4 Great Tips to Prepare Your Outdoor Space

So, it is time to bid adieu to winters and get into the fun mode of summers. Now, you would be experiencing long days and would be spending more time in your backyard, relaxing on the patio or around the pool.

Having a comfortable outdoor space becomes a reason for enjoying with family and friends and recharges you at the end of busy days. It also helps you in getting relaxed and reconnect with nature.

However, creating an ideal outdoor space to boost up your energy levels is a thoughtful process. It is not a weekend project and rather requires full-proof planning to withstand the extreme hot climate and downpours. Hence, taking assistance from a reliable landscape designer is always recommended.

There are some amazing tips to prepare your outdoor space for the season. Have a look –

Create plenty of seating space

The sole purpose of getting an outdoor space designed is to create a relaxed environment. And an area which doesn’t have ample sitting arrangement will not provide relaxation in any way as most of the time would be spent in standing around.

If you want to spend a lot of time outside during this summer and thinking to plan an area to cater to large groups of family or friends, then having comfortable chairs or deck benches is a must.

Use the right kind of outdoor furniture and fabric

One important thing you should note is that when you plan to buy furniture for your outdoor space, it has to be the one that is specifically meant for outside. The furniture used for indoors is very delicate and the same cannot be used for outside, especially if the seating area will be exposed to sunlight and rains.

Outdoor fabrics are water and stain resistant and don’t fade away in the sun. They are slightly expensive than indoor fabrics but totally worthwhile.

Add some decorative elements

Just like for indoors, you should never hesitate in going the extra mile to decorate your outdoors. Using additive elements like curtains, fire pit, floor coverings, and soft furnishings will surely add an oomph factor to the area and give you that luxurious feeling. You can also paint your fence to add a pop of color and create a fresh and new look for the season.

Use some statement pots and plants to add personality to the whole area. And, don’t forget to add accent lighting to add ambiance. You can also use one long strand or connect multiple strands for a dramatic atmosphere.

Install an outdoor fountain

Water fountains are a popular trend nowadays and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. They accentuate the beauty of the space where they get installed and at the same time keep the surroundings a lot cooler. They are also known to reduce stress, bring relaxation and contribute in a good sleep.

Moreover, they act as natural humidifiers for the space by removing excess dryness around and improve the air quality.

 

Interlocking or Asphalt Driveways: Which One Should You Choose

The driveway is the most prominent part of any home. It is the first thing that the people visiting your home would see. That is why it is important to keep it well maintained throughout the year.

In comparison to the other parts of your home, driveways get the maximum visibility and play a substantial role in keeping up the value of your property. In addition, it drives the highest traffic and demands frequent maintenance than the rest of the home.

Considering the facts, you need to build your driveways with robust materials that can literally withstand the tonnes of daily usage. With majorly two kinds of material (Asphalt and Interlocking) to choose from, people often get confused in regards to what material will be appropriate for them for building the driveway.

Well, here is a detailed comparison between Interlocking and Asphalt Driveways to ease up the whole scenario and help you pick the right option amongst them –

Aesthetics

When it comes to looks, nothing can beat the appeal of the interlocking driveway. The asphalt driveways look plain and boring whereas there are hundreds of different options in interlocking driveways. Every pattern of interlocking is unique and comes in an array of attractive shades, designs, and sizes.

An asphalt driveway works well for those who are fine with the basic looks, but for people who want their house to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, the interlocking driveway is your go.

Durability

The asphalt is laid 2 inches deep and tends to lose integrity over time. It has a short timespan ranging from anywhere between 8 to 15 years. On the other hand, the interlocking materials are much sturdier and can last easily up to 20-30 years.

However, the foundation beneath these driveways have to be paid close attention otherwise the asphalt can crack and interlocking can sag easily.

