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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Tips to Set Up Bathtub Tiles

Required Items

– Diamond-tipped hole saw
– Sponge
– Grout
– Variable-speed drill
– Screwdriver
– Mastic trowel
– Chalk box
– Carpenter’s level
– Wet saw
– Mastic
– Grout float

Steps

1. Take a measure from top of the bathtub on one corner. Mark the height of the tile on wall. Repeat the process on the other side of the bathtub corner. Tiles are available in different geometric shapes square, rectangular etc. If you have rectangular tiles, decide which measurement you will take as its height.

2. Join the one mark with another with a chalk line. Measure the space between the bathtub and the marked line at different places to check whether the space remains the same or not. If the space varies select the shortest measurement. This measurement will be the size of the tiles to be cut.

3. Locate the center of the wall and mark that point. Place a carpenter’s level on it vertically. Stretch a line along the carpenter’s level. Take a wet saw and cut a first row of tiles with it. Before applying mastic to the wall, read the manual carefully and follow the instructions strictly.

4. Position the first tile in the center along the marked line. Take it as a guiding tile; add tiles on either the sides of the first tile. You may have to cut the tiles for the corners. Keep adding tiles and mastic to the walls properly.

5. Cover the opposite walls as well with tiles. In the end, use bull-nose tiles to finish off the last column.

6. Take the bathtub spout away by turning it in an anti-clock wise direction. Take the caps away to locate the screws holding the handles. Take screwdriver and unfasten the screws and eventually remove the handles. Follow the same process to remove the shower head.

7. Position the tiles on the wall. You have to drill hole in the tiles to make them able to fix into the fixtures. Measure the size of the pipes and choose a proper size hole saw to drill a hole in the tiles. Install the tiles and let the mastic settle down properly before proceeding with the grout.

8. Now apply the grout to the tiles lining in a zigzag pattern with grout float. Keep removing the excess of grout from the surface of the tiles with soft damp sponge. Once done with tiles installation, apply polish to give shine to the tiles. Later replace the fixtures.

 

Tips to Clean and Protect Your Carpet

Required Material

– Rubber gloves
– White cloth (soft and dry)
– Water
– Mild dishwashing detergent
– Vacuum
– Carpet protection solution

Directions

Clean-up

1. The first step in cleaning carpet is to vacuum it. Thoroughly vacuum the whole carpet. Use all the required attachments available with vacuum to clean the corners, crevices, under the furniture or behind the furniture. Also vacuum the baseboards. The best way to vacuum your carpet is from front to back. Always follow this while vacuuming your carpet.

2. After vacuuming your carpet properly, wear the gloves. Mix a mild dishwashing detergent in warm water. Immerse the sponge in the solution and squeeze it properly.

3. Using damp sponge, scrub any marks or stains gently, more force can result in embedding the stain into the fiber of the carpet. This method is popular for water soluble stains. For insoluble stains, you can use carpet stain removal products. Stain removal products are easily available at hardware stores. Before using any of the stain removal product, make sure that you have read all the instructions and cautions given on the product manual. These instructions will precisely help you remove the stains without damaging the surface or fibers of the carpet.

4. In the end clean the surface of the carpet with soft damp cloth. This will remove the left over residues of the soap or stain removal product. Let the carpet completely dry before allowing any foot traffic on it.

Protecting Tips

1. Protect your clean as much as possible from dirty shoes. Foot traffic is the main source of staining the carpet. Minimize the shoes contact with carpet and it will be easy for you to keep your carpet clean. Any other products or factors which cause stains like drinks or beverages should be kept away from the surface of the carpet. Your carpet cleanliness is depend on how far you keep your carpet save from these stain causing agents.

2. You can also protect your carpet from stains and dirt with the help of stain preventing sealants. These sealants are commonly available in the market and you can get them easily from any hardware store. DuPont Teflon Carpet Protector or Scotch Guard is popular stain preventing sealant that guards your carpet’s fiber from stains. Be careful while selecting a sealant for your carpet. Sealant must be appropriate for your carpet. Always read the instructions given on manufacturer’s manual before applying any sealant to your carpet.

3. It is important to let your carpet dry completely before allowing any foot traffic. You can use fans, windows or any other available sources to dry your carpet.

 

Tips to Furnishing Your Dining Room

Choose the right kind of table for your dining room

Consider what kind of dining table appeals to you and what will look right for the kind of setting you hope to create – whether a trestle table will look better or a pedestal table will fit better. A trestle table consists of two or three trestle supports linked by a longitudinal cross-member over which a board or tabletop is placed. A pedestal table on the other hand is a table supported by a single central column. The trestle table can appear less heavy and formal than the pedestal table, so you may want to consider that while choosing a dining table.

