Refresh — the Fourth “R” of Green Living

pressure wash 01
Pressure washing blasts away dirt, grime, moss and stains from paths, patios and other hardscape, and uses less water than you might think.

Reduce, reuse, recycle — it’s the slogan for living a more environmentally friendly life that even school kids know by heart. While it’s great advice for dealing with small everyday items, what about bigger things, like major features of your home and yard?

A well loved home gets its share of wear and tear. Surfaces get scuffed. Weather takes its toll. Yet in many instances, a professional deep cleaning can restore much of what you’re craving.

Before you decide to replace what you have, see what a refresh will do.

A few projects around your home can have it looking good as new, and regular maintenance can help keep it that way.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is a great solution for concrete and stone surfaces that aren’t looking their best. It blasts away tough dirt, grime, moss and stains to leave your hardscape — like walkways, paths, patios and driveways — looking fresh and clean. Leaving the dirt where it is will actually lead to damage over time, making a more resource-intensive replacement necessary.

And pressure washing isn’t the water waster you might think it is. While a typical garden hose uses about eight gallons per minute, pressure washing can reduce water usage to only five gallons per minute.

Fence-series

Fence Cleaning and Restoration

window washing_8482 blog
Let light in, even from your hard to reach windows, with a professional cleaning.

Detailed cleaning and restoration can give a fence new life. Pressure washing first removes built-up dirt, grime, and moss. Then adding a sealant will protect the wood from rotting, which is especially helpful if your fence is exposed to a lot of sun and humidity. Because sealer is a preservative, it’ll dramatically increase the lifespan of your fence if applied every other year.

Window Cleaning

Even a simple window cleaning can brighten up your views and let in more natural light. And a thorough cleaning twice a year can help extend the life of your windows by removing dirt and grime that can corrode the surface.

Floors

A professional deep clean for carpets gets rid of built up dirt, dust, odors and pollen and removes stains. Hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished over and over again to last a lifetime.

 

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Find inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest. 

Bathroom Remodel — getting a space you’ll love

bathroom shutterstock_284451533 blog
How much will a remodel set you back? Bathroom budgets aren’t so mysterious. In fact, at ezhome we offer a standard estimate for bathrooms up to 50 square feet. From there, you can add or remove items based on how much you want to spend.

For many homeowners, a bathroom remodel is high on their list since an outdated or drab bathroom can make your house feel, well, old, and not in a good way.

The great news is that even a handful of changes can yield a dramatic transformation, and if a complete renovation is what your bathroom really needs, that can be accomplished easier than you might think.

Organize your wish list

The first step in any successful remodel is getting clarity on your hopes for the space. Make a list of what you want and what problems you have with your current bath that you want solved. This is incredibly important in making the quoting and planning phase bathroom shutterstock_264139187 blog copygo smoothly when you start to work with a professional to get the job done.

To get an idea of the choices you’ll have to make, take stock of the elements:

  • Tub
  • Shower enclosure
  • Shower head and fixtures
  • Toilet
  • Sink and vanity
  • Floor
  • Wall color
  • Tile
  • Tile grout (yes, you actually have options here)
  • Lighting

Get a handle on costs

Because bathrooms are relatively small and standardized (the average home full bath is not more than 50 square feet), costs are easier to predict than a space with many more variables, like a kitchen.

A company with solid experience in bathroom remodeling should be able to give you a quote that transparently separates labor and materials. From there, you can adjust the number of elements you want changed and how much you want to spend on each.

Style you’ll want to live with

bathroom shutterstock_318264071 blog
If you’d like a little professional advice sorting out the fleeting trends from the keepers, ezhome’s bathroom design packages can help.

Because bathrooms are small, there’s a temptation to go bold. The incredible range of tile on the market right now does nothing to discourage that either.

If you’ve found some design ideas you love, but you’re nervous about whether you’ll still like them years from now — or how they’ll impact your resale value — you can get color and distinctive style in less permanent ways.

  • Go with classic lines and a neutral tone for the items that need to last, like tile, tub, sink and toilet, and express yourself with wall color.
  • A coat of pain is the easiest (and cheapest) thing to change down the road.
  • You can also build your style with accessories, like the mirror over the sink, framed art, shower curtain, rugs and towels.

If you really want to do something fun with tile, but also feel compelled to go with a safe choice, you can break out with the grout color (seriously, check it out our Pinterest bathroom board if you don’t believe it ). Recoloring the grout later is a lot less expensive and involved than putting in new tile.

Get the most out of your bathroom at any budget with ezhome’s experienced and fully-insured remodeling team. Request a free quote.

