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Home Living Ideas

Five Fresh Ideas For Tired Fireplaces And Hearths

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Fresh Ideas For Tired Fireplaces And Hearths

A fireplace is an alluring feature in a home, yet some of them may have an outdated look that needs a change. You can alter the entire look of the fireplace often with simple strategies for the hearth or mantle. When you want to give your fireplace a fresh face, consider some of the following ideas and suggestions: Dismantle the mantle. Simply altering the mantle above your fireplace can make a dramatic difference; or, try removing the mantle entirely. Check the stone or mortar underneath to ensure your fireplace won’t require extensive trim-work if you take down the mantle. Check home improvement stores for easy-to-install mantles to replace your current, dated one. Hate your hearth? A hearth can protect the floor from sparks and burns that may occur from using the fireplace. A hearth also provides a fine, finished look to the fireplace area; evaluate your fireplace’s hearth to determine if changing it out is a practical move. Hire a mason to lay stone tile in the space in front of your fireplace, or if it is only used for aesthetics and not an actual fire, lay laminate tiles in a pattern on the floor yourself. Add a pop of color. It is perfectly acceptable to paint the brick or stone on the face or hearth of your fireplace; just be sure that the paint and products that you use are heat-safe and free from toxic fumes or noxious chemicals when near fire. Talk with hardware or home improvement professionals to figure out the best way to paint the fireplace to give it a bit of color and a fresh style. Retire the fire, and fill with foliage. Another approach to updating your fireplace is to retire it; this may be the most pragmatic solution when there are other inherent issues with your fireplace, such as needing chimney work or having too much flue accumulation. Close the dampers and any vents tightly, and clean out the fireplace thoroughly. Fill the space with boughs, branches or foliage and nest some flame-less, battery-operated candles among the greens for a stylish, elegant appearance. Fix facades with a fake. Did you know that you can buy a fake fa├žade that simply fits down over your existing fireplace? These often are found online, and you will want to take very precise measurements of your fireplace for the best results. These are often made of wood or a poly-resin that stands up well to heat. There are many simple ways to give your fireplace a fresh look and new style. Talk with retailers about the best paints, applicators, and products to use when refurbishing stone or brick fireplaces. Try some of these suggestions, or use them to inspire your own ideas to give your fireplace some style and flair.  Reach out to a company like Village Fireplace for more...

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Common Questions Concerning Drain Problems And Cleanings

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Questions Concerning Drain Problems And Cleanings

Your home’s plumbing system requires basic maintenance to keep it working correctly, but this is something that is common for homeowners to overlook. When you fail to adequately care for your home’s pipes, you may find yourself facing a serious plumbing problem. More precisely, your pipes may develop clogs that can lead to serious plumbing backups throughout the home. If you are unsure of the steps needed for maintaining your pipes and addressing routine clogs, you might benefit from learning the following couple of answers to routine questions. Why Should You Avoid Liquid Clog Removers? There are many different chemical based products that you can buy that claim to remove clogs and clean your pipes. Unfortunately, these chemicals are often extremely harsh, which can damage your plumbing’s seals or even the pipes themselves. Luckily, you will likely be able to avoid this problem by opting for a cleaning solution that is a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The reaction that occurs when these two substances meet can help to loosen any debris or grime that has formed along the sides of your pipes. To use this approach, you will want to pour a generous amount of baking soda down your drain before following it with vinegar. Allow the mixture to stay in place for several minutes before you use the faucet to flush the pipes with hot water. What If The Problem Returns Soon After Cleaning The Drain And Pipes? Following cleaning your drains, you may find that the problem returns. This can be a frustrating experience, and it can also indicate a potentially serious issue with your plumbing. When your pipes clog soon after being cleaned, you may have an intrusion in your home sewer drain. It is common for tree roots to grow into these pipes where they can prevent the flow of water. When you encounter this problem, you will need to contact a drain repair professional to inspect your plumbing system. They can use sophisticated diagnostic equipment to determine the location of the clog, which will make it easier to repair. When the problem is being caused by a root intrusion, the plumber may need to excavate a portion of the yard to trim back the root and close the hole in the pipe. If your home’s plumbing system is having difficulty draining water away from the home, you may need to have your drains cleaned. Years of residue and mineral deposits or root intrusions can constrict the flow of water leading to major issues for your house. Knowing the dangers of using liquid drain cleaners as well as what it means when the problem returns soon after cleaning the drains can ensure you know what is needed to safely and effectively correct this problem. For professional help, contact a service such as Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating &...

