How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

When it comes to home construction, there are thousands of general contractors to choose from. The best way to narrow down the reputable contractors from the not-so-reputable ones is to do your research, ask the right questions, demand proof of credentials, and choose a contractor that works specifically in the field you need. For example, if you need roof replacement, choose a licensed roofing contractor rather than a home remodeling contractor. A vague job description can mean they specialize in a wide array of construction projects. Instead, you want a contractor who operates their business with an acute focus on roof repair and replacement.

One of the biggest problems in the home construction industry are contractor scams. It is critical to always beware of sneaky home improvement scams because they are very common. They can easily cost a homeowner thousands of dollars if they fall victim to the dishonesties. Fortunately, anyone can avoid becoming a victim of home improvement scams with the proper knowledge and attitude. Continue reading to learn some important information about identifying these kinds of scams, protecting yourself from false loans, and who to turn to if you have a bad experience with an unethical contractor.

Signs That a Contractor is Trying to Swindle You:

– They knock door-to-door and offer their business.

– They come to your door and offer you discounts for referring other clients.

– They tell you they can give you a deal because they happen to have excess materials leftover from another job.

– They give ultimatums or pressure you into making an immediate decision.

– They only accept cash payments and/or request that you pay all fees upfront.

– They know a lender and recommend that you borrow money from them.

– They tell you to get the required building permits for the work.

– They tell you that your property’s work is going to be a “demonstration.”

– They offer a lifetime warranty or improbable long-term guarantee.

– You cannot find their business number or name listed in any local directories.

Even just one of these signs is an indication that you are not working with a responsible or experienced contractor. Furthermore, you must beware of a similar scam with loans. Home improvement loan cons are just as common and detrimental. This can lead to you unknowingly signing a home equity loan with incredibly high interest rates, points, and fees. And since the contractor has already been paid by this loan, they can lose interest in the work and fail to do a good job; or worse, not complete the work at all.

How to Report a Bad Experience

If you have a bad experience like this with a contractor, first try to work it out with them. After any phone conversations, mail a certified letter to them, and in it, request a receipt. Then keep copies of all records. This paper trail is your record that the company or contractor received your letter. If this does not work, you still have other options.

You can to report them to certain industry organizations, and possibly earn some sort of recompense. This includes the state attorney general, the local consumer protection office, the local home builders association, the local media’s “call for action” lines, and various dispute resolution programs in your town.

Simple Tips For Low Cost Home Improvements

Simple Tips For Low Cost Home Improvements

Have you been thinking about remodeling your home? Keep in mind that you can often achieve your goal without a giant expense. Small improvements introduced in almost every room, including the exterior of the house can make all the difference.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Keep it clean and keep it simple!

A clean and neat house is appealing and eye-catching. You can start improving the appearance of your house simply by cleaning out the debris. Try making your garden look like an ideal place with some weeding and cleaning out the flower beds. Paint the front door to give your home a more welcoming feeling.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you don’t need to make room for new ones. The first glance is usually enough for a selective buyer to quickly estimate a house.

Does the exterior of your home need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers? Remember to keep it simple. Focus on making things neat and tidy.

Two hot spots of every home:

The two most closely inspected rooms of a house are the kitchen and the master bathroom. If you are looking to focus on two hot spots, these are the interior rooms where the most value can be added during a sale, so make them look their best to increase your return on investment.

Is your kitchen may be in need of an upgrade? A well updated kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so focus on spicing up this room to grab buyer attention. Renovating your kitchen using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home. Many times a buyer will compromise on other rooms and will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

The same holds true for bathrooms, especially the master bathroom. You will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs in your master bath. Replace the faucets and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because for easy maintenance.

What to Invest in?

So, you’re done de-cluttering, cleaning and upgrading. What’s next? Well, if you are willing to make a good upgrade investment, it is recommended to divide your renovation plan into four parts to bring impressive improvements to your home. Here are the four areas you may want to seriously consider upgrading:

Lighting: If you are not satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

This would entail buying lighting fixtures and other equipment for each room to make it look consistent and attractive.

Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and some leakage in the plumbing that needs attention. Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you haven’t already upgraded the plumbing system.

Flooring: Most people nowadays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting. Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable. If you think this improvement would bring you higher profits, make the investment without delay.

HVAC Replacement: Today new energy-efficient HVAC systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. You can add a unique selling feature to your house by making this replacement part of your home improvement strategy.

What’s really worth repairing?

Remember that not all things are worth repairing; some need to be thrown out and others need to be replaced. This is a good principle to follow when staging a home.

Inspect every aspect of your home and then come up with a plan within your budget to bring a fresh crisp look to your home. You may want to replace outdated appliances in the kitchen with new modern models. Repairing old appliances is not an option. If your budget doesn’t allow an appliance upgrade, simply give the ones you use a color-boost to improve their appearance.

If you already have wooden floors installed at home, look for scratches and be prepared for some refinishing. Wooden floors are highly desirable, even if they are old and worn. Give them a little lift-up to make them more attractive and appealing.

Nowadays energy-efficiency has found its way into many of our systems including the windows. Home buyers look for the latest windows and other systems that are designed as energy-efficient since they provide a number of economical, health and environmental benefits. Replace your old windows for new energy-efficient windows to improve the value of your home.

If your bathroom floors are tiled, look for any flaws or cracks especially if the tiles are white or light-colored. These types of flaws are hard to conceal even if you arrange everything else very neatly. So, before investing in other bathroom accessories replace a cracked floor tile.

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Hope these tips prove handy when you begin your next home improvement project.