NEW Financing Move your list of home projects from “To Do” to “Done” with our new financing options for all work totaling $3,500 or more. Ask about our six month interest-free and reduced rate APR options. To learn more, email specials@ezhome.com or call 650-265-6662.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Find Bathroom inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

Get Your Yard Summer-Ready for Outside Fun

deck shutterstock_304239413
ezhome can get your to-do list done with over 40 services for your home and garden at ezhome.com

Whether you like to throw parties and show off your grilling skills, or just spend some time relaxing with family and friends, here’s a few things to take care of now to enjoy your yard all season.

Lawn refresh

If your lawn is dead, or has seen better days, and you want that lush green ideal to enjoy all summer, consider sod. Sod looks great instantly, but it needs a month to anchor itself fully for heavy traffic. So, if you want your kids to have the run of it come summer vacation, this is a good time to have it installed.

Pathways, patio, fence

fence crop small shutterstock_555817909

Pressure washing and a fresh stain and seal can have your fence looking good as new.

Blast away the mess of winter, and get your patio and paths summer-ready. Pressure washing removes dirt, moss and stains to have your hardscaping looking good as new.

After a wet and stormy winter, your fence may be in need of some maintenance. Check for loose posts, rotted boards, or other sections that may need repair or replacement. A cleaning, fresh staining and sealant will keep the wood in good condition and looking great.

Add mulch to protect your plants (and get a neat, put together look)

Mulch is a chem-free way to inhibit weeds, so the resources of water and sunlight go to the plants you want. It helps protect the soil from evaporation, so the water you give to your garden stays put longer. And a protective layer of mulch insulates your plants from extreme temperatures.

irrigation, drip crop shutterstock_623841842
Drip irrigation is over 30% more water efficient than sprinklers. ezhome can help you make the switch to drip.

Get water-wise

Make sure your lawn and planting beds are well irrigated for the season. In particular, you should look out for any dry areas, puddles, and leaks in your irrigation system. Or consider converting to drip irrigation for targeted areas, which is over 30% more efficient than sprinklers.

 

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Get inspired with ideas for every aspect of your yard with ezhome on Pinterest.

Kitchen Remodel — getting started on the kitchen of your dreams

kitchen shutterstock_393270364 copy

The kitchen is the heart of the home and the center of family life, from the daily bustle of meals to holiday preparations. And as the heart — it gets a workout.

That’s why a kitchen remodel is at the top of so many homeowners’ wish lists. And while updating your kitchen takes some work and commitment, it can pay off in both the day-to-day enjoyment of your home and increased value. According to the National Association of Realtors, “a significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home” — typically around 67% of initial project costs, according to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report.

Here are some tips to start turning your dream kitchen into a reality.

Plan, and Plan Again

Given the expense and inconvenience of a kitchen remodel, it’s not something you’re going to want to do often. The key to a kitchen you’ll be happy with over the years lies not only in how it looks, but also in how you’ll use it.

What’s your kitchen style? Do you entertain often and need a lot of flexibility?

Do you like quick access to kitchen tools, or do you prefer to have everything out of sight?

Should an island be strictly functional or a place for family and friends to congregate?

Think about how you move in the space when it comes to the essential triangle of cooking: stove, refrigerator, and sink. Many cooks like to have these three essentials no more than a few steps from each other, so they’re not rushing across the room for that extra ingredient.

Consider your Budget

Even with a generous budget, you’ll likely have to make choices based on cost because when it comes to options for the kitchen, the sky’s the limit, from cabinetry and appliances at all price points to extras like a kitchen island, pantry, breakfast nook, or window seat.

If you’ve having trouble balancing your desires with your budget, there are strategies for keeping your costs in check.

Reality check your appliances Be realistic about what you need and will actually use for appliances. How often do you use all four burners on your stove? If the answer is “not much,” will you really make use of six? Better ergonomics will enhance your experience of cooking more than unused features.

Keep the bones If you can live with where your sink and appliances are, leave them there. Moving pipes will drive up costs.

Renew not replace Instead of replacing your cabinets, consider a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. A professionally done paint job can have them looking good as new, and replacing cabinets and hardware typically counts for 30% of a remodel budget. A little online browsing of Before & After kitchen remodels might convince you of the power of well-chosen paint colors and knobs.

Get your materials in place Make sure you’ve secured all of your materials before you get started. You don’t want to find out that the sink of your dreams is backordered once your old sink has been pulled out or have to scramble for a more expensive solution than you bargained for. Making your decisions and getting the materials in hand is a good way to avoid over-budget surprises.

