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Category Archives: Home Improvement

About Exotic Hardwood Floors

Exotic hardwood floors are made from hardwood species that are not found in the United States. They most commonly come from Australia, Africa, Brazil and Asia. Types of exotic hardwood floors include bamboo, eucalyptus, cork, Bolivian mahogany, Bolivian teak, Bolivian rosewood, Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut, Brazilian maple, and Brazilian koa.

Installing exotic hardwood floors is a project of low to moderate difficulty that many homeowner will be able to do themselves.

First, you’ll want to decide where you want to install the exotic hardwood floors. Do you want to install them in the entire home or just in select rooms? Then measure the square footage you will need.

Once you know the square footage you will need, do some research online and in local home improvement stores to find the type of exotic hardwood you want and the best prices. When you find the type you want and a good price, buy however much you need. You’ll want to find out from the merchant what methods of installation are feasible with the particular type you buy.

After obtaining the hardwood, you are ready to begin installing it. There are 5 main installation methods. They are nail down, staple down, glue down, glue less, and floating.

Depending on the subflooring you have, concrete slab, wood, etc., some options may not be feasible. The quickest, easiest, and cleanest method is floating, but not all types of exotic hardwood floors can be installed in this method.

Installing exotic hardwood floors is a great way to dramatically increase the aesthetics and value of your home. The project is relatively simple and can be accomplished by most homeowners. There are virtually limitless combinations of installation methods and exotic hardwood species. With so many combinations, you’ll be able to find the right one to match your style.

Tropical Wall Murals in Home

Tropical wall murals can be difficult to lay out and paint because, to make the scene look lifelike, you’ll need to use perspective and complex coloring to capture light and shadow. To start easy, you can incorporate small tropical elements throughout the room, like small fish darting out from behind a couch, a palm tree in the stretching on one wall with colorful butterflies flying around it. You could buy a tropical print, hang it above your couch, and then paint crisp white shutters around the print so that you now have a fantastic view of the beach from your living room.

Online retailers sell various tropical wall mural stencil kits. They send you a stencil you trace to transfer to your wall, and then you paint by numbers. These kits cost between $40 and $150.

Most professional mural painters have done tropical wall murals. Commissioning an artist to paint your tropical mural will save you time, but not money. Depending on the size and complexity of the mural, you can expect to pay between $30 and $100 per square foot of the mural.

Give Home More Space

It is a procedure that can be of great service to you if you are starting out and you are about to move into your own home.

Or if you already own a house full of furniture and are willing to sell or donate what you no longer want in order to purchase a better version.

It will work in many situations from great to small.

The greater your willingness to get rid of the old and bring in the new, the bigger space difference there will be in your home.

You may not want to exchange out many items in your home but decide on a few select items that will make a big difference once you’ve gotten rid of them.

The most beneficial part of the top-to-bottom-strategy is that it can be customized to your preference.

That’s what makes it very opportunistic–it can be adjusted according to your desires.

The top-to-bottom-strategy is a simple three step procedure that will help you reevaluate your thought process.

This strategy deals with three levels. And each level can be used to help you better furnish your home by weighing any item you want or own against the top-to-bottom-strategy.

The 3 Levels

Level 3: Ceiling

Level 2: Wall

Level 1: Floor

You’ll notice with each level you move from top to bottom. Also notice that each level moves from ONLY taking up air space to taking up walking space.

Items that DO NOT affect your walking zone are considered to be items that take up air space.

The further up your item is positioned the freer your walking zone. And the more space you have in your home. The highest level that you can go is Level 3.

In which an item you purchase is mounted from your ceiling.

You may have, in the past, considered furnishing your home using these three levels, but only under certain conditions. For example, you may have first wanted a floor lamp but instead decided to get a sconce installed on your wall or a chandelier mounted from the ceiling rather than your first initial idea.

That is a situation in which all three levels are used accidentally.

But normally, you are likely to find that you have constantly left out Level 2 and Level 3 when you consider furnishing your home with a new item.

The reason for this is easy to understand–you normally see what you want and then you buy it.

And when you’ve done this there has been very little organization in furnishing your home.

Except with the thought of whether you have enough floor space for the item in consideration.

