Post Construction Cleaning Company Marketing Plan

Construction Cleanup Best Practices

Sooner or later, every building needs renovations. On-site construction requires cleanup during and after the project. The first step is removing large objects and debris, then, due to drywall dust, every surface needs a thorough cleaning. This process includes cleaning hard to reach window frames, light fixtures, walls, and floors. Let’s consider some best practices for construction cleanup.

Communication

There needs to be clear communication between the general contractor and the cleaning crew. Chances are the project won’t commence exactly as scheduled, so the builder needs to let the cleanup crew know when post-construction cleanup can start. Also, the general contractor can instruct the cleaning staff on specific care requirements. For example, grout leaves a haze during construction and requires an acidic cleaner. Furthermore, the building’s janitorial crew will need details about the construction materials. Products like luxury vinyl tile, hardwood, and ceramic tile all have different care requirements.

Safety and Training

The cleaning crew needs specific training on construction site safety. Before doing any potentially hazardous job, workers must have appropriate safety training. Staff members must be able to identify and safely handle potential hazards at the construction site. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides standards and training.

Company culture also plays a role in employee health. Set safety as a top priority. Supervisors can lead by example by always following safety regulations. It’s also essential to develop a system for reporting and to address any potential work site hazards.

Personal Protective Equipment

Construction cleaning poses unique factors for crew safety.  Cleaning crews should be equipped and trained with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). The goal of PPE is to protect your workers from head to toe.

 

Post Construction Cleaning

Locks and Keys

As soon as you’ve been handed the house keys you should change all the locks and keys of your new home. Remember, past owners could have extra copies of the key so changing everything will guarantee that you won’t walk into your house to find the past owners there. Apart from this new locks and keys definitely signify a fresh start.

DIY Time

Is there anything in your new house that you’d like to change? The moment you buy your property is most definitely the right time to do it. Painting walls and undertaking D.I.Y project can be quite messy and time consuming, so make sure you have family or friends who are willing to help out to make the hard work easier and moving in quicker. Don’t forget to factor in the post construction cleaning should you have any large DIY tasks to do whether it is a room or the whole house.

Nice and Clean

Speaking of fresh start, nothing says fresh more than a deep clean. Cleaning every nook and cranny will never be easy once you’re settled in so getting it done before you get comfortable is a great way to ensure your home is clean. This is especially true if you’ve just bought a home in a new building which up until recently was still a building site. If you need some extra help the Briiz post construction cleaning team are always ready to clean your home.

Call Pest Control

Even if you haven’t seen any pests and your realtor has assured you that your home is pest free, it’s best not to take any risks. Before you bring furniture into the place make sure you get a pest controller to eliminate any nasty bags or other pests which could also be calling your house home.

 

Simple Steps To Finding A Great House Cleaning Service

Finding a house cleaning service can be a difficult and frustrating task. If you are like the average homeowner, dealing with work, family, and other priorities can make cleaning your home yourself a challenge and one that you’d sooner avoid. There are hundreds of cleaning services that serve the Atlanta area, specifically the Johns Creek Georgia area and surrounding suburbs. They are ready and willing to do the work for you. Because there are so many companies available, knowing how to choose and hire a house cleaning service can seem like an overwhelming task, but if you follow the 8 Step Guide that I have prepared for you, you can pick the best option.

Decide What Needs To Be Cleaned

Decide what areas of your home need to be cleaned before choosing a cleaning service. For example, are there rooms that are off-limits or specific areas that are more important for the service to focus on? Do you want them to do windows and laundry too or only standard cleaning, such as dusting and mopping? Once you know what you need, you can build a list of requirements to narrow down candidates, as some companies don’t offer a full range of services

Gather A List Of Cleaning Companies

Ask family, friends, or neighbors for referrals. Many customers may be happy to share a positive experience with you, and they may even be eligible for a bonus through the cleaning company if you choose its service. Check out the Internet and do searches for cleaning companies that service your area. For instance, you might Google the term and look at the websites of the first couple or three pages of listings

You should use several criteria to do this:

Eliminate any companies that are not bonded and insured. Should any accidents happen during cleaning or any theft occur while the service is there, a bonded and insured service will take responsibility. If you choose a service that doesn’t have these, the responsibility will be yours as the homeowner.

Eliminate companies that don’t have a website, or whose website doesn’t look good, work properly and provide complete information about their services and have customer feedback and testimonials. If the company doesn’t have the resources to produce a good website and do a great job on their own website, then they may disappoint you with the quality of work they do in your home.

 

How To Deep Clean Your Home Like an Expert

Keeping your house spotless is more than just a matter of aesthetics. A clean and germ-free home is crucial for both your mental and physical wellbeing, and during these scary times it’s your best defense against COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there are many areas in your home that a weekly cleaning and disinfection simply can’t deal with properly. These difficult-to-reach surfaces and deeply ingrained stains are not only more likely to contain allergens and germs, they may also attract insects and other pests.

How often should you clean everything in your house?

Under normal circumstances, a regular home only really needs to be deep cleaned a few times a year, usually at the start of spring or at the end of summer. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has increased the need for frequent cleanings.

If you haven’t already given your place a deep cleaning since the coronavirus outbreak began, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. Depending on how many people live in your household, and how often they go outside during the pandemic, you should consider spring cleaning your place at least on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

How do I deep clean my home like a pro?

A spring cleaning is much more thorough than a standard cleaning, so it’s best to do it over the weekend or even overnight. Since a deep cleaning usually includes moving furniture, you’re likely going to need help from a family member or a friend.

 

How To Perform A Walkthrough and Create Post Construction Clean Up Bids

In the world of commercial cleaning, some of the most important bids you will make will be in places that haven’t even seen foot traffic yet. What we are referring to is post construction cleaning – a necessary service in the final phase of any large-scale construction project.

As a post construction cleaning service, your job is to tidy up any loose ends on the construction site and get the location ready for the big reveal to the owner. This is an incredibly important job, and when done well, will set you apart from your competition by many standards of excellence

Getting Started

When performing a post construction cleaning walkthrough, you need to be precise, efficient, and thorough. If you can remember these three things with the acronym PET, you can mentally check your work as you go. Let’s break down each of these qualities further to show how they are important to your post construction cleaning process.

Precision

Being precise in your work as a commercial janitorial cleaner is paramount to maintaining your reputation. This means recording as much detail as you can on your initial walkthrough with the prospect. Much like a standard commercial cleaning bid, you will meet with your client ahead of time and tour the location to capture details about the scope of the work.

This is where tools like Route’s Walkthrough Builder can be extremely helpful. Route’s digitized workflow allows you to take notes about the location while also utilizing real-world performance data to help you come up with a highly accurate post construction cleaning bid of the time and money it will take you to do the job. Using an app for post construction cleaning walkthroughs is a great way to be more precise in your services by giving you more data and information than you can capture by hand.

Time For Kitchen Remodelling

Things to Think About When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Remodeling kitchen designed to complement you and your family’s needs. If you plan on staying in your home, a kitchen remodel can improve your quality of life

Choosing Quality Cabinets

You know that old saying, “Quality over quantity”? When shopping for kitchen cabinets, always choose quality over the cheaper price. Cheap, low-quality cabinets don’t hold up well over time. As a result, you may have to replace them sooner rather than later

Defining Your Goals

Even a small kitchen remodel can give you a good return on investment. Yet, it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your kitchen remodel. Do you plan on selling your house soon? Or do you plan on staying in the same neighborhood for years to come? The answer will determine what type of value you’re looking to get from a kitchen remodel

Exploring Your Options

There are tons of choices that will affect the appearance and function of your kitchen. This is why it’s important to take advantage of our interior design services. One of our kitchen designers will walk you through all the details so you can stay within budget. Working with one of our interior designers can also help you get a good return on investment

Creating an Environment

A thoughtful design means creating an environment both you and your family will love. While anyone can sell you new kitchen cabinets, our designers see the whole picture. They think about how you’ll use your kitchen on a daily basis and what features would offer the most value. For example, our innovative cabinetry designs can help you free up kitchen countertops.

