5 Ways To Stop Standing Water In Your Crawl Space From Ruining Your Home

Most of the time, water sneaks into your home and rests unobserved in your crawl space for a long time before anyone even knows it is there. Most home owners that I speak with that have standing water in their crawl space, found out only when they put their home up for sale and had a grim report from the home inspector.

Since standing water in the crawl space can be so destructive, it is important to identify it early and take care of it quickly. That brings me to my first tip:

#1 – Check your crawl space every 6 months

Here is the problem, most people have never even been in their crawl space. Some people don’t even know how to get in it! So, how are you going to know when you have water? You have to look!

Look, I’m not telling you that you have to suit up with a respirator, gloves and flashlight and crawl around down there. I am only suggesting that you open the hatch and shine a flashlight down there. If you have a really bad problem, it will be pretty obvious.

#2 – Determine if water is sloping towards your crawl space vent

The most common way that water accumulates in your crawl space is from water pouring into the foundation vent. Take a walk around your house and see if the ground is sloping towards a vent. Make sure that the vent is above ground level and if it is not, get a shovel and start digging it out.

I recently bought a home that had a very obvious slope towards one of the foundation vents. I didn’t have to wait until it started raining to know that this was going to be a problem, so I dug it out and put in a simple french drain to divert the water away from the house.

#3 – Put in a french drain

Speaking of putting in a french drain, that is actually a great solution to solving water issues. Typically, a french drain consists of trenching with a slope towards a desired discharge point. I recommend digging the trench a minimum of 6 inches deep and placing a 3 inch perforated pipe in the trench with a geo thermal filter over it. Once the pipe is in place, you can cover the pipe with drain rock. Remember, the most important part of a french drain is making sure that it is sloping correctly towards a desired discharge location.

#4 – Install a sump pump

This is not the easiest DIY project, but it can be done. To do it right, you want to dig and install a sump basin at the lowest point in the crawl space (look for the area with the most pooling water). I would use 22 inch deep/ 18 inch diameter basin that can be purchased at Home Depot, but a bucket with 1 inch holes drilled into it would be sufficient. Once the basin or bucket is in place, place the sump pump in and plumb it to the outside of the structure. The best spot to plumb the discharge would be to tap into the underground gutter drain. This will usually be a 3 inch ABS pipe that flows directly parallel with the foundation and is generally buried about 12 to 18 inches deep. A couple things to note: First, to be up to code, you should have an electrician install a dedicated plug. Second, it is critical to use a backflow valve on the discharge plumbing.

#5 – Replace the vapor barrier

Sometimes water can get into the crawl space and rest on top of the vapor barrier for a long time. Maybe the water that got into the crawl space was an isolated event, but that is really hard to determine. One solution would be to replace the vapor barrier and all the standing water staining and put in a fresh one. Then, check the crawl space again in about 6 months and see if more water staining is present. If water is not present, it might be safe to assume that the water that got in previously will not be a recurring problem.

Doing a drainage project in your home can be a daunting task. If you need help from an experienced drainage contractor or just want to ask a few questions, contact us at 360-450-6193.

5 Steps To Prepare For Your Bamboo Flooring Installation

When it actually comes to the time for the bamboo flooring installation to begin you will notice that the methods used are not that different from those used for installing other hardwood floors. However the most important parts of the process will take place before you actually begin to lay down the first few strips.

Below we provide you with some guidelines which will help to ensure that the installation of your bamboo flooring goes smoothly.

1. Start by ensuring that the sub floor on to which you are laying you bamboo flooring is both clean, dry and even. Unfortunately if you are using adhesives to help secure your flooring in to place it will not be able to bond with the sub floor correctly if it is dirty and will eventually start to rot over time.

Also it is vital that the sub floor is level or you may well find that every time you walk on your new floor it will squeak. It is also important that no moisture be allowed to become trapped between the sub floor and your bamboo flooring as this can cause damage to it over the long term.

2. After you have ensured that the sub floor is clean and even you need to remove any old nails or staples you find in it from the previous flooring that had been there. By allowing these to remain you will only be causing damage to your floor as time goes on.

3. We are now getting to the installation phase and before you start to lay each piece of bamboo flooring it is important that you check them for any defects. Why spend all that money on a floor with defects that will make it look cheap and unattractive.

