The Hardest Thing About Home Improvement is Working With Your Spouse

“If you can make it through a home renovation project that you and your partner are working on together and still want to keep living in the same house afterward, that’s when you know that you are capable of facing come what may.”

This is an ongoing joke I make, especially when speaking to younger couples that are convinced they will reach their diamond wedding anniversary just because they managed to agree on their first shared couch. Although I laugh when I say it, I know what I am talking about.

That doesn’t mean just because you’ve made it through one, that any following ones get easier. Hubby and I have been working on finishing our basement over the last few months. Since we’ve done full renovation jobs before and know the back breaking, nerve wrecking labor that goes into them, we did hire contractors to do the walls and ceiling for us. We figured that we could save some cost on doing the flooring ourselves, especially since Hubby somehow knew exactly what needed to be done. Not that he’s done it before but then there is the God given male gene called ‘I don’t need instructions’.

But it’s not so much the actual task of laying flooring that is the greatest challenge, but more the dynamic of two very different but very confident personalities working together. Luckily, one of them is a female and therefore OK to step back and let the more experienced person take the lead (or at least realizes that not having any experience herself probably doesn’t make her the best leader in that situation). As one knows, luck only last that long. For that female, let’s take myself as an example, still has a perfectly intelligent mind, and on top of it sees anything as a process which if handled efficiently has a planning stage before the execution stage. So, before you start anything, you’ve gone through the process in your mind, have purchased anything you didn’t own yet, have looked for and assembled everything else you needed for the job before your hands are dirty and self leveling cement is flying around the walls.

Unfortunately, the leader, let’s assume Hubby, with another God given gene called ‘I know what I’m doing so why would I waste time thinking through the steps if I can just do them instead’-gene, does just that.

Minute 10:

“Oh, now I need the trowel. Hon, can you run upstairs into the garage, I think it’s in the work bench.”

Minute 12.5:

“Shoot, quick, get me some water and paper towels to clean the splash”

Minute 25:

“You know what? I think I might need a vapor barrier. Love, can you drive to Home Depot and get some?”

Minute 45 (just after I arrive back with the purchase):

“We’ve got a problem, we’ve just run out of cement. I’m sorry but could you get me two more bags from the Depot?”

I will refrain from repeating anything that … Read More

The Key To Picking The Right Plumbing Fixture

Plumbing is an integral part of your home. Parts of plumbing occur within the walls of your home and under your floors, while other parts of plumbing you see and appreciate every day.

The visible part of your plumbing system is your fixtures. Plumbing fixtures include things like sinks, toilets, showers, baths and more.

Fixtures have long life spans, but there are times when fixtures do need to be replaced. Sometimes fixtures are replaced because they have become damaged, they are too old, or they are different than the style that the homeowner would like to have.

If it is time for you to replace any of the fixtures whithin your home, then you need to take precautions to ensure that you replace your fixture with a high quality piece. If you do not take such precautions, then you could end up wasting your money by purchasing a plumbing fixture that is low quality and that will end up needing to be replaced in the near future anyway.

The first thing you should do, in the opinion of an experienced plumber, is not shop for your fixture at a “big box” store. When you go to a large home improvement store, you do not find sales assistants with much experience working with plumbing fixtures. Since big home improvement stores carry such a wide variety of items, employees at those stores have to know about so many different types of products that they do not know enough about any specific trade to really give good help in finding high quality pieces. When you do not get ample help in finding a high quality fixture by a sales assistant, you are left to your own devices to choose by looking at the packaging and prices alone.

Instead of going to a large home improvement store, you should try to shop for your piece at a specialized plumbing store. At stores that only carry plumbing supplies, you are going to find sales assistants who actually have vast knowledge and experience with all the fixtures that you might be needing to purchase.

So regardless of whether you need a sink, or a bathtub, a toilet, or a shower, you can rest assured that you will find a very high quality product if you go to a specialized plumbing store. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience that sales assistants at specialized stores have, because if you don’t, and you go to a large home improvement store, you may walk out with a product that will not last long, and will soon be causing you problems.… Read More

Selecting the Best Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

Maintaining or renovating a home can be a very daunting task for most people. However, after all the hard work and investment in time and resources you have allocated for a home improvement project, the satisfaction of seeing a superbly crafted home that you can call your own can be priceless indeed. Such is the importance of choosing the best and most qualified contractor who is knowledgeable and capable enough to turn your vision into a remarkable work of art.

When choosing a contractor for repairs or renovations for your home improvement project, it is vital that you first acquire all the important information about a particular contractor before ever committing in getting their services. You need to make sure that they are capable of performing all the inclusive work, including customized builds and improvements that you would want your home to have. To get all these pertinent information, you should ask your contractors a strategic set of questions designed to extract all the data that you will need. To help you start in this direction, you should ask the following set of questions:

* Does the contractor have the appropriate knowledge and experience with the type of home improvement project that you have in mind?

