Tips For Designing Your Own Custom Home

Designing a custom home that will be your dream home requires careful planning. It’s an opportunity to design a unique space made just for your family. The six designer tips listed below will help as you create your dream home. Thanks to Lida Homes for providing these tips.

Start Simple

You don’t need any special software as you begin to design your custom home. Just a pencil and paper to list what features you would like and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Even a rough outline of a floorplan with a list ideas you may have seen in a magazine before to get started.

Think About The Future

This home is meant to take you into the future so consider if you plan on having children or expanding your present one. Do you need a guest room. home office or a flex space of some kind?  Is it possible that aging parents might share your home or would an in law suite be an option. As you design your dream home consider how things could change in the future.

Showcase & Maximize The Lot

If you already own the property you plan to build on you may already have decided where to build the structure. Be sure to consider the topography, size and best features of the property. A location to take advantage of any views, naturescapes or being able to keep an eye of children at play need to be considered. A home that looks good on a sloped lot will look quite different on a flat piece of land.  

Prioritize Features

As you look over that list you made earlier of features you really would like it’s a good idea to put them in order of importance. With so many luxuries to choose from you can easily end up with a budget out of control, decide what your personal must haves are.

Consider Function And Flow

As you and your custom home designer in Victoria BC start to decide where each room should be located consider how the final design will flow and how each space will function for your family. An example might be placing bedrooms away from communal areas of the house. Kitchens can be a gathering place for families so an open plan with easy flow to the living room might be ideal.

Reflect On Light

Light or the lack of has a big effect on people, especially during winter months. For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest taking advantage of natural light in the home is a priority. The direction windows face and window size should be considered, even installing skylights allow natural light to flood your home. Taking time in the planning stages with the above tips in mind will have you enjoying your custom home for many years.

if you require a custom home builder in Victoria BC, contact Lida Homes to start the process of building your dream home.

What Time Of Year Should You Prune Your Trees

Falling leaves and the crisp air comes as a reminder that the windstorms we experience here in Edmonton will soon follow. You may be wondering if it’s too late to prune some of those trees that might present a problem in the next few months. To answer some of your questions the Edmonton Arborists here at TimberTrim Tree Works have supplied the following helpful guidelines.

When To Prune

Mostly it depends on the reason to prune, for example light pruning and branch removal can be done anytime. Otherwise the deciding factor is the species of tree so keep reading for more expert advice.

Winter Pruning

The most common time to prune is during dormancy after the coldest part of the Winter is over. Vigorous growth is the result when you Winter prune should that be what you want to achieve. Some species ( eg maple, walnut, birch ) may “bleed” when the sap flows but is in no way harmful to the tree.

Summer Pruning

Pruning in Summer results in slowing the growth of certain branches when a “dwarfing “ of a given tree is the effect you want.

Pruning Flowering Trees To Encourage Flowering

Two guidelines to follow are trees that bloom in Spring should be pruned after the flowers have faded. Trees that flower in mid to late Summer when pruned in Winter or early Spring will flower more abundantly.

Fall is the one time you never want to prune because decay fungi spread spores profusely and healing of wounds seems to be slower at this time of year.

Pruning trees is a dangerous job and even a set of pruning tools in the hands of someone inexperienced could damage your trees. Better still why not save a tree and give us a call right now a TimberTrim Tree Work.

7 Tips to Keep Your Basement Dry

Since basements are the lowest part of the house, they tend to draw unwanted water. Having leaks in your basement can be a pain; they pose big problems for health reasons, structural integrity, and cleanliness. Below are a few tips to help you make sure you have a dry basement. You can always have a perimeter drainage contractor in Victoria BC help install some waterproofing around the basement’s exterior. 

  1. Install a Dehumidifier 

In most environments, a dehumidifier is a great way for controlling home climate. For basements has the tendency to accumulate more humidity compared to other parts of the house. If your basement is prone to getting wet, then a dehumidifier is essential.

 

  1. Grade Your Property

Water goes into areas with minimal resistance, so if your land is inclined to your home, chances are, rainfall and moisture will accumulate at the base and slips its way inside. Land must angle away from your house.

