Solar Energy Goes Through The Commercial Roofing

Your commercial roofing experts for new construction and existing structures.

Whether you’re looking for a built-up roofing system, a ​metal roofing system, or something in-between, we are the team to execute that part of the project for you. Protect your commercial assets with a high-quality, dependable roof that will last through the toughest storms for decades to come

Superior Process With Accountability

Every roofing project is assigned a dedicated project manager to guide you through every step of the process. We’ll review choices, provide you with options, and back work with a warranty.

Family Owned and Operated

Contracting is family owned and made up of local homeowners just like you. As customer you’ll always know what to expect and can rest assured you’ll get the highest quality service at the right price.

Contracting committed to quality and community, and clients find that the combination means they don’t ever have to worry about partnering. Stop worrying about your commercial roofing needs and join the hometown team

Contracting’s team of local roofing professionals can complete your project with ease.

Roof replacement

Roof installation

Roof repair

Storm damage

Commercial roofing

 

Things You Want from Your Commercial Roofer

Honest

Most businesses stay in business in the area because they treat all customers honestly. You may think having professional affinities (belonging to associations and clubs) is key; yet you are unlikely to trust a roofer with your business’s roof if you worry the company will be dishonest with you, affiliations or not.

Responsible

A really good commercial roofing company will take responsibility for maintenance and repair on your roof, offering a complete program of inspection, upkeep, and response. Being responsible means offering multiple solutions:

Roof preservation

Roof cleaning to extend roof life

Roof repair

Roof replacement when needed

Caring

What if your roof starts leaking Friday at 4:45 p.m.? Should you politely sit and wait until Monday morning? Will your commercial roofing contractor care enough about you as a client to send an emergency response crew? Select a roofer who cares enough to work around your schedule and work until the job is done.

Part of caring about customers, for Roofing, means being considerate of your time, budget, employees and your own company’s customers. can schedule work to cause minimal disruption. also clean up after ourselves, being considerate of your property (not every commercial roofing company can make that claim).

 

Glossary Of Popular Commercial Roofing Materials – A Primer

In the United States, there are currently more than 50,000 companies providing their customers with sheet metal, siding, and roofing contractors. If you’re looking to hire a commercial roofing company, then you’ll need to know what you’re talking about. But not everyone can understand the difference between TPO roofing and EPDM Rubber Roofing, or the different pros and cons of asphalt and steel.

So before you hire commercial roofing contractors to replace or repair your building’s roof in Michigan, check out this helpful glossary of common commercial roofing materials and terms — from the Grand Rapids roofing experts!

Asphalt, Bitumen: Asphalt is a popular roofing material made from an organic, tar-like substance called bitumen. You might now asphalt from those shingles common on many residential buildings, but asphalt is used differently in commercial and industrial settings. There are two common types of asphalt commercial roofing, Built-Up-Roofing (BUR) and Modified Bitumen Systems (MBS).

BUR: Built-up-roofing is one of the most popular kinds of commercial roofing materials, and you probably know them as the familiar “tar and gravel” roofs. They consist of alternating layers of bitumen and insulation materials.

Energy Star Certified: Commercial roofing materials that have been independently verified to increase energy efficiency without sacrificing functionality.

EPDM Rubber Roofing Systems: EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) are manufactured from oil and gas and are usually applied to low-slope commercial buildings. They can also be made with recycled material and are known for reflecting sunlight and heat.

 

Top Commercial Roof Maintenance Tips

Roofs are one of the most important features to keep in good condition on a building. It’s often the first thing one notices when assessing a building’s quality, and a good roof can save you many headaches throughout your ownership of the property. The quality and condition of your roof will also have an effect on your insurance rates.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent damage to your roof, including regular maintenance and inspection, clearing overhanging tree branches, clearing gutters and more. Some things you should also be on the lookout for are:

Water stains on the ceiling

Signs of mold or mildew

Wood damage caused by insects

commercial roofing company uses a 13-point inspection process for commercial roofing inspections. Any needed repairs will be executed within the allotted predetermined budget price. Thereafter, the routine inspection report will be less costly and is designed to correct any small problems that may arise.

This Preventive Maintenance Program is designed to lengthen the life expectancy of the roof. It is not a warranty extension, however. All manufacturer/roofing contractor warranties still apply. All clients who sign up for the Preventive Maintenance Program will receive preferential treatment in case of any emergency.

To ensure their warranties, most roofing manufacturers/contractors require a documented maintenance program after installation of a new roof. Unfortunately, water damage caused by a leaking roof may not be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty if you do not follow the recommended maintenance procedures and alert the manufacturer in the time frame specified on your warranty

 

Useful Tips for Hiring Roofing Professionals

Looking for a professional roofer is not an easy thing to do, as most people feel confused about making a choice. Certainly, there are a number of service providers in the roofing industry &the competition isn’t lacking. From the point of view of a property owner who’s looking for Surrey roofing specialists to repair or install a roof on his home, there are several different aspects to be considered. Depending on whether they need emergency, or regular roofing services, needs may differ. Then there are the most suitable types of roofs to be installed, as per the geographical location of property & the climate conditions. How can the best, most professional roofer be chosen? The following tips will be very helpful for ensuring that you get quality and service combined.

Request Estimates from Different Roofers

One of the best ways of hiring the most experienced Surrey roofing professionals is by requesting estimates from two or three different contractors. Affordability limits may be different & soare the roofing needs. With the estimates, it will be possible to gauge the difference between the service qualities. Well known roofers offer free quotes to their clients without any pushy requests & it will be easier to make a choice then. How can such experienced roofers can be found? It’s easier nowadays through internet searches& quote requests can also be made online without any inconvenience.

Skills to Repair & Install All kinds of Roofs

Before hiring any roofing contractor, it should be ensured that the he is capable of serving all kinds of roof types, be it asphalt, flat, shingled & others. There are some contractors who only specialize in certain types, while for other types of roofing, they offer recommendations. This information can be obtained by looking at the portfolios of roofers & the reviews of their clients. As well, information related to the range of products and services is also available on their websites.

Recommendations from Acquaintances

Service quality from Surrey roofing contractors matters for every roofing need, be it roof repair, re-roofing or new roof installation. Getting recommendations from friends, neighbors & other acquaintances can be very helpful, as the roofing service quality they’ve experienced can help you make a better choice.

Choosing The Best Carpet Flooring Option For Your Home

Things to know before laying down money or carpet

It just makes sense that, the more you know about something, the better able you are to make a smarter purchase decision. That goes in spades for buying carpet. Information about the construction of carpet is good, but knowledge about carpet specifics and characteristics, about its traits and subtle differences, can be invaluable.

It’s a fact. Choosing the best carpet is really about knowing the right combination of characteristics, aesthetics, performance and budget to best meet the needs of your lifestyle. For example, looped Berbers and high twist friezes perform wonderfully in high traffic areas in your home, but an elegant Saxony in the same area may show footprints. Isn’t that good to know?

UNDERSTAND THIS ABOUT SEAMS.

Carpet is available in 12’, 15’ and sometimes 13’ widths. Unless the room to be carpeted is narrower than these widths, the carpet will be seamed. With looped or low-profile patterned carpet you may have visible or peaked seams. The degree of their visibility depends on texture, color, lighting and furniture placement

A NOTE ON BACKING AND LOOPS.

Be aware that, as carpet bends over stairs, its backing may show depending on texture, color and density. Plus, you should know that looped carpet can snag, particularly at a seam or at a carpet transition. But never fear, in the Carpet Floor Care section we provide information on how to properly care for looped carpet

EVERY CARPET HAS A CHOSEN COURSE.

The nap of all carpets run in one direction. Pile reversal, or shading, is a normal characteristic of many cut pile style carpets. This can be particularly apparent with plush carpet. If this becomes an issue, consider window treatments and furniture placement as a way to minimize this effect.

 

Carpeted floors

Carpeted floors are favorites in the household because they can easily create a cozy and luxurious atmosphere in any room in your home. Carpet is simple to maintain, easy on the wallet with the lowest total cost, quick to install, and is versatile enough to match the decor of any room. It is also the best choice for those who prefer warm and cozy areas and sound-insulation for their floors

However, with the vast array of carpet qualities, types, and styles, the task of getting the right carpet to perfectly match a room and your needs can be daunting. Most homeowners are not acquainted with the factors affecting carpet selection and performance so they can end up with the wrong purchases if not helped by professionals.

Understanding what is important to consider when buying carpet will not only help individuals choose the right material for their carpeting; it also results in a good investment and the most cost-effective decisions.

