Conventional Vs. Mobile Home Remodeling

Times to Hire a Contractor

Wondering if it’s time to hire a general contractor? These pros are experts at managing all aspects of a project, including applying for building permits, hiring subcontractors, overseeing work and cleanup, and more. If you’re thinking of undertaking a major home improvement project, remodel or new build, a general contractor will likely be a key member of your team.

General Contractor vs. Specialized Contractor

A specialized contractor is a pro with a single specialty area of practice, like electricians and plumbers. A general contractor (GC), on the other hand, oversees all on-site aspects of a construction project, including the work of any specialized contractors. The GC is your point person — the one with a bird’s-eye view of the entire project and the person you call about everything related to the project.

You’re Ready to Implement an Architect’s Plans

If you’ve been working with an architect to design a custom home, once the plans have been finalized it’s time to find a contractor who can bring the design to life. It’s important that these pros work well together, so if your architect suggests contractors he or she has worked with before, it’s a good idea to consider getting bids from them. But even if you do go with one of the contractors your designer suggests, don’t neglect to do your own due diligence — check references, ask to see past work and double-check that he or she is insured.

You Want to Exercise Your Design Chops

This certainly isn’t the case for all homeowners, but for a certain design-savvy subset — like contributing writer, whose remodeled bathroom is shown here — taking on a (relatively) small design project with the help of a general contractor is an exciting proposition. Working with the pros at Innovative Construction, selected her own fixtures and finishes to transform a ho-hum bathroom into a light and lovely space.

You’re Making Changes to Your Kitchen

Anytime you know you’ll be needing multiple pros at work on a single project, it’s usually worthwhile to hire a general contractor to oversee and coordinate the project. In a kitchen, for example, pretty much any work that goes beyond altering a single element (like replacing appliances) will require multiple pros, including a plumber, an electrician and a carpenter or cabinetmaker. Your general contractor can maintain the larger vision for the space (including a kitchen designer’s plans, if you’re using them), hire and oversee subcontractors, schedule the work and maintain the site.

Most Popular Features for a New Kitchen? A Pro Tells All

Embarking on a kitchen remodel is both an exciting and daunting endeavor for most people. My goal as a kitchen designer is to guide my clients through the multitude of decisions that need to be made. To begin, I always ask what they envision in their dream kitchen. Not surprisingly, there is a universal chorus on their requirement list, unlike their wish list, which is diverse and based on their specific desires. Read on to find my most requested kitchen must-haves.


It may not surprise you that the most common request I hear from a new client is for a kitchen island. It’s very typical for people to dream of an island that’s the focal point of their kitchen and is big enough for food preparation, extra storage and seating, like the one shown here.

Long and narrow. One option is to rethink the depth of your island. Not all islands are meant to have seating. Some simply function as another work surface with perhaps a bit of storage below. In this photo, the combination butcher block and stainless steel island adds a warm yet industrial element to a gray Transitional-style kitchen. The openness of the island adds an airy feeling to this galley kitchen space.

Itty bitty. Remember, as nice as it is to have a large island, you won’t enjoy all that extra counter space if it’s difficult to walk around the kitchen. A key component of getting your island right is the work aisle clearances. Sometimes the space you have means only the smallest of center islands will do.

Large Single Sink

I’d say that 98 percent of my clients request a single-basin sink that is 30 to 33 inches wide and 9 inches deep. What makes the single basin all the rage? Most of my clients comment that their current double sinks cannot fit large pots and pans — and that drives them crazy!

Remodeling Your Kitchen in Stages: Planning and Design

If you’ve got several cookie jars stuffed full of $100 bills, then executing a full-scale kitchen remodel all at once makes sense. But what about those homeowners whose cookie jars are filled with, well, mostly cookies?

You can still get that beautiful kitchen of your dreams, you just need patience and a well-thought-out game plan that breaks up your remodel into several stages spread out over time. That way you can save up (fill that cookie jar!) and spend only what you can when you can. Maybe this month it’s painting the cabinets. Maybe later in the year you buy new appliances

Look Before You Leap

A phased remodel gives you the ability to spread out payments over time, which is good for people who can’t pay for a full remodel up front and aren’t comfortable taking out a large loan to cover it. Breaking up a project also allows you to change your plan between stages, something much more difficult when you’re in the middle of a full-scale remodel. If you decide to reverse course in some aspect of the plan, it will likely cost less than changing course would have been if the whole remodel were done at once.

But a phased project requires immense patience and strategy. Your first impulse may be to dive right in, but I’m here to tell you: don’t. When planning a kitchen remodel over stages, it is important to rein in those early rash decisions. Do not buy new appliances, fixtures or countertops. Do not paint, do not replace windows, do not knock down that wall and do not replace your cabinet hardware.

If you act on impulse and rip out that awful tile countertop and replace it with a gorgeous slab, you have seriously limited yourself going forward. What if you end up wanting to change out the undercounter sink or, worse, modify your entire kitchen layout? That stunning new countertop may have to go, and you will find you have wasted time and resources.

Times to Hire a Design-Build Firm

Wondering if it’s time to hire a design-build firm? Unlike the more traditional path (known as “design, bid, build”), which involves hiring a designer and a builder separately, hiring a design-build firm gives you design and construction services under the same umbrella. Whether led by an architect or a builder, all true design-build firms include both designers and builders at their core.

If you are thinking of remodeling, adding on or building from scratch and want the ease of working with a single firm from start to finish, a design-build firm may be the right choice for you.

You Like the Idea of Working With a ‘Master Builder’

Once upon a time, the professions of architecture and construction were not as separate as they typically are today. And while it’s true that even in a design-build firm, the design work and the construction are generally handled by different people, a close collaboration between these two wings can result in something akin to the “master builder” approach that was once more common.

You Want a Specialist in Construction Methods

Because the design-build model brings all members of a project team — including the designer, contractor, engineer and any specialty subcontractors — together early on in the process, you can be sure that tricky construction issues are taken into account from the get-go.

You’re on a Tight Schedule

Disagreement between the designer and the contractor on how things ought to be done can result in serious slowdowns. When you’re working with a design-build firm, however, everyone is on the same team — which can translate into faster timelines. Also thanks to this collaboration, building can often begin even if there are still a few small finishing touches to iron out in the design.

Trends That Will Define Home Design

It’s not only a new year but a new decade. And what the months and years ahead will bring is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, though: The modern home and how people choose to live in it will constantly be changing. To get an idea of what’s to come, we browsed thousands of home design photos, spoke with countless home design professionals

Three-tone kitchens. Two-tone kitchen cabinets — meaning the upper cabinets are one color and the lower cabinets another color, or the perimeter cabinets are one color and the island is a different color — dominated kitchens in the past couple of years. So it’s only natural that designers are building on the trend rather than doing away with it.

a deep navy defines the refrigerator and pantry wall to the left, joining white perimeter cabinets and a superlight wood island base. Wood via the beams, ceiling, shelves and flooring adds to the diverse three-tone palette.

used a three-tone strategy in this kitchen, which is one of the most popular kitchen photos uploaded in 2019. Sage-green cabinets surround a dark stained wood island base, while an inky painted window frame (Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore) punches up the design considerably.

This cabinetry from Yorktowne combines a honeyed white (Safari Classic) with green (Eucalyptus Classic), and two warm wood cabinets with open shelves flank the range. A wood X-detail contributes to the three-tone approach.

All You Need To Know About Electric Water Heaters

Heat Pump Water Heaters in Cold Climates: Pros and Cons

We chose a heat pump water heater for our new house, and as I’ve recently discussed here, there are a lot of reasons why you might be doing the same. Using an air-source heat pump, heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) extract heat out of the air where they are located to heat the water

That means that a HPWH cools the space where it is located. That’s a good thing in the summer—it doubles as air conditioning—but in the winter it’s not so helpful. That’s especially the case in a cold climate in a house without a standard heating system.

Cooling the space where they are located

In a typical New house that has a furnace or boiler in the basement producing a lot of waste heat, a heat pump water heater can use some of that waste heat and it’s not really very noticeable—the less efficient the heating system the less noticeable is the effect of the HPWH

But we don’t have a heating system in our basement. As a result, our HPWH cools the space. With the cold weather we’ve had (as I write this it’s about –2°F) and our basement has stayed pretty cool: typically 50°F–54°F, though with the exceptionally cold weather we had a few weeks ago during a time of heavier hot water usage, the temperature dropped as low as 47°F. Our basement temperature would probably be considerably lower if my wife and I used a lot of hot water, but we’re pretty frugal.

