Things To Consider When Planning For Home Remodeling

How to Keep Your Home Project on Track

As we shelter at home, some remodeling projects have been temporarily put on hold. But whether your project is still in the planning stages or is further along, there are things you can do now to keep it moving. Design and remodeling pros are open for business and able to work remotely. And while you’re at home, you can make decisions, ready your space and ensure that your project goes smoothly and efficiently when hammers are swinging again.

Make a wish list. If you’ve been thinking about a remodel but you haven’t hired a pro yet, now is a great time to solidify your plans. You’ve probably never spent this much time at home before, and you may be noticing all the things you want to change. Imagine how you’d like your home to function, then make a list of what isn’t working well. Create a wish list of all the improvements you’d like to make, and rank them in order of importance.

Research costs. Use cost guides to get an idea of your project’s budget. cost guides have information for all sizes and scopes of projects and elements, from replacing flooring to adding on to a home.

Adjust your expectations. You may need to make some changes to stay within your budget. Designers and renovators will help you value-engineer your project. Learn how to refine your renovation vision to fit your budget.

Familiarize yourself with scheduling. Find out how long your project may take once construction begins. Read about how to create a realistic design and construction timeline.

How to Prepare for a Bathroom Remodel

Enduring a bathroom remodel can be a challenge, especially in a busy household where parents used to having a master bathroom of their own have to share with the kids. But if you know what to expect and do some planning, organizing, readjusting and scheduling ahead of time, you can ease the process.

Confirm Lead Times

The first step is to make sure the renovation won’t take any longer than it has to. A construction schedule is like a house of cards, especially with all of the specialty subcontractors (plumbers, cabinetmakers, carpenters, tile installers, electricians) who will be be blocking out specific times to work on your project. One late arrival can throw the whole thing off.

Early in the design process, talk with the design pro who’s managing the construction about your schedule and lead times. This is the time between when you order items such as faucets, shower heads, toilets, light fixtures, countertops, hardware, cabinetry and tile and when they will arrive.

Have a Thorough Talk With Your Contractor About the Construction Process

Make your wellness a priority during a remodel. Talk to your contractor about dust control — ask if there will be plastic sheeting and whether the crew cleans up each day. Ask how they’ll protect flooring and carpeting along the route to the room. Figure out where the staging area will be when materials arrive, and prep this area by clearing it out and protecting the floors and any remaining furniture. Discuss child and pet safety.

Inquire about how trash will be taken off site, as you may need to provide room for a dumpster. Figure out where the workers will park. And make sure there will be a portable toilet, where it will be placed (consider the neighbors) and how often it will be serviced. The cost of things like daily cleanup, dumpster fees and a portable toilet should appear in the estimate.

Biggest Remodeling Regrets and How to Avoid Them

You don’t want to spend years dreaming about your home renovation, followed by several months of living through remodeling work — only to feel less than thrilled with the results. The good news is you don’t have to.

Underestimating Costs

Renovators who don’t budget properly soon run out of money. When that happens, they can be left with an unfinished property they are forced to sell. No buyer is willing to pay top dollar for an unfinished product, so the renovator often ends up incurring a loss.

Choosing the Cheapest Contractors

This often happens when renovators are trying to keep costs down, and it can lead to added costs down the track when they wind up having to fix mistakes or redo poor-quality work.

The cheapest bid doesn’t equate to the best job — this is something I can’t emphasize enough. Instead of focusing solely on the affordability of a contractor’s quote, check exactly what that quote covers — this is where the true value, or lack of value, lies.

Choosing Poor Floor Plans

The function of a room and how traffic flows within it are two of the most important aspects as they directly affect your experience of using the space. A well-conceived room layout can also add to the value of your home. Yet many remodelers ignore function and traffic flow when producing a floor plan and instead focus all their attention on color and finish.

How to Keep Your Renovation Budget on Track

In my profession, I’ve seen many people fail in their renovations simply because they ran out of time and money. It’s heartbreaking — and so easy to avoid. Most people don’t realize that the majority of their success relies on their ability to plan well at the start.

Break It Down

Whether you’re renovating for profit or pleasure, it’s very easy to underestimate the costs involved. If your budget blows out, you’re not going to be able to afford those finishing touches that can be so important to the end product.

During the planning phase, break down your budget in detail — this way you’ll be less likely to exceed it during construction. It will also allow you to be realistic about what you can and can’t achieve. And don’t forget about hidden renovation costs, such as demolition and site cleanup.

Plan for the Worst

Doing a phenomenal property inspection is so essential. If I hadn’t carried out thorough inspections in some of my own renovations to discover things such as asbestos and incorrect plumbing, there’s no way I could have made the profit I have.

Don’t Get Demo-Happy

Don’t go into every renovation thinking that everything needs to be ripped out. Too often people are so eager to tear things out that it’s almost as though they’re suffering from demolition fever.

Architects’ Tips to Help You Plan Perfect Storage

When you’re planning a project for your home, it’s a good idea to think about storage right from the start. We asked three architects to give us their top tips for ensuring that a redesign includes plenty of places to store your belongings

Think Ahead

Before you plan any shelves, cupboards or drawers, it’s important to know exactly what you need to store. “The first thing to do is make sure you’re not wasting your time and money creating storage for things you don’t really love or need,”

highlights the importance of speaking to your architect about storage from the outset. “A good team will offer practical solutions to the challenges of construction,” she says. “At the early stages, your architect can plan the overall spatial strategy alongside the storage.”

Tailor It to Fit

Once you’ve identified the items you want to keep, you can start planning the storage for them. “Group like with like and decide in which part of your home it makes sense to store each category,”

Remember the Details

“Think about materials, colors and whether you want the storage to stand out or blend in with the space,” says. “The material should be suited to the space.” For example, bathroom storage is best made from water-resistant materials. She also notes that you can save money with clever planning. “The door materials could be different, with more cost-effective surfaces used for the carcasses,”

The Benefits Of The Electric Hot Water Heaters

Adjusting Your Water Heater Temperature

As the temperatures rise, so too do our electric bills as our air-conditioning units and fans do their best to keep our homes comfortable. For many of us, this makes summer a stressful time as we worry about everything from high electric bills to excessive energy consumption.

One of the easiest things you can do to help your wallet and the planet out this summer is to try adjusting the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater might seem unrelated to keeping you cool, but it’s a big part of your home’s infrastructure and can help you cut down on energy use during this peak energy-consumption season.

What Are the Benefits of Adjusting My Water Heater Temperature?

Your water heater controls the temperature of your water, and thus, can deliver water of varying temperatures depending on which knob you turn in the sink or shower. Your water heater works tirelessly to produce hot water. Even at night when you’re in bed sleeping, it’s still plugging away keeping your water hot for your morning shower. But during the summer, much of this work is unnecessary. Because your water heater is working so hard to give you water at the temperature you want, it’s using up tremendous amounts of energy. Often, this translates into sky-high energy bills for you. You’re spending money on energy your appliance doesn’t need to expend in the first place.

The best way to control this type of energy usage in the summer is to adjust the temperature of your water heater. By regulating your water heater temp, you better equip it to deal with the strain of higher ambient temperatures. Adjusting your hot water heater in the summer can save you money by making this simple, small tweak. Once you do, there are a few benefits you’ll experience.

Save More Money

Your HVAC system is the biggest energy consumer in your home, but your water heater is a close second. Just as your heating and cooling need to work their hardest during the height of winter and summer, your water heater is under the same strain. And while the idea of a mechanical system struggling might sound like an abstract concept, there’s one notable way in which this concept has genuine implications in your day-to-day life — your bills.

Gas  vs  Electric Water Heater

A water heater is an integral part of every home and likely something you do not think about until it stops working. Since the typical lifespan of a water heater is between 8 and 15 years, it is likely that every homeowner will have to replace at least one over the years.

There are two basic fuel types for a standard water heater, gas and electricity. Both have positive and negative attributes to consider. We outline the differences between them below so that you can make an informed decision on which one will be right for your home.


Size impacts hot water heaters in two ways. First, most people are aware of the size in terms of gallons. The more water a tank holds, the larger it will be in general. Both electric and gas heaters come in multiple sizes from 20 to 100 gallons. But electric heaters are also available as point of origin heaters. You install this very small water heater directly at a faucet to provide hot water on demand for things like tea.

Hot Water Availability

There are also a few things to consider about the hot water availability between the two options. The first is the energy supply because not every home has access to a gas line, but nearly every home has electricity. As long as you do not have a power outage, you will always have access to hot water with an electric heater. However, gas heaters can continue to heat your water even with an outage, provided there is no disruption in the gas line.


While gas hot water heaters cost less to run due to the lower cost of natural gas, electric heaters are actually more efficient. This is due to the way that the heaters operate. A gas heater must vent the spent gas, which also takes some of the heat with it. An electric heater uses nearly all the energy it receives converting it into hot water, so you have less waste.


