Laminate is a good choice for flooring

Laminate flooring consists of three components bonded together. Its decorative surface is a high-pressure melamine laminate, which bonds to a moisture-resistant’ wood-based core (usually high-density or medium-density fiberboard). A balancing backer of laminate (generally of the same composition as the top layer) bonds to the underside of the core for stability. Companies claim the high-finish surfaces are about 20 times stronger than a laminate kitchen countertop.

Laminate flooring installs using a “floating floor” system with tongue-and-groove construction that allows planks to be glued and fitted together (rather than be nailed or glued to a subfloor). A small gap left at the walls allows expansion and contraction to take place without damaging the floor. A strip of underlayment foam provides cushioning and sound absorption.

Laminate flooring sizes vary, but planks generally measure 46 to 50 inches long by 8 inches wide. Most come with matching wallbases and moulding products for finishing touches.

“It installs easily over plywood or oriented-strand board,” says builder Bob Bowers, of TAB Homes Corp.. “Unlike when installing vinyl, I don’t have to worry about making a wrong cut or matching patterns.”

Once installed, it’s as easy to maintain as a laminate countertop. “We tell our customers to simply wipe it down with a damp rag or mop to take care of dirt and grime,” says Lynne Wilde of Wilsonart International, which introduced a laminate flooring line early this year. “We knew laminate was a good choice for flooring because of its durability, easy maintenance, style and comfort of laminate flooring,” says Wilde. “Flooring was the next logical step for Wilsonart,” traditionally a countertop manufacturer.

Home upkeep an investment in the future

It starts with a small drip in a bathroom faucet, or a couple of curling roof tiles.

But left untouched, the dripping faucet and peeling tiles can become a homeowner’s nightmare of extensive property damage and big repair bills.

Maintenance problems can reduce the value of a home and even stall a sale, real estate executives said.

Poor overall maintenance was rated one of the five problems most frequently found during home buyers’ pre-purchase inspections, according to a recent survey by the American Society of Home Inspectors.

The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based trade association said many homeowners end up hiring contractors to perform major and costly repairs for problems that could have been avoided through preventive maintenance.

Maintenance can be as simple as mopping the bathroom after a shower to prevent water damage, said Mark Shuey Sr., president of Real Estate Structural Inspection Service, established in Nevada in 1981.

“When people take a shower, the water often leaks around the front of the tub past the curtain and it causes dry rot. If they’d mop up after showering, they’d prevent a lot of water damage,” Shuey said.

Water damage and dry rot are major problems that can be prevented with simple maintenance and quick repairs when a problem develops, he said.

Dry rot is a fungous decay that causes wood to become brittle and crumble to powder. It is caused by the constant presence of water on wood surfaces.

“Dry rot can cause major structural problems to a house. It’s best to try to prevent it instead of having to do major repairs later. I’ve known of situations where the walls had to be torn out and replaced,” Shuey said.

Repairs can cost hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, he said.

Over time, plumbing can fail, leading to water leaks and damaged walls, ceilings and flooring, home inspectors said. If you want to replace flooring in your home, please visit Hudson flooring store.

Homeowners who smell a foul odor, particularly a moldy odor, in or near bathrooms or the kitchen, probably have the beginnings of a dry-rot problem and should attend to it immediately, they said.

Landscaping sprinkler systems are a major cause of problems that could be easily prevented, said Scott Mitchell, owner and president of National Property Inspections, which he established in Las Vegas three years ago after working as a home inspector in New York.

“The sprinkler systems are too close to the house and there’s too many heads close together. People overwater, and the sprinklers damage the stucco and in some cases the foundation and sill plate,” Mitchell said.

Before the damage sets in, homeowners can solve the problem by eliminating about 30 percent or more of their sprinklers and using low-volume sprinkler heads, Mitchell said.

Also, wood trim and roof eaves take a beating from sun and moisture from nearby sprinklers. They should be repainted often to preserve the wood, inspectors said.

Many people are not aware of problems in their home, he said.

“I inspected a home … it was three years old and in good condition … but when I checked the attic, there was no insulation. The homeowners were new to the area and didn’t know that their air conditioning bills were too high,” Mitchell said.

Electrical problems, including improperly installed and unsafe wiring, are also common and can lead to serious damage, including fire.

