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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Tricks Save Space in Home

Use a chest or an ottoman with storage inside as a coffee table – most living rooms have a coffee table but double it up as a storage box and you have a brilliant way of hiding that extra clutter you just don’t know what to do with. Things like magazines, books, remote controls and old photos are just a few ideas of things that you need but don’t necessarily want on display all the time.

Use corner bookcases – there are many areas of the home that simply cannot be used for tables, chairs and other furnishings. However, you can take advantage of wasted space by using corner bookcases. As well as acting as an extra decoration and a bit of character, it provides you with a great way of displaying books, magazines and other decorations without looking untidy.

Put shelving up – if you are tight for space then cupboards are just going to take up valuable space. Instead put up shelves because this offers an extra place to store things but won’t interfere with the amount of available space you have in the room.

Put your things in self storage – if you have items that you don’t really need or use but don’t want to throw away, then self storage is the perfect place for them. Out of your way, you can be rest assured that your goods are being well looked after and that you can access them at any point in the future when you may need them.

Buy a shoe rack – most of us take off our shoes when entering our home which means that the front door is frequently littered with dozens of pairs of shoes. Rather than being greeted with an unsightly heap of shoes every time you enter or leave your house, use a shoe rack so they can all be stored neatly. As well as looking much tidier, a shoe rack can also save you a lot of space and best of all, you won’t be tripping over everything when you walk through the door.

Installing Window Blinds

Blinds can regulate the light that enters the house. The laths can be spaced in such a way that no brightness or just a little radiance can get in. These shades are also available in different patterns, colors and styles. Thus, you can create the desired look in your bedroom, living area, kitchen or dining room. Consider the Venetian, roller, roman, cordless, and mini blinds based on your design preferences. Multiple varieties of materials will enable you to choose one that conforms to your style and budget. Authentic wooden blinds are more expensive than faux wood. There are also aluminum, bamboo and plastic which are relatively affordable. You may choose to cover the windows with blinds thereby keeping the warmth inside during winter and minimizing heating costs. Blinds are also utilized by many as home adornment which is receiving a lot of positive comments lately. While blinds are functional, these window treatments also complement the aesthetic aspect of any home.

You can relish absolute privacy that you may not get from ordinary curtains. The top-down model is an example of blinds that allows homeowners control of privacy. Moreover, blinds are easier to maintain. All you need is to wipe these canopies with a dry or wet cloth occasionally to remove dust or dirt. On the contrary, washing and drying curtains can be difficult, time-consuming and more expensive. When it comes to health and wellbeing concerns, opting for window blinds can lessen the possibility of acquiring eye irritation and headaches. The character of your room or house becomes ideal for surfing and reading books as well as watching television.

Rainwater Harvesting

Depending on the size of the use will determine how big the system needs to be. Your rainwater collection system can be as simple as one or more rainwater cisterns, or rain water barrels connected to the downspouts of your home gutters. Or if you prefer, you can construct a more elaborate system piece by piece.

A complete system for rainwater collection could include either above ground or below ground storage tanks. While above ground tanks are easier to install, they can definitely be more expensive and less attractive. Below ground tanks might require some digging, but they are less prone to evaporation since they are underground and not in direct sunlight. Preventing evaporation may be extremely important- especially in drier climates-depending on how much you rely on your rainwater supply.

You may be both excited and overwhelmed at the thought of collecting rainwater and all the benefits which come along with doing so. Once you are ready to begin building your rainwater collection system, you will be ready to begin a worthwhile, rewarding endeavor. So do not hesitate, contact a pump supplier and get your own rainwater harvesting system installed.

Remove Old Steel Railings

To remove the stainless steel railing you need to first remove any screws that might be holding the railing brackets to the wall. The best tool to use here is the screwdriver.

Once you have removed all the screws you should place an 8-inch blade in the reciprocating saw and set the saw against the vertical supports of the steel handrail. For ideal results you should ensure that you place the saw as low to the ground as possible.

While holding the reciprocating saw to the railing support, you should depress the trigger of the saw and cut through the vertical support of the railings.

If the railing is longer than you can handle, you should cut the horizontal bars. Here you should cut in the same way that you cut the vertical support. If you find it difficult to cut, you should consider changing the saw blade and replace it with a sharp blade.

You should continue and cut through each old steel railing post and remove the entire handrail.

After doing this you should attach a ¼ inch thick hard grinding wheel to a 4-inch grinder and grind the stub of the vertical railing. If the stub is longer than ¼ inch, you should place the grinding wheel on the ground, against the vertical support extending from the ground and cut the stub off the ground.

To make the cut surface smooth and even with the floor, you should file it down.

