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5 DIY Ways to Stage Your Home's Exterior

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Getting your home ready to show to prospective buyers might as well be compared to juggling flaming chainsaws while calculating your federal income tax refund. There are a million different punch list items demanding your attention, but the reality is the best way to get the most out of staging your home to put on the market is to focus your efforts on a few big picture items and make sure they turn out great.

Your home’s exterior should be on the top of this list.

It’s the first thing buyers and home shoppers will see, and likely be the thing they remember most vividly about their visit, which makes it vitally important to the success of your sale. “Curb appeal” is a term that has taken on a life of its own, and is a major factor in how other people determine the value of your home. They don’t have all the fond memories to tell them why it’s great, so you’re going to have to do a little work and show them.

The good news is there is a lot you can do with a few tools and a bit of industriousness to transform your home’s exterior. Here are 5 DIY projects that will boost your curb appeal and have people dropping their jaws as they round the couldasak.

Upgrade Your Exterior Siding

You might think upgrading your siding is a job bigger than something a home improvement novice could handle on their own. Well, you’d be right! Even something as innocuous as repainting your house requires a bit of help from either a seasoned professional or at the very least someone who knows their way around Home Depot. That said, replacing your siding with something more attractive and longer lasting is certainly something you can do yourself - just be honest with yourself about your experience and ability to do so.

There are plenty of house siding ideas you can explore, but you might want to look into fiber cement panels. They are inexpensive, bomber proof, and can be painted in any color and shade you can imagine. Also, they are definitely on the ‘easy’ end of the spectrum as far as siding installations you can probably undertake by yourself.

Add an Attractive Landscape Garden

A little bit of greenery goes a long way to making your home seem simultaneously more inviting and more protected. Planting a garden or other landscape elements is as easy as going to the nursery and putting in the work, and the result can add immense value to your home. You can even go as far as introducing water features like koi ponds, fountains, or quaint little bird baths.

The point is to add a bit of context to the home itself, and provide attractive exterior spaces for people to gather. If the prospective buyers can see themselves entertaining or throwing parties at your home, they will be much more inclined to pull out their checkbooks. As an additional selling point, plants and trees help mitigate drainage and stormwater runoff, making your yards easier to maintain and even safer.

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Replace Your Gutters

Over the years your gutters have probably suffered the wrath of hail storms, extreme heat, and enough freeze-thaw cycles to impress a polar bear. Replacing your gutters will add a lot of value to your home without a huge up front cost to get the project done. You could go as far as re-roofing your entire house or changing your roof design and style altogether, but that kind of intensive work might be best left for roofing professionals.

The gutters, however, are something you can probably venture to undertake yourself. Again, as with the siding project, if you don’t have experience swinging a hammer and hanging off 30 foot ladders, you might want to consider getting some help. But, if you’re up to the task, installing new gutters can turn into a major selling point.

Build Your Own Window Shutters

Window shutters are one of those extra details that can pull on a buyer’s nostalgia strings just enough to get them to cave. They exude a quiet town feel that people seem to be falling in love with these days. If the style of your home supports such an addition, they are something you can even build yourself, which adds to the home’s story and history as well as its aesthetics.

You don’t have to look much further than YouTube to find resources on how to get this kind of project up and running. All you really need is a saw, a screw gun, and a bit of imagination to give your home a unique look and style that will separate itself from the rest of the block.

Stage Your Patio or Deck

You’re going to want to make sure your home’s exterior looks lived in, but not overgrown or abused. It’s probably a good idea to ditch the rusted out, moldy patio chairs with something a bit more contemporary (not to mention tetanus free!). It doesn’t take much to stage your exterior hang out spaces in a way that invites the buyer to use their imagination with the possibilities of outdoor entertainment.

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Making your outdoor spaces look nice is a no brainer, and is probably the easiest and most inexpensive thing you can do to get your home sell-ready. You might even consider investing in a fire pit or outdoor bar to make it all the more difficult for them to say no.

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6 Things to Check Before You Call Your Electrician

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You open the fridge and see that the light is out. You check whether it’s plugged in — it is, but still it doesn’t work. Most of us have faced this situation at least at some point, with some electrical appliance or another. Because you may not be savvy enough to fix electrical problems on your own, you may rush to call the electrician. But sometimes, the problem is actually very minor, which you realise you could have resolved yourself, after the electrician has handed you his bill.

So next time you face a problem with your electrical appliance, check these six things before calling your electrician.

  1. Check if the appliance is plugged in

Sometimes cords and plugs are pulled out of their sockets accidentally. These can even be switched off by a family member, to save on the electricity bill. If any appliance stops working, make sure that they are plugged in and turned on, before you call for a level 2 electrician. This will save you money and, of course, embarrassment.

  1. Check if there’s an overload

If the appliance has been plugged to a multi-board which is overloaded within the fuse box, it may stop working. Many multi-point adaptors have switches which automatically disable them if there is overloading. Unplugging a few things which you are not using at the moment, and switching on the board again might get your appliance working.

  1. Check the socket

Checking the socket is important, as you might see some burn marks or notice some melting. This indicates that there is some faulty wiring and malfunction. You should definitely not try to fix this yourself and call an electrician to attend to it. Till he arrives, switching off the fuse for that part of your home would be a wise and safe thing to do.

  1. Check the circuit breaker

If the socket is fine and the appliance is plugged in, your circuit breaker may be at fault. Find the electrical panel and check if a breaker has moved down to ‘off’ position. It could even be stuck in between. Move the circuit breaker from the ‘off’ to the top completely, to its ‘on’ position and check to see if the power has been restored to that particular circuit.

