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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Kitchen Renovation Ideas

– If your kitchen cabinets are old, you might want to consider changing them. In case of kitchen cabinets that are made from laminated material, use of oil-based primer can help to bring back their former look.

– Choose a small area of the kitchen that can be changed into a storage area. You can use in-built bookshelves for storing glassware or small kitchen utilities. A good way to maximize storage space is through pullout cabinets.

– When you want to give an antique or rustic appearance to your kitchen interiors, try installing soapstone. This material has a rich look which is enhanced because of coloring and also because of vein-like features that spread across it. This is a durable, but care has to be taken to maintain it so that it is in proper condition.

– Those who have large families or who serve meals with many courses, would need a butler’s pantry. Such a pantry is necessary for stacking dishes, serving wine and also for heating meals. You can opt for the walk-through design or the u-shaped design.

– Consider renovating the plumbing section and also the wiring. In older homes this is a necessary part of kitchen renovation as they could have become worn out over the years.

– Check if your existing kitchen layout offers space and freedom for movement. It is important to implement the classic work triangle with the sink, stove and refrigerator arranged in this manner.

– Having more than one workstation is good as it will enable another person to work more efficiently. You can implement an island kitchen to bring on more convenience to your work space.

– Always introduce renovation ideas by keeping in mind size constraints. If your kitchen is a galley kitchen, implementing a center island is not a good option.

If you choose to renovate your kitchen through a contractor, make sure to hire someone who is fully insured and also bonded. Get all the agreements in writing and also check out payment schedules to get full value for the money spent.

 

Tips to Fix Wet Basement

Floor

To prevent water infiltration and moisture a poly plastic sheet is used before putting concrete on the floor. But most of the time this is neglected during construction time and the concrete is put without giving the cover of poly plastic sheet. Once the floor has only been poured, the simple way to keep your basement floor dry is to use fan or dry cloth and seal the floor with sealant. Sealant is not enough to stop the water infiltration but it certainly slows down the process. If you want to fix the problem completely, the only ways is to tear the old surface of the floor and poured the new one with plastic sheet in place.

Proper Drainage System

Proper drainage system is necessary to keep the water away from the walls and floors. It is required to use 8-10 inch pipe along the footer of the wall. To prevent the water buildups cover it with gravel.

Rain gutters are necessary to keep the rain water away from the walls and the basement. Add gutters and gutter extension pipes to prevent the water buildup. Always channel the water away from basement walls. Make a slope of the pipe such away that all the draining water flows away from the basement walls to assure the prevention of moisture buildup in basement walls and floor.

Coating

In case of wet basement, some special type of coating work can help you to solve the problem. Take a roll-on tar and coat the outside of the basement. Make sure that the joint between basement wall and footer is well coated. After the tar coat, apply a coat of rigid insulation. This insulation will help to prevent water penetration and moisture from building up. For interior walls, you can use Dry-Loc (a white paint sealer). It will slow down the water penetration, if not stopped.

Fix Cracks

If you find any cracks in basement, fix them as soon as possible. The best way to fix those cracks is to use hydraulic cement or an epoxy basement patch. Make sure that you have mixed your hydraulic cement so that it is thin enough to get way into the cracks easily. An epoxy basement patch usually works well with walls. It comes in toothpaste like tubes.

 

Installing Security Doors Benefits

In order to attain maximum security for your home security doors are very crucial. Security doors can be made from wood, steel or aluminum but as far as strength and effectiveness of these doors are concerned steel doors must be preferred. They make it hard for burglars to try opening the door. The crevices of security doors are hard to be opened so easily.

Security doors enhance your home security system to a great extent. They offer security advantage not only to you and your loved ones but also provide you with a sense of unmatched relief.

Not only security but these doors come with useful features attached like you can look at the door and see who is there without opening it. Moreover, security doors come in attractive designs and features which always complement the beauty of your homes.

Security doors are more than doors to safeguard your lives so they should be treated like an investment for future. Therefore you should find the one which suits your overall decor and aesthetics. The best ones are those which come with strike boxes due to the fact that they are very strong and unbreakable.

