Category Archives: Home Improvement

Casual Patio Furniture – Make Your Perfect Outdoor Living Space

Casual Patio Furniture - Make Your Perfect Outdoor Living Space

A patio is a place in the home that is often used for relaxing and family time.  This kind of environment calls for a more comfortable type of furniture.  There are many different styles and designs for casual patio furniture.  This is by far the most popular style of furniture for patios and decks as well.  Casual patio furniture allows you to maintain that homey feel even when outside of the home.  This type of patio furniture can bring a certain level of warmth and décor to your patio area.  Some styles of this patio furniture include Teak, Adirondack styles, wicker and even aluminum.  If you are interested in casual patio furniture, you will have many choices as you begin to shop around.

One of the most popular casual patio furniture styles is the Adirondack.  The Adirondack style consists of low slung furniture with a wide board style.  Of course, within the Adirondack style, there are many different styles and designs.  Adirondack furniture comes constructed from many different types of wood as well.  Teak and cedar are two of the most popular, due to their natural ability to withstand the elements of the outside world.  They are known to be two of the strongest woods.  They are not easily warped by outside elements.  These Teak or cedar Adirondack casual patio seats will last you for years, age beautifully and will be a great investment.  Adirondack furniture is also well known for being very comfortable, so you cannot go wrong when investing in it.

Wicker and rattan are also materials that are great for casual patio furniture.  Seating that is made out of wicker and rattan will be very comfortable and relaxing.  You can purchase wicker sofas and seats or rattan sofas and seats.  Casual patio furniture that is made out of wicker or rattan will come in many different styles.  It is not hard to find something that you like when shopping through wicker and rattan seating.  Wicker chairs and sofas can come in bigger, more luxurious designs that allow you optimum relaxation. Aluminum patio furniture can also come in casual styles.  Aluminum is durable, lightweight and comfortable.  Most people imagine that aluminum seating would be highly uncomfortable, but this is not the case.  When crafted properly, aluminum can be just as comfortable and relaxing as wicker or rattan. 

If you are interested in any style of casual patio furniture, the internet is a great place to start shopping. Even if you’re going to hit the warehouse store, you can do your price and comparison shopping ahead of time. If you are willing to shop around and do some research, creating a great casual patio doesn’t have to cost a fortune. From the auction sites to the big retailers to craigslist there are great deals to be found. Take your time and make a project out it. Keep in mind small print items such as shipping, handling and tax costs. If the furniture comes in a set make sure it includes everything you need. Sometimes photos show more items that are actually included. Pick the right set of furniture and you’ll be enjoying your patio for years to come.

Shower Floor Tiles and the Hot New Trend For Transparent

Shower Floor Tiles and the Hot New Trend For Transparent

Want to give your bathroom a new lease on style? Get new shower floor tiles! Right now, the hottest in bathroom tiling is glass. Glass tiles have become so versatile you can use them for just about anything, not just for flooring. As a matter of fact, hardware and toilet excepted, you can use the material to finish your entire bathroom. But where did this trend for the transparent come from?

The Beginning

Tile suppliers credit Denver artist Judy Collins. According to the co-owner (and general manager) of Euro Bath & Tile in Denver, Colorado, Lori Greenstone, Collins inspired the penchant for glass thanks to her artistic glass pulls.

Not long after Collins bowled people over with her creations, the owner of Denver’s VitraForm followed suit and came up with glassy sinks… and that was when the style took off.

Who Wants Glass Sinks?

In time, other tile manufacturers caught on and improvised. Suddenly, style boundaries where the material was concerned were being pushed. Manufacturers came up with many ways to innovate. Glass shower floor tiles began to pop up in different sizes, shapes, and edges. But forget flooring; they’re not using the material for that purpose alone. VitraForm, for instance, is now making glass sinks and countertops in 9 patterns, 11 colors, and 2 shapes.

Glass That’s Not Easy to Break

But who is buying these sinks? The answer: high-end homeowners and international hotels.

Hotels like the Grand Hyatt Shanghai and the Grand Hyatt in Fukuoka in Japan use glass sinks. Is maintenance a problem for these hotels? Not at all, says Greenstone. To keep their sinks clean, all their staff has to do is spray Windex on them and then wipe with a soft cloth. Breakage is not a problem either, unless of course a guest deliberately drops a hammer onto the sink. You see, the sinks are made of a material that is the equivalent of an auto windshield in thickness. Can anyone say strong?