Before today, when you’ve considered purchasing an item you haven’t really considered the three levels in combination with the item that you want.

You were never taught, and never thought, much about the three levels because history never offered such circumstances until recently.

Manufacturers today are creating products with the less-is-more idea in mind.

Home furnishings are far lighter and far more space conserving now than they ever have been.

So this strategy was never needed in the past since our predecessors had an entirely different way of life.

Less busy. Less complicated in specific areas, and so on.

But that is clearly not the case today.

When you recognize that you want something from this day forward you can easily offer your home the best space possible by considering whether you can furnish your home with an item on Level 3 first.

And if it is not possible on that level, drop down a level until it is possible to furnish your home on that specific level.

Take for example, a television.

Level 1: Floor

You know your home can easily be furnished with a television using Level 1.

And your most space conservative item to mount a television on is a pedestal tv stand, or a tv pole that extends from the floor to the ceiling.

When you use Level 1 you want to be certain to brainstorm for the most space conserving way to use your floor space.

You’ll want to find the smallest, yet most reliable item that you can find that will do the job.

And when you are able to find this type of item, it is so good at space conserving that Level 1 almost gives you the same advantages that Level 2 does.

For example, if you were to use a tv pole to put your tv on. The pole itself takes up so little floor space and mounts the tv in midair that it’s similar to furnishing your home with a tv using Level 2.

Level 1 will always take up floor space and interfere with your walking zone.

The best you can do with Level 1 is get an item that uses as little floor space as possible and interferes with your walking zone as little as possible.

Level 2: Wall

These days with lcds and plasma tvs, you even know that your home can be furnished with the television using Level 2.

And your most space conservative item to mount your television on is a tv wall mount. But not only can lcds and plasmas be mounted on the wall, your average television can be too.

There are dozens of wall mounts out there that mount regular tvs. But tv wall mounts may be something that has never surfaced to your mind.

And this is a good example of when Level 2 is often left out of the picture.

Level 2 will not take up floor space but it will interfere with your walking zone the majority of the time.

The higher an item is positioned on your wall the less it will interfere with your walking zone.

If it is positioned very high on your wall it will have the same exact advantages as Level 3. It will only take up air space and offer no space interference.

Level 3: Ceiling

Same goes with tvs and Level 3. There are dozens of ceiling mounts out there that your tvs can be mounted on.

But ceiling wall mounts don’t arise to the surface of many minds. And this also makes a good example of how Level 3 is often left out of the picture when furnishing your home.

Level 3 will not take up floor space or interfere with your walking zone (assuming you are not so tall that you actually reach your ceiling). Level three only takes up air space.

Information of Home Furnishings and Shelving

Adding shelving to a room can do more then create a place to store books. It can be a great focal point as well. Imagine walking into a room and being drawn to a wall of shelving displaying your favorite treasures? Of course, shelving does have some great advantages. It allows for a place to display your items, store a multitude of things, or so many more functions.

Home furnishings, like shelving are easy to find and install. It does not have to be something that causes panic. Many times we worry that the smallest project involving shelving will take us too much time or aggravation. In fact, shelving units have become much easier to install. They also come in all different types to allow you to find the best option for your area.

Whether you are planning to install shelving in a closet, in the garage, or a decorative unit in your living room, there are plans and designed shelving units you can choose. Many of these shelving units are even carried in your local home improvement stores. What’s more, if you can’t find just the right shelving unit for your home, you simply need to check online for more options. Lastly, if you feel that shelving unit installation is just not for you, you can hire on the handyman down the street or even the guys at the hardware store to do it for you. Adding shelving to your home can be a good experience and a great addition in home furnishing to your home.

Power Washing Siding

ashing the house from the top down or letting chemicals dry on the house, which may leave streaks on the siding.

Using a ladder to clean the upper areas of a house can result in serious injuries and death from slipping off the ladder.
These are the types of mishaps that many people have when attempting to do a quick power washing of their home. If you decide to use a power washer on your home, here are some general guidelines to use.

Make sure the machine your using puts out a minimum of 4 gallons of water per minute and less than 1000 PSI.

