Purpose of Home Improvement

hm2

Emulsion and paints on the walls are fading. Plumbing system is not working properly; leaky roofs and damp walls making the home a nest for molds and mildews; cracks on the exterior wall are prominent and the window sidings are broken. Yes, your home is looking ugly and sick; you need to give it a face lift.

Home improvement and home remodeling are done to renovate the exterior and interior of your home. At the same time, it helps you add some extra space some times. Planned remodeling can effectively increase living space. Adding a roof over an open place or constructing a door at a suitable position can allow you make full use of available area.

“Residential home improvement”

To keep your home in good shape you need to repair your home at a regular interval. All the homeowners go for home improvement at least once in a year or two. Home remodeling not only keeps your home in right condition, but makes it attractive and good-looking as well.

Apart from thorough home improvement and remodeling, you may need to repair small constructional problems through out the year. Leaks, small cracks, wiring defects etc. should be addressed as soon as they are detected. Otherwise the small problem can lead to serious damages later on.

Home improvement is a wide and extended process; it’s not all about repairing concrete walls and applying paints. Properly planned home improvement makes your home look esthetically correct. Apart from constructional retouch, residential remodeling adds a theme to your home.

Hence, while remodeling your home, you need to consider every facets of the building. Constructional defects, paints, windows, window sidings and shutters, furniture, garden and garden furniture, patio and deck, awnings and canopies, curtains and upholsteries, electrical wiring, plumbing works, functionalities and safety and security – all the areas should be thoroughly checked for any scope for improvement.

Make sure your home reflects your taste and culture. Choose the color schemes according to your likings. The room for the kids should be designed and decorated with pictures of cartoons, animals and birds painted on the walls. And in the patio or porch, decorate the ceiling with hanging plants.

Hundreds of thousands home remodeling tips are available to help homeowners make their homes look better. For decorative part of home improvement, you need to consult exterior and interior designers. For constructional works, you have to look for local home remodeling contractors [http://www.realreferences.com]

Residential contractors also help homeowners repair constructional and wiring defects. Since home improvement or remodeling is not a regular process and generally done once in years, you should be careful while choosing the home improvement contractors and designers. Consult local business directories or search the internet and hire reputed professionals to get best result.

Home Improvement Why You Should Hire a Contractor

Home improvement can be expensive and take up a lot of your free time, yet many people never consider hiring a contractor to oversee larger home-improvement projects.

Why Should You Hire A Construction Contractor?

A contractor, in very basic terms, will be able to take the project you’re desiring to have done and do several things with it:

  • Estimate time and materials needed
  • Figure out how many other construction professionals will be needed
  • Come up with a bidding price for all of the above
  • Complete the project as scheduled once a contract is signed

Because home-improvement and construction projects are a contractor’s area of expertise, it will take them far less time to plan and execute the project. They have the knowledge and the experience to show for it.  You, on the other hand, are an expert in other areas – finance, real estate, family, custodial duties, and so on. Not only will you have to learn aspects of the project you’ve never dealt with before, you’ll also end up spending far more time, and possibly money, than you would otherwise. Especially when things go awry – and they always do.

How To Find A Construction Contractor

Finding a contractor is a whole different ballgame.  Fortunately, it’s one that’s gotten much, much easier over the past thirty years. There are two main ways to get in touch with a contractor.

The first is to grab a phone book and start cold-calling.  If you know of someone who’s just completed building their home, or doing major home-improvements, ask them for any recommendations.

The second way to approach finding a contractor is to the use the Internet.  Due to the popularity of auctioning sites like Ebay, where one can sell just about anything, home-owners and licensed professionals are taking the idea one step further: auctioning off construction projects.  Home-owners can now go online, and with a few clicks of the mouse, post their projects. Once posted, contractors and licensed professionals can then bid on them.

Hiring a contractor to take care of your major home-improvement projects makes sense. Not only is it their area of expertise, you’ll be more likely to have your projects done well, in a timely manner

Marble For Your Home Improvement

Every one who wants to construct a home would want it to look beautiful with a good interior and exterior and would also like their home to be most durable. Granite and marble make your home look modern, stronger and durable. A home can be made not just of marble but also by using different types of granites, marbles and other natural stone products.

The other important aspect is home improvement that means improving the features of a home, which also involves increasing its value. Home improvement is a big decision for everyone and does it for better look and for increasing its durability. When you think of home improvement the use of granite or a marble cannot be ignored. A good home improvement plan should always include renovating the floor, kitchen and obviously bathroom and thereby it is invariable that one has to fallback on the use of marble and granite due to their durability. By using granite and marble you can renovate an old house into an attractive one. Marble and granite columns provide an attractive look to homes by their attractive and vibrant look.

Use of marble in home construction:

Nowadays, prefabricated granite and marble products, marble slabs, marble tiles are the most common marble ingredients widely used. Besides this other products such as marble columns, marble staircase and marble fireplaces are also widely used applications.