So the next time you have a hard time deciding how to go about your tiling, try glass. Not only will you get a very durable surface, you can make it double as a mirror, too.

Caring For Your Carpets

Caring For Your Carpets

We all have a time when we look down at the carpeting in our Orange County homes and think, “if only I had taken care of those stains when they happened”. When this scenario rears its head then carpet cleaning professionals are the right tool for the job you need done.

As implied above, you will most certainly know when professional carpet cleaning will be required but if you need a little nudge in the way of helping you determine this you can easily compare exposed versus unexposed areas on carpeting in your home to tell you the difference between what is clean and how dirty the carpet has become. If you see a striking difference, for example with lighter colors of carpet, such as tan in the unexposed and a deeper tan or brown in the exposed areas, then yes, an Orange County carpet cleaning company is ready for your call. However with some notice and diligence there are various carpet care techniques you can perform in order to keep your carpeting in its best shape.

Soil build up is one of the main reasons carpets become dirty and regular vacuuming can help to deter this. Anytime vacuuming is avoided the soil and debris brought in, as well as the dust that collects in every home, goes not only deeper into the carpet but stays on top for all to see. Add even trace amounts of moisture to this mix and these things become stains, darker and much more difficult to clean. If you have area rugs regularly shaking them out and beating them will help greatly in avoided any buildup and keep them clean without much damage to the fibers. The amount of vacuuming required is easy to measure as high usage demands frequent, even daily vacuuming, and moderate to low usage can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Anytime, and this is imperative, any staining occurs in your Orange County home you must immediately care for and treat it in order to avoid any further damage to the carpeting, as it is well proven that if stains and spots are treated right away they can be prevented from getting worse.

You will have enough time when a spot or stain happens to either run to the store and purchase any variety of cleaning agents that if used properly will remedy your problem. However, if that is not an option available you can use simple household items such as shaving cream, paper towels and warm water to extract the stain. Merely by applying a cleaning agent or the shaving cream let it sit and remove the solution from carpet with a dry paper towel. After you have done this use a wet paper towel (with warm water) to work the rest of the solvent(s) and debris out of the carpeting. Let the spot dry with a paper towel over it and then vacuum it up.

One step that many have taken to prolong the life and appearance of their carpet is to have an anti-staining solution applied to their carpeting after having a carpet cleaning performed by a Orange County carpet cleaning company.

You and your carpets can have a long relationship if uncomplicated measures are followed and the enjoyment and savings you get will be appreciated for years to come.

Upholstery Care and Fabric Protection

Upholstery Care and Fabric Protection

When vacuuming your living room take the necessary time needed to vacuum your upholstery-covered furniture. This will help remove any surface soil and keep the dirt from getting embedded into the fibers.

To keep your upholstery looking new is to occasionally turn and reshuffle your cushions to lengthen the life of your furniture. This will prevent those indentations from taking place on the cushions. It also allows for even wearing away of the upholstery. Also from time to time you may want to plump up the cushions to help keep them in shape. Often the case in most households is one end of a sofa or loveseat gets the most wear so by fluffing and rearranging this prevents one particular cushion from looking older than the rest.

You may also want to rearrange your furniture from time to time to prevent it from sitting in direct sunlight. Getting to much sunlight on the upholstery can cause it to fade and become worn looking.

Cooking fumes and smoke can also damage the fabric. Proper ventilation when cooking will help to absorb some of the fumes from reaching your furniture. Do prohibit anyone, most especially children, to snack or eat on your upholstered furniture.

It’s also a superb idea to not allow shoes on your couch, loveseat, and chairs. Have your family take their shoes off before entering that particular room or better yet, have them remove their shoes upon entering the house.

If you are a pet owner like me, do not allow your pets onto the furniture and upholstery that you are trying to protect.

Having a pet constantly up on your furniture also causes snags and small tears over a period of time. Most especially if you are a cat owner, as cats like to use furniture for scratching posts.

Fabric Protector

Never undervalue the power of a fabric protector for your upholstery. If it is protected this will keep many stains from becoming a problem. If your furniture is protected and someone spills liquid onto your furniture then you can simply blot or dab the stain away.

If your fabric is not protected then remember to act quickly when it comes to removing a stain. Remove as much of the liquid as you can with a clean laundered towel or rag.

Never rub a stain or the fabric as this can also cause damage to the upholstery. I recommend using a spot remover that is specifically designed for upholstery. Be sure to read all of the manufacturer’s directions and test the product on a discreet area first to make sure it causes no damage or bleaching.

