Determining A Kitchen Remodelling Budget

Tips to Keep You From Hating Your Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodeling sits at the top of many homeowners’ wish lists, and for good reason: If properly done, a renovation makes the kitchen more attractive, improves its efficiency, and raises the resale price of your home

Set a Budget

If you’re planning to renovate your kitchen completely, be prepared to pay about 10% or 15% of your home’s current value. That’s no arbitrary percentage; it’s a budget that ensures that the quality of your improvements stays in line with your home’s worth. Although spending too little is a concern, it’s equally important to avoid overspending. Be sure to allow leeway for surprises. Who knows what plumbing or wiring nightmares lurk in the walls behind those old cabinets?

Size Matters

Are the cooks in your household taller or shorter than average? Careful shopping and strategic design can make their lives much easier without making your kitchen overly specialized. For example, manufacturers recommend installing a hood 30 inches above the cooktop—in other words, right in the face of a six-foot-tall cook. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: Most hoods work just fine if mounted slightly higher. The lesson is that no matter how lovely something looks on the drawing board, you must account for the lifestyle and physical characteristics of the people who will actually be using the kitchen.

Focus on Lighting

In the hardest-working room of your house, don’t underestimate the benefits of living with neither shadows nor glare. Use a mix of fixtures to layer light of different types—ambient, task, accent, and mood

Indulge (Some of) Your Whims

Maybe you’re right on top of the latest trends, or maybe you love bright colors. Remember, materials and colors that look fantastic in a sample-size swatch might very well appear over- or underwhelming in a larger dose. Resist the temptation of going over the top with busy tile patterns or purple appliances. Instead, integrate the design elements you love as accents, not centerpieces. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating future buyers who don’t happen to share your idiosyncratic style sense.

 

Common Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

While a significant expense for most homeowners, renovating your kitchen is also an investment that can last you for years to come and may even increase the overall value of your home. Therefore, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind before you embark on your renovation journey—as well as a number of common mistakes you’ll want to try and avoid. Doing so will help make your time, effort, and money well worth it.

For starters, plan your kitchen accordingly. By this we mean take some time to consider your family’s needs and your lifestyle. This will help ensure everyone can get the most out of the space. Ask yourself how often you cook, what appliances you would like to dedicate extra time (and money) investing in, and how much storage you consider essential. Perhaps the kitchen is your family’s main space for socializing and entertaining, and sometimes even doubles as an after-school homework zone. In this case, you may want to pay extra attention to your seating choices and counter space, or maybe dedicate certain areas to serve more than one purpose

Going It Alone

Even if you’re the DIY type, make sure to consult a kitchen design expert before starting your project. A professional will be able to help fine-tune your remodel plan, offer tips and advice, and maybe even recommend some ideas you hadn’t already considered.

Overlooking Storage Details

Don’t skip over the seemingly small add-ons and storage features, like additional drawer dividers, or cabinet expansions like pantry pullouts and lazy Susans. These details will not only increase your kitchen’s storage efficiency, but will also save you money as they are much more costly to add on down the road

Forgetting Your Workflow

When planning you’re remodeling, remember your kitchen’s busiest areas: the sink, stove, and refrigerator. Make sure these areas and appliances are in an efficient location that is relevant to one another. Many designers refer to this as the kitchen “work triangle”.

 

Kitchen Remodeling Guide

Hey, have you heard the one about the 36-inch pro-style range that ripped the molding off the back door on its way into the house? Or the poured-on-site concrete countertop that cracked three months after installation? Or maybe it was the contractor who was paid in advance, promptly skipped town, and was never heard from again

Yep, we’ve heard those stories, too. Let’s face it, in a nation where home renovation long ago surpassed baseball as the Great American Pastime, kitchen nightmares are a dime a dozen — and anyone who’s ever traded Formica countertops and a Harvest Gold fridge for soapstone and a stainless steel side-by-side knows exactly what we’re talking about.

Finding (and Holding Onto) the Best Pros

Kitchen remodeling is at the top of homeowners’ wish lists. It is also, according to attorneys general across the country, a leading source of consumer complaints. Recommendations from friends are the best place to start your search for a qualified contractor. But before you make a decision, keep these caveats in mind

They’re only as good as their last job. “General contractors often win jobs based on their good reputations,” explains architect Dennis Wedlick, author of Good House Hunting: 20 Steps to Your Dream Home. “But circumstances can change. When the contractor switches subcontractors or laborers, quality can be affected.” Ask your top three candidates to supply references, and follow up with the most recent ones

What you see is what you get. In addition to completed renovations, try to visit a job in progress. You can learn a lot about a contractor’s commitment to quality and safety by seeing for yourself how clean the site is and how carefully the drywall is hung and taped

 

Kitchen Remodeling Guide: Tips & Advice

Hiring a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

Redesigning and renovation of kitchens and dining rooms are the most popular issues among the homeowners. Finding the right contractor is one of the trickiest things for dummies. Ask your experienced friends and neighbors about their successes and kitchen remodeling nightmares. Browse through the forums and web reviews. Here are the things you should bear in mind while seeking for a professional

These are the three R’s of successful communication with a contractor. Offer the workers some soft drinks or coffee for refreshment. Don’t be on the way in the process of remodeling, especially in the kitchen and make your children and pets do the same to be responsible for calm renovation process. Be respectful and don’t talk politics and family relationships issues. Following these three simple rules will make your mutual communication flowing in the process of kitchen remodeling

If You Do Kitchen Remodeling Yourself

The DIY option is never prohibited and you can easily deal with kitchen remodeling on your own if you have a bit of experience and certain skills. This part of the guide is devoted to handy homeowners willing to do the renovation with their own hands. The first thing you need to remember is that all materials you need should be preordered and delivered on time before you start the demolition. Otherwise, you’ll have to cope with the kitchen under construction for weeks or even months. Do you have the materials ready? OK, let’s pass on to the first step you can beat yourself and save money on kitchen remodeling.

Speaking of the Cabinets…

Basic stock cabinets are perfect for fast kitchen remodeling. They are cheap, versatile and easily installed. They’re almost always in stock and generally delivered at once. Thanks to their simple look, their average cost is low. The only disadvantage is that your choice of designs will be very limited. If you’re a bit more sophisticated homeowner, you can try semi-custom kitchen cabinets presented in a wider variety of styles. That’s a pricier option, but you’ll have a chance to add fancy elements to your kitchen remodeling overall design: glass doors, moldings, and side panels. Besides, you’ll get a variety of coloring options. Such cabinets are generally preordered.

Materials

If you’re limited on budget, consider the right pick of material. There are several options available: Laminate. That’s the cheapest option. Budget countertops are also manufactured from the laminate. That’s a neutral naturally friendly idea. It is released in flat panels and cannot be reshaped. However, if you’re devoted to simplicity, these sleek minimalistic laminate panels will look contemporary and neat. Vinyl. Produced from the same material as laminate. It tightly wraps the cabinet doors providing you with more design options. You get attractive kitchen cabinets with simple maintenance for a moderate price.

 

What I wish I’d known before my first kitchen renovation

After years of dreaming about it, I finally renovated my kitchen last spring. Since it was my first renovation project, I put my journalist cap on, did extensive research, and asked everyone I could think of about their kitchen renovation experiences. While I learned some lessons the hard way, in the end, I got exactly the kitchen I wanted—one that includes a dishwasher-garbage-sink work triangle (life altering!), a giant island, and a heated tile floor (I cry with joy every morning when I walk on it).

Mixing and matching pricey items with less expensive ones, as I did, should be part of any renovation budget strategy. For example, I went super-basic on the refrigerator and dishwasher so I could go big with a six-burner, restaurant-quality range, and I opted for manufactured quartz over natural marble so I could upgrade to modern matte black cabinets

Get professional design help.

A kitchen designer will know tricks you won’t, but ask about how they charge: Do they bill for the design plus a markup on everything you buy, and can you order things on your own to save money? (Ask your contractor the same questions.) Also, check for design help in unlikely places: After three missteps on the design front, I discovered that my local building supply store, Riverhead Building Supply in East Hampton, New York, had a kitchen design center, and their design was free and amazing (thank you again, Cori Schramm!). I ordered mid-priced, semi-custom cabinets—and my countertops—there, and I was able to buy everything else (often on sale) on my own at other stores.

Accept that living without a kitchen will be highly unpleasant.

Each morning, as I squatted at the bottom of my living room stairs to brew and pour coffee, I cursed not having a kitchen. But an advance demolition of the old kitchen is critical because it allows for the most precise measurements for the new one. “You’re building cabinets for the space you have,” says California-based designer Tim Clarke. “You want to maximize every inch, learn where hidden pipes might be so that you can remove, and find unforeseen problems early while they can be addressed.”

Choose your appliances and sink early.

Appliances have big implications on layout. When planning, don’t just measure their width: Check the depth and leave clearance for circulation around door openings, including the side of the fridge, which often needs to be up to three inches to open interior drawers fully. Also, don’t skimp on ventilation: People forget the range needs a vent, or they underestimate the strength it needs (a heavy-duty range requires a heavy-duty hood!). Shop for your sink early too, as it’s just as important as your appliances. My huge undermount Franke 60-40 split stainless steel required me to move the dishwasher from its original location—an important early-stage decision. Find an appliance store that will let you buy early but will hold them until you’re ready to install, because appliances go in last.