Why Spray on Foam Insulation is the Best Safeguarding Option for Your Home

Why Spray on Foam Insulation is the Best Safeguarding Option for Your Home

The traditional insulators are usually glass slabs, polystyrene sheets, or minerals. However, these are less potent in comparison to spray foam insulators. The traditional methods are less costly, but less effective as well.

Can this be installed without a professional?

Spray on foam insulation essentially needs a professional. While installing it, harmful fumes released can easily cause damage to a building’s structure. Incorrect installation can further harm an establishment as well. Expanding foam is capable of exerting pressure on a building’s inner structure.

There have been cases of wrong installation where a building has collapsed due to incorrect installation on ceilings. So, employing a professional is of utmost importance here.

Why opt for foam insulation at home?

Spray foams are of two types – closed and open. These are suitable for different home needs and budgets. Usually people don’t insulate their lofts since they tend to keep their things there. Moreover, traditional methods require a thickness of 270mm for loft insulations.

However, foam insulation requires just 100mm of spray thickness to serve this purpose. According to researches done by the National Insulation Association in the UK, spray foam is way better as an insulator than mineral wood. It provides the same effect with less amount.

Often spray foams settle in hard forms to reinforce the roofs that have cavities or nail fatigue. Only a discussion with a professional can help one decide whether a building needs treatment for solid walls or cavity walls.

Is it water-resistant?

Some of the foam insulators are breathable yet waterproof. These are exceptionally useful for all rain-prone areas in the UK. In addition, they can also serve a greater purpose for areas that experience floods as well.

What are the costs involved?

Insulation companies first check the building, its walls, floors, ceilings etc and then provide their service. Some of the insulation companies provide heavy discounts on their first order.

In the UK, some of these organisations even check the eligibility of a customer on ECO Scheme. Often government benefits are there for houses which need insulation.

The cost entirely depends as per the thickness of the foam installed and the surface area that needs sheathing. The NIA has standardised the per square meter price which ranges from 20 to 50 pounds.

Thin layers cost less while thicken insulation costs more. Closed cell insulation is costlier than open cell.

The service charge varies depending on the following:

  • Difficulty in installation.
  • Roof type; its present condition and damages.
  • Repair work if needed, etc.

What are the types of foam spray insulation?

  • Closed cell foam spray: It settles into rigid form. It helps in providing support to the building’s inner structure. This is most useful for structures that need repair and reinforcements. This hardened form of foam slows down heat movement with its gas pockets. But, it obstructs moisture, so, it is vital to have the room perfectly ventilated to prevent condensation build up.
  • Open cell foam spray: This foam is compressible with hand and is not as dense. It is not suitable for structural support. But it is effective for sound insulation. It essentially blocks airflow and moisture passes through easily avoiding chances of condensation.

How to choose the professionals for installation?

According to the recommendations by National Insulation Association UK, foam spray insulation must be done by a professional. All experts are trained and assessed by the British Board of Agreement. The British Board of Agreement certifies each company and their experts on the basis of their competence.

So, before availing their services it is essential to check their competence and certification.

Is surveying vital?

Every professional team must execute a survey of the building before starting the installation. U-value evaluation and risk calculation are indispensable in these cases. The professionals also hold expertise with software that helps in this process.

Ecotite is one of the best spray on foam insulation providers in the UK. Premium quality service and efficient professionals catering to roof/wall stabilisations, barn conversions, asbestos encapsulation, and more, ensure perfect insulation for one’s home. They are one of the handful few companies that tend to their clients’ requirement with highest priority.

Basic Maintenance for Home

Basic Maintenance for Home

Did you know that there is more to your home’s exterior than just siding and paint? Sure, you may recognize that, but it should also be noted that your roof is also a part of the exterior of your home. After all, without the roof, your home’s interior would not be protected! (shocking, isn’t it?)

So, it is quite important to see that you take care of your home’s exterior. This doesn’t have to be a part of the basic To Do list that you check off weekly, but it should definitely be a part of that quarterly list! By doing so, you have a better chance of identifying home exterior concerns and being able to stay a step ahead of them – before they become full on problems that are costly to repair (or need to replace!).

If you are new to home ownership, then determining what type of checking on the home exterior needs to be done can be stressful. So, to help out, here are the place you need to be paying special attention to:

  • Gutters – The gutters of your home control the amount of rainwater reaches your home’s exterior and protect your roofing as well as your home’s siding. Be sure they are attached correctly and are not sagging anywhere. It is also important to clean them periodically so that there is no build up of debris.
  • Paint – Take time to note if you need to touch up an area or call in a professional painting crew. The status of the paint job/siding will be one of the first thing people notice.
  • Siding – If you have vinyl siding, or one of its sister products, then you will want to clean it off periodically using a pressure sprayer.
  • Windows – Be sure these are not just clean, but open and close as they are designed to do.
  • Patio or deck – e sure that the boards are sound, and that any debris is swept off of them. Not only does this look better, but you can prevent any damage caused by critters/pests. Be especially vigilant against areas around windows and doors – were wood rot can occur. If you notice damage near these locations, be sure to get someone to check it out and determine the action to be taken.
  • Roofing/Shingles – Walk around your home and note any areas where shingles may have pulled away or are loose/missing. If you see any, repair them before they fall away and leave your home exposed to the elements of nature.

Dealing with home exterior issues doesn’t have to e stressful. Do some basic maintenance and then be sure to connect with the right companies within your community to help with those aspects that you don’t feel qualified to do yourself.

What Makes a Home?