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Men more likely to call in handyman services for DIY jobs

Created: 15/02/2016

Thought of yourself as the next DIY hero, or think you know all the tricks of the trade? A study has found that men are no longer able to carry out simple home improvement tasks and are having to pass the job over to the professionals and their local handyman services.

 

Of those who took part in the survey conducted by popular men’s clothing retailer Jacamo, half can wire a plug and only five are able to fix a dripping tap.

 

Three in five men would feel the need to call a plumber in order to correctly unblock a toilet and a third said that they be able to confidently construct and build flat-packed furniture from scratch.

 

Speaking to the Mail Online, Jenni Bamford from Jacamo said: “It's interesting to see how skills from previous generations had fallen by the wayside.

 

“In general we do seem to be less attracted to tasks that involve getting our hands dirty and more reliant on professional garages for anything to do with our cars and tradesmen for smaller jobs around the home.

 

“On the plus side there does seem to be a more even distribution of domestic duties within the home with more men being able to work everyday appliances such as washing machines, hoovers and dish-washers, which is something many of their grandfathers would never have contemplated.”

 

Putting a shelf up in the home was something just 37 per cent of men said they could do properly, whilst 29 per cent owned a fully stocked tool box with at least two power tools to do so.

 

However, for what the participants lacked in DIY skills, they made up for in more domestic tasks, with nine in ten announcing their capabilities in making and cooking a good barbecue.

 

Image Credit: Markus Spiske (flickr.com)

 

 



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Handy tips to keep your home clean whilst decorating

Created: 04/02/2016

For those looking to decorate their homes this year, it is worth investing some time in making your home mess-proof for when you decide to start the work. Even if you haven’t got the materials readily available, there are some cheap alternatives to ease the process and having the help from handyman services can achieve just that.

 

Covering furniture and floors

Using old bed sheets or curtains would be ideal for this as they are big enough to fit over large pieces of furniture, whether it be in the bedroom, living room or kitchen. They can be re-used over time which will save you money on investing in plastic sheets or other materials. Try to cover as much of the room as possible before you start painting, so you can get right down to it and not have to stop painting every couple of minutes to move your sheets around.

 

Masking tape for great results

Make the job of painting your walls a little easier by using masking tape around the edges of doors, floors and panels to avoid any decorating disasters. It will also be useful as a guide when you are painting in a straight line, resulting in a clean, professional finish once dried.

 

Use paint trays

It’s a common practice that many people forget – use a paint tray when leaving paintbrushes. If you don’t, this can result in unwanted paint drops on your new flooring or carpet. Even placing newspaper underneath a paint tray will prevent it from moving and slipping around the floor and will also catch any stray drops of paint that may fall from the brush.

 

Preparation is key

Good decorators spend around 60 to 70 per cent of each job preparing the room before they start painting. This could include getting rid of mould on the walls or window ledges, plastering, or scraping away old paint. Try to avoid making the job more time consuming by making sure you have your walls and floors prepped correctly, making the actual painting job stress-free in the long run.

 

Image Credit: tookapic (pixabay.com)



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5 home improvements that add value

Created: 29/01/2016

Property is often a person’s greatest asset and naturally they want to capitalise on that huge personal investment. Whether you’re planning a massive home improvement overhaul or looking to spruce the place up on a budget, there are a few tricks of the ‘trade’ or ‘handyman’ that you can follow to get the best return.

So aside from the most obvious option of increasing your property’s worth by expanding the size of it, we speak to experts Property Secrets and Landlord Today to discover the top five renovation projects that homeowners and proprietors should be considering to add value.

First impressions

It goes without saying that the first thing that prospective tenants and buyers viewing the property will see is the front of the house. Attention needs to be paid to the exterior, remember this is like the cover of a book and you want the ‘customer’ to judge your property positively.

If you’re looking to let, Landlord Today suggests that “Ensuring that the driveway is pleasing on the eye will help to make tenants house-proud and happy.

“This might simply mean a quick trim of the hedge or the sweeping away of leaves, or it might mean refreshing the front of the house with a paint-job or whitewashing the walls.”