Get the most out of your kitchen at any budget with ezhome’s experienced and insured remodeling team. Request a free quote.

NEW! Financing available for projects over $3,500. To learn more, email specials@ezhome.com or call 650-265-6662.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Find Kitchen and Bath inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

How to Hardscape

patio shutterstock_150192455 copyLandscaping isn’t just about plants. It’s about mixing softscape materials (grass, shrubs, flowers, trees, mulch) with hardscape materials (concrete, brick, stone, tile) to define space and create contrasts.

Landscape designers turn to hardscape for both functionality and visual interest, from driveways and steps, to patios and pathways. It’s the interplay of hard and soft that really makes a yard special.

Elevate the Functionalpath shutterstock_595177325 copy

Just because a feature of your home is necessary doesn’t mean it should be uninspired. With a little imagination, even a driveway can be transformed into something beautiful that boosts curb appeal.

Try concrete that’s divided into panels, allowing a green or flowering ground cover or loose stones in between. Or explore the range of color tints available beyond the standard sidewalk gray. Concrete can also be stamped with decorative designs or even patterns that mimic brick and stone — but with lower maintenance and greater durability.

Carve Out Space

Just like with an open floor plan inside, setting aside more intimate areas with furniture and decorating choices can make a space more usable, no matter the size. This principle works just as well outside, and some of the most dramatic transformations are in small yards or nooks and side areas that before felt unusable.

Define a space in your yard for entertaining. It doesn’t have to be immediately outside your backdoor either. You can create separate areas for eating, lounging with friends, or even whiling away the hours around a fire pit.

Create paths that connect distinct areas of your yard, or separate different plantings, or use a path to draw the eye to a specific place.

backyard shutterstock_303072542 copy
Have an existing patio that could use a refresh? ezhome can help with pressure washing and sealing.

Not Just Under Your Feet

Hardscape can go vertical too. Think benches, decorative walls, and sleek, modern planters.

Go Green

Using hardscape panels and low-water ground cover, mulch, and drought-tolerant plantings is a great way to decrease your lawn and water use without losing anything in usability or beauty.

And in a driveway, using panels of concrete or other paving with open, permeable areas of ground cover or loose stones allows rainwater to go into ground where it can be useful, instead of letting it run off into the street where it gathers contaminants from asphalt that can make their way into nearby bodies water.

Don’t let the season get away from you. With hardscaping, you need to plan ahead. So, if you want to be sitting out on that patio come summer, now is the time to get it put in.

Get the patio, path, driveway or other hardscape project you’ve been wanting. ezhome can help. Get a free quote.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Find hardscape design inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

 

Mulch — the Little Garden Superhero

mulch shutterstock_429831499 copyHiding in plain sight like so many little Clark Kents, those mild-mannered bits of bark are the un-thanked eco-superheroes of the garden.

Got weeds? Big water bills? Shrubs and planters that look a mess?

This is a job for… Mulch.

Defeats invading weeds

Mulch keeps invading weeds at bay by denying their seeds access to sunshine. A good thick coating of mulch around your plantings allows what you want in your yard to flourish, while keeping out what you don’t.

Rescues moisturemulch shutterstock_424136419 copy

Mulch conserves valuable moisture in your soil. Not using any more water than necessary is a priority for the environment and household budgets, especially in the coming dry months. Mulch protects the water in your soil so less will be lost to evaporation, and it insulates the roots from extreme heat.

Aids soil quality

Made from bark and wood chips, mulch will decompose over time. But even after the mulch breaks down, its positive impact lives on by contributing nutrients to the soil. With every fresh layer of mulch, you’re making your yard a healthier place for plants to thrive.

Boosts curb appeal

When you look at a well-kept yard, you may not always notice the mulch itself, but you do notice how much nicer and neater everything looks. It’s a visual unifier, providing a color contrast with greenery and flowers and making them stand out even more.

Let ezhome help you get the benefits of mulch in your yard.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Give $50, Get $50 Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Find garden inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

The State of Your Roof: How strong is it?

After a season of tumultuous weather, this is a good time to check.

roof shutterstock_388868320 copyA rough winter of rain and wind might have caused damage or opened up vulnerabilities that should be dealt with now before more serious damage happens.

You don’t need to wait until you’re catching rainwater in buckets. Here are a few checks you can make yourself, without a ladder:

Age matters

A typical asphalt single roof lasts about 20-25 years. If yours is older than that, or you don’t know how old it is, it’s time to have it evaluated. There may be weaknesses that have developed that you can’t see, or improvements to be made that will save you money in the long run.

