Are They Qualified To Build You A Home Builder

HomeBuilder Grant guidelines

HomeBuilder provides eligible owner occupiers with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home. A new home is one that has not previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence (e.g. a spec build) and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020

About HomeBuilder

On 4 June 2020, the Government announced HomeBuilder to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home.

HomeBuilder applications

HomeBuilder Grant applications are to be lodged via the online portal. Applications must be received by no later than 31 December 2020. Applicant(s) can lodge their application in a multi-step process with the initial lodgement being after an eligible HomeBuilder contract has been entered into. Once commencement of construction and the payment eligibility requirement milestones have been met, any additional supporting documentation should be lodged via the online portal.

will advise you whether your application has been approved or declined. Generally this will be within 15 business days of a complete application being received. Before lodging your application, please read the following eligibility criteria, and the section on the supporting documents you will need.

Eligible applicants

The HomeBuilder Grant is available to individual applicants and couples who are, or will be, registered as the owner on the certificate of title. If you are the only person who is listed, or will be listed, on the certificate of title as owner of the property, you must apply as an individual applicant. If there is, or will be, more than one person listed on the certificate of title, they must jointly apply as a couple provided they meet the definition of ‘couple’.


Experts that first home builders should get to know

You need a team behind you to help turn your dream of building your first home into a reality.

From working out how much you can afford and finding the best home loan, to navigating the sales process and ensuring your home is built on time and on budget, there’s many boxes to tick. Building your first home can be a simpler, more streamlined experience if you gather an expert team around you.

“You wouldn’t buy a yacht tomorrow and attempt a solo sail to Europe without any prior knowledge of sailing. It’s the same kind of mentality for building a house,” says

And if you choose to build with an established company then you will have a variety of experts at your fingertips whenever you need them. “There’s no way to become an expert on everything, so having a team with all the answers will save your sanity and help you make more informed decisions,”

Mortgage broker

Your mortgage broker is the middle person between you and your chosen bank or lender. They will help you assess your finances and organise your pre-approval. They’ll also help you coordinate any necessary documentation and advise you on the best mortgage products for your financial situation.

“One of the biggest benefits of working with a mortgage broker is that they’ll do your ‘rate shopping’ and they have great working relationships with lenders but they are 100 per cent in your court,” says


How to nail flooring and lighting in your forever home

dedicate hours to the spatial planning of our homes, but it’s the finishing touches – such as flooring and lighting – that can turn a house into a welcoming home.

The right kind of lighting and the perfect style of floor covering can turn each room of your home alternately into an ideal entertaining space, a quiet haven, or the perfect place to share relaxing time with the family.

People spend a lot of time planning the layout of their home and deciding how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas they need. But it’s just as important to think about the details of how each of those spaces will look and feel

“We want our spaces to feel warm and inviting and we want them to reflect our personal style. Luckily, the choice of special touches to achieve the right look for each of us are endless.”

From the ground up

Quality flooring that combines good looks with durability is an important part of a home. For areas in your new home where you want to create a sense of luxury, carpet is a favourite choice, says. “Carpet has always been a favourite choice for those looking for something a little luxurious underfoot, popular in bedrooms. It’s comfortable, soft and the variety of patterns and colours is limitless,” he says.

A neutral coloured carpet never dates, with shades of grey remaining an eternally popular option. For those who want to add a flourish of their own style, you can always add pops of colour with accessories like cushions and lamps.


Signs it’s time to upsize your home

You might love your current home and the memories it holds, but there comes a time when you just have to move to something bigger.

When you first moved into your home you had plenty of room. But lately you’re feeling a little cramped.

Maybe you’re expecting a new baby, perhaps your children are becoming teenagers, or maybe you’re fed up fighting over the TV and like the idea of having a separate theatre space. Some families are upsizing to accommodate an elderly parent, too. “Planning is the key. Don’t leave it until you are living on top of each other,”

Your family is growing

Your family used to consist of just you and your partner, but baby will soon make three, or four or more. Or perhaps your parents have become frail and are moving in. “We’re seeing more elderly parents living with their children,”

You’re feeling cramped

In no time at all, your toddlers have become teenagers. They used to be happy doubling up in bunks, but now they crave their own space. They need a quiet place to study and to listen to the kind of music that only teenagers can love. Upsizing may also include a multi-purpose room or a theatre room, or a second lounge room where teenagers can retreat to.

Your home feels cluttered

You’ve accumulated a mountain of stuff and even after an intense decluttering session, you still don’t have enough storage.


How much does it cost to build and add a second storey?

For home owners looking to add square meterage, there are only two options: extend the ground floor or “go up”. But how much does a second storey cost?

A second storey extension will normally cost around $1,800 to $15,000 per square metre depending on the “degree of difficulty” of the work required, according to three builders who specialise in extensions and second-storey additions.

Things to look into before building a second storey

Adding a second storey to your home is an exciting venture but before you get started it pays to consider the basics and foundations of your home first

“The easiest rule-of-thumb is that the cost to remove the existing roof covering and framework, plus putting down joists and a new sub-floor, can generally offset the costs involved in building from the ground up: excavation, formwork, concrete costs etc,” he says.

puts the cost of adding a storey at about $2,500 per square metre, “so 100 square metres equals about $250,000, which is around the average size for a second storey addition.” Another $10,000 to $15,000 worth of work needs to be added, though, for lower-ground floor works like stair access and plumbing, he adds

What rooms do you need upstairs?

“Unlike a ground floor extension, a second storey does not normally require any foundations or concrete slab to be poured – this is a big saving,” he says.

The Best In Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Remodeling – Questions To Ask

Planning to remodel your kitchen? There are a lot of possibilities when you’re upgrading your space. In most instances, people thinking about a remodel fall into one of two camps: the picture junkie who wants to daydream or the appliance enthusiast who can’t wait for a new stove. However, before you jump into either of these roles, we recommend you consider a few essential questions. After all, a kitchen renovation is a big decision.

How qualified are they?

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a great way to add the latest upgrades or simply give them a quick cosmetic makeover. You may even be able to increase the value of your home as a result of the remodeling project. However, not doing your homework when hiring kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors can quickly turn your beautiful kitchen or bathroom you’ve been dreaming of into an expensive nightmare.

Most kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors are reputable and capable of doing an outstanding job on your project. However, there are a few out there who you might be better off avoiding. Fortunately, there are a few questions you can ask each of the kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors you interview that should separate the best from the rest.

Is Your Company Licensed and Insured?

This is the first question you should ask the remodeling contractors you are considering, because if the answer is no, they shouldn’t be working in your home. Even if they offer to do the project for a great price and seem to have a good reputation, the liabilities you incur are usually not worth the savings. If an uninsured and unlicensed contractor damages your home, they may not have the financial strength to take care of the repairs. Even worse – your homeowner’s insurance policy holder may not pay for any damages caused by kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors without proper paperwork. Always ask to see proof of insurance, a copy of their license, and ensure that everything is up-to-date before hiring any contractor.

What Experience Do You Have With This Type of Remodeling Project?

Remodeling contractors often have different skill sets and while one might have done a great job on your neighbor’s garage or backyard shed, that doesn’t make them qualified to remodel your kitchen or bathroom. Ask potential contractors for a list of past projects they have completed that are similar in scope to what you have in mind. Don’t hesitate to contact prior customers for their thoughts on contractors work quality, adherence to schedule, and overall competence. The same can also be true when considering the dollar amount of a project – a $30,000 kitchen remodeling project often requires a different level of expertise than one that costs $3,000.


Will There Be a Written and Signed Contract?

Unfortunately, the days of sealing a deal with a handshake are long gone. Regardless of how friendly the remodeling contractors you are interviewing might seem to be, or how good you feel about them, those sentiments can change during the course of a project. There should always be a signed contract that spells out the complete scope of work, the financial terms, and an approximate completion date for the job. Ask your kitchen remodeling contractors to be specific and precise in detail so you can make a good evaluation and decision.

How Are Extras and Change Orders Handled?

