Living Space Renovations Journal



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Pallet Wood and Dishtowel Wall Art

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Recently we went to Portland, Oregon for a family wedding.  Because Monticello Antique Marketplace is very close to the airport, it's our first stop when we arrive in town.  We were lucky enough to get there during their Fall Show, which is always filled to the brim with great treasures!


One of the things I found was this great dishtowel.  I knew I wouldn't be using it as a dishtowel since the graphics were so cute.
We decided to make a frame for it using pallet wood.  It took two pallet boards to make the frame.


 I used my handy-dandy wood aging technique on the  inside edges where the cut marks were, so that they'd look old too.  (if you don't want to click the link, the secret is Apple Cider Vinegar and Steel wool) 

He cut a piece of hardboard to attach the dishtowel to.  We used spray adhesive on the board, then used a rolling pin to attach the dishtowel to the board.  We then put that in the frame, used  glazing points to hold it in, added some tape around the edges, and a wire stapled across the back to hang it.

The dishtowel was $8.  We had everything else on hand, so I'd say $8 for a neat piece of art is worth it!  :)
Thanks for your visit!

I am linking to the following parties:

Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Andy and Leigh Dale’s Dining Room Do-Over - Today's Homeowner

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Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

By: Thomas Boni

Andy and Leigh Dale Younce love the updated kitchen in their 1960s home — but nobody’s crazy about the dining room.
Fortunately, Danny and Chelsea have a plan to fix it!

Some of the projects we cover in this episode include:

  • Remove and Replace Trim on Two Pass-Throughs
  • Paint Walls
  • Paint Dining Room Table
  • Replace a Light Fixture
  • Build TV Housing

Check out the “Dining Room Do-Over” episode article for more information!


This Landscaping Tip Will Save Your Plants

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stepsPlow & Hearth

Deck Step Solar-Powered Lights

These amorphous solar panels will gather and store sunlight even on overcast days, so you can have a beautiful glow lighting your stairs and walkways after sunset. Featuring an aluminum housing with bronze finish, they provide 6 to 8 hours of light to keep you safe even on the darkest of nights. Check out these 12 ideas for lighting up your deck.

Photo: Courtesy of Plow & Hearth


Solar Fairy String Lights

Ignite the night by lighting up your trees for a wedding or other party using these dainty solar fairy string lights. The tiny specs of light throughout the branches above will create a magical feeling all around. You'll get a total of 100 LED bulbs, an on/off switch and a charging time of 4 to 8 hours. Want even more magic in your yard? Check out these 15 breathtaking DIY fairy gardens.

Photo: Courtesy of perfectholiday   Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The Family Handyman editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Contact us, here. [skyword_tracking]


Refrigerator freezer is building up ice on inside bottom floor

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Two likely possibilities that I have seen over the years:

Blocked drain

This used to be quite common on GE side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, but maybe on others as well. Frost-free freezers aren't truly frost free. They create frost and them melt it away, it then drains into a pan somewhere to evaporate. If the drain hole clogs, ice builds up in the bottom of the freezer.


When the gasket wears out, moist air can get into the freezer. The moisture condenses and then freezes on the bottom. If this is the problem replacing the gasket is the solution - usually fairly easy but also a relatively expensive part and specific to each model because it has to be exactly the right length & width.


Best Hydraulic Oil Impulse Impact Driver – Head-to-Head

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Hydraulic or oil impulse impact drivers are similar in purpose to traditional impact drivers. They are intended to drive small to medium sized fasteners, like small sheet metal screws and up to 3″ decking screws. The big advantage to these tools is that they are significantly quieter than a traditional impact driver, making them better suited for use in occupied spaces and safer for the user’s hearing. Currently there are only a handful of oil impulse or hydraulic impulse drivers on the market.

Why Buy An Oil Pulse Impact Driver?

Oil pulse impact drivers offer reduced noise. Hearing loss impairs quality of life and increases the risk of injury. Every year, thousands of construction workers suffer hearing loss from excessive noise exposure on the job.

