June 29, 2017
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Hometuner

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How Should You Finance Home Improvement Projects?

Maybe you’ve been planning on finishing your basement or upgrading your plumbing for a while now. You have a little extra leeway in your budget and you finally can think about tackling some of those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. Or perhaps you don’t have a choice. Maybe a tree fell on your roof in last night’s lightning storm.

Either way, home improvement can be costly, and you need to figure out the best way to finance your projects.

You have a lot of options when it comes to financing home improvement. Here are a few of the best ones to consider:

• Cash. If you have a smaller project, then you should probably aim to pay it all out of your own wallet directly. Cash will save you from interest and fees on loans.

Of course, it may not be a viable option for a bigger project like a kitchen remodel. For projects that will cost you tens of thousands of dollars, you will probably need to borrow.

• Low-interest credit cards. These unsecured loans are a great choice for low- and medium-cost projects. They are easy to qualify for and you can get away with paying low interest or no interest. Just make sure you know all the card terms so you won’t run into unexpected snags.

• Personal loans. When it comes to mid-priced projects, unsecured personal loans are a good choice. They are easy to qualify for and you don’t need to provide any collateral. You can get a larger loan this way than you can through a credit card and its easy to apply online with online lenders like SoFi.

Interest rates do tend to be high, though, so be sure to compare personal loan interest rates before you commit. Shopping around for the best deal can be time-consuming, but it will pay off in huge ways over the years to come.

• Get a loan tied to your home. Secured loans like home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and cash-out refinances work great for more expensive projects.

They typically offer low interest rates and may also offer tax advantages. Each of these different types of secured loans has its pros and cons, so be sure to do a thorough examination of your options before you make your choice.

Home improvement projects sometimes cost only a few hundred or thousand dollars. Other times, they may run you tens of thousands of dollars or more.

For smaller projects, when you can get away with cash or a low- or no-interest credit card loan, do it. You will simplify your budgeting and your life while keeping costs as low as possible. For larger projects, you might consider a personal loan or a secured loan tied to your house.

Always make sure that you will truly be able to afford any project that you are thinking of tackling. Do the long-term math to figure out where you will stand with any loans you are considering taking on. If you feel like you are on shaky financial ground, it is always best to wait. You can always upgrade your home tomorrow!

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20 Simple Ways to Cut Costs Around the Home

We have all heard that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” But most of us take it for granted.

Still, that saying is spot on. Every time you spend money, you have to make up that cost before you can even begin to work toward a profit.

In other words, spending money makes it twice as hard to grow your accounts.

So wherever you can cut costs, you should. And there are some surprisingly easy ways to save money around the house which you may have overlooked. Let’s check them out.

1. Cut back on your water bill.

Do you really need to flush the toilet after every use? Do you really have to wear all your clothes only once before washing them? So many households use way more water than they need to. Make simple changes to your habits to curb that water bill.

2. Unplug your electronics.

Do you leave your electronics plugged in at night when you aren’t using them? They are sapping power, and power is money. Unplug them and you’ll get a little change back in your wallet.

3. Install low-flow faucets.

If your faucets currently blast out more water than you need to wash dishes or shower, consider replacing them with lower-flow models. Doing this could save you up to 60% on your water bill.

4. Upgrade your light bulbs.

If you currently using traditional incandescent light bulbs, replace them with compact, energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs with ENERGY START certification. They use less power and last much longer.

5. Seal your windows and doors.

According to the EPA, sealing up cracks around windows and doors and installing proper insulation could save you up to 15% on the cost of heating and cooling your home.

6. Switch from drinking bottled water to using a filter.

Bottled water is ridiculously expensive, and not nearly as good for you as you may think. A simple portable filter can save hundreds of dollars a year over drinking bottled water. It’s healthier too.

7. Make smart use of blinds and curtains.

Trying to warm up your house in the winter? Conventional draperies can reduce heat loss by 10% if you use them correctly. If the sun is streaming through a window, pull the drapes out of the way to let in the ambient heat. In the summertime, turn to reflective blinds to keep the heat from overwhelming a cool room.

8. Buy generic.

This advice is often touted for prescription medicines, but it applies to numerous other products as well. You can buy generic equivalents for clothing, food, toiletries, and so many other products. Big brands and designer brands cost money, but don’t necessarily offer superior quality.

9. Switch to space heaters and program your thermostat.

If you heat your entire home during the winter, you are wasting a tremendous amount of power and your utilities bills are going to skyrocket. Switch to using space heaters in the rooms you are actually in. Heated mattress pads also work great and save a ton of money.

While you are at it, invest in a programmable thermostat. If you must use central heating, at least have it set up so that it will only run when you really need it. This can save you hundreds of dollars a year easily.

10. Add insulation to your water heater.

This is a great way to reduce the power you need to use to keep your water hot. You could tack on up to 9% savings to your budget this way.

11. Take advantage of free vet clinics.

If you have pets, you can save hundreds of dollars per year if you wait to schedule physicals and vaccinations for your pets on free clinic days. Many vets host them a couple of times each year.

