A Heated Tile Floor Makes A Home More Comfortable In The Winter

Types of Tile Materials You Should Know

Tile is one of the most favorite design materials for both kitchen renovation and bathroom renovation. It has been used since Roman times, and even though excellent man-made materials have become popular in recent years, tile is still valued for its beauty and cost-saving potential. All tile can be classed into four main types: ceramic/porcelain, glass, quarry, and stone.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile: Workhorses of the Tile World

Best for low-cost surfacing with an almost infinite choice of styles, when we talk about tile being cost-effective, we are talking about ceramic tile. While not all ceramic tile is cheap, it is possible to find bargain ceramic tile which still can add to the beauty of your home. Ceramic tile starts with clay—shale, gypsum, and sand—and is worked into a material called bisque. The bisque is shaped into tiles and is fired in a kiln up to 2500 F. The higher the temperature, the stronger the tile will be. By its very nature, ceramic tile is porous. So a glaze must be applied to the tile and then the tile is fired again to harden the glaze. Sometimes, the glaze is applied before the bisque is fired for the first time.

Glass Tile: Bright, Shiny, Beautiful

Best for creating showy, flashy, fun vertical surfaces, glass mosaic, often associated with design trends of the early 2000s, still holds firm as the tile of choice for limited vertical surfaces that get lots of attention. It is commonly used for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. Because it cracks under pressure, glass mosaic is not appropriate for floors. Most mosaic glass comes attached to a web backing that allows you to install one square foot at a time. Glass tile has a sparkling, lustrous beauty that cannot be matched in other types of tile materials.

Quarry Tile: Tough and Traditional

Best for outdoor flooring and indoor floorings such as foyers and hallways, in the past, quarry tile came from quarries. Just like you see in old photographs of Vermont quarries, the tile was cut away, ground, and polished. But now manufacturers use the extrusion method for making a vitreous clay tile that is almost as hard as natural stone.

Quarry tile has a rough surface, which means that it is perfect for flooring because it provides a good grip. But it also means that quarry tile is not good for kitchen countertops because it is very porous. However, even though quarry tile can be sealed to make it less porous, it is still not appropriate for food preparation surfaces.

Stone: All-Natural Beauty

Best for kitchens and bathrooms. In recent years, granite has become the big winner in the kitchen design sweepstakes. It should be noted, though, that granite looks great but it does have its problems. Granite easily cracks, and like quarry tile it is porous, so it must be sealed and polished on a regular basis. Not only that, granite and marble are easily scratched and are not always resistant to high temperatures such as those from hot kitchen pots.

Still, the variegated coloring and texture of natural stone cannot be duplicated by ceramic tile. It is endlessly fascinating and provides unique design accents for your house. So, despite natural stone’s shortcomings, it still wins out from a design perspective. Natural stone can be inhospitable to bare feet when used in bathrooms. This is why installation of radiant heating mats under the stone is highly recommended for bathrooms.

How do you prepare a surface for tiling?

Once you have decided on your tiles, it is time to prepare your surfaces so they are ready for tiling. Having a clean, smooth surface is very important to give you the best start – but what does this involve.

  • Using a hammer and bolster or stripping knife, remove any current tiles or wallpaper from the surface.
  • Assess the condition of the wall; check that it is flat and that any holes or cracks are minor. If required, repair the holes and cracks with plaster.
  • For any exposed studwork or new boxing, apply appropriate cement backer boards to the surface with adhesive or screws as per the manufacturer’s instructions, This will help with waterproofing and make them level for tiling.
  • Most types of tile adhesive will require the surface to be sealed prior to applying adhesive. Check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

At this stage, seek out advice from professionals if required – ensuring this foundation work is correct will decide whether your tiling is a success.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are also made of clay with a smattering of sand and feldspar and baked in the kiln. But they are baked at higher temperatures, making them more dense and durable.

What you need to know about porcelain tiles

  • Scratch resistant
  • Stain resistant
  • Non-porous

Where can you use porcelain tiles

  • Flooring
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Wall cladding
  • Wall decor
  • In outdoor areas

What are the dos and don’ts of maintaining porcelain tiles

The cleaning and maintenance for ceramic and porcelain tiles are almost the same as they are made from similar materials. The only difference between these two types of tiles is that porcelain being the stronger version requires less maintenance than ceramic.

Why Use Porcelain Tiles?

Porcelain is a lot more dense than ceramic and has a much lower moisture content, making it perfect for both walls and floors thanks to its  extremely durable nature. A ceramic tile is pressed at 300kg/cm2, whereas a porcelain tile is pressed up to 500kg/cm2. By increasing the pressure during the pressing process, voids and cavities within the bisque are reduced which makes the tile less porous and suitable for external use.The low absorption rate also means that it’s ultra-hygienic and stain resistant too.

Porcelain tiles have a much longer average lifespan than ceramic tiles too – providing they’re kept under ‘normal’ conditions, they will last for hundreds of years (a general rule of thumb says 1mm of thickness = 100 years wear. By way of comparison, ceramic tiles will endure for around 3 – 20 years (dependant on ‘traffic’).

Whilst it’s not unusual to use ceramic tiles on floors, the durability and hardwearing qualities of porcelain tiles makes them a popular choice. Not only that, developments in tile printing technology has meant that there are now a huge variety of porcelain tiles available that faithfully replicate natural materials such as slate, marble, and timber, as well as man-made composites such as concrete and even ferrous metals, only minus any of the associated maintenance.

How To Care For Porcelain Tiles

Providing you have followed the installation advice applicable to the particular porcelain tiles you’ve purchased i.e. sealing if required, then the tiles should be extremely easy to care for once they’re installed. For porcelain tiles with gloss or satin finishes, simply wipe down with a damp cloth and warm water and dry or buff with a soft towel to keep them looking their shiny best.  For porcelain tiles with matt or riven finishes, use the same method but minus the buffing.

Combining Catering And Event Planner Services For Greater Success

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Professional Event Planner for Corporate Events

Who is a corporate event planner?

When the largest U.S. businesses plan to organize an event in New York, they usually call Ron Wendt, an event professional who knows exactly which tablecloths you have to rent for your corporate meeting. Business owners from London usually contact Lucy Francis or Chris Preston when they seek assistance building impactful corporate events. Who are these people? Corporate meeting planners. They are event experts who are not afraid of multi-tasking and who can take responsibility for corporate hospitality, entertainment activities, and incentive trip planning.

The key responsibilities of a corporate event planner

The mission of corporate event planners is building competitive events to match the feel and values of the host organization. When hiring a corporate event planner, check whether he/she is capable of handling the following processes:

  • Brainstorm event themes based on the client’s vision. If you contact a corporate event coordinator, the first thing he should offer is having a meeting with you where you discuss the event message, corporate values, and themes. A successful corporate event manager knows how to transform your ideas into a working event.
  • Make a cost estimate. The next step is contacting vendors, suppliers, and venue hosts. Based on the information gained, a corporate event planner makes a comprehensive cost estimate which must be aligned with the event budget.
  • Build a checklist. Well planned is half the battle. It’s a useful habit for a corporate event planner to build a checklist, featuring the core planning, administrative, and operational tasks, along with assigned responsibilities.
  • Choose a smart venue, food, & decor. In one of his interviews on party planning, Ron Wendt said if you can align the feel of an event with decor, you can make a flower tell the story of the whole event. Making clever decisions about small details like catering and venue navigation has a huge impact on attendance experiences.
  • Team bonding & entertainment. While team spirit is the lifeblood of corporate events, bonding activities are always part of the show. It’s the event planner’s responsibility to make them personalized.
  • Travel & accommodation planning. In the case of overseas trips, a corporate event planner should handle travel planning, accommodation booking, partnerships with local hosts & suppliers, and more.
  • Cooperate with tech vendors. No matter which country an event takes you to, a corporate event planner should find a reliable tech vendor to satisfy onsite management, RSVP processes, and tech-driven networking within a specific budget.

The pros and cons of hiring an event planner for corporate events

Whether you should drive your corporate success alone or entrust the event to an external party is a decision only you can make. Here are some pros and cons you should consider when hiring an event planner:

  • A smooth-running show. An experienced corporate event planner has tools and strategies to help build high-quality events. Since many companies simply don’t have the right expertise and sourcing contacts to power an efficient corporate event, having your meeting outsourced might be a good decision.
  • Technology expertise. The person who powers your event should be abreast of tech news to deliver the most up-to-date expertise. It’s very likely there might be no such savvy tech experts in your company.
  • Increased focus. If you assign the task of event organization to one of the existing employees, the latter might get serious task overdose. Outsourced event managers are able to give your project the attention it needs.
  • Extra costs. The cost of outsourced event planning services might be quite high, which is why many modern companies consider it cheaper to organize corporate events relying on internal resources.
  • Trust. If you hire corporate event planners, you should trust these people. Unless you choose a certified professional or someone who has been recommended by a friend, it might be a better choice to entrust the whole thing to your internal staff.

What are the drawbacks?

They are not cheap

Event planners are obviously an added expense, so it’s important to weigh up the cost of the planner versus the savings you’ll make both in regard to time and money.

They often take over

While this could be the best possible outcome for many, some, who may like to have a bit more control, may perceive this as a major drawback. If this is you, you’ll have to decide just how much control and see whether you can stand to relinquish the control you’d be handing over.