“I advise people to hire a licensed electrician for any work on the electrical systems in their homes. I’ve seen a lot of do-it-yourself wiring that’s not completed,” Mitchell said.

Home inspectors advise property owners to check their homes for maintenance problems at least once a year and quickly tend to any problems that are developing.

“Walk around the roof and inspect it. Tiles come loose. Not every tile is nailed down. They need to be checked,” said Mark Lorusso, owner of Home Smart Inspections.

Lorusso said that about 75 percent of the homes he inspects are well maintained, but he sees problems with property that is rented.

Maintenance problems can reduce the value of a home, said longtime local real estate appraiser Kelly Wade, a principal of Wade & Associates.

“Generally speaking, you always have a loss of value because of inferior maintenance. The loss is typically equal to or greater than the cost of repair,” Wade said.

A poorly maintained home is unattractive to prospective buyers and is difficult to sell, said longtime local Realtor Jack Matthews.

“Many of the resale properties remain on the market for extended periods of time because of the lack of maintenance,” Matthews said. “Buyers take an offensive attitude because they believe everything in the house hasn’t been maintained.”

Matthews said property owners who plan to sell should attend to all maintenance and repairs, including property cleanup, to ensure a quick sale.

Many people get used to living with the problems in their home and no longer realize they’re a problem, he said.

“They live with it every day; they get used to it. They don’t realize that it’s going to be offensive to a buyer.”

More than decorative, carpeting is practical too

When you think about it, carpet in the kitchen makes sense.
Compared to hard-surface flooring, carpet is better at cushioning a fall, preventing slipping and sliding and providing insulation.

Another plus is that the stain-resistant line of kitchen carpeting is easier to clean and maintain than hard floors, which require sweeping, mopping, waxing. Yes, even with all those messy kitchen spills.

“Floor Recipes” is the name of the new collection of five styles of carpet made for the kitchen and other high-traffic areas. You can get carpet that resembles ceramic tile or gingham or has the ribbed look of sisal, carpet in a diamond pattern or a pattern of interlocking bulb shapes. Colors include neutrals, grays and taupes, blues, greens, rose and mauve shades.

The stuff is tough, assures the flooring and carpet professional. Colorfast, resistant to moisture and stains, the densely tufted loop carpet is soft to the touch and cushioned with a polyurethane backing that prevents liquids from seeping through to the subfloor. Vacuuming can keep it looking good for years.

Consumers shouldn’t be deterred by the price differential between carpeting and hard-surface flooring. Between a wood floor and a good quality carpet, there isn’t that much difference in price, especially if you look at it in the long run

Choosing the best kitchen flooring

The three most common flooring types used in kitchens are vinyl, tile and wood. Flooring should be easy to clean and durable. It should also complement your kitchen cabinets while, at the same time, blend with adjacent rooms.

Vinyl: One of the most popular kitchen flooring materials on the market, it’s durable, soft under foot and comes in a variety of patterns, colors and textures. Vinyl comes in either sheet form or tiles. In most cases, sheet vinyls should be installed professionally. A skilled installer will be able to make unwanted seams disappear. When comparing prices, be sure to compare apples to apples. Ask the dealer – Tallahassee floor store about thickness and the wear layer or number of top coats. Try not to settle for less than a 10-millimetre topcoat as this affects the tile’s life expectancy.

Wood: Oak’s durability makes it the most popular wood floor on the market. A pine floor, however, works in a country setting as dents give it character. Other woods available are walnut, ash, cherry and maple. Strip floors are the most economical wood floors and are usually made of 2 1/4-inch slats. Wider strips, known as planks, come in many widths and typically suit pine. Try adding variety by varying the widths. Parquet floors are wood pieces glued together in patterns. The most common patterns are herringbone and block. Again, add variety by mixing dark and light stained pieces to form a pattern. There are many stains and finishes available that allow you to customize the floor to your decor. To cut down on cleaning and waxing, look into polyurethane. This finish forms a hard, transparent coating that protects wood from the daily wear and tear associated with the kitchen.

Tile: Ceramic tile has many advantages due to the variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. It’s easy to maintain, almost impossible to damage and can make a dramatic statement. A pattern can be designed throughout the entire space using a combination of colors, shapes or sizes or you can design a floor using plain tile throughout with accent tiles as a border. The same floor design can be worked into the backsplash and counter top on a lesser scale or by simply reversing it. For example, if you want a green floor with blue accents, use a blue counter top with green accents.

