Government Grants For Home Improvement – There is Free Money Available

Posted on Posted in General Article

Some people are living in homes that are in dire need of upgrading and unfortunately these people may not even be aware that there are free government grants for home improvement that may be available to them.

Every week while on my way to work I pass by homes that look like they are falling apart. I do not know how anyone can live in them, as they look so bad. So, why don’t these homeowners just fix up these dilapidated houses or tear them down and start over? Usually it is because they cannot afford it. Home remodeling costs money and those who are of low income are too worried about how they are going to buy food or pay for water before they think about fixing up their house.

But for these people there are government grants for home improvement that they can receive. If you are living in a home that is unhealthy or unsafe and you qualify, based on income, you can get help from the government. And this is money that does not have to be paid back. This is money that will fix termite damage, leaky roofs, poor plumbing and more.

If your house is unsafe for you and your family you need to get information about this type of assistance from the government. Every year the government sets back billions of dollars for different grant opportunities, and many of them are geared towards the low income citizens, who just cannot afford to fix their house, buy food, or even pay rent. This includes programs like the government grants for home improvement, TANF, and LIHEAP.… Read More

Renovation Contractor Hiring Tips

Posted on Posted in General Article

Renovation is the process of improving a structure. Two prominent types of renovations are commercial and residential. Before embarking on any renovation, it is good to look at some renovation contractor hiring tips to not only avoid con artists but also get the best contractors. Renovations can involve home modifications like stair glides, handicap modifications for disabled people, basement remodeling and renovation or business premises modifications like office space renovation. Whether one is a professional do-it-by-yourself genius or a homeowner, there comes a time when one needs some professional home building or renovating. The renovations may range from simple home modifications like bathroom renovations and remodeling to complex ones like porch lifts and elevators.

Depending on the complexity of the project at hand, the contractor chosen will be spending some time in or around the renovation premises for familiarization. Preferably the contactor should be local, since they understand the law governing the area on buildings and renovations. For instance for a person living in Toronto, it is advisable to find a Toronto home renovations company for building or renovating purposes. When looking for a renovation contractor to do some building renovations, beware of owner-contactor matchmaking services that advertise the contractor members having been pre-screened, verified or certified with valid licenses. They can be misleading to the owner who can be allured by the false sense of security. One should know for instance, the difference between a certified and a registered contractor.

A registered contractor is registered with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation after accomplishing several competency requirements in some jurisdictions, thus can only work within the certified jurisdiction. When hiring contractors for building or renovating, one is encouraged to check the validity of their insurance, licenses, bonding and other essential credentials. Check out the references provided and enquire on recently accomplished tasks similar to the one at hand. This will give an impression of how the work might be once completed. Get the names of previous clients of the contractor in question contact them for information. It is wise to ask several questions before settling for one. Some of the facts to consider are whether the contractor is open to communication during the whole duration of the project and if the contractor can keep the owner informed on the project’s progress. Others include whether the workers will work promptly and if they clean up the site after each day’s job.

It is also wise to consider if the project will be completed on time and if there will be any unnecessary delays. It is advisable to look for recommendations from previous satisfied customers as well. If possible, one should visit the contractor’s former project to see the way building or renovating work was carried out. In Toronto, Ontario, Mississauga and other parts of Canada, numerous contractor companies perform a wide range of additions and renovations. Generally Toronto home renovations involve painting, cleaning, roofing among a host of other building renovations. There are also Toronto renovation internet sites that … Read More

Using Polymer Injection As a Foundation Repair Method

Posted on Posted in General Article

Foundation repair needs are dominant and need attention immediately all over the U.S. Some homes lie in an earthquake zone which means that the smallest of hairline cracks can turn into a malady of monstrous proportions, if attention and expertise is not diverted to it as soon as it is noticed.

The Need For Foundation Repair

Most people assume that concrete has a tendency to develop cracks and it is alright to leave the problem unattended. This couldn’t be farther away from the truth. While foundations of homes crack due to old age or damage during earthquakes, they need to be dealt with immediately. Ask yourself questions such as these:

  • Do you have any cracked walls in your home?
  • Are these cracks large enough for a dime to fit through them?
  • Are you suffering with doors that just refuse to close?
  • Are your floors bulging and fattened?

If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then it is best to contact a foundation repair contractor at the earliest time possible. Other signs that foundation repair is needed are uneven floors, separation of walls from doors, leaning chimneys, and cracks in the tiling or vinyl flooring.

Many times foundation problems may not be easy to detect and it is a good idea to consult an experienced contractor to obtain a foundation inspection conducted. A qualified contractor will know exactly where to look for damage and will be able to spot problems easily and quickly.

Repair Methods

Depending on the problem that you are facing, there are a variety of repair methods that can be put to use. Treating the symptom with patching and filling repairs is not a permanent solution to soil settlement problems. Eventually, people learn that it’s necessary to correct the cause of the structural problem. The most common of all these methods is Polymer Injection.

