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August 2019

Basics to Architect Services

An architect is a highly skilled professional who has completed a wide-range of specialised training in various fields, including those relating to designing, planning and constructing properties. An architect will rely on several different practices to go about their job. In the design of a build it might be necessary to use computers, maths, and geometry. Only once the initial plans are finalised and approved by the client, will the architect take the blueprints to the actual construction site to start with the build stage.

In order to create the design concept, an architect would have several in-depth discussions with the client to fully understand and appreciate their needs. Creating the blueprints, which are designed to fully match the expectations of the client, are aesthetically appealing, and are environmentally friendly, can take a period of time to complete. In additional to creating the design concept, the architect might also need to liaise with certain local authorities, consultants, and property owners to make certain a project is able to run as smoothly as possible, without any financial or legal hiccups.

If the architect is using computer design and drafting software, then it becomes easier to adjust the slightest detail of the property design. It will be possible to make wide-ranging changes or adjustments to the structure depending on a series of considerations that might need to be kept in mind. An architect might even have to consider the future requirements of the client, which could relate to converting a certain area or adding an extra floor. This all needs to the factored into the plan accordingly.

Although the work of the architect is one that very much relates to attention to detail in the design stage of the structure, it also involves the passion that they display to see their original design concept, from the original blueprints to being a fully built property, which often helps them come up with such remarkable structures. A property if designed to a high standard is certain to be cherished and remember by the client for many years to come.

Building Site Access

Your RV, fifth-wheel, a logging truck or a manufactured home could easily travel the roads to your house and navigate the driveway. Clear building site access should be no problem at all.

Hardly. Just because these other things can get in does NOT guarantee a truss or steel delivery truck can.

Confirm delivery trucks will have clear access to building site. This is important as drivers do not like “surprises.” We are also trying to prevent you or your builder having to move heavy materials any more than necessary!

At least 10 feet width and up to 14 feet height are required to deliver standard buildings. Large trusses can require 14 foot widths or more and you need the ability to get truck (which measures approximately 32 feet) and trailer (which measures 48 feet) combinations up to 100 feet in length near building.

Check the widths of any gates, or openings in fences. Consider removal of any trees which are immediately adjacent to driveways and trim off overhanging limbs.

Delivery trucks and their payloads can reach up to 80,000 lbs in weight! They generally do not have a tight turning radius and are NOT designed for off-road use. Confirm your driveway has a firm road base. Build it up, if needed.

Again, keep in mind, the closer delivery trucks can get to building site, the less time will be spent moving materials.

Drivers will not endanger themselves or their equipment in making a delivery. Do not expect drivers to go anywhere they cannot drive safely in and out. If they can’t get in safely, most drivers will just refuse to attempt to deliver at your designated materials “drop site” and either offload as close as possible to the site, or take everything back to the plant or shipping location to schedule re-delivery. Drivers are often penalized in some way for any damages to trucks, or costs of a wrecking truck to pull them out of bad situations.

Building a Fireplace

The first element is the type of fire itself.

The consideration of wood or gas is most relevant at the final stage – the lighting of the fire. With an actual wood fire you will never lack the sound of a wood fire crackling and glow of real embers. The alternative is a gas insert. There are many new and different designs for gas flames as well models of inserts themselves.

The second element for consideration is the facing on the structure.

This is where there are the most trends, even regionally. Traditionally, brick has been the first choice among homeowners. With the advent of manufactured stone, the cost and availability has made it a popular choice. A coat of stucco has always been popular in the southwest regions. We even see a modern trend of poured concrete or even fabricated metals in very contemporary structures.

The third element is choice of mantle.

This is where the fun really starts. How much mixing and matching are you comfortable with? Something to keep in mind is balance and proportion. Mixing materials and even styles is smart and sexy, just make sure your mantle doesn’t outweigh your fireplace or the opposite.

The fourth element is the hearth.

Functionality can be a consideration when choosing materials for the hearth of a fireplace. A plus is that it will capture heat from the fire and release radiant heat for some time after the fire is out. Will it also provide for extra seating if it is long and wide enough? Additionally, will clean-up be an issue if you are burning real wood and have wood residue and ash?

The fifth element is add-ons.

These can include a wood box, shelving for books, a niche for art or for components like TV’s and audio/video equipment. Wherever these add-ons may be incorporated within your design, remember the heat that your fireplace can produce.

Home Extension

Their homes provide a sense of connection to their soul and they share a bonding with their own space. Developers, often, take advantage of this emotional intimacy by constructing avant-garde residences that share a close resemblance with properties from bygone times.