Another aspect of security doors is the quality which is very important to be considered. Sometimes it becomes very important to appoint an expert who can guide people in designing the security doors keeping in consideration the quality desired.

 

Tips to Clean a Chimney

Tools used in chimney cleaning include fireplace cover, chimney brush rods/rope, tape, mirror, dust mask or goggles, flashlight, ladder, metal bucket, shovel, broom chimney brush, shop vacuum and so on.

There are four different methods used to clean a chimney – Rod Method Top Down, Rod Method Bottom Up, Weight Method and Dual Line Method. Here is a look at them in more detail.

– Rod Method Top Down

In this method, chimney brush is used to clean through the chimney opening by raising and lowering chimney brush inside the walls of the chimney. To reach the lower part of chimney walls, a metal rod can be fixed to the chimney brush. Rods need to be added to attain the length for cleaning. The suit and debris will be collected at the closed end of fireplace within the house.

– Rod Method Bottom Up

This is similar to the above method, but the cleaning will be carried out from the fireplace to the top of the chimney. Here the only advantage is, there is no need to climb to the roof. On the other way, this method will lead to messy outcome, since the fireplace is open. So using drop cloths and plenty of tarps is essential to keep the flooring and furniture nearby clean.

– Weight Method

This method is almost similar to top down rod method. Here instead of rods attached to the chimney brush, rope along with pull ring and weights are used. A set up with rope, pull ring and weight is assembled with chimney brush. Here the internal walls of the chimney are scrubbed by raising and lowering the brush. The fireplace can be closed in this method leading to a contained clean up.

– Dual Line Method

This method needs two people. The rope is tied to the both ends of the brush. One person pulls the rope upwards from the top while the other pulls from the bottom of the chimney. Each person takes turns pulling the rope so that the brush moves top and bottom thereby scrubbing the interior walls of the chimney. This method is also messy since the fireplace doors are kept open.

While cleaning the chimney you need to ensure some safety concerns as well. The first concern is to check any fires going on before starting the cleaning process. The next is using the ladder. A fall from top is very dangerous. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the surroundings before starting the cleaning process. The last safety concern is your health related. Make sure your vision and respiratory systems are not affected. Using goggles or full mask is an important safety precaution.

 

Steel Staircases

Steel staircases are very ideal for industrial purposes since they offer a high level of reliability as compared to the traditional wooden ones. Moreover, they stand very well in the rough conditions where heavy loading and uploading is required. But as said earlier these staircases are a complex structure and various components are bolted together to transform into a durable and safe staircase.

The steps of steel staircases are made up of two components i.e. tread and riser.

Tread is the part where you step on i.e. the flat or horizontal part of a step whereas the riser is i.e. its front headed at 90 degree and found between each tread. They can either be separately attached or there can be stairs without risers depending on its design.

Front of tread is rounded up with nosing. Nosing are special attachments for the purpose of safety i.e. they prevent slipping. Stringers or carriage support the steps and are placed on single side of steps for positioning the steps at an inclined position leading upwards. These are specifically cut in the form of steps so as to fit accurately on steps. Third part is ‘Rails’ which make staircases safer to be used. Handrails make our grasp stronger over steel staircases.

 

Tips to Pick Entry Doors

When you select an entry door for your home, it is necessary to match the appearance of the door with the overall look and feel of the entire house. Another factor that you must consider is security. The front door should be made of material that is durable so that it lasts long and also so that it provides security.

Entry doors are made from different materials such as fiberglass, steel and wood. If you want something that is traditional, the typical wood entry door is the right choice. You can get wood entry doors made out of a variety of wood materials such as fir, walnut, cherry, pine, maple and mahogany. Wood door need to be maintained properly. It is vital to paint it and repair it. If you are looking for something that is low cost and which required low maintenance, steel doors is the best option. They are also energy efficient.

The most optimal amongst these is fiberglass as it is not subject to the kind of wear and tear seen with wood and steel entry doors. In course of time, wood can split and crack, while steel can get rusted, but this is not seen with fiberglass. They can dent easily and in the course of years they can wear out.