Polymer Injection is a soil stabilization and jacking process that resembles mudjacking. The main difference is that instead of pumping a cement-based slurry into the soil, a polymer-based expanding foam is injected. The two-part polymer starts turning from a liquid into a foam as soon as the two components are mixed at the application nozzle. Polymer injection can be performed directly beneath a settled structural element, or at depths of 30 ft.. Based on penetrometer tests that assess soil density, technicians establish an injection grid to target specific locations where the polymer must be placed. Holes are drilled in the slab or other structural element according to the injection grid; then a length of tubing is inserted in each hole. Tubing lengths vary based on the different injection depths that have been established.

Someone You can Trust

The right method can be prescribed to you by your local foundation repair contractor. You will also receive reliable and usable information on how to prevent foundational problems in the future. Remember, foundation problems will not magically fix themselves over night, they will only get worse. This is why you need to act … Read More

Are Your Renovations Really Increasing the Value of Your Home?

Posted on Posted in General Article

Are your Renovations Really Increasing the Value of Your Home?

When considering a home upgrade or reno there are 2 very important things to evaluate:

#1. Value to you
Enhancing your home with a renovation may offer more than money can provide. A beautiful outdoor living area to entertain on, a finished basement for the children to play, or that dream bathroom to help you unwind, all may contribute to a quality of life that only a home can build.

#2. Return on Investment – Resale Recovery
Despite what the trendy home flipping television programs show, not all home renovations or upgrades will give you a large return on investment. Infact, more so than not, most home renovations give you very little return on your investment. Very rarely does a $10,000 home renovation get you a $20,000 return. When considering a home renovation or upgrade for resale purposes, keep all costs in check and splurge only on the necessities.

Return-on-Investment Renovations Chart

Some renovations can seem more promising than others regarding your return on investment. In a buyers market, certain home upgrades are necessary to get top value for your home and to move quickly.

The following information is a range of the 20 most popular renovation improvements identified by a survey of the Appraisal Institue of Canada. The goal of the survey was to determine, in the informed opinion of Canada’s professional real property valuers, what effect home improvement projects have on the value of home resale.

Please note: Home values and returns on renovation investments are dependent on so many factors such as the location of the property, i.e. rural/urban, the neighbourhood and notably important is the quality of workmanship and materials.

Renovation

Resale Recovery

Basement Renovation
50 – 75%

Bathroom Renovation
75 – 100%

Install Central Air
25 – 75%

Recreation Room

50 – 75%

Adding a Fireplace
50 – 75%

Flooring Upgrade
50 – 75%

Furnace / Heating Upgrade
50 – 80%

Kitchen Renovation
75 – 100%

Landscaping
25 – 50%

Exterior Paint
50 – 100%

Interior Paint
50 – 100 %

Adding a Swimming Pool
10 – 40%

Window / Door Replacement
50 – 75%

Roof Shingle Replacement
50 – 80%

Build a Deck
50 – 75%

Construct a Garage
50 – 75%

Build a Fence
25 – 50%

Install a Skylight
0 – 25%

Interlocking Driveway
25 – 50%

Asphalt Paving
20 – 50%… Read More

my art studio

Posted on Posted in General Article

my art studio

my art studio

some thoughts about my studio to share with you all:

since i write a lot, and i enjoy getting to know flickr artists and have you know me i wanted to share my studio with you all….and…i love my studio (which i designed myself) and wanted you all to see it.

background: i have always had a studio. when i was very young i painted on the kitchen table (i’m sure we all did…and maybe still do!). in every home we’ve had, i have had a studio. in our first apartment i painted on the floor in the t.v. room. i was more "supple" then, so down on the floor worked for my knees! when we lived in italy and twice in germany our apartments were large enough for me to have my own room for making art. when neal and i first bought our house here (years ago) i was creating 2d art, mostly acrylic painting. i also was a part owner/artist in a gallery on conn. ave (in washington, dc, usa) working in stained glass. since i was cutting glass i needed a hard floor surface (easier to clean up). the downstairs of our house lent itself to this and i was happy there. then off to heidelberg, germany for 12 years. when we returned to the states i was no longer doing stained glass and david (our son) was off at college, so i turned the small upstairs bedroom into my studio and again spent many happy years in that room. but….i out grew the room! i was making many art pieces, acquiring more objects to use in my art, etc. neal and i had renovated our house twice (i did all the design) and now it was time for the third renovation…turn our huge attic, with very high ceilings, into a studio for me (by the way…we renovated another time after that…the kitchen. four renovations in all! i think we are done now).

so..back to the attic renovation: i knew exactly what i wanted……a studio that would look like a (french) artist atelier…..i did the design, found a contractor and viola! my new studio! when i look at it (it stretches across the entire house) i am amazed that i was able to work in the small room below. i removed the ceiling in the small bedroom…now i have a wide open space in part of my studio which affords me access to the window below (since i do not work from nature natural sunlight is not that important to me, but i do like to be able to see the beautiful maple tree that is outside the window. i used the framing for the original attic stairs and made a glass block floor…now i can see down below and light filters up into my studio. the cat was very cautious when she first saw the glass block floor. she wouldn’t walk on it because she didn’t realize that there was a "floor" … Read More