Home Improvement Scams – What To Look Out For

The sad fact of life is that for every hundred reputable tradesmen who will carry out your home improvement project to your exact specifications, on time and at a reasonable price, there are a few rogue ‘cowboys’ out there whose only objective is to part you from your money as quickly as possible with scant regard for their workmanship and that’s if any work gets done at all!

However, there are many things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of these ‘con artists’.

Firstly, ask friends of yours for recommendations. They may have had work done by a particular tradesman previously who carried out a professional job at a fair price. If that’s not possible, make sure the tradesman can prove their competence by finding out if they are trained to do the job and whether they are members of a particular trade association. The tradesmen themselves should be able to supply that information and give you contact details of associations with whom you can verify their claims or, alternatively, you can contact a particular trade association and ask them to recommend someone in your area.

Always ask for a written estimate or, better still, a fixed quote prior to work commencing and get a few quotations so you can make comparisons. Ask for this to be specifically put in writing and, if there is any ‘small print’ or things you don’t understand, ask them to explain it fully and to add the explanation into an amended quotation before you sign any agreements.

You should also ask any tradesmen certain questions in addition to verifying their ability and reputation to do the job as mentioned above. This should include asking how many projects like yours they’ve completed in the past couple of years and to give you some references so you can contact previous people who have had work carried out by the tradesman. Ask them to produce an insurance certificate so you can be sure that you’ll receive compensation should the job go wrong.

When it comes to payment, try to limit, or even eliminate, any upfront payment as much as possible and always pay by cheque or by credit card. Never use cash. Quite often, a reputable tradesman will not require any payment until the job’s completed to your satisfaction, but if it’s a big job that’s going to take some time, they may require some form of payment upfront for materials and additional labour costs first. If that’s the case, make sure you have written proof and their signature to say that they have received X amount before starting the job.

If they require some payment upfront, ask them to give you contact details of other customers who can verify that this arrangement worked out OK. Where possible, negotiate payment in stages. So much after 25% of the work’s done, another payment after half is done and the rest upon satisfactory completion is an example. Don’t make any final payment until you’re fully satisfied that the work has been completed to your specifications and, if they are using other sub-contractors, ensure that these have all been paid prior to handing over the final payment to the main contractor. Don’t hand over any final payment until the tradesman hands over written warranties for materials and for the quality of workmanship and that you have written proof that all sub-contractors have been paid in full.

Providing you ask the right questions, get satisfactory answers, do your research and get everything put in writing, there should be no problem, but watch out for scams. These include tradesmen who’ll only accept cash, those who’ll ask you to pay for the entire job upfront, those who do not provide you with a business or a home address and telephone number or suggest that you borrow money to pay for the job from a lender they know, or those that solicit door-to-door.

Knowledge, vigilance and awareness are your best forms of protection in ensuring your home improvement project is completed without any hitches.

Tips For Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

Home improvement projects are often a challenge, and hiring a home improvement contractor often becomes necessary. Hiring a contractor for such projects might sound easy, but the contractor has to be hired with discretion and good judgment to achieve the best results.

A good home improvement contractor would be able to follow up a project from start to finish, and deliver the required results within a given time frame. But the challenge is to find such a contractor, and ensure a smooth deal, from hiring the contractor to handover. Some of these easy tips on hiring a contractor should help you with the process:

First and foremost, remember that hiring the first contractor you come across is not the best idea. You need a to shortlist a few likely contractor candidates before hiring the best out of them. Try to consider only those home improvement contractors who have been recommended by friends, colleagues or acquaintances.

In case such recommended contractors are fewer than you would like to choose from, ask other contractors for references from previous clients. Hiring a contractor who has been recommended online is also a great option. Check out and interact with all such references before hiring. A good tip is hiring a contractor who has done similar jobs before.

Before hiring the final contractor for the job, ask all the contractors in your shortlist to give you a formal bid for your project. Do not automatically choose the lowest bidder. Do your home work by asking about charges from people who have local experience in hiring such contractors and ask them for tips. Determine the cost of materials, fixtures and finishes that your contractor will use by visiting a home improvement store yourself.

