The idea of a bathroom renovation is a dreamy idea with endless options, and potential. If you are not prepared, it can be a nightmare. So before you take a trip to the local tile store or begin speaking with contractors, know where you stand before being told where to.
• Budget: Don’t wait to be told how much a project would cost. Know what you have to spend, and this includes material as well as labor. This magic number is very important as it will help you in deciding where on the scale your budget falls. Don’t ever take on a project with smoky mirrors in compromising your budget. You may love the idea of having the ultimate kitchen, but will hate it over time if you are financially strapped because of it.
• Time: No matter what you are told, whether it is days for a small project to be completed or weeks for a larger one, factor in worse case when it comes to “out of use”. Sometimes there are unforeseen things that happen to cause a delay. If your walls have never been exposed, you do not know what you may find. Hidden problems are expected, water damage as an example can be a hindrance depending on the severity and required repair. Allow more than enough time, and have alternative options ready. This is huge for a residence with only one bathroom, and a family.
• Purpose: When the idea of a bathroom renovation calls to action you should know what direction you wish to go, and why. The idea of a “full gut” can be scary, but if you are mentally prepared for what needs to take place to achieve the result, you will not be quick to jump when you hear the old tile hit the floor. We have found that when a customer thinks a renovation through, it is not as overwhelming. There are many factors to consider like the style of tile, fixtures, lighting, pattern, design, color, type of tub, and sink. Are you rearranging the plumbing? When these factors are not taken into account they can add a lot of confusion to the vision of the result. Know what you wish the bathroom renovation to look like. Sometimes going for an upscale look without creating a hole in your wallet can be as easy as pairing different styles. Always consider functionality into the bathroom renovation equation, and whether it will serve everyone’s lifestyle.
• Size: When it comes to bathroom renovations, size matters. Whether you are doing a one for one exchange in vanities, to tubs, moving electrical fixtures, know and be sensitive to measurements. In a small bathroom every inch counts, you will be surprised how much room a larger vanity and toilet can consume. Just because it looks great on the shelf, it does not mean it will work the same in your bathroom. Carefully monitor colors as well. Depending on your choice, a darker tone in tile can make a small bathroom appear a lot smaller.
• Contractor: A handyman should never be confused with an experienced contractor. Your bathroom renovation can uncover hidden issues that your neighborhood handyman may not know how to address. The bargain can be great in the beginning, and surprise you in paying double in the end. The old saying stands “if you want something done right……”. Reliable contractors are licensed, insured and should be an expert in your area of choice in renovation.
• Hardware and fixtures: Sometimes, just a coat of paint, a change in hardware and fixtures can immediately spruce a space. When you are considering a bathroom renovation, opt to start with small changes before you take on the larger one. You would be surprised what high-end fixtures like matching faucets, shower-body, and trim can do. It may buy you some time to save a little more money if the bathroom renovation is paramount.
Whether you have decided on working with one of the Big Box Retail giants, like Lowes or Home Depot, a local contractor, a close friend who is a jack of all trades or a construction company on your future home renovation project, the undertaking of the decision to move forward with a home renovation may be one half of the battle, but paying for it is another. Regardless of what the condition is of your current project, and the pictures of what it could be, the final cost will sway you into 2 categories of “need vs. want”. For the sake of keeping this post simple, you have chosen to move forward regardless. With that said, you have options when it comes to getting what you want, even if it is your dream kitchen, your fantasy master bathroom, etc.
Do not immediately get discourage or concerned about wanting a home renovation that you feel is over your budget because of the dollar amount on contract. Yes, cash is King, but financing your home improvement project is Queen. A homeowner has options, and all those options should be considered. If you have the luxury of paying for a home renovation out of pocket, that is fantastic. Using your last cent in savings or a good chunk of it may not be. Before you pull that trigger, please consult with your financial advisor on the ramifications. In the meantime let us take a glance at 4 ways to finance your home improvement project. These 4 ways should help you in determining your purchasing power, and you can do this on your own without any assistance. Be your own financial advisor, and uncover the facts that best suits you in whichever direction you deem comfortable.
