Do You Want To Become A Professional Tax Preparation

How to Choose a Tax Preparer

Who does your business’s taxes? Perhaps you still do them yourself. Maybe you use the services of a relative who happens to be an accountant.

No matter what your scenario, there comes a time when you should consider hiring a professional tax preparer.

A tax preparer for a small business is more than just a numbers cruncher—he or she should be a specialized advisor. A good tax preparer will not only prepare and file your taxes, but also display a thorough understanding your industry, offer you advice on how to make the most of your tax deductions, and explain how different legal structures for your business can help you save money.

A licensed attorney, a certified public accountant or an enrolled agent are all qualified to do tax preparation. Some states have licensing requirements for anyone who prepares tax returns for a fee; some have them for fee-based preparation of state tax returns only.

As far as preparers of federal tax returns, the IRS requires enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). This is an identification number that all paid tax return preparers must use on U.S. federal tax returns or claims for tax refunds submitted to the IRS.

To find a qualified tax preparer, start by asking local business owners who does their taxes and if they’re satisfied with the person. Make sure to ask for suggestions of tax preparers with experience in your industry, if possible. Before meeting with any candidates, the IRS suggests you understand the requirements for a tax return preparer, including credentials and qualifications. Make sure you know what tests they take, how often they need to take courses to refresh their education, and what practice rights are allowed.

After you’ve narrowed down your list of possibilities, ask the candidates for references and check them. Talk to several references to determine if there are any concerns, such as whether the person is hard to get in touch with or has any personality traits that could cause conflicts. Also check online reviews such as those on Yelp to see if any glaring criticisms stand out.

Once you’re ready to meet with a prospective tax preparer, here are some topics to discuss:

  • Payment. Try to get a clear understanding of the cost early in the process. You can minimize your costs by making sure your tax prep documents are well-organized and your accounting system is up-to-date.
  • Communication. Ask what is the best way to get in touch with the person in case you have a question or concern. Whether it’s text, email or phone, how soon can you expect to hear back?
  • Personal touch. Sometimes, you may be dealing with multiple people from the tax preparer’s office. It’s important to meet and talk with the person or people who will actually be handling your account.
  • Follow-up. Find out if your tax preparer will suggest ways for you to save on taxes next year or if he or she will contact you later if there are any new tax changes that could affect your business.
  • E-file. Make sure your preparer offers the IRS e-file option. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file electronically.

Questions That Can Help You Choose a Tax Preparer 

If you’re like most people, you’d rather go with a pro during tax season: More than 83 million people pay someone to help prepare their federal tax return, according to IRS data. That shouldn’t come as a surprise: With so many rules to know, forms to fill out and formulas to follow, it’s easy to make a mistake if you go it alone.

But when it comes to finding a good tax preparer, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice? Referrals are a great place to start, but it’s still important to do your due diligence. Make sure you’re asking the right questions — and getting the right answers. Here’s what to ask a tax professional before you decide to hire them.

DO YOU HAVE A PREPARER TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER?

This is the first question you should ask any tax professional. Any person who charges a fee to prepare taxes for others must register with the IRS and receive a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). In addition to signing your completed tax return, the tax preparer is required by law to enter this number on any return he or she prepares.

WHAT ARE YOUR REPRESENTATION RIGHTS?

Tax preparers fall into one of two main representation categories. Those who carry “unlimited representation rights” can represent clients on any matters, ranging from audits to collection issues to appeals. Those who carry “limited representation rights” can only intervene on behalf of people whose returns they prepared and signed, and under specific circumstances.

According to the IRS, tax professionals with unlimited representation rights include attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (tax preparers who have passed a three-part IRS enrollment exam). While an enrolled agent (EA) is not an employee or representative of the IRS, he or she can act on a taxpayer’s behalf when it comes to dealing with the IRS. In order to retain their licenses, enrolled agents must complete a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education every three years.

Both attorneys and CPAs are required to obtain licenses according to the rules and regulations of the states in which they operate — however, this does not mean that they will be tax experts. Some attorneys do specialize in tax planning and preparation, but keep in mind that most perform a range of other duties and their focus may not be on filing returns for clients. Similarly, CPAs may perform many duties outside of tax preparations, and many specialize in other areas of finance. So before hiring either type of professional to prepare your tax returns, make sure you meet them and are comfortable with their level of expertise.

DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE FIT MY SITUATION?

If you know your tax situation is not typical, make sure the professional you hire is someone who has completed returns similar to yours.

Working with a tax preparer who is familiar with your line of work can mean the difference between claiming all the deductions you’re eligible for and forfeiting your hard-earned money. If your tax situation is more complicated than the average nine-to-fiver’s — you’re self-employed, own a business or rental property, live in one state but work in another, have received an inheritance, or have worked abroad — your tax preparer should be trained to handle it. Colleagues who are in a similar tax situation can be good sources for referrals.

Which Type of Tax Preparer is Right for You?

First, it’s important to understand the different types of tax preparer and their qualifications. Only enrolled agents, certified public accounts and attorneys may represent their clients to the IRS on matters such as audits, collection issues, and appeals.

Enrolled Agent (EA): An EA is a tax preparer that has been approved by the IRS to represent taxpayers. An EA must either have prior qualifying employment with the IRS or pass an intensive two-day exam on federal taxation and complete a background check. To maintain EA status, they must complete a specified number of credit hours each year of continuing education in accounting methods and tax regulations. An EA may work independently or as part of a firm and may specialize in specific areas of tax law.

An EA is a good option if you have a more complex tax situation. However, you’ll want to make sure their area of expertise applies to your personal situation. Fees and availability may vary, but you can expect an EA to charge less than a CPA. An EA is also qualified to help you with financial planning and give you tips that could help you reduce your taxes in the future.

Certified Public Accountants (CPA): CPAs have a college degree (or the equivalent in work experience). They are licensed after passing a state professional qualifying exam. They are highly skilled in accounting. This makes them good candidates for complex tax planning and preparation if they are experienced in handling tax matters and enrolled in continuing education programs that keep them abreast of the constant changes to tax laws. If your return is quite complex, a CPA may be your best choice for tax preparation, but keep in mind they will charge much more than basic tax preparers.

Attorneys: Tax often attorneys charge the highest fees as tax preparers. For taxpayers looking to legally shelter part of their income, or for those who need specialized advice on municipal bonds, estate planning, and the like, hiring a tax attorney is a good option.

Non-Credentialed Tax Preparers: There are about 700,000 people who work as non-credentialed tax preparers in the United States. They often work part-time or only during the tax season. These preparers must have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN) through the IRS, but beyond that, regulating tax preparers done at the state level. In the vast majority of states, anyone can prepare tax returns for others without having to take an exam, get a license, or comply with other government regulation. Learn more about your state’s requirements here.  Read more about “ghost tax preparers” here.

Most tax preparers are legitimate and competent, but keep in mind that without a national license requirement, they may be working off of their own personal research and experience. Because of this, it is important you conduct a thorough interview with the tax preparer before you hire them.

How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer:

When it comes to choosing the right kind tax preparer for you personally, much will depend on the complexity of your tax situation. After you’ve decided what qualifications your tax preparer needs, the following tips will help you choose someone who is trustworthy and competent:

  • Review the tax preparer’s credentials. EAs, CPAs, and tax attorneys are all qualified to represent their clients to the IRS on all matters. Other preparers can help you with forms and basic matters, but cannot represent you in case of an audit. Don’t be afraid to ask about these or other qualifications before you hire someone.
  • Be wary of spectacular promises. If a tax preparer promises you larger refunds than the competition, this is a red flag. Many such tax preparers base their fees on the amount of your return and may be likely to use shady tax preparation tactics. In addition, it’s wise to avoid tax preparers who offer “refund anticipation loans” as you’ll probably lose a large percentage of your return to commission fees.
  • Get referrals from friends and family. One of the best ways to find a trustworthy tax preparer is to ask your loved ones for recommendations. Once you have a few options, check the BBB.org, paying careful attention to other consumers’ reviews or complaint details. This will give you a clear view about what you can expect.
  • Think about availability. If the IRS finds errors in your tax forms or decides to perform an audit, will your tax preparer be available to help you with the details? Find out whether you can contact the tax preparer all year long or only during tax season.
  • Ask about fees ahead of time. Before you agree to any services, read contracts carefully and understand how much the tax preparer charges for their services. Ask about extra fees for e-filing state, federal, and local returns, as well as fees for any unexpected complications.
  • If things don’t add up, find someone else. If a tax preparer can’t verify their credentials, has a record of bad reviews from previous clients, or their business practices don’t seem convincing, don’t do business with them. Keep in mind that if you hire them, this individual will handle your sensitive personal information – information you need to keep safe from corrupt or fraudulent tax preparers.

Review your return before signing. 

Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

Never sign a blank return.

Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign a blank tax form.

Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN. 

Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.

Eye Care Treatment For Improved Eye Health

What is short sight (myopia)?

Short sight occurs when light coming from distant objects is ‘overfocused’, so that the point of focus is in front of the retina. It occurs because either the eyeball is too long, or because the cornea is too curved. Despite maximum flattening of the lens, the eye is not able to focus the light rays further back and on to the retina.

Light coming from near objects requires a stronger focusing activity anyway, so in myopia light from near objects is more likely to be focused in the right place.

People with short sight are not able to see distant objects clearly. Short sight or near sight mean exactly what the terms suggest. You are sighted (you can see), near (short) distance objects. Near objects (for example, when reading a book) can often be seen well. This is because when looking at near objects, the light rays come into the eye going slightly outwards. These will focus further back in the eye than light rays that come in straight from distant objects.