When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, no one likes surprises – especially when they involve more money. Ask the kitchen and bathroom contractors you are interviewing to thoroughly explain what their price includes, and even more importantly, what it does not include. If their price has allowances for fixtures, appliances, floor covering, and other finishes, make sure you have a firm understanding of how much they are and how they work.

You should also explain to the contractors that no changes or extra work that may cause the agreed upon contract price to go higher are to be done before you are given a cost and approve the addition. Keep in mind that kitchen and bathroom remodeling isn’t quite the same as new construction. There are often unanticipated issues lurking that may affect the price of your remodeling project.


How Long Will the Remodeling Project Take?

Even if you have another bathroom, or an outdoor grill that can be used for cooking, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a disruption to your daily life. Unfortunately, this minor inconvenience can be escalated drastically if you don’t see any progress being made on the project. Or perhaps days go by without any contractors showing up for work. Experienced kitchen remodeling contractors should be able to provide a reasonably accurate schedule for project completion when giving you a cost estimate. However, it’s also important to remember that unforeseen factors can delay your project for a few days and any changes you make during the course of construction may also add to its length. Open communication between homeowners and contractors is critical.

How Will We Communicate During the Remodeling Project?

Perhaps the most important component of successful remodeling projects is constant communication between homeowners and contractors. Contractors should be accessible for answering any questions or addressing any concerns that homeowners may have and there should be someone in charge when they’re not available. You should expect that your phone calls or emails to the contractors be returned in a prompt manner. Kitchen remodeling contractors concerned about customer service will often walk the project with clients on a regular basis during the duration of a lengthy project in order to ensure progress and good communication.


Essential Questions to ask Before Your Kitchen Remodel

How will you use your kitchen?

Of all the questions this is the most important. Do you want your kitchen to be a place people linger during a cocktail party or gather for dinner? Do you want to cook with friends and family, bake cookies with grandkids or convince the hubby to help with meal prep?

While you’ll want to strive to maintain the resale value of your home, you’ll also want your kitchen to be functional for your lifestyle. Based on how you answer this question, we might recommend:

  • A large pantry for hiding your mess during dinner parties.
  • Bar seating to allow the cook and dinner guests to easily interact.
  • Easy access to the patio for the “grill enthusiast” in your life.

What is your budget?

At the end of the day, budgets matter. The perfect kitchen remodel is beautiful, functional, and within your spending comfort zone. Like house hunting and car shopping, the most successful kitchen remodel experiences happen when you plan with a budget in mind. This helps eliminate surprises.

Do you have the skill and/or time to do the project yourself?

Are you a DIY home remodel fanatic? Awesome! We’re peas in a pod. Updating home is our passion too! However, if you don’t have the expertise or time to upgrade your kitchen, don’t worry.

The worst kitchen remodeling mistake you can make is biting off more than you can chew. If you don’t have what it takes to update your space, it’s time to talk to a professional.


Who should you use?

When you’re picking a kitchen remodeling contractor, we always recommend you start by asking friends and family for a referral. You’ll also want to verify the contractor’s credentials and view their work.

Should you move out during the remodeling process?

Maybe. Moving out isn’t always essential, but it’s definitely more enjoyable. Even the cleanest job sites are still job sites. There is dirt, dust, and noise involved in any remodeling project. Plus, there’s the loss of your kitchen to contend with.

Car Dealer Tricks

Key Tips For Working With New Car Dealers

Purchasing another vehicle can be a debilitating and overwhelming experience. Be that as it may, on the off chance that you realize the nuts and bolts and how to manage the vehicle sellers, it is a serious straight forward undertaking. Managing new vehicle vendors at times can put off a forthcoming client, however in the event that you realize where to go and the correct spots to search for, you can do your dealings as though you are an expert and have the information about vehicles. Right off the bat, where would you be able to discover great vehicles and sellers? Springfield Auto vendors are the place you start and end your inquiry. With various rumored car sellers, and who have earned a name for unwavering quality and steadfastness, vehicle sweethearts crowd to Springfield as they are sure that they will get an incentive for their cash, additionally have the option to buy a vehicle to suit their spending limit. When managing new vehicle vendors, it will be useful on the off chance that you keep the accompanying tips in your brain:

  • Begin the procedure via telephone. Do your examination well. Have a couple of specific makes and models as a primary concern, and the cut off cost. This will make the hunt a lot of simple. On the off chance that the vendor won’t provide the cost estimate via telephone, it is best you look somewhere else, as the initial introduction and first discussion will assist you with feeling great whether you need to proceed with dealings with individuals who don’t co-work.
  • Note: Generally the vehicle vendors have a net revenue of 10 to 20 percent on a vehicle. (The distinction being the specific value they followed through on for the vehicle and the cost they anticipate from you).
  • If you can’t discover the vehicle at the vehicle seller, consider submitting a request for the vehicle, as you will acquire undesirable costs by buying a better quality vehicle that you had not expected. Maintain a strategic distance from, pointless postponements and searchers, get the vehicle of your decision from Springfield Auto sellers.
  • When haggling for a specific vehicle and you find that the cost cited by them is excessively high, make them realize that you won’t have the option to pay a dollar more for the vehicle. In some cases this can make the vendor descend on the cost or offer you a comparable sort of vehicle with a high rebate. This is one approach to make a decent arrangement.
  • Do not show your sentiments and feelings. Over energy about a specific vehicle can cause the vendor to accept that he has just got a forthcoming and affirmed purchaser.
  • If you are unsettled, leave the parcel. Vehicle vendors will attempt their best to show you around and cause you to go through hours in their showroom, and this can now and then be fairly humiliating for the client to state ‘no’. Try not to satisfy the vendor, yet please yourself.
  • Get the processing plant seller cost of the vehicles you mean purchasing. This can assist you with getting a decent cost for your vehicle and give you a reasonable information regarding what the estimation of the vehicle is. Vendors some of the time get additional impetuses from the vehicle makers, and all things considered, by being wary, you may have the option to arrange a superior cost for the vehicle than what you had foreseen.


How to start a car dealership

With the car sales industry holding so much potential for continued growth, you may be eager to jump in the market but are unsure how you should go about starting a dealership. The first step toward figuring out how to be a successful car dealer is deciding the kind of automobiles you want to sell. In general, starting a used car dealership is less expensive than establishing a new car dealership. If you’re on a budget, you may want to start a used car dealership with just a few vehicles. As you sell your cars, you can reinvest in your inventory and offer an increasingly larger selection of automobiles over time.

After you identify the sort of cars you’re going to sell, you need to conduct research to find a market that will support your business. You need to research the type of cars consumers are buying as well as the specific brands and vehicles that other dealers are selling in the area surrounding the prospective location of your future car dealership. If there is not enough demand or if the market is already saturated with vehicles similar to the ones you intend to sell, you’ll need to search for another location and start your research again.

Once you choose the kind of vehicles you want to sell and find a spot for your business, you need to prepare yourself for the additional steps and the related costs that are involved with becoming a car dealer. The amount you’ll have to pay to set up shop depends on many factors, including the number of staff you’re going to employ and your location. Across the nation, auto dealers have invested an approximate total of $234 billion in their businesses, which breaks down to an average of $11 million per location.


These startup costs and the critical tasks or steps associated with them include the following:

Retail space: How much you’ll pay for a retail space depends on a lot of factors, including where you’re going to establish your business and whether you’re going to buy or lease a retail location. The cost of buying commercial property can top millions of dollars regardless of whether it has a structure on it or it’s vacant. If you’re going to lease a commercial space, doing so can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 or more per month.

Business registration: Depending on the state in which you’re going to establish a car dealership, you can register your business as one of the following:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Corporation

The amount you’ll need to pay to register your company also depends on the state you’re going to operate in and the kind of entity you’re going to register your business as. If you want to register a limited partnership in Texas, for example, you can expect to pay $750 while registering this kind of business entity in California will only cost $70. Registering a corporation in any state usually costs less than $300.