  1. Check the fuse

Check the fuses inside the electrical panel to see whether the metal portion has melted. There is a glass window on top of the fuse, which might have become discoloured, brown or purple. You have to unscrew the damaged fuse, then replace it. Take the old fuse to a hardware store so that you can buy one exactly the same, including the same amperage. Now, plug in the fuse, and if the problem is still not fixed, you have to get professional help.

  1. Check the appliance

If you have checked everything else, then check the obvious – plug another appliance into the socket and if that works, it indicates that your appliance is faulty.

While checking electrical points and the panel, ensure that your hands are dry, you’re standing on a dry floor and wearing proper shoes. If you’re not comfortable working on the panel, it’s best to call your electrician for help.

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4 Backyard trends to consider for your property renovation

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Summer season is the perfect time to carry out major improvements to your property. The warmth of the sun will help your garden achieve a full bloom while the fair weather allows you to renovate outdoor spaces without having to worry about the rain and snow. Whether you want to increase your property's value for a resale or you just want it to look more attractive to you and your guests, improving your backyard should not be passed up.

Your backyard is just as important as any other parts of your home. It symbolizes life, growth, and freedom beyond the four walls of your home. The amazing thing about backyards is that they can be styled in a variety of ways more than you can ever imagine. This year, quality and functionality are regarded with high importance as the modern elements of style.

Check out the latest backyard trends for 2017 and transform your property into a majestic wonder.

  1. Sandstone Paving

When it comes to paving outdoor spaces, there are a variety of materials that you can choose from. The most popular ones include sandstone, slate, granite, gravel, and limestone. Sandstone remains the most excellent all-around choice among all paving materials. It has enough toughness to withstand heavy loads whether you use it to support play sets on a children's playing area or heavy cars for your driveway. It is also easy to rework, thereby reducing the costs for manufacturing. Sandstone also comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors which range from lilac gray to orange brown. For best results, you may try using Indian sandstone for your patio. This variety is not only durable and weather-resistant, it is also slip-proof even under wet conditions and it features three varying tones that can perfectly match the style of your home.

  1. Man-Made Pond

Another great idea that can give your backyard a lift is to install a manmade pond. Besides listening to the sound of running water, people would also love to see beautiful fishes and aquatic plants in harmony. To give your pond an upgrade, you may also add a small waterfall or fountain in it. Nowadays, more people choose to purchase preformed pond than to construct one in the traditional way. Preformed plastic ponds are not only easy to transport but they also come in different sizes and shapes.

  1. Vegetable Garden

Hybrid-type of gardens which feature a balance between ornamental plants and edibles are now becoming a trend in many urban areas. There are different micro-farming methods that can help you cultivate plants even in a small plot of land. With a backyard farm, may enjoy a weekly supply of fruits, vegetables, and herbs or share them with your neighbors.

  1. Backyard Living Space

Constructing a small shed inside your backyard can serve you in a variety of ways. This small living space can act as your workout area, playing space for your children, small hangout place for you and your friends, your personal workspace, and more. Plan carefully if you need to install a power outlet and a water connection. Add a couple of furniture and appliances, and enjoy a relaxing ambiance without leaving your comfort zone.

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4 Reasons to consider paving for your home and garden

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Paving around your home and garden can make your property look classy and refined. Many know that paver stones are not a cheap investment to make for your home and therefore people think that such a renovation is too costly and out of reach. In reality, there are ways to get a great paver patio for your home and garden if you plan accordingly and stick to your goal. Making such an investment will pay off in the long run as you will enjoy an updated look to your property as well as reap benefits later on should you put your home up for sale. This article will discuss some of the best reasons that you should consider installing a paving for your home and garden area.

  1. Lovely look. Indian Sandstone from Infinite Paving is absolutely gorgeous and is a great way to update the outside look of your home.

  2. Great investment for your property. Paver patios are durable, look great, and require much less maintenance and upkeep than a typical concrete patio or driveway. While the upfront costs may seem expensive, if you calculate the cost of regular repairs, repouring fees, and other maintenance, you will find that the paver stones are not all that expensive if you consider the life of your home. Your investment will pay off both while you entertain family and friends on the patio as well as when you put your home up for sale.

  3. Strength and durability over time. Pavers are actually considered to be one of the most durable and strong materials that you can use for your patio. Unlike concrete patios that need stamped and repoured regularly due to cracks and other damage, paver stones are not susceptible to this type of damage. Should one of your paver stones become damaged, it is easily replaceable by purchasing a replacement stone and installing it. When purchasing paver stones, be sure to research the manufacturer and see if a warranty is offered for the paver stones. Many companies offer a limited time or even lifetime warranty on their product. This can provide great peace of mind for those who are interested in taking advantage of their patio for the long haul.

  4. Affordable over the life of the patio. If you consider the life of the patio, the cost of it is actually not that bad. The cost of upkeep for a paver driveway or patio is much less than the maintenance on a standard version. The reason for this is that a regular driveway will need to be resealed every couple of years. However, a paver patio will not need this type of treatment and you will likely not have to worry about cracks needing to be repaired in your stones. If you add up the cost of pouring and stamping concrete patios regularly to eliminate cracks as well as other repair costs, you may find that a paver patio is worth the cost and may actually be the more affordable option. Not to mention less hassle and a better looking patio are huge perks!

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4 Benefits of working with a home construction company

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It’s rare to meet a person who doesn’t have a dream home. When asking that question, most would probably be ready with how many stories, rooms and what unique features they would like to see in their dream houses.