Replacing a gas hot water heater with either a gas or electric one or replacing an electric one with another electric one is typically a straightforward process. When installing an electric heater, it is plumbed and grounded. A gas heater with an existing gas supply is plumbed, the gas supply hooked up, and the vent connected.

Choose the Right Size Water Heater

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to choosing the size of a water heater. If you install a tank that’s too small, you’ll run out of hot water before finishing the shower. And if you get a tank that’s too big, you’re wasting money on heating water they won’t use

Determine the home’s FHR, or first hour rating. That’s the measure of how much hot water the heater will deliver during a busy hour, such as first thing in the morning. The FHR is always on the heater’s yellow EnergyGuide label, but if you want to double-check it yourself, use the following formula and a four-bedroom house as an example

Consider the energy factor, or EF. The higher the EF, the more efficient the tank is. In our example, you’d want to find the highest EF rating available for a tank with an FHR of 60.

Until the creation of the FHR by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, contractors had to use complicated tables and building codes or the minimum standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But now it’s easy to determine exactly the best size to have enough hot water as cost-efficiently as possible.

Installing a Tankless Water Heater

A home’s water heater affects both the comfort level in the shower and bath, as well as the monthly utility bill. If a conventional heater is the wrong size, hot water may run out too soon, while constantly heating and reheating stored water for the home’s needs can be costly.

Solar Water Heating System

Solar water heating system is a device that uses solar energy to heat water for domestic, commercial, and industrial needs. Heating of water is the most common application of solar energy in the world. A typical solar water heating system can save up to 1500 units of electricity every year, for every 100 litres per day of solar water heating capacity.

Parts of the Solar Water Heating System

A solar water heating system consists of a flat plate solar collector, a storage tank kept at a height behind the collector, and connecting pipes.

The collector usually comprises copper tubes welded to copper sheets (both coated with a highly absorbing black coating) with a toughened glass sheet on top and insulating material at the back. The entire assembly is placed in a flat box.

In certain models, evacuated glass tubes are used instead of copper; a separate cover sheet and insulating box are not required in this case.

Working of a solar water heater

The system is generally installed on the roof or open ground, with the collector facing the sun and connected to a continuous water supply.

Water flows through the tubes, absorbs solar heat and becomes hot.

The heated water is stored in a tank for further use.

The water stored in the tank remains hot overnight as the storage tank is insulated and heat losses are small.

Uses of solar water heater

SWHs can be used at homes for producing hot water that can be used for bathing, cleaning, and washing. Solar water heaters (SWHs) of 100-300 litres capacity are suited for domestic application. Larger systems can also be used for a variety of industrial applications. Hot water at 60-80oC could be obtained through use of solar water heaters.

Fuel Savings: A 100 litres capacity SWH can replace an electric geyser for residential use and saves 1500 units of electricity annually.

Saves cost on power generation – The use of 1000 SWHs of 100 litres capacity each can contribute to a peak load saving of 1 MW.

Environmental benefits – A SWH of 100 litres capacity can prevent emission of 1.5 tonnes of carbon-dioxide per year.

Pay back period – SWHs have a life span of 15-20 years. The pay back period is about 3-4 years when electricity is replaced, 4-5 years when furnace oil is replaced and 6-7 years when coal is replaced

Solar water heating has the following advantages :

Solar water heaters save electricity and thus money; electricity is becoming more and more expensive and its availability is becoming unrelaiable;

Solar water heaters are non-polluting.

Solar water heaters are safer than electric geysers as they are located on the roof

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heaters

Tankless or on-demand water heaters heat water only when it’s needed, eliminating the need for a storage tank and the standby losses associated with constantly maintaining a tank full of hot water. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of about 20 years, much longer than any conventional tank-type water heater. They also eliminate the risk of tank leaks and water damage.

How It Works

When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water is drawn through a pipe into the unit and heated either by an electric heating element or a gas burner. The hot water never runs out, but the flow rate may be limited. Tankless water heaters typically deliver hot water at a rate of 2 – 5 gallons per minute. Gas-fired models will generally have higher flow rates than electric models.

Tankless Water Heater Types

There are two basic types of tankless water heaters – small units that are usually installed right at or near the point-of-use and larger ones that are capable of serving an entire house. The smaller models can reduce or eliminate heat losses through piping (in addition to eliminating standby losses from a tank), but multiple units are usually needed to serve an entire house

In addition to eliminating losses through long runs of piping, they can save the time and water that’s wasted waiting for the water to get hot. Larger “whole house” tankless water heaters can provide hot water for multiple points-of-use in the home. While these units eliminate the heat losses from a storage tank, there will still be some losses through the hot water piping unless it is insulated.

Advantages to on-demand water heating include:

Tankless water heaters are compact in size, taking up less space than conventional tank type water heaters.

They can virtually eliminate standby losses – energy wasted when hot water cools down in long pipe runs or while it’s sitting in the storage tank.

By providing hot water immediately where it’s used, tankless water heaters waste less water. You don’t need to let the water run as you wait for hot water to reach a remote faucet.

A tankless water heater can provide unlimited hot water as long as it is operating within its capacity.

Expected life of tankless water heaters is 20 years, compared to 10 to 15 years for tank type water heaters.

Disadvantages include:

Tankless water heaters usually can’t supply enough hot water for simultaneous uses such as showers and laundry.

Unless the system is equipped with a modulating temperature control, it may not heat water to a constant temperature at different flow rates. That means that water temperatures can fluctuate uncomfortably – particularly if the water pressure varies in different parts of the house.

Electric tankless water heaters require a relatively high electric power draw because water must be heated quickly to the desired temperature. In some cases the home’s electric service may need to be upgraded.

Tankless gas water heaters must be vented to the outdoors, either with a direct vent or conventional exhaust flue.

If a gas-powered unit has a pilot light, it can waste energy (with a conventional water heater, the pilot heats the water in the tank so it isn’t really wasted).

Your Wireless Security Camera Operator

Best Gifts For Filmmakers

Have you ever had trouble buying a gift for someone, thinking to yourself, “What can I get them? They have it all!” That seems to be more than true with filmmakers. The list below covers many different budgets and aspects of filmmaker tools. We’ve pulled together lighting, editing tools, and production equipment, and items for those who do it all.

Canon XA11 Compact Professional Camcorder

A great entry-level camcorder that is packed with features and is the perfect gift for the person who is doing lots of event videos and currently using a DSLR or mirrorless camera. The Canon XA11 has many advantages for the event videographer, 5-axis image stabilization, having an integrated smooth zoom rocker, no 30 minute clip limit, and most importantly the ability to record and control high quality audio.

Cinema Devices Ergorig Lightweight Body Mounted Harness System

For the camera operator who is carrying a lot of weight, as well as responsibility, on their shoulders, distributing the weight of a large camera across their body to their hips is a gift for those long shooting days. The Ergorig is a well-padded solution to save operators from fatigue and strain. This is sure to be a hit with those who rig up their large film or video cameras with the full bells and whistles.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

The newest offering from Blackmagic, released just this October is a beast of a cinema camera. I want this camera. This camera ticks so many boxes: 6K resolution, 12-bit RAW recording, small form factor, and an astoundingly low price as well. This is the camera that every budding filmmaker is drooling over right now and it will likely remain the number one pick for some time.

DanaDolly Universal Rental Kit

I have used the DanaDolly kit on several occasions and found it always got the job done. This dolly system is super easy to operate, adaptable to different setups, using straight or curved track, and is built like a tank. The flight case is also the cherry on top that makes this a sure winner. The filmmaker who gets this as a gift is sure to give you a bear hug after getting this!

How ‘Observers’ and ‘REMI’ Define the Breakout Era of Live Esports Production

As esports rises in prominence as a live-sports property, the most common question from broadcasters — especially those accustomed to a traditional sports environment — is what are the differences between broadcasting a virtual sports event and a physical one?

Sure, an esports event feels more like a rock concert than, say, a baseball game, but the differences actually aren’t all that many. As was evident at SVG’s recent Esports Production Summit, it all comes down to a common foundation that any broadcaster or content creator can agree on: storytelling.

which produces major global esports competitions like the ESL One series, which spotlights games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. “[Esports is] becoming more and more casual entertainment, so replay features and different angles help break up the game and [make it] more explanatory and educational. [That] becomes more and more important.”

The Observer Function

Besides some core technological tenants of broadcast —camera angles, replay, graphics — a high-end esports show features a significant position known as “observer.” The role of the observer is basically to drive the views of the action from inside the game itself, choosing the shots that will ultimately tell the story of the action within the game, a camera operator inside the videogame. In the early days of esports, it was a task reserved for the on-air talent on a show, but, as productions grew larger and more complex, the role carved out its own valued place in the crew list.

The role of the observer has further evolved as a newer genre of esports has gained favor with both players and viewers: the battle royale game. Games like the super-popular Fortnite fall into this category, and what makes them challenging to broadcast is that many solo characters are competing across a vast map: ultimately, countless scrums occur in different places simultaneously.

