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So What Is A Home Inspection Exactly

A Seller’s Guide to Navigating the Home Inspection

In Every Inspection, There Are Stakes for Buyers and Sellers

Once the buyer has made, and you’ve accepted, the offer, your home will get the once-over from the buyer’s home inspector. The inspection is usually a contingency of the offer, meaning the buyer can back out based on serious problems discovered. The lender also expects an inspection to make sure it’s making a good investment. Makes sense, right?

Your agent will work with you to negotiate those requests. Don’t want to be responsible for a repair? (Maybe it’s best if the buyer has the fix made by their own contractor anyway.) Your agent may be able to negotiate a price credit with the buyer instead.

By the way, inspections aren’t necessarily a big, scary deal. Your agent will help advise you about repairs you need to make before the inspection. In fact, she may have made those recommendations to you even before you put the home on the market. And if you’ve been maintaining your home all along (and you have, right?), your punch list may be minimal.

In addition, back when you put the home on the market, you were required to disclose to buyers the home’s “material defects” — anything you know about the home that can either have a significant impact on the market value of the property or impair the safety of the house for occupants. Material defects tend to be big underlying problems, like foundation cracks, roof leaks, basement flooding, or termite infestation.

What a Home Inspection Covers Depends on the Home

Every home is different, so which items are checked during your property’s inspection may vary. But home inspectors typically look at the following areas during a basic inspection:

Plumbing systems

Electrical systems

Kitchen appliances

Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment

Doors and windows

Attic insulation

Foundation and basement

Exterior (e.g., siding, paint, outdoor light fixtures)

Grounds

Home Inspection Checklist

The home inspection is one of the most important parts of the home-buying process. And it’s something homebuyers — especially first-time buyers — should take seriously. Avoiding mistakes in this process could help you save money (sometimes a lot of money) down the road.

When putting an offer on a house, you should be sure to include an inspection as a condition of the sale. Once the offer is accepted, you’ll want to hire a professional, qualified home inspector to go through a thorough home inspection checklist. This guide will help you make every bit of the inspection count.

Research the inspector.

Your realtor or real estate agent should be able to recommend reputable house inspectors. But you still need to do your own research to ensure you find an honest, reliable and experienced inspector.

Ask them questions about their background and length/type of experience. You should also check their credentials and understand what certifications your state requires for qualified inspectors. There are also two national organizations that require inspectors to adhere to ethics and professional standards in order to belong: the National Association of Home Inspectors

Show up to the house inspection.

Don’t just let your real estate agent handle the inspection process. Witness everything your inspector has to say firsthand during the walk-through. Plan for the inspection to take several hours — this is not something that you want to rush. Feel free to bring along a friend or family member for another set of eyes and ears.

Home Inspections

Home inspections are a critical part of the home buying and selling process. Failure to obtain a home inspection could potentially cost you a great deal of money and hassles in the long run. Uncover valuable tips on the importance of a home inspection and helpful links to a variety of professional home inspection organizations, plus useful information available to you from the National Association.

Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Do you belong to a professional association?

Will your report meet all state requirements?

How experienced are you?

How do you keep your expertise up to date?

Do you focus on residential inspection?

Do you offer to do repairs or improvements?

How long will the inspection take?

How much?

Will I be able to attend the inspection?

Do you belong to a professional association?

There are many associations for home inspectors, but some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee. Make sure the association your home inspector names is a reputable, nonprofit trade organization

Will your report meet all state requirements?

Also, make sure the organization complies with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as those adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors.

How experienced are you?

Ask inspectors how long they’ve been working in the field and how many inspections they’ve completed. Also ask for customer referrals. New inspectors may be highly qualified, but they should describe their training and indicate whether they work with a more experienced partner.

How do you keep your expertise up to date?

Inspectors’ commitment to continuing training is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important with older homes or those with unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

What Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection

After an inspector has finished a home report, buyers may feel overwhelmed by any flaws that might have been found. That’s why it’s important they take the opportunity to learn more so that they can move forward confidently in the transaction.

recommends home buyers ask their inspector clarifying questions like: “I don’t understand this; what does it mean?” or “Is this a major or minor problem?” and “Do I need to call in another expert for a follow-up?”

Home inspectors are bound to uncover something in a home; no home is perfect. But the majority of the problems they uncover will likely be minor. Have the home inspector clarify which problems fall within the “minor” or “major” categories.

If the inspector identifies a potentially major problem, consumers will want to follow up whether they should call an additional expert in to investigate further. For example, consumers may need to bring in an electrician to take a closer look at potential electrical issues that were flagged or a roofer if a roofing problem is suspected. Those specialists can then give an idea of the cost to fix it, which the real estate agent can take to the seller to request a concession, if the seller doesn’t want to fix it prior to the sale.

How to Handle Home Inspection Hurdles Brought on By Coronavirus

As coronavirus complicates the real estate business in many ways, home inspections are one step that may be putting a monkey wrench in your transactions.

Here’s the trouble: Sellers are naturally uncertain about allowing anyone — inspectors included — inside their homes. Furthermore, stay-at-home orders can make it difficult, if not impossible, to meet contractual obligations related to home inspections and repairs on a certain timeline. And the choice to ignore these orders can result in fines, delays, stressed-out clients, and more.

The landscape is rapidly changing with coronavirus, and one thing that’s for sure is that nearly everyone must adapt. This includes how to approach home inspections, especially since they are traditionally the most common contract contingency. In this article, we ask three experienced agents to give tips on how to handle home inspections during coronavirus, in a way that benefits everyone involved.

Get familiar with local ordinances related to coronavirus

The first consideration is awareness of your specific state’s stay-at-home-order (or lack thereof). These orders constantly change from day-to-day. Real estate is an essential business in some states but not in others. It becomes more complex when some metro areas consider real estate essential but other metros in the same state do not.

Furthermore, each state’s government website has information regarding essential businesses. You might find this in the form of a press release or a set of listed criteria. It differs from state to state.

The Many Dimensions Of Accountant Practice Sales

How to Build a Culture of Accountability in the Workplace

Creating accountability in the workplace is one of the hot topics in today’s business world. But, do you know what it means? How it works? Or, why you need it in your business?

What is a “Culture of Accountability?”

A culture of accountability is a work environment where people demonstrate a high level of ownership to think, respond, and proceed in a manner necessary to reach business goals. Accountability in business is directly related to higher performance.

Why Should Your Company Have a Culture of Accountability?

In many companies, employees are working across time zones and different departments to achieve their business goals. Creating a culture of accountability in the workplace is a multi-dimensional and multi-layered issue in this fast-paced business world.

Building an accountability culture makes a powerful impact on your business goals and success. Accountability helps you ensure that your employees show up for shifts, know what their roles are, and meet deadlines. This structure makes every employee responsible for fulfilling their duties and automatically makes a positive impact on business growth.

How Can You Build a Culture of Accountability?

Building a culture of accountability in your business isn’t easy. It takes time and hard work to plan and implement. It also involves dedication to maintain. However, it’s the best way to ensure business success and boost employee morale and is part of maintaining a workplace that is transparent.

Understanding the meaning of “being held accountable” is the initial step in creating a culture of accountability for the company to reach desired business targets. It’s never too late to create a culture of accountability and empower the workforce, allowing your employees to perform better.

All it takes is an effective strategy. Here are 5 simple tips that will help you create accountability in your workplace.

Define the Responsibilities of Employees

First and foremost, you need to clearly define and delegate tasks to every employee so they fully understand what they are responsible for. Your staff needs defined expectations to achieve their targets. Whether it’s evergreen responsibilities, which support the mission and values of the company, or short-term or quarterly goals everything should be laid out very clearly to avoid any confusion or miscommunication.

Set Your Business Goals

Once the staff has gone through employee onboarding and understands what they are responsible for, employers should help them set individualized and measurable goals that come under their job role. Make metrics to help the employees know if they’re fulfilling their business goals.

Deliver Progress Updates

To achieve your desired goals, employees need feedback to stay motivated. This feedback can come from customer surveys, key listening posts with critical stakeholders, and ongoing project updates, or a combination of all these points. However, the most effective feedback a team member can get is from a manager.

When providing progress updates to employees, managers should have updated and correct data to show employees how their progress is making an impact.

Align Development, Learning, and Growth

Whether as a part of an ongoing development process or through frequent conversations between employees and managers, businesses must offer opportunities for their staff to learn, improve, and grow. Companies that focus on staff development to help their employees address the barriers that prevent them from reaching their business goals while learning and growing in their roles constantly.