Price

If you measure your options on the price scale, then you would find asphalt and interlocking on extreme ends – asphalt is far cheaper than installing an interlocking driveway. It is because asphalt paving doesn’t require much labor and materials and is far easier to install. Whereas in the interlocking process, each stone has to be laid down carefully with the help of skilled labor; leading to high costs.

However, if observed carefully, asphalt is cost-effective only in the short run. It tends to get worn out after some time and demands repair every 3-5 years. If you are looking for long run cost-effectiveness, then interlocking driveway should be on your list.

 

Maintenance

The asphalt driveways are made of rock, sand, asphalt cement, and a tar-like petroleum product which require high-maintenance. You have to pay enough attention to sealing the driveway every 1-5 years to prevent the frost from creating large cracks in the paving.

However, the interlock pavers don’t demand much of maintenance once they are properly paved. All you need is occasional power washing to remove the dirt accumulated in the gaps and refill them to curb the weed growth.

To summarize, both the materials have their own list of pros and cons. So, you should consider all aspects before you make your final call.

 

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First Meeting with your Landscape Consultant: What All to Expect

Renovating a property from outside has a great potential for enhancing one’s quality of life. Using items like patios, arbors and lawns around your property elevates the whole look and ultimately contributes to adding up to its value.

Landscaping is one such technique that not only adds an element of uniqueness and beauty to your property but also improves the air quality around. With uncountable benefits it offers, landscaping has become the trend of today.

Landscaping is no less than an art where every single thing has to be placed strategically to offer maximum functionality and compliment the overall architecture of the house.

That is why hiring a landscape designer is crucial to transforming your vision into reality. Though many people always remain apprehensive about hiring one, the outcomes they would get after having the right designer on board will be incomparable.

So, if you are participating in a landscape design consultation for the first time, here is what all you should expect –

Surveying the Current Landscape

The first and foremost discussion during landscape consultation involves the condition of your current landscape and how you wish to transform it. The initial visit to your place helps the landscape designer to survey your premises properly and suggest the scope of improvements henceforth.

The expert designers assess your needs and the space to decide if they can help you in accomplishing your requirements or not. With the expertise and skill, they can present you the overall design and the ways to execute it perfectly.

Discussing the Budget

One of the important aspects that need to be evaluated and discussed in detail is the overall cost estimation of the project. Nothing comes for free today, nor does the conversion of your dream space into reality.

So, creating a budget beforehand is important to calculate what kind of transformations would fit into the range and what would burn your pocket. Even a landscape designer can provide better design advice only if there is clarity of the budget on both the ends.

Brainstorming of Ideas

After observing your premises, the designer starts generating various options by considering the vision and budget you have given for your space. Whether it is just the basic improvement in the front yard or creating an entertainment area in the backyard, they will discuss everything in detail.

Moreover, they would suggest the best ways of converting the whole space according to your personal style and the functionality you want. It can be including a play area, a barbecue space, a flower or vegetable garden – everything will be customized according to your requirements.

Devising the Plan

After a thorough brainstorming session with you, the designer will make use of the ideas generated and present it on the paper in the form of the loosely-drawn sketch with few other details. Typically, they would give you a rough idea about basic layout, colors, textures, and other landscape items that can be used.

The first cut then can be revised and converted into a final plan with more specific details.

There are higher possibilities that by the end of the consultation session, you will have a clear idea of how your new landscape would look like and what budget you would require from starting to the finishing of the project.

 

How to Install Interlocking Stone Pavement The Right Way

Installing and managing interlocking stone pavement can be a tedious task. Before attempting to do so all on their own, any wiser person would devote at least some time to do ample research about the whole process of installation and management of the pavement. A lot of extensive knowledge, experience, and access to proper resources and equipment is required to successfully complete any such interlock stone pavement project. Many a times, DIY enthusiasts find themselves in a confronting situation while attempting to perform such a skilled task all on their own.

