Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is a Silent Invader Attacking Your Home?

Expensive repairs from water damage might be needed in your home. Repair them before they multiply! Water damage is possible any time in the year-from the weather, malfunctioned appliances, clogs, or by poorly done home repair. You can save on most home repair costs by ensuring that your home is safeguarded from water damage seasonally before anything turns into expensive repairs.

What does water damage look like? Standing water can weaken a surface, causing it to rot, rust, or mildew, and eventually turn into expensive repairs.

The most expensive repairs are foundational damage and mold growths. Such home repair can force you to vacate if the home is deemed unsafe even after treated for water damage by professionals. Take control by learning how to home repair or prevent potential water damage sites.

Outdoor water damage prevention home repair tips:

1. Do-it-yourself home repair for gutters are simple and not expensive. Repairs can be minimized if you remember to check for water damage or leaks and clean out the gutters and downspouts each season.

2. Block debris with gutter guards, and use downspout extensions to help divert the runoff from the foundation to prevent further expensive repairs from water damage.

Indoor water damage prevention home repair tips:

1. Home repair any loose window and door caulking to prevent rain or snow from seeping in and causing water damage.

2. In below-freezing weather, keep the water running at a trickle and allow heat to reach the pipes. This will avoid having them burst, with the potential for water damage.

3. Avoid expensive repairs to your basement's sump pump by keeping it in working order.

4. Replace or home repair the sump pump as needed, ensuring the surrounding area remains dry and water-damage-free.

5. Check refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines regularly for water damage itself, or for leaks that can cause water damage to floors or walls.

6. Avoid needless expensive repairs or home repair to bathroom drains and pipes by using drain guards to trap hair.

7. Home repair clogged drains with a plunger or a bent wire instead of professional products.

8. Replace leaky faucets, run bathroom exhaust fans during use, and thoroughly clean and dry surfaces regularly to prevent water damage and mold from building.

9. Don't use carpeting in areas exposed to water-damage can occur if carpeting is damp.

When to call on professional help:

1. To thoroughly dry carpeting/floor after flooding.
2. When home repair fails to correct a problem.
3. If water damage causes you to vacate the home.
4. To service your air conditioning unit.

Before you can file a claim for expensive repairs caused by water damage to your home, your insurance company expects you to have followed through with all safeguarding measures. Otherwise, be prepared to pay for any home repair due to your negligence.

When water damage comes from floods, make sure your home insurance includes flood coverage, for it to pay for each home repair-including all of the expensive repairs-caused from water damage. In the U.S., the reality is that flooding and water damage can occur anywhere. Home insurance covers home repairs needed as a result of structural damage or theft, but in most cases you will need to purchase a separate flood policy if you want any water damage home repairs covered as a result of flooding. Flood insurance is truly a safeguard on home repairs, an affordable investment that pays for itself.,1674,P250%257ES781,00.html

About The Author
Adam Jackson is a home repair expert striving to bring you the best free home repair and improvement information on the web.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

10 Things You Must Know When Building or Renovating

There are many sad cases of home renovations not going as planned - often going way over budget or schedule, or unforseen complications popping up unexpectedly and ruining even up to years of work.

Most of these situations would never have gone so awry with some careful planning and early decision making sooner in the renovation process. Below are a few issues that it is vital to think about before you begin your home renovation.

10 Things to Think About BEFORE Beginning Work

Prepare a budget
Be aware of council regulations
Find a tradesperson
Know your start and completion dates
Selecting Products
Prepare plans
Purchasing products
What should I purchase myself?
What services are available to my property?
What sort of hot water unit do I need?

Prepare a budget

Before you start shopping for your new bathroom or kitchen you must know your spending limits. Whether you are getting a loan or paying cash, you need to work out how much your project is going to cost. Some businesses also offer finance solutions for approved customers.

Be aware of council regulations

Find out all the information you can before you arrange tradesperson. If your home is heritage listed you will need to meet strict council regulations. Many renovations must be approved by the council before work can commence. Contact your local council for more details.

