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Bathroom Renovations

Duties and Responsibilities of General and Building Contractors

A building contractor is someone with a wide range of duties and responsibilities when it comes to the construction of residences or businesses. This individual has a job that entails hard work and thorough review of many processes which accompany the building of structures. Many of the building contractor’s job duties and responsibilities will be discussed in the paragraphs which follow.
A building contractor is an individual who engages in the planning, developing and coordinating of activities which coincide with the building of structures. The building contractor is the individual who oversees the construction and ensures that all necessary measures are taken to result in the completed finished product.
There are many duties which a building contractor must complete on a daily basis in order to ensure that the construction project is completed in a timely and correct manner. The first duty of the building contractor is to implement a plan in which to carry out the construction project. This extends anywhere from hiring workers to developing a step-by-step timeline that the project will follow from start to finish
Although each and every building contractor is a little bit different from others, there are certain positive traits which comprise a good building contractor. Building contractors should also be good leaders. Lastly, building contractors should be individuals who can resolve issues in a quick and speedy fashion.
While on other side, A general contractor (translated into general contractor ) is a company or an individual who has a contract with other organizations or individuals (the principal) for the construction, the renovation or demolition of such a construction, a road or other structures and / or facility (in a general sense for the realization of a work).A general contractor is defined as if the work is the signatory of the contract or the prime contractor of the project.
A general contractor is responsible for the ways and methods used or to be used in design and execution of the work in accordance with the signed contract. The contract documents include, generally, the agreements on the budget, the general and special conditions and specifications of the project prepared by a professional designer such as an architect.A general contractor usually is responsible for supplying all materials, labor and equipment ( trucks and equipment ) and services necessary for completion or start of the project. To perform these tasks is common for the general contractor delegating part of the work to subcontractors (other persons or companies that specialize in particular jobs). These subjects are called subcontractors.A general contractor performing work for government agencies where they are referenced as a prime contractor. The entity that instructs the construction work occasionally chooses to play the role of general contractor.…

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Home Contractors

Design-Build – What it Really Means

So would you choose a two-legged stool over a three-legged one?

Okay, maybe that’s a silly question. But figuratively speaking, two-legged stools are awfully prevalent in the design-build realm these days.

There’s a common misconception out there that “design-build” equates to contractors that handle all design work in-house with staff designers or architects. Not so. While this inflexible model works for some projects, it’s poorly suited for others and can serve clients pretty badly.

Why? Because it reduces the three-legged stool of project development – client, designer and builder – to two. The result? Lack of balance.

Don’t get me wrong; the problem is not inherent to design-build. It’s with the warping of what the term really means.

“Design-build” actually refers to a project development strategy in which one entity brings architect, contractor and client together to foster collaboration. Done right, it’s a streamlined process that facilitates timely, meaningful input by all three “legs of the stool” resulting, ultimately, in a stronger final product.

Put another way, it’s about setting the conditions for effective advocacies. For a project to meet its full potential and really shine, it requires healthy, empowered advocacies from all three realms of project development:

The Designer: Advocates for the way a project’s spaces work and interact with one another, its volumetrics, and its aesthetics.

The Builder: Advocates for safety, efficiency, cost containment, and longevity of the building envelope.

The Client: Advocates for their needs now and in the future, financial realities, and for all the ways they want the building to serve them.

A good project development process brings all three of these advocacies around one table to work together, advocate for what is important to them, grapple for joint solutions, and ultimately craft a plan that is greater than the sum of its parts. We’re not talking about the first and easy solution here. It’s the hard-fought one that finally emerges, stronger in every way for the creative and dynamic process that the three advocacies have fostered and undergone. True collaboration.

The problem with design-build processes that tuck the architect’s function behind the contractor’s walls is that it’s no longer a three-way conversation. The weighing of architect and contractor concerns still happens, but behind closed doors, hidden from the client. In essence, the builder absorbs the design advocacy, digests it, and then communicates a simplified version for the client. The problem is obvious: real collaboration among the three advocacies can no longer happen.

