Mikles Family Farm

Fixing up the Farmhouse

Is it Difficult to Install Windows?

by miklesfamilyfarm on July 2, 2015

So, you have decided it is time to get new windows. As you have no doubt discovered, it is expensive to get replacement windows. Installation costs even more. As a result, you might feel tempted to install them yourself. But is that a wise thing to do?  If you are handy around the house, you might think it will be a breeze.  However, window installation is a different process than that of most home improvement projects.  And yes, it is pretty difficult.One of the main reasons you probably purchased windows from RBA window replacement or another window manufacturer (here is a full list) is because your windows are drafty. Installing them yourself will most likely lead to more drafts even if you are installing more energy efficient windows because its often difficult to fit them perfectly to the window frame.

Getting the Old Ones Out

Step one of the window installation process is getting the old windows out. It sounds simple enough, but it is very easy to damage the surrounding structures as you do this. Remember: those surrounding structures are pretty important when it comes to the integrity of your home.

Measuring Properly

Sure, you’ve been using rulers since grade school, but measuring for replacement windows means getting everything exact. There is absolutely no room for error. If you do opt to do it yourself, be sure to measure a few different times. One thing to be careful of is warping of the windows as the dimensions will not remain consistent throughout the entire length and width.

Getting the Right Fit

Replacement window installation requires a perfectly snug fit. This means using shims to compensate for any irregularity and being incredibly careful as you fix them into place. Small mistakes make a big difference.

Don’t Damage Surrounding Structures

Yes, this was mentioned with regards to getting the old windows out. Well, you can also do plenty of damage getting the new windows in. It is easier than you might think.

Older Homes will Give you More Trouble

Finally, if your home is older, be prepared to discover brand-new problems as you go. This could range from discovering that your home is sitting unevenly, indicating problems with the foundation, to finding rotting wood in the walls around your windows. If you aren’t prepared to deal with this on your own, you might want to call in the professionals.

My 2015 Home Improvement Plan

by miklesfamilyfarm on January 12, 2015

plans for my homeWith the holiday season over and the days getting longer again, many people are getting a head start on some home improvement projects. Its never a bad idea to plan ahead a little bit and think about what sorts of changes you want to make to your property this Spring and Summer. This year, I have a few different projects in mind specifically for the exterior of my home. First I want to have the windows tinted, something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Next is another project ill need to hire a contractor for which is having new siding installed. Finally a DIY project im looking forward to is landscaping my yard.

Residential Window Tinting for My Home

Having my homes window tinted is really appealing to me for a couple of reasons. First its going to make my home more private as its harder to see through the tint from the outside. Next, it helps to reduce cooling costs in the warmer month. I also just think window film looks great whether its on cars or homes. Ive already had Solar Film VA come and provide an estimate and now and am planning on having them install the film next month. I’m looking forward to a better looking comfortable home in the future from this work.

Replacing my Siding

The old aluminum siding I have installed on my home has lots of dents in it and is very much discolored simply from its age. If I can save up the money in time, im hoping to hire a builder to install something like Cambridge or Town Square brands of vinyl siding. This is something im still looking into but if your siding is going bad and you want to way to dramatically improve the look and performance of your house, it can be a great upgrade. Im thinking of going with a light blue color to replace the dingy yellow on my home currently so wish me luck that it turns out well.

Landscaping Plans for my Yard

Last comes the project im most excited about because it’s the one I get to do myself. I wish I could be more hands on about the window film and new siding but unfortunately I don’t have the skills or the resources to do those myself. The same could probably be said about landscaping the front, back and side yards but after a few gardening magazines like fine gardening and garden design so I should be ready to start soon. In the front I want to plant a few bushes directly in front of my house, then have a flower garden in front of those. Then I want shrubberies on the side lining the fence and finally a vegetable garden in the back. If I get really ambitious im going to try and plant new grass all around.

Being a homeowner can be expensive and a lot of work but it can also be a lot of fun too when you take pride in it and make it your own. Feel free to check back as im sure I will have more on my to do list soon.

