Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five DIY Home Renovation Blunders

Know when to say no to DIY. 

When you love do-it-yourself projects, it can be difficult to know if you are going to get in over your head. Altogether there are six common home renovation mistakes that homeowners are known to encounter. While contractors agree that some homeowners with no experience in home remodeling are geniuses, even the smartest person can fall victim to pricey blunders.

1. Poor project coordination

Did you know that there is an order to tasks that prevents you from going over budget? A good
example is renovating a room and changing the carpet. For instance, when you put in new carpet, the timber floor sanding needs to be done before the new carpet is installed. Sadly, inexperienced homeowners may not know this. Since jobs like replacing carpet requires multiple expensive steps, it needs project coordination with a professional contractor in order to work seamlessly. If you still want to do DIY projects, ask the contractor which tasks you can perform instead of deciding this for yourself.

2. Forgetting the permits

As a homeowner, you may not be aware that local laws have changed. This is especially true concerning building codes. On the other hand, contractors who make home remodeling their full-time profession will stay abreast of any changes. Unfortunately, homeowners can proceed with a home remodeling project and later find out that they did not acquire the proper permit. This means that they must demolish their hard work and have professionals fix the problem in order to become compliant with local building permit codes. In some cases, a house with un-permitted remodeling will not be able to acquire homeowner's insurance or be sold in the real estate market.

3. Timber floor sanding for new carpeting

When homeowners want to install new carpet, they sometimes forget about the floors underneath. Sadly, when old carpet is removed, the floors under them are often in need of repair. In particular, it takes professional equipment for jobs like timber floor sanding. Once the floors have all old adhesives, carpet padding and brads removed, the new carpet placed on top of it will look its best.

4. Removing support beams

When you own a home that seems a little bit cramped, your first instinct may be to take out a couple of the walls to make the space larger. This does not work out well if the walls are meant to support the roof or floor above it. This can result in the house becoming unstable and unlivable. Before you start major renovations that transform the floor plan of your home, consult with an experience contractor that is familiar with removing support beams.

5. Not hiring individual contractors

For major home renovations, it makes sense to hire one person who can guide you through the process. Regardless, homeowners should not rely on one person to complete all the renovation tasks. Instead of hiring a person who is great at some renovation jobs, but not others, allow them to hire outside contractors. Along with that, you can get bids from as many contractors as you want, but be sure that one professional contractor is managing all their schedules.

How to avoid all home renovation mistakes

Ultimately, you will save yourself the stress if you talk about your renovation expectations with friends who have been through a similar process. In addition to giving you reviews on contractors, they will also let you know when you are biting off more than you can chew. Along with a long list of projects you can do yourself, there will always be those that are better left with the professionals.

Whether it is timber floor sanding or replacing drywall throughout the entire house, there will be someone in your local area who can help you get the job done. By avoiding these common renovation mistakes, you will be confident about the results you get if you play your cards right.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

3 Ways Landscapers Save Money on Plants

You are only a few tricks away from saving money on your home gardening presentation. 

Ever wonder how landscapers save money on plants? If you need to cut back on your budget, you can soon find that keeping your yard looking nice and affording plants is not possible. However, from my experience with growing up on a farm in Western Kentucky, I know about ways you can stretch your plants based on our experiences with extreme droughts.

These are common practices among corporate landscapers that do large gardening projects at places like the mall. At least one of these tips will be the budget savings salvation that you have been
looking for to decorate the outside of your home.

Using root tone to get free plants from neighbors

As a beginning gardener, it is interesting to take clippings from plants and see which ones will accept root tone and start producing a new plant. In general, any plant that has multiple leaves is likely to grow roots from the stem with the help of a rooting hormone. This $4.00 bottle will keep for years and help you to produce hundreds of plants for free.

Tip: Tiny single serving liquor bottles, are perfect for this project. Clean them of their remaining contents and place them in your kitchen window. Over time, you will learn which ones root easily. Also, be sure to label them and write the date that you started the rooting process.

Planting potted plants in the ground

As long as you can shelter the plants indoors during winter months, we all know buying perennial (lasts for more than a year) versus annuals (only lasts a year) potted plants saves you money.

However, what if we took this potted plant idea outdoors in the summer? You can save yourself a lot of time, money, and stress by never taking the plant out of the pot. When you buy a plant from a nursery or gardening store, immediately place it in a much larger ventilated container with some extra soil and gravel in the bottom.

Most of the time, these cheap and flimsy pots are given away for free at the gardening centers. Then, instead of taking the plant and putting it directly in the ground, you will put it in a larger pot and finally place the pot in a hole in the ground. By covering the earth around the pot with some small rocks, you will have a beautiful presentation. When the plant is losing its color, you can simply remove it and replace that spot with another potted plant.

Tip: Instead of the plant dying in the ground, you will have a chance to save the plant and your money by giving it some TLC in another area of the yard or inside. This is also a great way to store plants over the colder months and plant them again next year without buying an expensive greenhouse.

