How To Manage Home Renovation Costs

Choosing A Builder

Do you plan to build your own home? Perhaps you’re looking to renovate or extend your existing home. Either way, there are many ways to make the right and wrong decisions when choosing a builder.

Get some advice

When choosing a builder, a good place to start is by asking any family and friends that have hired a builder to construct their home or renovate.

Licences and insurance

Whether you’re going through a home builder or you’re designing your own home or renovation works with help from an architect, it’s important that you choose a builder that is licenced, registered and insured.

You should be wary of builders that either refuse or don’t make it clear upfront that they are legally permitted to be involved in building and construction. Some builders’ licences or registrations may have simply expired or some may have had their licences revoked but are still involved in the building industry.

Experience and skills

Really question whether they have the skills you need. If they only have experience in renovations and extensions, they’re not the right choice for your home.

How To Choose The Best Home Renovation Loan?

Setting up your new home or redecorating an old one can be as daunting a task as it is exciting. Especially when it comes to managing finances. Bigger tasks such as renovation, remodelling, complete furnishing, require higher funds. Also, you can use it to enhance your home in many ways such as tiling and flooring, internal & external plaster and painting, etc. However, this should not cause any hindrance when setting up your dream house.

However, before taking a decision, make sure you consider some essential factors:

Need – First and foremost is deciding what you will use the loan amount for. List down all the activities and purchases you wish you carry out for your house. This will help you set a fixed budget.

Eligibility – Once you have decided on a budget, you should check the loan amount you are eligible for. Depending on your credit score, you can also get suitable interest rates.

Interest rates – Apart from your credit score, the loan amount as well as loan tenure also makes a difference to your interest rate. You can also opt for a fixed or floating interest rate, depending on your capability of repayment.

Fee – Along with the interest rates, also compare the fee being charged. Different repayment plans have different fee. A high fee can significantly increase the repayment amount.

Repayment option – Choose a repayment option and amount most suitable to your needs and abilities. You would want to go for an option that doesn’t create a hole in your pocket in the longer run.

expert renovating tips to remember

From choosing tradies to setting a budget and nailing your floorplan, our tips from those in the know will set you on the path to a successful renovation

KNOW WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

“When shopping for a property to renovate, look for large spaces, lots of natural light and a back garden that faces north. Always have a building inspection done to confirm that the existing house is in good condition, and check that access for tradespeople is not too difficult.”

BEFORE YOU START

“Before starting a renovation, always check that the plumbing and electricals are up to scratch, and if there are any structural remedial works that need to be done, such as rectifying water damage or rising damp. They’re not the most exciting things to invest in, but it will help avoid costly repairs down the track.”

GETTING PLANS APPROVED

“To get plans approved quickly by council, make sure you know the rules and rationale for their existence. Design to meet that rationale and, if necessary, work the rules in favour of the right design.”

DIY DEMOLITION

“If this is a home you plan on selling in the future, look at recent sales and comparable renovations in the area to ensure you’re not overcapitalising.”

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST RENOVATION SPECIALIST FOR YOUR HOME RENOVATION

Your home renovation will be the biggest project that you are likely to undertake in your life.  Choosing the best renovation specialist for your home renovation is a crucial decision. In this article we will take a quick look at the criteria you should consider when picking a renovation specialist for your home renovation.

Extensive Experience.

Browse through a renovation specialists website, have a look at the projects that they have previously completed. Are there a reasonable amount of completed projects or only a few that have many highlighted pictures?  Make sure that the renovation specialist has successfully completed a variety of projects in the past. How long has the company been in business for? Do they have a long and proven track record of completing projects on time and on budget? Are they a reputable renovation specialist? Have a look at the reviews that mention their name. Are the reviewers happy about every aspect of the renovation? An established company with extensive positive reviews will be able to deliver the home renovation that you will love.

Compare Pricing.

Once you have a short list of home renovation specialist builders you will want to compare the prices that they quote. The temptation may be to go for the cheapest quote. However this is rarely the best thing to do. Calculator: The home renovation specialist that works with you on your budget is an ideal choice. The best renovation experts will be able to suggest cost saving measures and give advice as to where spending some extra cash for those special features will get you the desired outcome. An expert renovation builder will know how best to plan your home renovation to fit with your budget. If you want a champagne build, don’t go to a builder with a beer budget. Be realistic with your budgeting. Know what features are not negotiable and which ones you could do without.

Planning Time Frames

Having a clear plan of how your renovation will proceed is essential to remaining sane during a renovation. You will have a good idea when the kitchen or bathroom will be occupied and be able to plan around these eventualities. Have your renovator work on a plan with you. The best renovation specialists will have other jobs on too so you will have to negotiate a schedule that works for you both. Also remember that the weather may (will) affect your plans, so be prepared to be flexible.

Personality Match.

The last and possibly most important aspect of choosing a home renovations builder Brisbane is whether you can relate to one another. It is a little like choosing a partner.  This person is going to be in your life for an extended period of time and you will have to communicate about a wide variety of topics. Some of those discussions may be difficult. You should choose someone that you feel that you can trust on top of meeting all the other criteria. If you have a good clear relationship and you have been upfront about all of your expectations then you should expect the same from your renovations specialist

How to choose the right builder

When building a new home or undertaking a renovation, the most important decision you’ll make is picking the right builder. Choose well and the builder will bring your dream home to life, settle for less and you may regret it for years to come

Where to start

Brian Seidler, Master Builders Association NSW executive director, stresses how important it is to spend time doing research when selecting the right builder for a home building or renovation project.

“What builders want is detailed information about what has to be done. This is the most important thing for them to be able to accurately quote work and price. For example, engineering details and specifications for the concrete slab or footings are needed. An extra centimetre or two in thickness, or a different type of waterproofing product and process can add a significant chunk to the bottom line.”

Seidler also suggests going to the NSW Fair Trading website to see what information it has about your preferred builder. “See whether your builder has a licence to do home warranty work, that’s anything over $20,000. And whether they have any black marks, or a pattern of disputes with clients.”

What to look for

“Experience makes all the difference. Renovators should find out how and when the contractor got into business and how long the company has been around.”

The Benefits Of Metal Roof Over Tile Roof

HERE’S THE NITTY GRITTY OF RESTORING OLD TILE ROOFS

Restoring old tile roofs presents an intricate challenge for any roofing contractor. If not done correctly, newly restored roof tiles can lose their beauty in just a few short years. Often times, the reason for this occurring is that the contractor didn’t know how to deal with older style tiles which need additional preparation and care. An old tile roof can still be serviceable with a long life ahead. But prior to any restoration work, it will need correct treatment to protect and prepare it for a beautiful, long lasting top coat. 

When just pressure cleaning won’t cut it

If you’ve got a house with old roof tiles, even straight after pressure cleaning, you can still feel grittiness. You mightn’t think it’s a biggie…it’s just a bit of loose grit, right? Let me tell you, if there is any loose sediment, the surface will move under the new top-coat, causing it to lift. Your newly restored tiled roof will look rubbish in a few short years. That IS a biggie!

To prevent this from occurring, a specific type of primer must always be used to bind any loose sediments down. Not all roofing contractors are experienced in restoring old tile roofs as it’s a bit of a specialised area. They may not be aware of which is the right type of primer to use or the correct preparation steps to take prior to restoration.

HERE IS SOME HANDY ADVICE TO HELP YOU ADD YEARS OF LIFE TO YOUR ROOF.

RESPRAYING YOUR ROOF

Exposure to UV, pollution and other environmental factors can take their toll. If you have a concrete tile, composite or metal roof, it will gradually dull with time. This should be expected, but is also easily fixed with regular respraying.

