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Basement Renovations

Lead Based Paint: Ready or Not the New Law Is Here!

On April 22, 2010 the EPA enacted a new, nationwide set of regulations regarding lead based paint. It has been an absolute JOY (Not!) informing new and existing clients of the risks of lead based paint and the new regulations and fines enacted by Big Brother, I mean, our benevolent government. As a contractor, we are REQUIRED to be the bearer of bad news for those of you who own homes built before 1978. The fines for looking the other way, not informing you of the risks, not giving you the required literature, and not using the required lead paint renovation procedures, start at $37,000 per day! The government is very serious about this issue and the risks to your family.
Several potential clients have asked why we can’t just ignore the new law. Well, several reasons, in fact, 37,000 reasons. Obviously, the risk to your family is the most important reason, but beyond that, contractors can’t risk their business, their home and the physical and financial well being of their employees and subcontractors just to save a few dollars. Contractors have had to invested a lot of money sending staff to the required certification courses, purchasing the necessary protective and cleaning materials and tools, and implementing the required physical and record keeping procedures to be in full compliance. When a contractor suggests that you can ignore the new law, they not only put your family’s health at risk, they also put your financial future at risk. This law is so new, we still don’t know where all of the liability will end up. If you allow renovations to be completed that ignore the new law, you will have to disclose that fact when you sell your home. If you don’t disclose that fact, you open yourself up to huge legal liability. I’m sure we’re not very far off from the late night TV commercial with the deep voiced, concerned announcer who says, “Have you ever had your home remodeled? You may have been injured by lead based paint, and deserve compensation…”.
Make sure you take the time to learn more about this subject and protect your family physically and financially.…

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Bathroom Renovations

Revamped Kitchens To Add Spark To Your Life

Through the evolution from early man to the modern, the one thing that man has always needed and installed in some form or the other, is the cooking area, the kitchen. But, there has been much attention devoted to them in the recent times, unlike ever before. For centuries in many countries the cooking place was the center of the home. There have been times in history, when entire families had to live by one fire; warming them through the cold days and nights, working as their cooking fire as well as their sole light source in the dark. To combat the heat factor, the houses in many hot countries ensure that the kitchen area remains separate from the rest of the house.
Lately the different areas are being placed closer than before. Though the kitchens are a part of the same structure, the recent styles have made it possible to move them to different areas easily. Similarly, to lower the living area temperatures in the warmer regions, people can now turn to advanced ventilation techniques instead of ousting the kitchen altogether.
The new style of houses, lack of servants and the change in social trend have impacted the kitchen set up across the world, so much so that kitchens today are similar in different areas. A stove that may support almost all kinds of cooking bowl, by manufacturers in Britain, is another innovative contribution in the field of kitchen equipments. To get rid of foul cooking odors, one can use the extractor fans which run on electricity.
In spite of the fact that cooking is based on the same kitchen fuels, the revamped kitchen styles have much to offer. It is not just the equipment, but also the look of the kitchen that has been worked on; offering the option to make your kitchen look bright and elegant. You can use a damp piece of cloth to steer clear or any dirt on the working surface in your kitchen. Other great kitchen ‘treasures’ include sink units, made of glass fiber, stainless steel or those that are vitreous enameled; cupboards that are fitted at appropriate heights and ceramic and plastic tiles for the kitchen walls.
The outlook of people, and not just the women of the house, towards the kitchen area has seen a huge shift which is witnessed by the extensive kitchen stores and shops that offer some great stuff for your kitchens. It was while walking around the kitchen department of a store, which was filled with casseroles, and other products with craftsmanship of a decorative; that the shopper noted and remarked upon this. He closed with an applaud for designers of the kitchen and its equipments, who’re finally giving this space the ideas, time and efforts it deserves, considering it is the woman’s most valued place in the house. The house kitchen is fast becoming the center of attention in a house.…