Making coleus a bigger part of your plant budget

One of the brightest and most diverse looking plants that can save landscapers money are the coleus. Adding to their landscaping budget benefits, these are the easiest plants to grow in the shade that I have found. One of their budget saving abilities is the ease at which you can grow a coleus from clippings.

You simply take a large portion of the top of one of your coleus plants and put it in a glass of water. The roots will start to grow within a week or so. Clipping back a coleus is extremely important anyway, in order to keep gardening vibrant. You can also take a few clippings in the fall and keep them in the warmest part of your house over the winter in order to have new plants for next year.

Personally, I started with a variety tray of 25 coleus for $16. In the four years I grew them, I only spent $16 on plants, I had between 50 to 75 plants each year, and gave away over 400 clippings from those plants to friends.

Tip: The coleus grows a flower cone often. Check them every few days. If you pinch off these cones as soon as you see them, these plants will keep for years.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Mulch a Flower Bed

If all you need for a flowerbed is a small amount of mulch, how much do you actually buy and what else do you need to know?

When you are looking to mulch a flowerbed, the amount of work that goes into it can seem lengthy. It can make you want to give up and put a high-end plantereverywhere! After all, you want a project of this type to be high-quality, but fairly inexpensive and easy to execute. Before you give up in frustration, take a look at this advice on getting the right tools, the right amount of mulch, finding the right tips, and knowing which measurements to use. Tools and materials you need to mulch a flowerbed

When you head down to the hardware store to pick up your flowerbed supplies, there are a few obvious choices. First, you will need the flowers and plants along with extra potting soil. You may also need a strong shovel to dig holes for your plants and aerate the soil. However, to keep weeds from growing in between the plants and lock in moisture, you will need to use mulch. To prevent any additional plants from sprouting up, use a plastic barrier under your mulch layer. You will also want to get plastic storage bins to store at least a couple of extra mulch bags outside.

Tips for mulching a flower bed

Since the intended purpose of mulch is to prevent weeds from growing and to keep moisture in the soil, could there be any drawbacks? In fact, over-watering can cause mulch to decompose at a rapid rate and allow mildew to grow. Mildew can be detrimental to the health of your plants, but the easy solution is to simply let the mulch dry out a little. Depending on the area you live, you may be able to water your flowerbed twice a week or less. Nevertheless, getting the right amount of mulch for their flowerbed project is an issue that vexes amateur gardeners the most.

How much mulch you will need

You probably will not need a truck load to mulch a single flowerbed, so you will likely buy bags of mulch. In major retail hardware stores and gardening centers, they sell bags of mulch in 2 cubic feet, 3 cubic feet and higher. Generally speaking, bagged mulch sold in the cubic feet unit of measurement is intended to make it easier for amateur gardeners to determine how much they need. If you want to make sure you get the precise amount, stay tuned for various ways to calculate mulch in long-form math.

Calculating mulch without a calculator

There are a variety of mulch calculators online, but some people are more comfortable tabulating by hand. To get started, get a piece of paper, a pen, a calculator, and a measuring tape. Measure the sides of your flowerbed in feet and inches and write it down. Multiply the length times the width to get the square feet. Most people want two inches of mulch, and so you will need to multiply the square footage number by 2. To get the cubic yard measurement that you find on the front of a bag of mulch, take your number and divide it by 324.

In other words, if you have 500 square foot that you want to cover in two inches of mulch, your calculation would be 500*2/324. The answer will be 3.08 meaning you need to buy at a gardening centerabout 3 bags of 2 cu. ft. mulch for your project. If your square footage for the flowerbed is 1200, and you want three inches of mulch, you would multiply 1200 by 3 and get 3600. You then divide 3600 by 324 to get 11.11 bags of 2 cubic feet of mulch.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Best Toilet Plumbing in Boulder, Colorado?

Have you been searching for the best toilet plumbing in Boulder, Colorado? Online, you can use various review website testimonials from former customers. However, this will not do you very much good if you do not know what to look for in a plumber in the first place. To get a better idea of what to expect, details about the characteristics of the best toilet plumbers in Boulder, Colorado are listed.

24-hour service

When it is snowy outside, you will appreciate a Boulder plumber that promises 24-hour service. This means that they will be fully prepared for all weather conditions to help you any time of day. Developing a good relationship with a 24-hour emergency plumber now means less-stress later. On the other hand, you could have a unique plumbing system that requires the help of one local professional. If this is the case, have them show you how to handle a toilet plumbing emergency if it happens outside of their business hours.

Environmentally friendly plumbing

These days, we understand that being environmentally friendly also means saving money on utilities. Although many of the home technologies are focused around appliances, the best Boulder plumbing professionals will have lots of tips about how to make your home greener. This can include replacing your current toilet with a composting model.