EFFLORESCENCE – WAIT, WHAT’S THAT?

Occasionally, natural salts within concrete roof tiles can migrate to the surface to form a whitish-greyish discolouration. It’s called efflorescence and it’s just a temporary cosmetic thing. You will find that it should disappear on its own over time.

MOISTURE MEANS MOSS

Moss and lichen spores are everywhere in the air and they can settle and grow on most roofing materials. Moss and lichen grow only where there is sufficient build-up of moisture and dirt particles to support them. Removing the growth is easy. A quick turn with a low-pressure hose or a chemical solution will be enough to remove unwanted growth.

CHECK YOUR GUTTERS, DOWNPIPES AND VALLEYS

Uncleared gutters, downpipes and valleys are a common cause of roof leaks. You should give them an inspection regularly – at least once a year.

PAINTED ROOFS NEED REPAINTING

If you choose to have your concrete roof painted you will need to respray it again every five years or every so often to retain that fresh-coat lustre.

TYPES OF TILE ROOFS:

  • Clay-This is by far the most popular and most used type of tile roof. The clay tiles can be glazed or unglazed.
  • Granite-A newcomer to the tile roof, granite tiles are lovely and come in ivory or black.
  • Slate-Slate tiles have been used for over 1000 years and are very durable and make a beautiful roof.
  • Concrete-This medium for roofing tiles has come into its own in the last 100 years.

COMMON PROBLEMS TO WATCH FOR:

Dirt, mold or algae-If any of these are excessive on your tile roof, it may be best to consult with a tile roofing contractor. For small amounts, a long brush and a mild cleaner will work wonders.

Efflorescence-This is a naturally occurring reaction of rainwater affecting the limestone in the clay. It produces whitish marks and streaks, but it is not harmful and does not need to be removed. It will naturally go away with time.

Broken tiles-If you have many broken tiles, contact a tile roofing contractor. If it is just one or two, you can replace them yourself. There are many helpful videos available on the internet to assist you with this.

Roof And Loft Space Ventilation

Attics and loft spaces often get forgotten about, but it’s just as important to inspect these areas of the home on a regular basis as it is the surface of the roof itself.

Proper ventilation is essential to help regulate the temperature difference between the interior and exterior regions of the roof as such that it helps prevent the build-up of moisture and keeps humidity to a minimum.

If there’s a lack of ventilation, the structure of your roof will deteriorate at a much faster rate while also having a significant impact on your energy bills as well as the comfort of your home.

Roofs are particularly susceptible to damage in overheated and poorly ventilated homes. Fortunately, such problems are usually easy to fix, provided you identify them early enough.

When inspecting your attic, be sure to look out for any mould or mildew, since this indicates a damp problem, either due to a leaking roof or poor ventilation.

If the area is particularly damp, especially after rain, then a leaking roof is the most likely culprit. However, mould doesn’t necessarily need a great deal of moisture to form, in which case it could be a product of poor ventilation alone.

This is most likely to be the case if the area is still fairly dry.

Simple Roof Maintenance Tips to Ensure a Healthy Roof

The cost of replacing or repairing a roof is an expense most of us can ill afford. Luckily, by spending a few hours periodically to carry out scheduled maintenance, you can actually catch roof problems and solve them before they spiral out of control.

Below are seven simple roof maintenance tips to ensure a healthy roof for as long as possible:

1. Shingles

Keep a close eye to detect any missing or damaged shingles and/or roof sealant. Simply cleaning shingles and keeping them free of dirt can also reduce the risk for algae, moss, fungal and lichen growth that can compromise your roof’s integrity.

If you notice that some shingles on the roof are worn, damaged or missing, you must act fast. If you feel you can handle it, replace them yourself, but if not you can engage a professional contractor. It is critical that you check, since shingle damage is part of normal roof wear, and shingles alone are simple and cheap to replace.

2. Sealant

Replace the roof sealant as needed. Inspect every area of the roof where there is sealant and identify any signs of cracking or wear and tear. If present, you will need to remove the old sealant completely and apply new sealant in each area

3. Trim Overhanging Branches

As you go about routinely inspecting your roof, be on the lookout for trees that are growing near your home. If there are branches hanging too closely to or directly above your roof, they need trimming. The reason is that falling leaves will collect on the roof, retain moisture and then start to rot your tiles, making them much weaker. If this remains unsolved for a long time, it may result in even more damage to the entire roofing structure.

4. Inspect for Rust

If you constructed your roof using any metallic parts, then you need to check regularly that there is not corrosion/rust on the metal parts. If you notice rust developing, it’s important to wire-brush to remove the rust, prime and finally paint the affected areas of the metal to retain keep them healthy longer.

5. Clean the Gutters

Gutters that clog up can cause a lot of damage to your roof. The reason for this is that water accumulating on gutters can easily make its way underneath your roofing structure. By keeping your gutters clean and in good repair, you ensure they can serve their intended purpose, alleviating any immediate dangers to your roof in the process.

Find Out How To Troubleshoot Basic Garbage Disposal Problems

How To: Clean a Garbage Disposal

If your sink smells like the dumpster behind a restaurant, take ten minutes to clean out your garbage disposal with these freshening tips.

Consider the environment within the average in-sink garbage disposal: It’s cool, dark, and moist, and there’s a near constant influx of food that gets shredded and scattered about. No wonder it gets smelly from time to time! To clean a garbage disposal and eliminate the odor-causing bacteria, follow these instructions.

STEP 1
There are two cardinal rules when it comes to cleaning a garbage disposal. The first is always to disconnect the power to the appliance before working on it. The easiest way to cut its power is simply by unplugging it. Normally, it’s plugged in to the wall under the sink. If you can’t locate the outlet, go to the electrical panel in your house and cut electricity to the circuit on which the garbage disposal is powered. To confirm that the power is off, try turning on the garbage disposal.

Next, point a flashlight down the drain to identify objects that may be lodged in, or wound around, the impellers that macerate the solids sent through the disposal. Look for such things as bottle caps, aluminum can pull-tabs, or vegetable fibers. If you find any, remove these items with needle-nose pliers or tongs. Yes, the second rule of cleaning a garbage disposal is never to stick your hand into the chamber.

STEP 2
Drop about a dozen ice cubes into the garbage disposal, followed by a half-cup of rock salt. Restore power to the disposal, so that you can turn on the mechanism while running water down the drain. Keep it on for about a minute, until all the built-up grime and gunk has fallen away from the disposal blades. Check the drain with a flashlight again. If the blades are clean, go and shut the power back off.

STEP 3
Pour a cup of vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda into the disposal. Let the combination fizz for about 15 minutes. In the process, the acidity of the solution kills bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli. Stick with the natural cleaners here; no toxic chemical should be used. Just as bacteria can come flying out of the disposal, compromising the sanitation of your kitchen sink, so too could a chemical.

STEP 4
While the vinegar and baking soda are busy fizzing inside the disposal, combine the two again—this time outside the appliance, on the counter—to create a thick paste. Put some of that paste on an old toothbrush, and use it to scrub down the top and bottom surfaces of the rubber flaps along the neck of the disposal. Those flaps are likely to be as bacteria-ridden as any other component. So while you’re at it, think about giving a good scrubbing to the rubber parts on your sink stopper, too, if there are any.

STEP 5
Now’s the time to engineer one final flush of the garbage disposal. First, plug the drain opening. Second, run the water in the sink until its basin is about three-quarters full. Add a teaspoon of dish soap, then finally remove the drain plug, letting the water drain out all while the disposal runs.

