Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Home Improvement Contractors Should Blog

For the roofer, plumber, repairman, or general contractor who relies on local patronage to keep business coming, nothing is more important than visibility. These days people will drive past home undergoing extensive makeovers and see the lawn signs planted by the curb informing everybody who is doing the work. While that's a great method of exposing a first-hand look at your craftsmanship, you must also consider the limits of such advertising. If the home is not in a busy area, how many people will really see the sign? To broaden your reach, it's necessary to set aside time for online marketing, and having a blog is key.

The home improvement owner who is skilled with his hands for building and repairs might not think he is apt to write about his work, but in truth blogging doesn't necessarily have to be regular theses on construction. Blogs are flexible yet powerful marketing tools - you don't need a marketing or writing degree to operate a successful weblog that attracts readers. All you need is the time to invest in building an audience and showcasing what your company does best. Here are just a few things you can do with a blog to help bring homeowners to your site, and to contact you for work.

Post before and after photos. If you have an especially daunting renovation project, nothing is more encouraging to a homeowner than to see the progress of the job. Posting before, mid and after pictures of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, a new roof installation, or a deck construction lets prospective clients see you in action, and the great results.

Post videos. You can embed videos in posts of certain blog content systems. Show locals how you operate, the quality materials you use, and the efficient labor that defines your brand.

Offer online specials. Gauge different promotions with your blog. Advertise "blog only" discounts and track how often they are redeemed.

Offer home improvement tips. Does a homeowner need a quick fix for the toilet or faucet? How can somebody keep their roof safe in winter? Provide helpful tips on your blog and build authority and trust.

With a blog attached to your main website, you provide regular fresh content, which in turn alerts search engines to give you better results in search. Start a blog today if you have not done so, and see the positive effects it can have on your online presence, and your business.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Virginia Beach plumbing and Virginia Beach roofing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Top Five Home Improvements Guaranteed to Make Your House Beautiful and Secure

Given today's economy, many homeowners have found it more financially sound to make renovations to their existing home rather than move. Indeed, if your family is growing, a room addition may be more affordable now than searching for a larger house, but if you have no plans to expand there are still projects for your home than can make life more enjoyable. If you have had it with the antiquated look of your rooms, consider calling on a contractor or handyman to help you with a few good fixes to your home.

What can you have done to your house to improve the way it looks as well as how it functions in terms of security and safety? Our top five suggestions can work to wow guests and save money in the long run.

New Flooring: In time, kitchen floors especially become worn and dirty to the point that the strongest cleaner won't penetrate the dirt. If you came into a home with existing vinyl flooring, you may want to consider upgrading to wood or tile...something attractive that also keeps clean easily.

Radiant Barrier Insulation: For your attics, radiant barrier insulation is designed to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for your home while also saving money on heating and cooling bills. With this installed, you won't need to run the AC as much, plus you could receive a tax credit on installation if you qualify. Consult with a contractor to learn more.

Crown Molding: Little touches like adding crown molding to your walls lends an elegance to your home that people sense all the time.

New Deck or Patio: Do you live in a nice climate? Make use of your yard space with a deck or patio. Entertain in the summer with barbecues, and have a glass sliding door attached to let in natural light during the day, and eliminate the need for extra lighting in your home.

Bathroom Remodeling: Used to be bathrooms were built into homes for limited, necessary use. These days, however, we like to pamper ourselves and linger as we freshen up. What better way to do that than in a completely overhauled bathroom with updated shower fixtures, more room, and a lighted vanity. Who needs to go to the spa, when you have one at home?

Home improvement is likely more affordable than you think. With the work of a competent, licensed handyman, your current house can transform into the home of your dreams, and you won't have to move!

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handymanservices and Virginia home improvement services.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is Your Toilet Leaking?

Once while shopping for a new apartment, a friend joked that as long as the place had room to sleep and a working toilet, the place was perfect. It's true that a home functions at is best when everything is working properly, and when once doesn't have to worry about bathroom repairs, all the better.

