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Basement Waterproofing: Choosing the Right Contractor

Basement Waterproofing: Choosing the Right Contractor

Basement waterproofing is not considered one of the DIY jobs. A good job would require the skill and expertise of professionals. A common notion about basement is that it is a dark and dingy place, after all it is underground. However, for the same reasons it is necessary to ensure that the high moisture-level in your basement does not turn into a menace that disturbs the very foundation of your home! In fact, the moisture level in your basement affects the air quality in your entire home. Therefore, it is essential that you assign your basement waterproofing to a good contractor who can assure a fool-proof job.

An experienced professional can help you with various aspects of basement waterproofing. Right from establishing the exact cause of high moisture levels in your basement to spotting leaks, cracks, and mold-prone areas, a good contractor can help ensure a dry and problem-free basement. But, how do you ascertain who is the best among all the contractors out there? Here are a few tips.

1. Check out Angie’s List. This is a community website that has several user-generated feedbacks on different types of contractors. Check out whether the contractor you are contemplating about has reviews in this website. If the contractor does have an entry, it could help you make the final decision.

2. Get references from your contractor before you assign your basement waterproofing project to him. You could also check his portfolio to get an idea of finished jobs. Talking to past clientele or even getting customer testimonials and recommendations is a sure way to know that your home is in good hands and you can look forward to a job well-done.

3. Ensure that your contractor has expertise in all related activities. For instance, your contractor should not only identify mold-prone areas but also be aware of means to remove it and take remedial measures. Ideally, someone who can handle any and all issues that might crop up while waterproofing your basement is the best bet.

4. Check out whether your contractor is hiring sub-contractors to take care of various aspects of the job. Although it gives you the benefit of getting professional expertise in each aspect, you also face uncalled for mediators between you and the contractor you actually hired. Sometimes it is best to employ contractors who can finish the job by themselves or with a small group of their own laborers. This would ensure smoother and faster communication and execution of the project.

5. Before you finalize a contractor, get a few of them to visit the site and submit estimates for the project. Compare and evaluate their bids, clarify issues, and don’t allow yourself to be compelled into accepting anyone’s proposal. The final decision should be prudently made and without any compulsions.

6. Once you finalize a contractor for your basement waterproofing project, ensure that you are updated on all activities and all communication channels are clear. Every decision relating to your project should be made by you and you need to be kept well-informed.

As with any other contractor, a basement contractor would also look forward to a job well-done so he could add you to his list of satisfied customers. Therefore, if your contractor communicates well, finishes the job on time and within budget, and ensures a dry and clean basement, then you have found a good contractor.…

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Top Five Home Improvements Guaranteed to Make Your House Beautiful and Secure

Top Five Home Improvements Guaranteed to Make Your House Beautiful and Secure

Given today’s economy, many homeowners have found it more financially sound to make renovations to their existing home rather than move. Indeed, if your family is growing, a room addition may be more affordable now than searching for a larger house, but if you have no plans to expand there are still projects for your home than can make life more enjoyable. If you have had it with the antiquated look of your rooms, consider calling on a contractor or handyman to help you with a few good fixes to your home.

What can you have done to your house to improve the way it looks as well as how it functions in terms of security and safety? Our top five suggestions can work to wow guests and save money in the long run.

New Flooring: In time, kitchen floors especially become worn and dirty to the point that the strongest cleaner won’t penetrate the dirt. If you came into a home with existing vinyl flooring, you may want to consider upgrading to wood or tile…something attractive that also keeps clean easily.

Radiant Barrier Insulation: For your attics, radiant barrier insulation is designed to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for your home while also saving money on heating and cooling bills. With this installed, you won’t need to run the AC as much, plus you could receive a tax credit on installation if you qualify. Consult with a contractor to learn more.

Crown Molding: Little touches like adding crown molding to your walls lends an elegance to your home that people sense all the time.

New Deck or Patio: Do you live in a nice climate? Make use of your yard space with a deck or patio. Entertain in the summer with barbecues, and have a glass sliding door attached to let in natural light during the day, and eliminate the need for extra lighting in your home.

Bathroom Remodeling: Used to be bathrooms were built into homes for limited, necessary use. These days, however, we like to pamper ourselves and linger as we freshen up. What better way to do that than in a completely overhauled bathroom with updated shower fixtures, more room, and a lighted vanity. Who needs to go to the spa, when you have one at home?

