Two Kitchen Upgrades Every Aspiring Barista Should Have

Having a coffee machine for the first time can be both exciting and challenging. Considering the time spent making rounds of coffee from the machine that had once intimidated you, you will come to realize that there are just things that the machine cannot do. Hence, an upgrade.  

Decorating your bedroom is okay, but upgrading your kitchen is also a must. Purchasing new pieces of equipment can be overwhelming, but as an aspiring barista, with all the serious competition around every corner, this is something where you should invest time and money. The fruit of your investment relies heavily on your ability to get the basics right. To get you started here are the 2 kitchen must-have upgrades: 

1. Coffee Grinders 

There is no better way to wake up than with a freshly ground cup of Joe and a quiet coffee grinder. The beauty of having a coffee grinder is that it gives you control over the grinding of fresh beans. With great precision, it’ll produce much of the coffee’s flavor with the preferred consistency, for a better tasting coffee.

There are three types of coffee grinders you can invest in: 

  • Manual Grinder

    Sometimes called hand grinder, is often small and requires no electricity. If you are into giving personalized touches on your coffee, this grinder is a perfect companion for manual espresso machines. It is quiet and can be counted to function anytime and anywhere. 

  • Electric Burr Grinder

    Burrs are the two oscillating and serrated plates responsible for pulverizing coffee beans. It crushes and grinds the beans instead of cutting them, which results to more consistent and uniformly sized grinds. This grinder can be pricey due to the different features and settings added to it. 

  • Electric Blade Grinder

    It is the most common among the three, which is also known as coffee mills, whirly grinders, or propeller grinders. It chops up coffee beans like a blender at a very high speed as opposed to crushing them. This tends to be the loudest and cheapest. 

2. Espresso Machine 

The large fraction of your customers will likely order an espresso or a combination with steamed milk most of the time, so you will need to acquire a high-quality espresso machine. Finding one may cost you a fortune and a half, so it is essential to know what qualities to look for before buying one. Few things to look into if you are looking for an upgrade:     

  • Budget

    Set a maximum and minimum amount that you are willing to spend on a new espresso machine. 

  • Degree of Control

    This will depend on the level of involvement you would want to have with your coffee. Some machines can make you a coffee in just 3 minutes, while some takes more time in tampering, measuring and pressing. You can choose from capsules, super automatic machine, semi-automatic and manual. 

  • Attributes

    Soon as you have narrowed down your list from the first two criteria above, you can then focus on the looks, features, and durability in your shortlist. 

  • Vendor

    Once you’ve successfully reduced your options to a couple of espresso machines, check for the availability to determine a potential vendor. 

Finding the right industrial espresso machine can be a bit challenging, but that doesn’t have to be the same when choosing its accessories. Having these are not required, but it won’t hurt to make the most of what you have already invested. 

These are the five cherries on top of your machine: 

1. Scale

 Precision is vital in finding the right ratio between coffee and water. And it needs to be done in repetition; a scale will be needed to do the job. 

2. Tamper

 The crucial part in making a perfect shot espresso is the tampering of ground beans. Find one that feels right in your hand, or you can even find a customized one. 

3. Tamping Mats

It keeps the counter and portafilter tidy from excess grounds. It is removable for an easy and quick rinse. 

4. Knock Box.

 It is where the spent espresso grounds are stored. It also protects the portafilter when it is tapped to release the puck. 

5. Frothing Pitcher 

This is an espresso machine accessory for manual milk frothing responsible for the hearts, rosettes, and tulips on your lattes and cappuccinos.  

Conclusion

The longer you get exposed to these new items, the more you will discover other great accessories that will help your coffee shop kick up another notch or two.  

It can be invigorating that you might see yourself browsing the internet for yet again another set to add, just don’t forget to include the coffee equipment cleaners and maintenance supplies that have to go along with them. Ensuring that your machine is adequately cleaned and well-cared for is still part of the process of creating an optimal flavor of your coffee for the years to come.  

Top 4 Heavy Equipment To Use For Your Next Home Renovation Project

Heavy equipment isn’t just for building roads and destroying large corporate establishments. Projects of any size can take advantage of earth movers and other large construction equipment for home renovations projects. Using these pieces of equipment can help speed up the process of several tasks at hand.  

Numerous heavy construction equipment is ideal for multiple operations. Here are the top four heavy equipment to use for your upcoming home renovation project

1. Excavators 

Excavators, also known as backhoes, bobcats, or diggers, use hydraulics or a wire-rope pulley system to excavate holes or trenches. This heavy equipment is famous for its long boom arm and cab connected to a pivot system. The industrial design of the digger has an elbow connected to a stick holding the bucket.

Use the “bucket” to create holes and transfer mounds of dust, dirt, and soil to different locations. You can even replace this component with a separate attachment depending on the needs of the job site. As for the cab, several excavators offer 360-degree rotation for this module. 

The most common implementations of excavators include: 

  • Brush cutting with hydraulic attachments 
  • Demolition 
  • Digging foundations, holes, and trenches 
  • Heavy lifting 
  • Material handling 
  • Mining 
  • Pipe installation 
  • River dredging 
  • Rough grading 

This heavy construction equipment can either be on tracks or wheels. Damaged tracks or wheels can lead to injuries and on-site damages. There are retailers offering replacement rubber tracks for certain excavators. It is essential that your excavator works in top-condition to avoid accidents and complications at the job site.

