Selecting a Roofing Contractor

The most important element in building a house is always the roofing. Roofing should be given a lot of careful deliberation at all times from the moment planning and designing starts up to the time where changes and repairs are needed to be done. Roof maintenance and replacement are a part of very roofing process and should never be taken for granted to avoid any damage to happen especially during bad weather conditions. The roof as what we have said is the important part in the building of a house. A roof can change the way a house looks and some may enhance the architectural design of the home. There are different kinds of roofs and each presents a different and unique characteristic. Proper roofing can really give a unique and great appearance in every home. This is the reason why we should choose the best roof that will go with the architectural design of our houses. Today, resistant roofs are available and this is very helpful during bad weather conditions. Since roofing is very important, finding the best roofing contractor is the most perplexing thing to do. To make things easier, here are some tips that one can follow when looking for a roofing contractor.

First step to take is to ask around. Get the opinions and suggestions of your friends. If they had their roofs done for the past years, ask them if there are any problems and get their opinions on what would be the best roof to have. Asking the people that you trust will help lessen the anxiety and stress that one has.

Second thing to do is to contact the agency or bureau responsible for roofing. Check out their criteria, memberships and you can also have a list of a contractor who is reliable and a certified member of the bureau. Definitely we would not want to pay a person who will not be able to finish the job and leave the roof incomplete and unfinished. Have a list of your potential roofing contractors. Go from one place to another in finding a contractor. Do not settle on one.

Next is to ask regarding the contractor’s license information. The roofing contractor should provide you this information. Also ask about the insurance. Ak for the contractor’s insurance number. This will lessen the burden when something will happen to the contractor while he is working up high, on top of your roof.

Fourth step is to ask for a written estimate. This will also give you an idea on how much you are going to spend. Have the contractor come to your home so that everything will be cleared out before the project starts. Also ask the contractor about his options and suggestions for your roof. The contractor should be able to explain the pros and cons of every roofing type and the project should be done just within the budget.

Create a Beautiful Landscape

There are so many advantages that a landscape gives to our home. One of which is it relieves our stress. After a toxic day in the office, you would want to spend some time in a place with cold breeze, fresh air and peaceful; landscape on your property would be the best spot. Drinking of wine while sitting on your garden and having conversation with your husband or wife is very therapeutic.

Relieving stress is only one of the advantages of having a landscape in your property; you can also have some barbecue party and enjoy with your friends the space that the landscape gives. Here are some tips on how to create a landscape in your property.

1.    Consider the pathway – there are things you need to consider in designing a landscape. First is the pathway, if the place for your landscape is a location where people would always pass then provide a path to avoid destroying your landscape. Without a pathway, grasses and flowers could be easily step in or ruin thus you must consider this on your landscape design.

2.    Design your landscape – so you have identified your possible pathway, it is now time to design your landscape, and how would your landscape look like. There are 3 ways to design your landscape: First you can hire a professional designer, second, you can sketch it if you have talents in drawing, and the third one is, you can buy design software. There are design software that are available in the market and are up for grabs. You can choose whatever software you prefer. There are also some free wares that can be downloaded directly from the internet, you might want to also try the free trial package of some software companies. Usually, the validity of the software is for 30 days an only, but 30 day is more than enough to finish your design.

3.    Start working with the things that you have designed – this is the hardest part. You need a lot of time doing the digging and planting. Place the pathway first and any other parts of your landscape that will give your landscape its shape like the plant boxes or stone dividers. With the plants or grass, there is no order of planting; whichever you want to plant first will do.

4.    Read articles about how to take care of the plants you have chosen – some plants really need an extra care for it to have flowers. Some plants need more water, some plants need less water that is why reading articles about plants you have chosen will really help. Do not forget to water your plants every afternoon or evening.

After months or preparing and designing, your landscape would shape up according to your design and creativity. Invite your families and friends and enjoy the beauty of nature that is inside your property. Landscape is the best place to catch up with your friends and families, and it is the best place to eat barbecue – under the stars.

