How To: Partition a USB Flash Drive in Windows

Using Windows 10, you can partition a USB flash drive into multiple partitions. The process is not difficult, you simply follow some easy steps. This tutorial will partition the drive so that your device is assigned multiple drive letters when connected to the computer.

This partition process is not done at the USB controller level; Egypt said another way, done at the hardware level. This USB partition process, for a lack of better terms, is done at the software level. What does this mean for you? It means the partitions can be wiped off the drive and the full capacity of the USB flash drive can be restored.

When a USB stick is partitioned at the controller level, or at the hardware level, there is no way reverse the partition. The multi-partition drive is permanent. At the end of this tutorial is the solution for a hardware based partition solution.

So let's get started.

How to partition a USB flash drive in Windows 10:

Connect the USB flash drive to your Windows 10 machine. Be sure there is nothing valuable on the USB as this process will remove all content from the drive.

Right Click the Windows icon and select Disk Management.

The Disk Management window will appear with all the connected devices. Select your USB flash drive by clicking one time. By selecting your flash drive, it will allow Windows to apply the partition to that device.

You will see your flash drive as Disk X. The device is represented by diagonal gray lines. Right Click your device in the diagonal gray line area on your screen and select Delete Volume.

Windows will display an error message firing all the contents of the device will be removed. Confirm Yes.

You will now have an Unallocated partition for the flash drive. This means a file system is not assigned to the drive. Having no file system on your USB means you can not save data to the drive, Windows has no way of talking with the device. We need to create a file system for this partition, ie. FAT, FAT32, NTFS, exFAT.

At the same time we assign a file system to this partition, we will also slice up the USB flash drive to create multiple partitions.

Right Click the unallocated space on your screen, this is represented by the diagonal gray lines. Select New Simple Volume from the options presented.

A Microsoft wizard utility will start. Click Next from the first introductory screen and in the following step Windows will display the total amount of memory available to the device. This is where you will enter the size of your first partition. In this example, I am using a 2GB flash drive (1,896MBs) and will make a first partition of 500MBs.

The rest of the wizard utility is auto-populated and straight forward. For example, the wizard will ask if you want a specific drive letter assigned to the partition once the process is done.

The wizard utility will ask you what file system you want this new partition. If you are not sure, just leave the auto-populated selection from Windows.

TIP: If you want the dual partition USB drive to also work in Mac computers, be sure to format the drive as FAT, FAT32 or exFAT. Do not use NTFS, as Mac computers will only read the content, but you can not write to the device.

Be sure to set a volume name to the device so the partition (new drive letter) will be easy to recognize.

Click Finish for Windows to make this first partition. We are almost done, as the first partition was just made. Looking in Disk Management once the wizard has closed you will now see the device with one partition and your file system and a balance of the drive as unallocated.

Rinse and Repeat. Do the same steps as above for this smaller unallocated memory space.

After the second pass using the partition wizard for Windows you will have a dual partition USB drive with two drive letters. Each USB flash drive letter will work and appear like a normal, single flash drive. You can data load each partition as normal. Heck you can even flash one partition to make it bootable if you are into making bootable USB sticks.

Although the above tutorial makes things easy to partition a USB flash drive into multiple drive letters, this method is not permanent. Using the same steps, you may clear out all the partitions and it's content. For some users, or companies, having an unsecured dual partition drive is not ideal for their business practice or application. There is an alternative. There is a method to partition a USB at the hardware level.

In order to partition a USB drive at the hardware level, or controller level, you will need some specific controller chips, and the vendor commands to setup the partitions. These tools are not readily available as there are hundreds of chip makers and thousands of USB suppliers. However some US based companies have tools for business to business type applications.

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Trademark Registration Tips

What is a Trademark? A Trademark is simply a word or a sign, or a logo, which is usually printed on a company's products to make those products recognizable from other companies' products. Your trademark will eventually become your identity, and your costumers will recognize you with that.

A good trademark choice is catchy for the mind, so it's easily remembered by the consumers.

What are the steps to register a trademark?
Registering a trademark for your products and your services is the same. The Patent and Trademark Office requires some documents about your business location, your personal identity & and nationality, and an application form. What is recommended at the registration level, is to prepare at least 2-3 options for your brand name or your trademark symbol. Just in case your first priority name does not comply with the regulations, you would use the second and third alternatives.

