How to Find a Reliable Tradesman

There will come a time in every home owner’s life when he or she will find him/herself in need of hiring a tradesman.  Maybe the home owner will need his roof fixed.  Maybe she will need her heating and cooling systems repaired.  Tradesmen all over the United Kingdom are in high demand and it is important that home owners know how to hire someone who is reliable and will do the job correctly and efficiently.

Hiring a reliable tradesman is important because if the tradesman you hire is not reliable you could end up paying quite a large amount of money for work that is sub-par and that will need multiple repairs.  While it is important for home owners to understand that a tradesman needs to be reliable it is also important that home owners understand how to tell the difference between a reliable tradesman and one who is not.

When searching for a reliable tradesman here are some things a home owner should look into before signing any contracts:

*References:  References can be obtained in two ways.  The obvious way to get a Tradesman’s references is to ask for them outright.  Any Tradesman who is reliable will be able to provide you with a list of clients who are happy to act as references.

The other way to get references for a Tradesman is to simply ask your neighbors and your friends to find out who they (or someone they know) have used in the past.  You should make sure to ask whether or not the reference would hire the person again (and why or why not).

*Professional Organizations:  Check into the local business registry in your area to find out if your prospective Tradesman is a member of any professional organizations.  Is the Tradesman going through the application process for a professional organization? You should also check with local authorities to find out if any complaints have been lodged against the person you are considering hiring.

*Professional Organizations:  Is your prospective Tradesman up for membership at any local professional organizations?  Ask your local business center about the ratings for your prospective Tradesman.  You should also find out if any formal complaints have been filed against the person you are thinking of hiring.

Most Tradespeople are required to obtain specific certifications and join specific organizations.  Research the trade and find out what is required.  Then make sure that each prospective Tradesman you consider meets all of the requirements.

Condominiums Get Fireplaces

Nestled in the Toronto waterfront is a condominium project known as West Harbor City. One problem they wrestled with was how to add standard features buyers like. Fireplaces are hard to provide for in large condominium projects. Opening and closing vents provides one major problem. And that merely scratches the surface.

So, when senior partners of the realty corporation handling sales for the condominium project got their heads together, they were able to come up with a great solution. Looking to Europe they found their answer. Owning an apartment has been a way of life for many people across Europe. What do they do about having a fireplace? They install what is known as the vent-less gel fireplace.

A question many people ask when they hear all these details is why the senior partners of the realty corporation are deciding on what fireplaces to install. See, that’s the most attractive thing about vent-less gel fireplaces. They are easy to install. They are inexpensive. And they made the condominiums unbelievably marketable.

A traditional fireplace would require a chimney and a hearth. That takes extra construction costs. Plus, it’s just not feasible to have a series of fireplaces lining one chimney and having every occupant in accord with the vents. Getting smoked out would eventually happen. Providing each occupant with a chimney of their own is even more cost inhibition.

Vent-less gel fireplaces are just what they seem. They don’t require a vent. They don’t require any construction at all. They make the perfect solution for apartment buildings and condominiums everywhere. They have an authentic fire that rumbles from realistic looking cement logs just like a gas fireplace would have. But, gas fireplaces require vents just like traditional fireplaces so they don’t make a very viable option either.

When couples walk into a condominium they are thinking of purchasing, they see a fireplace. They don’t see the difference between a traditional fireplace and a vent-less gel fireplace. All they know is that they are going to have plenty of romantic evenings together accompanied by the ambiance of a crackling fire in their living or anywhere else around their condo.

It was a great marketing strategy for West Harbor City. Buyers were purchasing more than one unit. That seems to be the trend these days. As the units sold, the realty corporation realized they had made a great decision. Vent-less gel fireplaces are perfect for any living situation.

It’s Very Satisfying to Do Your Own Home Repair and Improvement

If you are like me you enjoy doing home repair and improvement projects. It’s very satisfying to, say, finally get that leaky faucet fixed or fix that closet door that never shut. You get to sit back, look at it, then look at it some more and say to yourself “I did that!”. As a home owner it seems like there is always something to fix, improve or install around the house. As a pro I see people everyday that want to know how I do stuff. It’s funny how the customer will sometimes stand behind me to see what I’m doing or linger in a conversation a little too long while I’m working. I still knew the process would be difficult to repeat because they can’t see the thoughts: “Watch out for this” and “Remember that”. Sometimes they come right out and ask me to tell them how to do a project on another part of the house. It was difficult for me to tell them since that is how I earned my living!

