Category Archives: Home Improvements

Tips for Garage Door Repair

Garage doors should be maintained the whole year round. This will help ensure that they will efficiently work. In this light, you should immediately address the small problems that as to do with them. If not, these small problems may progress to serious ones that may require you to shell out large amounts of money. There are only a few things that you have to look out for if your garage door is not properly functioning as it should and you see no loose parts lying on the floor of your garage. This article will present you with some tips on how to repair them.

Door Panel Tightening
First, you may need to tighten the door panels. Continued use of the garage implies that this home addition is regularly subjected to vibrating forces. Eventually, these forces can take their toll on the door by loosening up fasteners and brackets after a certain period of time. To help you tighten these fasteners for your door, you should use a socket or a wrench for the repair. In case it is directly connected to your garage door opener, you should disconnect the lines first by pulling on your emergency release handle. Using this method can help close the panels. In turn, the rest of the components will hold tight against one another. In this regard, you should also tighten up the hinges attach to your it. Missing nuts and bolts warrant immediate replacement and garage door repair to prevent disruptions in garage operations.

Pulleys and Rollers: Considerations
You should also check out the rollers attached to your door. If you can spin the stems using your fingers without meeting strong resistance in the process, there is a great chance that your door is functioning well. On the other hand, frozen rollers in the hinge may mean problems in gliding forces and friction involved in garage door operation. To help you address this problem through garage repair, you may add a drop or two of oil intended for door components. Steel rollers will especially require you to apply one or two drops of oil so you can keep your bearings lubricated. You should check out the roller inside the track of your garage door. If your rollers appear to be worn out, you should immediately replace them with new ones. If your garage has springs that span the sides, you should thoroughly inspect the pulleys.

Track Inspection
As for track repairs, you should look for the presence of bent tracks along the entire span of the door. Most of these bends will take place along the curve on the track. You may repair any of these bends into place by utilizing your vice grips. After this, you should check out the brackets that will hold the track against the wall. If lag bolts have turned loose, you need to tighten them up. You may then close the garage door.

For information on Garage Door Repair in Minneapolis, MN, click here.

What Questions to Ask When Hiring A Painting Contractor

Painting the interior or exterior of your home is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you can undertake. The first question you have to ask is, do you have the knowledge and skills to do the task yourself and have it look professional?

The last thing you want to do is invest weeks or months of work and not be happy with the result and possibly do more damage to the integrity of your home. If you have walked into a rental property and seen the numerous poor paint jobs done by owners or handymen, you know what I mean.

So if you decide to hire a painting contractor what is the best way to go about it?

SEEK OUT REFERRALS

The best way is to seek out referrals. Talk to relatives, friends or neighbors and find out if they have had a recent experience with a painting contractor. Find out if they were trustworthy, neat, clean and on time. I feel personal experience is the best referral.

If you can’t find personal referrals, the next option is to search the Yellow Pages, internet or check with the paint stores in your area. The paint stores deal with contractors on a daily basis and might be able to recommend a reputable one. An advantage of hiring a contractor that has a good long-term relationship with a paint store is that if there is a problem with a product or color, the store will back the contractor for labor and material not just a few gallons of paint. I would steer clear of the big box stores as they typically recommend contractors who pay them 20+% of the total bill to be a recommended contractor.

ARE THEY LICENSED?

Always hire a State licensed contractor, not a handyman. If a handyman does damage to your house, you have no recourse. One clue is that a handyman will only have five numbers on their license and a painting contractor will have six numbers. The lower the number on the license the longer they have been in business. A State licensed contractor has to carry a $12,500 bond to protect their clients.

If you hire a State licensed contractor, you also want to check to be sure that their license is active. You can check with the contractors license board online. All you have to do is enter the license number and it will show the status and the name of the workers compensation carrier. I looked at a job recently and was underbid by a contractor that does not have workers comp. He claims to do the work himself, but his website shows he has employees. If his employee injures himself on the job, you, the homeowner, will be responsible for his medical bills and rehabilitation. Most homeowners don’t know this.