According to the CDC: “1 in 8 U.S. Workers Has Some Hearing Loss”. The construction industry comes in a second in terms of most hearing-impaired workers.

Research has shown that 90% of impact driver fastening in most trades is for screws and small to medium lags – 6 to 8 inches long.

Hydraulic drivers are small, compact, and quieter. Here are some torque stats needed for fasteners, all of these fasteners are within the range of an oil impulse impact driver.:

  • #9 – 3”deck screw:              40 in-lbs
  • ¼” x 3” lag bolt:                   53 in-lbs
  • 3/8” x 3” lag bolt:                160 in-lbs
  • #10–16 x ¾”Tek screw:    10 in-lbs
  • 5/16” Bolt:                            324 in-lbs

Using a lighter, quieter tool, that has less vibration makes sense, and can result in more satisfied clients and a better user experience. A quieter impact driver would certainly be appreciated in many job sites, especially when working in occupied spaces, such as:

  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Hospital
  • Office Spaces

Let’s not forget our own hearing loss. Using a tool that is quieter is better for you to help reduce hearing loss due to long exposure to loud noise.

Oil Impulse Impact Driver Line-Up and Specifications

For this Head-2-Head we tested tools from Makita, Milwaukee and Ridgid. We put these tools through two typical fastener driving tasks,  and also a more difficult task of driving 4″ TimberLOK screws into sandwiched LVL (engineered lumber) to see how they stand up to a much more demanding driving task. Below are the basic specifications for each oil-impulse impact driver:

Makita XST01 Oil Impulse Impact Driver

Milwaukee Surge 2760-22

  • 18V
  • 5.0 Ah Battery Pack
  • 3000 RPM, 450 in / lbs
  • 2.81 lbs bare tool
  • 3 year limited warranty and limited service agreement, if you register the tool.
  • Milwaukee Surge 2760 Product Info

Ridgid Stealth R86036

Oil-Impulse Mechanism

What are Oil-Impulse Drivers?

A regular impact driver is different from an oil-impulse driver in the manner in which it applies force. Regular impact drivers create their force through a spinning anvil and hammer mechanism. The hammer mechanism compresses a spring, when released, the energy drives the hammer down while simultaneously twisting it. This concussive force is what makes an impact driver a go-to tool for fast fastener installation. The loud chattering noise that they make, is created by the metal to metal parts slamming against each other. This type of mechanism also creates vibration.

The oil-impulse impact driver utilizes oil to hydraulically drive the impact mechanism for lower noise. It has a completely different impact mechanism, similar to a vehicle clutch. Two blades are held by the “anvil” enclosed in a cavity containing viscous oil, which hydraulically forces the two blades to make contact with the spinning outer case or “hammer”.  As these components engage and disengage, they hold their impact longer than a traditional impact, resulting in a quieter application with longer, sustained torque, with less vibration.

Benefits of an Oil-Impulse Driver

Oil impulse drivers offer three important features:

  1. Quieter to operate
  2. Smoother performance, less vibration
  3. Increased durability by minimizing reducing metal on metal contact inside tool

Oil-impulse drivers cut down on the noise intensity by as much as 50 percent, as well as reduce vibration for the operator. The less vibration is best explained as a “smoother-feeling” tool to use. The defining feature of this (and any other) oil-impulse driver is how quiet it is compared to impact tools.

Features – Winner Makita

In the Features evaluation we looked at the following: LED light, controls, clutch, chuck, fit and finish, battery gauges, lanyard and belt clips in this category. We used the same ranking scale as the ergonomics section for consistency.

Reverse Switch

The “Reverse Switch,” on all three tools is located in the same spot, but not equal. The Milwaukee reverse switch was better. Milwaukee’s switch is the only one that recesses in, and seats flush with the impact housing.  The crew liked this, because it did not stick out and rub against the web of the operators hand, causing irritation.