Most homeowners will buy a machine from a hardware store that puts out 1,000 PSI but only uses 2 gallons per minute of water. While this machine may work, it will triple the amount of time to do the job properly.
Be careful if your making your own house washing chemicals. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can create a poisonous gas.

We suggest that home owners buy a siding wash that’s available in most hardware stores and follow the manufactures guidelines for the product. Leave the stronger agents to the pro’s or you may end up removing the paint along with the dirt!

The best way to clean siding is by using a power washer that has a chemical injector built into the machine. Using a chemical injector will allow you to pull the soap from the container, mixing it in the machine with water and spray it onto the house using low pressure starting from the bottom up. Make sure when using a power washer that you don’t shoot water or chemicals up under the siding, this can cause significant mold problems behind your siding.

Allow the chemical to dwell on the siding, then using low pressure, rinse the product from the siding. Make sure when your rinsing the product off the siding that you start at one end of the siding all the way to the end. Do not stop or vary your distance from the siding, or it will cause the surface to be cleaned un-evenly.

Gutter Cleaning

In summer, trees lose leaves from heavy storms and high winds. In early fall, you should remove leaves that have fallen early to keep your gutters flowing freely. At the end of fall or early winter, you want to make sure everything has been properly cleared from the gutter system to help prevent ice dams or buildup of ice in your gutters. The extra weight of frozen water in your gutters can easily cause them to pull away from the fascia and in many cases, fall off the house. Improper gutter maintenance will lead to clogged or damaged gutters and can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your homes foundation, exterior trim and basements.

To clean your gutters properly, rent a sturdy ladder and get your a neighbor to give you a hand. Ladders can be rented from most local rental centers for as little as $40.00 a day. When using ladders, make sure you stay away from power lines, trees and windows. It’s a good idea to use a ladder stabilizer to make sure the ladder doesn’t crush your gutters or slip while your doing the cleaning. Ladder stabilizers can be purchased at most hardware stores for about $30.00. Remember your safety is more important than clean gutters, so make sure you get someone to help you. Thousands of people die each year from falls and electrocution while working on ladders.

If you have gutter screens or gutter guards, make sure that they aren’t damaged or clogged with leaves and branches. They won’t help protect the gutters if the water can’t get into them properly and the water may just flow over them making them useless, even if the gutters are clean! Carefully lift the guards to avoid damaging them and remove any leaves or debris under them and then reinstall them properly. You should run water over them to make sure they are working properly. Check your downspouts to see if they have screens at the top and clear them as well. If necessary, use a hose to clear any heavily clogged downspouts and make sure you replace any damaged gutter or downspout screens. While cleaning your gutters, inspect them to make sure the fasteners are properly secured. This can usually be done with a hammer, or in some cases a screwdriver.

About CCTV for Home

Another important development is that CCTV also facilitate remote monitoring i.e. you do not have to be on site to view the images. So it is possible to view real time images of what is happening back home from your work place or on holiday, you need to type in the URL of the server that controls the wireless cameras from any browser. You can see these images just as easily on your mobile phone. Some security companies will also provide a service that monitors the premises for you, so you effectively are renting the equipment. That way you can keep up with any major technical advances.

Speaking of advances in technology, CCTVs now provide a new level of sophistication, such as infrared night vision. The ability to monitor in the dark is obviously fundamental to a comprehensive home security system. Another development is the Passive Infrared motion detection facilities and Pan Tilt Zoom cameras. These cameras are able to rotate horiszontally through 360 degrees, vertically through 900 and have zoom lenses capable of giving more than ten times the current optical zoom.

Adding a further level of security are the covert CCTV cameras available in the market. Also known as miniature cameras, these CCTV cameras are very small or easy to disguise thus enabling so called covert surveillance. Normal CCTV cameras still prove effective, but are vulnerable to tampering and damage by any would be offender. These hidden or mini CCTVs offer an extra level of security to your property.

Apart from the obvious merit of monitoring your home and valuables while away from your home, CCTV Images have also been used as evidence and so offer a greater chance of catching the culprit should any offence take place. These cameras provide the visual evidence of the offender’s crimes. Once people know they have been videotaped there is little, they admit to the offense immediately. Such benefits, advance technology and easy availability make CCTVs the most widely used and relied upon security measure used in not only homes but also banks, offices, hospitals and other commercial enterprises.

