Invest in Your Home by Starting in the Basement

For those lucky homeowners who have basements, making sure you do everything you can to keep that basement clean and dry is vital for the ongoing stability of your home’s foundation and overall safety of your home’s environment. A number of nasty diseases can spawn from mold and mildew run amok in your damp basement. Here are some aspects to consider when doing a little basement waterproofing.

1. Go straight to the top. Water running off your roof can quickly seep into your basement if proper gutters and drain spouts aren’t installed. Gutters that are clogged or missing can cause a waterfall to land right next to the foundation and eventually seep into the basement walls. Check your gutters regularly for clogged areas or leaky spots and take care of the problem fast. You can install a mesh or plastic screen over the gutters to prevent large objects from getting trapped inside.

2. Where does your water run? Your yard should slope away from the house so that rainwater is also running away from the foundation and not toward it. If necessary, re-grade your lawn so that it drops about 6 inches for every 10 feet. If the equipment isn’t readily available to you, contact a lawn care expert to handle this task.

3. Do you have a window well or egress window? During a rainstorm water can easily collect in those wells and act as a holding tank for moisture against your foundation. You should cover those windows wells with a plastic window well cover. These are a few dollars at any local home improvement store.

4. Sometimes the water comes from inside. Cut down on condensation and internal moisture by using a dehumidifier. It’s also best to insulate your pipes and air conditioning ducts. Basement bathrooms can be a real source of mold and mildew buildup. Clean the bathroom regularly and properly ventilate the room so the moisture doesn’t have a chance to collect.

Once you’ve established that your basement is clean, dry and protected, revisit this area of your home regularly to stay ahead of any new problems that might develop. Your home and family will thank you for it.

Home Improvement May Not Be For Everybody – Tips For Homeowners

Dealing with frustrating repair and improvement projects is an unwelcome prospect for many homeowners. The hassle and frustration they so often experience is not worth the effort they are putting in, so hiring a professional to help them with the more complicated projects is a good idea. Once they decide to do the work themselves, homeowners usually end up regretting their decision and scouring the phone book for a contractor.

With extensive home improvement projects, homeowners are usually best served hiring a contractor. Some homeowners do attempt these projects themselves with some success, but these are often few and far between. Not that they cannot accomplish the project, but the quality homeowners receive from contractors far exceeds what they are usually able to provide themselves. Home improvement is not for everybody, so realizing when it is far above their head is important and helpful in avoiding a costly project. Spending more money than they realize doing the work themselves, many homeowners regret their decision.

The training and experience a contractor brings to the table will help ensure the quality of the project. Helping with the planning and development stage of the project and providing excellent craftsmanship, professionals are able to provide a level of service far better than any amateur trying to pass themselves off as professionals. So when it comes time to choose the best route to take when facing home improvement projects, it is usually best to consider the work of a contractor. It may be one of the best decisions the homeowner can make for their home.

Choosing The Right Fence For You

When it is time for a new fence you have many choices to choose from. Choosing the right fence is very important if you want one that will last for years to come. Read this article and learn about the different types of fences that are available.

The first type of fence and perhaps the most common is the common plank style privacy fence. You can find these fences in heights up to 8 feet and they have many advantages. For example they are affordable and they offer a great deal of privacy compared to other fences. The downside to these fences is that they are vulnerable to wind, insects and rot. To extend the life you can get them made with cedar or even vinyl and with posts made from metal.

Another type of fence is the chain link fence. This has the advantage of also being quite affordable and being very durable. The downside to chain link fences is that they offer no privacy whatsoever and that they may not quite fit in with your neighborhoods style.

Wrought Iron is another type of fence that you might be interested in. It has benefits and drawbacks similar to those of chain link fences. It is very durable and offers little in the way of privacy. They are however expensive compared to other fences but they are more likely to make your neighbors happy as they are quite attractive.

The last fence style I will talk about is the picket fence. They are available in wood or vinyl and are an attractive alternative. If made from wood, they are vulnerable to insects and rot but the gap between the planks makes them less vulnerable to wind damage. They also offer little in the way of privacy and are reasonably priced.