1. Title 1 Home Improvement Loans: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, aka HUD provides private lenders with insurance to extend financing for up to $25,000.00 for home improvement for a term of 20 years. There are restrictions to what would be okay to finance, luxury items like a swimming pool or hot tub do not qualify. These loans are not equity driven, but they are credit, and a homeowner must show their ability to pay. Loans on single family homes may be used for alterations, repairs and for site improvements. Loans on multifamily structures may be used only for building alteration and repairs. A homeowner can inquire on their own with any bank, mortgage company, savings and loan association, and credit union, that is approved as a Title 1 Lender. Just walk into your bank as an example, and ask them if they are approved to issue Title 1 Loans.
2. Contractor Loans: Some construction companies do offer financing options, they are state, and county specific with their own restrictions. The financing partners are lenders, and not the contractor’s own funds. There are several programs available, like a no interest loan for a fixed period or a very low rate for a promotional period, the terms vary, as do the rates. Whether a no interest loan or a competitive promotion term, get the facts on what the rate will be at expiration. Perhaps you are planning on selling the property, and need to lowest payment or no payment while you get your home ready. Regardless of what your plan is be informed, and do not sign anything that is not in fine print.
3. Personal Loans: A better alternative to using your credit card. The rate will be a lot more competitive than what the credit card issuers will offer you, and they are fixed (not variable). The only drawback is finding an institution that still offers these unsecured loans. They are not equity driven, and the lenders that offer them have a higher standard in credit qualifying in-lieu of the risks. Again, be informed and read the fine print. Take into account the monthly payment, and all your other expenses.
4. Home Equity Line of Credit: Considered the best option in financing due to the lowest rate available. These loans are offered by most lenders, they are variable and equity driven. In taking out a HELOC you are borrowing against the equity of your home. Most lenders who offer these loans have reduced their Loan to Value limits, so qualifying can be a challenge when it comes to market conditions in your community. These loans are considered the best alternative in comparison to most financing options. When inquiring about these loans, a licensed loan officer at a local branch will be able to tell you if you qualify. Most lenders have automated access to valuation of properties, so even if you are not sure about the value in your area, the lender may have the tools to assist you.
If you live in New York, you are no stranger to its brutal heat wave in the summer. We loathe the painful cold winter months, and wish heavily for warmer days. We often forget how hot our summers can get until we step outside into nature's oven in the middle of August.
Homeowners will be spending an average of almost 20% of their annual energy bill on cooling this year. Though this may be 20% well spent for comfort, it can increase if you are not sensitive to your air conditioner's regular, and required maintenance. If you want your air conditioner to run accordingly during its peak usage, and without any unexpected repair costs, you will want to keep these 5 tips in mind for optimal results.
1. Clean and replace (when needed) the air condition's filter.
Sounds simple enough, and if you read other blogs on tips and maintenance you will see this as a top priority. Guess what? No one ever does it, or if they do, the percentage is below average. The filter collects dust and allergens as they circulate throughout the home. When your filters are neglected they become clogged, forcing your air conditioner to work double the amount of time to give you the same results you. Golden rule is to have your filters changed every 2 to 3 months.
2. Annual checkup.
If you are lucky enough to have central air, just the same way you have your heating unit inspected annually (so we hope), the same applies to your air conditioning system. Annual maintenance checks for leaks, worn out coils, filters, freon levels, and any inconsistencies with performance goes a long way. Addressing any potential issues can minimize your unit's failure.
3. Thermostat adjustment.
Consider a programmable thermostat to adjust your settings for set times throughout the day. When used efficiently, this is a huge money saver.
4. Sealing cooling ducts.
Air travels from room to room through your ducts. Proper sealing will improve your unit's performance by as much as 20%. Duct sealant, like mastic or foil tape to seal your seams and duct's connectors will prevent any loss of air.
5. Think Energy Star.
Nothing beats the savings of an Energy Star central air system or individual unit. These units deliver less energy consumption and are a much better value.
Always keep your unit protected in a heavy plastic sheeting when it is time to store it, and before doing any kind of work to the air conditioner, be sure the unit is unplugged. Room air conditioners have one or two capacitors, which can be found behind the control panel and by the fan. Capacitors store electricity, and you can receive a severe shock even when the air conditioner is off.
