Important Tips to Get the Best Possible Finish

wood-finishingWhen you’re working on cabinets, chairs, benches or anything else for the home, the best possible finish really makes all the difference. It is the difference between looking professional, and looking like an amateur cobbled it together over a weekend. Even if that’s your reality, these tips will help you overcome some of those amateur speedbumps and excel at the art of finish carpentry.

Practice Makes Perfect

The first tip is to practice frequently. The more you try out different tools, and learn different skills, the better your available skillset and confidence level will be. You’ll go from “how could I possibly do this”, to “how can I make this possible”. That only comes from trying out a broad range of tools and repeating certain actions. Got a lot of scrap wood? Time to learn how to use your saw or your miter box to make precision or angled cuts.

Upside Down Cuts

If you’re cutting across the grain, you’re probably struggling with splintering along the wood. If this is the case, flip over the wood and you’ll see quite different results. Crown molding has to be cut upside down. When you’re working with triangular lumber, nail it into the corner of walls or joints. Practice this frequently so you get a good finish.

Glue and Staining

The final tip has to do with staining, which is where your cabinets really shine their brightest. If you want the best possible stain, it all starts with gluing properly. Avoid excess glue, which is such a simple mistake to make that even pros do it. If you do apply too much glue, wipe the furniture clean but try to avoid doing that too often. You end up using a damp rag, which clogs the pores in the wood. Later, when you’re staining the wood, you end up with uneven colors.

Archbishop James Provence retired from the Church and currently resides in Vacaville. James Provence is an amateur furniture maker, who is also a volunteer docent at the California State Railway Museum.

Smart Steps for a Dry Basement

 photo Smart_Steps_for_a_Dry_Basement

Ask any homeowner with a basement about their biggest fear, and aside from a natural disaster, you’re likely to get plenty of people citing water damage and flooding. Basements are prone to this kind of problem for a couple reasons. The most obvious is that so much of a home’s plumbing and water flow systems run in and out of the basement. Their position below ground level also means they can be humid, and the way the surrounding land holds and handles water can play a role as well. Lastly, since basements, particularly ones that aren’t finished, are places we don’t spend large portions of our time, a minor issue can more easily become a major one, since these spaces go unchecked for longer in many cases.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid these issues; otherwise we wouldn’t have basements in the first place! The first is to make sure you have a quality, functional sump pump, and ideally, a backup power source for it, should it go out during weather or an outage. There are other, more set-it and forget-it type strategies you can implement as well.

One of the best, both for helping to prevent water damage, as well as offering energy conservation, is wrapping your pipework with insulation. While it helps treated water stay at temperature, in the winter, it can reduce the chances of freezing, bursting, and leaking pipes. Non-absorptive materials like closed-cell foam can help insulate while avoiding rot and mold issues from condensation or humidity.

Lastly, if you don’t go down into your basement on a daily basis, checking on it more frequently can save you an incredible amount of stress and money if you’re able to spot an issue while it’s still small, rather than going to get your Christmas lights and stepping into two feet of water.

Article submitted by The Foam Factory, an online retailer of thermal insulation materials, including a range of closed-cell foam that call be rolled, wrapped, and fitted around pipework.

Foreclosures: The Good and the Bad

Foreclosures-The-Good-and-the-BadBuying a foreclosed home has its benefits as well as its downsides. For one, you’re receiving a discount on an actual home that you can call yours. On the other hand, your house could be riddled with unknown damages that may be beyond repair or at a high cost to fix. Here are some other pros and cons that will help decide if a foreclosed home is right for you.

What exactly is a Foreclosure?

First off, what is a foreclosure? A foreclosure is where the lender retrieves the unpaid balance on a loan from the homeowner. Because of the homeowner’s inability to afford the interest and principal payments on the mortgage, the bank is forced to take action by seizing the home from them. These homes are then placed on the market for the public to purchase.

The Pros

One of the main attractive features of a foreclosed home is the discounted price that it’s listed at. Furthermore, they also have the ability to be marked down even lower in certain areas, making them extremely enticing.

