Make sure your appliances aren’t being recalled.

Did you know that house hold appliances cause a large number of house fires? Consumers Reports Magazine wrote an eye opening article about how often appliances catch fire. Many of these appliances have been recalled but homeowners are unaware.

 

What can you do? You need to gather some information like model and serial numbers of each of your house hold appliances. Once you have gathered that information go to www.recalls.gov for recalls and what action to take if something you own is involved.

 

Its a good idea to keep a list and regularly recheck; because it can take years for problems to become evident.

 

Before You Buy Ceramic Flooring

So you’re considering ceramic tile for your floors? Excellent choice! Ceramic tile is a beautiful and durable product that dates back thousands of years. But before you sign any contracts or make any purchases, know this before you buy:

Do Your Homework

There is a defined step-by-step procedure for applying trim and decorative tiles to your ceramic tile floor:

1. Identify the room and its application,

2. Select the type of tile

3. Select the color and shade

4. Select the texture and size

5. Design a layout pattern and/or a decorative pattern

6. Select the grout color and type

Sticking to this process will help guarantee a smooth installation.

Terminology-Trims

Bullnose has one rounded finished edge to create a nice finishing touch. Sometimes it’s used as a substitute for a cove base.

Corner Bullnose has two rounded finished edges, enabling it to complete a corner.

Sanitary Cove Base has a rounded finished top like a bullnose to cover up the body of the tile.

Color

Many of today’s ceramic tiles are designed to look and feel like natural stone, emulating their rugged surface and color variations. These tiles are intentionally designed to show variations in color and texture, just like the real thing. Since the composition of a tile’s glaze can vary, different tile styles will also exhibit different gloss levels. Solid color tiles create a consistent look, but shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dye lots.

Color Consistency

Color consistency or shade variation is typically listed on the back label of each ceramic tile sample with a low, moderate, high or random rating. What’s the difference?

Low Consistent shade and texture

Moderate Average shade and texture variation

High Extreme shade and texture variation

Random Severe shade and texture variation

You’ll notice color variations between a manufacturers’ sample and the same color installed on countertops, wall tile or ceramic floors.

The color of the clay available in a manufacturer’s geographic region determines the color of the body of a tile. Look at the tile to see if its color is red or white. The quality of a tile is more about the manufacturer than the color of the tile, itself.

Density

In the same way that the composition of glaze can vary, different styles of tile exhibit different gloss levels and surface textures. For example, in areas that get wet, like a shower or bathroom floor, the tile should have low moisture absorption and good slip resistance.

By moisture absorption, we mean that as the density of a tile increases, the amount of moisture it can absorb becomes less. Similarly, by tile density, we mean that as the weight or the density of the tile increases, it becomes stronger.

Here’s some terminology to help you decide:

Non-Vitreous Tiles absorb 7% or more moisture. They’re best suited for indoor use only.

Semi-Vitreous Tiles absorb from 3% to 7% moisture. They re best used indoors only.

Vitreous Tiles absorb less that 3% moisture. They are referred to as frost resistant tiles but can’t be used in exterior areas where freeze-thaw conditions might cause tile cracking.

Impervious Tiles have less than .5% moisture absorption. These tiles are frost proof and can be used outside or on building facades. If you have serious winter weather, these are the tiles for you.

Grout

Grout is usually mixed on site, but slight color variations can occur within different areas of the same installation. In fact, grout color can vary from the manufacturer’s sample you saw in the store. This is due to variations in temperature and humidity at the time of grouting. It’s also common to see grout variations when comparing the grout color in a tile floor with the same grout color on a tile countertop or wall.

When choosing grout color, it’s a good idea to select a color that blends in with the overall color of the tile to minimize the appearance of the grout. Though if the tile is installed in a high traffic area, then it may be wise to select a darker grout to hide dirt.

Exact layouts, types of grout and grout joint widths are determined by a tile setter at the time of installation. These decisions are governed by the actual size and shape of the tile you chose and the exact dimensions of the area to be covered.

Once your tile has been laid and grouted, it’s up to you to guard all caulked areas against water damage. Grout may darken over time in areas with heavy water use.

Also, weather can cause surfaces adjoining the tile to expand and contract, causing the grout to crack and separate. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.

Leveling

No subfloors are perfectly level. Nope — not even yours. As a result, you may hear hollow sounds where your subfloor’s surface dips and ridges. But fret not. This won’t affect the integrity or installation of your ceramic tile. Hollow sounds are normal and aren’t considered a product or installation defect.

Cost

“Cost per square foot” is just one component of the overall price tag for ceramic tile flooring. Ask your installer to calculate the total cost of your floor covering project. Here’s what he or she may include beyond the cost of the ceramic tile, itself:

Furniture removal/replacement
Some retailers or installers may charge to remove (and then replace) furniture in the installation space.

Demolition/disposal of old floor covering
Unless your home is brand new, there’s probably an old floor covering that is going to need to be removed and properly disposed of.

Sub-floor preparation
Depending on its condition (after removal of the old floor covering), your subfloor may need to be prepped for ceramic tile installation.

Product delivery
Delivering your ceramic tile may not be included in the “cost per square foot” price.

Installation
There will most likely be a “cost per square foot” to install your ceramic tile flooring..

Materials required to complete the installation
Additional materials may be required to properly install your ceramic tile.

Ask your retailer to provide the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for your tile.

3 QUICK & SIMPLE CLOSET TIPS

1) Use the same size hangers it saves space

2) Hand clothes by color so you can easily find them

3) Put out of season items in the hard to reach areas, then rotate when the new season arrives

 

Do your homework before having work done on your home.

