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For better or for worse, your fencing will have a huge influence on how your place feels and looks. While for some, utility will be the most important factor, for others, they might prefer something that complements their house first. Factors such as climate and cost also have to be considered as well. This is why the question of which material should be used can be a tricky one. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular options, vinyl and wood, and the pros and cons of each to see which option would be the best for your needs.

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Wood: The Pros

One of the best things about wood fences is the way they look. Some people just love the whole white picket fence aesthetic, and stained wood can give a rustic feel to any backyard. So, if your first goal is for it to look good, then wood is a sure bet. Wood is also one of these materials you can work with even if you’re not a professional, so it’s a good pick for those DIYers out there. Wood also gives you a wide array of colors and finishes based on the staining and the wood you pick.

Wood: The Cons

Wood fences demand a lot of maintenance. And they’re not the best suited for every climate. You have to work on them every year so they can keep their appearance, whether its repainting or treating them. They’re also vulnerable to things like insects, especially termites. And they have a tendency to warp as well, especially when they haven’t been properly treated.

Vinyl: The Pros

Vinyl is one of the most low maintenance materials you can use as far as fencing goes. And it comes in a wide variety of styles, textures, and shades as well. While you can install it yourself, it’s always better to work with professional fitters. Teams like Northland Fence will be able to set up your vinyl fence in as little as a day and all their vinyl fences come with a lifetime warranty on the material. Good luck finding that with wood.

Vinyl: The Cons

One of the issues with vinyl fencing is that it’s slightly more expensive upfront than wood. But you end up recuperating these costs with lower maintenance and higher durability. Another issue with vinyl is that repairs are a bit more complicated, but since it’s so durable, it doesn’t require repairs as much as wood.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities and what you need in a fence. If you want something that will last a long time and require little to no maintenance, go for vinyl. If your main priority is the look and you don’t mind having to maintain it every year and replace it at the end of its lifespan, then wood might be the choice for you.

Conclusion

Whatever choice you pick, make sure that you consider how much time and money you can afford to spend on your fence. Also, consider if your climate or even the general look in your area would make either option more suitable.

 

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Every homeowner wants the best for their family. From cozy living rooms to serene bathrooms, we all want to improve the way we live by considering home improvement projects that help us achieve a more appealing home.

But when it comes to making a home that’s safe and healthy, we will have to look for green solutions. After all, this is the first step to achieving a healthier home.

Let’s check out a few important tips to a greener home.

  1. Ditch commercial materials

Whether you’re mopping up the living room floor or repainting the exterior walls of your home, the materials you use may contain chemicals that not only pollute the air but also cause a wide range of health conditions on your family. You may need to update your shopping list and get rid of brands that are known to contain high traces of cancer-causing chemicals such as glycol and benzene.

If you’re making a change for the better, you might as well look online for shops selling organic materials for your next home improvement project.

  1. Think of a redesign

Often the best way to build a green home is to start from scratch. Fortunately, if you’re planning to settle in a home that’s both functional and eco-friendly, there are local builders who can help you along those lines.

If you live in Baltimore, you’ll find Maryland home builders who can provide custom designs that help reduce your carbon footprint. But if you already have a home, you can always opt for a redesign by using proper insulation, as well as materials and concepts that allow for better cooling and heating.

  1. Upgrade your lighting

If there’s anything that passes as an eco-friendly solution, changing your light bulbs will do the trick. Especially if it has been a while since you last upgraded your lighting, swapping your bulbs with LEDs will really keep your energy consumption low along with your power bills.

  1. Prepare a compost pit

Managing a garden is tough work, but choosing a safe alternative to commercial fertilizers has to be tougher. Sure enough, familiar fertilizer brands could be more acidic and, in effect, harmful to your plants.

Commercial fertilizer might give your garden the lushness it needs, but when it comes to keeping the soil healthy, preparing your own compost using kitchen scraps has to be the better option. It’s organic and it won’t pollute the ground much as synthetic fertilizers do.

  1. Improve your insulation

Whether there’s a blizzard or a heatwave, the thermostat has to be your best bet in keeping your home’s temperature well-regulated. Then again, you will have to pay a price for keeping your home well heated or cooled during extreme weather. By keeping your home well-insulated, you won’t have to set the thermostat high or low.

 

A greener home is possible, so long as you use the right approach. That way, you won’t have to worry about putting your family’s health and safety at risk.

 

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Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to add energy efficiency to their home and reduce their monthly energy bills. Many eco-friendly home improvements can pay for themselves over time, so they are often seen as a wise investment. Home Heat Recovery Systems give homeowners the chance to radically reduce their heating bill with only a small initial investment. Here we are going to take a quick look at the benefits of installing a Home Heat Recovery System.

They Offer Total Heating for Your Home

Home Heat Recovery Systems heat the air in your home and circulate it through every room. Heating the air ensures an even temperature throughout the house, no more cold spots or rooms to avoid on a cold day. By removing stale air and drawing in fresh air from the outdoors, it removes the need to open a window or door to let fresh air in as your air is always fresh. The system heats any fresh air it adds to your home before it enters circulation, to ensure the temperature is efficiently maintained throughout the house.

They Clean and Filter Your Air

Air quality is a concern for many homeowners, whether from pollen, local air pollution, or from humidity or carbon monoxide. A high-quality Home Heat Recovery System has air filters and dehumidifying cells as a part of its construction. As the system circulates air through your home it is scrubbed for irritants and particles; it is also dehumidified to reduce mould and condensation build up in your home. This can be of particular benefit to Asthma sufferers and people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

They Can Drastically Reduce Energy Bills

When installed in a well-insulated home, the energy savings a Home Heat Recovery System can bring can be quite staggering. By keeping close control over your home’s airflow and heating it only when needed, some users have experienced double-digit drops in their heating bill. It is important to find a reputable and experienced supplier to assist you in finding the right system for your home to help maximise the savings. A BPC Ventilation system is one of the industry leaders. They can source the best components to suit the needs of your home and offer excellent advice on fitting an HHR system. Finding the right supplier can be the difference between your home heating dreams and a costly nightmare.

Home Heat Recovery Systems bring consistent warmth to your home at a reduced cost. After just a short while the savings they bring you will offset the cost of your investment, so in the end, they pay for themselves! Every year, energy prices increase, and governments put more pressure on homeowners to reduce their carbon footprints. With a Home Heat Recovery System, it is possible to future proof your home by reducing your energy costs and consumption now, before any more price increases or costly regulations make heating your home too expensive.

 

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The cold weather can send you in frenzy, especially if your furnace system is acting up or has some hiccups. However, keep in mind that there are some common problems that you can fix solo, as opposed to calling the professionals to repair it.

Here are some common furnace problems you are bound to experience occasionally and how to fix them.

1.     No heat troubleshooting

If your furnace is not producing any heat then you could try some DIY things before calling in the experts. Some of them are:

  • Verifying that your thermostat setting is on heat
  • Checking your pilot light and gas valve, you can turn the gas valve to an ON position and relight your pilot light to see if they are both working
  • Reset the furnace motor, as chances are that it may be overloaded. Just press the reset button once if nothing happens then try again after 30 minutes
  • Also ensure that your furnace has power, by flipping its switch ON
  • You can also check if your fuse or breaker that powers the thermostat is ON and working and not blown. You can turn it ON if it is not and if it is blown just replace it

2.     Thermostat malfunctions

If your furnace thermostat is not working properly, you can try some home DIY tasks to get it running again. For instance, you could turn the power OFF and remove the cover before cleaning it with a soft brush or vacuum.

Also, check if there are corrosion signs before removing it with an electronic contact cleaner. You can then change its battery if this is the problem.

3.     Faulty pilot lights

If your furnace pilot lights keep going out, then there could be a couple of problems like a loose or faulty thermocouple. You can just tighten it if it is the issue. Another thing is that you pilot orifice may be clogged. You can try to clear this clog with a wire piece.

It could also mean that your settings are too low for the pilot flame. You can make the flame adjustment by turning its screw for a proper size, probably between 1.5-2 inches of flame with no yellow. You can consult your furnace manual for better adjustments.

In addition, remember to shut off the gas, switch or circuit breaker before starting this kind of inspection and fixing.

4.     Broken fans

You can check if your fan is actually broken by turning your heat OFF on your thermostat, then turn to Fan Only or Auto position. If your fan does not turn ON, then it is broken.

You can then check if your circuit breaker has tripped if not, then you will need to replace your broken furnace fan.

5.     Bad electrical connections

If your furnace does not have any power, check your breaker box for a blown fuse or a tripped breaker. For the blown fuse you can replace it but for the tripped breaker just turn it OFF and ON again. If both do not work then your connections might be faulty and you may need the services of a furnace technician like Advanpro Calgary, to fix it.

6.     Air flow problems

This problem often means that something is preventing the air from flowing within your furnace. So just check your furnace filter, it can be dirty or not installed properly. Put it in the correct position.

You can also check the vents ensure they are open, as closed vents can lead to unnecessary heat buildup within your furnace.

If the problem persists, try pressing the rest button. You can try resetting it again after 30 minutes if it does not get any better.

7.     Dirty or clogged air filter

In case you have a dirty or clogged air filter, just replace it. You can buy the same one in your furnace. Take a picture and ask the store owner to help you locate it.

Take note that most filters will have arrows showing the direction of airflow. These arrows should face your furnace duct work.

8.     Blower runs all the time

If your furnace gives you this problem, check your thermostat switch, if it is set to ON, then your blower will always be running. Change the setting to Auto, this way it turns itself ON and OFF as required when it reaches the set temperature.

If problem persists, call the furnace experts.

9.     Furnace age

Furnaces are built to last for long, but none can run forever. So maybe it might be time to replace it, especially if it has reached or passed its manufacturer warranty. So be informed and up-to-date with your system.