2. Skid Steer Loaders 

A skid-steer loader is a versatile piece of heavy equipment meant for several applications. It can use different attachments and perform an array of tasks like excavation, material grading, demolition, and debris removal. This piece of construction equipment can also do lifting and overhead work. 

Skid-steer loaders are compact, making them an ideal choice for numerous home renovation projects. Consider the three size categories when choosing a skid-steer loader

  • Small frame

    Under 50 horsepower and about 1,750 pounds 

  • Medium frame

    About 50 to 70 horsepower and approximately 1,750 to 2,200 pounds 

  • Large frame 

    Over 70 horsepower and more than 2,200 pounds 

Other factors to include in your decision-making as you look for a skid-steer loader include: 

  • The space of the job site 
  • The type of load 
  • Distance traveled for hauled loads for dumping or moving 
  • Work required for the skid-steer loader 
  • The surface where the equipment will do most of its tasks 

Small-framed skid-steer loaders are ideal for most projects regarding home renovation. Use it to drive through narrow passageways and maneuver around tight spaces. It’s also a great piece of heavy equipment for adding structures to your property because of its relatively lightweight construction and low profile. 

3. Motor Graders 

Motor graders or road graders are self-propelled machines. These pieces of construction equipment have an adjustable blade positioned between their front and rear axles.  You can use the blade for cutting, leveling, and spreading material over a surface. 

These pieces of heavy construction equipment are also ideal for creating drainage ditches or sloped surfaces. There are two classifications of motor graders: 

  • Rigid Frame Motor Grader

    It has one axle that’s unable to turn left or right to an extent. This road grader has a hinge between the front and rear axle. 

  • Articulated Frame Motor Grader

     It has a hinge between the front and rear axle. This grader is ideal for use for small turns in tight spaces. 

Use a motor grader for home improvement tasks during winter. It’s a suitable machine for renovation projects of varying scales when snow rate is above normal conditions. Road graders have similar functions to bulldozers. Take advantage of a grader for projects requiring detail and precision. Use bulldozers for rough grading on surfaces requiring exceptional ground holding abilities.

4. Power Generator

Specific home renovation projects require you to cut the flow of electricity for a period. Individual pieces of equipment may still need a significant amount of power for the apparatus to operate. A massive power generator in the job site helps ease this concern by giving a sufficient amount of alternative energy to the other pieces of equipment.

There are two typical applications for power generators for construction and home renovation projects: 

  • Delivering power to lights 

Certain renovation projects require continuous work as these tasks may have a short deadline. Working at night may be a requirement. A generator on the set will give you more than enough electricity to provide power to nearby lighting fixtures. 

  • Producing power for high-voltage equipment 

Most wall sockets found in homes can only offer a maximum of 220 volts of electricity. Power generators can efficiently deliver 440 volts to other equipment that may require high-voltage requirements. 

5. Submersible Pump

The use of submersible pumps is for niche approaches. It’s an ideal piece of heavy equipment if the property has awkward placements of mud, sewerage, sludge, or slurries. You can fix drainage problems that may take place during a home renovation project with the help of this construction equipment.  

Electric submersible pumps (ESP) help prevent the formation of cavities in liquid. Hence, removing mud and excess water from a job site is comfortable with an ESP. Each stage of an ESP contains an enclosed motor sealed by mechanical components to prevent leakage. Water and other liquids flow out smoothly with minimal risk of forming bubbles or cavities. 

Conclusion

A 2018 Statista report saw 28% of its proponents with completed yard landscaping projects. Specific home improvement tasks may require more than a pair of hands to complete. Use heavy equipment when deemed necessary to finish home renovation projects faster and with more efficiency. 

Tips for Great Landscaping When Doing a Renovation

Landscape renovations do not only improve how your lawn looks. Done right, it also enhances your quality of life. Landscaping projects may be overwhelming, but it’s proven to have a great return on investment––whether you’re just doing it for yourself or you’re planning to sell your home eventually. 

Improved Landscaping Increases Your Home’s Value 

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that statement doesn’t apply when you’re talking about houses. There’s just a lot that can be inferred about people by looking at their yards. 

If you plan to sell your house, oftentimes realtors will advise you to do paint jobs and landscape renovations to make your house look more appealing. However, if you don’t have the time and extra funds to go through these efforts, there are companies out there ready to buy your house as is. 

Enhancing your current landscaping is definitely one of the best things that you can do for your home, as it boosts both its livability and marketability. 

Once you’ve decided to finally go for that landscape overhaul, here are some tips that can help you choose how to renovate your yard: 

1. Think About the Yard’s Purpose

Before you start your landscaping project, you should be clear about what you’re going to do in your yard. 

Will you be using it as a play space for your kids or pets? Do you want a space outdoors where you can just relax? Do you want to invite friends and family over for grilling parties? 

Knowing these things can help you plan the layout and the elements that you need to incorporate into the renovated yard. 

2. Determine the Aspects That Need to Go 

You may not like the way your yard looks right now, but perhaps not everything needs to go. The first thing you need to do is to check and remove potential hazards, such as: 

  • Damaged structures 
  • Dead trees 
  • Drainage problems 
  • Encroaching trees 

You should also consider removing plants that you can no longer care for, or those that no longer match your yard and home’s overall look. 

3. Clean Up Your Yard 

A dull, unmaintained yard can instantly turn people off, especially if you are showing your house to potential buyers. While companies wouldn’t really mind that, it might be worth it to step up your game if you’re not in a hurry to sell. 