Hopefully this has given you something to think about. If you are having a hard time deciding you should consult a local fence builder. They will be able to suggest something that will fill your needs.

The Benefits Of uPVC For Your Home Or Office

As far as building materials is concerned, you may have heard of uPVC. But what exactly is it? This article will give you the answer to this question in addition to shedding some light on the benefits of uPVC. After reading this article, you will come to know why local builders go for this material instead of other stuff out there. Read on to know more.

uPVC

Actually, uPVC is a short form of unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, which is commonly known as a high quality rigid PVC. Since it hard but won’t flex, it falls under the category of PVC. The beauty of the product is that it leaves out BPA or phthalates, so it is quite safe. Apart from this, it is safe and stable and can be used to manufacture mouth guards and dental retainers as well.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can enjoy if you go for this material.

Low Maintenance

Windows and doors made from uPVC don’t need to be sealed or painted. As a result, the cost of maintenance is not that much with the passage of time. The reason is that these windows and doors are easy to clean with water and detergent.

Tough And Durable

Due to the durability of the material, it has been used for making sewer and water pipes for more than 100 years. You can get the idea from the fact that vinyl windows that were installed more than two decades back are still in use. Moreover, quality uPVC doors and windows go through different rests for ultraviolet resistance to make sure that they don’t fade in the sun.

Rot Resistant

Unlike other materials, uPVC is not prone to corrosion or rotting as time goes by. So, this is another great benefit of opting for this product instead of many others available in the market.

Thermal Comfort

You know metals are conductive. But uPVC doesn’t fall under this category. Therefore, windows and doors don’t transfer heat. As a result, you can enjoy consistent temperature in your rooms. As a matter of fact, the windows of your rooms will be a lot more efficient provided they are made of this material.

Tilt And Turn

These windows can be opened in two directions in order to allow you benefit from the cross ventilation, which is another great benefit.

Acoustic Insulation

With double glazed doors and windows, you can reduce the noise by up to 70%. So, you can have peace of mind especially if there is a lot of noise outside your house all the time.

Salt Erosion

You won’t have corrosion problem caused by salt-filled air. So, they are an ideal choice as far as coastal properties is concerned.

High Security

As far safety and security is concerned, these windows feature multi-locking systems that provides higher security for your house or office.

Long story short, if you are looking for the best doors and windows for your office or home, we suggest that you give a go to uPVC doors and windows due to the many benefits they offer.

What Might Be Involved in Hiring a Handyman

A well-skilled handyman is able to take on a wide-range of home improvement jobs within the home, which might be minor or extensive in nature. In general, a lot of us don’t have the skill, time or inclination to do the necessary home repair or maintenance work. Often we will look in the direction of the qualified trades person, which for general repairs around the home would mean the handyman who is the perfect for this type of work.

The handyman is essentially a person able to take on all-types of home repairs, maintenance issues, and needed improvements. As a jack-of-all-trades, the handyman is there to assist with those small to medium-sized projects in and around the home, which would otherwise be too small for a commercial builder or contractor to take on.

Deciding on the right handyman is always a vital decision. It often helps if you’re able to hire a worker who offers an all-round skill set, someone you can trust, and can work on their own to complete any project to a high standard.

Hiring a handyman can be done in several different ways, and doing your due diligence at the start means you are going to find to skilled professional who cares about the work they do. A great place to start in the search for a handyman is to get personal referrals, which might come for a friend, co-worker, or neighbor. Alternatively, you might want to search online for a local based trades person. Also, if looking online always look to find positive reviews next to a company’s name, which means other customers where happy with the service. Irrespective of the steps taken, you always want to check that the person being hired is qualified, licensed, and insured to carry out the intended work.

It is always a wise precaution to request identification from anyone that is about to enter and work on your home. Having a quote confirmed in writing is also suggested and this should highlight the work to be carried out, the cost of materials, and the clearing and disposing of waste material at the end of the job.

Also, avoid paying for a job 100% up front, especially if this is the first time that you have used a particular handyman. Often, you can pay 50% of the cost and the balance on the completion of a successful job. Although, you might have the pay the cost of materials from the get go. When paying a trades person in installments, get a receipt, as this proves your payment is made and also allows you to keep up-to-date records.