If you use your disposal daily, it’s a good idea to follow these steps once a week to clean it:

Step 1: With the disposal and faucet turned off, put six ice cubes in the chamber followed by 1 tablespoon of baking soda, three thin lemon slices, and 1 teaspoon of bleach. Top it all off with six more ice cubes.

Step 2: Turn the disposal on without running water until you hear the grinding stop.

Step 3: With the motor still running, flush with cold water for 30 seconds.

Thrifty Garbage Disposal Cleaning Tips

Did you know that your home’s garbage disposal needs to be cleaned regularly? During use, food particles and residue can be left behind and cause the unit to have an unpleasant odor.

The good news is that you don’t have to buy special, expensive products to do the job. Your disposal can be effectively cleaned with common items that you probably already have in your kitchen.  Learn some of the best ways to clean your garbage disposal with these 8 simple cleaning solutions.

1. Ice cubes 

One of the best disposal cleaning methods is with ice cubes from your freezer. Simply put a few handfuls of ice into the unit, then turn it on and run some cold water while the cubes grind. You’ll definitely hear the cubes working!

2. Ice and rock salt

You can also add a cup or so of rock salt to the ice cubes for some extra scrubbing power. Remember to run cold water when you turn the disposal on.

3. Baking soda and vinegar

A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar is also a good dgarbage disposal cleaning method. Sprinkle about a half-cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by a cup of white or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture bubble up and sit for five to ten minutes, then turn on the disposal and run water to distribute the mixture throughout the unit.

4. Citrus

Any type of citrus peel is a good disposal deodorizer. Lime, lemon, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit peels will all help refresh your sink and system. Be sure to cut the peels into small enough pieces for the unit to handle, then turn on the unit and run water while the peels grind.

5. Borax

You can also sprinkle a few tablespoons of borax into the disposal, followed by running water.

Tips for Deodorizing a Garbage Disposal

If the disposal is really smelly, or you have tried other cleaners and still get a foul odor, you can use a diluted bleach solution of two parts warm water and one part bleach. Don’t use more than 1/3 cup of bleach, and wear gloves when pouring into the drain. After pouring the bleach solution into the drain, run warm (not hot) water down the drain for several seconds.

Using citrus peels is another popular way to freshen up a smelly garbage disposal. The citrus oils in the peels certainly add some fragrance to the air, but the fact is, the peels do little to clean the disposal, and they do nothing to get rid of those slimy areas (which you’ve hopefully already cleaned with a sponge).

To give your disposal a little spritz, grind a small handful of citrus peels (cut into small pieces) in the disposal with cool water. If desired, you can also add a few ice cubes. The citrus oil can give the disposal a pleasant smell that lasts a little while. Keep in mind that this freshening method works best on a relatively clean disposal.

Ways to Clean a Smelly Garbage Disposal

The convenience of a garbage disposal is undeniable, as it simplifies a lot of our kitchen cleanups. However, frequent use of it can lead to unpleasant odors. If you have noticed a less than pleasant scent emerging from your garbage disposal, know that this is not permanent. Ridding your garbage disposal of a smell is not a laborious task.

In fact, you probably already have all of the ingredients to do the job. Here are nine tips on how to clean garbage disposal, and get rid of those lingering smells immediately.

1. Clean the Visible Portion of the Disposal

Slather a generous amount of dishwashing soap onto a dish wand or scrub brush. Scrub the visible part of the garbage disposal. Be particularly aware of the joint where the disposal rim meets the sink basin because small food particles and debris have a tendency to get trapped there. Even mold can grow in this area.

2. Soak the Housing

It is always advisable to run the kitchen faucet when you operate the garbage disposal. This helps your disposal get rid of all of the bits of food trapped in the housing.

If you notice that your appliance smells bad, it may be time to give the housing a thorough soak. Stop the sink drain, fill the basin about halfway with water and then add a bit of dish soap or vinegar. Next, unplug the drain while activating the garbage disposal. This propels the soapy water through the housing, rinsing off its hidden nooks and crannies.

3. Dislodge Slimy Residue

Kosher salt is an effective abrasive cleaner that can adequately dislodge slimy residue. First, pour a large cup of ice cubes into the garbage disposal, switch it on while adding a half-cup of the salt. The ice and salt combination should grind away what remains of the odor-causing residue. This is yet another quick fix to a dirty drain using simple items that you already have in your freezer and pantry.

4. Citrus

Citrus fruits can help your drain stay clean as well as act as a deodorizer. If you have an extra lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit lying around, try grinding a few peels — or even the entire fruit — to imbue the kitchen with a fresh citrus scent. Not only will this help your kitchen smell great, but the rough peels help to clean the blades and the disposal wall. The citrus oils do a fantastic job of keeping your garbage disposal fresh.

5. Routine Flushing

Don’t wait for your disposal to start smelling bad before you act. Garbage disposals require active and preventative care.

Turn on the garbage disposal and run a thick stream of hot water through it for at least one minute. This should be long enough to push particles through the pipes in your house. This is an ideal method for reducing and removing odor, as it doesn’t require you to purchase any extra ingredients. This is a tip that you should do after each time that you run the machine.

This Is Why Party Bus Rentals Are So Important

Quinceanera Party Bus

Choosing the right party bus for your Quinceañera party will make your day to be a memorable one. Riding in a party bus is the best way of making your Quinceañera to be perfect. The style and luxury that comes with a party bus, will add to the uniqueness of your Quince party. On this wonderful occasions, it is very important that you rent a good and comfortable party bus that will take you and your friends safely and stylishly to your Quince celebration.

However, on this special day, the first thing that should come to your mind is how to choose the best party bus in Houston. Do you have la hard time with choosing the best professional party bus rental company that will make your celebration a success? That should not be a problem

You may be very excited to pick a fun venue and a pretty dress. However, planning ahead for your transportation is also a very important things to do, make sure you get the best bus rental company to transport you safely to your venue. If your Quinceañera celebration is in March, April, May and June and you hesitate to make a schedule with a party bus rental company in Houston, you may get disappointed at the end of the day as all of them will be booked for prom and weddings. Booking for your ride few month ahead of time is a very smart idea, this way, you are sure to get your ride take you to your venue. And you will also have that extra time to make other necessary arrangements to make your Quinceañera to be perfect

Who will be accompanying you in your bus? Your Quinceañera court? Your parents? Making a reservation with a bus rental company in Houston will help you choose a party bus with enough space. It will be bad to hire a party bus and later finding out that it doesn’t contain you and your friends, parents or your Quinceañera court. At S and T’s Party Bus Huston, the size of the bus is never a problem. There are many buses of different sizes to choose from. Just make the necessary arrangements and leave the rest for S and T’s Party Bus Houston to provide you with exactly what you need.

Are you looking for a way of gracing your Quinceañera party with style and class in Houston? Have you been looking for the best bus drivers in Houston? If you have, then S and T’s Party Bus Houston is your best option. What better way to feel safe and comfortable on your Quinceañera party. You are sure to arrive in style and look beautiful in your pretty dress or suit. That’s not all, you will also have the best driver to drive you and your friends to your party at a very affordable price

How Much Is a Party Bus? Your Pre-Party Planning Guide

The Party Supply Rental industry has grown by 3.1% over the past five years and is expected to reach $6 Billion by the end of 2019.  And it’s a growing business for good reason… who doesn’t like a party bus?

How Much is a Party Bus

Many different factors impact the price of a party bus. However, a general average is $700 to $1000.

Choosing The Right Party Bus

When you start your party bus research, you’ll find that there are many different types of party bus rentals to choose from.

Duration of the Ride

Most party buses will be offered in blocks of time, usually in four-hour increments. Even if you only need the bus for two hours, you will still be charged for the base rate.

