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Remodeling

 

Chic Outdoor Spaces With Pergolas

 

Entertaining at home is often done outdoors, on the patio, deck, verandah or in the garden. Lush greenery, floral scents, stone paving and well thought out garden beds all inspire serene feelings of calmness and joy.

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Even you are an avid gardener, you have spent many happy hours outside either tending to your garden or just relaxing in the sun or breeze. If you enjoy being outdoors, perhaps now is the time to transform your piece of green heaven and introduce some new and exciting features to use outside. Think pergola.

Perfect Pergolas

The quickest and easiest way to transform your outdoor space is by placing a pergola outside. There are so many ways to use these structures, you will never be stuck for pergola ideas.

Pergolas come in a variety of makes. You can opt for the traditional timber pergolas, composite, steel frames or a combination. Add vinyl, cloth or shutters on the top and your pergola can take on many functions.

Pergolas give the sense of incorporating an extra room to an area because of the pillars and roof which mimic a room. This makes a pergola the perfect outdoor addition which will not only delight homeowners but adds value to the property.

Function And Form

Whether you want a practical outside dining area, seating area or relaxing area, you can achieve any look and feel with a pergola.

Warm winter evenings outside with a fireplace and blanket might be your taste or a functional dining area in spring where everyone can sit outside comfortably. Add a bar for that instant poolside feeling.

Perhaps you desire privacy and would like your outdoor spa to be covered, or a quiet place to lie outside and read in the hazy summer days. All these functions can be achieved by using a pergola.

Adding color and accessories to your pergola area is easy when you have decided on what the look and feel of your space should entail. Keeping it classy and chic is just as easy if you plan the accessories properly. Look for weather-resistant or outdoor pieces that will be easy to maintain and move around.

The great thing about having a pergola is that when you decide to update or refresh the look and design of your outdoor space, you simply bring in new elements to make the change. Remember less is more, a cluttered outdoor space is not a haven of peace and tranquillity.

Simply Add Furniture Or Plants

Attaining chic looks under your pergola can be done in so many ways. The best way to add flair and functionality to your pergola is to add furniture.

Do you want a seated area? Add weather-resistant outdoor furniture and pillows. Include small side tables and an ottoman or two to entice relaxing family gatherings outside. If your pergola is poolside, add sun loungers and potted plants with a side table or two.

If you prefer your pergola be a simple extension of your garden added creepers or plants in pots to grow against the pillars and over the roof. Perhaps you can grow a grapevine and add two chairs and a table for intimate Italy like dinners by candlelight.

 

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Stamped Concrete: Why Is It the Most Popular Material For Driveways?

Stamped Concrete: Why Is It the Most Popular Material For Driveways?

There are a number of routes you can take when choosing the right material for your driveway. If you’re confused about making the right choice, you can take the route most people take and choose the most popular material for driveways – stamped concrete. You don’t have to take our word for it, ask popular contractors like https://www.kansascityconcreteartisans.com/ about the most popular driveways people want and we’re sure you’ll get the same answer.

Why it is so popular and the various designs and styles you can get with stamped concrete will all be broken down in this handy guide to understanding why stamped concrete is such a popular choice for driveways and why you should take the leap.

Why is it so popular? The advantages of stamped concrete

There are various reasons why stamped concrete is a great choice for your driveways, and knowing all of them can help you understand why it is such a popular choice.

Durability

There is nothing quite like concrete. And by that, we mean that when it comes to sheer strength and resistance, concrete is king. For a driveway, it is important that the material used is able to hold up against things like weather, weight, spills, grease stains, and track marks.

On all those things, concrete ranks high. It holds up well against sun exposure and rain and is stain-resistant against most things. You also don’t have to worry about concrete driveways cracking under the weight of numerous cars.

Longevity

It can be a real pain to both your time and your wallet to have to constantly think about replacing and redoing your driveway over the years you’ll live in your home.

With this in mind, it is important for your driveways to have good longevity to make sure they will hold up for many years to come. Stamped concrete driveways are able to last a long time because concrete is a durable material that does not need constant maintenance. With proper care, it can last for up to 40 years.

Furthermore, you can be assured that the design imprinted on the stamped driveway will remain there and not fade away over time.

Cost

Compared to other driveway materials, concrete comes at an affordable and cost-effective rate. It is a widely available material that has a speedy installation period which helps keep the cost of it low.

And when you add a stamped design to the mix of things, the cost does not dramatically increase. Because it is a process that is neither labor-intensive nor timely, stamping concrete can be done in a single day depending on the size of your concrete.

Customizability

More than anything, the customizability of concrete elevates it from the rest of the flooring materials on the market. Concrete has the ability to be personally stamped and customized according to your wishes.

This means that for houses with unique layouts and decorations, stamped concrete driveways offer a way to customize your driveways according to what looks best with your home.

Value

Stamped concrete driveways are highly attractive features for a home that can increase the overall value of your home. Not only does it look expensive and attractive, but buyers will know that a concrete driveway is a good investment for a home that will last a long time.

The many design options for stamped concrete driveways

Driveways don’t have to look boring or standard at all, and they especially don’t have to when you choose to have concrete driveways. Stamped concrete is an option for everyone that can deliver unique design options, like:

  1. Border designs

1If you’re hesitant to stamp the entire driveway with a pattern or design, you can get a very attractive appearance for your driveways by stamping only a portion of the area, more commonly the border of the driveway. With this technique, you choose a design for the border of the driveway like a geometric pattern or a faux stone and either apply a simpler pattern to the middle or keep it completely plain. The contrast between the border and the middle of the driveway will look elegant and not overly done.

  1. Faux stone designs

2Stamped concrete is capable of mimicking other flooring materials for driveways, such as stone. If you want the aesthetic value of stones like slate and cobblestone but the durability, cost, and longevity of concrete, stamped concrete is capable of delivering that. For faux stone designs, you can have them laid out straight or patterned in a fan effect for a more stylish stamping.

  1. Unique patterns and designs

3If you’re interested in stamped concrete driveways for its versatility, you may be interested in getting more unique designs on your driveway. For example, you may be more inclined to get a large-scale pattern or a large design like a specific image like a sunburst or compass. This can likewise be done with concrete stamping.

  1. Brick patterns

4If you love the look a brick driveway but are concerned about its cost and need for constant maintenance, you can achieve a “brick” driveway with stamped concrete. Choose the kind of brick you want to emulate for your driveway and leave the rest to your contractor to get the best results possible.

 

 

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Wood vs Vinyl Fencing: Which Option is the Best for Your House?

 

For better or for worse, your fencing will have a huge influence on how your place feels and looks. While for some, utility will be the most important factor, for others, they might prefer something that complements their house first. Factors such as climate and cost also have to be considered as well. This is why the question of which material should be used can be a tricky one. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular options, vinyl and wood, and the pros and cons of each to see which option would be the best for your needs.

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Wood: The Pros

One of the best things about wood fences is the way they look. Some people just love the whole white picket fence aesthetic, and stained wood can give a rustic feel to any backyard. So, if your first goal is for it to look good, then wood is a sure bet. Wood is also one of these materials you can work with even if you’re not a professional, so it’s a good pick for those DIYers out there. Wood also gives you a wide array of colors and finishes based on the staining and the wood you pick.

Wood: The Cons

Wood fences demand a lot of maintenance. And they’re not the best suited for every climate. You have to work on them every year so they can keep their appearance, whether its repainting or treating them. They’re also vulnerable to things like insects, especially termites. And they have a tendency to warp as well, especially when they haven’t been properly treated.

Vinyl: The Pros

Vinyl is one of the most low maintenance materials you can use as far as fencing goes. And it comes in a wide variety of styles, textures, and shades as well. While you can install it yourself, it’s always better to work with professional fitters. Teams like Northland Fence will be able to set up your vinyl fence in as little as a day and all their vinyl fences come with a lifetime warranty on the material. Good luck finding that with wood.

Vinyl: The Cons

One of the issues with vinyl fencing is that it’s slightly more expensive upfront than wood. But you end up recuperating these costs with lower maintenance and higher durability. Another issue with vinyl is that repairs are a bit more complicated, but since it’s so durable, it doesn’t require repairs as much as wood.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, it’s all about your priorities and what you need in a fence. If you want something that will last a long time and require little to no maintenance, go for vinyl. If your main priority is the look and you don’t mind having to maintain it every year and replace it at the end of its lifespan, then wood might be the choice for you.

Conclusion

Whatever choice you pick, make sure that you consider how much time and money you can afford to spend on your fence. Also, consider if your climate or even the general look in your area would make either option more suitable.