Acknowledge and celebrate Progress

Praising your employees for a job well done is the best way to motivate them to do well. Your top employees need to know that their efforts are acknowledged and valued. So, identify, celebrate, and learn from your employees’ successes. It will motivate your employees to stretch and design responsibility role model for other staff members to follow.

A strong work culture not only inspires employees to perform better but also encourages clients to spread the word about your company. Building a culture of accountability isn’t always easy. But, strategic and careful planning can definitely help you in developing one that differentiates you from your competitors.

A culture of accountability makes it easier for employees to be responsible for their job roles. It also boosts your employees’ morale to go the extra mile as they identify their personal growth and are receiving regular appreciation for their work. So, shape a work culture that can help you promote employee responsibility and your business growth.

Normalize and Prioritize Feedback

When you start by holding yourself accountable, many employees will follow your lead; however, you will still need to be explicit about your expectations and coach your employees along the way. In a workplace that values accountability, everyone on the team has to be willing to give and get input, provide and receive constructive criticism, and express and accept praise.

In a culture of accountability, regular feedback should be a normal and comfortable part of your working relationships. If your team hears from you often about their performance on a consistent basis, they’re far more likely to be receptive to feedback, even if it’s tough to hear. Nobody respects a boss who only shows up to criticize or discipline them if they’ve done something wrong.

So if you want your team to put forth their best effort, take responsibility, and truly own their job, you have to be willing to have difficult conversations and create a safe space to talk about almost anything. Otherwise, you can expect some employees to pass the buck, blame leadership, or even lie when things hit the fan. The goal is to open a productive dialogue that encourages accountability.

To promote accountability in the workplace, you’ll need to build self-confidence among your employees. If employees aren’t reaching milestones or meeting expectations related to stated goals and objectives, have a plan in place to address their performance issues. If something isn’t working for employees, be willing to hear and address their concerns. And always create opportunities to celebrate success.

Give employees clear roles in driving Key Results

A lack of ownership is surprisingly prevalent in large organizations. In fact, 81 percent of the Workplace Accountability Survey respondents cited an inability the follow through on commitments as the biggest challenge they experienced with co-workers.

The problem often comes down to employees feeling their positions don’t contribute to the company’s overall success, which leads them to disengage from work. They begin to skirt their responsibilities, letting others pick up the slack and detracting from what could be a high-performing company culture.

When there are gaps between what an employee does each day and the results the company must achieve, it’s time to reevaluate expectations to better align actions and results. Motivate employees to complete their tasks by ensuring all team members understand how their individual contributions directly impact the achievement of Key Results.

Without micromanaging, connect expectations to those Key Results and make a point of recognizing when employees positively impact companywide goals. Doing so builds a team of focused and engaged employees who are successfully pulling their weight.

Achieve Results, Rather Than Do the Job

How many times have you heard a leader in real life or fiction demand: “I don’t care how you do it. Just get it done!” Many times, organization charts and job descriptions push people into boxes. They give people the idea that they are getting paid and using their skills to perform a defined function or set of tasks. This task-oriented mindset leads people to believe that if they perform their functions they’ve done what they’re supposed to do, whether or not the result was achieved.

Effective leaders operate on the premise that their people must focus on achieving results. They lead people beyond the boundaries of their jobs and inspire them to pursue results by creating an environment that motivates them to ask, “What else can I do?” over and over until the results are achieved. They manage their people so that their “job” is to achieve results. Each person’s daily activities must be in alignment with the targeted results.

Starting A Career As A Veterinarian Today

Get the most from vet visits: what questions to ask and how

Ever get home from a vet visit and realize you aren’t really sure when to start that medication or what exactly the next step is for your pet’s treatment? Happens all the time. Here’s how to get the information you need.

When I worked as a veterinary technician many years ago, pet parents asked questions all the time, but rarely to the veterinarian. Folks often acted embarrassed, or waited to telephone from home hours or days after the appointment. Perhaps they felt intimidated by the doctor or feared their questions were dumb. Maybe the busy schedule of the clinic offered little opportunity to ask.

Whatever the reason might be, remember that there are no stupid questions when it comes to your beloved cat and dog. As your pet’s top advocate, it’s up to you to arm yourself with expert advice and information to provide the best care possible. Here are some tips to be fear free when asking your vet questions.

Why You Should Ask Your Vet

My career as a veterinary technician began long before “Dr. Google” or “Alexa” answers. Today, some pet parents rely too much on the Internet to answer questions or only seek the opinions of friends. Even though I am not a vet, I often am asked pet health or care questions. Here’s what I say when ask about pet health or care concerns.

While some online resources like vet schools are terrific, they can offer only very general information and nothing specific about your pets. Your veterinarian has personally examined your dog and cat, possibly run additional tests, knows what treatments have already been tried, and has the most specific and detailed information available.

When To Ask Your Vet

The veterinarian may have a busy schedule, so plan ahead for your questions. The best time to ask questions is at the beginning of the exam. Ask follow-up questions at the end of the visit before the doctor leaves the room.

If you’ve researched from the Internet or friends, you may think you know what’s needed, but ask anyway. Your pet is unique and could have very different needs than Aunt Freda’s dog’s. Once the doctor has examined your pet and explained any treatment, be sure to ask for any necessary clarification before you leave the clinic.

How To Ask Your Vet

Very often it’s not what you ask, but how you ask that gets the most out of your veterinary visit. The staff may become frustrated by pet parents who base questions solely on “Dr. Google” research that may not be applicable or that could be dangerously wrong.

That said, veterinarians want pet parents to be invested in caring for their cats and dogs. Recognize that the doctor and many of the staff studied for many years to attain the expertise to offer medical advice and care. You know when something’s “off” about your pet—but the vet has the tools and ability to figure out the cause and what to do about it.

Preparing for your visit

Preparation before your first visit to the veterinarian can make all the difference. While you may be taking mental notes before your visit, writing down any questions or concerns you may have is a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything.

In these notes, be specific. Write down specific food and treat brands you are feeding your pet, along with the quantities – because telling your veterinarian that you feed your pup a “handful” of dog food doesn’t tell very much!

If this visit goes beyond a routine checkup, write down all symptoms you notice in your pet and any medication your pet may be taking. Takes notes on your pet’s water drinking habits, appetite, energy level, or any behavior that may be unusual.

If you have a pet going to the veterinarian for the first time, contact them ahead of time to determine if you will need to bring in a stool sample for a fecal exam.

Dog and Cat Questions to Ask the Vet

For your first vet visit, it’s important to have questions prepared to ask before the big day. Not only is this extremely helpful to you and your pup but it will give you the most out of your visit. Vets are very busy and have several patients so they won’t always have the answers you anticipate. Don’t be afraid to write these questions down, as your vet is a valuable resource to your pet’s health and to your peace of mind. Here are some helpful questions to prepare:

  • Is my pet a healthy weight?
  • Are they eating the right food and getting proper nutrition?
  • Are they sleeping too much or too little?
  • What resources are available at this vet clinic? (ex. X-rays, labs, etc.)
  • Are there any common parasites or pests in the area? How can I prevent them?
  • Is pet insurance worth it and if so, who do you recommend?
  • Do you have any grooming recommendations for my cat or dog?
  • Are there any vaccinations my pet needs?
  • Where are the nearby emergency services for off-hours or holidays?
  • What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
  • Is spaying/neutering right for my pet?
  • How is my pet’s dental health?
  • Any pet food label questions such as how to read them, what to look for, etc.

The first vet visit is a pivotal experience for new pets and owners. It’s important to be prepared in advance and to create a cool and relaxing situation for you and your pet. Hopefully, these questions and tips help you and your dog or cat make the most of your first vet visit.

Then I came home and realized how many things I forgot to ask or mention.

You can do that only so many times before you realize that perhaps you should get better prepared. I started making notes beforehand, making lists, tracking symptoms. Today, I would not go unprepared. The more you have your sh*t together, the better value you get out of the visit.

How to prepare when visiting your regular veterinarian

Make a list of all your concerns. If you have the time, start a day or two beforehand; you’d be surprised how many times you’ll go back to add things. I put down everything that is bothering me, however trivial it might seem. You never know what’s important and what is not.