The diagram above shows the differences in focusing between a normal and a short-sighted (myopic) eye.

What causes short sight (myopia)?

Short sight tends to happen in children and young teenagers. It often runs in families. Temporary short-sightedness can also occur with certain illnesses – for example, in diabetes.

What are the symptoms of short sight (myopia)?

The main symptom is a difficulty with distance vision. The earlier short sight starts, the more severe it is likely to become. By the time early adulthood is reached, the level of short sight has usually reached its peak. This means that the vision does not generally become any worse.

Some children do not realise that their vision is not as good as it should be. They may be able to read books and do close work well. However, seeing distant objects such as the board at school may become difficult. They may think this is normal and not tell anyone. Schoolwork may suffer for a while before the condition is identified and treatment provided.

Children usually have a routine preschool or school-entry vision check. Your child’s teacher may notice that children are having difficulties in class reading the board. If you suspect your child has problems with his or her sight, you should arrange for an eyesight test with an optician who is happy to assess children. For young children and toddlers, your GP may be able to make arrangements for a sight test. Sight tests are free for children.

What is anisometropia?

Very few people are born with two eyes of identical optical power, but the brain manages to compensate and it’s usually unnoticeable.

However, when a person has anisometropia, the difference in vision between their two eyes is significant and will interfere with normal binocular vision. In practice, they will see a smaller image in one eye and a larger image in the other eye. The result is that their overall vision is often blurred.

Another potential outcome from anisometropia is amblyopia (lazy eye), which can occur if one eye has blurred vision for some time and becomes permanently weaker.

Sometimes anisometropia can be present at birth, although frequently it won’t become apparent until later in life. It has been estimated that around six percent of all children aged between six and eighteen suffer from this visual condition.

Types of anisometropia

There are three types of anisometropia:

  • Simple anisometropia. This is when one eye is affected while the other eye has no refractive error (or spectacle prescription). The affected eye can either be hyperopic (long-sighted) or myopic (short-sighted).
  • Compound anisometropia. This is when both eyes are myopic (short-sighted), although there will be a significant difference in their refractive errors (or spectacle prescriptions). This causes one eye to see a more blurred image than the other.
  • Mixed anisometropia. This is when both eyes have appreciable refractive errors, with one eye myopic and the other hyperopic.

Symptoms of anisometropia

There are a number of potential symptoms, including:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye). Usually, this is when reduced refractive power in one eye causes a lack of visual stimulation that results in insufficient information being transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes). When a patient is unable to align both eyes. This lack of coordination prevents both eyes being able to focus on the same point in space
  • Diplopia (often known as double vision). The result includes:
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness.

Causes

Even people who have normal vision can have up to 5% difference in the refractive power of each eye. However, those with a 5–20% difference will experience uneven vision (anisometropia). Causes include defects in the eye at childbirth as well as uneven size of the two eyes.

Visual acuity, eyesight and vision: What’s the difference?

Visual acuity

Visual acuity is the clarity of your eyesight, measured by your ability to identify letters or numbers on a standardized eye-chart from a specific viewing distance.

Visual acuity is a static measurement, meaning you are sitting still during the testing and the letters or numbers you are viewing also are stationary.

Visual acuity also is tested under high contrast conditions — typically, the letters or numbers on the eye chart are black, and the background of the chart is white.

Although visual acuity testing is very useful to determine the relative clarity of your eyesight in standardized conditions, it isn’t predictive of the quality of your vision in all situations.

For example, it can’t predict how well you would see:

  • Objects that are similar in brightness to their background
  • Colored objects
  • Moving objects

Three major physical and neurological factors determine visual acuity:

  • How accurately the cornea and lens of the eye focus light onto the retina
  • The sensitivity of the nerves in the retina and vision centers in the brain
  • The ability of the brain to interpret information received from the eyes

Only light that is focused on a very small and highly sensitive portion of the central retina (called the macula) influences visual acuity measurements obtained during an eye exam.

Eyesight

The exact definition of “eyesight” is difficult to pin down. Depending on which dictionary or other resource you check, it can mean “ability to see,” “the sense of seeing,” “vision,” “range of sight” or “view.” Often, the terms “eyesight” and “visual acuity” are used interchangeably.

Vision

Vision is a broader term than visual acuity or eyesight. In addition to clarity of sight or simply a description of the ability to see, the term “vision” all interactions between the eyes and the brain, and all neurological processes that take place in the brain to make the sense of vision possible.

Also, unlike simple eyesight or Snellen (high contrast) visual acuity, measures of vision include contrast sensitivity, the ability to track moving objects with smooth and accurate eye movements, color vision, depth perception, focusing speed and accuracy, and more.

Because of the broader nature of the word “vision,” what is commonly called “20/20 vision” should really be called “20/20 visual acuity” or “20/20 eyesight.”

What is hypermetropia?

Hypermetropia, sometimes called hyperopia, is the term used to define being longsighted.

If you are hypermetropic, the image of a nearby object is formed behind the retina. This means that light is focused too far back in the eye, causing things which are close up to appear blurred.

How is it treated?

Both myopia and hypermetropia can be easily corrected by the Optometrist at your local Vision Express, using prescription glasses or contact lenses specifically designed to counteract their effects.

Shortsightedness is corrected using a concave (curved inwards) lens which is placed in front of a myopic eye, moving the image back to the retina and making it clearer.

Longsightedness is corrected using a convex (outward facing) lens. This is placed in front of a hypermetropic eye, moving the image forward and focusing it correctly on the retina.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye.

Astigmatism is an irregularly shaped cornea or lens that prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface at the back of the eye. The surface of the cornea is shaped more like a football instead of round like a basketball and the eye is unable to focus light rays to a single point. In this case, vision becomes out of focus at any distance. In addition, the curvature of the lens inside the eye can change, resulting in an increase or decrease in astigmatism. This change frequently occurs in adulthood and can precede the development of naturally occurring cataracts.

Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light.

Causes & risk factors

  • Hereditary and is usually present from birth.
  • May develop following an eye injury or eye surgery.
  • It can occur due to a relatively rare condition called keratoconus in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone-shaped.
  • It can decrease or increase over time.

Symptoms

  • Blurred vision at any distance.
  • Eye discomfort.
  • Headaches.

How To Keep Bat Out Of Your Home

HOW TO GET BATS OUT OF THE ATTIC

So, You have bats in your attic…..what do you do now? They cause extensive amounts of damage with scratching, chattering and piles of guano. They leave a horrible mess of feces. . They roost in large colonies, and if they have pups you can t move them.

To get rid bats in the attic, you need to follow a simple series of steps. Find out how the bats are getting in. Bats can fit through a space as small as 3/8 inch wide, so don’t overlook any crack or crevice! Inspect the whole roof structure, ridge row and eaves thoroughly. If you familiarize yourself with bat’s habits It will help you know what signs to look for. Bat holes will have a large concentration of black greasy residue around them.

You now know where the bats are roosting, and how they are getting in. You have determined if there are pups. You now have to decide their fate. Do you want to make them just leave? Do you want to kill them? Each of these choices has its own results. If you kill them, how do you do it, what do you do with the carcasses? Is that even legal in your area? If you make them leave, how do you keep them out, and where do they go? Once you have found all the holes and you have decided how to handle your infestation, you can look at options. If you decided to kill them, You could block all the holes to the attic at once and use poison. While this is possible, it’s not a very good choice.

Even if you don’t mind cleaning up the carcasses, this could take several days. In cleaning up you could miss one or two bodies, and you have to deal with residual poison left in your home. If you just want them to leave, Exclusion tunnels are a simple and versatile choice to get rid of the bats in your attic. They are even easy for you build or install, yourself with a few simple tools, a little time, and a few materials. With this method you would seal all but the busiest bat hole. The large end of the funnel is placed over that central whole the bat s use regularly. Exclusion funnels allow the bat to exit through its bat hole to the outside, but not be able to get back in. This is an effective way to force the bat to go elsewhere. After you are sure all the bat s have exited, remove the funnel, and seal up the final hole.

Read more about bat control in my educational articles. Find out if a bat house will prevent bats from entering your home, and whether or not the city or county animal services will help with a bat issue. Learn if a bright light or high pitch sound deterrent machine will work on bats, and if a bat in your attic will have a nest of babies. Find out if a pest control company will remove a bat, and whether it is Legal to trap bats.

How To Get Rid of Bats

SUMMARY: Step-by-step guide for getting rid of bats in a house or attic:

Step 1 – Watch the house at dusk, and observe where the bats fly out of, and how many there are.

Step 2 – Inspect the entire house or building, and find any and all entry gaps, as small as 3/8 inch.

Step 3 – Seal all secondary areas with caulk or other sealant, but leave the main entry/exit gaps open.

Step 4 – Set one-way exclusion netting or funnels on the primary areas. This is very tricky to get right.

Step 5 – Observe at dusk to make sure all the bats are able to get out of the one-way devices, and that they are not able to fly back in. If it’s not working, remove the exclusion material immediately.

Step 6 – If it’s working, leave in place for at least three days, until no more bats come out at dusk.

Step 7 – Remove the netting and seal shut those last entry gaps and holes.

Step 8 – Clean bat guano out of attic, decontaminate and deodorize the space.

WARNING – Never attempt a bat exclusion during the summer maternity season, when flightless baby bats are inside the attic. It’ll result in disaster, and it’s illegal as well.

