Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cordless Table Lamps, Drills and Vacuums - Pulling the Plug on Traditional Power

More and more, Americans today are looking to cut the cord. It seems like almost everything that has traditionally been "plugged in" in now available in a cordless variety. Cordless drills have offered the handyman flexibility and ease of use for drilling holes and driving screws. Cordless phones have allowed busy families to talk from any room of the house. Even laptop computers allow a cordless computing experience. In the past the cordless, battery operated version of things were considered to be of a lesser quality, offering a sub-par performance in exchange for the convenience of not having a cord. Short battery lives and limited power supply meant limited use and lack of advanced functionality.

With the advent of more efficient and more powerful batteries this has all changed. Today's cordless devices are no longer second rate citizens. Instead they are legitimate alternatives to traditionally corded electronics. From cordless vacuums to cordless table lamps, more and more high end battery powered home accessories are on the market than ever before, and they are no longer being laughed at! With a self contained power supply, today's cordless devices boast not only portability but also complete flexibility in use. If you don't like where the light is, move it to the middle of the table. If you don't have an outlet in the room you wish to vacuum, no big deal, the vacuum will come with you.

Many cordless devices use rechargeable batteries and a base that you can charge the batteries up in when the item is not in use. Solar power is another popular option with cordless devices and is often found as a secondary or back-up power source in items such as calculators, landscape lighting and more. People appreciate the environmentally friendly nature of these products and are looking for more and better ways to conserve energy. Cordless items allow them to do just that.

In the past, many of the cordless items in everyday life were treated as cheap alternatives. They were constructed with lesser materials and had an overall "disposable" look to them. Today's cordless items are beautifully made and of the same high quality as their corded counterparts. Cordless table lamps are no longer something you leave hidden in the closet until there is a power outage. Today they are a beautiful design piece that opens up decorating possibilities that no corded lamp can afford. The next time you are in the market for an electronic device, don't be afraid to pull the plug and look at cordless!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Tarps As Cheap and Effective Covers

Tarps are a remarkably inexpensive way to cover anything and everything you want to cover from the elements like rain and snow, pollutants, pollen, dust, or over spray. They are flexible, cheap, and effective for a wide variety of uses in and outside of the home, farm, or business. They also have many uses related to recreation and novelty uses.

Probably the most common use of tarps is as a cover for large items stored outdoors such as cars and trucks where there is inadequate garage space to store them, cars and trucks being renovated or saved for that "someday" renovation project, boats and canoes, campers, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and trailers. Whether you choose an inexpensive high-density polyethylene or a heavy-duty or canvas tarp, tarps are strong, tear-resistant, light weight and easy to handle and drape, and completely waterproof. Utilizing the sturdy grommets on the corners, you can either tie the tarp down with stakes or simply weight down the edges with heavy objects like concrete blocks to keep them from blowing off in the wind.

Tarps also make fine covers for piles of firewood that are outdoors drying out keeping rain and snow from saturating them but still letting air circulate around the logs as they dry.

When you're working on any kind of outdoor project and inclement weather threatens or stops you in your tracks, tarps are a fast, easy way to protect your project until the weather clears. This might be a roofing job, addition to a house, or other large construction project you opted to do outdoors for maximum flexibility. Whatever it is, tarps are a godsend when storm clouds start rolling in unexpectedly.

While you don't often think of it as a cover,multiple tarps are also very useful to have along on camping trips. It's a good idea to stretch a tarp over tents and anchor them with stakes, because most tarps are more weather resistant than tent fabric. Especially if water ends up sitting on the roof of the tent, tent fabric inevitably leaks. A tarp stretched out and tied to tree limbs in the forest also makes a handy canopy to protect gear and campers from sun and rain showers while enjoying time outdoors or eating at a picnic table, so they do in essence become durable covers for all practical purposes.

When hauling loads in an open truck bed, tarps are effective covers to protect items from blowing out or getting wet during a rain shower or thunderstorm and are especially helpful for long trips. So the next time you're helping your friends move into a new house or apartment, be sure to throw a few tarps into the truck along

Tag : home,home improvement,home design,bathroom,kitchen

Monday, 20 July 2009

Bed Bug Mattress Cover - Do They Work in Preventing Bed Bugs?