 

  1. Ventilate the Area

To eliminate air from a wet basement, dehumidifiers can be installed. It may be important to make temporary ventilation by opening doors or windows and running fans. If you have an air circulation option in your furnace for ventilation, then this can come in handy to eliminate air from the basement.

 

  1. Use Landscaping Rocks


Landscaping using rocks or gravel surrounding your home can help in making sure the water stays out of the structure of the house.

 

  1. Attend the Air Leaks

In most houses, the part where flooring meets the foundation can be a way for moisture to get into. Small entry points such as vents, seals on basement windows and others let moisture and water in, particularly during downpours. If your vents or windows are leaky, then seal it using a silicone sealer or foam weather stripping.  You will need to ventilate through to make sure everything is dry.

 

  1. Look for Cracks

Cracks in the foundation can be a problem for many homeowners because it can be an entry point for many leaks. This problem can be sealed either inside or outside of the house, but you must ask assistance from a professional to make this repair.

 

  1. Check Downspouts and Grading Issues Outside 

If there is moisture accumulating outside the foundation, then it can be hard to keep things dry inside, and even sealants can hold it out if there is constant moisture outside the house. To ensure that water runs away from the foundation, make sure that downspouts are positioned at least four feet from the house. Another way is to check the grading all over your house for parts where water runs down going to your house and regarding such areas.

Contact Wet Coast Drainage if you need waterproofing in Victoria.

How Do Solar Panels Perform in the Winter

Winter performance of solar panels is the most common question we answer. It’s a misconception that solar panels need sunshine and heat to charge. In fact, solar systems run off daylight not heat. So solar panels perform very well in the winter unless you live at the north pole and see absolutely no daylight. However cities like Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Grande Prairie, Lloydminister all have the perfect winter climate for Edmonton solar panels.

How cloudy is your climate?

If you live in a cloudy climate you’ll want to make sure your solar panels are high efficiency and are anti-reflective. This way your panels can still charge from daylight, without needing alot of sunshine. However because daylight hours are reduced in winter, you will be collecting less energy. Thankfully Alberta and Saskatchewan have big wide open skies, dry air with plenty of sunshine and daylight in the winter.

How do solar panels deal with snow?

A high quality solar panel, shouldn’t have an issue with being covered by snow. Panels that are installed properly in at an appropriate angle and location will enable the snow to slide off the anti stick surface quite easily. In rare circumstances, a very large amount of wet sticky snow in a short amount of time will result in snow staying on the surface of your solar panels. In this case hire a professional to remove the snow, with good instructions on where the panels are. Proper care and attention should be used when removing snow from solar panels.

How do temperature shifts affect solar panels?

Temperature shifts can affect solar panels quite adversely, but only if they are low quality solar panels. Big differences in temperature cause solar panels to expand and contract. Lower quality solar panels will crack due to moisture seeping into the expansion and contraction lines and allowing for corrosion. It is important if you live in a climate that experiences drastic temperature changes to have a high quality product. Preferably with no metal on the front and copper, plated with tin, all along the back.

Solarcor Products and Warranty

At Solarcor Energy all our products are high quality. You never have to worry about our products failing because we offer a warranty on both installation and the products. More importantly though your solar system will be custom designed to match your location and energy consumption needs, so problems are unlikely to occur in the first place, saving you the hassle of dealing with warranty issues and reinstallation.

Why should you wear safety glasses during summer yard work?

Summer means undertaking lots of enjoyable outdoor activities; it also means a time for various eye injuries. Summer is the perfect time for people to accomplish home improvement works, yard work, gardening, etc., but this makes potential eye injuries just around the corner and more probable.

So before you indulge in summer fun, it is crucial to take safety measure to ensure that your eyes are protected. Here are some tips from Calgary Optometrists Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates.

A lot of eye injuries occur inside and around the house, in the kitchen, garden, garage or lawn. Regrettably, these injuries are avoidable with proper safety knowledge.

For instance, line trimmers that spin at 6,000 and 14,000 rpm can throw pieces of debris, rocks, and nylons. What’s worse is that glasses or reasonable distances away from the line trimmer can’t offer maximum protection.

