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Estimating Home Improvement Projects

Monday, April 29, 2013

More and more homeowners are turning to home improvement to transform their New York homes to ideally fit the needs of the family, realize their dreams of luxury and style, make everyday life a whole lot more convenient, boost property value, or just any other reasons. One of the most crucial factors when jumping into the bandwagon is the right budget. The more accurate the estimate, the closer you are to achieving project success. To get to this, here are essential things to know about estimating home improvement projects ideal whether you are in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn or Staten Island.

Estimating your planned home improvement project is a crucial task that should be taken carefully. Falling short on budget can cause grave issues such as an incomplete project, an inferior result, or financial instability that can lead to debts that can easily snowball into other problems.

If you haven't done anything similar to the home improvement you have in mind, then getting an estimate would be the best way to start your project. This would get you a good idea on how much the entire project would cost thus helping you get financially prepared and preventing a busted budget. Just as no two houses are exactly the same; your specifications would vary with that of others even for the same project. There are a lot of factors that affect the overall cost and asking around for other homeowners who have had done something similar would be the roughest assessment you can get.

When estimating home improvement projects, the easiest and fastest way to get one is through using an online remodeling calculator from any renovation and home improvement or contractor website. But the closest and most accurate estimate you can get is one from a reputable professional or contractor company.

There are various factors that will affect your home improvement project estimate and these are:

Scope of the Project - this includes the size of the room or rooms that you plan on improving. What materials and supplies you want to integrate into the project. How you envision the project finish and what are the methods and steps to take to achieve the specific look, feel and functionality.

Labor Trends and Regional Pricing - fact is, remodeling costs will differ depending on the state that you are in. This proves true for both contractor fee as well as material costs.

Labor Fees - There are choices when it comes to managing home improvement projects and this includes: managing it yourself, getting a general contractor or hiring a project manager part-time or full time. Each option has its pros and cons and deciding on which depends on your experience, preference, budget and availability. Aside from the labor trends in different states, other factors that will affect contractor fee are specialization/s, experience, skills and even how well established and well-reputed the contractor or company is in the industry.

One of the greatest tips when undergoing home improvement projects is to allot a budget that is more than that of the estimated amount. By allowing flexibility in your finances, unexpected expenses that may arise throughout the project (which are not uncommon), can be accommodated efficiently before the problem balloons. If you have to save, then choose to do so in a smart way. Cut costs without sacrificing quality and you can do this by buying materials on sale and scheduling work at off-peak seasons.

Easily Transform Your Home Into an Outdoor Oasis With Simple Landscaping

Friday, April 26, 2013

Most homeowners are very aware of their home's exterior. Keeping a beautiful house says something about its residents. Homeowners often make sure their house has a fresh coat of paint, clean siding and a beautiful roof and driveways, but sometimes overlook a very important factor, landscaping. One of the simplest ways to add aesthetic beauty to your home is by taking the time to make sure your yard looks great. This easy task can make a world of a difference for your home's curb appeal.

Here are some key points to follow when considering easy and cost effective ways to create a beautiful yard:

  • Lawns can make or break a home. Be sure to keep yours well-trimmed and healthy. Green grass is fundamental here, so be certain to water, fertilize, air rate and de-thatch when necessary. A healthy lawn is the backbone to a great looking yard.

  • Good and bad, large trees play an important role in a beautiful landscape. One or two in front of your house can give it a great feel, but be sure your home is clearly visible. Remove any large groups of trees blocking the view to your home, and be sure to carefully trim those that will be kept. Generally, it's better to have a professional trim your trees and shrubs, because each plant reacts differently, and will grow accordingly.

  • Color plays a fun part in your new landscaping, and bushes, shrubs and flowers will help you achieve a visually appealing yard. Pick colors that will accent your home, making it stand out from the rest, but that aren't overbearing eyesores. Keep in mind that most of these plants are seasonal, so be sure to plan accordingly so you can enjoy your foliage year round.

  • Cleanly separate each area of your yard. Stones, wooden railroad ties and mulch all do a great job of this. Keeping clean sections which work with each other will compliment your home, drawing visitor's eyes inwards.

  • Statues and fountains can be great focal points, just don't get carried away. One or two is usually enough. Be sure to accent these great pieces with shrubs, stones and flowers so they don't look empty.

  • Lines are another often overlooked aspect of landscape design. Use what you have to draw your visitor's attention to various sections of your yard or home. For example, planting bushes in rows towards your front door will help guide viewer's eyes in that direction.

