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Home Renovation

The Best Laminate Flooring for a Bathroom

The best laminate flooring is the kind of floor that not only stands up to spills and splashes, but also continues to look great with a minimal amount of upkeep. Laminate is renowned for its durability and lasting style – making it one of the most popular choices of flooring for any room in the home. But you may not give much thought to the bathroom – arguably the “most popular” room in the house! Here’s how laminate “stacks up”.
Incredibly Resistant to Scratches, Dents and Fading
Laminate floors are highly resistant to things that would damage or degrade cheaper floors – like scratches, dents, scuffs and fading. The mimics the look of more expensive floors, such as hardwood, stone and tile – and comes in a variety of colors, patterns and designs so you can create the perfect look for your bathroom that fits in with your color scheme and style. Laminate lets you express your creativity like few other types of flooring can.
Easy to Maintain and Care For
Unlike traditional hardwood floors, the best laminate flooring never needs to be re-sanded or refinished. There’s no need to wax or polish them either. Just regular floor care is all that’s needed to maintain your floors and keep them looking clean and neat. Because laminate “floats” over your existing floor, it can be installed over nearly any type of sub-floor, including plywood, vinyl flooring and concrete to name a few. You do want to be certain that the area is level, however, to ensure your new laminate floors won’t bend or bow.
Do it Yourself Installation
Depending on the type of laminate you buy, you may be able to install it yourself. The best laminate flooring features a simple tongue and groove installation feature that lets each piece lock together – sort of like a puzzle. There’s no special glue or installation needed – just snap and click the pieces together. You can also buy trims and moldings to make your laminate floors look like authentic hardwood. Some of these trims are actually made with hardwood and are designed to accentuate your floors with a more realistic look.
Get a New Floor in as Little as a Day!
Laminate floor makes for a great do it yourself project that requires no glue, staples or nails. It’s a floor that not only looks good in your bathroom, but its beauty can also be the perfect fit for your living room, den, dining room, bedroom and more. Laminate floors feel right at home in nearly any space – giving you the freedom you want to create nearly any look imaginable while adding aesthetic space and easy care maintenance throughout your home.
To learn more about the benefits of laminate, ask a flooring retailer near you or browse their laminate selection to be inspired by different ideas and even bold, fresh new patterns. It can be an exciting time to imagine the possibilities with this versatile and remarkably sturdy type of flooring.…

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Home Renovation

Interior Design For Small Apartments

While interior decorating may work easily for spacious houses, it may not for apartments. The reason is that most apartments have smaller spaces. However, with a little bit of common sense and some interior design skills or ideas, transforming your tiny place into a fully functional and beautiful home may not be too difficult at all.
The small space you have in your apartment may be one of the greatest challenges you will ever face when attempting to design the place. Sometimes, the room is too small that moving from the living to the kitchen would not even take three steps. To get the most out of a small space apartment, work around it using small but multifunctional furniture such as sofas that can transform into beds or tables convertible to storage spaces.
Another problem you will face are the walls plainly painted in white or other dull colors. If you are not allowed to repaint the walls, one of the best things you can do to solve the problem is to hang pieces of artwork. This will create a livelier effect on the walls. Mirrors also work effectively as focal points and can make your room look bigger than its actual size. Hang them near the entrance of your home or in the hallway if you have one.
You can achieve a simple but elegant look for your apartment simply by placing the right kind of furniture at the right corner of a room. Leave spaces for easy movement between furniture when arranging the place. Since the living is small, small-scale sofas and chairs are enough as long as you position them in a way that is relaxing for conversations. A small table or drawer would be perfect at the side of the sofa near the entrance.
Finally, don’t forget to accessorize with items such as lamps, pillows, curtains, and even rugs that can emphasize the theme you have set for your small home. Make sure every accessory matches well with other objects inside the house especially when it comes to color and texture. The accessories you add can also highlight your own personality if you wish to.
If you come to think of it, interior designing a small house or apartment is actually not that difficult. Sure, the limited space may hinder you at some extent but as long as you have the appropriate skills and the right supplies, you can even make it work to your advantage.…