 

What It Costs To Remodel A Kitchen In 2017

The kitchen is the most popular room of the home to renovate, according to Houzz research, and those who choose to remodel the heart of their home have some definite preferences. After all, the No. 1 reason they choose to renovate this area is no longer being able to stand the old kitchen — can anyone out there relate?

The 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, from a research team led by Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist, reveals that homeowners updating their kitchens prioritize changing out countertops, backsplashes and sinks. A majority of kitchen renovators are also choosing a more open feel for this room.

How much does it cost? The most common budget — as well as actual spend — on a kitchen renovation remains $25,001 to $50,000, according to the survey. Only 9 percent of kitchen renovators spend more than $100,000; just 4 percent spend less than $5,000. We hope the numbers help give your own project some dollars-and-cents context.

If I see that backsplash one more time … The top motivator for renovating a kitchen continues to be that owners can no longer stand the old kitchen. An increasingly popular reason is finally having the financial means, the triggering factor for 40 percent of renovators, compared with 37 percent the year before.

Countertops before electronics. Countertops are the most popular feature to upgrade, followed closely by backsplashes and kitchen sinks. Notably, a majority of kitchen renovations (51 percent) open the space more to a nearby room, reflecting the ongoing popularity of the great-room concept

 

Why Choose Kitchen Remodeling?

With a new kitchen space, your family will be happy to spend more bonding time here. Besides, there are endless possibilities of beautifying this area. Most of all, remodeling your kitchen gives a very high return on investment. You can choose to do a complete kitchen renovation or just focus on repairing some of its parts. Whichever you choose, kitchen cabinets are a good starting point since they make up the basic structure of a kitchen.

Readymade or custom built kitchen cabinets

You can choose between customized or readymade kitchen cabinets, depending on your specific needs. If your kitchen has a standard size of kitchen cabinets and you want to replace them, buying new ones will not be a problem. Besides being more affordable, these kitchen cabinets are readily available in home improvement and hardware stores.

If you are planning to change your entire kitchen and you want something more unique, you can go for custom built kitchen cabinets. Though they tend to be more expensive and take longer to make, these kitchen cabinets can offer a unique look and can be designed according to your given specifications. An expert contractor will involve you in every part of the process so everything you want will be followed, from the material of the kitchen cabinets to where they will be positioned.

Base or wall kitchen cabinets

In general, there are two categories of kitchen cabinets. There are base and wall cabinets. Base or floor cabinets are installed on the kitchen floor. Usually, these cabinets come with a tabletop above them. These kitchen cabinets are used in preparing food and to store small appliances like a mixer, blender, oven toaster, and microwave oven. They are usually built around the plumbing to hide their unsightliness. There are some base cabinets that are built under the kitchen sink to keep household cleansers and cleaning supplies. Other base cabinets have drawers built into their top half to house kitchen utensils. This makes it more convenient to get them whenever needed.

 

Kitchen Remodeling in Chicagoland

Whether you want to update a few key details to modernize your kitchen or need a total remodel to increase your kitchen’s functionality, our team has your back—and more than 100 years of experience. Add the storage and counter space you need to improve organization, create more accessibility to your appliances, or transform your space into an open concept that works for your lifestyle.

Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets can drastically change the aesthetics of your kitchen and provide needed functionality. You’ll want to consider the material, finish, storage solutions, and surface styles to find the cabinets that best fit your style and needs. Whether you’re going for a sleek, modern look or want to showcase your china,

Kitchen Countertops

Quality surfaces don’t only transform the mood of your kitchen—they can increase the value of your home, too. The kitchen is one of a home’s biggest selling points and countertops can improve functionality, giving you a more durable space for prepping meals or added style for hosting family and friends.

Kitchen Backsplashes

It’s the details that add practicality and style to any room. Backsplashes bring texture and color to your kitchen. Our backsplashes come in a range of designs and materials to fit your space and style. Or you can work with our designers to create a one-of-a-kind custom backsplash.

Finishing Touches

Details like cabinet hardware, lighting, and plumbing fixtures can subtly transform your space from country to contemporary to coastal. These elements also offer improved functionality. For example, replacing an ancient faucet may reveal installation issues that you can solve at the same time as your remodel, ensuring proper functionality moving forward.

 

What is the average cost to remodel a kitchen?

The average kitchen remodel cost can range from $18,000 to $58,000, depending on the size of the renovated space and where you live. It also varies according to the cost of materials, the scope of the project and labor charges.

Keep in mind that an extensive kitchen renovation is an expensive task as you’re dealing with components such as kitchen cabinets (one of the most expensive elements of any kitchen remodel) and countertops. You will probably also want to replace an array of kitchen appliances — all of which cost big bucks.

How do average kitchen remodel costs vary?

Your complete cost takes a number of factors into consideration, such as the total square footage of the space, the scope of renovation, your zip code, local labor costs and the finishing details – just to name a few.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

Your kitchen improvement project can be broken down into several components that the total price will take into account.

Should you opt for hiring professionals vs DIY?

Your average kitchen remodel cost also depends on whether you’ve decided to go ahead with a DIY project or want to hire certified contractors for the kitchen upgrades. Although the former will help you save money, it’s best to have kitchen experts working on your kitchen project. They will definitely make your kitchen renovation easier, quicker, and hassle-free.

Scorpion Can Have FIVE Sets Of Eyes!

How to Scorpion-Proof Your Home

You may have some scorpion roommates you don’t know about. Our homes are a scorpion’s ideal climate, and many hunker down to hibernate in the winter right under our noses!

Bark scorpions hibernate in groups of up to 30, and they often hide in warm, dark places. These unexpected houseguests won’t show themselves until the temperatures begin to heat up. These tips will help you scorpion-proof your home:

  • Seal off all potential entry points. Scorpions can enter through the tiniest crack! Seal off the spots where waterlines, electrical or phone lines enter your house. Many pest control services can do this for you.
  • Don’t overwater your plants. You’re providing a water source for scorpions and other pests if you do. Scorpions can live for months without food if they have a reliable water source. For plants with sprinkler systems, be sure to fix leaks quickly.
  • Trim plants away from your home. Scorpions can gain access to your home by climbing over from surrounding vegetation.
  • Remove sheltering areas around your yard. Scorpions love the shelter that large rocks, logs, dead or decaying shrubs and untrimmed palm trees provide. They also enjoy woodpiles, and clothing or shoes left out.
  • Place potted plants on stands. Scorpions like to hide under pots, and stands eliminate this option.

 

What Attracts Scorpions to My Home?

The more you know about these arachnids, the more equipped you are to know where and when to spot them, how to know they have made it inside of your home, and most importantly, how to get them out—for good.

Scorpions have lived on Earth for over 400 million years. Found on every continent—except Antarctica—these eight-legged creatures are related to ticks, mites and spiders. There are 1,500 scorpion species found worldwide, 90 of which live in the United States and 18 that make their home in Texas. Over a dozen species of scorpions are found in Big Bend National Park alone.

During most of the day, scorpions remain hidden in the wild in burrows or crevices to avoid exposure to sunlight and heat. At night, they feed on a variety of insects, centipedes, arachnids, other scorpions and larger species even feast on lizards, snakes and mice. All species of scorpions use venom to defend themselves against predators and to immobilize and kill their prey. The arachnid’s tail includes a barb which works like a hypodermic needle to inject venom into its prey. The impact of the venom varies from mild pain to a lethal cocktail, although when humans get stung, in most cases pain and swelling goes away after an hour or two. The most dangerous scorpion, the Arizona bark scorpion, does not live in Texas. The species of scorpion Texas homeowners is most likely to encounter is the striped bark scorpion.

In the wild, the striped bark scorpion lives under rocks, in dead vegetation and inside of logs. This species of scorpion does not burrow, and can often be seen climbing, so they can make their way into your home through your attic. Scorpions often find their way inside our homes as they search for moisture, shelter and food. When temperatures climb, striped bark scorpions may descend to escape the heat.

 

How to prevent scorpions from getting in your bed.

If professional scorpion control is not an option where you live, you can prevent scorpions from getting in your bed with a few items and a little elbow grease. This is a good 5 step process to keep scorpions out of your bed… Sleep tight!