How to Lay a Vinyl Floor

When I was a little girl it was called linoleum. Sheet vinyl flooring is a much improved version of linoleum.

It is a highly durable, moisture-resistant, low-maintenance flooring which makes it an excellent choice for covering kitchen and bathroom floors. It comes in sheets of 6- and 12-foot widths in a wide variety of attractive finishes.

The first step in laying a vinyl floor is to prepare the subfloor. It must be free of dirt because dirt weakens the adhesive bond. You also will need to remove loose nails and fill in any holes or cracks.

Next, gently pry up the baseboard in such a way that you do not damage it. Finally, try sliding a piece of the new flooring under the door jamb. If it doesn’t fit, rest a crosscut saw on the piece of flooring and cut the door jamb so the flooring will fit under it.

The next step is to cut and trim the vinyl sheets to fit your floor. The initial cut should leave each sheet with an additional 3 inches on all sides. The overlap will curl up along each wall when the sheet is laid out on the floor. It is a good idea to put a piece of plywood under the vinyl when cutting so that you do not damage the floor underneath.

To trim the overlap, create a crease along the wall. Using a sharp utility knife and a straightedge for a guide, cut the vinyl sheet along the crease. The best way to trim corners where the vinyl has bunched up is to make V-shaped cuts beginning at the edge of the vinyl sheet and cutting at an angle to the corner on the floor. When trimming, leave a very small gap (about 1/8 of an inch) between the flooring and the wall to allow for expansion.

You are now ready to glue the vinyl sheets to the subfloor. For this task you will need to purchase a notched trowel to apply the adhesive. Roll up one-half of your fitted sheet and apply the glue according to the manufacturer’s directions. Press the sheet into place and make sure that the flooring fits evenly up to the edge of the wall.

Repeat this process for the other half of the sheet. Once all the flooring is glued in place, take a 2×4 about a yard in length and move it up and down the entire floor while applying downward pressure. This will ensure that the vinyl is properly bonded to the subfloor. You might want to place a towel underneath the 2×4 to protect your new flooring.

If your floor is wider than the vinyl sheet, it is necessary to align the two sheets together by creating a seam. As you glue the first sheet to the subfloor, leave several inches of space where the seam is located without glue.

Slide the new sheet under the one you have just glued and match the patterns exactly. Place a metal straightedge along the edge of the top sheet. Using the straightedge as a guide, cut the bottom sheet with a sharp utility knife.

Fold back the top sheet, remove the bottom strip, apply glue to the subfloor, and press the two sheets into place.

The last step is to wash any excess glue from your new flooring with warm water. When reattaching the baseboard, it is a good idea to leave a small space between it and the floor to allow the vinyl to expand and contract according to changes in the humidity in your room, learn more.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time for the glue, and save the excess vinyl for later repairs.

How to fix a small hole in wood floor

One possible way to make a repair is to steal a patch from flooring under an appliance, under a sink, or in a closet. Contrasting flooring can be used in those areas and not be noticed. If you decide to do this, here’s how to proceed:

Cut a piece of vinyl flooring a few inches larger all around than the area to be repaired. If the flooring is glued down, warm the cut piece with a heat gun to soften the glue and lift it carefully with a wide spatula. Remove any adhesive from the back of the patch with lacquer thinner or an adhesive remover.

Tape the patch over the area to be repaired, using masking tape. Be sure to line up the pattern of the patch with that of the flooring. Cut through both the patch and the damaged flooring at the same time with a sharp utility knife, guiding the knife with a metal straight-edge. Many vinyl floorings have fake “grout lines” in their patterns; cut through the center of the grout lines if possible. The result of cutting both layers of flooring at once is a patch that is exactly the same size and shape as the material cut from the damaged flooring. Cutting on grout lines will make the patch less conspicuous.

Lift the patch and remove the damaged piece carefully, without marring the edges of the flooring around it. Spread vinyl-flooring adhesive in the space to be filled, and insert the patch. Touch up the edges of the patch with seam sealer, sold at many flooring supply stores. We recommend Ann Arbor Flooring America store.

10 steps to successful home remodeling

Is your remodeling dream financially feasible? Ask a lender. Too many homeowners call an architect and contractor first. They may spend thousands of dollars only to find they can’t afford their dream remodel and must revise their plans.