Speed Selector Switches

Makita has an LED array, it’s easier to see, and its electronic button is off to the side, allowing the user to see the selections they are making. Makita has a nice positive switch.  With the Milwaukee, you have to reach over what you are trying to see to activate the button.  The Ridgid has an electromagnetic switch [1-2-3] on the top of the unit.

Battery Gauges

All three tools have battery gauges. The Makita battery gauge stayed on the longest of the three, was bright and easy to see.  The LED on the Makita is located on back side of the battery, which the team unanimously agreed is the BEST location.

LED Light

Every cordless tool these days seems to have an LED light, so the manufacturer can say “we have an LED light.”  The real questions to ask are:

  • Is the LED bright?
  • Does the LED cast a shadow?
  • How long does the LED stay on?
  • Can you turn the LED light on from a separate switch?

Ridgid has 3 LED’s around the collet, completely illuminating the work area with no shadows. There is also a switch on the Ridgid activates the LED, separate from the tool trigger. Makita and Milwaukee both have a single LED, located above, and activated by the trigger. We observed that these single LED lights create annoying fastener shadows. All three tools can activate the LED with a trigger pull, and stay on after the trigger is pulled, we timed them, and they were:

  • Milwaukee –  11 seconds
  • Makita        –  10 seconds
  • Ridgid         –  10 seconds and has a separate switch to operate and control this LED


All three impacts have a collet that allows one-handed loading. One-handed loading is easier to use, and more efficient. Milwaukee’s collet seems more durable, solid, and had a tighter spring. It has a a more aggressive knurling which allow using with gloves easier.  The Ridgid has a smooth finish which makes it slippery and difficult to use with gloves.

Metal Screw Starting Feature

The Makita and Milwaukee tools both come with a special feature for driving smaller fasteners, like self tapping screws in sheet metal. On the Makita it is called “T mode” on the Milwaukee it is called “Self-tapping screw mode.” These modes start off in high speed, but electronics in the tools sense when the screw grabs, and slows down drive speed to prevent stripping the screw through the metal. This feature is really great for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing professionals, or anyone who needs to drive sheet metal screws.

Neither the Makita nor the Milwaukee stripped a fastener during our testing. The Ridgid, does not have this feature, and during our testing, we stripped 2 out of 10 fasteners when driving in high speed.

A trades-person who regularly uses the Ridgid to install self-tappers, might be able to drive that number down, but the Makita and Milwaukee sure make it a real Fire-And-Forget  process. ~ Ethan Bickford [TBBCrew]

Ergonomics  – Winner Makita

We looked at 13 aspects of these tools to determine our winner in the ergonomics category. Everything from tool weight, to the quality and usability of LED lights. When it came down to choosing a winner – the Makita won!

Makita is lightweight, has well thought out controls and premium features. We especially liked Makita’s 3-speed selector with Quick Shift Mode™ which controls fastening speed and application.

The Milwaukee finished second in ergonomics, placing second in many categories but standing out with the easiest to use and least obtrusive forward/reverse switch, tight fit-and-finish and the easiest to use collet of the three tools we tested.

Lastly, the Ridgid stood out with it’s triple LEDs, just behind and evenly spaced around the collet, and it’s on-handle LED light switch so that the lights are on any time you pick up the tool.  The Ridgid, however,  has a smooth and slippery collet, is heavier than the other two, and it’s larger size kept it to the back of the pack.

Why is the Ridgid Stealth SO MUCH Bigger?

Ridgid is notably larger than the other two impacts. This is based on two reasons:

First, Ridgid utilizes older impulse technology, which requires a larger impact mechanism.

Second, Ridgid designed their impact to be able to handle larger sized fasteners, and have a higher torque. Both Makita and Milwaukee are smaller in size, and are optimized for small to medium sized fasteners. The size trade-off is that Ridgid has a much larger tool, with more reactionary torque.

