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Tag: home improvement

 

As a homeowner, being proud of both the interior and exterior of your home is important. When guests pull up outside your property, the last thing you want is for them to get the wrong impression. If you have a concrete driveway, keeping it well maintained should be your top priority, so to make sure the surface looks its best and stands the test of time, here are five top tips you can use.

How to Look After Your Concrete Driveway

Regular Cleaning

 

To keep your concrete driveway gleaming, it’s important that you factor in time to clean it. If left untouched for a long time, concrete can begin to look really dirty, which can set a bad tone for those coming to visit your property. Giving your driveway the attention and care it needs is important, so using a pressure washer can be a great way to keep it clean.

Seal the Surface

 

No matter how great your driveway sealer is, it will ultimately wear out over time, regardless of how much money you shell out. The main purpose of a driveway sealer is to stop water from getting into the porous surface, as this can cause major damage. It can also help protect the driveway surface from UV light degradation and spillages, so make sure that you reseal the surface every 3-5 years.

Avoid Using Chemicals

 

When it comes to driveway maintenance, there are some harsh chemicals that are best to avoid, such as deicer. Deicers are known to eat into the surface which results in gradual deterioration. If your driveway becomes icy or slippery, it’s best to use sand which will provide traction. Sand can also be easily brushed to one side or swept away once the summer months draw in. If you have any grassy areas at the front of your property, chemical products will only cause damage in the long run.

Avoid Spillages

 

Another way to keep good care of your concrete driveway is by avoiding spills. Your car oil may be the root cause of a spillage or stain that can cause major damage to your driveway’s appearance. If you notice any spillage, make sure that it’s cleaned up quickly and appropriately by using a professional driveway cleaning solution.

Seek Professional Help

 

If you’ve lived in your property for many years and feel the damage done to your concrete driveway is irreversible, it may be time to hire a professional who can lay down a brand new one. Richfield Blacktop is a company you may want to consider using, as they specialize in concrete driveways, asphalt driveways, and commercial paving.

While concrete is known as the easiest surface to maintain when compared to other driveway types, that’s not to say there aren’t measures that can be taken to make sure it looks its best. If you have noticed any changes to your driveway, there are lots of tips that you can take on board, but you may also want to seek out a professional to help.

 

7 Factors to Consider When Hiring Professional Roofers

 

Ever seen a house without a roof? Probably not. A roof is an integral part of a house, and without it, your house will be incomplete. The roof protects you and your family against harsh weather conditions. Thus the need to invest in quality and durable roofing systems.

But sometimes we fail to take measures to maintain its good condition. This can cause your roof to deteriorate and not reach its maximum lifespan.

Several factors can affect the lifespan of your roof and lack of maintenance is among them. If you’ve not been maintaining your roof, chances are you’re already having a roof problem and you need a roofing contractor.

Whether you want to install a new roof or want to repair your current one, you must ensure you hire the best roofing contractor.

But finding the right roofing contractor can sometimes be challenging. With the many roofing contractors available, choosing the best contractor can be a daunting task.

You’ll need to have the right information to be able to identify the best roofing contractor. In this post, we’ll highlight the key factors to consider when hiring roofers.

1.       Pricing

Exceptional roofing services do not come cheap. If you’re looking to have your roof maintained, you need to prepare yourself financially. However, this does not mean that it will cost a fortune to repair your roof.

The truth is that there are a lot of roofing companies that charge competitively without compromising the quality. Besides, some roofing contractors offer free estimates which can help you in making the right decision. Thus it is advisable to look for roofing companies that are willing to provide free estimates.

The most important thing is to be fully aware of the hidden charges and unexplained fees.

2.       Local Physical Office

A reputable roofing contractor should have a physical office. If your prospective roofing company does not have an office, you should be concerned.

Be sure to find out the physical address of your roofing contractor and inquire about their staff members. Ensure you can easily access your roofing contractor in case you need any help.

3.       License and Insurance

A roofing contractor should have a license and insurance. With licensed roofing contractors, you’re assured of a perfect roofing job. Licensed roofing contractors have undergone formal training and multiple tests, and so they have in-depth knowledge about the roofing industry.

It is also important to hire contractors who have valid roofers insurance. It will not only protect roofers against workplace injuries but also protect you as a homeowner.If a person gets injured while repairing your roof, the roofing company will compensate them without you being financially or legally liable.