12. Never shop online without looking for coupon codes first.

Seriously, you should never hit “buy” online without running at least a cursory search for coupon codes. You can often save 5-30% at major outlets. While you are at it, sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores. They will often send out special deals for subscribers.

13. Shop when things are on sale.

Buy winter gear during the summertime and buy summer gear during the winter. This is when these items are cheapest.

14. Replace the air filter in your car.

Did you know that a clogged-up air filter can cost you 7% of your gas mileage? That adds up fast! Getting the filter changed is relatively inexpensive and will pay for itself fast.

15. Clean out your dyer lint trap.

A clogged lint trap can reduce your dryer’s efficiency by as much as 75%. Cleaning it will extend the life of your dryer and reduce your energy bills.

16. Make smart cooking and eating choices.

If you use small pots and pans on larger burners, you waste all that extra heat from the burner. This can be more expensive than simply buying some smaller pots and pans. Make sure you have the right cookware for the job.

While you are at it, cut back on eating out. Invest in a crock pot and make some larger meals which go multiple days. You will save a ton of money eating in and simplifying your meal preparations—probably thousands of dollars per year!

17. Say goodbye to cable TV.

You could easily save hundreds of dollars per year switching from cable TV to an online service like Netflix. Cable is quickly becoming outmoded. There are much better, cheaper options out there.

18. Make gifts instead of buying them.

Numerous families actually take on debt to shop during the holidays. There is no reason to do this—ever. This year, consider making gifts for friends and family instead of shopping for gifts. You will save money and give something more personal.

19. Mend your clothing and forget about moving with the times.

Let go of the habit of constantly replacing your entire wardrobe. If you learn how to sew, you can mend most tears.

Stop worrying about keeping up with the latest fashion trends. Move beyond trends and find a personal style which suits your personality instead.

Most of your clothes will last you for many years if you take care of them. Shop at thrift stores and you can find amazing attire at ridiculously low prices.

20. Ditch your vices.

If you drink or smoke, this is the single most important change you can make. Drinking and smoking are incredibly expensive, and can easily chew through hundreds of dollars a month. Overcoming these vices could raise your entire standard of living.

These ideas should help you to significantly cut your household costs.

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7 Steps to Building a Working Household Budget

You know that sinking feeling you get at the end of the month? You open your bank account and check your balance and you realize it is actually down from where you were at this point last month. You are in the red. How did it happen? Is your lifestyle unsustainable? What if it continues?

You do the math. In horror, you realize you will be broke in a few weeks or months.

Practically everyone goes through this experience at some point in young adulthood. That’s okay—it’s all part of learning how to be an adult. For whatever reason, they don’t teach this all-important stuff in school. So here are 7 steps to help you build a working household budget which is sustainable. After you take these steps, you’ll hopefully be back in the black.

1. Set some goals.

Start by figuring out what both your long- and short-term priorities are. Make a list of your objectives for the month, the year, and the next five and ten years. Figure out what is most important to you. Is it to build up your savings? Is it to raise startup capital? Is it to build up a college fund for your kid? How much will you need to meet all these objectives?

2. Figure out your income and expenses and come up with a sustainable monthly budget.

This is probably the single most important thing you can do. Make a list of all necessary monthly expenses and then start tracking your real expenses. How do your expenses compare to your income? Is there anything you can do to increase your income and/or decrease your expenses?

You work hard for your money—so figure out where it is going! If your expenses exceed your income, you must find a way to balance things out. If future changes eat into your budget, you must look for a way to compensate.

3. Curb impulse spending.

A lot of us spend money each month on things we don’t need. They may seem like small purchases at the time, but they can really add up.

Do what you can to cut back on items that are “wants” vs. needs. One great technique is to assign yourself a waiting period before you buy something you simply want. Take 30 days to think about it. Usually the impulse will pass. If it doesn’t, maybe it is worth it after all.

4. Start saving and get away from financial black holes.

It can be hard if not impossible to think about saving money when you are struggling, but you need to get into a saving mindset. At the bare minimum, you need an emergency fund.

“But I have to pay the rent!” While that is true, that is a black hole. If you are in the red month after month, throwing all your savings at rent is not going to save you. Obviously this puts you in an untenable position, but this is where you need to find a way to make a lasting change.

Move into a cheaper place. Apply for a better job. Get outside help if you can. Save your savings for something really useful—like relocating to that better job, starting a business, or changing your life in some other lasting way.

5. Implement your plan and maintain it.

Your budget is not a “set or forget” prospect. You need to be actively involved with it on an ongoing basis. Throughout the month, do regular checks to make sure that you are on track. Add up your receipts, and come up with a way to mathematically compensate for irregularities in your cash flow.

Try to pay bills the same time each month. Subtract deposits you have been paid on uncompleted work and add in money you are owed but haven’t been paid yet (or come up with an alternate system that you like).

You don’t want to budget too obsessively, so come up with a schedule. You can run the numbers two or four times a month for example. Do it on the same days.

