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Home Additions and Expansions

3 Tips For Stabilizing The Soil In Your Yard

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Stabilizing The Soil In Your Yard

When it comes to maintaining the beauty of your home’s exterior, landscaping can play a critical role. Homeowners often fail to realize the importance of protecting the soil that serves as the foundation for their home’s landscape. Erosion can seriously compromise the beauty and function of your home’s landscape. Here are three simple things that you can do to help prevent soil erosion in your yard in the future. 1. Know your yard’s soil profile. When trying to determine the best way to prevent soil in your home’s landscape from erosion, it can be beneficial to know the soil profile of your yard. Investing in a soil test will help you identify the types of materials that are present in your yard’s soil. Certain materials (like sand and clay) are more susceptible to erosion and will need an aggressive erosion-control strategy to remain intact. When you know if your yard’s soil has a high percentage of sand or clay, you can mix in other materials to help decrease the likelihood of erosion in the future. 2. Control the flow of water in your yard. Few things have the power to erode soil like water. In order to ensure that your home’s landscape isn’t ravaged by erosion, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to control the flow of water in your yard. Be sure that your gutters and downspouts drain into a gravel slump so that they don’t negatively affect the soil in your yard. It can also be helpful to create catch basins where rainwater and excess water from your sprinkling system can be collected without overflowing. The catch basin allows water to seep into the soil’s surface slowly over time, eliminating the potential for erosion that is created when water flows freely across your yard. 3. Plant the right foliage on sloped surfaces. Sloped areas are particularly susceptible to damage caused by erosion. To prevent the soil on slopes in your yard from eroding away, you need to plant foliage with deep root systems. Incorporating juniper, clematis, or artemisia into your landscape design ensures that you have plants with root systems that are deep enough to hold the soil in place on a sloped surface. You should see a significant reduction in soil loss once you plant the right foliage on your yard’s sloped surfaces. Erosion control should be something that all homeowners are aware of. Protect your home’s landscape from erosion by investing in a soil test, controlling the flow of water on your property, and planting the right foliage on sloped surfaces. For more information, consider contacting companies like Geotech Solutions...

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What To Do About A Chip In Your Windshield

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do About A Chip In Your Windshield

If you’re driving down the road and a big truck flings road debris against your windshield and damages it, you’re faced with the decision of whether to drive with the damage or call for roadside repairs. Each situation is different, but it generally isn’t safe to drive with a damaged windshield. It may even be against the law in your jurisdiction. Fortunately, you can call a mobile windshield repair truck to come to your location, whether it is by the road, at your work, or at home. Here is some information about how the repair process works. Evaluating The Damage The first decision the glass contractor has to make is whether to repair or replace the windshield. Even if the glass has to be replaced, it can usually be done at a mobile location. One thing that determines if the glass can be repaired is the location of the chip. If it is directly in front of your line of vision as you drive, the contractor may opt to replace the glass, even though the repairs are invisible. You don’t want to risk the repair work causing problems with how well you can see when it rains or when light hits the glass. Also, if the chip is close to the edge of the glass, it may be better to replace the windshield to ensure the glass is stable. Finally, the size of the damage is considered. Usually a small chip or two can be repaired. However, if there are several chips or if there are cracks radiating from the chips, a replacement may be indicated. Filling The Chip If the chip can be repaired on the spot, the first step is to clean debris out of the damaged area. After that, clear epoxy is injected into the glass. It fills in the chipped area to stabilize the damage, and since it is clear, it has the visual effect of making the chip disappear. The final step is to buff the surface so no bumps or residue are left behind. The contractor will let you know how soon you can drive the car. The epoxy needs to cure for several minutes depending on the type of filler used and the weather at the time. Using Your Insurance Coverage Your car insurance may not pay for windshield repairs since they are not as costly as glass replacements. Be sure to check your coverage before you have the work done so you know if you have to pay out of pocket or if the contractor can bill your insurance company. If your windshield has to be replaced, there is a better chance your car insurance will kick in so you can have the work done at no cost to you. Whether your insurance company pays for the repairs or not, you don’t want to put off fixing the glass. A sudden temperature change or hitting a bump in the road could cause the chip to send out cracks that lead to further damage. When the glass is cracked, it isn’t stable. That means you aren’t protected as well in case of an accident. Plus, if the damage spreads into your line of sight, it could pose a danger when you’re driving down the road. Make it a priority to repair your...

