5 Essential Moving Tips and Tricks For Your Family

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Today, it is not uncommon for the entire family to pull up stakes in one city and move to another state or country. The moving experience for every family can be vastly different based on the plan that they create and the parameters in the time that is available. In some cases, the family may only have a month or two to get everything thing done properly. However, they may have enough lead time that gives them six months or more to prepare for the move that needs to be made. In either case, here are some great easy tips that can help your move go very smoothly and on time.

1. Save money on moving by looking for moving boxes at your neighborhood's recycling drop-off point

Moving can be very expensive to the family’s budget. Even if the move is being funded by the company that you are moving to, you may need to cut corners wherever you can to reduce the amount that will be paid out. Thankfully, you can cut part of the cost by looking for alternatives to paying for every expense that is incurred. For instance, one of the first places that you can save is on the moving boxes. You can save money by checking with your local neighborhood recycling drop off point for free boxes. Boxes are often available that have been dropped off by neighbors and the number that is available can be what you need and much more.

2. Reuse original boxes for electronics and appliances

If you happen to run short on the number that you can obtain from these drop off centers, you can use other methods to gather the moving boxes that will be needed to. For instance, if you have boxes in the home that have been previously used for your old appliances, electronics, and other items that you no longer have in your possession, you can use these boxes to begin packing your possessions for the move. Talk to family members and friends about your move to see if they can help you obtain all of the boxes that will be required.

3. Hire a moving company to assist with making the move

To prepare for the move, you need to know who will be moving all of your possessions to the new location. When making the choice, you have more than one option that you can make your selection from. Based on the timing and how much you have to move, you may want to hire a moving company and let their movers do the work for you. You will not go wrong by choosing North American Van Lines for your moving needs. For instance, the moving company can benefit from having a new customer and you can benefit from the added help for the move that needs to be made. For instance, when the moving company's representatives arrive at your home, they will not only be prepared to box every item up but also to move every box into the moving van. Because of their expertise, they can get these jobs done quickly, safely, and without breaking your valuable possessions while in transit.

4. Make a checklist of things that need to be done before the move

As you make plans for the move, you need to make sure that you are creating a list of things that must be done before you drive your van from the old location to the new area that you will be residing in. This checklist will help you in planning each step of the way and will give you the details that are needed to ensure a smooth transition. For instance, the checklist that you document will help you determine which furniture you will take with you and what needs to be purchased to furnish the new home. This is a very important part of the move since you may want to save on the cost of moving all of the old furniture into your new residence.

5. Want to save additional money? Move mid-week

When you have the option to choose a specific date that you want to move, it is important that you take into account the high traffic times. The highest demand for a moving company is on the weekend, so you want to choose the middle of the week for your best option.

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4 People You Can Hire to Make Property Ownership A Lot Easier

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Owning property seems like it is a super simple way to make money. You have an apartment, charge rent, and watch your income increase. 

While property ownership can be a great source of income, it can also be a lot of hard work. There are enough needs of the apartment and tenant that can keep you busy like this is your full-time job. 

There are a number of people you can hire that will make this process easier for you and that will cause you to spend less time at the rental property.

Accountant

If you are strong with math and bookkeeping, this may seem like a waste of money. You should definitely put every effort you can into saving money by doing things yourself. 

If you have a lot of property, it may be worth it to hire an accountant to help you manage your finances. They know how to manage these situations and make sure you are financially in good shape. Plus they are a huge help once tax season comes around.

Marketing

Your rental property only does you good if someone is living in it and rent is coming in. In order to do that you will need to make sure people can find your rental property. 

Hiring someone to market your property can really help find tenants. 

If done well, you won’t ever have to have a month when you aren’t having rent paid on the living space. Marketing can be as simple as posting to a Facebook group of people looking for housing, but hiring a marketing professional team will help you find versatile ways to keep your property filled. 

Maintenance 

If you are good with tools, maintenance is an easy thing to do on your own. If you aren’t so handy or own a lot of property, it can difficult to do all the required upkeep.

Hiring a maintenance team can help ease your burden. They can quickly and effectively solve problems and keep your property looking and working great. Hiring professionals can cost more money but can be worth it because they can handle a higher volume of problems, as well as the harder ones.

Property Manager

Property managers are the superstars of the rental property world. They can do just about anything you ask to help your property run smoothly. 

They can work in the front office, take payments, maintain the property, handle evictions, and find new tenants. Many property management companies offer all these services and more.

They are your Ace. They can do it all, including all of the functions previously mentioned. 

Conclusion

Managing property can get to be a lot of work. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself though. By hiring good professionals to handle some of your tasks, you can cut down on your workload and still get quality results. If you own property, I would definitely recommend looking into property management professionals, they will make your life so much easier, and let you get back to your free time.

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Process of Installing a Concrete Driveway

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Installing a concrete driveway requires a lot of planning and heavy labor. When well done the drive you will offer service for along time. Below is the process of installing a concrete driveway.

The most critical requirement of a good solid concrete driveway is the sub-base beneath. Too soft and wet soils make the bearing rock shift, leading to the failure of the concrete. If the substrate is dry or has had proper under drainage installed, placement of a leveling course of a suitable material is then required. 

After the sub base is set, ensure the angles of the slopes are what you want on top of the concrete. Make sure the grade slopes away from buildings and do not cause any ponding areas and that all the captured water runs to the area you wish it to go.

Layout the finished driveway using your pins and string line. Set the string to the top elevation of the concrete for the driveway. Once all the string lines are in place, take a look at what you have created. Do the curved areas have neat and smooth lines? Are the square areas square? Are all the slopes correct? If not, make the adjustments. Now install your wood forms, making sure they can handle the pressure from the concrete.

Once that's done it's time to plan the concrete pours. If the driveway is large, pouring it all at once is not practical and you won't have time to properly install it. A sudden rain shower or broiling sun can cook the concrete or destroy the finished surface. Carefully watch the weather for the day of the pour. Concrete panels should not be poured larger than twenty or twenty-five feet in length and fifteen feet wide.