Carpet Durability

The most important aspect of carpet for the long-term is its durability. There is more to durability than just the brand and the way a carpet feels. A carpet’s durability is directly related to:

The thickness or density of the carpet

The fiber it is made from

The way a carpet is constructed (i.e. type of carpet)

Stain Resistance

When purchasing carpet for any area in your home, stain resistance is very important. Stain resistance can mean many different things when purchasing carpet

 

How to Keep your Carpet Flooring Clean and Hygienic

Putting in carpet flooring is an investment in your home – and not a cheap one either. While carpet is an excellent choice for durability and comfort, it does come with some maintenance if you want to keep it hygienic and looking good over the course of the next several years.

And let’s face it – carpets get dirty. But if you let them pile up, spills, snags, stains, and everyday wear and tear can leave your carpets looking dingy and worn. Worse – if you don’t maintain them properly and clean them regularly, allergens and other particulates can build up and become a health hazard for you and your family!

Vacuum Regularly

The number one thing you can do to keep your carpets clean and fresh is to vacuum them regularly. Ideally, you should be vacuuming your carpets once a week – twice in areas with heavy foot traffic. Dirt and other particulates tracked into your home have abrasive qualities and it can actually erode the backing of your carpet flooring when it’s ground into the carpet by daily foot traffic.

Treat Stains Immediately

Prevention is obviously the best strategy with spills and carpet, but sometimes life just happens. Especially if you have kids or pets, spills and accidents and stains are just inevitable. But when they do happen, treating them immediately can save you a lot of frustration later.

Have the Carpet Cleaned Professionally Once a Year

Even when you vacuum weekly, your carpeting will get dirty over time. Dust, dirt, pet dander, and pollen that are too deep to be reached with the vacuum will start to build up and make your carpet dingy and unhygienic.

 

OFFICE CARPETS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO OFFICE CARPETING

Office carpets are on top of the list for many businesses when choosing what kind of flooring the office should have. With brilliant design selections, great acoustic qualities and an abundance of other advantages that check all the right boxes, carpets for offices are always a solid choice for commercial flooring. Take it from us, however, that selecting the right office carpets for each of your projects may not be as easy as it appears. There are many fantastic options with so many factors to take into account. Therefore, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to take you through the entire process of choosing the best office carpets.

Why Office Carpeting Is a Great Choice for Office Spaces

Allowing you more freedom and flexibility in creativity and design than any other flooring material, office carpeting is the perfect pick for any office design project. With new high-velocity dye-technologies, custom carpet manufacturers provide you with the tools to create virtually anything on high-quality material at an appropriate price. Flooring is such an important part of any design project, encompassing a massive percentage of an office space. Great office carpets enable you to use this space to your advantage by creating a design that defines the brand you are working for, and a carpet for office use is the most practical flooring choice for an everyday work environment due to its ability to absorb and improve sound in an open office layout.

How to Choose the Best Office Carpets

Designing an office space can be a long process, part of which includes picking the perfect carpeting for the office. Choosing the right carpet for your next office-project requires you to assess the workspace and consider the multiple factors that can affect commercial carpet types. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when picking a carpet for office use.

How long does the office carpet need to last?

First things first. Figure out what the office carpet’s life expectancy should be. A basic rule of thumb: the longer the lease, the higher quality of carpet required.

How will the different spaces in the office be used?

Next, determine how much each office area will be used in terms of foot traffic and furniture movement. Private offices and conference rooms may require lower levels of carpet resilience due to moderate use, while corridors and common areas typically receive heavy use. These are important things to consider when choosing the best office carpet for your office.

 

CARE & MAINTENANCE

Like any other flooring type, carpet needs cleaning from time to time. Cleaning a carpet is easier than you may think. Discover our simple carpet cleaning tips.

Common sense will take you a long way when it comes to keeping your carpet gorgeous and clean. Follow these simple tips:

Vacuum regularly Remove dust and dirt with a powerful vacuum cleaner. This is a good habit that improves the air quality in your home and ensures the durability of your carpet. Note that heavy traffic areas may need more regular vacuuming than other areas.

Use doormats at entrances A simple walk-off mat or entrance mat prevents dirt from getting transferred all over the building and into the fibre of your tufted carpet. Make sure to clean these mats often, so that they do not become a source of dust and dirt themselves.

Take care of spills as they happen It’s best to take care of spills as quickly as possible. Don’t let liquids or dirt dry up and set in. The quicker you act, the easier the stain can be removed. Follow the stain and spill removal guidelines below.

Spills and stains don’t have to be a problem. Always act quickly and follow these guidelines for an effective and correct stain removal:

Grease stains Use a product specifically designed to treat grease stains. Warm water alone won’t remove the grease. Never apply these types of products directly to the carpet fibre or yarn. It could be a good idea to test the product on a small area of the tufted carpet first, to see if the product causes any decolourisation. 1. Use a piece of cotton wool and apply to the edges of the stain, working inwards. 2. Blot with absorbent tissue or paper towel. The carpet may darken during this process, but this should disappear afterwards. 3. Dampen the area with a light soap solution (add half a teaspoon of professional carpet shampoo to 2 liters of lukewarm water) to remove any cleaning product residue. 4. Blot with tissue or paper towel. 5. Dry the area with a hair-dryer, moving continuously over the stain, to avoid watermarking. 6. Repeat this process if the stain is not entirely removed. 7. The final step is to cover the stained area with 6 layers of paper towel, place a heavy object on top and leave to dry for 24 hours. The paper towel will absorb stains in the base of the yarns.

Water-based stains 1. Soak up the spill immediately with absorbent tissue or paper towel. 2. Re-wet the stained area with lukewarm water on a sponge or piece of cotton wool to dilute the spilled liquid. 3. Blot with tissue or paper towel. 4. Dry the area with a hair-dryer, moving continuously over the stain, to avoid watermarking. 5. Repeat this process if the stain is not entirely removed. 6. The final step is to cover the stained area with 6 layers of paper towel, place a heavy object on top and leave to dry for 24 hours. The paper towel will absorb stains in the base of the yarns.

Dried-in (water-based) stains 1. Scrape off excess spill with a spoon, from the edges of the stain to the centre. If necessary, freeze the spill with ice cubes and then scrape off with a spoon. Make sure to not put the ice cubes on the carpet directly, as they will melt and soak the area. Put them in a plastic bag instead. 2. Apply a light soap solution (add half a teaspoon of professional carpet shampoo to 2l of lukewarm water) to a piece of cotton wool and dampen the stained area. 3. Blot with tissue or paper towel. 4. Dry the area with a hair-dryer, moving continuously over the stain, to avoid watermarking. 5. Repeat this process if the stain is not entirely removed. 6. The final step is to cover the stained area with 6 layers of paper towel, place a heavy object on top and leave to dry for 24 hours. The paper towel will absorb stains in the base of the yarns.

IN-DEPTH CLEANING

Even if you vacuum your carpet regularly and treat stains accordingly, an in-depth cleaning is necessary once every 12 to 24 months. This will remove persistent dirt and smaller particles that cause your carpet to wear out.

There are various in-depth cleaning methods. Here is an overview of the most common ones:

Wet shampoo First test to see if the product is of a good quality. Pour some drops on a saucer and let them evaporate overnight. If the leftover stain looks greasy or sticky, avoid using the product. Dust could cling to the sticky film that is formed over your carpet. When you rent a shampooing machine, follow its instructions precisely. Make sure to remove your furniture and vacuum before shampooing. It is very important to not let your tufted carpet get too wet. This can cause permanent damage to the fibre and backing.

Dry powder or dry shampoo Follow the instructions on the package. Make sure to properly vacuum the carpet afterwards, to remove any leftover product.

Injection-extraction with hot water – Also referred to as “steam cleaning”. The injection-extraction method does not require steam, so this term is actually incorrect. With injection-extraction, the carpet pile is injected with hot water and a cleaning solution under pressure. The water is extracted immediately, as it is suctioned out by a wet vacuum system. This prevents the carpet from getting too wet. Injection-extraction is very efficient and cleans out all of the dirt and shampoo residues from prior cleanings. This type of cleaning should be done by a professional. If you rent a machine and do it yourself, you risk over-wetting and soaking the carpet. This could permanently damage the backing and fibres.

A combination of these different methods is also possible. A wet or dry shampoo treatment first and a hot water injection-extraction cleaning second, for example.

