Tackle Your Home Repair Tasks Before Moving In

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Moving to a new home can be a fascinating notion. We are sure you have many ideas in mind on how to organize and decorate it. However, before you start moving and placing the furniture, you must check if you need to make some repair arrangements. Try to ensure that everything is safe and works properly. Otherwise, you may start living in it with everything ready and instantly face repair works to do. 

Some of the tasks of relocation require professional hands. For instance, the most populated states in the USA witness moving trucks every day. Plumbers, roof maintenance specialists, lock makers, and other experts tend to create a mess-free moving experience. We will show you the most typical and essential home repairs to carry out before changing your home.

RENEW THE LOCK SYSTEM

We can never know how many people have a copy of the keys to the house where we will live. When a home gets listed for sale, the real estate agent, the maintenance and cleaning workers, or even a neighbor could also have a key. In this case, it is best to change the lock. If the house has an alarm system, we recommend changing the code.

CHECK FOR MOISTURE SPOTS

If you find yellow circles on a plaster wall, you must fix them before moving in. Any type of repair will always be easier to do if there is no clutter in your new living space.

FIND THE SHUTOFF VALVES 

You have packed the boxes, called in NYC Movers to relocate the belongings, but you discover that the plumbing installation in your new home has a fault. When you opened a tap, a leak got encountered. Therefore, it is essential to know where the stopcock is to close it immediately. It will save you hours of work and prevent flooding in your new house. If you can't find it for whatever reason, call a plumber so they can help you.

LOCATE THE LIGHTBOX

If there is an electrical installation, you must turn off the running lightbox. Put labels on the switches to determine which one is the general and which ones are the rest.

CLEAN CARPETS THOROUGHLY

You may get a furnished house with rugs or carpeting. Even if the previous owners did not have pets, it is worth hiring a professional capable of deep cleaning with steam machines. Only then will you make sure you kill germs and dust mites. You never know when they cleaned your rugs, so take advantage of it when the house is empty.

CHANGE THE FILTERS OF THE HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS

An old and dirty filter can cause severe damage to the air conditioner due to overheating. A completely new system can cost between $800 to $1200. Also, it is good to have a review every six months to avoid further damage.

TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PAINT THE WALLS OF YOUR HOME

Painting the house before the move will avoid all the hassle of removing and safeguarding furniture and others. It will also give you time to ventilate it before living in it. You will have the opportunity to do some tests and see if you like the result without having to paint in a hurry.

Another exciting option can be that of wallpaper: it is easy to put on. It will change the look of the room entirely.

INSTALL STORAGE SYSTEMS

Moving is when we discover the number of things that accumulated over the years. It would not hurt if you installed drawers, shelves, and hanging bars before moving. It will enable you to unpack and organize all the things from the first moment.

Whether you are moving in following a purchase or a rental, we strongly advise you to carry out your repair work in advance! Because yes, we often tend to postpone small finishing work until the next day. If you want to move in peacefully, it's in your interest to change the floor covering and paint before putting your furniture. You will appreciate and admire the whole idea of moving in. It will also be a financial investment that you will no longer have to pay afterward! Likewise, it is better to thoroughly clean the place before entering them (interior of cupboards, kitchen worktop, taps, etc.). It will allow you to enjoy your new home instantly. Even if the boxes collect a little dust, you will have to sweep or vacuum to settle in!

CONCLUSION

That's it! You'll finish unpacking the boxes and gradually settle into your new home. With everything in place, you can already enjoy your home sweet home. Between the boxes, the paperwork, the daily newspaper, the excitement, and anxieties, you often forget about the repairs. To help you in this crucial step, we prepared this list of repairs for a seamless move.

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Why Your Attic Is So Hot & What You Can Do About It

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Ever wondered why your attic can get so much hotter than the rest of your house? The ever changing climate has allowed for temperatures in many places to spike up to 100° F, and your home, most especially your attic, cannot be spared from this. But fret not, because with the right materials, cooling down your attic only takes a little handiwork.

In properly designed attics, ideally, air would freely flow from inside to outside of the house, allowing the room to cool down and achieve a temperature that’s close to the outside environment. So when it’s cold outside, you’d expect your attic to also be cold. But because of the lack of insulation, your attic builds up heat more easily than the rest of your house because it directly receives heat from the sun. Your attic gains heat at a rate that’s much faster than it can allow hot air to escape. This is one of the major reasons your attic can feel so hot. Read on to know more about why your attic is hot and what you can do to cool it down.

Poor Insulation

Poor insulation is one of the most common culprits for excessively hot temperatures inside the house. If your attic is unbearably hot and feels dry, then you might want to check your existing insulation. Is it still doing its job or do you already need to replace it?

The R-value of an insulation represents its ability to resist the conductive flow of heat. If you’re looking to improve the insulation in your attic, the US Department of Energy actually recommends an R30 insulation or better in Zones 1 to 3 where it can be really hot especially during summer. Installing the appropriate insulation with an adequate R-value will significantly improve the temperature of your attic.

Fiberglass or mineral wool batt insulation is one of the most common insulation solutions used in attics. It has two main types – faced and unfaced, and they only differ in that faced insulation has the ability to control the movement of moisture into your living space. If you’re installing faced insulation on your roof, remember that the paper or plastic facing must face downward toward the heated attic space. If the facing is positioned upward instead, your batt insulation will be a potential reservoir for moisture, which can damage your roof or walls in the long run.

Insulation products with radiant barriers, on the other hand, are made of materials that reflect direct radiant heat from the sun instead of letting it through. These insulation solutions are especially useful during summer, as they help reduce heat gain from sunlight and improve the overall comfort of your attic.

Poor Ventilation

Another problem that might be causing your attic to build up heat is poor ventilation. While many people would not consider attics to be a living space, it’s still important to keep it well-ventilated to prevent the heat from getting trapped in your house. This includes ensuring a good and constant airflow in and out of the attic.

There are a number of ways by which you can provide better ventilation for your attic. Windows are a great option. Not only do they keep your attic cool, but they can also level up the look of your space and provide natural lighting. Your windows should be large enough to bring in enough air.

Another good add-on to enhance your attic ventilation would be vents. There are many varieties of vents that can help keep your attic cool, one of which is called exhaust vents. These are vents that are typically attached on the rooftop and come in three different models: ridge, static, and powered exhaust vents. They help remove excess heat (and even moisture) from your attic to make the air inside it cooler and more breathable.

Another kind of vent is the intake vent, also called the soffit vent, which is usually placed at the underside of the roof of your attic and is covered with a metal screen. These vents are designed to push out hot air trapped inside your attic as well as pull in cool air from outside. Most intake vents are small, which is why they are commonly missed during cleaning and maintenance. As a consequence, they can accumulate dust overtime, which impacts their performance. If you’re looking to add intake vents to your attic, make sure their size is proportionate to the size of your attic. This way, intake vents can greatly enhance the ventilation and breathability of your space.

Mechanical fans can also help improve passive ventilation in your attic. These fans are usually used to exhaust hot air out of rooms and exchange it with cool, outside air. If you’re planning to add mechanical fans in your attic, it’s important to remember to also have adequate incoming air vents around your roof to avoid creating negative pressure inside the attic. If this happens, the conditioned air will only just flow back out of your room.

Hot attics are one of the most common problems experienced by homeowners. There are several reasons as to why temperatures inside attics can reach scorching hot levels, but the main culprits are usually poor insulation and poor ventilation. If you’re looking to improve the level of comfort within your attic,  consider improving on these two important aspects of home design.

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How important is a comprehensive pipeline inspection?

Pipes

There are hundreds of thousands of miles of pipes laid across the country. They carry water, gas, oil, and a variety of other substances between homes and businesses. 

These pipes live in harsh conditions. Even if they are buried in the ground they are subject to temperature changes, exterior pressure, and chemical contaminants. Any leak or even a crack in these pipes can cause a major disaster. Depending on what the pipe is carrying it can deprive homes of essential utilities for days. Or, it can result in a chemical spill that is hazardous to people and the environment.

This is why the pipes need to be comprehensively inspected on a regular basis. Unfortunately, when the pipes are in constant use this can be difficult. Fortunately, dye penetrant testing can be used to inspect the pipes without disrupting or interfering with their use.

Magnetic dye penetrant inspection involves using wet magnetic particles. These flow over the pipe with the aid of a magnetic. At the same time, a UV light is used to inspect the pipe, highlighting cracks, chips, and other potential surface issues.

These readings can be used to determine if there is a break in the pipe or likely to be one soon.

Unfortunately, sometimes a sewer pipe is so badly damaged that no trenchless sewer repair is available. Pipes that are back-pitched, meaning the original contractors failed to use the right slope for your sewer line to your city connection, cannot also be fixed using trenchless methods. If this is the case, you will need to think of using conventional sewer repair methods.

The Importance of Comprehensive Testing

Visually inspecting pipes has its place but this in-depth testing technique is important. The key benefit is the early observation of potential issues. These can be flagged to be monitored closely or they can lead to repairs being conducted before the issue becomes an actual problem.

When you’re dealing with hazardous items, such as oil, a spill can have seriously detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. Undertaking these comprehensive inspections doesn’t just tell the world you’re doing your bit to protect the environment, it allows you to actually protect the environment.

These inspections can also highlight the overall condition of your pipework. While small areas can be defective for a number of reasons if you notice issues in many sections of the pipework you’ll need to investigate further.

It can be that the pipes are simply old and need to be replaced. But, there are other factors that can influence the pipe deterioration rate. You need to be aware of what these are and how they may affect all your pipework. 

The good news is that a dedicated team of people can conduct a comprehensive inspection for you, without disrupting your daily operations. 

One of the most common pipe issues isn’t sinister, it is simply nature. Water, oxygen, and metal pipes mix to create rust. When the rust builds up enough a hole, or crack will form in the pipe. Magnetic dye penetrant testing can spot these issues before they are visible to the human eye. This allows you to protect your existing pipes without the need to replace them.

That’s not just good for the environment, it's beneficial for your bottom line. As a business that is just as important as complying with regulations and saving the environment.

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Top Tips For Fixing Kitchen, Bathroom, and Basement Drains

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The drains are an essential part of any home but they are often ignored, even when it comes to routine maintenance. Unfortunately, failing to pay them attention does increase the likelihood of them failing, resulting in wastewater and other items being unable to leave your home. 

It’s surprising how quickly this becomes an issue. If your water isn’t draining then anything entering the drains will stay there and ultimately overflow into your home. When you get sewage in your home it is hazardous to your health, stinks, and everything it’s touched will need to be thrown away.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain the drains and prevent the issue. The most important of these is to inspect them annually. You can do this by investing in a drain camera. It’s inserted into the drains and gives you a picture of the inside. 

You’ll be able to spot any areas where waste is building up on the sides of the pipes. This, if left, will result in clogs and issues for you.

Eliminating the Drain Issue

If you already have an issue with your drain then the sewer camera can help you to locate it. Even when your drains are backed up and full of wastewater, you can send the camera along the pipes to find the issue.

Your next course of action will depend on where the clog is because this is almost always the issue with drains not draining.

A clog under an appliance can be broken up with a drain auger, or you may wish to use a chemical drain cleaner. This can erode the blockage and solve the issue. 

In fact, you can even put baking soda down the drain and add a little vinegar. The two compounds react viciously to each other and will effectively pressurize the clog, forcing it to break up. 

But, if the problem is further down the line, in the main sewer pipe it is better to find the first inspection hatch and take a look.

If it’s full the clog s further down the line, if it’s dry and empty the clog is before it. This tells you which direction to insert the camera to check the issue. You can then slide drain rods into the sewer pipe and attempt to break-up the clog.

Drain rods screw together, they are strong and flexible with a corkscrew-style attachment on the end. This can be twisted at the point of the clog to remove it and allow the wastewater to flow away again.

However, when unclogging any drain, particularly a sewer pipe, you should never stand above the drain. As the clog moves it can create a back pressure which will push the sewage out of the drain. If you’re standing over it you’ll get covered!

Should you be struggling with the clog it is always worth getting a professional in t help. They have the tools and experience to deal with the issue quickly and effectively.

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5 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Many homeowners regard the kitchen as the heart of the home. If you love cooking for yourself and others, the right kitchen layout can provide all the space you need to perfect your culinary skills. When it comes to designing a kitchen, some homeowners make several errors that come back to bite them later down the line. With the high cost involved in a kitchen renovation, you need to make sure that every penny counts.

For things to run smoothly, here are five common kitchen design mistakes and what you can do to avoid them from happening to you.

Miscalculating Storage

One of the first steps you must take when designing a kitchen is to organise your storage arrangement. Whether you love to create tasty meals, or prefer to put things in the microwave, you need lots of space to function in your kitchen. If you miscalculate your storage space, your kitchen could end up looking cramped and be a bit of a nightmare to cook in.

Going Over Budget

While it may be obvious, many homeowners make the mistake of not having a realistic budget in place before designing their kitchen. With your blood, sweat, and tears pouring into the project, the last thing you want is to be saddled with a mountain of debt once your kitchen is complete. From the beginning, make sure you create an inventory list that includes both contents and furniture. You must plan accordingly and be realistic with what you can afford to spend. There are lots of tips that can help you create and stick to a budget.

Lack of Lighting

One of the key elements that will enhance your kitchen space is good lighting. Whether you want to elevate your countertop areas, or set the mood for your dining area, the choice of lighting you pick will make a huge difference. If you neglect your lighting, your kitchen may appear dark and gloomy, which can give off the wrong impression. You should also bring in plenty of natural light – not only is this good for function, but it can also provide tons of health benefits for your mental and physical wellbeing.

Neglecting Ventilation

While kitchen ventilation isn’t known for being glamorous, it is still something that mustn’t be overlooked. Cooked food can leave lingering smells that spread through your home, which can affect the atmosphere of each room. You must invest in a good ventilation system that is excellent at circulating air and catching and eliminating impurities.

Not Asking for Help

Some homeowners believe that they have the necessary tools and experience to complete a kitchen renovation alone. However, as one of the heftiest home improvement projects you can undertake, you may want to leave your kitchen design to experts like Hunter Hall Design. This company is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has many years of experience in designing dream kitchens. The team is incredibly skilful at what they do.

Whether you’ve just moved into a new property, or your existing home requires a revamp, renovating your kitchen can be a great way to create more space, increase the value of your property, and help you feel happier and more content in your home.

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Top 5 Things to Look for When You Are House Hunting

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Buying a house is an exciting experience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for your first home or are simply moving on and up. The experience is the same. You’ll need to spend time considering what you want from your home and planning all the details of the move to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

However, before you commit to purchasing a home there are 5 things you should be looking at carefully.

  • Your Requirements

If you’re buying a home you need to consider what you actually need. There are some great properties on the market but should you be purchasing a 4-bed if you only need a 2-bed. Part of this will depend on your budget and your plans while in the house 

If you’re thinking about starting a family the extra space will be useful. But, you need to remember that a larger house equates to larger bills. It’s a balancing act.

  • Budget

An essential part of purchasing a home is setting your budget and then, once it’s established, not going over it. It can be very tempting to stretch it. But, if you’ve set your budget properly you can comfortably afford the house and any repairs while still enjoying your quality of life. 

It’s best to speak to a financial advisor before you define your budget.

  • The Neighborhood

It’s incredibly important to check out the neighborhood. This means asking around, especially with family and friends to see if they’ve heard anything about the area. You should also look at the local news reports, you can check back on the internet to see if there is a high level of crime or any other issues in the area.

Finally, it’s worth driving around the area at different times of the day and night. You want to be sure that you’ll feel safe and that it has all the facilities you need. 

  • Building Report

Now that you’re fairly sure you’re purchasing the house you need to get the help of a reputable to highlight building consultant Sydney. They will conduct a survey of the house for you. Their job is issues, such as structural cracks, subsidence, dampness, electrical problems, and even pest issues. Speak to the company to confirm what they will check.

It’s an important step as you never know what a house may be hiding. Solving the issues can be expensive, if you know beforehand you’ll be able to negotiate the price and you’ll be ready for the problems.

  • Local projects

Finally, as part of the purchasing process, you should be made aware of any projects that are happening in the area. Some can be good and are likely to increase the value of your property. But, if they are planning on demolishing half the houses for a railway line that’s not going to improve the quality of life or the value of your home!

It’s important to verify any upcoming projects to make sure you are buying the right home. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Marco Verch


Afraid of Deadly Germs & Microbes? Quick Cleaning Hacks to Stay Safe

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Living in a clean home is one of the most crucial ways to maintain your physical and mental health. Chances are you aren’t going to be the happiest and most productive version of yourself if you are living in a messy house. The dust lingers on for weeks, clothes are all over the place, and you haven’t done the dishes. In isolation, these issues might not seem like a huge deal, but in reality, these things become a problem when they occur altogether.

We understand that there can be several reasons why your house can be messy, but that doesn’t mean that you leave it that way. Ensuring that your place is comfortable, neat, and tidy are essential functions that we need to maintain as adults. If you are self-aware that you live in a chaotic environment and want to change, this article is for you. Moreover, with the prevalence of the pandemic, deadly germs and microbes need to be avoided at all costs … and if you need a bit of extra help, there are house cleaning services out there that take all these things very seriously and will do it for you. 

Here are a few quick cleaning hacks to stay safe:

Call junk removal experts

If excess debris is lying around the house and needs removing, consider calling junk removal experts. They are especially helpful if you have moved into a new home in Philadelphia. Usually, the former tenants left a bunch of junk behind. It's too much to throw in the trash, so what do you do? It's simple, you call for junk removal in Philadelphia and have them get rid of all the unwanted debris.

The team will help take care of the junk in your house and aid you in the cleaning process. Once all the stuff is out of the way, you can focus on what is important and get down to dusting and disinfecting.

Vinegar works wonders

You might not think so, but vinegar is a fantastic cleaning agent. It is useful to shine steel appliances, clean out stains, and get rid of certain kinds of smells. We recommend that you add vinegar into your arsenal in the battle against germs and microbes in your house. If you have a cat usually messes up in the house, vinegar is a known suppressor of cat urine smell. Add it to a spray bottle with equal parts of water and watch how it cleans dirt as good as any other cleaning chemical. The only downside is that vinegar has a pungent smell of its own.

Add pesticides to your mop

If you have made some water with fresh cleaning agents to help clean and shine the floors, consider adding a capful of pesticide to the water. Once you mop the floors, you are spreading the bug killer throughout the house. Adding pesticides is a hack that few people consider. It goes a long way in cleaning the house and ensuring that bugs and other creepy crawlies don't linger around too long.

Nobody wants insects in their home. Moreover, insects like cockroaches bring a range of germs and bacteria with them. Keep them at bay with this simple hack!

Don’t use too many chemicals

Your first instinct to kill germs might be to use as many cleaning agents as you can when cleaning around the house. Chemicals might not always be the best idea. Not only can the chemicals stain your floors and furniture, but it can also be bad for your health! Only use a non-toxic, environment-friendly, and hospital grade sanitiser.

Strong chemicals can irritate your throat, and in extreme cases, pungent odors can damage your olfactory bulb! Therefore, you might want to consider dialing it back a bit regarding chemicals and other cleaning agents. Using alternatives from around the kitchen, such as baking soda, vinegar, and citric acid, can be great alternatives.

Use scalding hot water

In the fight against germs and bacteria, nothing works better than hot water. Mind you; we mean hot water, not warm. Warm water might even promote bacterial growth; hot water can kill most bacteria and help in the cleaning processes.