4.       Consider Previous Work Samples

An excellent way to know what to expect from a roofing contractor is to look at their previous work samples and references. To get samples of their work, ask your contractor to provide pictures of their previous work. Also, be sure to look at their portfolios on their website.

Also, let the contractor provide a list of references from their previous clients. Then you can reach out to some of them and ask about their experience dealing with that contractor.  Ask them whether they were satisfied with the contractor’s workmanship and how the roof is holding up now.

5.       Client Reviews

As a homeowner, you can take advantage of the internet to carry out a background check on prospective roofing professionals. You simply type the roofing company’s name and search for online reviews. You’ll access numerous client reviews on local listings.

Websites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages are some of the websites where you can check local roofing contractors and read honest reviews. Don’t just focus on positive reviews; consider the negative reviews as well.

6.       Experience

You’d surely not want to hire an inexperienced roofing professional. Contractors take several years to gain experience in handling various roofing problems.

A roofing contractor that has worked in the industry for many years has undoubtedly performed maintenance on roofs they have previously installed. They are aware of the best practices and the tools to use.

An experienced roofing contractor can handle roofing problems caused by different weather conditions and do it without putting you or themselves at harm.

7.       Roofing Warranty

Another critical thing to check is whether your roofing contractor offers a roofing warranty. A roof installation needs to be accompanied by two separate warranties: Manufacturer’s warranty and workmanship warranty.

Manufacturer’s warranty covers defects that result from roofing material itself, for instance, a roofing shingle. Workmanship warranty, on the other hand, covers installation mistakes.

Reputable contractors should be responsible for their work. The last thing homeowners would like is to pay for a mistake that is not their doing.

 

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With the average price for materials ranging between $17-$24sqft, it can cost homeowners about $2,500 to build a typical 10’x12′ DIY shed. Depending on the size, style, siding, roofing, and extra features such as plumbing, electrical, overhead doors, or solar panels, the cost can soar upwards of $10,000 or more. Then, if you consider what’s being stored inside of your shed? The total value of the structure and its contents can undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows and questions, especially when it comes to being vandalized or totally lost due to a natural disaster or fire.

There are several reasons why homeowners might have a shed on their property. In most cases, these structures are covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy; however, there are also cases where they are not. The biggest mistake that some homeowners make is failing to call their insurance company to see if the new shed and its contents will be covered under their current policy. This guide is designed to help the average homeowner understand how it works with some tips along the way, and without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about shed insurance.

 

What’s Other Structures Protection?

 

Whether you have a shed, detached garage, gazebo, chicken coop, fence, or in-ground swimming pool located on your property? In the world of insurance companies, this type of homeowner’s insurance policy is known as other structures protection. In general, the standard coverage is about 10% of your entire home’s insurance policy. For example, if your home is insured for $150,000? Under the other structures protection policy, your shed and other outbuildings would be insured for $15,000.

It’s essential to call your insurance company or read the fine print in your homeowner’s insurance policy to know what the number of your coverage limits are. The next thing you need to know is the value that your new shed brings to your home? If your new shed has an amount more than what your current coverage limits are, it’s a good idea to have your insurance agent raise and adjust your coverage limits to protect your investment.

 

What’s the Value of Your Shed?

 

DIY sheds generally include just the cost of materials to build it and perhaps a good shed plans from Shedplans.org to work from, but you still need to know what it’s worth before you talk to your insurance company about raising your rates. A simple way to get a rough estimate of your shed’s value is by taking the cost of materials and tripling it. Most professional contractors charge about two thirds above the cost of materials for their labor.

On the other hand, you can expect that most insurance companies will want proof of the structure’s existence and paperwork backing its value, especially if they’re going to write you a check to repair or replace your shed. In cases such as this, it’s always best to have a home appraisal conducted. You can easily find a professional with any appraisal management company. These experts are certified and licensed in their perspective states or countries to determine the value of a structure objectively, fairly, and without bias opinions.

 

Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover the Shed Contents?

 

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will have a set amount of protection for personal property. This also includes the contents stored inside of your shed or other outbuildings. The amount of protection is typically determined by the amount of insurance outlined in your home’s insurance policy. While insurance companies cover certain items stored in outbuildings such as ATVs, lawnmowers, power equipment, garden tools, there may be a limit to what your insurance company is willing to fork over.

