Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Measuring for Patio Furniture Covers

Patio furniture can be a very costly investment. The best way to protect your patio furniture and keep it looking new for years to come is to invest in quality patio furniture covers. Your furniture is exposed to all kinds of weather and can fade due to sunlight or mold and mildew from moisture. When shopping for patio furniture covers, make sure they are waterproof, have adequate venting for evaporation of any water that may get under the cover, and that they have straps or a draw string to secure to cover to the furniture in windy conditions.

When purchasing patio furniture covers, you want to select the smallest cover that will easily fit over the furniture. It should not be so snug that your tear the material when stretching it over the furniture. You do not want the cover so large that it creates pockets for standing water or it creates a ballooning effect in the wind. Follow the tips below to measure your sofas or chairs.

Veranda Patio Bench Cover, Pebble, Fits Bench Seats up to 50" Wide

Measure from the ground to the top of the highest point in the back of the chair or sofa to determine the height.
Measure the widest point of the chair or sofa to determine the width.
Measure from the rear side of the back rest cushion to the front of the seat cushion to determine the depth.
Also measure from the ground to the arm rest on the front of the chair or sofa. Combine this with the measurement of the height of the back of the chair and this will determine the slope.

When measuring a table and chair set for patio furniture covers, push the chairs against the table. Measure from the ground up to the highest point on a chair to determine the height. To determine the diameter, measure from the back of one chair to the back of another chair directly across from each other.

Take these measurements to the store and attempt to match the size of the covers you desire. Spending the time to get accurate measurements along with selecting heavy duty, quality patio furniture covers will protect your furniture and provide enjoyment for many years to come.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Plastic Adirondack Chairs - Extend Their Life

Adirondack chairs have been a staple on the American landscape for over a century. Since being invented by Thomas Lee in 1903, except for a short hiatus in the 1980s, these chairs have enhanced the appearance of many homeowners patios, porches, gardens and lawns. More recently, the concept has been greatly improved upon with the development of plastic Adirondack chairs. Like their wood counterparts, the high, angled back, sloping seat, and wide armrests are perfect for relaxing. Actually, the plastic versions can be made with more contour which provides greater comfort without the use of a cushion. However, unlike their counterparts, the plastic chairs will not rot, warp or splinter.

While the trend is green and many items made of plastic have become taboo, recycling of old plastic items has become the norm helping to ease the strain on the landfills thus protecting the environment. Many plastic Adirondack chairs are made of recycled plastic comprised of old milk jugs, sewer pipes (I hope they clean them good), exterior siding, and window frames. Thus you can add style to your patio or porch without sacrificing environmental friendliness.

ADAMS MFG CO 8370-23-3700 Clay Adirondack Chair

The purified high-density polyethylene plastic makes the chair hard, strong and in most cases is molded to resemble real wood slats. The chairs are then treated with ultra violet (UV) protection making them resistant to fading due to sunlight which allows them to maintain their color throughout the life of the chair. The chairs require little maintenance with the exception of an occasional cleaning that can be easily accomplished with a mild soap and water solution. They are also weather resistant which allows you to leave them outside year-round thus eliminating the need to move all you outside seating to storage when the seasons change.

Even though these chairs last for many years, they do not always endure the ever changing color trends that are part of your desired decor. Therefore, like their wooden counterparts, an occasional change in color becomes necessary. Up until recent years, painting plastics effectively was an almost impossible task. However, through the development of modern paint technology, your can now add a durable, long-lasting finish to most any plastic surface by following the few simple steps below.

Cape Cod Plastic Adirondack Chair - Cherrywood (Cherrywood) (40.5

Rinse the chairs first with a strong stream of water from a garden hose to remove any standing debris. Use any of the many ammonia-based cleaners and thoroughly wipe the surface to remove stubborn dirt or tree sap. When dry, lightly sand the chairs to ensure that you dull the glossy surface which will help the paint adhere to the plastic. Wipe the chairs with a tack cloth to remove any dust left behind from the sanding. Apply a light coat of paint formulated especially for plastic such as Krylon® Fusion for Plastic and be sure to carefully follow the directions on the can. Apply additional coats if necessary.

With the little effort exercised above, your plastic Adirondack chairs will once again be a beautiful addition to the decor of your porch, patio, garden or lawn thus extending their usefulness for many years to come.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Selecting Real Wood Flooring

Real Wood Flooring is the number one replacement flooring used by homeowners today. These floors will enhance the beauty of any home and are an outstanding long term investment. Wood flooring does not harbor mold, mildew, or other allergens like carpeting can so it is an excellent choice for persons prone to allergies. If your floors become scratched or begin to look dull, they can be sanded and refinished and will look new again at much less cost than replacing the flooring with other materials.