However, there are lots of disadvantages to this speculative housing system; bedrooms are excessively small, space is compromised and sense of privacy is completely lost. Luckily, there are ways available to regain your comfort level and sense of connection.

With property prices going incredibly higher, a lot of people are choosing to opt for home extension, instead of shifting to a new place. Although home extension expenses are often massive, it’s a sure-shot way to boost the value of your property and get the much-needed space. There are loads of practical benefits to this approach, especially if you’re emotionally attached to your home and have children studying in local schools. What’s more, purchasing and selling of properties have a whole lot of related expenses above and beyond the price of your house. This consists of stamp duty, agent’s fees and the cost of packing and shifting to a new residence. Following are a few pointers to help you get started with the process.

Consider Practicalities

Ahead of starting with the home extension project, it’s essential to consider the nitty-gritties of the concept. This consists of factors like the finances of the project, the place where you’re going to live during the project and the amount of value the distension might add to your property.

Budget Factor

Once you’re done with the basic matters, it’s time sort out the financial issues of your project. Budget planning consists of the scope and extent of the construction work. A trained architect or construction designer should help you with the planning process. That way, you’ll get a more exact quote for your job.

Systematized Designing

The layout of any extension project should be regarded as an important part of your present home construction. This simply means that the design of your distension project must seamlessly blend with the existing design of your property. In case you’re thinking of a second storey construction, remember that it’s more intricate and expensive than general construction work. Moreover, there are other legal formalities as well.

Building Dream Home

Make A List Of The Top Building Companies In Your Area

One of the very first steps is to make a list of the top building contractors/companies in your area. Since you are investing a good amount of money on the home-building project, you should always look for reliable and experienced professionals. Remember, you have to do a lot of research to find the best builder.

Speak with the local real estate agents to know about a good builder in your area. They can also help you avoid choosing the bad building contractors. A real estate professional knows the local real estate market better than anyone else. Therefore, they can give you the best advice.

Compare The Services Of The Different Building Companies

The next step is to compare the services of the contractors/companies in your area. You can easily know about their services from the old clients. Moreover, you should check the number of projects they have completed. Ideally, you should always take time to speak with the old clients to know about their experience.

Is it a good company? Did the company complete the project on time? Get referral / recommendations from your loved ones to choose the right company.

History Of The Company

Remember, it’s very essential to learn the history of the company so that you get to know what you should expect from them. Ask them to give a list of the completed projects so that you get an idea of their work. Talk to as many existing clients as possible.

The last step is to speak with the Better Business Bureau to know if there is any complaint against them. Keep all these tips in mind to hire the best professional.

Installing Exterior Door

The biggest reason this is a simple operation is that these doors come prehung. What this means is the door is already hung in its jamb. The hinges are mortised into the door and jamb and screwed in place. The door is held in position by the hinge pins, leaving the perfect reveal around the door and the jambs top and sides. The holes are also bored for the lockset and if necessary, for the deadbolt too. Exterior doors come in wood, fiberglass, and the most popular, steel. The two sizes are normally used for exterior doors are 32″ and 36″. With the sizes of today’s furniture and appliances the smart choice is the 36″ door. The standard height for a door is 6’8″ but taller ones can be special ordered.

The exterior trim comes nailed to the jamb. This trim, called brickmoulding, is mitred and already installed, saving the installer(s) another step. These doors also have an aluminum threshold already attached to the legs of the jambs. All these things make the door and jamb one cohesive unit.

The standard jamb size is 4 and 1/2 inches wide. With the demand for a higher insulation R value in exterior walls, 2×6 framing is being used more frequently. Jambs to fit these walls, 6 1/2 inches, are becoming more common. Jamb widths can be made to order for whatever a projects needs are and would cost more.

To install an exterior door, first check to see if the rough opening is correct. The width of the opening should be 2″ wider than the door itself (38″ for a 36″ door, 34″ for a 32″ door). For a rough opening height 83″ will suffice for most door manufacturers. Also check to see if the framing and floor is reasonably plumb.

Door installation is easier with 2 people but can be done alone. Put the door in the opening from the outside. If you are working alone, tack the door to the wall through the brickmoulding, not driving the nails home. I like to use galvenized ring shank splitless nails that are used for cedar siding. They don’t split the wood and the smaller heads are not as obvious to the eye. The ring shank feature gives them great holding power.

With the door tacked in the opening, go to the inside of the door and check the reveals around the door. There should be about an eighth of an inch all around the door. Shim the jambs of the door so the reveals are right. Check the door jamb on the hinge side for plumb. If it is not plumb, then the floor is out of level. One jamb leg or the other will need to be shimmed so the threshold is level. Now readjust the reveals by moving the door and jambs sideways in the opening to a point where the reveals are right. Once the door and jamb are in position, shim the jamb at each hinge and at the strike, top and bottom on the strike side. Nail the shims in place by nailing through the jamb, through the shims and into the framing. Check the door swing to see if it opens and closes properly. If all is well, go outside and nail through the brickmould using the splitless nails to nail the door frame to the house.