However I did get a certain satisfaction from showing my helpers, with some understandable anticipation, how to do certain things. College students wanting summer work, mostly. I actually had a “pseudo” training program for them and I know they took that knowledge with them for the rest of their lives. I can imagine them in later years answering the primordial call: “Honey, can you do something for me today?”

Its satisfying to me to be able to tell people how to do what I do. Install a new front door, make a new counter top or install a new wood floor. Imagine having free instructions on how to do just about any project around the house. It’s nice when you have someone directing and choreographing you on how to do certain projects that might otherwise seem undo-able. It makes your project that much more fun and satisfying!

Home Repair and Improvement

If you are planning for home repair and improvement, then you can use some of the unique tips that are so readily available on the internet these days. Home repair and improvement is never an easy task and so tips and ideas from trustworthy resources can help you a lot. These days, shows on home repairs and remodeling of exteriors and interiors have become quite a common place on television and radio. So, you can use some great ideas from these programs too.

A house has different parts and each part has its own importance. Therefore, there are different kinds of repair works for each of these parts and spaces.

Interior improvements can include repairing of the A/C, appliances, electrical and lighting, doors, stairs and floors, walls and ceilings. The interiors comprise rooms, bathrooms and kitchen, plumbing and fixtures, painting, home technology, storage, decor, and so on. All of these come under interior improvements.

The home exteriors usually include the garage, lawn and guard, pool, spa and sauna. Then of course, the roof, chimney and gutter form an important part of the exteriors. The windows and skylights, siding, columns and landscaping, all comprise the exteriors of a home.Therefore, all these areas need special attention as and where required.

Step by Step plan for Home repair and Improvement

  • The first step for successful home repair and improvement project is a well laid out plan and budgeting.
  • When planning a repair and remodeling of the house, do also take into account the council regulations.
  • Setting a commencing date and planning a completion date is very important.
  • For selecting products make personal trips to good stores or browse through the online and print catalogues.
  • Decide upon a style – heritage, modern or casual and make it a tool in narrowing down your choices.
  • Hiring a professional contractor and paying heed to some expert advice by home improvement enthusiasts would always prove fruitful.

House Extensions – Things You Need To Know

Rather than moving to a new house, every budget conscious homeowner desires to extend or upgrade their existing home to save both time as well as money. Home additions are a perfect choice for increasing your living space and adding property value. A home extension substantially increases the functional space inside your home and undoubtedly increases the property’s resale value to a great extend. However, before you jump into a final decision, here are some important points to consider regarding a home extension procedure.

Is it a wise choice?

Are you looking forward to an extra bedroom, a new living area for the whole family to enjoy or for a home office? The first and foremost step is to verify the viability of a house extension procedure in your property, no matter whether it is a single storey extension or a two (double) storey extension. Always keep in mind that only a well-planned sensible design can be cost-effective and provide you the likely benefits. Before you proceed, it is also necessary to recognize the need of a planning permission and verify whether your property is located in a conservation area. If so, it is highly recommended to seek advice from your nearby building control authority and do a research about the legal procedures related to the extension work.

Next, take time to find an answer for “how much does an extension cost?” For this, your exact requirement has to be analyzed in detail. Based on your need, you can either choose a rear extension or a side extension procedure. A single storey extension, either done on the side or rear portion, is comparatively cheaper and it requires only minimal disruption. However, if you need more ventilation, then a double storey extension is considered as more beneficial. An extra investment is often required when you adopt additional painting or interior design services. Also, make sure to implement adequate safety measures, before your home remodeling job, to avoid unexpected costs.

As there are multiple possibilities in a home or kitchen extension project, it is extremely essential to find a reputable professional who utilize highly sophisticated construction methods for a hassle free home improvement job. Such professionals inspect your site and suggest the most suitable design pattern, based on your specific requirements, budget and the building’s pre-existing conditions. Moreover, they adhere to essential quality standards and offer adequate work warranty for the job undertaken to ensure utmost customer satisfaction.

What Is Dry Powder Carpet Cleaning?

