Livingston Reporting - page 335

Bedbug Removal: Tips for Getting Rid of Bedbugs

Bedbugs are little parasitic creatures that thrive on human blood. Bedbugs are a problem that had once disappeared and has slowly resurged. The reasons for this are unclear. Some people believe that foreign travel is to blame while others blame it on the exchange of personal furnishings. Whatever the reason it is clear that bedbugs are an annoyance and getting rid of them is not always easy. Many symptoms accompany a household infected with these nuisances. Anything from skin irritation and allergic reactions to psychological disorders have been linked back to bedbug infestations. Bedbugs find their way into your home on clothing, luggage, furniture and by visitors that don’t even realize they are hosting this vile critter. The only way to actually treat bedbugs is to eliminate them. The following list will help you rid yourself of an infestation and hopefully prevent reoccurrence.

First you will need to start by doing a thorough cleaning of the entire home. Infected or not there is no reason to take any chances on if an area has been infected. Bedbugs are mostly active at night and in heat so make sure to keep your home very warm and dark when eliminating bedbugs. When looking at your bed to see if it is contaminated look in the seams. Bedbugs leave dark residue from their excretions and it will often be most prevalent in those areas. If your bed is infested it is best to remove both the mattress and box spring. They will be the areas that most likely harbor the largest number of bedbugs.

Next you need to focus on the areas around the bed this includes the headboard, nightstands and dressers. Empty all of the contents out and thoroughly wash with alcohol. You will want to take special precautions to get into all of the cracks and crevices of these items ensuring the removal of all of the critters.

Chairs, sofas, carpet and closets are all places that play the perfect host to bedbugs. Examine these areas thoroughly. In order to properly treat these areas you can use an agent that flushes out the bedbugs. Knowing where the bugs are hiding is half the battle. The second half is destroying them.

Sanitizing will become your new favorite thing to do. Although you can rid yourself of bedbugs it is best to have a professional pest control firm in to do a complete job. Make sure you have removed all the clutter from the home. This will create the best possible environment for the professionals to do their job.
If you spot bedbugs the best poison that is safe to use even with children present in the home is rubbing alcohol. This will not only kill the bedbugs themselves but also their eggs. Pesticides were once used to kill bedbugs but new laws have been enacted for public safety that makes them illegal to use.

It is wise to launder all items and then place them in a large black bag. Creating an environment where the bedbugs don’t have any place to feed they will die. After you have left these items in a warm environment, sealed for three weeks take the items out and launder them once again. It is almost certain after this amount of time that all of the bedbugs will have perished.

Vacuum the entire house to remove eggs and live bugs. Make sure that you repeat this process everyday for weeks. You can spot treat with insecticides. Make sure that after you let it set that you repeatedly vacuum the area. The next step is to prevent infestation. You can do this by following several steps.

You will want to make sure that any furniture that you purchase from another source is cleaned and free of all bedbugs before bringing the items into your home. When traveling, whether foreign or in the states, check the hotel bedding for signs of a bedbug infestation. Make sure you keep luggage up off the floor. Take these precautions to prevent bedbugs from entering your home. Bedbug removal is incredibly tedious. Take the precautions necessary to prevent them from coming home with you.

Details with Building an Addition on a Home

Thinking about building an addition? What are you really in for? There are certain things that need to be considered before you are knee deep in renovation on an addition to your home. The dream of an addition sometimes far out ways the reality of it so it is important to really consider all options before diving into any home addition. Whether you are adding on a porch, exploring adding on an entire upstairs level or enhancing you yard with the addition of a shed make sure you are prepared. You can do this by asking yourself a few questions before you start.

First you must ask yourself why you really want to build an addition. An addition is something that is often quite pricey. Do not go into it without really asking yourself why the addition is important to you. I know many people who have invested time and money into building an addition only to realize that they could have done without the extra space. Some people just “need” a shed but find that all they do is store things in it that really should be tossed. A shed should not be a storage area for things that you can do without. Or did you add a porch only to realize you really do not enjoy sitting outside. This is the most important question that needs to be considered with any building addition to your home.