Things To Consider When Hiring A Family Law Attorney

Ways a Good Divorce Lawyer Can Truly Help You

A good divorce lawyer is going to take care of you and your case in ways that you may not have considered, and beyond what you would normally expect. You might get divorced once, maybe twice. The best divorce attorneys have represented hundreds of divorce cases. Someone with years of experience and dedication to family law is invaluable when it comes to protecting your rights and your future.

A good divorce lawyer lays out both the good news and the bad.

The hallmark of great legal counsel is, regardless of your situation and no matter what you may want to hear, that attorney is going to give you the legal guidance that will protect your best interests. Always—even if it is not the most popular advice.

Top attorneys strive for favorable settlement; – yet are fully prepared to go to trial.

The primary goal is to reach a resolution to all issues of a divorce through negotiation, settlement, or mediation. A good divorce attorney knows that one of the most successful strategies in securing a favorable settlement at any stage of a divorce case is to have the reputation and ability as a competent, effective trial lawyer who will proceed formally to trial, if necessary.

A highly competent attorney breeds confidence.

People facing divorce feel like they’re standing on shaky ground. For example, budgets and finances will be upset, as you try to establish your own separate household. Or you may fear spending less time with your children than before, as shared custody and parenting plans set legally binding visitation and living arrangements. Yet just because the future will be different, does not mean it will be unfair.

A good divorce lawyer can protect your reputation

Divorce has potential to become very negative. Maintaining your reputation is critical, yet many people do not take this into account. Emotions run high in divorce proceedings, and a spouse may use this opportunity to launch an unjustified attack on the other spouse. It is hard in these cases to take the high ground and not retaliate with further unfavorable conduct. These situations call for counsel who is accomplished in dealing with high conflict cases, where one or both parties’ reputations have had to be managed throughout the case.

 

Things to Know About Family Court

If you are the victim of domestic violence and need legal help, this guide contains some basic information about family court. While a lawyer who knows about domestic violence is the best person to help, many survivors cannot find or afford lawyers to represent them in court. This quick guide provides general information about family courts across the country. Keep in mind some information may not apply to your court or your state.

Dividing Retirement Benefits at Divorce

At the time you’re going through your divorce, retirement may be the last thing on your mind. However, retirement benefits are very valuable and can ensure your economic security in old age

Even if your divorce decree awards you a share of the retirement benefit, though, you might still not be able to receive it unless you take certain additional steps after your divorce. If you wait too long after your divorce, obtaining a share of your former spouse’s retirement benefits may become more difficult or even impossible. This guide gives you some tips on how to be sure you receive any benefits you were awarded at divorce.

Do you want child support but are afraid of how your current or former partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend may react to a child support case? Are you unsure about getting child support and want to know what protections are available from your local child support agency? If you do NOT want child support because of your concerns, do you want to know how to keep a case from being opened or close a case that is already opened?

Lots of parents want or need child support but worry about getting child support safely. This booklet explains the process, describes options and offers questions to ask agency workers to help you stay safe.

 

Lawyer, teacher, translator, guide.

An accomplished divorce and family lawyer, wanted to change how he priced his services in a way that offered a closer, transparent, and unfettered working relationship with his clients. Often hearing complaints about the uncertainties and anxieties presented by hourly billing, he decided to change his business model and open a firm offering Pre-Agreed Pricing. Evolution was born.

It’s a clear and simple approach that takes to serving divorce and family law clients as they face often challenging roads ahead. “It’s important for me to listen, understand each person’s circumstances, and provide them with options so they can move forward in a positive direction,” she says. “My goal is to make sure you feel at ease and to help you make a decision as to where you want to go next.”

I will always do my very best to help clients negotiate an agreement to resolve issues outside of court when it makes sense for their situation. This allows clients to have a say in the ultimate resolution of their case without the stress, anxiety and added cost that often accompanies litigation. I also encourage clients – and really, anyone going through difficult family struggles — to ensure they have a support system in place: Friends. Family members. A therapist. I’m here to educate you, give you legal guidance and chart a path forward. But having a support system is also essential to getting you through.”

“In family law, there is an opportunity to help people and families. If possible, even with a divorce, the process doesn’t always have to be adversarial, and you can find a way to make it as friendly as possible — especially when kids are involved,” she says.

Working in law, I’ve found, is the best way I can use my skills to help people and make a difference for those who are in a difficult situation,” says, who keeps our attorneys organized as she pursues a bachelor of science degree in paralegal studies from the University

 

Tips on How to Find the Best Child Custody Lawyer

If you’re searching for a child custody lawyer you’re probably looking for the “best lawyer,” right? Few things get us as passionate or protective as our children. That is a major reason child custody cases so often become intense and contentious. We want to fight for what is in the best interest of our children.

Knowing how to choose a child custody lawyer who will provide you with the legal advice you need, at a price you can afford, and be the right fit for your situation, isn’t easy. It’s one of the most important children custody decisions you will make

However, we would not be a good fit for someone filing a personal injury claim for example, since we do not focus our practice on that area of the law.

Every attorney has his or her own:

Ideas

Beliefs

philosophies, and

ways of doing business

Start to Learn About Child Custody

It used to be; the law was treated as a secret. The only way you could get your questions answered was to talk with a lawyer. There were no “free consultations.” That is no longer the case.

Gather the Names of Potential Child Custody Lawyers

Think about your problem. What have you learned about your type of case? Now, can you summarize your problem in 20 words or less? “I am having a child custody problem.” “I would like to get visitation with my child” “My ex-girlfriend will not let me see my child.”

 

Representing Yourself in Parenting Matters

It is common in the Family Court and in the Federal Circuit Court for parties to represent themselves for all or part of the proceedings. This may be because they cannot afford a lawyer and do not qualify for legal aid. It may also be because they want to save money and think they do not need a lawyer as they can manage the proceedings themselves. If you are considering representing yourself in a family law matter, here are some things to keep in mind.

Try to resolve the matter out of court

If you are applying for orders in relation to children, the court will require parties to have attempted to resolve their dispute through Family Dispute Resolution (FRD) before commencing proceedings. Unless there is a compelling reason why mediation is not suitable for your situation, you should invite the other party to FDR and make a genuine attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement prior to filing an application.

Thoroughly prepare your material

If you are seeking orders in relation to children, you must file the following documents:

Application

Affidavit

Notice of Risk

Your application or response must clearly set out the orders you are seeking, both on an interim basis and on a final basis. If you change your mind about the orders you are seeking after you have filed your material, you must file an amended application or response as the case may be.

Issuing subpoenas

If you know or suspect that there is material that would help your case, you can issue subpoenas to obtain this material. Examples of material that you may obtain by subpoena include police records, hospital records and school records.

Tips On Successful Tax Preparation

When to Hire Someone to Do Your Taxes

Advancements in tax software make it easier to file your taxes without the help of a professional, as does this year’s increased standard deduction and simplified 1040. But there are still plenty of circumstances when you’d want to hire someone.

These situations might include:

  • You’re a freelancer or you have multiple income streams
  • You started/own your own business, or sold a business
  • You do business in a foreign country
  • You got married or divorced
  • You inherited money
  • You’re retired
  • You take care of an elderly relative
  • You want year-round tax advice
  • You have significant investment income/losses
  • You buy health insurance through a health exchange
  • You’re rich (if you’re single earning more than $250,000 or married and earning more than $300,000 jointly, per Marketwatch)

 

What does tax prep cost?

If you don’t have any itemized deductions to claim, the average cost of having a professional prepare Form 1040 plus your state tax return is $176, as per the National Society of Accountants. For a 1040 with a Schedule A for itemized deductions and a state tax return, it’s $273. And for an itemized 1040 with a Schedule C, which is a profit and loss statement from business activities, plus a state tax return, it’s $457.

Of course, these are just averages. If your tax situation is really complex, you could pay a lot more.

When to file on your own

As a general rule, if you’re planning to claim the standard deduction, there’s really no reason to hire someone to prepare your tax return. All you need to do in that case is list your income from your W-2 and 1099 forms and see where that takes you. In other words, if you can read and copy over numbers, you’re all set. You can either pay a modest fee for software (like TurboTax) and submit your own electronic return, or print out a paper return and send it in by mail. You’re generally better off going the electronic route, though, as it will help you avoid errors, capitalize on the deductions and credits you’re entitled to, and get you your refund faster, assuming you’re entitled to one.

Furthermore, if you earn less than $69,000, you’re entitled to file your taxes for free. You can do so through the IRS’s website.