Your list should include

  • all symptoms and signs you observed
  • when it all started or how it all happened
  • how often does it happen and how long it lasts
  • when it usually happens (daytime, nighttime, after exercise …)

If the symptom is intermittent, bring evidence

Many times your dog might be limping, showing other signs of pain and act perfectly fine when at the vet’s office. It’s not unusual. As the adrenaline gets going it can mask many symptoms. Other things just happen only from time to time. If you can, videotape the concerning behavior. It is much easier to show than trying to explain or re-enact.

If your dog has diarrhea or vomits, bring a sample. Bring a urine sample. Ideally, you want first-morning pee but you also want the sample to be fresh. Come clean to your vet when you collected your samples and how and how you stored them.

If symptoms are chronic, chart them

With an ongoing issue, I like to keep a visual chart. I include the symptom(s) in question as well as other details and things that I figure might influence what’s happening. Jasmine’s chart got quite elaborate. You can keep a diary too but I find that a visual chart allows seeing any progress, decline or correlations in a glance. It is much easier to glean some information that way.

Advice For Scorpion Control

Scorpion Identification & Prevention Guide

What are scorpions?

Scorpions belong to the class Arachnida, the same class as mites, spiders, and ticks. These nocturnal predators have four pairs of legs, a single pair of pincers, and long, segmented tails that curve over their bodies and end with a sharp stinger. Scorpions use their powerful pincers and stingers to capture prey, injecting a potent venom and paralyzing it. They have poor vision and rely on touch and vibrations to hunt. Female scorpions produce live young that they will carry on their back for up to 15 days.

Are scorpions dangerous?

Scorpion stings are excruciating and, like bee stings, can cause localized swelling and an intense burning sensation. The venom they produce is potent enough to trigger allergic reactions and sometimes even life-threatening anaphylaxis. In the United States, the bark scorpion has venom that is strong enough to be potentially fatal.

Why do I have a scorpion problem?

Scorpions are nocturnal and like to hide in dark, secluded spots during the day. Unfortunately, most residential properties have places they can hide such as trees, woodpiles, rocks, and logs. They are also great climbers and like to scale walls or any rough surface they come across. Properties with a lot of insect activity are desirable to scorpions. Like any pest, scorpions make themselves at home anywhere there is easy access to food and often find their way into homes, garages, and other structures while foraging for food.

Where will I find scorpions?

Outdoors, scorpions hide in dark, damp, and secluded areas where they will wait for their prey (insects, small rodents, spiders, and lizards) to come by so that they can subdue them. Scorpions that move inside chose to hide in places that mimic their outdoor environment; basements, bathrooms, closets, crawlspaces, and laundry rooms are their top choices.

How can I prevent scorpions in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help you to prevent problems with scorpions in your home or business:

Use dehumidifiers in the basement, ventilate crawlspaces, and fix leaky pipes to reduce moisture levels indoors.

Seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home or business.

Install door sweeps on exterior doors.

Wipe excess moisture our of sinks and bathtubs.

Create a barrier of crushed rock or stone between your property and any mulch, soil, or grass.

Remove piles of leaves, fallen trees or tree limbs, excess woodpiles, and other organic debris from your property where scorpions can hide.

Scorpions – a hard-to-kill stinger

Scorpions are nuisance pests known to sting as a defense mechanism or as a way to kill prey. A handful of species like the bark scorpion, which is found in your region, possess more dangerous venom, which can be fatal to humans.

Scorpions are becoming a prevalent pest, especially in the southwest United States, which appears to be the result of the increasing urban encroachment into the scorpions’ natural habitat. Scorpions are predatory and will enter homes in search of harborage and food such as crickets and roaches. There are over 70 species in the United States, but less than 10 species are considered urban pests.

Scorpions are related to spiders as they have just two body segments; an abdomen and a cephalothorax (combined head and thorax). The abdomen terminates in a tail containing a stinger, while the cephalothorax has two chelicerae to chew prey and two pedipalps (pincers) to grasp prey. Young scorpions begin life as first instar nymphs, which crawl to the mother’s back and remain there 7-30 days until the first molt.

The species of urban importance are the desert harry scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis); Devil’s scorpions (Vejovis spp.); and the bark, common striped, and margarite scorpions (Centruroides sp ). Most stings from scorpions cause short-term pain, swelling or slight discoloration, but allergic reactions can be more severe. The most dangerous species in the United States is the bark scorpion, whose neurotoxic venom can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, numbness radiating from the point of envenomization, respiratory distress, dizziness, and death within two to 24 hours after the time of stinging. Morphine should not be administered, since it will synergize the effects of the venom. Antivenom is effective if administered within two hours after stinging.

The following five-step approach should be followed when addressing a scorpion problem.

Inspection // Check for harborages both indoors and outdoors. Scorpions will reside under debris such as wood piles and rocks during the day. Place sticky traps along walls inside suspected areas. Check under boxes, furniture and carpets, as well as attics, vents and light voids in ceilings. At night when scorpions are active, scorpions can be observed with an ultraviolet light as they will fluoresce.

Elimination of Harborage // Remove wood piles, landscape timbers, and rocks near the structure. Inside, where scorpions have been seen, move boxes and other objects that may serve as refuges off the ground.

Exclusion // Ensure that door thresholds are tight. Windows should have tight-fitting screens. If the weep screed is open, be sure that the screen is in good order. Frames, vents, utility pipe entrances, fascia boards should be sound and caulked, if necessary.

Food/Prey Reduction // Establish an 18-inch grass-free perimeter band around the structure. Use a perimeter pesticide application to eliminate insect prey.

Pesticide application // If scorpions are inside the structure, applications should be made behind appliances, along walls, in wall and ceiling voids housing lights and vents, attic areas, and crawl spaces.

SCORPIONS

Scorpions are often feared for their painful and poisonous stings. They’re typically not aggressive, but will attack if they are accidentally touched or feel threatened. Learn where scorpions live, how to help keep scorpions away, and get tips to help protect your family from these stinging creatures.

Scorpions are most active at night.

While many people think of scorpions as desert dwellers, these creatures are equipped with incredible survival skills that enable them to live in a variety of environments. In fact, scorpions are found on every continent in the world

Scorpions must have water to live, but can survive for months without food.

Similar to other arachnids like spiders, scorpions have two body regions and eight legs

WHAT SCORPIONS EAT

Scorpions eat other small creatures, including spiders, crickets, centipedes, and caterpillar

WHERE SCORPIONS LIVE

Scorpions can be found under rocks, woodpiles, or other debris.

Indoors, they are often found hiding in dark, secluded areas

WHAT ATTRACTS SCORPIONS

Scorpions enter your home looking for food, as well as a secluded or quiet place to hide and escape the heat

Help get rid of Scorpions – have dogs

First, I don’t want to sound mean to the other posters but I have a great deal of experience with scorpions… scorpions do not have eggs, they give live-birth to as many as 32 young and mom carries them on her back for a week or two afterwards till they are big enough to get along on their own

And they don’t come up drains or come in your house looking for food. They have plenty of food outside. They are coming in seeking comfortable temps and WATER. They are HIGHLY attracted to water which is why peaple often find them in their sinks

Filling your sinks at night will probably only attract more. Getting rid of them takes time, even with a professional exterminating service. They can live as long as seven years and are very hardy! Dusting your attic with diatomatious earth helps. Sealing all the cracks in your house, including those around light fixtures, light switches, baseboards, etc. also helps

use Cy-Kick, I only spray it on the outside of the house. In fact I dont use anything on the inside of my house. I have block perimeter walls so I spray all along the bottom block of the walls. I aim slightly up from the ground line so I also get 4 or 5 inches of the ground.

On the pillars I spray all the way up where the wall connects in and I spray the wall on both sides of the pillar up and out two blocks. For these walls I had noticed they were normally in those areas so that’s where I spray. On the house I do the same thing at the base and never go up more then a foot from the ground, then I go back and spray the eaves

Scorpion Identification & Prevention

What are scorpions?

Scorpions are a type of stinging pest. They use their stinger located at the end of their segmented, curved tail to inject venom into their prey. Scorpions are a type of arachnid and are related to spiders, ticks, and mites. These arachnids have four pairs of legs that end in claws and a pair of large pincers they use to hunt and hold onto their prey. Despite being excellent hunters, scorpions have poor vision. To hunt, they depend on their sense of touch and vibrations.

Are scorpions dangerous?

