Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

You finally got the keys to that home you and your family has been waiting for. Then you get all moved in and settled for a few months and you find there are a few things you would like to change or upgrade.

So you sit down with your wife and discuss all aspects of a home improvement project. There will be cost, time, inconveniences and more. Depending on the size of your project you may want to consider hiring a home improvement contractor.

DIY
When the project is small like painting a room, installing fixtures, or doing a small patch of concrete you can do the project yourself. These types of projects do not take a lot of special tools, time or permits. Even though I have heard you should get permits to change the trap under your sink. So you may want to check with building and safety department in your area. The greatest part of doing the project yourself is the satisfaction you get when you are done.

Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor
If you are going to do a large project like a room addition, tile a large room or all your floors, or paint the exterior of your home you will probably want to hire a Contractor.

A good way to get a dependable contractor is to ask people you know for names of contractors that they have used. You should try to get at least 3-4 names to choose from. Then you can get references of jobs done by the contractor from the contractors themselves.

Be sure to ask them if they have a license and as part of your homework you can check there license you can do this by contacting the State licensing board in your state Then you want to make sure that they have insurance and are bonded you may want to contact the company that insures them to make sure that their insurance is up to date.

Some Contractors will pay the premium get the cards and then stop paying. They will show you the cards and you will have no way of knowing if they are up to date and you do not want to find out that there insurance has not been paid after an accident. If they have a problem giving you this information beware.

Once you have done this you can call on the references and ask
Was the project completed on time?
Did it stay within budget?
How were changes dealt with?
Did the contractor get permits or did they have to?
Was the job-manned everyday that it could be? Exception bad weather material delays etc.

While you are doing this you can give each contractor a set of plans and ask them to bid on your project. By the time you have done your research they can probably have their bid ready to return to you.

You can now sit down and discuss this with you spouse who you would like to use knowing you have all the information you need to make an informed decision and no matter which one of these contractors you use they will be qualified to do the job taking about 50% of the headache out of the project.

This may seem like a lot of work but you will want to be sure that the home improvement contractor that is going to be helping you to fulfill one of your families dreams is the best you can get.

Home Improvement Plumbing Projects

A simple project for a beginner to start with is to install a new dishwasher to stop that annoying and constant drip heard every time one walks into the kitchen. This is a not very complicated way to begin in the world of home improvement plumbing, before moving on to more difficult projects. Instructions on how to replace an old washer for a tap in the bathroom or the kitchen can be found on many websites or by visiting many how-to home stores for step by step instructions, such as the Home Depot.

Being Useful

A second project that is quite useful to a home owner, and is a simple and easy project for the amateur home improvement beginner to try is fixing a toilet that runs all continuously. This project deals with a Mansfield Fill Valve, and is an inexpensive but effective project in terms of home improvement plumbing, since no one enjoys hearing a toilet that never stops running water.

A third project for a DIY yourself plumber to warm up to more difficult projects is to hook up that ice maker on your refrigerator by installing a proper line for it. This is another fairly simple project with great rewards, who wouldn’t want refreshing ice any time they want a cool drink?

Yet Another Project

Another project for the more seasoned home plumbing enthusiast is replacing a hot water heater. While this is not a terribly difficult plumbing project, it does require some basic proficiency in the art of plumbing. Again, there are many websites or do it yourself stores you can visit for helpful hints on how to replace your own hot water heater.

A final plumbing project that is sure to please the entire family is a new dishwasher. Imagine the convenience without the argument over whose turn it is to do the dishes? Install a new dishwasher for the ease of the dishes always being done while adding some value to your home. This project will be simple enough to do with the instructions that come with dishwashers, and again you can always turn to an expert online or at a do it yourself store. Just make sure the dishwasher fits before you start connecting it!

You can have fun while you learn with some easy home improvement plumbing jobs around the house, and before you know it you will be a real pro. Remember there are many more projects in home improvement plumbing that you can do, and cost can be a factor, so start small and inexpensive as you build up your experience as a home plumber.

Home Improvement Rules To Follow

Even though home improvement is pretty straightforward most of the time, it is important to carefully follow instructions in order to successfully complete a home improvement task. Many home improvement jobs take a lot of time to complete. This will be time well spent, since each home improvement or repair you make will increase your home’s value. Home improvement is clear-cut, but takes patience and requires that you follow instructions to the detail.