Some would-be homeowners are so excited for their future abodes that they actually are ready to build the house themselves. While this is feasible, given a lot of planning and commitment, it would be a hard thing to undertake especially if you’ve never done any construction project. 

The best thing to do would be to hire a construction company to do the work for you. Check out just some of the benefits you can get when you hire professionals for your home project.

  1. You don’t need to worry about the nitty gritty – when hiring a home construction company, you can rid yourself of some of the details that may be too technical for you to plan. Since the company you’ve chosen will have been doing this for a while, they already know the whole process, and may even guide you in making better decisions. You can do a lot of research, but since the company does this for a living, they can handle the details that you don’t see as a priority.
  2. You may get a discount for materials – for many established home construction companies, they already their list of suppliers that they rely on for a long time. Because they have already established a good relationship with those suppliers, they will most likely get a discount when buying materials in bulk, so you get to save money on that. You also get to save time as you will not need to make any separate shopping trip for materials. You can just look and see if your contractor can supply the materials for you.
  3. You don’t need to worry about insurance – when you hire a contractor, make sure that whoever you will hire is not only licensed, but bonded and insured. This way, you won’t have to worry about paying in case any untoward incident happened and someone gets injured. Although of course, no one wants those kinds of things to happen, they do occur sometimes so it’s better to be prepared.
  4. You will get quality work when you hire a contractor with years of experience – the truth is not all contractors work the same. Some may not deliver on their promises. They may say that they are the best in their field, but in the end, you will feel shortchanged. That’s why it’s important to get a home construction company that has plenty of experience and is known their quality of work.

There are companies that even offer worry-free services, meaning they will be with you every step of the way. From the designing to planning, and eventually to building your dream home. You surely will not get a headache or feel anxious when getting such types of home construction company.

If you’re ready to build your dream home, check out http://www.homebuilders.construction/a/building-contractors-in-newcastle. They guarantee to be with you throughout the whole process and will truly build you a house that you can consider a home.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by George Pankewytch


5 Benefits to renting a storage unit when moving

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A self-storage facility consists of rooms, lockers, containers, and open spaces which are rented to tenants typically on a short-term basis. Aside from safe keeping of junk items, storage units are also utilized to optimize several businesses and to assist individuals, especially when moving to different locations. In the United States alone, there are close to 50,000 companies offering storage services all over the country.

If you are looking for storage units Clarksville Indiana, then you should highly consider Anytime Storage for your safekeeping needs. The world-class facility features heated and cooled units with paved lots and wide aisles. For security purposes, all units are equipped with surveillance cameras and lighting. The facility’s 24-hour access with personal gate codes and no deposit month to month leases make Anytime Storage one of the most convenient and most affordable storage service providers in the country.

Read more about the 5 benefits of renting a storage unit and make moving from one home to another a stress-free and convenient process.

  1. Easy Access

Several self-storage companies allow unlimited access to their units so that their clients can drop by any day and time that they wish to. With these 24/7 storage facilities, you have the freedom to move out your items or add some more as long as you have enough space left. Most of them also have wide driveways and entry points to accommodate vehicles and a large volume of items. Just make sure to pick a storage company with 24-hour access for a hassle-free safe keeping.

  1. Improved Security

Storage units are equipped with closed circuit cameras and advanced password-protected locking systems to keep your items secured and monitored at all times. Other facilities do not feature fixed locks to make sure that only the clients have access to their belongings. Instead of leaving your things in your new house long before you move in, just rent a storage unit to keep them safe and secure. If your property is going to be vacant for some time and don't want to pack your stuff into a storage unit, you could also look into vacant property security.

  1. Efficient Time Use

Moving into a new house is a stressful process primarily due to strict deadlines that you should meet. Sometimes you need to move out too early or too late before your move-in date. By renting a storage unit, you can easily store large and rarely used items without having the need to sort them out. This buys you more time to focus on other matters because you can just decide on which items you should keep or dispose of after you already move to your new home.

  1. Maximum Protection

Aside from offering spaces of varying sizes, storage companies also feature temperature and humidity-controlled units. Although you are not advised to store jewelry and other precious items, sealed and controlled storage units can help protect your valuables such as old pictures and electronic equipment against moisture, severe weather, and mildew.

  1. Reduced Cost

Most storage facilities offer fixed and affordable monthly renting rates with huge discounts for long-term contracts. Instead of buying a bigger and more expensive house, save your money by renting a storage unit instead. You can simply end your renting if you finally decide to sell your items or dispose of them for good.

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Saving Space with Your Home Gym

For many, having a home gym is the ultimate goal. It saves time and money. However, as a homeowner, you’re space is often limited. While many resort to throwing exercise equipment into the garage, it can be ultra-frustrating to not have space to park the car.

This story may sound familiar to a few, and the team at Quality Home Fitness wants to share a few product ideas to help save space, while meeting your goals of a home/garage gym.

Rogue Fold Back Wall Rack

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The ultimate space saving system that provides users with durability, functionality, and the ability to hit countless workouts. After your workout, close the rack and pull the car in. The best of both worlds! There are also several options for wall mounted plate racks, foldable benches, etc to complete your wall rack.

The Steady Rack

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Noticing issues with people trying to lift their bikes to ceiling hooks, and bikes simply taking up too much space in the garage, the team at Steadyrack solved all these problems with their product. Simply put, you place your bike in the wall mount, and pivot it to the side. This enables users to save more space, with the ease of loading and unloading their bikes. For a garage or home gym, this is perfect for storing your bike. Hit your cardio hard, then hang up the bike out of the way.