Step 1 – Your Bed

Move your bed away from the wall a couple inches and put the feet of your bed frame in glass mason jars! Scorpions can climb walls, but can’t climb smooth glass and won’t be able to climb from the floor onto your bed using glass jars this way!

Step 2 – Bedding

Make sure you keep all bedding up off the floor night and day. Scorpions like beds because they often seek shelter of bedding. There should never be anything left hanging from your bed onto the floor. Bark Scorpions love to climb, and can climb clothes, blankets, sheets, etc. from the floor into bed.

Step 3 – Hang a SMOOTH Surface

Get a piece of smooth glass or plastic a few inches longer and wider than your bed. Don’t use cardboard because it’s not a smooth surface and scorpions can climb upside-down on it. They key word here is smooth. Scorpions are great climbers as long as the surface has a little texture for them to hold onto.

Using strong fishing line or wire, hang your smooth surface from all four corners on the ceiling above your bed. The smooth surface should hang exactly over your bed but a few inches wider and longer than the bed on all sides. This will keep scorpions that are climbing on the ceiling from dropping into your bed. The smooth surface will catch any scorpions that drop, and because it’s wider and longer than your bed, scorpions falling from the ceiling fall on the floor instead of into your bed.

If you use a surface that is NOT smooth, scorpions will fall onto it then climb upside down on it above your bed and can still drop into your bed.

Step 4 – Seal Your Home

Sealing your home is another method to keep scorpions out of your home and thus out of your bed. However, scorpions easily enter homes through cracks as small as one sixteenth of an inch… That’s as thin as a credit card. This is best done by a professional contractor who knows everything about how your home is build and all the possible entry points. We like David Berrara and the professionals at We Seal It.

Step 5 – Black Lighting

Black-light scorpion inspections in the dark allow you to see any scorpions in your home or yard and then manually remove them. This will not prevent future scorpion problems, but is another way for you to sleep better at night. Mature scorpions glow a bright yellow/green under a blacklight in the dark. Scorpions can be collected using pliers and a glass jar that they can’t climb out of.

 

Tips

To help avoid encounters with scorpions in and around your home follow these prevention tips:

  • Eliminate standing water
  • Seal cracks and crevices, especially around doors and windows where they can gain access to your home
  • Inspect cabinets, closets, and other dark places on a regular basis
  • Clear away brush, debris, and woodpiles from the perimeter of your home. Keep firewood about 30 feet away
  • Scorpions feed on other insects such as crickets. You can help eliminate crickets by turning outdoor lights off at night

 

Clean Inside Your Home

Just as crucial as de-cluttering your yard is keeping your home clean and organized. Clean—because crumbs attract bugs which in turn attract predators like scorpions. Organized—because scorpions will use everything from shoes to boxes to piles of clothing to hide. Traditionally cluttered spaces like closets and underneath beds will require attention, too.

Maintain Your Yard

Keeping a clean and well-organized yard will go along way toward safeguarding your home against scorpions. Vulnerable to dehydration—and therefore extreme heat and sun exposure—scorpions require shady, cool places to hide during the daytime before emerging to hunt at night. Make sure to do the following:

  • Keep bushes and small trees landscaped. Do not allow them to overgrow and touch the outside walls of your home—scorpions use these as bridges to enter through windows or other small openings.
  • Keep grass & other vegetation short and trim.
  • De-clutter your yard, removing all unnecessary items: including brush, debris, decorative rocks, woodpiles, lawn equipment, etc.

Choosing The Right Event Videographer

Videography Tips for More Professional-Looking Videos

Many of these tips and techniques are timeless, which means you can still refer to these as your guide when you decide to pursue a career in videography and become a cinematographer. Try them out and learn them by heart. Along the way, not only would these help you produce more professional-looking videos that will impress your audience but they will also help you realize your potential and own creative filmmaking style.

Gather Your Equipment

Fortunately for beginners, we live in a time where high-quality digital cameras are made to be affordable for personal and recreational use. You can practice videography with gadgets that you may already have, like your smartphone, as long as you keep these simple things in mind:

  • Use the back camera for better quality footage
  • Shoot in landscape mode (horizontally instead of vertically)
  • Turn on the overlay grid on your screen, if you have it, so you have a guide for keeping your phone level

If you have the budget for it, we definitely recommend purchasing a gimbal stabilizer for your camera for steadier handheld shots, an external microphone for better audio, and a reliable video tripod.

Plan Your Shoot

If you’re going to shoot a music video, commercial, or short film, you’ll have much more freedom to plan it from start to finish. To really do it like the pros, create your own storyboard with illustrations of your scenes in sequence. This will help you pre-visualize your final footage and outline your desired shots. It will serve as your guide during shooting and editing, plus it can help you determine the perfect time of day for shooting, your desired venues, and the right cameras to be used (in case you have several options) prior to filming.

On the other hand, if you’re covering an event, you’re going to want to be as ready as you possibly you can. For instance, in wedding videography, the wedding videographer should have a good idea about when and how to take videos of the bride, groom, and the wedding party.

A few helpful wedding videography tips to remember:

  • Make sure that you know the timeline for the entire wedding day like the back of your hand — from the ceremony to reception program.
  • Have a shot list prepared. This list should include the first kiss, the cake cutting, and other key moments that the couple would want to be immortalized.
  • Just as there are wedding photography styles, there are also certain shooting styles for wedding videography. Stick to a specific style. Be consistent and use the right one that fits the couple and their event for the perfect cinematic wedding video.

 

Map Your Setup Locations and Times

Depending on the venue, you may have to do a bit of walking to get from one position to another in time to capture key events. If you know you’re going to be on the move, make sure you allow time to get from one spot to the next and with the right crew and equipment. Make sure you’re in the right place at the right time – all the time.

Prepare for the Worst – Bring Extra Everything

You never know when a problem will arise. At some events your entire job might have you sitting in a chair while your camera records right next to you and nothing will go wrong. Other times you might have cables go bad, camera failures, missing media, broken adaptors, accidents with gear, spills, and other various problems. Adapting becomes key, and to do that, you may need extra equipment.

Know Your Gear

If you’re shooting tapeless, do you get a blip in your recording when your camera software automatically breaks up your video file at 4GB to conform to your FAT32 memory card? Do you know how to change audio channels and fend off interference with your wireless microphones in an environment full of wireless signals? Do you know how to change the settings on your camera for different microphones, or how to set the camera to output to a screen via HDMI or SDI properly?

Factors that often only show themselves in event environments are definitely worth preparing for. Create test scenarios at your home or office – try leaving your camera recording all day then review the footage for issues. Test your audio in different locations, (busy apartment buildings or malls might simulate Wi-Fi saturated environments), and play with the video output settings and see what works best with your hardware.

 

Shots spanning a crowd or showing your venue/environment

You’re looking for images that capture the feeling of your event, while also creating a fear of missing out. A shot that shows the scale of your event, including the venue and environment, is enticing and helps people imagine what it’d be like to attend.

Short video clips and soundbites from attendees

92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising, which is one of the reasons why testimonials are so powerful. People are usually more than happy to say a few words about why they love something, so make sure to interview attendees about your event.

Aerial shots using drones

Drones have made it super easy to get footage from unusual vantage points and perspectives of events. Doing so reinforces the scale of your conference or festival, and emphasizes the points of interest about your location (like a big city, or over-seas destination). If you don’t have access to a drone, not to worry. You can search for stock footage in the city where you’re holding your event.

 

Manually Set Your Camera’s White Balance

Now we know that different light sources have different temperatures, we need to account for these temperature ranges by manually setting the camera’s white balance – a process that basically tells the camera what “true white” looks like in an environment to avoid color casting. In the image above, the shot on the left has a blue color cast caused by the natural temperature of the daylight in the shot. The white balance of the shot on the right has been set correctly, capturing the true colors of the image.

Many cameras have an auto-white balance feature, but I strongly recommend learning how to set it manually. This avoids relying on your camera to achieve a correctly color balanced shot. You can learn how to do this by referring to the instruction manual of your camera. Even if the color casting in the example above is the effect you’re trying to achieve, film the shot using the correct white balance and adjust the color in post-production – don’t rely on lazy camerawork to achieve a particular effect.

