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40+ Home Insurance Savings Tips

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Your dwelling is often your most precious asset that you need to protect. We created a list of all savings opportunities associated with Home insurance. This list is the most complete perspective on home insurance savings tips. Numerous insurance brokers contributed to this list. So, let’s start!

1. Change your content coverage: Renting a Condo? You can often lower your content coverage. No need to insure your belongings to up to $250,000 if you only have a laptop and some IKEA furniture!

2. Renovations: Renovating your house can result in lower home insurance premiums, as home insurance premiums for older, poorly maintained dwellings are usually higher. Additionally, renovating only parts of your dwelling (e.g. the roof) can lead to insurance savings.

3. Pool: Adding a swimming pool to your house will likely lead to an increase in your insurance rates since your liability ( e.g. the risk of someone drowning) and the value of your house have increased.

4. Pipes: Insurers prefer copper or plastic plumbing – maybe it is a good idea to upgrade your galvanized / lead pipes during your next renovation cycle.

5. Shop around: Search, Compare, and switch insurance companies. There are many insurance providers and their price offerings for the same policies can be very different, therefore use multiple online tools and talk to several brokers since each will cover a limited number of insurance companies.

6. Wiring: Some wiring types are more expensive or cheaper than others to insure. Make sure you have approved wiring types, and by all means avoid aluminum wirings which can be really expensive to insure. Not all insurers will cover houses with aluminum wirings, and those that would, will require a full electrical inspection of the house.

7. Home Insurance deductibles: Like auto insurance, you can also choose higher home insurance deductibles to reduce your insurance premiums.

8. Bundle: Do you need Home and Auto Insurance? Most companies will offer you a discount if you bundle them together.

9. New Home: Check if insurer has a new home discount, some insurers will have them.

10. Claims-free discount: Some companies recognize the fact that you have not submitted any claims and reward it with a claim-free discount.

11. Mortgage-free home: When you complete paying down your house in full, some insurers will reward you with lower premiums.

12. Professional Membership: Are you a member of a professional organization (e.g. Certified Management Accountants of Canada or The Air Canada Pilots Association)? Then some insurance companies offer you a discount.

13. Seniors: Many companies offer special pricing to seniors.

14. Annual vs. monthly payments: In comparison to monthly payments, annual payments save insurers administrative costs (e.g. sending bills) and therefore they reward you lower premiums.

15. Annual review: Review your policies and coverage every year, since new discounts could apply to your new life situation if it has changed.

16. Alumni: Graduates from certain Canadian universities ( e.g University of Toronto, McGill University) might be eligible for a discount at certain Insurance providers.

17. Employee / Union members: Some companies offer discounts to union members ( e.g. IBM Canada or Research in Motion)

18. Mortgage insurance: Getting mortgage insurance when you have enough coverage in Life insurance is not always necessary: mortgage insurance is another name for a Life/Critical Illness / Disability insurance associated with your home only but you pay extra for a convenience of getting insurance directly when lending the money. For example a Term Life policy large enough to pay off your home is usually cheaper.

19. Drop earthquake protection: In many regions, earthquakes are not likely – you could decide not to take earthquake coverage which could lower your premiums. For example, in BC earthquake coverage can account for as much as one-third of a policy’s premium.

20. Wood stove: Choosing to use a wood stove means higher premiums – Insurance companies often decide to inspect the houses with such installations before insuring them. A decision to get rid of it means a lower risk and thus lower insurance premiums.

21. Heating: Insurers like forced-air gas furnaces or electric heat installations. If you have an oil-heated home, you might be paying more than your peers who have alternative heating sources.

22. Bicycle: You are buying a new bicycle and thinking about getting extra protection in case it is stolen when you leave it on the street e.g. when doing your groceries? Your Home insurance might be covering it already.

23. Stop smoking: Some insurers increase their premiums for the homes with smokers as there is an increased risk of fire.