While hiring a contractor, also ensure that he or she fulfils any licensing requirements of your state. The home improvement contractor should have established his credentials beyond any doubt, and have a good reputation. The contractor should also preferably carry insurance against issues like worker’s compensation, damage to property, and any personal liabilities.

Have a very clear, fixed idea of what sort of home improvement you need done before you start off with the contractor. The clearer you are in your mind, the better the contractor would understand you. It will also save you from unplanned costs incurred due to changes during the process of home improvement.

Once you have decided on your contractor, the hiring process should include the signing of a very clear contract with your home improvement contractor which would clearly state the materials to be used, the terms of demolition, required cleanup, and elimination of trash. The time frame for completion, payment terms, and release from any lien for any sub-contractors used should also be arranged to your mutual satisfaction.

Payment plans should be well thought out. Keep in mind that payment is the only leverage you can use to get the job done by the contractor according to your expectations. A good tip is to make final payments to the home improvement contractor only once you are happy with the finished job.

Hire a contractor you can get along with very well, because the contractor would be in your house for quite a duration. Hiring someone who would have the right amount of time to devote to your project is also crucial, because sometimes hiring an extra-busy contractor can turn out to be a mistake.

Hiring a contractor is often the best way to carry out major improvements in your home. With the help of these tips you should be able to hire a great contractor, and carry out your home improvements without a hitch.

Simple Low-cost Home Improvement Ideas

Home improvements don’t have to be major undertakings and you don’t need to uproot your family, tear down your house or go thousands of dollars in debt just to get a new look for your home.

There are a couple of great ways to make home improvement easier. One is to take on a project in small stages. The other is to do quick and easy projects that may seem small, but still punch a lot of “wow” factor.

If you decide to take on a major home renovation plan and want to try splitting it into small stages, go for it. This is a great way to balance your money and life. By spreading your renovation over a few months and a few projects, you won’t feel like your life has been taken over by the renovations, and you can avoid going into debt.

To do this, start with a plan. For example, you can begin by redoing the windows. In a few weeks, you can then start painting, tearing down or rebuilding any walls. For your next step, update any light fixtures or plumbing. Then, redo your floors room-by-room. Finally, add the finishing touches of new appliances or updated furniture.

You can actually attack your projects in any order you prefer. The point is to do the work in sufficiently small phases that they neither leave your time or wallet depleted!

If you’re not ready for a major home improvement schedule, try taking on smaller renovation projects that can bring satisfying rewards. Keep reading for some suggestions.

1. Spring Clean Your Plumbing

Once a year, spend a few days attending to your home’s plumbing. Unplug any clogs, tighten any dripping pipes, clean up under the sinks and update or replace any old and tired faucets.

You’ll bring new life to your bathrooms and kitchen and stay on top of any potential plumbing problems. If you do encounter a major plumbing issue, don’t be afraid to call in a professional. Doing so is not an admission of failure (guys)!

2. Check Your Electricals

While you shouldn’t undertake any electrical work that you’re not trained for, there are a few tasks you can handle around the house to stay on top of it.

First, replace any old or burned out bulbs in the house, taking time to dust and clean all your light fixtures. Try replacing all your bulbs with energy efficient ones for big savings over time. Then, check all your fuses and replace any that are worn down or broken.

3. Wash or Paint Your Walls

Painting a wall will freshen up a room instantly. Start by covering up any holes or scratches in the wall and remember to use a few coats to get an attractive, professional finish.

If you’re not up for a full day of painting, try washing your walls with a very diluted bleach and water, or soap and water solution. This will brighten the room, get rid of odors and wash out smells from pets, cooking or smoking.