 

How to Manage Your Client’s Expectations and Needs

This is a fundamental skill for all professional photographers. Having an open dialogue between yourself and your client is key to getting the best shots.

You need to ask your clients important questions such as these:

  • What event is this?
  • What kind of images do you want from this event? Are you looking for headshots?
  • What are the most important moments?
  • What style of photography do you like?
  • What do you not like?

No one wants a disappointing event photography shoot because there was miscommunication. By speaking to your client, you can make sure that your client is well aware of the limits of the photo session. Make sure that they understand what to expect from your services. If your client has hired an event organizer, speak to them about expectations.

Simple Guide When Buying The Best Kitchen Faucet

Easy Tips for Choosing the Right Faucet

Choosing a faucet can be tricky. It may seem like a strictly functional piece of hardware in your kitchen, but the truth is that your faucet is often a major focal point to the space.

style

Think about your the general style of your kitchen as well as the style of the sink that you have selected. Pairing a cast iron farmhouse sink with a super modern faucet may not work together unless you are going for a very edgy or eclectic look. Similarly, a strongly modern stainless sink would not suit a traditional bridge style faucet.

Finish

Faucets generally come in three main finishes: chrome, nickel (or other brushed metal), or bronze. Consider the nearby cabinet hardware, as well as lighting and other metal finishes in the space. It doesn’t all have to match exactly, but choose a faucet whose finish works well with the other finishes in the space. Because I chose chrome and nickel finishes throughout the space in the cabinet hardware and lighting, I selected a chrome faucet to complement these finishes

Spout height and reach

Faucets with a high arc are very on trend these days… but you need to consider the amount of space you have above your sink. If you have low cabinets or shelves above the sink, you may not wish the arc to be too high. Another thing to consider is the size of your sink…. a large sink may require you to select a faucet with a larger reach. The farmhouse sink that we selected is quite wide and deep, so choosing a faucet that had a spray option that would reach all the corners of the sink easily was critical

Sprayer options

A sprayer on a faucet is an amazing tool… a good sprayer can remove all kinds of gunk and mess for you, and it also can help to keep your sink cleaner. Often faucets with a separate side spray are not as convenient or effective as a sprayer that is built into the faucet itself. Some faucets, such as the one we chose, even have a little button on the faucet head to turn the spray on and off making this feature super convenient and easy to use

 

What to Look for When Searching for Your Next Kitchen Faucet

Your Kitchen is Your Command Center

Prepping for spaghetti night. Bathing the baby. Watering the plants. It should come as no surprise that you spend more active time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. And from selecting a finish to starting installation, there are plenty of things for you to consider when choosing your next kitchen faucet.

Think About What Goes on in Your Sink

When it comes to taking care of business in the kitchen, you need a faucet that’s built to handle everything you throw at it. Think about your everyday experiences and then see how the right combination of features — including handles, spout height, and sprayers — can help you create a space that works your way.

Hands-Free Convenience

Touchless Kitchen Faucets with MotionSense™ feature touchless activation, allowing you to easily turn water on and off with the wave of a hand.

Keep Everything in Reach

Whether you’re rinsing down the corners of your sink or cleaning fresh veggies from the garden, a faucet with the right sprayer helps make quick work of your kitchen tasks

Get Smart About Arcs

Have you ever shimmied a large pasta pot under a low spout or had your window view interrupted by a high spout? if so, then you understand how important it is to have a faucet that’s just the right height.

 

TIPS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT KITCHEN FAUCET

Few people would argue that the kitchen is the hardest working (and most “hung out in”) room of the house. So when you’re doing a kitchen renovation, how do you ensure you’re making the most out of the type and placement of those relied upon faucets?  Here are a few tips on how to choose those faucets, and maximize the placement of them in various areas throughout the room

A big faucet for the big jobs

The main sink of the kitchen is often used for the “heavy lifting” of kitchen duties — washing dishes, cleaning large pots/pans and much more. We suggest putting a faucet at that sink that also serves as a statement piece. Maybe it’s a commercial-grade oversized faucet such as the Danze Parma Pre-Rinse Faucet or a tall pull-down faucet. Whatever your preference, take this opportunity to set the style of the room, which is just as important as the functionality this piece will bring to those big jobs.

Bring water to the stovetop

Pot fillers have grown in popularity in recent years and there’s no question why. For relatively little effort during a renovation (run a single cold water source to behind the stovetop area), you have the added convenience of a wall-mounted pot filler. Perfect for adding water to boiling pots, a dirty pan and other purposes, these beautiful faucets making cooking that much easier and fun

Maximize the island

More and more homeowners are adding a second sink to the kitchen by placing one within the island. For at-home chefs, this is a great way to stay connected to guests while prepping food, washing vegetables and simply keeping the kitchen duties moving. Danze offers one of the only deck-mounted pot fillers on the market — perfect for island applications. If a pot filler isn’t for you, choose a small to medium-scale faucet (maybe a pull-out or bridge faucet with side spray) that helps maximize this important area of the room’s footprint.

Create a convenient bar

As homeowners choose to entertain more and more at home, a secondary (or convenience) bar area adjacent to or right within the kitchen has become a popular choice during renovations. Stylish, yet modest faucets are often chosen for these sinks to stay within scale of the area, yet provide the convenience and functionality that is required once guests arrive.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A KITCHEN FAUCET YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY

Not so fun fact – I’ve gone through 4 kitchen faucets in the last two years. It’s been a frustrating (and pricey) lesson that not all faucets are made equal. With my new kitchen renovation, I wanted a faucet that not only provided style but functionality too, here are a few things to consider when choosing a kitchen faucet.

CHOOSING A KITCHEN FAUCET

Know how many holes you have. You may need a deck plate to cover any existing or if you only have one, you may need to drill into your countertop. It’s easier to go with less than more

Keep the finish of your hardware in mind. I personally don’t believe there are any hard and fast rules when it comes to home design but, personally, I prefer my kitchen faucet to match the finish of my kitchen pulls and handles. It’s easy on the eyes and makes the decor aesthetically appealing.

Spray features. When it comes to choosing a kitchen faucet, the more spray options the better. I don’t want a trickle, I also want a jet steam so I easily clean stuck on food.

Faucet height. Most faucets are in front of a window, but if yours is below cabinets – take some measurements before you buy.

Hose length. This is a feature that I missed the first few times I was choosing kitchen faucets. Take into consideration the size of your sink (my old sink was a large one, and I couldn’t stretch the hose enough to clean the bottom corner), if there are any plants nearby you would like to easily water, or if you have coffee maker next to the sink to easily fill (I can’t be the only one who gets annoyed when I have to take the reservoir out of my Keurig each time).

 

Tips for Selecting a Kitchen Faucet

Height and Reach

Kitchen faucets are available in a variety of heights and reaches. You want to choose a faucet that offers the best combination for your space. If you have large cabinets over your sink, you want to make sure that the height of the faucet doesn’t make the space look overcrowded.

Kitchen Faucet Style

You need to choose a style before you start shopping for a new faucet. Take a few minutes to look around your kitchen and gauge your current style. There are some styles that you mix and match together and others that look awkward together. For example, you can add a modern shape and style faucet to your traditional kitchen, but it would look odd if your style is rustic farmhouse.

Sprayer Options

You already know that you want a sprayer to reach the gunk that lurks in the corner of your sink, but there are so many kinds. You can choose between a side sprayer and one that pulls out from the faucet. The central sprayer is easier to use and helps keep your sink area looking tidy and efficient.

Number of Handles

Most faucets come with either one or two handles. With two handles, you use one to turn on and control the flow of water while the other handle provides hot or cold water. If you choose a faucet with only one handle, water flow and temperature are controlled with a single handle, making it very convenient in a kitchen

Number of Holes

Most sinks come with pre-drilled holes in them. There are typically two or three holes, and if your new faucet comes with fewer pieces to fill those holes than your previous faucet, then the holes need to be covered. Many faucets come with bridge pieces to cover a hole, but it’s a good idea to check the packaging if you’re going to need a cover to ensure it’s in there. For example, your old faucet had a side sprayer while your new one has a pull-down sprayer. The hole for the side sprayer is now empty.