Ask the lender for input on whether the kind of remodel you want is right for your neighborhood. Find out what work will add equity to your home. Also ask for sales and price information on larger homes in your neighborhood. You might find it’s not worthwhile to remodel your home.

Does your area have building restrictions? Many cities and homeowner associations impose limitations. Contact your planning and building department for any restrictions on the work you’d like to do. Also ask: How long is the approval process? What are the costs and plan requirements? Are there any special assessments or fees? Is there a design review board? Is there a size limit for a structure based on the size of the lot?

How do I begin the design phase? Assuming that you’ve already met with your lender and checked with the planning department, you’re ready to start sketching a preliminary design. Do you need an architect or contractor? This depends on the scope of the project. Architects may be needed for more complicated jobs such as second-story additions. For simple additions, many contractors can offer preliminary designs free of charge. Before you make a decision, remember that you need a design that gives you the most value for your budget.

Selecting the architect-contractor for Home Remodeling Sparta. Ask for referrals from neighbors, friends and your lender. Those that make remodeling loans should be able to provide a good list of candidates. If you are using an architect and builder, select both up front to provide checks and balances. They should be accountable for delivering a plan that can be built without compromise, avoiding cookie-cutter plans and designs that go over budget.

Visit your lender to learn whether your preliminary plans will be financed and whether the design will enhance the future value of your home.

Check all of the contractor’s references before you get a bid. Ask your contractor if bills are paid on time and employees are covered by workers’ compensation. The answers can help you avoid mechanics liens and other unpleasant surprises.

Call the Contractors License Board to find out if the contractor’s license is valid and bond is active. Then check customer references. Did the job progress on time and on budget? When a tradesman began work, did he work continuously until the work was done?

Getting bids. Make sure the bids cover the same design and specifications. This is especially important when dealing with contractors, who often bid based on what they “usually do” rather than what is specified. Tell the contractor up front that you’re on a tight budget, that you’ll be getting other bids and that you hope you’ll get a bid you can afford while maintaining quality work.

If the bid is too good to be true, it probably is. Most horror stories associated with remodeling are a result of the lowball bid. Either the contractor miscalculated what your job should cost or intentially submitted a low bid hoping to make it up on the extras.

Securing the building permits and final loan approval. To avoid delays in construction, plans and specs can be submitted to both the building department (for final plan check) and the lender (for loan approval) simultaneously. Your architect or builder should handle this for you.

Finally, though your contractor might be eager to begin sending in the wrecking crews, don’t begin work until the loan has been recorded.

Replace tiles before mildew sets in

Ceramic tile is beautiful and easy to clean and care for, but it is not indestructible. If you’ve ever dropped something heavy on the floor, or flung open the door and heard the doorknob cracking a wall tile, you already know this.

Even if you’re very careful, over time, grout can crack, chip and wear down, which increases the likelikhood of chipping the tile.

Either way, left unattended, these problems will only make for bigger problems. The immediate threat is that water collecting behind the tile makes a wonderful medium for mildew to grow. In the long run, the moisture will damage the floor or wall behind. So consider taking some time to replace broken tiles.

The hardest part of repairing ceramic tile is removing the broken piece and the surrounding grout without damaging the other tiles or what’s underneath the tile. So use the right tools and don’t rush.

A grout rake or grout saw, available at hardware stores or home centers, will help you remove the grout around the damaged tile. If the grout is the only problem, remove all the loose, cracked grout, brush the grout lines to remove loose pieces of grout and dust, and proceed with putting in new grout.

If you have a cracked or damaged tile to fix, too, the surest way to remove it without damaging surrounding tiles is to break it into smaller pieces.

There are several ways to do this. I use what’s referred to as a cold chisel and hammer. Holding the chisel against the tile with one hand, I hit the handle of the chisel with the hammer.

Crack an X across the surface of the tile, then break up these smaller pieces with the chisel and hammer until the tile is loose enough to allow you to start removing it. Work the chisel under the loosened tile and gently tap the chisel with the hammer to coax the tile off. Be careful not to slip with the chisel and damage adjacent tiles.

To clean all the old grout and adhesive off the surface below where the tile was, I recommend using a wood chisel or a thin-bladed putty knife. Be especially careful if you are removing adhesive from a wall. The solid surface underneath is probably drywall, plaster, green board or cement board. If you gouge or otherwise damage any of these kinds of surfaces, you will need to fill any holes with an appropriate patching compound before continuing.

