The Not-So-Hard Truth on Repairing Concrete Driveway Cracks

One of the most seemingly invincible pieces of your property is your concrete driveway. After all, concrete is hard, durable, and can stand all types of weather, right? Almost right. Like all other things in your home, your concrete driveway needs a little TLC every once in a while, too. One of your first areas of defense to keep your driveway beautiful amidst your curb appeal is repairing any cracks as they happen. According to the Concrete Network, concrete is a mixture of water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and cement. Even the most well-poured concrete driveway is subject to cracking from soil settling, tree roots, or overweight loads. As the concrete continues to expand and contract throughout the hot and cold seasons, these cracks have potential to grow and splinter off. Repairing the cracks right away will save you more work in the long run.

Begin by identifying all cracks that need to be repaired. Sidewalk chalk is a great option for marking the places that will be filled. Next comes the cleaning of the offending fissure. You may use a hard tool to scrape out larger pieces of debris. Brush out any old concrete crumbles and remove any plants that may have taken up residence. A pressure washer or hose may be used to spray out any leftovers. Be sure to clean the crack well to ensure that the new material used to fill the crack will properly bond with the existing driveway.  Next, prepare your filling. The options for what to fill it with vary, and many of the options depend on the size of the crack and the local area’s weather. Tougher weather conditions call for a sealant, caulking, or concretes that can stand the harshness. For smaller cracks, there are sealants and caulking that are easy-to-use, don’t require mixing, and boast quick curing times. Other options include the tried and true remedy of dry concrete mix. If the crack is large enough, it is recommended to obtain a concrete mix that contains gravel.  Finally, fill the crack. If using a sealant in a bottle resembling a caulking tube, then load your caulk gun and fill away. For the traditional concrete mix, pour the concrete evenly into the space using a tool such as a trowel, and make sure its compressed firmly. Then, use the trowel to scrape away any excess filling and smooth down the area. Now the wait begins. The concrete must be given ample time to cure, overnight at the very least, before anything is driven over the repair. To help maintain the repair and the rest of your concrete driveway, go ahead and apply a high quality water sealer to protect your hard work.

What may seem like a difficult project is rather simple when broken down. Simply use the above steps as a guideline, follow your chosen concrete filler’s instructions to a tee, and in less than 48 hours your once cracked driveway will be restored to its solid former self.

4 Steps for Moving into a New Kitchen

Along with the dishes, you’ll be doing a lot of prep work at the sink. Remember that if you have an island in your kitchen, the cabinets in the island directly opposite of the sink are also convenient.Have you heard of the “kitchen confusion dance?”  It’s where you dance around the kitchen opening and closing cabinet doors in search of utensils, plates and bowls or a small appliance.

Moving into a kitchen, whether in a new-to-you home or after remodeling, is full of decisions. After assisting countless clients as a professional organizer and seven moves of my own, I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve than a magician.

As you pull a jumble of kitchen items from boxes, you really do have a goal. It isn’t just to get everything stashed out of sight in your new cabinets, but to create a smooth, working kitchen. You’ll want to maximize all of the storage provided by your cabinets and be very selective about what you choose to leave out on your counters so that you have plenty of room for food preparation.  Consider these tips, then use some sticky notes to temporarily label your kitchen cabinets. It will make unpacking much easier if you take a moment to plan before diving in.

Start at the Dishwasher: There is no task you will do more often than unload your dishwasher. Make it as easy as possible by locating the most common items as close as you can to the dishwasher.

  • Drinking glasses: Choose the cabinet closest to the dishwasher. You can carry a stack of plates across the kitchen, but you can only carry a few glasses at a time. Put them in the easiest-to-reach location.
  • Silverware: Choose the drawer closest to the dishwasher that is large enough for your collection.
  • Everyday dishes: Choose the next-closest cabinet for plates and bowls.
  • Coffee mugs: There are two great options depending on your cabinet locations: either near the dishwasher, or decide upon your coffee maker location and place the mugs close to that.
  • Children’s dishes: If you have sippy cups and plastic ware for your young ones, choose a shelf or drawer in a lower cabinet so the children can easily reach their own cups, plates and bowls.

Explore Near the Sink: Along with the dishes, you’ll be doing a lot of prep work at the sink. Remember that if you have an island in your kitchen, the cabinets in the island directly opposite of the sink are also convenient.

