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Remodeling Contractors

Becoming The Handyman Of The House

For most homeowners even the simplest repair may seem daunting. They can be baffled by something as routine as changing a light bulb. Small wonder now that we are converting to fluorescent lamps from the old incandescent, in an effort to go “Green.” They don’t even follow the same rating system they we are all familiar with. The question becomes “where to begin?” But this article isn’t about light-bulbs, it’s about stepping back, taking a deep breath and putting your brains together with your muscle to tackle the basic home maintenance tasks that most of us must cope with routinely. With a little effort you’ll build the confidence to take on that leaky faucet or broken window.
Sizing up the job: Adding a garbage disposal, changing a ceiling fan or light switch, or replacing a window screen all involve the same process: selecting the proper tools and materials, and learning the necessary steps to completing the task at hand. So the first thing is to do a little research to find out the proper technique specific to the job.
Troubleshooting the problem: Developing good troubleshooting skills is vital and begins with acquiring knowledge of how things work. You cannot isolate a problem if you don’t understand how a particular system and it’s components are intended to function, whether were talking plumbing, electromechanical or structural systems. You can start by doing a little online research. You’ll find a number of useful sites for the rookie or the expert. Once you have a basic understanding of how “it” works you can begin the process of isolating the location of the defective part of other difficulty. Water leaks are often easy to spot.
Getting advice: Project clinics are offered at home improvement outlets like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Check their schedules for upcoming events and plan accordingly. Community Colleges also offer useful adult education courses. Your public library can be a good source for reference material. This will provide you an opportunity to review texts that you may eventually want to add to your personal collection of how-to manuals. This could save you money by avoiding unnecessary purchases. If you are repairing a minor problem with one of your home’s appliances you can often refer to a technical support number for assistance.
Size matters: You’ll find that when it comes to nuts & bolts, plumbing & hardware parts or building materials, you name it there can be a variety of sizes and grades to meet the needs of every job. When it comes to replacing parts that you understand there may be an assortment and not all are interchangeable. Call ahead before going to the local hardware and builder’s supply to determine your specific needs. Take the old part along for matching purposes just to be sure. The fact that fasteners come in Metric and SAE standards as well as fine and coarse thread can necessitate a return trip that wastes time, gas and energy.
Selecting the proper materials: There are often different grades and quality of parts and materials. This is true of lumber, drywall, plumbing, electrical and most other types of construction materials. The pipe specified for your project will depend on whether repairing/replacing/installing a gas, water-line, or drain. There are many factors to consider. Develop a rapport with your local hardware store and you’ll find a wealth of knowledge at your disposal. Most businesses pride themselves on providing you with the basic knowledge in addition to quality customer service. Helping you get the job done right insures a happy customer and repeat business for the merchant.
Safety First When attempting to do any type of home repair you should always make safety a top priority. Following common sense rules such as – always using tools for their intended purpose – is the simplest way to prevent unnecessary injury. When you are working on plumbing or electrical circuits you will always want to shut off the power or water supply. Turning off power at the breaker box will insure against electrical shocks; simply turning off a wall switch before changing a ceiling lamp or fan does not properly interrupt the supply. When changing a faucet it may be possible to use a shut-off valve located below the sink. For other jobs it may be necessary to turn off the supply to the entire house.
Always consult the safety instructions when using power tools. Be sure to use the right tool for the job. This means selecting a durable tool with enough capacity for the job. A broken tool can result in injury or damage. A quality tool is worth the price and can provide years of faithful service if cared for properly. While using a ladder, it is best to follow standard rules of safety, and never exceed your ladder’s …