You may find that these tasks are easily manageable yourself, but say you need to replace rotted window frames or spruce up the roof tiles, calling in the experts is the way to go. Professionals will make sure that you work to regulation and it doesn’t come back to haunt you later once the tenants have moved in.

Whether you’re a city dweller or located off the beaten track in the countryside, you’ll find good quality handyman services in London and beyond to help make your property renovations pay for themselves.

How does your garden grow? Immaculately with any luck! How the shrubbery comes off under inspection is equally important, you want to persuade people looking around that this property is a place where their first child will play outdoors or where they’ll have friends over to enjoy a BBQ in the back garden.

Finessing the front garden may not even require that much work but it’s guaranteed to boost the impact of your property. As Property Secrets says: “Another cheap way of renovating to attract buyers or tenants is to ensure the garden looks good and easily maintainable, although in experience house buyers will look after gardens a lot more than tenants will do.”

Decluttering

You know that old adage ‘less is more’, well when it comes to presenting your property at its best there just might be some truth in it.

Managing the mess may not be the biggest factor in selling or renting your place but it’s a simple and cheap way to, again, make the right first impression and enhance your chances of success.

Storage is your friend and you could look at solutions for incorporating this into your house. Having shelving installed, for example, is a cost-effective way of getting the space you need to tidy things away but you needn’t even go that far as Property Secrets explains:

“A simple tidy and de-clutter ahead of potential viewings can be an affordable way of improving your home’s look whilst heavily ornamented rooms filled with large furnishings and accessories can look & feel imposing and unattractive at first glance…Minimalizing furniture and fixtures to almost a blank canvas would allow the potential tenant or buyer to imagine themselves living in the property without the worry on whether they have enough space for their own furnishings.”

 

Fixtures & fittings

Again adding value isn’t always about the big projects, getting all the small DIY jobs done is equally important. The only issue is finding the time to fit in multiple little tasks. From fixing lights to painting the skirting boards, and even checking that all the door handles are firm and ugly dated lampshades are replaced with modern neutral ones, it may be less stressful to get some hired help – especially if you’re working to a strict time frame before people turn up to view the property.

Landlord Today sees sorting all the finer details as a necessary step that will be easier to complete between tenancies and can improve the overall look of your property.

“Ensuring that all fixtures and fittings are in fine working order and sprucing up the garden are things that won’t cost that much, but could make all the difference.”

Walls & floors

The quickest route to freshening up the overall appearance of your property is of course to paint the walls. It’s amazing what a quick lick of paint can do to turn a tired room into one that is welcoming and vibrant. Picking neutral tones will please almost everyone, brightening the place up and allowing potential viewers to start imagining this blank canvas as their own.

Likewise, nothing beats newly laid wooden floors or carpets but when you’re looking to optimise value in your property, pick the rooms that need new flooring the most or, failing that, simply invest in a good quality carpet cleaner and vac away the stains and marks that form over the years.

Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is an ongoing essential throughout the life of a property, whether you’re looking to rent, sell or create a home for many years to come. Keeping up with issues like damp, clogged gutters and frozen pipes are high priority, but seldom managed until a problem arises and they can no longer be ignored. These things are unavoidable to a certain extent, for instance simply keeping the thermostat above freezing point if you’re going away for a few days, or clearing fallen leaves from gutters, will save a lot of household trauma and money in the long-term.

Maintenance is crucial if you’re planning to let your property, as Landlord Today explains: “In the time between tenancies maintenance is even more important – with no-one living in the property, the chances of it falling into disrepair go much higher. As such, landlords should keep an even closer eye on their properties when they’re empty.”

Property Secrets adds: “If selling, it’s important to get any basic issues resolved without bursting the bank but if renting, you must ensure that any ‘future’ problems don’t arise if you’re thinking of doing a quick ‘fix it’ style job in order to get a quick turnaround on tenants.”

So what’s the most important tip to take from this? Well, all of them actually.

Depending on the condition of your property, you should take care of the important criteria first and make sure that all household essentials are working correctly. It’s also wise to keep the property clean, looking fresh and presentable. The main aim is to maximise potential capital without running up a huge renovation bill, and by dedicating time and a little budget for improvement work when need be, you can increase the profitability of your property with minimal financial output.

