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Remodeling your kitchen can be painless and fun

Your kitchen is usually a focal point of the house. It brings family and friends together, making memories and meals. Although remodeling your kitchen may seem very overwhelming, with the right contractor it can be a very pleasant experience – painless and exciting!
Of course, as with any project you plan on taking on, preparation is important.
 
Below are some tips to take into consideration:

Research:
• If you do not already have a go-to contractor, make sure you get at least 2 – 3 bids for the work you are looking for.

• It is important to make sure the contractor and bids reflect the same vision ensuring an “apples to apples” detailing – same fixtures, same materials, same quality. Of course, there is always someone cheaper or more expensive, so value and customer service are key.

• Start with researching companies in your area. You can look to your HOA or community paper for local companies, as well as friends and neighbors.

• Make sure the contractors are qualified with a current license with the Registrar of Contractors, are listed with the Better Business Bureau with a high grade, and have current liability insurance as well as workers compensation for their employees.

• Contractors should have references and photos readily available for new prospective customers.

• It’s also very helpful and comforting to know your contractor has a showroom and office that you can visit, view, and touch the actual materials that will be used in your remodel.

Budget:
• Make sure you know your budget, and that you and your contractor are on the same page.
• Be realistic about what you can and cannot afford.
• Remember that relocating plumbing and/or electrical can be additional costs.
• Certain materials have different grade/cost levels to help with budget.
• Your contractor should be able to keep you in the budget range you need to be in but you may also have to be flexible when deciding certain details.
• Read the fine print and be aware of preliminary lien notices which are quite common but often misunderstood.

Planning Phase:
• Once you have researched and chosen a contractor that makes you feel comfortable and confident with your decision, planning will begin.
• Your contractor should be able to help you in designing your dream kitchen, explaining the different types of materials, colors and textures, as well as the layout.
• Be realistic in planning and schedules, jobs that require drawings and permits can take a few months before the job can begin and ordering certain materials and fixtures can take several weeks.
• A job walk should be conducted in order for the sales estimator, Superintendent who will be managing the job once it starts, and any sub-contractors for details, measurements, and questions the homeowner may have.
• The project coordinator will order all materials and line up the subcontractors with a start date so that the job proceeds in a day-to-day basis without any unnecessary delays.

During:
Your job begins on the start date agreed upon. Your contractor should be able to inform you on a daily basis what will be done, what to expect, and what will happen next. Communication is key.

Here is a list of some customer responsibilities to make sure job flows smoothly:

• Make any necessary arrangements for pets to not invade the work space.
• Empty cabinets, drawers, and closets of items necessary to complete the work.
• Disconnect all computers and/or electrical devices in the area being remodeled.
• Please move any small furniture items and personal items in the area.
• If stated in contract for customer to provide any materials for the remodel, please have such items readily available.
• Be aware of change orders, make sure any changes in regards to the remodel or any additional work is documented and signed.

Completion:

• The work area should be cleaned for you and left without any traces of debris and trash.
• Make sure to complete a job walk with Superintendent to ensure complete satisfaction, or to make note of any areas that may need or require more attention.
• Confirm final inspection passes if applicable.
• You should receive in writing a statement reflecting payment completion along with contractor and manufacturer warranties and any lien releases.
• Finally – enjoy your new remodeled space!

What should I look for in a company that will do my work?

• Is the contractor a licensed contractor?
• Is the contractor registered with the Better Business Bureau or any other organizations?
• Is the contractor in good standings with the Registrar of Contractors and these other organizations?
• Does the contractor have a physical location?
• Does the contractor have a showroom?
• Does the contractor drug & alcohol test his employees?
• Will the contractor provide English speaking employees?
• What are the contractor’s warranties or guarantees?
• Does the contractor have a written work schedule with dates, times, job inspections and completion date?
• Does the contractor have previous job pictures and testimonials to present you as well as job sites you can visit?
• If the contractor uses subcontractors, do they require their subcontractors to be licensed, bonded and insured with workers compensation and liability insurance?