Next if you have decided that an addition is a must start by talking to neighbors, friends and family to start finding a contractor to help with the addition. If you know of someone who has recently had an addition put on, a porch added or a shed built call them up and ask them if they would use their contractor again. It is important to find someone to help in your renovation that is easy to work with so make sure to qualify any contractor before you begin working with anyone.

You need to secure several things in order to start and complete an addition. It is important that you have proper financing and building permits. It is also important to know who you will need to deal with throughout the project. Do you require an electrician, a plumber or are you able to complete your project without having to invite outside contractors to the table? Make sure that you secure enough funding to complete building an addition. If you are halfway through the building addition but all the way through your cash you have a major problem to solve. Ensure this does not happen to you. Make sure you have cash and financing options enough to cover your project.

It is important that you meet with an architect if you are considering a major change to the structural component of your home to allow for an addition. It is important to determine if your structure will be safe for the addition that you are intending.

Then you begin the final stages of building an addition which include beginning the remodel. In order to do this you will need to think about all of the following things:

1) Will you need to put the addition on a slab, a basement or will you have to create a crawlspace for your new space?
2) Begin constructing the outside structure which includes the walls.
3) Add the walls and wrap to prepare for siding or whatever outside material you will be using. It is also the time to install the roof and add shingles.
4) Next call in the insulation and drywall professionals because you are to that point in the addition.
5) Once you are completely framed it is window time.
6) Next comes flooring and painting. At this point you can see the finish.
7) Trim in the windows and doors and your project will be complete. You can move in the finishing touches of furniture and knick knacks and sit back and enjoy the finished project.

Removing the Excess Children’s Toys from Your Home

I love my kids. I am like most parents I would do anything for them, give them the world and share all of my favorite things with them. As much as I love them I dislike the state of chaos all of the things they own causes in our home. My father built them a toy box. Toys live there. I purchased a storage ottoman for the living room and made sure it provided more storage for our family. It is filled with toys. Each of their rooms has shelves with plenty of boxes and baskets to store toys. They of course are filled. So my question to them is how their toys find their way under my feet. With all the places the toys have to hide and live why am I constantly stepping on them?

As I pondered this question I took a look at the things they had accumulated. The children’s toys come from all directions to them. People buy them things for Christmas, Birthdays, Easter you name it people seem to send them something. Do not get me wrong I am grateful but when do we draw the line and start to minimize what comes into our home.

I started out on the journey to remove the clutter from the kid’s lives. My opinion is that in order for this to be a success they too had to play a major role in the process. I took on Spencer first but the process was much the same for my daughter’s room to. We emptied out the toy box, removed his things from the ottoman and locked ourselves in his room. We had three boxes one for garbage and broken toys, one for donations and one for toys that were still good. It took us a good two hours but we successfully navigated through his toy collection and eliminated a ton of extras that were not being played with or had been broken. Another thing we did was make a binder and three hole punched all the Lego manuals all the directions from toys in which my son swears he cannot live without.

We discussed what we could do to ensure that we never let it get to this chaotic point. What we came up with is that we would work on the principle of one thing in one thing out. If they received a gift they knew they were not ever going to play with they were going to put it in the storage ottoman to be regifted or donated to charity at a later date. To me this is a winning solution that I would recommend employing with the books, toys and craft stuff in your life. If there are things that you wish to keep for them to have later on, mine are a kidkraft dollhouse for my daughter and a workbench my dad made from my son, store them in the attic out of the way. This will ensure they don’t clutter your home or get ruined in the meantime. The kids will be so happy to have those few unique items from their childhood with they have little ones of their own.

Civil Engineering – Designing a Better Future

When you are asked to describe, in words, an engineer what are the first adjectives words that come into mind. I always think about someone who is meticulous, almost anal in details, or someone who is very decisive. I think of a person whom looks at the past, present and future before creating a concrete plan. Wikipedia defines engineering as a profession which accounts for all variables, scientific, mathematic, economic, social and practical knowledge to create live as we know it.

