Category Archives: House and Home

Don’t Screw Up by Using the Wrong Screws

tools for building

You don’t usually put in too much attention to detail in simple home projects — but even little things like wrong screws can make the difference between a successful project and a forgettable attempt. You can’t just use stainless steel metal screws on everything. The type of screws you use — and even the material of your screw — is essential in the success of your projects.

Wood Screws

Wood comes in many forms. Some can be harder than others, especially the Australian Ironwood and several wood types from Brazil. However, wood is still considered as one of the softer materials, and its tendency to crack can be problematic. Changing seasons also affect wood, causing it to shrink or expand depending on the prevailing temperature. Wooden screws are specifically for these particular qualities of wood. A wooden screw has a bit of flexibility. This allows the screw to bend and withstand the constant strain of shrinking and expansion of the wood.

The threads of wooden screws are designed to minimise stress on the wood to prevent cracking, although you may need to drill a shallow pilot hole for hardwoods. Some wooden screws are not fully threaded. This allows paired wooden pieces to fit more securely and it can also be used for attaching specific hardware or items to the wood.

Metal Screws

Metal is hard and solid throughout. Metal screws are tempered and designed to drill into the metal and withstand the stresses of holding two heavy pieces of metal together. These screws will often have tensile pounds per square inch (PSI) strength reaching 100,000 to 150,000. Metal screws are self-tapping, they drill into the metal and cut and form their own thread into the material.

Threads run throughout the length of the screw — this allows for a tighter grip and a more secure attachment. Although primarily designed for metal on metal use, these screws can also be used to attach different materials to a metal base. Plastic, fibreglass, and wood can be fixed to metal with a metal screw — although additional care may be needed for wood.

a couple of screws

Cheap Zinc or Stainless?

Galvanised zinc metal screws cost almost half the price of stainless steel metal screws. However, the savings you get by using galvanised zinc comes with its disadvantages. Zinc screws are not coated as well as stainless steel screws and could rust more easily — especially in an outdoor setting. These screws are also more flexible and softer than their stainless steel counterparts, and vibrations and particularly heavy loads can pose problems. Zinc screws have an average tensile PSI strength of 62,000 — a far cry for stainless steel screws’ minimum. Stainless steel screws have average tensile PSI strength over 100,000 and 75,000 is the bare minimum for industry standards.

Choosing the right screws is important in every project. You can weigh price with quality, but you will be sacrificing the stability or durability of your project. Think long-term and don’t just use what’s available. A little attention to detail goes a long way.

Types of Fireplace Inserts

FireplaceA traditional masonry fireplace is still a design statement in modern properties. It provides a cozy and inviting look to a room while offering a heating solution. Unfortunately, while it is high in aesthetic appeal, this fireplace will barely meet your heating needs since a large portion of generated heat is lost.

The ideal choice for aesthetic appeal and sufficient heating is to get a fireplace insert for your Salt Lake City property. The insert used is a closed-combustion box that you can install into your masonry fireplace. It has minimal heat loss, uses less fuel, and thus provides a higher efficiency compared to the traditional fireplace.

Here are your fireplace insert options.

Electric Inserts

These are the ideal choice for someone looking for a convenient fireplace insert. All you need to do is plug in your insert and flip a switch to get the fire burning. Electric inserts are flexible, do not need chimney ventilation and come in various sizes to generate the required heat for your indoor comfort.

Their heating power ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 BTUs. Most electric inserts come with a backup generator or battery to keep their fire burning even in a power blackout.

Gas Inserts

Powered by propane or natural gas, they generally connect to a propane tank or your property’s gas lines. Gas inserts have a high heating power at 25,000 to 48,000 BTUs with 76 percent to 85 percent heat efficiency. They come in two variants.

Vented gas insert models release their byproduct to the exteriors through your chimney. Ventless inserts, on the other hand, release their spent gases into your interiors. The biggest concern with gas fireplace inserts is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from leaks.

They, however, come with an oxygen detection system, which switches off the fire if the oxygen levels in your property fall below a certain level. This way, you have protection from carbon monoxide poisoning.

man measuring installed fireplace

Wood Inserts

These are fueled by wood and wood byproducts such as sawdust and wood pellets. Wood inserts are ventilated through your property’s chimney and are hence attached by a connector that scales the full height of your fireplace.

They are somewhat a middle-ground for efficiency since they generate around 65,000 BTUs of heat per hour, but around 50 percent is lost during air circulation. Wood inserts have an authentic fireplace look and nowadays have a decreased smoke output.