Now if you’re planning to itemize your deductions but they’re all pretty straightforward, then you can still get away with filing taxes yourself. For example, if you’re simply copying your mortgage interest total, deducting property taxes, and listing your charitable donations from the past year, that’s not incredibly complicated work. In fact, the bulk of the hassle involved is gathering that information in the first place, so unless you’re truly intimidated by the notion of messing up your taxes, you can probably spare yourself the fees associated with hiring a professional.

 

Prepare Your Taxes First, Then Pay Someone To Do Them

One option to consider is preparing your own return and then hiring a professional tax preparer to also do your return or review your self-prepared return.

You’ll get all of the benefits of preparing them yourself (even though the tax software may cost you some money) and you can then compare it to the return completed by the tax professional.

You may find your DIY return matches the one you pay to have done. If it doesn’t, you can talk with your tax preparer about discrepancies and see if hiring someone to do your taxes is worth the money.

Don’t forget to talk with your tax preparer about any planning you can do to help reduce your tax liability in the future too.

 

Should I Pay for Professional Tax Preparer?

You may still have time to make decisions about doing your own taxes or paying a professional tax preparer to do them – or doing both. But putting your taxes off once you have all of your documents organized usually doesn’t make sense.

Tax time is stressful for some people and waiting to do them can cause even more anxiety.

For most Americans, federal tax returns are due on April 15th – better known as Tax Day.

But, remember filing early will help you get your refund faster and cut down on identity fraud. And if you find out you owe money after your taxes are completed, you can wait until Tax Day to file and pay the taxes due.

Knowing what you owe will allow you to take control of your finances, develop a plan to pay your taxes, and hopefully avoid taking on debt to pay the tax bill.

 

Final Reminder

Finally, remember, even if you pay someone to prepare your taxes, you personally are responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. The tax preparer can help you, but you need to make sure it’s right.

One of the biggest errors I see every year are typos – especially from people that use the major mass-market tax preparation companies that you see on TV. These data entry professionals (because they rarely offer advice or help), can mess up. They can misspell your name, mistype your Social Security number, and more. All of those will result in delays on your tax refund.

Make sure that you do a thorough review of your tax return before you file – no matter if you do it yourself or if you pay someone to help you.

Headed To Car Dealer

Buying car insurance

Used car or not – first car is a pretty big deal. I went to great lengths to pick out the one I really liked. The real work began after I decided on the car, for what followed was an endless trail of paperwork, registrations, insurance woes and transfers. Oh, the struggle was real!

Get the car and its papers inspected thoroughly

Get the car inspected fully by a mechanic you trust. This helps to either get the problems fixed by the owner before the purchase is done, or helps you negotiate the price.

A few must DOs for this:

Check the insurance papers. You will be able to indicate if the car has had any accidents or claims related to those. A quick way to see this on the policy is to note the no claim bonus (NCB) percentage applied. The higher the NCB, the better.

Check if the engine number and chassis no. match the number in the registration papers.

Check all the filters, and get them changed if possible. All filters (air, fuel, transmission, oil) need regular cleaning and oiling. Failing to do this can affect the performance of the car significantly. If nothing else, this is a quick judge of how well the car has been maintained.

Check the brakes. Drive the car at 40-50 kmph in an area that has little to no traffic. Be sure to look for any vibration, or any strange and squealing noise from the brake pedal. Brakes that pulsate could also mean that the rotors need replacement.

Examine/change tyres carefully. Check the condition of all the tyres of your car. They should be worn evenly and should match. Check the surface for feathering (bad alignment). You can learn more here from this detailed piece on tyres by Carwale.com

Check under the hood for signs of damage, dents or rust – they are signs of a poorly maintained car or a prior damaged one

Transfer the Registration Certificate (RC) to your name

For this, you should fill out and submit Form 29 & Form 30, issued by the RTO in the jurisdiction you live in (Find the RTO closest to your residence here). The form should be signed by both the previous owner and you. If the car is registered in a different jurisdiction from yours, then an NOC from that jurisdiction’s RTO will help speed the process. This registers the transaction.

Once the RC is transferred, there are also a few other important things to take care of:

Most important, getting the car insurance policy transferred in your name, or buying a new one altogether. (Details in the next section)

Check form 32 & 35 to ensure that there are no pre-existing pending loans on the car.

If buying a car bought by the previous owner on finance, ensure that you get the original invoice of the car. Also get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the car finance company.

Service book to check the history of service records Road tax receipts with the last updated payment.

Bi-fuel certification if the car is CNG/LPG fitted.

Valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate

 

Don’t buy a second hand car without reading this

Choosing what’s right for you

Your neighbour might tell you that his V8 Commodore is the best car on the road because it suits his towing needs, but it may not be the best for you. The first step to buying a car is deciding which one fits your lifestyle. Hatchbacks and small SUVs have strong city driving capabilities, thanks to their light steering and small economical engines. But if your daily drive is long or you like to road trip, the superior ride, stronger performance and features of mid-sized sedans or bigger SUVs might suit you better. There’s no such thing as the perfect car, but the perfect car for you.

Do your homework… thoroughly

Don’t rush in, do your research. People say, “I bought the first one I saw because I didn’t have time to look around.” But if you’ve worked hundreds of hours to earn the purchase price, you should take at least a couple of days to shop around. Once you’ve picked a vehicle type, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different makes and models. Safety, reliability and running costs are vital considerations. Don’t set your heart on one particular model. Test drive and check multiple cars and shortlist the best. When you’ve narrowed down to a model, drive two or three then pick the best to have professionally inspected.

Use your resources

Helpful resources for comparing different makes and models include ANCAP’s how safe is your car, productreview.com.au, RACV’s running costs survey and used car reviews. For $25, the government-run Personal Property Securities Register will deliver a full vehicle history report indicating if the car has been written off, stolen or has finance owing, as well as registration data and Takata airbag recall information. You will need the car’s VIN or registration number to search it.

What to avoid

When inspecting a car, have a thorough look and take it for a good test drive. You want to avoid poorly maintained vehicles or one with serious accident damage. Engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant leaks could indicate poor maintenance, as can uneven tyre wear and a poor service history. Poorly fitting panels or mismatched paint can indicate that a car has been in a major crash, and a PPSR report and professional inspection may be able to confirm this. It’s often safer to buy from a dealership than an unknown private seller.

Kilometres don’t tell the whole story

Kilometres on the clock tell you how far a car has travelled, but that’s just part of the story. How it has travelled those kilometres is important. A car with higher mileage that has been carefully maintained, washed every weekend and regularly serviced might be a better buy than one with lower mileage but a poor service history and some hard living in its past.

 

Engaging Social Media Post Ideas for Car Dealerships

Let’s face it, brainstorming post ideas for your social media channels regularly is a challenge. As a car dealership, your content needs to do more than generate a “like” or two. Your social posts need to convince customers to come in for a test drive. That’s not an easy feat.

Share Your Blog Posts

If your dealership is actively using content marketing to generate leads into your sales pipeline, you’ll have a plethora of blog posts at your disposal. Share these informative and entertaining articles on your social media channels regularly. On top of being an effective content distribution tool, your channels will also serve as a place for customers to find helpful articles about all things cars.

Introduce Your Employees

Buying a car is an intimidating process for many customers. Before they even think about making a showroom visit, they want to know who they’re dealing with. With this in mind, use your social media platforms to introduce your employees to potential customers.

Inventory Posts

Naturally, you’ll post your inventory to your social media channels. But don’t limit yourself to the newest and best cars only. You never know who might be searching for a specific make/model/year.

Automotive Terminology

Need a little filler content between bigger posts? Publish the definitions for commonly used automotive vocabulary. Some customers feel intimidated by car dealership industry jargon. From car parts to purchase terms, put together posts explaining these phrases. Be sure to include a picture of the part, item, or process being defined to help users fully understand the meaning.

 

Here’s a to-do list when you get your brand new car

Buying a car and finally claiming it is a magical experience. Once you claim the unit from the dealer, it’s all yours. You are free to do whatever you want with it, but you can’t just ride off into the sunset without a few preparations first.

Car ownership is a privilege and a responsibility. Having a car means that you are tethered by fuel payments, maintenance, and the law. Before you drive off into the sunset, here are a few things to consider.

Upon claiming the vehicle, you will be handed two pieces of paper – very important pieces of paper. The first is the certificate of registration (CR), the next is the official receipt (OR). These documents are issued by the LTO and is more colloquially known by its acronyms, OR/CR.

Once you get these, keep them in a safe place and don’t fold them. Ask the dealership or a photocopier service to get these documents replicated. Have a handful of copies on hand, a few to file, and one to keep in the car for identification purposes. Don’t keep the original OR/CR in the car, because if those documents get lost, you will be hard-pressed to get another from the LTO.

