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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Simple Kitchen Makeovers

There is no need to replace your kitchen cabinets, if they are constructed from real wood. Most people love the idea of natural wood cabinets so instead of replacing them, why not consider updating them? Changing the hardware is a simple way to give your kitchen cabinets an updated look. There are countless styles and designs available, and most of them can be had at extremely fair prices.

Adding a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the appearance of your cabinets. It is simple enough to remove the cabinet doors and repaint them. Be sure to clean them properly beforehand. A light sanding will also help ensure that the new paint adheres properly. There are so many colors of paint to choose from. Consider using one of the antique finishes that have become so popular in recent times.

A quality countertop is another viable option for upgrading the appearance of your kitchen. A marble or granite countertop may seem like an expensive upgrade, but if you are selling your home this simple upgrade could close the deal for you. If you are not in a position to consider marble or granite, ceramic tile is the next best choice. The wonderful thing about using tile for a countertop is the freedom that you have with the design. Mosaic tiles have never been so popular, so don’t forget to let your artistic side run wild.

About Pergo Floors

Pergo Glueless Floors
The glueless floor is the easiest Pergo style to install, but it is also the priciest. The glueless floor is installed by an interlocking groove and tongue system. The edges of the floor pieces have a special sealant that keeps moisture from getting beneath the floor. All the tools you will need for the glueless Pergo floors installment are a hammer, a saw, tightening straps, and a tapping block. Glueless Pergo floors have an adhesive strip located on the bottom of the piece that will adhere to almost any sub floor, except carpeting. If you have confidence in your do-it-yourself skills and the room in your budget, these Pergo floors are perfect for you. You just need a basic knowledge of tools and measurements.

Pre-Glued Pergo Floors
This type of Pergo flooring has glue pre-applied to the tongue of each piece. You simply wet the tongue, and adhere it when the tongue turns lime green. This type of floor will probably take a little more expertise to install, but you do not have to guess where to apply the glue or hoe much glue to put on.

Add the Glue Yourself Laminate Floors
Out of all of the Pergo flooring options, this type is the least expensive. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult to install. If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you should be able to install it with few difficulties. You will need to know is how much glue to use and how to apply it. Also, you need to make sure the pieces are fitted securely together to prevent warping or gapping in the future. Do not use too little or too much glue on this type of Pergo floors. It could also be the cause of future problems.

Laundry Rooms

If you are lucky enough to have a large laundry room, you can install cabinetry that will hold all your laundry supplies, as well as household cleaning supplies, ironing board, iron, wrapping paper, ribbon, and crafts. A sink for cleaning hand-washables and a wood bar to hang your freshly ironed shirts are just some “perks” that can be added to your laundry room. A counter area for folding finished laundry also becomes a space for craft projects or a gift-wrap station. Utilizing front-loading washers and dryers allows a counter to be used on top of what would normally be wasted space.

If you have a small laundry room, you can still install upper wall cabinets over your washer and dryer. There are many gadgets on the market that you can utilize in a smaller laundry room such as wall-mounted, closeable clothing hangers; storage units that fit between a washer and dryer; and collapsible brackets, which allow you to have a counter for folding laundry, but which folds down when not in use.

With all the decorative baskets and hampers on the market today, keeping your laundry room neat and tidy doesn’t have to be a chore. Paint or wallpaper using light, bright colors will make for a cheery space. If the laundry room adjoins another public room, or can be seen from other rooms in your home, continue your decorating scheme through to the laundry room. Hang pictures or decorative accessories. If you have the room, use decorative containers to hold detergent and other cleaning supplies.

Install Ceramic Tile Backsplash

Gather your tools. When you install your ceramic tile backsplash, it is best to gather all the tools you will need in advance. You will need the tiles, a straight edge, a ceramic tile cutter, grout, adhesive, applicators, a pencil, and other materials. Gathering your tools before you start to install the backsplash will prevent you from needing to make a trip to the store while in the middle of the progress.

Cut the tiles. You may need to cut some of the ceramic tiles before you begin. It is best to cut the tiles before you begin assembling the ceramic backsplash because once you lay down the grout, you’ll want to put the tiles on it immediately. Use a ceramic tile cutter or a ceramic tile jig. When cutting, make sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes. Also learn how to use the equipment properly to prevent injury.

Install the ceramic tile backsplash. After making all the preparations you are finally ready to install the ceramic tile backsplash. First, you’ll want to turn the electricity off for any outlets that you are working near. If you accidentally put a tool into the sockets you could get electrocuted. Then, wash the wall thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Make sure the wall is completely dry before you go on to the next step. Next, spread the adhesive on the wall using an applicator. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, start laying down the tile. Start at the center of the design and work outward. Let the adhesive dry and then apply grout. Follow the mixing and application directions provided by the company that made the grout.

Furnace Humidifiers

Conditioning the amount of moisture in the air with a furnace humidifier is necessary for your family’s health. Dry air in your home can make your throat feel dry, and cause or aggravate respiratory ailments.