If you have an idea of attempting to install interlock stone pavement for your driveway all on your own, beware of the fact that you might get stuck on an incomplete project, with no idea what to do next. For acute and proficient stone interlocking pavement, however, you can outsource professional paving contractors. But if you are a dedicated DIY enthusiast who is keen to learn the whole process and just do it, don’t worry. We have got your back with our tips to help you interlock stone pavement installation with relative ease.

An easier way to describe what it is like to interlock stone pavements is by looking at the stones like they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Interlocking stones are pieced together to cover the whole intended surface. Unlike tiles, interlocking stones do not require a non flexible surface for securing. However, a separate kind of bonding material, which is usually sand, is required for interlock paving. A little preparation is also required to make the base suitable for the project.

In other words, installing interlock stone pavement is a lot more than just laying stones flat on a surface. To perform the job correctly, proper and skillful effort is required. If you really want to take a shot at installing an aesthetic interlock stone pavement all on your own, read the following points to understand what do so is all about–

 

  • DEMOLITION

The first step to consider is demolition. Preparing the surface calls for the need to demolish the area that has to be paved to clear it off of any structure and make it plain. Brace yourselves with the right tools to make the process more easier. Equipment like a jackhammer, a small bulldozer or a bob cat, along with some other construction equipment is required to perform the job efficiently. Keep in mind that in order to be able to use such equipment, you should also have the basic knowledge about how to use them.

The targeted area should be the existing walkway, sidewalk, concrete, grass, deck, patio tile, etc. Work your way through these objects with the help of the required equipment and make the area smooth and clean. Make sure there is no residue at all.

 

  • LEVELLING

To smoothen the surface entirely, you need to make sure that the area you demolished is cleared of any debris. The next step is to flatten it and level it to an even and apposite depth.

You need to excavate the soil a little deeper and add a base or foundation to a surface area to make it more sturdy and strong. The whole point of having a sturdier foundation is for the pavement be able to hold the heavy weight of all sorts of vehicles without getting destroyed. This is undoubtedly, the most time-consuming step in the entire process, even with the help of professional equipment. Using just shovels and wheelbarrows to carry out this work is out of the question and even if you do it, expect it to cause you a lot of unnecessary stress, frustration, and lots of time.

 

  • CLEANING

Once the targeted surface area is properly levelled, there will be a lot of dirt, debris and soil left over. Make sure you provide for a dumping service to get rid of all the mess that follows surface preparation for interlock pavement installation. A professional pavement service is likely to provide you with a complimentary dumping service, which leaves you stress free. However, if you are performing the job all on your own, you need to make arrangements for dumping the trash. You might need to rent a truck and find a proper dumping ground where you could throw away the trash and the organic matter (if any).

 

  • INSTALLATION

After all the preparation and the cleaning is where the real work begins. The targeted surface area, thoroughly cleaned is secured with a woven geo-textile fabric. The fabric, which is installed over the excavated area, but under aggregate rock foundations, restricts the foundation base rock from sinking into the clay soil. This helps to maintain the sturdiness of the interlock stone pavement. The permeability of the base, allows water to flow through the pavement without jeopardizing the structural integrity of the pavement and foundation. Once this is installed, a class II base rock foundation and bedding sand is added and secured properly on top. Using the proper rock base material is imperative to ensure an accurate and effective interlocking stone pavement job. If the base is installed properly, there is only little or no requirement of maintenance of any sort over the following years. Your pavement will be secure and ready to hold any weight. The last part is arranging and fitting the stones to form a beautiful pavement.

 

  • ARRANGMENT

Arranging the interlocking stones into an aesthetic pattern is much of a creative task than a skillful one. If you cannot decide what pattern to follow, go out to seek some motivation from sidewalks or walkways in the park. The idea is to keep placing interlocking stones adjacent to each other until they complete cover the targeted surface. Compare the stones to jigsaw pieces, which you need to put together in a pattern to make sense out of them. Be careful with your pattern and make sure each one is properly placed and well aligned. The pieces should always be in a straight line. Remember that just one piece is enough to mess up the whole alignment of the pavement. So, make sure that you take your time while arranging the pattern to get the desired result.