Must Know How To Choose Good Flat Roof

Flat Roof Maintenance Tips

Flat roofs last approximately between 10 to 20 years before they need to be replaced.  How do you get your flat roof to last till 20 years – it’s quite simple – you just need to regularly maintain it.  Your flat roof can have a much longer life span, provided you look after it through regular maintenance (removing debris, fixing leaks and ponding, etc).  Maintaining a roof will involve some costs,but it will save you a lot of money in the long run, as it will last longer -pushing a roof replacement further away

Look for Debris

Some debris can be found on a roof usually after a storm. Debris can scratch, puncture or cause serious damage to your roof so it needs to be removed immediately. You should inspect for any visible damage when removing debris

Repairing Seams & Membranes

Seams are where 2 pieces of roofing material are adjoined. Both seams and membranes can be vulnerable to leaks, specifically in places on the roof that have accessories built into it such as air vents, skylights and air conditioner units

Replacing the Flashings

Flashings are installed into areas of the roof where where two opposing surfaces meet such as parapet walls. These areas require the extra protection that flashing provides.They help prevent water from leaking through the vulnerable areas. Over time, flashings can become loose or deteriorated from excess exposure to moisture and will need to be replaced.

Clearing Clogging

Clogging may occur in drains, vents and scuppers,especially after storms. Scuppers allow water to run off the roof, directing water to flow from the side of the roof down into a drainage system. All drains, scuppers or gutters need to be kept clear

 

How to Design a Flat Roof That Won’t Leak

The archetypal flat roof, even today, is largely associated with the mid-century modern aesthetic. From the outset, a building is deemed elementally minimalist based on its elongated form and perfectly linear roof. Architects are still attracted to the elegance that flat roofs bring to a piece of architecture, and for good reason. Set a mini McMansion-like suburban home and its steeply pitched roof against a low-lying, glass-clad modernist masterpiece and most design enthusiasts — architects and non-architects alike — would agree that the latter is a purer architectural form.

This said, even with contemporary technology, flat roofs aren’t easy to design with success. If the fundamental job of a roof is to cover a space and prevent water from seeping inside, then the simplest and most elemental roofing design would be heavily slanted. That’s why flat roofs — which are actually slightly pitched — must be detailed and constructed with the utmost precision. Here’s how to do it

Cold or Warm?

First, you have to determine how shallow a slope you can get away with. Flat roofs are typically designed with a pitch of 10 degrees or less. According to the International Code Council, the minimum slope for water runoff is ¼ inch per 12 inches. Some local codes take it a step further allowing a slope of only ⅛ of an inch per foot. When detailing construction documents, it’s imperative that architects specify the exact pitch of their roof design.

Second, you must be aware of the two classifications for flat roof constructions: cold and warm. These types are based on the positioning of the thermal insulation. To keep the interior dry and unaffected by the elements, the warm deck roof method is usually recommended over the cold.

To put together a warm deck roof, it’s important that the insulation be positioned above the structural deck — the layers that make up the ceiling. Zero ventilation space is required, and the construction appears stacked and compact. Above the insulation, a bitumen felt underlayment is torched on to shed water and protect the materials below. This is known as a warm-deck sandwich roof. An inverted warm deck roof can also be installed in which the insulation boards are set on top of the structural deck and waterproof membrane.

 

Maintenance guide to avoid flat roof repair

A flat roof is classified as any roof that has a pitch of less than 15 degrees and remains a very popular choice for many homeowners when getting a conservatory or house extension. Flat roofs are unobtrusive, affordable and cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional roofs. However, because of the use of felt, asphalt-based and other similar materials, insurers are often uneasy about insuring this type of roof because of concerns over their longevity, especially when compared with more traditional slate, tiled or more modern EPDM roofs. Which is where flat roof maintenance comes in… Unless you approach a specialist non-standard home insurance broker, most insurers will struggle to insure a flat roof property due to concerns with their endurance

Depending on the quality of the original installation and continued maintenance, flat roofs can in actual fact easily last for up to 50 years at a time before needing to be replaced. This lifespan is almost as long as a tiled roofs, which themselves can last for up to 60 years.

Life span will also be dependent on the flat roof materials used and you will generally find that felt or asphalt-based roofs are less durable compared to slate or more modern materials such as EPDM

By carrying out regular checks and flat roof maintenance, you can make sure that your roof doesn’t suffer from any major damage or excessive wear and tear which could affect its performance, allow in damp, draughts or lower its level of insulation

It is typically recommended that you check your roof every spring and autumn, as well as after particularly harsh weather conditions, such as storms, strong winds and heavy snowfall.

 

Help finding the best flat roof material and how to get it insured

If your property consists of either a full or partial flat roof then you will be well aware of the need for continued maintenance in order to prolong its lifetime, as well as the need eventually to replace the covering over time. Materials have developed and advanced over time, but what is the best option? Here are some details to help you in making the most suitable choice for you individual situation as well as how to insure your flat roof once it is laid.

How many years does a flat roof last?

Most traditional flat roofs are made from either mineral felt or asphalt and will have a maximum life span of between ten and 15 years. Unfortunately though they have a bad reputation due to their propensity to leak or become damaged through pooling water. However, if you keep a roof well maintained there is no reason that this cannot last much longer. In general a flat roof these days tends to last about 20-30 years plus before it needs replacing. With the introduction of plastic and rubber materials this can be even longer, so perhaps replacement for your flat roof would be required up to a maximum of two-to-three times during your lifetime depending how long you are at a property

What are the options for flat roof materials?

If you want to improve on these traditional options then you may want to consider EDPM or TPO flat roofing options. Both EDPM and TPO are types of rubber which tend to have a much longer lifespan than the traditional materials. TPO is less-widespread and a comparatively new product but is more easily heat-weldable. There are also the options of Fibreglass, Lead, Copper, and Zinc which are being used more regularly and are all considered much harder wearing.

Felt roofing

Bitumen felt roofs are applied in a three layer system including a vapour control layer, a reinforced felt layer and cap sheet. These three layers are welded together and hence the material is often called ‘Torch-on felt’. This type of flat roofing should never be attempted to be fitted through DIY installation due to the danger and expertise required, and you should check that your contractor carries the correct insurance to work with a hot flame. Most felt roofs are guaranteed between 10-20 years, but if treated well and well maintained they can last longer.

EPDM Rubber roofing

These rubber roofs can often be installed in one complete layer without the need for joins, depending on the size of the roofing area. EDPM is extremely lightweight, elastic and tough so a well installed rubber roof can be a very good option. Most EDPM roofs are guaranteed for 30 years upwards meaning they are very hard-wearing and can withstand foot traffic due to the incredible ability for expansion and contraction. Rubber roofs, such as EDPM, are very durable and waterproof when in good condition, however they can be easily damaged or vandalised.

 

TIPS TO GET YOUR FLAT ROOF READY FOR SPRING

REMOVE DEBRIS

One of the things that makes Toronto such an attractive city to live in is the many beautiful old shade trees that line residential streets, parks, and ravines. But all of this greenery means that debris builds up quickly on flat roofs across the city, and the first thing you need to do once the snow has finished melting is collect all the debris that has gathered over the winter

CLEAN ALL OUTLETS

Contrary to popular belief, a flat roof is not actually flat. Flat roofs are designed to slope gently towards drainage outlets either on the sides of the roof or in the centre. As any Toronto roofer will tell you, keeping these drainage outlets from clogging is the key to keeping your flat roof from leaking.

CHECK FOR PUNCTURES

Once the roof is clean and the drains are in good working order, you’ll want to check the roofing membrane more thoroughly for punctures, rips, or tears. The type of membrane will vary depending on what kind of flat roof you have, but most Toronto roofing membranes are made from PVC Membrane, modified bitumen, or EPDM.

INSPECT PARAPET WALL SEAMS

One of the distinctive elements of Toronto’s older flat roofs is the parapet wall running along the edges of the roof overlooking the streets and alleys. These parapet walls are designed for safety and serve a variety of other architectural purposes as well (they also give the house a sharper and more pleasing profile)

INSTALL A FLAT ROOF DECK

Now that you have made sure that your roof is clean, your drains are not clogged, and there are no punctures or tears on your flat roof, you can start turning it into a summer oasis. But before you haul up the patio chairs and the flower boxes, remember that protecting your flat roof from damage from foot traffic is essential if you want to keep it in good working condition for years to come

Make Sure Do Electrical Upgrades Routinly

Electrical Upgrades for DIYers

Many homeowners who think nothing of tackling painting, carpentry and plumbing projects turn timid when it comes to electrical work. A little fear isn’t necessarily bad when dealing with electricity — it could keep you from making a serious mistake. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t electrical projects you can handle. All you need is an understanding of how the electrical code applies to your project and some instruction on making proper wire connections

Installing an exterior floodlight — the first of three three simple, do-it-yourself upgrades we’ll be covering — can be done on virtually any house. To safely guide you through this upgrade, we enlisted the help of electrical contractor Peter Eng, owner of Electrical Enterprises Incorporated in Litchfield County, Connecticut. It took him a day to complete all three projects. To facilitate your work, we’ve included photographs that outline the basic steps and illustrations that show all the wiring connections. Consult with an electrician if your home is wired differently than the ways illustrated.

