Home Improvement

Household Horrors and Home Improvement

Oct 30, 2017
Flickr

From black mold to crumbling foundations, some household horrors can lead to serious expense and even catastrophe.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about some of the scariest things that can happen to your home.

Kate Ter Haar

Is your sidewalk a hazard? Has your driveway seen better days? Cracks in concrete happen over time, and they're sometimes difficult to troubleshoot, especially if the problem is due to a tree root or uneven ground. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about concrete, asphalt and other paving solutions for your driveway, sidewalk, patio or paving project. 

DIY Deck Improvement

Jun 21, 2017
Fogarty Court / flickr

 

The summer months are a popular time to make improvements around the house—deck building included. Home improvement specialist Bill McAnally says that regular inspection and repairs are critical to a deck’s longevity but are often overlooked by homeowners.  

 

Salim Virji / Flickr

When building a shed, do you shell out the cash for a prefab, or do you build it yourself? What about that garage you’ve always wanted?

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about best practices for building a shed or garage.

McAnally says that step one is to figure out the boundaries of the property to avoid accidentally building on a neighbor's property.

David Bruce / Flickr

 

Spring in Iowa brings all kinds of weather - warm sunshine, high winds, severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. Severe weather can do a number on roofs, siding and windows.

So, let’s say a hail storm hits your house. How do you know when it’s time to call the insurance company?

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says that the first thing you want to do is see what size the hail was. If it was 3/4 of an inch or an inch, esp an inch or above, you probably have some damage. 

Charity Nebbe

Not every home improvement project turns out the way you imagined, but every once in a while you can make a change that accomplishes exactly what you want and becomes one of your favorite things.   This hour on Talk of Iowa, it's our monthly program with home improvement expert Bill McAnally of Fort Dodge.  Bill spends some time reminiscing this Valentine's Day about some of the projects that he's still proud of and our listeners tell us some of the things they most love about their homes.

U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood

To many homeowners, the feeling of not knowing what you're talking about when dealing with a contractor is all too familiar.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with home improvement expert Bill McAnally to decode the language of contractors. One thing to keep in mind, McAnally says, is that as the home owner, you are in control of the encounter.

When Repairs Need More than Elbow Grease

Sep 9, 2016
US Department of Education / Flickr

A pipe springs a leak. A window won’t close. You’ve got water in your basement. What do you do?

When it comes to home improvement, our expert Bill McAnally thinks that people have gotten a false sense of security from watching TV and YouTube. 

The problem, McAnally says, is that people don’t realize that those shows’ creators “took actually twelve hours to do that half hour show to make everything look good, and they didn’t show all of the things that did go wrong.”  

Fiberon / Flickr

Decks can be the perfect place to spend a nice summer night but they can also be tricky to maintain.

This hour on Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about decks and answers listener questions about their decks. What is the best material to use for a deck? How do you maintain them, and when it is time to call in an expert?

Christine Jackowski

Keeping a household clean and free of clutter can be a constant struggle. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion about housekeeping, de-cluttering, and the social dynamics of maintaining a home.

She talks with Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify, professional organizer Chaney Kurtz, and Gloria Stafford, assistant professor of interior design at the University of Northern Iowa.

HomeSpot HQ / Flickr

There are many possible problems with indoor air quality, and the beginning of summer is a great time to tackle them.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about indoor air quality and how to identify and fix problems, along with other benefits to improving air quality.

Casey Lessard / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

When searching for a home, we often ask ourselves if it's a place where we can grow old, but we don't often ask whether it's the home that will allow us to age in place. Universal design helps make homes function for people with varying levels of mobility.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally and Mary Yearns, a former ISU Extension Housing Specialist, about three big design features that make a home more accessible for people of various ages and abilities.

Pbroks13 / Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, there are lots of questions to ask about your lifestyle first. Home improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests consulting with a kitchen designer if you can, or at least doing your research.

The Tools Worth Your Time

Dec 3, 2015
Mark Hunter / Wikimedia Commons

If you have a tinkerer in your life, you might find yourself tool shopping this holiday season. The main question is -  which tools are worth your time? Home improvement expert  Bill McAnally says that you can get some amazing work done with power tools like the circular saw, but you need to be prepared when using them.