Common Questions About A Home Improvement Loan

Many people are extremely proud of their homes and will go to great lengths to keep it looking up to date or stylish. From time to time thay even get an idea to completely remodel the house by adding an extension or expanding an existing room. Apart from the fact that they will have a nice, modern looking house there are a number of other benefits. Firstly some people actually get a lot of satisfaction out of doing up their home. They can learn useful DIY skills and like to take a project from conception through to completion. Another obvious benefit of such a project is that it can make you money. A well conceived improvement project can put 20% more on the value of your home. However, the attraction of making a bit of money from your home renovation project can be a great motivator but the first thing that many people have to think about is where will I find the money to start the project. There are many ways to finance a home improvement project, one being the home improvement loan. This article will answer some of the common questions that are asked about home improvement loans and help you make a better decision.

What’s a home improvement loan ?

A home improvement loan is a sum of money that is secured by the value of your property. This is generally a lump sum that can be used how you see fit.

Why do you need a home improvement loan ?

A home improvement loan is not compulsory but is for people that don’t have a large lump sum of cash sitting in their bank account doing nothing. As already listed, a home improvement loan is used for any type of renovation or improvement project that you have lined up. This can range from the big project, like adding a games room or a swimming pool to smaller in scale, like refreshing the tired looking carpeting with hardwood floor boards. Having said this, a loan will normally have a minimum and maximum amount that can be borrowed based on various criteria set by the loan company. This is covered in the next question.

What amount can I borrow ?

This varies depending the type of loan product that you decide on. In general, the loan product is based on the loan to value of the property that you are working on. It can also depend on the amount of equity that exists in the property. As a pointer, most financia institutions won’t lend much more than 15% of the total value of the property but this may also depend on you rability to pay back the loan.

What is the maximum period of time that I can repay a home improvement loan ?

Again this depends on the type of loan product that you are using. However most home improvement loans tend to be last over a period of 5 to 25 years.

How do I select the right home improvement lending institution for me ?

In most cases, people look at the interest rate that they will have to pay for the particular loan product. They can also look at the reputation of the particular lender although once you have the money this doesn’t really matter.

You should also consider any extra costs that will come with the product, like an application fee and appraisal costs. Check all the fine details for any penalty clauses such as late payment or early repayment penalties. Above all, go for a loan that suits your requirements as there are so many to choose from that you can afford to be picky.

Buy Water Dispenser Coolers With Great Care

Usually, water coolers are installed in offices and large establishments like schools, hospitals, post offices and many other public areas. Office owners make it a point to install office water cooler as it helps to keep their employees hydrated at all times. This also helps in maximizing their efficiency and work productivity.
If you are looking forward to buy a high end water cooler for your office, you must research about various models available in the market before zeroing in on a specific model. Moreover, having a water cooler in the office looks cool and an environment friendly gesture from the office owners. Water coolers are usually fed by large bottles that are collected from water supply companies and refilled periodically. The size of the water cooler being purchased must be decided on the basis of number of employees working in an office. It will also depend on the number of outsiders coming to the office every day. Water is something which is needed by every human being and office owners cannot avoid offering water to anyone coming to their office.
Water dispenser coolers are available in great styles and models. They are replete with various features. On the basis of these features and requirements of the buyers, one can buy this equipment. It is essential that no cost cutting is done when buying this machine. This is because no impurity can be afforded with water. The least office people can do is providing cool and pure water to their employees.
When buying a water cooler, another factor that needs to be considered is easy maintenance. If the machine is highly complicated, it may be difficult to maintain this machine. Even if the machine is working in a fine order, it should be maintained periodically so as to ensure that everything is going fine.
From a high quality water cooler, totally pure and cool water can be attained. One must go through various brands manufactured by top end water cooler companies and browse through its various features before buying a high end water cooler.
Usually, water coolers are installed in offices and large establishments like schools, hospitals, post offices and many other public areas. Office owners make it a point to install office water cooler as it helps to keep their employees hydrated at all times. This also helps in maximizing their efficiency and work productivity.
If you are looking forward to buy a high end water cooler for your office, you must research about various models available in the market before zeroing in on a specific model. Moreover, having a water cooler in the office looks cool and an environment friendly gesture from the office owners. Water coolers are usually fed by large bottles that are collected from water supply companies and refilled periodically. The size of the water cooler being purchased must be decided on the basis of number of employees working in an office. It will also depend on the number of outsiders coming to the office every day. Water is something which is needed by every human being and office owners cannot avoid offering water to anyone coming to their office.
Water dispenser coolers are available in great styles and models. They are replete with various features. On the basis of these features and requirements of the buyers, one can buy this equipment. It is essential that no cost cutting is done when buying this machine. This is because no impurity can be afforded with water. The least office people can do is providing cool and pure water to their employees.
When buying a water cooler, another factor that needs to be considered is easy maintenance. If the machine is highly complicated, it may be difficult to maintain this machine. Even if the machine is working in a fine order, it should be maintained periodically so as to ensure that everything is going fine.
From a high quality water cooler, totally pure and cool water can be attained. One must go through various brands manufactured by top end water cooler companies and browse through its various features before buying a high end water cooler.

