Home Renovation Tips To Plan It Right

What is included with home renovation costs?

Home renovation costs vary a great deal depending on the size of the project, number of rooms being renovated, the type of home, materials, and so forth. For some homeowners, buying a new home might be a better option than having their current one renovated. On the other hand, having at least one room remodeled can increase the overall value of a current home considerably.


Roof materials and services such as asphalt (felt base), new roof sheeting (plywood or waferboard), roof rolling, painted membrane, and sprayed polyurethane foam tend to be the least expensive. Slate, aluminum, vinyl coated steel shingles, built up tar and gravel, and clay or concrete tiles are more costly but will last much longer. In addition to the materials, tools and labour costs must be factored in. Additional expenses may include flashing and chimney reconstruction.


The cost of exterior renovation may range from $10,000 to $20,000+, depending on the size of the home. Brick homes cost more to renovate than stone, wood, and aluminum homes. Renovation may include anything from painting to damp proofing. Your garage, porch, pool deck, landscape, and/or basement may also require some type of remodeling. Don’t forget windows, either. The cost to replace windows depends on the type of glazing, material, size, etc.


Factors affecting the cost of interior home renovation include:

Room size

Paint and trims






Number of rooms requiring remodeling



Obviously, larger rooms will require more materials, time, and labour. In bedrooms, flooring installations may range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. The type of flooring also contributes to the price – especially if old floors need to be removed and replaced.

The Kitchen

Since the kitchen is considered the “heart” of the home, it’s not surprising that it’s the most expensive room to renovate. It can cost several thousand dollars. Cabinets make up one-third to one-half of the total cost, followed by labour and appliances, countertops, flooring, and then plumbing fixtures, lighting, tiling, etc.

What Home Renovations Should I Make Before Selling?

If you are selling your house, you might be wondering why you should renovate a property that is no longer going to be yours. The answer is simple. There are minor renovations that can have a huge impact on the purchase price of your home and your ability to close a sale in a shorter amount of time. Of course, not all renovations provide great returns on investment.

How Failure to Renovate Can Cost You

Renovating before selling is not just about increasing the resale value of your home, but also about not losing out on money that you should receive. If potential buyers notice chipped paint, for example, they might negotiate the asking price down to accommodate the cost of painting. The price reduction they request is likely going to be larger than what it would actually cost you to paint the walls before going to market. If there are numerous issues like this, you unnecessarily give your buyers more negotiation power.

Let’s take a look at some of the most cost effective home renovation projects you can easily tackle.

Painting Walls – As mentioned, it is certainly worthwhile to add a new coat of paint to the walls. When selling, choose a light, neutral colour that will give the home a clean, fresh, and open feel. Give potential buyers a clean and spacious backdrop that they can imagine decorating.

Refinishing Floors – Unless your current floors are in need of serious repair, it is generally not cost effective to completely remove and replace flooring systems. What you can do is improve the floors that are already there. This can mean steam-cleaning the carpets, staining and/or refinishing hardwood floors, or cleaning and resealing the grout between tile floors.

Updating Hardware and Light Fixtures – Completely changing appliances, cabinets, and countertops can become costly very quickly. You can make your kitchen and bathrooms look more modern by simply updating the hardware and other fixtures. If you think these spaces look extremely out-dated, you might consider replacing the countertops.

Increasing Curb Appeal – The first thing potential buyers will see is the exterior of the house and the entryway. It is crucial to make a great first impression. This includes manicuring the lawn, replacing any old and worn siding, making sure walkways are well maintained, and possibly painting or replacing your front door, if this is needed. If you will be showing your home in the evening, you might install accent lighting along walkways.

Hiring a Contractor for Home Renovations

The most valuable renovation projects will differ from home to home. For professional advice regarding the best projects to complete before selling your house

What Are the Home Renovation Fundamentals and What Do They Entail?

When beginning to renovate your home, it is easy to become hyper focused on the more exciting elements: turning your bathroom into a spa, making your kitchen more modern, or creating a state-of-the-art home theater. However, for your renovation to be successful and to reduce the risk of needing repairs in the future, you must remember all of the fundamental elements of a home renovation.


Before you put in a new wall or flooring system, you have an opportunity to upgrade the insulation in your home. The insulation that you choose will have a major impact on the energy efficiency of your home and will also affect the overall cost of your project. Be careful to weigh all of your insulation options before moving forward. Higher quality insulation may be a large upfront investment, but will reduce your monthly energy costs in the future.

Wiring and Electrical

Before you finish your walls, you need to design and install wiring. This is the best time to install new electrical systems, such as security equipment, intercoms, home entertainment systems, new outlets, and other design elements that require electricity. Having all of this planned and installed during the renovation will be much easier to complete before the drywall is finished.


This of course, brings us to drywall. Before the drywall is installed, you can decide if you want to incorporate any special design elements, such as recessed lighting. In addition to paint and other finishing materials, be sure to consider the costs associated with installing drywall as you plan your remodel.

Heating & Air Conditioning

A house renovation is an excellent time to upgrade your heating and air conditioning equipment. You must remember to accommodate HVAC equipment and ductwork within your renovation plans. Your renovation contractor can help you to make plans that will help to make choices that will allow your system to run efficiently and effectively.

What Are the Benefits of a Home Renovation?

If you are not experiencing any major problems with your home, you might be thinking, why fix what isn’t broken? Even if you are not in need of major repairs, you can still benefit from a major home renovation

Improving the Comfort and Functionality of Your House

House renovation projects allow you to customize your home to your unique tastes and needs. This is your opportunity to create your dream home or at least make the space you have more enjoyable and useful.

Lower Your Energy Costs

With energy costs on the rise, a greater number of Toronto homeowners are renovating their homes to reduce utility bills and save money over the long term. When the temperatures plummet during the winter, you cannot afford to have heat seep out of the home due to poor insulation and old doors and windows.

Boost Your Property Value

If you are considering selling your property any time soon, a renovation can make the property much more attractive and valuable to potential buyers. If your home looks and feels out-dated, buyers will be less motivated to meet your asking price.

Hiring a Professional During a Home Renovation

Even homeowners who really want to renovate often avoid doing so because they do not want to deal with the headache of such a large project and they are afraid of the cost. Many of the hassles and risks associated with renovated can be reduced or eliminated with the help of a contractor.

What are some small house remodeling ideas and solutions?

Just because you live in a small home doesn’t mean you can’t have any of the luxuries of a mansion. A smaller home offers the benefits of low maintenance and cost. Styles such as cottages, cabins, bungalows, capes, etc… will always withstand the tests of time. With small house remodelling ideas, you can make the best of your small space. There are many things you can do to make each room appear and feel bigger.

Whether you want to make a few improvements here and there or go all-out with a renovation, here are some house remodelling ideas:

Aim for uniform flooring. Try to use as much of one material as you can in open areas. Avoid transition if you can help it. It’s okay to switch materials in areas where there are cased openings. Using different flooring materials in open areas makes the house look choppy. The confined space is more apparent.

Maximize functional storage. In the bedroom, one of the best places for storage is under the bed. Use under-bed storage boxes or bags to store out of season bedding, clothing, and other items that are seldom used. As for closets, don’t feel limited by the standard shelf and hanging bar. Get some stackable shelves and/or additional rods. Organize the storage – don’t just try to stuff everything inside.

In the kitchen, get creative with the countertops. Combine classic white cabinetry with granite laminate countertops to give the illusion of space. Also, don’t be afraid to use mirrors. Mirrors add instant size and height to smaller kitchens. One ideal place to install a mirror is behind the stove. If you don’t have a window over the kitchen sink, add a mirror instead.

You can save space in the kitchen by installing cabinets that open with a lifting mechanism rather than a door that swings open. Whenever you need to get anything out of the cabinets, the door lifts upwards rather than out. Also, opt for smaller appliances. Today, there are many space-efficient appliances that are just as powerful as larger models.

Install shelves and storage units in the corner of small bathrooms. You might also want to downgrade your toilet size. Brands such as Kohler now offer compact elongated models of toilets. They are about the same size as the typical round-front toilet but take up less space. In addition to the toilet, you can also switch to a single-hole model of a sink faucet if you don’t already have one.

It’s a good idea to stick with solid colours in a small bathroom. While patterns are nice, they can make the small space seem cluttered. You might be able to play around with textures, however, as long as you stick with light prints in natural tones.

If you are not using all of the bedrooms in the house, consider sacrificing one in order to make the neighbouring room bigger. Have the wall removed to create a nice, spacious master bedroom.