 

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Your home design is all about you, your partner and your family. Every element present at home reflects a certain aspect of life. The colors painted all over the walls remind you of peace and serenity. The decor beautifying the walls project decision-making and artistic skills. The materials used inside and outside the house, from flooring to roofing, display style and preferences. Spacing and arrangement either defies customs or depicts centuries-old traditions and beliefs.

When buying a new home, building one or making a facelift, you want to be immersed in the process, from planning the details to the finishing touches. After all, the house is your safe haven for years or even for a lifetime. It is a pleasure to flip through the color palette, the portfolio of home decor and the gallery of design ideas you want your eyes to scour. It is also no wonder if you have been making sketches or notes with design ideas for the kitchen, living room, master bedroom or even the garage.

To help you out, we have compiled a list of unique bits of design that may seem bizarre but are actually awe-inspiring ideas that will make your house stand out from the rest.

Pendant Lighting

More and more restaurants, especially intimate ones, are now adorned with pendant lighting that hangs just slightly over the heads of guests. From a style perspective, pendant lighting offers a great addition to your home. But it provides more than just a decorative accent. It also plays a major role in terms of highlighting a room, adding a different glow while incorporating a decorative style.

Now, how do you plan on adding pendant lights at home? You can try hanging them to illuminate your entryway, a kitchen counter or dining table. Although the lights are usually close, you may also opt for a design that spreads all throughout the space you want to brighten up, like a dining table with a large seating capacity.

Natural Lighting and Ventilation

Sustainability solutions start at home. Measures to lower consumption of energy and water do not just lead to lesser utility bills but also contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from using less electricity and water, you can incorporate sustainability measures in your building design.

This means you will need less light during the day and nature’s fresh breeze will surround your home, instead of turning on air conditioning for cooling the house. Ask your home renovations and remodeling service provider or a local Excel Builders to craft a design that allows natural lighting and ventilation to come inside the house.

Big Plants

Desert plants are the usual staple for decor inside the house. But it is 2019, and trends change over time. Small plants, flowering or non-flowering, are also attractive. Nowadays, big plants are eye-catching accessories that can attract attention. Before you purchase bold plants, you need to know the relevant information such as water and sunlight requirements to keep plants healthy and green.

Floral Patterns

While people live in a modern world, everybody loves a design redux for styles that were trendy in the past. In 2019, floral patterns have risen to the occasion. You might think the floral pattern thrived during your grandma’s adolescent period. Well, yes indeed. But filling your home with floral design may be a better replacement for bland or flashy colors that dominated the previous years.

Fortunately, floral print today is redesigned with contemporary lines and is much bolder than in years past. There is a list of fresh design for your floral patterns, from orchids to cherry blossoms, to give your room an updated look. 

Multi-Functional Space

Whether you’re limiting furniture to save space or just practicing less is more through minimalism, a multi-functional space can work wonders at home. You can remodel existing furniture pieces or purchase new ones that offer more than just one function, such as a bed with pull-out drawers or ottomans with added storage.

You can also design two or more rooms in one space, such as an office space in a living room or transforming kitchen counters into a workstation. Success in multi-functional space depends on layout. The design should manifest proper balance between two or more functions, and clearly indicate the division between spaces.

Bar Area

You, your partner, friends and family members can enjoy the spirits and entertainment at your home by putting up a bar. You can display your prized wines, tequila and other liquor you want to enjoy. Hang those wine glasses, put in the rotating stools and roll out those barrels to start partying without going outside.

With a bar area, it’s easy for guests to get cold drinks while the party is hot on the dance floor. The bar does not have to be limited to drinking alcoholic beverages alone. You can also have your morning coffee, brew a late-night tea or whip up a smoothie at the bar.

Biophilia

It is now that we are seeing more and more people that are interacting with nature. By installing sustainable solutions at home or in the office, everyone is more involved today than on previous years when it comes to getting closer with nature. At home, people create gardens to commune with the environment. Now though, design has brought nature closer to you through biophilia. A biophilic setting expands beyond houseplants or floral patterns. It has design and decor that bring the sight, sound and smell of nature indoors.

So, how do you create this biophilia? For one, work with water. The sound of flowing water not only relaxes our senses, it also blocks noises caused by street sounds. Another element is to breathe in the fragrant scent of nature with aromatic candles or essential oils. Aim to create a space devoid of gadgets, equipment and screens. A biophilic setting wants us to awaken our senses and technology works against it. Just have a corner where distractions are absent.

There is a Santa Claus list of eclectic home design ideas you can experiment in your new dwelling or for an upcoming renovation. As long as it speaks to your style, character and beliefs, you can never be wrong with your choices.

 

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Installing a new fence can be a demanding DIY project if the area to be surrounded is large enough, but it isn’t the most difficult project that you can undertake either. That being said, mistakes are quite common and, therefore, in case you have any plans to set up a few fences on your own anytime soon, it’s worth it to glance over these three tips that even experienced DIY enthusiasts can find useful at times.

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Asking the All-Important Questions

Before you even start planning your fence installation project, it is of the utmost importance to ask yourself and your family a few questions first, and they should be along the lines of the following.

  • What is the primary objective behind the installation of the fence?
  • Is privacy more important to you or does security take precedence?
  • How much are you really willing to or can afford to spend on your fencing project?
  • What are the choices in material that you have?
  • How much maintenance will your new fencing require and how much will that cost you?

To illustrate why all these questions are so important, let’s get to the next tip.

Understand What Your New Fencing Will Bring With It

Steel fences last for decades. In fact, the steel fencing from Northland Fence comes with a warranty of two decades! It will remain unhindered by the weather conditions as neither the sun nor the frost will be able to even scratch your steel fencing for years. While the durability of steel also makes it an excellent material of choice when security is your priority, it will not provide you with any privacy at all. When privacy is more important, then go for vinyl fencing instead of steel. Northland Fence has consciously switched over from cedar wood to vinyl because the material lasts longer than wood and provides better security than wood as well. As far as the looks are concerned, vinyl fencing can be made to look exactly like cedar, so you won’t have to sacrifice on décor. Besides, to make wooden fences last, it does require a lot of maintenance.

Checking with the Local Zoning Laws

There are limitations, rules, and regulations, alongside must-have safety precautions that every household in a US state must adhere to while putting up any kind of fencing. For example, in order to put up any fences in Minnesota that are more than 30-inches in height, you will require a building permit that will only be granted on producing a satisfactory site plan. These laws change with the state in question, so do make sure you are thorough with your understanding of what you can and can’t do in your area.

Given the time, effort, and knowledge of fine details it requires, it is recommended that you leave any big fencing project to the professionals, as they deal with them regularly and are well aware of them. Nevertheless, if you want to do it all on your own, at least now you are a bit wiser than before!

 

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Whats So Special About Saltwater Pools

Saltwater pools are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. Saltwater pool owners enjoy key benefits, but it’s important to learn what you’re in for before deciding on the right type of pool for your home.

Here, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions about saltwater pools, and weigh the pros and cons of saltwater pools over traditional pools.

The Basics

In a traditional pool, the chlorine level is maintained by periodically adding chlorine to the pool. However, a saltwater pool generates salt chlorine from added salt by the process of chemical electrolysis, using a salt chlorine generator. This highlights an important fact: a saltwater pool is a chlorine pool, it simply uses an alternate means of chlorination. That being said, a saltwater pool’s chlorine content tends to be much lower than that of a traditional pool. The significantly lower chlorine content in a saltwater pool is much gentler on the skin, hair, and eyes.

 

But, What is a Salt Chlorine Generator?

A salt chlorine generator is a metal cell that carries a low voltage electrical current. The generator is installed inline the pool’s existing pump system so the water is pumped through the generator before being returned to the pool. As the water passes through the metal cell, the current splits the salt into water and hypochlorous acid, which provides the disinfecting function normally achieved by adding chlorine.

A saltwater generator creates salt chlorine from simple table salt (NaCl), eliminating the need to handle chlorine. Because the chemical electrolysis converts the salt back and forth between salt and salt chlorine, and because salt does not evaporate (unlike chlorine), there is a reduced need to replenish the pool’s chlorine content. Still, the chlorine content of a saltwater pool must be monitored and salt must be added, as appropriate, to maintain safe levels.

 

Is It Like Swimming in The Ocean?

Note quite. The salinity of a saltwater pool is about one-tenth that of seawater. In fact, a saltwater pool is less salty than human tears. In the ocean, it’s easier to float on your back due to the added buoyancy of the salt. Saltwater pools don’t provide the effect quite as well.

The reduced salt of a saltwater pool in comparison with the ocean has a few benefits. You won‘t feel the “salty” feeling on your skin and hair quite as intensely after drying off. A pool’s water also does not sting your eyes in the same way ocean water will.

 

How Do I Convert My Pool?

Converting a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool is fairly easy, but can be expensive. First, you would need to determine what size pool you have and install a salt chlorine generator capable of handling the volume. Salt chlorine generators range in cost from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you are not completely confident in your understanding of the system, you might also want to high a professional to do the installation so as to avoid damage to your equipment. It’s also important to not that the salt chlorine generator will need to be replaced every few years.

Then, you need to determine how much salt your pool needs. Pool salt test strips can tell you your pool’s existing salt level so you can accurately determine how much you need to add. Again, a saltwater pool uses simple table salt which should be easy to find. After you add the salt, you should run the pump (but NOT the salt chlorine generator), for 24 hours to allow the salt to evenly mix with the pool water. After that, you should test the water for appropriate salt, free chlorine, pH, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness, before running the salt chlorine generator. This process is referred to as “balancing the pool water.”

 

Are Saltwater Pools Low Maintenance?

Again, we’re here to debunk a common misconception. While saltwater pools require reduced maintenance steps, the water must still be routinely tested and adjusted to maintain proper sanitation. The salt chlorine generator cell must also be inspected at regular intervals for buildup and debris. Calcium buildup is a common issue in salt chlorine generators.

 

Is It Worth It?

