Profile: We had the opportunity to talk about finishing a basement with Bobby Assadourian, President and CEO of Triple R Inc. Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Triple R has been serving customers throughout the Golden Horseshoe for six years. The company covers a wide range of renovation, rebuilding and repair services. One common job type is basement remodeling – Triple R can often be found finishing a basement in a new home, or enhancing an existing finished basement that needs work.
Other services include general repair and maintenance – both indoor and outdoor; renovations – bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and more; masonry; complete plumbing and electrical; landscaping; framing, drywall; painting; ceramics and flooring; heating and cooling; doors and windows; siding; and roofing.
Q: Let's talk about basements. Finishing a basement is a concern for many homeowners. What advice can you offer to get them started?
A: First, make sure your basement is dry.
If your home is new , wait two to three years to let the house settle and for all the materials in the foundation to interact with each other. Be aware that some waterproofing may be necessary.
If it's an older home , make sure there are no moisture issues in the basement before you start anything!
Do not trust that basement moisture is temporary or may "go away," or that nice drywall and paint will "cover it up" – it does not work that way.
Every dollar you spend on your foundation remodeling will be wasted if you do not address the moisture issues first. I'm always totally honest with homeowners: if they're better off wait, I'll tell them upfront.
Bear in mind the Tarion warranty ( see Tarion for the exact specifics concerning time limits, etc. ). During the two-to-three year period, you're covered for defects in the foundation – but you need to be able to see the problems! You have to see the whole basement floor and the walls. There can be no dream foundation until this period is over!
The documents from Tarion often sit on refrigerators collecting dust, and that's very dangerous. You have to put off the sports bar, the home theater and the sound system in the basement until you can be certain the foundation is sound. This may not be what you want to hear about your dream basement remodeling, but if you do not allow adequate time you're going to be throwing your money away (this all depends on new construction).
Q: Assuming moisture issues are addressed, what's the homeowners' next step in finishing a basement?
A: Do not build to Ontario minimum building code ! Mike Holmes of Home & Garden backs me 100% on this. Often, foundation remodeling comes down to money – but beware that the "minimum building code" is exactly what it sounds like! It will not produce a basement or anything else that will stand the test of time and it will not provide value for your dollar. It's really the bottom of the barrel.
The funny thing is, there's not much of a monetary difference between good to best. However, because building codes are designed for builders and contractors, in some ways the system benefits them. Builders can save a few dollars on products, and that really adds up over time as they build hundreds of houses. That's why many of them choose to build to lower specifications.
For homeowners, though, the cost difference is pretty minor. Labor is the same – or, in some cases less, because good products are easier to install. It's really worth your while to insure on the best when you're finishing a basement. Bear this in mind and you'll save a lot of pain in the years to come.
C: What's the best way for homeowners to budget for a basement remodeling and get a reasonably accurate idea of total costs?
A: To get an accurate idea, they should not try to cost it out themselves – get a contractor.
Take your time, though, to educate yourself before calling a contractor. Read magazines, literature, talk to people at big box stores.
Get a really good idea of how your finished basement with look in terms of layout, design features, and materials – know them by trade name! Contractors have a much easier time when homeowners know exactly what materials they need. If you can not afford certain materials, talk to the contractor about finding the best balance between cost and quality.
Knowing your materials will also increase your chances of having a good contractor experience – the contractor will know within a few minutes of speaking wherever you've done your homework and are knowledgeable and serious. Contractors need to impress homeowners, yes – but there's nothing wrong with the homeowner impressing the contractor! Contractors are more likely to prioritize your quote and get back to you quickly if they can tell that you are serious, that you know what you want, and that you've done your research.
Q: What trends are you seeing in basement remodeling? Any exciting new products homeowners should be aware of?
A: First off, remember that you'll spend a lot of money over the years heating and cooling your basement. Due to this, there's a growing trend towards being Energy Star-efficient and -compliant.
To achieve this standard, you must seriously consider upgrading from "pink or yellow" basement insulation to Roxul. It provides some labor savings because it's safer and not itchy, it lasts much longer – but most importantly, the energy savings are phenomenal! The money you spend upfront will pay itself back in dividends over the next few decades in energy savings. It's also fire-resistant.