An eye injury is a terrible experience, but it can be prevented or minimized beforehand. Here are some experiences for you to ponder:

  • A woman who was 15 feet away from a line trimmer and was wearing normal prescription glasses but lost her eye as a piece from the line trimmer broke.
  • A veteran landscaper’s sunglasses were knocked off by a piece of rock tossed by a line trimmer and resulted with his eyes bleeding. Fortunately, his vision returned but after a long period.
  • A kid lost his vision when he was 30 feet away from a lawnmower that tossed a tiny metal.

To stay safe from eye injuries, observe these guidelines:

  • In using powered lawn care equipment like a saw, hammer, or grinder, make sure to wear polycarbonate safety goggles that have side guards or wraparounds to stop debris entering through the framers. Normal glasses provide minimal protection against debris. Ideally, every home must have a minimal of 1 pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear that is worn while doing any activities or projects. ANSI-approved protective eyewear is safety equipment approved by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) eye protection standard. ANSI-approved protective eyewear is available in many hardware stores. For people who require glasses correction, they can go to the optical department, which can put prescription put into safety glasses to provide vision while using power tools.
  • Bystander, particularly kids are sometimes the victims of injuries in the eyes due to power equipment. Ensure that bystanders are away at a safe distance when using power equipment.
  • Before using power tools, make sure to check lawns and gardens for debris materials.

Thanks to Dr. Alex Wilson & Associates for these tips on keeping your eyes safe when you are doing summer yard work.

Which pool cover is best for you?

 

A swimming pool cover is an important piece of device if you have a pool. This is used to cover your pool during the winter or if your pool is left unattended for a number of days. Pool covers help protect your pool from rubbles such as dirt and leaves, and they act as protection if you have kids and pets. Covers can also minimize the need for pool chemicals since your water is not exposed to the sun.

With so many options, how do you choose?

There are various types of swimming pool covers, and each of them has their unique assets. Important this is to know each type so can decide on what to buy. Listed below are few types of pool covers to help you pick what’s right for you.

Automatic Pool Covers

Automatic pool covers can help with safety concerns and are very easy to use. Basin on its name, automatic pool covers will automatically open or close at a single press of a button. They are very easy to operate and are more secure compared to other types of pool covers.

Unfortunately, this type of cover is quite expensive, but the benefits are greater than the price. A lot of pool owners say that the extra amount is worth it, and also, it is so cool to just simply push a button, and it will open and close on command.

Automatic pool covers can only be installed by professionals. If properly installed; it’s hard for anyone to fall into the pool.

Tarp Pool Cover

Among the various types, this is the least expensive. A basic tarp is used to cover your pool and help in place using water tubes. They can help in blocking out the sun, which lessens the chance of algae growth (particularly if used with UV system). Though this cover is not that expensive and can help block the sun, chances of water from rain and snow building up is very high.

Thermal Pool Covers

Thermal pool covers can be considered as among the best type of pool covers. They can block sunlight, making sure algae growth is lessened. They can also retain heat much better compared to solar covers. Thermal covers are made from insulating foam material, and although they are more expensive compared to other types, they can insulate better compared to solar covers.

Safety Pool Covers

These are made by either solid or mesh and are placed over your pool. They are held by attached springs and hooked in an anchor. Mesh safety pool covers is more common because the solid kind permits more build up same to the tarp cover. Though these covers are not made to be walked on, they can take on a certain amount of load, which makes them ideal if you have a concern about safety.

 

Should My Arborist Be Insured?

In a nutshell, pardon the pun, yes. Insurance is designed not only to protect the customer but if you are the Edmonton arborist, it protects you as well! Trees can weigh many tons and their care, maintenance, removal, or trimming is all very risky work. If you do some of the following then you should have arborist insurance:

Landscaping: It may seem strange but if you do this you should have insurance. Landscapers have been known to hit water and electrical lines or accidently ruin or destroy rare plants or other things of value. Having insurance provides you an extra layer of protection from the unforeseen. Once you’ve had an accident, it’s too late to get insurance!

