Sunday, August 23, 2009
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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