  • Inventory fees: It doesn’t matter if you’re going to sell new or used vehicles. You’re going to have to invest in inventory to have actual cars to sell to your patrons. If you’re on a limited budget, you should consider securing floor plan financing to finance your purchase of a set number of automobiles. This kind of financing is a short-term, interest-bearing loan that ordinarily has to be settled within 30 to 90 days.
  • Dealer license fee: Depending on your location, your state may allow you to buy and sell three to seven vehicles per year without a license. If you’re going to start your own car dealership, you’ll clearly need to sell more than seven vehicles to keep your business afloat and make a profit. To do so while remaining in compliance with the laws governing your area, you’ll need to secure a dealer license. Dealer license fees vary widely by state, but they can easily reach a five-figure dollar amount.
  • Surety bond premium: To protect consumers from dealer fraud, states require car dealerships to have surety bonds. The cost you’ll pay to secure a surety bond depends on several things, including your bond’s face amount and your own credit history. If you have poor credit, a surety bond may cost more than $10,000 per year.
  • Liability Insurance Premium: While a surety bond protects consumers from fraud, liability insurance is designed to protect you and your business. Depending on your location, its size, the crime rate in your area, and other considerations, you can anticipate paying anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000 per year for the liability insurance your car dealership will need.


How Dealers Get Their Used Cars

Wholesale Dealer Auctions

According to the National Independent Auto Dealers Association, 97 percent of the nation’s used car dealers attend wholesale dealer auctions. These auctions take place all over the country, but they are not open to the public. Only dealers are allowed to attend, and they supply the bulk of used car inventory around the country. It’s estimated that nearly 10 million cars are sold at wholesale dealer auctions annually.

At these auctions, dealers bid on cars, trucks, and SUVs with varying histories, and most are bought without test drives. Sometimes these sales are specialized. There are auctions that only sell cars of a particular type, such a pickup trucks, or they concentrate on special dealer consignments or off-lease vehicles. Typically, vehicle histories of the cars at these auctions range from previous trade-ins and repossessions to vehicles that have been previously in severe accidents or that lived lives in rental fleets. At these events, vehicles are bought at prices well below their retail values. Wholesale prices usually range from a meager discount of 5 percent to as much as 50 percent off their retail sale potential.  Low-mileage late-model vehicles bought at these auctions sometimes qualify for certified pre-owned programs after inspection and some refurbishment, though many do not.


Vehicles traded in on a new car purchase are another robust source of any dealer’s used car inventory. To avoid the hassle of selling a car privately, many new cars buyers choose to trade in their older vehicle, selling it to the dealer and rolling its value into the purchase deal on the new model. Depending on the model, as well at the car’s age and condition, a dealer will usually offer the vehicle to customers as a used car, or possibly a certified pre-owned vehicle. Trade-in values are typically below the car’s retail value, so the dealer can make a profit when it sells the car to the next customer.


Lease Returns

At the end of any closed-end lease, the vehicle is usually returned to a dealer. These lease returns usually end up on the dealer’s used car lot. But lease returns are usually newer, low-mileage examples of a car model. Leases are typically just three years in duration and usually limit mileage to 12,000 miles a year. This is why lease returns usually qualify for a manufacturer’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Closed Sale Auctions

The National Automobile Auction Association sanctions 360 auctions every year, from the colossal to the surprisingly small. Each falls into one of two categories: an open auction or a closed auction. Most auctions are open, which means any registered dealer may attend. Sellers usually include other dealers, fleet companies, lease companies, and financial institutions that have lease returns and repossessions. Closed auctions, however, limit attendees. For example, a car manufacturer will often host an auction that is only for its own franchised dealers.

Do Exterior Painting Yourself Or Hire A Pro

Benefits to painting your exterior

Increase its value.

A great way to secure or potentially even increase your home’s value is to keep its outside sharp and fresh. Studies show that painting your house can add to its resale value.

Protect it from natural elements.

Quality exterior painting works as an added layer of protection from the elements, helping to keep your home safe from weather damage, insects, and dust.

Repair damage.

In addition to solving problems, a decent coat of paint will help you identify larger issues to your home’s exterior that you might not have already noticed. Working to repaint your home can reveal an array of small flaws ranging from mold, mildew, and water stains to rotting wood caused by weakened paint.

Update to your style.

Our trusty old friend, paint, can update almost anything on virtually any budget, paint has always been there to help make things look a little better. Home color fashions change, but you don’t have to change with them. Choose your own updated trend!

Prevent staining and peeling.

Repainting exterior wood or wood trim is time-consuming,the paints that cover exterior siding and trim surfaces face some of the most demanding conditions, so it’s important to get it right. Newer paints repel stains and are resistant to flaking unlike older paints that are likely on your exterior at the moment.


How Much Does It Cost To Paint The Exterior Of A House?

Homeowners report that painting a home’s exterior costs an average of $2,900 with a typical range between $1,736 and $4,094. The average price per square foot ranges from $0.50 to $3.50 depending on your location, condition of your exterior and accessibility. Stucco and brick cost an average of $1 per square foot more than vinyl or wood. The average 2,500 square feet home costs an average of $4,000, though it can range from $1,250 to $8,750.

Paint the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don’t like or refresh a dilapidated paint job. It’s a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, it’s best left to a pro. But before you call one, consider a few factors that will affect your project’s budget.

Cost to Paint a House

Painting an average home between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet can cost between $1,000 and $6,000. Professionals provide estimates primarily based on the area of walls or siding they’ll paint, , not the home’ssquare feet.

How to Estimate a Painting Job’s Area

It’s important to understand that a 2,500 square foot home does not always have 2,500 square feet of paintable walls. More likely, you’ll end up with anywhere from 1,600 to 2,700 square feet of paintable area for this home size

Use these two simple steps to determine to total coverage area:

Total Finished Area: measure the perimeter of your home and multiply by the height.

Total Paintable Area: Subtract the area of doors and windows from the total finished area. A standard door is 21 square feet. A standard window is 12 square feet.


How to Paint a Front Door – Top Tips to Revive Your Old Door

Learning how to paint a front door can give the exterior of your home a much-needed boost. Believe it or not, it can even increase the resale value of your home. So, if your front door is looking a little bit boring, keep reading to find out how you can revive it. We’ll show you how to paint a front door that’s made of metal or wood, and which colours you should choose. This guide will take you through the whole process, from prepping and priming to the right painting techniques, so that you can get great results.

Work Under the Right Conditions

With any external painting project, painting in the right weather conditions is essential. So, make sure before you begin that there won’t be any extreme temperatures while you are painting.

Deal with Your Hardware

Hardware such a letterboxes and door handles can impede the painting process. So, instead of awkwardly painting around them, if possible it’s a good idea to remove them before you begin. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screws and slide the hardware away from the door.

Strip Any Old Paint from the Door

Just with any painting project, the amount of time you dedicate to preparing your front door will determine your results. Start by accessing the door. Are you working with wood or metal? Is the old paint peeling off? If the door is in a bad state, you might need to use a paint stripper and wire scouring pad to remove the old paint.

Sand down the Door

If your front door is made of wood, you will definitely need to sand it before you can begin painting. Sanding down the front door will leave you with a smooth surface that can be easily painted later on. Initially, you might want to begin by using an electric sander. An electrical sander will significantly speed up the sanding process, and it will save you a lot of hard work. Instead of buying a brand new sander, if you are on a budget you can rent one by the day.


Essentials of House Painting Equipment

Ready to invest in some essential painting equipment? Good choice! Whether you are a serious DIY painter or somebody who takes on the occasional painting project around the house, these ten pieces of equipment are the essentials you need to get the job done right!


All professional painters know that getting excellent results requires the proper equipment. I consider these ten pieces of house painting equipment to be essential to almost every paint job–interior or exterior

Purdy 3-inch Angular Paint Brush

This paint brush is a great choice for almost all painting situations. When properly cleaned and stored it will last many years. For trim painting, a 2.5-inch Purdy brush is another good option, just slightly smaller

Wooster roller handle

This isn’t the most expensive roller handle Wooster sells, but it’s not the cheapie, either. It’s solid, spins smoothly, and will last for several jobs if you take care of it and clean it well. It helps to have a couple of them on hand

Red Devil multipurpose painter’s tool

You won’t find many professional painters who don’t carry this with them every day. The hammerhead handle works well to pound in errant nails as you go. This tool is also handy for opening paint cans, both one-gallon and five gallon buckets (use the sharp blade to cut the plastic on these). The curved part of the blade is meant for squeezing the paint out of rollers and getting it back into the paint can. This tool cal also be used for scraping paint, although I prefer a dedicated paint scraper for that (see below)


Major Benefits of Exterior House Painting

A new exterior paint job offers a whole lot more than making your home look pretty. Painting the exterior of your home can be one of the greatest investments you’ll ever make as an owner. Just like new windows offers multiple benefits like reduced energy cost, increased property value, temperature control, etc… an exterior paint job offers a homeowner a bundle of benefits. It’s time to brush up on your exterior painting knowledge!