Smaller Items

Not every home gym requires large heavy equipment. Often all you need is a few small tools to help you get a great workout. The following options are a great solution to save space, yet get a great workout.

Ropes

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Ropes are a great tool for exercise, and come in many varieties. From battle ropes to jump ropes to ropes with rings, the possibilities to get a great workout are endless, and they take up very little room.

Mats

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Mats are a great way to give that added measure of comfort and cushion, with the ability to fold or roll up and tuck out of the way. Whether you are doing bodyweight exercises, or yoga, mats are a great aid in working out and exercising at home.

For more home exercise equipment, and tips and ideas for treadmills, ellipticals, and row machines, visit Quality Home Fitness.

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5 Tips To Measuring Radon Gas In Your Home

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In a nutshell, radon gas is basically an odorless, invisible, tasteless, and radioactive gas that is detrimental to one's health. How is the gas formed? Well, the gas is usually produced by the decay in chains where uranium and thorium decay into lead. Reliable reports suggest that radon is responsible for killing more people annually than drunk-driving related accidents! You should also be well aware that radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Here are 5 tips to measuring radon gas in your home!

Tip 1: Short-term tests

A short-term radon test can usually measure the radon level in your home in 3 months or less. It is very cost-effective and doesn’t interfere with your day-to-day life. Equipment used to conduct short-term tests can easily be purchased at hardware stores and home centers. You can also buy radon test kits from Radonova. When conducting tests, it is advisable for you to start with your basement. Then, you can proceed to your first floor. If the radon level of your home is measured at level 4 or higher you should immediately call the professionals to take care of the urgent matters.

Tip 2: Long-term tests

You can also conduct long-term radon tests in your home. The tests usually measure for a period of 3 months or more. Long-term radon tests such the AccuStar test are far more effective than short-term tests in measuring the radon level. Basically, the long-term tests take into consideration every factor that can cause the radon gases to be trapped including variable soil moisture, winds, air pressure, snow cover etc. The tests can be easily bought through online retailers. You can also buy radon test kits from Radonova.

Tip 3: Continuous radon tests

If you want to monitor the radon levels in your home round the clock, you should use continuous radon tests such as the Safety Siren Pro Series digital meter. These electric monitors only need to plugged into a power source to be fully operational.

Tip 4: Hire professionals

Sometimes it is simply better to hire professionals to do the job. In addition to providing you with an accurate detail of the radon level in your home, the professional contractors can also fix the issues; they can make necessary repairs and upgrade your home to ensure that radon gas doesn't get trapped in your home.

Tip 5: Other tips

There are various things you can do in order to lower the radon levels in your home. First and foremost, you should consider sealing your home properly to prevent the radon gas from entering your home. You should also consider using a heat recovery ventilator to introduce fresh air to your home. You can also use various suction methods that help suck out the air from your home especially from the basement and crawl spaces. You must also check your wells (if you have one) to ensure that there isn't radon in your water.

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4 Ways to Transform Your Backyard

Tired of having the same grass and picket fence as everyone else in the neighborhood? Don’t be! We’ve compiled a list of four things you can do to transform your backyard to make it more interesting, fun and desirable.

  1. Dirt Trails

Dig up some trails that you, or your kids, can ride your dirt toys on. If you have a large property, create some riding paths for your ATVs. Build some mounds to jump off or some trails to race with your buddies on. If you have a small yard and kids, create some dirt trails that they can ride their bikes on, keeping them safe in your backyard instead of riding on the busy streets.

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  1. Build a Pond

Adding a pond to your yard can create a beautiful escape to nature. The beauty of building a pond is that it can be as large or small a project as you want it to be. And the possibilities are endless. You can add flowers, bushes and rocks around it for decoration. You can even have fish, turtles or frogs in the pond, depending on the size. If you love nature or wildlife, this might be the way for you to go.

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  1. Plant a Garden

Turn your backyard into a vegetable, herb or flower garden. This is a great option because of the variety it allows. If you are striving to be self-sufficient, a vegetable garden is the way to go. You can even plant sugar beets to produce your own sugar. If you prefer a garden you can look at, plant some of your favorite flowers, trees, or shrubbery. You can even include herbs in a flower garden to use in your cooking.

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  1. Build a Fire Pit

Do you have family or friends over often? Build a fire pit to sit around and enjoy their company. It creates a fun setting to gather in, rather than staying inside where someone will eventually turn on the TV. You can roast hot dogs or marshmallows, or just bask in the warm of the embers until it gets dark. With this, you can customize it to match the look of your home, whether you want to build in in ground fire pit with stones or cement block around it, or purchase a large metal fire pit that fits your preference. Add seating too!

These are just a few of the many ways you can transform your backyard into the perfect getaway for you and your family.

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5 Tips to selecting a reputable home service contractor

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If you are a homeowner, it is inevitable that at some point you will need to hire a reputable home contractor to help with renovations or repairs. There are many contractors that are available to assist with your home renovation needs but not all of them are reputable. This article will provide some tips to help you select a contractor that you will be happy with. 

  • Ask friends and family. A good way to find a contractor that will fit your expectations is to ask family and friends for their recommendations. They will be able to tell you who worked well for them and who did not.
  • Search a local directory for home services. After you have asked your friends and family for their recommendations, you can also do a search on a local directory to find out more about the person your friends or family recommended. Read reviews and check out their services. For example, if you are located in Atlanta, a great local directory to start searching for home services is atlanta-business-directory.com/biz/c/home-services/.
  • Conduct phone interviews. After you have searched the local directory for a potential contractor and you have read all of the reviews, you can begin conducting phone interviews. Phone interviews can help you ask questions of the contractor that will help you determine if they are someone you would be interested in working with. Based on the answers to these questions, you can determine if you want to continue on with the selection process. Some questions that you should consider asking include:
    • Does the company work on projects of your size?
    • Can they provide financial references?

