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First-Time Homeowners: Are You Ready To Have Your First Fire At The Holidays?

Posted by on 12:30 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First-Time Homeowners: Are You Ready To Have Your First Fire At The Holidays?

It’s the holidays in your first home. Are you planning on using your fireplace for the first time during your holiday celebrations? If so, now is the time to buy the right tools and have your chimney inspected. Have the Right Tools If you’ve never used a fireplace before, you may not have all the right tools. Some fireplace tools don’t get used very often, but some of them are necessary every time you have a fire. The most important tools you can own are fireplace tongs and a poker. The poker is necessary for stimulating the fire if you want to keep it going, spreading out the wood when you want to put the fire out and putting stray logs back in place. The tongs can put burning logs back in place if they fall off the grate and can also be used to put fresh logs on the fire. Being able to move and manipulate burning logs is a matter of safety, so don’t start a fire without these two tools. In addition, if the previous homeowners didn’t leave you with a grate or screen, buy those as well. The fireplace grate holds up the logs inside the firebox to deliver oxygen to the fire. The screen helps keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace and into your home. Get an Inspection If you didn’t have your chimney inspected when you bought the house, it’s important to do that now. The inside of your chimney could be coated in creosote if it hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. It could also be clogged or have cracks in the mortar or lining. Any of these scenarios would be dangerous if you decided to light a fire. Schedule an inspector to inspect your chimney and make recommendations for chimney repair. You may ask to keep the cleaning optional, just in case the inspector discovers that the chimney inside is spotless. For more information, contact Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service or a similar company. Buy the Right Products Some fireplaces come with a gas pipe called a log lighter. This pipe supplies natural gas to the fireplace just to get the fire started. It sits beneath the fireplace grate to deliver flames up into the logs. If your fireplace doesn’t have a log lighter, you’re going to want to give thought to how you’ll be starting the fire. You’ll have some choices. Manufactured log. These logs are slow burning, light easily and stay lit without needing a lot of attention. Fire starters. Fire starters are meant to be used with natural logs. They light easily and burn for several minutes before going out, which gives the logs a chance to catch fire. Kindling. Kindling is usually made up of small pieces of lightweight wood. It usually lights easily, but it’s not a manufactured product like fire starters or the manufactured log, which means that getting kindling to work can be more of a challenge. If you choose to use kindling to start your fire, consider cutting up some of the leftover cardboard boxes from your move to use along with the kindling. Of course, you’ll also need a good long neck lighter to help you get the fire started. Once you’ve got your logs, fire starter, lighter, tools...

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Fix An Ugly Kitchen On A Tight Budget With These Modern Affordable Materials

Posted by on 10:07 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fix An Ugly Kitchen On A Tight Budget With These Modern Affordable Materials

If you have purchased a house that has a terrible kitchen and you want to gut it but you don’t have a lot of money, there are some great modern materials you can buy that won’t bust your budget. Here are a few different options to get quotes for when you’re starting to figure out how much changing the kitchen is going to cost you. Quartz Counter Tops The quartz is engineered with a resin and creates a material that looks almost identical granite and some marble pieces, but costs less than both alternatives. You can have the expert’s measure and design the new countertops, and then have the quartz installed. This is fire and stain resistant so you don’t have to worry about discoloration or burn marks, and it it’s going to last for decades in the home. Stock Cabinetry There are many stains and even white cabinets that are available in the stock cabinetry area at the home improvement store. These cabinets are cheaper than the more expensive woods and countertops with unique moldings and designs, and you can add trim to make them look like a high end selection. Stock cabinetry can be installed at home without professionals for those that have experience. Tile Back Splash A back splash with small mosaic tiles or subway tiles is going to add a touch of style to the space and the tiles are easy to clean. A back splash is a great way to bring a color or pattern into the kitchen while you’re renovating, and it gives the room a modern feel. Ceramic Tile Flooring If all the flooring in the house has to be replaced, ceramic tile is affordable, durable and stylish. You can also add in borders or designs with different tiles to create a customized look. The tiles are cheaper than hardwood flooring, they don’t absorb moisture or bacteria and they are easy to keep washed. Some of these materials you can install on your own if you have the tools, and that will help you save even more on the costs for the project. Taking the old materials out on your own, scraping them or trying to sell them is also a great way to get extra money for the projects that you have ahead of you. You can take your old ugly kitchen and turn it into something that you love to cook and entertain in with a tight...