24. Clean claim history: Keep a clean claim record without placing small claims, sometimes it makes sense to simply repair a small damage rather than claim it: you should consider both aspects: your deductibles and potential raise in premiums.

25. Rebuilding vs. market costs: Consider your rebuilding costs when choosing an insurance coverage, not the market price of your house (market price can be significantly higher than real rebuilding costs).

26. Welcome discount: Some insurers offer a so called welcome discount.

27. Avoid living in dangerous locations: Nature effects some locations more than others: avoid flood-, or earthquake-endangered areas when choosing a house.

28. Neighbourhood: Moving to a more secure neighbourhood with lower criminal rate will often considered in your insurance premiums.

29. Centrally-connected alarm: Installing an alarm connected to a central monitoring system will be recognized by some insurers in premiums.

30. Monitoring: Having your residence / apartment / condo monitored 24 hour can mean an insurance discount. e.g. via a security guard.

31. Hydrants and fire-station: Proximity to a water hydrant and/or fire-station can decrease your premiums as well.

32. Loyalty: Staying with one insurer longer can sometimes result in a long-term policy holder discount.

33. Water damages: Avoid buying a house which may have water damage or has a history of water damage; a check with the insurance company can help to find it out before you buy the house.

34. Decrease liability risk: Use meaningful ways to reduce your liability risk (e.g. fencing off a pool) and it can result in your liability insurance premiums going down.

35. Direct insurers: Have you always dealt with insurance brokers / agents? Getting a policy from a direct insurer (i.e. insurers working via call-center or online) often can be cheaper (but not always) since they do not pay an agent/broker commission for each policy sold.

36. Plumbing insulation: Insulating your pipes will prevent them from freezing in winter and reduce or even avoid insurance claims.

37. Dependent students: Dependent students living in their own apartment can be covered by their parents’ home insurance policy at no additional charge.

38. Retirees: Those who are retired can often get an additional discount – since they spend more time at home than somebody who works during the day and thus can prevent accidents like a fire much easier.

39. Leverage inflation: Many insurers increase your dwelling limit every year by considering the inflation of the house rebuilding costs. Make sure this adjustment is in line with reality and that you are not overpaying.

40. Credit score: Most companies use your credit score when calculating home insurance premiums. Having a good credit score can help you to get lower insurance rates.

41. Stability of residence: Some insurers may offer a stability of residence discount if you have lived at the same dwelling for a certain number of years.

Home Improvement

Bahama Shutters – The Distinct Advantages of Bahama (Bermuda) Shutters

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Shutters are a relatively inexpensive way to add style and charm to any home. They come in two main types: indoor and outdoor shutters. The latter type has historically been used to protect homes and buildings from weather; and to provide residents with both privacy and a means of adjusting the amount of light entering a room. Certain shutter types can be beneficial for homeowners living in turbulent or extreme climates. For example, Bahama shutters provide storm protection, while louvered shutters are an excellent way to block large windows from various temperature shifts.

Exterior shutters, especially distinctive or carefully crafted wood pieces, can also add panache to many architectural styles. For example, Bahama shutters give the historical flavor of British colonialism to architecture, while brightly colored board-and-batten shutters lend a touch of the Old American West to homes and other structures. Homeowners today have a wide variety of shutter materials from which to choose, including wood, vinyl, and fiberglass.

Bahama shutters : A unique, top-hinged option

The design and functionality of outdoor shutters vary by model. Bahama shutters (also known as Bermuda shutters) have top hinges, so they stand in stark contrast to other side-hinged styles. The top-hinged design enables a homeowner to push his or her Bahama shutters out and away from the house. Most other shutter styles have side hinges, enabling the homeowner to open them from the center seam and push them away from the house.

Some common types of side-hinged shutters include:

-Board and batten shutters, which consist of large, shapely slabs of shutter material. The rough-hewn designs are crafted to mimic the shutter styles found on American frontier homes.