Film/​Television Camera Operator


Pay for film/television camera operators varies depending on experience and the type of production they are working on.

What you will do

Film/television camera operators may do some or all of the following:

carry and set up cameras and equipment such as lighting rigs and kits

work with and follow the instructions of the director

operate cameras to film or record the action

keep the camera in focus.

Directors of photography may do some or all of the following:

study scripts and interpret how scenes should look

select suitable cameras and equipment

decide on the location of cameras and lights

direct camera and lighting crew during filming

work with the director and editor during editing.

Skills and knowledge

Film/television camera operators need to have:

technical skills for operating film and video cameras

up-to-date knowledge of filming methods and equipment

knowledge of camera exposure, focus, colour and lighting

understanding of the filming and editing process.

Essential photography gadgets and add-ons

The best camera accessories don’t have to cost a fortune. Sure, a new camera or a new lens might make a big dent in your bank balance, but tripods, filters, memory cards and camera bags are everyday essentials that are just as important.

The fact is there’s an incredible world of photographic gear to explore, and if you’re just getting started in photography (and even if you’re an old hand), you may not be aware of everything that’s out there.

For example, what camera accessories do you have that help you control your lighting? Do you use any camera filters for creative effects? Does your tripod offer rock-solid support and have a head that allows you to execute smooth panning movements?

The best camera accessories

Every photographer needs a tripod. Not for every shot maybe, but for night shots, time-lapses, long-exposure seascapes, macro shots and more, a tripod will give you pin-sharp shots and a stability you can’t get from handheld exposures. Here are some of our favorites.

Every photographer needs a tripod, and this Manfrotto is one of the best all rounders in this price bracket. The four-section Manfrotto 190XPro4 ball head kit (MK190XPro4-BHQ2) is a full-sized tripod that reaches a lofty operating height of 175cm, yet shrinks to a fairly modest folded height of 57cm.

How Do I Become a Camera Op or Jib Op

“How do I become a professional Camera Operator or Jib Operator?” That’s a question nearly every film student and independent videographer asks. For the sake of brevity, this discussion will focus on becoming a freelance Camera Operator for multi-camera broadcasts (EFP) at live events such as sports and concerts.

Become an Assistant First – We recommend first that you gain hands-on experience in the industry as an assistant, and then work your way towards running camera or jib. This process SHOULD take a few years, even if you already have a degree in film or broadcasting. Working as an assistant is a valuable step that will establish your reputation and strengthen your understanding of how the industry works.

Gain Experience – A great way to gain experience and build your resume is by volunteering at a large church that has a multi-camera setup, or by contacting a local production company (like us) and ask to work on a shoot as a Camera Utility, Production Assistant, or Jib Assist. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and use it to build a reputation as a hard worker who shows up early and stays focused from load-in to load-out.

Connect with the Right Companies – If you already have a solid resume and respectable references, the next step would be to contact your local IATSE, IBEW, or NABET office and ask a Crew Coordinator to add you to their call list as a Utility, Camera Operator, or whatever position you have experience in. There are also large production companies with regional offices that you could contact (NEP, Yes Productions, and Mobile TV Group are some examples). After sending them your info, it might be several months before you get a call back; but if you’re persistent without being annoying, you’ll eventually get called. In the meantime, you could also contact your local sports arena and apply for a part-time position on their in-house production crew for minor-league games or music events.

Work Hard, Learn, Be Patient – When you finally do get your first couple of calls for broadcast gigs, don’t turn the opportunities down. Show up to the gigs early, and be prepared to sweat and get dirty if needed. If you don’t know something, don’t try to fake it… ask. The humble, hard workers are the ones who get called to work again. Keep in mind, it’s common when you’re starting out as a freelancer to only work 1 day every month or two… you’ll be at the bottom of the call list, and you’ll have to work your way up. Eventually you’ll begin to build professional relationships based on your work ethic and reputation, and that’s what will carry you forward in your career.

Starting Your Family Law Attorney Court Action Pro

Family Lawyers

Some of the most emotional and complex matters that you can face involve your family relationships. These can evolve over time as spouses find that they have grown apart, or the needs of children change. Often, spouses or parents can reach an agreement on these issues outside court, or perhaps through a non-adversarial process such as mediation. If they cannot find common ground, however, the courts may need to get involved. Whether you are seeking to assert your rights or explore your options, it is important to understand the laws that govern these situations.


To file for a divorce, a spouse usually needs to meet the residency requirements in the state and county where they live. They also need to establish the grounds for the divorce. Many states offer a no-fault divorce, which means that the grounds can be as simple as irreconcilable differences. This means that the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired. If you live in a state that does not permit a no-fault divorce, you will need to prove the fault of your spouse for the divorce. Some common fault grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, and cruelty. Even if you choose a no-fault divorce, some states will allow a family court judge to consider the fault of a spouse in matters related to the divorce, such as property division.

A divorce can be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses agree on all of the major issues of the divorce. They can submit their agreement to the judge, and it will become the final judgment in their divorce case if the judge approves it, which is likely. If the spouses disagree on one or more major issues, the divorce will be contested. This may require litigating those issues in court. Contested divorces tend to be much more protracted and more expensive than uncontested divorces, but sometimes they are unavoidable. Read more here about the divorce process.

Child Custody

If a couple has minor children, child custody is usually an important issue in their divorce. Custody traditionally has consisted of two components: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves the amount of time that the child lives with each parent, while legal custody involves the authority of each parent to make major decisions affecting the child’s upbringing. These might include the medical care that the child receives, their choice of school and extracurricular activities, and which religion (if any) they practice. Judges usually prefer to award joint custody so that each parent continues to play a role in a child’s life, but sole custody may be appropriate in some situations, such as when a parent has engaged in domestic violence or substance abuse.

The central concern in a child custody matter is the best interests of the child. A judge has substantial discretion to weigh a broad range of factors. Sometimes a child’s needs will change over time, or the situation of a parent may change. For example, they may need to relocate if they change jobs or are assigned to a different region. A parent can go back to court to seek a modification of a child custody order based on a substantial change in circumstances. The judge again would focus on the best interests of the child in making the modification. Read more here about child custody

Family Law

Child Support

The general rule is that each parent has an obligation to support a child. This obligation usually extends until the child becomes an adult, but it can extend further in some cases if the child has special needs or has not graduated from high school. Usually, the parent who spends less time living with the child will pay child support to the parent who spends more time with the child. Most states have child support guidelines that provide formulas for typical situations, but a judge usually has the authority to deviate from these guidelines in unusual circumstances.

Similar to child custody, child support can be modified if a parent can show that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. For example, support might be increased if a child develops a medical condition that requires expensive treatment. Or it might be decreased if the parent making payments loses their job. (However, income will be imputed to each parent in accordance with their earning capacity, so voluntary unemployment is not a way to avoid paying support.) Read more here about child support.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

While spousal support is less common than it used to be, it still may be ordered in certain situations after a divorce. Spousal support often is appropriate if the spouses have dramatically different income potential, and the marriage was relatively long, such that the lower-earning spouse became reliant on the higher-earning spouse and accustomed to a higher standard of living. These payments are not meant to be punitive but simply to provide the lower-earning spouse with the support that they need. Alimony is generally not permanent unless the lower-earning spouse is elderly or disabled, such that they will never be able to support themselves.

Spousal support can be terminated when the recipient spouse remarries or cohabits with a partner, as defined under state law. It also can be terminated in many states if the recipient spouse becomes self-supporting or if the recipient spouse fails to make good-faith efforts to become self-supporting. The spouse making payments may be able to petition to reduce or terminate alimony if their financial situation declines to the point that they can no longer pay. Read more here about spousal support.

Property Division

The first step in property division consists of determining which assets are marital property and which assets are separate property. Only marital property is subject to division upon a divorce. It consists of most assets that were acquired during the marriage, except for gifts and inheritances that one spouse received. Determining the character of an asset can be complicated if marital property was commingled with separate property, or if the value of separate property increased during the marriage. If the couple ran a business or accumulated intangible assets, such as intellectual property, appraisers and accountants may be needed to estimate their value. Sometimes a pre-marital or post-marital agreement will control property division, as long as the agreement is valid.

Divorce Lawyers


There are many ways to bring a non-biological child into your life and build a lasting relationship with them. Adoption involves assuming the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent toward a child. It may involve terminating the existing rights of the biological parent, or the biological parent may already have consented to terminate their rights. Adoptions often arise in the context of stepparents adopting stepchildren. Some states offer a streamlined process for this type of adoption. Foster parents also sometimes choose to adopt foster children with whom they have developed a bond.

