Tips on Hiring a Great Architect – Building Your Dream House

A dream house – probably the one on top of everyone’s properties wish list. When you finally reached the point where your budget permits you to build your dream house, be sure to take the right steps and make the right moves. Building your dream house is probably the most expensive venture you will do for yourself. Expensive indeed but the most rewarding when done correctly.

One of the most important person that can help you turn your dream into reality is an architect. A great project like your dream house also requires a great architect. An architect is the person that turns your imagination into plans and your vision into reality. Since an architect plays a very crucial role in building your dream house, how will you know if you have found the right one?

Finding an architect, let alone a great architect, is difficult if you are looking in the wrong places or when you don’t know what you are looking for. In building your house, you need an architect that understands not only what you need, but what you want as well. The internet is a very important resource that facilitates every task that we have to perform, specially “finding tasks”. If you are looking for a architect, try Googling “Tips on hiring a great architect” and you can find sites that may help you.

Many sites offer FREE step by step tips on how to find a architect, how to hire an architect, how to identify a great architect, things to look for in an accredited architect, interview questions to ask an architect and many more. So, what are you waiting for? Turn your dream into reality and find that great architect now.

Build a Handcrafted Log Cabin For Under $50,000 – A Log Home Guide For the Do-it-Yourselfer

Do you dream of owning your own log home or cabin?

Living in a mountain retreat, lakeside resort, or country ranch lifestyle, is continuing to grow in popularity. Studies show that people who trade their urban lifestyle for a simpler, less stressful natural setting, where they can relax more often, are also living healthier lives, and actually live longer as a result!

In recent years many of us are embracing this lifestyle as never before. But… Many of today’s custom log cabin owners have become frustrated with the cost and length of time it takes to build their home. One would think that modern methods should reflect shorter construction times, but custom log homes today, on average, do take longer to build. This is due in part to some proven methods that cannot be improved upon, going back in history to European craftsmanship, skills, and techniques still used today in the effort required to properly build a quality custom home built to last. This approach requires patience from the homeowner, but can lend itself to a beautiful dream home, with high quality of craftsmanship.

This is the standard of quality that folks today expect, but it comes with a price. You can avoid the higher cost of building a custom log cabin by doing most of the work yourself. It is possible to build a 1200 to 1500 sq. ft. Log Cabin for under $50,000 (land not included)

The right approach requires thought, creativity, and an efficient, yet patient application of skills, but can be very rewarding due to the custom nature of a handcrafted home. Comparing a log construction time frame, with that of a Custom, stick-frame home, is misleading.

Log Homes of equal square footage will always take a bit longer to build on average. A log builder with a good crew should be able to properly dry-in an average size milled D-style home in less than three months, after the log package has been delivered to the building site. A “Hybrid” (Log Accents & Stick Frame Construction), should take a little less time to dry-in. A do-it-yourselfer building a handcrafted home will take 6 to 8 months on a part-time building schedule, but you will be continuously saving a ton of money.

After dry-in is completed, it could take from 3-5 months longer to finish or “turnkey” a milled style home or a “Hybrid”. These time frames could be even longer if you are building a handcrafted log home. The handcrafted cabin is the most time consuming style of construction, but is widely accepted as the “Ultimate” in a unique one of a kind log cabin. Weather, commute to the site, suppliers, building inspectors, or other factors can change this guideline. So… prepare yourself for this journey, and you will ultimately enjoy the rewarding experience of your own log home Lifestyle, with your own design and tastes, in the home you really want and can afford to enjoy.

How much does it cost to build a log home?

With this in mind… building a log cabin does not have to cost a fortune to become reality. If you choose to do most of the work yourself, you can probably build your home for as little as $45 per sq. ft. On the other hand, if you have all the work done by a builder, and purchase upscale fixtures and features, it could cost $250 per sq. ft. or more.

