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The Layperson’s Guide to Painting Associations

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’re looking for a painter and decorator to finish off your construction job, chances are you’ve got more than one criteria on which you are considering potentials. You’ll probably be looking at past jobs, at cost, at level of experience, at whether or not you get on with them and at what their availability is like—but are you stopping to check whether or not they’ve been accredited by one of the large national painter’s associations? You most certainly should be, and here’s why. Painting Associations: A Basic Overview Many trades have accrediting bodies and formal associations, and painting is no different. The concept is a very simple one: they have certain requirements for entry, but of they agree that if a contractor meets their high standards, that contractor is allowed to become a member and display the association’s logo on their own materials. Potential clients are then able to rely on the judgement of a large and well-respected national organisation who exists entirely to decide whether a professional is good enough or not, rather than simple hearsay and guesswork. These associations are the only real way for an ordinary person hoping to hire a contractor to have any guarantees or peace of mind about who that contractor is and how good they will be, and these groups also tend to offer assistance with solving any disputes that may occur between a contractor and their clients. Why It’s Important To Pick An Accredited Painter Still wondering if it’s worth adding something to your list of criteria? Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll benefit from if you stick to painters who have been properly accredited: No painter whose work hasn’t been checked is able to join an accrediting body, meaning that you can rest assured that the painter you’re choosing is properly skilled. These associations check track records and professional qualifications for you in advance, meaning you’ll know your contractor’s paperwork is up to scratch. Most associations are able to offer advice and support to ordinary people who need some expert reassurance while trying to make a decision about a professional or register a complaint with one they’ve already hired. Any painter hired through an association will carry out their work to the best of their ability, in a professional manner and while adhering to all current legal and environmental requirements. The majority of these associations have their own ethical codes, meaning if you hire a painter who has been accredited by one, they will abide by this ethical code. How To Find And Contact A Painting Association There are several painting associations in Australia, but the oldest and most prestigious is the MPA. They offer a variety of services to ordinary people looking to hire a painter, including a service that will match you with a professional who meets your needs, a colour consulting service for anyone redecorating their home or office and looking for advice and a general enquiry service to deal with any questions you might have. It’s well worth keeping them—or one of the other accrediting bodies and associations—in mind while you’re searching for a painter to complete your job; the peace of mind they can afford you is...

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How to Avoid Soil Contamination in Your New School Garden

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Setting up a garden on your school grounds is a great way to enhance learning. Gardening can help children learn leadership and teamwork skills, and it can be used as a tool in every lesson, from maths to art. Being around plants can improve students’ wellbeing and lifestyle choices too. However, gardens in urban areas aren’t without their problems. Gardens set up in areas that have played host to industrial activity are unfortunately at risk of having contaminated soil. Soil can be polluted with a range of toxic compounds, including arsenic and lead. Given that schools are filled with children and young bodies are more at risk of health concerns, it’s important that pollution is prevented at all costs. Here are 3 tips to help you keep your school garden safe for all students to use. Choose a Safe Spot  The best place to locate your school garden is away from your buildings. Industrial activity like building and painting deposit contaminants into the area that can leach into the soil. If possible, try to choose a location on your school fields. You should also make sure it’s a spot with enough space around it to plant hedges as barriers to any stray contaminants coming from nearby vehicles. Remove Existing Contaminated Soil Before you begin planting, it’s a good idea to check that the existing soil is not already contaminated. You can send a sample to a testing lab to find out the toxin levels in your chosen plot. If the results indicate that the current soil is unsafe, you should contact a contaminated soil removal service to clear away the existing ground so you can get a fresh start. You may want to repeat this process on a regular basis after you begin growing, just in case any new pollutants are introduced to the soil from the surrounding area. Avoid Root Vegetables Certain contaminants, such as lead, are absorbed mainly by the roots of plants. These pollutants often stay in the roots, with little to no toxin spreading to the rest of the plant. As a result, root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and onions are all more likely to be contaminated by polluted soil. To reduce chances of students coming into contact with soil contamination, opt to grow fruiting plants instead. These are less likely to be contaminated as their produce is not grown underground. Some interesting fruiting plant choices students might like to grow include tomatoes, chili, and...