There are a couple of issues with real wood flooring that you should consider before you make the final decision to install these floors in your home. Wood floors are susceptible to warping, cupping or swelling when installed in damp areas such as bathrooms. So another flooring choice may be more logical in these areas. Also, real wood flooring should only be installed by an experienced carpenter. So unless you place yourself in this category it is best to leave the installation to professionals such as the ones at Atlanta Hardwood Flooring . Outside of these issues, real wood flooring is an excellent choice for your home and offers several styles and types for your considerations. As with most things, your budget will drive your choices. But whatever your budget, there is a product for you.

Your first decision will involve the grade of real wood flooring. First grade flooring is best and provides the most beautiful appearance. Of course, first grade flooring is the most expensive. Second grade flooring will have slight blemishes and imperfections but these do not affect the durability of the flooring. If you are okay with a little less perfect look, second grade flooring can be a more cost effective choice.

The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Hardwood Flooring: Everything You Need To Know To Install, Sand, And Finish Hardwood Flooring

Next, you will need to consider the type of wood. Real wood flooring comes in a variety of different types such as oak, birch, ash, pine, cherry, maple and mahogany. The oaks, birch and ash are considered to be the hardest and would be excellent choices for high traffic areas.

Decide on the style of real wood flooring next. Plank flooring is generally 3 inches to 5 inches wide. Strip flooring is usually available in widths from 1-1/2 inches to 3-1/4 inches. Parquet flooring comes in a 6 inch by 6 inch pattern and allows for many geometrical designs limited only by your imagination. Quality and installation of all of these types of flooring are similar, however, the parquet flooring may be more costly since it is a more tedious and labor intensive installation.

There are a lot of decisions to make when deciding to install real wood flooring in your home. But once you see the beauty and elegance they add, all the agonizing you went through will be worth it. With proper installation, care and maintenance, real wood flooring will last for the life of your home and since it never goes out of style you will always be overjoyed with this floor selection.

Replace a Solid Wood Flooring Board

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, damage can occur to your beautiful solid wood flooring. Some slight damage is acceptable and can even add character to the floor. However, some damage, such as a deep gouge or warping caused by exposure to moisture, simply distracts from the beauty of the flooring. When this occurs, the damage must be repaired. But, don't despair, replacing solid wood flooring boards is really not as difficult as it appears. If your floor was damaged due to moisture, first make sure you have remedied the moisture problem. Afterward, follow the procedure below and you will have a perfectly matched floor repair.

Using a sharp chisel and holding your chisel at an angle, chisel out a small amount of wood at the end of the piece of solid wood flooring that is damaged. Continue chiseling out small amounts until the end of the adjoining piece is completely exposed. Repeat this process on the other end of the damaged solid wood flooring board. Now, chisel out small amounts of wood on one side of the solid wood flooring board until the adjoining board is completely exposed. Lifting up on the side you just chiseled, remove the damaged board. Measure the opening of the area you just removed the board from and cut to length the replacement solid wood flooring board. Utilizing a utility knife or table saw, if available, remove the bottom portion on the groove side of the replacement solid wood flooring board. Apply wood glue to all contact areas of the replacement solid wood flooring board and insert the board into the opening of the area you removed. Place a weighted object on top of the board and leave in place for 24 hours. Your damaged floor board is now repaired.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Add Curb Appeal with Exterior Shutters

In today's tight real estate market, selling your property means taking every advantage you can get. To make sure you attract potential buyers, curb appeal is essential. One way to add style and elegance to the front of your home is with exterior shutters. Shutters have once again become a popular essential for modern homes. However, with modern conveniences, functional exterior shutters have become unnecessary in most areas due to heating and air units that maintain consistent indoor temperatures. Assuming functional shutters are not necessary and aesthetics is your goal, consider the tips below when you choose shutters for the exterior windows of your home.

Check with your local building authority and/or homeowners association prior to installing new exterior shutters. Some of these entities may require some level of historical accuracy or have some requirements concerning the materials used on the exterior of the structures in your neighborhood.

Drive around and view different houses in your area with exterior shutters. This can help you see what style of shutter will best compliment the architecture of your home. Raised panels, louvers, or a combination of the two are the most widely used on most homes. However, there are others. A visit to your local home improvement store will provide you with all the styles that are available.

14 1/2" x 71" Closed Louvered Vinyl Shutters

Measure the height of your windows and purchase exterior shutters that are the same height as your windows in order to maintain the symmetrical look of your home. Check to see if standard sized shutters are available in sizes that will match your windows. Standard sized shutters are usually around 12" and 15" in width and come in various heights. If standard sizes are not available for your windows, then you will have to have custom shutters made. Your local home improvement center should be able to provide this service.

Decide whether you will install vinyl or wood shutters. Most exterior shutters installed today are made of vinyl and come in a variety of colors. They are practically maintenance free and last for many years. However, some homes will just not lend themselves architecturally to a vinyl shutter and wood will be a better choice. If you decide to install wood shutters, choose shutters made of cedar since they hold up better in the elements than other wood and require little maintenance.