A joint expansion material is used after every panel to cater for the expansion and contraction. Sealing the joints prevent water entry to the slabs, controls any weed germination in warmer days and curbs ice forming that may crack the slabs when the climate is cold.

You can use reinforcing bars on the driveway to prevent ready-mix trucks from accessing the form.

 A good concrete Driveway should be about 3000-pound to 4000 pounds to sustain more weight. Roadway edges should be double-reinforced with bars to block any chipping or cracking. 

After the concrete is done, smoothing the surface is next. Power trowel gives a smooth surface which is not polished. Other people may prefer a broom to finish the surface.

If you intend to use colored concrete, all the concrete must be purchased from the same seller. Even if two suppliers use the same dyes, the same stone, and the same water supply, different sands will cause different shades in the finished product. Different brands of dye with the same color name will cause ugly shading in the finished product as well.

Making the right choice of a concrete contractor for your project is an important stage to help you achieve what you want. There are several key areas that you should focus on as a homeowner.

Years of Experience

A contractor like Concrete contractors Bellevue WA with at least five years of experience has been in the business long enough to know the dos and don'ts. The damage is minimal as they are less prone to mistakes. If you are unsure of something, they can guide you on the right path. No one wants a contractor that will end up damaging your property.

Proper Insurance and License

The right insurance coverage and licensing are of more importance than experience years. In case an accident occurs to a person or the property is damaged by the contractor, it will be safe for you. Consult with the insurance company to know whether their insurance is valid for the time they will be working for you. 

References

Ask for at least five client references from the past two years. Past clients are often a good source for the concrete contractor's past work. You'll find out more information about them from a third-person point of view. A contractor with more positive references shows they are credible.

Services

The type of service that a concrete contractor offers is very vital. Some contractors are of specific service others are general in their work. Note carefully what the contractor is specialized in and hire those who are in the line of your project. Those that perform concrete driveway installation should be highly experienced in it.

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Simple Residential Repair Jobs

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You don’t have to assume that all repair jobs are always difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to be a bonafide handyman in order to tackle basic home repair projects at all. If you notice any issues that pop up around your living space, you may be able to tackle them all by yourself without recruiting the assistance of a professional. Don’t assume that handling D.I.Y. projects around your home has to be as complex as managing Mars forklift repairs. It does not. There are actually quite a few residential repair jobs that the vast majority of individuals can take care of independently, believe it or not.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Hardwood floor refinishing is truthfully something you can manage without having to request outside assistance. If you want your hardwood floors to appear as good as new, refinishing work doesn’t have to seem out of reach for you at all. You may want to even think about doing a bit of sanding. 

Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Garbage disposals are household appliances that are spotted in the vast majority of kitchens. If you have a garbage disposal that's taken on a rather unpleasant stench, then you do not have to go into panic mode. That’s because clearing out garbage disposal muck tends to be a total piece of cake. Cleaning can also extract persistent odors. If your splashguard calls for replacement, you’re A-OK as well. That’s because this is a job that doesn’t even call for half an hour total. Garbage disposal replacement tends to be a cinch for individuals who are detail-oriented and thorough.

Wallpaper Extraction

Wallpaper can lead to an interior design scheme that’s elegant and pleasant. If you have wallpaper that’s on the old side, however, it may actually interfere with the look and vibe of your home. If you have tired wallpaper that’s peeling and that’s negatively influencing the way your home appears to everyone else, then you don’t have to hire a professional to do away with it for you. That’s because wallpaper extraction work is actually pretty straightforward. It’s something that doesn’t demand a substantial time commitment at all.

Flooring That Makes Squealing Noises

It can be so exasperating to walk on floors that, simply put, just will not shut up. If your floors constantly produce high-pitched squealing sounds, though, you don’t have to set aside a lot of money to call a professional for repair work. If you want to manage a floor that's loud and irritating, you can coat it lightly with a bit of talcum powder. Push this powder into any splits you notice. If you plan on handling floor refinishing work, then you need to make a point to meticulously eliminate all remnants of stubborn powder.

Fixture Painting

You don’t have to buy costly new fixtures for your home. If you want them to appear better than ever, you can think about painting them again. Fixture painting isn’t tough. It’s also a pretty swift job.

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Furniture Plays A Crucial Role In The Home

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The essence of a home is felt by everybody who steps foot in it. Whether one is a hermit or not, the quality of a home comes from its many layers. Furniture finds a place in these layers. This place is of no small importance and a homeowner wants to be mindful with how they go about choosing furniture for the home. One of the most important parts is the mattress.

Whether it be a mattress, bed frame, dresser, or any other part of the bedroom, a consumer is going to want quality when searching for furniture. Quality comes not only from craftsmanship but through materials. There's much to be processed when someone looks to buy furniture. Needs matter.

Enhance The Space

Furniture enhances the space. Choosing furniture can be difficult. Without the right guidance, one may get stuck with a product that will last a little while before falling apart. One should take a real assessment of the space in his or her home before deciding what furniture will best enhance the look. It's about quality and comfort and how the occupants can be best served. Good furniture will give utility with durability. Paying for products that won't last simply becomes expensive and wasteful.

Finding Pride In What You Buy

Whatever furniture one decides to put in their home, it can be said that there is an artistic element to a well-built specimen. Those responsible for building furniture should take pride in the work. A good builder invests in the product by taking the time to do it right. Just as a table made by an artisan is something that was crafted to withstand time, a mattress that was built right means that it will last longer. Lasting longer will mean it will serve one's health while simultaneously helping their bank account. This is only one factor when looking for a mattress. From mattress sizes to the quality of the materials outside and in, a pragmatic consumer has to reflect on the options.

Size Matters

Space is simply limited. The way one designs the furniture in their home can directly impact several factors about the living environment. One has to be mindful about maximizing the flow of the home. Creating a maze with ill-placed furniture can be frustrating. You will have to adjust the furniture to the size of your room.