Home improvement is likely more affordable than you think. With the work of a competent, licensed handyman, your current house can transform into the home of your dreams, and you won’t have to move!…

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Some Interesting Things To Know About Plumbing

Some Interesting Things To Know About Plumbing

A plumber is one of those guys people call when a water lines breaks or the sewage backs up. However, plumbing has become a major industry that requires more qualifications than carrying a pocket screw driver and a couple of wrenches. It is a profession which employs people from all over the world to perform mission critical tasks. Let’s take a look at the greater scope of what plumbers can do.

People who want to become a plumber can get an associates degree. some of the courses involved are the theory of piping systems, and instruction on which tools and equipment to use, along with courses in troubleshooting. Most of these schools include on-the-job training that allows the student to get real life experience in each of the different fields of the plumbing industry.

Commercial plumbers might be required to install, maintain, and repair such systems as heating, food conveyance pipes, and institutional hot water systems. When involved in hospital facilities, or food handling manufacturing, they must know bacteriology and sanitation measures to prevent contamination of systems which deliver conveniences or food to human beings. Steam fittings can easily be a part of the installation and further safety knowledge is required.

A person with a plumbers degree might easily be employed with an oil company, where they help lay crude oil pipe lines, or maintain operations on oil rigs. They could also be employed at such facilities as nuclear power plants where pipe fittings are crucial to preventing a catastrophe. Large cooling systems use piping to deliver the coolants, and keep them properly circulated, require personnel with sufficient schooling to know exactly what types of materials and connections will withstand the stresses involved in maintaining safety levels.

The construction industry employs plumber to complete water and sewage systems. These can be for housing developments, as well as commercial facilities, such as shopping malls, hotel complexes, and other large installations. Plumbers are also needed for household repairs, and in remodeling, or when adding a room onto a home.

One of these professionals with an associates degree is qualified to oversee and conduct property maintenance. The real estate involved could be apartment complexes, hospitals, commercial installations, and the average type of single family dwellings. Not only are water lines in need of maintenance, but sewage systems can become quite complex at a corporate or commercial level.

These professionals are called for emergency repairs of typical household needs, but are also employed by cities and municipal departments where large volumes of water, or sewage, can develop malfunctions. In these cases, work crews are on duty 24/7, and are called in to remedy the situation, and restore safety to the public from water damage, or sewage contamination which can risk human lives.

Most people have never considered the possibility of an entire industry called plumbing. However, as the population continues to grow, and housing, commercial and industrial needs increase, there will be more reason for these professionals to have a degree in plumbing before they will be qualified to work in environments where human health and safety depend on their knowledge and expertise.…

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How Do You Clear Sluggish Drains?

How Do You Clear Sluggish Drains?

If you find that your drains are sluggish or slow draining, it often means that you have a blockage somewhere in your plumbing line. Since a sluggish drain can result in a clogged drain and eventually cause a back up in the plumbing system, it is important to clear a sluggish drain right away.

The following are a number of tips to clearing a sluggish drain:

1. If the drain is still sluggish, but not clogged, try pouring boiling water down the drain. The boiling water will often soften the material so that hot water will wash it away. Wait about 15 minutes and flush the drain pipes with hot tap water.

2. The first item you can try to clear a sluggish drain is a plunger. Normally kitchen sink drains will have a basket that will lift out to provide better access to the drain pipe. Bathroom sinks will often have a pop-up stopper that will need to be taken out. Run a bit of hot water in the drain and then place the plunger head over the drain. Push on the plunger several times using forceful thrusts to push the hot water into the pipe and push the material causing the slow water drain out of the system. Then, run hot water through the line to see if it is flowing through the system properly.

3. There are chemical drainers available on the market, however, these products can often damage the pipes and they can dispel toxic fumes which can be hazardous if inhaled. You can try a homemade natural drain cleaner such as a mixture of a cup of baking soda followed by a half of cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction will cause the accumulated material in the pipe to break down. It is best to do this before you go to bed and let it sit overnight. In the morning, you can run hot water through the system to wash the material away. There are also natural non toxic drain cleaners available which are very effective at clearing out the material causing a sluggish drain. Natural enzyme drain cleaning products contain live enzymes that eat organic matter and break it down so the drain is cleared and clean. Using an enzyme drain cleaner monthly helps prevent sluggish drains.

4. If you feel the cause of the sluggish drain is deeper in the plumbing pipes, you can try using a snake to clear the drain. You just have to feed the snake into the drain until you reach the obstruction. Then, you can use the snake to tear and break away the material and then flush hot water through the system.

