here are a few helpful storage accessories and tips.

mudroom mat

Place absorbent mats on the floor. It sounds obvious enough, but placing mats to trap the water near entryways is a must. Also place absorbent mats around the areas where the winter items are stored, since there will be a lot of foot traction in this area. This will help make your job of cleaning easier and prevent your home from getting too dirty from outside debris. If you isolate the mats to just one space in the home, that will become the destination for taking off winter boots and coats, instead of having to clean up mud and snow all over the house.

open storage

Open storage works best. Instead of cramming things into old cabinets or drawers, utilize open storage. Open cubbies, shelves and cabinets allow you to see all of the items you’re storing and choose the necessary ones easily. More importantly, open storage allows for proper ventilation and air circulation for any items that have snow, rain or mud debris on them. This type of storage allows you to air dry your items while keeping everything at an arm’s reach. For shoes, look for a shoe organizer to separate the boots from sneakers and invest in a boot dryer if possible to speed up the drying process.

mudroom hooks

Add hooks. Hooks are great for hanging items that need to dry, like wet coats and snowpants. Hanging things also saves space on the bottom of the rack or closet, which is great for storing shoes.

mudroom organization

Invest in baskets and storage bins. These types of storage containers let you place similar items together. For example, you can put gloves in one container and scarves in another, or even assign one bin to each child or person for their winter items. Grouping items together keeps things organized and easy to find in a last-minute rush. If the baskets or bins are stackable, they can easily be stored away when winter is over with.

shoe storage

Utilize door storage. Over-the-door storage racks or shoe organizers are ideal for smaller items like gloves, hats and scarves. Just make sure the items are properly dried and clean before storing them to prevent mildew.

snowboard storage

Add storage racks in the garage. Instead of leaving your winter items on the ground everywhere, invest in some hanging storage racks for your garage, mudroom or shed. There are a large variety of options available, including shovel racks and racks for skis, snowshoes and snowboards. Any items that can be stacked or laid flat would fit on long shelves as well. For heavier winter gear that won’t fit inside the house, you can install coat racks in the garage or shed. Encouraging storage outside of the home (like in a garage or outdoor shed) frees up entryway space inside your home and reduces the clutter and mess.

*images are from Apartment Therapy & Femaleways

How to Maximize Storage Space in Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are usually one of the smallest rooms in a home. A large challenge that many homeowners and renters face is making the most of that small space. Storing toiletries, towels and other bathroom items can be tricky when there isn’t much room to work with. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to maximize the storage space in your small bathroom.

bathroom cabinets

Wall cabinets. Cabinets that are mounted into the wall makes use out of the empty wall space while providing ample storage. Wall cabinets usually have different compartments and shelves, which makes them ideal for storing medicines and bathroom items of all different sizes. These cabinets also help to prevent cluttering the sink tops and floor as well. Many popular wall cabinets have a mirror on the front of the cabinet door, which saves extra wall space as well.

bathroom hooks

Hooks, racks and other storage solutions. There are a variety of utility shelves and storage racks that you can use in your bathroom. In the shower, wire racks attached to your showerhead or the shower wall are an easy way to store your shampoo, soap and other items.
Hooks and racks should be placed in various spaces in your bathroom for hanging towels, washcloths, bathrobes and more. Utilize your bathroom door as well by placing hooks and racks on the inside of the door. This handy toilet paper holder fits perfectly on the inside of your cabinet shelf.

bathroom open shelves

Tall and slim open shelves. Narrow shelves are ideal for storing items like towels and toiletries- especially if the shelving is open and has no cabinet doors (this way, guests can see the items they need and use them). Since these shelves are narrow, they can fit in between any fixtures in your bathroom and can make use of the higher-up space that normally is ignored. If your items seem to become too cluttered, find skinny baskets and store the smaller items in those. This type of shelving also adds to the room’s aesthetic and can make the room appear taller and therefore larger.

