Tanya Tanimoto's Blog
Are you considering a large-scale home remodel? Whether you are looking for a project intended to increase your home's value, or you're splurging on a pleasure project for your family, many of you will be turning to contractors to carry out the work that needs to be done. However, not all contractors are equal. It is important for you to outline your priorities for the project. You'll want a reliable contractor that can perform satisfactory work for a reasonable price. Here's a few tips to help get you started. 1. - Find yourself an insured and licensed contractor. Don't just pull a number from the classifieds and run with it without doing some proper homework. Licensing ensures that the contractor in question is qualified to do the work being discussed. To find out if your prospective contractor is licensed, contact your state license board and check up on them. Insurance is another matter. Insurance protects the workers the contractor will be employing, and your home from accidents resulting in damages. Ask your contractor to provide you with proof of insurance. If they can't provide this, then move on to a new contractor. 2. - Referrals and reviews - Before you strike out on your own, ask your friends and family if they have anyone that they'd recommend. Many times, the best contractors are found word-of-mouth. Every contractor on the planet wants his clients to think that he's the best for the job, but results speak for themselves. Again, make sure any referrals are licensed and insured. You don't want to take the chance of incurring additional damages to your property due to negligence and accidents. If no referrals can be found, then check online for reviews of local contractors. Most reputable contractors will have solid online reviews that are easily accessible. Contractors that operate their own websites are a plus. 3. - There's no such thing as a stupid question. If your contractor acts annoyed with you for asking too many questions, then you should probably consider someone else for the job. Questions to consider asking are - How long have you been in business? - How much will this project cost in total? - Have you performed this type of work before? - What is the protocol if the project goes over-budget? If you don't like the answers given, then continue looking for a contractor you feel comfortable with. 4. - Don't pay too much up front. Paying up to a third of the total estimate up front isn't unheard of. This initial payment will more than likely be used to hire employees and buy supplies. However, be wary of giving the contractor any more money until after your project is finished. Also, don't be afraid to get a rundown of how that initial payment will be spent. Be thorough if you want to be. The contractor should be able to give you a pretty good picture of the project in terms of cost and time. 5. - Get a contract - No matter the size of the project being undertaken, a contract should always be written up. This will ensure a legally-binding agreement between you and the contractor exists in the event of the unforeseen. Without a contract, there is no way to hold the contractor accountable in the event he performs an unsatisfactory job. And trust me...Any hassles you may incur in securing a contract is nothing compared to going to court without one in the event something goes awry. A proper contract should include the following information.
- When the project will start and end
- How and when you or the contractor is in default of the contract
- How any disputes will be rectified
- What happens if there is a delay due to weather, available materials, and so on.
No matter how sturdy a home is, sooner or later maintenance will be required. When this happens, you will have the choice to do some of this maintenance work yourself, or you could opt to utilize a home repair service to do it for you. This largely depends on how much experience you have in repairing things in your home. For example, hanging a picture on the wall does not take too much knowledge and expertise, as all you would need is a good drill and a little bit of know-how. On the other hand, if you need some major plumbing repairs, then you are better off finding a reputable plumber to do the job for you. When it comes to painting, it really does depend on whether you have some experience and know-how, and how much you enjoy doing it. For some people, painting can be extremely therapeutic. They will gladly paint every room in their home without any fuss. For others, painting a wall can seem like an extremely messy job, and in most cases, it will be a job badly done. In a situation like this, you are better off using a professional painter. One of the best ways to find a good quality home repair service is by going on the internet, as this allows you to quickly find a specialized repair service within your area with just a few clicks of your mouse. In addition, you are also able to do a little research on the repair service beforehand. If you would like a local referral I keep a list of professionals. Please call or email me for more information.
Is clutter taking over your life? There is a way to take your life back from the piles of junk collecting in your home and it doesn't involve all of your things ending up in the landfill. Here are just a few smart and frugal ideas for repurposing old stuff... For Decorating Use old hardware from dresser drawers to hang curtains. Use junk CDs and DVDs as drink coasters. For Organizing Use oatmeal containers and coffee tins to store flour, sugar and mixes. Use old doorknobs to make a coat rack. For Outside Use egg cartons, old jars, tins and yogurt cartons to make functional seed starters. Use old wooden ladders as part of your landscaping, allowing ivy and other vine plants to climb them. Use CDs to scare birds away from your berry garden. Hang CDs from a tree near your berry bushes. The shiny, moving objects will frighten birds, keeping them away from your sun-ripened berries. Use Cooking Spray as an ice repellent. Spray both sides of a plastic or metal shovel with cooking spray and the ice will slide right off. Repurposing items is easy if you start by changing the way you look at things. Next time you think something is trash, stop and think “how can I repurpose this?”
Kitchens sell houses. So having a great looking kitchen is important if you are thinking of putting your home on the market or maybe you just need a fresh new look. Cabinets are one of the biggest expenses in a kitchen remodel but with a little elbow grease and creativity, you can update your kitchen cabinets without going through the hassle of an entire remodel. Here are some tips on how to make your kitchen look like new with a cabinet facelift. Give the wood a Good Cleaning You will be surprised what a good scrubbing can do. Heat, water, grease and food residue all take a serious toll on your cabinets.
If you choose to remove the doors, label or number them so you'll put them back in the right place.
Make sure to test any kind of cleaner before using it on the entire cabinet. Cleaners with large amounts of alcohol may cause the wood to dry and crack.
Clean and Update the Hardware
Hardware gets greasy and grimy so make sure to clean those too.
Soak the hardware in a soapy-water solution for 30 minutes.
Scrub lightly with a soft brush and rinse.
Let dry and apply the proper polish.
You may decide instead to replace the hardware. In choosing the finish for your hardware, think about what style will look best in your home.
Add Some Detail
Add some detail to drab cabinets with moulding. Applying a contrasting finish or color is a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of your cabinets.
Stripping and Refinishing
If after cleaning your cabinets still need some help, you may decide to refinish or paint them
Make sure to remove all the cabinet doors and number them.
Liquid strippers work best, but be sure to use the gel or semi-paste types.
Place doors on a vertical surface. The finish won't drip as much.
Let the stripping agent do the work and start with an inconspicuous area.
Patch any conspicuous holes, scratches and nicks with wood filler. When dry, sand lightly to smooth out the patch. Before painting, sand lightly and prime.
Before painting remember that the wood expands and contracts with the seasons, which will cause the paint bead to separate and expose unpainted wood.
So with a little hard work you can have a whole new look to your kitchen in no time.
Groceries can be one of the biggest monthly expenses in a family's budget. It seems the prices just keep going up and up but there are ways to slim down your weekly grocery bill. Here are some strategies to help you save at the grocery store. Make a list: If you want to avoid impulse make a list and stick to it. If you don't have a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. You may also forget to purchase the items you need causing unnecessary trips back to the store. Look for expiration dates: Avoid buying items that will go bad quickly. Pay attention to expiration dates especially on things like milk, meat, eggs, and yogurt. Look for meat markdowns: Butchers mark down their meat either early in the morning or in the evening saving you 30 to 60 percent. If you ask most butchers will tell you when they mark down their meat. Buy in bulk: When you find things like cereals, tinned goods, rice, beans, pasta, coke, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, toilet paper etc. on sale buy in bulk. You might also want to shop at warehouse stores for these items. Buy generic: Generic store brands can save you money. Most generics are just like or very close to the name brand product without the hefty price tag.