The final step is installation. Non-functional exterior shutters are relatively easy to install and is a basic DIY project. Attachment involves screwing or nailing the shutter through its face into the side of the house. If the exterior of your home is wood, nailing will suffice. However, if the exterior of your home is brick, you will need to drill holes in the mortar between the bricks and insert an anchor for the screws.

Your choice of exterior shutters should add significant curb appeal to your home by making your windows seem larger and more prominent. Adding faux hinges and shutter dogs can give your shutters the appearance of being functional as well as adding that final decorative touch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Popcorn Makers - Which is Best?

If you are like me, you think there is nothing better than a freshly popped bowl of homemade popcorn. And with the myriad of popcorn makers available today, everyone can have their popcorn just the way they like it. Popcorn has been a staple in human culture since the days of the Aztecs. However, it was not until the late 1800s that popcorn became the popular item in America that we now take for granted. It was then that a gentleman named Charles Cretors invented a machine just for popping popcorn with hot air. Mr. Cretors began making and selling popcorn on the streets of Chicago and it was not long before popcorn makers began showing up in all major cities.

Today we find popcorn at almost all venues where large numbers of people gather. For me, and I am sure many of you, the first thing I do before entering a movie theater is purchase the largest tub of popcorn available in the concessions area. It's difficult to replicate the exceptional taste of movie theater popcorn at home, but today's popcorn makers are surely doing their best to do so. There are basically three types of popcorn makers available for use in the home. Before you decide what type popcorn or popcorn popper you choose to purchase consider the points below.
The microwave oven has become the most popular of popcorn makers in today's society. It likely became so popular more so due to America's I want it and I want now philosophy than the taste of the popcorn. While microwave popcorn is definitely fast and convenient, the taste and smell leave a little to be desired as far as I'm concerned. Microwave popcorn leaves a strong smell that takes awhile to dissipate and the taste falls well short of the popcorn available at the movies or the ballgame.
Another development of modern society is the hot air popcorn machine. These popcorn makers require no oil and pop the corn with only the hot air produced by the popper. Now we are getting to what I consider a waste of otherwise good popcorn. The popcorn produced by these hot air popcorn makers tastes like cardboard to me. The popcorn is so dry that salt will not stick to the popcorn and butter or some other additive is necessary if you desire any taste at all. Adding butter kind of defeats the health benefits these hot air poppers are supposed to be providing. These things are a total waste of money and the popcorn they produce is dry, tasteless and of no use to satisfy the cravings of a true popcorn eater.
Now we get to the popcorn makers most like what Charles Cretors created and did so well with in the late 1800s. The combination of the basic sauce pan type container, oil and hot air produce the best tasting popcorn you can make at home and come as close to what you will find at a movie theater. If you desire, you can purchase popcorn makers similar to those used in movie theaters that do nothing but pop popcorn. Otherwise, consider purchasing a stove top popcorn maker. The best results with stove top popcorn makers are produced with those pans that have openings in the tops that allow steam to escape thus keeping the popcorn moist which enhances the taste. I also recommend a popper that has a crank in the handle that allows the popcorn to be turned thus preventing sticking to the pan and burning.
As you can see, I prefer the old fashioned method of popping my popcorn because I believe it produces the best taste. However, I suggest you try all three methods and then choose whichever of these popcorn makers that produce a combination of convenience and the popcorn that best suits your taste.

Solar Screens Conserve Energy

Whether your home is new and you are looking for ways to conserve energy, or your existing home is in need of new window screens, solar screens are an excellent way to enhance the exterior beauty of your home. Solar screening protects your furniture, as well as your carpet, from the sun's harmful high-temperature UV rays. Unlike tinted windows or window film, solar screens block these harmful rays before they reach the windowpane. A solar screen is like having a shade tree in front of your window. However, the screens allow full visibility outside with the comfort of privacy on the inside.

The concept of solar screens is quite simple. They shade the window from the sun thus keeping the window from absorbing and retaining heat. Thus, the heat does not transfer to the interior of the home from metal frames or window panes. By shading the window, solar screens will keep your house much cooler which makes a significant improvement in your air conditioner's efficiency. With these screens, some estimates place the reduction in your utility bill up to 40%.
While screens may be installed on the inside of the window, the most efficient solar screens install on the exterior of your home. With the screens on the exterior, the heat that is not immediately deflected will be absorbed by the screen while a major portion is dissipated into the surrounding atmosphere. Solar screens on the exterior also eliminate the need for covering windows in the winter time as the insulating techniques work year round. The installed screens help to hold the heat that is generated in the interior of your home.

Solar screens also block glare very effectively. The problem of glare that normally appears on television screens or other parts of a room will be solved immediately.

While solar screens are available in many different colors to match the exterior of most any home, keep in mind that the darker colors are most efficient and also offer the best view. Since solar screens save energy, they normally will pay for themselves within a very short period of time through the reduction in your utility bills. Once installed, solar screens will be a welcome addition to your home that will provide satisfaction for many years to come.