If a mattress takes up the whole space in the room, it isn't functional. One needs space to stretch, walk, and live. Needs should drive a purchase decision. If one has a need for a queen mattress, they would be wise to look for quality in that size. Quality comes in size, but it also comes in material used.

The Very Best Sleep

One can spend copious amounts of time thinking about how sleep helps them. Good sleep has many health benefits attached to it. A gateway to good sleep? The right mattress. Maybe you are allergic to the material of a mattress. If spending eight-plus hours on something you are allergic to sounds like a healthy thing, you must be from another planet. Comfort is something that ought to be synonymous with a quality mattress. What is comfortable for your uncle may not be comfortable for you. Think about your needs.

Your Needs

Remember who you are buying for. This is something that should never get lost in the purchasing process. It is easy to get distracted when choosing a mattress. You may hear somewhere about a particular type that is superior to the rest. If you are buying a mattress for yourself, manage the buying process right by looking for quality mattresses that meet your needs.

Don’t use your mattress as the sofa and office chair. A mattress is meant to be a safe haven for a person to get proper rest. Proper rest allows a person to nail the exam, perform well at work, or give an important speech. Life starts with rest. Human beings need it. Furniture is about meeting needs. There is a lot to be said about a chair that enhances a space or a mattress that was made with quality materials that last. A consumer wants to maximize an investment, not waste it. Furniture is important for many things in life. One can help themselves by electing quality to serve them.

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The Craftsman's Skills Create Experiences

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A craftsman is a maker of goods that are usually formed using an artistic ability. This makes the craftsman's work very valuable. Craftsman's pieces can be made with tools or with their hands. The skills that they use to create the pieces are often of professional quality. Craftsmen often have to receive some form of education or training to perform these valuable skills. There are lots of different craftsmen in different industries today.

  • Woodcraft
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Glass
  • Metal

People who master these handy crafts are usually very good at helping others appreciate their surroundings and environmental perception. Craftsmen have the ability to make something simple look expensive. They create pieces that have the potential to add value and purpose to property.

The Value of our Craftsman Works And Moving

Every well-developed system or facility should be able to demonstrate the ability to adapt, change, or even move. Have you ever heard the saying, "You can take the boy out of the streets, but you can't take the streets out of the boy?" This same concept can apply to a building. Oftentimes, people wish that they could change their location without changing their home.

After discussing the topics about furniture and purpose, you will realize that people could have developed a connection to these pieces and places. This is why it can be helpful to hire Allied Van Lines to ensure that your craftsman pieces keep their value and sustainability and that moving is done correctly.

This will help to allow your new place of residence to give you a feeling of comfort. If your old pieces do not fit their old purpose, then you can also use some craftsman skills of your own to give them other uses!

Craftsman’s Furniture and its Capabilities

When a craftsman successfully makes the perfect furniture, everything that furniture comes in contact with looks more expensive in a sense. Think of it like this, a nice patio can give someone a beautiful view of the world around them. Now, imagine if the perfect patio table were there to compliment every moment that someone spent on that patio. Or, even better, imagine if there were outdoor couches and Martinique sofas available to help throw the perfect get together or meeting? This is only one of the craftsman's capabilities that he can use to provide an establishment of positioning and level of comfort.

Architecture Made by Craftsman

Architecture is another fascinating factor that craftsmen can manipulate. Yes, we can sit on couches and squat on chairs but what about architecture? Our ceilings, walls, doors, and floors all have the ability to enhance or deplete the quality of our surroundings as well. The architectural pieces and structures of society are very influential components that represent our status of development and cause.

Professional craftsmen or architects can design the perfect building that encompasses a particular use, or purpose. This is a very important component that can influence the amount of productivity and positivity that is exerted in that area. For example, a school would most likely be more effective or productive in an area that is designed to promote concentration and learning. This means that the ideal school would have lots of classrooms but no features that would promote distraction or chaos. This would be the complete opposite of a night club or any other area that thrives by promoting lively activity and fun. This type of place would benefit from architectural features like a dance floor with a patio or even a ceiling that also has a patio based design.

When architects incorporate these types of concepts into their designs, they help to set the mood for the facility's use. Architecture or real estate is also one of the leading businesses around the world. It is highly effective in influencing factors and perceptions about areas. For example, there is a dramatic difference in the way that people perceive a huge city compared to an underpopulated rural area. People may see the tall pieces of architecture of the city and think of convenience or even opportunity. On the other hand, a rural area may be associated with isolation, limited opportunity, and even poverty.

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5 Non-Decor Uses of Pallets

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I’m sure you’ve been online and seen many articles written that detail the many uses of pallets in home decor. Nothing wrong with that, people have made some really cool stuff that way.

I wanted to suggest a handful of uses for pallets that get outside the home decor arena. Some of them fall into the category of home improvement projects, but not as decor. 

Fire Wood

If you have ever decided to start a fire to sit around and cook with, you will know that it requires a lot of wood. A pallet is a perfect item to use. It is big enough that you have a lot of wood to use. The smaller boards can have parts shaved off to use as kindling, and then can be broken to meet the needs of your growing fire. 

The bigger boards would be for when the fire is growing strong. Whatever your need in firewood, a pallet is a great option.

Shelves

You can stack pallets easily, that is what they are made for. If you have a need for some extra shelves, then look no further than pallets. All you would need to do is build small posts in each corner to give some space in between the pallets, and voila! You have some easy shelves to increase your storage space.

Again, I consider this home improvement rather than home decor. 

Storage

Storage is much needed. Many homes just don’t have enough. Pallets are great for storage, as noted above. The reason I separated this from the shelves category is that pallets are versatile in their storage capability and don’t need to be made into shelves. Plus, there are lots of things you probably wouldn’t put on a shelf. 

If you have some heavy items you are worried about putting marks on your garage floor, a pallet is a perfect answer. It is low to the ground, so it makes for minimal lifting. Pallets are strong and can hold heavy objects. They also won’t be as easily moved as if you put a mat or pad down. 