Finding a tradesperson

Speak with family and friends who have done renovations or built a home. It is important to find a tradesperson that you can communicate with. Make sure you understand everything they are telling you. Book a tradesperson well ahead of time, as they can be booked for months in advance. Ensure that your tradesperson is licensed. Your product warranties are only valid if installed by a licensed tradesperson. In Australia, Trades@call provide professional, reliable tradespeople for most jobs, and all workmanship is guaranteed.

Know your start and completion dates

Communicate with your tradesperson and come to an agreement of realistic start and completion dates for your project. If you have a specific date that the job must be finished by, for example you have relatives coming to stay, let your tradesperson know. Keep in mind that unexpected problems can hold up your project, no matter how well you have planned it.

Selecting Products

It may take a few shopping trips for you to decide on the products that give you the look you desire and are also practical for your needs. Browse through a print or online catalogue. Once you have decided on a style (modern, heritage or easy living) this will narrow down your product choices. Be aware of any size restrictions of the room. Print out or write down product specifications and measure up your bathroom. You may use the online bathroom planner at the Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centre website to layout the products you have chosen.

Talk to your tradesperson about your choices. If the tradesperson tells you that a product you have chosen is unsuitable, find out why. It may just be that extra work is required that they don't want to do. Remember, it is your home and you need to be satisfied once the job is complete.

Prepare plans

It is important that you draw up plans of your bathroom or kitchen. Discuss the plans with your tradesperson. Let him know what sort of products you would like, so he will know what work needs to be done. For example if you have chosen an inwall cistern, the tradesperson will need to know so he can set up the plumbing correctly before the tiling is done. It is best to have specifications of all of the products you have chosen so the tradesperson knows exactly what work is required.

Purchasing products

When selecting products, find out how long it will take for delivery. Some goods such as tapware and toilets will be in stock, while others such as spas and vanity units are custom made and can take up to 1 month to order in. Often these custom made products are non-refundable so confirm your product choices with your tradesperson before ordering. Find out from your tradesperson which products they will required first. Generally, the first products needed are the shower base, bath or spa and mixers if they are being installed on the wall.

As an owner builder, what should I purchase myself?

If you are owner building, make sure you purchase all of the main products for your bathroom, kitchen and laundry. This will ensure that you make all of the decisions and achieve the result you want. There will be things you will not think about when placing an order, such as different handle types on a vanity unit, the pump position of your spa, that you will need to decide on. It is important to make these decisions yourself as they will affect the overall result of your project. Smaller fittings for plumbing can be purchased by your tradesperson.

What services are available to my property?

It is important to know whether you need gas or electric appliances (hot water unit, cooking appliances). If you live further out from the city, you may need LPG appliances. If you currently have electric appliances and you want to change to gas, speak with your tradesperson to determine if this is going to be cost effective and worthwhile in the long run. If you are building a new home, decide on the appliances you want before building begins, as the plumbing will need to be roughed in based on your product selection.

What sort of Hot Water Unit do I need?

There is a wide range of hot water units available and it can be quite daunting to try and choose one. If you are replacing an existing unit your choices can be limited, so speak with your tradesperson. The instantaneous hot water units are popular at the moment, but they use a larger gas line than the standard storage units. This can mean major plumbing changes which can be quite costly, though in the long run the instantaneous systems are cost efficient. See the Bourne Hot Water Selection Guide for more detail.

Many of these points seem somewhat obvious, but the problem arises when you start taking things for granted. When you don't make sure that all your bases are covered, you may find that you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in a home renovation that you may end up unhappy with.

About The Author
Richard Bourne is owner and manager of Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centres. Bourne Bathroom and Kitchen Centres ( offer the largest range of bathroom, kitchen and plumbing supplies in Melbourne. Bourne's exhaustive selection of home renovation supplies and great after sales service have helped thousands of people to buy "beautiful products at beautiful prices" since 1992.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Natural Light Sources Creates Mood And Captures The Moment

Natural light sources are an important element in bringing out the best in the color scheme. If light enters through side windows, a dark ceiling will make the room look gloomy. If the light comes in at an angle it is wise to paint the floor a pale color.

