garage

Tips on How to Convert a Garage into Living Space

Do you own one of those homes that have a garage that can be turned into a beautiful living area?  Regardless whether it is an attached or detached garage, transforming it into a livable space is always a great option to consider.

Converting your garage into an entertainment room, additional bedroom, or a home office would require additional requirements like plumbing, temperature control, and building ordinances for example.  What else should you know?

Scope of Work

Tips on How to Convert a Garage into Living Space

The first thing you should know on how to convert a garage into living space is the scope of work needed.  The basic work involves raising the concrete floor above the street level to make sure that water does not seem into your living space.

Compensating for the usually sloped and lower garage floor is necessary to bring its elevation to that of your main house.  This is achieved by installing new floor structures like wood framed or concrete floors for example.

So what else is involved?  The walls and ceilings have to be insulated, upgrading of the electrical system to allow for higher load, replacement of the garage doors and addition of new windows.

The heating and cooling system has to be installed or link it to the existing system of your home.  All of these can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks on the average.

Hiring the Professionals

Scope of Work

Why is it important to hire professionals to do the conversion work?  Aside from the tremendous work that has to be completed?  Many of the garages that that have been converted into living spaces still look like garages; the main difference is the presence of furniture that has been moved into the area.  This is not true conversion into a livable space.

An architect can help eliminate all traces of the space being a garage by adding design elements and modifying its existing look.  For example, you cannot just put a window anywhere, you have to make sure that aside from the aesthetic value, the added windows remain functional.  Additional windows will also increase the air flow including the quality of air in your new living space.

Professional architects can also use large doors to replace the old garage door to increase the value of the façade aside from filling the entire garage opening.  Large folding glass doors will give a whole new appeal to the exterior of your old garage space.

All of these can be done by hiring the right professionals for the price of $50 to $150 per hour or possibly about 5% to 205 of the entire project cost.  This is a worthwhile investment to ensure that all traces of your original garage is wiped out from your new living space.

Cost Projection

Cost Projection

Now that you have an idea of what it takes to convert your garage to a new living space, how much would such a project cost?  The good news with this type of conversion project is that garages have existing walls, roof, and foundation.

This means that these existing structures can translate into savings for you.  On the average, these already represent about half of what you expect to spend for new additions.

Converting your garage into a new living space will normally cost you about $20,000 to $50,000 for a two-car sized garage.  Want to put in a bathroom as well?

No problem, just add around $15,000 to $25,000 to your budget.  Temperature control would be a must for your new living space for comfortable heating and cooling solutions, so this would be another $10,000.  Want more savings?

Use your existing centralized heating and cooling system by hiring professionals to plug into it.  Putting in a mini split system is another cheaper option you can explore.

All-in-all these are the basic things you need to know how to convert a garage into living space for your family.  Find the right professional today and get your conversion project on the way.

Do you have any ideas about converting garage to living space? don’t hesitate to comment below.

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Get the Best Structural Engineer for Foundation Inspection

Get the Best Structural Engineer for Foundation Inspection

Finding cracks in the foundation and similar defects is something that should not be left to speculation.  You have to know the underlying causes for the defects which obviously should be an ongoing concern for you as a property owner or dweller.

If you want answers, what should you do?  Call on a qualified structural engineer who is a foundation expert.  How do you look for one?

Work with a Foundation Expert

Get the Best Structural Engineer for Foundation Inspection

Obviously, not all structural engineers can be considered as experts in foundation inspection.  So a qualified foundation expert is someone who has a broad experience not only in repairing foundation defects but also knowledge in the design process required.

Structural engineers must have state licenses to carry out foundation inspection work.  You can also opt for a foundation contractor who employs or works with structural engineers who are foundation inspection experts.

Above all else, the structural engineer foundation inspection expert should have a strong track record in the diagnosis and solving of structural and foundation related problems in various types of properties.

Distress Analysis

Work with a Foundation Expert

The foundation inspection expert you are looking for should be capable of preparing a written report based on the findings of the foundation and structural inspection done on your property.

This distress analysis must itemize all the structural defects inclusive of foundation cracks.  The geology, drainage, slopes, soil, foundation walls, retaining walls, floor slab, subfloor, as well as construction methods and materials should be discussed.

Make sure that the manometer survey findings are reported and interpreted to ensure that accurate conclusion is drawn.  This will give you an idea whether the foundation defects are the result of construction errors or active foundation movements.  This helps dictate the appropriate solutions like patching, resurfacing or other essential repair recommendations.