Steps to Choosing a General Contractor

Choosing the right General Contractor is an important process. Your home is a special place and you deserve to have a safe and comfortable living environment. The definition of the word “contractor” from Webster’s point of view is one that agrees to furnish materials or perform services at a specified price, especially for construction work. Here are some things to look for when choosing the right general contractor for your project.

– Don’t be scared to ask for references. If they hesitate to give their information then they are trying to keep you from finding something out. A good contractor has nothing to hide.

– Don’t be pressured into signing a contract. Explore your options and choose the right person for your project. And never sign if you don’t understand. Tell them to break everything down on the contract. For example, have each kind of material in its own space with the price next to it, then the cost of labor on its own.

Example: 10 2x4s @ $1.00 a piece — $10
Labor total $500 or $15 per hour

– If a contractor wants to be paid by the hour, be sure to have proof of all hours worked. Ask how they plan on keeping track of their time and if they can estimate how long a job will take.

– Get all estimates in writing. Make sure the contractor sticks to the original plans, unless you want something different.

– Never pay when a contractor demands cash payments, always have record of all payments.

– Ask them if they will guarantee their work and for how long. If something happens because of the contractors negligence it is the contractors responsibility to fix their mistakes.

– Always make sure the contractors will clean up after themselves. Some contractors will leave you to clean up after their work. Get it in writing and specify everything that needs cleaned up and how.

– Only make final payment when all work is done. That includes cleaning up. Make sure you are satisfied with the work and go over everything that was done before you hand them the final payment.

The contractor you choose should be able to put new insight on your project, and make suggestions on things you may not have thought of. They can tell you the proper materials and should use all the safest most efficient ways to complete your project in a timely manner. But, always remember, it is your project and everything should be done your way. The contractors work for you!

The Important Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

If you are on the market for new home siding, it is no surprise that you are considering vinyl. Vinyl plastic exterior has been a long-time favorite for both residential and commercial properties, and for many reasons. Although there are a few drawbacks you need to think about, this material is almost always a safe investment. Continue reading to review some of the common pros and cons of vinyl siding.

Pros

Vinyl siding is mostly admired for its extreme versatility. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, textures, and more, which makes customizing the look of your home an easy task. Aside from versatility, vinyl is very low maintenance. Caring for it is simple, and there is very little you need to do to make it last a long time. Furthermore, installation is quick and easy, and the cost comparison to other options on the market is very low. It is one of the most affordable choices for residential siding you can buy.

  • Very durable;
  • Lasts between 30 and 40 years with good care;
  • Endless color options and schemes;
  • Very low maintenance;
  • Easy to clean and care for;
  • Insulated options increase energy efficiency;
  • Cheapest siding option on the market;

Cons

There are not many drawbacks to vinyl siding, however, there are a few attributes that are important for you to know in order to make an educated decision. For instance, it is not waterproof. Although it is water-resistant, poor installation can let water leak behind the panels and cause rot, mold, and mildew. Also, many homeowners have complained that the color option is too permanent with vinyl siding. Whatever color you choose, it will always be that color. That is because plastic exterior siding cannot be repainted like other siding materials.

Another common con to this material is the potential for the boards to warp, bend, or dent. This can happen from a string impact or extreme summer heat. Homeowners also complain that whole panels must be replaced because there is no patchwork in vinyl siding. Some additional common complaints about vinyl siding include:

  • 90% of homes have vinyl siding, so it’s not always the most unique;
  • Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and even high winds can rip panels off;
  • Faulty installation can lead to water leaks, rot, mold, and decay;
  • It can crack in extreme cold weather, and warp in hot weather;

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Your family is at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if there are any appliances in your home that use gas, oil, coal or wood. Because carbon monoxide does not have any color, smell, or taste, it is not easy to determine when it is present. Carbon-based fuels are typically safe to use, but they become a health hazard when they do not burn properly.

When carbon monoxide is breathed into the body, it combines with the haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. When carbon monoxide is mixed with haemoglobin, the bodys cells, tissues, and organs cannot receive oxygen, and they begin to die. Over time, even small amounts of carbon monoxide in the blood over time can be fatal or cause paralysis and brain damage.