Bat Info: There are a wide variety of bat species in the US, though it’s usually the colonizing bat types that cause problems in buildings. Bats are not flying mice, or even rodents. They are more closely related to shrews or primates. Though bats often get a bad reputation, they are not aggressive, and are often very beneficial in eliminating pesky insects. Bats aren’t blind. They can see just fine, but they also use echolocation as their means of navigating complex flight and finding insects on the wing. A bat’s wings are essentially the same as our arms and hands, thus the scientific name Chiroptera or handwing. The bones of the hand and finger are elongated and serve to support and move the wing. The hind limbs of bats are modified for landing and hanging upside-down.

Bats become a nuisance when they roost in large numbers in human dwellings. The rapid and smelly accumulation of guano (droppings) is unsanitary, and serves as a fertile breeding ground for a fungal disease called Histoplasmosis, which is transferable to humans who breathe in the fungal spores. Bats are also known to carry rabies, a viral disease that causes progressive paralysis and death in mammals, including humans

People are most likely to encounter nuisance bats when a roosting colony takes up residence in a building. Attics often make excellent habitat, as do barns. Read about How to Get Bats Out of Your Attic. Bats need only a half inch or less of space to crawl through in order to enter a building. Once inside, if the habitat is good, the colony grows until the homeowner notices the bats flying out of the building, notices the droppings in the attic, chimney, outside, or even basement (when the droppings fall down the walls). Sometimes a bat will get lost and find its way out of the attic and into the living area. Occasionally a transient bat may also fly into a house.

A professional bat removal system such as mine ensures that the colony will no longer use your home or business as a roosting area, and that no bats can get back in. We care for the welfare of these beneficial creatures, as do many environmental agencies, so we do not aim to kill any bats. A pro merely exclude them from the premises and make sure they can’t get back in, while thoroughly cleaning the biohazardous droppings that they leave behind. Experience counts when working on bat jobs, and it takes a skilled eye to get the job done right the first time.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove Bats?

The only mammal capable of flying, bats often invade homes, attics, and chimneys, making noise at night, damaging the structure of the home, and leaving hazardous waste in their path. While bats are an important part of the ecosystem, they belong outdoors, making bat removal and exclusion necessary services for homeowners.

Female bats are constantly on the prowl for a warm location to roost and eventually raise their young.They often occupy chimneys and attics. The cost of hiring a professional to remove bats varies based on a multitude of factors. Bat infestation removal cost ranges from $400 to $600, with the average cost of $500 for removing a small colony, including the initial inspection but excluding clean up after the removal.

Bat Removal Cost by Location

Bats can make a home in a number of areas within a house: the chimney, attic, or walls. In most cases, bats colonize in one area of the home. However, in some cases, bats may be in more than one location within a single house. As illustrated by the table below, bat removal costs are relatively consistent despite the location of the bats.

How to Get Rid of Bats in Soffits

Getting rid of bats in soffits starts with a thorough inspection to determine their most common roosting places and then identify potential solutions. In many cases, the best way to prevent bats from roosting outside of your home is to provide them with alternative housing in the form of a bat house. The initial inspection averages $75 to $250, and bat houses range from $50 to $180.

How to Get Rid of Bats on the Porch

When the home is lacking points of entry, bats often get comfortable on the porch. For homeowners wondering who to call for bat removal when they’re outside, pest control services that handle indoor bat infestations can also assist with outdoor needs. The best removal method, in this case, is providing alternative housing by installing a bat house large enough to accommodate the maternal colony. The initial inspection averages $75 to $250, and bat houses range from $50 to $180. Keeping the porch light on at night helps deter bats until a professional can come.

Bats in the Home

Homeowner’s Guide to Bats has information and advice on how to evict and relocate bats, plus tips on handling a bat, designs for one-way doors, and bat house plans. This guide also features a key to identifying the nine bat specie

Report Bat Colonies

Due to recent catastrophic mortalities of bats from White Nose Syndrome (WNS), MassWildlife biologists would like reports of summer bat colony locations. If you see a colony of bats (10 or more bats), please let us know. We study bat colonies to see how many have survived after the onset of White-nose Syndrome

monitoring also leads to advances in conservation and management for endangered bat species, ensuring protection and security of the colonies. To report bat colonies, please complete this survey. Please include the address, location, type of structure (tree, building, attic, barn, shed, or other outbuilding), roughly how many bats are in the colony, and approximately how long the bats have been there.

Bats in Your Home

In the summer, with hot, humid weather, some homeowners may discover bats residing in their home. Attics are the most common area of a house in which bats are most likely to roost and gather in a colony to raise their young. The heat of an attic keeps the pups warm and allows them to grow and develop more rapidly. After a few very hot summer days, an attic may become too hot for the bats, forcing them out and sometimes into the living quarters as they search for cooler places to roost. In late summer, inexperienced young bats may fall down a chimney, fly down an attic stairway, fly through an open window, or land on the ground.

Evicting Bats from Your Home

During warmer months, most bats found in buildings (like homes) are either little brown bats or big brown bats. The presence of any wild animal, including bats, in a home is an obvious indication that the house is not weather-tight. It’s important to note that bats can squeeze through a hole as small as 1/2 inch. In some cases, with small numbers of bats, people don’t mind their presence and concentrate on blocking holes and cracks leading into the human living quarters. Where there is a large colony of bats in house walls, homeowners may consider removing and relocating the bats

Excluding Bats from a Building

Bats in your Home?

If you need to immediately remove a single bat from your living room or elsewhere in your house

Bats in your Attic?

There is no need to panic if you find bats in a building. Bats are simply small animals that are trying to find a suitable home. Some bat colonies can remain safely in buildings without creating a risk for humans. Assess your situation. Are the bats causing a problem? If so, is it the bats themselves, or the side effects of the bats (such as noise, smell or guano) that are the issue? Leaving bats where they are is usually the best option for bat conservation but may not be an appropriate option for the homeowner.

Additional Information:

If the bats are using an outbuilding, such as a barn or storage shed, you may be able to avoid contact with them and co-exist. Some people have lived with bats in their attic for decades since they do not come into contact with them and there are no issues of noise or smell. In other cases, where bats persistently find ways into the human living spaces or guano cannot be regularly cleaned out,

exclusion may be the best option. The primary issue (after not having contact with bats) is usually containment of droppings (guano). Containment can often be achieved at relatively low cost. It is also often the best option when exclusion from drafty outbuildings is virtually impossible.

Bats may roost in many parts of a building structure including under roofing, siding, fascia boards, flashing and rafters, in cracks of the chimney or walls, behind shutters or under a porch roof.

Truck Tires Accidents Mechanical Defects

Important Things to Know About Commercial Truck Tires

Heavy duty truck tire information

Tires are critical vehicle components because they connect trucks and trailers to the road and allow drivers to steer safely on diverse terrains. Since they play such an important role in vehicle operation, it can be beneficial for drivers to understand how to prevent wear and tear. Learn more about tire components and get helpful maintenance tips.

What the sidewall information means

Information such as the Tire Identification Number (TIN), ply material, and Tire Performance Criteria Specification (TPC Spec) are labeled on the sidewall. You can also find the tire size — a combination of numbers and letters that describe the:

  • Section width. A three-digit number that measures (in millimeters) the tire’s outermost most edge to its innermost edge.
  • Sidewall aspect ratio. This indicates the sidewall’s height from rim to tread as a percentage of the section width. For example, if the number is 70, that means the height is 70 percent of the tire’s width. The bigger the number, the taller the sidewall. The smaller the number, the shorter the sidewall.
  • Type of construction. There are two types of tire construction — radial and bias-ply. An uppercase R indicates radial tires. A tire labeled with an uppercase B or D represents bias-ply tires.  
  • Rim diameter. The number indicating the size (in inches) of the wheel that fits the tire.
  • Service Description. The service description includes the load index and speed rating. The load index specifies the maximum carrying capacity of the tire. The speed rating indicates the top speed a properly installed tire can reach.

Tire maintenance and safety tips

Driving on worn-out or damaged tires is dangerous and is against Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. If a truck driver is caught driving on unsafe tires, the FMCSA will assign points that can majorly impact a carrier’s CSA score. Avoid violations and poor CSA scores by following these tips to keep your tires in good shape:

  • Perform a pre-trip inspection
  • Inflate to recommended PSI
  • Wash the tires and wheels
  • Get tires rotated regularly
  • Practice good driving habits

4 Inch vs. 6 Inch Lift Kit

Any lift kit turns a truck into a piece of beauty – the only issue here is that there are a lot of them out there to choose from, and that my friends makes the whole selection process fairly complicated.

On this post i will be talking about probably the most common, i.e. 4 and 6 inch kits, and guide you through on what to actually go for, from my perspective.

4 inch pros

Fits in more spots

Because the pickup isn’t lifted as high, you will be able to access more places. By that i mean garages, parking spots, car washes, etc.

This may sound stupid at first, though i can tell you that there are a ton of people who go exactly for the shorter lift because of this reason – think about it, if the thing can’t fit in the garage, where are you going to put it?

Ease of use

It’s going to take less effort to access a pickup truck that is lifted only by 4 inches, literally.

Again, this might sound weird at first, but if you’re going to be getting in and out of the cab or the bed all the time, you’re going to thank me that you went this route.

Less severe on the fuel consumption

Now i know that truck owners, especially those who already think of lifting one, probably aren’t really concerned about this, but still.

A 6 inch lift kit would require larger tires than a 4 to make the whole deal look proper, and as we all know, the bigger the tire the more power needs to be generated in order to drive it, hence the decrease in fuel economy.

Generally less expensive

The cost comes from the fact that the pickup won’t need to sport larger tires, that is, a 33 inch tire will definitely be a bit more affordable than the 35’s.