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Painting Like A Pro: 3 Helpful Tips

Posted by on 3:19 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Painting Like A Pro: 3 Helpful Tips

Nothing can spruce up the inside of a home quite as nicely as a fresh new coat of paint. Yet many amateur painters end up having to live with less than ideal results, simply because they failed to know some basic painting tricks. If you have plans to repaint the inside of your home, read on. This article will present three tips to ensure you end up with a professional looking result. Always blot up carpet spills–never wipe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first timer or seasoned painting contractor, everybody leaves a few drips behind when they paint. When you’re painting in a room with hardwood floors, that’s not too big a deal. As long as you get to it in time, all it takes is swipe with a damp rag to remove any stray drips. Unfortunately, the same rule doesn’t apply when dealing with carpet. In that case, trying to wipe away dripped paint will only serve to embed the paint even deeper in the fibers. A much better strategy is to first spritz the spill with water, and then blot it using a dry clean rag. Repeat as necessary until you’ve diluted and lifted the drip away completely. Remove excess fuzz from rollers before painting. Nothing’s quite as satisfying as dipping a fresh roller in a tray of paint for the first time. Yet if you’re not careful that brand new roller may end up leaving unsightly strands of lint embedded in the dried paint on your wall. Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid this unfortunate scenario. All you’ll need is a roll of painter’s tape–which you should already have nearby. Simply wrap a piece of tape around your hand so that the adhesive side is facing outward. Now use this to pat down the roller. By the time you’re done, the tape should be pretty well covered with loose bits of lint and fluff. Now you can use the roller without fear of leaving unwanted fuzz behind. Use caulk instead of tape for crisp edges. A nice crisp line is imperative anytime two different shades of paint are going to meet. The traditional way to demarcate these different zones is by using painter’s tape. But that doesn’t always do the trick. No matter how well you stick the tape to the wall, paint always has a way of working underneath the edge, creating an unsightly result. Thankfully, there’s a much more reliable means of getting a crisp edge: latex caulk. After marking your initial boundary with tape, lay down a bead of caulk along the top edge. Then smooth the caulk out away from the tape, let it dry, and remove the paint. Now you can proceed in full assurance that your boundary line will come out perfectly straight! Of course, if you need professional assistance or advice during your painting project, don’t hesitate to turn to a company like AAA Action...

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3 Benefits of Concrete Curbing

Posted by on 10:47 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Benefits of Concrete Curbing

Concrete curbing refers to a continuous border that is designed to retain, accent and visually improve your landscape design. Curbing can serve as both a functional and decorative element, transforming the curb appeal, shape and design of your yard while also creating borders between the different areas in your landscape. If you are currently debating on whether or not to install it on your home property, here is a look at the main benefits of concrete curbing. Beauty and durability Concrete curbing is usually very durable, as it will typically not deteriorate, rot, or separate even under adverse weather conditions. This allows the curbing to serve you for decades without any major repair concerns. The curbing also lines your walkways, enhancing their integrity under traffic. The thick concrete layer on either side of your concrete driveway also reduces deflections induced by traffic loads, thus increasing its lifespan. Concrete curbs also have the strength to withstand the impacts of snowplows and floods, thus protecting paving from severe weather damage. Concrete curbing can also produce an amazing accent to your compound, transforming it into a beautiful and classy masterpiece. Curbing contractors often offer different decorative stamping designs, allowing you to choose from a wide array of curb colors to suit your preferences. The neat, straight lines of concrete curbs also add to the visual appeal of your parking lots and driveways and enhance the demarcations between your lawn, patio, and walkways. Borders for gardens and individual plantings Curing can provide an excellent barrier between your lawn and plantings. Concrete can easily be poured on designated areas to give a crisp, finished look to your garden or freshly cut lawn while also protecting delicate plantings from foot and vehicle traffic. Other than acting as decorative boundaries, concrete curbing can also serve the important function of retaining any mulch you use in your garden while also preventing weeds from creeping into your garden, thus eliminating the need for labor intensive yard work. Improved driveway usability and visibility Concrete curbs eradicate the need for drainage swales and their flat side slopes. The curbing also reduces the lengths of driveways built from streets to your home, while also concentrating debris such as leaves and branches for easy pickup. Finally, concrete curbs can be painted with light reflective surfaces that outline pavement edges, effectively improving nighttime visibility for drivers. Whether you are looking to improve visual appeal or functionality on your landscape, concrete curbing could be the way to go. For more information, talk to a professional like Northern Asphalt...