Someone with carbon monoxide poisoning may incorrectly diagnose the symptoms as being caused by another ailment. The symptoms of CO poisoning are very similar to common illnesses, such as viral infections, the flu, food poisoning, and fatigue: nausea, vomiting, headaches, tiredness, and stomach pains. Other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include problems with vision, trouble breathing, erratic behavior, and chest pains.

Many homes contain gas appliances and flues, and these can both cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Sadly, an average of twenty UK residents die from CO poisoning each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Improper installation of gas appliances and flues along with the lack of recommended maintenance cause the majority of residential carbon monoxide incidents. A constant supply of fresh air is essential for a home that operates carbon-based fuel appliances.

The best protection against CO poisoning is being prepared. You must be aware that wherever there is carbon-based fuel being used, the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning exists. Everyone in the home needs to know the dangers and signs of CO in the air. A properly installed carbon monoxide alarm can give you an early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide. Make sure your alarm has a British or European approval mark and complies with British Standard EN 50291. These audible alarms are especially useful if carbon monoxide begins to fill the air at night while everyone is asleep.

Insist on a CORGI-registered technician when you install a flue or gas appliance in your home. CORGI-registered installers are trained to set up your appliance or flue accordingly to safe procedures. Once your appliance or flue is installed, have it inspected once a year by a CORGI-registered professional to make sure everything is operating properly and there are no safety risks to your family from carbon monoxide. To prevent CO problems from your flue, hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean it every year.

Free Grant Money For Home Improvement?

Did you know that there are grant programs that will provide homeowners with free home for their home improvement projects? These programs are offered by some local and state governments and many organizations that provide free grant money. Once obtained, these funds may be able to help you finance the materials and labor with the home improvement projects for your house.

Depending on the specific grant you apply for and receive, these funds can be used to help you purchase new appliances, pay for the expansion of your home, finish your basement, or any other job that will either increase your property value or allow your house to run more efficiently. In addition to the funds that you get approved for, you may be able to claim additional tax exceptions on your year-end taxes as well.

Because home improvement grants are not loans, your application does not generally require a credit check, down payment, or any kind of collateral. As long as you are an American citizen and at least 18 years old, you can submit a grant application to obtain some of this government money and private foundation grants.

As you search the grant database by clicking the links below, you will quickly realize that there are thousands of grant programs available. While many are specifically for small business owners and students, there are many that individuals can apply for to help pay off debt and finance other personal goals you may have in mind. Billions of dollars in free grant money is given away every year, but you have to ask for it.

Handyman – 5 Tips to Find a Good Handyman

Here are 5 tips to help you find the best Handyman your area has to offer. These tips will make it easier to get your project completed quickly and efficiently. By following these tips you can be confident that your project will run smoothly and you will end up with a project you can take pride in. Good skills, experience and a schedule for completing the project will be covered.

1. Be sure the handyman you choose is knowledgeable in the specific skills that your project will require. Some of the skills he will need are plumbing, electrical, home repair, remodeling, and carpentry. With these skills most projects can end with both the customer and the handyman happy. This will save you time and money and make sure your project something you can be proud of.

2. Ask the prospective handyman if he has experience with a similar type of project. If you lived in Texas you might ask the handyman San Antonio is offering whether they have done other jobs in your particular area. Making sure he understands exactly what the project is and what you will expect when the job is completed is important.

3. It is your responsibility to be clear about the start and completion date for your project. Make sure that he understands when the work is to be completed! It is not sufficient to use terms like “as quickly as possible” which is too vague and will cause you and him problems down the road. So just be specific with this part.

4. Check to be sure that he is a contractor who is properly licensed and insured to do your type of work. He needs to be familiar with city code requirements. Follow these tips to help you find the right handyman for your project.

5. Have a clear understanding about his guarantee for all work he will be doing. Be sure to get the guarantee in writing. Be sure it is specific with details covering your project. If he doesn’t have a written guarantee then find a handyman that does.

You now know some of the important steps to finding a qualified worker in your area. Think your project through in specific steps from start to finish even if it is a small project. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. You can not assume that the person doing the work knows what you are thinking or wanting.