Hot water is also known to help dislodge sticky substances, which might have been tough to remove with regular water.

Conclusion

Though some of these quick cleaning tips seem relatively straightforward, you might notice that the majority of people are unaware of them. We rely so heavily on old school cleaning methods passed down through the generations that we fail to adopt modern ones.

Consider a combination of some of the cleaning hacks which we have mentioned here. Not only will they help keep the house clean, but they are considerably more eco-friendly and could help save you a bit of money in the long run. Besides, you might have the cleaning solution ready in your home. You don’t even have to go down to the local departmental store!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Matilda Wormwood from Pexels


8 Smart Ways to Avoid Plumbing Disasters

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While the adage that says an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure applies to health and life in general, the same can be said to keep the plumbing system in excellent condition. Maintaining your sink drains, toilets, and pipes are always better than spending on usually costly emergency plumbing repairs.  

Here are ten smart ways to help prevent the inconvenience and tedious process of visits from a plumbing contractor:

1. Easy on the drop-in cleaners: 

Sure, using your bare hands in cleaning your toilet is not recommended, but relying on drop-in cleaners to take care of the bowl or tank may not be the best idea either. Several studies suggest that the chemicals in the in-tank bowl tablets will, in time, can potentially damage the flapper, flush valve, pipes, and other components.

While these solutions are convenient and simple for toilet cleaning, the product could damage your lavatory and system, resulting in high repair costs for property owners.  

Because of this, most toilet companies do not endorse, and some even warn that the use of drop-in cleaner tablets will invalidate the warranty.

2. Use strainers to your drain: 

Placing a strainer in your kitchen sink to catch large portions of food and other fragments is a simple yet effective way of avoiding clogs. Food items such as rice grains, coffee grounds, pasta, bread crumbs, and smears could congest your kitchen pipes. These items should be filtered and should be discarded in the waste or garbage bin.

3. Check hoses regularly: 

Rubber hoses, including the one from your washing machine, may get brittle and develop crack over time. If you noticed a lump, the hose is up for replacement before it totally ruptures. It is also recommended to inspect for leaks at least every six months because leaks are the main culprit in your utility bill's increase, can affect your appliance's operations and can cause mold in the long run.

Another way to avoid emergency plumbing repairs with just a little extra cost is by purchasing stainless steel in place of rubber made hoses.

4. Use pipes as intended: 

One of the most common mistakes committed by homeowners is using their pipes from their original purpose. Most of the time, pipes are installed adjacent to dryers and washers in basements, and owners often hang wet clothes and other items on the exposed lines.

Tubes are not intended to support heavier weight, and prolonged exposure from hanging wet clothes and other similar objects could cause it to detach or even burst.

5. Know what to flush: 

Toilets are designed only to take in human waste, and even the thinnest toilet papers are not meant to be flushed there. Other solid wastes such as sanitary pads, diapers, and paper towels should be disposed of appropriately since they can cause clogs in your drains. It is suggested that you place a trash bin in your restroom to prevent yourself from discarding items you don't want down the pipes.

6. Keep the heater on: 

Whenever you leave home during fall and throughout winter, let your heater running on low mode. The temperature drops at these seasons, and keeping the heat could help protect the pipes in your property from freezing. Such can also prevent your pipes from cracking when a sudden stream of water flows through it. While keeping your heater running will affect your bill, that is relatively lower than an emergency plumbing repair or pipe replacement.

7. Set up backwater and sump pump system: 

Another tip worth considering is investing in a backwater control valve and sump system. The backwater setup is practical, especially in spots that are susceptible to flooding, and this can help stop the mess from an overflowed sewer line from building up in your cellar.  

A sump pump system that gets rids of water accumulating water on your basement flooring should also be useful in the long term.

8. Prevent flood from happening: 

The first step to avoiding a flood situation is making sure that all of those in the household are aware of the main water valve’s location in unexpected situations. Such will help avoid or at least minimize flooding so your properties will be safe from further damage. It is also recommended that the valve be appropriately tagged and placed on an accessible spot.    

You may also want to inspect the gate valves of its washers' tear wear to ensure that it would properly work when you needed it to shut off. 

The tips discussed above may help keep your plumbing system working as it should be. It's better to be safe than spend more on emergency plumbing repairs, which can be stressful too. Most of the suggestions listed above are simple yet practical solutions, so you might want to give them a try today.

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5 Warning Signs of Faulty Electrical Wiring in Your Home

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Electricity is something you rely on every day but probably don’t spend much time thinking about it. That is until you have an issue with it. Then you’ll need to quickly contact your local Sydney electrician and get the problem sorted. 

It’s important to note that electrical issues in the home are still one of the most common causes of house fires. You may be surprised to discover that over 50 people die every year from house fires. These are generally avoidable and even preventable. That’s why it's so important to have an annual electrical inspection and catch problems early.

Here are 5 signs that you have faulty wiring at home and need professional help:

1. Flickering Lights

Flickering lights are great when you’re creating a Halloween setting or even want a good house party. However, they are a sign that something is wrong with the electrical wiring. In most cases, flickering lights mean there is either a bad connection or the wiring is damaged. This is causing the power to spark across the wires and the light to flicker.

It’s important to get it seen to promptly. 

2. Tripping Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are designed to trip when there is a fault on the circuit. They work extremely fast and shut the power down, reducing the risk of an electrical fire. If the circuit breaker is regularly tripping you have an issue on the circuit that needs further investigation.

It could be that you’re overloading the circuit and the excess power draw is causing the breaker to trip. However, if plugging some items in elsewhere doesn’t help then you probably have a wiring issue.  

3. Burning Odors

Burning odors is perhaps the most obvious and concerning of the signs that you have an electrical wiring issue. The odor occurs because the cables are getting too hot; When this occurs the outer protective sheath will start to melt, creating the distance aroma. As the sheath melts the wires are capable of touching each other, causing short circuits, power outages, and fires. 

4. Discoloration of Sockets

Alongside the odor, it’s normal to find that sockets and light switches are becoming discolored. This is because the heat is damaging the plastic, discoloring it as it warms it. It can even cause it to change shape. 

If you see discoloration on your sockets it could be a bad connection into the socket, or it’s a wiring issue. You’ll need to avoid using that socket until a professional has assessed it.

5. Buzzing, Fizzing, or Electric Shocks

Any strange noise in your electrical system should be treated as a bad sign. Buzzing and fizzing is a sign that the electrical current is moving between wires or to another conductive object nearby. It suggests the protective sheath is damaged and needs prompt treatment. 

If the wires are sparking between them then it’s likely you’ll get a small electric shock when you operate the switch or plug something in. Act quickly – it’s likely to get worse.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Kevin Faccenda


The True Purpose of Air Filters in your HVAC System

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There’s a ton of content around the internet about air filters and HVAC systems. It seems like everyone recommends replacing the filter regularly, but the reasons for doing so are often varied. Some articles talk about benefits of different filters, different particle sizes that pass through, HEPA level filters, supposed air quality improvements around your home and other upgrades. But how much of that is true? Let’s break it down.

You Have One Filter for your AC and Furnace

Air conditioners and furnaces operate as one system together. The intake all passes through to one filter, so you don’t need to replace filters in multiple areas. It’s usually located right next to your blower motor in your furnace, so normally you will find it there. If you think it strange that your AC filter is by the furnace, just remember that the air conditioner and heater are a team.

Filters Protect the Equipment, Not Your Lungs

The truth is that your filter is there to protect your HVAC system, not your health. This makes sense – in most homes air is entering and exiting the home through a variety of other methods. When you open the door or leave a window open, fresh air is introduced into the home that does not pass through the HVAC system and therefore is not filtered by your HVAC filter.

What the filter does is prevent dust, dirt, debris and other particulates from hitting the sensitive components of your HVAC equipment. It does prevent more dust from being blown through your ductwork and dispersed through the house, but it’s not going to purify all the air in your home.

The exception to this might be doomsday bunkers or extremely airtight homes that intake most of the fresh air through the HVAC system, but in most cases, this is not how homes work today.

Upgrading the Filter May Damage Your Equipment

You may want to think twice before buying a HEPA filter for your system. When the coronavirus pandemic started, searches for HEPA filters and other indoor air quality products skyrocketed. It’s true these filters are what are used in hospitals, but your typical residential HVAC system does not have components designed to work with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters have tighter weaves, which means it catches tiny particles and keeps the air remarkably clean. Because the weave is tighter, the airflow is restricted. This means your blower motor and other components have to work harder to draw the correct amount of air through the system, leading to greater wear and tear over time.

The same effect occurs if you leave your filter alone too long and it collects too much dust and dirt. You may be looking at a furnace repair due to low airflow during a cold winter night, which normally requires a professional to fix.

Keep it Clean, Keep it Open

If you’re really concerned about air quality in the home, follow the EPA’s guidance on improved ventilation and source control. Although your HVAC system should remain protected by your filter, your lungs will benefit from opening a few windows and letting the outdoors in.

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Tips and Tricks for Drywall Plastering

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Hanging drywall is often a more forgiving tradesman’s job that doesn't necessarily require a high degree of precision and compliance with national and local standards. While there is no 100% way of hanging drywall, you still have to get it right, and there are countless ways to realize this.

By following the right techniques and with some repeatability, you can almost transform this into something of an art form, according to Plasterer Central Coast. Every drywall installation tradie will develop their unique way of accomplishing this that will enable them to have smooth muddling, taping and finishing in drywall installations. Here are some simple tips, tricks and hacks that you can use to hang drywalls correctly.

Get the Layout Right

You’ve got to get the layout right to ensure the drywall is installed and aligned correctly and with the best workmanship. Using a pencil, mark the areas where you will place the vertical studs. This will make it easier for you when the drywall panels are being attached to the framing. Before you start hanging the drywall panels, complete the insulating work as well as the vapour barrier installations.

Ensure the Framing is Flat

The drywall panels are likely to bend if the plane of the ceiling or the wall isn’t flat. It should be perfectly flat from stud to stud or between the ceiling joists. The bending of the panels creates ugly contours or even cracks on the finished ceiling or finished walls. That is why you should use level or straightedge to determine if the wall or the ceiling members are levels, flat and plumb. If it isn't level, you may need to plane down the framing members that shim out others extending farther out. For a perfect drywall installation, you need to get the plane’s level, flat and plumb.

Install the top row panels first

The professional way to install drywall panels is by starting from a single upper corner of the room and then installing the panels horizontally while ensuring the top edges are aligned against the ceiling. During the installations, the end of the panels must be placed at the centre of a stud. The panels may need to be scored and snapped into place to get the right fit.

User longer panels

DIYers tend to use 8-feet panels, but it is generally recommended that you use the 10 to 12 feet-long panels. These are also advantageous as they can cover the whole lengths of small rooms.

Start with the ceiling.

If you are drywalling an entire room, it is prudent to begin with the ceiling. The panels can be lifted and laid out against the ceiling joists with a pulley-driven drywall lift. Some crews use T-shaped “crutches” for placing the panels in place before driving in the nails or the screws. Overall, the techniques for installing the drywall panels onto the walls are mainly the same.

Attach the Panels to the Studs First

To hold the plasterboard securely against the studs, start by driving some nails and screws on their ends and down towards the centre. You should drive the screws far enough that they should ‘dimple’ the drywall surface, but they shouldn't go too deep that they'd break the paper surface. The strength of the attachment is undermined if the paper is broken. Drywall guns feature adjustable clutches that give you some control over the depth of the screw bit. Ensure that you choose the right size of screws and nails that will match the drywall size. The screws should be placed at least ½ inch from the edge of the panel.

The Panels Can Be Cut by Snapping

According to a professional plasterer, one of the easiest ways to cut the drywall length-wise is by first scoring a single side of the board using a utility knife. You can subsequently turn to the backside of the panel and crack it using your knee. If the gyprock board is hit at the correct spot, it will smoothly separate uniformly along the line you scored earlier. Once you have folded the panel along its scored line, you can slice it down straight along the fold on the other side using a utility knife. This will finish the cut.

Use the Right Tools

The secret to flawless drywall installations is using the right sets of tools, particularly those that are preferred by professionals. Having straight sets of tools is especially important if you will be installing the drywall alone. If you can’t afford the tools, you can rent them at the leading tool lease outlets or home improvement centres.

Some of the top tools that you should use for drywall installations include:

  • Drywall screwgun
  • Drywall stilts
  • Hydraulic drywall lift
  • Drywall rotary saw

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Contractors Save Money with Climate-Controlled Self Storage

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You aren’t alone if you are running your business out of your van or trailer and carrying around all of your equipment everywhere you go. This isn’t the worst way to go, but is it the best? What do you do as your business grows and you start hiring more apprentices & subcontractors to help you out? In my electrical business, I for one always hated the idea of leaving my tools onsite. Some of that stuff is expensive!! And it ain’t that hard to take!

The obvious answer to our problems is storing equipment at self-storage facilities. You choose your own lock and who to give it to, and then you tell your staff to go pick it up when you want them to. They don’t have to have you drop it off, or come to your current job site to pick up whatever they need. And you don’t have to take the risk of leaving all of your expensive equipment at different sites and risk it being stolen or lost.

Choosing a storage unit isn’t hard – but it does require a little thought and planning. So keep the following in mind:

  1. Location & Unit Size
  2. Climate Control
  3. Security

Location & Unit Size: You want to choose a facility that is located well. What’s your typical radius for jobs you do? And what’s conveniently located relative to your home? Find a place that’s, ideally, both on typical daily driving routes and also close to your various work sites.

Storage unit size is also critical. Are you doing a lot of earthwork and have expensive equipment that you need to protect especially during the winter months? You’re gonna need a big storage unit! Maybe get a large 20’x8’ unit. Are you an electrician like me and just have various handheld tools, coils of romex, etc? Don’t spend more than you have to, get a 10’x5’. 

Climate Control is Key! You worked hard to afford some expensive equipment. Rust is not your friend, but it will find you if you don’t keep your equipment stored in a place that controls for both temperature and humidity swings. (Swings in temperature lead to conflicts between two localized atmospheres’ levels of relative humidity, and this then leads to condensation. Condensation creates moisture which, in turn, creates rust!) Beyond rust, moisture can also irredeemably damage your electronic control panels and lead to mold on anything you have that’s wooden.

Climate control is an important feature everywhere, but certainly it rises is relative important as the severity of your local climate rises. For example, storage units in San Diego, California may not face nearly the same amount of swings in outdoor temperature and humidity as storage units Waterville Maine.

Don’t be surprised if Climate Control may end up costing you a little bit more money. Remember, though, that this is a critically important additional service. It does take more investment by facility owners to create and provide this service. As contractors ourselves, we would never consider storing our items in conventional storage that didn’t offer climate control. Especially though if you’re storing anything with electronic control panels that is valuable, we really recommend that you invest the extra money to do this the right way.

Security: When you rent a unit, make sure you demand a certain level of quality in security from that facility. You need to have 24/7 video surveillance, a gate with keypad coded entry, strong facility lighting, and some on-site management.

Summing it Up: “Self-storage” units are in every town in America. Even in rural areas, they’re almost definitely within a short drive of you. Especially if you’re anywhere close to a large city, they’re probably within 10 minutes driving from you at any point in time. They can be such an awesome tool for you as you grow your business and looking for time-saving techniques. But make sure you choose wisely according to our 3 precepts above: location; climate control; security. Take a little time & money upfront to save & make a lot more time and money later on!

We Want to Hear Your Story! If any of you reading have experience with self-storage, we’d love to hear your story! Please send us your comments below!

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What Are the Best Step Ladders for Electricians?

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There are very few trades out there that don’t put people at some kind of risk. Builders, plumbers and window cleaners all have challenges that they have to overcome if they want to work safely, but few people face the risk of electrocution as frequently as electricians do. 

When you’re working around exposed wires, light fixtures and electrical sockets, it’s important you have safety precautions in place that will protect you in case an accidental shock occurs. Electricians often have to buy specialist equipment to protect them from electric shocks.

What’s the problem with using metal step ladders?

The reason why electricians can’t use metal ladders is because they’re highly conductive. Electricity always wants to follow the fastest and easiest route into the ground. 

So, if someone on an aluminium ladder comes into contact with electricity, the current will pass through the person, down the length of the ladder and into the ground. Electric shocks can be fatal, so it’s important that electricians do whatever they can to protect against this.

What step ladders can electricians use?

To protect against the risk of electrocution, electricians should invest in fibre glass step ladders. Fibre glass is a non-conductive material that will stop an electric current in its tracks. By putting something like a fibre glass step ladder between you and the ground, you significantly reduce the chances of an electric shock.

Some wooden step ladders are also suitable for electricians, but it’s important that you check whether or not the timber poles and rungs have re-enforced with metal rods before you buy. If they have, the ladder is more than likely conductive, so shop with caution.

What are the best step ladders for electricians on the market?

If you’re looking for a high-quality fibre glass step ladder, there are plenty to choose from. Retailers like Ladders UK Direct offer an extensive range of fibre glass step ladders that can be used by electricians, builders and homeowners alike. 

Some of the best step ladders for electricians are from prominent brands like Werner and Youngman. Their fibre glass step ladders come in a huge selection of heights and sizes, making them perfect for almost every kinds of electrical job imaginable. 

So, now that you know which step ladders are the best for electricians, you can face electrical tasks confidently and safely.

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The Purpose of Using a Backwash Filter & Valve

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pictured: the simplest type of backwash valve; even something this simple can save you a huge headache later!

Water filters are common among households since families want to ensure their water supply is clean. However, standard filtration systems aren’t enough to completely clean the water and remove unwanted contaminants.

Backwash filters are better at doing this job. What are they and how do they work? What are the important components to consider? 

We’ll answer those questions in this article. Let’s dig into the topic.

How does a Backwash Filter Work? 

Backwash filters work by reversing the flow of water to remove any debris, minerals, or contaminants. 

Its main components include a tank and the filtering media. Water flows through the tank, where the backwash filter reverses its flow and drains the water out of the filter. 

Then, it suspends the particles in the filter media and prevents them from leaving once the water starts to flow again. 

To be more familiar with how backwash filters work, it’s wise to read this Lifesource water review.

The Filter Media 

The filter media traps the contaminants and particles in your water system. The media can be made of sand, rubber, crumb, or even crushed glass.

You can get multi-media filters, too, where the filter media layer different materials to filter water. It’s wise to use multi-media filters if one type of filter cannot adequately keep your water clean.

Different filtering media remove different kinds of particles. For example, certain types of filters can remove iron, chlorine, sulfur, and sediment. 

The following are some of the most common filter media:

Granular Activated Carbon

Granular activated carbon is used to: 

  • Reduce the amount of chlorine and chloramine in the water
  • Improve the water’s taste or odor
  • Remove sediments 

Granular activated carbon is a versatile filter media, so it’s the preferred treatment for many chemical contaminants.

Catalytic Carbon 

Catalytic carbon removes chlorine, chloramine, hydrogen sulfide, and iron from the water. It’s a more expensive grade of activated carbon, but it’s popular for chloramine removal for city water systems.

Birm 

Birm is used to reduce iron and manganese contaminants. It’s relatively lightweight, so it’s easy to backwash. It’s cheap, too, making it a popular iron medium. 

One drawback, however, is that a water pH level of at least 6.8 is often necessary to let Birm remove iron.

Backwash Monitor

Backwashing often leads to some amount of water loss. Using a monitoring system is a wise move. A monitoring system helps you learn just how clean or dirty your water is while also minimizing water loss. 