4. Next you need to measure the floor space exactly and then divide this by the number of boards you have. Once this is done you can calculate exactly just how many you will be using. You should then lay out the boards as a dry run so that you can see how the color and grain of each board looks before you can begin to install it. By doing this you will end up with a floor that is enhanced by every nuance of the bamboo.

5. Now we come to the final stage of the bamboo flooring installation and that is actually the laying of the boards as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important that you follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter or the warranty provided with the flooring may become invalid.

Ernest Jarquio is a dedicated family man hopelessly addicted to do-it-yourself projects. For more information, visit his website, where he discusses various subjects such as bamboo flooring installation [http://www.flooring2roof.com/bamboo-flooring-installation.html], Morningstar bamboo flooring [http://www.flooring2roof.com/] and glueless bamboo flooring [http://www.flooring2roof.com/bamboo-flooring.html]. There are various articles on the different aspects of hardwood, bamboo, laminate, tile and vinyl flooring.

7 Questions You Must Know Buying a Shed Plan – For Outdoor Or Garden Sheds

A shed is a small storage cabin that is generally made in the garden for storing shovels, lawnmowers and other gardening tools. This cabin can be made very attractive and organized so that it looks like a part of the house that you are staying in. Moreover the shed should be made in such a way so as to serve the purpose well. There are some basic components that are to be kept in mind before buying the shed plan.

First and foremost, the thing that is to be given importance is the floor. The measurement of the floor gives an idea about how long or wide the shed shall be. It often happens that while making the shed people plan to have a large shed on paper but when it comes to reality, they soon start cramming things in the shed. Therefore it is required that before making the shed plan one should bring out all the things that they require to store, to get an idea of how much space they might occupy.

The next part is to plan how the shed might look. There are some communities that follow strict rules regarding the look of a shed. They emphasize on the size of the shed compared to the size of your home, the direction that the doors should face, etc. It is necessary to visit the local government offices to get an idea of the rules to be followed and then plan the shed accordingly.

Then the next thing that is to be taken into consideration is getting the right material to make the shed. Wood is the most preferred amongst the materials that is used to build a shed. A wooden shed does not require any complicated tools to be made. The floor can also be made of wood like treated lumber ply wood. Since wood easily gets affected by water, there should be at least six inches of space between the wood and the soil. The wood should be treated not to rot. Also there should be about 16 inches over hangs from the roof and proper gutters and spouts so that water that falls on the roof does not rot the wooden walls.

Next important thing is the door of the shed. It is better not to make a swinging door for the shed. This is very cumbersome and very problematic for windy days. It is better to purchase a six foot overhanging door. These types of doors are economical and practical.

The size of the shed should not be such that it takes up all the space of your garden. So it is important that the size of the garden to be kept in mind before buying the shed plan. The sizes usually depend on the kind of things that are to be stored in that shed.

The price is also a very important factor to be taken into consideration. If it is for long term benefits and the changes of the home and garden, then paying more for a better quality shed is fine. Otherwise it is better to make something that will serve the purpose for the time and get it changed later.

Last but not the least; if you are a bit enthusiastic, you can build an outdoor shed on your own instead of spending lot of money for hiring people to build it for you. Some basic skills are to be followed while building the shed. Some good materials and tools and a careful planning are all the things that are needed to make the shed. There are many kits that are available online and also the step by step guide on how to make a shed. These are of good help if you are a bit enthusiastic about getting it made by yourself.

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5 Tips to Help You Save Money on Your New Home Improvement Project

Summer is the perfect time for many activities, including home improvement. Like most homeowners, you probably have a long list of to-do items that have accumulated over the winter, and now is the time to begin checking them off that list!

It doesn’t matter whether your next home improvement project is big or small, indoors or outside, you are most likely look for a way you can stretch your money a bit further so you can accomplish as much you can without spending all of your hard-earned cash. Here are just a helpful few tips to help you save money and still accomplish everything on your list.

