Tips To Make Home Builder

How to choose the right home builder

Selecting the right home building firm for your needs and for the type of new home you seek is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your home buying process.

Fortunately, there are some proven ways to speed up the research and selection process and to help ensure that you find a quality builder who’s a good match to construct your new home.

10 Ways to Choose the Right Home Builder

Define Your Needs

While some builders construct a broad range of homes, many builders also specialize in a specific type of home, price range, or style. For example, not many firms build starter homes for first-time buyers and also multi-million dollar homes for affluent custom home buyers. The building materials, trade contractors and even the building process itself can differ greatly by type and price of home. Look for a fit here. Then, be ready to make sacrifices, as it isn’t always easy finding a home that meets all the criteria to be your dream home. In fact, a 2016 report from Bank of America found that 95 percent of first-time buyers are already willing to make sacrifices in order to make homeownership a reality.

Experience Counts

Every home building firm (including the most experienced and well-regarded companies today) once built their first home. And many new home building firms were started by experienced veterans of other builders. Don’t overly discount a new firm – especially if their team includes seasoned pros – but do look for strong experience overall and in the type of home you seek.

Are Past Homebuyers Satisfied?

Many builders offer customer references and referrals. If not, ask. And in either case, follow up. A few great questions to ask: Would you buy another home from this builder? Or recommend them to close friends or family? And don’t forget to ask for the key reasons why a past home buyer would or would not recommend a builder.

Is the Builder Licensed and Insured?

Not every state or area requires builders to be licensed, but make sure that you work with a licensed builder in such areas. Ask about the insurance that the builder and his or her trade contractors carry. Make sure that they and you are covered during the building process.

Is There a Design Fit?

A builder whose entire portfolio consists of contemporary homes may not be the best fit for that highly traditional home you seek – and vice-versa. While many builders have expertise in a variety of design styles and architectural details, in general, look for a builder whose work includes at least some examples of the style of home you want.

Warranty and Service

One of the top advantages of new construction is that your home itself and most of the products, systems and components it contains are brand-new and under warranty. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that major repairs or a new roof are likely years away is important. In addition, look for a structural warranty of ten years or longer on the home itself, ideally transferable to a new owner should you sell. Also look for a builder who provides prompt and courteous service under warranty and who takes time to explain the proper maintenance and care that any home needs.

Resale Value

Good reputations follow good builders, among homeowners and Realtors. Look for builders whose homes tend to hold or maintain their value. Look for Realtor ads that specifically mention the name of a builder for a home for sale that’s now five or seven years old. That Realtor clearly sees the builder’s brand name as a big plus.

Industry Involvement

Not every good builder chooses to join their local Home Builder Association, so don’t place too much emphasis on this. However, such membership does tend to show that a builder is committed for the long-term to the area. It’s also a sign of commitment to new home community developers, building product suppliers and trade contractors that work in your city or town.

Tour Model Homes and/or Homes of Past Buyers

Once you’ve narrowed down a list of prospective builders using the criteria above, this is the most important step. Nothing substitutes for touring a home built by a builder on your short list. It can be a furnished and decorated model home that’s open to the public. Or, it can be a home the builder constructed for a past buyer that you visit by appointment. In either case, pay careful attention to the look, feel and quality of the home.

Look for Signs of Quality

Look for signs of quality construction and attention to detail when you visit the homes above. Also consider the building products that a builder uses. Are they brands with well-earned reputations for quality? What about the homes under construction you passed on the way to the completed model home? Were there signs of care and attention there, as well?

Last, look for the quality of people who work for the builder: Did the builder’s employees show sincere interest in you and your needs? Did they listen carefully? Did they provide good answers to your questions? Were they courteous, prompt and professional in your interactions with them in the model home, sales center or builder’s office?

With the ten steps above, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a good builder who’s a good fit for you, your needs, and the new home you’ll build together.

 

5 tips to hire a builder for your dream home

Are you ready to build your dream home? Perhaps the idea fills you with excitement intermingled with anxiety.

As you prepare to launch on the biggest investment of your life, it’s vital to move one step at a time. Your relationship with your homebuilder will last months and months, maybe even a year or more. When you build your dream home, you want someone who communicates well, listens and understands your vision, has a stellar reputation and a trail of happy clients with beautiful homes.

1. Ask friends and family to recommend homebuilders

Start by asking around for recommendations. Inquire among friends, family, and co-workers. Get the names of builders from your local home builders association. When you have some names to begin with, check to ensure the builders have a permanent business address and actual business location.

Seek out builders who have been around for at least three years. You want to know the builder sticks around once he completes a project. That’s especially important if you want to put a warranty to use.

2. Do a little research on local homebuilders

Ask to see proof of worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. You want to know that you won’t be held financially responsible should there be any building-related accidents while construction is taking place.

3. Vet homebuilders through references and past work

Delve into their work and interview prior clients. Ask to see a portfolio of the builder’s projects. Go look at finished homes in person. Look closely at the workmanship.

Also, ask for references and call each one. Ask the client what they liked best about the builder, if there’s anything they were unhappy about, and if they would hire the builder again. Inquire whether the builder stayed on schedule and stuck within budget.

Ask the homebuilder to see a project he or she is currently working on.

4. Consider the communication factor when building a home

Because of the scope of building a home, you want to feel comfort in knowing you can communicate effectively with your builder. Is the builder readily available when you call, text, or email? Does he explain the process thoroughly, listen attentively to your thoughts and concerns, and understand the details of your vision?

Another aspect of communication is getting a complete written contract that details the procedure, process and milestones.

5. Look for red flags from the homebuilder

If the builder asks for a large deposit up front, think twice. And if he isn’t able to pay for materials as he goes along, you might want to jump ship.

Extremely low bids should always raise an eyebrow. While rock-bottom prices might be enticing, they’re often too good to be true.

If a bid is riddled with holes and ambiguity, think twice. Any signs of murkiness — whether it’s no proof of insurance, unclear work history, unresolved claims, a lack of references or being unable to contact them — should be reason to consider another builder.