Don’t underestimate the aesthetic value a fresh coat of paint can bring. Every time you pull into the driveway, you’ll feel a new sense of inspiration and connection to your home. Depending on your intention, you can use paints that will help you blend into your neighborhood, or you can go bold and choose to stand out, making your home the talk of the neighborhood.

Curb appeal isn’t just for you. If you’re planning on selling your home, you need to consider that the first thing a potential buyer will see is the exterior of your property. Setting the right impression from the start can lead to higher offers and more interest. If they enjoy the exterior, they’re far more likely to venture inside.

Renovations are key to increasing property value, but not all of them offer the same return on investment. According to a recent US News article, a major kitchen renovation can yield as low as a 65% return on investment. An exterior paint job, on the other hand, can produce a return on investment of up to 140%.

however, we do still get our fair share intense sunshine and also rain during wet seasons. Intense sun rays can lead to blistering, peeling, and cracking exterior paint. Over time, as the paint begins to crack and chip away, your home becomes much more exposed to the elements. This can be a major problem when intense rain or other moisture becomes introduced to the exterior.

Deciding Between A Free And A Pro Flickr Accountant

What are accountability skills?

Accountable leaders lay a path for teams to follow and are defined by being held answerable for accomplishing a goal or assignment. If it is approached correctly, accountability can allow you and your team to produce positive, measurable results for your business.

“Accountable doesn’t mean blaming people. It means we all as leaders own what we need to do and what we need to get other people to do.”

Accountability Gets Results

Being an accountable leader and insisting on accountability from your team can help you achieve results, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The positive results of practicing constructive accountability include:

  • Improved performance
  • Better employee participation and involvement
  • Increased feelings of competency
  • More commitment to work from employees
  • More innovation and creativity
  • Higher satisfaction at work


Honesty and Integrity.

When your boss asks in a company meeting, “how’s that project coming?” do you honestly reply, “we are really behind” or “pretty good?”  Those who are accountable have the courage to tell the truth. This courage is often reinforced because people see their managers being open and direct with them.

Trust. We did some research on a set of leaders who were not trusted and found their employees had the following issues:

  • I am not confident that my efforts will be rewarded
  • I suspect the leader may take advantage of me
  • I constantly question the leader’s motives
  • I am sure they will take credit for my accomplishments
  • These are not factors that will build accountability. In contrast, the three pillars that build trust are positive relationships, knowledge, and consistency of leaders.

Clear Vision and Direction. There is an old Chinese proverb that explains this issue well: “The hunter that chases two rabbits catches neither one.” In organizations, people are often chasing multiple rabbits and they don’t catch any of them. How can you expect people to be accountable if they aren’t absolutely clear about the organization’s vision for where they’re going and what needs to be accomplished? Clearly, you can’t.


Problem Solving and Technical Expertise

It is impossible to feel accountable when a person is confused and doesn’t know how things work. Teach your people the skills and give them the training they need, and make absolutely sure they know how to do the job you expect.


When a leader can effectively communicate, others can understand what they are accountable for. This requires being able to tell, ask, and listen to others.

Ability to Change

We found that people who are really good at creating change in an organisation had employees who are operating at higher levels of accountability. Leaders who are good at instituting change are effective at the following behaviours: accepting feedback, taking on challenges, innovating, spreading optimism, showing concern, and setting clear goals.

On the long personal and organisational “to do” list, accountability should be at the top of the list. If you see a fatal flaw in yourself or your current leaders on any of these seven points, you should address it immediately.


Respectful Conflict Resolution

Change is never easy, especially as a company-wide initiative. The majority of organizations fail when trying to implement a switch in leadership or a call for improved accountability. Many of the challenges can be traced back to unhealthy conflict resolution. Do your employees know how to respectfully disagree?

Many people aren’t trained in conflict resolution and avoid conflict at all costs. While it’s not the most fun part of the job, it’s necessary in order to move forward. Address the conflict and talk through resolutions a team. Speak and listen with respect and remind each other of the common goal. Sometimes conflict is fueled by passion, which isn’t always a bad thing. It could just be that it needs redirecting.

When you begin to master these leadership accountability skills individually, it allows you to focus on what can be done collectively. It requires commitment, perseverance, and a strong belief that, as a leader, great opportunities come with an even greater responsibility. There is a higher standard required that separates those who say they want to be a leader and those who actually are.


Ways to Demonstrate Leadership Accountability & Ensure It in Others

Accountability occurs when individuals reliably deliver on their commitments, showing others they can be trusted to do what they say they’ll do. Leaders further demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and decisions and successfully transforming effort into results.

“Gold standard” accountability is of such a high quality that others see it as the best possible combination of behavior and judgment, compelling others to follow it. It consists of performance excellence and the mastery of the key skills and behaviors necessary for any job. Drawing on some of the insights from In Your Hands, here are 5 ways to build “gold standard” accountability in leaders at every level of the organization:

Lead by Example

When individuals demonstrate accountability through their actions, they are setting the pace for leadership and performance excellence. They’re also showing others how to be accountable for doing what they say they’ll do. Leaders can be pacesetters and demonstrate accountability by exhibiting the following behaviors:

  • Discipline – staying on track and not getting derailed by competing priorities or desires
  • Integrity – being honest about the likelihood of delivering on commitments, and apologizing when something goes wrong
  • Execution – mastering new skills and behaviors and striving to achieve executional excellence

Develop Accountable Leaders

Training in specific skills and competencies can help leaders understand what it means to be accountable and which behaviors help to demonstrate accountability. By building accountability into your leadership development program, leaders at all levels will learn how to deliver on commitments and then see the importance of being reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of others. Leadership development can also help managers learn how to set and communicate expectations, and how to hold their direct reports accountable for the results they commit to.

Communicate and Share Information

Demonstrating accountability and ensuring it in others also involves sharing information and knowledge that will help others know how to behave in certain scenarios. Individuals learn by watching others and practicing desired behaviors, but they also learn from the advice and guidance of others who are already achieving “gold standard” accountability. For those who manage others, it is also important to communicate the importance of results, so that effort does not get confused with outcomes.

Build Individual Understanding

At the outset of any initiative or activity, it’s important for individuals to understand expectations, the resources and support available, and what they need to do to be accountable for their part. This helps to avoid the pitfall of over-committing and under-delivering. Some of the tools that can help support individual understanding of the need to be accountable include:

  • Mentorship and coaching – help individuals see different behaviors that can help them demonstrate accountability
  • Multi-rater assessments – show individuals how their own accountability (or lack thereof) impacts others

Team meetings – provide an opportunity for regularly reviewing and discussing the progress of everyone’s accountabilities and how they impact the team’s goals and objectives

Pros And Cons Of Plank Vinyl Flooring

What is the best way to cut vinyl flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring usually comes in pre-cut sections, but you’ll likely need to cut some of it yourself to match it to the specific dimensions of your room. There are two basic methods, and you’ll choose your method based on the part of the vinyl plank that you want to cut. Scoring and snapping is the preferred method for smaller pieces, while a jigsaw will come in handy when it comes time to cut lengthwise. Remember, always wear protective eyewear when cutting materials, and make sure that you handle power tools carefully.

Measuring Your Cut

Use a tape measure to calculate your cut. You can use a cloth measuring tape if you want, but it’s easier to use a self-retracting tape measure, since they have a metal lip on the end to attach it to one end of your flooring. To do this, press the metal lip on the right angle where your vinyl plank ends and pull on your tape measure. Pull it towards the location where you want to make your cut and measure the necessary length by checking the measurements printed on the tape.