The sensor in the monitoring system measures the media level. It pushes the filter media to collide with the upward flowing water, letting the filter media eliminate any unwanted particles. 

The sensor also regulates the expansion rate of filter media. If the rate is too low, you can’t properly clean the filter, resulting in water loss. If the rate is too high, the filter media could flow out and escape through the filter.

Control Valves 

Many modern filters use control valves where an electric timer initiates and controls the filter backwash at a specific time. 

Meanwhile, some sophisticated setups start backwashing based on the pressure difference between incoming and outgoing water.

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5 Exterior Wall Cladding Ideas You Should Consider

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If you’ve ever considered cladding your home you’ll have realized that the best vinyl cladding is worth considering but is not the only choice available. The array of options in cladding has expanded dramatically in recent years, it’s worth spending a few minutes considering the different options.

Don’t forget that your cladding doesn’t just make a statement, it should also reflect the area you live in, making a great impression on neighbors and friends.

Here are some great exterior cladding ideas:

Vinyl Cladding

Vinyl cladding may be the original option but there is a huge range of styles to choose from. You can opt for plain white, or virtually any color in a plain finish. But, you’ll also want to consider the alternate finishes, such as a wood look. This looks as though you’ve clad your home with wood, but you have the convenience and practicality of vinyl.

It’s worth taking a look at the variety of options available.

Brick Look

Brick has been around for hundreds of years but you don’t need a brick-built home to benefit from the look. Brick cladding is easy to put on your property and it offers natural protection against fire and the elements, helping your home to feel safer and warmer.

You can choose from a variety of shades of brick and even the size of the bricks are optional. It’s a great way to get a classic feel on a contemporary house.

Metal

Metal is the opposite. Although used in industry for many years it is a relative newcomer to the residential market. However it is long-lasting, can be created in virtually any color, and comes in an array of finishes.

Perhaps best of all is that it’s easy to install and can be crafted to virtually any shape, making it a great option if your house has lots of extra bits sticking in and out.

Metal is also surprisingly sturdy, providing an extra layer of protection in extreme weather, even potentially withstanding earthquakes and hurricanes.

Wood

You can’t talk about cladding without mentioning wood, the traditional finish for many homes. Modern wood cladding is available in a wide array of colors, it’s treated to protect it from the elements, and needs minimal maintenance.

The wood usually comes from sustainable forests or is reclaimed from other projects, making this a good environmentally friendly option. You will need to verify it’s origin before you purchase.

It can provide a beautiful rustic and authentic look, regardless of the type of home you have.

Fibre Cement

This is mounted on your property in the same way as any other cladding. But, the result is it looks like your house has been rendered in smooth cement. It’s available in a variety of colors and will never need painting.

It’s also fire-rated, giving protection against fire for up to 60 minutes. It looks impressive!

Take the time to consider your options before choosing the best cladding for your property and your needs. You may surprise yourself.

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‘Perfect for Entertaining’

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If you’ve spent any time at all looking at real estate listings, you’ll know the phrase ‘perfect for entertaining’ all too well. Everything from granite countertops to a slab of concrete in the backyard can be billed as making a home ‘perfect for entertaining.’ Let’s look at some home upgrades that really do have the potential to turn your home into an ‘entertainer’s dream.’

If you love inviting friends and family over, or you look forward to activities like pizza parties and movie nights with your kids, youll likely want a space in your home thats ideal for entertaining. There are several ways you can update and remodel residential spaces to make areas in your home, especially inviting and unique. Here are a few creative ideas that can make your home one of the best places to gather for a special occasion.

Open Up the Floor Plan

When you invite loved ones over for a game night or holiday party, they likely all gravitate to the kitchen. The kitchen is the area where food and drinks are served, and you’re likely to start engaging in conversation around the kitchen table. Even if the design scheme for the rest of your home is visually appealing, people are naturally attracted to the kitchen.

Older homes often have small kitchens. If you like the architectural design of your older house and don't have the budget to knock down walls to make the kitchen bigger, you may want to consider a more open floor plan.

An open floor plan makes your dining room and living room especially welcoming so that guests will be drawn to these areas. Remove some of the larger furniture pieces and add a large throw pillow to the floor. Paint the wall in pastel or metallic shades, and add sheer curtains that let natural light. These steps help make a space look larger and keep your guests from crowding the kitchen.

Walls that “Open”

If you've already been in your home for years, it’s likely that your idea of entertaining loved ones isn't the same as it was a decade ago. Changing the furniture around in the common area of your home may not be enough to accomplish the design aesthetic you want anymore. Previously, the woman of the house cooked for a large family, but these days, more men are helping in the kitchen, which is why this area of the home is a popular gathering spot. Knocking a small wall out in your kitchen to make the space larger makes a huge difference and is more budget-friendly than renovating the entire kitchen. You can also install French doors where your kitchen and dining room meet. When you open the doors, the space automatically looks more welcoming, and you can close the doors if you prefer to keep friends and loved ones out of the kitchen while you're preparing the food.

Add an Outdoor Kitchen 

If you’re known (or would like to be known) for backyard barbecues and family picnics, consider installing an outdoor kitchen in your backyard. U-shaped outdoor kitchens are a popular entertainer's upgrade that can help with entertaining now and selling your home later. You'll have to work with a contractor to make the right plumbing connections when you want to add a sink or stove to the outdoor kitchen. It's also a good idea to install a small refrigerator, storage shelves, and bar seating.

Decks and Outdoor Areas 

If you find that youre running out of space in your home for entertaining, consider making some updates to your deck and patio area. Adding a screen around the porch makes a comfortable sitting area that is cool and bug-free. Choose outdoor furniture that matches the design scheme of your homes interior, and consider planting a small garden around the patio to add texture and color to the area.

When you put thought into the design you want for your entertaining space, your guests will feel especially welcome, even if you havent added square footage to your home. Small solutions, like creative storage and additional seating, can open up your home and create an entertainment area you can be proud of.

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Tips to Consider When Remodeling Your Living Room

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In the contemporary world, a vast majority lives in compact houses, as the cost of living has gone higher in the past few years. People used separate rooms for entertaining guests, dressing, dining, sleeping, or family gatherings in the old days. In modern homes, the living room generally serves all these purposes. The living room has become the dominant point of the house, as it is where most of the house’s activities take place. After spending an exhausting day outdoors, people wind up in the living rooms, entertain guests here, and carry out their day-to-day activities in the same room. Many have installed their television screens and placed dining tables in the living room, and thus, the room sees a lot of commotion. Contemporary architects design houses so that living rooms connect all other areas, and are generally in the middle of the house.

Since the living room is a happening place, the furniture items and other stuff wear out quickly as people use them excessively. People often consider remodeling the widely used space, but they hesitate because of the expense and hard work that are upgrading demands. The truth is if you plan intelligently, you can revamp the living room without making a hole in your pocket. Besides, the living room is the center point, and giving just one area makeover, gives the whole house an updated look. Many people neglect the functionality while renovating the living room, and later on, the fancy setting hinders their daily procedures. You can easily upgrade your space and give it a modern look while keeping it practical.

The following are some tips that will need your utmost consideration while your deicide to remodel your living room:

  1. Upgrade Walls

The very old practice of revamping a room is to change the walls’ color to give it a fresh look. Although it is still applicable, markets have several other options. You can display your favorite paintings, pictures, quotes, or calligraphy on the walls, and the room will exhibit your vibe. Hanging map art is the unique way of blending your personality into the décor and simultaneously adding an oomph factor. Moreover, when a statement piece is on the wall, you do not need anything else in the room to stand out by itself.

  1. Indoor Plants

Bringing nature to your enclosed space is an inexpensive way of adding luxury to your home. Besides, plants have a pleasing effect on the overall environment and help in lifting residents’ moods. They keep the air pure, impacting the physical, mental and emotional health of inhabitants positively; you can put a huge pot at the corner or have small planters on the shelves. Hanging plants give the space a green yet a calming look. 

  1. Change Lighting

Lighting is an essential factor of the room as it creates the whole mood of the space. To remodel your room, you can add different sources of adjustable lighting, highlighting the room’s outstanding parts. Statement lamps also give the place a classic touch, or you can install a chandelier in the middle of the ceiling, and it will illuminate the whole living room. Markets have plenty of lighting options, and you can choose as per your room, budget, and décor. To add to the space's look, you must carefully see the lighting placement as loud lights kill the room’s feel.

  1. Create Illusion of Space

The modern houses typically do not have spacious living rooms, but you can creatively decorate your compact areas and establish an illusion of space. Mirrors not only add to the beauty of the room but also make it appear bigger. Standee mirrors are trendy and will help in giving the idea of more space. Pastel-colored walls look classy and, on the other hand, provide the false idea of a larger area.

  1. Accessorize the Room

Adorning the living room with elegant accessories is another way of upgrading your space. The decorative rug gives the floor a rich look, a posh nightstand with few decoration pieces provides the room with a classy touch, or sculptures on the corners will provide the place with an artistic feel. Throwing cushions will not only create another seating arrangement, but they can serve as embellishment for the room as well. Moreover, you can have decoration pieces on the shelves, corners, or tables. If you have a particular theme, you can select items accordingly or go for a mix and match to remodel your arena.

  1. Entryway

The living room is the opening of your house, which is why the entryway is the first impression you make, and if you manage to do that right, the rest will fall in place. A huge flower vase or a statement art sculpture can be a great addition to your décor at the gate. You can have a sleek shoe organizer, which will help you keep your footwear organized and gives your entryway a luxurious touch. Welcoming quotes, wind chimes, or a classy cage of birds or other décor can also give guests a warm welcome.

  1. Furniture

Many people make the mistake of splurging money on furniture items when they can refurbish their old ones. It is unnecessary to purchase new things to remodel the room when you can make the existing ones appear fresh. You can buy one piece to keep as a focal point of the room, and it alone will bring luxury to the room. Resetting the furniture items is another excellent and economical way of updating the space. Furthermore, the room sees a lot of activity, and you must know that you place durable furniture pieces to avoid your visits to the dealer.

conclusion

The living room is undoubtedly the house’s versatile space, and you must be vigilant while planning to upgrade it. Please consider your family needs and your lifestyle while revamping the room. You are changing flooring or window treatments aid in boosting the whole look of the room. Large windows help to let natural light in, which gives the room an awe factor. Remodeling a space is a game of the mind, and when it comes to decoration, the options are innumerable.

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Common Plastering Problems and Their Causes

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Plastering problems can occur at any time and season of the year and can be caused by a list of different reasons. Like every other part of your home that requires regular maintenance, so does your ceilings and walls. The ceilings and walls in your home need more attention than you might think and can damage as a result of negligence or damage caused by water, unexpected damages, weather conditions, climate changes, leakages, temperature changes and many more.

In order to identify these problems in your home, you would need to be informed about the different types of damages and their causes. In understanding what causes various damages to your walls and ceilings in your home, you will then be able to determine whether you can fix it yourself or whether you’ll need professional help from plasterers in your area. You don’t need a broad set of skills or expertise to fix these problems yourself. If you love doing maintenance around your home and have the proper tools and materials to do so, then these fixing these problems will become few of your newest DIY projects. However, if you don’t have the necessary skill set or knowledge on how to fix these problems, or if they are more significant than your expertise, then you can seek plasterer Hobart help. To find out more about the common plastering problems and their causes, continue reading this article.

Cracked Plaster

This is the most common plastering problem you might find in your home. Cracked plaster is a sign of natural aging in your walls and ceilings, or could be caused by more significant issues. More delicate cracks known as hairline cracks can occur on the surface of your walls and ceilings. These cracks are usually small and can be repaired with little expertise and experience. More significant cracks known as delaminating cracks are often visible on the surface of the ceilings and walls and can result in significant problems if not treated immediately and professionally. This starts happening when the plaster moves away from the lath, which causes cracks in the walls and ceilings.

The dangers of delaminating cracks being left unattended include the possibility of cracked surfaces to fall off and harm anyone in its way or damage any furniture or valuable household items underneath it.

Settlement cracks are caused by a particular part of your home that begins to cave in. This can be identified by experienced tradies who understands these types of cracks and can correct the foundation in your home to prevent this from reoccurring. Homes that will be more prone to these types of cracks are those who experience hurricanes and floods.

If these cracks are left unattended at any point, they can result in even more significant problems that might not be able to be fixed by you, but only by the expertise of a professional plasterer.

Discoloured Plaster

These cracks can be identified as brown stains that appear on the surface of your ceilings, and are often caused by water damage. If left untreated, it can leave your ceilings and walls looking completely unattractive, and your home looking like less of a home. When you detect this type of plastering problem in your home, be prepared for leakages to follow as this is an early warning sign of future leakages. 

An affordable way of fixing this type of problem yourself is by using primer paint. This primer paint will provide your ceilings and walls with protection against stains; however, this is only a temporary solution to your plastering problems as it requires constant retouching. If you would like a more permanent solution, it’s advisable to seek professional help to avoid the process of having to retouch your paint for protection and will save you money in the long term.

Bubbling Plaster

Once leakages start showing itself on your ceiling and wall surfaces, they are sure to begin affecting your plastering. Once plastering is involved, it will show in signs of stains in affected areas on surfaces. If these stains are left untreated, it will cause the plastering to start bubbling in affected areas. Bubbling plaster is usually a more profound problem of what’s visible on the surface. These problems can be professionally assessed by expertise in the field to identify the root cause of the problem. When choosing professional plasterers, it’s essential to consider their knowledge and experience, as this will aid in good recovery of your plastering problems.

Bulging Plaster

This problem is quite similar to that of delaminating plaster cracks. The only noticeable difference is that there are no visible cracks on the surface, and these damages can show up at any given time without warning. This type of damage can be caused by water or moist due to climate conditions that can further affect the plaster on your walls and ceilings in your home. The ageing process of plaster can also cause them over time. This happens when the plaster starts separating from the lath and starts showing on the surfaces of walls. 

When this type of problem is identified, it’s imperative to seek urgent help from professionals as it can have further implications for your home.

When it comes to your home, maintenance should be your top priority. In order to keep your home well-maintained all year round, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about the common types of plastering problems and what their causes are. By knowing these problems, you’ll easily be able to identify any plastering problems in your home. Depending on your level of skill regarding home maintenance and the severity of the problem, you could quickly get away with fixing the issues yourself. However, if the problem is more significant than your skillset and expertise, then it’s advisable to seek professional help from plasterers in your area. They are professionally trained and licensed to deal with serious plastering problems and will assist you in getting to the root cause of your plastering problems. 

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Preventing Porch Pirates

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guide created by Eye Trax

Who doesn’t love receiving packages in the mail? However, you might not be the only one keeping an eye out for the delivery truck. According to one study, about 24% of adults found themselves victims of package theft. Of those victims, 64% have since attempted to take extra preparations when ordering online.

Package thieves (i.e., porch pirates) often access your front porch or doorstep when you’re not home. Without a secure or private area for deliveries, you might be more vulnerable to pilfering. While it may be an inconvenience to send your package to another address, safety precautions could help you with more than theft. For example, not only can a video security system offer proof if you ever need to file a police report, it will allow you to know when exactly your packages have arrived.

Porch pirates tend to seek neighborhoods that have high activity in order to avoid being caught. In fact, many packages go unreported or uninvestigated when stolen, primarily because many deliveries contain commodities that can be replaced. If you are a victim of porch piracy, it’s encouraged to contact the seller of the item, file a report and implement new measures to ensure your packages arrive safely.

With the rise in e-commerce, many criminals have discovered an easy way to steal items. For more information on porch piracy and tips to prevent it, check out the accompanying resource.

Author bio: Jerry McSorley is the owner of Eye Trax, the leading provider of solar-powered wireless outdoor security cameras. After working many years within the construction industry, McSorley needed a way to monitor and secure his multiple construction sites. Combining his mechanical engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and extensive business owner experience, he invented an innovative surveillance camera system.

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Quick Tile Removal – Done Right

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Removing tiles can be quite a time-taking and hectic process, especially if you’re doing it on your own. The reason for removing them can vary on your requirements. It can be due to a crack in your tiles, the fact that your kitchen or washroom tiles are too slippery, or just because you need some change in the old-school design of tiles already installed in your home. Either way, the need for changing your kitchen, room, or washroom tiles can occur more than once. And due to this, it’s common for anyone to consider doing the work themselves.

Considering this, it can be a huge struggle – unless you’re a professional or have done tiles removal work before. The reason for this struggle can be either that you’re entirely unfamiliar with the tools and the right way of using them, or because of how hectic and time-taking the task can be. It can take around a whole day for you to remove your home’s tiles – on your own! And in case you’re a total novice at this, then you can simply increase the time-frame according to your knowledge level.

But hey? This doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with the same old broken and dull tiles. Simply because you always have the option of searching for the right tools and trying it – the right way! Now to help you out, let’s discover the tools needed to remove tiles.

Necessary Tools:

Now when it comes to discovering the tools for removing tiles, there are plenty out there that might come in handy. But in the list of all those numerous amounts of tools, you might simply end up getting confused about what to invest in and what are the essential tools needed. You need to understand that the process of removing tiles can consist of different types of small jobs. Therefore, each of these jobs will require various tools, whether it’s in terms of the hand tools or the power tools.

However, we’ve got you covered with a list of tools that are indeed needed. They include:

  • Chisel or air hammer with a chisel set
  • Scraper
  • Painters’ tape
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Long-handled floor scraper
  • Shop-Vac
  • Shovel and buckets
  • Screwdriver
  • Tarps and plastic wrap

Once you’ve gathered all these tools, you can be sure to effectively manage the process of removing tiles on your own – thanks to the right tools.

The Easy Way Out!

Now even if you’ve planned to start removing your room tiles on your own, the time and physical effort it will consume is hard to keep up with. Therefore, you might end up losing the dedication to continue removing all the tiles yourself.

To handle this situation, there’s always an easy way out to remove all the tiles quickly. This simply refers to hiring professionals to remove the remaining or all of the tiles for you. Now the cost of hiring these services ultimately depends upon the removal area and the type of service you’re looking for. Either way, the right professionals can help you remove all the tiles easily, in less time, and in a professional manner (without damaging anything on the surrounding).

This way, you can save your efforts and make that energy-draining task a lot more relaxing and comfortable to fulfill. So there’s no need to worry about not having the tiles removed rightly – even if you give up in the middle!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by John Loo

Four Home Repair Activities to Tackle in September

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Winter can be an exciting season. The reason behind this is that it gives you a much-needed break from professional life, and you get to spend quality time with the family. However, sometimes winter could be a pain in the neck if you are not on top of the home-repair activities. That is why we recommend sparing some time to winterize your home beforehand. That way, you will not only be able to enjoy the Christmas holidays uninterrupted but might also save money by doing timely repairs.  

Without any further ado, let’s unveil five critical home maintenance tasks that top the do list for September:   

1. Inspect Roof   

Most homeowners would budge away from inspecting the roof in summer because the inspection might not prove to be a pleasant experience under the scorching sun. That is why September is regarded as hands down the ideal time for this purpose. Since September is the beginning of fall, one does not have to keep up hot or cold weather. It is a perfect month for undertaking any short-term or long-term project related to your roof. 