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A Guide To Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding

Posted by on 9:25 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Guide To Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is such a popular material on homes today because it is a low maintenance material. Unfortunately, some homeowners neglect to give their vinyl siding the annual cleaning it needs to stay in tip top shape. Just because vinyl siding is such a low maintenance siding doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to be cleaned. Naturally, it is important to know how to clean your vinyl siding to make sure you clean it without damaging it. How to Get Started Before you start cleaning, there are some precautionary steps to take including wearing a long sleeve shirt, rubber gloves, and some long pants. These will help protect your skin from what you use to clean the siding. Another precautionary measure you might want to take is protecting your plants. You might want to lay down some plastic sheeting so none of the soap or bleach can kill any of the landscaping around your home. Gathering the Needed Materials: Next, you will need to gather the material needed to clean your vinyl siding which includes: Garden Hose Vinyl Siding Soap Rubber Gloves Soft Bristle Brush What Cleaning Solution to Use For Vinyl Siding You always have the option of heading to your local hardware store and purchasing a soap intended to clean vinyl siding. You, however, also have the option of creating your own solution using baking soda and a detergent. To do this you will measure carefully and then stir until they baking soda has dissolved. You will want to measure 4 tablespoons of laundry detergent and then add 8 tablespoons of baking soda to the detergent. Finally, you can add two cups of warm water and mix the solution together until the baking soda is no longer visible. Time To Clean Your Vinyl Siding First, inspect your home’s siding. Make sure your siding is not damaged anywhere before you begin the task of cleaning it. Once you have inspected it, decide what section of the house you want to begin at. You can use your garden hose to hose down the first section. Next, take your soft bristle brush and begin scrubbing from the bottom to the top using the solution you either made or purchased. Finally, rinse this section and make sure to remove all soap and debris thoroughly. Lastly, you might encounter some mold or mildew build up in some areas of your siding. This occurs in most areas with humid climate conditions. Fortunately, you just need to add a quart of bleach to a gallon of water. Then, you can apply this mixture to the areas of your siding with mold and mildew to make the problem go away. Let the mixture sit for between ten to twenty minutes before scrubbing and rinsing. Keep these steps in mind and you will have no trouble cleaning your vinyl siding without causing damage to it that needs to be repaired.  For professional vinyl siding repair and cleaning, contact a company such as Stark Siding...

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How to Paint a Vinyl Fence

Posted by on 8:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Paint a Vinyl Fence

Durable vinyl fencing is made to last, which is a major benefit for your wallet. This also means that the fence may not complement your landscaping in the future if your outdoor décor changes. Fortunately, it’s possible to update your fence with a fresh coat of paint. Here is how to paint the fencing properly so it looks good and so the paint lasts a long time. Before You Begin Check with the fencing manufacturer or installer before you paint the fence. In some cases, making alterations, including paint, to the fence may void the warranty. In other cases, you may need to have the fence professionally painted to keep the warranty in effect. Tools Bucket Sponge and soft-bristle brush Primer formulated for vinyl Exterior epoxy paint Edging brush Paint roller Paint tray Fine grit sandpaper Painting Method Step 1: Begin by washing the fencing thoroughly. Scrub gently with warm, soapy water and a large sponge. Use a scrub brush to remove stubborn dirt and debris. Avoid harsh abrasives, which can scratch the fence. Allow the fence to dry completely after rinsing it with clear water. Step 2: Apply a single coat of primer to the fence. Use the paint roller on wide sections and an edging brush in narrow areas, such as between slats. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on. Step 3: Apply the first coat of the epoxy paint, using a clean roller and brush. Allow it to dry completely. You can also apply each coat of paint with a paint sprayer. If you opt for this route, cover the grass and any nearby landscape plants with a drop cloth to protect them from the overspray. Step 4: Sand the first coat of paint lightly. Sanding removes minor imperfections and also makes the paint slightly rough, which helps future coats adhere. Apply two to three coats, allowing them to dry completely and then sanding them lightly between coats. Application Tips Use a light-colored primer if you are using a light paint color, or a darker primer for a darker paint color. By doing this, you will need fewer coats of paint to cover the fence evenly. Keep a wet sponge nearby as you paint so you can wipe up any dribbles immediately, before they dry. Place paint trays and paint rollers in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer while you are waiting for each coat to dry. Bring them back to room temperature and then continue painting. The combination of bag and freezer prevents the paint on the rollers and tray from drying. For assistance, talk to a vinyl fencing professional like All Counties Fence and...