It is imperative that you closely follow the instructions when repairing or remodeling. Written instructions will provide you with the steps to correctly complete the project and avoid problems. And make sure to keep any receipts for materials and tools you buy incase you need to return or exchange the merchandise.

The first rule of home improvement is to learn as much as you can before starting a project. For example, if you are planning on hanging drywall in a room in your home, you need to know exactly what materials you will need, in addition to the steps used to complete the job. You will also need to know what about wallpaper, tiles, paint, or other materials to finish a wall job.

Most any home improvement job will increase the value of your home. That is why it is important to be very methodical when you start a home improvement project; you should take notes, create files, and plan every step of the job.

Budgeting and planning are two other important steps in any home improvement project. If you do not have a plan, you will likely spend more money than you need to, buy the wrong materials, take longer to complete the project, and make errors along the way.

Depending on the type of home improvement project you are planning, it could be rather straightforward. However, some home improvement projects are easier than others. Ease of completion does not equal less cost, however.

For wall improvement projects, paint, panel and tile are sometimes easier than wallpapering. Tiles come in multiple choices, including self-adhesive, or peel and stick. However, if you have damage to your walls, such as holes, you will require spackle and a few other materials to patch the area before finishing the walls.

When repairing or remodeling a basement, the same rules apply and then some. Michigan and Kentucky basements are known to be the worst for home improvement, mostly because those areas are highly prone to flooding. Improvement or repair projects in basements often require special considerations for insulation, and can often cost more money and require a little more time to complete a job. Basements in newer home tend to have fewer problems, thanks to advances in construction.

Making improvements or repairs in a bathroom requires a whole unique set of tools and knowledge. Dealing with plumbing and electrical issues are the trickiest parts of home improvement, because they often require a certain level of expertise, and even professionals have been known to make mistakes. That is why educating yourself before beginning a home improvement or repair project is imperative.

A big rule to follow in home improvement is to clear whatever area you are working in completely before beginning the job. This will prevent accidents and things from getting damaged or destroyed. It is also imperative that you use safety equipment, such as dust masks, gloves, and goggles when doing any kind of home improvement or repair project.

Beginning A Home Improvement Project

Its not so difficult to do your home improvement project by yourself.

OK, lets say you want something repaired in your apartment, remodeling or maybe just a property improvement. So now its time to make the decision on if you going to do this home improvement project yourself or should you hire a professional contractor to do the repair or improvement, however you are finding budgeting a mental struggle. Chill out, there are lots of things you can plan that will enable you to start the project in a efficient way.

Set up financial plan:

1)The first thing you need to think about before you start on any home improvement is a realistic budget. A budget includes setting aside an amount of money for any eventualities this includes mistakes, any accidental damage inflicted on your home and so on. If your project is on a somewhat bigger scale than most home renovations, you can save costs by purchasing materials in bulk from a supplier.

2)However low cost and good quality doesn’t always go together. Compromising on price might also mean getting lower quality materials. Ensure that whatever you are buying is in good condition and long lasting, otherwise you may have to replace whatever you have bought thus doubling the cost.

To use a professional contractor or not:

Very often the best way to judge a contractor’s quality of work is by word of mouth. People will recommend a contractor when they are satisfied with the work. So the best way to find the contractor for you, is to talk to friends who have had repair work done, or a home improvement project completed recently to see if they would recommended the contractor who did the house improvement.

Sometimes whatever home improvements you have in mind can be easily done on your own. Supplies and tools can be bought at your local hardware store and you can cut down on the cost immensely. However if your project seems complicated and you don’t have much experience with DIY projects, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Remember that although you think by going DIY you are saving money; a mistake might make things costlier later on.

Planning your project:

Timing is a significant factor when setting up your home improvement project. Deciding on the best time for your undertaking makes sure that it can be finished on time and if you have hired professional contractors, it’s wise to keep in mind that this will mean strangers will be in and out of your home; this could lead to a very stressful situation for you and your family.

To reduce the stress aspect, it would be better to plan your home improvement around your life and not the other way around. Try to find a period when your work timetable isn’t so hectic and none of your family have anything important scheduled such as an exam, presentation, or any important appointments.

