Category Archives: home improvement

Why You Need The Right Sub Floor Ventilation

A safe and healthy home and work environment is a must if you are to be in good health. You should be able to breathe in clean fresh air as you go about your activities in the building. A musty and damp room can cause you to develop allergies and respiratory infections whereby you end up coughing and wheezing. You can however stay in a healthy home by ensuring that it is well ventilated. You should also ensure that you have sufficient sub floor ventilation in your home in order to have a safe environment to live in.

How Sub Floor Ventilation Works

If you have a sub floor that is damp, has mold and a stale smell then you definitely need some form of sub floor ventilation. Ventilation gets rid of the damp air and replaces it with dry fresh air. The simplest form of ventilation is natural ventilation where vents are set up on the walls of the building. This allows fresh air to move into the rooms and the basement.

If natural ventilation does not work well enough, you can install fans in the sub floor. The fans will get rid of the damp air and will replace it with fresh air from outside. The fans should be placed strategically to ensure that fresh air comes in from one side and the damp air is expelled from the other side. If fresh air comes in from opposite sides, there is a risk of the damp stale air rising into the building thus causing a health hazard.

What Causes Dampness?

Dampness occurs when moisture accumulates inside a building and does not have a way of getting out into the open. The moisture gets trapped in the building due to poor ventilation. An accumulation of moisture results in the growth of mould which can easily spread in the sub floor. The mould then gives rise to fungal spores which become airborne.

The fungal spores are a health hazard when inhaled because they are known to affect the respiratory system. You can end up developing respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and you may also experience chest pains.

Planning For Sub Floor Ventilation

It is always better to plan for sub floor ventilation during the design of your house. This will ensure that you do not have to modify your house later on in order to accommodate ventilation. The ventilation rate of your sub floor should therefore be established so that you can get the ventilators that will give your under floor sufficient air flow.

When planning your landscaping, you should ensure that the vents that are meant for ventilating the under floor are not obstructed. You should also consider the positioning of the vents if you want to build in an area that is prone to flooding during the rainy season. The vents should be raised to avoid water getting in and increasing the risk of dampness.

Benefits Of Sub Floor Ventilation

Once you have the right sub floor ventilation in place, you will keep your home free from condensation, mildew, mould and dampness. Your home will also be free from bad odors and from termites which can cause great damage to the structure of your home.

What Is the Best Wood to Use for Stairs?

A new timber staircase can transform your hallway and give the whole property a boost. Even just replacing the banister rail will make an enormous difference to the look and feel of your home, and of course is much quicker and cheaper than installing an entire set of stairs.

Choosing which materials to use, however, is not always straightforward. We take a look at some of the different types of wood available for stair construction.

Scandinavian Pine

Also known as European redwood, this pale yellow softwood is produced in renewable plantations, making it a sound environmental choice. Attractive and affordable, with a knotty appearance adding character, pine is ideal for anyone on a budget. And of course if you’re intending to carpet or paint the staircase, you may feel there’s little point in splashing out on expensive materials that will only be covered up.

Southern Yellow Pine

This is the largest, hardest and strongest type of pine – tougher, in fact, than many hardwoods. Southern yellow pine is a durable, sustainable and cost-effective timber, with an appealing golden colour and distinctive large grain pattern. Grown abundantly in southern parts of the USA, it is ideal for staircases, floors and furniture.

Hemlock

An attractive and versatile softwood with a soft sheen, hemlock has a straight, light-coloured grain that can be varnished to a rich golden colour. Moreover, it is practically knot-free and easy to work with. This makes it a great substitute for more expensive timbers such as oak or ash, so is worth considering if your budget is limited. Hemlock can also be stained, varnished or painted.

Oak

There are various types of oak, with white oak considered the best option for stairs. Prized for its strength and durability, it has a beautiful knot-free grain that never seems to go out of fashion. In fact, so dense is white oak that it is almost water-tight, which is why it is used to make, among other things, boats, wine barrels and outdoor furniture.

