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Home Improvement Inspiration, Tips and Solutions for Home and Business Owners

Are you looking to add a little pizzazz to your current abode? Of course, there are some projects you can handle yourself, like adding a new splash of colorful paint to the walls, or changing up your decor. If you really want to make a change, it might be time to look for a reputable home improvement contractor. First things first: you should only hire a company that is licensed, bonded, insured and certified to perform home renovations, additions, and remodeling. That way you won’t have to worry about losing money or losing sleep. What else should you look for?

1) Do some research and see if they are accredited by organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List.

2) Visit the company’s website, and look for examples of their work. If you’re looking for specific improvements such as masonry, kitchen and bath, siding, roofing, drywall, home repairs, and additions, make sure they have experience in those areas, and check out pertinent photos and references.

3) Verify that they offer free home inspections and estimates. It shouldn’t cost you anything to talk to their experts and make decisions about what work you need done before you make a financial commitment.

4) Find out what kind of warranty and guarantees they offer. Are they running any specials or promotions?

5) Look up their building contractor’s license using the state’s website, and make sure their license is current and valid.

6) Follow your gut instinct, and only choose a reputable company. Ask to see any customer surveys or ratings they may have.

It can be fun and exciting to transform your home office, bedroom, living room, or driveway. Your home is your castle, so why not show it off? If you are not a licensed contractor, it is not wise for you to attempt plumbing, construction, electrical or cement work. It can be dangerous. It’s better to hire a company that has the proper training, safety gear and equipment needed to get the job done right the first time. An upstanding home improvement organization should offer affordable financing plans, loan options, fast service, and quality materials for your renovation project. It’s amazing what a few changes around your house can do to improve your quality of life. Getting started is easy, start doing research now and you will find the perfect construction firm to give your house the “wow” factor.

5 Home Improvements That Really DO Recover Value

HGTV considers the following home-enhancements to be among top-tier choices for regaining the most pay-back. Though not exhaustive, this list includes some of the most popular home-improvements as well as some of the most enjoyable, once renovation is complete.

1. Modernized Kitchens

A state-of-the-art kitchen is a very coveted renovation for earning back most of the monetary investment. Even if you were to not gut the entire kitchen, there are certain upgrades that are zealously prized by potential buyers: granite counter-tops, hardwood or stone (not tile) floors, premium appliances, islands, and under-mount sinks.

RECOUP:

A kitchen remodel can return more than 100%.

2. New or Renewed Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are a favorite with discriminating buyers; and if your older home has original hardwood floors and they are in decent shape, you are in luck! Have them lightly sanded, stained and resealed-you would be amazed at how stunning they can appear, once again, at a fraction of the cost of new hardwood flooring. Wood floors in pristine condition add that ‘wow’ factor that can be a deal-breaker for home-buyers.

RECOUP:

Hardwood floors can bring back 2-times their cost! Conservatively, hardwood floors will bring in 100-150% return on investment.

3. Additional Square Footage

For every 1,000 square feet of actual living space that are added onto a home, the sale price can be boosted by more than 30%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Whether it is a spacious attic bedroom or a dedicated entertainment space, the ROI is quite impressive.

RECOUP:

Attic bedrooms and family/entertainment rooms can recoup between 70% and 80%.

4. Optimized Curb Appeal

If people drive by your home and are not impressed with what their eyes immediately see, chances are they may never give the inside of your home a single opportunity to strut its stuff. Curb appeal is synonymous with ‘first impression’. Make your home’s curb appeal eye-catching enough that it actually makes a statement that conveys a warm sense of ‘welcome’! That message draws people in, both, physically and psychologically.

Add beautiful beds of flowers, potted plants and trees to your property; and have them positioned in strategic locations to transform your home’s exterior from ‘frumpy’ to ‘fabulous’. Group plants by height; and layer the groupings for visual appeal. Your grassy areas should be lush and thick; and investing in a good edger to keep your property looking exquisitely manicured will impress even the most-persnickety buyers.

Curb appeal is not limited, only, to vegetation. Making sure your driveway and sidewalks are in good shape is equally important. If your concrete areas have seen better days, and if cracks or any bulging or separation is apparent, consider replacement or professional repair. If sidewalks and the driveway are in good shape and just need a facelift, staining or painting those areas with highly-durable, concrete-specific products will do wonders to add a fresh, renewed look! Also, tasteful outside lighting “paints” your home at night; and retaining walls add color and texture to wide stretches of green and give any property a very fortified appearance. Curb appeal can make the difference between a home that sells quickly at top dollar verses one that languishes for months.

RECOUP:

Clean and classy curb appeal can contribute a whopping 20% to the total property value of a home. If done right, the ROI with curb appeal can be double the initial, total expense.

5. New Windows

The energy efficiency of installing higher-end windows is an unarguable benefit. Replacement costs will be determined by the number of windows being replaced as well as the type, of course. This is one home-improvement that home-buyers place a high premium on.