-Louvered shutters, which consist of wooden slats surrounded by a wood frame. Today, louvered shutters are often made of vinyl or fiberglass, as well. They are good choices for blocking off large panel windows or multiple windows in a series, and they can be customized to complement multiple building styles.

-Panel shutters, which are a European style of shutter and can be be customized to fit period architecture or décor. They are usually square, with one or more recessed rectangular panels set inside the shutter frames. Panel shutters also often come in fiberglass or vinyl models.

When people think of outdoor shutters, they are often imagining one or more of these side-hinged styles. However, the less-common Bahama shutter has some distinct advantages for homeowners. This style is worth considering as a quality, high-performing window covering option.

What are the advantages of Bahama shutters?

Bahama shutters are specifically designed to act as storm shutters. Because the hinges of these shutters run along the top of the window rather than down both sides, the shutters can be swung out quickly, and can be rapidly closed in preparation for inclement weather. The quick-close, storm-protective nature of Bahama shutters make them an excellent choice for homeowners living in storm belts.

The New Orleans, LA and Biloxi, MI regions of the United States were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now, rebuilding is rapid and ongoing. More importantly, architects and contractors have learned from past mistakes and are creating homes designed to withstand hurricane winds, rain, and flooding. Bahama shutters make highly functional window covering options in this Southeastern American hurricane belt. When coupled with intuitive architecture, such as housing foundations that are raised off the ground to allow for flooding, Bahama shutters can be useful assets during storm season.

Bahama shutters also aid in natural climate control. The top-set hinges are designed so that a homeowner can choose the angle at which he or she wishes to keep the shutters open. This enables the homeowner to control the amount of air entering a room, and allows him or her to set the shutters at angles that facilitate natural cooling by air circulation. Bahama shutters are smart picks for homeowners living in warm climates; the natural cooling properties allow homeowners to conserve energy while saving money on utility bills.

The Bahama shutter style benefits a variety of climates. In fact, homeowners residing in temperate climates can enjoy the advantages of Bahama shutters over different seasons. Many major American cities, such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York experience rainy spring weather and hot, humid summer weather. Homeowners in these cities can reap the benefits of quick-close shutters during periods of rainy weather, and can enjoy the natural cooling properties of the shutter design during periods of summer heat and humidity. Furthermore, homeowners in all climates can enjoy the privacy protection and noise dampening properties of Bahama shutters.

Like other shutter styles, Bahama shutters are customizable. Reputable shutter companies have design staff members on hand to render the shutter style or shape that each customer desires. Talented shutter designers can often re-create shutter styles from customer sketches or AutoCAD files. Like most other shutter styles, Bahama shutters can be constructed of aluminum, fiberglass, or wood. Many wood styles and designs are elegant and sophisticated, and those made from Spanish cedar or mahogany are typically the longest lasting.

Homeowners who desire privacy, quiet, storm protection, and climate control can benefit greatly by choosing durable Bahama shutters.

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Home Improvement

Fred Hoiberg’s Plans

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The Chicago Bulls fans were in awe when they heard previous coach Tom Thibodeau had been fired. They had a sense it was coming due to the tension built up between the front office and the coach, but still were sad to see him go after doing so much for the team as head coach. He was respected by all of his players as well as fans. He had turned the organization around and made them contenders for the world championship due to his defensive coaching. The Bulls had the best record they have ever had since the Michael Jordan era. He turned player such as Joakim Noah into an All Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and MVP candidate. It still wasn’t enough for the front office who wanted more out of him. In his tenure of 5 years as head coach, the organization and fans had something to believe in again which was in a hiatus ever since Michael Jordan had retired as a Bull and Phil Jackson left as a head coach. After Thibodeau had been let go, the Bulls front office had hired Fred Hoiberg who was a former Iowa State basketball head coach. He had a complete opposite approach to the game which was offense rather than Thibodeau’s way which was defense. It was an interesting switch the organization had made and excited the fans to see more offense in the games which made the game more fun to watch. There were many doubts that he would live up to the expectations of Tom but there was nothing that anybody could do expect wait until the season began. When the regular season began, the players and fans were enjoying the new switch up in rhythm.