Once you have done this, you should not leave the metal filings on the ground. This is because they rust quickly and they can easily stain concrete. To be on the safe side you should clean the area immediately. Here you should use warm soapy water and a wire brush to remove any rust stains that might be there.

You should note that steel is recyclable; therefore, you should not throw the railing in the general trash bin. The best way of disposing it is taking it to a scrap yard where it will be recycled.

Since you will be using machines in the process of removing the stainless steel railing, you need to be very careful when handling the machines. This is to avoid injuries.

Wheelchair Ramp Installation

Installation can be a lengthy process, so you’ll want to make sure that you consider all areas of your home. You don’t want to be calling the technician out multiple times to fit various inclines in different areas of your home!

Here are some of the most common areas:

– The steps leading up to your porch, front door or back door
– The steps taking you from your garage into your home
– Any doors within your home that have raised thresholds
– Exterior doors that feature lips
– The raised threshold between the bathroom floor and your shower
– Your vehicle’s threshold, especially if it’s a larger vehicle like a van or SUV

How Long Should the Incline Be?

Higher entrances require longer ramps. Once you get steeper than a 9.5-degree slope, the incline is no longer safe for an occupied scooter or wheelchair. Ramp installation experts suggest a 4.8-degree slope for maximum safety.

To reach a 4.8-degree slope, the height of your staircase in inches is directly related to the length of your ramp in feet. For instance, if you have two 5-inch stairs – a total of 10 inches – you can expect to have a slope that is 10 feet long.

As you can imagine, higher staircases necessitate longer runways. You may find that your slope needs to wrap around the house or go in a zigzag pattern rather than a straight line. What if you have a small front yard and four 5-inch stairs leading to your front door? Somehow, 20 feet of runway needs to make it up to your home.

Within your home, you may need very small inclines to get over thresholds or into your shower. These can easily be installed or you may consider a portable option. It all depends on how many of your doors have raised thresholds.

How Wide Is Your Wheelchair Ramp?

Installation experts suggest that the width of your incline be slightly wider than the wheelbase of your chair or scooter. Obviously, the device needs to fit onto the slope, but you should also have a safety margin on either side. That way if you weave a little from one side to the other, you won’t go flying off!

Protect Home for Freezing Weather

Make sure that all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside and kept clear.

Have snow shovels, salt and sand handy to help with snow removal and vehicle traction.

Have adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm, both in your home and your vehicle.

Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather.

Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

Ensure that all outdoor hoses are disconnected from the spigot.

Locate your main water shut off valve and learn how to turn it off in the event that you encounter a frozen pipe that bursts.

If you encounter any frozen pipes or home damage, make sure you contact your insurance agent right away and get help setting up a claim. If you can, do your best to protect your home from continuing damage but make sure you protect yourself and your family first.

If worst comes to worst, most home insurance policies have coverage for additional living expenses that will help pay for you to stay somewhere else if your home is damaged from a claim and you cannot stay there. Hopefully, repairs would be minor and not take a considerable amount of time, but most home insurance policies provide money for 1-3 years (depending on the company) of additional living expenses. As always, you should review your coverage and protection once every 12-24 months to make sure you’re covered the way you should be (and the way you think you are) just in case you need to file a claim.

Grout Ceramic Tile

The cement in grouting material is what makes it hard and takes a reasonable time to totally harden. If grout dries to fast the hardness can be reduced. To improve the resulting grout dampen (not soak) the joints between the tiles and hour or so before applying the grout. This can be done with a damp rag, brush, sponge, spray bottle etc.

Mixing the Grout:

When mixing dry powder grouts with water or a liquid grout additive, very little mixing is required to evenly blend the grout. Over mixing can entrap air bubbles which may increase shrinkage, allow moisture to dissipate easier and can affect the overall uniformity of colour. To reduce air bubbles add the liquid to the powder instead of the other way around. DO NOT MAKE THE MIX RUNNY! Mix to about the consistency of peanut butter. Let sit for about five minutes then lightly remix. The use of latex additive when mixing grout substantially improves the color and surface hardness.

Applying the Grout:

1. Apply the grout into the joints with a rubber-faced grouting trowel or float. To prevent internal voids pack the grout into the joints. After the joints are full, use the float to squeegee the excess grout off the surface of the tile and to level off the grout joints.

2. Let grout dry for about 15 minutes. Using a spray bottle spray a misting of water on the entire surface. Immediately use the float trowel and repeat the squeegee process to further remove surface grout and smooth out grout joints.

3. Let the grout sit about 30 minutes, then use a damp (not wet) sponge and lightly wipe surface of the tile. Do not use a circular motion with the sponge, use diagonal strokes so as to not disturb the grout lines.

4. Fine dust residue can easily be removed with a clean dry cloth the following day when the grout is hard and not subject to damage. Allow a minimum 12 hours to harden before further washing or in the case of the floors walking them.

5. All cement based grouts should be sealed to retain their appearance and reduce cleaning problems. Grout must be allowed to cure for a minimum of one week before applying a sealer.

Kitchen Cabinets Style

If you want a cozy, warm feeling to your kitchen, you probably want to consider wood options. They are available in a wide variety of wood types such as oak, pine, walnut, cherry and more. You can also choose to stain the wood for added luster and beauty. A painted style can look traditional or contemporary, depending on other features in the design.

Where to buy?
You have a wide variety of options when purchasing kitchen cabinets. Many home improvement stores have cabinets on display to give you an idea of how they might look like in your home. Some selections may be in stock and ready for you to take home. Other styles may need to be ordered but are readily available to be shipped to the store or your home. Most of these stores will install your cabinets for a small fee.

There are businesses that specialize in building kitchen cabinets. If you have special needs or want personalized attention, this may be your best bet. Look for a company that has experience, and talk to past customers if you can. The professional staff at these businesses should be able to come to your home and talk with you about options and costs.

Putting it all together
Envision what items you will use and how often you will need them. For example, your family will likely use drinking glasses everyday. You don’t want them in a place that is hard to reach or far away from the refrigerator. If you have fine dishes or anything special you want to show, consider putting those items in a cabinet with glass panes. If you have spices, cans or other non-perishable goods to store, one with a turntable may come in handy so you can fit more inside a single space.

Have Quieter Home

Enhance your windows

Double glazed and triple glazed windows are very effective in blocking sound. They have air layers that break passing sound and sound energy is lost. It is best to make considerations when building your house in a noisy area or to make enhancements to already existing windows.

Reduce noisemakers

When choosing your appliances, remember that there are models that have nosy operations and they can limit you from enjoying some quiet around the home. Buy models that are quieter in operation to enjoy a significant noise reduction around the home. Whether you are buying a dishwasher, fans or fridge remember to check noise levels. The appliances should also be in good working order all the time to eliminate vibrations, rattles and buzzing.

Use materials that are sound absorbing

What you need to remember is that softer surfaces absorb sound waves whereas hard surfaces tend to reflect them. You can use the soft materials such as padded carpeting and acoustic ceilings to minimize sound bouncing around your home. Drop ceiling systems and acoustic tiles also have good acoustical properties and they can be considered.

Enhance your doors

Soundproofing doors can get tricky, but you can start by sealing edges that transmit sound. It is also advisable that you install doors that block sound. Solid core doors block sound interference and eliminate the drum-like reflections that hollow core doors have. The doors might be a little costly, but they go a long way in soundproofing your home, especially when you also weather strip them.

Think about the garage door

The garage door is a very important addition to a home. When you select a door with internal foam insulation complete with interior panels, you will manage to minimize sound and noise. This is especially important if you have rooms right above the garage door. It will prevent outside noise from seeping in through the door. You also want to make sure that your door is properly maintained so it does not end up being a noise maker around your home.

Take care of noisy pipes

Pipes can chatter and rattle or even make loud bangs during different situations. One of the easiest ways of silencing the pipes is by using water hammer arrestor. There are however so many other ways of ensuring that the pipes do not make the annoying sounds.

Information of Aluminum Siding

One reason that many like aluminum siding is that there are many advantages of using this particular siding, which include:

• It is water and fire proof
• It requires little maintenance as it has few problems such as minor dents and scratches. You can fix these easily by repainting or sanding surface of the siding.
• Unlike steel siding it does not oxidize
• Using aluminum siding installation the exterior walls of your home does not come in direct contact with snow or rain and protect them from algae or fungal growth.
• Aluminum siding is more effective as insulation for your home when compared to vinyl siding and because of this your air conditioner and/or fireplace work throughout the year more efficiently.

Yes, it is possible for the homeowners to do the aluminum siding installation themselves but it would take at least two people to do it correctly and safely. When you purchase the aluminum siding the manufactures will give you an instruction manual as to how to do it, including all the tools you will need. Because the backing surface has to be even you will also have to purchase some type of underlayment like foam board, which is considered the best material to use. You will first have to install these, making sure that you are keeping them straight, with any two adjacent ones overlapping at least two inches.

To finish the aluminum siding installation you will put the sheets of siding on the walls and nail them to the house using the factory-made holes. You need to use only aluminum nails to prevent damage to the siding. Do not fix the siding too tight and on each wall you need to leave a gap of three-fourths inch to fix the corner caps. Once you have installed the siding fit the corner caps on each corner of a wall by sliding the rims under the edges of the panels of siding and then fixing them with nails.