It can also keep things off the floor in case of flooding. You can avoid damage to your possessions without spending a ton of money. Pallets for the win. 

Scrap wood

I can’t tell you how many times I could have used a piece of wood for something around the house. The last time was when my AC unit didn’t have a plastic guard to make sure the window was covered. I really just wanted a couple pieces of wood to put on either side of the unit so bugs couldn’t get in.

There are many uses for scrap wood around the house. A pallet is great because it provides a lot of wood that can be used in that way, and it isn’t terribly hard to tear apart with the right tools. 

Nails

I have known some people that will get a pallet, tear it apart as they need it and keep the nails. It works great for them as they just hang onto those nails and use it the next time they need a nail or two. 

It may not make a huge difference unless you consistently buy pallets, but it is a plus. Some pallets are held together with staples which may be less effective for your next home improvement project. 

Conclusion 

Pallets are versatile, handy things to have if you like doing your own home improvement projects. You can easily contact nearby businesses and see if they have any used pallets they will just get rid of, or if not a search for “pallets near me” can help you locate a pallet supplier. 

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Log Home

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Have you ever dreamt of building a log home? Many of us dream about living in a beautiful, towering log cabin somewhere, surrounded by nature and cozy wooden walls. 

Building your very own log cabin isn’t as simple as it may seem, however. There are many things that people who dream of building a log cabin aren’t aware of. Financial factors and other unforeseen variables can derail your dream before you’ve even begun the building stage if you aren’t informed on the process. 

Let’s go over 5 crucial things you need to know before building a log cabin, so you can put forth your best effort at turning your dream into a reality.

  1. The Cost

On average, it costs about $35 per square foot when using a kit to build a log cabin. That’s not all, though! You’ll also need to take into account the cost of labor, utility lines, site preparation, permits, and the land itself.

One way to estimate the approximate cost of building your log cabin altogether is to take your building kit cost and multiply it by 2.6. If you are handy enough and decide to build yours straight from scratch, the cost will be a lot lower (though it will probably take much longer). For example, one man built a log cabin from scratch in a month for somewhere in the neighborhood of just $500.

You should factor in log home restoration costs as well as general log home repairs.

  1. Shrinkage and Settling

Even a log cabin built with kiln dried logs will shrink and settle a bit. This is due to the wood losing its moisture content once felled. To plan for and adjust to this, you’ll need to use chinking, caulk, and the appropriate finishes to prevent the cabin from experiencing air leakage. 

  1. Maintenance Will Be Continuous

Like a regular house, your log cabin will require maintenance. You should inspect it at least 2 times per year, in the spring and fall. This will involve inspecting the chinking, looking for any pests infestations, and assessing the overall condition of your log cabin. You should wash your cabin at least once per year to clean off all the surface level dirt. You’ll also need to stain it at least once every 3 years. It’s extremely important to stay up to date on your log home maintenance.

  1. Location is Vital

Depending on where you build your log cabin, there will be different planning laws, zoning laws, and other varying factors to consider. In addition to this, you’ll also need to consider amenities and resources. You need to be close enough so that you can have things like running water, power, phone service, and access to emergency services. Unless, that is, you want to live completely off the grid. 

  1. The Energy Efficiency of a Log Cabin

Log cabins are notoriously energy inefficient unless properly insulated. If you insulate the floor and the roof while sealing up all air leaks, your log cabin will likely be more energy efficient than the average residential home. This is because logs absorb and radiate heat.

Consider Everything Before Building a Log Cabin

If you take into account everything in this article and plan accordingly, you should have no problem building an energy efficient, sturdy log cabin that’s well within your budget. 

By considering all the various factors you need to, you can build the log cabin of your dreams without running into any unexpected roadblocks. 

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Farmhouse Flooring Ideas for Your Home

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There are many different flooring materials to choose from to achieve the look you want for your home. Today, farmhouse styled design is at an all time high. When it comes to your flooring, homeowners can use rustic materials to bring their farmhouse design to life.

There are several ways to get a rustic look with your flooring, including hardwood and wood planks. By adding farmhouse flooring to your home, you have a base in which to create a rustic design. Learn more about the flooring options below to get started on your new farmhouse styled home. 

  1. Distressed Hardwood

One of the most popular options for farmhouse flooring is distressed hardwood. Manufactured and created from reclaimed wood, this flooring type will be durable for many years to come. Such wood is found in old barns and buildings then reconfigured to be used as flooring. With distressed hardwood, you have the perfect backdrop for a farmhouse style in your home.

Distressed hardwood can be installed in a variety of wood types as well as coloring. Choose to go dark or light, or even have wood planks that vary in color for more visual appeal. Easily find a style you like and have it installed in your home. The wood pieces will add character to any room, adding to the overall design. 

  1. Whitewashed or Grey Wood Planks

For a lighter and brighter look, whitewashed or grey wood floors are a great option to consider. This type of flooring is created with planks of wood that have been painted in a particular way. The whitewash look is a painting technique that involves watered down white paint. The flooring creates a light base for your room, perfect for that farmhouse look. This option can be installed in any room and give you the foundation for a newly designed home. 

  1. Neutral Carpet

If you enjoy a plusher flooring type, choose to install new carpet throughout your home. Many homeowners like the comfort carpet has to offer, especially in the bedrooms. You can still achieve an overall farmhouse look with carpet. To maintain the farmhouse style, choose neutral colored options. Opt for a beige or gray tone to compliment the overall style of your property. 

  1. White Tile for Bathrooms

In the bathrooms of your home, tile is the best flooring type. You want to use a material that does well in a wet environment. Tile is durable and can easily last for many years to come. When choosing tile for a farmhouse style, white is the top choice among homeowners. White tiles can be added in a solid with no pattern or with texture or pattern to create interest. 

Choose to add larger tiles or smaller settings depending on the size of your space. You want to add tiles that will make smaller rooms look larger or create the right foundation for a larger space. 

