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Remodeling

Make Your Home Imporvement Projects Easier With This Simple Advice

Perhaps you lack confidence in your ability to tackle home improvement jobs. You just need to learn some tips. You just need to do the research, plan it out and get started with something simple. Keep reading for some helpful home improvement tips.

You can realize great savings on your kitchen remodel by simply refinishing existing cabinetry, rather than buying new cabinets. You can use some paint on the base and add new finishing knobs to really update the look. Plus, you can do this for a fraction of the cost it would take to replace them!

Figure out what your home style is prior to fixing up your residence! Knowing what your style of decor truly is will have a big impact on all of the details you select. It’s extremely tempting to switch things up a bit halfway through a project, at which point it is too late to turn back. Fixing mistakes is always more costly than doing things correctly the first time.

Use a porch light with a motion sensor to cut down on your electric bill. These types of lights can be manually turned on and the sensitivity can also be adjusted.

If you have extra building materials you can put them in your ceiling or floor. A little effort goes a long way and you can store sections of molding and other longer building materials out of your way. Nail some furring strips to two exposed rafters or floor joists, and place the material in there.

Consider padding the edges of sharp furniture if you have small children or clumsy animals. You can even turn this into a stylish do-it-yourself project. You can protect sharp furniture edges by using foam tape or buying specific child safety corner protectors. You should also be sure that any loose wiring is taped down, it can pose a choking hazard for young children.

Many homes can lose up to a fifth of their heat or cold air through the clear glass in their windows. Therefore, you can add another glaze to your windows for energy efficiency in your home.

You don’t need to live in a mansion to own a chandelier. You can get a very nice chandelier to provide a focal point in your home for a mere $500. By opting for 200 to 400 watts, your chandelier will provide brightness and sparkle to any room.

If there are a lot of repairs that need to be done to a home before you can move it, you should worry about getting the heavy repairs done first. Tackling the smaller projects such as finishing basements, updating certain rooms or painting can be done in smaller increments once you’ve moved in.

Select a color scheme that works best for your room. Using colors that work together will look the best for your dining room or living room. Complementary colors can be identified by their color wheel opposites, for example, red and green. That scheme separates colors and and is challenging to the eye yet very effective.

After reading this excellent advice regarding home improvement, you can move a bit closer to realizing your home improvement goals. Everything you’ve just read will empower you to make informed decisions and successful choices in your projects.…

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Home Renovation

Essential Suggestions For Improving Your Living Space

If you’re willing to improve your home without the assistance of professional contractors, you can get work done more cheaply than you think. There is a whole list of projects that are easy to complete independently, especially if you have the proper information and tools. Continue reading to learn how to do this.

If your current residence lacks the square footage for a washing machine and dryer, you might consider purchasing a space-saving combo unit. You can fit many combo washer-dryers in the space of a dishwasher. You can use the machine to both wash and dry your clothes.

To save yourself some aggravation, poke holes in your paint can’s rim. During use, the rim of the can can fill with paint and create spills and drips when replacing the lid. With a nail, several holes can be made in the perimeter allow the channel to stay clear.

If you’re renovating tile flooring, try getting radiant heat tiles. Radiant heat tiles use electricity to heat the tiles and keep your feet warm. You can do this yourself if you follow the instructions. You’ll be able to add this onto an existing project or do it on your own. You will enjoy radiant heat tiles especially on a cold, winter morning.

Why settle on traditional tables for your living area when you can create something distinctive and creative? An old storage chest can actually be an attractive coffee table. Throw books, accessories and magazines to accent your coffee table. You can go as far as adding a tablecloth and teacups to give it a country look.

If you are thinking about adding a wood fireplace to your home, you may want to reconsider. Apart from aesthetic reasons, this type of system is also quite inefficient because most of the heat ends up going through the chimney. In addition, a fire needs a fresh supply of air to survive and it takes it from inside your home. Your fireplace will use up a good portion of your home’s oxygen.

