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Minimizing Your Budget for Remodeling Projects

Minimizing Your Budget for Remodeling Projects

Right from the beginning, any remodeling or home improvement project will experience a lot of hiccups. The decisions that are made to smooth out these are the deciding factors for the success or failure of your project. Therefore, to ensure that your investment is well worth every penny, there are various important tips that you need to keep in mind.

1. Ensure you hire the services of an experienced professional, whether it is an architect, contractor, or designer. Although you might find the expenses a little on the higher side, their expertise will stand you in good stead. You will be able to identify snags and problem areas in your planning and design upfront avoiding frustration, delays, and financial burdens as the project progresses. One of the best ways to hire such professionals is to rely on references from family and friends. You can also check out your local builders or home builders association.

2. If you are looking at a large-scale remodeling or home improvement project, you will invariably require professional expertise. This translates to higher costs in terms of designer and contractor fees. Obtain a detailed bid from each of them and request for a detailed scope of work. This will help you do a comparative study with market rates. If the bids are too low, there is a high probability that you will end up with the cleaning and finishing work. If the bids are too high, there could be aspects of the project that you could do yourself and avoid the overheads.

3. Planning is the key to success and home improvement projects are no different. Ensure you do your homework and take decisions regarding various aspects in advance. Don’t always go by the lowest bid; analyze the costs before you decide. Choose your materials with care and in consultation with the experts so you don’t have to make changes at a later stage.

4. Ensure you have milestones both for completion of each aspect of the project as well as for payment. Breaking up the remodeling project into smaller parts makes it easier to manage both costs and timelines efficiently.

5. It is your home improvement project and you will always benefit by being around. Small aspects that you can do yourself can sometimes reduce costs to a great extent. Get regular updates from your contractor to know where you can pitch in. It will give you the satisfaction of having contributed towards your home project as well as reducing unnecessary overheads.

6. Go in for designs that are standard and available in the market. This is especially true in case of windows, cabinets, doors, etc. Customized designs will sometimes cost you two times more than standard ones. There are also several semi-customized designs that are available, in which you can add embellishments later, making it similar to custom-made ones.

7. Once you have made a design and plan, ensure that you adhere to it at all times. It is always tempting to add little modifications or changes as the work progresses, but these will make a big difference in the overall cost and timelines.

The success of any home improvement project lies in managing the various variable factors. Planning is important, but more important is adhering to it.…

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Don’t Damage Your New Truck Bed, Protect With Trunk Mats

Don’t Damage Your New Truck Bed, Protect With Trunk Mats

If you have just invested a good proportion of your savings to buy a nice new truck, you really want to look after it. While these vehicles are built tough to be used for various utilities and in work environments, they will soon start to lose their attractive sheen if you do not protect them on a daily basis. You want to consider trunk mats to lie in the bed of the rear of the vehicle at your earliest opportunity.

They were originally designed to be used by small business owners or rural residents for their daily business, but these days a truck represents the most popular selling vehicle in the United States. Most people use it for transportation rather than heavy duty, but nevertheless from time to time you will use them for their original purpose. At these times, protect your investment with trunk mats in the appropriate area, stopping damage or unsightly stains affecting your investment.

Trunk mats are great at preventing permanent damage that could be possibly caused by water stains, rust or oil. Gallons of liquid can be absorbed within these products at any one time and they are definitely easy to install. Also, they can be used around the home for a variety of other purposes.

Trunk mats soak up all kinds of solutions, but this will be no good if the product is allowed to seep through to the underside. As such, you need to look for products that are guaranteed for three years, have a non-penetrable backing and will not chip, tear or crack. It wouldn’t be much fun to find damage to your truck bed, would it?

While you should consider these mats for your trucks, just imagine the other areas of your house that could benefit from one of these products. On your back patio, you could protect the deck from spillage, stains and splattering by placing one of these items underneath your barbecue grill. Remember that prevention is better than cleanup.

You can use absorbent trunk mats to stop stains reaching your garage floors well. If your truck tends to leak oil or other solutions, these trunk mats will collect the mess before it causes permanent damage to the concrete area.

Sometimes you need to load heavy items into the back of your truck and it’s good to know that trunk mats will not slip or skid when you’re trying to maneuver this. By avoiding damage of any kind to your valuable investment, you can protect its depreciation when it comes time to sell.

