Do You Know How To Use Window Coverings?

window-converWindow coverings serve an important role in your home, giving you privacy and also protecting your furniture and décor from the harshness of prolonged, direct sunlight. But the range of choices is so wide, including blinds, shades, shutters and curtains, that some homeowners have a hard time deciding which they prefer, or whether they can mix their window coverings according to the room where they are installed.

There are no hard and fast rules about what you should use, versus what you could use. The decision is up to your tastes, preferences, and what works with your decorating scheme. What you decide is great for one room, may not fit in another, so you switch from blinds in the bathroom to window shades in the bedroom, and that is just fine, as long as you are happy with the way the décor looks when you’re done.

For example, the living room is where most people entertain visitors and family, and because it is often a public room, people tend to go for more distinguished or striking
window coverings, that may include shutters or curtains, and occasionally a combination of both. Window coverings serve an important role in your home, giving you privacy and also protecting your furniture and décor from the harshness of prolonged, direct sunlight. But the range of choices is so wide, including blinds, shades, shutters and curtains, that some homeowners have a hard time deciding which they prefer, or whether they can mix their window coverings according to the room where they are installed.

A beautiful set of lined drapes, with sheers underneath, and topped by a decorative swag, are not only functional, but very decorative and can be coordinated with the
furniture, or serve as an accent to the overall scheme of a room. Sometimes simplicity creates an equal impact, with a set of antique slatted shutters that fold out from
underneath a pair of brocaded lined drapes.

Window coverings are an expression of your personal tastes. The attention you give the details and accessories that go into making them a part of your home decor, shows your creativity and sense of style.

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Author: monika

Common Issues Arising In Bathroom Remodels

Bathroom-remodelBathroom remodels are more work than just some paint and a little bit of tile. A remodel creates a good opportunity to uncover issues that might eventually lead to larger problems if left undiagnosed and untreated. Some issues are obvious, while others are inconspicuous.

These types of issues include moisture damage from old and corroded plumbing, as well as flooring issues created by poor framing and damaged floor joists. New flooring placed atop a subfloor with problems will likely lead to cracking and buckling in the new surface. Other areas demanding close inspection include mold issues arising from moisture build-up and proper venting issues. Vents may be hooked up and running without being properly vented.

Doing a major bathroom renovation will help homeowners to spot issues that require attention before they become even bigger issues. And remember: A completely flawless bathroom that functions with zero problems will add not just aesthetic value, but monetary value, besides.

By Kevin Germain

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Transform Your Space With An Interior Paint Job

interior-paintUpdating the look of the rooms in your home can become a pretty pricey investment. To dramatically change the tone of any room in your home, for a small cost, interior painting is the answer. When the walls of a room are painted, the look of the entire space is transformed into what feels like a totally different place.

The task of transforming a room with a coat of paint can seem deceptively simple. It is a project that can be undertaken with a minimum of fuss and confusion so long as the appropriate preparations are lined up ahead of time. This begins, of course, with protecting everything in the vicinity that you wish to keep paint-free: Carpet, furniture, electronics, trim, and so forth. Shield larger objects with dropcloths and plastic sheets. Mask trim and fixtures with tape.

The surface to be painted will require prep, as well, to require the flawless application of paint. Holes and cracks will require repair; other surface damage or previous application of paint (particularly if the job was poorly done) will need attention, or those flaws will remain apparent even after the new paint job is completed.

With proper attention and care, repainting a room can be a manageable do-it-yourself project, but if the scope seems beyond your experience level, or to assure an expert job, you may wish to engage the services of a professional handyman service.

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Reasons To Consider Aluminum For Your Next Fence

aluminum-fencingThe type of fence you select to surround your home and yard should enhance the look of your property, rather than detract from a deliberate style you’ve worked hard to create. Additionally, you want a type of fence that will stand up well against the elements and that can maintain its look over time, with a minimum of attention and repair. For these reasons, it’s worth considering the idea of constructing aluminum fencing to show off your place to its best advantage.

Aluminum fences are available in an increasing variety of styles and forms; they require less ongoing care and maintenance than the more traditional types of fencing.

From “traditional pickets” to “colonial” style, aluminum can be fashioned to complement, rather than work at odds with the design of your home and yard.

Aluminum is especially appealing because it offers a variety of additional features, things such as self-closing gates and arched accent pieces. Other accessories include finials, ball caps and scrolls; these can be nice touches that give your yard a unique and distinctive appearance.

