Category Archives: Home Improvement

Home Maintenance: Caring for Pipes

With a population of 37 million, an average person in Canada can use up to three hundred and twenty-nine liters per day. (ref: globalnews) This mind-blowing sum adds up to trillions of liters in consumption and avoidable water leakages alone bears about 1 trillion liters of it every year due to poor maintenance. Imagine the relief water crisis locations would benefit as that amount can be utilized as household water for about 11 million homes in North America. Small touches that don’t require a major plumbing services professional attention like a pull here with a wrench or basic retrofitting can help save millions of liters of water. It is vital to take care of house piping and repairing plumbing faults in time for the environment, to avoid further damage and to run up water bills. Here are some tips to act as a guide for home pipe-car.

Please, Conduct Inspections!

Not taking time out and physically inspect the piping is the most commonly occurring mistake by people these days. One can ascertain much about the condition of the plumbing and pipes by the visual investigation. The wait for the problem to arise is the absolute worst approach towards home care. A correct approach would be to regularly check piping to avoid flooding and plumbing failures. Practical investigations prepare homeowners for the worst and avoid losing a great deal of money as well. A great way to check for problems is noticing faucets, cracks and toilet installations. Regular checking of the water meter is also highly recommended as it may indicate a leakage issue.

What Starts Small, Ends Big!

Noticing a crack? That crack is going to enlarge and wreak havoc in the bathroom in many ways. The good thing about cracks is that it can be dealt with easily with only a few tools like couplings, slips or tubing, depending on the tear. Without having to call local plumbing services, a leak or a crack can be handled at home which can save from big damages!

Weather Conditions

For pipes, extreme weather is not friendly. Natural occurrences can affect plumbing massively without giving signs. Climate does affect household installations so it’s a good idea to be prepared and aware. Cold weather can freeze up pipes in winter and cause cracks and clogging nightmares! Pipe pressures can also be severely affected leading to other problems like water pump failure or leaking walls. As water freezes, damage worsens and, even apart from this, the need for professional assistance does arise from time to time.

“Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters?”

If there’s something strange in the home like overflowing sinks or blockages, don’t dial for the Ghostbusters! But just like the specialists that they are for the job, expert plumbing services are vital to maintaining homes in the long run. But there’s a problem. How to select the best plumbing services that are reliable, effective and easy on the pocket. The best way to track a service provider is the web. Using Google, it’s easy to shortlist a few close to home and visit their valuable informative websites to get information about them. The web is the friend of a consumer so use it wisely. Noting the professionals experience, history and rates are the key places to focus on in order to make the right decision.

What You Need To Know About Home Improvement

Have a specific plan of what you want done.

Before you even start, it’s important to know what exactly it is you want to do. Do you want to completely redo the kitchen, or do you want to put in a new shower in a bathroom? Browse magazines for ideas, or ask friends whose homes you like what exactly they did. From there, you can know whether or not you can do it yourself or if you will have to hire someone.

In addition, planning thoroughly is important because it could affect the outcome of other projects. For example, let’s say you want to add siding to your home. You will need to check if there are other repairs or things that could influence the siding, such as windows, paint, and so forth.

You will also want to prioritize your projects. For example, if you only have the budget for one project, and you need a new roof but would also like to redo your master bathroom, the new roof should take priority.

It’s also a good idea to check local laws and ordinances before you begin remodeling. Make sure your homeowner’s association allows the project you would like to do, so you don’t end up wasting money if they don’t approve it and you’re already halfway finished.

Create a budget.

First, determine how much you want to spend. Then, you can determine whether you can tackle all the projects at once, or whether you will need to break them up and work on one this year, another next year, and so forth.

When making a budget, make sure you take into account not just materials, but labor and clean-up too. Costs you may not think about, like renting industrial vaccums, carpet cleaning, or dumpsters can add up.

That said, most experts will tell you it’s a good idea to have a little extra set aside just in case, as many remodeling projects go over budget. Or, the home owners decide they would like to add something new; for example, if they originally planned on replacing countertops and then ended up putting in new cabinetry as well.

Consider timing

The time of year you decide to do remodeling will make a difference as well. Some things are obvious – you don’t want to wait until summer is half over to install central air, nor do you want to put a swimming pool in in the dead of winter.

Spring is often an ideal time for remodeling for a number of reasons. The weather is usually ideal, and most people have recovered from the costs of the holiday season.

Home improvement remodeling is an exciting way to add not only value to your home, but to make it a more pleasant place to live. By careful planning and budgeting, you can make the most of your home improvement.

About Home Improvement Contractors

Home improvement contractors cannot legally take up projects and otherwise work as contractors unless they are licensed. There is one license issuing authority in every state of the USA. Note the following points:

– The license is proof of the competence and capability of the license holder to work as a home improvement contractor.