Toilet Installation Considerations For Wall Bathroom Suites

Problem-Solving Toilet Hacks Are Weird, But They Work

We all have our least favorite chores, which we often go to outrageous lengths to avoid. (Did anyone else barter their unwanted chores with their siblings when they were younger? My siblings were shrewd traders, but they were usually willing to swap for a price.) In my case, the one chore that I will always opt out of if given the chance is cleaning the toilet. While I appreciate our toilets very much, I just prefer to keep my interactions with them to a minimum.

With all that being said, I have still managed to collect quite a few toilet-related tips and tricks over the years. Because as much as I try to avoid dealing with the toilet, I’ll do it if it means being able to share a helpful tip with you guys. (That’s how much you all mean to me!) During my experiments and research, I’ve ended up putting a lot of weird stuff in, on, and around my toilets—all in the name of finding the best toilet hacks! Today I’ll be sharing some of those strange-but-true toilet tips that I’ve come across over the years. I think you’ll be surprised at how many totally weird ways there are to clean, fix, and maintain your toilet! 🙂


While it isn’t great for your teeth, a can of cola can be great for cleaning your toilet! The carbonation and acids in the soda can dissolve rings, buildup, and stains in your toilet bowl. Just pour a can of coal around the rim of your toilet so that it soaks the whole bowl. Let it sit for a few hours to work its magic, then scrub with a toilet brush to scrub away the stains!

Pumice Stone

If you’ve never used a pumice stone in your toilet, give it a try! The abrasive stone makes a great tool for scrubbing away rings and stains. Make sure to dampen both the pumice stone and toilet bowl itself before scrubbing to help prevent scratches. Scrub stains gently with the wet pumice stone, then flush to rinse.

White Vinegar

Many people reach for bleach to clean their toilets and eliminate germs. But you can use plain old white vinegar in the same way, and you won’t have to worry about harsh fumes! To eliminate stains, soak a paper towel with vinegar and place it on the stained area. Allow the vinegar-soaked towel to remain there overnight. In the morning, remove the towel and give the area a quick scrub to remove the mess. (This also works great when used on the gunk that builds up under the rim of your toilet bowl!)

Wax Free Toilet Seal


A strong and flexible to sustain a positive seal

Ideal for wall carriers and floor mounts

Accommodates floors raised above the toilet flange by up to 3/4″

Maintains a gas tight seal even when minor movement occurs

Fast, easy installation for a long-term solution


Conforms to ASTM A 1045

No need for flange risers or stacked wax rings

Ideal for in-floor radiant heat installations

Impervious to mold and mildew

Centers itself and the toilet to the drain

Toilet can be removed and re-installed with the same seal attached

Made of flexible PVC


PSF-100 – Spanner Flage eliminates the need to replace broken closet flanges, saving time and money. Simply place the flange under the broken area of the ring and tighten the nut.

When to Repair vs. Replace Your Toilet

When to Repair

Toilets are meant to last you a long time, and with proper care and maintenance they will. If you notice a problem, investigate what the cause is. Then call a professional who can handle all your plumbing repair needs.

When Your Toilet Is Running

A running toilet is when water from the tank is continuously running into the bowl. This can become extremely annoying both because it is inconvenient and because it makes noise.

The Toilet Won’t Flush

This is the last thing you want to happen, and when it does happen, you immediately begin to panic wondering what the cause is. It could be:

A clog

Not enough water in the tank

A faulty flapper

A broken lift chain

The Water Level Is Low

Whether in the tank or in the bowl, your water levels should remain consistent. If you notice lower than normal levels, check the tank shut off valve to make sure it was not accidentally closed.

Toilet Issues Happen

Eventually you’ll experience one of these toilet issues, or a different one altogether. We have some advice on how to troubleshoot problems so that you can fix the problem or call a professional.

Buying a Toilet Bowl: Things You Really Need to Know

Yes, we know that the WC isn’t exactly the most glamourous bathroom fitting, but it’s hard to deny its importance. Just imagine not having access to one when nature calls and… ahem, you get the idea.

Putting that (nasty) thought aside, getting the right toilet for your home can be a daunting task, so here’s a nifty guide that summarises the four most important details you should think about before making a trip to the sanitaryware store

Installation/trap type

When it comes to modern-day toilets, there are two main types that you can take your pick from: floor-mounted and wall-hung.

And while choosing between the two may seem like a matter of preference, which model you end up with mostly depends on the trap – a specialised drainage outlet/piping system which handles waste and prevents smelly gases from escaping – that your bathroom has.

Now then, how do you tell which type of trap your bathroom has? Typically, if the drainage outlet is connected to the floor, it’s an S-trap, which works in conjunction with floor-mounted toilets. Otherwise, if it’s located on a wall, it’s a P-trap that’ll allow you to install a wall-hung toilet.

Heroic Tips for Using Southeast Asia’s ‘Bum Guns’

If you’ve been travelling for any length of time, you’ll know that there are some things that are done differently on foreign shores. Take bathrooms for examples – most of us are adept at using the humble sit-down toilet back home, but leave us in a room with a squat toilet and no paper and we’ll be scratching our heads and crossing our legs. That said, it doesn’t mean our way is necessarily the right way – and when it comes to Southeast Asia’s ‘bum guns’, we could learn a thing or two.

Know the facts – it’s clean and hygienic

So picture this – you’re walking your dog, and it does its business on the side of the road. “Not a problem,” you think – “I’ll just pick it up with –WHOOPS, it’s on my hand!”. Would you be content to just wipe your poop-covered hand with a tissue? Though not. When you compare the bum gun’s spray of water against Westerners’ use of toilet paper, it’s actually much more hygienic and does a better job of cleaning you. See, it’s nothing to be scared of.

Understand what it’s used for

Whilst they are handy when it comes to cleaning the bowl or even the bathroom itself, those aren’t the primary function of the bum gun – cleaning your bum is. By all means, clean the bathroom with it if you’re bored – but don’t shy away from its primary use – embrace it.

Prepare yourself

Before using it for the first time, you may need to mentally and physically prepare yourself. It can be daunting at first, but understand millions of people around the world use it, and plenty of travellers return home only to install them in their homes, so they really can’t be that bad. Make sure you’ve got a few pieces of toilet paper with you and some hand sanitiser too for good measure, and you’re ready to try the bum gun.

Test the spray

Before you go ahead and start to use it on a rather delicate part of the body, you’ll want to give it a test spray first, both to ascertain whether it’s in working order and to check the power of the gun itself (the power can vary place to place, in some it’s a weak trickle and in others it’s a mighty jet of water). Test it by holding it and pulling the trigger, and once you’ve got a good feel for it and how it works, you’ll be ready for the next step.

What Is Commercial Roofing

What does a commercial roofer do?

A roofer repairs, replaces, and installs roofs on residential homes or commercial buildings. They use a variety of materials such a metal, aluminum, wood, shingles, tiles, slate, and steel. Roofers scale the tops of a property to repair leaky roofs, replace broken tiles, or seal areas to make them watertight. Roofing is physically demanding and requires the stamina to stand, climb, and carefully walk in hot, cold, windy, snowy, or rainy weather. The work that roofers do ensures that buildings are structurally sound and safe for those who enter. Roofers can work on a full- or part-time basis, and many receive weekly salary payments.

What does a commercial roofer do?

Here are the duties and responsibilities that a Commercial Roofer is likely to perform in their role.

  • Construct and assemble layers of roofing from insulation to TPO membrane or EPDM roofing.
  • Train in TPO heat welding.
  • Install full TPO type roofing from start to finish.
  • Maintain proper safety codes and procedures to keep up with OSHA regulations.
  • Perform installation and repair of PVC and vinyl type flat roofs of commercial buildings ..
  • Tear off and installation of commercial roofing systems (EPDM or rubber roofing mostly )
  • Work as part of a team in order to make sure that all work are done according to OSHA standards.
  • Assist with fabrication of HVAC duct ways.

Benefits of Using Commercial Roofing Contractors

If you want to learn more about the benefits of hiring a commercial roofing contractor, keep reading.

1. Following Your City’s Building Code

Are you familiar with the building code in your city?

The building code is a set of laws and regulations that govern how construction projects get handled. If you are not familiar with the system and proceed to construct your new roof by yourself, you may make a few mistakes.

If an inspection of the structure indicates that the building code got violated, you may have to demolish the roof. This means you incur a loss for the first roof and also the additional cost to do it again.

Commercial roofers make it a point to stay updated on the building code. Thus, they are your best bet to get a large commercial roofing project done correctly.

2. Your Safety

Roofing is a dangerous endeavor for a novice, and there have been numerous cases where DIYers have fallen off roofs trying to conduct installation or repairs.