There are many decisions in life that you have to make. Some are easy, and others very hard. Choosing the right contractor for your home improvement needs should be just as important, and will be one of the most crucial decisions you’ll ever have to make depending on the scope of work. If you are planning a few “must dos” around your home, it serves to do your homework on your contractor, and prepare yourself. In the grand scheme of things, your findings, and research will have an impact the tipping scale. It could make a difference in the outcome of your future home improvement project, whether a blissful experience or a shocking train wreck. You hear the stories, they do exist. Here are 5 tips to add to your checklist:
1. Verify license and insurance: do not be afraid to ask for proof of insurance with general liability coverage for at least 1 – 2 million dollars. Depending on where the subject is located, some management companies mandate as high as 5 million in coverage and should include workers compensation. Why is this important? This insurance covers a range of mishaps from accidents to pure negligence and innocent, but costly oversight. You do not want to have to pay for something you did not cause. If you are not working with a licensed contractor, you are walking a tight rope without a net. The Department of Consumer Affairs requires an exam to be taken, finger prints to be kept on record, and registration of contractors in their area of expertise. If DCA does not know who your contractor is, you won’t either when something goes wrong, and your contractor does not return your call after being paid.
2. Lowest estimate does not always get the charm: if you have gathered countless estimates on your project, at various amounts, the lowest does not equal a score. Be very careful in your decision making. A bathroom renovation is not a shirt, and in this business you really do walk away with what you pay for. If you are considering the lowest estimate, get your questions ready, and find out why the estimate you have is so much lower than the others you have gathered. Compare apples to apples. Trust me, there is never a true bargain. You are paying for the discount somewhere. Buyer beware, as we say.
3. Research your contractor’s record: we live by internet, and chances are if your contractor has a history of shoddy work, it is has been posted on some community online forum or with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB maintains open and closed files on complaints and will rate your contractor. If your contractor has open, and unresolved matters with the BBB, you may want to consider moving on to the next candidate. Regardless of the reason, you do not want to have the “shame on you” experience.
4. Memberships or affiliations: if your contractor has loyalty to his trade, he will belong to various associations related to his craft. Though this should not be considered a deal breaker. A contractor who participates in trade associations has a vested interest and demonstrates focus in their community as reputable tradesmen. They take what they know, and do seriously, and want to maintain the faith of their customers. If the research on your contractor falls short on everything including their affiliation with any trade unions or associations….run.
5. Check references: a HUGE must. Depending on the scope of your home improvement needs, whether it is a kitchen, basement, bathroom renovation; just taking a contractor’s word that they can do the job is not enough. Ask for references, and when you get them, consider taking a look at the finished product. Best visual is proof with the naked eye. Be sure to ask about the experience from start to finish: How long did the work take? Was the work completed within the time noted on the contract? How did the customer find the contractor you are thinking of using? Have they used the contractor for other work? I would not encourage getting too much into the cost because styles, make, design, material, and overall layout will not be the same as yours. There are many factors that impact the bottom line in any renovation. In the end, you want to walk away feeling that you made the right choice, and your gut will never be wrong. If it feels wrong, it usually is.
So your mind is made up, and you are ready for a home renovation project. You have met several contractors, some referred, others you found, reviewed many estimates, laughed at a few, and feel you have nailed it. Countless pictures have been shown to you, vision has been sold, and you have enough samples in product selection to open your own home improvement store. Are you as ready as you think? True, it took you weeks, maybe even months of researching to help make that final decision, and you feel that the contractor of your choice is going to bring your vision to light. This all may be true, but there are mistakes you do not want to make that tend to get overlooked. If you are looking for your upcoming home renovation to be headache free, these are 5 mistakes to avoid running to the medicine cabinet.
Thinking you have enough money
1. Some home renovations can be a dollar for dollar experience, and you walk away with what exactly you wanted, and paid for. There are times when you may not be so lucky. One should always be prepared for an unexpected surprise. The bigger the project you are doing, the higher your chances are in unforeseen obstacles that may add to your already paid for renovation. You will be surprised what you encounter when you open walls, things like mold, termites, rotted beams, leaky pipes, are some to name a few. Ask your contractor to give you a small list of the unexpected for a home like yours. Not all homes have the same issues, there may even be a common occurrence with all the homes in your community since they were constructed at the same time, and more than likely by the same company. Your contractor may be aware of them if he has done work in your area. Thinking you have enough money may not be enough. Have an emergency fund ready just in case. Your contractor is definitely not going to pay for it or he may be able to add a 10% contingency to be withheld in the event that something arises. If all goes well, the funds withheld are reimbursed back to you.
