Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs DIY?

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Does DIY Bed Bug Treatment Work?

You find that your home is infested with bed bugs Winnipeg. There are products you can pick up at supermarkets and other venues. Do they actually work? The answer is yes, but with some qualifications. In fact, the results may be more of a waste of your time than a help. Here are some reasons why you should set the do-it-yourself approach aside and call a professional exterminator.

You Don’t Know All the Places to Look

Many people are surprised at how many places bed bugs can infiltrate. In spite of the name, the bugs can end up in your closet, the carpeting and area rugs, and even furniture upholstery. While you may not be sure what needs to be treated and what’s safe, you can bet that an exterminator knows where to look and what to do. That’s one reason why that professional will be one of the most important of all Winnipeg's bed bug solutions.

Bed Bugs Extermination Over the Counter Products Aren’t That Strong

Thing thing about over the counter bed bug products it that they can only accomplish so much. Some of them are effective, especially products designed to use when cleaning clothing that may be infested. Others leave much to be desired. Since you’re not sure how severe the infestation happens to be, it makes more sense to have bed bugs exterminators inspect the home, settle on the best mode of treatment, and then provide you with some advice on what sort of over the counter products would help with the laundry and similar tasks.

They’re Not as Cost Effective as You May Think

If you decide to go the DIY route for getting rid of bed bugs, be prepared to administer a series of treatments. They may have to be administered every few days for a few weeks. In the meantime, life around the home will be disrupted. Along with the inconvenience, you keep spending more and more money on those products. By the time you’re done, the amount spent may equal or even exceed what professional pest control treatments cost. Even sadder, they aren’t likely to produce the same results that a professional heat treatment would accomplish.

A Professional Produces Superior Results in Less Time

Time is of the essence when you’re trying to deal with a bed bug infestation. Those eggs hatch quickly, so the number of bugs is constantly on the rise. Since over the counter products are only addressing part of the problem, it will be some time before the infestation is truly a thing of the past. By contrast, professional bugs extermination using heat or other treatments kills eggs as well as adults. That effectively stops the progression of the problem and makes it easier to bring it under control sooner rather than later. If you notice an infestation in the home, don’t waste time trying to deal with the issue on your own. Call a professional and make arrangements for professional bed bugs treatment in Winnipeg. In the long run, you save money, avoid damage to furnishings, and avoid the itching and other problems that continual exposure to bed bugs create.

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3 Things You Need to Know About Flipping Houses For a Business

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With so many different ways to make money, the choices can be overwhelming. Therefore, if you want to find the best fit for you in the business world, you need to identify a business idea that will not only pique your interest but also provide you with the income and profits that you expect to earn. Thankfully, there are some unique business investment ideas that can completely transform how you can make huge amounts of profits today. One of the most notable involves flipping houses. Before you begin to branch out in the area of flipping houses, it is important that you have a solid idea of how you are going to launch your strategy.

  1. Use Your Own Profitable Strategy for Flipping Homes

The strategy that you use to flip houses can make a significant difference in how successful your company will be. For instance, you may want to incorporate the Tortoise House Flipping strategy in starting out with your first profitable venture. The basics of this concept focus solely on deploying a flipping houses strategy that is considered to be slow but steady. With this concept, you will accomplish these 3 goals at a time and that is to make money relatively quickly first, offer the house of everyone’s dream, designing the appropriate plan that will legally help to avoid tax penalties.

Avoiding tax penalties is essential to making a large profit because there are traditionally taxes that can be associated directly with flipping various kinds of properties. As you get started with this plan, however, you should make sure that you have not quit your day job since you will need the extra income until your profitable ideas can be seen in the real world.

  1. Pros and Cons that Need to Be Considered

If you decide to start flipping properties for a living, you need to know that you can expect both pros and cons. Just like anything that you want to do, you may have lots of advantages but you cannot dismiss the fact that there are downsides too. Hence, for anyone who has their eyes set on getting, here are some of the more common pros along with the cons to flipping properties as an investment and profitability plan.

Pros to Flipping Houses:

  • Allows You to Use Your Creative Ideas to Renovate: While there are many different advantages to flipping homes, some of these reasons can be very exciting to individuals who have a lot of creative ideas that they can use to renovate their property. For instance, if you are good at making small rooms look larger, you can use a wide diversity of renovation concepts to these jobs. Hence, for those of you who enjoy this kind of work, it can be very rewarding and profitable.
  • You Will Learn More About Real Estate in General: Once you enter the world of flipping property, you can also benefit greatly from many of the things that you will learn. For example, you will gain a wealth of knowledge about the real estate business and how it functions overall. As you enter in your first short sale transaction or your first foreclosure, you will automatically begin to learn both the ins and outs of what these processes entail, including information about refinancing.
  • Network Will Expand: Another benefit to flipping houses involves the networks that you will be dealing with. For instance, your network of professions will include contractors, lawyers, real estate brokers and more.

Cons to Flipping Houses:

  • One of the biggest drawbacks to flipping houses is the high possibility of losing money instead of making a profit. Regardless of the number of houses that you flip, you can always lose more money than you make. So, this is one of the biggest drawbacks to enter into this type of business venture.
  1. What You Need to Know About Tax Liabilities

Once you have had an opportunity to completely renovate the home that you have purchased and have sold it, you should always be familiar with the tax liabilities associated with it. To find out more about the tax liabilities that will be connected to the purchase of this property and others, it is important that you contact a tax professional who knows how tax laws work in these situations.

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5 Garage Organization Tips to Consider

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Organizing your garage can be a big job but once it’s done you’ll be amazed at how much more space and function your garage has. When your garage is organized it will be easy to find anything that you need from seasonal clothes to sport equipment and you might finally have room in the garage for your car again. Here are five garage organization tips from organization and design professionals that will help you get a handle on that garage clutter once and for all:

  1. Hang Everything You Can

The best way to make use of all of the space in your garage is to hang everything that you can hang from the walls. Hanging racks can hold storage boxes as well as individual items so that you can hang things like holiday decorations or out of season clothing and get those things off of the floor. Construction measuring tools, ladders, rakes, and other yard equipment should be hung in specially designed organizers that hang on the wall. Bikes, skis, and other large sports equipment should also be hung up to maximize the space available.

  1. Utilize Ceiling Space

The ceiling is a space that many homeowners overlook in the garage. But even if you have an automatic garage door opener there is space up there that you can use for storage. Cleverly designed storage units that are made to fit into the ceiling of a garage over an automatic garage door opener will give you lots of room to store boxes full of old things or seasonal decorations that you only need to access once a year.

  1. Hardwood Plywood Cabinets

Custom built hardwood plywood cabinets that are made to fit your unique garage will really increase the amount of storage in your garage. Some people might think that the cost of custom cabinets isn’t worth it because the cabinet will be in a garage but there is no way to put a price on proper organization. Custom built cabinets in the garage means that you can use the garage as a workspace, a hangout space, a building space, and in other ways. You will have the storage necessary to keep all of your hobby equipment organized and safely put away in the garage. Custom cabinets that are designed just for your garage will ensure that you are using every square inch of the garage that’s available for storage.

  1. Proper Tool Organization

Once your cabinets are up you can organize your hobby space by putting in a custom workbench and a pegboard that can hold your tools. Hanging your tools and measuring wheels on the pegboard will safe space while keeping your tools easily accessible.

  1. Downsize and Organize

Hold a yard sale and get rid of all the items that you just don’t use. Sell those old bikes or the skis that never got used after the first winter. Old tennis racquets and tools can be sold too. Get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely need. Once that’s done take the items that are left and divide them into categories like hobby equipment, sports equipment, and so on. Organize each category and hang the items or put them away in the new storage solutions in the garage.

Once the garage is organized you will be able to keep it organized easily and you will have easy access to all of the things that you might need, like your child’s winter coat or a special tool that you need when you’re working on the car. Take back your garage and tame the clutter by getting organized.  

partnered post by Corey Tyner of Phoenix Fast Sell Home Buyers • client image


The Different Types of Heat Recovery Systems

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image: wind cowls provide passive ventilation and heat recovery

With climate change on the rise, finding ways to provide us with energy that is renewable, efficient and kind on the environment is becoming more important by the day. However, heat ventilation systems are there to help, by making sure that we get the most out of our heating systems. They do this by utilising the heat from the stale air extracted from our homes and combining it with fresh air that enters via ventilation systems. Today, we will be having a look at the different types of heat recovery systems available to you.

