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Remodeling

Should You Install a Shower Stall?

Most homes in America have a bathtub that doubles as a shower. Not that many homes have a separate shower stall and a separate bathtub. You may be remodeling your bathroom and feel that it would be a nice option to have a separate shower stall rather than a combined shower/bath.
Your first consideration when thinking of installing a separate shower stall in addition to your bathtub is whether you have enough room. If you are doing a major bathroom remodel then you can plan it down on paper, all the measurements of the various items like the shower, bath, toilet and cabinets so that you can fit these items in your bathroom.
If you’re not doing a major bathroom remodel, you’ll have to evaluate any spare space you have in the bathroom, measure it up, and do some research to find a shower stall with those dimensions that will fit easily into the bathroom.
Once you have your measurements for your new shower stall it’s time to go shopping. You can find complete shower stalls at most home improvement stores. These usually come with a molded shower floor and walls and the shower door. These all in one shower stalls are quite easy to install as everything you need is built into it.
However you may want to make use of the tiles you’ve already got laid on your bathroom floor and use those as the shower floor. You’d obviously have to put in a drain and build up the sides of the area to create the base of the shower, and then buy some sliding doors to finish it off.
This entails a lot more work than just buying the all in one shower stall, so it comes down to weighing up the amount of money you have to spend versus the amount of time you have to build a shower from the ground up yourself, or have it done for the professionally.…

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Remodeling

Home Maintenance – Extend The Life Of Your Siding

All to often vegetation too close to the home is the reason for dry rot and siding damage. The sad part is this is totally avoidable and almost always happens due to either neglect, misinformation or the belief that your landscaper is taking care of it. In homes with wood siding, trim, or overhangs, this always turns up on home inspection reports.
So where do I start?
Start Simple: check to make sure that all sprinkler heads are at least 18″ from the structure and that the sprayers are pointed away from the home. Make sure that all plants are at least 6″ away from wood siding. Remember moisture is woods worst enemy and the more your siding can breath the dryer it will stay. Make sure that all of your gutters & down spouts are working correctly, effective rain water directing can make a huge difference in only a 10 year period.
Go a Step Farther: Check to see that any brick veneer has all edges caulked so no water can get behind. IVY IS BAD. if you have ivy growing on your home and it is a wood frame structure, you need to cut it down. The feelers from the ivy break through the cracks in the weak mortar of brick veneer and delivers moisture to the wood framing year round. Ivy follows the sun upwards and works its way into roof sheathing and eventually roof composition. If you have an entire brick or stone building ivy can not hurt you until it reaches the roof line, the ivy should always be kept off of the overhang.
Keep It Off The Ground! Wood siding and mudsills need to be a minimum of 6″ above grade when dirt and 2″ above grade when concrete. If you do not have this clearance then you need to dig down the soil grade to achieve this. After lowering the grade it needs to have a grade away from the home of 2″ down for 18″ out. if you don’t have this clearance on concrete, your options may be limited. the first step is to locate the hight of the mudsill. if the mudsill is 3″ off grade or more, then you can just cut the siding 2″ off the concrete and still maintain a good siding overlap. if the mud sill is lower than 3″ then the best bet is to cut the siding up 1/4″- 3/8″ off of the concrete grade with an undercut saw. clean out new gap at bottom of siding and fill with Sikaflex premium waterproof caulking.
Keep It Painted! A good coat of primer and paint every few years isn’t just to keep up with the jones’, it’s also to keep up to date the proper protections against sun and rain.…