 

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5 Tips to a Greener Home

Every homeowner wants the best for their family. From cozy living rooms to serene bathrooms, we all want to improve the way we live by considering home improvement projects that help us achieve a more appealing home.

But when it comes to making a home that’s safe and healthy, we will have to look for green solutions. After all, this is the first step to achieving a healthier home.

Let’s check out a few important tips to a greener home.

  1. Ditch commercial materials

Whether you’re mopping up the living room floor or repainting the exterior walls of your home, the materials you use may contain chemicals that not only pollute the air but also cause a wide range of health conditions on your family. You may need to update your shopping list and get rid of brands that are known to contain high traces of cancer-causing chemicals such as glycol and benzene.

If you’re making a change for the better, you might as well look online for shops selling organic materials for your next home improvement project.

  1. Think of a redesign

Often the best way to build a green home is to start from scratch. Fortunately, if you’re planning to settle in a home that’s both functional and eco-friendly, there are local builders who can help you along those lines.

If you live in Baltimore, you’ll find Maryland home builders who can provide custom designs that help reduce your carbon footprint. But if you already have a home, you can always opt for a redesign by using proper insulation, as well as materials and concepts that allow for better cooling and heating.

  1. Upgrade your lighting

If there’s anything that passes as an eco-friendly solution, changing your light bulbs will do the trick. Especially if it has been a while since you last upgraded your lighting, swapping your bulbs with LEDs will really keep your energy consumption low along with your power bills.

  1. Prepare a compost pit

Managing a garden is tough work, but choosing a safe alternative to commercial fertilizers has to be tougher. Sure enough, familiar fertilizer brands could be more acidic and, in effect, harmful to your plants.

Commercial fertilizer might give your garden the lushness it needs, but when it comes to keeping the soil healthy, preparing your own compost using kitchen scraps has to be the better option. It’s organic and it won’t pollute the ground much as synthetic fertilizers do.

  1. Improve your insulation

Whether there’s a blizzard or a heatwave, the thermostat has to be your best bet in keeping your home’s temperature well-regulated. Then again, you will have to pay a price for keeping your home well heated or cooled during extreme weather. By keeping your home well-insulated, you won’t have to set the thermostat high or low.

 

A greener home is possible, so long as you use the right approach. That way, you won’t have to worry about putting your family’s health and safety at risk.

 

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A Quick Guide to the Benefits of a Home Heat Recovery System

 

Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to add energy efficiency to their home and reduce their monthly energy bills. Many eco-friendly home improvements can pay for themselves over time, so they are often seen as a wise investment. Home Heat Recovery Systems give homeowners the chance to radically reduce their heating bill with only a small initial investment. Here we are going to take a quick look at the benefits of installing a Home Heat Recovery System.

They Offer Total Heating for Your Home

Home Heat Recovery Systems heat the air in your home and circulate it through every room. Heating the air ensures an even temperature throughout the house, no more cold spots or rooms to avoid on a cold day. By removing stale air and drawing in fresh air from the outdoors, it removes the need to open a window or door to let fresh air in as your air is always fresh. The system heats any fresh air it adds to your home before it enters circulation, to ensure the temperature is efficiently maintained throughout the house.

They Clean and Filter Your Air

Air quality is a concern for many homeowners, whether from pollen, local air pollution, or from humidity or carbon monoxide. A high-quality Home Heat Recovery System has air filters and dehumidifying cells as a part of its construction. As the system circulates air through your home it is scrubbed for irritants and particles; it is also dehumidified to reduce mould and condensation build up in your home. This can be of particular benefit to Asthma sufferers and people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

They Can Drastically Reduce Energy Bills

When installed in a well-insulated home, the energy savings a Home Heat Recovery System can bring can be quite staggering. By keeping close control over your home’s airflow and heating it only when needed, some users have experienced double-digit drops in their heating bill. It is important to find a reputable and experienced supplier to assist you in finding the right system for your home to help maximise the savings. A BPC Ventilation system is one of the industry leaders. They can source the best components to suit the needs of your home and offer excellent advice on fitting an HHR system. Finding the right supplier can be the difference between your home heating dreams and a costly nightmare.

Home Heat Recovery Systems bring consistent warmth to your home at a reduced cost. After just a short while the savings they bring you will offset the cost of your investment, so in the end, they pay for themselves! Every year, energy prices increase, and governments put more pressure on homeowners to reduce their carbon footprints. With a Home Heat Recovery System, it is possible to future proof your home by reducing your energy costs and consumption now, before any more price increases or costly regulations make heating your home too expensive.

 

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3 Tips to Keep in Mind While Putting Up a Fence On Your Own

 

Installing a new fence can be a demanding DIY project if the area to be surrounded is large enough, but it isn’t the most difficult project that you can undertake either. That being said, mistakes are quite common and, therefore, in case you have any plans to set up a few fences on your own anytime soon, it’s worth it to glance over these three tips that even experienced DIY enthusiasts can find useful at times.

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Asking the All-Important Questions

Before you even start planning your fence installation project, it is of the utmost importance to ask yourself and your family a few questions first, and they should be along the lines of the following.

  • What is the primary objective behind the installation of the fence?
  • Is privacy more important to you or does security take precedence?
  • How much are you really willing to or can afford to spend on your fencing project?
  • What are the choices in material that you have?
  • How much maintenance will your new fencing require and how much will that cost you?

To illustrate why all these questions are so important, let’s get to the next tip.

Understand What Your New Fencing Will Bring With It

Steel fences last for decades. In fact, the steel fencing from Northland Fence comes with a warranty of two decades! It will remain unhindered by the weather conditions as neither the sun nor the frost will be able to even scratch your steel fencing for years. While the durability of steel also makes it an excellent material of choice when security is your priority, it will not provide you with any privacy at all. When privacy is more important, then go for vinyl fencing instead of steel. Northland Fence has consciously switched over from cedar wood to vinyl because the material lasts longer than wood and provides better security than wood as well. As far as the looks are concerned, vinyl fencing can be made to look exactly like cedar, so you won’t have to sacrifice on décor. Besides, to make wooden fences last, it does require a lot of maintenance.

Checking with the Local Zoning Laws

There are limitations, rules, and regulations, alongside must-have safety precautions that every household in a US state must adhere to while putting up any kind of fencing. For example, in order to put up any fences in Minnesota that are more than 30-inches in height, you will require a building permit that will only be granted on producing a satisfactory site plan. These laws change with the state in question, so do make sure you are thorough with your understanding of what you can and can’t do in your area.

Given the time, effort, and knowledge of fine details it requires, it is recommended that you leave any big fencing project to the professionals, as they deal with them regularly and are well aware of them. Nevertheless, if you want to do it all on your own, at least now you are a bit wiser than before!

 

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How to Fix Your Garden Shed Roof

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Just like the shingles on your home, those on a typical 10×20 garden shed roof have are prong to get damaged over time. The constant exposure to the sun, rain, snow, and wind eventually wear down your roof shingles. Even though shingles are being designed to last longer these days, the best ones will cost you more money.  While a 50-year shingle might be a good investment on your house, you most likely will use a much shorter life shingle on your garden shed and therefore you will need to fix or replace them more often. The good news is that most shed roofs are as easy fix and you can do it all by yourself. The following tips will help you fix your garden shed roof when the time comes.

Ladders

Most sheds are not built as high as your home’s roof, so a standard 10’ ladder should do the trick for a garden shed roof.

Get your ladder situated in the proper position and on ground that is flat and level, and make sure that it’s at the right angle. Experts recommend a 1:4 ratio; So if you have 8 feet of height your ladder should be two feet away from the shed. Simple math.

Take Out the Bad Shingles

To start, remove the bad shingles and the nails. If you are fixing the whole roof, begin on the uppermost area and remove the top row, before moving down to the next row, until you get to the last row. If you find a metal drip edge, you can leave that where it is. So now that everything else is gone, you should be looking at a blank sheet of plywood. If the plywood is rotted, this is the time to replace that too. There is no sense putting a new roof on bad wood sheeting.

Roof Felt

Start placing your roofing felt on the bottom corner and move sideways, making sure to keep the felt flush. Sink in a nail every few feet. Working your way up, continue to secure the felt with nails. You don’t have to go crazy hammering in nails, as it will also be kept down by the shingle nails; you just want to ensure that it lies flat and stays in place as you work your way to the top edge.

The next roll of felt will be done the same way. Overlap the second roll of felt onto the first length of felt by a couple of inches. Again, work your way from the bottom to the top. Continue working left to right until you are done.

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Starter Shingles

Starter shingles are the first row of shingles that you lay. Then you lay a second layer over the starters. To install starter shingles, remove any tabs from your sheet of shingles and place them so that it overhangs on the edge by about ¼ an inch.

