Category : Home Improvement & Maintenance

10 posts

Energy Loss In The HouseHave you ever check your home energy usage? If you have not do it, you might want to consider to do it since it will give a lot of benefits for you and your home’s utility bills.

One of the best advantage to do this to ensure the efficiency of your home energy usage. So, homeowner able to control their energy usage and saving their energy budget.

In many cases, doors and windows are common objects that causing energy waste and letting the heat escape to outside. There are also other objects that can waste the energy such as the attics. If homeowner did not pay attention to their attics, they can become big source for heat loss and increase the energy cost for the homeowner.

Usually modern attics will be insulated, but unfortunately the attics have open ventilation to manage the air circulation. If the air did not circulate properly in the attic, it can damage the roofing and other belonging in the attic.

The good news is most home ceiling has insulation to prevent the heat escape from the house to the attic. Unfortunately most homeowners did not utilize the insulation by neglecting the attic’s entrance.

The attic’s entrance could become a big hole that will let the energy or air conditioning escape to the outside from the space gaps which is located around the entrance. By installing temporary seals to this gaps can help homeowner to reduce their energy cost for the cooling and heating up to 20%.

Fireplaces are also another big problem that can causing energy loss in a house. The original purpose of fireplace is as a way to let the smoke from the furnace directly out of the house. The smoke will be push by the heat that is rise up from the furnace itself.

Unfortunately when the fireplace is not being use it still release the heat or cooling air from inside the house to the outside. So, homeowner need to handle this situation by ensuring that the chimney is closed properly if they are not using the fireplace to warm up the house to prevent the energy loss.

Pay attention to these potential places for energy loss will really help the home owner to prevent the increase of energy usage that will increase the energy bills. Homeowners will be glad by using common sense method could help them save a lot of money.

Replacing Part Of Your Wood FloorSooner or later, any homeowner will have to face the unappealing blemish that present on their floor which is caused by spills, stains or any other smears made by the people and their pets in the house.

In hardwood flooring, the groove usually has section so the groove can be locked to the plank, therefore if homeowner got some extra material, it will become very handy. So, if you buy hardwood flooring, try to get extra groove joints and store them somewhere safe, therefore it can be useful when you want to patch the floor.

But, you need to know that some board could not be fixed and you have to replace it completely. This condition usually happen in older houses, the flooring around old radiator or where the humidity is high. The moisture can make the flooring stained, disfigured or even rotted.

To remove the damage floorboard, homeowner can use circular saw to do it. But, the homeowner do not know how to do it, it will be better to let experienced handy man to do the job. Just, make sure that homeowner do not cut through the sub floor.

To prevent it from happening, you need to match the cut’s depth of the saw with the flooring thickness. After cutting the floorboard, take out the board slice and clean the debris and replace it with the board that is match with the original board’s size and color.
if homeowner need to change more than one board together, they should put the edge of the groove first. After that they can use blind and finishing nails at the tongue.

On the rest floorboard to be fit, cut off the bottom flange of the groove. You can put additional strength by putting a bead of special glue for wood on half groove’s tongue at the last joint that will be fitted.

When you place in the last board, the strip need to be top- nailed. You need to anchor and pre-drill the board using finishing nails every 12 inches at opposing angles spaced half inches from the edge. After you do this task, hit the nail heads until it sink in the board then use wood filler that match with the board’s color to make the board surface flat and use sand paper to make it smoother.

Water damage can cost a lot of money for any homeowners. The repair from water damage will be quite expensive. So, it will be better for homeowner to take some precaution to prepare them from the devastating event.

Water damage could happen to any time of the year, no matter the season you are in. There are many things that can cause water damage such as floods, storm, heavy rains but many water damage cases are caused from the house internal factors such as clogged pipes, poor home repair or renovation and malfunctioned appliances.

To save your money to fix the house from water damage, homeowners need to take precautions to avoid water damage from happening to their homes, especially from the internal factors that could cause water damage. Protecting the house from water damage is much cheaper compare than the repair cost from water damage.

When water damage occurs, the standing water will make the house material become weaker, rusted or rot, create a perfect place for mildew to grow and weaken the house’s structure or even the foundation. To fix all the broken and weaken house’s structure might require a lot of money.

