Category Archives: Home Improvement

Residential car port

How Carports Fare in Comparison to Garages

Residential car portMany homeowners consider installing structures in their property for parking and additional storage space. Garages and carports serve this purpose and can be attached to a home or stand freely on a property. Carports are steel structures with semi-covered fabric. They normally adopt an open-style structure and consist of a roof supported by posts and beams.

Purpose of Garages and Carports

Carports and garages are both versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. Beyond use for vehicle storage, they can provide equipment protection, bulk storage, and off-season gear storage. Garages can include a workspace with tools and equipment laid out. Carports can be used as a shade for your patio, pavilion and outdoor workspaces. They can also house entertainment venues, especially when unexpected weather drives guests away from an outdoor party. Your carport can provide cover and serve as protection from the rain or snow.

Advantages of a Carport

Garages are traditional solutions for creating more space in a property. They are also permanent and can provide complete security from theft and the elements. However, carports hold several advantages over these permanent and fixed structures. Before deciding on the construction of a garage or a carport, you need to take price, property space, and intended use into consideration.

Carports are a lot cheaper than enclosed garages because they use fewer materials. You also have more design options when it comes to carports. For instance, the roof can be flat, pitched, or garbled. There are steel and wood options when it comes to deciding on the material to use for frame and roofing.

car entering through garage door Flexibility

In addition, the structures of a carport do not have the same foundations garages have. You do not need to account for the weight of a concrete slab. As such, a carport can easily be disassembled and moved to suit your changing needs. They also involve quick installation. Setup can take a day or two so you can immediately take advantage of the storage space it provides.  You also won’t be impacted too much by the construction process.

Carports can be placed anywhere in a property and are subject to fewer building regulations and codes than garages. Flexibility and ease of movement, however, still depend on the materials used and the size of the carport.

Protection and Durability

Garage structures provide your vehicles greater coverage, concealment, and protection compared to carports. Installing lockable doors offers secure protection against theft. You can store tools, garden equipment, and sporting goods here without concern they will be stolen. Carports, on the other hand, are less private. They have an open-style structure and do not offer the same protection benefits as garages.

A carport can protect your parked vehicles from damage from elements like rain, sun, hail, snow, and wind. However, they may not keep vehicles safe from extreme temperatures, sideways rain, and wind-driven dust. Garages still provide the ultimate protection against these elements.

Before you decide the best way to protect your vehicles or to create additional space in your property, consider the main use of garage and carport structures and determine whether you will need protection on a permanent or a temporary basis.

How Much Should You Spend on Installing Blown-In Insulation at Home?

blown-in insulation

Households in the U.S. that want to invest in blown-in insulation should expect to pay $1,393 on average for professional installation, although the usual price ranges from $886 to $1,899. Several factors may affect the actual price of installation.

The location serves as one factor for determining the total cost. For instance, the cost of installing blown insulation in Kansas City, might be cheaper — with service providers such as A+ Insulation — than in New York or Los Angeles. Another factor involves the size of your house, the place where you plan to install it and the type of insulation system.

Price for Different Parts of the House

The attic can be a simple place for blown-in insulation, and installation for a 1,000-square-foot space may cost between $500 and $1,000 for the materials alone. Rental equipment may cost around $100, but ask the professional installer if this is already free upon contracting a certain price for their services.

The cost of labor will also be dependent on the company’s rates. On average, you would need to pay between $40 and $70 per hour for their work.

The price for installing blown-in insulation for walls and floors are almost the same for attic space. However, this job is more complicated due to the presence of wiring systems underneath. Whichever part of the house you choose, there are several benefits of using blown-insulation.

Benefits of Using Blown Insulation

An insulated attic through a blown-in process protects your roof and shingles. This also prolongs their shelf life, aside from creating conditioned spaces in the area. By reducing heat on sheathing, the system prevents shingles from deteriorating ahead of time.

In other words, you save money from spending on roofing maintenance. Blown insulation also reduces your electricity consumption since it covers as much space as possible, even small spots and holes.

Unlike batting insulation, blown-in systems seal open spots in attics and walls. As a result, your furnace or air-conditioning system doesn’t have to work harder to provide heat or cooling inside. Before you expect to reap the benefits, it’s important to distinguish the different types of blown insulation.

Different Types of Insulation Systems

wall insulation

Most homeowners use fiberglass for blown-in insulation due to its affordability, which is perfect if you don’t wish to spend a lot. At the same time, you have more flexibility in choosing the design despite a small budget. This system is naturally non-combustible and reduces sound pollution.

If you are after energy-efficiency, then cellulose is probably the best type for your house. This system is considered the most energy-efficient among different types of blown insulation.