It is important to understand what protects your car. By browsing the manual you can avoid getting dumbfounded by your new acquisition. You can also learn about the warning signs to look out for like those warnings on your dashboard.

 

Crucial Questions To Ask A Used Car Dealership

The majority of buyers have no idea what sort of car they want to buy at the beginning of the shopping process. Many are open to numerous vehicle options, and this can make it very difficult to navigate the market. Many people don’t like shopping at dealerships at all, as they can find it intimidating. In fact, 56% of millennials would rather do chores than negotiate with a car dealership, while 24% of gen X’s would rather have a root canal. That seems pretty extreme!

Is This The Original Paintwork?

Asking questions about the paintwork is potentially one of the most important things you can do when buying a used car. If the car has had a repaint, this could be down to a number of reasons, including car accidents.

Can I See the Mechanic’s Pre-certification Inspection?

Every certified car has to go through an inspection before it can be certified. You should also ask to see the paperwork to find out what has been fixed. This is something you should hold on to in case of future problems.

Who Was The Vehicle Purchased From?

If the vehicle was a trade-in to the dealership, ask if you can see the maintenance records. Let them know it’s fine to black out the owner’s name and address for security purposes. If it was bought at auction, make sure a mechanic who specializes in inspecting used cars has gone over everything thoroughly.

Can I Take The Car On A Test Drive?

A test drive is a very important way of figuring out whether the vehicle is for you or not. A used car seller will be able to schedule a test drive for you on the same day, usually. Not only will this tell you a lot about the handling of the car, but you’ll also be able to look out for many faults. Steering wheel misalignment, for example, or whether the car is pulling on to one side when driving. Also look out for things like unusual noises coming from the engine, and warning lights on the dashboard. Make sure you can park the car well, ensure that space in the boot is ample, and inspect absolutely everything else that you can.

Enjoy Your Party Bus Experience

Are party buses illegal?

Do party buses get pulled over?

Close your eyes and think about the typical scene on a party bus. You can probably imagine a large group of young people standing on the seats, shouting at their friends, dancing to music, and possibly even drinking alcohol. Now ask yourself – are any of those things against the law? The answer to that question might surprise you.

Whether a party bus gets pulled over or not depends largely on the specific situation and the area. In most cases, normal traffic laws apply to the driver and to the bus company that operates the service. However, many of the typical traffic laws that apply to automobile passengers are not applicable to party bus passengers.

Many law enforcement officers feel that party buses actually make the roads safer, since they offer a safe way for crowds to travel safely, particularly if alcohol is being consumed. The lack of serious regulation on party bus behavior, though, does not mean that there is no cause for passengers or parents to be concerned about their behavior.

Party Bus Transportation Regulations

Drivers who operate party buses are required to abide by typical driving laws during operation, including using an appropriate rate of speed, following traffic signs, and maintaining a valid driver’s license. In addition, drivers who carry 16 passengers or more at a time must obtain a commercial driver’s license.

Bus companies that provide transportation services are legally required to carry adequate insurance coverage. Company owners may be subject to regular audits by state and local transportation departments to examine drivers’ safety records.

Traffic Laws for Party Buses

For the most part, normal automobile traffic laws do not apply to party bus passengers. There is no law against standing or shouting while the bus is in motion and there is no legal standard governing general passenger behavior. In fact, party buses are not even legally obligated to have seatbelts, which means that passengers are not required to wear them during a trip.

Why Passengers Should Exercise Caution

The fact that there are no concrete legal requirements for behavior on a party bus, though, does not give passengers freedom to do anything they like. The lack of legal precedent also gives local law enforcement a bit of latitude when deciding whether to pull a bus over.

Just as there is no law that requires passengers to remain seated, there is no law that prevents police from stopping buses periodically to inspect for illegal behavior. In some areas, party buses have been pulled over and their passengers have been ticketed for participating in underage drinking.

This means that passengers and parents of passengers should exercise some caution when it comes to how they behave while riding on a party bus. Passengers on a party bus are not exempt from the laws of the land that cover substance abuse and assault.

 

Legality of Party Buses

Just got paid, Friday night… this used to be the theme song of adults ready to hit the clubs on the weekend after a hard work week. Well, now the party has extended to what are known as “party buses”. This relatively new phenomenon is all the rage but not without incident. As with any new hot trend, there is typically a down side that creates a need for legislation to curb abuses. California tightened up rules regarding party buses after a San Mateo teen died in a crash after leaving a party bus.

One thing the new law does not require is any registration, notification, or license with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. However, that assumes that the alcohol is to be furnished by the travelers – not the bus operator. Travelers bring the alcohol aboard and the bus-operator just provide the housing for its ingestion. In California, there is no license type that presently permits the party bus operator to furnish the alcohol.

The Passenger Charter-party Carriers Act is in place to make sure that only carriers with specific permits from the California Public Utilities Commission engage in transportation services specifically engaged for drinking. However the newer legislation further expounds on this Act by defining responsibilities and liabilities for carriers in this business. Key regulations include:

  • Requiring any party bus or limo with minors on board to have chaperones in place to ensure that minors do not drink while on board. Carriers are required to ask when making reservations if alcohol will be consumed and if anyone under 21 will be present. If the answer is “Yes” to both questions, a chaperone must be designated. The chaperone can be held liable if underage drinking occurs on their watch.
  • Carriers and operators of buses are not only responsible for driving their passengers but they are also on the hook if underage drinking occurs while they are operating the vehicle. Failure to comply brings with it the possibility of being charged with a misdemeanor after three (3) violations.
  • Bus companies can be hit with fines up to $2000 for their first two (2) offenses and have their license revoked for a third.

 

Check your party bus

The province also wants passengers to check to make sure party buses have a special authorization licence. The licences state where vehicles can operate and how many vehicles a company can have. Passengers should look for a passenger-transportation licence plate and decal on the front of the vehicle, or if there is no plate, ask to see a temporary operating permit, before boarding a bus. The province says police will be monitoring limousines and party buses during the holiday season. Operators could lose their licence if they do not comply with liquor laws, while minors in possession of alcohol could be fined $230.

 

Tips for Renting a Party Bus

Renting a party bus is a fancy mode of celebration for special events, such as prom parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, as well as other celebratory events.

The following are some tips to help you have a smooth and enjoyable ride when renting a party bus:

  • Make sure to have a reservation. Ideally, you should make a reservation at least one month prior to your event. Then one week before your party, confirm the reservation.
  • Plan carefully and know all the details. Most rental companies need to know all the details about the special event. This is because they have to lay out decorations. In fact, there are a few companies that specialize in certain occasions.
  • Aside from that, you must also have an idea of how many of your invitees are coming.
  • In addition, you also need to know how long you expect to need the party bus service as well as your chosen route and its distance.
  • Know which party bus type would suit your party and the number of your guests. Not all party buses have the same capacity. So better know the headcount first, and then choose the party bus type that you want.
  • Know which beverages are allowed. A big part of the fun experience of renting a party bus is having cocktails and other refreshments throughout the fun ride. Ask your chosen rental company regarding which food and drinks it offers as well as its policies.
  • Select the music that you want to play. A few party bus companies offer radio or satellite radio. But that doesn’t mean you can’t choose the music that you want to play and have it on your iPod. However, it’s better if you would discuss it with them before the date of your special event.

 

Are you allowed to drink on a party bus?

Alcohol consumption laws in Arizona prohibit any person younger than 21 years of age, and, therefore, not legally considered an adult, from consuming alcoholic beverages. People who are 21 years old or older are allowed to drink onboard a party bus same as if they were in a nightclub.

In some cases, minors may be allowed in a party bus if there’s an older adult present who can prevent them from drinking alcohol, or if the party bus’ destination is someplace where minors are otherwise allowed to enter.

Needless to say, the party bus chauffeur is absolutely not allowed to consume alcohol while on duty. After all, there’s nothing more important than the safety of party bus passengers and their secure arrival at their destination.

Can you smoke on party bus?

Whether cigarettes and other tobacco-using products, such as shishas and cigars, are allowed in a party bus depends on the policy of the rental service. Because of this, there’s no universal answer to this question. It’s best to contact the rental company and ask.

As for cannabis, the answer is: definitely not. Arizona’s strict marijuana laws allow marijuana possession only to individuals who have been prescribed medicinal marijuana by their physicians. Anyone else who’s caught using or carrying weed will likely face felony charges.

