If you are remodeling your kitchen, do it by the numbers, don’t freewheel it. Get a design first! Use an Architect on any larger remodel, and on a smaller one at least have some basic drawings done. Most big box stores will have a computer design tool where you can see before you buy. You cannot just start buying components because you find them on sale. No overall plan? You won’t like the results.
The cost of remodeling your kitchen depends on current layout, size and condition of your room, as well as the quality of replacement products you prefer. According to an annual construction cost survey by Remodeling Online, a minor remodel of a 200-square-foot (10×20) kitchen averages $17,037-$19.366 nationwide; a mid-range major remodel including an island and other upgrades runs $50,860-$59,716; and an upscale remodel for the same size kitchen can be $103,529-$115,549. These are averages; actual costs may be higher or lower. The cost for redoing your bathroom can run from $5,000 for a very basic upgrade all the way to $40,000 or more for a complete new look.
If you start buying, before you have a “complete” plan, you will end up spending more, and you won’t like the results as well, it is just that simple. One of THE most important decisions is hiring the right General Contractor. Your decision on what General Contractor to use is critical.
When talking about numbers this size, doesn’t it make sense to spend some time doing research on the Contractor you are hiring to do the job? Isn’t it worth some homework time to completely check the Contractor out BEFORE you hire him?
When deciding on which General Contractor (GC) to use, you need to do your homework up front. Once you are into the deal and the paperwork has been signed and the process has started, it is too late to address whatever comes up WITHOUT a large amount of additional effort and money.
If you are about to embark on a remodel, large or small, you will have quite a few hours deciding what is going into this new remodel. You will go to a large variety of stores, outlets, factories, etc to pick out the various products you want. You will look at appliances, floor covering options, colors, counter top materials, and on and on it goes. This is a normal part of the remodel process. First you must pick out what products and materials you wish to use.
You wouldn’t simply go hire a General Contractor, show them what you want done and leave all the choices up to them. You wouldn’t have the GC pick out your counter tops or cabinets, or anything else for that matter. You do all the homework, shop all the products, make all the choices. Then you hand it off to the GC to fulfill your wishes, using the products you chose. Sounds pretty straight forward, yes?
So if you are going to do all that homework in picking out the products and materials that go into your remodel, shouldn’t you spend enough time in picking the people who are going to do the work? Shouldn’t you do your homework and verify that the person you hire to do the work is qualified to, in fact, do the work? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that his license is up to date, that his subcontractors and suppliers are happy with his work and they got paid on time? Don’t you want to know these things BEFORE you hire your GC?
You could pick out the best materials and products to be used in your remodel, but put the wrong person/company in charge of installing them and you might not like the result. Remember, you have to live with the result for a long time, you better like it.
When interviewing a GC for your project, one of the first things you can quite easily do is get his General Contractors license number. Then go to state regulating board in charge of regulating General Contractors and make sure his license is valid and up to date. Make sure there are no leans or complaints or suspensions related to his business. If he has no license, the solution should be simple; no deal, period.
Additionally, does he have his general liability insurance up to date, ask for proof of insurance. What you do not need is to have a subcontractor get hurt on your job and because the GC doesn’t have the proper insurance or proper amount of insurance, the sub sues you for damages. Again it is simple, not properly insured? NO DEAL.
Once you get past that, you want to ask for references. You want to talk to 3 clients with projects in the local area and with …
The Federal Tax Credits currently available in the US for upgrades for residential energy efficiency are significant enough to have many people thinking about energy efficiency remodeling. There is much discussion around the cost benefits of installing solar energy systems and even geothermal heat pump systems. But many homeowners are still asking, “Can I really power my home with wind energy?” The answer is “Yes!”
When most of us think about wind energy, we flash on images of huge turbines lined up in mid-western or off-shore wind farms. We see pictures of turbines 150 yards in diameter that sit 3000 feet above sea level. But wind technology is advancing daily. In fact, turbine design is advancing so fast that some of the wind-energy web sites are having difficulty keeping up!
Many farms and other residential and industrial facilities in rural areas have been using wind turbines for years to provide all power for their needs. But as interest in powering homes with wind energy grows, new technologies are producing quieter, more attractive, turbines that can be effective at lower elevations. In fact, there are new turbine designs that can be incorporated into landscaping design around homes.
The economics of wind power depend on where you live, how much wind is available on a continuous basis at what elevation, and whether you plan to invest in batteries to store excess energy. The economics of wind power also depend on whether you plan to install a stand-alone system to provide all of your energy needs or you plan to connect to the electric grid serving your area and use a wind energy system to generate power that you supply to the electric company in exchange for free energy. Either way, a small wind system could provide all of the power your home needs with wind energy.
You can now purchase a wind generator from and from several other online retailers. You can also purchase complete wind systems from the manufacturer. At the very least, you can do your homework online before you start talking with a local contractor. Most states currently require that wind power systems be professionally installed by certified contractors. Before you purchase any equipment from any source, you should discuss your options and what kind of systems are working for other homeowners in your area with your contractor.