The Proposal

Distress Analysis

The structural engineer must be able to give you with a cost estimate of the foundation repairs to be carried out.  This will ensure that you will not be left in the dark when it comes to the repair options that are open to you.  Whenever possible, request for an itemized design build proposal that is accompanied by a review and acceptance clause.

Are you aware that in many instances foundation cracks do not necessarily mean expensive repair work?  In many concrete finishing, cracks are common and usually do not pose dangerous consequences to the property owners or residents.

Sometimes the defects are reflections of minor design errors or caused by the contraction and expansion of materials, which is a normal event in any type of post-construction activity.

When you have a foundation defect that has remained the same for a long time, then this should not be of much concern.  This is important to note because it helps protect you from unscrupulous foundation inspections experts who may attempt you to pay for unnecessary repair work.

The Cost of Inspection

The Proposal

In general, the most significant role of the structural engineer when it comes to foundation inspection is to help you distinguish between minor and significant defects or problems in your foundation.  So how much would you have to shoulder for a structural engineer to conduct a foundation inspection?

On the average, you can expect fees to range from $450 to $750 for the foundation and structural inspection.  Put in another $150 to $250 to have property inspection.

Basing on the national average reported cost of inspection, it is around $526 with some property owners reporting inspection costs as low as $200 with a high of about $1,300.  This gives you a good idea whether your foundation inspection expert is taking you for a ride or not.

Now that you have a good idea how to look for the right structural engineer foundation inspection expert, do not delay, make the call today for your safety and peace of mind.

What do you think about this articles? please comment below

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3 Common Reasons Shower Faucets Drip

Are you aware that leaking shower faucets can cause damage to the shower framing as well as the ceiling of the room underneath it?  Leaking shower faucets are almost unavoidable primarily because they are used so frequently.

The cause of the leaks also may not be as simple as you first perceive them to be or may not be isolated to the shower faucet itself; translating to hundreds or thousands of dollars of water damage.  You need Long Beach CA plumbing professionals to get to the source of the leak.  Some common reasons to consider are:

Loose Parts or Corrosion

Loose Parts or Corrosion

Leaks, especially with faucets, are commonly associated with loose packing nuts or somewhere around the handle base. Of course, these are not the only parts of the faucet that can become loose because of frequent usage.  It is important to understand that sometimes, tightening is not enough to stop the leaks; often the loose parts have to be replaced because they have also become worn out.

Another thing to consider with shower faucet parts is the possibility of corrosion.  Many types the valve seat which is connected to the spout and the faucet can become corroded.  Located in the compression mechanism, it is susceptible to the accumulation of sediments from the water that leads to corrosion.

The result is a leak at the spout area of your shower faucet.  Professional plumbers can do regular cleaning of the valve seat to extend its service life and minimize leaks.

Washer Problems

washer problems

When it comes to shower faucet washers, there are 3 common problems that can lead to leaks.  The first is that the washer becomes worn out because of frequent usage, or if it gets worn out in just a short time, it may be due to a poor quality washer.  Washers become worn out because of the friction it encounters with the valve seat. 

This type of resistance lessens the functionality of the washer and results in drips.  Not all types of faucets can its washer replaced.

The second problem is that the washer was not properly installed.  This is commonly seen in homes where the owner took it upon himself to do the repairs instead of calling for professional plumbing service.

The third problem that is related to this is that another reason why washers are not properly installed is because the wrong size has been used.  Obviously, this would greatly reduce the efficiency of the washer and highlights the need to have professional plumbing services to handle problems with your plumbing.

O-ring and Seal Failure

o-ring

Faucets, regardless whether cartridge, disc, or ball type, have O-rings that will eventually wear out depending on the frequency of use.  For cartridge faucets, the leak usually begins when the O-ring that serves as the cushion of the stem begins to wear out or break.

The O-ring is held in place normally by a stem screw.  The rubber O-ring will eventually become worn out, then loose, at which point dripping begins near the handle.  When properly replaced, the dripping should stop.

When sediment builds up in the inlet of the faucet, it is possible that the seals at the inlet and the outlet will become compromised.  As the seals are compromised and worn out, the faucet begins to develop leaks that can reach as much as 10,000 gallons per year in US homes according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  This is enough to fill an entire swimming pool; imagine how much that would cost you in water bill!

Did you know that just by fixing your dripping shower faucet you can save as much as 10 percent of your water bill?  With this in mind, find out the exact cause of the leak.  To do that you need Long Beach CA plumbing professionals.