It is also resistant to airflow, non-corrosive to aluminum, steel, and copper, and has fire-retardant qualities. You should consult a professional about the suitable type for your home if you are not sure about the best choice.

Blown insulation improves the quality of life at home by controlling humidity, which is helpful especially for household members with respiratory illnesses. Some insulation systems may also double as a pest repellent, so ask your preferred service provider about this before paying them outright.

Crack on a conrete wall

Here’s How you Know if Your Concrete Needs to be Repaired or Replaced

Crack on a conrete wallNothing is forever – not even concrete. While concrete can last for decades before needing replacement, you will find that catching small signs of structural problems will help you extend its life through a basic repair.

But, what signs should you look out for? Here is how you know whether you should replace your concrete or just do some basic repairs.

Multiple Cracks Deserve Utmost Attention

Listen, if your concrete driveway has multiple cracks, then it is better to replace the whole thing instead of just repairing the areas. The repair is likely going to cost as much as the replacement, but with less guarantee of the results.

Multiple cracks are indicative of a deeper problem, which needs fixing from the ground up. Concrete replacement here in KS should be able to help you assess the extent of the problem and offer a straightforward quote.

Broken Edges are Salvageable

One of the most common concrete problems includes broken edges of steps or driveways. This makes sense since the edges are highly vulnerable and have less grip on the overall cement. You can easily repair this or have professionals do the repair if you are not used to mixing concrete.

It’s a quick fix that will cost way less than having the whole space repaired.

Underneath Roots Ruining Concrete

If the concrete is damaged due to underlying roots, then a repair is not enough. The roots are going to grow upward and outward, further damaging the exterior surface. The best way to address this is by replacing the concrete completely, but only after removing the roots so that the main floor is not disrupted.

Check to see if there are lots of plants, shrubs, or huge trees around the concrete. There is a very good chance that they are the cause of the problem.

Settled Concrete Depends on the Sink

Contractor fixing a wall crackSettled concrete means the concrete has sunken. This situation may be fixed through replacement or repair – depending on the extent of the sink. If it is anything less than 8 inches, you can have that portion elevated for a less substantial amount than a complete replacement.

This is why you will have to act quickly and have the concrete raised even before it sinks to 5 inches.

Uneven Slabs Can Be Topped Off

Sometimes, the concrete can sink just enough that it can be a walking hazard. You might have this long stretch of the driveway with that small square footage being just a few inches deeper where water tends to pool after a rain.

Topping it off with more concrete to even out the area is a viable alternative and can take only a matter of minutes.

Slab Cracks are Structural

Structural problems require a complete overhaul. The slabs are where most of the weight is centered, which means that cracks on it will eventually lead to structural problems. Safety becomes a concern, so immediate action by a professional is crucial.

Regardless of whether it is repair or replacement, it is usually better to have professionals take care of the matter. Concrete problems, especially if it is close to the foundation of your house, might need an expert eye to guarantee excellent results.

Home Furnishings Need Protection from UV Rays, Too

sun brightens the interior of a living room

Every winter, particularly during the December solstice, the sun moves much lower across the sky. As it is at a lower angle to the earth, more sunlight could enter through windows and illuminate homes for extended periods.

Sunlight is precious. But for all the benefits it brings, it also causes a few problems. One of them is the accelerated deterioration of organic and synthetic materials. Overexposure to sunlight could weaken outdoor and indoor plants, turn untreated timber brittle, and cause discoloration in fabrics, painted surfaces, and other colored materials.

In homes, furnishings often take the brunt of sun damage. A common effect is color fading, a cosmetic flaw that could reduce the overall quality of the piece. Moreover, it is often irreversible. Home improvements and accessories that offer protection from the sun could help preserve furniture and allow homeowners to get their money’s worth.

The Might of UV

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main culprit of color fading in fabrics and furnishings. An article by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) attributes 40 percent of fading to UV exposure. The research institute adds that although UV radiation is more intense when it’s hot and sunny, it can still wreak havoc in places with mostly cold and cloudy climates.

light enters from the glass door

Two types of UV rays are responsible for these:

-UVA – Can penetrate thick materials like carpets and wood, causing long-term damage

-UVB – Causes bleaching of surface colors

Fading or color reduction happens when coloring agents react to UV rays. Besides the photochemical reaction, the simple drying up of coloring agents due to heat can also cause damage. Paint, for example, can dry up and become brittle, and later peel off and form bare patches on exposed surfaces.

It’s impossible to block UV completely, but a few home improvements can help reduce their deteriorative effect on furniture.