Add a Rain Water Collection System to your Home

Why use rain barrels? A rain barrel is a cheap and effective way to irrigate your lawn and garden. A rain barrel collects and stores rain water for future use, and  is especially helpful in the dry, hot summer months.  “During the summer months it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of household water is used for lawn and garden maintenance” (mid-america regional council). As water restrictions are placed on more and more communities, having a nice green lawn is more of a dream than a reality.  But you can have a green lawn and go green at the same time with very little effort using a rain water barrel.  A great way to get an idea of how much rain water you can collect, multiply the length of your roof by the width to get the square footage of your roof. Then multiply the square footage by average annual rainfall. Imagine the money you could save on your water bill each month by using a rain barrel.

Using rain water is a natural and free way to water your lawn and garden.  Rain water is free from many of the harmful chemicals such as, chloride and floride, that are added to the public drinking water in many municiple cities.  Rain water runoff from roofs is not only safe to use on your plant life as it picks up very little contamination, but it improves the vitality of plants, lawns, trees, and flowers.  Screens can be used over the barrels to assist in keeping water clean by not allowing any debri to collect in the rain water and also by keeping insects, like mesquitos, from using the rain water for breeding purposes.  Also, when gardeners use chemicals to fertilize there lawns, the chemicals collect in the topsoil.  When it rains, quick moving rain water runoff drags the chemicals with it into our rivers and streams, which is harmful to fish.  A rain water barrel will help reduce this problem as water fills up the barrel first, and then can slowly soak the lawn or be poured into flower beds and pots.

Lastly, water shortage is now a global problem, and there doesn’t seem to be an answer yet. But as people are becoming more environmentally conscience, more and more people are turning to rain water barrels to help do their part to help the environment.  In a water “rich” nation it is easy to forget that water shortages kill people each year.  “About 5 million people die each year from poor drinking water” and the diseases associated with unsanitary drinking water such as “diarrhea, schistosomiasis, or trachoma, or infestation with ascaris, guinea worm, or hookworm” (ag.arizona.edu/AZWATER).

Rain water barrels come in many different forms and prices, but instructions for a cheap rain water barrel can be found online and you can use supplies from your local hardware store or things you might just have lying around the house.

Exterior Siding for New or Remodeled Homes

Whether remodeling or building new, most people have two things on their minds: beauty and longevity. Hardie board siding fits the bill for both of these.
Unlike wood siding, which requires painting and is susceptible to insects like termites, Hardie board siding can with stand the elements with no additional protection by you. Hardie board siding is a fibrous concrete board that can be submerged in water and it will not absorb moisture. Being concrete, insects will not eat it and if you live in a southern state this is an added bonus as termites stay active most of the year in warmer climates. Hardie board siding will not sag or warp as time goes by like vinyl siding is prone to do. Hardie board siding comes in 26 different colors you can choose from or you can get it pre- primed, sealed, and ready to be painted. But, when painting this siding a color of your choice, you want to use the recommended brands of paint.

Hardie board siding also comes with a great lifetime warranty. Hardie plank lap siding, the most popular of Hardie board siding, comes with a 50 year transferable limited product warranty. Hardie Panel Vertical siding also comes with a 50 year transferable limited product warranty and provides your home with a unique look. Hardie Shingle siding comes with a 30 year transferable limited product warranty and has a very realistic wood shingle appearance and can stand up against wind, hail, rain, and snow.

The main disadvantage of Hardie Board Siding is the care needed when installing it. Where wood and vinyl sidings give and bend, Hardie Board Siding does not have much give to it and can break if it bends too much or is not properly supported. Also, since it is mostly fibrous concrete it is much heavier than other sidings. It cannot be cut like other sidings either. Scoring, snapping, and using shears are some methods preferred when cutting Hardie Board Siding. Another way to cut hardiplank is to use a Hardie blade in your saw. This method does create silica dust which you want to avoid. You can minimize the dust by using a HEPA filter on your saw and make your cuts outside or in a well ventilated environment. A breathing mask can also be used to give you further protection against this dust. If you are using nails and are not using a nail gun, you have to pre-drill the holes to hammer the nails into it or it will shatter or crack. We used a reasonably priced SENCO brand screw gun and screws and installation was fast and easy with no pre- drilling of holes.

If you are a do it yourself person, this is a project that can be accomplished with some buddies, but to get it done fast it might be best to hire a professional contractor who has the tools and knowledge to minimize mistakes. In order to make sure your warranty will still be valid, you should follow all installation instructions carefully.