Information of Basement Waterproofing Advice

Some ways to keep your basement dry may seem rather obvious. Ideally your basement has a good surface grading to drain surface water away from the house. Exterior waterproofing and keeping wall cracks sealed are two other first-step methods. If you have tried these methods and still have water build-up problems in your basement, you may have to resort to other methods.

A sump pump is another common method of drying out a basement. Some professionals recommend this as a last resort, do-it-yourself attempt at water removal. There are two kinds of pumps available: submersible and water-powered. The submersible pump is electrically powered and is placed underground. They are more expensive than other pumps but are much quieter and can last for two-to-three times as long. The water-powered sump pump is fueled by your home’s plumbing pressure. These pumps are usually slower at draining water but require no electricity and are often used during a power failure.

Many professionals install basement-waterproofing systems. If your home is at risk for consistent or extreme water build-up, it might be wise to seek the services of a competent professional. One professionally installed basement waterproofing system helps to alleviate underground water pressure and keeps the water from leaking into the basement. Other methods include the use of a polyurethane spray or foam. The foam acts as a very strong sealant and can repair cracks and leaks around basement walls and windows. Because the foam is extremely weather resistant, the treatment can last for a decade or longer.

Gel Fireplaces

Gel Fireplaces burn an all-natural, jelled alcohol that is 100% efficient and ecologically sound. Each can burns for two to three hours and can be reused until empty. They are safe and completely smokeless and even provide the romance of the traditional sound of the “pop and crackle” found in a wood fire… without the mess. Each can of jel produce up to 3,000 BTU’s an hour and one may burn up to 3 cans at a time. Since there is no chimney heat stays in the room though these are primarily decorative and not designed as a primary heating source. They will certainly help keep the chill out on a cold day. Cost of a can of fuel is approximately $.80 per hour, most people burn 2-3 cans for a wider flame. Fuel can be shut down and saved for another time by replacing the can lid.

The product has been tested by a number of independent research laboratories and found to be perfectly safe. The air quality of the product in a room when the fuel is burning falls within the standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Gel fireplaces allow you to enjoy a warm, romantic fire in any room in your house without any of the cost; mess or smell associated with a traditional fireplace and can be set up in minutes. They are ideal for apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and conference rooms. Place one just about anywhere you wish to have the beauty of a real flame fireplace. Gel fireplaces can also be moved from room to room making them the perfect portable fireplace.

Wood Panels

Once a tree is fell the free water in the wood is lost rather quickly but the bound water trapped in the straw like cell is slower to dissipate. As the level of bound water is reduced these straw like cells get narrower in diameter but maintain their length. This is the fundamental reason that wood expands and contracts across its width but has almost no expansion length wise.

When working with wood it is very important to allow the wood to expand and contract with changes in humidity. As humidity rises the straw like cells expand in diameter with the opposite effect occurring as the relative humidity falls.

Ways to accommodate expansion

Lets use a cutting board for the first example. A solid wood cutting board with a bread board edge secured with a tongue and groove joint. One edge has the bread board edge secured on both ends with a dowel through the tongue The other bread board edge is secured with the same tongue and groove joint but this end only has a dowel in the center of the piece.

The end secured with two dowels will develop a crack in the main panel. Since the length of the edge piece doesn’t change having it fixed across the width of the main panel from expanding.

Alternatively, the opposite end of the cutting board is only fixed in the center. The main panel is free to expand and contract towards the ends. The only visual difference would be that the ends of the edge piece are no longer flush with the edge of the main panel.

The second example uses a large glued up panel such as a table top. If the table top was fixed to the rails across the width of the panel the rise and fall of humidity would undoudtable cause the panel to split.

The best method to overcome this is use wooden clip to attach the two pieces. A 1/4″ x 1/4″ dado milled on the inside upper edge of the rails. This accepts a wooden clip that fits into the dado and is then secures to the underside of the table top. This will security hold the top hold the top onto the rails without restricting the expansion and contraction of the large panel. Without this the table top would slowly start to open up.