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Basement Renovations

Log Home Maintenance: Basics You Must Know

Log home maintenance is different from regular homes. It is not to say that it is harder but it is definitely not easier. There are just different issues concerned with log homes or log cabins than the regular concrete walls and hardwood floors in homes.
Dark patches
Dark patches are among the most common issues for logs. This happens because of molds that have grown because of rain splatter. This is easily cleaned up with water mixed with bleach solution. Brush off the molds with an old toothbrush.
Cracks
Cracks are inevitable in log homes, which is why it is important to go over the entire log house once in awhile. Cracks happen because of humidity and the changing seasons. Do not worry about this because it is a normal thing to happen to logs, without any effect on its integrity. There are different varieties of sealants that can help seal the cracks. Just make sure you ask the experts on the appropriate sealant for the log that you have. For bigger cracks there are also solutions that need to cover up the gap. A sealant will do the finishing touch.
Staining
This is not just part of maintenance but it is an important aspect in the construction of a log home. Stains protect the log cabin from disintegration. The maintenance part though is when stain is no longer working. It is just like paint that is already faded, it is no longer the color that you wanted in the first place. For stains, it may not be much of a protection anymore if the stain has already thinned out. Do not worry though because this do not happen over time. It takes a few years for stains to lose its protective touch. To know if the stain is still working, sprinkle water on the log and if the water beads up and runs down the log then it is still doing a protective job. If you have to reapply stain, make sure you clean the entire log home first with water and let it dry for a few days before applying the stain.
Check gutters regularly
In any house, gutters are important to keep water from running all over the paint of the exterior. For a log house, it is even more important to keep off water on the log because it could damage the home. Immersing log in water will cause the log to become weak. This is the same for log cabins, while they are not immersed in water, too much exposure to water may lead to eventual weakness. This is why gutters are very important in log homes, more important than in regular homes. Gutters also prevent logs from darkening. Make sure that run off water are diverted away from the log home. Also, keep gutters clean.
It is not easy to take care of a log cabin especially if this is just a vacation house rather than your regular home. This means that you have to visit the cabin even if you are not yet on vacation. Log home maintenance is the price one has to pay for having such a nice-looking home.…

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Basement Remodeling

Property Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance of your property will save you money in the long term and get you a better rent in the short term.

Here are some tips to remember.

Tools for the job

A bad workman blames his tools – a good workman knows how to use them.

You need a comprehensive range of tools so that you are not left empty handed when crunch time arrives.

So what does a good toolkit contain?

A good range of screw drivers of course.

Spanners, hammers and pliers.

Wire stripping pliers, wrench and a large supply of insulation and duck tape.

You’ll also need a handy supply of light bulbs (keep them dry and warm). Washers always come in useful and are a cheap and quick way to please an unhappy tenant with a leaking tap.

Sink unblockers, grout fillers and a collection of different sized screws and wall plugs.

A ladder is always necessary – a solid one if you need to reach the top of a house, (don’t stint here – it’s not worth it), a step ladder will generally suffice in an apartment.

Floors

Look after your floors well – they get the most abuse from inhabitants.

Often with floors prevention is the best solution and saves work and money in the long run.

Doormats are useful at each entrance to prevent excessive dirt getting in and asking people to take their shoes off before entering is not the worst idea in the world. It’s not always practical but it is effective.

Clean floors regularly, at least once a week. Sweep hard floors and clean them monthly with a specialist cleaner that won’t make them slippery. Vacuum carpets regularly and keep a good carpet stain remover handy – treat stains immediately. Carpets should be steam cleaned once a year – phone around for quotes and get the pros in to do it for you. The longer a stain stays in your carpet, the harder it will be to clean. Remember these words as you stare at that two year old red wine stain on your carpet.

Walls

Look, as cute as your kid’s scribbles on the wall may appear to you it will not appear so to the next tenant. And even though those holes in the wall may appeal to your industrial-chic style it’s not everyone’s taste.

Never forget it’s the walls that hold up your apartment or house. So look after them.

Don’t worry too much about surface cracks in the plaster or damage to the wallpaper or paint. These can easily be repaired with new decorations. The thing to really look out for it more intrusive damage to the wall, cracks and damp.

Widening cracks should be looked at by an expert as soon as possible. The earlier you deal with it, the easier and cheaper it will be to fix.

Rising damp or dry rot is also best treated quickly. Pay particular attention to the walls in your bathroom. You want to ensure that moisture and condensation isn’t settling into the walls causing damage.

Windows

Clean windows regularly and wipe down any condensation. Paint wooden windows at least once every three years to prevent weather damage.

Plumbing

Don’t put up with dripping taps, this wastes water and is easy to fix. Check pipes and taps regularly and deal with problems as they arise. If you have bought a house with inferior plumbing, consider getting it replaced before it bursts and damages your home.