Mold growth and weakened foundation are two of the most expensive from water damage repair costs. The damage will make the house become unsafe to stay in, and your family will need to vacant the house during the repair and renovation process.

Homeowners must learn on how to avoid the potential risks that can cause water damage to their homes. Here are some guides to prevent the water damage;

Repair the gutters at your home. Homeowners can repair the gutter by themselves. They can make regular check up to maintain the gutter function every season, so they can repair any leaks or damage from the gutter while it still small and before the damages become big and causing water damage to the house.

Installing gutter guards to prevent debris from blocking of the gutters.

Install extension for roof’s gutter downspout. This is to stir of the dump rain water from the roof, so it will fall far away from the house’s walls and foundation. If the rain water from the roof are falling to close to the wall and foundation, it will be easier for the water to reach the home foundation and basement and make serious damage to the foundation and basement.

Fix any loose door caulking and windows to prevent water from rain or snow entering the house and creating water damage.

Check the sump pump in the basement regularly. If the pump needs regular maintenance and repair, homeowner must do it right away. This is to make sure that it is working properly and ready to use anytime it is needed.

Check any appliances that using water or producing water from their operation such as air condition, dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine from leakage that can causing water damage to the house.

Use drain guard for every drain opening in the house to prevent the large dirt and hair from entering the drain that can cause the drain get clogged.

Fix or replace any faucets that are leaking

Dry any area that gotten wet or damp immediately to prevent the mold from growing and causing damage to the house structure.

Remove all of the carpet from the area that is exposed to water damage. The wet carpet will make the floor surface become too damp and will slowly damage the floor.

This is the last parts of materials that are often used as kitchen countertop. In this post we will talk about countertop that is made using hardwood, laminate and acrylic material.

Hardwood

Countertop which is made from hardwood is also known as Butcher Block Countertop because it is often used by butcher in their shop. Any types of hardwood can be used as countertop material, but usually the wood from oak or maple tree are the most popular hardwood for this purpose.

Hardwood countertop has warm and beautiful appearance with variety of textures, colors and shades. Hardwood countertop can also be used as secondary cutting board as long as the home owner does not mind that their countertop will get scratch all over its surface.

If the hardwood countertop get scratch, stain or deep cuts, it can be fix and sanded easily and then re-coating it to restore its appearance. The price for this type of countertop is somewhat more affordable to home owners.

The drawbacks of using this type of countertop are the material is quite soft, so it can chip, dent, scratch or get burn easier. Due to its nature characteristic, the hardwood shape can also change. It can get shrink or warp over the time.

The hardwood color can also affected by moisture, especially near the sinks where it often gets contacted by water. To prevent this from happening, regular sealing is needed to preserve the color.

Laminate

Formica commonly used as the material for laminate countertop. It is a thin plastic layer which is glued to a wood or particle board to imitate the appearance of hardwood but with lighter weight. There are countless of color and the pattern from this material.

Because this type of countertop is easily manufactured the price for this material is quite cheap. The plastic material has high resistance again stain and easily clean without too much of effort.

The laminate countertop has less durability compare to the other materials. It has weak resistance again scratch and heat. It is also vulnerable against abrasive cleaner that can make the color become dull. Even without using the abrasive cleaner, the color of this material will fade over the time. The laminate countertop is also weak again moisture. The plastic can warp and the glue becomes weak if it constantly exposed to water or high humidity.

Acrylic/solid surface

Solid surface or acrylic countertop are custom made counters that are used for special purpose or application. It is stronger and more durable than laminate countertop. It is also high resistance against water and even against bacteria and molds.

The material is non porous, so it high resistance against water and easier to clean. Although it has weak resistance against scratch, any scratch or damage can be sanded easily. The material is weak against heat, so it can get burnt easily.

So, with the variety of options that you can choose for your kitchen countertop, you can choose the material that suit with your taste, condition and budget. Renovating the old countertop could make good statement and enhance the appearance of your kitchen.

Let’s continue our last discussion about the materials that can be used as kitchen countertop

Tile

With the variety of tiles sizes, design, shapes and colors, there are endless choices of designs for countertop that using tiles. Not to mention that glazed porcelains and ceramics are already popular and common to accentuate the kitchen.