It is also wise to realize that home improvement projects and remodeling can take more time than was planned for and there’s not a great deal you can do about this. The tips in this article will hopefully help you start your project with very few problems.

The Value In Home Improvement

I watch many good home improvement shows on television and I really enjoy many of them. The problem that I experience is sometimes, my inability to produce the same end results. Why does something that appears so easy, result in a job that turns out much more difficult? It really does look easy.

I am pretty handy and do almost all of my electrical, plumbing, gardening,car maintenance and yard maintenance. One thing I have learned is that we should try to use the right tool. I am not suggesting that we go out and buy every tool we see Norm use on his show.

His workshop will remain in the dream category for most people. You should have some decent basic tools though. Each must decide for himself what he plans to accomplish and what are the basic tools required.

Temperament and personality may be a factor. Most of the experts we see on TV, seem educated about their tools and procedures and they seem deliberate and patient. I think we should at least have a basic plan beforehand to guide us along and to get us going in the right direction.

I think we need to be patient with each step and we should not try to move too fast. This should set us up for an acceptable end result.

Is there value in home improvement?
Well there is the obvious – money saving. But there is more. You will derive more pleasure from that garden bench if you managed to build it yourself rather than from one you bought at the local hardware. There is much more that is not so obvious.

Have you ever worked with your kids or grand kids on a project? It’s fun and they learn to do things for themselves in the process. My own children have saved very much money by doing things that others pay to have done. I get a little personal pride from that. I like to think I was a small factor in that ability.

Another aspect would be demonstrated by achieving exactly what you want. I shudder at these people on TV telling me what I want and using all those odd terms to describe the fixtures and colors etc. Where do they get those seemingly weird terms to describe matching conditions and pieces of furniture and wall coverings.

I simply know I want this particular result and don’t want somebody deciding what I need or want. I guess that’s only me. The bottom line – I will manage to have what I want when I am finally finished.

Another benefit can be found just in learning something new. Maybe you will find abilities you didn’t even know that you possessed. Maybe you will discover a more acceptable birdhouse for your habitat.

Are there downsides to home improvement. There is probably something to be said for “saving money”. I know I said this was a benefit! Well, maybe you weren’t quite as handy as you thought. Maybe you took the long way there and it cost you more. That can happen. I wouldn’t consider that all bad. Experiment and see what you can accomplish.

Sometimes your project just doesn’t work out. You have still learned something in that.

Are home improvement projects for everyone. I know some people would quickly answer “no” to this question. I wouldn’t be so quick to make that judgment. Whether you are very successful or the project is a dismal failure – you are going to learn something.

Maybe you will only learn that you need to be very careful in selecting which projects you will undertake. Maybe you will learn that you are pretty handy. However, we will all learn something by taking on some sort of home improvement project!
Why not give it a try!

Choosing Tile For Your Home Improvement Project

Are you considering using tile for your home improvement project? If so, where do you begin?

There is an enormous variety of styles, colors, types, and price points to choose from. First of all consider what the tile will be used for. For example, floor tiles need to be durable and slip resistant, while wall tiles don’t. Relatively hard tiles that rate at least 6 or 7 on the Mohs scale (a 1-to-10 scale used by tile manufacturers to indicate the hardness or softness of a tile) and that have a textured or matte glaze are the best for floors.

For the bath or shower walls, ease of cleaning is an important consideration. It is best to use tiles with a shiny glaze for walls so hardness is less of an issue. What you might do is to take a few samples home that you are considering using and kind of take them for a test drive in the areas that you plan on using them. That way you can check out scratching, reaction to soap and water spots, scuffing, cleaning ease in the area you are planning to use them.

Slate has a rich, organic look and is available in a variety of colors and surface finishes. Some slate has a rougher texture that provides good traction for floors and walls, but because slate is soft and somewhat porous, it needs to be sealed and properly maintained to prevent staining.

Marble is a beautiful and popular bathroom finish material, but is generally also the most susceptible to staining among the natural stones. Highly polished marbles are most vulnerable, and like most stones, marble needs to be sealed with a penetrating silicone sealer that is maintained regularly.

Natural stones like granite, soapstone, and slate are popular finish materials for bathrooms because of their natural beauty and durability. Stone is available in both highly polished and matte finishes.