Recent reports suggests that the problem of bed bugs has steadily been increasing each year and it's not surprising either as world travel continues to be on the rise. While many associate this problem with cheap hotels or shady inns, five star hotels and expensive homes can also become infested. If you expect to do a lot of traveling, then making use of a bed bug mattress cover can help keep these insects at bay.

The way it works is that the cover essentially encases the entire mattress so as not to allow any of these critters from going in or out. These tiny insects almost always attack late at night so if they are nesting in the mattress you are about to sleep in, do not be surprised to see bites on your body when you wake up. Being prepared will help to prevent this from occurring.

When searching for a bed bug mattress cover, be sure the one you choose will fit on the bed you intend to put it on. In addition, the zippers should also function properly in deterring insects from getting out. You may also want to consider a cover that is of tightly woven fabric instead of plastic just for added comfort. Eventually, any bugs trapped in will die due to lack of oxygen and food.

While these covers are extremely effective when you travel or stay over at a friend's place, if there is an infestation problem in your house then you may need to take a more aggressive approach. The purpose of these covers is not necessarily to prevent an infestation problem but to protect you when traveling.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Home Improvement - Recycling to Aid the Poor

As we continue to update and modernize our own homes, the problem arises concerning the proper way of disposing of the items that we have replaced. Do we overload our scrap yards without giving it a second thought or do we just dump the unwanted item wherever we can? Let's forget about both of these objectionable options and strongly consider recycling to aid the poor.

As a result of higher energy costs, many homeowners are choosing to replace their existing windows with new energy efficient, double pane windows. This process mandates that the homeowner remove any storm windows that are currently installed over the windows that are to be replaced. Thoughtlessly discarding these perfectly good storm windows into the trash pile is absolutely wasteful and shameful. A better option would be to consider recycle these unwanted windows; recycling them to a charity that aids the poor and the needy people of this country.

Many homes today do not have storm windows at all. These homeowners are simply too poor to remodel their homes. This means that their winter energy bills are always outrageously high in spite of the fact that they are still cold. There are organizations whose main objective is to give aid to the poor. All they need is for caring people to recycle their unwanted items like storm windows. However, even though this article is about storm windows in particular, recycling to aid the poor can include anything from clothing to unwanted cars.

And if recycling to aid the poor is not satisfying enough, you can also save money on your federal income taxes by being qualified for making a charitable donation.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Vinyl Siding and Metal Siding Are Relatively Inexpensive, But Fiber Cement Siding is Vastly Superior

The construction days of yore saw structures composed of animal skins, stone, and thatch fade away to be replaced by newer construction technology such as mud and thatch brick. Brick making was refined over the centuries to what we have today. Working with stone to form walls is probably the only ancient construction technique that has experienced very little change and still available today, although at a prohibitive cost. Home construction and materials have gone through a number of evolutions in the relatively recent past. No longer are cedar shakes or thatch frequently used in favor of more durable and environmental resistant materials. Due to rapidly developing technologies, what homes are constructed with need not be as heavy and solid as they once were. Most walls are self supporting and hollow with wood or aluminum studs supporting the roof. The same is true of siding materials.

Wood sheathing and shakes were once an exceptionally common type of siding material. Wood, though, required extensive attention to maintain its longevity. Fast forward to today and an individual can drive by any construction site and see an amazing assortment of materials being used in modern day housing from walls and ceilings composed of solid concrete to exterior walls of styrofoam with a thin coating of concrete on the outside.

The most common of all siding widely used in today's construction is metal, vinyl, or fiber cement planks. Each siding material has its strengths and style. The newest out of these three is fiber cement board or planks. Fiber Cement siding is perhaps the most innovative and durable siding material ever invented. The list of benefits to using this type of siding is long. Fiber cement siding is impervious to insect damage, as well as, being a noncombustible material so it will not feed a fire the way other materials will, and are rot resistant. The available styles, look, and texture of fiber cement siding provides a real wood or even brick facade. Should a homeowner desire the look of real wood siding or wood shingles, this siding will fulfill the requirement. A brick textured fiber cement siding has similar properties with one exception. With the use of real brick, mortar joints over time will decay and will require repointing to restore the original look. The cost of fiber cement siding is much higher than vinyl or metal siding, although it is far superior.

