Acoustic Ceiling Removal – Popcorn or Texture?

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The decision to attempt acoustic ceiling removal is not something most people jump into without a bit of forethought. There are both pros and cons to consider before making a choice to either keep that popcorn ceiling or scrape it off and replace it with some type of wall texture. I have tried to cover the most important issues in this article to help you make the choice best for your situation.

The Pros of Acoustic Ceiling Removal

  • The money: Acoustic removal usually increases the value and marketability of your home, sometimes dramatically. A textured ceiling is by most opinions far more appealing and buyers will pay for what they like.
  • Removal reduces the nesting places for bugs such as dust mites and spiders. In my experience, it is more likely than not to see spider webs on close examination of an older acoustic ceiling.
  • Because the rough acoustic ceiling texture tends to trap light and create a shadowing effect replacing with modern knockdown or similar texture can make the room appear much brighter and more open.
  • The new ceiling can be painted the same color as the walls or a different color if you desire. You are not stuck with an “acoustic white” or one of the shades of yellow acoustic tends to turn over the years.
  • Cleaning the dust and dirt that accumulates around ceiling vents and ceiling fans is next to impossible with out damaging and/or creating a mess of acoustic kernels on an acoustic ceiling.

The Cons of Acoustic Ceiling Removal

  • The money: Removing a popcorn ceiling, repairing the drywall, applying texture, priming and finally painting can be very expensive if done by a contractor.
  • Sometimes acoustic is applied because that gnarly texture hides damage. Hidden drywall damage usually means more time needed from the crew’s drywall patch masters, along with additional material which of course equals more money out of your pocket.
  • The removal process can be a lot of work if done yourself. There is a lot of information out there on the web to help guide you through the process. In fact, our site,, has a systematic manual on the process. Removal is hard work that requires a certain level of skill, skill that only comes with experience. Before taking on the removal of an entire home, I highly suggest you get started by doing a small bedroom or office to size up what you are getting into. Many errors in coating the drywall or applying the texture will not be seen until the paint is applied and has dried.
  • Some popcorn/acoustic ceilings contain asbestos. If your ceiling contains asbestos above the threshold level you must follow your state and local laws regarding removal and disposal of this hazardous waste product. This will include multiple air samples, protective clothing and respiration gear, specialized sealers, portable showers, heppa air filtration, etc. Can you see the dollars piling up yet? Asbestos removal is very expensive.

Popcorn or Texture

As you consider these issues and … Read More

Home Depot Stores Operations Improvement Plan Project

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In order to become more competitive, a particular company should use principles and techniques of operations management, such as identification, planning, analysis, design, testing, implementation, and review of a selected improvement plan (OIP); should be able to analyze candidate processes within the company to select a substantive process of appropriate scope to meet the operations improvement plan objectives; should be able to select and apply appropriate tools and techniques to the creation of an operations improvement plan; should be able to identify applicable ISO certification standards and incorporate appropriately to fortify the improvement process and finally, should be able to identify the anticipated costs and benefits associated with the operations improvement plan(Kenneth, 2008).

Operations Improvement Plan

The Home Depot is still guided today by those values established by its founders: “excellent customer service, taking care of people, entrepreneurial spirit, respect for all people, building strong relationships, doing the right thing, giving back to communities, and creating shareholder value. From the beginning, The Home Depot developed strategic product alliances directly with industry-leading manufacturers to deliver the most exclusive assortments to customers” (Home Depot, 2008).

I have been working at Home Depot fro almost three years.  I have been asking myself, why some particular skus are always out of stock.  I mistakenly though that theses skus have been always in high demand that their suppliers may have not produced enough to satisfy their clients.  I curiously asked that question in receiving department and realized that nobody knew the causes:” What factors could be contributing to the problem”?   I decided to consider this question as my Professional Challenge Project.  Is this out of stock a” failure of strategic planning at the operational level at Home Depot”? Have they ever tried a “continuum of change, not only in physical technologies but in managerial technologies as well”?  Many companies, including Home Depot “are coming to the realization that their survival depends on the capability to manage production as a premier strategic function” (Kasul, 1995).

Out of stocks skus is a key challenge facing Home Depot Stores.  I did identify a set of three support processes that could help Home Depot best serve its customers the product or service they need, in a speedy manner. Theses processes are: Pack in, Pack down and Inter store cross merchandises. All these three processes complete each other to make “Order Fulfillment Process” work as planned.  I know the importance of these processes from my own observations.  They are the bone of product availability to customers.  Does Home Depot uses any technology to help the human workforce to accurately deliver good results?  According to my fishbone diagrame, I realized that the picture showed multiple causes of out of stock.  Then, I had to draw a flowchart to pinpoint where the changes might be most effective.  Consequently, receiving department became the target, where out of stock might have been originated.  This was confirmed later by the results of my survey and interview.