Building a Guest House for the Parents

by miklesfamilyfarm on January 9, 2015

If you live on a farm or in a neighborhood with large amounts of property, don’t let it go to waste. Adding a guest house or additional building to your backyard can increase the value of your home, provide some easy living space for family or guests, or be an extra source of income if you decide to rent it out. In this story, one of our readers explained how having a guest house benefited his family:

“My parents lived far away, and they needed some assistance mowing the lawn and taking care of their pool. I hired home care in Los Angeles California to help them out, but we knew that we had always planned for them to move in with us one day when things were getting tough. Finally, we decided that even though we did not have enough room in our house, we did have the budget to add on or build a guest house.

A guest house seemed to be the best option for a couple of reasons. First of all, we wouldn’t have to deal with the construction noise, dust, and equipment around our household. We also felt safer having someone build an addition outside our house because we wouldn’t have unknown workers around our personal space and belongings.

We also saw having detached housing as an asset. If it didn’t work out with my parents or we came to the point where they needed to be in a nursing home, we had a space we could rent out for some extra income. If we decided to sell our house, others would see the extra space as an asset as well, so it could increase the market price.

The guest house was easy to decorate and furnish. We used some IKEA furniture and closets to fill it up and added a small TV. The entire process was affordable and effective.”

If you think an additional living space could be beneficial to your household as well, take the next steps to move forward:

  • Look into your city’s zoning laws to determine the rules
  • Apply for a building permit
  • Determine financing and set a budget
  • Find the best architect for the job

Once you’ve gathered all of your information and determined whether or not a guest house would be a good investment for you, you will be ready for action!

How to Choose a Home Addition

by miklesfamilyfarm on January 5, 2015

An addition to your home is a great option for some people looking to create more living space. Some people might want one because they have growing families, need space for working at home, or simply have the funds to add more function to their homes. So if you are thinking this is a good option for you, what is the next step? The planning stage for having a home addition built can be rather tricky, but once you get through the first steps a home addition builder can do all the rest.

Starting the Planning Phase

home addition in process, VirginiaThe first part of the planning phase typically involves deciding what function you want this new part of your home to accomplish. Maybe you would like more living space in the form of a den, another bed and bathroom for guests or an extended eat-in kitchen. These are all popular options but they come in almost an unlimited number of forms because additions are all about being a custom solution.

When you figure out which function you want your new space to serve, its time to get a little more specific and start to look into different designs. For this, I often suggest people look at http://www.houzz.com/addition since houzz has so many different pictures of home additions you can get some really great ideas for your house. They currently have over 100,000 examples you can look at from all types of homes from modern to colonial.

After you have a basic idea of where you might want to have the addition built along with its basic appearance, both inside and out (this doesn’t need to be too specific at this point) its time to speak with a local builder to put all of the pieces together and come up with dimensions, price estimates and other logistics.  So long as you have a licensed and insured contractor you can trust, the rest should just be a matter of listening and working with them until completion of the project. Also don’t forget the details, have quality building materials used like Andersen windows (click here for Pennsylvania residents) and Certainteed roofing shingles installed.

Many people I know have found building a home addition to be a worthwhile investment both in current usage of their living space and increased home value for the future. Good luck with your building project, and take your time to design the perfect custom space you need for your home.

Truck Mounted vs Portable Carpet Cleaning Machines

by miklesfamilyfarm on November 17, 2014

Which is Best to Have Used to Clean your Home

If you are taking the time and spending the money to hire a carpet cleaning service then chances are you expect the technicians to use industrial grade cleaning equipment instead of a cleaning Machine you could probably buy at Walmart. That’s why whenever I call for carpet cleaning service and make sure they use a truck mounted system for at least the main carpeted areas in my home because those are the most powerful carpet cleaning machines in use today.

Benefits of Truck or Van Mounted Systems

truck mounted cleaning systemBecause they are more powerful than portable units, these truck mounted carpet cleaning systems have the advantage of being able to clean an area faster as well. Part of this is simply because the truck systems are much longer than portable carpet cleaning machines but they also can hold much more cleaning solution so the technician does not constantly have to dump and refill the portable machine while they’re working. It makes the entire process a lot easier because all of the water, tanks, power, and cleaning products are all contained within the truck or van. This added power also helps suck up water making for a healthier cleaning process and also helps the carpets dry faster, something Chem-Dry carpet cleaning is known for, the local cleaner I use.