Then, of course, there is ceramic and porcelain tile, one of the most widely used tiles for the bathroom. It is available in a variety of finishes including matte, glossy, textured and natural. There is a wide range of prices. Cost can run from as little as 35 cents apiece while the fancier handmade specialy tiles can range from $10 to $150 each. There is a huge range of edging options, and comes in sizes from 1″x 1″ up to 24″ x 24″ and from thickness of 1/4″ to 3/8″.

Expressing Your Personality Though Home Improvement

Home improvement through renovating and redecorating is one of the core preoccupations for most of the people and, currently, the Maryland home improvement market as well as Washington DC magazine offer a variety of materials and solutions.

House decorating is a perfect way to express your personal style and individuality. Although it can be a discouraging experience for some of us, it finally proves to be an experience requiring enthusiasm, time and money. A house should not be exclusively a functional area; it can be at the same time, an enjoyable, relaxing and battery-charging spot, reflecting aspects of our personality and sending messages to the entire world.
Abound
Nowadays, Maryland home improvement market thrives with goods for home and garden use, as well as with countless pieces of advice and information on decorating premises. This information might be accessed by reading books and the mass media, for instance Washington DC magazine, by watching TV programs or, last but not the least, by waving on the net, searching on specialized websites like welcomehomewashington.com. Still, despite so many informational sources, finding the proper decorating style or themes can be a difficult task.

Decorating activities are usually indispensable when moving into a new house, but they can be done whenever we feel like or we no longer like the old style. When decorating or redecorating a room, the leading question should be: what is the function of this area? One room should not be associated with one single function, one particular activity; it should also signal a certain emotional state. For instance, the main function of a dining room is, obviously, to provide enough space for people to gather around the table and eat. True indeed, but the secondary functionality of the same room would be to make the family members or the guests feel comfy and relaxed, generating pleasant conversations. Likewise, the function of a bedroom is to offer a place to rest, but at the same time, it could be a sanctuary of serenity, where people can relax, away from the daily hustle and bustle. Usually, the secondary function of a room may vary depending on its initial functionality.

When you made up your mind about the each room’s functionality, get to the next level: deciding for modeling or remodeling style, furniture and accessories. Visiting Maryland home improvement dedicated shops would be a start point and a very good method of discovering your preferences and personally testing different models. In order to fruitfully combine your personal style with the function of the room look through the decorating section of publications and magazines. One reliable and constant source of inspiration in terms of lifestyle and decorating fashion would be Washington DC magazine.

Normally, any person has an idea about the kind of interior design or furniture style she or he would like to have. But it rarely happens to know exactly, from the very beginning, how your home should look like. Sometimes, there might be two or more options to oscillate in between. At this point Washington DC magazine might be a real help providing pictures, interviews with architects and designers or celebrities and their houses. The moment you gather several design ideas, but you don’t have a clue on how to combine them in order to create a pleasant outlook and also a functional setting, it’s high time you get in touch with a Maryland home improvement designer. The designer will shape up your thoughts, creating a setting and an atmosphere as personal as you can describe them.

It’s very tempting to get along with the up-to-the-minute Maryland home improvement trends in terms of accessories and decorations or to apply all the tips and recommendations found in Washington DC magazine, but this predisposition will lead to frequent and expensive redecorating sessions. On Maryland home improvement market there are long-lasting home improvement trends, as well as short-lived home improvement trends, dying as quickly as a candle in the wind.

Home Improvement Projects Can Increase The Value Of Your Home

Home improvement projects can improve the look and value of your home dramatically. Though in some cases, using a home improvement project as a way to increase the value of your home can actually backfire and cost you money. So how will you be able to tell if the project that you have planned will add to the value of your home or decrease the value of your home?

The first thing that you need to know is the appraised value of your home. You must know the appraisal value, or estimated resale price, of your home before you can determine if a project will increase or decrease the value of your home. Although you may feel that your home is worth a certain amount of money, and that a home improvement will increase the value by X amount of dollars, your feelings will not set the final selling price, the appraisal will.

When completing a home improvement project that you believe will dramatically improve the resale value of your home, you need to consider your neighbors houses. If you have the nicest house in your neighborhood, but you are trying to sell it for twice as much as the appraisal value of other homes in the neighborhood, you will be disappointed.