If you are not adopting a stepchild or a foster child, you will want to decide whether to pursue an independent adoption or an agency adoption. Some people even adopt children from other parts of the world, although this tends to be more expensive and complicated. If you want to adopt a child with certain traits or characteristics, you may face a long wait to adopt. Adoptive parents who are more flexible may be able to adopt a child sooner. Read more here about the adoption process

It is a reality of modern life that not every marriage lasts forever. The divorce rate has been steadily rising throughout the United States for decades. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should learn something about the process in advance.

You may file for divorce only in a state where you are a resident. Almost all states require a certain period of residency before a person can file for divorce there. This period can extend for six months or a year. If you know that your spouse is planning to file for divorce in another state, you may want to file first in the state where you live to avoid the expense of traveling for divorce proceedings.

Changes to related agreements involving alimony, child custody, or child support must be made in the state where the divorce was granted. All states will recognize a divorce properly granted in any other state, but is not required to do so if the original state did not have jurisdiction over the couple.

Family Court proceedings: where can I get advice and support?

Do I need a lawyer (solicitor or barrister)?

Legal advice and assistance from a qualified lawyer is usually helpful and recommended however you are not required to obtain legal advice.  You can make the application and attend court yourself without legal representation.  People who are involved in court proceedings without lawyers are known as litigants in person

What is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

A solicitor is usually the first point of contact if you have a legal problem. Sometimes solicitors refer work to a barrister for specialist advice or to appear in court to represent you. It is also possible for solicitors to represent you in court.

How can I find a solicitor or barrister?

See Useful contacts at the end of this guide for details of organisations which can help you find a solicitor or barrister.

How much do lawyers cost?

You may be able to obtain legal aid to cover their legal costs and lawyers’ fees.  To find out further information see A guide to family law legal aid. If you have to pay for your legal costs then you will need to make enquiries directly with the lawyer as their charges vary.  Most lawyers charge an hourly rate for the time they spend on the case.

What if I am not eligible for legal aid and I cannot afford to pay a lawyer?

If you cannot access legal aid and you cannot afford solicitor fees you may be able to obtain some free advice from:

Our family law advice lines. We provide telephone advice for women on all aspects of family law.

There may be other advice lines that can provide advice on your specific issues. Some of these are listed in the Useful contacts section at the end of this guide.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on a range of issues.

Your local Law Centre. There are Law Centres across England and Wales providing advice, casework and representation.

The Bar Pro Bono Unit. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity which helps to find free legal assistance from volunteer barristers once your case is in court. You will need to be referred to them by another organisation.

Does Your Child Need a Lawyer?

In some divorce and custody cases, the court will appoint a lawyer for the child. This happens when

the court thinks your child needs a lawyer, or

you ask for a lawyer for your child and the court agrees

Should I ask for a lawyer for my child?

If you and the other parent agree on custody and visitation, your child probably does not need a lawyer. But you may want to ask for a lawyer for your child if

you and the other parent disagree about custody or visitation;

you are worried about your child’s safety (if there is substance abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence); or

there is a question about paternity.

What if I ask the court to give my child a lawyer but the court does not agree?

You have the right to ask for a lawyer for your child, but the court does not have to appoint one. If this happens in your case, you may want to request a referral to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) for other services. You can ask someone in the Court Service Center (located in most courthouses) how to request a referral to CCSD. Note: CSSD may also be called Family Relations or Family Services.

How could Family Services help us?

Family Services has many different services that might be helpful to you. Family Relations Counselors are available when you go to court to help you and your child’s other parent make agreements. They can also provide evaluation services. An evaluation consists of meeting with parents, consulting with people who are involved with the family, and sometimes meeting with the child. The counselor will gather information and make a recommendation to the court. In most cases, the counselor will hold a settlement conference and give recommendations with the goal of reaching an agreement prior to trial.

What if I do not agree with Family Services’ recommendations?

You do not have to accept Family Services’ recommendations. You have a right to present your case in court and let the judge decide. There is no guarantee that the judge will agree with you, and you must obey the judge’s decision even if you don’t agree with it.

The Internet’s Broad Home Renovation Resources

DIY home renovation hacks

Making changes to your home doesn’t have to be a big costly project because sometimes the most noticeable difference comes from the smaller changes. By going at your own pace with some help along the way you can take your time, manage your finances better and really enjoy the DIY home renovation experience.

Top DIY home renovation tips

Be realistic – your budget will probably blow out because let’s face it, no renovation goes according to plan. It saves a lot of stress if you account for a financial buffer from the start.

Check with your council to ask if any special permission is required for your renovations. This will save you a lot of heartaches later.

Do your research – there are plenty of home improvement articles and videos but you just need to check a couple of different sources before you get stuck in.

Consider giving your house a fresh coat of paint; it will make a huge difference in ambience and it’s also a good time to rearrange the furniture as it will all need to move away from the walls too.

Got old carpet? Rip it up. It’s all about polished floorboards with a beautiful rug or polished concrete these days.


Measure up the bathroom size and then everything in it. Sit down and draw up a floor plan of your current bathroom and use that figure out how to create more room. If you have a small bathroom, you have to be a little more creative with the space, such as how you use the right shelving to make it look larger.

Living room

Need more storage in your living room? DIY! Turn a big old wooden box into your coffee table, or simply add sides and a door to your existing coffee table. That way, you can store things in an easy to access place that is out of sight (e.g. Christmas decorations, linen, extra glassware, etc). This will also encourage you to keep your coffee table cleaner as you need to be able to access what’s underneath.


If you don’t have enough room for bedside tables, you can attach shelving above your headboard – just make sure nothing will easily fall on you while you sleep.

Things to Consider Before a Major Home Renovation

Before starting on renovations, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with the process. When you want to renovate economically, you need to decide the total expenditure limit. Clarify anything that you can and cannot afford in the remodel. The remodeling contractor you hire should be able to provide options that would fit into your budget.

Your Vision

Homeowners need to have a complete idea of what they want their home to look like after all the renovations. While it’s not wrong to change your mind in the middle of the project, entering the process with the clearest possible image in mind can ease the decision-making process along the way.

The Timeline

Many homeowners have gone through expecting their projects to finish at a specific time-frame, only to be disappointed after passing a few deadlines. Renovations can take longer than expected, so you need to prepare and have a plan in place.

Costs of Renovation

Before starting on renovations, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with the process. When you want to renovate economically, you need to decide the total expenditure limit. Clarify anything that you can and cannot afford in the remodel. The remodeling contractor you hire should be able to provide options that would fit into your budget.

Finding the Right Contractor

You will need to carefully select any remodeling contractors that will work for you. We have all heard stories or witnessed the horror show that resulted from entrusting the wrong contractor to do the job. There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding who to hire to prevent a bad renovation project in the first place. Some other factors to consider in addition to the contractors cost should also include the scope of their capabilities and the number of tasks they can handle.

Home Renovation Survival Guide – things to expect DURING your renovation

The plans are approved, the contract is signed and work on your home renovation is about to begin. But you’re nervously waiting for the demolition to start and the dust to start flying – literally! Here are things to expect during the renovation that can allay your fears and prepare you for what lies ahead.

Expect a noisy mess!

There is going to be dust everywhere and incessant noise. The sound of nail guns, power saws, compressors and the constant chatter of workers are all part of the daily ritual. If you normally work from home, try to find somewhere else for your own peace of mind.

Consider moving out! (No, really! Or at least take a vacation during the crunch period.)

Renovating is a dirty, dusty business, and living in a construction zone with drywall dust on your pillow can be stressful… especially when you can’t even launder your dusty pillowcase because the water is turned off! Consider moving to the in-laws, the grandparents, an extended stay hotel with kitchen or even rent a home on Airbnb or VRBO. But if you are bound and determined to live in your home while it’s being overhauled, please read on

If you’re staying put, find alternate spaces to perform daily routines.

If you’re doing a kitchen makeover, you likely won’t be able to use your fridge, stove, sink or dishwasher. So you will need to find another space in your home to do all the regular kitchen chores. Maybe that means moving your microwave to the garage or washing your dishes in the bathtub – whatever works for you! But you’ll need to designate zones for cooking and cleaning up or else things may get ugly. On the plus side, you can plan on dining out a lot more!

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Your first decision is the most important one – whom to hire? – and that’s covered in our second chapter. But once the reno begins, there’ll be dozens of seemingly trivial questions that need to be answered quickly. On any reno, ‘the devil is in the detail’, so be ready to answer: Where to locate the dimmers, potlights and power outlets? Which style of faucet? And of course, which of these 14 beige paint chips do you prefer for the powder room? So be decisive. Or delegate smaller decisions to your architect. Every time a decision is delayed there is a knock-on effect that may delay downstream activities that have already been scheduled.

things you must know before you avail a home renovation loan

Are you planning to revamp your home but don’t know how to meet the renovation expenses? That’s exactly where a home renovation loan can help you. Please be advised that the home renovation could be an expensive affair because of the increasing cost of labour and material. Hence, a home renovation loan can prove to be extremely helpful for you to remodel, update, renovate or make repairs to your home with ease, at affordable rates.

