Category Archives: Home Improvment

Seven signs your home may have electrical problems

Circuit breakers trip regularly

Modern circuit breakers have replaced the old-fashioned fuse box in most newer homes. It’s not unusual for a circuit breaker to trip and turn off the circuit automatically. If this happens, you just have to flick the switch back. However, if a circuit breaker trips frequently it is a warning sign. It may be there are too many high amp appliances plugged into a single circuit and the total amps are more than the circuit is rated for. Alternatively, it could be a sign of a short somewhere in the wiring. Contact a registered electrician to examine the wiring and make any repairs as soon as possible. Anyone who has had to deal with an electrical malfunction knows how inconveniencing the whole situation can be but the good news is we have 24 hour electrician Melbourne to act right away.

Buzzing, charred or discoloured outlets and switches

Light switches and outlets should never be hot to the touch, buzzing or charred. These are all signs of a potentially dangerous problem, such as faulty wiring inside or near the outlet or a loose connection on the switch, causing a short. Only have a qualified electrician carry out even minor repairs.

Shocking switches and outlets

Slight shocks from switches and outlets are not only physically unpleasant but a sure sign something is wrong. It could be a problem with the switch or outlet itself or possibly the device plugged into the outlet. If the device is removed and replaced and the problem persists, the outlet or switch should be examined. It would be a good idea to check the wiring as well. Another sign of faulty wiring is a dead outlet.

Burning smell

A new appliance may produce a bit of a smell the first few times it is switched on but if you detect an odour coming from the outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected with it. Don’t use it again until you have had it checked out by a qualified electrician.

Call an electrician immediately if you smell something electrical burning.
Most electrical wiring has plastic insulation. An electrical fire initially has a fairly acrid smell of plastic burning. The short could be in the outlet or in the wiring inside a wall and can be hard to locate.
Experts say if you smell something electrical burning you are lucky – most warning signs of electrical fires are invisible and odourless. Electrical wiring can heat for years before reaching the flashpoint of setting other materials ablaze.

Sparking

This is always a bad sign. If a circuit breaker or fuse box is sparking, call an electrician urgently. But a sparking appliance, for example toaster, may mean the fixture itself is damaged. If the appliance is less than one-year-old you should be able to get it repaired or replaced under guarantee. Don’t use it again until you have had it checked out.

Flicking or dimming lights

Frequently flicking or dimming lights can be a sign of faulty wiring or an overloaded circuit. But it can also be the light itself that is the problem – you may be able to test the lamp on an outlet on a different circuit. If more than one light is flicking regularly, it could be a sign of a serious wiring problem. Consult a qualified electrician to see if your property needs rewiring.

Frayed, damaged and exposed wires and cables

All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use. Frayed, damaged and exposed wiring and cables can be a major fire hazard and cause of electrocution. Call a properly qualified electrician to check out the wiring in your house and if necessary get it updated.

Electrical Inspection Report

Regular inspections and testing are recommended to check the wiring and fixed electrical equipment in your house is safe. Take note to find a registered electrician able to produce an electrical report for you please click here

6 Electrical Safety Tips for Christmas

One small safety hazard can turn your holiday celebration from merry and bright to a downright disaster. Here’s how you can stay safe this Christmas. During Christmas the electrical fires are normally caused due to faulty outlets and appliances, extension cords or wiring problems but now that you have an emergency 24 hour electricians Melbourne in your area there is nothing to worry with any electrical troubles.

  • Check your lights. Lights that aren’t in tip top shape can cause electrical shock or even a fire. Before you plug in a single strand of Christmas lights, you need to make sure they aren’t damaged. Look for cracked cords, loose connections, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires. Throw away any strands that are in poor condition.
  • Count your strands. If you’re determined to have a Christmas display that rivals the Griswold’s, make sure your lights are connected properly. No more than three strands of incandescent lights should be strung together at a time. Any more may trip a circuit breaker or start a fire. However, LED lights are a different story. According to the U.S. Department of Energy you can safely connect up to 25 strands of LED lights without overloading your electrical outlet.
  • Don’t overdo it. Your electrical outlets are made to handle a certain amount of wattage. If you push the socket beyond its limits, it can cause a fire. Make sure you spread your lights across multiple outlets to ease the load and stay safe.
  • Purchase safe decorations. When you’re out shopping for holiday decorations, make sure anything that requires electricity has been tested for safety. Independent testing laboratories, such as Underwriters Laboratories, test electrical decorations to ensure they aren’t hazardous. Safe holiday decorations will have a label from one of these testing companies. View the full list of federally recognized labs here.
  • Trim the best tree. If you’re going to buy a live Christmas tree, look for one that’s fresh. (A fresh tree will have needles that won’t easily fall from the branch and bend instead of break.) You’ll also want to water it frequently. A dry tree is a fire hazard, but even the freshest tree should be kept at least three feet from your electrical outlets, fireplace and space heater. If you’ll be decking your halls with an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant”.
  • Turn it off. When you’re sleeping or out of the house, turn off your Christmas lights—inside and out. Leaving them on not only adds up on your electric bill, it can also be a safety hazard.

Know more about the safety tips in electricity at your home.

