Zero VOC paints.

When looking to refresh your home’s look, repainting can brighten up a room’s look quickly. First, though, you may want to explore the option of using zero VOC [Volatile Organic Compound] paint.

elementary speaking, VOC’s are the odor you smell when repainting a room. Ingredients react with other elements in the air to produce the strong scent of paint, which can result in a headache or feeling light-headed. While you may think that this is a temporary problem, in fact, VOC fumes are released over the course of years. In fact, only 50% of VOC fumes are given off during the first 12 months, meaning you breath these harmful chemicals every day.

Paint is composed of three primary parts: the dye, the binding agent that binds the paint to your walls, and solvents that keep the paint in a liquid form. This last ingredient evaporates, leaving the color pigmentation bound to walls. When made with oil-bases, VOC levels are higher than water-based paints. Therefore, aim for a VOC level less than 10 g/L

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Inch by inch it’s all a cinch.

Learning to add leads to multiplying just as learning to use tools leads to basic carpentry. If you wish to do it yourself, the most important part is the start. Learn the do’s and don’t do’s and you’ll take a good step but go further by learning to operate your tools properly.
Start with your basic tools such as a hammer, tape measure, level, framing square, pencil and a tool pouch. A juggler first becomes accustomed to 3 balls then goes up to four and five then throws in a bowing pin. Do the same and slowly add your circular saw and the battery powered drills.
My suggestion is grow at your own pace but don’t sit still, keep safety first and continue to build.

First things first.

Many people today are taking advantage of the housing market as the prices for a home are becoming more affordable. Foreclosures and HUD homes are very common yet they almost always require a bit of work and are never move on ready. The question is always what can I afford to do and should I do first.
Painting and flooring is a very common answer yet I say let’s look at what the inspector seen and what is structurally on need of attention. These matters matter the most. Hire a professional to inspect the home then one to correct your home and last what we do is dress the home. Often the error is made to make this pretty, bring in granite and tile backsplash etc. but this can be considered a grave error. It’s like putting perfume on a pig.

The painting and tile work you can actually do yourself. Yes, yourself.

With a contractor comes a contract.

She hired a contractor to pour a patio pad in her yard that will prevent her from setting her furniture on her well manicured lawn. Her being a new homeowner in her early 30’s nice car, house and job. Single and beautiful. The contractor is the average contractor (minus the contract) with not a lot of jobs going on due to the economy yet his prices are competitive but he likes to get in and out quickly. She ask him a couple questions like “How quick can you have this done, how much is it going to cost and what will be done to protect my lawn?” As always when a contractor is trying to get a job he says what she wants to hear (which isn’t always the facts especially if he’ll be sending others to do the work). “Once we receive the payment we’ll begin and we’ll have your pad poured out the day after, as far as the lawn we’ll place runners along our path to protect your beautiful lawn.”

So she pays the guy half of the money and his guys get started right away. Does all he said he would. Explains to her about the pitch to keep the water off of the pad, ask if the size and location is good, places the gravel and wire in, sets runners in the lawn to prevent damaging the woman’s well manicured lawn. “Wow I’ve made a good choice.” He tells her he’ll pour the concrete first thing in the morning as they pack up there tools wheel barrels and such. She sleeps well, but wakes up to no sounds of trucks, hammers and chatting. She’s nervous. She makes a call but no answer. Again and no answer fourth and fifth with no answer. He calls back with an excuse and a delay. It goes from the rains in the forecast to since its such a short load the concrete plant put our order to the back of the list to my truck had a flat on my way over. She gives up, frustrated and seeks advice, a little late but she seeks it.

First I say don’t go into handshake contracts. Second I say be quick to call slow to draw. Call several people for quotes but don’t rush to put money in hands of strangers without checking references, past clients and if it’s a big investment check with the contractors suppliers. Taking this to court isn’t worth it. Tally the losses, learn from the lesson you paid for and move forward.

If you have questions send them to askabuilder@thebuildersbuilder.com

Who you know depending on what you know.

About ten yrs ago I remember helping a friend pour out a patio. Me not knowing his capabilities and him not knowing concrete turned into an issue quickly. We were using wheel barrels and going downhill. Coming back to get another load was more work than taking a full one to dump. Him making his 17th trip, he went down and never came back up. Panting, huffing and puffing laying in the grass he quit. His words were “Send the truck back, I’ll tell the homeowner that I’ll pay for it”. Needles to say I emptied the truck out, pulled the screed board across it, bullfloated, edged, broomed and finished the job. The homeowner came home not knowing what happened and said “Wow, this looks amazing!”. I say that to say this. If you don’t know ask questions or have a friend with you with experience. Take good notes and do your research because knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do. The surface doesn’t tell the story of what goes into a job. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself, I dumped several wheel barrels on my first day but they gave me a shovel and told me to pick it up and keep going. I tell you the same.