Key Measurements to Help You Design the Perfect Home Office
Even if you don’t work at home, your partner or your best friend probably does. The shift in communications and information technology has created a new work lifestyle that demands a home office. At minimum a home office should have a personal computer, a printer and modest file storage. Those who work mostly at home also will need a dedicated room they can close off for privacy. What do you need in your home office? A computer is just the beginning.
Consider your desk first. Think about whether the desk should float in the room, as here, be placed against a wall or be built in. The standard desk height is 29 to 30 inches (74 to 76 centimeters).
Freestanding desks range in size, but common dimensions are 48, 60 and 72 in. (122, 152 and 183 cm) wide and 24, 30 and 36 in. (61, 76 and 91 cm) deep. Get the largest desk that fits comfortably in your space, as you can never have enough work surface.
If you float your desk, leave at least 30 in. (76 cm) between your desk and wall or shelves behind it. On the other side of the desk, allow 48 to 60 in. (122 to 152 cm) for additional chairs and tables, if needed.
Desks Against a Wall
Your other option for a freestanding deck is to place it against the wall. If you place desks on opposite walls, keeping 54 to 66 in. (137 to 168 cm) between them works best. With this amount of space, you can get up from the chair and walk around it without being hampered by the other desk and chair.
Trade-Offs to Consider When Remodeling Your Kitchen
It would be great to have an unlimited budget for a kitchen renovation. But the fact is most of us do not. And that’s OK. Compromises of one form or another are part of the process, even for the rare homeowner who enjoys a bottomless budget and expansive square footage.
But how, exactly, do you decide between two compelling options with different pros and cons? The most critical tool to have on hand to help you make tough choices is a clear picture of your remodel goals. To get clarity on what matters most to you, read about some key trade-offs you and your kitchen designer will consider during your project
How Will You Use Your Kitchen?
When planning a kitchen remodel, you want to be very clear on how you want to use your new kitchen. Here is one example: I want to have people over more often. I want to feel relaxed when I entertain. In order to feel relaxed, I need to make sure that no one is in my way while I cook. I also want my kitchen to stay neat during the cooking process and be laid out so that cleaning up will be efficient.
Clear goals can help homeowners make decisions and, as the budget nears its limit, ultimately choose the options that will best support their goals. What matters most to you in a kitchen?
Daily Use vs. Special Events
This area of consideration has to do with how many people your kitchen will serve. From refrigerator storage to seats at the dining table, the number of people you want to accommodate will affect your design choices. You’ll want to consider not only how many people live in the home now, but — if this is your forever home — how many will live in it 10 years from now. Also, how often do you entertain and for how many people?
Steps to Get Ready for Kitchen Construction
There are two actions that come to mind as being the most important in getting ready for a construction project: Avoid denial, and prepare. Everything you need to do falls under one of these two categories. But how, specifically, can you prepare for the first day of construction? Here are the basic steps.
Make a List of Items You Need to Have Onsite When Construction Begins
Have you ordered the sink and faucet? Do you have your appliance delivery scheduled? The reason for this is that once work starts, life gets a little more chaotic — OK, a lot more chaotic. Things like ordering a sink will slip through your fingers, and you’ll find yourself scrambling when the contractor asks for something.
Establish Expectations With Your Contractor
This isn’t just about telling the contractor what you expect, this is also about the contractor and other professionals letting you know what are realistic expectations. This will make for a happier client and a more pleasant process overall.
Don’t forget to be nice to the neighbors and tell the contractor to do the same. Let the neighbors know you’re starting a construction project and that there will be crews around. Tell them to please let you know if they have issues. Noise, debris and blocking the street with deliveries are often issues that come up with neighbors.
Here are some things to consider and discuss with your contractor.
How long construction will last.
What you can do to guard against delays. Oftentimes this means having all the products onsite and not designing in the field and making changes.
Dust control. How will the construction be sectioned off from the rest of the house?
Debris removal. Are you getting a Dumpster, or will debris be stored in the garage and removed in phases?
Areas the crew can use. What will be the staging area for tools, cutting wood and tile? What bathroom facilities will be available?
Cleanup expectations. Some contractors clean up at the end of each day and others don’t. Communicate what you want but also understand that certain requests may mean more expense.
When you will have to be out of the house for the refinishing of floors, and for how long. What products will be used? Do they meet your expectations of low-VOC emissions?
Hours that are OK for the crew to work. Can they work Saturdays? Arrange for things like keys and alarm codes
When to Pick Kitchen Fixtures and Finishes
Many homeowners think designing a kitchen starts with choosing items like appliances, flooring, cabinet finishes, countertops, faucets and lighting — and to a point it does. But I try to keep my clients from worrying about many of these items until after the space planning is complete. The huge number of options can be distracting, and it can be overwhelming to make all these decisions at once. Getting overcommitted too early can stifle creativity and hinder your progress in getting the best kitchen design for your home.
For some, choosing kitchen fixtures and finishes is like being a kid in a candy store. They like everything and can’t stay focused on what’s right for the overall aesthetic or design. For others, it’s paralyzing. They get so worried about picking the wrong finish or fixture that they have trouble making decisions or focusing on other important aspects of the job at hand.
Even though we always start a kitchen remodel with inspiration photos to get an overall idea of what the client wants the kitchen to look like, I often shelve most of those until after the preliminary plans are complete. I view kitchen remodels as a series of small, layered choices. Here are some ideas for how and when to make them after space planning is complete.
Appliances, Sinks and Lighting
I recommend that clients select appliances and sinks during the preliminary design phase, which often comes before selecting the rest of the finishes and fixtures. This is so the plans can reflect the proper sizes, which will in turn affect the cabinetry layout.
Also, I recommend choosing the type and amount of lighting fixtures during this phase: cans, semi-flush mounts, how many pendants over the island and so on, in order to complete the lighting plans so the contractor to provide estimates. Most people haven’t actually picked what style pendant light yet, but at least the decision about number is done.
How to Pare Down and Organize Before a Home Remodel
When you’re embarking on a renovation project, it’s a good idea to clear as much space as possible before the chaos ensues. Think about what you want and need in your new room, and thoroughly declutter the area. Follow these tips for clearing, organizing and storing to ensure your building work creates as little upheaval as possible.
Start sifting through your cupboards and bookshelves. If you need to pack up a room or two, now is a great time to assess what’s lurking in the back of your cabinets
Pack frequently used items into transparent storage boxes. Label them clearly and move them to another room. They’ll be out of the way of dust and builders, but still easily accessible.
Consider Your Needs
If you’re planning an interior remodel to change the way you use your space, think about why you want to change the layout. Do you need a safe play area for young children, or maybe a small office space to facilitate working from home?
Provide your designer or architect with as much information as possible about how you want to use your space, so he or she can make it really work for you. A good professional will listen and provide a solution tailored to your requirements. In this dining area, for example, the designer has incorporated neat wine storage beneath the bench seating.
Hot Water Heaters
Hot Water and How to Heat It
There are several water-heating options available to you. While you are taking steps to save on home heating, don’t forget to see what you can do to lower your water heating costs. Check with your fuel supplier for more information, and consider alternatives to your current method.
Storage-type water heaters
Most homes have storage-type water heaters in which water in a tank is heated by a gas or oil burner or by electric elements. Traditional storage heaters have been improved with such features as through-the-wall venting for combustion units and better insulation, making them less expensive to operate. Units designed to give even greater efficiency are now available.
Instantaneous water heaters
Instantaneous water heaters which heat water as needed and have no storage tank are available, but not widely. They require little space, but they usually cost more than storage-type water heaters and more than one unit might be required to meet your needs. For electric instantaneous water heaters, upgraded wiring is often necessary.
Integrated (combination) hot water systems
Systems that combine space heating and water heating are becoming more popular. Water can be heated with a boiler or a storage-tank water heater. The hot water can be used for space heating as well as domestic hot water needs. Space heating methods include baseboard radiators, in-floor radiant heating and forced air heating when piped to an air handler. Some of these systems can also be used for pool and spa heating and snow-melting applications. Combo systems vary widely in efficiency and must be carefully designed to give satisfactory service
Solar water heaters
In solar water heaters, energy from the sun is collected by solar panels and transferred by circulating fluids to a storage tank. These heaters are typically used with an electric water heater, or one fueled by oil, natural gas or propane, which acts as a back-up for overcast days. Solar collector panels can be mounted on any unobstructed roof, wall or ground frame that faces between
Renovating a water heater
Time to upgrade your water heater? Upgrade to an electric heat pump water heater. These water heaters heat the water by capturing warmth from your home’s ambient air certified heat pump water heater uses an average of 50% less energy than a standard electrical water heater. Saving energy saves money and reduces your carbon footprint.
Eligible electric heat pump water heaters are listed in Tier 2 or higher on NEEA’s Advanced Water Heater Specification Qualified Products List for Heat Pump Water Heaters.