12 Days of Christmas Electrical Safety Tips

Nothing says Christmas like a beautiful holiday light display. However, with all the sparkling lights, lighted inflatables, and other temporary electrical installations that are part of the decorations, comes the inherent risk of taxing our home’s electrical system to power all of these displays. At the risk of sounding redundant, I can’t help but join the voices of reason that advocate keeping you and yours safe throughout the season. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year! During holiday general electrical breakdowns it’s good to have a 24 hr electricians Melbourne.

Safety Tip #1: Examine Your Electrical Decorations

Before you start stringing lights on your house or on your Christmas tree, be sure to give your electrical decorations a good “once over” to check for any damage. Watch for broken or damaged sockets, bare wires and loose connections. These are all potentially dangerous and could give you a shock or possibly start a fire.

Check your decorations for a label showing that they have been inspected and are certified by UL, CSA, or any accredited inspection agencies. Always buy your decorations from reputable retailers – this goes for both on-site store locations and online purchases.

Safety Tip #2: Start with a plan and factor in your electrical requirements

Before you start decorating take the time to “map out” your decorating plan, keeping in mind how many outlets are available and where they are located. Determine what loads are already on the circuits you plan to use.

Match the power requirements (amperage) of your electrical decorations with the amperage rating of the extension cords you may be using. Ensure that the cord is rated equal to or higher than the connected load(s).

Take a good look around and always look UP before putting up any outside lights. Watch for any overhead hazards, such as power, telephone, or cable TV lines.

Unplug or shut off decorations while handling and installing them, and unplug or shut off the breaker for electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.

Safety Tip #3: NEVER overload electrical circuits.

Overloaded electrical outlets and circuits are a common cause of fires. Add up the current requirements of the load you are connecting to the loads already on the particular circuit you are using.

Remember the 80% rule! Only load a 15 Amp circuit to 12 Amps, and a 20 Amp circuit to 16 Amps.

Safety Tip #4: Pay special attention to how many consecutive strings of lights you plug in together in a row.

Wattage loads can add up quickly. This is especially true with older incandescent Christmas lights. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how many sets of lights can be plugged in together in a single string.

You may want to replace your incandescent bulbs with LED lamps, which use less energy and run cooler.

Safety Tip #5: Only use extension cords and electrical decorations for outdoor decorating that are approved for outdoor use.

Keep all extension cords and light strings out of snow and water. Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well ventilated, protected from the elements where necessary, and are rated for outdoor use. Ensure that they cannot come in contact with flammable items. Again, use LED flood lamps if possible.

If possible, use wood or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity so if you must use them, exercise extreme caution.

Safety Tip #6: Protect extension cords from damage.

Do not support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation. Cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces, placed under rugs, located near heat sources or attached by nails or staples.

Never run cords where they could cause a tripping hazard, like doorways or across open spaces.

Holiday Safety Tip #7: Make sure that all of your outdoor circuits are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

If you are using non-GFCI circuits, then purchase cords or devices that provide portable, in-line GFI protection. These can be bought at most home improvement stores or online retailer locations.

Safety Tip #8: Inspect your entire home inside and out before going to bed, or leaving the house.

Turn off all turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Look for tripping hazards like toys, wrapping paper, or boxes that could present a tripping hazard in a dark home. Keep combustibles such as wrapped presents and Christmas trees at least three feet from heat sources.

Holiday Safety Tip #9: Live trees require special care.

Dry trees can be a serious fire hazard. Take special care to trim a live tree with non-combustible decorations and low heat producing light strings (such as LEDs).

When purchasing a live tree, the fresher the better. Don’t purchase a tree that is already dry and losing needles. Cut off some of the tree trunk at the base to improve the ability of the tree to absorb water.

Holiday Safety Tip #10: Make certain that artificial trees are labeled fire retardant, or fire resistant.

Don’t use electrical decorations or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings. They can facilitate an electrical short circuit should they accidentally come into contact with live wires or broken bulbs.

Keep your tree away from heat sources, such as portable electric heaters or fireplaces.

Safety Tip #11: Replace all of your traditional wick candles with battery operated imitations!

Almost 50% of home decoration fires are caused by real candles according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). They make fake candles so realistic now that you almost have to touch them to confirm they are not a real flame!

If you insist on traditional, never leave a flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight and away from combustible material such as other decorations, wrapping paper, and curtains or other window coverings. Candles burning on a wood mantle with a cedar wall behind are definitely a hazard (personal experience at a family Christmas gathering on this one!)

Place candles in locations where they cannot be knocked over. Never use lighted candles on a tree. Those days are past us now!

Safety Tip #12: Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires according to the NFPA.

Once the holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and other kitchen appliances are unplugged when leaving the kitchen area.

Christmas should be a time of joy, laughter, and quality time with family and friends. Know more to follow all applicable safety rules will ensure that your holiday will be a safe one for you and your loved ones.

10 Surprising Pool Maintenance Tricks You Should Know

Your pool removal Sydney needs to be well-taken care of, in and out of season. Without proper care, the water can become a breeding ground for illness-causing organisms. A regular maintenance schedule will ensure that the pool remains clear and in good condition all throughout the four seasons.

In addition to the usual maintenance procedures for ensuring that the water is chlorinated and refreshed, some “unusual” methods can be applied to give the pool a facelift. These techniques will not only make your pool cleaner and safer for use, but they will also save you money, time, and energy.