Most door manufacturers provide long screws that replace some of the shorter screws in the hinges on the jamb. The top hinge is the most important place to use one or two of these screws.
These screws go through the jamb and into the framing and keep the door from sagging over time.

Most doors come with an adjustable threshold. This may have to be adjusted up or down to create an airtight seal.

With the door securely in the opening, it is ready for door hardware installation.

Retain The Shine On Marble Tiles

  • Simple everyday cleaning- Less is always more when it comes to quick cleaning and touch-up of marble. Soft cloth, preferably one with microfibers, is good for cleaning. Warm, distilled water is recommended to clean marble countertops. Do not air-dry the marble surfaces, as they have a tendency to leave water spots. Do dust-mopping on a daily basis to retain the shine on marble tiles.
  • Bring out the big guns for special occasions – Marble is a delicate stone, so do not go overboard in cleaning it. If you want to do some special and deep cleaning for special occasions, then use neutral-pH soap. Acetone for dark marble and hydrogen peroxide for light marble is good when mixed with water. Clear ammonia is also good when used in dilution with water for cleaning purposes.
  • Rinse thoroughly – Whatever cleaning product you are using to clean the marble surfaces, remember to rinse them thoroughly. Make sure that there is no residue left and dry out the surface completely after rinsing.
  • Clean acidic stains immediately – Wine, orange juice, some soft drinks and tomatoes are not good for your marble flooring or countertop. To retain the shine, you need to blot the spills immediately and not wipe or rub. If there still is a stain, then use a commercial stain remover or a homemade remover. You can make your own stain remover by mixing baking soda with water and making it into a paste. Use alcohol to remove oil-based stains.
  • Protection is better- Use coasters to save your marble from staining or scratching. Avoid rust stains by not using metal containers. Use ceramic or stone containers on marble countertops. Place rugs in areas that witness high-traffic. Use pads for the furniture on marble flooring.
  • Shine your floor or countertops – Use a commercial polish to use on marble and bring back its shine. After polishing the surface with a commercial polish, use a chamois and use it on the surface. Chamois is made from mixing baking soda and water. This is rubbed on the surface and left to dry for a few hours. Rinse and wipe with a fresh cloth dipped in crushed chalk. Rinse and dry the surface thoroughly.
  • Sealant increases the life of marble tiles – A porous stone like marble definitely requires a good quality sealant. This protects the surface of the stone from losing its shine and staining. Re-apply sealers every few years and keep them shining for many years.

Protecting Home With LED Security Lights

Big, powerful flood lights are good for open spaces, but can sometimes leave shadows if there are obstacles on your property like buildings and trees. Using a combination of LED flood lights, area lights and wall packs will reduce shadows and blind spots that intruders can use to hide.

It’s important to make it difficult for burglars to tamper with your security system. Many thieves will plan heists for several weeks and finding a way to disable security lights is often a top priority. Even the best security lighting can be rendered useless if an intruder is able to incapacitate the system. Keeping lights high and out of reach will make it difficult for your system to be tampered with. Placing lights high will also soften the light for a pleasant look and increased coverage.

Motion detector lights are an effective way to scare off intruders. Burglars will be on edge during a robbery and having a light flick on as they walk by is often times enough to scare them away. A good combination of LED spotlights and motion detector lights will work to keep intruders off of your property and scare away those who choose to enter.

Most criminals seek out targets that can be accessed at night without being seen. Ensuring excellent light coverage at all entrances and exits will deter criminals from planning a robbery at your property.

Why LED?

Efficiency: LED lights offer exceptional efficiency and are more cost-effective in the long run. An LED light fixture will use 90% less electricity than an equivalent incandescent. This is also important if your security lights are forced to run on a backup generator. Less energy draw means your lights will last longer on a limited supply of power.

Longevity: A quality LED bulb can have a useful life of 25,000 hours or more. This is more than 25 times long than traditional light bulbs. Safety: LEDs run cooler than conventional light sources and are therefore less of a fire hazard. Durability: LEDs lack filaments or glass enclosures, making them more durable than traditional alternatives. Same colors as traditional bulbs: LEDs can achieve the same colors as traditional bulbs. Use the Kelvin temperature color scale below to help identify the hue a bulb will produce.