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Knowing the cost of Adding a Fireplace to an Existing Home

Knowing the cost of Adding a Fireplace to an Existing Home

Did you know that for many homeowners, one of the most popular add-on options to their existing home is the installation of a fireplace?  If you want the beauty and functionality of a fireplace, you need to make sure that it is professionally installed.

This is because there will be a lot of cutting, measuring, and other things that need to be done before the actual installation.  Would you want to add a fireplace to your existing home but have no idea of the cost?  The following information will be of great help to you.

Exploring Possibilities

Knowing the cost of Adding a Fireplace to an Existing Home

Before you get caught up with the excitement of having a new fireplace to spice up your home, you need to make sure that it is possible.  You see, some building codes may prohibit installation of fireplaces depending on the type of your home.

There are also issues on the chimney height, vent pipe clearances, and emissions that you have to look into.

Once you have ironed out everything and confirmed that adding a fireplace to your existing home is a possibility, then you can now look into the cost of installation.  To get a more accurate costing, there are other criteria that have to be taken into account.

The Cost

The Cost

In general, the cost of adding a fireplace can run anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 depending on the type of fireplace and other options you have in mind.  Basic materials would usually be around $2,000 and professional fees can cost you about $5,000 more.

For more details, let us look at the different types of fireplaces you can add to your existing home.

  • Gas-Burning – this runs on natural or propane gas to deliver its beauty and functionality.  The basic materials can be around $2,000 with installation and finishing work coming up to another $2,500.  You can bring down this cost estimate further by going with a simpler surround and mantle.  Opting for a direct vent model will also do away with the need to install a chimney.  Professional installation of the gas line connection is another $1,000.
  • Wood-Burning – the obvious choice for the traditionalist, this open-hearth fireplace can go from $10,000 or more including masonry and professional work.  This is because there will be significant renovation to be done for the installation.  To get some savings it is better to use drywall surround with a simpler wall-mounted mantle.  The EPA-qualified models offer energy savings with reduced emissions and can cost you around $4,000 more.
  • Gel-Fuel or Electric – the usually price range of this type of fireplace starts at $400, making it your cheapest choice.  Considered as ready-to-use because as soon as you get it out of its packaging and put it where you want in your home, you can use it immediately.  An additional cost of $800 to $1,600 can be expected for adding the mantel package.  Put in another $400 for options like real-life crackle and pop sounds for example.  Professional installation and finish for the dedicated propane or gas line will cost you $1,000 on top of everything else.

At this point you may be asking yourself if all of these costs are worth it.  In theory, if you put your fireplaces in the right place and get the correct size for your home, you can actually use it to replace the existing heating system in your home with a more efficient one.

Heating your entire home at 70 degrees throughout the day can be wasteful; but placing a fireplace in place can cut your heating load by as much as 25 percent because per-room space heating is a more significantly efficient option.

Contact a professional fireplace installer today to spice up the beauty of your home and get a more efficient heating system in place.

What do you think about these suggestions? do you have other ideas about adding fireplace to your house? don’t hesitate to comment below.

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Protect Your whole House with Surge Protection

Protect Your whole House with Surge Protection

It is not shocking that many homeowners are not aware of just how much surge protection they need for their entire home.  Are you like most homeowners who own numerous devices with electronic circuit boards plugged into your wall sockets?

Did you know that a lightning strike even a mile away can toast your expensive devices?

Do you know that surges along your power grid can also wipe out your expensive and delicate electronics?

The cost of replacing damaged circuit boards will almost be the same as buying a new appliance or device.  This is the reason why a whole house surge protection is necessary; because the surge has nowhere else to go but in your house and onto your devices.

Type 1 Devices

Protect Your whole House with Surge Protection

Surge Protection Devices (SPD) under this category provide excellent protection from external sources of power surges like those from lightning or blown capacitor banks on your power company’s grid.

The installation of this type of SPD should be on the line side of the main service entrance just between the power meter and the utility pole.  You have to be aware that you may need to apply for some type of permit to have this installed in your property.

Although this is considered as the best type of defense for your devices against power surges coming from the power grid, not all professional installers may be allowed or capable of installing it.

The power company definitely should be involved in the installation process because the power supply to the service panel must be cut off while the SPD is being installed.  Even if highly recommended, some homeowners would have to settle for whole house surge protection using other solutions.

Type 2 Devices

2

You may know this type of SPD as the breaker panel or circuit breaker.  Some refer to it as the branch panel because it is responsible for branching the power directly from the service panel to all the different circuits in your house.  Some installers may also call this type of SPD as panel protector.