Here are a few tips to help before hiring a contractor:

  • How long have they been in the building business? It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. If not ask for references for similar jobs, lets face it we were all new at something once. You want to know they will be around after the construction is complete to service any need labor warranties?
  • Does the builder/remodeler have sufficient general liability insurance? This does add to his overall prices but if not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
  • Does the builder/remodeler have the proper building licenses, city licenses, and permits for your area?
  • Will the builder/remodeler provide you with names of previous customers? Ask them if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
  • Have you seen the builder/remodelers work, both completed and in progress? Today many established contractors have a website that will have photos of their work. Facebook is also growing in popularity for contractors and is a good place to see project photos and customer comments.
  • Are you able to communicate with the builder/remodeler, is he personably? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home. Communication is key to any successful project. Limited contact information or personality differences could be a potential red flag.
  • Will the builder/remodeler provide you with a complete and clearly written contract? The contract will benefit both of you review it carefully. If you see anything that has been left out as him to make needed changes.
  • Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Make sure you have given each builder/remodeler the same information to get the best price comparison possible.
  • When deciding which builder/remodeler to hire, go with your instincts… The builder/remodeler may not be the lowest but he has the proper insurance and licenses, he has bid all the things your requested and is experienced enough to make sure he is providing the best work and amount of materials needed for the job. If you’re not comfortable before you hire your builder/remodeler take time needed to consider other options.

Adding Value to Your Home Tip #6: Do a Major Bath Remodel

Transform an ugly duckling into a swan of a master bath by finding more space — but not with an addition. Stealing space can be a better solution if you can find the extra square footage. Open up a closet to make more room, create separate his-and-her areas with separate sinks, or add a skylight to bring in valuable natural light. Updating tub and tile are also good ideas.

Adding Value to Your Home Tip #5: Make Minor Bathroom Changes

Minor Bathroom changes can be advantageous because they cost less and often net a greater return than the investment.

If you have old tile or a dated tub, vanity, sink and toilet, consider replacing those items.

If you keep the layout the same, you can keep your expense down. Updating light fixtures, paint, linens and accessories are easy ways to breathe new life into the space.

If you have a Master Bathroom taking out the tub and adding a walking shower can add value as well.

Tiles about 12”x12” will give your bathroom an updated look and is the preferred choice for flooring and shower surrounds.

Adding Value to Your Home Tip #4: Build a Second Floor

Build a Second Floor

Adding a second story can do more than just create square footage. It can bring balance to an uneven house. A flat roof over a garage can be an eyesore as well as a huge waste of space. You could solve both problems at the same time by adding on to the top of the garage. Use all that dead space to build a master suite or a reading room. You will not only add space, but you will also add tremendous curb appeal.

Adding Value to Your Home Tip #3: Keep Rooms Flexible

Keep Rooms Flexible

Does your home have a unique specialty room like this relaxing plant sanctuary/lounge room? No one’s saying you need to give up your ‘special place,’ but it’s important to hold back a little. Too much customization can be a problem if you ever plan to sell your home, so try not to overdo it. Things like hardwood floors, wiring for cable, phone and DSL, and plenty of windows are good ways to customize while keeping the room versatile. Another idea is to make the space one that can easily be converted into a guest suite, studio, family room or a den.

Adding Value to Your Home #2: Revive the Kitchen

Revive the Kitchen

Take down that rooster wallpaper and paint it a neutral color…. More and more buyers are expecting some standard items in a kitchen — things like stainless-steel appliances and hardware, granite counter tops with an under-mounted sink. Buyers want a kitchen with plenty of storage and organizational accessories. Update your flooring with tile or laminate flooring to give a more modern feel.

Also some people are looking for gourmet kitchens whether they can cook or not, a kitchen is a huge prospect for a buyer. Bottom line: kitchens sell houses, so investing in an improvement in this room is the way to go.

Adding Value to Your Home : Tip # 1

Adding Value to your Homes Exterior

#1: Spruce Up the Siding

It may not be glamorous, but replacing siding is our No.1 pick for home improvements that add value to your home. If your thinking about selling your home in the future, here is your chance to make a great first impression in the real estate world.

If your siding is in bad shape, your home is going to earn the title of fixer-upper. You’ve heard the saying “you can usually judge a book by its cover”. Old siding sets the tone for expectations of what potential buyers may find inside the house. Try adding curb appeal and lower maintenance siding.

 

Stucco Exteriors:

Stucco can be applied by a variety of methods, but hand-troweled is considered to be the best. It can be smooth, rough or somewhere in between. Stucco needs to be water tight. If water seeps under the stucco, it will separate the material from the home. In a virgin application, stucco is spread over wire mesh, wood slats, paper and sheathing.

 

Vinyl Siding:

Vinyl siding is made of PVC or polyvinyl chloride and comes in a variety of colors. The panels are installed from the bottom row up by nailing galvanized roofing nails through the slots in the panel, exposing the nail head so the panels can move. The vinyl expands and contracts in hot and cold weather and must slide freely from side to side. Two main advantages to vinyl are it’s inexpensive and never needs painting.

 

Composite Siding:

Manufactured siding can be created from almost any material and made to resemble natural wood. Some composite siding is made from shredded wood, binders, glue and Portland cement. James Hardie is a well known manufacturer of fiber-cement products — built to withstand rain, wind, hail and insects — and this siding is available in a variety of colors, boasting a limited 50-year warranty.