Save Water During the Summer

Outdoor summer fun, gardening, tree care, car washes, siding maintenance, laundry, dishes, and more, are just a few examples of activities that call for more water use on a daily basis. But is there a way to still enjoy the summer and stay cool while managing your water consumption? The answer is yes! With a few simply adjustment to everyday habits, all homes and families can save money on water and energy bills, while lowering their water consumption all at once! Continue reading for some tips to saving water this summer.

First, check out the water heater. Is it time to have it serviced by a professional plumber? This should be done at least twice per year to ensure that your water heater is in optimal condition and performs up to standards without wasting energy. If you don’t want to waste water or energy, tune-up or replace your existing water heater. Now, here are some additional summertime water conservation tips for the everyday homeowner:

Automatic sprinkler systems are certainly a wonderful asset for lawn and garden care. Simply adjusting an automated sprinkler system by shaving off a few minutes of each cycle can dramatically decrease your monthly water consumption, which your utility bills should reflect. For manual sprinklers, be sure they are placed in an area where they are not watering anything but flora. Do not let them waste water on driveways, sidewalks, and siding. And also turn the water off a few minutes earlier to save water.

It is so easy to just load and go with a dishwasher! But there are ways to reduce your dishwasher use. First, try to only run full loads. This will reduce the number of times you operate your dishwasher on a weekly basis. In fact, you can save up to 400 gallons of water each month this way! Also, try to hand clean larger items like mixing bowls and colanders. These are easy to wash and rinse and take up too much valuable space in the dishwasher.

If you have water-drinkers in your home that like cold water on demand, a water pitcher in the refrigerator is a great alternative running the faucet for several minutes. Running the tap water and waiting for the desired temperature (hot or cold) is wasteful. By having cold, ready-to-drink water in the fridge, you can eliminate this wasteful habit!

Aside from sprinkler adjustments, there are other ways to conserve water in the summer when it comes to lawns and gardens. For one, always water flowers and lawns in the early morning before the sun rises and temperatures peak. This reduces the rate of evaporation in the hot sun and keeps soil moist for longer. This way you don’t have to water and repeat on a daily basis, wasting water! Second, buy a rain barrel and collect rain water to reuse and water your gardens. This saves hundreds of gallons of water each year per home! And last, adjust the lawnmower so that it cuts the grass at a higher level. This makes the roots stay moist longer, thus reducing the need to water!

A master plumber can diagnose any plumbing leaks or water leaks in a home and around the property. Not only will repairing water leak issues save water, it will prevent problems from turning into costly nightmares. A small leak can turn into a large repair very quickly. They are hard to detect, so a master plumber is the best option for accurate and reliable diagnostics.

Warning Signs Of Foundation Damage

A foundation can settle (move downward) into the soil beneath it. When this occurs, it usually means the home’s structure has become distorted or uneven in some way. The settlement occurs when the soil becomes more compacted.

There are many reasons for soil compaction, including the soil not having been properly compacted in the first place. Moisture can also cause settlement. When the soil gets wet, it expands. When it dries, it shrinks. Certain types of soil, like clay soil, expand and contract more than others. This means the type of soil the home is built on can influence the amount and rate of settlement. Trees looking for water underneath a home can also cause soil disruption that leads to settlement.

Most foundations experience some type of settlement as time goes on. Problems occur when the settlement weakens the structural integrity of the building.

Cracks on both the outside and inside walls are often an obvious sign of settlement and possible foundation damage. The same is true for fireplace cracks.

Sloping floors is another indicator of severe foundation settlement, along with bowed walls and/or protruding nail heads.

Have you started having trouble opening and closing windows or doors? Settlement can cause a foundation to drop lower in some areas than others. This unevenness will affect the fit of windows and doors.

An uneven roof or roof leak, especially if the roof is new, is another bad indicator. When inspecting your roof, make sure you check it from both the inside and outside.

Also take a look at your gutters. A clogged gutter can cause rainwater to run over the sides of your house and seep into the building. Water will erode a foundation. As the layers of foundation are removed, small cracks will begin to appear.

Another place to look for damage is near windows on the outside of the house. If you see cracks running diagonally, you may have foundation settlement issues. In this case, the settlement is causing the window joints to pull apart.

If you don’t see any obvious signs of foundation problems, look around the outside of the house for pooled water, especially after it rains. This is a sign of poor drainage. Water that doesn’t drain properly can seriously damage a foundation. You will also want to check for any plumbing leaks inside your home. Any type of water, regardless of its source, can ruin your foundation.

Don’t have the time to inspect your property? Neglecting this important part of home maintenance can put your home and family at risk. A specialist in home foundation repair will often conduct a home inspection for free. The inspection will be thorough and nothing will be missed. You will also save money getting minor problems fixed before it’s too late.