Picking Up and Dropping Off

The time of day you choose to be picked up and dropped off will impact the total cost of your experience. Just like rideshare apps have surge pricing during busy hours, it will be more expensive to get a bus during weekend evenings than during weekdays

Making the Most of Your Party Bus Rental

When celebrating life’s milestones from proms to bachelor and bachelorette parties to family reunions to switching bodies with a parent and learning a valuable lesson, a party bus rental can be one of the most fun ways to do it. You get an endlessly customizable space that’s as wholesome or as decadent as you want it to be. And where else can you drink and “drive” in complete safety, or be seen while sightseeing?

But the truth is you don’t even need a reason to rent a party bus. Picture this: instead of jostling for a bartender’s attention and yelling over strangers, you and your friends can create a built-for-you nightlife alternative—maybe even for a lower cost than a typical night out (depending on how many people you invite). If you plan to rent a party bus

Choosing a Party-Bus Theme

Clever party themes elevate standard shindigs to legendary status, which means all the more reason to pick a good one for your next mobile affair. Even if it’s not apropos to the event you’re celebrating, a random unifying concept will instantly grab the attention of passersby and result in some unforgettable selfies

Recommended Decorations: Balloons, streamers, and banners are all easy to tape up and pull down later without incurring a cleaning fee. Also, don’t overlook the advantage of having a TV in the bus; you can add to the atmosphere with movies or photo slideshows.

Recommended Costumes: Masks, wigs, hats, and custom T-shirts are always smart options, since they can be removed easily and free guests to dress to their own comfort level

RENTING A PARTY BUS? THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

When you’re renting a party bus, you only want the best. To get not only the best bus, but the best experience, there are a few things you should know prior to actually hiring one. These tips help you pick the perfect party bus for your needs while still getting a fair price.

Check The Capacity

It should be obvious that a party bus only fits a set number of passengers, but sometimes extra people suddenly want to come at the last minute. Before you decide on a bus, get a concrete number for the maximum passengers that may be riding. For best results, rent a party bus that fits at least a few more than your maximum number. This leaves plenty of room for everyone. Remember that you may void your contract if you try to place more people on the bus than allowed.

See The Bus In Person

Never under any circumstances hire a party bus without seeing it in person first. The only real exception is if you’ve rented the exact bus before and trust the company. Pictures online often look great, but you may not be renting a party bus that’s the same as the pictures. Reputable companies have no problem letting you check out your bus prior to renting it.

Get A Contract

Always ask for an easy to understand contract with every fee listed clearly. The last thing you want is to discover hidden fees that you have to pay after you’ve already committed. Renting a party bus doesn’t have to be complicated. By having a clear quote in advance, you’ll know what to expect and won’t have any nasty surprises that ruin your fun.

Divide Costs In Advance

Part of the reason to get a set cost in advance is so you have time to divide the costs among each passenger that’s paying. You don’t have to worry about this part if you’re paying for it all yourself. Most limo companies require an upfront deposit, so be prepared. If you are splitting costs, getting the money before the final payment is due ensures that you’re not shorted at the last minute by your friends.

How Big Of A Party Bus Do I Need? Check Out This Guide For Answers

Whether you’re planning a bachelorette party, a wine tour, or a huge birthday bash, party buses make awesome modes of transportation. Planning the logistics of the event can get kind of complicated sometimes. For instance, you may be asking yourself, “How big of a party bus do I need?” Well, here are steps you can follow to help you figure that out.

Get a rough roster together: When you start planning your event, put together a rough list of people you want to invite. Think of every single person you would want to be at the party, and then slowly dwindle the list down if you have more people than you want. If you have the perfect amount of people for the party, you’re golden

Send out the invitations: Once your roster has been finalized, you can start sending out the invitations. Make sure you enclose all the important details in the invitations.

Count all RSVPs: Those RSVP are really important. When you get the calls, texts, or response cards back, make sure you have a good system for keeping track of them. If you haven’t heard from someone and it’s a day or two before the RSVP date, reach out to them and find out if they plan on coming.

Get the final headcount: After you’ve heard back from everyone, determine the final headcount. After you have a number in mind, make sure you included yourself. You would be surprised how often party planners forget to count themselves

Home Electrical Safety Inspection Tips

The Importance of Safety Inspections and Electrical Testing

The importance of electrical safety testing and inspections cannot be understated. While the majority of the devices we use are fully dependent on electricity, most of us tend to overlook electrical wiring safety. Often, we only contact a professional electrician when a breaker has already tripped, or an entire circuit has already stopped working. This negligence for electrical wiring safety is one of the main culprits of electrical hazards resulting in property damages, injuries, and loss of lives.

One of the crucial things to keep your residence or commercial establishment safe from electrical hazards is by having your electric wiring tested and inspected regularly. A periodic electrical safety inspection will:

  • Uncover potential fire hazards and electric shock risks
  • Determine any faulty or inferior quality electrical work
  • Reveal problems or absence of appropriate grounding system in your premise
  • Identify old or outdated wiring
  • Spot appliances that are operating erratically

As important as having your wiring system inspected in a fairly regular basis is the need to see to it that you contact only those licensed electricians to conduct the inspection. A certified expert electrician can thoroughly check your electrical system, and offer suggestions after inspecting to ensure the safety and optimal performance of all appliances and wiring systems within your premises.

Old or Outdated Wiring

Most electrical wiring systems can be expected to last for around 30 or 40 years, but about one-third of homes in the U.S. have had the same wiring for over 50 years. If your home’s electrical wiring is in need of an update, you may notice these signs:

  • Fuses that frequently blow
  • Circuit breaker trip repeatedly
  • You use extension cords and surge protectors in several outlets

Extension cords, surge protectors, and switching circuits back on should all be temporary solutions to problems. If they become normal parts of your home life, you should have your electrical system inspected to ensure that it’s safe. Our electricians will help you determine whether your wiring needs to be replaced.

ElectaCourse News: Electrical Inspection and Testing

Individuals who are new to the testing and inspection of electrical installations will greatly benefit from the 2392 home study course. This course is presented in six easy to access modules, and it is designed to ensure that 

An electrical inspection is not only done once or twice. There should be a regular home inspection thereafter, to avoid any faulty wiring or short circuit as a result of pest infestation or exposure of wires to weather elements. You can perform electrical inspection by yourself by checking all the wiring, circuits and appliances. Determine the condition of your switches or replace dead bulbs. All these you can do without the help of an electrician and saves you a lot of money too.

However, if you have a large house or office, you can always contact a professional Denver electrician to perform a regular comprehensive electrical inspection. For industrial electrical inspections, here’s a video demonstrating the actual inspection and testing before installation is performed.

Importance of home electrical safety inspection

All electrical installations/wiring will deteriorate with age and use. However, most home owners often overlook the wiring condition. At the most, an electrical safety inspection will only be called when a breaker has already been tripped or a fuse has already been blown. It is not surprising that an electrical fault is a common cause for house fires.

Having your electrical wiring inspected is one of the most important things to keep your home safe from electrical hazards. You don’t want to risk the lives of your loved ones, nor getting your property damaged due to electrical fires. Therefore, electrical safety should be a top priority in your home.

A proper electrical safety inspection will:

  • Identify electrical wiring and components that may have degraded over time.
  • Reveal if any electrical circuits are overloaded.
  • Reveal if any lack of earthing.
  • Identify any defective wiring or other mistakes made by non-certified electricians or DIY home-owners.
  • Spot oversized fuses or breakers that may cause an electrical fire hazard.
  • Find any potential electric shock risks.