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Home Renovation

Hardwood Spline – What You Need to Know

If you’re laying a hardwood floor anywhere within your home, then you’ll likely need some hardwood spline. A spline is the slither of wood that connects two pieces of hardwood floor, where they join and change direction. For example, where two hardwood floors meet in a doorway and the wood changes direction, you use a spline to connect the wood and hold it in place securely.
Before you begin to lay your wooden floor, you should prepare in advance everything you’ll need. And one of those things is a strip of hardwood spline. Here are some thing you need to know about and should consider with hardwood spline:
Consider How Much You’ll Need: It’s worth preparing in advance how much spline you need before you begin laying the hardwood floor panels. There’s nothing worse than getting started on a project and having to stop halfway through because you don’t have everything you need. If you don’t have any spline, then you’ll have to halt any progress as soon as you need to change the direction of the wood. Just as you will need to – or have already – calculated how much you’ll need of the actual wooden floor panels, work out how much spline you’ll need. It’s worth getting more than you actually need to take into account any errors or inaccurate estimates.
Get The Correct Size: This is just a simple tip, but be sure to get the correct thickness of the hardwood spline, that is the correct size for inserting between where the wooden panels join. As you probably know, hardwood panels come in different thicknesses, thus, so does spline. Again, there’s nothing worse than being halfway though laying the floor then realizing you have to stop because the spline is too thin or thick. So as well as getting the appropriate length of spline, be sure to get the correct thickness. If you don’t want to buy the spline of the specific thickness, you can always cut a piece of hardwood yourself to the appropriate length and thickness.
Where To Get Your Spline: Spline is available in your local DIY store, or you can even buy it online (and potentially at a huge savings) if you know what size you need. It can often be cheaper to buy things such as this from the Internet. Also, you can even make your own spline from any hardwood that you have available, although this is only recommended if you are quite handy and have a desire to put in the time and effort to do this yourself.
In conclusion, if you want your hardwood floor to flow seamlessly from one room to another, even when the wood panels change direction, then you’ll need some hardwood spline. Oak is often used as a hardwood spline for hardwood flooring, but you can also use plywood as a cheaper option. Take your time, and be sure to use the spline accurately with a tight fit, and no-one will be any the wiser that there is a transition in the wood.…

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Home Renovation

Remodel a Bathroom on a Budget

There are two remodeling projects in a household that can cost a homeowner a lot of money. One of those remodels is a kitchen and the other remodel is a bathroom. Both of these projects can cost upwards of $25,000 if a homeowner seeks an outside contractor and decides to gut the whole kitchen or bathroom. However, for those individuals who do not have $25,000 to spend on a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel, there are smaller projects a homeowner can complete on their own to give the space an entirely new look.
One way to save money on a bathroom remodel is by completing many of the projects yourself. On a complete bathroom remodel, a homeowner can save upwards of $5,000 by investing the time to complete do-it-yourself projects. While the plumbing and electrical should be left to the professionals, there are many projects that homeowners can complete without the help of a contractor. Before a homeowner begins any do-it-yourself project, it is important that they do as much research as possible so they are familiar with all aspects of the project. The Internet has many resources that could be very useful for a do-it-yourselfer.
When it comes to the bathroom, there are a lot of do-it-yourself projects that even amateur remodelers can complete. One simple update that can brighten up a bathroom is painting the walls. This is a relatively inexpensive way to update a bathroom in need of some repairs. Another simple update that can be relatively inexpensive is updating the fixtures in the bathroom. A new faucet, lighting fixtures and vanity hardware can really update a bathroom. When looking to replace all of the fixtures in the bathroom, it is important that the homeowner makes sure that all of the elements complement one another. Miss matched fixtures can lessen the appeal of a bathroom.
Another project that ambitious do-it-yourselfers can complete is tiling the shower, wall and floor. Adding tile to a bathroom is a great way to increase its value. This is a project that takes a lot of time and research in order to complete it correctly. Before the tiles are placed, homeowners need to make precautions to make sure that the floor is water proof around the shower. Then the homeowner needs to make sure that they use the correct solution to place the times in the shower, on the wall or on the floor. Tiles come in all different sizes, colors and designs, therefore there are numerous patterns that homeowners can choose from.
The vanity is one of the focal points in any bathroom, therefore it is important that it is up-to-date and matches the theme of the bathroom. A vanity in a bathroom can cost a lot of money, however there are some creative ways to save a few dollars when replacing this piece and also create a custom vanity. Antique shops and thrift stores are a great place to look for a piece of furniture that can be turned into a vanity. Once a homeowner finds a piece of furniture that would work, the piece can be refinished to fit with the bathroom. Among other things, homeowners will need to replace the top of the vanity with a sink and countertop.
Homeowners can also shop at their local remodeling store for bathroom features that have been damaged or returned. Often times, stores will discount these pieces to a reasonable price. Then homeowners can work with the feature in order to make it new again. For instance, if a door on a vanity is damaged, the homeowner can simply replace the door and then paint or stain the piece to finish it. Being a thrifty shopper and finding creative ways to save “damaged” pieces is the perfect way to save a few dollars.
When it comes to resale value on a house, the bathroom has one of the biggest returns-of-investments in regards to a remodel. Whether it is as simple as replacing the fixtures and lighting or as intricate as refinishing the whole bathroom, homeowners are going to see a return-of-investment upwards of 75-percent.…