Another advantage of white oak is that the grain is very stable, with few variations in pattern and shade. This makes it easier to match up new stairs with existing oak fittings such as skirting boards, floors and doors. It also takes wood treatments very easily.

There are two main sources of white oak: the USA and Europe. American white oak is more widely available, and therefore less expensive, with a straight grain and pale biscuit colour. European oak is a slightly darker, golden honey shade with a distinctive wavy grain pattern.

Ash

This premium hardwood is even tougher than oak, with a largely straight grain and attractive colours ranging from cream to pale brown. The most abundant type is American white ash. Heavy, hard and highly shock-resistant, it makes excellent stair treads. Because it has an open grain, ash is very flexible, so can be shaped to produce a variety of curved stair parts.

Sapele

This reddish-brown hardwood looks similar to mahogany, and indeed belongs to the same family. With a distinctive tight, interlocking grain, it provides a strong and cost-effective alternative for use in furniture, flooring and cabinets as well as stairs. Sapele is harder and more stable than mahogany, with a dense structure that is highly resistant to rot and almost completely water-tight. This makes it ideal for outdoor as well as indoor use.

Idigbo

Native to West Africa, idigbo is a pale yellow-brown hardwood with a variable grain that can be straight, slightly irregular or interlocking. It is often chosen as an economical alternative to oak, and can be stained, varnished or painted. Although idigbo is not quite as durable as oak, it offers a good level of strength with little shrinkage, and can be shaped to produce attractive curved stair parts.

Walnut

There are several types of walnut tree, but the one most often used in staircase construction is American black walnut. Strong and stable, this premium hardwood has a mostly straight grain and ranges in colour from dark chocolate to a pale brown. Black walnut is expensive but versatile and extremely hard-wearing. It can be carved into elaborate shapes, making it ideal for intricate stair components such as balusters, volutes and newel caps.

7 Home Improvement Tips For This Winter

The winter is approaching, and you need to be ready for it. You need to get your home ready for the cold season, which is important if you want to make your home energy efficient and comfortable. Check out the following home improvement tips that will make a difference this winter.

Go For an Energy Audit

You can hire a certified professional to get your home rated. The energy rater will conducted an “audit” and test your residence for possible energy losses and other safety issues. Based on the detailed report he will give you, you can make important repairs and make your home more energy efficient.

The professional will also give you some tips to address the common issues with your home. You can then take necessary steps to solve the issues.

Seal The Walls

The seals in the walls allow the air in, which causes fluctuations in the temperature inside your house. You can make a plan and use a tube of caulk to address the problem areas. Aside from this, you should seal the areas where you can find electric boxes on the drywall. Make sure all the tiny holes on the backside of the boxes are sealed.

Seal The Can Lights

Air leaks can occur in the ceiling as well, especially the area on the ceiling where the recessed lights are located. Some can lights are vented so that they don’t get overheated due to the light bulb. What you need to do is remove the can and then seal the perimeter of the can with quality caulk. In the same way, the internal area of the can should be sealed with aluminum tapeto or caulk.

Fill The Insulation Gaps

To find insulation gaps, you should check the outside faucets and air vents for big gaps. These gaps will allow the air to escape from the room in winter. You can use expanding foam to seal these holes.

Your Heating System

Before the arrival of winter, you can get your furnace tuned up. According to experts, the energy costs of an average house are affected by the heating. If your boiler system or furnace is inefficient, your heating bills may rise. Make sure you buy a quality filter.

You can replace the filter to make the boiler more efficient. While this may seem an unnecessary expenditure, it will pay back down the road.

Check Your Windows

Your windows should be suitable for the climate of your home. For instance, if you live in an area where it’s very cold in winter, you may want to invest in windows that feature double-paned insulated glass.

Buy a Smart Thermostat

You can consider installing a smart thermostat. Some advanced models can be operated with a smartphone as well. Programmable thermostats are available in different designs and price levels. These devices allow you to enhance the energy efficiency of your home.