1. Use Some Baking Soda

It not only works magic in regards to cleaning the swimming pool, but it also helps maintain the correct pH levels in the pool. Some stores will offer you a substitute known as an “alkalinity increaser” but buying baking soda will save you money. Eventually, both products give you the same results, but baking soda does so more efficiently. The amount of the baking soda required is dependent on the size of the pool.

2. Tennis Ball

You might wonder what this has to do with pool maintenance, but you will be surprised to know the effects. Tossing a tennis ball into the pool will clear the water by sucking up all the chemicals and oils that people bring into the pool in the form of sunblock and suntan lotions. If you leave the ball floating every once in a while, the difference will be hard to ignore.

3. Use a Bucket to Track Water Usage

Environmental factors, like temperature, and humidity, dictate the rate at which the pool loses water. However, average water loss should not be more than twenty-five percent of an inch daily. To measure the rate of water loss, place a weighted bucket on the stairs and mark the water levels at different intervals throughout the day. Significant margins are an indication of a leak in the pool, which you should have repaired. If the water levels are lower than what you would like, simply use a hose pipe to fill up the pool to the required levels. Remember to check the chemical levels after each refill.

4. Use a Line and Net to Remove Dirt

Loose dirt that finds its way into the pool can be removed by skimming, using a net fixed to a line. However, dirt, residue, and contaminants may stick along the tile area and water line, necessitating proper cleaning. Dedicate yourself to cleaning this area at least once per week to reduce calcium build up. As you clean the tiles, also remember that the walkways need to be cleaned too to minimize chances of transferring grime and dirt into the pool.

5. The Filter is the Kidney of Your Pool

If you do not adequately take care of this small, yet crucial part of your pool, eventually you may end up with a dead pool. In the same way the kidneys are responsible for removing impurities, so the filter is designed to remove contaminants like leaves, dirt, and small debris from the water. Once a month, it is advisable to clean the pipes in the filter system. A simple way to do so is to backwash by removing the leaf basket and turning on the pump and letting it run till the pipe discharges clear water.

6. Ensure that You Maintain Consistent Chemical Levels

This is one of the most critical factors in proper pool maintenance. When the water lacks proper chemical balance, it looks murky, irritates skin, and can harbor bacteria. It is recommended to test the chemical levels weekly. The chemical levels to be tested are cyanuric acid, free chlorine, total alkalinity, acidity/alkalinity, and calcium hardness.

Get a professional to do the testing for you. If you want to do it yourself, buy the testing kit from the local pool store and follow the attached instructions. Chemicals that are well balanced make your water very clear and produce no smell and leave no residue on the skin.

It is also recommended to “shock” your pool. This refers to raising the chlorine levels of the pool suddenly but for a short time. The technique is useful in killing bacteria, and the way to do this is to dilute five times the usual amount of chlorine with water and then slowly pouring it into the swimming pool. A few minutes later you refill the pool with water to restore the normal chlorine levels. Shocking increases the risk of damaging the pools siding, and that is why it is recommendable to limit the process to no more than two times each season.

7. Check the Condition of the Skimmer Lid

Occasionally it is necessary to replace the skimmer cover in case it gets cracked or broken. It plays an important role by preventing people or pets from falling into the skimmer well so it is important to ensure that it is in good condition and firmly fixed in position. During replacement, ensure that the power to the pump is turned off to avoid accidents.

8. Power Wash

This is also known as pressure washing and the process helps get rid of weather stains and any rust that can occur over time. The process begins by sweeping the deck clean to make it free of loose dirt so that it does not spread all over during cleaning. Set the power washer to medium power and spray the surface to remove all debris, doing so over and over again until the place is thoroughly clean. A power washer can be rented from the local pool store.

9. Ensure You Schedule a Yearly Service Appointment with an Expert

You may not think that it is necessary, but the knowledge you have may not be sufficient for the care of your equipment like filters, pumps, and heating systems. A professional pool service provider will not only check your devices but also advise you on what you need to improve to keep your pool in good order. They can quickly detect small problems that might cause a massive crisis in future.

10. Planning for Winter

it is equally important to take care of your pool during winter just like you do during summer. You don’t want to check your pool at the beginning of the next summer only to find that the water turned color and is home to dangerous bacteria. Properly winterizing your pool will save you a lot of money and time during the next season as you do repairs. Some of the things you need to do are balancing the chemicals, blowing out excess water from the plumbing lines, and covering the pool to keep away debris.

With these simple, yet surprising tricks, your pool should maintain higher standards that are not so common with most privately owned swimming pools.

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How Do Swimming Pools Affect Home Value?

This is one of the most common questions I get from clients that are undecided on whether or not to remove their pool. I am by no means a real estate professional but I have read several articles on this topic and have seen the effects that removing a pool can have on selling a property first hand. Here is my attempt to answer that question… Do you have a swimming pool in your backyard that is no longer used and is costing you money on running costs well it’s to you to get a swimming pool removal Sydney experts.

Most people would like to have a definitive answer regarding this question. Unfortunately, like many other factors in real estate, it depends. Below are some of the issues I have seen that affected property value in relation to swimming pools.

This is a list of factors that may have a flat or negative effect on your home’s value.

1. If the pool takes up 30% or more of the backyard.
2. If the pool is over 30 years old and is in need of repair
3. If the pool does not have a safety gate around it.
4. If the pool is made from a vinyl liner.
5. If the geographic area the pool is in has less than 3 months of “swimming weather”
6. If the pool is the only one in the neighborhood.
7. If your area is currently experiencing a drought

This is a list of factors that may have a positive effect on your homes value.

