Five Secrets to Preventing Your Crawl Space Pipes From Freezing

Your crawl space needs to be your main focus when freezing weather comes knocking. Keeping your crawl space above freezing temperatures can save your water pipes from freezing and bursting. Plumbing problems from freezing pipes can cost you thousands of dollars and the inconvenience of being without water until they are fixed.

The following are five secrets to keeping your crawl space above freezing temperatures and your pipes intact during the cold winter months:

Prepare for the Cold Weather – Benjamin Franklin once said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as true today as it was when Franklin made the quote. Take the time to inspect your crawl space and look for any leaks from your pipes. If you see any leaks, get them fixed before it leads to bigger problems. Check your crawl space doors to make sure they are correctly working for maximum ventilation. Replace them if needed. A crawl space with high humidity and moisture can lead to structural and plumbing problems. A small investment for as little as $99 can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

Open Your Cabinets – Believe or not, your bathroom and kitchen cabinets with plumbing on the outside walls of your house can help or hinder you with the process of protecting your pipes during cold spells. Take the time to open your cabinet doors and let the heat from your home help keep the pipes warm. Every little bit helps!

Keep the Drip Going! – Keep a slow drip going in your faucets so that this will hinder your pipes freezing. Water in motion is harder to freeze than water standing still.

Insulate Your Pipes – Make sure your pipes have the right insulation for the winter time. Over time, the insulation may have worn off your pipes exposing them to the elements. Inspect and replace any insulation that is worn or missing.

Crawl Space Covers Are the Key – Inspect your crawl space access for structural damage that can lead to cold air getting into your crawl space and causing potential problems. Replace them if needed, and if you don’t have one, I would suggest you buy one. For under ten dollars, it will be one of the best investments to help keep your home and pipes safe.

Finding The Right Foundation Repair Specialist Can Save Your House

I was recently talking to a neighbor of mine who was having some pretty extensive foundation repair done on his home. As he watched the crew from afar, I walked over and asked how he & family were doing. Part of me felt a little silly asking him about how he was doing, so I half-expected him to cut his eyes at me & rightfully so. When he turned to answer me, the amount of calm in his eyes took me by surprise. He said:

“You know, we’re doing really well right now, all things considered. I know it seems weird, but even with this crew working on my foundation, my family and I are more at ease that we’ve been in a long time. These guys really saved my home.”

Later, I was talking to another neighbor, and he noted that our area has been prone to having foundation issues, so my wife and I should count our blessings. I mentioned the whole “saved my home” comment from earlier, and this other neighbor said that couldn’t be understated. Turns out I’ve been in the dark about a lot of things regarding my home & the condition of my home’s foundation.

Anytime homeowners face a major repair, it can really be a tough ordeal for everyone involved. Moreover, the cost can be difficult to stomach on its own, let alone how much you hope that the repairs will be effective. It’s this point that sticks out for homeowners because we’ve all been the victim of a home repair that didn’t go well. Even if we got a recommendation from a co-worker or friend, home repairs can have shady sides.

One of the hardest parts of finding dependable foundation repair is trying to navigate the number of companies vying for your business. Aren’t they all essentially the same?

No. Foundation repair specialists set themselves apart from all other repair companies for many reasons, such as:

Details Are Top-Priority – Cursory details only scratch the surface for these specialists. They will take the time to inspect all areas of your home to see exactly where the problems are & what they need to do to get the job done right from the start.

Economical – Whether it’s trying to make repairs yourself or hiring a subpar company, trying to save money & be a little cheap may mean getting someone else in later to fix the first round of repairs before getting to the root cause of your foundation issues. That’s a lot of wasted time & money.

The Right Skills, Tools, and Experience – Foundation repair specialists have seen it all, done it all, have the correct tools to do the job right, and they’ve done their job (and gotten to know the area – big plus) for an extended period of time. They are primed for excellence.

Top 3 Disadvantages of Wood Siding

Wood siding is a lovely attribute for many homes and properties. It can deliver an unparalleled level of curb appeal while also adding investment-worthy value to the overall property. However, wood siding is not always the best choice for everyone. There are several known downfalls that home and property owners have had concerns about throughout the years. These disadvantages affect maintenance, budget, appeal, and more.