In cooling the space where it is located, a HPWH makes the heating system work harder. In our house the heating system is a single mini-split air-source heat pump wall-mounted unit on a first-floor wall. That system delivers heat to the basement through the uninsulated floor and through the basement door, which we usually leave closed.

Your Water Heater Loves to Care for Your Family

Hot water—it’s one of those things you don’t think about much. But when it’s gone, it’s all you think about! Don’t stress over something that you can’t fix.

What’s Wrong with Your Water Heater?

Is your system not working like it should be? If your water heater isn’t doing its job, there’s a good chance something is wrong with it.

Here are the most common problems people have with their water heaters:

Not enough hot water- Pure and simple. If your water heater isn’t meeting your needs, then it’s time to call in the professionals.

Leaks- Don’t pay for hot water you’re not enjoying! Our plumbers will locate any leaks and properly seal them.

Unpleasant odors- This can indicate your system is rusting or decaying from the inside. Have your water heater repaired by a professional before it becomes unsalvageable.

Unusual noises- Bangs and rattles can mean there’s sediment buildup in your system, which can severely damage it. Call us to get your system working and sounding as it should.

Discolored water- Your water should always be crystal clear. Discolored water is a sign of rust in your pipes or water heater. If your water is an unusual color, this warrants professional attention.

When It’s Time to Part Ways with Your Water Heater

Water heater repair can sometimes be cost-prohibitive. You’ll pay for the necessary repairs only to face another problem shortly thereafter.

You can avoid this scenario by opting for water heater replacement. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s probably on its last legs. When we examine your system, our plumbers will tell you the condition of your water heater and what we recommend

Water Heaters

What Should I Do If My Water Heater Is Leaking?

Is your water heater leaking? Here’s what you need to do: First, find the location of the leak. This will be helpful for you and your service technician. Turn off the power supply by switching the water heater circuit breaker to “off” for an electric water heater or by turning the dial to “off”

Hot water is one of those things everyone takes for granted in our modern society. A hot shower on a cold winter evening is relaxing. Hot water washes away dirt from laundry and grease from pans. And hot water comes in handy as an emergency defroster.

Most homeowners in Champaign are accustomed to reserving a corner of their basement or utility closet to a huge water heater tank. Cold water enters the tank, gets heated to a certain temperature, and is either used or slowly cools down. If it is not used, it needs to be reheated.

Energy Usage Drops

Regardless if you heat your water with natural gas, electricity, propane, or some other fuel, tankless water heaters use less energy. Instead of heating water only to let it cool down when you’re not using it, a tankless water heater operates on demand. When you request hot water in the shower, in the kitchen, or in the laundry, the tankless water heater prepares just the water you need and no more.

One Less Thing to Juggle

When hot water is limited to how much your water heater tank can hold, you may find yourself juggling when each family member showers or when you run your dishwasher or washing machine. Since tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand, you don’t have to schedule these daily tasks any more or worry you’ll run out of hot water when you need it most.

Water Heater

Unsecured water heaters often fall over, rupturing rigid water and gas connections. If your water heater does not have two straps that wrap completely around it and are screwed into the studs or masonry of the wall, then it is not properly braced. This illustration shows one method of bracing a water heater

Fresh water after a disaster may be as close as your water heater – provided, of course, that it remains standing upright. A typical water heater holds 30 to 50 gallons of water.However, this supply of water is extremely vulnerable to the ground undulation (swells and rolls) and ground acceleration of earthquakes, causing them to tip over.

Changes to strapping recommendations

Your tank may be strapped, but incorrectly, as old methods are no longer recommended. Experts have modified the recommended procedure for strapping water heaters because many tanks broke through their strapping

Experts recommend these two important changes:

Secure both the top and the bottom, rather than just the top or just the middle, of the hot water tank.

Use heavy-gauge metal strapping rather than plumber’s tape. Many water heaters in both the 1989 and the 1994 earthquakes broke through the plumber’s tape that was intended to keep them secure. The thin metal in plumber’s tape has been found to be too brittle to be effective.

Secure your water heater.

There should be very little space between the water heater and the wall. If there is more than 1 or 2 inches, attach a wooden block to the wall studs with long lag screws (see illustration on page 20). The purpose is to prevent the heater from tipping backwards.

Wrap the heavy-gauge metal strapping 1½ times around the tank. Start by placing the strapping at the back of the tank. Bring it to the front and then take it back to the wall (see illustration below).

Secure this strapping to the wall studs or the wood block using several 1/4″ x 3″ or longer lag screws with oversized washers. If you are securing it directly into concrete, use 1/4″ expansion bolts in place of the screws.

Replace all copper and metal piping with flexible natural gas and water line connectors.

Hot Water Heaters

By default, tap water is neither hot nor cold. It depends on the temperature of the pipes. If it’s the winter, your water will be cold and hot if it’s the summer season. If you want to get hot water constantly, you need a water heater.

Hot water heaters are mechanically simple in terms of function. Cold water goes in, hot water comes out. This applies to the many types of water heaters in the market today. But what is it about water heaters that make them complicated? I can think of two things: the installation and the maintenance.

Knowing the kind of water heater that you have, and knowing the kind of water heater you want to purchase, can help you prolong the lifespan of your heater and also help you save money on repairs and installation. Listed below are the different kinds of water heaters available in the market today and some interesting tips on how you can go about with the installation and maintenance of your old or new hot water heater system.

Gas or Conventional Storage Water Heater

Gas water heaters are the most common type of water heater and are by far the oldest unit around. This water heater possesses an insulated storage tank used to hold quantities of heated water and can store anywhere between 30 and 80 gallons. Conventional water heaters are usually powered by whatever service is present in your home – like natural gas, liquid propane, oil, and even electricity. Inside the tank, you’ll find a gauge that reads the water temperature and when the temperature drops to a preset level, the unit will start up to bring the water temperature up. This is a continuous heating process that goes on for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It heats when you sleep or when you’re away on vacation. Gas water heaters actually force you to pay for heated water that you don’t even use but one good thing about gas or conventional water heaters is that there’s always hot water waiting for you.

Simple maintenance tips for gas water heaters

Draining and flushing should be done twice a year to prevent the build-up of sediment and minerals.

Check if your pressure relief valve is still working or in good condition.

Prior to doing any maintenance, be sure to turn off your heater’s power supply or set the gas switch to the pilot position.

Tankless or Instantaneous Water Heaters

If you don’t want to be bothered with a huge tank in your home, then you can go for the tankless or instantaneous water heaters. These water heaters are often called “hot water on demand” because they only provide you with hot water when you ask for it, which makes it very practical due to the significant energy savings that you get out of it. You only get to pay for the hot water that you use. The only downside to these tankless water heaters is the low flow rate and its inability to accommodate simultaneous household use. If you’re using the hot water for showering, you can’t use hot water for taps or for the dishwasher at the same time. If this poses a problem, then you need to buy another tankless water heater for separate appliances. This is what most homeowners usually do. They have a designated water heater for the kitchen tap, dishwasher, bathroom tap, shower, and other plumbing appliances and fixtures. A conventional water heater can last for up to 15 years while a tankless water heater can function for 20 years or more but its longevity can come at a cost, literally. Tankless water heaters cost twice as much as conventional models.

Night Vision WiFi Camera Operator


Why get into technical production?

Yeah, the director thinks he’s pretty important, sitting in his fold-up chair and dishing out the orders Likewise, the actors and actresses might think they’re the dog’s danglies, flouncing around the set and retiring to their trailer when it all gets too much.

However, these guys would be nowhere without the technical production crew responsible for operating the cameras, coordinating the lighting and recording the sound.

The technical production crew are the heart and soul of the TV and film industries. They’re probably not going to be wearing the sharpest tuxedos or the most incredible gowns on the red carpet, and they’re certainly not going to be on the cover of Hello magazine anytime soon. However, these guys are the people who truly “make the magic happen.”

What roles are needed in the camera crew?

This tricky task is in the safe hands of the people who work in the camera crew. The different tasks that these guys undertake are all part of a meticulous and subtle art, which should never detract from the on-screen action. The choice of lens, the exploitation of focus and the movement of the camera all have an impact on the final visual product.

Job roles within the camera crew completely depend on the size and nature of the shoots you are working on, and career progression can involve taking a lot of little steps.

A Guide to Film Set Lingo and Hand Signals

Working on a film set can be a loud experience, with a variety of terms or jargon bandied about that has developed over the past hundred and twenty years or so. I wanted to share with you a smattering of what is said, not said, and what it all means.

