Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New York Construction Company Delivers Excellence

If you have been following some of the news articles written in the past about Click and Improve, you may have stumbled upon cross references made of the parent company, New York Construction Company. If you live in New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Nassau (coming soon), or Suffolk, you're in luck to have a quality construction company at your finger tips. They are an A+ rated construction company with BBB, based in Whitestone and Glen Cove, NY specializing in various home remodeling services.
So, when you are debating on replacing a roof, changing your windows, upgrading your kitchen and bathroom or maybe it is time to convert that shabby basement to an extended living space, you're fortunate to have a trusted contractor like New York Construction Company to deliver the excellence you deserve. Co-Founders of Click and Improve, Avi Zikry, and Alex Ushyarov as seen in The Daily News carry out the same philosophy of delivery in first class service.

“Reliability, is what we bring to homeowners” said Zikry, 28."Our customers are assigned a service team to heed to their call, made up of license sales representatives, a project manager/foreman, and crew, access to our system so that they can review the status of their work and timeline, send internal notes, and direct contact with our customer service desk during business hours".

In an industry where customers are sometimes left in the dark, not knowing what the next steps are, having an issue, but not getting their calls returned, paying for a service that was delivered at half stance, New York Construction Company focuses on quality work and prides itself in open communication at all times. "Homeowners want a contractor they can trust" said Ushyarov, 28."It is so easy to do the right thing, and it blows my mind when I read about what other contractors do to homeowners. It is a shame, because the bad  experience hurts all of us."

There is truth to Ushyarov's statement. An article was written almost a year ago highlighting the following:

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) yesterday announced that during a two-month period in which more than 380 inspections were conducted, one in five home improvement contractors were caught operating without a license.  According to the DCA, 755 inspections have been conducted throughout the City in the last year with nearly 400 violations issued, 134 vehicles seized and more than 60 licenses revoked or suspended.  The majority of the nearly 600 complaints received by DCA about home improvement contractors in the past year involved contractors failing to follow through on the terms of their contracts with homeowners.  Home improvement contractors are consistently one of DCA's highest complaint categories. "I am sure this number has grown since then" said Zikry. "This is very alarming, but there are a number of us that have the customer's best interest at heart, and this is what will keep you in business."

New York Construction Company has just launched its re-designed website, indicative of a positive direction. They have also started to become a little more engaging on the social media front and can now be found on Twitter and on Facebook. So, if you are in need of any assistance, give them a call and see for yourself. I highly doubt you will be disappointed. They did create Click and Improve with a customer first approach and as the saying goes...it starts from the top.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Four Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes

Make The Right Choices

As you take inventory of your dated medicine cabinet, unattractive shower doors or cracked tiles, it may be true that you are due for a change. Before making any decisions, be mindful on the bigger picture. In any home remodel, you have to be clear on the result that you are looking for. What objectives do you have? Determine your lifestyle routine before you choose any kind of layout and design. The reason why you should take this into consideration prior to making a decision is because your choices will determine the types of materials, fixtures and style you will need. Without being careful, this can be costly. Through your thought process, you will identify what works, and does not. (Marble flooring, whether big or small for example, is amazing but may not be ideal for a family with toddlers.)

Style vs Practical

Since the average bathroom renovation should last 12-15 years, you want a look and feel that will last with it. One regret you do not want to have is the feeling of dated vs new all over again because of the extreme choice you made in perhaps following the latest trend from one of your favorite magazines. Be aware of the must have trendy colors and shape in tiles or over-customization. Too unique, too different can go out faster than it was installed. Having a 40 inch built in flat screen TV in the bathroom may work for you, but may be an eye sore for the next owner. A triangular shaped clear glass basin may look great in an urban apartment, but may not be ideal for your small cape in the suburbs.

Not Hiring A Pro
Swear by DIY and thinking it is the most cost effective direction? Buyer beware! Bathroom renovations require expertise. Changing a p-trap can be easy, but running in-wall plumbing is not. Converting a dated tub to spa like “shower only” enclosure with frosted wall to wall glass doors can be a daunting task. Doing anything your self can cost you double if something goes wrong. Know your limits. Hire a licensed professional who is skilled in exactly what you want done, understands what you are looking to achieve, and is highly sensitive to your budget limitations. Don’t allow the big-box super retail outlets to be the end all in your purchasing power and guidance seeking. You do not always get the experience you are looking for in aisle 13. Do your homework.

Giving The Contractor The Keys To Car
The pros may be reliable, resourceful and easy to dump all the decision making on, but this is your house, your apartment. Just because, you are dealing with a licensed professional, it does not mean that you sign your deed off to him. Only you know what you like and what you can afford. Read the fine print. The homeowner knows their lifestyle, so it is very important to be involved in every aspect of any renovation. How you want to live, is just as important. Be sure the result is yours and at a cost only you are comfortable with. If you are advised to go with a certain brand name, ask why. Have to move your plumbing? Be comfortable with the responses enough that you can explain the “whys” to someone else with confidence. I am not dictating to micro manage a flow, just understand it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Brooklyn Mom Gets Her Dream Kitchen

It is always an experience when you sit with a customer who wishes to renovate their home. Ms. Ramirez has lived in her house for over 30 years. For her, just being able to own a home was a dream come true. Ms. Ramirez recalls when she closed on her house in 1983 and paying shy under $20,000.00 for it. The house needed some work back then, the typical stuff like new windows, doors, painting both interior and exterior, a new bathroom, kitchen and basement.

Ms. Ramirez knew that Rome was not built in a day and that eventually she would manage to get things done over time. A lot of work was done by family and friends over the years "because that is what you do when money was tight", she says. Being a mother of 5 and making sure that each of them graduated from college was her 2nd dream come true. Her 3rd dream was to have a dream kitchen. Over the years she did some renovation work to her kitchen, but swore when she retired that she would treat herself at no expense to what she wanted and wanted to design it her way.

She was very much a foreman on her own job. Most customers usually wait and see, allowing the experts to do their thing. Ms. Ramirez wanted to be part of the experience, she even was prepared with her own ideas from her lap top.
Had her own samples.

Down to the backsplash.
We often joked asking her "what would you like us to do today?" Once she selected the design it was time.

She was not around for this (opposite side of kitchen).

She got her dream (old door to be replaced with a new one, still on back-order):

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dust Mites, Not To Be Ignored

Believe it or not, dust mites are everywhere. We hear about them, get disgusted by them, and swear they have not made a home in ours. The question is, have they? So, what are these nasty crawlers?  They are microscopic, eight-legged, non-parasitic insect/creatures. Are you ready to get grossed out? Dust mites feed on human skin, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, fungi, to name a few. They thrive in high humidity (70 % and over). Have a tremendously dusty section in the house? Like under the sofa or bed? Have pets? They live mostly on dead human and pet skin. Beware…. 

The growing concern about dust mites is the allergic reaction many have to them, and do not even know it. General symptoms people on average have are allergies, not limited to respiratory issues (asthma), sneezing, itchy eyes, and eczema all associated with dust mites. Are you ready to get grossed out, again? The allergen associated with dust mites are their feces and surrounding body, which make up dust among other things, and because they are microscopic they become airborne almost immediately after the dust has been moved around during activities, like cleaning.

We shed about 1/5 ounce of dead skin each week. Did you know that?  An average man or woman sheds about 600,000 particles of skin per hour, which is approximately 1.5 pounds (680 grams) per year. Using this figure, by the age of 70, a person will have lost 105 pounds (47.6 kilograms) of skin which is equivalent to two-thirds of their entire body weight, and because we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, dust mites are found on bedding and your mattress. Grossed out even more?

Things to do about it:

  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum your carpets, even hardwood floors to get rid of dust mites. Consider vacuums with HEPA filters, they remove 99% of particles in the air.

  • Have a cluttered house? An over cluttered space will increase in the collection of dust, which increase your chances with dust mites. Do the one year test. Have not used it, looked at it, toss.
  • Use a wet microfiber cloth when cleaning surfaces. Microfiber cloths rule in dust pick up, and when wet prevent circulation when dust is disrupted.
  • Wash your bedding on the regular. Remember we shed dead skin while we sleep. These crawlers find solace on pillowcases, bed sheets, blankets, and your favorite down comforters. The rule, wash in hot water and dry it the same. High intensity heat if done weekly will remove dust mites.

  • Steam clean your mattress as often as possible. Dust mites do not stand a chance in surviving.
  • Lower the humidity to 50. Studies have shown that air-conditioned homes have 10 times fewer dust mites.
  •  Looking for a new living room set? You may want to reconsider overstuffed furniture. Sure, they are undoubtedly stunning and comfortable. Give it a few weeks in the house or apartment and do the old fashion slam with the hand on one of the cushions. Need I say more?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Before and After....You Decide

As contractors, we really take pride in what we do. You walk into a house and you see the endless possibilities and nothing speaks louder than before and after. It comes down to pride and trust. Pride in the craft that the contractor is expected to deliver and trust from the customer in believing it can be done.

Taking this bathroom above as an example. The homeowner wasn't sure what to expect, even after showing the various tiles, fixtures and drawings. It is hard to get a visual, because we get so use to our own space. Needless to say she was very pleased with the result.


After (work in progress)....but you see the after is coming along.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bathroom Makeovers Can Be For Anyone

Hate your bathroom tub and surrounding tiles? How often do you dream of having the look and feel of a fully renovated bathroom? You are not alone. Bathrooms fall second on the wish list after kitchens in any home improvement project and if you have a 2nd bathroom it falls even lower on the list. With the uncertainty of the current economy, any remodeling is a luxury for many folks. Renovations in any capacity can be costly and you have to be financially prepared to take on the project.

According to National Kitchen and Bathroom Association the national average is $16,000.00 for a standard mid-size bathroom renovation. If you just laughed out loud, you have options. You do not have to invest a fortune. There are ways to minimize and cut costs in bathroom remodeling project by gathering estimates from various remodeling companies. The normal is at least 3, but you can add to that number for good measure. If you are a DIY kind of person, there are installations, such as plumbing fixtures and toilets that can skim a few hundred off the total cost.

The Consumers Report breaks down the following in the allocation of cost by percentages in remodeling a bathroom (see where you can save):

Labor: 20 percent
Cabinetry and hardware: 16 percent
Fixtures: 15 percent
Faucets and plumbing: 14 percent
Countertop: 7 percent
Floor: 9 percent
Doors and windows: 4 percent
Walls and ceiling: 5 percent
Lighting and ventilation: 5 percent
Design fees: 4 percent
Other: 1 percent

You can also slice the cost in half by reglazing your bathroom tub and tiles. Reglazing is not for everyone, but if money “is an object” you can have the same effect for a lot less. So why would you consider this route? Well for starters:

1. Bathtub, tiles, surrounding walls do not have to be removed.
2. Your flooring and plumbing are not impacted.
3. Reglazing can be an alternative to bathtub replacement. Reglazing is done on the spot, saving you time and mess.
4. The transformation is immediate; converting a dated bathtub to newly finished one that is easy to clean.
5. Immediate use typically after 24 hours.
6. Cost is 75% less.

There are many ways to spruce on a dime. We can all have the same result by taking a different approach. Less can be best too.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Mamas Expo Cleans House

So, the alarm clock rings for the 3rd time and your husband is still in bed sleeping or at least pretending to be. It is 5:30 in the morning and you are wishing it was Saturday. Unfortunately, it is not. The dog is by your side waiting patiently for you to get up, and out of bed because he knows mommy is the only one that will let him out. You by-pass the bathroom mirror without looking at it knowing quite well the face you have on.
With one eye open, you stare down at your sink, and wonder for a second were the ring around the basin came from.

As you make your way down the hallway, you are stepping over crumbs on the rug, moving clothes and toys to the side while taking slow sleepy steps down the stairs. The banister is sticky from God only knows what, but it does not matter. It does not matter because you know what you are about to walk into. You turn on the kitchen light, only wishing to turn it off because it looks like a diner after a stampede of teens on spring break (yours). The sink is piled again, and there are left over snacks on the counter, stool, and kitchen table. There is spilled orange juice in the fridge and floor (now you know where the stickiness on the banister came from).

As you sit quietly; trying desperately to have a moment with your coffee, you hear the kids waking up and moving upstairs. It is only Tuesday. So when this mother received an email to test our cleaning service, there was no thinking about it.

Though this story is not exactly one of Leni Calas's, Founder of The Mamas Expo. It is a story of many mothers that make it happen daily. They carry the world on their shoulders and somehow make it work, make it look easy, even when it is not. Leni is the creator of Queens Mamas, which is a website that brings local brands and families together, as well as posting news and local events for her readers. The site is a terrific resource for parents wanting to also connect with other parents. This effort spun off a demand for the same in Brooklyn, Long Island and she is gaining momentum, moving full speed ahead. On May 5th Leni Calas will be presenting her fourth expo at New York Hall of Science bringing brands and families together in person.

