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House Improvements

All About The Deck: Best Wood, Best Stain, Best Sealers

Well, there are many wood options for outdoor decks but if you ask me I am going to have to say Ipe!\! I hate saying because I am not one to list favorites… but for me there is little comparison, I mean yes, there are some woods such as Tigerwood and Garapa come extremely close 2nd and 3rd. But like I said, if I had to choose the best deck wood for me would be Ipe!
So, this is why
1. All 3 are naturally weather resistant
2. All 3 are naturally insect resistant
3. All 3 are extremely beautiful
4. All 3 are very easy to maintain
5. All 3 are dense, strong, durable woods
But here is why Ipe stands out to me the most.
1. It is vertically unaffected by dog scratches
2. It is unmarked by high heel scratches
So there you have it, my reasons for choosing Ipe, though, with just one glance as my quick list you can see why any of the 3 would be an amazing wood choice!
Moving on… So, still rolling with the Ipe name, the best wood deck sealer and stain could possibly be Ipe Oil. This is a great sealer/stain for anyone installing an ipe deck just adding to the already amazing benefits of this wonderful wood. U.V. ray protection, water protection, reduces cracking and warping, and in one simple statement, it keeps your wood looking new. This finishing oil is not only great for Ipe but also for Tigerwood and Garapa as well as many other solid beautiful hardwoods. Ipe and other exotic woods do take a little more with regular recoating, you will want to recoat your wood about once a year with a good sealer to keep it looking and feeling its best! Also, think about the color you choose, if you went with a clear coat to keep the natural color of you wood then that is great but remember if you choose a lighter color the stain will fade faster than with a dark color. Also, choosing a finish with a red pigment will help prevent UV fades causing the wood to fade faster.
What is the important thing to remember when staining and sealing woods like Ipe, Tigerwood or Garapa? You need to choose a stain that is designed for the exotic hardwoods of Brazil; these woods are very dense making it far more difficult for a stain or finish to penetrate than other woods. Lots of sealers just won’t work causing you to waste your time, efforts and money and leaving you unhappy with the outcome. You need to really check the brand of stain or sealer you buy they must say on them that they are meant for exotic hardwoods, they may even say Ipe, Tigerwood and other Brazilian woods listened on there. If they do not say any of this than my guess is they won’t work, you may be looking to spend a little more than if just an ordinary stain but remember your outdoor deck is not built from ordinary wood, your wood is Everlasting!…

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Kitchen Remodel

Hardwood Flooring – The Right One

If you are about to decide about the flooring of your new home, hardwood Flooring is a good choice. Before anything, we should learn some of the basics. It is a very good choice as a flooring material.
With hardwood flooring, you can be sure that your money will not be wasted. This will really enhance the beauty of your home as well as its value. Other materials surely will not give your homes a rich look and smooth feel that only the flooring can give. Unlike many other materials, the value of the flooring increases with time. All you have invested for installing flooring will not be put to waste because your house gets valued many times.
To begin with, you must think thoroughly on what colors and textures of the hardwood that you like. Hardwood has many options when it comes to colors. Some of the wood changes its color after some time. It is really important to choose the color of the wood that matches your wants and also with your home. The display of your floor counts highly on the lighting.
You can also choose from various flooring styles like the rustic, hand-scraped or smooth styles. The natural designs and textures will surely give a magnificent look all throughout your house. To avoid damages to occur due to moisture, it is recommended to use solid wood above ground level.
Now that you have some ideas about this flooring, you can now select the ones that best suit you.…

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House Improvements

Flooring in Hospitality – Do’s and Don’ts

The hospitality industry has a real mix of situations to deal with in terms of its flooring. It requires safe, elegant, and hard working flooring, and a lot of it. There are some critical Do’s and Don’ts every hospitality industry person needs to recognize. Custom modular carpet design is now a realistic option for all businesses in the hospitality industry.

The problems define the issues

Whatever part of the hospitality industry you’re in, you’ll be well aware of any problems you’re having with your d?�cor design and flooring. These problems are a map of what needs doing:

The obvious wear and tear on a carpet really does mean you need a tough, hard wearing commercial grade carpet.

The design issues are clear pointers to the need for a custom colourisation scheme.

You’ll be pleased to know you can design and buy your own colour scheme, and include the toughest, most dependable carpets on the market.

Working with budgets

Budgets don’t have to be a problem. You can start with a realistic figure, and your suppliers will be able to provide a working solution within your budget. You’ll also find the top suppliers can provide a good working installation program, with no downtime or fuss.

The important Do’s

The major things to do when working on ideas for your flooring are:

Define your needs. This is the professional approach to systematic interior design. It gives you a clear set of objectives, and simplifies design issues considerably.

Investigate all your options. You don’t need to be stuck with a limited supply of average choices. There are always design options, cost options, and custom options.