Replacement of an existing electric heat pump water heater is not eligible for a rebate.
Emergency replacement of broken electrical water heaters is not eligible.
The existing water heater being replaced must be the primary water heater (if the home uses more than one water heater).
The electric heat pump water heater installed must be new, in good working order, not previously installed in another home or building.
The upgrades need to be completed by a licensed contractor with a valid B.C. business license for the relevant work and a GST number.
Application deadline and required documents
You must submit your rebate application and all supporting documentation within six months of the invoice date.
Home Energy Improvement Bonus
To receive this bonus, you’ll need to complete a pre and post-upgrade EnerGuide home evaluation by a program certified energy advisor.
Install any three eligible upgrades within 18 months and receive $20 per % gigajoule improvement in your home’s EnerGuide report.
Maximum rebate is $2,000.
EnerGuide Home Evaluation Rebate
Get a pre-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation and receive a $200 rebate.
Get a post-upgrade EnerGuide Home Evaluation and receive a $100 rebate.
Signs Your Water Heater is About to Call it Quits
We bet you dedicate at least 30 minutes a day thinking about your water heater, right? Wrong—at least we hope that you have more important things to think about. Most of us never give a second thought to our water heater until we turn on the shower or sink and, behold, no hot water. The truth is, hot water heater problems typically occur long before the unit actually fails.
Poor Water Quality
You can tell a lot about your water heater’s performance just by inspecting your hot water as it comes out of the faucet. Minerals, sediment and other debris can collect in the bottom of your water heater’s tank over time. This will often produce rusty, muddy-looking water. You may also notice an unpleasant odor, or that your water has a metallic taste.
Leakage is one of the more common water heater problems. If you notice a puddle of standing water around your water heater, you should probably look into replacing the tank as soon as possible. Depending on the source of the leak, a leaking water heater could indicate an internal failure of the unit that requires immediate attention. Otherwise, you face the risk of flooding that could cause extensive damage to your home.
Do you seem to have trouble controlling the temperature of your hot water? Does the temperature suddenly go from hot to cold, even though you haven’t touched the faucet handle? Inconsistent hot water temperature is another potential sign of a hot water heater going out.
Water Takes Forever to Heat Up
If it seems to take ages for your water to get hot, it could indicate an issue with the thermostat or heating element. This may also indicate an accumulation of sediment in the tank. If replacing the thermostat or heating element, or flushing the tank doesn’t solve the problem, it may be time to replace the unit.
WATER HEATER FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Evidently, the water heater was located in an outside structure and was surrounded by flammable liquids, which helped cause the fire to really get moving and growing. Read our top water heater fire safety tips and use the best practices to limit possible fire damage caused by your water heater
Though it may seem unusual that the fire was caused by a faulty water heater, the fact is that hundreds of homes fires have been caused by water heaters in one way or another. According to the National Fire Protection Association, during the 4-year span between 2007 and 2011, water heaters were responsible for 11 percent of fires started by home heating devices. Now, let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean that water heaters are inherently dangerous or some sort of ticking time bomb waiting to catch fire. These facts just remind us that improper use and neglect of your water heater could lead to problems down the road.
GET YOUR WATER HEATER CHECKED ANNUALLY Most people don’t think about their water heater until they have to, meaning until it stops working or they discover a leak. But it pays to have a professional come over to your home once a year and make sure there are no problems with your water heater and check for any potential problems that might occur in the near future. During this check, something like a small gas leak may be discovered and corrected before it becomes a major fire hazard.
KEEP FLAMMABLE MATERIALS AWAY FROM YOUR WATER HEATER – This cannot be stressed enough, especially in light of the fact that it was reported that the Rocky Fire was caused, in part, by flammable liquids that were kept near the water heater. These were ignited, thus helping to create this huge fire. So, make sure that flammable materials such as oily rags and even paint and gas cans are kept far away from your water heater.
KNOW HOW TO SHUT YOUR WATER HEATER OFF – This is helpful for so many reasons, but it is especially helpful in regards to fire danger and prevention. That’s because if you happen to smell gas or discover a gas leak in your water heater, you will want to get the gas shut off as soon as possible
Efficient water heater.
Water Heater is an internet-connected tankless electric water heater which provides instant, endless hot water for houses, apartments, points-of-use, and certain commercial applications. Unlike all other water heaters on the market, the MODEL does not use metal heating elements to heat water. These will rust and scale over time. Instead, graphite electrodes and electronic controls are used to pass controlled electric currents through the water. This transfer of electrical energy into the water increases the thermal energy, creating heat. No rust or scale ever forms; the water that comes out is purer, energy efficiency stays at 99% for the life of the unit, and there is never maintenance required or heating elements to change.
Take a peek inside our electric tankless water heater. No metal heating elements here.
The MODEL Water Heater is the only water heater in the world that uses Ohmic Array Technology to heat water. All others use metal heating elements, which will rust, become covered with limescale, and eventually form hotspots. This 100-year-old technology causes sediment to form in the water, poor temperature control, and because the metal heating elements have to work harder to heat water over time, wastes energy.
It all started with a simple problem.
They simply didn’t work. He figured if it was happening to him, then other people were probably having the same dilemma. After doing a ton of research and developing his own prototypes, he not only solved his initial problem, the technology he invented is changing the way the world heats water. Hot water is purer. Heats to the precise temperature you want. All at a 99% energy efficiency rate that never decreases. How’s that for performance?
We’ve reinvented the way the world heats and uses water.
For the last 100 years, electric water heaters have been designed with one fundamental flaw: they all use metal heating elements to heat the water. To heat a tank full of water, the relatively small heating element must get very hot. In some cases, up to 800° F. This causes rust and limescale to form on the surface of the element. Over time, “hot spots” develop, and the elements fail.
Do’s and Don’ts
In the era before stadiums and arenas (big or small) became multimedia entertainment complexes, fans watched the game in relative anonymity. Unless ESPN or television network cameras were on hand—and you gave the producer a good reason to train those cameras on you—the possibility of finding yourself on display and on the spot to do something clever was almost nil.
As if it isn’t tough enough not to look like an idiot when you’re singled out in front of a few friends or coworkers, the pressure to play it cool is enormous when you find yourself emblazoned on a 50×28 screen in front of 12,000 gawking spectators.
We’re living in the era of the 24-hour news cycle and, as a society, have unfortunately embraced the inaccurate idea that there are two sides to every story.
Which means these days we have a difficult time agreeing on what the meaning of is is, yet there is at least one thing that remains a universally accepted norm. When someone points a camera at your face, you smile. It’s as simple as that!
If you’re not sure what, exactly that entails, take a look at the video above and make note of the mustachioed man’s intense, unbreakable dead-eyed stare. Watch it a few times so you really get its full impact. And then never repeat it.
No Love For Speed Camera Operator Bogged In Landsdale
the speed camera being set up on Drive northbound after with the ute reportedly bogged to its diffs in the median strip. It was then reported again an hour later that the speed camera, and bogged vehicle, were still present an hour later 12.45pm.
Those who are after a good laugh should jump on the post to read the comments, as punters have a field day showing no love or compansion for the bogged operator.
Isn’t it an offense to crossover like that. Needs to be booked. Most joyful post of the day.
he karma, now that’s one bogging not too many people would volunteer to assist ? That’s a carton! Do as I say not as I do.
Job descriptions on Media Match
When characters in films run out of a burning building or simply walk across a room to open the door, they are usually moving closer or further away from the camera. This means that the focal length — the distance of the camera lens from the subject — is constantly changing. Adapting or “pulling” focus to accommodate these changes is the main responsibility of the 1st Assistant Camera (AC). 1st ACs are usually requested by the director of photography or the camera operator and work on a free
2nd Assistant Cameras (ACs) are key members of the camera crew, and are responsible for the smooth running of the entire camera department. Audiences watching a finished film are not conscious of the camera — a complex piece of machinery, powered by batteries which must be charged and reloaded. Nor are they thinking of the difficult job of anticipating when a magazine (the sealed container that feeds the unexposed film into the camera) is about to run out, and what a pressurized job it is
Performs clerical work in support of company accounts and utilizes financial management software to do so. This person must compile, analyze, reconcile, and verify financial and statistical data as well as perform related work as assigned by their superior
Automated Dialogue Replacement, also known as looping or dubbing. This is the critical process in film and TV whereby dialogue is recorded in a studio for any number of reasons: to replace existing production sound that is not usable either for technical considerations (usually due to a noisy location) or editorial ones (lines of dialogue have been changed); to add a voice-over to a film (often planned from the outset, but occasionally added at the last moment to help clarify a hazy plot)
Camera Pilots fly the aircraft that carries the aerial camera crew (aerial director of photography (DoP) and aerial camera assistant). Together they shoot the aerial sequences that form part of the finished feature film. Camera Pilots are also responsible for flying any aircraft, including helicopters, planes, hot air balloons, etc., that appear as action props in finished films. This may involve performing difficult stunts requiring a high degree of expertise and experience
The Roles and Hierarchy of a Video Production Team
When working on any video production, it’s important to know the roles and hierarchy of the team. This way you know who to approach with questions and which person leads what department. There’s somewhat of a standard to this, but each crew operates a little differently. This post shows the typical hierarchy for video production, following the structure we typically use at 522 Productions.