Have you ever looked around and really thought about the world around us? Who creates the roads we drive on? Who is responsible for designing buildings that withstand the natural environment of the areas we live in? There are many types of engineers that look into different facets of life but Civil Engineers are the professionals responsible for our daily lives functioning smoothly and safely.

Civil Engineers are professionals that are taught pure and applied science to create a plan for the construction of buildings, roads, structures to ease movement on Earth by boat, car or train. The people responsible for making buildings that with stand Mother Nature are Civil Engineers. They apply science to determine what will work in creating a safe, convenient, reliable environment for civilization to continue its growth.

Civil Engineers look at past results, current happenings and make predictions about the future Earth’s environment and the effects it will have when creating structures, roadways, damns, tunnels, highways, medical facilities and sub divisions. You name it Civil Engineers have had a hand in the planning, design, implementation and creation of the civil society we live in. Life is simpler with the knowledge that Civil Engineers bring to our society.

As land is used and weather patterns change Civil Engineers rethink how they construct buildings to improve their stability. It is also important for them to take into account how the land is changing and space is becoming less available. They must take into consideration the layout of existing structures when developing areas around them.

It is also pertinent, along with building new structures, that Civil Engineering experts look at existing structures and repair damage that has occurred. It is also important for them to take into account recent world events like tsunamis and earthquakes to improve the structures that will replace the ones that have been destroyed. Civil Engineers will work with a scientific approach to determine how to build appropriately for the new environment that exists.

Civil Engineers are hard working individuals who must obtain a high skill set to constantly improve the society that we enjoy. Can you imagine the barren wasteland that would exist around us if it weren’t for those individuals who literally paved the way?

Windows and Doors: Perfect Placement

Building a house and making it your home is one of the biggest goals of many families. It is a dream to be the first person to live in the space and to be able to make each decision about the design your own. In designing your home it is easy to overlook things like the placement of light switches or plugs. In the end however it will matter when running the vacuum, plugging in nightlights, running Christmas lights. It is so important to make each element count. That includes the placement of windows and doors.

Windows and doors have to be placed correctly for your home design to flow naturally. It is important to take their placement into consideration in each room. Think about how the furniture will be placed before you establish where the entry door will be. The same thing should be taken into consideration with windows with the size and shape. I always have disliked the windows in our bedroom because they are placed in such a way that our bed has to stay on one wall. If we move the bed anywhere else it would be placed underneath a window and that does not work for our family.

It is also important in thinking about the air flow in your home. Windows and doors let the air circulate through your home. That is one thing I really like about our homes design. We have two door walls, one in the kitchen and one in the living room. We also have French doors directly across from the door wall in the living room. I hardly ever run the air in the summer because the breeze flows through the house. We have a ceiling fan that also helps keep the air moving to create an environment without stale air.

A room was added within the original space of our home before we moved in. This created a very unbalanced room. We use this as a sitting area. The problem is that the windows are now not centered on the wall. The addition wall actually butts directly up to the one of the windows. It is odd for many reasons. The window treatments have to be those in which are put directly in the window casing. It is also weird for air to flow because it comes in that window and meets with a wall. It really has no balance at all. If I were there when they were designing this added room I would have suggested that they further bring the wall into our sitting area and make the room addition larger and include two windows instead of just the one.

It is personal preference when design your dream home. The placement of windows and doors is one in which great thought and common sense should be brought in. Spare no detail. If you spare any detail, small or large, it will end up being the one thing that continues to plague you after you are settling into your new home. My girlfriend did not put too much thought into outlets and now will forever be plagued with a light switch that should be in the mud room before you enter the home but that lives in the kitchen. You need to open the door from the mud room to the kitchen before you can flip a light on to take off your shoes. It happens to all of us.

Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

It is so important to prepare your home for any emergency natural or accidental. After your home has been ruined by fire or water damage is too late to think about preparing for a disaster. Things can happen inside or outside of your family. Take time to prepare and protect your family and your belongings from the chaos and confusion that comes from devastation.

There are several things that you can do within your home to start protecting and preparing for the worst. First let’s start by talking about the turmoil fire damage can create when it wreaks havoc in your home. Then how you can prevent or eliminate the amount of damage done to your home if a fire does happen. Fires are responsible in excess of five thousand people a year here in the United States alone. Most of the deaths that arise from fires within the home come not from burns but from breathing in the smoke and harmful gasses that are released in a house fire.

Ways to prevent a fire in your home start first with common sense. Most fires within the home are accidental and begin in the kitchen area of a home. They are not caused by failure from the mechanics of the stove it is from a human slip-up. Use caution whenever you are cooking. Never leave anything on the stove unsupervised. It only takes milliseconds for fire to ravage your home. Grease can splatter and ignite a fire so fast. Attended a fire extinguisher could be used to put out flames where as if left unattended by the time you get back to the kitchen fire damage will have already spread throughout more of your home than just the kitchen.

It is also important to put fire and smoke detectors in every room on every level of your home. The faster a fire is responded to the better the chances to minimize any fire damage and water damage from putting the fire out.

It is also important to plan for a severe natural disaster. You can keep your family safe by first staying informed about the conditions in your area. This is especially true if you live in an area where extreme weather is normal for you. Tornadoes, floods, snow and ice, earthquakes, hurricanes and wild fires are not be able to be planned out but how you react to them can be.

Make sure your home and structures on your property meet requirements for your area. If you live in an area prone to high winds make sure your home is built to withstand them. If you are in an area that usually has an intense rainy season prepare by inspecting your roof and the trees on your property. Fill in any areas with wear with roof tar and keep shingles intact to prevent roof collapse. Keep trees trimmed so that dead branches are not left hanging and that large branches do not hand directly over your home.

Keep an emergency kit with preparations for at least three days stocked and accessible incase severe weather sneaks up on you. This should include things such as food, water, battery operated lights and communication devices, band-aids and blankets. These things are considered the basic necessities to have on hand to keep you alive until help arrives for you.

It is also important if you have time to clear an inside room of furniture, knick knacks and other loose variables. This will prevent flying debris that can cause injury. It is important to seek shelter inside the room that you have created this safe environment. If possible this room should be an inside room without windows.

You never know for sure when a disaster could strike so the best plan is to always be prepared and use common sense to cut down on preventable accidents. It is important to make sure you keep insurance up to date so that is something unexpected happens you can recover and get your life back on track as quickly as possible. Keep an updated list of personal possessions on file somewhere other than your home so that if a disaster takes hold you will still have an account of the items that were in your home.

Protecting Your Home against the Losses Involved with Flood Damage

When buying a home within a flood zone you are required to purchase flood insurance through FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency. This coverage protects homeowners and mortgage companies. It protects from the losses that occur from water damage to your homes structure and contents when flood damage wreaks havoc to your home. If you live in an area that is prone to flash floods it is advisable to go ahead and protect your assets with the additional insurance that cover flood damage.

It can also be useful to have if your home is in an area with a high water table and you have a home with a basement. Basements are often the storage compartments for all memorabilia that has been collected for holidays, camping gear, tools, out of season clothes etc… If your basement flooded would you be able to financially replace all of the items damaged beyond repair? This is where flood insurance would be useful. It protects your belongings from the unexpected. Heck, none knows when the electricity is going to go out rendering the sump pump useless and water damage to occur in a basement.

Excess flood insurance is the term used when flood insurance is purchased to not only protect your swelling but also the contents within your home. This insurance is not provided through FEMA but instead is often obtained through your insurance provider. Your insurance company will act as the middle man for you in all dealings with FEMA. It is important to have excess flood insurance especially when you live in an area prone to floods. Most flood zones, even 100 year flood zones, require the purchase of additional insurance to cover your dwelling.