1. The pool is less than 15 years old.
2. The pool takes up less than 10% of your backyard.
3. Most of your neighbors have pools.
4. The pool equipment is relatively new and energy efficient.
5. The geographic area the pool is in has more than 6 months of “swimming weather”
6. The pool is completely enclosed by a safety gate.
7. If your home is considered a “luxury home”

Supply and Demand:
The current economic downturn has reduced the pool of buyers substatially over the past couple years. According to real estate professionals the best way to get offers on your home is to appeal to as many possible buyers as possible. In general most families that do not want a swimming pool are less likely to look at a home that has one due to the cost of removal. Whereas, a family that does want a swimming pool will likely look at homes that have existing swimming pools or enough space to install one. Another factor to keep in mind is that if you have a swimming pool and are selling your house, it may benefit you to sell during the summer time when swimming pools are the most attractive to buyers.

Repair or Removal:

If your pool is in need of repair and you are selling your house these are some suggestions that may be helpful.

1. Talk to your real estate agent and ask their professional opinion on the effect of having a swimming pool on your property.
2. Review the above list of positives and negatives and see which you fall into.
3. Get 3 estimates on repairing your pool.
4. Get 3 estimates on removing your pool.
5. Compare the middle 2 estimates of removing compared to repairing and figure the difference.

Example where repair would be the appropriate action:

Base home value: $500,000 Value added for pool: 3%= $15,000
Cost of Removal: $10,000
Cost of Repair: $12,000
If Repaired the total value would be $503,000 (500,000+15,000-12,000)
If Removed the total value would be $490,000 (500,000-10,000)

Example where removal would be the appropriate action.

Base home value: $500,000 Value added for pool: -2%= (-$10,000)
Cost of Removal: $9,000
Cost of Repair: $7,000
If repaired the total value would be $483,000 (500,000-10,000-7,000)
If removed the total value would be $491,000 (500,000-9,000)

Other factors such as landscaping and time factors such as maintenance and mortgage should also be taken into account.

Personal Experience
A large portion of pools that I have removed are related to real estate transactions. Here are a couple of examples that I have experienced after removing swimming pools.

1. Home in Moraga was on the market for 6 months, prospective buyers generally felt the same about the pool, that it was poorly placed and undesirable. I removed the pool and the house was in escrow within 2 weeks.

2. A home in Walnut Creek where the owners needed to move for work purposes was unable to sell their house because of the decreased value due to the real estate slump. In order to rent the home the insurance company wanted to increase the premium drastically and install a gate that was going to cost $3,500. In addition, several renters expressed hesitation due to the pool and the homeowners would be responsible for maintenance and repair. They decided the best course of action was to remove the pool. The homeowners had far more interest from potential renters once the pool was removed. The majority of the applicants had children and wanted to be in the Walnut Creek school district but didn’t want the hazards or liability of a pool.

3. An elderly couple in Danville had lived for 40 years in their home. They enjoyed their swimming pool for years but the cost had gotten so high for maintenance that they were considering selling their house and buying one without a pool. The equipment was over 30 years old and very inefficient and they had to pay a maintenance company $120/month to clean it. The total cost monthly was $250. They had never even considered removing the pool until their real estate agent introduced me to them. I removed their pool and they were able to stay in the home that they loved so much.

If you ever have any real estate questions relating to you swimming pool please call me. I would be happy to refer you to a professional real estate agent in your area. The above article is based on my practical experience in the industry and I hope you find it helpful.

Ryan Crownholm
Dig & Demo
General Engineering Contractor
925-We-Dig-It
925-933-4448J
http://www.IHateMySwimmingPool.com

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This Is How To Remodel Your Small Bathroom Efficiently, Inexpensively

A small bathroom remodel can be deceptive. Worry too much and you may be delightfully surprised that you pulled it off with such ease. Under think it and you may get bitten in the end. A little bit country, a little bit cottage, this country style bathrooms pays tribute to long-ago lavatories in modern ways.

Small bathroom remodels have both elements. A half-bath remodel can be a lark–it’s all the fun stuff like paint, towel bars, vanity tops, and cool sinks. Remodeling your master small bathroom can result in weeks of showering at your neighbor’s house and family feuds.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. See how:

Do You Have a Small Bathroom?

A small bathroom is defined as being about 50 square feet or smaller. Widths and lengths will vary, but this translates to a rectangular space, roughly 5 feet by 10 feet, 6 feet by 8 feet, or thereabouts.

Amenities (or lack of) do not define a small bathroom. It can be a:

Powder Room: Little more than a sink, toilet, and a door for privacy. No bathing facilities. A powder room is a half-bathroom: it offers half of the amenities of a full bath.

Guest Bathroom: Full-service bathroom, with sink, toilet, and shower or shower/tub combination. This is a bathroom that you do not use for your daily needs. For example, it might be a kids’ bathroom repurposed for adult use after the kids have left the house.

Master Bathroom: A full-service bathroom that you use on a daily basis. Often, this is the only bathroom in the house, and everyone uses it. Because this is your “daily driver,” it gets heavy use and thus may require more remodeling efforts.

Different From a Large Remodel. But Not By Much.

It is not difficult to figure out that small bathrooms are easier to renovate than large bathrooms–fewer materials, lower costs, less space. Thirty square feet of porcelain tile is half the cost of 60 square feet. It stands to reason that costs would be less.