 

6 things successful builders do differently

Below are six things that will help contribute to your success as a builder.

·Stay in control

Mishaps are inevitable (especially with unpredicatable weather) and sometimes really frustrating to someone who runs a business. The way to overcome this is to be in control of the situations you can control. When the wrong supplies arrive on site for example, handle the situation with calm – call the supplier immediately and tell them they sent the wrong stuff. Being in control also means being responsible. When things go wrong, take responsibility and start finding a solution to help alleviate the problem.

·Understand good time management skills

When you run a successful building business, oftentimes you have little to no idle time in between projects. The less time you have for rest, the more stressed you are – and no one wants to hire a stressed-out builder. This is where time management comes in.

The first step to time management is know the difference between what is urgent and what is important – not everything that’s urgent is important and not all things that are important are urgently needed. So how do you categorise your projects? How do you know which ones to prioritise?

Another way you can have a little bit of free time is to learn how to say ‘no’. You don’t have to take up every opportunity that comes in through the door. More projects might mean more money, but think about the quality of your work if you have 8 to 10 projects to finish in a limited span of time. A better reputation will help secure those important jobs in the future.

·Overcome pressures

Successful building businesses usually have more pressure on them as they have more projects to manage. As there are more projects to handle, the pressure comes from finishing them on time while maintaining good quality with the finished project.

If something doesn’t go according to plan, pressure builds up. Overcoming a struggle will define your limits as a business and as a builder. The higher your limits, the easier it is for you to overcome pressure in the future.

·Customers respect you

A successful builder is a respected builder! Customers respect a good builder as they have the proper working etiquette – they are experts in their field, and they are professional about it. But what makes a builder a “professional”?

Professional builders do not chase after customers, rather,customers chase after them as they see how good the builder is in doing their job. If your customers respect you, there is a big chance that they will recommend your services to others as well.

·Your team is your strength

Having the perfect team is one of the keys to a successful building business. But what makes a great team? A great leader.

A strong leader sets a clear goal for the team and the company, and is the person who makes the rules that the team should comply with. The leader has to make sure that each member of the team knows and is clear about the goals that have to be met.

Every company has a set of rules that each team member has to comply with and these rules determine the kind of culture an organization has. When the entire team follows what their leader says wholeheartedly, a perfect team is born.

·Follow systems

When starting a building business (or any kind of business), there has to be a system that outlines the different processes within your company. Systems are made as a guide for each employee so they would know what to do in certain situations.

Your company’s system should be made clear to each member of the staff as this will help them work more effectively and efficiently. Think of it this way, if you don’t follow a system in your company and you just let your team members do as they please, wouldn’t that create disorder in the workplace?

Systems are progressive and for as long as your building business is still running, you will make certain changes to the system in order to correct the flaws that you see in it.

Having the perfect team, a good working environment and, of course, a strong and determined leader are they key to having a successful building business. If you have been following the six steps above, chances are you’re on your way to building the right frameworks for a successful business. If you’re just starting out your own building business, be guided by the steps above and you’re bound to succeed in no time.

 

Questions to ask your new home builder

Asking builders the 15 questions below will help you choose the right builder to create your new home and give you confidence in your choice.

Because building your home will be one of the largest investments that you make, it’s natural that you want to find the right fit for your project. When panelists of the New Home Source Insights Panel were asked about some of the questions they asked their builders before, during and after shopping for their new home, most replied that they wanted to learn more about the building process.

  1. How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
  2. Are you licensed (where required) and insured?
  3. How do you compare yourself to other builders? What are the most important benefits of the homes you build?
  4. What type of new home warranty do you offer?
  5. Can you give me references from prior home buyers? Do you build model homes I can tour? If not, can you help me make an appointment to see a home you built for another customer?
  6. What are the major energy-saving features of homes you build?
  7. Do you build only from home plans you supply? Or can I provide my own set of plans?
  8. What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I select?
  9. Who will oversee the construction of my home? Who should I contact with any questions I may have?
  10. How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during construction?
  11. How and when will the final price for my home be determined?
  12. How often (and when) will I have access to the home during the building process?
  13. How long will it take to build me new home?
  14. Does the community have a homeowners association (HOA) and/or an Architectural Review Committee? If so, may I get a copy of their rules and the amount of any fees?
  15. What’s your inspection process at key points of construction, at final walk-through, and to address any matters that need to be corrected or finalized?

There may be other important questions you’d ask a home builder, so feel free to add them in the comments below. However, experts agree the list above is a great starting point to select the firm to build your new home.

 

Before meeting a custom builder, do these 5 things

After weeks of research, you’ve finally narrowed your list of potential home builders. The next step? Meet with the candidates you’ve chosen. The builder you choose will become your partner for the next year, so it is important to pick someone you trust who has the right qualifications.

Here are five things to accomplish in/before your first meeting:

1. Research local builders.

Refine your builder list. Before you meet with a builder, be sure to view their online portfolio and drive by some of their houses. See what you like and what you don’t like about their work. Have they built homes that are similar in size and style to what you want? How do their homes look after 10+ years? Ask the builder details about a specific project (e.g., time, costs, challenges, things they do differently) and be prepared to point out features you want incorporated in your home.

2. Ask questions.

Meeting with a builder for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Bring a list of questions such as:

After weeks of research, you’ve finally narrowed your list of potential home builders. The next step? Meet with the candidates you’ve chosen. The builder you choose will become your partner for the next year, so it is important to pick someone you trust who has the right qualifications.

Here are five things to accomplish in/before your first meeting:

1. Research local builders.

Refine your builder list. Before you meet with a builder, be sure to view their online portfolio and drive by some of their houses. See what you like and what you don’t like about their work. Have they built homes that are similar in size and style to what you want? How do their homes look after 10+ years? Ask the builder details about a specific project (e.g., time, costs, challenges, things they do differently) and be prepared to point out features you want incorporated in your home.

2. Ask questions.

Meeting with a builder for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Bring a list of questions such as:

·How long does it take to prepare an estimate?

·Who will be in charge of our project, and how often will we meet?

