Author Archives: MasterUser

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Increase the value of your home in Cape Town

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If you’ve been thinking about selling your house at some point in the near future, you’ll want to start getting ready as soon as possible. For many homeowners, this includes grabbing a set of tools from the shed and getting your hands dirty. For others, it just means calling a tradie. Selling a home in Australia’s competitive real estate market can be facilitated by having a fully functional, aesthetically attractive home. Simply offering the lowest price on the block is not enough to make a lasting impression. When potential buyers are viewing several homes in your neighbourhood, you’ll want yours to be the one that stands out for the right reasons.

This process can be facilitated with the assistance of a local real estate agent who knows what competition you may be up against. They can help you save money by focusing on the tasks that are most important for boosting your home’s value. You can find out more about how LocalAgentFinder works to start receiving proposals from highly qualified local agents. This free, no-obligation comparison tool can put you in touch with the right agent to suit your needs.

With the solid advice of a local real estate agent, you can make your house as close to turnkey standards as possible. A turnkey home is a house where a buyer can move right in without the need for any initial repairs. Many buyers don’t want to put more money and effort into a project after having already gone through the lengthy process of purchasing a home.

The following are ten simple ways that you can approach turnkey status and improve your property’s value before putting it on the market.

1. External Wall Repair and Painting

The first thing that a potential buyer will see is the exterior of your home, so it’s worth making sure that your home looks its best outside and in. Properties that appear dilapidated, old, or ugly just won’t make the cut. There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make your home look fresh, modern and more universally appealing, but you may wish to shy away from overly bold shades such as lime green, or you’ll make your house stand out for all the wrong reasons. It’s a good idea to consult with your real estate agent or a designer before you get started. There are also virtual painting programs online that can give you a preview.

In addition to giving your home a paint job, you should also examine the exterior for visible signs of damage. Walls made of weatherboard may have panels that need replacing. Brick homes may need to have small gaps filled in with fresh mortar and rendered walls can do with fresh concrete to fill in gaps. These small improvements will make a property look like new without the need for major renovation.

2. Upgrade Doors and Windows

Aside from looking stylish, new doors or windows make your home more energy efficient and can lead to more affordable household running costs and a more environmentally-conscious property, which many buyers are attracted to.

3. Landscaping and Yard Lighting

Buyers love an attractively landscaped yard and it doesn’t take too much money to fix yours up if you have the space for it. A household’s yard is considered to be a good indicator of the total amount of effort given to the property: dead plants, messy gardens, or boring yards can be a fast turn-off. Investing in new soil, rocks, shrubs, ground cover, trees, and mulch can help transform your yard; making it appear fresh and inviting. An appealing yard will help sell the property because it invites buyers to picture themselves spending time outside during the pleasant seasons of the year. This can be done on your own if you have a green thumb, or you could enlist the services of a professional landscaper. Be sure to focus on yard lighting as well, because some buyers will only have the time to drive around after dark. Night lighting can create a modern, chic look for your garden.

4. Interior Flooring

It may seem strange, but the floor is one of the first things that buyers look at upon entering a property. People expect their homes’ floors to be contemporary, clean, and stylish. Old, musty carpeting will definitely not do your home any favours. Although hardwood floors are perennially popular and easy to care for, a high quality carpet can also be quite attractive and create a warm atmosphere. Be sure to fix any flaws in your flooring and be prepared to replace carpets if they are ancient.

5. Kitchen Upgrades

The kitchen is one of the most important communal areas of any home. Buyers want a functional workspace that includes good taps, cupboards, and bench-tops.

It’s a common mistake for sellers to overdo kitchen upgrades with fancy granite or marble bench-tops and all-new stainless steel appliances. Although this looks sleek and modern, some buyers will be turned off by these types of upgrades because they will automatically assume that the house is more expensive as a result of them. In any case, be sure that all appliances are in working condition and that the kitchen looks tidy and attractive.