Faux Wood Blinds are Better

Blinds have become a popular choice of new homeowners for their window treatments. And like other window treatments, blinds come in many different styles and colors. While wood blinds are a beautiful choice, they are not always the most practical for many homeowner's situations.
Thus, to overcome some of the limitations in the use of wood blinds, many homeowners choose faux wood blinds.

Faux wood blinds become a better choice for a number of reasons. They are designed to exhibit the look and feel of real wood. They are easier to clean and maintain. They are a much better choice in places of high humidity such as a bathroom or laundry room because they will not warp, mold or mildew like real wood blinds. After some wear, wood blinds show nicks and scratches unlike faux wood blinds. They are also available in many color choices which enable you to match most any decor. Faux wood blinds are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing. And last but not least, they are much less expensive than real wood, which may be a particularly important consideration if you have a lot of windows to cover.

The slats of faux wood blinds are made in two different blends. Composite, slats are made from a blend of PVC and wood pulp. PVC, slats are made of just PVC. These blends of material make for long-lasting durability as well as beauty and allow the blinds to be much lighter than their natural counterparts, which make them easier to install and remove for cleaning. Don't get hung up on which blend to buy, there is no evidence that one is better than the other, it's just the process choice of the manufacturer.

Once you decide on a slat size and color, you now must decide whether to mount the blinds inside the window frame or outside. Inside mounts would be a good option if you have decorative or painted window casings, or if you’d like to pair your faux blinds with curtains. Outside mounts cover the entire window, including the casings and would be a good option for a room with small or abnormally shaped windows.

Finally, you must decide whether to measure and install the blinds yourself, or have them professionally installed. This is a moderately easy DIY project that can be accomplished by most homeowners. If you decide to measure yourself, use the following methods. When measuring for inside-mounted blinds, measure the height and width to the nearest 1/8 of an inch. For externally mounted blinds, measure the height and width to the nearest 1/8 of an inch, but ALSO allow for an extra 1 1/2 inches for each (height and width) to ensure privacy. Follow these tips and your faux wood blinds should provide you with the use and beauty you desire for many years to come.

Outdoor Ceiling Fans are Cool

A few years ago, my wife decided that a nice covered back porch would be more to her liking than the deck I had planned. Well, I don't mind telling you I put my foot down and immediately starting making plans to build a nice, huge covered back porch. Once completed, I must admit she was right. The covered porch is definitely a nice addition to our home. However, on those hot humid afternoons, it became immediately apparent that outdoor ceiling fans were going to be a necessary addition. Fans were already planned but had been put off in the interest of the budget. Since the porch was pre-wired with electrical boxes and wiring the only thing left to do was to purchase and install the fans.

The first thing to do is to determine the style, model and price of the new ceiling fans. Keep in mind, it is necessary to purchase fans made specifically for outdoor use. If you place an indoor fan in an outdoor location, be prepared to replace it because it is going to break down after a short time. Outdoor ceiling fans are manufactured to different standards than indoor fans. Outdoor ceiling fans are manufactured to be stronger and able to handle the frequent changes in temperature. They are usually made of plastic or resins where indoor fans can be made from soft woods that are unable to maintain their shape in the changing weather conditions. Do not assume that the fans you are purchasing are made for outdoor use. Make sure that the fans are specifically marked for outdoor use. Do not settle for uncertainty.

Also keep in mind that there are different grades of outdoor ceiling fans. Some are rated and marked 'Suitable for Damp Locations' and some are marked 'Suitable for Wet Locations'. A damp location is an exterior or interior location that is normally or periodically subject to condensation of moisture in, on, or adjacent to, electrical equipment, and includes partially protected locations. A wet location is a location in which water or other liquids may drip, splash or flow on or against electrical equipment. Therefore, be sure you choose the fan that is most suitable for the location it will be installed. For my installation, the damp location outdoor ceiling fans were suitable since they will be underneath the covered porch where they will not come into direct contact with water.

Now that you have determined the type of outdoor ceiling fans you need, you can drill down and determine the exact fans you would like. Investing time and money in a ceiling fan is a serious decision. Even the outdoor models provide countless options and features. However, if you take your time and do a little research, I am sure you will be able to locate the perfect ceiling fans for you location.

Butt Hinges for Interior Doors

Hanging a door can be a challenge for the do it yourselfer. However, it is not so difficult that it cannot be accomplished, it just takes a little patience. Most lightweight doors are hung using butt hinges and these hinges are probably the most common hinge on the market. They are available in both rigid (fixed pin) and loose pin types with loose pin being the most common. Loose pin butt hinges consist of two separate flat steel pieces called leafs with holes in each piece. The two pieces are held together by a hinge pin. The advantage of using this type hinge in that the hinge pin can be removed and the door taken down without unscrewing the hinges. Now that we are familiar with the hinges, lets get to work and hang that door in our house. For this illustration we will assume your jamb is already there and you are replacing a damaged door.