You will, however, need to clean your chimney periodically to remove soot and creosote from it.

Coal Inserts

These inserts run on coal. They produce about 80,000 BTUs of heat, but most of this is lost in air circulation. Coal inserts are not very common owing to the high cost of coal and its impact on the environment and human health.

Installation of a fireplace insert is not as easy as placing one in your existing fireplace and firing it up. Different elements will need to proper installation before the operation of your insert. Getting an expert to install it is essential to avoid fires and ensure your insert works optimally.

Modern Window Treatment Options: Controlling Window Blinds

opening a window

You have different options nowadays for your window’s covering, but blinds are the most popular. These are shades comprising vanes or slats that run vertically or horizontally. They can be used for both tall and wide windows which would otherwise be hard to cover with other window treatments.

Window blinds come in various styles with the roller, vertical, roman and pleated ones being the standard ones. You will consider several elements when evaluating the available options of Hunter Douglas blinds in New Jersey (NJ). One of the essential considerations is the control of your blinds’ slats.

Though there are many control options for window blinds, few property owners understand their alternatives. Here are guidelines on some of the best control options for window blinds.

App Control

There seems to be an app for just about anything nowadays. One of the best you should get is one for your blinds’ control. With this app, you can control the opening and closing of your blinds from virtually anywhere within and without your property.

This method of control allows you to let the sunshine into your interiors even if you are not around and close the blinds at different times of the day when the rays are too strong. It has also been touted as a safe control option since it can create the illusion of an occupied property even if there is no one inside.

Wall-Mounted Control

This is the standard window blind control type. It generally comprises a pull cord which is tugged to lift, lower or open your blinds. Left and right-sided wall-mounted controls are the two primary alternatives of this control method.

In the past, wall-mounted controls were considered unsafe for homes with children and child-care centers since there was a risk of a child getting entangled in the cord. Modern wall-mounted controls, however, have a safety mechanism which detaches if there is considerable pressure on it.

Remote Control

This option comes with a hand-held battery-powered remote for opening and closing your blinds. The options for remote controls are currently vast ranging from single to multichannel ones.

Some even come with a choice of a bracket or mounting pin to fix them to a wall and minimize their chances of getting misplaced. Remote controls might unfortunately not be very convenient since you need to be near the window blinds to open or close them.

a window with blinds

Automatic Sensor Control

With this alternative, you have a handset which allows you to operate your blinds. The handsets have a timer which you can set to open or close the blinds at different times automatically.

Like app-controlled window blinds, blinds with an automatic sensor control make your property appear occupied and thus enhance its safety. Some automatic sensor controls will operate window blinds according to the amount of light and temperature in your environment.

The right control for your window blinds enhances not only your indoor comfort but also your property’s energy efficiency. This is hence not a decision you should take lightly. To guarantee you pick the right control, get an expert’s input from the blinds’ seller.

Practical Ways to Make Your Property Attractive to Possible Tenants

Real Estate agent handing key over

In this day and age, people tend to look more into details in their search for their ideal homes, making the typical selling points not as weighty as they used to be. Surely, the following may seem like little personal preferences to you. However, for others, these factors can make or break the rental of a place, considering how important these are to them. If your goal is to make your property as enticing as it can be to your target demographic, then here are key details that you need to take note of:

Starter Families

They are a broad category, so specifics may vary from family to family. Generally, these groups want a space large enough to accommodate their growing number, as well as their needs. They’ll be looking for places that have large rooms. If they’re bringing their elderly along, they’ll need passageways for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. They will also need elevators to spare the effort of climbing up staircases. Being situated near important amenities, such as a school, a hospital, a market, and even their workplaces is also a plus for these tenants.

Students

Woman holding a house figure

These people don’t need any sort of luxury in their lives to live comfortably. In fact, they can make do with the barest necessities with their stay. Your place, however, has to have the essentials to make their school lives easier, without having to pay much aside from their monthly dues. Fast and stable Wi-Fi connections and consistent electricity are important for them since most of their work will involve the Internet and their laptops. Considering their busy lives, they’ll appreciate places that offer flexible payment schemes and discounts. Hence, include these perks if you can.

Businessmen

Similar to students, these people will not require much in terms of luxury. However, they do need rooms that are discreet and have the best Internet access possible. If you want to attract those with vehicles, it’s best to provide parking space that you can have by hiring a paving service in Kansas City. They’ll be away most of the time due to the nature of their work, so their rooms will mostly serve as storage spaces for their items and other valuables such as documents. For these types of tenants, you’ll need to give them the peace of mind that they need by having top-of-the-line security features such as cameras and alarms.