 Call today at (602) 343-1683 or visit the website at: http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/kitchen-remodeling/

Be sure to visit the Coupon/Promotion section on the website to view a special discounted offers.

Create an Arizona lifestyle at your home

Your home is the cornerstone of your life. It's your place to rest and relax, spend time with the people you love, build your future, and celebrate your successes. And for most of us, it's very likely the largest single investment you've ever made. So when it's time to create an Arizona lifestyle at your home, choose your patio covers carefully. There are many options available today to fit your style and budget. The experts recommend that prior to making a call for a free estimate, and to help speed up the process, you have the answers to these questions:

• Are you interested in a pergola, gazebo, patio cover or carport?
• What does your homeowners’ association allow?
• Where do you want the new structure built?
• Do you want the new structure built on an existing slab or will new concrete be required?
• Are you replacing an existing patio cover?
• Are any wires, sprinkler systems or gas lines buried near the job site?
• Do you want full or partial shade?
• How will you utilize the structure?

Don’t forget to do your homework on the contractor you are looking to hire.

1. Is your contractor licensed and insured?
Verify that contractors are who they say they are. Check the ROC & BBB for current information.
2. Reliability
Do they use premium-quality materials and offer a minimum one-year labor warranty?
3. Safety
Will the work meet applicable safety standards and building codes?
4. Project management capabilities
Will a production supervisor inspect the ongoing progress of your project for quality and timeliness?
5. Flexible financing options

Ask your contractor if they offer financing options, along with having competitive project prices and discounts.

Great reasons to add an AES AlumaWood patio cover:
• Heavy header-beam construction
• Richly textured wood finish
• Seven popular HOA acceptable colors
• Fasteners in matching colors
• Four style options for beam and rafter end cuts
• Extruded aluminum structure for strength and durability
• Low-maintenance paint finish will not peel or crack
• Rot resistant
• Insect resistant
• Lifetime warranty
• Functional as well as beautiful

Each and every component of your AES aluminum pergola has been engineered to assemble with flawless fit and finish. Every design detail has been carefully considered to enhance the aesthetic appeal and natural wood appearance.

AES aluminum pergolas are built to last with a heavy duty, corrosion-resistant, aluminum coated paint finish. This is to ensure that they will provide long-lasting, low-maintenance enjoyment for you and your family many years to come.

Other features of your AES aluminum pergola include:
• Weather-resistant paint finish withstands the harshest conditions, protecting your investment from the ravages of sun, rain, wind and extreme temperatures.
• A choice of HOA popular colors helps match your new aluminum pergola to your home, your style and your outdoor décor.
• Richly textured wood grain finishes simulate real wood for a more authentic, charming appearance.
• Color-matched fasteners integrate and blend in with the structure for a more pleasing appearance.
• Controlling the brightness in your recreational areas creating an inviting ambience
• Increases your outdoor living space
• Provides sun protection
• Avoids direct heat

Patio covers

1. Maintenance-free aluminum pergolas/lattice covers
Beautiful and practical, aluminum pergolas provide the same functionality and aesthetic purposes as wood products with a fully maintenance-free structure, incorporating natural wood grain effects in popular colors. An aluminum pergola is engineered to assemble quickly and precisely in your yard or garden.

2. Functional as well as beautiful
Each and every component of your aluminum pergolas have been engineered to assemble with flawless fit and finish. Every design detail has been carefully considered to enhance the aesthetic appeal and natural wood appearance.

3. Aluminum pergolas
They are built to last with heavy duty, corrosion-resistant aluminum, coated with an all seasons painted finish to ensure that your new aluminum pergola will provide lasting low-maintenance enjoyment for you and your family many years to come.

4. Solid patio covers
A patio cover provides elegant protection from the blazing sun and light rains so you can enjoy your patio when others are driven inside. Relax under your patio cover and let soft gentle breezes caress your skin and cool you on even the hottest summer days. Dine in al fresco splendor without fear that a summer shower will spoil your mood.