What will I receive upon the completion of an Electrical Safety Inspection?

Although currently there isn’t any legislative documentation or certification that is required upon a completion of an Electrical Safety Inspection, it is recommended that one or more of the following is supplied to the Client by the electrician:

  • Energy Safe Victoria’s (ESV) Certificate of Home Safety Inspection – Report
  • A checklist listing all observed and tested appliances, circuits and outlets including explanations if applicable
  • A detailed report outlining any observations that may be considered a potential hazard
  • Recommendations to prevent any electrical failures in the future

Any documentation you receive should be kept in a safe and accessible place should you require it in the future (e.g. insurance purposes, future electrical projects, to accompany a WHS report, or as an asset when selling the property).

Important Tips For Long Distance Moving

WHAT IS LONG DISTANCE MOVING?

In contrast to local or intrastate moves, long distance moving falls under federal regulation for transporting items from state to state. Companies that perform long distance, or interstate, moves must also have insurance policies that help to protect the items transported and the customer.

LONG DISTANCE MOVING COMPANY

Moving can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life, especially if the move in question is going to take you across long distances. Whether you’re relocating for work or just looking for a change of scenery, there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way of picking up and moving cross-country, but for most people, there is.

No, it isn’t just leaving your comfort zone to set your life down among new people and surroundings, but the move itself. Luckily, there’s a way to make moves of any distance as easy and stress-free as possible. That’s where we come in.

What is considered a long distance move?

Every company will define long distance moving differently, but it’s typically considered to be moving more than 100 miles and across state lines. Long-distance moves are also referred to as interstate moves.

What companies offer these services?

The three main options for long-distance moving are:

  • Full service. Includes packing, loading, unloading and transportation.
  • Truck Rental. Includes use of the equipment for a certain number of days/miles.
  • Self-Move. Includes transportation, and allows for significant cost savings.

8 cheap ways to move across country

Most people move for a new job, to attend school or to be closer to family. Whatever your reason is for making the move, you’ll want to save money wherever you can. Here are eight of the best ways to save money when you move:

  1. Purge your belongings
    If you lighten your load, you’ll pay less in moving costs. Have a yard sale, sell what you don’t need on Craigslist or similar sites, donate what you can to charities and stop acquiring new things before you leave. Taking a few steps to declutter your home will make your move easier and cheaper.
  2. Make your move seasonal
    Summer is the most expensive time to move because that’s when families are getting settled before the new school year starts. Leases tend to expire towards the end of the month, so you’ll have more people booking moving companies the last week of the month than the first or second. Try to move at a different time of the year, in the middle of the month and on a weekday when there’s less competition for movers.
  3. Shop around for the best prices
    Don’t book the first mover you talk to. Get estimates from long distance movers that specialize in cross-country moves. Compare what you’ll pay. Remember to measure costs and services. A lower price from a company that calls themselves a discount mover might mean you pay for extras that you wouldn’t pay for with a higher priced company.
  4. Look for moving discounts
    While you’re shopping around, don’t neglect to ask for available discounts. AAA moving discounts are available for members and some moving companies provide reduced rates at certain times of the year (generally during their slower seasons, like winter).
  5. Consider doing the move yourself
    Shop around to find the cheapest truck rental for moving. Truck rentals are reasonably priced through companies like U-Haul and Budget Truck Rental, and most of these companies offer one-way rental trucks. If you really want to keep your budget tight, pack up your car with only your most critical belongings, or hitch a trailer to your car. It’s a good way to save money and start over. Handling the move yourself with just the bare essentials is one of the cheapest ways to move long distance.
  6. Use a portable moving container
    One of the cheapest ways to move out of state is to use a portable storage container. Mobile storage units can help you cut down on costs and stress by keeping all of your things in one place until it’s time to relocate. Companies like PODS provide a great way to store your belongings before and after the actual move. A cross-country trip could cost as little as $1,500.
  7. Ship your things
    You can also travel with your stuff while someone else does the driving. If you don’t have furniture to move and you’ve managed to reduce your load significantly, you can ship what you need to your new home using FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. You can get on a bus or a train or even book a flight across the country to your final destination. You may have to pay for extra baggage fees, but those might cost a lot less than what you pay a moving company.
  8. Be frugal, and save money wherever you can
    Instead of buying boxes from a retailer, visit grocery stores and department stores to collect the boxes that they would normally recycle. See what you can find on Craigslist, and remember that the packing tape you buy at a discount shop is probably just as good as the packing tape you buy at a high-end retailer. Accept help wherever you can, whether it’s your family offering to help you pack or a friend donating frequent flyer miles for your trip.

Professional moving services

Considering the huge competition in the moving industry and the constant struggle for more customers, especially during the off-season, the range and quality of the services a moving company offers to their clients is what sets apart the great movers from the mediocre or even bad ones.

Do moving companies pack for you? They will, if you want them to. Obviously, quick and safe packing is the number one extra service that movers have in their arsenal of magic tricks to please their customers. If you don’t have much time until your move-out date (emergency or last-minute moving) or if you own a number of special items that require professional packing (antique furniture, a piano, or a hot tub), then your choice is clear. Professional packers will arrive at your home with all the necessary packing supplies too! (Should I hire professional packers?)

Do moving companies disassemble furniture? If they have to do it, they will do it. In fact, there are a number of reasons why some of your furniture may need to be taken apart for moving: 1) some large pieces will not go through narrow doorways, hallways or staircases unless they are disassembled, 2) other furniture pieces will have highly breakable glass elements or delicate ornaments that can only be saved if packed separately. Professional movers will come with the right tools and proper moving equipment too! (Will movers disassemble furniture?)
Do moving companies store your stuff? Most of the reputable and trustworthy moving companies offer the additional service of placing all or part of your household items in storage until you are ready to receive them. Keep in mind that that extra service can literally save you a lot of troubles when you’re in the middle of a house renovation project, when you’re still looking for a new home but have to move out of the old one, and when you have to do a temporary move and have no other place to leave your stuff.

Why hire a long distance mover?

Before you start preparing for your house move, it’s important that you take the time to think about how exactly you are going to handle the house moving project. To make an informed decision, you’ll need to take a closer look at several key points, the major one being the DISTANCE between Point A (the current home you’re moving out of) and Point B (the destination home you’re about to move into soon).

Theoretically, when the move distance between the two homes is greater than 100 miles, then you’re facing a long distance move. Therefore, when moving 500 miles, 1,000 miles or 2,000 miles across the entire country, then the upcoming move becomes not only increasingly complicated and challenging, but also rather risky and dangerous for everyone involved.

Long distance moving falls well outside the comfort zone of Do-It-Yourself moves due to a couple of main reasons: expenses and risks.

  • Self-move expenses. The cost of renting a moving vehicle of the right size and purchasing the required insurance is the first step. Then add the cost of fuel, road tolls, parking fees, meals and lodgings along the trip as well. Factor in the cost of all the packing supplies and the price of renting or purchasing the necessary moving equipment (a moving dolly). Finally, set up a contingency fund because you never know what may happen on the road to your new home.
  • Risks and dangers. Driving a big rental moving truck across multiple state lines is a risky business, especially if you’ve never done it before. Each driven mile increases the risk of something bad happening on the road. Sustaining personal injuries or inflicting property damage are two other highly undesirable scenarios that will further complicate the risk assessment task when moving without using the services of a long distance mover.

Window Cleaning Tips By Professional Window Cleaners

What’s the best thing to clean windows with?

We recommend washing your windows with soapy water. Fill a bucket with a simple solution of washing-up liquid and warm water, but avoid creating too many soap suds as these will leave further marks if allowed to dry. Start washing windows using a non-abrasive sponge. Alternatively, try a specific window-cleaning fluid, but be careful that strong formulas don’t damage surrounding paintwork.