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Understanding How to Resolve Sparking Outlet Problems

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding How to Resolve Sparking Outlet Problems

If you have recently started noticing sparks coming from your home outlets, then this may be an issue that needs to be addressed by a residential electrician. However, the problem also may be one that can be fixed fairly easily by you if you have some DIY skills. Keep reading to learn about what you need to do to resolve the issue. Identify Ordinary Sparks Some outlet sparking is normal, especially if you have not used an outlet in some time. If this is the case, then you will notice a spark as soon as you plug in a light, appliance, computer, or other object. In this case, the spark is one that develops due to the fast moving electricity that surges through the outlet and into the plug. Basically, the electricity moves faster than your hand and a spark forms between the outlet and the metal plug. This spark is not very strong and it is also not dangerous. It is similar to the release of electrical energy that you may see when static builds and discharges.  Just like static electricity, the spark may be more pronounced if it is dry in your home. Dry air allows an electrical charge to build up and the resulting discharge is larger than normal. If the sparking issue is worrisome to you, then consider adding a humidifier to your home to help moisten the air. If the sparks stop when you add the humidifier, then the issue was likely a normal and common one that does not need to be addressed further. Consider Short Circuits In some cases, sparks are the result of an outlet that has a short circuit. A short circuit is when electrical current moves outside of its intended path. Intended paths are closed ones that help to keep or retain the electrical current in a controlled and safe environment. Under normal circumstances, the electricity enters the home through the main power line and then through the circuit breaker panel. The current branches off and moves through each of the connected wires attached to the breakers. The electricity then reaches each outlet where electricity flows through the plug and into the light or appliance.  All wires are covered with insulation to keep the current controlled and moving through the intended path. However, if the insulation breaks, then electricity will discharge out of the wire and into the air. Also, if the bare wire butts up against a metal part of the outlet, a screw, or another piece of metal in the region, then the metal will conduct the electrical flow. The short circuit issue can cause a spark to form.  Short circuit sparks are larger and more serious than normal outlet discharge ones. They can cause fires and they also can create an electrocution issue. The most common cause of a short circuit is the general wear and tear or aging of the wires or other components that attach to the outlet. You can turn off your electricity and investigate the wiring attached to the outlet. Look for any signs of missing insulation or rust around the wires. If you see any issues, then you can replace the wiring. If you do this, just make sure to use wire nuts or screw on wire attachments wherever new wiring is spliced into place. ...

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5 Reasons To Choose A New Construction Home

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Reasons To Choose A New Construction Home

When you’re ready to purchase a different house, you may have the option of looking at existing homes vs. new construction homes in a brand new community. It is not surprising that many people prefer purchasing a newly built home. There are a number of reasons to choose new construction homes, such as: Make Your Home Your Own One of the best things about purchasing a new construction home is the fact that you will have the opportunity to help design your future home. Most builders allow the buyer to select the flooring, countertops, and appliance packages that they prefer. That means that you get exactly what you want when you move in — no need to worry about spending more money to make changes or start remodeling projects after closing. In addition, in many cases, when you buy a new construction home, you can select the lot that you would like your home to be built on. Warranties Almost all home builders offer buyers of new construction homes a warranty that guarantees the house for a specified amount of time. So if, by chance, any type of problem arises in the months after you move in, you can rest assured that it will be repaired for you, and you won’t have to spend any money out of pocket. Community Features New home builders typically build in new communities that are carefully planned out. A lot of new communities being built in this day and age offer parks, sports courts, walking and biking paths, and beautiful common areas. Some larger new communities may also offer a clubhouse and community pool for residents to use. All of these features can make buying a new construction home the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Less Maintenance While owning a home can be great, many homeowners dread the regular maintenance that must be done. Luckily, most new construction homes don’t require a lot of maintenance or financial investments. Since everything is brand new, you won’t have to worry about replacing an old roof, upgrading old appliances, or making any other type of major repair. Instead, you can just relax and enjoy your brand new home during your free time. Energy Efficiency A huge plus for new construction homes is the fact that many home builders are building incredibly energy efficient homes. It is not uncommon for new construction homes to have energy efficient windows and appliances, which can help reduce electric and gas...