Although to suggest a certain price per square foot is only a guideline/starting point, I do think that an affordable custom log home without an owners participation can be built for around $110.00 – 150.00 per sq. ft… That is, if you don’t go hog wild!

Bear in mind that depending on where you are at, you will always realize a larger home equity when you are building it yourself from scratch!

Power Washing Tips for Home Siding and More

Routine care for any property, residential or commercial, is essential for the well-being of its structure, appeal, and value. Seasonal power washing is one highly effective and recommended method used by many property owners to extend the longevity of their home or building. If you have never washed your home’s siding, roofing, and foundations, it may be time to address these areas before they can begin to show signs of mold, mildew, fungus, pests, deterioration, and more.

Prime Spots to Pressure Wash

Various areas of a home or building should be pressure washed regularly in order to maintain its overall value, performance, and safety. Vinyl siding, roofing, gutters, and additional exterior components are all places that can benefit from periodic high pressure washes.

SIDING

Vinyl siding accumulates dirt at a higher pace compared to other siding materials like brick or stone. This means it is very evident when vinyl siding is dirty and unkempt. Residential properties commonly have vinyl siding, and if the surface of the vinyl is not routinely cleaned, the dirt will begin to show, and the house will appear older and more worn that it actually is. Not only does this look unappealing, it can create an unhealthy environment for residents, guests, pets, and more. This is especially detrimental to anyone attempting or preparing to sell their home.

Brick and stone collect dirt as well, but because of their rocky appearance, they hide dirt and debris a little better. This, however, doesn’t reduce the need for cleaning. Brick, stone, and concrete can atrophy over time from harsh weather, changing seasons, and sun exposure. To protect these areas of a building or home, you much routinely pressure wash them and look into protective applications as well.

ROOFS AND MORE

Rooftops, gutters, gables, windows, canopies, and awnings are also areas that can benefit from routine power washing. Gutters can become clogged with leaves, branches, and debris throughout the seasons, which can increase the chances of flooding, pest infestations, and roof leaks. Clearing them by hand can be tedious, so pressure washing is a great alternative for anyone who wants to get the job done efficiently.

When it comes to pressure washing a roof, roof shingles can be easily damaged, so it is a delicate job that requires some experience. If you do not have experience cleaning shingle roofs, it is best to consider hiring a professional. Fortunately, if you do end up damaging your roof shingles by pressure washing them, a professional roof repair company can easily replace missing or broken pieces within a quick timeframe and for a reasonable price.

DIY Power Washing

The proper tools that are required for a do-it-yourself power washing project are available at any local hardware or home improvement store. These devices can range in price depending on brand, model, and retailer, between $100 and $3000 or more. Equipment for pressure washing includes a hose, nozzle, gloves, plastic tarps, safety glasses, and power washing approved cleaning solutions. There needs to also be a power source nearby, such as an extension cord or outlet.

Using high pressure water for the first time can be difficult and dangerous. It can also be expensive if you do not already have the proper materials. Often times, it is less expensive to hire a professional rather than invest in all the proper tools and supplies, as well as the time. Power washing a home or building can be a DIY job if you are experienced with home renovations and familiar with the equipment required for the task.

However, if you have never attempted pressure cleaning before, it is highly advised to learn the necessary knowledge and skills so that you do not damage highly sensitive areas of your home, like the roof or siding. If your roofing, siding, or gutters are damaged by your attempts to power clean them, be sure to contact a professional roof repair contractor right away. It is important to address damages as soon as possible, before they can become worse and more costly to repair.

Discus Aquariums – Simple Tips to Build a Home For Your Discus Fish

Discus aquariums must be set up properly in advance of bringing your discus home. It is foolhardy to think that you will be able to buy the fish, and then setup the tank. In the long term, this is a failing and fish killing scenario. This article will explain what you can do today to prepare your aquarium for discus.

For filtration of discus aquariums, a cultured sponge filter will work well. If don’t want to wait for the filter to culture naturally, consider using one of the bacterial starter cultures. Either choice will work fine, the important thing is that there isn’t a lot of water flow, as calm water mimics the natural discus habitat.