Home Enhancements that Prevent Sun Damage

Window treatments are excellent at reducing the amount of sunlight that enters a room. Curtains, shades, shutters, and retractable window awnings are top choices. Not only do they provide cover from intense heat and solar radiation, but also add to a house’s interior and exterior aesthetics.

Patios and gazebos fronting glass doors and wide windows can also reduce the amount of sunlight that enters a home. They extend the roof cover, so they catch the most sunlight. In effect, they reduce the radiant heat and solar radiation that penetrate the adjacent room.

sun rays draping over a table

Trees and other tall foliage can also help block UV. What’s more, they help cool down a home, reducing the rate of deterioration due to heat.

Renovating rooms that get flooded with sunlight for the better part of the day is ideal if money isn’t an issue. Moving a screen door to a shady location and replacing large windows with smaller ones could make a huge difference. Building an exterior wall is another option. It doesn’t even have to be concrete. A solid fence or trellis with climbers planted near the base can provide extra cover.

Just as the sun accelerates skin aging, UV exposure contributes to the wear-and-tear of home furniture. The addition of sun-blocking features on your home’s exteriors can save you the stress and expense of repairing or replacing sun-damaged furniture.

Fit and Active Wheelchair Life

woman in a wheelchair, joining a marathonThe UK is in a national health crisis. With rising levels of obesity and associated diseases, there’s a big focus from government on encouraging all UK residents to eat more healthily and take regular exercise. This includes those with limited mobility, and there’s more chance than ever to get involved. It’s illegal for a recreation centre to deny access to disabled users, as per the Disability Discrimination Act, and following the inspiring example of the Paralympians, more and more exercise facilities are being made available for disabled people.

Users of lightweight wheelchairs, provided by wheelchair sales specialists such as Karma Mobility, are well-placed to engage in this health drive. These adaptable, self-propelled mobility aids can easily be customised for active use.

As a starting point, wheelchair users can get in touch with Parasport. This organisation helps those with limited mobility to participate in sport. On its website is a checklist to help people find the most suitable form of exercise for them, and where they can find it close to where they live.

If users of lightweight wheelchairs want to access facilities at their local gym, they can check with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). It works with fitness facilities to make sure they are accessible for all, and that they actively engage disabled people. If a gym doesn’t have much in the way of facilities for those of limited mobility, users can put them in touch with the EFDS, who have many resources to help a gym adapt to be more inclusive.

In terms of the type of exercise to engage in, users of lightweight wheelchairs, like everybody else, need to do cardiovascular and strengthening exercises. Depending on the nature of their disability, for cardio they could try swimming, a wheelchair workout, wheelchair sprinting, an adapted rowing machine or a sport such as badminton or netball.

For strengthening, they can use free weights, resistance bands or adapted machines at the gym to build up muscle tone. The weights and bands can be used at home, for those who aren’t gym bunnies.

Parasport doesn’t just have to be for elite athletes. Users of lightweight wheelchairscan take part too..

Bedroom of a luxurious house

What You Should Consider When Remodeling Your Bedroom

Bedroom of a luxurious houseThere might have been instances when you wake up feeling uninspired and tired. You look around to (hopefully) feel good, but everything is just drab and dirty, which doesn’t help with the situation. If this is what you constantly see every time you wake up, it may be high time to change the look of your bedroom.

A remodeling project may be something that your bedroom needs, and you might want to do it now. A newly designed bedroom will surely make you feel like you have a new bedroom even without moving out.

This project may feel complicated at first, but you could make things easier if you know what to prioritize and how to go about it. Here are some of the things you may want to do:

A New Paint Color

If you want a new look in your bedroom, it pays to change its color, as it could instantly give it a new vibe. This time around, you should lean towards lighter and brighter choices, such as white, beige, and even pastels, like blue and pink. Moreover, your new furniture pieces or fixtures should complement the room’s dominant and thematic colors.

Remember the effectiveness of color psychology: blue means relaxation, green means the soothing effect of nature, yellow means energy, gray means elegance and sophistication, and white means peace and simplicity. Apart from your personal preferences, the color of your bedroom should reflect what you want it to achieve.

Keeping the Glare Out

Simple bedroom designIf you have large windows and it is quite a problem to face the sunlight every time you wake up, you can control the amount of light coming into your room by using a window film. It could also help in keeping your room’s privacy, especially those with a darker tint, while still allowing you to see what’s outside without obstruction. You can get one of these by visiting a residential window film store in Arizona or anywhere in your area.

Curtains and drapes are a good idea, but these could accumulate dirt and dust over time, which isn’t ideal if you have allergies or asthma. If you don’t find it a chore to wash them regularly, then that wouldn’t be a problem. In addition, you have to make sure that their color will complement the theme in each room. It could be the deal breaker if you don’t choose it right.