Tiles countertop can use a square inch tiles for its surface or if you prefer to use the bigger size that available in hardware store. Anyway you choose it can still work and improve the kitchen. Tiles countertop is relatively has high durability, scratch and heat resistance.

One of the best advantages in using tiles countertop that it is more affordable compare to most natural stones. You can choose the type of tiles that suit to your budget.

The drawbacks from using the tiles countertop is that the tile can chip easier compare to other material. But, on the other hand fixing it would also become easier and less expensive, since you will only need to replace the tiles that are damage without replacing the whole countertop tiles. You just need to find the same types of tiles with the same pattern and color.

Another drawback is the grouts between the tiles. The grouts can get stained easily from any spills. Therefore you need to clean it quickly and properly when there are spill, so it will not leave any stains.

Using larger size of tiles can reduce the amount of grouts from the countertop. But, if the tile is chipped and need to be replaced, the fixing costs will high since larger tiles is pricier than the smaller one. Therefore, the home owners need to think carefully about the size of tiles that they are going to use as the countertop.

Concrete

Concrete is also another good option for the countertop. Usually, the concrete that is used for the countertop surface is colored and polished until it shiny and smooth. If it done by experienced professional, concrete countertop can has similar appearance like any natural stones.

The concrete for the counters can either casted in a factory or it can be molded on the site. The concrete countertop can be molded in to various shapes with variety of thickness. Other advantages from the concrete countertop are that it has high durability and high resistance against scratch and heat.

Bu, due to its nature, the concrete countertop has more porous compare to other countertop material. Using the sealer to coat the surface has to be performed regularly along with waxing the surface to maintain its glossy and smooth surface. Therefore, the concrete countertop will require extensive maintenance.

Stainless steel

Although stainless steel countertop is commonly used for the kitchen of restaurants and other dining places, it can also be applied to common houses. There are many advantages when using stainless steel material as kitchen countertop such as; water and other liquid resistance, excellent durability, high stain and heat resistance, low maintenance, easy to clean and many other advantages.

Therefore, stainless steel countertop is perfect for busy kitchen with intense food preparation and cooking activities. The drawbacks are that the style and design for the stainless steel countertop is too plain, making the kitchen looks too stiff instead of stylish. The countertop surface is also easily dent because small impact and can scratched easily, leaving marks that difficult to fix.

On the next article we will discuss the last part of material that often used as the kitchen countertop.

If you are considering in replacing your old kitchen’s countertop with the new one to improve your kitchen’s style, one of the first consideration is to choose the material that you are going to use from all of the material option that available in the hardware store.

So, here are some basic information about countertop material that are often available. Therefore you can decide which countertop material that you want to install as your new kitchen countertop.

Granite

Granite is one of the most popular materials for kitchen countertop. People love to see its beautiful surface that pleasing the eyes of people who seen it. This material has high resistance against heat, so it can withstand from cooking activities, the stove and other cooking appliances.

Granite is also scratch resistance, so it has high durability and does not wear easily. Therefore this material can last for a long period of time. Granite is suitable both for modern and classic kitchen design, so this material will never out of style. It is one of the best choices to improve the kitchen both for the style and to improve the home value.

Unfortunately, due to it great advantages, natural granite is also one of the most expensive materials for countertop. Another drawback from this material is that this natural stone is porous. So, it can stain easily if you do not clean the surface immediately and properly.

To overcome this problem you can use special sealer to close the granite pores to prevent it from getting stained easily. The home owner must avoid using the granite countertop as secondary cutting board. Although this material is hard and has high scratch resistance, constant impact with the sharp knife will damage its finish and surface, and it is also will damage your kitchen knife’s edge too.

Other natural stones

Other than granite, there are also different kinds of natural stones that can be used as good material for the kitchen countertop such as limestone, slate surfaces, marble or quartz. Although they are not as good as granite, each one of these natural stones have their own appeal that can improve your kitchen style.

Limestone has natural appearance and its color can change to darker after some times. The stone is perfect for people who want to add natural style in their kitchen or to be used as outdoor countertop. But, this material is more porous than granite, so you need to clean quickly when there is spill on the surface.

