Kitchen Renovation Made Easy

A functional and comfortable kitchen is now a growing trend among new houses. Traditionally, the kitchen only serves as the preparation area for food. However, in today's modern homes, it also serves other functions besides from serving. As many homemakers turn to being working moms, the ideal kitchen should also provide space for their other needs. When thinking about a kitchen renovation, here are some few tips to ensure comfort and functionality of your new haven.

Use Quality Materials

Kitchen renovation is quite expensive, making it a seldom occurrence in the home. In order to turn it to your dream kitchen, make sure you invest in high quality materials. Choose materials that will not accumulate dirt through the years. Choose tiles and countertops that are smudge-free. Allot sufficient time for finding the perfect kitchen countertop. You can get kitchen countertop ideas by visiting showrooms and home improvement centers. Always look for quality materials to use for your kitchen. When you use good materials for your tiles, cabinets and drawers, chances are your kitchen will last many years without needing another renovation.

Determine your Design

Before you even start buying all the materials, decide on the theme of your kitchen. Kitchen renovation becomes easier when you have an idea of ​​the kitchen you want to have. Coordinate your kitchen's accessories with the fixtures and the color of the wall. Be it a Contemporary or Mediterranean style; match your kitchen with your personality and the overall theme of your home.

Arrangement

If you want to increase the functionality of the kitchen, make sure you have enough space to work in. Whenever you do kitchen renovation, avoid placing appliances or fixtures in the middle for you to have room for constant movement. Place the bulky things on the side to make the kitchen airy and spacious.

Kitchen renovation may seem to be a difficult task. But as you go along, the task can be enjoyable and rewarding. You can get more ideas for renovation from magazines, books or on the net. Just modify the designs and styles to suit your family's needs and your home's theme. …

Choosing An Home Improvement Loan

If you have got all the plans approved and have drawn up the approximate costs for your home improvement project, you need to start thinking about how to finance the project. Any minor improvements can be financed by a credit card or savings but a major improvement, like an extension or a loft conversion requires a large chunk of money. There are various ways of getting this money. One such method is the home improvement loan. This article will cover how a home improvement loan works and some things to consider before you go for one.

Getting an home improvement loan depends on the type of modification or renovation you are planning. If, for example your home is an old building it may be eligible for a restoration grant. The same might apply in certain parts of the country where you plan to install solar powered energy panels. Check this out at your local town planning offices first, it could save you money on any other loans you take out.

After that, there are a few other home improvement loan options available.

The simplest is probably a standard unsecured loan. This is just like a personal loan that you take out for other things you need, like a car or white goods. Criteria for this type of loan may include things like your salary, your credit score or your ability to pay the monthly repayments installments.

Other types of loans revolve around securing the debt of the loan around the house that you are renovating. You can renegotiate the mortgage with your current lender. They will probably give you the money at the current rate of the existing mortgage. You will be negotiating altering the term of the loan or the amount for the repayments.

A note on this is that you can often renegotiate the mortgage if you have shopped around before hand and know that you can get a better deal elsewhere in terms of interest rate (or other criteria that you feel are important – a payment holiday for example) .

If you have equity in the house you can draw down on this equity to fund the renovation. The equity can be in the form of a lump sum or a line of credit (whereby you can effectively use the equity as a credit card and take out money when you need it).

When going for these types of loans, it helps to know what is involved in the home improvement. Will it be completed in stages? In this case you probably want a line of credit or a loan where the lender releases the amount in chunks. This will save you money over time as you are not paying interest back on one lump sum that may just be sitting in your account.

You may also choose to refinance your home loan completely if you can find a better rate. This has the advantage that you get a better rate or conditions that will save …

Bathroom Toilet Repair: The Smell From Hell

I received a question from Samuel C. asking: “I have a constant smell in my bathroom I can’t seem to find or fix. Any suggestions?”

Yes…. Flush when you’re done.

No, I’m kidding Sam.

What you are most likely smelling are sewer gasses. All of the drains in your bathroom lead to a central drain that takes waste-water out of your house to either a city sewer line or a leach field depending on where you live. Those drain lines can contain sewer gasses such as Methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and more.

The way we stop those gasses from coming back into your house is by means of a “trap”. What’s a trap?

A trap is when a woman asks you if an outfit makes her look heavy….. It’s also a U-shaped bend in the drain line that “traps” water creating a barrier between you and the open sewer system.

The Usual Suspects:

In a full bathroom there are typically three traps:

One under the sink (which is often located in the vanity cabinet)

One under the tub/shower (which is usually hidden in the floor)

One in the toilet (This one is actually built into the toilet itself)

One or more of these could be causing that smell. Typically, if a sink trap is faulty, you will see signs of water damage below the trap suggesting it’s not holding water as it should. That would show up in the vanity cabinet floor. For the tub/shower it can be trickier as the trap is enclosed and may show signs of leaking in the ceiling below if it’s a second floor bathroom.