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Quick Fixes for A Dripping Tap

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A dripping tap can be messy and it wastes water. If left unaddressed, dripping taps can become a full-blown issue that will result in costly repairs. Fortunately, you can easily fix your dripping tap by following a simple DIY procedure. Here are a few steps to help you fix your dripping taps. Step 1: Turn Off Your Water Supply Before you start working on the tap, turn off your water supply. This will give you an easy time dealing with the repairs. Besides, you don’t want water splashing around when you remove components of the tap. After turning off the water supply, put your plug into the plughole. Doing this will prevent any small parts of the tap such as screws from finding their way down the drain. Step 2: Remove The Head of the Tap To remove the head of the tap, you will first need to find the handle screw. For most types of taps, the screw is usually under a cap on the tap’s handle. Gently unscrew the top nut using a spanner. Be careful when doing this because forcing it can damage the pipe, leading to more tap problems. If turning the nut is difficult, wrap a pipe wrench in a piece of cloth and use it to brace the body of the tap. If you don’t have a pipe wrench, you can use your hand. If this doesn’t do the trick, use penetrating oil. Apply the oil around the joint and let it sit for a few minutes for it to soak. Penetrating oil will help loosen the nut. Step 3: Remove The Stem After removing the nut, you will notice the stem. You can remove it by twisting it from the valve or by popping it off. Step 4: Remove the Washer and O-ring Within the valve seat of the tap are the O-ring and the valve. Remove them and inspect them for damages. Worn or damaged O-rings and washers are major causes of leaking taps. Therefore, replace them. When buying the replacements, make sure they are the exact fit. The best way to do this is to take the rings and the washers to the hardware store for comparison. Step 5: Reassemble the Parts Carefully and gently reassemble all the parts. When doing this, ensure all the parts are assembled in their correct order. Turn the knob gently and let water run for a few seconds. Turn it off and leave it for a while to check whether you still have the...

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Blunders That Will Delay Completion of Your Home Renovation Project

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you embark on a house remodeling project without proper planning, you may encounter unexpected delays. If you want to ensure the renovation job goes smoothly and is completed in good time, you will need to think about potential causes of project snags and how they can be avoided. Here is a look at some things that will lead to home renovation delays if they are not thought through prior to the beginning of the project. Not planning where to start. One of the biggest blunders homeowners renovating their homes make is not having a clear idea of where they should begin the renovation work. If your kitchen is the focus of your remodeling, you should decide whether to start working on the cabinetry, flooring, walls, or countertops. If you want to install new flooring on the entire house, you will need to figure out which room you should start working on. These may seem like trivial matters, but they can significantly impact your project time budget. If you begin your kitchen renovation with a flooring replacement, for example, you may have to wait until the floor finish has cured before you can work on the cabinetry, walls, and countertops. This will lead to loss of valuable project time. Therefore, it is very important to schedule all work in a sequential order. Not having accurate cost estimates for everything. Another mistake people make when remodeling their homes is not having accurate cost estimates of the tools and supplies that will be needed to complete the job. This usually results in financial budget shortfalls, which result in discontinuation of any work ongoing onsite. It is important that you ask a professional to help you determine the cost projections for everything that will be needed to complete your project. This way, you can only begin work when you have sufficient funds for it. Underestimating project completion times. Some house remodeling delays occur simply because not enough time was budgeted for the project. This is common in DIY renovations where homeowners do not have any past experience working on the project they want to undertake and therefore end up working with inaccurate time budgets. For example, they may fail to account for the time it takes for ordered materials to be delivered at the jobsite, so they encounter project snarl-ups as they wait for deliveries to be made. Knowing the exact time it will take to finish every stage of your renovation project will save you the frustration of prolonged completion...

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What To Consider When Buying A Winch For Your Vehicle