Granite – the most popular stone:

Granite is most popular product used in the construction of important portions of home. However, kitchen and bathrooms are two places where granite slabs, granite countertops and granite tiles are popularly used. These days a stylish and durable bathroom or kitchen cannot be imagined without the use of granite. In the recent times you might have observed granite being used in home furnish as well. It has become a popular trend to use granite on center table and dinning tables. These days designer furniture manufacturers also widely use granite for making attractive table tops.

Granite and marble are expensive but they are worth it:

Usage of granite and marble products in a home construction is always advisable, but is slightly expensive compared to other products. People should realize that even though using granite or marble in home construction might be bit expensive, but more of an asset. It is a one time investment and durable for lifetime. Granite and marble slabs are extensively used in the real estate constructions because of their durability, rough and tough nature. They are used in construction, flooring and interior decoration as well.

Marble and granite are used not just for their durability. They are extensively used for their exclusive and unique look. When you think about home improvement you invariably think about renovating your home with granite or marble since you do not have to make investment on the same product again for a lifetime. Another reason for the wide choice of marble and granite is because of their vide choice of design and colors which makes them unique.

Residential Home Improvement Contractors

As I say so frequently that I’m beginning to bore myself, “most remodeling contractors are honest and reliable individuals who want to do quality work at a reasonable price.” Unfortunately, there are just enough contractors out there (or people who claim to be contractors) who take advantage of their customers that some reminders and tips are helpful if you want to do everything possible to protect yourself and your property during home improvement.

1. Don’t make assumptions about referrals. Exercise the same due diligence in evaluating and checking out all contractors. You might have friends or relatives, co-workers or neighbors referring you to contractors they have used with good results. Many people are also simply trusting recommendations from home improvement stores. Even when you are referred to a contractor, check him or her out before you sign a contract. Consumer Reports recently released findings from a study of people who hired contractors to whom they were referred by the two leading home improvement stores. Their survey indicated that people who used these referrals had more problems and were less satisfied with the work than people who used other contractors.

2. Build your remodeling budget in a way that creates a 20% cushion for unexpected surprises. Although the National Association of the Remodeling Industry suggests an allowance of 10% to 20%, I think you are safer to budget for a 20% cost overrun due to surprises. There are literally hundreds of things that can happen or that can be discovered once remodeling begins that will result in a cost overrun. It is not uncommon, for example to discover termite damage, dry rot, damage from leaking pipes, outdated wiring, etc. My point is that you should not use your entire budget on the basics. You will be much more comfortable with your budget if you leave room for surprises.

3. Get a contract – don’t deal with a contractor on the basis of a proposal. If at all possible, get a contract that states a final price for the work, not an estimated cost that can go up or down. Your contract should be as specific as possible and as detailed as possible. It should also contain some kind of warranty for both the installation and the products or materials. You can also specify in the contract that all materials used will be new materials and meet the standards outlined in the contract. It should also state that any changes made during the construction period will be authorized only by written change orders that explain the difference in cost up front. If a contractor is unwilling to sign a contract stating the final price of the remodel, find another contractor.

4. Know what your insurance covers and take out a liability policy if necessary. It is usually easy to call your insurance agent and ask what is covered in terms of damage to your property, loss of property or possessions, and injury or death of a worker on your property during the construction period. You should also be certain that the contractor carries workman’s compensation insurance and liability insurance against injury or death of a worker and against damage or loss to your property or possessions. If you have any concerns about adequate coverage, discuss it with your insurance agent and consider taking out an additional policy during the construction period.

5. Monitor all liens placed against your property during construction (construction liens) by any contractor or subcontractor and ensure that they are removed when the project is finished and the contractor is paid in full. There are unscrupulous contractors who accept payment for a job and then do not remove the liens. In most of these cases, the homeowner is not aware of the lien until some time later when trying to sell the home or take out a loan for further improvements. When homeowners try to resolve the issue, the contractor claims that the bill or part of the bill was never paid and demands payment before removing the lien.

6. Never do business with someone who comes to your door offering their services.

7. Never pay a contractor the entire bill up front. Work out a payment schedule that reflects work completed, and put the payment schedule in the contract.

8. Specify the quality of workmanship and the quality of materials to be used in the remodel or addition in the contract. Not only should you specify materials quality, you should check materials to ensure compliance with the terms of the contract as they are delivered to the construction site. Insist that the costs of all building materials be specified.

9. Include all job specifications in the contract. The more specific the description of the work to be done, the more protection you have. Job specifications state exactly what work is to be done, how it is to be done, the quality of materials to be used, when it is to be complete, and that it must pass inspection.

10. Check all licenses, permits, proof of insurance, and state or local certification before you hire a contractor or subcontractor. Check to be certain the contractor has or obtains all necessary permits, licenses and certificates. Check with issuing agencies or insurance companies to confirm that insurance and licenses are current.