Hand signals

These can help to reduce the noise on a set, which is a good thing, since the last thing you as a crew member want is to be noticed for being too loud.

Counting  As an assistant camera person, you often need to share information, but you want to keep the noise to a minimum and not disturb the actors. Still, information such as lens focal length and T-Stop has to go out to your second, or to the continuity person. So it is necessary that you be able to share simple numeric information between takes without interrupting the workflow or the actors’ concentration. This brings us to the need for a one-handed signal. This is simple: fingers straight up—1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Fingers horizontal—6, 7, 8, 9. A closed fist indicates zero/ten.

CP-47  A spring-style wooden clothes pin, great for attaching gels and diffusion to barndoors.

Cover Me  As in, “I have to step off set for a minute and don’t want to disturb the boss, so just pay attention and fill in for me for the next few minutes.” Wave your hand palm down over your head. This is usually used by a key to their first, or a first to their second. It keeps the set moving harmoniously.

Camera Movement Techniques

Early movie cameras were limited by their size and weight. And by early, I mean for the first 150 years of cinema. Throughout the golden age of hollywood a camera was a device often ridden across train tracks by a camera operator and a focus puller. Camera movement was bound by this technology, but that didn’t stop cinematographers from moving their cameras — along tracks or with cranes — the smallest amount of movement required an astounding amount of preparation, planning, dedication and off-camera assistance.

The basic camera moves were all developed in this age of cinema; cameras could move up, down, left or right. They could tilt or pan if you had the proper mount, and zoom if you had a zoom lens.

Every time we learn a new craft or skill, we need to learn the basic moves or techniques that define that function. Beginning to learn to shoot video, whether for a hobby or a budding business, requires some knowledge of the basic moves that define good video shooting practices.

Back when I was in high school taking TV Tech, we would practice making a TV Show called “The Skills Card Test” — we hated doing it. The studio looked so inviting — the cameras, the lights — that we wanted to get on with being Steven Spielberg and skip over the boring stuff, like learning how to actually use the equipment. “The Skills Card Test” consisted of a number of grey cards on stands, and the camera operators had to perform certain camera operation tasks that related to things that were on the cards. So, while the camera operators practiced panning between two dots, zooming from one box to another, the directors practiced directing, the narrators practiced narrating, the Technical Director practiced Technical Directing (which involved setting the levels for the cameras, making sure that the lighting wasn’t too bright or too dark, among other technical tasks), grips gripped, gaffers gaffed and production assistants learned to do everything else. What I realize years later is that doing that boring show over and over during the first three weeks of class taught me not just to appreciate finally getting to write scripts and make our own TV shows, but I realized that I learned right there in a few weeks what it takes many people years to learn on their own.

A camera exists in a three-dimensional world and can move anywhere along the XYZ axis. This means it can move up, down, left, right, as well as forward and backward. So that the director and camera operator can effectively communicate, there are names for each of these moves. This means the director can give a series of verbal instructions, and the camera operator knows exactly what to do without anybody having to get out and draw diagrams.

Sports Cameraman: Career Requirements and Information

Sports cameramen must have in-depth knowledge of video equipment, excellent hand-eye coordination, and communication skills. These positions require a college degree. The outlook for camera operators points to faster job growth than average

Essential Information

Sports cameramen work to capture sporting events and must be attentive and steady-handed. Earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, film studies or communications gives candidates the necessary education to pursue this career, which typically begins by putting in time as a production assistant. Demand for the position is expected to increase, but competition for these positions is also increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sports Cameraman Career Requirements

The highly specialized and technical profession of filming sporting events requires a cameraman to have an in-depth knowledge of video equipment. This knowledge most often comes from formal postsecondary studies. Most universities, technical and community colleges offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in film studies that teach the techniques and theories needed by successful cameramen. Potential majors include broadcasting, communications or film production.

Additional Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts growth for TV, video and motion picture camera operators to be faster than that of other occupations from 2018-2028, and competition for these positions is expected to be stiff due to a high supply of cameramen candidates. The job requires a person to work unusual hours, and there is frequently much travel involved. Many sporting events are at night or in primetime hours, and a cameraman needs to be available to travel to any city, or country, in which an event takes place.

Some sports cameramen operate as freelance workers and provide their own equipment and assignments, but the majority are hired on salary by major networks or individual sports teams. According to the BLS, the median wage of all camera operators was $54,570 as of 2018.

How we organise our film production team

One question we’ve been asked a few times is: “What does your film production team look like? How can our department/agency/organisation build a team like that too?”

Flexible roles

Filmmaking, like user research, is a team sport. We usually get a team together for each film, and we take a flexible approach to assigning tasks and roles, depending on what’s required.

With a bit of juggling, it is possible for one person to do everything: setting up the camera, recording the audio, and conducting the interview. It’s possible, but we don’t recommend it – this approach is hard work for one individual, and you’ll get much better results by spreading the load a bit further.

Film-making roles

The camera operator is responsible for the recorded image. They need to make sure the subject is well framed, properly lit, and in focus. Lighting is a skill in itself, whether that means making use of available natural light or setting up specialist lighting equipment. Recording the sound properly means someone has to listen to it while the interview is taking place. We usually combine those three roles, so the camera operator is in charge of setting up lights and listens to the audio while watching the camera screen as well. It’s quite demanding and requires a lot of concentration, but it works for us.

If you can separate out the technical roles of camera operator and sound recordist, you’ll make life easier for both of them. That means they have fewer tasks to juggle at once. We don’t do this for every shoot, but it’s useful to have it as an option.

A Critical Tip To Remember When Representing Yourself In Your Own Divorce Or Family Law Attorney Case

Family Law

The divorce process is long, complicated, and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. By knowing where to start, what to expect, and which issues to address, you can best position yourself to overcome many of the obstacles you may be faced with during a divorce.

The first step in a divorce is to determine if divorce is necessary, unavoidable, or already decided. Often this answer will be clear. Often you or your spouse will have already decided on divorce. If this is unclear however, take steps to repair your marriage before proceeding with divorce. Divorce should be your last step, not your first

Once you have decided that divorce is the best option for you and your family, or that it is unavoidable, you should begin divorce preparation. Take a deep breath and examine what you have going on. Consider your finances, your emotional state, and resources. It can be very helpful to take the time to create an exit strategy

Make a projected budget. This is an important first step that will give you the clarity to understand your financial needs moving forward. Take the time to fully understand your income and expenses.

Protect sensitive and private information. Change your email and computer passwords along with other important login information. While you may not necessarily be doing anything wrong, divorce is an emotional time and you should protect yourself from any negative actions your spouse may intentionally or unintentionally take against you with the access they have to your private accounts.

Sever financial ties by opening your own bank account. Keep enough funds to support yourself and your children pending a divorce. Be careful not to transfer funds that could possibly belong to your spouse.

Keep a journal of all facts, times, dates, and events surrounding your marriage, children, and divorce. This will likely be helpful for you and your lawyer moving forward.

Speak with an attorney about your rights and get advice specific to your situation. Divorce is a complicated process. It will be very helpful to spend an hour or two getting advice about how to move forward and better work through your specific needs.

Take the time to talk to your spouse about wanting a divorce. This will likely be a difficult conversation, but it is a necessary step. Take the time to explain, calmly and with clarity, your intentions with the divorce. This is an opportunity to mitigate the irreparable trauma and complications of the divorce.

When you are ready, reach out to your close family and friends for support.  The divorce process can be long and frustrating. Those nearest to you are often the ones who can help you the most during this time in your life.

How to choose a divorce lawyer

Divorces are filled with complex legal, financial, and emotional issues that vary from person to person. Therefore, you should choose an attorney who is best suited for you and your particular circumstances. To get started, you will want to choose an attorney who is experienced in family law and who has a good reputation. Reach out to friends and family to ask if they can recommend an attorney. Or visit professional websites such as LinkedIn and Avvo. These websites will provide you with information about potential attorneys, reviews, and helpful links.

Once you have identified a list of potential family law attorneys, your next step is to call the attorney’s office and ask to discuss your case. This is a great opportunity to ask about the firm’s experience, costs, and how they can assist you given your specific needs. Then, when you feel comfortable and confident with an attorney, should you hire one.

Not All Divorces Are The Same

There are not many situations have not seen and successfully resolved. are respected lawyers in field and in the courts. are often appointed by family court judges to serve as guardian ad litem for minor children. skills and years of experience can make the process less stressful, more effective and efficient

Firm For Family Law Issues

Facing family issues can be a stressful time. But with experienced and compassionate guidance, even the most complex issues and strained situations can have a positive outcome.