Also consider the kind of chairs that will go along with the table. Traditionally a trestle table is paired with Spindle back chairs. Consider as well, the practical aspect of cleaning etc. Cleaning around a pedestal table can be easier and since there is no space consuming table legs to worry about, this can actually help you save space if that is an important consideration. Just be sure that the pedestal table is well balanced and stable.

Consider Hutches

Hutches for dining room are an excellent idea, since they can be a versatile, good looking and practical addition to your dining room. It can serve as a display area for your fine china and silver ware if any. Or a hutch can be the place to store table linens, crockery and cutlery not currently in use as well as other dining table related items such as vases, candelabra and other more formal items not used on a day to day basis. A hutch can also double as a sideboard or server, so that you can lay out a buffet there. Even for a sit down dinner, you can lay out a few items there for guests to serve themselves.

A Table Pad

chances are you have spent quite a bit of time, effort and made a considerable financial outlay for your dining table in the hope that it will serve you well and continue to look good over several years. In the event you may want to consider getting a table pad that will help protect the table against, spills, scorching, scratches, daily wear and tear as well as other damage. Table pads not only protect the table, they also help to reduce vibration and absorb it.

A table pad can help to make your table be useful for a lot of other things – for instance the children’s homework and project work can get done there, when you take work home, the table pad can ensure that the table itself does not have to take the toll of excessive use.

 

Bamboo Hardwood Floors vs Carbonized Bamboo Flooring

There is certainly a strong competition between the bamboo hardwood floors and the real thing, but after looking closely at each option you will find it pretty easy to make your decision, based upon your budget and what sort of look you are trying to achieve.

One of the first things that you want to take into consideration when trying to make this decision is what sort of budget you have to work with. This is important because the real hardwood floors are much more costly, and so you may not even the money to afford them. You are going to need to figure out your budget before almost everything else, so that you can use this as one of the most determining factors as to whether or not you are going to get the bamboo hardwood floors.

Of course you also want to consider the aesthetic appeal here. There is a certain look that you are trying to achieve, and either the bamboo hardwood floors or real hardwood floors are going to be able to provide this for you. While at first glance the bamboo floors are quite similar to their real hardwood counterparts, it is very easy to see the difference.

Bamboo is a type of grass and so it does look like bamboo, although it is installed in long planks like the hardwood and so to the untrained eye it could most definitely pass for hardwood.

These are all important aspects to consider when you are trying to decide on what type of flooring to go with, and if you are still not sure then you will want to talk to a flooring specialist. They are the professional in this area and it is they who are going to be able to offer you the best advice. Make sure that you take all of their comments and information into serious consideration to make the right decision here because you don’t want to get the wrong flooring.

Plastic Window Treatment

Plastic window treatment is a sort of covering which is low cost, useful and free of any harmful chemicals. Before purchasing plastic window treatments make certain that it does not contain any injurious chemicals (like lead) which are dangerous from hygienic point of view. These coverings are mostly used to maintain the temperature of the room.

Solar Window Shades

Solar window shades are a type of plastic window treatment. They are usually put on the exterior windows and give you a clear sight of outside. Solar window shades as the name suggest are meant to control the sunlight that enters the room. Solar windows shades are helpful in both summer and winter seasons. In summer season, they keep the heat away from the room and in winter, they keep the hot air inside the room by reducing the cold air infiltration. Solar window shades are economical and usually lightweight. Solar control plastic window films are also available in the market which are capable of absorbing heat and light.

Plastic Venetian Blinds

Plastic venetian blinds are another type of plastic window treatment. It is made of PVC plastic and comes in many designs. The main advantage of these blinds is that they can be used in any room, kitchen or bathroom. Anywhere you have higher amount of humidity, these blinds are of great help. They usually have horizontal slats which you can open and close at will. So you can control the amount of light with them. Plastic venetian blinds are tough and long lasting.

Plastic Mini Blinds

Plastic mini blinds come with 1 inch small slats and are very economical. The one great benefit of these mini blinds is that they come in different colors and are rust proof. People living in coastal areas can use them effectively as coastal areas are more prone to rust and corrosion due to moisture in air. You can use them anywhere in the home, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, rooms. They usually come in standard size but you can have the custom made mini blinds as well. You can simply clean them with damp rag.