Tree pruning: Working dozens of feet in the air, often with windy conditions, on a large swaying tree near a home or power lines can be considered to be slightly risky work. It should come as no surprise then that having insurance to cover many of these aspects is important. Remember, insurance does not just protect the customer, it protects you, too! Falls, falling debris or limbs, dropping a limb on a car, or worse a person are all things that should be taken into consideration when deciding what kind of insurance to get. You don’t just want to protect yourself but your customers as well.

Tree removal: Perhaps one of the most high risk areas of being an arborist who does tree pruning is actually removing a multi-ton tree from a dense residential neighbourhood. Having insurance will not only give your customers better piece of mind but you as well.

Pest management: You should have insurance when dealing with toxic chemicals designed to kill things. Accidental overuse, exposure, misapplication, and other things can open you up to a suit or hurt your health.

So what should you do?

The first thing is before you ever start to work, for yourself or for others, talk to an insurance agent to find the right kind of insurance for your work. Price is important but it is not everything. You want a company that will be fair, be honest, and if you should need it, be willing to pay out. Their reliability is far more important than their bottom-line price. You will likely need a few different kinds of insurance – you will want insurance that protects you and your workers, that protects your clients and their property, and that protects your equipment and your business. Like with trees, taking proper precautions can help your business to grow and thrive for years to come.

How Often Is Exterior House Painting Needed

Your home represents a big investment so it’s important to take care of the exterior to protect the value of your home. When the paint on the outside begins to fade, chip and crack it needs to be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem. Tackling a job like that can be a daunting task that requires attention every 5 to 10 years. The colour of paint and climate in your part of the country all play a part in how often you will need to do exterior maintenance.

Ask yourself if the home’s exterior is still a reflection of your personal standards. Have you noticed any wood rot, also if you are considering selling your home how will a fresh paint job affect it’s value.

Maintaining the exterior of your home can extend the life of an exterior paint job. Taking time to deal with any issues as they occur with annual maintenance stops small problems from becoming bigger problems. Keeping gutters and downspouts free of debris prevents water backup from damaging the exterior of your home as well.

Here are some signs the exterior of your home needs painting from Paint Works:

  • is the paint chipping?
  • it is fading or peeling?
  • have you noticed any patches of bare wood?

Tips for exterior painting that will last

How you approach the painting project on your home’s exterior will make a big difference in how long it will last. When considering the quotes you’ve gathered from consulting professionals remember trying to save money now could end up costing you more down the line. A contractor who doesn’t pay attention to details could mean you’ll wind up needing to repaint in as little as one or two years. Preparing the wood surface and choosing the correct paint will extend the life of the paint job if done the right way.

Points to ponder regarding exterior painting projects

  • Don’t delay that paint job as unprotected wood may experience rot and need replacing adding to the expense of your project
  • Address all damaged surfaces before painting begins, sealing and caulking are necessary before starting
    Start with a clean surface prior to applying new primer or paint power washing may even become necessary
  • Using a paint primer is highly recommended to prepare the surface for paint and can extend the life of your exterior paint job
  • The type of paint used is important using a high quality paint that is durable and meant for exterior surfaces will extend the paint job

A paint job by professional painters in Victoria BC that is done correctly requires prep work and hiring an experienced painting contractor will ensure the job is done properly.

Five steps for choosing the right tree services

You do not want to find yourself becoming scammed by a tree service company, but these types of things do happen often. In order to prevent this outcome, we have compiled here a few ways for you to avoid hiring a service provider that will not provide the high quality level of services that you need. Here are our five steps for choosing the right tree services in Little Rock.

#1: Find out whether they are accredited by Better Business Bureau

Accreditation from Better Business Bureau (BBB) shows that a company like Schmitt Tree Service in Little Rock AR has taken the initiative to acquire a professional appearance, and it is often a sign that the company is willing and able to provide services that are up to par. After finding out whether a company has BBB accreditation, make a point to check what their rating is, too.

#2: Check for liability and workers compensation insurance

All reputable tree service companies will have the right insurance to ensure that you and they will be covered in case anything goes wrong. It is possible for a company to have created fraudulent insurance certificates in order to trick clients who might not know any better, but you can avoid this by get their insurance papers sent to you directly from the insurance agency. As long as the company has the right insurance, you will not become liable for any injuries or damage that occurs on your property.