How to cleaning windows without streaks – wipe off any excess cleaner

To remove soapy water from glass, use a clean squeegee to work from top to bottom in a reverse S pattern. Periodically wipe the squeegee blade on a clean rag to avoid smearing dirt around. Remove remaining water with a damp chamois or microfibre cloth and dry the windowsill. Avoid paper towels or cloths that might leave lint on the glass. For exterior upper-floor panes, it’s worth investing in a gadget with a U-shaped pole to avoid reaching out of top-floor windows!

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST WINDOW CLEANER

MATERIALS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dish detergent

TOOLS

  • bucket
  • scrub brush
  • optional extension pole
  • water hose
  • optional sprayer attachment

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine water, white vinegar and dish detergent in a bucket. Increase amounts as needed.
  • Using a soft bristle scrub brush on an extension pole handle thingy, dip the brush in a bucket of the solution, and scrub it on the window.
  • Before it has a chance to dry, spray/rinse it off with clean water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. A hose fitted with a sprayer attachment is helpful.

Don’t neglect window screens

If you have metal window screens, write a number on each window in erasable pencil. Write a corresponding number on the screen before removing it from the window so you know which screen goes back where.

Remove the screens and dust the mesh and frame with the soft brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner. Scrub both sides of the screen with a stiff brush dipped in detergent solution (if you are doing this in the bath, line it with towels to prevent scratching the finish). Rinse using a shower attachment or the fine spray nozzle of a hosepipe. Leave to dry thoroughly in a sunny spot before refitting to the window.

Warnings and Precautions for Using Cleaners

Always label the contents of your cleaner bottles. Label it clearly in big letters with what is in the bottle. “Vinegar Glass Cleaner” or “Rubbing Alcohol and Vinegar Glass Cleaner” are good labels. It is also wise to add the date when you mixed the ingredients. If you aren’t getting good results, that date might tell you why. Store cleaning products separately from cooking ingredients. You don’t want to confuse rubbing alcohol with drinking alcohol or use diluted vinegar in a recipe.

Warning

Do not reuse empty cleaner bottles. Buy a new bottle for your glass cleaner. Both vinegar and alcohol act as solvents and will pick up any traces of other chemicals that were in an old spray bottle. Even if you have a degree in chemistry, it’s wise to avoid unwanted chemical interactions. With a new, clean bottle you won’t have to worry about unintended reactions. Keep all glass cleaners out of the reach of children and pets. The ingredients can be irritating, and rubbing alcohol is flammable.

Truth or myth? Is newspaper the best glass cleaner?

Get a bang for your buck with these unusual newspaper uses.

Claim:

Newspapers are an effective way to wipe glass windows clean, sans streaks.

It’s True!

Compared to paper towels, newspaper fibers are more rigid and will not separate and cause lint. According to The Daily Reporter, more than 90% of U.S. papers switched from petroleum-based ink, which caused stains and smears, to the cheaper, smear-free alternative of soy-based ink by 2000. The switch rendered the newspaper perfect for multi-purpose use!

Want to try this cleaning method out yourself? Grab your local paper and look for the official Soy Ink Seal to see whether the ink is petroleum-based or soy-based. You can also test by holding the paper  between your thumb and index finger for a minute or more. If your fingers are stained, the paper uses petroleum-based ink and is no good for glass cleaning. If your fingers are stain-free, mix equal parts vinegar and water for your cleaning solution then use the newspaper to clean the glass as you would with a paper towel. You can also use old newspapers to ripen tomatoes, deodorize food containers, kill weeds and more, according to Friends of the Earth!

Popular Eye Care Treatments Today

Factors To Look For When Choosing The Right Optometrist

Generally, one would think that with aging, eyesight will begin to deteriorate. But with the advent of smartphones, people are becoming victims of poor vision no matter what their age is. The stress on the eyes and nerves has made it difficult to keep perfect eyesight. There is no point in ignoring any eye problem. Sooner or later, you would have to visit an optometrist. Then why delay the much-needed appointment? The important thing is choosing the right optometrist.

Unwavering Reputation Throughout

What do you do when you look for a new service or product? Read its reviews online, right? This helps you know what is best for you based on other’s opinions. Same goes for choosing the right optometrist for you. Search for optometrist near you and go through the Google reviews

Go The Referral Route

Before knowing how to choose an optometrist, one should know the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologists. An optometrist would conduct an eye exam and prescribe you glasses and detect eye issues if any. An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, would treat your diseases. Before going for an eye exam, you should be clear on their differences.

Qualifications Matter A Ton

If you have looked through a list of optometrists and are confused as to which one to choose, check for credentials of the optometrists. The qualifications ensure that the optometrist is the right doctor to consult. The doctor should have an eye specialty degree to start with

Affordability That Adds Convenience

Eye checkups are an important eye exam you should not skip. One needs to check in advance as to what an optometrist charges. It is better than paying through the nose later on

How to choose an eye doctor

Choosing an eye care provider is an important health care decision. After all, you will be trusting your eye doctor to safeguard your precious sense of sight and help you maintain a lifetime of good vision.

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems, and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some optometrists also provide low vision care and vision therapy.

Optometrists also may participate in your pre- and post-operative care if you have eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist. With a few exceptions, optometrists in the U.S. are not trained or licensed to perform eye surgery.

An optometrist generally must complete a four-year college degree program in the sciences, plus four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school. In this regard, the educational requirements of an optometrist are similar to those of a dentist.

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat disease, prescribe medications and perform eye surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Tips for Choosing an Optometrist

Get Referrals

Optometrists give eye exams, prescribe vision-correcting eyeglasses and contact lenses, and diagnose and treat eye diseases and conditions. For more complex conditions or when surgery is necessary, optometrists refer patients to ophthalmologists (medical doctors who treat eyes). If you need a new optometrist, ask your family, friends, and perhaps your primary care doctor for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. You can also search the American Board of Optometry’s website.

Research the Optometrist’s Credentials

Education tells you an optometrist has the necessary training and skills to treat a variety of vision and eye problems. Optometrists must complete four-year Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degrees, in addition to four years of undergraduate college. Also confirm the optometrist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the eye doctor’s optometry school, training, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.

Consider the Optometrist’s Experience

Experience matters when you’re facing eye problems or conditions that could affect your vision. The more experience an optometrist has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition, such as glaucoma, the optometrist has treated. A few states allow optometrists to perform certain types of eye surgery, such as LASIK. If you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the optometrist has performed. Ask the eye doctor about complication rates—complications the optometrist has encountered, as well as your own risk of complications.

Evaluate Communication Style

Choose an optometrist with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the optometrist, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways you understand? Find an optometrist who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process

Review Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Reading what other people have to say about an optometrist can provide insight into how a provider practices eye healthcare, as well as how his or her optometry practice is operated. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the eye doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.

Tips for Choosing an Ophthalmologist

A Personal Decision

Seeing an ophthalmologist for early treatment or preventive eye care is the best way to reduce the risk of permanent eye damage and vision loss. Your ophthalmologist will guide you through many decisions about protecting your vision or treating an eye condition. How do you find the best ophthalmologist who is right for you? Here are some important factors to keep in mind.

Get Referrals

Start with a referral list from your optometrist or primary care doctor. You can also ask family, friends and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience on Healthgrades.com. Keep in mind there are many different ophthalmology subspecialties including those who specialize in treating glaucoma, or diseases of the cornea or retina. As you narrow down your list, call each ophthalmologist’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor.