If you are considering siding replacement, and want to know whether or not wood is a good fit for you, continue reading to learn the top 3 disadvantages first. From there, talk to a local and trusted siding contractor for professional answers to all your project and consumer questions.

Maintenance

One of the most common complaints about wood siding is the level of maintenance it requires. Siding like vinyl and fiber cement are low maintenance, and will last for years to come. However, wood is porous, making it more vulnerable to the outdoor elements, especially moisture. Mold, mildew, wood rot, and more are common issues associated with moisture problems. This means it must be stained and painted at all times, routinely re-sealed and weather-proofed, and cleaned on a more frequent basis. Not only is this level of maintenance difficult to keep up with, it can be costly and time-consuming too. This is something to think about, especially if you are not in a position to provide the maintenance yourself, nor hire a professional company to provide it for you.

Aesthetics

Another common issue with wood siding is warping and swelling, which is caused by moisture absorption. Once the panels dry out again, they do not return to their original shape. This leads to gaps, cracks, energy loss, pest infestations, and more. Not only does this affect the overall aesthetics of a property, it will cost you in the end since defective panels and boards will need to be replaced to ensure the structural integrity of a home or building. In serious cases, it can also increase home energy bills.

Durability

Durability and longevity are common concerns when it comes to wooden siding. Because wood is a natural element that is porous and susceptible to moisture absorption, it is always at risk of wood rot and dampening. Overtime, this can cause wood to soften and deteriorate, which leads to all sorts of structural and aesthetic problems. And in the end, all of these problems require money, time, and construction to resolve. This is especially true for wood rot that results in mold and mildew outbreaks.

Top 10 Renovating Tips

Having just completed a renovation in Albury, on behalf of a client who lived remotely, so needed someone to manage the process for them. I thought it was a great time to reflect and pass on some tips for all you would-be renovators that want to tackle it yourself.

1. Start with the end in mind

What I mean is in you’re renovating to sell vs renovating to put a tenant into the property at a higher rent than before vs renovating for yourself to live in, the budget, choice of fixtures and fittings and the amount of work you’ll do will vary.

In the case where you’re renovating for yourself to live in you’ll likely do a lot more than either of the two other options, simply because you intend to live there and derive the benefit from the money spent for a period of time.

Also, when renovating for sale or even for rental purposes, you need to keep in mind constantly, am I adding more in perceived value than actual cost? Am I getting a return on my money? Knowing where to draw the line is the key.

2. Have a budget

Don’t just start renovating with no budget in mind. You need to have an idea of how much everything is going to cost and track your expenditure through the renovation to make sure you don’t run out of money.

It may be OK to leave a renovation unfinished if you’re living there (albeit not desirable) however if you’re renovating for sale or to put a tenant in, you need to finish to be able to sell/rent the property out. Running out of money half way through doing the kitchen or bathroom is a sure-fire way to land yourself in trouble.

3. How are you funding the renovation?

If you have the cash on hand that’s great, not a lot of us do but if you do it’s the easiest and simplest way to fund any renovation, you know how much you have and can pay for materials and labour as required.

If you’re using borrowed funds, make sure you understand the requirements for those funds to be released, if it’s a loan against equity it might be as simple as the funds going into an offset account until you need them. If it’s a dedicated renovation loan you may need to provide or pay invoices and to be reviewed by the bank prior to getting paid. There are a lot of different ways this can be work and you need to make sure you understand what is required to access the funds.

4. Quotes

It’s not practical to get quotes for every single item, and in fact, in some cases getting quotes will actually make it more expensive. If the job is a small job requiring not a lot of time from a tradie, if they have to come to the site, quote it then come back and do the job you could end up paying more. Often for these smaller jobs the best course of action is to find a reputable tradesman in your local area and just book the work in to be done. As long as you understand their hourly rates and any callout fee’s.

5. Tiling in old houses

Almost without exception in older homes the walls and/or floors (especially if timber) are rarely square or straight. In the kitchen for example using larger format tiles for the splash back can help hide these sins.

If a new kitchen is installed it will be installed level and if the window is out by 10mm one end to the other, if you use 100mm subway tiles for a splashback, you’ll notice. However if you upsize to a modern 300mm x 400mm splashback tile you won’t notice the 10mm the old window is out of square (well most of us won’t).

