Tip of the Week
Sanding drywall: When sanding drywall seams, it's good to follow the seam instead of going against it. It's better to go in circles, this way everything is blended and faded instead of getting that "path" from over sanding. Use a scrap piece of lumber or something hard and flat to put under your sand paper, this will keep things uniform. Using your hand can result in high and low spots which ultimately leads to more work. Also if you need the seams to dry quickly, try mixing your own "mud" instead of using the premix. The powedered mix comes in drying times of 20 minute, 45 minute, and 90 minute. The work times aren't very long with these so keep moving!
Tip of the Week
Caulking: Caulking can be a messy job that results in what looks like a 3 year old played arts and crafts with your house. Not to worry, here are a few tips to help you out. Around glass or a finished surface, use painters tape on either side of the joint being caulked. This will save you time on clean up and it's ok if the process gets a little messy, if caulk gets on the tape you can peel it right up. For the "professional" look, wet your finger and run it down the bead to smooth it out and remove the excess, this will also work if you want to use a putty knife. Just wet the knife and run it down the bead. Using a putty knife to tool the caulk or window glazing may take some practice. Part of the blade will need to follow a flat surace to keep things looking good, every movement made or bump the knife hits will show up in the caulk. Also be careful not to remove to much caulk or it will be ineffective. Follow the manufacturers recommendations for proper adhesion and sealing. Happy caulking.
Tip of the Week
Senario: You have this awesome piece of trim that you just pulled off the wall and you want to reuse it. The problem is the nails are stuck in it. How do you get them out? "Duh, simple.", right.....maybe not. Instead of knocking the nails out from back to front, pull them the rest of the way through the board. If you go the "traditional" route there is a chance that this piece of trim will be damaged and that means filler and trying to match stain or paint. A good pair of pliers should give you enough grip to pull the nails straight on through.
I started a new closet project late last week in a master bedroom that did not offer such a thing. Currently the framing is almost complete and two of the three ceiling boxes are up. This design will feature a 70" main closet with two coat closets, one at each end. With the ceiling in the room at nearly nine feet, this will provide plenty of storage and will be a great feature in the room.
Another issue that will be addressed is lighting. Don't you hate it when you have a great closet, but can't see in it? I'm adding lights down low so that shoes or other items can be seen.
This project is part of a bigger renovation involving this whole master. New drywall, electrical, shelving, and paint. Stay tuned, pics coming soon.
Off To A Good Start
It's only the beginning of February and I have been covered up with work. I'm on second house painting/remodel job in less than four weeks. I also have roofs lined up for this year and a partnership with my credit union on a new mortgage program. Hopefully this sudden increase in work load is more permanent rather than a temporary flux. 2012, some say it might be the end of the world, I say it's only the beginning.
What's In A Home
Throughout the year with projects both for customers and my own, I have often wondered "What's this made out of?". Asbestos has popped up a few times this year and I have even been asked about asbestos abatement. We all know what the old pipe insulation looks like, the corrugated cardboard like stuff cased in a cloth like material and normally painted white. By the way, if you see that stuff, don't bother it. However, what about the vinyl floor in your kitchen or bathroom or the adhesive that holds it down? What about the drywall that isn't drywall, but you think it is? What about the joint compound on your walls, or caulk on your windows, or tape on the seams of the duct work in your house? Yup, it's even on your roof. Asbestos has crept it's way into every aspect of a house, though outlawed around 1990, it's still hanging around. It's in your walls, on your ceiling, on your floor, and maybe even in your hairdryer (unlikely, but maybe). This is why it is so important to be educated on the projects you plan to tackle and what products were used during the life of your house. Asbestos can cause several medical problems and some fatal. Are you willing to risk your health or the health of others, including your family, because you did not know. Here is your wake up call. Also, building materials from foreign country's may still contain these harmful materials.
So what do we do? Dig big holes and bury the very houses we live in? No. We have to change our mindset as to how we are going to prepare to do a project. Will it be more time consuming? Yes. Will there be more steps involved? Yes. Will we all benefit from the proper procedures during a project? Yes. Anytime that you are going to drill, cut, or grind something and you are not sure if it has asbestos, lead, or anthing else potentially harmful, here are some safety and protection steps to take.
Prepare the site: Hang plastic on door ways and over widows and cover the floor. 2 mil or greater will have the strength to take some abuse. Make sure and tape all seam to prevent dust from getting around the plastic. Make sure vents, returns and exhaust, are covered, we don't want that dust blowing back into the air once we are done. If a door way has to be used or is in a heavy traffic area, cut a slit in the plastic or spend a little money and get the self adhesive zippers to make access through the plastic. the main thing is to prevent the dust from spreading past the work area.
Protective gear: Wear a respirator or mask suitable for the job at hand, not those thin paper masks meant for painting, I'm talking an N95 with hot air exhaust or reuseable respirator with replaceable cartridges. Coveralls, Tyvek or suitable brand that covers to the wrists and ankles. Gloves, something nitrile and puncture resistant. Safety glasses, self explanitory. If your coveralls don't have a hood, then a hat of some kind that covers your hair and maybe the back of your neck. Boot covers, these may or may not be needed depending on your project. Hang warning signs that will tell people of the potential dangers, LEAD work in progress or High Dust Area or ASBESTOS. This will be a small investment, but the point of this is: 1) to protect you and your health and 2) so that you have something to remove and dispose of so that you don't take the dust and fibers home.
