Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Home improvement

Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2016

Followers of our Facebook page know that we post daily tips for Bay Area consumers. Whether these tips concern home improvement, auto care, health or something else completely, we strive to make them relevant, practical and helpful. Here’s a sample of 10 noteworthy tips from 2016. For more, be sure to “like” our page at www.facebook.com/diamondcertified.

Tip of the Day: While materials and workmanship are crucial factors in a fence’s longevity, another important aspect is preventative maintenance. To protect your fence from rot and premature wear, make sure fence posts are kept out of contact with the soil, and adjust sprinklers so their streams don’t hit the fence. To further promote fence longevity, apply a stain every two to three years. Photo: Arbor Fence, Inc., 2016 Continue reading “Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2016” »

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Posted in Auto Tips, Consumers, Health Tips, Home improvement, Home Tips, Real Estate Tips, Savvy Tips, Window Tips | Tags: , ,

Tip Sheet: 5 Steps to Prepare for Remodeling

If you're planning to remodel in 2017, you'll need to get the ball rolling early. Photo: Case Design/Remodeling (2016)

If you’re planning to remodel in 2017, you’ll need to get the ball rolling early. Photo: Case Design/Remodeling (2016)

Like many Bay Area homeowners, you may be planning for a remodeling project in the upcoming new year. Since preparedness is the name of the game in remodeling, it’s best to start addressing the preliminary details well in advance. Use the following tip sheet to make sure all your bases are covered:

1. Get multiple bids. Getting estimates from at least three contractors will enable you to compare bids and make a more educated choice. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: 5 Steps to Prepare for Remodeling” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement | Tags: , , ,

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: , , , , , ,

GuySpace: How to Create Your Own Man Cave

Building a “man cave” may seem like a simple task, but if you want to do it right, you’ll need to consider a few important aspects. Photo: Micah Dean (2016)

Building a “man cave” may seem like a simple task, but if you want to do it right, you’ll need to consider a few important aspects. Photo: Micah Dean (2016)

If you’re like most men, you have a lot on your plate. In fact, between your family, your job and the minutiae of daily life, you may feel at times like there’s little room for anything else. However, in order to be your best at caring for these crucial responsibilities, you also need to take care of yourself. How? By feeding your inner child—you know, the part of you that has passionate interests, craves self-expression and just needs to hang loose once in a while.

Most men need a little space to reconnect with the things that excite and inspire them. While this space we’re referring to may be figurative, a great way to be proactive about inhabiting it is by creating a literal space, also known as a “man cave.” Despite the term’s pejorative tone, a man cave is nonetheless a great way for a guy to get the space he needs without the expense of going out or the quarrels that can arise from occupying a shared area. Continue reading “GuySpace: How to Create Your Own Man Cave” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips | Tags: , , , ,

A Room of One’s Own: How to Create Your Own She Shed

she shed with garden

A she shed is a personal, private retreat where you can relax or explore a hobby. Photo: Landmark Landscapes (2016)

Why does it seem that every time you sit down, you get interrupted? The phone rings, the kids start fighting, your spouse can’t find the remote…inside our own homes, we can feel like we’re constantly forced to multitask or put someone else’s needs before our own. But what if there was a place where everything was different: a room of your own, made just the way you like it? Imagine a place where you could enjoy a respite from the distractions of daily life or pursue a hobby that brings you joy. And wouldn’t it be perfect if this room was just a few steps from your back door? If this sounds like a tempting proposition, then perhaps what you need is a “she shed.” Continue reading “A Room of One’s Own: How to Create Your Own She Shed” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

The Causes of Landslides

By Christopher Wilhite, chief engineer and co-owner at Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc.

As we approach the rainy season, it’s time to start paying attention to what rain can mean for the Bay Area. While rain may ease our persistent drought, it can also cause issues for Bay Area residents, especially after so many dry years. One consequence of rain after a drought is the increased likelihood of landslides—a familiar problem in this beautiful but hilly region. Debris flows (a type of landslide more commonly known as “mudslides”) have caused millions of dollars worth of property damage in the Bay Area. More importantly, people can and have died as a result of these fast-moving landslides. Bay Area residents: it’s time to get informed and prepared. To start the conversation, we asked Christopher Wilhite, chief engineer at Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc., to explain precisely what causes landslides. 

Landslide repairs in Lafayette

Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc. repairs damage from a landslide in Lafayette. Photo: Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc., 2016

Continue reading “The Causes of Landslides” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Landscaping Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

New Year, New Routines: How to Get Your Home Ready for School

It’s that time of year again: students in San Francisco go back to school in less than a week, and the rest of the Bay Area follows quickly behind. Whether you’ll miss the lazy, crazy days of summer or can’t wait for the structure of a school day, it’s time to (re)develop your “school’s in” routine. Last year at this time, we discussed four great ways to get your home ready for the school year. New year, same helpful tips. Here are four things you can do to jump back to school with panache.

Boy with backpack going back to school

A newly minted first-grader takes a final look back at summer. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2016

Create a family launch pad.
A launch pad can help soften the pain of school-morning madness…at least according to Cynthia Ewer, editor of Organizedhome.com. Using bookshelves, hooks and cubbies, you can create an area for all of the things your family needs to get out the door in the morning. A launch pad can be as simple as a cleared space on a bookshelf, but if you need a big solution for a big problem, consider hiring organizational help to create a functional, highly efficient system. Continue reading “New Year, New Routines: How to Get Your Home Ready for School” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

All About Outdoor Kitchens

If you enjoy dining alfresco, an outdoor kitchen can double your pleasure by allowing you to cook outside as well. Photo: Riptide Construction, Inc. (2016)

If you enjoy dining alfresco, an outdoor kitchen can double your pleasure by allowing you to cook outside as well. Photo: Riptide Construction, Inc. (2016)

With Alain Joske, owner of Inscapes

With the beautiful weather in the Bay Area, it’s no wonder that one of the biggest local home improvement trends is to extend one’s living space to the outside with add-ons like decks and covered patios. However, even though these exterior additions are great, you can take your alfresco experience to a whole new level by building an outdoor kitchen, which will allow you to prepare meals and dine under the sun or stars. To learn about the process of outdoor kitchen construction, we’re joined by Alain Joske of Inscapes.

Plan way in advance. An outdoor kitchen isn’t built overnight—it’s a lengthy process, and the actual construction is often the shortest part. Continue reading “All About Outdoor Kitchens” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Landscaping Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Reinforcing Your Home with Seismic Retrofitting

With geologists predicting a large earthquake in the coming years, now is the time to get your home properly reinforced. Photo: Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc. (2016)

With geologists predicting a large earthquake in the coming years, now is the time to get your home properly reinforced. Photo: Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc. (2016)

With David Lorber, owner of Superior Builders & Remodelers

Living in the Bay Area, we have a lot to be thankful for, from the mild, sunny weather to the lush, scenic landscape. Additionally, we’re spared from many of the severe weather phenomena that exist in other areas, such as hurricanes, blizzards and tornados. However, there’s one destructive natural force the Bay Area isn’t exempt from: earthquakes. While an earthquake may lack the portentous visual dread of a Midwestern twister, perhaps no other natural disaster is able to inflict such a devastating toll in such a brief span of time—often mere seconds. What’s worse, we’re due: Geologists predict that a large magnitude earthquake will occur in Northern California within the next 30 years, likely along the Hayward Fault. Continue reading “Reinforcing Your Home with Seismic Retrofitting” »

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