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Pulling Permits To Verify Your General Contractor’s Claims

Posted by on 4:19 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pulling Permits To Verify Your General Contractor’s Claims

If you have ever shopped around for construction or remodeling services (such as those offered by Battistelli, Glenn LLC), you know that glossy brochures of beautiful work are the norm. What you don’t know, is whether the contractor touting his or her services, really did the work in that highly staged photo shoot. Likewise, favorable reviews are hard to trust, since they can be bought.     How do you cut through the clutter? You could ask the contractor for references, but the contractor is likely to only give you contact information for happy customers. The answer lies in reviewing your contractor’s building permits. What are Permits? Most municipalities require any professional construction or remodeling project to first apply for a permit before beginning construction or reconstruction. The permit is really just a way for the city to keep track of and inspect projects at various stages to assure that building codes are being met. The plans for the project are presented to the permitting commissioner and sometimes to the city or county engineer for review. If consultation beyond the first review is needed, the city will usually require the contractor to go through revisions or an appeals process. Sometimes public hearings are even required, though most of the time, the process is fairly simple. Available Permit Information The permit is a public record that is available in the permit office. Though most municipalities do not release the plan drawings or details of the permitted projects, the general scope of the project, whether and which subcontractors are utilized, and any inspection reports, are usually available for inspection in the commissioner’s office during normal business hours. Permits are indexed in several different ways: by contractor, by address, and by date. Simply search for your contractor’s name and then review the permits issued for his or her projects. Look carefully at the inspection reports. This will give you a good and unbiased analysis of the soundness of the final product. Look for trends in the contractor’s inspections. Do they frequently fail inspections for particular issues? This is a red flag that the contractor is not skilled in that particular type of work. Do the issues appear to be random? This is a red flag that your chosen contractor is trying to rush his jobs. Dig Deeper Once you know the projects your contractor has completed in the area, based on permits in the permit office, you can take a look at his work. You can see a lot of detail from the curb, especially for exterior residential projects. For instance, and good roofer has well spaced, straight rows of shingles with no tar backing showing. Better yet, with interior projects, knock on the door, introduce yourself, and see if the homeowners mind you inspecting the contractor’s work. Many people are more than happy to show off their new home or renovation project, and you will gain the information needed to make informed decisions regarding...

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Choosing A Commercial Roof Style

Posted by on 10:17 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Choosing A Commercial Roof Style

Being a business owner comes along with a significant amount of responsibility. Not only do you have to make decisions when it comes to who you hire and what types of products you use, but you are also responsible for choosing a roofing style for your establishment. Whether you are in the market for a new roof or looking to install a roof on a new commercial structure, here are some tips that can assist you with choosing a roof style. Building Design The first thing you want to consider is the design of the building.  While many commercial establishments choose a flat roof design, this isn’t the only option you have. You can also choose a pitched roof. The design of your building can offer you some assistance when it comes to determining which roof style will look better. If your building is very small or it has several stories, you probably want to stick with a flat roof. However, if your building is a single story and on the larger side, you can choose a pitched roof. Pitched roofs can add character and dimension to the exterior appearance of your business. Materials The next thing you want to consider is the type of material that you will choose for the installation. Tile and slate are among some of the popular options for commercial roofs. Tile roofs are often reminiscent of a Spanish style and they are more on the stylish side. However, if you’ve chosen a flat roof, the tiles won’t really be visible from street level. Slate roofs are popular among commercial owners because they are highly durable and they last a long time without much need for maintenance. However, they can be very heavy. In order to install this type of roof style you need to ensure the structure of the building can support its weight. Engineered Systems You also want to consider whether or not you want to install an engineered roof system. These types of roofs can be especially helpful for structures that are near coastal areas or that are exposed to high winds frequently. Engineered roof systems come with a fastening design that helps increase how much wind the roof can withstand without causing any damage. In terms of minimizing maintenance to your roof after a storm, this style of roof can be very helpful. While engineered roofs aren’t necessarily hurricane proof, they can add a level of protection to your building. Although a roofing contractor, like those at Bell Roof Co, will assist you with your decision, having your own general knowledge can make the decision making process...