Provide protection from:
- Harsh solar heat, UV radiation and rain showers
- Protect furniture from weather and animals

Features:
- Extruded aluminum structure for strength and durability
- Low-maintenance paint finish will not peel or crack
- Rot resistant
- Insect resistant
- Lifetime warranty

Available in:
- Studio or cathedral designs
- Several HOA friendly colors

Available options:
- Skylights for added light without heat
- Roof fan beam (to support locally sourced ceiling fan)

Apart from being the perfect patio cover, this product also doubles up as an excellent car port, protecting vehicles from the harsh and damaging weather that they endure on a daily basis.

5. An economical screen enclosure
Turn your patio cover into an economical screen enclosure and increase the amount of time you can enjoy your patio, deck, porch or yard.

Screen in your patio cover for cost-effective protection from insects as well as solar heat, glare and light rains so you can enjoy your patio, porch or deck when others are driven inside. Relax in an economical screen enclosure and soft gentle breezes will cool you on the hottest summer days. Dine in al fresco splendor without fear that insects or a summer shower will spoil your mood.

Provide protection from:
• Annoying insects
• Harsh solar heat
• UV radiation
• Rain showers

Features:
• Extruded aluminum structure for strength and durability
• Durable vinyl/fiberglass insect screening
• Low-maintenance paint finish will not peel or crack
• Rot resistant
• Lifetime warranty

6. The process
From your free no-obligation in-home consultation through final review, there should be continual updates and communication throughout the process.

• Designer will determine gazebo, pergola or shade cover needs and review style options.
• Designer will walk the grounds, take measurements, draw up plans and discuss timelines and payment options
• Company will order your materials, set up an installation dates, verify all required permits and get started.
• Company will clean the job site when the project is done, conduct a final inspection and review all product and service warranties.

So when it's time to create an Arizona lifestyle at your home, choose your patio covers carefully and enjoy!  Call (602) 707-6678 or visit the website at:
http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/patio-covers-enclosures-az-energy-savers/

Be sure to visit the Coupon/Promotion section of the website to view  special discounted offers.




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Office

Should I hire a handyman?

Everyone wants to be able to say “I did that”, but is that really the best choice?

Keep these things in mind when coming to a decision:
1) Do you have all the tools needed for the project?
2) Do you have the time it will take to complete the project?
3) Do you have the knowhow?

Below you will find several of the most common mistakes that “DIYers” often make. Here are some tips from the experts on how you can complete the project right the first time.

1: Fixing a sticking door.

A common call that many handyman companies receive, is fixing a sticky door. Whether an interior door or an exterior door, this task can be tricky! If done incorrectly, one can cause more harm than good. First take to the time to assess the task. You will need to know if it would be more cost effective to fix the door or replace the door. If the door is badly damaged due to our Arizona harsh weather conditions, replacing it may be the best option. After wet weather, wooden doors become swollen and stick in the frame. Painting the wood is an instant fix, but be sure to paint over the exposed edges with a primer as well. If the wood is not completely sealed including the edges, it will continue to absorb moisture and swell up - leaving you to do the job all over again.

2: Creating attic storage space.

Another common mistake made by do it yourselfers is when trying to create storage space in the attic. The attic must be properly assessed to make sure you are not stacking weight on the base of a conventional truss; they are engineered to hold weight on the top, not from the inside. Doing so can put you and your family in harm’s way.

3: Covering rotten wood does not make the rot go away!

Covering rotting wood can create an even bigger problem that can be very costly. The proper way to restore rotten boards is to cut out all the bad wood and then replace these areas with new wood. Make sure to seal the wood to prevent any future damage in the new wood.

4: Failing to support your shelves before installation.

When putting up shelves and pictures on a partition wall, you must locate the weight-bearing studwork behind the plaster for support, or screws and nails will come out under the slightest weight. These wooden posts, which are the backbone of the wall, may not always be where you want your nail to go, but in this case, you can always use cavity fixings, which anchor screws and nails into the plaster. These are available from most DIY stores and websites.

5: Failing to apply primers before painting over water stains.

