When bitter cold winter winds blow outside, nothing beats the warm crackle and glow of a wood fire in a fireplace inside. Maintaining your fireplace regularly will ensure that it operates in the safest, most efficient manner possible.
If improperly installed, operated, or maintained, wood burning fireplaces are potential sources of house fires. Embers popping out of an unscreened fire or chimney fires from creosote build-up are just two of the hazards that can be avoided with proper use and care. Wood burning fireplaces can also negatively affect indoor air quality. According to Burn Wise, a program of the US Environmental Protection Agency, “Smoke may smell good, but it’s not good for you.” Any smoke escaping from the firebox into the room means the fireplace isn’t operating properly. Also, since fires consume a large volume
There are loads of simple things you can do around your house to keep it cosy this winter. Here are our eight top tips to make your home warm from top to bottom, starting with your roof.
1. Give your gutters a clear-out
It’s not a nice job but at this time of year it’s important to make sure your guttering is clear of sticks and leaves. Once you’re up the ladder, make sure the pipes can carry water away from your home. This prevents damp from getting into your walls which can cause damage.
2. Add some layers to your loft
Loft insulation can really make a big difference to keeping the heat in your home. Even if you’ve got insulation, it’s worth checking it’s up to standard. When it comes to putting in new insulation, you can always do it yourself but, if you’re eligible, we offer free loft and cavity wall insulation.
3. Wrap your pipes up warm
You can keep your cold pipes cosy by wrapping them up with lagging which you can buy online for a few pounds. This could stop them from freezing and avoids blockages and burst pipes. Check the problem areas first, where the
Concrete, a durable, versatile material if ever there was one, is showing up all over the place in new constructions and in remodels. Though its use in commercial and industrial settings has been common for quite some time, newer applications have been found for concrete that are quickly gaining a stronghold in residential settings. In a home, the rough, unfinished look of unadorned concrete is often less than desirable. Thankfully, there are several techniques that can add beauty and depth to the strength and durability of this versatile material, making it appropriate almost anywhere.
Concrete flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms tend to lean towards a more polished and glossy finish. In garages, basements, laundry rooms, and other areas where moisture, oil, or other penetrating substances are the norm, concrete epoxy coating is an option that more and more homeowners are taking notice of. To attain these specialty finishes, proper concrete surface preparation is a necessity. The time and effort your contractor takes in surface preparation might seem excessive to the uninitiated, however, when these steps are skipped, your durable concrete surface can age prematurely or, even worse, look bad from the start.
Existing Concrete Surface Preparation
When you first pour
Technically, cement is the major ingredient (along with sand, gravel, water, and other possible additives) used to make concrete mix. So when you refer to the finished product, “concrete” is the proper term, though people often say “cement” to mean the same thing. Different types of cement mixes are used to form different types of concrete, which can be used in different construction applications.
Concrete Mix for Mortar
Mortar can be made using only water, cement, and sand (the basic proportion to follow is one part water, two parts cement, and three parts sand). This concrete mix can be used successfully to create any number of brick or stone structures that, if properly constructed, will last an extremely long time. To increase the workability of this kind of concrete mix and make it more moisture resistant, you may also want to add some hydrated lime.
Cement Mix for Sidewalks
When mixing concrete for a walkway or driveway, gravel is often added to the sand, water, and cement mixture. Here, the basic concrete mix is one part cement, two parts sand, and three parts gravel. Water is the determining factor in making a good cement mix for
Atlanta concrete stain is catching on for use as a viable and impressive flooring solution wherever you can pour concrete. In fact, that combination of beauty and versatility is probably the biggest plus of using concrete stain in Atlanta. With it you can mimic or create just about any hard surface imaginable, decorate concrete in an almost limitless number of colors and designs, and it can be installed in multiple areas of your home— formal to informal, inside or out. When it comes to a concrete treatment that truly is one-size-fits-all, concrete stain in Atlanta is the product you’ve been looking for.
An Explanation of Concrete Staining in Atlanta
While concrete stain in Atlanta is gaining in popularity by the day, most homeowners’ expertise in staining concrete is limited to parking a car with an oil leak in the garage. Push that image aside for a minute, because a little more comes into play when you start talking about decorative concrete staining in Atlanta. Noting that variations in the process do exist, a basic concrete stain in Atlanta begins with prepping the concrete with an acid so that it’s ready to accept the stain, which is the
From benches to bridges and foundations to floors, cement really brings together a wide variety of applications. It can be found in one capacity or another virtually everywhere Americans live. Its recent popularity in high profile living spaces has prompted the use of cement in ways that were generally thought out of its reach. The cement countertop is one of cement’s contemporary uses that is just beginning to be fully appreciated.
Concrete or Cement Countertop?
Okay, cement countertop is a misnomer. Anyone looking for a cement countertop is actually looking for a concrete countertop. If you were to actually purchase a true cement countertop, it would look quite a bit like baby powder and would function about as well (as a countertop, not on a baby).
