What you need for big home remodeling projects

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Most of the home remodeling we talk about doesn’t require much outside home besides the contractor for the job you are doing. For example, if you are doing a roofing job you probably won’t need more help than the roofing contractor. The same goes for landscape design, or interior remodeling.

However, there are certain types of jobs that will require special assistance. Big jobs will large pieces of material that aren’t easily transported or placed may not be able to be handled by just the trucks or lifts that contractors use. Getting a pool into your backyard and placed properly or placing a very large, wall sized window will probably need the assistance of a crane. There are plenty of crane rental companies around. They will be able to get the large pieces handled unlike the contractors.

You also need to make sure that you won’t be breaking any local laws or regulations or anything when having the actual work done. There may be certain zoning regulations or issues if your work being done is taking up a bunch of public space like the street.

These pieces of advice conclude the blog for today. If you are getting a pool in the future, awesome for you but make sure to keep these things in mind. Same goes if you are replacing a wall with very large windows or something cool like that! Until next time

Variables Involved in the Price of Roofing Work

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Roofing work can be incredibly expensive. Storms and heavy wind can rip shingles off, leaving your house susceptible to further damage if left untreated. Over time your roof may start to wear away and you’ll need a new roof. There are several things to consider beforehand that will help you estimate the cost.

First, think about the shape of your roof. A roof that is flat and straight across has less square footage than a roof that raises in the middle. Simply, the bigger the roof, the more materials you need to cover it. In relation to the shape, a steep roof provides a certain challenge of dealing with safety and the difficulty of applying the materials.

The next thing to consider is the material being used. Asphalt shingles will be less expensive per 10′ x 10′ than metal ones. Materials are going to be where someone can significantly change the bottom line. All of the other costs are generally fixed. You can’t change the size of the house or its roof shape, but choosing a lower cost material can save you money. A metal roof can last fifty or more years, and likely the lifetime of living in that house. Conversely, an asphalt shingle roof typically lasts about twenty years. This cost benefit analysis will then become a personal preference.

One last way to save money involves doing it yourself. This comes with the obvious challenge that you are not a roofer and will have to supply yourself with every material necessary. This means if you do not have a ladder or hammer, those materials have to be bought, which can raise some initial costs. However, you save much more on labor fees that would be incurred later. According to estimations, you save about half the cost it would be to hire a contractor, but requires almost triple the time with no guarantee the job was done correctly.  Information obtained from Keith R. Miller Inc. – a roofing company in Bloomington, Illinois.  You can read about more roofing and remodeling tips at their website if interested in roofing Bloomington IL.

Garden and Healthy Plant Tips

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Home improvement starts with preparation, and it starts now. Looking out the front window, wouldn’t it be great to see some beautiful flower arrangements, nicely trimmed bushes, and a garden full of fresh vegetables? With Spring hopefully just around the corner, we’d like to share a few tips that can help you improve your garden and home this year.

1. Carefully add organic nutrients to the soil. Although most of these are naturally occurring, adding a little more to the soil can greatly help your plants. Too much, however, can be detrimental and not only harm your plants, but also you. Adding measured amounts of manure and nitrogenous fertilizer are recommended for improving the soil.

2. For those of us who took science, we know how important photosynthesis is for plant health. One of the key cogs in that process is the availability of sunlight. Different plants need different amounts of sunlight. This can be seen in the color of their leaves. If the color is dark green, then the plant is receiving to little sunlight. If they are yellow, the plant’s leaves are being burnt out. Keeping an eye on leaf color and whether the plant receives a certain amount of sun is paramount to the livelihood of your garden and flowers.

3. The last tip involves when and how much to water. It is recommended that gardeners water their plants in the morning or late afternoon. The morning allows for the plants to absorb as much water as they’ll need for that day. Also, check the soil before starting. If it is still damp, then that tells you to wait to water the plants. A significant amount of water is required so that the roots are treated, not just the surface.

We hope these tips for your garden were helpful and that your summer is filled with healthy plants!

Preparing Your Lawn for Winter

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Lawn care may seem like a summer activity but there is so much a homeowner can do before the winter months set in that will make summer lawn care so much easier. With only a few simple steps, you can prepare and condition your lawn to survive through the winter months.

1. Fertilize your Lawn
-Use a nitrogen based fertilizer in late September
-Use a phosphorus based fertilizer around Thanksgiving (before the ground freezes) you get some fertilizer from Lutz Corp.

2. Continue to water
-An inch of water should be applied to your yard every 14-21 days
-Discontinue watering after the first freeze of the year

3. Combat Summer Damage
-Use the fall as a time to reseed your lawn and promote growth in the spring months
-Autumn is a great time to move damaged trees so their roots can sink in over winter

4. Mow on a Low setting
-Mowing low will allow you to judge compost levels and add the right amount
-Cut your grass to around an inch in height

5. Rake!
-Once the leaves fall make sure you rake and mow one last time before winter sets in

I hope these five tips will help you have a better lawn come spring and summer time. As you can probably tell these small duties can pay big dividends and allow you to enjoy your lawn more during the spring and summer months.