Where To Find Narellan Home Improvement Products

When you are looking for home improvement products, you want to take a look at those made by Narellan, a name that you can trust. There are many home products in this line and all will aid to helping you do the work that you are looking to do around your house. Whether you are into home improvement work for yourself or you undertake home improvement projects as a profession, you are going to want to make sure that you use the best tools as well as the best products for the job. The way to make sure that you get the best selection when it comes to these products is to go online and take a look at them.

You can browse through a catalogue online that will show you the home improvement products that you are looking for and have everything delivered to you at your home or at the job site with ease. If you want Narellan home improvement products for your job, you have a wide range from which to choose. Regardless of what type of improvement project you are undertaking, you get more of a selection as well as better prices when you order these products online.

If you go to an home improvement store to make your purchases, you are very limited as to what you can get by way of supplies and products for any project that you are undertaking. In order to get the most for your money when it comes to Narellan home improvement products, you can go to the site and order from them directly. You get a full range of the home improvement products in this way as well as a better price. When you order these products from a store, you usually pay a markup. You do not have to pay a markup and can now order them direct when you choose to do this from an online site.

There are many home improvement products in the Narellan line. You will be able to check out the Narellan home improvement products by going online to the site that has them and taking a look at all they have to offer. This is the best way to make sure that you are getting the right products for the job. This will give you the full range of products that are offered by this company that is dedicated to providing you with the best home improvement products that are on the market.

Instead of going to the local store and being limited when it comes to selection of what you want, you are better off to get what you are looking for when it comes to Narellan home improvement items when you go to their site online. You can use the easy to use site to find what you are looking for, no matter what it is, and then place your order. The item or items that you purchase can then be shipped to wherever you want them to be shipped, not only saving you money, but making the purchase a lot more convenient for you at the same time.

The Best Ways To Clean Cork Floors

The nature of material that is cork makes it a challenging task to clean but it can be done after all. That should not inform your decision to change from cork floors to other options. It should be cleaned more often to get rid of dirt which can end up lowering the quality of the flooring once allowed to settle. Also, moisture should not be allowed to come into contact with cork and must be dried out immediately it is detected. That will be part of the normal maintenance drill to keep your flooring durable and clean. From this article, you will learn about some of the best ways to clean your house floor made of cork.

There are those things that you will have to deal with immediately they happen while others can wait for the day you usually do general cleaning. In case of any spills on the floor, that should be handled immediately and will range from food, drinks and even water. Make sure you wipe them and dry the floor at the time they spill. They will leave ugly stains on the floor once left unattended to which you must be very careful about. Dust settles from time to time and the best way to deal with that is by vacuuming or sweeping the cork floors frequently.

In case of any spills on the floor, that should be handled immediately and will range from food, drinks and even water. Make sure you wipe them and dry the floor at the time they spill. They will leave ugly stains on the floor once left unattended to which you must be very careful about. Dust settles from time to time and the best way to deal with that is by vacuuming or sweeping the cork floors frequently.

Never use oils and waxes

That will also do away with debris that can leave scratches on the flooring. There are stubborn stains which require cleaners to remove and such products should be the only recommended ones. Don�t pick any cleaner from a shop and use it for your cork flooring without knowing its pros and cons. Some cleaners have dangerous chemicals that react with cork which makes getting a recommendation from experts the best option. Cork is a good absorber of moisture and allowing liquids like water to sit on it will be damaging in the long-run. The more moisture your cork floors sip in the higher the chances it stands to get damaged.