The general consensus has been that the benefits of a saltwater pool far outweigh the negatives. The popularity of saltwater pools is on the rise as people appreciate the improved swimming experience:

  • The low salinity of the water means that very little salt remains on the skin.
  • The significantly lower chlorine level gives the water a softer feel, and is gentler on skin, hair, eyes, and even clothing.
  • Not having to physically handle toxic liquid chlorine or tablets has also been a big selling point among pool owners. Owners also appreciate the savings from no longer needing to purchase chlorine.
  • Also, there is generally less loss of chlorine to the environment with a saltwater pool than there is in a traditional pool.
  • Restoring a saltwater pool’s chlorine level can be as easy as simply adding some table salt.

 

While the benefits of saltwater pools are clear, it’s important for a potential owner to know the facts about what they are and what they are not:

  • A saltwater pool is not quite like the ocean. The salinity of a saltwater pool is far lower than that of seawater.
  • Installing a saltwater pool requires a higher initial investment, and fixing any broken equipment can be more expensive.
  • A saltwater pool is not low maintenance. Maintaining a sanitary saltwater pool requires consistency and attention to detail. All other parameters required for a safe pool still need maintenance.
  • Since a saltwater pool simply employs an alternate means of chlorination, many of the same issues that come up with a traditional pool will persist with a saltwater pool.
  • Salt can be corrosive to equipment surrounding your pool.

 

About the author:

Jason Caldwell is a Seattle-based writer and contributor to lifestyle blogs and magazines. His clients include An online swimming pools supply company. When he’s not running up against a deadline, he enjoys planning DIY projects and cooking for his family.

 

 

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Reroofing your house is a major investment. The choices you make will affect your family’s comfort and the value of your home as well as your bank balance. When researching roofing materials, take a long-term view. Consider not only the initial costs but also the life span, energy efficiency and environmental impact of your final decision. Metal sheet goods and shingles are very versatile and durable materials that compare favorably to other roofing options over the life cycle of your roof.

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The Types of Metal Roofing

The most common types of metal roofing include galvanized steel, aluminum, copper and stainless steel. In general, metal roofing lasts from 35 years to around 200 (Haddock, 2004). In comparison, you may need to replace other materials such as asphalt shingles and wood shakes in as little as 20 years. Metal is fireproof, recyclable and environmentally friendly (Flamholtz, 1984). The primary drawback of metal roofing is its initial expense.

Metal materials are available in rolled sheets, shingles and tiles. Some products feature several color choices. Manufacturers offer stamped and shaped metal materials that resemble cedar shakes, clay tiles or slate as well as the traditional standing-seam panels.

Galvanized Steel Roofing

Galvanized steel roofing is a corrugated sheet metal product that you see on industrial and agricultural buildings as well as on homes. This material typically has a non-corrosive coating, consisting primarily of zinc, that impedes rust (“Corrugated galvanised iron,” 2014).

The pros of corrugated metal roofing include:

• Rust resistant coating
• Lasts 60 years or more
• Lower cost than other metal roofing

The main cons of this roofing material are:

• Industrial-type appearance
• Will rust where coating wears off
• Prone to salt damage in coastal areas

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum roofing, unlike steel, withstands the corrosive challenges of salt water, so it is a better choice for coastal properties. Aluminum is a lightweight yet softer metal that is subject to denting, so it may not be appropriate in high-wind locations (Vandervort, 2013).

The pros of aluminum roofing consist of:

• Naturally non-corrosive
• Lightweight
• Requires no painting

The cons of this material include:

• Average life expectancy of 35 years
• Soft metal mars more easily
• Higher cost

Copper Roofing

Copper roofing is impervious to rust and does not require protective coatings like galvanized steel and aluminum do. Although more expensive than most other roofing metals, copper is economical in terms of low maintenance and longevity. Copper roofing is particularly adaptable to architectural elements like domes and curved dormers because it is soft and flexible. Over time, the bright penny-toned surfaces develop a greenish patina (“Roofing systems,” 2014).

Among the advantages of copper roofing are:

• Beauty
• Rustproof
• Low maintenance

The cons include:

• Cost
• Easily dented
• Loses luster over time

Stainless Steel Roofing

Corrosion resistant and durable, stainless steel roofing tops such edifices such as the Chrysler Building in New York City. Because of its strength, stainless steel roofing is thinner than some other metal roofing and thus relatively light in weight, so it doesn’t put excess stress on your roof’s understructure. Austenitic stainless steel roofing contains approximately 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel. It forms its own protective coating when the chromium reacts with oxygen in the air (“Roofing: the technical guide,” 2014).

The pros of stainless steel roofing include:

• Durability
• Strength
• Low maintenance

Among the drawbacks are:

• Oxidation turns the shiny surface to a dull gray
• Expensive
• One color

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Climatic Considerations When Choosing Roof Materials

Be sure to consider your regional climate when choosing new roofing materials. If you live in a high temperature zone, reflective metal roofing is a smart decision. It repels the heat of the sun before it can make your house intolerably warm. This saves on air conditioning costs.

Some aluminum and steel roofing with optimal solar reflective properties is Energy Star compliant, cutting down on cooling demand during peak usage periods by 10-15 percent (“Roof products,” 2014). In contrast, standard asphalt composition shingles absorb heat and trap it within the home, adding several degrees to the interior temperature. Composition roofing typically deteriorates faster in hot climates too.

In the winter, snow slides easily off metal roofing, reducing stress on the structure and eliminating buildup that could cause destructive ice dams. While some metal roofs do not have as much insulating power as built-up materials like asphalt shingles, they can perform well in cool conditions with adequate insulation.

Environmental Benefits of Metal Roofing

Most metal roofing contains a minimum of 25 percent recycled material (“Energy efficiency,” 2014). Unlike composite roofing, metal roofing is completely recyclable when removed from your home, so it helps cut down on the volume of solid waste in landfills. Because metal products help deflect the heat of the sun, your indoor living spaces require less cooling, saving on energy. In addition, many metal roof products meet or exceed local energy efficiency building standards.

The Final Factor: The Cost of a New Metal Roof

The cost of the roof is likely to be the decisive factor when you make a final decision. In general, metal roof materials cost between two and three times more than standard composition shingles. However, the life cycle cost, including all roof expenses from installation to demolition, is a more practical way to judge what you will pay.

Roofing installers typically charge per “square,” an area equivalent to 100 square feet. An average cost per square for roofing materials and installation is $350, but this varies according to geographic area. For example, a 50 x 30-foot standing seam metal roof in New England costs about 10 percent more than the national average while the same roof in the South Atlantic region costs about 10 percent less (Roof installation prices, 2013).

Low maintenance, energy savings and longevity may more than balance out initial reroofing costs. In fact, the expected life span of a new roof is more relevant in calculating its life cycle cost than the expense of materials and labor (“Calculating the life cycle cost,” 2012). Additional factors that pare down overall cost include energy savings and any tax credits for qualifying materials.

From a life cycle perspective, metal roofing measures up well compared to other materials. With a life expectancy ranging from decades to centuries, an ability to repel punishing solar rays, very low maintenance and complete recyclability, metal roofing turns out to be a wise choice overall for your home, your budget and your environment.
References:

Calculating the life cycle cost of a roof (2012). Buildings, March 26, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/13816/title/calculating-the-life-cycle-cost-of-a-roof.aspx

Corrugated galvanised iron (2014). Wikipedia, April 28, 2014. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrugated_galvanised_iron

Energy efficiency (2014). Metal Roofing Alliance, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.metalroofing.com/v2/content/metal-roofing/energy-efficiency.cfm#recycling

Flamholtz, Cathy J. (1984). Metal roofing pros and cons. Mother Earth News, March/April 1984. Retrieved from http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/metal-roofing-pros-and-cons-zmaz84mazgoe.aspx#axzz35gSpmGMo

Haddock, Rob. Metal roofing from a to z (2004). Interface, May 2004. Retrieved from http://www.rci-online.org/interface/2004-05-haddock.pdf

Roof installation prices guide (2013). Roof Calculator, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.roofcalc.org/roof-installation-prices/

Roof products for consumers (2014). EnergyStar, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.energystar.gov/certified-products/detail/roof_products

Roofing: the technical guide to stainless steel roofing. The European
Stainless Steel Development Association, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.euro-inox.org/htm/p_5_EN.html

Roofing systems (2014). Copper Development Association. Retrieved from http://www.copper.org/applications/architecture/arch_dhb/arch-details/roofing/

Vandervort, Don (2013). “Types of metal roofing materials,” Hometips, July 22, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.hometips.com/buying-guides/metal-roofing-materials.html

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My family moved into our first home last December, and to say that we have a lot of projects on our to-do list would be an understatement. There are multiple projects in the works for almost every room in the house. Thank goodness it’s only a 1-story home.

Recently, we decided to give our entryway a makeover, starting with the tile. My husband grew up working with his uncle, who was a contractor specializing in floors. Lucky me, right?

The previous owners used some ceramic tile that was probably better suited for a mudroom. We wanted something a bit more glamorous and shiny. I picked out about 35 pieces of this 12×12 porcelain tile from Home Depot and a similarly light-colored grout and we got to work.

The whole thing took us about 2 days, which is impressive for us because we have a toddler and a baby living with us. We’re so happy with the results, and we wanted to share it with anyone who thought they might embark on a re-tiling project on their own. I’m here to tell you-you can do it. While it’s time consuming and meticulous work, it can easily be your next DIY project.

Materials:
Tile
Spacers
Thinset
Grout
Mixing bucket

Tools:
Tile removing tool
Wet saw
Trowel
Grout float
Paddle mixer

1. Break up the existing tile using a tile removing tool-this could be as simple as using a hammer or a hammer gun. As you work, be sure to aim the hammer gun (or hammer) at the grooves in the tile, it will help it to break easier.

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2. After you thoroughly clean the area, measure the area and lay out the tile in the design you want. You should make sure that the full tiles are in the main space, while the cut tiles should be along the wall or stairs. The less you have to cut, the better.

