Ways to Prevent Construction Fraud

Construction fraud happens all the time and usually translates into a substantial monetary loss for a homeowner. However, most common scams can be easily avoided.

The majority of construction fraud cases usually occur after a catastrophic event, such as a flood or bad storm where there is a lot of destruction and a scam artist can slip into the area relatively unnoticed to begin preying upon people that are in dire need of help.

They will use many different, clever methods and strategies to manipulate homeowners into giving them money to do work on their home.

Keep in mind, however, that there does not have to be a natural disaster for construction fraud to occur. Anyone can fall victim to a construction scam artist at any time. However, in most cases by following these simple rules, you can avoid becoming a fraud victim whenever it is necessary to use a specialist builder for home improvements or home repairs.

Protect Yourself from Construction Fraud

If someone claiming to be a contractor comes to your house to offer services, get their full name and business license number, along with the physical address and phone number of their business. Then, check with your state’s Contractor Licensing Board to verify the information. Also, check on the contractor’s complaint history, and check their standing with the Better Business Bureau.

If the information checks out and their standing is good, call the business phone number and verify that the contractor or one of the employees of the company came to your home to offer services. Quite often a scam artist will have all of the information regarding a contracting company, but will also give their cell phone number and ask you to use it instead of the main number, “so that you can contact them directly.”

Things to Remember When Hiring a Contractor

Never hire the first person who quotes a price on work needed until you have gotten at least another, if not several other, bids on it. This is the only way to be protected from being overcharged or being told something needs to be done when there is nothing wrong.

Finally, always get a written contract for every job, never pay in cash, and never pay for work in full until it is completed and inspected. If a deposit is required (which should be a reasonable amount, not, for example, half of the entire cost), be sure to write a check using the official company name, not a person’s name.

Remember that your experience with a scam artist is most likely not the first time they have attempted it, and probably will not be the last, unless they are stopped.

If you do fall victim to construction fraud or suspect someone of perpetrating a scam, be sure to report the incident to the local authorities, as well as to the police, to prevent others from suffering the same possible misfortune in the future.




Why Oak Furniture Never Goes Out of Style

Hardwood is gorgeous in the home and perfect for your furniture. It gives style and elegance and it comes from renewable sources. There are many different hardwoods to choose from but the most popular in the UK is oak which has been used for many years because of its beautiful looks, the wonderful properties it possesses to make it a good construction and craft wood, and the fact that it is sourced locally. It resists fungal and insect attack well, so it is obvious why oak furniture like that sold on kalustofurniture.co.uk is so popular.

So, what does ‘hardwood’ mean? The term ‘hardwood’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the wood is hard. Balsa is a hardwood but it is actually softer than the softwoods. There is great variance in the actual hardness of both hardwoods and softwoods. What the term means is that the wood comes from trees that reproduce in a certain way. Hardwoods come from angiosperm trees where the seeds have some sort of covering. Oak is a hardwood because the acorns are covered seeds.

The actual hardness of wood is measured on the Janka scale. At the top end of the scale are woods such as Patagonian Rosewood and Brazilian Ebony and at the bottom end you tend to find a lot of the softwoods such as Western Juniper and Eastern White Pine. The scale measures in pounds-force (lbf) and it records the force required to embed a 0.444 inch steel ball into wood to the point where it halves the ball’s diameter. Guayacan wood at the very top of the scale is rated at 4500 lbf, and Balsa at the bottom end is rated at 100 lbf.

Oak is available in several different types, each with distinct characteristics. The types are Natural, Tiger, Pippy and Bog. Natural is the most common and is pale brown with normal grain, Tiger is more stripy, Pippy has a cats-paw appearance, and Bog is dark because it has taken on colour from peat bogs. Bog oak is particularly rare, so you aren’t likely to find much furniture made from it, although it does exist.

When buying oak furniture, make sure that everything is made from solid oak including the bases and backs of drawers because it will last longer. Veneers look pretty good, but they don’t have the same strength and durability. Handles, knobs and other extras should reflect the quality of the wood and complement the piece. Look for great design and craftsmanship.

There are different styles of oak furniture available, both modern and traditional, but oak crafted to any design looks beautiful and will be a lovely addition to any home.

Top 10 Tips For Choosing A New Bed

I recently bought a great new bed on this site that has cheap double beds at giveaway prices, and am really pleased with my purchase. Here are my top tips for buying a new bed or mattress.