Scorpions are a pest you need to avoid and one that you should never handle. Some species of scorpions have venom that is life-threatening to people. However, most healthy adults will not have a life-threatening reaction to a scorpion sting. The venom that most scorpions deliver is as potent as bee or wasp venom, and in some – especially children – the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems, the venom could trigger a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. When you first spot scorpions on your property, contact a professional to get rid of them safely.

Why do I have a scorpion problem?

Scorpions live together in groups and become a problem on any property that offers them plenty of food. Scorpions feed on a wide variety of creatures, including insects, spiders, mice, and small lizards. Once in your yard, they are likely to find their way into your home, usually while hunting. They move inside through spaces under doors, around windows, torn screens, or spaces in exterior walls.

Where will I find scorpions?

Scorpions are nocturnal and like to hide in dark, cool places during the day. Common hiding spots for scorpions include under rocks, logs, fallen trees, woodpiles, and mulch in gardens. Most scorpions are very good at climbing, and you’ll see them hanging out on trees or the exterior or interior walls of buildings. Those that have moved indoors usually choose damp, cool places to live like basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

How can I prevent scorpions in the future?

Prevent problems with scorpions the easy way by partnering with Pest Control! It is also important to implement the following prevention tips to avoid problems with scorpions:

Use caulk to repair openings in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

Install door sweeps on exterior doors.

Repair any loose door or window screens.

Replace loose siding or shingles.

Install screens over any vents entering your house.

Seal up spaces around wires and other utilities entering your home.

Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and debris from your yard.

Remove areas of standing water in or around your home.

Wipe down excess moisture from sinks or tubs.

How To Choose An Engine Rebuilding

How Long Will the Maintenance Keep it Going?

Another question, referenced above, is how long your car is likely to keep running with the proper maintenance. If you do make the repairs in question, how many months can you expect to go before more major repairs are needed? It can be hard to tell, but, again, having an honest conversation with a trustworthy mechanic can help.

For instance, though, say you have some necessary work done on your vehicle for $1,500. Your mechanic thinks another $500 problem will need attention in a couple of months. That’s $2,000 in a short amount of time. But if that amount of maintenance will keep your car running well for a year, it may still be worth the money over the long haul.

One way to get a feel for the answer to this question is to figure out your car’s average life span. How many miles are other drivers getting out of the vehicle before it breaks down for good? One way to find out is to check out Consumer Reports’ car reliability guides. They can give you an idea of how many miles your vehicle is likely to last. If you’re getting close to that mark, it may be time to part with your car.

Engine Replacement Warning Signs

There is a fine line when it comes to cost when an engine rebuild isn’t the best repair plan for your vehicle. Engine replacement is many times a less costly option than completely rebuilding a heavily damaged engine. Here are 3 blow engine signs to help you make a decision or trust the advice of your repair mechanic.

1. CATASTROPHIC ENGINE FAILURE

Clearly this is one of the easiest signs that your engine is blown. If there’s a massive puddle of your engine’s oil with chunks of your engine in it, you’ve got a problem. If your vehicle stopped suddenly and there’s pieces of your engine in a pool of oil on the road, you’re going to need to replace your engine.

2. ENGINE STOPS SUDDENLY & LOUDLY

If you hear a loud noise and your engine suddenly stops you have likely seized it. This happens if the oil has ran out or you have likely overheated. Excessive heat can melt your cylinder walls and pistons which can fuse them together. Once the engine fuses together replacement is the only option.

3. NEGLECTING ENGINE MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS

Some engine problems are ones that drivers choose to ignore. If you’re check engine light has been on for months or even years or you’ve been ignoring a rough running engine damage has probably progressed. If the damage is severe enough an engine rebuild may be more costly than simply replacing the engine.

Engine Replacement Cost Factors

Some of the other factors that should be taken into account are discussed below, but you should start by deciding what type of engine you need and how to define one. For starters do you need an entire engine replacement, or would you be ok with just replacing the short or long block itself? Another factor is if a new engine is needed, or would a used engine be fine and if you are installing a used engine how many miles are too many and what condition should the engine be in. If cost is a determining factor you should expect to pay a newer engine, but a rebuilt engine can perform just as well as a new engine if done properly. An additional factor is whether the engine will be imported from Asia or Europe instead of using a domestic engine. The final cost factor will be labor for instance if you are having a friend install the engine after work or if you are taking it to a repair shop for an emergency replacement.

Long Versus Short Block Engine

The main difference between a long or short block version of an engine is the components that are actually included with the engine. A short block engine is an engine that comes with only the lower section included, or in other words, the engine without the cylinder heads or head gasket attached. Short blocks include the engine block, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, bearings and oil pan.

On the other hand, a long block engine is more of a complete bolt-in replacement option as it includes the cylinder head(s), camshafts (if applicable), valves, valve springs and most importantly, a brand-new head gasket. The head gasket’s primary function is to separate the engine coolant from the engine oil. Head gasket failure is the #1 reason why engines eventually get replaced. The reason they fail is because of overheating. The expansion rate of the cylinder head and engine block are not the same, and as the engine temps increase, the natural tendency of that expansion slightly warps the cylinder head allowing coolant and oil to mix, which can lead to catastrophicengine failure.

The cost you pay for any replacement engine will directly depend on the year, make and model of your vehicle. Naturally, a long block engine will always cost more than its short block counterpart, but saves headaches and hassles with removing and re-using parts off of your old engine.

Pros And Cons Of Putting A New Engine In A Classic Car

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages to replacing the engine in your classic car. When it comes down to it, it all depends on you as the owner of the classic car and what your personal preferences are since you are the one who is driving it.

The first advantage of adding a new engine to your classic car is that it will usually give you more power. Older engines tend to keep you going slower than 60 miles per hour which, for a classic car enthusiast, can be a little painful. New engines give you the freedom to ride around the neighborhood and show off your ride or ride it down the highway to the next town over.

The second biggest advantage is that you’ll have less maintenance and more reliability. Older engines have a tendency to leak, overheat, and just straight up break down during the worst times because they are, well, old. Having that new engine will give you the peace of mind that your classic ride will take you from A to B without problems.

The disadvantage of putting a new engine in your classic is that you take out a huge part of it’s originality. Many argue that all parts of a classic car should be preserved at all costs, even if that means a little discomfort for the driver. The engine is kind of the heart and soul of a classic car, so you’d basically be giving it a heart transplant by replacing the engine.

The other disadvantage may be that replacing the engine may require you to replace other parts in the engine bay, too, simply because other parts may not be compatible with the technology of a new engine. It can get a bit pricey after adding up all the replacement parts you’ll need to get.

Creative Home Remodeling

Key Measurements: Recreation Rooms Rule

Recreation rooms are one of those spaces that can require space that easily extends beyond the square footage of the average home. Traditional games such as pool and table tennis demand dedicated space, but there are many home games that could fit on a tabletop. Let’s find out what games your home could host by taking a look at the dimensions of some of the favorites.

Pool Tables

Pool tables are available in several sizes, and the most common ones are designated as 9-, 8- and 7-foot. The actual dimensions are as follows:

9 ft.: 5 ft., 2 in. wide and 9 ft., 4 in. long

8 ft.: 4 ft., 8 in. wide and 8 ft., 4 in. long

7 ft.: 4 ft., 2 in. wide and 7 ft., 4 in. long

All tables are 30 in. high and need a clear space above the table of at least 30 in. from hanging light fixtures. You will need at least 5 ft. clear around the table and next to walls with an addition of 2 ft. or more when placed next to other furnishings such as another game table. Considering the overall size of the pool table and the area required to function, you may need as much as 300 square feet dedicated to it.

The floor must be level, and it will need to support as much as 3,000 pounds, the weight of a traditional wooden pool table. You must provide diffused lighting with a rating of 375 lumens on the playing surface, which is about three 150-watt incandescent bulbs. Sharp shadows and fluorescent lighting should be avoided.

Table Tennis

Table tennis is another space eater when it comes to recreation rooms. The tables come in just one size, 5 ft. wide; 9 ft., 6 in. long; and 30 in. high. You need at least 7 ft. at each end of the table, and 4 ft. on each side clear to the walls. You should add a couple of extra feet if the table will be placed next to other furnishings. Similar to a pool table, it requires about 300 square ft.; though the required footprint is narrower, it needs more than 23 ft. in length.

Steps to Navigating a Remodel With Your Partner

Remodeling is challenging under the best of circumstances — but what do you do when you and your partner seem to disagree every step of the way? If planning for your project has hit a rocky patch, consider this your intervention.