Young Professionals

These people are similar to students and businessmen. The only difference is that you don’t have to put much effort into providing furnishings. The best way you can attract these types of tenants is being situated near their workplaces and places for recreation. Online connectivity is also a must due to their social lives. A small kitchen where they can cook is a plus for their budget. You can leave the decorating task to them since each individual wants their place to have a personal touch.

Tailor-fitting your place to suit your desired market’s tastes is a must if you want your business to gain traction. Don’t forget to make sure that the essentials, such as basic amenities, security, and aesthetic appeal, are also taken care of as you start your planning. This will cost you extra, but the returns are worth it.

Three Easy Ways to Create a Healthy Office Environment

Employees working together

The office environment affects employees in profound ways you sometimes overlook. It can either boost or dampen their morale. It can either encourage collaboration or ruin it. It can even predict their health, making them more productive or getting them sick. The latter is what business owners often overlook—but the one you can’t afford to neglect.

There’s a lot at stake when your employees get sick and drop from their job for days. Their health is your business, so prioritise creating a healthy environment in your next office renovation. Here are tips to remember.

Promote movement breaks

Sitting long hours in front of desks makes one vulnerable to poor circulation, inflammation and dysfunction of the blood vessels. Over time, this could result in cardiovascular disease, obesity and sometimes, cancer. To avoid this, provide avenues for workers to take a break from sitting.

Standing desk stations are one. If possible, assign also an exercise room. It doesn’t have to be a full-on gym. Foam rollers, jump ropes, yoga mats and a few dumbbells would make for a good space already. Encourage employees to use the exercise room during lunch breaks or after meeting sessions.

Getting workers to move around will not just avoid health problems, reducing absenteeism, but also make them more energised and ready for work demands. So keep this at the top of your priorities for the next refurbishment of your Melbourne office. Fitout specialists can help you with this.

Consider biophilic design

Office Space

Biophilic design is the use of nature’s key elements in your space. There’s a theory that interaction with nature improves well-being, as it offers relaxation and boosts moods. So consider incorporating biophilic design in your space.

Start by letting in readjusting your office’s layout to let in more natural light. Exposure to daylight reduces fatigue and mental strain, making your employees more productive. It also relieves negative moods and puts people in high spirits.

Aside from natural light, let in fresh air into your space as well. A lot of Melbourne offices today have roof gardens, where workers can take a break and breathe in fresh air. Of course, don’t neglect including plant elements in your space. Plants improve indoor air quality and at the same time, offer visual rest for employees.

Get organised

Clutter can affect your employees’ health as well. It creates unnecessary mental stress, given the misplaced documents or lost information. Plus, piles of paper collect dust, which spells trouble for employees who have asthma or allergies. Of course, scheduled cleaning is crucial. That’s a given already. But prevention is better than cure.

And your interiors matter in prevention. Adjust your office design in such a way that it would reduce the likelihood of clutter in your employees’ desks. For instance, reconfigure your layout that it would lessen travel time to storage rooms. Use soothing colours, like green and blue, in those areas to curb stress.

Remember, your office environment can make or break your employees’ well-being, which would inevitably affect their productivity and your bottom line. So keep your workers healthy by providing a healthy office environment.

The Beauty of Community Gardening in Cities

community with gardensCommunity gardening is an opportunity for people to come together and grow food and botanicals in one place. Over the years, the expansion of cities has sparked countless initiatives to make public spaces greener and inclusive. The mere act of planting flowers, fruit, and vegetables in a communal greenhouse or urban farm is satisfying. But there are many other advantages of starting such a project or joining an established community garden. Here are some of them:

Community Gardens Beautify Cities

Community gardening can be done in a park or shared plot, or you can request for a specific greenhouse design for such special use. It’s usually run by non-profit organizations, local agencies, clubs, churches, neighborhood associations, and private landowners. No matter the scale and size, nothing can liven up a town or city as much as an edible garden.

Rehabilitating old parking lots, abandoned buildings, or barren parks has become a trend among urban gardeners. Crumbling ruins and vandalized public spaces are replaced with lush greenery and patch of trees.

Flowers are added to the mix to provide a multi-sensory experience to visitors and add visual interest year-round. The garden can also be a source of nutritious, home-grown food and vegetables for you and your fellow gardeners. You can even sell the excess to other members of the community and put the money back into your pocket. You’d be surprised how people appreciate buying food straight from the source.