Shingling the Rest of Your Roof

Now that the starter shingles are in place, you can lay your 3-tab shingle on the left bottom corner of the roof. Ensure that it is covering your starters and nail it so that it is in place. You will probably need about four nails for every shingle. Work left to right, one layer at a time. The second layer should start with about a six-inch overlap on the shingle underneath it and approximately five inches off the edge. Remember you are creating a staggered, layered, and neat shingle roof. Make sure that it is all neat so that water won’t get to the wood sheeting. Continue layering, staggering, and nailing until you get to the top. Once you are done, cut off the excess overhang on each side.

A small garden shed roof can easily be completed in a day. Take your time and make sure everything is lined up correctly. The end results will be a new roof on your garden shed that you can take pride in; you did it yourself!

Do you have an even bigger shed job? Like a shed that is so in disrepair that it’s better to build a new shed? No worries there either. Building an entire shed is just as easy as fixing the roof these days. All you need is a 3D shed building guide: “How to build a shed in a week or less?”  From 3DSHEDPLANS.COM. You will be amazed at how easy it is to start your project.

 

 

4 Great Ideas for Home Improvement

 

There are various reasons why you may decide that you want to make some home improvements. It could be because you have lived there a while and want to mix up your living environment. But it could also be because you are thinking of selling your home in the next few years and want to make it as profitable as possible. Either way, there are different ways you can improve your home no matter what your budget is.

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Some home improvements may require saving up, whereas some are a lot more affordable but can make massive differences to your home. Here are five ideas for home improvement that you may want to consider.

Organize as Much as You Can

Often homeowners don’t consider organization as a form of home improvement, but being more organized can make your home life a lot less stressful while also making your home appeal more to friends and viewers (and potential buyers).

This is a more affordable idea for home improvement and will require more time than money. You should focus on organizing the rooms that you spend the most time in first and then move on to the other rooms. Find permanent homes for things as this will help you to locate things quicker.

Improve Your Outdoor Space

Improving the outside space of your home can seem like a tiring process, but it can be enjoyable as well as costing little money. By giving improving your home’s curb appeal, it will be more appealing to both yourself and potential buyers. Small changes you can make include changing your mailbox or adding some flower boxes. It is also a good idea to install a vinyl picket fence to make your garden look more stylish as well as making your outdoor space more secure.

Update Your Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a peaceful and relaxing room as getting rest is essential to your health and well-being. Updating your bedroom can involve small changes such as redecorating, or bigger changes like adding built-in wardrobes or under floor heating. No matter what the size of your bedroom, there are ways you can improve it.

If you are planning to sell your home, then you will want to wow and impress potential buyers when they see the master bedroom. This could seal the deal!

Loft Aspirations

This is a more expensive way to improve your home, but loft conversions are a great way to make unused space in your home functional. This is an ideal way to add both storage space as well as potentially adding an extra bedroom or bathroom to your home, increasing the house’s value. A loft conversion can completely revamp your home and make you fall back in love with where you live. While they are not a cheap way to improve your home, they make for a great investment that will benefit you in the long term.

Home improvements can seem like time-consuming and expensive challenges to undertake, but they are great ways to transform your living environment. If you are unsure of how to improve your home, these ideas are a good place to start and offer you options that vary in financial cost.

 

The Benefits of Getting uPVC Double Glazing in Your Home

 

The market for uPVC-based double-glazing is a growing one. Frames can be colored to suit the color scheme of the home, which is a good option when you wish to avoid the use of aluminum or timber. It can handle the harsh British winters and doesn’t fade during the occasional long, hot summers either.

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Here are some of the benefit of getting uPVC windows fitted in your home.

Durability over the Years

uPVC windows are highly durable. They are not susceptible to mold, pollution impact, moisture or mildew build up which would otherwise hurt their ability to hold a seal. They don’t blister in the sun or flake away, and they don’t rust or rot either. This makes them superior to other window framing materials like aluminum and wood.

Soundproofing

When uPVC is matched with reliable double-glazing, it provides a soundproofing ability that often reduces discernible noise to 40 decibels. Up to 75-80 percent of outdoor noise factors are reduced to make the indoor sound far more pleasant, even when the home sits on a noisy main road.

Limited Maintenance Required

Cleaning uPVC frames is as easy as getting a bucket of water, adding some soap to create suds, and then washing the windows with a sponge. They do not peel or flake, so there’s never a need to repaint them, touch them up, sand them down or add varnish either. While it should be done carefully, stains that appear on the frame can be delicately scrubbed away too.

Optional Ventilation

Ventilation with uPVC window designs is a useful added feature. Depending on the design, some window frames can open at a fan-like angle to let breezes inside. Also, some windows can open out and around to effectively reverse their direction to permit even more air inside. Windows can often open in either direction, making them more flexible with a greater degree of control on the direction of the air flow too.

For cleaning, the ability to gain access to the other side of the window panes and window frames, from within the property stops window washing needing to be completed in two stages.

Good Security Options

uPVC windows are designed to incorporate a number of window locks to make them more secure. Either laminated or otherwise toughened glass can be installed along with uPVC to make the window even more secure.

Fire Resistant

uPVC windows are designed to be fire resistant as well as able to handle excessive winds and heavy storms without difficulty. Good news for your homeowner’s insurance policy too.

Environmentally Friendly

uPVC is a fully recyclable product. It’s also not resource-hungry during its production phase either; it requires less metal to complete a similarly sized window frame. uPVC can last over four decades, so other frames are likely to need replacing before it does. As a recycled material, it’s used in piping, tiles, and other areas of building work.

As you can tell, uPVC is an excellent material for use with window frames. It makes homes warmer, safer, and much more livable too.

 

How to Provide Your Tenants With a More Secure Property

 

1There are many features that entice the best, most reliable tenants to rent a property, such as modern features, a fair price, ability to bring pets, good location and more. However one thing that you should consider to help attract and keep quality renters is the security of the property you own. Read on for some ways you can go about providing your tenants with a more secure property this year.

Install Outdoor Lighting

It’s important to have outdoor lighting installed on rental premises as this works to help prevent crime. Thieves and other people with not-so-good intentions are less likely to try anything nefarious if an area is well lit.

If your property is a unit in a complex of apartments, there should be lighting in stairwells, hallways and entranceways. For houses, outdoor lighting needs to be installed at both the front and back of the property. It pays to make these motion-activated; plus you can opt for solar-powered lighting where possible.

Have Secure Doors

As you’d imagine it’s necessary to have secure doors on all entry and exit points. Start by choosing quality doors constructed of solid, heavy-duty materials. Good options include steel and wood; however choose solid wood rather than hollow doors as these are easy to break.

Steer clear of doors made of glass or with glass panels, particularly near the locking mechanism, as these panes can be broken. Doors with peepholes built into them are helpful too, as they enable tenants to look out and see who is outside without having to open the door. Security screens or chain locks provide another layer of security, allowing tenants to open their door yet still have some protection.

For optimum security, add deadbolt locks onto doors on top of having standard locks. These are much more difficult for criminals to break into. Double-cylinder deadbolts are the most secure option. These are particularly helpful when a door is located near a window, as they work to stop thieves from reaching through windows to open doors.

Secure the Windows

Similarly, it’s important to secure the windows on properties. Criminals often enter homes this way, even when windows can seem too small to provide access. Windows should have working locks, even if they’re on higher floors, as sometimes people enter through fire escapes or other access points.

For units near the ground, or for houses, particularly those in areas where crime is more of a problem, it pays to add security bars or screens to windows. While this can affect the aesthetic look of a property, it definitely increases safety and deters criminals. If security is a big issue, you can even, or instead, install window sensors. These are designed to sound an alarm if anyone tries to tamper with the locking mechanisms.

2Provide Security Cameras and Alarms

Another way to increase security at properties is to provide security cameras and alarms. These are traditionally utilized more in high-end homes that receive big rents or for multi-family homes where the additional costs are justified by combined deposits.

Cameras should be installed at the front and back entrances of houses or in hallways, stairwells or other spaces you might deem necessary if you own an entire building of apartments. Security alarm systems can be wired in and either paid for by you as the landlord or charged at an additional fee for tenants who want access to the monitoring option.

There are many different types of cameras and alarms available these days, so search for providers in your area to get quotes. For example, check out these Phoenix home security services if your property is located in the Phoenix area.

Keep Properties Visible and Open

To help make tenants feel safe and to deter thieves, it’s also a good idea to make properties clearly open to view from the road. That is, don’t give criminals places to lurk or hide around your properties, where they won’t be seen from the street. To make spaces safe, remove obstructions from entrances to the property (both front and back) such as large shrubs or high, unruly hedges.