Look at the Big Picture First

It’s important to start from a positive, we’re-in-this-together place, and a good way to do that is by sitting down to share your grandest goals. Think of this as several levels up from talking about paint colors and decor styles — this is the foundation of your project, and something you can return to when you disagree.

Here are a few questions to spark conversation.

How do you want our new space to make you feel when spending time there?

What activities do you envision happening there?

How do you see us using this space now? What about in five years?

Name Your Top Priorities

When you get into the messy middle of your project, it’s easy to start viewing every decision as carrying equal importance, from the number of square feet to the wood finish on the floors. But giving everything equal weight is a recipe for conflict. A good way to begin with an open mind is to create your own personal list of top priorities. Each person’s list should contain no more than three to five priorities, with just one item starred as the No. 1 priority. This allows you to take a bigger-picture view of the project, recognizing that, although certain things are very important to you, there are certainly plenty of other areas where you might find more wiggle room.

Do a List Swap

Once you have your lists of top priorities, begin fleshing them out with more ideas and wishes for your project. With these longer lists in hand, try a list swap. This exercise, developed by couples therapist and clinical sexologist and shared in a previous story, can help partners find more places to compromise and agree. who used to teach classes to couples on how to navigate a remodeling project, suggests that significant others exchange lists — then each person circles things that are similar, checks items they can compromise on and crosses out ideas they completely disagree on.

Are You a Manager, a Micromanager or a Hands-Off Remodeler?

When you’re planning a remodel, there is plenty to think about. But one thing that might not be on your radar is your level of interaction with the process and, by extension, with the pros involved. How this plays out can impact everything from the length of time a project takes to your overall satisfaction with the work.

This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of three very different approaches to working with contractors and other pros — as a manager, a micromanager or a hands-off remodeler. Read on to learn about these styles, and then tell us in the Comments which approach has worked best for you.

The Manager

Why being a manager can be a good thing. In a sense, as the homeowner, you are the overall manager, no matter what the project is. It’s your money and on your property where the work is happening. Even if you have an official project manager (and for nearly any remodeling project, that’s a very good idea), there is still room for you as the homeowner to act as a sort of big-picture manager. Taking care to keep good records, track your finances and generally have a healthy sense of where things are going is part of being a responsible manager. A good manager doesn’t hide from potential challenges, communicates clearly and effectively, and voices concerns rather than letting things fester.

Drawbacks to being the manager. There’s a difference between holding up your end of the responsibilities and simply jumping in and trying to take over. Jumping in frequently to check in on how things are progressing can be perceived by your contractor as overstepping. Stepping in too frequently also can disrupt work and create more confusion than it resolves.

Takeaway: Clearly define your official role. Are you hiring a project manager? This could be your general contractor, a designer or an architect. If you are, it’s important to recognize that you are actually paying this person to handle the management of your team and project. If not, you are by necessity taking on the role of project manager — a very different scenario! In the (more common) case, in which you have hired a project manager, it’s important to clearly define where your role ends and your contractor’s or designer’s role begins. It can help to sit down with your contractor before work begins to go over exactly what each party will be responsible for, and where those responsibilities might overlap.

Key Measurements for a Heavenly Stairway

Some stairways are easier to ascend than others, and there are reasons for that. The parameters of stair design are set by building codes, and there are also recommended configurations based on average human proportions.

There are, for example, tread-width-to-riser height relationships that make stairs more comfortable for the average person to traverse. Building codes set a minimum for staircase width, but wider dimensions are often necessary. Other important considerations are head clearance, railing dimensions and landings.

Calculating Staircase Square Footage

Since they require so much space, efficient staircases must be designed. The trick is a balance of comfort and efficiency that satisfies the building code and enhances the architecture of the space.

The length of the run is the total dimension the treads must occupy to complete the required rise. Staircases use significant square footage by the time all the steps are in place, landings are located and headroom has been cleared.

Consider that if a tread is 12 inches and you need 19 of them, that is 19 feet for the length of the steps alone. Now add at least 3 ft. on each end for landings, and you have 25 ft. in which to place that stairway path, at minimum. When you multiply the 25-ft. length times the 4-ft. width, which includes the railing and the wall, you have a 100-square-foot area that is required for that staircase. Double those figures to account for the hall or path to go around the staircase, and you have 200 square feet for one staircase. This is the size of a single-car garage.

March Motivation: Advice for Rebooting Your Home Projects

Decision fatigue, disagreements, lack of follow-through, budget issues and even the weather — home projects can stall out for all sorts of reasons. Being able to pinpoint the reason your project got stuck (or never really got started) in the first place will help you choose a good first step to get the ball rolling again. If you’d love to get your home project restarted, this guide is a good place to begin.

Pinpoint the Reason Your Project Stalled

When you think about your stalled-out project, what problem or issue comes to mind first? If you’re having trouble pinning down the reason for the roadblock, it may help to think about it in terms of phases of work

Here are a few examples of issues that can crop up at each stage of the process.

Big-idea stage: Indecision or disagreement about the vision or project scope

Preparation stage: Trouble deciding exactly what you want; budget issues

Team-building stage: Difficulties in hiring the right pro (or pros) for the job

Planning stage: Team communication breakdown; decision fatigue

Construction stage: Delays; miscommunication; feeling generally overwhelmed

Pick One Simple First Step

Once you can name the main reason your project got put on the back burner, it’s time to pick one small task that can help get things back on track. Choose something that feels straightforward and doable. Create a ideabook, call your architect or sit down with your partner to discuss the project.

Why You Stopped: Decision Fatigue

Even in a relatively “small” project, the number of decisions required can be truly mind-boggling. If you were up to your eyeballs in paint swatches and fabric samples and just couldn’t take it anymore, it’s no wonder — our everyday lives are already filled to overflowing with decisions to be made! Once you’ve had a chance to do some deep breathing, a good first step before you dive back into your project is to get organized.

Hardwood Flooring Offers Unique Looks In Floors

Are bare feet bad for hardwood floors?

Most parents and professional cleaners have a legitimate reason for wanting to keep outdoor shoes, well, outdoors, and that has to do with keeping the soles of our shoes from tracking dirt, grime, toxins like pesticides and industrial pollution, and traces of both human and animal waste into our homes. Outdoor shoes are even known to offer free passes to bacteria that can cause health issues, although that risk could be slightly exaggerated, according to The New York Times.

Many cultures practice shoe-free homes across Asia and the Middle East. But is the option of going barefoot — or perhaps just wearing soft fluffy slippers — at home a habit we should all be adopting? According to some podiatrists, the answer is a resounding, “no.” And it’s not because they aren’t concerned about having us invite a few germs and some grime into the house. Rather, they worry that going barefoot around the house could open up our feet to developing different types of structural injuries.

Hardwood Floors May Be Killing Your Feet

“My feet are killing me” is a common phrase we hear from patients suffering from foot and heel pain. Your hardwood floors may not actually be killing you, but they are likely irritating your feet. The days of green shag carpet—which offered shock absorption and comfort for our feet—have been replaced by stiff surfaces like hardwoods, laminates, and tile that cause more wear and tear on our feet. So if you find yourself missing the days of green shag carpet, you are not alone. Your feet miss it too!

Where do you find long stretches of concrete sidewalks, tile floors, or hardwood floors occurring naturally? The answer is nowhere. Humans have been wearing variations of shoes for thousands of years, but the increase in foot and heel pain may be related to more recent decorative changes.

As we’ve moved from shag carpets to laminates, hardwood, and tile floors, our feet have paid the price. More and more people have begun suffering from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissues at the bottom of the foot and a leading cause of foot pain. This can lead to pain in the arches or heels of the foot, which worsens when the foot pronates or flattens on hard surfaces. The pain can be severe and debilitating.

Noninvasive treatments to consider:

Did you know that chiropractors can do adjustments on feet? There are 26 bones in the foot, and just like the spine, the mobility of these joints can become restricted. When it comes to the cause of plantar fasciitis, studies have shown that “Reduced ankle dorsiflexion appears to be the most important risk factor.”  This means that reduced ankle movement is an underlying cause of the pain. Improved joint mobility can minimize pain and eliminate dysfunction.

Patients have had great success with therapeutic foot taping, custom orthotics, and of course, chiropractic adjustments. Over-the-counter insoles can be beneficial, however, custom orthotics do tailor to each foot’s unique arch.