You can find fiberglass entry doors with classic look as well as appealing modern styles. They come with multiple glass panels, fine etched glass and also full-length glass work. However, in order to get the right type of entry doors, it is necessary to check through various entry door panel styles, glass configurations, finishes and pre-finishes. The advantage of fiberglass doors is that they are available at highly competitive rates. They are able to give better insulation than doors that are made from wood or steel. They do not require constant repairs neither do they have to be replaced quickly.

A point to be noted about entry doors is that the more elaborate the door, the more expensive the door. If you are looking to buy an entry door within a particular budget it is important to compare various entry door styles.

Termites vs Dry Rot

Termites and dry rot  are the two extremely harmful forces which can destroy even a single item of your home. They both are often misconceived by majority of the people. However, they both look similar but actually they are comparatively different from each other to large an extent. There are certain distinctions which you should know to treat them separately and potentially.

Dry Rot

Dry rot is a kind of wood rot in which fungi attack the wood. Fungi destroy the mechanism of wood which make it sturdy and firm. Fungi usually make the wood hollow from inside. A fungus is very much capable of moving water from wet areas to dry one. So you can never rule out the presence of fungi in dry woods.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are small insects which are extremely deleterious. They usually live in colonies under the soil. These insects come on the surface for eating or digging tunnels. There nourishment is largely based on the cellulose present inside the wood. So, they consume the inner part of the wood and make it useless and hollow.

Damage

Both termites and fungi create channels, but the process of making channels is different for the two. Dry rot in many cases looks like the dry brick or dry block. For it creates channels inside the wood by consuming wood and carrying water. On the other hand, termites dig tubes usually called mud tubes with soil, fecal, water or saliva. These tubes help the termites to shift from soil to food in search of food. The channels made by termites usually resemble the branches of the tree and the main channel or trunk standing on the ground.

How They Both Attack

Both termites and fungi have the common way to attack the wooden structures, i.e. exposure to soil. Both termites and fungi attacks through soil and the main reason for this are the cracks in foundation and moisture in the walls and floors. Dry rot is the result of too much contact with moisture. Fungi transfer water from wet surface to the dry surface. On the other hand cracks in foundation pave the path for termites to enter the home and attack the new wooden structures.

How to Control Termites and Dry Rot

Working on leaked pipes and water penetration in basement can be handy to control the mild attacks of dry rot. But for severe attacks of dry rot boric acid or borate is used. Boric acid is also helpful against insect.

Subterranean termite can be control with the help of different insecticides or termiticides. There are certain insecticides which are formulated to target the termites. These insecticides are used on soil and contain some termite baits. The insecticides used today are less toxic than the past. Organophosphates and pyrethroid are famous insecticides today.

 

Door Weatherstripping

Many types of door weathstripping is available in the market, you need the best which suits your requirements. Some of the best qualities are felt, plastic V-strip, adhesive foam and reinforced vinyl seal. Among these reinforced vinyl seal is the best and is widely used.

Required Items

Following items are required to replace or fix the weatherstripping on a door:

– Hacksaw
– 3-piece reinforced vinyl weatherstripping kit
– Screwdriver
– Tape measure
– Utility knife

Directions

1. First of all you have to measure the vertical height of the door jamb. For this, close the door and measure the height from top of the jamb to the verge of the doorstep.

2. Once you have taken the measure, transfer it onto the metal piece of weatherstripping. Make sure you have located the contoured part of vinyl weatherstripping pieces properly, that part is specially designed to fit against the header piece of the weatherstripping. Use the opposite end for cutting.

3. Now cut the metal piece or strip with hacksaw at the marked spot. Using utility knife cut the vinyl tube in accordance with the metal strip.

4. After cutting the metal strip and vinyl tube, take the piece of vinyl tube and placed it firmly against the door and the jamb. Take a metal strip and fix it to the jamb with the help of screws. Fasten the screws properly. Don’t over-tight the screws, once you feel the screws wrap up tightly stop fastening. Over tightening can give dent to metal strip. So be careful.