3. Mix the thinset using a paddle mixer and a bucket. Thinset is what you use to actually set the tile. Pour the thinset into the bucket and slowly add water until the consistency is similar to pancake mix. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and mix it again.

4. Set the whole tiles first. Spread the thinset using the smooth side of the trowel, and then spread it using the notched side. Once you’ve set the whole tiles, it’s time to set the rest. Spread out more thinset, as evenly as possible.

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5. Using the spacers, set the remaining tiles and create your pattern. Since every tile will have a different design, pay attention to how they look in relation to one another. You’ll probably have to make more cuts as you get closer to the edges.

6. Once the thinset has dried and your tiles are set (this usually takes about 24 hours) you can apply a sealer. This is particularly important when working with natural stone, because it’s porous and can stain easily.

7. You probably already picked out your grout color-it should be a shade that complements your tile. Mix the grout with water (there should be directions on the bag) and spread it along the lines using the grout float. Don’t work the grout AGAINST the lines, but into the lines. Push it in and be sure that it fills in the lines.

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8. Once the grout starts to dry (it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes) you can wipe down the area with a wet sponge. The grout won’t FULLY be dry until the following day, but you can still clean the tiles.

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A sunroom can enhance your enjoyment of your home and give you additional space for entertaining or just relaxing. However, the term “sunroom” can mean different things to different people. To some, a sunroom involves little more than adding walls and a roof to an existing patio to create an area that will be used only during warm weather. For others, a sunroom is fully climate-controlled to provide comfort year-round and must be built from the ground up. The amount of new construction required and the intended use of the sunroom are the two primary factors that determine the final cost.

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Basic Construction Factors Impacting Costs

The first item on the list of construction elements that can affect cost is the foundation. If no foundation exists, the contractor must excavate the area, install forms, place rebar and pour concrete. A good foundation is essential to a sunroom that is to see year-round use. It is also a critical factor in determining how long the room will last without becoming destabilized by erosion; without a proper foundation, the room can “settle” or sink, causing cracks or gaps to form in the walls.

Sunrooms that are to provide comfort during all seasons will need to be insulated. The amount of insulation needed can affect the construction costs and depends a great deal on the local climate. Obviously, if you are building a sunroom in Boston, where the average temperature in January is 9.5 degrees Farenheit, you will need more insulation that you would to build one in Miami, which averages approximately 68 degrees during January.

Some costs are more reliant upon the intended use of the sunroom. If heating and air conditioning is desired, costs can be higher. An electrician will need to install the wiring for any outlets, lighting or ceiling fans if the sunroom is to double as another living area, such as a den or family room. Since sunrooms typically consist of lengthy expanses of glass, the quality of the windows selected can affect costs. Windows can be single- or double-paned, feature metal or wood frames, and be highly decorative or basic.

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Additional Construction Factors

A sunroom can be basic or upscale. For example, a sunroom with a high cathedral ceiling will cost more than one with a low, plain ceiling. The wall adjoining the house can be finished with drywall or expensive wood paneling. Built-in entertainment centers or bookcases can also raise the cost. Floors can be exotic hardwood, vinyl tile, brick, stone or carpet. Roofing materials need to match the house, or at least blend in for a pleasing appearance, so whether the sunroom’s roof will be slate tiles, fiberglass shingles or wood shakes affects the cost.

Another element that can affect costs is the terrain on which the room is to be constructed. The foundation needs to be placed on level, well-drained soil. If the contractor must arrange for substantial leveling of the site or clear trees first, the costs can be affected. The same is true if the soil is of a type that is too unstable to yield good results and the contractor must excavate and replace existing soil.

Virtually all cities and towns require building permits for sunroom construction. However, the cost of permits varies widely. In some towns, a permit costs well under $100, but in some major cities, the same type of permit can cost several hundred dollars. In addition, local codes may restrict plumbing, electrical or masonry work to individuals holding advanced licenses, and this has the potential to affect final costs.

Typical Costs for Sunrooms

Assuming that you want to build a sunroom of approximately 200 square feet that can be used year-round. Nationally, the cost is between $45,889 and $55,813, with HomeAdvisor.com placing the average at $49,316. This number is for a nice — but not extravagant — sunroom that required a new slab foundation and basic insulation, wiring, flooring, windows, heating and cooling, roofing and finishing. Add a few upgrades or construction challenges, such as those mentioned earlier, and costs can rise substantially, often to as much as $72,000 or more.

On the other hand, if you want to just have a patio surround built, the national average for this type of sunroom is approximately. $22,400. This is assuming that the foundation is already in place and does not need extensive repairs or enlargement. However, because these rooms are not resting on a thick slab foundation, they are difficult to heat or cool, so such sunrooms are better suited to temperate climates. Also, wall insulation is normally not as thick, which can make the room unsuitable in areas that experience cold winters or very hot summers. In addition, the location, size and shape of the sunroom is dictated by the existing patio, which means that you could end up with a sunroom that is smaller than you would like or that does not have the proper exposure to catch the light well.

There are numerous options from which to choose when you decide to build a sunroom. The first step is to decide how you plan to use the room, where you will build it and how large you would like it to be. The second step is to contact a reputable contractor for a quote. Discuss your exact requirements, such as heating and air conditioning, interior and exterior finishing, wiring and upgrades, with the contractor. Make sure that all elements are covered in the bid, including options you have selected, who will bear the cost of permits and the completion time. With the proper planning and choice of contractor, you will be able to enjoy your new sunroom quickly, and for many years to come.

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Few homeowners are completely satisfied with the layout, décor or overall appearance of their homes. This often leads to big home renovation projects, many of which cost thousands of dollars to complete. As these homeowners spend their savings or take out additional mortgages to finance these improvements, they often begin to wonder whether the renovations will really increase the value of their homes or will simply take all their money.

While the average costs associated with remodeling have dropped 10-15 percent in the past few years, the overall selling prices for most homes has also decreased. This makes choosing renovations that will provide the most resale value even more important.

While small remodeling projects, such as replacing a worn front door or updating to energy efficient windows, still bring the highest returns, there are opportunities for larger renovations to improve a home’s value. These are the top four big-ticket home remodeling upgrades that retain the most resale value:

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1. Kitchen Remodeling Projects
While gutting and completely rebuilding a kitchen is an expense that generally will not pay off for homeowners, a fairly minor kitchen re-do can add up to 83 percent to the home’s value. By simply updating a kitchen with new cabinet doors, newer appliances and high-quality countertops, sinks and hardware, homeowners can provide a new look to their kitchen for under 20,000 dollars. Potential buyers walk into these partially renovated spaces and assume that these changes cost between 40,000-50,000, and they are willing to pay more for the homes.

A good rule of thumb for kitchen remodeling projects is to budget and spend approximately 25 percent of the home’s value. Spending more than this will be putting too much capital into a home that will not be recouped at resale. Additionally, homeowners should be cautious about building ultramodern spaces in traditional homes. Potential buyers like to see updated fixtures, but they also want kitchens that match the style of the home’s architecture.

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2. Bathroom Remodeling Projects
When potential buyers view a home, quality bathrooms are often their second-highest priority. Like renovated kitchens, remodeled bathrooms can look especially high-end, clean and luxurious. These qualities can entice many buyers to pay top-dollar for homes.

Remodeling a bathroom does not have to cost a lot either. Putting just 5,000-10,000 dollars into repainting, tiling and adding high-quality fixtures can truly transform a bathroom into a home oasis that will reap a 60 percent return on investment. Homeowners with multiple bathrooms should choose their remodeling projects carefully. Buyers like the idea of spa-like master suites, and updating guest powder rooms can also impress.

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3. Basement Renovations
Completing an unfinished basement or renovating an out-of-date basement can add significant living space to a home that will be reflected in value at sale time. Because homeowners are simply utilizing space that already exists in their homes to create additional living quarters, remodeling a basement is a surefire way to increase the value of their homes. Unfinished basements that are renovated into fully functional living rooms, extra bedrooms or even man caves can bring a 70 percent financial return at resale time. Of course this dollar amount depends on the square footage of the basement, but even small spaces that are made livable will see financial gain.

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4. Attic Conversions
Constructing an addition or expanding the roof or foundation is a costly renovation project that typically does not offer much in resale returns. However, homeowners that can fully renovate an interior space, such as an attic, spend less money and therefore make more profit when they sell. Because attics are typically used for storage and are then considered wasted space, renovating them to become usable living area can add significant value to homes. Most often these attics are converted into additional bedrooms, sometimes returning as much as 84 percent of the cost in resale value. Older homes are particularly appropriate for attic renovations since many of them have high rooflines that yield larger spaces under the eaves. These areas can become cozy bedrooms, libraries and bonus rooms.

While big-ticket renovations see the highest yields at resale, there are a number of smaller investments that often bring an even greater investment. Remodeling projects such as swapping out an entry door, adding a wood deck or updating a home’s siding typically cost even less than these projects but see more than 90 percent in resale returns. Homeowners who want to see value when it comes time to resell their homes need to carefully pick and choose their renovation projects.

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One of the brightest forms of current ecological activity is in the area of metal construction. There are now a whole host of ways that steel buildings can be actively used to enhance and organize all areas of home activity. Versatile and durable, steel constructions are environmentally friendly from the outset. Companies such as Future Buildings now specialize in provided prefabricated steel buildings that are quick to build and create very little waste. Ideal for a whole range of uses, here are five ways that these green designs can enhance a home.

Garages

Steel is the most sustainable of all construction materials and can offer the most environmentally aware approach to home activity. Advanced forms of garages and car ports can be an essential for most families, presenting an ideal amount of space and security. The long-lasting durability of steel is an obvious must for car owners looking to store their vehicle in the safest way. The huge advantage of using a modern steel building for this task is that every design can be individually tailored to each user’s requirements. This can mean a tidy and well balanced garage.