Top 7 Home Improvement Tips You Should Know

Do you have a condo or an apartment? If you have one, you need some home improvement tips. These tips will help you maintain your home or apartment saving you some real cash in the long run. Aside from this, it will also increase the value of your home. Read on some of our tips for improving your home.

Tackle the Important Projects

Some home repair projects are urgent. If you do them in time, you can prevent a lot of damage. But if you ignore these projects, you may end up paying a huge sum to fix the damages later on. Therefore, don’t wait for the winter to approach and get these projects done as soon as possible.

Consider Professionals

Even if you love doing DIY projects, not all home repair projects should be done by you. Some repair jobs are better left to professionals. You have to be in your limits. If you are a beginner, you should start small. If a project needs the expertise of a professional, hire a professional.

Hone Your Skills

Whether you are going to work on a small or big project, you can learn some good home repair skills. You can make use of some good resources and start off from some projects. With the passage of time, you will be able to handle bigger tasks as well.

Find Inspiration

If you want inspiration for your home repair tasks, you can head to Pinterest. Over there you can find a lot of profiles showcasing project photos along with cost estimates. This will give you a pretty good idea of how you should go about handling these chores.

Get the Tools

You can’t do all your home improvement tasks with your hands. You need to have some essential tools at your disposal. They will help you with both minor and major tasks. For instance, for plumbing jobs, you need some essential plumbing tools in your tool box. So, you should invest in some common repair tools.

Choose the Right Contractor

Finding a good contractor is as important as finding a good doctor. In other words, you may want to hire only a reliable contractor or handyman. Hiring an inexperienced professional can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Save Money

If you save money on one project, you can spend it on another. What you need to know is to decide on the project that you can save some cash on. For instance, you can spend a bit more on items that can’t be replaced so easily, such as your bathtub. On the other hand, you can spend a bit less on the faucet. Another good idea is to head for a reuse center to save some cash on appliances and other stuff.

Best Trees for Indoors

Trees are great things to have in your yard. They clean the air, they give shade and privacy, they are great for climbing and they are beautiful to look at as well. While many trees are just too big to think about growing inside, there are many trees that make wonderful accents to the inside of your home. Here’s just a few:

If you are a fan of the Victorian Era you may have seen pictures or seen movies of the time with parlour palms sprucing up the, well, parlour. The adapt well to low light and humidity and they are on the list of NASA’s 50 Plants That Clean the Air. And face it, they’re breezy and fancy and who wouldn’t want one in their living room in a large ceramic pot?

If you like big bold statements you’ll want a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in your living room. These trees have large sculptured leaves that give the air of the tropics without being weepy or wispy. These trees love light but don’t like drafts so keep them away from windows and doors and you’re good to go.

The Ficus is perhaps the most popular indoor tree there is, heck, they even make a fake version that you just dust once in a while and forget about. The real version is actually a weeping fig tree if you want to get technical, and they come in different textures and heights so they’re perfect for any room, any where.

Love the tropics but live where there seems to be perpetual winter? Then what about adding a Majesty Palm to your home? They are fan shaped and have that tropical feel to them and best of all they are slow growing if they aren’t getting strong sunlight. Throw on the heat, watch the palm tree and pretend you’re on the beach, even if it is January and there is a blizzard waging outside.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips

If you have been looking for some home improvement tips that won’t take more than a few minutes from your precious time, you are on the right page. This article is for you, especially if you are a busy homeowner. Read on.

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Squeaky Floors

If you want to repair a squeaky floor, use a stud finder to find the floor joists. Next, you can drive in a screw via a pad, carpet and the subfloor to reach the floor joist. Just make sure that the upper part of the screw has no threads. Ideally, you may want to use trim screws since they have bigger heads. If this is the case, you may want to pull up the screw and then tighten it again.