Research the Ophthalmologist’s Credentials

Board certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing an ophthalmologist. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to provide the best ophthalmic care.  Subspecialty fellowship training is especially valuable. Also confirm that the ophthalmologist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the ophthalmologist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.

Consider the Ophthalmologist’s Experience

Experience matters when you’re facing eye problems or conditions that could affect your vision. The more experience an ophthalmologist has with a condition or procedure, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with your specific condition the ophthalmologist has treated. If you need a specific procedure, ask how many of the procedures the doctor has performed and find out about complication rates—complications the doctor has encountered as well as your own risk of complications

Consider Gender

It’s important to feel comfortable with your ophthalmologist’s gender because you will need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to eye diseases and conditions, your own gender is also an important consideration. Ophthalmologists are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the ophthalmologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

How to choose an eye doctor

It may be human nature to surround ourselves with people who see things the way we do. But we should also include a few who see things a little differently. This applies especially to your eye doctor.

The person you choose to provide your annual eye exam should be as much an ally as an expert. Above all, he or she should be able to tell you what you need to know about your vision health — even when you don’t see it coming

Eye care experts generally recommend a comprehensive eye exam every year or 2, depending on age or vision needs. And with roughly 60,000 optometrists and ophthalmologists operating in the U.S., there are plenty of choices. Here are 6 considerations we recommend when deciding on the best eye doctor for you.

Get a read on your network

More than 87% of Americans with vision benefits intend to get eye exams within 12 months.3 Many carriers, including EyeMed, offer online portals that enable you to search by proximity, and get a feel for the mix of in-network independent and retail providers. Remember: Staying in-network translates to lower out-of-pocket costs — that means more money in your pocket.

Know the O’s

Eye care professionals fall into three categories.4 Be sure to see the right one.

Optometrists are primary healthcare professionals for the eye. Doctors of Optometry examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors, licensed to diagnose and treat all eye diseases, as well as perform surgery. Think about optometrists and ophthalmologists like your family doctor and a surgeon — except within the vision world, ophthalmology is a specialty within a specialty.

Opticians are technicians who fit frames and lenses that have been prescribed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to correct the patient’s vision

Ideas For An Inexpensive Kitchen Remodeling

Choosing Kitchen Materials

Before you shop for appliances and choose the material for your countertops, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your kitchen renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire and Kitchen Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new kitchen will look like, after exploring various kitchen designs and layouts. Finally, you should carefully plan out space and storage.

Now it’s time to drill down to the details of your kitchen remodel. It’s best to choose all of the appliances, materials and finishes down to the hardware before the project begins. That way, you will have a truly realistic idea of how much the project will cost. (Allowances can quickly get out of hand.)

As you choose among fixtures and materials, visit specialty design showrooms for appliances, lighting, flooring, cabinets, etc. You’ll get a real feel for what’s available in the market, and you can talk to the professionals who work there about your ideas and what products will achieve your goals.

Cabinets form the backbone of the kitchen. Configure the cabinetry to make the most use of your kitchen’s size and floor plan. Consider different layouts and looks.

Base cabinets get the most attention, whereas hanging wall cabinets are sacrificed for aesthetic features—windows, dramatic backsplashes—to create atmosphere and a living room appeal in the kitchen. That said, base cabinets are moving away from doors and toward drawers. Drawers make storage more accessible for more people.

Your Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

The right kitchen cabinetry can make or break your kitchen’s functionality and style — not to mention your budget. No pressure, right? Don’t stress yet — Houzz’s kitchen cabinet guides can walk you through the process, from start to finish. Resource guides covering everything from Shaker to flat panel, from corbels to aprons, from glass knobs to recessed pulls, are all listed here in easy-to-access fashion.

Door Styles

Shaker, flat or inset? Your cabinet door style is important — it may be your biggest kitchen expense, after all — but choosing it doesn’t have to be stressful. See which of these popular cabinet doors fit with your home’s style.

Hardware Styles

Of course, once you have your cabinets chosen, you have a whole other task ahead of you: choosing hardware. Even if you’ve got simple Shaker cabinets like these, your choice of drawer pulls and knobs makes a big difference in your finished look.

Colors and Finishes

Colorful kitchen cabinetry has made a big comeback. Try pretty palettes to give your kitchen flair.

Molding and Details

Adding molding is an easy way to make any type of cabinetry look custom. Whether you want to add crown molding to your existing kitchen or edge molding to new cabinets, this guide can help you envision the final result.

steps to choosing the right kitchen cabinets

Set the budget

Cabinets fall into three categories: stock, semi-custom, and custom. Stock cabinets start around $70 per linear foot (a typical kitchen has 25 to 30 linear feet of cabinets). Home centers sell them fully assembled or stores such as Ikea offer flat-pack versions that will need to be put together onsite; styles and sizes tend to be fairly limited. Semi-custom cabinets, which range from $150 to $250 per linear foot, come in more configurations, so they’ll fit your kitchen more precisely, if not perfectly. Custom cabinets can easily cost $500 or more per linear foot; they’re crafted to your exact specs and can include many personalized features.

Choose a style

The big decision is between framed and frameless. Framed cabinets consist of a box and face frame, to which doors and drawers are attached. Frameless cabinets, often referred to as European-style, eliminate the face frame; doors and drawers attach directly to the cabinet box. That provides great accessibility and a more contemporary look. On the downside, the absence of a face frame can compromise rigidity; better manufacturers compensate by using a thicker box—say, ¾-inch plywood instead of ½-inch particleboard. For the European look in a framed cabinet, opt for a full-overlay door, which covers all or most of the face frame.

Pick the features

Accessories can improve cabinet functionality, but they’ll also increase the cost by 20 percent or more. A pull-out trash can is a worthwhile addition. Built-in charging stations are helpful, too, because they keep the countertop clear of electronic devices. Appliance garages, those countertop compartments designed to conceal small appliances, don’t always offer the best organization. Instead, consider a lift cabinet with a spring-loaded shelf that swings up and out, providing easy access to a mixer, food processor, or other hefty device.

Lighting

“Integrated lighting has become very popular. As soon as you open the drawer, the light comes on. We also do a lot of undercabinet lighting, including LED fixtures with a built-in plug for countertop appliances and a USB port to charge your smartphone and other electronics.”—Kathleen Wilber, Ikea, U.S. sales leader for kitchens

Finish

“There’s still plenty of interest in lighter-toned cabinets. But we’re starting to see an uptick in our pebbled gray and chai finishes, as more customers go for a tinted neutral color instead of stark white.”—Tracy Riel, KraftMaid Cabinetry, manager, designer services

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets Where To Start & What To Know

Choosing kitchen cabinets is probably the biggest if not the most nerve-wracking decision you’ll make for your kitchen. It’s easy to understand since the cabinets have a big impact on your budget as well as how your kitchen looks. They’re one of the first things you see when you walk in a kitchen and have a large influence on the whole “feel” of the room

Looks aren’t the whole story however and with cabinets there is an element of ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’. That’s because they’re made with a variety of construction techniques using several different materials in a “good”, “better”, “best” fashion. Besides that there are options to consider like full extension drawers, soft-close hinges and many others, and they can have a big impact on the overall cost.

If you’re now thinking that you’ll need to mortgage the farm to afford decent cabinets, don’t worry. You can still find good products at an affordable price and it doesn’t have to incorporate the absolute best materials or the latest organizer gizmos.

Just be aware however that cabinets generally consume about half of the typical kitchen budget so you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re getting for your money. The best way to do that is to understand the differences in construction and materials and how those elements impact their quality and durability.

