Caution when closing a deal with your contractor

5 tips before you sign the contract So you’ve finally chosen your contractor. Truth is, most of us decide on a whim because we’re not expert on these things. We just trust and accept what people tell us. You can protect yourself by following these simple guidelines when awarding a project to a contractor.   1. Remain skeptic & ask weird questions. Yes, your contractor was referred to you by a close friend but you’re not the contractor’s friend. Truth is most of us don’t know much about repairs and we tend to trust the next person beside us. While most doesn’t have much option, it’s wise to pretend you know much and questions. If you are having a home renovation, do a little research on walls, paints and ask simple questions like “will gypsum board be better than hollow concrete?” You don’t have to be an expert, but you can pretend to be like one. A contractor will likely reconsider overpricing you if you appear you know what’s happening. 2. Act-out and st…
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GO-BAG: 30 items you need to survive

Each household should always be prepared in case of an emergency. An earthquake, flash flood or standoff can strike anywhere, anytime. We have seen this happen across the globe and it’s better to be prepared that sorry. Below are necessities you may consider stacking. 1. GO-BAG A “go-bag” is literary a bag full of disaster kit. This can be a large gym bag, backup or small luggage that is easy to carry or drag during an emergency. Ideally, each member of the family should have his/her go-bag. This can be kept in an easy to reach place, ideally at the ground level of your house. Basic must haves: Alcohol or Iodine Flashlight Radio – battery operated Batteries Blankets Compass Whistle Lighter Dust mask Pocket knife Permanent marker, paper and tape Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes Medical sheet that contains allergies or drug maintenance Copy of health insurance and identification cards Reading glass if applicable| Thick po…
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How to make your house cooler

Ventilating your home By Dianne Lee, Construction Philippines Summer in the Philippines can really be hot. Unless you have money to spend on electricity for air-conditioning, 3-months of summer can be very uncomfortable especially for infants. Generally a tropical house is built with large windows, awning and wind access on all four sides. However, urbanization has limited space thus limited ventilation as well. Worse, more and more Filipinos have lost the love for nature, particularly trees and gardens that naturally makes homes cooler and fresher. Studies show that 75% of the heat inside your home comes through the roof. This is specially true to about 90% of houses in the Philippines which are constructed using metal roofs with low ceiling. Unlike in the provinces, homes are usually cooler because homes are near trees and the use of “nipa” definitely cools the house. When the sun heats your roof, it radiates the heat energy into the house. In the evening, heat from…
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Tips for getting a good contractor

Tips on getting a construction supplier & what to avoid. Even before canvassing for an Engineer, Architect, Interior Designer or a building contractor, you should know exactly what you want. These will not only help the supplier or designer quote more accurately, but it will also give the impression you are in control of the project – not the supplier. Designers and construction suppliers normally have large contingency and sometimes, way too large that you can actually save as much as 30% if you know what you want.

Ask yourself the following: 1. What is your time-frame? 2. Make a list of specific things you want (Cut and paste pictures from magazines of things you want in your construction) 3. Set a maximum budget and a contingency fund (If you have set your maximum budget, you may declare this amount to the contractor less 30%, as your buffer or contingency fund should things go unplanned) 4. Make a rough sketch of your desired floor plan. 5. Witho…

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Things to consider when buying old houses

Tips when buying used homes The Philippines is home to many antiquated and decrepit houses. Since it’s a tropical country, maintenance should be easy but out of ignorance and sheer negligence of many, we are left with about 70% of homes unknowingly condemned or technically unlivable. Most aren’t maintained so thorough investigation is a must when buying a previously occupied house. Consider the following before making your payment. Check electrical works Electrical wiring is the first thing you should check. If the house was built before World War II, its wiring is most probably naked to the wire. Those built after does not guarantee better wirings so you should bring along an electrician to check the wire’s condition and capacity. Wire gauge is important. Wires were cheaper before that’s why they can use thick gauges. Gauge standards during this time were above today’s standard. If the owners used below standard wires, chances are, the rest of the house may ha…
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Repainting your home?

Choosing the right colors By Dianne Lee, Construction Philippines Homes need repainting at least every 5 years, not just to make it look new but also for protection from outside elements. Paints also help camouflage undesirable areas and the obvious reason is to make you happy. Remember that the house is where you live, and doing your part to make it perky helps you live a happier life – cost becomes irrelevant! Careful planning is important. However the first step is not choosing the right color but validating your objective. Here are practical tips you can consider… 1. Determine you priority If your primary reason is just to make your wall look pretty, the rest could be easy. Just choose the color and you’re set. However, one should consider that “protection” in the long run will save you money. Using elastomeric paint prevents outside moisture from seeping through the wall and damaging your inside paint within few months of exposure. It also bonds better to a well p…
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How to Maintain Hardwood Floor

Want shiny wood floors? Wax is not always the solution By Adrian Andaya, Construction Philippines Disclaimer: This information specifically applies to hardwood flooring finished with polyurethane coating. This is NOT appropriate for the older wax-based finishes! While most will rely on commercial floor wax, in time, it actually diminishes the sheen on your floor. It also makes it course and antiquated in time. 1. Clean your floor both by sweeping and wiping. Never use abrasive cleaners such as sharp or rough objects. 2. Apply hardwood floor cleaner on a small section of the floor or directly onto a terry cloth wood floor mop. DO NOT WET WOODEN FLOOR. This may leave puddles of water that can leak down between the boards and cause the finish to expand or lift your wood. 3. Wipe flooring with dry mop, regardless if its solid planks, hardwood floor, synthetic wood or mahogany planks. What you should avoid 1. Hardwood floor (with polyurethane) should never use wax,…
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How do I get rid of molds & mildew?

Removing molds and mildews By Dianne Lee, Construction Philippines Molds can be a health hazard and constant exposure can include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory problems.  It also leaves stains and lasting stench that’s not good when visitors come. While “moisture absorbent packs” bought at hardware department store thus absorb moisture, you would need lots of it to make it work fully, and may not be economically practical. Unless you’re using it for a small box or cupboard, it may work but only for a limited time. Charcoal can also help a little but it can also be messy. Besides, to really make charcoal work, it too will require a huge sack just make it work say on a clothes cabinet – which of course is not a practical solution at all. To get rid of the mold, get rid of the source! – It’s that simple and practical. If the mold problem is inside your homes, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture. Practical tips: 1. Consider if…
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