What is surprising is that, unless you have a half-bath, small bathrooms are not exponentially easier to renovate.

Most costs are devoted to rehabbing your shower, tub, or shower/tub. Bathing facilities are spatially and functionally the same in small bathrooms as in large bathrooms. The only difference is that you may be more willing to accept lower grade, less expensive materials in a small, second bathroom than you would in your daily main bathroom.
1. Define Needs: Who Will Use This and Why?

Define who will be using the bathroom. When you start with the “who,” then the “why” usually becomes apparent:

You: If this is a small bathroom that happens to be your master bathroom, you use it for everything, from applying makeup to using the toilet to showering. You may want to splurge on cabinets and higher-end materials. After all, you will have to look at this bathroom at least twice a day for many years.
Children: Small bathrooms for children may endure decades of use and abuse. Small kids need a bathtub; showers are useless. Floors are most important since little kids can flood bathroom floors with water simply by stepping out of the tub.
Overnight Guests: If this bathroom is for overnight guests, you an may want to skimp on the quality of materials. You will not need increased storage space for guests, either.

Day Guests: For a powder room, you need little more than a sink, toilet, and towel bar. The sink can even be a decorative sink–a vessel sink, for example–because guests’ only need is to wash their hands, not to brush teeth.
Elderly or Disabled: This is a special class of users, as additional or augmented features such as grab bars, lower counters, and no-slip flooring are needed. If your small bath can accommodate it, a walk-in bathtub is a great aid for elderly or disabled persons.

2. Even Small Bathrooms Need Planning

Do you think that small bathroom remodels do not require planning? If so, you may be confusing floor-planning with comprehensive planning.

In most small bathrooms, the floor plan is a given. You may be able to shift the vanity a few inches, but other elements–toilet, sink, and sink/tub–remain firmly in place.

In most cases, it makes the most sense to keep these three services where they are.

Beyond that, small bathrooms do need planning. One reason is because stock bathroom cabinets come in pre-determined sizes. You will need to work around those sizes or order custom cabinets.

Backsplash tile, wall tile, flooring, and paint color work together to form a unified bathroom. Because of this, you will want to consider all of these elements in the same mode of thought, rather than sequentially and piece-meal.
3. Will You Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro? Or Both?

Do It Yourself: A small bathroom is a great place to hone your remodeling skills. Any kind of secondary bathroom–guest bathroom or powder room–is ripe for the DIY treatment. With the luxury of time, you can get to the project whenever your life permits. But if this is a full-service bathroom and you have no alternate baths in the house, consider downtime. Where will you bathe? Often, this is the tipping point that forces DIYers to call in a remodeling company.
Pro: Electrical and plumbing are two trades that have a steep learning curve. If your remodel involves re-routing wires or plumbing, you may want to call in professional remodelers. Minor electrical and plumbing projects, like installing a faucet or adding a GFCI outlet, are homeowner-friendly. A small bathroom renovation, performed by a remodeling contractor and using builder grade materials, might cost as little as $18,000.
DIY/Pro Combination: Most contractors are amenable to you doing some of the work yourself (after all, this is your house). But you need to stay out of their way. Do not expect to be working alongside them. Schedule your sweat equity work so that you do it either before they start the entire project or after they have finished. Interspersing your work with theirs only leads to confusion. Classic examples of this DIY/pro combination: you demo the bathroom before they start; you paint the walls after they have finished.

4. Demolition: Peeling Back the Layers

The degree of bathroom demolition you do depends on the scale of your project.

If you need to fully demo to the studs, budget at least three full days for this. It is a more involved process than you might imagine.

Rent a roll-off dumpster for your driveway. A great alternative to losing your driveway to a roll-off is to pile debris in the drive and have a hauling company take it all away.

If your bathroom pre-dates 1978, be careful with lead-based paint dangers.
5. Plumbing and Electrical

With walls open, electrical and plumbing install first. Rough-in the plumbing for toilet, shower, and bathtub.

The electrician can work concurrently with the plumber, though schedule them for different days due to space considerations.

Permits are required for both. Also, two inspections were done: first, at the rough-in stage; second, after the walls have been closed up. If you hire a contractor, he/she will do everything permit- and inspection-related for you.
6. Flooring, Vanity and Sink, Cabinets

For the motivated do it your selfer, this is the time to go over the punch list with your contractor, write a check, and say goodbye. You will take on the next tasks yourself. All you have to do is to learn more on the things that needs in renovating your bathroom.

If you are in a time crunch or feel uncomfortable with your abilities, the contractor will continue with:

Painting walls
Installing a floor covering.
Installing a sink vanity or pedestal sink.
Tiling the backsplash.
Installing extra cabinets, space permitting.

7. The Fun Part: Hardware, Accessories, Decorative Items

The last stage is definitely DIY-friendly and a vast majority of homeowners take on these jobs:

Cabinet hardware.
Towel racks.
Mirror.

Bathroom Renovation Ideas to Transform a Small Bathroom Into a Personal Spa

The most ignored part of your home can become the most beautiful part of your home.

Do you ignore the bathroom space? Are the bathroom walls dull and lifeless? Do you think of it as a simple space for washing and bathing? Homeowners ignore the bathroom space and do not give much thought to how much more they can get out of it. If you do not think of the bathroom, you will end up with a simple room that satisfies your basic needs only. But, if you want to increase the importance of the bathroom in your home, you have to pay attention to it and convert it into a personal spa. There’s a reason why bathroom renovations Northern Beaches shows often deliver the most wow factor – a good renovation can transform a damp, dated box into something beautiful and functional.