These are just a few ideas you can use when it comes to flooring and creating a farmhouse style home. Consider the rooms in your home that need flooring and how you can integrate any of these options to achieve your overall design style. 

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Clever Insulation Tips to Improve Your Energy Efficiency

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In terms of improving your energy efficiency, there are few more effective ways to do it than by adjusting your insulation strategy. Every home has basic insulation in the wall cavities and other spots, but that leaves something to be desired for many homeowners. In case you need a boost in energy efficiency and want to accomplish it by upgrading your insulation, let’s go over a few easy ways you can do just that.

Check your HVAC Ductwork

Your ductwork has no insulation in it, which is why it’s very crucial that it doesn’t have leaks, either. Unfortunately, many homeowners DO have leaks in their ductwork, meaning the only way to shore up that drain on energy efficiency is to get them patched. HVAC patching can be done in DIY duct sealing fashion, but you might not be able to reach holes or leaks that are tucked away in the far corners of your ductwork.

Using a professional air duct cleaning team is the best option because they will seal up your ductwork, identify the leaks, then use patented technology to seal all of them up without you ever having to get your hands dirty. They can even provide you a before and after snapshot of how much energy you’ll be saving once your HVAC energy efficient ductwork is fixed.

Install Roof Insulation

Roof insulation like ACFoam polyiso insulation is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency. Much heat is lost through the roof of a home, making an underlayment a critical part of energy efficiency. Foam roof insulation will boost your energy efficiency while providing extra moisture protection for your roof, which could save you money down the line as well.

Use a House Wrap

A house wrap works much like a roof underlayment does. It’s an added layer of continuous insulation that goes beneath just about every other part of your exterior walls. A house wrap will help to seal up some of the tiny gaps and cracks that normally aren’t bothered with. This can boost energy efficiency by a great deal since even these small little cracks and gaps are enough to let warm air out and cold air in, or vice versa.

Insulate Your Attic and Basement

Attics lose a lot of heat if they aren’t insulated properly. This is because they are located above the rest of the home, and heat rises. Use sheets of unbacked insulation in between every one of the floor joists in your attic, or apply a new layer on top if there’s already some there. Insulating exposed hot water pipes is a good idea too.

If you have a basement, proper insulation is important. Consider a below grade continuous insulation for your basement.

Improve Your Energy Efficiency with the Right Insulation

As you can see, the number of ways to improve your energy efficiency through insulation is almost endless. Whether you want to try insulating your attic, installing a roof underlayment or house wrap, fixing your HVAC ductwork, weatherstripping doors and sealing up windows, or any other method, you’ll run into no shortage of new tips. Try using multiple tips at once for an even more air-tight strategy.

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Tools Every Homeowner Should Have for Small Projects & Repairs

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As a homeowner, you know that keeping your home in order is not easy. Your house can seem like there’s one problem after another--therefore, being prepared to fix any problem when it occurs as fast as possible requires the right tools to tackle them in short order (or at least knock out the projects until the professionals can handle them). Let’s take a look at the basic tools for home repair that every homeowner should have on hand. 

Hammer

If there’s one tool that you’re going to need, it’s a hammer. Make sure to get a clawhammer so that you can remove nails and pry materials apart easily.

Vise Grips

Vise grips can help you get a grip on tough surfaces or hold something in place while you work on the other end. By adjusting the screw at the end, you can widen/narrow the open end and stabilize all sorts of materials hands-free. 

Tape Measure

There are plenty of construction measuring tools out there so it’s important to find the right ones for your needs. You’re going to need to measure materials sooner or later, so a diameter tape measure makes it a cinch. Make sure to purchase an easy-lock tape measure that measure at least 12 feet or more. If you need something a little bigger and more visual, consider a wide blade tape measure. Pocket rods are also good to have depending on how much DIY you actually plan to do.

Combination Pliers

For all manual applications, pliers come in handy (pun intended) in nearly every situation in your home. Whether you are tightening bolts, twisting/cutting wire, removing screws, and more, you’re going to need combination pliers to get a grip.

Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are mandatory when it comes to most small projects and repairs around the house. Make sure to have a variety of screwdrivers of different head sizes and types, such as the common Phillips and flathead varieties, but also Pozidriv, Torx, Hexagon, and Security T which are included on new products and appliances.

Level

Symmetry is the name of the game when it comes to making perfect fits and a beautiful home. From leveling your kitchen counters to hanging a picture, a bubble level is the perfect tool for the job. For more involved projects, invest in a laser level for enhanced precision. The type of level you want depends on the projects you plan to do. For more masonry focused crafts, choose the best level for masons

Power Drill

When you’ve got a lot of materials to bring together or tear apart, there’s nothing like a power drill to handle most tasks around the house. 

Utility Knife

Don’t sacrifice the silverware. By using a utility knife, you can make precise cuts and scores on most materials (i.e. drywall). 

Tapes

There are few things as indispensable as tape for semi-permanent repairs. Gather a wide variety of tapes of different strengths and applications, such as electrical tape, duct tape, plumbers tape, teflon tape, and more.

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Tornado Safe Room Under Stairs: How to Reinforce

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If you live in an area that has even a remote chance of experiencing a tornado, it’s probably a good idea to have a safe room. A strong enough tornado can completely devastate your house and cause serious bodily harm or even death to you and your loved ones. 

Many people think that building a tornado safe room is complicated and will take up a lot of time, energy, and money, but this simply isn’t true. You can create a simple, yet effective tornado safe room right under your stairs in just a few basic steps. 

Building a Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs is Easier than it Looks

The space beneath a stairwell is actually one of the most naturally safe places to build a tornado safe room. The structure of the stairs provides overhead protection, while the lack of windows or nearby water pipes provides added protection against flying debris. There are, however, a few ways you can make this space even safer for you and your family, turning it into a full-blown safe zone in the event of a tornado.