 

Image Credit: Nicole Beauchamp (flickr.com), Brett Jordan (flickr.com)

 

 



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Britain’s most aspirational interior designs revealed

Created: 21/01/2016

It is every homeowner’s dream to decorate their home to the highest of standards, creating unique interior designs that will leave guests green with envy. Home interior design platform Houzz has now revealed the best of the best after naming the most followed and shared aspirational images on its image board, giving budding interior enthusiasts an overwhelming amount of ideas for 2016.

 

Houzz have honoured the builders and architects behind the images with a Best Of Houzz Award for their jaw-dropping designs. Although top fashion brands such as Versace and Fendi are starting to emerge as the top inspirational interior designers, it seems a more casual vibe is highly desired when it comes to colour scheme and furniture. Here are the designs that have been hailed as the top interiors of 2016:

 

Creative Comfort

 

9.8K shares and ‘follows’.

This Cheshire barn conversion is minimalistic, but still boasts comfort with the furniture and fireplace being the centre piece for relaxation. The design was done by Janey Butler Interiors and has a calming colour scheme of blue, grey and brown.

 

 

 

Wooden Delight 

 

3.8K shares and ‘follows’.

The panelling and colours created by the timber wood are very eye-catching and used to great effect around this contemporary house in the New Forest. The square and rectangular cutting gives it a crisp look against the water of the lake, designed by Nigel Brigden.

 

 

 

 

 

Waste not, Want not

 

2.5K shares and ‘follows’.

This impressive creation in Richmond upon Thames utilises phenomenal unwanted space and imagination and has enabled a contrast between traditional London living and modern luxury. A great way to not only add value to your property, but adding space for family home or a working office. 

 

 

 

Angular Instincts

 

1.2K shares and ‘follows’.

Magnolia cottage has utilised the panelling and beams in their spacious shower room to create an impressive bathroom structure. The contrast between the dark wood and marble is a neutral yet warming approach to bathroom design, something commonly seen in living and kitchen areas. The contemporary space was created by Turner Builders, in the North West. 

 

 

 

Traditional Approach

2K shares and ‘follows’.

This heart-warming design all the way from Scotland accompanies the traditional Scottish tartan theme. The coral and cream colour scheme are perfect against the backdrop of the garden and the lighting is a great contrast to the modern chandelier that you may currently see in inspired interior design images. Designed by Lally Walford Interiors.

 

 

 

If these designs have given you the motivation and inspiration to get cracking on your next home design project, be sure to contact handyman services for a professional and affordable helping hand.

 

Image Credit: Charlotte Holmes (Flickr.com)



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Cheap and effective ways to protect pipes from freezing over

Created: 15/01/2016

Although the UK has been hit by abnormally mild weather this winter, those choosing not to heat their homes to save the pounds following an expensive festive period could be worse off when it comes to frozen pipes and plumbing. Here are a few affordable tips to prevent your pipes from freezing over.

 

Insulate pipes

One cheap and effective way of keeping the water running through the plumbing is to buy foam insulation, a material which is easy get hold of in hardware stores and is easy to place on top of pipes to keep insulated. The areas around the home that are more prone to frozen pipes are external walls, lofts and unheated rooms, so be sure to cover those.

 

Disconnect outside hoses

The water which remains in the hose after use can freeze, which can continue to run back into the spigot until it reaches the pipes inside the home. This can cause pipes to burst, so remember to disconnect all outdoor hoses after use.

 

Open cupboard doors

Probably the simplest trick in the book! Make sure warm air from the house can circulate under the sink by keeping the cupboard door open. This also goes for the rest of the house, so keep all doors slightly open around the house to guarantee warm air to the plumbing all the way through.

 

Turning the stop cock off

The stop cock is a valve for turning off and on the cold water system in your home and is normally situated under the kitchen sink. To prevent pipes from freezing whilst you are away for long periods of time, turn the stop cock off, this will stop the flow of cold water through the plumbing that could otherwise freeze the pipes.  If you have guests looking after your house/flat, make sure they know the location of the valve.

 

Hopefully these cheap and effective ways of preventing frozen pipes will leave you sitting comfortably this winter. But if you find yourself stuck in a rut, be sure to get in touch with professional and reliable handyman services who are able to fix them!