bathroom ladder

Rolling ladder. If you have the space to install a rolling library ladder in your bathroom, give it a shot. This way, you can store items that aren’t as frequently used up higher and then easily reach them when needed with the help of the ladder. A rolling ladder also adds charm and beauty to your space.

bathroom chair

Tables and chairs. Many bathrooms have a small table or nightstand in the corner or open space of the layout. This can double as storage space as well as a decorative element. A nice chair also serves as a place to put clothes or items while adding elegance to your bathroom’s decor.

laundry pull out

Laundry pull-outs. If your bathroom doubles as a laundry room or you have some space left in your under-the-sink cabinets, think about adding a pull-out hamper to store dirty clothes and towels. Since it’s inside the cabinet or drawer, it will be hidden from guests and take up less space than a standalone hamper.

bathroom organization

Organize your existing items. Go through what is currently in your bathroom and get rid of anything that is old. Medicines that are past their expiration date, old makeup and stained towels all should be thrown away to clear up more space. See if any of the items in your bathroom can be stored elsewhere in your home. If it’s something you don’t use on a daily basis or need in the bathroom, then move it to another location.

*some images are from Houzz

How to Plan a Kitchen Remodel During the Holiday Season

Although there is no “ideal” time to remodel your kitchen, doing it right before the holidays can put some extra pressure on you and your family. Sometimes, remodels run a little longer than we expect or setbacks push the project back an entire season. When this happens, you have to adjust your plans and way of life around the remodel. With the holiday season right around the corner, it can be hard to balance a kitchen remodel and entertaining guests in your home. Here are a few tips for how to plan a kitchen remodel during the holiday season.

Find the right contractor. You should be upfront about your plans during the holidays and how the remodel may affect them. The contractor can try to work around your schedule or plan certain projects for certain days and weeks to avoid any catastrophes. Make sure you compare plans and prices as well, since you’ll be paying for the remodel during the holidays- which is typically when people spend the most money on gifts.

Plan ahead. Create a list of the projects you want done and when each should be completed. For example, if you are cooking the holiday dinner, make sure that all the appliances will be able to be reached and used in the midst of the chaos. Relocate any kitchen seating to another room for guests to relax, since the kitchen will be under construction. Keep track of the remodel’s progress on a calendar so you can see if the goals are being met on time.

Double-check your timing. Figure out which parts of the kitchen you want to be done with before guests come over for the holidays. For example, if you can live without your new floor tiles, save that project for after. However, if the cabinets are in terrible shape and you want them fixed before guests arrive, have that completed on time. You’ll have to make some sacrifices in terms of what gets done before and after the guests come. Prioritize what can be updated or changed easily to look better for the holidays, and then do the full remodel after they are over. Always allow time for mishaps and delays, since they are bound to happen.

Create a makeshift kitchen. If your kitchen remodel is so large that you won’t be able to use much of it, you’ll need to create a makeshift kitchen station in another room in your home. Move must-have items like the microwave, some type of refrigerator/freezer/cooler and commonly used tools to another room with an empty table or counter space. Take some of the stress off of yourself and ask others to cook dishes that will be difficult for you to do. If at all possible, make some food ahead of time and freeze or appropriately store it away until the holidays. This makes for one or two fewer things you have to do while your kitchen is under construction. Lastly, use paper goods instead of dishes- it will save you a lot of dish washing, especially if your sink is temporarily out of commission.

How to Spot Low-Quality Cabinets

There are many different factors to take into consideration when choosing kitchen cabinets. Determining the quality of the cabinets is far more extensive than just looking at the cabinet’s door. Things such as the material, construction, shelves and the finish are all imperative to choosing quality cabinets and not settling for cheap ones.

The material. Plywood is usually the strongest material used to construct cabinets. It’s made of various layers for extra durability. Other options include particle board and MDF, which are commonly-used materials but not as strong. Cabinets that are made of a quality material will last longer and be more durable. Also take into account if the material holds well to heat and moisture, depending on your climate, the season, and the location of your cabinets.