Deciding the Loan Amount:

You need to calculate the loan amount you require. Reach out to vendors and take an estimate of the cost for the renovation. Make a list of the things you require for the home renovation. Do you need to get your home whitewashed? Are you looking to get the furniture changed or repaired? Take the help of an expert to make the right estimate

Eligibility Criteria

Once you have decided the loan amount, the primary factor to consider before applying for a home renovation loan is the eligibility criteria. Though some basic criteria include age, income and residence, every lender will have different parameters. Therefore, it would be wise to interact with lending organisations and get a thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements. It is necessary to do your research to find lenders whose eligibility criteria you meet. Next, it would also be advisable to use an online personal loan eligibility calculator to understand the loan amount you may be eligible for.

Explore Different Loan Rates

While traditionally home loans had fixed and floating rate of interest, many lenders today offer only the floating rate of interest. As the name signifies, a fixed loan is one whose rate of interest remains constant for the loan tenure. On the other hand, the floating loans are subject to changes as per policies of the regulatory authorities and the lender

Get all the Documents Ready

Once you select a home loan for renovation scheme, keep all the relevant details ready such as identity proof, permanent address, sources of income, Income Tax returns, salary slips, etc. It’s always advisable to select a lender that provides a hassle-free documentation process. For example, go through the list of documents required for Fullerton India personal loan if you are applying for a loan with FICC.

top tips for home buyers taking on a renovation property

Buying a property that’s in need of some work is one way to leap a couple of rungs on the property ladder. It’s the best way that buyers can move to their preferred postcode without breaking the bank on a new home.

Ultimately, it’s a great way to get more accommodation for your money if you’re on a tight budget. Although the prospect of a renovation project can seem quite exciting, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Be wary of building regulations and planning permission

If you’ve got big plans for your fixer-upper and you want to extend or make any external changes to the property, you’re going to need planning permission. If your property project doesn’t get the green light from the council, you can wave goodbye to your Grand Design dreams before you’ve even started.

Commission a full building survey

Once you’ve found your ideal fixer-upper, you’re going to need to know of any problem areas the property might have. A full building survey will dig up any damage that might not be initially visible.

Consider how much stress you can handle

The word renovation means a lot of different things to different people. Some want to make a few simple cosmetic updates to bring the property back into 2018. Others are up for getting their hands dirty and knocking down walls to create their dream open-plan layout.

Tax Planning For Portability

What is the difference between tax planning and tax avoidance?

Tax planning vs tax avoidanceAn assessee can reduce his/her tax liability, by legitimate means, in two ways – tax planning and tax avoidance. The tax planning is described as the arrangement of financial activities in a way that the assessee can avail maximum tax benefit by making best possible use of all the legal benefits, i..e deductions, exemptions etc.

On the other hand, the tax avoidance is a technique of refraining from tax liability, through just and fair means, but intends to defeat the fundamental motive of the legislature. The dividing line amidst the two concepts is thin and blur.

The difference between tax planning and tax avoidance primarily depends on the difference in benefits that are availed to minimise tax burden. So, take a look at this article which might help you understand the two terms in detail.

Definition of Tax Planning

By the term ‘tax planing’ we mean the arrangement of one’s financial affairs in such a way that utmost tax benefits can be availed. This can be done by applying the majority of advantageous provisions which are permissible by law and entitles the assessee to obtain the benefit of the deductions, exemptions, credits, concessions, rebates and reliefs so that the incidence of tax on the assessee would be minimum.

Tax planning is an art of logically planning one’s financial affairs, in such a manner that benefit of all eligible provisions of the taxation law can be availed effectively so as to reduce or defer tax liability. As tax planning follows an honest approach, by conforming to those provisions which fall within the framework of the taxation law.

Definition of Tax Avoidance

Tax avoidance implies any arrangement of financial activities, though done within the legal framework, overpowers the basic intention of the law. It involves taking benefit of the shortcomings in the statute, by deliberately parking the financial affairs in a way that it neither violates the tax law nor it attracts more tax.

Tax avoidance includes cases, wherein the assessee seemingly mislead the law, without making an offence. And to do so, the tax payer uses any scheme or arrangement, which reduces, defers and even completely prevents the payment of tax. This may also be done by shifting of tax liability to another person, so as to minimise the incidence of tax.

Methods of Tax Avoidance

Tax Avoidance is a way of avoiding tax payment in a manipulative manner. A taxpayer can avoid tax payment by indulging into different activities such as:

  • Hiding facts
  • Creation sham transactions without reflecting the true purpose
  • Make fictitious contracts or transactions
  • Mold actions without falsification of the accounts

Steps of Tax Planning

  • Early Planning: Most of the taxpayers start their paperwork when the due date of filing the tax return is close. Thus, taxpayers are encouraged to plan their tax savings early to have a better estimate of the investments and benefits that can be claimed by them.
  • Tax Liability: It is the step of the actual calculation of taxability based on income and after claiming all the rebates and deductions. Preparing an estimate of tax liability beforehand can also help in structuring the investment and savings part.
  • Risk level: This step involves estimating the optimal level of investment risk as per the current financial situation of the taxpayer. Following factors have to be considered for risk profile:
  • The risk associated with the amount of expected return
  • Level of risk that the taxpayer is ready to undertake
  • Level of risk that is acceptable by the taxpayer

Key Differences Between Tax Planning and Tax Avoidance

The difference between tax planning and tax avoidance can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  • Tax planning refers to a mechanism through which one can intelligently plan his/her financial affairs in such a manner that all the eligible deductions, exemptions and allowances, as per law, can be enjoyed. Tax avoidance is an act of intentionally structuring one’s financial affairs, in such a way that his tax liability is minimum or even nil.
  • While tax planning is both legal and moral, tax avoidance is legally correct, but it is an immoral act.
  • Tax planning is basically savings of tax. Conversely, tax avoidance is hedging of tax.
  • Tax avoidance is accomplished with a malafide motive. On the flip side, tax planning has the element of bonafide motive.
  • Tax planning aims at reducing tax liability, by practising the script and moral of law. As against this, tax avoidance aims at minimising tax liability, by practising the script of law only.
  • Tax planning is permissible by law, as it involves adhering to the provisions of tax. In contrast, tax avoidance is not permissible by law as it attempts to take advantage of the defects in the law.
  • Tax planning uses the advantages, provided by the law to the assessee. Unlike tax avoidance, which uses the loop holes of the law.
  • The benefits of tax planning can be seen in the long run. On the contrary, the benefits of tax avoidance are for short term only.

Tax evasion is deemed as tax fraud

Tax evasion is any illegal method or unlawful attempt to reduce tax liability of taxpayers. It is highly attached to techniques or illicit practices which results in showing fewer profits to minimize the individual or company’s tax burden.

Examples of tax evasion usually are the followings:

  • Making false statements and information
  • Inflating deductions without legal proof
  • Hiding related documents to prove the actually earned business profits like records of transactions or report of cash income
  • Concealing or transferring assets illegally
  • Magnifying tax credit
  • Claiming excessive expenditure

Tax evasion can be deemed as a form of tax fraud which indicates illegitimate and deliberate actions for not paying tax. Due to the fact that employing such unfair means is fraudulent, any taxpayers regardless of individual or business committing tax evasion behaviors would be prosecuted for offence and must be subject to stringent punishments of a heavy fine or imprisonment.

Moving Pod Versus Local Moving Truck Rental

What things not to pack when moving: List of non-allowables

Take a look at your moving checklist and try to find the one task that will you keep you rather busy from the very first day of the preparation period all the way until the day of your actual home move.

Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t have any troubles identifying the most time-consuming job in your moving timeline because, without a doubt, it’ll be the job of packing for a move. The good news here is that thanks to the large number and great variety of high-quality packing tips that we offer, you should able to handle the packing task like a pro packer.

And now, let’s turn your attention to something important that you may or may not know: there are certain items professional movers won’t take due to their hazardous or perishable nature. As a result, there’s a good amount of things not to pack when moving – the so-called non-allowable items, or simply non-allowables.

Why there are items movers won’t move

The short answer to why there are items that moving companies do not transport is SAFETY. Moving day safety is critical, especially when all types of household items are being relocated hundreds or even thousands of miles across the entire country.

The major reasons why movers won’t move some items are:

Hazardous items (see below) may damage the rest of the loaded household items for transport. Some dangerous goods may even damage the moving truck itself;

Dangerous items may pose serious risks to all the people involved in the house move, including to you and your family members;

Perishables (mostly various types of foods) will go bad during transport and may make a huge mess;

Pets and plants won’t normally survive a long distance move across the country.

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

There’s nothing that can raise blood pressure and stress levels quite like moving. And while you might not be able to remove all the anxiety, you can certainly dramatically reduce it by planning ahead.

For the most part, you probably know when you need to move as it correlates with your lease. This means you can start planning at least six weeks in advance of the actual move-date if not sooner. With that said, your timeline might be shortened due to extenuating circumstances (hey, we’ve all been there).