All of that being said, the first place I always check and the most likely candidate is the toilet and let me explain why.

As I mentioned, the toilet has a built-in trap. This trap allows the toilet to maintain the water level inside the bowl. If there was no trap, the water would just flow down the drain and the toilet bowl would be empty and dry. When a toilet is installed, it’s placed onto a floor drain using a wax ring gasket.

The wax ring is used to seal the drain outlet on the bottom of the toilet to the drain opening in the floor. When a toilet is installed, the ring is placed onto the drain… the toilet is dropped onto the ring… and the toilet bolts (also known as closet bolts) are tightened enough to lock the toilet in place. If that wax gasket ring starts to fail or isn’t seated properly? Sewer gasses can sneak out from under your toilet causing your bathroom to have that suspicious smell. It can also cause water to escape, sometimes invisibly, with each flush potentially damaging the floor hidden under the toilet.

How To Repair A Toilet Gasket:

1) Turn off the water supply to your toilet

2) Flush the toilet and hold the handle down to drain as much water from the tank & bowl as …

Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A Redo

Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

Adding or remodelling a bath

Improving the kitchen

Adding a new room

Landscaping

Adding a bedroom

Adding or enclosing a garage.

If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

Home Maintenance versus Home Improvements

It’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something …

Shop Around For Kitchen Decor

Finding the right kitchen décor can be as simple as choosing one item and then building on that theme. If you enjoy a certain food or group of foods then you may be able to develop your kitchen décor around these items and colors. Here are some examples of themes that you can add to your kitchen décor list.

If you enjoy pets and animals you can find many very inexpensive items at your local thrift store. They will often have cookie jars, dispensers, towels and other animal themes related kitchen décor items.

Safari animals are popular choices for kitchen décor that might be a great choice if you want something a bit different for your kitchen. You may be able to find some nice tigers and lions for a ceiling trim wall paper and then add some other cute items to add to your kitchen décor that are along the same theme.

If you are not into animals for your décor theme then you may want to think about some fruits or vegetables for a theme. The main benefit of choose themes types of themes for you r kitchen décor is the availability of décor items to choose from. There are literally hundreds of combinations. With so many choices you can still make your kitchen décor individual and not like a copy of someone else's kitchen.

The most popular colors for your kitchen décor are usually going to be reds and dark greens. These two colors can go a long ways to creating a great atmosphere for your kitchen. You may find that you like a certain item you found in a store and want to build your décor theme around this style.

You can often find many good kitchen décor ideas by visiting some of your larger local home improvement stores. They will often have displays set up to spur your thoughts. You may also be able to find some great ideas by visiting some plumbing supply or cabinet stores. …

Decorating For Your Teenager

If you have teenagers, you know that decorating their rooms can be fun but it can also be costly as their tastes seem to change from week to week. When you are decorating a room for your teenager, it is best not to use durable products such as wallpaper or a certain pattern in wall to wall carpeting because their tastes alter so regularly. What is in style one minute, may be outdated and blah the next. When decorating the for your teenager, a far better option is to use removable such area rugs, paint, duvet covers and inexpensive window treatments to decorate for your teenager.

Duvet covers can be purchased easily enough or you can even make them. It is best to use a duvet cover that is similar to a giant pillowcase for the comforter, than to keep changing the colors and styles of the bedclothes. This is true more of girls than boys. You can sew together a duvet made from two sheets and affix Velcro to fasten it together, slipping a white comforter in the cover and instantly changing the style of the room. This is easy and inexpensive to do. What is more important, it can be changed easily if the style suddenly becomes unpopular.

Inexpensive window treatments include blinds and curtains that can be found in home improvement stores as well as discount stores. These are the best option when it comes to covering the windows in his or her room and can be changed if the style changes. You can even make your own curtains if you are handy with a sewing machine.

Instead of wallpaper, that can be very troublesome to remove, a better option is to use paint if your teenager is enthralled with a certain color that he or she wants on their walls. The walls can be repainted if the color is no longer wanted by your teenager after a certain period of time. This is a much easier project than removing wallpaper.

Area rugs are a great way that you can spruce up any room to add color and style. They are a better home décor choice if your teenager likes a certain color, than going for wall to wall carpeting in his or her room. Not only can the rug easily be replaced with another area rug if the taste changes, but the area rug can be used elsewhere in the house. Area rugs are one of the best options for instant color, warmth and style in any room, especially in the room of a teenager.

Decorating the room of your teenager can be fun, but you just do not want to put a lot of money into the project. By using less permanent decorating ideas such as duvet covers, paint, area rugs and inexpensive window treatments, you can give the room the décor that you are seeking for a lot less money than you can imagine. If you want to make your teenager happy, take these …

The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason (s) many states have fallen significantly short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicable demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you do not have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair ……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let's be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to "qualify" to do home improvement work, brings many a "character" to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, appeared to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consist of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that deal with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, "If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them !!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you'll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place. " As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works …

Types of Paint Available For Painting a Room

When it comes time to paint a room in your house, you can quickly overwhelmed by all the different kinds of paint on the shelf.