Trademark Protection
Trademark protection is simply the matter of possessing a trademark and making sure that no one, in the world, will use your brand's name, sign, symbol on their products.

The registration office, somehow does not guarantee that your trademark will be safe. They only register new names and trademarks in their database, and it's your duty to protect your trademark from being hijacked. You can do that by:

  1. Choosing a very special and unique name
  2. Checking the new registered businesses to make sure they do not look like yours

What is a Trademark License?
Once you get your trademark, it will make only you eligible to work and produce under that name. However, there are times that a business owner needs another person who is not working for him, to provide services or products with the same brand. Therefore, a license is needed to be given to this second person so he's granted the same privileges regarding the given trademark.

Business Classification
Classification is also an important matter to be considered. You may need a consultant so you can choose the most appropriate classes that your business falls in, because if you fail to choose the correct classes at the registration level, you will not be able to undo your choices.

Trademark Refusal
If your trademark falls under any of the following criteria, it will be rejected:

  • Being not distinctive
  • Descriptive terms that must be kept freely available for general use
  • Obvious risk of deceiving the public
  • A governmental sign included in the trademark
  • Being offensive by society's definition of morality

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Discovering and Understanding Your Life Purpose

What is it that you're missing in your life? What is it that you've most like to have? Would you like more love, more freedom, more peace?

In life, we strive and fight in our lives to get whatever it is that we believe we need or want. We reach personal and professional goals and acquire what we can afford. But is that what life is really about? Is that what our soul thrive and feel happy? Is it what makes me satisfied and complete?

Look inside you. What are you missing? What have not you got enough of? What would you like to have more of? What do you dream of having?

If your life ended today, what would you be sorry you never got? What would you miss?

If you dream of having things, what need are those things trying to satisfy? What do they give you? What do they make you feel, power, satisfaction, peace …? If you dream of reaching goal after goal, what does success mean to you? What does it give you? Those things and goals are your way to satisfy your personal needs and those needs somehow mask what you most desire. Ask yourself, then, what it is that your being most wants, what it is that you crave day after day, what is it that that would make you feel complete and whole.

Once you know, why not turn that into your life purpose? Imagine planning your days and actions with that general purpose in mind. Everything you do then has that ultimate purpose. Your life immediately adopts a new meaning. Imagine you choose “peace” as your life purpose.Whenever dealing with others, you will now target peace as the highest goal. Your relationships will have that ultimate goal. And so will your work. And your leisure time. And your everyday actions, And the objectives you wish to reach. And your conversations … If you then ever feel bad for whatever reason, ask yourself: am I still pursuing my purpose or did I go astray from it? Your life purpose becomes your inner compass, your north, your direction to follow no matter what. If you deviate from it, you will feel bad because you will not be aligned with it. Which is the same reason that will lead you to returning to it and resuming it. Once your life purpose is defined, it is much easier to return to it. This step that I'm taking, this conversation that I'm having, this action that I'm undertaking … is aligned with my purpose? Is making me move forward? If not, what do I need to do to change it?

Give yourself the gift of this life compass. Do not you see how your life is changed? Pick your purpose and re-focus your life.

Enjoy life … ALL of it,

Humanology

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4 Simple and Affordable Home Improvement Tips

Home improvement can be a difficult task. A lot of home owners do not know where to start when it comes to such a project. Another thing to consider is the expenses. However, you can improve your home and still stay within the budget if you just stick to these home improvement tips.

Do not go overboard with appliances and furniture. It's nice to have new appliances and furniture. But they can be expensive. And do you even need them? Because if they are just going to clutter your space, then they are an expensive décor. Make an inventory on what you actually need, then, with much discernment, decide to buy something new.

Convert some unused spaces. Whether it's a vacant room or a small corner, it can contribute to improving your home. And no, it does not necessarily mean it should be a storage space. You can use the space for a small office. Entertainment center. Bar. Or even a play area for your kids. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's dynamic.