Six Weeks Before

Go through your apartment and start purging your belongings. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate even after a year of living in location. Go through every room and start getting rid of items you don’t need

Make a moving binder of everything from your estimates to an inventory of the items you’re moving. It might seem tedious, but it’s much easier to refer back to something when everything is in one place

Create a floor plan of your new apartment. If the broker or landlord don’t provide you with layout, then bring your measuring tape and create one yourself. Make sure to also measure your doorway, elevator or stairway to make sure all of your furniture will fit. Armed with measurements, you can plan out exactly what furniture to bring and how you’ll arrange the place, saving you quite a lot of time when it comes to unpacking

Research movers. Yes, you can go the budget way and move yourself, but why deal with the stress of traffic and parking when you can hire a professional? There are a variety of movers available so do your research and find one that matches your budget and requirements. Some movers will only offer the bare minimum while others provide a more extensive service where they’ll even put together your furniture

Set aside money for the move. You don’t want to be surprised by any sudden costs so plan out your budget thoroughly. Factor in costs like boxes, supplies (tape, scissors, etc), moving insurance, moving company, travel cost for you and so on

Pick your move-in date. Chances are you’re moving in on the 1st of the month, but there might be some cases where you have some flexibility with your move-in date. If that’s the case, try to move on a Friday as you can then spend the weekend unpacking

Take time off work. Don’t surprise your work with sudden time off. Let them know in advance that you’re planning on taking a day or two off work to move.

Book your movers. The further in advance you can do this the better, especially if you’re moving during peak season from May through September

When you call them make sure to do the following:

Any additional services you’d like such as assembling furniture, sending packing supplies, extra stops, etc.

Carefully read the contract

Purchase moving insurance to cover your belongings

Get written confirmation of moving date and costs and store this email/document in a cloud storage system like Dropbox or Google Drive

If you have kids, you’ll want to talk to their school to let them know of their transfer so they can send over the new school their transcripts

things I wish I’d known before I moved amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Moving during a pandemic? It can be done. Carefully, thoughtfully and exhaustingly. The coronavirus crisis has gripped the USA since March and shows no signs of abating. And although much of normal life has changed or ceased, there are things that have to go on, like moving.

Maybe your lease is up. Maybe you need to combine your household with others in your family for financial reasons. Maybe you were already in the process of changing homes and you can’t put it off.

Whatever the reason, many of you, like me and my husband, will have to brave this huge life change under difficult circumstances. It was not easy to maintain precautions against COVID-19 while packing, working with movers and combining households.

Buy more packing materials than you need. A lot more.

I try to minimize single-use plastic and other disposable products for the sake of the environment, but I should have thought more about the risks of last-minute trips to the hardware store during the pandemic.

Check out the pandemic procedures at local donation sites

Moving usually means sorting through your belongings and shedding items you no longer use. But dropping off a bag of clothes at Goodwill isn’t as simple as it was before.

Why Movers?

worked hard over the years to become the moving company of choice, meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations every day with the highest quality customer service and care.

Unmatched service

From basic moves to the white-glove treatment, do it all. With packing services and quality packing supplies, trained experts use the utmost care in packing and unpacking your valuable items to ensure everything is well protected. If you’re moving fragile or vintage pieces of furniture, leave it to know how to protect your belongings from damage. professional movers roll out the red carpet and go the extra mile to make sure all your belongings arrive at your new home in the exact condition as when they left.

State-of-the-art training

One of the biggest reasons why Movers are preferred moving company is that each of employees are professionally trained and they go through an intensive training program unlike any other. call it an on-site training facility where moving staff receives intensive instruction and practice in the careful handling of customer’s belongings. Every employee is thoroughly trained before ever participating in a move, and all employees are required to revisit the training facility for continued instruction throughout the year. have one the lowest claims percentages in the country because make sure professional movers do the job right the first time.


Simply put, no job is too big or too small, and Movers applies the same standard of excellence to every move make. Whether you’re switching apartments or moving your offices to a new building, have the time and resources to handle it. Whether you’re moving across town, making a long distance move or relocating overseas, professional movers will get your belongings there, on time and intact.


At Movers, believe in doing an excellent job for a fair price, and don’t believe in surprising customers with hidden charges or fees. We’ll come on-site for a free estimate of what your moving services might cost.

Local and Long Distance Moving Company

Local Movers – Furniture movers – Licensed & Insured moving company

moving services include the disassembly/reassembly and protection of the furniture. (Mattresses and box springs will be plastic-wrapped at no additional charge if doing a residential move).

do NOT have any cancellation or rescheduling fees (and moving quote includes truck fee)

Residential and Commercial moving services

hope you were looking for an appliance, electronics, and furniture movers with excellent reviews. Commercial or residential movers that can actually move everything. From piano moving to antiques and everything in between

can move grandfather clocks, file cabinets, pinball machines, ping-pong tables, refrigerators, washers, dryers, china cabinets, marble tables, exercise equipment, and even heavy safes.

Yes, we are gun safe movers that always show up with the right equipment, the required experience, and the correct amount of movers. So, helping you move a treadmill, a heavy dresser or a sofa will never be a problem.  (Even if furniture hoisting service is required)

The Pros And Cons Of Hardwood Flooring For Your Home

Preparing for Hardwood Floor Installation

First order of business was to remove all of the furniture, and then cut the carpet into four sections of 36-in. strips. This made it easy to roll the carpet into manageable strips and carry to the trash bin.

Once the carpet was removed we removed all of the carpet tack strips, swept the floor thoroughly and then installed 2-in. deck screws into the subfloor and floor joists approximately every 24 in. to help eliminate to possibility of flooring squeaks.

Flooring Moisture Content

Hardwood flooring needs to acclimate in the rooms where it is going to be installed for several days to allow it to adjust to temperature and humidity. Otherwise, if installed without acclimating, gaps and/or buckling may occur. Many contractors suggest leaving the wood on the jobsite for two weeks to acclimate well in hopes of preventing any issues.

The truth is that some wood flooring may already be at the proper moisture content when delivered. Allowing it to sit in extremely heavy humidity will only cause the wood planks to absorb unwanted moisture.

It’s best to know what the moisture content of your wood planks are at the time of delivery and what the expected moisture content will be in the room when it will be installed. I always ask the manufacturer what the flooring moisture content is and then double check with my moisture meter.

Lay Out the Room

Hardwood flooring should be installed on a solid, structurally sound subfloor. Whenever possible, determine the direction of your floor joists and plan on installing your plank flooring perpendicular to the joists.

Install 15-lb. Kraft paper underlayment on the entire floor, overlapping the roll edges by 3 inches. The Kraft paper acts as a vapor barrier. A utility knife is used to cut around objects like door jambs, radiators or other permanent objects. A few well placed staples hold the Kraft paper in place.

On this installation we were installing the hardwood flooring against the existing room trim so no shoe molding was to be used.

Select a few straight, long boards to start the first row. Using a table saw, rip the grooves off at a 15-degree angle to get the first starter row of planks to fit tight to the wall’s baseboard trim.

Tool setup is Critical

A proper tool setup is critical for installation. Locate your compressor and saw stand in a place where you can conveniently access the tools as well as the work you’re performing.

We took the time to measure from the opposite wall to determine if the room was square. You guessed it—it wasn’t.

Using a tape measure and snapping a layout chalk line a few feet out from the wall we were able to determine if the room was square or not. This is important information when determining how to rip the starter courses.

Your layout chalk line should be exactly parallel to the wall so you can make sure your floor boards are in alignment as you work your way across the floor installing them. From this mark, measure to the opposite wall to check for equal distance at both ends. If it isn’t parallel, the flooring won’t be either, so it may be necessary to slightly adjust your guideline.

It turned out that the starter course needed to be ripped a total of 1/2-in. over the course of 12 feet. Doing this step at the beginning of installation saved us time and aggravation later at the opposite wall, trying to get the last board to fit. We continually check our progress as we cross the room.

All about Nailing or Stapling your flooring down

If your installing 3/4″ thick solid wood flooring you will need to either rent or purchase a larger flooring nailer that is either a manual nailer that you swing and strike the top of the gun with a steel mallet several times to drive the cleat nail.

Or, you can rent or purchase a air assisted pneumatic nail gun and compressor where you strike the top of the nailing gun with a rubber mallet once which activates the air which drives the cleat or staple into the wood. The pneumatic nailer either the cleat nail style or staple style makes the job of nailing the flooring down easier.

Both types of nailers have a guide along the bottom front edge of the gun that keeps it aligned so that they will drive the nail or staple in the proper position along the inside top of the tongue of the boards. Both types of nailers can have an interchangeable base plate for thinner flooring.

When using 1/2″ or thinner solid wood flooring or thinner engineered flooring you will need to rent or purchase an easy pull trigger stapler that is also run by a small compressor to drive staples into the top inside edge of the tongue of the flooring. These type of nailing guns have an adjustable base plate to accommodate different board thicknesses. (Naturally click lock or direct down installations are not nailed.)