Remove Water Stains

Before repainting the ceiling, you may want to try out this trick. You can use a mixture of water and bleach and then wait for a few days. If the stain is old, you can try a mold and mildew product. The stain will be gone within 24 hours. This trick may work both on textured and flat ceilings.

Wallpaper Seams

To fix a wallpaper seam, you can soak a rag in lukewarm water and then apply the paste around the seam. You may want to hold the rag for a couple of minutes and then open the seam a bit for more space for the seam sealer. Put the liquid into the gap and then push the paper against the wall using a roller. Then you can use a sponge to remove the sealer.

How to Make Your Home a Quieter Place

The houses today are constructed on the basis of modern, light-weighted and open-floor plans wherein it becomes difficult to find a little peace and quiet environment. In most of the houses, the walls are removed to increase the available space, kitchens are filled with larger appliances, and rooms are surrounded by home theatres making noise an essential part of our lives. We are the only creators of a noisy environment and we can only help ourselves in reducing it. This is not something that is created by nature it is simply a man-made product.

The evil effects of noise are that it can mess up your sleep, add to your stress, infringe on your privacy and in a nutshell it is hampering the quality of life we are living. Fortunately, we are lucky that there is a number of soundproofing or acoustic treatments that you can take help from to alleviate the problem. The acoustic barriers can efficiently help folks to get rid of this serious issue. Before, we proceed it is also important to know how sound actually works?

The clang of the bell and other physical things sends sound waves rippling through the ear. When these waves reach the ears, they vibrate a sensitive membrane i.e. the eardrum and we hear them as sounds. It is said to be the sound, not the noise. Noise is something that is unpleasing to the ears and is also termed as unwanted sounds.

Here are some helpful techniques for making your home a quieter place:

Cut down on noisemakers- Consider buying quiet appliances for your home including house fans, kitchen appliances etc. Buying quiet appliances is even more beneficial if they are to be kept nearby living or sleeping areas. Maintenance of existing appliances is also an important part of the equation. If you find something unusual, get it checked or repaired by the technician as soon as possible.
Use sound absorbing materials- The material that helps to reduce and absorbing the unwanted sound are something that every house owner would love to have. There are a lot of things that will work as a barrier that reflects and absorbs the noise entering your house. These acoustic barriers are quite helpful in minimizing the outdoor noises and absorbing the interior sounds. Ensure getting a spec sheet prepared by the tradesman so that you can check and approve it before its installation.
Install sound blocking doors- The largest opening in a house is its doorway. And a lot of sounds enters from this way. Thus, it is better to install weatherstrip or solid doors to effectively block the unwanted sound rays entering your house. The solid doors are quite expensive because of their thickness and are also available in a broader selection of elegant designs.
Weatherstrip interior doors- The actual sound doesn’t come through the door, it comes around the hollow spaces left between the doors. Thus, it is beneficial to install weatherstripping or door soundproofing to seal that space using adhesive-backed high-density foam tape. This will block the noise coming from outside.

Tips for Buying Home Siding

If you are building a new home, or perhaps upgrading your existing one, then it is likely that you have looked at a variety of siding options. Be it making the transition from composite to vinyl, upgrading to brick or using a more natural choice like brick, it is a big decision to change or replace the siding of your home.

But, how do you determine what type of replacement siding should be used? Especially, if you have never done this before? Here are some tips for dealing with siding replacement.

Tips for Buying Home Siding

· Have an understanding of what type of siding will be best for your home and region. You can find this out by talking to local builders or home improvement professionals.

· Ask an installer to come out and determine how much siding your home will need. Or a simple way to get an estimate is to simply multiply the height times the width of each rectangular section of your house in feet, going by what you can measure from the ground, to determine its area. Multiply the approximate height and width of gables and other triangular surfaces and divide each total by two. Then add all the totals. To allow for waste, don’t subtract for doors, windows, or other areas that won’t be covered. Finally, divide the total square footage by 100 to estimate how many squares of siding you’ll need. A square represents 100 square feet.