The construction. The structure of the cabinets includes proper drawer construction. The drawer construction shouldn’t be put together with something like glue or staples- that is a sure sign of poor quality. A dovetail joint is the proper way to construct the drawers so that the drawer fits together correctly. Make sure the drawer slides are sturdy as well and not made of a flimsy material. The best slides are usually made of heavy steel and are full extension-slides with an innovative self-closing feature. They should close smoothly and easily and hold a good amount of weight.

Another element to take into consideration is the box construction. Thick panels are more durable, so beware of thin or flimsy panels on the side, end and back. There should always be strong and good-sized reinforcement on the corners, so look out for that as well.

Shelves. The cabinet shelves should be thick and made of quality material. They carry the major part of the load in the cabinets, so it’s important they meet certain standards to prevent sagging or breaking. Choose plywood or solid wood for the best in strength and durability. Check for reinforcements on the bottom of the shelves, since they will add to the durability and quality to the cabinets.

The finish– The finish of the cabinet doors and fronts are also very important to look at. The finish on the cabinets needs online casinos australia not only to be attractive, but also to protect the cabinets themselves. Things such as scratches, worn areas and abrasions are all signs of a cheap and poorly-executed finish. Wear, discoloration and deterioration shouldn’t be noticeable on quality cabinets as well. Cabinets with a quality finish should go through a process of sanding, sealing, staining and top coats to produce the desired appearance. Lastly, watch out for any stains or dirt particles that are left over from a poor finishing job. If your cabinets are located in a sunny location, make sure the finish is UV protected so the color and finish won’t fade over time.

Certification– Look for KCMA certification, which is attributed to cabinets that meet a certain area of criteria. Although this is not required and is an elective certification, it does suggest that the cabinets are of high quality. Consider it an added bonus if the cabinets you are looking at are KCMA certified.

How to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient

One of the concerns among homeowners lately is making their homes as energy efficient as possible. Doing so is not only good for the environment by conserving our natural resources, but it can lower your heating and cooling bills as well. Here are a few things you can do to keep your home as energy efficient as possible.

Improve your lighting. Skylights are placed on your home’s ceilings to allow natural light into your room. This allows you to use less artificial lighting, which will save you money on your electric bill and save energy as well. Another option in regards to lighting is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These save ¾ of the electricity used by the regular bulbs and last much longer, too.

Improve your water system. There are a few ways to improve the hot water situation in your home. Installing low-flow, energy efficient fixtures in your shower or bath is a very simple upgrade. You can also turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting. Lastly, insulating your water lines will prevent them from cooling down as quickly between uses.

Practice proper ventilation. It’s commonly known that hot air rises, so in warmer months opening a few windows will release the heat and cool down your home without the use of air conditioning or central air.

Install the proper insulation. To keep your home warm during colder months and cooler during warmer months, it’s important to have quality insulation. Insulation slows the rate that heat flows in and out of your house. Speak to a professional about which type will work best for your home and watch as you have to use your heating units less and less.

Try solar heating. Although it’s certainly not for everyone, solar heating is an eco-friendly option. The solar heating panels collect the sun’s heat and transfer it to a collector or directly into your home. This is a great way to take advantage of sunny weather and reduce your carbon footprint.

Check doors and windows. Old windows and doors may need to be replaced if they are old or leaky. There are a variety of more energy-efficient windows on the market today if you are looking to completely replace them. If not, checking for any cracks or gaps can help prevent air from coming in and out. The same goes for your doors- make sure to check the bottom, top and sides for any drafts. Any open spots should be caulked so they are airtight.

Change filters. Something that is often forgotten about is changing the filters. You should periodically change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner, for example. This will keep the machines clean and running smoothly and more efficiently.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen is arguably one of the most-used rooms in your home. Multiple times a day you are in there preparing and cooking food, as well as sometimes eating it. Because it is always so busy on a regular basis, it is bound to get dirty. To keep your cabinets looking in top shape, you need to clean them periodically. Although it may seem like a chore at first, cleaning your cabinets is very easy once you know how to properly do it.