Saving Money on Home Improvement

  • Plan Ahead- No matter what project you are thinking about starting, planning a head can make it easier and less expensive. Sit down and write out a list of everything you will need for the project, including tools, fasteners and fixings, materials, and any assistance you might need. Doing so will help you see the project more clearly from the beginning, help you avoid last minute (and multiple) runs to the hardware store, and allow you to reduce the amount of changes needed once you have started the project.
  • Do Your Homework- If you are going to need the assistance of a contractor, do your homework before you hire one. Look at their cost, their craftsmanship, their previous experience, their licensing, and their insurance.
  • Be Realistic- While you may know your way around nuts and bolts, you need to take a good look at your home improvement project before you begin and determine whether it is really something you can do on your own. One of the biggest mistake homeowners make is thinking that everything cost less if you do it yourself. This isn’t always the case. If you mess up your DIY project, you could be looking at a price tag that is much more costly than if you had simply hired a professional in the beginning.
  • Re-Purpose- When it comes to home improvement, you don’t always need to purchase new materials. Get a little creative and look for inspiration at yard sales, antique stores, or your own basement. With a can of spray paint, a few bolt fasteners, and a little thinking outside the box, you can bring old items to life at very little cost.
  • Sweat Equity- Even if your project is beyond your expertise, and you have decided to hire a contractor, there are still small things you can do to save a bit of cash. You might be able to help the contractor with certain parts of the process or you may be able to get a discount if you pay in cash.

What projects are planning on conquering this summer? Cut that to-do list in half without spending a ton of money by hiring a professional, doing your homework, re-purposing old items, and planning ahead to make sure you have plenty of materials, tools, and industrial fasteners you are going to need for your projects.

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5 Top Tips For DIY Solar Panels

Let me start this article with a very short story. Two years ago, I discovered how great solar power for homes is and I started studying how to build DIY solar panels. It was extremely difficult for me at that time because I did not have any knowledge about that. But after studying for two weeks, I had built my first functional DIY solar panel.

And now, with my homemade solar power system, I am living completely off-grid, which means that I need not pay for the electric company anymore. Also as I have a rather big-scaled system, the electricity it generates is much more than I need. I sometimes get paid by the electric company because it has to buy my extra electricity by law.

I know you now face the same problem. You want to start a solar power house project but you are overwhelmed. You do not know what to do, where to start. However, this feeling will disappear soon because you will quickly realize it is really just a piece of cake, as long as you get the right instructions.

Before you start the project, there are some considerations for you. No matter you just want to build a solar heating system or a solar electricity system, you first have to calculate how long you will get financial return. It is not worth if you have to wait 10 years to recover the investment although the Earth will thank you because you will be making the world cleaner. To do the calculation, you can just browse the Internet and find some tools that teach you the process.

Below are the five top tips for all homeowners who are ready to start the project.

  • Check if your roof is big enough for the solar panel arrays. Of course, you can also place it in the garden.
  • The place where you pit the solar panels arrays should receive at least six hours sunlight directly. It is pointless to build DIY solar panels for areas with no sunlight.
  • Make sure the trees near your house are not close to the homemade solar panels. You can cut down some of them when necessary but do not overdo it because it is harmful to the environment.
  • Normally you can build the solar panels in just two days so you should schedule you time for the installation beforehand.
  • For safety reason, the closer your solar panel arrays to the wiring area is, the better.

Those 5 tips are the basic of your project and you will need to get some tools to let you build the solar power system fast. First, you have to get a copy of a DIY solar power house guide online. Before you purchase it, make sure it is of high-quality. You can do so by reading some reviews. Second, you have to prepare some simple tools and parts. You may not know what you have to prepare right now but a good DIY solar power house guide will tell you everything about that.

I hope you enjoy my story and the 5 top tips. I am sure that as long as you would invest a week and $50 for the DIY guide, you will be living off-grid quickly as well.

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6 Handy Hints For Building Pergolas

Before you can get to work on your new building project there are some finer points to be taken into consideration. Some of your initial decisions might be whether you take on the building yourself or need to contract someone else and if it’s feasible to attach the pergola to your veranda or make it freestanding.

1. Self build or contract?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. Think about your level of expertise, whether a contractor is affordable and if you have the tools required to get the job done if you can hire them readily, especially if most of the work is being done on the weekend.

2. How much can you afford to spend?

As with any renovation project it makes sense to prepare a budget. Pergolas can range in price so it is important to know what ready cash you have on hand before you begin. You may need to tweak the budget along the way but if you have allowed for those incidentals there won’t be any nasty surprises before the project is finished.

Make a list of the materials you’ll need and price them. Get quotes from builders or other workers you may have to bring in for work you can’t do yourself.