Being outsiders, a fair proportion of the general public does not know how to go about the roof inspection. If you happen to be among one of them, we recommend you to subscribe to the following instructions:  

  • Look into the shape of shingles: The extreme weather condition could twist or buckle the shingles. If shingles are out of the form, they will not deter water from breaking into the house. A single buckled shingle could wreak havoc to the entire roof or property for that matter. So you have to be very watchful. In case you can't reach a clear judgment, invite roof experts for thorough scrutiny.
  • Have a look at flashing: From all the different roof parts, flashing is arguably the most vulnerable to water. It must be kept in a pristine condition to avoid any mishap down the road. Bring your ladder as close as possible to flashing for a proper drill down. Occasionally, an overwhelming number of trees around the house could hinder the appropriate examination of flashing. There are several tree services, but you can go for tree service in Austin, TX, to deal with the trouble if you live near Texas.
  • Check crawl spaces: As soon as you finish assessing the roof from outside, turn your attention to crawl spaces. It is pertinent to arm yourself with a quality torch so that nothing skips your attention.

2. Fix Leaky Faucets

A vast majority of America gets exposed to an enormously cold climate in winter. Some of the areas even observe below-freezing temperatures for 36 nights per year on average. A dripping faucet is likely to pave the way for severe plumbing issues in such weather. 

It does not take much to identify whether a faucet is leaking or not. Just turn it on and off multiple times, and you will get a clear indication of what is wrong. Remember, all the faucets’ repairs are not the same. From springs to knobs, from valve seats to worn cam washers, anything could require fixation. No matter what the defect may be, repairing a leaky faucet usually costs up to 100 dollars. 

If the amount somehow falls outside your budget, you may consider wearing a DIY hat. An online step-by-step guide can assist you in resolving this issue.  

3. Replace Siding    

Siding goes through a lot of wear and tear across the year. Resultantly, it becomes susceptible to cracking, and at times you are left with no other options but to install a new one. Construction experts cite various reasons to replace siding in September. 

For example, the perfect installation of siding is not possible in hot weather. It is particularly true for vinyl siding, made of plastic, which could be defenseless in the face of rising temperatures. Similarly, winter chill might end up shrinking the siding panels, significantly if the temperature drops to under 50 degrees. The cold weather is also prone to make the siding a touch too fragile. 

As far as September is concerned, it is the beginning of the fall. Hence, the said temperature problems barely cause any inconvenience throughout the installation process.  

4. Organize Garage 

The garage is one of the messiest portions of the house. Nearly 33% of Americans admit their garage is so out of order that they keep its door closed to avoid embarrassment. But things change in winter. It gets incredibly problematic for people to park cars outside when the snow, rain, and ice are all over the place. Their combination could be very lethal to promote rust. 

That is where a clean garage can make a difference. Thus, make it a point to organize your garage in September and keep your car at a safe distance from the damage.     

The Takeaway Message 

Indeed, September marks the end of hot and humid summer days. But before losing yourself in the chilly evenings of September, make sure you pay attention to the home mentioned above, repair chores. If not, you are all set to face the music in winter.  

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What is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Paints?

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We all know that paints add color to blank surfaces. These surfaces can be found inside and outside our houses. Now, before you go grabbing buckets of paint or calling folks that offer painting services to make them colorful, here are some things you need to know: 

What’s in a Paint?

Paints are composed of resins, solvents, additives, and pigments. Latex paint has water as its solvent while its counterpart in oil-based paints is mineral spirits. In case you’re wondering what solvent does to paints, it keeps it wet enough to make it easy for us to use them. When the paint dries, the solvent evaporates and all that's left are the additives, pigments, and resins. 

The pigment is responsible for giving the paint its rich color. Resin, which can be made of silicone, epoxy, or acrylic, is what binds paint to the surface. The additives are what gives paint special properties like easy cleaning and application, or resistance to mildew.

Interior Paints

Paints used for different purposes have different properties. This is why it’s important to use interior paints for indoor painting and exterior paints for the outdoors.

Interior paints are formulated to resist stain and make for easy cleaning and scrubbing. Most of them are also water-based, since odor is a factor that needs to be eliminated when painting indoors. They also contain few to none volatile organic compounds (VOC) – toxins that can cause severe lung damage to people who are exposed to them for a long time. Although the VOCs present in interior paints are low in number, it’s still important to keep the windows and doors open when using them for proper ventilation and to avoid suffocation. 

Exterior Paints

Natural elements like water, wind, and sun can cause damage to exterior paints. They’re also prone to fading mildew which is why they contain a lot of VOCs. The last thing you want to happen to a painting service that is done perfectly is to them crack and peel off weeks after.

The application of exterior paints need to be done in moderation. You need to wait for 48 hours after applying to first layer for the VOCs to completely exude before adding the second layer. Once that is done, you need to wait for another 48 hours to add the third layer, and another 48 hours for the next one.

There are also paints that can be used for indoor and outdoor purposes. This is fine, but we highly suggest that you seek help from a professional before using them. The amount of VOCs present in each brand varies, which means the “dual-purpose” line on the label may be for marketing purposes only. Paints, especially the ones that are of good quality, can also be a bit pricey. Professional painters can help you look for paints that are worth investing in. They can also give you tips on how to prepare before, during, and after application.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Warren Long


DIY House Moves: How To Pull Off The Right House Move

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If you’re planning a house move, congratulations! Now’s the best time to move into your dream home - or a home closer to your work and your kids’ schools. Regardless of your reasons, a house move can become an amazing way to start a new chapter in your life and show the world how you can become whatever you want to be. Thing is, performing a house move is much easier said than done - but not impossible. In fact, you may be able to DIY your house move and make it into a fun project you and the family can participate in! Here are some quick steps on how you can DIY your house moves and pull off the best house move you’ll ever have: 

  • Submit the right documentation as soon as possible. Before you perform any of the specific DIY things here, try to submit the necessary documentation to the necessary offices as soon as possible. For instance, you may need to file the right documents to get access to utilities and the right housing permits. If possible, try to ask whether you can submit your details digitally so you don’t have to leave the house. And if you do leave the house, try to multitask! And speaking of…
  • Multitask whenever you have to leave the home. Time is of the essence when performing a move. As such, if possible, try to multitask whenever you leave the house. Depending on your moving calendar, try to check off as many items on your list as possible whenever you leave the home. For instance, if you’re already visiting your new neighborhood to file some documents or check on your new home, try to take pictures of your new house as reference for your inventory. Moreover, perhaps you can go on a detour to the hardware store to buy some packing materials before you go home.
  • Create a digital inventory for the family. If possible, try to make your house inventory digitally, so everyone can plug in their details without any hassle. That way, you can access your necessary inventory files on the cloud and check which items belong in which room without having to scour notes. Moreover, this allows you to allocate duties for everyone in the family - for instance, your kids might be in charge of packing and unpacking their own rooms, as well as plugging items in their sheet in the inventory.
  • Always label things when you pack them. Once you’ve started packing your things, make sure you always label the boxes with what’s inside as well. That way, you won’t get lost whenever you try to find certain items within those boxes. If possible, try to take pictures of the boxes themselves so you can look at them from your phone or gadget whenever you want to try to find a specific item. That way, you won’t need to panic or scour through boxes whenever you can’t find that particular favorite shirt. 
  • Allocate packing days per room. If possible, try not to panic and conduct just one day for the entire packing session. In fact, that particular day you want to allocate for the move should be for final preparations, and not for a rush job. As such, you should try to allocate specific days so you can focus on packing certain rooms - that way, you can better remember exactly where you’ve placed things, and you can slowly try to put packing boxes in a single location instead of just scattering them outside the house. This also avoids any unnecessary loss of items.
  • Hire a moving truck for an entire week. If possible, instead of hiring a moving truck for a particular set of days, try to secure an entire week for your moving truck. That way, you’re sure that you always have a truck to rely on to transport your things whatever happens throughout the entire moving timeline. This also ensures that you always have more than enough space (and time) to make any return trips as necessary to get more stuff at home or to fit more stuff in the space provided by the truck.
  • Ask professional help for specific services. Just because you want to perform a DIY move doesn’t mean you can’t completely ask for any form of assistance. In fact, just because you can hire professionals such as a moving company doesn’t mean you need to depend entirely on them for the move. For instance, a lot of moving companies actually offer specific house moving services in order to accommodate your needs. Thanks to these services, you may be able to hire them for specialized things that can’t be DIY’d easily, such as proper loading in trucks or unloading various boxes into your new home.
  • Organize a moving timeline according to your routine. Remember, if you’re making a moving timeline, always make sure it follows your daily routine and not the other way around. That way, you can make sure that only  days such as days off, paid leaves, or even allocated free times are spent on your move. This system also helps you avoid missing out on work tasks and other obligations so you won’t jeopardize your academics and/or your career. As such, try to also talk with your superiors or your teachers in order to see whether they'll be able to help provide you with much-needed time so you can pull off your move properly and without any hassle. 

DIY Your House Move: Conquer The Moving Timeline!

With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that it’s completely possible to perform a house move on your own terms and DIY it like any other house project. In fact, with the above tips, you may be able to have an amazing time with your house move - from planning your actual move, to performing the move itself on move day, and even settling in with your family. Thanks to the above tips, you’ll be able to conquer your house move and have a more delightful time with your family after you push through with your move in no time at all.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Forrest Wheatey


House Move Tips For Newbies

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Moving for the first time can be a daunting experience. Given all the things that need to be done, you should know what to do to ensure a successful move for everyone involved. Typically, a house move for newbies can be quite hard to come by, but it doesn’t have to be. 

These tips will help you navigate the entire moving process without losing your mind along the way:

Create A Checklist

Moving can be stressful and without a checklist, you might lose track of all the tasks that you should do for the move. For newbies, you should have a moving checklist in place to guide you on what you should do to pull off a successful relocation. This checklist will include all the projects that need to be accomplished before the moving day. 

From finding the best interstate moving companies to packing all your stuff, all of these things should be listed down in your checklist. That way, you can quickly complete everything before the big day arrives. 

Declutter

One good idea to do for your house move is to go through your closets, drawers, and cabinets. Take a look at all the stuff that’s not being used, and sort it out. A lot of people throw out things that aren’t really needed, or they just can’t find a use for any of the items. If you don’t have much space to put your belongings, consider using boxes and storage bins instead of boxes and hampers. You can  keep your stuff more organized, and if you want to find something to replace some things, you can do so in the future.

When you’re sorting your items out, you should also consider using a cart to transport them. A cart can save space and money, because the things can be stacked until you run out of space. You can also place them on their side, which makes it easier to clean up. By decluttering, you can make the packing process less tedious for newbies like you. 

Start Packing As Early As Possible

It’s important to start packing when you know where and when you’re going to move. Make sure you start packing as early as possible, because moving can get stressful and you might not be sure what’s going to happen. You can still work with your current landlord or renter to help you out in case you’re moving within your apartment building. This will help you get some time off from work and make sure everything goes as planned. 

Additionally, it’s also wise to book yourself a moving truck or hire reliable cross country movers before moving day. Typically, it’s best to work with professionals because you can save money since they’ll take care of everything that has something to do with your move. 

Clear The Area Around Your Old Home Before The Move

Another tip for house move for newbies is to clear the area around your home before moving day. Make sure you clear any storage spaces under the house that you don't have to take care of when moving. If you live in a small apartment or a studio, you’ll probably have to put up with a lot of stuff. Make sure you make the most of this space by putting furniture in an area where there’s no other clutter.

Also, make sure you clear the attic, basement, and stairs well in advance. You’ll need to move all the furniture that’s not being used, which is most likely your bed, bedding, nightstands, and tables. If your flooring isn’t in top condition, you may also need to sweep and vacuum it out. Aside from early packing, this can also be a great way to keep yourself organized throughout the relocation journey. 

Takeaway

Indeed, moving to a new house can be overwhelming to beginners like you. But, you have nothing to worry about because there are ways that can help you make your first move a great success. 

So, if you’re planning a house relocation anytime soon, keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a hassle-free moving experience even for your first time. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Forrest Wheatey


Seven Benefits: Hiring Competent Carpet Cleaning

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Carpets are a vital part of our home decor. They act as a source of comfort and coziness while keeping our home warm as well. But similar to every other item, carpets are prone to getting dirty and require cleaning after a set period. Although DIY cleaning the carpet is possible, you may not be able to clean it adequately without the right equipment. Therefore, here are some benefits to consider hiring a competent carpet cleaning company. 

Fewer Health Concerns

Maintaining a carpet’s cleanliness is crucial from a health standpoint. If left uncleaned, these carpets are likely to harbor dirt and serve as a breeding ground for microbes. Carpeted floors are also known for trapping fungi, dust mites. Having pets makes this even worse. If you or your co-workers experience an allergic reaction with an increase in sick days, it is high time to have your carpet cleaned. 

While equipped with modern technology and detergents, professional cleaners will make your life easier and safer. Therefore, hiring professionals will ensure overall employee wellness.

Productivity

Life in the US can be stressful, especially in states like Idaho. An unclean and orderly environment is likely to kill the productivity of your workspace. The employees, and you, are susceptible to get affected negatively by such circumstances. Cleaning the carpet yourself would be disruptive and tedious. So, what do you do? 

Our advice would be to hire the professionals experienced in such situations. Professional cleaners will allow the employees to focus on work while cleaning the carpet without disrupting the workspace. Moreover, being an Idaho resident, it would do you well to look for carpet cleaning services in Post Falls.

Skills and Experience

DIY carpet cleaning is always a hit or miss. Going off on a whim and cleaning with whatever you may deem fit is most owners' mindset. However, this mindset does not warrant the damage your carpet may suffer, let alone cleaning it appropriately. The durability is likely to decrease if dealt inadequately. 

Carpets are an expensive accessory for your home décor. Conserving them and managing to improve their lifespan is what all owners aim to achieve. Professional cleaners have the right skills and experience required to deal with all kinds of carpets. 

Time and Cost-Efficient

Professional carpet cleaners can clean carpets for a low cost and in a short amount of time. On the other hand, trying to clean carpets on your own is a mundane and time-consuming task. None of us have the time and patience to undertake such chores. 

Modern technology has made the tedious process rather effortless. Considering many owners are unlikely to buy the latest equipment, hiring the staff with those tools is also one way of going about it. Professional cleaners are known for their efficiency. 

Detergents

Similar to clothing and fabrics, carpets require the correct cleaning method based on its material and texture. Thus, the detergents and chemicals used for cleaning the carpet will affect its lifespan, for better or worse. Individuals use random and cheap detergents to clean their carpets. Not only does this harm the carpet, but it is also a health risk considering the detergent is unable to clean the carpet effectively. 

Carpet cleaners have extensive knowledge of detergents. They are easily capable of assessing the carpet and suggesting the appropriate detergents for it.

Professional Advice

Although the primary reason for hiring cleaners is to clean your carpet, there is another reason for doing so. Professional carpet cleaners will provide you with numerous tips and tricks to maintain the carpet's tidiness. Moreover, this will ultimately result in fewer occasions for you to clean your carpet. 

As mentioned before, the longevity of your carpets is imperative. The advice offered by the cleaners will do just that. The cleaners will also teach you how to light clean the carpet, free of cost.  

Eco-Friendly 

With environmental concerns rising with each passing day, it has become challenging to identify what products to use. Residents and business owners alike are still using products that threaten the environment and their workspace. Blaming the owners would be immature considering their lack of knowledge and expertise in the said field. However, professional cleaners use eco-friendly products, putting neither your workers nor the environment at risk.

Conclusion

Professional carpet cleaning has become a necessity in our lives. It is essential to preserve a healthy lifestyle at home while keeping the workspace productive and trouble-free. Therefore, instead of risking either of the aspects, it is crucial to hire individuals skilled in their work line. Professionals offer unparalleled cleaning at affordable rates, so why not give them a try?

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Things You Should Consider If You Want to Build a House

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Many people dream of building a house to completion. There is that satisfactory feeling of building your home from the ground up. Good things tend to have a story behind them. It is fair to note that there is a long process involved in building a home, and you must be ready to experience it. There is a lot that comes into play when building your home. Those who might be doing it for the first have a lot to learn. It is unwise to get into something without at least learning a few things to expect. Luckily, you are going to learn some useful tips on what to expect when building a house here.

Planning

Before doing anything, it is essential to make a plan. The process of building a house should not be taken lightly. You need to understand that there is a lot you need to consider. Many people tend to make the mistake of not planning. Those who construct a building while making changes and adjustments along the way tend to regret it in the end. You need to get your plan going before doing anything else. The plan should include everything to be done until the house is completed. You should begin by looking at the plans that might interest you online. Doing so will help you create a reliable and effective plan. To make a great plan, you should consider seeking advice from an expert in the field. For an expert opinion, you should visit this website and make your home-owning dream come true.

Budget for More

Unfortunately, money tends to be a crucial issue when it comes to building a house. It is essential to prepare yourself financially before embarking on the project. Most people who build their homes tend to spend more than they initially planned, and this is because many items tend not to be included in the initial budget. They may include electrical cables and furniture. The prices of things like timber may increase. It is wise to have more money on hand in case you need it. Those who don't budget for more than they expect to end up getting frustrated when they can’t meet the demand for more cash.

Choose the Right Builder

The builder you choose will determine how your house will look. Picking a builder for the project is one of the most crucial decisions you will make. It is essential to choose someone with a great personality. This is crucial because you will have to communicate with the builder for a long period as the house is being constructed. Before choosing a builder, it is critical to ensure that the person has good credentials and also make a point of checking his or her past work. The style of the house you intend to have will also determine the type of builder you choose. A good way to find a builder is to ask your friends or other people who have successfully constructed quality houses.

Conclusion

The process of building a home is not always easy. Make sure to consider the tips above when you are building your home.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Bob Dass


Quick Fixes for a Broken Toilet

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A broken toilet can rank anywhere from a minor inconvenience (if you have multiple bathrooms), to a major emergency (if you’re a one-bathroom household). Even if the broken toilet isn’t one that you use regularly, small plumbing problems can quickly become big disasters if they aren’t properly repaired right away. Luckily, toilets can be one of the simpler plumbing fixtures for homeowners to troubleshoot and repair.

While most residential toilets have the same components and setup, not every toilet is the same, so these fixes might not apply to your situation. If you have any concerns about making the repair yourself, contact a plumbing expert in your area for help.

Here are some common problems with residential toilets that you can troubleshoot on your own.

Toilet Not Flushing

If you push the handle to flush the toilet and nothing happens, then there’s a problem with the hardware somewhere inside the tank. Most commonly, the problem is a simple result of chain disconnecting between the handle and the other flushing components. If that’s the case, you only need to reattach or replace the connection between the handle and the valve, and the problem should be solved. 

If there’s nothing wrong with that connection, then your problem is likely with one of the other valves in the flushing system, which can be much more difficult to diagnose. In that case, you’ll want to review the specific instructions from your toilet’s manufacturer to determine how to proceed. If you don’t want to spend the time required to troubleshoot the problem, an experienced plumber will likely be able to find and repair the problem quickly.

Clogs

Ah, the dreaded clog. Although clogs are extremely common in residential toilets, they often appear at the worst, most embarrassing times. If you have a plunger nearby, you’ll be able to resolve most clogs without too much fuss. However, if the clog is especially stubborn, or if you are having issues with repeated clogs, there may be a more significant problem with your sewer line. In that case, it’s best to call out a plumber who can auger the line to clear out any obstructions that could be causing the problem.