Paint is the foundation of any room and sets the tone – start there before planning for other elements. If you are planning on installing new floors, do any painting first. Regardless of whether or not you use protective coverings, it is almost impossible not to get at least a little paint on the floor.

Consider installing motion sensor lights to improve your homes exterior. You can save money on your electric bill. Instead of burning your lights all night, motion sensing lights only come on when they detect movement. Intruders will also think twice about approaching your home, since their presence is highlighted when the lights flick on.

One of the best and easiest ways to improve a dull and outdated kitchen is to instal a new sink. You will be amazed at the difference. New sinks come in a variety of fresh colors, giving you the opportunity to add a touch of color to your kitchen.

This article contained some great information that can help any homeowner to make their improvement project dreams a reality. Use these tips on all of the projects that you can to have the lovely home you’ve always wanted.…

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Remodeling Contractors

Kitchen Renovations: Kitchen Makeover For Less Than You Think

They say: “Nothing sells homes like kitchens and bathrooms”. That is true: old kitchen cabinets with chipping paint, dated backsplash and appliances, last-century tiles and vanities – this all could be a major turn-off for potential buyers. On the contrary, updated fresh comfortable kitchen or bathroom can make a totally different impression of the house, even if other rooms need some improvements. And there is no wonder to that: kitchens and bathrooms are the most costly rooms to make renovations, especially the kitchen. But here are some ideas on how to freshen up the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.
1. Cabinets. Sometimes there is no need to change the cabinets at all. If your cabinets are in a pretty good condition from inside, putting a coat of fresh paint of a modern color would be enough, just strip and sand the cabinets well before painting them. Don’t forget to update the hardware with a new one – you’ll be amazed how it changes the entire look of your kitchen.
2. Backsplash. Backsplash could be one of the most expensive parts of renovations. Tip: tilting only the area directly behind the stove creates a focal point and helps to save on materials and labour. Instead of tilting the entire backsplash, which would cost around $3000, you can paint the remaining area with a durable, scrubbable paint of color that would complement your cabinets.
3. Appliances. The selection of appliances at big-box stores has grown to include professional-looking models without the hefty price tags. Big-box stores often work closely with national manufacturers, so you can find a great product line at a comparatively fair price.
4. Countertops. Instead of buying expensive granite or concrete countertops you can tile the countertop area either with tile granite or ceramic tile. Local tile stores, like Home Depot or Lowes usually have a pretty good selection of tiles. A little bit more expensive option is to install modular granite or solid-surface. Modular granite is bigger than tile, but smaller than slab, meaning that slices of modular granite can be even installed by you. Solid-surface is the term for man-made, polymer-based countertop materials. It is relatively durable and strong. If you decide to opt for an expensive granite countertop, try to save on finding models that are on sale or the store is discontinuing them.
5. Accessories. Beautiful strategically placed accessories is an inexpensive way to complete the look of your kitchen. Couple of pictures on the wall and original vases or knick-knacks on the table or window would create a finished high-end look of your kitchen.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Decorating and Maintenance Tips for Travertine Tiles