11. Insist that the contractor show you proof of bond coverage for the total replacement cost of the project.

12. Be sure the contract includes the appropriate information about how conflicts will be resolved, when and how the contract will be or can be terminated, and that lien releases will be provided upon payment.

13. If you give the contractor a key to your home for use during the construction period, change the locks as soon as construction is completed.

14. Take the necessary steps to protect your property and your possessions. Put away all valuables in a safe place. Define the construction area for everyone – tell your family not to enter the area during working hours; define limits of access to the rest of your home for the work crew. Protect your landscaping by covering shrubs if necessary and taking other steps to reduce accidental damage. Seal off the construction area from the rest of the house to confine dust, etc.

15. If you are remodeling an old home, make sure any work with potentially hazardous materials is done under the safest conditions and that hazardous materials are completely removed from the work site immediately and disposed of as instructed by your local government. Be sure any lead paint is properly removed; be sure any asbestos is removed and disposed of correctly; be sure old horse hair plaster (that could contain arsenic) is disposed of properly.

These tips will help you protect your family, your property and the people working on your remodeling project. Residential home improvement contractors should be very willing to cooperate on all of these points.

Home Improvement Disasters Involving Gas and Electricity

Opportunity and danger are two sides of the same coin. Home improvement projects offer the opportunity to enjoy your home and to increase its value. Such projects; however, present the danger of personal injury, property damage, and unexpected expense if the work contains construction defects. Here are some steps you should take to maximize the opportunity and minimize the danger of home improvement projects. This article addresses common construction defects in exterior projects involving gas pipes and electrical wires. Related articles cover other construction defects.

1. Do your homework. People research many major purchases; but they spend thousands of dollars on home improvements with little or no research about avoiding construction defects or about hiring a qualified and reliable contractor. Information that can help homeowners is available from many sources. Books explain basic construction and building code concepts in plain language. Manufacturer’s installation instructions for many products are available on the internet. This does not mean that you need to become a construction expert before you embark on a home improvement project. You can and should; however, become educated so that you can recognize common construction defects. Being able to recognize construction defects puts the contractor on notice that you are an informed consumer.

2. Use only licensed and experienced contractors. Verify the status of the contractor’s license and whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Complaints against a contractor are not always a deal killer, but they are a red flag that requires more investigation. Obtain references from the contractor and contact them. Use at least one reference from a project completed over one year ago to help you determine the contractor’s response to warranty issues.

3. Obtain a building permit, if required. A building permit is usually required if new electrical circuits, water pipes, or gas pipes are installed or if there are significant additions or changes to any of these systems. A permit is usually required when adding to or making structural changes to a building. A permit is an inexpensive way to get inspections of the work by a qualified third party. It may also reduce your potential liability if a problem occurs. The contractor should obtain the permit. If the contractor is reluctant to obtain a permit, this is a red flag. The contractor may not be licensed to do the work, or he may have other problems that you may want to know about.

4. Look for common construction defects. Here are some examples of common construction defects in exterior home improvement projects.

Failure to bury gas pipes and electrical wires at required depth. Digging around buried gas pipes and electrical wires can damage them and cause gas leaks and electrical shocks. Bury most gas pipes at least twelve inches below the finished dirt level. Bury electrical wires at least twelve inches if the wires are ground fault circuit protected. Bury wires enclosed in metal conduit at least six inches. Bury most other electrical wires at least eighteen inches.

Failure to place electrical receptacles on a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit when required. This is an electrical shock hazard. Place all exterior receptacles and all receptacles in garages on a GFCI protected circuit.

Failure to properly install and protect electrical wires. This is an electrical shock hazard if the wires become loose or damaged. Place most exposed and accessible electrical wires in approved conduit. Place electrical connections and wire splices in a covered electrical junction box. Electrical wires that are installed outdoors or that are buried must be approved for these uses.

Failure to protect gas pipes from corrosion. Corroded gas pipes can leak. Protect gas pipes against corrosion when they are in contact with the ground and when they are in contact with masonry and concrete. The gray paint on gas pipes around gas meters and pipe wrap tape are common corrosion protection methods.

Failure to properly install gas appliance flexible connectors. This is a gas leak hazard. Flexible connectors are the yellow (one common color) flexible tubes that you see between the rigid gas pipe and a gas water heater. These connectors are intended to connect one rigid gas pipe to one gas appliance. You should be able to move the connector at least two inches at the center of the connector. A connector that cannot be moved and is too tight strains gas connections at the pipe and at the appliance. The connector should not have a bend with a radius smaller than 1 ½ inches. A tight radius bend can weaken the connector and reduce gas flow.

Seize the opportunity to beautify and improve your home; but be aware of the dangers that such projects present and empower yourself to avoid these dangers.