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Remodeling Contractors

Advanced And To The Point Tips On How To Avoid Plumbing Disasters

Residents of any house must be ready to face the challenges of any emergency. The residents must prepare themselves accordingly. There may be an emergency due to some plumbing disaster. You must take necessary actions and do essential security measures to know how to avoid plumbing disasters.
These disasters could occur at any time, but in winter there is large number of chances. In winter, there are greater possibilities of freezing of water inside the pipes and it may cause you some serious injuries. Also, the bursting of pipes could cause lot of expenses and fatal consequences. You must be extra careful and must get full calculated information about how to handle a plumbing nightmare.
You can avoid freezing of water inside the pipes though excellent precautionary measures. Before the winter season, you must disconnect all outside hoses and do the draining of water from these pipes. For disconnecting outside garden hoses and taps from inside the pipes, you must use an inside valve for closing. All these actions will help you in avoiding the bursting of out-siding pipes.
After having sufficient information about how to overcome disasters, you will be able to avoid any fatal disaster. Although, there is hot area inside the house, but still there is an option of some freezing of water in some less hot areas. So, you must cover these pipes and faucets with proper insulation. Insulation of such pipe can be made by the use of heat tape, insulating sleeve, or thermostatic heat cables. It is strongly suggested to follow the guidelines of manufacturers in order to apply any method of insulation.
In order to avoid any plumbing disaster, you must also seal all the doors and air ventilations. As it is necessary to have proper ventilation of water heaters or ovens, you should not plug these ventilations. You must remove air leaks around the electrical wirings, pipes, and dryer ventilations. In case of any leaks, it is necessary for every member of your family to know about how to overcome this type of disaster. Every member must have basic knowledge about main valve, which must be closed in case of any emergency.
Necessary steps must be taken by you to keep the pipes warm and also to maintain temperature at some safe level. For this purpose, you must maintain the temperature of your house at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Even you are not at home, you could do it easily. If you are away then you must close the main valve of your water supply system.
In order to avoid any plumbing disaster during the cold nights, you must left taps open to continue flow of water. Because, it helps in raising the temperature of water and as a result water does not freeze. You could see the natural example of lake water and water falls.
If you are living in a moderate climate and you do not have much protection then you must know about how to avoid plumbing disasters. There may be a surprise change in the weather conditions of some areas, so it is necessary to do excellent precautionary measures.…

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Remodeling

How To Buy Kitchen Worktops

When it comes to designing your kitchen, choosing a worktop is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only does it have to look good, it has to endure heavy use. So before you buy, consider whether you’d be prepared to put in some effort to maintain its look, or would rather have something more durable. Then think about aesthetics.
‘Your choice largely depends on the style of your kitchen,’ says Lizzie Beesley, conceptual designer at Second Nature Kitchens. ‘If you want to create impact with your units, you may want a toned-down work surface, but if you have neutral doors, the worktop material can make a real statement.’
Work surfaces such as stone and stainless steel need to be templated by the manufacturer to fit your kitchen exactly, with cut-outs for the sink and hob, and this will affect your budget.
But it may well be worth it. ‘The right choice is a good investment and can turn a modest kitchen into something special,’ says Annette White of Chiltern Marble. So which surface is right for you? Read on to find out.
KITCHEN WORKTOP TRENDS
‘The polarisation in the thickness of worktops is still a major direction – there’s no middle ground, worktops need to be either deep or shallow,’ says Anjum Ahmed, product and marketing director at Magnet. ‘The slim worktop sector is dominated by glass and compact laminate, while thicker worktops tend to appear in oaks and dark timber or specialist materials.’
There is a huge trend for mixing materials,’ says Max de Winter, project designer at Poggenpohl. ‘It’s not unusual to find two, three or even four different surfaces in one kitchen. As kitchen and living areas are now more integrated, one material throughout the space would feel too overpowering. Instead, use a warm wood on a breakfast bar for example, stainless steel in a prep area and coloured glass as a highlight.’
Edging, be it glass, timber or coloured acrylic, is a top trend. ‘For a very modern look, style up a standard laminate with a contrasting edge in wood or stainless steel,’ suggests Jude Keenan, kitchen planner at John Lewis. ‘This is possible on both square and curved-edge tops.’
‘A big trend at the moment is a 50mm worktop with a 30 degree bevelled edge,’ says Boffi’s Steven Salt. ‘This can be in any material, and the tapered edge means the surface appears to be floating above the units, giving the ultimate minimalist look.’
The profile (ie the edge) of the work surface can also make a difference to the overall feel. The rounded edges of the Eighties and Nineties are a thing of the past, and the latest surfaces have a completely square edge, a pencil round (where the edge is just slightly rounded) or a chamfer where just a tiny bit of the corner is shaved off.
LAMINATE WORKTOPS
Modern laminate worktops are a world away from the Nineties surfaces that tried (and more often than not failed) to imitate their natural counterparts.
‘Laminates have moved on so much, even in the last three years,’ says Simon Wilde, head of marketing at Formica. ‘New textures, finishes and printing techniques have given them added dimension and depth.’
Choose from hundreds of colours and finishes, including realistic wood grains, polished and matt stones, sparkling faux granites, concrete, high-shine surfaces and bright, solid colours. Laminate is now also available in thicknesses of up to 60mm.
PROS: Low maintenance and low cost. Laminate is one of the cheapest ways to get the look on a budget, and can be a fraction of the price of the real McCoy. If you’re handy with your power tools, you can cut and fit it yourself.
CONS: Some laminates can get scorched and scratched if not cared for properly, and laminate surfaces can have conspicuous seams. They’re non-repairable if damaged.
WOODEN WORKTOPS
Hardwood worktops such as oak, cherry, maple, walnut, teak and mahogany are the best way to bring a warm, rich quality to a kitchen.
‘Costs vary depending on the wood you choose,’ says Lizzie Beesley. ‘A simple oak surface will cost a lot less than exotic, on-trend zebrano, wenge or walnut.’
Finger-staved wood tops, where little planks are glued together, are a less pricey way to get the look. Remember to buy from a sustainable source.
‘We’re even using wood reclaimed from mountain chalets,’ says Steven Salt, showroom manager at Boffi. ‘These surfaces have a chunky, rustic look, which provides an amazing contrast in an otherwise clean-lined, modern kitchen.’
Wipe wood after food prep, mop up any spills straight away to prevent staining and avoid abrasive cleaning products.
PROS: With inherent natural antibacterial properties, wood is a hygienic option. Relatively simple to install and repair, it can be sanded down to remove blemishes. It can also …