Now, you might be asking, “Aren’t there pieces of safety equipment I can buy to prevent that?”

The short answer: yes. But, unless you’re a full-time roofer, then you’re going to make these costly purchases for a one-time job. Isn’t it better to have a professional roofing contractor handle the roofing work for you?

Hiring a professional will save you not only time but also money and potential accidents in the process.

3. The Quality of Work

Quality work comes with hands-on experience. You could watch every roofing DIY video on YouTube, but your quality of work will not match a professional’s unless you’ve been putting in the real world experience.

Roofing involves more than just attaching roofing materials to roofing beams. You have to consider numerous factors, including the installation of ventilation outlets wherever necessary. Without adequate experience, you are bound to make either a minor or major mistake.

A minor mistake (like a leaky roof) could lead to more severe consequences when mold develops, leading you to spend even more time and money on a project that could have been fully completed if a commercial roofing contractor was hired.

4. Staying Within Budget

A common issue with DIY roofing is going over budget. This happens when a homeowner commences a roofing project without adequate planning and budgeting.

Budgeting involves calculating the costs of the materials as well as accounting for miscellaneous expenses that might occur. It is for this reason that roofing contractors provide estimates and quotes before they commence working on your roof.

Hence, with a commercial roof contractor, you are fully aware of all the costs involved. You do not get any unexpected charges, allowing you to stick to your budget.

5. Advice on the Best Materials

When it comes to roofing, there are many different types of materials that you can choose from for your building. And because of this, it can be difficult to determine which products are best for your application.

Quality Roofing is a matter of selecting the materials that are favorable to the weather patterns in your city and have the longest lifespan with the least maintenance.

It’s best to work with a commercial roofing contractor who has worked with numerous materials from various manufacturers. These contractors will actually have experience and know which materials are going to be best for your roof.

Things to consider in a commercial roof

Keep the following factors in mind when selecting or specifying a low slope roof:

  • Choose the highest possible quality materials from an established manufacturer with an excellent reputation for integrity. CertainTeed has been manufacturing roofing materials for over 100 years.
  • Compare similar products. Evaluate the technical data provided by the manufacturer. Compare the weights, thicknesses and ASTM test results.
  • Remember, the money saved today on a low cost roofing system can be more than offset by the need to reroof sooner as the result of poor performance leading to leakage or premature failure.
  • Consider the commercial roofing manufacturer’s warranty. The length of the warranty term (in years) helps gauge the superiority of the system selected. Generally, the longer the warranty, the better the system. Is a guarantee which covers not only the material but also the contractor’s workmanship available for the roof system selected?
  • Property value. Is the manufacturer’s warranty transferable to a new building owner?
  • How committed is the commercial roofing material manufacturer willing to be? Does the manufacturer, as an option to the owner, have an approved contractor program in place? If an enhanced warranty that includes workmanship is selected, will the manufacturer inspect the roof project? With CertainTeed, the answer to all of these questions is yes.

Types Of Commercial Roofing

Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is an eco-friendly roofing option for commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities.   Spray Polyurethane Foam, more commonly referred to as SPF, is a material that is sprayed as a liquid so it can expand into a foam, creating a solid layer across an existing roof.

While SPF roofing is not the most known type of roofing material, the technology has been around since the early 1960s for industrial, commercial, and residential facilities. An SPF roofing system can be used in any climate, and when correctly installed and maintained, can last over 50 years.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-Ply Membrane is a time-tested roofing option for commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities.   Single-Ply Membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetics that can be ballasted, mechanically fastened or chemically adhered to insulation creating a layer of protection on your commercial facility.

While Single-Ply Membrane Roofing is one of the most well-known types of commercial roofing material, there are several types to fit your budget and facility needs.

Metal Roofing

Metal Roofing is one of the oldest commercial roofing systems on the market. Most metal roofing systems use corrugated galvanized steel, although other materials such as aluminum or tin can also be used.

Since metal roofing material is rather light in weight, it can be installed right on top of the existing roof. After a metal roofing system is installed, a coating can be added for waterproofing, rust protection, and UV protection.

Shingle Roofing

Commercial Roofing on ChurchShingle roofing is mostly known for homes and residential roofing, but shingles are very often used for steep slope commercial roofing applications.   Shingles can be made out of a few different materials, including wood, slate, metal, plastic, ceramic and composite material such as asphalt. There are two main types of shingles: Asphalt and Architectural.

Asphalt Shingles: most common, cost-effective shingle on the market used for applications. These roof systems often come with 15 – 30-year warranties on average.

Architectural Shingles: multi-layered and heavier to add durability and weatherproofing to the building. Often comes with “lifetime” warranties

Built-Up Roofing

Built-Up Roofing Systems have been in use in the U.S. for over 100 years.   These roof systems are commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs. Built-up systems are installed by alternating layers of asphalt or tar and supporting fabrics directly onto the roof.   You can choose the number of layers (or plies) that are installed. The final layer of a built-up roofing system consists of stone or gravel.

What Is The Ideal Weather For Residential Painting

How Much Does it Cost to Paint a House

The average cost and quoted rate of a standard house painting job is $40/hr, generally excluding the cost of paint and materials. For simpler work, painters charge around $35/hr. Meanwhile, more complex jobs are priced at approximately $45/hr.

Where do these prices come from?

A lick of paint is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to breathe new life into your home – whether you’re looking to sell or just want to freshen up and modernise its look.

Whatever your aim is, in this pricing guide, you’re going to find out what to pay attention to when planning your home painting project and hiring a professional painter. Also, you’ll see different approaches to calculating house painting costs.

In other words, you’ll find the following essential information in this in-depth guide:

How much do painters charge per room?

How much does a painter cost per square foot?

How much does a house painter charge per hour?

How much do painters charge per day?

What are typical painting jobs and their common costs?

Is house painting a good investment?

Which planning decisions you MUST make BEFORE hiring a professional painter?

How much does it cost to paint a house professionally?

Here comes a quick summary of different approaches to calculating the cost of painting a house and the corresponding prices.

Things Around Your Home You May Not Know You Can Paint

Renovating and updating your home can sometimes feel like an overwhelming process. It can be costly, time consuming and daunting to even know where to begin. But, it doesn’t always have to be complicated or difficult to turn your home into a haven and make it feel more personal. Quick updates, such as painting things around your home, can make a difference in its look and feel — and it’s affordable and easy to do yourself.

If you aren’t familiar with painting items around the home, you’ll want to be sure to take a few simple steps to prep. Always clean the surface you’re going to paint, and don’t forget to use a mask and protective eyewear to help keep fumes away from your eyes and mouth. Remember, always open a window or work in a well-ventilated area

Cabinet Hardware

Many people know that you can give your cabinetry a new look with a fresh coat of paint, but have you ever thought about painting the hardware? A few coats of spray paint can change the look of your drawers and cabinets and make it feel modern again. Be sure to purchase the appropriate type of spray paint for the hardware material. You can even try out different colors as a test run if you’re considering replacing the hardware soon. Adding a quick coat of black spray paint on a knob or two is an inexpensive way to see if you like black hardware in your kitchen, rather than replacing it all with new knobs or pulls.

Interior Doors

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the doors throughout our house, but they can become statement pieces with a little bit of creativity. After you do a quick sanding on the door, use latex paint or try chalkboard paint to create an interactive door. Black doors can make a stylish impression in your home, but you could also try a punch of color if you want a more playful look.


A coat of paint can provide a stylish update to various types of furniture in your home. You can paint the obvious pieces like your dining room table, a dresser or an entertainment center. But, you can also give new life to outdoor furniture, chairs or even that old metal filing cabinet where you organize your documents. The paint you’ll use for this project depends on the type of material you’re painting and the look you’re going for. For example, chalkboard paint can give a more rustic, distressed texture whereas an oil-based paint leaves a high-gloss finish. Spray paint is typically a good option for metal furniture, too. You can play around with different types of paint to see what you like.

Cost guide: painters and decorators

A fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to give your home a new look. calculated average costs for professionals to paint or wallpaper your room, touch up woodwork or paint the exterior of your home.

If you want to get the professionals in to give your room a perfect finish, looked at how much you might need to pay. figures are only a guide to average costs, and there are several factors that can affect how much you’ll be charged, including:

where you live

the age and condition of your property

how long the job takes

the types of materials (such as the quality of paint) that you want to be used.

Ask traders to break down the quotes they provide, so you know what you’re being charged for. It’s a good idea to get more than one quote so you have a better idea of the going rate for your particular requirements.