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  • Dish washing: Claim half of the cabinet space under the sink for dish and kitchen cleaning products. If you have a young family, make sure to take appropriate safety precautions.
  • Chef knives: Place your knives near the sink, either in a block or use a nearby drawer.
  • Cutting boards: Locate cutting boards under the sink or in a lower cabinet very close to the sink.
  • Colanders and Strainers: You’ll be grabbing colanders or strainers for rinsing berries or other produce. Choose a location close to your cutting boards and knives.
  • Towels: Wet hands at the sink means you’ll grab for a towel. Choose a near-by drawer or even a basket under the sink.

Warm Up to the Stove: Gather everything you use for the stove and oven and locate it nearby. An under-the-oven drawer is great for broiler and baking pans, saucepans and lids or skillets.

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  • Pots, Pans and Skillets: Locate in a deep drawer or cabinet convenient to the stove.
  • Casseroles and Baking Pans: Both upper and lower cabinets or deep drawers can work for these.
  • Cooking Utensils: Collect all the spatulas, scrapers and spoons you use at the stovetop and locate them nearby in an attractive crock or close-by drawer.
  • Pot holders: Add a couple of removable stick-on hooks inside a door close to the stove and oven for pot holders.

Allocate the Rest: Now that you’ve assigned storage to the basics, you can allocate your cabinet space to the remaining items. There will always be odds and ends, such as plastic leftover dishes, so think in categories and put like-items together.

  • Food Storage: If you don’t have a dedicated pantry, choose several kitchen cabinets located next to each other and turn those into your pantry. You don’t want food spread all over the kitchen.
  • Baking: Creating a baking center is a great way to organize all the things used for baking. Place cake pans, muffin tins and cookie decorating tools into one area.
  • Small Appliances: If you use it daily or several times per week, leave it out. Otherwise, store it away. Lower roll-out shelves are perfect for these.
  • Entertaining: Items for entertaining, such as chip and dip sets and platters, are perfect for storing in out-of-the-way cabinets over the fridge or stove.

Source: TheRealEstate Book

Ways to Wow From the Outside

As one of the busier times of year for real estate activity, summertime is ideal for sellers hoping to unload their homes for top dollar. If you’re listing a home on the market this summer, stand out from the pack with these outdoor staging tips.

Invite Buyers In: It’s no secret curb appeal matters to buyers, but too often, minor details are overlooked when setting the stage out front. To roll out the welcome for buyers, replace your worn welcome mat with a summery alternative, and install large house numbers in a prominent location that can be viewed from the street.

Shine Up the Windows: Cleaning windows inside and out can be taxing, but it makes a noticeable difference. For the exterior sides of the windows, scrub off any accumulated film from tree pollen. Buyers will be pleased to see not only a sparkling home outside, but a light-filled interior as well.

Showcase Color on a Small Scale: In lieu of a costly exterior paint job, choose specific areas outside to add color. Window boxes bursting with blooms are often well-received by buyers, as well as container plantings. If the exterior could use refreshing, consider re-painting the front door before recruiting a professional to do the entire home.

Neat and Tidy Landscaping: A well-kept home speaks volumes to buyers, and the exterior is no exception. Whether you hire a professional landscaper or DIY, trim the lawn and any hedges.  Also, make sure the outdoor spaces around your home, including the front entrance and deck, are appropriately lit. Updated light fixtures are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are an added safety feature.

Deck the Deck: Whether your home features a deck, patio, porch or other outdoor living area, take time to power wash the surface to remove any debris. If your outdoor furniture is lacking, consider purchasing a fresh set, complete with all-weather cushions and pillows in vibrant colors.

Picture Perfect Pool: Pools can be a make-or-break feature for buyers, so play it up as best you can. After having the pool cleaned by a professional, take care to skim the surface for any debris that accumulates between buyer visits. Be sure the pool cover, mechanized or otherwise, is free of damage and the filtering system is in proper working order.  Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Bathroom Basics

A bathroom renovation is a relatively easy activity to tackle. If the plumbing is already in place and you’re using standard-size pieces, there aren’t a whole lot of options for rearranging that floor plan. However, when bringing your dream design into reality, you should consider the third dimension and figure out what height is right for everything you bring into your room, from window treatments to mirrors. Consider this your guide to hanging, installing and aligning the many small features of your bathroom.

Window Treatments

In the bathroom, you want to keep window treatments simple—let go of the swoops and swags in this area. Curtains and drapery just gather mold and take up space. Instead, consider inside mounting Roman or roller shades that tuck into an existing window frame. Alternatively, hang Romans and rollers above the window casing over a smaller window to make it appear larger. You can also simply hang a valance a little higher on the wall to match the height of other elements in space while creating visual height. To keep things really sleek and simple, vinyl shutters also provide a great solution for a wet area, with the ability to inside or outside mount to maintain the sight line you’re looking to highlight.