Answers every question

One of the keys of a true toilet plumbing professional is being able to answer any questions. Occasionally, you may stump the brightest plumber, but, generally speaking, you should be able to get a better understanding of any work taking place in your home. This includes questions about newer toilet and sewage technology that could help your home run more efficiently.

Preventative toilet plumbing maintenance

You know you are working with the best toilet plumbers in Boulder when they are able to help you save money by getting maintenance advice or tips instead of having to call the plumber again to make a repair. This can include using certain types of toilet paper that are easier on your pipes or a demonstration about how to use a plunger to prevent clogs.  

Call a Boulder plumber today

When you cannot flush the toilet, your house can become an emergency zone of raw sewage. Nothing panics homeowners more then feeling this situation is never going to end.  Nevertheless, now that you have a better understanding of the best toilet plumbing Boulder, Colorado professionals, your next step is to give them a call and put your mind at ease.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Tasks for Exterior Home Maintenance

Are you thinking about your home’s spring exterior maintenance tasks? When the snow begins to melt and the days heat up, it can be difficult to know where to begin with outdoor spring cleaning for your home. This is especially true if you are not accustomed to outdoor labor or need to replace your roof.  However, over the years, we have found that there are a few specific details most homeowners need to take care of in the springtime in order to avoid more costs in the future. 

Always keep gutters maintained

One job that most homeowners can do without professional help is cleaning the gutters. This two-person job means removing all of the debris from the gutters while someone else holds the ladder. Regardless, if you need to replace or repair broken gutters, you might find that a roofer does a better job. Getting gutters replaced in the springtime is important because other times of year have less rain. If you do not get your gutters cleaned and replaced for the spring rain, you may start to have foundation problems.

Getting the foundation checked

As roofing professionals, we often replace a roof that is damaged because the foundation of the house is shifting. While it can cost thousands of dollars to have foundation work done, one of the easiest ways to save money is to have the foundation regularly inspected. Put this on your home’s spring maintenance check list, and you will pat yourself on the back later by catching this potential financial disaster early.

Cleaning up the pavement

You do not always need to focus on the home itself or call roofing professionals when you do property maintenance each spring. After a long winter, salt chemicals and snow removal equipment can damage pavement outside of the home. In addition to making pavement uneven, snow removal equipment and chemicals can also stain the surface making it look patchy. Along with filling in potholes in your driveway, pressure washing and resurfacing are excellent spring cleaning rituals to keep your home looking fresh.

Installing a new roof

Of course, when you need a new roof, the signs will be obvious. You will have discolored walls or cracks in the drywall. When it storms outside, there will be leaks coming from the ceiling. From the outside, you can see that moss is growing on top of the shingles. When it comes to checking off boxes on your spring maintenance list, the best solution is to have a roofing professional give you a roof inspection. At *Insert Your Roofing/Maintenance Company Name Here*, we are ready to help homeowners replace their roof and remove all of the damage caused by winter elements. To get started, give us a call.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Four Tips for Hiring Exterior Painting Contractors in Atlanta

When you are ready to start painting your Atlanta, Georgia home, it can be difficult to understand which exterior painting contractors to hire. While this is an important decision that can affect you financially in many ways, a few basic tips will help you get over the worst of the bumps. It does not matter if you specifically need Atlanta house painters or have exterior painting that needs to be done somewhere else when this same basic wisdom applies everywhere.

Does the paint bid include warranties?

Hiring exterior painting contractors has one quick tip that ultimately nips long-term problems in the bud. For example, a recent paint job begins to peel and chip. On the other hand, if you have a warranty, this means that the contractor guarantees their work or the paint.  In some cases, Atlanta house painting services cover the paint and the work with two separate warranties.

Reviews and referrals for house painters

Most people will feel the inclination to get online and look for reviews or referrals for exterior painting contractors. Regardless, you can find that there are well-written reviews listed on the Internet for specific Atlanta house painting service contractors, but this does not mean you have all of the pieces of the puzzle. What will really count above all is a good review from past customers combined with a bid that has few surprises.

Will you get a detailed bid?

One of the worst scenarios that a homeowner can deal with is hiring an exterior painting contractors service and paying more than initially expected. Unless you are a professional house painter, you cannot know all of the various tasks or problems that can arise in the process of removing house paint and putting a new coat on it. However, you do not need to worry about this if you can get a detailed bid that is finalized before the job begins. Final bids should also include scheduled time estimates that work with your calendar.

Hire a contractor with no surprises

While it is an established idea that a good house painting service contractor sets your expectations about how much it costs, how long the job will take to do, and what problems could arise; there is still one area to consider. Written in the fine print of most contracts, you will see that there are some exceptions. In some cases, an Atlanta house painting service may have these exceptions written into the contract because they are standards in the local industry. As long as you understand the way the terminology is being used, you should have no problem signing. In some cases, you may want to read and discuss these exceptions before signing the bid.  Otherwise you can feel confident and expect the job to be performed with the agreed upon price.