Investing in Rental Property

rental signIf you find yourself fixing things around your house on a regular basis, and start to realize that you’re actually good at what you’re doing, why not turn this talent or skill into money. I am not referring to going out and finding a job doing manual labor remodeling homes, however I am talking about the possibility of either buying and reselling homes, or buying rental property and investing your money and time into them for a nice return.

Becoming a landlord or owning property and having renters, is a great way to earn a living, especially with today’s economy on the decline. If you have some simple skills and a great mindset, you can accomplish a lot with very little. By homes now, while the market is low, invest a small amount of money in them to fix them up, and rent them out. Many people are skeptical about tying up their money in a rental property investment.

As I cannot tell you what to do or how to spend your money, I can tell you that I have been renting out property for over eight years and it has done very nicely. Getting started, is the hardest part. However, as you move from one rental property to the next, you will find that it gets easier and easier the more you own.

You may have heard of the saying, “it takes money to make money”, which is very true especially when you’re trying to earn a living renting property. Buying cheap property often leads to minor and sometimes major problems within a home that you cannot often see with the naked eye. These problems often show their face after months or years have gone by. You may find yourself with foundation problems, roofing problems, electrical and even plumbing problems. True these things can seem a little bit overwhelming, however with basic do-it-yourself skills, you can achieve far more than you ever thought when it comes to fixing up your own rental property.

When looking at investment properties, it is a good idea to make friends with a home inspector, or continually use the same home inspector with each home. Building a good rapport with the same home inspector can really make your life a lot easier. Excessive home inspector will often not mislead you, while pointing out small or minor things that a random home inspector might not point out to you. In the long run knowing what is wrong with a home up front, because you thousands of dollars in the end.

Investing your hard earned money in rental property is not for everyone, however it is definitely a great way to earn a living because everyone needs a place to live. If you’re a good landlord and provide nice clean homes for renters to live in, you will find yourself often times with great renters and little to no problems.

Window Coverings

Adding to your home’s windows and doors through ways of window coverings such as blinds and shades is a great way to enhance your homes lighting and entryways. There are many types of window coverings on the market today that will allow you as a homeowner to make your home unique and stylish.

Choosing from the many different kinds of blinds and shutters can do more for your home and simply change the looks of it. Shutters can be closed during storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes to keep debris from breaking windows and doors. Shutters also do well as a theft deterrent, keeping would-be robbers at bay.

Moving to the inside of your home, blinds and shades are a great way to not only keep out the light, but help reflect heat as well, allowing your energy bill to say as little as possible. If you’re a daytime sleeper choosing blinds that completely keep your room dark during the day while I you to sleep soundly in a dark room.

If you have large entry and exit doorways such as a glass sliding door, a great way to not only enhance them visually but block out the light and provide privacy is to cover them with the correct window or door covering. The lines that run vertically allow for easy access in and out of your home, and are easy to open and close at any given time.

No matter what you decide to use to cover your windows, remember that window coverings are a great way to make your home your own, and give it a look that your friends and family will envy. Many people do not view window coverings as a large part of home improvement, however window coverings can go a long way from not only lowering your energy bills, but blocking harmful UV rays and heat from your home.

Choosing your Homes Colors

When you own a home, one of the first things that you can do to give it a unique look for all who see it, is to paint it. Painting the exterior of your home can be quite a task, however it is very rewarding and will pay off the long run. Choosing the right color for your home can be stressful so make sure you take your time while choosing.

Often times it is traditional to use a darker color on the majority of your home’s exterior and to go lighter on the trim around the doors and Windows. This allows your doors and windows to stand up for from the majority of the home.

If you have shutters or blinds, is also traditional to paint them the same color as the door and window trim, or a color that is similar in shade.

Since it is your home, no one can truly tell you what colors you should paint your home, unless you live in a subdivision where it is part of the rules as living there. Many coastal homes paint their siding bright pastel colors for that coastal islands look, while many inland homes are painted darker more earth tone colors.

Another way to coordinate your home is through your roofing shingles. You can now purchase roofing shingles in many colors, allowing you to find them in quite nicely with your houses color scheme. Whether you choose a close match, or to use complementary colors on opposite ends of the color spectrum is totally up to you. Just remember to have fun with it.