The good news though is that nonsurgical management of plantar fasciitis is successful in about 90 percent of patients. So there is hope—even if you dearly love your hardwood floors!”

 As with most conditions, conservative treatment works best at the start of foot and heel pain. See a professional sooner rather than later if you are struggling with foot and heel pain.

Wearing shoes will protect your feet against bacteria and fungi

If you’re a germaphobe, this may put you off going around your house in bare feet for life: Your floors may be clean, but they can’t really ever be completely germ free, and walking barefoot indoors exposes your feet to potential infections caused by bacteria and fungi. These organisms first infect the skin, and then they may infect the nails, leading to thickening, discoloration and brittleness of the nails. Both conditions become not only unsightly but also contribute to an unpleasant odor. 

The best way to protect your feet is to pick up a good pair of indoor shoes, which you can change into when you get home. Doctors recommend looking for a pair that provides good arch support, particularly if you already suffer from a foot condition, such as weak arches or bunions.

Wood Flooring: 5 Costly Mistakes You Can Avoid

Wood flooring is one of the top choices, as it has been throughout the years. It adds elegance and warmth to a room, and it is versatile in that homeowners can add stains for changes in color or top with an accent rug for a softer feel. Many homes that have original wood flooring can use this as a selling point, and buyers pay top dollar for wood floors that are in good condition

1. Not engaging in preventative measures

Before anyone walks across the new wood floor, make sure to take some preventative measures. Place doormats at all doorways so that family members and guests can wipe their shoes before walking into your home. Cover the legs of all pieces of furniture with felt so that they can easily slide in and out without the metal feet scratching the floors. Think about strategic placement of runners and area rugs in high traffic areas. These are only some of the ways that you can be your wood floor’s best ally.

2. Using abrasive cleaning products

When it comes to wood floors, there are certain cleaning products and chemicals that should never touch the surface. If your floor has a coat of sealant or lacquer, you should use different cleaning products than if it is unfinished.

All wood floors can be swept with a broom or dry mop, but avoid using chemicals that can deteriorate the finish or warp the wood. If you use liquid floor cleaner, apply it to the mop or cloth instead of pouring it directly onto the floor. When shopping for flooring cleaning products, tell your vendor exactly what kind of wood floor you’ve got. And then proceed accordingly.

3. Forgetting about your pets and their habits

Animals can cause a lot of damage to wood floors, whether from an accident that is left untreated or from long nails that can cause scratches and dings. Clean up any spills or accidents as soon as they happen to prevent warping, and keep their nails trimmed. See your vet on how to do this properly. Additionally, if food or water bowls sit on the floor, keep silicone mats beneath them so that spills don’t seep into the floor.

4. Wearing shoes indoors

High heeled shoes can ding and dent a wood floor, so ask guests to remove their shoes, and always remove yours when you come into your home. These shoes are more damaging when they don’t have rubber heel protectors since they can basically become chisels that make holes in the wood.

Dirty or wet shoes can also cause the floors to warp and shift, so the best option is to simply walk barefoot or in socks when walking on the hardwood. Or, if you really want to keep your feet warm, wear comfy indoor slippers. Be comfortable, and protect your wood floors at the same time.

5. Using aggressive cleaning tools

Steam mops might seem like a good way to remove bacteria from wood floors, but they can result in serious damage. Use minimal amounts of cleaning products on your floors, and always use soft towels to wipe up the floors. An antibacterial floor cleaner is a better way to eliminate germs and bacteria on the floors.

How Important Is The Interior Painting To Match With The Bedroom Interior Design

How to Faux Paint a Wall

Faux painting involves applying different glazes to a wall in order to give it the look of a weathered, textured surface. Common faux paints include marble, brick, and wood. A common alternative to paint, faux paint allows one to vary the consistency of a wall’s color and texture while giving the illusion of having a much more expensive material. There are three common techniques for faux painting. Color wash includes a glaze applied in overlapping brush strokes to produce a worn appearance. Sponging involves using a sponge to apply glaze for a more textured look. Ragging includes the use of a rag or towel to give the wall a milder, more variable style. The preparation for all of these methods is the same.

Choosing a Faux Painting Technique

Decide whether you want a smoother or a more worn look.

Ragging generally gives the smoothest texture. Color wash gives the most worn look, while sponging gives a very textured appearance.

Decide how many coats of paint you want.

The more paint you add to your surface, the more textured the surface will appear. A single coat leaves brush or rag marks on the wall, while a second coat will mostly cover these and provide a more even appearance.

Choosing Faux Paint and Materials

Pick a color for your faux paint.

Look at paint samples in a store to see how paint will appear when applied. You can tweak the brightness of the paint by adding a light or darker base coat, and you can also mix two colors to create different tones.

Purchase your faux paint and painting materials.

Buy the paint, base coat, and other materials–a brush, rag, or sponge, as well spackling paste for filling irregularities in the wall–at a paint or home supply store. Consult sales staff to make sure you are buying the right colors for your faux paint and base coat.

Faux Finishes You Can Do Yourself

Faux Malachite

You mean we’re NOT looking at a table made from crystallized minerals? To make this stunning faux finish, paint a base layer in a bright green mint or teal color. Then, with different shades of darker teal (each in a mixture of one part paint to three parts glaze), use brushes of varying size to create rock-like swirls, layering them slightly over each other.

Faux Marble

I know what you’re thinking—you can’t tell the difference between the real marble and the imitation! With nothing but a feather and three different shades of gray craft paint, the blogger at In My Own Style made her countertop look like actual marble.

Faux Bois

Want to pretend your laminate shelf is actually wood? Well, the Little Green Notebook has got you covered. Once you paint your base color, mix the color of your grain using one part oil-based paint to one part thinner or Penetrol. Paint your surface in sections, then use a wood-grain rocker to form the grain. Make sure to vary your technique to imitate the variations found in a real wood surface.

Faux Exposed Brick

Want some brick where you’ve got none? Well, if you’re up for a bigger undertaking, you—like the intrepid weekend warrior at Do-It-YourselfDesign—can DIY it! Measure and tape the outline for your “bricks” on your wall, then cover with interior stucco. When the stucco is dry to the touch but still soft, remove the tape. Once the wall is completely dry, paint it white and your room will look like it belongs in a NYC brownstone!

Graining.

With faux bois being a recent hot trend in interiors, graining might be the way to go in faux finishes. Purchase a graining tool (specially designed for creating a wood-grain finish), then drag it gently down or across a wet glazed or painted surface. Be sure to rock the graining tool as you go in random, varied spots, to mimic the natural course of wood grain.

Sponging.

The use of a sponge in faux painting has been around for years; it’s a staple in the faux finishing world. Lightly dip a dry sponge into the paint and gently push it onto the surface you’re working with. The key to sponging is to do multiple layers, each very light, to build up to the color density you’re after. You want the sponged colors to be as even as possible across the entire surface. Consider using slightly different shades of the same color for a subtle depth in your finished faux surface.

Stripes:

Stripes are a classic design element that can add interest to any room. Adding stripes to your walls with paint is a technique that gives you the freedom to create original, personalized vertical or horizontal patterns that reflect your taste and lets you customize the colors to match your décor.

Plan out your design — do you want vertical or horizontal stripes? Do you want to paint them on an accent wall or throughout the whole room, or something else outside the box? Choose a color scheme. It’s common to choose two shades of the same color, but you don’t have to limit yourself. For a bolder effect, try contrasting colors that complement one another. For a more subtle striping effect, use the same color for the basecoat and the stripes, but in different finishes. You can be more contemporary by using stripes in varying widths.

Creative Faux Finish Ideas for your Bare Walls

Get inspired by your most loved fabrics and materials

Whether you love the rough appeal of burlap and seagrass or the ultra smoothness of leather and suede, there are many painting techniques to transform your wall. First find fabrics and textiles that evoke an emotion in you that you’d love to carry onto your walls. Depending on your design style, try out a small area first before painting the entire wall!

Using your ceiling to add gorgeous faux finishes

Your ceiling or 5th wall as it is referred to by designers is one of the best places to apply faux finish techniques. Your ceiling is often a missed opportunity to add color, texture and to transform a boring white painted ceiling into a whole other world! When choosing the technique that best fits your decor remember for do it yourself painting to use scaffolding or other safety equipment when applying paint.