Trunk mats are made of super absorbent polypropylene and are approximately 1/8 inch thick. They are a neutral charcoal gray in color and will blend with any color scheme quite nicely.…

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Fire Safety Tips

Most fires are preventable. People responsible for workplaces and other facilities to which the public has access can prevent them by adopting appropriate behaviors and procedures and taking responsibility for them.

Any building, and therefore any workplace, is susceptible to fire. The generalized presence of this risk implies the need for a normative regulation that avoids or minimizes, as far as possible, the effects of the same.

Three elements are required for a fire to start: an ignition source (heat), a fuel source (something that burns), and oxygen:

  • Ignition sources include space heaters, lighting fixtures, open flames, electrical equipment, smoking materials (cigarettes, matches, etc.), and anything that can reach high temperatures or cause sparks;
  • Fuel sources include wood, paper, plastic, rubber or foam, loose packaging materials, debris and furniture; and
  • Oxygen sources include the air around us.

Building and industrial regulations place more emphasis on fire protection aspects. Still, from an occupational point of view, we cannot forget the fundamental facet of fire prevention and the proper management of human, technical, and material resources during evacuation and the provision of first aid.

Most fire deaths occur in preventable residential areas. Fire safety in buildings requires a holistic approach to prevent the start of any fire and contain and extinguish it; here are some tips to achieve this.

Prevention

First, the start of a fire must be prevented. Understanding the causes and risk factors for this is the starting point to inform practical prevention efforts through technical and human-related measures. The leading causes of accidental fires are smoking, electrical faults, cooking, and carelessness with ignition sources such as matches or candles.

Detection

When a fire occurs, it is essential to detect it as early as possible so that building occupants have sufficient time to react, including safe evacuation and early extinguishment of the fire. Smoke will not wake up in time in the event of a fire during the night; only smoke alarms and detectors will. These are vital to enable timely evacuation. It is recommended that smoke detectors be installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on each residential building level.

Alarms should be interconnected to alert all building occupants, ensuring that smoke alarms are correctly placed, sufficient in number, and functioning correctly.

Early suppression

When a fire occurs, a manual extinguisher or automatic sprinklers can stop in the first few minutes. The vast majority of fires in sprinkler-protected buildings are controlled or extinguished by the on-site system. Sprinklers are designed primarily to contain or prevent fires, but they can also be instrumental in saving people’s lives in the room of origin of the fire.

Evacuation

If a fire starts and cannot be stopped immediately, safe evacuation of building occupants is the priority. Having access to and knowledge of sound, well-lit, short, smoke-free escape routes is essential. Therefore, escape routes should be included in the building design as part of a holistic approach to fire safety. The target time to evacuate a building in the event of fire varies with the size of the building. Blocked or cluttered escape routes can be a significant problem.

Regulations already set minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work, including emergency escape routes. In residential buildings, people need to know their evacuation plans and practice evacuation drills.

When a fire occurs, fire departments must arrive as soon as possible to evacuate occupants, fight the fire and prevent it from spreading further. Firefighting requires state-of-the-art equipment, training, and expertise. Research, knowledge sharing, and training can be further organized and supported through the advice of professionals in the field, consult them.

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Ridiculous Home Repair Fees

Ridiculous Home Repair Fees

It’s hard to imagine, but very few people listen to the advice from contractor referral services, the better business bureau or the Department of consumer affairs. It’s extremely important to get at least two estimates, but it would be best to get at least three estimates, on any home repairs that you’re going to have done to your property.

Here’s the benefit of getting at least three estimates. You now have three individual prices, to compare. If you only had one price, and nothing to compare it to, how would you know that you actually getting a fair deal.

My mother-in-law was selling her house and she had a home inspection company, do the required home inspection, so that she could sell her home, under the required guidelines of the government. The home inspector also left her with an estimates for the home repairs, that needed to be done.

I only had one word to say about this estimate, it was the most ridiculous home repair fee that I had ever seen, up until that point in my life. I have seen plenty more sense and continue to be amazed at some of the prices that some of these home inspection companies, charge for their services.

To replace an eight-foot 4×4 post, they were going to charge her $400. The repair man suggested that he could do it a lot cheaper, if he didn’t go through their company. Eliminating the middleman is what I call it and keeping all the money for yourself.

