How To Choose The Best Patio Installer For Your Needs

Spring has finally come, with the opportunity for outdoor parties and gatherings – it’s time to find a patio installer to expand your outdoor living space while enhancing your backyard.

It’s worth starting early… careful planning will take time as you will want to decide on designs and products. Good installers are often booked up in advance and will need to include your new patio into their schedules.

If you’ve decided that a patio would be a welcome addition to your home, your toughest decision may be choosing the right contractor to handle the project. While there are many options to pick from, it’s crucial that you select a contractor who offers the right combination of products, service, and quality. For example, you want to make sure the patio installer you choose has a reputation for doing the job right. Other factors to consider when selecting a contractor include:

Products – Ask what materials are offered for a patio. A pro will provide concrete, brick, stone, and pavers. If you choose pavers, make sure your contractor purchases them from a reputable manufacturer, as inferior pavers will fade and often are not as durable.

Warranties & Guarantees – Ask if the contractor guarantee their work, and if there are warranties on the products (usually pavers) discuss the specifics until you understand them and have both the guarantee and warranty spelled out in writing.

Websites with Portfolios – Top pros have websites that help educate the public about hardscaping issues such as the pros and cons of various materials used for patios. The consummate professionals will as have portfolios for you to peruse to see their work and what different elements look like so that you can make an educated decision regarding your patio.

Professional Organizations & Continued Education – Look for a contractor who belongs to professional organizations such as New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) that promote professionalism, safety, environmental protection, and education.

Local Knowledge – Many communities have specific codes and restrictions for patio additions-choose a contractor experienced in navigating these restrictions and regulations to create the sort of patio that fulfills your needs and wants.

When choosing a professional to lay your patio, you should take a practical approach before making your decision. Ask straightforward questions and look for some basic support. Here are some helpful hints on what you should ask before your dream garden project begins:

  • Get some different quotes for your project, checking that they include all the products and services you will need. Make sure there are no hidden extras such as soil removal. TIP: Ask how long the project will last.
  • Check how long the company has been laying paving products.
  • Ask for some recent references of completed patio installation and read their online reviews. A reputable contractor will be enthusiastic about showing off recent work. Expect to see photographs and details of recent, similar work that you can visit for a reference. This is usually part of any professional presentation.
  • Ask questions such as if the cost of a dumpster and jointing sand is included?
  • Check if the contractor has the appropriate liability insurance.
  • Ask for a final written quotation from your chosen contractor.
  • A reputable patio installer will not cut corners but work to the highest standard to build a patio that is beautiful and will remain that way for years to come. A true professional will have no problem guaranteeing their work.

Starting with basic research and asking the right questions will help ensure that you choose a trustworthy and reliable contractor. Stories about unlicensed and even licensed contractors facing fines and imprisonment for shoddy work and fraud have consumers on edge about adding a patio. You want your patio and garden project to be completed to the highest standard; something you, your family and friends can enjoy for many years to come.

Anyone with a pad and pencil can design a patio-remember building the proper foundation, drainage and beautifully laying paving products is a skill and an art. A professional patio installer in can recommend colors, complementary products, suitable laying patterns and lots more, so it is well worth investing in a reputable one – remember to ask to see their portfolios. They will listen and asks questions until they fully understand their customer’s needs and wants. The master patio builder will then enhance their client’s visions as they design their patio that matches their customer’s desires.

Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.

Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property.

Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.

Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.

As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.

Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:

Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.

To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehand

This is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.

Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for references

Last but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.

My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning Pros and Cons – Hot Water Extraction Vs Encapsulation

Carpet in your commercial office or facility is most often a substantial investment. An investment that requires periodic maintenance, like changing the oil in your car or washing and waxing your car. If you don’t wash and wax your car the condition of the paint will deteriorate much faster. The same is true with the carpet in your facility.

Which method of cleaning is right for your needs? In today’s article I’m going to cover the pros and cons of both Hot Water Extraction and Encapsulation. First we must understand what kind of carpet we are maintaining. Most all commercial carpet manufactured today are a loop construction with a olefin chemical composition. Olefin is an oil based product therefore it is oil attracting. Which sometimes make it a challenge to clean. Fear not with the right maintenance schedule based on the amount of foot traffic will give you a clean looking carpet for years to come. At the end of this article I will give a final recommended cleaning schedule.