You have to be keen against mopping the floor using a wet mop because it might subject it to a watery situation. Only use a damp mop and when it�s necessary. Mild detergents are also recommended for cleaning the cork once in a while but never use abrasive soaps and cleaning agents. Waxes and oils are not recommended cork cleaners because they will leave the floor slippery thus causing a danger to the users. It is easy to get tripped as you walk around the house. Likewise, solvents are a bad choice for a cleaner to use with your cork flooring because they can cause discoloring.

Above all, you should consider preventive measures as far as cleaning of cork floors is concerned. To this effect, have pads or mats placed at the entrance of your house to prevent any dirt, dust or particles from gaining entry.

Cosmetic effect of coconut oil

Coconut is not only delicious, but also an important woody oil crop. Mature pulp through dry or other pre-processing, and then through pressing, solvent treated or centrifuged, can be obtained coconut oil. First squeezed coconut oil is pale yellow, with coconut flavor, people were loved it. Refined coconut oil is white.  In coconut oil, the saturated fat content was up to 90%, so coconut oil’s melting point is higher than the melting point of common edible oils, it itself at room temperature is solid. Apart from the saturated fatty acid esters, coconut oil also contains small amounts of unsaturated fatty acid esters, free fatty acids such as lauric acid and other ingredients.

Most people use coconut oil on the skin to maintain moisture. We should know that, the less water content of the stratum corneum, the skin will more dry; if reduce water losing from the stratum corneum, the skin’s dry condition can be improved. 85% or more components of coconut oil are a lot of saturated fatty acid esters, the closed skin effect is similar to petrolatum, mineral oil, can reduce transepidermal water losing, play a moisturizing effect. Coconut oil also can increase the skin surface lipids, soft skin. That is to say coconut oil is only a humectant. While substances which really have nutritional function to skin such as unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and the like are accounted for very small amounts in coconut oil, so coconut oil is not anti-aging, removing wrinkles and other skin care effects.

Directly applied the coconut oil, especially unrefined coconut oil to the face or hands may be risky. Free lactic acid contained in coconut oil may cause irritation to the skin. Studies have shown that lauric acid has small molecular weight, can easily be dissolved in the lipid phase and permeate the membrane, physical damage to the cells, and inhibit the production energy and transfer nutrients enzymes, resulting in reversible and irreversible changes, lead to cell death. Only the lauric acid reacted with diethanolamine to produce Coconutt Diethanol Amide can be used as cosmetic additives.

Coconut oil is important indirect materials in the cosmetics industry, such as for soap industry. Coconut oil’s saponification value is higher than other common vegetable oils, freezing point in 21~25, made of soap would not too soft, and foaming well, very suitable for simple hand cold soap. Of course, this handmade soap is not healthier than ordinary soap.

Hair is divided into three kinds from outside to inside, namely, hair cuticle, hair cortex and medulla hair, whose main ingredient is keratin. Damaged hair mainly refers to the cuticle under physical and chemical action, generates friction, deformation, while the coconut oil conditioner role is reflected in its attentive care on keratin. For all kinds of hair types, coconut oil has prevented combing injury effect. It can form lubricating film on the surface of the hair, reduces the friction between the hair cuticle, even
have the effect on damaged hair.

Used coconut oil before the washing hair, it can form a hydrophobic film on the keratin edge, prevent hair absorbing water; and it can penetrate into the hair, reducing the swelling extent of keratin. Hair absorbs less water, hair cuticle deformation and friction damaged will be reduced, the hair is protected. Lauric acid in coconut oil has a strong affinity to keratin, meanwhile it is amylose molecules of small molecular weight, which can permeate the hair fiber. Mineral oil and other vegetable oils cannot penetrate into the hair.

All in all, coconut oil is a good cosmetic raw material, but it should not be given too much expectations, it cannot anti-aging also can not remove wrinkles.