Players were talking about how they enjoyed it since it gave them more freedom to shoot the ball when they had a clear view instead of running plays that Tom would normally run. It started off well then the Bulls hit a wall where they were losing games due to their lack of defense. Games where they were up by double digits at halftime turned on them and they would lose the second half costing them the game. After a few comments had come to surface between the leader of the team, Jimmy Butler, and head coach, the momentum shifted. They went on a six game winning streak then hit a wall again losing to teams below .500 but somehow beating teams above.500. Concerns were definitely coming to question about if Hoiberg was the coach to still make the team elite contenders for the championship or just an average team. There has to be something done in coaching to get the team back on track in going to the finals otherwise the Bulls won’t make it far in the playoffs when the time comes. They are on an up and down rollercoaster at the moment and will have to see how things turn out for the last three months left of the regular season. If the coach can continue to utilize his offensive coaching along with defensive pressure, there is no reason the Chicago Bulls can’t become an elite contender for the championship again.

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Shower Soap Dish – The Benefits of a Fixed Soap Dish

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A home cannot be called a home without a bathroom. To make the bathroom complete, and serve the purpose wholly, one can use various decorative accessories. These decorative come in wide varieties that can be used to complete the designer’s creativity in terms of looks. The decorative comes in different prices, with some that can be said to be expensive. However, this should not worry you if you are in the middle or the lower side of financial status for there is those that come in very pocket friendly prices. One good example of these decorative is a shower soap dish. It is one thing that a bathroom cannot do without. It is amazing how a shower soap dish can be used to transform the look of a bathroom. They come in two types. One can have an ordinary soap dish, which is movable or the shower dish. Unlike the ordinary dish, the shower dish is fixed in the bathroom. Other than helping you have a convenient way to place your soap while in the bathroom, a shower dish adds up charm to your bathroom that in turn makes it enjoyable while in there.

A shower dish does not require a lot of space to install. This makes everyone have every reason for having a shower dish regardless of the size of the house. While installing it, you should consider the most convenient height to prevent any mess when taking your bath. There are many places that you can install the shower soap dish, and one of them is below the showerhead.

Among other things, the shower soap dish should be at least be in a position to provide you with reliability hence allowing you to fix it easily, comfort when accessing soap in the shower and add taste and elegance to the whole look of the bathroom. How often you take a shower will be greatly influenced by the right accessories and fixtures in your bathroom. So, if you want to start your day refreshed and enjoy your day longing for the next shower you will take, have the right fixtures and accessories in the your bathroom.

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Can the Crestron Home Automation System Be Integrated With Sonos?

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If you are thinking about installing a Crestron Home Automation system into your home, or you have an existing installation, you may be wondering whether it is possible to integrate Crestron with Sonos. Crestron are arguably the go to home automation specialists, and many people would love if their system integrated and was compatible with Sonos.

Crestron systems are in fact able to integrate with Sonos systems. Both companies have recently collaborated together to ensure that the integration of both systems can proceed without a hitch. One of the UK’s most respected home automation installation services Custom Controls have confirmed that both systems integrate together well.

They commented that it is entirely possible to launch the Sonos app on your iPad within Crestron, which means you don’t need to switch apps. This increases the user-friendly nature of the systems working together instead of competing against each other. You can also make use of a Sire gateway if you would like to integrate Sonos onto an existing Crestron panel.

The Sonos ecosystem is a great way to enjoy music around your home in a way that offers a crystal clear listening experience. This experience is increased still further thanks to Crestron’s audio distribution.

It is also possible to use Sonnex technology, which is a high-end premium audio distribution solution created by Crestron. Many of you will not have heard of this system before. What it does is that it groups different audio channels together and calibrates rooms with the possibility of adding sub-woofers to audio zones for a truly 21st century home music system.