Interesting fact

Milwaukee first started chasing this larger impact technology, but later abandoned it after seeing the Makita technology. It’s fair to say that Milwaukee’s design was inspired after Makita “paved the way.”

Price – Winner Milwaukee

Below we’ve included the current pricing (at the time of publishing this article). The lowest price isn’t always the best in our opinion, we’re always looking for the best value. Our theory is that these impacts are so close in performance that the highest priced tool does not always mean the best tool, same goes for the lowest price. Its a fact that if a lesser priced tool can solve the same problem, and do the same job, isn’t that better?

It’s always hard to compare the pricing of cordless tools especially when each manufacturer packages them differently with kits, bare tools, and then varying size batteries. We show the prices of the tools as tool-only, and kitted.

  • Makita $331
    • $172 for the bare tool
    • $159 charger battery combo
  • Ridgid $274
    • $199 for kit that includes (2) 2 Ah battery packs and charger
    • $75 for one 5 Ah battery pack (hard to find as they are phasing out)
  • Milwaukee $329
    • Model 2760-22 offers a kits with two (2) 5 Ah battery packs

Selecting the winner of this category was tough. Ridgid is the cheapest and you’d have 3 battery packs, a couple small slim packs and one large pack. Milwaukee is only $55 more, and you’d have two 5 Ah packs. We think we’d rather have two large packs than 2 small and one large. So we think the Milwaukee is the best price/value especially with a hard case.

Oil-Impulse Impact Driver Testing Procedures

Before we describe the tests we conducted, we wanted to talk a bit about sound-level test procedures.

As you know, sound measurement and reporting is a highly precise scientific process. Because sound is measured in a logarithmic decibel scale, the numbers are important. Our readers know that a difference in an additional 10 db is a doubling of the sound energy.

Manufacturers test and report their sound readings in a specialized anechoic chamber with multiple high-precision microphones placed around the test tool. Manufacturers record the sound in careful and controlled conditions under strict test procedures. The test group analyze and process the data according to various sound laboratory standards. This laboratory testing yields a very precise and accurate sound value.

The manufacturers’ published sound levels are absolutely accurate. However, these sound intensity levels will not be those that users will encounter in field conditions. Users will hear sound reflections from walls, ceilings and hard surfaces and ambient noise. Users, believe it or not, may slip or strip fasteners with the bit in their impact drivers. These factors will lead to a higher peak sound intensity.

TBB has said many times that we are not a testing laboratory, nor are we trying to be one during our tool tests. We use commercially available, high quality equipment for our measurements. We attempt to keep our tests consistent and repeatable. We urge the readers to focus on the relative values of our test results. Due to the above factors, readers will note that the TBB sound test results will not track to those that the tool manufacturers publish for their tools.

But our consistent testing yields relative differences in tool performance in our comparison tests. On all three tests mentioned below, we used fresh 5.0 Ah batteries.

3″ GRK Construction Screws in Spruce Framing Lumber

A common use for impact drivers is to drive fasteners into construction grade lumber. We simulated this condition by driving six (6) 3” GRK construction screws into two layers of spruce 2 x 6 lumber. We attached the two pieces together and clamped the assembly to a solid workbench. We drove six (6) of the GRK screws into the surface and timed the results. In addition, we placed our decibel meter to within 12 inches of the work area and recorded the peak sound energy.

We repeated this test twice, calculated the average run time for two sets of six, and the highest peak sound value (results are shown below). TBB set all three drivers at their highest RPM setting.

For this test, Ridgid was the quietest and Milwaukee the fastest.

TEK Fasteners in Steel Hat Channel

Another popular application for impact drivers is installation of self-tapping metal screws. We selected TEK self-tapping fasteners and drove them into a steel hat channel framing materials. We clamped the steel to the workbench and drove a total of six (6) TEKs into the metal. We recorded the duration for driving all six of the fasteners and recorded the peak sound levels.