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These Signs Could Mean It’s Time For A New Roof

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on These Signs Could Mean It’s Time For A New Roof

When you buy an older home, you may have no idea how old the roof is and when it’s due to be replaced. You’ll have to check it occasionally and watch for signs of deterioration. If your home develops water stains on the ceiling, that’s an obvious sign of roof trouble, but other times, the indications aren’t so clear. Here are some things that could mean it’s time to start planning for a new roof. Shingle Discoloration Asphalt shingles are covered with granules when they’re new. As the roof ages, the granules shed and the shingles take on a different color. They may look darker or worn down. Be careful to distinguish old shingles from those that have turned darker due to the growth of algae. Algae stains are usually confined to one area of the roof that is in shade several hours a day. These stains can be removed by cleaning your roof, so there is no need for a roof replacement due to algae stains. When the discoloration is due to age, the darker color will be more uniform over the entire roof. Loose And Lost Shingles If it seems like your roof sustains more damage after spring storms than it has in years past, it could be a sign the roof is old. However, even a fairly new roof can be damaged by a very strong storm. This is one reason it’s a good idea to climb up on your roof about once every year to inspect it. This allows you to make repairs on damaged shingles, and it helps you judge how well the roof is holding up to the wear and tear of rain and severe weather. Even if your roof is damaged by a storm, it may not need a complete new roof. A contractor can help you decide when repairs are suitable and when the entire roof should be replaced. Interior Damage As well as keeping an eye on the shingles themselves, you also want to check your attic for signs of leaks on a regular basis. Your attic may leak for quite a while before you see signs of it in the ceiling of your living space. Therefore, you should check your attic to catch leaks early. Look for water stains along the rafters and signs of mold and mildew. Also check the insulation between the floor joists. Water dripping onto the insulation encourages the growth of mold and compacts the material so it doesn’t insulate as well. An unnoticed water leak could cause expensive damage in your attic, especially if you have a long rainy season. Ideally, you’ll want to have a new roof put on before it gets so bad that leaks develop. If you can’t climb up on your roof, you can inspect it from the ground with binoculars and look for signs of aging. However, the best results are obtained by walking around on the roof to test the deck for rotting and weak areas. To learn more, contact a roofing contractor in your...

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Protect Your Storm Windows By Cleaning Them Properly

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Protect Your Storm Windows By Cleaning Them Properly

If you have storm windows installed throughout your home, you’ll need to be careful when you wash them. If you use strong chemicals or rough material, you can damage the integrity of your storm resistant windows. Here are the do’s and don’t of cleaning your storm resistant windows.    Don’t Let Dirt Sit On Your Windows The first thing you need to do is keep your windows clean. Don’t let dirt and debris sit and accumulate on your windows for months at a time. Dirt and debris can compromise the integrity of your windows when left unchecked. As soon as you notice that your storm windows are looking dirty, mark off a day on your calendar to clean them. Rinse Them With Water First When you wash your storm windows, you should rinse them with water before you really get to work cleaning them. By rinsing them with water, you’ll loosen any dirt or debris that is on them and make it easier for it to be removed. If your windows are not that dirty, a quick rinse with water, followed by a wipe down with a clean rag, may be all your windows need.      Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Solutions You need to avoid abrasive cleaning solutions as well as extremely strong chemical. Both of these types of solutions can cut the glass on your store windows and compromise its chemical structure and strength. Instead, you should use a mild commercial window cleaning or make your own gentle homemade formula to clean your windows with. You just need something simple; you don’t need to use the stronger window cleaner on the market. Be Careful With Your Cleaning Equipment Next, you need to be careful with cleaning equipment that you use. You should only use soft cleaning equipment on your windows. You should never use an abrasive or rough cleaning tool. Even when you are using soft cleaning equipment, be careful that you don’t bump or scrap the handles or any metal or tough part of the cleaning equipment against your windows. Once again, this could scratch your windows and compromise them. Dry The Glass When You Are Done Finally, when you are done cleaning make sure you dry your entire window, not just the glass panel. Make sure the window frame, seals and gaskets are all dry as well. This will help protect the integrity of the material. If you take the time to follow the suggestions outlined above when you clean your storm windows, you should not cause them any damage and they should hold up well when a storm hits. For further assistance or replacements, contact a local outlet, such as Fas Windows and...