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

Be wary of claims of “years of experience”. Check on years of experience as a contractor, as opposed to as a painter, or “in the industry”. When you are at the state license board website under the license number, it tells you when the business was started. To me, painting at ten years old doesn’t count as years of experience. It is pretty easy to start a painting business, but a lot more difficult to stay in business.

PRICE

Don’t hire on price alone. If an estimate is extremely low, there is usually a reason for it. There are many ways to cut price; cut corners on the prep work, number of coats of paint, and quality of paint used; forgo liability insurance, don’t pay workers compensation (illegal if you have employees), use undocumented workers.

Sometimes what seems like the cheapest bid ends up costing more in both money and time – not to mention aggravation. The problem with a bad paint job is that it lasts the life your house unless you strip the paint or replace the surface that has been poorly painted.

Here are some things to ponder. Does the contractor pay their employees a living wage? Do they pay overtime? Do they pay or help with health care? Do they give their employees any paid vacation time? While these factors may not affect the quality of the paint job on your house, they do affect the quality of life of the people who did the work, people who also live in your community and will depend on public services if they can not make ends meet from their wages.

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THEM?

Any contractor worth hiring should be willing to consult with the owner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with colors. I have found spending a little time figuring out what my clients are looking for works out for both of us in the long run. There is nothing more difficult than looking through a color deck and picturing what it will look like on the wall. Your contractor should be willing to do a paint out for you on a 8×11 card that you can move around the room from shade to sun. You will be amazed how it changes as the daylight changes.

Find someone you are comfortable with. The contractor and his employees will be working around and inside your house. Many of my clients feel comfortable enough with my employees to leave us in their house while they go to work. Some even plan to have us come in while they are on vacation.

For information on Calgary exterior painters click here.

Smoke Damage Book and Document Clean-Up

Smoke damage can be caused by the smoke’s gases or the soot it leaves behind. Depending on the extent of the damage and the type, different cleaning and restoration techniques must be implemented to properly clean the mess. When smoke damages books, photos, or important paper documents, the process to restore them can be especially difficult because of the fragility of these items.

Smoke Types

Smoke damages can be categorized into three general types: wet, dry, and fuel oil soot.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke is a low-heat, smoldering type of smoke that leads to sticky residue. This smoke damage has the potential to warp books and documents.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is a created by high temperature, fast-burning fires. It is especially damaging to older, more fragile books.

Fuel Oil Soot

Fuel oil soot occurs when furnaces and other heat sources give off gritty puffs of soot. This kind of smoke acts as an abrasive on paper items like books and archive documents.

Smoke follows a general pattern for movement and destruction. It moves to the top floors of buildings. It is attracted to cool areas and easily moves through plumbing and ventilation systems.

How Damage Occurs

Smoke damages books and documents by staining exposed surfaces, mainly covers and paper edges. Damages to these items will depend on the quality, age, and condition of the documents affected. It will also depend on how well the items were stored prior to encountering the smoke. Most home and business owners keep books on shelves. Therefore the damage occurs mostly on the outer bindings and the top edges. Properly stacked books and documents will actually protect each other from intense smoke and soot damage. Keeping book shelves and desks away from the ventilation ducts or pipe work will also reduce the likelihood of smoke damage.

Restoration and Cleaning

Regardless of how much damage your books or documents have received, it is important to take extreme care when handling them. Books may not seem to have experienced much damage, but smoke, especially dry smoke, can ruin book bindings and make pages very brittle. Never handle damaged books by their pages – otherwise, increased “fingerprint” damage can occur.

You can clean most mildly damaged books by wiping the covers and paper edges with a dry sponge. This removes residue and prevents soot and ash from continuing to stain your books over time. However, you must be sure that you clean these items in a low humidity environment otherwise the moisture in the air can collect on the paper and cause further damage.

If your books, photos, or documents have experienced moderate to heavy smoke damage, you should seek out a professional book and document restoration specialist. Restoration companies have a number of state-of-the-art cleaning techniques they can employ to recover your damaged books. Many companies have sanding techniques to remove stubborn soot stains on page edges and employ a deodorizing technique to remove smoky odors. Other professionals will use ozone gas chambers to remove stains and safely deodorize documents.

