Category: Home Decoration
Winter in the North Eastern U.S., as well as the North and Mid-West, can be a dangerous time for your basement.
Temperatures sway between freezing and cold. But, what most home owners don’t realize is that winter is typically humid as well. We just don’t feel the humidity because the temperature is so low.
Every time it rains or snows, the humidity level is high. This presents two problems for your home:
1. Humidity will make your basement feel damp, cold, wet. This is the first step toward mold and mildew growth.
2. All of that rain and snow gets into the ground around your home. The soil will do it’s best to filter the water down, deep into the Earth. But, most of the soil around your house is heavy with clay.
Clay has really poor drainage. The water stays in the soil, causing expansion. Now, when the ground is frozen, it is contracted. But, soon spring rolls around, the temperatures rise, and the soil will expand, putting a great deal of pressure on the walls of your basement and foundation.
That pressure leads to cracks forming. Once cracks take root, even tiny cracks, water can start to push it’s way in, causing all kinds of damage.
How To Protect Your Basement in The Winter
1. Have Your Basement or Crawl Space Inspected
This is an easy, but often overlooked, way to save yourself tens of thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. Having an expert inspect your basement walls, floors, and/or foundation is a great way to stop problems before they get worse.
Some companies offer free inspections, others charge a small fee. Even if it costs a few dollars to get the inspection, it is a very wise investment that can save you thousands of dollars in the future.
2. Clean Your Drains
If you have exterior drainage (in your yard, driveway, near your foundation) have the drains cleaned. Clogs are a huge reason for back ups, pipe breaks, flooding, and damage to crawl spaces and basements.
3. Put in Extra Drainage
This is a bigger investment, but one that will pay off with a huge return. Better drainage means your yard, driveway, foundation, and basement will not be effected by excess water when it rains or snows.
Basement flooding is a serious problem that can cause severe damage to your personal property. A flooded basement not only requires huge personal effort to fix the damage caused but also involves a lot of money. It usually occurs during heavy rainfall or the time when snow melts.
Some other causes of basement flooding include cracks in foundation, plugged toilets and blocked sewer drains. It is very important to take preventive measures to keep you basement dry and away from the risk of getting flooded. Here are a few ways to prevent flooding and dampness in your basement:
– Control groundwater around foundation – An effectively functioning drainage system is the key to keep your basement dry. You should keep a check that no water is accumulated around the foundation of your house. This will help in preventing water from entering the basement. Blocked gutters increase the chances of basement flooding. Make sure that you keep all the gutters clean. During a hailstorm, walk around your home to check if the surface water is being directed towards your home.
– Direct downspout away from house – This will help in keeping the water away from the house structure.
– Redirect rainwater – You can hire a contractor to inspect your property and suggest ways to divert rainwater away from your home.
– Install sump pump – It is a must for houses that are at a risk of getting flooded. A sump pump acts like a floor drain to keep water leakage and rain water from building in the basement. You can buy an automatic or a manual pump as per your need. Also buy a back-up power source for your pump if there is no electricity during a storm.
– Seal the cracks – The flooring and walls of your basement may develop cracks over time. If the level of groundwater becomes high, water may leak through these cracks. Small cracks can be sealed easily from inside. If the cracks are large and deep, you should contact a professional to carry out the repair work.
– Understand the drainage system of your house – You can reduce the risk of basement flooding if you know a little about the drainage or plumbing system of your house. You can take the services of a licensed plumber who can conduct an inspection of your house and tell you about the way your foundation drainage works, where the sanitary sewer lateral is located and if your home has a storm sewer lateral.
With the truth in the statistics it is clearer than ever that home renovators and property owners face unfortunate odds when it comes to waterproofing. The answer is in education.
Waterproofing has been around a long time, liquified heated tar was used in ancient times to waterproof objects and materials and even today tar and oil based waterproofing is still in use. But the construction has changed, we now rely on thin walled products, fibre cement, plaster and timber frame construction. The mass of a building will no longer provide security against the ingress of water. This is probably the reason why more than ever before we see the rise in water problems.
Architecture has opened up many possibilities in design for balcony construction over living spaces, light wells, roof top decks. But these come with strict requirements, sadly the building industry can be rife with poor adherence to the standards required in these critical areas. Areas where not only UV light and heat play a massive role but wind force and building subsidence. People are not aware of the massive force these exert on the subfloor membranes, most often the only layer separating the occupier from the outside elements, namely water.
The cost of rectification is astronomical in comparison to what a properly scoped waterproofing system would be. It’s true to say a stitch in time saves nine. In most cases sheet membrane systems are the most effective in creating extremely long lasting external membranes, spray on polyurethane and liquid rubber come close second.