You can use a foldable ruler instead of a measuring tape if you’d like. Foldable rulers are good for measuring cuts because they snap into place to create a straight edge.

Calculate short 90-degree cuts with a framing square. A framing square is a triangular metal tool used to make perfect 90-degree measurements. To use one, hold your framing square flat against the plank that you wish to cut. Press the flared base against the bottom of the plank and hold it in place by applying a little pressure. To change the location of your angle, simply slide it across the bottom of your vinyl plank.

A framing square is sometimes called a carpenter square.

Mark the section that you need to cut with a grease marker or carpentry pencil. With your ruler or framing square firmly in place, mark the section where you want to cut with your marker or pencil. You can make small indicating marks or draw the entire line, based on your personal preferences.

If your vinyl plank is darker in color, you probably won’t be able to use a carpentry pencil. You could opt for some white chalk though.

Remeasure your marks to ensure accuracy. The phrase “measure twice, cut once” exists for a reason. You can’t reattach material that you’ve cut too short, so double-check your measurements before cutting.

If you can, remeasure the location that you plan on putting your plank as well. This will give you two independent measurements to confirm your calculations.


Making the First Cut

Now that all of your measurements are down and your floor is clean, except for the chalk lines of course, it’s time to cut.

We will take you through the process step by step. Useful tips on preferred methods and tools should help you understand the best way to cut vinyl plank flooring.

Determine How Wide the Last Row Is

This should be the first cut you make. Determine the width of the last row of vinyl plank flooring. If the width is less than ⅓ of a plank, cut roughly ⅓ of the plank in the first row. This will ensure an even start and finish of the rows and reduce the number of rejects.

For this step you will need a T-square and a utility knife or a handsaw. Whether you use a handsaw or a utility knife may depend of the type of vinyl plank flooring you purchased. Some brands may be thicker than others.

To avoid fatigue and chipping, it is advisable to use an electric handsaw. The Black & Decker 3.4 Amp Navigator Combo Set is an excellent option. It has a 4600 SPM motor and can cut wood, metal and plastic. It comes with 3 additional blades: a curve-cutting blade, a metal-cutting blade and a general-purpose blade. These may allow you to cut grooves under doorjambs and snugly place the planks underneath.

Getting the First Row Down

You need to remove the tongue from the plank. The easiest way to do this is by using a utility knife. The Milwaukee Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife is one of the best sellers. With almost 500 positive customer reviews and the included wire stripper, it is definitely worth checking out.

Once you’ve cut the tongues, you should lay the first row with the cut side facing the wall. Also, carefully place the vinyl planks to keep an even expansion gap between them and the wall.

Putting the Planks in Place

Your first plank is down. Take the second one, put it at a slight angle against the first, and fold gently until they click into place. You should note, the final piece should be bigger than 6 inches. If not, you can take a bit from the first plank.

Finishing Off the Rows

To fit the last piece you can score it using a utility knife and break off the excess piece. Use a T-square to ensure an even cut. It is useful to use the extra piece to begin new rows, as long as they are 6 or more inches long. This ensures a uniform layout and reduces the number of excess pieces in the end.


How to Cut Curves and Notches on Vinyl Plank Flooring

Curves and notched cutouts aren’t quite as simple as straight crosscuts and rip cuts because you’re not breaking off the waste in one straight piece. To make a notch, you have to break the two end cuts (crosscuts) first, then break the single cut (rip cut) at the bottom of the notch.

To make curved cuts, you can use a utility knife and score the cutting line freehand, without a straightedge or square. You can also use aviation snips, which are all-purpose tin snips with pointed jaws that make detailed cuts better than the long, scissor-like jaws of traditional tin snips. The advantage to using aviation snips is that you don’t have to snap the material, which can be difficult with tight curves and holes. If you’re using the score-and-snap method for tight curves, it can help to snap the plank with a pair of pliers.


How To Cut Vinyl PVC Flooring?

Most vinyl floors can generally be cut with little effort – even without special tools. No matter whether it is a heterogeneous PVC tile or homogeneous vinyl floor sheet with a relatively low material thickness between 2 mm and 5 mm or a click vinyl floor plank on HDF supports with a thickness of approx. 6 mm to 10 mm.

Cut Vinyl Floor Rolls (PVC Sheets)

  • A simple, sharp cutter knife, a pen, and a cutting rail or angle are enough to cut a vinyl floor from the vinyl sheet.
  • To do this, simply mark the cut edge with a pen and cut the surface of the vinyl floor with the cutter.
  • The rail ensures that both the marking and the cut are straight and at the correct angle.
  • With a correspondingly low material thickness and a little force, one cut is usually sufficient to cut the vinyl floor exactly.

Cut Click Vinyl Floor Tiles (PVC Planks)

  • Click vinyl floors can also be cut to size quickly and precisely using a commercially available cutter or carpet knife – even vinyl floors with HDF core boards or cork.
  • After the interface has been marked with a pen and an angle or a rail, the surface of the vinyl floor is slightly scratched with the knife.
  • If the ends of the vinyl floor tiles are pressed down – ideally on a table edge or above the knee – the click vinyl breaks at the predetermined breaking point and a clean edge is created.
  • With short edge pieces that can no longer be broken easily by hand, it helps to bend the short side with pliers.


How to prepare the subfloor for your vinyl floor

The first thing to do when installing a vinyl floor is to thoroughly inspect the existing floor. Any bumps or irregularities in the subfloor will cause problems later on in the process. We therefore recommend taking plenty of time for a thorough preparation.

First of all, remove all existing soft floor covering such as carpeting, felt and vinyl. Hard floor covering, such as tiles and linoleum can stay in place, unless there are too many irregularities. We also recommend removing any laminate. Are you uncertain about what to do? Don’t hesitate to call your distributor. He will be able to give you professional advice.

Do you have a wooden floor? Check for any traces of mould or insect infestations and make sure that the moisture content of the wood does not exceed 10%. If there is a crawl space underneath your wooden subfloor, contact a professional installer. He will be able to give you more information.

The ideal moisture content for a subfloor must be less then 2.5% CM if the subfloor is cement screed, and 0.5% CM if it is an anhydrite subfloor. If you have underfloor heating, this should be 1.5% for cement screed and 0.3% for anhydrite subfloors. Use a moisture meter and keep track of the moisture content.

Underfloor heating incorporated into the subfloor will not create any problems as long as the contact temperature does not exceed 28°C. Remember to switch off your underfloor heating 24 hours before and after installing your flooring. We do not recommend installing a vinyl floor on top of a floating underfloor heating system.

It is absolutely essential that the subfloor is completely level. Cement joints measuring more than 1 mm in depth must be levelled out. The same applies to any differences in height exceeding 2 mm over a length of 1 m. Using a simple wooden plank, you can easily detect any differences in height.

Use a levelling compound to smooth out any minor irregularities. Using the right underlay will help you overcome many problems.

We’re almost ready for the next step now. As soon as the subfloor is completely level, make sure that it’s also perfectly dry and clean. Remove all traces of grease, chemical residue and glue. Make sure that there are no stray nails left anywhere and sweep and vacuum the floor. We recommend removing your old skirting boards. As soon as the new vinyl floor is in place, you can install new skirtings.

Roofing Inspection Contractor Tips Tear Off Or Overlay

How Often Should I Have My Roof Inspected?

Everyday exposure to the sun, rain, and other elements slowly wear and tear the membrane of the roof. Your roof is the number one defense for your valued property against damage from harsh weather conditions. To keep it in good shape it requires regular check-ups and prompt repairs. Research has shown that roofs that are not regularly maintained only last half of their expected service life.

How often should you have it inspected?

Fall and spring

Experts recommend that your roof should be checked during fall and during spring to help spot any potential problems. The roof should be inspected before the season with most severe weather conditions and once after the season is over. This is why fall and spring are the best choices. During the winter the precipitation, storms and the cold could contribute to the demise of the roof. In summer also there is also high UV radiation and the high heat that could compromise the roof.

After a major storm

When there is a major storm that is accompanied by high winds, falling debris, and hail it does not matter how new your roof is. Hail can badly damage the roof leading it to need replacement. Even though the wind did not manage to blow off any shingles off the roof they could be broken and completely compromised.