For this task the impact drivers were set at their highest RPM setting. In this test, Makita was both the quietest and the fastest.

TimberLOKs in LVL

Manufacturers position oil impact drivers as a quieter/gentler impact tool that is better to use in occupied areas. These tools have less torque than most mechanical impact drivers. While TimberLOKs are a larger structural fastener, they are so prevalent that it’s likely they are specified even in remodeling projects of occupied spaces. So we wanted to see how well the three drivers worked under heavy loads. We figured that driving multiple TimberLOKs into LVL pieces would be a good test for heavy loads.

We pinned two pieces of LVL together and clamped them down to the workbench. Next, we drove four (4) five-inch (5”) TimberLOKs into the LVL pieces. We recorded the time to install all four fasteners and the peak sound measurement approximately a foot away from the tool.

Again, for this test we set all three drivers at their highest RPM setting. Ridgid was the fastest, and Makita the quietest.

Test Measurement Results

Performance – Speed Test – Winner Ridgid

Our first impression when we used this tool was how “smooth” these impacts were, quiet was only noticed later when compared side by side next to a conventional mechanically-driven Milwaukee 2753-20.

Makita and Milwaukee are designed for small to medium sized fasteners. Research shows that 90% of impact driver fastening in most trades is for screws and small to medium lags – 6 to 8 inches long. Users who perform hard joint fastening like lug nuts or 6” Victaulic flanges on water pipe and sprinkler assemblies, would be better served with an impact wrench.

The Ridgd’s Stealth demonstrated the most power and was the fastest driving impact. It performed almost equal to the Milwaukee standard impact, verified by running the Ridgid right next to the standard Milwaukee.

I was impressed by the Ridgid’s power, the only trade off was, it’s reactionary torque can fatiguing over time ~ ROB

Performance – Decibel – Winner  Makita

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has determined safe noise levels and has made recommendations that specific ear protection devices be worn within sound levels of 85dB.

The defining feature of these oil pulse impact drivers is how quiet it is compared to impact tools. Makita averaged 90.5 dB across all three tests.  RIDGID was 90.9 and Milwaukee was 94.7 dB.

Makita was the quietest impact driver, it’s impact mechanism even sounds softer when it hits!

Note – An increase of 10 dB is perceived as a doubling of the noise level and represents 100 times more sound intensity. The average of the sound readings for the oil-pulse drivers was 92 dB. This average was 7db less than a standard impact which was 99.8 dB. This 7 dB difference means that the standard impact driver was over 1.5x louder than the average for the oil-pulse drivers. 

Finding The Winner

These tests and evaluations, are limited in scope as we’re not a professional testing company. We have limited time to evaluate these tools. We can’t possibly test every application that you might use of one of these impacts for.  All three of these impacts have been in service, with our crews, for over a year, and all three are working flawlessly – no negative issues.

Makita and Milwaukee have been designed for the HVAC, electrical and plumbing trades. They are perfect for small to medium fasteners, both are compact in size and have little to no vibration. While they still can install larger fasteners they are not designed for that, and will ultimately be slower.

Makita is higher priced, and sounds softer when it hits. It, too, is designed for small to medium fasteners. It’s a perfect tool for occupied spaces where noise reduction is needed. Ridgid is the least expensive of the lot. It is designed for medium to larger fasteners. It is also larger in size, faster and quieter.

Despite their differences, all of these impacts are able to produce enough power to drive medium sized fasteners.

Best Oil Impulse Impact Driver – Makita

Once again all the tools in this evaluation were close. However, Makita took the win by winning the Ergonomics, Features, and Noise categories.

Makita is the innovation leader in oil-pulse technology, and their Oil Impulse Brushless Cordless 3-Speed Impact Driver (XST01Z) changes the game in fastening with all the speed, power, noise and ergonomics. All of these combined is a winning  recipe!  The Makita XST01Z also features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™), engineered for increased dust and water resistance for operation in harsh job site conditions.

