Tips on How To Improve Your Home

The biggest expense incurred from home improvement projects is hiring a contractor. The materials for small home improvement projects are inexpensive. All of these projects appear not to have identified and ordered the major risks they faced.

Make sure that all contractors you get for your projects are registered with the required governing body and follow all licenses and terms and conditions. Whether you plan on selling your house or simply want to improve your home’s functionality, there are certain home improvement projects that automatically increase the market value of your home. Among the many categories of repairs or renovations that you may have to or choose to perform are flooring projects, electrical work, plumbing, masonry, gardening and landscaping, refinishing furniture and fixing and installing windows.

Using the Internet, magazines or advice from a friend or hardware store employee can allow you to obtain the information you may require in order to carry out one of the related projects by yourself. However, large home improvement projects can become quite expensive. No one will argue that increasing the value of your home through home improvement projects is a great idea.

In part 2 we will discuss creative ways to increase storage space in various areas of the house, wallpapering techniques to help insure success, and handy tips that make home improvement projects proceed a little easier. Other types of insulation, or insulation projects for other areas of the home such as crawl spaces and walls might be best handled from an experienced home improvement contractor. Some software projects succeed but 80% dies after a few months of living.

Many times we think of big projects to do, but sometimes, it is the little projects that can give us a jump start. There are several simple projects that you could consider for increasing your homes value greatly, however; it is very important that you first set a budget and then create a basic idea and layout of what type of style you like best, based on the available funds you have set for your next home improvement project.

Kitchen

Update and replace whatever appliances you can microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and replace or refinish old kitchen cabinets, advises Jimmy Wood, a Realtor with ZipRealty in Los Angeles. If there are four sets of china in your kitchen cupboards, pack three of them away. Clear off the kitchen counters.

To support the claim that home improvement increase value, here are some of the samples of returns for some of the well-known home improvement projects: kitchen remodel (minor) is 125% in Connecticut; basement remodel is 98% in California; bathroom addition is 96% in Missouri; kitchen remodel (major) is 92% in Kentucky; bathroom remodel in Oregon is 90%; exterior paint in Pennsylvania is 90%; and master bedroom in Florida is 86%. Generally, given such supports for the notion that home improvement increase value, the kitchen and bathroom remodeling, as an ally to the claim that home improvement increase value, really offer the highest percentage return on the home owners’ investment. Planning a reno includes prioritising the things you want to achieve such as more space, a better kitchen or bathroom, more sunlight, reduced energy and water consumption etc.

This is especially true when, for instance, you want to replace your old kitchen or bathroom. Key features to remember when remodeling a kitchen is adequate floor space, appliance placement for greatest meal preparation convenience and ease of mobility, and adequate storage space. Having an interesting kitchen and a good atmosphere will not make those cooking session boring but you will love spending time there.

There are some areas in the kitchen you need to pay attention to like the appliances. If you need to spruce up your kitchen, read on. Is your kitchen less than fabulous.

In the kitchen near the fruit bowl. In part one of Home Improvement Tips to Increase the Market Value of your Home we discussed kitchen remodeling ideas, various aspects of bathroom remodeling, and the ins and outs of wall paneling. Whether you are looking to fix a sink, spruce up a bathroom, remodel the kitchen or maybe even add an entirely new room to your current home.

Home Improvement Tips – Ideas for Changing the Flooring

So you’re thinking about changing that ugly old carpet or vinyl floor with something fresh and beautiful and you want to use tile instead. You have looked at a lot of pictures in home design magazines; you have an idea of the cost, and the retailer with the best selection but know where to start.

Well it sound like you already have a great start, you found some design ideas from magazines, you know where to purchase the materials, and you have a rough idea of the cost, and you have decided to do this yourself, outstanding! The tips I’m about to give you come from my experience as a professional tile setter in Phoenix Arizona.

The first thing you want to think about is what kind of surface are you going to lay that beautiful tile on, wood or concrete. I have found that the preparation of the surface will determine how your tile will look after it’s installed and how long it will last in the home, and let’s face it you don’t want to redo this next year. Follow these basic steps first before you lay your first tile

Is the surface level

Look for flaws like dips and bumps make sure the surface is smooth

If working with a wood surface make sure it’s secure no nails sticking up and it’s tight to the substructure

When working with concrete look for cracks, you don’t want the surface to crack more after you install the tile

Make sure the surface is clean before installation

These starter tips will save you time and frustration and make the experience more enjoyable for you. Next you want to make sure you measure the area you’re going to lay. You don’t want a 6″ cut on one wall and a 3″ cut on the other that would look really bad especially in a entry way. The first thing you need to make sure of is the room you are working with square? Trust me when I say this you don’t know how many times I went into a new home and found that one end of the room measured 12′ and the other end was 12′ 2″ Because of poor framing. This is ok if you’re working with larger tile but can be a real problem if it’s smaller tile like in a bathroom. Here are some tips on laying your floor out before starting the installation.

Buy some tile spacers. They look like small rubber crosses, they will determine your grout line width and give you an idea of your wall cuts, and in most cases will measure ¼ in, between tiles.

Don’t be afraid to lay the tile out in both directions using the tile spacers to get an idea what it’s going to look like.

After determining if your room is square set an installation chalk line in both directions, this will help keep the installation straight.