On the flip side of the coin, items subject to damage from moisture and humidity like clothing, photographs, and other personal effects, in most cases, wouldn’t be covered by your insurance company. Therefore, these types of personal items should be kept safe in your house to qualify as being insurable under your insurance policy’s protection for private property.

 

Are There Any Limits on Shed Insurance?

 

In the real world, although your shed and its contents are covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, it’s wise to talk to your agent about your policy’s stated coverage limits. This allows you to make a few different decisions based on what best fits your needs.

For example, let’s say your shed’s finished value is $5,000, and you’re basically using it for storing lawn and garden tools and supplies with a riding lawnmower that’s valued on the lower end of the scale? In most cases, this will not affect the limits on your homeowner’s insurance policy, which also includes the other structures protection plan. Meaning, your current coverage rates, and limits will not be affected.

 

When Does a Shed Limit Apply?

 

When you have specific items stored in a shed or outbuilding, limits will apply. As an illustration, if you have a $10,000 side-by-side ATV in your shed and a natural disaster or fire occurs? There may be a limit of $2,500 on the entire contents of the shed, including your expensive toy. Other items where restrictions may apply include but are not limited to:

  • Motorcycles
  • Snowmobiles
  • Vehicles
  • ATVs
  • Guns & Hunting Bows
  • Woodworking equipment
  • Expensive power tools
  • Small farm machinery
  • Zero-Turn riding lawn mowers

Pro Tip: To protect expensive items that are stored in your shed, talk to your agent about additional coverage for these specific items. You may discover that it’s best to insure them separately as opposed to raising the coverage and rates on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

 

Is There Anything Else That I Should Know About Shed Insurance?

 

One key component to shed insurance for theft claims is to make sure that you have either a keyed lock or a paddle lock installed on the doors of your shed. Contrary to what you may believe, some insurance companies will not give you a dime if you don’t have a lock on your shed, and theft occurs.

Anytime that you have a question about what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers, contact them and get it to explain to you because the information you need to know is usually contained in the small print that every homeowner hates to read. And lastly, you can certainly benefit from building a new shed yourself, but make sure you are covered.

 

 

A lot of the times, it is difficult to emulate the picture-perfect bedroom looks you see on the covers of famous interior design magazines. However, with a little redecorating and a strong vision, a plain room can become a luxurious centerpiece of your house. It doesn’t mean that the furniture or accessories cost a lot of money. If you’re on a shoestring budget, check out 5 tricks below, that will make your bedroom design look like it has been decorated with impeccable taste.

Get Rid of Clutter

The first step to making your bedroom look lavish, is de-cluttering. A clean and dust-free environment will not only provide more storage space, but also give your room a major transformation. Removing excessive bedroom items such as unread books, stuffed animals or even ottomans, immediately make the room more spacious and livelier. When you take out all the unnecessary accessories and organize your drawers, a feeling of cleanliness will radiate from the room. It is a process, not a one-off project. You have to constantly vacuum, remove folded clothes from your bed and change sheets in order for the room to shine and look its best.

Style Key Areas

Styling your bedroom isn’t only a matter of style and preferences, but it is a skill. How to make a small number of items look expensive and modern? Another way of achieving an expensive bedroom look with a little money is by styling your nightstand or shelf. There is a difference between a stack of unread books that only collects dust and organizing the bookcase in a stylish way. By putting some bold-colored clocks, colorful vases or metallic trays on your nightstand or a bookcase, you can elevate the space and cut down on visual clutter.

Bedding Richness

For a completely polished look, add texture to the room with a perfect bedding. People tend to neglect the importance of a high-quality bedding and mattress. Adding a pop of color and texture to you bed, really makes a difference, all without making you break the bank. Foam beds provide the utmost comfort and their classy white color goes well with every color and shade you can think of, which makes it a perfect choice for your new bedroom look. Fold the edges of your sheets at the end, layer the pillows and daydream on your perfectly made bed.