Perfect Gift Ideas for Artists Who Paint

Looking for some meaningful and practical gift ideas that your artsy friend/significant other/family member would absolutely love to receive this Christmas? What items could help encourage an artist to keep creating and pursuing his/her creative passions?

First and foremost, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading this post, as it most likely means that you’re interested in celebrating your friend or loved one’s individuality and passion for art, and want to encourage him/her to keep going. As an artist myself, I can tell you that knowing people close to me support my decision to pursue art means everything, especially when one is just starting out.

I’m all about encouraging fellow artists to keep going because I 100% believe the world would be a better place with more art and artists in it.

All this said, no matter how mysterious and complex people make us artists to be, we’re honestly an easy bunch to buy presents for. Not only do we tend to wear our hearts (and minds) on our sleeves more than others, but there are things we need to constantly replace in order to keep feeding our need for creation.

We also need to constantly seek ways to stay inspired and motivated, and a huge variety of things can get our creative minds going.

Tricks To Painting Your Metal Fence

Having a metal fence around your home or property can be fantastic — they can be a lot sturdier than wooden fences, and depending on your aesthetic taste, it can look a lot better as well.

A Wire Brush And Steel Wool Will Help With Rust Deposits

Quite often, when you are working with painting a metal fence, you are going to have to remove some quantity of rust deposit, unless the fence in question is newly installed for you.

A Dirty Fence Should Not Be Painted

If you want to paint your metal fence properly, you need to make sure that it is not dirty before you get started. The reason for this is that you will find that paint that is applied to a metal fence needs to be applied to as smooth of a surface as possible – and having dirt and grime on the fence certainly is not helpful for that.

Wait Until It Dries

In any case where you have something that gets wet — whether this is the water that comes about from making sure that your fence is thoroughly clean or the coat of primer or coats of paint that are to come, you need to wait for the fence to dry before you move on to the next step thoroughly.

Protect The Ground Before Painting

When you’re painting a fence, you’re going to want to make sure to protect the ground before you start — you may get paint on the ground otherwise.

Learn The Basics Of Hardwood Flooring

How Often Should Hardwood Floors Be Refinished?

With proper care, a well-built hardwood floor can last a lifetime, even generations. But over time, the wood inevitably starts showing signs of wear and age. Scratches accumulate, uneven coloring may occur (especially in areas where the floors are exposed to sunlight), and floors begin to appear dull. You can refresh your floors by refinishing them—effectively by having them sanded, re-stained and sealed. But at what point should you consider having your hardwood floors refinished?

There is no set answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, including the type of wood, foot traffic patterns, natural wear and your own personal aesthetic. Even with the best of care, most floors start showing their age after about 10 years. But for most households, simple wear-and-tear may cause the floors to need refinishing sooner than that. Here are a few signs and tips to help you decide when your hardwood floors need refinishing.

Excessive Scratches

These days, the “weathered” or “distressed” look is popular with wood floors, but that look is best achieved purposely by wire brushing evenly across the floor. For most of us, scratches don’t make the floor look “worn”—just scratched. Also, scratches can affect the integrity of whatever sealant may have been used, making the floors more vulnerable to the elements. A bit of scratching is natural, but deep or excessive scratches might need to be sanded out and refinished.


If your wood floors start to appear sun-bleached, it may not be a serious problem, but it can give your floors an uneven, unattractive look, and you may choose to refinish them just to recover an even coloring. If floorboards start getting a dull, gray hue, it’s a potential sign of damage from moisture over time, and you’ll want to refinish them to protect the wood from further damage. Let it go too long, and the floors will need to be replaced.

Areas of Dullness

A wood floor’s finish is as much a part of the aesthetic as its color, whether that finish is glossy, satin, matte or brushed. Over time, especially in high-traffic areas, you may start to notice the finish taking on a dull appearance compared to other parts of the floor. This inconsistency can make your floors look worn, uneven and even neglected. In most cases, refinishing will restore the floor to its consistent beautiful sheen.

A Note of Caution

Although refinishing your floors can make them look fresh and new, every time you do it, you’re removing a layer of wood. Solid hardwood floors can endure this process several times. Engineered wood floors can only handle it once or twice at most. But floors that get refinished too often can eventually get to the point where they lose beauty and just don’t look as nice anymore. For that reason, we recommend refinishing your floors only when it’s apparent that they need it, and not just for the sake of change.

Hardwood Floor Care and Maintenance

The most important step for basic hardwood floor care is to regularly vacuum, sweep or dust mop the floors to remove dirt and objects that can cause scratching. If there’s a risk that your vacuum might scar the floor’s surface, use the brush attachment connected to your appliance. Always wipe up any spills or mud right away, even if your floor is protected with a polyurethane finish.

Humidity levels can affect hardwood flooring, especially if they vary drastically. It’s best to keep the relative humidity between 35% and 55%, if possible, using a humidifier or dehumidifier as needed. If you notice shrinkage, cracks, cupping, or buckling, you may need to regulate the humidity in your home.

To properly clean your hardwood floor, it’s important to know what kind of finish is present: is it a polyurethane/other surface finish or a wax/penetrating stain finish? Polyurethane floors should never be waxed, and wax finished floors need to be periodically buffed to keep the shine. When buffing no longer brings back the shine, it’s time to wax. Polyurethane floors can be lightly damp mopped, provided the water is not allowed to stand. A waxed floor should never be mopped regardless of how wet the mop is.

When mopping hardwood floors with a polyurethane finish, use warm water and a small amount of dish washing liquid or wood cleaner. Make sure you are using a damp mop and not a wet one; be sure to wring out the mop well before applying it to the floor. Try to mop with the grain as much as possible, and wipe up any excess water with a soft cloth, polishing the hardwood floors as you go. Avoid using products with ammonia, vinegar, or abrasive cleaners. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer or installer of your floors what products and methods to use for cleaning.

Regular Cleaning

Through your daily traffic in the house, you may notice that your flooring surfaces may begin to dull slightly. This is most likely as a result of residual dirt tracked into the house by your family or your pets. A good procedure to clean your floors in an efficient and proper manner is to initially sweep the area with a soft bristle broom. It is important to examine the broom’s bristles before starting, as some brooms are not appropriate for some surface areas and can also scratch or mar the finish. It is best to try the broom on a small area of the floor first to insure that it’s not damaging the floor in any way.

Next, mix a solution of mild soap and water, preferably on the lighter side of the soap to insure a non-slip surface is maintained. Using a soft sponge mop, evenly mop the entire surface area until clean, and then let the area air dry. If this procedure is maintained on a regular basis, you will certainly prolong the beauty of your floors for a very long time. Beyond this, there are other steps that can be taken less frequently that can add life and beauty to your floors, such as floor treatments.

Monthly Floor Treatment

Floor treatments are widely available cleaning products specifically designed to add luster and shine, all while conditioning your hardwood floors. While these products are excessive to use on a weekly basis, it is certainly reasonable to treat your floor to this process every month or so, depending on traffic, and the simple steps needed to do so are well worth the effort. Be sure to verify the contents and application procedures for your specific product, and should any questions arise, refer to your local home products retailer for further advice. Sometimes mixtures/concentrates can vary from brand to brand, so be sure to check the label for mixture directions.

Many conditioning products available today are offered in a full strength version, which can be sprayed, either by aerosol or pump, directly onto your floor, then mopped dry with a clean dry rag or mop. It is typically in your best interest to follow your routine cleaning procedures prior to the application, to insure that no foreign objects can be collected by the rag or mop and cause scratching or marring. Once the area is cleaned and prepped, spread the product evenly over the entire area. Work backwards toward the opening of the room and gently buff the area clean. Doing this every month or so is perfectly safe for your floor’s finish and will add that desired effect of longevity and beauty to your home.

Annual Floor Sealing

Every year or so, it is a good idea to seal and condition your hardwood floors. This a simple procedure, completed with products that are also readily available, and can be done in an afternoon. When shopping for a floor sealer, be sure to check the contents and verify there are no dyes contained in the product. While dyes may be appropriate for tinting a floor’s finish, in this application, you want to retain the natural color of the floor and preserve the factory finish. Clean and prep the entire floor surface properly before getting started.

Begin sealing your floor by applying liberal amounts of bottled sealer to a localized area of the floor. With a clean mop or rag, begin brushing the sealer evenly one section at time, and allow ample time for the sealer to dry. Once the sealer is dry, it’s time to buff the area. This simple procedure consists of rubbing a clean, soft rag in a circular manner across the entire surface of the treated area. Take time during this process to step back, and try to align your sight evenly with the floor to verify that all the sealer has been properly removed and buffed out. If this is done properly, it should provide a clean, clear improvement on your floor’s original finish.