Final Thoughts

Oil impulse impact drivers are best suited to tasks and workplaces where precision and low noise are more important than having maximum power. For many users, the decision on which impact driver they should buy will likely be based on the battery platform they own. The bottom line is this, all three of these oil impulse impact drivers  are capable of performing ALL medium driving tasks. For larger fastening, they will perform the application, but have less torque and will be slower.

Ultimately everyone needs to choose a tool based on their specific needs, uses, and budget.

~ the #TBBCrew

Best Hydraulic Oil Impulse Impact Driver – Video Review


2. Staffel von YouTube Original „Cobra Kai“ startet heute

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Die 2. Staffel der YouTube-Originals-Serie „Cobra Kai“ ist ab sofort auf YouTube Premium verfügbar. Bereits der Trailer, der Anfang April veröffentlicht wurde, hat über 24 Millionen Aufrufe verzeichnet, so das Unternehmen. Die YouTube-Originals-Serie basiert auf der Filmreihe „Karate Kid“ aus den 80er Jahren. Die beiden damaligen Hauptdarsteller William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) und Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) schlüpfen in „Cobra Kai“ in ihre alten Rollen und ziehen die Zuschauer in der 2. Staffel mit dem Konkurrenzkampf ihrer Karateschüler in ihren Bann. Das Drehbuch für „Cobra Kai“ wurde von Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine), Jon Hurwitz und Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar, American Reunion) geschrieben. Produziert haben die Serie Will Smith, James Lassiter und Caleeb Pinkett Executive für Overbrook Entertainment in Zusammenarbeit mit Sony Pictures Television Studios.


Your Guide To A Modern Wedding Processional

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Once you’ve got your wedding party set and established their roles in your wedding ceremony, you’ll want to think about how everyone is entering the ceremony itself. The processional, a.k.a. the entrance, can be a pretty major part of said ceremony. Some couples choose to have a very small processional and walk down the aisle together, just the two of them. Or, depending on the type of ceremony and size of wedding party you choose to have, you could have lots of people come down the aisle. There are lots of options for a modern wedding processional, and most of these are based in one of two traditional wedding processionals: Christian wedding ceremonies and Jewish wedding ceremonies. You, of course, don’t have to follow these traditions, but I’ve found them to be a useful point of reference to start from.


(Men on the right, women on the left when walking down the aisle together)

Grandparents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride (Grandparents don’t always come down the aisle, but it’s lovely if they’re able!)
Parents of the Groom
Mother of the Bride (Escorted by an usher, family member, or close friend)
Groomsmen (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Best Man
Groom (Grooms can also make a subtle entrance from the side/back)
Bridesmaids (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Bride and Father of the Bride

At the altar, the groom and his groomsmen stand on the right side while the bride and her bridesmaids stand on the left, with the officiant in the center.


(Men on the left, women on the right when walking down the aisle together)

Cantor and/or Rabbi
Grandparents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Groomsmen (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Best Man
Groom and Both Parents
Bridesmaids (One-by-one or two-by-two)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
Bride and Both Parents

Under the chuppah, the groom and his parents stand on the left side while the bride and her parents stand on the right, with the rabbi and/or cantor in the center. Bridesmaids and groomsmen stand just outside of the chuppah on either side, if at all.

Wedding processional FOR A Modern Wedding With a Large Wedding Party

(Officiant waiting at the end of the aisle)

Wedding Party (Mixed together, two-by-two)
Partner #1’s Best Person & Partner #2’s Best Person
Flower Person and Ring Bearer
Partner #1, escorted by Parent(s)
Partner #2, escorted by Parent(s)

FOR A modern wedding with a small wedding party

Grandparents of Partner #1
Grandparents of Partner #2
Parents of Partner #1
Parents of Partner #2
Flower People and Ring Bearer
Partner #1 and Partner #2, together

WAYS TO CHANGE UP Your Wedding Processional

If none of these options fits your style and you just want to do things your own way, consider this your permission to do exactly what you want. It’s super common for traditions to borrow from each other, such as both sets of parents escorting their children down the aisle, but there are so many more things you can do to make it feel more like you and your partner.

