How to Prep My Home for Exterior Painting in Austin, Texas?

Door with different shades of paint by APlus in Austin,TxExterior home painting in Austin, Texas can be a tedious and timely process.  It is not as easy as slapping a new coat of paint on your home.  Diligent preparation before painting will not only make your home look great, but also will help keep the finish looking more beautiful, longer.  Here are some steps to ensure your  painting job goes as smoothly as possible

Power Wash the Exterior of Your Home

Before you start painting your home, be sure to power wash the exterior of your entire house.  The power washing will help remove the flaking paint, as well as help eliminate mold and other stains to ensure a proper paint job.  Let your home exterior dry completely before moving to the next steps.  In the heat of summer, the drying process could take a day or two, while in the colder winter months, it could take upwards of four to five days.

Scrape Off Any Remaining Loose Paint

Sometimes power washing may not remove all the loose paint on your home’s exterior.  After your house has completely dried, scrape away any flaking paint using a standard paint scraper.   If you skip this step, any flaking paint that is painted over with fresh paint will continue to flake.

Before picture showing old crumbling paint on wooden panelsCaulk Your Cracks

Fill voids and cracks between siding and trim seams with caulk, and then smooth out the seam with a damp rag or your finger.  These voids are often found between siding planks or around the trim.  It is essential to get a good seal on the siding and trim to prevent any water from leaking into your home.

after picture of wall painted by APlus in Austin, TxReplace Rotting or Damaged Wood

Wood rot can occur from excess moisture seeping into the siding or trim on your home, or even from insects like wood ants or termites.  Before painting, always repair damaged or rotted wood areas.  Painting over these areas will not fix the underlying issues.  Common areas for wood rot to occur is in the siding that is closest to the ground and on door or window trim.   Depending on the size of the damaged area, an experienced carpenter in Austin may be needed for the repair.

Apply Primer to Bare Wood

If any siding or trim needs to be replaced, be sure to prime the wood with a good quality primer, such as Kilz, before to painting.  This will seal the wood to create a moisture barrier between the house and the paint.

Man painting wall outside in Austin, TxTrim Trees & Nearby Plants Prior to Painting

To guarantee enough space to paint your home properly, trim any trees, bushes, and plants that are close to your home.  It will also help prevent paint from dripping onto your plants, keeping your job neater.  Consider using drop cloths to protect your bushes, flowerbeds, decks, lawns, and sidewalks from paint.

Contact Us for Exterior Painting Services in Austin

An average wood siding home in Austin, Texas should be repainted every 4 – 7 years, depending on the amount of sun exposure and wood damage.   As stated earlier, painting is a time-consuming process.  At A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, we understand the importance of proper painting preparation and take pride in ensuring our painting projects are top-notch.  If you are looking for an exterior painter in Austin, Texas, please give us a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your free home consultation.  Our skilled Austin Handyman and Carpenters can also repair any wood rot damage to your home, as well as much more!  Check out our website to learn more about our Home Remodeling, Fencing, Decking, Flooring and HVAC Repair or HVAC Installs services.

The Benefits of Going Curbless

 

Struggling with limited mobility can make bathing dangerous and difficult.  If you or someone you love is looking for an easy-access solution, as a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (Caps),   A-Plus can surly lend a guiding hand.  Today, being an accessible home means replacing your old Bathtub or Walk-In to a Roll-In Shower.

What is the difference between a walk-in shower and a Roll-in shower? 

A roll-in shower (or zero curb shower or curbless shower or zero-barrier shower) has a zero threshold and wide openings for those who need a wheelchair accessible option or others who have difficulty picking up their feet when stepping over curbs.  On the other hand, a walk-in shower, is a traditional shower model with a lower threshold than that associated with a bath-shower combination, but it still has a step to get in.

If you are thinking of remodeling your shower, this is the ideal time to discuss what type of shower is best for your family now, and in the next 10 to 20 years.  If you are planning on spending your golden years in your current home, a Roll-In Shower may be the best option for your family.