Maintaining Your Lawn

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Many people don’t know the history of a lawn but are driven to maintaining it and keeping the curb appeal at its best.  A well maintained lawn was a symbol of aristocracy and showed that the owner could afford to keep their land and wasn’t using it for production.  To this day, lawn maintenance is still a sign of high social class and can instantly create a great or awful first impression.  If you’re not ready for some long work, rolling up your sleeves, and steady and consistent love, then your lawn may not be the best kept in the neighborhood.  Here are some tips and tools for maintaining your lawn:

  • Remove weeds, make sure to pull roots and all with a handheld weeder or hoe.
  • Aerate your lawn, water your lawn one to two days prior to aeration. You can rent or buy an aerator.
  • Mow grass, a healthy lawn is denser and able to resist weeds. Remove ONLY 1/3rd of the top of the grass.  Many people leave their mower too low and can’t shade out the weeds.
  • Watering, water is simple, the general rule is to water heavily when it needs it rather than water light frequently.
  • Fertilizing, adds nutrients to the soil, the most effective way is to spread once or twice a year.

Maintaining your lawn will take some consistency and some weekend hours.  It will also take some specialized items to make your job easier every week.  For lawn and garden accessories check out  for pruners, saw heads, and more.

Is Landscaping A Good Investment?

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Like any addition to a home, landscaping can raise your property value or even be used to sell a house on the market. Landscaping, unlike some other additions to your home, can have a value worth TWICE as much as your initial investment. It raises the value of the home as well as improves the appearance and curb appeal. Here are some other reasons landscaping is a great investment for your new, old, or remodeled home:

• Increase the living space of your home with some outdoor living
• Increase curb appeal for your home, stand out from others or make sure you don’t stand out with poor curb appeal
• Reduce the amount of time your house could be on the market
• Block or keep out unpleasant views with trees/walls/fences
• Lower energy costs with trees blocking wind and sun

Landscaping has multiple benefits and can really show off and bring together your home. With the help of local landscapers you can dream up the landscape and outdoor kitchen of your dreams. If you’re located in the Central Illinois area and looking for landscaping Bloomington IL, Serenity Creek Design & Landscaping has every service for your yard, patio, awning, and more.

What is a Contractor and why do I need one?

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A contractor in its simplest form is someone with the sole responsibility of watching day-to-day activities and management of vendors and trades for a building project. They are responsible for providing all of the materials, labor and equipment for a construction project. You may need a general contractor for adding another room onto your house, remodeling the basement, or flipping a low price house.

Knowing what a contractor is and what comes with the territory is incredibly important due to past scams and loss of money. Here are a few things to know about why and what you should do when hiring a contractor.

There are no set qualifications to become a contractor. Many employers prefer a degree or other discipline but it’s not required. Because of this, multiple people with construction experience have a great outlet to owning their own business. Be wary, there are hundreds if not thousands of scams daily from said “licensed contractors”. Looking for the best price on a contractor is not always the best option. Making sure to hire a licensed contractor is paramount to the success and time it takes to complete the project. With a licensed contractor you receive some additional protection as the property owner. A licensed contractor has to pass a management test and needs minimum experience.
Also, a licensed contractor can be subjected to a criminal check and can’t have any outstanding complaints. The outstanding complaints are from previous customers and you too have the ability to file one against the license.

A contractor is incredibly important for any big construction jobs. Licensed contractors are covered for a large amount of money, insured, bonded and have the experience to pull off a job no matter what consequences arise. Don’t be fooled by common flyers and business cards saying their rates are the best in town and they are insured, licensed, and bonded. Do your homework, request files, and keep track of all of your contracts and keep everything in writing. If you fall victim to one of the scam contractors, your only defense can be taking action to court. If you’re looking for a reliable roofing contractor near Bloomington, IL check out Sundown Exteriors.

Do your homework and look for contractors in your local area.

All Natural Soap

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All Natural Soap

A Mano Bath is an Italian American, family business located in Panama City, Florida. “A Mano” in Italian means “by hand” and at A Mano Bath, we create the most natural, organic handmade soap just for you, by hand. For generations, our ancestors made all natural soap the old fashioned way with natural animal fats and other natural oils. For decades, making soap was a common practice and an important part of their daily lives. As time passed, manufacturers of bath soap emerged and the mass production of soap began. We know from experience, that many mass produced soaps can dry, irritate and age your skin due to the unnatural and sometimes hidden chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

We, at A Mano Bath use imported, Italian, 100% organic extra virgin olive oil (we like to call it olio) and other USDA certified organic oils and natural ingredients to produce a high quality organic handmade soap that is healthy and natural, and smells great on your skin.

So, Why Our Soap?

  • All of our soap is made from scratch.
  • Big 5 ounce bars!
  • Our soap is well balanced,
    We combine many types of oils to create soap with outstanding properties.
  • All natural and all healthy products.
  • We use only the best ingredients no matter the cost.
  • Carrier oils are all USDA certified organic!
  • Soap boxes are made from 100% recycled fibers.
  • All ingredients are listed, so you can be sure of what you are buying.
  • No unsafe, unnecessary, or hidden ingredients.
  • No dyes, clays, or artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • No animal testing.

Try us out!

Whether you’ve had organic or all natural soap before, or are new to it, all we ask is that you give our all natural soap a try. We’re positive that you’ll notice the difference and absolutely love it.