Following these steps will drastically extend the life and beauty of your hardwood floor. Because every floor is different, it’s always best to confer with your home improvement store professionals regarding product solutions that best fit your application. While general floor cleaner is appropriate in most cases, also be sure to check with the manufacturer of your floor’s finish before applying any chemical agents; failing to do so could adversely affect the condition and the life of the floor.

Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor

If you find your hardwood floors need a repair, clean your floor thoroughly first and assess the situation.

Sand the floor down where it needs to be repaired.

Wear a dust mask and buff out the area where the damage is. Dust flies around so a dust mask is vital to protect your lungs.

There will be dust all over the floor boards use that as a guideline for the surface area to cover.

Leave it to sit for a while, about a half hour should be good.

When you return to the floor, vacuum up the dust and sweep clean. You can dry tack the floor using a microfiber cloth.

Apply a finish to the floor with a paintbrush and cut in along the edges.

Working quickly – apply the finish with a roller and apply it to the rest of the floor where you are refinishing.

Allow to dry for a solid 3-5 hours time. You should put back any furniture after a day to be sure nothing gets scratched on the freshly refinished hardwood floor!

When to refinish

If floors have deep scratches or stains that have penetrated the polyurethane finish, or discoloration due to sunlight or age, refinishing is necessary to restore the wood’s beauty and protect it from drying and cracking.

Refinishing hardwood floors is a complex process that should only be undertaken by a professional or very skilled DIYers. It’s very easy to damage your floors through improper use of equipment or the application of the wrong finish. We frequently get frantic calls from well-meaning homeowners who believe they’ve ruined their floors. We can almost always fix the mistakes, but why take the chance?

Floor refinishing requires a heavy sanding to remove all finishes and to take off enough wood to remove scratches and discolorations. We use a dustless sanding process that removes nearly 100% of dust from the air.

After sanding, the floors are stained and then we apply the recommended number of coats of polyurethane, allowing each coat to dry completely and lightly sanding before adding the next (to promote adherence of the coats).

After the final coat is complete, you’ll need to wait a day before you (or your pets) can walk on your new floors. If you choose a waterbase polyurethane, you can “lightly” walk on your floors the same day. Furniture can be placed on the floors at this time, but you should wait to replace rugs for at least one week.

Now’s The Time For A Kitchen Remodeling

Surprising Benefits of Renovating Your Kitchen

Renovating the kitchen can be an amazing experience, and has the power to breathe new life into your old kitchen layout. Renovating the kitchen helps homeowners in many ways, other than improving the look of the house.  The national average return on investment for a kitchen remodel is almost 54%.  That means if you spend $21,000 on a kitchen renovation, you can expect to recoup about $17,000!


If your kitchen is older, dated or has just seen better days, it’s probably a good idea to start gathering estimates for a remodel.  Remodeling costs can vary depending on where you live, what you need and the choice of fixtures and finishes you use.   Whether you are looking for a full-on renovation or remodeling of certain parts of the kitchen, there are a certain number of benefits that come with the renovations

Improves Functionality

An intentional galley kitchen notwithstanding, older kitchens tend to have dated, claustrophobic layouts.  You might want to consider taking down non-load bearing walls for a more open floor plan, or relocate appliances for better functionality.  A U or L shaped kitchen layout is  most practical for home chefs, with a single wall of cabinets and center island a close third.  Overall, you’re looking to add space, ease of use and organization.

Reduces Energy Costs

Unless you have new-ish appliances (say, post early 90s), you might want to consider upgrading your appliances to Energy-Star rated appliances.  According to energystar.gov, “A dishwasher that has earned the ENERGY STAR gets your dishes clean while using less water and energy, and costs about $35 a year to run. On average, U.S. households run their dishwashers about 4 times per week, for a total of over 200 times per year.”.

Improves Sustainability

As you upgrade your appliances to the energy efficient appliances, you will also make the kitchen eco-friendly. Consider using sustainable building materials like bamboo, salvaged wood and other recyclable materials as options for your countertops, cabinets and even flooring.  Places like Habitat for Humanity Restore has lots of recycled building materials for a steal, too.

Must Have Kitchen Features

see a lot of homes and a lot of kitchens. It’s amazing how many new or recently done kitchens walked into that didn’t include some pretty basic features. Things that think about in every design do. So going to share thoughts on “must haves” for any kitchen renovation. If you’re preparing for a kitchen update make sure you’re considering these elements.

Trash & Recycle Drawer

I’ve already mentioned the trash drawer and that’s definitely something include in every kitchen design. If space allows recommend an 18” wide, with a pullout and a drawer above. It will hold your trash and recycling tucked out of site, but easily accessible. It is best placed near the sink. They are also available in a 15” base cabinet which is very functional in a smaller kitchen.

Pantry Cabinet

a walk is amazing, but live in with a lot of older homes and not many of them have the space for a walk in. Pantry cabinets are a great solution. They are usually a full height cabinet. highly recommend you get one with pull out shelves otherwise items in the back will get lost and you’ll end up with 20 of something and none of something else (the something else being what you need to make dinner tonight). Read post on pantries for more on their layout and organization.

Drawers, Drawers and more Drawers!

Drawer cabinets are more expensive, but more and more kitchens are moving towards them because they function so much better. Just like the pantry pullout you don’t have to worry about stuff getting lost in the back, they drawers allow for easier access and better organization.

Built In Microwave Cabinet

Many homeowners and investors put the microwave above the stove to save space. highly recommend finding another location within your kitchen layout to build it in. You can even put it in your pantry cabinet! Click on the photos for more inspiration.

biggest kitchen renovation traps

The kitchen is at the heart of every home, so ideally it’s a functional space and an appealing one too. It should come as no surprise that kitchens are reportedly the most renovated space in homes. An updated kitchen is also a great way to add value to your home when it comes time to sell.

Poor kitchen design

Your kitchen’s design will determine both its functionality and appeal, so it’s important to strike a good balance between the two in the planning stages. Otherwise you’ll end up with an impractical kitchen that looks good – or an effective kitchen that doesn’t suit the style and character of your home.

DIY overwhelm

Depending on your skill level and the extent of the kitchen renovation, it’s certainly possible to successfully renovate your own kitchen, especially for cosmetic renovations like replacing wall tiles and grout, painting and even installing cabinetry.

Prioritising style over function

You want your newly renovated kitchen to look good, of course, and to appeal to potential buyers in the future. But for it to be effective as well as attractive, there are some necessary functional elements to consider.

Making changes after work begins

Ideally you’d be 100% happy with the design of your new kitchen before the work starts to avoid extra costs from changes you make during the project. The best way to achieve this is to have open communication with the builder from the get-go

Kitchen Remodeling

The kitchen is the heart of a home. Why not make the time you spend in the space as enjoyable and stress-free as possible with our functional and innovative kitchen renovation services?

Step Kitchen Renovation Process

As experienced home remodeling professionals, we understand just how much potential there is in your kitchen. Whether you’re interested in making a few minor changes or a major kitchen overhaul–we’ll help you take your cooking and food preparation space from good to great with our four-step kitchen renovation process

Consultation: Before we get started, we’ll need to meet with you to discuss exactly what it is that you’re looking for in a kitchen remodel. To prepare, we recommend you browse through magazines, books and other publications for inspiration. It is also important that we discuss up-front your budget for the project, as that will impact the initial planning, scope of work, scheduling, finish selection, etc.

Measurements: Our home remodeling professionals will schedule an on-site visit to take measurements of your kitchen cabinets, counters, fixtures, etc. We will also assess in this phase any limitations or restrictions we may encounter in the implementation of your kitchen remodel.

Design: We will create a kitchen design plan that incorporates all of the things we discussed in our initial consultation as well as those features we feel will help you maximize your use of the space. You will have the opportunity to look over our suggested color palette and cabinet colors, and make decisions regarding flooring, tile, backsplash and countertop materials for your kitchen remodel. You will also be introduced to our approach to environmentally-sustainable construction and green building practices.

Implementation: Once we have your final approval, we will move forward with the implementation of your kitchen remodel. Prep work differs based on the scope of the renovation project. However, we recommend that for added ease and convenience you empty your cabinets of all their contents and establish a temporary kitchen elsewhere in the house where you can heat up food, make coffee, etc.

Kitchen remodel – your favorite thing

planning a major kitchen/mushroom/family room overhaul. (Best as I can tell current situation las updated in early 70s, including appliances-it’s time!) are casual cooks – have youngish kids, a busy schedule, a conservative budget, and overall NOT a pristine household. Wets rely entertain these days, but I’m hoping to do more, as I love a casual dinner with friends. are working with an architect and I have read just about every book/magazine about kitchens that is out there. So I feel are getting good professional advice.