6. Bathroom and Toilet Repairs

As with kitchen upgrades, it’s possible to go crazy renovating a bathroom space with all-new showers, toilets, tubs, and cabinetry. This may not be necessary to add value to your home, provided that your bathroom is in proper working order and fresh in appearance. A good bathroom space will be both functional and aesthetically appealing. Small repairs like painting the walls  and replacing tile grout can work wonders. Clean out your exhaust fan and repair chips in the bathtub or sink to make fixtures look like new. It’s also worthwhile in some cases to replace old light fixtures with more user-friendly or energy efficient models.

7. Internal Lighting Fixtures

The cost of lighting fixtures can vary greatly, but if you have old-fashioned hanging lights with paper lampshades, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Lighting is really important when selling your home, as no buyer is going to want to live in a dark space. Down-lights look good in most environments and lighting can be used to play up other pieces of decor in the home. Energy efficient lighting can also boost a property’s appeal.

8. Painting Interior Walls

There are certain trends that come and go in interior design. You may have noticed that many new model homes come with coloured, ‘feature’ walls rather than blank, white ones. Buyers can interpret a white-walled home as being boring and devoid of character, while the right colours can be exciting. However, it’s important to take care with your paint choices, as something too outlandish may hinder the potential buyers’ ability to see themselves in your property. If you’re using colour, be sure that all the colours blend well together and match other design aspects of your home. Accent walls and textured brush techniques can add visual interest to your property, but consult with an interior designer if you are unsure.

9. Roof and Foundations

The structure of your home may not be as apparent to buyers at first glance as many of these other factors, but a poor inspection report due to flaws in your roof or foundations could break your sale at the last moment and cost you much more. It’s important to have a professional come in to inspect your home ahead of time, so that you can repair any structural flaws. Buyers will want to be satisfied that their new home is safe and built to last.

10. Heavy Cleaning and Organising

A heavy, thorough cleaning can work wonders on any property. This part of the process will be cheap, but it will take some considerable time and physical effort to do right. Focus on cleaning all the places of the property that you can see, as well as all those hidden corners that you can’t see. Get behind the stove and refrigerator and move furniture to clean what lies underneath. A clean, tidy home with everything in working repair will help you get the best possible selling price.

If you’re going to hold inspections whilst still living in the property, be sure to organise all clutter. Remove all your personal belongings, such as family photos, that will hinder the buyer’s ability to put themselves in the house. Get storage boxes and consider getting short-term off-site storage for all your items that don’t fit neatly into cupboards. Remember buyers will be opening everything and looking everywhere, and neatness (however obsessive) suggests a house that is in good order.

How to Get Started

Although this list may seem overwhelming, if you attack one task at a time and enlist the help of professionals (if needed), you’ll soon achieve your sales goal. Rather than falling into non-action, it’s better to focus on tasks that don’t require too much fiscal investment or energy at first. By the end of your efforts, you’ll be confident that you’ve done everything in your power to boost your home’s value and attract buyers. It’s also helpful to seek out the expert opinion of an estate agent before you start tackling unnecessary tasks. A good real estate agent will know exactly which of these tasks should be prioritised, taking your local market competition into consideration. You can start the process of finding a real estate agent to work with by registering your details at LocalAgentFinder. This free, no-obligation service has been helping connect property owners with real estate agents since 2007, and has only grown since then.

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House painting Tips

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Here are 10 tips to make your painting projects go smoother and faster while giving you a professional-looking finish that you’ll be proud of. You’ll also find ingenious tips that can cut your cleanup time in half and extend the life of your paint brushes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
  • Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge
  • Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room
  • Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge
  • Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls
  • Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish
  • Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond
  • Tip 7: Roll paint along the edges for consistent texture
  • Tip 8: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic
  • Tip 9: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge
  • Tip 10: Sand trim between coats for an ultra-smooth finish

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Interior Painting in Cape Town – now is the time.

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When it comes to painting seasons, the autumn and winter should primarily be used to take on interior painting projects since the cold temperatures and moisture make exterior work nearly impossible to complete without complications. However, while painting the interior of your home in colder weather, there are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the process. If you’re planning on starting an interior paint job sometime between May and October, keep the following hints in mind:

Painting during this period can affect your budget. If you wait until the onset of the year’s coldest months to begin your project, you may end up spending more than you need. It isn’t because it will take more or less paint, but rather, you must keep your windows open while painting to let the fumes dissipate. If you have your heat turned up, this will impact your home’s energy costs.