Curtains All the Way

When you think of curtains, it might seem that they are too old-fashioned to be incorporated into a modern-looking bedroom. However, if you’re having privacy concerns and want to upgrade your bedroom space, monochromatic sheer white curtains will fit any bedroom like a glove. Classic curtains match your bedding perfectly and add a touch of elegance and luxury to the room. You can match the color of the rods with the aesthetics of the room, but classic white ones are the safest choice to open up the space.

Color Play

Some new colors for 2020 interior design trends are emerald green, terracotta or mustard yellow. Apart from adding greenery to your bedroom, opt for these colors for your accessory statement pieces, such as pillows, paintings or lamp-shades. With a white bedding and white drapes, these are the strong colors that will seamlessly tie into the bedroom decor.

The key is in making the furniture arrangement look expensive, even though it is essentially the same room, only with more style. “Less is more” approach will never go out of style for a bedroom transformation, so these five tips are the perfect simple ways to make your bedroom more appealing. What strategies have you employed so far? Tell us all about it in the comment section below.

 

 

When people think about the basement, they immediately imagine a scary place. Decorating the basement can be weird, but that doesn’t have to stop you from turning it into a home living space. Whatever you want and need, there are lots of choices of how to reconsider your basement’s improvement. Give it a chance and make it as stylish as your main-floor living room. With fresh paint, ambient lightning and finishing touches, you will transform it into a cozy space you will actually want to spend time in.

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Basement Colors

Start by installing lights that will make the room feel bigger and make up for the lack of windows. Also, table lamps will add style to the room. A TV attached to the wall will create that home-theater effect for movie lovers.

Since many basements don’t have windows, curtains can be used to create a room divider. This is also a great idea for unfinished walls or just an idea for decorating the space. Most basements are dark spaces, so if you want to brighten yours, paint the walls white or very light shades. This will make the room look fresh and airy. To add more light and add continuity choose a flooring material that is the same color as the walls.

Make Sure Your Walls Are Insulated

The basement is one of the most important areas of your home that needs insulation. Basement insulation controls the temperature and keeps the mold out. A bad smell can be a common problem for many people and this usually happens because basements have concrete walls, which absorb moisture and create that bad smell.

Insulation products are optional, but the investment is worth it. Make sure you invest in quality products for insulating the walls and ask for advice from a professional worker. Also, there is an important thing you should know about insulation: many people are using cheap products just because they think basements don’t need that much investment. Being located under the ground, they think they are more protected and sometimes, they start the insulation by themselves. In this case, consider that the insulation really needs to be done correctly, otherwise the space where the insulation touches the wall is empty, mold and moisture will install.

Consider the benefits of closed-cell foam to insulate concrete basement walls. It has excellent moisture resistance: it can fill in all the gaps and it gives you the best protection against mold. It is true that is a lot more expensive but you will save money on energy bills.

Create Storage Solutions

Even though your basement usually serves as a general storage area, you can give it a higher value by decorating it with shelves and furniture. This can help you hide all of your unwanted stuff.

If you use your basement properly, you can add that much-needed storage space to your home. If you have multiple storage boxes, label them so you can choose what you need easily. Walls with labeled baskets are great as well, especially for storing small items that you can’t place anywhere else.

Wine lovers can transform their basement space into a winery. Build a wine rack or buy one that comes in units, each storing more bottles. You can go up to the ceiling if needed.

Add Heating

Adding heat sources to your basement is necessary, but it may not be enough. If it is the only way of keeping your basement warm, unfortunately, this source of heating will be mostly wasted. The best way to add heat to your basement is to extend your heating system already supplying heat to the rest of your house. Click here for tips on how to improve your heating systems.

Insulating the basement walls and floor will help to hold in the heat, preventing its loss through the space that is not protected. Before installing any supplemental heat, make sure you seal all the gaps and insulated the walls that could cause heat loss. Also, you can install a floor heating system and add rugs for a warmer feeling.

You can locate cold spots with a thermal camera. It is highly recommendable to invest in this tool or just rent one from a tool rental center. With a thermal camera, you can view the areas where your energy losses are occurring. There is also a cheaper version available but requires more moving around the room to detect the spots where the energy is lost.

Don’t Forget About Art

The basement has limited natural light and it often needs more attention when it comes to decorating. For the way the basement will look is up to you, but it’s important for it to be consistent with the rest of the home décor and reflect your family vibe. Give the basement space a personal touch and attach family pictures on the wall or different art that you like.