It’s the luck of the draw

Unless you hire the cream of the crop, it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not a planner is good at what they do. Even a gruelling interview process can result in hiring someone who is sloppy in their work or who has simply taken on too many jobs simultaneously.

They may not understand your vison

Good event planners will do their best to understand the tone and feel you want the event to have; bad ones may not. When you hire an event planner you have to be prepared to be really specific about what you want or live with the fact that things may not go perfectly according to what you want or expect.

Reasons to Hire a Professional Event Planner

Planning an event yourself may not seem all that difficult. In-house, DIY planning is often viewed as cheaper and simpler, and therefore better than hiring a professional. However, a large-scale event is made up of so many factors that are easily missed by someone lacking experience. At the end of the day, hiring a professional meeting planner is a better bet. Don’t believe us? Here are seven reasons why.

  • The Devil’s in the Details

Planning a large event successfully requires a thorough knowledge of all the details involved. If you lack experience it’s easy for little things to slip through the cracks. Take nametags, for example. A small detail, but incredibly important if you want your guests to be able to network and get to know each other.

  • Time Saved is Time Gained

One of the biggest downsides to DIY planning is the amount of time you lose. Organizing an event takes a great deal of time and effort. What’s more, if you’re not a professional planner it will likely take you much longer to accomplish every part of preparation. Hiring a planner will free you to spend your time on other projects.

  • Connection

One of the biggest reasons to hire an event planner is that their connections become yours. Planners cultivate relationships with hotels, airlines, caterers, and vendors—relationships that will work in your favor. If you’re doing things on your own, planning an event for the first time, you’ll be starting with no connections. The network provided by established planners could get you discounts, access to hard-to-get conference speakers, and other perks.

  • Reduced Stress

Accomplishing a difficult task is all the more stressful if it’s something you’ve never done before. Event planning, with all its intricate details, is undoubtedly stressful. It isn’t just the preparation stage that can cause anxiety, however—while the event is going on you can be worrying about things that might go wrong. A professional planner, however, is used to the innerworkings of event planning and will be much more adept at managing things. Hiring a planner will allow you to sit back and enjoy the event without being in the thick of stressful planning and execution.

You’re Going To Save Money

Once you communicate your budget, event planners design the event around your goals and investment. Experienced planners will utilize their extensive network to save you money. Furthermore, event professionals stay up to date on industry trends and are capable of providing insight on what’s best for your special event while keeping budget and preference in mind.

Your Event Is Going To Be Beautiful

Event planners know that if an event looks and feels great, it will be a success. There are many details that an event host may never think of. Things like, if you angle your audience chairs a certain way, it makes them feel more involved and engaged. You may want something a bit more unique for your event and that is where an event planner will shine. Professional planners and event companies can help with certain themes or offer their ideas and show you their previous work so you can visualize it in advance.

You Have No Idea Where To Start

You may have been asked to make an event happen and you’ve never planned an event before and have no idea where to start. You lack relationships with vendors and industry know-how. Events have many moving pieces and variables. Your event planner brings everything together for you and becomes a key asset to your family, brand, or organization.

Going The Distance In A Long Distance Moving

MOVING CHECKLISTS

It’s time to start packing for your long distance move, but before you start wrapping and boxing your belongings, make sure you understand what items are allowed or restricted. Moving companies

that are experts in ensuring a professional move experience for its clients, can provide you with an important checklist of items they will not move. Many of these restricted items are likely to be found in your garage or with your household cleaning supplies. Other items could be around your house in bathrooms and storage rooms. Items such as gasoline and ammunition may seem obvious, but others are not so apparent, such as nail polish remover and indoor plants. Many people are surprised to find out that a smart move experience should begin before the packing phase — and oftentimes, that’s with you — the customer.

Moving Chemicals

will not transport hazardous items, including explosives, flammable gases and toxic substances, or other items on United’s Non-allowable List. Keep in mind that these hazardous items must be disposed of properly to comply with federal, state and local laws and to protect the environment

Contact your city or county for where to dispose of these items:

Aerosol cans

Ammonia

Ammunition

Car batteries

Charcoal and lighter fluid

Charged scuba tanks

Chemistry sets

Cleaning solvents

Darkroom chemicals

Fertilizer

Fire extinguishers

Fireworks

Fuels/oils

Household batteries

Kerosene

Liquid bleach

Loaded guns

Matches

Nail polish and remover

Paint thinners

Paints/varnishes

Pesticides

Poisons

Pool chemicals

Propane tanks

Sterno fuel

Weed killer

LONG DISTANCE MOVES

We know long distance moves are a marathon, so we want to do everything we can to make the move easier on you. From planning your move to safely packing your belongings and delivering your possessions

YOUR LONG-DISTANCE MOVE – STEP BY STEP

STEP 1:

Your long-distance move starts when our professionals arrive at your home. Our team helps you pack and code every box so that it goes exactly where it needs to in your new location.

STEP 2:

Take all the time you need to pack! If you have specific instructions, we’re all ears. We can even help you create a tag list with photos to ensure the accuracy, condition, and quantity of any items.

STEP 3:

Next, your items are safely loaded on the truck. If you’re still waiting for possession of your new home or waiting for some repairs to be completed, we can keep your items safe in our storage facilities.

STEP 4:

Your items are carefully unloaded and taken to the correct room or location in your new home. All of your belongings will arrive in the exact same condition as when they left.  

STEP 5:

You’ll receive an automated survey that allows you to evaluate every aspect of the move. Your honest feedback helps us to improve our processes!

Whether you’re moving to a new neighbourhood, new city, or new province, change can be overwhelming. Moving is not just about getting your furniture from point A to point B. It’s about moving your memories and most precious belongings safely.

have more than 25 offices across the country to get you and your belongings to where you need to go. Our professional and reliable team and our comprehensive packing, moving, and storage services are here to help make your long-distance move as easy as possible.

Room by Room Packing Guide

has taken the difficulty of packing and simplified the process. Our room by room packing guide gives you specific packing tips and instructions on how to expedite the packing of each room. Quality packing is essential for a successful long distance move. With our packing guide, your packing will be as though it was done by experts – even if it you do it yourself.

Whether you choose to pack yourself, have a professional moving company do it or pack part of your residence, learning the best way to pack each room is knowledge that’s good to have. You never know when you may need to pack, and our packing guide is your resource for whenever that time comes. In addition, Allied provides you with a packing calculator to help you estimate the supplies you’ll need to pack up your home.

Guide to Packing for Every Room

We break our packing guide down room by room to best explain how all the typical components of that room should be packed. We divide a home by kitchen/laundry room, dining room, living/family/great room, office/den, bedroom/bathroom and garage/storage/hobby room. You can use our information for however few or many of these rooms you have.

Each room has different requirements in terms of packing. The kitchen may require dishpack and careful packing of china and glassware. The living room/family room may require the stretch wrapping of furniture and packing of fragile electronics and breakables. The bedrooms may require packing of larger, lighter items such as pillows, bedspreads and clothing. As each room has different packing needs, our packing guide takes these into consideration to develop the best plan of action.

We developed this packing guide to help you pack up your belongings properly. Instead of haphazardly throwing things into boxes, take the time to look at the packing guide and get organized. The most successful cross country moves are those that are organized, and organization starts with packing.

Moving is hard enough. Finding movers should be easy.

Whether your relocation is nearby or across the country, our movers will go the distance to make your move a success. We only work with movers that are licensed for state-wide and nationwide transport, so you’re always in good hands.

Moving out of state is no easy feat. Whether you’re moving for a new job, to be closer to family, to live in a warmer climate, or for a different reason, the stress of relocation can take its toll. During this time of transition, the greatest help comes from hiring a long distance moving company you can trust to handle your move. Since the interstate moving process is a bit more complicated than a simple move down the street, we’ve taken the time to compile all the information you should know before hiring movers. Yes, it’s lengthy, but we’ve tried to think of every detail you might need to know about the long-distance moving process. Prepared with facts, you’ll be better equipped to embark on your long distance moving experience.

Long Distance Moving Options

helps you find long distance movers who offer a comprehensive list of moving services. Choose the ones you need to create a customized relocation experience

Packing/Unpacking Services

If the thought of having to organize everything you own into boxes makes you want to pull your hair out, then let the movers do it. Full-service moving companies offer packing and unpacking services to make your transition smoother. A few days before the scheduled move date, they’ll show up with premium boxes and supplies, then go through each room wrapping breakables and packing your items. They’ll seal each box, then stick a label on it, so they’ll know right where it goes when it reaches your new home. At your moving destination, the movers work swiftly to unload the truck, then unbox your belongings and haul off the trash, so you’re settled in almost immediately.

Furniture Moving

From couches to armoires to dining room tables, long distance movers make hauling your furniture across the country much easier. Perfect for those who don’t know a nut from a bolt, most moving companies are happy to help with basic furniture disassembly and reassembly (i.e. bedframes, bookshelves, etc.). Your moving crew will take apart items as needed, then carefully wrap each piece in padded moving blankets to prevent damage during transit. Furniture is loaded onto the moving truck and secured with ratchet straps to keep it from shifting or falling over. At your new home, movers make quick work of unloading furniture, reassembling as needed, and positioning your things just where you want them.