Plastic Sheeting

To prevent drafts and save energy, sheets of plastic are very handy on the windows. Clean the windows with damp cloth to remove all the grime and dirt from the surface. Take double -sided tape on windows frame to apply plastic sheet. Take proper measures and cut the sheet of plastic according to those measurements so that it will fit on the window properly. Carefully fix the sheet on the tape. To remove any wrinkles, you can use hairdryer. That will give a better finish to your plastic sheet on the window. Cut any extra plastic coming out of the edges.

 

Overhead Garage Doors

Kinds or Designs

Overhead garage doors come in many designs, but most preferred designs are tilt up, roll over and sectional units. The oldest among them are tilt up design. It is a single panel that is raised up to the ceiling of the garage. Roll up garage door is made up a number of small sections joined together to from a single large unit. They contain a coil in which these doors roll over when opened. The third design is sectional units. They are made from 3-4 panels each of them joined with axles or hinges which help them to roll up into the coil overhead.

Materials

Different materials are used to make garage doors, but the most popular materials used are steel, aluminum, wood and fiberglass. Steel is the most commonly used material. It is affordable, easy to install and provide better security. Aluminum is very effective in coastal areas, as they provide good resistant against rust and corrosion. Fiberglass is the strongest material and is more durable than other materials. It is a bit expensive compare to other materials. Wood garage doors are good as far as their aesthetic designs are concerned. But they are not durable like other materials.

Advantages

Each design has its own benefits and advantages. For roll up doors are quite handy for tall garage openings and require little space on ceiling. Tilts up doors are less expensive for being an older style of doors. They usually have clean smooth appearance. Sectional doors are popular because of durability and security. They provide better protection against different weather conditions. They come in different designs and styles.

Disadvantages and Drawbacks

Besides advantages and benefits, overhead garage doors have certain disadvantages and drawbacks also. Roll up units, for instance, are made of many panels and need a lot of maintenance work at times and also they are the expensive one. Tilts up units are not considered secure and they provide less protection against different weather conditions. Sectional units however secure and durable need more ceiling space on ceiling and often arises with certain mechanical discrepancies.
Features

Overhead garage doors come in a variety of colors and glass vision lights. Other than that, there are many different designs and styles available in the market to give your garage a fine look. One of the best features of overhead garage doors is its automatic operators and remote control openers. However, manually operated doors are also available which are open and closed via a chain or a track system.

 

Tips to Clear Mildew

Find the Source

The best way to remove and kill the mold is to find its source. The source from where it is coming. If you don’t work on the source and just clean the affected areas, it will come back again.

Find the exact source of mold. It might be cause of the leak in pipes or seepage in roof or floor of the basement. Fix the problem as soon as possible. After removing the source, start working on the places affected by the mold.

Humid climate is another source for mold, especially near coastal areas. People who live near the sea or ocean have to work really hard to deal with mold. To avoid mold, it is important to keep your doors and windows properly sealed. If possible use dehumidifier to keep humidity level on lower side.

Scour Surfaces

The right way to remove the mold from hard surfaces is to scrape it off. Use non-ammonia detergent or regular soap to soak the mold and afterwards scrape it off from hard plastic, countertops, metal or glass. If you scrub the dry mold, there are more chances that it releases spores into the air. Close the room door so that spores to avoid spores from spreading. On certain surfaces like structural woods, you may need to sand along with scraping.

It is important to wear goggles, breathing mask and other protective clothing to prevent any contact with spores.

Sterilize or Disinfect

Just removing old from the surface is not enough. You have to take steps to sop the re-growth of the mold. To stop the re-growth of the mold, you need to disinfect or sterilize the area. For this you can use a mixture of water and bleach. Make solution according to the surface; for instance, make mixture of 1/4 to 1/2 cups of bleach per gallon of water for clean surface and make and use a mixture of 1 1/2 cups of bleach per gallon on concrete or wood surface. Apply the mixture on the surface and leave it for 15 minutes. Rinse it afterwards and dry the surface completely.

Remove Items

Cleaning mold is not just confined to places, porous item should be removed in order to keep mold out of the house. At times some items like carpet padding, drywalls and papers sustain damage from mold. They should be removed permanently to ensure that the mold would not develop again.

 

Window Insulation

Weather Strip

Weather stripping is a good way to apply insulation to the windows. It is a foam substance having a stick back. Clean the surface and apply the weather stripping on it. You need to apply it on the windows sill and around the outer edges. Examine the windows thoroughly. Check its frames, outer edges and panes etc. if you find any gap between windows frame and the house, fill it with caulk. Take caulking gun and apply caulk to the gap. Examine the panes for damage and worn caulking. Remove the old damaged calk and apply the new caulk.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a form of temporary window insulation. Though it is not attractive, but it is cost effective and provides enough protection against the cold drafts. Cut a piece of bubble wrap exactly of the size of your window. Then spray a small amount of water on the inner surface of the window and swiftly place the bubble wrap on the windows surface. Firmly press it.