You have many options when looking for a carpet cleaning method to use in your home. One of the options that is relatively new is the dry powder carpet cleaning method. It is a popular method but most people have no idea how it works or even if it works. This article will try to explain the process and the positive and negative characteristics of it.

In this process of carpet cleaning, a semi moist power is spread onto the carpeting. The powder which is soaked in a detergent and/or solvent solution is usually either a corn cob based organic powder or a fully synthetic powder. This powder is agitated and worked into the carpet with either an orbital floor machine with a round plastic bristle brush or a machine with counter rotating plastic brushes. The theory behind this method is that the powder acts like thousands of little sponges scrubbing and absorbing dirt from the carpet as it is agitated. After the powder dries, in only a few minutes, the carpet is vacuumed to remove the sponges and the floor is ready to be used.

The biggest positive characteristic of this method of cleaning is that it dries extremely quickly. Its drying time can be measured in minutes instead of hours. This means that you do not have to struggle to keep your kids and pets off of the carpet until it dries. You can put your home back to normal use almost immediately. Another benefit is that since the carpet is not being soaked with water, this method does not force spots down only for them to return hours or days later. What you see is what you get.

Dry powder cleaning does have some negative characteristics as well. For starters, the powder is usually not completely removed. The powder does not harm your carpet but the dry powder granules can stick to bare feet and can be a little bit of a nuisance. It is also not as aggressive as some other carpet cleaning methods. It is therefore best used on light to medium soil conditions.

That is pretty much all there is to this method. Hopefully this article has given you enough information to decide whether or not this it is for you.

Rainy Days and Leaking Basement Problems

We all love the rain. Nothing beats hanging out on your lounge, just sipping a cup of warm soup and listening to the pitter patter of the rain as it steadily hits the window panes. The crispness of the air and the cold breeze makes you want to just laze around the house and enjoy it with your loved one. Yes, we all love the rain, unless the rain itself brings us big problems with our houses, like damaging the foundation of the house or flooding the basement. This presents us with a lot to contend with, especially if we have not done anything to waterproof our foundation.

This would be a real drag, since a lot of our furniture would be damaged, and would be rendered useless. Flooding in the basement would account for a big cut in the budget, since we really have to get it fixed before another downpour of rain comes along. A large amount of work and effort will be expended to at least save some of the things that basement floods have damaged so the best solution to basement flooding, of course, is prevention.

A vast array of techniques have now been introduced to flood-proof our basements. From putting up our houses on sloping ground that would propel the water away from the foundations, to putting baseboard systems around the foundation, you can never really go wrong if you prevent flooding from happening. Sump pumps have also been introduced. This system keeps the water from coming into your home by pumping them out before it even reaches the basement floor. You also have to constantly check for cracks in the walls of the foundation and prevent them to keep the water out of your basement. Concrete sealers are now introduced in the markets, to help the concrete keep out water. Try putting the waterproofing coat on the foundation first before doing the actual landscaping, because if you don’t, you will be forced to dig about six feet into the ground next to the foundation just to apply it. Waterproofing materials need to be applied onto the foundation itself for them to work.

These preventive techniques should at least save you from bigger difficulties once the rain sets in. If you have done all the steps to ensure a flood-free basement, you can truly enjoy the rain with your warm cup of soup and your sweetheart beside you.

Things To Know About Home Improvement Loans

Owning a home is a dream-come-true for most people, but sometimes home repairs and maintenance can be a burden. Some repairs cannot be put off and home repair jobs must be done as they appear. If you do not have the money for major home repairs, a home improvement loan is your best option.

A loan for home remodeling provides access to cash that can be used to make renovations or additions to a private home. The loan can only be used to finance projects that will benefit the house or property. All the work done must be for the maintenance of the real estate or to increase its worth.

Home loans are usually short-term loans. The interest rate depends upon the lending institution and the personal credit of the borrower as well as the home value and home mortgage.

Purpose of the Home Improvement Loan

Cash from a loan for home improvement can be used for projects such as home repairs, new bathroom or kitchen, building a deck, landscaping, repainting, redecorating, updating plumbing, installing a swimming pool, adding a room, etc.

Acquiring a Home Improvement Loan

Private lending institutions offer these types of loans. There are also federally funded programs for this type of loan. You can speak with a customer service representative for information about acquiring a loan.