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4 Things To Do Before Professional Carpet Cleaners Clean Your Carpets

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Things To Do Before Professional Carpet Cleaners Clean Your Carpets

If you have decided that you need to have the carpets in your home professionally cleaned, then you will want to do your best to ensure that the professionals can provide a thorough and effective clean. Before the carpet cleaners arrive, you should:      Clear the Floors: Try your best to clear the carpeted floors in your home as best as possible. You should move small side tables out of the way, floor lamps, area rugs, chairs, and more. The more stuff you can clear out of the way, the more areas your professional carpet cleaners will be able to clean. If you need someone to clean the rooms for you, then you can ask if that service is included with your price for the professionals to clean your carpets. They may charge an extra fee to do this, but it will be worth it in the end to ensure that more areas are cleaned. Inspect the Carpets: Before the professional carpet cleaners arrive, you should be aware of all areas that may need extra treatment because of a heavy stain or because they have tracked in a great deal of dirt due to high traffic. This will allow you to inform the professionals of these areas ahead of time so that they can focus more of their attention on those spots first before the rest of the carpet. Make Room in the Driveway: You should move all cars that you have parked in the driveway to ensure that the carpet cleaners can back their truck in easily. This will also leave them enough space to maneuver heavy equipment that they have with them. Overall, they will appreciate the easy access in and out of your home. Prepare the Family: You and your family should be prepared to be out of the house for a few hours. You may even want to consider arrangements for your pets to be out of the house overnight so that they don’t track in any dirt. The carpets are going to be a little moist after the cleaning process, so you and your family are going to have to wear protectors over your feet if you choose to come back to the house that same day.  Knowing how to be prepared for professional carpet cleaning will ensure that the process goes much more smoothly. Be sure to ask if there are other ways you can be prepared,  as...

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Tips On How To Start A Successful Corporate Recycling Program

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips On How To Start A Successful Corporate Recycling Program

Are you a business owner? Are you concerned about your company’s impact on the environment? Whether you want to be seen as a positive influence in your community, or you’re hoping for a tax break, or you simply want to reduce pollution and waste, a corporate recycling program can help make sure that you are able to meet those goals. Here are some tips on how to set up your recycling program: Start small: Your company may only have 5 things that can be recycled, or it may have several dozen. Try to figure out exactly what trash your location produces and make a list of the most commonly discarded items. While you may be tempted to set up recycling bins for anything and everything that can be recycled, it’s important to start with just a few things at first. Starting with a dozen or more recycling systems can simply confuse your employees, leading to less participation in your new program. By starting simple, with something like only water bottles and paper, everyone will have a clearer grasp of what can and should be recycled. Provide personal recycling bins: conducted some research that found that most people are willing to recycle, but the biggest barrier they faced was lack of convenience. If your company works out of an office, it’s likely that each worker already has a small trash can beside his or her desk. Out of habit or a desire to keep working without needing to get up, many employees will continue to simply toss their recyclables into that trash can. In order to encourage greater participation, good recycling systems allow people to dispose of their waste with as little additional effort as possible. Instead of making your employees get up and walk across the room to dispose of their cans or bottles in the appropriate recycling container, make sure that everyone has a personal recycling bin. When full, emptying this bin should not take much more effort than having the employee empty his or her regular trash can.  Provide incentives for recycling: Sometimes, simple encouragement isn’t going to be enough to get your employees to participate in your recycling systems. Although they may be hard workers, they may be instinctively lazy when it comes to waste disposal. You may want to consider things like handing out small gift cards to the person or persons who end up disposing of the highest amount of recyclables versus regular trash for the month. If your office is very large and has multiple teams, you may want to pit one team against the other to see who can do the most recycling in a month. The winning team will receive something like gift cards or even a catered lunch. Once everyone is in the habit of recycling, you can gradually taper off the rewards and limit them to only a few times per...