Advocacy And Resolution

understand the stress, anxiety and emotion that affect men and women who are involved in family conflict. work with you and advocate for you to find the most feasible and best solution.

Helping You With A Variety Of Issues

With over 30 years of combined family law experience, attorneys are able to guide you through your family law issue. have extensive experience assisting clients with the following matters:

Mediation, pro se divorce mediation

Custody and visitation rights for grandparents


Divorce proceedings

Child support

Child custody and placement


Collaborative divorce proceedings

Understanding family law

As a small law firm, provide a great level of personal attention that you need during such a highly emotional time period. family law practice includes all matters related to divorce and issues with children.

Experienced. Aggressive. Affordable

Going through a divorce isn’t something anyone expects when they get married, but sometimes a marriage fails and there is simply no other choice. However, divorce is one of the most stressful things a person will ever face, and this is especially true when children are involved.

If you’re thinking about a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, now is the time to protect your own interests and contact a County divorce attorney who can help you figure out what to do next. The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. If you have children, their lives are going to change dramatically as well.

understand what’s at stake in every divorce case and family law matter, so always treat it with the importance it deserves. aggressively pursue client’s interests and ensure that their voice is heard by acting as their personal advocate with the Family Court. are also skilled negotiators who will tirelessly to achieve realistic goals when working with your ex-spouse and their attorney to determiner important issues involving property division, alimony, child support and child custody.

divorce lawyers are ready to help you with any of the following issues:


Collaborative divorce

Child custody

Child support

Custody and support modifications

Spousal support (alimony)


Protection orders

Temporary support

Parenting plans

Child relocation

Military divorce

Same sex couple’s divorce

Prenuptial agreements


Large asset cases

Uncontested Divorce

family law and have many years of experience, there are few situations we haven’t encountered. Still, your situation is unique and requires personalized attention from an attorney who cares about the end result.

Family Lawyers

Divorce Mediation

The end of a marriage can be intensely stressful. Emotions often flare as a couple tries to resolve issues like alimony, child custody, and child support. Unfortunately, the traditional divorce process can deepen hostility between the spouses when they confront important questions concerning their future. In many situations, couples whose relationship is not abusive or completely broken should consider pursuing an alternative to divorce through the courts.

This alternative can consist of asking a neutral mediator to help the couple settle property distribution, child and spousal support, and all of the other key issues that arise when a marriage ends. A mediator can listen to the interests of each spouse, tell them how a court would rule on any disputed issue, and help them draft a divorce agreement that a court is likely to approve. People often find mediators through personal referrals, but it is also possible to find a capable mediator online or by asking your lawyer for a suggestion. However, the lawyer of either spouse may not be the mediator.

Mediation has been successful for many divorcing spouses seeking to make a plan for the future that satisfies each of them. It may be a much less expensive and time-consuming process than going to court for hearings, and everything that is discussed during mediation remains confidential (as opposed to litigation proceedings, which are public hearings). Mediation offers spouses more flexibility than the traditional divorce process because they can make their own decisions on key issues, within legal limits, rather than asking a court to make them. Entrusting a court with deciding who lives with your child or how much alimony you have to pay can be a nerve-wracking experience. Mediation allows you to avoid that unpredictability and is more likely to produce a stable long-term result.

Although it may sound like arbitration, mediation is a distinctly different process. In a binding arbitration (not all arbitrations are binding), the arbitrator essentially functions as a judge, making decisions that are binding on each spouse, whereas a mediator cannot make binding decisions. If the spouses reach an impasse in their negotiations, a mediator may recommend a solution. But a mediator cannot force you to reach a settlement.

Many states have begun to require that divorcing spouses go to mediation for certain sensitive issues, especially child custody and visitation rights. The main difference between court-ordered and private mediation is that private mediation can cover many more issues related to divorce. For example, you can use it to divide your property or handle other financial matters. To make mediation as effective as possible, you should listen to your spouse and leave your mind open to compromise. Sometimes starting with relatively minor issues is a good way to open this conversation before addressing more important and contested areas.

Estate planning & divorce?

An estate planning lawyer is an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of estate planning and is capable of creating comprehensive estate plans tailored to individual needs. Estate planning attorneys review, analyze and make recommendations regarding personal and administrative aspects of a client’s assets. They need to have a good understanding of the process of probate, as well as a good understanding of the potential future effects of various taxes, including estate, gift, and income taxes.

While not everyone will require the kind of complex plan that would be suitable for a wealthy person, or for a person with many different types of assets, even those of modest means often have specific concerns that an estate planning attorney can address. Estate planning attorneys are familiar with the wide variety of planning instruments available to help people on all economic levels provide for their own future health care and financial needs, as well as for the future needs of their family members or other beneficiaries.

What is the Difference between an Estate Planning Attorney and a Family Law Attorney?

While both estate planning attorneys and family law attorneys are concerned with issues that involve the well-being of families, family law attorneys focus primarily on matters related to divorce and parenting, while estate planning attorneys focus primarily on protecting assets, preparing for future health care needs, and creating plans for asset distribution. The two practice areas are interrelated and sometimes overlap. For example, a prenuptial agreement may be coordinated with an estate plan. People going through a divorce need to know how property distribution in the divorce will affect their estate plan. They may need to revise estate planning documents to ensure that a former spouse does not continue as an unintended beneficiary, or does not retain the power to make medical decisions. There are many documents beyond wills or trusts that may be affected.

Characteristics of Good Estate Planning Attorneys

If you are looking for an estate planning attorney, you probably already know that you will need someone who is well-versed in the tools available for estate planning and who has a solid grasp of which tools are best-suited for which particular circumstances. If you are going through a divorce, make sure that your estate planning attorney knows this and understands what the ramifications may be. Don’t overlook the importance of personal qualities as well. A good estate planning attorney will be interested in your wishes, will demonstrate a high degree of sensitivity regarding any family or health concerns you may have, and will be proactive and creative in helping you turn your wishes into reality.

Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney

You will be able to work more efficiently with an estate planning attorney if you take some time to plan ahead for your first meeting. Collecting documents and making a list of assets and liabilities is critical. One reason that it makes sense to work on estate planning concurrently with divorce planning is that both processes require many of the same documents, allowing you go through the tedious process of collecting documents only once rather than twice. In addition to collecting your documents, make sure that you think about exactly what you are hoping to accomplish. Are you concerned with protecting children or other potential beneficiaries? Do you anticipate dissension in the family over the decisions you are planning to make? Are there potential future events that require contingency planning or periodic review of your plan?

Categories: Legal

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Home Renovation

Ways To Tell If a Home Renovation is Well Done

housing market is full of houses and condos that have been recently renovated by developers. The quality of these renovations varies greatly, and we wondered if there was a way for house hunters to tell the good renovations from the bad.

These tips are not foolproof: a home may have fancy appliances but shoddy workmanship where it counts, or be well done throughout but have mid-grade fixtures

Still, here are ten tips that we hope will help:

Look at the locks. Schlage and Baldwin are the “gold standards,” said, while a Home Depot or Quickset lock may indicate a renovator who wasn’t willing to spend the extra money.

The quality of appliances vary greatly. Write down the serial numbers and see what the developer paid for the appliances.

Take note of the bathroom fixtures, and do some research on the price and quality. Kohler is widely used and respected, and a rain shower often costs significantly more than a typical shower head. Again, a mid-range product doesn’t necessarily mean that the house is not well done, but a high-range product shows that the developer was willing to invest more.

The quality of plumbing fixtures can be determined by weight; the heavier the fixture, the more metal used, which generally translates to a more expensive product. You may not be able to pick up mounted fixtures, but holding a handle may give a sense of the weight.

Doors also fall into the “the heavier, the better” category. Swing the interior doors to determine their weight; solid core doors are heavier than hollow core, and are more expensive.

Cabinets and kitchen drawers also vary. One trick is to look at the drawers to see if they are dovetailed. Dovetailed woodwork indicates a higher quality, though a lack of dovetailing doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor job. Here are a few ways to check out the cabinets.

Perhaps the biggest worry when buying a renovated home is whether the developer has covered up large problems — mold, cracks in the foundation, a bad electrical system — with drywall or quick fixes. Look for water damage, which may indicate mold, or bring a trusted inspector or experienced real estate agent with you.

To that end, get your hands on the inspection report if you can.