Before you go to a lender, be sure to have all the details of the project ready. You will need the estimated total cost of the project and quotations from potential contractors. You must also include the expected increase in home value, if applicable.

Home improvement projects can be financed through home equity loans or home equity line of credit. You may also opt for refinancing and unsecured loans. Veterans can apply for a VA Home Improvement Loan to upgrade their current home. This type of loan is backed by the Federal Government to lending institutions that offer home improvement financing.

Choosing a Loan to Finance Home Improvement

Each type of loan has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to the homeowner to decide
which one suits their needs best. One of the deciding factors in choosing a loan is the interest rate. Secured loans with the borrower’s property as collateral generally have a lower interest rate.

For small home repairs you may want to take out a personal, unsecured loan. For major construction, however, it may be more beneficial to apply for a homeowner’s loan. You will find many lending institutions that can offer financing for a home loan. Obtain quotes from different lenders and choose the one with the best offer.

Free Grant Money For Home Repair and Improvement

The government provides free grant money for a lot of different reasons, and home repair grants are one of the many ways that American citizens can take advantage of these programs. Depending on the programs your local community government offers, and the state or federal grant programs you choose to apply for, you could receive the cash you need to fix and update your home for free.

What exactly does it mean to get money for free? Just that. When obtained, this is cash that you can spend and will never be asked to pay it back. That is, of course, as long as you use the funds for the intended purpose of the grant.

You can visit your City Hall to check with your local government agencies and inquire about the home grants that you may qualify for. Some of the grants that are available will provide you with the cash you need to completely rehabilitate your house or even expand your home. Other grants may help you pay for labor or material costs. In some cases you may simply receive a tax credit for installing energy efficient appliances.

Whatever the case, there are numerous government grants available, and home improvement grants are just a small sliver of the money that has been allocated to be given away. And since this is money that never has to be repaid, it may very well be worth some minimal effort in finding the cash that is available for you to claim.

Attic Ventilation – Ensuring Enough Attic Air Circulation

Your home has a number of critical areas that need all the attention they could get. The attic for instance, plays an important role in ensuring that your roof lasts as intended. Proper air circulation of the attic is essential in keeping that the roof remains structurally sound over the years. You can determine whether there is adequate ventilation in the attic or if it is lacking. If you happen to notice some sort of musky smell in the attic, it is often not caused by the items being stored, but because of insufficient airflow. Fans are commonly used to resolve this problem. However, do roof ventilation fans work? Let’s find out.

How can I know that there’s enough air circulation in my attic?

Your attic, like most areas of your home, requires proper air circulation. There different ways on how to achieve enough airflow in this particular area. A homeowner can buy ventilation solutions in the market of apply different techniques to ensure there is sufficient air flowing through the attic.

What are my options?

Should you find signs of poor ventilation in your attic, you should consult professionals immediately. The sooner you find and fix the problem, the better it is for your home. There are a number of solutions available, but there is no single solution for everything. The homeowner or the professional paid to fix the problem must assess what type of solution would work best and for the long-term. Here’s a number of solutions for your home:

1. Ridge vent – this type of solution is, as its name suggests, a vent installed along the ridge line of your house. Before this type of vent is installed, roof decking is cut to allow air to flow through. It is highly essential that no other areas of the home block air from coming in or out.

2. Soffit vents – every roofing system needs to have air entry and exit points to keep it cool and dry. The soffit vents also work in conjunction with ridge vents and let air pass right through. However, in areas where the roofline meets the attic floor, insulation baffles must be put in place to prevent airflow from being restricted.

3. Attic fans – this solution is quite better as it does not rely on natural wind to ventilate the attic. Fans can be installed on the roofing system which sucks the air out when needed. Some newer models incorporate a thermostat which automatically turns on the fans to keep a stable temperature in the attic. Solar powered fans are also available, which would be beneficial since this would mean the fans can be self-sufficient. However, the costs associated with this solution raises a couple of questions. So, do attic ventilation fans work at all? The answer is yes.

As it is commonly known, fans dedicated to ventilate can easily introduce air or push air out of a home with ease. Unlike natural, free-flowing systems, these fans work at a much more efficient pace. There’s also the option for users to control the temperature within certain areas to prevent moisture buildup and other problems caused by stale air.