Another pro is the house’s value. The possibility of a general rise in value makes owning a foreclosed home ideal for investment purposes. House flippers tend to look at foreclosures for their upside in value.

The Cons

The unpredictability of hidden damages and costs associated to the house can turn home buyers away. Homes that have not been sold and have been left sitting on the market can accumulate wear and tear throughout the months of neglect – things like wood rot, fragile water pipes, and mold.

There is always going to be a demand on foreclosures because of their ability to appreciate in value. Investors are always seeking homes that could – once fixed up – be resold for triple the initial investment. You’re not only competing with other home buyers but also with investors. This can turn into a massive bidding war which could nullify the whole reason why you wanted to buy it in the first place.

Bio: Kuba Jewgieniew is the head of Realty ONE Group, a full-service real estate brokerage firm with nearly 6,500 associates headquartered in Irvine, California.

How to Manage a Change in the Blue Print

Blueprint Project

Blueprint Project

The best, most effective, project managers will tell you that change is inevitable. And most companies will already have a change management policy in place. This is a large component of interim short term management services.

One aspect of construction advisory services is being ready for anything. The best managers always have an action plan in place for the next change. For example – changes to building plans. Each change may require additional input from the city, including permits, which add days to your already tight schedule.

Any time there is a change to your plans, you need to be prepared to handle the subsequent challenges quickly to reduce downtime.

One of the most important facets of construction management is knowing which step is going to cost the least amount of money – and taking that step. So, in the case of this changed deadline, hiring more workers is an option. Additional personnel would help get the project done on time, but then there is the cost of hiring more workers to take into account.

So, it’s clear that either way, there will be a cost. The best managers are decisive! If hiring more workers to finish the project on time would cost less than the late penalty, then clearly hiring more workers is the best immediate action.

When a manager’s performance is reviewed, their ability to protect the bottom line will be the major index by which they are measured, so the best managers let this guide their every-day decision making. Then, when the costs are clear, be decisive.

Bio: Lyle Charles Consulting is an interim short term management firm specializing in all aspects of commercial and residential construction.

Lyle Charles Offers Home Construction Management Tips

Written by: Lyle Charles Consulting

Summary: Management tips to improve the safety and efficiency of your home construction project.

Having a home built for you is a wonderful feeling, but the planning can be overwhelming. Especially if it’s your first time. The process of getting permits, coupled with the time it takes to prepare blueprints can be burdensome. Throw in the costs to renovate those blueprints and you have even more trouble. Especially with inspections. Here are some tips from a seasoned construction professional on how to improve the workflow for your home construction project.

Secure Materials

Double check that you’ve ordered the proper supplies, and that you’re getting a good deal. Construction claims consultants can provide a lot of benefit here, because they know what you should be paying for materials. They may also have suppliers they prefer to work with, just be sure that you have an estimated time line and some form of guarantee of delivery.

Securing Permits

Before you move forward with building, you’ll need to submit your designs to the city and have them approved. The city will issue you the relevant permits based on the specifications of your project. It’s important that you build additions up to code, as you can run into problems later if you decide to sell the property. Also, codes keep buildings safe. Having your blueprints approved is an important step in building a safe structure.

Final Thought

Remember that your best defense against legal troubles down the road is record keeping. It’s easy to lose receipts in the chaos of building, but those receipts are your primary line of defense in court. If contractors bring a lawsuit against you, retain a consultant to review your documentation.

Bio: Lyle Charles Consulting offers construction & turnaround services for commercial and residential building projects.


Benefits of Memory Foam Toppers

You wake up each morning with back aches and stiff joints. There’s a chance your daily discomfort may be caused by work-related stress or agitation, but, the culprit could also be the last thing many people consider: your mattress. Thanks to memory foam bed toppers, you can save the money you would have spent replacing your whole mattress, and instead, add a more affordable product that alleviates pressure, increases comfort, and gives a second lease on life to your old, hard mattress. With the American Chiropractic Association stating 31 million Americans experience lower-back pain, considering your mattress as the potential source of discomfort may help you remove yourself from that long list of individuals.