For smaller, simpler projects, that can be okay – updating bathroom surfaces, a door and window swap, straightforward cabinet replacement, the deck out back. But with more complex projects like full kitchen and bathroom remodels, attic additions, basement renovations, whole house remodels and new homes, the client deserves (and really requires) strong, independent voices to fully represent all advocacies.

So should contractors use the design-build model? Emphatically, yes! But project development should be done on a stable, three-legged structure. It’s the best way to live up to John Ruskin’s admonition: “When we build, let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for.”…

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Home Remodeling

Braided Rugs and Hardwood Flooring

By the time you have passed through the post wood flooring installation phase, where all you want to do is just stare at it and admire the effect it has had on the look and feel of your home, it will be time to start thinking about some area rugs. Yes, they will hide portions of your new oak or walnut hardwood flooring, but they will also protect it and tie in other elements of your d?�cor.
One of the most popular types of rug for wood flooring is the one that our early ancestors used back in colonial times, the braided rug. You may even be lucky enough to have one of these treasures that was hand-made by your grandmother or by those even longer ago. Many of these family heirlooms have been passed down for years.
Much like they did with quilts, past generations didn’t believe they had the luxury of throwing things away like we seem to think we can today, and so they used worn out clothing and bedding to make braided rugs to cover the cold wood floors of the family cabin. Women worked together, mothers, daughters and grandmothers creating the same rug.
Once mass manufacturing came along, machines took over doing most of the projects that had once been done by hand. The art of rug braiding did experience somewhat of a revival late in the twentieth century. By then the nostalgia for simpler times when quality mattered more than quantity led to many of the older crafts making a comeback. Today, while most braided rugs are manufactured using machines, there are those who braid by hand. Those looking for that perfect rug can have one commissioned in the shape, color and style that will uniquely fit their home.
If hand-made is not a priority for you, it is still possible to get find beautiful, quality-constructed braided rugs in just about any price range. There are two basic types; cloth braided and yarn braided rugs. Those made from yarn are far more common and few manufacturers deal with cloth anymore. Both types, unlike the ones made in earlier times, consist of an inner core composed of filler material around which is wrapped yarn or cloth. This filler core reduces the amount of cloth or yarn needed which brings down the cost of production. Higher-end rugs will have filler of cotton, preferably natural and pre-shrunk or a synthetic fiber. Paper or some sort of reprocessed material will be found in cheaper brands.
Something you might want to consider before heading to your local rug outlet or buying online. You may not be one of the more fortunate ones whose family passed one of these treasures along, but lots of families had them. Many have ended up in flea markets and second hand stores. In the end, we all share a common history. Who’s to say that a hand-made, braided rug found in one of these places doesn’t have a story to tell that you might be interested in?…

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Room Additions

Winterize Your House to Lower Your Insurance Risks and Maintenance Costs!

Winter is quickly approaching. I recently wrote an article that gave several tips about how to minimize insurance risks when driving in cold weather. But what can we do if we just want to stay snug in our own homes?

As you might expect, there are several things that can be done to make homes more comfortable and safe during the winter. An added benefit is that by winterizing your house and planning for cold weather, you will also reduce your risk of having to file an insurance claim that may (or may not) be covered by your homeowner insurance.

If we start from the inside of the house and work our way out, here are a few tips to consider. If you believe that your heating bill is too high, have a heating contractor check the amount of insulation in the home’s attic and walls. There are also services that can take an infrared picture of your home to see where heat is escaping.

Having a house properly insulated can offer immediate savings on heating bills. An inspection of insulation can also reveal other maintenance issues (such as damage by animals) that are much less expensive to correct if remedied early.

Check doors and windows. Trying to raise the temperature outside of your home by using your furnace is not a good idea. If you have cracks around doors or windows that can be sealed by caulking or weatherstripping, then heat from your home is escaping through those cracks.

Inspect all water pipes. Take immediate steps to prevent pipes that may be exposed to the cold from freezing. Although water damage caused from a frozen ruptured pipe may be covered by homeowner’s insurance, the inconvenience and cost of repairing a flooded basement when it’s 20 degrees below zero is something all homeowners would like to avoid.