·Do you strive to build energy efficient homes?

·Do you use sustainable, long-lasting building materials?

View other questions to ask and prepare for your meetings by downloading this builder interview checklist.

3. Show and tell.

If you’ve been surfing Houzz for inspiration, this is a great time to show the builder what you’ve found. Bringing actual visuals of what you want in your home will help your builder and designer get a sense of what details you want early in the process. The process of sharing visuals will also help determine if the builder is capable of sharing your vision.

4. Ask for references.

Every established builder will be able to provide references from past clients. Several weeks before the meeting, ask for at least three references — aim for one old and two new — and be sure to check them. Ask these customers about the home’s durability as well as the builder’s communication methods, response times, and ability to provide realistic estimates and stay within budget.

5. Ask to take a tour (or three).

Though beautiful photos in portfolios may be appealing, it is essential to see the builder’s craftsmanship in person before moving forward. Ask to see both a recently constructed home as well as one that has been standing for a few years. Pay attention to the details and look for any obvious moisture damage such as water stains on ceilings and cracked paint or flooring. Ask the owners what they learned through the experience and what the builder could have done differently.

Building a custom home is an exciting process. Like any big decision in life, it’s helpful to consider options. Meet with several builders before you make your final decision. This will help you determine both what you want and need in a builder.View other questions to ask and prepare for your meetings by downloading this builder interview checklist.

3. Show and tell.

If you’ve been surfing Houzz for inspiration, this is a great time to show the builder what you’ve found. Bringing actual visuals of what you want in your home will help your builder and designer get a sense of what details you want early in the process. The process of sharing visuals will also help determine if the builder is capable of sharing your vision.

4. Ask for references.

Every established builder will be able to provide references from past clients. Several weeks before the meeting, ask for at least three references — aim for one old and two new — and be sure to check them. Ask these customers about the home’s durability as well as the builder’s communication methods, response times, and ability to provide realistic estimates and stay within budget.

5. Ask to take a tour (or three).

Though beautiful photos in portfolios may be appealing, it is essential to see the builder’s craftsmanship in person before moving forward. Ask to see both a recently constructed home as well as one that has been standing for a few years. Pay attention to the details and look for any obvious moisture damage such as water stains on ceilings and cracked paint or flooring. Ask the owners what they learned through the experience and what the builder could have done differently.

Building a custom home is an exciting process. Like any big decision in life, it’s helpful to consider options. Meet with several builders before you make your final decision. This will help you determine both what you want and need in a builder.

Use Event Videographer To Make Video Memories

How to Choose the Perfect Videographer for an Event

Set a Budget

Speaking of money, this is incredibly important. Try to do a little bit of research to get an idea of what you’ll be getting for the amount of money you’re willing to pay. Some professional videographers offer great quality for reasonable prices but a really long turn around, so you won’t be seeing the results for months after the event. Others might have a faster turnaround but work at higher rates. And of course, there are lots of videographers that have great prices and portfolios but might not have the right equipment to shoot the venue you’ve chosen. So, keep in mind your priorities when setting your budget for the videographer.

Define Your Style

There are many different styles of videos and you’ll need to find one that you need. Some people opt for corporate looking videos with simple editing, while others favour a more candid approach with a more artistic style. Defining what type of video you like the most will make the process a lot easier, as videographers usually choose to work in only one style and you’ll be able to see it just by looking at what they’ve done before.

Check Their Portfolios

Professional videographers have their portfolios readily available for any potential clients. Though keep in mind that some videographers hide their more “mainstream” work (i.e. Weddings, birthdays, corporate meetings, etc). That is to say that if you find a videographer that you really like but see they don’t have any events in their portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them whether they’ve done that kind of job before. In general, you should always see their previous work before sealing the deal.

Have an Honest Chat

It’s also a good idea to keep references of what you’d like your video to look like and bring them on any meetings you have with potential videographers. It’s important that you both know what kind of results will be expected. Be sure to be as honest as possible with the videographer that you choose to work with. They can help you realize whether you have unrealistic expectations or point you in the direction of someone that can get the job done.

 

Keys to Find the Best Event Videographer

Identify the Type of Event

There are several types of events and so, videographers may focus their efforts towards acquiring techniques and skills in one or few of these types. Events may be corporate, personal or performance related. A corporate event may be a business conference, a major meeting or a retreat. Personal events could be a wedding or anniversary celebration while performance related events are inclusive of concerts or stage plays.

The knowledge of this helps you to know the kind of videographer you need. It also helps the videographer to understand the mood of the event and the lighting that would most appropriately fit in.

Consider Your Budget

The size of your budget is also an important factor in finding a videographer. While no one would want low quality, your budget would determine what you can afford. Hiring a videographer that is way above your budget would not be best choice.

In some cases, you may find a videographer that can deliver the quality you need at a price lower than your budget. That could work. However, ensure that you are certain of the quality. Whatever the case is, work around what you can afford.

Do Not Search With Levity

In preparing and making arrangements for your event, it is easy to shove the videography part and take it lightly. You might passively ask someone to take care of it and forget about it. However, if you want to get quality service, it is important to take the videography as serious as you take other components of your event. This way, you would be able to make a choice from several videographers and have control over quality too.

If Possible, Seek Out Reviews

What are other people saying? Reviews are a great way to know the prowess of a videographer. If you are considering a videographer or a company rendering this service, you would like to check out how other people feel about the services rendered.

Several times, the videographer that you get to work with might be the one suggested by a friend or acquaintance. It is all a circle. Your experience with a videographer might help another person make the best choice and then another. Simply put, referrals can lead you to the best videographer you need!

Ask To See Previous Projects

Like other crafts, portfolios speak a great deal about the quality of job that an individual can offer. It is important to look through a completed project of the videographer. The short duration of highlights could make them easy to create. A catchy and emotional highlight may hide the overall quality of the project.

Usually, people put forth their best pieces. Regarding the quality you want, it might be necessary to ask to look through several completed projects. Remember that a quality video is a whole package consisting of visuals and an audio. Going through completed projects also helps you to determine if their style and audio quality would work well for you.