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Compare and Contrast: Impact and Double-Pane Windows

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Compare and Contrast: Impact and Double-Pane Windows

If you are considering updating the windows in your home, two popular choices are double-pane and impact windows. However, they each provide unique benefits and are not necessarily equally appropriate for every home in every area. Therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of the following information about those options, so that you can be sure that you have made the most appropriate choice for your needs.  Understanding the Double-Pane Window The double-pane window is often well known because of its ability to provide extra insulation to the home. It is important to note that they do provide some extra resistance to high winds or flying debris because they are thicker than the standard single-pane windows many homes still have. However, they are not appropriate or legal in some areas that are prone to hurricanes or other severe weather.   Instead, they are often a better choice for homeowners who want to make ecologically responsible choices for their home and save money on their heating and cooling costs. They consist of two panes of glass that are separated by an area featuring an insulative gas. For extra protection against heat or cold, a double-pane window can receive external glazing. Planning for Impact Windows Impact windows are remarkably similar to double-paned windows, but tend to be the purchase of choice for homeowners in areas that are prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. They are also made of two or more panes of glass, but their panes are connected using plastic. They usually need to be installed in window areas that have been reinforced to allow for better support and protection against high winds.  If you live in an area such as South Florida where hurricanes are common, there are laws that may impact your use of impact windows. For instance, your glass needs to be certified to stand up to specific wind speeds and debris so that if an object flying at a high rate of speed hits the window during a storm, the window is less likely to shatter. If windows do shatter, their construction allows the pieces to break apart and, thus, the damage is less likely to be deadly.            In conclusion, the windows on your home can have an enormous impact on the safety of everyone inside the home and even the costs of keeping your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Check out for more information about which window you should...

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Fixing Puck Dents in Your Garage Door

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fixing Puck Dents in Your Garage Door

Any parent with a child that loves to play hockey knows that stray pucks are bound to find their way to a closed garage door. If shot with enough force, a stray puck can easily create a dent in the surface of your garage door. If you notice some puck damage on the surface of your garage door, here are three simple tips that you can use to help you fix these dents.  1. Pound out the dent. Small dents can sometimes be pounded out with the help of a rubber hammer. Close the garage door and locate the dented area on the inside of the door. Place a small block of wood over the dented area, then pound this block of wood with a rubber hammer. The wood block helps to absorb the blow of the hammer and distribute the force evenly over the surface area of the dent. Continue pounding until the dent has been pushed out and the surface of the garage door is even once again. 2. Fill in the dent. If you are unable to pound the dent out of the surface of your garage door, then you may want to try filling in the concave area in order to create a smooth surface on your garage door’s exterior. Auto body filler can be used to fill in the dented area. Mix the filler according to the manufacturer’s directions, then apply a generous amount to the concave surface of the dent. Smooth the filler with a piece of cardboard, let it harden, and then sand the area smooth before applying a fresh coat of paint to the entire exterior surface of the door. This process will help to camouflage puck-shaped dents in your garage door. 3. Replace the dented panel. When you are unable to pound out a puck-shaped dent and you don’t want the hassle of painting the whole door to camouflage a dent that has been filled in with auto body filler, you can opt to replace the damaged panel with a new one. Contact a garage door manufacturer like Callahan Door and Window in your area to secure the parts if you feel comfortable completing the repair yourself, or partner with a reliable garage door technician to have the dented panel replaced by a professional. If your kids have left puck-shaped dents on the surface of your garage door, you can easily remove these dents by pounding them out, filling them in, or replacing the dented...

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Dealing with and Preventing Frozen Concrete in Your Concrete Pump Boom

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing with and Preventing Frozen Concrete in Your Concrete Pump Boom