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Remodeling

Ideas For Your Bathroom Remodel

When you go to sell your home, you will find that potential sellers are very interested in your bathrooms and kitchen. This is because the kitchen is a central meeting and gathering place in any house and a fair amount of time is spent in the bathrooms as well. Additionally, the guest bathroom needs to look nice as all your guests will use it and it is a reflection of you.
Bathroom design is big business and you will need no more evidence of that than a trip to your local home improvement store. It used to be that about all you could do to liven up your bathroom was to buy a new shower curtain but now you can easily spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars making improvements. You can buy designer faucets, mirrors, bathtubs, sinks and all sorts of other bathroom accessories. The things you can do to improve the look of your bathrooms is almost limitless.
Anytime you set out to do a bathroom remodel, you should remember that the cabinets are one of the most important parts you need to get right. When a person enters your bathroom, the first things they see are your shower curtain (assuming it is pulled closed) and the cabinets. You need to have cabinets that are proportionally the right size for the bathroom and are the right color as well. You can always buy custom made cabinets if you don’t like the ones for sale in your local stores.
Bathroom mirrors and proper lighting is also an important aspect of a nice bathroom that you should not overlook. People use the mirror in bathrooms for grooming and you need to make sure they are large enough and well lit. Bathroom mirrors now can be bought in all sorts of sizes and shapes to fit well with all sorts of decors but you always need to make sure they function well first as a mirror. A mirror that is fancy or small may look good but it may not be functional which is not good.
Finally, make sure the colors in your bathroom all work well together. Nothing makes a bathroom look sillier than the wrong colors that don’t look right. While the colors in your bathroom don’t necessarily have to match those of the rest of the house, they should look appropriate for the setting. Dark shades of colors might not be the best choice because they will make the room look darker and people need to be able to see what they are doing in the bathroom. The colors you choose will set the tone for the room so choose them carefully.…

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Remodeling

How To Buy Kitchen Worktops

When it comes to designing your kitchen, choosing a worktop is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Not only does it have to look good, it has to endure heavy use. So before you buy, consider whether you’d be prepared to put in some effort to maintain its look, or would rather have something more durable. Then think about aesthetics.
‘Your choice largely depends on the style of your kitchen,’ says Lizzie Beesley, conceptual designer at Second Nature Kitchens. ‘If you want to create impact with your units, you may want a toned-down work surface, but if you have neutral doors, the worktop material can make a real statement.’
Work surfaces such as stone and stainless steel need to be templated by the manufacturer to fit your kitchen exactly, with cut-outs for the sink and hob, and this will affect your budget.
But it may well be worth it. ‘The right choice is a good investment and can turn a modest kitchen into something special,’ says Annette White of Chiltern Marble. So which surface is right for you? Read on to find out.
KITCHEN WORKTOP TRENDS
‘The polarisation in the thickness of worktops is still a major direction – there’s no middle ground, worktops need to be either deep or shallow,’ says Anjum Ahmed, product and marketing director at Magnet. ‘The slim worktop sector is dominated by glass and compact laminate, while thicker worktops tend to appear in oaks and dark timber or specialist materials.’
There is a huge trend for mixing materials,’ says Max de Winter, project designer at Poggenpohl. ‘It’s not unusual to find two, three or even four different surfaces in one kitchen. As kitchen and living areas are now more integrated, one material throughout the space would feel too overpowering. Instead, use a warm wood on a breakfast bar for example, stainless steel in a prep area and coloured glass as a highlight.’
Edging, be it glass, timber or coloured acrylic, is a top trend. ‘For a very modern look, style up a standard laminate with a contrasting edge in wood or stainless steel,’ suggests Jude Keenan, kitchen planner at John Lewis. ‘This is possible on both square and curved-edge tops.’
‘A big trend at the moment is a 50mm worktop with a 30 degree bevelled edge,’ says Boffi’s Steven Salt. ‘This can be in any material, and the tapered edge means the surface appears to be floating above the units, giving the ultimate minimalist look.’
The profile (ie the edge) of the work surface can also make a difference to the overall feel. The rounded edges of the Eighties and Nineties are a thing of the past, and the latest surfaces have a completely square edge, a pencil round (where the edge is just slightly rounded) or a chamfer where just a tiny bit of the corner is shaved off.
LAMINATE WORKTOPS
Modern laminate worktops are a world away from the Nineties surfaces that tried (and more often than not failed) to imitate their natural counterparts.
‘Laminates have moved on so much, even in the last three years,’ says Simon Wilde, head of marketing at Formica. ‘New textures, finishes and printing techniques have given them added dimension and depth.’
Choose from hundreds of colours and finishes, including realistic wood grains, polished and matt stones, sparkling faux granites, concrete, high-shine surfaces and bright, solid colours. Laminate is now also available in thicknesses of up to 60mm.
PROS: Low maintenance and low cost. Laminate is one of the cheapest ways to get the look on a budget, and can be a fraction of the price of the real McCoy. If you’re handy with your power tools, you can cut and fit it yourself.
CONS: Some laminates can get scorched and scratched if not cared for properly, and laminate surfaces can have conspicuous seams. They’re non-repairable if damaged.
WOODEN WORKTOPS
Hardwood worktops such as oak, cherry, maple, walnut, teak and mahogany are the best way to bring a warm, rich quality to a kitchen.
‘Costs vary depending on the wood you choose,’ says Lizzie Beesley. ‘A simple oak surface will cost a lot less than exotic, on-trend zebrano, wenge or walnut.’
Finger-staved wood tops, where little planks are glued together, are a less pricey way to get the look. Remember to buy from a sustainable source.
‘We’re even using wood reclaimed from mountain chalets,’ says Steven Salt, showroom manager at Boffi. ‘These surfaces have a chunky, rustic look, which provides an amazing contrast in an otherwise clean-lined, modern kitchen.’
Wipe wood after food prep, mop up any spills straight away to prevent staining and avoid abrasive cleaning products.
PROS: With inherent natural antibacterial properties, wood is a hygienic option. Relatively simple to install and repair, it can be sanded down to remove blemishes. It can also …