 

Image Credit: greyerbaby (Morguefile)



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New Year’s project handy planning check list

Created: 29/12/2015

The New Year is a great time to start planning for any home improvements or renovation projects you have earmarked for the year ahead.

 

With a fresh year comes the opportunity to update your décor, fix any problems that plagued you through the last year, or simply try something new in your house. Before you jump straight into a new restoration mission, however, it’s important to work out the fine turning. Is it a project you can take on yourself or will you need the help of handyman services in South London, for instance? What’s your budget and will the work require a permit are all-important questions to consider first.

 

1.      Get to grips with your budget before planning anything. It’s important to know how much you can spend initially and make plans accordingly to stick to this allocated funding. After the festive season, money can be tight and pricing up the cost of labour, materials and tools can save you stress later.

 

2.      Likewise, getting reliable help in place before you start is essential. Many of us would rather hire a handyman than do DIY, so you can guarantee that you won’t be the only person looking for some home improvements in the New Year.

 

3.      Seeking out the correct permits where necessary is also a pivotal starting point. If your project includes any work on the electrics, plumbing or structural integrity of your home, it may well require a permit before starting anything. Fortunately, knowledgeable handymen can often help you navigate this stage of planning or at least point you in the direction of a good professional general contractor.

 

Once you’ve got the nitty gritty of your renovation project tied down, you’re free to start reimagining your humble abode and, when complete, enjoy the result for a long time to come.

 

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver (flickr.com)

 



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Winter is the perfect time for home DIY

Created: 23/12/2015

For many of us, the shorter days, rain, wind and grey of winter keep us inside until the spring arrives. Many homeowners typically focus on outdoor home improvement, but this time of the year is the perfect time for tackling some indoor DIY projects.

winter DIY

Whether your budget is big or small, there are a few classic renovation projects that can make a winter stuck in the house a little less claustrophobic. Many you can do with just a few tools and materials, but remember a licenced, experienced handyman in south London is always ready to step in to help.

For homeowners across the UK, winter is an ideal time to focus on interior home projects that need completing. Here are some ideas for a bit of winter home DIY:

Re-doing your Floors

When it is colder, you notice your floors a bit more. Maybe it’s a temperature issue, or the dog and kids are forever tracking mud across the carpets, leaving them dull and dingy. Re-flooring is a DIY project most confident homeowners can complete over a weekend or two. There are plenty of materials to choose from to give you a great new look. There is stone, terracotta, marble, carpet, tile, hardwoods or laminate wood flooring.

For budget conscious people, and thanks to a number of market innovations, wood floors can be installed without professional help. And they are now quite affordable. More importantly, during the winter, the colder air helps with a quicker drying time for any adhesives. New wood tends to offer better insulation as well.

new floors

Bathroom Remodel

It may be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it is also one of the most important. A bathroom remodel is a great winter DIY project and the benefits of the project will be felt immediately. More importantly, installing new environmentally friendly bathroom fixtures may save you a bit of coin as well. Installing a new sink, new faucets, or a water-saving toilet will all have benefits.

There are more accents you can complete in your bathrooms as well. New mirrors, lighting fixtures, or accent pieces can give your bathroom a whole new feel.

bathroom accessories

Painting and Touch Ups

Very easily, the years can gather and take a toll on a room. A great winter pick-me-up is to give a room a quick makeover with a new colour and maybe some new accents. Without spending a fortune, painting a room can cause a dramatic change. Bold wall colours with appealing accents in wood and fabrics will change the look and feel of a room.

Don’t finish with just paint. Complete little changes like installing crown mouldings, a chair rail, refinished bannisters, or new skirting board. Most of these projects are easily completed in a well-planned weekend, and will give your room a fresh, updated look and feel.

new staircase

Kitchen Remodel

Especially after Christmas, there are quite a few deals on for new whitegoods. Do you need a new dishwasher, or a hob upgrade? A kitchen remodel may be the remedy for the winter blues. There are many different levels of kitchen renovation, so plan carefully. New cabinet doors, work surfaces, lighting fixtures and floors – they are all fair game.