RECOUP:

A return of investment of at least 79% is very realistic.

There are certain improvements that are, definitely, worth the investment when it comes to helping attract more buyers, helping you to sell your home quicker, helping you retrieve most or all of your investment, and helping to optimize your home’s true market value. It is vital, however, to not over-improve out of your particular neighborhood since reclaiming your investment will, likely, not materialize. You don’t want to fall into the trap of out-pricing your home, out of all other homes in your area, by a wide margin.

What you get back on your investment will depend on the value of your home, the value of homes in your immediate area, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making home-improvements and the quality of each project involved.

6 Tips to Using Gas Equipments

Gas is a component that is used in almost every household where it is used to serve purposes such as cooking, water heating, heating homes during the cold months, etc. It is something that people cannot live without as it is something that is extremely useful. Apart from being useful, it is fatal to those who use it as well as the people around them unless it is used well. Taking necessary precautions helps people to live a safe life. A few precautionary measures are –

• Usage of registered and branded gas equipment – It is very important to check for the registered mark or the brand name before purchasing any similar accessory. A registered mark indicates that it has gone through safety tests before being put on sale and is totally safe for use.
• Hiring registered installation and servicing professionals – While planning to install a new accessory or getting it serviced, one should make sure that the professional is licensed and accredited to take care of the procedure and knows the right methods to take care of the equipment. They should be capable of following guidelines from the user manual provided with the deice.
• Performing periodic servicing for the equipment – The equipment should be sent for servicing frequently as with regular use, there may be leakage or similar problems that may turn fatal for the people as well as the surroundings.
• Setting up of alarms – While there is a leakage of gas or carbon monoxide when there are no one to pay attention, setting up alarms can help people to be alert of a possible issue with the equipment. These alarms detect the leakage and accordingly provide alert messages by producing loud sounds to take necessary steps.
• Good Ventilation – Setting up ventilation units such as wall ventilators or exhaust fans help the leakage to free itself. It is always necessary to set up installations in places that are open. Closed spaces cause a further problem, and the degree of fatality is higher.
• Taking necessary measures while there are people around – When there is a leakage in a household or similar area, the first step is to evacuate the area and open up the windows to let the gas dilute itself. While there is a leakage, one should keep in mind that there should be no lighting up of naked flame such as cigarettes, candles, lighters, etc. This may allow the area to catch fire.

Modern Architecture – Things That Really Matter

Of late, the concept of modern architecture has been receiving widespread attention. The modernism concept in architecture was introduced in the 20th century and it became quite popular after the Second World War. It is a well known fact that people are looking out for new and attractive designs and does not want to settle with ordinary architectural designs. The modern architecture acts as the perfect platform for the emergence of various designs and themes. In order to excel in the field of modern architecture, it is important that the architects keeps themselves well informed and well equipped.

Here are some things that the architects needs to pay attention with regard to modern architecture design,

Understand current trends

The world of architecture is quite vast. New and innovative designs keep coming up every now and then. In order for the architect to come up with unique designs and to deliver the best kind of result possible it is important to stay updated with the current trends that are emerging. There are thousands of new structures that keeps emerging and knowing them well would help one to come up with excellent kind of work overall.

Be technologically advanced

Yet another aspect that has major impact over the world of architecture is the use of right kind of technology. There are new technologies and techniques that keep emerging as far as building and construction works is concerned. In order to get a perfect kind of finish that matches up with the current day requirements, it is important that one stay updated about the latest technology that could give a huge boost to your design on the whole.

Simple and attractive designs

When it comes to modern architecture, the focus is mainly on bringing a perfect kind of outcome with simple yet powerful designs. The modern work does not come with too much detailing and intricate art work but it delivers exceptional result that matches up with modern day requirements. The whole thing is about delivering great design that is catchy, convenient, interesting and trendy.

These are some of the most important aspects that one needs to keep in mind when it comes to modern architecture. There is no denial over the fact this particular field of architecture has seen huge changes over the past few years. It has evolved to a great level and is now looked upon as the best kind of model for construction work.

Tips on Creating Large Canvas Art

There will always come a time when we need to try something bigger and more difficult than what we have been used to. After honing our skills on small and medium-sized canvases, it is exciting to change to a larger scale. It should be remembered that painting large canvas art is not quite the same as making pictures of standard sizes. Here are a few tips to offer you some assistance in coping with this task.

1. Set up your canvas
For large canvas art you need to stretch your canvas or use a pre-extended canvas.

2. Set the mood with a tonal foundation color
As well as gesso, you can think about applying a tonal background to your canvas in order to immediately set the mood of your painting.

3. Make an under-painting
Since canvas is regularly utilized for opaque paints, it is a great chance to explore different avenues with under-painting.