  • Have the person waiting at the altar/chuppah meet their partner halfway down the aisle
  • Invite grandparents to stand (or sit) underneath the chuppah along with parents at a Jewish wedding
  • Send mothers, rather than fathers, down the aisle with their daughters (or other parental-type figures)
  • Have the groom’s mother walk him down the aisle, and send the mixed sets of parents down the aisle together
  • Mix the wedding party up and send them down the aisle together, one-by-one or two-by-two
  • Have each person in the couple walk in alone
  • Have the couple walk in together

As you think about your modern wedding processional and how best to design it, remember that while it may be low on your priority list, it can be extraordinarily important to the older people in your life, especially parents and grandparents. It sets the tone and builds anticipation for the ceremony, grounds your guests in the moment, and is great for photos and memories (especially from the Flower People). You might enjoy it more than you expect.


4 Ways to Finance Home Improvement Projects - Today's Homeowner

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Whether home improvements are wanted or needed, there’s a way to fund them.

For many homeowners, the next remodeling or improvement project is always in the back of their minds. They might be inspired by ideas seen on Facebook or the “Today’s Homeowner” television show.

At any rate, improving your home is usually a good idea in the long run. Not only does it often improve the home value, but it’s a way to put your stamp on the home and truly make it yours.

However, improvement projects can also be expensive. While some homeowners save up over time to be able to afford them, others find themselves needing — or wanting — to start earlier.

Sometimes, improvements are done out of necessity after a kitchen fire or water damage. Others are done to help an expanding family find more room. Maybe you just got inspired and can’t wait to get started!

Here are ways to find funding for your project—without having to wait to save money for it.

1. Open a Credit Card with an Introductory Deal

If you don’t have cash, one option you do have is to look into a credit card. Don’t just grab whatever rewards card you can find; do some research. There are two types of cards to consider: a card with a high signup bonus or one with an introductory rate offer.

There are credit cards that offer a 0 percent interest rate over the first six to 18 months of opening an account. You could open this card and cover the expenses for a home improvement project. If the balance is paid off within the intro period, then you can save on interest.

Additionally, homeowners can try taking advantage of a card with a high signup bonus or introductory offer. These cards usually offer high cash-back rewards for reaching a spending threshold over the first three months. If you have a project cost that exceeds that threshold, then you can basically get a discount by taking advantage of the introductory offer.

Of course, exercise caution with credit cards. A low-rate or high-bonus credit card sounds like a great deal, but don’t forget about the obligation to pay off the balance.

2. Use Your Home Equity

A home equity loan or line of credit is often the go-to solution when it comes to funding home improvements. If you use a HELOC or equity loan to pay for repairs and improvement, it’s often tax deductible, making it highly attractive for many homeowners.

In order to be eligible for this product, you’ll need to have the necessary equity in your home. Most lenders won’t go above 80%, meaning that they won’t allow you to use more than 80% of your home’s value in a loan. This could limit your creativity, but it’ll also help keep you from going upside-down on your home if housing market prices fall.

Using a line of credit lets you reuse your credit over and over; as you use the line of credit, you can pay part of it off, or all of it, just like a credit card.

During the draw period, you can continue to withdraw funds and make minimum payments. After that period is over, usually about 10 years, the line of credit changes to act more like a loan; no further withdrawals are allowed, and you’ll need to make regular payments.

The drawback of any home equity product is that it’s secured by your home; if you cannot make the payments, you could go into foreclosure.

3. Take Out a Personal Loan

If you have good credit, a personal loan may be an excellent option; they have become a popular option for big-ticket expenses such as home improvement.