Concrete would be nothing but mud without cement, but cement on its own will never be concrete. Concrete is the hard substance that sidewalks are made of. Cement is the ingredient in concrete that holds it together (even though it is probably the most important ingredient, it is still a part, rather than the whole).
Characteristics of Concrete Countertops
Well, first off, they’re hard. Though not quite as hard
Cambridge, MA – The extended easing of gains in residential improvement spending is expected to change course by early next year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects annual spending growth for home improvements will accelerate to 4.0% by the first quarter of 2016.
“A major driver of the anticipated growth in remodeling spending is the recent pick up in home sales activity,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center. “Recent homebuyers typically spend about a third more on home improvements than non-movers, even after controlling for any age or income differences, so increasing sales this year should translate to stronger improvement spending gains next year.”
“Other signals of strengthening remodeling activity include sustained growth in retail sales of home improvement products and ongoing gains in house prices across much of the country,” says Abbe Will, a research analyst in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Rising home prices means rising home equity, which should encourage improvement spending by a growing number of owners.”
NOTE ON LIRA MODEL: Beginning with
Throwing the Masters monkey from its back won’t be cheap for Woolworths, but investors are backing its decision to fold rather than double down on its failed bet, writes Michael Janda.
Kenny Rogers famously said, “You’ve gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Woolworths took a big gamble expanding into hardware and it seems like its previous management didn’t take the country music legend’s advice.
It was a big punt – around $3 billion between Woolworths and its US joint-venture partner Lowe’s. And it must have seemed like a good bet back in 2011 when Masters opened its first store.
Australia’s home improvement market is worth over $40 billion a year, and one of the few retail segments that has been posting consistently strong growth in recent years.
It is dominated by one major player, Bunnings, owned by Wesfarmers, which manages to generate roughly a 30 per cent return on the money it invests into the business.
To put that in perspective, Wesfarmers only generates about 10 per cent from investments in its Coles supermarket business, even after its much-vaunted turnaround.
You would have thought, given the strong profit margins and sales
Heat costs are rising and a terrific way to stick it to the gas companies is by using heat from your brand new wood-burning or electric fireplace. Whether it’s the smell of the wood burning as you finish the last Malcolm Gladwell book or the warmth you get from the electric version as you watch American Idol, fireplaces serve many purposes and can greatly increase the value of your home. Like many other home improvement projects, there are a few fireplace types homeowners much research before making the purchase. Fortunately, we are breaking down all the advantages and disadvantages of a wood-burning and an electric fireplace.
Most homeowners who search for a new fireplace will begin with traditional wood-burning models. They allow for the enjoyment of seasonal sounds and the smell of burning wood. Fireplaces that burn wood are typically constructed of brick or stone and usually require the work of a mason.
Wood-Burning Fireplace Advantages
The greatest advantage of a wood-burning fireplace is the scent and romance it can bring to any living room in America. Given that this fireplace is completely independent of the energy sources in your home, it can greatly decrease your utility bills. As far as
As the cold weather insists on wearing on, all we can do is sit back and wait with anticipation for spring to show its welcomed return. After being trapped indoors due to frigid temperatures and snow, we all welcome the warmer weather and heading back outside. Start this fresh new season off right by giving the outside of your home a refreshing before you turn back inside for your usual spring cleaning; the exterior of your home is as ready to come back to life as the interior is!
Start from the outside in! Your front door not only welcomes all of your guests into your home, but also you and your family on a daily basis. Add a little life to your home by polishing up the door hinges, knock, and knobs. Add a fresh layer of paint or stain to help your door feel as good as new! If you’re feeling a little brave, paint your door an all new, contrasting color; drawing everyone’s eye to the welcoming passage into your home.
The best way to fight away the dark is to bring back the light! Turn on all of your outdoor lights and go through to replace the dead
Natural Cowhide Rugs And Why They’re So Lovely
It can sometimes be frustrating to find the perfect rug for your home. Although a rug may initially seem like a rather small detail in home design, that isn’t the full truth. A rug can in many cases make or break an interior design scheme. If you’re looking for a rug that can make your living area truly memorable and attractive, then you may want to set your sights on a natural cowhide rug.
Natural cowhide rugs are gaining a lot of momentum in the home design universe. Although these rugs have been around for a long time now, people lately are truly beginning to take notice of how attractive they are. These rugs, first of all, are far from bland. Their exotic beauty immediately makes people stop and pay attention. These rugs are also distinctive because they’re one-of-a-kind. If you’d like to purchase a rug that no one else in the world has, then cowhide is the choice for you. Since these rugs are produced using cowhide, they’re always one-of-a-kind. Their colour combinations and arrangements are always different. Some of them feature white and black. Others feature
A retractable screen door is a flexible screen door that retracts and rolls up into a housing attached to the edge of your door jamb. A retractable window screen operates in the same fashion, though it usually retracts vertically instead of horizontally. Regardless of your outdoor screen needs, these innovative screen designs are the cream of the crop, and their cutting edge design is revolutionizing the door and window screen industry.