3. Create the design

One of the most important decisions will be if this is going to be an extension of an existing veranda or freestanding. Keep in mind if it is attached to the main roof there may be structural issues and extra building approvals required.

The best way to create a design is with some graph paper, a felt pen and ruler. Measure out the area and use a scaled version on your plan. Get ideas from other outdoor areas, magazines and trade displays.

4. Permissions and approvals

There’s no point spending time or money if the council has reasons not to let you build. There are regulations for attaching anything to an existing structure and distances from the post to boundary fences. Find out what planning permissions and building approvals are required before you start.

5. Styles and colours

Flat roof, dome shape, pavilion style, with so many choices of styles and colours available it may be difficult to make up your mind. Get inspiration from other people. Look at where the pergola sits in relation to their verandas. Many suppliers of pergolas have structures pre-built and on display.

Colours may be determined by your existing surroundings or maybe you want to brighten up your drab veranda by adding some bright colours or create a Mediterranean feel.

6. Choosing the right materials for your project

As difficult as choosing the right colour may seem, getting the materials right is worth careful consideration. While pergolas have been predominantly made out of timber, there are many other materials more durable and better suited to Australia’s harsh climate such as metal, fibreglass and plastic.

As much as you may want to rush down to the hardware store this weekend and get your pergola on the way there are any number of other considerations to keep in mind before building your pergola. Will it be roofed? What about the flooring, paved or grass? Remember whatever you decide a little time spent before spending money could mean the difference between a disaster and a stylish addition to your home.

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5 Tips to Ensure Efficient Home Removals

The process of moving can be a time consuming task that many people find quite stressful. You can make your move smooth by planning well in advance. Do not wait until the last moment to contact the movers or to start packing.

When you start preparing early, the process can be stress free and you do not risk forgetting some items. The following tips will help you to prepare for the move.

Create lists and label the boxes

To help you when packing, you need to make a list of all your belongings to help you keep track of what each box contains. Label the boxes to make sure that you can identify where each box goes and which boxes need extra care.

By creating a simple system, you can know exactly what you are carrying with you and you can make sure that all the items go to the right room when you get to your destination.

Color coding system

Another way to enhance efficiency is using a color coding system. You can have different color labels for each room allowing the movers to place the boxes in the right room. You can use color-coding to organize your family, where each member can have a different color to identify their belongings.

Avoid over or under filling

You need to ensure that you pack the right amount of stuff in each box. When you overfill the boxes, they will be too heavy, which is not a good thing when they have to be lifted.

When you overfill the boxes, they can break due to the strain. Under filling is also a bad idea especially when the items inside can break when they move about. Make sure that you distribute your items evenly for best results.

Sufficient packing materials

Make sure that you have sufficient packing materials to hold all your items. Purchase the materials well in advance so that you can start packing early enough. Some of the materials you need include boxes, markers, adhesive tape, bubble wrap, string and any other items you might need. It is not a good idea to use newspaper to wrap valuable items, as the print tends to rub off.

Packing fragile items

Make sure that you pack fragile items separately and mark the boxes clearly to avoid damage. If you have valuable items that are very delicate, it is a good idea to get professional packing and removals. Professionals have materials that will protect your valuables and they have the expertise to make sure that your items arrive safely at the destination.

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7 Reasons to Build Things Yourself

Do you have a lot of free time? I’m sure you don’t. I barely find spare minutes to do the things I love, to do my work and to have some sleep at the end of the day. Most probably you are in a similar position – today everyone is so busy. Yet I am offering you to spend some of your precious time in building things yourself. Instead of buying all your indoor or outdoor furniture, all the toys for the kids and and all the stuff you use every day, I am suggesting you to build some of these things yourself.

And I have good reasons for this – well, at least 7:

1. Save money. While this is pretty obvious reason, it shouldn’t be your main action trigger. Usually you do save cash when building things yourself, but that’s only before you calculate your hourly rate and the time spent for the task. Sometimes when you add your time as expense you will end up “paying” more than you would pay for the item if you purchase it built.

Still, if you don’t have paid engagements for that time or just aren’t willing to spend it doing your regular work, you can consider your time free and the money saved. Especially if you add the next benefits of building things yourself.

2. Learn new things. While working on a do-it-yourself project you are going to learn new things and master new skills. Often you’ll be doing to do some woodworking, cutting, painting, calculating and planning. You’ll learn things that probably your regular job isn’t going to teach you. Maybe the new skills and knowledge aren’t going to generate income but they can be useful in many indirect ways in your work and life.