Professional Tips on How to Maintain a New Asphalt Driveway

Getting a driveway coated with asphalt can be an expensive service. What more? It is not every day that you get your driveway asphalt coated. So, you would want to take every precaution, whatsoever and employ adequately skilled paving contractors to do the job to the best of their ability.

As necessary as it is to ensure that you hand over the job of aestheticizing your driveway to an experienced paving contractor only, it is equally important to also make sure that your new driveway gets as much care and maintenance as it gets attention.

Did you too, got your driveway beautifully paved with asphalt? Well, great if you did! But, are you also providing it with the care it needs to retain its freshness? If you are absolutely clueless about what we are talking about, hang on! We’ve got your back with some professional tips about how to maintain your new asphalt driveway. A bunch of simple steps is all that will be needed for the maintenance of your new driveway. We’ll, that and some effort on your side. These simple steps will make sure that your brand new asphalt coated driveway stays protected and functional for many years to come.

Find below, some reliable examples of the ways through which you can maintain your asphalt driveway. Also, do not worry, as you would not have to shed big bucks to hire a professional paving contractor for the regular maintenance of your asphalt driveway. With the following tips, you can take care of your driveway all by yourself!

 

Remember to note the following tips down to get some help in keeping your asphalt driveway looking good brand new at all times. You would also not have to incur unnecessary expenses on unexpected repairs if you follow the following steps–

 

  • SEAL COAT YOUR NEWLY COATED DRIVEWAY


A large number of driveway repaving that is performed today is in the first place, needed because of a previously performed bad sealing job, or because the wrong materials having been applied to the surface of the driveway by the previous paving contractor. Do not use materials that are water or latex based as they tend to dry out the surface and cause cracks because of the presence of certain additives. You wouldn’t even know and your asphalt coated driveway would have become a mess within just the first three to five years.

Also, you wouldn’t want to repave your driveway again that quickly, or would you? It might be tempting for you to get over enthusiastic and head straight away to your local home improvement store to get some cheap repaving materials to quickly glam up your driveway again. In general though, doing that will only prove harmful for your driveway. Those materials are usually of inferior quality and will result in a low-quality job only.

  • EXTRA CARE DURING THE FIRST YEAR AND A HALF

 

Sealcoating is not the only step when it comes to looking after your driveway. There are also some other steps that you can take to maintain the surface of your newly coated asphalt driveway. For an example, if you are driving a car on your asphalt coated driveway and the car is not moving, you should totally avoid turning on your power steering. Doing so is important because it can loosen the surface stones and create scruffs on the asphalt. In a matter of seconds, your asphalt driveway would have turned into a mess.

If you want to know why this happens, do not worry, we have an answer.

It takes anywhere between twelve to eighteen months for brand new asphalt coating to fully cure. So, during that time, it is more susceptible to marks and indentations which could be hard to remove at times. If such an accident does happen to your beautiful driveway, you can perform a little trick to help smoothen the scruffs. Driving over those scuffs will help smooth them back into a plain surface. However, the area might still appear darker than the rest. This will hamper the aesthetic of your brand new asphalt driveway. So, why take a risk? It is better to take precautions to avoid making such a mistake altogether than going here and there,
stressing over on finding a way to rectify it.

 

  • PROTECT THE EDGES

 

