Home Improvement Tips – Ideas for Changing the Flooring

So you’re thinking about changing that ugly old carpet or vinyl floor with something fresh and beautiful and you want to use tile instead. You have looked at a lot of pictures in home design magazines; you have an idea of the cost, and the retailer with the best selection but know where to start.

Well it sound like you already have a great start, you found some design ideas from magazines, you know where to purchase the materials, and you have a rough idea of the cost, and you have decided to do this yourself, outstanding! The tips I’m about to give you come from my experience as a professional tile setter in Phoenix Arizona.

The first thing you want to think about is what kind of surface are you going to lay that beautiful tile on, wood or concrete. I have found that the preparation of the surface will determine how your tile will look after it’s installed and how long it will last in the home, and let’s face it you don’t want to redo this next year. Follow these basic steps first before you lay your first tile

Is the surface level

Look for flaws like dips and bumps make sure the surface is smooth

If working with a wood surface make sure it’s secure no nails sticking up and it’s tight to the substructure

When working with concrete look for cracks, you don’t want the surface to crack more after you install the tile

Make sure the surface is clean before installation

These starter tips will save you time and frustration and make the experience more enjoyable for you. Next you want to make sure you measure the area you’re going to lay. You don’t want a 6″ cut on one wall and a 3″ cut on the other that would look really bad especially in a entry way. The first thing you need to make sure of is the room you are working with square? Trust me when I say this you don’t know how many times I went into a new home and found that one end of the room measured 12′ and the other end was 12′ 2″ Because of poor framing. This is ok if you’re working with larger tile but can be a real problem if it’s smaller tile like in a bathroom. Here are some tips on laying your floor out before starting the installation.

Buy some tile spacers. They look like small rubber crosses, they will determine your grout line width and give you an idea of your wall cuts, and in most cases will measure ¼ in, between tiles.

Don’t be afraid to lay the tile out in both directions using the tile spacers to get an idea what it’s going to look like.

After determining if your room is square set an installation chalk line in both directions, this will help keep the installation straight.

There are different types of adhesives for laying your tile I use thin set mortar for concrete, and you can use what is called cement board, this can be laid over any wood surface and will eliminate the use of the mastic clue. The reason for this is when wood is affected by temperature it will expand and contract, and the mastic clue will allow it to change with this effect, this is not a concern with cement board, Mastic is pre mixed, and thin set mortar will need to be mixed before you can use it. When mixing your thin set mortar it’s like mixing concrete it comes in a bag and you need to add water, be careful not to get it to thin, it needs to be thick enough to use with a trowel. I used a wheel barrel to mix it in and then transferred it to a 5 gal bucket, this made it easier to handle. Also remember that when installing the tile to make sure not to leave any air bubbles trapped under the tile. This will cause the tile to brake. The method I use is to set the tile by pushing down evenly on the tile until I see the adhesive start to come out from the edges and then I lightly tap on the top of the tile a listen for any hollow sound, this will tell you if there is a pocket of air trapped and if you need to push a little more.

You now have some of the basic thing to think about before you start your tile project, and I hope this will help you find enjoyment in your adventure.

House Cleaning Services – Do It Yourself or Use Professional Cleaners?

Everyone loves a clean house, well almost everyone. However it is quite a challenge to maintain a clean house all year round to a standard where every crook and cranny in the house is cleaned spotlessly. There is no doubt a clean house ensures a germ free environment and one way to achieve this is, to either do it yourself or contract in professional house cleaning services to do it for you.

The advantage of using professional cleaners is of course, they are professional cleaners, it is their livelihood and they have a good understanding of the type of cleaning products and chemicals to use on different surfaces and material furnishings in the house. As well they will undoubtedly clean in areas easily overlooked by the non professional house cleaner. Applying this knowledge to the job will ensure the longer life of surfaces and materials that may be subject to heavy wear and tear.