Put Managers or Guards on Site

If you own a large complex of properties, such as unit blocks of 25-plus apartments, retirement villages or the like, you may want to consider putting managers on site or arranging for security guards to patrol each day. You need to have enough properties to make this kind of expense worthwhile, and/or have your properties located in exclusive, high-value areas where your rental fees are high. These options do certainly help to make tenants feel much safer though and deter criminal activities because it’s obvious someone is always monitoring the premises.

 

How To Shop For And Maintain The Best Tools For Your Home Improvement Projects

How To Shop For And Maintain The Best Tools For Your Home Improvement Projects

Your home is basically an investment, and a valuable one at that. It provides you and your family shelter from the elements and it also keeps you safe from any risks. Come to think of it, having a home is no doubt important to pursuing a lifestyle that’s free from any threats.

Still, like any other investment, your home has to be kept in the best possible condition so as to ensure the utmost security and protection. In this sense, home improvement projects are crucial to maintaining your property and increasing its longevity.

For sure, you will need to invest a ton of time, resources, and effort, which can be tedious at times. But one thing’s for sure, with proper preparation, you will be able to ace your home improvement projects with ease. This should also involve having the right tools that will make the work faster and easier on your end.

Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the right equipment and tools for your home improvement projects. 

Know What Projects To Accomplish

Before anything else, you will need to determine the types of projects you should be doing. From doing a bit of landscaping to improving the insulation for your attic and basement before the winter season arrives, you should be able to know the specific activities you will have to handle so you can shop for the tools you actually need.

The best way you can go about this is to anticipate. For sure, anything can happen to your home under your possession, so you will have to foresee any possible issues that are worth addressing. Here are a few of them.

Winterizing

If you happen to live in an area with subarctic conditions, expect the winters to be very unforgiving to your home. That being said, you should be able to focus more on materials you need based on local conditions. You will have to choose a good quality sealant and, of course, weatherstripping materials that will protect your home from the chilly drafts.

Upgrading your kitchen

The kitchen has to be one of the most important areas of your home. And if you’re looking to build additions to your kitchen as part of your plan for better home renovations, you will have choose the right carpentry tools for the job. That being said, make sure that you have everything you need to build new counters and cabinets.

Plumbing

A great home is best complemented by an effective plumbing system. Your home has to have an efficient way of distributing water and getting rid of waste via the community sewage system. For this reason, you will have to focus on purchasing good quality wrenches, sealants, and tapes that you will be using to fix broken pipes and faucets.

Landscaping

Another home improvement project you should be doing is landscaping, which technically involves more than just rakes and hoses. In fact, when it comes to planting new shrubs and bushes or reorganizing your patio, having the right tools at hand can help you a lot.

Dealing with smaller repairs

Simpler things such as broken hinges and chipped paint are easily neglected. Still, it’s important that you fix these issues before they get more complicated or difficult to repair. For this reason, you still need to have the right hand tools to help you with minor repairs you can do yourself, such as screwdrivers and pliers.

Consider Your Budget

One thing’s for sure, you will need to plan out your budget before you proceed with shopping for the tools you are looking for. For this, you will have to include new purchases in your home maintenance budget. Along these lines, you will have to make sure you have enough money to buy the things you need around the house. Otherwise, you may want to adjust your buying preferences so you can work within your budget. 

Build Your Toolbox

Once you already know how much you have in terms of cash, you will need to plan out your inventory of home improvement tools. For this, simply take a look at your toolbox and see if you have any of the basic essentials, and take stock of what’s missing. Now, you may as well be tempted to buy the latest tools, but you will have to make sure that the tools you’re buying serve a practical purpose. Maybe that expensive power drill you found on sale isn’t something you need at the moment and you might want pass on buying it until you truly need it. However, while building your toolbox, you may want to assess the integrity of the tools you currently have. If anything is damaged, rusty, or dilapidated, then you may as well opt to replace them with new tools. 

Observe Proper Handling And Care

Often, you are forced to buy new tools simply because the current ones have not been cared for properly. In this case, you will have to be more serious when handling your tools. Storing them in the proper places away from hazards such as an open flame or direct sunlight is the most basic thing you can do. You also need to prevent rusting by giving each tool a well-deserved wipe with a cloth.

Shop At Trusted Brands

It may seem practical to opt for cheaper and generic brands when it comes to shopping for new tools. The problem with this, however, is the fact that these tools can get damaged or rendered unusable shortly after you buy them. As a good rule of thumb, it’s important to invest in tools from quality brands. It may cost you more in the beginning, but at least you won’t have to replace your tools very often. You can only imagine how much money you’ll be saving when you opt for tools with better longevity. 

Ask For Hand-Me-Downs

If you know someone who has tools to give away, then consider yourself lucky. Most people won’t even think of throwing away old tools to make room for new ones. Most of them would instead prefer donating to a neighbor or the community in general. That being said, you may as well ask friends and family members if they have used tools you can adopt for your home improvement projects. 

Search Online

Using the internet, it’s fairly easy to find power tools and other equipment with marked down prices. You only have to look in online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, where you can find a great deal of tools for the best deals. One problem with this is that you’ll risk receiving a bad shipment. Still, with a little insider knowledge and experience in online buying, you can find tools without having to worry about a thing.

 Consider The Time Of Year

When you’re out looking for the best tools you can use at home, it’s crucial to be in the right place at the right time. For this reason, it’s important that you buy in-season, especially during the holidays when hardware stores offer marked down prices. That being said, you should be able to shop throughout this period, starting from autumn. One thing’s for sure, starting early can help you make the most out of your home maintenance budget.

By using these tips, you should be able to find a good set of tools that will definitely make your home maintenance much less of a hassle.

 

The Hottest Trend Of 2019: Nordic Minimalism Explained

 

The world seems to become more stressful. However, there is one trend that is creating a sanctuary in homes all around the world. That trend, Nordic Minimalism, is highlighted by the use of stress-less furniture featuring Scandinavian Design.

alexander-pemberton-95212-unsplashWhat is Scandinavian design?

Scandinavian design emerged in the middle of the 20th century by the Scandinavian countries. This type of furniture was known for its minimalist, functional and simple design. This type of design was featured mostly with residential furniture including chairs, recliners, sofas and tables. While this trend has existed for the last 70 years, it is only recently that Scandinavian design has taken the world by storm.

Stress-less Furniture at the centerpiece of Nordic Minimalism

People seem to be overwhelmed with the number of products and purchases that they have in their life. Nordic Minimalism is an answer to the hoarding of the material. With Nordic Minimalism, people are taught to only own the things that they use every day. And that includes simple stress-less furniture that is designed to make people feel good while taking up a minimal amount of space.

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Examples of Stress-less Furniture

There are currently a number of companies that make and sale stress-less furniture. European Leather Gallery being one of the largest in the United Sates. The prices of these stress-less furniture pieces cost about $2,600 for leather recliners, $3,000 for sofas and about $800 for chairs. Stress-less furniture can be made from fabric or leather with wood gain accents. Stress-less furniture is designed and styled in Scandinavian countries and available for sale all around the world.

Stress-less Furniture is Growing

While many people have not heard of stress-less furniture, there has been enough of a growth in this trend to have large investors take notice. Recently, a top Chinese investment company put a $630 million dollar bid for Scandinavian furniture maker Ekornes. That is on top of the fact that the biggest seller of Scandinavian furniture, IKEA, has been selling stress-less furniture for decades.

How to Get Started with Nordic Minimalism

The best way to get started with Nordic Minimalism is to begin to de-clutter unnecessary things in your life. Once you have gotten rid of the things you do not use every day, you can begin to introduce stress-less furniture into your life. One thing to consider is how you will use the furniture every day. For instance, if you like to have guest over, consider a Scandinavian sofa. If your life to read or watch TV, then consider a recliner. As the world become more crowded and complicated, Nordic Minimalism will seek to bring clarity and simplicity to those who seek it.

 

 

Smart Ways to Plan for a Major Renovation

 

There are many reasons why a renovation is exactly what you need. The right improvement and changes made around the house can greatly affect the property’s comfort level, ambiance, and even value. In many cases, a major renovation is also needed because of structural damage or problems that need to be solved.

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Unlike smaller remodeling projects, a major renovation is trickier to deal with. There are more factors to consider and things to prepare in order to have a smooth and efficient renovation project. To help you get started, we are going to focus on how you can plan better for a major renovation in this article.

 

List the Necessary Changes

 

You should always do a thorough inspection – well, have professionals do the inspection – before planning a major renovation project. The inspection will reveal issues around the house, giving you the opportunity to add fixing those issues to the plan.