 

Choosing the Perfect Photographer or Videographer for Your Event

Choosing your photographer

Before you make a request, there are things you’ll need to think about, to make sure you can make the perfect request.

First things first….

Make sure you have a venue and date before submitting a request. A photographer/videographer will want to know where your event is so that they can give you an accurate quote, and so they can see if they are able to travel there.

Wedding Photography

ALL Wedding Photographers specialise in capturing beautiful moments on your special day. They will spend time before your wedding getting to know you and going through the different options they can provide for you. They often have add-ons like a photo album to showcase your day. They’re also good for wedding vow renewals. If you don’t just want a wedding photographer there are other options!

Vintage Wedding Photographer

Fancy wedding photography, but want your photos taken in beautiful natural reportage style? A vintage wedding photographer is a supplier for you!

Documentary Wedding Photographer

Taking photos throughout the day to document your perfect day to a T. They specialise in taking natural and candid photos of you and your wedding guests throughout the day. Perfect if you don’t like posing!

 

Hiring an Event Videographer: How to Contract the Best Pro for Every Event

What is event videography?

Event videography is the process of recording a live-action event on digital media. Videography is similar to cinematography (the movie-making process), but it occurs outside of the motion picture production field.

The person who operates the camera is called a videographer. The videographer records footage of the event and edits the final product to produce a high-quality, engagement video segment. For social events, such as weddings, the video is shared with the couple and guests. For business or educational events, the video is used for websites, social media marketing, or online streaming videos.

Do you need a professional videographer for your event?

You may think an event team member can capture ‘good-enough’ footage of the event on a smartphone. Or, you feel the event doesn’t merit the cost of a professional videographer.

But high-quality video documentation of corporate events, galas, speeches, and company parties is a great way to build your brand awareness and get people interested in what you do. If you plan to show your videos on YouTube (watched by 73 percent of adults in the US) or another social media platform, hiring a videographer is a must. These industry professionals produce polished, in-focus results that are well-framed, accurate representations of the event.

How do you choose an event videographer?

Start by browsing sites such as Upwork, GigSalad, or Thumbtack, and seeking recommendations from venue managers and respected industry colleagues. Read customer reviews on the vendor sites, as well as on Yelp and Google Reviews. Pay attention to strengths or weaknesses called out repeatedly—these suggest positive or negative qualities.

Look for videos shot in your preferred style to narrow down your search. A demo reel is a great way to get a feel for a videographer’s work, but it’s only a small sample of their best. Dig deeper to find full videos so you can see the video content they’re capable of producing. Double-check that the work is recent, rather than several years old. Videography styles change rapidly, you want a pro who is on top of the trends.

 

How to Choose the Right Videographer for your Wedding

Watch Wedding Films

It may sound ridiculous but one of the most important thing you can do while searching for wedding videographers is to watch their work. Go on YouTube and Facebook and watch as many wedding films as you possibly can before even contacting any videographer. This is crucial to your research process because it will allow you to understand what these videos look like and what you can expect from them. Secondly, you will be able to understand what you want your video to look like and help you pick the vendors you will talk to based on that. Don’t be afraid to look outside your city; if you watch a video you absolutely love and they are a few cities away or even a state, contact them anyway you may be able to find someone across the country that has that very specific style you like and they can work out a deal with you so you can get the video you actually want.

Meet vendors in person

Once you have watched a few films and know what you want your wedding video to look like, you’re ready to start contacting vendors. Find the vendors that have a similar style and meet with them. Talking on the phone is great but meeting them in person is absolutely critical. This will allow you to know what they are like and if you can even get along with them. Also, if you do end up hiring them, you’ll know who and what to expect on your wedding day.

Understand What You’re Getting

During these meetings, make sure to make a list of questions and ask away. Get all the details of what they offer and how the video will be delivered to you. Some Videographers will advertise to shoot in HD but will then deliver your video on a DVD. This is a problem because DVDs aren’t actually in HD. If they advertise to be shooting in High Definition, they should be delivering accordingly. Next, one of the most important things to do while talking these vendors is to watch samples of the films they are selling you. If you are getting their cinematic highlight, make sure you ask to watch one of their previous cinematic highlights. More importantly, if you are purchasing a long form video no matter what they call it, make sure to ask for a sample of that. Most videographers won’t have available on their website and will give you a poorly edited video of all your footage. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before making a decision.

Friendliness

Although it may seem trivial, likability is a very important trait to look for in a videographer. It is crucial to pick someone that actually cares about you and your day. This will not only affect what your video will look like, but it will improve your overall experience throughout the day. A friendly videographer will make the day less stressful on you and will be able to capture those authentic moments with you and your spouse.

There are going to be several vendors at your wedding. A DJ, Photographer, Wedding planner and others. It is important that all your vendors have friendly personalities because on your wedding day these people will need to be a team upon meeting for the first time.

Set Up Your Beauty Kitchen Sink

Tips for choosing a new kitchen sink

One sink or two? (or even three!)

One sink

One large sink will be preferable if you are considering a farmhouse sink, as that is the style. The advantage of a large sink is that you have a lot of space to wash up and to leave that large casserole dish to soak. The downside is if you are juggling two sink-based chores at the same time  – maybe washing up and preparing food – it can be quite tricky in one sink.

Two sinks

When it comes to choosing a double-basin sink, there are several popular styles to choose from. If you have one larger sink and one small sink – the 60:40 ratio is a common standard – you should have one sink big enough to soak most pots and pans and still space to prep food. This might not be the case with two basins of equal size side-by-side.

Three sinks

There are also three-sink options, typically with two basins and a smaller sink with a garbage disposal unit. A trough sink is another type of sink that has become popular in recent times, so several people can work at it at one time. Remember, these will take up more space.

Which material works best for your needs?

Stainless steel

Stainless steel sinks add a stylish industrious edge to your kitchens aesthetic and are a practical solution. Hard wearing and easy to clean, they are incapable of being cracked or chipped but may get the odd scratch in the first few weeks of use. These tend to fade out over time however.