Space heaters used in the home have a much higher hazard risk than central heat.

Clean and seal air ducts. Furnace air ducts that are coated with dust or have gaps are inefficient and will prevent your furnace from operating at maximum efficiency.

Furnace maintenance. Have your furnace checked every few years (or anytime you think that there may be a problem) by a heating professional. If you have an old furnace, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Replace your furnace filter. Consider replacing an old thermostat with a newer programmable thermostat. The potential savings could easily be more that the cost.

Test your smoke alarms to make sure they are working. Many fire deaths in the US are the result of smoke inhalation. Unfortunately, if the smoke alarms don’t go off when they should, there is a high probability that by the time the fire department arrives, it may be too late; not only for the house, but for the occupants.

Chimneys and wood stoves. If you use a wood stove, have your chimney swept. Just a small buildup of creosote in your chimney can greatly increase the chances of a chimney fire. Make sure that your chimney is not obstructed and that unwanted pests have not made your chimney their home.

Roof and gutters. An ice dam can occur when water freezes on a roof or in gutters. This usually causes shingles to be pushed up. Then water gets under the shingles and eventually finds its way into the house.

Reduce your risk by cleaning all gutters to remove leaves that may have accumulated in the fall. Recall past winters. If you have noticed icicles or a buildup of ice on your roof, consider those to be warning signs. Have a qualified contractor assess the situation and/or consider installation of roof ice melt cables

Shut off (and if necessary), drain water to outside faucets.

Drain, coil, and store all hoses used outside during warm weather.

Control ice and snow on walks and steps. As a homeowner, you are responsible for the safety of your family and your guests. Slips and falls are a major risk during the winter. Remove snow as soon as possible and place deicer on areas subject to foot traffic.

Vacations. When on vacation, have a family member or someone you trust stop by your home to check on it every so often. Reduce the heat in the home (probably to the mid 50 degree range). Make a list of emergency numbers that can be called in the event of some type of unexpected occurrence. Stop delivery of items to the house that could indicate you are not at home.

Remember to winterize all gas home maintenance accessories that you own. Run the accessory (lawn tractor, leaf blower, lawn mower, chain saw, etc.) until it is out of gas or add an appropriate amount of gas stabilizer to the tank. In cold weather, gas can …

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Basement Remodeling

Reasons to Purchase Hardwood Flooring

1. When buyers go out to shop for houses, they always put a lot of interest in the durability of the floors in the house. Most often than not, hardwood floors make a positive impact on the buyers. This is mostly due to its durability. It will be but normal to find a floor that has lasted well over a hundred years. This is one important characteristic of hardwood floors. They do not need constant replacement, and maintenance is not difficult in the least.
2. There are several wood types you can choose from when it comes to picking out the type of wood to be used for your flooring. Some examples are: Brazilian cherry, American cherry, maple, white oak, walnut, birch, bamboo, red oak and ash. Indeed, there are also some well known manufacturers of hardwood floors, some of which are: Kahrs, Mannington, Shaw, Bruce, Mohawk, Columbia, etc. Furthermore, there are three types of hardwood which are unfinished, prefinished and finished hardwood.
3. The most durable of all flooring would be the exotic hardwood. Check out the durability of bridges that were constructed with wood and are still strong till date.
4. You flooring will be unique considering that each and every tree has its very own unique pattern. What’s better than obtaining something you alone will own.
5. Hardwood floors are warmer than any other type of floor. This affords you the chance to freely walk barefooted in your house.
6. There is a huge variety of colors ranging from pale to darker shades. You can choose freely.
7. Any person that has trouble with dander, dust or dust mite allergies will enjoy hardwood flooring more than any other floor covering. This is because there will be no such thing as accumulated dust that needs vacuuming like is the case with carpeting.
8. The use of a contractor during installation of your floor is a good idea. However, it is quite easy to install hardwood floors by yourself.
9. Furthermore, hardwood floors are one of the easiest floor coverings to clean. Damage is very much repairable.
10. These floors don’t come cheap. Nevertheless, with a little research and some asking around, you could get to some discounts that will help keep your budget on the lower side. Although synthetic wood costs less, it does not quite give you everything that the real wood does. Don’t stop at the first hardwood you see, do online and on-the-field research to get the best deal you can get.…