Use a thin layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the tank. Bare bottom tanks also work fine, and are usually better for breeding.

I like to use driftwood, floating plants and clay flowerpots filled with gravel and other suitable plants. Remember that the water temperature in discus aquariums is 80 degrees F or more, so be sure to choose compatible plants. A fluorescent strip light with one warm and one cool white bulb will provide enough light for the plants.

For a quarantine or hospital tank, I do not use gravel or any plants. If this is your first adventure into discus aquariums, the initial tank should essentially be built as a quarantine tank. In this case, the tank should have nothing other than water, filter, heater, and light. The reason for such Spartan accommodations is that you need to be able to observe your discus closely at first. They may want to hide, but it’s better if you can see them clearly. Remember, you can always add the amenities later, after are sure your new fish are healthy. This quarantine period should last a minimum of 30 days. If you are adding new fish to an established discus aquarium, be sure to keep the new fish in a separate 10 gallon tank while you evaluate their health.

Discus aquariums need some advanced preparation in order to be successful. Most importantly, is ensure proper water quality and habitat. You also need to learn how to properly acclimate new discus to your aquarium. I encourage you to learn more about the specifics of setting up discus aquariums. Topics such as food, water chemistry, and choice of tank mates are all critical to your success. Good Luck!

Tips to Build a Great Relationship at Work and at Home

Years ago I learned a very powerful lesson from Stephen Covey. In his book entitled “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”he explains the concept of principle based leadership.

In the last message I shared with you how to respond to the important and not the urgent. Now that you have more time and leading your life based on your priorities I want to give you the next tool that will make you the author of your relationships.

Today I am going to share with you an exercise that involves you being at your funeral right now, today. Imagine all your loved ones, spouses, kids, family members, friends, employees and business contacts standing up at the podium and reflecting on their relationship with you. I know this may be difficult and you may not like what you discover but there a reason so I encourage you to carefully examine what you think each person would say about your relationship with them as it is right now.

Would they say you were kind and loving, always therefor them or that they wish they had spent more time with you etc. Would your employees say that you were a great leader, fair and honest or would they say that you were always stressed out and unavailable?

Now, imagine you are standing at your funeral again and you get to choose what each person would say about you. Repeat the process by above but this time write out what you would like that person to say about you.For example; in the first part of this exercise you think your spouse would say that you were a very hard worker and gave a lot to your company but wished they had spent more time with you. You now get to rewrite the script. You could imagine them saying that you had always put your relationship with them first,they felt loved and knew because you always made time for them.

The script that you wrote is your agenda to create the relationships you desire. Because this is about your business and we are referring to leadership, take this opportunity to evaluate your relationships with your team. You can choose to be the leader you want to be with action and intent.

I wish I could make it as simple as putting this task in your day timer but to develop new attributes is an internal process, a shift in behaviors. What I can tell you is to make it a priority by scheduling the time in your agenda to research and commit to getting involved with leadership groups, taking classes and seek coaching.

I was very fortunate to have found this exercise when I was a salon owner and as a result of it I am able to say that I have remained in good standing with every person who had worked in my company. I’m not saying they all liked me but I do know they would all say I was honest, respectful,approachable and dedicated to helping them succeed. Even those I had to let go still felt comfortable coming into the salon for their services when they no longer were employed there. That is the gift of writing your own scripts as to how you choose to impact the relationships in your life.

Tips on How to Save Money During Building Construction

Building construction can be a tedious process which could go on for months or years depending on one’s budget. Construction of a building typically starts with planning and designs by the architect through the client’s requirements then it continues to financing the project until its built and ready for use. Most clients want to build a house that would reflect their personality but within an affordable budget and yet fit their personal aesthetic requirement, this could be a difficult task to achieve without taking measures to cut costs where necessary, this is why we have assembled a few tips to get you started.

