Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tired of Living in Cramped Quarters? Choose Home Improvement Remodeling Instead of Moving

Going through the hassle and expense of buying a new place isn't always the best route to landing the home of your dreams. Whether you have recently welcomed a new member to your family, taken on the responsibility of caring for an aging parent, or simply outgrown the style and look of your existing residence, you're much more likely to fulfill your particular requirements by working with a licensed home improvement contractor than by poring over the real estate pages.

For one thing, even if you are lucky enough to find a place in the real estate listings that more or less meets your needs, you'll probably still have to hire a home improvement contractor to bring about the finishing touches. Every residential property varies in terms of size, space, and interior layout. The only sure way to get what you want is to be the one calling the shots.

And that's not even taking into account any pressing time requirements. By using a home improvement remodeling company to expand or upgrade the property you already own, you can skip all the time-consuming trouble of dealing with real estate agents, packing up belongings, and filling out reams of paperwork. No movers or mortgage closings are necessary when all you're really doing is adding on an extra bedroom or expanding an outdated kitchen.

Home additions are especially convenient for property owners who are happy with the schools and other nearby attractions in their local communities. Why pack up and leave when you can stay in the area you love and still enjoy larger, more spacious accommodations with a timely and affordable property renovation? Not only will a custom home addition allow you to keep your current location, but you also won't have to worry about uprooting your kids or missing out on services and facilities you've come to appreciate.

As for property value, putting an extension on your home can be a great way to build equity and secure the monetary worth of your real estate investment. As families grow and lifestyle changes arise, many homeowners find it necessary to add on another bedroom or expand their available space through kitchen or bath remodeling. In fact, whatever type of home remodeling project you have in mind, it can be achieved faster, easier, and for a lot less money than you may think by turning to a home improvement contractor instead of a real estate agent.

Why not compare the actual numbers for yourself? Simply contact local home improvement contractors in your area to discuss the details of your desired bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen remodeling project and obtain price estimates in person. Dollar for dollar, you're probably far better off adding on than you would be moving out.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Importance Of Fire And Water Restoration After A Disaster

All of the preventative measures available will sometimes fail to protect a property from the harm that is caused by natural disasters or fires. The destruction might seem overwhelming at first. Damaged walls, lost possessions and debris on the ground are not easy problems to cope with. There are trained professionals who know exactly how to assess this type of situation and how to start repairs. Fire and water damage specialists use special equipment and experience to reclaim a building and restore it to a livable condition.

Structural Stability

Regardless of whether a disaster was caused by a fire or water damage one of the primary concerns for home and business owners should be the structural stability of the building. The wooden components that help to hold a house together need to be checked by a professional in order to determine if they need to be replaced. Beams and joists are easily warped or damaged by intense heat or flooding. The damage is not always obvious. The home might still appear structurally sound. The reality is that the interior of the walls, fixtures and the essential wiring in the home will need to be checked extensively in order to determine the repairs that need to be performed. These tests will also reveal whether the space is safe to occupy.

Smoke And Soot

Businesses and homes that experience a fire have problems beyond the physical damage that was done. Smoke seeps into porous surfaces and walls. The result is a strong odor that will overtake entire rooms when left untreated. At the same time, soot from the flames is thrown into the air and comes to rest on walls and in carpets. Soot poses a different problem because it will be thrown into the air whenever someone moves in the room. This causes the air to become hazardous if enough soot is present. Specialists who understand how to deal with fire damage will be able to remove smoke odors and soot.

Biological Contamination

Water damage specialists understand that standing water after a flood has the potential to create a hazardous situation for the occupants of a home or business. The water encourages the growth of bacteria that is in the air and that might be in debris that was carried into the home. This is why a professional basement flooding clean-up is so important. Cleaning the basement will remove standing water and debris. Cleaning chemicals and other equipment are then used to kill any residual bacteria and dry everything in the area. A fast basement flooding clea-up will prevent many problems ranging from mold and bacteria to damage in the foundation of the home.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

3 Great Tips to Avoid Water Damage

Water damage can destroy your home, your kid's bedrooms, and your man cave in just a few hours. Before you even know it, everything you've worked so hard for can be gone or at best ruined. Here are 3 great tips that will help you avoid water damage in your home.

Tip #1: Check your water bill.