Why they May Not Be The Best Choice for All Homes

By using the truck system you can be much more confident that all four most of the dirt, pollen, and even chemicals are being picked up out of your carpets or rugs leaving a truly clean result that is healthier for anyone who enters your home. With all this said, sometimes the truck mounted systems can make it more difficult for the cleaners to get in tight spaces or if you happen to live up high in an apartment building where the hose from the truck might not be able to reach. In these cases a strong portable unit might be the only option and depending on what equipment is used, you can still get a really deep clean if the technician takes the time to thoroughly go over all the square footage of carpets and rugs you have.

The Importance Of Energy Efficient Windows In Massachusetts

by miklesfamilyfarm on October 13, 2014

massachusetts home with new windows installedLiving in Massachusetts, you know that winters can be very cold. Your heating bill can quickly skyrocket when the temperatures plummet. That’s why it’s a wise investment for you to invest in energy saving solutions for your home. A good place to start is with your windows. Here are a few reasons that emphasize the importance of energy efficient windows in Massachusetts.

  • Better insulation means constant temperatures. Think about the clothing you wear in the wintertime. You most likely wear the warmest clothing that you own; clothing that keeps the warm air in and the cold air out. If you think of your home like your body, you want to minimize your heat loss as much as possible. If you didn’t know already, windows can lose heat quickly because glass is thinner than walls. But if you have energy efficient windows, your heat loss will be lower and since you’re losing less heat, the temperature in your home will be more constant.
  • Efficient windows mean lower energy bills. When temperatures drop well below freezing, you turn the heat up in your house. Since the air outside is significantly colder than the air indoors, the colder air mass will take heat from the warmer air mass. With less heat getting through the energy efficient windows, you’ll spend less money heating your house. Energy efficient windows are more expensive but they pay for themselves in energy savings in just a matter of years. Plus you’ll be more comfortable in the wintertime. Comfort definitely highlights the importance of energy efficient windows in Massachusetts
  • Increase the value of your home in the long run. When you buy Andersen windows you are instantly making your home more valuable whether you plan on selling it in 2 years or 20.

New England winters are long and cold. Do yourself a favor and buy windows that are going to keep your nest warm. The less expensive windows will only make your house colder, so go for comfort with the energy efficient windows. You’ll be warm and happy knowing that you’re saving hundreds of dollars on your energy bill.

Bring the Farmhouse Feel Indoors

by miklesfamilyfarm on October 1, 2014

Country Style Interior Decorating

Many people like the feel of being on a country farm with beautiful scenery. Being in a city can be hectic, dirty, and extremely loud. No matter where you live, there are plenty of ways to bring that farmhouse feel to your home. Here are a couple of popular ways to make your house feel cozier with country style decorating.

  1. Red prints, quilts, and plaid. Having a quilt cover your couch, or a burgundy patterned rug can go a long ways to make your home feel more country. Wherever you can use fabric, such as for curtains or place mats, try to incorporate a country themed design.
  2. Windows. These fixtures are a key way to decorate your home because they make such a statement. For a farmhouse appearance, use wooden window frames and let them make a statement and frame any view. Wood is a durable material that looks much nicer than vinyl. With a little maintenance, such as annual coatings, they can be a wonderful addition to your home. IF you currently have different style windows, consider purchasing replacement windows for a new look that is more energy efficient.
  3. Animals. Use farm animals in your decorating. Rooster salt and pepper shakers or a cow ornament don’t have to be cheesy! There is plenty of animal décor that can complement the look of your home without going over the top. Just don’t over do it!
  4. Wood. Wooden floors, tables, chairs, and more makes for an instant country feel. If you fear having too much wood in one room look tacky, use rugs, table cloths, and chair cushions to break up the pattern.

farmhouse decoratingCapture1



Aside from these suggestions, there are plenty of interior design magazines with further suggestions for country decorating. Maybe the farm feel isn’t for you, but many people enjoy the detailed wooden structures, bold patterns, and quaint decorations.

Common Washing Machine Problems and How to Fix Them

by miklesfamilyfarm on September 11, 2014

fixing home clothes washing machineMost people don’t know this but when you’re washing machine or dryer breaks even a refrigerator it really means it’s worth it to buy new one. There’re many companies out there who can fix appliances for you, an industry that I only recently found out about. But not all appliance repair services are the same. I prefer Mr. Appliance of Montgomery County Texas in Conroe, the local Mr. appliance franchise near me. If you are also in the Conroe or Houston area you can visit them at their official site and learn more about all their services.