Every newly coated asphalt driveway is supposed to be kept a watch upon. Not doing so might prove unlikeable for your driveway. The most sensitive area, however, in a newly coated asphalt driveway, are the edges. The vulnerable edges of a new driveway are prone to accidents. Also, your asphalt will often require backfilling to prevent the edge from falling away. The edges are responsible to keep the whole asphalt stick together. Therefore, it needs some extra attention than the rest of the driveway. Keep certain things in mind while on the driveway. Do not drive along or off the edges, as this could easily result in breaking the edge off. If the edge is lucky enough to not fall off entirely, the chances of at least some serious cracking is high.
However, the possibility of such accidents should not bother you if you are taking adequate precautions to avoid them. One way or avoiding such an accident, as suggested by a professional paving contractor, is to make sure that you engage in proper backfilling with topsoil in any areas that have lawn, mulch or gravel. What this would do is, it will make the asphalt driveway and the are around it lie on the same level. That way, the chances of anything hitting the edges of the asphalt driveway will reduce in a great way as the ground is now plain. This will not only help to maximize the life of your newly done asphalt driveway, but will also make sure that it’s appearance is not compromised
with. Your driveway would not only be protected from accidents but will also retain its beauty and strength for years to come.

 

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A Complete Guide to Seal Coat Asphalt Driveway

People often ignore their driveway, despite the fact that they do a lot for us. It allows you to park off the street and close to your home. For businesses, it’s a basic necessity and even a reflection of your company because a well-paved driveway leaves a great first impression on customers. For all these reasons, it is necessary to treat your driveway and parking lot nicely to ensure that it is convenient and well-maintained.

Your driveway and asphalt pavement endure harsh weather conditions. It has to put up with the oxidization from the sun, rain, snow, as well as, freeze and thaw cycles. All these extreme climatic conditions result in deteriorating the life of an asphalt driveway. Without proper maintenance, the binders in the asphalt dry out and start to flake and chip away, which ultimately lead to complete failure of an asphalt driveway.

While parking lots and driveways may go unnoticed, but taking a moment to consider its condition and age is crucial to improving the condition of your pavement surface. As a homeowner or property manager, you need to understand the importance of maintaining your property, including your driveway. As such, to take care of your driveway, it is imperative to know when and how to seal coat it or when to have it repaved.

 

What is a seal coat?

A sealcoat is an emulsion type product which has a thick semi-fluid consistency and a dark chocolate brown color. There are three major types of seal coatings- Refined Tar-based seal coatings (RTS), Specialty resins, Asphalt Emulsion-based Seal coatings (AE) which work very well in maintaining the surface integrity of asphalt pavements and keep cracks from appearing.

 

Why sealcoat an asphalt driveway?

Constructing a pavement is a big investment which means you need to take extra care of it. Sealcoating should be a part of your regular maintenance program as it acts as a right “barrier coat” between asphalt surfaces and destructive elements such as ultraviolet rays, gasoline, oils, salts, fat etc. Sealcoating is proven to extend the life of a sound pavement by more than 300%.

Every year, usually around September and October driveways and parking areas are to be seal coated. However, people often undermine the need and importance of seal coating driveways and asphalt pavement. Before you consider to sealcoat an asphalt pavement, make sure to know the basics of this process.

Asphalt surfaces are most susceptible to wear and tear, both from weather and from automobile traffic. The process of seal coating involves applying an emulsion type product over the asphalt pavement to seal and fill small cracks. This process is immensely useful to extend the life of an asphalt driveway, as well as, to give your driveway a beautiful, new, rejuvenated look. It helps you save thousands of dollars in replacement costs by preventing additional damages to the pavement by weather and chemicals in contact with the driveway or parking area.

Thus, the benefits of sealcoating the asphalt driveway or parking lot includes:

  • Sealcoating the asphalt helps in filling the small cracks that can turn into large holes and thus it prevents water from seeping down to the base material.
  • Sealcoat improves the appearance of asphalt and makes your driveway or parking lot look near brand new.
  • It protects the asphalt from the sun, as well as, the harmful effects of chemical spills such as oil and gasoline.
  • It acts as a waterproofing agent and helps in preventing the seepage of water and moisture from rain and snow.
  • If done correctly, it helps in preventing the oxidation and erosion of the top layer.
  • It is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement by extending the life of the pavement and driveway.

 

When and how often to apply seal coating?