5. Now repeat the same process with the axle (hinge) side of the door jamb.

6. You are done with vertical part of the door; now start working for horizontal part of the door jamb. Take the necessary measurements of the horizontal width of the door jamb.

7. For metal strip to perfectly hold the door surface, proper measurement is very necessary. Apply the measurement you have just taken to the metal strip and modify the strip accordingly.

8. Cut the marked ends of the metal strip off at both ends with hacksaw. Take the vinyl tube and cut it with utility knife of same length as of metal strip.

9. Follow the Step 4 to install the weatherstripping on the horizontal width of the door jamb.

 

Guide to Install Fold-down Attic Ladder

Required items

– Wood
– Pencil
– 16d common nails
– 1×4-inch cleats
– 1×4-inch studs
– 2 1/2-inch screws
– 4-inch lag screws
– Vacuum
– Electric screwdriver or power drill
– Ladder
– Metal joist hangers
– Molding
– Paint
– Paintbrush
– Reciprocating saw
– Shims
– Utility knife
– Measuring tape
– Carpenter’s level

Directions

1. Take a measuring tape and measure the area on the cross beam (joists) of the attic where you want to install the ladder. Mark those places with pencil. Using the reciprocating saw, remove the front part of the joist where the ladder would be installed.

2. Using utility knife cut the ceiling trim. Make it clear with saw.

3. Cut a head guard of 2×8 inch from a wood. This will fit as frame in staircase. Use 16d nails and hammer to fix both head and the joist together. Later fasten it to the ceiling beam.

4. Take a 2-1/2 inch screws and a power screwdriver or drill, tighten the metal joist hangers on left and right sides of the framed opening. This will support ladder to hang. They should be tight enough to avoid any damage.
5. Vacuum the opening to clear all the dust from the area after cleaning it with the reciprocating saw.

6. Now take the pencil and mark the area on the opening ladder will fix on the frame. Take 1×4 inch cleats and screw them in to the marked areas on the 2-1/2 inch screws with power drill or electric screwdriver.

7. Take a closed staircase and try to fit it on the cleats (temporary) carefully. You need to center it on the frame by striking shims into the frame. Make sure that the staircase is straight in. you can take help from carpenter’s level.

8. Ask you partner to stand down. Pull down the stairs and ask your partner to hold the stairs firmly. You still on ladder, drill holes on top of the staircase and into the joists. Take 4 inch lag screws and put them in the holes. Take power drill or electric screwdriver to fasten the screws. Remove the temporary cleats. Calculate the length and angle of the ladder that it requires to meet the floor.

9. To give your ladder a firm grip on the ground, use saw to trim the ends of the ladder to a right angle. This will provide your ladder a good firm grip with ground.

10. Cover the opening with casing and paint the case and the panels to give it a better look. You fold down attic ladder is installed.

 

Bathroom Design Guide

For every home, cabinets in the bathroom play a critical role in how useful that room is. Most often, the bathroom does not have enough storage space, so if you can, add bathroom cabinets to your design. Cabinets can be placed from floor to ceiling, thereby maximizing the storage area while not taking up any extra floor space. Another good option is to consider adding vanity cabinets to the bathroom. This provides not only storage but much-needed counter space. The vanity makes for beautiful storage, and can be used to hide the plumbing needed for a sink or two that can be installed in the vanity, yet make those pipes accessible when needed.

Bathroom cabinets do add a great deal to the appearance of the bathroom, so you will want to think about the room’s overall appearance that you would like to achieve prior to making a cabinet purchase. If you would like a lighter country design look, for example, you might select cabinets that are finished with a light stain, to leave the natural wood texture visible. For a more dramatic look, you could paint the cabinets in a rich hue, thereby changing the feel of the room entirely. You can also change the look of the cabinets by switching to different door handles and hinges. These cabinet fittings can almost function as jewelry does to a person’s wardrobe, because you can give the cabinet a totally different look by choosing another style of cabinet hardware.

Cabinet retail and online showrooms offer many different types of cabinetry on display, so you can ask questions and see for yourself what is new in cabinets and hardware, in order to make a great choice for your own home.