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Remodel Kitchen

How Sealing A Window Can Contain Your Environment

Getting home at the end of a long day normally means that you are tired out and don’t want to have to deal with anybody. All you want to do is to shut the door behind you and not hear or see anything. Whatever is happening on the busy street outside should stay there, but sometimes – especially if you live in an older home – insulation might not be your friend. You might have to consider sealing a window or two at the least.
You might find that you can hear people talking outside, those car doors opening and closing and even though this might not be a huge noise problem to you, it certainly suggests that you have other issues to think about. This is when you should definitely consider sealing a window or door, because leaking air is probably frittering away your hard-earned cash in terms of an increased energy bill.
In terms of sound insulation, sealing a window or even replacing it has been shown to be the best methods. Did you know that even a modest crack around a window can let in as much noise as the entire wall in which the window rests? That crack can also let out your hard-earned cash in terms of energy cost as well.
Cracks can be filled in quite simply by a process known as caulking. This is certainly less costly than replacing doors or windows, or rebuilding structures wholesale. Even better, double glazing can keep noise in its place. Look for panes that are as thick as you can afford and establish as large a gap as possible between the glazing.
If you can, consider installing an additional layer of drywall, or recommend filler, in between the existing layers of wall. This is indicated for the more serious problem as it can be costly and very intrusive.
Plain exterior walls are not the best at insulating noise and if you append some stucco it can be better than conventional siding, as well. Pinpoint the cause of your noise problem. If it is an institution such as an airport, contact your local authorities to get a grant to help you.
If you can live with the noise and might not be too close to a major highway or in a downtown location affected by Saturday night revelry, you might think that you can live with it. However, don’t discount sealing a window altogether as if there is a draft present your energy bill is much higher than it should be. In some cases, it could be 20% higher across the board.
Remember that simple remedies often work just as well when you are considering sealing a window or two in your home. Don’t put up with additional noise or cold drafts any longer than you have to.…

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Remodel Kitchen

Simple Ideas for Updating Your Bathroom

Remodeling your entire bathroom can be an extensive and costly task. Thankfully, there are many small updates that can be made that will make just as large an impact on the look and function of your room. These small updates require little time, little knowledge of home improvement and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Replace your fixtures. The two main fixtures that should be replaced are the faucets and shower heads The faucet is used by essentially everyone who enters the bathroom, so having one that is up-to-date, functional and attractive is a must. Many times, people use the default shower head that came with their home- these are usually older and may be rusted. Updating to a new shower head is inexpensive and easy. They make a variety of water-efficient ones that are great for those who want to “go green”.
Replace any old hardware. It is amazing the difference new cabinet knobs and towel racks will have on the space.
Make everything matches. In many bathrooms, things are mismatched and there isn’t an overall aesthetic going on. Many times, people don’t see the decor of bathrooms to be as important as a living room or kitchen. However, by choosing towels, bath mats and shower curtains that all go together, your bathroom will become more inviting. Replace old hardware and knobs so that they all match. For example, make everything stainless steel or brushed nickel so it is cohesive. Adding a few paintings or simple decor items will also help make your bathroom a more inviting space.
Switch up the lighting. The bathroom is a room where good lighting is a must. You need proper lighting to see while showering and bathing, as well as when applying make-up, cleaning your face or brushing your teeth in the sink. Choose high-quality and ample lighting fixtures to replace old ones.Always replace burned-out bulbs with new ones so the lighting is as bright as possible. For more ambient lighting, install a dimmer switch if needed. Nice quality light will make you feel and look better.
Update your cabinets. Putting in new cabinets altogether can be time-consuming and pricey, so by updating them just a little, you can see benefits. Your options include painting your cabinets a new color, refinishing them, applying a light glaze or gloss, simply giving them a good clean or replacing the cabinet doors. Adding new hardware also can spruce up the look of your bathroom. Replacing the sink top is another option that will give you bang for the buck.…