When starting the installation the first 2-4 rows of flooring you will not be able to fit in and use either of the nailers noted above. You will have to either pre-drill the boards and hand nail or you can use an air assisted finish nailer that uses a small compressor to drive nails either down through the top of the boards and/or if held at the proper angle blind nail on the inside edge of the tongues of the floor boards this is also true when installing your last rows of flooring against the finishing walls. The installation goes a lot faster using an air assisted finish nailer which uses the same small compressor as the above flooring nailers.

Proper nailing is essential to avoid any problems later. We suggest face nailing every 8 inches along the back side of the starting row and then blind nail every 6-8 inches along the tongue of every board thereafter staying 4 inches in from each end of the board to prevent the splitting of the wood boards.

Tips to Avoid the Pitfalls

Examine your subfloor

If your subfloor is in poor condition, putting down hardwoods won’t help. You need to have a relatively level subfloor, and any changes in height should be less than 3/16″ over a 6′ span. There are a couple different ways to level out a subfloor.

Acclimate the wood

Increased moisture causes wood to expand while less moisture causes wood to contract. This is called wood movement. It’s important for hardwoods to acclimate in the space where they will be installed. Wood that is not fully acclimated will result in gaps during the winter and possibly cupping during the summer. To avoid this, open and spread out the boxes for about a week, and be sure to run the A/C or heat at normal levels. Never store the hardwoods in a moisture rich environment like an unfinished basement.

First Row Must be Straight

It’s very important for the first row of hardwoods to be installed straight as every row after will be laid relative to it. A crooked first row will result in large curves as you progress through the space. Exterior walls are often not square so consider marking a line parallel to an inside wall, opposite of your starting position. Mark the locations of your joists and install the hardwoods perpendicular. Make sure you drive a fastener into a joist at each opportunity. Consider what obstacles, like a fireplace hearth, are present how different starting points will make the job easier.

Top nail and glue the boards

You’ll encounter scenarios where the flooring nailer will not fit, like when laying the last board. Invariably, you’ll need to top nail or face nail these boards. Grab your wood glue and add a bead to the groove of the previous board. Use scrap wood and a pry bar to securely wedge these boards in place. Be sure to hold the finish nailer with adequate force to prevent it from jumping around and marring the surface of the board.

Maintenance Instructions & Helpful Tips

  • Vacuum your floor every week. Fine grit and dust is just like sandpaper and will slowly wear through your wood floor’s finish. So a good vacuuming protects the finish as well as keeps up its appearance.
  • Wipe up spills immediately. Make sure you wipe up spills immediately with a slightly dampened towel.
  • Watch the hairspray and the furniture polish. Both of them can cloud your floor’s finish. Wipe them up immediately with a damp cloth. For a more thorough cleanup, you can spray the area with non-ammonia window cleaner and immediately wipe it up.
  • Keep out the rain. Water can not only ruin the finish on a hardwood floor but can penetrate deep into the wood and stain it. Immediately wipe up any water spill on your hardwood floor.
  • Remove residue with no-wax wood floor cleaner. Wipe up spills and dirt immediately; then use the cleaner to remove the residue. Dirt can damage the finish or get ground in. Liquids can damage the finish or stain the floor.

Down the Road:

Routine maintenance is key to preserving wood floors, so put these three tasks on your to-do list in the future:

Get your floors deep cleaned and add a fresh coat of finish every three to five years. Make sure you know what type of finish your floors already have (oil, wax, urethane) because you’ll need to reapply that same kind.

Whatever you do, resist sliding furniture. Enlist a friend and pick things up to move them.

Every few decades, sand and refinish wood floors to make them look new again. Typically, solid, wood floors can be re-sanded five to ten times during the expected lifespan. The beauty of wood flooring is its ability to become like new with a fresh finishing coat and a deep cleaning. If you’re not sure if it’s time for a fresh finish, check with an expert first.

How To Drywall Repairs And Clean Up Water Damage In Your Home

How to Fix Drywall Patch Marks Showing Through Paint

Drywall is a common material for interior walls and ceilings in buildings and homes. While you can dress the material with a variety of textures and finishes, it is susceptible to dings, dents and scratches and even peeling tape covering the joints. Just painting over an improperly-patched blemish does not cover the problem, as the patch is often still fairly obvious. A better choice is to fix the blemish so that it blends with wall texture surrounding the area to be patched.

Scrape away any loose or raised particles, such as loose seam tape, from the patched area using a putty knife. Tap the area lightly with a flat-faced hammer to create a slight indention and loosen any remaining particles.

Apply a thin coat of drywall compound to the area using a drywall knife. When the area to be patched is a seam, apply a fresh piece of drywall tape over the compound on the seam, and then apply another thin layer of compound over the tape. Allow the compound to dry thoroughly.

Lightly sand the patched area using a drywall sanding pad to lower any slightly raised areas. Then, wipe any dust from the patch and apply a second thin layer of drywall compound, working outward a few inches from the perimeter of the first layer. Allow this layer to dry thoroughly, then repeat, working out a few inches in successive layers until you have completely feathered the patch and cannot see or feel any blemish.

Wipe down the wall and apply a coat of primer to the patched area and about a foot into the painted wall using a medium nap roller. Once the primer has dried thoroughly, apply two coats of finished paint from the same paint can used to paint the wall originally.

Drywall tape – loose, bubbles or wrinkled

Many homes experience loose or wrinkled dry wall tape at some point. Generally it is nothing to be alarmed about and just needs to be touched up or re-taped in a few places.

Drywall tape is normally embedded in drywall compound, usually called “drywall mud” by the tradesmen doing this type of work.

Most common causes

1. Probably the most common cause is that there was insufficient drywall compound applied to the taped joint or improper application. i.e. the tape did not get properly embedded into the mud on a hot summer day.

2. Moisture or dampness may also cause the tape to come loose. If the drywall had a high moisture content when the tape was applied or a high humidity condition came about, then there may be loose tape. Even too much water in a primer coat of paint that has been sprayed on to the drywall in the painting process may contribute to drywall tape coming loose.

3. Bubbles, technically called blisters, (usually caused by insufficient drywall compound being applied in the taping process) and wrinkles, may occur because of improper techniques in applying the drywall compound to the tape; perhaps an inexperienced drywall taper.

4. Occasionally movement of the wood from moisture content changes, truss uplift, seasonal movement of the slab or foundation, settlement or expansive soil issues may affect the taping.

How to Fix a Bad Drywall Tape Job

Joints between pieces of drywall are masked by a combination of drywall compound and tape. Over time, changes in moisture, settling of the home or quite simply, a bad tape job can cause the tape to peel away from the joint, leaving a blemish on the wall. Though the problem is just cosmetic, you do need to make some real repairs that, after painting, will be nearly impossible to discern from the rest of the wall.

  • Remove any furnishings or other objects from the floor surrounding the area, and pull down any pictures or wall hangings nearby. Cover the floor beneath the damaged area with a drop cloth.
  • Lightly sand the area with the damaged drywall tape using a drywall sanding screen. Then make a 1/8-inch deep cut around the perimeter of the bad tape with a utility knife. Peel away the damaged tape and drywall compound with a putty knife. Gently scrape the area to be repaired to lift up and remove any additional loose bodies.
  • Apply a light coat of pre-mixed drywall compound to the area to be repaired, adding enough compound to work beyond the edges of the tape by a couple of inches in each direction. Cut a new piece of tape, and place it in position over the seam and drywall compound. Allow this compound to dry fully before proceeding.
  • Cover the tape and previous compound with another thin layer of compound, adding about 2 inches of width in every direction. Gently slide a 10-inch drywall knife across the entire joint to scrape away any excess joint compound. Allow this layer to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
  • Lightly scrape off any high points, then add a third layer of compound feathering another two inches in each direction. Allow this layer to dry thoroughly, then inspect the joint to see if you feel that a fourth or fifth layer should be added. If so, continue to add and feather new layers until the joint is smooth and even.
  • Go over the area with a sanding block of very fine sandpaper — 220-grit or higher — to give the area a final smoothing. Wipe the joint with your hand, and sand any high points until it is completely smooth. If any low points are evident, add another layer of joint compound and repeat.

Alternatives to Drywall Tape

Using paper drywall tape to cover the joints where two panels of drywall meet is standard in drywall finishing. But there are many alternatives out there, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Some types of tape work best only for very specific applications, so check the product packaging to make sure an alternative tape will work for your construction project before testing it.

Mesh Tape

Fiberglass mesh tape offers a few advantages. First, it is easy to use. Just tear a piece off the roll and lay it on a layer of wet joint compound. Wipe it flat with your drywall tool. Then let it dry.