Watermarks can be a pain to cover up. Painting over the stain with a water-based emulsion won't help; the stain will keep showing through, however many coats you use. Apply an oil-based primer paint or spray over the stain to seal it, and then you can cover it with any paint and color you choose. There's no point in buying expensive paintbrushes for one job, but steer clear of budget brushes. These have fewer bristles, which make an untidy finish, and they molt more than a mid-range brush, so you will be constantly picking bristles out of the paintwork. Synthetic brushes are fine for the average consumer and they keep their shape, while natural bristles tend to splay out after use.

If you need other projects done in or around your home, why not compile a list today and call a trained and experienced handyman to do your “honey do list”. It will not only save you some valuable time and money in the long run it will be stress free!

Let us provide you peace of mind that your projects are done right and safely the first time, within your budget, by our highly trained technicians. Don’t forget the Holidays are right around the corner! Call ToFixIt at 602-863-4948 to find your local professional handyman company. Visit the website at: http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/handyman-services/





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Life






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Automotive

A/C maintenance for your car

The Monsoon has officially arrived. The temperatures will be heading toward the blazing heat that we all expect while living in the Arizona desert. Maintenance on your automobile can be a time consuming experience when it is your only source of transportation. However, how much more of an inconvenience is it when your only source of transportation decides to break down at the worst possible time? Following the service intervals recommended by the factory are always a great way to keep your vehicle reliable all year round. With that being said, there are always unforeseen circumstances that can happen, even if you maintain your vehicle on a regular basis. Don’t be caught off guard when you are on a wonderful summer road trip with your family and your a/c stops working. Learn how to prevent premature a/c failure by having it serviced prior to the arrival of summer, not when it becomes an issue. Here are some facts about your car’s a/c.

The a/c in your automobile has one main function: to move heat from the interior of your vehicle to the outside.

• Your vehicle’s cooling ability is based on the air conditioning's condenser, which receives air flow from wind. This is created by driving and causes the radiator fan to pull air through the condenser. If the air flow through the condenser is restricted, it will cause the condenser to overheat and over pressurize the vehicle’s air conditioning system. Without the proper air flow, leaks are often the result. Hoses and O-rings often allow leaks because they simply can’t handle the amount of pressure while trying to cool down the air inside of your car. This can be a costly repair because it is difficult to detect how much internal damage has occurred in the compressor.

• A leak in the auto air conditioning system is not a laughing matter. Don’t forget the average temperature for the month of April is 85 degrees. Of course, it is always a good idea to have any type of leak found in your car repaired by a professionally trained mechanic. The automotive professionals suggest that you should avoid using the low cost, leak repair products in the a/c system because it may circulate back into your car through the car’s a/c system.

• If a compressor has to be replaced you will have to purchase an a/c kit. The average cost of an a/c kit is about $1,600.00 with installation. The experts recommend that this be installed professionally. Otherwise, you void any warranty from the manufacturer, regardless of the time frame after the initial installation date.

To help avoid all of these issues, the professionals offer the following tips for your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
• Regular maintenance
Automobiles, typically around 4 years old, should have an air conditioning maintenance performed. Vehicles more than 4 years old should have a yearly maintenance to help avoid costly repairs later down the road, especially in the heat of the summer.
• Did you know that mold or mildew can build up in a vehicle's a/c system and can be in the air ducts or on the cooling coils of your car?

If your car has a bad odor, this could indicate you have mold and can cause health concerns. Your family may be breathing these spores as they enter the cabin of your car. The experts recommend that you turn off the air and drive it to a professional for repairs.

Call today and schedule your appointment at (602) 863-4948 or visit the website at: http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/autoprogram/



How is your car’s health?
Automotive safety is all too often taken for granted; a few minutes of caution can often save lots of time on the road while avoiding a vehicle failure. Did you know that the average American spends 2.5 to 3 hours per day in their car? Always perform a vehicle walk around to look for abnormalities. Here are a few tips from the experts that you should check on a regular basis to help insure the safety of your family.
1. Your first line of defense on the road is your tires. Be sure to always inflate, rotate and evaluate.