Let’s first look a the pros and cons of Hot Water Extraction. Let’s put 1 important point to rest. There is no such thing as “steam cleaning”. There isn’t enough moisture to rinse and flush a carpet pile with “all steam”. Besides there is no commercial carpet cleaning machine or truckmount that has the ability to produce steam only at the wand tip. So,, all wand water based cleaning is hot water extraction. Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level. Yes. There can appear to be a flume of steam coming out of the wand tip when cleaning, although it’s still the same effect when you go out on a cold day breathe hard and see vapor or what appears to be steam coming out of your mouth.

Most commercial equipment will push nearly 200 degrees out the wand tip. That’s Hot! This is one of the cons. Too much hot water extraction tends to deteriorate the carpet backing. It can also create another condition called Dry Rot. Technically Dry Rot isn’t Dry Rot. It’s caused when the carpet is wetted then dried too often. It should be called Wet Rot. Another con is the amount of wet time or the amount of time required to dry. Security issues with the doors being unsecured during cleaning which is normally done after hours. The biggest Pro of the Hot Water Extraction process is it’s ability to flush the carpet pile then extract. Almost a total removal of allergens, dust and soiling. Let’s next discuss Encapsulation. Then we will cover how the two working together will create a nearly perfect maintenance plan for your facility.

Pros and Cons of Encapsulation. First I must briefly describe the encapsulation process. Caution: this encapsulation description is not scientific. It is kept basic so most everyone can easily understand.

Encapsulation: is a specialized solution that’s applied to the carpet by some sort of sprayer. Then it is worked into the pile by some sort of agitation – normally a rotary floor machine with a bonnet or carpet safe scrub pad. The solution surrounds the fiber like carpet protection. While on the fiber, it will repel or release more surface soil. When the carpet is vacuumed it will further pull more soiling from the fiber. Eventually the non soil attracting coating on the fibers break off being sucked into the vacuum. The pros of encapsulation are most spots don’t return – the carpet doesn’t get wet enough to wick, dries fast and carpets stay cleaner longer. It also reduces the chances of Dry Rot and does not damage the carpet backing. It’s a much faster cleaning process. The only con I can see with the encapsulation process is not fully flushing the carpet pile. This is where we marry the two processes for a nearly perfect carpet maintenance schedule. The Carpet & Rug Institute, the leading authority on commercial carpet maintenance suggest that for every 3 to 4 encapsulation processes that 1 hot water extraction process be done. This will lessen the amount of times required for hot water extraction and extend the life and look of your commercial carpets without sacrificing indoor air quality or cleanliness.

Depending on how much traffic goes through your facility usually determines the frequency of cleaning. Frequency could be every other month, quarterly or every 6 months. Having your carpets encapulated will also save you money. Encapsulation is a much less costly process because of its quickness and not running truckmount equipment. I’ve heard of encapsulation cleaning as low as 5 cents per square foot. I haven’t seen a reputable company offering hot water extraction any less than 10 cents per square foot.

Your carpet cleaning professional can give you a better idea of what’s best for your facility. I hope this article helps you make an educated & informed decision on the carpet maintenance for your office or facility.

Demolition Services

When it comes to any type of demolition work, be it residential or commercial, the best way to go about it is to hire a company that comes in and handles every aspect of the job. You will end of spending more time and money trying to do demolition yourself over hiring a company that will not only tear everything down, but they will also handle the removal of all of the debris. This helps to keep a jobsite clean and organized. Demolition work also takes a certain degree of care believe it or not, which is why hiring a professional would be very beneficial to the project itself.

The largest type of demolition work is to completely tear down a structure. This structure could be an old home, a small commercial building, or it can even be a large industrial building. This type of work has certain steps you will need to take during the process and will require a lot of clean up and trash removal after the building has been razed. By using a specialty company, you will be able to get a full quote for the entirety of the job, and have a project manager navigating each step of the demolition.

Other common demolition work is gutting out certain areas of a building or home. This type of work needs to be done properly because you do not want to damage other parts of the building. Only a professional service with experienced employees will be able to cleanly gut a building without damaging the structure or other areas.

If you have a building that has been damaged by fire or water, a demolition service will come in and tell you what parts can be saved, and what parts of the structure have to be removed. This also takes experience and care. You do not want to leave compromised structure beams or wood after fire damage during a demolition. The same goes for removing structure elements of a building that could have been saved.

Even though demolition is considered controlled chaos in a sense, it is still important to go about it cleanly, safely, and especially well organized. A professional service will follow all of the OSHA regulations, and will run a clean job site. When a job site is well maintained, and clean, all other trades will be able to work more fluidly, and the job will then be able to get finished faster.