If you are an individual who has recently taken on multiple concrete-pouring jobs in the late fall or early winter, then you need to worry about concrete freezing. This is especially true if you use a concrete pump truck. If this is your first time using a pump truck in the cold weather, then you may not be familiar with the way the concrete needs to be handled when it does freeze. Keep reading to understand how to deal with concrete-freezing problems and how they can be avoided once the issue is initially dealt with. How to Deal with Freezing Concrete As you mix concrete and feed it through the boom pipeline attached to the hopper, the water within the mix can freeze. If you are continually mixing concrete and pouring a large slab, then the concrete will typically freeze on the inside of the boom and create a layer of frozen material from the inside edge of the pipeline inward. You will notice concrete flowing more slowly and eventually stopping as the pipeline becomes completely blocked with frozen material.  This may cause you to panic because concrete will typically harden inside the boom. When this happens, a time-consuming process is required to clear the material from the pipe. High-pressure water must be used to systematically chip away at the concrete a little bit at a time. However, the pressure must be slow and controlled so the internal pipe lining is not broken away. It can take hours to release the concrete before you can start pumping again. A controlled flush out will be required if you allow the concrete to harden in the boom. However, concrete stops curing once it freezes. This is one reason why special heaters are typically placed on top of concrete slabs when they are poured in the winter. This means you will have time to heat up the boom and remove the frozen concrete before it hardens.  If you notice that your pumping boom has a full blockage, then you will need to warm up the pipeline immediately so the concrete can be cleaned out. Moving the truck to a warm location like a closed garage or warehouse is a good idea. Allow the truck to sit for an hour or more and start forcing hot water into the hopper. Turn on the hydraulic concrete pump and force out all of the previously frozen concrete. Continue to force warm water through the hopper and boom until you see clean water coming out of the pipeline. How to Prevent Future Freezing Problems Once you have successfully removed the frozen concrete from the pump hopper and boom, you will want to prevent future freezing issues. There are several techniques you can use to keep the material from freezing. You can and should use hot water to mix your concrete inside the hopper. Hot water can be supplied to your work site in a variety of ways. You can either place an insulated drum heater around a large water storage tank or you can purchase a portable water heater. Large water heaters that use propane to heat the fluid are a good choice if you have limited access to electricity around your work area. You should also make sure that you insulate your boom to keep the heated concrete mixture as...

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3 Tips For A More Successful Neighborhood Cleanup

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For A More Successful Neighborhood Cleanup

If you dread looking at your street and surrounding neighborhood every time you pull into your driveway or even glance through your front window, it may be time to take action by spearheading a neighborhood cleanup day. These events can help foster community spirit while transforming the area into a place everyone can be proud to live in. Here are three useful tips for helping you guide your cleanup effort to fruition. 1. Get Groups and Associations Involved It takes a village to clean a neighborhood. Obviously, you’ll want the full involvement of your neighbors, who hopefully will be motivated to help by the thought of their own residential area looking nice and clean. But not everyone will be willing or available to participate in a cleanup initiated by a single concerned individual — especially if there are equipment and supplies to be paid for. That’s why you need the support and sanction of local groups and associations. Your own neighborhood association is the natural starting point to find support and assistance for your neighborhood cleanup project. This organization can promote the event and drum up interest through word of mouth, flyer distribution and frequent mentions on the association’s website (including listings on its calendar of upcoming events). But you’re not limited to your neighborhood association; you can also seek out support from community and non-profit organizations that might be willing to donate funds or volunteer their own labors for the cleanup. You can even use the power and reach of social media to broadcast your cleanup effort to the general public.  2. Rent a Dedicated Dumpster Once you have gathered your small army of cleanup volunteers, you’ll need to make sure that all the garbage actually has somewhere to go. Simply discarding it in your weekly trash pickup receptacles will overload those receptacles in a hurry, interfering with people’s ability to take out their daily trash and ultimately making the neighborhood look even uglier. A more practical approach is to rent a dumpster to hold all that extra material. Dumpsters can be especially useful for containing oversized debris such as cut tree branches or rusty old lawn decorations. Keep in mind that all dumpster rentals are not created equal. The size of the unit and the duration of the rental period are key factors in what you’ll pay, so if you want to spend less than $100, make sure you’re getting a smaller unit for a single day. Get a roll-off unit (one equipped with wheels) so you can move this heavy receptacle around more safely and easily. 3. Be Ready to Transport Certain Items Some items cannot legally go into a dumpster. These include fuels, solvents and other dangerous chemicals as well as the items built to contain them, such as freon-using refrigeration units or lead-acid batteries. Fireworks and fully intact tires are also prohibited, as are electronic appliances containing mercury and other potential toxins. As a result, you may have a large number of items that need to be transported to a facility that can dispose of them safely. If you’re lucky, you may have access to a local service that will drop by your neighborhood and pick up the offending items for you. In other cases, however, you should be ready to transport them yourself. You can engage neighborhood...

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5 Things You Need to Know before Starting That Interior Painting Project

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Things You Need to Know before Starting That Interior Painting Project