#3: Search thoroughly for the best price

If the cost of a service with one company seems to be very low, it’s a good idea to look into what other companies in your area charge for that same service. Don’t get sucked into a good deal too quickly, without examining the competition.

#4: Don’t act too quickly after storms or disasters

After a storm or natural disaster, you may want to have your property cleaned up as soon as possible. However, tree service scams know this and can be just as quick to come to the rescue. Make sure to take all of the precautions mentioned already, and be extra cautious if any companies approach you.

#5: Don’t pay for services that haven’t been completed yet

No reputable company will make you feel pressured to pay for their services before they have done their job as well as is possible. Pay only after you have gotten what you need from your chosen tree services in Little Rock.

Are Pool Covers Safer Than Fences?

When you have a swimming pool built into your garden, one of the first things you will need to think about is safety. This is especially important if you have small children or animals, as failing to make your pool as safe as possible may lead to them getting into trouble should they fall in and are unable to get back out.

For many, the choice often ends up being between a pool cover and a fence. Both have their advantages, so let’s take a look to see which is best for you.

Pool Covers

Pool covers are essentially a large sheet that will be placed over the water in your pool. As such, it prevents any access to the water, so if children fall onto the pool cover they should be kept completely safe. Of course, this is assuming that you purchase a cover that is capable of withstanding the weight of the person who falls in.

Covers are also useful for preventing foliage from trees falling into the pool. While this may not seem like a concern at first, leaves and other sediment can build up over time, especially if you are less than vigilant when it comes to cleaning your pool, which can lead to water becoming contaminated and thus unsafe to use.

Pool Fences

A fence, on the other hand, provides a direct barrier between the pool area and the rest of the house. This barrier proves effective in the majority of cases, assuming the fence cannot be scaled, but it capable of failing should somebody obtain the key to the door in the fence.

Should a person get past the fence, they will be able to access the water without any issues, which could lead to problems if they are unable to swim. As such, if you have a fence installed you must remain vigilant when it comes to access. Always make sure to store the key in a location where vulnerable people can’t reach it and make sure to secure the fence whenever you leave the pool area to make sure nobody accidentally gets in.

Which is Safer?

It all comes down to how vigilant you are. As long as you are careful, a fence will prevent any access to the pool at all, meaning there is no chance for an issue to develop. However, pool leaf covers blocks access to the water, so even if somebody does fall into the pool they will be protected from drowning. As such, they are more effective in terms of directly saving lives, though it may be best to use both in tandem for added protection.

Why Is A Pool Fence Important For Safety?

Getting a pool fence installed around your outdoor backyard pool is important for several reasons. Of course, it is an essential means for keeping your kids and their friends safe, so they cannot even accidently get into the water when the pool not supervised. Another reason that you should have fencing around your pool is that your home insurance will require it. That’s because having this safety barrier will reduce liability should anything go wrong. So what are the specific requirements for what yours should look like? The short answer is that is depends on where you live and on what insurance company you are with. However, there are some more specific aspects of your pool fence that your insurance company may have specific regulations on.

The height of the pool fence

In general, it is required that your fence be at least 48 inches in height. However, some policies will require a higher height. For example, you may have to get a pool fence that is at least 6 feet tall. You may encounter a problem here if you Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or whatever organization it is that regulates your property does not allow you to have a pool fence this high. Keep in mind that only some insurance companies require that you have this higher height.

Pool gate

You may be required by your insurance to follow certain codes about the gate used within the fence. Often insurance companies will ask that you put a lock on the gate, in order that the pool fence will be truly secure. As well, the must open away from the pool, and the latch to open it have to be 54 inches above the ground at the least. The specifics may differ depending on your area and insurance, of course.

The spacing between the vertical and horizontal bars

The common regulation is that there be at least 45 inches between the bottom horizontal bar and the top one. The bottom horizontal bar should also be less than 4 inches away from the ground.  As well, there should be no less than 2 inches and no more than 4 inches space between each vertical bar of the fence. These regulations have been put in place in order to ensure that no one can successfully jump over the fence. As with other elements of insurance requirements, the specifics may differ depending on your coverage.