For many homeowners, remodelling a kitchen is the perfect job to get in some professional support. You may be able to tile the splashback, but installing new custom-made cupboards may be beyond your skill level. Either way, there are plenty of mini-projects in the kitchen that will keep you cooking and renovating all winter long, and a handyman can help with the bigger jobs.

new kitchen

New Light Fixtures

Lamps are fine, but you can really change the look and feel to some of your rooms and entryways with new light fixtures. The market for new and interesting fixtures has really picked up in recent years. From vintage style lighting to ultra-modern design, most fixtures today will not only be beautiful, but more energy efficient as well.

Also, by adding some new light and warmth to your home, your mood will likely improve. In the winter, your home gets less natural light, so let’s brighten up the entire place with some new lighting.

light fixture

Image Credit: Brad NobleBoa-FrancDamianos ChronakisBrian MoloneySusan Serra, CKDTom Chapman (flickr.com)

 



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Handy tips for guest-proofing your home ahead of Christmas

Created: 17/12/2015

The festive season is a time for connecting with friends you may have lost contact with over the last year or with those new faces in your life. With your house decorated to the nines for Christmas, opening your home to your nearest and dearest is a likely occurrence and whatever challenges this may bring with it, with a little prior planning you can ensure your house withstands the onslaught of winter visitors.

 

Windows

 

Before they’ve even entered your humble abode, you can rest assured that guests, Christmas carollers and just about anyone calling at your front door over the festive period has clocked the smears and smudges on your windows. First impressions count and even if your store cupboard is overrun with figgy pudding and the like, everyone has these simple ingredients that double up as the perfect emergency glass cleaner.

 

Simply mix 100 millilitres of vinegar with a teaspoon of washing up liquid, then add to 4 litres of warm water, and you’ll have your very own DIY window scrubbing solution. Of course, it’s not quite as crafty as the glittery cards your children have been working on but those windows are sure to sparkle in their own right. If you really want to impress this year, call in the professionals. A local handyman service will be able to spruce up those rotten frames or install that double glazing before your wish list has even reached the North Pole.

 

Bathroom

 

It’s the time of the year when your neglected guest bathroom is likely to actually see some action. Avoid calling out the plumber on Boxing Day by planning ahead, after all, prevention is the best cure. Get those drains unblocked and clear well before the first well-wisher arrives. You can find a good quality drain unclogging product at any hardware shop and almost all household aisles in supermarkets will stock a small selection.

 

Stains

 

Adults, much like children, tend to get a little too enthusiastic around the festive period. If one of your guests has enjoyed a little too much merriment and managed to spill their mulled wine all over the carpet in the process, never fear! Have a pre-prepared bottle of homemade stain remover at the ready. Soda water and any foam shaving cream come together to fight all manner of food and drink mishaps so your carpets stay as clear as the white winter you dreamed about, but have yet to receive again this year. If nothing else, this handy tip finally gives you a valid opportunity to say “here’s one I made earlier”.

 

These tips can just about keep your home sweet home in one piece as the guests plough through your front door this Christmas but if you’re planning a little more than basic maintenance, now is the time to plan your New Year’s renovation. As with all important undertakings, a good place to start is by asking the experts. There are numerous handyman services in London that can help with the major remodelling work in January, whilst you concentrate on damage control over Christmas.

 

Image Credit: Chris_J (flickr.com)

 



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Alternative heat systems to help you enjoy winter

Created: 02/12/2015

Especially after the recent snows and freezing temperatures have swept through the UK, the efficiency and effectiveness of your home heating system is critically important. With Christmas just around the corner, the joy of the season often depends on the warmth of your family AND your home.

There are several ways to ensure a warm house – from updating the efficiency of your current system to changing over to alternative or new money-saving home heating technology. To find out what is the best option, as a knowledgeable and experienced handyman in south London and throughout the capital, we can offer you advice for the best options for you and your home.

Regardless of your heating fuel source, the state of your boiler is a key factor in your ability to heat the house. A modern boiler could shave hundreds off your heating bill, but can cost thousands to install so there needs to be a middle ground. As fuel prices – heating oil, natural gas and electricity – fluctuate, you need to be more efficient in when the heat is on. Installing a new, modern thermostat and controls may be a cheaper option and can save some money in the long run.