Inadequate humidification during cold weather is one of the major causes of respiratory infections. The heating seasons causes people to begin having repeated attacks of winter colds. Winter is blamed for these problems, but the actual cause is dryness, which develops in the membranes of the nose, throat and bronchial tubes. Relative humidity also has a significant effect on controlling the occurrence of airborne infections.

The one thing we can do about alleviating some of the discomfort of colds, dry noses and dehydrated skin is to install a humdifier in the home, where we spend most of our time. Actually, for many, dry air is an air-quality issue. Dry air promotes the growth of some bacteria, viruses and respiratory irritants that in sensitive individuals cause conditions worse than dry skin. Adequate moisture enables the body’s immune system to defend better against indoor respiratory pollutants and irritants.

Humidity in the home will affect your comfort. Since the air in your home is always trying to reach its saturation point, it will absorb water wherever it’s found, that means it is stealing moisture from the bodies of you and your children, your pets, your furniture and even your house plants. By giving up moisture to the air, your skin, throat and nasal passages dry out and crack leading to various physical discomfort. That’s why many doctors recommend furnace humidifiers for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Virtually everything in your home made from wood contains some moisture. As dry air sucks that moisture out, the wood shrinks and cracks. Hardwood floors separate at the seams, furniture shrinks and cracks, and doors warp and no longer fit their frames as the moisture is drawn off.

Also, perhaps the most annoying effect of dry indoor air is static shock. How many times have you shuffled across the carpet, only to be rudely surprised by the crackle of static as you reach for the light switch! It’s no fun when it happens to you, and even less so when you reach out and “zap” a loved one. With the capacity to hold a static charge up to 20,000 volts, your body can also wreak havoc on home computers and other sensitive electronic devices. By maintaining indoor relative humidity at 35 percent or higher with the use of a humidifier, static shocks are greatly reduced.

Yes! Proper relative humidity helps you save energy costs. Warm, humid summer air feels hotter than it actually is because of the moisture it contains. That same principle applies to your home in the winter. By keeping the relative humidity inside your home at an ideal level, you can turn your thermostat down a few degrees and still feel comfortable. Dialing down your thermostat just three degrees can reduce your heating bill by as much as 5%.

Roof Materials For Log Home

Laminated Fiberglass Shingles: Also called architectural or dimensional shingles, this shingle is still made from a mixture of asphalt and fiberglass, but is built much thicker, giving it a more three-dimensional look. Architectural shingles make the roof look more textured, are larger than a standard shingle, and come in an amazing variety of shapes. They are usually guaranteed for 40 years and could easily cost twice as much as standard asphalt shingles.

Metal Roof: Metal is one of the more sought-after roofing materials for log homes. Usually made of steel, aluminum or copper, the most commonly discussed metal roof is the standing seam – sometimes called vertical panel – roof. You can also get metal shingles that resemble cedar shakes, slate, or tile. There are several advantages to using a metal roof, not the least of which is its fire resistance. These roofs are also remarkably lightweight, and stand up to hurricane-force winds. This roof will generally cost about $100-$600 per 100 square feet (very big range of materials and composition). Life expectancy is anywhere from 30-50 years up to 100 years.

Cedar Shakes and Shingles: The difference between a Cedar Shake and a Shingle is that, generally, the shingle is sawn on both sides and the shake is hand-split on one (or both) sides. The shake tends to be thicker. Cedar looks picture-perfect when installed, and will age to a beautiful gray, given the right environmental conditions. However, it is prone to moss and mildew, and the shingles have been known to curl. To combat their inherent vulnerabilities, many brands are treated to prevent mildew, and others are treated for fire retardancy. The average life expectancy is about 25-30 years and could cost $400-500 per 100 square feet.

Concrete Tiles: You’ll find a lot of concrete roofs in Europe. Needless to say, they are incredibly durable and fire-resistant, and because concrete takes stain so well, you can find it in up to 50 colors. Of course, this is a hefty solution for a hefty home: figure out about 1000 pounds per 100 square feet. Concrete roof tiles come in several profiles, and have a life expectancy of about 80 years and can cost around $200-400 per 100 square feet. There will be extra expense for beefing up the rafter system to support the weight.

Clay Tiles: When you mention clay tiles, most of us think of the half-round shapes on Spanish Mission buildings. Think no more! Clay tiles are flat, interlocking, rectangular, slabs… and of course barrel-shaped. You can get them in solid colors or blends, textured or smooth. Figure about 1000 pounds per 100 square feet. They have a life expectancy of about 50 years, and can cost $400-$500 per 100 square feet.

Slate: Complex, durable, and beautiful, slate has a life expectancy of 60 -125 years, and more. Your standard slate is about 1/4″ thick. The slates are overlapped so that the bottom edge of the slate is actually covering two additional layers, and less than half of the slate is exposed. This standard thickness will weigh about 750 pounds per 100 square feet. Modern variations of slate roofs are: Rubber Slate (post-industrial waste) and Engineered Slate (marble dust and polyester resins). A real slate roof can cost up to $1000 per 100 square feet installed.

