Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to Decide If a Home Is Right for You

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There are just a few crossroad moments in life but what we choose then can have tremendous lifelong effects. When it comes to meaningfulness none is more so than purchasing your family’s first home (well, maybe second to choosing if/when to become parents). This most significant of purchases may prove to be one of your most inspired decisions OR one of your biggest mistakes. Should you go for stylish London or rustic Essex? Should you opt for a shiny, new home or a used home but with some history behind it? Should you get a house that’s closer to the shopping centers or somewhere in the suburbs, where it’s quieter? It all comes down to one thing: (no, not luck!) research. If you’re like me then you enjoy being spontaneous and going with the tide but, trust me, this is not one of those situations where that strategy is even an option. I decided to put together a few pointers which I hope you’ll find helpful.

essex home

  1. Talk to your spouse

I simply cannot stress enough how crucial this step is. But I will give it a shot. First and foremost, when it comes to taste, likes or dislikes people, even if married for 50+ years, are rarely on the same page. Ask your spouse to describe his/her dream home to you. Then do the same yourself. If most of the aspects concur then you’ve struck gold. If not, find your common ground and aim to fulfill it. Attention: always leave some room for debate and be ready to make adjustments if need be.

  1. See what the Web says

What I mean by this is take your time and discover the price range you are looking at, giving your agreed outcome (see 1.). Also, keep an eye on housing prices in different counties. For instance, if you find that the prices are a little out of range in Essex you could try searching similar homes in Yorkshire (is usually cheaper).

  1. Hire a realtor

Do yourself a favor and hire someone who knows all about the best properties in the region. You don’t have to pay anything for the services and you’ll have someone on your side to help you.

  1. Find respected builders in the area (skip this if buying used home)

Once you’ve decided it’s time to research available builders, the services they provide and the fees for which they provide them. Moreover, ask around for reputed tradesmen then pick 2-3 solid options. If you live in Essex, it’s great, as you’ll be able to find many professional builders in Essex area.

  1. Meet the community

I intentionally left this one for last, so that it will remain with you longer. Think about it, you and your spouse will be living inside that community for a long time. Furthermore, your children will grow up in that community. You wouldn’t want yourselves to feel out of place, would you? Get to know the people, find what their beliefs and principles are. And trust your instincts. The community will also recommend the best building contractors to work with.

I honestly hope I’ve managed to be insightful (I tried) and, hopefully, make your decision a little bit easier. Until next time…

Staying Cool: Extending the Lifespan of Your HVAC System

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It’s an unseasonably hot day. Your family is encouraging you to turn on your home’s central air conditioning system, and finally you give in. Except when you switch your AC on, nothing happens. When your home heating or cooling system breaks unexpectedly, it can result in high repair costs and anxiety about your budget. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do as a homeowner to avoid the unfortunate scenario of unexpected repairs and extend the life of your HVAC system. Here are four suggestions.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule

Do you still have the paperwork for your home heating and cooling system? If so, it’s a good idea to read through it. Many manufacturers will provide a checklist of simple things you can do as a homeowner to maintain your HVAC system. Things like checking vents regularly and replacing filters every six months may be on the list of suggestions from the manufacturer. These tasks are relatively simple and inexpensive, but they can make a big difference on how well your system continues to function over time.

HVAC system

Improve Air Flow in Your Home

Did you know that simple things like closing doors and blocking vents with furniture can actually put stress on your home’s heating and cooling units? These common issues can create additional pressure in your home’s ductwork, and force your system to work harder to heat and cool your home. To help alleviate the stress on your system, consider keeping doors open and moving furniture around to improve air flow in your home. It’s also a good idea to inspect vents regularly and remove any dirt or dust which has accumulated over time.

Keep Outdoor Units Clear

Do you have a central air conditioning unit that is located outside of your home? Keeping outdoor units free of leaves and other debris can help keep them running for the long term. Make it a point to check your central AC system every few months to ensure that the coils and fan are clean and clear of obstructions. This can help you avoid any unexpected issues with your central air conditioner.