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Upgrading Your Insulation To Spray Foam

Posted by on 8:34 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Upgrading Your Insulation To Spray Foam

Spray foam offers a number of improvements that can’t be found with other insulation materials, not the least of which being a reduction in gaps, drafts and vapor penetration. However, replacing your existing insulation can be a challenge if you’re not familiar with the characteristics of spray foam. Knowing where to start, and what precautions to take, will ensure that updating your insulation goes smoothly and results in a safe, complete application. Starting Slow To get a feel for how the application process will go, it’s a good idea to start with parts of your home that offer few challenges, such as your attic or basement. Both of these spaces can be easily updated with minimal disruption to your daily life, and little clean-up. While applying spray foam to exterior walls in the rest of your home will require you to replace drywall and pay particular attention to the routing of wires and plumbing, attics and unfinished basement spaces will give you the greatest return on your investment. Given the nature of heat and cold, starting with your attic will ensure that heat from your home doesn’t dissipate as quickly. Further, it will ensure that heat from outside doesn’t penetrate the attic as readily. Applying spray foam to an unfinished basement is only slightly less advantageous, as it will have a greater impact on the slow seep of cold air and moisture from the ground into your home. When applying spray foam to an unfinished basement, make sure you’re ready to frame and drywall the space, or the rigid foam will present a barrier to it in the future. Taking Precautions One of the most important drawbacks to be aware of when working with spray foam is how it interacts with heat. Spray foam is composed of polyurethane, which atomizes when heated and becomes noxious if inhaled. For this reason, a heat barrier should be placed between any spray foam in your home and any potential heat source, such as recessed lighting, electrical wiring, HVAC ducts, or anywhere else that might reach an excessively high temperature. Apart from safety concerns, you should also be aware of the difficulty involved in future renovations, given the rigid nature of spray foam products once set. If you’re considering updating the insulation in your home’s exterior walls, do so as part of a larger renovation to ensure that wiring, plumbing, framing, windows, ventilation and other fixed structures aren’t going to need relocated in the foreseeable future. This will save you some inconvenience, and the cost of re-applying new spray foam a second time. Spray foam is not only a good insulator, it’s also insect resistant, mold resistant, provides its own vapor barrier, and is extremely versatile. However, without proper planning you can end up paying several times for a product that should only need to be applied once. Make sure the contractor you choose is aware of your plans, and willing to make as many trips as you require to complete your update. For more information, talk to a company like Bios...

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Tackling Some Of The Most Frequent Questions Concerning Attic Insulation Removal

Posted by on 8:16 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tackling Some Of The Most Frequent Questions Concerning Attic Insulation Removal

Older homes are infamous for not having adequate insulation overhead, and if they do, it is the loose fiber-fill insulation that settles and disintegrates over time. If the attic insulation that you have in your home is not sufficient, there is no doubt that your pocketbook will suffer the consequences in both the winter and summer. If you are the owner of an older home with this outdated form of insulation, there is no doubt that you should have it removed and replaced with new materials. However, this whole process is bound to bring about a few questions and concerns. Here are a few of the most common questions concerning attic insulation removal. What will be used to remove the loose insulation? While every insulation removal contractor will use different tools during the process, most will use a commercial-grade vacuum system that is designed for insulation removal. This powerful machine will pull in all of the small particles that would easily be an issue with a broom or other methods and boasts specifically designed air filters to prevent discharge of fiberglass particles. Will walls and flooring have to be removed during the removal process? One of the greatest things about loose-fill insulation is that it is lightweight, and therefore, is easy to vacuum up without removing entire sections of walls or flooring. In most cases, the contractor will only have to remove small sections of drywall or flooring in order to get to a large area of insulation. Additionally, extended hoses will be used to reach as far as possible into tight areas. Is there risk of the fiberglass particles being released into the rest of the home during removal? Because loose-fill fiberglass insulation has particles that can be airborne during removal, every precaution will be taken to protect the air quality inside of your home during removal. Plastic sheeting will be used to block entrances and openings that lead to the rest of the house and your HVAC system and ducts will be sealed shut temporarily. If your attic has ventilation fans in place, they will also need to be turned off or closed during the removal to cut down on air disturbance. Making your home more efficient is all about insulation, especially in the attic. If you have questions concerning the insulation removal process that you need in your attic space, talk to a professional contractor for advice and...

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