6 inch pros

More off-road

A vehicle raised by 6 inches instead of 4 inches will sit on a higher level, therefore be able to perform better in not-so-favorable conditions, even more so if it’ll have taller tires installed.

What Factors Can Cause Damage to the Tires?

Many people ask “How long do tires last on average?“

The problem is, there’s not a set answer to that question – due to the variety of factors that can lead to a necessary tire replacement. These factors include:

  • Tire design from the manufacture ( some tires are built to last 70,000 miles and other are 40,000 miles so they will have very different time in use )
  • A lack of attention to basic tire maintenance (checking the air pressure, tire rotations, alignment, visible wear, etc.)
  • Not using the right tires for different seasons and terrains.
  • Potholes, obstacles, curbs, sharp objects, and speed bumps
  • Climate conditions (extreme hot or extreme cold can accelerate wear and tear)
  • Excessive braking
  • Driving for long periods at high speeds

What You Need To Know When Choosing Aftermarket Wheels For Your Truck

Choosing Wheels For Your Truck

Since the opening of iDrive, we have built thousands of custom trucks. One of the first things we do is pick out what kind of wheel set up we are going to do on a particular truck. The three main things that we consider when choosing our wheels are: 1. Diameter/wheel size, 2. Width, and 3. Offset. These factors are very important to consider because if we decide to do a lift or a level we will be able to determine what wheels and tires will fit. On the other hand if we are going for a specific look, like a pre-runner look we know that we need to go with a smaller wheel with a high (positive or zero) offset so we can fit bigger tires. The other extreme would be a really “stanced” look, where the wheels poke out beyond the fenders. With that look, we know that the wheel is going to have a low (negative) offset and be wider than a standard aftermarket wheel.

Wheel Diameter (Size)

The size of the tire is the first thing we need to figure out. The truck example we will use for this article is an F-150 (these dimensions will change if you go to other half tons or ¾ and 1 tons). If you are planning on doing a level kit on an F-150 (or other half ton) we know that we can fit a 33” tire. If you’re going for a pre-runner/more off road look then the wheel will likely be anywhere from 16”-18” so that the sidewall of the tire is thicker. If you’re going for the “stanced” look then chances are you are going with a 20”, 22”, or 24″ wheel.

When lifting a truck, you will have many more options. We sometimes will stick to an 18” wheel and put on 35” or even 37” tires depending on the size of the lift to get a really “beefy” look. On the other hand, if we have a lift we can also squeeze bigger wheels. 24” wheels are typically the biggest that we do, but you could potentially go with a 26” if the lift is big enough, but typically the width will also increase so that is another factor to consider which we will discuss next.

Wheel Width

Standard widths go as follows: 18” diameter with a 9” width, 20” diameter with a 10” or 12” width, 22” diameter with a 10” or 12” width, 24” diameter with a 12” or 14”. These are just standard sizes, there are a few more variations, but these are the main sizes that consumers will see. There isn’t much variation with smaller wheel sizes, but when you go up to a 20” wheel then the option of going to a 12” wide is available to achieve a stanced look.

Jacked Up Truck Tires and Your Transmission

If you’re thinking about putting some nice big tires on your lifted truck, keep in mind that you must make serious changes to your transmission. Strangely, most people I’ve known who have installed monster truck tires on their lifted truck don’t make these changes. The result? They keep killing their transmissions and spending a fortune in repairs.

So when you start planning that lifted truck with an eye on some nice big tires, keep in mind you will also need to budget the appropriate transmission adjustments. Big tires kill transmissions… unless you appropriately modify the transmission in advanced for the size and weight of the new tires. And I hate to break it to you, but this transmission job ain’t cheap. So before you finish budgeting what type of lift kits you can afford, make sure you include the transmission adjustment as part of that budget.

This is also something you should keep in mind when you evaluate used jacked up trucks or any jacked up trucks for sale you find on the market. If they have larger tires than the manufacturer recommends or than what comes with the original vehicle, you need to find out if they’ve made the appropriate transmission torque ratio adjustments. If not, you’ll just be buying a 4×4 truck with a dying transmission.

A Referral Will Get You The Best Home Renovation

What Are Common Tips for Selecting Wall Finish for a Home Renovation?

One of the most efficient ways to completely change the look of your home is to paint and make changes to the wall finish. Because the colour and sheen of each surface has a major impact on the look and feel of the room, it might be difficult to know how to choose the right products for your project

Use Lighter Colours to Open Your Space

Darker, bold colours can be eye-catching, but painting the all of your walls with a darker hue can cause the room to feel closed in and small, while lighter colours help the room feel larger, more spacious, and open.

Create Accent Walls with Bold Colours

If you are incorporating a bold, dark colour in your design scheme, you can paint a single accent wall that can serve as a focal point. This allows you to add colour without making the room feel claustrophobic.

Choose Flat Finish for Ceilings

Flat paint does not have sheen to it at all and has a matte finish. While it can provide a sophisticated look, it cannot easily be cleaned. If there are stains on flat finish paint, the wall will need to be repainted. This is why this type of finish is often used for ceilings.

Giving Walls a Satin Finish

The most common finish for interior walls and hallways is satin. This finish provides a small amount of sheen without being extremely shiny. This wall finish also provides a small amount of protection to the walls and minor stains and smudges can be wiped away easily. For slightly less sheen, you can also use eggshell finish, but this finish is more vulnerable to stains.

Should I Buy My Own House Renovation Materials?

Advantages of Buying Your Own Materials

You Have Control Over the Purchases – Regardless of the cost of the materials; you know the exact price, the source, and the product that you are receiving. You do not have to worry about transparency from your contractor because you are doing all of these steps yourself.

Possible Reduced Price – There is no guarantee that your materials costs will be lower if you do the purchasing yourself, but this does give you the opportunity to find deals on materials. While it will limit your choices considerably, you can potentially find bulk discounts and other sale opportunities from suppliers.

Benefits of Having Your Contractor Buy Materials

Knowledge of the Materials and Suppliers – Your contractor purchases these types of materials regularly and knows how to identify quality products and fair prices. You may have an idea of how you want your finished house renovation project to look and function; your contractor will know the trusted names and brands to turn to when it comes to finding the right materials to complete the job.

Deals on Quality Materials – It is arguable that having a contractor purchase your materials can actually reduce your costs. Because contractors have ongoing business relationships with vendors, they can often get deals on materials that are not available to the public.

Having Everything You Need When You Need It – Contractors are not only familiar with the different brands and types of materials, but also the installation processes. This means they know all of the additional items that are needed throughout the process. They can also anticipate potential problems that could arise and buy materials necessary to prevent or rectify these issues

Interior Home Renovations Guide – How to Create a Warm, Inviting Home?

Renovating the inside of your home is extremely important. Not only does it make the home more “livable”, it makes it more inviting. When interior home renovations are done correctly, the value of the home increases significantly. You might also be able to save money with a proper renovation, since many existing features can be replaced or upgraded with energy-efficient technology.

Remodelling for health

More and more people are now making decisions to create a healthier home. Problems such as excess moisture and water intrusion can be fixed during renovation. If you are repainting or refinishing anything, use non-off gassing finishes. Also, have better air filtration systems installed. Old wiring and lighting fixtures should be updated with new, energy-efficient technology. Make sure the attic is well-insulated in order to prevent air leaks.

Replacing or restoring old windows

If you live in an older home, you can still retain the historically accurate details of the windows if you have them restored. This is typical with leaded windows, particularly those with stained glass. It’s also possible to restore steel frames that have become partially-corroded, although the process is costly and labour-intensive.

Install well-designed flooring

There are many options for flooring, both solid and carpet. For room to room flow, you can have the same type of flooring throughout the home, or install unique flooring in each individual room. Choices include hardwood, engineered wood, carpet, vinyl, laminate, linoleum, ceramic tile, stone, and even bamboo. If you’re unsure what would look best in each room, have an interior designer help you.

Eliminate clutter

Nothing is more inviting than a clean and organized home. There are many furniture designs to choose from these days, so you can easily find some space-efficient pieces for your home. Don’t go overboard with the decorating, either. In small rooms, just stick with the basics and add a small splash of colour. You can always use mirrors to give the illusion of more space as well.

How to update older homes with modern home renovations?

Do you have an older home that is in need of renovation? Whether you live in an old farm house or in a neighborhood with mid-century style homes, you can update many features with modern home renovations. You can still maintain its traditional look with modern upgrades. There might be some pitfalls, so it’s important to work with the right company, develop a plan, and stay the course.

Here are some ways you can transform an old home to a modern home with renovation:

Don’t be afraid to give the kitchen a total overhaul. It’s one of the two rooms you can make the most changes with. Decide whether you want to refinish the cabinetry or replace it entirely. It’s ideal to work with a contractor who is able to establish a to-scale drawing of the existing kitchen and all of its windows, plumbing lines, heating, electrical outlets, etc. From there, determine the changes that should be made and decide on modern design elements.

The bathroom is the other room requires most renovation. You might need to update the wiring and add additional outlets to suit all of your modern electrical conveniences. The plumbing might also need updated if you plan on getting a modern toilet with more powerful flushing capabilities. Make sure you have a water heater that is big enough for a multi-head shower or soaker tub.

You might want to keep the wood windows, even if they are decades old. Wood windows are designed to last for a lifetime. Still, not all windows are the same. Consider individual window requirements. For the ones you decide to keep, add weather-stripping to improve energy-efficiency.

A contemporary home is defined by clean lines and angles, which can be visually emphasized by selecting trim and door colours that are a similar hue to the house colour. While a broad range of paint colours work well with modern homes, natural colours are ideal. – especially if you plan on selling the home. If you plan on living in it for a long time to come, you can use any colour(s) you wish.