Some of the most severe water damage starts with a drip. Maybe it's something you don't even notice at first or just a few drops that you clean up with a towel. However, even the tiniest cracks in your underground pipes could fill a swimming pool if left unchecked for days. Sometimes the first indication is a spike in your water bill.

Be proactive. Don't be afraid to call the company and ask them to explain the bill to you. Be aware of unusual raises in your bill and get in the habit of knowing how much water you use on average so that no sudden spikes are able to take you off guard. Keep in mind that if water is running for days and days without your knowledge, it's going to show up on your bill.

Tip# 2: Check your appliances

You don't have to check every day, but it's a good idea to check your appliances when you use them. Bathrooms and kitchens are very often the place where water damage begins because they're like water stations in your home. Look for drippy connections and listen for the sound of running water even when all the water is turned off.

Some of the biggest culprits in the house are the ones you should be most familiar with checking:

The refrigerator
The kitchen sink
Washing machines
Water heaters
Sump pumps

All of these are the #1 suspects in the event of water damage. If you do suspect a leak, turn of the main water valve to the house and call a professional.

Tip #3: Hardware that can help

If you have a big house or if you travel and you're away a lot, you may want to get a leak detection system for your home. Similar to smoke detectors, leak detectors actually sound an alarm or make some noise when a possible water leak is detected. Some systems measure the moisture in the area or in the house and others measure the water flow to look for variation.

There are 3 main types of leak detection units:

Active alarms
Passive alarms
Appliance alarms.

Active alarms typically implement an alarm and some will actually turn off the water supply if a leak is detected. Passive alarms are more like smoke detectors- they're battery operated and install on the floor or wall. When they get wet, they make a noise. Appliance alarms connect to the individual appliance and shut off the water supply in case of a leak. Some are consumer friendly while others may need a plumber to install.

These 3 helpful tips will help ensure that you and your house will not fall victim to water damage and all that it entails.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adding a Room to Your Home

As your family grows, there is a good chance that you will begin to outgrow the space that you have been living in. Suddenly, your home doesn't seem quite as big as it once did before. Rather than moving to a new home, many people choose to have a general contractor add a room onto their existing structure. This provides many families with a more affordable, and fully customized solution to this common problem. Whether you need a new bedroom, a playroom, study room or any other type of room, talk with a general contractor about the possibility of adding a room to your home.
Choosing a Room
There are many variables to consider when choosing a room. You will want to have a rough idea of the size and function of your room before talking with a general contractor. You should also have a budget in mind. Once you decide on these, get in touch with a local contractor to start putting together some plans for your new addition. They can help you refine your plans, working with an architect or designer to help design a space that is perfect for your needs.
Check Local Regulations
Some of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to adding on to your home are local regulations. Your contractor can help you in many areas of this. Talk to your local zoning board to see what the regulations are in your area. If you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association, you will also want to review the HOA rules and regulations as well. The last thing you want is to finish your addition just to find out that you have violated a city or HOA regulation.
Finalize Plans and Start Building
After your builder has acquired any necessary permits, cleared everything with local regulators and finalized your building plans, it's time for them to get started. Depending on the general contractor that you have chosen, this could involve either a small or a large crew. Regardless of the number of people that will be working at your house, talk with your contractor about steps that you can take that will make the job easier for them. There are many things, such as cleaning and clearing that can greatly save time and energy for your contractor. This will save you money and headache in the long run. Expect things to be messy throughout the process, and do your best to work around that. The completed product will be well worth it.
Whether you are building a new office, a sunroom, a craft room or a nursery for another expected family addition, adding a room to your home can be one of the most gratifying and cost-effective ways to add additional space to your home. With a little diligence and the selection of a quality contractor, the process can be quick, efficient and done to your exact desires and specifications. You'll be amazed at the effect it makes on your home.
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reasons Why You Should Renovate Your Home and How to Do It