It goes without saying that no trusted party bus rental service would ever allow its passengers to consume illegal substances onboard their vehicles. Any company that offers such discretion is highly suspect and should be avoided.

Office Movers To A New Office

Office Relocation Project Plan the Key to a Successful Office Move

As with any major project, proper planning and organization are key to a successful office move. Once the decision to relocate is made, the first task is to create an Office Relocation Project Plan. This is one of the most important steps taken in an office move. An office relocation plan outlines the tasks necessary to complete a successful move. It should also specify who is responsible for each task and when the tasks must be completed.

By creating an outline of every step in the moving process, you ensure necessary tasks are completed in the required timeframe. When following a good project plan, downtime and loss of productivity are kept to a minimum as the move is successfully completed on time and on budget.

How to Create an Office Relocation Project Plan

  • Determine who will be the primary person in charge of the move, whether it be you or someone else within your company. This person will serve as the in-office move coordinator. He or she should be a great organizer, have the authority to represent your company, and be capable of making snap decisions when necessary.
  • Select a small project planning team. The in-office move coordinator will serve as leader of this team, and together the team will create your office relocation plan.
  • Know or determine your key dates, such as current lease termination, preferred move date, new lease signing, new office build-out start and finish, and final date for completion of the move.
  • Estimate your relocation budget. Review it periodically throughout the move process to ensure the move stays within the budget.
  • Develop a project plan customized for your office relocation. You can use tips on what to include, such as those provided below, but the best project plan is one created specifically for your office move. Build the plan in a Word document or Excel Spreadsheet (Google Sheets would work well). List every task that must be taken to complete the move, who will be responsible for each one, and when the task should be completed.

 

What Order Should I Pack My Office In?

One of the difficulties of packing an office, whether it is your home workstation or an entire business, is that you likely need to keep working throughout at least some portion of the process. Try these tips from Big Foot Moving & Storage, Inc. for packing your office while maintaining productivity.

Remove Decorative Components

Decorative items such as paintings, posters, or small statues may be taken down and packed first. While these items make the office a pleasant place to work, they play no role in actual functionality.

Organizing the Files

In most modern offices, the contents of the filing cabinets exist primarily for record keeping, as opposed to day-to-day productivity. Gather filing boxes and transfer the contents of the cabinets to these boxes. Make sure to clearly label what cabinets the files have come from and what files are inside the box to make the unpacking process easier.

Boxing up Books

Books fall into a similar category as files. While they may sometimes be used for reference, your office likely doesn’t turn to them every day. Pack books early into small boxes to keep the weight limited. Bookshelves can be taken apart and packed at the same time as books.

Packing Your Desk Contents

Your desk and chair will likely be some of the last things to get packed, but the contents of your desk can largely be stored away in the middle of the packing process. Leave yourself with just the essentials – a few pens, a stapler, and a notepad – and pack or donate the rest. Most of your work is likely done on a computer anyway.

 

Downsize Your Paperwork Before You Move

Moving is the perfect opportunity to lighten the load. Before you start packing away documents, go through them and weed out what you no longer need.

  • Start with a paper shredder and scanner.
  • Shred items that are no longer needed.
  • Scan any document you must keep.
  • Create an organized system for scanned files. Clearly-labeled folders is key.

You will want to back up your scanned files, and many people back them up twice. An external hard drive, flash drive and the Cloud are good, convenient methods for backing up files.

 

Is it Ever Okay to Leave Cabinets Full?

While it’s generally a good idea to unpack your cabinets, there are a few cases where you can leave cabinets partially or fully intact:

  • Two-Drawer Cabinets. Stand up 2-drawer filing cabinets can typically be moved full with no additional servicing. Contact our team to make sure we can handle your cabinet as-is.
  • Four-Drawer Cabinets. If you’re moving a tall, stand-up 4-drawer file cabinet, you’ll need to empty the top two drawers. Otherwise, the weight of the files will bend the bottom of the cabinet, potentially ruining the entire unit. If it’s a wood-style cabinet, the force of the shifting weight will often be enough to destroy the structure of the cabinet.
  • Lateral Cabinets. With a wide cabinet, you’ll need to remove all the files to ensure safe transport. Typically, these cabinets feature lightweight construction, and moving them full will bend the frame of the cabinet to the extent that it will likely be nonfunctional after a move.

 

How to Pack Your Home Office

It is quite common for folks to leave the home office as one of the last rooms in the house to pack. For some, this room is dreaded more than the garage. It is really not that difficult though. The key is to start early and do a box here and there, so it does not feel like such a monumental project, which it will if you are forced to get it done.

Go Through Everything

When was the last time you went through that pile of papers on your desk? Depending on how often you use your office and how many people are in your home, this room could be a dumping ground for everything that does not have a home. There could be everything from artwork prepared with love by the kids to boxes of coupons and collected recipes in there. You will probably find that a lot of stuff in this room needs to get thrown away.

Gather Important Documents

You will want all the important documents packed in your “carry on” bag, so they stay with you. Examples of important documents include birth certificates, passports, car titles, loan documents, insurance information, and school, medical, and vet documents. Not that you want to even think about your moving truck getting in an accident, but these are items you would be a little lost without if anything happened to them. Place them all in a large manila envelope or folder to keep with you.

Packing Tips

Anything that has an actual home outside of the office should be returned to where it goes. This will help keep things a little more organized. For example, that random container of acrylic paint can be placed with the arts and crafts supplies, and Fido’s stash of hidden toys can go wherever the rest of his pile is.

When you pack books, avoid using large boxes that could end up too heavy. Plastic milk crates and copy paper or liquor boxes are ideal. They are strong and just the right size. If you have items that could be damaged by the least bit of water, place a garbage bag inside the box, and put the items inside the bag. This way, if this is the one random box that gets dropped in a puddle or drenched during that brief torrential downpour, nothing inside will be ruined. Keep in mind that moving trucks can get extremely hot in the summer and freezing in the winter so ideally, old photos, disks, and other sensitive items will be moved in your vehicle.

Disassemble Electronics

Before you start unplugging cords and pulling out cables, grab a pack of colored stickers. You will use like-colored stickers to mark the port and cable, so you know exactly how everything gets hooked back up. This method can be used for your entertainment center, too. Make sure you remove the ink cartridge from your printer and copier.

Property Owners Can Now Benefit From A Mold Remediation

Non-toxic Ways to Clean Mold with Natural Cleaners

Mold may be growing in your home and you don’t even know it, that’s because mold loves dark, warm, humid places to live. Your basement, kitchen and bathroom are at the most risk for mold and bacteria growth because they are in constant contact with moisture. When the conditions are right, mold can grow within 24-48 hours. Leaving mold untreated can cause respiratory illnesses as well as be a major factor for year-round allergies. This is why it is so important to kill mold at first sight.

You’ll need the following cleaning supplies:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle

Here are 3 household solutions for cleaning mold:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution that kills mold effectively on a variety of materials such as kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, floors and walls. To kill mold: Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the moldy surface completely and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Next, scrub the area to remove all of the mold and mold stains. And finally, wipe the surface down to remove residual mold and spores.

VinegarVinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species. (Baking soda is often used along with vinegar for killing different species of mold).

To kill mold: Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.

Baking SodaBaking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mold in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets. Besides killing mold, it will absorb moisture to help keep mold away.

To kill mold: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove all the mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface.

 

Cleaning Mold with Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is effective for killing small amounts of mold.  It can kill over 80 percent of mold species commonly found in your home and as a mild acid, it can help prevent mold as well as remove it.  Make sure you follow these steps when cleaning mold with vinegar:

  • Protect yourself from exposure to the mold by wearing protective gear such as gloves and a mask.
  • Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle but do not dilute it. Diluting the vinegar will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Spray the moldy areas and let the vinegar sit for an hour so that the mold can absorb it completely.
  • If you need to scrub the mold, do so with a baking soda solution. Pour 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Spray the moldy area with the baking soda mixture and use a scrubbing brush or scouring pad to scrub the mold. Wearing protective gloves will protect you from direct contact.
  • Use clean, warm water to rinse the area.
  • Spray the vinegar again over the area and let it dry naturally to make sure all the mold has been killed.

 

Removing Mold From Interior Walls, Flooring, and Carpet

If the mold is fuzzy and black, it may be much worse than just unsightly. The area should be opened to check for structural damage. Wear safety glasses and respiratory protection. All building materials should be bagged in heavy-duty plastic bags and disposed of properly. Allow the area to dry out thoroughly and make any needed repairs.