How a Retractable Screen Door Works
Retractable doors work by “rolling up” into a housing that hangs vertically on the outside edge of the door jamb when you’re not using them. On a single door setup, a retractable screen door reaches across and attaches to a fitting on the other side of the doorway. In the case of double wide doors, a retractable door seals magnetically in the center of the doorway to a second unit mounted on the opposite side. Most retractable screens require that you also install a track along the top and bottom of the door jamb to keep it in place when it’s extended.
Why Choose Retractable Window Screens over Traditional Styles?
There are two main reasons to install a
While hardwood floors have certainly come of age these past few years, tile flooring is still the most popular flooring option. With its versatile nature and natural looks in a kitchen or bathroom, it’s hard to imagine a home without decorative tile.Given its vast popularity, tile manufacturers have done their best to give homeowners as many options as possible. However, some present unique advantages, in price and function, that others don’t.Below, I will list the major types of tile flooring, as well as some of their characteristics, costs, advantages and disadvantages.
Of all the tile types, ceramic offers far and away the most design possibilities and many experts agree that it’s the best bang for your buck. Ceramic tile is also known for its resistance to stain and colorful applications.
According to our ceramic tile (material) cost estimator, this decorative tile is made by mixing natural mineral clays and water. Typical tiles are 1/2” to 3/4″ thick and most commonly measure 4X4”. Different sizes are available, but are less common. The finish can be smooth and glossy or made with a less shiny matte coating. Some tiles are left with a more natural
Flooring options are becoming a heated debate and the two frontrunners are wood and tile. Oftentimes, someone in a household will love the natural beauty of wood and someone else will argue that tile is the most logical choice. This begs the question, is there any other option that can combine the practicality of tile and the sophisticated look of wood? Thanks to technology, we have an answer and the latest hot trend in home remodeling is faux wood tile.
What is Faux Wood Tile?
Faux wood tile is indeed a ceramic or porcelain tile that emulates real wood. You may question the quality of the “faux” tile, but believe me, if you didn’t know, more often than not, you can’t distinguish the real wood floors from the faux. Want a challenge? Tell me which living room has real hardwood floors?
I’m sorry. Both A and B are faux tiles.
Of course, the wood design is not the only reason faux tiles have gained recognition. Here are six reasons why more and more people tend to pick wood tile flooring over hardwood flooring.
1. Faux Wood Tile is More Durable Than Hardwood
The idea of having concrete floors throughout the house is initially a turnoff to many people, until they see how stunning stained concrete floors can be. In the hands of a concrete artist, the flooring might be turned into something that looks more like marble or even brick. Patterns can be cut into the concrete to resemble grout lines dividing large pieces of colored tile flooring.
A popular form of concrete decoration is staining. Whether it’s acid or acrylic, staining the concrete is a good way to turn it from that boring grey into just the right color to match the rest of the room.
How to Stain Concrete Floors
Color can be added to the concrete by using chemical stains made of either acrylic or acid. Acrylic is harder to predict the outcome of, as it can point the chinks and cracks in concrete more prominently, so it’s often recommended that homeowners use acid-based stain when coloring their concrete floors.
Cleaning the concrete is key before laying the stain, as adding color to any surface will show any kind of variations or problems that might be there beforehand. So having dust highlighted would not be a good idea. Applying it uniformly is also
You can clean your shower all you want, but eventually, there comes a time when you’re going to have to remove your old shower grout and replace it with brand new shower grout.
Grout is the material that locks tiles together and keeps moisture from penetrating your expensive tile. It is used throughout the house, but mainly in the bathroom, all over your shower and tile floors. Over time, grout starts to peel and become dirty. Cleaning does help, but fortunately enough, you can also regrout your shower without a big financial debt.
Below, I will show you how to regrout a shower and all the materials you need to complete this time-consuming, yet effective home remodeling project.
Materials Needed To Regrout
Like any project, there are basic materials and tools one needs to complete the job and others that make the job easier to complete. For any regrouting project, make sure you purchase:
- Utility Knife
- Grout Remover or Grout Rake
- Dusk Mask
- Masking Paper
- Grout (waterproof)
- Grout Spreader or Grout Float
- Mixing Bucket
- Putty Knife or Grout Mixing Tool
- Sponge & Cleaning Supplies
Now, there are certain tools that can make your regrouting project easier and less time-consuming. In
The bathroom is one place in the home where you should attempt to stay on trend. Homeowners, buyers and sellers care about the look and functionality of this space, and you should too. The floors are especially important because they’re one of the first things you see when you walk in the room and get a lot of foot traffic.
A bathroom floor will be admired for its shine and color, but you should also consider how well it’ll hold up in this particular environment and how much work it’ll be to maintain. I’ve got six big and shiny ideas for your next bathroom floor makeover.
1. Luxury Vinyl
Luxury vinyl is a new category of flooring that’s going to be big in 2016. This flooring choice combines the high-end look of hardwood (or stone) with the durability of vinyl. One of the most popular options among homeowners is vinyl that mimics the look of wood.
This material is a natural fit in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms because it stands up to moisture, and it looks pretty. A low maintenance floor that’s warm to the touch and soft underfoot? If you ask me, it sounds like an excellent choice for any bathroom!