An A/C system can be a good indicator of how much the developer cares. The difference between the cheaper systems and the nicer ones, like Trane and Carrier, can be just a few hundred dollars and is sometimes determined by the installer; seeing a Trane or Carrier means that you have a developer who insisted on a better system.

Finally, a good developer is usually willing to put their name on the product. If you have a hard time finding out who is responsible for developing or renovating the home, you have a right to be suspicious. Don’t be afraid to ask for references of past work, and call the current owners to find out if they are happy in the home.

The Worst Home Renovation Trends Over The Past 30 Years

Whether you’re binge-watching Fixer Upper, scrolling through the ‘gram, or following along with your favorite blogger’s renovation journey, sprucing up any space can look so deceptively simple. A little shiplap here, a little sledgehammer action there, and you’ll find up with the easy, breezy home of your dreams.

In reality? Remodeling your home is easier said than done. Not only does the most mundane project require lots of elbow grease, but most renovation projects have an expiration date. To put it lightly, your “wow” factor can turn into a “What was I thinking?” just a few years later.

Make no mistake, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder — and your renovation projects are no exception. Your home is your happy place, and creating a space that represents you and your style is timeless. That being said, we’ve noticed some former remodeling trends have seriously lost their steam over the past 30 years. While they aren’t bad, there are some newer ways to approach renovating your home that might feel more design-forward for the times.

As the design world crept into the ’90s, the industry took a turn for sensible, multi-functional design. While we love the appeal of an ottoman with hidden storage or a sofa bed — hey, they come in handy when you have guests over — we’re still scratching our heads over the once-popular glass-blocked walls

Want to give your hardwood floors a fancy finishing touch? Back in 1990, parquet was the trend du jour. By definition, parquet is a geometric mosaic created to give your hardwood floors a decorative edge

Should You Renovate Your House Before Selling it?

collectively spend over $300 billion on remodeling and repairing their homes every year. However, diving into demolition is one thing when you’ll get to enjoy those shiny granite counters and new soak tub for years down the road. The question of “Should I renovate my house before selling?” requires more calculated thinking purely based on ROI and the marketability of your home in its current condition.

“I know that most of the time, you’re going to get back 65% to 70% of what you’re going to spend, assuming that it’s something generic enough in nature to where the next buyer is going to appreciate it,”

When does selling your home “as is” make sense?

Sellers who need to max as much money out of their property as possible—perhaps to purchase a larger home or apply toward their retirement—will be more motivated to take on renovations than homeowners who are short on time,

But it’s not unusual for a homeowner to get a job transfer out of state that starts within weeks, leaving no time to renovate, said. “In that particular case, we’d always want to say, ‘Well, gee, if there are some basic things we can do just by pressure washing the outside or doing a few things like that.’ But in lieu of doing all these possible updates for the buyer, let’s just reduce the price drastically to compensate for those numbers and get it sold.”

Another option is to sell your house “as is” to an investor. You’ve heard of these companies that have for decades shown up on billboards and in your mailbox with promotions promising to buy your house for cash instantly. The catch has always been that you’d have to sell your house for a steep discount to get this type of offer, but what you may not realize is that today’s direct-buy investor market has been stirred up by the entry of new competition.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Renovations

Refinish or Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Consider either refinishing existing cabinet doors with paint, stain, or laminate; or reface them, which means putting new doors on existing kitchen boxes. Hint: Order one door and one drawer front before ordering the whole set so you know they’ll really work. Check out more budget-friendly kitchen renovation tips.

Buy New Knobs for Cabinetry

Replace wood knobs with modern stainless ones, or swap cold metal ones for antique colored glass knobs (Anthropologie always has a great assortment).

Add Track Lighting

Because these are lights that go on the surface of the ceiling, as opposed to “pot” or “can” lights that are recessed, you can install these yourself.

Insulate the Attic and Other Energy-Sucking Areas

Caulk around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards. Service your furnace so it produces the most for the least, and insulate your visible pipes for heat loss. Buy a “draft stopper” or “draft guard” for the bottoms of your doors (a cheap fix from $10 per door) so wind or heat doesn’t slip through.

Tile the Bathroom Floor or Kitchen Backsplash

Make sure your surface is flat and dry surface — like a cement or plywood subfloor, an even wall, or a tiled surface you want to cover with new tiles. Use spacers between tiles and the notched trowel to create even ridges on the mortar under the tiles.

I want to renovate my house – where do I start?

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, chances are, your mind is flooding with ideas. You’re most likely getting advice from family and friends, as well as the many different home renovation blogs online.

Determine your intent

Are you renovating to fix issues that plague your home or to increase its resale value? Think specifically of what your issues are in terms of space, light, and storage.

Examine your home

Before anything, take a look at what could benefit from changes in your home. You can go from one room to another to work out systematically what needs upgrading or renovating. Check the flooring, the walls, the ceilings, and lighting and air flow.

Identify issues

This is tied closely to determining your intent. By finding out what needs fixing in your home, you can work with the designer to create a home design that meets your needs.

Find out your budget

Find out how much money you have for a home renovation project that you would meet your needs.

Finding The Best Tax Planning Service

What are the three basic strategies to use in planning for taxes?

Tax planning or tax-effective investing is a way of structuring your finances to reduce your tax liability and make some savings on tax. Tax planning can benefit both individuals and companies when it is carried out within the confines of the stipulated tax law. There are three basic ways you can plan your finances to minimise your tax burden; read on to discover these ways:

Taxable Income (ATI).

One of the critical elements used to determine the amount you owe in tax is your Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI). Various tax credits and tax rates are usually dependent on your ATI. Even mortgage lenders and banks will often ask for an individual’s ATI before making any lending commitment with them—hence, the importance of Adjusted Taxable Income.

Given the importance of the ATI, your tax planning should probably start by defining your ATI. Your Adjustable Taxable Income is the calculation of all your income minus the adjustments you can make to your income. For instance, if you pay for a retirement plan, then this subsequently reduces your wages, thus lowering your taxable income: This means you can reduce or deduct your retirement plan payments from your overall income.  Other adjustments you can make on your taxable income include superannuation contributions, child support payments and spousal maintenance payments.

Increase your tax deductions

Another tax planning strategy is to take advantage of tax deductions. Once you have calculated your ATI (having made the necessary tax adjustments), you will be left with taxable income. You can now make a standard deduction or an itemized deduction on your taxable income. For instance, you can deduct the expenses used for health care, mortgage interest and state taxes.

If you want to utilize deductions fully, you should consider making an itemised list of all your annual expenses in a spreadsheet. This will help you compare your standard deduction versus your itemised expense deduction. Two of the biggest tax deductions you can take advantage of are on state taxes and mortgage interest.

Utilize Tax Credits

Taking advantage of tax credits and tax incentives can reduce your tax. For instance, you might be eligible for a tax credit if you pay medical expenses relating to disability aids or aged care. You can also get tax credits for child care benefits and spouse maintenance.

Tax planning can be difficult to comprehend, especially if you have little financial knowledge. It is, therefore, wise to seek the services of a reputable tax accountant to help you safely implement the above mentioned tax-effective investing strategies.

Tax Planning for Beginners: Tax Strategy Concepts to Know

Tax planning is the analysis and arrangement of a person’s financial situation in order to maximize tax breaks and minimize tax liabilities in a legal and efficient manner.

Tax rules can be complicated, but taking some time to know and use them for your benefit can change how much you end up paying (or getting back) in April. Here are some key tax planning and tax strategy concepts to understand before you make your next money move.

Tax planning starts with understanding your tax bracket

You can’t really plan for the future if you don’t know where you are today. So the first tax planning tip is get a grip on what federal tax bracket you’re in.

The United States has a progressive tax system. That means people with higher taxable incomes are subject to higher tax rates, while people with lower taxable incomes are subject to lower tax rates. There are seven federal income tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.

No matter which bracket you’re in, you probably won’t pay that rate on your entire income. There are two reasons:

You get to subtract tax deductions to determine your taxable income (that’s why your taxable income usually isn’t the same as your salary or total income).

You don’t just multiply your tax bracket by your taxable income. Instead, the government divides your taxable income into chunks and then taxes each chunk at the corresponding rate.

For example, let’s say you’re a single filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket in 2020. But do you pay 12% on all $32,000? No. Actually, you pay only 10% on the first $9,875; you pay 12% on the rest. If you had $50,000 of taxable income, you’d pay 10% on that first $9,875 and 12% on the chunk of income between $9,876 and $40,125. And then you’d pay 22% on the rest, because some of your $50,000 of taxable income falls into the 22% tax bracket.