Have your System Serviced Regularly

Even if you are following the maintenance checklist provided by your system manufacturer, it is also a good idea to have your heating and cooling units serviced by a contractor on a routine basis. Professional HVAC contractors will be able to perform more comprehensive maintenance tasks in order to preserve the integrity of your heating and cooling units. Routine system tune ups by a professional can add years to the life of your HVAC system. Investing in maintenance contract to protect your system is well worth the cost.

Keeping your HVAC system running for the long haul may be easier than you think. Start by reviewing the paperwork from your system manufacturer for suggested maintenance, improve the air flow in your home, keep outdoor central air systems free of leaves and dirt, and schedule regular service for your system. These simply steps can help you avoid any unexpected – and potentially expensive – heating and cooling system repairs.

Are There Any Reliable Carpet Cleaning Services Out There?

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There is a wide choice of carpet cleaning companies in Edmonton so it’s difficult to figure out which one to choose. And it’s especially difficult to choose the company that has the best prices and services as all of them are claiming they are the best and shower you with various advertisements.

You will need some help in order to choose the right carpet cleaners and this is why I made this post. I’ll talk about several different things here and they will help you get the most for your money. We are not looking for the cheapest service here, but for the company that offers the best value.

So, it’s best that you take a look at the entire package of carpet cleaning companies in Edmonton before you decide for the one that you are going to put your trust in.

carpet cleaning services

1. Talk to your neighbors and friends and see if they have some recommendations. Usually, word of mouth is the best way to find a reliable services.

2. Get a quote from the carpet cleaning company before you call them to get to your place. Once you know what services they offer and at what price, you will know which of them to avoid and which you could work with.

3. Avoid special deals, especially those that look too cheap as they will end up costing you a lot more.

4. Ask about the different stains your carpets might have and if the carpet cleaners can take care of them or not. Ask them how long it will take them to do the job for you and how much it will cost.

carpets

Once you have all these information on paper, you will be able to narrow down your choices to a couple of services only. If you have a lot of carpets that you need to take care of, it might be wise do try out one or two companies with one or two carpets only. After you can check out the quality of their work and determine how valuable the services they offer truly are, you can commit to them fully.

Take care when choosine the right carpet cleaner. And remember, a good reference can save you a lot of time, troubles and money.

How to Take Your Kitchen from Drab to Fab

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When you walk into your kitchen, does it feel as though you’ve stepped back in time a few decades? If the answer is yes, it’s likely you’re probably thinking of how you can make some upgrades to improve your space. There are several approaches you can take to modernizing a dated kitchen, from replacing the cabinets to changing the paint color. Transforming your space doesn’t have to be expensive, but if your budget allows you may want to consider a renovation project. Here are a few ways to take your kitchen from drab to fab.

Swap out Paint and Textiles

Two simple and relatively inexpensive approaches to transforming your kitchen include swapping out paint colors and purchasing new curtains and kitchen towels. If your space feels dark, consider lightening it up with a fresh, bright paint color. Kitchens are the perfect place to experiment with bright cheerful colors like yellow and orange. Choosing one of these paint colors or adding some crisp new curtains and towels can make your kitchen feel more modern and cheerful.

Upgrade your Flooring

Does your kitchen’s cracking linoleum floor give your space a drab feeling? If so, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Start by taking a look online for flooring inspiration. The options are many, so you want to make sure to narrow down your preferences before heading out to the store. Once you’ve decided on a flooring material, it’s time to go shopping! While many homeowners choose to work with a professional contractor on their flooring projects, some may want to do the work themselves. Talk it over with your family members in order to make the right decision for your flooring upgrade.

kitchen flooring

Add Open Shelving

One of the hottest trends in kitchen styles is open shelving. Adding some open shelves to your space can instantly transform the look of your kitchen. If you are interested in a more modern look, consider purchasing glass or metal shelves for your space. If you prefer a traditional style, look into wood shelving as an alternative. Not only will your kitchen look better after installing your shelves, you’ll also have more storage!