Storage

Practical storage solutions can be an essential element of ecological living.  The best forms of steel constructions can be put up in far less time than more traditional building methods, offering a greater amount of time for designing exactly how best to store items.  Outbuildings and annexes can be a great way of de-cluttering the home itself, ultimately creating more space in and around the house.

Workshop and office

Households and businesses are both beginning to see the advantages of modern steel constructions in the practical form of offices and additional workshops.  A home office can be easily installed on the grounds of a house quickly and conveniently.  Presenting a fully secure location for all working activities, a green office space can make working around the house a well organized – and decisively green – activity.

Garden

The garden is often key to enjoyable relaxation around the home. With the latest forms of steel construction this enjoyment can be heightened even further.  The practicality and ease of use of the latest styles of metal constructions can bring an extra element of forward-thinking to every home garden. Able to safely store gardening equipment and horticultural items, the latest forms of steel construction present the ideal way of looking after the garden in the greenest possible way.  Lighting and heating elements can also be safely installed, allowing the growing and careful cultivation of plants.

Living

The latest styles of steel buildings can be used as beautifully contained guest houses or annexed living quarters. The wipe clean edges of a carefully constructed pre-fab space can help save on cleaning products and detergents. Steel does not rust or require any form of treatment or extra care. The material is certainly the greenest of all available home construction materials, and can make an extra living space both comfortable and perfectly secure. With the most solid of structural supports, a futuristic steel building can make a valuable addition to every home.

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In the 1950s, vinyl siding was first introduced to the market as an alternative to aluminum siding. Siding that is made of vinyl was more lightweight and less prone to dents, and paint lasts much longer on vinyl than on siding that is made of metal or wood.

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The Components
Vinyl siding has two layers. The bottom layer contains synthetic resin and polyvinyl chloride, which is one of the most commonly produced types of plastic in the world.

The top layer is made of titanium dioxide, and this substance provides the siding’s color while acting as a physical barrier against UV rays.

Water
To prevent dirt from becoming embedded and very difficult to remove, a homeowner should use a pressure washer to clean the house’s siding at least once per year.

Water won’t harm vinyl siding unless the water has a temperature of more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit. When liquid that has such a high temperature hits vinyl, it will trigger a chemical reaction that can cause some of the titanium dioxide to break up and to fall off prematurely. Furthermore, the heat will swiftly fade the color of any paint that has been added to the siding.

Unlike hot water, rainwater will take many years to remove the color of your home’s siding. A homeowner should install an overhang at the edge of the roof to ensure that a large amount of water, which flows on the shingles during storms, isn’t hitting the siding consistently.

Sunlight
When the majority of homes had aluminum siding, the sun’s rays would heat the thin metal to an incredibly high temperature and cause the siding’s paint to swiftly begin to chip and to come off.

Vinyl is not a powerful conductor of heat, but the sun’s UVA rays, which are the longest UV rays that our star produces, can penetrate deep into the titanium dioxide and cause it to fade when the UV index is higher than 10.

Winter Weather
Snow does not damage vinyl siding, but ice can cause the siding to crack prematurely. When water seeps between the siding during a storm or after you wash the exterior of your home, that water can remain within the siding for weeks.

If the water turns into ice, it will expand. Over time, the constant expansion and contraction of the siding will weaken it substantially, and although the ice won’t cause it to break apart, the frozen water will make the vinyl much thinner and allow a light impact from a piece of hail or a poorly thrown baseball to create large holes in the material.

Hail
Impacts by pieces of hail that have a diameter of more than one inch will create large dents or holes instead of simple scratches, and as a result, a homeowner’s only choice is to completely replace siding that has been damaged by hail.

Scratches And Scuffs
Roofing materials, tools that are used in a garden and pieces of wood can easily scuff siding. These blemishes can only be removed by lightly scrubbing them for at least 10 minutes with brushes that are made of steel or nylon, and scrubbing the vinyl too roughly will create scratches.

To remove scratches, a contractor can use a sander to make the surface smooth again. Next, the technician will apply a filler that is made of wax or silicon to completely eliminate any trace of the blemish.

The Statistics
According to studies that were conducted by Alcoa and the Vinyl Siding Institute, vinyl siding on homes in the United States remains in good condition for 50 years on average, and the majority of companies that manufacture siding provide a warranty that lasts for 20 years to 55 years.

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There’s an old joke among professionals that when a client asks a question that they don’t know the answer to, they are told to respond, “That depends,” which gives them time to look up the answer. Strangely enough, in the case of giving an estimate for the cost of installing new French doors, “that depends” is probably one of the most honest answer you will ever receive.

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And as much a non-answer as it may seem, it’s true, since there are such a large number of variables that depend on what you want and how extensively you shop, that at first glance there is no better answer. Fortunately, therein lies an opportunity for you to get exactly what you want and for a price you can afford.

There’s Nothing Like French Doors
There is probably very little to compare to the inviting and elegant look of French doors to a home’s appearance. It’s little wonder that in the past few years the demand for French doors has skyrocketed. Quality French doors can be made from a wide variety of materials that not only enhance the look of a home, but can also be made to fit practically any budget. Further, modern technology allows French doors to be made in a multitude of designs that will compliment any decor.

But What About the Cost?
If you have decided that French doors are for your home, chances are good that you have already taken a deep breath and taken a good hold on yourself over the cost. The good news is that not only will the cost not be as difficult to handle as you might first think, but if there’s a silver lining to the current economic outlook, it ‘s the fact that there are many dealers out there on the market who are not only able but willing to make you a good deal. The trick is to shop around and make dealers compete against each other.

Many Ways to Choose
Just as is the case with many home projects, there are many ways to approach having French doors created for your home. First, there are specialty stores who make and install doors. That’s all. Then there are stores who sell doors along with many other items for the home. Lastly, there are carpenters who can create a door made to measure for your home.

All three of these approaches have downsides and benefits all of their own. Again, the trick is to shop around and tell each one what you are doing. You can rest assured that when they know they are competing against each other they will want to negotiate on price in order to get the work.

Cost Ranges
Depending largely on where you are and the market of the area were you are looking, the cost of French doors can range anywhere from $ 375 to $ 505 on the low end, and $ 615 to $ 745 on the high end for the doors themselves. Installation is priced separately, from $ 93 to $ 155 on the low end, and $ 195 to $ 278 on the high end. Of course, much of the installation costs are for labor, but some costs are for materials such as weatherstripping, insulation, and other sundry items.

Stepping Back
Before you decide on which vendor to choose to instal your French doors, you should step back from the job, take a good look at what you are getting, and don’t be afraid of going back for a further round of negotiations with the vendor. You can bet that they will be willing to adjust prices, just maybe not too much. They need to make a living too, but your ultimate purpose is beautiful French doors.

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Request an Estimate from a Local French Door Installation Company – Here!!

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We received a submission from Minnesota. A reader, Sammy Jo, submitted a project that appears to have turned out quite nicely. They wanted to replace the flooring in their bathroom. After examining a few options, they wanted to save money, but had a goal of giving themselves a modern / contemporary look. Once the options were weighed, they ended up deciding to go with a floor coating, similar to what you would sometimes see in garages across America. Here is the bathroom flooring before they started.

Before – Old Tile Floor

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The homeowner did the demolition on the floor by themselves, which saved them money. They then told us that they began to investigate how to install the new floor coating on their own. It turned out that this wasn’t a great idea. So, after some deliberation, they decided to call a contractor. They decided to contract Garage Floor Coating of Minnesota, a local company to them, to come in and finish the project professionally. They told us that going with the professionals was the best solution, especially after seeing the finished product.

We have to agree, the floor looks great! I hope you enjoy them for a long time Sammy Jo from Minnesota!

After – Custom Bathroom Floor Coating

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As with everything else, the cost of roofing materials and labor keep going up. Planning allows you to create a reliable budget for these big-ticket items. Whether you are interested in the latest technological advances or want to keep your old roofing style and materials, accurate pricing is imperative.

Your local roofing specialists can provide you with additional information about the structure of your home and any special considerations you may have. Skylights, solar paneling, custom chimneys or other building characteristics greatly affect the cost of the project. In addition, the rates are higher if there are multiple layers of roofing material to dispose of and replace.

The most common styles of roofing projects use metal, rubber and asphalt or shingle roofing. The prices of these materials have a tendency to increase in more populated areas. The market and regional popularity also have an influence on the final expense. When obtaining an estimate for your roof, include the following materials and services in your plan to help create a more accurate financial plan:

Metal Roofing
Metal roofs are popular right now. They save on removal fees because they can go on over most existing roof structures. These roofs come in colors that will compliment homes, barns and businesses. Most metal roofs have a 50-year life span. Weather, quality and technical skill play an important part of the actual condition and durability of the life of your new roof. Estimates vary by region and may be higher in some areas.

Northeast: $8.30 to $11.04 per sq ft
$1604 to $2138.70 for 200 sq ft
West Coast: $8.89 to $12.30 per sq ft
$1779 to $2450.00 for 200 sq ft

Rubber Roofs
Rubber roofs are very durable and require limited maintenance. These roofs are generally flat and contain membranes that help draw the water into channels and then into dispersal systems to protect the building and foundation. These roofs use a single sheeting of rubber cut to fit the size of the building. This eliminates seams and reduces maintenance. These roofs usually last about 20 years but most manufacturers only guarantee them for 10 years. Prices for these roofs may increase by as much as 14% due to the complexity of the roofing job.

Northeast: $2.15 to $3.32 sq ft
$373.89 – $738.51 for 200 sq ft roof
Midwest: $2.14 to $3.25 per sq ft
$2148 to $2781 for 200 sq ft roof

Asphalt Roofs
Traditional shingle roofs are found on many different styles of houses, buildings and structures throughout the United States. They are popular because you can easily install a new roof over the top of an existing roof. This helps keep the price down and reduces your landfill waste. The prices will increase about 12% to 15% if you have hired a general contractor to oversee the project.