Thermal Wheel Heat Recovery

Thermal wheels are usually the biggest out of all the ventilation systems. They’re thought to be the most efficient when it comes to air recovery. These systems consist of two big wheels which have a honeycomb arrangement. One half draws out the stale air, whilst the other half draws in outdoor air. Energy that comes from the stale air is passed on to the incoming air, which heats up the fresh air. The speed of the wheel rotation, plus all of the energy that is transferred, can be regulated to increase or decrease the air temperature of air fed back inside the building.

Plate Heat Technology

This type of heat recovery system, that can be provided by companies like BPC Ireland, is more common than its thermal wheel competitor. This is because plate heat technology can be utilised on a lesser scale. It is made up of a box that has a range of parallel plates that have been made from plastic or metal, and this allows extracted air to pass the air coming into the building. The passing air transfers energy and heats it up. The plates separate the air stream and don’t touch. How conductive and thick the individual plates are, are key factors in how efficient any system is.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps harness heat from one area and pass it to another. The way they operate is similar to that of a refrigeration unit. Heat pumps can be used to heat or cool air. There is an array of different types available. They all draw in heat from the air outdoors as well as the ground, which requires a network of pipes.

Closed Loop Technology

Air handling systems can have a run around coil introduced to them. A circuit of pumped pipes connects the two coils together. To charge the unit, water is used and the supply air coil has heat transferred to it from the heat picked up from the exhaust pipes. This type of heat recovery system is only used if the two air systems aren’t near enough to each other for a more efficient system.

Heat Pipe Technology

This kind of technology requires the least maintenance, but can only be used when air handling is done in an individual system. A tube system with a refrigerant (that extracts heat from exhaust air to pass on to the fresh air), is used. Evaporation from vertical pipes is used, due to them being more efficient compared to horizontal pipes.

As you can see, there are a variety of heat ventilation systems available. The one that works best for your home will be dependent on a number of factors. Making sure you do your research before you purchase a system is essential, so it would be wise to contact a professional and possibly get a few quotes.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Tom Chance


Larger Living Rooms: Easy Hacks to Trick the Eye

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It doesn’t matter what people say, bigger is always better. Particularly when it comes to living room spaces, this couldn’t be truer.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have unlimited pockets. Or, we don’t have any more land to extend our existing living room into.

It means that we’re left with two options; either move home or try and trick others’ eyes into thinking that this room is larger than it actually is.

Suffice to say, it is the latter which we will be focussing on today, as we look at some easy living room hacks to make this space look a lot bigger than it really is.

spread the light

One of the easiest ways to trick the eye is through the use of light. A big mistake made by homeowners with a small living room is to just have one central light, hanging from the ceiling.

Instead of this, try and opt for several. Some of these might be on the wall, while you might have more than one on the ceiling as well. It might require for you to find a drywall repair service in Jersey to patch over some of the old fittings, but the results are completely worthwhile.

the art of contrast

Another really effective way to make the room look bigger is simply by painting it. The golden rule is to not use any “medium” shades. In other words, you have to opt for light or dark colours.

The reason behind this is simple; you need to create contrast. This creates the illusion of depth, which is all you need.

go from head to toe with curtains

It might not be the style that suits some rooms in your house, but when it comes to a small living room you need to make an exception. This comes in the form of curtains that stretch from floor to ceiling. It might seem as though you are hiding some parts of the room, but it just makes the eye move upwards and it’s this effect which can again make the room seem a lot bigger than it really is.

In a similar vein, if you are really against the idea of long drapes, consider putting shelving or other furniture high on your wall. This has a similar effect – the room suddenly looks bigger as furniture is placed in varied positions.

make a big statement with furniture

We’ve just touched upon furniture, but if you are looking to make the biggest impact the rule of less is more couldn't be more true.