This actually depends on the traffic and pavement conditions, as well as, pavement contractor’s recommendations. After the installation of new pavement, it is recommended to apply seal coating after every one or two years. Ideally, when you start noticing signs of deterioration and the color of the individual stones that make up your asphalt surface, it’s time to seal it up. Moreover, always make sure to protect the area for at least 36 to 48 hours after you seal coat driveways and pavements. Before you think of seal coating, consider the outside temperature first. The right time is when it is 50 degrees or higher for the sealer to adhere properly.

Tips to apply seal coat properly

Before applying, the sealcoat product should be diluted as per the directions of the manufacturer and typically two coats of sealer are to be applied. Sealcoat can be applied in many different ways- by squeegee machine, brush applicator, spray and hand squeegee. Crack filling, repairs and sealcoating will extend the life of your asphalt and make it look like a new one. Following tips will help you in seal coating you asphalt pavement and driveway in a proper manner.

  • Since the process may stain other areas, it is important to first cover anything nearby that might get stained or damaged before applying it.
  • Do not use the seal coat process to fill up potholes. If cracks are bigger 1/4 inch, make sure to first patch them with a hot rubberized crack sealer and then only proceed.
  • To achieve more consistency and avoid a slippery surface, you can mix sand with the product before seal coating.
  • In case of treating a larger area, make use of spraying instead of seal coating with squeegees.
  • Never start this process, if the temperature is not more than 45 degrees, otherwise, the coat will not adhere to the substrate.
  • With the help of a pressure washer, prepare the driveway by cleaning all cracks and removing all debris and vegetation in cracks.
  • Remember, as compared to applying a thick layer, a thinner layer would be better. Always apply the product using a criss-cross pattern, the first layer in one direction and once it has dried, apply the second coat in a perpendicular motion related to the first layer.

 

 

 

Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Interlock Driveway, Walkway or Patio

In the majority of cases, homeowners have a preference for interlocking concrete pavers for home landscaping projects, like walkways, patios and driveways. Nevertheless, like any other part of a house, these too have the need of regular and professional maintenance and repair to ensure that they stay in the best shape for a prolonged period of time. If not, they might start sinking or loosening to the point where they become quite disagreeable to look at and ruin the entire appeal of your house.

Fortunately, these interlocking concrete pavers can be repaired and restored to their previous state with the proper care and upkeep. Listed below are a few steps which will help you in doing so.

 

Sealers

You might consider coating the surface of your pavers with sealer for a layer of protection against the surface damages and the staining that are bound to happen over an extended period of time. Additionally, they will also help you to seal in the original color of the paver and maintain it for longer. Usually, a paver can be re-sealed every two to three years. Before you apply the sealer, make sure that the surface of the paver is free of any foreign particles, like dust, leaves, and debris. Sweep and clean the surface using either a sprayer or a brush. Today, there are several commercial paver sealers available in the market that are customized according to the type and concerns of the pavers.

 

Power Washing

Power washers distribute the pressure uniformly to ensure that the pavement gets cleaned evenly and well. As this would remove the sand in between the joints of the stones, it is important that you replace it with either landscaping sand, or a superior quality polymeric sand. Make sure that you clear all the undesired fragments from between the joints as that would enable the polymeric sand more space to sink in and concretize the pavement.

 

Using Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand is considered to be one of the best materials for walk and patio joint sand. Its composition is such that it can easily seep in between the narrow spaces in the pavers and strengthen the surface. It also discourages foliage growth, like weeds, to build in the joints and cracks. Besides that, with polymeric sand your paver will be prevented from the havocs of common pests, like ants, which thrive in patio sand. The biggest advantage that polymeric sand has over regular sand is its durability, helping you to minimize your maintenance cost in the long run. If you are building a new patio or walk, make sure that you use this variant. However, if your initial landscaping was constructed with regular sand, you can replace it with polymeric sand while repairing. You can use a pressure washer to disintegrate the old sand. After the surface is dries down, sweep the polymeric sand into the joints and then mist the surface lightly. You can sweep over one more time to ensure that there are no gaps left.