• Proper tire pressure will not only provide you with better gas mileage, but will also allow the tire to run cooler-helping while protecting the tire from damage.
• Rotation will provide better tire wear, resulting in longer tire life. You should always take the time to evaluate tread depth, condition, and side wall damage because it can save you time on the road, resulting from a tire failure.
• Don’t forget to check the spare for inflation.

2. Check your windshield for any cracks or breaks, and check wiper blades for cleaning ability. In Arizona, wiper blades will tend to rot before they wear out. It is never fun to find out the wipers will not serve you when you need them in a rain or dust storm.

3. Check your vitals under the hood such as:
• oil level
• a cooling system full of anti freeze and clear of obstructions
• windshield cleaner solution full
• belts in proper order and free of cracks
• radiator hoses feel solid and pass a visual inspection
• Be sure that the battery is clean and cables are not corroded.

4. Listen to your vehicle-in many cases you will have warnings of upcoming problems. For example, when starting in the morning the cranking of your starter may sound a bit different as your battery is in a declining condition. Brakes will often give you warning signs as the pads are approaching replacement, prompt attention can save you many repair dollars.

5. Daylight is getting shorter, so check your headlights. Often times, over the summer, we don’t use our head lamps for months, because it is light when we leave in the morning and when we return home at night. Be sure you are prepared for the shorter days so you will have light when you need it.

6. Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance program; a few dollars in maintenance today may save you many dollars in repair tomorrow. Open that book in your glove box it will tell you much more than you expect about your vehicle maintenance and safety requirements.

Find a repair center that you trust and make sure to have regular scheduled maintenances especially if you are going to take a road trip.  ToFixIt to locate your local automotive specialist at (602) 863-4948 or visit the website at: http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/repair/


Prep your car for the summer
Most people have to prepare their automobiles for the long, cold winter months. Here in the beautiful Southwest, Phoenix area has the opposite issues. We have our automobiles prepped for the Arizona hot summer days. Now may be the perfect time, and more importantly, do it before you go on any summer travels. Viewing Arizona from the side of the road waiting for a tow truck is not the way to truly enjoy our great state. Learn more tips, from the ToFixIt car repair expert’s regarding your tires, belts, hoses, fluid levels, oil changes, and even your passenger’s safety prior to the start of our hot summer season.


• Did you know your vehicles belts and hoses are worn out after 3 to 4 years of working hard for you in extreme conditions? Knowing the age of your cars coolant hoses and belts is important. Even if they look good, it does not mean they are. http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/repair/

• Your cars cooling system should be tested and flushed each year before the start of summer because your automotives coolant gets old and is picking up many contaminants that will damage your system. http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/auto-ac-repair/

• Don't forget those windshield wipers that are now cooked onto your windshield, it's time to replace them; the monsoons are coming to Arizona soon. http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/auto-glass-windshields/


The Phoenix, ToFixIt car repair experts are always harping about checking your vehicles tires and air pressure, the cars fluid levels and changing the oil, but they are so important we just feel we have to mention it one more time. These warm Phoenix, days beckon us to outdoor excursions and road trips, but anyone who has been broken down on a hot desert highway knows that taking a few precautions and being prepared is never something that you will regret. http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/auto-tires/

And don't forget about you and your passengers.

1. Carry extra water for yourself, passengers and your vehicle.
2. Take along some snacks, non melting types.
3. Know your road service coverage and how to use it. If you are not familiar with the program call your location you frequent before you hit the road.
4. If you have a cell phone, keep it charged, ready, and with you while driving in case of an emergency.
5. Keep something reflective, like a windshield screen (for example) in your vehicle. If your car breaks down or get lost in the desert, it can be used to flag down other motorists. If large enough, it will also help to keep the sun off you.
6. Keep an umbrella in your vehicle. You may not ever need it for rain, but it is a great source of shade in the desert.
7. Purchase an emergency roadside kit and first aid kit. They are usually inexpensive, but can be very valuable if needed. http://www.tofixit.com/phoenix/index.php/safety-products-home-auto/
8. Carry a set of auto jumper cables with you.
9. Most importantly, let someone know where you are going and approximately what time you should arrive. If you are traveling in a remote area, also let someone know the route you plan to take.




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