Go big to reflect light and keep the bathroom bright and airy. We all know that mirrors make a room appear larger, and that’s a great perk in a bathroom. Again, make sure to run the mirror to the same height as cabinets or window casings. You can get there by framing a mirror, if necessary, or simply installing a beveled version that runs from the top of the countertop to the ceiling or crown moulding detail.

Shower Curtains

Hang the rod high for more visual height—match it to the top of the window casing. Even if it requires a custom curtain or a simple band of fabric added at the top or bottom of a ready-made version, you’ll be rewarded with a more specialized and dramatic look. This works particularly well when using an arched shower curtain rod. Not only do you achieve height requirements, but gain extra wiggle room in the actual shower.

Interior designer Kerrie Kelly is an expert on home renovations who writes about her design ideas for The Home Depot. Kerrie is also the author of the book, Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide.

Welcome to Newport’s Real Estate Resource


Bellevue Ave, Newport RI

Bellevue Ave, Newport RI

Visit often for all things Newport – our aim is to provide useful links, a calendar of local events, and easy access to Newport, Rhode Island’s real estate scene, plus articles about living in this fabulous city as well as helpful home ownership tips. Have an idea? Let us know!



How to Make Your Home More Valuable

From our Friends at Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Maine

With housing prices at recent highs, it’s a great time to sell; and still-low interest rates also make it a good time to buy a home. Findings from a new, exclusive survey of more than 300 licensed residential real estate agents by the Consumer Reports National Research Center point to certain factors, such as smart pre-sale fix-ups and negotiable agent fees, that can financially benefit both sellers and buyers.

Fifty-three percent of real estate pros surveyed by Consumer Reports says the kitchen is among the most important rooms of the home to have in good shape before selling. Forty-two percent also says the same about bathrooms.  “You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home,” says Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”

Here are some other highlights from CR’s survey:

– The pros CR surveyed says the best time to sell a home is during the second quarter of the year (April through June) with April being the single best month.

– The main reasons people are selling today are because of job relocation and downsizing.

64% say all or most of their buyers did their own housing-market research online.

Money-Wasting Home-Sale Mistakes

– Overpricing a home. This is the most costly mistake, cited by 43% of the agents CR surveyed. A home priced too high will just sit on the market. Expect buyers to know what the market looks like; a good agent will show sellers the sale price for at least five similar homes nearby that sold in the past two months.

The full report, “How to Make Your Home More Valuable,” can be found at

The Dying Dining Room

20wickham07201419LRThe dining room isn’t what it used to be . . . Luxury home owners are ahead of the game when it comes to design and home improvement trends, and one in particular that is making waves is the foregoing of the traditional Dining Room.

Even during large holiday gatherings, fewer people are having the traditional sit down dinner anymore, and the kitchen is the more popular gathering spot during dinner parties.  Many homeowners are now transforming this neglected space into a room that fits their lifestyles, interests, and needs.  The WSJ recently featured an article on this very subject, highlighting homeowners who converted this space into more useful and sometime very extravagant alternatives.  We’re talking entertainment lounges, libraries, yoga studios, art galleries, music studios – rooms designed to enhance the lifestyle of their owners.

One couple turned their dining room into a relaxation mecca, bridging the indoor space with the vineyards in their Napa backyard.  Another turned his 1,200 sf dining room into what he calls a “living pavilion” – an area boating a 15 foot fireplace and decorated with one of a kind sculptures, copper chandeliers, and a grand piano.

These grand rooms fall in line with many recent trends luxury homeowners have been following.  A survey sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens on the interests and habits of high-end owners, found that many are choosing to invest in their homes instead of the stock market.  Just what are these trends?  Eighty-seven percent want a technology friendly residence. with two-thirds preferring a ‘smart home’ over a green one.  Basically they want easy access and convenience – they want to turn up the A/C with their I-phones from their cars.

While the dining room and family meals aren’t quite obsolete, this trend re-purposing this space for other uses is something to consider and watch for.  What would you do with some spare square footage?

Motion Sensor Lighting: Safety and Security Indoors and Out

Adding motion sensor lighting in and around your house provides an automated, hands-free way to turn on lights when you need them, and off when you don’t.  Motion sensor lights are eager helpers and good little guardians. They illuminate the way to your front door when you pull into your driveway, light hallways when you get up in the middle of the night, and turn on lamps when you enter a room.

They also provide safety and home security by powering up exterior floodlights should someone attempt to trespass when it’s dark outside.  In addition, they watch over your budget, dutifully turning themselves off after you’ve entered your home or left a room—saving you money on energy bills. Light-sensing diodes prevent them from switching on during daylight hours.