Specify your budget: Figure out the realistic working figures for your design. Professional suppliers will work with your budget, not against it. You’ll probably save money.

The serious Don’ts

The big Don’ts are all practical business issues:

Don’t try to do things bit by bit: This really will cost more over time, and the lack of an integrated plan will add levels of difficulty to your concept.

Don’t compromise on quality: This is where compromise doesn’t work. You can wind up with a half way solution which solves none of the problems, and may create more, particularly if the solution is based on inferior quality materials.

Don’t go outside your budget and over-commit: Avoid any possible financial risk from the outset. This is not only embarrassing, it’s a guarantee of failure. Running short on a d?�cor budget means everything else has to suffer.

Success defines solutions

Success means getting what you want. With an integrated design, you can have a range of real achievements with a fully cost purchase. You’ll have quality carpet flooring, custom colour, a full designer hotel carpet on a sustainable carpet material, and you’ll have dealt with the durable flooring issues as well. This is the complete set of solutions to any floor coverings situation, quick, efficient, and to the top quality standards.…

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House Improvements

The $65,000 Bathroom Remodel – Unbelievable Story

The first bathroom that I ever remodeled cost $1800. That was a new bathtub, flooring, cabinet, sink, faucet, toilet, tiled tub surround and bathtub fixtures. Oh yeah, that included all of the labor and demolition also. $65,000 for a bathroom remodel, you’ve got to be out of your mind. I know that’s what you’re thinking, but there’s more.
My dad bought his first house for $9,000 and a second house for $29,000 and his third house for $125,000. My dad’s $125,000 house is worth about $600,000 today so I guess he could afford to put a $65,000 bathroom in it, couldn’t he.
It’s hard to imagine that my dad could have bought his first and second home, plus another house similarly priced, for about the same price these people paid for one bathroom remodel. Does this mean that 20 years from now, people will be paying over $100,000 to have their bathrooms remodeled? Unbelievable and the numbers are continuing to grow as building material and labor prices keep climbing.
I didn’t work on the project, a friend of mine was telling me about it. I asked him if I could get a picture of it or actually see it. He said that he would have to get back with me on that and later on, he told me that I couldn’t see it and they didn’t want me to see any pictures of the project, because I was the competition. Whatever…
I understood where they were coming from, even though I wouldn’t have done that to another contractor. I often wonder what that $65,000 bathroom looked like, even though I never got to see it. I still can’t imagine someone paying $65,000 to have their bathroom remodeled, but I don’t think it will be long before your average bathroom remodels are ranging between 30 and $70,000.
If you’re a homeowner thinking about having your bathroom remodeled in the future, you might want to do it before the prices become astronomical.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Job Site Preparation When Floor Tiling – Removing Caulking and Residual Concrete

Normally when preparing a bathroom for floor tiling, you will usually find instances where caulking has been applied as a waterproof sealant, especially around such areas as the bath tub. To remove this you can simply use a flat head screwdriver or blunt wood chisel and scrape away at the caulking, otherwise your floor tiles may not sit properly due to the hangout of the caulking.
If some hard scraping is necessary, don’t worry too much about applying extra force which might result in scraping the tub. Bath tubs are fairly durable and their composition is made to take some abuse, and if you do happen to scratch the surface when removing caulking, then this can easily be hidden by the floor tile level when it comes to laying tiles.
With solid concrete floors as your subfloor, small bumps and raises of concrete will have to be removed also to ensure a level floor when floor tile laying. This can easily be done with the use of a cold chisel and hammer to chip away at these excessive bumps, but always be sure to wear protective eyewear when doing so. If you fail to remove any of these concrete ‘nubbins’, then you could end up with a big headache when trying to lay your floor tiles flat and level.
Any large bumps of residual concrete can also be quickly removed by use of the angle grinder with concrete diamond cutting blade attached. By simply grinding away at the bumps, this can be a fast and effective way of bringing them down to level. Again, be sure to wear your safety equipment as always when working with power tools, but as an added precaution you should also wear a dust mask when working indoors with dry concrete cutting or grinding.
Concrete dust is very dangerous to your respiratory system, so at all times, especially when not working in a well ventilated area such as outdoors, make sure you have something to protect your breathing. If you don’t have a cheap dust mask at hand, then a scarf or cloth handkerchief will do the job to filter out the heavy concrete dust particles that can eventually destroy your lungs after a prolonged amount of time. Also, by using a construction grade vacuum while grinding the dust away, you can avoid many of the hassles of concrete dust. Another one being the cleanup that will need to happen around the house after the grinding is complete.…