Stricter enforcement of the standard of waterproofing requirements is absolutely necessary but until this becomes legislated and legally binding in the construction industry home owners and builders must educate themselves and ensure the strict requirements for watertight construction is followed and if possible exceeded.
Simple it seems but to change people and industries with current set practices is very difficult. People are afraid to be wrong, afraid to admit that they have not been strictly thorough in the past. To change is in a way an admission of guilt in this. And it is this which we are up against on the peer to peer level.
Be assertive in your demands for a performance waterproofing system. Ensure you have a qualified trades and an experienced set up for the waterproofing both in your bathroom and out. Know the requirements for wet areas and choose carefully when selecting a contractor to carry out the works. Professional trade waterproofers will have high attention to detail as the work requires. Hire dedicated specialists over tiler/ waterproofers and builder handyman waterproofers. Specialists base their income on the security of the work they provide whereas all in one workers have multiple concerns and more often than not these are the jobs that fail.
We have to surrender total control to others in the day to day, but that doesn’t have to mean we are forced to accept the low standards that proliferate some levels of the construction industry. Choose quotes based on the merits of their level of expertise, past jobs and if they hire specialists, choosing a quote based on costs alone is wrong. You will always invest more in quality, but it will stand the test of time and save money in the long term.
Moving into your first home is a great experience simply because you feel about as grown up as you might ever feel (aside from parenthood). While the exhilaration of this rite of passage may be what’s making each packing box easier to carry, it’s things like advanced foundation repair that can be the cold water in your face you don’t want to think about. Who would blame you, right?
Then again, your foundation serves as the, well, foundation of your home. The biggest material investment of your life is held up by the foundation, so it’s health should be a priority in your life. For some reason, however, it usually isn’t until something comes up that demands your immediate attention. It’s this cycle of putting things off that needs breaking, and this starts with you.
Let’s face it – you’re probably not a home repair wiz who can handle just about any repair needed around the old homestead. Yet, you are probably good at spotting things that seem out-of-place, and this one small skill may be the best tool for tackling the rough world of advanced foundation repair.
If you see these three signs (any one in particular or all of them at once), advanced foundation repair is in your immediate future:
Sloping and Uneven Floors – Walk around your home, and see if you notice any places where your floor slopes or feels uneven under your feet. Use a simple ball to find hard-to-see ups & downs. Also, walk outside and see if your home may be showing signs of a slope.
Trouble Opening/Closing Doors and Windows – Doors are usually quick to spot as being hard to open or close, but with so much reliance on HVAC systems, opening & closing windows doesn’t happen as often. Take the time to check them out, and you’ll certainly know something is off if you see cracks in the glass.
Noticeable Cracks Larger Than 1/4″ Thick – Everyone has heard the old saying, “Oh, that’s just the house settling.” It’s often regarded as no big deal and something that helps explain odd noises in your home. While some cracks can occur as a result of a home settling a bit on the soil underneath it, you want to be sure to watch the width of the cracks. If you’re over the 1/4″ marks, that’s not settling – that’s foundation movement & not acting quickly can have consequences.
Advanced foundation repair, if you’re lucky, will not be something you’ll have to face early in your life as a homeowner. That said, home foundation issues are different from home to home, which is why it’s imperative to be a proactive homeowner & look for warning signs. Being able to see when something may be on the horizon can get an amazing foundation repair company on the premises early. Failure to do so can mean more costly repairs down the road.
Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.
First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.
Gear up for change
Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.
Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.
Some handy home renovation hacks on budget
Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.
A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.
If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.
Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.
Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!
Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.
Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.
Front and Patio space
For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.
Getting a small area around the house or the entire house to look bigger is possible by following some simple steps.
1. Repaint the ceiling or use a wallpaper to give the room a taller appearance
It doesn’t matter whether it is your living room, or your bedroom, repainting the ceiling or making use of wallpaper can make a room appear bigger. The trick is that a brightly painted ceiling tends to make you raise your brows upwards which make the room appear large and spacious.
2. Use light color paint on the walls
When the walls in a room are painted with dark colors, it makes the room seem a bit cozier due to that they absorb light. Whereas when the walls are painted with bright colors, it helps to make a room more spacious since light easily gets reflected around the room.
3. Ensure furniture’s aren’t placed closed to the wall
Creating space between the wall and furniture creates the illusion of a large room; this makes the room look more open unlike when you place them close to the wall which makes the area look cramped.