Compare Proposals and Choose Wisely

Knowledge they say is power so therefore being informed before making any decision be it materials, styles and most especially the execution is very important to choose wisely. To properly do this you should get several proposals and quotas from different contractors and subcontractors which states their requirements for labour, supervision and materials with the price attached, this will enable you compare and contrast between them and choose wisely the one that fits into your budget and also get references to be sure that whomever you choose can deliver to the standard you require and to get a well-rounded picture of the person you are working with, this will help you avoid additional expenses to correct mistakes which might be incurred as a result of poor management by the contractor.

Improvise During Construction

There are several requirements and expectations that goes into a building among which include kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, these can cost you a lot if you are building them off-site then before installing them. However you can save a lot of money by building them on site yourself, with just minimal masonry and labour you could build a more sustainable kitchen cabinets and wardrobe then finish it with marble tiles or stones which looks amazing and would last longer than the wooden one made off-site.

Adapt Sustainable Execution

Sustainability is a term which saves you money in the long run, this is to say that sometimes its better to go spend money on quality material than save money on low quality materials that would require you spending subsequently on maintenance. To consider one must avoid anything that would incur unnecessary problems in the future since it not only reduces the quality of the building it also affects your investment.

The execution of stages like plumbing and electrical fittings could generate faults afterwards if not handled properly, for example we have noticed that conduit system of installation of plumbing fittings can be hard to maintain if need arises since breaking of the walls and patching it up destroys the aesthetic value of the building as well as the structural value. To avoid this however it is best to adapt the duct system during planning so that provision can be made for the plumbing within the building where the pipes could pass through then later can be covered with aluminum louvers, that way it is neat and sustainable.

Seek Advice on Materials

Building materials today are of different types and from different companies, the market is filled with substandard products due to the fact that many companies reproduce materials made by other companies for a cheaper price but for lesser quality, so it would benefit you to make proper enquiries for professional advice on materials from contractors so they can recommend quality materials for good prices. In some cases these contractors or subcontractors can get you a better deal on bulk items such as lumber, paint and fittings since they may have a close relationship with the dealers.

Reuse Materials

In building construction materials can be salvaged and reused however possible, often materials that could be reused are wasted during stages of construction. Materials like lumber which serve several purpose in construction like formwork, scaffoldings, bracing etc can still be reused, for example planks used as formwork for floor slab could also be refused for lintels and beams thereby saving you extra cost on purchasing extra wood. The important thing to note is to be careful while removing the formwork so as not to damage them too badly.

Provide Your Own Water

A typical building construction site needs constant water for almost every activity so if you provide your own source of water without having to buy you will save a lot, you can do this by either digging a temporal well or digging a borehole. This source of water can also benefit you if you decide to mould your own masonry blocks on site, eventually it could be retained for use after the project is completed.

Security for Materials

Theft and vandalism is a common thing in construction industry so it would be wise to seek to secure your materials beforehand, most people build a temporal storage room with either a container or built with roofing material. This will be used to store your materials till you finish the project, if however the storage is not serving its purpose perhaps you could hire a security personnel to guard the place.

Tips on Choosing the Right and Best Home Designs

It will take a lot of time for you to choose the proper best home designs that are suitable for your needs and lifestyle. You have to recognize a couple of things that you have to consider when choosing a home design. It is crucial for you to pink home design which fits your taste. You also have to consider about your landscape.

Needs and Lifestyle

Family needs and lifestyles are two most important things when building a home. But you have to rely on the plans for your family in the future. For example, new couples will have a different home plan from a retired couple in terms of characteristics.

Before you choose the design that you want to in order to build a home, it is well recommended for you to thinks about your lifestyle and needs.

Privacy

A couple of homeowners want to have home plans which are more intimate in their personal living spaces and master bedroom, while some others want to have some privacy in their office space.