Even milder climates can take a toll on fences. Exposed to the elements, wooden fencing will require repainting or re-staining. Brick and stone walls are at the mercy of extreme cold and heat, as well.

Aluminum fencing is sturdy, durable and can “match” the look of wood but with an extended lifespan that gives it economic appeal, besides. It’s available in an increasing variety of colors, which accounts for its increased popularity and use.

Whether you are considering replacing an existing fence or installing a brand-new one, it’s worth doing a bit of research, either online or by consulting a customer service rep at your local home improvement store to see if the aluminum style might be just what you are looking for.

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(with information provided by Jeff Schuman)

Choosing Home Furniture for All Types of Rooms

home-furnishingsThe furniture in our house makes up a lot of our home’s entire look. The pieces we choose set the tone of the room and indicate what activities are done in that specific area of the house. For example, you wouldn’t get a convertible sofa bed for office furniture, nor would you choose hard and gloomy-looking pieces for a kid’s furniture. You also would avoid using large pieces of furniture for a small and cramped room.

Selecting versatile and multifunctional home furniture is a practical and economic way to make your house look well put-together. You just have to know what pieces to get from the furniture store. You may want to find a good balance between what appeals to you and what best serves the function of the room.

Unless you have a large home, select home furniture and accessories on a small scale. They’ll fit into most spaces as you move them around in your home. For living room sets, it is important that you consider your family’s lifestyle. Do you often use this area of the room for lounging and rest? Do you have pets that you bring to the sofa? These are things to contemplate before furnishing the room. Choose items that will fit the size of your family comfortably, as well as being durable and long-lasting.

Taking the size of the room into consideration, you may want to go for versatile items like two-piece loveseats, rather than one huge sofa. These are easier to move and can be utilized in more variable ways, forming a corner seating area, or opposite each other to create a conversation spot. You can even split them up between rooms, if need be.

Storage is in short supply in most homes. Select home furniture pieces that offer drawers or hanging space, such as a chest of drawers or an armoire. These can be used in a bedroom, foyer, living room, mudroom, and more. If you have kids who have lots of stuff like books and toys, it’s always wise to choose cabinets that can provide good storage to avoid clutter in their rooms. Children’s furniture should also be safe; avoid items and accessories with sharp edges or detachable pieces. And be sure to ask for warranties.

By Chris Lontok

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How To Safely Deal With Asbestos In Your Home

by Joe Cline

Handling asbestos safelyWorried about asbestos that may be in your home? Asbestos fiber exposure has a lot of associated health risks, so it is always important that a homeowner who thinks a material may contain asbestos proceed with as much caution as possible.

While manufacturers don’t currently use asbestos to make anything, many of the homes and buildings built in the 1970’s were built with asbestos in the materials as a fire safety precaution. Asbestos can be found in many different parts of homes built during this era, including the insulating paper tape and blankets used for water heaters and heating ducts, and many of the glues and materials used to create floor tiles, roofing shingles, and jointing areas. Any of the insulating materials around appliances in the kitchen may contain asbestos, and the materials that are sprayed onto walls and ceilings for soundproofing and decoration may also be carriers.

If you suspect materials in your home that are in good condition may contain unreleased asbestos fiber, the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests simply leaving these materials alone. Try to avoid handling and brushing against anything that may contain asbestos, and check the area frequently to make sure there are no rips, tears, or chips in anything you think may have asbestos in it. If the area can be easily avoided, the CPSC suggests simply leaving it alone even if there are small cracks and tears.

When To Have It Checked

If you notice an area of your home that may contain asbestos has any form of damage that might release fibers, you need to have the area checked by a professional. Contact a professional asbestos inspector to take a sample, and take safety precautions before the sample is taken to make sure you are not exposed to fibers from the sample area.

What To Do While Waiting For Repair Or Removal

When you have a damaged area with asbestos in your home and you’re waiting for professional repair or removal, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Avoid the area where the asbestos materials are located as much as possible. Try to avoid activity in that area, and do not to disturb the damaged material. Never attempt to sweep or vacuum an area that you suspect may contain debris from asbestos containing materials. Don’t sand the area, drill the area, or perform any other repairs before the professional deals with the problem.

Asbestos can be frightening, but with the right precautions it doesn’t need to be dangerous to you or your family. As long as you regularly inspect any areas of your home that may contain asbestos and call in a professional if you suspect a problem, you should never need to worry about exposing your home to this dangerous substance. If your 1970’s era home hasn’t been checked for asbestos, it is always best to assume that the material is present and avoid making home repairs or renovations until you have it professionally inspected.