If you take the time to do these simple weekly cleaning jobs then you will prolong the beautiful look of all your upholstered furniture. This way you won’t have to have a professional cleaner come into your home but about every two years for upholstery care and cleaning.

Wind Electricity For Your Home – Pros and Cons

Wind Electricity For Your Home - Pros and Cons

Congratulations on being proactive about rising energy costs and potential electricity shortages by doing research on whether or not residential wind power is right for your needs. There are pros and cons to generating your own wind power for your home.

Pros to Wind Electricity for Your Home

  • Residential wind turbines can be really cheap to make. Basically, it’s just the part we all think of when we hear the word “windmill”–blades that spin in the wind. You can purchase kits or even make your own windmill blades, and it’s all a lot easier than you might think.
  • Wind power is clean, renewable, and available wherever it’s windy.
  • The wind power you generate can be brought straight into the electricity you’re already using. As long as your windmill is turning, you’ll be able to use that power for your home.

Cons to Residential Wind Power

  • There’s not a lot of information yet on generating your own wind power. Most of the information is geared towards investors and businesses and companies interested in launching “wind farms” for massive power generation.
  • Be prepared for some funny looks. Most of your friends and neighbors will probably look at you strangely if you announce that you’re planning to make your own electricity using wind turbines. Sure, when you show them your electricity bill they’ll change their tune, but in the beginning you need to be prepared for people to be less than encouraging.
  • In most areas, you probably won’t be able to generate all the electricity you need exclusively using wind power–that’s because to generate the most energy, you need strong winds which usually requires building a very, very tall tower. It’s simply not practical for most residential use, so you’ll likely generate only a portion of the electricity you use with homemade wind power. That’s okay, though, because you can always make additional wind turbines, and realistically, even reducing your electricity bill by 20% will mean the wind generator will pay for itself very quickly.
  • You may have a bit of a fight with your Home Owner’s Association depending on where you live. There may be community concerns about noise levels, height of the tower, and general effects on the community. These concerns are usually easily responded to, but you’ll need to be aware of them and educated about answering them.

The reason that I’m so inspired by generating my own wind electricity right now is that it can easily supplement a solar system making it that much more likely that my home will generate more electricity than it uses, and that might be a bonus for you as well. After all, who wouldn’t want to get a check *from* the electricity company every month?!

Wind power for residential use has come a long way since the 70s, and there are more resources than ever to help you learn how to do this. It’s a smart, responsible thing to research because we each need to do our part to conserve electricity and cut our reliance on non-renewable sources of electricity. There’s never been a better time to start your research into whether or not wind electricity might be right for your home.

The Benefits of a Lazy Boy Recliner

The Benefits of a Lazy Boy Recliner

Although traditionally known as the men’s chair, there have been many innovations in the world of lazy boy recliners which are making these types of chairs commonplace within entertainment and living rooms throughout the country.

There are a myriad of designs which are available from sleek and modern designs that offer clean lines and modern fabrics that can be used to update the traditional chair, to designs which are meant to match other pieces within the décor of the room. From fabric to leather, solids to patterns, the multiple designs which are available add to the versatility of the chair within the home.

Lazy boy recliners are perfect for those nights watching television, reading, even sitting with the feet up relaxing. They have become known as the ultimate chair when it comes to comfort and have increased in popularity because of this fact. There have been hundreds of designers that have made use of the designs which are present in the chair and integrated reclining features into chairs that have been designed for a variety of furniture lines.

Lazy boy chairs can be easily integrated into any room, as they can be purchased in compact designs to full luxurious designs which can accommodate an individual with more than enough room. This way, the versatility that is created within the room by the addition of the chair can add extra seating, enable a new area to watch television or read and even provide a space within the arms of the chair to store items like remotes and magazines.

There are many additions that have been created as upgrades for popular models of lazy boy chairs, including storage within the cushions and arms of the chair, as well as the addition of easy reclining options. All of these options in combination with the styles available make the lazy boy chair a clear winner when it comes to choosing an accent chair for any room.

Best Way to Find an Orthopedic Mattress

Best Way to Find an Orthopedic Mattress

We already know that anyone who is suffering from restless nights and waking up feeling as though they slept on nails should definitely consider the best way to find an orthopedic mattress. While there are many ways to begin your search; we wanted to provide you with some useful tips that will help make this process a lot easier and will hopefully save you some money.