Everyone- many thanks for all your comments and ideas. It’s like you all let me peek into your kitchens (and mudrooms) and take notes. I really appreciate it. As always

Big powerful hood so the fire department doesn’t stop, by knife block drawer, big butcher block cutting boards cut to fit space beside stove, wok burner/large stock pot bunker, under counter plug strips appliances away Deep sink

My kitchen remodel is 20 years old now and I’m due for another one soon. Things I’m glad I did include a wall of open shelving (not common at the time). It took me a while to figure out how to make it both functional and beautiful, but now it’s a lovely focal point that makes me happy. I included a small tv in a cabinet, which was essential. I don’t have access to a window, and the tv keeps me company while I work.

I did cream colored subway tiles and cabinets, wainscoting,a tin ceiling and green marble. It’s a color combination that works well and I’m going to repeat it the next time.

Long Distance Moving Some Points To Consider

Ideas For A Smooth Long-Distance Move

We all know about turning on the utilities at the new place and filling out the change-of-address form for the postal service, but when you make a long-distance move, some other things come into play that can make getting from here to there a bit trickier.

Maximize space in the moving van. Moving cross-country is not cheap, so it’s important to make the most of the space in your truck

If you don’t love it or need it, there’s no sense in bringing it with you — that space in the truck is money!

Simply leave the clothes and linens folded inside your dresser and wrap up the furniture. Does this make them heavier? Yes. But as long as the drawers are filled with lightweight items (definitely not books), it should be fine. And if not, you (or your helpers) can carry the drawers out separately. The benefit is twofold: You need fewer boxes, and it will be easier to find stuff when you move in.

Fill heavy-duty black garbage bags with soft items (duvets, pillows, stuffed animals), then use the bags as space fillers and cushioning inside the truck. To keep items clean and protected, double the bags and tie, then tape, them shut. Use a permanent marker on sticky labels applied to the outside to note the contents.


At this point, there’s a good chance you’re almost there: you’ve purchased your new home, sold your current home, and have a new school picked out for the kids. Now there’s just one critical step left: the actual move.

You’ve taken care of all those major steps you need to cover in a long distance move, but often the most  mistakes are made on the simplest things

Forgetting to Bring an Overnight Bag

A lot can happen over the course of your long-distance move – movers aren’t perfect. In rare cases, unexpected delays come up in the move. Or, more likely, everything will be delivered right on time, and you might not want to unpack all those boxes just to find a pair of clean underwear.

Forgetting Mover’s Insurance

Before your move, be sure to check your mover’s insurance. Depending on who you use, it may cover partial damage, total, or none at all. You don’t want to find this out when it’s too late.

Forgetting Things the Movers Don’t Move

Certain things will be transported by your moving company, others are left to the homeowner to take care of. For things like wine collections, firearms, or items like a BBQ, double check with your movers who will be moving what. After all, those items may not be very comfortable to drive with across for long distances.

Relocation Across the Nation: Long Distance Moving Tips

If you’re moving across the country, it’s going to take a lot of planning and preparation. With so much to think about it can be easy to miss something important. Make sure you have everything in covered with these helpful long distance moving tips.

Moving is stressful, but moving across the country is liable to turn anyone’s hair gray. If you’re one of the many considering The Great Move, planning is necessary for a smooth journey and an ideal landing. But how do you even begin to plan for hauling your things across the states?

Check Out the Area

Before making any definite plans, check out the area. Although many people can’t afford to purchase a plane ticket and take a few days off of work, the Internet is a handy tool for getting the feel of a neighborhood.

Get Moving Estimates

Speak to multiple moving companies to find the best deal. Sites like ours make this process convenient. All you have to do is enter in your moving information once, and several top-rated moving companies will call you with quotes for easy comparison.

To avoid having your items held hostage, always follow these pointers:

Research the moving company

Check credentials by confirming the company’s US Department of Transportation registration number, which is required in 28 states

Confirm the company’s insurance and ask how you would be compensated if something breaks

Get everything in writing

Useful Tips for Preparing a Plan for Long Distance Moving

The importance of preparing in advance is even more obvious when moving long distance some factors come into play that don’t feature when moving between neighbourhoods within one city.

Other than packing your belongings, what issues may come with moving long distances. put together a brief list of tips that can help you get your long distance moving strategy right.

Redistribute The Hoard – We all like to hold onto things, usually because of the memories they evoke. Your first set of golf clubs, which has lain in the closet for the past decade long usurped by a newer and luckier set. Do you really need it? Consider these 3 simple questions:

Do I use it? – If you have not used it in the last 12 months, let it go.

Do I need it? – See above, though there may be special circumstances worth considering.

Will I wear it? – You’ll hardly need 2 or 3 heavy coats if you’re moving to a warmer climate.

Order Home Inspections – Don’t forget to have your new home inspected for any issues. That last thing you need is to arrive at your new home only to find a raft of defects making moving in difficult. This needs to be done about 4 to 6 weeks in advance of your move, to give enough time for issues to be resolved.

Know Your Floor Plans – Most properties are advertised in square footage, but that does not necessarily reflect the actual size as it doesn’t take into account some built-in features. For example, a large kitchen might take away from the size of a living room, which means less space for your furniture. Study the floor plans of your new home well in advance of you long distance moving date. That way, you can decide if there is any furniture that can’t fit and you should sell.



expedited long-distance moves, the same professional move team who moves your belongings out of your home will drive those items to your new location and unload them.

This allows a quick delivery to your new home. Unlike other long-distance carriers who cannot guarantee arrival time, provide you with an exact date for arrival at your new location. This provides you the freedom to plan your travel accordingly and assures you that your belongings will be there when you expect and need them.

long-distance services put you first, and will keep you updated every step of the way. The truck that is transporting your belongings is tracked using GPS, so know the exact location of your belongings at all times. The best part? Your items are the only ones on the truck! You will not share space with any other customers’ belongings, keeping them secure and safe in route to your new home.

Secrets You Must Know To Choose A Good Wedding Photographer

How do I ask my wedding photographer for discounts?

It’s the conversation that follows after that bomb is dropped that determines whether or not I choose to walk away from the conversation.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, part of the process of you interviewing your vendors is that they are also interviewing you.  Very few vendors will let themselves be insulted in such a way; many may walk away from interviews because they don’t feel the connection with the potential client and have no interest in developing a professional relationship with them.

For many vendors, especially those in the arts (such as photographers and videographers), this type of statement is particularly offensive as our products are a direct result of our time and talent.  When a client asks a photographer, videographer or any other type of artist for a discount, it further implies that although they love our talent, they don’t deem our time worthy of the rate we charge.  Although they may not be stating that directly; asking for discounts, bargaining or negotiating implies these types of statements which is why many vendors and etiquette experts consider bargaining and negotiating a faux-pas.

It should be pretty obvious to you now that bargaining will always come with a risk; but, if you insist on bargaining with your wedding vendors, there are several very important things you need to remember.

1.  Don’t be rude!

It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, I’m still truly shocked when I hear a potential client ask “So, is that the best you can do?”.  I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out what their logic is when it comes to asking such a bold question; do they think my prices are only a mere suggestion?  Do they think that I’ll simply lower a price because they asked?  Do they believe that they’re doing me a favour by hiring me and that, as a result, I should simply give them a discount (not realizing that there’s often several other inquiries about every available date)?  Maybe someone can help shed some light on this for me.  Don’t forget the old adage; you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  Even if your vendor was willing to bargain ever so slightly, being rude about it will shut the doors to that opportunity immediately!

2.  Don’t compare apples to oranges!

Professional wedding vendors are, for the most part, small businesses.  We are not big chain stores that make billions a year; therefore, we don’t operate like big chain stores.  Asking a vendor to price match or service match to another vendor is a bad idea; we are all independetly run small businesses and our behind-the-scenes operations can vary tremendously which is why we all have different services and pricing structures.

3.  Understand that you’re not doing the vendor a favour by hiring them!

A professional and established vendor typically has multiple requests for wedding day services.  Some vendors such as cake designers, can deliver multiple products to multiple clients on the same day; while other vendors, such as photographers, as limited to 1 client per day.  At a consultation, don’t act like you’re doing the vendor a favour by wanting to hire them and don’t use that as leverage for asking for a discount; chances are the vendor has already received other requests about that same day and you’re simply one of the potential clients they will be interviewing.