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Remodeling

Minimize Your Risk When Searching for Cheap Housing

Now that the federal government’s efforts at tinkering with regard to the marketplace for affordable homes has started to show its effects, we are faced with a glut of cheap homes in the United States. Complicating matters is the fact that unemployment remains very high, so people who might otherwise absorb that supply are still unable to afford to buy any of the cheap houses for sale.
For those in a position to buy a cheap home, it’s a buyer’s market, and lenders are aware of this fact of business life. For them, the stock of unsold real estate, although nominally assets, amount to liabilities. Although they will spend money to do the bare minimum of home maintenance and just about never any home improvement, they are exposed to liability for damages occurring on the property, even to trespassers in many cases.
If you come across an affordable home that’s been foreclosed upon, you may see it as an opportunity to upgrade your own living circumstances. However, you must be prepared to deal with the risk of buying a cheap house that may have serious defects or be the victim of deferred home maintenance. What seems like an amazing bargain could turn out to be a major liability if you are not very careful. Potential buyers must be very wary before jumping at what looks like a deal that is too good to miss.
One way to minimize the risks is to contact the former owner and ask directly about the condition of the property. In some cases the owner will harbor a lingering bitterness and refuse to cooperate, but often they will have accepted their loss and be happy to have it re-occupied. This is especially so if the potential buyer is not buying as an investment but instead intends to live there with a family. This is certainly not a sure way to find out about potential troubles, but it is a good place to start and there is certainly nothing to lose by trying to find out more about a piece of property before spending any money.
Neighbors may know the whereabouts of the former owner. If not, you can mail them a letter of inquiry which will be forwarded to them. If you think it appropriate, you might offer some financial inducement to come out and inspect the property with you. By no means will everybody be willing to do so, but for the price of a stamp you may be pleasantly surprised.…