It is also important for you to think about privacy that you want from your neighbors and occupants. If you think this is crucial for you, you have to consider applying design with a U or L shape design. This house plans types will offer you more privacy when building a home.

Aesthetics and Furnishings

You have to consider the floor plan that you want to have for your new home because it will accommodate your furniture. Talking about the sizes of the room, you have to consider the seating places and the placement of your furniture because it will impact on the feel of your room. It is better for you to measure the furniture in order to decide the space that you want to use for your furniture.

Outdoor Space

Your home plan style will be affected by the natural and geographical landscaping features of your lot that you will have to pick.

Meanwhile, you have to consider whether you want to have enough lot space that you want to use for gardens, interesting landscaping, or pools or your lot space will offer a lawn spot for outdoor sports and games.

For those of you who already bought the building pot, you have to consider a couple of those reasons and plan your house design that you pick in order to find your requirements and needs.

Picking Building Lot

Flat building lots house plans are cheap and easy to build, even though you will find that they are not interesting as a sloping lot. You will be allowed by the sloping lot to plan for a daylight basement and tuck the garage under the home.

When planning to build a home, you also have to consider about a couple of cars that you want to use. You have to think about the space for the driveway or you also have to consider about the parking if many people come to your house. For those of you who have bought house plan, you do not have to choose a building lot that will generate that design.

Top 5 Tips Regarding Electrical Safety When Building a Haunted House

Electrical fires are very common and a threat to the safety of a haunted house. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, in the United States, 50,900 fires each year are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries. Arcing faults are a major cause of these fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that AFCIs could prevent more than 50 percent of the electrical fires that occur every year. About 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. Here are five things to consider regarding the electrical practice in a haunt.

5. Having a plan is very important. Electrical mistakes are easy to make and often become an issue when builders are in a hurry and/or don’t create an electrical plan ahead of time. This is especially true if multiple people are creating scenes within the haunt. It is possible for each person to create a scene and then look for the nearest plug to bring their scene to life. This can lead to power failures. A circuit chart demonstrating that the load on each circuit does not exceed the breaker amperage should also be completed.

4. Every outlet in the haunt should be tested with a simple three pronged tester that lights up to indicate that they are wired correctly and working properly. All of the building outlets should be securely mounted with proper covers. All of the 120v outlets should have the ability to accommodate three prongs. Grounded GFCI outlets must be used any scene that has moisture, such as dry ice or mist.

3. It’s best to use LED lights within all the special effects lighting in the haunt. LED lights don’t get hot and use about 3 watts to produce 60 watts of light. To prevent fires, be sure not to place cloth or untreated props near the lights.

2. All extension cords must be UL Certified, a minimum 12 gauge with two prongs and a ground. Cutting off the ground (3rd prong) from plugs, 2 pronged lamp cords, and/or 3 pronged to 2 pronged adapters is not allowed.

1. It is important to create a “power station” so that all of the power can be turned on and off from one location in order to control the lights and sounds. The house lights should also be accessible from that station to turn on lights in case of an emergency. The switch for this station should be rated to handle the load applied to that switch. Commercial power cords and commercial power strips that have their own power switch should be used to get electricity to run from the power station to the various scenes. Small, household extension cords are not recommended for haunted houses, even if they’re home haunts. The power station should also have a fire extinguisher, duct tape and a flashlight nearby as well as an emergency plan posted.

7 Reasons Why You Should Build a New Home

A house is more than just a dwelling. It is an investment, a way to save for the future and to watch your capital grow. It makes sense to buy and own a house rather than pay rent. If you consider the amount of rent you pay over a lifetime you will find that if you own a house and pay a mortgage, you save a lot of money and also become the owner of property you can pass on to future generations or sell at a tidy profit. Should you buy a used house or should you build a new home is the question. There are pros and cons to each. However, a new home is definitely worth considering over buying an existing one.

You can choose the location

It may not be possible to find an old house in the location of your choice. You can buy a plot of land in a location you like and think of building a new home entirely to your specifications.