Because of today's tight economy many household owners have pushed any home improvement projects to the bottom of their to-do list. But the truth is you don't actually have to worry about renovation costs because all you have to do is take advantage of several factors such as low costs of building materials and contractor fees to give your house a whole new look. Here are several reasons why you should consider remodeling your home.
1. Cheaper contractor rates- Although the housing market and construction industry has already recovered at some level, there are still a number of contractors who are willing to work on lower rates than others.
2. Lower electricity bills - Renovating your home is not just visually appealing but financially gratifying as well. Most homeowners renovate to make their houses more energy efficient by installing additional insulation, programmable thermostats and double pained windows. Thus the money you spend on renovations will eventually come back to you through your monthly savings on energy bills.
3. Increased marketability - In case you are planning to sell, a newly renovated home is more likely to get a lot of potential buyers who are willing to pay more. A renovation project will also increase its market value. This is why home improvements are considered as essential investments in the real estate market. You need to make the necessary repairs and improvements before you can hook a high-paying buyer.
4. Enjoy the improvements - A lot of home renovation projects are done when homeowners are getting ready to sell their properties. But wouldn't it be better if you fix your home now and enjoy the improvements while you're still there or until the right timing for selling comes along?
So, if you have finally decided that now is indeed the right time to give your home a makeover, here are some tips to help you get a successful home remodeling project.
  • Get as many contractor referrals as you can. Remember that you should be able to trust the contractor that you are going to hire because he will come in and out of your house during the duration of the project.

  • Know what kind of renovation you want to have. Planning ahead will help you save time and money. If you're not sure of your preferences, you might end up spending money outside of your budget.

  • Tell your contractor about your house rules such as non-smoking inside the house.

  • Put everything in contract. Make sure that you have a mutual understanding with your contractor about what should take place during and after the renovation project.

  • Don't forget to remind the contractor to clean up the mess every day. Otherwise, dusts and other dirt particles will end up in the heating and cooling system. It is also important to make sure to clean your HVAC system after the renovation project to prevent damages and further repair costs.

  • Do not give the final payment unless everything in the renovation plan is finished. Check if there is anything that has been left out or if there are any changes that you want to make. Remember that once you have paid the contractor in full, it would mean that the project is done and any follow-up work would mean additional charges.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Professional Fire Restoration - Recovering From Fire Loss

A house fire can be one of the most stressful times in your life. Once the fire is out and the emergency response teams have left the scene, you're left with a huge charred and soggy mess. But did you know that a house fire doesn't have to mean a total loss? Even if your belongings are seriously water-logged, smoke damaged, or singed, many of them can be recovered through professional fire restoration.
Many professional cleaning services offer fire restoration in addition to their carpet and furniture cleaning services. They use a combination of drying and cleaning processes to minimize your losses and salvage your belongings from the fire. If your family has been struck by the tragedy of a house fire, or if you just want to be prepared in case disaster ever arrives, keep reading to learn more about the process.
Water Removal
The first step in the fire restoration process is removing the water left from putting the fire out. On top of the damage of smoke, soot, and char, water can cause additional deterioration and foster mold growth. It's important to start the drying process as soon as possible to diminish the possibility of further damage and achieve the most successful restoration results.
The water removal typically consists of two stages: manual water extraction and supplementary drying. The initial stage involves using a high-powered wet vacuum to suck as much water as possible out of your building and belongings. This is followed up with dehumidification and ventilation using carpet fans and commercial dehumidifiers to dry remaining moisture out of the walls, floors, and room contents.
Fire Restoration
Once the water has been completely removed, the fire clean-up professionals can move on to the fire damage itself. The first step is a thorough evaluation of the extent of the damage and an inventory of items to be restored. Then a series of deodorizers and soot and smoke cleaners are used to wash away all traces of the fire. In fact, this process can save sodden documents, sooty furniture, and even electronics or industrial equipment. When the restoration is complete, both your building and all of your salvageable belongings should be returned to their original condition!
Fire Restoration Professionals
Professionals are typically very understanding of your sad situation and treat your damaged goods with the utmost respect and care. They work to bring you light in the midst of disaster and restore your belongings as soon as possible. Some services even offer express cleaning of vital documents or your child's special toy to ease your stress and discomfort. You can trust these professionals to restore as much of your home and belongings as possible and get you back in your home as quickly as they can.
Fire restoration services are available in most areas as part of professional cleaning companies. Hopefully you will never need a restoration professional, but if you do, they can help make an awful situation much better by saving your personal effects and preventing a total loss.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Safety and Prevention Checklist To Follow After A House Fire - And How To Save As You Rebuild