Cooler weather means faster drying times. Not only does the cooler weather help paint dry, but the lack of humidity in the air will also be a plus when it comes to your paint drying properly. If you start your project early enough in the colder season, you can get your project done in a timely manner without having to pay an exorbitant amount in added heating bills.

You can paint all day and night if you want to. While exterior paint jobs are typically limited by the number of hours of sunlight in a day, interior painting projects can be completed at your leisure during the nighttime as well. If you’re willing to work continuously, you can get your project finished in fewer days than an exterior job would take.

Refreshing your interior is good for your home and mind. For some people, the winter is a depressing time. Abiding by the advice of Better Homes and Gardens, adding a splash of color to your home by painting your ceiling or creating an accent wall will not only serve to refresh your home, but can also help to brighten up your spirits when the daylight hours are shorter.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking on your own do-it-yourself painting projects, it’s always safest to contact an experienced professional, whether it’s just for a small bit of advice or to actually get the work done. We have the know-how, the ability, and the resources to assist you with any house painting project your heart desires. If you’re planning on changing your home’s interior style, don’t hesitate to contact them today.

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Cape Town Waterproofing methods

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Some of the old and conventional waterproofing systems are as follows:

  • Brick bat coba system or lime terracing
  • Bituminous treatment
  • Metallic sheet wrapping
  • Polyurethane based waterproofing treatment
  • Epoxy based waterproofing treatment
  • Box-type waterproofing system

Brick bat coba system
This system was developed during the initial stages of flat roof construction with lime mortar burnt clay brick pieces. This system involved laying lightweight mortar on the roof and spreading it to give gentle slopes for draining away the rainwater immediately. The mortar consisted of lightweight brick pieces as aggregates and ground brick with lime as binding matrix.

During British rule this system became more popular not because of its waterproofing efficiency but because of its efficiency in keeping the interiors cool. Some applicators developed better skills in laying these systems, with neatly finished top with lines engraved on top of plastic mortar now known as IPS. Some practiced embedding broken tile or ceramic pieces in the plastic mortar and called it china mosaic.

This type of system remained most popular with multi-storeyed construction in all major cities. The system lasts up to 15 years if done by skilful applicators. This system may be considered more from its weather proofing abilities rather than its waterproofing qualities. Once water starts entering into the brickbat coba the brick pieces absorb too much of water and the roof becomes an invisible pond of water continuously causing leakage and increasing burden on the roof slab. It will be highly beneficial if brick-bat coba is laid on a flexible waterproofing membrane as water proofing as well as economical weather proofing can be achieved with this system.

Bituminous treatment
Discovery of petroleum and its products and by-products has given the construction industry an indispensable product in the form of bitumen. Bitumen is more commonly used in the form of felt or flexible membrane formed by sandwiching jute fabric or fibreglass/polypropylene mats with chemically modified bitumen. These membranes are laid on the roofing over a bitumen primer. There are two types of membranes one is cold applied and the other hot applied which means one needs to heat the edges of the felt with a torch so that they melt and stick to the second layer in the overlap area.

Metallic sheet wrapping
Because of the non-existence of suitable expansion joint filling compounds before the discovery of poly-sulphides, a complex procedure used to be adopted to treat expansion joints, in concrete dams and such huge structures utilising thick copper sheets. An extension of this practice was to try thin foils of copper and aluminium for wrapping the concrete surfaces with nagging leakage problems.

Unavailability of common joining material for these metal foils and the concrete and mortar created weakness in the system at the joints. This discouraged the system in its infancy only. But there after the metal manufacturers have been trying to market this type of waterproofing system with improved adhesives as and when the metal market slumped.