– If you employ an unlicensed contractor, the work carried out shall be considered illegal.

– If such a person is utilized to install a product, the owner of the product faces the risk of losing the advantages of all warranties and insurance policies on the product. If something goes wrong during the installation, the owner shall have no protection whatsoever.

– Any person desirous of starting a construction business should contact the proper authorities to obtain the licenses and registrations.

The process is time consuming one and should be commenced at least six months prior to the planned date of commencement of business. So plan ahead.

Construction Work Is Not As Easy As It Seems

It is dangerous to think that building or repairing most home projects is an easy task with no further specializations in the field. The truth is that each contractor, sooner or later, chooses to specialize in a particular aspect of his work.

The general areas of specialization are:

a. designing

b. plumbing

c. electrical work

d. engineering work

e. joining work

f. interior designing

You may notice that your home plans stretch over multiple areas. Hence, simply employing one contractor to do the entire job irrespective of his specialization may lead to shoddy work. Rather, it makes sense to have different contractors for doing different works so that you get the best quality. At the end of the day, quality matters.

The worst mistake that you can make is to presume that anybody can do the work of a home improvement contractor. That is not true. Pulling down parts of your home and rebuilding it or adding new parts to it is a specialist’s job.

Do not be penny wise and pound foolish!

Avoid undertaking projects on your own. Search for efficient and reliable contractors. Spread the work among your friends and relatives.

Get them to recommend a contractor they know. You can get good quality work done at very affordable prices. Your house will look good and your wallet will not end up empty. Many people hire specialists to remodel their home, but choose to do the interior designing on their own. All your efforts will go waste if your house looks ugly from the inside.

If you know nothing about interior designing, get a specialist to do it. These specialists will do a good job in making your house look pretty from the inside as well. However, they are expensive and the cost of the consultation, materials and labor can weigh down your budget. Prefer specialists only if you can afford them.

Before tackling a major project, be sure to your abilities and ask whether you can do the job yourself. Unless you are totally certain, do not do it yourself. If you decide to employ home an outside company, make sure you choose licensed contractors only. Irrespective of whether the job is big or small, quick or lengthy, cheap or expensive, never choose an unlicensed contractor.

What Landlords Should Know About Home Improvement

All American rental property owners, particularly those who are in need of essential repairs but lack sufficient funding to do so, should be made aware of the existence of home improvement grants that are sponsored by United States government. Whether your repair issues are that of a cosmetic nature or a project related to tenant safety, whether you need supplemental funding in order to do it, or you just would rather spend Uncle Sam’s money than your own, there may be generous amounts of free government money for you to apply towards your expenses.

Knowing this, let us now concentrate on a rather important subject for landlords…the consequences of neglecting to maintain your rental properties. Though this may seem an unpleasant topic to discuss, we know that this is pertinent information for a landlord to possess, and requires recognition. When adhering to a rental agreement made between a landlord and tenant, it is a given that the unit made available to the renter, as well as all common areas of the building such as laundry rooms, hallways, courtyards, and basements, will be properly maintained and inspected in order to insure tenant safety. Many respectable landlords utilize government home improvement grants make this possible

When the required maintenance is left untended to, or poorly performed, this puts the tenants at risk of potential danger. The repercussions of the neglect of the building, and compromise of its occupants, can result in a number of unfavorable circumstances for the property owner. Aside from the obvious downfall being that any unattended to repair issue usually will in time become worse and more costly to repair, there are many worse scenarios that frequently occur for landlords who’s maintenance attention skills leave something to be desired.

Regardless of whether or not they have a signed a lease, any legal occupants of your building have a right to safe conditions and repairs to be made in a timely manner. If you as the property owner do not attend to these matters, it is completely legal for your tenants to withhold their rent payments until you do. You do not have to have any type of written agreement with the tenant for them to take this action. It is their right, and it is the law.

In addition to this financial setback, you may then be fined by state or city inspectors and court ordered to make the repairs, or in some extreme cases, evacuate the premises. On a regular basis, many particularly undesirable landlords have been sued by tenants, had their buildings condemned, and some repeat offenders have actually been jailed for such neglectful actions that put the building occupants in physical jeopardy. All the while acquiring free government money in home improvement grants to finance the repairs could have prevented this.

If you are a landlords, good or bad, with wonderfully kept property, or homes that require extensive rehabilitation, do yourself and your tenants a favor and familiarize yourself with the free government grant programs that offer home improvement grants. After all, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Confessions About Home Improvement

Confessions about our experience with home improvement…Can you get too much of a good thing?

My wife and I enjoy remodeling and improving our home. It has evolved over the years, so naturally we didn’t count the total cost before we got started. It was a gradual thing. We didn’t sit down and make a list of what we liked and disliked before we got started.