    • Would they be open to you contacting previous clients and asking about their service?

    • How many projects do they work on at a time?

    • How long have they worked with subcontractors on projects?

  • Meet in person and go over the project. Once you have conducted phone interviews and you have determined potential contractors that you would like to work with, you can then schedule in person meetings. The in person meeting is an opportunity for you to meet one on one with the contractor and share more details about the project. It is critical that you are able to communicate in an effective manner with your contractor as there are instances throughout the life of the project that you may have to give feedback or thoughts on how the job is going. After you have determined that you can converse well with the contractor of your choice, you should check with the Better Business Bureau for their ratings as well.

  • Get bids. When you have narrowed down the list of contractors to a few, you can begin to request bids from them. The bidding process will help you a great deal as you will be able to see the cost breakdown and what all is included in the bid. A good bid will include pricing for labor, materials, and other expenses that could occur during the project.

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5 Resources to keep on speed dial

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When you find yourself in a sticky situation and are in need of help, you likely think fast and become frantic. If this describes you, it is best to be prepared for the worst case scenario at all times. One of the ways to be prepared for anything that comes your way is to keep a list of resources on speed dial so that no matter what trouble occurs, you can call for help right away if you need to. This article will highlight some resources in which you should keep on speed dial and why.

  • locksmith toronto. You never know when you will be in need of a locksmith and the idea of needing to call one for help is probably the farthest from your mind. In all actuality, the need to call a locksmith happens more often than you would think. Whether you are locked out of your home or car, a key gets jammed or breaks off inside the lock, or the locking mechanism is faulty, a locksmith can help you remedy the problem in a prompt manner. Having a locksmith on speed dial can help cut down on the stress that is induced when a problem with your lock occurs.
  • Plumber. While plumbing issues may not always need an emergency response, it is still a good idea to have a contact on speed dial in case you are in a situation where you need immediate assistance. Perhaps your pipes freeze and burst and you need help with the repair, or you have a backup in your toilet system that will not stop. Whatever the reasons may be, having a plumber’s number on speed dial is a way to be prepared for whatever comes your way.
  • Fire. If you find yourself in a situation in which you need immediate medical assistance or there is a fire at your home, it is best to call the fire department right away. You can dial 9-1-1 and then you will be dispatched to the appropriate place to share your emergency but it is best to just have the fire board number on speed dial so that you can get through right away.
  • Police. Just like with the fire department, having the police department number on speed dial is a good idea in case you are in need of emergency assistance. Simply dialing 9-1-1 will get you to emergency personnel but depending on the communication room your phone line is sent to, you could have a delayed response. It is best to know your local police station’s number and have it ready at a moment’s notice. The best way to accomplish this is to have it on speed dial.
  • Emergency vet. Whether you have pets or not, it is a good idea to have a veterinarian center on speed dial for emergencies. If you have pets, this makes complete sense as you never know when you will be in need of medical assistances for your furry friends. If you do not have pets, having an emergency vet on speed dial is helpful as you may find yourself in a situation one day where an animal is in severe danger and could use some medical assistance or help. Calling the vet can help save an animal’s life.

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8 Ways to Make Your Home Appear Bigger

Bigger is better, right? Sometimes we choose to move into a smaller home because it’s cozy and works just fine for our little family. But what if you come to a point where you decide you don’t like small and cozy anymore? Or what if you’re having people over for a holiday or get together and don’t want your guests to feel crowded in small space?

Try some of these tips, provided by C.C. Builders, to make your home appear larger than it actually is.

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Space it out

Space your furniture and decoration out. Rather than having everything centrally focused in the room, keep furniture, tables, shelves, etc. along the wall or creating a border to the room to open it up more.

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Use light colors

Light colors make spaces appear larger. Painting a room white or a light gray or neutral tone will make your guests feel like they’re in a larger space. If you want color, you can always use accent art pieces or pillows to liven it up. Using variations of your light wall color around the room will also help it keep the large appearance.

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Multifunctional pieces

Don’t crowd your rooms with a bunch of different furniture items that only hold one purpose. Find some multifunctional items that can be used for many purposes. For example, you don’t need a foot rest, a table and a storage shelf next to the couch. Instead get an ottoman that you can place in front of the couch, store items in, and use as that table.

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Mirrors

Mirrors can make any room appear larger than it is. Try placing a large mirror above the couch as artwork. In a cramped entryway, you can use mirrors to reflect light and the living room to brighten it up and make it feel bigger.

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Leave windows uncovered

Curtains that block out light can make a room feel smaller. Leave the windows uncovered, or use light curtains for decoration, to allow the natural light to make your room larger. Maybe you want the best of both worlds, dark and cozy and bright and inviting, then keep those light block curtains, but open them up when you have company over.

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Eliminate clutter

Clutter, whether you have a large space or not, will make any place feel crowded. Keep your house tidy. Use furniture pieces, like the previously mentioned ottoman, and TV stands with drawers to help you eliminate the clutter that tends to build up on tables and shelves.

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TV as art

Don’t let your TV take up more space than it has too. Use it as “artwork”. Mount your TV up on the wall above a shelf and add other artwork to either side of it.

