Interior Improvement Ideas
By: Danny Lipford
We’re taking a look at five great home improvement projects for the interior of your home.
Installing Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors and other hard surface flooring—such as tile—are more popular than ever. Installing solid hardwood flooring is best done by a professional flooring installer, since the sanding and finishing required takes practice to master.
However, hardwood flooring is also now available as prefinished engineered flooring, which is thinner and easier to install than traditional solid hardwood, since it doesn’t require sanding or finishing.
Unlike solid wood flooring, which is nailed in place, engineered hardwood can be glued down to either a concrete or plywood subfloor. Start by making sure the subfloor is in good condition, and fill any low spots with floor patching compound.
Next, decide which direction the flooring should run, then pop a straight line using a chalk line for the first row. Use a notched trowel to apply the adhesive to the floor, and tap the board together with a rubber mallet, staggering the seams for a random look. As a last step, quarter round molding is apply against the baseboard around the room to give a finished look.
Central Vacuum Systems
Central vacuum systems make a great addition to a home since they eliminate the need to carry a heavy vacuum cleaner around and can improve indoor air quality by expelling the exhaust outside. Since central vacuums are usually located outside the home in a basement or garage, they’re much less noisy than a standard vacuum cleaner.
Central vacuum systems come with hoses of various lengths as well as attachments for cleaning hard floors, carpet, and even furniture.
Adding a Paddle Ceiling Fan
Paddle ceiling fans not only add to the look of a room, they can keep you cool in the summer and circulate warm air that rises to the ceiling in the winter. When installing a ceiling fan, be sure the electrical box is properly attached to the ceiling joists to hold the fan firmly in place.
To get the most out of your ceiling fan, set the rotation to turn forward in summer, so the fan turns counterclockwise when looking up at it. Reverse the rotation in winter so the fan turns clockwise.
Since a ceiling fan only cools when you’re under it, turn the fan off in summer when you’re not in the room. Run the fan on low in the winter to circulate the warm air trapped near the ceiling.
Replacing a Central Heating/Cooling System
When replacing the central heating and cooling system in your home, it’s important to have the unit sized to the house and climate so it will perform efficiently. A load calculation takes into account:
- The amount of insulation in the attic and walls.
- The size and number of windows in the home.
- Whether the window glass is insulated or not.
- The direction the windows are facing.
While you might think bigger is better when it comes to an air conditioner, a unit that’s too large for the house will not remove enough moisture from the air and leave the house too humid.
The best choice for an efficient HVAC duct system is to use sheet metal pipe wrapped with 2” of insulation, rather than insulated flexible ducts.
Installing Recessed Lighting
Recessed lighting is popular because it’s unobtrusive. It’s also the most versatile type of lighting, since it can be used for:
- General lighting
- Accenting lighting
- Task lighting
Recessed lighting consist of a housing or “can” that is attached to the ceiling joists, a trim ring (also known as a “baffle”) to cover the hole in the ceiling, and the bulb that provides the light.
Standard recessed lighting can are attached to the joists in the attic. Remodeling cans are also available when there is no attic access, which can be installed from the room itself.
- Choosing and Installing Wood Floors in Your Home (video)
- How to Use a Paddle Ceiling Fan Properly (article)
- Tips on How to Light the Kitchen in Your Home (video)
- Air Conditioners: From Maintenance to Buying New (article)
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Masking Tape Holder
To keep a roll of painter’s masking tape available when you need it when preparing a room for painting, make a homemade masking tape roll holder by bending a wire clothes hanger to the right shape. Make sure the holder is the correct width for the masking tape roll to fit on it. Tape the ends of the wire hanger together, and clip the tape roll holder on your belt so it will be handy at all times.
Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
Eco-Friendly Cork Flooring
Cork flooring is made by cutting off and harvesting the bark from the cork trees every 8-10 years. This makes it an eco-friendly, sustainable building material, since the trees continue to grow between harvests. Cork flooring is soft and gives when you walk on it, making it easy on your feet. It also doesn’t product dust in the air. Cork flooring is available at The Home Depot in tongue and groove planks that lock together.
Around the Yard with Tricia Craven Worley:
Planting Small Seeds
To plant very small seeds accurately, dip a flat-headed wooden toothpick in water, and then use it to carefully pick up and plant each individual seed. Push the toothpick into the soil in your planting container to the proper depth, and pull it back out to plant the seed. You can plant multiple seeds in a larger pot, and then divide the plants later, or plant individual seeds in smaller containers.
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