Reset the Pavers

If the surface of your paver has become uneven, you can repair the damage by removing the pavers that need to be reset. Following that, add a small amount of sand to the base course to make the surface level. Before you replace the pavers, make sure that you compact the additional sand. After replacing the pavers, sweep polymeric sand into the joints. Keep in mind that this is just a basic repair that can be done on your own. However, if the damage to the paver is too intense, it is advisable to employ the services of a professional inspection and repair to be restored fully.

 

If you happen to require professional help regarding your paver, driveway or patio, you can elicit the services of Action Home Services for all your problems at the most competitive prices.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Contractor for Any Home Project

Home renovations can be nerve wrecking. You are paying a team of strangers to break down parts of your house and rebuild it better. You will have to trust them completely that they will complete the work for which you paid them. A right contractor will save you from many headaches and give you a service that will last a lifetime

Whether it is an interlocking patio contractor or a concrete contractor, choosing a contractor for any work is a difficult task. You will have to go through heaps of research, contact many candidates, put questions and make the final decision. While there are a specific set of questions and research that you need to work on for a required job, some points are universal.

Here are 5 tips that will help you choose the right contractor for any home project that you have –

Collect and Check Some References

You should start your search by gathering some references. Get to your friends and relatives. You can ask around in your community as well. You will have good insights on whom to choose and the ones to avoid. If they have any experience with contractors then ask them to share some tips and references. They can provide a lot of key details which are far more valuable than any online publication or review site.

Read online reviews that are from actual people. Make sure the reviews that you read are genuine. Check out your local rating agency for the business’s ratings.

Check Their Previous Work

Always insist on getting real client references from the contractor. Call the references and get them to share their experience. If possible, check the work physically. In some bigger projects like driveway reconstruction or landscape work, getting out there and checking the previous work personally becomes a necessity.

Apart from these, check the contractor’s online presence. Always look for real product photos. This is important because many projects like windows and doors should be functional plus have the looks to match. The real-life project photos should available on their website and social media pages. Apart from the photos, also read the user submitted testimonials.

Ask for Estimates with Product Specifications

Some projects can be completely customized. They will be custom manufactured to match the specific design requirements. In such cases, determining the estimates can be difficult. But in the case of standard factory fitted components like doors and windows, the costs can be estimated accurately. Ask for proper product specs and get some proper estimates that match the quality that you are being offered.

Check every specification of the products carefully. Also, some contractors do not mention any paint, fitting, or motor charges until the payment time. Clear this beforehand and ask for complete estimates.

Warranty Details

Some contractors will provide lifetime warranty periods but with a catch. Make sure that you insist on getting the warranty contract clear and explained. It should not have any hidden clauses. It should be legally binding and should be clean and in an easy-to-read language.

Many projects like roof installations require the use of warranty claims because of poor workmanship and installation errors. So don’t take the risk and get a comprehensive warranty that covers both materials and workmanship into consideration.

Take Your Time to Evaluate Many Options

A home renovation project is always challenging to begin. You will have to make some adjustments to your personal life to get the best possible job. So it is important that you choose a contractor that knows his work and values your time.

Go ahead and evaluate many options. Don’t settle for a contractor with just a preliminary research. Go deep, check out as many references as possible and make sure that you get everything in writing. It will save you from a lot of hassles in the future.

5 Snow Removal Tips That You Need to Know

Sometimes, this white color can be problematic. Whenever the snow season arrives, people start making that dreadful face. It’s time to fight the third state of natural water. The shovels, gloves and the courage come out to eliminate the snow.

It’s a tiring process and we can all agree to that. And if that’s not bad enough, imagine getting your back hurt in such shivering conditions. Doesn’t sound too comforting.

Is there any way to make snow removal easier? Of course, there is. It’s a cliché but as they say – work smart, not hard. While you can always hire a snow removal contractor, sometimes DIY solutions work just as good. So here are 5 snow removal tips that you should know before reaching out for that shovel.