Insulation Kits

Insulation kits are now commonly available at hardware stores. Insulation kits are available in two designs one for indoor or interior kit and outdoor or exterior kit. The interior kit contain a sheets of plastic that have the tendency to shrink on exposing to heat, especially by hairdryer. The exterior kit contains a plastic sheet that staples to the exterior window frame with cardboard strips.

Storm Windows

Storm windows are another source for windows insulation. Many people ignore the fact of having storm windows and do not ever think of using them. If you have not used your storm windows for a long time, they might have become loose. Reusing them may not be that useful but will hold the drafts to some extent. Storm windows are very cost effective and will pay for themselves.

Insulated Blinds

Cellular blinds are another kind of windows treatment. They consist of three layers of cells and hence called honeycomb blinds. These blinds come in various designs and colors to match your interior home decoration. Honeycomb blinds form an obstacle between room and window by trapping air in the cells.

However, replacement windows are the best achievement to save the cooling and heating costs. But it is not always possible to use replacement windows due to high costs. In that case you can use other available choices for window insulation that are handy and cost effective.

 

Deck and Its Maintenance

1. The area and location where you live has certain impact on your deck in one way or another. Like if you live in West Coast (regular rains) most of the damage caused is due to water. Similarly, the people living in Florida may have to worry about the Ultraviolet rays. You have to workout on the factors which are responsible for the damage done to your deck. Water, mold, direct exposure to sunlight, dirt are some of the main factors affecting the deck.

2. If your deck is not protected by any sealant covering, it is best to apply sealant on your deck to protect it from water. Sealant not only provides shine to your deck but also make it water resistant. Before applying sealant, sand down the entire deck surface. This will help you remove any grime or dirt present on the deck surface. Choose a best water resistant varnish for your deck surface and apply it with the help of brush or roller.

3. If your deck has any stains or discoloration due to the direct exposure to sunlight, you can use bleach to remove the stains and to fight against discoloration. Bleach is powerful agent which removes stains and other dirt instantly. Bleach works well to fight against bacteria and other mildew or fungus. So, you can use bleach for mildew as well. However, it has mild effect on wood but that is negligible.

4. Inspect your deck regularly for any sings of damage. Any loose nails, chips or damaged parts should be treated as soon as possible. If you ignore these minor issues, they will extend over time and cause you major maintenance costs or might result in some severe damage. Repair any minor damage as soon as you come to know about it. If you find any major damage or cracks, consult some professional immediately to find any suitable way to fix those damages.

Following these directions will certainly help you to maintain your deck. You will be able to take proper care of your deck by keeping these important points in mind.

 

Seal Floor Tiles and Grout Tips

Required Material

– Acrylic floor finish
– Brush
– Penetrative tile sealant
– Topical tile sealant
– Water

Directions

1. Glazed or non-cemented tiles are usually water resistant. However, you can determine whether your surface needs a layer of sealant or not with the help of simple test. Take small amount of water and pour it on the surface and inspect it for some time. If you find that the color of the surface darkens, seal it. If no discoloration occurs that means there is no need to apply the layer of sealant.

2. Before applying the sealant, clean the surface properly. Make sure that no debris or dirt is left behind. Purchased the best sealant specified for the type of tiles you have. Start from the vertical surface. Apply sealant in an upward direction to avoid any stripes or trickling of the sealant. For horizontal surface, always work from inside out, i.e. from one wall towards another wall. Apply sealant evenly on the entire surface. Let the sealant dry for the required amount of time recommended in manufacturer’s manual.

3. After applying the topical sealant layer to your tiles and grout, now is the time to apply a layer of acrylic floor finish. A layer of acrylic finish provides a protection to the tiles that keep them secure from routine’s wear and tear. This layer is also called as wear layer for tiles that provides protection to the tiles and tile sealant underneath. Follow the instructions given on the manual of acrylic floor finish and leave it to dry for the time specified on the manual.

4. For stones or outdoor tiles, use penetrating sealant. Two layers of this sealant will be enough, but make sure that the first layer is dried off completely before applying the second layer. Apply the layer of sealant on the tiles or stones and let it dry. Later apply the second layer and leave it to dry.

Suggestions

– The ideal time to apply sealant is 2 weeks after of laying tile and grout.
– To get best results from sealant, let it dry for about 72 hours. However, the normal time for sealants to dry is between 24 to 72 hours. This time differs according to the different brands of the sealant.