However, there may come a time when you need to consider replacing or fixing a toilet in your home. While everything may seem fine on the outset, there is the possibility that a silent leak in your tank or bowl could be wasting water, therefore running up your water bill! If you suspect something is wrong with your commode, there are a few tests you can administer to determine if you need to call a plumber to make repairs.

There are, of course, obvious signs of possible damage: having to jiggle the handle to stop the toilet from running too long after a flush may be more than an annoyance, but a warning. Definitely if you see water pooling around the base or rising above the overflow pipe in your tank there is a problem. Sometimes, though, the signs are not as simple to spot.

Is you suspect trouble with your tank, for example, here is something easy to do: add a few drops of food coloring in the water, enough to darken it, then wait about half an hour and make sure nobody uses the toilet. Later, if you see any color in the water in the bowl, this tells you the tank is faulty. These are the silent leaks that cost you money, and it's important to call a plumber and get them repaired.

Listen and check for inward issues with your toilet as well as more obvious leaks if you feel something is wrong. The sooner your commode is repaired the less money you'll waste.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on commercial plumbers in Virginia BeachVirginia Beach handyman services, and Virginia Beach vinyl siding replacement. and

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dangers of Hiring "Unprofessional" Professionals

Let's face it, one doesn't exactly prepare ahead for home and auto repairs. With bills to pay and other expenses needed to get through the month, to have something unexpected come up like an accident or burst pipe requires attention, and money. At some point in our lives, we're expected to give up money saved for something special to take care of something more important. Therefore, it's necessary to make sure the repair is done right the first time and doesn't incur further financial strain.

If you're tight on money, it may be tempting to go with a low bidder in order to fix your repairs, yet in the long run that could hurt you. While it may not be true across the board, choosing a plumber, repairman, or other contractor based on price without researching them could lead to trouble. If you were to hire a mechanic for your home or car who wasn't properly licensed, for example, you might find you'll experience problems with your insurance company. Then you'll have to another another person to right any mistakes in the repair, costing you even more!

How can you avoid such problems?

1) Referrals. Talk to trusted friends and relative, ask which plumbers and mechanics they use. Has anybody used the same people for years without incident? Are there online reviews of the work done you can examine?

2) Business references. Research who will work for you. Are they licensed? Are they members of the local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau. Does the BBB have on record any official complaints?

3) Communication. How do the staff act when approached? Are they friendly and courteous? Do they answer all questions directly? Are they complete in their procedures and contracts?
The more you learn about the people who come into your home or work on your car, the better prepared you are for a concise repair that hopefully won't cost you more in the long run.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on plumbers in Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach handyman services.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Make Your Home "Green" With Simple House Improvements

The long winter has left many a homeowner heated up - not only by high generation of heat within the home, but by rising energy bills due to the weather. As the cold season lingers, it forces people to continue running heaters and other appliances to keep living conditions bearable. Unfortunately, it's not always good for the wallet. Especially if you live in an older home, it's good to consider money-saving adjustments that add energy-efficient products to your structure that can help reduce power and save you money, while also helping to improve the value of your house.

If it suddenly warms up, too, don't think that putting off these improvements is a good thing. Simple measures to turn your home "green" are beneficial any time of year. Here are just a few suggestions to ponder when consulting with a contractor.

Installation of double-hung windows: Double-hung windows are constructed to allow the top and bottom sashes to tilt and open and provide ventilation or sealed protection when you need it. Energy-efficient and strong, when installed properly they keep out the elements and keep heat/cooling inside, so your systems won't work overtime to thoroughly circulate air through your house.

Addition of skylights: The more natural light you let into your home, the less reason to run lights during the day. Skylighting lends an attractive quality to your house and reduces the need for extra lamps. You save money on electric bills and light bulbs.

Erecting an attic tent: An attic tent is design to work with your home's insulation, so the heat stays where it needs to be - in your home, and not out into the neighborhood.

Replace bathroom fixtures: Is water consumption at an all time high in your home? Install low-flow toilets and shower heads to maximize your time in the bathroom without skyrocketing bills.