Slow or Incomplete Flushes

If your toilet bowl empties slowly or doesn’t flush all the way, it might be a result of clogged holes under the rim of the bowl. This is most commonly caused by hard water deposits or a build up of cleaning agents under the rim. The simplest solution to get water flowing quickly again is to clean out the holes using wire and a mirror. Be careful not to scratch the bowl with the wire. Damaging the porcelain can cause more problems in the long run.

Toilet Constantly Running

A toilet that’s constantly running can waste thousands of gallons of water and add hundreds of dollars to your utility bills. The most common reason for a continuously running toilet is a flapper that isn’t sealing properly against the opening of the flush valve. Replacing the flapper is usually a simple and inexpensive fix to the problem. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, it’s possible that the water level in the tank is too high and is causing water to constantly flow over the overfill tube. If so, adjusting the water level on the refill valve should take care of the problem.

Phantom Flushes

Similar to a toilet that’s always running, phantom flushes, or spontaneous flushes occur when the toilet seems to flush on its own. This is almost always caused by a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl. This problem is also usually associated with the flapper not sealing firmly. Check the flapper and the flapper seat to find the problem and correct it quickly.

Water Leaks

Just like any plumbing fixture, toilets can develop water leaks in a variety of places. Leaks in different areas can be fixed with varying degrees of difficulty. For example, a leak at the shutoff or supply line is usually easily resolved by replacing a washer or another basic part. Leaks from the tank or base of the toilet can be significantly more complicated to troubleshoot and repair. For example, a leak at the base of the toilet will require the entire toilet to be uninstalled to find the source and repair the leak. Although removing a toilet doesn’t have to be complicated, it may be a more extensive plumbing repair than you want to take on yourself. In that case, you should find a local plumbing expert to help.

Getting Help With a Broken Toilet

Whether your bathroom toilet needs a simple flapper repair or a completely new toilet installed, getting expert assistance with your plumbing problems is always a good idea if you’re at all uncertain of your skills. Incorrect plumbing fixes can lead to water leaks which can result in severe damage to your home over time. In addition, leak toilets can create serious health hazards, if the water leaking from the toilet contains human waste. Instead of taking the risk, consider calling the experts

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Steps to Take in Planning Your First DIY Project

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So you’re a homeowner and you’re ready to tackle that first major DIY project. Whether you’ve been inspired by HGTV or something you saw on Pinterest, or simply a desire to get your hands dirty and make the place your own, starting your first DIY project can be very exciting and more than a little overwhelming. If you’ve never done a major DIY project, it can be easy to overestimate the simplicity of the project and underestimate the costs. All of that can add up to a project that drags on for weeks or months, instead of the simple weekend makeover you had planned.

In order to avoid that fate and get your project done right, here are the steps to take in planning your first DIY project.

Decide on the Scope

So, you’ve decided to dive in and do your first big DIY project. Your first step will be to decide on the scope of the project. If you’ve ever watched a remodel show on cable, you know how quickly projects and costs can creep out of control, so it’s always best to start with a solid plan and scope. Here are some important issues to consider when deciding the scope of any DIY project.

Budget

One of the most important decisions to make when planning a DIY project is how much you’re willing and able to spend on the project. Try to consider all aspects of the project when completing your budget. You’ll need to purchase materials and tools and account for ancillary costs like demolition and disposal, permits, etc. You’ll also want to include a contingency to account for unexpected expenses that crop up. The size of the contingency will depend on the size of your project, but should be at least ten percent of the total project cost.

Project Size

Once you’ve started on a DIY project, it can be very easy to let it creep in scope while you’re working. For example, a simple project to replace a bathroom vanity can turn into a full bathroom remodel after you decide to replace the flooring while you have the vanity out. Do yourself a favor and stick as close to your originally planned project as possible.

It’s true that not every possible pitfall can be anticipated. For example, you may take out that vanity and discover a water leak which necessitates the replacement of drywall, flooring and/or pipes. However, you should do your best to stick to your original plan and complete other wishlist items in future projects. There’s no better way to sour on do-it-yourself work than to have a project drag on for months because you keep adding things to your To Do list.

Timeline

Watching experts complete a project on television or on YouTube can give you an unreasonable expectation of the timeline it will take you to complete a similar project. Be sure to pad your expectations and give yourself plenty of time to finish the project before diving in.

Extra Help

Are you going to need an extra pair of hands for lifting heavy fixtures into place, installing drywall or any other parts of the project? Will you need to schedule experts to help with plumbing, electrical, concrete or other major structural work? Be sure to schedule your project so that it aligns correctly with any help you might need.

Contingency

What’s your Plan B? If a major problem crops up or your skills aren’t up to finishing the project, what’s your backup plan? Will you call in professionals to finish the job? Or can you leave it unfinished until you have more time and money to complete it? With DIY projects, it’s always a good idea to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Educate Yourself

Although enthusiasm is a great asset for DIY projects, you’re going to need to back it up with some real know-how. Educate yourself with any available resources you have access to, such as friends and family who are experts in the field, watching YouTube videos, and reading instructions from experts. When searching for how-tos online, be sure that the people you’re following actually are experts and are demonstrating safe and correct ways to get things done. Remember that anyone can post a video online, and it doesn’t mean that they’re doing something right. If you’re in doubt about how to do something, it’s always in your best interest to consult a local expert for advice.

Get Started

Now that you have a project plan in place and you’ve armed yourself with the knowledge to do the job, it’s time to get started. Do your best to gather all of your supplies and tools beforehand. This will reduce the need for multiple trips to the hardware store while you’re working, which can put a serious dent in your project timeline. You’ll want to begin by preparing the area where you intend to work to ensure that no unintended areas will be damaged and that the dirt and debris don’t get into non-construction areas. Taking before and after pictures is a great way to document your progress and show off your skills when the project is completed.

Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of a big DIY project? Or started something that you don’t have time to finish? You might just be better off getting some help from the experts in home repair and renovation. With a professional plumber or electrician on your side, things can get a whole lot easier.

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Ursula LeGuin’s gorgeous Berkeley Maybeck home for sale

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From the listing:

Located in North Berkeley among architecturally significant homes and prominently sited at 1325 Arch Street, this 5-BD Swiss Chalet-style house was designed by Bernard Maybeck in 1906, a true architectural jewel. Shielded from the street, a wisteria-covered arbor greets you as you enter. Filled with the brilliance of its heritage and the beauty of natural materials, it has been restored with exceptional attention to its lustrous originality while blending modern features and amenities. Spaces for gathering and other rooms for private contemplation blend throughout. Redwood interiors, wraparound balconies, private flourishing garden, & magnificent views to SF, Golden and Bay Bridges & Mt. Tamalpais. The feeling of union with the environment can be experienced throughout. The suppleness of the wood, anchored with copper nails, can best be appreciated as the sun flows in through the many windows and doors. The flourishing garden offers a private portal to flora & fauna of surrounding lush landscape.

Anyone know who updated the wood? Parts look more modern, although they certainly match Maybeck’s original interior & intent. Looks like it could have been Kip Mesirow or another Berkeley woodworker of a similar aesthetic & high level of skill.


A Guide to Making Your Move Less Stressful

Are you relocating to a new city, or perhaps moving to a different neighborhood? Either way, planning and executing a move is always a stressful experience. Aside from the emotional stress associated with transitioning to a new home, you have to combat physical exhaustion and fatigue.

You have to disassemble all your furniture and fixtures, pack your delicate antiques and decoratives, and streamline thousands of chores. Many approaches can make the entire process less stressful and exhausting. In this article, we will help you plan and execute a smooth move without the overwhelming bouts of stress.

Here, take a look:

MAKE A CHECKLIST

Making a checklist is the first and foremost step in planning a stress-free move. Be sure to create a binder to hold your checklists and other notes and reminders. Your list must contain all the big and small tasks that need to be planned and executed. A list will assist you to stay on track with your milestones and ensure that you don’t forget anything.

SETTING PRIORITIES

Shifting to a new place comes with many changes and transformations. Most homeowners consider decluttering and prioritizing the fixtures and furniture they want to take with them. If you have invested in a fully-furnished home, or one that comes with appliances, you will have to declutter efficiently.

If you are living in the Southern United States or nearby and want to rent space, there are plenty of options available for storage in Grand Prairie, TX. It is a viable solution for homeowners who seek safety and affordability. If you’re planning an interstate move, renting a storage space to store your appliances and fixtures is a great solution.

HIRING PROFESSIONALS

Many homeowners consider the DIY route to save money, but it ends up being highly inefficient and horridly burdensome. A move requires a great deal of labor, aside from packing and storing items. You will have to move heavy furniture and appliances, which can also lead to injuries if handled ineffectively.

On the other hand, hiring professional movers will allow you to sit back and relax while they manage all the chores. It gives you peace of mind needed to plan an efficient move and make a smooth transition to your new home. If you’re worried about the costs, consider exploring options that allow affordability. Movers will not only pack and transport your belongings, but they will also help with installation and settling in.

ROOM-BY-ROOM APPROACH

Most homeowners take a haphazard approach towards packing, which lacks structure and strategy. It is ideal for working with a room-by-room approach and beginning with the rooms that are least needed. Until the very last day, you will need one master bedroom and a functional kitchen. It is ideal to start with rooms that do not directly support your lifestyles, such as the basement or attic.

You can streamline the packing strategy by starting with your decoratives, antiques, and photographs. Then, gradually work your way towards fixtures, furnishing, clothing, bedding, and other items. If your new home is nearby, consider transporting small items by car and installing your appliances and fixtures beforehand. It would help you make a smooth transition as your fixtures and appliances will be ready to use.

COLOR-COORDINATING & LABELLING

Labeling and color coordinating boxes is a great strategy to ensure efficiency and eliminate errors. By labeling delicate and easily-damaged items, you can ensure that they move with care. More importantly, you won’t have to open every single box to find that one item you urgently need.

It would help if you create a list of items packed within each box and paste that list on the box. It will help you prevent theft or misplacing certain things. With this approach, you can pack up each room and furnish each room when you arrive at your new home.

Conclusion

 

Moving is a stressful and exhausting endeavor, but if you plan it with a solid strategy, you can make it easier. It is crucial to avoid overloading yourself with stress and burdens so that you can begin your new journey with positivity. All that matters is making a smooth transition in your new home, and nothing should jeopardize that. Being overworked and exhausted with steal the joy of moving to your new home.

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What to Take Into Account When Moving Your Business to a New Country

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Have you ever thought about why organizations think about expansion despite risks? These risks can be about finances, ruined attempts, or business fallout. But still, they go ahead with their plans, proceeding to materialize them. They do so despite the threat of a recession, workforce mishandling, or worksite accidents. They do it because they realize that not capitalizing on a situation will deprive them of an opportunity. Worse, not expanding may carry the risk of losing existing ground in the longer run.

However, this doesn't mean that they throw all caution to the wind and make their move haphazardly. Instead, the organizations calculate their approach well and take steps cautiously. They even hire the staff that can take care of the entire process. The owners also draw out contingency plans and plan on minimizing probable damage. In simpler words, they find out about the things that they should consider when moving business to a new location. Informed decisions bring substantial results.

When that location is a new country, we need to take things in a more calculated way. In addition to the things mentioned above, we also need to take care of the local demographics and facts. It's a significant task from local hiring to renting storage and buying of equipment to legal fulfillment. However, that's what we will assist you within this article. We will put forth the things you need to be careful about when making your move. So, let's begin. 

  • The Business Plan

You will need to devise and evolve a sound business plan to ensure that your new move turns out to be a success. A business policy is your policy document, and you try to make it a reality. And when you craft the plan, you will need to organize meetings with the stakeholders and colleagues. It will ensure that it comprises all the essential elements and doesn't miss out on any. It is at this point that your expansion move can be either successful or unsuccessful. That is because evolving a plan is half of the job.

  • Financial Factors

Every success plan needs to take into account the monetary issues. If we don't calculate the costs of shifting, the strategy could eventually backfire. It is essential that we sit down, have a careful look at our existing budget, and estimate the upcoming expenses. When we say finances, then we mean a lot more, such as taxes and levies. So, let's be mindful and include them in the plan. 

  • Workforce Hire

One of the most important things to consider is the hiring of the workforce locally. Understandably, we cannot move all existing workforce to a new country. Instead, we will need to plan the stages we will be employing local talent.  And, it is wise to start looking for potential employees long before we make our move.

  • Marketing Plan

By all means, every good business owner will craft a plan to market themselves and the business. It is imperative to stand the competition in the new country and gradually generate revenue. A marketing plan begins with networking online and offline and organizing brand awareness events.

  • Client Impact

In a new country, we will have to create new clients and reach the modern marketplace with a substantial impact. We can only gauge our success if we have a sound strategy to win over clients and become familiar with our product. It is the clients and their recommendations that can enable us to continue winning. 

Final Word

Moving to a new city location is an uphill task, let alone moving to a state or a country, per se. It is essential to play out in advance and carve out a plan that comprises all necessary elements above. We can only expect the success of a project if we have things in place and working.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Quintin Gellar


Nine Tips to Consider When Remodeling Your Home

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Are you tired of the old structure of your house? Well, a home remodeling session can help you enjoy a different appearance of your house in no time. Wouldn’t it be fun to have your old house remodeled into a better and more relaxing place? Amidst all other changes in your life, bring a few changes to your living place too. It deserves some betterment and retouches. The idea is exhilarating, but it can exhaust you until the remodeling is complete. Ideally, you should get help from experts for home remodeling and give the best retouch to your house. Innovative, trendy, and eye-catching ideas come bouncing out of the pros’ heads. With their remarkable skills, you can get a finely remodeled home in no time. 

Apart from all the hiring and innovative ideas, have you ever wondered about how to begin this process? The majority of people do not know about remodeling and end up messing up their place. If you want to avoid all these problems, make sure you have sufficient information about home remodeling before getting started. The year 2020 has been a rollercoaster, and the construction sector has faced millions of ups and downs as well. Acquiring knowledge about remodeling, interior design, and renovation has become essential more than ever. The trends are continually changing, and you need some tips before beginning the remodeling adventure. Do you want to lay your hands on some of the finest remodeling tips and ideas? Then here is what you must know. 

  • GET A TEMPORARY PLACE TO STAY FIRST

Living in a place under construction is stressful and may lead to anxiety. The best way to avoid any problems in living peacefully, you can opt for temporary housing solutions until remodeling is complete. These houses provide shelter and all other necessities to spend your time comfortably, and the best time to benefit from them is home remodeling. 

  • DO RESEARCH ON THE PROJECT 

Since you have made up your mind and acquired a temporary place to stay, you need to perform research on the project first. Do you need a full house remodeling or remaking one or two rooms would do the trick? Your analysis must encompass all possible parameters for effective plan execution.

  • PLAN PROPERLY 

Planning is vital for any new step in your life, and remodeling should not be plan-free. Start planning from the area that needs the utmost attention. Shortlist the renowned names in the remodeling business and hire the best according to your requirements. Enlist everything that you wish to do and double-check before starting. Remember, your efficient planning can result in a fantastic experience. 

  • BUDGET IS VITAL TO CONSIDER

Breaking the bank is not a wise choice for a remodeling session. You must be sure about the expenditure, and if the expenses are incredibly high, it is better to drop the idea for now. Small ups and downs in the budget are expected since the market is unpredictable, but you must keep a margin for that as well. 

  • HOME DYNAMICS 

Have you thought about your family, dynamics, and needs during planning? If not, then prioritize this step at all costs. Planning the remodeling phase according to your home dynamics or family needs is essential. Otherwise, someone might lose their study space, or the bathroom may shrink in size. 

  • SPACE-SAVING SOLUTIONS ARE IMPORTANT 

Insufficient space is common in every household these days. Since you are already planning on improving the look of your house, why not add some extra space to it? You can add more cabinets in the kitchen, and sconces can help you with the messy bedroom. You can also remodel the ceiling height for a spacious look. A few shelves may be enormous, so divide them into two and save loads of space. 

  • CHANGES IN WALLS 

Dull paint of the walls can make you feel tired in no time. Never forget to change the color of the walls during the remodeling of the house. Switch to different shades of the same color or try a vibrant color for one of the rooms this time.

Wall cracks are something many homeowners have to deal with. It is difficult to tell if a wall crack needs repair or not, but a foundation repair professional can provide you a complete solution. These wall cracks could be the initial stages of potential foundation failure. It is important to inspect your home and walls to find any cracks or other signs of foundation failure early on.

  • DIFFERENT LIGHTS IN YOUR HOUSE 

Lighting has evolved magnificently over time, and you cannot imagine the innovative types of lights that are now available in the market. From pendant lights to mounted and semi-mounted lights, you have millions of options. Find out the latest lighting trends and give your house some different lighting this time. 

  • DIFFERENT UPHOLSTERY

Did you know that curtains and bedsheets are small items but have a massive influence on the appearance of your house? Not bringing significant changes to the entire house is acceptable, but you can always get some new upholstery, different curtains for the home and witness the transformation. You can also replace the decoration pieces for a different look. 

Conclusion

House remodeling is an exciting yet challenging idea which demands extra effort. You have to plan, execute, check, and redo whenever required. Consider thorough research, sound planning, budgeting, and the latest trends for the perfect remodeling experience. Meanwhile, you can stay comfortably in a temporary house. Remodeling does not mean you have to renew every corner of the house. Sometimes, minor changes can bring massive improvement in the overall appearance of the home. Be careful when you begin your remodeling journey.

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Some of the Repairs You Should Do When Moving Out

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Homes play a significant role in our lives. Many people tend to be excited when they finally move out. When moving out, you should not be too carried away by the events, especially if you are planning to sell the house. Those that have tried selling their homes know that it is a struggle. Only a few lucky homeowners have sold their homes with no challenges. There are things you may require to do to increase your chance of making a sale at a good price. Below are some of the repairs you should consider when moving out.

Holes in the Walls

Making a sale when moving things out of the home is challenging because of various reasons. The true condition of the house may have been hidden by some of the items inside. When the house is nearly empty, buyers are most likely to see the damages on the walls. The first repair you should consider doing is to patch any holes in your walls. Make sure you patch the holes neatly to the point that a buyer may not notice. No one will be willing to spend a lot of cash on a house with holes in the wall.

Paint

It is essential to make the house you wish to sell be captivating. It needs to capture the attention of potential buyers. Many people are informed to paint their homes if they want to make a quick sale. Well, a little fresh paint will be significant in helping you sell your home. However, this does not mean that you have to repaint the whole house. Repainting a room or two may be all it takes. Make sure that you choose a neutral color when painting. You should consider getting more useful info from a professional on the type of color and paint to use.

Cleaning

Making your home look presentable is crucial when selling it. You should make sure that you take your time cleaning the house. Every room should be clean and tidy. This will make potential buyers view the home feel welcomed and at home. You can even hire a professional to help you clean up the place. Things like cleaning up the carpet or hardwood floors may require extra attention and skills.

Fix Minor Plumbing Issues

There are some repairs you can comfortably do yourself, and this includes repairing minor plumbing issues. Make a point of checking if there is any leakage in the kitchen sink, and if there are any, try to fix it. Another place that may need a minor plumbing fix is the bathroom. Many people tend to focus on the bathroom when buying a home. If there is a major plumbing problem, you should call a plumbing expert to be on the safe side.

Conclusion

Though doing the repairs mentioned above will help you sell your home, you should also consider hiring an experienced real estate agent. You should also consider remodeling some of the rooms like the kitchen and master bedroom.

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Furnace Issues: Repair vs. Replace?