4. Use light colors on the floor also
Just like in the case of a brightly painted wall, a brightly colored floor also gives a room a spacious outlook. You can opt for a floor remodeling if you are up for it or simply just get a brightly colored rug or carpet.
5. Place shelves close to the ceiling to get people to look up.
You can make a small space look bigger by putting structures in place to draw the eye towards the ceiling. And one effective way you can achieve this is to hang a shelf close to the ceiling. It can be a book shelf or one with an array of decorations that are pleasing to the eyes.
6. Make use of large decorative accents
Accenting a room with large decorations such as tall vases or handcrafted items can get it to look large. This is because few large decorations in a room give it a detailed outlook unlike when you cramp it up with smaller decorations scattered here and there.
7. Go for furniture’s that makes a statement
So you want the living room to be a lot spacious to make room for air and light, a simple way to achieve this is to make use of a large couch instead of several small pieces which makes it look a lot cluttered.
8. Place a striped rug on the floor
This works perfectly in a small bedroom. Placing a striped rug like that of a zebra makes your room appear bigger.
9. Use color coding on shelves
Arranging items on shelves according to colors makes space looked structured and organized which ultimately gives the room a spacious appeal.
10. Improve a tiny bathroom with a clear shower curtain
You can give a small bathroom a spacious look by getting a brightly colored shower curtain.
We all have to have a roof over our heads don’t we? Most of us are lucky that we have, but is it a house or a home?
A house provides shelter for us and our family but a home provides much more. Walking towards your house/home after working all day, is it an attractive prospect or is it just somewhere to get out of the rain and sit down? The reason I ask is that so often you get the wrong advice usually from people who benefit out of it.
I have recently moved to Swansea where there are some lovely little terraced cottages – my wife and I have bought one – with stone walls, a slated roof (someone was given bad advice and put tiles on ours!), chimneys, timber sash and casement windows, flagstone path, good quality timber door, etc., etc. But I see whole rows which have been covered in beige cement roughcast, whole streets of them, all the same.
Hardly any chimneys remain in some streets with uPVC windows and doors, concrete paths, totally devoid of their original character. A terrace near to us was stripped of its old cement render and the stonework exposed. I had high hopes of it being repointed in lime mortar and shining but, no, beige cement roughcast accompanied the uPVC windows and removal of the chimney stack so we now have a faceless roughcast box in its place.
Why does this happen?
I suppose that it’s partly an effort to modernise but does that mean that the original fabric should be forgotten or hidden as if it’s something to be ashamed of?
Original/traditional features like timber windows or chimneys are in poor condition. MAINTENANCE SAVES MONEY. It seems that very few of you can be bothered decorating your windows or doors and would rather lose that part of your homes history and character by replacing these troublesome features with plastic, which, I must add, also need replaced after about 10 years. The wooden windows you just got rid of probably lasted for the previous 100 or more… So, would it have been worth decorating or repairing them? Everything can be repaired. Chimneys may no longer be used. IF they are repaired correctly there is no reason they will give you any problems for decades or longer and it helps prevent your home from becoming just a house.
You are asking the wrong question of the wrong person. I have mentioned this before but, if you ask a double glazing salesman if you need windows – guess the answer. If you ask a builder if you need building work done, he’ll no doubt find some like removing your chimney or covering your stonework up with beige cement roughcast from the apparently never-ending supply.
The lack of importance of traditional/original features in the community. What sets out an historic town centre from a modern one, how do peoples feelings change towards them? Do you enjoy trips to an historic town with different shops and building styles or prefer 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s flat-roofed or concrete slab-fronted buildings with no soul? You probably are mixed but aesthetically, the craftsmanship of the old must win out.
The local authority has some responsibility for this by allowing or not preventing these changes. And it’s not just the aesthetic and historic value, these features have an intrinsic value and usefulness. Chimneys, even if there isn’t a useable fireplace, can provide ventilation. This is vital for human health, reduces condensation and the risk of some chest complaints, improves air quality and the movement of air in the chimney will help keep it dry.
Sash and casement windows are known as being draughty but this again is good for you and your home, maybe no so good for your heating bills though. Maybe you should expect to be wearing a jumper indoors in the winter and not flip-flops and shorts like my son used to. Old windows can be draught-proofed and double glazed units can be fitted to the same frames however double-glazing salesmen are NEVER going to offer you that option.
If you have a limited budget, as most of us have, it is cheaper to refurbish, repair, mend, decorate, fix, etc., than it is to replace, short and long-term. There is as much value and a great deal more social history in your terraced cottage than there is in the Colosseum or Buckingham Palace so, how about taking some free advice and please consider the consequences of removing something that helps make your house into a home. Or even calling for some advice or to discuss a survey.