The system can also be easily scaled up if required. As an example, Custom Controls recently completed a project in the UAE where they were able to install an incredible 72 zones of audio – with each zone being able to enjoy a wide variety of different audio sources and making use of Sonos.

We feel that the flexibility and the growing popularity of the Sonos system and the modern innovative home automation technology offered by Crestron work incredibly well together to bring your home into the technological age. We would highly recommend that you install both systems for your home.

Have you done this integration before in your home? If so, we would love to hear from you. If you would like to find out more information, check out https://www.customcontrols.co.uk/blog/crestron-sonos-integration/.

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Cleaning Theatre Seating

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One thing that you know for certain is that theatre seating will have to be cleaned regularly. You will more than likely have to do a daily cleaning on this furniture and then a weekly deep cleaning to keep it looking good and smelling good.

Popcorn oil, spilled soda, gum, and all of the other things that can get on the surface of theatre seating during the course of a movie wreak havoc with the way the item looks and smells you can cover some of the looks up by buying dark colored pieces and keeping the lighting inside the room dim. The smell is a little harder to mask.

The smell of old greases and sweat from bodies can quickly turn a cinema into an awful place to be. Keeping the theatre seating clean will eliminate the majority of these odors. You will also want to sweep and mop under the seats on a daily basis and keep the carpeting that runs up and down the aisles cleaned as well.

You will need a good hand vacuum to use on the cloth covered theatre seating in your cinema. Every day you should have an employee take the hand held vacuum into the theater and vacuum all loose particles from the cushions of the chairs. They need to pay extremely close attention to the cracks and crevices when they are performing this task.

You should have an employee wipe the arm rest between the individual chairs down with a disinfecting solution on a daily basis. These chair arms become sticky with spilled soda and the oils from human hands. They also become extremely dirty. Wiping them down will improve the look and smell of the room as well as reduce the number of bacteria that are waiting for a human host to enter.

You need to have a steam cleaning apparatus that you can use on the seats one a week or once a month. The steam cleaning of the furniture will need to perform on a day the cinema is closed or late in the evening so that the furniture will have time to dry before the next movie shows on the screen.

You can sprinkle baking soda on the carpeting and on the seats late in the evening after all movie watchers have went home. The following morning you can vacuum the baking soda up before the movie watchers arrive. Baking soda removes odors leaving the room smelling better.

You can use disinfectant spray each evening when the movie watchers have left. As part of your evening cleaning ritual you can spray the chairs with disinfecting spray to kill germs and bacteria. This will reduce the chances that anyone will get sick because they were in your theater.

Most cinemas keep the temperature inside very low to help inhibit bacteria growth as well. Bacteria do not do as well in cool temperatures and people stay calmer when they are cool. The cooler temperatures will also reduce the odors in the room.

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Top Tips For Fitting Bathroom Accessories

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Bathroom accessories are more essential to the functionality of the room than the accessories that we find in almost any other room in the house, perhaps with the exception of the kitchen. The placing of these accessories is also really important as they really need to be well fitted and in close proximity to the fixture that they are associated with. So what are the best tips for fitting and placing these accessories to make sure that the bathroom is fully functioning?

Your towel rail should always be placed close to your bath or shower cubicle for two reasons, the first being that you do not want to be over stretching to get a towel when you have wet feet as you may slip and injure yourself and the second is that you do not want to have to step out of the bath or shower cubicle and wet the floor. If you have a large bathroom you may wish to fit two towel rails, one near to both the bath and the shower.

The toothbrush holder should ideally be placed next to your wash basin in which you clean your teeth. This makes the job of cleaning your teeth much easier and will encourage you to wash out your toothbrush after use which is important to minimise the spread of germs and bacteria from your mouth.

You should also look to place your hand towel rail near to your wash basin so that you are not dripping or splashing water on your bathroom floor after you have washed your hands.