The inspection should cover everything from top to bottom. You need to know if there are leaks and moisture affecting the walls, whether you have roofing problems to deal with, and even if there is wirings or fixtures that need to be replaced around the house.

After the inspection, compile a list of all the things you need to do. The list is your guideline when you are trying to plan for the project. Divide them based on areas and start working on a renovation plan. Prioritize tasks and organize them accordingly.

 

Prepare for the Worst

 

Even when you have a complete list of things to do, there are still additional things to prepare before you can have a truly smooth and uninterrupted project. At this point, you want to start interviewing contractors and finding a good one to work with for the renovation project.

Depending on the size of the contractor and the tasks in hand, you may need to schedule the renovation to be done in stages, tackling one room or area of the house at a time. This will allow you to keep the house usable for the duration of the project.

You also need to tackle details such as preparing additional restrooms for the workers or replacement restrooms for when your main bathroom is being renovated. You can now have Satellite handle everything from setting up portable restrooms all the way to keeping them clean using Satelite Industries deodorizers for maximum convenience.

 

Plan Your Deliveries

 

One last challenge to tackle is the delivery of materials. Essential materials must be available on the site for the renovation project to continue smoothly. This is often easier said than done, especially when you have multiple suppliers to work with.

Worry not because careful planning is how you overcome this challenge. Work with your contractor and create estimates on when each set of materials is needed. Schedule the delivery of the materials early by one or two days. You can keep the project running smoothly without filling your house with piles of materials this way.

Careful planning is how you have a smooth renovation project. Don’t hesitate to go into detail and to anticipate everything as you plan for your own major renovation. The better you plan, the easier it will be to manage the project.

 

Hybrid Flooring – The Best of Both Worlds

 

Flooring has to endure continuous punishment, exposed to just about everything under the sun and while there are numerous materials we can use, they all have their weakness. Hardwood flooring ticks just about every box, yet the cost makes it prohibitive for most people, plus it takes some tender loving care to keep its lustre, stone is nice, although it has than inert coldness and again, is expensive. We’ve had vinyl for many years, which does give you an incredibly durable floor and let’s not forget laminate – a cost effective alternative to timber or stone – but if you would like the ultimate in flooring, look no further that hybrid flooring.

Laminate and Vinyl Combined

These two materials can now be combined to provide a flooring surface that is 100% waterproof – you can soak it in water and it will not swell – add to that the fact that hybrid flooring is easy to clean and can be laid on any substrate.  The union of the durability of laminate and the appeal of luxury vinyl creates a durable, scratch resistant surface that does not warp or bend and with stunning timber and stone finishes in just about every shade, you have the perfect low-cost flooring that gives you everything you need and will always remain in tip-top condition.

Silent Underfoot

Hybrid flooring is silent underfoot and has a warm feeling to it, similar to hardwood, yet it does not move regardless of the temperature. There is a thin layer of cork on the underside of the plank, hence the silence and warmth. The extruded core is made from bamboo dust and recycled wood, with added limestone and PVC, giving the very best properties, and the low cost makes it extremely attractive to Australian homeowners.

Professional Application

Installing hybrid flooring demands a professional approach and you are best advised to buy from an established supplier who would specialise in hybrid flooring. You might be wondering how to source such a company, yet Google comes to the rescue yet again by taking you to the market leader in composite flooring, who can quote you for your needs.

A Waterproof Surface

Ideal for kitchens, hybrid flooring is 100% resistant to water and is easy to keep clean, which is why this unique flooring will very soon become the most popular flooring solution. When you factor in the amazing durability and low cost, it really does wipe the floor with any other flooring material and with so many different finishes, timber grain and marble are both possible.

Hybrid Properties

The quality of the timber grain finishes is stunning – in fact, they are high resolution digital images that are laid under the protective membrane, with exquisite marble and granite finishes also on offer. If you are planning to refloor your property or are about to build, you really should look into hybrid flooring, as it offers a multitude of benefits for a very low cost.

 

How To Remodel Your Home Beautifully Starting With Your Roof

How To Remodel Your Home Beautifully Starting With Your Roof

 

Upgrading your home? Start it with professional roofing services. There are a lot of factors to consider when remodeling your home with a roof contractor such as the coverage and cost of service. Trusted roof contractors can help you assess which roofing services need to be done and will guide you through the entire process.

Remodeling your home is a complicated task, but with the help of the right roofing contractors, your roof will can maintain its sturdiness and lasting value, even be up to date in style. It doesn’t have to cost much when you know you have the right figures in your mind and you’ve had enough time to save up for it. In order for you to achieve this, it is recommended to follow these guidelines in remodeling your home starting with your roof:

 

1. Call a Good Roof Contractor

 

Hiring a licensed professional is very important. There are instances in which homeowners may want to do it by themselves in order to save money, but roof remodeling is too critical to be done by someone who is not an expert. Call a roof good contractor who provides an honest quote on roofing services, so you can determine the cost beforehand.

 

2. Select a Practical Roof Look and Style

 

Keeping up with the latest trends in terms of architectural designs can be quite daunting. It is necessary to be practical in pursuing a certain remodeling idea. You must think through that an average roof makes up 40% of a home’s exterior, if you want it to look good.

 

3. Consider the Size of Your House

 

The size of your house will play a big role in the overall pricing of your roof remodeling.  If you’re following a strict budget, you may negotiate with your roof contractor on the most crucial items that need to be done and save upgrading to a modern design for later when you have sufficient funds. You may also ask to pay in installments.

 

4. Choose the Best Period to Remodel Your Home

 

Temperature affects pricing, so choose the best period which would be in early spring or fall to remodel your home. Make sure to book ahead as these are usually peak seasons for roofing services to be executed.

 

5. Pick Good Quality Materials

 

Aside from considering the look and style of your house, you need good quality raw materials to begin roof replacement. Ask your roof contractor about this and set a budget for cost of materials, so you don’t go overboard on spending.

Moreover, the materials chosen would depend on the style of your roof, so you need to be careful.

The condition of your roof all depends on the performance of your roof contractor and the decisions you make as a homeowner. Make a wise decision in home remodeling today by setting a budget and choosing an approved and preferred roof contractor.

 

4 Instant Hacks To Make Your Home Sell Faster

 

They say that the average amount of time to sell a home is ten weeks, but for many of us this goes on for a lot longer. Unfortunately, statistics seldom help us when it comes to the property market and what happens for one seller, certainly isn’t guaranteed to occur for another. There are simply too many variables.

Following on from the above, we cannot claim to have all of the answers when it comes to selling your new home. What we do have are some tried-and-tested methods to help you along your way and through the course of today’s post, we will take a look at some of these methods in further detail.

Inflate the size (artificially, of course)

Don’t worry, this first tip isn’t about paying for a brand-new extension. This guide is all about quick hacks after all, and this first one involves making your room at least appear larger than it really is to the naked eye.

There are various ways to trick the eye, and one of these involves manipulating light. For example, mirrors can make a room immediately appear significantly bigger than it is, and the effect is multiplied in a smaller room.

Lights have the same effect. If you have any dark corners of a room, try some Pagazzi lighting to brighten things up. In a flash, the area will appear more spacious.

The small fixes all add up

A broken door handle here, a bit of peeling plaster there. In isolation, they really don’t mean much. However, as soon as a prospective buyer wanders around your property, they start to set eyes on them and the dollar signs start to add up. They will look for more problems, regardless of their severity, and they’ll quickly realize that your home isn’t quite as spruced up as it might have appeared in the real estate brochure.

The solution? Make all of these little fixes. They won’t cost you a small fortune, but they will save potential buyers a lot of time and make them more inclined to make an offer.

Work on the curb appeal

Curb appeal is perhaps the biggest buzz phrase in real estate now, but it’s for good reason. As we have been taught for a number of years, first impressions are made within the first few seconds. As such, if the front of your home doesn’t look inviting, you’ve just ruined someone’s first impression and made them less likely to pursue the property.

As such, work on the front door, garden and anything else you can spot from the outside. It will make a monumental difference to opinions.

Let the estate agent do their job

One common mistake that eager sellers make is trying to jump in and run proceedings as soon as someone comes to visit their property. Instead, take a step back, and let the estate agent do their job. Chances are, some tricky questions might come their way, and they know exactly how to handle them. Just remember, if you say the wrong thing, you can turn a “maybe” into a “no” quite quickly in the property game.

 

5 Reasons to Install a Home Heat Recovery System

 

When you’re looking for the next great idea as a homeowner, why not think about a home heat recovery system? It’s compact, energy efficient, and saves you money on your heating. Here are five excellent reasons to consider buying a heat recovery system today.