Whatever your system is, your goal is to come up with a way to measure exactly where you stand against last month. If you notice you are behind on meeting your goals, immediately identify the problem and tackle it as best you can.

What if you earn unevenly throughout the year? I suggest coming up with a budget based on the months when your income is lowest and sticking with it. This ensures a sustainable lifestyle. On months you earn more, you will save more.

6. Create a system for unusual expenses.

While most expenses are monthly, some are not. There are those DMV fees you owe once a year … that unexpected tax bill … that car repair or plumbing bill coming up. Come up with a system for dealing with these expenses, or they will eat into your bottom line in unexpected and unpleasant ways. One great idea is to set up a fund specifically for these bills. Add to it whenever you have any extra income.

7. Consider getting expert advice.

If you are still having a hard time, it may be worth it for you to turn to expert financial advice.  Most young people these days cannot afford a traditional financial advisor, but you can consider a robo-advisor like Betterment.  Some robo-advisors like Personal Capital can even help you to track your net worth automatically.

Creating and maintaining a working monthly budget isn’t easy, but you can do it! It may require you to make some large and small changes to your life, but in the end, all your hard work will pay off. You’ll save more money and be able to enjoy some valuable peace of mind!

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AirBnB has a ton of exciting apartments and flats you can choose from, or you can rent an entire house, a castle, an igloo, a vehicle, or something else totally imaginative and unique!

If you are a world traveler and you love unique accommodations, you will definitely want to check out AirBnB before you plan your next vacation.

You’ll probably pay a lot less than you would for a hotel room, and you will have a one-of-a-kind experience you will treasure forever. If you have a cool property, you can also list it for rent for other travelers. Here are 10 exciting AirBnB apartments where you can stay around the world!

1. Spacious Airline Apartment (the Netherlands)

It isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but this retired KLM airliner is a great choice for any vehicle lover. This airplane has two bedrooms, a number of bathrooms, and can comfortably accommodate four people. It’s fully equipped with a kitchen, internet services, television, and everything else you could need.

It’s also beautifully furnished. House rules state, “No flying, don’t use the inflatable emergency slide, smoking is not allowed when the non-smoking sign is on, and no marshmallow roasting with the jet engines.” The owners also request that you water their plants and feed their fish. “Please treat our plane like you treat your own plane.” Seriously, how awesome is that?

>>> Get AirBnB Coupon Here <<<

2. Unique Apartment at Icon Brickell (Miami, FL)

This apartment gets kudos for presenting reasonably affordable luxury. It’s quite a striking place with its own indoor swimming pool and hot tub, what looks like a marble floor, wood-paneled walls, a fireplace, and a view of the water outside. There’s even a chandelier and some rather posh-looking furniture. Not bad for $189 a night, and you could save even more with an AirBnB coupon code. This place also includes an 840-square-foot balcony, a business center, and convenient access to downtown Miami.

3. Unusual Flat in an Old Factory (London, England)

This is a fascinating spot to stay with an interesting exterior, an incredible view of the city (including the Shard), and a fun, eccentric, minimalist interior. It is the only flat on the 5th floor of the old factory, so you get to enjoy some peace and privacy here. The small balcony makes a wonderful place to sit and take in the views.

4. River Room, Bellingen Treehouse (Gleniffer, NSW, Australia)

This room for rent is high in the trees and located inside an incredible house constructed by famous Australian architect Richard LePlastrier. During the day, you can explore the amazing pathways in the surrounding forest or go swimming in the Never Never Creek. At night, you can listen to the rustle of palm fronds and the calls of night birds.

The room itself features an open, spacious design and light, natural materials. Even the walk to the bathroom on a catwalk among the trees is an incredible experience! For nature lovers visiting Australia, staying at the River Room is a must! This incredible room costs only $111 a night. Save even more money with a coupon for AirBnB.

5. Ruwenzori – Off the Tracks! (Cooks Gap, NSW, Australia)

If you’re a vehicle lover, you probably thought we couldn’t match the earlier listing for an apartment in an old airliner, but this listing easily rivals it. If you are visiting Cooks Gap in Australia, you have the chance to stay in an old train! Not just any old train either, but a vintage train with three antique railway carriages, one constructed clear back in 1890! We’re talking about wood-paneled walls, beautiful, comfy old furniture, elegant drapes, and all the old-fashioned charm and glamour you would expect if you took a trip back in time on a luxury line.

The grounds are lovely too, with an outdoor patio area under a beautiful awning between two of the carriages. It really does not get much cooler than this!

>>> Get AirBnB Coupon Here <<<

6. Very Original Flat in Montmartre (Paris, France)

There are a lot of listings on AirBnB that term themselves “unique” or “eccentric,” but this is one of the few that really qualify. You can rent the entire studio apartment for $115 per night. It is difficult to describe what makes this apartment so intriguing, but suffice to say that the architecture is unique, with beautiful skylights, rustic cinderblock walls, and beautiful hardwood floors. It’s got an artsy vibe, and is exactly what you imagine when you try to picture something classically Bohemian.

