You may not think of cleaning out the gutters as a high-risk task, but the fact is that any job around the house that involves climbing a ladder has the potential for injury. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the United States relating to ladders.
In the fall season, many homeowners are getting outside to clean leaves and needles as summer comes to a close. This commonly involves breaking out the ladder (or getting a new ladder that excels at gutter cleaning) and climbing on the roof. We want you to be safe this fall season so that you can enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful fall colors.
“There is a potential for injury any time someone climbs a ladder,” says Jeffrey Smith, MD, of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA). “While setting up and using a ladder may seem like a simple, everyday task, there are definitely safe and unsafe ways to do it.”
To help avoid injuries due to falls from ladders, the AAOS has developed the following tips for staying safe on a ladder:
- Make sure your ladder is sturdy and in good shape. Before using it, inspect it for any loose screws, hinges or rungs that you might not have fixed before you put it away last time. Clean off any mud or other liquids that might have accumulated on the ladder.
- Be sure to place the ladder on a firm, level surface. Never place a ladder on ground that is uneven or on spongy, soft or muddy ground. Likewise, during colder weather, never set your ladder on slippery, frozen spots.
- Take reasonable safety precautions. Make sure to engage the ladder locks or braces before you climb. If you’re working outside, make sure the ladder will not hit electrical wires, tree limbs or any other obstructions when it is extended.
- Remember the 1-to-4 rule: The bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder rises. For example, if the ladder touches the wall 16 feet above the ground, the feet of the ladder should be 4 feet from the wall. If you are going to climb onto a roof, the ladder should extend at least 3 feet higher than the roof. If you’re using an extension ladder, the upper and lower sections should overlap to provide stability.
- Always reposition the ladder closer to the work. Over reaching or leaning far to one side when you’re on the ladder could make you lose your balance and fall. Your belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder.
- Wear proper footwear. Ditch the leather-soled shoes when using a ladder – they’re too slippery. And make sure your shoelaces are tied and the soles of your shoes are free of any greasy, oily or wet substances. Pant legs shouldn’t be too wide or too long.
- Get help if you need it. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb, stay in the center of the ladder as you climb and always hold the side rails with both hands.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association tells us that the average kitchen remodel comes in at about $57,000. That’s a lot of money, no matter how you look at it. Here are two things to consider: (1) How do you make sure you’ll get the most out of an expensive redo, and (2) What are some ways to give your kitchen a face-lift without spending a fortune?
Any big kitchen remodel should stand the test of time. Avoid fads. Certain fixtures and colors are popular in the short-term, but they’re this year’s trend, and may be out of fashion in a matter of several months. Design experts agree that white is the one color that endures, because it creates an open and airy environment and because it pairs well with everything. It regularly tops the list of most popular kitchen colors. White appliances, in fact, outsell all others. It’s a standard color for manufacturers of all products, making it easy—and affordable—to find things like cupboards, counters, and tile to match the room’s decor.
When you consider a remodel, whether to sell your home is probably the last thing on your mind, but nevertheless, every redo should be undertaken with an eye towards just how long you plan to remain in your home. Because white remains popular as a decorative element, it has inherent marketability, and will give your house added appeal at re-sale, when you do decide to sell your home.
Are you contemplating giving your kitchen a face-lift, but don’t have the budget for a complete remodel? There are a number of economical “tricks” you can employ to give the appearance that you’ve completed a much bigger redo than you actually did.
- Change out your cabinets or just the cabinet doors.
- Add crown molding or decorative trim along the walls.
- Installing new light fixtures or task lighting is a great way to give your room an updated appearance while remaining within a budget.
- Replace old hardware with a new sink or fixtures, drawer handles or pulls.
- How about new window treatments?
- And quartz-type counter tops or ones made from white concrete are distinctive, versatile and eye-catching.
- Other, more cost-effective options, include sanding and re-staining cabinets, adding new tile back-splashes or applying a simple coat of paint to the walls.
Any of these choices will give your kitchen a distinctive new look.
Need help with your redo, either large or small? Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at www.handymanmatters.com to find the office nearest you.
Thinking about updating your kitchen but don’t want to spend the money on a total overhaul? Handyman Matters believes even the smallest addition to your home can have a large impact. Here are our favorite affordable renovations, that will update the look and feel of your kitchen…
Add A Built-in Bench
No space for a full dining room in your kitchen? Or, is there a small corner with a lot of light? Breakfast is what starts your day. Get a positive start by having a cozy spot to enjoy coffee and the paper with your favorite loved ones. A casual and affordable addition to your home, and you can even build one DIY!
Remove Your Blinds
Natural light, especially in your dining room, is a housing luxury. Take advantage of the long summer days by allowing in as much daylight as possible. Removing your window coverings will instantly light up any room.
DIY Kitchen Island
You can never have enough counter space in the kitchen. Islands in the kitchen provide extra space and also extra storage. Create one on a budget by modifying a small table. A bright coat of paint, and added hangers are the perfect additions.
Inner Cabinet Additions
It’s easy to lose things like measuring cups and other smaller utensils in drawers. Modify your cabinets to have easy-access hanging areas for your regularly used cooking materials. A coat of chalkboard paint on the interior is also a fun way to keep track of measurement conversions, grocery lists, or cooking notes.
Install New Lights
Nothing can instantly face-lift a room quite like adding new lighting fixtures. Adding a sleek, mid century inspired light, in a contrasting color to the rest of your kitchen will create a great point of interest.
Not all kitchen remodels need to be expensive, or even a full overhaul. Adjusting the details of your kitchen can do a lot to bring your space into this century. For assistance in your next home improvement project – give Handyman Matters a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME!