Diamond Certified Blog

Home, Smart Home: Integration, Automation and the Future of Domestic Living

As the “smart home” movement continues to build momentum, more Bay Area homeowners are considering the benefits of home automation. Photo: Lavish Theaters (2016)

As the “smart home” movement continues to build momentum, more Bay Area homeowners are considering the benefits of home automation. Photo: Lavish Theaters (2016)

Thirty years ago, if you conducted a survey about what technological advancements people expected to see in 2016, answers would have likely included flying cars, computer-controlled homes and colonization of other planets. Well…at least one of these futuristic forecasts has come to pass: home automation. The “smart home” is here, and it’s revolutionizing the mode of modern domestic life.

But what exactly is a smart home? According to Micah Brown, owner of Avid Home Theater, a smart home is defined by two key terms: integration (multiple systems are tied together into a single control system) and automation (the systems are programmed to function autonomously of the user). Continue reading “Home, Smart Home: Integration, Automation and the Future of Domestic Living” »

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How to Get Rid of Ants in the House

How to get rid of ants in the house

Flooded out of their homes, ants seek refuge in ours. Photo: Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, 2016

El Niño has finally arrived in Northern California, and the rains have had disastrous consequences…for ants. According to Janet Thrasher of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, Inc., when rainwater saturates the earth, it floods ants’ colonies and forces them to seek refuge in nearby dwellings. Consequently, ant-related calls to Diamond Certified pest companies are currently on the rise.

How to Get Rid of Ants
If you need to get rid of ants in your house, there are many different ways to go about it, but the most effective way is to destroy their nest. Continue reading “How to Get Rid of Ants in the House” »

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Tip Sheet: Five Ways to Maximize Your Carpet’s Lifespan

A new carpet is an expensive investment: one that requires ongoing maintenance to sustain both its appearance and performance. That’s why Matt Cole of Cole’s Carpet & Upholstery Company suggests taking proactive steps to protect your carpet from premature wear and tear. Here are Matt’s top five carpet care tips: Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Five Ways to Maximize Your Carpet’s Lifespan” »

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The Show Must Go On: Why the Home Show Remains a Vital Institution in the 21st Century

home-show-system-pavers

While Internet research can help you prepare for a remodeling project, a home show provides several benefits you can’t get online. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2016)

As modern technology evolves, people are becoming less inclined to leave the comfort of their homes. The Internet has made everything from shopping to entertainment a mere click away, and even substantial ventures like home remodeling projects can be planned in virtual space. However, while the information superhighway has certainly hastened the speed at which we learn, communicate and accomplish things, there remains much to be said for taking the scenic route—that is, seeing and experiencing things in person.

Take, for example, the longstanding convention of the home show: an event that assembles professionals from all walks of the home improvement industry to exhibit products, techniques and services for local consumers. Continue reading “The Show Must Go On: Why the Home Show Remains a Vital Institution in the 21st Century” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Hiring Licensed Contractors

Do you know how to spot an unlicensed contractor? Watch this video for some helpful tips.

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Industry Organization Spotlight: Best of the Remodeling Industry

In the course of planning a home remodeling project, it’s beneficial to gain insight from informative resources. Along with the Diamond Certified Resource, a great place to look for information is remodeling industry organizations. In addition to advocating high standards of workmanship and professionalism in the remodeling industry, these associations are dedicated to educating and empowering professionals and consumers alike. Here are three of the premier organizations in the remodeling industry:

National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

Overview

nari-logoNARI is the only independent national association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. By providing helpful resources for remodeling professionals and consumers, it seeks to fulfill its stated core purpose: “To advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, product, and vital public purpose.” Continue reading “Industry Organization Spotlight: Best of the Remodeling Industry” »

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Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel

kitchen-remodeling-green

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, one aspect that’s sometimes overlooked is the energy efficiency of kitchen appliances. Photo: MSK Design Build (2015)

When planning to remodel their kitchens, many homeowners focus on improving aspects such as visual aesthetics and functional utility. However, a kitchen remodel also provides a great opportunity to improve energy efficiency, primarily through updating appliances like refrigerators and ovens with new, environmentally-friendly models. By minimizing energy consumption, updating your kitchen appliances will reduce both your carbon footprint and monthly power bills, which is a true win-win situation. Here are some things to look for when selecting new appliances:
Continue reading “Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel” »

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Making Sense of Solar

Today, many homeowners are considering the benefits of going solar because of energy savings and tax credits. Systems are also getting more affordable. I asked Sungevity’s Sloane Morgan to answer some of the most common questions.

Most solar panels are designed to only lose 1 percent efficiency each year. Photo: Sungevity (2016)

Most solar panels are designed to only lose 1 percent efficiency each year. Photo: Sungevity (2016)

Is it expensive to install solar?
When residential solar systems were first introduced, they were expensive for the average homeowner, but solar panel prices have dropped radically since then Continue reading “Making Sense of Solar” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: 5 Preliminary Steps for Remodeling

Take the hassle out of your remodeling project by getting organized early on. Photo: Merritt-Nelson Custom Builders (2016)

Take the hassle out of your remodeling project by getting organized early on. Photo: Merritt-Nelson Custom Builders (2016)

Everyone knows home remodeling projects can be costly and complicated, but they don’t have to be as stressful as they’re often made out to be. By taking preliminary steps and addressing things in advance, you can set yourself up for a smooth process and successful results. To gain some helpful insight, we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to give their tips on preparing for a remodeling project.

Jim Kabel1. Define the scope: Jim Kabel of Case Design/Remodeling
Before you begin interviewing designers and contractors, have a clear idea of what you want. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: 5 Preliminary Steps for Remodeling” »

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7 Ways to Save Money on Your Home Remodeling Project

For those working on a limited remodeling budget, there are several ways to cut costs without compromising quality. Photo: Altera Design & Remodeling, Inc. (2015)

For those working with a limited remodeling budget, there are several ways to cut costs without compromising quality. Photo: Altera Design & Remodeling, Inc. (2015)

It’s a new year, and we at the Diamond Certified Resource are ringing in 2016 by declaring January “Home Makeover Month.” All month long, we’ll be featuring informative articles, videos and tidbits to guide you in pursuing your New Year’s remodeling resolutions.

While many Bay Area residents are preparing to tackle their long-deferred project ideas, for some, the urge to remodel is constrained by the significant expenses involved. However, even if you’re working with a limited budget, there are numerous ways you can cut costs without compromising quality. Here are seven money-saving strategies to consider:

1. Design your project to accommodate existing systems. If your plumbing and electrical systems are in good condition, you can avoid the cost of rerouting pipes or wiring by designing your remodeling project to accommodate them. In addition to saving a substantial amount of money, this strategy aligns with a sustainable approach to remodeling. Continue reading “7 Ways to Save Money on Your Home Remodeling Project” »

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