The Best Time to Care for Your Lawn

fall-lawnThe end of summer does not mean the end of your lawn’s need for extra nurturing. In fact, fall is a good time to provide your lawn with much needed fertilizer supplement and weed control solutions. The leaves on your trees and shrubs may start turning brown, but this doesn’t mean you let the course of nature take over passively.

Giving sufficient amounts of lawn fertilizer during the fall increases the chances of having your grass in full bloom, come the following spring and summer. It’s a good idea to feed your lawn a fertilizer in both early spring and before the first cold snap in fall. Fertilizers are high in nitrogen and potassium, both of which are important for the recovery and nourishment of grass after the scorching summer heat. You may want to use a slow-release fertilizer to avoid nitrogen seepage, which can occur following significant rainfall. Horticultural studies are now allotting much of their energy in formulating fertilizers that are less hazardous to the environment.

Cooler temperatures should not fool you in terms of the watering needs of trees, shrubs, and your lawn. Water and fertilizers should always work together. Proper mixing of these two helps in the propagation of roots in plants. In fact, root growth is quite active during the fall, even if you don’t see a lot of activity up top. Water also helps control the concentration of weed killers you may have applied to your lawn.

Fall is also the season for weed growth, specifically, broad leaf, dandelion, and clover. These weeds are in the process of building up nutrients and starches during autumn in preparation for the coming colder months. This also means that they are at the peak of absorbing nutrients from the ground, making them are more susceptible to weed killers at this time.

Depending on what area of the country in which you live, autumn can also bring a particular group of pests that can wreak havoc on your landscape. Florida and other southern states experience attacks of chinch bugs, grubs, mole crickets, and other things. An over-population of these insects can destroy your whole grass area in a day.

However, many insects are beneficial to your plants and lawn. Ants and the occasional earthworm should not immediately send you running to grab your pesticide sprayer. Lawn care service companies should best handle infestations because misuse of insecticides and pesticides can ruin everything it touches, including the grass. Both residential and commercial services are provided by most lawn care companies. Pests are not only hazardous to your lawn, but possibly to you and your family. You can first check with your state or county Cooperative Extension Services so you have an idea of what to expect (or ask for) from the lawn care company.

And, of course, whenever insecticides or pesticides are being used, be mindful of both pets and children who might come into contact with these things on your grass, the moment your back is turned!

Just keep in mind that even though to all outward appearances, your lawn goes dormant in the winter months, much is happening below the earth’s surface that will affect the appearance of your yard, come springtime.

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What Is Thermal Bridging And Why Do I Want To Stop It?

Thermal bridging is the name given to the flow of heat through your home from one object to another. Wood and other traditional construction materials can conduct heat easily, and this means that despite having insulation in place, heat can still escape via objects or materials in the home.

There are some measures that can be taken. Having effective cavity walls with a layer of insulation will reduce this problem, as will fitting good quality, well-insulated windows. By using cavity closures around the window frames and door frames in particular, you can prevent significant heat loss and temperature shifts.

Though it can be difficult and sometimes costly to fit insulation into the walls of older homes, there are still ways to prevent thermal bridging. For example, when laying insulation in an attic, it’s important to cover the ceiling joists with a thick layer of insulation, as these are a particular thermal bridging spot.

Every cavity should also be covered well. A common mistake with attic insulation is to only go as far as the framing of the ceilings, leaving the frames themselves exposed. This enables heat to transfer to the frames and ultimately escape. Although the frames of the roof cannot be covered, the joists certainly can.

There are some other tricks that people with older homes can employ to help keep in the heat. Thermal, heat-reflecting is a recent product introduced on the market that helps reduce thermal bridging and provides added insulation to your home.

Exterior outlets are big offenders when it comes to letting heat escape. Reduce the problem with some insulating placed between them and the walls of the house.

Of course, windows and doors are the number one hot spot for thermal bridging. Aluminum frames in particular will let heat through easily as will single panes of glass. Replacing any windows and doors in your home with uPVC windows that are thermally insulated will effectively help heat stay in your house. As well as keeping your fuel bills down, uPVC is an environmentally friendly material because it is 100% recyclable and extremely long lasting. You won’t need to replace your uPVC windows for decades.