Putting forth the effort to prevent a fire is a need for every homeowner, especially one that has just been through a house fire. A safety and protection checklist can make a person feel competent, at ease, and secure. Here are some guidelines on how to write a checklist for you and your family when the rebuilding of your home is complete...and how to save during and after the rebuilding. Fire Safety Checklist:
  1. Basement: Make sure the breaker wires are tight. Look out for erosion or decay on wire insulators. Water heater doors should be closed to prevent flame roll-out. Air-tight containers should be used for any oily rags and kept away from heat sources. Check your breaker panel to make sure there are no recalls or have not been recommended to be replaced. No trash should be stored in the basement. Keep areas around the oil burner, furnace, wood stove, or any type of equipment used to generate heat clear of debris. If you do not already have an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) it is highly advised that one be added. This is an electrical device made to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in the electrical wiring.
  2. Garage: There should be no pull-down stairs leading to the attic that link to the main house. Do not store gasoline near any sources of heat. Oily rags should be kept in air-tight containers and away from heat sources. Trash should not be kept in the garage. The door leading from the garage to the home should be solid and have a threshold to block fire from leading into the house. Things should be kept neat and organized, no junk accumulation.
  3. Laundry Room: The area behind the dryer should be kept lint free and no lint build-up inside the dryer. Lint is highly combustible. If the laundry room is not in the basement, the exhaust pipe is usually inserted in a 90-degree elbow that is cut into the drywall. This is a fire safety issue since this turn decreases the airflow which causes overheating of the exhaust environment. If the duct attached to the dryer is plastic it should be replaced with a metal duct.
  4. First Floor: Block gas appliances with sheet metal. Do not store cookies and other snacks above the stove. Make sure the smoke detectors are in working order. Furniture should have fire-resistant upholstery. Use the correct wattage light bulbs in fixtures. All light bulbs are covered, including hallways and closets. Never leave a fireplace uncovered. Make sure it has a screen, flue is clear, and there is no debris surrounding the area. Get the chimney cleaned once a year - before starting a fire. Sheet metal should block metal vent areas around the chimney. Do not overload extension cords or outlets or run electric cords under carpets or rugs. The kitchen should have fire extinguishers.
  5. Second Floor: Replace any mattresses that were manufactured before 1973. After this year manufacturers are required by law to make mattresses resistant to the ignition of cigarettes. There should be a smoke detector by each bedroom in the hallway. Portable heaters should be three feet away from beds, curtains, or any flammable materials. An escape ladder needs to be in each room. UL-approved electric blankets are the only type that should be used. A fire extinguisher should be somewhere on the floor and every family member should know where to locate it.
Take the time to inspect your home for possible safety hazards. Taking the time now could prevent another major catastrophe from happening to your home. As you rebuild your home after a fire, take all of the above into consideration first. These guidelines can help with the planning of your new home. While the plans are being drawn up, consider saving on all of the materials needed to rebuild, along with appliances, furniture, and anything else needed. You can save today and for the rest of your life. Start rebuilding a better home and future for you and your loved ones!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Home Improvements Add Value

It is possible to increase the value of your home and make it more comfortable with home improvements. Are you considering changes to your home? Are you looking into a general contractor? Did you know that there are home renovations that will increase the value of your home? Improving your home does not have to cost thousands, there are a few simple things that can be done to really add to the value of your home.

Space: Yes, even doing things like increasing garage storage can increase what your home is worth. This can be done by adding garage cabinets on the wall or even adding overhead storage space to help keep things organized.

Light: Adding a skylight, or even changing wallpaper to a light colored paint can really make a huge difference. The more light that can come into a house, the bigger and more spacious the rooms appear! Call it an optical illusion if you want, but people tend to feel more comfortable in a bright, airy room.

Lawn: The front yard is one of the first things people see when driving by or entering your home. A terrible, unkempt lawn could give anyone a bad first impression of your property. If you want to make a great impression on a potential buyer it would be wise to have a beautiful, green, lush yard. It would be difficult for anyone to justify purchasing a home that will require a ton of yard work to start. Take the time to keep your lawn properly manicured and consider planting a garden to add to the beauty of the area. Think about the impression you want to make to that potential buyer.

Basement: When it comes to home renovations, people never think about their basement. Any general contractor will tell you that a basement is a huge space that you can do something with. Imagine a movie room down there, a game room, or a home gym. A finished basement adds a great deal of value to your home and provides more space for doing just about anything. The possibilities are nearly endless in this area.

