4 Cooling System Options For Your Home

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Have you ever been through a summer without any way to cool your home? It’s miserable. The sun beats down on the wall and ceiling, turning your home into an oven.

Luckily, there are several options available to help cool your home. There are different advantages and disadvantages to all these types of cooling systems. It is important to do thorough research on what will be the best option for your home. Remember, this is an overview, not an all-inclusive list.

Central AC

This is probably the most common type of home cooling system. If you can walk to the wall and adjust a thermostat, then you have central cooling. Central AC works by having a unit outside of your home that blows air through ducts all throughout your home. Coils filled with refrigerant cool the air. A pump pulls the heat absorbed in the cooling process out of the home.

Central AC units can work everywhere. They can be expensive to install, especially if you don’t have sufficient or any ducts. Central AC provides stability in temperature year-round, but can also lead to higher energy bills and may need maintenance on its ducts.

Swamp Coolers

You might be unfamiliar with swamp coolers unless you have spent time in places with a hot, dry climate. Swamp coolers are evaporative coolers. They are large units placed on the top of a home. They have reservoirs that hold water and keep interior pads moist. Fans blow air through the pads, creating a cool moist breeze throughout your home.

Swamp coolers are most beneficial in the hot, dry climate type. Swamp coolers are making the air moist, and those of us who have lived in humid climates know that there is no need for that. They are cost-effective, though this can be tricky if there are droughts and therefore water restrictions, which is not uncommon in areas where swamp coolers are effective. Paradoxical.

Portable/Window AC Units

These type of AC units have the power to cool one room per unit usually. They sit in or near your window and have the same function as a central cooling system, all packed into one little box. They put cold air into your home while dumping the heat outside. Portable units are called that because they can be moved around, but they do have a hose that goes out the window. That hose pumps the heat outside, so if you don’t have it in a window, things will get very warm very quickly. These units aren’t terribly expensive but are limited in their ability to cool, as it is really only going to work for one room. They can be moved to areas that need more attention, however, and that is a huge plus.

Mini-Splits

Mini-splits are a modern way to cool individual rooms with the same system and without the use of air ducts. An outside unit fills the same basic role as the outside unit of central AC but instead uses tubes to control temperature and remove heat and moisture.

These are beneficial because you can have different temperatures in different rooms. They can be installed in a number of places, and have different looks as well. They do cost more than installing central AC, but are very energy efficient.

You need to stay cool. It is so important on warm, and then hot, summer nights. If you need help looking into air conditioning installation, make sure to call an expert. It will be simple, don’t sweat it.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House

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Have you been here? If not, and you're in or near the LA area, try to make it for one of the extremely rare tours / open houses. Although really, it’s worth just driving by to see it from the street. Here’s what the LA Times printed about it in 2011.

https://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-landmark-houses-ennis-house-htmlstory.html

When Frank Lloyd Wright completed the Ennis house in 1924, he immediately considered it his favorite. The last and largest of the four concrete-block houses that Wright built in the Los Angeles area remains arguably the best residential example of Mayan Revival architecture in the country. When The Times' Home section convened a panel of historians, architects and preservationists in 2008 to vote on the region's best houses of all time, the Ennis house ranked ahead of the Modernist Eames house, the John Lautner spaceship-on-a-hill known as Chemosphere and the Arts & Crafts beauty the Gamble house.

That the Ennis house garners so much reverence from the architecture community makes its current status all the more remarkable: for sale since June 2009, price reduced from $15 million to $7,495,000. Prospective buyers have shown much interest, according to listing agent Jeffrey Hyland, president of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, but as of yet, there have been no takers.


Why Taking Care of Your Roof is So Important

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As a homeowner, you take some things for granted, such as the roof will be reliable. The maintenance of the roof should be thought of as a necessary part of owning a home. Should it fail, rainwater will leak into the attic or loft and begin to cause new and future problems, both due to immediate water and subsequent moisture-related problems.

Here are some reasons to maintain your roof.

Protection from Extreme Weather

While we may worry about rainwater penetrating an old roofing structure, the reality is that the weather conditions in the UK are becoming more extreme. The strong belief is that it’s been caused by the effect of global warming, which is causing changes to the oceans, heating up the atmosphere and thereby modifying our weather.

We tend to think of tornados hitting the ground as an American phenomenon with one hitting Oklahoma in 2013 being over two miles in diameter. However, they’ve occurred in the UK too. There are as many as 40 tornados that hit British shores annually. With shocking speeds of over 100 MPH, they can devastate homes. With that said, a home with a good roof will usually only suffer the loss of some roofing tiles due to high gusts of wind in its vicinity when not directly in the path of the tornado.

Protection from Regular Weather

Our homes also get battered by heavy rains, strong gales, and occasional hailstones just to keep things interesting. The roof seals in the home prevent any water from getting inside the internal structure. The rainwater runs down the side of the roof, into the gutters and into the drainage system. At least, it should…

When roofs take too much damage, they deteriorate and lose their ability to protect from regular weather patterns. Tiles start to get dislodged more frequently and the total protection that a roof usually provides begins to breakdown.