The second advantage of fiberglass mesh tape is it conforms well to oddly-shaped surfaces. For example, if you want to reinforce a round edge, lay a piece of fiberglass mesh tape on it and smooth it flat. Paper drywall tape, on the other hand, wrinkles easily.

The chief disadvantage of fiberglass mesh tape is that joints covered in only mesh tape tend to crack over time. While mesh tape certainly reinforces the strength of the joint compound, it doesn’t provide as cohesive a bond with the joint compound as paper drywall tape does.

Vinyl-Paper Composite Tape

A newcomer on the scene, vinyl-paper composite tape has changed how difficult angles are finished. Years ago, drywall finishers would have to use a chalk line to establish a straight line across tough angles and crooked corners. But now drywall finishers simply cut a length of stiff, cardboard-like vinyl-paper composite tape and embed it in wet joint compound. The vinyl-paper composite tape forms a perfectly straight line, leaving even the toughest angles clean and sharp.

Vinyl-paper composite tape has two main disadvantages. First, it is very expensive. A single roll of the tape can cost $20 to $30. In contrast, paper drywall tape costs only $2 to $4, depending on brand. Second, vinyl-paper composite tapes tend to dislodge over time. Due to the tape’s stiffness, seasonal shifts in temperature and moisture levels cause vinyl-paper composite tapes to crack and separate from the joint compound they are embedded in.

Metal Tape

Metal tape is the best product for covering wide-angle outside joints. It consists of two strips of metal glued to a paper drywall tape. Although new vinyl-paper composite products are emerging in the drywall-supply market that claim to cover wide-angle joints just as well as metal tape, many professionals still use metal tape. It is relatively inexpensive compared to newer products, and easier to install. Just cover the outside angle with joint compound, place a length of metal tape over it, and pinch the metal tape into place. Apply a few heavy coats of joint compound, and the wide angle is finished.


Mesh drywall tape has a tacky backing, allowing it to be self-stuck to the wall. Paper tape needs to be embedded in a layer of joint compound. This means that mesh tape is easier for the average person to install on a flat length of wall.

Most paper tape also comes with a factory crease in the center. This allows the installer to fold the tape in half, forming a right angle that makes it extremely easy to cover inside or outside corners. It is possible to fold mesh tape, but it’s easy to get off center if done by hand. If you want to use mesh tape on corners, use a specialty mesh tape corner applicator, and hit it with setting compound immediately. Of course, metal-reinforced paper tape makes for even easier installation and a very resilient corner!

Racoon, A Problem And Pest

Raccoon Control

uses environmentally friendly Raccoon Control products as well as humane Raccoon Control methods to keep you and your children safe while performing the Raccoon Control job. Our knowledgeable pest technician will answer any questions you may have and explain to you every detail you need or want to know about the job. We are always friendly and we are here to help.

Females are looking for nesting places from Mid-March to late May. They love dark, quiet corners in attics, basements and crawl spaces found in houses, sheds, and barns

A mother will do anything possible to protect her newborn kits including producing a loud sharp screech followed by bites and scratches to any human or other animal such as a cat or dog who get too close near her nest.

This animal looks like:

Raccoons reside and have distinctive black facial masks and black striped tails. Adults have a whitish grey coat that sometimes turns yellow when shedding. They have short round ears and black eyes. They can grow up to three feet long and some weigh as much as thirty pounds. Raccoons are very good at climbing trees because their its long, sharp claws.

this pest is hunted for food and for sport. They have been known to carry roundworm, which is transmitted to humans through ingestion and inhalation of eggs passed in their feces. They can also sometimes carry rabies. While preyed upon by foxes, bobcats, coyotes and owls, the common raccoon is more frequently killed by cars and disease. It can often be rabid without showing any outward symptoms of the viral disease

Fast, Effective & Affordable Raccoon Removal

Raccoons are one of the most destructive types of pests that can invade your home. They have sharp teeth and claws and can get into just about anywhere. At best they might make a mess of your garbage as they scavenge for food, but at worst they can easily rip through the roof of your home and set up a nest in your attic.

Having raccoons can be big trouble. Aside from causing damage, they can also carry disease such as rabies, raccoon roundworm, and salmonella. They defecate and urinate pretty much anywhere, making the spread of disease that much more likely, especially if you have children. Raccoons will generally avoid confrontation with humans but can attack and injure family pets. But they can even attack humans if they are cornered!

trained technicians will trap any animals that are inside your home and safely remove them. We try to be as humane as possible – even though these pests can cause a lot of damage we still don’t want to hurt them.

Raccoons can be a pest, there’s no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean that we want to hurt them, they’re just trying to survive! We believe in humane raccoon removal of the mother and the pups. We’ll carefully remove raccoons from your home and safely transport them far away so that they won’t come back. We’ll introduce them to a natural habitat with plenty of dense forestry and a good supply of water so they’ll be able to quickly re-establish themselves without any harm or stress.



This nocturnal animal is a frequent guest at many homes and buildings. You’ll find them searching through garbage cans or dumpsters looking for food. But of greater concern is that this animal may literally tear into an attic and nest there leaving droppings and making quite a bit of noise. In other instances, they may climb down into a chimney and nest near the damper.

This large animal, known for its distinctive “masked” face and beautiful fur, may grow to between 24″ and 48″ in length and weigh between 12 lbs. and 25 lbs..  A litter of raccoons may contain between three and six young.


Raccoon have opposable thumbs giving them greater dexterity compared to other pest animals and making them more formidable to deal with.  Control is dependent on the situation. Exclusion is very practical in many cases. For chimneys, chimney caps are available to prevent raccoons from entering there. Garbage cans with secured lids will discourage continued attacks on those items. Also, pruning back of trees from the structure may remove access to an attic and allow for repairs. 

Apply the DeTour Repellent on the openings and entry points where the small animals enter the buildings/attics. Another great idea is to place some plates with peanuts at a few different spots in the attic then apply the DeTour on the edge of the plate. The rodent / small animal will be attracted to the peanuts and while trying to eat them they come in contact with the Detour. This will get them to run out of the structure.

Note that many state and local governments regulate trapping of wild/nuisance animals – you may want to check with local authorities first.

Raccoon Removal Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Remove Raccoons?

Raccoons are nocturnal mammals easily identified by the black “mask” on their faces, small, stocky bodies, and striped tails. Raccoons are frequently found in areas such as chimneys and attics, particularly when a female is ready to give birth; they prefer the enclosed, warm, dry spaces that most homes can provide. Depending on food sources and access, you may also find raccoons in your porch or outbuildings. Removing raccoons should be done by a professional because these pests can spread disease and make an enormous mess in your home.

The average cost to remove raccoons ranges between $375-$625, with the average homeowner spending around $550 on traps, relocation, and basic cleaning of the area.

Raccoon Removal Cost by Method

Raccoon pest control strategies vary on a case by case basis. A pest technician must first assess your property to determine the location of the raccoon and how many of the wildlife are present. The total raccoon removal cost is usually inclusive of the inspection and the recommended treatments. If you do require any follow-up visits, that will cost an additional $150 or more. Usually, only a follow-up appointment is needed if you notice signs that the raccoon has returned, such as lawn damage or attic damage. The following are the three most common techniques used for raccoon removal.

Raccoon Traps

Raccoon traps are non-lethal devices that are strategically placed around your home or yard. Once the raccoon pest control specialist has determined where the raccoons are nesting, a baited trap is set. Once the raccoon enters the trap, a mechanism locks the door behind the creature to keep it safely inside until the pest technician returns. Fresh vegetables or meats are typical baits for raccoon traps. The average cost of trapping a raccoon is around $75 to $125 per trap.

Raccoon Relocation

Raccoon relocation is considered the humane way to remove raccoons from your property. After capturing the animal, technicians must return to your property and properly relocate the raccoon to an approved spot. They must be relocated at least ten miles away to keep them from returning to your yard. Raccoon relocation costs start at $100 to $175.

Nuisance Animal Control & Exclusion Service

As a result of urban growth, encounters with wildlife have become all too common for the average homeowner. But while it may be fun to see animals in their natural setting, having a skunk under your porch or a raccoon in your attic is not something anybody wants. If you come across wildlife residing in or around your home

Common Nuisance Animals

When the weather takes a turn for the colder, wild animals lose their natural food sources. It’s at this time that they tend to seek out warmth and shelter. Unfortunately for homeowners, sometimes the shelters they find are inside the walls or attics of their houses.

there are many nuisance animals that are known to invade homes, including:






While they very rarely inhabit homes, groundhogs, voles and moles are also considered nuisance wildlife, because they can dig up your yard and garden. Common nuisance birds include woodpeckers, sparrows and starlings.

The Threats Wildlife Pose

Like other pests, nuisance animals can wreak havoc on your home’s structure. Oftentimes, they’re carriers of diseases like rabies, tularemia, typhus and ringworm, and in some cases, even zoonotic viruses such as Ebola and Nipah. In addition to posing health concerns, these pests can chew through wires and wood, tear away insulation, and do a number on other housing materials