Arc Fault New Electric Circuits Interrupters

Troubleshooting Electrical Circuits

NAVIGATE ELECTRICAL TROUBLESHOOTING FOR YOUR FACILITY

Electrical control system issues usually happen with the worst possible timing. It’s wise to be prepared with a troubleshooting plan. Often, we are quick to jump directly into fixing a problem when, in fact, it would benefit us to be methodical with our process. Here, we share a troubleshooting process that can help you navigate electrical troubleshooting for your facility.

  1. Gather Information. The first step of any electrical system troubleshooting exercise involves gathering as much information about the problem as possible. Instead of immediately diving in and haphazardly attempting anything to get the equipment running, first step back and determine how is the equipment supposed to operate, what technical documentation is available for the equipment, and is there someone familiar with similar equipment who may have experienced this same issue.
  2. Understand the malfunction and the role the malfunctioning equipment plays within the entire process. When you understand how the equipment and process is supposed to work, you can better understand what part of it is not functioning correctly.
  3. Identify what can be measured so that you can identify items that are outside the acceptable range. For example, are there voltage readings or temperature readings that would help you evaluate the source of the problem?
  4. Identify the source of the problem using available data and analytical tools to isolate the defective component. This could involve isolating components and evaluating their circuit parameters or isolating the circuits by group when dealing with a complicated circuit.
  5. Correct/repair the damaged component.
  6. Verify the repair after completion. Once the repair has been performed, start the system to ensure it now runs as required. This is important because there may have been other underlying problems. For example, there may be an issue with a circuit causing a fuse to blow (such as a shorted electrical connection). If this is the case, additional troubleshooting will be required.
  7. Perform root cause analysis to determine what really caused the problem. Since one of the objectives of troubleshooting is to ensure the problem doesn’t reoccur, it is important to determine what really caused the malfunction and take action to ensure a permanent solution is found.

 

Circuit Breaker Trips Frequently

When a properly working circuit breaker trips frequently and there are no malfunctioning loads on the circuit, it means the circuit is overloaded. Using more than one space heater or hair dryer at the same time is a common cause of this problem.

  • After the circuit breaker trips, test for power at nearby receptacles. Any receptacle that still has power when a breaker trips is located on a different circuit.
  • Try moving one of the loads to one of the other receptacles that still have power.

Troubleshooting is the process of tracing and rectifying faults in electric/electronics circuit. 

If there is a problem in electric circuit then possible causes may be;

  1. Open Circuit– A connection may be broken i.e. open circuited. This fault can be traced with continuity test.
  2. Short Circuit– A connection that may be closed is called short circuited. This leads to flow of excessive current in circuit resulting in the damage of components. Short circuit problems are normally caused by weak/damaged insulation which can be detected by insulation test.

To troubleshoot a circuit for fault, all following things should be checked.

  • Channel resistance
  • Potential difference between two points
  • Flow of current

 

No GFCIs

What it means: Increased risk of electrocution in wet areas, such as baths and kitchens. GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) shut down circuits in 4 milliseconds, before current can cause a deadly shock.

level: High.

Solution: Replace old receptacles with GFCIs (about $12 each). This is a simple job that many homeowners do themselves. Electricians charge about $20 per outlet. (There will likely be a minimum job charge.) Note: As an alternative, GFCI breakers ($25) can be installed on the main panel. But then every time one trips, you have to go down to the basement to reset it.

 

Aluminum Wiring

What it means: You have a type of wiring, used in the 1960s and ’70s as a cheap substitute for copper, that is no longer considered safe.

Danger level: High. Aluminum corrodes when in contact with copper, so connections loosen, which can lead to arcing and fires.

Solution: Retrofit a dielectric wire nut approved for aluminum wire (a pair sells for less than $1) onto each copper/aluminum connection in light fixtures. These nuts have a special grease that stops corrosion while maintaining conductivity. Make sure any replacement switches and receptacles are labeled AL-compatible.

Plug Falls Out of Receptacle
What it means: Worn contacts in receptacle no longer grip the prongs firmly.

Danger level: High. Loose contacts can cause arcing, which can ignite dry wood and dust.

Solution:Replace the old receptacles as soon as possible. (A new one costs about $2.) Many homeowners feel comfortable doing this themselves. Electricians will charge about $8 or $10 per outlet, although there’s likely to be a minimum charge for small jobs.

 

Understand how the circuit works.

This consists of understanding the operation of all the components that are used in the circuit. This could include such components as: push buttons, contactors, various types of switches, relays, sensors, motors, etc.
Electrical circuits typically control or operate mechanical systems and components. You also need to understand how these mechanical aspects of the equipment operate to carry out the work.
You need to be able to determine how the circuit works under normal conditions and what effect changing one of the circuit inputs has on the circuit operation. For example, what happens to the overall circuit operation when a push button is pressed; which relays energize, which lights illuminate, does the pump start or stop, etc. You also need to be able to determine what effect a faulty component may have on the circuit operation.

How Stucco Repairs Is Done

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Stucco?

Stucco is one of the more long-lasting options as a siding for your home. However, despite its longevity, it can occasionally become damaged. Harsh weather conditions and accidents can chip, crack or warp stucco, making repairs necessary

Repairs should be done quickly to prevent damage to the underlying wood lath and prevent water penetration. Even minor cracks can lead to significant damage, so if your stucco is in need of repair, it is important to handle the situation immediately to minimize the risk of additional damage. Bonus Tip: If the crack or hole was caused by an underlying problem, be certain to fix the underlying issue before tackling the repair to prevent having to replicate the chore later.

DIY vs. Hiring Costs

The decision of whether to tackle stucco repair on your own or hire a professional to do the job depends on several factors. For instance, if the crack is a hairline crack or a small chip, you may feel comfortable using a stucco repair kit to do the job yourself. Or, if you have extensive masonry experience, you may decide to handle larger cracks and holes

Labor, Materials, and Installation

Because of the skill level required to repair and match the repaired material to the existing stucco, many contractors consider stucco repair to be a virtual art form. Labor costs are generally figured in one of two ways, either by the hour or by the square foot.

Labor Costs

Nationally, contractors charge anywhere from $40 to $50 per hour to repair stucco, or from $60 to $120 per square foot. The two main reasons for these costs are the complexity of the repair and the fact that it takes time, as it involves waiting for each coat to cure before proceeding to the next step.

 

Stucco Contractors, A Few Hiring Tips

If you have a larger project, then you will likely be interviewing several stucco contractors. Narrowing down which ones will make sure that your project turns out the way you want it to can be somewhat confusing, not to mention the different bids you’ll be getting, recommended repairs needed, texture and color samples, etc

References:

Ask to see a couple of jobs that the contractor has done in the past. Try to get some more recent jobs, within the past month or two, would be better and will show that they are still doing good work and people are still hiring them.

Stucco Supply Yard: The staff will know virtually every plastering crew in your vicinity and can make excellent resources. Just call and ask for 3-5 recommended plastering contractor’s that they know do good work

Local Online Communities: These are a great place to get recommendations from actual people and can be found on sites like Facebook, various forums, etc. Try typing in “(your city) online community” into a search engine like Google and see what pops up.

General Contractors: General contractors will hire a stucco crew to complete any stucco homes that they are working on and will only hire the best contractors for their jobs. Ask how long they have used them for and if you can look at some of their previous work, this is a HUGE benefit for you.

 

TIPS TO FIND THE BEST STUCCO REPAIRS

HOW TO REPAIR STUCCO CRACKS

Small, thin cracks in your stucco can be easily fixed with exterior latex paintable caulk. Choose a caulk color that is close to your stucco color. You may not find an exact match, but something close to it. If need be, you can touch up the caulked area with an exterior paint that matches your stucco color. Use a utility knife to cut the nozzle at a 45-degree angle, and place it in a caulking gun. Puncture the internal foil patch at the base of the nozzle with a nail or other slender sharp object. Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle parallel to the crack being filled and pull the nozzle along the crack. Don’t push it. Position the nozzle opening so that it forces sealant onto the crack. As you finish applying each bead of caulk, release the trigger and pull back on the caulking gun rod to stop the flow of caulk and relieve the pressure inside the tube. Releasing the trigger alone will not stop the caulk from flowing out of the nozzle. Let the caulk set for the manufacturer-recommended amount of time.