This is why it’s worth completing an annual inspection of your roof to look for anything out of place, missing tiles, and areas where they seem less secure following a windy season. Most roofs should last many years, but with maintenance, they’ll last longer and provide greater protection too.

Do You Feel Comfortable Getting Up on the Roof?

If you’re scared of heights, then it’s just not worth doing it yourself. Even climbing up a ladder could give you pause. It’s one thing to do a bit of DIY at ground level but quite another to try to accomplish it while suspended in the air. Too many accidents occur when using a ladder to make it worth risking a broken arm or leg and having to be off work for a period of several weeks.

When you don’t feel comfortable performing a roof inspection or making repairs, then try out Belfast Roofing Services. They understand the issue and know how to perform both inspections, advise on what repairs are needed, and get them completed for you. This provides peace of mind so you can get busy with other DIY tasks still on your To Do list.

Don’t make your roof an afterthought until it’s too late. Maintain it well to get the most years out of it before it must be replaced.

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8 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Appealing

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Is your backyard bland and lackluster? If that sounds familiar then you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t take much to make your yard pop. An added fixture here or a little landscaping there can make your home the envy of the neighborhood. Here are 8 hardscape features to help make your backyard more visually appealing.

  1.   Trellis/arch

Adding a simple trellis or arch in your yard can quickly add a bit of charm to your landscape. It doesn’t take much effort or space and will add a lovely place for picture taking. Because it tends to tower above the rest of the yard it also will help add depth to a small space.

  1.   Stone Walkway

A few stone steps or a rock walkway help to create visually appealing leading lines in an otherwise bland area. Before digging up the yard to put in your walkway, make sure to draw up a game plan and map out exactly where the stones will go so you will be sure to have enough material.

  1.   Pond

Putting a pond into your outdoor area is another great way to help with increasing the depth in an otherwise small space. There are premade ponds available at most home improvement stores or there is always the option of designing the pond yourself. Maintenance of your pond will all depend on what you choose to put inside. You could go simple and just have smooth stones or add a little life with a few hearty Coy fish.

  1.   Bridge

Most people don’t think to put a little walking bridge in their yard so this added feature will make your space feel unique. It will create added dimensions in your yard, making your space feel more open. Under the bridge, you could have a small pond, stream or even a pretty little flower bed.

  1.   Leading Gardens

If you are wanting to make your garden look more like a painting than a plot of grass, then a leading garden is definitely a good idea for you. A leading garden is small sections of your yard that you turn into patches of gardens to help direct eyes from one point in your yard to another.

  1.   Fireplace

You could have either an outdoor fireplace or a nice built-in firepit. Whichever you choose to go with, it will provide a cozy place to gather with friends and the stone or rocks used to build your fire spot will create an aesthetically pleasing, welcoming atmosphere in your backyard.

  1.   Outdoor Pavilion

An outdoor pavilion isn’t just lovely to look at, but it is also useful. It serves as a great place to entertain friends when the weather is nice. String a few lights in your pavilion and you’re ready to host the neighborhood barbeque.

  1.   Rock Fixture

One very convenient thing about rocks is there is little to almost no upkeep. All you need to do is make sure you don’t have weeds growing in your design, and since you aren’t trying to keep other plants alive in that area, a quick spray of weed killer will keep your rocks looking fabulous.

If you have the time and don’t mind putting in a little elbow grease, then you could add one of these hardscape features to your yard in just a weekend or two. On the other hand, yard work isn’t for everyone. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a reliable crew to help your plain patch of grass turn into something that catches people’s attention.  

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Why Soffit Is So Important

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The roof of your house has many functions. You may think that it’s only there to stop the elements from getting in, but it actually serves a couple of different purposes other than that. For example, the underside of your roof where it hangs over the edges of your house is actually crucial to mold and moisture prevention.

In case you weren’t up to speed on the importance of this area, known as a soffit, let’s go over a few of the reasons why this little-known part of your roof can have big implications on your home and all who live in it.

  1. Mold Prevention

If you have an attic in your home, having a good soffit is vital to preventing mold. Especially during the winter months when warm air from your furnace tends to rise and collect in the attic, proper ventilation is necessary. A ventilated soffit has tiny holes in it which let warm air escape without letting cold air into your home.

Without a soffit for the warm air to escape through, it can lead to mold growth which could end up costing you a lot more than the cost of a ventilated soffit. Spores from commonly found molds such as black mold can circulate through your home and do untold amounts of damage to you, your children, and especially any pregnant women in the household.

Unchecked mold growth can even lead to neurological symptoms and lung infection, making it extremely important to prevent it from growing anywhere on, or in your home.

  1. Structural Integrity

The increase in temperature in your attic will lead to other problems as well, like ice dams. An ice dam is when the snow on the top of your roof melts, then refreezes at the bottom. This builds up over time and can lead to destructive amounts of ice which could collapse your roof eventually.

Another thing that can happen as a result of this nearly year-round temperature increase is a weakening of the wood in your attic itself. The unnaturally high temperatures can lead to rotting and warping much easier.