"One issue though, is you really want to read the directions," he laughs.  

McAnally also suggests that you should try too keep your tools and shop clean to ensure you don't end up wasting money.

Gregory Chittim / Flickr

Not long ago air conditioners were running full blast, but alas, winter is coming. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins host Charity Nebbe to talk heating and cooling alternatives such as the mini split heat pump, and he gives some advice about putting on storm windows to keep the cold outside. 

Nancy Hugo, CKD / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

If you're thinking of selling your home, or buying a fixer upper, it's hard to know which remodeling projects will bring a good return on that investment. Home Improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests contacting a home inspector before deciding where to start. He says knowing what a home inspector is likely to point out to a potential buyer may change your focus completely. "If you're going to sell it, you have to fix [problems] that you know about, or that has to be in a disclosure statement." And, obviously, issues with the safety of the home trump any cosmetic concerns.

There was a time when you could tell where you were in the country just by looking at the architecture of the homes. Recently, however, there’s been a trend toward building subdivisions that look pretty much the same no matter where you are.

Kevin Nordmeyer, Principal at BNIM Architects in Des Moines, says that shift is partially due to modern technology that allows climate control inside new buildings and homes. 

Dhammika Heenpella / Flickr

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally often urges people to fix problems in their homes immediately. With roofs, though, sometimes it pays to wait.

"Let's say it isn't leaking, but it's looking pretty bad. Some people say 'I really need a new roof.' Looks-wise, yea. But if it's not leaking, then stretch it out as much as you can."

He says most people in Iowa never get full usage out of their 75-year shingle warranties because of the storms common to the region. 

Working with Windows

May 6, 2015
Nieuw

Windy, wet days are ahead. Have your windows been leaking? Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says if you want to replace them, be mindful of how much new windows will cost.  

"Every window leaks, some of them leak very little and are very good windows. But weather stripping can only do so much," he expains. McAnally says sometimes it's more cost effective to put good storm windows on an existing window, rather than totally replacing old windows. 

Brock Builders / Flickr

If you’re looking for ways to use less energy in your home, getting your house deep energy retrofitted may an option.

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally describes the process as a remodel from the outside. It involves an energy audit and remediation that can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent in some cases, as well as improve the value of a home. He cautions that it can be a costly process.

Tonniedixon via Wikimedia Commons

There are many different ways to approach putting up a new shed, from buying one prefab to building your own.

Jill / Flickr

A radical home makeover makes for great tv, but the projects on home improvement shows aren’t always what they seem.  

Ellzabeth Bule / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally has some suggestions to help you be a better homeowner in 2015.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Johnson

According to the 2012 Census, the average size of an American home is 2,598 square feet. 

Clayton Parker / Flickr

The first snow fell last night and Iowa homes are starting to show where drafts and cold sneak in. 

Dolan H / flickr

The winter months are a great time to work on some of those indoor projects you’ve been putting off and right now is a great time to make your plans.

In this Talk of Iowa interview, home improvement expert Bill McAnally talks about planning your winter basement remodeling project.

Patsy Lynch / FEMA

When your home becomes damaged, it's hard to know who to trust and what to do.

Alec Perkins / Wikimedia Commons

Water, water everywhere. There’s lots to fix and lots to improve in our homes during this wet Iowa summer.

Alan Lan

Even though our Iowa spring has not yet "sprung," it's definitely a good time to build or make improvement to a deck, porch or patio.  Our home improvement expert, Bill McAnally of Ft. Dodge, can both motivate you and steer you away from some of the big mistakes novices make.  With Bill's advice, you can have the deck of your dreams.

David Gallagher / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

A dilapidated outbuilding or a house in need of serious updating may look like an eyesore, but it is also an opportunity to recycle and reuse old materials.  Join host Charity Nebbe, Home Improvement Expert Bill McAnnally, and Siobhan Spain of the Center on Sustainable Communities for a talk about deconstruction.  

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