Before replacing the tile, make sure the area is clean, dry, smooth and dust-free. Spread ceramic tile mastic on the back of the new tile with a putty knife or notched spreader. Press the tile in place firmly, checking to be sure it is flush with the surrounding tiles. Let it cure according to the manufacturer’s directions. For more information please visit discount Inalco ceramic tile store.

When the adhesive has dried, apply grout to the joints. Since it is such a small area, you can use your fingers, but make sure to wear work gloves.

Press the grout into the grout lines until the grout is flush with the tiles. Let is set about 15 minutes, then wipe diagonally across the tiles with a clean, damp sponge to remove any excess grout.

Let the grout dry for at least 12 hours before using a soft, dry cloth to buff away any remaining powdering grout residue.

CHeck the directions for the grout you purchased. Some need to be resealed after 48 to 72 hours.

Installing own carpet can be satisfying job

Carpets offer an attractive and a practical floor covering. You can install them yourself with only a few tools, but you need to be aware of two problems.

First, carpets are heavy, so it helps to do this project with a friend. Second, without expensive tools it is difficult to stretch the carpet tightly to the wall. You can, however, achieve a good, though maybe not perfect, result on your own.

Before laying carpet, you must prepare the subfloor. This means getting rid of all dust, repairing any cracks, and securing loose tiles and/or floorboards.

The next step is to obtain an accurate measurement of the room to be carpeted. This will require measurements from several places because the room may not be square. Once you have obtained the dimensions of your room, you will need to purchase enough carpet so that there is an overlap of four inches for each wall. While at the carpet store, you should also purchase tack strips to fit the dimensions of your room, seam tape if the room is wider than the carpet, and a utility knife with plenty of razor blades.

Carpets are bonded to a subfloor with glue, double-sided tape or tack strips. Glue is used most frequently for laying down commercial carpet and is not necessary for most residential situations. Double-sided tape often does not provide an adequate bond and is therefore not recommended. This leaves tack strips.

Tack strips are narrow wood slats with tacks sticking up from them. They need to be placed alongside each wall about 1/2 an inch from the wall. If you have a wooden subfloor, it is easy to nail these strips in place. If you are working with a concrete subfloor, the job is more difficult. You can nail the strips into the concrete with masonry nails, or if that is too difficult the strips can be glued in place.

You can now lay out the carpet, starting from the middle of the room and working toward each wall. Press the carpet against each wall and allow the carpet to settle for a few hours. This allows gravity to take care of some of the wrinkles and folds. To further straighten the carpet, raise one of the corners, stand on the subfloor, and gently kick it.

Once in place, the carpet can now be cut. Be sure to leave four inches of overlap on each side for trimming. The best tool for cutting carpet is a utility knife. Make sure that the blade is sharp. Sharp blades make your cuts easier, cleaner and safer.

At this point, you will know if you will need to attach two pieces of carpet with a seam. If that is the case (the width of the carpet is smaller than the width of the room), plan to keep the seam away from high traffic areas such as a doorway. To join two pieces of carpet together with a seam, you will need to purchase seam tape and rent a seaming iron.

With your two large pieces of carpet in their approximate places, it is important to align the carpet naps so that they are facing in the same direction. The nap consists of the fibers that make up the surface area of the carpet. The best way to solve this problem is to rub your hand along the carpet fibers. Rubbing in one direction will smooth out the fibers while rubbing in the other direction will raise them.

Once satisfied that the naps are facing the same way, fold back one carpet section and draw a line on the subfloor along the edge of the carpet that remains in place. Fold back the other piece of carpet and place the tape on the subfloor with the line serving as the midpoint. Now run the seaming iron across the tape to melt the glue. Place one section of the carpet firmly on the tape and lay the second carpet section as close to it as possible. Use your hands on both sides of the seam to press the two sections of carpet together as tightly as you can.

You now have the carpet in place with a four-inch overlap along each wall. The next step is to trim the carpet. If you have baseboards, cut the carpet again so that the overlap is reduced to one inch. If you don’t have baseboards, push the carpet firmly against the wall and trim as close to the edge as you can. To trim a door frame, cut the carpet at right angles to the floor for both sides of the frame. Fold the carpet over and cut away the strip. Then create a crease at the door opening and cut along the crease. If the carpet ends there, it is a good idea to purchase a metal doorstrip to help hold the carpet firmly in place.