  1. A Lower Energy Bill

All that warm air getting stale in your attic will eventually make its way back down into your house if it has nowhere to go. Especially in the summer, this added heat can raise the overall temperature of your house and cause your cooling bill to go through the roof (no pun intended).

Soffit Plays a Big Role in Your Roof’s Success

When it comes to keeping your family safe and preventing mold growth, increased temperatures, ice dams, and the overall degradation of your home, ventilated soffit is vital. Luckily for you, there are plenty of porch soffit options to choose from. This will help keep your home protected while still achieving the design elements you want.

Not only could having a good soffit lower your energy bill throughout the year, but it could also prevent you from having to deal with potentially nasty and long-lasting health issues as a result of mold growth in your attic. Making sure that warm air has a place to go is made much easier by installing a good soffit.

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Fire Resistant Design Considerations for Your Home

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Nobody wants to experience a fire in their home. If serious enough, it can burn your house to the ground and potentially even cause serious harm or death to you and your loved ones. Thankfully there are a variety of ways you can make your home more fire resistant. From the actual construction of your home itself, to additions like siding, house wrap, and smoke curtains, you have a plethora of options when it comes to keeping your home from being ruined by fire damage.

Let’s go in-depth on some of these right now so you can make the best choice for yourself and your family in terms of fire resistance.

  1. Fire Resistant Siding

Steel siding is a great option for fire-resistance. Not only does it require almost no maintenance, it lasts an incredibly long time and is super resistant to damage as well. Steel is almost completely invulnerable to fires, weather events, and other disasters. Fire resistant house siding also has the added benefit of being extra resilient against high-heat exposure, meaning it won’t even melt or burn if you happen to get sparks from a grill on it, for instance.

  1. ICF Construction

Having your home built with an ICF system is another great way to prevent fire damage. ICF fire resistance is next to note. ICFs are known to be extremely resistant to fire and can help stop the spread of flames. They are also completely air-tight, making it hard for a fire to breathe and grow larger if one does happen to break out.

  1. Smoke Curtains

It’s a well-known fact that most deaths in house fires occur from smoke inhalation, rather than burning. This is why smoke curtains are crucial to helping ensure you and your family’s survival in the event of a fire.

Smoke curtains are stored in the ceiling of your home, and they only drop down in the event of a fire. These curtains can be placed in such a way that they completely block doorways, elevators, stairways, and atriums from smoke getting through.

Though, they can be easily walked through. The four main types of smoke curtains are perimeter curtains, draft curtains, vertical smoke curtains, and elevator smoke curtains. You can install one or multiple types, depending on the level of protection you want.

  1. Proper House Wrap

House wrap is another great way to add additional protection against fires. Some house wraps are made from material that is resistant to flames, or even fire-retardant. This is a great option for those of you have flammable siding but aren’t willing or able to replace it with fire-resistant siding. Comparing house wraps like typar vs tyvek is important when deciding which is best for your home.

Having a house wrap installed beneath your siding will create a sealed-off barrier that keeps flames from reaching the siding of your home and sending it completely up in flames.

There is No Excuse to Let Your Home Burn Down

As you can see, there are many great choices for giving your home extra protection against fires. Whether you choose to install a quality house wrap, smoke curtains, fire-resistant siding, build your home with an ICF wall system, or use some combination of these four strategies, there is no reason you should ever be in danger of burning alive should your home catch fire.

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The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

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Spring is in the air and everyone is beginning to have those “out with the old, in with the new” urges. One way to remedy this is to dive into your spring cleaning. Whether you live at a cute little American Avenue apartment or a spacious house it can be difficult to keep track of all you’re spring cleaning needs. Here is a helpful list to follow to make sure you get everything feeling shiny and new or, at least clean.  

Declutter

While you’re in the mood to get rid of things, you should start with the places that need the most decluttering. If you have things that haven’t been used in years it might be time to say goodbye. Just think, if you throw out that random useless item now, that will be one less thing to clean out next year.

  • Bedroom Closet
  • Hall Closet
  • Under the stairs
  • Cupboards
  • Under the bed
  • Attic
  • Basement

Dust

After months with the doors and windows shut tight against the cold, there is plenty of unnoticed dust build up in the corners and cracks of your home. It is time to say farewell to the dust bunnies and get all of the dust out of your home.

  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling corners
  • Crown molding
  • Ceiling fans
  • Light fixtures
  • Lamps
  • Kitchen cupboards
  • Picture frames
  • Bookcases
  • Window blinds

Polish

The urge to buy all of the new things is strong in the spring, but before you go spending an arm and leg on stuff try helping your old things feel new. A bit of wood polish and some elbow grease can do wonders for a dusty piece of wooden furniture.

  • Furniture
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Bathroom cabinets
  • Kitchen table

Remove dust

You’ve dusted but you haven’t necessarily removed all of the dust from your house yet. In some cases, you just transferred it from one place to another. Now it’s time to get the dust out of the house.

  • Beat rugs outside
  • Vacuum air vents
  • Schedule chimney sweep (if you have a chimney)
  • Change air/furnace filters

Floor

At some point, you knew you’d have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub. Well, that time has come. Your floors need attention and you’ll want to embrace your inner Cinderella so you can have the most thorough cleaning completed.

  • Move furniture to vacuum/sweep everything
  • Scrub gout in tile
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Deep clean linoleum
  • Deep clean/polish wood floor

Laundry

It is a rare person that actually enjoys doing laundry, but even if you aren’t one of those lucky souls, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore it. Whether you decide to do all your laundry in one day to get it out of the way or space it out through your week you’ll definitely want to do some spring laundry.

  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Spot clean pillows
  • Spot clean fabric furniture

Deep Clean

To help your home feel extra clean and ready for spring you’ll want to give a little bit of extra attention to the things listed below. They will be the difference between a tidy home and an actually clean home.

  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Microwave

With your cleaning list in hand, you are ready to tackle your home and get it fully ready for spring. Throw open your windows, tie back your hair, and blast your favorite tunes while you finally get the winter grime out and allow the fresh spring breeze to sweep through your home.

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Rustic Design Trends For Your Home

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While some home trends that have been popular for the last few years are definitely on their way out some are still going strong. Rustic home design is one of those trends that is just getting stronger this year. While rustic home accents have been on design blogs and social media for years the rustic farmhouse design with modern elements is one of the hottest trends this year. Homeowners that want to give their home a timeless look and a chic upgrade are embracing rustic elements that give their home a cozy country feel. The best ways to add rustic design elements to your home are to upgrade your home with:

Distressed Hardwood Flooring

Distressed hardwood flooring adds character to your home while still giving you the beauty of natural hardwood flooring. Because distressed hardwood flooring is made from recycled wood it’s sustainable and good for the environment and it also gives your home a gorgeous rustic look and feel. Aged wood has a unique look that comes from the patina that builds up on the wood over the years and the wear pattern that is created over time. When you have distressed hardwood flooring installed in your home your floors will be totally unique with an individual personality that can’t be duplicated. The warmth and charm of your distressed hardwood floors will transform any room.

Rustic Kitchen Countertops

Rustic wood countertops are the perfect finishing touch for a modern farmhouse look in the kitchen. If you’re tired of your granite countertops and want a truly unique look for your kitchen replacing your countertops with reclaimed wood countertops will make your kitchen one a kind. The warm tones of reclaimed wood will make your kitchen truly the heart of the home. You can also install new rustic countertops to give a light rustic feel to dark kitchens that need brightening up. Light wood countertops that contrast with black, dark navy, or gray kitchen paint make the kitchen seem warmer and move inviting while maintaining that sleek modern look that comes from colored cabinets.

Faux Wood Beams

Faux wood beams installed in a living room, family room, dining room, or kitchen give the room a dramatic rustic look without the weight of real wood beams. Wood beams are a fantastic design element that can help make a room seem more inviting. They can also help frame the space in a room with very high ceilings. Real wood beams can be very expensive to hang because they are exceptionally heavy but faux wood beams that are hollow inside are light and easy to install. They give you the wonderful rustic look you want without all the expense and hassle of installing real wood beams for decoration. They also are practical because wiring for lights, smart home devices, and other projects can be run through the beams to keep them out of sight.

Rustic Siding

If you have always wanted your home to have the charm and appeal of a log cabin, replacing your existing siding with rustic siding can give you the look that you want with easy maintenance and installation. Wood look siding that mimics the look of real wood will transform your home into the cabin you’ve always wanted without requiring a lot of effort to keep it looking great. Low maintenance modern rustic look siding gives you the best of both worlds.

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An Alternative Material For Your Cabinets

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Plywood is the best choice for your cabinets if you want cabinets that are going to look great but also hold up to the wear and tear of daily use. For kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, or custom cabinet storage in a playroom, sewing room, office, or in the garage plywood is the best choice. That’s because plywood is stronger than medium-density fiberboard or MDF and will last for years even with heavy use. Plywood cabinets can also resist moisture and perform even in high humidity environments like in the bathroom or in some garages.

Plywood Kitchen Cabinets

Plywood kitchen cabinets might cost a little more than MDF or particle board cabinets but the money is an investment in durability. Kitchen cabinets are used every day throughout the day and need to be strong enough to withstand years of constant use without warping, cracking, or falling apart. Plywood has the beauty and strength to create kitchen cabinets that will look great and be sturdy enough to stay strong no matter how much wear and tear they take. Plywood kitchen cabinet designs are worth the extra cost because they will last longer and stay looking great longer than MDF cabinets. You can also customize the look of plywood cabinets to get the look that you want in your kitchen.

Choosing the Best Plywood

When it comes to choosing the best plywood for your cabinets you should consider both the strength of the plywood and the veneer that gives the plywood the decorative look used for cabinet fronts. If you are choosing plywood for your garage or shop cabinets you might not need to spend extra money on a highly decorative plywood because strength is more important than the appearance of the plywood for work cabinets. But in the kitchen the appearance of the veneer might be the deciding factor and not the cost. When you are choosing the best plywood take into consideration where the cabinets are going to help you make the right decision about which plywood is the best plywood for the job.