7. Exotic Apartment in Lisbon, Alfama (Lisbon, Portugal)

If you’re visiting Portugal, be sure to place a reservation at this unique apartment for a very reasonable $72 per night. It’s an odd-looking place with rough walls that make you feel like you are standing in a cave and old-fashioned timber beams overhead. It’s modeled to look like a country house, but it is actually part of a 350-year-old palace.

8. Self-Catering Cave Flats in Goreme (Goreme, Turkey)

Or, if you are visiting Turkey, you can stay in an actual cave. Yes, you can actually stay underground here! Traditional décor and comfortable furnishings make this a wonderful place to stay while exploring Cappadocia.

9. Spectacular Church Apartment – Ealing (Greater London, England)

If you love historical churches, you will definitely want to stay in this converted church apartment. It has all the classic elements of a gothic church including exposed beams, stained glass windows, and incredible masonry.

10. Casa Dos Chicos Hilltop Villa (Nayarit, Sayulita, Mexico)

Last but certainly not least, check out this amazing rooftop apartment in Mexico. It costs $350 a night, so you definitely will want an AirBnB promo code. This villa has beautiful rooms with brightly-colored décor and incredible interior design, breathtaking views of the tropical surroundings from the rooftop living area, and several swimming pools.

These are just a few of the unique accommodations you will discover on AirBnB. With these amazing places to stay at incredible prices, you will never be tempted to place a reservation at a hotel again! Just search for an AirBnB discount code, enter in your destination, and see what comes up!

>>> Get AirBnB Coupon Here <<<

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save space with a compact washer and dryer in one

Space can oftentimes be a luxury. The challenge of a tiny house, small apartment, condo or studio demand the most compact solutions.

A compact washer and dryer in one appliance usually fits the bill for a variety of situations. These are small washer and dryer hybrids that take about half the space as conventional washer and dryer combos.

They can usually fit underneath a counter top and are even ideal for mobile homes, larger boats and RV’s.

Many leading manufacturers of the compact washer and dryer are typically from Europe.

This is because most people there live in smaller, more efficient homes where small washer and dryer designs are the norm. If anyone has perfected space efficiency, it’s companies like Asko, Bosch an Miele.

The benefits of having a washer and dryer in one machine is five-fold:

  • Being about the size of a standard dishwasher, they can fit in bathrooms, kitchens or any other practical spot and act as a counter top.
  • They use less energy to run.
  • They use less water due to the front load design.
  • They switch the laundry from washer to dryer automatically.
  • They are easily camouflaged. Some even come with designs to match an existing counter top.

The cons of these designs are fewer but just as convincing:

  • They can be pricier than an average washer and dryer setup.
  • Due to their small size, they’re not equipped for high-volume performance. They are better for smaller families up to 4 people and can handle just around 6 to 22 pounds.
  • A ventless unit runs longer than any other design, usually 2 to 3 hours.

To Vent Or Not To Vent

Compact washer and dryers come either with or without a vent.

This has everything to do with the dryer and not so much with the washer. Whatever the current setup is determines which design is more suitable.

Vented varieties need an external exhaust to the outside. They work by taking in air and heating it up to dry the clothes. The air absorbs the moisture, turns it into steam and then sends it up and away through the exhaust.

Of course, this works well where there is already an exhaust, or where it may be convenient to set one up. It is typically the design that suits boats and RV’s the most.

The ventless version is most commonly used in apartments and condos.

They are convenient because they don’t need to be hooked up to an external exhaust, but they do still need to drain water out through the plumbing. They work like dehumidifiers: The hot air absorbs the moisture and sends it to another chamber where the moisture condensates back into water, where it is then drained out automatically.

The biggest fall-back of a ventless washer-dryer is that they take a little bit longer to dry – about an hour longer.

Some Extra Advantages

Even though a small washer dryer may take longer to run, there are some advantages to balance out the energy consumption. The front load design inherently uses less water than a top load design. This means less time and energy heating the water. They also have a mean last spin that sucks out extra water, meaning that it could potentially offset some time in the dryer.

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shipping container cottage the ultimate guide to shipping container homes


Shipping container houses are the hallmarks of architectural recycling. These are Intermodal Steel Building Units, or ISBUs, that are reused as structures for any place and for any purpose. Be it a home, a studio, a port or a palace, shipping containers are inexpensive and durable buildings for residential, commercial and even industrial use.

Herein is a comprehensive guide for turning shipping containers into homes, their prices and how to buy them. First, let’s get inspired by some of the benefits of having a storage tank as a home and some examples of some homes people have constructed.