Another interesting basement product to be aware of is "Ipex." It's a revolutionary plumbing product that's phasing out copper. It'll take several years for most contractors to adopt it, but that's true for any new amazing product that comes out on the market. Even if the products are the best choices for finishing a basement, or are more green and efficient than other products, contractors tend to "wear their old shoes."
Again, be aware of the product options when finishing a basement, do your research and be ready to ask for them by name. Show the contractor that you know what you're talking about.
Q: What other advice can you offer to homeowners looking to finish a basement?
A: To have a really successful basement renovation, you must have good communications with your contractor. The vast, vast majority of problems in basement remodeling are caused by poor communication!
Homeowners have to consider the time they spend looking for a basement contractor, or any contractor, as a dating period! "Date" your contractor for an appropriate amount of time, because you're entering into a relationship with that contractor. You need to evaluate them personally, not just professionally!
Q: Why did you join our contractor network?
A: It's an association that's doing good on a large scale and bringing quality people together. Since I started with them, nothing but good has come my way. These people run the company so efficiently and with so much discipline, and they contribute to so many good causes in addition to their regular work (such as the March of Dimes).
Q: We hope homeowners use our service to find a reputable local contractor … but if they do not, what criteria should they use to determine who's the right choice for finishing a basement?
A: I firmly believe that there are three or four valid ways that you can research a contractor and make very sure he's legitimate. When renovations go wrong, the contractor bears responsibility – but, to be honest, the homeowner usually does too! The bottom line is that a foundation renovation or any other type of work demands that you thoroughly research both your project and your contractor, and maintain good communication. If you do that you'll almost certainly have a positive experience.
1) never hire a contractor without a city license (* note – where applicable).
2) call in to WSIB and make sure your contractor has proper workplace insurance.
3) call their commercial insurer.
4) call interviews and visit the jobs in person.
Remember that nobody else can do this for you (unless you're using a service such as ours). It is your responsibility and you must take it seriously!
Source by Trevor A. Bouchard
Electric fences are a widely used method of containment in the UK often used by farmers, horse and livestock owners. As a method of containment they are superior to your standard post and wire fence due to a combination of cost, ease of maintenance and portability, but those unfamiliar with electric fences often think of Jurassic Park and picture young Timmy flying through the air, this encourages the perception that electric fences are dangerous, even life threatening; but are they? Well, there are so many animal lovers now using them that they must be safe, right?
In order to answer this, lets first take a look at how an electric fence works.
Your standard electric fence will be constructed from a number of posts, some conductive wire, rope or tape and a battery or mains power supply. The fence will be earthed at one end thus creating an open circuit. An electric current is pulsed around the fence passing through the electric wire, rope or tape until an animal touches it. By touching the wire an animal closes the open circuit. The current then passes through the animal and gets discharged into the ground, resulting in a mild shock for the animal in question.
So there’s the science, now what about the strength of that shock? Is it the kind of shock that could drop a cow? Well, the voltage of an electrical fence can be tempered to suit the size and strength of your animal. So for instance, it is safe to have a fence of 3,000 volts for a horse whereas anything up to 5,000 volts is safe for sheep or goats. Either way, the shock delivered to the animal is designed to teach that animal not to touch the fence again, not to harm it. The sensation delivered to the animal is unpleasant but not painful or overly powerful, farmers wouldn’t use an electric fence if it gave their sheep an afro every time they brushed against it. In fact, an animal is far more likely to hurt itself on a traditional post and wire fence than on an electrified fence.
Now for the other side of the story, yes its true that if the fence isn’t managed responsibly it could deliver a heftier charge, but a responsible and knowledgeable fence owner will not want to injure their animals any more than a human, and electric fence controllers are very easy to operate. In fact, the vast majority of electrified fences are even safe during rain storms. Strict safety standards also ensure that fences are safe to use.
So to summarise, electrical fences deliver a brief, safe shock that will not injure your animal, but will teach it to respect and avoid the fence thereby making it easier to contain. The same applies to any vermin that attempt to breach your fence in search of a meal. Most fences are built to strict safety standards and will not harm humans or animals.