Prefinished Plywood

Traditionally kitchen cabinets and other cabinets have been made of unfinished plywood and then finished after construction. However, using prefinished plywood can be the right choice for custom plywood cabinets. Using prefinished plywood might cost more up front because the cost of the materials for the cabinets will be higher but using prefinished plywood has a lot of advantages that will make up for the extra up front cost.

One of the biggest advantages of using prefinished plywood is that it will shorten the time needed to create and install the cabinets. When your new cabinets are made from prefinished plywood they can be completed fairly quickly because they don’t need to go through all the finishing steps to get the look that you want. If time is a factor when you are getting new cabinets made you should consider choosing prefinished plywood.

Prefinished plywood is also available in a wide range of colors, finishes, and coatings so that you can choose the exact color or finish that you want for your cabinet and you will get a uniform look because all of the cabinets will be made from the same prefinished material. You won’t need to waste time worrying about stains or paint colors and making sure that all the cabinets match when you choose prefinished plywood for your custom cabinets.

Choose Plywood For Your Cabinet Needs

Plywood is a great material for any room of your home. From stunning and unique kitchen cabinets to extra storage in your garage or shed for your tools such as levels, nails, or even just craft necessities like paint. Cabinets made out of plywood can give you extra storage that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Be sure to consider plywood as a material for your cabinets for your next renovation or upgrade.

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Behind the Scenes in DIY Home Renovation

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Have you ever imagined a home renovation to totally change the look and appeal of your home? While there are many reasons homeowners seek renovations, the two leading reasons for a DIY project are cost and enjoyment. Believe it or not, some of the coolest DIY home renovation projects have been undertaken by homeowners who could easily afford the services of professional contractors but simply enjoy a hands-on approach.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand all that is involved when working beyond their area of expertise and this is where problems can arise. Whether you are considering a home renovation project to your current home or a ‘fixer upper’ you’ve found on the market for a good price, let’s take a look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes.’

The Dangers of Airborne Particles

Have you ever wondered why even contractors will buy planks and boards which have been cut and sanded at a lumber mill as opposed to working on them on-site? Many times, even with face masks, the dust inhaled is a very real health hazard. That’s just a simple example of airborne particles you might be subjected to. Companies that manufacture many of the products you will be working with have what they call ‘clean rooms’ in which particles are evacuated through complex filtration systems.

If their airborne particle counter reads above a certain safe level, steps are taken to eliminate the hazards to workers. Obviously timber is a very basic example, but what about compounds being used such as certain epoxies which need to be worked with under specific parameters? It’s vital to know any dangers which might not be readily visible to the naked eye before working with any harmful substances or materials.

When Permits and Licenses Are Required

Unless you are in the business, it can be difficult to know when zoning in your area requires special construction permits or professional licenses. Electrical wiring is a good example of when you might be required to have the work completed by a licensed electrician. Some wiring can be overseen and signed off on by a licensed electrician, but other jobs may require the actual work to be done by licensed and insured professionals. Then there are building permits you may not realize you need. Some zoning ordinances are more stringent than others.

For example, you will almost always need a roofer if doing an attic conversion into an apartment or extra living space if the roof line is to be altered, but you wouldn’t need a roofer if the area just needs interior finishing. Don’t get slapped with a code violation and a hefty fine, so always be aware of those seemingly ‘little’ things which can land you in a world of trouble.

When Repairs Cost More than the Original Labor

The final thing to consider is when you aren’t really sure what you are doing but are trying to save a buck or two. Some homeowners have found that repairs to their DIY work cost more than a professional job would have cost. Some things are simply better left in the hands of a pro.

Are you looking to get your hands on a DIY home renovation project? If so, always know what you are getting yourself into before starting any project whatsoever. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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How Reclaimed Wood Is Recycled

Using reclaimed wood is a fantastic way to add some unique style to your home and it’s environmentally friendly. Wood that is reclaimed from old homes, barns, and other sources goes through an extensive recycling process that gives it new purpose without diminishing the beautiful aged look and charm that it already has.

In order for reclaimed wood to be ready for use in modern homes, first, the wood is taken from demolished homes, barns and outbuildings, and old factories along with other buildings. All old nails, staples, ties, and other items are removed from the wood by hand to make sure the wood is free of anything but the actual wood.

Then it’s cleaned with simple soap and water to wash off any dirt, debris, or oil that has built up on the wood over time to reveal the wood’s true color and natural beauty. After that the wood is milled to break it down to the right thickness for whatever project it’s going to be used for. It’s also then planed and ripped to make it functional wood.

After that it goes through a kiln drying process to kill any mold that might be on the wood from years of exposure to the elements or to water. The kiln drying process also gets rid of any insects or pests that have taken up residence in the wood.

The wood is then molded into a new shape that’s suitable for whatever purpose it’s going to be used for and it’s cross-cut and processed so that it can be turned into flooring, cabinet doors, stair treads, wood paneling walls, and other accents that can be used in any home. The color of the wood and the natural grain lines remain and make each piece of reclaimed wood a unique treasure that brings style and warmth to any home.