Confer with your favorite handyman today about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your monthly payout for home expenses. A green home saves you green.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services and Norfolk green homes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Benefits of Roof Inspection

Whether you already own your home or are looking into buying one, one task to consider for proper house care is a thorough inspection of the roof. The roof is what keeps the rest of the home secure and protected from the elements. Having a professional check the current state of a roof can help you save money and headaches, depending on your situation.
Why get your roof inspected? As a homeowner or potential buyer, it's important to know everything you can about the place you live.

Prevention: Regular roof evaluation - it is recommended to have a professional examine your house top every two or three years - can help determine if minor problems and leaks stand to become major issues in the future. These checks can spot damage by weather or rodents or other elements and allow you plan for timely repairs that may not cost you as much now as a larger fix would have down the road.

Value: If ever you think of selling your house, a buyer is going to want to know the condition of the roof. As it is the objective of the buyer to choose a home that doesn't require extensive repair, should your roof require great attention it can make selling a challenge. Regular inspections can alert you to repairs necessary before you put your home on the market, and they can help evaluate the selling price.

Renovation: Say you wish to remodel your home and have an addition built. Even if you don't plan to add a story to your house, a new room will require extension of your roof, and you want to be certain the structure matches your present one. Regular inspections can help you figure out what needs to be done to ensure the roof is even and strong.

Just a small payment for inspection can save you larger bills for repairs if you leave roof problems unnoticed and unattended.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Virginia Beach roofing and Eastern Shore roofing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Keep Your Plumbing Strong During the Winter Holidays

If you plan for a busy holiday season, you need to be sure your kitchen and bathroom pipes are working properly. The more foot traffic into your bath and shower, the more your plumbing will work. Nobody wants to deal with leaks and broken fixtures during Christmas, so before you invite the friends and family over, take care to prepare your house.

Keep the Kitchen Cooking

Holidays are synonymous with grand family feasts. No doubt if you have family over, there will be turkey and pies and other treats. That said, you'll rely on your kitchen sink for cooking and cleaning, so do your best not to pour oils or fat down the drain. If they become solid, they're sure to clog up your pipes. If you're making a pumpkin pie to share, don't use the garbage disposer to get rid of pulp. Not all disposal units have the power to grind up thick gourd skins.

If you plan to wash a lot of dishes after meals, don't run a cycle until you've filled your dishwater as much as possible. Run the wash through off-hours of the night, too, to conserve energy.

Working Bathrooms = Happy Guests

If the ratio of people to bathrooms in your home is great (and it almost always is), you want to be certain there are no problems over the holidays. If possible, coach visitors into waiting about fifteen minutes in between showers to give your water pressure a chance to recover from each bathing.
Taking good care of your home over the Christmas holidays ensures a memorable visit with family and friends.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach handyman services, Suffolk plumbing and Virginia Beach plumbers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Call a Plumber For Pest Control

It's a problem no homeowner wants to face: you're home for the evening hoping to relax with a nice hot bath or shower, and you walk into your bathroom to see a few tiny insects floating in the air. If there is no nearby open window, you might wonder how the critters got this far back into the house. The inconvenience of having to swat or spray could kill the relaxing mood, and now you have to think about calling pest control.

Or, perhaps you need to call a plumber.

That's right. If you live near the beach or marshy areas, you likely have dealt with mosquito problems outside the home. One thing to know about these blood-sucking pests is that they breed in standing water. Eggs hatch and the nymphs grow in the puddles until they are able to fly on their own. If you're not observant, you might discover that adult mosquitoes have discovered your septic tank or other damp spots within the plumbing of your house as their new hatchery. Where are the critters coming from? Possibly your drains!

What is the best way to prevent an infestation by way of your pipes? Consult with a professional, licensed plumber and it could be suggested to screen the plumbing vents in your home to keep even the smallest creatures from breaching. If you have no screens applied, make an appointment to have it done. It is also wise to have a plumber check your septic tank to make sure it is bolted and sealed correctly.

The more proactive you are in preventing insects from entering your home through the plumbing, the better protected your house will remain.

K. Lively is a freelance writer specializing in Virginia Beach handyman services Norfolk commercial plumbing and Virginia lake management services.