Add some plants. Home improvement does not necessarily mean taking down something or renovating. It can also mean adding something that is significant enough to make an undeniable difference. Try adding a plant to an empty or possibly boring space, especially if it's near a natural light source. While accessories or décor will do, there's nothing like a living thing to liven up the space. It's also good for the home environment since plants can purify the air. A decorative plant is great for the living room. Small potted plants and hanging plants can be nice near a window sill. For the kitchen and dining area, small potted herbs or plants with edible flowers are a great addition. Imagine how convenient it would be just to pick the herbs or flowers you need, give them a wash and instantly use them?

Use natural light. Using natural light is both an art and scientific, but it does not make it any less awesome. Natural light saves energy and 'energizes' your house hold. So it may be nicer to substitute thin drapes for blinds. You can also strategically place mirrors to reflect light at specific areas of the room. This will not cost as much as knocking down a portion of the ceiling to install a skylight. While it may seem expensive at first, you can use solar-powered lights, especially around your backyard, garden or lawn. This will save you money in the long run. Also, nowdays, solar lights come in great designs and shapes so they'll definitely give a new vibe to your place.

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Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the color or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting color and you would revolutionize the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation can not be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique color for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished hole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also halt the boredom owed to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker color for ceiling. Change in the color of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organize if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Beside, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional seating space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organizer and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £ 20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new color for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Hope these tips prove handy when you begin your next home improvement project.

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Simple Tips For Low Cost Home Improvements

Have you been thinking about remodeling your home? Keep in mind that you can often achieve your goal without a huge expense. Small improvements introduced in almost every room, including the exterior of the house can make all the difference.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Keep it clean and keep it simple!

A clean and neat house is appealing and eye-catching. You can start improving the appearance of your house simply by cleaning out the debris. Try making your garden look like an ideal place with some weaving and cleaning out the flower beds. Paint the front door to give your home a more welcoming feeling.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you do not need to make room for new ones. The first glance is usually sufficient for a selective buyer to quickly estimate a house.

Does the exterior of your home need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers? Remember to keep it simple. Focus on making things neat and tidy.

Two hot spots of every home:

The two most closely inspected rooms of a house are the kitchen and the master bathroom. If you are looking to focus on two hot spots, these are the interior rooms where the most value can be added during a sale, so make them look their best to increase your return on investment.

Is your kitchen may be in need of an upgrade? A well updated kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so focus on spicing up this room to grab buyer attention. Renovating your kitchen using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home. Many times a buyer will compromise on other rooms and will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

The same holds true for bathrooms, especially the master bathroom. You will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs in your master bath. Replace the faucets and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because for easy maintenance.

What to Invest in?

So, you're done de-cluttering, cleaning and upgrading. What's next? Well, if you are willing to make a good upgrade investment, it is recommended to divide your renovation plan into four parts to bring impressive improvements to your home. Here are the four areas you may want to seriously consider upgrading:

Lighting: If you are not satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

This would entailing buying lighting fixtures and other equipment for each room to make it look consistent and attractive.

Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and some leakage in the plumbing that needs attention. Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you have not already upgraded the plumbing system.

Flooring: Most people nowdays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting. Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable. If you think this improvement would bring you higher profits, make the investment without delay.

HVAC Replacement: Today new energy-efficient HVAC systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. You can add a unique selling feature to your house by making this replacement part of your home improvement strategy.

What's really worth repairing?

Remember that not all things are worth repairing; some need to be thrown out and others need to be replaced. This is a good principle to follow when staging a home.

Inspect every aspect of your home and then come up with a plan within your budget to bring a fresh crisp look to your home. You may want to replace outdated appliances in the kitchen with new modern models. Repairing old appliances is not an option. If your budget does not allow an appliance upgrade, simply give the ones you use a color-boost to improve their appearance.

If you already have wooden floors installed at home, look for scratches and be prepared for some refinishing. Wooden floors are highly desirable, even if they are old and worn. Give them a little lift-up to make them more attractive and appealing.

Nowadays energy-efficiency has found its way into many of our systems including the windows. Home buyers look for the latest windows and other systems that are designed as energy-efficient since they provide a number of economic, health and environmental benefits. Replace your old windows for new energy-efficient windows to improve the value of your home.

If your bathroom floors are tiled, look for any flaws or cracks especially if the tiles are white or light-colored. These types of flaws are hard to conceal even if you arrange everything else very neatly. So, before investing in other bathroom accessories replace a cracked floor tile.

