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Tip of The Month
How To Get Rid of Ants
Ants can be a nuisance and they can be downright destructive. Here are a few simple ways to rid yourself of the ant problem. A trip to any home improvement store and you will find plenty of chemical treatments to send those ants marching, so in this tip we will focus on a few home remedies.

Mission Accomplished!!
Welcome to Homesthetics
Homesthetics is a fantastic website where everyone can find something for where ever they call home. A wide variety of ideas for every area of your home, including living outdoors and travel information. Browse over to Homesthetics and spend some time there, and don't forget to bookmark it. 
Q: Should I have a home inspection when I buy my new house?
A:  The answer is yes unless you are trained to look for problems in all areas of residential construction and home mechanical systems. A good home inspector is not an expert in the function of every component of a house, but he or she is trained to spot the warning signs that often precede larger problems. Finding a quality home inspector can be a chore and while there are many qualified and competent home inspectors available there are more than a couple who are not qualified and do not possess the knowledge and expertise to perform any type of home inspection.    
Begin with asking your realtor for a referral, but do not stop there ask anyone who has recently purchased a home who they used, were they happy and would they use him again? It would be an excellent recommendation to have 1 company name come up two or three times. As with anything doing your homework always helps. 

Volume XII August, 2015
Dimension Bible Book Cover
Announcing a New Resourse That Can Save You Time And Money!
The Dimension Bible is that resource that will save yu time and money. Written in an easy to understand format, it contains much the same information that a building code book does, plus easy to understand formulas and charts to help you calculate how much material you will need for your project, and plenty of information on how to install it correctly. With plenty of room for your own personal notes on every page, this book will be invaluable to you.  READ MORE

Special for August
Use the coupon code NLFS and recieve FREE Shipping on your purchase of the Dimension Bible
Home Improvement Shows Hazardous To Your Health

If you are an average person thinking about beginning a remodeling project in your home you might tune into one of those home remodeling shows that are available, many of which are on Saturday mornings. There you would see an entire kitchen or bath totally gutted and remodeled within the hour. After watching it you might think; This is a snap, it's easy, I can do this next weekend! These "weekend projects" involve a lot more than 2 days and a trip to the local home improvement store. In this article I will outline the real steps necessary to complete your project.

The first step is you will have to identify the scope of the project. Once that has been accomplished you need see what a project similar to yours would cost so you will know if your project will fit within your budget and/or if you are overbuilding for your area. To accomplish this you should visit Remodeling magazines web site and go to the section that has the "cost vs. value report". This annual report will give you a very good idea as to the scope and cost of your project with region specific information. The next step is to complete a needs and use assessment. This assessment will help define the parameters of the project. What do you need (different from what you want or wish it to have) from the finished project and does your plan address all those needs and how you will use the newly remodeled space.

Next you will need to create drawings of the project. Even if you are not artistic you need to complete this step as it will force you to think about areas of the project that you may have overlooked. Your next step is to make your product selections, and make sure they fit into the budget. When making product selections be cautious of the finishes of various components, such as the shower door, vanity faucet, toilet trim and door handles, making sure they are the same. The same finish can have different names depending on the manufacturer. If you are putting the project out to bid remember to write construction specifications defining things like wall insulation, flooring, adhesives, type of paint, style and color of electrical devices, etc.

Once you have all this information you are ready to have the project bid. My advice for you is a little different then some others. I suggest you interview 2 or 3 contractors, and talk to their references. When you find the contractor that you are comfortable with, ask him to bid the project, according to your specifications. You already know what the project should cost because you reviewed the "cost vs. value report", so you are protected from that standpoint. Don't make the mistake of squeezing every last dollar out of your contractor. Your contractor has to make a profit to stay in business. One of the results of squeezing your contractor too much is he will have to cut corners, which is something you don't want to happen.

If on the other hand you are doing the project yourself, select a starting date when you can dedicate sufficient time to complete the project. Trust me, things always take longer than you think. I remember when I was first starting out in the business; I would bid the job and always be over on actual time. This happened time and time again. I asked a friend of mine who had been in business for a while to have a look at my estimating technique. He spotted the problem right away. You didn't include any time for setup, breakdown, job-site cleanup, trips to buy material and stocking the job with material. All these things take time to do and they are part of the job. The lesson here is to add time into your schedule for these things.

If after reading this article you feel overwhelmed and you feel like you need help in this process, I suggest you hire a contractor to consult with you about your project. He can complete the drawings and specifications for you and/or be available to visit your project and walk through it with you, answering your questions. As the project proceeds, the contractor should be available by phone to answer questions as they come up, or possibly even job site visits.