Small Moves

A small move could mean you’re moving the contents of a studio apartment, a handful of appliances or a specialty item like a pool table or piano. If you fear your small load isn’t worth the hassle of hiring movers, think again! Most nationwide moving companies allow customers with smaller loads to “piggyback” their load onto an existing shipment. Once they’ve loaded part of the truck with another customer’s items, they’ll swing by your place and pick up your shipment to fill up the empty space. This makes logistics more efficient for the moving company and the move cheaper for you

A Quick Guide On Long Distance Movers: How To Choose One That Works For You

Regardless of whether or not you have a business or a home, moving around from region to region can be a bit of a drag especially if you have a lot of things to bring with you. In the case of the above, moving things like fragile machines and furniture that have to be brought to a new location isn’t exactly possible with conventional vehicles. Unfortunately, not a lot of vehicles offer the kind of size some objects such as sensitive computers and hardware need for proper transfer. This is where long distance movers come in, as their service can be particularly handy for those in need of a proper transportation system to move their materials from one place to the next.

Remember however that not all long distance movers are appropriate for every kind of situation, which is what this article will show you. The details as you may read below may not be something that can be used in your situation now, but these tips can be used as reference when you’re looking for long distance companies. There are a lot of factors to consider, some of which might require extensive research on your part, but this quick guide will help you speed up the process.

What Are Your Needs?

Perhaps the most important part of choosing the right kind of long distance moving company is for you to choose something appropriate for your needs. Whether it’s moving your household, your small business, or a big company into other parts of the country, it’s important to get to know your needs in particular first before pursuing any venture with a long distance mover.

Getting to know the nature of the things you’re moving and where you want to move them are extremely important. Get to know your location and the location of the place you’re moving to, and try to find long distance movers that are operating along the areas specified. This will at least give you a shortlist of people to call to ask questions, which can come in handy later.

Get to know the kind of things you plan on moving, whether or not it’s for your household or business. If it’s possible to list the things you have, then do so for the sake of convenience. Things such as basic descriptions, dimensions, weight, and even quantity can at least give you and the moving company a quick reference as to the kind of things you want moved for quicker assessment. This may also take the moving company less time to give you a quotation if you already have a list for them.

Who Are They?

Whether or not you already have a list of moving companies in mind, it’s important to know who exactly these companies are and what services they offer. An entire section below is dedicated for the latter, because there are equally just as many pressing questions for the former. If you can shortlist moving companies of your preference within your areas of interest

Few Steps For Deciding Which DUI Lawyer You Want To Hire

Interview Questions to Ask a DUI Attorney

After being charged with drunk driving, your first step should be to contact an attorney experienced in DUI and DWI defenses. The outcome of your case is partly determined by the legal representation you hire. In this blog post, we will go over questions you should ask a drunk driving attorney during your initial meeting.

How long have you been practicing criminal law?

The last thing you want is some attorney fresh out of law school representing your case. While everyone has to start somewhere, you don’t need a rookie using your case as a “learning experience”. Hire an attorney that has spent many years practicing law in your state and city.

For example, Attorney Jerry Beurkens has been practicing in Grand Rapids for over 30 years. A DUI attorney who has practiced in your area will know enough about local prosecutors and judges to tweak their tactics and arguments accordingly.

Do you take other types of cases?

Have you ever heard the expression, “jack of all trades, and master of none”? There will always be plenty of attorneys who’ll be more than happy to take your money, but aren’t able to offer the expertise of a DUI attorney.

You want an attorney who has dedicated their career to helping people in your exact same situation. During your interview with a DUI lawyer, be sure to ask them if they take on other types of cases besides driving under the influence. If it seems they offer legal representation for everything under the sun, keep looking.

What percentage of your caseload is devoted to DUI or DWI charges?

Asking this question will give you a good sense of how much experience they have managing cases like yours. While law firms like to offer a huge laundry list of services, they usually have one or two types of cases that they represent the most.

How often do you take your DUI or DWI cases to trial?

The legal consequences of drunk driving are severe. Not only do you face jail time for DUI, but you could also have your driver’s license suspended. The harsh consequences make it even more important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your case.

If your attorney has a reputation for fighting DUI charges and taking cases to trial, there’s a good chance the prosecutors will reduce the charges. If your case does go to trial, your attorney will do their best to create reasonable doubt surrounding breathalyzer results and the police officer’s testimony. Avoid lawyers who don’t put in the full effort to beat a DUI.

How can I contact you?

The success of your case will partly rest on being able to communicate effectively with your lawyer. Before hiring a DUI attorney, make sure you ask them the best way to reach them. Some attorneys prefer email, while others prefer phone calls. Setting up expectations for communication will help make the process go smoothly.

Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer

If you are facing DUI charges, it is important to hire a DUI lawyer to help you with each stage of the case. Before hiring a DUI lawyer, prepare a list of questions. Some questions to consider adding to your list include:

What Are Your Primary Practice Areas?

One of the first questions you should ask any lawyer you are considering hiring as your criminal defense lawyer is what areas of law they focus on.

Some lawyers may offer services as a DUI lawyer but may spend most of their time on family law cases or contract issues.

Many individuals prefer to hire a lawyer whose primary focus is on DUI law. This will ensure that he or she is up-to-date on the latest legal issues and strategies in DUI defense cases. He or she will likely have greater credibility with local prosecutors due to this focus and recognition in this aspect of the legal community.

What Experience Do You Have Handling DUI Charges?

It is also important for you to have an understanding of the individual experience your DUI lawyer has in this area of the law.

Ask any prospective lawyer you are considering hiring about their DUI case track record. Find out about the total number of DUI cases the lawyer has handled and about the outcome of these cases. Ask how many cases they have taken to trial and won. Also, inquire about the percentage of charges that were dismissed and those that resulted in a favorable plea bargain that resulted in a lighter charge or sentence.

At some larger firms, the lawyer you meet at your initial consultation may not actually be the lawyer who primarily works on your case. Ask whether or not the person you are interviewing will be the primary attorney assigned to the case. If less experienced attorneys will be working on your case, you may not get the benefit of the experience of someone who focuses on DUI law.

Are You Qualified to teach Police Officers How to Conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

Most defendants were subjected to roadside sobriety testing by their arresting officer. Very few attorneys claiming to defend DUIs have actually gone through the rigorous training to be certified in administering these tests. Not only have I completed this training and am certified to administer these tests, I am also certified as an instructor in the NHTSA curriculum and am qualified to teach police officers how to conduct these roadside tests. I use this training to cross-examine officers, to suppress evidence and to counter allegations that you were “affected by” alcohol or drugs.

Questions on Legal Fees & Rates:

  • Is the first consultation really free?
  • What and how do you charge after that? Hourly? Flat rate fee? How much?
  • Are there extra fees, like for expert witnesses or blood sample re-testing?
  • Will I get one big bill, or separate bills along the way?
  • What form of payment do you accept?

Questions on Possible Outcomes to Your Legal Case:

  • Can you get my charges reduced? Beware a DUI lawyer who guarantees this. Every case is different, and there are no guaranteed outcomes.
  • Is a plea agreement a possibility?
  • Are there any motions you can make, like a motion to suppress evidence?
  • Is there anything that goes in my favor on my DUI case? What factors go against me?
  • Should we take a plea or go to trial?

”What challenges do you see in my case?”

The lawyer should be able to explain to you what he or she sees as the challenges you face and what they could mean for the ultimate result.

“How will you keep me informed about my case?”

You must feel comfortable with the attorney’s commitment to communicate with you. You should know if you would really be kept informed of developments in your case.

“What will be the final outcome of my case?”

A good attorney will not promise you a specific result, because it is always impossible to be certain how a case will turn out. Any other answer is dishonest and unethical. A good attorney can only promise to do his or her best job in defending you.

Posted inLegal

Outdoor Electrical Lighting Reduce Energy Consumption For Your City

A DIY Guide to Installing Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Outdoor landscape lighting is a great way to add instant curb appeal to your home. A few well-placed lights can transform your once dark backyard into an inviting outdoor entertainment area. It can accent yard and garden features, and provide safety lighting around paths, stairs and seating areas. Low voltage lighting, especially LED, is safe and relatively easy to install.

Gather required materials and tools

Materials:

#10 gauge outdoor wire

#12 gauge outdoor wire

1-1/2 in. x 12-in. PVC pipe

1-1/2-in. PVC cap with ½-in. female thread

½-in. copper pipe

For each ground light: 1-1/2-in. PVC coupler with ½-in. tee for wire opening

Lights

One box of weatherproof wire connectors

Transformer

Two ½-in. sweat-to thread copper adapters

Tools:

Extension ladder

Garden rake

Level

Posthole digger

Safety glasses

Voltage tester

Wire stripper/cutter

Wrench setvolt me

Volt meter

A garden spade

Aluminum tent stakes.

Design it first, then buy it:

A successful low voltage outdoor lighting plan requires selecting the right fixtures, then placing and wiring them correctly. Use waterproof pond lights for illuminating pools, fountains and other water features; offset path lights for lighting walkways; cone lights for highlighting both walkways and the surrounding plants; tree-mounted spotlights for simulating moonlight; and flood lights for illuminating trees, buildings and other large elements.

Walk into any home or garden center and you’ll most certainly see a wide array of outdoor low voltage lighting to consider. You can buy individual lights or prepackaged sets, plastic or metal varieties, and moon lights that shine down from trees or up from ponds. You can choose from halogen or LED lighting, LED bulbs are a little more expensive up front, but last much longer than halogen bulbs. LED lighting also does not generate heat like halogen, which reduces the fire risk in dry conditions.

As you design and shop for your lights, keep in mind:

Buy a larger transformer than you’ll initially need so you can add lights later as your landscape ideas expand.

Avoid over lighting. Outdoor lights look best when used as tasteful accents, not a mini football stadium. If you flood sitting areas with bright light it will be distracting and unappealing.

When lighting a path, decide whether you want to light only the path or both the path and the features around it. As a rule, the broader the field you want to light, the higher the light pole you’ll need.

Install lights where they won’t be easily damaged by plows or shovels. Remember, too, that the plants you illuminate will go through seasonal changes. Not all plants must be evergreens, some plants such as hydrangea, dogwoods and sumac are intriguing lit up even when leafless. 

Outdoor Lights Buying Guide

Deck & Patio Lights

Illuminate your backyard with patio and decking lights. These lights include decorative lanterns, solar powered post lights, deck step lights, and more.

String Lights

Perfect for any backyard party, string lights will give your backyard an elegant ambiance. They are available in many shapes including Edison bulbs, globes, and more.

Security & Flood Lights

Keep your home safe with security lights. Usually plugged into a timer or motion sensor, installing security or flood lights to the front of your home can help ward off any unwanted visitors.

Landscape Lighting

Brighten up your gorgeous landscape with lighting! Landscape lighting will add shape to your pathways and will allow your garden to shine.

Outdoor Flush Mount Lights

Flush mount lights are the perfect way to welcome your guests. Installed to the ceiling of your front porch, these lights are available in a variety of colours, materials, and styles.

Outdoor Wall Lights

Outdoor wall lighting is a standard option on front porches or on either side of the garage. You can get them in many styles including a retro-style lantern, or a modern sleek LED fixture.

What are UL Ratings?

The UL mark on a light fixture indicates its rating based on dry, damp, and wet locations.

UL Listed for Damp Locations: Marked as “suitable for damp locations,” these light fixtures can be installed in outdoor locations that are periodically subject to condensation or moisture, such as a covered porch or patio.

UL Listed for Wet Locations: Light fixtures marked with “suitable for wet locations” are safe to use in areas where the electrical components of the fixture may encounter water or other liquids. Ideal outdoor locations for these lights include pergolas, gazebos, exterior walls, uncovered porches and patios, decks, and walkways.

Outdoor lighting buying guide

The best lights for patios & backyards

There’s nothing like the warm, inviting ambiance of a well-lit outdoor area. Lighting is that special design component that truly adds a magical touch to your outdoor space. Best of all, these fixtures allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space longer, illuminating your backyard as the sun sets. To help you pick the right combination of outdoor lighting for your home, we’ve put together this quick outdoor lighting guide

Function

First and foremost, outdoor lighting should be a functional way to make your outdoor space safe and livable. For example, a winding path should include some path lights (or landscape lights) and an outdoor staircase should be well lit as well.

Highlights

Outdoor lighting can also be used to highlight standout features in your backyard or garden. For example, your favorite tree can be brought to life with low, upward facing lighting or a fountain can be illuminated for a show-stopping effect.

Atmosphere

Lastly, (but certainly not least), outdoor lighting is amazing for creating atmosphere. Whether you’re hosting an outdoor dinner party or simply enjoying long summer nights, outdoor light fixtures can add a soft glow, magical twinkle or bright light for the setting.

String Lights

String lights are the “jack-of-all-trades” of lights. These small (but mighty) beacons can be used practically anywhere. They can be strung around banisters and columns for a bold statement. They can create a star-inspired atmosphere when strung overhead. Or they can define a border by being hung around an entryway or door. Basically, you can’t go wrong with string lights. With various bulb sizes—smaller for a more twinkle-like effect and larger for more direct lighting—you can add that sparkle to any outdoor space.

Outdoor Lighting Tips, Tricks, and Considerations

When homeowners think about lighting a home, they may forget about the importance of outdoor lighting. The ability to see outdoors often focuses on visibility for the driveway and walkways, with security as a secondary concern. It is easy to overlook the fact that outdoor lighting factors heavily into a home’s curb appeal, especially at night or in seasons with short days. The trick lies in knowing the best way to light a home’s exterior property. There are plenty of options that homeowners can try, but there are also many ways to do it badly. Making mistakes in design or installation could make the home look worse instead of better.

As such, homeowners should investigate their options and the best ways to put them into action before buying products or attempting to install. With this information, they will know the most common lighting types available, best practices for installation based on the type of lighting, as well as common problems they should avoid. This will help them design outdoor lighting that provides ideal illumination in the most important areas, protects the home, showcases beautiful features and ensures a better space for spending time outside.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Choosing outdoor lighting starts with an understanding of the various types. Many light fixtures may count as more than one type. In most cases, people should use a combination of lighting options—many homes in inman take advantage of multiple types of lighting, for instance. These lighting types offer a variety of ways to highlight:

large or small structures on the property

parts of the home’s exterior

walkways

driveways

landscaping

Spotlights

Spotlights offer plenty of light targeted in a specific direction. The amount of light these fixtures provide depends on the size and the strength of the bulb. Spotlights offer flexibility in that they can be pointed in virtually any direction. This allows homeowners to choose how much lighting they would prefer. For example, a large spotlight with a bright white light bulb and a 60-degree beam angle may be ideal to light a dark portion of the yard. By comparison, a spotlight with a softer color, fewer lumens, and a smaller beam angle of light may be preferable to call attention to smaller parts of the architecture or landscaping.

Flood Lights

Flood lighting is an exceptionally descriptive term. Flood lights are intended to flood the area with light. This is why they have a large beam angle, 60-120 degrees. They are most appropriate for areas like patios or driveways, which need a lot of lighting at night. Homeowners should be wary of trying to create a sense of daytime at night. If they use too much lighting, the area can take on an appearance that feels stark or cold. Most people do not use flood lights when they want a gentle ambiance, but there is a broad range of options between low lighting and something harsh.

Up/Downlights

Most lighting options require homeowners to position them either pointing upward or downward. Uplights and downlights can dramatically change the way structures and walkways look at night. Either option may help illuminate spaces between hedges and walls, making tighter spaces safer and easier to see. Most uplights and downlights could be called spotlights, given the shorter length of their beam angles.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Or Replace Outdoor Lighting?

Cost to Install Outdoor Lighting?

The national average cost of installing outdoor lighting is between $2,000 and $4,500. At the low end, a project that only includes incandescent path and deck lights costs from $2,000 to $3,000. A high-end installation that also includes designer, motion and solar-power lights costs between $5,000 and $6,000.

Outdoor lighting allows you to improve your home’s security while also adding style to its exterior. It’s particularly important when you have well-defined outdoor spaces like a patio or deck that serves as a natural gathering place for a large number of visitors. This guide shows you how to estimate the cost of your outdoor lighting project

Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting Installation Cost

The full retail price of low-voltage lighting is between $190 and $450, not including the transformer and wiring you would need for a new installation. They use a maximum of 15 watts of power and often less. These lights have die-cast aluminum fixtures and an anodized finish to prevent weathering.

Lamp Post Installation Cost

Professional contractors charge an average of $970 to install a lamp post and require about 13 hours of labor. Most of this cost is labor, so location is the primary cost factor. The cost also increases the further the lamppost is from the house, especially when the power lines are underground.

Cost to Install Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights

The national average cost of installing motion sensor lights is $370, assuming it’s a new installation. The low end is $220 if the installation site already has an electrical box. The upper end of the cost range is $550 for installations with smart LED lights and a smart-home controller.

Why Is It Important To Call For Mold Inspection Services

The Ultimate Guide to Mold Removal

We all desire to feel safe and comfortable within our homes, but that safety can abruptly be jeopardized by the presence of toxic mold. That’s why we have prepared this ultimate guide to mold removal for anyone looking to rid the infestation from their home or residence, wherever it crops up.

This is going to be important to reference as the rainy season comes along following this winter, so it’s best to be prudent and prepare when you can. Outside of simply ruining the look of your kitchen, bathroom, ceiling, or any of the other spaces mold tends to grow, the fungus also poses a danger to your home’s infrastructure. Mold damage on its own doesn’t cause the wood within your home to rot, but it does increase the wood’s ability to absorb moisture, which can make the wood more prone to other fungal growth which rots.

To make matters worse, mold also has the potential to detriment your health. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the mold itself that seriously hurts you. It’s the spores mold produces, called mycotoxins.

These are toxins that, when exposed to them, may cause certain health problems, especially to people who are sensitive to them. According to, this includes people who:

Have Allergies

Have asthma

Have chronic lung disease

Have compromised immune systems

Have weak immune systems (infants, children, elderly)

If you’re a healthy individual, you’ll probably be alright when exposed to most mold spores, but you should know that prolonged exposure to them can begin to impact your health, causing coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory-related issues.

Indoor Mold

Presence of Mold after a Severe Weather Event:

Excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings.

Steps can be taken to prevent mold growth if wet items are cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours.  Make sure you only enter your home once it is safe.

Signs of Mold:

Mold can be recognized by sight or smell or present no signs at all (hidden behind walls or under floors)

Sight (Mold growth often appears on walls and ceilings, looks like spots and can be many different colors)

Smell (You may smell a strong unpleasant musty, earthy odor)

People at Greatest Risk for Health Effects from Mold:

If you are allergic to mold, or you have asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions, being around mold may make your condition worse.

If you have a chronic lung condition or a weak immune system (such as people with HIV infection, cancer patients taking chemotherapy, and people who have received an organ transplant), you could be more susceptible to mold infections in your lungs

Possible Health Effects of Mold Exposure:

People who are sensitive to mold may have a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation.

People who are allergic to mold may have difficulty breathing or have shortness of breath.

People with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases may develop mold infections in their lungs.

If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold and you think that mold is affecting your health, please contact your doctor or other health care provider.

Cleaning Wet or Moldy Items after a Severe Weather Event:

When your home is safe to enter, dry out your home as quickly as possible to minimize mold problems and perhaps even prevent the growth of mold at all.

Water damage specialists or mold remediation companies have experience with cleanups of flooded homes and can provide you the peace of mind of knowing mold problems will be properly taken care of.  At a minimum, a maintenance or service professional that is experienced in mold clean up should check and clean your home heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system before you turn it on.  If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the system may spread mold throughout the house.

Mold

Facts, Information and Resources

Molds are fungi that can be found in virtually every environment, indoors and outdoors, year round. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

Research has found that damp building conditions can lead to respiratory illnesses in occupants. Dampness in buildings can occur for a variety of reasons such as high indoor humidity, condensation, and roof leaks.

People who are sensitive to mold may experience stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation. People allergic to mold may have difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor or other health care provider.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic and dangerous fumes.

Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.

Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.

If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it by going to the EPA mold remediation web site found in the resources section below.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

Specific Recommendations:

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.

Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.

Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.

Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.

Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

The Ultimate Guide to Mold Removal and Prevention

How to Battle Mold and Mildew at Home

As discussed, mildew and mold can pose severe health risks to you, your family, and your pets, as well. Mold has been linked to allergic reactions and respiratory problems, as well as central nervous system disorders and cognitive dysfunction. However, it gets a lot worse than this. Mold spores are even worse than the mold you can see in the corner of your shower. Mold spores are invisible to the naked eye, yet they can fill your indoor air with toxins, which makes them incredibly dangerous.

So, what can you do to prevent mold from growing in your home? Well, there are several different strategies and approaches to consider. The first thing you need to recognize is the fact that mold loves areas that are humid, warm, and lack good ventilation. This is why you will often see mold growing in areas such as the basement and the bathroom.

Therefore, keeping your home dry is a must. There are several other things you can do, as well. This includes the following:

Make sure you replace mildewy shower curtains

Clean out air conditioning drip pans

Keep fabrics and other clothes dry

Open windows and doors to promote air circulation, especially while cooking or taking a shower

Let the sunlight and fresh air help kill mold

Clean up any spills straight away

Address any plumbing issues and fix any leaks

Invest in a dehumidifier for damp areas around the home

Black mold is the type of mold you are probably familiar with. This is a kind of fungus that has a very dark green or black appearance. It often comes with a very distinct smell. It is a damp, mildew, or musty smell. There are some different ways that you can get rid of black mold. A lot of people use the likes of ammonia and bleach-based cleaning products to get free of mold. However, there are also natural methods, which are always recommended because it is still best to act with the environment in mind. For example, you can create cleaning solutions using tea tree oil, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or grapefruit seed extract.

How to Get Rid of the Mold on the Ceiling of the Bathroom?

Do you have mold on the ceiling in your bathroom? If so, it is essential to not only make sure you clean it, but make sure you clean it effectively! You need to ensure you get rid of all potential traces. If the mold on the ceiling of your bathroom covers ten-square-feet or less, this is deemed a small area, which means you will be able to take care of this by yourself so long as the right procedures are followed. However, you are advised to seek professional services if the mold covers a bigger patch than this.

Mold Remediation

Mold Inspections

Usually, we recommend a visual inspection before you spend the money on mold testing. If visible mold is present, testing is probably a waste of money.

What is Involved in a Visual Inspection?

A visual inspection is what it sounds like. You, or your inspector, should take a close look around for any sign of damage or potential for water intrusion. See the list below for some common things to look for.

Visible mold growth

Visible water staining

Water in the crawl space

Improper grading around house/office

Irrigation systems too close to building

Improper attic insulation or ventilation

High humidity levels

Leaks under sinks or in other areas

Keep in mind that this is only a partial list. A good visual inspection should give you a good idea of what is going on in your home or office with regards to water & drainage, air flow in the building, and the general state of any appliance or equipment that is likely to be an issue.

What To Expect

On the day of your appointment, we will connect with you over your smart phone or mobile device and walk you through the process. You can show us areas of concern, or simply walk through your home with us and allow us to inspect the space for potential problems.

Of course, some locations and situations may still require us to come out to your home in person, but because we have experienced so many different situations over the years, it is likely that yours isn’t unique. For most of our clients, we can identify problems, provide advice or, if appropriate, produce an estimate for us to do work in your home.

Things To Know Before Selling Your Accountant Practice

Checklist For Choosing The Best CPA For Your Small Business

A small business bookkeeper plays some of the most significant roles in your company. The accuracy they have when performing their accounting tasks can either make or break your business. For this reason, it is crucial that you are very selective when choosing a bookkeeper for your business. To help you out, our knowledgeable team of small business CPAs have created a checklist of things to consider when hiring a bookkeeper. Read below to learn more.

1. Is this person an actual CPA? Or are they just a tax accountant?

Tax accountants focus their training on dealing with how much taxes a business should pay. Although this can be advantageous in some ways, your small business has more financial responsibilities than just taxes; this is where hiring a Certified Public Accountants comes into play. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy requires small business accountants who wish to become CPAs to undergo at least 150 semester hours of education, at least 30 hours of advanced accounting education, and at least 24 hours of business-related education. This rigorous training makes our team of small business CPAs experts in almost all business financial processes like bookkeeping, tax planning and preparation, and financial advisory.

2. Have they been a CPA for at least a decade?

CPAs receive one of the most comprehensive trainings in all professions. Nevertheless, nothing can beat experience when it comes to handling business financials. Some principles, such as vendor communication, critical reports per industry, and more, are not something you can learn in accounting school. Hence, you need to choose a bookkeeper that has at least a decade of experience in your specific industry.

3. Does this firm have great online reviews?

Bookkeeping providers often brag about how effective their bookkeeping processes are. However, there is no better source of information on the quality of a bookkeeper’s services than their past clients. Online reviews are quick and easy ways to find out what makes a bookkeeper great and what areas they are lacking. Some of the best sources of online reviews are customer driven sites like Yelp and Google. Utilizing these reviews will allow you to see how clients view that CPA’s services. So for example; your goal is to grow your business so you need a CPA that specializes in small business financial advisory. As you are doing your research online you find a firm that says they have virtual CFO services, but they have reviews that say that they do a decent job at their financial advisory services but tax preparation is their expertise; this allows you to know that is not the CPA for you before you waste valuable time and resources.

4. Do they have experience doing extensive bookkeeping setup and cleanup projects?

Most businesses, once in a while, have to deal with terrible bookkeepers. These bookkeepers can muddle your books with unnecessary data, making it almost impossible to use. On the other hand a lot of small business owners try the DIY approach with their bookkeeping tasks. This often leads to two results; they get overwhelmed with managing these tasks so they stop doing them all together or they are simply doing these tasks incorrectly. This is a huge issue, because at least 65% of our new clients need us to clean up their books in order to stabilize their business. This means that 65% of people were at risk of making financial decisions based off of incorrect financial metrics. This can have a huge impact on your ability to scale your business. So, when you decide to hire a small business bookkeeper for the first time or if you are replacing the current bookkeeper you have, make sure that they can reorganize, and clean your books effectively. Otherwise, you’d be better off settling with your previous accountant.

Why do small businesses have problems finding accountants?

Typically, many small business struggle to find an accounting firm because they

  • Can’t identify exactly which financial services they need,
  • They don’t know where to find the best accountant for their needs, or
  • They don’t have the proper budget for an accountant.

However, these issues can be combated with the right plan.

First, identify your specific financial needs and what your financial gaps are. Do you need bookkeeping or tax planning services? Do you need someone with definitive knowledge or experience in a given industry?

Next, decide which type of accounting service you’re in the market for. This can mean the decision between a local or remote accounting firm, a bookkeeper or a CPA, or a QuickBooks certified expert.

Finally, since you can expect to pay an accounting agency $500 to $3,000 every month, decide which type of accounting services fit into your business’s budget.

Choosing your accounting date

At Avenue Business Services we can advise businesses in the Whiteley area about choosing the best and most tax-efficient accounting date. Here are some of the issues to consider.

Q. Can I select any date for my accounting year end?

A. Yes

The choice of a year end accounting date is for the business owner to decide.

Under the current year basis, the taxable profit for a particular tax year is determined by the accounts that end in that year.

Thus, for 2020–21 tax, accounting dates will vary between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020. So what is the best date to choose?

Sometimes, compelling commercial reasons relating to the nature of the trade will dictate the most appropriate accounting date. Otherwise (as in so many tax matters), there is no easy answer – it all depends on the particular circumstances. There are several basic considerations:

Overlap relief

The system is designed so that, over the life of a business, tax is paid on no more and no less than the cumulative profits of the business. However, unless your accounting date falls between 31 March and 5 April (inclusive), there will be some element of double counting, or overlap, in the first full tax year on the current year basis.

Overlap relief will be held in reserve for use when the business ceases (or on an interim change of accounting date). One concern is that, because of inflation, overlap relief will be worth less in future years than it is at present.

Bunching of terminal profits

The converse of the overlap situation is the ‘bunching’ effect of profits when a business ceases. The assessment for the final tax year will be based on the profits right back to the accounting date in the previous tax year. The earlier in the tax year the accounting date falls, the longer will be the period of account relating to the final assessment.

Thus a cessation date of, say, 31 December means that the final tax assessment will be based on a period varying in length between 9 months (5 April accounting date) and 21 months (6 April accounting date). This effect may be lessened to some extent by overlap relief, but the overall distortion is illustrated in the example set out below.

Partnerships

Partners are each deemed for tax to have an individual business so the points already mentioned for new businesses and those ceasing apply equally to partners joining or leaving a continuing partnership.

Pattern of profits

If profits do not vary significantly from one year to the next, the accounting date will not affect the assessable profit for each tax year.

Where profits show a trend, the rule of thumb is that (all other things being equal) it is beneficial to have an accounting date early in the tax year if profits are rising, and late in the year if profits are falling.

External factors

Of course, all other things are not equal, and in evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of particular accounting dates there are a number factors to be considered, including:

  • interest rate movements
  • the effects of inflation
  • changes in rates of tax
  • changes to the tax system

No one can say how these will change over time, and so, not surprisingly, businesses tend to be swayed by the short-term advantages, which have at least some degree of predictability.

Timing of payments on account

It is as well to remember that the date for the first payment on account falls just over two months before an accounting date of 5 April, but nearly ten months after an accounting date of 6 April. Thus, with an accounting date later in the tax year you could pay too much tax on account where profits are falling, and this is a further factor affecting cashflow.

What Do Small Business Accountants Do Anyway?

The increasing role of small business in the American business landscape and more powerful and accessible information technology has changed the role and importance of the small business accountant.

Why do you need an accountant? Some small businesses make due with a bookkeeper – someone to perform the tedious task of recording financial information and cranking that data into the necessary formats, like P&L statements and tax forms.

But a good small business accountant does much more than just record transactions and passively generate documents-they actively analyze, interpret and convert that data into actionable business intelligence.

Based on where you want to go with your business, they should be able to tell you how to get there. If your accountant is just showing you the financial tracks of where you have been, you’ve made a bad choice and you’re missing out on a great opportunity to receive good business advice.

Becoming A Physical Therapist In Pediatrics

Why do we need pediatricians?

After your child is born, one of the first doctors you will see for his or her care is a pediatrician. But knowing when to see your pediatrician, and for how long, can sometimes be confusing for young parents.

Pediatrician vs. Family Practitioner

Unlike a family practitioner who typically treats adults over the age of 18, pediatricians generally focus on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of infants, children, teens and young adults until the age of 18 to 21, depending on the doctor. These pediatric doctors work with you to offer advice, prevent illness, and help you foster a healthy lifestyle for your child. They also treat acute (critical) or chronic (long-term) conditions, such as asthma or diabetes.

If your child shows symptoms of a specific condition, your pediatrician may refer him or her to a pediatric specialist for further evaluation. These doctors have specialized training and unique expertise in their area of practice, such as orthopedics (birth defects, developmental disorders) or cardiology (heart disease).

As your child grows and develops, you will likely visit your pediatrician for a number of reasons. Be sure to provide the doctor as much detailed information as possible about your child and any symptoms you’ve noticed. Take time to ask all of your questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. You may want to bring a friend or family member to help you listen and jot down important information. The more you know (and remember) the better you can care for your child at home.

Development

One reason it’s important to take your child to a pediatrician is to monitor his developmental progress or milestones. At each visit, your child will be weighed and measured to evaluate his growth in weight, height, and body mass index (BMI). The doctor will show you how this compares to other kids of the same age and gender so you can gauge how your child is progressing. The pediatrician will also check for any developmental delays. He or she may ask about your child’s behavior at home and observe things like smiling, rolling over, sitting up, language, walking and how she uses her hands and arms. The doctor will also test your child’s reflexes and muscle tone.

Ear Infection

Young children have on average 6 to 8 colds a year, and often with them come ear infections. Common signs and symptoms include ear pain, tugging or pulling at the ear, trouble sleeping, crying or acting more irritable than usual, and fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Symptoms generally improve in the first couple of days and often clear up on their own within one to two weeks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a wait-and-see approach as one option for kids:

6 to 23 months with mild inner ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit

24 months and older with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit

If your child is less than 6 months and showing symptoms of an ear infection, contact your doctor right away. Also contact your doctor if your child is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection, or has symptoms that last for more than a day, severe ear pain, or a discharge of fluid, pus or blood. Your doctor may prescribe treatment, such as a warm compress, pain medication or an antibiotic.

Common Reasons to Visit a Pediatrician

Many parents choose to take their child to see a pediatrician versus a primary care doctor, as pediatricians focus specifically on the health needs of children. Children have their own special and unique needs and pediatricians are specifically trained in understanding these needs, which allows them to offer relevant health care services.

While there are many reasons why people will need to take their child to a pediatric office for care, there are some reasons that are much more common than others.

Common reasons to visit a pediatrician

The following is a list of some of the more common reasons why visiting a pediatrician is necessary.

1. New baby well check

A baby’s first health examination should take place within the first week of their life. The entire appointment tends to take about half an hour as the pediatrician will do a full evaluation of the newborn in order to ensure that all is well.

2. Annual physical exams

Routine physical exams, also known as annual well-child exams, are necessary for all children in order to make sure that they are growing as they should. When visiting a pediatrician for this reason, a child will be physically measured in order to ensure that they are growing up healthy and strong.

3. Immunizations

The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a schedule for child immunizations, which needs to be closely adhered to for a child’s good overall health. Immunizations and vaccines start at birth and end at around the age of 18.

4. Ear infections

Research shows that children are significantly more likely to develop ear infections than adults, thereby making it a common reason to visit a pediatrician.

5. Common colds

Many parents take their children to see a pediatrician for a common cold, which is recommended because a common cold comes with many side effects and has the potential to turn into a more serious condition.

6. Sore throats

A sore throat can be a sign of strep throat, which is a bacterial infection and therefore requires antibiotics in order to treat.

7. Behavioral issues

Behavioral issues in children can be first addressed by a pediatrician as this allows parents to understand whether or not their children’s behavioral issues are normal.

8. Nutritional advice

Children tend to be picky eaters, which can make it difficult for parents to make sure that they are getting their recommended daily amount of nutrients. A pediatrician can offer parents the nutritional advice they need so their children can grow up strong and healthy.

What to Expect at the First Pediatrician Appointment

Having a baby is exciting. You have a new little life to take care of. This also means finding a great pediatrician for you and your little one and going to all the scheduled appointments. Infants and small children will need a series of vaccinations and check-ups before their second birthday. A pediatrician will help them gain immunity to diseases, find any issues to work on and make sure that their development is going perfectly. Still, being a new parent can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect during that first pediatric visit may put your mind at ease.

What to expect

It is natural to feel somewhat nervous about the first appointment. This is a new experience for all first-time parents. The office may ask for some paperwork from the hospital or insurance company during this first visit. The first visit should empower the parents and inform them, as well. This is a great opportunity for parents to ask questions and have an open conversation with their child’s pediatrician.

How to prepare the child

While too small to understand what is happening, it is important that the baby is dressed in simple clothing. Loose fitting, easy to remove clothing helps the process go smoother. The pediatrician will want the clothing removed so that they can do a full exam. Cuddling, soothing voices, warmth, a change of clothes, diapers and milk are all that is needed during this exam.

The visit

The nurse will be the first person seen. They will weigh and measure the baby and then chart the measurements. This is the growth chart that will show at what percentile the baby is measuring. It is normal for babies to lose some of their body weight after delivery but by the second week, they should have gained it all, if not more, back.

The pediatrician is next to come into the room. They will do an exam on the baby and look them over from head to toe. Additionally, they will educate the parents and answer any questions that they may have. This is a good time for new parents to ask as many questions as they can think of. The doctor will want to know how many dirty diapers the baby is having, as well as their feeding schedule. This will give them more information on how well the baby is doing.

Questions to ask the pediatrician

It is important to ask questions to find out more about the pediatrician and what their experience is. Parents can ask these questions in advance so that when the child comes in for an appointment, everyone has an idea of what to expect. Here are some of the more important questions to ask when choosing a pediatrician for autism:

  • How long have they been in practice?
  • Have they dealt with autism before?
  • What has their experience been treating autistic children?
  • Do they have any specialties?
  • Can they recommend anything specifically for the child?
  • What do they enjoy about working with autistic children?
  • Do they have a quiet area or somewhere calm for an autistic child to wait before being seen?

Switching To Day Time Move In Cleaning

End of tenancy cleaning tips

This guide will help you understand the basic end of tenancy cleaning tips and know-how tenants should take under full consideration. More than 50% of all deposit disputes happen due to inadequate cleanup or include a cleaning related issue after the final move out inspection. Doing your end of tenancy cleaning up to your tenancy agreement requirements is critical to get your deposit 100% back.