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Kitchen Renovation

Bathroom Remodeling Now Can Cost at Least Ten Percent Less

Everything seems to be working to the advantage of homeowners who want to remodel their homes right now. A bad economy is driving prices down, some contractors and skilled workers are reducing their rates to stay busy, and there are rebates, tax credits and tax exemptions available for energy-efficient products. When you add up all of the opportunities to save, bathroom remodeling now can cost at least ten percent less.
There are four important ways to save money by remodeling your bathrooms now. In fact, the incentives could make it possible for you to upgrade your bathrooms in ways you never imagined!
First, shop carefully and compare prices on everything you need for the project. The crisis in the housing market, combined with a bad economy, has driven down prices of many building materials. For example:
> Lumber and plywood prices are at a thirteen-year low.
> Cabinetry manufacturers have seen sales drop by as much as 40% in the last couple of years and are offering discounts of as much as 50%.
> Drywall prices are down.
> Floor covering prices are being discounted by 10% or more
Shop carefully for the right contractor for your project and keep in mind that many top-notch contractors are discounting their prices now. Learn everything you can abouthow to save money when you remodel. You can get higher quality materials and workmanship for a lower cost. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunities.
Second, choose environmentally-friendly product options and take advantage of Federal tax credits. The Economic Recovery Act provides for homeowner tax credits of 30% of the cost of qualifying items for their remodeling (up to a total tax credit of $1,500 per year). Several items you might need in your remodel include:
> Either install a storm window over your bathroom windows or upgrade to high-efficiency UV-coated windows.
> Add an energy-efficient skylight or roof window.
> Upgrade to better insulation in the walls.
> Choose an energy-efficient spa tub with inline heater.
> Install an instant tankless water heater for the bathroom.
> Put the bathrooms on a separate super-efficient water heater, or upgrade the whole house to a solar water heater.
Third, check on State tax credits, as well as rebates and other incentives from utility companies. Most states offer sales tax exemptions, rebates or personal or real estate tax deductions for energy-efficient appliances. Many utility companies also offer an array of financing options, credits and rebates for energy-efficient appliance, lighting and other items. Local water companies also frequently offer rebates or lower rates for homeowners who install water-saving plumbing fixtures. To find out what is available in your city, visit and call your water company.
Finally, once the remodel is complete, enjoy the comfort of your new bathrooms and the knowledge that your choice of efficient products will continue to save you money by reducing your utility bills for as long as you own your home. Choosing energy-efficient and water-saving items for your bathroom remodel will result in lower bills every month, and you will be helping to save the environment.
Shop wisely, looking for bargains, choose environmentally-friendly products, take full advantage of tax credits and other incentives, and discover how bathroom remodeling now can cost at least ten percent less.
Copyright 2009 by ABCD Publishing…

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Kitchen Remodel

5 Easy Home Security Mistakes to Avoid

If you or a loved one has ever experienced a home burglary, you know that it is an incredibly emotional experience. Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable than an intruder in the place where you are supposed to feel the safest and most secure. While you might be emotionally safe and secure in your home, if you haven’t kept up with maintenance and security tasks, you might actually be beckoning to burglars. The following six easy mistakes can be just as easily corrected and can help keep your house the safe place it is supposed to be.
1. Windows are an easy way for burglars to slip inside. Never leave a window fully open. Rather, open a window only partly to allow in a breeze but keep out a body. Open windows at night are a definite signal for trouble. If you are not awake and available to monitor the window and enjoy the view, don’t leave it open. After dark, close and lock all windows to ensure no one comes in that you didn’t invite.
2. While you are checking out those windows, pay attention to how they look. Are the sills wooden and in disrepair? Is paint peeling and cracking? Are the sills rotting off? Each of these scenarios ultimately indicates that the window’s integrity has been compromised, and a break-in would be much easier. Keep your windows painted and the wood in good condition. This leaves would-be prowlers to assume that the locking mechanisms are in good shape, too.
3. Keep shrubbery around the house short to maximize visibility. Bushes that hide entrances or windows invite burglars. Keeping these areas well groomed reduces the risk of break in and allows you to better tell when someone has been in those areas. Check out your doors and windows from different angles to ensure that there is 180 degrees of clear visibility for each window.
4. Use window coverings – such as blinds or heavy curtains – to protect your home’s valuables from view. This might seem elementary, but a drive down your street should show you just how many people blindly allow any passerby to see just what they have for the taking. Don’t tempt burglars with expensive electronics. Keep windows covered – especially after dark!
5. Don’t be so quiet! An empty house sounds like an empty house – quiet. Keep a radio or television on downstairs to create the effect of someone home. Motion sensing lights also add to this effect, suggesting that a person has been seen if they set off the light. The best prescription for home safety is often a dog. A barking dog, even a small one, still suggests the threat a burglar will be bitten if he or she attempts to enter without your permission. Additionally, barking dogs alert owners when they here people approach the house.
These elementary mistakes take just a moment to correct, but can have life-altering effects if ignored. These tips collectively point out the important of good home maintenance in the fight for home security.

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