 

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1.      Low Noise Factor

 

The operations of a home heat recovery unit are surprisingly low. This is because the system runs in the background quietly extracting small amounts of stale air. It pulls in air from outside the home and runs it through some filters. But this again isn’t a noisy process. Unlike older AC units which can make a racket, you usually won’t know a heat recovery unit is turned on.

You can look for more information to confirm what the best brands are and why a professional installation is so important.

 

2.      Long Ownership Period

 

A home heat recovery unit works well for many years. There are also the ducts which have little to prevent them from operating successfully for half a decade or longer. Getting quality brands is important to increase the durability. Once that’s accomplished, it’s all about having basic maintenance performed to ensure the system runs at peak efficiency. This keeps the annual ownership costs down by helping it to operate for longer.
 

3.      Better for Allergy Sufferers

 

When using an AC unit, the air in the room isn’t being effectively cleaned. If the filters inside the AC unit haven’t been replaced recently, then the air quality will actually be getting worse. There have been cases of Legionnaire’s disease because AC filters weren’t swapped out.

With a heat recovery system, air is regularly replaced with filtered air from outside the home. This way, low-quality air is not allowed to linger. The effective filtering ensures allergy sufferers don’t have the usual itchy nose or breathing difficulties.

 

4.      Reduces the Heating Bill

 

Heat that’s collected and redistributed, infused into clean air and distributed to other rooms means the home doesn’t have to be heated room-by-room. It’s more evenly spread around. You won’t find yourself turning up the heating in rooms that you spend time later in the day when the sun is setting, and the temperature is falling outside. This contributes to a low energy bill which is most welcome.
 

5.      Less Times That You’re Sick

 

Damp rooms that aren’t regularly heated because they’re left unoccupied most days develop conditions where bacteria can flourish. Long-term issues with too much moisture in the air can affect the lungs and lead to a chest infection or a worsening of a chronic illnesses like asthma.

When the air is filtered and replaced regularly, and warmth is redistributed into the lesser used rooms, dampness is avoided. So too are a host of related problems that can be a danger to health. Therefore, a heat recovery system definitely has unseen health benefits.

With the reasons outlined above in mind, why not contact a heat recovery system contractor today?

 

3 DIY Solutions to Upgrading Your Home On A Budget

3 DIY Solutions to Upgrading Your Home On A Budget

 

For thousands of Americans, the amount spent on home improvement projects ranges anywhere between $5,000 – $18,000. However, if you plan to Do-It-Yourself, you can transform your home into a mini paradise with just a fraction of the cost to hire an interior designer. Whether you have just moved into a new home or are looking to spice up the aged design, check out these 3 DIY solutions to upgrading your home on a budget.

Create the illusion of a bigger room

Paint is one of the most important aspects of interior design. The color scheme of your walls could be the difference between boring and exciting. In addition, paint is rather cheap and currently, there are hundreds of colors to choose from. For smaller rooms, it is advised that one should use softer and lighter colors. You can also experiment with different colors on different walls in a room.

According to this interior design firm in Orange County, CA the mirror should not reflect anything unpleasant or another mirror as this could make them totally spoil the design of your home. Decorative mirrors are also great for smaller rooms. Their reflection makes the room look much more spacious. This has been proven to create the illusion of a bigger room.

Optimize space

One of the greatest mistakes that most people make is having too many things in one room or in a small space. Clutter is the main reason that most houses seem poorly designed. That does not mean that you have to go minimalist and ditch half of your belongings. You can use well-designed shelves to store away things that are not complementary to the general design of the house.

One smart idea that is gaining traction is the using of old items for unique creations. You can hang old cutlery from the ceiling to create a beautiful art scheme. What about repainting and remodeling your old furniture? The most important thing to remember is that you should not overdo the design. Small changes can make huge differences.

Go Eco-Friendly

With everything going green, why not do the same to your home? Besides the already well known environmental and possibly health benefits plants have, they can also transform your home’s interior design. What is more is that plants come in different colors. You can get some green plants or yellow and orange flowers. The options are unlimited.

Plants are known to add color and texture to the design of the room. In addition, plants give you the option of playing around with vases of different colors, shapes and sizes giving your home that edgy look.

With the tips mentioned, you can cost-effectively transform your house into a masterpiece. Find a design you like and use it to meet your taste. The rule of the thumb is to never overdo a design but also never limit your creativity.

 

Funding Solutions When Remodeling Your Home

Funding Solutions When Remodeling Your Home

 

The average expense for multiple room renovations in the US ranges from $17,000 – $63,000, and homeowners are spending more and more each year. It’s the harsh reality that, before you’ve even begun your home improvements, you may find out that you’ve not quite got the funds; and on top of that there are hidden expenses of remodeling that haven’t even been budgeted for in the initial planning. Whether your project involves a complete redecoration to bring your house back to the 21st century, or just installing a new bathroom, funding always seems to come up as a barrier to realizing your ideal remodeling project. But, no matter the scale, there are funding solutions that can keep your plans on track and on budget without having to sacrifice your vision for the perfect home remodeling.

Secure your finances early with mortgages or loans

Most homeowners need to consider whether to go with mortgage or loan solutions when renovating their property. A home equity loan is one of the more common solutions to funding your home improvements as it offers a lower interest rate and larger available funds than a personal loan; however, it does involve a fixed payment plan. Some consider refinancing their mortgage instead if they know they will be able to pay it back over time and might get a lower interest rate in the process. However, a reverse-mortgage should also be considered if you are over the age of 62. These are based on just a percentage of the equity of your property and aren’t required to be repaid until the property is sold of you have moved out; making reverse-mortgages the most secure finance solution for remodeling your home.

Use cash assets and do-it-yourself for smaller aspects of the project

As cash doesn’t involve interest rates, it is best to pay with cash for the much smaller aspects of your home improvements such as buying the odd piece of material from the DIY store. And of course, where possible, do-it-yourself! DIY is all part of the fun and will save you on labor when it comes to smaller tasks such as painting walls, nailing in the skirting boards, and putting up shelves or small units. Save where possible, get stuck in when you can, and the positive effects on your budget will really show.

When it comes to remodeling your home, you don’t have to let your finances get on top of you. Early planning and secure budgeting solutions such as taking out a reverse-mortgage and knowing which aspects of the renovations can have cash assets spent on them will make all the difference. Then, you will be well on your way to realizing your dream home remodeling project, no matter the scale or budget.

 

Tips For Buying A Fence

 

Boost your home’s curb appeal with a fence that’s perfectly suited to your property. One of the great features about fences is the beauty they can add to a home. Whether you’re talking about a white picket fence around a charming cottage or a privacy fence surrounding the backyard, fences can create a real wow factor.

If you’re in the market for one, consider some of the best and most attractive fence styles available today:

Wood:

A long-beloved fence style, wood fencing is popular for a reason. Available in many grades, species and styles, wood fencing opens a world of possibilities for completing your property. From the durable, lightweight quality of cedar to the modern look of wood fences made of horizontally fixed planks, you can choose just the right design to fit your home.

Vinyl:

When you want a fence that looks like wood but is even more durable and easy to maintain, a vinyl fence is the answer. Today’s vinyl fences are resilient against inclement weather, so you can count on them to last well into the future. Likewise, they come in all kinds of designs, from picket fencing to semi-privacy fencing.

Chain link:

What’s great about chain link fences is their affordability and convenience. Use these fences when you want to protect pets, add security or otherwise contain an area with a no-frills fencing option. You can also dress up chain link with plants or climbing vines to make it look more eye-catching.

Ornamental:

Available in steel, aluminum and wrought iron, ornamental fences can create an upscale look that highlights quality architecture and adds value to a property. Shop different ornamental designs to find one that befits your home.

When you’re planning to invest in a new fencing structure for your home, evaluating the fencing types and materials is worth the effort. Likewise, in addition to exploring designs, put a little time into goals, contractors, samples and more. Check out the infographic below for more information on how to pick the right fence for you.

 

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Dean White Bio

Dean White is owner and operator of Peerless Fence, one of the largest fence companies in northern Illinois. He has more than 30 years of experience in the fence industry. Peerless Fence uses its size, expertise and quality products to provide a superior product and service compared to its competitors.

 

What’s So Special About Saltwater Pools?

Whats So Special About Saltwater Pools

Saltwater pools are gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional chlorine pools. Saltwater pool owners enjoy key benefits, but it’s important to learn what you’re in for before deciding on the right type of pool for your home.

Here, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions about saltwater pools, and weigh the pros and cons of saltwater pools over traditional pools.