  • They are extremely easy to build into a home. Storage containers usually stand superior in the face of building codes.
  • Properly insulated, they can make for a warm and cozy home in the winter. There are also effective ways at making them resistant to excessive heat.
  • Since they are originally built for transport, they can be easily moved when they need to be.
  • They can withstand practically any extreme weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Standing alone, an ISBU can handle 100 mile per hour winds. Securely anchored, it can take winds up to 175 miles per hour. You can also rest assured that it will never collapse during an earthquake. By far, they make for the safest storm shelters.
poteet architects the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Via Poteet Architects

modulus the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Via Modulus

paul mccredie the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Photo by Paul McCredie

eco pod the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Via Eco Pod

logan macdougall pope the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Photo by Logan MacDougall Pope

Dimensions

container dimensions the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

ISBUs are made of 100 percent Corten Steel, and there are a range of different sizes for them. However, the popular choice for shipping container houses are former sea containers that come in two standard sizes:

  • 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall, equaling to 160 square feet.
  • 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall, equaling to 320 square feet.

Alone, these can be suited as a tiny house. Even so, some people put multiple containers together for a bigger house. Others have even built entire commercial marine ports out of shipping containers, as well as big company headquarters, student housing and homeless shelters.

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<<Discover How to Build a Container Home Step-By-Step>>

How Much Do Shipping Containers Cost – Shipping Container Prices

For a used 20-footer in good condition, the cost can range anywhere from $1,400 to $2,800. A 40 foot shipping container will cost $3,500 to $4,500. Depending on where it is bought, some containers come with building kits and plans for personal customization.

There are also a growing number of manufacturers that are designing prefabricated shipping container houses for $15,000 and up. Bigger shipping container homes cost as much as $215,000, which is still only a fraction of the price of some conventional homes.

Those who buy a shell and opt to hire a contractor for the rest of the technical work are looking to spend $50 to $150 an hour. This can run the whole bill up to $15,000 or more. On the other hand, those who are experienced with construction can completely finish and furnish a home of steel for less than $10,000. Some handy folks even manage to do it for less than $4,000!

Now, more than likely the container will need to be transported to you. The price of delivery varies considerably depending on how many are being transported and far it has to travel.

Turning A Storage Container Into A Livable Space – Shipping Container House Plans

Shipping container house plans are relatively simple to build. They go up in almost no time at all and are built to last – forever. They are, in fact, storage containers designed to hold up to 57,000 pounds. There is a good amount of preparation, construction and tune-up projects necessary for turning a shipping container into a home. This includes setting a foundation, cutting frames for doors and windows, insulating, installing utilities and adding a roof and flooring.

Building A Foundation

concrete foundation the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

There are essentially three types of foundations: a traditional concrete block, a crawl space and a basement. Factors that influence this decision are the overall shipping container home plans and design, water tables, soil type, climate, presence of radon, type of bedrock and the entire shipping container cost.

Traditional concrete block – by far the cheapest, easiest and most efficient foundation. The containers are usually faceted to the corners and welded to embedded steel reinforcements.

Crawl space – these are useful for a certain amount of extra storage when building a full basement isn’t feasible.

Basement – when water tables, soil type and bedrock allow, a basement is a good way of making use of more vertical storage and having potential living space.

In this sense, the foundation follows the same protocol as building a conventional home. Although usually mandatory for building codes, it is possible to forgo a foundation in some areas.

Cutting Frames For Doors And Windows

grinder sawzall plasma the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

It sounds easy enough, but how do you cut through the extremely thick and heavy steel? This is an important detail, and there are three possible options:

  • Cutting disk (top left in photo) – very rudimentary, but it works. Expect lots of sparks, shards and shreds of shooting metal flying every which way. Also, expect to replace the blade multiple times.
  • Reciprocating saw, also called a “sawzall” (bottom left in photo) – as long as it’s industrial strength, most of these will make it through the entire build without burning out.
  • Plasma cutter (right in photo) – these compress air and electricity to such a degree that they melt the metal as they cut. Definitely the most efficient, although costly. They require an air compressor and sometimes a special plug or outlet. The tips of these burn out easily and are expensive to replace. The machine itself sometimes fails and will require some troubleshooting. All in all the plasma cutter is the quickest way to get the job done.

Insulation

insulation the ultimate guide to shipping container homes

Simply applying a closed-cell foam layer to the inside and outside walls of the building will work wonders for insulating against most problems of heat, cold and moisture.

Hot climates, or at least hot summers, might require reflective paint on the outside of the building. A “cool roof” coating helps reflect the sun’s UV rays and prevents too much heat gain.

Supertherm and NASA-type ceramic-based spray paints are the other option. They are cheaper than foam and leave more welcome room in an already compacted living space. They work well because the adhere strongly to metal.

These paints inhibit mold, mildew and rust from forming on the building. After several layers of application, ceramic paint can provide for very substantial insulation.

With the exception of ceramic-based paint, don’t expect other “insulating paints” to provide for much insulation. Mixed with extra chemicals and additives, they have been debunked for any real insulating value. They are just too thin for any noticeable effect on cooling, heating and moisture compared to ceramic paint or an inch of foam.

Dry wall is often installed to hide the corrugated steel, wiring and foam and give the building a more homelike feel, as well as for added insulation.