When cleaning your kitchen, you typically think of the counters, food preparation area and the sink. However, the cabinets are one of the dirtiest areas of your kitchen. Frying food with grease, cooking using oil, and dirty fingers opening and closing the cabinets produces build-up of food particles. This makes your cabinets appear dirty and grimy to both the eye and the touch.

For regular, basic cleaning of cabinets, all you need is warm, soapy water and a clean rag. Wash them as you would any other part of your home, making sure each cabinet and surface area is cleaned. Properly rinse them with water afterward so no residue is left on the doors. Cleaning cabinets with this mixture on a bi-weekly or weekly basic will prevent buildup of grease or food residue. The longer something is left on the cabinets, the harder it will be to remove- so periodically cleaning them can prevent this in the future.

For heavy grease build-ups on your wood cabinets, you may need something other than regular cleaners. A good degreaser will cut through the buildup. Make sure you clean up the degreaser completely and that none of it is left on your cabinet fronts. Dry them with a clean cloth. Finally, you could shine your cabinets with a little furniture polish for some extra sheen. It’s important to always read the labels on any household cleaners to make sure they are suited for use on your cabinets, particularly if they are wood or metal. There are a variety of products out there made specifically for use on cabinets, so do some research and trial-and-error before cleaning your entire kitchen.

A tricky thing to do when cleaning your cabinets is to avoid the hardware. To make things easier, you may want to remove the knobs or handles. If they can easily be screwed back in, removing them temporarily when deep-cleaning can make the job a lot easier. To wash the hardware itself, place them in a solution of water and dish detergent and let them soak while you clean the rest of the cabinets. This will help prevent germs as well, since everyone is constantly touching the handles to get into the cabinets. Using a sanitizing solution or wipes daily can help prevent the spread of germs.

Daily cleaning of your cabinets with a wet cloth is simple and quick. A weekly cleaning with soap and water will help remove food splatters and particles. A monthly de-greasing cleaning will remove any thick buildup. Finally, a yearly cleaning is great for polishing up your cabinets to make them look like new.

How to Boost Your Home’s Security

Improving certain areas of your home can help it look more attractive or functional, but it also is a great way to increase the level of security in and outside of your home. One of the most common threats to your home is burglary, and since you can’t always be there to watch out for it, it’s important to take the proper precautions. Here are some easy and affordable options to help keep burglars out of your home.

Lock your windows. You would be surprised at how many people lock their doors but not their windows. Windows are another easy way for intruders to get into your home, so make sure to protect them with the proper locks. Closing blinds or curtains can also help prevent burglars from seeing any of your valuable items, such as purses or wallets, that are left in plain sight in your home.

Lock your doors. It is estimated that 81% of burglary offenses occur through the first floor of homes. This means that it’s more important than ever to make sure your primary and back doors are securely locked with the proper bolts, latches and guards. To instantly strengthen any door from being kicked in, add a deadbolt lock and a reinforced metal box strike. Don’t forget about your patio doors if you have them- some sliding doors can be lifted off their tracks, so an anti-lift device can help prevent this from happening.

Protect your indoor items. Even with all of the safety precautions in place on your windows and doors, your valuables inside your home are still at risk. Your home and office include drawers, cabinets, doors and mailboxes that contain private or personal information and belongings. Protect these items with drawer, cabinet and mailbox locks. Safes also are a great option for storing your valuables and keeping them protected from intruders or unfamiliar house guests.

Invest in an alarm system. This is a crucial step if you live in a high-crime neighborhood. Most alarm systems can be installed fairly quickly and are paid monthly. They help to increase the fear of being caught and will deter burglars from trying to enter your home. Alarm decals on your windows and signs on your lawn or outside of your home will increase this fear.

Befriend your neighbors. Your neighbors are a second set of eyes to watch your home when you aren’t there. After you’ve built trust and a friendship with them, establish some sort of system where they will watch your home for you while you are gone. On vacations or trips, have them pick up your mail, water your plants, etc. to show burglars that someone is watching the home.