If you’re still not feeling confident, here’s an alternate approach: Run cables, install boxes, and wire in switches and outlets, then hire an electrician to make the final power hookups and check for any code violations. (Most municipalities allow you to do your own electrical work, though you’re never allowed to wire someone else’s home.) Also, get the proper permits from your local building department before starting. It’s the law, and you’ll also get the benefit of having your work checked both at the rough-in stage and when it’s completed

Before starting work, turn off the power at the main service panel. Plug a lamp or circuit tester into the circuit you’re working on to confirm the power is off. Finally, if you have any questions or concerns, always consult with a licensed electrician or building inspector before you proceed. Electrical work isn’t difficult, but the consequences for not doing it right can be serious

Installing a Floodlight

Light up your life — or at least your backyard — with a floodlight. Our installation solves a common problem: A deck without adequate lighting for itself, a staircase, or the adjacent yard. The solution called for installing a two-lamp floodlight ($12) high up on the house wall. As with most electrical upgrades, this one relies on tapping into an existing circuit. If you’re not sure whether or not a circuit can support the upgrade, check with an electrician. An overloaded circuit is a fire hazard.

 

FIXING UP A HOUSE? ELECTRICAL UPGRADES WORTH YOUR MONEY

If you are upgrading a house, whether it be a fixer upper you have just moved into, a potential real estate flip, or you have simply finally gotten around to upgrading your own home, some electrical upgrades will be much more worth your time than others. Here is a quick guide to understanding some basic electrical upgrades, and a few tips for ensuring that you get the most bang for your buck

When prioritizing upgrades, the first priority should always be safety. While it isn’t glamorous, a safe electrical system is not something you can afford to skimp on. Some older systems use components which have been found to be unreliable. Alternatively, they may have been exposed to damage as a result of weather or aging. Your first priority when dealing with an electrical system which is in an unknown condition should be to hire a competent electrician to come and evaluate the current condition of the system. They should be able to give you a breakdown of any potential safety hazards which they find

Safety is important for a number of reasons. Obviously, no one wants to have themselves or their family exposed to electric shock. But electrical fires can be just as deadly, and can strike when you least expect it. Additionally, insurance can be hard to procure, or significantly more expensive if you have a damaged or not inspected electrical system. If you can assure your insurance company that the electrical system is in excellent condition and has been inspected and repaired recently, you can guarantee that your dealings with them will be much easier

Once you are satisfied that the electrical system is using modern electrical components, fits within the safety guidelines of the electrical code, and is not a large risk for causing damage, you can begin to assess where upgrades will be most beneficial. As is often the case, this will depend on things like the location of the house, the priorities of the owner, and the current economic climate. For example, if you want to save money spent on power, common upgrades can increase the electrical efficiency of the home. Installing new refrigerators, HVAC, and other large appliance can allow you to benefit from recent technological developments which have increased the efficiency of the technologies behind them. Similarly, making sure all of your wiring is well insulated, and that the circuits are appropriate for the load upon them can help to prevent electrical loss. Furthermore, installing electrical metering tools can help you better understand where your power is going, empowering you to take charge of your electrical expenditure.

While some older features will need to be replaced as part of the safety inspection, other older parts of a system might be merely inconvenient, or might be a lower safety priority. One way to increase the value of your home while also increasing its usability is to upgrade your electrical sockets. An ancient two prong plug might be more than a bit of an eyesore. When people cut off the third prong of their electrical device, they create a serious electrical hazard. It is much better to hire a trained electrician to install an upgraded socket which can interface successfully with whatever electrical device you are using. Similarly, there are options for GFCIs ( which are mandated in some settings) and child safety electrical outlets. Depending on your situation, it might make sense to install these in different locations. Installing these can be more complex than you realize, and it should not be attempted without significant experience. Proper installation will involve running wires from your main electrical panel to the outlet, and is much more involved than simply changing out the cover on the outlet.

 

Reasons You Need to Upgrade Your Home Electrical System

The electrical systems in a home are usually ignored by most people—until something goes wrong, at least. When a home electrical system suddenly fails, that’s when people start to take notice and try to find ways to fix it. However, it can pay to hire electrician services to make some electrical upgrades to your home sooner rather than later.

To Bring Your Home Electrical System up to Code

Building codes may vary from one year to the next, and new safety standards may have been implemented since your home electrical system was installed or updated last. Performing an electrical upgrade can help bring your home’s wiring back in line with current building codes

To Prevent Fire Hazards

When electric system maintenance falls behind, there is a risk that frayed wires and other issues can create fire hazards. So, one reason to upgrade your home electrical system is to minimize fire risks

To Meet the Power Needs of New Appliances

The average household consumes a lot of energy—and that amount is likely to rise as more and more modern technologies rely on electricity. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “In 2017, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,399 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average 867 kWh per month.”

To Add New Outlets for Added Convenience

Here’s a common problem: you want to move your TV to a different wall, but there aren’t any outlets near where you want to put it. Maybe the house is old enough that electrical outlets weren’t a major concern or the designer had a specific layout in mind that you don’t want to conform to. Either way, the lack of electrical sockets is going to be inconvenient for your plans.

 

Electrical Upgrade Tips from a Commercial Electrician

Remodeling a building is an expensive undertaking, so if you have an elaborate plan on how to give your property a fresh new look, or are simply making upgrades to ensure your building is running as efficient as it can, you will want to make sure you have a commercial electrician on your team. Between having to move around your building’s electrical wiring, and understanding how much power your updated building will require, a commercial electrician is essential. If you are looking for a commercial electrician in Thurmont, or the surrounding areas, read on to learn more from ALC Weaver Electric.

Commercial Electrician or DIY?

It may be temping to have a friend, or unlicensed contractor, work on your building to save money and move the project forward at a fast pace, but this can lead to major issues down the road. It is essential to find a licensed commercial electrician as you begin to plan your upgrades so that they can be involved during the whole process

Upgrade with Smart Systems for the Modern Business Owner

More and more, businesses are turning to smart systems to partially automate their buildings. From automated lighting to smart thermostats, there are endless opportunities for your business to become more automated. In addition to the money-saving benefits of smart systems, they can work together to give a building a unique, and custom, look. Want to soften the lighting as the sun begins to set? Lower the blinds to block reflections for your customers? All of this is available with smart systems

Don’t Have a Solid Plan? Lean on Your Commercial Electrician in Thurmont to Help Create a Custom Layout

Do you know you want to make some upgrades but don’t know where to begin? Do you have some ideas but are overwhelmed by the idea of putting them into motion? Meeting with a licensed electrician should help ease your mind. Since they are used to working with building contractors, they are familiar with the amount of time (and money) that certain projects involve. They can help you understand better ways to lay out your space based on your current wiring, and they can work with you to create a plan based on your current budget.

Get in Touch With a Commercial Electrician in Thurmont to Start Your Next Project

ALC Weaver Electric’s commercial electricians are experts at working on commercial properties in Thurmont, Maryland, and the surrounding areas. If you need a commercial electrician in Thurmont, or the surrounding areas, click here to receive a free estimate for your project

 

When It’s Time for an Electrical Wiring Upgrade

The lights come on when you flip the switch, the TV works, and the refrigerator keeps food cold. That means the electrical wiring must be fine, right? Not necessarily. There may be times, especially if your house is more than 40 years old, when you need to upgrade electrical wiring for safety, or because the existing wiring no longer meets your family’s power needs.

Safety Issues with Older Wiring

Faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires, according to a 2009 study by the National Fire Prevention Association. And the older your house is, the greater the chances that the wiring might be outdated or unsafe

Be on the Lookout for Aluminum Wiring

Instead of the standard copper wire, many houses built in the 1960s and early 1970s have aluminum wiring, which is considered a safety hazard. “Aluminum wiring connections often loosen up over time,” says Greg Fletcher, a master electrician, educator, and author of several books on wiring. “That can cause overheating and possibly fires at receptacles when appliances are plugged in to them.” An inspection can determine whether it’s safe to leave the wiring in place. Sometimes the addition of copper connectors, called pigtails, at receptacles and circuit breakers can resolve potential problems.

When You Need More Power

Sixty amps used to be the standard for household power. Today, houses often need 200 amps to run air conditioners, flat-screen TVs, computer equipment, and all the other gadgets our parents and grandparents hardly imagined

Prepare to Open Your Walls — and Your Wallet

Upgrading electrical wiring is a big job, for one simple reason: All the wires are behind the walls. Every house is different and prices vary by market, but for a whole-house rewiring job, you’re easily looking at a bill of several thousand dollars. The vast majority of that is the labor involved to get to the wires, run new ones, connect them to every switch and outlet, close up the holes, and clean up the mess.