Consider tearing up the carpet. If it’s an old home, the carpet is probably very old too. It’s probably seen better days. Solid floors are more modern, anyway. If you do want carpet, you can always add a large rug in the hallway, next to the bed, in the living room, etc. It’s best to leave the job of removing carpet to the pros – especially if you’re uncertain what’s underneath the carpet.

The staircases are most likely going to need to be redone. If they still have the original railing, balusters, posts, etc…, have them restored. If they are made of hardwoods or coated with paint that is no longer crisp, they should be stripped. Worn treads can be replaced without too many problems, although the details, such as the nosing returns, should be restored as well. Broken balusters can be replaced and missing ones can be milled. It’s always worth the money to restore or conserve staircases, as they are key elements in any house.

How To Choose Between Flooring Options During Home Renovation?

When you choose to renovate your home, you have the opportunity to transform your space from the ground up. You have to start with the right foundation, and this means choosing between carpeting, hardwood, linoleum, ceramic tile, and other flooring choices

Functionality

First, you have to choose a flooring option that can perform the way you need it to. Consider the different pressures the floor will need to withstand. If the floor is in a bathroom, kitchen, basement, it will need to be able to handle moisture. If you have pets running around the house, hardwood floors or other flooring materials that are easily scuffed may not be a good idea. Make certain that you choose a flooring system that is durable enough to endure your lifestyle.

Design

Once you have durability covered, you can move on to aesthetic appeal. As the floor takes up so much space, it can have a big visual impact on a room. A polished granite floor can provide a modern look while carpeting obviously softens the space. Consider which flooring option is going to compliment your room design while also keeping you comfortable.

Cost

Flooring can account for a large portion of your overall home renovation budget. Flooring options can also vary significantly in price, as some materials are significantly more costly than others. Laminate and sheet flooring are often the least expensive options, while natural stone and exotic hardwood are among the most expensive.

Maintenance

Do you want a floor that can basically be forgotten about after it is installed, except for maybe a little bit of sweeping or light mopping, or are you willing to put in more effort to keep your flooring looking great? Some flooring systems require more ongoing maintenance than others, and you should be prepared for this before your nice, expensive floor falls into disrepair.

Stopping A Clogged Toilet In Its Tracks

Tips on how to unclog your toilet like a pro

At one point in your life you’re going to face a clogged toilet.  There’s some technique to fixing it, so when you have a clog, don’t freak out, grabbing any plunger so you can jab away like a madman into the toilet bowl.

Stop the toilet bowl from filling up

“Open up the lid and close the flapper.  The flapper releases water from the tank and into the bowl”.   Joe tells us that the flapper valve is the blue cap/shield thing in the image below

Get the right plunger

“People always use the wrong plunger” says Joe.  We found out that the right plunger to use is a flange plunger.  Regular sink plungers don’t work as well.

Warm up the plunger

“Hard plungers don’t work as well either.  Warm up the rubber by putting it under hot water” says.  Apparently, this will soften up the rubber which will help you get a better seal on the toilet.

Plunge!

Stick the plunger into the bowl.  “Make sure you and get a strong seal around the hole.  Then push down and pull up” he says.  He adds that you shouldn’t just focus your strength on the push down.  The pull up is equally as important.  Give a few solid strokes then flush the toilet

Here’s How to Figure Out Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging

When your toilet keeps clogging, you need to know what’s behind this common issue to prevent it ongoing. If your toilet keeps clogging, likely causes include the fixture itself, your plumbing system, and what you send down the drain. There are certain issues that are correctable on your own, though others require the help of a skilled plumber.

Reasons Why a Toilet Keeps Clogging

Continuous toilet clogs are a problem no area homeowner wants to deal with, time and time again. Some sources of this issue have to do with how you use your toilet. Others concern the fixture or your plumbing system. Learn the common causes why a toilet keeps clogging and how to stop recurring toilet clogs below.

Common causes of a toilet that keeps clogging include:

Too much TP

Flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed

Older toilet models

Toilet trap clogs

Toilet vent blockages

Sewer line clogs

Your Toilet Keeps Clogging Due to Too Much TP!

Toilet tissue is made to be flushed, but when you use too much, your toilet drain cannot handle this much waste! Excessive toilet paper use leads to a situation where the toilet keeps clogging. A small amount of toilet paper easily dissolves in water, but larger amounts do not dissolve quickly enough and become trapped in the toilet drain or sewer line.

That Which Should Not Be Flushed

Toilet paper and bodily waste are the only things that belong down the toilet drain. Non-flushable materials that continually make their way into the drain are one reason your toilet keeps clogging. Because they are not meant to be handled by the toilet, they easily become trapped in the lines to form clogs.

How to unblock a toilet – the quickest and easiest way

Step-by-step guide to unblocking a toilet

How to unblock a toilet – that dreaded phrase you type into a search engine every few months. Sorry you had to find this page. We feel your pain. It might be the dirtiest, smelliest and most unglamorous bathroom job ever, but it’s really easy to do once you know how.

Gather your equipment before going into battle

You will need:

A plunger – ideally ball-shaped

Rubber gloves

Old newspaper to cover the floor around the toilet

Bleach/drain unblocker/caustic soda

An opened window/fan

Don’t be tempted to keep trying the flush

If you try it once and it doesn’t flush properly, it’s blocked and no further flushing is going to help you out. If you know there’s something stuck in your toilet (a child’s toy, a bottle of something that’s fallen in, you know the drill), reach for your gloves and pull it out. Although, if it’s something a bit, well, smellier, then it’s time to flex your plunger muscles.

Locate the blockage

Lift the drain cover to see if the chamber is full of water. If so, the blockage is further along the soil pipe. If the chamber is empty, the blockage is in the soil pipe between the loo and the chamber, or in the pan. You can try and clear any blockages in the pipes by using specialist drain rods or makeshift devices, such as a wire clothes hanger. Failing that, a drain company is the answer.

Use the plunger firmly against the blockage

Use a plunger that is shaped to seal the opening in the toilet bowl to create the correct vaccum and pressure needed, and also to prevent mess. An auger is a flexible rod that reaches far into the toilet controlled by a crank handle. Once the blockage is located, the auger will pull or push the item to remove it. Try the flush again and watch the beautiful sight of a flushed toilet before your very eyes.

Unclogging a Toilet Without a Plunger

Few things are more frustrating than a clogged toilet. Typically, you just plunge a toilet to clear the clog. However, what do you do when there is no plunger nearby? Perhaps you are in a new home and have not yet bought a plunger.

Whatever the case may be, you need to know how to clear a toilet if you do not have access to a plunger. The following are some tried-and-true methods for unclogging a toilet without a plunger.

Use Near-Boiling Water

One way of unclogging a toilet is using extremely hot water that is not quite boiling yet. You do not want to use boiling water because the excessive heat can crack your toilet bowl, which could lead to an even bigger problem.

To unclog a toilet with hot water, simply fill a large bucket with very hot tap water. If your tap water does not get hot, you can heat a pot of water on the stovetop until just before the boiling point. Pour the water into the toilet bowl until the bowl is almost full, and allow the water to sit for as long as possible.

Use Dish Soap

If the hot water method does not work, consider adding dish soap to your toilet bowl. Add about a cup of dish soap and allow the soap to sit for several minutes. Make sure to use a dish soap designed to break down grease.

Ways to Unclog Your Toilet

Nothing says “panic” quite like a clogged toilet. You flush the toilet—the water starts rising and you’re left with mess and an expensive repair bill. In most cases, you can clear a toilet clog with a few tools and a little bit of elbow grease. However, not all toilet clogs are the same. Your toilet could be clogged for many reasons, including:

Using too much toilet paper

Flushing non-flushable toiletries

Dropping toys or other small items in the drain

Plunger

Whenever you hear the word clog, your mind probably goes straight to the plunger. If you’re imagining a plunger with a red rubber cup and a long wooden handle, you’re going to have a tough time breaking up the clog. Cup plungers, also known as sink plungers, are used to clear clogs in sinks and other straight drains. To successfully unclog a toilet drain with minimal effort, you need to use a flange plunger. These plungers have an extra rubber ridge at the bottom of the plunger cup that slides into the toilet drain. This creates a better seal and more suction.

Toilet Snake or Closet Auger

Small, hand-powered drain snakes are relatively affordable and available at most local hardware stores. A toilet snake works by breaking up the clog into smaller pieces, so it can pass through the drain.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

A combination of dish soap and hot water can help lubricate and break down clogs caused by excess toilet paper use. This trick can also come in handy if you don’t have any toilet unclogging tools close by.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Like the dish soap and hot water method of clearing a toilet clog, a concoction of baking soda and vinegar can make your toilet functional again. If you remember building a model volcano in elementary school, combining baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzy, foamy reaction. Unlike corrosive drain chemicals, baking soda and vinegar are completely safe to use and won’t damage your plumbing. A word of caution: if your toilet is close to overflowing, this method could leave you with a big mess to clean up.

Types Of Residential Roofing

What is residential roofing?

Residential Roofing

Updating your existing roofing will not only add to your home’s curb appeal, but it can also help add to the value of your home. When it’s time to re-roof your home, there are several materials that you have to choose from. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices that are available on the market. Each roofing material comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to longevity, affordability, and visual appeal. Ideally, you want to find a material that offers a nice balance of the three.

To help you get started with your research here have highlighted several popular residential roofing choices to help you determine which material is the best fit for your home.

Wood Roofing

For generations, wood shingles were the roofing material of choice for homeowners. Today, many people still fin the look of wood shingle to be appealing. Even as they weather, wood shingles can add a unique element of character to your home.