Old world style to your modern home

Do you love the appeal of the Mediterranean to your interiors? Try faux finish techniques from distressing, graining, and layering or sponging on a variety of colors to add depth and to age your walls. This technique is perfect for interiors that want to bring a Tuscan or aged “patina” look to their interiors. This technique is common on ceilings in dining rooms and master bedrooms.

Using plaster to bring a rustic appearance to your room

In many European homes and even early Americana homes, plaster was the material of choice for interior walls as it was durable and could be given many different surfaces. Today, drywall is the finish of choice for most interiors, but if you love the rustic appeal of plaster try using a special primer paint and plaster faux finish sold at most paint stores. Perfect for light switch and electrical plates too!

How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

How To Become a Professional Wedding Photographer

Whether you want to know how to become a professional commercial photographer or how to become a professional photographer in general, the quickest way to start making money with your camera may be wedding photography.

The goal behind this 14 tutorial was to create the most comprehensive resource on everything it takes to create compelling wedding images as well as the tools needed to start and run a successful wedding photography business. No matter if you are brand new to photography or if you are already shooting weddings professionally

Why Wedding Photography?

As we explain in the promo video above, wedding photography pretty much fell into both of our laps. I believe many photographers have the same wrongfully biased opinion about wedding photography as I did when I first picked up a camera. The idea of dealing with dramatic bridezillas, going hours without food or drink, and having to take cheesy photographs all day was not my idea of a good day at work.

The most interesting thing about wedding photography is that there is a market in every single city. I believe wedding photography offers an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in photography as a hobby or career; through wedding photography, you can become 100% self employed as a full time photographer!

goal with this tutorial isn’t to make everyone a millionaire or turn you into some sort of rockstar wedding photographer. I aren’t either of those things. What want to teach you is how you can take better photographs, start your own business, and hopefully shave off at least three years of trial and error during those initial startup years

TIPS WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING TIMELINE

LEAVE A CUSHION

The biggest mistake I see couples make is running their timeline to the minute. When Planning a wedding timeline leave a cushion. I consider weddings to be organized chaos. A day full of love, tears, and excitement – mix in a little alcohol and there you have it, organized chaos. Something always comes up and it will, I promise.

TRAVEL TIME

Make sure you plan for travel time. Not only for you but for your photographer and other venders that have to travel to multiple locations. While you can just walk out of the hotel, church or into your reception, it takes your photographer time to pack everything up, get to the car, drive to the next location and unpack the gear to be ready for the next shoot.

SUNSET TIME

When planning a wedding timeline remember every season has it challenges. Some weddings have to deal with the heat, cold, rainy season and humidity, but they all have one thing in common, sunset. The most flattering light of the day is what photographers refer to as “Golden Hour” which happens about an hour before sunset. So, when planning your ceremony, if you want to be shooting in that beautiful light, be familiar with sunset time. If you are having a winter wedding, remember sunset can happen as early as 4:30. So if you are ceremony is at 6pm in the winter it will be limited to inside photos after the ceremony.

DESIGNATE A PHOTO WRANGLER

This could be one of your best decisions and this person could save your timeline. Your photographer will not always know the faces of all the people on your formal shoot list but a family member or friend that knows them is priceless. As your photographer is shooting one group, the Wrangler can get the next group ready. This way you can shuffle through them quickly, organized and stay on schedule.

ESTABLISH A WEDDING WEBSITE

This one takes a little more work for you on the front end when planning a timeline, but will save your sanity by not have to answer the same phone call from all your family and friends. Here your guests can find all the information they need about your wedding day as well as nearby hotels, restaurants, and things to do when not at your wedding.

WHAT A FIRST TIME WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER NEEDS TO KNOW

The news that you are photographing your first wedding often leads to emotions ranging from excitement to apprehension, and in some cases, fear. Assuming you have experience with your equipment and have developed the necessary skills to take great photographs, the wedding event has a greater likelihood of being a successful one if you follow some key steps.

BEFORE THE WEDDING

Proper preparation before the event is the best way for a photographer to have a successful outcome. I spent several weeks before my first wedding visiting other photographers’ web sites. I read books on wedding photography, and I researched photography blogs and forums. It is amazing how much information is available for little or no charge. These tips and photographs can inspire you and get you thinking about what you want to accomplish and how you are going to make it happen.

It is important that you have a standard written agreement that is signed by the bride- and groom-to-be and the photographer. There is no excuse for not having this document in place. It should describe the deliverables and the fees associated with the service and products. It should also include a model release so you can use the photos for promotional purposes. It is highly recommended that you contact an attorney and draft a standard agreement that protects you.

At the time of signing the agreement, there are two other opportunities to enhance the process. First, get to know the bride and groom. Spend some time chatting so you will know their story and they will know you. When the wedding day comes, they should feel comfortable with you so their true personalities will shine. If possible, include a no cost or low cost engagement shoot so everyone can gain even more of a comfort level. It is a good opportunity to give them some posing tips that they can use on their wedding day

It is also imperative to know the schedule. When you are meeting with the bride and groom, go over the agenda for the time you are expected to be at the wedding. Get to know their expectations. Let them know when you expect them to devote time to photographs with you in charge. This is a good time to talk about a wedding coordinator. If they will designate a friend or family member that will help the you identify important family members during the wedding day, it can be a tremendous help.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR COUPLES

Introduction to wedding photography tips

Every time I meet with a couple for a conversation about their wedding photography I inevitably offer some suggestions that they could make during their preparations that will help me do my job more effectively. I have accumulated a wealth of experience over the years and enjoy sharing it with the couples that make time to discover my unique style of wedding photography. Several months ago, I realised that I am often repeating the same wedding photography tips from meeting to meeting and decided to formalise the suggestions in one central repository for easy reference and sharing. These wedding photography tips are by no means comprehensive, although that is my ultimate aim; they will be edited and improved upon as new ideas come to mind. Much like the wedding photography FAQ, you should consider this document a continuous work in progress.

The purpose of wedding photography tips for couples

The goal of this article is to help you help me deliver outstanding wedding photography by putting together an awesome, efficient, and beautiful wedding celebration.

As a documentary wedding photographer, I can only capture what I see unfolding before my eyes because my influence over the images is limited to angle, the field of view, focus, and timing. It is your duty to plan and design your wedding with the purpose of excellent images in mind, precisely because I do not rearrange trinkets, decorations, or furniture, or interrupt couples during touching moments with prompts to move here or stand over there. Despite that, I have no qualms about dispensing advice leading up to your wedding. The purpose of this article is not to make my job easier – in fact, I work harder when given more creative opportunities by thoughtful wedding planning – but to provide you with as much helpful information as possible so that you can help me deliver the best looking unposed photojournalistic wedding photography

Get your wedding photographer to capture you getting ready and preparing

Whenever I meet with couples whose fixed wedding photography budgets mean they have to decide between photographic coverage earlier in the day (preparations and getting ready) or later in the evening (once the dance party gets started), I always recommend they choose the former. There are many more touching and emotional moments happening at the beginning of the day than towards its conclusion. Once the dinner, speeches, and cake-cutting traditions are over, and the dancing (and drinking) has started, the utility of having a dedicated wedding photographer on site decreases dramatically. There are two main reasons for this. First, with a few rare exceptions, the schedule for this part of the night no longer has any earmarked events, traditions, or ceremonies to behold. The nighttime revelry rarely yields more than a handful or two of unique photographs, after which you quickly get diminishing returns.

Choose unique lodging

Couples that opt to have an overnight stay at a hotel on the eve of their wedding should consider upgrading their accommodations to lodgings with personality. Because conventional hotel rooms are designed to appeal to the greatest number of people, they strictly adhere to the same set of uninspiring interior design and layout tropes, and this bleeds into your photographs. Most couples understand the importance of selecting a unique venue for their reception, but often overlook the importance a distinctly beautiful location contributes to preparation photography.

Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photography

If you are interested in photography or even work in the photography business, then you have most probably stumbled across wedding photography already, since this genre is becoming more and more popular. I would say wedding photography is one of the most challenging fields in photography, because you literally have only one chance to get the shots that you want.

I have been photographing weddings for around 7 years now. Over the years, I have learned a lot – sometimes the hard way, through many mistakes. In this wedding photography tutorial, I’ll share with you some of my experiences, important advice and wedding photography tips to ensure that you’ll be well-prepared for the most important day in the life of the people you are going to photograph.

What is Wedding Photography?