When size does not matter to you
2. You have a small bathroom, and want to take it to the next level by replacing your standard tub with a swanky jacuzzi tub. Yes, they are beautiful. They are also space eaters, like that “must have” vanity at Home Depot that is 2 sizes bigger than your existing one. Yes, it can fit, and so does a golf ball down a P-trap. The size may not matter to you at the time, but it will, it always does.
3. Yes, that royal blue square shaped, see-through basin looks amazing on that black granite counter-top. Just because, it was mentioned as the top 5 sellers for 2013 does not mean it will be nominated for an Oscar next year. Fads disappear rather quickly, chasing the latest trend can have a short shelf life. When trend seeking, go with a style that does not have to be re-invented annually. Your contractor will love it, but debt seeking is not a trend.
Taking on too much
4. Home renovations should never be a burden, always have a specific idea in mind, and do not make it complicated by adding on to it with a knee jerk decision. Give careful thought to a process, and what it means to alter them. Changing your kitchen cabinets is one thing, but then deciding on moving your plumbing, and placement of light fixtures can be an overwhelming experience. Taking on too much can leave you with regrets, and a financial obligation to a decision that could have stayed an easy and less costly one.
Blind eye to your home’s bones
5. So you live in that wonderful cozy cape in the suburbs. The one that was passed down from your grandparents. Yes, an upgrade may likely be in the future. You do not want to ignore the home’s bones, discounting the outside style of the home and going with a modern Italian retro look in the inside can become a cast for a broken bone that will never heal. That white marble floor in your kitchen with the swanky, eat-in white leather nook may work elsewhere, just not in your home. This can also be a hindrance if you ever need to sell the property. Over the top personal customization only serves the owner, and will be an expensive transition back to normal.
I don't know about you, but I have been taking a tally recently on the amount of time I spend dining out, and thinking more, and more if I am really getting my monies worth. Is it me or has the quality in food gone down? Perhaps it has been this way, and I have been very forgiving. Forgiving why? Why am I compromising? I guess for a long time, I have been giving a blind eye because I am too busy caught up in the moment. Whether it is the drinking scene, the vibe, being surrounded by people, I find that I have been feeding into a fix at my expense, and it needs improving.
The other day I was at a spot, and ordered a cream of chicken that was served in a Crate and Barrel soup bowl. You know the one I am taking about, it is the one that is 3 times larger than the 1/2 cup of soup that is poured into it. It was actually comical, even the waitress gave me a smirk as she served me. We made eye contact as we both stared at the bowl with an outrageous basil leave in the center, there was a knowing without words. I am a big wine drinker, so yes, wine was a must. My $10 dollar glass of red was served in a huge goblet with the obvious cheap fill that I have now started to become observant to. Granted, the place is a chic eatery in the city, but come on.....In the end, who is the joke on?
The experience has not been the first, and I have been taking a genuine effort in being a critic than the customer. Meaning the times I have gone out to eat I have been on guard, watching the picture repeat itself over, and over. I have a thing about complaints at a restaurant. Unless I plan on not eating anything, I usually just settle for what is served or ask to have the platter removed off the bill....if I only touched it a couple of times. I have come to the conclusion that it is time to make time at home. It is sad when you have to make a run for a Big Mac after dinner.
By no means am I boycotting the dining out scene. I love it! There are many great places that serve with a smile, and deliver to perfection. Unfortunately, those places are either too far, and out of the way or just too expensive for a Tuesday night out. For me, I am just tired of wasting hard earned funds on a meal that I am only taking bites from. I might as well just walk into a restaurant and hand over a $20 dollar bill, and just leave. I know for me, the choice to eat out has always been impulsive. I do it, just because. Well, just because does not serve anymore. It is time to be sensible. The kitchen is the heart of the home. If your kitchen is missing a beat, then work to make it tick again. What is keeping you out of your space? Look at what draws you out of your house, and bring it in. Is it a certain style, design, or paint color. This you can fix. It can be as easy as a new dining room set.