Size does matter!

One problem that homeowners often face while renovating a bathroom is its size. Do not despair if you feel that the bathroom is too small to give you a good spa-like experience. By making a few changes, you will be able to add more value to the bathroom.

Ideas than can make a Small Bathroom Comfortable

It is all in the Mirrors

One trick that works wonders for any small room is the use of mirrors. Using large mirrors in the bathroom will help you to create the feeling of a larger room. It will enable you to make your personal spa look less cramped. Alternatively, you can opt for glass partitions for the shower area. It will ensure that the room appears bigger than usual.

Do something about the Lighting

With the help of lighting, you will able to give the bathroom a brighter look. Also, lighting is the key factor for creating a spa-like ambience in your home. Opt for lighting fixtures that you can dim or adjust to desired levels. It will create a relaxing atmosphere. If the bathroom has access to natural light, make maximum use of it. And, if you do not have access to natural light, use artificial lighting to make the room appear bright. Do not shy away from looking for subtle crystal lighting fixtures because they will add more light and character to the bathroom.

Choose the Right Color

A single change in the color scheme can not only make the room spacious but also create a relaxing atmosphere. Light or neutral colors such as beige, light green or gray can be effective for a successful bathroom renovation project. You can use the same shade of tiles to create an impression of increased space.

In addition, you can choose tiles that add a natural touch to the room. Use textured pebble-tiles that are soothing to the feet. You can opt for faux wood tiles that are not made from natural wood but still give the same feeling of warmth and peace. Heated flooring will also keep you warm during cold days.

Accessorize and Choose Appropriate Fittings

Accessories have a way of enhancing the design of the room. Finding the right accessories for the bathroom can help you to transform it into a personal spa. You can use simple accessories such as candles to fill the bathroom with a relaxing fragrance. You can also add towel holders and other accessories that will give an organized and clean look to the area. Even the towels that you choose for the room should evoke the feeling of being in a spa. Choose fittings that make the room appear big and comfortable. You can opt for a suspended or floating vanity that will allow the floor tiles to extend all the way to the wall. It will create an illusion of space. Alternatively, an open vanity can also add more space to the bathroom.

The idea of transforming a small washing space into a relaxing retreat is a great way of making optimum use of the bathroom. It is important to list your ideas because a well-planned renovation project can ensure a successful transformation. Once you are ready with a clear vision, prepare a budget. Make sure that you use quality products and fittings that guarantee minimum maintenance.

Hire a Professional Bathroom Renovation Contractor

Do not think that renovating a small area doesn’t require the services of a professional. Hiring an experienced bathroom renovation contractor will transform your ideas into a beautiful reality. So, ask your friends and family members to recommend professional contractors who can handle the task of transforming a dingy bathroom into a comfortable personal spa.

Affinity Renovations offers professional assistance for small as well as big renovation projects. The bathroom renovation contractor of Greater Toronto Area is the perfect choice for transforming dark, shabby bathrooms into magnificent masterpieces. Get in touch for all types of home renovation services such as basement renovation, kitchen remodeling, home painting, etc. You need to learn more of the basic materials that needs in your bathroom renovation.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Christine_Delongte/2157989

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Bathroom Renovation: Get the Bathroom of Your Dreams

When it comes to our homes, we want to ensure that they are comfortable, homely and above all, to our personal taste. As any homeowner is only too aware, with time we can become bored of our décor, causing the need for redecoration or in some cases, even a complete renovation. One of the hardest and most time consuming rooms in which we can choose to renovate is our bathroom as we need to take into consideration the color scheme, decorating methods and furnishings. If we are unsure as to how to renovate our bathroom, it can sometimes take even longer to complete than necessary as we become unsure as to whether our choices will look effective once the room is finished. Before you take a hammer or Sawzall to you bathroom, make sure everything you’re going to need— including the vanity, plumbing fixtures, any new lighting, the tub, and tile—is on hand. That’s what we do first for bathroom renovations Sydney.

One misconception many make when opting to renovate their bathroom is that they must renovate the whole room in order to get great results and a fresh, new look. In fact, you can opt to simply have surface alterations completed in your bathroom, assuming that the room possesses a strong framework allowing for a surface level covering or coating. This is not only an easy and simple form of bathroom renovation, but will also have an effective impact on the overall appearance of your bathroom once complete. You could also choose to alter the layout of the bathroom slightly, in addition to the surface alterations. This is a great way in which to gain a completely new way of alignment within the room. If you discover that the base framework and building is weaker than it should be, then you could then consider a complete tear down and remodel of the bathroom for a room which is new and sturdier-thus safer. In order to complete your bathroom renovation safely, you must ensure that there are no rusting joists or window panes that are able to easily gather moisture which may cause incidents within the room at a later date. Should these problems be identified, you will require extensive repairs or a complete remodeling of your bathroom.

Bathroom renovations can typically involve a wide variety of work from plumbing to carpentry. Depending on what work your bathroom renovation will entail, you may need to hire the help of professionals to ensure that these are complemented to the highest standard possible. In some cases, some of the work will fall under typical DIY jobs but some will be so intricate that they cannot be safely completed unless done so by a professional. The costs of renovating your bathroom can be high, but these costs can be lowered by only opting to have the vital necessities renovated in the room. Choosing to use a contractor to complete a number of jobs within your bathroom may also save you money if they provide you with a discount for hiring a bulk of work to be completed.