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Remodel Kitchen

Budgeting For Home Maintenance – Some Tips

Like taking care of yourself and staying in shape, taking care of a home is much the same in that it requires constant dedication and a long-term focus. In some areas across the country homes are subject to some of the hottest and most humid summers in the nation, whereas in other areas it is the cold and snow that tend to be bad. Other natural elements that act to degrade a home’s exterior are UV rays from the sun, rain, wind and natural erosion.
These types of problems can have the effect of undermining your home’s ultimate market value. Plus, spending relatively small amounts of time and money can keep small problems from turning into much larger ones at a later point. Plus, even when the cost of repairs is factored into the purchase price, buyers are less inclined to buy a home that represents a large repair or renovation project.
Here are some considerations:
A check of your home’s basic structural and functional components should be checked on an annual basis. Things like gutters, foundation, water heaters, air conditioners, roofing, etc. should be checked to the best of your ability to detect a problem. A certain portion of your income should be allocated for nothing but home maintenance. It has been estimated that as much as 3 percent of a home’s market value is spent annually on maintaining a home.
Don’t let future repairs take you by surprise. For example, in areas of the country where summers can get quite humid and you may find yourself using the air conditioner for extended periods of time. If you have a 15-year old furnace, for example, you should strongly consider saving a portion of your income for a replacement unit in the near future. As well, you should be aware of other things that are susceptible to breaking down, such as roofing, siding and so on. By having a good idea of when you will likely have to repair or replace certain things you will be less likely to be caught off guard by an unanticipated expense.
If you are not in a position to pay for maintenance:
Not being able to pay for needed repairs in a timely manner is bad enough. If you are in a situation where needed repairs have gone unaddressed for years, then this is a good indicator that your home is simply too expensive for your means. This will cause you problems when it comes time to sell your home as the build-up of maintenance issues will make your home less marketable.
If you should fall into such a predicament don’t just sweep it under the carpet. Take action. Taking an objective look at your finances can help you gain a clear perspective. Make the repairs you can afford to make and then consider moving into a less expensive home.
Some final thoughts:
Always consider the cost of maintenance when evaluating the cost of buying a home. It’s better to buy a slightly less expensive home and be able to afford the required maintenance than to buy a more expensive home and not be able to maintain it. The former will maintain its value over time and likely appreciate, where as the latter will likely depreciate.…

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Remodeling

Minimize Your Risk When Searching for Cheap Housing

Now that the federal government’s efforts at tinkering with regard to the marketplace for affordable homes has started to show its effects, we are faced with a glut of cheap homes in the United States. Complicating matters is the fact that unemployment remains very high, so people who might otherwise absorb that supply are still unable to afford to buy any of the cheap houses for sale.
For those in a position to buy a cheap home, it’s a buyer’s market, and lenders are aware of this fact of business life. For them, the stock of unsold real estate, although nominally assets, amount to liabilities. Although they will spend money to do the bare minimum of home maintenance and just about never any home improvement, they are exposed to liability for damages occurring on the property, even to trespassers in many cases.
If you come across an affordable home that’s been foreclosed upon, you may see it as an opportunity to upgrade your own living circumstances. However, you must be prepared to deal with the risk of buying a cheap house that may have serious defects or be the victim of deferred home maintenance. What seems like an amazing bargain could turn out to be a major liability if you are not very careful. Potential buyers must be very wary before jumping at what looks like a deal that is too good to miss.
One way to minimize the risks is to contact the former owner and ask directly about the condition of the property. In some cases the owner will harbor a lingering bitterness and refuse to cooperate, but often they will have accepted their loss and be happy to have it re-occupied. This is especially so if the potential buyer is not buying as an investment but instead intends to live there with a family. This is certainly not a sure way to find out about potential troubles, but it is a good place to start and there is certainly nothing to lose by trying to find out more about a piece of property before spending any money.
Neighbors may know the whereabouts of the former owner. If not, you can mail them a letter of inquiry which will be forwarded to them. If you think it appropriate, you might offer some financial inducement to come out and inspect the property with you. By no means will everybody be willing to do so, but for the price of a stamp you may be pleasantly surprised.…