The difference between tax deductions and tax credits

Tax deductions and tax credits may be the best part of preparing your tax return. Both reduce your tax bill, but in very different ways. Knowing the difference can create some very effective tax strategies that reduce your tax bill.

Tax deductions are specific expenses you’ve incurred that you can subtract from your taxable income. They reduce how much of your income is subject to taxes.

Tax credits are even better — they give you a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill. A tax credit valued at $1,000, for instance, lowers your tax bill by $1,000.

Taking the standard deduction vs. itemizing

Deciding whether to itemize or take the standard deduction is a big part of tax planning, because the choice can make a huge difference in your tax bill.

What is the standard deduction?

Basically, it’s a flat-dollar, no-questions-asked tax deduction. Taking the standard deduction makes tax prep go a lot faster, which is probably a big reason why many taxpayers do it instead of itemizing.

Congress sets the amount of the standard deduction, and it’s typically adjusted every year for inflation. The standard deduction that you qualify for depends on your filing status, as the table below shows.

What does ‘itemize’ mean?

Instead of taking the standard deduction, you can itemize your tax return, which means taking all the individual tax deductions that you qualify for, one by one.

  • Generally, people itemize if their itemized deductions add up to more than the standard deduction. A key part of their tax planning is to track their deductions through the year.
  • The drawback to itemizing is that it takes longer to do your taxes, and you have to be able to prove you qualified for your deductions.
  • You use IRS Schedule A to claim your itemized deductions.
  • Some tax strategies may make itemizing especially attractive. If you own a home, for example, your itemized deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes may easily add up to more than the standard deduction. That could save you money.
  • You might be able to itemize on your state tax return even if you take the standard deduction on your federal return.
  • The good news: Tax software or a good tax advisor can help you figure out which deductions you’re eligible for and whether they add up to more than the standard deduction.

Minimize or eliminate the new 3.8% Medicare tax on personal investment income.

You can do this by reducing rent charged to the business for a personally-owned building and equipment, increasing retirement plan and IRA contributions, gifting investment assets to lower bracket family members or charity, investing in tax-free bonds, and reducing capital gains through tax-free exchanges and harvesting capital losses.

Know your options for maximizing retirement plan contributions.

Looking to maximize tax-deductible retirement plan contributions. Entrepreneurs over age 40 with a younger staff can now fund a combined “safe harbor” 40l(k) profit sharing plan (with a 6% match) and cash balance defined benefit pension plan to save thousands in federal and state income taxes with contribution limits of more than $113,000 annually. How about slightly smaller tax-deductible contributions? Entrepreneurs over age 40 with a younger staff should consider a 40l(k) cross-tested profit sharing plan.

Optimize the way your business is structured.

Contact us to determine the payroll tax savings available from electing Subchapter S corporation status. Often business owners will be able to significantly reduce payroll taxes by taking a lower salary, with the remaining profit distributed as a dividend (not subject to payroll taxes). S status can also reduce income and payroll taxes on the sale of your practice, and lower IRS audit risk and exposure. Look for future article explaining entity selection in more detail!

Local Moving With Family


There are few businesses that will always be in demand. A moving company falls under that category. Whether it’s across town or across the country, consumers hire moving services for packing and transporting their household items on a daily basis.

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your moving company. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

What are the startup and ongoing costs?

Who is your target market?

How much can you charge customers?

What will you name your business?

What are the costs involved in opening a moving company?

Start-up costs for a moving business are fairly low. Your first purchase should be a van or truck. Aside from transportation, you’ll just need a few basic items, which will set you back approximately $1,000-$2,000:

Moving dollies


Moving pads

Furniture belts

Moving boxes

Packing and wrapping materials

What are the ongoing expenses for a moving company?

Monthly overhead costs are relatively low compared to many businesses. Most start out running the company out of their homes, moving to a warehouse location when the business has grown significantly.



tackle local moves of all types and sizes. Whether you’re moving to a townhouse


A long distance move is even more challenging than a move across town


If you’re between apartments or just have too much stuff, we can help you find an affordable storage solution in a safe, secure facility


You may not have the time or energy to get everything packed up yourself.


Whether you’re moving an apartment or a house, trained team of moving experts is here to make your residential move seamless.


Get your office back up and running in no time with commercial moving services.

Moving can get expensive, which is why it’s important to shop around for cheaper rates.

A List of Things We Can’t Move and Why

If you are having a moving company transport your belongings, it should provide you with a list of “non-allowable.” This is an industry term for items professional movers will NOT transport.

Propane/ Gasoline-

We can’t move these for obvious reasons that they are both flammable and explosive. We ask if we are moving anything motorized you drain them out first.

Nail polish/ Nail Polish remover-

These items are flammable and also can spill or break which can ruin the finish off your furniture.

Live plants across State Lines-

Each states department of agriculture establishes guidelines to protect their native plants. Different plants carry pests and diseases that cannot be transferred across state lines.

Cleaning supplies/ Chemicals-

Chemicals can be flammable and also ruin your possessions.


Batteries contain acid which can erode with different weather conditions but also cause spark if there is other metal in the truck.

Small Moves

Are you getting ready to move your home to another neighborhood? Do you have a small inventory but not enough time to get ready for your move? If the answer is – yes then we have a solution. Homegrown Moving Company is one of the most experienced moving companies

small movers CO are here to help you plan the moving day and handle every moving box with ease. Let us know whether you are in the need for transportation services or you prefer us to provide full moving service. Before you give us a call, take a look at how we can help you achieve an easy relocation.

Good planning is haft the job done

When moving a home, whether it’s a local or a long-distance move, it’s important to be ready for the moving day. There are some situations we can’t predict, so the more you organize and plan the moving day, the fewer troubles there will be. In order to get ready for a successful moving day, you should consider making a moving plan. By writing down important things to do, you will say organized and even save money on your move.

Here’s a suggestion for making a moving plan:

Set the moving date. When you know how much time you have to prepare, it’s going to be easier to organize.

Contact local small movers. Although planning a small move is easier than a long distance one, you should book a moving company as soon as you can. If you hire them sooner than later, you’ll increase your chances of getting a discount on moving service.

Declutter your home and decide what to move. More often than not, people move too many items into their new homes. Why not save some money and get rid of old and unnecessary items?

Choose a moving service. By contacting moving company, you can ask for more details about local moving services. small movers will make sure to suggest the best option for your moving budget.

Plan a moving day. Your movers can help you plan it one step at a time.

Although small moves are not complicated to organize, packing and moving your inventory will take some time. Even if you are moving just a few streets away from your current home

Moving FAQ

What are the best days of the week to move?

Wednesdays are the best day since less people request it, followed by Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays and weekends are usually the busiest days resulting in competition for elevator access, which can cause delays.

How far in advance should I schedule my move?

recommends at least three weeks in advance when moving locally. For long distance or international, we recommend four weeks.

Do you move pianos?

Yes, we are experts when it comes to moving pianos with a trained team fully taking care of the service.

Can you move me cross country or to another country?

Yes, we offer both Long Distance and International moving services.

Can weather affect my move?

It’s important to consider delays and traffic when it comes to inclement weather but your move WILL NOT be cancelled unless the city puts out a travel/weather warning.

Hardwood Flooring Refinishing

The Top Surface Finishes for Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is available with a number of distinct surface finishes that not only enhance the wood grain, but also help protect the floor. Whether you’re looking for a shiny, high-gloss finish or something a little more matte, hardwood top coatings provide plenty of options. Below are some of the top surface finishes for hardwood to note when choosing etiher solid or engineered hardwood flooring for your home.

Surface Finishes for Hardwood: The Options

Water-Based Polyurethane

Arguably the most popular surface finish for hardwood flooring, water-based polyurethane provides a clear finish and has the traditional hardwood look and feel. Traditionally, this smooth, lustrous finish gives solid and engineered hardwood floors the signature wet look, achieved by using multiple coats of high-gloss polyurethane. However, water-based polyurethane finishes also come in satin and semigloss.

Most high-gloss polyurethane hardwood flooring is prefinished in the factory. This makes installation much faster. Thanks to the high sheen, cleaning this hardwood finish is easy, although scratches, pet hair, and other imperfections do tend to stand out. Oil-based polyurethane is another urethane option, although it can yellow over time.

Oil Sealer

Oil sealer or penetrating oil sealer is a wise choice if you’re planning on finishing your hardwood floors yourself. It’s pretty straightforward for DIYers to apply. It doesn’t dry as hard as the polyurethane mentioned above, but the penetrating process brings out grain patterns and enhances the color of the wood. This finish also allows for touch ups later on.