For information’s sake, here is a list of guided voltages for different types of animals:
- Horses: 3,000 Volts
- Cattle: 3,000 Volts
- Pigs: 3,000 Volts
- Deer: 3,000 – 4,000 Volts
- Sheep / Goats: 3,000 – 5,000 Volts
- Bulls: 4,000 Volts
Source by Kris Davies
The key to any successful electrical estimate, is organization and preparation! You need to develop a system for how you do your take-offs, and how you tabulate your information. Before doing anything else, read the plans and specifications cover to cover. As you read, note items of particular impact to the electrical scope on a separate sheet, and hi-light the corresponding passage right on the specification documents. I usually note specific requirements, especially oddball ones directly on the corresponding plan sheet(s) as well, before I even start counting anything! Missing a restrictive note in the specifications can be disastrous.
The next step is to develop a “Cheat Sheet” to ensure that you don’t miss any items or phases that should be included. For most any type of estimate this can be as simple as a full or partial list of CSI codes. List the phases that apply to your specific situation, or develop a master list, and then drill down from there. Treat it kind of like a report outline similar to the ones you probably did in High School. For example:
a) Temporary Electrical Power
i Temp Service & Panel w/ conduit & wiring, breakers
ii Temp Outlets w/ conduit & wiring, devices
c) Site Trailer
a) Excavation & Fill
i Equipment Rental
ii Trucking Service
b) Underground Conduit
i Transformer to CT Cabinet
c) Concrete Encasement
You get the idea. There is NO SUCH THING as too much detail- remember that. The goal is to itemize all the expected costs accurately. The cheat sheet should be as detailed as possible to act as a “memory jog” and will ensure that you don’t leave out a potentially costly part of the scope of work that you will later find yourself responsible for completing out of pocket! This is where a commercial electrical estimating program can be invaluable. The entire program acts as your “cheat sheet”. While pricey, the best ones will save you enough time to recover the purchase cost very quickly. For links to our top picks, see our web site below.
The take-off should be done phase by phase, following the layout of your estimate “cheat sheet” closely. A key trick I use is to hang all the plan sheets containing schedules, riser diagrams, installation notes, etc. on the wall in front of my estimating table. This can take up a lot of room, but I highly recommend it, as many times the plan sheets will reference each other or overlap, and you must be able to visualize the cross-connections quickly and clearly. If you don’t have the luxury of that much space, consider making copies of key sections of the documents at your local copy center.
Once again, a commercial electrical estimating program is worth it’s weight in gold for your take-offs. Alternatively, you can use a spreadsheet, but you need to have the work experience and project track records to allow you to build one. Several examples are posted on our website to give you an idea of what you need. If you are interested in learning more about electrical estimating, go to our site and sign up for the full series on electrical estimating.
Source by Glenn Grundberg
Home appliance is a term which is used to describe electrical/ mechanical products used for help with household functions such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, personal grooming, and comfort.
Home appliances are typically classified into two main categories:
A) Small Appliances
B) Major Appliances
According to wikipedia, small appliance refers to class of appliances that are semi-portable or are used on tabletops, countertops and other platforms. These are often taken out when needed and stored away when not in use. Some example of small home appliances are – coffee makers, blenders, juicers, rice cookers, food processors, mixers, toasters, toaster ovens (which are all kitchen appliances); vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners (which are cleaning appliances); steam irons, garment steamers, clothes shavers (which are laundry appliances); hair dryers, hair strengtheners, curling irons, electric toothbrushes, electric men’s shavers, ladies personal shavers & epilators, hair clippers (for personal care ); electric fans, space heaters, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers (which are all home comfort appliances).
Major Appliance are defined as fixtures that are not easily moved. These are large and wired into an electrical supply or permanently plugged into a household electrical outlet. They usually remain in place when a property is purchased or sold. The kitchen stove, range hood, microwave oven, refrigerator, dish washer, washing machine, and dryer are the most common examples of major appliances.
There are now some appliances which have traditionally been considered major , but may also be classified as small appliances. These include portable air conditioners, portable washing machines, and portable dish washers.
In today’s e-world, there are many websites, forums, and other online resources available at the click of a mouse. In addition, there are manufacturer’s websites, and many retailers have websites that show the makes and models that they carry. Since small appliances are more easily shipped from a retailer to a consumer, they are often sold on through online stores.
However, consumers should be aware that the voltage for home appliances differs in different parts of the world, so an appliance purchased in Europe or Asia will not work in North America. The United States and Canada use 120 volt small appliances, while most other countries use 220 volts.
There are numerous brands of both small and major appliances, each with different models with varying features. It is a good idea to do some research prior to purchasing a home appliance.
Source by Amit Kothiyaal