Vinyl siding, just as metal siding is durable as well, but will show more visible wear and tear than other types. Both are impervious to insect damage, however, mildew, dents or cracks are more likely to occur over time from lawn equipment or children. A big difference between vinyl siding and most other types is that painting vinyl is not an option. Vinyl, also, is not fire resistant as are metal or fiber cement. The largest advantage vinyl siding has over most other types is the initial cost of purchasing and installing it. It will require the most maintenance in order to retain its look, though. The benefit of metal siding is, like fiber cement siding, it is able to be painted in the event that a new color is desired or stains from irrigation and untreated well water develop.

One other aspect of these types of siding materials is the impact to the environment. While metal and vinyl siding do not require deforestation, fiber cement planks are classified as green due to the fact that they are composed of recycled fibers and the color finish is actually part of the material thereby eliminating the need for painting, which releases volatile organic compounds or V.O.C.s into the environment.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Tarps - The Waterproof Protector

While it is also nice to have a uniquely furnished interior, having a great many accessories outside can also present a huge boost to a home. That is why so many exteriors are filled with lawn furniture, BBQ grills, and even decorative items. All of these things add both visual and functional benefits to an exterior. However, they are not indestructible and can fall victim to the dangers of the elements. This is why it is so important that they be covered with tarps at the first sign of potential environmental hazards

Rain, snow, sleet, wind, hail, and even sunshine can cause tremendous damage to exterior furniture and accessories. In some cases, the damage might not even be immediate. Instead, slow erosion might occur over time as the result of prolonged exposure to the elements. Thankfully, there are ways to curtail this from happening and a reliable and durable tarp can definitely help in this regard.

Tarps can completely cover any and all items that are placed outside. Simply covering lawn furniture with a tarp will definitely protect the furniture from the ravages of an unkind earth. Instead of the furniture or an expensive BBQ grill being rained upon, the elements will hit the tarp. The insulation of the tarp will prevent any of these elements from doing unnecessary damage to the items it seeks to protect which will extend their life many years.

Additionally, tarpaulins can help prevent theft of common exterior items as well. One thing that needs to be pointed out about thieves and burglars is that time is most definitely not on their side. When a thief needs to steal something, he must acquire it quickly and leave the premises as soon as possible. A tarp presents a very serious impediment to such activity. That's because it will dramatically slow a robber down which, in turn, dissuades him from even attempting to steal. First, he cannot even see what is under the tarp so he has no idea if the items are even worth stealing.

Secondly, raising and cutting the tarp adds needless delays to his venture which increases the odds of getting caught. So, a potential robber will probably outright bypass a home where tarps cover exterior furniture. Unless, of course, the thief is a tarp thief but the chances of that are rather remote! It is also important to point out that no matter how durable a tarp may be, it still must be properly secured in order to maintain its effectiveness. If a gust of wind during a storm can blow a tarp free from the items it is protecting then the tarp will not be of much help. That is why it is best to secure the tarp down with very sturdy rope or cables so that it is not loose. This will add to the protection and ensure the tarp does exactly what it is primarily intended for. And, of course, never "go cheap" on the purchase of a tarp because you will always want to be sure that it is durable enough to handle any type of harsh environment.

Therefore if you want a strong waterproof tarp the best advice is to purchase a heavy duty tarp of not less than 6oz per square yard.

Tag : home,home improvement,home design,kitchen,door

Friday, 10 July 2009

Stainless Steel Handrail Shapes Available Vs Aluminum Handrail Shapes

When choosing a handrail or balustrade system for a deck, stairs, Juliet balcony or a regular walk-on balcony, the shape of the hand rail can play a crucial part in your choice.

The standard shapes out there are mostly circular sections of varying diameters, starting from 40mm which is comfortable for holding onto on a stair railing, going up in diameter to 55mm-70mm.

The more interesting shapes out there are more intricate and include elliptical shapes of varying sizes and rectangular or square shapes.

Stainless steel handrail shapes are very limited, due to the extremely expensive tooling require to extrude or roll form these shapes the market tends to follow what is existent and very little room is available for architects to influence the shapes of the handrails. Many times architects will choose a stainless steel balustrade system or a stainless steel balcony and will want to have a "special" shape for their project, they will soon find the cost of this to be inhibitory, as well as in many cases unavailable to be done at all.

This is not the case however with aluminum handrails and railings. In fact as opposed to stainless steel balustrades, with aluminum railings the ability to influence the shape by the architects on the project is making these systems the preferred solution. In fact on a recent project I visited, a project in the Docklands in London, I found that the company that made the glass balconies allowed the architects to create three separate handrail shapes for three different areas on the project. One of the handrail was 120mm wide.