Community gardening is also possible in a greenhouse. These glass structures can keep the plants healthy and resilient through the seasons. So even if the city experiences weather extremes, gardeners can secure their yields and not get restrained by climate conditions. Your city can also turn it into some sort of gardening installation to draw tourists in. You can charge a small fee to help you with the upkeep costs.

Everyone Participating Can Save Money and Stay Healthy

community with garden in front of their home

Imagine people from all walks of life rolling up their sleeves and working together to make sure the garden flourishes.

Most community gardens are committed to organic methods, which produce better, more nutritious produce. Consuming it can improve your diet and overall health. But nutrients aren’t the only thing you’ll get from organic food. You can save money, too, because growing food is much cheaper than buying supermarket products.

On top of that, immersing in the activity will give you plenty of opportunities to relax, reflect, and breathe fresh air. It goes without saying that gardening promotes a healthy lifestyle, but doing it with a group can enhance your social life, as well.

A park with a garden also encourages people to run, jog, or do yoga free from the noise and bustle of the city. It’s one way for you ease your stress. Just go to the community garden, look after the plants, you can water them if you. It could be a therapeutic experience for you.

Join a community garden or initiate your own project to reap all these benefits. It’s a worthy cause that not only improves your health and well-being but also makes great contributions to the community, not to mention the environment.

Making Sure Your Rented Place Feels Like Home

Couple at newly rented home

As fewer people buy a house and more people rent due to the lack of affordable housing units on the market, it’s a respectable choice that you do the same. After all, if there are fewer houses for sale and more people eager to buy, the prices could go beyond your budget.

Does this mean you have to live in a place you’ll hate? Be a wise renter and find ways to make your living situation feel like a dream. Here are some recommendations:

Rent in a Place You Love

Every person has a city or neighborhood they want to live in. It could be a childhood dream or it might be close to the career you want to build. It could even be near where your family lived. Whatever the reason, go ahead and look for a place in that location. If the city already feels like home to you, it will be easier to turn rental properties into something cozier.

In places like Centennial, CO, the ambiance is perfect for those who are trying to build a name in their chosen industry or looking to start a family. If this is the kind of location you’re looking for, you’ll be spoiled for choices. All you need to do is be in contact with a property management company to help you look for a property that suits your needs.

Spruce Up

Man putting wallpaper on walls

One major pain point that renters languish over is the lack of freedom when it comes to designing their place. Sure, there are things your landlord may not allow, but there are ways around them that will not get you in trouble and will help the place look more personal.

For instance, using wallpapers instead of painting the apartment will turn it from a generic rental to something that is uniquely yours. You may also use hooks that attach to doors as storage spacers that do not require drilling holes in the walls. If you want a garden, use pots. There is no limit to the ways you can spruce up the rental as long as you’re willing to be creative and open-minded. Under-bed storage also helps you save space, so you won’t need more built-in cabinets.

Know Your Neighbors

An idyllic suburban home sounds like such a dream. You know everyone and whenever you pass by their driveway you get a little chat. When you’re renting an apartment, your neighbors are a little closer; they live next door. This shouldn’t stop you from starting a cordial relationship with them. This also adds to the homey vibe of the apartment complex if you don’t look at it as a collection of strangers living in the same building. A small gesture of kindness goes a long way in building a relaxing atmosphere in the building. You may initiate it or respond to it, but do not ignore it. Otherwise, your experience may turn sour quickly.

As cliche as it is, home is where your heart is. Give your rental all the qualities you want in a home and it will feel like one.

Things to Consider When Buying Kitchen Handles

kitchen interioir with cabinetsYou just had your kitchen renovated. Everything is nearly done. Now, it is time to do the finishing touches of your special home project: find the right kitchen handles.

Buying architectural hardware from Castella  for your kitchen cabinets and drawers may look easy as it gets. But this is one reason why we often end up having a loose knob or broken handle. When you buy handles, such as bow kitchen handles, it is recommendable that you consider function and quality over look.

Function

Maybe you have chosen handles over knobs because handles seemed more ergonomic. Knobs are less expensive, are easier to install, and offer a more vintage look. With a handle, expect a number of materials available. You can find wood, chrome, steel, bronze, and even wrought iron. The use of handles is a lot more fitting for pulling or opening up larger drawers and cabinets. The fact that opening or pulling a cabinet with a handle is more comfortable than the one with a knob makes handles a better choice. Also, considering the make or material used, they last longer than knobs.

