5 Things to Know Before Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

5 Things to Know Before Hiring A Home Improvement Contractor

You’ve got a big home improvement project in mind, which you think would be best handled by a professional. Before you sign on that dotted line, take some time to read through this post to see if your chosen contractor meets the criteria.

Identify the project

Clearly identify the home improvement project you want done. Take the time to do your own research on the current range of estimated costs. Writing down the specific things you want the contractor to do also helps particularly during the initial discussion process.

Inquire and get bids from different contractors

Ask your family, friends, and colleagues for their recommendations. Do appropriate background checks with regards to their service to guarantee that they won’t leave you high and dry.

I would recommend that you get estimated bids from at least 4 contractors for the cost and duration of the project. This will allow you to better compare their services and determine if they will be able to deliver within your desired time frame.

Set boundaries for the working hours and job site

Provide the contractor with a set of ground rules that should be followed. If the workers need to have access to your home, require the contractor to provide you with a background check and list of authorized workers assigned to the project.

Get the final project cost

Now that you’ve chosen the contractor for your home improvement project, ask them for a final breakdown of the project cost. In the event that you were charged a proposal bid fee, make sure that this gets deducted from the final cost unless otherwise stated in the proposal bid contract.

Pay attention to the final contract details

As they say, it’s all in the details. Your final contract is binding so be sure that you have read it thoroughly and that all your verbal agreements are written in ink. Don’t be afraid to inform the contractor if you find something written in the contract that is different from what you agreed upon. 

How to Create an Accent Tile Backsplash Using Dollar Store Gems

How to Create an Accent Tile Backsplash Using Dollar Store Gems

Learning how to create a beautiful accent tile backsplash on your bathroom or kitchen sink using dollar store gems is quite easy and budget-friendly.

You’ll need:

Bags of gems available in dollar stores
Grout applicator
Clean dry cloth or rag
Clean wet cloth or rag
Rubber gloves


Purchase 2 or more bags of dollar store gems in the color that you want, depending on the size of the area you’ll be decorating.

The grout you’ll be purchasing can be ready-to-apply or if you are on a budget, you can choose one that requires you to prepare it on your own. In case you didn’t purchase ready-to-apply grout, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’re good.

Prepare the surface are where you will be applying the grout by making sure that it is free of grease and dust.

Wear the rubber gloves.

Using the grout applicator, evenly apply a thin amount of grout on the wall making sure that it can firmly hold the gems. If you are not sure of the thickness, apply a small amount of grout on the tile with your desired thickness then attach 1-2 gems by firmly pressing them onto the grout.

Continue applying the grout and the gems one section at a time. Take note that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the pattern. You are only limited by your imagination.

Once you have completely covered the area that you wish to decorate, allow it to dry for 1-2 hours.

Reapply the grout, making sure that all spaces in-between the gems are covered. Leave it to partially dry for 30 minutes.

Using a clean wet cloth, gently wipe the excess grout so the gems will show through.

Congratulations! You’re all done, and you now have a beautiful sink accent in either your bathroom or kitchen. 

Wood Cabinets – How to Strip and Stain

Wood Cabinets – How to Strip and Stain

You can easily spend a weekend to give your wood cabinets a fresh look by following these simple steps.

Materials needed

Paint stripper
Wood stain
Paint brush, 1-1/2 inch
Metal scraper or putty knife
Drop cloth
Sandpaper, 100-grit attached to a hand block
Clean disposable cloth or rag
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
Particulate mask
Replacement handles (optional)


Place drop cloth in a well-ventilated area.

Remove all the cabinet doors and drawers. Using the screwdriver, remove the hardware from the cabinet doors and drawers. Place all items on top of the drop cloth.

Wear the rubber gloves, safety goggles, and particulate mask.

Paint a light coat of the stripper paint onto the front of the drawer, cabinet face, or front of the cabinet door. Don’t apply the stripper paint to everything all at once. Do this one at a time.

Allow the stripper paint to work its magic for 10-15 minutes before gently removing the original lacquer with the metal scraper. Work in one direction.

Once all of the lacquer has been removed, sand the surfaces using sandpaper.

To obtain a consistent look, re-sand the surfaces making sure that you are sanding parallel to the wood grain. If the stain you chose is lighter than the existing stain, you would need to sand of the stain as well.

Apply the stain to the cabinets using a sponge, one area at a time, to achieve a wet look. Wipe off excess using a dry cloth.

Allow the stain to dry for about 1-2 hours.

If you plan to change the cabinet door and front drawer handles, it would best to do this after the stain has completely dried and before you re-attach the doors to the cabinet.

Don’t worry about the insides of your drawers or cabinet. You can skip refinishing those since they will not be on display unlike the cabinet face, cabinet door, and front drawer.