For more information on reclaimed wood, check out the infographic below:

Elmwood Infographic


5 Ways to Improve Your Backyard

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Your backyard is a place to relax and unwind. It should be your family’s own little slice of heaven after a busy week of work, school, and stress. Before it can become your perfect oasis though, you’ll probably need to put a little time into it. Here are a few things you can do that will make a large impact on the look and feel of your yard.

A Privacy Fence

To make your backyard your own private getaway you should consider adding a privacy fence. This will make your backyard feel more personal and comfortable. If you have children this will also limit the stress of sending them outside to play. You’ll know where they are and that they are safe and sound. Homeadvisor.com says that it will likely cost between $10 - $45 per linear foot to construct your wood fence, depending on the material you choose to use.

Plants

If your backyard is just a dirt mound or grass pad then you might want to consider adding a few trees. They may not be impressive now, but in a few years you’ll be grateful you have them. Trees add privacy to your back yard and shade for those hot summer days. There are also so many things you can do with trees; hang hammocks, build a tree house, put in a tree swing, the options are endless!

Outdoor Lights

Whether it is one large spotlight on your back porch or a string of lights hanging between your trees, lighting is a nice touch to any backyard. The lights will especially come in handy when your children want to play outside as the sun sets or if you decide to host a neighborhood BBQ. Lighting your yard doesn’t have to cost you an arm or a leg either. Check out Electrical Wholesale to find great deals on outdoor lighting options.

Add a Hammock

If you aren’t in the mood for a big project but want to increase the overall appeal of your yard, just add a hammock. The amount you want to spend on the hammock completely depends on you. There are some for as cheap as $20 online. The nice ones that will last longer will be close to $100. Either way, the setup isn’t time-consuming and the hours of enjoyment you will get out of your new tree swing are well worth the effort.

Create a Fire Pit

A fire pit is a nice addition to any back yard. You can always purchase a fire pit. This makes an easy setup and the option to move it around the yard at your leisure. If you're confident of the placement of your pit and have the time then building your fire pit right into the ground is always a lovely option, and it adds some semblance of permanency to your yard.

It doesn’t take much to make a remarkable difference to your backyard. A little time and effort can go a long way in providing for the privacy and comfort of your family. Good luck on your next project, and have fun!

guest post • photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash


Why are high-quality workwear and PPE so important?

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Investing in high quality workwear and PPE is important if you are an avid do-it-yourselfer or conduct manual work. Workwear such as work trousers can improve productivity whilst PPE such as knee pads can help protect from injury. Many novice DIYers neglect their own safety by not wearing the correct clothing and equipment to keep them safe.  The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of PPE and workwear at home or in a workplace.

WHY WEAR PPE?

PPE, otherwise known as personal protective equipment, is designed to keep the wearer safe and reduce the risk of injury. PPE is a broad category of protective equipment. Equipment such as hard hats and goggles can provide head and eye protection and are therefore classed as PPE.

Injuries and fatalities are thankfully on the decrease due to a stronger emphasis on health and safety in a workplace due to law. People working on their own personal building projects often do not wear all the appropriate equipment. These people are running the risk of serious injury.

PPE should always be worn when there is a potential risk present. For example, loud noises from machinery may cause hearing damage and therefore ear protection must be worn. Falling debris can cause head injuries, which means hard hats should be worn. A construction site will conduct risk assessments before any manual work begins. The same risk assessment is not always applied when at home. Not identifying risks in the first place makes it harder to prevent them. In addition to this, some people have the attitude that they will be fine without PPE. This attitude is dangerous and can increase the chance of accidents occurring. PPE is one of the most important components of DIY and should not be overlooked.

WHY IS WORKWEAR IMPORTANT?

Wearing high quality workwear will provide both comfort and convenience. Protective workwear such as hi vis clothing can help increase the visibility of the wearer. This dramatically decreases risks of injuries from cars or people operated machinery. Flame resistant clothing will help reduce fire hazards and reduce damage closed by fire. Everyday workwear such as jackets or trousers can make manual work easier. Some work trousers and jackets are equipped with multiple pockets to provide easy access to tools and essentials. In addition to this, knee pad work trousers are equipped with knee pad pockets, which allows for knee pads to be slotted in. This can help prevent long-term damage to knees.

The quality of the workwear and PPE is extremely important. High quality workwear can help protect the wearer from harsh weather. PPE must be of high quality to meet safety standards. Cheaply made PPE may not be suitable for use and could put the wearer in danger. It is important to ensure that both workwear and PPE is in great condition to ensure safety and comfort. Another benefit of high quality workwear and PPE is that it will be a lot more durable.

In conclusion, you should always wear the appropriate workwear and PPE to prevent risks, no matter how big or small the task is. The higher the quality, the better it will be in terms of durability and safety.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Tom Fowler


6 Simple Steps To Create A Pallet Porch Swing for Your Home

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Every good porch or large old tree is just begging for a swinging bench rocking in its shade. If you only have a little time to dedicate to a project than this is the activity for you!

Do you have any old wooden pallets laying around? For most people, they see these scraps of wood as fuel for a bonfire or another trip to the dump. Fortunately for you, this is the beginning of your swing.