· Take into consideration the amount for upkeep and cost for the chosen siding. Plastic siding can resemble cedar but will cost more than vinyl and require little to no upkeep. Fiber cement siding is fire and insect proof, but can be subject to water damage; it must be repainted from time to time, though less often than wood. Vinyl siding requires less work of the three and won’t warp or twist, and is lower in price.

· Think about the desired finished appearance of your home, then choose siding appropriately. For instance, on a clapboard-style home, vinyl that is raised ¾ of inch will deepen shadow lines and give the appearance of wood.

· If you want to add more rigidity, then be sure to plan for more foam backing for the insulation.

· You can sometimes minimize how many pieces if siding you need, by choosing to use vinyl siding that comes in 16-foot or longer lengths to reduce the number of seams on long, unbroken walls.

Choosing a replacement from your home’s siding does not have to be stressful. But it will require you do some homework. By using these tips, you can simplify the process. You can make things even easier by talking to local home siding experts and learning what to expect with a particular siding option. Don’t put off getting new siding. Talk to a pro today.

Simple Tips For Low Cost Home Improvements

Have you been thinking about remodeling your home? Keep in mind that you can often achieve your goal without a giant expense. Small improvements introduced in almost every room, including the exterior of the house can make all the difference.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Keep it clean and keep it simple!

A clean and neat house is appealing and eye-catching. You can start improving the appearance of your house simply by cleaning out the debris. Try making your garden look like an ideal place with some weeding and cleaning out the flower beds. Paint the front door to give your home a more welcoming feeling.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you don’t need to make room for new ones. The first glance is usually enough for a selective buyer to quickly estimate a house.

Does the exterior of your home need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers? Remember to keep it simple. Focus on making things neat and tidy.

Two hot spots of every home:

The two most closely inspected rooms of a house are the kitchen and the master bathroom. If you are looking to focus on two hot spots, these are the interior rooms where the most value can be added during a sale, so make them look their best to increase your return on investment.

Is your kitchen may be in need of an upgrade? A well updated kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so focus on spicing up this room to grab buyer attention. Renovating your kitchen using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home. Many times a buyer will compromise on other rooms and will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

The same holds true for bathrooms, especially the master bathroom. You will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs in your master bath. Replace the faucets and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because for easy maintenance.

What to Invest in?

So, you’re done de-cluttering, cleaning and upgrading. What’s next? Well, if you are willing to make a good upgrade investment, it is recommended to divide your renovation plan into four parts to bring impressive improvements to your home. Here are the four areas you may want to seriously consider upgrading:

Lighting: If you are not satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

This would entail buying lighting fixtures and other equipment for each room to make it look consistent and attractive.

Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and some leakage in the plumbing that needs attention. Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you haven’t already upgraded the plumbing system.

Flooring: Most people nowadays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting. Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable. If you think this improvement would bring you higher profits, make the investment without delay.

HVAC Replacement: Today new energy-efficient HVAC systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. You can add a unique selling feature to your house by making this replacement part of your home improvement strategy.

What’s really worth repairing?

Remember that not all things are worth repairing; some need to be thrown out and others need to be replaced. This is a good principle to follow when staging a home.

Inspect every aspect of your home and then come up with a plan within your budget to bring a fresh crisp look to your home. You may want to replace outdated appliances in the kitchen with new modern models. Repairing old appliances is not an option. If your budget doesn’t allow an appliance upgrade, simply give the ones you use a color-boost to improve their appearance.

If you already have wooden floors installed at home, look for scratches and be prepared for some refinishing. Wooden floors are highly desirable, even if they are old and worn. Give them a little lift-up to make them more attractive and appealing.

Nowadays energy-efficiency has found its way into many of our systems including the windows. Home buyers look for the latest windows and other systems that are designed as energy-efficient since they provide a number of economical, health and environmental benefits. Replace your old windows for new energy-efficient windows to improve the value of your home.

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

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.

Identify Misses

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

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.

Living Room

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.

Bed Rooms

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!

Lavatory

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.