Travertine tiles have quickly become a favorite of homeowners and decorators alike. These versatile flooring tiles can be used both indoors and out, and come in styles that can easily mimic more expensive cuts, like marble. They do require some special care and maintenance but even so, their unique look more than makes up for any special considerations that have to be taken.
A Stone with a Long History
Travertine tiles can be a bit expensive to obtain, but the look that they can give to any home more than makes up for the cost of having them installed. The history of their use dates back several hundred years and the best examples can still be found in the ruins dotting the countryside of Italy, Mexico, Peru and Turkey. The largest producer today for these unique flooring tiles is Italy, though domestic United States producers still do a fine business quarrying and aging travertine for sale in this country.
Styles and Finishes
Travertine can be order in one of two finishes: natural and filled. The natural stone look is one of the most popular choices when it comes to installing these tiles in an outdoor setting. The appearance of the stone is exactly how it looks once it is quarried and cut into tiles, resembling limestone in appearance. The overall look once it is installed is of an ancient walkway or floor section, where the stones within it are pitted and worn by the ages. If used around an outdoor area that sees a lot of traffic, like around a pool, they act as a natural safety barrier, as their composition and pitting offers a slip-proof surface, no matter how wet they get.
Inside the home, the preference tends to run towards the filled travertine. Highly polished to a glossy shine, these tiles can resemble marble and mosaic tile, depending on the composition of the stone when it was filled and polished. This makes them perfect for areas of the home that need to be showcased, but will experience little heavy traffic. Entryways and hallways are perfect for them, or larger rooms that will not see a lot of children or animals running through them. The filled and polished stones can be a bit slippery and are a bit more fragile than the natural stone.
Maintenance Tips
Using travertine outside of the home requires very little maintenance, just a quick washing with a hose occasionally. It is the tile used inside of the home that may require a bit more care than usual. The first thing to remember about using this natural stone in your home, especially in areas like the kitchen or bathroom, is that any spills will need to be wiped up, immediately. One reason that they are not often used in these rooms is because of the chance that an acidic juice or carbonated drink will be spilled on them, which can quickly ruin the polished finish if not taken care of.
Using commercial cleaners on travertine tiles is also not a wise idea. The majority of commercial cleaners available today can leave a dull film behind on these natural stone tiles, reducing the gloss that they were created with. The best way to clean these tiles is to sweep them, sometimes up to twice a day, with a soft bristle broom, followed by a mopping with clean water, no additives or detergents. Be careful not to walk on them while wet, because even though they have a natural barrier against slipping on them, they are still fragile enough to be damaged while the stone is drying. Once they are air-dried, if any moisture still exists, you can easily get rid of it by using a dry mop. This should keep the polish and shine of these stone intact.…

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Basement Remodeling

Green Products

As more and more environmentally friendly products are coming to market, it seems only fair to mention the role of a few construction material products that are doing their part in helping to clean up the environment. Known as green construction or sustainable building methods, some of these innovations are quite interesting if not amazing. Goals of green building include being health conscious by decreasing pollution and toxins thereby limiting the impact on our environment. Also designed to conserve energy and valuable natural resources, many of these materials are quickly renewable such as fast growing bamboo used to manufacture flooring and paneling. Some products indirectly offer environmental benefits by conserving the water that would normally be an ingredient used to complete the final product such as cement used to mud-float showers and bath tubs in preparation for the installation of ceramic tile.
Although many building contractors and tradesmen are very negative when it comes to new products and techniques, these are usually old school veterans who are very set in their ways. You know the ones who live by the motto: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But in keeping an open mind, one will understand and soon admit that there may very well be superior products and techniques available today that were not available yesterday.
One product that comes to mind is a waterproof backer board designed to be applied directly to a tub or shower wall prior to the installation of ceramic tile. While there are several different manufacturers, the benefits are primarily the same and include:
A� Lightweight and easy to install over existing drywall or open studs.
A� Water conservation. Minimal water usage required.
A� No need to for a sand/cement mixture which can release toxins as bags are opened and mixed.
A� Minimal gray water or cement debris generated thereby making clean up easier both in the staging area as well as in the work area.
A� Installation options include flush surface or simulated mud-float.
A� Designs and specifications allow for soap and shampoo niches, shelves and seats, and even tub decks and bases.
If you are considering the installation of a new shower or tub ceramic tile surround and based on the benefits mentioned above, I think it would be prudent to at least investigate using a new product such as this. Not only will you be environmentally conscious and socially responsible but it just might save time and money.…