Air Duct Cleaning

The standard answer in this industry is as I mentioned above, every 3 to 5 years however, one must take several things in to consideration, a more frequent air duct cleaning should be performed if:

1) there are smokers in the house

2) there are shedding pets in the house

3) there has been recent remodeling work

4) there are numerous occupants in the home

5) you are not very tidy

6) the cold air return vents are located on the floors versus on the walls

7) you are moving into a new home

these are just a few of the reasons why one might consider a more frequent air duct cleaning schedule.

If you are unsure as to weather or not you are due for an air duct cleaning, I suggest that you remove one of the cold air registers in you home and have a look inside, If you don’t like what you see then hire an air duct cleaning company.

Install Laminate Floors

A level, no-bounce sub floor is the prime requirement for installation. If the sub floor is made of wood then it must be ensured that the moisture content there is not more than 12%. Moisture barrier is also not to be used over a wood sub floor or sub floor of wood product. Sub floors of other material should be necessarily dry before installation. While cutting planks, sawdust is created. This contains aluminum oxide that can scratch the floor. So, the planks should preferably be cut at a place away from the installation site.

Though essentially the installation guidelines of most manufacturers are the same, some fine differences exist regarding aspects such as gluing. One needs to be careful while following instructions. The tapping block can be used to get the planks together. The planks will go together easily if glued properly. In no case should the boards be banged together. Chipping or raising of edges may crop up in such cases.

A gap along the perimeter of the installation of a quarter inch should be accounted for. The floor should not be touching a wall, nor should it be too close to it. If the planks are installed parallel to incoming light it imparts greater aesthetic value. In narrow rooms, however, planks look better if installed parallel to longer walls, whatever direction the incoming light might happen to fall.

Simple Dining Chairs

Turn your chairs over, and you might notice that the fabric covering the chair is stapled in place. By removing the fabric, you’ve made the first step. This can be done by removing the staples, or by cutting the fabric around the staples.

Next, measure the dimensions of the chairs for the fabric to use as covering. When buying the fabric, choose a durable fabric that is relatively easy to clean. Also, make sure to leave at least an extra foot for each side of the chair. This ensures that there is enough fabric to fit over the padding and enough to be anchored to the bottom of the chair. It’s better to have too much than not enough. You can always trim the excess.

Choose padding that is durable as well. Foam padding works well. Most large fabric and craft specialty shops sell padding that is especially designed for upholstery. A little extra padding is a good idea for each of the chairs as well.

After buying the supplies (don’t forget to buy a staple gun and staples at the hardware store–a clerk should be able to help you find what you need), trace a pattern, using the chairs, on some good poster board. This pattern will be used to properly cut out the padding.

Using a pencil, and the pattern, trace a guide on the padding. As you cut the padding into the proper shape for placement on the chairs, it is a good idea to leave half an inch to an inch. When the fabric is pulled tight over the padding and chairs, the extra will ensure that the entire seat is covered.

Next, place the fabric, design side down, spread out on the floor. Place the padding in the middle of the fabric. Next, match the seats of the chairs to the padding. Bring up the sides, so that they are ready to be stapled to the underside of the chairs. The task can be made easier with help. Pull the fabric tight, but not so tight that there isn’t any give, and staple the fabric. Trim any excess fabric.

Selecting Right Kitchen Sink

There are so many styles of kitchen sinks to choose from today, from contemporary to rustic, in a large range of materials, colors and shapes.

Let us look at several kinds of kitchen sinks.

· Stainless steel – Popular choice for many homeowners. This material can go very well in a modern kitchen with clean lines. Stainless steel has the advantage of being easy to clean. Some disadvantages of this material is the fact that it can be easily dented and it can be noisy.

· Nickel, and Copper – Kitchen sinks can be made in other metals besides stainless steel. Metals sinks can be beautiful, but also more expensive. Nickel is the hardest of the two metals. At the current time copper is considered very popular. Copper requires no maintenance if it is a pure copper sink.

· Porcelain enamel on cast iron – This material is another popular choice for kitchen sinks because of its durability and it large range of quality, style, and colors. Porcelain enamel kitchen sinks usually last about 25 to 30 years or more. The surface of these type of kitchen sink is composed of ground glass melted and applied to the hot cast iron. This type of kitchen sink type is available for under mount, self-rimming, and tile-in installations. Because glass can easily break against this type of material it is necessary to use a sink mat.

There are five kinds of kitchen sink installation types that can used.

· Undermounted – The undermounted kitchen sink is attached underneath the countertop. This kitchen sink installation can be used to create a smooth look that is designed to blend with modern designs.

· Integral – This is where both the sink and countertop are made from one material. Therefore there are no noticeable seems on the surface. It is considered to be easy to maintain.

· Self-rimming – This type of kitchen sink has a rolled edge that is mounted over the countertop. This type of sink will look good with any type of kitchen design, from traditional to contemporary.

· Rimmed – Rimmed kitchen sinks are the most common and the least expensive type of kitchen sink. It can have many uses, but does not bring much in the way of style to a kitchen.