With high oil, gas and electricity prices always changing, it’s important that we heat our homes in the most efficient way. Using less energy is the best way to cut your bills, but this doesn't mean having to live in a cold, dark home.

Another heating option is the use of alternative energy and heat sources. Many of these systems use modern technology and often are “greener” types of energy. New ways to heat your home are by using wood burning stoves, solar water heating systems, or biomass boilers.

Wood heating

Wood is carbon neutral as it expels as much CO2 as it takes in when growing as trees. In many homes, wood burning stoves are used as secondary or primary heating systems. Unlike fireplaces or traditional hearths, a wood-burning stove uses a self-contained chimney, and can be used to heat water as well.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) estimates that wood logs produce 0.008kg of CO2 per kWh, compared to 0.198kg for gas and 0.517kg for electricity. Stoves are more efficient than many other types of standalone room heaters. According to the SIA, an open fire has the efficiency of around 32%, and a gas fire in the region of 55%. Stoves, on the other hand, have efficiency ratings of between 60% and 80%.

If you have a thermostat in the room where a stove is installed, then your central heating will turn off sooner as the stove heats the room - saving you money overall. Besides, especially at Christmastime, there is something calming and soothing about being kept warm by a roaring, crackling fire. 

wood burning fire

Solar Heating Systems

Solar water heating systems, or 'solar thermal' systems, use the heat from the sun to heat your home’s water supply. These heating systems use solar panels – called collectors that are fitted to your roof. Using heat from the sun, they convert the energy to heat up water stored in a hot water tank. That hot water can then be used for radiator heating or for domestic hygiene use.

There are a number of benefits to solar water heating: it can provide you with hot water for washing and cleaning throughout the year – not just when it is cold out. Additionally, solar energy offers reduced energy bills. Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation, you should see a reduction in your overall heating and energy costs.

Solar energy offers a considerably lower carbon footprint. The energy is green, and is the foundation for a renewable heating system. And because it aids in reducing your carbon dioxide emissions, the government continues to support its use by the public through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

solar roof panels

Biomass Fuel Technology

Biomass systems burn specially made wood pellets and chips – often processed from recycled or reclaimed wood materials. Through specially built stoves, biomass systems provide warmth in a single room or can generate enough energy to power a central heating and hot water boilers.

According to estimates by the Energy Savings Trust, a wood-fuelled biomass boiler may be able to save you up to £880 a year compared to traditional electric heating systems. There are a variety of benefits to biomass heating: they are supported by affordable heating fuel, there may be government support in outfitting your home from the Renewable Heat Incentive, and it is a lower carbon emission fuel. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel.

biomass chips

Although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.

Image Credit: terren in VirginialamcopphisMarufishOregon Department of Forestry (flickr.com)

 



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Time reports ways to save on home repairs

Created: 13/11/2015

If you’re a homeowner, it can often feel like you’re spending endless amounts of money on repairs and replacements, especially for those who aren’t living in a relatively new build. However, news website Time suggests that many of these outgoings can be avoided, or reduced, and shares simple tips in this article to help you save money, some of which are also detailed below.

Off-season repairs

Certain jobs will be more prevalent at different times of year, so one piece of advice would be to think in advance and choose an off-peak time to have your repairs done. For example, gutter clearing is particularly in demand during the autumn and winter months, so why not organise to have this completed in the summer? This way, you may be able to get a reduction in the cost during the slow season.

Buy materials

If you do need to hire a handyman in south London, then a great way to save money is by purchasing the materials separately and asking a professional to simply carry out the work. You can always ask for a list of the materials needed, which most will be happy to provide, and then you will be able to choose particular colours and styles to your tastes too. However, it may be worth asking the contractor about material costs, just in case they are able to get discounts and purchase the products for a cheaper price.

Upkeep maintenance

Rather than letting a small issue become a larger problem, which will no doubt be more costly, get it fixed as soon as possible. You should also carry out routine maintenance and deep clean as often as possible, as this will help systems and appliances in your home last for much longer. For example, change the filter on your furnace in order to keep it in a good condition, especially when it is in more use during the winter.

Image Credit: Tax Credits (flickr.com)



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