When we bought our home we replaced the carpet, finished the basement, took down wallpaper and repainted. Once that was completed we started to get other ideas…like new kitchen cabinets, a new deck, a new front door, a sunroom, and new patio.

When to Stop

This happened over 12 years. Each step along the way the subject of stopping came up, because we were over building for our neighborhood. We used the reasoning that we weren’t spending money on golfing or boating, but instead on our home.

New Plans

At one point we seriously started plans for a new house. I designed it to sit on a nice piece of hill top land with a view. As the bids and estimates came in the price kept going up. The list of things that I was going to do to keep the cost down kept getting longer.

Finally after a couple months of trying to put a plan together that would make sense financially, we concluded the price was too high. We didn’t want to go further into debt with a bigger house payment.

What You Need to Know About Home Improvement

I doubt that there are people out in the world that have their own houses but have not yet faced the so-called process of home improvement. For some people that is as easy as pie. For others though it is quite difficult. Well here are some useful facts they need in case they decide not to use professional help but do it on their own.

One of the things that people who are willing to remodel their homes on their own is to browse through the internet. Nowadays there are a lot of forums and even specialized sites in almost every single theme, there could be. It almost equals to impossible that they won’t find information on what they need. They also get the chance to read about the experience of other people on the internet who have gone through the same. It is a great resource that should in deed be used by anyone who is willing to dive into this activity.

Another thing is, in case they want to be more sure and don’t really trust the information they read on the internet is to see if there isn’t anyone they know that has improved his home recently. Since then they will be getting the information straight from the horse’s mouth it is more likely that they will trust it more. That person if he is a good friend could also come to their homes and give them some advice about where for example, to buy the best wallpapers, paint or furniture, where the variety is greatest and recommend what they have used.That is one of the best ways to do the right remodeling of a home without using professional help.

If they are adventurers and like experiencing new stuff and taking risks is must-do on daily basis so that they feel satisfied with themselves then they could just go to different shops on their own and choose everything without any additional advice. In the end when they see the final result they might be surprised by how much they like or dislike it. That depends on the very person though.

Home improving is something that can really make you feel at ease and joyful. A lot of people know how it feels when you come back home where most of the stuffs are new, the smell that it has. The feeling that you get is captivating.

What You Should Know About Home Improvement

Getting your home fixed is something that is inevitable, especially if your house has suffered a number of natural calamities. This can also be the perfect solution for you to accommodate additional people in the family, so as not to go through the hassles of finding a bigger house which can be very costly. Here are some things that you need to know if you are planning to get a home improvement service today.

Evaluate The Scope Of The Project

This is something that you need to do as a homeowner before everything else. You have to walk around the house and check the areas that need repair. Make a list of those target areas and note these down on your notepad. It is also best for you to call a certified home inspector especially if you notice that you need a major repair on specific critical areas like kitchen and rest room.

Assign A Workable Budget For The Duration Of The Repair Work

After getting a professional house inspector to visit your house, you now at least have an idea on the budget that you need to begin and complete this renovation project. You can also call a carpentry company to provide you with a workable estimate so you can start sourcing funds for this work to be done as soon as possible.

Search For Providers Within Your Area

You can save a lot from covering additional expenses if your providers are located within your area. This means that you have to start searching for carpentry companies that are near your place. You can also ask your relatives, friends and neighbors if they can refer you to a reliable carpenter that already provided these types of services in their homes. Most likely he is connected to a company that can give you a closer estimate on how soon they can begin the repair job.

Prepare Your Home For The Anticipated Work To Be Done

If you already set a budget and have arranged for carpenters, plumbers and other skilled workers to do the work soon, then you have to prepare your house for this home improvement service. Talk to your family about doing some immediate cleaning. Donate those things that you are not going to use anymore, keep and repair those appliances that needed attention. The purpose of this action is for you to prepare your family for the needed repair.

Also, make sure to take pictures of the areas that need improvement. It is highly suggested that you take snapshots of the entire house, especially if you also ask these workers to work on your garden and other external parts of the house as well. That way, you can have a record of what your home looks before the repair. You can even use it as a basis of comparison if you need to ask for some more work to be done in case they missed working on those areas.

What About Home Improvement

If you’re like most people you may be having the urge to change things a bit in your home but have no idea where to begin. Remodeling and home improvements are exciting endeavors to consider. It is a time when your imagination can run wild and you get tap into your more creative side. Don’t worry about whether or not your new space will earn a spot in the latest home improvement magazine. Sometimes we feel like we have to make our home like a museum for it to be beautiful. Not so. Just relax and create a space that it truly comfortable for you and your family.