Choices of turbines are generally based on the amount of wind power generated by the system. This is measured in kilowatts. For example, a 1.2kW turbine produces 1200 watts. A turbine of this size installed where there is an average wind speed of 12 mph will produce about 2000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The cost of a wind system usually ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 per kilowatt connected to the grid. The cost could be lower for an independent system not connected to the grid. Turbines are expected to last about 20 years.
In most cases, the installation cost for a 10 kilowatt residential system will be about $35,000 to $40,000. In an energy efficient home, this system could meet all energy needs, eliminating the electric bill. The amount of time needed to recover the cost would depend on current average monthly electric bill (e.g., a home using $200 of electricity per month, would recover $2,400 of the cost each year) and the available purchase incentives. The incentives would begin with the current Federal Income Tax Credit of 30% of the cost of equipment and installation or $10,500 – $12,000. Many states also offer such incentives as investment tax credits, sales tax reductions, property tax reductions, and financing assistance. Many utility companies also offer a variety of incentives, including net metering, to wind system installation.
In short, it is entirely possible to completely meet the energy needs of an energy efficient home with a wind power system that could be expected to pay for itself in as little as 10 to 15 years.
Copyright 2009 by ABCD Publishing…
Have you ever walked into your kitchen and felt something was missing? More than likely, you feel this way because something is missing. Often, this is because the look of the kitchen is a little old. It needs to be spiffed up and made to look unique once again. The best way to do this would be to remodel it. But, wouldn’t that cost a lot of money? Honestly, it could cost a lot of money but you need not feel that you must spend a great deal on it. There are a variety of ways that the kitchen could be effectively remodeled on a minuscule budget.
Repainting is always one of the best ways to remodel a kitchen with little cost. You can paint the walls as well as the cabinets. (You could also consider wallpapering the kitchen as well) Painting is probably the cheapest strategy to follow provided you do it yourself. In this instance, you would need to only pay for materials. Hiring a painting crew would certainly run up the costs.
And speaking of cabinets, you do not need to replace the entire cabinet if you want to make a change. You can always just replace the doors of the cabinet and this could have a great impact on the kitchen. And it will certainly prove to be much cheaper than replacing the entire cabinet.
Have you considered replacing your appliances? When you have old and outdated refrigerators and dishwashers they can really wear down the look of the kitchen. Taking these old appliances out and installing new ones would be a wise idea. Then again, some may wonder if this can be done cheaply. As long as you kind find affordable resources for kitchen appliances, you will be able to take part in this plan without a huge expense. Buying used (but well maintained) appliances could also be an available option.
A new floor can totally revamp the look of a kitchen in a stunning manner. Of course, there will be those that will say redoing the flooring is not easy to do cheaply. Again, the cost saving venture comes into play when you do what is needed by yourself. Many flooring system have been designed for those with limited flooring skills to be able to install the flooring on their own with limited difficulty. Purchasing such kits will definitely help the cause of remodeling without great expense.
The windows of a kitchen can often be altered in various ways to improve the style of the kitchen. This could involve installing new windows or merely just adding nice curtains to the windows. Does that sound minimalist? Well, it may seem minimalist on paper but when actual enacted it can deliver great results.
As you can see, it is not all that tough to remodel a kitchen without great costs. A few simple “tricks” can deliver some amazing results.…
Table Saw Fence: What to Consider When Buying Your First Table Saw and Table Saw Fence
For your first table saw, you may have a hard time choosing the correct kind to invest in. This is because there are wide varieties of saws in this category you can choose from. However, if you conduct a little research you will have no problem. Here are some tips that will guide you in choosing a proper saw and table saw fence.
Table Saw Fence: This is the sliding part of the saw. It is used when you are feeding wood on the saw. The quality which your table saw fence will give you will determine the cost of the saw. The cost is directly proportional to the quality of wood resulting from the fence. For most of the contractor saws, they use an average fence. Beginners should also consider using average fence since it is easy to use and also gives high quality results. However, after market fences can be of higher quality and provide better results.
Tilt: The tilt is a feature included in these units. Its main importance is to help with precision cutting. In the past, cutting units only had a right tilt, but at the moment, you can find some that feature left tilt. The left tilts were only available to few professional cabinet models. Nonetheless, many people prefer using the right tilt versions since they have more accessories than the left tilt varieties.
Miter Gauge: This is an accessory fitted on the cast iron table top. The main purpose of the miter gauge is to guide the wood when you are cutting it. The quality of the miter gauge that comes with the saw is of average quality. You can buy a new one from a local outlet which is of higher quality.
Power: The size of the saw determines the power. Bigger saws are fitted with bigger motors that have ability of producing greater horsepower. For professional work, 3-5 Horsepower will be suitable. An average of 2 horsepower is normally suitably for home use.
Table Saw Blade: There are different kinds of saw blades available in the market. These blades vary in shape, material of make and size. The material used to make the blade is the most important factor. A variety of blades called combination blades is the most commonly used.