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Home Repair

Advantages of Solid Oak Flooring

Solid oak flooring offers real advantages when you come to renew the floors in your home. There is no doubt that replacing your old floor is a big decision and that it is one that is important to get right. A mistake that many people make when it comes to renewing their floors is that they assume because real oak floorboards are expensive that other options are a better choice. In this article I hope to show you the real long term benefits of choosing solid hardwood flooring and the advantages of oak in particular.
As already noted solid oak flooring is expensive. The main reason for this is that hardwoods grow slowly and take a long time to replace. Some people believe that softwood flooring is just as useful and is obviously much cheaper. The problem with softwood is that as the fibers are less dense the surface of the boards mark easily and in time can look scruffy. Hardwoods on the other hand due to their superior density mark far less and will wear well over time.
Another option that looks cheap on the face of it is installing laminate flooring. The problem here is that there is not any solid wood in laminate at all. It is merely recycled wood chips bound together by glue. If laminate becomes damp it will separate and warp. Solid oak flooring on the other hand is resistant to damp as it is a dense wood, but also due to it being a solid material it will not tend to split unless it is seriously abused. Aside from laminates propensity to split and warp there is another issue to contend with and that is surface marking. If a laminate board is deeply scored then there is little that can be done to restore it. A solid floorboard on the other hand can be re-sanded and a new finish applied.
Refinishing your floor brings me to my final point and it is this – real wood flooring can be sanded and refinished to suit taste and fashion several times without any adverse effects. This means that if this year you want a dark finish and next year you want a light one this can be achieved without the expense of purchasing a new floor and having to install it. Is solid oak flooring still expensive when you compare it with installing a laminate floor several times over the same period?…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Your Gym Flooring is a Great Pull Factor For the Users

In general, in most of the gymnasiums, gym flooring consists of special tiles that are made of rubber because you need to have a specific grip on the floor of the gymnasium. You must remember that there are many types and grades in rubber and the quality of the flooring largely depends upon the type or grade of the rubber used.
You get cheap gym mats also that are made with cheap, low-grade rubber or recycled rubber. It is not that gym mats made of recycled rubber will not be good. If other materials used along with this recycled rubber are good and a good vulcanization process is carried out, you will be able to convert these mats made with recycled rubber also into high quality mats. But, since urethane glues are used for gluing cheap mats, these glues emit a hazardous gas in the form of fumes. Even long after the installation of these mats, you will be forced to inhale this hazardous gas. Gymnasium is a place that is meant to provide good health to those who use it. If these users are subjected to the ordeal of breathing such dangerous gases, the very purpose of their using the gymnasium gets defeated.
An ideal option for a good gym flooring is using mats that are made from virgin rubber. Virgin rubber may have less of the usual unpleasant rubber smell. Rubber mats made with virgin rubber are more durable and are easy to clean. They have a good rebounding capacity. Even in most popular sports events like Olympics, mats made of virgin rubber are only used. The surface will not be slippery even in wet conditions. Such a surface is highly suitable even for highly agile activities like aerobics and floor exercises.
A gymnasium is considered ideal only if the gym flooring is good. While you choose flooring for your gymnasium, you should consider aspects like durability, maintenance and cost.
In some of the gymnasiums, vinyl and laminated floors are also laid. It is easy to clean vinyl flooring. Some experts opine that vinyl flooring is more durable than rubber gym flooring. The only disadvantage is that this flooring may peel. You can get gym flooring done using wood, bamboo, laminate wood and hardwood. But you should ensure that the specific grip required for gym activities is provided by the flooring.
Tile gym floors are also laid in some of the gymnasiums. These tiles are installed above a rubber surface so that noise is greatly reduced. If you use floor covers to protect your gym flooring, the floor will have a longer life. Your maintenance costs will also come down drastically.…