Everybody sees home improvement ideas on TV shoes, in magazines, in hardware stores and on the Internet. The internet is nice because you have access to it more easily and can really take a thorough look at things like kitchen remodeling pictures, before and after photos, bathroom remodels, room additions, and much more. You can even find a full kitchen layout or detailed remodel plans for various rooms on the web. You may find some that you could use as a template or as inspiration. However, if you need firm design plans it is best to consult a professional contractor or designer to make sure you get what you think you are getting.

The easiest place to begin with is the budget. This dictates many things. At the same time, you need to know which rooms need the most love and attention. Some may just need a simple new look that can be achieved with a coat of paint and new window treatments. Others may need some serious upgrading. Decide on priorities and budgetary constraints. If you happened to have purchased a fixer-upper or your home is older, you may want to look into home improvement financing. This can help you with the costs. It is important to weigh out how much you are spending on the renovations with the overall value it will add to the house. Look at how much you bought the house for, how much it is worth now, and how much the renovations will add to the value. This should help in determining your overall budget.

Once finances are squared away, you may want to start price comparing. Price comparing can refer to quotes from contractors or to finding out how much granite countertops will cost compared to quartz. It also involves finding the most economical but quality supplier of the items you will need. Generally, for bigger jobs you want to let the contractor take care of that. Your job will be to check the references of the contractor and to get quotes from several. If you do that, you will have to have a general idea of what kinds of things you would like to see happen to your space and what features or finishings you want. Things like hardwood or carpet will greatly influence the quote you get.

Home Improvement Loan

Remodeling areas of your home that are beginning to look dated is always a good idea but money is often the issue that needs to be addressed. unless you have a large sum of money in savings you will need to arrange a home improvement loan. If you want a first rate home improvement job carried out with a guarantee then you will need to use professional tradesmen who should also speed the work up a great deal.

Almost all homeowners are able to arrange a home improvement loan but some may decide voluntarily, or be forced, to have the loan secured on their home or other valuable possession. Fortunately loans that do not require the home itself as equity are even available to brand new homeowners. This type of zero equity financing usually has a fixed interest rate of up to 15 years.

The eligibility for finance without equity can depend on the combined household income, which should not exceed the county limit where the property is located. Certain facts are researched by the lenders; like the type of property and reasons for the loan but essentially, this type of loan is easy to arrange with only a small amount of documentation to complete.

For people with small mortgages and high value homes, a home improvement loan that is secured is often a preferred method to finance remodeling costs. This type of loan is much quicker to organize and because the house is being used to secure the loan, it benefits from better terms and lower interest rates.

How much you can borrow on a secured loan depends on the equity in your home. The lender will work with you in determining the value of your home based on its current value, amount of outstanding mortgage, and other debts that you currently have.

The next stage is to factor in all this information before a final figure the lender is prepared to agree upon is put before the homeowner. Usually, finance companies will lend you a percentage of the assessed value of your house but some lenders can lend as high as 125 percent of your home’s equity.

Find Out What You Ought to Know About Home Improvements

Whilst it is always good to complete home improvements, many homeowners only really start to think about them when looking to sell. However, with so much advice and so many opinions given online, it can be hard to decide which ones to spend the money on.

However, there is no need for this to really be the case. The most effective home improvements tend to be those that are the most affordable. Better still; the majority of them can be achieved for yourself, or with very little outside help from professionals.

I always have a spring clean, and declutter those objects that just build up over time. I am certain that I have received better offers because of this. Buyers like to look around tidy spaces, and are quite rightly put off by shabbiness.

Areas to really be focused on are the bedroom and kitchen which, if neglected, can really reflect badly upon you. If you have children, be sure to tidy away, (though do not hide), their toys and odds and ends; if possible, use shelves and cabinets.

The way your home is lit is important too. Every home has darker areas; it is what happens with angles after all. Spend some time wandering around your home, (with a friend is good), and seeing which areas could do with an extra lamp or spotlight upon them.

Creating both light and warmth, light also helps bring color and life to a space. Consider having the lights on throughout your viewings, no matter what time of the day or night too.

Sorting out those repairs you have put off will reap rewards too. Whilst it is possible to live with a dripping tap, it doesn’t sell a home well. Consider having your electrics, gas and plumbing serviced.

This is because that once, I had a leaky tap, and my agent said that it was because of this that I had to eventually settle for half a percent being knocked off the sale price! Never again will home improvements or repairs be neglected!

The garden too is always a good place to give a little attention too. Past buyers have always wanted to view the outside space, so tidying up and perhaps planting a couple of new inexpensive plants is always good; and a bit of fun of course!

There are a host of other home improvements that can be completed at minimal cost too; carpets and floors should be cleaned well for example, whilst tidying up the frontage will give that all important curb appeal.