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Large wall decorations

Use larger wall decorations and artwork. Have you ever walked into someone’s home and every inch of their wall is covered in galleries of small frames? It feels crowded even if you’re the only person in the room. Larger wall pieces eliminate that wall clutter and all us to breathe easier. If you do like smaller pieces, just space them out more and tactfully place them so they aren’t overcrowding the room. You don’t need every baby picture spattering the wall.

If you feel crowded in your home, or want to create a larger space for your next get together, keep this tips close by and use them to enlarge your home.

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4 things you didn’t know you needed in your first apartment

If you’re a first-time apartment renter, moving out on your own is probably something you’ve been looking forward to. But there are a few things that may not have crossed your mind in your search for that perfect first home. When searching for apartments for rent in Boise, or anywhere, don’t forget about these four, but necessary, things that you might have taken for granted in college dorms or your parents’ house.

  1. Bathroom Fan

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Why would anyone think to look for a bathroom fan in a new place? All homes have bathroom fans … right?

Well, if you ever have company over, or if you’ll be living with another person, you can imagine why this would be an important one. Not only does this important feature block out undesirable noises and smells, but it also helps keep your bathroom clear of mold by airing it out after a steamy shower. Don’t leave this one off your checklist.

  1. Laundry Room

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Even if it is a shared laundry space that you have to pay for, this is a much better alternative than having to run to the laundromat to wash that shirt you wanted to wear in a job interview later that day. This feature is all about convenience. Don’t deprive yourself of the added comfort of knowing that you have a washer and dryer nearby when you need one.

  1. A Decent Showerhead

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Most, hopefully all, apartments come with a shower. We all need to bathe. But they don’t always have a great showerhead. While touring apartments, turn on the water in the shower. See if the range is good, if it’s tall enough for you, or if the water just trickles down in a small stream.

This feature doesn’t necessarily need to come with the apartment. But make note of it, because you may want to purchase a replacement showerhead for the duration of your stay there.

  1. Good Lighting

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Okay, you probably know that you need lights in your first apartment. But what you might not realize before moving in, is that the lighting is too dim or too bright. Some older apartments don’t have a built-in light in the front room or hallways, so you might want to get a lamp or light fixtures you can hang on the walls. Another thing that some apartments don’t come with is blinds or curtains over the windows. You might need to purchase these yourself, so keep this in mind when planning your budget.

Prepare a checklist for your first home with all of the features that are necessary for you to live there, and maybe even with some things that you’d be willing to live without. When searching for that new apartment, just remember that you get what you pay for. Cheaper isn’t always better.

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Smart Heating and Cooling Tips

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Running your household can often feel like a chore. There are many tasks related to maintenance that you have to keep in your mind at all times to keep your space performing in efficient ways. One primary area to focus your attention is the HVAC system you use to keep your home comfortable. Paying attention to the needs of your units can help you to avoid disaster and keep your home cooled and heated in the best possible ways.

To see excellent results from your maintenance endeavors, be sure to focus on specific aspects of your system. By paying attention to certain areas, you will have a much easier time getting your home in the state that you would like it to be in.

Low Numbers

Staying comfortable at home is not always the easiest of tasks. When you crank up the heat in the winter it can cost you. Energy bills are not cheap and plenty of homeowners are looking for ways to lower the numbers that they spend each month. To keep your costs low while simultaneously reducing the amount of stress on your heating & cooling systems you need to keep the thermostat set to lower numbers. When you turn the heat up as high as it can go, it will cost you a small fortune.

Instead, you can keep the thermostat at a normal temperature and see better results from a financial perspective. In addition to this, keeping your thermostat at a low temperature will help to ensure that you get many years of service out of your HVAC system. This does not mean that you can’t play around with keeping your house different temperatures but the default should always be something reasonable. Finding a balance here will help your home perform the way you would like it to.

Keeping It Clean

Another excellent way for you to make sure that your HVAC system is in great shape is by cleaning it out from time to time. Your units will benefit greatly by you taking a little bit of time to check over the various parts and provide a little care. The filters, for example, can wind up being one of the more important components of your system. These filters are responsible for catching any loose dust or dirt that is floating through the air and circulating through your units. Unfortunately, the filters can clog pretty quickly.

The more clogged a filter is, the more difficult it becomes for your HVAC system to perform the way it is intended. This can put a lot of strain on the unit, causing it to break and wear down far faster than is normal. To avoid all of this, get into the habit of changing the filters at a sensible pace. Knowing when it is time for you to change the filters can allow you the room that you require to keep your system running right and give your home a comfortable feeling whenever you walk through the door.

In the Still of the Night

Many HVAC systems also offer the option of running fans to keep a home circulated. This can be helpful if you want to make sure that your home has a fresh feeling. It can also be useful if you want to cool down your home with the natural air outside instead of having cooler air created by your unit. To achieve this goal with a level of success, run the fans primarily at night. Temperatures are lower at night and keeping the fans of your HVAC running at this point can help you to give your home a cool atmosphere.

Running a household is not always a simple task. To see the most success from your endeavors, focus on the maintenance required by your heating and cooling systems. The more you learn now, the easier it will be to spot an issue down the line.

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3 Ways That Flea Traps Can Be Helpful to Your Home

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Fleas can cause a lot of problems for you, your family and your pets. These 2.5 mm wingless bugs live on blood diet and will feed on all types of mammals including humans. Aside from the pain that they caused during feeding, they can also cause allergic reactions for some people, potentially spread disease- causing microorganisms to humans and pets, and may put your health in great danger. Flea traps are designed to catch and kill pesky fleas effectively and many people rely on it to keep these bugs away. There are a lot of flea trap makes and models in the market, but before buying one, you may want to check out flea trap reviews 2017 to help you make the right choice.