Exterior wood restoration is a service that is becoming extinct. Instead of actually restoring wood many contractors and homeowners are choosing to just “paint over” the natural beauty of the wood or merely just “cleaning” the wood. Let’s look at this more closely.
We now live in a culture where everyone wants easy, the first thing about true exterior wood restoration is that it is NOT easy. This service can be involved and takes a lot of labor and skilled workmanship. The methods of restoring wood by hand, using a pressure washer as a rinsing tool only and restoration products, or media blasting are much more involved than merely painting over the surfaces or cleaning by many of today’s methods which may lead to significant damage and premature degradation of the wood. Another item to understand is that it is costly to maintain a wood structure like a deck, wood sided home, or log cabin. The nice feature about wood restoration though is that the wood will wear and can be cleaned and re-coated. When you paint over a surface you lose the wood look and cover the grain, beauty, and natural characteristics of the wood. Another negative is that solid stains and paints will peel, this is a characteristic of these product lines. When this happens from time, wood rotting, improper surface preparation, moisture, or another reason you have a look that is not pleasurable from an appearance stand point but, you also have a harder time prepping and re-coating over top of these products.
There is a rule of thumb in this industry, “You should never apply a good coat over a bad coat.” This means that trying to hide an issue by merely painting over a problem usually just compounds the problem. With wood surfaces this may mean even more or excessive peeling if the wood surfaces are not properly prepped prior to re-coating. There may be stripping, sanding, or a primer coat applied first before actually applying a finish coat. Many painters and contractors do not know how to correctly restore wood and look to just “paint over” the surfaces without proper preparation. They also may sell this service because it is “easier” for them and do not know how to inform the customer on proper wood restoration and future maintenance that may be LESS costly in the future. One factor is that many do not seek the proper education to be able to perform this service and that leads to painting over a surface or performing it in a sub-standard way. Sealing and staining techniques ARE different than painting techniques to achieve optimal appearance. There is also more involved in knowing the many different types of cleaners, strippers, brighteners, and restoration products to be used in the many scenarios these contractors face on different projects. It is not a one type of cleaner or one type of stripper for every job. Knowing the different products to use in the different scenarios is truly a skill and results in some magnificent results!
Today there are contractors who offer a service to “clean” wood surfaces but in fact they may be causing damage rather than proper cleaning or wood restoration. When wood grays naturally it is the surface wood fibers that have degraded. In wood restoration, these wood fibers are removed to expose the natural tone of the wood underneath. If these wood fibers are not removed and are sealed or stained over you will get a blotchy look in a few short months. If it is “cleaned” improperly, it will only look good for a short time before becoming blotchy again as some of the wood fibers naturally wear away and others do not. Today there is a term called “soft washing” which means that stronger chemicals are used to achieve a level of cleanliness without the need of pressure that may damage a surface. This is an excellent method in roof cleaning but not necessarily in wood restoration. What actually ends up happening is that in many cases is strong amounts of bleach are sprayed on the wood surfaces that only “bleach” or” lighten” the existing grayed wood fibers so that it looks good “now” and is left in the wood. To expand on this a look a bit deeper, proper wood restoration involves pre-wetting of wood so that when a cleaner, stripper, brightener, or any restoration product is applied it remains close to the surface where it needs to be to “work” on items like organic growth and old coatings. Pretty simple, wet the wood and fill the wood cells so that the products do not absorb into the wood and past the surface where they are needed. They want to remain on or near the wood surfaces to be most effective. Wood is soft, and it will act like a sponge when the products and chemicals are applied to dry wood. This means they get deep into the wood where it is very difficult to rinse the chemicals out. The problem here is that chemicals left in the wood will dry the wood out and lead to a shorter life and will degrade the wood faster. Chemicals also left in or on the wood surfaces may also affect the coating that may be applied leading a blotchy appearance or a coating failure. Another factor to consider is that these strong solutions have led to many reports of landscape damage and unnatural appearance or “white” looking wood.
Exterior wood restoration is service that when correctly performed is becoming an extinct service. Understanding that this service can be involved and initially costly and is not a “cheap” or “quick” service is important. In the long run, painting over wood surfaces or improper cleaning may lead to less than desirable appearances and damage. If you add to the equation all the new manufactured materials like composites and PVC you see the need for wood restoration to dwindle as well. If your desire is to have a beautiful wood structure that enhances the look of the wood it is getting harder to find truly great wood restoration professionals.