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Four Ways To Design Your Place For Peaceful And Quiet Ambience

Living in an area with noise issues is one of the biggest problems that have to be eliminated as quickly as possible. Landscaping is one such solution to overcome this noisy issue where you let your landscape designer know everything in advance about the sound issues you're facing and what sort of landscaping you're thinking of getting at your place. Make things clear so as to make everything less bothersome for you and your designer. Doing all this on your own is not an easy task but you have to hire professional landscape designers who are well-trained in acoustical control concept.

Commonly there are four methods that can be used for sound attenuation apart from the basic environmental barriers. Let us have a look at these methods:

1. Sound absorption:

The effective absorption of sound waves is possible with the use of plants and bushhes. They are one of the best ways to entrap or absorb sound vibrations. Especially for the large-scale applications, this method is the common one and is used broadly. All parts of the plants including leaves, branches, twigs and woods are able to absorb sound waves and restrict them to enter your property. The best sound absorption is possible with the use of plant species that have many branches, thick and fleshy leaves and the thin petioles. The maximum advantage of such noise barriers can be taken during the months when windows are kept open and you're likely to spend quality time outdoors. Apart from all these, there are large shrubby trees that can also be used effectively at scattering sound waves.

2. Sound deflection and reflection

This is a method wherein the noise sometimes bounces away from the recipient or sometimes reflects back to the source. The difference is based upon the rigidity and density of the barrier, but, you can ask your designer to create attractive and effective partitions that may serve as a fence and also works as an effective sound barrier. The masonry walls are considered to be efficient sound barriers and when the sound waves strikes5-6 foot masonry walls; it does not vibrate and reflect the sound waves back to the source. While on the other side, when the sound waves will strike a flexible panel it will vibrate, transforming the sound waves into other forms of energy, deflecting them off in the other directions.

3. Sound refraction

This is the effect that occurs when the unwanted sound is dissipated, dispersed or diffused by striking through the rough surface on any plain. And the outdoor surfaces covered in plants can also have the similar effect. On the plain ground, the most powerful tool with the refraction ability is the lawn. Make sure your designer is well aware of the tactics to utilize the surface coverings whenever possible to keep the unwanted sounds bouncing around your courtyard and restricting them to enter your property, making it a peaceful place to live in.

4. White noise

This method is quite different from all the three above and is widely used in the recent days. This is something that is creatively designed for the human beings. This barrier is designed to create a sound that human loves listening to as a mask for the undesirable noise. Mostly for white noise fountains with loud splashes are used. During the rush hours, select the water feature that makes a lot of noise, whereas later in the evening the city is quieter and you can dial the water noise down to the minority level. Opt for a landscape where absorption, deflection or refraction solutions are in place and can help a smaller fountain to become far more effective than you even think of.

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Why Ipe Wood Is the Best

Ipe wood is also referred to as Brazilian walnut. This is very beautiful and exotic wood that comes from South America. The structure of the wood is very strong and hard and it is resistant to insects, weather, abrasion, and rot. This is what makes it such an amazing choice.

The color of Ipe wood is dark brown and it is two times as dense as most of the woods that you know about. It is five times as hard. It is the above qualities that make Ipe last such a long time. In addition, one of the things that make it so much thought after is the natural beauty. If it loses its color, the original shade can still be achieved by making it brighter and a cleaner. This is a very popular and a less expensive option.

Uses

This wood is usually used for outdoor applications such as fencing, siding, and furniture. The fact that it has a very long life outdoors makes it a great selection. In most applications, it can last anywhere between 40-75 years. Pressure treated forests do not last this long and that makes it an amazing choice. If you want to create something that you want standing the test of time, this is the wood for you.

Pros of using the timber

There are various reasons as to why this option is the best. The trains of the timber are what makes it stand out and so is its beauty. Some of the greatest pros of using this option include:

  • Insect resistance
  • Fire and water resistant
  • Ages gracefully
  • Smooth
  • Lasts long
  • Hard
  • Strong

Cons

As with everything else, the wood also has its cons which include:

  • The fact that it is heavy
  • The fact that it requires some pre-drilling or even hidden hardware for installation.

Price

This is wood and so pricing usually changes according to its quantity, availability as well as the prevailing market conditions. It is important to locate someone who can offer the most competitive prices. It is important to note that the price is usually higher than that of timer that is pressure treated.