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A winch and an off-road vehicle go hand in hand. The two are inseparable because, whenever you drive off-road, there is always that risk that you might get stuck or that you might need a nudge to crawl over rocks and other obstacles. That said, automotive winches come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re confused about what you need to buy, this article will help you narrow down the considerations so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the options. Load bearing capacity The load bearing capacity is simply the total load that the winch in question can pull. You want a winch that can pull your vehicle while loaded with gear and passengers, and then some. The load bearing capacity is rated in pounds or kilos. So check your vehicle weight, add the extra weight you are bound to be carrying on an off-road trip and get a winch that can pull a little more than that comfortably. Rope material Long gone are the days when towing was done using standard rope or bulky chains. Today’s winches offer sleek cables ropes that are very strong yet light and thin. Some of the top favourites include steel, aluminium, and synthetic rope. Your winch may come in with one of these or you may get the option to choose between the three. Steel cable offers the most strength, followed by the synthetic rope. Power operation Another important consideration when purchasing a winch is the power operation. That is, how is the winch powered? By large, there are electric winches, hydraulic winches, and manual winches. Manual winches are the cheapest but are not so advisable because you have to crank them manually. Electric winches are the most common and easiest to operate. Hydraulic winches offer seamless service, better than most electric models, but they often require more installation and maintenance work. Extra additions to watch out for There are some other extras you can look for as you check around and compare units. One is a winch cover which protects your unit from water, heat, and dust. Some modern units come with a remote controller which help you operate the winch from a distance (great when stuck in precarious places). Another excellent feature to look for is the load-holding brake. This allows the winch to hold the rope at any point to keep it from winding up and reversing your progress. As you consider what winch to buy, also consider the overall weight of the unit in relation to your car’s weight. Also consider the size of the unit and the ease of installing...

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Plumbing Hacks and Tips that Every Pet Owner Should Observe

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Have you ever thought about how the plumbing system in your home can be affected by your pet and vice versa? Pets love running around the home and poking their noses and paws in various areas, and it is possible for them to tamper with your plumbing. Also, some habits and practices that involve the home’s plumbing system can be potential sources of harm to your pet. Here you will learn some of the tips and measures you should take to protect your pet and to prevent plumbing problems that usually occur in households that keep pets. Protect your drains from animal hair  Some amount of hair is shed every time you bathe your pet, and this hair usually finds its way into your drains. Over time, the hair may accumulate in the drains and clog them. Clogged drains can cause a plumbing emergency, especially if water begins to overflow in your bathroom sinks or stagnate in the shower. To prevent this, always use strainers or drain stoppers when bathing your pets to keep animal hair away from your drain lines. Strainers are particularly effective, as they trap the hair strands as the water flows into the drain. Dispose of the hairs in your trash bin and don’t flush the hairs down the toilet. Pet-proof your plumbing system  Just like you childproof your home when you have a baby, your plumbing system should also be pet proof. Here are some of the areas that you should address as you consider pet-proofing your home. Keep your toilet lid closed to prevent your pet from licking the water, which probably has mixed with residual cleaning chemicals, which can harm your pet’s health Cover all the floor drains in your home to prevent small pets from getting into the pipes Cover any shallow water and sewer lines in your backyard to prevent your dog from digging into the ground and poking holes in the pipes. Hire a professional plumber to help with pet-proofing your indoor and outdoor plumbing system so that you can protect your pet and prevent costly repairs to damage caused by pets. Don’t flush kitty litter  Kitty litter can potentially clog your toilet drains and create a nightmare in the home. Even if some forms of kitty litter are packaged and labeled as “flushable”, it is wise not to do so as you may not be sure whether your drain and sewer lines can handle the product. To be on the safe side and to protect your toilet plumbing, you should only flush toilet paper. Kitty litter should be disposed of together with other forms of domestic waste. Contact a professional plumber, such as those found at P1 Plumbing & Electrical, if you experience any problems with your home’s plumbing. You will be able to get quality repairs and professional advice on how to protect your pet and maintain the performance of the plumbing...

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Materials You Could Consider For Outdoor Balustrades

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Balustrades are structures that are made up of top caps, balusters and newel posts. These structures function as protective railings as well as to define specific spaces on your property. Since balustrades can be used both indoors as well as outdoors, they come in a variety of materials to create a wide array of designs and offer different degrees of functionality. Outdoor balustrades are typically used on decking, balconies, patios and more. If you are looking to install outdoor balustrades in your home, here are some of the different materials that you could consider.  Outdoor balustrades made from timber Timber is one of the more popular materials that homeowners will gravitate to for balustrading. This is because it comes in a wide assortment of designs as well as styles. If you are looking for something functional and plain, you could choose to have timber spindles that have been capped with a plank of wood. On the other hand, if you would prefer something more grand, you could opt for carved balusters that have been finished off with polished handrails.  It should be noted, though, that timber used for outdoor balustrades would require high maintenance to ensure they remain in pristine condition. You would have to ensure the timber used is pre-treated so as to prevent pest infestations. Additionally, you would have to seal your outdoor timber balustrades on a consistent basis to prevent premature water damage that would severely compromise the integrity of your timber balustrades.  Outdoor balustrades made from metal If you are looking for weather resistant options for your outdoor balustrading, you could consider metal as your choice material. One of the options you could choose is stainless steel balustrades. Although it is an alloy of steel, it is less susceptible to corroding or developing rust when exposed to atmospheric moisture. Additionally, the finish of stainless steel is stain resistant so you would not have to be worried about having to engage in intensive cleaning procedures to keep it aesthetically appealing.  It should be noted, though, that although stainless steel does not easily succumb to rust, it can corrode when exposed to high salinity conditions such as coastal weather. As such, if you live by the sea, then you may consider powder coating your stainless steel balustrades to protect them from the salt and moisture in the air. Other outdoor balustrades made from metal that you could consider include wrought iron balustrading and aluminium...