If you don’t want to pay a ridiculous home repair fees, you’re going to have to spend some time, and get a few estimates. There’s no getting around it, get out the phone book and start calling local contractors.…

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Buying a House – Fixing Potential Problems

Buying a House – Fixing Potential Problems

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart at this moment in my life. We are in the process of buying a house that is in need of some minor repairs. In order to bring the house up to code and make it safe for my family, we have to take a look at the home’s electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. Having an experienced home inspector locate potential problems will help home buyers decide on what repairs they need to make and allow them the option of finding a licensed contractor who can help them remedy the various electrical, plumbing and HVAC problems that are regularly found in houses for sale.

If you are purchasing a home in a climate that sees either extreme cold or extreme heat, you know the importance of having a reliable and efficient HVAC system. You’ll want to make sure the HVAC system in your new home works properly. Does the unit show any signs of failure? How old is the unit? Has the previous homeowner kept up with the maintenance that is required of that HVAC system? An experienced HVAC contractor can fully inspect your furnace and air conditioning unit to let you know of any potential problems that may not be immediately visible.

Hiring a plumbing contractor can also help new homeowners determine if their pipes and water heater are in sound condition. They can tell you if any pipes are corroded or rusted and let you know if they recommend replacement. Plumbers will check water valves and look for signs of leakage and subsequent mold growth.

The home’s electrical system is something that many people take for granted. If an appliance turns on, you may assume your electrical is working properly. However, an electrician can inspect the wiring and the breaker panel to check for any signs of trouble. An electrician can check to see if all wires that run to the home are correctly polarized and that there is room for additional breakers if needed. Something that came up in my recent home inspection was a not having the kitchen appliances – fridge and stove – on their own dedicated circuit. A licensed electrician can easily fix that problem. Having an electrician fully inspect and repair the electrical wiring of your new home can eliminate any future problems and can prevent immense damage caused by electrical fire.

I recommend hiring a professional who is licensed, insured and specializes in all aspects of these home systems – HVAC, plumbing and electrical. A home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make for your family. Finding a trusted contractor who can identify and repair all problems – major and minor – will be a wise decision and give you peace of mind that your family and your home will remain safe long after you move in.…

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How Sealing A Window Can Contain Your Environment

How Sealing A Window Can Contain Your Environment

Getting home at the end of a long day normally means that you are tired out and don’t want to have to deal with anybody. All you want to do is to shut the door behind you and not hear or see anything. Whatever is happening on the busy street outside should stay there, but sometimes – especially if you live in an older home – insulation might not be your friend. You might have to consider sealing a window or two at the least.

You might find that you can hear people talking outside, those car doors opening and closing and even though this might not be a huge noise problem to you, it certainly suggests that you have other issues to think about. This is when you should definitely consider sealing a window or door, because leaking air is probably frittering away your hard-earned cash in terms of an increased energy bill.

In terms of sound insulation, sealing a window or even replacing it has been shown to be the best methods. Did you know that even a modest crack around a window can let in as much noise as the entire wall in which the window rests? That crack can also let out your hard-earned cash in terms of energy cost as well.

Cracks can be filled in quite simply by a process known as caulking. This is certainly less costly than replacing doors or windows, or rebuilding structures wholesale. Even better, double glazing can keep noise in its place. Look for panes that are as thick as you can afford and establish as large a gap as possible between the glazing.

If you can, consider installing an additional layer of drywall, or recommend filler, in between the existing layers of wall. This is indicated for the more serious problem as it can be costly and very intrusive.

Plain exterior walls are not the best at insulating noise and if you append some stucco it can be better than conventional siding, as well. Pinpoint the cause of your noise problem. If it is an institution such as an airport, contact your local authorities to get a grant to help you.

If you can live with the noise and might not be too close to a major highway or in a downtown location affected by Saturday night revelry, you might think that you can live with it. However, don’t discount sealing a window altogether as if there is a draft present your energy bill is much higher than it should be. In some cases, it could be 20% higher across the board.

Remember that simple remedies often work just as well when you are considering sealing a window or two in your home. Don’t put up with additional noise or cold drafts any longer than you have to.…

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Handyman Services: Hiring a True Professional

Handyman Services: Hiring a True Professional

Hiring someone to come out to your home and fix your home should not be a hassle. When you call a handyman to come out and perform handyman services you expect they show up when they say they will, do what they say they will do and return your calls when you have questions before or after the work is done. It is important that you realize when you are hiring a handyman his services are mostly general maintenance projects and not full blown renovations. If you are looking for someone to redo the whole bathroom you will call a contractor who specializes in bathroom remodeling. If you are looking to have the faucet replaced you call on a handyman’s services.