1). Test your bed before you buy, never purchase a mattress without having a lie down test beforehand.

2). If your previous bed was very soft, do not change to an incredibly hard mattress. This will make the transition harder for your body to adjust to.

3). During the night most people toss and turn- to ease the stress on your joints buy a bed that does not have too much give, a mattress that is too soft will make it harder for your body to turn over putting strain on your joint tissues.

4). However, it is important to get a mattress that will support the curves of your body; optimally when horizontal your spine should still retain its natural curve. Mattresses with visio-elastic filling are very good at achieving this; test the suitability of the mattress by pressing your flat hand on it, a visio-elastic mattress should shape around your fingers, providing comfort at pressure points’ on the body.

5). We sweat around 1 – 2 pints of sweat during the night; choose a bed that allows for good evaporation such as a divan or one with a slatted base that will allow for air circulation. Take into consideration that a base can alter the mattress so bare that in mind when purchasing both separately.

6). Divan bases come in different shapes and forms; a spring edged divan, much like the name suggests has springs that go to the very edge of the base, increasing mattress life. A platform top base being solid will make your bed firmer.

7). If you and your partner are different weights it is worth looking into a super king size bed frame that can accommodate two single beds. Allowing you to each purchase a mattress that will suit your weight and form.

8). Constantly woken up by your partners shifting and twitching; again two single beds will do the trick but if you cannot accommodate a super king size bed in your bedroom proprietary spring mechanisms can alleviate the problem. Models such as Silentnight’s Miracoil and Sealy’s Posturepedic have twice as much springs that are less interconnected as you’re typical mattress reducing partner disturbance.

9). If you suffer from allergies or asthma be aware that it could be aggravated by your bed. There are hypo-allergic styles available on the market which may alleviate symptoms and invest in a cotton mattress protector which will also minimise irritation.

10). Once you have purchased your mattress ensure maximum longevity by flipping it over and turning it around.

Extend Your Home For More Space… Build Up or Build Out?

When deciding to extend your home, you can either build up or build out. Either which way you decide to expand your home it should depend on the reason for your alteration. For example, if you decide to extend your kitchen, you would be building out. But, if you decide to add more rooms to your home, then you may want to consider building up.

Whether you decide to build up or out, you need to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of the direction you have chosen to extend. Whichever way you decide to expand your home, you need to make one hundred percent sure that it will fit into your budget and lifestyle.

Building up

There are quite a few ways to extend your home without changing the actual footprint of your home. You could opt to add an entirely new storey to your home making it either a two or a three-storey house. You could also choose to add another room above your garage. Alternatively, which is the option we choose, you can convert the loft. We had ours done by professional builders, and it was worth every penny.

While you might not be digging up your garden to lay a new foundation for your home extension, be prepared for your building contractor to dig up and strengthen your existing foundation as well as your walls to make sure they can support your new renovations. After all, a new storey will place additional structural pressure on your already standing foundation.

A huge pro to building up is that you will not lose any of your existing yard space. On the downside however you may have to have the structural support of your house completely re-done to ensure it is strong enough to withstand the weight of another storey added to your house. Building up also costs much more especially if you have to take into consideration that your foundations and walls would need to be reinforced.

Building Out

The largest portion of building renovations is made up of the expansion of the footprint of a house at a ground level. This is because many of the additions required are ground-floor renovations such as a larger kitchen or the addition of a new family room.

The addition of a new room at ground level is pretty straightforward. It will involve your building contractor excavating an area of your yard before laying a new foundation slab. Walls, windows, and roof are then added. Finally, the new addition will be linked to your home by breaking out a section of the wall to create a linking doorway.

Extending your house a ground level typically involves much fewer disruptions. This is because many of the renovations will take place outside the already standing house rather than above it. Building out is far more affordable than building up. This is because it requires less material and far fewer man-hours. There are, however, some cons to renovating outwards. You will lose quite a bit of your current yard space and in many countries, you may also be required to rezone your property after building extension are complete.


Extend Your Small Kitchen Into Something Grand

Having a kitchen that is well-designed and functional is pivotal to any household. Not only does it make preparing food and keeping the family happy easier, it can increase the value of your home. It can be hard to keep on top of things in a small kitchen.