According to recent information from the industry, approximately 80 percent of contractors and builders are knowledgeable and are adequately trained in the latest construction and building techniques. However, even though they may have the training with these new techniques and the certifications to show for it (ex: techniques in energy-saving green building technologies, etc), their actual experience may have just been picked up or even achieved as they work on new projects. On some cases, the home renovation projects may involve a historic home with irreplaceable artifacts or sections. A contractor may not have the expertise in dealing with such a home nor could they match the craftsmanship involved with these historic masterpieces.

* Is there an existing relationship between your contractor and architect/designer and have they worked together on a project before?

For your home improvement project, you may take on the services of some of the best architects and interior designers in the whole of Massachusetts. To complement the expertise of these professionals, it is but proper to also get the services of the best contractors for the project. In such cases, it would be best to choose a contractor whom your architect or designer knows. They may be aware of the track record of these contractors and may be comfortable working with some that they can identify. With such arrangements, you can be assured of a timely completion of your project and in the manner that you envisioned it to be.

* When you inquire something about the project, does the contractor communicate well with you?

It is a normal thing for homeowners to ask something about a home remodeling project from their contractors. However, if all you get is a hasty answer without much details and it would … Read More

Looking For The Best Granite Countertops To Work On

Looking For The Best Granite Countertops To Work On

What are granite countertops?

Countertops are the horizontal surfaces found in the kitchens and other food preparation areas, which are supported by the cabinets or small pillar-like structures and aid in keeping all of the necessary culinary items over the same. The height of the countertop is kept as per the ergonomic convenience of the user and ensures the easy accessibility by them. These are available in different materials, shapes, designs, and aesthetics, such that the tastes and choices of a wide range of audience can be satisfied. The article elucidates in detail on the same and also mentions how to select the best granite countertops amongst the different available choices.

The common materials used

The following are the most common materials used commercially in fabricating the best countertops for the kitchens and other commercial cooking spots: –

  • Granite, which is the most popular choice owing to its durability and ability to take over any aesthetic shape easily. It is available based on different shades of the stone and can be procured on the basis of the square feet required by the customer.
  • Quartz, known widely as the engineered stone and widely used for its non-porous nature that renders the scratch-proof and stain-proof characteristics to the same. It does not require much maintenance and annual sealing like the other materials used.
  • Soapstone, used for its silky texture and dark hues making it a cheap alternative to the granite countertops. It is known for its hardness and resistance to stain that can ensure its long-lasting nature in the kitchens.
  • Marble, which is an expensive alternative over all of the other materials used and hence has a limited area of coverage of the customers.
  • Ceramics, which is the modern day choice for a majority of households, owing to the cheapness in price and easy to clean and maintain. Recent innovations in the material have also paved way to offer wide varieties in the designs and aesthetics for the countertops.
  • Hardwood ones, made of maple and oak that render warm look and hardness to the structures.

How to select the best?

Out of a large number of choices available for the contractors in the market, the best can be selected on the basis of the following factors: –

  • Good pricing of the products, with better chances of earning good seasonal discounts that can make the products even more accessible by the customers
  • Use of eco-friendly and cost-effective materials that would be safe to use and pose no harm to the customers using the same
  • Availability in the required choice of design and aesthetics that can match the tastes of the customers easily
  • Having a wide range of service coverage
  • Maintaining timely delivery and good customer care to cater to the queries within the specified deadlines
  • Having good star ratings and recommendations from the past customers, to determine the authenticity and quality of the product

Hence, in a nutshell, it can be concluded of how important it is to have the best and ideal … Read More

Quick Tips to Simplify Your Kitchen

Most of our kitchens are filled with inefficiencies. Even if we only lose a few seconds here or a few minutes there, all that wasted time can really add up. Luckily, there are quite a few strategies you can implement right now to save time and simplify your kitchen.

1. Replace your faucet head

There’s a good chance that you are still using the faucet head which came with your sink. There are a few problems with this. For one thing, this probably means that you are using an external filtering system or your family is drinking bottled water most of the time. This wastes a lot of time. Instead, a new faucet can filter your water instantly as it flows out.

Many modern faucets also allow you to adjust the water pressure. This can be extremely convenient when you are washing dishes and are having difficulty removing the food or grease off of a dish.

2. Automatic sweeper

It can be tough to continuously keep the kitchen floor free from dust and dirt. There is nothing worse than a dirty kitchen floor. It doesn’t look good to guests and it certainly doesn’t make us feel proud of our kitchen. That’s why an automatic sweeper is a great piece of technology to help simplify your kitchen. Just turn it on as you leave the room or the house, and the sweeper will bounce back and forth throughout the room, cleaning up all the dust. When you come back to the kitchen, the floor will look spic and span!

3. New Trash Can

Most people overlook this as a way to greatly improve their kitchen, probably because they are unaware of the newest trash can technology that has been developed in the past few years. Rather than opening the lid to your trash can manually, you can opt for a new automatic trash can. It can be tough to open the lid of your trash can if your hands are full, plus most germs in a household are spread via the trash can lid.

A traditional solution for dealing with this problem was a step trash can, but with automatic trash cans which can automatically sense when you need to throw something away, a step trash can seems a bit antiquated.… Read More