New Shelves

The clutter in your bedroom, especially if you’re the type to put things on the floor, can easily make your personal space look dirty and disorganized. Moreover, you’re not giving yourself enough area to walk on. What’s worse is you could trip and even suffer from an injury.

What you should do is to sell, donate, or throw out some items you do not need, such as old clothes and books. Replace your old, bulky shelves with streamlined ones. You can even put new shelves under the bed or install floating shelves to achieve neatness.

Remodeling your room should not be complicated. It can be streamlined by focusing on the essentials and basics.

 

Woman jogging in the morning

Sunlight and Your War Against Fading

Woman jogging in the morningWhile it is true that natural sunlight has numerous health benefits, this does not mean that it is okay to overlook its gradual and harmful effects. Apart from increasing your risk of skin damage and premature skin aging, exposure to UV light can also damage your possessions.

This is especially true if you’re the rooms in your home are exposed to direct sunlight. Residential window film providers in Arizona (AZ) note that direct UV exposure can cause damage and fading in your home’s interior, resulting in a compromised appearance of the room and other valuables.

The effects are mostly visible on your furniture, flooring, and drapes and curtains.

What can happen to my furniture?

If you have a sofa that is placed close to the window, one side of it is likely to exhibit some fading and damage. This is mainly because the ultraviolet rays in the sun can break down the chemicals that are present in fabric dyes and wood, leading to permanent discoloration.

You don’t have to spend a lot to remedy this. Little changes can already do wonders for this particular situation. For instance, placing the furniture in the shaded areas of the room can prevent further discoloration as well as applying quality window film.

Can it ruin my flooring and carpets?
laptop nad book on the carpet

Fabric really is the first to exhibit signs of fading caused by long-term exposure to sunlight. Carpeted floors as well as those covered with area rugs are highly vulnerable to fading. If your room receives a great amount of sunlight, large areas of fading are likely, and you might need to replace your carpet sooner than later.

If you, on the other hand, opted out of getting your entire flooring carpeted and instead have hardwood floors, exposure to sunlight can also cause fading and permanent damage over time. Think about this while in the designing and construction of your home

What about my curtains and drapes?

Window treatments can give your space and furniture protection against direct sunlight. They also add more beauty and interest to the space, especially with elegant draperies and stylish curtains. The sad part is, some window of these window coverings can be expensive.

Making them your first line of defense against the sun can lead to fading, streaks, and fabric damage. It is best to apply window tinting first to avoid damage, particularly in quality and expensive drapes and curtains.

While it is not advisable to completely eliminate points in your home where natural can enter, prolonged exposure to sunlight also does have long-term effects on your belongings. Your furniture, flooring, and window treatments are not the only ones susceptible to sun fading. Your paintings, artworks, photos and other valuables can incur some damage too.

Luckily, you may rely on quality window tinting solutions to protect both your interiors and possessions, while still letting some sunlight in. Evaluate your home and the areas where sunlight usually hits, and then contact a window film expert to learn more about your options.

Minimal designed living room

A Different Design Dilemma: How to Deal with Too Many Focal Points in a Room

Minimal designed living roomThe best-designed rooms are those that feature an interesting piece — a focal point to which the eyes would automatically be glued to. It’s easy to choose or create one. What’s not easy, though, is if you have too many visually striking elements that could all be focal points.

This is most common in open-floor plan layouts, where you have in the living room, for example, a fireplace in the middle, angled walls in one corner and a window with a great outdoor view at the other. How do you tackle this? Here are some tips:

1. Decide which to emphasize

Too many focal points can be confusing to the eye and just make your space look like a mess, no matter how neat and organized it is. The point supposedly is to bring order to the space by giving a ‘visual landing’ for anyone who walks into the room.

One of the easiest ways to achieve this has to do with how you arrange furniture. Right from the start, pick a primary focal point. Choose according to how you intend to use the space. For instance, in the living room, if your priority is for people to feel cozy, the fireplace is a good focal point.

If you want them to bask in the views, arrange your furniture around the windows. If you go this route, though, invest in residential window tinting to reduce the glare and block off the sun’s UV rays in sunny states such as Arizona.

2. Tone down the other elements

Simple living roomAfter deciding on a focal point, decorate the other strong elements in such a way that they don’t grab too much attention. A good example for this is if you chose the fireplace as the focal point, go for soft treatments for your large windows to tone them down.

If you picked the windows, however, go for neutral colors surrounding the fireplace. Consider less bold patterns as well in all the other details such as rugs, throw pillows or art pieces. These might not be your ‘secondary’ focal points, but they could steal attention if they’re too visually striking.