Roll-In Shower Advantages

    • Ease of Use for people of all ages: Many Austinite’s are now opting to care for aging family members at home.  A curbless shower provides easy access for people of all ages.
    • Peace of Mind: More falls occur in the bathroom than any other room in your home. Eliminating an extra step will help reduce falling.
    • Easy to maintain: The lack of shower curb allows for less dank places for mildew and mold to hide.  It is also easier to clean, unlike a bathtub or shower enclosure, you do not need to bend over to scrub its surface.

 

  • Maximizes your space: Curbless showers are perfect to install in small spaces. Without a curb, the bathroom floor will flow from wall to wall, making it appear larger.  We can work with you to minimize your bathroom layout.

Roll-In Shower Cons

  • Water Leakage: Without a curb or barrier around the shower, water could leak out of the shower causing the bathroom floor to become wet. This is especially true for smaller showers, using a rain shower head can help resolve this issue by keeping the water coming down in a certain spot inside the shower. A pivoting shower screen can also help prevent water from leaking.
  • Colder Room: Since your roll-in shower will not have a door, it allows heat to escape making your shower experience cooler. Adding a bathroom heater should be a consideration when you upgrade.

If you are thinking of Remodeling your Bathroom in Austin, Texas, installing a Roll-In Shower, Walk-In Shower, or replace your shower surround, our consultants at A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions can help every step of the way.  Give A-Plus a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your free in home consultation today.  From installing granite counter tops, custom vanity installs and even tile back splashing and tile flooring, we do it all!  Check out our gallery with examples of our recent projects.

Austin Handyman Service Tips from A-Plus!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Handyman or Handywoman Experience:

Are you looking to repair a leaning fence, or replace a ceiling fan?  Hiring an Austin Handyman can be a quick and cost effect way to tackle your “Honey-Do-List.”  Typically billed on the hour, a handyman can handle a wide variety of smaller projects, as compared to a general contractor, who would be better for coordinating larger projects that involve multiple trades or specialized skills.  There are a few simple things a homeowner can do prior to a visit with their local handyman to get the most bang for your buck.

How to prepare for a local handyman:

    • Make a List: Before even scheduling your Handyman Service in Austin, make a list of all the home repairs and improvements you need to have done. Since most handyman visits are hourly, be sure to place your most desired home improvements high on your list to ensure they will be taken care of.  Consider having the handyman perform outside work last, to help keep dirt outside of your home such as fence repairs or deck repairs.

 

    • Know Your Budget: When looking for your trusted Handyman, research pricing before hiring. Does your company charge by the hour?  What is the hourly rate?  Is there a trip fee?  Is there a charge if the handyman needs to go to the store?  Knowing your budget will also help prioritize your list on the day of your service.

 

    • Purchase Materials Ahead of Time: Though many handyman will go to the store to pick up materials for you, consider planning a head and having the materials at your home before the handyman arrives. Handyman services that charge by the hour will bill for time to go to the store.  If you are unsure of all the materials you need, consider purchasing some of the materials for your home repairs, and have the handyman make a list for you once they arrive.  While the handyman is working on your projects, you can than go to the store to buy the missing materials.  Sometimes, even the office staff can assist making you a shopping list.

 

    • Prep Your Home: Clear out the space you would like the handyman to work in. For instance, if there is a repairing a cabinet, remove all items from the cabinet.  If you have breakable items, remove them from the workspace as a precaution.  If you have materials, place them near the project sites to save time.  For example, if you are looking to replace a light fixture, place the new light fixture in the install room.

 

    • Protect your Pets & Kids: For all A-Plus clients, we call each customer before heading to their home so there are no surprises. Consider placing your pets in a safe room, kennel or outside while the handyman is at your home to keep them safe.  Many handyman projects will require power tools that could be dangerous for small children.  Try keeping your children occupied in a different room, or supervise them closely when in the same room as your A-Plus Handyman.