Slate material often used for roofing. It has unique appearance, so it is really enhance your kitchen style. It has high durability and does not need sealing protection as other natural stones material, but regular maintenance is needed to preserve its appearance.

Natural marble has beautiful and unique color pattern. It is also has high resistance against heat, so it can absorb the heat from cooking activity and stay cool. It goes extremely well for food preparation and presentation. Unfortunately, this material has less durability than granite and it is need more sealing protection to maintain its appearance and from the stain.

Natural quartz has similar appearance like the slate material but has higher resistance again scratch and stain. Artificial quartz is also become great choice for countertop, but the price is more expensive than the natural quartz since the artificial require various materials to produce.

Cleaning The Soft Dust From Home Improvement ProjectHave you ever do a home improvement or construction project to your house? Whether it is in a large scale project or even just a small improvement project, surely there will be piles of fine dust from the project that scattered all over the place, even at furthest area from the project.

These dusts usually are so soft and light, so it will require a lot of effort and time to get rid of it completely. To save the amount of time and effort to clean it, there are few methods to help you clean your home from these dusts such as;

Do not try to sweep those dusts

Sweeping those light dusts will only make them more scattered all over the place. This is because the dust is so light, it will fly in to the air even with slightest touch. It will be like playing tags with the dust.

Of course if there larger debris from the project such as some parts from the wood, plaster, stone or other material from the project, you will need to sweep them to clean the area. But, do not try to sweep the remaining soft dust immediately after you have disposed the large debris. So, you need to let those dusts are settle few moments before you remove them.

Use vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust

Using vacuum to remove the soft dust is more effective than using broom to sweep those dusts. Vacuum every surface of the floor, furniture, windows and door’s frames using the vacuum’s small attachment.

Use a damp cloth after vacuuming

Vacuumed thoroughly on every surface of object that is in the area including the vertical surface of every object. After you have vacuum the soft dust from the surface of every object in the area and the floor, then you need to wipe every object in the area including the surface of the floor with a damp cloth. If the dust already stick to the surface of an object and cannot be removed with the damp cloth, then you can use cleaning solution that is safe to clean the object.

Cleaning the floor

Regarding with cleaning the floor from the soft dust, you need to vacuum thoroughly if you are using carpets then wash the carpet right away. You can contact a carpet cleaning service if it is too hard for you to wash the carpet.

But, if your floor is hard flooring such as wood or stone tiles, you need to use scrubber drier it after you vacuum it. Mopping it with wet cloth does not effectively clean the dust. You will only make the dust wet and smudge it to the floor causing muddy marks on the floor.

If your home is using floor boarding, you need to put the carpet back on the floor immediately after you have vacuum the floor underneath the carpet. This is to prevent the dust rising up to the surface again from the boarding gaps when people are walking on the board.

Cleaning The Carpet StainGetting stain marks on your beautiful carpet is very annoying. Not only it will ruin your carpet, getting it cleans again is going to take a lot of effort and money. Fortunately, there are many carpet cleaning products that can easily be found in many stores and there are many carpet cleaning service that available in your area. Although some of these cleaning methods can be quite costly.

But did you know that there are some cheaper methods to clean the stain on your carpet? Therefore you did not have to spend your money to buy the expensive cleaning chemical or hire the carpet cleaning service.

There are some household products which you might already have that could help you to remove some stain on your carpet such as; rubbing alcohol, lemon juice, detergent, vinegar, etc. You need to know how to utilize those products to help you clean your carpet.

Here are some guides that can help you to clean the stain on your carpet using the ordinary household products;

Removing pet stain

Using ammonia; mix one teaspoon of household ammonia with half of cup of water. Put the mixed solution in to a spray bottle or use it directly to the stain. Before using the solution, make sure the carpet remain dry on the front and on its back. After using the ammonia solution, use towels or white paper to clean the stain completely and then let the carpet dry.

Using detergent; mix a quart of water with a quarter of a teaspoon of detergent that did not contain lanolin or bleach. After the solution is mixed well, put it in to a spray bottle.

Remove the pet stain as much as you can and then spray the left over stain that is still remain on the carpet with the detergent solution. Rub the stain area with a towel or other thick cloth, and then clean the stain and detergent from the carpet’s surface.