More and more people are opting to stay where they are in these tough economic times and contacting home extension firms like http://www.convertmyloft.space. Making changes and improvements to their current living space is more popular than ever, and a kitchen extension can make a huge difference to your home. It’s a lot more affordable than moving home, and it gives you the versatility to design the kitchen space how you’d like.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you extend your kitchen and make the most of the space.

Have a Clear Purpose

The kitchen can be so much more than just simply a place to store food and cook. Having a larger space to work with opens a lot of options to make your kitchen a lot more functional, here are some ideas:

– Having a kitchen-diner. If you don’t have a separate dining area in your home, after extending your kitchen have a kitchen-diner. Add a table and chairs, it works well preparing and serving food in the same room.  Make some relaxing space. When you have more room to work with you can add a comfortable sofa, or a large chair. The kitchen can be somewhere you go to get some quiet time.- Lead outside onto decking. When you are extending the room, see if the plans lend themselves to having some patio doors leading into the garden. Cooking food and eating in the garden in the summer in an enjoyable experience.

When thinking through any of these ideas it’s important you plan well ahead of time. If you are going to have an extension you can’t start making changes when the work is in progress. If you are planning to use the space to add a dining room or a relaxing area as mentioned above, think about adding doors or a divider so you can keep the separate the rooms when needed.

Kitchen extensions are investments and do cost a fair amount of money. So think ahead too, will your plans still be relevant in the future?

Layout of the Kitchen

It’s easy to get distracted with the planning of decorating and kitting out your new kitchen. But the planning of the layout is the most important part. You need to take into account your whole house, think what kind of extension will work well and look natural. Think about where you will put all of the large appliances, you need to take into account plumbing, drainage, and power points.

Once you have the plans set in stone and you’re confident it’s functional, you can move on to the interior design part.

Remember Ventilation

Kitchens need good ventilation. Cooking generates a lot of steam, and sometimes smoke for those who occasionally burn their food! It’s a safety hazard if the ventilation is not effective, not to mention it’ll make the kitchen unpleasant to be in if it’s stuffy.

There are certain standards set by UK building regulations you’ll need to be aware of. But think about installing an extractor fan and adding windows that contain vents.

Always use Professionals

We have all heard about various nightmare stories regarding cowboy builders. While I’m not trying to scare you, you should always choose builders or companies carefully before committing to using them to carry out an extension.

I would only recommend someone attempts to do the extension themselves if they are experienced and qualified in building extensions. It’s not a DIY project that the average person can carry out. If it goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong very fast and cost you more in the long run.

How much does a kitchen extension cost?

As with any building work, it’s hard to answer this question. Every extension is different and requires a changing amount of materials and man hours. As a rough guide you’ll need to budget several thousand pounds. Make an enquiry with a local builder if you want to start getting a rough estimate.

Loft Conversions Are An Asset To A Streatham Home

A loft conversion is are one of the best things that can happen to a house. There are plenty of ways that you can improve a house and add to its value like adding a new patio, extending the bathroom and revamping the garden or decor of a home. However, there is no doubt that adding a loft conversion is one of the best things that you can do as it has a lot of benefits for your home.

In a house it can get incredibly cramped as there is not a lot of room to store items and they may occasionally clutter up the house and they may take up too much of your rooms, which can leave a place looking messy and not the nice relaxing home which you want it to be.

However, loft conversion firms like www.dulwichloftconversions.co.uk/loft-conversions-streatham can be the solution to all of your problems and can really make you feel a lot more at ease in your home. It can be a handy space to store all of your spare possessions and a great storage space for any unwanted items that you may have, if you don’t decide to give them to the charity shop. Furthermore, it can also brighten up a house and give it a certain style makeover and make you feel right at home.

If a loft conversion is built in the correct way, it can be a very nice extra bedroom as well, which has some nice views outside the house and really can give you somewhere to put guests up for the nice as well as an area which can be tastefully decorated. Furthermore, it can be used as a bedroom for one of your children and the extra space that they will have up there will delight them and give you some respite.

Another noteworthy point is that a London loft conversion can actually add value to your house and make it rise in the property market. This can give you some much needed selling power that you might need if you are looking to move house soon and it could give you a tidy little profit as well.