Addressing these few thermal bridging offenders will help reduce your heating bills and create a warmer environment in which to spend those cooler months of the year.

(article includes information provided by Chris Coxon, a British thermal bridging expert)

Remodeling Tips For The Eco-Conscious!

Green remodeling tips for your homeWhether you’re ready to save the planet, or simply practice more eco-friendly habits, it’s easy to implement green and sustainable products into your home renovation projects.

Here are just a few material considerations to research before getting started on your kitchen or bath renovation.

Counter Tops

Bamboo is a very sustainable material.  It reaches maturity within five years, and regenerates from its original root system, never needing replanting.

Wood is a wonderful material for butcher-block counter tops and flooring.

Concrete countertops are increasingly popular in contemporary settings. They are considered greenest when locally fabricated and when mixed with cement alternatives and recycled aggregates.

Quartz surfaces are easily maintained and have an endless lifecycle.  Additionally, they are available in a wide variety of colors.


Hardwoods and Bamboos are a favorite flooring choice for the eco- conscious homeowner. If the material is FSC certified or reclaimed then it is considered to be an environmentally responsible product.

Marmoleum or Linoleum tile is constructed of Linseed oil, jute, limestone and other natural components that collectively provide for an incredibly strong and durable flooring product.

Cork is not only sustainable and renewable (like bamboo), but is extremely soft and comfortable under foot.

Wool carpeting is naturally stain-resistant, highly durable and free of any chemical additives – only the natural oils in the sheep’s wool. With regular maintenance, it can last up to 50 years and, once discarded, is biodegradable.


Kitchen cabinetry can easily be refaced or repainted with low or zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints and products. If however they no longer fit into your renovation plans, then consider re-using them somewhere else in your home or donate them to your local Habitat For Humanity Re-Store.

FSC and sustainable woods that are formaldehyde free – and finished with a low VOC sealant – are a green alternative to recycling your old cabinets. Another wonderful material to consider is a veneered wheat board composite. The straw fibers are combined with a formaldehyde free resin and then painted with low or zero VOC paints.

Solid core passage doors are also available in wheat straw and FSC certified woods. They, too, are formaldehyde free.

Finally, when it comes to the finishing touches and furnishing your home, look for environmentally sustainable and eco-chic pieces. Do some online research and you’ll find the resources are endless.

Save Energy with UPVC Windows

uPVC-WindowsIf you have just moved into an older property that needs improvements, one of the first projects you should concentrate on is insulating your home. The benefits you will achieve include saving money in the long run on energy bills, ensuring your family is nice and warm during the cold weather, and adding value to your home.

Most utility companies have a website where they can work out your home’s current energy bills and consumption from a questionnaire you fill out online. Based on your answers, they make suggestions on ways you can reduce these bills, primarily concentrating on improving your insulation by incorporating draught proofing systems.

The attic is one of the main places where heat tends to escape, since warm air will rise. The walls of your home also need insulation to stop the outside elements from creeping in. If your property is a relatively new build, then rolled insulation should be put in the interior walls. An alternative is to blow in cellulose insulation, either from accessing the interior or exterior walls.

Basements need to be insulated to prevent moisture, cold air and dirt from coming up through the floorboards. Without it, cold air will make its way into the house, causing your heating system to work harder. A significant amount of energy is lost in the process. Consider adding fiber glass insulation between the joists in the crawlspace ceiling to keep the cold out and your home comfortable.

Installing energy-efficient composite doors or UPVC windows will help keep the warm air in where it belongs. UPVC windows and doors, along with attic insulation, will ensure your home is efficiently insulated.

UPVC windows also have other benefits; they can improve the sound insulation of the property by stopping noise from outside from seeping in, and keeping any noise you make from being overheard outside. They provide a high level of security, too, as they are strong and make it considerably more difficult for anyone to break in.

If you are serious about installing new windows and doors, then carry out any research carefully. Don’t just sign up for the first company that crosses your threshold. Pricing on these products can vary widely, so take the time to shop around to discover the best deals and the best materials.

If consulting with professionals, get more than one quote for your windows. To get an accurate comparison, ensure these are for the same specifications and quality with each inquiry. This can serve a double purpose, as well. If you carry a lower quote into the next dealer, you may be able to encourage them to give you a similar or lower price. Many are willing to reduce in order to gain your business.

Do some research online, as well: You’ll find a superb selection of UPVC windows, doors, roofing products and conservatory roof styles to suit every home.

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