Smoke is a lesser known damager of home and business materials. It can, however, be the most damaging because it is harder to assess the extent of the damage until it is often times too late. By properly employing strategic storage techniques and proper material handling practices you can greatly reduce the potential for smoke damage in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Choosing Internal Door Handles For a Contemporary Home

Whether you’re building your own home or refurbishing a property, you need to get the finishing touches right. That includes internal door handles, where you can go from ultra-traditional to funky and fun. You can choose to be consistent, and have the same handles throughout your home, or mix and match for a great effect.

Contemporary design uses a range of styles, but essentially, you’re going to be looking for sleek, stylish internal door handles that give your home a modern touch, whilst also working beautifully. Key features of contemporary door handles include:

Silver finish – a matt or brushed silver finish is great for modern internal doors. Silver is understated and works well with pure white, which is often a key feature of contemporary d├ęcor, particularly when it comes to woodwork.

Curves – modern designs are both sensual and minimalist. Curves make door handles easy to grasp and use, but most importantly, they provide a great feature throughout your home, and can be echoed with other details and accessories.

Detail – with all great design, the devil’s in the detail and with modern handle design, it’s the little details that turn your choice from a run-of-the-mill handle into something that little bit different. If details matter to you, it’s worthwhile spending the time searching for something that works for the style you’re using for your home.

Mixed materials – for something with a design edge, why not look for fittings that use mixed materials, like metal and wood, or mixed finishes, such as matte and polished. This will add a little flair to your interior design. Whether you choose your door handles at the last minute or make them a real feature of home design it important to sure that get consistent look and best way do is source all from same supplier.

Cheapest Kitchen Counters Are Formica Worktops

Of all the selections on the market, Formica sheets UK is by far the cheapest choice for kitchen work-tops. In this article, I will explain a couple of ways to get it really cheap. Let me just start by saying this too: just because this style of counters is the least expensive does not mean they are poor in quality.

What Will Cause the Price to be high?

There are a few variables that can affect how much your kitchen tops cost. For instance if you have them custom-fabricated out of plywood, this can be a lot more expensive than if you just select one from the “stock item” rack at Home Depot.

Here are a few things that affect the cost:

1) The layout of your cabinets 
If you have several areas which need to have forty-five degree mitered seams, this can add a considerable amount to the cost. Angled walls -such as the popular “island layout” that has three walls which are on forty-five degree angles- will drive the price of work-tops up.

2) Color and finish of the Formica Work-top 
There are several different color, pattern and finish upgrades that make the price of laminate work-tops go up. If you select a high gloss top, this will cost significantly more than a “matte” finish. If you select a “stipple” finish style, this may cost more than a low sheen topcoat. Usually the most reasonably priced choice will be a matte finish. All granite patterns will cost more than any other design.

3) Custom Edges on Tops 
Lowe’s Formica countertops and other Super Centers offer work-tops which have special edges on them. These are stock “Post Form” work-tops and are not outrageously priced. If your kitchen requires that you have your laminate tops custom-made… adding custom edges to your work-tops will not be cheap. The cheapest option for any laminate work-top is to buy them from a place like Home Depot. If you hire a custom fabricator to make the Formica tops, the cheapest style will be the flat, ninety-degree edge profile.

There are a few other things that can add to the cost of your work-tops:

  • If you have a drop-in range, you will pay more than if your stove is free-standing.
  • Raised-bar counters add additional costs to your kitchen price.
  • Pass-through windows where work-tops are interconnected from one room to the other
  • Counters which are longer than twelve feet will require a seam.

The Ideal Factors to Ensure Low-cost kitchen Counters:

  • The cheapest kitchen tops will be “matte finish”.
  • The layout of the cupboards will not require any seams in the ninety-degree corners.
  • All of the counters should be no longer than twelve feet in length.
  • There are no angled walls in the kitchen where the tops get installed.
  • No granite patterns
  • Do-it-yourself (DYI) work-top installation (not recommended unless you possess finish-carpentry skills)

The scale from the cheapest to the most expensive work-tops graduates like this:

Least expensive: 
Formica plastic laminate

Mid-priced: 
Solid surface (Corian, Avonite, Gibralter, Earthstone)

High end: 
Authentic granite or marble