I hope after reading this you understand, that it is not as easy as it appears on TV, and it takes a lot of planning and follow through. In most cases the planning takes as much time as the actual project will. Following the above steps will ease the stress level that is associated with home remodeling projects, and make your life a little more comfortable.

Find out more about home repair and maintenance by visiting Contractor John

Contractor John has over 35 years in the home building and remodeling industry. He has earned the prestigious CGR (certified graduate remodelor) and CGB (certified graduate builder) designation from the NAHB (national association of home builders). He has sat on the educational advisory board for the Midwest Builders Show and is a past President of the Will and Grundy County Home Builders and Associates. This unique blend of experiences equips John to expertly advise you in all your projects around the house.

Know The Cost Before You Call A Contractor ... 2015 Cost vs Value Report

An incredibly valuable report for everyone who is considering any type of remodeling project.

 Access the 2015 report here

Your August Home Maintenance To Do List
Let Contractor John remind you when it is time to perform maintenance around your home. Our goal is to find and repair small problems before they become large very expensive repairs.
Each month I will include a list of maintenance tasks for you to undertake that month. 
For example in July I recommend you:
  1. Fertilize your lawn. Pick a product like Scotts and stick to their product line and recommended application schedule.
  2. Clean and organize your garage. You may find than adding a few hooks to hang items or a couple shelves goes a long way to creating orginization.
  3. Clean your garbage disposal. Fill an ice cube tray with vinegar and freeze them. Once frozen empty the vinegar cubes into the garbage disposal and turn it on. In addition to cleaning your disposal the cubes will help to sharpen your blades.
  4. Run the water in any unused bathrooms and fixtures and fill up any floor drain traps so the water doesn't evaporate and allow sewer gases into the house
  5. On the inside of the house, flip those mattresses.
  6. Ad salt to the water softener if needed.
  7. Change the furnace filter
  8. Clean out tub/shower drains and all sink drains by using a liquid drain cleaner such as Drano, to prevent future clogs.
Product of the Month
Rubbermaid Wire Closet Shelving
This month's featured product is Rubbermaid Wire Closet Shelving. It gives you many different  options to solve those storage problems. Click on the Rubbermaid Closet Shelving link to see all the products they offer. When you are done there, watch the Contractor John How To Install Rubbermaid Wire Closet Shelving video for help installing your new products. 
Visit my blog for the correct installation heights
Bonus Product of the Month

You may have thought all fire extinguishers are the same, but they are not. I would think we all know not to throw water on a grease fire, but do we know to put out different types of fires?

Fire extinguishers are labeled or rated for different types of fires, as follows.

  • A rated is for wood and paper fires
  • B rated is for grease, gasoline, or other liquids
  • C rated is for electrical, and wiring
  • There is also a multi-use extinguisher.
The multi rated extinguisher is best for the kitchen. The number 1 cause of kitchen fires is grease. Grease fires can spread very quickly and be a source of ignition for other materials, because a grease fire will burn a long time.
You need 3 things for a fire;
  1. Fuel
  2. Source of ignition
  3. oxygen
Remove any of the 3 and you will not have a fire. 
Smothering a grease fire by placing a lid on the pan and turning off the heat works the best, because the fire will use up all the oxygen and go out. Lots of baking soda or salt work to smother it. Do not use flour or baking powder, and never use water.
When using a fire extinguisher always aim it at the base of the fire not the flames.
Be safe, purchase the appropriate fire extinguisher for each area. Make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it. Check the extinguishers once a year.

Rustic Recipes For The Whole Family
Click Here For Printable Version Of Recipie

Grandma's Peach Cobbler


This recipe will serve approximately 6 people, I often double the recipe

.What you will need to make the cake part of the recipe

1 cup Bisquick

cup sugar

cup milk or water

2 tbl shortening

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

What you will need to make the filling part of the recipe

1 stick of butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 can peach pie filling

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional cup of walnut or pecan pieces

Combine the items for the cake and mix together on a bowl by hand or using a mixer, and set aside.

Using a large frying pan melt the butter over low heat. When melted add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and optional nuts. Drain the majority of the syrup from the peach pie filling using a colander or strainer and add peaches to the mixture. Cook together for 2 to 4 minutes.

While peach mixture is cooking coat a baking dish with butter and add cake mixture to it, spreading level in the baking dish. Add peach filling over the top of the cake mixture and using a rubber spatula fold peach mixture into the cake mixture, so each 3 x 3 area has even amount of cake and peach filling.

For single recipe use a 9 x 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean from cake area. For double recipe use a 10 x 14 baking dish and bake at 350 for 65 minutes or until knife comes out clean from cake area.

Serve warm add vanilla ice cream to warm peach cobbler.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."