Northeast: $5.63 to $7.30 per sq ft
$1129 to $1467 for 200 sq ft roof
Midwest: $5.59 to $7.26 per sq ft
$1118 to $1453 for $200 sq ft roof

If these options do not meet your needs, there are other roofing options to consider. Remember, whatever style you choose, there are many things to consider when totaling the price of your roof. Labor and materials are only part of the total cost. Discuss your needs extensively with your contractor. There may be structural considerations, timing issues and disposal concerns once the project is underway. Addressing these subjects early on keep them from becoming a major problem later.

Information Provided by The Roofing Directory

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The front porch is making a comeback, and homeowners around the nation are giving their front entrances a makeover. You can spruce up your front porch and turn it into a relaxing retreat that you will enjoy anytime the weather is nice, and you may even find yourself sitting on the porch to watch storms that roll through. Here are some ideas for incredible front porch makeovers that you can use on your own home.

Check out the Front Porch Ideas Generator – Visualize Your Own Front Porch Ideas

Protection and Privacy
Most front porches feature wide open space above the railing, and this can leave the area exposed to the elements. You can make this space more private and offer protection from the elements by closing it in with louvered panels and functional shutters.

A contractor can add vertical supports spaced evenly around the porch to hang the panels and shutters. Placing the louvered panels along the roof to make the space feel more private. Mounting the shutters along the railings allows them to be closed against the rain or opened to let a breeze in.

Finish off the area with some gauzy curtains over the stairs. Tie them back to welcome guests in, and then close them when the weather turns cool in the evenings and you want to keep the mosquitoes away. With the protection from the elements, you can add more comfortable furnishings and even a ceiling fan to complete the new front porch.

Dressing up a Small Porch
A small covered porch doesn’t have to be boring. Even a tiny space can become more welcoming when it’s renovated to make it more attractive and important. Make a small porch more impressive by adding key architectural changes.

Simple supports made of wrought iron can be replaced with impressive pillars for a bold look. Choose an elegant hanging light that will add a finishing touch to the ceiling. Have the simple trim around the fascia replaced with exquisite crown and decorative molding. If you have a concrete surface on the floor, hire a contractor to cover it with beautiful natural stones like travertine or marble. You can also soften the look and make it feel more elegant by adding sheer curtains along the exposed walls of the porch.

Go Larger
Small front porches can be expanded to become stunning outdoor living spaces. A gabled roof can be used to provide shade and shelter while adding architectural interest to the building. The porch itself can be extended from a simple area in front of the home to a full porch that extends from one side of the building to the other. If the porch will be very large, you might consider adding skylights to the roof to provide natural light around the front door to the home.

In addition to expanding the footprint of the porch, you can also go bolder with the supports. Replace simple pillars with stunning brick columns topped with bold wood columns featuring decorative trim. Use round Greek-style pillars instead of simple wrought-iron. Paint the woodwork and new supports a contrasting color to help them stand out from the home and become an important architectural detail.

This is also an excellent time to change the shape of your front porch. A simple covered porch is more interesting when the front of it is rounded and extends beyond the roof line. If the porch is near the corner of the house, you can choose an octagonal shape to add more visual interest to the home. If you have a decorative window directly above the porch, consider a flat roof with a railing around the upper part to create a balcony. Even though you will never get to use the decorative balcony, it will still add an elegant touch to the home.

Open the Structure Up
Some people want more privacy, and other people want the front of their home to be more visible. If your front porch has a simple railing that leaves it feeling bland, consider opening up the space by removing the railing. Install more attractive pillars and invest in stunning trim work to add visual appeal, but remove the railings completely to make the house look more open and inviting. Use all-weather furniture because there will be limited protection from the elements. Add interest to the space by using a few potted plants around the patio.

Front porches don’t have to be large to be amazing. Some of the most impressive porches have a small footprint. However, you can make any porch more impressive with these great remodeling ideas. Contractors can help you take a simple front porch and turn it into an important part of your home’s living space. Whether you add natural stone tiles and beautiful molding to your small porch or have it completely remodeled to add square feet, skylights and a luxurious look, you are going to love how the right front porch transforms your home.

Front Porch Resources

Front Porch Remodeling Architects

Visualize Your Front Porch Ideas

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Gardeners love to dream of having a greenhouse that will extend the growing season. Seedlings can be started when the spring weather is unpredictable and temperature swings prevent soil from warming sufficiently in the garden plot. Basic greenhouse models offer an affordable starting point for the at-home gardener. There are many “How-To Guides for Greenhouses” available online, but here are some must haves when it comes to building your own!

STANDARD GREENHOUSE ATTRIBUTES
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Every greenhouse requires the shopper to make some choices that are appropriate for the use and location of the garden greenhouse. Following these initial selections, the gardener can enhance the greenhouse with each passing year.

• Wall material – Double, or triple, thickness of various materials will offer the necessary insulation against heat loss. Gardeners are happiest when the best possible wall composition is selected for the climate. Saving money on this feature could be expensive later.

• Floor composition – Every greenhouse expert has a different opinion about whether the floor should remain dirt, be a poured concrete slab or consist of wood planks, which would allow moisture to run through the boards.

• Size – Advice from current greenhouse owners includes the admonition to “buy large.” An estimate based on current needs will require replacement of the greenhouse in the next two years. During the first spring, the gardener might have unused space inside the greenhouse.

• Location – Gardeners know where the greenhouse will fit within the yard space. Deciduous trees must be considered since the shade in the yard will change as the weather warms in the spring. Observation of the light patterns will provide important information for the gardener’s final placement decision.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS FOR THE GREENHOUSE
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Living conditions inside the greenhouse must be maintained at all times, regardless of the weather events outside. Advanced greenhouse features can be added to make the gardener look like a master gardener through the magic of technology.

• Fans for separate purposes – The air-circulating fan will run constantly to ensure that the air inside the greenhouse will not become stale, or stagnant. A heat-saver fan pulls the warmest air from the top of the greenhouse toward the plants to create an even temperature throughout the living space.
• Solar vent opener – Moderating the temperature is achieved with solar-powered openers on every vent around the greenhouse. As the temperature rises, the vents will open until the fans are able to cool the greenhouse. The setting sun triggers the vents to close and preserve heat through the night.
• Humidity dial – The amount of moisture in the air inside the greenhouse is an important factor in the health of the plants. Monitoring this level is essential for tropical plants inside the greenhouse.
• Soil analyzer – Probes are inserted in the plant soil to provide important information concerning the levels of light, pH content, moisture and soil nutrients. Readings from this analyzer tells the gardener how to adjust light, fertilizer and water.
• Light meter – No batteries are needed for the photovoltaic cell in this sensor. Light intensity throughout the greenhouse can be measured to determine if a plant needs more shade or sun.
• Thermostat – In combination with a moisture resistant heater, the greenhouse thermostat will maintain the optimal climate to support plant life. Vents will be opened, or the heater will run to adjust the temperature if it leaves the set range.
• Start trays and heat mats – Soil temperature inside the greenhouse can be maintained while seeds are germinating. Moisture is held close to the soil by clear lids on each flat to allow the tender shoots to break through the surface. A probe inserted in the soil ensures that the soil is warm, but not too hot.
• Misting system – Automated misting at the proper time throughout the day provides sufficient moisture for young plants. Any gardener who is away all day will have better results when the misting system is available to help the plants in the greenhouse make it through warm spring days.
• Monitoring station – A wireless electronic monitor can be mounted inside the house when the greenhouse is within 300 feet. The radio-controlled clock will maintain perfect time against the U.S. atomic clock. Temperature and humidity readings are received from the sensors inside the greenhouse. Frequent checks of the greenhouse conditions provide peace of mind for the gardener.

ASSEMBLE THE BEST COMBINATION
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Gardeners are dreamers of the highest order. Visions of row after row of healthy vegetables and flowers begin each year on the darkest winter days. Plans are drafted for spring projects before the gift wrap is stored away in January. Technology is advancing to support the dreams of perfect greenhouse conditions regardless of spring temperature swings. More information allows the gardener to make adjustments early to prevent loss of plants because certain areas of the greenhouse might be unnoticed through casual observation. A custom combination of these features can be assembled to address the highest priority challenges the gardener faces.

Download the Greenhouse Guide Here!!

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What is a bathtub and shower liner? They’re liners that are made of the same material that your existing shower is made of, without the additional fiberglass backing. In most cases, they’re custom molded to the exact contours of your existing fixture, and slide right on top of the old one without having to demolish part of your home.

Bathtub and shower liners have been around since at least the 1980s, but are now enjoying an increase in popularity in the home remodeling industry. This is because of new advances in technology that have allowed them to become a more viable option by reducing many of the problems that plagued the days of their inception. This does not leave them without their faults, however. Let’s look at some of the reasons to install a bathtub or shower liner as opposed to undergoing a full-scale remodel.

Quick Installation – In most cases, you can call a company that specializes in liners and they can have a technician sent out to gather measurements within a week. After the technician gathers the required measurements, he submits them to the factory that he represents, and they will begin molding your liner as their workload permits. Once it’s ready, the installation crew will come out to your house and install it in a matter of a single day. You can use your shower or tub the same day they install it.

Cheaper Than a Remodel – Electing to install a liner is much cheaper than a remodel. Depending on your choices, the difference can be as little as a few hundred dollars for a liner, or a few thousand dollars for a remodel. Most of your costs will always revolve around your own personal choice in design, texture, material, and how drastically you want to change your bathroom. If you just want to cover a few scratches or chips, a process called refinishing may be right for you.

No Wrecking Ball Required – Most remodeling jobs require no small amount of demolition in order to replace your fixtures. Depending on the size of your doorways, you may have to demolish part of your wall in order to remove your existing tub or shower. This may be as simple as one doorway before you’re lucky enough to squeeze it out of those French doors. Unfortunately, it could be as bad as having to demolish an exterior wall on the second floor in order to remove and replace it with a crane. With a liner, virtually none of this messy business is required.