I should be ashamed of myself because I have a wine rack of bottles that are just sitting there while I am wasting my money on less than a 1/2 a glass at a swanky wine bar, and I happen to be a good cook when I do. This experience cannot be mine alone, and I am sure that others agree, as well as can relate. So, if you are like me, make an effort to take the time out for a home cooked meal. You wind up enjoying it more, than signing a bill for mediocre. If wine is your thing, and I know I am not alone with this addiction...buy a bottle or open the ones you have in your rack. Do not wait for the company to arrive to open that expensive bottle of wine. Just go for it. Treat yourself to it. If you are like me, you are spending the same amount of money on a few $10 dollar glasses of wine anyway. What is the point in waiting? Pay yourself first!
The more you push yourself for a good dining experience at home, the less time, and money will be spent having a bad one somewhere else. Home improvement begins in the kitchen and starts with you. Give yourself a night out at home. Turn off the lights, and get those candles ready. Sometimes we are paying for an experience that we can replicate in our own homes. Plan a fun night, whether it is pasta night or open a cook book, and be creative. Just because, you cannot cook, it does not mean you do not know how to read. Trust me, you can do it. You may even surprise yourself with a hidden talent, 2nd servings, and with some monthly savings in the end.
The sun is out and natures first green is our gold. Thank God, Spring is finally here. We are feeling it with the warmer days. Our energy levels are up, and now we find ourselves making weekend trips to the local Home Depot or Lowe's department stores. Some of us are looking for ideas, while others have a plan. Any home improvement big or small will have an impact.Whether you are looking to sell your property in the coming months or tired of being the worst house on the block, any improvement is better than none at all. Some home improvement can be value added, while others are personal preference to the way you want to live.
If you are looking for some direction and want a quick reference to what to start with, check out these 10 home improvements to help jump start your mental juices and get you to start on something:
Front entry doors: The average homeowner treats their entry door like a guest bedroom, little attention to detail and style. It is a huge curb appeal factor not to be ignored. Aside from energy efficiency and weather tolerance, a new quality door will immediately make a statement at entry.
Siding: Whether you are replacing it or debating on getting it installed, siding will add a punch to the look of your home. Not only does siding add a layer of insulation, and protection, but it will enhance the appearance of your home, and is considered capital improvement. Siding adds value.
Decks: Warmer days, means a lot of time out doors. What better way to enjoy it, than to extend your living space. Big or small, family entertainment can be enjoyed inside and out.
Windows: Replacement windows = energy savers, plus tax credits.
Kitchen: Improving your kitchen does not have to be a major investment, but it will make you smile more while making your morning coffee. Refacing cabinets and changing hardware is a start. Changing the backsplash can be the answer to an immediate change.
Basement: Living space taken to another level. Always take inventory of wasted, under utilized rooms in the house. If waterproofing is not a major job to tackle, framing, sheetrock, subfloors are very quick to install. A finished basement does not have to be major investment, but will add to the value of yours.
Attic: Hidden space for an office, extra bedroom, additional storage. Walking on beams? They do make easy to install sub-floors in squares, you pass them in the aisles all the time.
Bathroom: Can be a 30 minute makeover with replacing fixtures and hardware, to reglazing (not 30 minutes) your tub and tiles for that overnight transformation. Even a vanity can be painted a cool color.
Addition: If you find yourself outliving your space, large family or expecting one, research the cost in adding an addition before looking into a new home. You may find that an alternative is over your roof.
Landscaping: Some of us do not have a green thumb, keep grass short and it will never look sloppy. Landscaping is an art form, so it does require a level of attention. Consider evergreen shrubs as a carefree option.
Granted, some improvements can be a bit costly. Please gather your estimates, and make comparisons. The lowest is not always the best, and the highest does not always mean quality. Take it upon yourself to purchase all the supplies, and look for installation services only. This will make a big difference in your budget planning.
Residential windows are not complicated when you get down to it. In fact, they only fall into two categories:
1. New construction windows
2. Replacement windows
Not knowing the scoop on windows can cost you. So, you want to be clear on your investment when making your selection.