Short summary:

Basically, when you move out your housing has to be as clean as when you moved in. Limescale round taps, switches and sockets along with mould on grout, fingerprints on windows and glass doors, are not considered ‘fair wear and tear’. This means you are bound to take care of everything.

You want to clean everything yourself?

Bear in mind how long it takes to do the job right, not to mention all the gear you’ll need. Removing limescale, grease, mould, and dirt might take a single person tens of hours to complete and proper carpet cleaning requires vacuuming and professional hot water extraction cleaning. Everything has to be finished before your landlord and inventory clerk carry a final move-out inspection. Don’t attempt to do end of tenancy cleaning before you move belongings out. It would be far easier, regardless of who does the cleaning.

The Mandatory End of Tenancy Cleaning Tips for Tenants

Tenants often want to carry end of tenancy cleaning DIY.  There is nothing wrong with that but there are a thing or two you should know. Here is a set of tenant tips,

Your full deposit refund depends on what is the housing condition AFTER you leave.

As a tenant, you are eligible to carry out your own cleaning, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. There are cases where professional curtain and carpet cleaning are required by landlords, as well as professional carpet cleaning. Unless explicitly written and undersigned – the choice is up to you. The cost of rug cleaning as a standalone service makes booking A to Z tenancy cleaning a reasonable choice.

DIY enthusiasts should be aware of time and effort required to properly clean a property. Professional move out cleaning teams could consist of up to 6 technicians and take up to 4, 5 hours of work. Supplemental detergents and gear are required – steamers (you could rent), high-end vacuum cleaners, squeegees, detergents and etc.

The landlord or estate agent has the right to demand the same level of hygiene as stated within the primary property inventory report, prior to you moving in.

Choosing between a professional after tenancy cleaning and a DIY home clean is up to the tenant, as long as the initial property condition is met (with some fair wear and tear applied).

In case the renter handles domestic duties and chores by him/herself, the check-in inventory report should be taken into 100% CONSIDERATION.

Your landlord can not imply overly charges in case the abode is not fully cleaned BEFORE the renter has moved out.

If agency managed, it is the agency’s call on whether a landlord claim is right or wrong.

If your deposit is not paid back in time, you can challenge your landlord to court and opt for compensations.

In case of significant and unfair deposit deductions, the renter has to make sure whether the rental agreement refers such in any way. If too much and the landlord rejects reconsideration – the tenant has right to take the issue to COURT.

Home Cleaning Cost Guide

Unsure how much to pay for a house cleaning service? In this Home Cleaning Cost Guide, we look at how much it is to engage a home cleaning service. Most cleaning sessions are paid by the hour. As long as you know how many hours are required for your house, you can roughly know the price of that cleaning session.

Regular cleaning service

Where are you hiring cleaners from? The prices can range based on several factors, including how you source for cleaners (such as the difference in pricing between companies and freelancers).

Freelance helpers usually charge around $15 to $19 per hour. For a typical four-bedroom HDB flat, it will require 3-4 hours of cleaning. When multiplied by four sessions per month, it will be around $180 to $300 per four weeks, for weekly cleaning rituals. It is more or less $65 per session, which is pretty affordable.

Cleaners from an agency

Sometimes, finding a freelancer that is within your area and can work according to your schedule is tough. Hence, some opt for hiring a cleaner through an agency. The agency will search for a suitable cleaner for you while accepting a one-time upfront fee from you for their efforts.

The cleaning company coordinates the cleaning jobs and ensures that:

There are cleaners available to do your job when you require

Cleaners are well-trained and responsible to perform your cleaning tasks

You and your property are well insured and protected

The cleaning company will charge by a per hour fee of around $20 to $35 per hour. For a four-room HDB flat, it will take about 3-4 hours of regular weekly cleaning, which amounts to about average house cleaning cost of S$320 to S$560 per month for four sessions monthly.

Moving In / Out

Moving In

Before loading your car, please visit What to Bring for details on what to pack – and what not to! Then visit one of our move-in pages:

Fall Move-In

Spring Move-In

Summer Move-In.

Pay attention to the YEARS on these pages. If you are looking for information for a year not indicated,

halls and apartments will have the following mitigating strategies in place:

Students moving into on-campus housing will be required to be tested for COVID-19.

Bedroom occupancy in halls and apartments will be one or two people. Triple and quad residence-hall rooms will be used to house two people.

Community bathrooms will be deep cleaned daily with a secondary sanitization.

Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily, focusing on high-touch surfaces.

Cleaning and sanitizing supplies will be available for student use in all community bathrooms, suites, apartments and available at hall/apartment desks.

Staff will be required to perform a daily symptom check before working.

Staff will be expected to wear cloth face coverings in common areas.

Students will be expected to wear cloth face coverings in common spaces.

All staff and students will maintain recommended physical distance as much as possible in common areas.

Plexi shields will be used at public service desks where virtual service is not possible.

House/floor/community meetings and events will be held virtually or in spaces where physical distancing is possible.

Quarantine housing spaces will be available for students who are symptomatic or have had a known exposure to COVID-19.

Isolation housing spaces will be available for students who test positive for COVID-19.

You are REQUIRED to wear a face covering:

In all common areas (hallways, entryways, dens, kitchenettes, laundry rooms, etc), even if no one else is present.

In bathrooms – when you’re not in the shower or brushing your teeth – even if no one is present.

Outside if you aren’t maintaining a six-foot distance from your friends

Guest Policies

Residents are permitted to host one guest per resident at any one time in their room/apartment. Guests are only allowed with the permission of other roommates. See full policy here.

Overnight guests are not permitted unless the another roommate is not spending the night. All overnight guests must be given permission by the other roommates in advance. See full policy here.

Cleaning Tips for New Buyers Moving During Coronavirus

Most of the country is staying home right now, but thanks to predetermined closing dates, some new homebuyers are changing homes. Moving to a new home is always accompanied with a certain amount of stress; moving to a new home during a pandemic amplifies that stress. In order to help manage some of the COVID-19 moving anxiety, we compiled the following cleaning tips to help you move safely during the coronavirus.

Get familiar with virology

Virology is the study of how a virus behaves. In the case of COVID-19, researchers are still working to observe and document the properties of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the virus typically spreads through human-to-human contact and through respiratory droplets in the air.

What does that mean for your move? Most importantly, it means that you should practice as much social distancing as possible. If you must meet in person (for closing or to pick up supplies), be sure to stay at least six feet away from other people. It also means that you’ll need to be extra careful with cleaning practices in order to limit your contact with potentially infected surfaces.

Consider delaying move-in

Knowing a little bit more about viruses may influence when you want to move in. In some cases, timelines are tight and cannot be adjusted. However, if possible, you may want to delay moving into your new home for three days or longer — enough time to significantly reduce your exposure to viruses.

Stock up on supplies

Be sure you have enough cleaning supplies before moving, and keep those supplies handy. Don’t pack them away! If possible, purchase hand sanitizer along with antibacterial wipes, sprays, cleaning soaps, and hand soaps. Anticipate what you will need for whole-home cleaning — but don’t buy too much. Remember there are others in need, too

Quick Guide: Cleaning Up Before You Move

Are you getting ready to move? It’s a great idea to also think about clean up after you get everything packed up know that just the act of moving can be very overwhelming, and it can be hard to think of exactly what you need to do. We want to make this stressful time as easy as possible, so here’s a quick a list of things that you may have forgotten to clean.

Spackle Over Any Holes in the Wall

It can be easy to forget about these, especially when you’re trying to move out in a hurry. Try to remember to take these out though for the new person moving in. If you live in an apartment, they may also charge you an additional fee! This can be fast and easy, so don’t spend more money then you have to. Fill them in!

Dust, Dust, Dust

Ceiling fans, baseboards, windows, base boards, light fixtures, window sills,  walls, and even ceilings can accumulate a lot of dander and dust. Make sure that you dust off these areas and wipe them down with a light cleaner. This will freshen up any home and make them fresh and clean.

Start with Fresh Linens

The last thing you wanna do after you move in all your stuff in your new place is to clean more. Go ahead and take out ALL your linens and run them through the washer. You will thank yourself later.

Use Air Spray!

Air spray can improve and freshen your home in one sweep. Go into all the rooms and spray a heavy dosage of air spray in each one. This will leave a nice scent for the new residents!

Squirrels In The Attic

HOW TO GET RID OF SQUIRRELS

If you have unwanted squirrels inside or outside the home, in some cases, the only way to get rid of them is to trap and remove them. In other cases, they can possibly simply be excluded from a house using one-way exit doors. Trapping is an art, as is exclusion and most amateur attempts go awry for a variety of reasons. An intimate knowledge of squirrel behavior, and of various squirrel exclusion devices and trap types is necessary to ensure success.

STEP 1: Determine if trapping is necessary, or if there is a preventative alternative.

STEP 2: Select the right trap for the situation, of at least a dozen types of squirrel traps.

STEP 3: Set the traps in the correct areas, in shade, camouflaged, mounted in trees, etc.

STEP 4: Use correct bait, but to be honest, trap setup & location are more important.

STEP 5: Monitor the trap daily, remove trapped squirrels and transport them.