Homeowners that live in areas that are prone to wildfires may think that wood shingles are out of the questions for them. However, there are many fire-rated wood shingles available on the market. These shingles are treated with a special fire-resistant coating that will protect your home in the event that your roof comes in contact with any embers. Even with these extra safety measures, there are some municipalities that have outlawed wood singles completely. You will want to check your city ordinances to make sure that wood shingles are allowed in your neighborhood.

Wood shingles come in a variety of colors including pine, cedar, and redwood. If maintained properly, you can expect your wood roof to last upwards of twenty-five years.

Asphalt Shingles

This is the most common choice for residential roofing in the area. Asphalt shingles tend to be popular among homeowner and roofing contractors alike because they are easy to install as well as very economical. Asphalt shingles are typically reinforced with an organic material such as cellulose, which does not affect the aesthetic appearance of the material.

Asphalt shingles are available in a variety of colors, which makes it easy for a homeowner to match the material to their exterior paint. If there is any downside to selecting asphalt shingles for your roof, it is that they do not last as long as other, more expensive materials. Additionally, they don’t provide much in the way of insulation, which should be taken into consideration if live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures.

Overall though, Asphalt shingles can work very well for most modern homes. While they may not be as durable as some other materials, you can expect them to last upwards of 20-25 years if you maintain your roof properly.

Synthetic Roofing

Synthetic roofing products, although more common on a commercial roof, are quickly growing in popularity among homeowners. These products may include polymer roofing, rubber, or plastic. They come in a variety of colors and textures to fit your home’s aesthetic. There are even synthetic roofing products that are made to look like natural materials like slate or wood.

The major benefit of choosing a synthetic material for your roof is the durability. Synthetic products are easy to maintain, resist wear, and are typically fire-resistant. The major drawback to a synthetic roof is that it’s difficult to say just how long it will last or how often you will require a roof repair. Because these materials are still so new, we really don’t have a clear understanding of how they will stand up in the longer run. However, that should not be a major deterrent for homeowners as you have the option to choose a roof that will be warrantied for up to fifty years, giving you some peace of mind.

Metal Tiles

Metal roofing materials come from a variety of elements and their compounds – zinc, steel, aluminum, tin, and some other alloys – which makes it a versatile roofing choice. As with all other roofing materials, metal has its benefits and disadvantages.

For starters, it is very durable and resistant to most of the natural threats – rain, snow, fire, mold, mildew, and insect infestation. Metal is also and an excellent heat conductor, which means you will be able to save money on air-conditioning if you choose to install a metal roof. The installation of metal roofing systems is an easy, fast, and inexpensive process.

Their price is one of the reasons people don’t choose metal roofing. Since the material is strong and durable, and the roof will last even up to half a century with proper maintenance, its cost is expected to be bigger. If the material is too pliable (such as aluminum), even the slightest collision will create dents, which will require repairs. Also, the noise rain makes when hitting a metal roof could mean nothing to some people, and to others, it could turn out to be a big nuisance.

Slate and Clay Tiles

Being one of the most durable and long-living residential roofing material there is, tiles are becoming more and more popular among homeowners who wish to protect their houses in the best way possible.

Slate and clay are natural materials, which means they are completely recyclable and offer excellent protection against natural elements and weather. Not only that – they provide the house with a unique rural look that will boost your house’s curb appeal and, consequently, increase its value on the market.

There is a small setback to this seemingly perfect story – their weight, this article argues. Asphalt and metal generally do not require any additional supporting since they are relatively lightweight. Slate and clay, however, can be installed only on houses with a sturdy, powerful structure. Another thing that you should keep in mind is the high price of the material and installation, which will require professional and skillful roofers.

Ceramic roofing tiles

If you are looking for a lot of character in your home, ceramic roof tiles might be the way to go and they are generally durable. Tiles are resistant to fading and are fireproof. Quality tiles should last 50 to 70 years.

In the US, tile roofs are most commonly seen on homes that borrow elements from Spanish architecture. The tiles hang in parallel rows, overlapping to keep out rainwater. Disadvantages to ceramic roofing tiles include their unsuitability for climates with fluctuating weather. Ceramic tiles are prone to erosion under these conditions. While the tiles are durable, they are also fragile. High winds can damage them, as will walking on the tiles.

Find the right roof type for your home based on design, function, and price

Now that you’ve got a feel for the different kinds of roofing available to you, you can start to narrow down your choices. At this stage, you should consult with a professional roofing contractor.

In addition to providing long-lasting residential roofing services, an experienced residential roofing contractor will help you identify which of these five types of roofing are best for you based upon three factors: design, function, and price.

Design

Quality roofing can add resale value to your home and add to its curb appeal. Beautiful terra cotta tile roofing can fit one home’s aesthetic, while the rustic charm of cedar shakes might fit another’s. Or perhaps slate roofing is more of your style. Whatever your tastes, a roofing contractor will be able to walk you through choices that satisfy them.

Function

Roofing, of course, is supposed to protect your home from the sun, rain, and temperature. Good roofing performs, even in high wind areas, with the highest temperature variance like St. Louis. There are framing, underlayment, and installation techniques to help a roofing system perform in even the harshest environmental conditions.

Price

Roofs are typically measured—and priced—in roofing squares, which are about 100 square feet. Metal roofing and asphalt shingles are among the most reasonably priced by roofing squares. You might, however, get a longer run out of a slate or tile roof, which can last for hundreds of years. A roofing contractor will be able to point you toward the right roofing material for your price point.

A Residential Painting Ways To Contract Peace Of Mind

Things to Consider When Choosing a Paintbrush

What to consider when choosing the paintbrush for a painting project? The tiniest detail in a paint job can affect the whole result. Surely, you don’t want to discover a blotchy or paint clumps on the wall. So whether you are a homeowner or a property manager planning to hire painters

Type of Paint and the Brush to Use

There are two types of paint: water-based latex paint and oil-based paint. If you need to use latex paint, consider using synthetic non-absorbent bristles. Latex paint’s water component dries more quickly, so it was suitable for areas like walls and ceilings. Compatible brushes for water-based paint include nylon, polyester, mixed brushes, and or combination of both.

Oil-based paint dries up longer than water-based. It can protect the surface against issues like extreme temperature, and rust, mostly the tear and wear situation. Thinner and turpentine can dissolve the oil-based paint, so use it to readjust your colour. Compatible brushes for oil-based paint are the natural absorbent brush like animal fur or fibres, black and white China bristles from hog’s hair and ox hair.

Brush Type

Brush Size and Width: Depends on the level of delicateness in a paint job, there’s an appropriate size to match it.

Narrow and tight areas like windows need smaller paintbrush within 1”-2” width.

Average sized brushes in 1”-4” is usually useful on kitchen doors, cabinets, and countertops.

Bigger paintbrushes with width 4” are for bigger surface areas like wall, ceiling, and rooftop.

Brush Bristles Shape: Angle Sash is for paint trimming, and some from this shape are used to smoothen finish painting. You can use angle brushes to small, tight spaces like doorways, moulding, and gaps. On the other hand, flat brushes often included in the household collection for cleaning purposes. The most popular flat brush is the flag-tipped wall brush.

Quality Brushes. To know if your paintbrush is in good quality, check out some warning signs. The bristles must hold together through the ferrule, or the metal is binding the hair, and nothing should fall off once you pulled the bristles outward.

Type of Surface

Surface Size

If you think that using the bigger paintbrush to a smaller surface can make your job easier and faster, do not be fooled by it. Professional painters always suggest using smaller brushes than the area you need to paint. Small brushes make it more comfortable to press, glide, and you can control the pressure between your hand and the surface.

Surface Texture

The most commonly found in residential painting job are the matte textured wood, concrete walls, and metals. The glossy surface type includes marbles, glass panels, or plastic doors, and tiles. The significant part of combining creativity and practicality is when you need to cover up the jagged areas – instead of smoothening it, the textured paint will do the trick.

Things to Consider When Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing paint colors for your property is a major decision. While you can always change these colors in the future, frequently altering your home’s appearance isn’t cheap, so you want to get it right from the beginning. The colors you choose for your home or business will ultimately depend on your preference, but few people are so decisive. Careful planning and forethought are required

How Will it Look With Your Current Decor?

Choosing colors is all about context. Your interior painting services may focus solely on painting your walls and ceilings, but these aren’t the only features of a room. Think about the furniture, artwork, and accessories that give the room life and purpose. If you plan on keeping these objects as they are, they can serve as a jumping off point for your color choices. Of course, if you’re going to overhaul the entire space and install new furniture, change the layout, etc., you’ll have to think more holistically about how you want the room to look. In this case, you might start with your paint color instead. The bottom line is, your paint job and decor should complement one another, no matter which comes first.

Don’t Knock Neutrals

When we think about picking paint colors, our minds are trained to turn to bright, saturated hues that make bold statements. However, some subtlety can go a long way. Neutral colors like greys, beiges, and off-whites provide balance to a space and give the eyes a place to rest. If you want your interior painting contractors to incorporate brighter, louder colors, consider including neutral tones as well. In fact, you might begin with a neutral color and then see how other colors interact with it to get the look you want.

Think in Themes

You might be in love with a single color, but most people want some variety in their lives. As such, you’ll probably select a handful of paint colors for your home or business. When doing so, take a broad view, keeping in mind how one color will inform another. In other words, instead of choosing a color, choose a theme or color palette. You might want multiple colors for one room, or you might want each room to have its own look that separates it from the rest. And remember that other aspects of your decor, like your furniture, shades, and bedding, will play into these themes as well.