The Basics

In a traditional pool, the chlorine level is maintained by periodically adding chlorine to the pool. However, a saltwater pool generates salt chlorine from added salt by the process of chemical electrolysis, using a salt chlorine generator. This highlights an important fact: a saltwater pool is a chlorine pool, it simply uses an alternate means of chlorination. That being said, a saltwater pool’s chlorine content tends to be much lower than that of a traditional pool. The significantly lower chlorine content in a saltwater pool is much gentler on the skin, hair, and eyes.

 

But, What is a Salt Chlorine Generator?

A salt chlorine generator is a metal cell that carries a low voltage electrical current. The generator is installed inline the pool’s existing pump system so the water is pumped through the generator before being returned to the pool. As the water passes through the metal cell, the current splits the salt into water and hypochlorous acid, which provides the disinfecting function normally achieved by adding chlorine.

A saltwater generator creates salt chlorine from simple table salt (NaCl), eliminating the need to handle chlorine. Because the chemical electrolysis converts the salt back and forth between salt and salt chlorine, and because salt does not evaporate (unlike chlorine), there is a reduced need to replenish the pool’s chlorine content. Still, the chlorine content of a saltwater pool must be monitored and salt must be added, as appropriate, to maintain safe levels.

 

Is It Like Swimming in The Ocean?

Note quite. The salinity of a saltwater pool is about one-tenth that of seawater. In fact, a saltwater pool is less salty than human tears. In the ocean, it’s easier to float on your back due to the added buoyancy of the salt. Saltwater pools don’t provide the effect quite as well.

The reduced salt of a saltwater pool in comparison with the ocean has a few benefits. You won‘t feel the “salty” feeling on your skin and hair quite as intensely after drying off. A pool’s water also does not sting your eyes in the same way ocean water will.

 

How Do I Convert My Pool?

Converting a traditional chlorine pool to a saltwater pool is fairly easy, but can be expensive. First, you would need to determine what size pool you have and install a salt chlorine generator capable of handling the volume. Salt chlorine generators range in cost from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. If you are not completely confident in your understanding of the system, you might also want to high a professional to do the installation so as to avoid damage to your equipment. It’s also important to not that the salt chlorine generator will need to be replaced every few years.

Then, you need to determine how much salt your pool needs. Pool salt test strips can tell you your pool’s existing salt level so you can accurately determine how much you need to add. Again, a saltwater pool uses simple table salt which should be easy to find. After you add the salt, you should run the pump (but NOT the salt chlorine generator), for 24 hours to allow the salt to evenly mix with the pool water. After that, you should test the water for appropriate salt, free chlorine, pH, cyanuric acid, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness, before running the salt chlorine generator. This process is referred to as “balancing the pool water.”

 

Are Saltwater Pools Low Maintenance?

Again, we’re here to debunk a common misconception. While saltwater pools require reduced maintenance steps, the water must still be routinely tested and adjusted to maintain proper sanitation. The salt chlorine generator cell must also be inspected at regular intervals for buildup and debris. Calcium buildup is a common issue in salt chlorine generators.

 

Is It Worth It?

The general consensus has been that the benefits of a saltwater pool far outweigh the negatives. The popularity of saltwater pools is on the rise as people appreciate the improved swimming experience:

  • The low salinity of the water means that very little salt remains on the skin.
  • The significantly lower chlorine level gives the water a softer feel, and is gentler on skin, hair, eyes, and even clothing.
  • Not having to physically handle toxic liquid chlorine or tablets has also been a big selling point among pool owners. Owners also appreciate the savings from no longer needing to purchase chlorine.
  • Also, there is generally less loss of chlorine to the environment with a saltwater pool than there is in a traditional pool.
  • Restoring a saltwater pool’s chlorine level can be as easy as simply adding some table salt.

 

While the benefits of saltwater pools are clear, it’s important for a potential owner to know the facts about what they are and what they are not:

  • A saltwater pool is not quite like the ocean. The salinity of a saltwater pool is far lower than that of seawater.
  • Installing a saltwater pool requires a higher initial investment, and fixing any broken equipment can be more expensive.
  • A saltwater pool is not low maintenance. Maintaining a sanitary saltwater pool requires consistency and attention to detail. All other parameters required for a safe pool still need maintenance.
  • Since a saltwater pool simply employs an alternate means of chlorination, many of the same issues that come up with a traditional pool will persist with a saltwater pool.
  • Salt can be corrosive to equipment surrounding your pool.

 

About the author:

Jason Caldwell is a Seattle-based writer and contributor to lifestyle blogs and magazines. His clients include An online swimming pools supply company. When he’s not running up against a deadline, he enjoys planning DIY projects and cooking for his family.

 

 

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Best Remodeling Ideas for Your New Home

 

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Our house is our castle, but after a few years even the most amazing castle becomes redundant in appearance. Looking at the same painted walls, carpet or furniture may feel tired…and boring. Every home needs a facelift eventually, but sprucing up your sanctuary doesn’t have to be budget ending.

Remodeling means different things to every homeowner. While a remodel may be as drastic as adding on a new wing to a home, the renovation process may be as subtle as a new coat of paint. No matter how extreme or conservative your plan, the choice to remodel is one that every homeowner considers during their residency. Taking the big leap doesn’t have to be scary, though, because you can take baby steps toward that final vision of home perfection.

Ready to give your castle a facelift? Check out these home remodeling ideas that can take a boring blah space into a modern masterpiece!

A Sweep of Color

If a room’s walls have been the same color for years—or maybe decades—it’s time to consider a new look or hue. You don’t have to go crazy with color palettes, but adventure is good…in the realm of color. The beauty of paint is that it can be changed if the color doesn’t flatter the room or your end design. Of course, you should swatch a color first and see if that hue is the one that screams décor perfection. However, if a room is small, don’t pick a dark shade…otherwise you will make the room look even smaller. You also can add interest to walls by using different textures of paint.

 

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New Fixes for Old Fixtures

If overhead lighting, lamps or other household fixtures in a room look dated and old, switch them out. Choose a bold new chandelier to hang in the middle of a great room or head to an antique shop to discover amazing vintage lamps and other treasures. New fixtures also can transform old bathrooms in an instant. Select fun and funky faucets for a modern update or replace a tired old vanity with a pedestal sink and an antique mirror.

 

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Decorate with Greenery

Plants and flowers infuse oxygen and beauty into a room. Houseplants also provide an instant touch of style and interest without the work of intense remodeling. Before you start adding bouquets of fresh flowers or investing in plants for any room, be sure to figure out how much work each variety requires. Houseplants require upkeep…and some are more finicky than others. Succulents are often fairly low-key and can be used to create modern and inexpensive dish gardens on tabletops. Head to a local nursery for advice about what varieties will work best for your home and lifestyle.

Light it Up

Lighting can transform the room; softer bulbs provide a warm ambience. Don’t forget to use natural lighting to transform a room as well. A large picture window or a wall lined with multiple windows opens up a room. Use roller shades to easily cover and uncover large window spaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural glow. Flameless candles also may be set within an unused fireplace for a décor touch that combines form and function. When decorating with candles, mix up the sizes for a bouquet of candlelight. You also can gather a group of flameless (or real) candles alongside a bathtub for romantic ambience.

Most homeowners will consider remodeling to update their home’s appearance. But remodeling doesn’t necessarily mean major construction and never-ending mess. Giving your home a face lift can be as simple as a new color of paint, fun fixtures or updated lighting. Small changes can make a huge impact on the beauty of your home.

 

Authored by NYC Writer Maggie Baker

 

The Unknown Expenses Of Remodeling Your Home

Watch a few remodeling shows, and the idea of buying a fixer-upper suddenly seems like a great do-it-yourself project — you gain equity, get to customize everything to your tastes and, if everything goes well, wind up saving a chunk of money in the process.