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to instantly improve an overgrown landscape––at least on the surface. You can start by killing weeds, removing dead plants, and pruning shrubs and trees. Getting new mulches can also make a big difference, and it only costs $35 to $50 per yard, depending on the type of mulch. 

4. Consider Location and Layout

In relation to the first point, you will also need to consider the location of your yard relative to the other aspects of your home. Does your purpose fit with the current layout? It will be helpful to examine the wind and sun patterns to see whether your landscape plans are actually feasible or not. 

5. Charm Them with Colors 

The human eye has a penchant for bright colors. Thus, your curb appeal will instantly shoot up if you put aesthetically pleasing plants and shrubs. A colorful yard will not only make your home look more charming, but it can also increase your home’s value. 

For this to work, however, you must choose plants that won’t be hard for you to maintain. Otherwise, you’ll only be spending more money than necessary just to keep them blooming. 

6. Keep It Personal 

Ultimately, if you want all of these to be worth it, you must ensure that your new landscaping remains true to your personal style. For best results, consider applying trends that look timeless enough to outgrow fleeting fads. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to landscape renovations, there are some things that you can do on your own, while other jobs are better given to professional landscapers. In any case, make sure that you go for tweaks that would best reflect your personality, without straying away from your home’s overall theme. 

Tips For Finding The Right HVAC Contractor

During a hot summer day or a freezing winter night, an HVAC system got your back. The HVAC means heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and it is responsible for maintaining temperature and flow of air in homes, offices, or even boats and ships. As this machine system runs almost every day, the wear and tear probability is high compared to other home and building systems. So, it would be best if you consider finding the right HVAC contractor. 

But, first, you have to know the differences between HVAC systems and find the one that suits you. 

Differences Of HVAC For Homes, Commercial Buildings, And Boats 

Most home and office buildings have HVAC systems. Boats also have HVAC systems. The purpose may be the same for these cases, but there are differences in the design and function of each one. 

  • HVAC For Homes

HVAC systems for homes allow for proper air filtration and ventilation, improve the quality of air, and deliver thermal relief. The design of the HVAC system for homes varies with the size of your home. The examples of equipment for an HVAC system for houses are thru-wall air conditioner, packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC), and packaged terminal heat pump (PTHP). Usually, houses in northern latitude places have HVAC systems ready due to extreme winter. 

Most of the states in the US that experience extreme cold, like in Colorado, have HVAC systems for their homes for heating purposes. If you are looking for an HVAC Colorado Springs contractor, there are tips to help you choose, which will be mentioned later in this article. 

  • HVAC For Commercial Building 

The HVAC system for office or commercial buildings has bigger designs than the type used in  regular homes. In fact, the HVAC designs for buildings play a significant role in the design of the building itself. The HVAC system for buildings are usually incorporated with rooftop cooling units that use filtered outside air for ventilation. The primary purpose of the system is to provide comfort for customers and employees. 

  • HVAC For Boats 

While it is undoubtedly windy when you are on a boat or yacht, HVAC systems are still necessary. The design varies with the size of the boat, plus the indoor and outdoor heating system are both suitable. The primary purposes of the HVAC system for boats are reducing air moisture content and humidity to prolong the life of electronics and fabrics inside the vessel and the lower deck. 

Finding The Excellent HVAC Contractor 

HVAC systems are complex. It takes years of experience and training to perfect installation, maintenance, and repair. There are many contractors out there to choose from, especially in Colorado, where the temperature is cooler than usual. 

Here are key points to remember when finding the best home heating service Colorado Springs contractor: 

1. Seek Referrals From Friends And Colleagues 

Asking friends and colleagues who already own an HVAC system is an excellent way to determine the best contractor for you, plus it can save you a lot of time. Typically, the first-hand experiences from clients are reliable and trustworthy. The clients who are satisfied with services rendered by an HVAC contractor refer them to friends and colleagues who need their services. 

2. Research 

Most of the HVAC contractors in the business have their own websites, which means you can find their services and other offerings while sitting on your couch. Researching for the best HVAC contractor gives you an overview of what they have to offer. There are also business rating bodies, which rates businesses, including HVAC contracting services. The highest grade a business can get is A+, so be sure to look for contractors with that rating. 

3. Look for Licensed Professional

HVAC systems are complex as these are composed of many components. Ideally, it would be best to look for a competent and licensed professional to do the job rather than take matters into your own hands. The highest standard for HVAC contractors is the North American Technician Excellence (also known as NATE) certification. The contractors who are NATE certified have undergone specialized training and continuing professional development. Its sole purpose is to keep the professionals updated with the latest trends and changes. Certified technicians are also required to take an exam to renew the certification every two years. 

4.Special Offers 

If you want to cut the cost your HVAC system entails, you can look for special offers to save your money. Another factor to consider is the insurance for your HVAC system as it is prone to wear and tear. In extreme weather conditions, the HVAC system may work continuously for several weeks. This activity can damage the component or the system, and having insurance can save you from trouble when something goes wrong. 

Conclusion 

Aside from finding the right architect for your home, finding the right HVAC contractor is also vital as they can upkeep your home, property building, or boat’s HVAC system. The cooling and heating capabilities of HVAC systems are essential in many areas around the globe. Looking for and hiring qualified and knowledgeable professionals to do any HVAC-related project  provides you with confidence and better peace of mind. 