To define further just what handyman services covers I could end up in over my head regarding the definition. An individual that offers a talent for general home repairs and maintenance for a sum of money is a handyman. I know not too descriptive. If I list out every talent that a handyman can posses I would be writing a novel. Basically you will need to define your needs and find a handyman to meet them and most likely anyone calling themselves a handyman can handle the job.

There are a few rules to follow when hiring a handyman to help with the honey do list around your house. The number one rule you need to follow is to have a clear idea of what you need and want. This requires you making a list of what needs to be accomplished. This way the handyman services can be quoted out and you can be sure you are getting what you paid for and that the handyman is also being compensated fairly. Don’t start throwing other jobs into the mix after you have already agreed upon a fair compensation. This is not how handyman services work.

In finding a handyman you should follow the second rule which is prospect handymen. This can include looking in local classified, the internet and word of mouth from friends and neighbors who have recently had work done. Referrals are the best way to find someone who can be trusted and will complete a job in a timely manner for a fair rate. Also check references and look at previous work that the individual has completed. You can get a lot of information from meeting with someone to discuss the job. If you gut instinct questions it at all you should continue researching handyman services.

When hiring an individual you must ask questions this is rule number three. I am sure you wondering what type of things you should inquire about. You must start by asking for references. Don’t just stop there actually check them out. Question them about the licenses they hold. Make sure they are insured so that the work they do on your home is insured also. If the handyman gets hurt at your home you want to make sure their insurance will cover them. Find out how they charge. Do they give free estimates? Do they charge per job, by hour or by half hour? It should also be standard to check to see if consumer complaints exist against the handyman.

It is important with any service to look into all aspects of the job. Hiring handyman services is something that requires a bit of work upfront but as you continue to need work on your home done will pay off. Once you find someone reliable that does work you are happy with at a reasonable price point you are set. Getting there may take some research and time but the work that you have done will be well worth it.…

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Why Should We Reduce Our Water Usage?

Why Should We Reduce Our Water Usage?

Most of us do not really think about how we use our water in our daily routine. We especially do not think about how we might be wasting water in our day to day lives. As England is famous for it’s rainy climate, it will come as a surprise to many that some parts of England are actually experiencing water shortages. So how can we be more careful in our water usage? It is important to note that we do not have to cut down our enjoyment of water, but simply take some small steps to avoid wasting water.     

It has been reported that the average person uses 150 litres of water everyday. Much of this is used up in washing, toilet flushing, but also cooking, drinking and watering the garden. According to some statistics we are using 50% more water than 25 years ago thanks to the increased use in domestic appliances around the house.  It is important to consider the fact that if we do not take steps now to reduce our water wastage, we will suffer long term consequences.

What can we do to save water?

Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth – Many people are often guilty of  leaving the tap running while they are brushing their teeth. You should note that if you do this you are wasting 6 litres of water per minute. You can avoid this wastage by turning the tap off whilst brushing and rinsing at the end with a mug of water

Flush the toilet for items that can be disposed off elsewhere – Flushing the toilet uses up a large amount of water accounting for about a third of household water usage. Sometimes it is more convenient to flush down items such as cotton wool or face wipes, however this is wasting a huge amount of water for items that can be disposed off in a rubbish bin. Some reports have indicated that if we stopped  flushing down items that can be easily thrown away in a rubbish bin, we would save about 27 millions litres of water a week

Have a shower instead of a bath – You will save more water if you shower instead of having a bath. This is due to the fact that a bath uses around 80 litres of water in comparison to showers which use around 30 litres of water. However, you should note that power showers use up much more water

You can save water in the garden – Using a watering can rather than a hose will be very useful in saving water. Another useful point to note is that rain water is better for plants than tap water. It would be advisable for you to buy  a water butt to collect the rain water for the garden

Buying water-efficient appliances – Most of the domestic appliances nowadays have taken into account the importance of energy saving. Therefore if you are about to invest in a new appliance for the home, such as a dishwasher or a washing machine, you should look for one with a energy label. It would be advisable for you to look for a washing machine that uses less than 50 litres per wash. Also, doing a  full-load rather than a half-load when using the washing machine or dishwasher will save on energy…

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My A/C Duct Has Fallen Off Under My Mobile Home – Now What Do I Do?