There are two main types of personal loans: secured and unsecured. A secured personal loan requires collateral, but anyone lacking in assets may not be able to take advantage of this. However, most personal loans are actually unsecured, so you don’t need to bring your assets to the table.

Personal loans are characterized by higher interest rates for a couple of reasons. First, repayment terms are usually short – about three to five years. A shorter repayment term means higher interest rates. Additionally, many personal loan offers are unsecured, which means banks and credit unions extensively review income and credit history in an application. This can make personal loans more expensive for applicants with lacking credit or poor income.

A personal loan can be a good option, but there are caveats. Someone without any assets or good credit may be on the hook for a high-interest loan – not an ideal scenario for reducing project expenses. While a short repayment term may be ideal for some applicants, this obligation may not be suitable for some people.

4. Cash-Out Refinance

Another option for financing your home improvement project is a cash-out refinance. Like a home equity loan or line of credit, a refinance is secured by your home. It differs from them, however, in that you take out a new first mortgage that pays off the old one and offers you cash back based upon your equity, rather than taking out a second, separate loan that you’ll have to pay back in addition to your existing mortgage.

If your home is worth $300,000, for instance, and you still owe $220,000 on it, you can refinance that $220,000 but also take out the equity up to 80% of your home’s value, or $240,000. That gives you a cash out of $20,000 for your project.

The key to understanding which financing option is best for you is first understanding what your financial situation is, how much money you need, and what you can realistically afford to pay per month. With a little research — and a talk with your bank or credit union — you can decide on the best course of action and get your project underway.

By Andrew from LendEDU, a consumer education website. Andrew has gained a bit of experience in DIY home improvements by helping his sister with her improvements on a new house.


Canceled Home Improvement Project Leads to Refund Battle - NBC 6 South Florida

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Joyce Mathews moved to South Florida to take care of sick father.

“He wanted to remain in this home that he built in 1999,” she told us.

Mathews moved her father's Pompano Beach home to care for him. He required a lot of medical equipment and she wanted to get a generator as backup power for the equipment.

“Without the generator, he faced the possibility that as he got sicker, I would need to have him moved into a nursing home,” Mathews said.

In March, she signed a contract with Assurance Power Systems to install a generator. She paid a $3,300 deposit understanding it would be fully refunded minus permit fees paid by the company if she canceled. She and the company agreed work could begin in August.

“My father at this point and time had turned 94 years old, and he wasn’t getting better. He was getting worse,” Mathews said.

Before the generator could be installed, her father passed away.

At the end of August, Mathews sent a letter to Assurance Power Systems asking for a refund.

“They sent me a refund check but it wasn’t a full refund of our deposit,” she said.

She says the company told her that permit fees that had been paid to Pompano Beach were subtracted from her deposit. That’s when she took the extra step to call the city to verify the permits had been paid.

“Emailed me documentation indicating the only fee incurred and paid by this company was $150 dollars,” Mathews told us.

Subtracting that amount, Mathews believed the company still owed her $617. After months of calling the company, with no word on if she would receive the rest of her money, she called NBC 6 Responds.

“At a time that was very difficult for me to be going through, I shouldn’t have been having to deal with this type of frustration,” said Mathews.

We emailed Assurance Power Systems and within a week Mathews received a check in the mail.

A representative with Assurance Power Systems told us in a statement:

“Assurance Power Systems is sorry for any confusion on this matter. Our cancellation policy is clear that we refund deposits on projects less any permit fee’s plus a $250 cancellation fee. In this case we actually waived the cancellation fee as well. The refund was calculated based on the posted permit fees from the building department. I’m glad we were able to get these waived for Joyce and that we will be able to refund the difference."

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Trim around hallway opening

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If you were building it from scratch without a door, you'd drywall the whole thing with a corner bead, then wrap baseboards around it all.

You can decide if that's easier or if you'd rather keep it trimmed out.

If you do keep the trim, temporarily remove it and replace the door frame with some flat painted stock. Then replace the trim.