Adding Protection to your Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs

If you want to really solidify this space, try using thick planks of solid oak to reinforce the stairs themselves. You can add them to the tops of your stairs as well as the underneath area where you’ll be hiding. Putting planks beneath the stairs can create an even stronger framework for added protection from falling objects.

Adding layers of protection on the floor is a good idea as well. Not only will this increase your comfort level, it can prevent minor injuries if anybody should accidentally fall down. Use some rubber tiles as the base for your flooring material, and then add some extra layers of memory foam on top of them. This can turn a hard cement floor into an extra comfy safe zone. 

Keeping Your Safe Room Airtight is Not Ideal

Although you don’t want any windows or open spots for rain or debris to come flying in, you don’t actually want your shelter to be airtight. You need to leave some space for vents that can let air in but which are not big enough to let debris in. 

As far as the door to your tornado safe room is concerned, it should open outwards and not inwards. You should also keep this area stocked with hand tools in case you need to dig your way out of a mess when the tornado has passed. The regular essentials like first-aid kits, food, water, flashlights, and more are also crucial to ensuring you can safely make it through the storm.

Tornado Safe Rooms Under the Stairs Are a Great Idea

If you’re lacking a tornado safe house, there’s no need to worry. Having a safe room under the stairs is the perfect solution for two story homes. This area is naturally reinforced, and with a little extra work, you can turn it into a completely fortified safe zone for you and your family to wait out any tornado in comfort and security. 

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Fair Oaks Workshops

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I’ve always liked this online shop – lots of great items from a wide variety of designers (Dard Hunter, Tiffany, Sullivan, William Morris, Laura Wilder, FLW and more) and vendors – but I think this recently-redrawn 1882 William Morris pattern is one of my favorite designs. I think it’d look especially nice on pillows on a sofa, or maybe a tablecloth. Beautiful!

 


8 Decorating Errors That Make Your Home Look Cheap

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One of the best things about moving into a new space is the opportunity to redefine yourself as you decorate your home. When decorating however there are a few mistakes that people commonly do that make their homes look cheap and out of date. Here are 8 home decor errors to avoid.

  1. Pictures 

Pictures are such a large statement in your home, but many people commonly overlook their importance. Here are three major things to consider before you begin hanging things on your walls. 

  • Quality of Pictures – Even people who aren’t art experts can and will judge the quality of the artwork that is hanging on your walls. The doesn't mean you need to spend an arm and a leg on fancy art. Instead, take the time to choose the correct piece for each room in your home. A picture can help a room come together, so take the time to select the right one. 
  • FramesNothing makes your home look like a college dorm room faster than unframed pictures. Unless the picture is mounted it should always have some kind of frame around it. 
  • MaterialNot all frames are created equal. Make sure your pictures are in matching frames. This doesn’t mean they have to be identical, but you want similar materials and styles for all the frames in each given room. 
  1. Curtains

Believe it or not, the placement of your curtains can have a tremendous impact on the overall quality of your room. Many people make the mistake of placing their curtain rod too low and accidentally cramping the space around the window. Your windows are one of the main features in your home that will help your rooms appear larger than they actually are. To capitalize on this remember to always put your curtain rod about six inches above the window. This will help the window look larger and allow more light to come into the room. 

  1. Lighting Fixtures

Old and outdated light fixtures can make a home look cheap and uncared for. A simple and relatively cheap fix is to update the lights and make sure you have bright light bulbs. No one likes sitting in a low light yellow room unless the room is intentionally lit by a lamp. 

  1. Rugs

Rugs in and of themselves do not instantly add class to your room. If the rug is the wrong shape or too small it actually gives the impression that you couldn’t afford the right rug for the room. You want your rug to touch all of the furniture in the space. This helps bring all the pieces together for one cohesive look. If your rug is too small, but you’re married to it you can always choose to layer rugs on the floor so you can still have that pulled together look. Another option is to opt out of the rug entirely.  

  1. Bathrooms

A bathroom can really date a home. If you have a toilet seat cover or toilet rug you might want to get rid of that immediately. They have fallen in popularity largely due to how unsanitary they are. A bath mat is just fine so long as you place it in an appropriate spot, for example in front of the vanity. A quick swapping out of towel hooks and shower rods can bring up the overall look and quality of a bathroom in a matter of minutes. 

  1. Hangers

This is a simple thing to keep in mind with your closet. If you have mismatching hangers, throw them away. It is only a few bucks to have a full set of matching hangers in your closet and it looks so much more organized and cared for than multiple styles of cheap hangers floating around. 

  1. Knobs

A quick and simple way to give an old dresser, door, or table a facelift is to update their hardware. A quick search online or a trip to the store can have your home looking much nicer for just a few dollars. The swap is simple and the results are instantly noticeable. 

  1. Less Is More

When decorating, always keep in mind that less is usually more. This doesn’t mean you have to live the life of a minimalist, but you definitely don’t want a room to come across as cluttered. Try and keep similar things clustered together, whether that is on a shelf or a coffee table. Having things spread around gives the appearance of being too busy and will take attention away from the major statement pieces in your home. 

Whether you’re renting or buying, good luck as you make your new house feel like home. Remember that there isn’t any rush. Take the time to make it look the way you want so you can feel comfortable and happy for years to come. 

partnered post • image by Kari Shea on Unsplash


Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs DIY?

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Does DIY Bed Bug Treatment Work?

You find that your home is infested with bed bugs Winnipeg. There are products you can pick up at supermarkets and other venues. Do they actually work? The answer is yes, but with some qualifications. In fact, the results may be more of a waste of your time than a help. Here are some reasons why you should set the do-it-yourself approach aside and call a professional exterminator.

You Don’t Know All the Places to Look

Many people are surprised at how many places bed bugs can infiltrate. In spite of the name, the bugs can end up in your closet, the carpeting and area rugs, and even furniture upholstery. While you may not be sure what needs to be treated and what’s safe, you can bet that an exterminator knows where to look and what to do. That’s one reason why that professional will be one of the most important of all Winnipeg's bed bug solutions.