The main benefit of oil sealer is the low-gloss, natural look it brings to flooring. It is ideal for antique and traditional style homes. The main ingredient in most oil sealers is tung oil. Tung oil is naturally derived and not permanent. You will need to reapply oil sealers every three to five years. This type of finish also has a longer drying time (24 to 48 hours per coat) and requires several coats.

Hard-Wax Oil

If you’re looking for a natural finish that’s easy to apply, hard-waxoil offers a warm look. It also provides excellent protection. Although wax treatments for hardwood may be considered outdated by some, they’re growing in popularity again. It’s perfect for those who want a low luster finish that’s easy to touch up.

Most hard-wax oil finishes for hardwood are DIY-friendly in terms of application. Due to the finishes’ low durability and susceptibility to staining, reapplying the wax finish is an ongoing process. This is generally recommended to be repeated every two to three years.

Acid Cured

Also called a Swedish finish, acid-cured finishes are extremely durable — more so than polyurethane. This type of finish is ideal for smooth-textured flooring and exotic woods that need extra protection. However, acid-cured finishes have high toxicity levels during the curing process. This toxicity can last anywhere from three days to an entire month, depending on the relative humidity.

Aluminum Oxide

The king of durable finishes is aluminum oxide, which lasts up to 25 years. This is especially beneficial for engineered hardwood floors because they often have a thinner veneer that doesn’t lend itself to sanding and refinishing.

Prefinished planks are your only option if you choose hardwood with an aluminum oxide finish. This limitation is due to the application and drying equipment used in the finishing process. This makes installation faster than traditional on-site sanding and finishing.

Two Options for Refinishing

Does your floor need a touch-up or an overhaul?

  • Touch-up. For surface scratches and normal wear and tear, lightly sand the finish (called screening) and apply a new topcoat. You’ll want to use the same type of finish product that was on your flooring originally.
  • Overhaul. For more damaged flooring, you’ll want to completely sand the old finish off down to the bare wood. Once you’ve done that, you can apply any finish.

Selecting a hardwood flooring finish

How to decide? Think about how the room will be used and exactly how you want the hardwood floors to look after the finish has been applied.

Most of the available options also give you a choice of sheen. The higher the gloss finish, the more noticeable scratch marks and scuffing will be. A smooth or matte finish will reflect less light and is much more practical. A less glossy finish or a satin sheen will give your hardwood floor a more traditional appearance.

Your final flooring finish decision should be based on:

• How durable the finish needs to be.

• Whether the floor needs special moisture protection.

• Exactly how you want the hardwood floor to be treated.

What is the hardest wood floor finish?

The hardest wood floor finish is aluminum oxide, but it only comes on prefinished boards. If you want something durable you can add after installation, acid-cured is your best bet.

Do you need to seal hardwood floors?

You have to seal unfinished hardwood floors to protect them from scratches and stains. The frequency depends on the type. For example, polyurethane products usually need refinishing every 3 to 5 years.

What’s the difference between wood stain and finish?

Wood stain adds a color to the surface. A finish adds a level of shine (e.g. matte, low-gloss, high-gloss) and seals the grain to protect against damage.

Why Leave Drywall Repairs To The Pros

Caulking Drywall: Tips and Tricks

If you’ve got thin cracks in your drywall, you don’t necessarily have to break out the drywall compound to mud the area. Caulking drywall is a much faster and easier way to repair those hairline cracks.In fact, you can save time and money on your home renovation by caulking drywall corners in areas like closets, laundry rooms, and mudrooms. However, you should be aware of two things before you start caulking.

No matter what type of caulk you’re using, the caulked part will look off and the paint will be easily discolored. Secondly, caulk will not last unless the environment temperature is stable. If you are caulking in an area where the temperature is changing significantly, within a year or two you will have to recaulk it.

Now, discover our list of tips and tricks for caulking drywall in your home.

Buy Fresh Supplies for Caulking Drywall

If you’re tempted to grab an old tube of caulk that you’ve had for a while, don’t. Caulk becomes useless once it dries out, and chances are, that old tube is pretty dry. You need a fresh tube in order to get the best, smoothest results.

Select a Paintable Variety of Caulk

When you purchase the caulk, be sure that it’s the type you can paint over. Not all types of caulk hold paint well. Some DIY home renovation experts swear by paintable silicone caulk since it allows the paint to adhere smoothly.

Others claim that the silicone caulk cracks much faster, and they recommend high-quality acrylic latex caulk. Ultimately, your goals determine your choices in this case. Before you make a purchasing decision, you may want to read this article for a better comparison.

Check the Quality of the Drywall Crack Repair Caulk

When you’re caulking drywall, don’t skimp on quality to save money. Cheaper forms of the caulk might crack or fall out more quickly, or they may permit greater air leakage, which in turn will contribute to a general lack of airtightness in the home.

If you have too much leakage, the house won’t be as energy-efficient, and your property value could dip lower.

Another factor to consider is the safety quality of the caulk. Most caulks are flammable, which adds a risk factor to their use when you’re patching drywall. If possible, purchase fire-rated caulk that offers similar protection to standard fire-resistant drywall mud.

Apply the Caulk to the Drywall Cracks

Caulk usually comes with easy-to-use instructions printed on the tube. All you need to do is snip off the end and begin squeezing out the caulk. Test the substance first on a disposable surface so you can be sure it’s the right color and consistency; then apply it to the drywall crack.

You can use your finger to press the caulk into the crack and then smooth it out with a paddle or scraping tool. Before the caulk completely sets, give the wall a quick wipe-down to remove any excess or overflow.

Drywall cracks are very common around windows and doors due to the added use and moisture in those areas. You can caulk along the edge of a door frame or window frame and use your finger to push the caulk along the crevice and smooth it out. Be sure to wash your hands after caulking drywall.

After the caulk sets and dries completely, you can touch up the caulked area with paint. Be sure that the color of the paint is precisely the same as that of the rest of the wall, or the newly caulked area will look odd.

Caulking Vs. Spackling

Because it’s so flexible and you can’t sand it, caulk isn’t the ideal material for filling holes. You should instead do that with a quick application of spackling compound, using a putty knife. Spackling compound is also the material to use to repair chips in wood — it’s stiffer than caulk yet pliable enough to mold, and you can shape it with sandpaper after it dries. Caulk is the material you need when you want to fill gaps around wood trim and molding or when you want to provide a weather-resistant seal around a door or window.


Applying spackling compound is a straightforward procedure — scrape it on with a putty knife, wait for it to dry, then sand it flat — but the procedure for applying caulk is a bit more involved. Because caulk is designed to seal long gaps, you generally apply it in a continuous bead with a caulking gun in a two-step process. The first step is to apply the bead, and the second is to tool it by running your finger along it to create a convex surface. After that, you allow the caulk to dry. If it isn’t silicone, you can paint it.

Patching Drywall

Simply drywall patching requires surface preparation, applying the drywall compound, and then sanding and finishing the wall surface. A quick trip to your local hardware store should provide you with all the materials and tools you need. You might even be able to get some extra tips on your specific drywall patching project. Small-to-medium sized holes and drywall cracks shouldn’t be too difficult, and if something does go wrong, you’re unlikely to make the situation much worse than when you started. Make sure you know how to repair a hole in the drywall to avoid more expensive repairs.

On the other hand, just like trying to touch up some chipped paint, if you don’t have extra paint you probably won’t get an exact match.

Patching Drywall Alternatives

One alternative to common drywall patching compound is paintable caulk. If, for some reason, you find your drywall cracks repeatedly (around the edge of a windowpane, for example), apply a paintable caulk that is also water washable directly into the crack with your finger. Before it sets (usually within 30 minutes), wipe down with a clean damp cloth, again to smooth and to allow the existing texture to bleed through.

Matching Color and Texture When Filling Drywall Cracks

While matching the original color of your wall is difficult enough, if you have textured drywall surfacing, it’s going to be at least as difficult to match the drywall texture. If this is a concern, you might consider hiring a drywall contractor. The match may still not be exact, but it will probably be a whole lot closer to what you can produce. If you have several small home repair projects, you might also be saving yourself a bunch of time and headaches by hiring a handyman. A handyman may be able to patch your damaged drywall, look at your broken refrigerator, oil your garage door tracks, patch up your stained carpet, and whatever other small projects you have that needs to be done. If your walls are older and need new life, you might also consider hiring a professional home painter. Instead of trying to match your drywall patch to your old, worn wall surface, decorative painting and texturing can transform your room.