3. Divide the space

A way you could address the excess of accent pieces fighting for attention in a room is to divide it into areas. You could create different zones to accommodate multiple focal points in your space.

If you already picked a large window as the focal point in the living room, for instance, designate the fireplace as your main piece in the reading nook in one corner of that area. You could easily create a distinction between these two zones by placing different area rugs or tweaking the lighting.

This technique not only distributes the viewer’s attention, thereby giving the room a less cluttered visual effect; it also creates a clear distinction among different areas of the room, to which you could assign specific functions — a play area for the kids or relaxation zone with guests, for example.

You might think it is a good design dilemma to have too many visually striking elements in one room. While that is understandable, it could indeed be a challenge to tackle creatively. Remember these tips when you take on this project.

Running upstairs concrete steps

Why You Need Precast Concrete Step Treads

Running upstairs concrete steps

Are you tired of maintaining and replacing your wooden step tread every year or so? Or have you been more careful lately in stepping on that rusty metal step tread? If you’re current step treads are giving you problems, then it is time to replace that old step tread with one of better quality and will last longer.

Step treads are getting more and more essential in the design and management of our living spaces. They not only add style to wooden decks and landing platforms, but they also add strength that improves the proper entry and exit to a deck or platform. Precast concrete step treads are manufactured to cater to the most pressing needs for maximum strength and utility.

Check out these qualities that make step treads desirable and ideal for your property:

Resistant

Precast concrete step treads are made to last long so it resists water intrusion, which is the most common issue with concrete step treads. As with non-concrete step treads, i.e. wood or metal, resistance to termites or the elements and to rust is questionable. These precast concrete step treads are resistant to other elements as well, ensuring that they serve you better and for a longer period.

Durable

When making any purchase, you want to make sure that you get a high-quality and durable product. With resistant casting, concrete step treads are even made stronger than your typical step treads made from other material. This durability is a key factor that makes them last longer than any other step treads under any weather condition. Even concrete-poured steel pans crumble after the steel weakens.

Low Maintenance

Concrete stairs

Due to its durability, precast concrete step treads are low maintenance. There is no need for cleaning the tread from dirt brought by environmental exposure. Wooden treads need to be constantly replaced. Metal or steel treads need to be protected from corrosion. You get to save a lot of money that you would have spent maintaining or constantly replacing step treads made from other materials.

Economical

Since it is low maintenance, precast concrete step treads save you money. The initial cost is essentially the only cost you pay for. Wooden and steel treads have high depreciation costs. After the purchase price, time and money have to be spent to preserve their condition. You get to save a lot of money that you would have spent maintaining or constantly replacing step treads made from other materials.

Safe

Your safety is always a priority; this holds true for everything you do and selecting step treads is no exception. Step treads must ensure safety especially those decks or platforms that come with staircases. Wooden and metal or steel step treads do not stay long as they rot and rust in time due to the elements and heavy use. Precast concrete step treads are models of safety.

Step treads need not only be aesthetically pleasing. They must conform to use and be functional. Concrete step treads, like precast concrete step treads, are made to ensure you enter or leave your home safely. They work in the most ergonomic way that steel or wooden treads would not be able to sustain due to issues with durability as time goes by.

All About Marine Plywood

marine plywoodBasic knowledge would dictate that wooden products should be kept away from wetness and moisture to preserve its quality. After all, wood is a natural material. Regardless of its shape and size, it will still rot and decay over time, more so when exposed to certain elements.

However, over the years, wooden ply are becoming more visible in areas where exposure to moisture is inevitable. How? Thanks to marine grade plywood.

What is marine plywood?

Contrary to popular belief, marine grade plywood (or simply “marine ply”) is not waterproof. No kind of wood is, except when it’s treated. Marine plywood is not and rather, it’s layered with quality waterproof glue that protects it from moisture. Marine ply is commonly made from Douglas Fir or Western Lark. Unlike other types, it’s considered to be of high quality and is highly durable.

Normal stores will have many supplies of various kinds of plywood, but finding marine plywood can be a challenge for some because it’s only used for special purposes.

What are its uses?

As marine ply poses a certain degree of resistance to water, it’s commonly used in building boat parts. Having marine ply in a boat does not only guarantee durability and strength, but also adds aesthetic value. Ask any boat builder or boat enthusiast and marine ply will be among their top choice of wood material.

Marine ply can also be used in garden furniture, especially those that are placed outdoors. Patios, decks, and pergolas made of marine ply are common, as they’re often exposed to the natural environment and will be wet from time to time.

The next time you have a project that would require wood to be exposed to moisture, you know which one to use.