Bed Bugs Extermination Over the Counter Products Aren’t That Strong

Thing thing about over the counter bed bug products it that they can only accomplish so much. Some of them are effective, especially products designed to use when cleaning clothing that may be infested. Others leave much to be desired. Since you’re not sure how severe the infestation happens to be, it makes more sense to have bed bugs exterminators inspect the home, settle on the best mode of treatment, and then provide you with some advice on what sort of over the counter products would help with the laundry and similar tasks.

They’re Not as Cost Effective as You May Think

If you decide to go the DIY route for getting rid of bed bugs, be prepared to administer a series of treatments. They may have to be administered every few days for a few weeks. In the meantime, life around the home will be disrupted. Along with the inconvenience, you keep spending more and more money on those products. By the time you’re done, the amount spent may equal or even exceed what professional pest control treatments cost. Even sadder, they aren’t likely to produce the same results that a professional heat treatment would accomplish.

A Professional Produces Superior Results in Less Time

Time is of the essence when you’re trying to deal with a bed bug infestation. Those eggs hatch quickly, so the number of bugs is constantly on the rise. Since over the counter products are only addressing part of the problem, it will be some time before the infestation is truly a thing of the past. By contrast, professional bugs extermination using heat or other treatments kills eggs as well as adults. That effectively stops the progression of the problem and makes it easier to bring it under control sooner rather than later. If you notice an infestation in the home, don’t waste time trying to deal with the issue on your own. Call a professional and make arrangements for professional bed bugs treatment in Winnipeg. In the long run, you save money, avoid damage to furnishings, and avoid the itching and other problems that continual exposure to bed bugs create.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by the AFPMB


3 Things You Need to Know About Flipping Houses For a Business

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With so many different ways to make money, the choices can be overwhelming. Therefore, if you want to find the best fit for you in the business world, you need to identify a business idea that will not only pique your interest but also provide you with the income and profits that you expect to earn. Thankfully, there are some unique business investment ideas that can completely transform how you can make huge amounts of profits today. One of the most notable involves flipping houses. Before you begin to branch out in the area of flipping houses, it is important that you have a solid idea of how you are going to launch your strategy.

  1. Use Your Own Profitable Strategy for Flipping Homes

The strategy that you use to flip houses can make a significant difference in how successful your company will be. For instance, you may want to incorporate the Tortoise House Flipping strategy in starting out with your first profitable venture. The basics of this concept focus solely on deploying a flipping houses strategy that is considered to be slow but steady. With this concept, you will accomplish these 3 goals at a time and that is to make money relatively quickly first, offer the house of everyone’s dream, designing the appropriate plan that will legally help to avoid tax penalties.

Avoiding tax penalties is essential to making a large profit because there are traditionally taxes that can be associated directly with flipping various kinds of properties. As you get started with this plan, however, you should make sure that you have not quit your day job since you will need the extra income until your profitable ideas can be seen in the real world.

  1. Pros and Cons that Need to Be Considered

If you decide to start flipping properties for a living, you need to know that you can expect both pros and cons. Just like anything that you want to do, you may have lots of advantages but you cannot dismiss the fact that there are downsides too. Hence, for anyone who has their eyes set on getting, here are some of the more common pros along with the cons to flipping properties as an investment and profitability plan.

Pros to Flipping Houses:

  • Allows You to Use Your Creative Ideas to Renovate: While there are many different advantages to flipping homes, some of these reasons can be very exciting to individuals who have a lot of creative ideas that they can use to renovate their property. For instance, if you are good at making small rooms look larger, you can use a wide diversity of renovation concepts to these jobs. Hence, for those of you who enjoy this kind of work, it can be very rewarding and profitable.
  • You Will Learn More About Real Estate in General: Once you enter the world of flipping property, you can also benefit greatly from many of the things that you will learn. For example, you will gain a wealth of knowledge about the real estate business and how it functions overall. As you enter in your first short sale transaction or your first foreclosure, you will automatically begin to learn both the ins and outs of what these processes entail, including information about refinancing.
  • Network Will Expand: Another benefit to flipping houses involves the networks that you will be dealing with. For instance, your network of professions will include contractors, lawyers, real estate brokers and more.

Cons to Flipping Houses:

  • One of the biggest drawbacks to flipping houses is the high possibility of losing money instead of making a profit. Regardless of the number of houses that you flip, you can always lose more money than you make. So, this is one of the biggest drawbacks to enter into this type of business venture.
  1. What You Need to Know About Tax Liabilities

Once you have had an opportunity to completely renovate the home that you have purchased and have sold it, you should always be familiar with the tax liabilities associated with it. To find out more about the tax liabilities that will be connected to the purchase of this property and others, it is important that you contact a tax professional who knows how tax laws work in these situations.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeff Turner


5 Garage Organization Tips to Consider

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Organizing your garage can be a big job but once it’s done you’ll be amazed at how much more space and function your garage has. When your garage is organized it will be easy to find anything that you need from seasonal clothes to sport equipment and you might finally have room in the garage for your car again. Here are five garage organization tips from organization and design professionals that will help you get a handle on that garage clutter once and for all:

  1. Hang Everything You Can

The best way to make use of all of the space in your garage is to hang everything that you can hang from the walls. Hanging racks can hold storage boxes as well as individual items so that you can hang things like holiday decorations or out of season clothing and get those things off of the floor. Construction measuring tools, ladders, rakes, and other yard equipment should be hung in specially designed organizers that hang on the wall. Bikes, skis, and other large sports equipment should also be hung up to maximize the space available.

  1. Utilize Ceiling Space

The ceiling is a space that many homeowners overlook in the garage. But even if you have an automatic garage door opener there is space up there that you can use for storage. Cleverly designed storage units that are made to fit into the ceiling of a garage over an automatic garage door opener will give you lots of room to store boxes full of old things or seasonal decorations that you only need to access once a year.