Look inside out

Roofing problems can often be spotted from the other side, meaning your attic. Look for light coming through (which means water can get through) or any staining that could indicate water damage.

Look up

roof shutterstock_607192241 copy
If you’ve got damage, or need someone to get up there and evaluate your roof, ezhome can help.

Sometimes problems can be spotted from the ground. Look for areas that bow or sag, which can be an indication of serious trouble. Check if any shingles may have been pulled off or out of place by storms. Shingles that are cracked are often a result of wind damage. Curling up on the ends means your roof is showing wear and is susceptible to leaks.

It’s not all or nothing

Not every problem requires a whole new roof. Depending on what’s wrong, repair and patching can fix the immediate problem, and may even get you years more out of your home’s existing roof.

Get an evaluation

To fully assess the state of your roof, an experienced roofer is going to have to climb up there for a closer look. He or she will check joints around piping, an excess of grit from shingles ending up in your gutters, and for the signs of damage we’ve discuss in places you may not be able to see from the ground.

Want an evaluation by experienced, licensed and insured roofers? ezhome can help. Request a free quote on the ezhome store.

Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invite purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Lawn Care Basics, a Q&A with ezhome’s Abel Yanez

lawn shutterstock_342702368 small
ezhome can help you get the lawn you’ve always wanted. Learn more.

Having a beautiful lawn doesn’t seem that hard. You water, you mow, and boom — there’s a lush green lawn. Right?

While it’s not rocket science, there is a little bit more to it than that. We sat down with ezhome lawn expert Abel Yanez for a few tricks of the trade to getting the thriving lawn you want (and that your neighbors will admire).

Q: I want a thick, lush, green lawn. How do I get that?

Abel: One of the keys to healthy grass is making sure it’s getting the nutrients it needs. Not everyone knows about aeration, but it’s probably what your lawn would ask for if it could.

Abel Yanez small
Abel Yanez, ezhome lawn expert

Aeration uses a piece of special lawn-care equipment to put a series of tiny holes in the soil, allowing air, water and nutrients to get down into the roots where it’s needed. Aeration also breaks up thatch, which is a layer of dead and living grass that builds up just above the soil and further blocks nutrients.

If you want it to stay thick and looking great, you really have to aerate. Even if your lawn looks healthy, aeration at least once a year is a good idea, especially if you use overhead watering, like sprinklers, which can compact the soil over time. Learn more about aeration. 

Not everyone knows about aeration, but it’s probably what your lawn would ask for if it could.

If you haven’t checked your irrigation system in a while, before aeration is a good time to do it. A check can make sure that there are no clogs, no wasted water, and that you’re watering in the right places. The ground will need a little water before it can be aerated, and any new seed that’s spread needs to be kept moist as it germinates.

Q: If aeration clears a path for nutrients, what should I then feed my lawn with?

Abel: Another step in good lawn care is the addition of gypsum and a layer of new seed. Gypsum is a soil conditioner that adds calcium, which helps the grass grow. It also helps adhere new seed to your lawn, preventing run-off.

I also recommend using a “weed and feed” treatment one month before applying new seed. We use one at ezhome that’s a high nitrogen fertilizer that also includes a broadleaf killer to eliminate dandelions and clover.

The addition of topdressing is also a good idea. Topdressing is a thin layer of topsoil that adds organic matter to nourish the grass. At ezhome, the topdressing we use is a humus product that’s made mostly from compost.

Q: Will the aeration and all these new nutrients help my grass to spring to life and fill in those bare patches?

Abel: The aeration and additions like gypsum, topdressing, and a “weed and feed” create the right conditions for a thick healthy lawn, but to fill it in completely, and especially to address any bare patches, you’re going to need more seed.

Overseeding is for lawns that need just a little boost. We add a thin layer of fresh seed spread out across your entire lawn to fill it in and even out gaps. ezhome uses a fescue blend that’s a mix of seeds that do well in both sun and shade.

If your lawn is more than 25% bare, or in very rough shape, you’ll need a more intensive reseeding to get the results you’re looking for. Also, a yard with a lot of weeds will need the weeds pulled before new grass can be seeded in its place. Otherwise the hardier weeds will take over, and your grass won’t have a fighting chance. Just remember, if your lawn has brown spots due to dog pee, make sure to let us know so we can assess the situation. The soil might need to be neutralized to balance the pH before any new seed can germinate.

Q:How long does all this take?

sod shutterstock_332176280 copy
Looking for instant gratification? Sod is the answer.