Similarly old floors are often out. The renovation I just completed for a client, the floor in the kitchen was out by 67mm across the length of a 4m kitchen. We were able to deal with this by tailoring the kicker height along the kitchen but it pays to be aware of these items and plan for them.

6. Replace vs Repair

When planning a renovation particularly one that includes the kitchen and bathroom one of the first things you should do is assess the cabinetry and tiles. Are they just dated or are they actually in a bad state of repair? You may be able to reface the cabinetry or use a tile paint over the tiles if they are in good order. This could save you thousands in the cost of your renovation.

7. Electrical Work

It can be a good idea, particularly on older homes to have an electrician come and look at the existing board. Electrical legislation is changing all the time and depending when the last electrical work was done and what you need done a full board upgrade to bring it up to code could be required. This can be expensive. Also legislation requiring safety switches is in place already in some states and coming into force in others, best to check with a qualified electrician to find out what you need to do with compliance.

8. Plumbing Work

While all new homes are almost exclusively PVC plumbing these days if you’re renovating an old home be prepared to find some earthenware waste pipes that in some cases the plumber will have to make up a fitting to adjust to modern PVC waste pipes.

It also pays to be careful with demolition work around old plumbing fixtures as it’s very easy to damage earthenware pipes and if they crack and being leaking you could find yourself in for a much larger repair than anticipated.

9. Planning the Work

Once you have the scope of your renovation worked out, know the budget and what trades are involved the next step is to schedule it. You need to think about the logical order of doing things so that you’re not re-doing work or having trades damage the work of other trades.

Generally you want to do demolition work first, then any new construction, i.e. walls, cabinetry etc although some trades like plumbers and electricians will likely have multiple visits to the job for rough in work when it’s appropriate, prior to sheeting new work and to prepare plumbing points for cabinetry etc.

It’s best if you can leave finishing trades like tilers, painting and flooring till the very end. In some cases you may be able to have the painter start elsewhere in the home if there are area’s not having a fully renovation.

Always leave flooring to the very end, it should be the last thing to go in so that new flooring doesn’t have a chance to be damaged by trades or to get paint on it.

10. Review the Renovation

Probably the most overlooked stage of a renovation but it’s equally as important as the rest. Collate all your actual expenses, yes, including the receipts from Bunnings and add them up to compare them to your budget. Did you stick to your budget? You need to know how much everything actually cost you in order to be able to determine your return.

Low Moderate and High Cost Siding Materials

If you are on the market for new siding, you are in the perfect place. All the knowledge you can learn will help you on your quest to finding the right product for the right price. After all, choosing a new siding material can be a tough decision. There are various options for both residential and commercial siding on the market today. And every material is unique in its own way, providing separate pros and cons depending on the application. Knowing which material to choose can be quite the challenge, especially since more than one option is structurally suitable for your property. For this reason, it is helpful to simplify your mission by categorizing siding options by cost and quality; the two most important considerations for home and commercial siding. Continue reading for a brief introduction to doing just that!

Low Cost Materials

Aluminum and vinyl siding are two of the lowest cost material options on the market. Both offer a wide array of benefits and cost advantages, so choosing between the two really comes down to application and preference. Aluminum is very affordable and can offer years of protection, which is why it has been a very popular option for both residential and commercial properties. However, it requires a lot of upkeep. For this reason, vinyl siding has somewhat taken its place in terms of popularity. Vinyl siding is also very inexpensive. Furthermore, it is easy to install, requires very little maintenance, and it comes in a wide selection of colors and styles. And since vinyl lasts anywhere from 30 to 50 years, it is a cost-effective option for anyone, regardless of income.

High Cost Materials

If you are looking at brick or stone materials, you are shopping in on the higher end of the market. These materials are perfect for property and resale values, and offer an unparalleled level of authenticity and curb appeal. They also top the charts in terms of longevity since they will almost stand for hundreds of years! Accordingly, stone work requires an experienced and skilled mason to install it properly. And minor repairs and replacements tend to be costly. With these facts, it is no surprise that brick and stone siding are some of the most expensive options to choose from.

Moderate Cost Materials

If you are looking for something in between low end and high end, you have two good quality options: wood and fiber cement. Wood siding is popular for its longevity and versatility, and offers unique beauty and appeal. However, it requires a high level of maintenance that can also add up in terms of costs. So what seems like a bargain at first, ends up costing you more than you thought. Fiber cement board siding is also known as “Hardie” board, and offers long term protection against harsh elements and natural wear and tear. It is the perfect balance between affordability and quality performance, which is why so many mid-to-high class residential homes have chosen this material.