4.  Understand that not all vendors are willing to negotiate and you need to accept that.

Yes, there may be some vendors who are willing to negotiate.  Perhaps you’ve stumble upon a vendor who has had a difficult time getting bookings recently and is willing to provide their services for less as they’d rather work for less than not work at all – if that’s the case, consider yourself lucky if they’re still in business by the time your wedding rolls around.  When and if you find a vendor who will negotiate, you must ask yourself why they are willing to negotiate.  If their desperation for business drives their willingness to bargain, then you’ll have to seriously consider of they are a wise return on your investment.  If a vendor makes it clear that they are not willing to negotiate or bargain and you consider this unacceptable, simply walk away – there’s no need to waste anyone’s time further.

5.  Do your research; are you already receiving a discount?  If so, don’t ask for more!

Many vendors offer both A la Carte services as well as complete wedding packages.  Vendors will offer both types of services because their clients needs will vary; however, packages services are often built on a “buy more/save more” foundation which means they may already be discounted compared to the A la Carte pricing.  When looking at your vendors prices, always check to see if you’re already receiving a discount by buying a package verses A la Carte services.  If you’re already receiving a discount by buying a particular package; don’t ask for a further discount (your vendor will not discount a discount!)

How to ask your photographer for a discount:

  • If you think the price is expensive, ask yourself what you are comparing to. Is this particular photographer more expensive than another? If so, compare their portfolios, their experience, etc.  Or is it possible that you just had a lower number in your mind when you started price shopping?  Which is totally fine if that happened, you did nothing wrong by expecting it to be less.  But now that you’ve been given a number different from what you expected, try to figure out if your expectation was within range of the value of the service in the market.  Look at pricing from several other photographers with portfolios you like—if there’s a trend, chances are your expectations were off, and that’s okay.  Now adjust your budget or the project accordingly.
  • If you’re going to ask the photographer for a discount, start with asking if they have any existing discounts or a time of the year when they run a promotion. Some wedding photographers, for example, have lower rates for times when business is slower for them, such as during the winter, Thursdays, or Fridays.  Be prepared to give a little if you want to take a little.  Asking for a discount is asking for something for nothing, so you might have to adjust your own plans to make the price you want work.
  • groupThink about “what’s in it for them.” Photographers are small business owners.  They only offer discounts when they can get something legitimately good for their business in return.  Something that makes less work for them they might do for less money.  For example, I have a standing 2-at-once headshot discount where if 2 people come in for a headshot at the same time they each get 20% off their session.  This makes less work for me since I don’t have to schedule back and forth with 2 people for 2 different sessions when they come together, so I pass that time/effort savings onto them in the form of a discount.
  • Please remember that this person is a working professional who owns a small business, and asking them to do their work for cheaper with no good reason or incentive is, well, let’s just say it, insulting. Your boss wouldn’t say “your paycheck is going to be half what it usually is this week because your pay is not in our budget,” and if that did happen, how would you feel?  Just try to keep this person’s feelings in mind when asking for a discount.  Word it carefully and with respect.

Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer

You’ve poured your heart into planning your wedding, and you’ll want every meaningful moment captured in photos. But with a bajillion fab photographers in this world, how do you know which one is the right fit for you?

  • First, fall in love with their portfolio and style. Do your homework by researching online, checking out websites, galleries, reviews, social media, etc. to find a photographer whose work speaks to you.
  • Next, make sure you click with them on a personal level! You want a photographer that you could see yourself being friends with. The more at ease you are with them, the more natural and authentic your wedding photos will be. See how that works?

The Basics

  • Do you have my date available?
  • How far in advance do I need to book with you?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many weddings have you shot?
  • Have you done many that were similar to mine in size and style?

Photography Style

  • How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, fine-art, moody)?
  • How would you describe your working style?
  • TIP: The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what unfolds naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and setting up shots.
  • If your style is mostly candid, will I still get formal, posed portraits (and vice versa)?
  • Do you shoot weddings in digital, film format, or both?
  • Do you specialize in indoor or outdoor events, or both?

Pricing + Packages

  • How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due?
  • Do you offer payment plans?
  • What is your refund/cancellation policy?
  • Do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
  • What packages do you offer? This question covers things like:
    • Are your packages customizable?
    • How many hours are included in each package?
    • Do you include engagement photos in your packages? Rehearsal dinners?
  • Can you put together slideshows to be shown during the cocktail hour/reception?
  • Do you provide retouching, color adjustment, or other corrective services?
  • How long after the wedding will I get the proofs? Will they be viewable online?

What It Is Criminal Defense Attorney Society

Don’t Go It Alone! – Criminal Charges Require the Services of a Criminal Defense Attorney

What Will an Attorney Do for Me?

The truth is, no matter how smart or well educated you are, the criminal justice system makes it virtually impossible to do a competent job of representing yourself. Each criminal case is unique, and only a specialist who is experienced in assessing the particulars of a case—and in dealing with the many variables that come up in every case—can provide the type of representation that every criminal defendant needs to receive if justice is to be done.

Criminal defense lawyers do much more than simply question witnesses in court. For example, defense lawyers:

  • Negotiate “deals” with prosecutors, often arranging for reduced charges and lesser sentences. By contrast, prosecutors may be uncooperative with self-represented defendants.
  • Formulate sentencing programs tailored to a client’s specific needs, often helping defendants avoid future brushes with the criminal justice system.
  • Help defendants cope with the feelings of fear, embarrassment, reduced self-esteem, and anxiety that criminal charges tend to produce in many people.
  • Provide defendants with a reality check—a knowledgeable, objective perspective on their situation and what is likely to happen should their cases go to trial. This perspective is vital for defendants trying to decide whether to accept a prosecutor’s offered plea bargain.
  • Are familiar with important legal rules that people representing themselves would find almost impossible to locate on their own, because many criminal law rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state statutes and constitutions. For example, understanding what may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure often requires familiarity with a vast array of state and federal appellate court opinions.
  • Are familiar with local court customs and procedures that are not written down anywhere. For example, a defense lawyer may know which prosecutor has the real authority to settle a case and what kinds of arguments are likely to appeal to that prosecutor.
  • Understand the possible hidden costs of pleading guilty that a self-represented person might never think about.

What are some potential defenses?

In the area of criminal law, there are several potential arguments that can negate elements of a crime, especially the “intent” aspect.  Some of these include:

  • Mistake of Fact – “Making a mistake” in some cases can be an effective defense if the mistake is about a fact and is genuine.
  • Intoxication – In some jurisdictions, intoxication may negate specific intent.  For example, it could potentially reduce murder to manslaughter.
  • Self-Defense – This argument says that a defendant took reasonable action to protect themselves from harm.
  • Duress –  Someone “under duress” is forced into an illegal act.  The duress must involve the threat of immediate danger, serious injury or death.
  • Mental Disorder –  This refers to any mental condition that causes a person lack of understanding of the wrongfulness of an action, or an inability to conform one’s conduct to the law.

Criminal Law Basics: The System and Procedure

The criminal justice system encompasses the entire criminal process itself — from investigation and arrest to conviction and sentencing — and the people who play a role in that process. These include the accused, police officers, prosecuting attorneys, bail bondsmen, criminal defense attorneys, judges, witnesses, probation officers, and corrections officers.

At all stages of the criminal process, a person suspected of or charged with a crime is entitled to certain fundamental rights that derive from the U.S. Constitution and key court decisions. These include the right to an attorney and the right to a speedy jury trial. These constitutional rights provide a balance between the government’s interest in ensuring that criminal behavior is identified and punished, and the fundamental need to preserve and promote the individual freedoms that characterize a democratic society.

The Outcome: How Might a Criminal Case End?

The outcome of any criminal case depends upon the crime charged, the strength of the evidence, the legal validity of law enforcement and courtroom procedure, and the goals and strategy of the government and defense. When all is said and done, there may be no legal consequence for a person charged with a crime, because the charges are dismissed, or a full-fledged jury trial might result in a criminal conviction.

Some potential outcomes of a criminal case are:

  • A criminal investigation ends with no arrest.
  • A person is arrested and charged with a crime, then enters into a plea bargain with the government, agreeing to plead “guilty” in exchange for some form of leniency, such as a lighter sentence.
  • A person is arrested and charged, but before the case gets to a jury, the court dismisses it because the charges depend on evidence seized illegally by the police.
  • A person is brought to trial and found “not guilty,” or acquitted, by a jury.
  • A person is convicted by a jury and sentenced to a long prison term.

Do I Need a Lawyer When I’m Charged with a Crime?