Artwork is a perfect way to add personality to your basement and create that warm and cozy feeling. It is up to you how you want your personal magic space to look like. Choose abstract paintings and hang them on the walls for a realistic look. Take photographs of things that inspire you or bring your old magazines and photos and hang them above your desk. Hang things from the ceiling like sparkly Christmas ornaments, colored lights, your childhood’s favorite tiny stuffed animals or things that have a meaning to you.

Many artists find it hard to create their own little working corners. A negative and cramped space can affect your creativity and make you less productive. Having your own art studio can be inexpensive and easy to set up. Artificial light is important because it gives you control over your studio. It is best if the light comes from the ceiling because it will illuminate more of your work.

Exploring various basement decorating ideas isn’t that hard, so don’t let that space be occupied by loads of unnecessary stuff. You can spend quality time with friends and family in a space that you’d never thought you’d get to bring to life in such a stylish way. You really are a creative person, so be creative with your space too.

 

 

Homeownership is one of life’s greatest milestones, and owning a property is often one of the biggest financial investments we will make in our lifetimes.

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Most people will pay a lot of attention to the interior spaces of their homes. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on interior design, home appliances, and features that add both conveniences and value to a property; but not enough people take the time to add some value to their gardens or yards.

Here in this quick guide, we are going to look at the three best ways to add some value and features to the outside of your home to make it one of the most desirable houses in the neighborhood and help you make a quick and profitable sale when the time comes to move on.

Use Decking to Take the Inside Outside

One of the most popular uses for a garden or yard is to use it as a cooking or dining area when the weather permits.

Having a space in your garden for dining is a great way to add value and character to a property and having a barbeque or outdoor oven nearby means you can take your mealtimes outside and enjoy good weather all day and into the night.

Use wooden decking to designate a dining space in your garden or yard, and give you a flat and even surface for a dining table or garden furniture. Decking can be incredibly good value and easy to install. Features like this are fun for you to use, and more than pay for themselves in property value.

Landscape Your Garden or Yard

You may well have a lovely garden on your property, but with a little extra work and investment, you can take a garden to the next level and give your home the ‘wow’ factor with a landscaped and themed garden or yard.

Giving a garden a theme can be a fantastic way to show off your outside space and give you more reasons to make better use of your garden or yard. A Hawaiian theme is a popular choice with a lot of homeowners as it is easy to achieve, uses hard-wearing and low-maintenance plants, and can incorporate desirable features like a hot tub or a fire pit.

Re-Lay Your Driveway

If you have a driveway in the front of your home, you have a great opportunity to increase your home’s ‘curb appeal’ by re-laying and recovering your driveway with a new surface that is easy to maintain.

Asphalt, or blacktop, has become the driveway covering of choice recently as it is inexpensive, quick to install, is easy to maintain and lasts a long time. At Richfield Blacktop, you can get a comprehensive planning service and a professionally laid surface for less than ever before. Having a blacktop surface also creates an opportunity to use your drive for sports like basketball and street hockey, which are popular with teenagers. You can even get ‘court markings’ painted on your asphalt, adding a feature to your home.

Our homes are one of our life’s biggest investments, and many of us will have our financial future tied closely to our home’s resale value. Small, high-value investments like these can make a huge and profitable difference to a home’s resale value, and our retirement.

 

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Swimming pools, just like houses, come in all sizes and styles and you have a whole variety of models to satisfy your family with. There are lots of ideas worth trying, but finding the right one requires time and patience. Luckily for us, new technologies make it a lot easier to install and maintain a pool in your garden. If you’re planning your DIY small project there is no reason to waste your time and be unmotivated when you have so much information on how to start if you already established a budget by now. Be aware of your family needs and taste, and patiently plan your next move. A spacious landscape is essential when you decide to incorporate a swimming pool in your garden, so plan carefully. Here are a few options of plain ideas perfect not only for you two but also for the little ones:

The Average Rectangular Pool

The main purpose of having a pool in your backyard is to have fun and relax. This simple style with a symmetrical design and blue tiles is perfect for those who want to stress the importance of big spaces and important gatherings. Its concept is plain but satisfying when it comes to recreational purposes. The pluses this pool offers is that you could delight the small ones incorporating all sorts of fun ideas like tunnels, caves, crazy slides, ideal for all ages. The maintenance should not be a headache, especially with lots of necessary equipment and information at your disposal. You could pay a visit to the nearest store or do small Internet research where you’ll find plenty of helpful experts like 1st Direct Pools and lots of handy details to begin and maintain your small project.