While you might think you are doing the right thing by having lots of little pieces of furniture, this can just make a small room look cluttered. Instead, turn to a feature piece - one that will draw all eyes to it. In doing this, you not only eliminate clutter, but you also detract attention from the fact that your room is smaller than you would like.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Peter Hess


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House is for sale!

From Architectural Digest:

Welcome to the Ennis House, one of the Los Angeles Hills' most legendary homes. At $23M, this Mayan revival Frank Lloyd Wright house has been featured in movies like 'Blade Runner' and is full of furniture designed by Wright himself. Join real estate agent Rayni Williams as she takes you on a tour of the entire house.


How to Choose the Best Heating & Cooling System for Your Home

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Let’s face it, buying a new heating and cooling system can be a stressful situation. Choosing just the right units is a big decision that will impact your family’s comfort for years to come. So, before you jump into purchasing the first system you see, we recommend you take a little time to determine exactly what your home comfort needs are, and how to correctly address them. The key factors to the ideal HVAC system for your home are system type, unit size and, of course, budget. Read on for help in identifying these factors and choosing the best system for your needs.

Be Specific About the Space

The first step to determining what system to purchase is to define the type and size of space that will be cooled and/or heated. Being as specific as possible will help you avoid selecting units that will not fit your home’s climate control needs. By answering the questions below, you can more accurately define your space, making the final purchase decision much easier.

  • Is the space residential or commercial?
  • If it is residential, is the home traditional stick-built or mobile?
  • How many total square feet is in the space (including basement)?
  • How many total floors is in the space (including basement)?
  • Is the space new construction or an existing structure? If it is an existing structure, where is the current furnace located? (attic, crawlspace, utility room?)
  • Does the space currently have adequate insulation?

Now that you have nailed down the specifics of your space, you can move on to deciding what type and size of system you need. Read on for details.

Select the Right Type of System  

This step is actually quite simple, and it boils down to just a few points. In fact, the type of system your home requires may have already decided for you. If your goal is to upgrade your current AC/furnace units, then you’ll need to choose new units of the same size, type and air flow configuration of those currently in your home. For example, if the home currently employs a 3.5-ton AC/80,000 Btu upflow gas furnace system, and you have no plans to add on to the home, you’ll need to choose new units with the same specifications.

In the end, whether you go with a different type of system or not can be determined by asking yourself these three questions.

  • Are you happy with your current unit(s)?
  • Do you like the way your home is heated/cooled?
  • Are your current utility bills affordable?

Using the answers to these three questions, as well as the guidelines below, you should be able to easily decide whether your current heating/cooling system is the right size for your home. If it is, congratulations! You now know exactly which units to buy based on size, type and configuration. If the current system does not match your needs, we suggest consulting an HVAC specialist for help with sizing the new system.

Starting from Scratch

Selecting AC/furnace units for new construction, or an existing home that you will be adding on to, takes a little more thought. However, the process is still fairly simple when you break down the factors that go into it.

What unit(s) do you need for your home?

  • AC only
  • Furnace only
  • Package of both units

If you are purchasing a furnace, what type of fuel source will it be using?

  • Natural Gas
  • Oil
  • Electricity

Which fuel source your new furnace will use comes down to three things: what is available, what is most cost-effective, and what you prefer.

Natural Gas is the most efficient fuel source available and it provides a cleaner burn than oil. But you must have access to a natural gas line in order to use it. Creating new access to a natural gas line is a very expensive and time-consuming task.

Oil furnaces are cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts, and oil produces a higher Btu heat than gas. However, oil must be ordered from a third-party supplier. Plus, an external tank is needed to store the oil once it has been delivered.   

Electric furnaces are less expensive to install and offer ultimate control over heating zones (rather than the “whole-house” approach of gas or oil). But electric furnaces are not an energy-efficient option as they operate at a much higher cost than gas or oil furnaces.

 

If you are purchasing a furnace, what direction do you need the air flow to take?

  • Up
  • Down
  • Horizontal

The direction of the air flow is an important factor in selecting the right furnace unit for your home. That’s because the location of the furnace directly determines the direction the warm air will take through the ductwork. Typically, you will find furnace units that use one of three air flow directions — upflow, downflow, and horizontal (pictured below).