Defendants charged with crimes are almost always best served by obtaining a lawyer. In fact, most criminal defendants are represented by a lawyer, especially when jail or a prison sentence is a possible result. It is very difficult for a person to competently handle his or her own criminal case. While there are no firm statistics on how many people choose to represent themselves in criminal cases, estimates range well below 1%.

The Power of the Prosecutor

For example, prosecutorial discretion—the power of prosecutors to decide whether to file criminal charges, and what charges to file— determines much of what actually happens in the criminal courts. The particular prosecutor who has the power to make decisions, and when those decisions are made, can greatly affect the outcome of a case. An act that looks on paper to constitute one specific crime can be recast as a variety of other crimes, some more and others less serious. What in a statute book appears to be a fixed sentence for a particular crime can be negotiated into a variety of alternatives.

Community Pressures

No one should underestimate the role that community pressures, values, and politics plays in many criminal cases. Judges must stand for re-election, prosecutors want to be successful, and police expect that the crime reports they bring to the prosecutor will result in charged cases. The public may be fired up about certain crimes and expect the system to “get tough” on people arrested for them. In a perfect world, the system would be immune from such pressures, but this is simply not what happens. Only someone who’s familiar with the local scene can know how these pressures might affect your case, and how to work within them.

Criminal Law Basics: The System and Procedure

The criminal justice system encompasses the entire criminal process itself — from investigation and arrest to conviction and sentencing — and the people who play a role in that process. These include the accused, police officers, prosecuting attorneys, bail bondsmen, criminal defense attorneys, judges, witnesses, probation officers, and corrections officers.

At all stages of the criminal process, a person suspected of or charged with a crime is entitled to certain fundamental rights that derive from the U.S. Constitution and key court decisions. These include the right to an attorney and the right to a speedy jury trial. These constitutional rights provide a balance between the government’s interest in ensuring that criminal behavior is identified and punished, and the fundamental need to preserve and promote the individual freedoms that characterize a democratic society.

Don’t Go it Alone: Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Understanding criminal law basics is just the beginning. A good lawyer may be able to negotiate a compromise with the prosecution for a less severe sentence for a particular person charged with a crime. An experienced, local criminal defense attorney can give you the best options for your case and defend you at trial.

Posted inLegal

Some Of The Pros And Cons Of Circuit Breakers

What is an automatic circuit breaker?

However, they all have one thing in common:

they are part of the electrical distribution box that interrupts the electrical circuit when a short circuit or overload occurs as a result of too high a current in the system.

Once a fuse, now an automatic circuit breaker

The purpose of a fuse is also to protect the wiring of electrical systems against damage caused by high electrical currents. The difference is that a fuse can ‘blow’ and as a result will need to be replaced. A fuse consists of an electrically conductive strip or wire of copper, silver or occasionally a copper alloy that melts when a short circuit or overload occurs. This can primarily be found in old systems.

With an automatic circuit breaker, the overload protection consists of two elements connected in series:

a magnetic circuit breaker that protects against short circuits;

a thermal circuit breaker that responds automatically to overload.

What about residual current?

An electrical system is therefore protected by an automatic circuit breaker against short circuits and overloads, but not against residual current (earth leakage). Therefore, in order to protect people against electrocution and to prevent fire as a result of current leakage, there is yet another type of circuit breaker.

Circuit breakers and their role in cooling volatility

What is a circuit breaker?

It is a trading curb imposed by stock exchanges whenever there is heightened volatility. Circuit breakers became important tools for exchanges and global market regulators to cool-off since the 1987 Wall Street crash. Whenever a stock hits the circuit breaker, trading is shut down for some time in that counter.

Are circuit breakers always signs of bad news?

A circuit filter can be triggered even if a stock or an index is gaining too much, too quickly. For instance, in 2009 Indian markets witnessed circuit breakers due to a sharp rally of over 10 per cent in a single session.

When is a circuit breaker triggered?

The first one is when the index rises or falls 10 per cent from its previous close. The second one is triggered at 15 per cent rise or fall, while the third one is activated at 20 per cent rise or fall. The mandatory cooling of period varies, depending on which circuit filter has been hit. It could be as low as 15 minutes if the 10 per cent circuit is triggered. On the other hand if the market hits say the 20 per cent circuit, trading will be halted for the rest of the session.

Which are the other factors that impact the cooling-off period?

Apart from which circuit has been triggered, the quantum of the cooling off period applicable also depends on at what time the circuit was triggered. If the market breaks the 10 per cent circuit before 1 pm during any session, trading will be halted for 45 minutes, like what was witnessed on Monday

The cooling off-period increases as we go to higher circuits. If a 15 per cent circuit is hit in a session before 1 pm, the trading is halted for 105 minutes while the cooling-off will only be 45 minutes in case the same is triggered between 1 pm and 2:30 pm.

Resiliency Concepts: The Circuit Breaker

It’s almost effortless to get started with Node. You can basically copy-paste an entire HTTP server into existence and then install an ODM and you’ve got your CRUD app ready to roll!

Resiliency and Chill

One of the biggest names in the industry when it comes to server resiliency design. They are extremely dedicated to designing robust systems that will serve us all seasons of any minute of the day! But what is this “resiliency” anyway?

If the power goes out and it continues to work, your system is resilient. If there is an equipment failure and the system keeps on going, it is even more resilient. If you hit it with a baseball bat and the system is still up… you get the idea.

Netflix defines the principles of resiliency as follows:

A failure in a service dependency should not break the user experience.

The API should automatically take corrective action when one of its service dependencies fails.

The API should be able to show us what’s happening right now, in addition to what was happening 15-30 minutes ago, yesterday, last week, etc.

The Circuit Breaker Pattern

The Circuit Breaker in software design is named after it’s equivalent in electrical engineering, where it serves as a switch designed to stop the flow of the current in an electric circuit. It is used as a safety measure to protect the circuit from overload or short circuit.

Fun Things To Do At Home During Circuit Breaker

We are slightly less than a month away till the end of Circuit Breaker. How have you been spending your extra time at home? There’s never been a better time to pick up a new hobby. We’ve come up with a list of hobbies that can improve the quality of your life as well as make staying home more fun!

Pick up new skills with free online courses

It’s the best time to learn new skills –  have you always wanted to learn a new language or learn practical skills such as creating a website or managing your personal finances? There are various online classes available for free to get you started.

If content creation or creative work is your thing, check out Skillshare. You can explore thousands of inspiring classes for creative people such as courses for Adobe software programs, fundamentals of DSLR photography, iPhone photography, building a Youtube channel from scratch and many more. Not sure if it’s what you’re looking for? They offer a 2-month free trial for their Premium account and you can choose to continue with or cancel the plan anytime after the trial is up.

surely you can go solo on this. Binge-watch some of our favourite series and movies like Money Heist, Suits, Billions, Kingdom, Extraction and more. Besides the entertainment value that series and movies bring us, always take some time to reflect on the messages behind the shows and be inspired too. Take a break from your hectic routine and fill your day with laughter (and perhaps even tears), they are the best medicine to release your emotions and stress that you may be feeling during this period.

Grab this chance to take your cooking/baking game to the next level. Cooking/baking at home saves money, contributes to healthier diets, brings joy, creates bonding opportunities and more!

Things We Didn’t Know We Needed Until The Circuit Breaker

After months of staying at home, you have probably realised that you’re missing some essentials that you didn’t know you needed until all the shops closed. We certainly have! From foldable laptop tables to hair-cutting scissors, here are eight things we didn’t know we needed until the circuit breaker.

A foldable laptop table

One of the biggest consequences of working from home? Neck pain. While setting up a permanent home office can go a long way in making your work more comfortable, those who are working from home only temporarily might not want to invest in a desk and chair. That’s where a foldable laptop table comes in handy. It’s a great short-term solution that allows you to work comfortably from almost anywhere

A yoga mat

While you might not be able to do your favourite sport anymore, there’s nothing stopping you from getting some exercise at home. If you’ve been doing HIIT since the circuit breaker started but don’t have a proper yoga mat on hand, you might have resorted to placing folded towels on the floor instead

A convection oven

It’s a fact that a lot of people don’t like cooking and have resorted to ordering takeout throughout the circuit breaker. However, takeout doesn’t have to be your only option! A convection oven can be a life-changer in this situation, making it easy to prepare frozen and even instant meals in your own kitchen.

A coffee machine

What’s a day at the (home) office without a good cup of coffee? Many of us wish we had equipped our homes with coffee machines before getting stuck inside, looking at Nespresso machines in particular. For those who can’t start the day productively without coffee, a coffee machine can come in especially handy when working from home, where motivation tends to be lower.