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Renovation Costs

Hand Scraped Hardwoods Making a Splash in Spring of 2010

As winter comes to an end, and spring emerges, we think, ‘out with the old, in with the new!’ As new flowers bloom where snow once fell, homeowners are looking to give their homes the same vibrancy as a fragrant patch of lilies. In the hardwood flooring industry, this can be seen with hand scraped hardwood floors – the ‘it’ item for Spring 2010.
Hand scraped hardwood floors are a stunning addition to homes because of their classic, timeworn appearance. They exude artistry, craftsmanship, and most of all – character. The delicate accents can transform a widely-used, familiar species such as Oak into a rare masterpiece.
Two popular lines this Spring both come from Versini Hardwood Flooring – Versini Potenza Hand scraped and Versini Milano Hand scraped.
Versini Potenza features the classically beautiful, engineered maple and oak wood, with maple’s fine spores providing the perfect canvas for the smooth brushstrokes of the hand scraping. With the maple wood’s natural luster, the lines on the wood radiate throughout. The oak in this collection is softer than the strong character lines we’re used to seeing from oak, but it works with the softer palate of this collection.
The colors are vibrant golds and reds, but they’re not distracting. The most eye-catching hue in this collection, although there are several head-turners, would be the rich Maple Tavern or the fiery Oak Honeytone. All woods in this collection come in 5-inch planks and feature a 25-year warranty.
Versini Milano is a collection of golden, reddish-hued engineered floors, and features hickory or the exotic Brazilian cherry. These floors exude warmth and charisma, with the Milano Hickory Burnished arguably the front-runner, although Brazilian Cherry Natural is quite a showstopper itself. Woods in this collection also come in 5-inch planks and are backed by a 25-year warranty. This collection would be most comparable to LM Flooring’s Heritage Plank, but for a fraction of the price.
If you’re interested in upgrading your home this spring, talk to an authorized Versini Hardwood Floors retailer. You can learn more about the company and get a feel for Versini’s other product lines – all guaranteed to make a splash in your home this spring.…

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Kitchen Renovation

11 Ways to Protect Yourself From Getting Hammered by a General Contractor

The smell of sawdust wafting through the air, the sounds of hammers and saws, stacks of building supplies, and workers in , it looks like someone is having some construction work done! And while all of the pieces and players are in place and all appears to be in order, looks can be deceiving. In fact, if you have hired a contractor that you know very little about then until the project is completed and proven acceptable, there is likely a certain amount of trepidation…unless, you have done your homework.

Before having any home or office remodel done, it is an absolute must that you take the time to protect yourself and your investments by doing all you can to make sure that your contractor is everything they should be. Sad to say, just because you have spent the time getting an assortment of bids, contacting the Better Business Bureau, checking with state and local consumer protection agencies, the local authorities in regard to any licensing or banding requirements and a host of other background related details, you still need to go a few steps farther to protect yourself from getting hammered at the end of the job.

Write It Down!

Once you have found the contractor for your job, you need more than a gentleman’s agreement. You are making a choice to spend a great deal of money and you need to make sure you understand what the cost will cover. Consequently, you need to get all agreements and promises in writing, before anything else is done. In addition, there is no crime in asking for clarification of any part of the contract you don’t understand. If you don’t understand something or are not in agreement, don’t sign the contract! A general construction contract should include:

The contractor’s name, address, phone number and fax number

A detailed description of all the work to be done

A description of materials-this includes brand names, size, weight, color, etc…

Beginning and finishing dates

Payment schedule. You want to pay as little up front as possible and make payments throughout the course of the project, with the right to withhold payment if at any time the work does not meet your satisfaction. Don’t agree to financing arrangements you cannot afford.

Any guarantees that the contractor is making or warranties regarding the workmanship

A statement allowing you to cancel the contract based on the laws of your state.

A statement allowing you to cancel the contract after work has begun if you find unexpected or hidden problems once the job has been started.

The contractor’s responsibility to secure permits; if you have to get the permit, do not sign!

The bonding and licensing numbers of the contractor

The contractor is responsible for paying any subcontractors, supply costs, equipment rentals, etc. before you make the final payment. If this is not done, you become liable for the charges!

Don’t be pressured into signing a contract that you have not read through or don’t understand!…

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Room Additions

The Four Greatest Myths About Eco-Friendly Timber and Bamboo Flooring!