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Remodeling

Providing High Quality Home Repair Solutions for A Better Home

A house is not an invincible structure. Whether it is built on cheap or high quality materials, a house is still subject to a number of structural issues and deterioration. Keeping a home in its good condition requires every owner to conduct regular inspections and to attend to issues immediately, to avoid further damage and avoid extreme repair costs in the future. Some of the usual problems in very home are foundation cracks, leaks in the basement, drainage malfunctions and other structural issues. Getting repairs immediately is not the best solution, but looking for a competent and reliable company that offers warranty on their works is very important. A foundation specialist offers a great number of repair and services for every home with a 25-year transferable warranty to ensure that the problems encountered in every home will not occur again due to the inferior quality of the repair job.
Foundation repair services specialize in the repair of basement leaks, foundation cracks, drainage and other structural services. Basement leaks are very common in homes, especially in areas where there is high water content, spring run-offs and varying temperatures. Basement leaks are not only caused by clogged eaves troughs and down spouts or sewage and sump pump malfunctions, but can also be due to holes drilled for electrical and plumbing purposes or foundation cracks. The earth where the house was built can also be a cause for the leaks especially when the soil has low absorption properties, weak bearing and poor compaction. Basement leaks must be resolved immediately to avoid bad odors and diseases, buildup of molds and mildew and to prevent future accidents due to the additional damage caused by the presence of water.
Foundation cracks are also severe issues in every home. These cracks may not show any damages or need for repair when they appear, but might be crawling in the interiors of the walls and cause the immediate deterioration of the foundation. These foundation cracks must be sealed and secured using temporary or permanent solutions. Polyurethane, epoxy or crystalline injections can get rid of these cracks for a while and hydraulic cement with the addition of waterproofing compounds can safely secure the home’s foundation in the long run. Weeping tiles must also be taken care of since it encompasses the entire area of the house. This is the foundation of every house’s drainage system and must be regularly inspected from clogs or evaporation issues. Basement services like the installation of sump pumps and window wells can minimize the chances of water entering the basement and causing other problems.
Foundation repairs services can deal with all these problems with unparalleled expertise and high-quality home repair solutions. Making a home last for a lifetime will require its owners to keep everything in their best condition. It is very important for homeowners to deal with problems immediately to ensure the safety of their homes. Getting repairs and quality home solutions can go a long way and can prevent severe structural problems in the future.…

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Remodeling

Helpful Tips And Advice For Gardening Organically

Grow healthy and delicious food at home, right outside your door. There’s nothing quite like going outside and grabbing some toppings for your salad, or better yet the whole salad. Learn how to garden well, and grow those salad vegetables, by reading this article.

Plants should be protected from cold weather. During winter time, the cold can present dangers to plants, either by freezing the water in their stems or forming sharp ice crystals which may sever or puncture important organs. Tomatoes, in particular, are very susceptible to the frost and should be moved to a warmer indoor climate, or covered outside with frost-resistant cloth.

You can use items in your fridge for a safe and organic way to adjust the pH of your water. You can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to lower your pH (a few drops at a time) or use baking soda to raise your pH (a pinch at a time checking after each adjustment).

Consider using organic fertilizers in your garden. These are safer than chemical fertilizers, which can build up salts in the ground over time. The salts restrict the ability of the plants to get water and nutrients from the soil. They can also kill helpful earthworms and microorganisms which eat thatch.

The use of natural plants can make a garden without any work. Many plants will self seed and grow a perpetual crop without any work at all. Butternut squash, pumpkins, and cilantro will grow and self seed growing new crops year after year with almost no work and become a permanent garden feature. Grow them in areas such as the compost pile or along fences for maximum results.

If your favorite flower pot or garden container has a hole or crack where dirt is leaking through, try lining that area inside the pot with a coffee filter. It works great to hold dirt in and keep your walkways and container gardens neat and clean. Try them out on hanging baskets as well!

To cheaply obtain supplies for your garden, try visiting your local army surplus store. A parachute makes an excellent canopy, and army fatigues and boots are the perfect clothes to wear while gardening. Ammunition containers are also a great way to store your gardening supplies. Supplies are often cheaper if you don’t buy things specifically aimed at gardeners.

Make sure your garden will get sun before planting the seeds. Plants love the sun and will grow better when exposed to it. If it is not too much trouble, consider moving your garden to another area to get the maximum amount of sunshine. This way your plants will grow bigger.

Gardening can be a relaxing and very rewarding hobby, providing you with plenty of fresh produce grown with your own hands. Serving a meal that includes the vegetables and fruit you grew in your own garden will leave you feeling satisfied. Use the advice in this article to optimize your efforts in the garden and yield amazing results.…