Best Time of Year to Buy a Hot Tub in Calgary

Many people associate outdoor hot tubs with the summer, when outdoor get togethers with friends are more frequent and it’s all around more pleasant to spend leisure time outside of the house. Because hot tubs are thought to be best used in the summer, many people make that initial purchase in the spring in order to gear up for the coming warm weather.

But spring and summer are not actually the best time of year to buy a hot tub in Calgary. Here’s why you would be better off starting your shopping in the winter or perhaps the fall.

Hot tub dealers are more likely to have sales and promotions in the winter

If most people in Calgary who are in the market for a hot tub start looking for one in the spring, businesses that sell hot tubs have less reason to put their products on sale during this season. Of course, you can find some sales at any time of year, but certain seasons are going to be better than others. Just like summer clothes go on sale at the end of the season, hot tubs are more likely to be cheaper outside of their prime seasons, the spring and summer.

So even if you’re not planning to use your hot tub until the cold weather disappears, you’ll benefit from doing some browsing now. And as you’ll find out next, using your hot tub in the winter isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Using a hot tub in the winter is more relaxing, therapeutic, and fun

We get it: Calgary winters are brutal. The last thing you may think you want to do is spend your leisure time outdoors, unless you’re at the ski hill or maybe playing in the snow with your kids. But sitting in the warm water, relaxing and stretching out a bit can do you a lot of good if you’re less active in the winter. It’s a great alternative to curling up on the couch, and it’s something a little out of the ordinary, too.

And what about if you’re active in winter sports? The great news for you is that the warm water and jets of hot tubs can be used to improve your recovery time, increase your energy levels and circulation, and help you get a better night’s sleep.

As you can see, most anyone can benefit from buying and using a hot tub during Calgary winters. Contact World Of Spas in Calgary to find the right hot tub for you.

Tips For Cleaning Leaves Out Of Your Yard

Summer is long, long gone. Welcome to fall! The trees and their leaves do make for spectacular photo taking opportunities.

Do you know what else trees and their leaves make for? They make for a pain in the butt!

Cleaning the yard of leaves is a pain in the fall. It’s wet, cold and the wind just blows them all over the place. No matter what you do, you end up raking more and more. Let me tell you that raking leaves in quite the work out.

I did a bunch or raking of wet leaves at a rental home before I decided to become a homeowner. My lats were so sore the next week. Lesson learned though.

So I want to give you a few tips to help you clean your yard of leaves.

# 1 – Wait

I’m a very particular gal and I like things clean. That includes my yard. So when fall comes and the leaves start falling of the trees, I get the urge to clean them up.

Over the years though I’ve learnt to wait. You must wait until all the leaves fall down, then you clean them up. Trust me on this. If you don’t wait, you’ll spend far more grunt work trying to rake all the leaves up.

# 2 – Do It On Nice Day

I mentioned earlier that I raked a bunch of leaves at a rental home. The one thing I learnt that day was that wet leaves are heavy and require more strength to move them around.

So I highly suggest you wait for a nice day to do it on. I’d also wait for a nice dry stretch of weather so the leaves are dryer and easier to rake.

#3 – Hire Help

If you really hate this task, you can always hire help from a yard maintenance Calgary company come and solve your issues. They might only take a couple of hours so the cost could be worthwhile. You can stay inside and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and let them deal with the work!

# 4 – Get Leaf Blower

A leaf blower can really help you save time and strength. The nice thing about a leaf blower is that I can be used for other tasks around the home like cleaning the driveway or garage. So it’s a good investment.

# 5 – Mulch Them

Another option is to simply mulch the leaves into your lawn. Scots has a great article on how to do that and the benefits of doing so.

# 6 – Remove Your Trees

If you are dead set on how much you hate raking leaves, one option is to remove the problem trees. In doing so, you are saying that you don’t like nature. Trees are amazing and provide shade in the summer. But if you must hire a tree removal Calgary company, by all means do so, it’s your house.

Hopefully you will enjoy and use these tips on how to clean your yard up.  I’ve given a few great options to help with the process and hope you use a few of them to get your yard cleaner more efficiently.