One of the fastest and least expensive ways to give your one interior a quick makeover is to apply fresh paint. However, most do-it-yourselfers make a variety of mistakes that leave them with less-than-professional results. Following are five things you need to know before you pick up that paintbrush and start that interior painting project.  1. You Can Purchase Paints in Sample Sizes Instead of spending money on full-sized cans only to discover that the color isn’t quite what you had in mind, purchase sample-sized paints and give them a trial run. Many consumers aren’t aware that this is even an option, but most paint companies offer mini cans in pint-sized containers. These allow you to test out how a certain color is going to appear on a larger area in a way that simple swatches can’t before you make a financial commitment to buying gallons of paint. Instead of painting part of your wall with the sample paint, you can also use it on a large piece of foam board and move it around the room to get an idea of how the end result will look.  2. You Shouldn’t Neglect the Prep Work  A paint job is only as good as the initial prep work. Failing to properly prepare the intended surface by cleaning it with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, sanding down any rough surfaces, filling holes with spackle, and applying a coat of primer will result in a sloppy paint job that appears amateurish. Also, be sure to prep the immediate area by removing furniture and wall hangings, placing protective coverings on flooring, and protecting baseboards, windowsills, and trim from splattering by applying protection to the area. You can also use a painting tool called an edger in the corners to prevent the uneven look rollers and brushes sometime cause. Light fixtures, outlet covers, and switch plates should also be removed before beginning the painting process. Turning the electricity off at the circuit breaker in rooms to be painted is also a wise precaution.  3. You Should Combine Gallons for Maximum Consistency Unfortunately, slight inconsistencies in color frequently exist between different gallons of the exact same paint, and even slight variations in shade make a room look uneven. Circumvent this problem by combining gallons of paint in a large bucket and stirring thoroughly to ensure a uniform result. This practice is referred to by professional painters as boxing and is one of the reasons why professional paint jobs always look so good.  4. You Should Be Careful Not to Underestimate Drying Time One of the biggest mistakes made by do-it-yourselfers is to fail to provide the first coat of paint with the necessary time to dry before applying the second coat. If you’re using a water-based latex paint, you’ll only need to wait about four hours before working on the second coat. However, oil-based paints will take more time to dry. For instance, even though an oil-based paint may be dry to the touch after eight hours or so, it won’t be ready to accept a second coat of paint for at least twenty-four hours. Also, atmospheric humidity plays a significant role in how quickly paint may dry. To speed the process up, particularly if humidity levels are high, open windows and turn on...

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Looking for a Weekend Project? Consider These 3 Energy-Efficient Projects

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Looking for a Weekend Project? Consider These 3 Energy-Efficient Projects

From laying new sod in the backyard to finally fixing that loose siding on the garage, your home improvement to-do list seems to never end. However, before you begin tackling these chores, you should consider projects that will save you money and help control your home’s energy consumption. Here are three energy-efficient home improvement projects that will save you big money in the future: Fill in the Gaps One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to make your home more energy efficient is to identify any gaps and areas that allow drafts to flow through your home. There are several common places where air flows in and out of your home, including these: the seals around your door and windows pipes wall and roof vents In addition, there are other less noticeable places where cool or warm air can enter your house. These include around outdoor spigots and where the electrical and gas lines enter your home. Fill the gaps and cracks with a caulk made especially for the particular substance you’re sealing. For example, there are caulks made for use on brick, wood, glass, or metal. Scrape away any existing caulk and clean the area with a wet rag before filling the gap or crack with a new line of caulk. For wider cracks or gaps, run two lines of caulk. When it comes to your doors and windows, replace the existing weather stripping. Over time, weather stripping begins to degrade and crack, which allows drafts to enter your home. Invest in a Tankless Water Heater According to Angie’s List, a typical, traditional storage water heater will last anywhere from eight to 12 years. If your water heater is getting older or you simply want a more energy-efficient option, a tankless water heater is the best bet. A tankless water heater can be installed in a matter of hours, and, unlike a traditional model, you won’t ever have to worry about running out of hot water while in the shower! In addition to providing you with a steady stream of hot water and saving you big money on your monthly electric bill, here are a few additional reasons to consider a tankless water heater: Traditional water heaters feature tanks that can store stagnant water for several hours or days. During this time, calcium and lime scale buildup with cause discolorations and noticeable impurities. Tankless heaters don’t store water, which cuts down on this unwanted buildup. Because there isn’t any lime scale or calcium buildup in them, tankless water heaters typically last longer than the older, traditional models. Tankless water heaters typically take up less space than a storage water heater model. Most tankless heaters are mounted on the wall, either inside or outside of your home. Check a website like to learn more about tankless water heaters and how to get them installed. Install a New Front Door  Finally, there is one additional DIY project that can save you money on your energy bills and also improve your home’s curb appeal: a new front door. However, before you assume that a wood door is the best option, Consumer Reports recommends choosing a unit constructed from fiberglass or steel. Like wood, fiberglass and steel materials are both durable and available in several colors. However, steel and fiberglass provide...

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