  • A final fairly inexpensive landscaping aspect which is generally overlooked is lighting. Adding accent lighting to your home and yard can substantially increase its feel and beauty. Again, be sure to illuminate the high points of your home and garden. Your accent lights will determine exactly what your neighbors and passers-by will see when it's dark outside.
Landscaping can be a fairly easy job when you know what you are doing but if you don't feel comfortable incorporating all of the above in your new home improvement project, there are a few websites online ready to provide you with the best landscaping professionals in your area. Services such as All Around the Home and CalFinder make it easy to have the best yard on the block.

Please keep all of the various factors I discussed above in mind when dealing with any contractor giving you an estimate. Find out from them what they will be doing to incorporate the various aspects of your home's landscaping, and be sure to give them your opinions and ideas when it comes to making your home beautiful. While new paint, roofing or siding is definitely good for the aesthetics of your home, nothing quite gives it that feeling a great landscaping job can.

DIY Home Improvement Project: Repainting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hiring a contractor to help you conduct home improvement project can be costly. The professional in home improvement usually has a price standard for certain home improvements like kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling. Well, it is worthy to hire a contractor when you need to conduct major home improvement. However, what if you only need to repaint your kitchen cabinets? Do you also need to hire a contractor to do such work?

For minor home improvement like repainting kitchen cabinets, most people like to conduct the DIY project. This DIY project has some benefits; especially on the budget that you have to spend. When conducting DIY home improvement project, you only need to spend money for the materials needed. There is no need to pay for the worker, since you handle the project by yourself.

So, here are the steps on how you can repaint your kitchen cabinet by yourself:

1. Determine the colors that you want to use for your cabinets. It is a good idea to visualize your expected cabinet color using Corel or similar programs. Make sure that you only choose colors that you really want; thus, you can get the maximum satisfaction when the project is completed.

2. The second thing to do is cleaning the cabinets. Usually, food residue sticks on the cabinet surface and you should clean it first before painting. If you want to make the cleaning process much easier, just remove the cabinet doors. You can put them on the floor and start the cleaning process more easily. This way allows you to reach the most hidden parts of your cabinets.

3. Once you have cleaned your cabinets thoroughly, now you come to the most important parts of this project. Sand the cabinets are the next thing that you have to do. Make sure that you sand every part of the cabinets carefully to get the best result. It may spend much time to sand the cabinet but if you handle this part well, you will find that the pain durability will be increasing.

4. The fourth step is applying primer to the cabinets that you have been sanded. This step is particularly important if you want to repaint your cabinets with different color. Since there are some primer types available in the market, you had better find one that totally fits your need. The type of primer that you will use depends on the paint type. If you would like to use an oil-based paint, then it will be great to use an interior oil-based primer and use the shellac based primer if you want to use latex paint. Both primers carry strong odor; therefore, make sure that you cover your nose with the mask when applying it.

5. Now, this is the core of this project - painting the cabinets! To make this step generates great result; don't forget to use the quality paint brush. Apply thin layers when painting and you will find out that your cabinets will present the new look again.

Enjoy your DIY home improvement project and get the fresh atmosphere in your kitchen.

Top Ten Ways To Save Money Rehabbing A House

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rehabbing a house can be a very expensive task that can easily get out of hand and over budget. Today more and more people are looking for ways to save money remodeling their home. I'd like to share some of my insight and experience on ways to save money when doing a rehab property or flip piece of real estate.