Here are some things you should consider when you begin searching for a new orthopedic mattress.

1. Price: We as a society always want to know how much something costs before we invest our hard earned money on something. Well if you are wondering how much an orthopedic mattress costs; then you will be pleased to know that there are several different types and you with a little bit of research; you will be able to find one that fits into your budget.

2. Quality: While it is important that you focus on price and stay in a budget that you are able to afford; you also want to consider the quality of the mattress that you get. While most people are prone to choosing something that is less expensive in hopes of saving money; the truth is that price is not the only way that you want to make your decision.

3. Education: If you are suffering from aches and pains in your body; then you want to find out what the best types are that will help you get the better night’s sleep that you are seeking.

4. Partner: It is important that you include the person that sleeps on the bed with you. If you share the bed with someone; then you both need to sit down and decide what type of mattress will help you sleep better.

5. Features: Most of the styles that are available on the market are going to come with different types of features such as airflow chambers and other things. You as a consumer have to decide what is important to you and what you can live without.

Do not hesitate to visit our site below and get some valuable tips and advice on how to find the perfect orthopedic mattress and what the benefits of sleeping on one is.

Causes of Cracks in the Plaster Along Exterior Walls of the Home

Causes of Cracks in the Plaster Along Exterior Walls of the Home

There are numerous reasons why the plaster along the exterior walls of your home will crack making the interior walls look very unsightly. It is important to determine the cause of any cracks you find so that you can repair them effectively. Some of the most important causes of these cracks are listed below.

1. Structural Cracks

Structural cracks, as the name implies, are caused by structural weaknesses in a building which are worn further by certain conditions, such as the bathroom shower. A steam shower or steam bath enclosure should be properly fortified with tiling.

The most important structural cracks include:

o Settlement resulting from inadequate or improperly located footings, the use of undersized or improperly spaced members, omission of bracing, or shrinkage of lumber

o These cracks are usually large and well defined, extending across the surface and through the plaster

o They may start near the corner of a door or window, or run up and down the corner where two walls join, or along the joints between walls and ceiling

2. Map and Shrinkage Cracks

Inferior workmanship and the use of poor quality of plastering materials are the main causes of what are known as “map cracks and “shrinkage cracks;” that is, shrinkage in the plaster itself. There are ways to distinguish between these two types of plaster cracks:

o Map cracks are usually caused by improper bonding between the plaster and the base

o They are less noticeable than structural cracks and go through the plaster, but do not extend entirely across the surface, as do the latter

o They are made up of a series of cracks running at various angles and embracing areas usually 6 inches or more across

o Shrinkage cracks, on the other hand resemble map cracks, except that the cracks themselves and the areas they enclose are much smaller

o They differ from the map cracks inasmuch as they do not go entirely through the plaster and are usually confined to the finish coat

o Careless workmanship is usually the cause of these cracks

o Steam from a sauna can dilate these cracks; an infrared sauna unit is the best way to go

3. Loose Plaster

Sometimes the keys or clinches that hold the plaster to the base break off or become loosened and cause the plaster to bulge and crack. On ceilings, around plumbing, bathroom fixtures and kitchen fixtures, it will often hang in this condition for a long time before falling off, being held together by the hair or fiber in the plaster. Occasionally the nails or fastenings used to hold lath in place may corrode and break, allowing that part of the plaster covering the loosened lath, or laths, to sag and crack.

Tools Needed for the Repairs

For cracks and small holes a small diamond-shaped mason’s trowel or broad-bladed putty knife, for plastering larger areas a plasterer’s trowel and a shallow pan.

Materials Needed

o Plaster of Paris or commercial patching plaster

o A small amount of ordinary glue if necessary

o Clean water

Mixing the Plaster

o All mixing boxes and utensils should be clean and clean water from your glass sink, bathroom vanity, or bathtub should be used in the mix

o Particular care should be taken that no traces of old set plaster have been left in the mixing box

o The water should be placed in the mixing box before the dry plaster is sifted into the water

o The mix should then be stirred thoroughly to dissolve all lumps

o It should be of such a consistency that the putty may be picked up on a broad-bladed knife and forced into the crack or break in the wall

Using Plaster of Paris

If only a small amount of fresh plaster is needed, plaster of Paris alone may be used. Plaster of Paris sets very quickly. If it is to be used without a retarder, only so much should be mixed at one time as can be put in place in 10 minutes or less.