Light Plays a Role

There would be no color at all without light. It makes sense, then, that different types of lighting affect how we see a single color. We may choose a paint color only to realize it looks different when applied to a surface. This phenomenon must be taken into account when choosing paint colors. Your local interior painters can help you understand the ways in which various finishes and light sources will alter the color’s appearance so you’re not completely kept in the dark.

How to Choose an Interior House Painter

The decision to paint a home’s interior can make a huge difference in the homeowner’s living experience.  From making the home more attractive to increasing the overall resell value of the home, the benefits are almost endless.  This is why it is so important to choose the right interior house painter for the project.  The right painting contractor can perfect the home’s improvement for expert results.

Choosing the right painter for the job can help to alleviate the stress associated with such a massive undertaking.  From choosing the perfect paint color, to choosing the best quality paint, to preparing the home’s surfaces, a professional can lead the project for the desired end results.

For homeowners who have never hired a professional painter before, here are a few steps to make the most educated decision:

Conduct Research. First conduct adequate research to find top house painters in the area.  Research can include internet searches or it can be as simple as asking friends and neighbors for recommendations.  Homeowners should also check the Better Business Bureau website for the contractor’s rating or search for other online reviews from previous customers on sites

Interview Painters & Request Estimates. The next step is to call the painters directly and schedule a walk-through of the home.  During the visit, the homeowner can interview the painter and determine if they will be a good fit for the project.  During the interview the painter should demonstrate their expertise in the painting field.  They should use technical terminology and should express their knowledge of the paints and materials to be used.  They should also articulate what the process will be like when working with them, demonstrating their professionalism and also differentiating themselves from other contractors.

Ask the Right Questions. During the interview the homeowner should ask as many questions as possible to determine whether or not they would like to hire the painter.  One of the top reasons for dissatisfaction among homeowners who did not end up with the results they expected, stems from not asking pertinent questions that would qualify the painter as a good fit for the job.

Local businesses, painting contractors

Are you looking for marketing ideas for your painting company? Like nearly all local businesses, painting contractors often face stiff competition when it comes to marketing.

Promoting a business online is getting difficult. It’s not enough to have a website. You need to have a strong social media presence, set-up effective ad campaigns and have a strong long-term promotional strategy in place.

Focus on local search engine optimisation

The way people search for information online has changed a lot over the past few years. Directories, Yellow Pages and Yelp have been superseded by search engines like Google, Bing and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Thus, SEO is not just an additional marketing strategy, it’s a compulsory element of online marketing.

In fact, the most essential part of your online marketing strategy is local SEO. If you are thinking about whether you should invest in SEO for your painting company, it’s time to stop thinking and start doing.

The first thing you need for good SEO is a search engine friendly website that is optimised to generate as many conversions as possible. There are many nitty-gritty aspects of the SEO process that you’re probably not going to have the time or the inclination to fuss around with.

Things to Look for in a Quality House Paint Job

The definition of quality can be somewhat subjective. Yet, there are definite parameters that define whether you received a quality house paint job or not. You should be familiar with these things before you hire a painting contractor.

Proper Protection from Paint

In most cases, a painting contractor isn’t working with an empty house. If you are painting the exterior of your house, protecting shrubbery and landscape plantings from paint is very important. Not only is paint ugly on your bushes, it can also harm the plants. Landscaping is an important aspect of curb appeal so you don’t want to have to reinvest in it after you’ve had your home painted.

Proper Pre-Paint Preparation

A paint job will not last if proper pre-paint preparation techniques are not used. Things like silicone, wax, polish, grease and dirt will prevent the paint from adhering properly. Things might look okay for a short while, but when bad weather arrives, it becomes apparent that pre-paint preparation was sloppy.

Caulking

You have the right to expect a painting contractor to caulk holes, window frames and other trim areas that typically require caulking. One of the goals of painting your home is to protect it from the environment. Caulking prevents water from seeping in behind trim and causing extensive damage.

Clean Lines between Separate Paint Colors

all seen painting jobs where the junction between the ceiling and the walls looks messy because color from the walls slopped up onto the ceiling. No professional should walk away from a paint job where the lines between ceiling and trim, or ceiling and wall aren’t straight and clean.

How To Choose Hardwood Flooring Contractors

Can you make wood floors waterproof?

Hardwood floors do have a weakness: water. We aren’t talking about the type of water that your kids track in or that you spill from a cup. As long as you promptly wipe up this water, your floors should be fine. Small amounts of water dry quickly and do not penetrate the finish.

Unfortunately, hardwood floors can’t handle large amounts of water. If a pipe bursts or water floods in from outside, you must act quickly to save your floors from serious damage such as buckling. Your best course is to call in professionals to quickly dry your floor surface as well as the subfloor to prevent permanent problems.

If your hardwood floors are not completely dried, they become vulnerable to mold, a real health problem. Mold in the home can lead to serious respiratory issues, another reason that wet hardwood needs to have professional drying.

If the floors do not buckle or incur other structural damage, they can be effectively refinished. You must realize that hardwood can take weeks to dry completely, so you should not attempt to refinish them until a professional tells you they are ready for this treatment. Refinishing too soon actually locks in the moisture, causing a myriad of problems.

Waterproof vs. water resistant

Bear in mind that waterproof and water resistant are two different terms. Usually wooden floors which have a finish have some kind of water resistance built in. But, lacquered or varnished flooring is in most cases more water resistant as compared to oil finished floors. Moreover, if you want to make your wood flooring waterproof, you will have your work cut out for you.

It is true to say that there are a few products once can purchase on the market which can protect the flooring from water. But whether or not they will meet your needs in terms of waterproofing depends on what your desired end result is. You may need the floor to be water resistant for instance in a situation that you take a few wet footsteps walking from a bathtub to get a towel and want to feel secure that it won’t cause damage to your flooring. A totally different situation is when you’re planning on waterproofing a wooden floor in an interior that you want to turn into a wet room.

Making your floor water resistant to make it withstand wet feet entering the house from the outdoors or wet feet walking across the bathroom is quite simple and entails the following measures.

How to Waterproof a Wood Floor

There is nothing that makes your home look as neat and cozy as wood flooring. Today, wood is as popular as it used to be before the carpeting craze; its earthy color and warm look give a welcoming impression. However, taking care of the dust and damage is not enough to make a wood floor last. It needs proper maintenance and care, and waterproofing is an important part of the magic formula. Think about how many times you or your kids accidentally spill water or milk or track mud from outside. Without protection, wood will soak it in and, after some time, gain dark spots that damage its appeal. Once upon a time, people used different oils, oil-based products, and waxes to keep their wood floor in good shape, but now, there are more durable, stronger polyurethanes or resins that will make waterproofing that much easier with the right instructions.

Clean the area.

The first step is the most important. The floor needs to be clean of dirt and dust before you apply the waterproofing agent. If there is any grime left on your floors, the sealer will “trap” the gunk indefinitely on the surface.

  • Use a dry mop or vacuum to thoroughly clean the area until the floor is smooth and dust-free. You should also remove all pieces of furniture. You can leave tubs, sinks, and toilets if they are not easily removable.
  • If you are waterproofing wood, you’ll also want to sand the area with a handheld medium-grit sandpaper. Once you restore your wood and clean it free of dust a second time, then you can begin the waterproofing process.
  • You should open all doors and use a portable fan to add ventilation to the room. This will help the floor dry faster and diminish any smells or fumes from the agents.

TIP: Try to waterproof during warm, dry days. High humidity can make the primer and waterproofing agent take longer to dry. This is another reason you need good ventilation in the room.

Apply the primer.

We recommend an epoxy, water-based primer for waterproofing. Pour the primer into a paint roller tray.

  • Using a paint roller or brush, start applying the primer in even strokes. Start in the back corner and work around the walls first. You’ll want to coat about 7 or 8 inches of the wall with primer and waterproof sealer to ensure your bathroom is fully proofed.
  • Then, continue applying the primer to the rest of the bathroom floor. Work in small areas, spreading evenly with the brush.
  • Let primer dry for at least four hours. Be sure to follow the instructions on your primer to make sure it is thoroughly mixed, applied, and dried.

Fill cracks with silicone.

You can start filling in the cracks after the primer has dried. The silicone seals the gap between the floor and wall as well as any other cracks in the floor. This ensures that all areas are waterproof, especially those cracks and gaps that attract moisture.

  • Apply the silicone seal using a caulking gun. This will give you an even, steady application. Use a paint scraper to remove any excess silicone seal.
  • Wait 24 hours for the silicone and primer to thoroughly dry.

Apply masking tape.

  • Use painters’ tape to show the spot to which you’ll waterproof on the walls. The tape will also help maintain an even line of sealer after you remove it.
  • If you are just waterproofing the floors, we recommend proofing half a foot off the floor on the wall. This ensures complete proofing with a reduced risk of structural damage. If you’re waterproofing up to a shower recess, you’ll need to waterproof about 6 feet up the wall.

Apply the first coat of waterproofing.

Pour the waterproofing agent or sealer in a roller tray.

  • Using a paint roller or paintbrush, apply the waterproofing agent to the wall. Start in the back corner and move forward. You’ll apply up to the masking tape.
  • After you’ve completed proofing the walls, start applying the agent to the floors. Move from the back corner outwards, so you end up at the door with the entire room covered. (You don’t want to paint yourself into a corner with the agent.)
  • If you are waterproofing wood (as opposed to waterproofing before laying down flooring), you’ll likely want a urethane waterproof sealer that’s oil or water based. This sealer will protect the natural shine of wood floors.

Pro-Tip: When using urethane sealer, apply the first coat with a wool mop or other thick, natural material. This will help create a smooth application.