Composite materials

Composite materials, such as resin or quartz, are also highly durable. Resin sinks are made from man-made materials giving the look composite, while being cost effective. They are still hard wearing, however cannot maintain the same heat and scratch resistance as real composite quartz.

Ceramic

Ceramic sinks are a traditional material and work well in a farmhouse kitchen setting. Handcrafted and baked in fireclay, its silky smooth surface is easy to clean and maintain whilst being sturdy and hardwearing.

What’s your style?

Undermount sinks

Popular at the moment are undermount sinksthat are installed under the work surface for a cleaner look. With no edges to clean round it makes keeping the work surface free of scraps much easier.

Top mount

Drop-in or top mount kitchen sinks fit into an opening in the counter and are much easier to install making them a more cost effective option. They do however lack the clean and minimalist look of an undermount sink.

 

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Sink

large, single kitchen sink.

A kitchen sink with a single, deep basin means you can easily soak or wash a big pan or prep large quantities of food.

Rinsing vegetables while soaking a large casserole dish requires a bit of juggling — as does hand washing and rinsing china or stemware.

A certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer for 30 years, Sharon Flatley has seen the kitchen sink grow wider, deeper and more diverse. “There’s so much more to choose from now,” she says.

These days Flatley, the principal of Flatley & Associates in Dallas, says most of her clients opt for a kitchen sink with a single, deep basin that is 33 to 36 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep. “This kind of sink is very versatile,” she says. “It works whether you cook a lot or not much.”

Flatley says the delicate dance of doing prep work and cleaning duty at the same time can be accomplished with accessories. “Most sink manufacturers offer a wealth of add-ons,” she says, “including rinse baskets that fit nicely in the basin.”

Two basins of differing sizes (a 60/40 or offset sink).

Two basins in your kitchen sink allow you to perform separate tasks, such as cleaning dishes and preparing food, with ease. A 60/40 kitchen sink has one basin that is usually about 18 inches wide and another that is 14 inches wide. The idea is that you can clean up in the large basin and prep in the smaller one. Dual basins also come in handy when you are washing items you don’t want to put in the dishwasher (soap in one basin, rinse water in the other).

A smaller basin makes it harder to wash and soak large pans.

“For clients who want flexibility, a double sink can be the way to go,” says Flatley. “There are also a number of people who are accustomed to working with two basins, and they don’t want to change.”

Dave Burcher, principal at In House in New York, notes that double sinks aren’t necessarily limited to the 60/40 split. “Although that ratio is the most common one, the customization options are nearly limitless,” he says.

 

Easy steps to choosing the perfect kitchen sink

Know the dimensions correctly

Before heading out to the market to purchase the sink, you must first know the dimensions of your sink area. There are single basins, rectangular basins, double bowled sinks and double sinks of the same size for rinsing and washing.  Thus know what exactly you want and what the size must be before purchasing.

Choosing the sink materials

The next step is to select the material of the sink. Sinks are available in several materials including solid surfacing, composite of quartz, stainless steel, cast iron colourful enamel and others.  Each has its own positives and hence you must be clear about its purpose for yourself.  Make sure you select the one which is most durable and goes well with your kitchen interiors and colours.

Check the type of installation

Another thing that you must consider before purchasing a kitchen sink is the type of installation.  The way the sink is installed has a direct effect on the look and usability.  On one hand there are drop-in sinks whereas on the other there are self rimming sinks.  Both are mounted above the counter.   The sinks that are installed underneath the counter include recessed sinks and under mounted sinks. Similarly, many other varieties are available and hence one must choose carefully.

Consider the features being offered

Another important tip to choose the perfect kitchen sink is to know and consider the features that are being offered.  Some of the features include clamps for easy installation, availability of 2 to 3 bowls for avoiding water from spilling on the floor and rear drains etc. Some of the others include rim seal, sound lowering pad and others.

Do not forget your budget

One of the most important things to remember when choosing a kitchen sink is your budget. Set a realistic budget bracket and make sure that the sink that you buy comes within that limit. Sinks are available in many price ranges and you might easily get tempted to buy an expensive one but it is better to avoid exceeding your upper limit.

 

Kitchen Sinks: How to Choose the Best Style for Your Needs

The aesthetic appeal of the kitchen sink

“With the evolving role of the kitchen leading to tasks beyond traditional cooking and cleaning, people are often selecting more secondary sinks,” explains Peggy Gallagher, Senior Product Manager at Delta. When choosing the right sink, Gallagher tells Freshome that there are several factors to consider, but she believes style is the main driver.

“Consumers are primarily looking for the right kitchen sink to complement their personal style,” Gallagher says. “More and more, people are not only cooking and eating in the kitchen, but also socializing, entertaining and using the space as a place to work.” In fact, she says that two-thirds of consumers are spending at least three hours per day in the kitchen.

Kitchen sink styles

Stainless steel farmhouse sinks are durable and stylish. Image courtesy of Moen.

“Regarding design, undermount sinks offer an appealing aesthetic, make cleanup a breeze and are the ideal complement to popular natural stone and solid surface countertops,” Nealon explains. “The exposed front wall of farmhouse sinks complements traditional kitchens well, whereas drop-in sinks offer added convenience with a quick and easy installation process,” he says.

Another consideration when choosing sinks is determining which style will work best with your countertop material. “Top-mount, which is installed flush with the countertop, is often used with laminate counters,” explains Eric Moore.

 

tips for choosing the best kitchen sinks and tapware for you

Stick to a style

Ensure your sink and tapware make sense in the space. If your kitchen errs on the traditional side of the fashion fence, so too should your accessories. A minimalist, stark space suits stainless steel items in a square or rectangular shape. While a country cottage kitchen would call for a ceramic sink and more rounded tapware.

Understand your needs

How do you use your kitchen now? And are your needs likely to change in the future? Always think ahead to ensure your kitchen sink and taps (as well as the entire space) will adapt to your changing needs.

For instance, if space allows, a double sink will allow you to work more efficiently and get more done with less stress – as might a drainer.