5 Remodels to Consider Before Moving Into a New Home

There is certainly a feeling of excitement after purchasing a new home, so expectedly, home buyers are eager to move in as soon as they can. But before moving into a new home, there are five specific areas to consider first. Making changes or improvements to these commonly over-looked areas will not only better protect your investment, but will make the home absolutely, and truly, all yours. Continue reading to review these five important tips if you are in the market for a new home or just recently purchased one.

Locks

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is that many home buyers get distracted with all the requirements and hassles of moving and settling into a new place, that changing the locks gets put on the back burner. And then after a while, you forget you are still using the same keys given to you at the time of closing. But it is very important to not let this happen to you. The first thing you should do before moving into a new house is change the locks. This can be done by a local door repair service, or it can even be a DIY project if you are good with tools. New locks are relatively inexpensive, but range in price depending on quality, brand, style, design, and more.

Vents

For those purchasing a new construction home, there may not be much need for vent cleaning and inspection, but it is still a good idea to clear out the dust collected during the building period. As for homes that have been around for a few years, or more, it is strongly suggested to get rid of all the years of dirt, dust, and dander that has accumulated in the ventilation system of the home. This can be done by a professional service for a relatively low price, and should take no more than a day to finish. Start your new journey in a fresh, clean home with a healthy indoor air environment.

Fuse Box

Another task to complete before moving into your new home is to set up the fuse box. Learning and labeling the fuse box will require more than one person, so be sure you have a helper with you to get this job done. Grab some labeling tape and a permanent marker, and then get to work! Start by first powering off any electronics plugged in, including radios and televisions. Then, have the other person turn on all the lights in the house, and go through each fuse one by one to assign it to an area of the home. It is recommended to bring a lamp with you to plug into the outlets and check them as well. Label each fuse clearly and you’re done!

Chimney and Fireplace

For homes that are not new construction, you definitely want the chimney inspected. Bats and birds can roost and nest in chimneys, especially in homes that are left vacant for extended periods of time. Also, there could be potential structural issues and even health concerns that a professional can point out for you. Have any issues repaired before you move in for a safe and functional fireplace.

Plumbing

The plumbing is the most important system in any home, aside from heating and cooling. Without proper working plumbing, a home is sent back to the stone ages. Toilets, faucets, baths, showers, laundry, and more are all everyday appliances that we use to function in life. For this reason, always be sure to have your new home’s plumbing system thoroughly inspected by a licensed professional before moving in.

House Design Options – Tips for Choosing a Style for Your Bathroom

So you’re wanting to update your beach house bathroom, or maybe you’re wanting to bring the beach feel home either way here is a great idea. Several different ideas can accomplish this task but here is one that is sure to keep you in the mood for the sand and sun! Relaxing in this oasis will keep you guessing just how far away your favorite relaxing beach bar is.

This outdated dark bathroom and vanity combo was in need of a major overhaul, for Sure! From the over-sized garden tub, tiny enclosed shower, right down to the outdated wall paper there was definitely room for improvement.

The plan was to move the shower from the current location to the garden tub Area giving the client a ton of room. Incorporating a full bench Seat along the largest wall just beneath the massive window, which was left to keep the natural light source. Adding not one but two large niches inside the shower for essentials, one complete with recessed LED lights was just what was needed. Changing the existing overhead light to a recessed LED light also complimented the spacious new shower.

Installing a flat rock on the shower floor accompanied by a 12 x 24 tile installed on a vertical pattern on these massive showers walls gave the illusion of there being more space. Granite seat top, along with niche and curb top to match makes for a very clean look. Glass shower frameless panel sitting atop a tree ft knee wall trimmed out with metal trim also gave a sharp clean finish to a stunning shower.

Bringing the boardwalk feel into this bathroom with a wood look 6×36 plank grey washed tile certainly proofed effective with our beach themed design. The horizontal shiplap wall also incorporated the look of an exterior fence complete with the boat tie downs for towel hooks. Topping this portion of the renovation off with a blue/ grey paint proved to be spot on.