Things To Consider When Choosing Your First Pressure Washer

Pressure washing is one of the necessary means of cleaning homes today. Especially in Jacksonville, Florida, where pressure washing is common practice. It uses regular temperature water, unlike power washing, which uses hot water to blast away dirt.You can either opt to buy a pressure washer or outsource pressure washing in Jacksonville, FL. However, if you plan to buy one yourself, here are the things you should consider which can be beneficial when you choose your first pressure washer: 

1. The Pressure Washer’s Ratings

The ratings on a pressure washer are essential in determining the power-generating ability of your pressure and if it is a good fit for the jobs you need it for. It also determines the life expectancy of the pressure washer that you’ve chosenUsually, heavyduty jobs require high ratings, while simple home tasks are good with an average rating. These are the four basic ratings to check for when buying a pressure washer: 

  • Horse Power:

    Horsepower is pretty much what most buyers are familiar with. It refers to the power an engine generates. It also determines how much pressure and volume a pump can produce. 

  • Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI):

    The pressure produced by a pressure washer is measured in PSI. 

  • Gallons Per Minute (GPM): 

    GPM measures the water volume. Since the volume of the water is also a factor in the ability of a pressure washer to clean surfaces. 

  • Cleaning Power Units (CPU):

    Cleaning Power Units is the ultimate definition of a pressure washer’s power generating ability. It’s a combination of GPM and PSI ratings. It’s important to note both the GPM and PSI ratings along with CPU whenever you are looking to buy a pressure washer.  

If you want to clean backyard patios, driveways, decks, vehicles, or furniture in a fast and easier way, an average power rating will do. However, it’s best to opt for pressure washers with higher ratings if you’re going to do some heavy-duty jobs. Also, be sure that when you buy pressure is that you use it accordingly for safety. Here is a guide on how to choose the appropriate PSI when you buy a pressure washer: 

  • Light Duty (1,500 PSI and below)

    This is used for light-duty washing. For example, used in cleaning cars, garden furniture, bicycles, BBQ equipment, or garbage bins 

  • Medium Duty (1,500-2,800 PSI)

    For medium-duty washing like cleaning the fences, walls, driveways, gutters, patios or sheds, walls. 

  • Heavy Duty (2,800+ PSI)

    This is for more extensive and dirtier surfaces that need heavyduty washing. 

2. Price, Quality and Life Expectancy 

The quality and life expectancy will all depend on how you can afford and howdurable you prefer your pressure washer should be.  Also, sometimes the quality of an item is directly related to how much it is. For example, an expensive pressure washer can have excellent quality to the point that you can use it for such a long time. On the other hand, some cheaper pressure washers can be low-quality and might deteriorate the longer you use it.  

However, you can find a more affordable pressure washer that can go on par with expensive ones. Most of the times, it’s about how often you use it and how you maintain a pressure washer to get your money’s worth.  

3. Possibility of Repair and the Availability of Accessories

Before purchasing a pressure washer, you should also check if you can easily buy spare parts in case it needs to be repaired.  Also, you want to make sure it is easy to fix since you can repair pressure washers by yourself. However, if you’re not able to do it on your own, you can check the available repair services around your area. It’s vital to have some repair services of your pressure washer so you can use it to maintain your curb appeal’s beauty.

In addition to replacement parts, your pressure washer might need some accessories to do some specific jobs which will come in handy in the longer runYou might need some different kinds of tips, dirt blasters, or gutter cleaners for your pressure washer. Lastly, you might also want some special detergents to clean heavily soiled parts. If you can’t find any special detergents, you can make DIY non-toxic solutions that you can use with your pressure washer. 

Conclusion 

Most people who plan to buy a pressure washer usually opt for something which is most effective in cleaning, durable, and the ones that are well-priced. Therefore, considering the power ratings of a pressure washer can be beneficial, especially if you are torn regarding its price and quality. The guide mentioned above on how correctly choose the appropriate PSI when you buy a pressure washer can help as well.  

Storm Damage and Roofing: Different Types Of Storm Damage

Storms are weather conditions that can cause a lot of inconvenience for homeowners. This is especially the moment a strong-enough storm can actually be of detriment to the way a house looks, primarily to roofing. If you found your roof damaged by a storm, it may not help to immediately try to repair it. You may have to see if you can actually determine the kind of storm damage and roofing impact the storm has caused before you can make a proper move to save time and resources. Determining storm damage to your roofing is actually something very possible to do.  

It may help to gain insight about storms in general by learning more about how they affect people and households. In the United States, typical years normally have three (3) major hurricanes, six (6) hurricanes, and 12 named storms. Forecasts for 2018 are 12 named storms, one major hurricane, and five (5) hurricanes for the country. Roofing, in general, can cost an average of USD 6,600 for new installations, and can skyrocket for up to USD 13,000 for extremely high-end installations. With this in mind, it’s important to always be on the lookout for more practical ways to tackle roofing to restore your curb appeal – and in the case of storm damage, knowing about storm damage and how it can affect roofing is essential.

Storm Damage: The Types To Know

If you found your roofing to be damaged in the aftermath of a storm, you don’t necessarily have to make repairs immediately. You may want to talk with a roofing contractor about assessing your roofing’s storm damage first in order to determine the kind of things you need to accomplish to ensure your roofing is properly repaired and maintained in the long run. In fact, you can actually make a preliminary inspection yourself and determine the kind of roofing storm damage that occurred, so you’re aware of what needs to be done next. Here are the types you need to be aware of:  

  • Water damage can affect your roof and your home in the long run:

Perhaps what makes water damage such a threat to households is because its effects can be drastic but they only take effect when it’s too late. Water damage, when left untreated, can actually compromise the structural integrity not just of your roof, but also of your entire home. Not only that, but it can also pose particular health hazards you should take note of. For instance, issues related to moisture mostly include mildew and mold growth, which can cause allergies for some sensitive lungs and bodies. 