Any money a person invests in remodeling their house will only add to its value as long as the right improvements are being made. Be sure to research which projects will actually add value to your home. Why spend a lot of money on improving your home if it does not add to its value and comfort?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Bathroom Renovations Add Value to Your Home

Whether you are renovating your outdated home, or preparing to put it on the market in hopes of a sale, house renovations such as bathroom renovations definitely add value and interest to your home and are worth the investment. Spa inspired bathroom renovations have made a resurgence as of late and represent a sense of true rest and relaxation. The idea of a spa like bathroom, with a giant soaker tub, double-headed shower and his and hers sinks really does put the "rest" in restroom! Transforming your bathroom from a dingy dungeon into a beautiful oasis will positively impact the resale value of your home, by attracting more serious buyers and resulting in a quicker sale. Bathroom renovations are also cost effective and wise investments as much of the money spent on the renovation is made back and may even increase the value of your home for a potential buyer.

When dreaming of a bathroom renovation, there are several considerations to keep in mind. The current location of your plumbing and fixtures can make the difference between a small, cosmetic bathroom update, and a full blown renovation. If you are pleased with the current location of your shower, sink and toilet, than simple updates such as a new vanity, countertop, paint, flooring and d├ęcor scheme will result in a budget friendly, yet dramatic difference to your bathroom. However, if you wish to re-design the location of your plumbing, or expand on the current size and shape of your bathroom, than a larger scale home renovation is what you can expect. By reimagining your bathroom all together, you have the opportunity to customize your wants and needs and incorporate your spa inspired wish list!

There are certain schematic suggestions to apply in your design when renovating your bathroom to provide a spa like feel: choosing elegant fixtures and hanging stylish mirrors will add beauty and style to your space, providing interesting site lines and curvatures. For example, a classic claw foot tub acts as a sculpture in your bathroom, while a framed mirror makes a much more powerful impact to your wall space, over an outdated, large surface covering mirror.

If you are fortunate enough to have the space in your re-imagined bathroom design, consider taking the spa like feel to the next level: indulge yourself with a dressing room. You can add design elements such as a fireplace, dressing table, comfortable armchair and free standing mirror to create a true haven for rest and relaxation with style.

Whether you are preparing your home for sale, or are simply updating and customizing your dream bathroom, creating a spa inspired space will provide a sense of calm and an area of true relaxation to your home. Home renovations such as bathroom transformations are cost effective and wise investments as much of the money spent on the renovation is made back and may even increase the value of your home for a potential buyer. Luxury and elegance can truly be yours with spa inspired bathroom renovations.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Warning Signs and The Effects of Water Damage

The Negative Effects of Water Damage in Your Home

Water damage can do more than ruin a few pieces of furniture. In fact, the full impact of such damage can be absolutely devastating. Read through some of the warning signs and results.

Structural Weakness

Water damage is an enormous threat to the stability of your home. Wood support beams that are exposed to excess moisture will begin to rot. This can also have extremely negative consequences for your home's foundation. Excess flooding can cause your foundation to erode and crack. Both of these symptoms put your house at greater risk for settling or collapsing. Consider water restoration services immediately after flooding occurs in order to prevent loss of structural integrity.

Mold Outbreaks

Water damage often leaves pooling water in dark, secluded areas. Unfortunately, this setting is ideal for mold spores to sprout and thrive. Plus, mold problems can continue even after the leak or flooding has been contained. These pervasive microbes threaten your household in two ways. First, mold steals nutrients from building materials and weakens supports. Second, exposure to mold spores can have devastating effects on human health. Repair your damage quickly to limit opportunities for mold growth.

Health Hazards

Not all damage is as simple as oversaturation. Flooding caused by plumbing problems like sewage backup can also introduce dangerous microorganisms and pathogens into your home. If this contaminated water reaches flooring and furniture, numerous sections of your home will be permanently ruined. Carpet, for example, will need to be replaced after the flooding is under control. Otherwise, the bacteria from sewer water may take root in the carpet's fibers and threaten your health. In these worst-case scenarios, a professional restoration team is the best cleanup solution available.

Lowered Home Value

Public perception of homes with damage is that they are unsafe and poor investments. As a result, your home will be tougher to sell. You'll likely have to take an offer below market value, even if the efforts of a water damage restoration service are a complete success. This reality reinforces how important it is to prevent water damage in the first place.

Regular home maintenance can help prevent water damage before it occurs, so be sure your home's flashing, sealing, and gutters are always in top shape. Checking your sinks and plumbing for leaks is also wise. Performing these routine checks will ultimately save your household thousands of dollars in repairs.

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