I am not going to spend a lot of time on new construction windows because the vast majority of homes don’t need them. New construction windows are not reserved for newly built homes. They are called new construction windows because they require the construction of new window framing to be installed. As a result, you can expect damage to be done to the exterior of your home (i.e. siding, stucco).
When installing these windows, expect to pay for the window itself, labor and materials for framing, and replacement/repair of the exterior. It is only when your existing framing is deteriorated or damaged to the extent that it cannot support replacement windows that you should consider new construction windows. Again, this is a rare event.
Most of the time, replacement windows are what you’re looking for. They are nailed into the existing framing in your home and if installed correctly, should be just as effective as new construction windows. You don’t have to worry about damage to the exterior of your home or extra labor and material charges for new framing. As a result, for the remainder of this section of our guide, we will be focusing on replacement windows.
Perhaps more important than the actual quality of the window itself is how it is installed. Even if you purchase the most expensive, highest quality window on the market, it will never achieve what it was designed to do unless it is installed properly.
Make sure that your window installer knows exactly what they are doing before you hire them.
There are entire books dedicated to this topic so, let’s stick to the basics. What determines whether or not a window is energy efficient is debatable, but I always have followed the guidelines set forth by Energy Star. They are the foremost respected authority when it comes to energy efficiency standards and each and every window I’ve provided for my clients has been Energy Star rated and approved. The following are the most important factors that help determine a window’s energy efficient value:
Let’s start with the U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. We are going to make this simple. Each window will have values clearly marked on its label.
2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
U-factor — measures the transfer of heat by rate, which tells you how well the window insulates. U-factor values range from 0.25 to 1.25 and are measured in Btu/h·ft²·°F. The lower the U-factor, the better insulation value.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient — measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted and tells you how well the product blocks heat caused by sunlight. SHGC is measured on a scale of 0 to 1; values typically range from 0.25 to 0.80. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window transmits.
As per the number of glass panes in the window (important), I recommend nothing less than two. One glass pane will not be sufficient in most parts of the country and three is overkill. For starters, double pane windows are insulated. The cushion of air maintained between two panes of glass keeps heat in during the winter and AC inside during the summer.
Installing double pane windows will mean a big difference in your energy bills, and keeps you feeling comfortable. Also, double pane glass windows make it very difficult for intruders to enter your home. A single pane glass window is easier to break. Something to think about.
You’ll see many window manufacturers advertising that their windows are the most energy efficient because their windows are indestructible or are the same windows used on NASA space crafts. Most of these are seductive sales tactics and nothing more. Stick to the basics above and don’t get caught up in the busy rigmarole of sales.
Window frames come in a multitude of materials and each can impact energy efficiency, albeit to a lesser extent than the 3 main factors. Below are the various types of frame materials and the pros and cons of each:
– Generally used in commercial applications, aluminum frames are the least energy efficient.
– Moderately energy efficient, wood frames require the most amount of maintenance due to deterioration from weathering. Expect to have to paint them often.
– Referred to as the Goldilocks of window frames, vinyl is the best value when considering its energy efficiency and durability.
– Generally very expensive, fiberglass is the most energy efficient and available in the most amount of colors.
As tempting as it may be to buy common name brand windows from Anderson, Pella, or Marvin much of what you are paying for is the brand name. These windows can be twice as much as lesser-known window brands and, in reality, aren’t any better. Don’t get me wrong, these name brand windows can be great but you can get the same performance from a smaller brand for half of the price. After all, the only person who is going to know the brand of your window is you!
Make The Right Choices
As you take inventory of your dated medicine cabinet, unattractive shower doors or cracked tiles, it may be true that you are due for a change. Before making any decisions, be mindful on the bigger picture. In any home remodel, you have to be clear on the result that you are looking for. What objectives do you have? Determine your lifestyle routine before you choose any kind of layout and design. The reason why you should take this into consideration prior to making a decision is because your choices will determine the types of materials, fixtures and style you will need. Without being careful, this can be costly. Through your thought process, you will identify what works, and does not. (Marble flooring, whether big or small for example, is amazing but may not be ideal for a family with toddlers.)