Continuing the floor into the vanity area once again gave a more spacious feel to this bathroom vanity combo. Clients decision to continue with same choice of granite for vanity top keeping with the chrome toned plumbing fixtures really complimented the already beautiful renovation.

Finishing this transformation off with custom vanity and pantry combined with custom made hanging mirrors lit over head with LED vanity lights. Under mount sinks and toe-kick cabinet LED lighting proved to be a client favorite.

Reasons Why Stone Bathtubs Will Be in Trend in 2018

Your bathroom should just not look like a space for cleaning up; rather it should be designed like a personal sanctuary or spa to relieve the stress of the day and relax. If you’re planning a renovation this year, don’t go with those old-fashioned ceramic bathtubs that’ll only make your bathroom look ordinary. Gone are the days when bathrooms were only used as a bathing space. We’re in the new world of interior designing, and we’ve a long list of hottest bathroom designing trends. Stone bathtubs are one of them. The bathroom trend is ruling 2018, and majority of interior designers are obsessed with it. You want to know the reason? Have a quick glance at the pointers below.

Look visually appealing
Stone bathtubs look more appealing than the usual ones. Since they’re exclusive, and each one of them comes with a different kind of texture, color and feel; they easily make bathrooms elite and one of a kind. You can’t get that appeal with ceramic bathtubs, and that’s the reason they’ve become the first choice of every interior designer. The best thing is that they look rustic, traditional, earthy and contemporary at the same time in your bathroom. They effortlessly make your bathroom space visually attractive.

They rejuvenate your soul
Stone is the element of nature that certainly makes your interior calm. They bring you closer to nature and helps soothe your mind. Taking a warm bath in a natural stone bathtub is quite close to meditation. So, if you are stressed out, a stone bathtub is the thing you need.

Bring you close to nature
Stone bathtubs are the perfect reflection of what happens when you blend nature with interiors. They are hand-finished and made keeping natural features of the stone alive. So, owners can assure that they can sense nature on the everyday basis in their bathrooms, and rejuvenate their weary soul while bathing.

Change entire aura of the bathroom
Stone bathtubs look very strong and powerful in the bathroom. They change the entire aura of the space and provide traditional luxury appeal. They are not even slippery like ceramic bathtubs, and the best thing is, you can get them in different appealing designs and textures to match your bathroom interior.

They have longevity
Stone bathtubs are durable and you can use them for many years to come without worrying about breakage and wear and tear cost. They have more longevity then wooden and ceramic bathtubs.

Things to Consider When Renovating Your Bathroom

Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to renovate your bathroom. It is clear that a bathroom is one of the most used rooms in a home. A renovation can be a quite challenging process, especially if you don’t know where to start. Home designs point few things to consider when you plan to renovate your bathroom.

Don’t you know if the bathroom needs a refreshment or a renovation? Ask yourself a few questions. Did your needs change? Did your taste and style change? Maybe you need more storage space? Or you don’t want those white wall tiles anymore? Well, it’s perfect time to give your bathroom a new life.

Deciding how much money you are willing to spend due to renovation is the first step you have to do. The investment includes the cost of materials and finishes, lightening, fixtures and fittings, and of course the cost of labour – painting, tilling and plumbing. Depending on the bathroom’s size and the material’s quality, a bathroom renovation can cost between $3.000-$20.000. You can decide to paint on your own, but don’t forget to leave the critical job to the professionals.

Next, design a new floor plan by measuring the floor’s dimensions and marking the positions of existing doors, windows and remaining fixtures. You are going to need more money and time if you plan to change the bathroom layout. It is clear this includes adding or removing walls or setting up a spa/sauna. Additional cost will come from repositioning the plumbing or electricity too.

The most pleasant part of a renovation a bathroom is choosing its style. If you are a simple person – white bathroom is a great choice for you, because of the bathroom’s brightness and cleanliness. Adding wood elements will bring warmness. Nowadays, the matte black elements are increasingly popular, bringing sophistication and elegance. It is important to have a stylish bathroom, however, don’t forget its functionality. It`s more important than anything.

If you feel confused, keep in mind there are a number of professionals who can help you in the renovation process. A painter, a plumber, a flooring specialist and an electrician are persons you need on your team. They have to be qualified and licensed. Hiring an architect or interior designer is a must-have, managing the entire renovation. He knows the time frames of a renovation – starting with ceilings, walls and ending with floors.

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.