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What could be better? Before you jump into the world of home renovations, do you truly have the budget you need to do it right? Like it or not, there are usually unexpected expenses in every remodeling project, even when you do a lot yourself and try to plan for everything. Whether you’re buying a property to remodel or looking to upgrade your current space, it’s important to keep in mind what costs can easily add up:

  1. Calling the Professionals: Sure, even the least handy homeowners can buy paint and start rolling, but when it comes to bigger projects like knocking down walls or replacing kitchen countertops, most people will need to hire a professional. Before you leap headfirst into a costly remodel, get quotes from various contractors to learn what it realistically costs to get the job done. “An important step to take when moving from the remodeling fantasy phase to reality is signing a fixed-cost agreement with your contractor,” says Lisa Kaplan Gordon at Houselogic. “The contract should include a detailed scope of work” so that you minimize the amount of miscommunications and extra costs. If, during this estimating process, you find you’re going to have to spend upward of $40,000 to gut and rehab the kitchen, for example, is it truly worth the expense? Will hiring still give you the remodeling savings you’d hoped for? If not, maybe you’re not ready to take the project on.
  2. Experiencing a Learning Curve: Unless you’re already a professional contractor, you can expect to deal with some kind of learning curve when you’re rehabbing parts of your home yourself. A lot of projects, from tearing down walls to adding an island, are harder than they appear. Maybe you will have no trouble mastering the new toilet installation or tile removal, or maybe it will take several tries and several return trips to the hardware store before you understand what you’re supposed to do. The extra time and products involved in teaching yourself new skills usually are not negligible, so make sure you factor them into your project remodeling costs.
  3. Dealing with Delays: No matter how well you plan the timeline for your project, you should always expect delays. “Remodeling projects can test patience to extreme levels,” says Brennan Windows. That’s why, “when you set a project timeline, [you should] tack on at least a few weeks to account for any delays from bad weather or product issues.” Unexpected problems with plumbing, your house’s structure, equipment damage, or a host of other things can all delay progress. Likewise, anything that you have to hire someone for, from an order of granite countertops to a plumbing project estimated to take three days, can wind up taking longer than you thought. These delays can up your project expenses, particularly if you’re under any kind of crunch with living arrangements or moving dates.
  4. Taking on Too Much: Generally speaking, there are some projects that most people can try — painting the walls, sanding cabinets, resurfacing floors — and some that require specialized skill. If you bite off more than you can chew, you can bet you’ll spend more than you bargained for. Whether you have to hire someone to fix your mistakes or just end up paying twice for equipment and supplies, taking on more than you’re qualified to handle usually won’t save you money in the long run.

If, after considering the unexpected expenses of a home remodeling project, you still want to take it on, there is good news for you: “research shows that kitchen remodeling can increase the value of your home by 10 to 15 percent,” according to Kendra Y. Mims at SheKnows Media, “and remodeling other rooms can also increase home value.” In other words, there’s a lot of potential gain from a remodeling project that goes right.

In order to make the most of your efforts, always weigh the investment against the potential increase in value. If you know remodeling the kitchen can boost your home value by $20,000, for example, spending less than that to remodel — whether on your own or with professionals — is a much easier choice to make. Though whatever you decide, go into the project with a cushion in your budget and your timeline, flexibility and an open mind.

 

Author Bio:

Mike Dulla is the president and founder of United Home Loans, which was founded in 2002. United Home Loans has been in business since 2002 and has closed over 10,000 loans with over $2.5 billion in total closed loan volume. Learn more about United Home Loans at http://www.uhloans.com.

5 Ways To Make Your New Home Green(er)

You’ve settled on a new home! Whether you’re building or buying, it’s a time of great excitement and hopes for the future. Acquiring a new home goes hand in hand with the desire to live a better lifestyle than before. For many new homeowners, this includes living more sustainably.

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Here are some top picks for eco-friendly improvements that you can incorporate into your new home. Or, if your home already has sustainable features, use them to make it even greener.

1. Insulate the basement.

Most contractors and homeowners now understand the value of wall and attic insulation. However, did you know that up to 40 percent of the heat loss in a building can take place through the basement? Many people, including contractors, are reluctant to insulate basements. This is because in the past, incorrectly installed basement insulation projects created serious moisture and mold issues in many homes. However, by using modern, approved methods for basement insulation, you can avoid these problems. A properly insulated basement not only reduces your energy bills, it also becomes more pleasant, usable space. Just be sure whoever installs your basement insulation is familiar with proper vapor barrier placement and other basement insulation best practices.

2. Make smart landscaping choices.

Good landscaping can make the difference between a good looking home and a stunning one, but it can also affect your eco footprint. Well-placed trees and shrubs can help reduce your energy bills by sheltering your home from summer heat and/or chilling winds. Planting native species that can handle the climate in your area with minimal care can reduce your water bill dramatically, as well as provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Plus, installing water conservation devices such as rain barrels or weather-smart irrigation controllers will also help save water and keep your yard looking great without spending a bundle on water.

3. Choose eco-friendly materials.

Whether you’re building a deck, replacing a floor, or choosing the perfect pavement for your new drive, don’t just choose the first material that strikes your fancy. Do your research and find out what materials may be available that will suit your needs with less impact on the environment. Consider locally made, recycled, reclaimed and natural materials. You may be surprised at how affordable and/or beautiful some of these can be.

4. Lighten your lighting.

Did you know that on average, Americans spend 14 percent of their household electricity dollars on lighting alone?  One of the best ways to shave your lighting costs is to build more daylighting into your home. Skylights and light tubes are easy to install and will pay for themselves over time.  If you are building new, be sure to orient your home and place your windows to take advantage of available sunlight.  Installing LED bulbs is another investment that will save you money over time. Also, be sure to put any exterior lighting on a timer or use motion sensor devices so that the lights will only be on when you need them.

5. Go green with solar.

Yes, it’s a big investment, but nothing displays your commitment to a green lifestyle like solar panels on your roof. A photovoltaic or solar hot water system will pay for itself in a few years. After that, it will provide you with free electricity or hot water for decades. With renewable energy incentives still in place in many areas, and creative financing for solar becoming more common, you might be surprised how affordable it can be, too.

Going green in your new home is not just the right thing to do; eco-friendly choices often are healthier for your family. They can improve your home’s appearance and comfort level, and, smart green choices can save you a lot of money in the long run. Go ahead — make your new home as green as can be.

 

Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, a Maryland based solar company. 

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Garage Remodeling: Hiring A Professional Or Doing It Yourself

When it comes to your garage, taking on a renovation project is more than a great way to update your home’s exterior — it’s a great way to add to its value. According to Remodeling Magazine, adding on a garage provides an average 69.3% return on investment for homeowners, and replacing the garage door can yield as much as 83.7% in resale value. That’s why the question is less about whether or not you should update your garage and more about how. So what is the best way to remodel your garage? Should you hire a professional to take on the project or should you go at it alone? Is updating the garage a good do-it-yourself project or is it best left to the professionals? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at the differences between these two options. When you’re trying to decide how to take on a garage project, here’s what you need to know:

1.     Hiring a Professional — More Convenience but More Costs

Hiring a professional to handle your garage renovation means putting the project in the hands of someone who specializes in the job. This gives you more confidence that the end result will meet your expectations and more convenience as you can leave the work to someone else. As Ann Reagan says at Porch.com, “If you don’t know a stud from a socket, hiring a professional is the way to go. Your contractor can handle all aspects of your garage remodeling project, hiring subcontractors as needed for things like plumbing and electrical.”  You won’t have to deal with the stress of learning new skills and potentially messing things up, and you’ll know everything from electrical work to wall demolition are done the way you want. Laura Gaskill of Houzz says, “Because of the precision required, installing a new garage door is best left to the pros. A professional will have the most experience at fitting and installing your garage door.”

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One disadvantage to hiring a professional is that it is usually more expensive. So if you think you are savvy enough to know how to take on this kind of project, you could save a bundle by skipping the costs of professional help. For some homeowners, the initial investment required to replace garage doors or make improvements to the garage space will be prohibitive and keep them from even starting the project to begin with.

2.     Doing It Yourself — More Work but More Savings 

Whether you’re already an experienced handyman or just interested in teaching yourself new skills, taking on a garage remodel yourself can be a highly profitable undertaking. You’ll cut costs, gain or improve your skills and, assuming that everything goes well, still wind up with an improvement you enjoy. Generally speaking, unless you’re a very seasoned DIYer, there are some tasks that you can assume will be too hard to tackle, however, like electrical work (which most building professionals call “the No. 1 no-go for homeowners to handle,” says HGTV), along with plumbing or removing insulation. That said, the less you spend on a renovation, the easier it is to recoup your costs, so doing work yourself can be highly advantageous.

Despite the potential savings, the problem with taking on a garage remodel is the same problem you’ll encounter with any home renovation you do yourself — the work takes a lot of skill, a lot of time and a lot of effort. What’s more, you will probably need to obtain particular permits, especially if you’re doing big projects, such as adding electrical wiring or knocking out walls. While contractors are adept at getting these permits, as well as knowing which ones are needed, amateurs can easily get stumped.

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to take on a home improvement project — whether it’s the garage, a bathroom or the kitchen — is a personal decision. The best answer will depend on how much you’re willing to do yourself, as well as how much you’re willing to outsource. In either case, upgrading your garage’s doors, floors, shelving or layout can be a wonderful investment, so evaluate how and when you’ll get started soon!

 

Author Bio

Vicki Clary is the Marketing Director for the semi homebuilder, Curtis Homes (http://www.curtishomes.com). For over 50 years, Curtis has been providing premium homes and townhomes for Southern Maryland Communities.

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