Here are ten household helpful hints for natural light sources:

1 Control the light using blinds and curtains, always adapting it to the needs of every moment.

2 Soften the contrast produced by window and the dark surrounding wall by focusing artificial light onto the latter.

3 Emphasize the beauty of an especially compelling piece of furniture by spotlighting it.

4 In work areas the specific lighting must be from the left for right-handed people and vice versa.

5 The direct light from a hanging lamp must always be below eye-level, otherwise it will blind us.

6 Use subtle general lighting so that the transition from a bright area to a dark one is not painful for the eyes.

7 Make sure that the light in a work area is compensated by the surrounding lighting so that you do not strain your eyes.

8 Use freestanding lamps and floor lamps in spaces where the furniture's is frequently rearranged, these types of lamps offer adaptable solutions.

9 A highly reflective surface (the whiter the better) helps to multiply the light and to diffuse it all over the space.

10 In small rooms pale-colored walls give acceptable lighting. A darker ceiling breaks the monotony and provides contrast.

Bearing in mind all these factors, you should analyze the daylight in your house throughout the day and then plan the artificial lighting.

About The Author
Roger King has been involved in home interior designs for several years, and has been helping people find and review the best value for interior design solutions. Visit his Web site to learn more about this service.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Only Way To Hire A Contractor

Everywhere you go everybody always gives you the same advice on how to choose a contractor. They simply say get three estimates, and call the Better Business Bureau. There is a much better way to hire a contractor to ensure you get what you want; a quality job at a fair price. Don't get three estimates.

Basically most people including contractors are fair and honest. They want to perform a service for you and get paid so they can provide for their family just as you need to provide for yours. Why everybody assumes and implies that contractors in general are swindlers simply isn't fair or correct.

You may hear on the news that a homeowner lost a substantial amount of money from a corrupt contractor. What you don't hear about is the other thousands of contractors providing good quality work on a daily basis.

The advice of getting three estimates for every job is bad advice. What most people will do when they get three estimates is to naturally choose the lowest bid. A few are enlightened and will choose the average bid, versus the highest or the lowest. But either way, having three contractors come do a free estimate for you leads to bad service for everybody.

A contractors time is very valuable just as yours is. Now when you get an estimate and inform this contractor that you are going to get three bids, you are implying that his ethics may be lacking, which isn't very nice. You have also put a lot of pressure on him because he needs the work to feed his family and keep his employees working. Naturally he is going to give you the lowest bid he can to ensure he gets the job. In turn the other two contractors that follow him are going to need the job also. So depending on how desperate they are for work will depend how low they will bid to get this job. This constant form of playing cutthroat with their competitors leads them to underbid jobs just so they have work.

After they lose money on a job they are even more desperate to get the next job. What this does is leads contractors into financial problems and it leads to bad service, not being able to do the job correctly and a lot of stress for them. This can cause even a man with the sturdiest ethics to lose his footing. He will want to perform a quality job as agreed but when he doesn't have any money to pay his employees or to buy materials he simply can't do it.

If everybody always has three free estimates performed then it takes the contractors away from supervising their employees on your job site. You made a contract with him, and he is whom you will want to communicate with during the job. If he is off giving free estimates and not able to watch his employees, the quality of the job may suffer. In addition if an employee gets hurt, a water pipe breaks, or they run out of supplies the job will stop right there. All in all, insisting on three estimates does everybody a disservice and leads to unhappy people, including you.

Somehow people get the idea that contractors make a lot of money. I was a contractor and I know that is not correct. It is a very competitive business and it isn't hard to lose a substantial amount of money very quickly.

The best way to hire a contractor is via word of mouth. If you need some work done and you see a contractors sign in a yard, stop and talk to him. Look at his project, the safety measures, his employees, the quality of his tools and the quality of his work. Talk to the owner and see if he is pleased with the work. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask about this contractor. The BBB can be circumvented because they register contractors by their phone number. With cell phones, unethical contractors can change their business name, get a new cell phone number and place a new ad in the newspaper. So check to see if their phone number is a home phone number or a cell phone. It is always better to locate a contractor in the phone book, if you don't go by word of mouth.