There are many elements that need to be taken into consideration when selecting a new front door. This is why the following details have been combined in order to offer an insight into the process of choosing a new front door for your property.
The front door to your home offers a statement to visitors. It is therefore important that it offers a pleasing aesthetic appearance. Front door designs have come on leaps and bounds in recent years with many design elements, glazing options and security additions. New front doors are no longer just about the way they look and the wealth of information and alternatives are astounding.
This means that the selection of a new front door has become more labour intensive. As with any investment, it is important that the right selection is chosen so that it compliments your existing property. Another vital element is that the door design is able to offer the best available security alternatives as well.
A wise place to start is with the design. It is likely that you will have an idea in your mind of whether you are looking for a more modern design or a traditional alternative. Going for a more traditional design no longer means a compromise in the security elements of the door. Neither does it mean that you are solely restricted to a wooden door as well.
This follows seamlessly onto material selection. Whether you are looking for a wooden, composite or other material, it is likely that there is a design alternative to match your required material. It is important to remember that the doorway is a visitor’s first and last impression so remember that it is an outward show of your creativity and style.
After considering material it is a wise choice to move onto colour selection. This part of the process may not be required for wooden alternatives, although wood finishes may need to be considered for future applications. Composite and other door types are available in a huge range of colours. Some of these can be used to create real statements or there are more understated alternatives as well.
Following on from this it is important to consider whether you want glazing to be part of your design. Some may consider this as a privacy concern so there are options available to select clouded or patterned glazing. Consider the fact that glass in your front door will invite natural light into your home and can quickly brighten a dark hallway.
The last consideration needs to be security. So many new door designs take into consideration many high security elements. These include locking mechanisms and privacy requirements. There are a huge range of guarantees that are offered as standard with the installation of new doors. Make sure to research these prior to selecting your new front door.
Time invested in each of these elements will make sure that your end selection is the best-available alternative. New front doors are an investment for your home and one that should last many years. Having the above information to hand will lead you to make an educated decision and one that you will be confident making.
Are you planning for a kitchen renovation? Well, it is not only limited to the splash backs, tiles or kitchen worktops. You are required to expand your vision to add a contemporary touch to your kitchen that offers both style and functionality. Installation of the right kitchen doors for the storage cabinets is one of the essential factors among those that you must consider making sure the kitchen appear as fabulous. While most of the people tend to reluctance towards investigating about the multiple styles of the cabinet doors as they believe everything to be same, you should not be one among them making the same mistake.
Whether you need to keep it subtle and natural or consider adding colors to the cabinets, there is no better alternative to these doors. Go through the following to learn about some of those mistakes you need to avoid while choosing the cabinet doors to make sure your investment and effort of kitchen renovation go in vain.
One of the most common mistakes that every homeowner tends to make is to make an abrupt decision without doing research. Ironically, most of these people fail to understand how the best kitchen doors can eventually help in safeguarding your stored food or enhancing the appearance of your kitchen. Extensive research can assist you in finding the cabinet doors at the best prices available in the market. Moreover, the designs and variety of this section can only be explored with thorough research.
Not improvising style
A major part of people ignores the necessity of adding style to the cabinet doors. However, it will interest you to know that the inclusion of contemporary knobs, hinges, handles and other pulling options will enhance the appearance of kitchen doors and make it easy to operate. Oil finished bronze knobs and brushed satin nickels are some of the most popular choices among the styles available for knobs in the market. Upgrading the hardware of your doors and mixing it with that of the other knobs on the drawers can uplift the brilliance of your kitchen instantly.
Not choosing a cabinet door the complements your kitchen decor
You may always experiment with the door styles and choose any of the available options but make sure it complements the entire décor of your kitchen. Let’s face the fact. Overdoing anything, especially when it comes to kitchen doors, is not considered as the right decision. Keep the design and color minimal to attract most of the attention. The color of the splash backs along with the design of the cooking worktops has to be complemented by the cabinet doors you are choosing.
Concentrating on the design, not on the functionality
Don’t make the mistake of choosing design over functionality. Selecting a durable yet lightweight material for the kitchen doors is an absolute necessity. These doors are considered to be the most used thing in your kitchen. Therefore, settle down for a design that will make your accessibility to the cabinets easier than ever.
Going for DIY installation
People often make a big mistake of being overconfident in this matter and go for DIY installation, discarding the need for professionals in their house. Well, it is not a wise decision on your part if you don’t have the adequate skill and expertise to carry out the entire process. Moreover, necessary equipment and tools are also required for giving the installation of kitchen doors a professional touch. A minimum mistake in measurement is enough to jeopardize your investment, time and effort.