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The Benefits of Sealcoating the Parking Lot of Your Business

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Benefits of Sealcoating the Parking Lot of Your Business

If you own your own business, you have a lot of things to take care of every day in order to keep your business afloat. It can be easy to forget about smaller details, like the condition of your business parking lot. However, the condition of your business parking lot is really not something you should overlook. Here are top two benefits you will experience by sealcoating your parking lot and keeping it in prime condition. Benefit #1: Sealcoating Increases the Curb Appeal of Your Business If you want to get customers off the street and into your business, you need to have an appealing storefront. Many business owners focus on making sure there landscaping looks nice and that they have an visually appealing sign in order to increase their curb appeal and bring in customers. Having nice landscaping and a nice sign are only part of the curb appeal of your business; the remainder of the curb appeal lies in your parking lot. If your parking lot is full of cracks and potholes, it is not going to look appealing to potential customers. They are not going to want to drive their vehicles through your parking lot.  Even a parking lot that isn’t full of cracks, but just looks worn down, can affect the behavior of potential clients. If you really want to draw clients into your business, you need to address all the factors that contribute to the curb appeal of your business, including your parking lot.  Sealcoating your parking lot allow you to easily fill in any cracks or holes, and will make your parking lot looks smooth, new, nice, and inviting to potential customers. You’ll be surprised how a nice parking lot can positively impact your business.  Benefit #2: Sealcoating Reduces Your Long Term Repair Costs Sealcoating is a great form of preventative maintenance. If you sealcoat the parking lot of your business every year, your parking lot will not develop as many cracks or potholes. You will reduce the need for major repairs every year by taking this simple step. Additionally, sealcoating helps protect your asphalt from the affects of the weather. The hot summer sun can fade your asphalt, and the snow and ice in the winter can cause your asphalt to crack. If you want to minimize the effects of the weather on your parking lot, the best way to do that is to sealcoat your parking lot every year. Finally, sealcoating your parking lot will protect you from your client’s vehicles. Every time a client parks their vehicle in your parking lot, and their vehicle drips a little oil or gas onto the asphalt, your parking lot degrades a tiny bit. Sealcoating helps your parking lot stand up to those gas and oil drips, and keeps it from getting damaged. Sealcoating the parking lot of your business will increase its curb appeal and will help you draw in customers. It will also help you keep your long-term maintenance costs for your parking lot manageable. For assistance, talk to a professional like Hals...

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2 Things You Can Do to Help Maintain Your Air Conditioning System

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Things You Can Do to Help Maintain Your Air Conditioning System

Serious air conditioning repairs and maintenance should only be performed by a professional. However, there are some maintenance tasks that you can perform yourself as long as your system is not showing signs of a problem, such as cooling ineffectively, emitting strange sounds, or not blowing air. Here are two things you can do to help maintain your air conditioning system: 1. Remove debris from around your unit.  A residential air conditioning unit can usually be found adjacent to an exterior wall of your home. Since the unit is outside, debris, such as leaves and dirt, can sometimes build up around it. You can remove most of this material safely on your own. However, be sure to turn off the electrical breaker of the system first. Once the electricity is off, you can clear the area around the unit by sweeping with a broom or using a vacuum attachment to suction the debris away. A garden blower is not prescribed because it can be difficult to guide the direction of its airflow. In addition, the air can inadvertently force debris into the air conditioner’s housing. 2. Replace your disposable air filters. The air filters can be found in the intake vents inside your home. The filters become filled with dust and debris over time as they filter the air that flows into the vents. To change a filter, remove the protective grate that covers your intake vent. The grate may be hinged or it may be held in place by screws. Lift or unscrew the grate to access the disposable filter. Most filters are only held in position by a metal guide or lip. Slide the old filter out, and use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or debris from the intake opening. Starting with one edge, slide the new filter into place. Be sure to look at the arrows on the side of the new filter. They can indicate which side of the filter should be closest to the vent. The size of the filters vary, so be sure to have the right measurements when you purchase new filters from a home improvement store. Dimensions may be found printed on the side of your old disposable filter. Filters that are not replaced regularly may reduce air flow into the intake vent or allow debris to enter your ducts. Minor maintenance should only be performed by you when your air conditioner appears to be running properly. More complicated maintenance tasks, such as preparing your system for a new season and duct cleaning, should be left to a professional. In addition, if your system shows signs of malfunctioning, such as making unusual noises or failing to blow cool air, you should contact an air conditioning service professional, like Borter Heating & Air Conditioning Co. A specialist will be able to repair your system and get it in working order...