A loft conversion is very versatile and can be used in a variety of manners. Firstly, you may want to use it as extra storage space so that you can get rid of some of the clutter in your home and make it a nicer place to live in. Furthermore, this will make your home look nicer and they do say that less is more. On the other hand, you may wish to convert the loft into an extra bedroom which can have a multitude of uses. Firstly, this can store guests if they come for a night and it gives them a proper place to sleep and somewhere to relax in, something which is particularly useful if they are a little inebriated. It can also give your children an extra place to stay in and they will no doubt be delighted by sleeping at the top of the house.








Outdoor Wood Burning Boilers

Imagine not having any gas or fuel bills this winter. With the addition of an outdoor wood burning boiler or multifuel stoves, this dream could become a reality.

One of the issues with adding a wood burning fireplace or wood burning stove to a home is properly venting the exhaust. Residential building rules require that a wood burning appliance has to have a chimney that extends 3 feet above the peak of the roof. For many applications, this presents a challenge where the costs exceed the benefits. But if you live in a rural area, an outdoor wood burning boiler may be a smart option to help you save big on your electric bills.

Wood Burning Boilers

Wood burning boilers are a fairly simple appliance. They have the look of a small backyard shed and have a combustion chamber that is large enough to put approximately 20 inch logs into. The fire is started in the combustion chamber which heats up the tubes that are filled with glycol or water. Once the boiler reaches a certain temperature, the fluids are pumped from the outdoor boiler to the house via a buried and heavily insulated tube that contains PEX tubing (one line for the supply and one line for the return) encapsulated into one solid tube. The tube goes either into the interior boiler and feeds the heating supply piping or feeds into the forced air furnace heat exchanger where air is blown across the hot coil warming the house. In either set up, the fluid is returned to the boiler through pressure and through the force of the circulation pump at the boiler unit. This cycle continues for as long as the boiler unit is producing heat.


One of the main things to consider when having an outdoor boiler installed is where the best location is that is within 50 feet of the house. While longer runs can be used, there is significantly more stress on the circulation pump that will cause premature failure of the pump if not upgraded. This upgrade can be several hundred dollars. Also, because this is a wood burning appliance, the appliance should be located in an area where the wind does not carry the smoke back toward the house in most instances. Otherwise, the home could become soiled on one side with soot from the smoke coming from the chimney. Lastly, this appliance is meant to be used consistently so a lot of wood is needed to keep these units going all winter long. It is important that you do not have to spend a significant amount of money on wood. If you do, then this appliance may not be a good option in terms of cost savings.

Outdoor wood burning stoves are great for rural homeowners who want to save on the cost of buying propane or oil fuel for their heating systems. However, the cost of these units and the estimated heat load should be calculated by an HVAC professional in order to make sure that the unit is properly sized and will be able produce enough output to take care of most of the heat load during the winter.


Are TV Beds Any Good?

The answer to this question, as with most consumer goods, is that it is really a matter of personal choice. There are those who have bought a TV bed and are extremely happy with their purchase, while there are others who have had nothing but problems with the mechanics of the unit. Still others are bowled over by the price, as most TV beds do not include the price of a mattress, so after purchasing the unit and a separate mattress, this can be very expensive; some say much better to buy a bed with mattress included, and then set a flat screen TV at the end of the bed, if this is your preference.

Another factor of course is the make and model of TV bed, and where it is purchased: buying from a reputable supplier and choosing a quality manufacturer, should ensure that you get value for money.

Who doesn’t like the idea of a TV that rises from the footboard of your bed by remote control; allowing you to turn on the TV, change channels, and turn off the TV at the touch of a button. These conveniences, of course, are available with any TV that has a remote control, and a flat-screen TV can be set up anywhere in the room without taking up too much space. So why you might ask do we need an all in one TV bed? As mentioned before, this is of course purely a matter of taste and personal choice.

A good quality TV bed made by a reputable company and bought from a trustworthy retailer or website, will probably provide customer satisfaction and will carry a guarantee for at least a year or two, whereas a cheap “special offer” TV bed from an unknown manufacturer, through a dubious website, may cause nothing but problems, and although inexpensive to buy; may in the long run cost so much more in problems and repairs. Here you can find a selection of fabric upholstered beds in all sizes, including TV beds.

Consumer reviews on TV beds are also a mixed bag, with some users ecstatic with their purchase and with no complaints whatsoever. On the other hand there are many reviewers who have had nothing but problems with their purchase, and others who were put off by the price and decided instead to go with a good quality bed and mattress, and a flat-screen TV fitted on a narrow table at the foot of the bed, or indeed on a wall.