Butt hinges are commonly recessed into the door and the jamb on residential doors. The hinge is recessed to the thickness of the leaf. Measure where the hinges are to be located. If the jamb is present, you can place the door in the opening and transfer marks from the jamb to the door. Two hinges are normally enough for residential doors with the top hinge located 5" from the top of the door and the bottom hinge located 10" from the bottom of the door. The easiest way to mark the hinge is to place the hinge on the edge of the door in its proper location. Then score its outline with a utility knife.

Now that you have the hinges marked it's time to cut the recess. Mark the outline of the hinge by tapping lightly with chisel. After the outline is chiseled, make several cuts as deep as the hinge is thick inside the area you marked out for the hinge.

Using the chisel, remove the wood you have cut away and clean up the edges. After you have done this for both hinges, now you are ready to mount the hinges. Place the hinge on the door in the recess and using a center punch or nail set, mark the holes for the screws. Drill pilot holes using the proper size drill bit. If you have not already done so, remove the hinge pin, separate the leafs and attach the butt hinges to the door with the screws provided.

Now you can place the door in the opening and align the barrel on both leafs of each hinge. Place the pin in the top hinge first, it will help hold the door in place while you place the pin in the bottom hinge.

When attaching the hinges to the door, make sure they are straight in the recess before marking the screw holes. By following these steps, you should have a door that will operate smoothly for many years to come.

Hot Tub Covers Save Energy

Hot tub covers work along with your hot tub filter in order to maintain your spa's healthy environment. However, over time, hot tub covers may deteriorate causing the cover to become waterlogged and heavy. With the foam inside the cover remaining wet, mold will develop, and hot tub covers will be difficult to remove due to the excess weight. When this happens the cover will no longer insulate properly and must be replaced. Below are some things you should consider when replacing your hot tub cover.

Make sure it fits properly, which saves evaporation and therefore costs. Perfect fitting hot tub covers will keep the hot tub free of outside dirt, help to prevent injuries from occurring, and can even keep the hot tub warm by not allowing heat to escape through any cracks. This requires the proper measurements to ensure the proper fit. You will also need to provide the length of the skirt flap on the cover. The skirt flap is the loose material that covers the lip of the spa shell.

The cover should have a vapor barrier to help prevent water penetration into the foam.

Hot tub covers are not meant to hold the weight of an adult. However, they should be able to hold the weight of a small child for a short period of time.

Be sure that any cover you buy is approved by the
American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) which sets the standards for hot tub covers.

The tub cover should be treated with mildew and UV inhibitors, to withstand constant attack from the elements, as well as the water inside the tub.

Your cover should include gaskets that seal the two halves of the cover when it is closed. Your cover should also have reinforced hinges to handle its weight when folded and unfolded.

Be sure that your new hot tub cover meets the ASTM's standards for locking safety. The locks keep small children from accessing the tub and prevent accidents.

You must also consider the R-value of the hot tub cover. The R-value is the measurement used to express how well a cover retains the flow of heat. The higher the R-value, the better the cover insulates the hot tub. An R-value of 15 is considered good enough to protect your hot tub and keep it at the proper temperature. However, if your hot tub is outside in a colder climate, you may consider a cover with a higher R-value for better heat retention.

By keeping these items in mind when purchasing hot tub covers, you cover will last for many years to come and you can rest assured that the costs of operating your hot tub will be kept as reasonable as possible.

Find Quality Lawn Care Services

Maintaining your lawn can be a daunting task depending on the look you are attempting to achieve. Some people are satisfied with their lawn just being neatly mowed and trimmed. While others want the lawn to look like a lush green carpet. Still many others fall somewhere in between. Once you decide where you fit in the grand scheme of lawn maintenance, you need to decide where your expertise begins and ends. Most people are far from experts when it comes to maintaining that lush green carpet, so it is likely they will need the help of a professional. However, there is more to selecting lawn care services than you may first think. These services can be as simple as a teenager mowing your lawn on a regular basis to full blown total landscape management.

Let's take a look at some of the varied lawn care services available to assist in determining the services you may need. Past the teenager mowing your lawn every Saturday, most companies will usually provide three basic levels of service.

Partial Lawn Care: These companies will provide weed control and fertilization usually on a scheduled basis. Each company has their own plan when it comes to treatments for your lawn, but generally, depending on the area of the country in which you live, they provide 5 to 7 treatments each year. These treatments will be scheduled to best supply the necessary treatments at the proper time of the year. This is where many homeowners lack the knowledge to properly apply these types of treatment. They know their lawns need a weed control treatment, they just are not aware of the proper time to treat or the number of times it is necessary.

Total Lawn Care: These services will usually provide all the services of a partial care company as noted above. In addition to these services, they generally provide mowing, trimming and also will diagnose pest problems and provide pesticide treatments as needed. Pest control is very difficult for the average homeowner and this is where this type company can really provide much needed assistance. Most states require persons dispensing pesticides to be licensed and certified to do so. Therefore, they hold qualifications that would be unnecessary for the average homeowner.