Here is my list of the top 10 ways to save money Rehabbing / Remodeling a house.
1. Be Your Own General Contractor - Being your own general contractor could save you substantial money. However, I don't recommend this approach to many people. You really do need some knowledge of the house remodeling industry before you try to take on this large of a task. You must have good negotiation skills, a sense for the construction trades, and an eye for design. If you're successful at being your own general contractor you could save as much as 5% to 10% on your construction project.
2. Buying the right piece of investment property - can save you money when you begin your remodel project. The type of house you select can be one of the best ways to save money when you invest in real estate. Buying old or out of date construction types can cost you a lot of money because of the investment necessary to bring the property up to code. Choosing a simple rectangular house with simple roof lines and standard windows compared to a complicated geometric house can save you lots of money. Choose nice siding, paint and landscaping instead of an unusual house design.
3. Sweat Equity - There's no better way to save money than to role up your sleeves and put some sweat equity into the project. Home Improvement and DIY are so popular today that most home owners have tackled a project or two trying to save money. You can take those skills and apply them to your remodel construction project. Most contractors will agree to let you do certain phases of the project if you discuss them before construction begins and identify those items in the contract. If you have certain skills that you feel comfortable with then discuss them with your contractors so you can save some money. I'll discuss some of the more popular tasks below.
4. Job Site Clean Up - Helping keep the site clean is one of the simplest ways I know how to save money when remodeling a house. Having a clean and orderly job site makes everyone work a little more efficient and careful. Having the sense of an organized job site will ensure your project gets finished sooner with few problems and that means less money from you. Even slight delays in the project can mean substantial interest payments and temporary housing costs.
5. Salvage Materials - Using salvage materials will help you save money and it's the Green Thing to do. Today there are salvage yards that specialize in recycling building materials. Things such as doors, windows, cabinets, plumbing and electrical fixtures are all available at very discounted prices. You'll be saving money while helping out the environment so it's certainly an idea worth considering.
6. Reduced Price Products - Buying floor models, remnants and slightly damaged products is one area that I've seen many of our real estate rehabbed save big money. Many building material stores sell discounted projects at huge summer time yard sales. When you're looking for fixtures make sure to consider about floor models, discontinued models and even damaged products.
7. Painting - Most people that consider themselves DIY'ers have no problem painting. If you paint your remodeling project inside and out you can save $2,000 to $10,000 easily. Painting your rehab house is a project the whole family can help out with. I've seen people that have a painting party with family and friends and paint an entire house in one weekend.
8. Flooring - Flooring is another project that I've seen customers save a substantial amount of money on. Most types of tile and wood flooring a re easy to install with very little tools. Even if you can't install the flooring yourself check out sales for discounted materials. You can often find discontinued material and use it to tile the basement or laundry areas.
9. Landscaping - Doing the landscaping yourself can save thousands of dollars. It takes very little skill to do and can save you a ton of money. Bring along friend and family to help. It makes for a great group project. Chances are you'll save money and do a better job in the process. You can easily plant your own trees, shrubs flowers to save money.
10. Keep It Simple - I have seen too many investors and flippers over build a rehab project and finish it exactly the way that they would want it. The problem is that no two families have the same taste. I have often driven past these homes months later to find the paint a different color, the landscaped ripped out, or even worse, everything is dead. Build the project to meet the standards of the neighborhood and make sure that everything is clean, operational, and that the home is ready to move in. NOTHING MORE. Give them a clean slate to start their new life with in the rehab home you've remodeled. You waste a lot of money on things that the new buyer may not like. It is better for you to save that money and offer it to the buyer as an incentive for buying or to help them with closing costs. It will end up making the deal close faster.
Doing any one of these items the next time you build a new house can save you money. The most important advice I can give you is to be speak with your builder openly about these ideas. Tell your builder you'd like to save some money by doing certain tasks yourself. Most builders will be open to this arrangement so long is it's discussed ahead of time and properly addressed in the contract.

How To Build Your Own Generator

Saturday, April 13, 2013

When I was in first grade, I won my school’s science fair. It wasn’t too hard. All I did was build a Styrofoam model of the solar system, complete with the asteroid belt and all nine planets (yes, there were nine planets back then). I made a moon for the earth, I didn’t bother for all of the other planets. Saturn alone has 62 moons, so it would have taken me an extra week to build my model, and I think I forgot to mention the part that this project was based off of a last minute idea, conceived of at most two days before submissions were due. In subsequent years, I frequently at least placed in the school’s science fair, thanks to projects that included the building of a small-scale volcano and a dry ice experiment. One project that never would have occurred to me then, however, would have been the construction of a portable electric generator. Even up until recently that project would have seemed ludicrous to me. But it turns out that an individual can actually build his or her own generator in a quick and easy fashion. Now understand, using these steps, you won’t be able to build a generator that will be able to power your entire house in an emergency; the end product will be a low wattage generator. But this is a fun and educational project nonetheless.

The materials you will need include 500 feet of 22-28 gauge enameled copper wire, a four inch bar magnet, a steel rod that is twelve inches in length and has a quarter inch diameter, a cardboard tube with a four inch diameter, 24 inches of 1x4 lumber and two quarter inch flat washers.

The first step is to build a frame in the shape of a “U” to support the rotor. The rotor is the permanent bar magnet mounted on a steel shaft. To do this, cut the lumber into two six inch pieces and one 12 inch piece (inches in length), then nail the two pieces to the twelve inch piece at a perpendicular angle. This is when you need to drill two quarter inch holes in the two uprights of this frame. Make sure they align so that the steel rod will go through both without binding. Don’t put away the drill just yet; you’re going to need it again to drill another quarter inch hole through the center of the bar magnet, preferably on the widest side.