The oval shaped pool

The oval-shaped pools maintain the cosy design and offer your back-yard a much-desired appearance. Its smooth appearance and the total lack of corners makes it ideal for late-night pool-parties and not only. Is one of the frequently used designs and the simplest choice for your garden. Thanks to it a plain style you’re allowed to decorate and designs its surroundings as you wish. You could use decorative pave stone with different patterns or build amazing travertine terraces to upgrade this beautiful place. With a bit of imagination and patience using colorful ambient lights and the right choice of plants to surround it, not only your pool but the entire garden can be entirely transformed according to your wish.

Above-ground Pool

Have always been a choice for starters. They have become more alluring in time for those who don’t have that much space available in their gardens. This style is more appealing for all types of family, are much easier to maintain when its design makes harder for natural debris to get into the pool. Its main advantage is portability, the above-ground pool is suitable for every type of land even on rocky terrains. Its shape should not impede if you wish to transform your backyard into a much-desired oasis.

The Lazy River

A charming addition to your backyard, the lazy river is ideal for people who are already bored with those plain pool ideas. Frequently seen in hotel resorts, at a high scale, the river shaped pool requires a lot of space but also can be incorporated and designed for private homes. Just imagine how many plants and decorative stones you could place along this river. Its design allows you to maintain a jungle-like aspect and play with a diversity of greenery. The lazy is one of the craziest and most wanted projects you could try in your backyard and you’ll never get bored with its complex design.

Weston Style

Ideal for couples this small oval-shaped pool offers a dramatic surrounding. Its originality consists of bluestone pavement presenting an oasis-like ambience. If possible, you can spice up its style using huge rocky stones and ferns to remind you of your last mountain trip. It requires simple maintenance, and the necessary equipment is to be found almost everywhere.

Lap pool

Perfectly designed for fitness and health purposes, this long and narrow pool has almost 45 feet in length. The lap pool has been first designed in a rectangle form by the ancient Greeks and Romans, for athletic purposes like nautical games or military exercise. They’ve gained popularity as residential terrains have become smaller. To maintain the heat in your pool during cold days and reduce the utility bills, a cover should be handy.

Natural pool

Ideal for those who love gardening this lake like style, allows you to set free your imagination stream and experiment with a variety of wild plants and moss. It can be designed in a rustic manner with waterfalls and boulders. Natural pool requires more attention especially when you have to maintain a wild aquatic landscape. This charming design is reinforced with polyethylene, so-called “regeneration zone” which functions as an organic cleaning zone. The aquatic landscape is given by the variety of wild pond plants and grass you choose to incorporate. Its maintenance could be difficult if you don’t have excellent gardening skills.

Garden Island

For those who want to maintain a tropical vibe in their backyard, this pool is brilliant. Undoubtedly, you could use a huge variety of tropical plants to decorate your island, like Anthurium, The Bird of Paradise, Ficus and Palm Trees. Tropical plants require plenty of sun and humidity, don’t forget to tend them correctly if you wish to maintain your tropical ambience. This is one of the most common styles of pools and building don’t require too much budget or time. The Island Pool can be built at any scale for any type of backyard and is enjoyable for every age. Your kids will love reaching and conquering the island every time they’ll get in the pool.

Finding the perfect swimming pool for your recreational space should not be a hassle, especially when you’ve already planned your projects and gathered what is necessary. It is an enjoyable process through which you can discover and apply your longings.

 

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If you’re itching to fix up your home, but don’t have the cash to pay a professional to do the work for you, fortunately, there are many projects homeowners can do themselves to improve their home’s value, look, and functionality. Don’t be afraid to get creative and get your hands dirty – these DIY projects really don’t need a pro, just a little time and effort.

Backsplash

Professionals typically charge around $60 per hour for labor costs to install a new backsplash. Although they make look very difficult to install, any homeowner can do it themselves with a little research and a few tutorial videos. The only tools and materials you need are a level, tile cutter, spacers, adhesive, grout, and of course, the tile. Intricate tiling or mosaics come with a mesh backing for easy installation, so don’t let the beautiful detailing scare you.