To clean porous surfaces like wood and drywall, a detergent should be added to the bleach and water solution to help it adhere. Mix one part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Apply with a sponge or mop, trying not to over-saturate the surfaces. Do not rinse away, and allow the solution to air dry.

Carpet with mold or a musty smell should be removed completely. Wearing a respirator, cut the carpet and pad into small sections. Mist the materials and underflooring with water to help prevent the spread of airborne mold spores. Wrap the carpet in heavy plastic for disposal. Use a wet/dry vacuum to thoroughly clean the area and allow to air dry for several days before replacing flooring.

 

Preventing Mold from Returning

Spray vinegar and leave it to help prevent future mold growth.

You do not have to wash the vinegar away. Once the surface is clean, you can spray it with vinegar and leave the vinegar on the surface to keep the mold from returning.

  • Keep a spray bottle of vinegar in your shower and spray the surface every few days.
  • Mop your floors with vinegar to prevent mold growth in damp areas.

Fix leaks in your home.

Leaks can occur in your roof, your plumbing and seep in through your window. Clean any spills and address these problems to keep you home dry and free of mold.

  • Check your roof for leaks and replace the roof or fix an area which may be allowing the damp weather into your home.
  • Fix any plumbing issues as soon as they happen to prevent water from dripping and spilling.
  • Check the seals of your windows and replace any which are allowing dampness to get through.

Control the level of humidity in the area of mold growth.

You may need to invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a humid area or have a part of your home which lacks ventilation and tends to be damp and attract mold.

Ventilate areas which can become damp.

Mold thrives in damp, dark places. Allow air and sunlight into damp spaces as much as possible in order to control mold. Turn on fans when you are cooking, showering, or doing laundry.

  • The kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room should be equipped with ventilation systems.

Clean your air conditioner regularly.

Air conditioners contain drip pans, which gather excess water. Empty and clean this pan regularly to keep mold from forming and blowing into your home.

  • Cut power to the air conditioner before you clean the drain pan.
  • It is easiest to remove the water with a wet/dry vacuum to avoid spilling.
  • Once you have removed the water, scrub away any debris or mold which may have formed in the pan before you return it.

 

Fabric and Upholstery

Before you give up on any fabric that has fallen victim to mold growth, try the following procedure, which may allow you to salvage the item after all.

First, take the moldy item outdoors so that its mold spores cannot spread throughout your home. Next, use a stiff-bristled brush to clear away as much mold as you possibly can. Now pretreat the item with either bleach (white fabrics only) or a store-bought stain remover designated for use on the type of material in question. Finally, wash the fabric in hot water. When you take the item out of the wash, check it carefully for signs of lingering mold. More than one round of pretreating and washing may be necessary.

Cockroaches Facts And Termination

COCKROACHES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

Upon hearing the word “cockroach,” most people involuntarily grimace or shudder. These bugs don’t have a good reputation, and they’re usually towards the top of people’s “Most Disgusting Pests” lists. But are cockroaches all that bad? Let’s take a look.

THE GOOD

The truth is that the environment needs these little guys; more specifically, cockroaches (also known as water bugs) help play a large role in the ecosystem’s nitrogen cycle, where nitrogen moves from bacteria, animals, and plants to the ground and the air

“Most cockroaches feed on decaying organic matter, which traps a lot of nitrogen. Cockroach feeding has the effect of releasing that nitrogen (in their feces) which then gets into the soil and is used by plants. In other words, extinction of cockroaches would have a big impact on forest health and therefore indirectly on all the species that live there.”

THE BAD

Okay, so cockroaches aren’t all bad, but they’re not all good, either. These creatures can feed on almost anything, including (but not at all limited to) bread, beer, dead skin flakes, hair strands, glue, and baked goods

These bugs tend to target places that are unsanitary and damp or used to prepare and store food. Common sites include bathrooms, sewers, kitchens, restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries. When they’re feeding, cockroaches “produce odorous secretions” that not only contaminate food, but can also alter the flavor of the food and leave behind an unpleasant odor, especially when there are lots of cockroaches.

 

HOW TO GET RID OF COMMON BUGS AND PESTS

COCKROACHES

Cockroaches are the most common household creepy crawlers you will encounter in Japan. There are a variety of different species, but the kind found most frequently here might be bigger than what you’re used to. Most people believe that cockroaches hang around in dirty, unclean or garbage areas because of food. But, don’t forget that they can live weeks without food. The hot, humid summer climate is perfect breeding ground for these, the most versatile of insects. Your apartment is far from dirt, but you will still see cockroaches from time to time. Cockroaches come out most, when things are moved around. So when you first move in, you may notice cockroaches coming out of hiding, but don’t panic, it’s not uncommon. They go back to hiding when things settle down and you won’t see them much again if you can keep your place reasonably clean.

Do not leave food or dishes for a long time.

If food and dirty dishes are left until night, it will be a good food for cockroaches. When cockroaches are crawling, disease-causing bacteria may spread and cause food poisoning. Cleaning frequently is probably the best form of prevention.

Let’s clean the shades

If there is rubbish and cooking waste on the back of a refrigerator, under a stove, and places where cockroaches are likely to be hidden, it becomes food for cockroaches.

Discard unhygienic items immediately.

If unsanitary items (raw garbage, dirt on the drainage port, etc.) are left as they are, there is a risk that cockroaches will carry pathogens

If you find one in your apartment, remove the cockroach as soon as you can. For that you will have to spray it and then throw away. But, keep in mind that they are really fast, they can fly.

Note that conventional bug sprays are not effective at cockroaches. Instead, you will have to use specially targeted at these bugs. There are also traps with a sticky pad where you can put food to attract them. These are pretty effective and work nicely because cockroaches are usually more active at night.

 

Facts About Cockroaches You Won’t Want to Believe

With ancestors tracing back more than 280 million years, cockroaches have been around for an incomprehensibly long time, and they’re here to stay. Because no other household pest provokes such fervent anxiety, disgust, and downright terror, we teamed up

Believe it or not, there are well over 4,000 different types of cockroaches—that we know about. Some estimates suggest we’ve discovered only about half the total number of species. Though most live in the wild, at least a few tenacious species have become uncomfortably common, extremely unwelcome guests in our houses and apartments.

Cockroaches Endure

You may have heard the myth that a cockroach can live without its head. Well—it’s true! According to the National Pest Management Association, a headless cockroach can live for weeks, moving about, reacting to touch, and exhibiting other basic behaviors. That’s because the insect breathes not through the nose and mouth like we do, but through openings along the body. Not only would the decapitated body of the cockroach survive, but, at least for several hours, so would the separated head.

Cockroaches Multiply

The German cockroach, which is brown with two stripes behind its head, ranks among the most abundant in the United States. That may be because, at any given time, a female of the species can be carrying 40 eggs. With an incubation period that lasts only three weeks, one German lady roach can hatch up to 700 baby roaches in the course of a year. Even more alarming: Some more recent generations of German roaches have shown resistance to a number of treatment options.

Cockroaches Astound

If you thought the roach you spotted last night was oversize, wait until you get a load of this: The wonderfully named rhinoceros cockroach is the heaviest in the world, typically weighing more than one full ounce. It’s also one of the longest-living of all insects, with an average lifespan greater than 10 years.

 

Why is it so Hard to Kill a Cockroach with your Shoe?

Food and Water

German cockroaches, Blattella germanica, the most common domestic roach in the United States, have been observed to live 45 days without food, and more than two weeks with neither food nor water.

Cockroaches will eat almost anything including glue, feces, hair, decayed leaves, paper, leather, banana skins, other cockroaches, and dead or alive humans. They will not, however, eat cucumbers. They are particularly fond of dried milk around a baby’s mouth.

Why is it so hard to kill a cockroach with your shoe?

Schweid observes that “when a cockroach feels a breeze stirring the hairs on its cerci, it does not wait around to see what is going to happen next, but leaves off whatever it is doing and goes immediately into escape mode in something remarkably close to instantaneous fashion.” Studies show that a cockroach can respond in about 1/20th of a second, so “by the time a light comes on and human sight can register it, much less react by reaching for and hoisting something with which to squash it, a roach is already locomoting towards safety.”

Blood

Cockroach blood is a pigments, clear substance circulating through the interior of its body, and what usually spurts out of a roach when its hard, , outer shell—its exoskeleton—is penetrated or squashed is a cream-colored substance resembling nothing so much as pus or smegma.

Brains

Cockroaches have two brains—one inside their skulls, and a second, more primitive brain that is back near their abdomen.