The final accessory to place in your bathroom is the toilet roll holder which quite obviously should be placed near the toilet but just as import should be placed at a height that is convenient for all people in the home. This is especially important if you have small children as it can be very dangerous for a small child to over reach whilst sat on the toilet.

If you take note of the above tips you should never have any problem with the placing of your bathroom accessories.

Choosing the best look for your bathroom can be a difficult job. Bathroom trends change so quickly that is you are not careful you could find yourself spending a lot of money to totally remodel and redesign your bathroom to find that it is dated and not keeping up with the latest bathroom look. Whilst ideally no one wants to be in this situation there are things that you can do that will minimise the effect of this problem if it does arise. The answer could be as simple your decor or the accessories that you choose.

As with most rooms in the house the more that you decorate your bathroom the sooner it will get dated so if you keep the decor to a minimum you should be able to get a longer lifespan from your bathroom without having to redecorate.

A basic neutral colour scheme is the best option when it comes to decorating but these can seem a little boring so add to this scheme by also adding a few accessories to your bathroom which can be easily changed. It is easier to change your bathroom accessories rather than redecorate your compete bathroom.

The same rule applies to your bathroom accessories as to the decor of your bathroom, keep it neat and simple. A brushed or plain chrome finish is always a smart neutral look but you can still make an impact if you choose to go for a quality designer brand of accessory.

These few simple tips can help you keep a look in your bathroom that will take a while to look dated and tired.

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Modern Home Plans And Contemporary Architectural Home Features

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If you are looking for modern home plans, there are many different types of plans that you can consider. The contemporary architectural features that you desire are going to be unique to your own needs, but they will be much different than traditional home features. Contemporary homes have been popular since the mid 1900s, and are influenced by postmodern and neoeclectic design elements. You can usually identify contemporary homes and modern designs by tall windows, unique shapes, and other architectural features.

When you are inspecting the features of contemporary architectural design to include in your modern home plans, there are many different things to look for. You can usually spot these houses with contemporary features by looking for stone or wood exterior materials, very minimal ornamentation, and irregular shaped tall windows. The exterior design of these homes takes a minimalist approach, and landscaping is usually used to create the curb appeal of the home since the design is so minimalistic. Finding the best features for your home will include keying in on these different design elements and figuring out which ones are going to give you the appearance that you want for your modern home design.

Interior features of modern home plans that feature contemporary architecture include things like:

– Open floor plans

– High ceilings or cathedral ceilings

– Exposed beams, gabled roofs

– Crown moulding

– Ceramic tile or wood flooring

– Artisan materials

– Gourmet kitchen designs

– Marble, stainless steel and concrete counters

Of course, the contemporary design features that you choose for your modern home will depend on your specific tastes, but these are the types of elements that you can expect to see in most home plans that are categorised under modern and contemporary home design. The goal here is function and style above all else, and the traditional features and kitschy designs are not present in these homes at all.

Clean lines and natural colours are other contemporary design features that will likely be in your modern home plans. Creating a contemporary, modern home is a desire of many people because the style is so popular. It offers something different from traditional home styles and allows people to have a more stunning and architecturally unique home for their needs. The decor that you choose for your home should match the design features and architectural details, if you want to achieve a truly modern, contemporary look. These are things to keep in mind when you are looking for architectural design plans.

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How to Clean Different Types of Flooring in Your Home

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Confused about which cleaning method is best for you floor? Some cleaning solutions can work wonders on one kind of floor and wreak havoc on another. We thought we’d make it that little bit easier. So whatever your floor type, check out our top tips on how to keep them ship-shape.

Carpets and Tiles

Regular vacuuming is essential for carpets, as it prevents loose dirt and grit from working into the carpet pile where it will damage the fibres. Upright vacuum cleaners are best, especially those with revolving brushes to dislodge embedded dirt. Use the suction head for loop-pile carpets, as beater brushes and heads can cause the carpet to bobble. Manufacturers recommend an annual steam clean. Clean according to wear. Whether you do it yourself or call in the professionals, high-traffic areas should be cleaned once every two years.