There is also a finish out there called "Royal Chrome" which looks virtually like stainless steel but it is actually a special finish on the aluminum and there fore still allows the flexibility of shapes that the aluminum railing systems allow.

In summary stainless steel handrails are more limited in the availability of shapes, whereas aluminum handrail systems allow an inexhaustible possibility of shapes.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Qualify For Home Improvement Grant Money - Remodel Or Repair Your Home

As you consider how much it will cost to remodel or improve your home, consider looking into home improvement grants that may be provided by the government. Those who qualify to receive these funds can obtain thousands of dollars in free cash grants to help pay for upgrades, repairs and other home improvement expenses.

These funds are often provided to home owners as a way to revitalize neighborhoods, offer incentives for energy efficient appliances, and help increase home values in the community. That, in turn, will make your neighborhood more attractive to perspective home buyers and businesses, which brings more tax dollars in for the government.

By helping you get the money you need to make your home safe, secure and livable, government home improvement grants provide the cash you need to pay for materials and labor on your next project. While it has become increasingly harder to get approved for home improvement loans, the government can provide these grants regardless of credit and income.

Because grants are not loans, these funds that are awarded never have to be paid back. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, and your application is approved, you'll receive your cash grant to help you repair or expand your home, and increase the value of your house.

By accessing an up-to-date grant database, a current list of home improvement grants and other available grant funds can be quickly identified and applied for. Because these programs are unadvertised, this may be the fastest way to search for the grants that you may qualify to receive and get the money you need.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

More About Decks and Tips on Choosing the Best Deck Materials

Decks are a significant component of outdoor living. Adding a deck in the front or back portion of your house adds value and appeal to your home.

Decks are significant components of outdoor living. An outdoor deck is an ideal place to entertain visitors for meals, a few drinks or outdoor parties. Outdoor decks also provide a quiet environment to have a conversation, to study or to sit and relax. A deck is a great spot to imbibe hot drinks on cool nights or cold drinks when the weather is very hot.

An outdoor deck has many uses. A deck varies in different designs and styles. When you are planning to build your own deck, you have to decide on different variables. The are many types of decks such as pool decks, low backyard decks, high decks, spa decks and rectangular decks as well as octagonal deck, splash pool deck and wooden deck. There are also roofed decks, decks with sub umbrellas or a gazebo, decks with structures on them like arbors, cabin and other item to make your deck a beautiful one for a quiet relaxation.

Rectangular decks are the most usual deck systems. It is also the easiest to build. There are numerous applications for rectangular decks such as tiered, sundecks and patios systems. The octagonal decks are a perfect addition to several outdoor spaces. This deck is great for hot tub decks, beach decks and barbeque areas. Splash pool deck plans are a great addition for many above-the-ground pools. This deck is an inexpensive way to turn your garden into a family reception.

There are several ways to construct a deck. Some start with the posts cemented onto the ground. If your deck is not high off the ground, you can dry pack the posts combined to the wall. Keep the hole larger than the post and pour the blend into the hole. Then, pack the post down as hard as you can. It will blend with the moisture in the ground and provide the concrete the exact blend it needs. Another recommendation of experts is to use deck screws instead of nails because it does not back out from the heat.

When throwing a neighborhood party or entertaining friends and family, decks are one of the most adaptable places for this. Seats around the borders of the deck allow space for plenty of visitors. If there are numerous levels of your deck, you can essentially have two functions going on at the same time.

Steps on choosing the best deck materials:

The first step is to look for different materials. Woods are the most common and popular. However, each type has their pros and cons. Wood does not require regular maintenance but it is more susceptible to splintering, warping and rotting.

There are many different types of wood deck materials to choose from. Each has its own aesthetic quality. Hence, composite deck materials are a combination of waste wood products and plastic. It will not splinter or rot as well. It is also not prone to paints or stains. These composite deck materials are significant to install according to the manufacturer instructions.

The second step is to analyze your budget because all your options in deck materials come in wide range of costs. Classic options like pressure-treated lumber are deemed as the cheapest of various types of deck materials. Other woods like redwood and cedar are essentially resistant to rot but they are higher in price. Plastic and composite deck materials are more expensive, with the cost ranging from one to three US dollars per linear foot.