3. Have exactly the item you want. Sometimes the only way to have an item with the design and functionality you want is to build it yourself. For example you may have an idea for a great bench that fits your patio design and space but none of the benches offered in the stores is close enough to it. Then you either need to build it yourself or hire a craftsman to do it for you. The first is cheaper and most often more fun!

4. Break the routine. Just a century ago people worked with their hands all the time. Today we mostly use our hands to type on the keyboard and move the mouse (or scratch on the iPad). Going in the garage and working with your hands crafting things can be a great way to break the everyday routine and relax actively. It can be totally engaging in a great way.

5. Meet new friends. With the forums, Facebook groups and local communities you can easily get help about the stuff you are trying to do. And asking for help is a great way to make new friends – that’s especially true in hobbyists communities. Building things yourself can help you meet interesting people and some of them often become your friends for life.

6. Know what’s inside. Usually when buying toys for your kids you can’t be sure what’s inside. The label may be saying that there is no toxic stuff and no child labor is used but you can never know that for sure. When building things yourself you know exactly what materials and stuff you are putting inside. And this is valid not only for toys – think about your clothes, carpets and so on.

7. Be active. Building things is a physical activity and most of us live so sedentary life today. Most of the do-it-yourself project don’t involve such intensive activity as most sports so they are appropriate for people of almost every age. It’s a nice way to exercise your muscles without the overloading that often happens in the gym.

Next time when you have few spare hours, don’t spend it watching TV. Go outside and build something. Maybe it’s not going to be perfect, but it will be your own achievement and pride.

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1 Thing You Should Have For Home DIY

Getting a laser measuring device proved to be one of the best things I have ever purchased for home repairs and improvement. I cannot deny that this tiny inexpensive device has cut down my home repair and improvement time by a lot, I have saved so much time to concentrate on other projects. If you have any experience making home repairs, then you should know exactly what I am talking about, measurements can be really time consuming and sometimes very annoying. For me it was a day trying to measure a hard to reach part of the floor behind my kitchen cupboard that really pushed me to finally buy a laser measuring tool.

Buying a laser tool is something which you definitely won’t regret, not in a million years. For everything you can do with it, as well as the price you save, it is definitely worth every single penny, in other words, the price is right. It doesn’t matter what you want to do around the house it will come in handy, Whether you want to measure and re-fit some tiles; Whether you want to move your bed or sofa; Whether you are laying a new carpet. It all becomes much easier when you can just stand there and point your laser and in a split second you have an extremely accurate measurement for none of the hassle.

Think of just how easy everything suddenly becomes, measuring just becomes so simple and painless (I really hated those annoying measurements which I used to have to make; now everything is brilliant!). One thing that gets me every time about this tool is the fact that the measurements which it makes are dead accurate. I recently measured the distance from my front door to the main road and it only took me 2 seconds and the road is 500 meters away. That was incredible! When I used a measuring tape to do the same thing it took me over 10 minutes and it was not as accurate.

When most people thing of home repairs, they think of purchasing hammers, saws and automatic drills etc. but many people overlook how handy it can be to have something which measures fast and accurately. I honestly believe that if you do a lot of work at home DIY, then you cannot escape getting a laser measuring device; they really will save you time and lots of headaches.

Besides exercising at home, Michael loves nothing more than to do some repair around the house. Michael also runs a website dedicated to adjustable dumbbells [http://myadjustabledumbbells.com]

10 Surefire Ways to Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice and much time and three times the money they thought they would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

Here are 10 surefire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

1. Take out the required permits — it’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. Sure, it takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment.

3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — when your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

4. Don’t skimp on materials — for example, don’t use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. Use at at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

5. Prepare the walls for painting — clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

6. Use the correct paint — use flat paint ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

7. Keep safe while working — you don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

8. Measure twice and cut once — probably the most important rule of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

9. Know the limits of your abilities — you’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own house — If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask.

You probably won’t eliminate all of your DIY home improvement mistakes, but you can surely reduce them with these 10 tips.

Joan Yankowitz publishes the popular consumer and business Kwik eGuides [http://www.kwikeguides.com]. Instantly download the Kwik eGuide. [http://www.kwikeguides.com/home_repair.htm]