Likewise, master chefs may need a more advanced tap than simple cooks. In that case, a hose tap for spraying pots and pans is probably best.

Opt for quality

A quality sink and taps are an investment. And given that you’ll likely use them frequently every day, it pays to buy the best your budget can afford. Cheap items simply won’t last as long and so will require regular replacement. A quality set, however, should serve you well now and into the future.

Think of the finish

Finish is just as important as function, shape, and style. Choose a finish that matches the rest of the space. Glossy chrome tapware works well with a stainless steel sink, while a matte finish is another popular choice. If your space is more eclectic, you could choose copper or even brass. Coloured tapware is also cropping up in contemporary kitchens. Just be sure to choose a finish that integrates with your cabinet doors and handles for a harmonious design.

Size it up

Lastly, consider how the tapware and sink will work together. A smaller sink calls for a smaller tap, while a bigger basin requires balance with bigger taps. You’ll have to think about how the taps will be mounted, too, as this will affect the size you can choose.

Bright Home With Good Led Electrical Lighting

The Advantages of LED Lights for the Environment

Taking care of the environment is a responsibility that everyone should feel accountable for. Most of us are already aware of environmentally friendly processes such as recycling to minimise the amount of waste we produce and reduce our carbon footprint. However, a lot of people are unaware of new and upcoming technologies that we can use to help reduce carbon emissions. A good example of this is LED lighting, which provides many environmental advantages.

Energy Efficient 

LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting such as fluorescent and incandescent lights.95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. This is compared to fluorescent lights which convert 95% of energy to heat and only 5% into light! LED lights also draw much less power than traditional lighting; a typical 84 watt fluorescent can be replaced by a 36 watt LED to give the same level of light. Less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

No Toxic Elements 

LED lights contain no toxic elements. Most offices currently use fluorescent strip lights which contain noxious chemicals such as mercury. This will contaminate the environment when disposed of in landfill waste.  Disposal has to be arranged through a registered waste carrier so switching to LED avoids the cost and time implications required for compliant disposal – and helps to protect the environment from further toxic waste.

Less Lights Needed 

LEDs have a better quality of light distribution and focus light in one direction as opposed to other types of lighting which waste energy by emitting light in all directions, often illuminating areas where light isn’t required (such as the ceiling). This means that less LED lights are needed to achieve the same level of brightness given off by fluorescents and incandescent lights. Fewer lights will reduce energy consumption and will therefore be a benefit to the environment.

Life span 

A longer life span means lower carbon emissions. LED Lights last up to six times longer than other types of lights, reducing the requirement for frequent replacements. This results in using fewer lights and hence fewer resources are needed for manufacturing processes, packaging materials and transportation.

 

How to Calculate LED Power

When working with LED lighting, particularly when those LEDs are part of a battery-powered project, it may be important to calculate the power use of your LEDs in the circuit. This is a simple task with a multi-meter capable of measuring current, resistance and voltage, but if you lack one, it is possible to estimate the LED’s power use by consulting the packaging and manufacturer’s sheets that came with the LEDs. You only need to find the current and the voltage of your LED.

Calculating the power use of LED lighting is a critical step for any battery-powered electronics project, and thankfully it is simple to do. To calculate LED power, you’ll need to know your LED’s current and voltage, which you can find either through the use of an electrical multi-meter or by consulting the packaging and manufacturer’s materials. LED power is calculated by multiplying the LED’s current by its voltage. Be careful when working with electrical circuits and currents, even when measuring them.

Finding Voltage

The first step to calculating an LED’s power use is to determine the LED’s voltage. If you do not have a multi-meter on hand, look at the manufacturer’s data sheet and find the typical forward voltage of the LED unit, or measure it with your multi-meter while the LED is powered on. Alternatively, you can estimate the voltage based on LED color. White LEDs tend to have a voltage of 3.5, red has 1.8 volts, blue has 3.6 volts, and 2.1 volts for a green, orange or yellow LED.

Determining Current

Once you’ve taken note of your LED’s voltage, you will need to determine the current. This can be measured directly with a multi-meter to determine the exact value, but the manufacturer’s materials should offer a rough estimate of typical current. Once you have this value, you can very quickly and very easily calculate the power use of your LEDs.

Calculating LED Power

To calculate an LED’s power use, simply multiply the LED’s voltage (in volts) by the LED’s current (in amperes). The result, measured in watts, is the amount of power your LEDs use. For example, if your LED has a voltage of 3.6 and a current of 20 milliamperes, it will use 72 milliwatts of power. Depending on the size and scale of your project, your voltage and current readings may measure in smaller or larger units than the base ampere or watt, and unit conversions may be necessary. When doing these calculations, remember that 1000 milliwatts is equal to one watt, and 1000 milliamperes is equal to one amp.

 

HOW TO STOP LED LIGHTS GLOWING WHEN OFF: ULTIMATE GUIDE

Learn the ropes on how to stop led lights glowing when off by using some materials that you can easily find at home.

You might notice that LED lights tend to stay or at times dim even when the off switch has been toggled. This is usually due to the residual current left behind. If you want to know how to stop led lights glowing when off, you might want to follow some of these key steps in addressing them.

Leading Causes

Before learning how to stop LED lights glowing when off, you might need to find out what can cause them to do so. This is more of a problem found in the electric current, especially if the lights themselves are of poor quality. Bulbs are not affected, but the current may be affected due to a neutral wire within the circuit that did not bond with the earth. Alternatively, there may be an electric pick-up along the cable wires caused by electromagnetic induction. Any of these could cause the bulb to glow brightly.

How to Fix the Problem?

Each of the steps outlined here is a choice you can follow to learn how to stop LED lights glowing when off. If Solution 1 does not work, you can go to Solution 2 and so on. Try as much as you can to ensure that the problem is resolved without causing any accidents. However, the advice of an electrician must always be sought first before you can do this on the first try, unless you can manage on your own.

Materials Needed

To prepare for the task at hand, you must buy or acquire the following:

  • Screwdriver
  • Extra light bulbs
  • Neon indicator lamps
  • Zener diodes
  • CFL (Compact fluorescent lamp)

SOLUTION 1: REPLACE THE BULB.