Polyurethane based waterproofing treatment
Polyurethane consists of two liquid components one is called the base component and the other is called reactor or curing agent. Base is a polyol and the reactor is an isocyanide such as TDI or MDI. There are various grades of polyols and so also there are numerous isocyanides. The combination of these two ingredients results in a formation liquid applied rigid membrane or a foam depending upon the selection.

In waterproofing, this rigid liquid membrane was tried with fibreglass reinforcing mats. The systems failed because coefficients of thermal expansion of concrete and rigid PU membrane being different lateral movement or creep occurred with the passage on one working climatic cycle. When exposed to ultra violet rays or direct sunlight most polyurethane rigid membranes became brittle and crumbled.

Apart from this the application of polyurethane coating needed very rigorous surface preparation. The surface needed to be neutralised by removing alkalinity from the concrete surface through acid itching then washing and blowtorching to make the surface bone dry. This kind of surface preparation with acids angered the civil engineering community and the product ceased to be used as waterproofing material apart from its several failures. Never the less continuous research in the polyurethane technology gave the construction industry excellent sealant for glazing industry and foams for thermal insulations. The new generation polyurethanes, which are alkali stable and water-based, may find better applications in waterproofing industry.

Epoxy based waterproofing system
Like polyurethane is also a two-component system having a base resin and a reactor or curing agent. Base resin is obtained by dissolving bis-phenol A flakes in epichlorohydrin. This base is available in various viscosity ranges to suit different application conditions. The curing agent is an amine/polyamine aliphatic or aromatic, or an amine-adduct for general applications and polyamide or an amino-amide for coating purposes. After mixing base and reactor components the resultant viscous liquid or paste if some fillers are added to it can be brush applied like a paint or trowel applied like a mortar.

Here also epoxies not withstanding the alkalinity of concrete and the concrete needs to be acid washed and neutralised, which the civil engineers hated. Here again the coefficient of thermal expansion of concrete and epoxy being different the compatibility of epoxy in waterproofing exposed concrete surfaces such as roofs became limited. Later the use of epoxy in waterproofing was discarded. But epoxies have come to stay in civil engineering industry as bonding agents, floor & wall coatings, coatings for food processing units, operation theatres and computer and pharmaceutical industries.

Box type waterproofing
This type of water proofing system is used only for basement waterproofing or waterproofing structures below the ground level from outside to prevent leakages of subsoil water into the basement.

In this method, limestone slabs (Shahabad Stones) are first laid in the excavated pit over blinding concrete in a staggered joint fashion to avoid the continuity of the mortar joints. The joints are effectively filled with rich mortar admixed with integral waterproofing compound and cured. Over this the raft is laid and shear/brick walls constructed. The limestone slabs are erected around the walls in a similar fashion leaving a gap of one to two inches between the external surface of the wall and the inner face of the stone surface. The joints again effectively sealed with rich admixed mortar and the same mortar is filled in the gap between the wall and the stones. This stonework is continued up to ground level. In this system the raft and the sidewalls are protected from direct exposure to sub soil water.

This system works on two principles of common sense. First, the area exposed to subsoil water is only the area of the joint where as the whole stone is impervious to water, hence only a fraction of area, that is, that of the joint is exposed to subsoil water, when the joint itself is filled with rich and quality mortar. Second, the path of water to reach the raft or the sidewall is elongated. This elongated path is through quality mortar. This system seeks to delay the occurrence of leakages in the basements. A lot of building structures are waterproofed by this system. A few notable successes are to its credit especially in five star hotels and of-course there are a few failures as well.

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Waterproofing for the Cape Town Winter

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Waterproofing of building to prevent the ingress of water is an activity, which, perhaps is practiced in one form or the other, ever since the first building was built on earth. The methodology has been changing with the changes in the architectural designs and with the availability different building materials in construction.

In the initial stages when stone was the main building construction material placed in position with mud or lime mortar the emphasis used to be to make the construction in such a way that the rainwater does not collect on the roofs. Hence old architecture relied mainly on dome structures or slanting roofs. The slow speed of such construction and unaffordability of common man to build such structures for their own dwelling, made constant evolution and development in the construction material technology.