I use them just the other day when my washing machine broke down. This is actually quite common and there’re many things that can go wrong with your washing machine. The following are the most common problems that people have with them.

The washing machine doesn’t spin.

The most obvious solution to this problem is that the doors not shut all the way if the door is closed and there’s a good chance you’re having a problem with the sensor. The sensor will not allow the washing machine to start working until it knows that the doors closed. This is a common feature on almost all modern washing machines.

There’s a water leak.

First it’s important to figure out when the waters leaking. One of the most common reasons for water leakage from a washing machine was running is if you put into much detergent. Another issue it might be having is a malfunctioning drain hose.

The machine does not finish it’s full cycle.

This is a common problem people have as well. When this happens it’s usually the timer that is to blame. Typically when this happens you need to have a new timer installed.

Finally you might be asking why the washer is not draining water.

This is often one of the easiest problems to fix and could be A result of A kink in the water hose. If this isn’t a problem you should check to see that all the filters on the washing machine such as the filter are not clogged.

These problems while some of the most common issues that you might face with your home washing machine, are not the only troubles that might arise. Some problems are fairly simple to fix with a little bit of research, common sense, and ingenuity. But many others require a special part or expertise in how washers function. In these cases you’re going to need to call an appliance repair specialists in your area such as the friendly people at your local Mr. appliance franchise. I have been using them for years and recommend they are who you call when you have a problem with the home or commercial clients that’s too big for you to fix yourself.

Making a Home Office

by miklesfamilyfarm on September 4, 2014

If you are fortunate enough to have a working arrangement that lets you telecommute or work from the comfort of your own home, you will want to invest in a comfortable and productive work space. Don’t kill yourself sitting on a busted chair with a laptop resting on a coffee table. Here’s some advice from a seasoned work-from-home veteran.

1. Take care of your spine.home office

Invest in a chair that gives you adequate lumbar support and doesn’t leave you with aches and pains. Your computer screen should be at level so you’re not craning your neck, looking too high or too low. Even a stiffness or misalignment in the vertebrates in your neck can have negative effects on the lower parts of your back. Even when you have the perfect chair, computer, and screen configuration, take stretch breaks that get you up and out of your seat at least every hour.

2. Enjoy what you do.

If you hate the work you’re doing, you will associate those negative emotions with your office, also known as your home. Working from home has its benefits, but its better to take a small commute if its a job that is going to really challenge you and bring you a sense of purpose. If you used to teach or have a passion for children, consider a kids business that still lets you tap into that interest.

3. Use natural lighting.

You’d be surprised the real negative impact not being exposed to natural sunlight can have on your mood. If you sleep in your house, wake up, work in your home office, eat dinner, and go to bed, you may never experience nature through the course of a day. As human beings, we are naturally recharged and comforted by the simple exposure to the natural world around us. Pick a room in your house with some real window real estate to set up shop in.

Farmhouse Lighting Inspirations

by miklesfamilyfarm on July 15, 2014

When you are thinking about designing a room to fit a theme you probably think about what kind of furniture you want to add or which fabrics would best fit in the room. However, one big way you can make a statement is with custom or unique lighting fixtures. Now these aren’t your everyday lamps that you may find in your local department stores. These lighting designs are truly special and will add to your overall farmhouse inspired style. Keep in mind that some of these larger projects require potentially rerouting your home’s wiring. Before attempting any complex projects, be sure to seek the advice of a professional electrical contractor in Appleton WI. Below are a few lighting ideas to get you started.


Industrial - This seems to be one of the most popular styles currently, a throwback to the 19th century industrial revolution. From low-end to high-end department stores, everyone seems to carry a line of industrial inspired lighting products. It intentionally is made to look worn and distressed. Vintage and natural tones add rugged and warm characteristics that invoke a sense of history. Metals are an essential element to accomplishing a farmhouse inspired light fixture.


Copper Lighting - Metallic lighting is a design that you may not have considered before. Having a copper lamp case or even an entire installation made of copper can be a way to infuse extra shine into your room. Copper has a great neutral palette that can add a touch or warmth to any space. From modern to classic and elegant you can easily find a way to incorporate your copper pieces so they complement any room.


For more farmhouse inspired lighting designs click here.