4. Build your supplies
A bigger canvas size means significantly more paint. Can you make it work without incurring additional costs? One approach is to utilize less expensive learners’ paint for the early layers and more expensive craftsman’s-quality paint for subsequent layers.

5. Scale your painting
Since you are now managing a much more extensive area, you first need to decide how you are going to scale your subject so you can paint it in a larger size without adding anything.

6. Isolate the canvas into segments
Rather than trying to paint the whole canvas straightaway, it is prudent to partition it into four or six segments and manage each one independently. This is a useful approach to control your arrangement, particularly if you are working with quick-drying paints like acrylics.

7. Explore different avenues regarding the medium
Painting on canvas provides a great opportunity to play around with a medium, mixing for example with acrylic or oil paint to create interesting effects.

8. Use larger brushes
Painting on an expansive canvas offers you the chance to try out larger brush sizes. This can allow you to cover a greater amount of the canvas surface and thus work more speedily, but can also affect your typical painting style.

9. Give yourself enough space
While painting your canvas or some portion of it, you should step back frequently to regard your progress from a distance. Otherwise, you may miss some errors. Ensure there is sufficient space in your studio (or the space you are using). Your work will also need enough space to dry. If working in a smaller space is unavoidable, hang a mirror behind you so you can see your whole painting.

7 Ways to Create More Space Where You Need It!

More storage space – more people space – more usable space. We want it and here are 7 Ways to get it in your home. Some you can do. Some you may want to hire done. Some you can buy!

    1. Your Kitchen Cabinets: You want more room. Where can you put the lids? Where can you put a sponge? Make use of the space that is already there. Take the false fronts where there aren’t any drawers. Remove them and hinge them and add small plastic containers. Now they tip out and your sponge is handy. Next, look down! All those kickboards can be turned into shallow drawers that are great for lids and baking sheets. You may want a handyman who is a good woodworker for this one as it will take some skill!
    1. The Kitchen Cupboards: Every time you open a cupboard, you’re looking at extra space. The inside of each cabinet door can be used. Paint it with blackboard paint and you have a handy place to keep your shopping list. Add some hooks and your measuring spoons – or any small item — will be in easy reach. You can probably do this one yourself!
    1. The Bathroom Shower Curtain: It’s there and you like it – now put it to work. You can either buy a shower curtain with pockets or you can sew some onto your fabric curtain with cute contrasting material. Make some deep enough to hold a shampoo or soap bottle. The pockets are great places to store your razor or even some of your makeup.
    1. The Bedroom Wall: Nothing says home like a print or picture you like. Instead of hanging it on the wall, make a box that is hinged at the bottom and mount the picture on the front. It will make a great jewelry box where you can hang necklaces or you can even use it to hold belts or ties.
    1. The Bedside Table: Move it off the floor. Find a simple nightstand and instead of setting it by the bed, mount it on the wall. You now have space to put a shallow basket for magazines underneath or a place to put your shoes. Plus, the space below the nightstand will create an optional illusion of more space.
    1. Your Washer (or Dryer): Simple, buy an ironing mat that will fit on the top and get rid of that space robbing ironing board.
  1. Your Hot Water Heater: You can’t live without hot water, right? What if you got all the hot water you need and you gained back all the space that big tank takes up? What would you put in the space? Shelves? A rod to hang clothes? A tankless hot water heater does the trick! It’s hot water on demand and it never runs out. You reclaim the space and get a new appliance that does a better job, is almost maintenance free and has a longer lifespan than you old, bulky tank.

Using space is all about being creative! Take a look around and see what works in your small space. Whether you just want to repurpose an area with a fold down desk or buy that tankless water heater, you’ll find ways to make the space work for you!

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Handyman Service

Experience counts

No matter how qualified or gifted a handyman is, some things are best learnt through experience. This is especially true of unexpected emergencies where one may have to improvise. A wise handyman should not lose control of the situation and keep calm at all times. There should be minimum damage control to perform at the end. A happy client is one who does not have to spend too much time or money on any home maintenance job. A smart handyman understands this fact perfectly.

Professional approach

A business is meant to instill an acceptable level of professionalism in its staff and follow a strict code of conduct. Client dealings are guided by a special etiquette that must be observed throughout the conversion. Slacking on the job or ignoring the clients’ requests is absolutely unacceptable. The client comes first so their satisfaction should always be a priority for any handyman.

Sufficient training

Skills must be acquired by vigorous training of the entire staff in their individual work categories. Good efforts must be made to involve the recruits in learning the handling of modern equipment. New techniques and technology should be introduced to the handymen so that they may improve themselves. An active handyman service is aware of competition and wishes to build a better reputation than its competitors in the market. It strives to impress potential clients and values their opinion and suggestions greatly.