 

Schedule Your Austin Handyman Service

Whether you need your gutters cleaned, driveway power washed, light fixture replaced, door adjusted, or many other task, A-Plus can help with our team of experienced Handyman in Austin, Texas.  If you are unsure if your home repair falls into our handyman service, just give our office a call at 512-450-1980 and they can help schedule the right worker for the job.  From kitchens, to flooring, to AC repair, A-Plus does it all! Give us a call today!

What Kind of Flooring Should I Install?

Flooring Installation of Hardwood floor in Austin, Tx

Are you thinking about upgrading or remodeling your floor? Are you not sure what type of flooring to install? Do you need a professional flooring installer in Austin, Texas? When it comes time to renovate your home, A-Plus is here to help.

No matter the type of renovation or remodel, the floors are the foundation of the design. When picking out the BEST flooring for your home, there are a lot of things to consider. We have created a list of popular flooring types and its pros and cons as a guide to selecting the perfect flooring for your home.

 

Type of Flooring

Pro’s

Con’s

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

  • Very strong and durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Resistant to stains
  • Preferred for homes with Kids and/or Pets as the floors will not scratch
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Cool in the summer months
  • Grout between the tiles can stain, and can be difficult to clean
  • Hard on the feet and glass will break if dropped
  • Slippery when wet
  • Cold in the winter months
  • Difficult to repair chipped or cracked tiles

Laminated Wood Floors

  • A great way to get the look of a wood floor, for a fraction of the price
  • Easy to install with a tongue and groove system to help keep labor cost lower-
  • Stain resistant, and easy to clean.
  • Resistant to changes in humidity
  • Cannot be sanded and refinished like real wood floors
  • Susceptible to moisture damage without proper sealing and installation
  • Hard on the feet and glass will break if dropped
  • Slippery when wet
  • Can be cold in the winter months
  • Not environmentally-friendly

Carpet

Flooring Installation of Carpet

  • Soft offering comfort for feet
  • Can prevent damage to dropped items
  • Retains warmth in the colder months
  • Acts as a noise damper
  • Can be  more affordable than other flooring options
  • Stains very easy, and difficult to clean
  • Tends to wear out in high traffic areas like the hall
  • Not good for people with allergies because it does accumulate dust, dust mites, and pet hair
  • Retains smells and odors
  • High maintenance cost
  • Not environmentally-friendly

Hardwood

Flooring Installation of Hardwood

  • Extremely durable
  • Can be refinished many times over its lifespan
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Very luxurious appearance
  • Adds tremendous value to home
  • Retains heat in colder months
  • Environmentally-friendly
 

  • Difficult to install and uneven or unstable substructure can lead to future problems
  • Often more expensive than alternative flooring
  • Vulnerable to moisture and humidity
  • May shrink or expand depending on the season
  • Can be easily scratched
  • Can be very noisy

Polished Concrete

Flooring Installation of Polished Concrete

  • Very durable
  • Low-maintenance cost
  • Colder in the hotter months
  • Is not combustible, and increases the fire protection of your home
  • Easy to clean with its smooth surface
  • Able to create unique colors and styles
  • Rooms tend to be louder
  • More uncomfortable to stand on for long periods
  • Floors can crack due to the foundation shifting.
  • Hard on feet and glass will break if dropped
  • Very cold in colder months
  • Susceptible to moisture if not properly sealed
  • Slippery when wet

 

Making the right floor choice for your home take a lot of research, and installation can be difficult and tedious. Leave the responsibility of installing your new flooring in the hands of our expert installers who can offer you useful insight, quality installation, and most importantly great customer service. If you are looking to install new flooring in Austin, give our office a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule a FREE consultation or contact us online through our contact form.  Our flooring consultants can suggest what flooring materials will work best for you and your family!

 

For examples for our work, click here to check out our before and after gallery page.