Flea traps are popular because they work if used correctly. If you are able to find the best flea trap, you can gain these benefits:

  1. Safety for Your Family and Pets

Flea traps are designed to repel or attract and kill fleas and they are harmless to humans. You can use it around without worrying that your kids or dogs will get hurt. Just make sure to put them in the right place so they don’t get in the way. Unlike other pest control products, they do not contain chemicals and other substances that can be harmful to humans and pets. With these around you can be sure that you are keeping your family as safe as can be from fleas and other related health problems.

  1. Friendly to the Environment

Since it does not contain chemicals and other substances that may pollute your indoor air, you are being friendly to the environment. As well, there are no power consumptions and some flea traps can be used over and over again before needing replacement so you are not adding to household wastes. Some flea traps are also made from eco- friendly materials that are good for the ecology.

  1. Reduced Cost of Pest Control

Pest control services can cost very high, especially for bigger homes. Buying and using flea traps are a cheap way to keep these pests under control. Also, you don’t need to make frequent purchases as it can be used over and over again, which means the lesser cost for you. And since you can use it for a longer period of time, you can secure your family’s health without spending too much money on expensive pest control alternatives that only does the same thing.

Using flea traps instead of costly pest control products and services is a practical, smart way to keep your family and household safe from the danger that these bugs bring. To get the most of our purchase, make sure you buy the best ones that really work and can be used in a long span of time. Look for reputable brands and manufacturers as they are mostly the ones offering the best choice. And although flea traps are an inexpensive way to keep fleas away, never settle for too cheap without an assurance of quality.

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4 Up and coming Furniture Designers to look for in 2017

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If you have recently moved in to a new home, you are likely in the market for new furnishings. Perhaps you have not moved in to a new home but are interested in updating the look of your space as you have not done so in several years. Whatever your reasons for stumbling on this article are, we are excited you are here! We will discuss some of the newest and latest trends in furniture design for 2017. The purpose of this article is to help you think outside the box with how you want your space to look and to encourage you to try a new look.

  1. EXCLUSIVELY DANETTI - WITH JULIA KENDELL. Furniture that is contemporary and modern, this collection will leave your guests in awe of your style and ability to create a unique space on a budget. This collection offers great color options, a modern look, and the ability to be enjoyed by family and friends. The pieces in this collection are made with high quality materials and are built to last.
  2. Jonathan Adler. While his items are coveted by many, they fail to give off a warm and comforting charm. These items are typically best for a sitting area or a space in a home that is not utilized for much more than enjoying with one’s eyes. The price point for the pieces in this collection are rather high so if you are on a budget, it is best to focus on purchasing statement pieces for your home as opposed to outfitting the entire space with this designer.
  3. Candice Olson. If you are a lover of glass and mirrors, Candice’s collection can provide some options for your living space. While her pieces are priced higher than most due to the materials used to create the furniture as well as the limited number that are made, you can expect to enjoy your purchase for many years to come. Like Jonathan Adler, Candice’s pieces are less likely to be used on a daily basis for family and friends to enjoy, but look nice and bode well for spaces such as a living room, formal dining room, or den.
  4. Old Hickory Tannery. Leather lovers will adore this designer as all pieces are made of the best quality leather that is available. While these pieces can set your budget back by thousands of dollars, you are truly purchasing an investment piece and one that can very likely be a family heirloom. If you are interested in purchasing heirloom quality furniture that is unique and not going to be available in most furniture stores, you will likely appreciate these pieces.

Whether you are on a tight budget or you have unlimited expenses to play with, there are many considerations that come in to play when purchasing furniture for your home. With these great designers, you cannot go wrong no matter what look you are going for. All the designers featured in our post will provide great quality furniture that will withstand the test of time.

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3 Things You Need To Know About Maintaining Your Asphalt Driveway

When putting in a new driveway, the first thing you think about isn’t typically how well it is going to need to be maintained. In fact, it’s best to have a driveway that doesn’t need any maintenance at all, right? If only that was the way the world worked. Fortunately for you, we have some friends in the asphalt repair business who have put together a list of ways that you can keep your asphalt driveway well maintained.

Asphalt driveways, when installed correctly and properly maintained, can last you up to 30 years! Learn how to do the maintenance yourself and you may never need a new driveway again.

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  1. Potholes

Potholes are generally out of our control. Ground water that freezes and expands is the main cause of this nuisance. But, the good news is that you can repair this problem yourself with a bit of cold asphalt mix and a shovel. If your hole is smaller than two feet on all sides, you should be able to fix it with a 50 lb bag, which can be purchased for less than $20. And it’s much simpler to do than someone might think.

Prior to filling the hole, make sure it is cleared of debris and that it is dry. Tar doesn’t stick to wet dirt, and you don’t want that filling just popping out on the next person who drives over it.

If the hole is shallow, the next step is as simple as pouring in the mix (so it reaches about an inch above the hole) and patting it down.

For holes that are more than a few inches deep, you may want to pack in some other materials first, like clay or crushed concrete, before pouring the asphalt mix over it.

Once the mix has been packed down, you can place a board over it for a few days to make sure it hardens. But if it’s packed down tightly enough, it can be driven over immediately.

  1. Plant Growth

There’s almost nothing more obnoxious than grass and weeds sprouting up between cracks in your driveway. Weed killers work great for these.

One way to remove the plants, without waiting for them to die and deteriorate, is to water them and pull them immediately. Watering them will loosen up the soil allowing you to pull up the roots of the plant. After you’ve pulled the plants, spread a weed killer in the problem areas to prevent new growth.