Cover Stained Walls – Now you’ve installed this lovely new liner, but that wall behind it looks like something straight out of a horror movie. Never fear. The same companies that handle your bathtub and shower liners, also handle convenient wall liners that are made out of the same material. They won’t just cover up all of that mold or mildew, either. Most companies these days will actually use a special industrial cleaner that’s specifically designed to be antimicrobial and prevent the growth of any future mold or mildew before they install the wall liners.

Even with all of the new advances, bathtub and shower liners still have their issues. Nothing is perfect, of course. Here are a few imperfections to consider before making your final decision on your bathroom overhaul.

Water Leakage – Even with all of the tape and caulking that your installation technician will use, there is still a chance that the seal they place on your liner will not be 100% waterproof. If this is the case, water can seep in between the liner and the tub and cause the growth of mold and mildew. Left unchecked, this can actually rot holes in the structure of your tub, causing it to collapse or form holes. All of this takes years to happen, but it’s still worth knowing and being aware of.

That “Spongey” Feeling – If your liner isn’t molded precisely to the contours of your existing bathtub or shower, you may become aware of areas that seem to sink in when you sit or stand on them. When you have these areas, they can easily lead to cracks and breakage in your seals. This can cause, you guessed it, water leakage as described above.

Still Somewhat Pricey – Ultimately, bathtub and shower liners still cost a few hundred dollars or more in order to install. Refinishing costs much less than this, and can more easily cover your cracks and chips.

Ultimately, the choice is entirely up to you. While there are good and bad points to liners, it all depends on how much you want to spend for that look you’re going for.

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You very well may be one of the millions of people around the country that have decided that you want to experience the benefits that are available with installing a fence around your property. However, what fence will provide you with the various amenities that you are seeking from its presence? Are you looking for heightened security and safety for your property? Is it an increase in property value you are looking for? Or are you interested in the look and feel a new fence will provide for your home or business facilities? Whatever your reasons for wanting to install fencing you should first know your options and the pros and cons that the different types of fences have to offer.

While there is a plethora of fencing options available all types fall within three major categories. This includes Natural Material fencing which consists of mainly stone or wood style fencing; Man-Made Material fencing which includes composite and vinyl fencing; and Metal Material fencing such as chain link and wrought iron styles. Throughout the United States people have found the most popular styles of fencing to be wood, vinyl, and chain link. But other than their popularity, what do these fencing options have to offer and what drawbacks do they carry with them?

Wood Fencing
Wood fencing is available in a wide range of styles giving people the ability to find an option that will produce the look and feel they are seeking around their property. This is the type of fencing that was first introduced in the United States as a way of setting up property divisions and securing livestock for early settlers. From split rail fencing to 8 foot stockade fencing, you will find these products available in most any home improvement store in your area.

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For individuals that choose to install wood fencing around their property they gain the ability to paint or stain their fencing to compliment their property. However, it should also be noted that wood fencing does require a great deal of maintenance as it will have to be painted often and protected from the outside elements frequently to prevent it from deterioration. Wood fencing styles can also be damaged due to insect infestations, discoloration due to the sun, and swelling during high levels of rain or snow seasons.

Vinyl Fencing
Vinyl fencing is one of the newest options for fencing that has recently become available. You will find that when choosing to create a fence with this type of material you are provided with the ability to purchase from a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles to match your residential or business building facilities. Made from some of the toughest materials available, vinyl fencing is virtually maintenance free, requiring simple washing with a garden hose or power washing machine to keep it looking new throughout the year. This type of fencing is believed to last for many decades when properly cared for.

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The cost is one of the biggest drawbacks of vinyl fencing as it can be quite costly to purchase. Due to the fact that precision drilling or fitting is required it can be time consuming as well to install a vinyl fence around your property. There are vinyl fencing styles that can be purchased pre-drilled so that you simply bolt the various sections together, but again this can be an added expense that people do not always want to invest in.

Chain Link Fencing
Chain link fencing was created to provide a more economical option to wrought iron fencing. Created from galvanized steel, people could eliminate the fear of having their fencing rust or breakdown due to exposure to outside elements such as moisture, heat, snow, and ice. People found that chain link fencing was easy to install even if they had to do the work themselves. The design of a chain link fence requires that long steel posts be inserted into the ground. The mesh chain link fencing is then wired to these posts allowing for a barrier around the property. This type of fencing is ideal when your purpose for the fence is to keep unwanted foot traffic through your property or to prevent children and pets from getting out of the yard.

While there are many pros to installing a chain link fence around your property, there are some negative factors that should be considered before you head out to your local home improvement store to purchase this type of fencing. The chain link fencing can be pushed out on the bottom if some type of edging is not installed around the bottom of the fence. There is very little privacy that is obtained by the installation of a chain link fence. There are however special mesh strips that can be woven through the links of the fence to allow for limited privacy from the outside world but this is an added expense that many people do not always want to take on. It should also be noted that chain link fencing does allow for children and other people to climb the fence to get in or out so special precautions should be taken if this is one of your main purposes for installing a fencing system.

Regardless of the specific type of fence you choose to install around your property you will find it to be a worthwhile investment should you obtain the specific benefits you are seeking. There are positive and negative attributes of every style of fencing that you will find, but knowing what they are is the key to receiving the satisfaction you are seeking.

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The last thing you want is your Honey-Do list to turn against you. Even a minor leak in your home can create major damage if left untreated. So, a problem like a roof leak should be addressed with haste.

Don’t Worry, Be Handy

If you’re lucky, you’re only dealing with a small leak, which can probably be fixed without the help of a professional. The hard part about a do-it-yourself project is locating the leak. TheFamilyHandyman.com suggests running water on parts of the roof to find the problem area. If that doesn’t work, the site suggests to removing shingles until the problem spot is found.

If you find one or more shingles that are cracked, This Old House suggests applying roofing sealant under the cracked shingles.1 You’ll need a putty knife to spread the sealant. This Old House offers a couple more tricks, too, to blend the patchwork in with the rest of the roof.

The cause of the leak could be a number of things, such as weathering, loose installation with a television cable dish, or, as Buildings.com points out, it could be due to poor installation and workmanship of your house’s initial roofing project and the lack of maintenance. Inspecting your roof on a routine basis could prevent costly damage to your home and your pocket.

Heavy Metal

If you have a metal roof, the job could be a lot bigger. If the damage covers a large area, you may have to replace entire sections of the roof, something probably best left for the professionals. Smaller leaks can be taken care of fairly easily, though.

Loose nails can easily be pulled and re-nailed, notes HomeTips.com. Rust should be removed with a wire brush, then primed and painted. Any repair will have to sealed with a urethane roof cement or waterproof membrane.

Avoid the Bigger Uh-Ohs

Most manly men take pride in fixing things on their own. But when you’re facing the potential of thousands of dollars in roof repair, you don’t want that sudden “uh oh” to come up. Choosing a roofing contractor to fix your leak takes time, research and, most importantly, trust. The contractor should be bonded and able to give you references from current and past jobs, according to Roofer 911.2

Paying for the repair may sometime be stressful. Little do most people know, but for homeowners without a rainy day fund, there are actually some federal grants for certain home repairs. According to Roof Rocket, Uncle Sam has many grant programs for home owners who are facing a costly fix and can’t afford it.

A BAND-AID for Your Home’s Boo-Boo

While you wait to figure out which contractor to use and how to pay him, every rainy day causes worry and frustration with each drip that penetrates through the walls. It may not be pretty, but in an emergency, keeping a leak in check until the professionals get there only takes a special roof patch, a putty knife or a caulking gun, according to HomeOwnerCare.com. Don’t be afraid to raid the kitchen to use pots and pans to catch any dripping water. On the exterior, use roofing tar, roofing cement or even thick plastic or tarps to cover the problem area for the time being, according to Roofing Tutor.3

The sooner you apply these quick fixes the less additional damage you’ll have.

1. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,219567-3,00.html

2. http://www.roofer911.com/roofing-articles/choosing-a-roofing-contractor.htm

3. http://www.roofingtutor.com/guides/quick-fixes-for-a-leaking-roof.html

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Every cooking enthusiast dreams about having a larger kitchen, but many times the budget just does not allow for it. There are many ways to create the illusion of an expensive looking, more open feeling kitchen without having to knock down any walls or break the bank. You can start with rethinking your cabinet drawer size and opting for large drawers rather than standard sized drawers.

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The primary reason why it is a good choice to incorporate large kitchen drawers in your remodeling plans is that they make the space appear larger. If you have many smaller drawers on your cabinets, it can make the kitchen look busy and cramped. The same rule about using larger tiles on your floor to give the illusion of larger square footage can be applied with cabinet drawers. The less that you have going on, the larger the space will appear.

Many homeowners are choosing to install large kitchen drawers because they offer a fresh, contemporary look. Large drawers work nicely with the clean-lined, open concept style that most people desire when doing a kitchen remodel. Small drawers tend to make kitchens appear dated, so if you want a higher-end, updated space, large drawers are an excellent choice.

Another good reason to include large kitchen drawers is that they offer more options for organization. They make it easy to incorporate all the great customizable drawer organizers that are available on the market today. Drawers are not merely for holding flatware and knives anymore. People are choosing large drawers over cupboards for heavy cumbersome items such as cookware and small appliances. The ease in which drawers slide out, allowing a clear view all the way to the back is the reason they are a great option for storing bigger items. There are pegs that can be placed in deep drawers to hold stacks of plates and bowls. Tiered organizers can be used to neatly display every spice in your collection. Large drawers are now the answer to the dreaded question of where to store all those food storage containers and lids.

The addition of large drawers in your next kitchen remodel is a great way to get the look of a large, updated custom kitchen, without breaking the bank and offering more options for storage as well.