Must Learn To Make Move Out Cleaning To A New Place

Move Out Cleaning – Tips from Start to Finish

So, you’re moving house or moving country; either way, you’re moving out! The excitement of moving into a new house is one that no homeowner forgets, nor is the bittersweet memory of saying goodbye to an old home. Nevertheless, it has to be done and moving out is no walk in the park. What can make it easier though, are these move out cleaning tips

ORGANIZE YOUR PACKING FIRST

If you’ve already begun to move boxes to the new place, that’s great because the lesser stuff you have in the house, the easier it is to clean. If you’re planning to load the moving truck with all your stuff on moving day itself, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Try to devote one room for storing packed boxes so that the empty rooms can be cleaned first. Even if it means you have to clean one room every day, it beats having to clean the entire house in one day.

REMOVE DUST AND COBWEBS FROM CEILINGS

When you start cleaning an empty room, target the ceiling first. If you don’t have a long-handled broom, tie an old tee-shirt over your mop and use it to remove cobwebs from ceiling corners and wipe the entire ceiling to remove dust.

WIPE WALLS CLEAN

Use the same contraption you made to dust your ceiling, for cleaning your walls. Start from the top and make your way downward as you wipe from side to side. If your paint finish/wallpaper permits, gently rub away stains using a clean, damp cloth. Even if there aren’t any obvious stains, using a damp cloth to wipe all the walls will give them more life and look cleaner

SWEEPING AND MOPPING

With all the dirt and dust from the ceiling and walls now settled on the floors, it’s time to finish up cleaning the room by sweeping and mopping. Before you start mopping, keep the windows slightly opened in the room for quicker drying, and close other windows as the cross ventilation might blow dust and dirt from other rooms in to the cleaned one

 

Tips for Offering Move-In / Move-Out Cleaning Services

People and businesses are constantly on the move. The latest U.S. Census reports that there are over 327 million people currently living in the United States. Statistics indicate that almost 15 percent of the population moves annually. That’s over 49 million people packing their bags and relocating. This mass migration creates opportunities for cleaning business owners

As people and businesses move, they need their previous location cleaned and/or want to make sure their new setting is “work ready”. Cleaning companies can fill this niche for on the move businesses by providing what is known as “move-in/move-out cleaning”. It can be an ideal add-on service and a great way for your commercial cleaning company to make more money!

What are move-in / move-out cleaning services?

This type of service usually encompasses what we refer to as “deep cleaning”. Deep cleaning can include washing, wiping, scrubbing, and dusting pretty much everything that needs it. Windows, cabinets, walls, ceilings, floors, vents, fixtures, blinds, you name it; you probably will be cleaning it.

How do I find opportunities to provide move-in / move-out cleaning services?

A good place to start when looking for move in/out cleaning accounts is to contact commercial contractors or real estate offices. If you have been cleaning commercial buildings for a while, your clients will no doubt ask you to provide move in/out cleaning services. It’s also a good idea to spread the word to your clients that this is a service you provide.

How should I price move in / move out services?

The prices charged will vary depending on the type of facility you are cleaning, cleaning specifications, and deadlines. Prices range from $25 to $40 per hour. Again, this is dependent upon your cleaning company, your expenses and overhead costs, and your profit expectations.

 

Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Apartment Before Moving Out

First, Understand Your Apartment Cleaning Responsibilities

Our next installment in our apartment moving tips series covers cleaning tips. But first, it’s important to understand what’s expected of you when you move out. Talk to your property manager or landlord. Many times, professionally managed buildings will handle the cleaning and restoration of the apartment to prepare it for the next resident. Learning what you’re responsible for can also save you a good bit of money, as you may not have to hire a carpet cleaning company or other similar service providers. That will be taken care of as part of the management company’s apartment preparation process.

All Right — Time to Start Cleaning Your Apartment

Now, when we say cleaning, we don’t mean the standard weekend room-by-room wipe-down. We mean deep cleaning. We mean doing the things that you don’t typically do just to make the place presentable for guests. We mean that you’ll probably want a shower when you’re done.

When You Clean, You’re Helping More Than Just Yourself

Put yourself in this situation: You’ve found the perfect apartment You’ve signed a lease and are moving in. You walk into the elevator, arms loaded up with boxes, and ride up several stories to your new apartment. You can’t wait to see the view again. It’s been a month since you were here last planning the best use of the space.

When you get there, you unlock the door and walk in. Immediately, you feel dirty. Everything smells like a high school locker room. There are smudges on the wood flooring so pronounced that they look like spilled milk. The carpet in the bedroom is matted down and as cushiony as concrete. The bathroom looks like someone just used it, and the kitchen is looking like a health code violation.

This is an extreme example — one that a reputable property manager wouldn’t allow. But you get the point. Had the previous tenant bothered to deep clean, you wouldn’t be in this situation

 

MOVE OUT CLEANING CHECKLIST

You packed the dishes, de-cluttered the garage, hired the movers and signed the papers. Now what? Performing a deep clean before moving out is beneficial to both parties – especially if you have a security deposit on the line. However, move out cleaning is easy to neglect. After all, you have bigger things to worry about – like moving into your new home or apartment! Molly Maid offers flexible move in and move out cleaning services to ease the transition to your new home or apartment. Whether you need the entire house cleaned or just certain items on your move out checklist, Molly Maid can help. Download our printable move-out cleaning checklist

Move Out Cleaning

ow that the rooms are empty – or nearly empty – it’s time to get your home or apartment looking even better than it did when you first moved in. Many house or apartment contracts require a “broom-clean.” Others require a thorough checklist that covers everything from baseboards to the microwave oven

Move In Cleaning

Who doesn’t want a fresh start? A thorough move in cleaning gives new homeowners and tenants peace of mind knowing that their new living space has been scrubbed and disinfected from top to bottom. We always recommend performing a move in clean before you unload your personal belongings. This ensures that every inch of the room gets the attention that it needs.

How much does a move in clean from Molly Maid cost? It all depends on the size of your new home or apartment and the condition it is in. For the most accurate quote, call your local Molly Maid to discuss the details of your move in cleaning. Our staff can also create a personalized cleaning schedule to keep your new home or apartment as tidy as it was when you first moved in.

*This checklist is provided to help DIYers clean their own homes. It is not intended to reflect the steps taken by Molly Maid’s professional cleaning teams. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Services may vary by location.

 

MOVE-OUT CLEANING SERVICES

You packed the dishes, de-cluttered the garage, hired the movers and signed the papers. Now what? Performing a thorough clean before moving out is beneficial to both parties, especially if you have a security deposit on the line.

However, move-out cleaning is easy to neglect. After all, you have bigger things to worry about, like moving into your new home or apartment. Molly Maid offers flexible move-in and move-out cleaning services to ease the transition into your new space. Whether you need the entire house cleaned or just certain items on your checklist, our professional house cleaners are ready to help.

Move-out Cleaning

Now that the rooms are empty (or nearly empty), it’s time to make your home or apartment look even better than it did when you first moved in. Many apartment and house contracts require a “broom-clean” while others call for a detailed checklist that covers everything from the stove to the baseboards.

if not all, of the items on your checklist. We’ll take care of the move-out cleaning so you can focus on your move.

It all depends on the size of your home or apartment and the condition it’s in

Use Bathroom Remodelling Metode To Make Your Bathroom More Beauty

Things Nobody Tells You About Renovating Your Bathroom

Don’t assume your contractor is on the same page

When you’re functioning as the general contractor—or even working with a general contractor—you have to spell out every part of the plan, and never assume everyone is up to speed,” say the mother-daughter team behind Matriarchy Build in How to Avoid Rookie Remodeling Mistakes. “Someone we know had a contractor demo the wrong bath,” they add.

How much does a bathroom remodel cost? More than you think

Think you can remodel your bathroom head to toe for a couple thousand dollars? We hate to tell you: the average cost of a bathroom remodel was $11,364 in 2016, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). A basic, low-grade renovation with less expensive materials or smaller swaps could run from $1,500 to $5,000, while a top-of-the-line, tip-to-toe renovation could run up to $23,000.

You may want to rethink that statement-making bathtub

You may be tempted to upgrade your bathroom with a dramatic freestanding bath. But it might not be the most practical choice going forward, particularly if you’re petite, hate cleaning, have an old rickety house, like to take long baths, or take more showers than baths. Read more about the merits of built-in baths (and showers) versus freestanding options in 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Clawfoot Bathtubs, as well as in Remodeling 101: Romance in the Bath: Built-In vs. Freestanding Bathtubs.

Flattering lighting requires planning

Don’t think you can install a few lights and call it a day: because bathrooms are sometimes small and/or dark and filled with mirrors (which complicates how light bounces around), lighting requires careful thought and placement. The simplest way to light a bath is a single diffuse light in the center of the ceiling. Have a bathroom that’s already pretty bright? A pair of wall sconces should be sufficient. Thinking about ceiling-inset downlights? Place with care: avoid installing directly over light-colored countertops (since those will reflect the lights), and place close to the wall over a vanity to maximize light when looking in the mirror. And if you spend a lot of time applying makeup, consider vertical fluorescent light fixtures on either side of the mirror. For more pro tips, see Remodeling 101: How to Install Flattering Lighting in the Bathroom.

Don’t forget to install accessible outlets.