Things to Note
Depending on the type of project and budget, this may change a little… or drastically. For example, it’s not uncommon for the Director of Photography (DP)/Cinematographer to also serve as a camera operator and lighting director. This is not the ideal situation, because of the additional responsibilities placed on smaller crews, but this often becomes reality with budget constraints.
The producer is the initial contact for the project. They talk with the client to arrange the high-level goals and expectations. It’s their responsibility to assemble the production team. The director typically comes first. From there, they put together the necessary crew members. The producer usually stays involved throughout the project lifecycle: pre-production, production and post-production.
The director is typically the most involved person on and off set. They assist with assembling the right crew to get the job done. They make adjustments to the script to keep the video on budget and on time. They oversee all parts of the production. Questions get funneled up to them.
First Assistant Director (1st AD)
The 1st AD is mainly responsible for scheduling on set. He wrangles talent, keeps the crew on time, and assists the director and producer. In some cases, the 1st AD also checks off the shot list, assuring lines are read as intended and the correct props are in the proper place.
What Do All The AV Labor Positions Do
There are SO many AV labor positions. They can be confusing when you are reading your AV quote. Technical director? Production assistant? What do they all do? Do you need them all at your event? will be discussing the major AV Labor positions, what the positions do and how they relate to your event. This is a GREAT crash course on AV labor positions and what you need to know for your event, you must watch below! Let’s jump in.
Video Transcript – What Do All the AV Labor Positions Do
So my goal in today is to talk to you about all of the positions you could potentially see on a quote and how they might help you bring your vision to life. So as we go through this, the big thing is to know that you’re not going to have all of these positions at every single one of your events. You might only have one of them. You might have a handful of them. The important thing is to know what they do and if you do need them, to request them from your AV company. But a lot of times, this comes from the AV company and them saying what they need. So as we jump into this, keep that in mind that this wildly varies from event to event and what your needs are and also what the AV company needs to create what you need and produce the event. So are you guys ready? This is gonna be a long one, so strap yourself in, and we’re gonna drop a lot of knowledge bombs and a lot of information all in one video.
So let’s start off with probably the largest and most expensive role when it comes to your event, and that is the producer role. You might not see this unless you are doing a very large general session, a very theatrical event, or if you are needing someone to help you generally with the vision of what you’re trying to accomplish. The producer is very much in charge of the content and the overall vision of the event. They’re usually also managing everybody below them. Up here and below, when we start getting into these clouds, they’re high up there, so a lot of them are kind of more of a managerial role. They’re managing everything, a lot of different details. So the producer, though, is really much in charge of the vision. They’re usually the ones working with the talent. They’re working with scriptwriting. They’re working with the technical director to essentially try to figure out how can they take your complex vision or something you’re trying to do and bring it 100% to life from a creative standpoint. So you’ll see this with a lot of event production companies. You’ll see this with a lot of entertainment companies and a lot of, again, bigger general sessions, bigger theatrical events.
Next up you have the assistant producer. Essentially, this person assists the producer, also known as an AP sometimes, to essentially bring it. They might be getting their hands a little bit more dirty, getting into the weeds, really working with the technical side. Maybe they’re working on graphics. Maybe they’re working on scriptwriting, everything like that, getting a little bit more in the nitty-gritty when it comes to everything. Again, a lot of times when you see things like assistant or, you know, number two next to them or things like that, they assist the person above them. So assistant producer assists, obviously, the producer themselves. Kinda obvious, right?
All right, next up you have, related to content, is the stage manager. Another title of this might also show up on the quotes is called a show caller as well. I’m gonna probably get some flack in the comments, because it’s all, how everyone describes everything is a little bit different between AV companies, regions, countries, everything like that. But essentially, the stage manager itself is usually someone backstage that is managing what’s going on onstage. They’re the ones pushing the talent out to make sure that they get out there in time. They’re the ones working with the final, you know, how they look, how it’s all running, everything like that backstage. Now usually they’re big on timing, making sure everything runs on schedule, obviously, and that the people are in the right places at the right time.
Having represented County residents for over a decade, attorneys are more than willing to help you and those you love most with divorce cases.
Familial disputes involving children are among the most difficult a person can face. If you are in the midst of trying to establish a child custody arrangement,
It is not at all uncommon for one spouse to seek money in order to better care for his or her child.
Figuring out a parenting time schedule (i.e. visitation plan) that works for all involved is crucial to ensuring that your child/children see both parents as often as possible
encourages clients to take a cooperative approach in helping prepare your case and, ultimately, helping settle your issue as quickly and inexpensively as possible. It is important that clients play an active role in the legal process
Things to know about Family Reports
During family court proceedings, a Court dealing with parenting disputes and/or parenting arrangements can make an order for a Family Report to assist the Court. The Family Report is for the purpose of providing the Court with evidence and is one item that can be taken into account in the making of Family Court Orders.
What is a Family Report?
A Family Report is a document written by a family consultant appointed by the Court. It provides an independent assessment of the issues in the case and can help the judge hearing the case to make decisions about arrangements for the child/ren. It may also help the parties reach an agreement.
In preparing the report, the family consultant does the following:
Considers the family’s circumstances;
Explores issues relevant to the case;
Recommends arrangements that will best meet the child/ren’s future care, welfare and developmental needs; and
Regards the best interests of the child/ren are the main focus of the report.
The report must be formally released by the Court before parties can receive it. It cannot be shown to anyone other than the parties to the court case and their lawyers. It cannot be shown to other people, such as other family members, without the Court giving permission for this to happen. This is the case even for people who may have been interviewed, but are not a party to the court case.
The Summary Report
A Court may order one or more parties to parenting proceedings to attend an appointment or a series of appointments with a family consultant and direct them to arrange for a child to attend such an appointment. After the appointment, the family consultant will make a report to the Court, which is presented in a shortened form and usually provide the Court a snap shot of the issues between the parties.
Pointers for Dealing With FAMILY COURT JUDGES
Working with Family Court Judges
jurists put on a workshop entitled “Dealing With Difficult Judges,” and they kindly gave their permission to share their materials with you summarize their observations and suggestions here, and add a few of my own.As these two bench officers point out, judges like the rest of us can be difficult and reactive at times, and it can be quite challenging for attorneys and pro se litigants to know how to prepare for, and best behave within, the sometimes edgy or emotional atmosphere of family courtrooms. This tension, if not understood or managed correctly, can have negative consequences in terms of outcomes and more
My intention is not to imply criticism of our bench officers. Being an effective judge day in and day out requires vast knowledge and a patience and equanimity that would challenge even a Mahatma Gandhi.Here are some pointers for how not to aggravate your family court bench officer, and a few thoughts about what to do if that happens, despite your best efforts. The opinions expressed herein are not one size fits all. I also want to have a dialogue about how to make the job of family law judges easier for them, or – to put it another way – to discuss a bit about how we might help them to help us.
Suggestions for Interacting With Family Court Judges
Judges have little patience with attorneys, and self-represented litigants, who aren’t prepared when they enter the courtroom. Many litigants don’t seem to know what they are asking the court to do, why they are asking for it, and what the best legal or factual grounds are for the orders requested.
Be Prepared For This Particular Judge
In jurisdictions with direct calendar assignments, where a judge is assigned to a case for all purposes or for all purposes possibly until the case is reassigned for trial, learn about the particular bench officer(s) who presides over your case. Information allows you to make useful assumptions about a particular judge’s attitudes and policies.
Let the Court Clerk Know the Day Before If the Case Will be Continued
Sometimes one or both attorneys or parties intend to seek a continuance of a hearing, possibly because they want to discuss settlement but often because one or both are not ready to proceed or have late papers to submit.Judges have very different attitudes towards continuances, particularly where they have already read the materials and then are faced with a continuance request. Lawyers who know that a case will not proceed are well advised to contact the courtroom clerk at least a day in advance to give a head’s up – otherwise, they may wind up with a judge who justifiably feels “put out”. Some allow self-represented parties to give advance notice of agreed upon continuances, but the other side will need to confirm it. Often messages must be left on the clerk’s answering machine, and you may not know that number or whether messages were received or acted upon.
Child Custody & Visitation Lawyer
This sometimes creates the appearance that a custody battle is in fact a battle for child support. firm does not agree with modifying visitation for the sole purpose of changing one’s child support obligation. However, firm does has the philosophical view that all good parents should have equal access to their minor children. will do everything in our power to get you the most favorable ruling regarding child custody and visitation.