There are different types of adhesives for laying your tile I use thin set mortar for concrete, and you can use what is called cement board, this can be laid over any wood surface and will eliminate the use of the mastic clue. The reason for this is when wood is affected by temperature it will expand and contract, and the mastic clue will allow it to change with this effect, this is not a concern with cement board, Mastic is pre mixed, and thin set mortar will need to be mixed before you can use it. When mixing your thin set mortar it’s like mixing concrete it comes in a bag and you need to add water, be careful not to get it to thin, it needs to be thick enough to use with a trowel. I used a wheel barrel to mix it in and then transferred it to a 5 gal bucket, this made it easier to handle. Also remember that when installing the tile to make sure not to leave any air bubbles trapped under the tile. This will cause the tile to brake. The method I use is to set the tile by pushing down evenly on the tile until I see the adhesive start to come out from the edges and then I lightly tap on the top of the tile a listen for any hollow sound, this will tell you if there is a pocket of air trapped and if you need to push a little more.

You now have some of the basic thing to think about before you start your tile project, and I hope this will help you find enjoyment in your adventure.

Tips on Choosing The Best House Cleaning Service

Choosing a house cleaning service is a big decision. You need to treat the process like an interview, because that is what you are doing. You are hiring an individual or house cleaning service to enter your most private and intimate space, and work with your most valuable possessions. You need to look at more than the cost per visit and evaluate the overall experience that your house cleaning provider can offer you.Make sure you take the time to evaluate your house cleaning provider, and make a choice that meets your individual needs.

Is the house cleaning service you are evaluating bonded and insured?

This is a very important question to ask. While your property insurance does extend some protection to you against an individual being hurt on your property, that is usually very limited, and in most cases only up to $10,000. In most cases that might be enough, but insurance should be carried by a professional home cleaner to help mitigate your risks. At the minimum they should have a general liability policy, workman’s compensation, and full coverage auto. Workman’s compensation is the one that could be the most expensive for them to carry, but is the one you really need to think about. If someone is hurt in your employ without this insurance you could be on the hook to not only pay for their injuries, but lost wages as long as they are unable to work. Hiring a house cleaner should be headache free, and a good service provider will provide copies of coverage upon request.

Bonding is a guarantee against acts of dishonesty by the service provider, and those in their employ. While these types of bonds are not typically worth the paper they are written on, a good provider will have this coverage, and meet the steps needed to keep this coverage in force. A provider who has a bond is more likely to screen their employees thoroughly, and have a theft Will your new house cleaning service offer a guarantee?
Most service providers don’t have a formal written guarantee of any kind. The good companies will. Ask for a copy of their guarantee, it should at the very least be accessible from their website. A strong guarantee will provide you with a thorough re-clean of items found to be deficient in your scheduled cleaning if you contact the provider within a specified time frame, usually 24 hours. Another thing good service providers can guarantee is your day of scheduled visit. If you are scheduled to be cleaned every other Friday, your team will be there on that day guaranteed. No one likes it when they have the house all ready and the cleaning person fails to show up as promised.

How do they pay their employees?

You want to avoid paying people under the table, whether it done intentionally by you or through a company, because ultimately you can be found liable for taxes owed to the IRS if you exceed a threshold of household services and taxes are not paid on those services by the service provider. This also helps avoid choosing a company that might pay its employees substandard wages, and abuses other employment practices such as hiring undocumented workers. All of these things can be financially and socially damaging to you as an end result. Choose a company that pays its employees properly and pays all federal and local employment taxes. They may charge a little more, but you can guarantee that you won’t be on the hook for their bad behavior.p>

How many people will they use to clean your home? Will it be the same people each time?

This does not seem like an obvious question, but if the answer is one, who is there when they are sick, and you have a really stressful weekend coming up with lots of people coming over, and now you have an entire house to clean on top of everything else you could barely manage to get done. Pick a company that sends the same people each visit, and they work in a team of at least 2, but preferably 3. That way, even if one is sick at least one of the team members that arrives that day will have cleaned your home previously. It also helps prevent cancellations. Teams of 3 are best of all so that your cleaning team will be in and out of your house in no time flat. When companies use individual cleaners, that person can be in your home for almost half the day for a typical home. For many obvious reasons, this is less than ideal.

What type of cleaning solutions will your house cleaning provider use? Will you need to provide anything?

You should look for a company that provides all of the cleaning solutions, supplies, vacuums, everything. That way if you run out of something, you aren’t running around looking for supplies. Again the point here is that you want a transparent experience that is hassle free. Also ask about cross contamination policies. A good cleaning service will have color coding and policies in place that avoid contaminating clean surfaces.

Also ask if your service provider will “go green” with the cleaning solutions that are used. There is a broad spectrum in the shades of green, but there are much better options that traditional bleach, ammonia, and various petrochemicals. Demand better.
How will your house cleaning provider screen the people who will clean your home?

A good company will have a process for hiring new people. That process should begin with an application, a phone interview, and finally an in person interview. Reference checks and prior employment verification are a must. Federal and local background checks should be conducted. A social security trace with an identity verification and credit check should be conducted, as well as determining if they are eligible for employment in the US. Motor vehicle and driving history should also be screened. This is all the minimum you should ask for, a 7 or 10 panel drug screening should also be included in a complete background check. All of these screenings are meant to be a way to weed out the most obviously undesirable candidates. It is not perfect, but does provide a place to measure how hard your service provider is trying to protect you, their new client.

How much will they charge & what’s included? This seems like an obvious question, but do not leave it open ended. Ask for a quote for your initial cleaning and for ongoing service. That way you are both on the same page. A good service provider will also provide you with a place to verify what is included in your cleaning service. A link to a website should suffice, or in a service policies handbook. It just needs to be spelled out so that again, you are both on the same page.

These questions are meant to get you started in the process, and help you avoid costly mistakes. I hope you learned something you will be able to put to immediate use when choosing a professional to clean your home.