Total Landscape Maintenance: The lawn care services provided by a total landscape maintenance service will include those provided by the previous two types of companies. But also provide maintenance of the other plant materials in a landscape. These will usually include trimming or pruning, as well as fertilizing and pest control. They will also have on staff or have access to a certified tree surgeon or arborist to assist in the treatment of damaged or diseased trees.

Now that you better understand the types of lawn care services available to you, you can now make an educated selection of a service provider. As with most things, recommendations of friends and family is a good place to start. Otherwise, get estimates of services from at least three companies providing the level of services you desire. Be sure the company you select holds the state required licenses and bonds and be sure to obtain, read and understand the contract explaining the services the company will provide. By following these few guidelines, you should receive the lawn care services necessary to provide just the right look you desire of your landscape.

Add Curb Appeal with Shutter Hinges

When it comes to curb appeal, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Exterior shutters are an important part of that first impression and to give those shutters, as well as the entire look of your home some extra pizazz, decorative shutter hinges will add that perfect finishing touch that most homeowners would overlook. More importantly, if you live in a coastal area where there is always a chance of hurricanes, functional exterior shutters can protect your home from broken windows and water damage. In other locations, shutters play more of a decorative role and shutter hinges can add greatly to that decorative role.

Like most any other home decor item, shutter hinges are available in a variety of materials including wrought iron, cast iron and stainless steel. There are basically two types of shutter hinges. A Mortise hinge, which is a very fancy hinge that resembles the shape of an “N” where it connects with the wall of the house, and also the strap style hinge, which looks just as you would expect, like a strap, however some are wider at one end and taper down to the other. When selecting shutter hinges, you must also consider the building material used on the exterior of your home. Wood exteriors require post mount hardware while masonry exteriors require Lag mount hardware. Other exterior materials may require window sill mount hardware. The supplier of your hardware should be able to provide a recommendation on the type of hinge to use.

If you're at all concerned about rusting, I strongly encourage you to consider purchasing stainless steel shutter hinges for your home. Stainless steel hardware will not rust, a plus in salty, ocean side applications. Carbon steel hardware is less expensive, however it will rust outdoors.

You will need at least two hinge sets for each shutter. Two hinges should be sufficient for standard 15" wide shutters. However, for extra wide or extra long shutters, you will need to add one or more extra hinges for additional support. You should also attach a latch to the shutters to keep them closed in bad weather. An S-Shaped piece of hardware called a shutter dog is the component which latches your shutter open so that they don't swing around in the breeze. The shutter dog can be rotated to allow the shutter to open and close.

If you already have shutter hinges that are old, rusty and beyond repair, or if it is just time for a new look, consider replacing them with a new set of hinges in order to give your home a much needed face lift. Whether you are replacing an existing set or installing new shutters with new hardware, make the effort to find the shutter hinges that are most in keeping with the design of your shutters and they will provide that extra special look that will keep you smiling for years to come.

Purchasing a Double Glazed Window

Windows bring the two worlds together by allowing interaction between what is happening on the outside and inside worlds. Windows allow the occupants to bring in the outside and feel as if it has become part of the interior. However, on the more practical side of things, they also keep the inside and outside worlds separate. And there is no better way to be practical than to choose a double glazed window. While there are other window choices available such as half glazed or single glazed, they do not provide the same safety, security or style.

Glazing is the glass portion of the window. Older buildings often have windows that are single glazed while most newer building will be constructed with a double glazed window. Double glazing is a process by where a window is formed by spacing two panes of glass several millimeters apart. This arrangement, when sealed, traps air in between the panes thereby forming an insulating layer. Prior to the unit being sealed, a drying agent such as silica gel is added to insure no moisture exists in the finished unit. The space between the panes is then filled with a noble gas such as argon, krypton or xenon with most manufacturers using argon gas as it is the most economical.

The frames for a modern day double glazed window are commonly made of uPVC, aluminum or wood. uPVC frames are considered to be the most durable frames for double glazing installations and have become a very popular choice in replacement windows. Aluminum frames, once the most popular, have lost favor in recent years with the introduction of the uPVC frames. Although aluminum frames are extremely strong, are virtually intruder proof and are not subject to warping or twisting, when compared to uPVC, they have relatively poor insulation performance. Wood frames are the most architecturally pleasing, however, they are the most expensive also. Wood windows also require more maintenance since they need painting every five to ten years depending on their exposure to the sun.

The double glazed window system you choose for an existing home should provide a high degree of energy efficiency. Approximately 30% of heat loss from a home is through standard windows. Double glazed windows have proven to reduce heating bills 10% to 20%. Greater savings are possible depending on a particular installation but most any installation will result in savings of 10% to 20%. In addition to the energy savings, a double glazed window will also prove to be an excellent value for your home.

