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How to Hire a Plumber for Your New Home

New PlumbingAs you build your new home, you are likely focused on all of those details. Plumbing should not be an after-thought.

Most everyone knows a plumber. But not many of us know a plumber that specializes in new home plumbing planning. It is important as you build your home that you hire a plumbing contractor who looks like a manager and is a good manager over their workers. The same plumber needs to have a reputation to live up to and must charge a fair price for his work.

Here are the top 3 items to review before you hire a plumber:

  1. Management of Team – It is difficult for an adult manager to manage other adults doing work on your home. It obviously has to be done in the right way or that manager will have a group of rebellious plumbers. If managed well, the workers under the contractor should follow his instructions specifically and his instructions should be coming from you mixed with his knowledge of the work he is doing.
  2. Reputation – If you do not have a reputation to live up to, you might choose to be mediocre. However, you have worked for other people and your reputation precedes you then you cannot take a chance with your reputation. People will hire others because of a bad job. Hiring a plumber with a good reputation will likely mean that it will continue as he works on your planned vision of your home.
  3. Price Comparisons – After doing some price comparisons, you should have a good idea as to what a plumbing contractor should charge you as they work on your home. Make sure that you do not choose a plumber based on cost, but be wise about it too, and use common sense. Try to hire someone who will work well no matter the amount they charge you. If you follow those guidelines, you will have a job well done and a professional you can trust for any jobs that come up in the future.

How Do I Find and Stop a Leak?

If you have a leak and it’s causing damage to your home, the first step is to stop the flow of water. If you have no idea where it’s coming from, you’ll need to shut the water to the house off.

Shutting the main water off may not immediately stop the leak. Especially if the leak is behind a wall or above a ceiling, there could be a considerable amount of water that has collected. The one thing that you can be sure of is that if you stop the flow of water to the building, you will eventually have stopped the leak. In some cases, this is about the only choice you have. Unless the leak is from rain.

Hopefully, you will be able to find a bit more information about the leak. For example, if you know that it’s a drain issue, or its hot water, you could shut off the hot water source.

Finding a leak takes a keen eye, and very often it is mis-diagnosed at first glance. Dripping or even running water can take odd paths when leaking.
Once you have stopped the flow of water, it’s important to find out whether it is coming from the drain or from the water system. Sometimes you may already know this based on what happened, but if you don’t, here are some tips:

  1. Listen carefully, near the leak. You may be able to hear a spray hitting something somewhere. Or even just hearing a drip can help.
  2. Make sure all other dripping is stopped or at least slowed substantially. Basically, try to isolate where it is coming from and what’s happening.
  3. Once the leak is stopped, turn the water back on, don’t use any water or put any water down a drain. Just wait to see if the leak comes back. If it does, then it is most likely coming from a water pipe.
  4. If the leak doesn’t come back, then it could be coming from a drain. Carefully run water in one fixture at a time, checking each time to see if the leak comes back.
  5. Check the tub or shower. Water often gets splashed around in a bathtub in ways that you might not notice. It is a common occurrence to have water leak from a tub only when someone is taking a shower, sometimes it can also be just the way one person in particular takes a shower.
  6. Try to recreate what happened just before the leak was noticed.
  7. Always check above where you think the leak is coming from. It’s common for water to drip down from a higher fitting. Keep working your way up the pipe until it’s dry, then slowly come back down to see where the drip begins.

If the leak cannot be found, then a professional may need to be called. Some basic information about the leak can be very helpful if you found anything out. Unfortunately, leaks can cause damage to your home and in order to fix the leak, more damage may be required.

Minimizing the damage is key, but eliminating it may not be possible.

Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget

A new kitchen doesn’t have to break your bank account to remodel your kitchen. Whether you have owned a home for a long time or just purchased your first I think everyone knows that remodeling your kitchen can be a expensive task.

Let’s face it, your kitchen can make or break your home. If you went looking for a home with a real estate agent, the first thing they show you is the kitchen. Whether you realize it or not if you didn’t like the kitchen, you didn’t like the home.