For an environmentally friendly weed killer, try using 1 cup of vinegar with ¼ teaspoon of dish soap mixed in a spray bottle. Or if you are worried about causing damage to other nearby plants, you can call a weed spraying company that is experienced in eliminating pests while preserving your lawn.

  1. Removing Dust & Dirt

Keeping your asphalt clear of dust and dirt is similar to maintaining the floor in your kitchen. You can sweep it off for loose debris – dust, dirt, rocks, leaves, etc. The next step is to take your hose, preferably with a high-pressured spray nozzle, and spray off any remaining particles.

For more difficult messes, like caked on mud and stains, you’ll want to start by scraping off excess materials with a dull knife or spatula. Then, like clean your kitchen floor, you can take a mop or sponge soaked with warm soapy water and wash the stain. Rinse it with the hose afterwards and let it air dry.

With these three tidbits of knowledge, you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to care for your asphalt driveway.

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5 DIY Outdoor Pallet Projects to Enjoy This Summer

Summer is a time to celebrate, whether it’s just a friendly neighborhood barbeque, a back-to-school party (Woo! Let’s send the kids back to school!), or a summer wedding – you can’t beat summer. But with all the celebrating going on, people are going to be around a lot and you might want to think about a few improvements to make to your outdoor patio.

Our friends at Challenger Pallet have put together a list of 5 do-it-yourself projects you can make with pallets to make your home more inviting for your summer guests.

  1. Outdoor Pallet Bar

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If you’re having a party, or even just a couple friends hanging out until the sun goes down, you’ll likely be standing around and talking. This bar is perfect for serving or setting drinks and appetizers on. And you only need one pallet to make it. Find this project on Pinterest.

  1. Outdoor Pallet Lighting

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Create a little ambiance with this pallet project. Candles, mason jars and a pallet are great for a rustic wedding, or just to create some mood lighting when the sun sets. If you aren’t fond of the mason jar look, you could add a starry light string wrapped around the pallet and still get that romantic feel.

  1. Garden Tool Storage

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We can all use a little more organization, especially when we know guests will be arriving shortly. Tidy up with this great pallet project. Simply hang a pallet on the wall and put hooks on it to hang your gardening tools to tidy up the mess before having company over. Learn how to make this project here.

  1. Outdoor Pallet Table

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With barbecues and parties, you are planning on feeding your guests, right? Give them a cute place to eat with this pallet table. You only need two pallets and some wheels to add this little lifesaver to your outdoor celebration. And it’s great for just sitting outside at in the morning breeze with your hot cup of coffee or cocoa.

  1. Outdoor Pallet Sofa

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Limited on seating? Pick up some pallets and get started on this creative project! Customize it with your choice of paint and pillows. You can even add cushions or a memory foam pad on the top to make for more comfortable seating. Your guests will thank you.

The best thing about all of these projects is that they are completely customizable. Use the colors and accents you want to create the best setting for your outdoor gatherings.

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The top 5 Shed types on the market today

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If you have decided to install a shed on your property, no doubt you have to select what kind to use. There are a lot of different types of shed on the market today depending on purpose. Shedsfirst.co.uk is a great resource if you want to look for different shed options. To help you further, here’s a list of the top 5 shed types and their considerations:

  • Wood sheds

If you want to build a workshop type of shed, wood is the best material to get. Wooden sheds are usually made from pine or spruce. It's a great insulator so it’s perfect for spaces where you want to spend a lot of time in. It’s a traditional material that’s beautiful and full of character. It’s strong, sturdy, and environment friendly too.

Because of its versatility, It can be sawn to different shapes and sizes. It’s easy to work with and highly customizable. You can dress it up however you want and design it to your own liking. A common drawback with dealing with wood kits is it’s very time consuming to build. Constructing one based from plans can take time. Buying a premade shed and having it installed by professionals is the way to go if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of building.

  • Plastic or resin shed

Plastic sheds are also very common in households today. It’s not as appealing as wood looks, but it’s very lightweight and easy to assemble. Common concerns with plastic material is its strength and durability. But in fact, it’s weatherproof and even waterproof.

Plastic sheds are long lasting and pretty much maintenance free when installed correctly. You don’t have to worry about rotting or rusting too. Security is an issue for most buyers because plastic isn’t the strongest when it comes to brute force. When choosing this type, consider getting sheds with steel locking mechanism for better security.

  • Vinyl-sided

This falls under the category of plastic sheds but uses a different material for the sides. Mainly for aesthetic purposes, vinyl sides were created as an alternative to aluminum siding back in the 50s. Today, many houses use this material, as well as sheds. Just like plastic, it offers great value for money and is low-maintenance too.

  • Metal shed 

Metal sheds surely aren’t the prettiest but just like wood they remain a popular choice today. They offer great value for money and unlike other kits, are very easy to assemble. DIY enthusiasts are going to enjoy building a metal shed. If you’re opting for a small shed, you’d be surprised at how lightweight most metal kits are. Unlike plastic, metal is generally more resistant to extreme temperatures, but they’re prone to rust and corrosion. They may look flimsy but they’re actually strong, portable, and long-lasting too.

  • Fabric shed

Fabric sheds are cheap and convenient storage solutions. They’re easy to setup and protects your tools and items from the weather. They’re not that long lasting because of the material, but it’s a quick and practical alternative for a bigger shed. Perfect if you only want to store a couple of outdoor equipment like your mower or tractor. Because of its material, it’s lightweight and can be easily moved around and collapsed.

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