So, let’s have a closer look at what your actual task is, if you are booked as a wedding photographer. Of course it’s about taking the best pictures possible of the whole day. This includes getting ready with the bride, the ceremony, a wedding shoot and the party.

While the wedding shoot is the only part of the wedding that you can actively control, the other parts are more like a reportage. Your job is to take pictures of what is happening in front of your lens, without interrupting anything. Nothing is worse than a photographer trying to get people to pose for the camera during a wedding. Always try to stay invisible and let people act naturally. Don’t make them feel watched. That’s how you’ll usually arrive at the best shots.

What Equipment do you Need to Photograph a Wedding?

There are no fixed rules for what camera gear you will need to bring to a wedding day but some parts of the equipment are obligatory, while others are more optional. First things first, let’s have a look at the most important things in your camera bag.

Guide To Starting Your Home Renovation Project

Don’t Be One of Those Homeowners Who Goes Over Budget on a Renovation

demolished her built-in bookshelves as part of a living room DIY, she found it gave the room some much-needed space. Unfortunately, she also found a hidden subfloor made from asbestos(!) tiles. She hadn’t budgeted for a new subfloor — or for the removal of a toxic substance. Yikes

Reconsider DIY

“If you don’t have the expertise, you could end up paying between 10% and 40% more,” says. Why? While your DIY labor is technically free, your lack of know-how can be costly.

And then there’s hiring and scheduling. A task like moving a wall could mean hiring an engineer and an architect, not to mention coordinating permits. A general contractor knows who’ll do the best work for the best price, and they’ll know when to schedule them to avoid wasting dollars on inefficient use of time.

Hire the Right Experts

If you decide to forgo the general-contractor route and hire individual workers yourself, it’s best to get at least three quotes for each service performed. Talking to professionals isn’t just about finding the most competitive price. It’s also an opportunity to figure out what services each individual contractor includes within his fee.

Map Out the Project Step by Step (So You Don’t Miss Anything)

So, you’re planning to put up a backsplash. What do you need to put into your budget? The tile and adhesive, right? And that’s about it?

Things to consider before starting your home renovation

When it comes to home renovations, there are two unassailable truths: It’s going to take longer than expected and it’s going to go over budget – sometimes way over. Oh, and given the number of nightmare stories out there, chances are you’re going to loathe your contractor. (They probably won’t be too thrilled with you, either, a lot of the times.) If you are thinking of undertaking a renovation this spring or summer, spare yourself the migraines and the moping and the complaining to friends about how awful it has all been. Get going now on the most important step of the process: proper planning.

THE TIME IT TAKES

The biggest mistake would-be renovators make? “Not doing enough homework up front,” he says. Even small renos, such as redoing a kitchen or bathroom, take 30 to 60 days of planning. That’s the time you will need to find a contractor, create a design and make more decisions than you can imagine. Meanwhile, you’ll have to decide how you want to use the space, visit stores to price materials and comb through design magazines for the look you want.

HOW TO PICK A CONTRACTOR

To find the right contractor, you need to do more than ask for a few references. “We’re all going to give you references, and we’re going to give you the best ones we’ve ever had,” says. For all you know, those references could be friends or family. “What you should do is go and look at one of the jobs [the contractor] is halfway through right now.” Talk to the client. Is the contractor reasonable to deal with? Is the job running on time? Has the contractor been going over budget?

recommends going to where contractors shop for their supplies and asking a few questions. Do the suppliers know the contractor? How often is he in buying materials? An electrician who has been purchasing thousands of dollars worth of material week in and week out for years is probably a lot more reputable that someone with a spotty shopping history.

HOW TO BE A GOOD CLIENT

There’s no shortage of complaints about bad contractors. But know this: Even the good ones are frustrated by clients sometimes too. “Whether you like it or not, I’m part of your family, and it’s going to be a love-hate relationship,”

Your Complete Guide to Home Renovation

In this guide, we will share the essential steps of home renovation and everything you need to know about making your dream home a reality. From finding your interior style to budgeting, furnishing, extra little tips from our own personal experiences and more, we got you covered

Choosing your interior style is a great way to kickstart your renovation journey. If you have no idea where to start, Pinterest is one of the perfect inspirational sites to go for! You can do a general search for popular home interior designs,

Sharing some inspiration, one of the increasingly popular options is the minimalist style. Going by the “less is more” approach, think clean, modern lines and simplicity, The lack of clutter is pleasing on the eyes and helps ease the mind

Now that you have settled on your home interior style, next up is determining how much it will cost to make your vision a reality. Factors that you need to consider when budgeting are:

Professional fees for interior designer or contractor

Size of home

Type of home (HDB, condominium, or landed house)

Type of furniture, appliances and materials

Moving costs

Buffer for extra charges or last-minute changes

To get a budget estimate of your home renovation project, you can start by using Qanvast’s useful renovation calculator, with costs based on $20m worth of past home renovation contracts. Either that, or the traditional approach of picking a sample style from your Pinterest board or anywhere online and send it along with a request for a quote from interior designers and contractors

Reasons to Renovate Your Home

Home renovations are costly, time-consuming and messy. Still, many people choose to renovate their homes for a variety of reasons. There are almost as many reasons to fix up your home as there are projects to choose from. Here are the top reasons for renovating your home.

To increase your comfort or enjoyment of the home.

This one comes first for a reason. Although there are many good reasons to renovate your home, your own comfort and enjoyment are important factors that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you renovate solely based on how it will impact the future sales price down the line, you may end up living in a showplace that doesn’t feel like a home. Your comfort and enjoyment are more important than what improvements will make the most money when you eventually sell.

To fix a safety issue.

Some home renovation projects just can’t be put off. Electrical problems, roof leaks, or a crack in the foundation are some problems that must be taken care of to keep your family safe and prevent catastrophic or total loss of the home.

To improve the home’s value.

If you plan to sell the home within the next few years, you may want to renovate some or all of it with an eye toward getting the most you can when you put it on the market. Some projects that have the best immediate return are opening up the main living space, replacing the front door, and updating the kitchen or bathroom

To upgrade the home’s function.

Maybe you need more space, or a second bathroom would make things a lot easier during those busy mornings. Maybe your husband wants a man cave, or you would like a deck or a patio for outdoor entertaining. Renovating so that the home functions better for the residents is a good idea, as long as the upgrades don’t hurt the home’s value or decrease usable space.

Things You Need to (NOT) Do For Your Next Home Improvement Project

Yet, there are still very real pains homeowners feel in the midst of a home improvement project. If it looks so easy on TV, how can remodeling be so difficult in real life? Sure, those snapshots of the before and after paint a beautiful picture, but what you don’t see is the all of the time and stress involved. Not to mention the real-life aggravation of living months without a functional kitchen.

Don’t Wind Up In Project Purgatory

The home improvement journey is a wild ride that has the potential to produce some truly stunning results, but it is easy for projects to stall or take an unexpected turn for the worse. So, don’t start without a plan, and coincidentally, don’t expect everything will go according to plan.

Don’t Think You Can Do It All Yourself

But, “I don’t need any help.” Yes you do. Even if you’re an ardent do-it-yourselfer, it is wise to consult an expert prior to demo day. When hiring professionals, do your due diligence in research. It’s great you’re asking for help, but make sure you find GOOD help. Dive into whether they have ample experience, are licensed, and have past client references. But just because they’re a good architect, interior designer or general contractor, doesn’t mean they’re right for you. To choose the best person for your project, also consider if they are paying attention to what you say. Are they asking the right questions? Do they seem curious about your needs, wants and the way you live?

Don’t Try to Tackle The Unknown

“You don’t need a professional for that.” Whatever you do, don’t believe this lie. Sure, you can take on painting your living room, but when it comes to structural changes, electrical, plumbing, roofing and windows, leave it to the pros. It isn’t uncommon to discover structural problems as you tear down walls, replace cabinetry, or re-tile a floor, especially in older buildings (but new construction doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing either). This can make your ‘weekend project’ a ‘whole life project’.

Don’t Be Cheap or Lavish. Be Smart With Your Renovation Budget

While it can be easy to want to go all out and spare no expense when remodeling or building a new space, price tags do matter. Quality is certainly crucial, so by no means should you settle for shoddy materials over trusted brands, but you want to keep the big picture of your project in full view. This includes long term maintenance, energy loss, and repairs. Those expenses add up quickly, so consider them in your plan when comparing prices.