Cooking Spray

If you are only dealing with lighter snow or only have access to a shovel, you can use some cooking spray to make the process easier. Spray some on your shovel and it will move through the snow easily and the snow will not stick to it. This way, you can work much faster.

Use Salt

This is the most common deicer that you can use and it’s easily available in any home. Spread it over before or after the snow falls and it will slowly melt away the buildup. Make sure to use it in moderation because if used excessively, it can damage the actual surface. And also, common salt won’t affect snow after 12F.

If you deal with big piles of snow regularly, it’s best to use salt specially made for deicing. Rock salt or common salt can damage the concrete or paint.

Bring Out the Leaf Blower

If the snow cover is light and fluffy then you can use your leaf blower to blow it away. It’s an easy and quick way to clear our slippery driveways or stairs. It’s also good to clean out cars.

But keep in mind that it only works with light-fluffy snow. Heavier snow is better dealt with a snowblower.

Use a Snow Blower

If you regularly face heavy snow buildup in your area then you should consider investing in a snowblower. These specially designed machines are capable of removing snow in a quick and efficient manner.

It’s best used when the snow is very wet, heavy and spread over a large area. Be cautious when operating it as any contact with the moving parts can lead to some serious injury.

Remove it Often

This point may seem to contradict the heading of this article but it is true. You should remove and clean the snow often. Don’t let the snow buildup. Managing few inches of snow every day is usually easier than plowing out multiple feet high snow. Nothing is worse than having heaps of snow in areas it shouldn’t be when the temperatures warm up.

This keeps the snow manageable so that it doesn’t build up and ice over time! So the main thing to keep in mind is – don’t be lazy.

5 Tips for a Successful Landscaping Project

Landscapes are a great way to add personality and value to your property. It is healthy for you; it is healthy for the environment and also a great way to spend some quality time with your family. But getting through a successful landscaping project is not an easy job.

It requires time, money and adjustments to your normal schedule. You will have to take some time out for ensuring that the work is being done in a correct and efficient manner. It’s not easy and requires some getting used to. But to make it easier for you, here are 5 tips for getting through a landscaping project

Have a Plan Beforehand

Having a proper plan with everything laid down is easier said than done. Many homeowners know what they want but don’t consider knowing what they need. There’s a difference. It is always better to sit and list down all the things that you want to have in your landscape design.

Yes, you can hire designers to do this job but even they can’t read your mind. You will have to give them some indication of your expectations. It is important as you are going to devote a lot of capital and time on it.

Hire the Right Person

It is a difficult thing to hire the right landscaping contractor. You will have to go through a lot of research, contact them one by one, negotiate a deal, sign contracts and do a lot of other things. Your actual outcome and landscaping experience will largely depend on the person you choose for the job.

Hire a contractor or a company with good track records, experience, proper documentation and an overall nice personality.

Communicate with the Contractor

Your job is not over by just signing the contract and giving directions. You will have to communicate all of the details. If there’s something wrong or you feel you need a change, tell them. Not just negative feedback, give them positive feedback as well. Tell them you like their work, if the work is actually praiseworthy.

Keep Journals and Records

You cannot stress this point enough. Most owners give the contractor the initial plan and never consider checking it again. In any construction project, things never go the way they were planned.

It is important that you will keep records of all the changes and daily happenings. You should start it from the day one. If anything seems out of ordinary, communicate it to the site manager. By doing this, you also reduce the chances of any increased bill after the project is over.

Be a Good Customer

Finally, and most importantly, be a good customer. It is easy to get bossy when you are paying someone to do a job. But never forget, they are humans. You can only expect a human to do his job right when you treat him right.

Greet them, share a talk, don’t disturb them when not required, remove obstructions, give them personal space, and best of all, if possible, maybe arrange a small lunch for them. It’s a sure way to get some respect and a nice landscaping job.