Wiring directly to the dual-pole breaker of your panel, it provides surge protection for all circuits within that panel and all of the sub-panels included in its downstream connection.

The most desirable benefit in using this type of SPD device is that it also protects from power surges that begin inside your home; for example when large electrical load is activated by an air conditioner or similar devices.

Type 3 Devices

Varistor LSP10 Image
Varistor LSP10 Image

Do you know what battery backup units or surge strips are?  If so, then you understand this SPD classification, which is also known as point of use surge protection.

In fact, majority of homes make use of this SPD type where the devices are plugged directly into a protected outlet.  The sad thing though is that for many homes, this is the first and only surge protection they have.

In reality this SPD type should be the third and last option you have before a surge hits your device or appliance.  It is highly recommended that homeowners combine this SPD with either a Type 1 or Type 2 device.

This also increases the service life of this SPD because they do not have to kick in as much and handles lesser intensity surges.

All major devices or appliances in your home should have a Type 3 SPD because aside from its functionality, it is comparatively cheaper than paying for electronic repairs.

What type of surge protector do you need?  Ignore all the hype and look directly to the specifications.  Choose one with a minimum rating of 50kA because it can last longer than one with a 10kA rating.  Make sure that the SPD complies with the UL 1449 rating as well.

A good SPD should be around $300 with professional electricians charging around $175 for installation.  Yes, you need to contact a professional electrician if you want whole house surge protection it done right!  Safety has no price so contact your professional installer today.

Do you have other ideas about protecting your electronics plug in? Don’t hesitate to comment below.

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What to do When Facing Foreclosure?

What to do When Facing Foreclosure?

Did you know that there were 2.8 million property owners served with notice of foreclosure in 2009?  If you were in this position, would you know what to do?  The good news is that the foreclosure process will take a long time, enough to allow you to find alternatives to salvage your home and explore other options.

Want to be part of the two-thirds of those served with foreclosure notice that saved their property?  Here are 3 important things you must do.

1.The Phone is Your Friend

The Phone is Your Friend

When faced with foreclosure, the first thing you must remember is that the phone is your friend.  Take the initiative to contact your lender based on the number listed on the mortgage statement.  Ask to be connected to the Loss Mitigation Department to get details.  Remember to take down names and specifics of your conversation because this will be crucial later on.

Call an authorized foreclosure avoidance counselor to discuss your alternatives, get your financial documents organized, and help represent you in negotiating with your lender.  These counselors work for free and be careful of unsolicited foreclosure rescues because many are scams.

By involving a counselor and letting your lender know about it you are demonstrating your resolve to avoid foreclosure.  According to statistics, property owners who go this route are 1.6 times less likely to lose their property.  Counselors can even help you secure reduced monthly mortgage by as much as $454 compared to modifying your loans without help.

2.Deed in Lieu

Deed in Lieu

One way to help you avoid the threat of foreclosure is the deed in lieu of foreclosure.  This is a process where you can ask your creditor to take hold of the deed to your property instead of outright foreclosing it.

What does this do?  This means that you lose the house, but your credit rating will not be affected as hard as getting foreclosed.  You may also be spared liability from deficiency judgement when the bank later decides to sell your home for less the amount that you owed them on your mortgage.

The drawback here is that your lender may not agree with this settlement because they would primarily want the mortgage paid.  This may also be difficult to pull off if the home is valued significantly less than the mortgage amount.  However, this is worth trying because it works in your favor when it goes right.

 

3.Government Programs

Government Programs

This is a good time to explore government programs like the Making Home Affordable by the federal government.  This program provides loan modification and refinancing options based on self-assessment to identify the correct option for your specific financial standing.  Application to this program will be made through your lender.  The loan modification has a 3-month trial period prior to being instituted permanently.

Another program from the federal government is the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives.  This program provides lenders with a financial incentive for deeds in lieu and short sale approvals.

Property owners on the other hand are given $3,000 as monetary assistance to be used for relocation.  A foreclosure counselor will be a huge help in ironing out the details with your lender.

When you are behind your mortgage payments, the bottom line is that you should be aware what terms you can change.  Turning your crisis into a potential opportunity becomes easier with the right kind of help.

Now that you know what to do when facing foreclosure, you become aware that things are not always as bad as they seem as long as you do not take on it on your own.  Get help from professionals today!

Don’t forget to comment below about this article? is it helpful?

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