Unfortunately grease, oils, fats, and organic material going into drains can build up in the pipes and cause the water to drain slowly. It is important to keep clog causing materials out of the plumbing system and practice proper maintenance and cleaning practices. It will help keep your drains flowing smoothly for a long time and prevent future drain clogs.…

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How Much Money Can I Save? Simple Home Repairs

How Much Money Can I Save? Simple Home Repairs

If you’re really interested in saving money, you need to learn how to do your own home repairs. I don’t know how many times I go to someone’s home to fix something simple and the homeowner says,” I could’ve done that myself.” I just paid you a couple of hundred dollars to do something simple. It just doesn’t make any sense, why more people don’t do their own home repairs.

A little while ago, I repaired a damaged wood post that was holding up the front porch. I was only there for three hours, but the homeowner didn’t see the amount of time that it took me to go down to the lumber yard and then paint the wood post. All he saw was the three hours I spent on the job and the amount of money that he paid for the home repair.

When the homeowner gave me the check, he thanked me and I went on my way. I could tell what was going through his mind, he was thinking about how much money he could’ve saved by doing at home repair himself. I run into this often and tell my clients the same thing. You could have done that yourself, if you actually knew how to make the repairs.

Here are some simple house repairs that most homeowners should be able to do on their own. Exterior wood damage like siding and wood trim replacement. Interior wall damage, faucet water leaks, tile floor repairs, paint preparation and painting, caulking cracks and filling in holes and replacing door knobs. There are plenty of other simple home repairs that homeowners can do on their own with a little help from their library.

If you don’t know anything about a home repair that needs to be done in your house, check out a few books from your local library or visit your online bookstores for more information.…

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What Is Included in a Normal Septic Tank Maintenance Package?

What Is Included in a Normal Septic Tank Maintenance Package?

It is vital for every home to have a properly running septic system. A septic tank is a unit that collects the wastewater that is carried out of the home. The wastewater is treated and the clean water is returned to the ground water table. When the system breaks down, it can be a costly and frustrating experience. Fortunately, there are professional companies that offer septic tank maintenance packages.

Yearly inspections of your septic tank will help extend the life of the septic system. Although maintenance packages can vary among companies, the following outlines a general list of the services provided in a normal septic tank package:

1. Experts recommend that a septic tank should be pumped every 2 – 3 years, depending on how often the septic tank is used and the size of the tank. The pumping and cleaning of the tank will remove accumulated waste and sludge so that the tank will continue to work properly. As well, pumping the tank allows for a complete examination of the tank.

2. Some professionals will run water through all of the faucets to check for low water pressure and if there are any leaks and odours coming from the drain pipes.

They may also put a dye in the system to help locate any leaks.

3. An evaluation of all of the components of the septic system will be performed. There will be an examination of the plumbing fixtures and appliances that are connected to the water system such as washers and dishwashers and their water pipes to make sure everything is connected properly. They will also check to make sure wastewater is being discharged properly into the septic tank.

4. The septic inspection can also involve checking the drain field. The inspector will do a visual inspection of the system and drain field to observe drainage so they can make sure there are no signs of a septic system back up. An inspection may also include using digital cameras to visually inspect pipes leading to the absorption field. Cameras allow inspectors to visually examine all important components of the system in order to identify and repair any problems.

5. A septic system inspection can also include checking all the devices associated with the water system such as water pump and hot water tank. The professional will do a thorough examination of the components and perform tests to make sure everything is working properly.

Depending on the complexity of the septic system, the time it takes for a thorough maintenance inspection can take from 2 to 3 hours. To keep your septic tank and entire septic system functioning properly, the best thing you can do is have a yearly maintenance inspection, employ septic system maintenance practices throughout the year, and have your septic tank pumped every 2 to 3 years. Not only will it keep the septic tank and system operating properly and extend the life of the septic system, but it will also save you costly repair bills.…

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Your Driveway Floor Says a Lot About You

Your Driveway Floor Says a Lot About You

When people arrive to visit you or simply drive by in the street, one of the first things that they see is your driveway floor. This represents a large part of the overall appeal of your home and you should go out of your way to make sure that it looks as good as possible. Remember that first impressions are everything and you do not want a first-time visitor to get off on the wrong foot. If your driveway is badly stained, you should think about surfacing it.

The driveway floor can be affected by misuse, which would be cumulative over the course of many years. If the previous owner had been known to work on his vehicle there, you might see the leftovers. If a car had been parked there for long periods of time, oil stains may have resulted. Unless all owners of the house had been careful over time, this area will likely need some attention!