Once you have located a contractor that you deem does the quality work you want done, ask for an estimate. Tell him you would like the estimate to be itemized with the materials and labor separate.

A good rule of thumb for estimates is that the labor will be double the amount of materials. A smaller job will be more for labor.

When he brings a contract ask him to also bring his insurance binder that certifies he has current liability insurance. If he requires a down payment inform him that you would prefer to make the first payment after a fair amount of work has been done. If he has a problem with that and indicates any sign of financial trouble you may want to rethink your choice. Before you sign the contract get a verbal or written agreement from him that he will be on site during the job.

If you take these steps your experience with a contractor will be pleasant. Do your part and recommend the good contractor to your friends. Never get three free estimates. This same advice to protect you against consumer fraud is the cause of the problem.

About The Author
Dale B. Adams
The Author and Self Publisher; Dale B. Adams of Majestic Publishers just released the new book, "Care Giving Made Easy - How to be an Awesome Caregiver," It was designed to assist America during the massive transition of our growing elderly population.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Guide To Window Hardware

A variety of materials are available in window hardware. You have several options in terms of energy efficiency and design. Your personal preference, the climate and the style of your home will help you choose the right material for your house.

Types of Window Hardware


Wood has been the most common material used in window construction for generations. Wood is the easiest material to work with, either for a professional or a homeowner doing a DIY home improvement project. This material is most often used in custom work and intricately detailed designs. You have a wide range of options for painting and staining to fit every decorating need. This material is also very good in terms of energy efficiency.

The only downside of using wood is the maintenance needed. You will need to re paint or stain often. The peeling not only looks terrible, but will cause the wood to rot, if not maintained properly over the years. With good, regular maintenance, wood windows will last a long time.


Steel is most often found in older homes and basement windows. It is rarely used in newer homes because it is not very energy efficient. The heat from your home can easily escape through the frame of these windows. In addition, regular maintenance is needed. You must repaint steel regularly, or it will rust. Steel is a very durable material and is still used in hurricane storm shutters.


Aluminium is nearly as durable as steel. However, like steel, it is not very energy efficient and allows significant heat loss. This material does have one benefit over steel. It doesn't require the frequent maintenance. The color of aluminium is baked on and a variety of colors are available. Repainting is not necessary.


Vinyl is an inexpensive and durable material for windows. In addition, vinyl is fairly energy efficient. In addition, vinyl windows are maintenance free. They don't need to be painted. Vinyl is colored straight through, so you won't ever see chips, scratches or peeling. A variety of colors are available to match your home's decoration.

The biggest problem with vinyl is that it can look cheap. There are vinyl products that are made to look like wood, but the effect isn't very good. They still have a plastic look.


Fibreglass is a fairly new material for window construction. It is very durable and energy efficient. When insulated properly, it is one of the best in terms of energy efficiency. There is little heat loss with well insulated fibreglass windows. You will pay for this efficiency. These windows are among the most expensive.

Things to Consider When Choosing Window Hardware

Consider the climate where you live. If you live in a hot climate, you want to keep the heat out and the cold air in your home. Look for windows with a lower U value.

If you live in a colder climate, you want just the opposite: to keep the cold out and heat in. Heat loss is a major problem in cold climates and you'll want to prevent this both through the frame and the glass. Choose energy efficient material and insulate it well. Consider insulated glass, which adds to the energy efficiency of the window. These products contain two layers of glass with argon gas in between the layers.

When replacing windows, consider the design of your home. You want the windows to match the architectural elements of your home. Make sure the material you choose fits in with the time period of your home. You won't want wood, Colonial style windows on a modern Contemporary home.

About The Author
Charles Mahoney reveals many news to an web site for information. The author is specializing in tips on window hardware ( ).

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