Utilities

This is similar to installing utilities in any conventional home. Plumbing is usually restricted to one, two or three locations. Gas can go to the kitchen, the water heater and maybe a vented fireplace. Often, wiring runs behind dry wall and below the flooring.

Installing A Roof

One advantage of a shipping container is that it already comes equipped with super-strength and weather-tight roof and walls. However, the tank was initially designed for storage, and the roof is not the best fixed structure when two or more containers are joined. This is because the water run-off design of a single container is negated by that extra join. Water begins to build up on the roof and serious corrosion can occur.

In only a matter of hours, a conventional hip roof can be installed by metal straps, welding and clamps. The advantages of this are better water run-off, potential rain harvest, solar heat reflection and extra shade over the doors and windows.

Flooring

Shipping containers already come with ½ inch plywood floor. One thing about this, however, is the hazardous chemicals that the plywood is treated with, such as insecticides, fungicides and preservatives. Many studies conducted on this subject have confirmed that these chemicals are harmful to humans. They are easily transferred to anything touching the floor.

For a shipping container home plan, it is a good idea to either remove and replace the floor or cover the existing floor with an industrial epoxy or polyurethane paint. For a 20 foot container, it will take about 5 sheets of plywood and double that for a 40-footer. Otherwise, an epoxy or polyurethane coating completely seals the chemicals and off-gassing into the floor, rendering the container a safe place to live.

How To Find Shipping Containers For Sale

There are places all over the world to find used shipping containers for sale. Of course, it is best to try and find someone locally, since the container can be personally inspected before buying. It will also considerably cut down on delivery costs.

If there’s no local option, and you’re unsure about who to buy such a formidable product from, the safest bet is to find an ISBU association member. You can buy shipping container with complete security and satisfaction. These are certified dealers that supply quality tanks with a history of business.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other dealers. This is a good online resource for finding a variety of companies, small and large, where you can find a shipping container for sale.

When there is no way to personally inspect the container before making the purchase, ask for high quality photos of the entire structure. That is, all sides, top and bottom, inside and out. Make sure it is structurally sound and not twisted, crooked or corroded. Ask about its age and find out if there is any documentation.

Don’t buy a used container if it’s been recently painted. It could be hiding damage, such as corrosion. Usually, rust, scrapes and small dings don’t affect the overall quality and function. Corrosion does, however. Even with a discount, it isn’t worth buying a corroded container because it’s too expensive to repair. Corrosion could also mean that the container isn’t even real steel.

Shipping Container Homes For Sale

New Generation Builders is a Lakeland, Florida-based company that sells customized, prefabricated storage container homes. They specialize in the smaller 20 foot containers for efficiency and sustainability.

Rhino Cubed is based in Louisville, Kentucky. They have completely decked-out and artistically created shipping container homes for living on or off-the-grid.

Cargotecture is a Seattle, Washington-based company building very affordable prefab storage container homes. They also sell shipping containers with Do-It-Yourself kits for an even cheaper approach.

The recycled use of shipping containers for homes and other buildings symbolizes a pivotal point in our industrial culture. We are moving towards a more sustainable approach to using resources. Many people have taken to reusing existing materials, either from financial restrictions or from conscious choice. Shipping container homes offer offer an extremely sturdy foundation for building an environmentally friendly future.

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avoid basement insulation mistakes learn how to insulate a basement

Want to do more with your damp, energy-draining basement? Insulation can help.

Today, people want their basement to be a comfortable and moisture-free environment, suitable for human habitation and property storage. The cheapest and most effective way to achieve a livable basement is with insulation. Insulation is designed to keep conditioned air in and the elements out.

An insulated basement is optimally energy efficient. Basement wall insulation locks in expensive conditioned air and blocks outdoor temperatures to keep your home’s energy system functioning at maximum efficiency. The basement is often a major source of energy loss in homes, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

Insulating basement walls maximizes their longevity. Without proper insulation, homeowners eventually see the buildup of moisture and ultimately hazardous mold and mildew. Effective basement insulation acts a waterproof vapor barrier. It also helps prevent pest infestations and improves air quality.

How To Insulate A Basement

You can insulate a basement wall from the inside or the outside. The latter is usually done at the time of construction. Although exterior insulation is ideal for energy efficiency purposes, interior insulation is the easiest and cost-effective option for most home improvement projects. It is most practical when the basement has been constructed but is still unfinished.

Interior basement insulation can be done by a savvy do-it-yourselfer – although some people bring in a contractor to ensure the highest quality work. If you want to be your own handyman, learn how to insulate your slabs with our best tips for DIY basement wall insulation.

Type of Insulation

The most popular basement insulation materials are packaged as batts, rigid panels, or spray foam.