Natural remedy

Remove wine or grease stains from carpet by lightly sprinkling area with baking soda. Dab it up and add a little more if necessary. Leave on until the wine is absorbed, then vacuum up any residue left.

Natural Flooring

All good quality natural floorcoverings should have a substantial latex back to prevent dust and debris falling through and ensure easy maintenance by vacuuming. A cylinder-type vacuum cleaner without brushes is the best choice for natural floorings to avoid damaging the fibres.

Most high quality natural floorings are sold with a stain inhibitor that protects them from dirt and prolongs there life, so ask your supplier for details of cleaning products for natural fibres. These should be used on stains immediately – not once the stain has been absorbed. Mop up with a clean cloth or kitchen paper. Don’t use carpet mousse or shampoo as these can cause natural floorings to shrink.

Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if you want to give your flooring a thorough clean, but make sure they use a dry-cleaning system as opposed to a wet on. Ask your retailer to recommend a firm

Wooden Flooring

Sweep wooden floors regularly, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush setting. Mop once a week or so with a well-wrung mop, using soapy cleaner specifically for use on wood. Don’t saturate the floor or allow water to stand on it as this can cause damage. Wet-clean waxed boards sparingly and wax polish them to improve the patina. Dirty wax build-up should be removed with white spirit and the boards re-waxed. Treat engineered boards with oil or lacquer reviver, applied with a soft cloth.

Natural remedies

Remove scuff marks from wooden floors by rubbing them gently with a pencil eraser.

Bring out the natural colour of your wood flooring by wiping the surface with lemon oil and a dry cloth. However, this only applies to natural and waxed flooring, not varnished floors.

Laminate flooring

Laminate should be swept or vacuumed regularly. Using a damp cloth is fine, but never soak the floor with water – they’re designed to be water resistant. Most spills on laminate can be removed with household cleaners but, if the stain is lipstick, ink or permanent marker, try acetone. Never use scouring pads to remove stains on laminate flooring, and remove any liquid stains from the floor as soon as possible.

How to clean tiles and stone flooring

Stone floors

Stone will often have been treated before it left the factory. If not, it will stain easily so it’s important to seal it with a proprietary sealant or, for terracotta and slate, use linseed oil. Once sealed, clean it with a mix of mild detergent and water. However, it will need re-sealing at regular intervals to keep it looking its best.

Immediately wipe away any acidic spills.

Reconstituted stone needs to be sealed with a stain inhibitor then impregnated with a top coat of water-based sealant. It’ll need re-sealing every two years. Ask your manufacturer or suppler for specific care advice and suitable products.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution and do not require sealing. Damp-mop your ceramic tile with a standard, all-purpose cleaner. Dry the floor with a soft cloth to avoid streaks.

Never use harsh abrasive cleaners that might scratch the glaze.

Flagstone, limestone, slate

Damp-mop flagstone or slate floors using either clear water, an all-purpose cleaning solution in warm water, or water to which fabric softener has been added. Wring the mop until it doesn’t drip, and apply it to the floor in slow, even strokes. Ask the manufacturer for recommend the appropriate cleaning product.

Wipe up spills on unglazed floors immediately or they might cause a stain.

Remove stubborn marks with white spirit, but always do a spot test first.

Flexible flooring

Vinyls, linoleums and rubber are hard wearing and easy to care for. The amount of cleaning and maintenance depends both on your lifestyle and the colour of the floor. Vacuum or brush regularly to remove dust and grit that might lead to your floor being scratched, and follow with a weekly wipe with the cleaning agent recommended by your supplier.

Remove scuff marks by gently rubbing with a scouring pad – the sort you would use to clean non-stick cookware.

Clean the floor with mild detergent and water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, which may leave a dull film on your floor. Be careful with spray polishes and other silicone-based products as they can make your floor very slippery, as can white spirit.