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In recent months, businesses in the home improvement industry have seen a spike in traffic due to consumers being home more than ever before. The Home Improvement Research Institute found with plans canceled many consumers have decided to focus on one area that is normally avoided, the needed repairs to their home. While summer slowly comes to a close, one of the projects on most people’s minds is their furnace and whether to repair or replace.  

For most consumers, the thought of replacing their entire HVAC system seems expensive, which makes it a project that is normally put off as long as possible. In most cases, a simple service inspection from an air conditioning company can fix any problems that you might be noticing. Some of the warning signs that repairs might be needed include the following.

  1. A dramatic increase in your energy bill. In most homes the furnace makes up the majority of the energy bill and when not correctly maintained it can cause a massive increase in your bill. Sometimes this increase can be caused by something simple and other times it can lead to a whole system replacement. By having an annual service visit you can help prevent this increase. 
  2. An abnormal amount of dust in your home. One component of your furnace is the filter. This helps to reduce the amount of dust that is present in the air within your home. By properly maintaining and replacing your filter you will be able to maintain clean air. 
  3. Abnormal or strange noises coming from your furnace. Furnaces are generally fairly quiet pieces of equipment within the home and therefore you should not be hearing popping, banging, scraping or screeching noises. Typically, these noises indicate that a part within the furnace is no longer working correctly. By calling a technician the problem can be quickly assessed and resolved. 

While repairs are the first line of defense against having your furnace go out on the coldest night, they are not always guaranteed. Each furnace model is slightly different from the others, however, on average a furnace will last about 15 years before needing to be replaced. As you move towards the colder nights of fall and winter it is a good time to think about the age of your furnace to prevent being without heat. Some other signs that your furnace is about to go out include the following.

  1. Carbon monoxide is being released into your home. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer within the homes which means that your furnace needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Carbon monoxide is released from the furnace when the combustion chamber within the unit cracks. This is not something that can be fixed and results in a whole unit replacement. 
  2. The cost of repairs is more than half the cost of replacing the unit. It is a rule of thumb for most technicians that if the costs of repairs excessed more than 50% of the cost of replacement and the unit is at least halfway through its life expectancy then you should place it. Normally by this point, the furnace is experiencing other problems and by replacing it you can possibly see a lower energy bill. 
  3. Numerous repairs in a short time span. Typically, if a unit requires numerous repairs within a two-year time span then it is time to consider replacing it. This is either a sign that more repairs are coming or that the unit is about to fail.

When it comes down to it deciding to repair or replace your furnace is a decision that only you can make. The main thing to remember is to listen to your furnace and know when something sounds off. By maintaining an annual maintenance schedule with your HVAC provider, you will be better informed to make the best decision possible.

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Dealing With A Leaking Furnace

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A leaking furnace is never something that you want to deal with, especially on the coldest winter night. There are numerous different reasons as to why you might be seeing water under your furnace, but the most common is a condensation leak. One important aspect of furnace leaks to remember is that they are a fairly common issue, but they need to be handled quickly to reduce the amount of damage that might be done to your home.

When you see water under your furnace the best thing to do is call your local HVAC contractor for an accurate diagnosis. However, it is important to stay educated about the different components that make up your furnace and where the issue might be.

Condensation Leaks

Condensation leaks normally occur in high-efficiency furnaces, which have an AFUE rating of 90 or above. These types of furnaces have two heat exchangers which help to produce more heat.

With the production of more heat, there is more condensation which needs to be carried out of the home via a network of pipes. When this network becomes clogged or breaks the condensation gathers around the base of the furnace, leading to a collection and possible water damage.

Humidifier Leaks

The humidifier is another important part of your furnace. This device connects your plumbing system to the furnace which adds moisture to the air circulating throughout your home. When the connection is clogged, damaged or broken water will start to collect at the base of your furnace.

Filters

The furnace filter is used to filter out the dirt that is in the air and therefore needs to be replaced roughly every 90 days. When not replaced frequently enough it can cause the filter to get dirty and clogged which restricts the airflow into your furnace coils. This can cause the coils to freeze and forcing water to leak into the furnace causing more damage. 

Plumbing

Each furnace has a network of plumbing throughout the unit, along with the systems centering and exiting the unit. When these systems get clogged it can cause a backup in the whole system leading to pipes breaking and leaking.

To conclude, there are many different reasons as to why your furnace is leaking water; some major, others minor. Calling your local technician is the first line of defensive against causing more damage to your home. By conducting annual service to your unit, you will be able to catch any problems before they become major. Finally, knowing the signs of needed repairs and listening to your furnace will make a major difference in the long run.

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How to Overcome Glitches at a Construction Site

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The universe has been clenched in the fists of modernization. Scientific advancement has enhanced the living standards of human beings. As technology is intervening in every facet of living, the ways of life are changing. The perfect combination of nature and the human mind has brought colors to the world. The mashup of these two brilliant units has transmuted the functioning world. The world is moving at a hypersonic pace leading to mesmerizing wonders.

Construction sites are the first step towards the beginning of new lives. The skyscrapers piercing through the clouds represent what we have achieved. With the introduction of new technologies every day, the construction industry is attaining new heights. The astonishing ideas spewing out from the fantastic brains of human beings are worth praising. These wonders require a lot of skills and expertise to stand out firmly. Behind a single building, many people are working, both physically and mentally. 

Construction sites are not less than a ring of life. It is quite a dangerous place to dwell. The hefty pieces are hovering over the heads, heavy machinery moving around, delicate rotating equipment functioning to their fullest, in short accidents are waiting to hit. Everyone is prone to mistakes. There are lots of glitches and errors done at construction sites. But, a little failure can cause a lot of trouble for everyone. It can be deadly as the lives of people who live or be in there are at stake. Here are some of the common glitches with solutions that may incur at a construction site.

Power Issues

 To run the construction site effectively, you should have power resources. Connection to the primary grid can help you out, but what if you are working at a remote location? What if there come glitches in the mainline? You can't afford to delay the work at the construction site. Nowadays, always every tool requires power to operate. There are lifts, cutters, drillers, shakers, mixers, and a lot more waiting to get an electrical connection to do their job. Therefore, it is necessary to have generators at the site to cope with power issues. Sometimes, generators also collapse, so there should be reliable generators. If you want to avoid any generators glitches and want to have the best ones, go to the site and pick any that caters to your needs.

Blueprint Confusions

If you're planning to build anything, you need a design. Structural designs have blueprints that are a plan of what shape the building will get. The intricate designs can cause a lot of trouble. The designers may provide it to them to field workers, but there is a chance of misreading the prints. It could be very threatening because a tad error can cause the building to collapse. The designers and workers should frequently communicate to make sure things are proceeding in the right direction. Some amendments in the plan may also occur, so the blueprints of the latest dates should be available for the workers. 

Communication Gaps

Construction site mingles different teams for different purposes. There are a lot of aspects related to the construction that different groups have. Occasionally, when one group leaves, they don't convey the essentials of the day to other teams that may lead to severe issues. Sometimes, the workers have a hard time understanding the tasks. There shouldn't be any miscommunication at the construction site to avoid any mishaps.

Safety Hazards

The safety of the workers at a construction site is of prime importance. There should not be any leaks in the safety of the workers. Everyone should work according to safety protocols. First aid kits should always be available to tackle any injury. Immediate actions and treatments can save lives. If accidents are happening around, it won't only delay the work, but the firm's reputation will also decline.

Design Flaws

Nobody is perfect. Flaws can occur at any time. In the construction industry, the designs are on paper or a computer screen that looks perfectly fine. But when it comes to practical, the flaws may come out to give surprise everyone. To encounter it, designers must use advanced software to prepare models before the construction begins. On the spot, amendments can also increase your cost a lot. If you are sure that the flaw won't disturb the quality and standard, you may go with it.   

Work Delays

The construction companies go with the forecasting of a few months and plan accordingly. The plans should be on short-terms. Break the prediction in weeks or even days to combat delays. What if bad weather approaches and nobody can do the work? What if other glitches diminish the pace of the work. Go with day to day tasks to achieve the targets. 

Conclusion

The construction site is a mess. There are lots of operations going on at different spots. When a lot of work is under process, glitches are unavoidable. With proper organization and planning, we can reduce the risk of glitches occurring. Above are some of the glitches that usually happen at a construction site. These glitches can cause a lot of hassle and produce hindrances in accomplishing the goals. The companies should take every measure to tackle these glitches.  

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Moving: Tips for Transporting Your Stuff

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Transporting your stuff for moving or something else should be easy and stress-free — if you use the following tips. 

We’ll tell you how to pack your car for moving and how to make sure your belongings are safe while on the road. 

Read on!

Declutter: Purge, Sell or Donate 

Go through your stuff at least two weeks before you transport them. Then, sort them into three groups like below: 

  • Purge – and by “purge” we mean trash. Don’t be afraid to throw items -- even the huge ones -- if they’re no longer useful or if they’re broken and can’t be fixed.

  • Sell – after throwing out the junk, see if you can sell some things. They can be items that are old but still in great working condition. List them in online shops or set up a garage sale. 

  • Donate – there are some things you’d feel better just donating instead of throwing away or selling. These items can be furniture, clothes, shoes, or anything that another person can use

Pick the Right Vehicle 

You must have the right kind of vehicle for the task. If you think your car won’t cut, find a Bristol van hire shop that can offer the right type of vehicle. 

If you’re planning to rent a van, remember to consider what kind and size you need. Bigger vans can haul more and larger items, reducing the number of trips you have to make to transport all your stuff.

Essential Items First 

Now, check the items you’ve retained and pack the most essential items first. Packing essential items help maximize the limited storage space you have.

Try an Overhead Carrier 

And because you have limited space, you might want to try equipment that helps you carry more. An overhead carrier is an impeccable solution. 

Attach the overhead carrier on the vehicle’s roof and be strategic when putting items on the carrier. 

One caveat: high-quality carriers can be quite pricey. So think about it first. 

And while you’re at it, make sure you have some other useful car tools and accessories you can use when transporting stuff.

Don’t Use Cardboard Boxes 

Cardboard boxes are pretty useful, but they’re not always enough.

For one, cardboard boxes are meant for huge storage spaces, which you probably won’t have if you’re transporting a lot of stuff. They’re also not very flexible. 

An alternative would be plastic bags. Or you can get creative: cover glasses and other such items in clean clothes to protect them and save bubble wrap. 

Cover containers of liquids (perfume, alcohol, etc) with saran wrap to avoid spills.

Put Heavy Stuff at the Bottom 

You don’t want to crush smaller, more fragile items while you’re driving. Place the larger, heavier, and stronger items at the bottom. 

Examples of items you should put at the bottom are books and heavy furniture. Appliances, electronic gadgets, and items made of glasses should be on top.

Plan the Route 

If you think you’ll spend some time on the road, or if you’re sure you’ll make multiple trips, survey the road and routes you’ll take. 

This will help you avoid problems with roads and streets such as roadblocks, roads under construction, and such inconveniences. 

Plan the timing, too. Think of rush hours and times when the road is usually congested.

Ready to Transport Your Stuff? 

These tips are meant to help you transport your stuff with ease and less stress. However, expect that you’ll still encounter problems when you hit the road. 

The difference is that they’ll probably be minor problems, and you’ll be able to anticipate them. You’ll be able to solve them faster when they come up. 

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5 Tips To Help You Hire The Best Roofing Company

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Hiring a contractor for any type of construction or building repair work can be a stressful time — especially for someone who has had little contact or experience of the industry. However, it really doesn’t need to be so.

By following the informative, accurate guide laid out for you here, you can hire a great roofing company with an excellent degree of confidence that you’ll get the best available and, just as importantly, you’ll get the all-important job done — all within budget, with guarantees, and with as little stress as possible — all because you got the best roofing company for the task at hand.

A new roof or roof repair is an important consideration, as a failure to act on your part can lead to a whole host of problems you certainly do not want — interior damage, structural issues, and the biggest consideration — more costs. Who honestly needs that in this coronavirus-riddled, economy-knocked out of the park era we live in? Yes, same here.

For example, if your area experiences a severe storm with damage potential, and your roof is in need of repairs, you really need to act as quickly as possible - to mitigate any further damage. Doing this with confidence can only happen if you ensure you follow this guide: Your 5 Tips To Help You Hire The Best Roofing Company.

1. Due Diligence

Time may be of the essence, especially if your roof is now letting in rainwater, but you still need to do your due diligence when you begin your search for the best roofing company for your needs. Make sure you:

  • Ask For Referrals: Ask friends, family, and neighbors for their references to local roofers or contractors. By selecting a local roofing company from a trusted referral, you will drastically improve your chances of finding a reputable one - and less chance of coming across a clever scam. Choosing a roofing contractor from your local community with a sound reputation is a great way to ensure a job well done. Additionally, they are more aware of local rules and code regulations and should have a good relationship with local building material suppliers. 
  • Research: If you do get a good referral, your due diligence doesn’t stop there - research only the highest-quality companies using the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If they are not on the BBB, they shouldn’t be on your roof!
  • Manufacturer Designation: High-quality companies always have a manufacturer designation, too. To become factory-certified, the contractor must pass minimum requirements in your region or state. These designations are considered “a badge of honor” among their own peers, because the contractor must pass certain minimum requirements to become factory-certified. Note: This is an important consideration - manufacturers won’t honor their warranties when a roof is installed by a non-authorized installer.

2. Safety

Regardless of where you are in the country, strict adherence to safety standards is essential. Therefore, you should only hire a roofer that has safety training. Ask the contractor if their roofing company has a training program, or requires that its employees take relevant safety classes.

3. Comprehensive & Extensive Warranty

When it comes to the warranty for your new roofing, ensure the cover provided includes workmanship, as well as the obligatory faulty parts/materials. You can make comparisons with other contractors’ warranties that are also available — specifically, length of the cover and the workmanship involved.

This is important because not all contractors can offer the manufacturer’s warranty that includes the roofing contractor’s workmanship. If a contractor installs the roof incorrectly or not to specification, it will often take months (or even years) for the damage to begin to show, and your insurance will not pay for it. If the contractor refuses to fix it (or worse, their business has bitten the dust in this COVID-19-ridden economy), your only option left is to actually put your hand in your own pocket, and pay for their mistake yourself. 

4. Professional & Comprehensive Insurance and Licensing

Every single employee of the roofing contractor you hire should be licensed roofers — covered 100% by the company’s insurance policy. This should include any or all subcontractors too. Inadequate insurance, sadly, can cause untold problems — usually major ones, and many do result in potential lawsuits.

Furthermore having professional and comprehensive insurance and licensing is a standard state regulation for any construction contractors. However, to keep costs down, some unscrupulous roofers do not have the proper insurance. You must ensure you get a copy of their insurance from your roofer before they start the job, and then you need to cross-reference it online. For example, they should have a current policy that includes $1,000,000 in liability coverage — as a minimum.

Nearly every state requires licensing for contractors; however, like the insurance policy, it still does not stop unlicensed contractors from doing roofing work if the homeowner isn’t careful. Reputable roofing contractors should hold:

  • Appropriate levels of Workers Compensation
  • At least $1 million worth of General Liability coverage, and
  • Hold current and proper state licensing where they’re working

5. The Legal Side

Lastly, you need to ensure you are covered legally for any future problems, so the best advice is to get everything in writing — with no omissions. Every single aspect of your roofing work should be agreed upon and signed off to your satisfaction. Essential aspects to cover include:

  • Materials: Your chosen roofing contractor should give you a number of different options for materials, eg. shingles, based on quality and affordability to fit your situation. 
  • Deductibles: An important one this, so beware. Any roofing contractor who claims they can handle the repair without having the homeowner pay their insurance deductible is committing fraud — insurance fraud, to be precise. The insurance deductible is strictly the responsibility of the insured, and that should be reflected in any quote that you’re provided with.
  • Insurance Claims: Any roofing contractor who describes themselves as “a claim specialist” or is able to “handle your insurance claim” may very well be breaking the law, depending on the state you live in. In the vast majority of states, it is illegal for any contractor to “act on behalf of the homeowner” when resolving any claim under your insurance policy. 

Cover Yourself Properly... 

By following these 5 Tips To Help You Hire The Best Roofing Company, you can hire a company that’s 100% legal, reputable, and able to get the work done time-efficiently and within budget. A quick reminder of how to ensure your peace of mind:

  • Due Diligence
  • Safety
  • Comprehensive & Extensive Warranty
  • Professional & Comprehensive Insurance and Licensing
  • The Legal Side

If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share with other readers, drop a comment below. Thanks.

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Reupholstering Old Furniture with DIY Fabric Slipcovers

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Buying new furniture can be pricey, and sometimes parting with an old couch that still retains its comfort can prove challenging. Your older furniture has already been broken in, carries a lot of memories and naps, and stood the test of time. Unfortunately, it may look outdated, and the wear and tear are showing. 

Creating your DIY fabric slipcovers is a great way to freshen up the look of an old piece of furniture. Using quality fabric for reupholstery is the perfect way to freshen up an old couch without spending too much money. The material listed below will give you a fantastic jumping off point in picking a quality fabric.

Fabrics for Reupholstering Furniture

Solids – Solid colors are a fundamental cornerstone of every design. They add weight and stability to the room and offer a base for added designs like patterns, shapes, and come in a wide array of colors. You can use this opportunity to add contrast to your room by picking a color that doesn’t exactly match or pick one for a perfect blend of color that’ll refresh your room. 

  • Solid Knit Pleated Bodre Fabric – This can come in different colors than the one shown, but will add a new level of sophistication to your old furniture and a small touch of elegance to your home.

Paisley – This style of fabric is iconic, all on its own. With its teardrop motif and a curved top, it was a popular style that has stood the test of time and interior decorating trends. Its Persian-style looks have made it a staple for furniture from the late 18th century and into modern times. There’s something to be said about timelessness.

  • Paisley Knit Velvet Fabric Burgundy – With the classic paisley design and the luxurious feel of velvet, your old couch will quickly become the center of attraction for your family and guests. If the burgundy doesn’t suit you in color, try the navy-rust, and black-rust.

Charmeuse – For an ultimate style that gives off an illustrious and elegant sheen, then Charmeuse may be the perfect fabric for you. It is delicate to the touch yet durable enough for any of your home décor projects, like creating slipcovers. It is a satin-like polyester that holds a tastefully matte finish on one side and a shiny yet silky side on the other. Oh, and its machine washable!

  • Animal Woven Charmus Fabric Taupe Light – This isn’t going to be your standard go-to fabric for reupholstering your furniture, but sometimes, you got to let that inner animal out. Made of 97% polyester and 3% spandex, this fabric is a perfect throwback print to add a little pizazz and sass to your home. If you have a small chair that needs some work, this will fabric will help bring attention to an old piece without overpowering your home’s design.

Creating slipcovers for your old furniture can be a fun and inexpensive way to freshening up your home while still getting to keep a comfortable piece of furniture. Fabrics from Fabric by the Yard offers many different styles and prints for you to choose from and make ordering easy, fun, and keeps your project within your budget.

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De-Stress with Under Sink Organization Tips

Homes across America suffer from a similar problem: a severe lack of organization. Missing items amongst clutter seems to be a natural byproduct of a busy life. Unfortunately, it’s this same clutter that causes disorganization and leads us to feel stressed out and anxious. Taking steps to practice the chores we commonly avoid is the best way to help overcome this stress and add more efficiency to our lives. A great place to start re-organizing your home is your kitchen or bathroom. Starting with a spice rack, kitchen cabinet or under your bathroom sink can be a good small project to practice the basics of clearing out clutter and resorting that soap or spice you never remembered to open. For the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on practicing under-sink organization. Sorting through the area underneath your sink can help you leverage space and spur convenience in your home fast!