STEP 6: If the squirrels were inside a house, do the same as above, but consider a one-way exclusion door, mounted on the squirrel holes. Once all the squirrels are out, seal the entry hole shut with steel repairs.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the House

Squirrels are a destructive bunch, and like most other rodents, their destructive nature goes hand-in-hand with their need to chew. If you are having an issue with squirrels in your house, most likely the attic, chances are you’ve been sitting in your living room, wondering what is making that annoying noise over your head. It’s louder than a mouse, and every once in a while it sounds like there is a small herd of somethings running around your attic. Depending on the type of squirrel living upstairs, you can have anywhere from one to twelve squirrels sharing your home

These animals are most effectively removed by live trapping with one-way exclusion doors, repeater traps, or cage traps. Live trapping is most effective because you can deal with a large number of squirrels all at once. No matter how you go about trapping the squirrels, it is very important that you determine if any babies have been left behind in the attic. Hidden babies will often die and create a foul odor that will waft through the premises. After all the squirrels are gone, clean up the space and immediately seal off any entry points. If you do not do a thorough sealing job, more squirrels will move in and create trouble.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Chimney

Squirrels like chimneys because they are warm, and in the off-season, chimneys provide reliable shelter and easy access to the outside. Squirrels don’t always live inside of chimneys; they often live in the spaces next to them within the roof or attic. The best method of control for squirrels inclined to live in this part of a home is to trap them during warm weather using a one-way door. Once the squirrels are out of the chimney, a chimney cap can be secured to the top to prevent any new rodents from moving in. For those squirrels living next to the chimney, live traps can be effective if placed in strategic areas of the attic or crawl space.

How To Get Rid of Squirrels

are experts in squirrel control methods, having performed thousands of squirrel removal jobs nationwide. The most common conflict with squirrels occurs when they enter the attic of a house, though squirrels cause nuisance issues in other ways as well.

Here are the best ways to get rid of squirrels:

Cage Trapping: For certain types of squirrel problems, trapping and removal is a good option. Don’t set traps in an attic!

One-Way Doors: If the young are 6 weeks old, mount a one-way door or funnel over the entry/exit hole to get them all out.

Exclusion: If squirrels are getting in your attic or walls, you must find the entry areas and seal them shut.

Prevention: Keep away food sources like bird seed. Trim tree branches away from your roof. Put hot sauce on things they chew.

Repellents: Do mothballs, ammonia, fox urine, or sound/light repel squirrels? No – these tactics do not alter squirrel behavior.

In the Attic: Squirrels in the attic must be dealt with in a very careful, specific way, because there will be baby squirrels.

Squirrel Info: Squirrels are members of the rodent family. The most frequently dealt with nuisance squirrel is the Eastern Gray Squirrel. They measure around 16-18 inches from nose to tail and weigh approximately one pound. Gray squirrels are active year-round and arboreal, meaning that they live primarily in trees. They feed on a great variety of foods, such as nuts, seeds, fungi, fruits, and of course the seed in your birdfeeder.

They store nuts and acorns in holes in the ground. Gray squirrels breed throughout the year, but there are two distinct peaks, in the winter and summer. After about six weeks, two to four young are born, and raised in a nest for about three months. They prefer cavities in trees (or homes), and when cavities aren’t available, they will build a nest out of leaves and twigs high in a tree.

Nuisance concerns: Squirrels have easily adapted to humans. They frequently use buildings as nesting areas. Squirrels love to break into a house and stay in an attic or soffit. They often find a small opening and will chew a wider hole to gain access to the building. They bring nesting material into the home, and make quite a bit of noise scurrying around and caching nuts. They often fall down the chimney flue and make a lot of noise or enter the fireplace

How To Get Squirrels Out of Your Attic

The first sign of squirrels in the attic is the scurrying or scratching usually in the ceiling or eaves, during the early morning or evening hours. Squirrels love to live in attics. The female squirrels view your attic as a big, dry, safe tree nest! The females give birth twice a year – in late winter and late summer, and then the young grow quickly and start running around in your attic. Peak times for activity are February/March and September/October, although they sometimes spend all year in an attic, and we get calls about them 12 months out of the year.

They are very capable animals, and they can climb almost any surface and jump very far, and thus they have no problem finding the entry points into your attic – usually poorly screened roof vents, or places where the soffit meets the roof, or eave vents, or wooden fascia boards that they can chew through. Your home might have several entry areas. The general process to get rid of squirrels in the attic is as such: First, inspect the house to find out how the squirrels are getting inside

Is there a nest of baby squirrels? Yes. Pretty much every time squirrels are in the attic, it’s a single female who has a litter of young. She finds her way into the attic twice per year, when she has the litter of young. This is usually around February and August. The young are born, and they grow quickly. They reach adult size in only six weeks, at which time they start to run around the attic. This is often when homeowners first notice a problem, because they’ve suddenly gone from one squirrel to five! You must be aware of the young.

What kind of damage is caused by squirrels in the attic? The primary problems are trampling down insulation and creating tunnels, leaving feces and urine in the attic, bringing plant matter and nesting material into the attic, chewing on wood beams in the attic, and chewing on electrical wires in the attic. Some of these activities are merely unsanitary, but some can cause a risk of fire hazard. Also, be aware that if you have squirrels living in your attic, they might die in your attic, and cause a big odor problem.

How do I trap squirrels? Trapping is helpful in some cases of squirrels in the attic, but actually not the majority. In most cases, your best option is to perform a squirrel exclusion – this means that you install a one-way door on the squirrels’ primary entry/exit hole. To do this, you must first seal up all secondary points of entry, and make sure there are no vulnerable areas to chew back in. But if an exclusion isn’t possible, or the risk of chewing on wood is too high, then a repeater trap, which can catch up to eight squirrels at once, and mounted directly on that main entry/exit hole, is best. If that isn’t possible for some reason, only then are baited cage traps the best option

How to Get Rid of Squirrels

Tips to Get Rid of Squirrels:

Inspect your house, and find any squirrel entry holes with chew marks

Go into the attic and look for squirrel feces, trails, and nesting debris

Install a one-way exclusion door or repeater trap on the main squirrel hole

After all the squirrels are excluded or trapped, seal the entry hole with steel

Clean the attic afterward, at your discretion – may not be necessary

Prevent future squirrels by squirrel-proofing all roof vents, soffit vents, and eave gaps

You can trim trees, but they are amazing climbers, and will get on your roof anyway

Get squirrel-proof birdfeeders if that’s what’s attracting them

Install chicken wire or other fencing around plants or gardens they chew on

Remember, there are no effective repellents, though hot sauce discourages chewing

Homeowners that have experienced a squirrel infestation know that these pests are particularly difficult to control because of their persistence and their speedy, acrobatic movements. Squirrels can cause considerable damage to gardens and yards, roof and attics

They are excellent chewers and are notorious for chewing their way into buildings in a dogged manner, as they love being inside buildings. Once they gain entrance, they go on to create a mess with their constant gnawing on structures and fittings.

Squirrels constitute a huge nuisance for many homeowners, they can be heard chattering or squealing in the attic, or scurrying around and upturning things. They are not so hard to spot as they are active during the daytime, and some of their antics are:

They take down birdfeeders and steal birdseed

They damage wood siding, soffets, roof boards, and exhaust fans

They eat some garden plants and destroy others by scurrying around

They dig up bulbs and vegetables in the garden

Indoors, they make a mess in attics with their urine and droppings

They chew on electric cables and insulation, creating a fire hazard

They leave dirty tracks on your walls and surfaces

They chew on wooden furniture

If you want to get rid of squirrels in the attic, please read my how to get rid of squirrels in the attic guide. It is often a very difficult process, because there is a mother with baby squirrels. You might want to learn about squirrels in attic removal cost because of the variability of the job

HOW TO KEEP SQUIRRELS AWAY FROM THE GARDEN

WHY WORRY ABOUT SQUIRRELS IN THE GARDEN?

With a fondness for fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, the common squirrel has long spelled trouble for home gardeners. these wily critters yank geraniums from window boxes, pluck tomatoes from their vines, and strip apple trees like professional pickers. Though their foraging forays can happen at any time of year, a squirrel’s raid in late summer and early autumn can drive a gardener nuts.

Squirrels are especially active in autumn as they stock up for winter. They do not hibernate (although they may “lie low” during cold spells), so their underground pantries are vitally important winter warehouses. They have a major instinct for hoarding food, which helps them to survive. Gray squirrels stash food by burying it in a scattered fashion around their territory.

Although North America is home to several species of squirrels, it is the suburb-savvy gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, that gives gardeners (and people who feed birds) the most grief. How did the clever critters find those bulbs, anyway? Why do they ransack some borders and leave others alone? What do squirrels eat?

The average squirrel gathers acorns, pinecones, nuts, bark, fruit, berries, fungi, and insects, but is not above stealing bird eggs and bulbs. Sometimes they will even ruin your flowers just for the fun of it! Keep an eye out for these pesky visitors and try some of our tips below.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SQUIRREL DAMAGE IN YOUR GARDEN

Weighing an average of 16 to 24 ounces, the type of squirrel that is probably causing damage in your garden is the common gray squirrel. Its color varies from gray, tan, or light brown to dark brown and black. Its belly is light, from white to gray. Its body is 8 to 11 inches in length, and its tail measures 8 to 10 inches.