  1. Hardwood Plywood Cabinets

Custom built hardwood plywood cabinets that are made to fit your unique garage will really increase the amount of storage in your garage. Some people might think that the cost of custom cabinets isn’t worth it because the cabinet will be in a garage but there is no way to put a price on proper organization. Custom built cabinets in the garage means that you can use the garage as a workspace, a hangout space, a building space, and in other ways. You will have the storage necessary to keep all of your hobby equipment organized and safely put away in the garage. Custom cabinets that are designed just for your garage will ensure that you are using every square inch of the garage that’s available for storage.

  1. Proper Tool Organization

Once your cabinets are up you can organize your hobby space by putting in a custom workbench and a pegboard that can hold your tools. Hanging your tools and measuring wheels on the pegboard will safe space while keeping your tools easily accessible.

  1. Downsize and Organize

Hold a yard sale and get rid of all the items that you just don’t use. Sell those old bikes or the skis that never got used after the first winter. Old tennis racquets and tools can be sold too. Get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely need. Once that’s done take the items that are left and divide them into categories like hobby equipment, sports equipment, and so on. Organize each category and hang the items or put them away in the new storage solutions in the garage.

Once the garage is organized you will be able to keep it organized easily and you will have easy access to all of the things that you might need, like your child’s winter coat or a special tool that you need when you’re working on the car. Take back your garage and tame the clutter by getting organized.  

partnered post by Corey Tyner of Phoenix Fast Sell Home Buyers • client image


The Different Types of Heat Recovery Systems

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image: wind cowls provide passive ventilation and heat recovery

With climate change on the rise, finding ways to provide us with energy that is renewable, efficient and kind on the environment is becoming more important by the day. However, heat ventilation systems are there to help, by making sure that we get the most out of our heating systems. They do this by utilising the heat from the stale air extracted from our homes and combining it with fresh air that enters via ventilation systems. Today, we will be having a look at the different types of heat recovery systems available to you.

Thermal Wheel Heat Recovery

Thermal wheels are usually the biggest out of all the ventilation systems. They’re thought to be the most efficient when it comes to air recovery. These systems consist of two big wheels which have a honeycomb arrangement. One half draws out the stale air, whilst the other half draws in outdoor air. Energy that comes from the stale air is passed on to the incoming air, which heats up the fresh air. The speed of the wheel rotation, plus all of the energy that is transferred, can be regulated to increase or decrease the air temperature of air fed back inside the building.

Plate Heat Technology

This type of heat recovery system, that can be provided by companies like BPC Ireland, is more common than its thermal wheel competitor. This is because plate heat technology can be utilised on a lesser scale. It is made up of a box that has a range of parallel plates that have been made from plastic or metal, and this allows extracted air to pass the air coming into the building. The passing air transfers energy and heats it up. The plates separate the air stream and don’t touch. How conductive and thick the individual plates are, are key factors in how efficient any system is.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps harness heat from one area and pass it to another. The way they operate is similar to that of a refrigeration unit. Heat pumps can be used to heat or cool air. There is an array of different types available. They all draw in heat from the air outdoors as well as the ground, which requires a network of pipes.

Closed Loop Technology

Air handling systems can have a run around coil introduced to them. A circuit of pumped pipes connects the two coils together. To charge the unit, water is used and the supply air coil has heat transferred to it from the heat picked up from the exhaust pipes. This type of heat recovery system is only used if the two air systems aren’t near enough to each other for a more efficient system.

Heat Pipe Technology

This kind of technology requires the least maintenance, but can only be used when air handling is done in an individual system. A tube system with a refrigerant (that extracts heat from exhaust air to pass on to the fresh air), is used. Evaporation from vertical pipes is used, due to them being more efficient compared to horizontal pipes.

As you can see, there are a variety of heat ventilation systems available. The one that works best for your home will be dependent on a number of factors. Making sure you do your research before you purchase a system is essential, so it would be wise to contact a professional and possibly get a few quotes.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Tom Chance


Larger Living Rooms: Easy Hacks to Trick the Eye

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It doesn’t matter what people say, bigger is always better. Particularly when it comes to living room spaces, this couldn’t be truer.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have unlimited pockets. Or, we don’t have any more land to extend our existing living room into.

It means that we’re left with two options; either move home or try and trick others’ eyes into thinking that this room is larger than it actually is.

Suffice to say, it is the latter which we will be focussing on today, as we look at some easy living room hacks to make this space look a lot bigger than it really is.

spread the light

One of the easiest ways to trick the eye is through the use of light. A big mistake made by homeowners with a small living room is to just have one central light, hanging from the ceiling.

Instead of this, try and opt for several. Some of these might be on the wall, while you might have more than one on the ceiling as well. It might require for you to find a drywall repair service in Jersey to patch over some of the old fittings, but the results are completely worthwhile.

the art of contrast

Another really effective way to make the room look bigger is simply by painting it. The golden rule is to not use any “medium” shades. In other words, you have to opt for light or dark colours.

The reason behind this is simple; you need to create contrast. This creates the illusion of depth, which is all you need.

go from head to toe with curtains

It might not be the style that suits some rooms in your house, but when it comes to a small living room you need to make an exception. This comes in the form of curtains that stretch from floor to ceiling. It might seem as though you are hiding some parts of the room, but it just makes the eye move upwards and it’s this effect which can again make the room seem a lot bigger than it really is.

In a similar vein, if you are really against the idea of long drapes, consider putting shelving or other furniture high on your wall. This has a similar effect – the room suddenly looks bigger as furniture is placed in varied positions.

make a big statement with furniture

We’ve just touched upon furniture, but if you are looking to make the biggest impact the rule of less is more couldn't be more true.

While you might think you are doing the right thing by having lots of little pieces of furniture, this can just make a small room look cluttered. Instead, turn to a feature piece - one that will draw all eyes to it. In doing this, you not only eliminate clutter, but you also detract attention from the fact that your room is smaller than you would like.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Peter Hess