Patio Bench Swing

Before doing anything else you’ll want to make sure you have the right materials. You will need:

  • 2 large wooden pallets
  • Corner Metal Fasteners  
  • Metal chains
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Hammer
  • 4 U-bolts

This type of project is one you can take as much or as little time as you want getting it done. If you just want something to sit on, but not to look at, you’ll have this thing done in no time. However, if you’re going for looks then you’ll probably want to sand and paint or stain your wood to give it that finished feel.

Just follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll be swinging on your porch in no time.

Step 1

Cut your seat and backrest. This is as easy as cutting one pallet in half. Cut the pallet so the top and bottom wood are laying horizontally across the pallet.

Step 2

Make your armrests. You can just rip off a few pieces of wood from the other pallet to form your armrests. You will use this wood (the armrests) to help you secure the backboard to the seat.

Step 3

Connect the backboard to the seat. Use your corner fasteners, screws and screwdriver to attach the back of your bench to the seat.

Step 4

Attach the armrests to the bench. Using your screwdriver attach your armrests to the bench that you made.  

Step 5

Screw the u-bolts to the top front and top back of the armrests. The u-bolts will be where your chain will hold the chair so be sure your armrests are secured tightly to your bench.

Step 6

If you were going for super easy then you are now finished. All you have to do is decide where you’re going to hang your bench.

If you wanted to make your bench a little nicer, now is the time to sand away and then paint or stain your bench.

Step 7 (optional)

I would suggest getting an outdoor-friendly cushion to place on your bench. Not only will this make your bench more comfortable but it will also help it to be more inviting.  

As simple as that, you have made something useful from those wooden pallets and created something that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. If you still have a few more pallets laying around, you might consider a few other simple projects like a standing park bench, coffee table, bed headboard or even a lounge chair for the yard. All you’ll need are some pallets, screws, and a bit of creativity.

guest post • photo by Max Lakutin on Unsplash


Curb appeal: 4 must-implement tips to abide by

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Ask any real estate agent worth their salt about curb appeal and you’ll be met with the same answer. This is the holy grail and if you are serious about selling your home, you need to master this down to a tee.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be in the market to sell your home. Let’s not forget that while curb appeal might be a term mainly utilized in the real estate industry, in truth any homeowner can use it to their advantage. Suddenly, your home becomes the envy of neighbors and even if you aren’t the jealous type, this is certainly something that is nice to have.

Following on from the above, we will now delve into four tips that you simply must implement if you want to perfect your curb appeal.

Look after your lawn

Nothing quite shouts out “neglected” to potential buyers than a brown and patchy lawn. This is something that is all-too common nowadays though; lawns are difficult to maintain at the best of times and it can feel like an uphill battle to keep them in pristine condition.

The solution? Well, there are two. Some people will buy some lawn paint as a hack to make their lawn look lusher than it really is, while others might go a step further and replace the grass altogether. This creates something of a maintenance-free front yard, which alleviates some pressure when it comes to curb appeal.

Don't dismiss front yard lighting

Once upon a time installing external lighting was something of a pain. Now, with solar lights so popular, there are no excuses.

Not only do they aid from a security perspective (what thief wants to be watched in the glitz and glamour of garden lights?) but they can make your home feel a little more premium. Whether it’s to light up a path, or to symmetrically illuminate your front door, this is one of the easier ways to make your front yard look a lot nicer on the eye and ultimately impress suitors or neighbors.

It's not all about the garden; stay on top of your windows

A lot of the advice through today’s guide has been about the garden, and rightly so. However, curb appeal really can venture much further than this. This suggestion is about your windows and specifically, how dressing them appropriately can give the best impression to passers-by.

Of course, the premium option here is shutters, but not everyone can afford such luxury. Blinds are perfectly fine, and with so many different types now available you really can dress your window to your hearts (and homes) desire. Installing them is surprisingly simple as well although for those looking for a helping hand, handyman services across WA will always cover such a task.

The dreaded dirty front door

Something that a lot of homeowners always fall foul of is their front door. This is something that can cost a small fortune to install, yet as so many homeowners then opt to neglect it. It quickly gets covered in dirt and all of the other debris from the outside elements - leaving anything but the example of perfect curb appeal.

All it takes is a regular clean, and you'll be shocked at how the first impressions of your home transform.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Leslie Archard


How to turn your fixer-upper to your dream home

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It may seem like you have a lot of work ahead of you, but soon this fixer-upper will turn into your dream home.

When deciding to buy your fixer-upper you took a huge leap of faith that with a lot of blood, sweat and probably some tears you could turn it into the place you always wanted.

You were ok with the idea that you had to be a bit of a visionary to imagine the potential of everything it could become because you knew you were the person that could do it.

But now that you actually have it and are ready to start the transformation you are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed and don't really know where to start.

Luckily, with one foot in front of the other and one step at a time, you can begin the process of turning your fixer-upper into your dream home, and here are a couple suggestions on where you can start.

Go bottoms up

When it comes to a fixer upper it’s best to start with the bottom and then work from there.

It's important to check to make sure the foundation is strong and up to code, especially since you are most likely going to add a lot to the house and want to make sure it’s structurally sound.

From there you can fix what you need to and then go room by room, and then you can do the roof and the exteriors.