Apply the waterproof membrane.

If you are waterproofing a foundation, you’ll want to use a waterproof membrane. This protects the structure from spills and humidity, and it also protects the flooring material from underground moisture. You’ll apply the membrane before laying down the flooring.

  • Cut the membrane with a knife so it is the exact length of the bathroom wall. Lay the membrane so half is on the wall and half on the bathroom floor, covering the crack between the wall and the floor.
  • Paint over the membrane using the waterproofing agent as an adhesive. This basically sandwiches the membrane on to the wall and floor using two layers of sealer.
  • Focus on smoothing the corners and crevices. Then, lay the membrane down on the rest of the floor. Focus on the joints, but cover all areas. Let this first coat of waterproofing and membrane dry for 24 hours.

Apply a second coat.

  • After a day, apply the second coat the way you applied the first in step 5. Do not apply a second layer of membrane.
  • After application, let dry for 24 hours. Be sure to turn on fans and open doors to ventilate further. Don’t forget to remove the painters’ tape.
  • In two days, you will have a waterproofed surface!

Choose waterproof floors

Some flooring materials are naturally more waterproof than others. Below is a list of our favorite water-resistant floors.

Tile: Most ceramic and porcelain tile has a durable glaze that keeps liquids from seeping into the floor. Tile is also easy to clean and maintain, which can help extend the life of your floors. However, moisture can seep into grout and cracks, growing mold, mildew, and bacteria. Thus, it’s important to install a waterproof coat as well.

Vinyl: Vinyl can look like wood or tile, but it’s naturally resistant to water, mold, and mildew. Wood plastic composite is a great wood option to hold up against spills, and it won’t expand with moisture like typical wood does.

Rubber: Rubber floors are becoming more popular, especially for houses with kids and pets. Rubber is naturally resistant to water and provides traction in wet areas. This is especially good for basements that flood often because you can pull up rubber, let it dry, and reinstall it. It’s also resistant to mold and mildew, which makes it a great choice for home gyms.

Small Kitchen Remodeling Ideas To Make Your Space Grand

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide: Contractors, Storage Space, & More

A kitchen remodel is a big project. You’ll likely encounter unforeseen expenses, last-minute design changes, and plenty of stress during the dusty months of renovation. While the duration of the remodel can be challenging, the finished project is usually well worth the wait. The trick is figuring out how to survive until the end. Luckily, there are a few ways you can ease the challenge of renovations.

How to Have a Successful Kitchen Remodel

The best way to set yourself up for success in your upcoming remodel is to adequately prepare yourself beforehand. Study, shop around, budget, and compare samples before you tear out the first cabinet. Having a well-thought-out plan can save money and your sanity as you go through renovations

Here are some preparation tips to make your kitchen remodel successful.

Make a budget. Before you do anything else, decide how much money you’re willing to spend on your kitchen renovations. Use a free calculating tool to get an estimate of how much your design ideas will cost, and alter your ideas to fit within your budget. Be sure to leave a little extra room in the budget for unexpected expenses.

Find the right contractor. Get quotes from multiple contractors before selecting one. Your contractor should have a good balance of cost and reputation, so do thorough research on potential candidates.

Plan for plenty of storage and lighting. Two of the most common problems in finished kitchens are lack of storage and improper lighting. Plan ahead for these problems by discussing options with your contractor. Talk about under-cabinet lighting and updated fixtures along with clever cabinet structures to squeeze more storage out of your kitchen space

What to Ask Your Contractor Before Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Having a contractor you can put your confidence in is an important part of your kitchen remodel. It’s not only a matter of asking questions, but asking the right questions to determine who is best fit for the job. Here are the top questions you should ask to ensure you’re leaving your expensive project in the hands of an expert.

Can I see your license and certificate of insurance?

Make sure your contractor has completed all the necessary certification require by your city and state. In addition to asking your contractor for proof, you can contact local agencies to ensure he or she is properly licensed.

The Secrets to a Successful Kitchen Remodeling

There are incredibly breathtaking ways to update a kitchen through a kitchen remodel. The upgrading of kitchen cabinets is amongst the vast remodeling procedures that enable you to save an immense amount of money.

Would you like to know how to effectively remodel your kitchen and give it stunning new look? If your answer is yes, then you a€™re in the right place. The good news is: you don’€™t need to hire a professional interior decorator or spend huge sums of money to successfully remodel and renovate your kitchen. So, to help you get started, here are some very valuable tips.

Pick a New Style for Your Kitchen

Start by identifying a new design for your kitchen. Ask yourself if you want a sparsely decorated interior space or a rich, multi-layered design with several colors and accessories. You should begin by putting down clearly written goals for your remodeling efforts. It will be a lot easier to make choices later once you are sure of what you want. Sometimes, your kitchen may only require a new wall color which you may have seen in a photo online.

Focus on Functionality

Always place functionality ahead of fashion. What is in vogue today may lose its appeal tomorrow. So avoid those trendy shapes and colors that will soon become outdated.

Upgrade Your Floor

Upgrade your kitchen flooring with a more modern and attractive material. If you don’€™t have the money to upgrade your linoleum floors with tiles or hardwood, then you should at least change the paint. Also, bear in mind that you should change your floor before you fix new lower cabinets.

Step Kitchen Renovation Timeline

A kitchen renovation is one of the most popular home improvement tasks among homeowners. It’s also one of the most complex – chiefly because there are multiple stages and tradespeople involved. Ensuring that each step of the renovation is perfectly coordinated will help to make it a stress-free process with a satisfying outcome.

To map out a plan, talk to your designer or cabinet-maker and ask them to clearly explain how they work and what will happen once your renovation begins. This will really help, even if you are organising your own tradespeople, such as plumbers and electricians, to ensure all trades are booked in at the correct stages of the process and all necessary items are bought.

Designing your kitchen

The first step, and one of the most exciting in any kitchen renovation project, is the design process. Don’t rush this stage. Take your time to ensure you explore all layout options and material choices with your designer. Spending some extra time now will ensure you don’t have any regrets later, and will also help the rest of the process to run smoothly.

Removing existing cabinets

Once you have placed the order for your new cabinets, the supplier will be able to give you a date for delivery. Prior to receiving them, your existing cabinets will need to be removed – note, this is a good time to get the take-away menus ready while your kitchen is out of action. Alternatively, dust off the barbecue and move out onto the deck if the weather is fine or set up a temporary kitchen space where you can eat inside.

Beginning the building work

If you are opening up a new window or are removing or building some new walls as part of your kitchen renovation, this is the stage when the majority of structural work will take place. It will need to be scheduled so that it is completed prior to the date the new cabinets are due to be delivered and installed. Check with your carpenter or builder how long they think the work will take. As a guide, minor building work will only take a day or two to complete.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE RENOVATING YOUR KITCHEN

A kitchen is the soul of every home. It’s the room in your house where the whole family gets together quite often and the ideal place to socialize. Its design requires more thought than picking just materials, appliances and colors. The look of the cooking space in your household is an hommage of a person’s taste and all extras come down to your preferences and the style of your home as a whole

MAKE UP YOUR MIND ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE

The whole process of kitchen renovation is more than just aesthetics. Focus on what you want to achieve with the process, whether it’s a better utilization of space, adding extra functionalities or integrating your kitchen with other areas of your home. This will help you rationalize the renovation project and assure everyone in the household involved is on the same page from the very beginning.

SET A REASONABLE BUDGET

It’s very important to set a reasonable budget for the process of remodeling, having in mind the actual value of your property. There is no purpose in investing $15,000 in a superior kitchen if your property is worth $150,000 – you just won’t get your money back. On the other hand, if your property is worth $500,000 and you remodel on a low budget you could end up devaluing your home which is not good either.

DECIDE HOW YOU ARE GOING TO EXECUTE THE PLAN

The most cost-effective approach to kitchen remodeling is doing it yourself, but it doesn’t come without a risk. Be realistic when you think of how much you can do yourself and what will require a skilled professional such as a kitchen designer or a contractor. If you go for a total do-over, you might need to carry the plumbing, electrical and gas fittings too. It’s for the best not to attempt to do these things on your own and hire a reliable professional instead.

DETERMINE THE COLORS SCHEME

If you remodel the kitchen simply because you need a change of scenery, rather than to sell it, you have the room to be creative with everything, even the colors. Follow your heart and just choose a kitchen style. Whether it’s the Italian-style rustic kitchen or minimalistic modern look cooking space you long for, the style you want will dictate the color scheme.

What to Ask Your Contractor Before Starting a Kitchen Renovation

The kitchen contractor you choose determines the success of your kitchen renovation

Like any other home renovation project, when you’re embarking on a kitchen remodel, whether major or minor, don’t skip on the planning. A project that impacts the heart of your home requires careful thought.

Before you hire a kitchen remodeling contractor, ask these questions

know you’re eager to rip out those ugly, dark brown cabinets and 1980’s lighting. But before you begin your remodel, here are some important questions to ask your contractor so there are no illusions and you know what to expect.

Do You Have References?

When you’re putting out thousands of dollars, it’s not unreasonable to want to know what you’ll be getting. A reputable contractor should be able to provide you with names and numbers of past clients. Don’t be bashful about contacting the people on that list and asking them for feedback.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

Contractors who’ve been in business for many years are likely to have worked out the kinks of their trade, and know what problems are most likely to arise and how to handle them quickly and efficiently.

How is Payment Handled?

You should never pay for the entire project before any work is done. While it’s not uncommon to be asked to pay a minimal portion up front, look for a set schedule that outlines payments as certain milestones for the work are completed.