  • Impact damage can destroy your roof in a single blow: 

One of the most prevailing types of damage in terms of storms are impact damage, and this isn’t because of the storm itself. When winds are strong enough, this can get things such as trees to fall on surfaces. While the ground is the ideal version of a surface to fall on, sometimes trees do fall on roofs and can damage not just your roof but your property in itself as well. Take note that strong debris can break the mat made of fiberglass that sits inside the shingles. If this is broken, the shingle will really deteriorate in a matter of months or years.  

  • Wind damage is one of the most common storm issues: 

Storms create strong and huge winds that can bring all sorts of damage to your home. When storm winds are strong enough, they can actually create crask on your roof and also lift its shingles. There’s also the high likelihood of debris flying all over the place which can create holes and cracks in your siding and roof. It’s important to take note that modern roof shingles are actually made to be more resistant to wind damage compared to previous iterations of their designs, however extreme winds can still get to hurt the integrity of your roof because of the kind of sheer force they can unleash. You can notice wind damage if only certain parts of the roof have been affected.  

  • Hail damage can cause severe effects to your roof when unmanaged:

Hail damage can affect not just to your roof but also your siding, and this is the most difficult kind of damage to identify. The best signs of identifying hail damage is to check for dark spots in your roof, as these are the spots that are likely the places where granules of roofing were blown away. Cracks and leaks are also common signs of hail damage that you should take note of. The most common signs of hail damage are dings in metal, though sustained damage can be a bit trickier to determine especially if you don’t exactly know where to look. Try to see if certain parts of your roof have been slowly chipped off, as this can be part of where leaks can come from in the near future.  

  • Snow damage can be a pain in the long run: 

Storms during snowy weather can accumulate snow in your roof, which can cause damage over time. One of the biggest ways snow can cause damage is through its weight, which can increase immensely during the rain. This is because sleet and ice are now added to snow that can make it much heavier. Imagine, just two (2) feet of snow that accumulates on a roof of an average-sized home can weigh as much as 38,000 pounds. So try to check if your roof is sagging, as this means it’s about to give way to the snow. 

The Takeaway: Know Storm Damage To Assess Repairs 

With the above taken into consideration, it might help to realize that here are in fact a lot of storm damage types when it comes to your roofing. Knowing how these work and how these can damage your roofing can help you assess the kind of repairs that need to be done, and can help in explaining these to your contractors much easier. The above knowledge could hopefully help you be more watchful with the kind of storm damage that can occur to your roof, and be more informed about repairs. 

 

Ithaca Architects: 7 Traits To Look For When You’re Hiring One

Whether you’re building a home or establishment from the ground up or want to renovate your present house to meet specific lifestyle changes, working with an architect is always a good investment.

You might think that onboarding an architect into a project is just additional manpower to pay for, but you can’t overlook the value his skills and expertise can bring to the table. Not only will the architect’s design impact the design and functionality of your home, but he will make sure your project is completed around your budget, personal taste, and needs. In other words, hiring an architect is a cost-effective way to ensure that the project is complete upon your specifications.

Some homeowners find it daunting, if not challenging, to find the best architect to fit their needs and preferences. So, if you’re looking for one to work on your project, here are the top traits you need to consider:

1. Good Communication Skills

The architect you work with must be able to effectively comprehend your needs and preferences and then interpret these into his design. At the same time, he must be able to connect with you so that you’re both on the same page about the progress of the project. He must regularly update you and provide suggestions for the betterment of the project. It’s essential that you have a pleasant working experience with the architect so that, in the end, you come up with a project both of you can be proud of.

2. Experience

Architects who have a long and excellent track record have a lot of experience to offer to your project. While screening for the potential architect to work on your project, ask for his experience in various fields and how experienced he is in working on projects similar to yours.

You can also ask for testimonials from past clients and corporations he’s worked with. If you’re looking for experienced Ithaca architects, there are many online websites that have professional and competitive architects in their roster with experiences on various residential and commercial markets.

3. Collaborative Spirit

Your architect will not only be working with you but with builders, suppliers, and contractors as well. The project requires a team to build, and it’s crucial that the architect knows how to collaborate with the rest of the team to solve roadblocks, address issues, and achieve the best results. The architect must acknowledge that the success of the project is not only his to take pride in but of the entire team as well.

4. Pleasant Personality and Rapport

You can have an amazing architect with top-notch designs, but beyond what he can bring to the table, you also need to consider whether you and the architect will get along well. The working relationship you’ll have with your architect can heavily impact the success of your project, so it’s essential that the architect you choose has a pleasant personality and one that matches with yours.

This is especially important when you need to need an architect to work on a long-term project. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know him as you work together, but you need to make sure that this is the architect you’d want to work with from day one to the ultimate completion. With that said, look for an architect who’s extremely passionate about what he does but is also respectful to your tastes and preferences.

And listen to your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable with a potential architect during the interview, then you probably won’t work out well together.

5. Excellent Design Skills

You’re hiring an architect to make your project a reality, and it’s the architect’s job to translate the designs you have in mind into a graphical representation. An architect’s excellent design skills will help improve the understanding of the project from the client down to the last team member, allowing everyone to be on the same page. Your architect must willingly work on your design needs, especially if you’re redesigning your curb appeal and help you arrive at the best decision down to choosing between carpet or hardwood flooring or how to better renovate parts of your home to accommodate a family member with disabilities.