Style vs Practical
Since the average bathroom renovation should last 12-15 years, you want a look and feel that will last with it. One regret you do not want to have is the feeling of dated vs new all over again because of the extreme choice you made in perhaps following the latest trend from one of your favorite magazines. Be aware of the must have trendy colors and shape in tiles or over-customization. Too unique, too different can go out faster than it was installed. Having a 40 inch built in flat screen TV in the bathroom may work for you, but may be an eye sore for the next owner. A triangular shaped clear glass basin may look great in an urban apartment, but may not be ideal for your small cape in the suburbs.
Not Hiring A Pro
Swear by DIY and thinking it is the most cost effective direction? Buyer beware! Bathroom renovations require expertise. Changing a p-trap can be easy, but running in-wall plumbing is not. Converting a dated tub to spa like “shower only” enclosure with frosted wall to wall glass doors can be a daunting task. Doing anything your self can cost you double if something goes wrong. Know your limits. Hire a licensed professional who is skilled in exactly what you want done, understands what you are looking to achieve, and is highly sensitive to your budget limitations. Don’t allow the big-box super retail outlets to be the end all in your purchasing power and guidance seeking. You do not always get the experience you are looking for in aisle 13. Do your homework.
Giving The Contractor The Keys To Car
The pros may be reliable, resourceful and easy to dump all the decision making on, but this is your house, your apartment. Just because, you are dealing with a licensed professional, it does not mean that you sign your deed off to him. Only you know what you like and what you can afford. Read the fine print. The homeowner knows their lifestyle, so it is very important to be involved in every aspect of any renovation. How you want to live, is just as important. Be sure the result is yours and at a cost only you are comfortable with. If you are advised to go with a certain brand name, ask why. Have to move your plumbing? Be comfortable with the responses enough that you can explain the “whys” to someone else with confidence. I am not dictating to micro manage a flow, just understand it.
Believe it or not, dust mites are everywhere. We hear about them, get disgusted by them, and swear they have not made a home in ours. The question is, have they? So, what are these nasty crawlers? They are microscopic, eight-legged, non-parasitic insect/creatures. Are you ready to get grossed out? Dust mites feed on human skin, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, fungi, to name a few. They thrive in high humidity (70 % and over). Have a tremendously dusty section in the house? Like under the sofa or bed? Have pets? They live mostly on dead human and pet skin. Beware….
The growing concern about dust mites is the allergic reaction many have to them, and do not even know it. General symptoms people on average have are allergies, not limited to respiratory issues (asthma), sneezing, itchy eyes, and eczema all associated with dust mites. Are you ready to get grossed out, again? The allergen associated with dust mites are their feces and surrounding body, which make up dust among other things, and because they are microscopic they become airborne almost immediately after the dust has been moved around during activities, like cleaning.
We shed about 1/5 ounce of dead skin each week. Did you know that? An average man or woman sheds about 600,000 particles of skin per hour, which is approximately 1.5 pounds (680 grams) per year. Using this figure, by the age of 70, a person will have lost 105 pounds (47.6 kilograms) of skin which is equivalent to two-thirds of their entire body weight, and because we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, dust mites are found on bedding and your mattress. Grossed out even more?
Things to do:
(1). Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum your carpets, even hardwood floors to get rid of dust mites. Consider vacuums with HEPA filters, they remove 99% of particles in the air.
(2). Have a cluttered house? An over cluttered space will increase in the collection of dust, which increase your chances with dust mites. Do the one year test. Have not used it, looked at it, toss.
(3). Use a wet microfiber cloth when cleaning surfaces. Microfiber cloths rule in dust pick up, and when wet prevent circulation when dust is disrupted.
(4). Wash your bedding on the regular. Remember we shed dead skin while we sleep. These crawlers find solace on pillowcases, bed sheets, blankets, and your favorite down comforters. The rule, wash in hot water and dry it the same. High intensity heat if done weekly will remove dust mites.
(5). Lower the humidity to 50. Studies have shown that air-conditioned homes have 10 times fewer dust mites.
(6). Looking for a new living room set? You may want to reconsider overstuffed furniture. Sure, they are undoubtedly stunning and comfortable. Give it a few weeks in the house or apartment and do the old fashion slam with the hand on one of the cushions. Need I say more?