If you do find yourself confused, you can always ask the person at the home improvement store what kind paint you need, but I find their advice to be a little hit or miss. Some of the people there really are experts and some are faux experts and just say whatever their employee manual says to recommend.

So let me give you a quick little primer about the kinds of paint so you have a good idea of what to get when you head on down to your local paint or home improvement store. (I generally shop at Home Depot for paint).

There are two main categories of paint – oil based and water based. When you’re painting a room in your house, most people opt for water based paint. Now if you’ve been to the store already, you probably purchased latex paint. If so, good work, that’s what you want. Latex is a type of water based paint and it accounts for about 80% of interior paint sold today.

One of the big advantages of using a water based paint (like latex) is that clean-up is much easier. I remember when I was younger my mother used oil based paints frequently and cleanup was a smelly and difficult mess. Cleaning oil paints requires solvents to get the brushes clean while water based paints clean up nicely using running water and a little soap.

Also, latex paint is less likely to fad or yellow and can be painted on damp surfaces. So if you live in an area with high humidity, you’ll definitely want to use latex since oil based paint isn’t going to dry in high humidity.

So with all the advantages that latex has, why would anyone use an oil based paint these days. Well, for one, oil based paints can be applied in colder temperatures. If the thermometer reads less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re going to have to go the oil based route.

Also, oil based paints can be applied to dirtier or shinier surfaces. It adheres to the surface better but it does take more work to apply it as it doesn’t flow off the brush or roller as well.

Now you’re ready to get started painting, time to pick a color and get a gallon or two.…

Why are Surety Bonds Important?

Surety bonds are the oldest form of insurance. There are three types of surety bonds. The bid bond, the performance bond, and the payment bond. A surety bond is usually a binding contract between three parties. These are the contractor, the surety company, and the project owner.

It goes a long way to ensure that a construction is finished without a problem as per the construction agreement. It guarantees that even if the construction company does not deliver, the surety company will ensure construction is completed according to the agreement between them. Many of us will wonder why we need a surety bond.

It is a requirement

You cannot bid on a job especially a public contract without providing a surety bond. This gives the project owner a sense of security in case anything goes wrong on the job. It also goes a long way in showing the project owner that a certain surety company has reviewed you and find you worthy of the given contract.

Guarantee that work will be done

For the project owners surety bonds are an assurance that the job will be well done and to the specific details, he provided. They enjoy an assurance that the job will be done on time too, despite whatever setbacks occur during the construction period.

Specialty

Unlike general insurers who handle different types of insurance cases every day, surety companies come with some sense of specialty since they only deal with this specific kind of insurance every day. Surety bonds go a long way to ensure you get financial aptitude and competency on the work done on your project.

Lower the cost of operation

By virtue of getting more than one bid to choose from, most of the time surety bonds give room to choose contractors who offer more affordable services. The project owner is also relieved from the temptation and possibility of using project funds for other needs.

Considering the volatile nature of the construction company, the importance of surety bonds is invaluable for both the project owner and the contractor. If you are a contractor, you might be wondering, “what is a contractor bond”. Contractor bonds are a type of surety bond that fall under the license and permit bon category. If you are a licensed contractor, it is imperative to maintain a status of being boned in order to continue to get work and keep employment.

Surety bonds are an important aspect in most industries. Check out NFPSurety.com and get yours today.…

Can Home Improvements Increase the Value of Your House?

One of the most common reasons people give when asked why they are improving their home is that home improvements increase house value. While this can often be true, it is by no means as universal as some people assume it is. When you're about to pay out lots of money for a home improvement, it's worth checking out whether the value of your house will increase by enough to pay for it – or, worse, whether it might actually force your house value down.

Let's start with bathrooms and kitchens. While well-maintained and nice-looking kitchens and bathrooms do add value to a home, there's nothing to say that they have to be the very latest thing. An older room that is well looked-after and was not a complete abomination to begin with can often help the value just as much as a newly-installed one.

Extensions, on the other hand, almost always increase the value of your home, as they make it bigger. A four-bedroom home can be significantly more valuable on the market than a three-bedroom one, as a larger family can live in it. However, you need to watch out for building too far out into your garden if you only have a small one: get rid of too much of your garden, and you could knock even more value off your home than you gain from the extra bedroom.

Although it may seem strange, this same rule also applies to garden features such swimming pools and ponds. While you might like them, not everyone does – and you've just taken a piece of garden that could be used for almost anything and turned it into a single-use feature. Also, swimming pools especially can be very expensive to maintain, which can put off potential house buyers.

Overall, it's a bad idea to make home improvements just to make money, as you will almost always fail. Instead, just make the improvements that you want, while avoiding any that will really hit your house's price. …