  • Batts are essentially rolls or blankets made from mineral fibers, such as fiberglass or wool. Fiberglass batts are a cheap insulation material, but they come with some disadvantages that are worth considering – see below.
  • Rigid foam insulation is both more effective and expensive compared to batts. Rigid sheets or panels of extruded polystyrene, or XPS, are the best choice of material for many homes. One or two inches of XPS provides tough and moisture-resistant insulation. However, XPS is flammable, so it must be installed with a thermal barrier, such as a half-inch of gypsum board.
  • Foam-in-place insulation, or spray foam, can be sprayed into empty cavities to fill the entire space. Spray foam insulation achieves a higher R-value with less thickness. Closed-cell spray foam is widely considered the best way to insulate a basement wall, but it is more expensive than rigid panels.

What is the best R-value for your insulation? It depends on your climate, home design, and other factors. The Department of Energy provides a handy tool for calculating appropriate R-values based on your zip code.

To achieve a higher overall R-value, many people use a combination of materials. It’s common to lay rigid foam board against the foundation, then construct a stud wall on top. The stud wall leaves space for electrical wiring and HVAC infrastructure, and can be further insulated with batts between the studs. If you plan to install additional insulative sheathing, you can use thinner foam boards for the first layer.

Did You Know? Moisture Control Tips

The main difficulty in insulating basment walls relates to moisture. Concrete walls absorb water like a sponge, easily transporting moisture inside from the outdoors. One of the benefits of insulation is its vapor resistance, but it must be installed correctly to prevent, rather than aggravate moisture issues.

If you have serious moisture infiltration, you must fix it before applying insulation so your efforts don’t go to waste. If you notice any visible wetness on the foundation under ordinary conditions, you probably need to install a drainage system first.

Basement wall insulation should be applied directly to the concrete foundation – unless you’re using fiberglass batts. If you insulate with fiberglass, there must be space between the insulation and concrete. Otherwise, the point of contact will acquire mold or mildew. This is a surprisingly commonplace mistake. Fiberglass is not moisture-resistant!

Should you include a plastic vapor barrier between your layer of insulation and the drywall? According to the Building Science Corporation, vapor barriers do more harm than good. Properly installed insulation is the best defense against moisture and avoids the air flow problems that accompany plastic barriers.

Installation Tips

When installing fiberglass insulation, safety precautions are important. You can protect your health by wearing eye, mouth and skin protection. Use shop goggles and a dust mask. Be sure all exposed skin is covered and wear work gloves.

When you place a fiberglass batt in a wall cavity, don’t press too hard. Instead of squishing the material in, cut the insulation with a sharp knife to the desired size or shape. You can cut small pieces to fill minor spaces and achieve airtight protection. Aim for a tight, but not pinched fit.

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house trailers for sale how to find the right house trailer for your tiny home

A trailer is the gypsy wagon of your tiny house. It will be carrying everything; all your dreams and hopes of a tiny home will rest upon this trailer. Finding a sturdy house trailer for sale that suits the size of the house is essential, and it’s probably the most important purchase you will make. Here, we will be considering the highs and lows of finding house trailers for sale.

New And Improved

There are new house trailers for sale that are designed specifically for tiny houses. The good ones come flat decked with steel flanges that make it possible to attach and build a house on without going over the sides. They carry the weight with heavy duty tires, axles and steel beam decking and come equipped with running lights and electric brakes.

These are high-end trailers that usually run for about $2,000 and up. Buying one of these babies takes the load off of your mind and puts it onto the trailer, where you can be sure that it’s safe and secure. However, finding someone who manufactures them locally might be the challenge, and it could require a long drive to pick one up.

Used And Affordable

For those who are wary of spending too much and would rather buy a used trailer, there are still plenty of good options. What most people recommend is a standard flatbed, often called a utility trailer. These almost always come with side railings on them, and they will more than likely have to be taken off to fit or build the tiny home.

Trailers have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR, which is how many pounds it can hold. This depends on the axles. Some axles can hold 3,500 pounds each and others hold 5,000 pounds. There is a good chance that the trailer you find will come with two axles, so the total weight that it can hold will either be 7,000 or 10,000 pounds.

The average size hitch ball will be around 2 to 2 5/8 inches. These are easily manageable and can be replaced for about $30. Of course, the brakes and break lights will also need to be hooked up to the hauling vehicle.

Trailers can be found by searching the Web, the newspaper or by asking around locally. There is no shortage of them, you just have to be persistent. A trusty old trailer usually averages around $500 to $1,500. Here are some extra tips for trailer searching:

  • Browse the internet daily – this never ceases to be a useful tactic. New things are uploaded on the Web daily, so a routine search through Craigslist, eBay or Pininterest will inevitably yield some interesting results.
  • Use the right keywords – trailers have many names. Try “car trailer,” “utility hauler,” “tiny house trailer” or just “trailer.” People tend to be either very descriptive or not descriptive at all.
  • Cruise local camper, RV and marine sites – there are so many trailers for sale that never make it public at all. Camper and RV camp sites can potentially have left behind trailers, and marine sites can provide phone numbers and other good leads.

The trailer is to a mobile home what a concrete slab is to a stationary abode. Invest wisely. This is nearly 18 percent of the total cost of building or buying a tiny mobile home.