Origin

This wood is taken from a tree called Tabebuia. It is native to the Mexicans subtropics and to the tropics in America. It can also be found in Argentina and all the way to the Caribbean. The fact that it can be sourced from a very large area makes it readily available.

One of the reasons as to why the wood is so tough is the fact that it exists in the tropical regions. It is the natural hardness and the oils, which make it the best wood that lasts a very long time despite the environments.

This option should be considered when you want to use lumber outdoors.

The lumber industry is filled with shady brokers and dealers so you should find out all there is to know to remain protected. You should keep an eye open for any kind of misinformation.

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Convert Your Living Room – A Home Improvement

From early times in the United States (US), up to the 1970s, much family activity centered on the living room of a home. Also known as “the receiving room,” home makers took guests there as soon as they entered the home. This room contained the best seating and furnishings. There, the draperies hung finely about the windows. A small piano might stay in the room. A vase with fresh-cut flowers and a bowl filled with nuts or mints may rest on the coffee table. “Eat something while I fetch coffee from the kitchen,” a home maker might say to guests.

Kept spotlessly clean, the living room location permitted the homemaker to entertain guests without their getting far into the dwelling (where messes lurked). A home maker may comfortably engage in polite and interesting conversation, and make an impression on guests in the living room. That location, the most formal, coat-and-tie room in the house, exuded sophistication as well as cleanliness and it wordlessly identified the family as rising in social status (or it did not). But, housing changed in the US in the 1970's when people wanted to express themselves, to have more choice, and they cared less about what guests thought of them.

They care about more configuring their home with imaginative and useful living space. Still, even today, most newly constructed homes, as well as the ones built before the 1970s, have living rooms. Yet, the family room (where the radio once rested, then the television set sat, and now the wide-screen TV mounts upon a wall) practically centers both the family and their guests. Entertainment in the digital age, not simple conversation, requires access to digital content (no coat-and-tie necessary or wanted).

Homeowners began to remodel their living rooms into home offices, a special room ensconced with a desk, a computer work station, and online access. Then, the computer work station evolved to become the source of computer games and many former living rooms and offices became online gaming rooms. Now, neither computing nor gaming requires sequestering in a room. A tablet or a laptop enables mobile computing and a smart phone enabled online gaming.

Where does this leave the old living room? Some people place a bar there, complete with a pool table. For other people, this has become the guest bedroom (closed off with an access door to a full bathroom). Pets sometimes get the room for themselves, complete with their bed, toys, a hundes bar (a hound's bar with water and kibble), and an access door placed at the base of the front door. Any of these ideas make more sense than a living room devoid of life, a haunt of bug ghosts and dust bunnies. # Tag1writer

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How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

When it comes to home construction, there are thousands of general contractors to choose from. The best way to narrow down the reputable contractors from the not-so-reputable ones is to do your research, ask the right questions, demand proof of credentials, and choose a contractor that works specifically in the field you need. For example, if you need roof replacement, choose a licensed roofing contractor rather than a home remodeling contractor. A vague job description can mean that they specialize in a wide array of construction projects. Instead, you want a contractor who operates their business with an acute focus on roof repair and replacement.

One of the biggest problems in the home construction industry are contractor scams. It is critical to always beware of sneaky home improvement scams because they are very common. They can easily cost a homeowner thousands of dollars if they fall victim to the dishonesties. Fortunately, anyone can avoid becoming a victim of home improvement scams with the proper knowledge and attitude. Continue reading to learn some important information about identifying these kinds of scams, protecting yourself from false loans, and who to turn to if you have a bad experience with an unethical contractor.

Signs That a Contractor is Trying to Swindle You:

– They knock door-to-door and offer their business.

– They come to your door and offer you discounts for referring other clients.

– They tell you they can give you a deal because they happen to have excess materials leftover from another job.

– They give ultimatums or pressure you into making an immediate decision.

– They only accept cash payments and / or request that you pay all fees upfront.

– They know a lender and recommend that you borrow money from them.

– They tell you to get the required building permits for the work.

– They tell you that your property's work is going to be a “demonstration.”

– They offer a lifetime warranty or improbable long-term guarantee.

– You can not find their business number or name listed in any local directories.

