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Replacing a Broken Tile in the Bathroom

It was bound to happen. The new floors have been finished for less than a week, and someone already has dropped a hammer on the kitchen’s tile floor. Unless the tile guy is still on the job, you’re either going to wait a long time or fix it yourself.

Luckily, it’s a fairly easy fix, as long as you use the right technique. Although you can use a hammer and an old chisel to break out the damaged tile, this technique can be risky. Within grout joints tighter than 3/16-in, hammer blows can chip or crack adjacent tiles. Hammering also can pulverize the substrate beneath the damaged tile.

Occasionally, I use a hole saw to cut out the center portion of a cracked tile. This technique is good for
removing soft-bodied tile. It’s usually a slow process, but I’m left with a hole in the tile that makes it easy to pry with the tip of a chisel or a screwdriver.

My preferred technique, however, is to use an angle grinder outfitted with a 4-in diamond blade made by Pearl Abrasive and a shop vacuum. This technique is good for thick, soft-bodied tiles such as saltillo, but it works on others as well. The tile must be larger than 4-in, or there won’t be room for 4-in grinder blade.

Basically, the trick is first to isolate the tile from neighboring tiles by removing the surrounding grout line,
then carefully break the tile into pieces and remove it. Using a grinder can be messy unless you keep a vacuum nozzle trained on the dust stream. I mask off any surrounding cabinet faces or furniture, and also protect neighboring tiles with sheet metal or plywood in case I overcut. I mask off myself as well, by donning safety glasses, a dust mask and my hearing protection.

I start by making diagonal cuts, then make separate cuts that run parallel to the edges. The parallel cuts along the tile edges make it possible to position a a chisel from the edge of a tile facing in so that the neighboring tile is not damaged. This technique is good for removing tiles with tight joints, like marble. There’s also a cordless 3-1/8-in saw with a slightly smaller diamond blade that comes in handy; I also use a Dremel tool fitted with a small #7134 diamond-point bit in the corners where the grinder can’t reach.

Once the tile is removed, I scrape out any remaining thinset and vacuum the substrate. With fresh thinset and a new tile, the job is finished, except for the grouting work.

Maximizing The Rental Income From Your Rental Properties

As a rental property owner, I am always looking for ways to maximize the rental income and keep my units marketable without having to do any major renovations. I am always keeping my eye out for potential properties that I can buy, and easily rent out that will cover the mortgage and a little more. That being said, one of the biggest mistakes that I see other landlords and rental property owners make is that they are reluctant to or just flat out won’t put any money into their properties because they don’t think they will see a return for that investment. When I tell some of my counterparts that I put new kitchens and bathrooms into all of my rental units they think I am nuts. To quote one of my friends who has some properties, “Why would you spend $4,000 on an apartment that is just going to get destroyed by the next people that rent it?”. To answer his question, I thought I would write this article.

First, let’s think about the mathematics behind it. Granted each market or city is going to have a different result, but for where I live in the Philadelphia area this holds true. By doing a little research and finding comparable apartments in your market, you can find out what the magic number is. What are the three features that are going to stick out about any apartment? The condition of the rugs, the bathrooms, and the kitchens. If any of these items look worn or beat up, it is going to be harder to rent and you won’t be able to get as much for it… that is just a fact of life. So let’s say you spend $3,000 to upgrade the kitchen and bathroom(s). Yes, it is possible to spend that little on upgrades and I will show you how later on. Assuming the rest of your unit/building is in good condition, that $3,000 investment can produce an extra $200 a month in rent for me per unit. At $200 a month, you made your investment back in just over a year and you are now making more money per unit. Think about it. If a prospective renter is looking at two apartments: one with a dated kitchen and one with a modern kitchen and bathroom, which one is he/she going to choose? Not only that, but a nicer apartment is going to command a higher rent which in turn brings in a higher income renter who is less likely to abuse and destroy the apartment.

For some of you, I am sure that $3,000 to renovate a kitchen and bathroom(s) probably made you chuckle. If you are still shopping at the big box stores for your supplies, then you have a reason to laugh. To update both the kitchen and the bathroom in an apartment using their cabinets could easily cost you double if not triple. After doing a lot of research, I found a source for cabinets that saves me at least 30-40% per apartment. I started buying my cabinets on-line. If you do a search for RTA Kitchen Cabinets, you will find my secret. Not only are they cheaper, but they are also made of stronger materials and easier to assemble and install. By buying cabinets on-line, direct from the importer/manufacturer you can get them much cheaper because they don’t have the high overhead cost of a retail store. I have been using them for years now in my apartments, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if you put them side-by-side with store bought or store ordered cabinets. The biggest benefit is that you don’t have to wait 6-7 weeks for cabinets like you do if you go to Home Depot or Lowes. These are delivered straight to your office or property in around 2 weeks.

So the next time you are trying to figure out why you empty units, or the guy across the street is renting his units for hundreds more, take a look at your kitchens and bathrooms. I simple upgrade will not only get you a quick return on your investment, but it will also continue to generate more revenue for years to come.

Factors to Consider Before Signing the Bathroom Contract

At a given point, every homeowner faces the need for renovating his or her bathroom. Therefore, finding the right contractor becomes necessary. In case you are thinking of fixing bathroom suites, it becomes necessary to find a bathroom remodel expert. On the other hand, if you are considering the option of fixing the kitchen you should consider getting in touch with a company that specializes on fixing kitchens. Building or remodeling the house is a very important decision that must not be left to chances.

Get a list of leading contractors

In case you want to reconstruct a new bathroom, you need to get a list of all the leading builders. In case you are experiencing problems finding the right contractors, you can consider searching the internet. By signing up with leading directories, you will be in a position to discover classified listings of the leading builders available in your area. You can also consider asking colleagues and friends for referrals. Alternatively, you can choose to get in touch with the local homebuilders association for lists of reliable builders available in your area. Once you have received the list, choose a few that you would like to hire.

Assess the contractor

One of the most important decisions to make is to find the right contractor. Some of the items to ask from the contractor include the certification, insurance and license of the contractor. The license is an important proof of the competence of the contractor to handle the project while delivering quality results.

Verify the referrals and testimonials

To check the credibility and ability of the contractors it is important to verify with colleagues and friends who have worked with the company. You need to find out their experiences working with the company. Find out whether they encountered hurdles and whether the contractor remained true to the assignment, etc. You can also consider reading the customer reviews and testimonial available on the website. This will play an important role in giving insight about the contractor’s reliability.

Schedule an interview for estimates

Once the contractors have been shortlisted, you need to schedule for interviews. Considering a bathroom is an important investment that demands a substantial amount of resources you need to hire a person who has the ability of handling the complexities of the assignment. Be free to ask as many questions as you would possibly ask. You could also consider verifying the projects the contractor has worked, their level of experience, the renovation ideas and overall cost estimates.

Prepare the final deed

Once you have made your decision about the contractor you will be working with you need to be actively involved in drafting the contract. Even if the house requires minor changes such as fixing bathroom furniture it is advisable to have in place the right contract. Ensure you fully understand the clauses before signing the contract.