6. Flexibility

An architect also needs to be highly flexible to accommodate the changing needs that may take place in the project. The client may change his mind regarding some details of the design. A good architect knows that while his design looks intact on paper, he must be able to shift gears when required to produce the best results to satisfy the client’s expectations.

7. Creativity and Resourcefulness

An architect must be creative with his designs and provide the client with innovative concepts and solutions. Aside from that, an architect also needs to be creative in solving problems and try to find more than one answer so that he, the client, and the rest of the team can zero in on the best one. Additionally, you need a resourceful architect who can overcome various obstacles in the project, whether it’s a matter of design, finances, zoning, technology, etc. A great architect will do everything he can to solve problems and remove roadblocks relating to the project.

8. Confidence

Look for an architect who has a can-do attitude. When a project faces certain constraints and issues and a huge decision has to be made, the architect must be able to confidently step in and bring the project to its completion despite the hindrances. With that said, your potential architect mustn’t be afraid to take responsibility upon his shoulders and boldly believe that he’s worth hiring.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right architect for your project is a matter of personal decision, and it’s one you don’t want to make a mistake in. When you’re hiring for a suitable architect, you mustn’t only look at his designs or what his past clients have to say about his work; you must also scrutinize his personality and working attitude. After all, it’s essential that you get along well with your architect in almost all aspects because your client-architect relationship can profoundly impact the end result

How To Do Simple Exterior Cleaning To Restore The Look Of Your Home

Maintaining a home’s cleanliness and keeping it safe from any damage is an essential responsibility for homeowners. In order to fulfill this responsibility, homeowners need to clean both the interior and exterior of their homes. 

Some homeowners tend to neglect their home’s exterior primarily due to hectic schedules that cause them to overlook their property’s cleanliness. As a result, their homes look dirty, unpleasant, and uninviting, and it may be too late by the time they notice.  

Once you’re ready for an intensive exterior cleaning, here are the best tips for a simple yet effective exterior cleaning to restore your home’s look: 

Before You Start, Prep Your Home 

Exterior cleaning is a demanding task, particularly if it has been a long time since you did the last one. Before starting, make sure that you have scheduled your cleaning day and will not be distracted by any other tasks. However, the weather can prove to be a natural distraction. So make sure that you schedule your exterior cleaning in summer or dry weather.  

To prep and protect your home’s interior, ensure that all doors, windows, and open spaces are closed or covered before you begin cleaning. Secure the sides of the doors and windows through putting tape, so that the sticky side will trap any dust and dirt that may enter inside.   

For vents, light fixtures, and electrical outlets, cover them with plastic sheets and duct tape. You can take moveable potted plants inside temporarily, while you can cover plants and shrubs that are planted outdoors with plastic covering.  

Carry Out Pressure Washing 

Dust, stains, mold, and mildew accumulate on your home’s exterior surfaces. When these elements go unnoticed, they don’t only worsen your home’s appearance but also create an ideal environment for diseases to thrive. Such elements can spread rapidly in small crevices and corners of your home’s exterior, such as the sidings. 

Before using any cleaning product, assess the condition of your surfaces. If dirt and stains have encouraged the growth of mold and mildew in coatings, especially your siding, pressure washing is your best option. Another sign that you should go ahead with pressure washing are clogged and overflowing gutters. 

For pressure washing, you can contact professional cleaning services in your town. Many companies offer excellent pressure washing and a variety of other cleaning services. 

Although pressure washers are accessible for homeowners, letting the professionals do it guarantees safe cleaning because they can handle the force of the pressure washer better.  

Clean Screens And Windows 

Don’t expect that pressure washing will accomplish all the cleaning. Other exterior parts of your home like the screens and windows can’t be cleaned with water pressure because the glass will break, and it just won’t work on screens. This also explains why professionals cannot conduct pressure washing on these components.  

To clean your screens and windows, you can mimic the mechanism of pressure washing but adjust it to make it a lot safer and milder. Purchase a specific outdoor sprayer for your home, which attaches to your garden hose. This type of cleaner isn’t just for glass windows, but also for your glass doors and patio furniture.   

When cleaning your glass windows and other fragile exterior surfaces, don’t forget about their other side which is indoors. Remember not to let your glass surfaces air dry as the next thing you’ll see are blurry streaks. Use a long-armed squeegee to remove all the moisture while the glass is still wet. 

Clean Your Outdoor Furniture 

Dirty furniture in your patio or yard is never a pleasant sight to behold. Not cleaning them can also cause skin allergies and respiratory reactions for those people who are prone to these conditions. When carrying out a thorough exterior cleaning, never forget to clean your outdoor furniture since it’s also exposed to wear and tear, harsh weather conditions, and other external stressors. 

Depending on the material of your furniture, here are some tips for cleaning each one of them: 

  • Metal, iron, and aluminum

    Oxidation and rusting are your biggest enemies. Use cleaners with low pH such as white vinegar diluted in water or a metal polishing paste. Eliminate rust and chipped paint with sandpaper. To make it more lustrous, dampen a soft cloth with non-abrasive cleaning products and wipe gently. 

  • Wood and wicker 

    Use commercial wood cleaners or the same DIY solution with white vinegar and water to clean them. Be careful not to soak the furniture too much. For furniture with harder wood, sand it down and apply protective finish once in a while. 