With these developments the concepts of waterproofing also changed. Now in present day construction wherein the ordinary Portland cement and its blends with puzzolonic and slag materials has come to stay a lot of compatible alternatives are available for a builder to choose from various waterproofing systems. Some systems are old and conventional but still practiced successfully and some are modern systems designed taking the material and structural behaviour into consideration.

There are some compounds, which are used in plastic concrete to make it less permeable to water. These compounds are known as integral waterproofing compounds. They are based on plasticising and air-entrainment or water repellence principles. These are used as a good waterproofing precautions when other factors such as good mix-design, proper mixing/placing, compacting/curing etc are taken care of. This subject of integral waterproofing compounds requires in depth discussion hence will not be taken up here. Similarly there are some water proofing techniques for vertical surfaces. These techniques are also used for preserving heritage buildings by stopping/minimising the aging process of these buildings.

For solving water seepage problems, customers use both conventional as well as modern waterproofing techniques.

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Getting The Most Out Of Painting Contractors

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Any homeowner can vouch for the importance of regular maintenance of a building. One of the most important aspects of home upkeep is roof painting. Finding a reliable and skilled Cape Town painting company or painting contractors can be a bit of a headache. It’s important to choose a Cape Town painting company that can satisfy your specific needs.

The most important part of any roof painting project is the process of cleaning the roof. Any skilled painting contractors will be able to assist you with the most efficient ways to clean your specific roof type. Depending on the type of roof you have you could either choose to make use of a high-pressure water hose or the conventional method of using a broom and water. If you  have a textured roof – such as a tiled roof – a high-pressure cleaning method is essential. Roof painting can only be done efficiently by a Cape Town painting company if the painting contractors have cleaned the roof thoroughly beforehand. Cleaning the roof eliminates mould and other particles that can damage the paint and existing roof.

painting contractors Choosing a Cape Town painting company or painting contractor to oversee your roof painting process involves certain important aspects. When choosing a Cape Town painting company or painting contractors, keep your budget in mind. Some roof painting specialists will try overcharging you, assuming your ignorance. Combat this by doing thorough homework before choosing a Cape Town painting company or painting contractors for your roof painting needs. Before choosing a Cape Town painting company or painting contractors, ask friends and family members who have recently engaged in roof painting for references. By doing this, you give yourself some peace of mind about the reliability of the people you are employing.

Another important aspect to keep in mind when choosing painting contractors to take care of your roof painting needs, is enquiring about the quality of materials used. As with most things, quality does not come cheap. You want to use a Cape Town painting company or painting contractors that make use of quality paints and other materials when taking care of your roof painting.

As with any service provider, good Cape Town painting companies or painting contractors are reliable, professional and friendly. When choosing a company to tend to your roof painting, you want a company that prides itself on its professionalism. A good way to determine whether or not Cape Town painting companies or painting contractors are reliable is to pay attention to how they treat you prior to the roof painting process. When doing your homework on possible candidates – through asking for quotes and assessments – pay special attention to punctuality, friendliness and dedication. Ideally speaking, you want to make use of Cape Town painting companies or painting contractors that will treat your roof painting job with respect and pride. Be wary of Cape Town painting companies or painting contractors that lack a client base or experience. While it is true that everyone must start out somewhere and not everyone can have an equal amount of experience, you might want to choose someone with more experience in roof painting since a mistake can have lasting effects.

Depending on your budget, you can choose to have a single Cape Town painting specialist or an entire team of painting contractors working on your roof painting job. If you wish to make use of a team, enquire beforehand whether any of the painters will be subcontracted. Ask anyone who has ever had any experience with painting or construction, and they will tell you that subcontractors cause endless headaches if not managed properly. When choosing a Cape Town painting specialist or painting contractors for your roof painting job, ensure the team is well monitored and managed. As mentioned before, make use of Cape Town painting specialists or painting contractors that use quality materials. This includes the paint. Different roof types require different types of paint, something which a professional can inform you of

The roof of a building is the crown – it needs to be taken care of and maintained in order to protect those under it. Choose a well-qualified company and rest assured.