You don’t want to get to the end of a renovation and realize you’ve forgotten to consider the outlets. Think of these outlet errors: you have to plug your hairdryer in across the room, and can’t see yourself in the mirror from there. Or, you’d like to keep your electric toothbrush charging at all times, but neglected to install an outlet in the medicine cabinet. Or, you share your bathroom with your spouse, but only installed an outlet on one side of the vanity. To avoid these mistakes, read Remodeling 101: Where to Locate Electrical Outlets, Bath Edition.

 

DIY Bathroom Remodel Ideas

Renovating a bathroom is no small undertaking. So before you start tearing up the tiles and picking out the tub, get a little advice from the people who make bathroom makeovers their bread and butter.

We polled contractors, designers, and other pros for their top tips and insider tricks for getting every detail right. Whether you’re on a budget or ready to pay a pretty penny, follow these DIY bathroom remodeling ideas and you’re sure to create the bathroom you always wanted

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heat beneath tiles makes them toasty underfoot. But you don’t need to have it throughout your house; you can simply add an electric mat to boost a bath’s existing heating system. It can take as long as 45 minutes to warm up, so put it on a programmable thermostat to chase away the chill by the time your alarm clock goes off

Tile Flooring Ideas

If you want an easy-care floor: Go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles like limestone. Unless sealed vigilantly, they’ll absorb drips and spills and become stained over time.

How Much Room Do You Need for a Half Bath?

Theoretically, you can fit a sink and toilet into an 11-square-foot spot and still meet national building codes. But for comfort’s sake, look for an area that’s 3 to 4 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet long. Check local codes for additional requirements, and be sure to check out TOH’s details on dimensions and clearances.

 

Ways to Save Money on Your Bathroom Remodel

Have a Plan Before You Start

Working with a designer or architect may seem like a pricey move right out of the gate for someone wanting to remodel their bathroom on a budget, but it is money well spent. Having a plan you’ve worked out with a professional will assure you that your design, budget and timeline are realistic, and it will give you a goal with a path to get there. “Hiring a designer saves you time and money in the long run, so you don’t make expensive errors,” says south Florida-based designer Meredith Marlow.

Keep Plumbing Where It Is

Another reason to work with a designer on your bathroom renovation: Using the existing piping will save you big bucks. Relocating utilities like the toilet and the bathtub are no small task: Designer Justin Riordan says it costs about $5,000 each time you move plumbing fixtures.

Mirror Frame-Up

Dress up that builder-grade mirror with a fantastic frame, and at a fraction of the price of sourcing a huge hanging mirror. A frame will also hide any age-related wear, says Karen Gray Plaisted, a Warwick, N.Y.-based home stager and decorator. “I often tell clients to add a frame around their mirror to hide the flaking that can happen around the edges, and to give it a more updated look,” she says.

Don’t Toss Money Down the Toilet — Update It

Here’s some potty talk you won’t want to miss: When remodeling your bathroom, consider replacing your toilet seat and lid instead of tossing out the whole porcelain perch. Just changing out these two tops can give your toilet a fresh look without buying a new unit, which saves you plumber installation fees, too.

Hit the Salvage Hard

Home decor blogger Anita Joyce found a large piece of salvage barn wood to serve as a shower curtain valance. It looks like a pricey piece and serves as a focal point, but it was definitely a budget item. Salvage can be intimidating, but if you start by checking out antique stores, flea markets, resellers and auctions, you’ve already got the idea, she says. You just have to go do it to really figure it out … and that’s how you score the really great items. You can also salvage and redo cast iron tubs, light fixtures, even sinks … basically anything that fits your style and you want to put the effort in to saving and making your own!

 

Must-Know Bathroom Renovation Tips

When is the right time to remodel your bathroom? Any time. If you plan to stay in your home, why suffer with outdated decor, an awkward layout, or inefficient fixtures? If you plan to move soon, a remodel might pay off in a higher listing price or a quicker sale. Here are five things to keep in mind when tackling a bathroom remodel.

Start a wish list.

Evaluate your existing bathroom — what you like and what you want to change. List features you’ve always wanted. Group them according to must-haves and nice-to-haves, and number them by importance. Tour model homes and showrooms, and scan magazines and websites to gather inspiration.

Establish a budget.

Whether you want to gut your bathroom and start from scratch or just make cosmetic changes, it’s important to know how much you want to spend before you start. Also set money aside for the unexpected, such as water or mold problems.

Call an expert.

Even if you’re planning a small-scale makeover or tackling some of the remodel yourself, consult a professional. Pros know what your budget can buy, and they provide solid advice on how to save and where to splurge. They can also help you avoid costly mistakes. Be sure to call in experts for plumbing and wiring, and always get more than one estimate for a job.

Get the biggest bang for your buck

Whatever the size of your bath, keep in mind that the more walls containing plumbing pipes, the higher the price tag. Working within a room’s existing footprint might not offer the ideal design solution, but it almost always saves money. Moving the toilet or the drain for the shower or tub can be expensive. However, if electrical or plumbing systems are outdated, it can be cheaper in the long run to gut the room and start from scratch. “The most important thing is to have high-quality installers,” says Linda Welch, a certified master kitchen and bath designer from Monroe, Michigan. Welch recommends spending more on installation than on products. Also, invest in items that can’t be changed easily, such as flooring, the tub, and shower, and don’t overlook practical features such as good lighting and storage.

 

Here’s Your Ultimate Guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of a Bathroom Remodel

Undertaking a bathroom remodel is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. For many homeowners, it’s a status symbol and one of the first times they can bring a substantial personal touch to their home. However, it’s a sizable investment, one big enough to make most people think twice before diving in unprepared.

If you’re ready to remodel your bathroom, but need some help figuring out how to do it right, we’re here to help. Use the tips in this post as a guide for pulling off a successful remodel and you’ll have all the tools you need to bring your vision to life.

DO: Find design inspiration first

Every great home remodeling project — but especially those that come with a hefty price tag — must start with a plan. Before you start on the physical aspects of the project, like tearing up flooring or putting in a rain forest shower, have a firm idea of what you want your final product to look like.

DON’T: Forget to consider your budget

Once you have your inspiration in mind, it’s incredibly important to be realistic about your budget. Consider how much money you have to spend, as well as how much your ideal project would cost. Though it may not be the most pleasant task to undertake, looking at your finances will help you get a sense of which aspects of a renovation are most feasible for you.

DO: Keep high-end items neutral

Since bathroom remodels are such a huge expense, one of our favorite tips is to keep your high-end purchases as neutral as possible. In particular, we’re talking about things like tile flooring or shower design. Allowing these features to be more of a blank canvas will make it easier to alter your design as trends change and ensure that they have a broader appeal if you ever sell your home.

Must Learn How To Switches Installation

Do it Yourself Light Switch Installation

Changing a Light Switch

Homeowners may choose to replace or upgrade a light switch for functional or for aesthetic reasons. Changing the light switch is a simple and inexpensive DIY project.

Understanding how the switch is wired is the most important part. When you turn on a light switch, power goes to the light through the “hot” (black) wire and then back through the neutral (white) wire to the ground. The bare or green-wrapped ground wires serve as a backup to divert the power safely away in case of an electrical fault.

In most cases, two black wires will be attached to the switch’s two terminal screws. The white wires will be connected to each other but not to the switch itself; this connection is typically secured by a plastic wire nut. The ground wires will be connected to each other and attached to the grounding screw on the switch.

Turn Off Power

Turn off the power to the circuit at the circuit breaker or fuse box. You can double check to ensure that it was turned off by flipping the switch in an attempt to operate a light, and by using a voltage tester once the switch plate is removed to confirm that the wires are not charged.

Remove Switchplate and Switch

Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the switch cover, and a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the existing switch from the box.

Remove Wires From Old Switch

Use a screw driver to loosen the screws holding the electrical wires on the side of the switch, and then disconnect the wires from the switch itself. Pay attention to the wire colors and where they had been attached on the old switch, as you will be duplicating their placement on the new switch. Using needle nose pliers will be helpful while working in this small space. Keep the wires separated by bending them to opposite corners of the box. If the switch is grounded, remove the grounding wire last.

Attach New Switch

There will be three wires: one black, one white, and a separate ground wire that may be bare copper or is sometimes wrapped in green. Inspect the quality of the wires. If any of the wires seem weakened, trim and re-strip the end of the wire to meet your needs.

Identify the three different colored wires, and attach the new light switch to the wires in the same way they had been attached to the old switch. If your wires are solid copper, create a loop in the end of the wire with the pliers and guide it around the screw on the side of the switch. Tighten the screw, ensuring that the wire is securely held beneath the screw and is not splaying to the perimeter of the screw. If your wall wire is composed of a group of smaller wires, use the pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires together to make them “whole,” and then follow the same direction.

Attach Switch and Reinstall Plate

Once the wires are attached, you can gently fold any excess wire and compress the dimmer into the electrical box. Move slowly to ensure the wires don’t loosen or break if you have to force the switch into position. Tighten the screws to secure the switch to the box, and fit the switch plate. You may find that tightening or loosening the switch in the box by a few small twists of the screw driver makes a difference with how well the plate fits over the box. Once the cover is in place, turn the breaker or fuse back on, and check your handiwork.

 

Switches vary in both the number of poles and the number of throws.