Quality

Speaking of handles that last for a long time, the make is definitely an important consideration. Handles are more expensive than knobs because of function and materials used. Beware of cheap ones or those that look nice but would break after a few weeks. Handles come with intricate designs and styles, and such looks may not match use. Most of the time, avoid those with a shiny finish. They easily scratch or leave fingerprints. Hardy handles, like those made of cast-iron, are tougher and easier to clean. Quality should not be outshone by finishes.

Handle manufacturers can use design and aesthetics to capture a buyer’s attention. When buying kitchen handles, it is good to be guided with the use and make. Handles that last long should be the basis of their value.

Why Your Art Studio Should Be Set Up Outside Your New Home’s Bedroom

Artist on his deskArtists need all the space they can get for them to be able to practice their craft at a high level. For this reason, you may be thinking of setting up your studio inside your bedroom for convenience when you buy a new home. However, in truth, this does more harm than good. Here are just some of the reasons why you should never, under any circumstance, put up your art studio inside the room where you sleep:

Health Concerns

First and foremost, some of the mediums that artists use have toxic ingredients that can affect your health if you’re exposed to them for a long time. While it’s still perfectly fine to work with the said materials for your art piece, intentionally prolonging your exposure to these chemicals and solutions by resting in the same room can cause illnesses. Do yourself a favour and place them somewhere else, lest you want to risk your well-being and hard-earned savings when you have to cover for expensive medical bills.

Harder Cleanups

You will make a mess of both yourself and your work area trying to bring out the best piece that you can possibly create. Taking a nap amid the clutter can get quite uncomfortable. You may also get your sheets splattered by paint or other colouring materials, leaving you no choice but to replace them or have them washed. This can only add to your workload as you try to find a way to sneak laundry days into your already busy schedule.

Less Time for Rest

Artist taking a napArtists, like any other professionals, have to be on their A game every single day to produce ideal results. For that reason, you need to be well-rested if you expect to manage quality work. The truth is that sleep won’t come easy with all your art materials lying around. You can surely get to work on your piece once your muse kicks in. However, in turn, you’re sacrificing the hours that you should already be sleeping. Still, your brain won’t rest because your work is just within your reach. This will negatively impact the quality of your artworks in the long run.

Disrespect for Your Roommate

If you’re not the only one using the room, it is all the more reason you should refrain from using it as your studio. Whether your roommate is a family member or a partner, putting them in a situation where their rest will be compromised is a big no-no. Hence, you need to respect that. What you can do instead is to look for land to buy around Melbourne’s West where you can build a house with an extra room. You can convert this room to a studio instead of cramming your studio alongside your partner’s sleeping area.

Working at home should not mean that you’ll have to complete your art projects in the same place where you should be resting. Not only will it hurt your schedule and health, but you’ll also be putting your relationships and output in jeopardy. Keep this in mind when you do your search for a new home so that you can maximise your artistry and the pleasure of acquiring a personal property.

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Flooring

Tilings

Floors are often the overlooked parts of homes although people—quite literally—walk all over them. So, your floor needs to not only look good but also be able to withstand all footfalls.

Choosing the right floor means understanding which materials work best where. Flooring experts in Santa Ana can help you with these simple tips on picking the right flooring.

Location, Location, Location

Interior Design

Not all floors are built equally. Some materials work best in certain areas of the house so you should first know where your new floors are going. This can help you take elements like heat and moisture into consideration. Bathrooms are notoriously moist areas and therefore benefit from tile or vinyl flooring.

The amount of walking your floor will need to take is also something to consider. For areas with higher foot traffic, try heavy-duty materials like ceramic or porcelain tiles, or even carpeting.

Formidable Floors

Investing in flooring can be costly, so you’ll want something that will not only last but is easy to maintain for years to come. Keeping maintenance in mind can help in determining how much upkeep you want to do for your floors.

Materials like tile, hardwood, and vinyl are extremely durable against spills and stains. Regular sweeping and mopping can get rid of any spills and stains. But while built strong, these materials are also very difficult to repair once damaged.

Carpet is one of those rare materials that stains easily but is easily repaired when damaged. Once a spill happens, it’s best to clean up as soon as possible to avoid staining. It’s also very high maintenance, requiring regular vacuuming and cleaning.

There are plenty of other options to choose from like environmentally friendly cork to simple, polished concrete. But don’t let these choices floor you. Choosing the right flooring material is as easy as taking a walk.