Minimize Discomfort
Memory foam uses its unique temperature-sensitivity characteristic to distribute weight in a way that’s unique to every sleeper, unlike a traditional bed where you may feel pressure against your shoulders, hips, and back. Memory foam softens at the highest-pressure areas, while supporting lower-pressure areas to reduce discomfort and help maintain proper posture and circulation. In addition to toppers, individuals can buy a King Size memory foam mattress, or even a California King, for the most spacious comfort.

Improve Back Relief
Men and women with back problems often notice improvements after just the first or second night spent atop memory foam. The material warms from body heat and then softens, contouring to your body, giving you even pressure-relief along your spine and lumbar region. Each time you lay on a topper, you’ll notice the foam contour and yield to your body’s position for fantastic support and comfort. For those with lower back pain, the change from traditional materials to the more reactive memory foam can help ease tension and reduce tossing and turning through better circulation.

Reduce Motion
Couples tend to complain that one individual moves more than the other, with the constant movement disturbing their partner. Memory foam, however, allows individuals to make a trip to the bathroom, grab a glass of water, or re-situate without bothering the person next to them. Products like a Queen Size memory foam mattress isolate movement instead of transferring energy throughout the bedding.

Improved Mattress Durability
Eventually, all mattresses lose their durability. Adding a memory foam topper helps extend the life of your bedding by taking the brunt of abuse, as the surface layer. As long as a mattress is structurally sound and supportive, a topper can give you the comfort you want. Sometimes people’s comfort preferences change over time. Adding a topper to a mattress you’re no longer in love with can prevent you from breaking the bank on a new bed, while still getting an update in comfort.

If you find yourself experiencing back pain or joint discomfort, foam toppers may be able to offer some relief in a way you hadn’t originally considered. In addition to the physical benefits, they can extend the life of your bedding, and are available in sizes and densities to fit any preference.

Bio: Foam Factory, Inc. specializes in custom-cut foam used for mattress toppers or pillows. Order your memory foam sheets today from Foam Factory, Inc.

Door Appeal and the Importance of Clean

Little things mean a lot as prospective buyers approach real estate for sale at an open house or private showing. For instance, the entrance door and screen, if available, should be clean and intact. The door should open easily and hinges should be oiled. It’s best to replace a poorly functioning door with a new one. “New” sometimes means buying a period-appropriate door for an older home.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Sellers should never leave dishes in the sink, less than pristine bathroom fixtures, unmade beds, or less than sparkling mirrors, windows, or counter tops for the buyer’s consideration. If the seller doesn’t like to clean, or isn’t a thorough cleaner, it’s important to bring in professionals. Maid services charge by the hour or by project. When in doubt, get several estimates to make sure the home is completely clean before putting the home in the market. Then, take regular, daily steps to maintain pristine condition.

Carpets and Floors

The appearance and even smells of fresh carpets and flooring can have a thrilling effect of prospective purchasers. If the home’s existing carpets are old or permanently soiled, it’s best to install new carpets or chic bare floors before attempting to sell the home.

Fresh and New

Although most sellers don’t include home furnishings in the sale, staging the appearance of every room is important to the buyer. He or she wants to imagine living here, so old or ripped towels, threadbare quilts, or rusty kitchen appliances are likely to turn off many buyers.

Kuba Jewgieniew is focused on creating a culture of agents and colleagues who remain passionate and committed to the clients of Realty ONE Group.

Revitalizing Furniture with this One Simple Trick

Cushions can give any old piece of furniture a much-needed bump in quality. A good cushion can provide comfortable seating, add a beautiful splash of color in any space and help create support for your lower back when you are sitting down for a prolonged period. The couch is the centerpiece of the living room, and a good cushion can make it stand out. Before you purchase a whole new couch, try revamping your old furniture with new cushions.