Custody is defined in the Family Code as either Joint Legal Custody (see Family Code § 3003), Joint Physical Custody (see Family Code § 3004), Sole Legal Custody (see Family Code § 3006), and Sole Physical Custody (see Family Code § 3007). As a practical matter, no parent cares what their custodial arrangement is called, but every good parent is concerned with the ability to make decisions regarding their minor child’s health, education, and welfare. Good parents also wish for custodial arrangements allowing both to have frequent and continuous contact.
When parents go through a marriage dissolution or divorce (or a parentage action if the parents were never married), the most important custodial orders are the initial custody orders issued by the court. The first custodial orders are so important because after it they are established, it is time consuming and often expensive to make substantial modifications. The general guideline is for the court to assume the status quo that the parties developed on their own, however, the court is not bound by that standard.
Standards to Determine Child Custody
The main and most important standard the court utilizes to determine custody of minor children is based on the best interest of the minor children (see Family Code § 3011). Health, safety, and welfare of a child are the court’s primary concerns in determining what is any child’s best interest (see Family Code § 3020).
Other Methods to Determine Best Interest
The court, either by noticed motion by one party or on its own motion, can appoint a Minor’s Counsel, which is an attorney that specifically represents a child in a case. As with an attorney representing a parent, the Minor’s Counsel would be able to have private and privileged conversations with the child, and be able to convey to the court both a child’s preference for custody, as well as give an opinion as to what is in a child’s best interest.
Things Everyone Should Know About Family Law
In an ideal life, there might never be a need for the existence of family law nor a family lawyer and we could all live in peace and harmony. Apparently, we are living in a world that has its own imperfections and where laws play an incredibly significant role in keeping our society in order. These laws do not let anyone be an exemption; hence, even our very own family members must be guided by it.
What is Family Law and What Does it Cover in General?
People that have a good deal of money in the first place including actors and actresses, businessmen, politicians, and other celebrities usually hire family lawyers. The majority of the time, the underprivileged do not hire one not only due to financial reasons but also because a family lawyer’s job is not always very clear. The thing is, all issues related to family and domestic relationships are actually supposed to be dealt with family law.
corresponding issues associated with it including but not limited to the division of conjugal properties, child custody and support, and alimony. It is important to keep in mind that even though family lawyers are most popular because of these issues, you might be surprised to find out that there are so much more than they can cover and take care of as lawyers for your loved ones
What Does the Family Code of the Cover?
First is the Requisites of Marriage. It has been stated clearly that no marriage shall be valid unless the essential requirements are met such as the authority of a solemnizing officer (a member of the judiciary within the court’s authority, a priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church where at least one of the contracting parties belongs to, a military commander), a valid marriage license, and a marriage ceremony in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. The marriage is considered void if any of these requirements are not met.
Second is the Void and Voidable Marriages. The marriages that must be considered void from the very beginning include those that were signed by any party below eighteen years old, solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages, solemnized without a license, bigamous or polygamous marriage, signed by any participant who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically disabled to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage even if such incapacity manifests only after the marriage, and incest marriage whether the relationship between the parties be legitimate or illegitimate.
Must dos for any renovation
Before you start swinging a hammer at your walls there are some things to consider, whether you’re renovating to sell or renovating your dream house. It’s important to remember renovation is a long term investment; your decisions will have important consequences down the line.
If you don’t plan on selling you property straight away you are making a lifestyle investment rather than an investment for a profit. This means that instead of buying the cheapest bathroom taps or painting in neutral colours that potential buyers like, you are able to splurge on what you really love and what you know you will continue to love in 20 or 40 years!
Have a clear strategy
Plan ahead and set yourself targets. A timeline that you review at least every few days is a great way to stay on track.
Don’t forget about the Council
Getting council approval can take some time so it’s best to get a start on it early. Requirements differ from council to council but you will have to complete a formal development application for the property and you will also have to put forward proposals and building plans.
Be realistic about your budget
Overspending is a real concern for renovators and I’m not going to lie, it’s easy to do, that’s why a budget is vital in your renovation planning.
Essential Tips to Note before Commencing a Home Renovation Project
Have you been living in your house for a while and are ready to make some alterations? As time passes, family size and needs change, making a home renovation project more and more necessary. When children grow older, you no longer need a playroom, but might require a music room with soundproof walls and good acoustics.
Consider current & future needs
Consider not just your current needs, but your future ones as well when planning the new design for your home. This should form the context and basis of your renovation. If you expect that your children will move out within a couple of years, consider the what you may want to use their rooms for in the future. If you plan to have a child, keep this in mind when considering the design and feel of each room. Choose a design that is child friendly and does not require much effort and time to keep clean. This tip will easily save you many hours of watching over your kids to ensure they do not hurt themselves or knock your precious glass decoration over.
Collect ideas to build a picture of your renovated house
Before engaging an interior designer, it helps if you have a rough idea(s) about what you would like your refurbished home to look like. So, get inspired; flip through a couple of interior design and home magazines or browse a few home renovation design ideas on sites like Pinterest or Houzz. With a few ideas on hand, engaging an interior designer would be more fruitful as he/she would be better aligned with what you are trying to achieve in your home. You can have a lot of fun with this too, and your photos need not be limited in any way – it can extend to the types of air conditioners that you want, some lighting or brickwork that you like and even furniture.
Find the right designers
With some design concepts in mind, it is time to start scouting for an interior designer. Obviously, the best way to do this is by using our Kaodim platform to compare quotations and services from our interior design experts.
Draw up the design
With your ideas and the experience of your interior designer, put the designs down on paper or view computerized 3-D images before you approach a contractor. If you need help with such planning, you can hire professional planners via our site. With a graphical representation of your ideal design, you will be able to better communicate your ideas to your renovation contractor.
HOW TO PLAN A HOUSE REMODEL
Let’s clarify things for a second here. I am not a contractor, and this is not an article about the technical aspects of actually completing specific projects.
I’m writing this because throughout 3 months of gutting and renovating a 2600 square foot home, I’ve learned a lot about the planning, process, and execution of a whole house remodel project.
Even with a top notch general contractor, you should know the overall timeline and order of operations (so to speak) to complete a large-scale project in the most efficient and organized way possible.
DESIGNER OR DIY?
Many people choose to work with a designer for part or all of their home design. We met with a kitchen designer but ultimately decided to save several thousand dollars by figuring it out ourselves. Some may think that is a crazy idea, while others (like me!) love taking on the creative and strategic elements of a project.
SCOPE OF WORK
The first thing we had to do on a whole home remodel was to determine where to start. We needed a plan. Before you start on any of the actual house remodeling work, you’ll need to plan out what you want to do to the house and develop a scope of work.
Choose the Best Renovations for Resale
Look At Comparable Properties
Don’t over-renovate. Only spend on upgrades that add value. The three key factors in valuing residential real estate are location, location and location. This is important to remember when figuring out what improvements to add.
Establish a Strong First Impression
Have you ever a watched television real estate show, like “House Hunters” on HGTV or “Million Dollar Listing” on Bravo? The one thing that all of these shows have in common is that when they are showing a house, they almost always show the potential buyer’s first impression when arriving at the property.
First, you need to make sure that the structure itself is as nice as it can be. Power wash the siding, freshly paint all trim work, make sure that window casings are in good condition, etc. Doing easy cosmetic fixes can make a big difference. Some suggestions for things that will give you a big bang for your buck include:
Dressing up the front door by painting it a contrasting color
Replacing old exterior hardware like door knobs
Making the entryway symmetrical
Installing outdoor lighting
Planting flowers and plants
Installing a new mailbox
Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell the House
In the highly competitive residential home sales market, you cannot have a dated kitchen or bathroom and expect to get top dollar for your property. Not only are these improvements the key to getting a good price for your house flip, but they are crucial for getting people interested. They will surely decrease the days a property spends on the market.
Don’t Impose Your Personal Style
Focusing on neutral design elements will appeal to the largest buying audience. Nothing turns buyers off more than bad taste. Of course, what is bad taste is in the eye of the beholder? Be very careful on imposing what you believe is your extreme good taste on a property.
Things I Learned From My Renovations Contractor
Renovations are justifiably known as a time of upheaval and enormous family stress. Your home and refuge are being torn apart, dust flies (everywhere) and there are countless little issues to trip you up (‘you found knob-and-tube wiring?”). Much like the gift planning process, what keeps everyone going is a sketched-out vision for the future. Sometimes it feels like a dream that recedes with each step you take. In both journeys, it is helpful to have a guide who is knowledgeable, reassuring, and who communicates well.