If you choose to conduct the inspection by yourself, look out for any of the following;

  • Shingles that are blistering, thus indicates that it has reached the end of its life expectancy and they need to be replaced.
  • Wear or any loose materials round penetrations such as the chimney
  • Shingle granules in excessive amounts in the gutters
  • Soft spots on your roof that are an indication of damaged plywood that should be replaced


What do I check for when looking at my roof?

Completing a visual inspection of your roof should consist of a few different items on your checklist. Here’s what you want to be looking out for when you are checking your roof:-

  • Broken or cracked tilesBroken, cracked or out of place ridge tiles (these are the tiles at the peak of the roof or at the ‘top of the triangle’ where your roof meets)
  • Broken cracked or missing ridge capping (this is the concrete-like stuff that holds your ridge tiles in place)
  • Lifted sheets of metal
  • Corrosion in the sheets of metal on your roof
  • Sagging or buckling of any kind
  • Check for debri or foreign objects
  • Rust spots on any metal surfaces
  • Moss or mould on the roof


Could you check the roof yourself?

It isn’t always easy to pin down the precise regularity with which your roof should be checked. However, some roofs can be more prone to breakages than others. If your own roof was fitted over two decades ago, it is likely to warrant replacing soon.

Nonetheless, as comparatively new roofs can still falter, consider acting on the site’s advice to inspect your roof once yearly at a minimum. This would be on the assumption that you use binoculars to check that roof from the ground – a strategy much safer than using a ladder.

That it’s possible to spot the majority of roofing issues in this more safety-conscious fashion. You should be alarmed if you see cracked or missing shingles that look smooth or dark in places, as this would be a sign of the protective granules having eroded.


How Often Should My Roof Be Inspected?

No matter if your building is brand new, or 100 years old, the roof is one of the most important structural elements. After all, the roof will not only protect the building from rain, snow and hail; it can also either help keep your building hotter or cooler during extreme temperatures. However, if you want to keep this important structure doing its job, you need to consider roof inspection regularly. But how often is needed? Let us discuss.

Twice a Year—Without Fail

The standard rule of thumb in the roofing industry is that you should have your commercial-grade roof inspected twice each year. It is best to have it examined in spring and fall, before entering each extreme season. The reason for this is so the roof will be prepared for the upcoming shift in temperature and potential other dramatic weather ahead. Although it can be challenging to complete this inspection as often as recommended, by doing so you will help prevent damage to your roof from leading to serious problems that can cause leaks and damage to the interior of the building.


How To Find The Best Roofing Contractor

Your home is most likely one of the largest investments you will make in your life, so properly maintaining it is important, but not always easy. One of the most important things you can do to maintain your home, as well as maximize the investment of the house, is to ensure your roof is in its best working capacity. So, when it’s time for an inspection, maintenance and/or repairs on your roof, who do you turn to? It is important to find the best and most trustworthy roofing contractor. The following information will help you find the best and most reputable roofer in your area.

Choose Local

One of the most important things to consider when searching for a roofing contractor is to choose someone local. A local roofer will be familiar with the area, including the climate, wildlife and the building materials that are the most commonly used in the area.

Experience Matters

When looking for a roofing contractor, experience is essential; in fact the more experience a roofing contractor has, the better. One way of determining the experience of a roofing contractor is to ask for references and reviews of their past work. Ask for addresses of homes in or near your neighborhood that they have roofed and drive by to look at their work.

Talk to Family, Neighbors and Coworkers

Online reviews are a convenience, but talking with family, neighbors and coworkers is a great way to find local, trustworthy roofing contractors. Ask who their roofing contractor was that they used and what their experience was like. This is a great first step when looking for a local roofing contractor. Keep in mind that in most situations, the easiest way to find a reliable roofing contractor is by talking to roofers before you have a problem. Contacting a roofing contractor for routine maintenance is a good way to get familiar with the roofing contractor, which will make it easier to know in case there is an emergency.

Water Heaters Are Integral To Our Modern Day Life

Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Use these 6 easy and inexpensive ways to increase your water heater’s efficiency and longevity. There are several easy and inexpensive ways to increase a water heater’s operating efficiency and longevity. Some things—adding insulation and setting the temperature—have to be done only once. Others, such as flushing the tank and checking the anode rod, should be done annually.

The benefits of caring for your water heater are clear. Adding insulation reduces heat loss by up to 45 percent and can shave as much as 9 percent off water-heating costs. Flushing sediment from the tank improves efficiency and longevity. And making sure a viable anode rod hangs in the tank will help prevent its inside from rusting out. A used-up rod is far cheaper to replace than a new heater.

Steps on How to Maintain a Hot Water Heater

  1. Test the TPR Valve
  • Shut off the power and the cold-water supply valve.
  • Place a bucket under the pipe connected to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve on the top or side of the tank. (This valve opens if the tank pressure gets too high.)
  • Lift the valve’s tab to let some water out, then let go. If water keeps flowing, drain the tank partway, unscrew the old valve with a pipe wrench, and install a new one.
  1. Check the Anode Rod
  • Put a hose to the tank’s drain cock and let out a few gallons of water.
  • Now fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the rod’s hex head on top of the heater (or under its top plate) and unscrew the rod. If it’s less than ½ inch thick or coated with calcium, buy a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, put it back in the tank, and tighten securely. Use this segmented rod if headroom above the tank is limited.
  1. Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment
  • Drain the remaining water in the tank into the bucket, then stir up the sediment on the tank’s bottom by briefly opening the cold-water supply valve. Drain and repeat until clean water comes out of the hose.
  • Close the drain cock, refill the tank, and turn its power back on.
  1. Adjust the Temperature
  • Find the temperature dial on the side of the tank and unscrew its cover. Adjust the dial to 120 degrees using a flathead screwdriver. For every 10 degrees the temperature is lowered, you can expect to save up to 5 percent in energy costs.
  • Turn the water heater off or the thermostat down to its lowest setting if you plan to be away from home for more than three days.
  1. Insulate the Pipes
  • Buy some self-sticking 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation that matches the pipes’ diameter.
  • Slide the foam over the hot-and cold-water pipes as far as you can reach. Insulating the cold-water pipe prevents condensation in summer.
  • Peel the tape and squeeze the insulation closed. If the pipe is 6 inches or less from the flue, cover it with 1-inch-thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap.
  1. Insulate the Heater
  • Cut the insulating blanket (shown: R-4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap) to fit around pipes, the TPR valve, and the temperature control sticking out of the tank.
  • Wrap the side of the tank, and seal cuts with foil tape. Do not cover the tops of oil or gas heaters.
  • Cap an electric heater with an oversize circle of insulation, and tape its edge securely to the side of the tank.


How Do You Drain a Water Heater?

The DIY Network suggests the following steps on how to drain a water heater. (For specific information on your water heater, be sure to read the owner’s manual.) If you’re uncomfortable performing this type of maintenance on your water heater, call a plumber and schedule a professional draining.

Step 1: Shut off the water supply to your water heater.

At the top of the water heater you’ll see a water pipe and a shutoff valve going into the water heater. Turn this valve to shut off the water to the tank.

Step 2: Turn off the power to the water heater.

It’s important to shut off the power to your water heater before draining it, or you could potentially burn out the heating elements. If you have an electric water heater, shut the power off from your home’s electrical panel. The correct fuse or circuit breaker should be labeled as being connected to the water heater.

Step 3: Give the water time to cool off.

The water in your water heater is extremely hot. To help prevent injury, it’s a good idea to let your water heater sit overnight so the water within the tank cools down before you drain it. (They says you should wait a few hours at the very least. Taking a hot shower can also help speed up the cooling process.)

Step 4: Attach a hose to the drain valve.

Once your water heater has cooled down, place one end of a hose (you can use a garden hose) into a floor drain or, if it will reach, directly outside. Attach the other end onto the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater.

Step 5: Turn on a hot water tap.

Open the hot water tap, like a sink faucet, that is nearest to the water heater. This helps to alleviate pressure and allows the tank to drain quicker. If possible, the DIY Network recommends using a tap that is on the floor above the water heater.