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3 Things You Need To Know About Lead Paint Abatement

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Things You Need To Know About Lead Paint Abatement

Homes made before 1978 are particularly prone to having lead paint hanging around still, but the date alone is not enough to ensure that you’re protected. Lead paint is a serious concern for homeowners, especially if there are children in the home. If you’ve just found out that you might be dealing with lead paint in your home, there are some things that you need to know in order to make an informed decision. Why Lead Paint Is a Big Deal Because lead paint is so high in toxic chemicals, it’s extremely hazardous. Lead poisoning is a problem for children in particular, although anyone exposed to lead-based paint in a home can experience symptoms. WebMD reports that children absorb lead more quickly and in greater percentages than adults to, so it’s particularly important to remove lead from homes in which children live. Lead targets the brain and the nervous system, and the longer you’re exposed to lead, the greater the damage can be. There Are Levels of Abatement When most people hear about lead paint, they think of one solution: removal. This is optimal, but it isn’t always the best solution for a particular situation. There are different levels of abatement when it comes to lead in the home, ranging from enclosure all the way up to removal. Enclosure involves covering the surface of the lead with a different material, such as drywall or aluminum, while removal involves stripping and scraping the lead-based paint and starting over. Encapsulation involves sealing the lead-based paint with a liquid sealant that hardens and keeps the lead contained. Replacing lead-affected items means tearing out and replacing anything painted with lead, like windows and woodwork. The Costs of Abatement One of the biggest concerns with any home improvement project is how much the project is going to cost. Cost Helper advises that encapsulation can run homeowners anywhere from $600 to $1,000. Removal can average up to $30,000. Making the right decision for your family involves exploring all of the options and seeing what the budget can cover. Remember that if you decide to leave any lead-based paint in the home, you must disclose that information to any future buyers. If you need help with lead paint abatement, contact a professional such as Colfax Corporation who can assess the situation for you and recommend the right treatment for your home. Once you have specific information, you can make a better decision as to how to...

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Benefits Of Fiberglass Shower Enclosures

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Benefits Of Fiberglass Shower Enclosures

Taking a shower is probably the most relaxing part of your day, so investing in a beautiful shower enclosure could be well worth it. Shower enclosures made of traditional materials such as glass could serve you well for years, but have a limited timespan after which they become dull and ugly. There are also other reasons to get your old shower enclosure upgraded other than aesthetic appeal. For instance, once your shower enclosure cracks and gets porous, water could seep into your floorboards and rot the inside supports of your home, causing untold damage and weakening your home’s structure. Fiberglass shower enclosures Whether you want a bathroom upgrade, or want a brand new shower enclosure, fiberglass is a great option. This type of enclosure is made of a blend of glass and acrylic, making it far stronger than traditional glass and thus more resistant to chipping, scratching and cracking. Most fiberglass designs are usually frameless, one-piece units that make the shower area look larger and more appealing. Once the pieces of tempered glass are installed to your bathroom floor and walls, they are held firmly together via clamps. Fiberglass designs often include a track for a sliding glass door, and can be custom fit to any bathroom. These enclosures also enable your shower area to let in more natural light, and will allow your tub and tile to show through more than would be possible with other materials.   Why go for a fiberglass shower enclosure? Fiberglass shower enclosures have many advantages that have made them widely popular. These enclosures provide a dazzling array of designs and colors to fit your taste and add a touch of glamor to your bathroom that may not be possible with other materials. The innovative texture of fiberglass makes for a more eye-catching shower area, while units will also usually have an elegant gloss finish, a non-slip floor, storage units and even built-in shelves and seats. You can also choose from a clear or tinted finish in varying degrees of tint. If you want to include a shower door, you could choose a frameless sliding door or just go for a framed metal design that complements your other bathroom features. The metal frames may come in polished chrome, blackened bronze or satin finishes which blend well with your bathroom fixtures while still making the area look spacious. The one-piece surround design of a fiberglass enclosure makes installation easy and economical, as the need for labor intensive wall tilling is eliminated. The lightweight nature of fiberglass makes the enclosure easy to move and install. Maintaining such an enclosure is also very stress-free. The material is resistant to cracking or chipping, while only regular cleaning is needed to keep the entire unit looking smooth, polished and shiny. If you would like to have a new fiberglass shower installed, contact a contractor from a company like South Jersey Glass &...

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