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Home Improvement

Help Your Clients De-Clutter With a Garage Sale

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Many agents have come across the client who wants to sell their house and who wants to get rid of their clutter, but has no idea of how to go about it.  A garage/yard/lawn sale is a terrific way to both get clutter out of the house and put some money in your buyers’ pockets.  It’s also a good way to develop a rapport with your clients.  Here are some tips for you to organize a garage sale with your clients and then get all the deadweight out of the house!

  • Take your clients through the concepts of staging.  Impress upon them the need to have everything uncluttered to attract buyers.
  • Give your clients an action plan.  For instance, have them divide each room into “Keep, Consider and Sell.”  Once everything is divided, they need to go through the Consider pile and make a final decision.
  • Offer to put the ad in the paper.
  • Tell them to consider buying a few flats of pop to sell for $1 during hot garage sale days.
  • Help them obtain enough tables for the day; people like browsing on tables as opposed to blankets on the ground.
  • Help them with pricing items.  A price tag should be on everything.  One thing that can help are pre-printed stickers that you can purchase at most print shops or print out yourself using your computer. 
  • Remind them that the main goal is to get rid of clutter, not get the maximum price.  For more valuable items that they wish to dispose of, suggest consignment shops, Craigslist or E-Bay.
  • Ensure that their float is suitable.  A good number is $100 broken down into a $20, $10s, $5s and change.
  • Provide them with a cash box for use on the day.
  • Offer to assist with set-up and take-down.
  • Help put up signs.
  • Arrange for transporting the articles they don’t sell to thrift stores, family centers or the dump.  Don’t give them a chance to get it back in the house, because it will stay there.

You certainly don’t have to organize a sale for your clients if you don’t want to, but it’s a great way to bond with them and show them that you care about their situation and their home.  Also, money from the garage sale is a good incentive for your clients to get their home staged quickly.

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Home Improvement

What You Need to Know About Giving Gardening a Shot

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To look outside your window and enjoy the view of various flowers in bloom throughout springtime… is it not delightful? Several of the beautiful flowers you can grow in your yard are sunflowers, roses, calla lilies, hydrangeas, and orchids. If you have a green thumb, then you should use that great present.

The term garden emerged from the Middle English word “gardin” which just implies enclosure. People all over the globe have been engaging in various designs of gardening since the olden times. The art of gardening is not just about growing flowers or plants; it’s also an expression of elegance through visual designs. If you’re someone who appreciates fantastic scenery, or if you just adore to travel, you could try seeing one of the most popular and breathtaking gardens in the globe.

In Scotland, you will discover the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, cultivated in 1989 by the couple Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswick. This yard has an incredibly unique design and theme, being influenced by science and mathematical ideas. What are possibly the most popular of all, are the grounds in Versailles, France. The French have been known to provide much importance to the size and design of their yards. Versailles’ yards comprise about 800 hectares of land with intricately groomed lawns, flowerbeds, fountains, and statuaries. You can discover more of the world’s renowned gardens on the World Wide Web.

While there are different styles and techniques in gardening, it’s better to begin with the fundamentals and look into how to create a garden according to your personal preference. You initially need to be clear about your purpose for having a garden. When your objective is set, you can continue to the planning stage. What do you wish to cultivate in your yard? Do you like to cultivate simply fruits or flowers, or veggies too? Exactly how will you make it? Those are just a couple of questions you need to address prior to anything.

The next phase is preparation, then action. You need to know your soil, the plants you want to cultivate, and the equipment you need. When this is set up, you can start the actual planting. There are several sites that could possibly assist you in getting strategies on how to design garden spaces and how to appropriately grow a garden.

If you don’t have time for all the work in producing a yard, you can try making terrariums as an alternative, effortlessly making use of the plants and even animals you like. A terrarium is like your own miniature garden, and is usually much simpler to manage and maintain. For more support on terrariums and gardening, you can visit http://www.styleathome.com/homes/gardens/how-to-create-the-garden-of-your-dreams/a/538/2.

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