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Home Renovation

Bathroom Remodel Disasters

Doing a bathroom remodel can go smoothly or it can be a total disaster. Most remodels people do for themselves lie somewhere in between the two. It is easy to have problems with a bathroom remodel when it is not something you do on a regular basis. Your mind is just not geared to thinking about all the factors that go into reworking a bathroom.
Measuring
There are several cases where poor measuring can be disastrous in doing a bathroom remodel. Your fixtures need to fit. You know this, but you may not remember to take every necessary measurement. Some people get as far as starting to install their toilet before they realize that the measurement from drain to wall is off. The toilet will not fit without moving the drain, so that must be done before the bathroom remodel can be finished.
Some oversized fixtures will not fit in the space you have for them if you have not measured correctly. You may have designed the entire bathroom remodel around the concept of a certain fixture, only to find out that it does not fit. Some fixtures may not even fit through the bathroom door. The whole operation will come to a halt while you decide how to change your plan.
Certain materials must be bought in a piece and must be bought in the right size of piece. If you bought a piece of linoleum for your bathroom it would need to fit perfectly. A disaster would be if you measured incorrectly and bought a piece that was too small. The piece would be worthless in covering the floor for the bathroom remodel, and you would need to buy something else.
An expert in bathroom remodels will make sure that all the fixtures fit and that all the measurements for the bathroom are correct. If something does not fit together the way you wish it to, the professional remodeler will know that fact ahead of time and help you alter your plans.
Plumbing
If you do not work on plumbing often, you might have trouble installing the plumbing. No matter what kind of plumbing you use, you might have trouble with leaks if you are not skilled in installation of pipes. This is a major problem if you are using copper pipes and do not have experience doing them. If the pipes are installed incorrectly, you might get air in them which will lead to rattling pipes.
Another problem is that you might have problems with your drains if they are not plumbed correctly. A stinky bathroom sink drain would be something of a disaster. Someone who does plumbing as a part of their everyday job would know to use a P-trap to keep the smell from rising up through the drain and into the room.
Mold
There is nothing worse in doing a bathroom remodel than thinking you have done a good job, and then having mold show up in your new bathroom. If you hire a home remodeling company, they will make sure that green-board is used rather than plain wallboard. They will make sure that walls behind shower tiles are watertight. They will seal all areas where mold could possibly accumulate otherwise.
Any one of these disasters may be possible to divert when you do your own bathroom remodel. The problem lies in doing the entire job without slipping up on one aspect of the work. You do not do remodeling work every day, so you should not be expected to complete it without a hitch. However, a remodeling company can finish your bathroom remodel quickly and easily.…

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Home Renovation

Home Renovation During a Recession Can Make Lots of Cents

Buy a home, then renovate it – it’s a natural progression for many American homeowners. The recession may have put the brakes on many remodeling plans, but there are signs that the situation is beginning to turn around.
The peak of remodeling activity in the U.S. came in 2007, when $146 billion was spent on home improvement projects. According to a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, just over $118 billion was spent in the year ending the first quarter of 2009. But the center predicts that the spending decline will moderate through the remainder of this year.
“Remodeling spending by homeowners shows early signs of stabilization,” says Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the center. “While the housing recovery has been erratic, a strengthening economy could produce spending increases on home improvement projects by the second quarter of next year.”
Consumer Reports” latest poll on home remodeling supports that prediction. More than half of the homeowners surveyed are planning a remodeling project in the next 12 months.
Choosing to remodel now means a homeowner can take advantage of a down market. A recent story in The Wall Street Journal reported that consumers are paying up to 20 percent less for their home remodeling projects than they would have during the building boom. Contractors who have seen projects evaporate are willing to bid less for a job just to keep busy, and some building materials, including lumber and insulation, are cheaper due to lower demand.
Herb and Eileen Longware, an upstate New York couple who just completed a long-anticipated, 1,300-square-foot addition to their home on Lake Champlain, capitalized on special retail offers and sales tax incentives to save on their project.
“We went across the lake when Vermont was having its Tax Independence Day and bought thousands of dollars worth of hardwood flooring and a wood stove, so we saved six percent right there,” Herb says, adding that he bought all his insulation on sale locally during a promotion at a home improvement center and received a $100 gift card for opening an account.
There are other pluses that work to the advantage of renovation-minded homeowners, including favorable financing for those with access to credit. The Longwares say that the four-percent interest rate on their home equity line of credit ( HELOC ) made financing their addition much cheaper than it would have been when they started planning it six years ago. They expect to pay off the loan at an accelerated rate to avoid future increases in their variable rate, saving themselves even more money.
The couple will also take advantage of federal tax credits for some of the energy-efficient products they purchased, including windows and doors, insulation, asphalt roofing and a water heater. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, qualifying products must be placed in service in a primary residence between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2010.
Now that the workmen are putting the finishing touches on the new addition, Longware is happy with the outcome.
“Every year that you delay, the price of labor and building materials go up. But I think we built at a good time,” he says. “We got a good builder, we got pretty good pricing on building materials, and our HELOC rate is very attractive. All in all, we’re very comfortable with our decision to tackle this project at this time.”…