Diamond Certified Blog

Holiday Stress-Busters

This holiday season, prevent a stress-induced burnout by being proactive about self-care. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2016)

This holiday season, prevent a stress-induced burnout by being proactive about self-care. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2016)

’Tis the season to be jolly, but for many people, the holidays are more synonymous with stress than merriment. From checking off your gift shopping list to getting your home ready to accommodate guests, the nonstop pace of the “holiday hustle” can eventually dim even the brightest of spirits. That’s why, in the interest of avoiding a yuletide meltdown, it’s important to be proactive about self-care in the weeks leading up to your seasonal celebration. Consider the following ideas for busting your stress buildup:

Practice simple stress-managing techniques. You may not realize it, but the power to alleviate stress is literally in the palm of your hand. For example, placing your palm to your forehead has a legitimate physiological effect. Continue reading “Holiday Stress-Busters” »

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Keeping Your Dogs Safe over the Holidays

I’ll never forget the time I was walking my dog the day after Thanksgiving and she got into a neighbor’s garbage bag that was full of turkey bones. First she started chomping and then she started choking. Luckily, the mail carrier was passing by and knew exactly what to do: the Heimlich maneuver. The partially chewed and splintered bones popped right out. We avoided an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital on a holiday weekend.antioch-dog

According to Dr. Howard Schutzman, owner of Antioch Veterinary Hospital, a Diamond Certified practice, we were fortunate. “The main problem with bones, especially turkey bones and chicken bones, is they splinter easily,” he explains. Continue reading “Keeping Your Dogs Safe over the Holidays” »

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Giving Thanks

Practice gratitude, any time of the year. Photo: Clough Construction, 2016

Practice gratitude, any time of the year. Photo: Clough Construction, 2016

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude. So, we put the question to some of our Diamond Certified Experts: What are you thankful for? Here’s what they said:

sergiu-deac

Sergiu Deac, president of Best Construction: “I’m thankful for this country adopting me. I’m thankful for every day that I’m an American citizen. I can do what I like and I’m thankful for being healthy. I thank God for my family.” Continue reading “Giving Thanks” »

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified Experts, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday

Shop small, shop local on small business saturday

Ocean Avenue in San Francisco is home to many small shops and businesses, including Miracle Cleaners, a Diamond Certified company. Photo: Miracle Cleaners, 2016

by Jennifer Chan

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” -Joni Mitchell

Welcome to November: the start of shopping season. Whether your holidays include hot cider, tamale-making or Chinese food on Christmas, they probably also include spending. In 2015, the United States spent more than $630 billion on holiday shopping (about 20 percent of the retail industry’s total sales for the year). American shoppers spend around $900 on gifts alone every holiday season, plus more on food, entertainment and travel. Continue reading “(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday” »

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Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , ,

How to Harden Your Door Against Break-ins

As a home’s first line of security against break-ins, it's critical for exterior doors to be sufficiently reinforced. Photo: Metro Locksmiths, Inc. (2016)

As a home’s first line of defense against break-ins, it’s critical for exterior doors to be sufficiently reinforced. Photo: Metro Locksmiths, Inc. (2016)

Your home may have a high-end alarm system, but if your doors are second-rate, you’re running an unnecessary security risk. Exteriors doors are a home’s first line of defense, which is why a weak one represents a major point of vulnerability. Use the following checklist to make sure your doors have what it takes.

Door
Door hardening starts with the door itself. While interior doors are typically 1 3/8-inch thick, exterior doors should be 1 3/4 inches of solid wood. Continue reading “How to Harden Your Door Against Break-ins” »

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Industry Overview: Roofing 101

Whether you need a new roof or simply want to perform preventative maintenance, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some roofing basics. Photo: Sierra Roofing & Solar (2016)

Whether you need a new roof or simply want to perform preventative maintenance, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with some roofing basics. Photo: Sierra Roofing & Solar (2016)

Like many industries, roofing is more complex than it seems, and it continues to become more so with ongoing technological innovations. This article contains some useful information to help you get more acquainted with the basics of the field, including key terms and answers to frequently asked questions.

COMMON TYPES OF ROOFING MATERIALS
There are numerous roofing materials available, each with its particular pros and cons. Here are some of the most common choices:

Wood shakes and shingles
Wood shakes and shingles blend in well with a natural environment, are easy to repair and replace, and can last 30 to 50 years if maintained properly. Continue reading “Industry Overview: Roofing 101” »

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Video: Energy-Efficient Attic Improvements

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on maximizing home insulation. One of the aspects mentioned was eliminating heat loss by improving attic air sealing and insulation. To learn more about what this entails, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Greg Sutliff of Alcal Specialty Contracting, Inc.

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Diamond Certified Experts: Keeping in the Heat

Adequate home heating is crucial during the winter, but an equally important concern is keeping in the heat. Photo: Bell Products, Inc. (2016)

Adequate home heating is crucial during the winter, but an equally important concern is keeping in the heat. Photo: Bell Products, Inc. (2016)

One of the biggest concerns during winter is maintaining a comfortable climate inside the home. However, if your home lacks sufficient insulation, this can get expensive. Heat is an expert escape artist, which means the more escape routes your home contains, the more money you’re going to spend replenishing what you lose. To address this, we’ve asked seven Diamond Certified Experts to give their advice on keeping in the heat during the winter months. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Keeping in the Heat” »

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home improvement, Home Tips, Window Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Maximizing Your Credit Score for a Home Purchase

If you’re planning to apply for a home loan, you’ll first want to address your credit score. Photo: Howard Bloom – Intero Real Estate (2016)

If you’re planning to apply for a home loan, you’ll first want to address your credit score. Photo: Howard Bloom – Intero Real Estate (2016)

If you’re planning to purchase a home in the near future, you’ll need to address your credit score beforehand. A credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 350 to 850 (with 850 being the best) that lenders use to evaluate an individual’s capacity to repay a loan. Consequently, your credit score will play a central role in determining the kind of home loan and interest rate you get approved for—and whether you can get approved at all. That’s why it’s important to be proactive about maximizing your credit score long before you apply for a home loan. Here are some tips on how to do so:

Find out your credit score. Many people assume they have good credit, only to get a rude awakening when their loan agent runs the numbers. To avoid this scenario, determine your credit score well in advance so you can make any needed adjustments. Keep in mind that accuracy is critical with a credit report, so rather than getting a report from an online agency, a better option is to meet with a mortgage professional. Within minutes, you’ll get a full report from all three of the major credit agencies, including your FICO score, which you can’t get by going though just one agency. Continue reading “Maximizing Your Credit Score for a Home Purchase” »

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Five Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Despite the Bay Area's comparatively mild weather, winter conditions nonetheless make driving safety an important concern. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2016)

Despite the Bay Area’s comparatively mild weather, winter conditions nonetheless make driving safety an important concern. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2016)

From diminished visibility to slick pavement, there are several factors that make winter a more dangerous time of year to be on the road. To minimize the risks that come with driving in winter, consider the following tips:

1. Assess tire condition. Due to road slickness during the rainy season, it’s crucial that your vehicle’s tires are in good condition. You can assess the condition of your tires simply by looking at them: if the wear bars are flush with the tread, it’s time to change them. Continue reading “Five Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter” »

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