Most switches have one or two poles and one or two throws. This leads to four common combinations: Switches with more than two poles or more than two throws are not commonplace, but they do exist. Rotary switches lend themselves especially well to having many throws. For example, the rotary switch in a multimeter typically has 16 or more throws, one for each range of measurement the meter can make.Here are a few other points to ponder concerning the arrangement of poles and throws:

  • A common variation of a double throw switch is to have a middle position that does not connect to either output. Often called center open, this type of switch has three positions, but only two throws. For example, an SPDT center open switch can switch one input between either of two outputs, but in its center position, neither output is connected.

 

Replace an Outlet

Replacing an electrical outlet is just as easy as replacing a switch. In fact, it follow basically the same procedure and you don’t need to worry nearly so much about getting the right type of outlet. Outlets come in three types:

  • Ungrounded. An ungrounded outlet only has two holes. It doesn’t have the round third hole used for grounding. You typically only see these in older houses.
  • Grounded. This is the standard three-prong outlet you’re probably most familiar with.
  • Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFC or GFCI). This type of switch has a built-in breaker that automatically and instantly disconnects the switch, interrupting power in case of a short. You typically find them in areas that might be exposed to water or excessive moisture, like bathrooms, garages, and workshops.

When it comes to replacing the outlet, the procedure is pretty simple. Make sure the power is off. Remove the faceplate and remove the screws holding the outlet in its box. Pull the outlet and wires out from the wall enough that you have space to work. Note where the white (neutral), black (power), and green or bare copper (ground) wires are attached on the existing outlet. Remove them and attach them to the same place on the new outlet. Turn the breaker on to test the outlet and, if it works, turn the breaker off and secure the outlet back into the wall. It’s as simple as that.

 

How to Add a Second Light Switch Without Wiring

Once you get the new switch and your tools, you can get started. Go to your breaker box and turn off the power to the lights that you want to control. After yo udo this test to make sure there is no power to the lights or switch by trying to turn it on.

  1. Unscrew the wall plate.
  2. Unscrew the existing switch.
  3. Mark the wires before you remove them.
  4. Disconnect the wires from the current switch.
  5. Connect wires to the corresponding parts of the Lutron switch.

Once you have these steps done, you should secure the switch, but don’t reinstall in the wall yet. Turn the power back on and make sure the switch works. If it does, turn the power back off and screw the switch in place and put the wall plate on. If it doesn’t, you can troubleshoot.

 

Does it matter which black wire goes where when changing a light switch?

The black wire is the hot wire, the one you should never touch with the power on. Correction: never touch any wire with the power on, and use a meter to double check they are all off before touching anything.

Next, never do any wiring unless you completely understand the task at hand.

If you have two black wires in the box one may be bringing power in, and the other leading it out. If that is all that is there then the switch can go between them in either order. If you have anything else stop and get further help where you can post pictures and a better description of this spot. Properly you should have a black always hot wire bringing power in and a red wire going to the light. Red means the line may be switched.

Sometimes electricians go cheap and use black instead of red.

Trick To Get Rid Scorpion In Your Location

How to Deter Scorpions Naturally – Useful Tips

What are scorpions?

While this may be obvious, there remain some points about scorpions that help in both killing them and preventing them from coming into our homes. A scorpion bite can really sting, and actually can tingling in the lips if you are stung smartly.

Scorpions are classified as arachnids, which is a type of insect that has eight legs. Scientists classify them with spiders, mites and ticks. They hunt down other insects which makes them predators on a small scale.

While most know them to be desert dwellers, scorpions may also live in some rain forests as well. Most scorpions are not seriously poisonous to humans, however, some, like the bark scorpion, do pose a mild threat to people.

 

How to Keep Scorpions Out of Your Bed

  1. Get Rid of Excess Moisture

Preventive Pest says that one of the main reasons why scorpions enter your bedroom is to look for water. Thus, make sure to keep the corners and floors free of moisture. If possible, use a dehumidifier to lower the level of humidity in your home.

  1. Get Rid of Other Bugs

In addition to water, scorpions also look for insects, which are their main source of food. Therefore, if you find the presence of ants, roaches, or other pests in your bedroom, you should get rid of these bugs as soon as possible before scorpions find them.

  1. Eliminate the Shelters of Scorpion

Scorpions often hide in moist and dark places, particularly during the day. Get rid of any structures around and in your bedroom that would be an ideal condition for these creatures to live and grow. Here are a few things that you can do to keep scorpions from crawling around in your space:

Store all cardboard boxes on the shelves rather than on the floor

Do not keep clutter under your beds or around the room

Keep your bedrooms and closets neatly organized because scorpions often hide in piles of clothes and shoes.

  1. Seal Your House

Scorpions would slip through a small hole the size of a standard credit card. Thus, sealing your house, particularly those areas around your bedroom is necessary to prevent them from entering the living space. To be sure that your bed is secure, make sure to take the following measures to seal the windows, foundations, and doors:

Use caulk to seal in any cracks or holes on the walls, foundation, or walls of your house

Make sure the screen is sealed and the windows are tightly closed so that scorpions cannot climb in

Get doors sealed to prevent scorpions from penetrating

  1. Place Sticky Traps

Those sticky traps which are designed to catch mice and insects can also be effective in trapping scorpions. You can place them around dark or moist areas of your room. Once you have caught a scorpion, keep in mind to dispose of the trap and place a new one.

  1. Apply Cinnamon Oils

Ground cinnamon is known as a natural repellent to scorpions. You can purchase these type of essential oils and spray it around your bedroom to keep these creatures away.

Scorpions are very common pests that are found in many households. In order to avoid surprise visits from these pests, be sure to take preventative measures to keep them from getting inside of your home — especially on your bed.

Build a Natural Scorpion Deterrent Barrier to Repel Scorpions

For centuries the powerful pest repelling properties of cedar have been known and treasured as a natural and effective pest and scorpion deterrent.

We offer high quality granules made from red cedar heartwood, granules made from the center of choice and aged red cedar trees common only to East Central Texas. These granules contain high concentrates of aromatic red cedar oil, which is extremely offensive to scorpions and insects in general.

The long lasting aroma will repel scorpions, rats and snakes from your sacred area, yet has no effect on beneficial insects such as butterflies and pollinating bees.

Liberally sprinkle cedar granules in areas you wish to keep off limits to scorpions and other unwanted pests. Lay down a 6-10 inch swath of cedar granules around the perimeter of the yard, along the fence line, around the foundation, near entry areas of your home. Distribute and spread granules as a natural scorpion barrier. You’ll enjoy the pleasant aroma of cedar, scorpions won’t. This is a very low cost and effective method to create a natural barrier against scorpion encroachment.

 

To help avoid encounters with scorpions in and around your home follow these prevention tips:

  • Eliminate standing water
  • Seal cracks and crevices, especially around doors and windows where they can gain access to your home
  • Inspect cabinets, closets, and other dark places on a regular basis
  • Clear away brush, debris, and woodpiles from the perimeter of your home. Keep firewood about 30 feet away
  • Scorpions feed on other insects such as crickets. You can help eliminate crickets by turning outdoor lights off at night

 

Tips

  • You must always look under old things or things in your shed!
  • Checking objects you wear, sleep in, and carry is always sensible, especially when camping in scorpion-infested areas. Look inside shoes, gloves, bags, sleeping bags, tents, etc., before using or wearing and shake out any scorpions you find.
  • If your kid was stung, take him or her to the hospital right away.
  • Be mindful of the useful nature of having scorpions around. As predators, they will eat other nuisance bugs in your yard, so try to keep the balance by being careful to keep them out of your home but let them do their thing where it’s not going to interfere with your home life.
  • Mulch can be a hiding place for scorpions. As a gardener, you will have to make a decision between the method for keeping your plants moist and your scorpion population down. It can be done but you will need to be both vigilant and consistent. It is recommended that you do not place mulch around the house walls and that you aim to keep the soil around your house walls dry; this will act as a deterrent to scorpions. Keep your gardening away from the house area and always wear tough gloves when touching soil and plants.
  • There are organic pest control products available on the market for ridding your home of scorpions. Ask the relevant distributor for more information.
  • It is not safe to leave things on the floor by the door ! If so make sure to shake it or look inside before relocating them to another room.
  • Contrary to popular belief, most scorpions are relatively harmless. The sting of most scorpions is usually painful (in the realm of a wasp or hornet sting),but they are rarely fatal. However, you should be aware of the nature of the scorpions you’re living around and know how poisonous they are. And even if they’re relatively harmless, don’t take unnecessary risks, especially with children around.
  • The world’s most dangerous scorpions live in North Africa, the Middle East, South America, India, and Mexico.
  • Anti-venom is available for various scorpions, including the Arizona bark scorpion, which has a painful sting.

Use Pest Control To Control Cockroaches

Tips to Protect Your Home From Cockroaches

As we move into the sweltering heat of the summer, most of us try to seek the refreshing cool of the air conditioned indoors. The same goes for pests; in particular, the American cockroach. American cockroaches are generally more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher. What do you need to know about American cockroaches and how can you keep these unsightly pests out of your home? Check out this helpful information and our 9 steps to preventing cockroaches from taking over your home.