Electrical

Basic maintenance like replacing plugs you can do yourself – just remember to switch off the supply when needed. For anything else, including replacing faulty switches, consider getting someone in. Any electrical installations or major work should be done by a qualified electrician.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Helpful Tips on How to Hire An Electrician

There are many reasons as to why you may be looking to hire an electrician for a particular job at this point in time. For starters, many businesses look to hire these workers at some point when they are in the process of expanding or even remodeling, although the same thing goes for home owners. When you are having a new home built, of course it is vital to make sure that the complicated wiring and electrical work is done correctly, which is one main reason as to why hiring an experienced contract electrician worker is a smart idea in these situations. They are also useful for simple remodeling work or expansions to connect an existing electrical system with a new one in a way that is safe.
However, when it comes to actually hiring one of these professionals, it can be difficult to know whether or not you are making the right choice. And of course, you do not want to choose the wrong electrician because this can lead to a lot of trouble and perhaps even danger in the long run. However, by following some basic tips, the process of hiring the right person for the job can be made a whole lot easier, and it will not be long before you are able to get the electrical work done in a timely and efficient matter at your home or business.
For starters, one thing that it is a good idea to do is to simply ask around to friends and neighbors to see if they have any recommendations when it comes to finding an electrician. Perhaps they have had similar work done in the past and would be able to tell you about a great experience they had with a particular worker or company, or maybe they could even give you an idea of companies to avoid. Either way, asking around cannot hurt. The same goes for reading reviews of local electricians online.
However, once you have an idea of some potential people for the job, the next step is to ensure that you meet with each prospect, interview them, and ask to see some kind of proof that they are certified for electrical work. If they cannot provide this documentation, you may be able to obtain it locally at your city hall or even with the company that they are working for if they are not independent. However, if you are not able to receive any proof of this certification, then it is probably best to look elsewhere to avoid legal problems in the future that could arise if the work is not done to your standards.
Once you have an idea of who you would like to hire for the job, be sure to have a contract written up that both parties sign so that you know how much you are expected to pay for the job and so that they know and agree to a time frame in which this work is expected to be done.
Keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to have your electrical work done right in no time.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Hire a Handyman: Small Projects Equal Big Improvements

In uncertain economic times like these, a lot of homeowners are favoring small repairs and improvements around their home over major remodeling projects. Honestly, that makes a lot of sense. And I think a lot of people are surprised at how much better they feel when, what seemed like small annoyances, are remedied.
So while there’s no harm in dreaming about and planning for that full-scale room addition, now might be the time to focus on the more manageable issues such as doors that stick, creak, or open and close on their own. Or maybe you’ve got a light fixture that you’ve wanted to replace for some time, but you’ve been holding out until it can be part of a larger project. Is there a leaky faucet somewhere that you keep telling yourself to get fixed? Maybe an area of drywall that needs to be patched. Maybe you’d just like a dimmer switch added or some cabinet hardware replaced. Perhaps you’re tired of having to “jiggle the handle.”
All of these jobs – and so many more – call for the services of a handyman. A handyman is the person you call when you can describe your projects with terms like “repair,” “restore,” or “update,” rather than “remodel” or “renovate.”
But don’t underestimate the value of these seemingly minor improvements and how much better they can make you feel about your house. Sure, they will also make your house more appealing and valuable if you plan to put it on the market, but they will also offer you some peace of mind and pride of ownership. You go home to relax – not be reminded of all the things that need your attention.
At a time when more of us are resolving to stay in our current homes and not brave a dubious housing market, the services of a qualified handyman are more important and more valuable than ever. It truly is time to sweat the small stuff.…

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Basement Remodeling

Why You Should Choose A Full Service Contractor Before Your Architect

The basic rule of thumb is if your project costs more than 5% of the value of your house, or if you are making structural changes to the interior or exterior of your home, or if you are making significant changes to the floor plan of your home, you need an architect for your project.
This is the part of the project where the design build approach will add significant value and save you a lot of money over the life of your project. Its best to find a contractor that will work with the architects and have long term relationships with many very good architects. This can get you better pricing for their services for your project than you can by contacting them directly. They will pass that savings on to you.
Once you select the architect you want to use for your project, the contractor will work with them throughout the design process to make sure they are designing a project that fits into your budget. We cannot understate how important this is for the success of your project and we have seen many projects never get off the ground because this step was not followed. Your architect is not paid to tell you no. If you tell him you want something, he assumes you can afford it. The time to determine how much your project is going to cost is during design, not after design is complete.
Once the architect finishes the design it is time to pull permits and build your dream. Proper planning and constant communication are the keys to success.
Before the work is started, you should sit down with the contractor and have a project kickoff meeting. At this meeting you will go over the construction estimate with you in detail as well as present you with a construction schedule so you can make plans to minimize the effect of the project on your day to day life. You will also be provided with a list of items you need to select, the budget for those items (with the contractor discount), and the schedule of when those items need to be selected to meet the construction schedule.
Once we begin construction we will communicate with you about the status of the project however often you like, but we recommend status meetings weekly at a minimum. If something comes up of major importance we will contact you immediately. We will never proceed with work that is different than the original estimate before we have approval from you in writing.…