Step 6: Open the drain valve.

Once you open this valve, the water will begin to flow out of the tank. Be patient, as it make take awhile to drain if the tank was full or there is a lot of sediment.

Step 7: Turn the water supply back on to flush the tank with fresh, clean water.

With the drain valve still open, turn the cold water back on to help eliminate any remaining sediment on the bottom of the tank. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Then, turn the water valve off again.

Step 8: Refill the tank.

Remove the hose from the drain valve, and be sure to close the valve. Turn the water supply back on to start refilling the tank. Once the tank is full, turn the power or gas supply to the water heater back on. Remember to turn off the faucet you turned on earlier while draining the tank.


Signs Your Water Heater Is About to Fail

Most water heaters are built to last about 20 years, so if yours is that old or older, or if you don’t know how old it is, chances are, it’s on its last legs. Here are a few signs that your water heater is breaking down.

  • Age: If your water heater is over 20 years old, then chances are it’s time for a replacement
  • Rusty Colored Water: If you’re getting rust-colored water out of your water heater, it’s a sign that it’s corroded and in danger of failing
  • Banging, Rumbling Sounds: When sediment builds up in the bottom of your hot water tank, it hardens when it’s heated. If you hear these sounds, it’s a sign that something’s dangerously wrong
  • Leaks: A leak around the base of your water heater is a severe problem, and if you notice it, you need to call in a plumber immediately before you wind up with a flooded basement


Leaks and Drips

Follow these steps on how to handle leaks and drips.


Step 1

Most leaks are caused by faulty water supply connections. Use good materials, proper techniques and check your work carefully. Compression fittings are easier to install for DIYers than copper pipes, which need to be soldered.

Step 2

Drips from the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve discharge pipe usually mean a thermal expansion tank is needed.


Electric Water Heaters: Before Connecting Electric Power

Follow these steps before connecting the power to your electric water heater.


Step 1

The most common problem with electric water heaters is turning the power on before the tank is completely full of water. If this happens, the upper heating element will burn out, and you’ll have no hot water until the upper element is replaced.

Step 2

To replace the top or bottom heating element, disconnect power to the unit and drain the water heater tank. Disconnect the wires from the element and loosen it using an element wrench. Unscrew the element and pull it straight out. Insert the new element in its place and tighten using the element wrench. Reconnect the wiring and prepare to refill the tank.

Step 3

Open a hot-water faucet all the way and let the water run for 3 minutes. This ensures all of the air has been removed and the tank is completely full of water. When the tank is full, turn the power on. If you don’t have hot water after two hours, check to make sure the unit is getting the correct voltage. (See the unit’s label for power requirements.) No electric power or the wrong voltage causes many electric water heater problems. An electrician may be needed to solve wiring / power problems.

Top Reasons To Look Into Party Bus Rentals

Top Fun Activities To Do In A Party Bus

all the excitement to have fun with your buddies. Now, as the special day is around the corner, you must be thinking about all the things you’ll be doing inside the bus. If you’ve already prepared your plan, then we wish you best of luck

Decorate your bus:

What’s your party theme? According to the theme you can plan all types of decoration for the bus. For instance, if you’re planning for a vampire night out event, you can decorate the interior of the bus with ghoul pictures, killer curtains, lightening effects, caskets, garlic threads and several other accessories that can make your night more exciting. Nonetheless, you must rent a party bus that complements your theme. Just find out with your bus rental company what type of decorations you are allowed to do.

Bring food:

Food items are part for any special event, and they have the ability to change the mood of everyone around the party. So, bring in as many types of food items to the party to which your bus rental firm permits.


Bring along the drinks that can twofold your enjoyment. Though alcohols are part of any party theme, but it all relies on the bus rental provider that may or mayn’t permit you to bring it. So be smart, and get the confirmation from your party bus rental firm fast. If alcoholic beverages are permitted, then the world is yours. If not, then think about getting your party started with mix of fizzys, pina colados, mojitos, teas, etc.

Play games:

There is all kinds of games that can be played with your co-fellow including cards, trivia, telephone, color books, ride the horse, snakes and shakers, king of the hill, dramas and more. Games are sure to set the mood for any type of party.



Renting a party bus will take your wedding or bachelorette party transportation from ordinary to extraordinary. All your guests are going to be laughing, dancing, and having a blast the instant the bus takes off. You can invite anyone you want along for the ride, while the driver takes you wherever you want to go. To make your bachelor or wedding transportation even more special, you need some fun activities you and your fellow party goers can do throughout the party.

event planning professional who quickly gained popularity and extensive experience thanks to enjoying challenges requiring perfect problem solving skills and passion to making people happy by taking the stress away from them. To amp up the fun atmosphere in a party bus, music is always a must! But to take that up another notch, consider doing karaoke!

Renting a party bus is all about having fun and making memories with friends and family. Here are activities to do on a party bus:

  1. Having a party theme will make it all the more interesting and exciting.
  2. If allowed by the company, ask if you can put up a few decorations that fits your theme party.
  3. Karaoke – who doesn’t like to sing and show off their skills.
  4. Lip Sync Battle – if it’s enough room on the bus battle it out to see who’s the best entertainer.
  5. Charades – Let’s act out the sheet that was pulled and see who’s good at guessing.
  6. Decades – You can have everyone dress in their favorite era. From the 50’s up to the 90’s.
  7. Cards, trivia or board games – check with the company and see if they have tables on the bus if not, we’re living in the era where everything is digital. Go for it.
  8. Thedare game – write down a dare that they would want the guest to do. Make sure everyone participates in the game.
  9. Our favorite game of all times is Clue. There’s nothing like a good murder mystery to start the night off. Mrs Scarlet did it, in the back of the bus with the champagne bottle, or did she?
  10. Who am I – write names of celebrities, movie actors, or cartoon characters. This game will keep everyone busy until the bus reaches its destinations.
  11. One of the couples wedding I’ve planned wanted to have a reception dance something that all their guest can participate in. So they decided to have a Soul Train line. Everyone got a chance to show off their dancing skills and talents. It was a great idea to see everyone on the dance floor, and you can do it in the party bus too. All I can say that it was FUN-FUN-FUN.


Night Out on the Town: How to Make the Most of Your Party Bus Rental

Are you looking for the perfect way to celebrate one of life’s milestones? Or maybe you just feel like making your next big night out something special? Whatever the occasion, hiring a party bus is always a great idea! From proms and birthdays, to bachelor and bachelorette nights, you can customize your party bus to any theme you want

Partying in a bus is way more fun than throwing a house party or hiring a venue. And there’s no need to wait for taxis if you want to head across town. Instead, take the party with you as you drink and ‘drive’ in safety while you celebrate with all your closest friends and relatives.

Decide on Your Theme

Choosing the right theme for your party bus experience can elevate a standard-level party to an epic event. If you’re celebrating a bachelor or bachelorette party then an original theme will unite your group and grab the attention of passers-by. Just think of the selfie opportunities too!

For birthdays and other celebrations, bringing items like wigs, masks, hats and custom T-shirts is a good option. Not only are they easy to remove, it doesn’t force guests to dress in a way that makes them uncomfortable. You can also swap items with each other for funny photos.

Party Bus Games

When it comes to party bus ideas for adults, you need games that can be played anywhere and require next to no preparation or equipment. Drinking games are the perfect option for party buses, as all you need is a drink and a sense of fun.


Basic Things You Should Know About Party Buses

Are you aware of the basic information about Party Buses? Did you know that they are a very useful vehicle for parties? Now that you have read this article, you will be in a position to make the best decision when deciding on what party vehicle to choose

What you will be learning about Party Buses is basically related to how it works. It is basically a little customized transportation vehicle which has been designed in a way so that people who would want to get to any destination quickly, easily and for very low rates can use it. The aim of the game is to make the way of travel easier and convenient. As a result, a lot of people are using them for various purposes, including birthday celebrations, school functions, family picnics, business gatherings, honeymoons, concerts, corporate events, cultural events, religious ceremonies and corporate gifts.