Of note: the table saw fence is generally the weak link in a new saw system. As noted above, a good recommendation when buying a used saw is to invest in a new table saw fence.…
The Need for Galvanized Fence Post Caps
When was the last time you checked your surroundings? In some neighborhoods, fences are necessary although in some places, it is no longer needed. If you want to protect your home and your property, you will need to invest on the right fence material. Have you ever considered getting galvanized fence post caps? This accessory is ideal for galvanized fences and it can be used both for commercial and residential properties. A ranch can also benefit from this type of material since it is affordable and durable. It requires little to no maintenance which can save you lots of money.
One of the most popular manufacturers today is the Trex Fencing and the company offers the lowest price when it comes to galvanized fences. If you’re looking for the best deals, you can check out what the company is offering. To save more money, you can purchase in sets. For temporary fences, you can also benefit greatly from this option. For a decorative home fencing, you’ve found the perfect choice. Depending on the size of your yard, you can calculate how much you’re going to spend. Taking measurements is vital so that when you shop online, you can receive quotes from the reputed fencing companies.
The fence materials alone won’t cost a hefty amount especially if you have a small property. If you have dogs, you can prevent them from going out without your knowledge. The post pipes alone will not look very attractive but if you add some galvanized fence post caps, you will see how the fence will stand out in your yard. The post caps come in different designs like ball, teardrop, gothic, and many others. Most of the caps are priced below $10. You can find plain caps but you can also shop for lighted ones. It will all depend on your budget and on the number of posts where you want to install them. The post caps are also great for gate posts so that you will have uniform caps.
You might think that fence post caps are no longer needed. The posts alone will stand but it will lack beauty. Besides, if you want the posts to last long, you need to install the most suitable caps. The caps are also removable, so just in case you want to change them and install lighting models, it’s really quite easy. Start shopping today to find the best deals.…
Cooking is an everyday job from which we have no recluse. And cooking food regularly in the same old kitchen becomes monotonous and boring. Reinventing your kitchen is a great way to get rid of the daily monotony of kitchen. With few simple kitchen renovation ideas you can give your cookhouse and cooking an entirely fresh mood. First of all the renovating idea should germinate in your mind. Perceive the kitchen the way you want it to be and then look into different home improvement magazine to take ideas from there as well. Depending on your kitchen style and the accessories you already have in your kitchen you can collect ideas for reinventing your kitchen.
For renovating your kitchen, first pick up things that you will no longer like to see in your kitchen and throw them out. Now look for the places to change. One of the simplest ways to change the existing look of the cookhouse is to paint the kitchen. There are ingenious color options available at budget friendly price. However, cookhouse is an area that requires lots of light so choose some subtler hue. As I said, any kitchen small or big requires light. So the best way to give a new look to the kitchen is modify the lighting of your kitchen. Emphasize on the ceiling of your kitchen so that the light spread evenly throughout your kitchen.
Another unique and cute cookhouse renovation idea is to decorate your kitchen with wallpapers. Wallpapers can convey different types of themes to your kitchen. If you have kids in your house you can choose wallpapers with cartoon characters or flowers. Similarly, if you are a nature lover you can choose natural designs of wallpaper. A very creative idea is to paste wallpaper at one side of the kitchen while paint the rest of your kitchen in different shade.…
Humane Contain HC-8000 Review
The humane contain HC-8000 by High Tec Pet is both a lot and very little for your money. You can get their HC-8000 system for $100. That seems like a great deal. This system has a good set of features, much more than you would usually expect in a fence of this price.
Standard you get:
• Progressive correction levels
• Battery backup available
• 18 gauge wire
• 2 collars
The Humane Contain can also be used with a range of accessories including a scat mat and a automatic dog door that is triggered by the humane contain collar.
There are two big problems:
First, these systems are really inconsistent. We have heard from owners that the collars have a lot of problems and break. There are also reports of the collar correcting the dog for no apparent reason. Second, is their customer service. We hear that they are not very good at fixing problems when they arise. They have 25 pages of complaints at consumer affairs.
Here is what you get in the box:
• Base Station – one of the bigger units. It has the usual controls,
• the boundary width dial
• the power boost switch here lets you power yards up to 50 acres
• basic on/off switch
We like that all the controls are big, well laid out and clearly base station is meant to be waterproof, we have found that it is not. I would not mount this outside. It has an optional rechargeable battery pack that slots in the back and lets you run the system when there is a power failure. It costs about $20, which isn’t bad value. It is the only in ground pet containment system with a rechargeable battery for the control unit.
Collar – it looks dated. It does have proportional correction, which is okay, but better still would be to have adjustable correction levels so that you could set the base line correction level.
The collar uses a proprietary battery from Humane Contain. They cost about $5 and last only a month which gets costly. There is are chargeable collar available with their higher end systems. But, the big flaw in this system is that this collar is not reliable. There are lots of reports of this triggering for no apparent reason, and we hear complaints of these breaking early in their life.
The included wire is a very impressive 18 gauge. The insulation on this is really thick and it is very impressive that this comes standard in the box. The system also comes with a generous 10 splices.
The system has a 90 day money back period, then a one-year warranty. But we’ve heard numerous complaints about customer service and so would not have a great deal of confidence in it being honored. This should be a great deal. But the unreliability of the system make this system something I would not be comfortable putting on my dogs.…