Using the wrong cleaning products

If you do decide to undertake the task of house cleaning services yourself then it may be advisable to do a little research into the type of cleaning products you should use for the different surfaces in your household. Failing to do this could end in disaster with damage to some of your prized finished surfaces and material coverings including carpets in the house.Most home owners today live fairly busy life styles with work, family, sports and other social activities so regular house work and cleaning are sometimes put down the bottom of the priorities list of things to do. Busy householders would rather spend their free time engaging in more enjoyable activities. Many I imagine will be more than happy to contract in professional house cleaning services to undertake what can be a laborious and time consuming job.

A quick flick through your local papers or going online will quickly reveal a number of cleaning businesses in your locality that are only to happy to offer a cost and obligation free quoting service. You may be surprised to find a number of very competitive quotes among cleaning businesses in your area.

The benefits of contracting professional cleaners are:

1. They will probably do a better job than yourself, professional cleaners will take the time to clean in obscure areas that home owners sometimes overlook. Eg. cupboards and wardrobe shelves that gather a lot of dust over time, ceiling fans, draws etc.

2. They will use the right cleaning chemicals for the right surfaces, stainless steel, wood, ceramic, Formica, marble etc.

3. They will complete the job within a specific time frame. Once the job is started they will work until the task is completed.

4. The time it would normally take you to do the job can be spent with your family or doing any other activity that you enjoy.

5. You may be surprised to find there are some very good and cost effective professional house cleaning services out there.

Making a good impression

Most home owners will be aware that visitors or family friends who come to your home will usually have an opinion about yourself based on how well you keep your home. Most people are that way inclined unfortunately always judging others either openly or secretly. As they say first impressions are lasting, so it is important to make a good first impression by presenting your home in a clean and tidy fashion.Unfortunately it is the reason many home owners will not have people around to their homes because they are embarrassed about the state of their homes. Contracting in professional cleaners can definitely help solve that problem.

Cleaning a house spotlessly isn’t for the faint hearted, it requires hard work and dedication. Home owners who have given the big spring clean a go in the past will be the first to agree. It’s a job that can’t be done in half measures and requires a professional approach. Personally I think that engaging professional house cleaning services on a regular basis is the way to go if you enjoy your free time and want to maintain a clean house all year round.

Do-it-Yourself Home Improvement Tips – 3 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements

Home improvements enhance your living space and add style.
Unfortunately, transforming your home into a work of art can be costly. Individuals
with large re-decorating budgets have many options. However, if funds
are limited, you may have to rely on inexpensive, do-it-yourself
techniques. Here are three ways to help you save money on your next home
improvement project.

Forget Hiring a Contractor for Home Improvement Project

The biggest expense incurred from home improvement projects is hiring a
contractor. Homeowners with little handyman skills usually rely on
contractors for home improvement projects. Once a contractor is hired, he
or she will purchase materials and begin completing the job. Thus,
homeowners pay for the contractor’s service and necessary supplies.

Instead of hiring a contractor to complete simple jobs such as painting
or new flooring, you can probably complete these jobs yourself, or at
least buy the materials. The materials for small home improvement
projects are inexpensive. On the other hand, if the contractor supplies the
materials, the prices are inflated to boost their bottom line.

Take Advantage of Home Improvement Classes

Many homeowners have enjoyed huge home improvement savings by taking
classes offered by local home improvement stores. These classes are
beneficial because they teach basic techniques for a variety of home
projects. Hence, you may not need to rely on a contractor.

Typical home improvement classes include flooring, painting, cabinetry,
changing light fixtures, installing carpet, and so forth. These classes
are ideal for homeowners hoping to save money on their next home
project. Classes are held regularly, usually on the weekends.

Purchase Items on Sale or Discontinued

When searching for materials or supplies, begin by browse the selection
of sale, clearance, or discontinued items. This is the best approach
for saving money on home improvement materials. If a home improvement
retail store is overstocked, the manager may be willing to add further
discounts in order to quickly sale merchandise. Furthermore, you can
locate quality discontinued materials dirt cheap. Negotiate with the store
manager. If purchasing discontinued items in bulk, you may receive
additional savings, especially if the manager is eager to have the
merchandise sold.