Be both responsive and proactive – preferred method of communications is email Being on the road constantly, he carries an iPhone, which he checks frequently. We always get quick responses – often within minutes – to our inquiries and comments. He also responds at any time of the day or night, or day of the week, which is understandable as a business owner. He is also proactive in his communication. He tells us what’s happening, and when. We always know what we need to do and what to expect. This constant flow of information greatly reduces our anxiety level that is the result of your home being wrecked (and rebuilt). What is rare in a user of a hand-held device, responses are thoughtful, thorough, and articulate. writes well. And he knows when a longer response is needed. He outlines options clearly and makes sure we know what we are supposed to decide upon. He manages to be both efficient and personable in his notes, which has subtle effect of creating a tremendous bank of goodwill that smoothes over the rough patches.
Know when to go “live” – primary form of communication is email, but he is not one of those office denizens who hides behind his keyboard (er, touchscreen). There are inevitable moments in any renovation when something goes wrong. With our kitchen, we had a gas pipe put in the wrong place, a window broken, and an electrician’s assistant who drilled through our new cabinets! Stuff happens. As clients, we send emails expression out concerns. intuitively seems to know when to respond to the emails and when to call. With the drilled-through cabinets, Barbara sent a flamer and Paul instantly called to talk her down off the ledge. Emails don’t work in situations like this. You need a human voice – or presence. insists that we meet in person on a semi-regular basis, particularly if other key players like our cabinet makers are included. At the messiest part of the process, showed up one Saturday afternoon unannounced. He wanted to know how we were feeling about things. Yes, our house was reassuring. The real message of that in-person meeting wasn’t information it was his support.
Have a process – is a terrific planner. His quotes are thorough. His contract provides clear and fair dispute settlement mechanisms. His project plan is detailed and realistic. he tracks the project against the schedule. He also provides budget updates to report on the bills related to the individual phases of the project. All of these mechanisms provide confidence. As clients, we know where we were going and where we stand against the plan. His process is a form of macro-communications that demonstrates his experience and overall shape of the project. It helps us to ensure we don’t get lost in the petty details. Another impressive element is realism. His project schedule for our kitchen initially seemed to be a bit lengthy, but he knew better than we did. Down days and delays are inevitable, but they can be planned for,
Never be defensive – As mentioned, stuff happens. There are just too many people and pieces in motion to control them all. Accusations and recriminations are a predictable part of the renovation process. Clients often feel aggrieved – we respond with shock and passion to any little mishap – and have a natural propensity to be indignant. If you are on the other side of the equation, you need to be philosophical or situations can easily escalate. is always pre-emptive with communicating in a “crisis” and he is never defensive. His first impulse is to take responsibility if one of his sub-contractors screws up. It is just what he does. When our beautiful new cabinet was drilled by the electrician’s assistant, he immediately offered to pay – sight unseen. He doesn’t grandstand or blame the team member. We know he is going to do the right thing, which makes us far more reasonable people to deal with. When the window was broken he said, “don’t worry, these things happen, and it’s my job to fix them when they do.”
Objectives and Methods of Tax Planning
Tax planning is an activity that enables you to reduce your tax liability. It is one of the most basic yet integral parts of the financial plan, and it helps you save your capital. Several options enable taxpayers to reduce their tax liabilities, especially those that fall under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
Under this section of the IT Act, you can claim tax deductions of ₹150,000 on various kinds of investments such as tax-saving fixed deposits, PPF contributions, EPF contributions, Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPS), and National Pension System, among other things. Here’s everything you need to know about tax planning objectives and methods, especially if you are a first-time taxpayer.
Objectives of tax planning
First-time taxpayers must understand the fundamental objectives of planning their taxes. They are as under:
To reduce tax liability: Tax planning primarily revolves around reducing your tax liability. Every single taxpayer wishes to reduce the burden of paying the taxes while saving their money for their future. Fortunately, the Government offers several different investment schemes through which liabilities can be reduced significantly. However, it is essential not to leave tax planning to the last moment. Plan to invest in tax-savings instruments from the beginning of the financial year and avail all the advantages to reduce your tax payments.
To minimise litigation: Minimising legal litigations is essential while planning taxes. If you don’t have one, you must avail the services of a legal advisor. Consult your advisor and adopt the adequate provisions of tax planning laws, so that you can minimise the litigation. Minimising litigation saves you from judicial harassment.
To stabilise the economy of the country: The taxes you pay are devoted to the betterment of the country. If you pay all the taxes which are legally due, you can contribute towards creating a more productive economy. Planning your taxes is beneficial for you and the economy of the country in which you’re living.
To leverage productivity and financial growth: Planning your taxes prudently can facilitate economic growth for you. Chalking out clear and precise financial objectives from your investments, over specific time frames and investing in the right tax-saving instruments can help you create a good corpus, thereby contributing to your economic growth.
Different ways in which you can plan your taxes
While most people think of tax planning as a process that helps in reducing their tax liabilities; it is also about investing in the right instruments, at the right time, so that you can achieve your short, medium and long-term financial goals. Fundamentally, there are four varied methods of tax planning. They are as under:
Short-range tax planning: This is a term used in reference to tax planning that is both, though of and executed when the financial year comes to an end. Investors resort to this planning on the heels of the end of the fiscal year, attempting to find ways to reduce their tax liabilities legally. For instance, if, at the end of the financial year, assesses find that their taxes are high as compared to the previous year; they may want to reduce it. Assesses may be able to do that by adequately arranging to get tax rebates under Section 88. Short-range tax planning does not involve long-term commitments, while it still can promote substantial tax savings.
Long-range tax planning: The long-range tax plan is one chalked out when the financial year begins, and which the taxpayer follows throughout the year. Such an arrangement may not provide immediate tax-relief benefits as short-range plans do but can prove to be beneficial in the long run. You typically have to start investing when the new financial year begins and hold on to the investment for a period exceeding one year.
Permissive tax planning: Permissive tax planning, as the term suggests, means planning investments under various provisions of the taxation laws of India. In India, there are many provisions of law, offering exemptions, deductions, incentives and contributions. Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961, for instance, offers several different types of exemptions (on the amount invested, interest earned and the amount at maturity) on tax-savings investments.
Purposive Tax planning: Purposive tax planning refers to the act of planning investments with specific purposes in mind, thereby ensuring that you can avail maximum benefits from your investments. It involves the accurate selection of investment instruments, creating a suitable agenda to replace assets (if necessary) and diversification of income and business assets based on your residential status.
Tax Planning Issues
Check on Congress. The most important thing you can do this year for your tax planning is to keep an eye on Congress to see whether lawmakers manage to extend popular tax provisions before the end of 2015. Some notable provisions must be extended in order to allow:
Taxpayers aged 70½ and over to make tax-free charitable contributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs);
Businesses to deduct up to half of eligible equipment placed in service this year;
Teachers to receive an above-the-line deduction for $250 in classroom expenses;
Students and parents to receive an above-the-line deduction for tuition expenses;
Companies to receive a credit for qualified research expenses; and
Taxpayers in states without an income tax – like Washington, Texas and Florida – to deduct state sales taxes.
Document your business activities. You may not need to pay a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on your business income if you participate in the business enough so that you are not considered a “passive investor.” Participation is almost any work performed in a business as an owner, manager or employee as long as it is not an investor activity. Even so, you must document your activities, and the IRS will not let you make ballpark estimates after the fact. Make sure you document the hours you’re spending with calendar and appointment books, emails and narrative summaries.
Prepare your information reporting. You should start gathering information early this year to make sure you can complete your mandatory reporting on time. Congress has enacted new legislation that more than doubles most penalties for late or incorrect information returns. This includes the Form W-2 employers must provide to all employees and the Form 1099 a business must provide to any contractor it pays at least $600 for services. These returns are due to recipients by Feb. 1 and the IRS soon after.
Get your charitable house in order. If you plan on giving to charity before the end of the year, remember that a cash contribution must be documented in order to be deductible. If you claim a charitable deduction of more than $500 in donated property, you must attach Form 8283. If you are claiming a deduction of $250 or more for a car donation, you will need a written acknowledgement from the charity that includes a description of the car. Remember, you cannot deduct donations to individuals, social clubs, political groups or foreign organizations.
Remember your state and local tax obligations.
Don’t forget that state and local governments impose their own filing and payment responsibilities with various income, sales and property taxes. Recently, states have become more aggressive in taxing corporations that are not physically present in their states, but have significant sales to customers in those states. While there may be exceptions for limited business activities in particular states, it is wise to check on your activities of your salespeople that often travel to different states to ensure you are filing all state corporate tax returns as needed.
Take a closer look at your state residency status. For individuals who split their time in two different states throughout the year, now is an excellent time to consider where you may be taxed as a resident for 2015. To make it more likely that the high-tax jurisdiction will respect the move and not continue to tax you as a resident, you should track the number of days you are spending in each jurisdiction. Generally, if you reside in a state for 183 days or more, that state will assert residency and the ability to tax all of your income. Furthermore, if you move to a new state but you maintain significant contacts with the old state (including driver’s license, residences, bank accounts and the like), you could run the risk of being taxed as a resident in the old state.
What problems and opportunities are created by tax havens?