  • Plastic and hard-resin

    Avoid using bleach or chlorine as they will chip off and damage the plastic. Instead, make a cleaning solution consisting of warm water and baking soda or water and dishwasher liquid. Sprinkle baking soda or wipe away with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar if there are stubborn stains.  

  • Glass

    Use the same material and technique for cleaning your glass windows. Utilize a glass repair kit for minor scratches. Always keep the furniture clean, especially the table when not in use, and cover it.  

Cleaning your outdoor furniture isn’t only for restoration. Regular outdoor furniture maintenance also helps in extending its life and avoiding costly repairs or new purchases. 

Prolong Your Driveway’s Life Through Sealing After Cleaning

Unlike other exterior surfaces, your driveway can be built from asphalt, a porous material where oil and fluid stains can penetrate deeper into its cured layers. During pressure washing, the professionals will handle cleaning these oil and fluid stains, even those that are hard to remove like antifreeze and grease. However, it is up to you to protect the naked surface through asphalt sealing once the cleaning is done. 

As mentioned, asphalt is a penetrable material, so even water could permeate its cracks and compromise its strength. When neglected, this could eventually turn into potholes, which are more expensive and a hassle to fix. 

You can choose to do the asphalt sealing yourself or hire a professional to do it. Whichever method you pick, always take note that the time required for thorough curing or drying of the sealing can take up to a month. Thus, take extra care while using or driving through your paver and avoid using harsh chemicals for cleaning fluid stains.  

Have A Repainting Job 

After all the necessary cleaning procedures have taken place, it is the perfect time to restore the look of your home’s exterior through a repainting job. Some cleaners and detergents can be harsh for surfaces and materials factoring in their age and natural wear and tear, but you can bring back their vibrancy by painting them with the same color or spicing things up with a new wall decoration. 

Having a painting job is particularly crucial for homeowners right before the summer or spring season starts. When the weather starts becoming bloomy and hot, it is good to enhance the beauty of your home with vivid colors that will reflect the sun’s rays.  

When doing a repainting job, some reminders to take note of are: 

  • Eliminate all chipping paint before adding a fresh layer, especially in another color. 
  • Prime the surface before painting to enhance the color and retain its pigment longer. 
  • Varnish your wood furniture and surfaces as well. 
  • Use a color wheel or palette to see which colors will complement each other well. If your home’s interior has a specific color, your best choice is to use the same on the outside. 

Takeaways 

Exterior cleaning might seem like a massive project since you’ll have to clean an entire outdoor space. For your indoor space, you can always divide the cleaning time between different rooms since they are separated by walls. However, you can accomplish an effective and simple exterior cleaning with the tips and techniques discussed here to come up with amazing results without breaking the bank.  

How To Decorate Your Exterior Home and Roofing For More Curb Appeal

All homeowners, regardless of the size and price of their home, wants to have more curb appeal. How their home looks from the outside is important for several reasons. It can show how meticulous or complacent a homeowner is and how he or she values the home. However, increasing a home’s curb appeal is easier said than done. There are several things to consider, and if you’re doing this for the first time, you might even be clueless as to where, when and how to start. 

As a homeowner, you have the responsibility of making sure that your home looks good. The home you own is probably one of your greatest investment to date, which is why you should exhaust time and effort to maintain its value over time – and you can achieve that goal by increasing its curb appeal. Let these tips below show you how: 

1. Start with the basics:

Increasing your home’s curb appeal shouldn’t start by purchasing new items. Doing this can only lead to overspending or buying items which you don’t need. If you want to increase your home’s curb appeal without spending too much, do the following first: 

  • Inspect it: 

    Take time to roam around your house and nearby property. Take note of the things which are broken, damaged or should be replaced. Do this during different times of the day because different lighting can show you different things around the house. If possible, have a friend do the same. Most often than not, you need a fresh pair of eyes to thoroughly inspect what needs to be worked on in your home. 

  • Fix it up:

    The roof is an important component of your home. Determine if your roof is old, has visible damages (such as missing or curled up shingles) or moisture. If it does, call professionals to have your roof replaced or repaired. Some companies offer High-Performance Restoration services which can be very helpful in maintaining the overall look and functions of your roof. 

  • Clean it up: 

    This one’s a no-brainer. Having a clean home can immediately improve your curb appeal. Schedule a weekend to clean your home (you’ll need more days if you have a bigger home). You can use a pressure washer to get rid of dirt, grime, and cobwebs. Don’t forget to pressure wash the driveways, walkways, windows, and gutters, too. Once done, your home’s exterior will look fresh and clean! 

2. House paint:

Painting your walls with a fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to increase its curb appeal. Not only does paint make your home more pleasing but it can also protect your siding from harsh weather conditions, as well as terminates and other pests. These benefits can impact your home’s value in a lot of ways. 

3. Pay attention to the trim and shutters:

There are different types of windows which have shutters. If your home has window shutters, consider using another color to paint these. When you do so, these shutters provide a pop of color to your home. If you want to take it up a notch, you can also add window boxes and grow flowers inside these. A properly-maintained flower bush can effortlessly add color and character to your home. 

4. The front door:

The overall theme of your home can be shown on your front door. Since this is the entryway, it’s considered as the focal point of your home. If you want to create a positive impression, paint your front door with an interesting or eye-catching color. You can use blue, yellow, red and even indigo for this purpose! And it doesn’t matter if your home’s windows are following a different color scheme. Trends are changing – gone are the days when your door should match an element in your home. 