For most people, one of the messiest and most disorganized places in the house is the cabinet under their sink, both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. And while it is easier to leave your under-sink cabinet left to disarray, it will make most of your day-to-day tasks much more stressful. From staring down a sea of colored bottles, cans and scrubs, to blindly reaching into the back of your sink cabinet, spilling canister after canister in the process, only to grab the wrong bottle again and again. Getting your cabinets under control and properly organized is something we can all benefit from.

The first thing you’ll notice when you approach organizing your under sink cabinet is that space is limited in under-sink cabinets, which means it’s easy to tackle, and there are so many cool products and smart DIY projects that help you organize your under-sink cabinet and actually make it fun.

To start de stressing and start organizing, try the seven tips below.

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Seven Under Sink Organization Tips

  1. Storage Containers: Storage containers do a lot of the hard work when it comes to under kitchen sink organization. But, the key is making sure that each container has a designated use. Otherwise, you’ll end up with messy containers! It’s also fun to think outside of the (storage) box. What other items can you use to keep your under-sink clutter contained? Things like recycled aluminum cans, coffee mugs, and baskets can keep your organized under sink area from feeling boring and dull. And, as another bonus, you have a lot of great storage containers you can use all around your home already — you just have to get creative!
  2. Rethink Curtain Hardware: Installing a curtain rod under your sink might seem like a strange idea, but it’s actually one of the smartest under bathroom sink organization ideas you’ll find. A simple tension rod is easy to install, and it allows you to organize all sorts of clutter — from towels to bottles of cleaning products. You can also use the hardware from curtain kits to create handy trash bag holders. All you need is a small wooden dowel and the hardware!
  3. Label Storage Bins: By labeling storage bins you can prepare your cabinets and space for your space for when you need products most. You can make labeling fun too! There are lots of creative ways to make labels, including magnets, using a chalkboard paint and garden signs.
  4. Add a Spice Rack: Spice racks are another fun and cleave under sink organization idea because they are super versatile. Installing a spice rack on the inside of your cabinet door can help you organize your space, keeping a lot of the small items that can easily get lost right within reach.
  5. Add a Lazy Susan: Adding a lazy susan organizer in your cabinet is one of our favorites under sink organization ideas. Because they’re so convenient, you can quickly find and put back any of the items you use — and without any searching or digging.
  6. Be Practical: Know your space limit and try to only carry the essential products you need under your sink to limit risk and exposure. Many cleaners contain chemicals that damage and erode the wood base under your sink, so try to only carry what you need. Less is more, be practical about your cleaning products.

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While you’re organizing your under your sink cabinet you should also consider investing in a high quality under sink cabinet mat from Xtreme Mats. An under sink mat is like an insurance policy against leaks for a low one-time payment. Under sink mats offer the best overall protection soap, old, dust and water leaks while also helping stack, set and arrange your under sink products. And, thanks to their lifetime warranty, you can be sure that the investment lasts. So get to re-organizing today and while you’re at it, check out an under sink mat too.

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Protecting Against Sink Leaks and Other Spills

This under sink mat from Xtreme Mats comes in various sizes to best fit your specific cabinet size. As the first line of defense against water damage underneath your sink, we’ve designed and manufactured Xtreme Mats to be unparalleled. Our under sink mats are guaranteed to hold between 1.3 to 3.3 gallons of liquid in case of an accidental spill or a common under sink leak. Prolonged leaks often cause mold and mildew buildup, wreaking havoc on your cabinets and creating a host of ongoing problems you may need to hire professional help handling. That’s why our under sink mats are a perfect solution to catching leaks early and helping prevent the overflow and immediate impact. This doesn’t give mold or mildew doesn’t the chance to grow and it keeps you step ahead of expensive repairs.

Our Xtreme under sink mats are super easy to install and can be removed for a quick cleanup. Mildew and soap scum can be sprayed or scrubbed off and for dry particles, a quick whip of your vacuum will do the trick. These mats aren’t just great at protecting against dangerous liquid hazards, but dust and grime too!

Aside from occasionally wiping down your mat and letting it dry, there is no other maintenance. If your kitchen or bathroom suffers from a cluttered, dirty, or a lack of organization under your cabinets, the under sink mat from Xtreme Mats is the perfect solution. The Xtreme mat lays flat and it will not buckle or curl, making it the perfect organization tray or cover for spotty cabinet bottoms. Available in multiple sizes, with more to be released soon, you can easily find one that fits your needs, though you may need to trim ½ to ¼ of an inch for that perfect fit should you have any piping that comes from the base of the cabinet. 

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Xtreme Mats Under Sink Mat Features

  • Our under sink mat holds 1.3 to 3.3 gallons of liquid in case there is a leak or product spill.
  • These under sink liners from Xtreme Mats feature a modern design and style with no off-gassing and no VOC.
  • Angled sides and a rear wall that will ensure a snug fit.
  • It is made from an eco-friendly and low-density polyethylene construction. This offers flexibility and durability.
  • The mat offers textured surfaces, so items are protected in case there is a leak.
  • It is a combination of a drip tray, a cabinet mat, and a shelf-liner.
  • Ideal for both kitchen and bathroom under sink mats and will also work for laundry room cabinet mats.
  • Designed with a fitted water sensor location on all mat designs. (We recommend installing a water sensor to any mat to monitor small leaks before they grow and stay aware of major leaks exceeding 3.3 gallons).

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Protect against unexpected leaks and spills with an under sink mat from Xtreme Mats so you can have the peace of mind that your bathroom and kitchen cabinets are protected from the dangers of moisture based damage. These mats come with the added bonus of a lifetime warranty and look beautiful in all homes. 

Get the protection of the strongest under sink mat on the market with the added benefits of organization and style today when you order from Xtreme Mats. 

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How to Install a Window AC Unit

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Window air conditioning units are a popular and versatile solution to combating the heat of summer. They can be used as supplements to central AC units, when you want to save energy and only cool certain portions of your home. They are also great for homes without central air, since they are fairly inexpensive, energy efficient, and can be taken with you when you move.

The idea of installing your own window AC unit can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but the process isn’t a complicated one. Here’s what you need to know to install a window air conditioner in your home.

Set-Up Checklist

Before you install a window air conditioning unit in your home, there are several things you’ll want to check.

Are window AC units allowed?

Some areas have restrictions on window AC units. If you live in a single family home, check with your HOA before installing a window air conditioning unit. Other dwelling types that prohibit window AC units for aesthetic or safety reasons can include apartments, townhomes, condos, and office or commercial buildings. Be sure that you understand any restrictions about window AC units in your home before installing one.

Do you have the proper set-up?

Not every window is a good candidate for a window AC unit. You’ll need to find a window that meets several requirements.

  • Window AC units require a double-hung window with a fixed upper pane and sliding lower pane. Other window types won’t safely work with a window AC unit.
  • You’ll need a three-prong outlet near the window. Note: Never use an extension cord for a window air conditioning unit. It can present a serious safety hazard, as well as void the appliance’s warranty.
  • The area inside and outside the window where the AC is positioned should be free from all obstructions within 2 feet of the unit.
  • Ideally, a window air conditioner should be placed in a shady or partially shaded window. Being in direct sunlight reduces the energy efficiency of the unit.

Do you have the right size AC unit?

There are two measurements you’ll need when choosing a window AC unit: the size of the window opening and the size of the room. Air conditioning units are rated to cool a certain amount of space, so you’ll need to ensure you consider both measurements when purchasing your window air conditioning unit.

Do you have someone to help you?

Window AC units can weigh upwards of 100 pounds, and trying to hold it and secure it at the same time can be very dangerous. Be sure you have someone to help you with the install so one person can steady the unit while the other secures it in place.

Installation Process

The process for installing a window AC unit is fairly straightforward and will be the same across most types of units. However, you should always check the owner’s manual provided with your appliance to ensure you understand any specific requirements for your unit and that you’re following all of the recommended safety practices for your specific unit.

Step 1: Prepare the Window

To start, you’ll want to open the window and mark the center of the opening. Next, wipe the opening to clear any dirt, dust, and debris from the inside of the window. If your window air conditioning unit doesn’t include weather stripping (not all of them do), install it now.

Step 2: Assembly

With most units, the side panels will need to be attached before the unit is installed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and secure all screws tightly. By using all the screws provided, you will ensure there aren’t any gaps that could allow warm air to pass through and reduce the efficiency of the AC unit.

Step 3: Install

Now you’re ready to install the AC unit in the window. Remember: It’s best to have two people for this step of the process. Insert the air conditioning unit into the opening and center it on the mark you made in step one. Tightly close the window on the AC unit by sliding the bottom of the window into the slot on the top of the air conditioner. Most AC units require the unit to be slightly tilted toward the outside so the condensation doesn’t leak inside, but instead flows to the drip pan on the outside. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the specifics on the angle required for your unit to operate properly. 

After the unit is securely in place, you’ll want to keep pressure on the window while you install the L-brackets. The L-bracket keeps the open window secured in place so it doesn’t raise up and release the pressure on the AC unit. This ensures the air conditioner remains securely in place and can’t slip out the window.

After securing the L-brackets, you’ll slide the side panels toward the window frame on either side of the AC unit and secure them to the sides of the window to create a complete seal around the air conditioner. 

Some manufacturers include additional braces or more weather stripping, etc with window AC units. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to see if your specific unit requires any additional installation steps.

Now your window AC unit is properly installed and you can begin enjoying cooler indoor temperatures immediately. 

Maintenance

Window air conditioners require only minimal maintenance to continue operating properly. You’ll need to clean the filter regularly to ensure the unit operates at maximum efficiency. You’ll also want to check the drip pan inside the unit and clean out any standing water from time-to-time to ensure proper drainage and eliminate any possible mold growth. 

Are you struggling to achieve and maintain comfortable temperatures in your home? Call the experts at Hiller for a complete review of your home’s HVAC system. They can help you understand any problem with your current setup and recommend the best solution to get your home’s HVAC functioning at its best and keep your family comfortable inside your home, regardless of the temperatures outside.

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How to Seal Air Leaks to Keep Your HVAC Unit Working Efficiently

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Air leaks are areas where air flows in or out of your home. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home’s interior at a controlled temperature and reduce the energy efficiency of your HVAC system by making it work harder than necessary to keep your home at the desired temperature. Forcing your system to work harder will also reduce the life expectancy of your HVAC system and cost you more money in energy bills. By sealing air leaks in your home, you can expect to reduce the time your HVAC system is running and reduce your home’s energy costs.

Here are some areas where air leaks are common in homes and how to fix them.

Attics

Attics are some of the main culprits behind energy loss due to air leaks in homes. A thorough check of your attic will probably reveal a multitude of air leaks that can be sealed to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lights are a common source of air leaks, because they have vents that open into the attic. Some recessed lights are already sealed to account for this problem. If your lights are designated ICAT (on the label near the bulb), then they’re already sealed. If you don’t see that label, then it’s likely your lights are leaking air and making your HVAC system work harder. Luckily, there’s a simple fix to seal them. You can purchase an airtight baffle that will create a seal and stop air from leaking through the fixture. Baffles take only a few seconds to install and can make a big difference in energy efficiency, especially if you have a lot of recessed lighting in your home.

Flues and Chimneys

For building safety, wood framing can’t rest against flues and chimneys. However, this creates a gap that allows air to leak through. The simplest fix is to cover the gaps with aluminum flashing and seal it with a silicone caulk rated for high temperatures. This will eliminate the air flow while maintaining the safety of your home’s flues and chimneys.

Attic Access

Since the attic access is on the inside of your home, in most cases, there is no seal around the door or hatch. This creates another opportunity for air to leak inside your home. Add foam weather stripping around your home’s attic access to create a seal and eliminate the air leak.

Throughout Your Home

Once you’ve checked the main sources of air leaks in the attic, it’s time to test the remainder of your home.

Gaps

Though you’re less likely to find gaps in the main living areas of your home, gaps and cavities in the attic and basement can account for a big part of air leak problems. For larger gaps (from ¼ inch up to 3 inches), try expandable foam spray. It’s perfect for sealing gaps around areas like plumbing pipes and vents, wiring holes, and behind knee walls. For gaps that are ¼ inch or smaller, weatherproof silicone or acrylic latex caulk is the best choice. You can use it around doors and windows, electrical boxes, and any other small gap that needs to be sealed. 

Windows and Doors

Your home’s windows and doors can be another major source of air leaks, especially if they are older and not as energy efficient as new models. Replacing older windows and doors with new energy-efficient models can have a significant impact on the air flow in your home and reduce the work your HVAC system has to do to keep your home at the right temperature. 

If replacing your home’s old windows and doors isn’t possible at this juncture, you can still reduce the amount of air leaking through them. Take the time to caulk all the windows and doors in your home and add weather stripping. Combined, these two small fixes can add up to big energy savings.

Ducts

Did you know your HVAC system’s ducts can be another source of air leaks? Turn on your HVAC system and systematically check the visible ductwork throughout your home. Seal any leaks you find with HVAC aluminum foil tape and you’ll instantly improve the energy efficiency of your entire HVAC system.

Don’t Fret An Inefficient HVAC System

If you’re concerned that your HVAC system isn’t operating at peak efficiency, you can always call in the experts. Professional HVAC technicians know exactly what to look for when conducting a complete review of your home’s HVAC system and will recommend the most effective solutions for keeping your home a comfortable temperature year-round. The problem may not even be an air leak, but something that those with the expertise are much more attuned to handle.

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Doing It Yourself: What the Professionals Never Neglect in a Plumbing Project

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If you’re getting ready to take on a do-it-yourself plumbing project, you may be wondering if you have everything you need to do the job right. Here are some tips directly from the experts to help you prepare to tackle your next DIY plumbing project.

Get Familiar

Before you start any project, it’s important to have a good overall understanding of the system you’re working with. Take the time to really familiarize yourself with the entire plumbing system, and not just the area in which you’ll be working. Make sure you know where individual shut-offs are located, as well as the main shut-off. Check to see what materials are used throughout the system, so you can be sure to have the right parts. Evaluate the area where you’ll need to make repairs to ensure you have enough room to work, and that you won’t be interfering with any other systems such as HVAC or electrical. 

Documenting everything with photos before you take it apart is also a great habit to get into. If you have photos of everything then you can refer back to those pictures as you’re reassembling the system. It can also help to label all of the pieces that you take apart, especially if you’re planning to reuse any or all of them. It’s easy for parts and pieces to get shuffled around or lost during a repair project, so knowing exactly which piece is missing or broken can save a lot of time and frustration.

Good planning, organization, and doing plenty of research before you begin will help ensure that your upcoming DIY plumbing project proceeds smoothly with fewer surprises.

Technique

Depending on the difficulty of your particular project, there may be a lot of different techniques you need to employ during any type of plumbing repair. Using the correct techniques for the correct repairs is key to successfully completing plumbing projects that function correctly and are long-lasting. 

Tighten Correctly

Tightening connections in the proper way is a major component of plumbing repair. For example, when tightening two hex fittings together, you need to use two wrenches, one on each fitting, to ensure that both are tightened correctly. Otherwise, you run the risk of over-tightening one and under-tightening the other. Over-tightening connections can lead to broken fittings and leaks. Similarly, connections that aren’t tight enough can also create leaks because they lack a proper seal. 

Soldering

Soldering copper pipes is a skill commonly required for plumbing projects. While soldering isn’t difficult, per se, there is a lot of technique involved in getting it done correctly. For example, attempting to solder a pipe with any water in the line will generate steam, which creates pin-holes in the solder. This will result in a leak, and the entire process will have to be redone. 

Another common DIY soldering mistake is to heat the solder, instead of the copper. Really though, the copper needs to be heated to a temperature that melts the solder, so it will flow into the joint and seal it. 

Using proper soldering techniques will ensure your plumbing repair project is watertight and leak-free when you’re finished.

Wrapping Tape

Did you know that Teflon tape must be wrapped clockwise around threads so that it doesn’t unwind as you tighten the fitting? If the tape unwinds, it won’t embed in the threads and seal the fitting, which defeats the purpose of using the tape.

Though they often seem like tiny details, employing proper techniques when making plumbing repairs can make all the difference in achieving a successful result.

Correct Tools and Parts

Just like using the right techniques for a plumbing repair project are essential to getting the job done right, so is having and using the right tools and parts for the job. It can be tempting to save money by trying to complete the project with the tools you have on-hand, or by reusing questionable parts. But not doing the job right can ultimately cost more in the long run, if the repairs don’t hold and you have to do the job again or repair even more damage the next time. So, whether you’re trying to fix a slow draining toilet or install an entire new bathroom, always use the right tools and parts for the job and your DIY project will be much more successful.

Trust the Professionals to Get It Right

If your “little” plumbing repair turns into a big project that feels out of reach for you to complete on your own, you may end up having to simply turn to the real professionals. Don’t worry. It’s not the first time they will get a call like yours, as DIY repairs very often end up going to the plumbing experts when something goes wrong. With time, you may end up becoming an expert yourself though. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.  

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Quick Fixes for a Broken Sink

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When it comes to plumbing, small problems can quickly turn into big disasters, so it’s important to immediately address any plumbing problems you notice. Depending on the exact nature of the problem, a broken sink can be one of the easier plumbing problems for a homeowner to troubleshoot and fix.

Most of these fixes are applicable to any sink, including bathrooms and kitchens, but it’s important to remember that not all plumbing systems are created equally, so not every fix will be applicable to your particular problem. If you have any concerns about the proper repair technique, contact a plumbing expert in your area to help.

Here are some problems you can quickly troubleshoot and repair when you have an issue with your sink.

Broken Faucet

Faucets are one of the most common components of a sink to need repair. Depending on the amount of use, parts can wear out over time and start to leak. Whether you’re dealing with a faucet that drips or a leak at the base of the faucet, the difficulty of the repair will be determined by the type of faucet you have. For common faucet types, parts should be readily available at the local hardware store. If you have a faucet with less common components, you may be facing an expensive and time-consuming repair. In some cases, it can be easier, less time-consuming, and even less expensive to replace a leaky or broken faucet than to fix the damaged one.

Water Leak

Unchecked water leaks can wreak havoc on your home, so it’s vital to repair any leaks as soon as they are found. You’ll want to begin by tracing the source of the leak to find out where it originates. It’s no fun to complete an entire plumbing repair only to later discover that the water was leaking from another point in the plumbing system. The location of the leak will determine the type of repair needed, but the first step is always to stop the water flowing from the leak. Locate the water shut-off that feeds into the line where the leak is and turn it off. After you’ve turned off the water, you can assess the problem and determine the best way to proceed with the repair.

There are several common causes for leaks in sinks.

Faucet

In faucets, leaks are often caused by damaged gaskets and washers. Generally, those parts are easy to replace, though it may sometimes require the faucet to be replaced.

Water lines

Water lines are another common location for water leaks in a sink. Water line leaks are most commonly the result of failed gaskets or loose connections. Unless the line has been damaged, tightening the connection and replacing old gaskets are your best bets for fixing the problem.

P-trap

A p-trap is a curved section of pipe under sinks. It stays filled with water to stop odors from coming back through the pipes. Similar to other leaks, it can be caused by a damaged pipe, loose connection, or worn gasket. P-traps are where clogs commonly occur, so it’s also possible the pipe has been damaged by a clog or previous repair attempts.