Tax havens have attracted increasing attention from policy-makers in recent years. This paper provides an overview of a growing body of research that analyses the consequences and determinants of the existence of tax-haven countries. For instance, recent evidence suggests that tax havens tend to have stronger governance institutions than comparable non-haven countries. Most importantly, tax havens provide opportunities for tax planning by multinational corporations. It is often argued that tax havens erode the tax base of high-tax countries by attracting such corporate activity. However, while tax havens host a disproportionate fraction of the world’s foreign direct investment (FDI), their existence need not make high-tax countries worse off. It is possible that, under certain conditions, the existence of tax havens can enhance efficiency and even mitigate tax competition. Indeed, corporate tax revenues in major capital-exporting countries have exhibited robust growth, despite substantial FDI flows to tax havens.
From Cypress to Baytown, make moving anywhere in the metro easy.
Moving-out-of-state takes some extra energy, but thankfully have lots to spare!
From self storage to secure warehouses, help find you the storage you need for less.
PACKING & UNPACKING
be there early to make sure you’re boxed up and ready or stay late to get it all unpacked.
HOME & APARTMENT MOVES
team of residential movers tackles moves of any size – from studio apartments to palatial homes.
experienced office movers know how to pull off your relocation without a hitch.
Even a local move can cost hundreds of dollars, and that’s before you add on other moving-related expenses like deposits, moving supplies, and storage fees. are here to help you find the cheapest rates on reliable moving services
Need a Professional Moving Company? got you covered. Need Packing or Storage? still got you covered
number one goal is providing top-notch customer service from the moment engage with our customers, to giving them their first quote, to the moment wave goodbye to them at their new home. must be doing something right, because over half of moves are repeat customers who continue to refer moving help and services. always enjoy seeing familiar faces!
know moving is stressful — but did you know there’s something even more stressful than moving? Packing and unpacking! It’s time consuming, tedious and a lot of work.
experienced packers and movers who can handle just about every aspect of your move. home packing services can include packing up all of your possessions, providing you with the materials you need to pack your possessions, safely and efficiently transporting all of your items to the new location and unpacking in the new location.
As one of the most customer-friendly full-service packing and moving companies, offer a variety of moving and packing services to suit your needs and your budget
New City Moving will manage everything with our full-service packing option.
movers will provide all packing supplies including packing blankets, moving boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, etc.
All of your furniture items will be blanket wrapped ensuring they arrive safely.
Movers You Can RELY On
is fully licensed and insured, and focused on your comfort and trust. Most moves can be stressful, but experience will give you peace of mind, evident by the measures take to care for your valuables
philosophy is to only hire individuals who will pay attention to the importance of customer service. You will see the difference when you hire our team to care for your belongings. Don’t take a chance with your valuables, let team get it to your final destination safely.
Coming from many different backgrounds, the small but innovative team of management came together to form a moving company with nothing but the clients needs in mind. This company has proved to be not only backed by knowledge and experience, but heart as well.
Business Moving Services
When it comes to moving your business, efficiency is of the utmost importance. Every day that your office is down, means a loss of sales or operations for your business. goal is to come alongside you so that you can get back to work as soon as possible. By reducing downtime and maintaining productivity, can avoid expensive delays, and can have your business running successfully again in no time.
take all of the work out of business moves by planning out each detail beforehand and implementing our strategy, with top-of-the-line moving staff. From fragile computer systems to hefty filing cabinets and desks, assure you that your whole business will be moved carefully and in a timely manner
Moving house checklist
It’s just before you complete and move in. You’re frantically packing boxes, sorting final bills and booking moving vans. But what else do you need to know about the place you’re moving to? This guide throws you 10 last-minute questions, as well as moving tips and ways to start saving immediately on your new household bills.
House moving and coronavirus
The coronavirus outbreak has put many people’s home-moving plans on hold. The housing market is starting to reopen now, but the process of moving homes will likely be slower for some time. At the height of the outbreak, some mortgage lenders were extending their mortgage offers for home-movers whose house-buying process had stalled because of coronavirus
Top 10 last-minute questions to ask sellers
To make your life easy, remember to ask the previous owner these questions:
Where’s the main stopcock (to shut off the water)?
Where are the gas and electricity meters?
Do any surfaces need special cleaning products, eg wooden floors?
What day are the bins collected?
Do you have any old tins of paint in the same colour as the walls?
Do you have any instruction manuals or warranties on electrical items?
Where did the kitchen and bathroom tiles come from?
Where did any fixed furniture come from, eg, kitchen cabinets?
Which company supplies the energy, broadband and home phone?
Where is the thermostat?
Compare removal costs
If you’re moving without any furniture, (eg, from your parents’ home, or you’ve been renting a furnished property), a car and a couple of mates will suffice. Even if you think you have a lot of stuff, hiring a van for a couple of hours might work out cheaper than a removal company.
Redirect your post
If you don’t know who is moving into the property you are leaving, use the Royal Mail’s Postal Redirection service to ensure that any bills or other mail you’ve not changed your address on still reaches you.
Extraordinary Local Movers
Consider us your friendly neighborhood experts in local moving, thanks to tried-and-true, step-by-step moving process. For local moves charge by the hour from the time arrive until the time completed the move at your new home. In addition, add a travel-time-based flat drive fee (usually .5 or .75 hours), which covers the total round-trip drive time between the closest of three home bases and your residences.
Get Your Estimate
Like any other move, you will call or email us first for an estimate
Answer Simple Questions
To tailor your estimate we’ll ask you simple questions including the size of your current space and the amount of stuff in that space.
Determine Length of Move
Since we bill hourly for local moves, these questions help us determine how long it will likely take to complete the move.
You know what they say: an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of packing tape. When you reserve your moving date, we’ll send a questionnaire via email to make sure we didn’t miss any crucial details regarding the move itself, including the information to the right.
Any specialty items you have to move, like gun safes, motorcycles, or grand pianos.
How much disassembly and re-assembly we need to do (think beds, desks, and other large items that won’t fit through the door without a fight).
Any access issues for our truck and crew? Is your new driveway a mile long? Paved in gravel? On a steep grade? Let us know.
Any in-house navigation issues we might have, like narrow doorways or tight corners.
If any of your belongings–grand pianos, glass cabinets, priceless antiques passed down in your family for generations–need special care and protection, so we’ll know to bring the materials and equipment we need to move them safely.
How to Maintain Wood Floors
Now that you have beautiful wood floors, you want to keep them in tip-top shape. Whether your wood floors are solid, engineered, or reclaimed wood, the general upkeep routine should be the same. Luckily, the regimen isn’t too rigorous. In fact, simple cleaning is the main ingredient for longevity of wood floors. But there are still nuances that are pivotal for maintenance, which is why we called on the experts.
Keeping debris off the floor is key. “If there’s a piece of debris on a wood floor and you walk across, it’s like sandpaper on the bottom of your shoe. It can ruin or scratch that surface.” All you need to do is sweep daily, if possible, and regularly vacuum with the hard floor setting, which turns off the brush roll to avoid scratching, or the flat attachment that will protect the floor from bristles. Strong suction is extra useful to pull up dust and debris in cracks and crevices and between planks.
Identify the Right Cleaning Product
When it comes to choosing a product for a deeper clean, there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Different finishes require different treatments, so all three experts suggest listening to the product recommendation of your flooring or finish manufacturer.
However, it is safe to say there are products to always avoid. “I don’t recommend any kind of harsh chemical to clean any hardwood floor. “Chemicals applied to the finish will create hazing. This can really build up over a period of six months to a year and doesn’t look very good, “You don’t want to use anything that says it’s going to polish or shine or rejuvenate or revitalize the wood floor. That’s basically telling you that you’re laying out something that’s a supplemental product. It’s putting something on that surface that’ll make it pretty for a short period of time, but it’s not designed to wear.”
Keep Them (Pretty) Dry
Once you’ve found the right cleaning product, use it on the floors with a damp mop. “You don’t want to bring out a wet bucket and start soaking the floors because that’ll cause the wood to swell,” says Brett. He also advises against using steam, which cleans well but allows vapor to enter small spaces and damage the floors.
Know the Warning Signs
Wood reacts dramatically to temperature and humidity, so it’s important to understand the environment that surrounds your floor. Sometimes, though, elements are out of your control, so being aware of red flags can save your wood floors. The nice thing about wood is that it’s a natural product, so it’ll tell you if it’s not happy.
If there’s too much moisture on, around, or below the wood, it will cup. Eliminate the source of the water to stop this from occurring. Exceedingly dry conditions induce gapping, cracking, and splitting. Here, a humidifier should do the trick. “Adding a little moisture to the air will allow your floor to settle back down. It’ll make it happy again.
Get in a Routine
Cleaning your hardwood floor isn’t a one-and-done deal. From rain, mud, snow and salt to leaves, dirt and more, seasonal changes come with a variety of factors that can dull your hardwood floor. It takes just a little effort to maintain hardwood floors and keep them looking great, starting with getting into a cleaning and maintenance routine. Follow a schedule and stick to it.