If you have a brand-new house, you want it to retain its new look. If you have just purchased a home from a caring previous owner, you will want to do the same. If you have to park vehicles outside, make sure that your driveway floor is kept in great condition by putting absorbent pads beneath them. This is especially true with your older vehicles, as they have a much higher propensity to leak and cause nasty stains otherwise.

Never let your garage become so full of junk that you cannot park the vehicles that you have within. It looks much nicer from the street if you don’t have cars in your drive and this will also help to avoid your driveway floor surface becoming stained, causing you to put hours of backbreaking work into cleaning it in future.

A driveway floor that is significantly damaged, may need to be resurfaced. This type of concrete stain work is significant and must be applied correctly, if it is going to have the best chance of success. Underlying the amount of work required, all adjacent surfaces must be protected or they can be badly damaged as a result.

Before you can start the process of acid staining, you must conduct a thorough cleaning of the area to be treated. Any holes, blemishes or cracks have to be filled in and leveled off using the appropriate concrete products. If you don’t do this correctly, you will see the blemishes underneath and they will in fact be magnified, so you want to approach the task correctly from the beginning.

All dirt and grease will need to be removed from your driveway floor before you attempt a concrete stain. This will invariably mean the use of harsh chemicals, which could then cause blemishes to the overall surface. However, the concrete stain will take care of this residual effect.

Check the weather forecast before you begin a concrete staining job. You cannot start this process unless you know what is going to happen over the next couple of days. It is unwise to choose a particularly hot or sunny day and obviously you want to be sure that there is no rain for the entire period, allowing adequate time to dry.…

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How to Repair a Slate Roof With the Copper Tab Method

How to Repair a Slate Roof With the Copper Tab Method

A slate roof is one of the best investments you can make for your home. Not only is a slate roof very attractive, but it is also almost 5 times more durable than an asphalt roof. An asphalt roof will last 20 years, while a slate roof can last almost 100 years.

Even with the amazing durability of a slate roof, it does, at times, need repair. Whether it’s a branch that falls on your house, or a clumsy satellite dish installer, every now and then a slate will get damaged. This damaged slate needs to be repaired, otherwise the waterproofing that a slate roof can provide will be compromised.

It can be tricky to repair a slate roof. The pieces of slate are very rigid, unlike asphalt shingles, so the easy fix of simply lifting the shingles next to the damaged shingle is not an option. You have to follow certain steps to fix that shingle, and here they are:

1 – Disconnect the damaged slate. You’ll have to hold the slate to keep it from sliding off the roof and potentially hurting someone, and then cut the nails behind it to get it loose. There are usually two nails in the back of a roof slate.

2-Choose the right slate to replace the damaged slate. If the blank space left by the missing damaged slate is 10 inches long, the replacement slate should be 23 inches long. This is because the slate should be twice as long as the opening, plus 3 extra inches for that attractive lap over effect.

3-Place the slate. Use the space between the row of slates above the row you’re working on to mark where the holding nail should go.

4-Counter sink the nail. Punch a hole in the slate from the back so that the hole in the back is clean. It’s OK for the ragged side of the hole to be on the front of the slate. Insert the nail head into the clean hole on the back of the slate

5-Nail on the replacement slate. You might have to cut off the edges of the nail head to get it to pass through the upper shelf of slates.

6-Cover the nail hole. You’ll need a copper bib for this. Slide it up under the upper course of slates to so that it covers the nail hole and extends up under the upper course. Make sure the top of the bib extends over the nail and under the upper slate. You can slide it up so far that you can’t see it anymore.

Following these steps will help keep your slate roof looking wonderful for years and years. It may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to do. Taking on home improvement projects on your own will save time and a lot of money, but when in doubt, make sure to contact a professional to consult, or to even do the job for you.…

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The Basic Home Repair Tool Kit – Part Four

The Basic Home Repair Tool Kit – Part Four

Chisels, Utility Knives, Planers, Putty Knives and Scrapers

The home repair tool kit is a lot different from what it used to be. When I was younger, there were no power tools in my father’s vast array of tools. The brace-and-bit and folding wooden rule have gone. Now, everything needs to be plugged in or recharged. Not a bad thing at all, but not being a carpenter, like my father and his father before him, I wonder how mobile power tools make the professional carpenter.

However, the jobs to be done remain the same and the rule for buying tools remains the same, buy the best you can afford. So, let’s take a look at a few modern tools that would make up a very well-equipped set of tools.