Repairing Stucco Cracks

Cracks in stucco are a common problem. Stucco, after all, is not very resilient–it’s made of cement. So when a house settles over time or shifts because of heavy winds or earthquakes, the stucco siding cracks. The proper way to repair these problems depends upon their size

Hairline Cracks

Very fine, hairline cracks are very easy to fix. If they are super-thin, a coating of acrylic latex paint that matches the siding will probably do the job. If they are a little too wide for paint to fill the crevices, fill them with latex caulking compound first. Allow this to dry thoroughly, then paint the surface with acrylic latex paint.

Stucco can and should be sealed properly to prevent moisture intrusion.

If new, stucco can be sealed with a clear concrete/ masonry sealer, which will penetrate into the stucco and stop moisture entrance. These are typically silicone type sealers. While effective, these finishes will usually need to be redone every 4-5 years. Redoing sealing on a regular basis is what prevents deterioration and damage, which can lead to the need for full replacement.

Common Causes of Stucco Water Damage

Stucco damage is often caused by water. If you noticed that your stucco walls have blistering, staining, or mold, you could have water damage. Stucco siding is vulnerable to a multitude of issues that can cost you thousands of dollars. Here are the four common causes of stucco water damage.

 

Home Tips: Repainting Stucco

The stucco on my home’s exterior looks faded. What can I do to make it look new again?

Stucco, like many surfaces, can fade – especially when it’s exposed to direct sunlight. But, making it look new again is easy. Quality paint can revive the look of your stucco, giving your home a fresh, new appearance

What if I want to completely change the color of my stucco?

No problem. Just like any surface (for example, wood siding), stucco can be repainted to suit your color preferences. If you want to achieve a darker shade than your original stucco color, and the surface is in good shape, quality paint can probably provide the coverage you need in one coat. Painting a lighter shade over a darker tone may require two coats. When selecting a new color, don’t forget to coordinate with other exterior colors on your home such as shingles and trim.

There are so many exterior paint products on the market. How do I know which one will be the best for stucco?

Most exterior paint products are formulated for application on a variety of surfaces, from wood siding to brick and stucco. The knowledgeable sales people at Sherwin-Williams can tell you about products like Duration® Exterior Coating, and SuperPaint® Exterior Latex Paint. Just tell them a little about your home’s exterior and your goals, and they’ll help you select the coating that will best suit your needs.

Which are better, latex- or alkyd-based products?

Acrylic latex products perform the best on stucco. Most do-it-yourselfers find that latex products are easiest to use because they are easy to apply and they clean up with soap and water Acrylic latex paints also offer good gloss and color retention as well as good coverage that dries fast.

Do I need a primer?

If the surface of your stucco is in good shape with no exposed substrate, possibly not. However, if you need to make a lot of repairs, using a primer will make your finish coat look great and provide the beautiful, long-lasting results you expect. Ask the experts at Sherwin-Williams to help you pick the right product for the job.

 

STUCCO REPAIR COST GUIDE

There are many factors to consider when weighing stucco repair costs after discovering damaged stucco siding on your home. While certain approaches may cost you less money in the short term, they could leave you vulnerable to future damage, more costs and more headaches down the road.

WHAT IS STUCCO REPAIR?

Stucco repair usually refers to re-sealing the stucco around windows, flashing and joints, or removing certain “chunks” of damaged stucco and installing new stucco in its place. Compared to a stucco remediation job, in which the all the stucco siding is removed and replaced, stucco repair is more of a quick fix.

WHY WOULD I NEED TO REPAIR STUCCO?

Stucco failure usually results from water invading a home’s exterior walls, causing damage to materials under the siding. Usually, failed stucco is a result of the original siding installation being done improperly, without the necessary moisture barriers in place. The first sign of serious problems is usually “tears,” the greenish-black stains that appear to be “crying” on your exterior walls—especially near windows—that indicate moisture intrusion. Other indicators of stucco problems include musky odors near the stucco, large cracks and missing chunks of stucco.

TUCCO REPAIR COST FACTORS

Price is often a homeowner’s first worry, but when you’re weighing different stucco repair costs and options, it’s important to see the full picture. The money you spend now could pay off in the long run.

INSPECTION COSTS – An inspection is a crucial first step in diagnosing the problem. Moisture meter readings involve inserting small probes in suspicious areas of your walls to determine the amount of moisture in the wall cavity. After the reading is complete, holes are caulked over and resealed.

Two Electrical Options For Outdoor Electrical Lighting

Garden Lighting Guide

Garden lighting guide – how to choose lights for your outdoor space

Well-planned lighting can really enhance your outdoor space, increasing visibility in changing weather and creating atmosphere to extend your hours of enjoyment.

Getting started – make a lighting plan

Lighting can make or break your garden, so take time planning exactly what kind of illuminations you want and where.

Identify key features

Sketch a rough plan of your garden, marking all the key features. Identify which features you want to enhance – a pond, a tree, steps – and any that you might want to keep in the dark, like an old shed.

Think about how to create different lighting effects

Outdoor lighting should be fluid, with different types of lighting creating different effects across your garden

Downlighting is good for illuminating doorways, or throwing light onto a patio or decked area. Smaller downlights can pick out particular plants or features, while the smallest downlights attached to the bottom of low-level hardscaping like benches and windows define areas with a subtle, attractive glow.

 

What is Security Lighting & Why is it Important?

Outdoor lighting adds beauty and dimension to a home. Lighting is also an integral part of an effective home security system. Outdoor security lighting discourages would-be intruders from targeting your home by increasing the risk of being caught. The best lighting design allows physical detection and facial recognition, minimizes hiding spots, and increases your sense of safety.

You don’t have to light your home like a Christmas tree to feel safe. Over-illumination can draw unwanted attention to valuable items in your home or business and can cause light pollution. In this guide, we offer an overview of security lighting and simple tips to help you identify potential safety and security risks, select the best security lights, and determine their placement to ensure your safety and security.

THE PURPOSE OF OUTDOOR SECURITY LIGHTING

Andrew Coleman, a lighting designer for McKay Landscape Lighting in Omaha, NE, reveals the purpose of residential outdoor lighting is threefold. First, it must be aesthetically pleasing to the homeowners. Second, it must help the residents safely navigate the landscape and the perimeter of the home, and allow them to identify obstructions and potential hazards such as a change in elevation. Third, it must provide security by discouraging trespassers. A well-lit home is less likely to be broken into, he says.

TYPES OF SECURITY LIGHTS

When shopping for outdoor security lights, choose fixtures approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for wet or damp locations. These luminaries feature weatherproof designs and finishes capable of withstanding the elements such as humidity, rain, and snow

Flood Lights

Flood lights distribute a wide cone of light and are ideal for illuminating large spaces. The versatile fixtures come with one, two, or three adjustable heads for precise illumination.

Landscape Path Lighting

Landscape path lights are ideal for safely illuminating frequently used paths and walkways. The light fixtures are also suitable for illuminating trees and other architectural elements around your home

 

How to light your outdoors

The perfect plan

Before you start, it’s a good idea to make a plan. Begin by thinking about how you use your outdoor area and what the different lighting requirements are for each space. Perhaps you entertain a lot and would like a well-lit area, maybe you want to highlight a statue or water feature, or you may wish to create a relaxing atmosphere

Layer your lights

For spaces that have multiple uses, consider light layering. By layering your lighting you’ll be able to easily change the mood from tranquil to party with the flick of a switch. Whatever lighting style or mood you’re trying to achieve,

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting should light up the entire space. In an outdoor area this could include a ceiling light, the light from a ceiling fan, a large spotlight, several downlights or well-spaced wall lights. Include a dimmer switch if possible for complete control.