Monitored Home Alarm System

Monitored Home Alarm System

You always hear about criminals “casing the joint,” but in reality this is a very true statement. The majority of professional thieves spend a great deal of time watching and assessing the movements around a home or business that they are targeting. They want to make certain that they can succeed in their efforts, so they watch to see when people are at home, when they are away, what cars are usually present at certain times of the day. This gives them the edge in getting away with whatever crime they are trying to commit.

Most people think they have adequate protection with a guard dog or by leaving the lights on when they are not home and with some small time thieves this may be the case. But, with many professional criminals you really need added protection for your family and possessions. When you install a home alarm system you can purchase that added protection by signing up for round the clock monitoring protection. Granted this is an additional monthly cost, but the added protection is well worth it.

With outside monitoring you have the peace of mind knowing that someone is always protecting your home, not only from potential thieves, but also from fire or smoke damage, the presence of carbon monoxide, water damage, etc. In the instance of any of these things occurring the monitoring company will immediately notify you, the homeowner and any of the local authorities needed to address the situation. This not only is a benefit for any homeowner, but it is beneficial for law enforcement. The sooner they can respond to a potential burglary the better their chances of apprehending that perpetrator. In the instance of smoke or a fire, once again, the sooner the fire department can respond the better the chance of keeping property damage to a minimum. When the monitoring system detects any potential problems like the presence of smoke or carbon dioxide that immediate call from their trained personnel can get the family out of the home and to safety. In both of these instances, insurance companies typically offer discounts on homeowner’s policies because early notification helps to hold down potential loss claims. But, as always don’t just assume that you will get a break on your insurance, place a call to your insurance agent to see how much of a discount might be available.

Outside monitoring services are available with both hard-wired and wireless home alarm systems. The safety and security of having someone watching over you and your family in the event that something unfortunate happens can sometimes be immeasurable.

How to Install a Geothermal Heating System

How to Install a Geothermal Heating System

With more and more people becoming concerned about the environment these days, it’s not surprising that more natural and less impactful methods of heating are becoming popular. One of these methods of keeping your home warm is with a geothermal heating system.

Geothermal heat comes from the Earth. Below the initial layer of ground, the Earth’s crust stays a fairly regular temperature and this can be used to heat homes in winter and cool them in the summer. It’s usually more cost effective once the system is installed, than a furnace and air conditioning. As well, the geothermal heating system is a one time cost, plus the electricity needed to run the pump.

Check Your Property

First of all, you will need to take a close look at where you live. This is probably best done by someone who has experience in geothermal heating, since they will understand what to look for.

You need to choose a geothermal pump that will fit with the topography and soil type of your property. Also, having a natural body of water or high ground water on the property can help cut down on the amount of tubing that is necessary for installation.

Install the System

Geothermal heating systems almost always require a professional for installation. There are many factors involved, including choosing the right system for you.

Essentially, depending on the area where you plan to install, tubing needs to be laid at least 7 feet in the ground, where the temperature is constant. The tubing is laid to form long zigzags, much like the coil at the back of your refrigerator. This is going to require a lot of digging. It can be done before the home is built, or, once the house is in place, the system can be installed beside the house, with the tubes ending in the basement. Inside the tubing, water mixed with antifreeze carries heat from the earth up to the home, with the help of a pump.

There are two options for using the heat collected by the system. It can be blown out into the home, much like a furnace would do, or you can have the tubes snake under the floor, providing radiant heating. Both methods are quite effective, though the blower will be more effective if you plan to use your heating system as a cooling one in the summer, during hotter weather.

For the system to work, it needs to be deeply buried and have enough tubing to absorb sufficient heat that can be transferred to the house. Not enough and the water will still be cool when it returns, resulting in a poorly heated house. This is why it’s important to calculate carefully the length of the loop and which type of system to use. In areas with very little space, the tubes may go up and down vertically instead of the more traditional horizontal position. This required far deeper trenches for installation and will often require special equipment.

Geothermal heating is an excellent way to save money over time, though the initial cost is a bit of a stunner. Nearly everyone living in cooler Northern climates will save enough money however, that within 3 years, the system will have paid for itself. The difference is slightly less noticeable in the South where warmer climates dictate lesser savings.

In many areas, the government is now offering special tax breaks and incentives to get people to install the more efficient and environmentally friendly geothermal heating systems, rather than the older versions which pollute and use fossil fuels, making this an even more worthwhile endeavor.