First, “Pack-out” is a process where products coming in … Read More

LACMTA Metro Purple Line Westside Extension groundbreaking ceremony, November 7, 2014

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LACMTA Metro Purple Line Westside Extension groundbreaking ceremony, November 7, 2014

Leaders of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today joined federal, state and local elected officials in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles to break ground on the long awaited Metro Purple Line Extension Project, the largest, most ambitious public works project in the Western United States.

In July, Metro’s Board of Directors approved a contract with Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS), a Joint Venture, to construct the Purple Line Extension Project. Construction of the subway extension will connect West Los Angeles to the region’s growing rail network, making it possible to travel between Downtown Los Angeles and Westwood in 25 minutes. The first subway segment will extend the Purple Line 3.9 miles from the existing Wilshile/Western Purple Line terminus near Koreatown into Beverly Hills. Three new underground stations are planned at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega, providing fast, frequent, high-capacity transit service farther west along busy Wilshire Boulevard.

“The Purple Line will ease traffic along the congested Wilshire corridor and will make traveling from the westside to downtown faster and greener.” said Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles and Metro Board Chair. “When it comes to infrastructure, L.A. is on the move. We are right now investing 36 billion dollars in our transportation infrastructure to ease congestion and create thousands of jobs. All together, this is the largest public works project in the nation. In the car capital of the world, we are looking to reduce traffic and cut air pollution by giving people car-free options to get to work and play.”

The Purple Line Extension is a critically important rail project that is partially funded by the 2008 Measure R sales tax that was overwhelmingly approved by two-thirds of L.A. County voters. The first segment of the subway is expected to be completed in 2023 with a project budget of $2.821 billion. In addition to this local funding, Metro received a $1.25 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for the first segment. The U.S. Department of Transportation also granted Metro a low-interest loan of $856 million from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to complete the funding package for the project’s first phase. Combined, these nearly $2 billion in project commitments represent the biggest federal transportation investment for a single construction segment in the history of Los Angeles County.

The remaining $821 million in project funding for the first segment includes Measure R, City of Los Angeles local funding, and other existing local and federal funds.

“Today we launch the construction of the first subway segment along the Wilshire corridor to West Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky. “No transit corridor in our region is in greater need of mass rapid transit. The area to be served is one of the most dense employment centers in the county and is plagued by some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. This groundbreaking is long overdue and will be … Read More

Convert Your Single Family Home Into A Legal Multi Family Home

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Will it really be legal?

It can’t be done legally! I’ve heard it literally hundreds of times, yet in my concrete cutting business, one that is crucial in the conversion process, I have seen it done hundreds of times. How you may ask? It’s actually not any more difficult than most major home renovations. And if you ask what are the benefits? That is a simple one: it can increase the value of your home by 50% and sometimes double. It also allows you to legally rent your new apartment(s) out to cut your personal living expenses.

Still sound impossible? Well, if you call your local building department and ask if it can be done, you may get laughed at but depending on your city or town’s local by-laws you may be surprised to find out that it isn’t at all uncommon. However, there are several conditions that must be in place before a building inspector would even consider handing you an application for a building permit. You may or may not already meet the criteria for this undertaking, but if you don’t, you may be able to easily make the necessary changes.

These conditions in most cases are/but not limited to:

* Ample parking for each unit – usually two parking spaces for each unit are necessary depending on the amount of bedrooms. If space permits, parking can easily be increased on your property with some excavating and/or by adding concrete retaining walls.

* Ceiling height – If the basement or attic is to be converted to an apartment there are limits to how low the ceiling can be. Lowering a concrete basement floor can be accomplished, in most cases, by cutting and removing the existing concrete, digging the dirt out and pouring a new concrete slab.

* Egress – This is the ability to enter and exit the new unit. There must be a set amount of windows and doors of certain widths and lengths. This is where our expertise comes in to play. We are a professional concrete cutting service. We cut egress windows and doors into concrete foundations and openings for the installation of basement stairs and bulkheads.

* Each unit must have a bathroom and kitchen in order to be considered legal.