5. Light the way:

Your home shouldn’t only look good in broad daylight; it should also look good at night. This is something which you can achieve when you have adequate outdoor lights. Today, you can purchase ones which come in different styles and sizes. Tube lights or rope lights can be used inside some areas of your garden while solar lights can be used in your walkways. These types of lights are low maintenance and can provide warmer light especially during the night. 

Start From The Outside 

Your home doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it probably took you years to save and buy the home you’re living in right now. This is the reason why as a homeowner, you should be consistent with your efforts in taking care of your home, especially with its exteriors. The aesthetics of your home reflects your personality – and if you want to create a positive image in the eyes of the public, start by working with your curb appeal. After all, the exterior of your home is the first thing people will see.   

How To Decorate Glass Vases With Different Things

Your choice of ornaments can significantly affect the mood of the people living in the house. When choosing furniture and other types of home accessories, for example, it’s important to consider the size and shape of these items as these can affect the layout and comfort of the household. A family won’t feel comfortable if their homes are cramped with too many items.  

If you’re looking for a cheap yet effective way of improving your home’s ambiance and appeal, decorate glass vases with different things. Glass vases are versatile home decors that can be used for a wide variety of purposes and in different areas of your home. Plus, it’s easy to purchase one online or offline. 

Here are some ways to decorate glass vases with different things: 

1. Driftwood 

Containing flowers is one of the most common uses of glass vases. Adding flowers inside your home might add color to the space, but seeing their stems through the glass vases isn’t a very nice sight to see. This is especially true if the flowers you placed in the glass vases are full of thorns or leaves. 

For you to conceal the stems of the flowers and take your glass vases to the next level, fill them with driftwood before placing any flower inside. Driftwood, when arranged well inside the glass vases, can add a coastal and rustic texture to any arrangement or area in your home. Because of its color, driftwood can create a very neutral yet appealing look to your glass vases.

2. Fruit Wheels 

Because of their natural sweetness and flavor, serving fruits can add fun to any of your meals. This is especially true if you’re going to serve fruits as desserts or mix them with other ingredients to create another dish. Fruits are great for your taste buds, but are you aware that fruits can also work well as a home decor? 

Adding fruit wheels to your glass vases is such an unexpected yet super fun arrangement. All you have to do is cut thin slices of different fruits (oranges and apples are great choices), then place them inside your glass vases. Depending on your preference, you can slice the fruits in the same or different width/s. 

Once you’re happy with the arrangement of your fruit wheels, you can add water and put in some fresh flowers. This is a great way of adding color to your glass vases, especially when you’ll use flowers that blend in with the theme of your home. 

3. Floating Fronds 

While some homeowners want to invest in the most extravagant home decors for their properties, others want a simpler yet memorable interior design. The latter are those who would want to stand out using minimalist home decor pieces. 

If you think you fall into the latter category, fill three-quarters of your glass vases with water and use large fronds inside. The graphic lines from these fronds will surely make your glass vases more visible even when placed from a distance. This decoration is already great on its own, which means that you don’t have to place any flowers or other ornaments inside the vases. 

4. Candy Toppings 

A lot of homeowners paint their properties in monochromatic colors. More often than not, the entire home will be painted in different shades of the same color. If the living area is painted in beige, then the other areas around the home would either be cream, tan, or antique whites. 

If you want to use a cheap home decor that will break the monotony of your living spaces, place candy toppings inside your glass vases. You can fill your glass vases with candy toppings of one shape or mix them with slightly different widths. 

Since the candy toppings will melt when mixed with water, it’s best if you place artificial flowers inside. If possible, look for flowers that complement the colors of the candy toppings you use. 

5. Seeds And Succulents

Bigger glass vases might be more challenging to decorate, but with the right materials and placement, these vases can be your home’s focal point. For you to achieve this goal, fill a large glass vase with beans or seeds, add a small layer of soil on top, and place some succulents. This is a great home decor idea for rooms that receive direct sunlight. 

If you’re fond of succulents and have a couple of them at home, place them individually in differently-sized glass vases and align them together in one row. The diversity of the succulents and the glass vases you’ll use will surely make a statement in any room of your house!

6. Unused Yarn 

Not everyone has the resources to make complex DIY projects. More often than not, homeowners live a very hectic schedule–they work a full-time job, look after the condition of their properties, and take care of their children, all at the same time. But, regardless of how occupied you are, don’t worry because you can still spice up your glass vases. 

Grab a piece of yarn and use it to wrap the entire glass vase. Depending on your preference, you can use one color of yarn or use several in one glass. You can even stick your initials or favorite knick-knacks on the exterior of the glass vases.

7. Masking Tapes

Another simple and unique strategy in decorating your glass vases is by sticking masking tapes in it. You can paint your glass vase with a bold color first before placing the masking tapes or sticking the masking tapes directly to the glass vases.  

Since these are your glass vases, go all out and use as many masking tapes as possible. You can even use washi tapes for a more creative twist.  

Cleanliness Is Key 

For you to make the most out of your glass vases, remember to clean them regularly. You can mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with warm water and mix the solution inside your glass vases. You can also add in a few tablespoons of vinegar or rice if you own larger glass vases. 

Regardless of how intricate your decorations are, if your glass vases are full of dirt, all of your effort to create a well-decorated home will be useless. Displaying clean and well-decorated glass vases will surely make your home feel and look new!