Work smart: Try and demo in one day so that clean up can begin as soon as possible. This will be especially important if your work area is in a high traffic zone. The longer removal takes the high the risk of dust and fibers contaminating areas outside the work zone. Use heavy duty trash bags or contractor bags for debris, use a HEPA vac to remove the air in these bags before closing them and tape them shut. Also, place discarded potective gear in bags and remove the air in the same way and tape shut. Remember to wash your hands and no food or drink allowed in the work area PERIOD.
Clean Up: This is a critical step, it is as important as the finished product. When you are ready for this step there should not be any demo work left to do. There should be dust and small debris on the plastic. How do we handle this, vacuum right? Use a HEPA vacuum to get up the dust and small debris, take down the plastic on the walls and over the windows and place it on the plastic on the floor. Our goal is to remove all the plastic from the house in one step. Fold everything up and place it in a contractor bag. Even the ground outside should remain clean from hazardous materials. Wipe down any horizontal surface that has dust on it, now the improvements can begin.
Lead and asbestos are fine where they are until they are disturbed or are in areas that have deteriorated. If you don't feel comfortable with any of these steps, seek out a professional for help. Remember, it's your health and the health of your family at stake.
I have been asked by some to write about property management as it relates to Property Serv. As some of you know, Property Serv offers maintenance agreements that can tailored to your needs. If you want complete maintenance and upkeep, we can do that; if you want to set up to have your gutters cleaned twice a year, we can do that. It is set up in such a way that if the work is beyond what we can personally handle, then Property Serv becomes the project manager and subs out the work. You still only make one phone call and we worry about the rest. We are insured and we will make sure anyone we use is as well. Being a member of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce gives us plenty to choose from if needed.
The idea in mind, or the thought that created this, is the busy professional or owner of multiple properties. A busy professional, doctors, lawyers, professor, business owners don't always have time to do the necessary things that need to be done or even the knowledge sometimes to complete a repair or wanted project. As far as that goes, who wants to spend vacation time or Saturdays tackling repair/remodel stuff?
The owner of multiple properties is kind of in the same boat, but on a grander scale. Normally it is one person who owns a few rental properties, this is all well and good until there are multiple "fires" to put out. Upkeep on your house is hard enough, not to mention the houses you don't live in. This is where we come in. We, together, can put things in place so that upkeep and maintenance are taken care of. We can be proactive and handle problems before they arise or grow into bigger ones. Putting plaster or a coat of paint over it just doesn't fix it normally. YOU the homeowner are responsible and if there are renters involved, there must be a place that is safe and functional for people to live. If you don't care, why should the renter?
I am wrting this to bring things to your attention, things you already know, but that are sometimes overlooked. There is no need in being overwhelmed or stressed, Property Serv is here for you and we are only a phone call or email or facebook message away. We don't want to take over your life, we want to make it more enjoyable for everyone involved. We want to take a good community, a good neighborhood, a good street and make it better. If you need us, here we are.
Today, I received confirmation that our first maintenance agreement was signed! This is a big deal for Property Serv and a step in the right direction for the business. The maintenance agreements we offer do have no monthly fee. Why pay for something you're not using? We charge per job unless there is something that is reoccurring, then a flat rate can be set. We don't even charge by the hour, it is really by the job! If you are interested or have question about this service, call or email and we can discuss options. Property Serv is insured and believes in doing quality work. Job creation is just around the corner, the more agreements we get the closer we get to hiring new people!
Perhaps it is like reporting any public hazard—if you don’t do it, someone could be injured or killed. When an untrained worker does renovation on buildings containing lead, he exposes himself, his client, and his family to a lead hazard. He may spread lead dust throughout the home he’s working on, and he can carry lead dust home on his clothes, face, and hands. The lead safe practices used by certified RRP contractors minimize this possibility—thus protecting the residents of the building, the construction worker, and his family.
When a lead-safe certified contractor drives by a pre-1978 project that he bid on and sees the work being done by non-certified renovator, just how is he supposed to feel? He is obeying the law and doing business in safe manner, yet he is losing income needed to pay his employees and support his family to the renegade renovator.
A contractor in Maine shot a video of a non-compliant renovator sanding the side of an apartment complex without containment, PPE, or any safety precautions. Then he posted the video on YouTube. Although it took several months, the non-compliant renovator was eventually cited and fined by the EPA.
The EPA admits that without people bringing RRP violations to their attention their enforcement efforts are diminished. They are hoping that the majority of contractors have a willingness to report misconduct by non-compliant renovators. When compliant contractors have their livelihood jeopardized by what amounts to criminal activity, reporting RRP violations is not vicarious snitching but only good corporate citizenship.
We finished painting Mancino's last Monday morning, we finished about 12:30AM. It's done and the owners are happy. Stop in and check it out. We can paint your business as well, call for a free estimate.
Craig Jones, owner of Property Serv LLC. My goal is to better educate the homeowner and to make Richmond a better place to live.