Configuration

If you plan to locate the furnace in a basement or on the main floor of your home, choose an upflow unit. These are the most commonly purchased units and you’re sure to find several choices in this configuration. If you are installing the new furnace in a mobile home, you will need to purchase a downflow unit. (NOTE: Some traditional stick-built homes do use downflow units, but this is not the norm. Be sure to check the direction of air flow on the current unit if you are upgrading an existing furnace.) If you plant to install the new furnace in a crawlspace or attic, you will need to source a unit with horizontal flow.

Be aware that some newer furnace models employ a multi-positional air flow feature that allows them to vent warm air in all directions — up, down and horizontally. You may also find units that feature two air flow directions (i.e. upflow and horizontal, downflow and horizontal).

Important: If you are upgrading a furnace in an existing home, be sure to check the current unit’s air flow direction — up, down or horizontal. Your new unit will need to have the same air flow configuration.

 

A Note About Mobile Homes

The typical mobile home uses a heating and cooling system that is different from those found in traditional structures. This is mainly due to the mobile home’s duct system, which is considerably smaller. Therefore, a mobile home’s furnace or air handler uses a smaller-capacity blower to accommodate the small ducts. So, when choosing a new HVAC system, be sure it is compatible with mobile home ductwork.

Choosing the Right Size System

The last thing you’ll need to do before purchasing your new heating and cooling system is to determine what size you need for your space. Though common sense tells us that choosing a system that is too small for the home is a bad thing because it puts too much stress on the units, resulting in unnecessary wear and tear and higher utility bills. But, did you know that choosing a system that is too big can also drive up your utility bills? Oversized units are known to routinely turn on and off in short cycles, which not only causes excess stress on the system, but also inefficient heating and cooling. A system that is perfectly sized for your home provides constant, comfortable air and even small temperature fluctuations will go by unnoticed.

To find the correct size AC unit for your home, find your geographical zone on the map below. Then use the corresponding color-coded table to determine the number of energy tons it takes to cool a home with your total square footage.

 

Zone-map

 

  ZONE 1 ZONE 2 ZONE 3 ZONE 4 ZONE 5
1.5 Tons 600 - 900 sf 600 - 950 sf 600 - 1000 sf 700 - 1050 sf 700 - 1100 sf
2 Tons 901 - 1200 sf 951 - 1250 sf 1001 - 1300 sf 1051 - 1350 sf 1101 - 1400 sf
2.5 Tons 1201 - 1500 sf 1251 - 1550 sf 1301 - 1600 sf 1351 - 1600 sf 1401 - 1650 sf
3 Tons 1501 - 1800 sf 1501 - 1850 sf 1601 - 1900 sf 1601 - 2000 sf 1651 - 2100 sf
3.5 Tons 1801 - 2100 sf 1851 - 2150 sf 1901 - 2200 sf 2001 - 2250 sf 2101 - 2300 sf
4 Tons 2101 - 2400 sf 2151 - 2500 sf 2201 - 2600 sf 2251 - 2700 sf 2301 - 2700 sf
5 Tons 2401 - 3000 sf 2501 - 3100 sf 2601 - 3200 sf 2751 - 3300 sf 2701 - 3300 sf

 

Heating Square Footage per Zone

For the best-sized furnace unit for your needs, refer to the zone map again. Then use the color-coded table below for the BTU necessary to heat one square foot of area. Next, simply multiply the total BTU from the table by your home’s total square footage. (Example:  40 BTU x 2000 square feet = 80,000 BTU). This is the ideal furnace size needed to efficiently heat your home.

ZONE 1 ZONE 2 ZONE 3 ZONE 4 ZONE 5
30 - 35 BTUs/sf 35 - 40 BTUs/sf 40 - 45 BTUs/sf 45 - 50 BTUs/sf 50 - 60 BTUs/sf

 

Purchasing a new heating and cooling system shouldn’t be an overwhelming task. With the right information at your fingertips, you’re sure to choose the perfect system for your family’s needs.

 

Still not sure which size and type of heating/cooling system you need?
Use our handy System Selector.

 

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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.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by ElasticComputeFarm on Pixabay


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.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Mike Bird


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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