Task lighting

Task lights do just what their name suggests – they illuminate areas where you are performing a specific task. For example, this may be a clip on BBQ light, down lights above a servery or a pendant hanging over a dining table.

Accent lighting

The role of accent lights is to provide a bit of theatre. These lights highlight the features that you want to stand out and can make a space feel warm and inviting. Accent lights could be used to focus on trees, a path or steps, an architectural feature or something in your garden like a pond. Think fairy lights, party lights, Japanese lanterns or decorative string lights (these come in all shapes and lengths).

 

All About Landscape Lighting

From selecting the best outdoor lights to setting them up, our experts share how to brighten up the outside of your house

You’ve pulled out all the stops to make your house and yard look first-rate. So why let that hard work disappear at nightfall. With a flick of a switch and some strategically placed outdoor house lights, you can roll back the darkness and put it all on display? Done right, landscape lighting makes the best of what you’ve got by highlighting your home’s architectural features and drawing attention to prized plantings and trees.

What is the Best Landscape Lighting?

Most landscape lighting today is low voltage, and with good reason. Unlike 120-volt systems, it’s safer to work with and less costly to install. And though low-voltage lights receive one-tenth the power, thanks to a step-down transformer, there’s no limit to the effects they can achieve, from ethereal moonlight beamed down from a tree canopy to a subtle glow that washes over a low garden wall. More than just picking the right hardware, a pleasing lighting scheme is also about artistry.

What’s in a Low-Voltage Outdoor Lighting System?

Landscape lighting typically relies on stepped-down power from your house.

Key Questions Answered

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Homeowners can put in a simple system in a weekend. For the most stunning effects, go with a landscape lighting specialist familiar with the various fixtures and ways to arrange them.

 

Tips for Protecting Outdoor Light Strings

Using outdoor light strings has become one of the most popular ways to illuminate outdoor spaces. You might have patio lights strung across your backyard or use dozens of Christmas light strings to build incredible displays during the holiday season. When installing your light strings, you should always make sure that they are as protected as possible from anything that can cause damage or electrical shorts. There are many ways to do this, so we will cover the most important tips. In this first part, we’ll discuss what strings and components are safe for outdoor use, when to cut light strings, and how to keep connections safe.

Use Outdoor Rated Strings

Before ever placing any light string outside, you should always check to make sure that the string is safe for outdoor use by looking at the safety rating. Rope light, patio light strings, and many Christmas light strings are safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Designed with sturdier materials, these lights can withstand the weather conditions. Some Christmas light strings, however, are only rated for indoor use. Using these lights outdoors can cause them to fail prematurely or even short out if they are exposed to water.

Don’t Use Old or Worn Strings

When was the last time you bought new light strings for your Christmas displays? If it’s been a while or your lights get stored in a hot attic for 10 or so months out of the year, chances are you might need some new ones. When you first get your lights out you should use testers to check for damaged sockets, bad bulbs, or blown fuses and make any necessary repairs. Strings with worn or brittle wires should be immediate thrown away as these lights can potentially pose a fire hazard.

Use Outdoor Rated Bulbs

While the majority of C7 and C9 bulbs are safe for outdoor use, the same cannot be said for other types of bulbs used in patio light strings. Incandescent bulbs are safe for outdoor use as long as they are protected from direct contact with water. If used in an open area, the lights should be taken down immediately after an event. Where and when LED bulbs can be used depends on the safety rating. Damp location rated bulbs can be used where moisture is present, but should not come in direct contact with water. LED bulbs with this rating should not be used for permanently installed light strings. Wet location rated bulbs can come in direct contact with water and can be safely used in open areas.

Only Use Outdoor Rated Extension Cords

Like the light strings themselves, extension cords must also be rated for outdoor use. Outdoor extension cords have thicker insulation designed to withstand wetter and rougher conditions. In order to verify if your cord is outdoor rated, you will need to check the ratings code stamped directly on the cord. Made up of letters, this code is used to describe what the cord jacket is made of and the conditions it can withstand. An outdoor rated cord will have a ‘W’ listed in the code.

Safe And Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Wasps

Ways to Keep Wasps Away From You

Aside from different nesting preferences, the main difference between bees and wasps is that bees feed their larvae pollen, while wasps — a category that includes yellow jackets and hornets — nourish theirs with insects. That means that wasps are actually great to have around the garden because they control nearly all types of pests.

Clove-Geranium-Lemongrass Oil Blend

Research published in the Journal of Pest Management Science found that a combination of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils successfully repelled wasps. You can try applying these oils by mixing several drops of each with water and dish soap in a spray bottle and coating areas on the outside of your home where wasps like to build nests: under eaves, porch roofs, and other ledges and crevices.

Plain Soap and Water

According to Chris Walker, an eco-friendly wasp removal expert in Southeastern Pennsylvania, you can tackle small hanging nests with a mixture of about two tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil may also be effective at repelling wasps, according to the same study from the Journal of Pest Management Science. You can try applying it as described above, or you can purchase EcoSmart Organic Wasp and Hornet Killer, which is mint oil-based, to target established nests

Wasp Traps

Wasp traps work by luring the insects inside a container with some tempting treat, like sugar water, and then preventing them from escaping. You can make one yourself in about five minutes by sawing the top off a two-liter bottle and inverting it inside the bottom, or cutting a small hole in the top like this.

 

Wasps: DO’s and DON’Ts

Wasps’ behaviour changes in late summer as their preferred food shifts from sugars to proteins. Because of this, you will more likely encounter them wherever food is consumed outdoors and around garbage collection areas.

If you notice large numbers of wasps in your home or garden, there is likely to be a wasp nest nearby. It may be in your house, in your garden or very close by. A mature nest in summer/autumn can contain thousands of wasps. When they do attack, most wasps, yellow jackets and hornets are aggressive and will sting REPEATEDLY

Should I remove wasp nest myself?

It is important to treat a wasp nest as soon as possible. Removing a wasp nest is a complex process and requires professional help. To avoid the risk of painful wasp stings (and possible allergic reactions), we strongly advise you not to try to remove a wasp nest yourself. Remember, you could cause serious injury to yourself or others if you provoke the wasps in the nest.

Paper wasps: This is an open nest with hexagonal cells. It usually has an umbrella shape and may contain fewer than 100 paper wasps.

Hornets: A hornet nest has a football shape surrounded by smooth walls.

 

How to Get Rid of Wasps

Wasps are a frightening pest for many people. Setting up their nests near homes, they fly swiftly around doors and entryways and pack a powerful sting if they feel threatened.

Yet not all wasps sting, and they are a beneficial insect in some ways. Without wasps eating insects, there would be a gaping hole in the food chain. With about 30,000 identified wasp species, some are more common pests for humans than others. All this makes it important to know what kind of wasps are causing you problems before you attempt to get rid of them — or even they are wasps at all. Learning more about bees and wasps is key in safely ridding your property of an infestation.

Differences Between Bees and Wasps

Bees have robust, rounded bodies made up of one section, whereas wasps are slender and have a tapered waist area that connects their thorax to their abdomen. Bees are hairy, while wasps are more smooth and shiny. Bees feed on pollen, while wasps feed on insects. If you see something buzzing near a flower, it’s more likely to be a bee than a wasp. Honeybees die after stinging, whereas wasps can sting and fly directly away.

Physical Characteristics of Wasps

Wasps all grow up to about 1.5” and vary in size by species. However, their bodies are all composed of a head, thorax and abdomen separated by a tapered waist. They have one pair of wings, one pair of antennae, and six legs. All female wasp species have venom which they inject into their victims when stinging them. Only females can sting, and their stingers are located at the very end of their bottom half. This stinger also doubles as a reproductive organ through which the wasp can lay eggs.

 

How to get rid of wasps: quickly and sting-free

Learn how to get rid of wasps and you’ll be able to avoid the most annoying of garden visitors. Wasps start to build their nests in spring, so if you’ve noticed lots in your garden then now is the time to get rid of them. By summer, they could have built up a nest that you’ll need to call in the professionals to deal with.

As is the case with most household pests, a wasp infestation can be pretty unpleasant, especially because of the risk of them stinging you. Luckily, there are a few things that can be done to ensure your wasp enemies stay away.