Many events can cause flooding. Flood damage can be caused by excess rainfall within a short period of time, snow and ice melting too fast, a leak from a pool or a clogged storm drain which in a sub division can cause massive issue for home owners.

It is important to research the area in which you are interested in purchasing a home. It is important that you add flood insurance to your budget when planning for a home purchase within a flood zone. The cost of flood insurance will depend on several factors; the size of your home, its value and the risk associated with the area in which your home is built. The expense can add hundreds of dollars to your insurance policy so it is something to really look into before signing on the dotted line. Most mortgage companies are upfront when offering a mortgage about the type of homeowner and flood insurance the purchaser will need. It is so important to be covered in the event of a disaster accidental or natural.

Increasing the Value of your Home with Flooring Renovations

There are so many renovations that can be done that will increase the value of a home. Isn’t that what people want when they spend their hard earned money on home renovations? One of the many things that can be done to increase a home’s value is flooring renovations. There are several options in flooring; carpet, ceramic tile, linoleum and wood. As with carpet there are many choices to decide between. All flooring ranges in styles, price, durability and color.

Wood flooring renovations are becoming the most popular option in flooring choices today. The decisions about what type of material, what color and which laminate to choose are endless. The biggest decisions will need to be made to determine what will fit the style of your home and budget.

There are three main types of wood flooring available for renovations; solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring and laminated wood flooring. None of the three choices are correct for every household. You will need to look into your specific needs and determine what the best is for you. Yes, some people will say that solid hardwood is the only way to go. However different environmental factors such as your lifestyle will determine the best wood flooring renovation that is right for you.

Solid hardwood is the most expensive of the three flooring options. It is the best quality and the most expensive of all your wood flooring options. Solid hardwood floors can be produced out of almost any type of wood. The more ornate, like teak and mahogany, can prove to be very pricey. Don’t worry though because you can also choose from less expensive options like oak, pin and maple. Solid wood is very durable and can be easily maintained and refinished after years of wear. It also gives a home a very rich feel. If solid hardwood floors are in your budget, splurge. The extra expense will be well worth it. Solid hardwood flooring renovations increase the value of your home more than the out of pocket expense. It is considered a luxury renovation.

Next down the line is engineered flooring. It does not offer the same luxuriousness that solid hardwood does but it is a close alternative. Engineered flooring is made up of several layers. The face is a hardwood lamella and the core is basic softwood with a final layer of hardwood lamella. When installed the top layer only the top layer is visible to the eye. You can think of it like a piece of plywood with the many layers being compressed together. It is less expense than solid hardwood and is also very durable. It is a beautiful replica in replacement of solid hardwood.

Finally the least expensive option in wood flooring is laminate. This is basically a resinous base coated with a paper coating that resembles wood in color and texture. It is easy to maintain but will not withstand the years of abuse that solid wood does while continuing to maintain the look and feel of wood flooring.

When contemplating the installation of any wood flooring it is best to obtain advice from a professional. Flooring professionals will make sure that your investment and installation is performed in the most appropriate manner for the flooring choice. As there are many types of wood flooring options there are also several different installation procedures for the type of wood flooring choice. Hiring a professional will ensure that your investment is installed properly and will last for the lifetime of your flooring choice.

Increasing the Value of a Home Through Renovations

There are many reasons homeowners want to renovate their homes. One of the major reasons these days is to increase the value of their home. How do you know if what you are doing is going to be a valuable home improvement? Are you also renovating in the meantime to add comfort while you are still in the home? Of course, so it is important to research the renovations that will return the most bang for your money.

Things to consider doing to spruce your home up that add value without a lot of cash out of pocket are cosmetic like painting, getting new updated fixtures and new flooring can add a lot of appeal to a home. These are manly things you can do or hire out to a local handyman. These little things are inexpensive but will give the impression of a clean kept up home which is what you want when you are putting money into your home. Other things that can make a large difference are things that just require cash not a lot of effort such as area rugs and fresh linens.