A general guide is to not try to sell your home for more than 20% of what the surrounding homes will sell for. For simplicity, let us assume that the homes in your neighborhood are appraised at a value of $100,000. This would mean that you could expect to get about $120,000 out of your home if you make selective home improvements.

What this means for you as a homeowner is that you should seriously rethink any home improvement project that would cost more than $20,000 going by our above example. Using the above example, it is easy to see that a $30,000 home improvement project would cause you to lose money in the long run.

Now, if you can make a home improvement that costs very little, but results in a higher resale value, it may be a good idea to pursue that project. Going back to our example, if you can spend $5,000 on a project and this results in your home being appraised at $115,000, then it is a great investment idea.

You also want to consider the appeal that your home improvement project would have to a future owner. For example, swimming pools and hot tubs may be something that you enjoy, but would a potential buyer pay extra for those features? There are some fairly safe projects that you can pursue that other home buyers generally find valuable. Some of these include kitchen remodeling, adding or remodeling a bathroom, adding a new room, landscaping, etc.

Also keep in mind that maintenance projects do not usually result in an increased value for your home. Replacing a broken furnace or hot water heater usually will not improve the value of your home when selling it. These are considered maintenance issues that all homeowners expect the home to have working. Most people would not consider paying full price for a home that does not have these basic features in working order.

The bottom line is that if you are interested in increasing the resale value of your home you need to make smart decisions. Smart decisions on which home improvement projects to tackle can put extra money in your pocket when you sell your house.

Where To Learn All About Basic Home Improvement

Your home is something that should reflect your sense of self. If you care about your home, those who see it will take notice. In addition, when you choose to improve your home from time to time, you will also be making a good investment. Anything you do that will raise the value of your home is a great thing to consider. There are many basic home improvement ideas that you can do yourself. Take a look at how to find out about basic home improvement and how you can learn to do things yourself.

Watching television shows on home improvement is a great way to learn all about basic home improvement. You can turn on the television at almost any time of day and find some type of basic home improvement show on. If you watch enough of these shows, you can start racking up the knowledge on home improvement. The things they teach you in these shows are things that you can usually do yourself, or with your partner.

Another way you can learn all about basic home improvement is to log onto the Web. You can do a basic search on almost any home improvement activity and find out how to perform the task. It is great to be able to hop on the Web and find out how to do any task. You can print off the instructions and start right away. Many sites even give you a task list of materials you will need, and tell you any measuring tips you will need.

So, remember that to do basic home improvement, you don’t need to hire a professional. You can often do many of the tasks yourself, saving yourself a great deal of cash. In addition, you can tweak the instructions to fit your specific needs and desires, which will allow you to end up with a product you like better than anything you could pay for.

Winter The Best Time Of The Year For Home Improvement

Many homeowners elect to engage in home improvement projects during the spring and summer seasons. This is because many people want to get outdoors and paint their home, or replace a tile on the roof. These seasons provide some of the best types of weather for these particular home improvement projects. However, there is another time of the year in which you can perform various projects. That is in the winter. This is considered the off season for home improvement tasks, and can prove to be one of the best times of the year to actually indulge in these tasks.

If you are interested in performing home improvement projects in the winter, you will find that you can indulge in some great deals! Most home project supplies are drastically discounted during the winter season. You can purchase paints, painting supplies, garden supplies, home improvement tools, and power tools for much less in the winter than you can in the seasons of spring and summer. This can open up numerous possibilities for you as far as home projects are concerned during this time frame.

One of the first projects that you can pursue in the winter season is home organization. There are many different projects that surround the concept of home organization. Installing modular closet organizers, shelving, and other types of organizational systems in the home may prove to be extremely beneficial. Not only can these projects be done indoors, you can save a lot of money by purchasing the supplies to complete these projects in the winter.

The next project that you can complete during the winter is pipe replacement. Many individuals elect to replace the internal pipe system in the home to avoid the complications of bursting pipes, frozen pipes, and more. If you have been looking for a great time for this type of project, the winter season is the best! Pipes are often discounted during the winter months due to the fact that they are sold in such large amounts in the winter.

As you can see, winter makes a great time to do some home improvement projects. You can buy the supplies for relatively little as far as money is concerned, and enjoy working in and around your home when others are settling down for the year. No more searching everywhere for supplies, or breaking the bank to get what you need! Buy your home improvement supplies at the end of the year, and save a ton!