Quality tools and equipment

High quality results cannot be guaranteed if the handyman service is still using outdated equipment and having no inclination towards investment in the latest technology. A business that believes is growth and development does not hesitate in good investments for the benefit of the company as well as the clients. This is essential to establish a good image in front of customers because they should know that they are paying for great results and won’t be disappointed.

Good reviews

Last but not the least; take a good look at the reviews written online at various listing websites. The experience of previous customers speaks volumes about the actual results and conduct of the company. All businesses try to reel in clients with an awesome sales pitch but some do not deliver on their promises. This will help you sort out the good from the bad. By spending a little time on research you can save yourself from a poor handyman service and find a reliable one faster.

Tips On Home Improvement

Your home should feel like a safe, happy place, so if you do not like something about your home, you should be able to take steps to improve it. Home improvement work is actually one of the most popular hobbies in America, because there are plenty of minor adjustments that ordinary citizens can do, without needing professional assistance. Of course, some home improvement work does need expert help. Here are some tips which can help you with your future home improvement strategies.

Keep your home clean and tidy

Removing mess, clutter, dirt and debris from your home can give you a whole new perspective on what needs to be done in your home. For example, you may think that you need to add more storage space, because there seems to be clutter everywhere, however you may just discover that you are not using your existing storage places effectively. Cleaning also helps to keep things in better condition. For example, if you do not take care to clean condensation off of wooden window frames, they will rot more quickly, and will need to be replaced much sooner than they should.

Regular maintenance schedule

Make a regular maintenance schedule for yourself, so that you have the time to regularly look after all of the areas of your home that you need to look after. Routine maintenance can make a home more pleasant and can increase the average lifespan of components. It will also help you to anticipate when home improvements will be required. For example, if you notice that a cabinet has past its best, you can begin making plans to build or buy a new one. However, if you do not have a regular schedule, you may not spot that the cabinet is in bad condition, and it will eventually break. Because you have not anticipated this problem, you will be left with a damaged cabinet, and whatever is kept inside the cabinet may also be damaged.

Investing in Personal Protective Equipment

If you plan on doing a lot of home improvement work for yourself, it is important that you invest in the correct personal protective equipment. DIY tools can be dangerous, and if you are not properly protected, you may suffer a serious accident or even death. Professional home improvement experts always wear the correct personal protective equipment, so why shouldn’t you? Personal protective equipment may include things like safety goggles, gloves, overalls, ear protectors and a hard hat. If you buy a new tool, you should check what protective equipment is recommended.

Call in the experts

If you want to do major home improvement work, be prepared to call in the experts, especially if you live in a flat or apartment. If not, you may be liable if the work that you do causes damage to the property or compromises the structure of the building.

Cheap Home Improvement Tips From Realtors

When it’s time to sell your home, it’s natural to start thinking about what repairs and renovations could be done to make it a more desirable space. Most people associate home improvement projects with gigantic budgets. The average bathroom remodel costs over $16,000. Replacing your windows could run you around $8,000, and kitchen renovations typically run three times that amount! Even though many projects do cost a lot of money, most realtors would tell you that smaller projects can add tons of curb appeal. If you want to make your living space more desirable to buyers for a manageable price tag, keep reading for some simple-yet-affordable enhancements that can make your house special.

Upgrade Your Lighting

Modern lighting can make an older room feel larger and warmer. Switch out old-fashioned features and replace them with new energy-efficient models. You can often get new fixtures for a pretty low price online, with updated finishes like copper or bronze. Chandeliers can also change the look and feel of a room, so look into those as well. Changing fixtures can start at only $20, but if you feel you’ll need to hire an electrician, make sure to budget more.

Rethink Your Entrance

This is one of the best ways to improve the look of your home from the street. Replace the front door with a new, solid model with contemporary locks or fittings. For an inexpensive alternative, you can just change the paint color! If your door is in good condition, you can update your entryway by adding some potted plants, new exterior lights, house numbers, or a new rug. A front door can run up to $1,000, but it will really change the look of your house.

Prioritize Cleaning

Most realtors, and probably your mother, will tell you that you would be amazed at how much of a difference a great cleaning can make. Not only will living in your house be more pleasant, but a thorough cleaning can also make it look newer and larger. Professional carpet cleaners, for example, can make it look as if you’ve had a whole new carpet installed. Pressure washers can clean moss and mold off of driveways and the sides of your home, making them look brand new.

Modernize the Bathroom

Although this may seem like a large home renovation, it doesn’t have to be scary. Since bathrooms are usually pretty small, $1,000 can go a long way. You can replace the sink and toilet and pay a plumber to install them for less than $1,000. You can also bring new life into the space by simply painting the walls or installing a nice mirror.

Don’t hesitate to start sprucing up your house just because you can’t afford a giant home improvement project. Tiny touches, new fixtures, and a good cleaning can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home. A few simple steps, and you’ll have realtors calling you all day to let you know about new offers on your home!