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Makeover Tips To Help You Raise The Value Of Your Commercial Office Building

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Maintaining a high value for your office building puts you on the winning side when you want to sell or when leasing out available space. It’s possible to raise the value of the building, provided you use the right strategies and tactics. Below are effective makeover tips you can use to significantly raise the value of your commercial office building. Optimize Space Use Improving the use of space in your commercial building is a great way of adding to the value of your property. You can improve the space usage by rectifying building designs that waste or take up too much space than necessary. However, it’s best to hire a professional contractor to identify uneconomical features that waste a lot of area in the building. For instance, the type of partitioning used in the building may not optimize space usage. Some buildings tend to have excessive lobbies, disorganized pathways and misplaced utility rooms. If the partitions are reorganized in a way that saves up more space, you can get an extra room or two of rentable space. Add Utility Services Adding utility facilities in a commercial office building is a great way of raising the value of the property. The best utility facilities to add are the ones in high demand in your building. You can carry out a survey and get to know what the tenants value most. Remember that your tenants will be the first people to sample new utility services provided in the complex. For example, you can open a barber shop and salon or a fitness studio. These are examples of services people will need almost always, so all you need to do is market your facility to attract the customers. Otherwise, you can opt to offer the utility services through an independent provider. The market rating of your building will be higher once it’s valuable and appealing to people. Improve Building Sustainability Making your commercial office building sustainable involves making sure that the facility is cost-efficient and environment friendly. The value of your building will be higher if your office building uses technologies that are safe, eco-friendly and cost-effective, especially for the users. Water and energy efficiencies are among the key sustainable elements you can invest in your office building. For example, air conditioning is a requirement for office buildings. So it’s best to invest in an energy efficient air conditioning system that regulates the temperatures without consuming too much energy. It’s best to consult a professional property manager to advise you on the best eco-friendly amenities to install. Makeover strategies for your commercial office complex can significantly raise the value of your building. Above are some effective makeover tips you can use to raise the value of your office...

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Preparing for Partial Demolition and Rebuilding of Your Home

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Some people opt for partial home demolition so that they can rebuild and improve sections of their house. Others may want to retain the lovely façade of their home. For some, keeping the facade allows them to bypass regulations on how set back from a border their new home can be. Whatever your reason for opting for a partial demolition, the things you’ll need to do to prepare are the same. Read this guide to help you prepare for the demolition and rebuilding of part of your home. Surviving Ongoing Building Work It’s always easier to move out while the work is taking place, but this isn’t always possible. If you need to be near work or your children’s schools, or you’re operating on a tight budget, staying put may be your best option. If this is the case, you’ll need to plan well to survive the chaos. This means ensuring that you have access to everything you need to make functioning possible. If you don’t have access to the kitchen while the work takes place, you should set up cooking facilities elsewhere in the home. Your most critical need will be an adequate water supply and access to washing facilities. If staying on site is your only option, but extensive rebuilding is going to make living in your home impossible, a caravan may be a better choice. Renting a caravan and having it set up in your garden will give you freedom to continue living at home without having to be in the thick of the mess. Look after Your Neighbours You don’t want to upset the people you live next door to and see daily. Do what you can to minimise the effect your rebuild will have on your neighbours. Give them a timetable for the work and reminders on days when messy or noisy work takes place. That way, they can make sure they close their windows and doors. Make sure you arrange for the cleanup of any mess that lands on their doorstep. Buy them a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates to thank them for being understanding, particularly after very messy days. Salvage Anything You Want to Keep Fixtures and fittings can often be reused to save on building costs. Ensure that these have been removed and stored safely away from the area being demolished. Make Sure Your Paperwork Is in Place Your demolition company will probably have dealt with any permit applications. If so, they will have checked with your local council to find out what paperwork was needed to demolish part of your home. It will usually be a demolition or building permit. However, it may also include a planning permit if your building is close to other buildings, or has heritage or environmental importance. Before work commences, you should do a last-minute check to make sure that they have received all necessary permission. If you’ve been asked to have certain utilities removed or shut down, make sure this has been done before the demolition team arrive on...

