Home Improvement Guide – Choosing a Good and Affordable Contractor

When making home improvements, some homeowners choose to handle the
project themselves. However, individuals with little home improvement
knowledge will have to rely on a contractor. Selecting a good and
affordable contractor is essential. Because some contractors are shady and
charge ridiculously high fees, picking the right contractor requires
research. Here are a few tips to help you pick the best contractor for your
next home improvement project.

Get Referrals from Family and Friends

Asking family and friends for the name of a good contractor may prove
worthwhile. If a relative or acquaintance completed similar home
improvements, and were satisfied with the work, using the same contractor may
speed up the selection process. Trying to identify a shady contractor
is difficult. Using referrals to select a contractor will increase your
chances of finding a reputable home improvement company.

Browse Contractors Listed in the Yellow Pages

If your friends and family cannot refer a good contractor, you will
have to rely on the yellow pages and other forms of advertisements. The
yellow pages include many listings, which makes the selection process
challenging. Rule of thumb: do not hire the first contractor you contact.
Instead, request information and quotes from several companies.

Get an estimate and ask how long it will take to complete the job. Each
company will quote you slight different estimates. It is tempting to
choose the least expensive contractor. However, keep in mind that more
expensive contractors may use better materials or has a reputation for
good work.

Research Contractors with the Better Business Bureau

As you begin your search for a good contractor, contact the Better
Business Bureau (BBB) in your local area. If a contractor or company has
received any complaints from past customers or has developed a bad
reputation, the BBB will have this information. While browsing contractors,
choose one with a flawless record.

Along with researching complaints by the BBB, request references from
the contractor. Ideally, references should be current and include
customers that had similar work completed on their homes. Contact previous
customers to see if they were satisfied with the contractor’s work.

Home Improvement Guide: Choosing Garage Door Materials For Your Home

Renovating your old home or building would require not only the basic house but also constructing a garage to park your vehicles or to serve as your storage room. Choosing the type of garage door material is essential as it protects your car as well as your items from different weather conditions as well as prevents unauthorized individuals from entering your premises.

Garage doors come in different materials. Although wood is popular, steel, fiberglass, aluminium, vinyl, glass and wood composites are also preferred by most homeowners. Cost, maintenance and safety are just three factors that affect most homeowners’ buying decision when it comes to purchasing the material they use for their garage along with other factors as well.

Material Type

The most popular door materials are wood or wood composite garage doors. These doors are made from several wood types such as fir, cedar or “luan” and are compressed together to build layers. Homeowners who are interested in having a traditional or classic style home prefer wood as their door material. Although wood might require homeowners to repaint the doors every few years or so, the charm and old style appeal of wood doors are something that many owners find hard to resist.

While wood doors add appeal and charm to any house, there are some problems with having these especially if one lives in a lower area or where floods may occur frequently. Most doors made of wood have rotten bottom sections due to exposure to floodwater and some may also rot or sag from wear and tear. Extra weight due to the absorption of water also tends to make wood doors heavier.

For those who are averse with having to do repainting or live in a heavy flooded area, aluminium frame doors are ideal as these eliminate the problem of rust that most steel doors are exposed to. Aluminium is also lightweight and durable so it is ideal especially for those who find it difficult to lift heavy objects. Though aluminium will not rot, it is also costly compared to steel doors; however, they are cheaper than wood doors. Modern concepts and designs can also help homeowners to imitate or customize their aluminium doors to look like wood doors without the added expense.

Steel doors are ideal for homeowners who require little maintenance but need durability and energy efficiency. Most steel doors can be insulated which is advantageous for those who lives in colder climates. These door types are also pre-painted so they can complement the overall look of the house as well. One disadvantage of steel doors however is that the price depends on the thickness of the door that one wants and the thicker it is, the pricier it becomes.

What’s Your Bathroom Style? The Bathroom Home Improvement Guide

With so many factors to consider, coming up with a bathroom home improvement is no slam dunk. A homeowner’s primary concern is the budget and one that offers extreme functionality. So if you’re still confused as to how you will fashion your bathroom, the following elements may help transform it:

1. Maximize daylight while maintaining confidentiality – If you can’t seem to achieve the look and feel of privacy in your bath, an acrylic-block awning version or tubular skylights will do the trick. These types of windows do not only provide a high level of privacy but also lets in fresh air, are less prone to leakage, and eliminates the need for electricity during daytime.

2. Replace the crammed tub/shower combination – If you got your bath tub and shower all stuffed in one specific spot; don’t you think it’s time to wash out that old style? So instead of your bathtub visually dividing the room, why not opt for glass shower doors that will make your bathroom space look larger and more inclusive.

3. Make use of large tiles – In small baths, one efficient bathroom home improvement is to use large tiles with very narrow grout lines. Considering this size of tile makes the room look bigger and larger. Not to mention, large tiles are easier to sanitize than smaller ones.

4. The dual-flush toilet upgrading – The amount of water that runs through in a regular flush is important and having a dual flush makes it more efficient on your end. Truly, functionality doesn’t have to entail a style compromise.

Home Improvement Guide: Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Windows

When it comes to home improvement or home renovation, most homeowners would focus on the major renovation and would overlook other things that might have a profound effect later on once the project is completed. With that said, one of the most overlooked home improvements is choosing the material for the windows of the house. There are many varieties of materials used for windows such as wood, fiber, aluminium and the popular vinyl. All of the said materials have their benefits as well as disadvantages and today we would be discussing the pros and cons of having vinyl as the main material for the window construction.

During renovation or even before one renovate their home, it is best to check out one’s windows from time to time to decide if it needs replacement. Now, most windows would need to be replaced when the external environment causes one to have a difficulty in closing and opening the window. This happens when frost and condensation freezes the window and in some instances can cause it to break as well. Old homes are also susceptible as the seals become loose and the frame and sash might weaken and the home is losing energy in the process.

Vinyl Benefits

One of the best things about using vinyl is that it is much more affordable than other materials and can be favorable to budget conscious homeowners. The use of vinyl has been around as early as the 70’s and became popular not only because it is cheaper but because it requires less maintenance. It is also a non-conductive material meaning that during summer months, the material deters heat from coming inside the home and the cold during winter months thus making for more energy-efficient homes.

For those who are not handy with interior and exterior painting or want to cut the cost of buying paints, installing vinyl as window frames would not need any painting activities done. Additionally, the material holds for more years than other materials such as wood so longevity is not a problem here.

Vinyl Disadvantages

As with any other materials, vinyl can be a problem for those who want a more aesthetically pleasing look to their home. As the material is not paintable, the white color stands in contrast to the other parts of the room and can be ugly for some. For those who are planning to resell their homes in the foreseeable future, vinyl might lower the real estate value of the property as most buyers would want a cosy home that is, windows with wood frames.

With that said, having a vinyl window can be a practical and logical choice for those who are more interested in savings as the material can be energy-efficient and as it is easier to keep up and comes in many colors and styles, it is the best option for the modern homemaker.