Abel: Lawn Restoration — aeration, overseeding or reseeding, gypsum, and topdressing — can happen all in the same day. Of course, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for the results.  And note, we recommend at least a month between applying weed & feed and applying any new seed.

After your lawn is seeded, it needs to be left undisturbed until the new grass has a chance to put down roots. Keep kids, pets and all foot traffic off the lawn for at least two to three weeks while the seeds germinate. For best results, grass should be between one and two inches tall before it gets stepped on.

Or you can always get a sod installation if you want instant results.

Let ezhome help you get the lawn you want with ezhome Lawn Restoration.

Got a friend or neighbor who could benefit from some help around their home and yard? Invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invite purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Get inspired with ezhome on Pinterest.

pinterest lawn

Is it time to paint your house?

exterior shutterstock_567245236 copyPainting the exterior of your house is a big undertaking, and a big investment.

You can find professional estimates on when you should paint your home ranging from every four to every fifteen years — so how can you tell if the time to repaint your home has come?

Fading

exterior shutterstock_469454033 copy
Choosing the right paint is a big factor in how well it will wear. ezhome painting experts can help.

Exterior paint is exposed to the elements, and the elements break down your paint over time. Color is the first thing to go. All colors will bleach out in the sun, but with a darker color, you’ll see it sooner.

The sun can take an especially hard toll. You may find that south facing walls and doors need even more frequent painting than the rest of the house.

 

Chalking

If it appears that the color has faded, but you get a white film on your hand when you touch the paint, that’s chalking. It’s a sign that your paint is chemically breaking down and not offering the full protection to your home, which could lead to bubbling and peeling of the paint before long.

That means it’s a good time to look into a paint job. The chalking needs to be thoroughly washed off your house before the new paint can be applied.

Bubbling and Peeling

When the paint is literally coming off by itself, your need for fresh paint is no longer in doubt. The wood or stucco underneath is then at risk for weather damage and rot, so you’ll want to get that seen to without delay. Even if you avoid damage, waiting until you hit this stage means that the amount of prep work needed — scraping, sanding, and priming — before the new paint job can begin will be extensive and drive up the cost.

exterior shutterstock_494762554 copyBoost Curb Appeal

In addition to protecting your home, a fresh coat of paint in an eye-catching color combination boosts curb appeal and adds value to your home.

Want to give your home a refresh? Request a free exterior painting quote from ezhome.

 

Find Curb Appeal inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

 

 

Want your yard ready for spring?

party shutterstock_302612990 copySpring is right around the corner. Whether you want to kick back and read a book outside, host a party, or just enjoy some time with family and friends, here are some tips on how to prepare your yard for the season and make it a place to enjoy:

Lawn restoration

If you have a lawn, now is the best time of the year to restore it and treat any patches or dry areas. Aeration, seeding, and new sod are all possible options, depending on the condition of your lawn. In the early spring, grass is actively growing, the weather is still cool, and the ground is moist. These are ideal conditions to sprout new seeds and make your lawn healthier.

Pathways and patio

patio crop shutterstock_372980125 copy
Pressure washing can remove the dirt and stains of winter.

With winter, especially a rainy one, comes buildup of dirt, moss, algae, and leaf stains. Pressure washing can remove dirt as well as minor stains from your pathways and patios, leaving them clean and ready to show off.

Add a bit of color

Spring is all about color, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to options in the garden. Treat yourself to old favorites, or explore something new, like the wide variety of drought tolerant flowers gaining in popularity. You can stick with symmetry and long planting rows, or you can create dense plantings of the same varieties to mimic nature.

Apply mulch to your softscape

In the spring, adding a layer of mulch helps to keep the soil moist around your planting areas. Not only is mulch aesthetically pleasing, but it also provides valuable nutrients to the soil and helps control weeds.

Check your irrigation system

The rain can sometimes conceal weaknesses in your irrigation system. Make sure your lawn and planting beds are well irrigated for the spring and summer seasons. In particular, you should look out for any dry areas, puddles, and leaks in your irrigation system.

Planting beds

shutterstock_305292251
Add color for spring, including with drought-tolerant varieties like lavender.

In the spring, you’ll want to fertilize your planting beds with compost to enrich the soil and promote growth. You should also consider measuring the pH of your soil with a soil test kit. You can then make any necessary adjustments with new soil or amendments based on the needs of your plants.

Fences and gates

Winter can be harsh on fences and other wood surfaces in your yard. Check for loose posts, rotted boards, or other sections that may need repair or replacement.

Got a friend who could use ezhome? When someone you invite to ezhome purchases a service, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Get backyard inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.