Outdoor Fire Pit

 If you own Raleigh real estate, you might want to enjoy some evenings outdoors in the warm summer season. An outdoor fire pit is one of the easiest projects to do yourself and a fairly inexpensive way to add a spot for outdoor entertainment.

You can purchase cement pavers from any major home improvement store, such as Home Depot or Lowes. Before you buy spend some time thinking about how large and how tall you want your fire pit to be. You might even try playing around with them at the store to get a better idea of how it might look. Once you’re home, you can wrap them around an old barbeque ring or place them freestanding. Small square pavers can be used for the bottom or flooring of the pit or you can use gravel or rock. Sand, cement, or mortar can help to fill in any gaps.

Refinish Wood Floors

If you have nice wood floors under those dirty carpets, it’s time to rip those old carpets out and refinish the beautiful wood underneath. While carpeting is preferred by most homeowners in the bedrooms, the look of wood floors in common areas is a popular trend. It’s rather simple to refinish them, too. Start by renting a walk-behind sander from your hardware or home improvement store – the type of sandpaper depends on the finish you currently have. Thick finishes or painted floors initially require coarse sandpaper. Every floor should be followed with a medium and fine paper to achieve a smooth finish; be sure to thoroughly clean up the dust with a vacuum and tack cloth. Next, choose between three finishes: polyurethane, varnish, or a penetrating sealer. Each has its own distinct look and various durability. Follow the instructions closely on the finish you choose.

 

 

When a plumbing crisis strikes, it’s easy to go into panic mode and call the first plumbing company you find, but this isn’t always the best course of action. Hiring a plumber is often a costly ordeal on its own, so the last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected issue in the future due to a poor repair job.

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This is why it’s important to choose the right plumber. Not only will you benefit from a faster and more affordable job, but also one that will prevent further plumbing issues from happening a few months down the line. Another concern is the wellbeing and security of your family, which is something you can’t put a price on.

So, the next time your dog is swimming in the bathroom or your sink is spurting like a spring, here are 12 tips that’ll help you choose the right plumbing service.

Experience

Naturally, a plumbing company that has been around for a few years will be able to provide a much higher quality service than one that was only recently established. While it’s true that every company has to start somewhere, a more established plumber has already learned from the mistakes that an inexperienced plumber might make on your home.

Plumbing License

Confirm that the plumber you choose has valid licenses. This is required by all local authorities and states, so no plumbing service worth your money should be without one. If they don’t have a license, chances are there’s a good reason for it and you should look elsewhere.

Insurance

In a similar light, a good plumber is wise enough to take the necessary precautions in their work and insure themselves for general liability. This can also include workman’s compensation insurance, which protects the workers handling your plumbing. A good plumbing service will be able to provide evidence of their insurance or bonding upon request.

Website

These days, a website serves as the most common point of contact between a business and its potential customers. Therefore, a good plumbing service will have a well-designed website that adequately details their services. Their website should include information about their hours, areas of service, and contact details.

Additionally, a good plumbing service might be one that goes the extra mile and offers additional content on their website. This can include a blog where they provide advice on plumbing issues or a live support center that you can contact in emergencies. These elements serve as indicators of how much a company cares for its customers.

Warranties

Reputable plumbing companies trust their workers to provide good service and their suppliers to provide high-quality products and tools. Therefore, a good plumbing company should have a warranty on the labor and products they offer. Be sure to also check whether they have a satisfaction guarantee with respect to customer service.

Customer Treatment

The way a company handles their calls and inquiries is telling of their workplace culture and how they treat their customers. A good plumbing company will answer your call in a warm, friendly manner and provide a helpful service throughout the conversation. Their behavior will extend to when they visit your home, so be sure to keep it in mind.

Transparency

Nobody likes a company that sneaks in additional fees and charges that you weren’t informed about. A reliable plumber will be transparent about exactly how much you’ll pay for their services. Avoid working with a company that isn’t willing to provide an upfront quote for fixing your plumbing problems.

Online Reviews

In this day and age, any company that is proud of its services will have a position on review websites such as Yelp and Google My Business. They should also have social media accounts where they interact with customers and follow up on reviews. A plumbing service with a load of unhappy customers and one-star reviews should probably be avoided.