But keep in mind, a kitchen needs to function. It needs to be comfortable to cook in. It needs to have the appropriate counter space to prep your food, and to work in. If you ever heard anything about remodeling a kitchen the main rule is, make the functioning part of your kitchen a “triangle.” In other words have your stove, sink, and fridge in a workable comfortable triangle. The bottom line is this, a kitchen is the most expensive remodel in a home. It makes the biggest impact of a home.

Below is some simple remodeling in your kitchen that will not break the bank. These are things that you can do to drastically improve the impression your kitchen has on people and will leave a couple of dollars in your pocket.

New Countertops
There are several types of counter-tops that you can replace your old ones with that will add a drastic change to your kitchen.

Paint Your Cabinets
Some people really like painted cabinets. It is definitely a different look. Most cabinets have a varnish, lacquer, stain or all of these on them. Your paint may not take very well to surfaces with those products on them without extensive prep work. In all honesty to really do a good job you will probably want to use a stripper followed by denatured alcohol to make sure the cabinets are free of those chemicals. If you are really after a quality job, you may want to leave this one to the pros. In other words, call your painter.

Tile Backsplash
Adding a new tile backsplash can drastically change, for that matter improve the appearance of your kitchen. A tile backsplash will add a whole new color and depth to your kitchen giving you a totally different impression as you enter. It won’t cost you a lot of money either. A great alternative to investing in an entirely new kitchen.

Replace Your Drawer Pulls
Just changing your drawer pulls can do miracles in updating your kitchen and at the same time save you hundreds of dollars.

Plan it out, talk it over with the rest of the family and go for it. These “quick fix” ideas could be just what your kitchen needed and cost you far less.

What Faucet and Sink is Right for Me?

When it comes right down to it, every kitchen needs a sink and faucet. When it comes to selecting these kitchen staples, style is secondary.

As a home owner, your primary task to select a faucet is to understand the usage for the kitchen. Select a sink and faucet that will work well and withstand years of daily use. Ask yourself how you plan to use the kitchen sink. It will make a big difference in which faucet is selected.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your faucet choices:

SINK OPTIONS

Kitchen sinks are typically made from stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, solid surfaces and composites. For clients who choose solid surface counters like granite or engineered stone, use a stainless steel sink because of its undermount capability. Also if you tend to be hard on sinks (If you are prone to throwing everything into your sink), stainless is often the best choice. When shopping for a sink, keep in mind that lower-gauge stainless steel makes for a better quality sink. Some homeowners find stainless steel sinks noisy, but that’s a problem that can be addressed by choosing a design featuring sound-absorption technology.

Once the standard in kitchen sinks, enamel-coated cast iron still has a place in today’s kitchen. Enamel-coated cast iron can be some of the prettiest of all the sinks on the market today. However, enamel can scratch and wear over time, which may not make this sink the best choice for people who are tough on sinks.

If ease of cleanup is important, a solid surface sink that’s an integral part of a countertop is the option to investigate.

With the under mount sink, you’ve still got that joint between the countertop and the underside. Solid surface sinks create a much smoother clean up area to deal with on a daily basis. While minor scratches can be buffed out of a solid surface sink, the material is prone to chip, and transferring hot pots and pans directly from the cook top to the sink can damage solid surfaces.

Composite sinks, a newer style of sink, are another option for kitchens. There are several types of composite sinks on the market, with polyester/acrylic being just one of them. Coming in at a lower price point and with many colors to choose from, this sink might appeal to homeowners on a budget. However, polyester/acrylic sinks aren’t as durable as other sink options and drop-in sinks can be more difficult to clean.

NUMBER OF SINKS

Most kitchens feature a double-bowl sink. Obviously, double bowls — especially two equal size bowls — were made for washing dishes. We really don’t wash dishes much in the kitchen with every kitchen coming complete with a dishwasher.  Homeowners still hand wash large pots, pans and baking sheets, so we do suggest that a double bowl sink should have at least one deep oversized sink bowl. If space is an issue and double bowls are a must, an oversized bowl and a small bowl combination should be adequate. If space isn’t an issue, one oversized and one standard sized bowl.