The first thing you want to do is get some clarity on your goals for how you want your kitchen to look and function so that you’re ultimately satisfied with the end result. You should do this regardless of whether you’re replacing your existing cupboards (essentially staying with the same layout) or starting with a completely new layout plan.

Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinets

It is not possible to have a functional kitchen without cabinets. They are an essential part of the kitchen. It is not possible to have an organized kitchen without cabinets. There is an extensive range of styles available on the market and choosing the style that is perfect for your kitchen can be challenging. Some of the important considerations while selecting cabinets are the color and style.

Consider the Kitchen Style

There are several kitchen styles which are suitable for traditional and modern kitchens. It is important to choose cabinets which match with the color scheme of your kitchen.

Choose the Material

There are a wide range of materials which are used for making cabinets. You can choose from stainless steel, melamine, metal, wood, or thermo foil. One of the most popular choices for cabinets is still solid wood.

Choose the Right Design

There are so many options when it comes to styles and colors of doors. There are also countless possibilities when it comes to the layout.

Aesthetics and Functionality

While choosing cabinets, you should not just focus on the beauty and look of the cabinets. You can choose the best cabinets by considering the available space. You can also add drawers under the counters of the kitchen instead of shelves

Slate Roof Installation With Hip And Ridge Joints

Roofing Buying Guide

Some home repairs, you can put off indefinitely. A leaky roof is not one of them. Cracked, curled, or missing roof shingles demand immediate attention. If you neglect them, they can lead to severe water damage that can seriously drain your savings account.

At Consumer Reports, we test asphalt shingles because that’s what most folks have on their homes. Our test results show that not only does performance vary widely among brands, but also among different product lines from a single manufacturer.

Water Will Find a Way In

Water marks on a ceiling, or worse, dripping water, may have you worried that your whole roof is in tatters. But just because there’s a leak doesn’t mean your roof will require a massive amount of repairs. Sometimes stopping it is as simple as filling a crack with caulk, replacing a few shingles, or installing some flashing—a membrane or layer of metal that provides a mechanical barrier to redirect water at corners, crevices, gaps, and other spots vulnerable to leaking.

Fallen tree limbs, hail, and even wind can loosen or remove shingles. Damaged flashing is another common culprit. Even rubberized boots around plumbing pipes, or with improperly installed satellite dishes or solar panels can cause isolated leaks. To determine what kind of leak you’ve got on your hands, first try to trace it to its origin.

Looking for Leaks

It’s easiest to find a leak when it’s raining outside. Remember that water often accumulates at a spot that’s different from where it’s entering—it generally runs down the length of a rafter or stud and only drips once it reaches a low point.

Essential Tips On Choosing The Right Roofing Installation Contractors

Your roof is the first and probably most important defense against the elements, like hail storms. Roofing installation projects also tend to be quite complicated and costly, choosing the right contractor can help ease your mind while ensuring that every cent counts.

Getting the right roof installed by the right roofing installation contractors will not only ensure that it holds up to the elements for as long as possible, but also helps alleviate most of the concerns homeowners have concerning the quality of work performed through the provision of service guarantees, and manufacturer warranties.

Experience

When it comes to roofing installation, the main rule of thumb is to always go with an experienced service provider. Hiring a roofing company that has overseen the completion of numerous projects, successfully, comes with a variety of advantages.

Reputation

Before hiring a roofing contractor, be sure to find out as much as you can about their reputation. Contact the roofer and ask them to provide you with examples of their most recent work. This will give you an idea of the type of projects they excel in.

Written Agreement

A written agreement gives homeowners, and contractor’s an official referral point in case of any disagreements on essential project details crop up during or at the end of the project. These contracts usually document important project details including pricing, quality of materials to be used and project duration among others.

Roofing Calculator – Estimate your Roofing Costs

What to Expect: In this guide we’ll cover the following roofing options: asphalt shingles, wood shingles and shakes, metal roofing, concrete, clay, and fiber-cement tiles, natural and faux slate, and the new Tesla solar tiles that have so far proven to be more of vaporware than a real product.

Types of Roofing Materials

These most common options cover more than 95 percent of residential roofs in the United States, so unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed here.

Asphalt shingles

More than 75 percent of all single-family homes in the US are roofed with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to the more energy-efficient and durable metal roofing.

There are two types of asphalt shingles:

Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide color and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight and resist tearing.

Organic asphalt shingles begin with paper, often recycled, that is saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they generally offer better stability in high winds. Although you can still see them on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued over the course of last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof and more prone to excess moisture absorption.

Wood shingles and shakes

Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes are available

Roof Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Roofing

Expert advice about how to sort through the various types of roofing to choose the best one for your home.

If you’re thinking about buying a new roof, be prepared to pick from possibilities that range from the familiar to materials you never knew existed. In this article, we’ll help you become more acquainted with your options and the features you should consider when comparing one to another. Then we’ll point you to more detailed information about each roofing material.

Some roofing materials, such as slate, wood shakes, and copper, have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. But a considerable array of other roofing materials have joined them, from the perennial favorite, asphalt-fiberglass, to newer products made from fiber cement, concrete, and plastic composites. Most of these have been developed over the past couple of decades with an eye toward greater durability, easier installation, lower cost, sustainability, and other features homeowners want

What to Consider

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of just replacing your existing material with a newer version of the same thing. Though this often makes sense because you know that the existing material worked okay until recently, you may be missing an opportunity to upgrade the look and functionality of your home’s roof

Weather Barrier

Because your home’s roof is the primary barrier between you and Mother Nature, it’s critical to choose a material that will shelter your home reliably. It must shed rain and snow, hold up in wind, and endure the sun for many years. Depending upon your climate and the shape and orientation of your home’s roof, some materials will do this job better than others.

Roof Slope

The slope of your roof’s surface is a consideration that may eliminate some some roofing possibilities, especially if the slope is low. A roof’s slope is the number of inches it rises for every 12 inches of horizontal “run.” For example, a roof with a “4-in-12 slope” rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run.

HOW TO CHOOSE A ROOF FOR YOUR HOME

From natural materials like slate and wood to manmade products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers, there are more types and styles of roofing to choose from today than ever before.

Pros and Cons

Some types of roofing may be better suited for your house than others. Factors such as the slope of the roof and strength of the framing could limit your choices.

Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing for homes, comprising over 80% of residential roofing market.

Materials: Made of either an organic paper fiber mat (better for cold weather and wind resistance) or fiberglass (more fire and moisture resistant) impregnated with asphalt and coated with mineral granules.

Appearance: Available in traditional 3-tab shingles or thicker laminated “architectural” shingles.

Eco-Friendly: Petroleum-based product that’s not eco-friendly. Can be recycled, though often taken to landfills.

Durability: Not very durable. Algae-resistant shingles are available in humid climates to prevent staining.

Weight: Moderate in weight.

Slope: Can be used on low to steeper-sloped roofs.

Fire & Wind: Good fire resistance, fair wind resistance.

Cost: Inexpensive to moderate.

metal roofing lasts longer and is more wind resistant.

Materials: May be composed of steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc alloy. Steel roofs come with either a zinc coating or painted finish. Copper roofs are installed unfinished and acquire a protective green patina with age.

Appearance: Available in sheets or in shingles that resemble other materials. Can be installed with the fasteners hidden (standing seam) or exposed.

Eco-Friendly: May be made from recycled materials and can be recycled when replaced. Absorb a third less heat than asphalt.

Durability: Fairly to very durable, depending on the material.

Weight: Lightweight.

Slope: Available for low or steep sloped roofs.

Fire & Wind: Good resistance to both fire and wind.

Cost: Moderate (steel) to expensive (copper)