This is one of the most underestimated and easy steps in the process. Dust daily to keep dust and dirt off the floor. This will prevent scratches and extend the beauty and life of your floor. Daily dust mopping will significantly reduce allergens in the home. More effective than traditional methods, a microfiber material uses a static charge to attract more dust and allergens. These smaller fibers reach into floor pores to lift dirt more effectively.
Polishing helps to extend the life of your hardwood floors and adds shine. Before polishing, dust or sweep the floor to remove loose debris. You may also want to follow up with vacuuming to make sure you pick up all the dirt and dust. Use water-based polishes to restore luster and shine every two to three months. These polishes won’t leave a residue or emit harmful toxins, but they will prevent overcleaning and stripping of your floor. Durable, urethane-based polishes have fast dry times, no waxy buildup and a protective wear layer to fill in micro-scratches and even out the appearance of the floor.
Shop Floor Polish
Refinishing hardwood flooring restores the wood to its original shine and appearance. Refinishing depends somewhat on the age of the floor and the thickness. For hardwoods that are only 1/4-inch thick, refinishing could do more harm than good by stripping away the entire floor. Generally speaking, refinishing only needs to be done once every seven to 10 years.
- Regularly dust and clean your hardwood floor to keep it looking like new.
- Avoid using water and vinegar, soap-based cleaners, wax or steam cleaners on your hardwood floor. Over time, vinegar and water will dull the floor’s finish, while soap or wax will leave a residue. Steam cleaners put heat and excessive water on your floor, which can lead to cupping and long-term damage.
- Use a natural, rubber rug underlayment with a waffle pattern in entryways or high-traffic areas.
- Felt floor protectors for furniture and chair leg pads help cut down on scrapes and scuffs in the wood.
- Avoid wearing high heels, which can cause scratches or gouges in hardwood.
- Use the proper tools to clean your floor: a mop paired with a machine-washable microfiber pad for dusting and cleaning. Avoid string mops — these put excessive amounts of water on the floor, which can be damaging, and just push dirt around instead of picking it up and removing it.
- Wipe up all spills immediately to avoid permanent stains.
How to Clean Cork Floors
Cork floors have become popular as homeowners look for earth-friendly materials from sustainable sources. It’s a durable material, as tough as hardwood and laminate, but like all floors requires periodic cleaning and sealing. Here’s how to clean cork floors.
Sweep or vacuum your floor daily. Dirt and debris can scratch the floor. Use a brush attachment, not a beater bar attachment, as it can damage the finish. Clean up spills immediately, as cork is porous and will soak up liquids quickly, staining the surface. Once a week, mix a mild cleaning solution of 5 drops of liquid dish detergent and one gallon of warm water. Don’t use a stronger solution as it can cause streaking. Avoid ammonia-based products or abrasive cleaners.
Use a soft mop, not hard bristle brushes or scrubbers, to spread the cleaner. Wring out the mop after each dip in the water. Too much water can damage the floor by seeping between the tiles and making the tiles swell. When they dry, they may separate and leave gaps between the tiles. Excess water can also encourage mold to grow. You want a damp mop, not a wet one.
Don’t use a steam cleaner as it can put too much water on the floor and ruin the finish. For stubborn stains, scrub with a fine grain steel wood pad. Remember, the most import part of knowing how to clean a cork floor is not using too much water.
Does Your Drywall Need Repair? And What Can A House Painter Do About It?
When you pause to examine your drywall with a fresh perspective, you may begin to notice it the way a visitor would. Cracks, holes, scrapes, roughness, uneven surfaces, peeling tape, dented corners… they may seem like small details, but taken together, they can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your house.
To help you get a feel for what to look for, we have provided a description of several common drywall problems. However, it’s not very helpful to point out problems without giving helpful solutions, so we have provided those as well!
The Problem: Long, tiny cracks appear on the ceiling or walls, gradually growing longer (and possibly wider) over time.
The Cause: The drywall is fastened to wooden studs, which expand and contract with temperature and humidity. They can also bend over time. Since the drywall is not flexible, it will crack as this happens.
The Problem: Holes, dents, gouges, scrapes, indents and abrasions mar the surface of the drywall.
The Cause: Life, kids, pets, moving furniture, and a host of possible “oops” moments!
The Solution: Smaller drywall imperfections can be filled with drywall compound or spackle. Bigger holes need to be filled using a patch kit or a custom-cut piece of drywall to fill the hole. For best results, have a professional do the bigger patching jobs, since it is very difficult to achieve a clean, smooth repair.
The Problem: Random areas of bumpy texture on the walls, or other flaws that mar the smoothness of the surface.
The Cause: Poor installation of the drywall or a poor previous paint job. This could be caused by someone painting a wall while it was dirty, or using an old or dirty paint roller cover. Maybe a previous owner did some DIY drywall repair that didn’t produce a smooth, attractive result, and now the problem lies under a layer (or more) of paint.
The Solution: Sometimes the irregularities on a surface can be removed by careful sanding and filling to create a smooth surface. However, in some cases, the best way forward is skimcoating. This process involves troweling on a thin layer of drywall compound on a whole wall, creating a brand-new surface that is clean, clear, smooth, and beautiful!
PEELING DRYWALL TAPE
The Problem: The tape that covers the seams between sheets of drywall is coming loose, leaving visible cracks, and maybe even peeling right off the wall.
The Cause: Poor installation can cause this to happen, or water leakage, or extreme shifting/settling of the home.
The Solution: Use a razor knife to cut out the section of loose tape, sand the area smooth, and apply a new piece of drywall tape to the affected area with drywall compound. Prime the area and paint the wall or ceiling.
The Problem: Small bulges appear in the drywall, often forming cracks around them. In extreme cases, a nail head pushes right through the surface of the drywall.
The Cause: Seasonal shifting causes drywall movement, as mentioned above, and this in turn can cause nails to work their way back out of the wood, bulging through the drywall.
The Solution: Use a drywall screw to tighten the drywall back against the wooden studs, an inch or two below or above the popped nail. Then pull out the nail, or pound it firmly back in until it is below the level of the drywall. Now use drywall patching compound to fill the holes. Sand the compound smooth, prime, and paint.
Cut out wall cracks
When homes settle, drywall cracks sometimes shoot out above or below windows and above doors. You can’t just cover or fill the cracks with joint compound—they’ll come back. Instead, fix the cracks with joint compound and mesh tape. Mesh tape gives you less buildup than paper tape and is plenty strong. Protect the window or door trim with masking tape before starting the fix.
Fill holes three times
Fill small holes and indents (less than 1/8 in.) with spackling compound. For larger holes, use joint compound instead. Apply either compound with a putty knife, spreading it thin on the wall. You’ll apply two more coats (the compounds shrink as they dry), so don’t worry if the hole isn’t filled perfectly the first time. Let each coat of compound dry (read the directions; some dry in just two hours). Don’t believe spackling labels that say you don’t have to sand—you do. You’ll have to sand between coats if there’s any excess compound. After the final coat, use fine-grit sandpaper.
In case of extensive water damage, the best solution is to replace the entire dry wall sheet. If the structure of the wall hasn’t been compromised, you can look into dry wall repair techniques. Before attempting to repair dry wall, finding and fixing the source of the damage is important to prevent problem recurrence. Once the necessary repairs have been made, allow the dry wall to dry completely and assess its condition. If there are any water stains, use a good-quality stain blocker to prevent stains from bleeding through the finish paint. To repair superficially damaged dry wall, scrape off the loose layers of paint and topping compound, treat the areas affected by mold with anti-mold solution and let the wall dry properly. Then, apply a quality filler over the repair area, let it dry completely and sand down any bumps with fine-grit sandpaper. If the water-damaged area is soft and spongy, it will most likely need to be replaced.
How to Repair Drywall Cracks
As a home or building settles, imperfections may develop in the drywall. With this easy guide, learn the latest techniques to repair drywall cracks. The only materials you will need to repair drywall cracks and even small holes are drywall (joint) compound, mesh tape, a putty knife, sandpaper and a sharp utility knife (drywall screws are optional).
To repair drywall cracks, without hiring a local drywall contractor, follow these fast, simple steps: follow these fast, simple steps:
Use the utility knife to remove any loose drywall material.
Carefully create a small indentation so that once applied, the mesh tape will be flush with the surrounding drywall. To do this, cut a narrow groove on either side of the crack with a sharp utility knife.
A crack generally occurs because the drywall is moving and may need additional support. To be sure your drywall crack repair is permanent, secure the drywall. Insert drywall screws on both sides of the crack and along the entire crack. Be sure to screw into the wood behind the drywall. Countersink the head slightly but do not break through the paper layer.