When choosing replacement windows for your home, it is best to look at at least three different window systems from different manufacturers and compare their quality. Make sure the windows fit securely in their tracks and they operate smoothly. Many modern day windows allow for easy removal of the sash from inside of the home for easier cleaning. Also, ask about replacement sashes and how many years the company will guarantee replacement sashes will be available. Get this information in writing along with the rest of the warranty on these products.

Lastly, once you have decided on a company to provide your system, ask to inspect windows previously installed by the company before committing to the purchase. With proper research and diligence you should definitely find a double glazed window system that fits into your budget and meets your expectations by providing years of proper operation as well as adding beauty to your home.

Artificial Grass - Less Costly to Maintain?

Artificial grasses have changed a lot since the Houston Oilers began playing football on AstroTurf in 1966. At the time, this was the first and only pro sports team playing their games on artificial grass. The AstroTurf used in the Astrodome became necessary when they were unable to grow real grass inside the domed facility. The artificial grass used today is brought about by different reasons of practicality. The shortage of water and the monetary savings brought about by the fact there is almost no maintenance involved in the care of artificial grass.

The turf used in the Astrodome, as all early artificial grass, earned a reputation for being unforgiving and causing serious injuries to knees and ankles. In addition to this issue, the turf looked "unrealistic". Today's artificial grass turfs are often virtually indistinguishable from natural grass and are generally regarded as being as safe to play on as a traditional natural grass surface. The latest generation artificial grass turfs are now used in all weather training facilities, professional sports facilities, and school facilities. Artificial grass turfs were used in the last two Summer Olympics and will be used in the 2010 World Cup.

Most recently, artificial grass is starting to show up in residential landscaping. The question is whether this is really something practical for the average homeowner. I would think that some of the same things considered by sports facilities would also be applicable in a residential application. The average homeowner spends in excess of 40 hours per year on lawn care. Artificial grass stays green year-round, requires no mowing, watering, or fertilizers and you do not have to be out there mowing the lawn when it's 100 degrees.

Other Pros of Artificial Grass

Designed for active use in high traffic areas.
Clean, safe and non-toxic.
Artificial turf is ideal for holiday homes where lawn maintenance is not practical.
Artificial turf is ideal for elderly homeowners who lawn upkeep is prohibitive.
Additionally state and local ordinances enacted over the past several years are making it increasingly difficult to control weeds and insects with either pre-emergent materials, post emergent applications or preventative measures – again increasing the appeal and cost saving value of artificial grass lawns.
If you have spots in your lawn that you are constantly replacing, artificial grass will eliminate this problem.

And Now a Few Cons

The average cost is about $8.00 a square foot compared to about $2.00 for sod.
Because it typically takes 10 to 20 years to recover the investment in synthetic turf, very few people buy synthetic turf solely for the financial savings.
Some cities ban artificial grass for residential use. Be sure to check if it's banned or requires a permit before you install.
The only thing a synthetic lawn lacks these days is the earthy, sweet scent of real grass.

A Few Frequently Asked Questions about Artificial Grass

Will the grass fade?
Ultimately yes. All synthetics will fade. Treated with a UV inhibitor to protect against fading and UV degradation.
Does water drain through the grass?
grass is perforated throughout to allow for water to properly flow through into the drainage base that has been applied underneath.
Does the grass mold or mildew?
Due to the non-absorbing nature of the materials used and the drainage base designed to migrate water away from the grass, mold and mildew is not an issue.
How hot does the grass get?
The grass does not stay as cool as natural grass which has water running through it, but does not absorb and radiate heat like pavement, rock or brick.
Will the grass catch fire?
The grass is non-flammable.
What if I spill something on the grass like paint?
The grass is made of non absorbing materials that would allow you to simply clean up any spill without staining.
It does have to be hosed off now and again and I sweep it with a stiff broom or soft leaf rake.

Obviously, artificial grass is not for everyone. If you enjoy the smell of a freshly cut lawn and take pride in the maintenance of a manicured lawn, stick with real grass. But, if you find yourself in a situation where the time or cost of maintenance is not for you, know that artificial grass is now a viable option that can be one of the best garden decor ideas in a home landscape.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Link To Us

Like our cause? Just simply love what we blog about? Link to us and help spread the word about our blog. Linking to us will both help us rank higher in the search engines for more viewers to see, as well as help spread the word to your viewers. It is, of course, optional and simply a thing people can do who feel like they want to give back to the community.

Here are a few text links that you can use to add our link to your website:

  1. Home Improvement
  2. Home Improvement Tips
  3. Home Improvement Projects
  4. Home Repair
  5. Home Remodeling

Thanks for the link...

Privacy Policy

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If you wish to disable cookies, you may do so through your individual browser options. More detailed information about cookie management with specific web browsers can be found at the browsers' respective websites.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Credit Unions Smarter than Banks

I did not know this.

Almost all credit unions require you to put up your other accounts as collateral when applying for one of their credit cards. Thus, if you default on the card, they can take your savings and apply it toward what you owe them. In contrast, very few banks require this sort of collateral when opening a credit card account.