Plug-and-play lighting solutions

Many motion sensor lights don’t require elaborate setups or wiring; they simply plug into any wall outlet. Battery-operated types can be mounted onto your walls using adhesives, magnets, or screws.  Sylvania’s LED Motion Sensor Light runs off batteries, is easy to install in any room, and is especially handy for small spaces, such as closets. Cost: $13.

Put a sensor on anything

Have a lamp in your living room you want to turn on automatically when you walk in? The SensorPlug Motion Sensor Outlet Plug from Andev plugs into any standard wall outlet. In addition to lamps, you can use it with equipment that doesn’t exceed 500 watts, such as fans and radios. The SensorPlug Motion Sensor Outlet Plug costs between $10 and $20.

Sun power

If your home gets ample sunlight during the day, install a solar-powered light and avoid the need to do any wiring. Designed for the outdoors, the Solar Security with Motion Detector from Concept helps you save money by not tapping into your home’s electricity.  It uses 32 long-lasting LED lamps, providing bright illumination for places like your driveway and front door. Since only sunlight is needed to recharge the battery, you can attach it anywhere on your property, such as the far end of your yard.

Overhead detection

You can easily add a motion sensor to an existing overhead light fixture by adding adaptive devices, such as the Motion Sensing Light Socket from First Alert.  Simply screw the motion-sensing light socket into an existing wall or ceiling fixture and add a 25- to 100-watt light bulb. Some motion-detection light sockets won’t support energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, but for rooms that are infrequently used, such as an unfinished basement, it’s a quick solution.

Home automation sensors

Home automation systems, such as those based on X10 and Z-Wave technology, are great for controlling your thermostat and home entertainment center, but they also are useful for home security purposes. Linked to motion sensor lights, your home automation system can send a signal to have lights turned on when triggered by a timer or by your smartphone.  The HomeSeer HSM100 sensor is available for Z-Wave systems for $74, and the Eagle Eye Indoor/Outdoor Motion Sensor costs between $18 and $30.

Read more at HouseLogic

How to ‘Drive’ Curb Appeal

Whether you’re a homeowner or Realtor® selling a home, it makes no difference – everyone wants a house that looks great from the curb. Curb appeal comes together when all the elements of a home’s facade are in good shape and working together. Driveways that are cracked or pitted with potholes, dingy front doors and shabby, scuffed mailboxes can all significantly detract from a home’s overall curb appeal. Here is a handful of projects – many of them quick fixes – that can greatly enhance a home’s appearance for a quick sell.

Repair or resurface your driveway

Driveway1For many homes, the driveway is one of the largest visual elements of the home’s overall curb appeal, ranking right up there with siding, the roof and the lawn. Concrete can crack and crumble, and asphalt develops potholes. Both can be repaired quickly and easily.

For any driveway repair, make sure the area to be repaired has been cleaned of debris and loose materials. Cleaning with a hose or pressuring washing can improve the entire surface.

Concrete driveways can develop different types of cracks: very small and shallow resembling a dry river bed; cracks between 1/8 and 1/4 inch wide; and cracks wider and deeper than 1/4 inch. Your choice of repair method will depend on how you want the finished product to look and how much time you have to make the repair.

Spruce up your mailbox

It sits at the end of your driveway and often plays a key role in helping guests find your house. Little things can mean a lot when it comes to creating curb appeal. While a mailbox that looks good might not get much attention, one that’s ugly or shabby is sure to draw the kind of attention you don’t want.

If you’re in a community that restricts the type of mailbox you can have, simply give your rusted, stained mailbox and the post it sits on a fresh coat of paint in its original color. If your community has no standards for mailboxes, you can swap out an ordinary looking box with something that compliments your exterior design. Does your home have a brick facade? Consider a mailbox set in or on a brick pillar. If your house features fieldstone accents, consider carrying that over to the mailbox with a small, stone-trimmed planting bed at its base.


Give your front door some TLC

frontdoorThe door is the point where your exterior design meets your interior décor. It’s also an element that significantly impacts how visitors view your home. Give yours a fresh coat of paint or stain, and don’t forget the trim around the door.

Next, consider lighting. Is the area around the door well lit? Good lighting is key for safety at night and to enhance the appeal of the area. Consider sconces beside the door or an attractive overhead fixture if your door has an awning, porch or overhang. Ground lights can accent the effect, either illuminating the pathway that leads to the door or lighting up the door itself.

Finally, take a look at the door hardware. Is the handle or knob looking rusted and shabby? Replacing worn or dated door hardware is an easy, cost-effective way to improve the overall look of your entryway.

Source: RIS Media