Even just one of these signs is an indication that you are not working with a responsible or experienced contractor. Furthermore, you must beware of a similar scam with loans. Home improvement loan cons are just as common and detrimental. This can lead to you unknowingly signing a home equity loan with incredibly high interest rates, points, and fees. And since the contractor has already been paid by this loan, they can lose interest in the work and fail to do a good job; or worse, not complete the work at all.

How to Report a Bad Experience

If you have a bad experience like this with a contractor, first try to work it out with them. After any phone conversations, mail a certified letter to them, and in it, request a receipt. Then keep copies of all records. This paper trail is your record that the company or contractor received your letter. If this does not work, you still have other options.

You can report them to certain industry organizations, and possibly earn some sort of recompense. This includes the state attorney general, the local consumer protection office, the local home builders association, the local media's “call for action” lines, and various dispute resolution programs in your town.

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How to Protect Your Home From Winter

The winter season is upon us. Just as we change our lifestyles and routines to fit with the seasons, we must also adapt our homes to the changes. While we're getting ready to cozy up indoors and bring out the heavy-duty winter wools, we need to make sure our home is ready to bear the coming onslaught of snow, dirt, slush, and salt.

The winter season brings with it challenges that are not purely seasonal in nature; the holiday season comes with a heavy increase in foot traffic around the house as people spend a lot of time indoors. This double effect can combine to do some real damage to your beautiful hardwood floors if you are not prepared. Let's take a quick look at how the changing season can harm your flooring and how you can prevent this from happening.

Common Winter Elemental Damages

Gap formation: The air that your air-conditioning systems will be circulating through your home in the winter season is much drier than the type of air that circulates during the summer months. The effect this has on wood is that it causes it to slightly lose its moisture content, leading to the creation of small gaps where planks meet. You should not worry too much about this, as it's to be expected. Once temperatures warm up, they will absorb a bit of moisture and return to normal.

Scratches and scrapes: Mud, salt, dead leaves, dirt, and snow can all combine to create unsightly scratches and scrapes on your floors once they are unintentionally brought into the house on the bottoms of boots and shoes.

Rot: If left to lie untouched for long enough, some of these winter elements can make their way into your flooring, causing the wood to rot. This is to be avoided at all costs, as serious cases may make it necessary to seek professional services to repair.
What Can I Do To Avoid Them?

Maintain temperatures: What leads to the creation of gaps in your flooring is the changing temperature levels and humidity. A good way to counteract this effect is to maintain your thermostat settings at a constant even temperature, avoiding turning your heat up and down.

Clean up: Regularly sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your floors prior the build-up of sludge and leftover snow that may lead lead to rot.

Take the shoes off: Simply taking off shoes and boots before coming indoors will go a long way in avoiding most of the winter-borne floor difficulties. Before they come indoors, have your family and friends take note!

Cover up: Rugs, carpets, and floor-mats are a great way to protect your floors, especially in high-traffic areas which experience the most stress. Unwanted elements simply will not have the chance to get at your floors.

Know what you're dealing with: Gaining a good understanding of exactly what type of floor you're trying to protect will make your job a whole lot easier. Having information about your hardwood floor areas such as how old they are, how much money you have invested in them over time, etc. will help you determine just how much time, effort, and money would be reasonably used up in protecting them.

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Why Is It Important To Hire A Licensed Contractor?

No matter what state a builder is from, it's important for each builder to apply for and get a license. What is the purpose of these laws? The purpose is to protect property owners against dishonest or incompetent contractors. The important thing is that the licensing process is a proof of the basic competency and weed out dishonest contractors. If a contractor has a valid license, it's a sign that the professional is qualified to get the job done to your satisfaction. If you want to know the importance of licensing, we suggest that you read through this article. Read on to know more.

Dispute resolution

One of the main benefits of a hiring the services of a licensed contractors is that the dispute resolution program of the state will help you resolve the disputes. The compensation will be granted from the funds of the state. If you want to get the most out of this program, you may want to check that the professional has a valid license for the services they are offering. Without a valid license, it's not possible to benefit from a dispute resolution.

State Requirements

In each state, there is a licensing board that has specific requirements for the professional contractors. The requirements in one state may be different from the requirements in another state. Moreover, the type of license is also different based on the state.