New Kitchen Countertops

If your home feels outdated, and is ready for a facelift, one of the best rooms in your home to remodel or you will receive the most in return is your kitchen. The kitchen and the bathroom are the two most important rooms in a house that when remodel can add the most value to a home and its resell value.

Aside from demolishing the entire kitchen and starting fresh, some of the most common aspects of the kitchen that are remodel are usually the floors, the paint, the cabinets, countertops, and the appliances. There are many options when remodeling your kitchen as far as the colors, textures, the designs, and the quality of the materials of using.

This article is touching a little bit on your new kitchen countertops. There are several options to choose from when designing a new kitchen, especially new countertops. One of hottest items on the market today is installing granite countertops. Granite countertops are nice, but expensive at the same time. If you’re looking for something that is nice, but not quite as expensive, you should consider installing a Formica countertop in your home.

Formica is a laminate countertop, that will last for years to come. It is inexpensive, durable, scratch resistant, and heat resistant. Laminate countertops are also great for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to install the countertop himself. There are literally hundreds of colors and designs to choose from when choosing Formica countertops.

When selecting a color for your home, most online stores, and local hardware stores carry Formica samples that you can take home with you and compare them to the colors in your walls, and your cabinets and even your appliances. These samples allow you to find the perfect fit for your home. Make sure to take your time with this choice, because choosing wrong is the choice you’ll have to live with for a long time.

Choosing an Exterior for Your Home

When remodeling or building a new home, one of the most exciting parts is being able to choose the different aspects of your home that will make it stand out, or be unique among your street. Not only do you want your house to look nice, but you want it to last a long time and you want to protect your belongings and her family inside. For this reason your roofing and your exterior covering will be one of the most important decisions you can make.

Choosing an exterior can be stressful as there are many different choices to choose from. You can go with brick, stucco, cement Board siding, wood, vinyl, aluminum, and many others. Pricing the exterior of your home will be one of the most important roles in choosing whether or not you choose a specific exterior. However, just because one exterior may cost more than another, does not necessarily mean that it is a better product.

If you live in an all brick neighborhood, chances are you should go with a brick so that your house does not stick out like a sore thumb. Maintenance comes to mind also when choosing an exterior. There are many exterior options that have proven themselves over the years, however if you have to maintain it on a monthly basis it may not be the right choice for you.

Remembering the basics of selecting an exterior for your home, you need to find not only an exterior that you like the look of, but will protect your home and last a lifetime while doing it. You want your home to be unique, yet not stand out in a negative way in your neighborhood at the same time as well. Selecting an exterior that is unique yet is along the same guidelines of those homes in your neighborhood is a great idea. These are just some options to think about when trying to find an exterior for your home, once you have figured out which exterior option you like the most, it is a great idea to do some further research on that material before you make your final decision.

Things to consider, before building a deck

What is a great way to improve your homes value, and give you and your family new space, and a great place to spend time together? This would be through the addition of a Deck. Building a deck is one of the most popular home improvements that will add a great amount of value to your home.

When building a deck, it is a good idea to hit it with a plan. By plan, I not only mean blue prints, there is alot of time and planning that goes into building a deck other than the actual labor involved in physically building the deck. You should find the perfect place for your new deck. It should be a compliment to your home, yet be functional at the same time.

Your new deck should be placed in an area of your yard that will flow with the decor, and make up of your existing home. A deck is also a a form of landscaping. With this in mind you need to make sure that it ties in with your yard scape as well. Your deck is almost a stepping stone from the inside of your home to the outside.

You must also take into consideration what your deck will be used for. Will it be a pool deck? Will it be an outdoor kitchen? Will it simply be a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors? On top of these questions, you should also decide if your deck will have railing, stairs, and a roof. Then you must build on those qualities of your deck, by deciding on a design, color, or stain of the deck and its components.

The final step before building your deck, is to price your materials. After you have your plans, you will need to find out how much lumber will be needed to complete the deck, and then price the lumber. Included in the process is getting a quote on labor, delivery, and concrete that is needed for your posts. These are just some basic questions you should consider before building a beatiful deck for your family to enjoy.