Design of the new home

When you buy an existing house, you have to take it as it is and renovate or remodel. You could, of course, demolish the house and use the site to build an entirely new home from the ground up. In either case you have full control over the design, placement of rooms, siting of the house in the plot, size and all parameters.

Quality of construction

An old house will have a number of defects. There could be cracks in the walls, leaks in the roof, peeling paint and similar issues. When you build a new home you are in total control. You can decide whether your new house should be made of masonry-concrete or lumber or prefab or even steel, aluminum, glass. Your builder will also factor in “green” building technologies that will help save energy and keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. The savings alone make it worth the effort. In addition, when you go for new construction and have a reputed builder by your side you have full confidence that quality materials and processes will go into the construction to make the building last.

Cost control

Fix your budget and talk with the builder. He can come up with a clever design that will give you a house within your existing budget with provision to expand later on. You could decide on a lumber home, which might give you a larger space at a lower cost. If time is a constraint your builder could help you select the right prefab house. You could decide on a concrete-brick structure, starting with a ground floor for the present and then build the first floor later on. You can even decide on what goes inside such as the tiles, wall cladding, insulation, fixtures, light fittings and every tiny detail.

Peace of mind for years

A new house will give you peace of mind for years. You will not have problems of water ingress from the floor or walls, dripping ceilings or drainage problems. A well built house should require minimum maintenance for at least five years, if not more.

Value addition

When the design is right and the exteriors blend in with the landscape to create an overall beautiful aesthetic, your house increases in value. Should you decide to sell a couple of years later, you can always expect a profit.

Pride of ownership

Last but not least, if you have invested time, energy, thought and money in the building of a new house, it is the realization of a dream and it gives you pride of ownership.

For More Details: http://www.actionconstructionco.com/our-process/

Tips for Building the Best Log Cabins

Building a log cabin may be your best idea yet. There are so many great things you can achieve with this. There are tricks and secrets that can help you come up with the very best construction for all your needs. Some of the things to consider include:

Keep logs dry

It is important to ensure that you use materials that are dry to a certain level. When the moisture content is lower, then settling is not an issue and you will not need the settling jacks. The design should also include roof overhangs that are long, good landscaping and decks need to be covered soon after construction. The overhangs need to be around 3 feet. Also, avoid sprinkler systems being too close to the completed cottage.

Design

This is another important thing to consider. The design allows you to get the most out of the home. It also aids in any future maintenance needs as well as energy efficiency. As much as this is important, you need one that you can afford. Consider this as you make a choice. You need a design that is prudent. The overhangs should be large. In addition, the very first course needs to be some feet from the ground. The grade should slope from the house.

Plan

Everything has to be planned well, so as to ensure all factors are considered. When you make all considerations early, maintaining the home will not be that hard. If the house is exposed to the sun too much, then it may need re-finish/re-stain more often. When exposed to a lot of moisture, then you will have to deal with wood decay sooner than later. It is, therefore, necessary to plan, so as to protect the home from the elements. Moisture and sun should be kept off, by all means if you want a house that will serve you for a long time.

Choose the right manufacturer

One of the things to consider is who will make the house for you. As you are choosing, do not think of the price alone. Each company has its own quality standards as well as completeness level. It helps to know exactly what you are bargaining for by getting a very detailed quote/estimate. You should then make a decision based on this.

The company should have the highest level of integrity and they should deliver on all the promises that they make. They should use materials that are of the highest quality and they should also be able to offer you advice based on their personal experiences as well as knowledge. The information provided should also be articulate enough for you to make the most sensible decision and achieve your dream home. Reputation is very important.

The site

It is important to select the best site for the construction. As stated earlier, protecting the cabin from the elements is important. Therefore, you need to select the ideal site for the construction. Determine the direction of the sun and wind.

Always go for a home that fits your lifestyle. Make it unique as possible. This is one of the best ways in which you can define yourself.