Licenses for General Contractors

The requirement for license depends upon the aspect of a certain construction project. General contractor is the person who is responsible to deal with you ie the owner of the property. The professional will work with you, supervise the entire project, buys the required material and hires some subcontractors. The subcontractors will report to the general contractors and not you. Since the license does not authorize any pro to do each and every job in the project, you should do your research and find out what someone can do in your state.

Other Licenses

In the majority of states, special licenses are granted in order to allow the professionals to do certain jobs. For this, each candidate has to prove that he or she is competent enough to do work in an area like plumbing, roofing, and electrical. Moreover, if a GC does not have a special license to carry out a project, they may go for a subcontractor who is qualified enough to carry out the work.

Lastly, it's important that you get to know about each aspect of your project. At the early stages, it's a lot easier to fix mistakes. But if they are not fixed in time, it may become a lot harder and more expensive to fix them. Aside from this, it's a good idea to keep an eye on each worker so that the project could be completed as soon as possible.

Long story short, if you have been thinking of starting a building project, we suggest that you hire a building contractor who is licensed and experienced. Hope this will help.

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Importance Of Licensing, Bonding, And Insurance For Contractors and Homeowners

If you sign a contract with a contractor who is not licensed, you are not going to break a law, but you are going to take a big risk. At times, shoddy workmanship may cause a good deal of loss. Therefore, many states in the USA spend a significant amount of resources in order to catch and punish unlicensed contractors. Read on to find out more.

There are entities offering counsel to licensed as well as unlicensed contractors that face fines and legal charges in relation to license violations. Moreover, they point out why the DBPR and CILB consider surety bonds, licensing and insurance a very important aspect of the industry of construction on the whole.

LICENSING

The contractor's licenses are under the regulation of the DBPR and CILB in order to make sure that each individual that receives certificate meets the set requirements, such as financial liability, experience in the field, clean criminal record, and insurance coverage based on the type of license.

Aside from this, it's important to keep in mind that licensed pros can be held responsible if they do not complete the work or complaints have been registered against them. Therefore, the pros try their level best to complete the work in time in order to avoid permanent license revocation. So, for each professional, it's very important to meet the deadlines.

SURETY BONDS

In each construction contract, it's stated that the project will be completed within the given time. If the deadline is not met, problems can occur for the contractor. This is where a surety bond comes to rescue the homeowners. In unforeseen circumstances, a bonded status offers protection to business owners, but it's not required if you are based in Florida. However, it does matter if the credit score of the contractor is under 660.

With a surety bond, homeowners have the peace of mind that the project will be done. But if the contractor fails, it will be the responsibility of the surety company to look for another person to do the job. Alternately, the company may compensate the homeowner for the losses that may have occurred.

INSURANCE

It's understood that accidents may happen. An employee may get injured or the property may get damaged. No matter what happens, you may have to suffer the loss. But you can avoid paying the bill in case of an accident. Your state may guarantee the protection of workers as well as general public. So, if you want to get a contractor's license, you have no choice but to maintain property damage, liability, compensation insurance of the workers. Even licensed pros may get in trouble. For instance, if the DBPR carries out a site inspection, the pro may have to pay big fines if they do not have an insurance policy.

So, if you are going to become a contractor or you are going to hire a contractor to get your construction project completed as soon as possible, we suggest that you look for and hire a good licensed contractor only.

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The Advantages and Benefits of Using Spray Foam Insulation at Home

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling the current one, it is vital to give importance to the perfect insulation. There are a number of options available and you have to make the right decision. You can come across a host of products that are pocket friendly, but in the long run they will not be the right solution. Similarly, there are expensive products available as well and they can save hundreds of dollars on your electricity bills in the long run.

What do you know about spray foam insulation?

Spray foam has been very popular in the recent times and has popped up as an efficient home insulator. There are two compounds used in its making, isocyanate and polyol resin which are known to expand in volume when mixed together. If the compounds are stored separately, they can be retained for a longer period of time. When they are mixed, they form foam and must be applied immediately. When this is applied to an area, it hardens after a short interval of time and acts as an excellent insulating layer. Moreover, it is durable as well.