FAUCETS THAT FUNCTION

With the great number of faucets on the market, there is a design for everyone. Style is strictly a personal taste issue. We’re not sure we can dictate what you should choose design-wise. Your style will help you choose what you like most of the time, but be cautious when it comes to function and finishes. Most faucets use a cartridge, ball or ceramic disc valves. A faucet with a ceramic disk valve and solid brass base materials will be the most durable. Though many attractive faucets have two handles, most new styles feature single-lever faucets in the kitchen. We also recommend a spray arm for filling pots with water or rinsing the sink, whether it’s part of the spout or a separate piece.

Be cautious of brass finishes. Brass works well for a low-traffic kitchen, but in a high-use kitchen, you should stick to chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel or pewter. The new bronze finish is also very popular.

Before making the final decision, make a trip to the local plumbing showroom or ask for a plumber’s opinion to get a feel for how a sink and faucet will function. Ask about maintenance and repairs for certain brands to assure your purchase will last as long as possible.

5 Steps before Remodeling a Bathroom

Remodeling a bathroom requires more skill and knowledge than general remodeling due to the electricity work and plumbing that is often involved. Depending on the amount of remodeling you are planning, you might want to consider hiring a professional. This page offers a guide on how to remodel a bathroom.

Remodeling a bathroom can be quite expensive due to the electricity and plumbing that is often involved, especially if you have water damage, mold or other problems to address. You might also choose to remodel a bathroom for aesthetic or practical reasons, or to increase the value of your home. Regardless of the reasons, make sure you make a clear and detailed plan before starting the remodeling.

Step 1: Make a Plan

First, determine what parts of the bathroom you wish to remodel and how. Then make a budget to see what is financially feasible for you.

  1. Estimate the total costs of the remodeling and make a budget.
  2. Talk to a professional about you plan
  3. Expect surprises. Unexpected costs can pop up when you start demolishing the bathroom and discover water damage or mold, leaks in pumps or other damages that require extensive remodeling.

Step 2: Consider Hiring a Professional

Remodeling a bathroom is more complicated than other areas of a house because of electricity and plumbing considerations. A bathroom needs to be constructed so that it’s resistant to mold and water damage that might occur due to dampness in the room. Depending on the amount of remodeling you are considering, it might be wise to hire a professional.

  1. If you want to save money, you can hire a professional for parts of the work and do the easier parts yourself.
  2. Plumbing and electricity work is best done by a professional, unless you have extensive knowledge of it yourself.
  3. If you are tearing down walls, tile or other main structures, it’s best to hire a professional who knows how to construct the bathroom so it’s dry and protected from water damage.
  4. For more information on hiring a professional, visit our pages on Painting Services or Plumbing Services.

Step 3: Get Ideas

  • Since you might not remodel the bathroom again for years to come, don’t rush into it. Consider different types of designs and colors.
  1. Consult interior design magazines or other home design sources for ideas.
  2. Choose colors, materials and patterns you will be satisfied with for years.
  3. If you are considering selling your home in the near future, don’t get too creative with colors or materials.
  4. Make sure colors of tile, floors and walls work together design-wise.

Step 4: Precautions and Preparations

To ensure a safe and satisfactory renovation, make a plan and follow safety guidelines.

  1. If you are working with a professional, make sure they are certified.
  2. Evaluate how long the renovation will take and plan accordingly. Make a structured plan of each step, taking into account waiting times such as time for paint to dry.
  3. Follow instructions and safety recommendations for the tools and materials you are using.
  4. Find out how to handle possible lead and other hazardous materials and how to get rid of them.
  5. Disconnect the power, cover power wires and disconnect appliances.
  6. Research all aspects of remodeling for exact instructions on various steps, such as how to paint.

The Remodeling

The steps of remodeling a bathroom should be done in a specific order. Although all renovations will not include all of these steps, the general order is as follows:

  1. Plumbing, electricity and installations of a tub and shower is done first.
  2. Drywall is installed next.
  3. Painting is next.
  4. Cabinets are installed before floors.
  5. After flooring, the toilet is put in place.
  6. Smaller renovations are done last.