Family Handyman March 2020

When it comes to home improvement, you need information you can trust. Inside each issue of The Family Handyman, you’ll find see-and-solve expert repair techniques, a variety of projects for every room and step-by-step, do-it-yourself photos.

United States
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
7 Issues

in this issue

1 min
curb appeal economics

We all want a home with strong curb appeal; it just feels good to come home to an attractive house. And according to lots of studies, adding curb appeal is also a smart investment that increases a home’s value. You get a nicer home now and a nice return on investment (ROI) when you sell. Win-win. Still, every neighborhood, every house and every project will yield different results, and I wondered about the return on investment for the projects in this issue of Family Handyman. So I gathered up all the pro bids, tallied our actual DIY costs and got value estimates from a few local real estate agents. Then I did some rough math. The numbers were striking. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF PROJECTS WANTED! Do you have a curb appeal project you’re proud of? Drop me…

1 min
diy boosts roi

PROJECT COSTS—AND SAVINGS! We got pro bids for the projects you’ll see in this issue. The pro bids include labor and materials; our DIY costs are for materials only. $7,000 TOTAL DIY COST Mostly materials, but also a few rental tools. vs. $20,000 TOTAL PRO COST Contractor bids included all materials and labor. $13,000 DIY SAVINGS Eliminating labor costs is huge! $81 DIY SAVINGS PER HOUR We spent about 160 hours on various projects. Whew. $21,000 INCREASE IN HOME VALUE This is an average of estimates from local real estate agents. 300% DIY ROI Cutting the total cost to $7,000 yields a profit of $14,000. Warren Buffett can’t beat that. 5% PRO COST ROI Spending $20,000 might have returned us $21,000 upon sale, for a profit of $1,000.…

1 min

WOMEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT March 8 is International Women’s Day, making this the perfect time to recognize the hardworking handywomen we all know and love. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters. And a growing number of our readers, too. As times have changed, so have the faces behind many DIY projects at home. We, the dedicated women of Family Handyman, are a reflection of that. We are a reflection of you. Cheers to the women who inspire us all! SEE MORE STUFF WE LOVE Have you signed up for the new Stuff We Love newsletter yet? Check out more of our favorite tools and gear every week! Go to LEARN MORE. BUILD MORE. Calling DIYers who want to tackle it all! Get unlimited access to Family Handyman’s complete library of quick DIY University online classes.…

4 min
stuff we love

Simply smart dead bolt Right from the start, the Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi dead bolt is as simple to use as an ordinary dead bolt. Even the installation is easy! But its tech smarts make it far more convenient. My wife and I love the backlit touch keypad—we no longer need a key to unlock the door. It’s very easy to change and monitor codes when you have visitors, check the status of the lock and lock/unlock your door remotely from your smartphone. We also like the auto-lock setting that will lock the door after a pre-determined amount of time, and the simple lock button so you don’t have to enter your code each time you lock your door. This has become a life-saver for getting the kids to preschool and day care…

3 min
handy hints®

Magnets for clean drilling When you’re drilling holes in ferrous metals, stick a rare earth magnet or two next to the hole you’re drilling. The magnets catch the shavings, keeping the waste off the bit, the floor, your clothes and your project. When you’re done, use a rag to wipe the shavings off the magnet and into the trash. MANNY DAVIDSON DEFUZZ YOUR ROLLER New roller covers have lint on them that will end up on your wall when you start to paint. To avoid this, roll the cover over a strip of tape before painting. MATT HAUSER LESS-MESS FOOD FUNNEL Avoid spilling food after chopping by funneling it through the handle of the cutting board into the bowl. Just set the handle hole over the bowl and scrape the food into the hole. MELANIE KLUZ SAFER SAW FENCE Cutting…

3 min
5 amazon echo security features, tested

From monitoring the weather to controlling your smart home, Amazon Echo has hundreds of different skills. One that piqued my interest is Alexa Guard, a home security feature built right into the speaker. Say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to your Amazon Echo and it will activate guard mode, listening for breaking glass and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Upon detection, it will activate lights and integrate with select security systems, like ADT. You can even have your Amazon Echo make guard dog sounds to deter intruders. These seemed like handy security features, but I really wanted to test them in homeLAB and see if they held up to scrutiny. Here’s what I found. Breaking Glass Detection Amazon Echo claims to be able to hear breaking glass. Presumably, if someone broke glass to enter…