Using mesh tape designed for drywall repair, cover the crack and heads of the screws. Note: Some experts recommend hot mud (also called “quick set” or “fast set” joint compound) instead of drywall compound when using mesh tape. The powder is mixed with water and dries very quickly — 5-90 minutes, depending on the product. It actually dries too fast for the liking of some do-it-yourselfers, who prefer ready-mixed joint compound to repair drywall cracks and holes.
Apply a thin layer of drywall compound and allow it to dry. Repeat until the drywall compound is slightly more raised than the wall. Once the drywall compound is dry, sand the area to make it flush with the existing wall. Brush away any dust or residue.
Coat with primer. After the primer has dried, apply paint to match the existing wall color.
Drywall tape may occasionally loosen due to the passage of time, roof leaks roof or excess moisture in the building. Repair loose tape over joints in the same manner that you repair drywall cracks. The only difference is that any loose tape needs to be carefully cut away with a sharp utility knife.
Popped Nails In Combination With Other Issues Signal A Bigger Problem.
Normal house settling can cause framing lumber to move a bit, resulting in popped nails. If the house continues to settle, over time, additional nail pops could appear. Foundation problems can also cause movement that leads to nail pops, but in both cases, they will be accompanied by additional problems, including:
- Doors that stick or won’t shut properly.
- Cracks in the drywall around windows and doors.
- Cracks in the corners of the ceiling.
- Visible cracks in the foundation.
Bat Removal Services
Bats are some of the most misinterpreted wildlife. When it comes to environmental benefits, bats do not receive a lot of credit. However, they serve as pollinators, seed-dispersers and help to control pests. North America is home to 45 species of bats, three of which are common in the Triangle area. Using echolocation or bio sonar, bats can find their way into the tiniest spaces. These mammals are mysterious in appearance and typically are only seen at night. They are often feared by humans, which contributes to threats to their population worldwide. Bats in the Triangle are known to form colonies in their chosen roosting areas. While in search of dark and quiet places to raise their young, bats are known to invade attics in the summertime. Each species of bat is unique and poses its own challenge for people
While bats may be fascinating creatures when they’re OUTSIDE your house, it’s necessary to know if they are IN your house. Here are some tell tale clues.
Bat droppings, or guano, can be found on the sides of your house, in attics or under the eaves. Unlike rodent droppings, which are typically dispersed, bat droppings are found in clumps and may contain insect parts.
Bats roost on the outside of the house.
A scratching noise that comes from the attic—day or night, as the bat or bats attempt to find their way out.
High pitched squeaks coming from your attic, eaves or walls.
A strong smell from the attic (from the bat droppings).
Bats fly around the outside of your home or out of your chimney at dusk.
Typically found in caves, bats can live in almost any feasible shelter. As their natural habitats diminish, many bat species choose to live in homes or storage-type buildings. It is also common for bats to roost in attics or caves. The big brown and little brown bat species of North Carolina often make noises upon exiting their roost. They also tend to have a musky odor and commonly leave droppings underneath their roosting area
Bats are great to have around your home as they eat almost 100% of their body weight every night. And sure—bats aren’t the biggest creatures, weighing in around half an ounce each—but, they live together in large groups, so the numbers add up quickly. Each night, they cut back the number of nasty mosquitos and other insects to bother you during the pleasant spring and summer nights.
Say you see the droppings but never the bats—you may be asking yourself where they roost during the day. Typically, they roost and forage in the trees and areas around neighborhoods where the insects are the worst. If you aren’t sure if they are around your home, try sitting on your porch or in your backyard in the early evening and keep an eye on the street lights. You can often find them flitting between the lights as they start their insect hunting for the night.
There are more than 1,100 different species of bats in the world, living on every continent except Antarctica. Each one has developed special adaptations for how it lives and what it eats. For example, 70% of all the bats in the world eat insects and many of them use echolocation in order to find food and move around in the dark. Many small insectivorous bats can eat up to 2,000 mosquito-sized insects in one night. These bats are able to eat so much because they have high metabolisms and expend lots of energy in flight.
Bats are beneficial. Worldwide, bats are a major predator of night-flying insects, including pests that cost farmers billions of dollars annually. Throughout the tropics, seed dispersal and pollination activities by bats are vital to rain forest survival. In addition, studies of bats have contributed to medical advances including the development of navigational aids for the blind.
Contact With Bats
If you are bitten by a bat — or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound — wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical advice immediately. Whenever possible, the bat should be captured and sent to a laboratory for rabies testing.
People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat. However, because bats have small teeth which may leave marks that are not easily seen, there are situations in which you should seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or see a bat near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.
Capturing a Bat
If a bat is present in your home and you cannot rule out the possibility of exposure, leave the bat alone and contact an animal-control agency for assistance.
How to control pests in your attic
Have you heard noises coming from your attic just after dusk? Possibly something scurrying around while you’re trying to fall asleep? You may be harboring pests in your attic.
Not only can pests keep you up at night, but they can also be responsible for property damage and they can cause health problems.
Common attic pests
Squirrels. Although squirrels typically live in tree cavities, they have been known to seek out attic space when the temperature drops. They can damage you home, building nests and creating openings. They also leave behind, body dust, feces and urine, which can cause damage or transmit disease.
Bats. Bats are able to squeeze through openings as small as 1/2 inch. Bats live in colonies and once they take up residence usually stick to the familiar space year round. A buildup of bat feces can cause illness. They have also been known to carry diseases.
Mice. Mice can fit through even smaller openings, needing only 1/4-inch gap to enter a structure. Mice can damage structures by making nests defecating and urinating. They are also disease carriers.
Rats. Rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter. They may also gain energy to your attic by chewing through wood, siding and drywall. Rat infestations can cause damage to your home and gardens. They also transmit diseases through the pests they carry and the feces, urine and body dust they leave behind.
Raccoons. Raccoons typically sneak through poorly screened vents and eave gaps to gain access to attic spaces. However, they have also been known to rip right through roofing materials in order to gain entry. Like all other rodents, raccoons leave behind waste, carry disease and may cause damage to your home.
Insects and arachnids. Ants, flies, cockroaches, spiders, stink bugs and more may have snuck into your attic looking for a warm place to overwinter at the end of fall. Like, rodents they leave behind body dust and droppings everywhere they crawl. They can also transmit pathogens via food contamination.
Identifying attic pests
The first step to controlling pests that have taken up residence in your attic is identifying which type of pest you’re sharing your space with.
During the day when most attic pests are inactive, take a look around your attic to determine what’s living up there. If you don’t notice any critters, look for other signs of their presence — damage to your attic, entrance gaps, scat, nests. By evaluating what your particular pest left behind, you can come closer to identifying what’s living in your attic.
Pest control experts tackling bats found inside home attics
People aren’t the only ones trying to stay warm during this winter season, bats are too and they have pest control experts busy right now.
It’s that time of year…temperatures are colder which means bats are looking for warm places to stay and that could be your house
“They actually will purposely hibernate in an attic space, if that’s available to them, they’ll be in there all summer long and when the winter comes they’ll bury themselves in the instillation and stay quiet until the warm weather shows up,” Christopher explained.
“An attic is a kind of like a cave that’s insulated, so if they’re able to get up there and tell their friends about it, one bat, two bats, three bats, turn into dozens and dozens,” Christopher noted. Christopher said people underestimate the dangers of bats getting inside houses.
“Piles of bat droppings, you could be breathing it in without even knowing it…They’re acidic, they also cause things like histoplasmosis, respiratory issues. So if you’re getting the bats out that’s great but you also want to get rid of what they left behind,” Christopher explained.
Attic Pest Removal: How to Get Rid of Overhead Guests
Attic pest removal can seem like Groundhog Day — the movie, not the holiday. No sooner do you shoo away pests that make your attic their home sweet home, than the little buggers sneak back inside.
Know thy Enemy
Wild animals living in your attic can cause damage — chew through electrical wires, shred insulation — and spread diseases, such as hantavirus and salmonella. To rid your attic of these pests, you must know exactly which critter has become your housemate. To identify — then kill or trap — the animal, you must learn to identify the shape, size, and pattern of its scat.
provides a little cheat sheet on pest poo.
Mouse: 1/8 inch long, pellet-shaped
Rat: ¼ inch long, sausage-shaped
Squirrel: ½ to 1 inch long, sausage-shaped
Raccoon: Up to ¾ of an inch wide, 2-3 inches long; sausage-shaped
Bat: ½ inch, pellet-shaped, found in piles
Once you identify the scat, follow the Centers for Disease Control’s advice on how to clean it up. Here are a few tips:
Open windows to air out the infested area for at least 30 minutes before cleanup. Don’t hang around during this part.
Wear protective gloves and masks so you don’t touch or breathe the urine- and feces-contaminated dust.
To disinfect, spray the area with a bleach solution (1 part bleach; 10 parts water).
Use paper towels to clean up the area, and then dispose of trash in a sealed plastic bag.