Usually, replacing the bulb is the best way to solve it. Replacing it with the same LED bulbs, however, might not always solve the problem right away since the bulb could still glow even after it has been removed and replaced. So, try looking for some trusted brands of light bulbs that have been tested well enough to not experience the same problem.

SOLUTION 2: SET UP THE EARTHED WIRING OR ZENER DIODES

The glowing could be caused by the wiring not being earthed or grounded well. This can be remedied by placing a Zener diode. The diode regulates the circuit’s voltage and blocks any charge if you turn off the bulb. These diodes can be easily installed and are rather cheap. If you want to know how to get a Zener diode online.

SOLUTION 3: USE A CFL TO SEEP THE EXTRA VOLTAGE AWAY.

You could also try soaking up the unwanted voltage by putting an object in the circuit, but the ideal approach would be to make use of a CFL, which is short for Compact Fluorescent Lamp. There are better and safer options, but this can be a useful solution to the problem, if it works.

SOLUTION 4: MAKE USE OF A NEON INDICATOR

One effective way to address this issue is buying a neon indicator. These indicators can be bought on Amazon, and they give excellent results. A prewired lamp can help. Connect the indicator between the neutral and lone where the downlights end at a string. This way, the indicator can soak the excess charge. What will happen is that the indicator will glow in place of the original bulb. Check the voltage that the indicator can manage.

If you don’t want to buy indicators, you can find them in appliances like refrigerators. Just use a screwdriver to take them out. Look for old models and get the indicators from there so that you can save up on a little money and make the most of a beat-up appliance. These indicators can still be used for years to come even when they diminish in terms of power.

SOLUTION 5: TALK TO THE MANUFACTURER OF THE LED LAMP

The light might have some smart led light switch, which operates by letting a small bit of current pass through the bulb until it returns to neutral. They require power due to the teach dials that help it stay on for any dimming commands. The current slips past the lamp’s filament that will not cause a glow, though there might be a reaction found in LED lamps; this could be the cause of the glow. If this happens, consult the manufacturer of the lamp. You can also contact an electrician to help you out.

Now that you know how to fix the issue, you can rest easy knowing that the problem can actually be solved quick and easy.

 

How To Stop LED Lights from Glowing When Off?

Solution 1: Change bulb

If your bulb is glowing after you have replaced your incandescent bulbs with LED ones, you may try buying a replacement from a reputable brand and replace the glowing ones with that. If it stops glowing then you can replace the others.

Often, the type of bulb you may have installed may be incompatible with the installation in the home leading to the glow or flicker.

Solution 2: Make sure wiring is earthed or Install a Zener diode

An electrician will be in a position to tell you whether the glowing is caused by the wiring not being properly earthed and fix this for you if so. This is very easy to fix. If the glowing due to the cabling being too close, you could ask the electrician to set up a Zener diode which will regulate the voltage of the electricity circuit your glow led is on. This Zener diode will block any residual voltage coming from the circuit. It should not take an electrician long to install the Zener diode. The diode itself costs a couple of dollars so it should be a straightforward and affordable job.

Solution 3 Use CFL or stick something else to soak the extra voltage

One solution to this conundrum could be trying to stick something in the circuit to soak up this unwanted voltage. Using a CFL or incandescent lamp in one fitting [if a multiple lamp/down light configuration] should mop it up even though this is not the ideal solution. It may work for you as a temporary measure as you try to resolve the problem using other safer and more lasting solutions.

Solution 4: Get a Neon Indicator

Another way to solve the problem is to get a neon indicator. You can search for this from Amazon or any other reliable electronics supplier and you will get good results for a couple of dollars. Get a prewired one with flying leads to save you the trouble of any messes. You should install the indicator between the lone and neutral at the fitting or at the end of a string of downlights so it can soak in all the unwanted current. The neon will then glow instead of the bulb and it can be tucked away from sight.

Make sure that the neon you select is compatible with the current voltage you have at your home. You can get neon indicators from kitchen appliances such as freezers, fridges and kettles. This is an easy task to accomplish if you are a handy man with the help of a screw-driver. Take advantage of the goods that have already reached their end of life as good indicators will still burn for years losing brightness over time but still functioning.

Solution 5: Try a neutral with lamp or talk to your LED lamp’s manufacturer

You could be using dimmers or smart switches such as illuminated, touch sensitive or WIFI-enabled models that are most are neutral. The clever circuitry in such switches operates by passing a tiny current through the bulb then back to neutral. This current will pass all the time keeping the switch on even when the lights are off. These types of switches will need power all the time because they have touch dials, indicator lights or use a WiFi bridge to connect or need to stay on for any on or off dimming commands.

While this is happening, a small current passes through the filament of the incandescent lamp will not make it glow butt with LED lamps, there may be some reaction causing the glow. If you have smart light switches and find that your LED lights are glowing when switched off, you may need to consult your manufacturer to find a switch that is compatible with the lamps. The other option is to call an electrician to run a dedicated neutral to the switch you have installed in your home (if it can support one) so that it does not go through the lamp.

Solution 6: Work with other lamps

When all is done and nothing seems to work, you may try matching your LED bulb to other lamps. Some dimmable LED lamps to work better than others and sometimes mixing in an odd lamp can have positive effects.

Solution 7: Inspection

As previously stated, problems can arise from unwanted voltage on your wiring due to induction from neighboring circuits. It is not unusual for one to place a tester on a dead circuit and still get a few volts which maybe have been inducted into the circuit or are getting in through poor insulation resistance from adjacent wiring. If your wiring is old or has not been checked lately then you should consider having it inspected to see how your lighting is behaving.

 

LED Lighting

The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technologies. Quality LED light bulbs last longer, are more durable, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting. Check out the top 8 things you didn’t know about LEDs to learn more.