My A/C Duct Has Fallen Off Under My Mobile Home – Now What Do I Do?

Its mid-June and you have been waiting until the last possible moment to turn on your mobile home central air conditioner. You hear it running but nothing is coming out of your vents and you are not only sweaty, but frustrated as well. Don’t sweat it. You can perform this common mobile home repair yourself.

First things first, lets determine what type of central A/C you have. If you look outside and see a much larger size unit compared to your neighbors, you most likely have whats called a “self-contained unit” or a “packaged unit”. You can further confirm this by looking at the rear of the unit and you will see two round ducts that enter into the underside of your home. These two ducts are approximately 12″ in diameter and usually are of the flexible type with a plastic sheathing. This unit has its own blower package built together with the evaporator coil and condensing coil. The problem you are experiencing are more common with this type of central A/C.

You have two areas that need investigation.

First locate the cold air return. This is a large vent that most likely is centrally located along the outside wall on the floor. This is where the air conditioner draws interior air and conditions it. Remove the grill and ensure that the filter material does not need to be replaced or cleaned. Most of the time the filter material is reusable and simply needs to be cleaned. Further check to see that the duct work is fastened completely to the sheet metal box that the filter is slipped into.

The second area will require a little more effort. Open the skirting to your home’s underside and locate where the other round 12″ duct attaches to the main duct of the home. Clean pieces of cardboard work very well to lay down on the ground prior to entry. Cardboard will keep you clean and help with sliding in and out from under the home. Most of the time when this problem occurs, the solution is under the home. The 12″ supply duct is prone to falling off the collar of the main duct. A tell-tale sign of this is when you open the skirting, you get a blast of cold air hitting in the face. Your A/C has been cooling the underside of the home. Repair people who typically don’t have mobile home repair experience are the ones usually to blame for the poor connection.

To repair the connection, slip the duct back on the collar. use sheet metal screws with small washers to ensure a long-lasting connection. Do not use duct tape to seal the connection. This is an inferior product that will not last. Instead, use a brush-on duct mastic sealant and coat the connection making sure you seal all the way around. This is a bit messy but will guarantee you will never have to go under your home and repair it again.…

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Basic Flat Roof Leak Repair in Simple Terms

Basic Flat Roof Leak Repair in Simple Terms

The simple fact is that at some point in everyone’s life we will all have to contend with a roof leak, and the resulting roof repair job. There’s just no getting around it, even if one doesn’t have to do the actual work themselves. After all, most roofing contractors do repair work.

What About Roof Repair for the Do it Yourselfer?

But what about if your roof springs a leak, and you either don’t have the money to hire a professional, or are simply unwilling to pay their high fee? In this case, if you don’t know someone who’s willing to climb up on your roof for you, you’re going to have to do the work yourself.

Step One is to Find the Leak

So step one, is to find the leak, and you may be surprised by how far water can travel once it finds its way through a crack in the roof. You see, the felt or tar paper is three feet wide, and the plywood that the building is sheeted with comes in 4 x 8 sheets.

Water Can Travel Under a Flat Roof

What this means, is that the water stain on your ceiling can be as much as 11 feet from where the actual leak is. Now 11 feet is definitely on the extreme end, but just the same, you can expect to locate a leak on a flat roof at least a few feet away from where the water is entering a building.

Pooling Water is Definitely Not Good

Another place to look for problems is low areas of a flat roof, where water is pooling after it rains. Often roof joists, or even trusses settle or warp to cause dips in a flat roof, and water that pools in them will eventually find its way through, unless it dries out.

The Old Stand-By Roof Patching Compound

So after you’ve located the source of your leak, the next step of course is to patch it, and today there is a huge range of products available for the task. Now there is the old stand-by plastic roof patching compound, and no doubt about it, but that it is effective. It’s even more effective if the roof patch is applied with fiberglass mesh in a three layer system that roofers call “three-coursing”.

Amazing EPDM Liquid Rubber

Still yet, if a building owner has a little more money to spend, there are several EPDM products available that not only do a much better job of patching roof leaks, but they also last longer. EPDM liquid rubber for instance can be literally poured and rolled into low lying areas to form a water tight seal that will contain water for up to a year.…