When renovating your bathroom, it is also vital to ensure that the new, improved room will be safe and energy efficient. This can be ensured by using moisture resistant and non corrosive materials for all the wall and plumbing materials and analyze the current state of your windows and sealants. Rusting and problematic showers and tubs should also be removed during renovation, not just for a safety purpose, but also to help the aesthetics of the room once complete. For many, the finishing touch to any bathroom is the flooring which they choose. It is often possible to install flooring ourselves which can cut down our costs, especially when our bathroom is quite small in scale. However, when it comes to installing new flooring in the entire bathroom it can be best to leave this to an expert-especially if you are not experienced in flooring installation. Smooth, durable tiles such as ceramic tiles are favored by many homeowners as they provide a stylish and clean look and are incredibly easy to clean and maintain compared to laminate flooring, although are higher in cost. Laminate flooring can also be very slippery when wet so for safety, tiling can be a safer option.

Renovating your entire bathroom can be incredibly easy once you are aware of the changes you need to make and how the work will be carried out i.e: will you use a contractor or will you complete some areas yourself? If in doubt in terms of the design you are looking for, research into new trends, visit the homes of friends or take on the service of an interior designer. Although renovating your bathroom can be costly, making rash choices during your renovation could not only make it more costly should you change the design at a future date, but may not provide you with the bathroom of your dreams.

Learn more plunger reviews to help you buy a plunger that actually works.

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Paint Protection Film vs. Coatings Vs. Wax

XPEL, 3M, Opti-Coat, CQuartz, SunTek, Waxes, Paint Correction, Sealants and so much more! This is one of the most common question asked from me and it’s time to break it down to create a sticky blog article. Ceramic Pro Car Paint Protection is a clear liquid nano ceramic quartz coating.

Disclaimer: Before we get into this article, please note that there are several products out there and we recommend researching those companies or products that suit your needs best! This is just a general overview which will help you get started to seeking what you want for your vehicle. Good luck!

1. Waxes & Sealants
First of all, it’s important to differentiate the two. Traditional waxes are made from brazilian carnauba which has been classically used to protect various finishes beyond the automotive industry. It leaves a warm glow to the vehicle. On darker vehicles, this tends to leave a wet look while on metallic colors, it numbs down the flakes a bit and leaves a subtle ‘midnight’ tone to it. Waxes normally last for 1-3 months on average. Sealants are typically made from synthetic polymers that layer upon the surface of the vehicle and function similar to waxes but usually have extended durability. Most over the counter ‘waxes’ are actually sealants but termed ‘waxes.’ Sealants can last all the way from 1 month to a year.

Waxes and sealants come in various forms. Some of them are paste waxes which can be applied and then immediately removed. Some need to be left on for a bit of time before being buffed off. The newest ones are simple spray based sealants such as Opti-Seal and CarPro Reload that are simple ‘leave-on’ products that require minimal to no buffing off making them excellent consumer products and layer-able on top of coatings and clear films.

2. Coatings:
Coatings are relatively new compared to waxes and sealants. They are usually made from ceramics that can take more wear and tear while some of them giving high-end waxes a run for their money! CQuartz, Opti-Gloss Coat and various other coatings in the market are made from Silicon Dioxide while coatings such as Opti-Coat Pro is made from Silicon Carbide. Semi-permanent paint coatings such as CQuartz and Opti-Gloss Coat last for 2+ years on most automotive surfaces. Opti-Coat Pro and various permanent paint coatings can last for 5+ years on most automotive surfaces. Coatings are resilient to all environmental contaminants and reduce scratches caused by driving and washing. They also tend to perform well against bird bombs and chemical deterioration. Water-spotting can still be an issue on coatings but certain coatings such as Opti-Coat Pro Plus and CQuartz UK are resistant to water spotting. Just in case, we recommend washing your vehicle with deionized water. Several coatings also come with a warranty that is directly registered with the manufacturers of the coating. Normally, coatings are thicker and leave a candy-coated look to the vehicle. Pricing on coatings can vary from several hundreds to a few thousand dollars depending on your installer, the choice of coating and prep work required.

Sometimes, paint correction is recommended prior to coating the vehicle by your installer. Most of the time, when a car is finished at the factory or at the dealership lot, it goes through wear and tear or for some reason or another undergoes damage to the exterior.Additionally, the assembly process of the car doesn’t have time to clear out minor defects on the vehicle’s surface. Your installer may inspect your vehicle and recommend correcting specific areas prior to coating installation. Since coatings, unlike waxes, bond with the surface rather than just layer on top of it, it is recommended to remove any surface defects prior to locking the whole paint under the coating. For more, you may want to contact your local coating installer. There may be an extra charge on top of the coating installation for the additional paint correction and prep work required to remove defects on the vehicle.