Drain

Sometimes the drain can be the culprit behind a sink leak, which can be much more difficult to identify. Drains are usually sealed with plumber’s putty at installation, but if the putty is very old or wasn’t installed properly, it can eventually begin to leak. To stop the leak, you’ll need to remove the drain and replace the plumber’s putty to make the seal watertight.

Damaged caulk

Caulk is often used to create a watertight seal in various areas when sinks are installed. If the caulk is old or damaged, water can leak into different areas. Caulk is easy to replace and should be redone if you notice it’s in poor shape.

If you’ve checked all the common culprits and can’t find the source of a leak, don’t wait to call in the pros. An unmitigated water leak can cause serious problems in your home if it isn’t repaired quickly and correctly.

Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners face. Over time, hair, soap scum, and other materials can build up in the pipes and block the drain. This results in either the sink draining slowly or not at all. The most effective way of clearing a blocked drain is to use an auger. They are relatively inexpensive and can be used easily without damaging the plumbing system. Chemical drain cleaners are another option, but they can result in damage to the plumbing system, if used incorrectly. Be sure to understand the type of plumbing system you have and ensure any chemicals are compatible with your home’s materials before using any type of drain cleaning chemicals. Performing regular proactive drain cleaning with baking soda and lemon juice or vinegar will help maintain your pipes and reduce clogs.

Getting Help for the Sink Repair

As a homeowner, there are a lot of problems that can crop up within your home’s plumbing system. If you enjoy being a DIY-er, then you may want to attempt some of these repairs yourself from time-to-time. However, if that “small” broken sink repair turns into a big project that needs the expertise of a professional, then it may be time to call on some expert plumbing technicians.

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5 Common Bathroom Plumbing Glitches

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If you’ve ever attempted to fix some bathroom plumbing you’ll appreciate that it is almost always more complicated than it originally appears. That’s why you should have the number of a reputable plumber Sydney, they can help you resolve the issues or even do the work for you.

Once you realize the 5 most common bathroom plumbing glitches you’ll want to leave it up to the professionals.

  • Leaks

It’s not surprising that leaks are the most common issue, they can also be the most costly and damaging.

Most of the pipework in your bathroom will be hidden, making it difficult to spot a leak. The most effective way is to shut all your water appliances off and check your water meter. Check it again an hour later, if it’s moved you have a leak and you need to find it. 

Leaks that aren’t found can cause stains and rot wood, potentially causing structural issues. 

  • Toilet Constantly Flowing

A faulty, old, or badly fitted cistern can cause your toilet to run constantly. In older systems, this is often due to the flapper valve perishing or seals failing. If you’ve just fitted the cistern you’ll need to verify that all the seals are located correctly and that the water height is set properly. 

Replacing the inner workings will usually rectify the issue, providing you seat t all correctly. If not, it can be another costly error.

  • Drain Issues

The first sign that you have a drain issue is when your sink or toilet drain much slower than usual. This indicates you have a clog in your pipework. If all the drains are slow then it’s in the sewer outlet. If only one is slow-draining the clog is probably between that appliance and the sewer.

You’ll need drain rods, possibly a camera, and may even have to take sections of the plumbing apart.

Of course, if you’ve fitted the drains yourself you may simply not have set them at the appropriate angle, preventing the water from flowing smoothly away.

  • Smells

The most common smell to do with plumbing is methane or sewer gas. The smell is usually prevented from getting into your home because there are traps under all appliances that hold water. 

If any of these are dry the smell will get into your house and you’ll need to investigate the issue further.

Smells can also occur if sewer pipes have been damaged. 

  • Shower Position

Did you know that electrical fittings must be a specified distance from all water sources? If you’ve decided to change the lights, move the sink, shower, or even toilet, you may have inadvertently broken the regulations regarding electricity and water.

This increases the likelihood of an electric shock. You’ll need to adjust the position of the electrics or the sinks etc.

In fact, this is why it is so important to get professional advice and assistance when undertaking any work in the bathroom. The professionals can prevent costly mistakes, making them the cheaper and more efficient option.

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How to Save Money in Your Construction Business

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Running a construction company isn’t cheap. From the associated costs of sustaining a commercial property (i.e. lease, utilities, etc.) to labor, materials, and the time that goes into each project, the cost of keeping a construction business operational quickly adds up. Luckily, you can find construction pricing software that will help you estimate the costs of most materials to help you plan out your projects. Beyond finding regular clients and pricing your services appropriately, construction company owners must continually search for effective solutions to keep costs down. Such strategies work to improve your bottom line making your construction business more profitable. 

Shop Around for Materials

Having materials on hand to complete various construction projects is a necessity. From lumber and flooring to roofing materials and plumbing fixtures, at any given time, contractors need to have these materials readily available to complete their job. There are literally hundreds if not, thousands of suppliers to purchase raw construction materials from. You can save money on construction costs by doing some comparison shopping to see which suppliers offer the best bang for your buck.

Evaluate Shipping Costs

Whether working on home improvement jobs or you’ve been contracted to help build an office, transporting raw construction materials from storage to the job site often requires the assistance of a shipping company – which also costs money. 

In order to keep the cost of transporting materials, supplies, and equipment to job sites, it is imperative to do a few things. First, be sure that you’ve chosen the best shipping service by doing some price comparisons. Secondly, make sure that your construction materials are packaged and weighted according to the carrier’s guidelines. Lastly, periodically audit your invoices. There is, for instance, Fedex audit software to check all your invoices from the carrier to ensure you haven’t been overcharged. 

Hire the Right Team of Contractors

Getting construction jobs done on your own isn’t ideal. This is especially true when working on larger projects. Yet, who you hire to work with you can help or hurt your bottom line. A team of contractors that has limited experience or that lacks professionalism reduces the quality of work you provide your clients and can also kill deadlines which equates to wasted money.

Be sure to do your due diligence when hiring contractors for your team. Conduct quality interviews, review their portfolios, reach out to former employers or clients, and do some research to ensure they’ve had the proper training, education, and credentials necessary to complete the job. 

Invest in Quality Equipment

All too often, business owners make the mistake of trying to cut corners and save money by purchasing the bare minimum with regards to supplies and equipment necessary to complete their jobs. While this may work in some industries, purchasing poor-quality equipment (or foregoing the purchase altogether) is a waste of money. For instance, having contractors use a hammer to secure nails or hand saws for cutting plywood wastes a lot of time which increases the deadline and wastes money. On the contrary, purchasing quality nail guns and electric saws not only gets the job done faster but improves the quality and integrity of each project. 

Improve On-Site Efficiency

With every construction job, there are various steps and individuals required to complete the project. If there isn’t effective communication, comprehension, organization, and collaboration, a lot of time, and therefore, money is wasted. Construction companies can save themselves a lot of money by improving the efficiency of projects on the construction site. 

There are several avenues that can be taken including hiring construction managers to oversee workers, utilizing the best equipment to streamline processes (without reducing quality), and developing strategies to ensure workers are on the same page. Many construction companies have found project management software to be beneficial in that way. These technological platforms allow all involved parties to communicate, review project progress, assess the budget, review deadlines, and much more keeping everyone on task. 

Starting a construction company can prove to be a lucrative business venture – no matter what your specialty. That being said, to keep your company afloat it is vital that you continually look for ways to improve and/or streamline processes and cut costs. Not only does doing this make your company more profitable, but it helps you stay ahead of the competition while also paving the way for you to continue to provide high-quality services to your customers.

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Low Maintenance Home Exterior Trends That Are Designed to Last

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They say that trends come and go. While that might be true, some exterior trends are designed to last. These trends are the ones that focus on minimizing maintenance requirements while maximizing curb appeal. 

The reality is that all homeowners want to boost curb appeal. Whether they’re looking to sell or not, the appearance of a person’s home says a lot about them. Excellent curb appeal can increase property value, but it can also increase homeowner pride. There's truly no substitute for pulling into the driveway of a house you’re proud of every single day. 

However, people are busier today than they ever have been before. Longer work hours, multiple jobs, social clubs, familial obligations, and more keep people busy. So, more than ever before, people demand low-maintenance options. They want the exterior of their home to shine, but they need it to do so without a lot of upkeep. 

Thankfully, the design and home construction world has risen to the demand making way for several exterior trends that are both visually appealing and low-maintenance. All of these trends can increase curb appeal and boost property value, too. 

Here are five exterior trends that are sure to boost your curb appeal.

Trend #1: Go for Faux

If you peruse HGTV or Pinterest at all, then you probably know that wood is a huge trend in homes right now. Everyone loves the look of reclaimed wood roofs, siding, flooring, and more. But here’s the thing, wood is a pain to maintain. It’s porous, so it doesn't do well with moisture. It also attracts termites, and it isn’t very fire resistant. 

So, go faux instead. The market has everything from vinyl cedar shakes for your siding and roof to faux wood flooring for your interior. To boost your exterior curb appeal, jump on the wood trend, but don’t use real wood. 

Trend #2: Say Goodbye to Boring Roofs 

Asphalt roofs are out of trend for several reasons. One, they’re boring. Two, they’re bad for the environment and terrible for energy-efficiency. Three, they’re a pain to maintain. While they’re incredibly cheap, asphalt shingles don’t do very well in inclement weather, so repairs are frequent. 

The good thing is there are plenty of low-maintenance asphalt shingle alternatives including, synthetic shingles, metal roofs, and solar shingles. All three of those options are visually appealing and low-maintenance options. 

Trend #3: Go Neutral 

As far as exterior house and roof color combinations go, the trends are all over the place. Some experts are saying that dark colors like burgundy are the way to go. Others are saying light blue houses are going to really pick up steam in the coming years. Some insist that the grey trend that’s been going on will continue. Some designers say that you should paint your door a bright red or deep blue for a striking visual impact. 

When it comes to exterior colors, there isn’t much that’s certain. Color trends continuously change. If you want to boost curb appeal and ensure that you don’t have to repaint to ride the next trend, go neutral. Neutral colors are always in vogue. Go for high-quality, weather-resistant neutral paint colors for a guaranteed boost in curb appeal that will last for years to come.   

Trend #4: Be Strategic with Your Windows 

Large windows are on-trend. People are really into natural lighting inside the home, so large windows are a reliable way to increase curb appeal these days. However, if you aren’t looking to replace windows or increase the size of your windows, there are still several exterior window ideas that you can employ for low-maintenance designs. 

For the lowest maintenance windows, go for fiberglass and vinyl windows. Be sure to choose windows that are designed with easy-care and energy-efficiency in mind. While you might have to pay more upfront for low-maintenance, high-quality windows, they’ll increase your property value while simultaneously decreasing upkeep time. 

Trend #5: Do Simple Landscaping 

A neatly manicured lawn is the signature of curb appeal. However, you don't have to have a lush garden and perfectly kept grass to have fantastic curb appeal. Instead, several landscaping trends are low maintenance and offer high curb appeal. 

For instance, Asian-inspired landscaping is gorgeous and is comprised of rocks, peaceful fountains, and low-maintenance plants. Another trend is to forgo vegetation altogether and opt for a completely rock and stone landscape. You can also opt for low fuss plants, artificial grass, a permeable paving system, or some combination of easy-to-handle yard solutions. 

The key to landscaping is making everything look great without a lot of ongoing effort. As long as your yard is designed well, your curb appeal and property value should rise.

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Increase Your Curb Appeal Today 

These five trends are perfect examples of ways to stay on trend while keeping your maintenance goals in mind. You can boost curb appeal and renovate your home’s exterior in a way that will last for decades to come. The secret lies in choosing high-quality materials and opting for low-maintenance options rather than fussy ones.

If you’re smart about your exterior design, you can have a home that is beautiful, low-maintenance, and high-value. 

Jordan Swift is a contributor to the Innovative Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Jordan is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance. 

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How to Make Your Home More Weather-Resistant

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Inclement weather can be disastrous for your home. This is especially true if you live in a particularly harsh climate. From hurricanes in the south, to fires in the west, to tornadoes in the Great Plains, to frigid temperatures in the north, there’s no shortage of weather-related dangers for your house. 

There are several things you can do to make your home more weather-resistant. You can do simple fixes or start from the ground up with fire-and wind-resistant construction techniques. Whatever you do, it’s crucial to take some steps to make your home more weather-resistant. 

A few measures today can save you fortunes in the long run. How can you make your home more weather resistant? Let’s get into it. Here are four ways to make your home more weatherproof.

#1: Choose High-Quality Materials from The Beginning 

The most straightforward way to protect your home from weather damage is by choosing weather-resistant building materials from the start. For instance, avoid wood as a material. It’s porous, which means it absorbs water, which can result in mold, mildew, and damage. Moreover, wood isn’t very resistant to fire. 

Instead, opt for materials and construction techniques like ICF construction. ICF stands for insulated concrete forms, and it’s a type of construction that uses pre-made, insulated, concrete, interlocking blocks to build instead of traditional wood or metal studs. Ultimately, this technique is more energy-efficient and weather-resistant. In fact, ICF homes have even stood up well to tornadoes. 

This also extends to roofing materials, siding materials, and more. Always go for weather-friendly options. For your roof, stay away from asphalt shingles that absorb heat and are easily damaged in high winds and rough storms. For siding, fiber cement is always a terrific choice. Ultimately, opt for high-quality, weather-resistant materials in the beginning, and you’ll be way ahead of the curve when the storms roll in. 

#2: Regularly Check and Seal Windows, Doors, and More

Water leaks cause some of the most expensive damage to homes. You can avoid these leaks by employing some window weatherproofing. First, be sure that your windows and doors are correctly fitted and that there are no leaks. If there are any issues with fit or any cracks, be sure to seal them up. Additionally, always use weather-resistant windows and windows that prioritize energy-efficiency. 

Weatherproofing your windows and doors helps prevent water damages, but it also helps prevent cool or warm air from coming in or out of the home. This helps keep energy costs down. 

Aside from your windows and doors, be sure to regularly do a sweep of your exterior siding, especially if you have stone or brick siding. If you see any cracks, be sure to seal them up as soon as possible. Water can get in and cause significant damage to your siding. If you live in an area that freezes, rain and freezing can cause severe cracks to form in your siding and foundation. So, be sure to inspect, seal, and repair frequently. 

#3: Insulate and Focus on Energy-Efficiency 

We’ve already talked a bit about energy-efficiency, but it’s worth talking about a bit more. One of the best things you can do for your home is to ensure that it’s adequately insulated. If a home isn’t well insulated, you’ll pay much more to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulation is incredibly essential if you live in harsh temperatures. 

Be sure your attic and basement are both adequately insulated, and do spot checks twice annually to make sure everything is up to par. Check for any spots where air is seeping in or out of the home and patch them up. 

#4: Smart Yard and Driveway Design 

Standing water can wreak havoc on your yard, driveway, and your home’s foundation. One of the smartest things you can do to protect your home is to invest in solutions to eliminate standing water in your yard. This is incredibly important if you live in areas that are prone to flooding. 

There are several driveway drainage options. From French drainage systems to permeable paver systems, there’s no shortage of options to control water buildup in your yard and driveway. You can even do things like turning your yard into a sloped yard or planting a rain garden. The key thing here is to do something to manage water buildup in your yard, because flooding damage can be expensive and difficult to repair. 

Start Making Your Home Weather-Resistant Today

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These four ideas are fantastic ways to make your home more weather-resistant. With a little forethought, you can save yourself tons of time, money, energy, and frustration in the future. Take preventative measures today to protect your home in the future. 

Jordan Swift is a contributor to the Innovative Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Jordan is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance.

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Office Interior Design Ideas that Maximize Productivity

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Most businesses want the same thing. Ask most CEOs and business owners, and they’ll tell you that they want increased revenue and profits. One of the best ways to increase profitability is by improving productivity. While there are several effective means for increasing productivity in the office, productivity maximization really begins in the design of an office building. 

If an office is designed with productivity in mind, then you can expect an increase in employee output. But how do you design an office to maximize productivity? 

There are several ways to emphasize productivity with design. Here are four design ideas to get you started. 

Idea #1: Incorporate Quiet Areas 

Wide-open offices have been a trend in office spaces for the last several years. Collaboration became a buzzword, and people everywhere were raving about breaking down the walls and having a free flow of conversation and ideas in the workplace. While those concepts have merits, this emphasis on constant collaboration virtually eliminated designated quiet spaces. 

Quiet spaces are critical for the completion of some jobs. They’re also crucial for private meetings. However, there’s a way to benefit from both the creativity that comes from open designs and the productivity that comes from quiet spaces. It’s not uncommon to see the inclusion of temporary or non-limiting walls, like a conference room glass wall, for instance. Glass walls allow for quiet while still feeling open. 

So, this first idea is all about creating quiet areas for employees to do their job and have meetings but do it in a way that still allows for the free flow of ideas. This ensures that you maximize productivity on all fronts in your office’s design. 

Idea #2: Emphasize Clean and Sustainable Workspaces 

Clutter is a known productivity killer. Your office must be designed in a way that eliminates clutter and emphasizes cleanliness. For example, storage space and organization tools should be abundant in the layout of your office. 

In addition to cleanliness, there’s been a significant upswing in sustainable and natural material use in the workplace. This could be because of nature’s positive effect on productivity, or it could be because employees take pride in working for a company that makes sustainable and eco-conscious decisions. 

Either way, it’s a smart move to incorporate sustainable materials into your office’s design. Consider using things like reclaimed wood, recycled metals, or natural stones, like quartz in your office’s design. As a bonus, sustainable products can be more cost-effective than other alternatives. As a warning, they can also be more expensive. 

Just be sure to price things out. Get natural stone or quartz pricing and compare. Check out studies over sustainability, natural elements, and their effects on worker productivity, and decide if these investments will result in a decent ROI for you before going all in. 

Idea #3: Focus on Office Acoustics 

While we’ve already talked a bit about noise’s effect on productivity, acoustics play a significant role in employee output. If employees can’t easily communicate, hear, or if they’re distracted by noisy office acoustics, it’ll be difficult for them to be productive. 

Too often, very little thought is put into an office’s acoustics until it’s too late. CEOs mistakenly build office buildings with insanely high ceilings, concrete floors, and little in the way of insulation. This layout creates a giant echo chamber that can effectively drive employees crazy rather than helping them be productive. 

There are several ideas for focusing on office acoustics. You can use insulation, louvers, panels, sound masking, bulky furniture, or even more complex office screen and wall systems to help control acoustics. 

Idea #4: Consider Comfort and Flexibility in The Design

While comfort and flexibility might seem like enemies of productivity and focus, as it turns out, they aren’t at all. Employees who are comfortable and who are allowed to work in flexible spaces outperform employees who work in stuffy, uncomfortable cubicles. 

Giving employees the freedom to work in a way that they’re most comfortable allows them to focus less energy on ignoring their discomfort and more on the task at hand. To translate this idea to design, many business owners are creating office spaces with larger work areas, bigger desks, more comfortable chairs, and they’re adding in several “flex areas.” 

In other words, they’re creating alternative areas for the employees to complete their jobs, so they aren’t chained to their desks. 

Maximize Productivity in Your Office Building

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These four ideas are just a few ways that you can maximize productivity through design. If you create quiet areas, emphasize cleanliness, prioritize sustainability, and consider employee comfort, you’ll be well on your way to creating a more productive workforce in no time. 

Jordan Swift is a contributor to the Innovative Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Jordan is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance.

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