We once cut in some egress windows for a woman in Revere, MA who already had an “illegal” in-law apartment that she easily converted it to a “legal” apartment. She had been asking $259,000 for her single family home but couldn’t sell it. After seeing her neighbor convert her home into a two family she did the same. She completed the conversion and ended up selling her property for $379,000.

I remember doing a job for a man in the prestigious community of Brookline, MA in Boston. He owned a condominium in a six unit building which each came with a storage unit that was one sixth of the basement of the building. He told the other five-condo owners that he needed additional … Read More

How To Apply Home Improvement Loans

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For those people who have owned their home for while, they’ll have a certain amount of equity built up, and they can actually get a home improvement loan to improve their living conditions. Whether it’s a complete remodel job, or a simple repair or improvement job, there are home loans available that usually charge a small amount of interest in order for you to improve your property.

Home improvement loans are actually rather interesting, the banks are betting that the actual market value of the home is going to increase through a home improvement loan. You’ll need to explain to the banks exactly how you’re going to use the money and how it’s going to increase the value of the home, but often times, you can get an inexpensive home loan on top of your regular mortgage to improve your home’s market value.

Many people use home improvement loans to do structural repair. This means that you can get a home improvement loan to improve the foundation under your home, repair the roof, repair plumbing or wiring, or even to work on driveways. It’s important that you understand how a home improvement loan works and the interest charged in order to make sure that you can pay for it. Your home is usually used as collateral on a home improvement loan, so going in over your head on improving your home, can actually put you in danger of foreclosure if you can’t afford the loan.

Make sure you thoroughly understand how your home improvement loan is going to work with your mortgage. You’ll need to understand contract terms, interest rates, and of course foreclosure terms as well. You’ll need to add in all of the maintenance or home loan costs into your improvement loan in order to make sure that you can make the payments on the home and all of its accompanying loans. It might be nice to totally remodel your kitchen, but if you can’t afford the home improvement loan, you could actually lose your home over it.

There are companies that specialize in home improvement loans, it’s important that you thoroughly research any financial company and its accompanying contract. You can use your Internet to not only research the financial companies, but also to apply for home improvement loans. Many financial companies have moved online, the low overhead can actually allow them to charge less interest, so before signing for your home improvement loan, make sure you’ve done your shopping.

A home improvement loan is a great way to improve or repair your home. Make sure that the increase in total home loan costs including your home improvement loan are going to be offset by increasing your market value in your property.… Read More

Office Renovation Pros and Cons

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An office renovation is always a complicated task that requires careful planning. These renovations allow you to contemporize your space and improve various features of your offices including layout, technology, energy efficiency and more. However, despite the many benefits associated with your renovation, there are some growing pains along the way. Before you start remodeling, you should carefully consider all the pros and cons. If you decide the advantages of a remodeled office outweigh the potential disadvantages, you will be ready to go ahead with the work.

Pros of Office Renovation

Some of the basic aspects of your office layout and functionality can be made more efficient with a renovation. You’ll have the opportunity to restructure work stations so that you utilize the most efficient use of space. Ultimately, renovations not only allow you to reconsider the aesthetic qualities of your office, but to make changes that will improve worker productivity as well.

Through a renovation you can also upgrade the technology in your office. Even without spending a hefty amount on new office equipment, you can improve the infrastructure of the workplace. During renovations, you’ll have the opportunity to install upgraded routers, fibre optic cables, and if you have the budget, new computers and other equipment.

Another advantage of an office renovation is the fact that you can increase the value or rental income associated with the property. A more attractive, efficient, and advanced office will certainly be appealing to potential leasers. Ideally, you want your office renovations to address your current concerns, while also making the space a more viable workplace.

Cons of Office Renovation

Unfortunately, most office renovations are associated with a number of costs of well. Obviously, the financial costs will be considerable, depending on what kind of renovations you have planned. You’ll want to consider whether the initial financial costs of completing an office remodel will translate into increased worker productivity or an improved client base; after all, in an ideal world, you would like to know that the money spent on renovations will positively impact your bottom line.

Yet, even aside from the cost, office renovations can cause a number of headaches. During the renovation, you should expect some disturbance of workflow. You may have to consider finding temporary offices, or you’ll have to reorganize the office during renovations so that work can continue. Without question, worker efficiency is going to be reduced during renovations which can be especially risky for small businesses.

Fortunately, an experienced commercial contractor can help to reduce the negative impact of office renovations. Should you decide that renovations are necessary for your business to continue to grow, a professional contractor can help you plan the renovations so that your day to day business doesn’t suffer.… Read More