How can you prevent these unwanted pests from entering your home? Follow these 9 tips for cockroach prevention:

  1. Keep it clean. Good sanitation is the number one way to prevent cockroaches.
  2. Focus on the kitchen. Don’t leave food out overnight. Wash dirty dishes daily. Wipe up crumbs and spilled food, even in cabinets and pantries. Clean kitchen counters with disinfectant spray every night. Don’t forget the appliances. Roaches love to feast on grease and spilled food on, in, under, and behind your appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, and under the kitchen sink.
  3. Limit where you eat. Restrict food consumption to one room. This not only makes cleanup easier for you, it limit crumbs and spills that you might not notice in other rooms that provides another food source for roaches.
  4. Store all food in sealed containers. Roaches can fit inside the openings of typical cardboard packages that food comes in. This also applies to pet food. Pet food should be kept in a sealed container, preferably on the back porch so as to not attract roaches into the house. Pet food bowls and containers should also be emptied every night.
  5. Empty the trash. Make sure your trash can has a tight fitting lid and empty the trash each night. Make sure your outside trash cans are clean and kept away from the home.
  6. Roaches feed at night. Vacuuming the kitchen floor nightly eliminates the food supply for roaches. Vacuum the other rooms in your house every 2 to 3 days, as well. This helps to get rid of roach feces, body parts, and egg sacs. These contain pheromones that attract other roaches into your home.
  7. Get rid of entry points. Seal around utility pipes and crawl spaces. Make sure windows and doors are secure and have weather-stripping if necessary. Seal all cracks and crevices.
  8. Remove anything roaches can use for shelter, such as cardboard and paper.
  9. Call a pest control professional. If you suspect a roach infestation, contact an exterminator. Treatment plans can vary depending on the type of roaches you have. A pest control professional can do a thorough evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.

 

Eliminate Water Sources

While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all water sources, even greatly limiting available sources will cause negative stress on a roach population. Fewer water sources to go around means that many roaches will die.

  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Repair sweating pipes.
  • Before bed, stop up sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms and dry them completely with a paper towel.
  • Dry out the bathtub and shower completely and stop up the drain before bed.
  • Place wet dish rags and sponges in an airtight plastic storage bag overnight, or place them directly in the washing machine.
  • Pet water dishes should be placed outside overnight or be dried completely and refilled in the morning.
  • Wet toothbrushes should be dried as best they can and sealed in plastic bags.

 

Tell us what cockroaches are and some facts about them.

  • Dirty cockroaches
  • I heard they survived the nuclear explosion
  • They like to eat what humans eat 🙂
  • They can live up to a month without food, so there is no point in starving them because they clean their equipment at night.
  • They can live up to one week without his head.

 

Take Preventive Measures

Before you begin packing up your belongings, check your house for common cockroach entry points. Be on the lookout for cracks and crevices near doorways and windows that can allow the insects to enter your home. Use caulk or another sealant to close these gaps and prevent new roaches from finding their way inside your house.

Use the Right Packing Materials

Cockroaches are notorious for hiding in cardboard boxes. They can easily maneuver their bodies between the corrugation and crevices inside the cardboard. If possible, use another type of container, such as a plastic tub, to pack your belongings. These come with lids that allow them to be securely sealed, and they don’t provide areas for roaches to hide. If you have to use – or reuse – cardboard boxes, shake them out and inspect them before you place items inside, especially if you got the boxes from an outside source, such as a grocery or liquor store.

Wash Your Clothes and Linens

While it isn’t terribly common for roaches to be found in clothes and linens, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you move, wash these items in warm water to remove any insects or eggs that may be present. Like your other belongings, they should be packed in sealed plastic containers. You may even consider placing them inside vacuum-sealed plastic bags. If you are moving furniture or other upholstered/fabric items like curtains, you may want to vacuum them as well.

Check Your Mattress

Again, it’s uncommon for roaches to be found on mattresses, but they can hide in or near furniture, including your bed. When you remove your mattress and dismantle your bed to move, check everything for signs of roaches and remove or sanitize items as necessary.

Clean Your Kitchen Items

Kitchens are one of the most common places roaches are found in the home. For these insects, it’s like paradise. It has moisture, dark cabinets and plentiful sources of food in the form of crumbs and even garbage. When you pack, take out your pots and pans and wash everything thoroughly. Keep in mind that kitchen appliances, like toasters, microwaves and toaster ovens, may also attract roaches. If possible, place these in plastic bags and pack them separately.

 

Seal Cracks and Other Possible Roach Entry Points

You’ve likely heard the saying “harder to kill than a cockroach” or “as persistent as a roach”. In fact, you may have even said this yourself after trying to stomp one only for it to “revive” and skitter away.

There’s a scientific reason for this, and it’s the fact that they can flatten their bodies. That’s why they can squeeze in cracks and gaps as small as three millimeters.

As such, blocking these cracks and crevices with caulk can help kill them off. Start with the gaps under the doors and windows that lead to outside.

You should also close holes where wires pass through your walls and floors with foam or copper mesh. Be sure to insulate and cover openings of plumbing pipes too

Tips To Find Good Home Inspection

How to Select a Home Inspector

Choosing a home inspector is part of the home buying process, a decision that can have a significant impact on your satisfaction with your future home. The home inspector is responsible for telling you the things you need to know about the home you are interested in. His or her ability to spot potential issues is vital for you to make an informed purchase, one you will be happy with over the long-term. Knowing how to select a home inspector becomes paramount, especially for first-time buyers.

You only need to do a quick search for home inspectors in your area to find numerous options, but as with so many professions, some inspectors are better than others. The following tips will help you find a home inspector that you can be happy with, someone you can trust to provide you with all the relevant facts about the home you want to buy.

On the other hand, some excellent home inspectors do not have great delivery when it comes to pointing out issues. Having been in business for thirty years, I have found that the way problems are communicated can have a dramatic effect on a buyer.

Some of the worst home inspectors while thorough, use scare tactics to make problems sound way worse than they are! Why do they do this? If you don’t buy the home, you’re more than likely going to call them on the next house. Real Estate agents like to call this a two for one. This is the mark of an unprofessional inspector. Yes, there are bad home inspectors just like there are bad real estate agents!

 

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From

Now’s your chance to get specialty inspections, too.

Although home inspectors are trained and certified to assess several parts of a home, they also can specialize in what are called “ancillary inspections,” or more detailed reviews focusing on individual components.

Request documentation to prove completed repairs.

While not essential, this can help verify any amenities the seller’s advertising, such as a new roof. “If the receipts are out, I’ll look at them,” Lesh said. “I think it’s a good thing for a seller to do if they actually did have work done.”

Know when to ask for a repair, take a credit, or leave it be.

The home inspection can trigger some delicate negotiations over a property’s flaws. For each, a buyer can request that the seller hire a contractor to fix it, obtain a credit (a reduction in the purchase price) toward fixing it themselves, or let it be. Sellers can opt for either or simply reject both and negotiate from there, although that puts the transaction at risk of the buyer walking away.

Be prepared to attend the inspection and ask lots of questions.

When buyers pay for the home inspection, it’s fairly standard for them to watch the inspector at work. “The first thing I always do is I ask what their concerns are. Maybe they had an issue with a previous house, so they’re sensitive to that,” Lesh said.

Temper your expectations for a perfect inspection.

Although a home inspection report is detailed, it doesn’t cover every nook, creak, and cranny.

 

TIPS FOR BUYERS TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL HOME INSPECTION

Using the Report

After the inspector has gone through the entire property and provided the report, take time to review it carefully and ask any questions to either your agent or the inspector so you fully understand what you’re reading. As you read the report, it’s important to remember the inspector is acting as a primary care physician, and should anything need further evaluation you’ll be referred to a specialist. If the home inspector finds evidence of mold or a pest problem, for example, they’ll recommend to you talk to a mold abatement specialist or exterminator to discuss the work needed to alleviate the problem.

Owner’s Manual

Whether this is your first home or 10th, each house offers its own quirks and there’s no owner’s manual provided. It’s highly recommended you attend the inspection, as the inspector will provide useful information throughout the process of not only the pros and cons of the property, but show you how everything works as well. An inspector will give you a plethora of information, from which way to point your air filter to where the main water shutoff valve is and how old all your major systems are. While the age and condition of many systems and appliances will be noted in the report, an explanation of how to use everything isn’t standard in written form. Bring a notepad and jot down useful information throughout the process.

Choosing Your Inspector

Every individual involved in the home buying process must be top-notch. This is likely the biggest investment of your life and understanding what you are getting yourself into is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, be sure you choose a tried and true inspector you can trust to overlook nothing and provide your report in a timely, organized manner.

Choosing the Right Type

When you sit down with your real estate agent to prepare your offer, he or she will go over the different types of inspections you can choose from. While there are different inspection options – radon, pest and mold, among others – you first want to steal with a standard home inspection.

 

Choosing a qualified inspector is an important step for new homeowners – but it’s not as easy as you may think

Go by referrals

There is no national accreditation or licensing for home inspectors, so relying on rave reviews from people you trust is your best bet.  Poll your real estate agent, friends, family and social networks for recommendations, and check out websites like homestars.com, which provides user reviews of home service providers in your area.