Tips For Hiring An A+ Home Repair Contractor

Heating and AC repair

As homeowners ourselves, we all know how stressful finding the best, “A-Plus” contractor can be. Here are some tips when looking for your next A+ contractor.

Find a Reputable Business. Start your search on websites like Google+, BBB, Yelp or Angie’s List. Read some of the good reviews and some of the bad. When reading the negative, it is important to note how the company responds to the review, as well as any common negative trends. Review the company website; see if they have any images or promotions running. When calling to schedule an appointment, first impressions are key. Do they have an office staff, are they friendly, do they seem trustworthy and make you feel like they want to do business with you?

Ask for Reference. Ask all contractors to provide local references. Talk to their past customers to make sure they are satisfied with the work. Consider asking if the job was completed to their specifications and in a reasonable time frame. It is important to find out if the final invoice was close to what was estimated or were there many unforeseen issues. Lastly, be sure to ask all references of they would recommend the company again.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires all HVAC techs, plumbers and electricians to be licensed by the state. Be wary of contractors that are not licensed. It is more probable that they do not perform work by the book and could cause issues in the future with their repairs.

 

Review your Contract Thoroughly. Checks to make sure all the “I”s are dotted and “T”s are crossed to prevent any issues during the job. See if it includes materials (or list of customer provided materials) as well as any warranties for all work performed. If needed, ask the contractor for a list of materials with estimated amounts that you are required to provide.

Verify Insurance Coverage. Double check to see if the company is insured just in case any personal liability or property damage that could occur. Be sure to avoid any companies that are not insured to protect yourself and your property.

 

Be wary of Payment in Full Upfront. Do not pay any contractors in full until job is complete. It is common for contractors to ask for a down payment before starting any work as well as draws throughout the project if it is a larger project. Ask the consultant at time of estimation to see if they accept Credit Cards or if payment can only be made by check. Many local businesses may not have a merchant account so don’t be alarmed if Credit Cards are not accepted.

Get everything in Writing. Be sure the contactor provides a written agreement that clearly explains all project details. If you have any questions or concerns, ask for clarification in writing, or an updated quote. Never signed any contract without reading it thoroughly first. If there are any changes to the scope or work or unforeseen issues, be sure to get all updates and pricing in writing.

Avoid Common Home Renovation Pitfalls

Home renovations can be very time consuming, costly and daunting.  Whether you are hiring a professional or taking a more DIY route, familiarize yourself with a few common pitfalls to help make your home renovation go as smoothly as possible.  

Avoid Poor Planning

Before you start swinging the sledge hammer, pick up a pen and paper to develop a plan for your project.  Know exactly what you are doing before you start.   Research and list out every step of your project, tools you will need and of course acquire all materials before starting.  No one wants to go to the hardware store full of sweat and gunk.  Follow the key carpenter’s rule of thumb, measure twice and cut once to avoid costly material waste.  When surprises or unforeseen issues arise, don’t panic.  Go back to the drawing board to save time and money.

Avoid the “Why Did I Think I Could Do That Myself?”

When planning for your project, be realistic with your skill level.  Every contractor can tell stories about cleaning up after homeowner’s messes when their own ego outweighs their ability.  Bringing in a contractor to correct any self inflicted mistakes or pick up half way through a project can defiantly blow the DIYer’s budget.  If you are unsure if you can successfully complete the project or not sure where to begin, it is best to consult the experts before starting any work.

Avoid Fly by Nighters

Now that you have come to the realization that replacing your tile shower surround is really not in your capabilities, do your research and choose a legitimate company for the work.  Make sure the contractors have licenses for Plumbing, Electrical or HVAC work (if needed) and are fully insured.  Be wary of fly by night companies who are rarely around when issues come up with their work.  Check out sources like BBB, Angie’s List, Yelp or Google to read the reviews.  Get all estimates in writing and make sure you fully understand your quote before signing.