We have been fortunate to have participated in them, and we have to say they have been a blast. To see the work that is managed daily on a website come to life for one day is an incredible experience. We were grateful that The Mamas Expo granted us an opportunity to participate almost 2 years ago. Leni Calas knows all to well what it takes to for start-up companies to gain footing and with her team embraced Click and Improve. At the time, it was our first expo, and we did not know what to expect. To be side by side with brand names in an open forum was inconceivable for us being a start-up company, a true newbie. The team at The Mamas Expo made it look easy. They sat, coached, read us the rules and sent us on our way. What a reflection in great parenting, even for companies. This event is indicative of a positive movement, backed by empowered mothers with a strong voice and purpose. There is no question who Mama is!

When: Sunday May 5th2013 from 10 am – 5 pm

Where: New York Hall of Science -  47-01 111th Street Queens, NY 11368

Ticket Price: To Save on Tickets - Purchase your tickets in advance before May 4, 20123 online at www.themamasexpo.com to save a minimum of 15% off the Mamas Expo Access Ticket. Ticket includes all-day admission to New York Hall of Science, access to the Mama’s Expo and events, access to New York’s largest Science Playground, plus one round of Rocket Park Mini Golf.

Mama’s Expo Advance Access Ticket:
$17 Adult (18+)
$13 Child (2-17), Student (w/ID), Senior (62+)/ Under 2 Free
(15% off Adult regular price / 19% off Child Regular Price)

Tickets will be available for purchase at the door for full price.
Includes General Admission for one, Access to the Mama’s Expo, 1 ticket to Science Playground and 1 any-time voucher for Mini-Golf (valid for 1 round of Rocket Park Mini-Golf. Expires June 5, 2013)

A limited number of Mama’s Expo VIP Tickets are available for online advance purchase only. VIP tickets are $30 per person* and include all components of the Advance Access Ticket PLUS an exclusive Gift Bag including sample products and savings. To purchase VIP tickets, please visit www.themamasexpo.com

*Pay one price for adults, children, students, seniors.
Mama’s Expo VIP Ticket, $40. Includes all Advance Access Ticket components PLUS exclusive Gift Bag. Must be purchased in advance to guarantee your gift bag.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Slow Drain....Plumber Maybe or Not

Do you have a slow drain issue in your bathroom or kitchen sink? Even after using the handy plunger? If you are like most, we hope that time will remedy the problem and miraculously drain away. Unfortunately, this problem left unattended can create a bigger issue over time and become an expensive job to repair. Before you reach the phone to call the super, plumber, take a run to the local store for Drano or some other toxic substance; try an environmentally friendly route first. You may already have what you need in your cabinet to combat this small problem. All you need is washcloth/rag, water, vinegar and baking soda. Are you ready for battle? You just might win this one if you caught the slow drain issue on time. So this is what you need to do:

STEP 1.Take a box of baking soda and pour ½ of it down the drain. Make sure not to combine this with any other chemical. You also want to do this dry. Do not water down the sink. Apply it as is down the drain in its powder form.

STEP 2. Next you want to take a ½ cup of vinegar and pour right after the baking soda. Be sure to have the washcloth or rag immediately ready to plug the hole in the sink. This needs to be done because the combination of the 2 substances will immediately cause an over flow of fizz, a chemical reaction similar to the eruption of a can of soda being opened after shaking it. You want the fizz to remain in the drain, not out.

STEP 3.Wait 30 minutes and boil some water, at least a ½ gallon.

STEP 4.Unplug the hole and slowly pour the boiling water down the drain. This method has been proven to be effective in pushing everything through the plumbing system. Letting the mixture sit longer will not remedy the problem any better. Vinegar is an ethanoic acid, and the baking soda acts as a base (sodium bicarbonate). When these two are combined, they will cause a fizzing reaction while forming carbon dioxide and a solution of the salt, sodium acetate.

Sometimes doing this experiment twice can be just as effective for good measure, but if it does not work and you still encounter a slow drain, make that call. Unless you are a true DIY kind of person, some repairs should be left to the experts. Be mindful of your limitations. Not doing it right the first time can be another expense you do not want to incur.