Ask for an interview

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, personality counts. A patient and experienced professional can help you make an informed decision about buying your future home, so it’s important to find someone you click with. “A lot of people don’t really interview us first, but it’s a good idea,” Meandro says. Spend a few minutes chatting with an inspector over the phone to decide whether you’ll be able to rely on that person to walk you through the pros and cons of a property.

Inquire about insurance

Look to hire a home inspector who carries errors and omissions insurance. This insurance isn’t mandatory for home inspectors in most provinces, and some qualified professionals may not carry it, but Meandro says those that do may be more seasoned experts. “Home inspection insurance is difficult to get unless you have experience in that field.”

Tag along for the inspection

It’s a major red flag if a home inspector doesn’t invite you to observe the process. “Some inspectors will say, ‘Go sit in the kitchen and I’ll come talk to you at the end of the inspection,’ but that’s not acceptable,” Meandro says.  “Educating people about their new house is a major part of what we do.” Insist that you join the inspection and ask lots of questions about potential problems and what it would take to fix them.

Go with a pro

Got a brother-in-law who’s a contractor? He’ll probably do a stellar job on your renovations but he might not be the right person to hire for your home inspection. “A home inspector has to have basic knowledge of virtually everything related to a home,” Meandro says. “A contractor might not have the right equipment to look for moisture or test the electrical.” Make sure you hire an inspector with several years of experience under their tool belt.

 

Increase Your Professionalism From the Moment You Arrive at a Home Inspection

To begin an inspection, it’s absolutely critical that you arrive on time. As a matter of fact, I like to arrive about 15 minutes early. Why? I want to show the customer that I value their time. That means if they’re waiting for me, I’m going to be concerned about how they’re going to begin to feel about me. So, I’m here early. The second thing that’s really critical about a home inspection: to look professional is to bring equipment that’s clean. Don’t bring a ladder that you’ve been painting your bedroom with last night. Bring a clean ladder. Bring clean drop cloths. Bring clean booties. Keep in mind that these people haven’t bought the house yet, but they’re most likely going to. You want to show respect to their new home. You don’t want to be walking around their carpet, leaving things behind.

Make sure, again, that as you come up to the door and knock on the door, give people time to come to the door. You’d be amazed. They could be in all other parts of the house, and it’s going to take them a while to get there. What you don’t want to do is to come in and surprise somebody. Boy, that’s embarrassing. It can be, again, very, very bad for the customer relationship issue. What I like to do when I get here early is I begin to prepare my report. I begin to fill out things that are kind of general comments, the style of the home, the type of the shingles, and things like that prior to the customer getting here. The other thing that I would encourage you to do as we go throughout the house for the entire inspection is: digital photography is really in the marketplace now. It gives you a little bit of an edge, being able to explain to people what you’re looking at, what you’re seeing, and what’s good and what’s bad.

Remember that you can overuse digital photography. So, don’t make it a showmanship attitude. Make it a, “I need to show somebody something.” Communication is the number one key to the success of a home inspection. If I can both in writing and verbally explain myself well to my customers, I just won the battle, and I haven’t even started the inspection yet. The more you can prepare before the customer comes here, the less you’re going to be inconveniencing them. That’s just good business, and I encourage you to do that. I would also encourage you to, one more time, just check their name so that when you do get out and greet them, and they should be here in a few moments, you’ll be able to call them by their first name. Boy, that’s just great marketing.

The Benefit In Useing Payroll Service For Your Company

What Do Online Payroll Services Offer?

  • Payroll processing: Online payroll services automatically calculate how much employees should be paid each pay period. The systems account for wage rates, shift differentials, overtime, holiday pay and taxes as well as Social Security and benefit deductions. They then make payments to employees by direct deposit, prepaid debit cards or paper check.
  • File and pay payroll taxes: These services can withhold employee taxes, file quarterly payroll tax reports, and pay tax withholdings to the proper local, state, and federal agencies. They also issue employee W-2 and 1099 forms at the end of the year. Some services offer an error-free guarantee. If a mistake is made, these payroll companies will correct the error and pay any fines or interest incurred.
  • New hire reporting: Many payroll services report new hires to the government on your behalf.
  • Integrations: Online payroll services integrate with a variety of payroll-related programs businesses are already using, such as accounting software, time and attendance systems, and human resources software.
  • Paid-time-off management: Many of these services manage paid time off by tracking how many vacation and sick hours employees have earned and how much they’ve used. Some payroll solutions even facilitate the time off request and approval process.
  • Employee self-service: Typically, employees can access the online system to view pay stubs, PTO balances and year-end tax forms.
  • Mobile access: Many systems offer mobile apps or mobile-friendly websites that let businesses manage and run payroll from smartphones or tablets.
  • Payroll reports: Detailed wage and labor reports from your service can provide a deeper look at how a business operates.

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A PAYROLL PROVIDER

TIMING OF A PAYROLL CONVERSION

Deciding when to implement a new payroll solution is important. If you are considering a mid-year conversion, Quarter 2 is a good time to start the process. Another option is to convert at the end of the year. The ideal time to begin a year-end conversion is October so it doesn’t conflict with any year-end processing you need to handle.

DATA CONVERSION

When considering a conversion, it’s important to also look at whether the payroll system is unified with core HR and attendance. When payroll, core HR, and time tracking data are stored in a centralized database, this provides many benefits.

DATA INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES

Many companies have existing business investments for benefits, such as general ledger software, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and retirement packages. The ability to integrate these existing systems with an online payroll system is a huge benefit as all of the data is accurate and up-to-date.

PAYROLL TAX COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

With payroll tax compliance rules constantly changing, it’s crucial to utilize a payroll provider with a tax compliance department that will help manage these updates. Once conversion is complete, a tax compliance team should update your payroll tax tables each year, and help with year-end processing.

DATA CONVERSION

One of the most important steps of the conversion process is migrating company data out of your old system and into the new system accurately. To ensure your data will be accurate, make sure the following tasks are performed.

 

How to Choose the Right Payroll Service

How much do I know about payroll?

If you aren’t a payroll expert, you need an easy-to-use software solution. Payroll software automates a complex process, and the point of automation is to free your time, not take it up.

Which basic features should a payroll software have?

First, let’s go over the key parts of running payroll. Running payroll is the process of entering the hours employees worked during a pay period, calculating their gross wages, determining deductions, and giving employees their net pay.

How much do I want to spend?

Deciding how much to spend on payroll is challenging since many factors go into the cost. To get started, learn what other businesses spend on payroll services.

What payroll software charges should I worry about?

Don’t buy payroll software until you check for contracts, additional fees, reviews, and free trials.

Which platform will I run payroll from?

Because you can purchase online or desktop software, identify where and how you’d like to run payroll.

 

Easy Tips For Choosing The Best Payroll Software Services

Analyze Features offered by Payroll software services

It is important that you first analyze what kind of functionalities the software has to provide to you. The payroll system you are looking at should be accurate and able to clock in the correct timings for each employee. Apart from that tax deduction, record keeping, and scheduling of processes are features that should definitely be a part of your payslip software.

Find whether the software is Cloud based

During 2016-2020 Technavio has fore-casted the growth of global cloud based payroll software solutions market at a CAGR of 6.94%. This gives a fair idea about the possibilities of customization and expansion available to us. Businesses need to work 24*7 and without any restrictions of time and place. Looking for payroll on the cloud which has the above benefit would make it easy for the manager to approve even basic requests from wherever he is at that moment.

Integration with other business processes

It is important that you look at the larger picture when you decide particular payroll software for your business. You may outsource your payroll functions to an outsourcing firm but still, it is critical that the small business payroll software you choose matches well with your business processes.

Optimize use of Budget

Payroll software cost is one of the important factors that you should keep in mind while making your choice of software. However, do not make the mistake of making it the most important criteria for selection. This is because buying low-cost payroll management services may save you some money but its use would involve a lot of other administrative expenses.

Security to be paid due attention

As per Cyber security ventures, global ransom ware damage costs will reach exceeding proportions to the count of $5 billion. This figure is exceedingly high in comparison to $325 million in the year 2015. Payroll solutions involve a lot of sensitive data in terms of employee’s salaries and their performance reviews. Security of your data would be completely dependent on the kind of payroll software you select. Your choice of HR software solutions should be one that is able to create encryptions at different levels.

 

Tips for Choosing the Best Payroll Service for Your Business

Self-Service

If you don’t want to be fielding all sorts of questions from your employees, you’ll want to ensure that the payroll company you choose has employee self-service. If your employees can log in to view their own payment and tax info, then they won’t need to ask you.

Pricing

The other important thing to look at before trying out a payroll service is how much you’ll be paying. This is especially important for small businesses that don’t require as extensive service as larger companies.

Reputation

How do you find out if it’s going to be easy before signing up? Look at customer reviews online. There’s no better way to find out how easy and functional a payroll service will be than listening to previous customers. Read Google and Yelp reviews to find out what you’ll be dealing with.

Look at Ease of Use

The whole reason that you’re outsourcing payroll is that it’s time-consuming. The service that you choose should be easy to use. If it’s a payroll company, they shouldn’t ask too many questions because they should know what they’re doing.

Figure Out What Your Needs Are

The first thing you should do is figure out exactly what you need. If you’re a small company, you might be able to get away with using a simple application that quickly does payroll for you like Patriot or Intuit.