Consult a professional

If you don’t know where to begin and how to check if things like electrical, gas, and even the foundation are sound and up to code, it’s definitely a good idea to consult a professional.

In fact, that may be the first thing you want to do right after purchasing your fixer-upper and before you move in and start any repairs because they can be the ones to advise you about permits, insurance, electrical wholesale for the wiring throughout the house, cost efficiency, etc.

Make a plan

After you talk with a contractor or designer about your dreams and goals for your home you can then lay out a plan on how you want to get it done.

You can take into account how much time you have, how soon you want to be in the house, how much work actually needs to be done, and of course your budget.

Fixer-uppers are not always going to be like you see on TV and will take time and a lot of effort. You may have to pick and choose what’s most important and most practical at first versus what you were envisioning.

But eventually it will all come together and you will be glad you came up with a plan along the way.

Know you can do it

A fixer-upper can seem super overwhelming, and while you are in the middle of it all it may seem like next to impossible.

But understand with these types of projects everything looks much worse before it actually comes together and you just have to keep your vision of what you want in mind and persevere through it.

guest post • client image


Five Landscaping Trends to Help Sell Your Home

Selling your home is an extensive process. Preparing the proper documentation can take weeks or even months. While you’re waiting, you can pursue a few landscaping trends that will make your home a perfect choice for future homeowners. Let’s explore a few factors that will turn your home into an ideal purchase.

  1. Efficient Drainage Solutions

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Standing water can potentially damage the home and soil around the landscape. To prevent flooding install a patio drainage system onto the landscape. More than likely, you’ll need a combination of drainage systems. Here a few types of drainage systems that’ll help increase your chances of selling your home:

Types of Drainage System

  • French Drain Systems – Installation of French Drains require grading and digging channels into the landscape. These channels are filled with pipes (corrugated or PVC) that follow a gradual decline in elevation to push water away from the home. A catch basin is installed at the center point where water will flood. Use gravel rock over drainage pipes to hold the installation in place then cover the gravel rock with the soil you initially dug up.
  • Trench Drains – These are ideal for pathway, patios, and driveways. Measure the length and width of the designated area. Dig a trench into the soil according to the measurements of the outdoor flooring structure or the edge of a pathway. Install the trench drain. Be sure that the trench drain design sits a little lower at the edge of each structure, this will allow the water to drain much easier. Like catch basins, trench drains come with a grate to filter out debris.
  • Balcony Drains – If your patio or deck is built high above ground, you may have to use a balcony drain. Balcony drains have a much smaller catch basin with a slim piping channel to funnel water from the area. They can be used for patios as well.
  • Rock Drainage System – Take it a step further and use the elements to show a great cosmetic design of your home with river rock drainage. It may take some grading on your landscape, but there will be creative display that will awe potential home buyers.
  1. Revamping Outdoor Wood Floors

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Years of innovation have given us better material for outdoor wood flooring. Homeowners are leaning more toward composite decking solutions. Composite wood floors are much more durable against the inclement weather and are likely free from insect damage. Use this opportunity to turn classic hardwood decks or patios into composite outdoor wood floors.

Give your home a design and turn the classic deck design into multi-directional steps complemented with matching railing. Or trade the stone patio for outdoor wood floors that transition from the outside to the edge of your home.

  1. Adding Flair during the Night

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Most buyers won’t see your home at night. Invest in some eco-friendly lighting to show off the landscape during the evening hours. For those who love the outdoors, you can add a fire pit on the patio or create a benching area beside the pool. Speaking of benching, consider some under seat lighting for your patio or deck chairs.

You can find eco-friendly lights such as lights powered by solar panels at local retailers. Set up lights to bring a twilight feel to your landscape. Don’t forget to take photos.

  1. Use Simple Garden Designs

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You want the landscape to be neat and spacious. This will give the home buyers ideas they can envision about the home. Of course, make sure the area is clean. Trim the hedges, mow the lawn, and extract leaves that may be on the landscape. Next, add these factors to help your chances:

  • Select Pine Straw as a Ground Cover– With lawn and garden beds clear, find a ground cover that’s both cost-efficient and cosmetically sound like Pine Straw. Pine straw is much cheaper than mulch and can be installed much faster.
  • Plant Annuals – As you approach home tour days, think about planting annual flowers in garden beds to bring vibrancy to your landscape.
  1. The Advantages of a Pergola

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Pergolas are majestic structures that supplement any patio, deck, or pathway. Combine a pergola with lighting to illuminate the imaginations of homeowners who enjoy home social events. If you’re a new homeowner looking to sell in the future, plant a Wisteria vine and twine it above the pergola. Over the years, the vine will create a natural canopy.

Also, you can install a swinging bench on a pergola. With the right structure and placement, it’ll give your landscape a community feel that’s inviting for any guest.

How these Trends Better Your Chances

In terms of landscape, you want to give potential buyers a clear canvas of the area. Be sure the lawns and garden beds are well kept. Maintenance it every week until the home is sold. As you maintain the residential landscape, assess any issues that may occur around the landscape. Improve the cosmetics of the landscape the first chance you get.

guest post • client images