Replacing Cushions 

Sometimes cushions wear out, they may become stained or the stuffing may fall out. In any case, you may find yourself in need of new cushions for the space. New cushions come store bought in many varieties, but you can buy filling too. Foam cushions can give your sofa a new look, or help revitalize sagging cushions. You can also upholster a foam cushion to change the colors of your furniture, or add a pattern to the living room. Typically, cushions come in cotton, polyesters, velvet and satins.

Custom Cushions

Vintage pieces can be refitted with a custom cushion that will bring back the old look, and create some added support for your back. Throw pillows can also perk up any piece of furniture in your home, with a little support for the lumbar. You can order sofa foam cut to your specifications online, then stitch together your own covers to create a piece that is one-of-a-kind. If you lack the sewing skills, you can commission a seamstress to finish the job and pocket the savings. Start with a fabric you like and then use a standard foam cushion to create a specific cushion for use in the home.

Camper Cushions

A set of camper cushions can be useful for people on the go, even if you don’t own a camper. They can provide support inside the vehicle, or add some extra padding to outdoor chairs. Remember that a camper sees extraordinary use compared to the home, with much more time spent in the elements. It is not uncommon for people to come into the room with dirt on their feet and clothing. As a result, it is imperative to make sure that any cushions that you buy or make are created from durable fabrics that can hold up to very heavy usage and weather conditions. If possible, such cushions should be able to retain their shape and color even when it is raining. Look for fabrics that won’t fade in the hot sun or show water stains readily after a day at the lake.

New cushions are one of the best ways to create an updated look in your home. For a small fee or a quick investment of time and some fabric, you can often make any room feel nearly brand new.


The Foam Factory makes new cushions for the home and outdoors. Order custom cushions online at The Foam Factory.

5 Ways to Boost Your Home Value

home improvement
Article by Robert Saroyan of Luxury Homes

Housing prices may dropped everywhere, but there are ways you can improve them by applying some low cost upgrades and fixes, specially if you are trying to sell your house.

– Paint Your Walls in Light Colors
If you walls are in darker colors, make them lighter or white. Lighter colors make the house look bigger. In addition, some people may not like the darker colors and psychologically makes your house unattarctive to them.

– Fix Any Visible Problems
Try and fix any visible problems in your house, such as broken lights, broken plumbing, old paint on the walls and cabinets, broken cabinets, etc.

– Create Space
Remove non-structural walls or kitchen island walls to create bigger space in your house.

– Improve Your Landscaping
The goal is to make your house look better at first sight. If you have dying lawn, then get a new lawn or some fertilizers to improve the condition.  Plant some exotic flowers or trees to make your garden look better. Fruit trees are always an attraction, specially if you live in an area where the weather allows them to grow.

– Upgrade your Floors
If you have old floors and carpeting, upgrade them. It does not have to be expensive, but if it looks new, it will look much more attractive.

Tips on Home Improvement

Article submitted by Alex Saroyan of Home And Gardens.
There are different ways to improving a home aside from the most common concept of home renovation. Anything done to a home to make it a better place to live in basically falls under the category of home improvement. So what are the types of home improvement there are? Well, there are a lot. But the most common ones include upgrading ventilation, cooling and or heating systems at home; improving electrical and plumbing systems; replacing roof; masonry; adding a room; turning a room or basement into something more useful; and more. The general purpose of home improvement is to provide comfort to people living in it, maintaining and repairing parts of the house that can be easily mended, adding space, saving energy, and safety.

To ensure satisfaction with the result of a major home improvement endeavor, homeowners are advised to seek help from experienced contractors. Finding a good one is easy as most of them advertise themselves or put their names on the yellow page of the telephone directory. However, for simple repair and replacement cases, the homeowner himself can already do the job. To choose a contractor, it is necessary to inquire about his or her credentials, experience and license. To choose a do-it-yourself guide, it is necessary for the owner to carefully plan any home improvement activity to avoid wastage of time and resources.  By planning, a good DIY research and easy how-to-do-it instructions are needed for full guidance. With this, homeowners could save a lot of money for labor and could do the work according to desired schedules.