For parties, a Party Bus is simply a vehicle which has been specially modified for the purpose of transporting people and goods quickly, conveniently and for very low prices. When you are interested in this type of vehicle, it is always important to find out all the details so that you get to select the one that is suitable for your needs. In this article, we will be discussing about the basic things that you should know about Party Buses

The first thing that you should remember is that, the basic reason why a lot of people use a Party Bus is that it is very affordable. It is also an economical option for people who have limited budget. If you are working with a tight budget and you would like to celebrate a great party, then this is the perfect choice for you. There are several options available in the market so that you will be able to pick the one that is really suitable for your needs.

When you are in a position to plan a party, the basic requirements that you need to think about include the number of guests, the kind of theme, the kind of decoration that you are going to implement and of course, the cost of the event. All these things will help you in your decision when it comes to selecting the right type of vehicle. If you do not have a budget constraint, then a regular, run-of-the-mill Party Bus might be just right for you. However, if you have a very tight budget and would want to make the most out of the money that you have, then you should go for a customized one.


Party Bus

How to rent a party bus for all types of events such as wine tours, brew tours, bachelorette parties. quinces, and more

Party buses are a growing industry from servicing transportation needs from point to point, events, tubing, lake runs, collage services, airport runs, corporate events, and so much more. There are a variety of Austin party bus rental companies and each one has their special little niche along with other specialties. In order to make sure that you are booking with the right party bus company make sure to ask specific questions that relate to your event.

Party Bus Fees

When looking for a party bus company ask for all fees. This includes driver gratuity and tax. There are no service taxes in the state. Some starter companies do not realize taxes are not added onto the total service price.


Another question to ask when booking with a party bus company is: Do you have A/C on the bus? Some companies do not have A/C on the buses. These party bus companies specialize in river tubing trips or lake transportation.

Let Mold Inspection Professionals Work For You

How to Detect Mold In the Walls

When your home has suffered water damage, it’s very likely that your home will also experience mold growth. If the water damage is serious, then within 24 hours, mold can begin to grow on your property after water has soaked through to reach the drywall. If you have pipes in your home that are leaking, they can trap moisture in the walls, resulting in water damage and likely mold growth.

Problems Caused by Mold

Mold growth is particularly concerning because the mold will continue to eat away at affected building materials and increase the damage as it spreads. Mold will also compromise the air quality of your home and pose as a health hazard to any and all occupants. Among some of the health concerns that mold presents are eye irritation, coughing, nasal issues, and throat irritation.

Knowing the amount of damage mold can cause, it is important for you to know how to detect mold in your home. However, it can sometimes be difficult to spot mold because it can be hidden. One case of this is mold growth behind your home’s walls.

Here’s what to look for when finding mold behind the walls:

Discoloration and Stains

Because mold growth is often a result of water damage, water stains can be an indicator of the presence of mold. As such, if you spot water stains on your walls, then it is likely that there’s mold growing behind them. Water stains can be yellow or brown in color, so look out for such colors on your wall. If the spots are damp, then that’s an obvious sign of moisture problems as well.

Another indicator of mold growth is discoloration, which can occur even if you have repainted your home’s walls. Discoloration can also happen in the event that damage has been done from within. This is because the mold will still be visible on the wall’s surface.

Mold can appear in many shades, from black to white to brown to gray to green. If your wall has vinyl wallpaper, mold will look pink, orange, or purple in appearance.

Surface Changes and Deterioration

Your walls’ appearance can change significantly if there’s mold growth behind them. In addition to discoloration and stains, your walls may deteriorate. Paint or wallpaper can crack, peel, or bubble because of moisture and mold growth. Furthermore, your walls may become warped or even bow or bulge when there’s a water issue, which often leads to mold growth.


In the event that you are unable to visibly spot any signs of mold growth, you’ll likely still be able to smell the mold. Mold gives off a musty odor. It is similar to an earthy smell that you would find in a damp forest.

If you get down and smell the electrical outlets, then you will be able to more easily sniff out whether there is mold growth behind your walls. It sounds like a silly thing to do, but outlets have good access to the space behind the walls in your home.


What is the most dangerous colour of mold?

Black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys, is generally considered to be the most dangerous type, as it can produce mycotoxins – toxic chemical compounds which may cause a wide range of symptoms when exposure occurs, from asthma to neurotoxicity. However, it is worthy of note that black mold will not always release mycotoxins, as well as that there are other types of mold which can produce these toxic substances. Exposure to the following strains of mold may also entail a considerable health risk when mycotoxins are present:

  • While the initial color of this type of mold is white, it will become olive, brown or gray when colonies reach maturity. In severe cases, this strain can cause skin lesions, peritonitis, DNA damage, auto-immune disease, deep mycoses, and brain abscess.
  • As one of the most common strains of mold, Penicillium has approximately 200 different species and its spores can be found everywhere in the environment. The colors of this mold are blue and green. Some of the most severe health problems exposure to Penicillium can be responsible of are pulmonary emphysema, edema, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
  • This strain of mold requires a very wet environment to develop and its color can range from cream to orange. Fungal keratitis, a corneal infection, is the most serious disease exposure to Fusarium can trigger. Although it is very rare, people with preexistent eye disease, trauma or infection, as well as those with a compromised immune system, are at higher risk of developing fungal keratitis. Other health issues this type of mold can cause are bone and joint infections, skin and nail infections, and pneumonia.


How to Tell When Household Mold Is Dead

Mold, an organism of the fungi family, is a dangerous byproduct of a damp area or surface. Mold can form within 24 to 48 hours of a flood or a leak in a home or a basement. Mold spores can cause cold-like symptoms and trigger asthma attacks and other health problems, such as allergic reactions. Mold is especially dangerous to young children, whose immune systems are not developed, pregnant women and the elderly. Living or dead, mold can be dangerous and should be taken seriously.

Step 1

Don a breathing mask and gloves before exposing yourself to mold. This protective gear will create a barrier between you and the mold and lessen your exposure to mold spores. Minimize your proximity to the mold since the closer you are to it, the greater chance you will feel the effects of it.

Step 2

Study the mold that you think may be dead. It will appear flaky and powdery. Live mold will appear moist and come in various colors such as white, black, gray, green or yellow. The texture of active mold can vary from cotton-like to glossy. It can have hair-like growth on top.

Step 3

Rub the surface of the mold with something long, such as a broom, so you do not have to get close to it. If it falls off the surface easily and becomes airborne, then it probably is dead mold.


Household Mold Growth

One of the reasons mold grows so easily inside homes is because it’s not that picky.

It needs water, but when it comes to food, there’s an entire smorgasbord on its menu. Mold will munch on anything with cellulose, which happens to be in nearly everything you can think of—carpet, fabrics, curtains, wood, insulation, and more.

This is one of the reasons mold is so prevalent in basements. Not only do most basements have moisture, but it’s also the area where people store items they aren’t currently using such as old clothes, and rugs.

Household mold can even make its way into the tiny cracks and crevices into your walls and foundation. When it begins growing in those spots, it’s out of sight, and we typically don’t realize there’s a problem until after the colonies have spread.


Keep mold out of your home with these simple tips.

Incomplete and improper ventilation may cause mold to grow on walls, furniture or personal property. Mold can be responsible for irritant and allergic reactions. Wet, damp weather, combined with closed windows, causes walls to “sweat,” forming mildew and mold.


Mold is everywhere; it’s an integral part of the natural environment. The key to mold’s growth is moisture. Controlling mold is a matter of controlling moisture. Once the moisture problem is cured, it is very likely that the mold won’t come back.


The following tips will assist with proper ventilation and preventing mildew or mold build-up:


  • Ventilate your house for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.


  • Cross ventilation is necessary, so interior doors must be opened along with windows on opposing sides.


  • Keep your kitchen door closed and the room ventilated while cooking or operating your dishwasher.


  • Keep your bathroom door closed during showers and baths. If you have an exhaust fan, it should be turned on. If there is no exhaust fan, the window should be ajar to let moist air out.


  • Furniture should not be placed against walls. Move furniture four to six inches away from walls so air flows between them.


  • During winter months, rooms on the north side of a home are colder. Make sure those rooms are heated slightly more than rooms facing south.