Replace or Reface your Cabinets

Have your kitchen cabinets seen better days? Another larger project that may be worth considering if you are feeling frustrated with your kitchen is a full cabinet replacement. While this project may come with a higher price tag, new cabinets will help you fall in love with your space again. It’s a project that is well worth the investment if your kitchen needs an upgrade. Consider visiting a kitchen showroom to learn more about different materials and price things out.

There are a number of things you can do to transform the look of your dated kitchen. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider making some simple changes such as changing the paint color or textiles or adding open shelving. If you have the budget for a larger project, it may make sense to tackle a more comprehensive project such as flooring replacement or installing new cabinets. Whatever approach you decide to take, one thing is for sure: making changes will help you enjoy your space once again. Best of luck with your project!

5 Reasons Tile Grout Sealant Is So Important

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Grout tile sealer may seem like an unnecessary expense if you’re tiling an area of your home. However, these 5 points demonstrate how important and worthy an investment it really is.

If you’re investing in some expensive new porcelain tiles, or bathroom tiles you’re going to be needing some good quality grout and grout sealer to protect it. Many people don’t realise how important tile grout sealer is in relation to their new tile investment. It’s a sealant that can make your new floor or wall surface go from a 1 or 2 year investment, to a 20 year investment. It can save you time, money and a lot of maintenance as well. There are lots of reasons those embarking on both professional and domestic tile projects use tile grout sealer, and here are just five of them:

Tile Grout Sealant

1. Strength Reinforcement

Tile grout sealer reinforces the grout you use and stops it deteriorating over time. If you don’t seal wall tile grout, it is highly possible that it will begin to disintegrate or crack quite quickly. This not only means you have to apply grout again and potentially apply new tiles that have been damaged falling from the wall, or being removed, but it also means you have a fiddly job taking away what remains of the old unsealed grout. Even the most minor deterioration can cause an annoyance, with small cracks being hot beds for germs and dirt, and they look pretty unsightly too.

2. Colour Reinforcement

A grout sealer used on porcelain floor tiles prevents the grout becoming discoloured. Any spillages, walked in dirt or even dust can cause unsightly stains and discoloration. This means the grout will eventually turn an ugly brown, or even black which means the perfect white tiles you carefully picked out will lose their light and clean overall appearance. In any surface that hasn’t been sealed, debris and residue is a problem because the surface is porous. Although there are cleaning methods that can be used to remove some of the dirt or discolouration, they can often prove difficult or unsuccessful long term.

3. Easier Cleaning

With wall tiles or especially floor tiles, general cleaning needs should be expected. Sealing the grout in between floor tiles or wall tiles means that you will be able to clean your surfaces much easier. The smoother a surface is, the easier it is to clean. Unfortunately many household cleaning products can also become trapped in the pores of unsealed grout, which means that you will over time simply be moving dirt around rather than cleaning it away. When you use a grout sealer, the grout will be as easy to clean as the tiles are.

4. Big Savings

Ceramic tiles, natural stone tiles or any floor tiles or wall tiles can be costly, so they are an investment worth protecting. If you don’t protect your tile grout with grout sealer you could end up having to completely redo your tiling, or pay for tile repairs and maintenance much more regularly than you would have to if you used a grout sealer. If you compare the costs of an effective grout sealer with maintenance products, heavy duty cleaning products, new grout and even new tiles, it is much more cost effective to simply seal your grout in the first place.

5. Potential Added Value

If and when you sell your home, the devil is in the detail, so clean grout does matter. If grout looks discoloured or like it has deteriorated, that will be listed as a negative by potential buyers, as if they purchase the property they will have to pay for the grout to be cleaned, or for the floor or wall to be retiled. Beautiful tiled surfaces may also add value to your home because they can make an area look more spacious, light and clean which is something every potential buyer looks for.