3. Clear Films
Clear films were initially used in the military to protect vehicles and high-traffic components of military units. However, with time, they made it to the consumer market to be used in high-end performance cars. Now, they are commonly used to protect automotive surfaces against scrapes, rock chips and airborne contaminants. With the advent of technology, they also have self-healing properties which can allow some light scratches to be ‘healed’ with time or heat exposure. 3M, Xpel and SunTek some of the major distributors and manufacturers of clear films prominent among enthusiast and performance lovers. Akin to the coatings, it is recommended to remove all surface defects prior to the installation of the clear film. Films have the properties of reducing maintenance, resisting stain and fading and the best durability to offer in the detailing industry. Please note that your installer may recommend defect removal or paint correction prior to installing the clear film as well, depending on the film you want them to apply.

3M currently has 3M VentureShield, Scotchgard and Scotchgard Pro series. For more details, please click here. VentureShield and Scotchgard comes with a 5 year warranty while the Scotchgard Pro series comes with a 7 year warranty and is currently the flagship of 3M paint protection films.

SunTek also offers film protection for vehicles in the form of Top-coated film and the Matte film and as the name states, they are both clear and matte finishes respectively. They both come with a 5 year warranty.

XPEL currently offers 5 types of films: Xpel Ultimate, XPEL Stealth, XPEL Tracwrap, XPEL Xtreme and XPEL Armor. Ultimate offers self-healing properties along with stain resistance and optical clarity and is the choice for most vehicles. Stealth creates a satin finish on vehicles and is made from the same polyurethane as Ultimate. Tracwrap is a consumer friendly film that provides temporary protection that provides road abrasion coverage and takes less than 45 minutes to install and 5 minutes to remove. Xtreme is a film that offers the highest clarity and is the choice for vehicles that want protection without minimal film visibility. Armor is a 13 mils thick film that is built for off-road, commercial and industrial vehicles and aimed to take high punishment. XPEL Ultimate comes with a 10 year warranty. For more information, please click here.

4. Product Synergy
​Wrapping the entire vehicle can be expensive with full wraps costing a few thousand dollars. However, this is by far the best protection out there against all environmental contaminants. Certain companies such as XPEL have sealants that can be layered on top of the clear film to protect it against tree sap, water spots and various chemical corrosion. If price is an issue, then sometimes customers tend to wrap high traffic areas(eg. front fenders, hood, inside of door handles, side skirts etc.) while either waxing or coating the remainder of the vehicle. This gives the best of both worlds. It is to be noted that certain coatings can be layered on top of clear films and in our case, XPEL and Opti-Coat Pro/Plus work very well with each other. A combination of both the film and coating on a surface gives the best of both worlds ie. rock chip protection with enhanced environmental protection and ease of washing.

For customers on a budget, it is recommended to get the film on the high traffic areas while continuously reapplying a sealant on the remaining surfaces OR to simply just get the coating on the entire vehicle only. If the commute is on the freeway and outside of the city, ‘clear film and sealant’ is recommended to reduce rock chip damage. If the commute is within the city or rock chips aren’t much of an issue, then the ‘coating only’ solution may work. Of course, all of it can be mixed and matched. A good idea of the damage your vehicle takes is to look at the last vehicle you have been driving for 5 years. Does it have rock chips and on what areas? Do you park under the trees(tree sap and bird bombs!) or directly in the sun(UV damage inside and outside)? All of these factors will help you decide what to prioritize.

5. Conclusion:
Your car’s cosmetics are 30% of its value along with the fact that a nice car creates a positive image on the road. Clear films, sealants and coatings work mostly in synergy with each other. They each have benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what choice works best for you. Even more importantly, it’s critical to be wary of your installer for the coating and/or film because if you are buying something for the long haul, you need to be able to have a long term relationship with your installer.

The Ultimate SEO Guide: Optimise & Future-Proof Your Website

Your CEO innocently asks, ‘Did you read about that upcoming Google update? I presume our website is ready for it?’ – cue nodding, panic, the sweats and the frantic Googling of ’what Google update is this now?’ When it comes to weightloss SEO, you must be wary of freelance SEO consultant Sydney who may not have your long-term best interest at heart.

Let’s face it…SEO is a pain to perfect. The world changes so fleetingly fast that digital marketing professionals can barely catch a breath, never mind a break. But there’s no need to have a breakdown – we’ve compiled a handy and simple guide to help you optimise your website for 2015 and beyond.

The Overall Premise:

Although content is king, SEO is still its faithful servant. Put simply, the creation of quality content alone cannot work in isolation. You need both the relevant words and the technical tools to satisfy your users’ search queries. This is the whitehat (and customer-focused) SEO work Google will continue to reward.

Step 1: Master The SEO Basics First

1. Conduct Longtail (& Logical) Keyword Research:

It’s still quite important to carry out proper keyword research for your industry. But instead of focusing on individual keywords digital marketers now need to focus on that bigger picture coined ‘intent.’ That means you need to identify what your ideal customers are searching for – and yes, that means the phrases they choose but also the meaning behind their search queries.

Google’s Hummingbird update shifted the focus from targeting individual keyword phrases to understanding what the context of the keyword phrase may be. Some call these longtail keywords, but put simply: it’s all about making sense at the right time, in the right place to the right person.

How to Conduct Longtail Keyword Research:

To identify what terms and keywords your customers are searching for, you can use Google Keyword Planner. This tool will help you find the most relevant keywords for your website.

Google Autocomplete is a really handy tool that helps you to find the right longtail keywords that will solve your target audience’s problems. To find yours, simply type them into the search box related to your products and services and don’t press enter. Google will then suggest keywords for you that are relevant to your business. Get more info about the SEO services we offered.