 

Ways To Get Rid Of Roaches

Cockroaches are one of the most hated pests in our homes, and, unfortunately, they are also among the hardest pest control jobs. It’s very hard to completely get rid of roaches, and even harder to keep them gone, especially if you live in an apartment.

Eliminate Food And Water Sources

This is a common piece of advice, and it’s good, but limited in effectiveness. Eliminating large sources of food, and especially water can reduce the number of roaches your home can support, but it’s unlikely to completely rid your kitchen of roaches. Why? Because roaches don’t need a lot of food to survive and thrive.

A single crumb of food on the floor is a good meal for a roach. Not only that, but they will eat things that you don’t even think of as food. Grease spots on pages of your cookbook, for example, can be a good meal. They are related to termites and can nibble on wooden spoons, cutting boards, and other tools that have absorbed food or skin oils.

Insecticide

Insecticide is also a reasonable approach to control roaches, but not eliminate. You can kill the roaches you see, but the ones you don’t see will still multiply. And then there’s the next generation of roaches that will be born. Even insecticides with residual action won’t kill long enough to completely eliminate roaches, which will also grow more resistant to the toxins you are using

Poison Bait

Poison baits work better than spray insecticides. Roaches eat the bait, which will kill them, but not right away, and go back to their homes. As these roaches defecate, other roaches eat their feces and get poisoned.

Reasons To Go With A Custom Home Builder

Building A New Home On Your Own Lot: What You Need To Know

Before deciding to build a home on your own lot, take our advice on how to choose a homebuilder to help ensure you don’t overlook anything critical.

Building a home on your own land can be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life — as long as you’re prepared. There are a lot of variables to consider, and you’ll need the help of professionals to ensure you don’t overlook the important details before breaking ground.

HIRE A HOMEBUILDER EARLY IN THE PROCESS

Our biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to build on their own lot is to consult a builder before buying land. Choosing to involve your builder early on in your decision-making has the potential to save you time, and a lot of money in the long-run.

Your home builder will not only help you determine the best placement of the home, but also whether or not you should build on a particular lot at all. You see, it’s easy to get swept up in the vision of your future home on an attractive piece of land, but there’s always a chance there are problems you don’t see right away – more on that a little later.

CHOOSING A BUILD-ON-YOUR-LOT HOMEBUILDER

There’s a lot of work that goes into choosing a trustworthy homebuilder, especially when you want to build on your own lot.

You need to look for a local team with visible experience in build-on-your-lot projects. These teams are more likely to keep your build on budget as well as bring a critical understanding of zoning laws, restrictions, and easements. Hiring locally is especially important if you’re planning to build in a rural area, where the rules are more than likely different than in-city.

What to look for in a builder:

  • Experience – Do they do a lot of build-on-your-own-lot projects? Take time to ask for a reference or two and talk to them about their experiences.
  • Floorplans – If you’re going to purchase your own lot first, it might be in your best interest, financially, to work with your builder to choose a floorplan they’ve done before, or customize any of their existing designs. The important thing to look for is options – do they have them, and are they flexible in delivering what you want?
  • Purchasing-Power – A homebuilder with good connections is more likely to get you a competitive price on building materials, especially if you’re using one of their floorplans.

Starting with the initial inspection of your lot, your builder should be transparent and up-front about all the things that’ll have to happen BEFORE construction on your home begins. Things like removing earth, bringing dirt in, building a driveway or special foundation work should be discussed and factored into your project’s overall budget.

 

Tender documents and contracts

Tender documents must clearly identify any sustainability practices or materials certification requirements that are different from business as usual. Attach schedules to the tender documents that tenderers are required to sign.

Allaying builder concerns about the unfamiliar aspects of sustainable practice can reduce the amount they allow for unknown contingencies.

Contingency sums

Areas of unknown risk can be accommodated through contingency sums or allowances that can be called on to cover unexpected costs. They are often used to cover unexpected subsoil and foundation related costs; increasingly they are being used to provide flexibility in choosing innovative sustainable technologies and practices.

Prime cost schedules

Another way to overcome risk aversion on the part of the builder is to ‘nominate’ subcontractors to supply and install innovative technologies and provide the builder with a ‘schedule of allowances’ (or ‘prime cost schedule’) to include in the tender.

Many designers choose and specify the exact make and model of important or high cost items such as windows and doors, solar hot water systems, smart metering and energy control systems, and on-site renewable energy generation. You or your designer can have these items quoted by preferred suppliers and nominated in the contract as prime cost schedule items to avoid substitution of inappropriate or substandard products by competitive tenderers.

 

SCHEDULE THE FIRST MEETING

Now that you’ve chosen a home builder you want to work with, it’s time to meet with them. The goal of your first meeting should be to establish exactly what styles & customizations you want.

If you already know what floorplans you’re interested in, you can arrive at the meeting ready to discuss these details:

  • Foundation Types: With Reinbrecht, you have three options for your foundation: a slab, basement, or crawlspace. This decision can weigh on your budget and speed of the build.
  • Interior Finishes: Floorcovering, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces, and trim packages are all interior finishes that will need to be specified by your preferences.
  • Exterior Finishes: Doors, windows, roofing, brick/vinyl/stone, and decks/porches/patios are exterior factors that you’ll need selections for.
  • Extras & Upgrades: Are you interested in upgrades like fireplaces, smart home technology, and crown molding?

If you don’t have your house plans, don’t worry. Refer back to your list of home necessities to help answer your home builder’s questions on your size, design, and budget needs. Your home builder will help you choose and customize a design that fits those needs from their library of available plans.

 

Discover How Long it Takes to Build on Your Lot

Building a new home takes four to six months if your home builder has already built your floor plan, but it can take significantly longer if you’re having a completely new design built or if you’re asking for extensive customization. So, if you have a specific time frame for moving, you’re likely to be better off with a semi-custom design rather than a completely custom-designed home.

“If you’re adding space to the house, we can usually turn that around quickly, but something more complicated could take a week or two to price out,” says Schumacher. “We average 122 days from putting in the foundation to finishing our houses, but bigger homes take a little longer.”

Homes builds modular homes, which can be faster to build, as well as less costly than other new homes. The parts are built off-site while the foundation for the home is under construction. Once the parts are delivered, says Rutherford, construction takes 45 to 60 days.

 

Experts and Professionals You Need for Home Building

Every one of us has that desire to own a house. But not all of us are able to attain such desire because of the lack of resources and money to spend for it. That is why, once we are able to save money for house construction, we would make sure that not a single cent will be wasted. You will be assured that all your savings will grow into a beautiful and cozy house if you pick the right people to work on your home’s building.

Do you know who these people are? We will be giving you a list of those people who can aid you with the construction. Do not just pick anyone who appears to know everything because that person might only need your money. So, before you hire people, know what kind of experts and professionals are really needed for house construction. Tap these people when you are ready to build your dream house:

  1. Architects.

Prior to the construction of your home, you would need an Architect to help you with the design. It would be hard to construct without a guide. That is why Architects are important for they are the ones who will design your house. Aside from the exterior design, they will also help you make good use of your existing space ensuring that there will be good traffic, function and accessibility to the entire home. You can also let the Architects know what you want for a home so that they can design something that would suit your taste. The Architects will provide you the blueprints of your home’s design.

  1. Civil Engineers.

While the Architects are dealing with the design, the Civil Engineers look into the structure of your house. They review the plans if it meets local building codes and check if it is structurally sound. Civil Engineers make sure that your house won’t collapse by checking on the foundation and the materials that you will be using. Engineers will be visiting your construction site from time to time to check if they follow the provisions in attaining a durable and stable house.

  1. Electrical Engineers.

Of course, you will be using electricity in your house. You cannot just let anyone do this because the arrangement and distribution of wires and other electrical items are crucial. You do not want to have a fire in your home due to faulty wirings. You will be seeing Electricians a lot of times during the construction. In the framing stage, they would be preparing the wires and boxes. After the drywall is done, they will now place the cover plates and other items to these boxes. Once that is done, they will be testing the electrical system to make sure it works well.

  1. Master Plumber.

Plumbers deal with water lines, sinks, faucets, drain lines and even gas lines for your cooking equipment. They would help you to have a good water and sewerage system in your house. Plumbers work on your kitchen and bathroom and other area where you need water and drainage.

  1. Contractors.

Contractors are those people who are in charge of building the house. They are the ones who deal with other persons to work on the building. Most of the time, contractors have many crews that are knowledgeable of the construction process. Contractors are the ones who spend a majority of time taking care of the construction, watches laborers and workers on the site and supervise the work. So, make sure to choose a good contractor.