HOW TO GET RID OF WASPS

If there’s one thing guaranteed to ruin every garden sunbathing session/BBQ/afternoon siesta, it’s pesky wasps. Numbers of these annoying insects start to rise in the spring and peak in summer, which explains why we’ve started to notice so many of them in our gardens. Unlike bees, wasps don’t die once they’ve stung you and can sting many times, it means you need to be extremely careful when trying to get rid of them

Shut your bins: Open bins will attract greedy wasps looking for a sweet meal. Keep you bins away from the house if you can and make sure the lids are always on properly.

Protect your home: Keeping your windows and doors shut will stop wasps entering the house. If it’s too hot and you don’t have an air conditioning unit, consider investing in a fly screen for your doors

 

tips for waging war on wasps

Orange Crush is a good bait for wasps at this time of year, as well as cream soda. He says anything syrupy sweet works.

Toward fall, wasps will be out for blood. “As we get closer to cold weather they’re going to switch over the proteins,” said Sherwood. He finds the raw blood from ground beef attracts wasps well.

Wasp traps do work, to a point. Commercial traps and homemade traps, like the ones made out of pop bottles, work to stop wasps from sharing your picnic. But they don’t kill the colony.

Paper bags and products made to look like wasp nests will deter wasps, but they must be put up in mid-March when juvenile queens are looking to nest.

Insecticidal foam commercial products work to kill a nest. You spray some foam to plug up the opening where wasps come in and out. Then you stick a straw in the nest and pump it full of insecticide.

What You Need To Understand About Your Custom Home Builder

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOME-BUILDING CONTRACTOR

How to find a certified Green Builder?

It’s not common to find a reliable ‘green home listing’ or ‘green pages’ in specific regions, so choosing a quality general contractor with experience building efficient homes can be tricky. Here are some tips of where to look, what to look for, and what to avoid

There are no certified ‘builders’, only certified buildings;

Any builder who has successfully navigated a performance-rating system would be knowledgeable in the area of green home building, so is a good bet when searching for a contractor who knows how to correctly weather seal & air seal windows and doors, for example, which is an essential part of building a more efficient home.

What questions to ask when choosing a Green builder?

Below are a few good questions to start with, and many of the answers you should hear from candidates are hyper-linked.

The answers you receive will quickly indicate the type of builder you are speaking with; either they will redirect, dismiss or dodge the question, or they will answer with confidence. If you are told any of the following – ‘you want your walls to breath’, ‘you don’t want a house to be too airtight’ or ‘building code is all you need‘, then you will know you are dealing with a base-level builder who wants to stay the course, not a player in the higher league of performance building.

Architects, designers and technologists:

Another avenue is to begin with a home designer who has a experience with performance homes, since they may have local builders they can recommend. The same goes the other way; if you find a builder you really connect with, ask if they have preferred designers they can recommend

 

How to Pick the Right Custom Home Builder for You

Setting out to find a new home has its challenges, especially if there’s no new homes on the market that totally satisfy what you’re looking for in a new home. If this is the case, then finding a custom home builder to create your perfect home is a great approach for you

So how do you find the custom homebuilder that will bring your dream home to life? It’s imperative to find the right custom builder as this person or group will be charged with creating the home you’ve always wanted in precise detail. With that in mind, it’s best to have a detailed list of things to consider while selecting a custom home builder.

Determine what you want in a custom home

The first part of the process is to jot down exactly what you want in your custom home. It can range from having a different layout for one or two rooms in the home or having a more intricate home plan

Make list of potential builders

Once you’ve outlined the home that you want built, it’s time to put together a list of potential builders that you want to contact. Reach out to the homebuilders association that is local to you – or in the location you’d like your custom home built in — for a list to choose from. There is also the Homeowners for Better Building (HOBB), which is another resource for finding custom home builders. NewHomeSource.com also has landing pages for each custom homebuilder it works with to make your custom home building process a breeze

Contact custom homebuilders

At the outset when you begin to make contact with custom builders, note how accessible they are. It’s important that the builder needs to be available whenever you have questions or concerns before and during the process of construction. While they’re not supposed to be at your beck and call, returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner is important. If your builder seems to take too long to get back to you even on minor things or doesn’t respond at all, that’s something that should be a disqualifier.

 

How to choose the right builder for you

When you decide to build your next home, rather than buy it, there’s one thing you simply have to get right: choosing the builder.

Picking the right builder has the potential to make or break the entire experience for you, so it’s something you don’t want to rush

Check their folio

You’ve no doubt got some idea about the type and style of home you’re hoping to build, so it’s important to find a builder whose skills best align with your plans. Paxino says this part of the process is usually easy, as most builders will have their projects displayed on their websites, or they will be able to provide you with a catalogue of homes they’ve built previously.

Find or ask for references

Some of the best information to assist you in selecting your builder can be gleaned by speaking to people who’ve dealt with them before. “You might be skeptical about who they’re going suggest – whether it’s their brother or someone they know,” Paxino says.

Go the extra mile

You’re going to be paying your builder hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of dollars to construct your home, so a few hours spent doing some extra reconnaissance will be more than worth your while

Let’s talk costs

There’s no point in gathering building quotes first, Paxino says, because many of the builders may not be appropriate for your project. So do your research first, narrow the field, and only then start asking for prices from the builders who’ve made your cut. And remember: cheapest isn’t always best.

 

Tips for Choosing Your New Home Builder

Choosing the right builder for your new home is a big task. They’re going to be in charge of a major construction project for you – and that’s a big undertaking. The builder you select needs to have all the tools necessary to build you a home that will last.

They Hire the Right Team

When you build a house, you’re bringing together all these different pieces and fitting them together like a puzzle. The right builders finds the right pieces to make that happen. They choose the best electricians, plumbers, welders, and contractors to make your home safe and strong. The sub trades they choose have a direct effect on the quality of the finished product

They Talk, and They Listen

The most important thing you can do in any project, whether it’s a full build, or a small renovation is to communicate with your team. Good builders will keep the lines of communication wide open and transparent. You want to know if there are delays in the project, and why. A good builder will tell you these things – and how they plan to fix them.

They Chase Outside Certification

Each builder has their own set of standards when it comes to construction – but the truly great ones will qualify for third party certifications that let you know that their homes are built right.

Holmes Approved Homes

Not just any builder can join this program – it’s actually Mike and his team that sources us to join the program! With a Holmes Approved Home, you’re buying a home that was built using the best techniques, practices, and technologies. Not only that, all Holmes Approved Homes go through a third party inspection provided by Mike’s own team of home inspectors, that let you know that you’ve got a home that was built right, from the ground up

 

Choosing A Builder

The common mistakes that can cause heartache

Do you plan to build your own home? Perhaps you’re looking to renovate or extend your existing home. Either way, there are many ways to make the right and wrong decisions when choosing a builder.

Get some advice

When choosing a builder, a good place to start is by asking any family and friends that have hired a builder to construct their home or renovate. Chances are you probably would have heard the stories, whether the experience was amazing or a nightmare. Be wary of going through friends of friends because they may not necessarily be builders you can put a lot of faith in. The builder may feel like they’re “doing someone a favour” and, because of that, they may place a lower priority on the job and take longer to start work.

Licences and insurance

Whether you’re going through a home builder or you’re designing your own home or renovation works with help from an architect, it’s important that you choose a builder that is licenced, registered and insured. You should be wary of builders that either refuse or don’t make it clear upfront that they are legally permitted to be involved in building and construction.

Experience and skills

Really question whether they have the skills you need. If they only have experience in renovations and extensions, they’re not the right choice for your home. It’s also important to note that builders who have only built residential properties in the past may not necessarily have a good grasp of the complexities of extensions and renovations.

Portfolio and references

First of all, check out their previous jobs and, if possible, have a physical walk-through of a home they’ve built. Even consulting an engineer to walk through the property may be worth the cost if you’re serious about choosing the right builder. Builders may be quick to offer you the contact details of a handful of selected clients but they may just offer a biased opinion. It’s best to ask to speak with their most current clients, particularly those in the middle of the building stage