How To Drywall: A Finishing Shortcut

Most home improvement shortcuts lead to trouble. But here’s one that makes drywall finishing faster without regrets later:

In closets and other low-priority areas, don’t tape and mud inside corners. Instead, caulk them. I first tried this trick on wall and ceiling corners 20 years ago—and those corners still look good. There are just four things you need to know:

  • When you hang the rock, keep gaps to a minimum. You can get away with 1/8-in. gaps, but not wider.
  • Finish all the tapered joints and get a coat of primer on the rock before you caulk. Caulking directly over the absorbent paper facing leads to an ugly caulk job.
  • Use a high-quality acrylic latex caulk. I once used dirt-cheap “painter’s caulk” and got cracks within a year.
  • Don’t tell anyone. Critics will think you’re a lazy slouch. But if you don’t tell them, they’ll never notice.

Humane Squirrel Control



The grey squirrel is approximately 25 cm long with a 22 cm tail. Both sexes are of similar size and weigh around 500 grams. The body is adapted for climbing and jumping, with sharp claws for gripping and a long bushy tail for balance. Red squirrels are smaller, lighter and have ear tufts. Although predominantly red in appearance red squirrels may, confusingly, show some grey on the back in winter.

Where to find them

Grey squirrels build nests or dreys of twigs/leaves in the forks of trees. The squirrels are most active in the two hours following sunrise and preceding sunset, showing reduced activity during the daytime. Both red and grey squirrels will eat a wide range of items such as nuts, fruit buds, shoots, fungi, birds eggs and nestlings. In urban areas a large amount of food will be derived from bird feeders. Surplus food is buried for retrieval in times of scarcity.

Spread of disease

Squirrels are not normally associated with any diseases which are transmissible to man.

Structural damage

The most serious damage arises once grey squirrels enter the roof spaces of houses and other buildings by climbing walls, gutter downpipes or jumping from trees. Once inside they will chew woodwork and ceilings, strip the insulation from electrical wiring, tear up fibreglass insulation in the construction of dreys and even sometimes drown in cold water storage tanks.

Control of squirrels

The most effective form of control is exclusion. Do not encourage squirrels into your garden by feeding them, and ensure that all roofspaces are secure. Control of squirrels is usually carried out using traps or poison. Only spring or cage traps approved for the purpose may be used and all traps must be inspected at least once daily. Squirrels may also be poisoned with a plain wheat bait containing 0.002% Warfarin liquid.

Squirrels Are Cute, But They’re Still A Nuisance

Every year, getting rid of squirrels is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our rodent removal and exclusion service line. Squirrels are cute and cuddly unless they happen to be in your attic. Just like other rodents, squirrels can be destructive when inside our homes and businesses. Squirrel droppings and chewing ability do not exempt them from removal.

About Squirrels

Squirrels have adapted to urban and city life pretty well. there are plenty of trees and food sources for squirrels to live off the land. Squirrels are also extremely beneficial. They help to plant and distribute seeds due to their natural instincts to bury food. However, once inside your attic tearing up the place, it is easy to overlook their beneficial qualities and figure out a plan for relocation.

Behavioral Traits

Squirrels are most active in the morning and afternoon hours. Squirrels tend to hangout in their nests during severe cold and wet weather. Hopefully that nest is not in your attic.


Squirrels have a litter of 2 to 7 young in the early spring. Here in Texas another litter will sometimes arrive in late August. The young will remain in the nest for up to 6 weeks before going out on their own.

Proper Squirrel Control

Inspection. Identify rodent and rodent damage. This requires a deep inspection and find out where the squirrels are nesting and how they have gotten into the structure.

Trapping. Now we trap the rodents. For squirrels, we trap with live traps. Squirrel traps are big cages with trap doors and some food inside as bait. We will set traps and monitor every 1-2 days. Traps can be moved around to focus on the problem areas.

Exclusion. After the trapping is well underway we enclose the structure. We seal all roof vents, roof pipes, gable vents, and any other areas where squirrels can enter. Steel wool, expanding foam, caulk, wire mesh, and some screws go a long way. Then trim back any trees 4 to 6 feet from the structure.

Relocation. Every squirrel we trap is relocated to a park or wooded area.

Rodent & Squirrel Pest Control Services

Keep These Furry Pests Outside Where They Belong

Rodents like mice, rats and squirrels may look furry and cute, but they are not welcome guests in a home. Always in search of food and shelter, these pests can do some real damage to a home and also transmit diseases. Additionally, rodents reproduce very quickly, and one or two can turn into a full-blown infestation in a matter of weeks. Signs that they may have settled in include unusual noises in the attic or walls and/or droppings found in the pantry, along the baseboards or in the attic.

Mice and Rat Control Services

Mice and rats pose many threats to you, your family and your home. When they take up residence, they rarely travel alone, often bringing in fleas, mites, ticks and lice as well. Micro droplets of mouse urine can trigger allergic reactions in children. Rats will chew through just about anything when nesting, including wiring, which can cause fires. Rats are also known to urinate on and eat stored foods. Both mice and rats can transmit numerous diseases. Obviously, mice and rat control is a serious matter.

These crafty creatures can enter structures through very tiny openings. A mouse only needs a space the size of a nickel and a rat can squeeze through one the size of a quarter. Additionally, rats are excellent climbers and can make their way into a home through entry points along the roofline as well.

Squirrel Control Services

Both gray and flying squirrels usually begin to enter homes in the Southeast late in the fall as the evening temperatures drop, looking for a warm place to nest for the winter. They can be found in attics, exterior walls and even between floors, using insulation as nesting material. Their playful nature and early rising times are what give their presence away to homeowners as they hear scurrying in the attic or movement at dawn, making squirrel removal sometimes necessary just to get some sleep.

Squirrels can do considerable damage to the exterior trim and siding of a home as they widen their current hole or make a new one. Once in the home, they can gnaw on just about anything, including electrical wiring, which can cause a short or a fire. Squirrels can also carry fleas and other unwanted hitchhikers that will infest your home after they gain entry.

Grey squirrels

In their natural habitat grey squirrels build nests or dreys in the forks of trees or in hollow trunks. In urban areas they will enter roof spaces by climbing walls or jumping from nearby trees. If they get into your property they can cause serious damage. They chew woodwork and ceilings, strip the insulation from electrical wiring, tear up loft insulation to form a nest and sometimes drown in cold water tanks.

The noise they make, particularly at night, scratching and running about can be very disturbing. They also cause environmental damage, stripping bark off trees causing young trees to die, and can destroy many garden plants with their activities.

Dealing with the problem yourself

There are two things you can do to help yourself:

Don’t feed or encourage squirrels into your garden. If you put out food for the birds, use squirrel-proof feeders.

Keep your home in a good state of repair so that squirrels can not gain access. If they have already got in and they haven’t yet had any young you may be able to scare them out and seal any holes where they were getting in

Squirrel Chewing Habits: Their Fun Wreaks Havoc on your Home

Those cute little squirrels running around your backyard and playing in your trees might be fun to watch, but they can be pesky critters when they want to be! The most irritating thing about squirrels is their penchant for chewing pretty much anything that gets in their way. Whether it’s wood around your home or yard, wires in your attic, or plastic on your home or car, basically nothing is safe from these backyard critters.

Why do squirrels chew everything?

Unlike humans, a squirrels’ teeth never stop growing. While this is helpful them since their diet mostly consists of nuts, seeds and fruit which are hard on teeth and wear them down, this also means they need to be constantly working to keep them a manageable length. This leads them to chew on pretty much anything they can. From wood to metal or plastic, all of these help to grind down their teeth. Unfortunately, this is bad news for your property!

Squirrels also chew things to gather material to build a nest. Wood especially makes a good base for them, so watch your wood siding, deck, attic beams and any other wood around your yard carefully.

How to prevent squirrels from chewing

When trying to prevent a squirrel from chewing materials around your home, you want to try to use strong and durable materials as much as possible. Things like steel mesh and pvc piping are helpful materials that squirrels will have difficulty chewing through

Sometimes, you just need to call a wildlife removal professional

If your friendly squirrel company has turned the corner into a full on invasion, you might be at the point where you just need to call in a professional. Squirrels don’t give up easily, and once they’ve found some profitable real estate, they’ll settle in for a long stand off. And squirrels are not a rodent you want to mess with (remember those constantly growing and sharpened teeth?!)! A professional can come assess your home and work out a safe plan to remove the squirrels from your home and give you some suggestions of how to squirrel proof the area.