References

In addition to online reviews, a good plumbing company should be able to provide a list of references. You can follow up on these references to firstly, see if they’re legitimate and secondly, to get an idea of what it’s like to work with the plumbing service in question. If they refuse to provide any references at all, look elsewhere.

Location

While not necessarily telling of the quality of their service, it would be easier to deal with a company that is located in your local area. This way, you can visit their office and get an idea of how they operate. It also makes it easier to receive a fast response in the event of a plumbing emergency in the future.

Credentials

There are three main types of credentials that a plumber can have. This includes the following:

Apprentice: An apprentice is a plumber who works alongside journeymen or master plumbers to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills required to become a qualified plumber. They usually participate in classroom instruction and paid practical work.

Journeyman: After passing training, an apprentice graduates to a journeyman and earns a license from their local state. Most don’t have established companies but can handle the majority of plumbing work.

Master Plumber: If you find a master plumber, chances are they’re the best in your area. Master plumbers have associates degrees and have tons of experience.

Additional Services

Some companies offer additional services to their customers for added value. For instance, this company offers a Home Service Back Office, which allows plumbing and home service businesses to outsource their customer support operations. If you’re interested in starting your own plumbing or home service business, this will serve as a great addition to your company.

Look out for plumbers that offer additional services like these, as it shows that they’re willing to go the extra mile to stand out from their competitors.

Conclusion

By factoring in their experience, reputation, transparency, customer service and credentials, you’ll be able to find the right plumber for your needs and have a reliable company to call in emergencies. Taking the time to do your research will inevitably pay off in the future, making it a worthwhile endeavor.

 

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There is a definite drive from homeowners to integrate more efficient upgrades into their homes. One of the most popular home additions has been to mount solar panel arrays on the roof to help owners go off the grid.

The trend toward a more sustainable and environmentally responsible lifestyle has pushed the popularity behind making your home solar sufficient. Not only can you save a bunch of money on your energy bills, but you can also drastically reduce your carbon footprint when you decide to go solar.

Before you make the switch, there are a few things that you should consider, including getting a new Allstate Home Insurance quote to accommodate your updates. Switching over to solar is not as simple as just mounting some solar panels. Here’s what you will need to know before making the decision to run your home using solar power.

Incentives

One of the largest driving forces behind the solar trend is money savings. Once you get past the initial investment, which can be large, you can enjoy lifelong savings and even make some money back. The great thing about this initiative is that you could even get help footing the installation bill for your solar system.

Check with your municipality and talk to your accountant about available grants or tax breaks for adding solar that you can take advantage of. Making updates to your home to convert it into a more eco-friendly dwelling can actually make you money in incentives.

Warranties

Each solar dealer will have their own guarantees to cover the installation process, but it’s important to understand exactly what their warranties will cover. You don’t want to get stuck with panels that are only warrantied by the manufacturer. Standard warranties should cover your panels for up to 25 years and your inverter for up to 10 years.

Property Value Boost

If you still need more convincing that going solar is right for you, you should know that converting and adding a solar array can increase the market value of your home. Projects like adding solar, a kitchen remodel or developing a home heat recovery system are among the most popular home updates.

Along with saving money on your energy bills, you can expect an increase of up to 4% on your home’s value. This can make for an impressive return on your investment.

Inverters

When you are shopping for the elements of your solar power system you will need to choose an inverter that is best for your array. There are two different kinds of inverters; central or micro. A central inverter will be wired to draw in power from all of your panels at the same time. Microinverters are attached to each individual solar panel.

Size

The most common question that dealers get from homeowners is, “How many panels will I need to run my whole house?”. There are too many variables to answer this question to suit everyone. The number of panels that you will need will depend on the square footage of your home, how solar reliant you want to be and the wattage of your panels.

Any easy way to estimate how many solar panels you will need for your home is to follow this formula. Take your hourly household energy needs and multiply it by the number of hours of prime sunlight that you will get. Then take that number and divide it by the panel wattage.

 

# hourly energy needs  X  Peak sunlight hours

Panel Wattage

  

Conclusion

If you are interested in creating a more self-sufficient and greener home by adding solar, make sure to do your homework before you invest. Get help with funding, learn about the equipment and increase the value of your home with a solar power renovation.

 

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