Spray foam insulation is better

If spray foam insulation is compared with other types of insulation in terms of their effectiveness, this is highly effective. It has a high R value ranging from 6 to 7.7. The effectiveness of insulation is measured in terms of an R-Value. When the R-value is higher, the density of the insulator is higher and hence the effectiveness is also more. If this insulator is compared with that of fiber glass insulation, which has an R-value of only 3.5, you can get an idea about the better product. In case, you are looking out for this services in the UK, you will not be disappointed with the varying options that are available.

Opting for spray foam insulation is beneficial

One of the major benefits of spray foam insulation is its application process. The entire process is very easy and without any hassles. Regardless of the surface, horizontal or vertical, the insulation can be applied. The foam can be easily sprayed across the designated surface area in an absolutely uniform manner. You do not need any cutting mats or measuring for the application. Furthermore, the wearing and teasing of this insulation is relatively less and its durability is also longer.

What makes spray foam an efficient insulator?

• The application process can be completed in a short period of time. It gets hard and sets within a very short period of time.
• The application of this is also very easy without the requirement of any measuring and precise cuts.
• The spray foam has an expanding nature. Here, when it is applied on a surface area, it starts expanding. His, the insulation is watertight and airtight, providing an excellent seal.
• The insulation via spray foam is simply outstanding. It will keep the interior of your home warm during the winter months and vice versa in the summer time. Basically, this can insulate your home pretty good.

In case, you have been planning to get your home insulated, it is highly recommended to apply this and provide the right insulation in your home.

Can spray foam insulation help in the prevention of mold infection?

You will be happy to know that there are specific variations of this which includes microbial agents as the ingredients. It can be beneficial in the prevention of the mold growth in your home. In case you stay in a humid place, there is every possibility that your home might be infected with mold, which are often undetected until they become too severe.

This is not good for the health of your family. When there is an insulator that can provide a guard against the mold infection and offer a healthy home, you must opt ​​for it. Spray foam is a highly durable and effective mold preventing insulator that must be applied. In fact, this insulator also helps prevent preventing insects and vermin getting inside your home. Why wait when you can protect your home with spray foam?

There has been a huge demand for spray foam in the recent years. There are so many benefits that such an insulation offers.

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Mom and Pop Home Improvement Verses Big Box Stores

Ever since the first English settlements in Jamestown in 1607, entrepreneurs were using their home improvement skills to help build a better life. These specialized skills will always be needed, no matter how they are utilized and / or distributed. From plumbing to window installation, these trade services are practiced within all areas of civilized life.

Up until the end of the late 19th century, most home improvement services were worked by individuals or smaller mom and pop type businesses. Not until stores like Lowe's started popping up in the early 20th century did we start seeing larger entities becoming highly competitive against the smaller mom and pop type home improvement businesses. The fact of the matter is, these large businesses could provide services for cheaper, but not necessarily better.

So, why do big box chains like Home Depot and Lowe's provide home improvement services? Why do not they just sell improvement goods? Is not the whole idea behind these large hardware stores to provide goods to do-it-yourselfers? Well, the problem is … more and more consumer do-it-yourselfers are buying their goods online. It saves time and allows the consumer to be more flexible when it comes to getting their job done. These big hardware stores are trying to send a message to these consumers. They want these people to not only buy their products, but also allow them to install it for them at minimal costs. By doing this, it could draw in consumers that need a job done, but can not necessarily afford a mom and pop business. Not realizing, that these stores often do a poor job, because they use, in most cases, inexperienced staff.

The fact of the matter is … mom and pop home improvement businesses are usually family owned and operated. They pass down their many years of experience in their trade to their workers. They often use the best quality products and provide top notch warranties. We're not saying that the big box stores can not provide quality, we're just saying that your chances are better with smaller service providers.

As these larger, big box home improvement companies grow … will they expand and improve their services or will they return to their roots and only sell goods? Chances are, these big businesses will look to improve quality of service and offer a broader range of these services. The three largest stores, Home Depot, Lowe's Companies, and Lumber Liquidators are not going away any time soon. Small mom and pops know that. They also know that they do it better and a majority of the public knows it.

So, before you choose who is going to install your replacement windows, replace your kitchen counter or repair that leaking pipe, do your research. Compare experience, quality of products used, warranties and most important of all … customer service. Who are you going to want inside your home? Someone who has been doing the job their whole life or someone from a big box store with no credentials. The choice is yours and most likely a choice you will have to live with for years to come.

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