Energy Savings

LED is a highly energy efficient lighting technology, and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting in the United States.  Residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR rated products — use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

How LEDs are Different

LED lighting is very different from other lighting sources such as incandescent bulbs and CFLs. Key differences include the following:

  • Light Source: LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs is typically used to make white light.
  • Direction: LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many uses such as recessed downlights and task lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture.
  • Heat: LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat.

LED Products

LED lighting is currently available in a wide variety of home and industrial products, and the list is growing every year. The rapid development of LED technology leads to more products and improved manufacturing efficiency, which also results in lower prices. Below are some of the most common types of LED products.

Industrial and Commercial Lighting

The high efficiency and directional nature of LEDs makes them ideal for many industrial uses. LEDs are increasingly common in street lights, parking garage lighting, walkway and other outdoor area lighting, refrigerated case lighting, modular lighting, and task lighting.

Kitchen Under-Cabinet Lighting

Because LEDs are small and directional, they are ideal for lighting countertops for cooking and reading recipes. The color can appear more cool or blue than is typically desirable in a kitchen, and there can be some excessive shadowing in some fixtures, so it is important to compare products to find the best fixture for your space.

Recessed Downlights

Recessed downlights are commonly used in residential kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms, and in a number of office and commercial settings. DOE estimates there are at least 500 million recessed downlights installed in U.S. homes, and more than 20 million are sold each year. Both CFL and LED technology can decrease downlight wattage by 75% or more.

LED Replacement Bulbs

With performance improvements and dropping prices, LED lamps can replace 40, 60, and even 75 Watt incandescent bulbs. It’s important to read the Lighting Facts Label to make sure the product is the right brightness and color for the intended location. When chosen carefully, LED replacement products can be an excellent option.

LED Holiday Lights

LEDs consume far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and decorative LED light strings such as Christmas tree lights are no different. Not only do LED holiday lights consume less electricity, they also have the following advantages:

  • Safer: LEDs are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers.
  • Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.
  • Longer lasting: The same LED string could still be in use 40 holiday seasons from now.
  • Easier to install: Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.

The Correct Pest Control For Scorpion

Scorpions

There are over 1,500 known species of scorpion across the world, of which about 20 live in Texas. Only only of these species is commonly found in East Texas, the striped bark scorpion, and it does live in Houston.

The striped bark scorpion is a medium-sized scorpion, usually around 2 1/2 inches in length. These scorpions are pale yellow color with two broad, darker-colored bands crossing the back and a dark triangular patch near the head.

Despite the image of scorpions as desert animals, striped bark scorpions prefer cool, moist environments. The striped bark scorpion’s behavior is primarily motivated by a need to conserve the water in its body. Warm sunlight will evaporate their body water and kill them quickly. Because of this, they are almost exclusively nocturnal. They will tend to stay in cracks, crevices, and dark places, particularly where this is moisture to be found.

The striped bark scorpion’s sting is very rarely fatal, but is is incredibly painful and can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms such as swelling, muscle spasms, and difficulty breathing. Anyone allergic to bee stings or an any way susceptible to anaphylactic shock should be particularly careful to avoid scorpions. If you are stung by a scorpion, get to a hospital immediately.

 

Scorpion

Dealing With Scorpions in Your Houston Home

With summer temperatures comes an increased chance that a scorpion may decide that your home is a great place to hide. Scorpions are not uncommon in Houston, and they deliver a painful sting when surprised. Learn more about Houston’s scorpions, the places they like to hide, the methods to avoid a sting, and the ways you can discourage them from moving into your home.

While Texas is home to many species of scorpions, only one species is common in Houston: the striped bark scorpion. Unlike many other species of scorpion, this one does not prefer hot, dry environments. Instead, striped bark scorpions like to live in cool, wet, and dark areas. This species is also nocturnal, which means they are rarely active during the day.

Scorpions, in general, will seek shade during the hot day, especially the striped bark scorpion. These types of scorpions carry a lot of moisture in their bodies and will dry out with too much sunlight.

As a result, striped bark scorpions look for a quick and easy hiding space that both keeps them cool, yet protects them from their many predators. They seek out places with easy access to insects and areas where little activity exists from humans and pets at night.

 

An Overview of Scorpions

Contrary to popular belief, scorpions aren’t insects. They’re predatory arachnids that have eight jointed legs and up to six eyes. They use the stinger on the end of their segmented tails to deliver painful blows. Their large claws help them grasp and crush their prey. Some species can live for 25 years.

Scorpions can climb trees and crawl along branches to gain access to your home’s exterior walls and roof. They get inside through small cracks and crevices, where they could build a nest in your attic. When hot weather comes, they move into the lower levels of your home to stay cool.

Since scorpions are most active at night, you might only come across them when it’s dark. Because of that, it’ll probably see you before you see it and strike if it feels threatened.

Among the more than 1,500 scorpion species in the world, only a few have venomous stings that are deadly. In Houston, the sting from a striped bark scorpion is usually just painful. However, people who have a sensitivity to scorpion venom could have a life-threatening reaction.

 

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms at the site of a scorpion sting may include:

  • Pain, which can be intense
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Slight swelling
  • Warmth

Signs and symptoms related to widespread (systemic) venom effects usually occur in children who are stung and may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle twitching or thrashing
  • Unusual head, neck and eye movements
  • Drooling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Accelerated heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Restlessness or excitability, or inconsolable crying in children

As with other stinging insects, such as bees and wasps, it is possible for people who have previously been stung by scorpions to have allergic reactions with subsequent stings. Reactions to these subsequent stings are sometimes severe enough to cause a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. Signs and symptoms in these cases are similar to those of anaphylaxis caused by bee stings and can include hives, trouble breathing, and nausea and vomiting.

 

FACTS ABOUT SCORPIONS AND TIPS TO PREVENT THEM

Most scorpions in the U.S. are found in the Southwest regions. They come in many sizes and colors, but are usually pale gold or tan and do not grow larger than a few inches long. They are commonly found in newer homes, especially ones built on the outskirts of metropolitan areas. Vegetation around these homes is typically less developed than established neighborhoods. Also, scorpion’s habitats are often disturbed during new construction, so their search for new shelter can drive them into your home.

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