Why do all banks not require this? It would seem to be just good business practice.

I guess this is one reason we haven't heard of any credit unions failing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Father Knows Best - Yeah, Right

My daughter graduated from college last spring with a degree in accounting and landed a great job with a very impressive salary that included a recent raise. Knowing she has always been very responsible, I was sure she would be looking for a place to store some of that nice raise of which she was so proud. Being the wise beyond my years Dad that I am, I shot her an email with a referral link to open a savings account at ING Bank paying 2.5%. For those of you not familiar with ING Bank, they are an online bank with very competitive savings and checking account rates.

Well, it was not long before I received a reply that I was sure would be thanking me for that great advice and bragging about how smart and great a Dad she has. I could not have been more wrong. She was quick to point out that she received a better rate (4.01%) than that for her checking account at a local bank. Not to be out done, I shot back a scathing reply requesting the name of the bank since I have been considering moving my checking accounts because I am not totally happy with my present bank.

Since being schooled by my daughter, I was able to open a new Rewards Checking account online at 'RENASANT BANK'. Renasant Bank is based in Tupelo, MS, and has branches in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. If you live in one of those states, you might check to see if they have a branch near you and consider opening a checking account that offers very competitive rates. I have listed the features and requirements of the account below. If you can not meet these requirements, they have a Totally Free Checking account without the requirements necessary to benefit from the Rewards Checking.

Earn 4.01% APY* on balances up to $25,000
Free ATMs nationwide
No minimum balance, low opening balance of $50
No maintenance fees
Free Internet banking and Bill Pay
Free Visa Check Card

Simply do the following during each monthly statement period:
Make at least one Direct Deposit or ACH automatic payment
Receive your monthly statement electronically
Make at least 10 debit card transactions (excluding ATM transactions)
Log on to Renasant's free Internet Banking

If you are not near a Renasant Bank, check with the banks in your local area and I bet you can find a bank paying similar rates.

And by the way, if you do, telling Cash Flow Moe sent ya!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Controlling Your Money

J.D. over at 'Get Rich Slowly' has written a must-read article for anyone even remotely interested in getting their finances under control. Do yourself a favor and follow the link below. I bet you'll be glad you did:

9 Methods for Mastering Your Money in 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Amazon vs. Ebay

Maybe I've had my head stuck in the sand or something, but I just discovered the ability to sell my gently used items on Amazon. And like eBay, sign up is free. I have been an eBayer for some time now and hated the listing fees, reserve auction fees, additional picture fees and even an extra fee to have the listing show in bold type all charged to you before the item even got to the listing page.

Well, all that is a thing of the past. Amazon provides all the pictures, descriptions and other product information necessary to list your items and best of all, YOU PAY NOTHING unless the item sells. You find the item in their listings, decide what price you would like to sell the item for and a few clicks later, your item is exposed to millions of customers. They also process the payment, collect a shipping fee and send you a check when your item sells. You can accept all forms of payment, including credit cards, because Amazon collects for you.

There are some limitations. If you sell previously worn items of clothing, I think you will have to stick with eBay. I am sure there are other items you can sell on eBay that can't be sold on Amazon, but they are sure worth the first look in my book.

So, the next time the wife complains about that leg lamp you bachelor buddies gave you, give Amazon a look.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Things that go Bump in the Washing Machine

Well, I finally did it. I started a blog. I witnessed no revelation that inspired me nor do I need to feel a sense of empowerment. The fact is, I read several blogs about money and I just feel like one more is needed. One for people that don't have tons of knowledge about money but would sure like to have a little more of it (knowledge and money that is) at the end of the month.

So, that's what I hope I can help you do. I will attempt to provide some information periodically that will help you accomplish the goal of having a little extra money without having to carry out some complicated mission. Things that I do, or you can do that anyone can do without needing lots of money to do it. Also, at times I will just relate interesting stories about money that are nice to know or just fun to know, like the story below.

It happened a few years back when my neighbor knocked on my door hoping for some help. It seems he had a problem with his washing machine and knew he could count on me due to my vast knowledge of appliance repair (yea, right). You can now see how this relates to having extra money. Don't pay a repair man when you can do it yourself with a trusty neighbor's help.

Actually, he had fixed his problem but was faced with a dilemma all great men are faced with following a repair. What to do with the parts that are left over. Well, he was fortunate, he only had one part left over and was hoping I could help him discover where it went. It was about 6 inches long, was a flattened piece of wire and was in the shape of an arch. Nothing about this thing looked familiar.

We went so far as tearing the machine back down to see where it could be missing and had been at it for about two hours without any luck when his wife returned home and asked what was up. Being a little frustrated and short on patience, my friend explained in man terms that, and I quote, "we are trying to figure out where this d????? piece of wire goes in this d????? washing machine." She looked at the wire and started laughing. "What", asked her husband.

"That's not a part of the washing machine, that's the under wire out of my bra."

Money saved, time lost, and another successful d-i-y repair.