Chisels: generally speaking, you will need a basic set of four chisels: quarter, half, three-quarters and one full inch in width. The are used for fine work or places where a saw can’t get. If you need to cut across the wood’s grain make a shallow cut at either end of work area, otherwise the chisel will rip the wood too far. The cuts act as barriers – cut off points. Tap the chisel with a wooden or plastic mallet to preserve your chisels (or the side of a hammer, if you must). Chisels are sold sharp, but sharpen them up again.

Pro Tip: buy or make a cloth wallet to keep them in to protect the sharp edge. Beware of buried nails!

Utility Knives: or, in the UK, Stanley knives are razor sharp. Most are retractable now for safety reasons. The blades come with two sharp edges, so when it becomes blunt, unscrew the handle and reverse the blade. Spare blades are kept in the handle too. Use the knife for any use you need, the blade is tough and versatile. Cut vinyl, linoleum, plastic, almost anything.

Pro Tip: NEVER just toss the knife into your bag. Put it in and make certain that the blade has been retracted. Millions of professionals have cut their hands on open blades while rummaging in their toolbags.

Planes: the plane is used for planning wood. It is for fine work and the blade has to be sharpened regularly. There is also a power planer, which makes short work of stripping thin layers of wood off, say, a slightly over-size door.

Putty Knives: a putty knife is a tool with a very flexible blunt blade for spreading putty on widows or adhesive on walls. These latter knives are often 12″ wide, window putty knives are 1″ wide. Make sure you clean them thoroughly after use.

Pro Tip: if you forget to clean the knife after use, rub it clean on coarse sandpaper.

Scrapers: scrapers are made for removing old paint from timber, but they are versatile. A blunt scraper is virtually useless, so keep it sharp with some sandpaper or wet-and-dry. Most decorators find the 1.5″ scraper the most useful although non-decorators usually buy the 3″ scraper. If you keep it sharp, you have to be careful of two things: leaving it in your bag when not in use, as for utility knives above and, when in use, that you don’t drive the scraper into the wood you are scraping, especially if it’s an old, slightly rotten window frame.…

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Garage Cleaning is Beneficial All Around

Garage Cleaning is Beneficial All Around

You don’t have to tell us how busy you are as we realize that there is very little available time for you to devote to cleaning on a daily basis. We know that there are piles of “junk” accumulated in each corner, but you can start to see where the dust is forming and we know that you are feeling guilt pangs as you sit down to watch the television for a brief moment. However, spring is upon us and you should be motivated to do something about this issue as they say you can benefit from a mental, physical and financial perspective by doing so.

Is it possible to boost your physical, mental and financial health by attacking your disheveled home? Start in the garage, cleaning it out to make you feel better about yourself, getting some exercise at the same time the and discovering some ways this can actually make money. Just look at all those glass jars on the shelves and turn them out and see how many quarters you have. They say that the average household has almost $100 in loose change, if they just look for it.

When you get really involved in a deep garage cleaning, all those cobwebs that have built up over the winter will blow away any will feel much better mentally about yourself. As you put things in place, you will feel that glow of achievement as you physically get rid of stuff that you know you really do not need and that has just piled up over the winter months.

As you look and see what you have, give yourself a pat on the back as you make a pile for donations. You can then look forward to taking them to the local Goodwill store or to the Salvation Army and benefit those who are less well-off. You never know, you might find something that you had forgotten about, which is worth money and you could go ahead and schedule a garage sale for next weekend to benefit.

Garage cleaning is hard work and laborious, for certain and it is a shame that we do not keep up with the maintenance of this room on an ongoing basis. Look at the condition of the floor, for example, and vow to do something about this. All kinds of debris can fall from your car when you return from a trip, especially if it is raining. Put some garage floor mats beneath each vehicle to account for this problem.

You don’t want your concrete floor to become marked up, detracting from the value of your home and you should view garage floor mats as a necessary investment. In addition, all the boxes that are stored against each wall will not be doing much to protect their contents, if they’re allowed to get damp and subject to mold and mildew.

The National Institute for Mental Health tells us that visual clutter really affects us, stunting our short term memory capability and affecting our attention span. Who wants to get into a nonfunctional state such as this, so get on with your garage cleaning right now.

Garage cleaning projects are very big undertakings, sure to take a whole weekend. With plenty of notice, tell the family that they are getting involved with you in this project and that they should look forward to getting their own share of the physical, mental and financial well-being from this task.…