Myth 1
“All timber is environmentally friendly”
Not true! Tradition hardwood flooring taken from oak, bluegum, brushbox and other varieties, takes between 40 to 80 years to reach harvest maturity yet most will happily live-on for hundreds of years. Because these trees take so long to grow, animals, insects and plant life all have plenty of time to use the trees for homes and shelter and become well established. This means that harvesting of these trees is very destructive to the established life in, on and around the trees.
This destruction is also a lot worse than it could be due to traditional timber being from such large and heavy trees. This means that powerful, heavy and polluting machinery and equipment are needed to harvest the trees, compounding the damage and destruction.
Myth 2
“Bamboo is not as eco-friendly as traditional hardwood timber”
Again not true! Bamboo timber (technically from the grass family), is often described as an inferior flooring product by those who don’t understand it yet it has all the properties of hardwood and takes just five years to reach harvest maturity. It is also more than double the hardness of most hardwood timbers. Due to its light weight and prolific growth it is easily harvested with far less damage done to the ecosystem and environment.
It also doesn’t require re-planting as bamboo shoots will happily sprout again, fully replacing the harvest. This means that bamboo produces about 25 times more wood per acre per year than hardwood forests and it absorbs up to four times the amount of carbon as hardwood timber (Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting).
Myth 3
“If timber or bamboo is certified as eco-friendly then it must be”
Not true! Because of the lack of enforced and other standards in many large timber and bamboo producing nations, this means that quality systems are not in place to ensure that only the best or most “eco-friendly” products are shipped. Much of the time it’s nearly impossible to assess just how eco-friendly timber and bamboo flooring is without the company selling the product clearly spelling-out the international standards their products comply with.
Myth 4
Environmentally friendly finishes are much better than traditional finishes
Not true! Many of the “environmentally friendly” finishes used on timber products such as stains and oils are great for their small environmental benefits but often are not practical when used on timber and bamboo floors. This is particularly true when they are used in high-traffic areas where they won’t tend to last more than two years. This means that they will need to be reapplied multiple times which just isn’t practical in most homes when you have to shift all your furniture out of each room that’s being treated. They are also quite a bit more expensive, costing between 30 and 40% more on average over standard finishes, so it’s another catch that you need to be aware of.…

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Room Additions

Working With Kitchen Contractors

If you are going to remodel your kitchen and you are not a do-it-yourself type of person, you will probably want to hire professional kitchen contractors who will be able to take care of all of the work for you. Before you hire a contractor though, you will need to do some preliminary work.
The first thing that you will want to do is decide on the style of kitchen that you want. If you are doing a full remodel and have no idea where you should begin, you can always hire a kitchen designer who will be able to help. Write down all of the things that you want to change in your kitchen and come up with an overall idea of how you want the kitchen to look. Take your ideas, listen to what the designer has to say, and then come up with a solid plan for the kitchen. If you have no ideas of your own, see what the designer has to offer.
Once you have your plan for the kitchen, you will be able to hire the kitchen contractors you need to finish the job. You can interview different contractors and get estimates from them. Ask them any questions that you might have, such as how long the remodel should take, if they have experience with the types of flooring, counters, cabinets, and fixtures that you want, and anything else that comes to mind. Choose the contractor with whom you feel the most comfortable and offers the most experience. You want to have a good working relationship with the contractor.
Before the kitchen contractors come to start work, you will want to prepare your home. It is a good idea to lay down a pathway on which they can walk without getting the rest of the house dirty. You can use plastic, although cheap strips of carpet are a better idea because there is less of a chance that someone could slip and fall. This protects the flooring underneath as well.
Because remodeling can cause dust, you might want to have covers for any furniture that might be nearby. Move any breakables out of their path. In general, you want to make it as easy as possible for the workers to be able to do their job without worrying about damaging your home.
Remodeling a kitchen can take some time as well as effort, but if you plan early and choose a great contractor, it isn’t that hard!…