You secure the carpet by pushing the carpet edge into the tacks on the tack strips. If you have a baseboard, push the carpet into the tacks and then slip the excess carpet under the baseboard. If you don’t have baseboards, push the carpet edge as close to the wall as possible and then press down hard on the tacks.

How to noise-proof your home

Use Vibration Isolator Pads

These inexpensive little foot rests, available at heating and industrial supply stores, will help isolate the noise made by dishwashers, furnaces and washing machines. Cost: About $10.

Hang a Suspended Ceiling

Suspended ceilings do an excellent job of noise reduction, but it helps to choose the right kind of panel. there are two types:

The flexible fiberglass panels are better at absorbing noise generated within the room itself (making it quieter if you’re in that room). Rigid mineral board panels, on the other hand, do a better job of blocking sounds from entering or leaving the room (making it quieter inother parts of the house).

Insulting the joist space above the seiling and covering it with drywall wil quiet things even further. Cost: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.

Install Interior Storm Windows

Acrylic interior storm windows work extremely well at blocking exterior noise, plus they’re great for eliminating drafts and condensation on the interior of windows. They’re easy to install and can be used in selected rooms or throughout your house. Cost About $60 each, in kit form.

* Add Air-Conditioning

Either window-mount or whole house (central) units allow you to close your windows and shut out exterior noise. Whole-house units are much quieter than window models. Make sure window-mount units are mounted on and surrounded by EPDM gaskets (found in the weatherstripping section of your home center) to isolate their vibrations from the wall.

Did You Know?

Trees and bushes do little to block or absorb outside noise. Sure, they provide psychological relief by blocking your view of the noisy neighbors or busy highway, but not much else. Fences aren’t particularly useful either, unless they’re extraordinarily tall, solid and thick. Wall and roof insulation, while helpful when used with other soundproofing measures, don’t make much difference by themselves. Most sound enters our homes through windows (open or shut), holes in walls, and through the wooden framwork of the house itself.

* Put Speakers On Stands

Speakers mounted directly on or in contact with walls and floors can sure sound great, but the vibrations can travel all over the house. Put the speakers on stands instead. Cost: $20 and up at stereo stores.

Install Exterior Storm Windows

High-quality exterior storm windows with heavy glass and good weatherstripping will help keep outside noise out. Install them in a bead of silicone caulk for best results. Cost: $60 to $150 per window.

Isolate Duct Vibrations

Flexible rubber boots at the furnace output and cold-air-return ducts will keep vibrations. from traveling along the ducts. The rubber boots are available from heating supply stores, and any heating contractor or experienced do-it-yourselfer can retrofit them to existing ductwork. Cost: $30.

Isolate Pipes From House Framing

Pipes can bang, ratthle and squeak where they contact wood. An oversized hole with a pipe inset and pipes hung from special hangers will isolate vibrations and reduce noise. Both the inserts and hangers are available at home centers and plumbing stores.

Stop Pipe Banging

Water hammer arresters will end the annoying banging caused by quick-closing valves on dishwashers, washing machines and faucets. Whole-system hammer arresters (about $75) and individual appliance arresters ($15) are available at plumbing supply stores and hardware stores. Appliance arresters just screw on, and whole-house arresters are soldered into your water line.

* Sound Absorbing Furnishings

To absorb sound within a room, furnish it with thick curtains, dense carpets and overstuffed furniture. All of these absorb sound well, and the carpet from the local carpet shop will soften impact noises from feet.

Sound-Deadening Wallcoverings

Burlap-covered Homasote panels or cork panels run about $1 per square foot. Homasote, a versatile fiberboard made from recycled newspapers, is ideal for many sound-deadening applications. Both Homasote and cork panels absorb sound, are easy to install and doule as decorative accents. You can buy both at home centers.

* Check For Pipe Restrictions

Clogs, sharp turns and partly opened valves can all restrict water movement in supply pipes, producing a roaring sound. A small crimp in a supply tube to a toilet or sink can make that fixture sound like Niagara Falls. Replace the tube or valve.

Use Solid-Core Interior Doors

Replace those hollow-core doors with a solid (not raised-panel) model, then weatherstrip it as you would an exterior door. This is ideal for quieting the noise from a bathroom, workshop or utility room. Cost: $75.