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Your kitchen: it’s where you start your day, prepare your family’s meals, and enjoy some quality conversation at dinner time. Even if you’re not exactly a culinary aficionado, the kitchen is one of the most important room’s in the house with its aesthetics depending heavily upon the appearance of cabinetry. Dark, dull, and dingy cabinets disrupt the room’s aura, making it an unpleasant space to spend your time.

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If you think the only way to rectify this plight is through a messy and costly renovation, you’re very much mistaken; cabinets can be quite easily refinished to achieve a like-new look without hiring a contractor. The best part? It’s something you can do yourself with some basic tools and a little patience.

Tools and Materials

-Phillips/flathead screwdriver
-Sandpaper (60, 120, 150, 220, 400 grit)
-Trisodium phosphate
-Paint stripper
-Metal scraper
-Primer
-Paint (color of choice)
-Stain/gel stain
-Polyurethane sealant
-Tape/drop cloths
-Various brushes (1″-4″), rags for wiping stain
-Wood grain tool

Note that not all methods of refinishing will require all tools listed above. In all situations, begin by removing all cabinet hardware and placing doors and drawers on a clean, dry work surface. Also, mask off and cover all areas that you wish to keep clean.

Let’s look at the first–most traditional method–of refinishing wood cabinets.

Complete Refinish
These following steps will explain how to completely refinish kitchen cabinets by stripping away all of the old finish and applying a new finish. If your cabinets are still in very good shape and showcasing that authentic wood grain is of chief importance, this is the way to go.

Begin by applying your paint stripper of choice and following the manufacturer’s instructions. Citristrip is a quality, environmentally-sound product, as it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. After letting the product sit on the old finish (generally at least half to a full hour), begin scraping the old finish until it’s completely removed. Alternatively, you can (painstakingly) sand down the old finish with coarse grit sandpaper, although this can prove messy and extremely time consuming. Once complete, wash the surfaces with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner and allow to dry thoroughly.

Now it’s time to begin applying the stain. Using even brush strokes, uniformly apply the stain, wiping down the wood occasionally to remove any buildup. Once the stain is no longer tacky, you can remove burrs by gently sanding with 220 grit sandpaper. Repeat this process until the desired shade is achieved.

To complete the process, apply 2 coats of a polyurethane sealant and lightly wet sand with 400 grit sandpaper.

Painted Finish
Maybe you’re not a fan of the wood used in your cabinets or you simply desire a specific color that really sets off the decor in your kitchen; in any case, painting your cabinets is a simple and cost-effective way to breathe into them new life. Since paint will largely hide the wood grain, it isn’t necessary to strip the old finish, saving a considerable amount of time.

The main preparatory step in this method is washing down the existing surfaces with a TSP cleaner; not only does this remove waxes and oils, which inhibit adhesion of the new paint, but it slightly scuffs the surface, promoting adhesion.

Once dry, begin by applying primer to the surface. One coat should be adequate as it doesn’t need to completely conceal the old finish. Once dry, sand with 220 grit sandpaper before applying as many finish coats of paint as necessary to achieve the desired color. Finish by lightly sanding with 400 grit sandpaper.

Faux Wood Grain
Either your cabinets are in poor shape and/or you don’t want to completely strip the old finish; no matter the case, you still want the appearance of wood grain. Fortunately, this only takes a few more steps than painting your cabinets. Begin by following all steps included in the painting section; just be cognizant in your finish coat color choice. Pick a color that’s similar to the stain variety you desire.

Once the solid color has been dried and sanded, apply gel stain with a brush. Instead of wiping with a cloth, though, brush a wood grain tool across the surface to produce the appearance of wood grain. After this has dried, finish by applying a polyurethane sealant and wet sanding with 400 grit sandpaper.

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Expanding a home with an addition is a terrific way to offer a family more room in the house and improve the value of the property. Any home owner who is considering an addition on their home where a construction crew would be involved would need to research local contractors before making a choice.

Several issues may impact whether a particular contractor is right for the job. Smart home owners will want to consider every angle of the project before making their choice on competing estimates from contractors.

1. Reputation

A building contractor’s business thrives on happy customers, and one of the primary ways such professionals obtain additional work is through the recommendations of satisfied home owners. Asking friends or family who might have had work done by a local contractor about their experience is a good first step in determining whether the contractor will deliver.

The internet is another valuable resource for researching the reputation of a local contractor, but home owners should beware that what might be found on the internet regarding a contractor’s reputation might not always be accurate. Speaking to real-life clients of a contractor or building company will always be the most truthful way to determine a contractor’s reputation. The homeowner should also look for multiple reviews online as opposed to just one person’s review. Free review sources such as Google reviews and Yelp can be great sources for this.

2. Experience

The amount of time a particular contractor has been operating is a good indication of their reputation as any contractor who doesn’t perform well will suffer from a lack of new projects. Experience also showcases a contractor’s dedication to his profession, and the number of projects he might have completed that had similar goals as a client’s present request.

3. Price

Simply choosing the lowest cost estimate is never a good idea when it comes to home improvement projects and complicated installations like an addition to the home. The budget is often the biggest wildcard associated with a significant home improvement project, and will often be one of the determining factors regarding the choice a home owner makes.

Estimates that are too low reveal the inexperience of the contractor, while estimates that seem too high might be a more accurate representation of what the project may cost. A home owner might want to spend no more than a certain amount of money on a project, but sometimes what the home owner wants would cost much more.

4. Time

There are two considerations regarding time that every home owner should think about when choosing the right home estimate. One consideration will be the amount of time the contractor or building professional took to come to a decision on how long the project would take. No contractor worth his cost will ever offer an estimate over the phone. Good contractors always request an on-site investigation of the premises to be modified for accurate budgeting.

In addition, the completion time offered should also be under consideration as this timeframe might offer clues as to which contractor is telling the truth about how long it might take to finish a project. By comparing the estimates of time given from each of the contractors, it’s possible to come to an average timeframe and eliminate any estimate that seems suspiciously short when compared to the others.

When considering which bid to accept for a home addition, each of the preceding factors should be considered before any decisions are made. Speaking with each contractor or building professional more than once is recommended to get a feel for how each project may play out when the project gets underway. Careful decision-making regarding the contractor will be the best way to get a fabulous looking home addition.

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To work as a home improvement contractor in any state, a contractor must usually apply for home improvement licensure. States put the licensure process into place as a consumer protection to prevent the scamming of customers by people falsely claiming to be home improvement contractors. Licensing also prevents te performance of low-quality work that could endanger the customer or the structure.

In addition to state licensure, some towns, cities and counties require home improvement contractors working within a municipality to acquire a municipal home improvement contractor license. Projects of a certain value may have less stringent requirements than projects that are high-value. For example, in Tennessee, some contractors acquire home improvement licenses for projects under $25,000. For projects over $25,000, the home improvement business would obtain a contractor license.

Who needs a license?

A home improvement contractor is a business entity that makes or sells home improvements. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies will all need state licenses. Home improvements include altering, painting, restoring, repairing, renovating, demolishing, modernizing or moving a structure or the property upon which the structure sits. Additional examples of work requiring licensure may include:

  • Performing landscaping tasks like laying sod or planting shrubs, flowers and trees
  • Installing swimming pools or pouring driveways
  • Performing environmental remediation including asbestos, mold or lead removal
  • Working as a subcontractor for a home improvement store
  • Being an employee of a licensed home improvement contractor who also does odd jobs “on the side”
  • Contractors licensed in one state who decide to perform work in a different state

People who are exempt from holding licenses may include:

  • Someone who is working on improvements to a family home
  • A person working on an improvement for a building owned by a charity or non-profit corporation
  • A retailer of home improvement products who does not perform or pay a contractor for installations
  • Contractors who work exclusively on commercial properties
  • Architects, engineers, surveyors, electricians, plumbers and other professionals who already have separate state licensing even though they work on home improvement projects

What type of business do I have to own?

States will have different requirements for submitting proof of the type of business that you own, and the requirements will be spelled out in the licensure application. If your company is a sole proprietorship or partnership, then you will need a document such as a trade name certificate. Corporations will need certificates of incorporation, and LLCs and LLPs will need certificates of formation. If you use multiple names for your home improvement contracting, then you will also need to submit copies of any alternate name certificates that you possess.

What about bonding and liability insurance?

Most states require contractors to have commercial general liability insurance before they will allow them to apply for licensure. While amounts may differ by state, a good rule of thumb is to secure a policy that pays $500,000 per incident. Contractors will need to prove both that they’ve secured and that they maintain the policy in their names. Proof usually consists of an active policy number, the date the policy was issued, the effective date of the policy and the signature of the policy owner.

Additionally, some states require bonding to show that a business is financially secure. Some examples of proof of financial security include surety bonds, cash bonds, property bonds or irrevocable letters of credit.

How does the application process work?

Typically, a home improvement contractor applies for licensure by completing an application, submitting required paperwork and paying an application fee. Businesses must submit a physical address instead of a post office box address, and they must also check currently licensed home improvement contractors to make sure that the name of their business is distinctly different from an existing licensed business or contractor name.

How much do I have to disclose?

Each state will have its own requirements regarding home improvement contractors who have a previous criminal record. Some states will not restrict licensure, while others may not allow a convict who is on probation to hold a license. Home improvement workers with criminal records may have to work as employees of another company until they finish probation or otherwise meet the criteria for working as an independent contractor.

Additionally, states may also ask questions on the application regarding past judgments against the business. If the application requires complaint records, information about convictions, revocations or unlicensed activities, then the contractor must provide an thorough account of past actions.

What happens when I’m licensed?

Most states require license numbers to be displayed on all advertisements or marketing materials related to home improvement projects. Also, some states may require the use of specific forms and procedures for down payments, written estimates, dates of the project and cancellation policies. When a home improvement contracting business is sold, always check state requirements to register the new owner’s name in a timely manner.

While this article will give a general idea of the licensure process and associated requirements, it is not intended to substitute for checking the laws regarding licensure in your state. Always check into your individual state and municipal licensure requirements before beginning work as a self-identified home improvement contractor.

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