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get away from it all with prefab cabins and prefab cottages

It turns out that affordable dreams do come true – they’re called prefab cabins and prefab cottages. These simple living, modern prefab homes come with all the necessities and conveniences that make for a cozy house. They are small, efficient and affordable and are built to fit on any sized land for the purpose of lasting a lifetime.

What It Is

Prefabricated homes are cabins and cottages constructed in a factory. They are built with strong frames, are completely weather-proof and are tailored to the customer’s needs. They are fully equipped with insulation, plumbing and wiring, so these humble abodes are completely ready for residence all year long. With a kitchen, bathroom, living space and bedroom, they’re totally suitable for modest living or retirement.

Small prefab homes average around 18 feet wide by 26 feet long, making them have some of the tiniest environmental footprints. Interior space averages about 300 square feet, with an extra 100 square feet below in a crawlspace or basement. Of course, they can be built bigger. Prefab cabins can be up to 835 square feet or more, and the prices can range from under $10,000 to $72,000 or higher.

How It’s Done

Customers are the designers, and they work with a team to build their home. They usually customize standard models until their ideal design has been seen through. Designing the cabin is usually the longest part of the process. Once the actual building begins, it may only take a matter of days before it is delivered to the permanent home site. Each one of these old-style homes rarely come out similar, and they always come out sturdy, reliable and perfectly suited to the customer’s liking.

Modern prefab homes are built to each state’s individual building standards and certification requirements. The building is even insulated, plumbed and wired! This means instead of a sub-par weekend retreat or hunting shack, it is a completely suitable place for calling home.

The customer is only responsible for the local end of building, such as securing a building permit from the local municipality and laying the foundation. The foundation can be piers, a concrete slab, crawl space or a full size basement, depending on what local building codes require. The owner is also responsible for connecting the house’s utilities and building a septic.

Some tips to remember for designing a prefab cottage are:

  • Take advantage of vertical space. Using an upper loft as a sleeping space, for example, can free up an entire room for other purposes. Incorporate plenty of built-in cabinets, shelves and storage areas all the way up the walls.
  • Keep the cabin shape square or rectangle. This can keep the building cost significantly down since the more corners there are, the more support will be needed to build it.
  • Add more windows. This not only provides more natural lighting, it can significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the cabin in the winter.

Designing a small prefab home and teaming up with a specialized crew to build it is the easiest way of obtaining those old country living dreams. Once it is built, the cabin can be shipped to practically any place in North America, no matter how far or how remote. Some companies even ship overseas.

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is a small dishwasher even worth it for compact living spaces

Small dishwashers are convenient little things. They add a certain amount of efficiency to a living space, and they provide the time to do more productive, relaxing and enjoyable things. However, in a living space where there is limited room, is a compact dishwasher actually small and efficient enough to make having one worthwhile?

A mini dishwasher is typically half the size of a standard dishwasher. They are often bulky appliances that are designed to sit on the counter top and connect to the sink’s water supply. Instead of using counter space, there are other designs that sit on the floor. Some are portable and can be rolled around to serve as a moving counter top, or at least they can be rolled somewhere out of the way.

The only way to prevent too much counter or floor space from being taken up is to install a small dishwasher directly into the cabinetry next to the sink. This way, it replaces a cabinet, but it can still leave some extra storage space beneath it. One extra benefit to this is extra counter space since there’s no need for a drying rack.

There are other relevant questions to consider when thinking about small dishwashers:

  • How much do they cost?
  • Does the amount of time it takes to regularly hand wash dishes make having a mini dishwasher worth it?
  • Is the amount of water and energy substantially different?

A compact dishwasher can range in price from $200 to $600 dollars. The lower end ones are typically sufficient for small scale dish washing on the counter top. Try not to stuff them with pot and pans. The higher ends are the mobile ones with extra features and more dependability when it comes to energy consumption.

Hand washing dishes can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes out of the day. There are efficient methods for cleaning and drying dishes, but sometimes this isn’t something that most people look forward to. Especially when the house is one prone to entertaining guests, and the aftermath is always lots of dishes, the time to clean can take much longer. Having a mini dishwasher to wash some plates, bowls and utensils is very helpful.

As for the amount of energy and water saved, it is usually negligible. All dishwashers use electricity, so there is that added expense, but a small dishwasher uses less than 3 gallons of hot water per batch. Hand washing typically doesn’t use electricity, but the amount of water used is totally variable from house to house. With the most efficient hand washing method, it has been estimated that each batch of hand washed dishes saves about $0.63.

The Determining Factor

More than likely, the reason for even considering a small dishwasher is because of space issues. This appliance is essentially a luxury and isn’t completely necessary. It is important to prioritize which appliances are the most needed. Many people who live in tiny houses, small apartments or efficiencies would forgo the compact dishwasher if that meant they could have a clothes washer and dryer appliance instead.

Sometimes an extra appliance that uses practical space isn’t worth the hassle of storage and set up. Other times, if there happens to be extra floor space, counter space or a spot in the cabinetry, it can actually be a very appreciated convenience.

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