After the drilling, slide the metal shaft through one side of the frame and slide the magnet onto the shaft. This is when you should cut a four inch section of the cardboard tube. Then wind your copper wire around the tube and leave roughly 18 inches of wire loose on each end to connect to the device you wish to supply power to. For purposes of this hypothetical, let’s use a light bulb. The more winds you can get during this process, the more power you will produce. Now you should slide the tube over the shaft and magnet, and then slide that shaft through the other support frame. After this is done, glue the magnet to the shaft at the center of the two supports. Use the strongest glue you have at your disposal for this step. Now, support your cardboard cylinder with the wire windings at the center of the shaft with the bar magnet centered on the wire windings. You can build a wire frame from a coat hanger to do this. Now, you need to test it. Slowly turn the shaft with your fingers in order to see if the ends of the magnet hit the inside of the tube. If it spins freely, glue a washer on each end of the shaft, outside of the wood supports. Finally, attach the two wires that are loose at the end of the windings to the light bulb and spin the shaft as fast as possible. You now should have a low wattage electric generator.

That wasn’t too hard, was it? Like my solar system model, this can be done at the last minute as well. It will certainly impress any judges at any science fair, or any of your friends if you’re too old for science fairs. For more information about portable generators and used cat generators, check these out.

Choose the Right Contractor For Building Your Dream Home

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Do you have any plan to build your dream home? If so then you must have professional contractor who will guide you towards your dream project of your life. Always try to hire people who are experts in this field.

Professional contractors supply the materials and do their predefined work within the specified time and price as agreed upon.

Sometimes these professional contractors charge so much that many people prefer to do small home improvement and construction works on their own. But it is always recommended to hire professional contractors because their experienced services are more valuable than your self service.

Always remember to hire the best contractor near your locality because they will understand the local market and the trend of that area. You should always consult your friends and relatives before making any decision. Don't remain stick to one contractor. Collect information of various contractors. It is not always necessary that the contractor who is giving service at cheap rate will serve you the best. So always collect references of that contractor before finalizing the deal. Such research is highly required for getting the best service at minimum price.

Hiring a general contractor instead of a specialized one will always cost you less and they will even suit your purpose. But if you don't have a fixed budget then it is always recommended to have a specialized contractor because these specialized people make justice to your property and can design the best modern house in your locality. Such architectural work can't be done by general contractors.

Once you have made your mind to work with a particular contractor it is always recommended to have a legal contract with the contractor where the contractor should specify the date of completion of the project and quote the price. Such things will help you to take legal action against violation of the contract. This also certifies that your contractor is licensed and insured.

The good contractors also have subcontractors who are specialized in their department. This main contractor distributes the work to the subcontractors who one by one finish their work and the main contractor just supervises the work of the subcontractors.

Contractors are not only required for making a new house but also for remodeling your house. This type of home improvement work can be done by independent contractors.

Independent contractors work on contract basis. Most important thing is that you will get specific contractors for specific work like plumbing and piping contractors, flooring contractors, roofing contractors, etc. Their work is similar to the other general contractors but the only difference is in the nature of contract. Since independent contractor are experts in one particular field they are more reliable and efficient for home improvement [http://www.realreferences.com]

Custom Motorhome Interior Design

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When it comes to creating a custom interior design for your home on wheels the possibilities are endless! When considering a home remodel or renovation the first step is to talk to a contractor who understands buildings codes and local regulation. Likewise, when you decide it’s time to give your motorhome or RV a new face, the best option is to contact someone with years of experience in custom RV renovation.

Time to Renovate:

Now that you’ve made the big decision to keep the RV that’s taken you on so many great trips and created so many amazing memories, you’ll need to make a plan of action for remodeling. Three of the biggest components to any remodel are floors, cabinets, and furniture. By updating any or all of these items you will drastically alter the appearance of your RV.

RV’s can be fitted with beautiful wood flooring that will look just as good in your RV as it does in your kitchen at home. For those who prefer tile, that’s no problem at all! All types and patterns of tile can be installed whether it be sleek modern look or a floor fit for a king, you decide how grand the appearance.

Next on the list to be remodeled are cabinets and furniture. Undoubtedly technology has changed substantially over the past few years. This means that there is a good chance that your RV is sporting a TV that isn’t quite up to par with today’s standards. By remodeling your cabinets you will not only be able to fit a new flat screen TV, but will simultaneously create more cabinet space! There are just as many options for furniture. You can choose to reupholster your existing furniture, or outfit your RV with all brand new seats to match your new floors and cabinets!

Installation:

Picking out all of the new materials that you wish to use in renovating your RV is the easy part! Installing floors, cabinets, and furniture will most likely be a lot more work than you will want to tackle by yourself. The best way to ensure that your new custom items are safely and properly secured is to have a professional service complete the work. Those who set out to do the work themselves on a Saturday morning may find themselves a little discouraged at how daunting the work load can be. If you want something done right, have a professional do it! You have come too far to cut corners now, so make sure to have your new custom interior completed by a qualified professional.
 

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