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How to Prevent Ice Damage On Your Metal Roof

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you have a metal roof, you already know that it can handle a lot of extreme temperatures and weather conditions, including heat and cold. While snow and ice don’t have a tendency to cause damage, you still want to reduce the risks as much as possible. Here are some different ways to prevent damage from snow and ice on your metal roof. Get the Roof Inspected  Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to have your roof inspected. If your metal roof hasn’t been looked at by a professional roofing contractor in a while, this should preferably be done before the winter season arrives. They can look for signs of damage, particularly with cracks or holes, which might be worsened with snow and ice. By having the repairs or replacements done now, you avoid more severe damage to the roof and also prevent leaks inside your home. Shovel the Snow When snow starts to build up on top of your metal roof, make sure you are getting it shoveled on a regular basis. This snow puts your roof at risk in a number of ways. First of all, the added weight of the snow and ice can cause too much stress on the roofing materials, which might lead to cracks and other types of damage. The snow might also melt if the roof gets too hot, which causes it to drip down to the gutters, where it may re-freeze and cause ice dams. This can cause even more damage you don’t want to deal with. Keep the Gutters Clean In addition to shoveling snow off the roof, you also want to clean the gutters in order to reduce ice dams. They typically form if the melted snow and ice gets stuck in the gutters due to debris that is clogging them. If the gutters are clear, the melted ice should drip down the gutters and downspouts, thus avoiding ice dams altogether. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to clean the gutters periodically. Have the Roof Sealed Metal roofing materials like panels and shingles can also be sealed, which provides an extra protective layer. This will help to avoid damage from snow and ice, keep it protected from extreme temperatures, and avoid issues like rust and corrosion that metal materials might be prone to. Contact a roofing contractor to discuss sealing the metal roofing materials and finding out how often this needs to be...

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Preventing Asbestos Related Hazards during DIY Asbestos Removal

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Do you have a DIY asbestos removal project in the interior of your home? Before carrying out your DIY activities, you need to be approved by the relevant authorities so that your project isn’t illegal. Following the right procedures, use of the right techniques, equipment and clothing will not only ensure a successful project, but will also keep asbestos related hazards at bay. It is important to contain and avoid disturbing the asbestos-containing material to prevent the release of harmful asbestos particles, fibres, and dust. To ensure safety, here are things you may want to consider. Prep Work Start by letting people know that you have some asbestos-related work going on. You can do this by having some warning signs and talking to your neighbours, friends, family members or any other persons that may be affected by your project. Close your doors and windows, and seal off your working area with plastic sheets or tape to prevent other areas from possible contamination. Cover any vents, central heating, and air conditioning ducts. If there are any children play equipment or any other appliances and equipment in the working areas, have them taken away before you start the removal. If some items, such as furniture, can’t be moved, cover them completely with plastic sheets and bags. Do’s And Don’ts during the Removal Ensure that you wear a standards-approved dust mask or respirator that’s specifically recommended for the task. Masks with two straps are more preferable than those with only one because the extra strap ensures the mask holds firmly in place. For protection of your eyes, use safety goggles. Remember to wear disposable overalls, a hat, and gloves as well. Unless you’re removing screws, don’t use power tools because they can trigger the asbestos fibres. Don’t waterblast and scrub asbestos surfaces with stiff or hard brooms or brushes. Doing this may release asbestos fibres to the environment. Instead, wet the surface gently when removing the asbestos-containing materials. To do this, dampen the asbestos materials with a pump spray. This keeps asbestos debris wet enough to prevent airborne asbestos dust. Cleaning Up Start cleaning up as soon as possible after finishing your work. Double wrap the asbestos material in plastic asbestos waste disposal bags. These bags should be sealed completely with duct tape. When stacking asbestos sheets or panels, make sure that they don’t skid over each other to prevent the release of asbestos fibres. To avoid stirring up dust, dampen the area when sweeping and remember to use only vacuum cleaners approved to clean asbestos. If you have more questions or concerns, contact a professional asbestos removal company like McMahon...

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