If you are looking for a home improvement project that is going to make a huge impact on a home’s value look into renovating the kitchens and bathrooms. They are often the projects that will involve hiring a contractor but can offer you the most added value upon resale and comfort while you still own the home. It is important to determine your exact motives when looking into any remodeling/renovation project to make sure that it is worth the time, money and effort.

When thinking about updates consider the range of time that you hope to stay in this home. If you are thinking that you are going to place it on the market in a year it is probably best not to begin a kitchen remodel that is going to take 4 months and cost upwards of thirty thousand dollars. I would think about projects in increments of time. If you plan on selling the house within four years from the time of renovation carefully do a cost analysis to determine if it is worth the expense. Will you get your money out of the project?

Projects to consider in this time frame range from new flooring, windows, a roof, siding, painting, freshen up landscaping and staining the deck. Things that are relatively inexpensive but that produce an appeal to buyers. If you are planning to stay in your home for a period of time greater than four years you can take on the expense of a kitchen or bathroom remodel and get your money out of the investment in the end. Plus you have had time to enjoy it and savor the changes that have been made.

There are many cost analyzers on the internet today that will help you financially determine if the home improvement costs are outweighed by the increase of value to the home. It is important in any renovation that you are satisfied with the end result and that appeal has been added to your home. You are the one that has to love where you live so also keep that in mind during your next renovating project.

Budgeting for a Home Renovation

Budgeting for home renovations is always tough. Even when you plan for everything and even a few glitches along the way budgets often find a way to be busted. In order to keep your progress from ending in a budget stale mate here are a few things to keep in mind when renovations are planned for your home.

First decide why you are renovating your home. What do you hope to accomplish with the renovation? Are you adding space for a new addition? Are you adding space for a kids play room or do you hope that with your renovation you increase the value of your home. Knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish with your home renovations will make it easier to create a budget and stick to it. It is often when a plan is not created that we go overboard with spending. So the more you can think out ahead of time before renovations on your home begin the better your finances will look in the end.

Speaking of a budget determine how much you can afford to spend on this home renovation. If you realize that what you hope to accomplish is not possible within the funds you have allotted for the project than you can easily put it on hold at this stage of the process. Determine the cost of all materials, tools and furnishings that will be needed to complete the renovation. If you are doing a kitchen renovation make sure to take into account large items like stoves and refrigerators. If you are doing a bathroom remodel take into account a new tub, sink and vanity. A toilet and new fixtures should also be added to the budget.

Next ask yourself are you up to taking on the challenge of a remodel or is it better for you to hire a contractor to ensure a smooth renovation. If you are the handyman type simple renovations can easily be done on your own and can save your contractor fees. If you are going to hire out a residential contractor make sure to look at examples of their previous work. Ask for references and check out their website. The detail put into their work, references and website will give you a good idea of their work and work ethic. It is also important to make sure your gut tells you that the contractor you have chosen is right for you and your renovation.

A timeline is also important in home renovations. It is important to go over this with your contractor and get in writing a plan of attack. It is important that each step is broke down into a time frame so that you and the contractor can work together to make sure progress stays on track.

Making sure that the contractor you hire is on the same page as you is one of the most important steps in home renovation. You can have this by opening the lines of communication from the start. Know that sometimes things can take an unexpected turn but that you are interested in keeping up to date with the progress and would like updates even when something goes haywire.

Once you have agreed upon a plan do not keep changing things. Nothing makes a contractor bitter more than an indecisive customer. They to have a time frame to stay within so that they can continue work with other clients. Every change adds time and money to the budget so stick to the original plan of attack. It will ease the schedule and budget if you stick to the initial renovation plan.

The last thing you will need to decide is if you plan on living in your dwelling during the construction or if you plan on finding a place that is more conducive to your life. If you decide to live in your home during the renovation make sure that you do not interrupt the progress. A happy contractor makes for a happy homeowner.