Using steam cleaner: re hydrate the stain with steam cleaner and then rub the stain with a piece of cloth or paper towel. Keep repeat the process until the stain removed completely, and then dry the carpet thoroughly.

Removing ink stain

To remove ink stain on your carpet, you can use household rubbing alcohol from the department store or grocery store. Pour some of the household alcohol on to white cloth or white paper towel.

Before the household alcohol is dry, wipe the ink stain with the white cloth or paper towel that already smeared with the alcohol. Clean or wipe the ink stain in one small direction to prevent the ink stain spread to wider area.

Removing the wine and beer stain

Dilute white vinegar with water in 1:1 comparison and then put in to a spray bottle. Spray the stain with the vinegar solution and let it around 10 – 15 minutes. After 10 minutes or so, rub the stain with a sponge and then rinse it using some warm water.

Put few layers of paper towel on top of the stain and use a thick and heavy book to press the paper towel against the stain and let it stay like that until the carpet is completely dry.

Replacing The CountertopFor most home owners, the kitchen is one of the most crucial sections in their home. Therefore, many experienced property agents agree that improving the kitchen is one of the best methods to increase the home’s value.

The kitchen is also become one of the main areas that is often shown during the presentation by the real estate agent. The real estate agents will able to attract their customer’s interest more if the home has a nice and lovely kitchen.

There are four basic kitchen improvements that can be done by the home owner whether to increase their home value or to make their home more cozy and beautiful. Those basic methods are;

Replacing the old and out of style kitchen appliances

Replacing the old flooring with more stylish model

Changing the style of their kitchen cabinets, and

Replacing their kitchen countertop

In this post we will discuss about the last part, especially about some countertop materials that can be used for kitchen improvement.

When choosing the material for your new kitchen countertop, it is more than just going down to the hardware store and bought the new countertop and replaces the old one. You must consider on the time and effort to maintain the new countertop in the future after you have install the new countertop.

If you are too busy to taking care of the new countertop or the new countertop material need special care while you do not have enough spare time to do it, it will be much better if you do not choose that countertop material.

Budget is also an important part when choosing the new kitchen countertop. The combination of countertop’s style and material might provide good solution to prevent the home owner from going over budget when replacing the new countertop for their kitchen improvement.

And the most important part when choosing the new countertop; the home owners must understand that the countertop is the main focal point from the entire kitchen area. So, the home owners need to think seriously about the size, style, design, color and material that they want to choose from what’s going to be the new kitchen countertop.

There are various materials that often use to make stylish countertop such as; granite, acrylic, laminate, stone, stainless steel, tile or hardwood. The price is also vary even among the same countertop material, therefore the home owner can choose the countertop that suit to their budget.

On the next post we will discuss about some of the countertop material in general point.

In many home improvement projects, many homeowners prefer to take care the project themselves. Unfortunately, not all homeowners have the qualifications such as skills nor the experience to handle this important project by themselves.

So, for these homeowners it will be better to rely the home improvement project to a qualified contractor. Finding the qualified and affordable is an important factor to ensure the success of the project.

To find such contractor, homeowner need to do a thorough research. So, here are some tips that can be used by homeowners to find the right contractor;

Recommendation from trusted people

Checking through friends or family to find out if they know good contractor often give good and reliable result. When someone we know has making home improvement project with good result, then you might want to use the same contractor for your own improvement project.

This will make the contractor selection process become faster. Using recommendation from the people that you trust can improve the chance in locating a good home improvement contractor.

Advertisement

When you cannot get good recommendation for the right contractor from people that you know, you could search it from various advertisement types such as local newspaper, yellow pages, magazines or internet.

Unfortunately this method is harder and quite risky since it will be difficult to decide whether you are dealing with an honest contractor or the shady one. Therefore, it will be better not to be hasty to make the decision on the first contractor that you meet.

Try to get information from some different contractors to see which one that has the best offer on the cost and quality. Homeowners need to keep in their mind that cheaper cost is not necessary a good answer. Good material and good skills from the worker will increase the cost to ensure that the project’s result have good quality.

From the local Better Business Bureau

Local Better Business Bureau (BBB) could provide information for good contractor in area near your location. The BBB will record business company information along with its reputation, especially if the business received complaints from their previous clients. So, homeowner can find the contractor with good record.

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