Category Archives: Home Improvement

It’s Wise to Let an Expert Do Repairs

I’m always the last person to get any kind of repair work done because I have to try it on my own. Some tasks don’t require me to pay a person to come to my home and look at whatever is broken. I’ve successfully repaired a television and done some plumbing work. I had a problem with my air conditioner and tried to repair it, but things didn’t go as well as I hoped and I eventually needed Sacramento HVAC repair. I looked online for a list of common problems with air conditioners, and the first thing that was mentioned was the capacitor.

I found a capacitor that was the same as the one that was in the air conditioner and put the new one in place of the old one.

Small Kitchen Design Tips

If you have a small kitchen to design then the problem of designing a great kitchen boils down to just what you can fit and where. There are many different cabinet designs and surface patterns that can help you provide your small kitchen design with a sense of space.

To create the small but efficient kitchen design, you need to work on three major areas of small kitchen design: storage, lighting, and appliances.

Small kitchens may seem to be a very difficult design challenge, but they can also be functional, beautiful and efficient. Even with a small budget and building restrictions, you can find that there are many options open to you to transform your kitchen into something more ideal for your needs.

To create a more spacious look for your small kitchen design the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends designing more unique storage solutions, mixing natural and ambient lighting, taking advantage of more space saving appliances, and adding personalized touches.

A small kitchen design requires creativity in coming up with storage solutions. Some ideas to try include:

· Putting an island in the center of the kitchen that can provide freestanding storage that is also convenient from any spot in the kitchen.

· Using a galley kitchen design in which the cabinets and appliances line up on either side of a corridor can work out very well for a small kitchen space.

· Today’s appliance manufacturers have come up with more compact space-saving appliances make small kitchen design easier, such as refrigerators that are 24 inches deep instead of 30 inches deep, as well as appliances that can be hung underneath cabinets like microwaves.

· Other small kitchen design tricks to create an eating area in the kitchen include using a drop table or a small sized round table with two small chairs that can be tucked into a corner. Or a built-in counter along the wall with chairs to provide an eating nook.

· Another interesting challenge in small kitchen design is creating an illusion of space with under cabinet lighting or under the counter. With the proper type of lighting the kitchen can be made to appear larger and more pleasing.

· The use of light colored cabinets with glass doors.

· Installing deeper counters that can accommodate more appliances and increase work space.

· Flooring tiles can be placed on a diagonal, and in a galley style kitchen hardwood flooring can be run the length of the kitchen.

· For storage you can hang up pots and pans. This is a perfect way to free up cabinet space, and they add a certain charm and character to your small kitchen design. The insides of cabinet doors can be used to hang up everything from utensils, oven mitts, and other miscellaneous items. Pantry storage with units that go all the way to the ceiling with the upper cabinets to provide more space for seldom used items while making the lower cabinets more accessible with rollout shelves, lazy susans, and tilt-out bins.

· Install a large kitchen sink, since larger sinks are considered to be more practical than small sinks when it comes to cleaning pots and pans.

Remember most kitchens are small. When you look in kitchen design magazines you naturally notice that the kitchens featured are large and so you might think your small kitchen in inadequate. But good small kitchen design means being able to create space and incorporating ample storage facilities and being able to fit in all the necessary appliances.

Italian Kitchen Design Tips

Italian kitchen design is incredibly popular all over the world and for good reason. The sleek designs and bespoke features mean you get a kitchen that looks fantastic but also functions efficiently.

When designing an Italian style kitchen, remember to think about how you’re going to introduce a good amount of light into the space. After all, Italian kitchens aren’t often dark and dingy.

An Italian kitchen design will be very easy on the eye, but your primary concern should be the layout and getting everything exactly how you need it. This will ensure you’re finished kitchen functions how you need it to, which is the most important thing.

Storage is always a concern, but especially when you’re going for a sharp finish. But remember, it’s imperative to give yourself ample room to store all of those pots and pans.

After you’ve finished your layout, you can then being to think about how you’re going to add the sophisticated touches and sharp lines that will give your kitchen design an Italian finish.

To successfully create an Italian kitchen design getting the right fittings and fixtures is imperative. Make sure you shop around and get the perfect products, as the small touches will determine how successful your final design is.

If you’re getting professional to do the work for you, make sure you get at least three quotes to ensure you’re not only getting the best deal, but also the people who understand the look you’re going for.

If you manage to follow all of these tips then you’ll put yourself in a great position to get the Italian kitchen you pictured in your initial plans.

Laying Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is quickly becoming the preferred flooring option of many homeowners. This type of flooring is relatively inexpensive and comes in wood like options that are visually appealing. In order to further limit the costs associated with this flooring, many homeowners are turning to self- installation. Installing this flooring can be tricky, but if you are aware of tips on laying this flooring the process will be much simpler and effective. Paying a professional to lay this flooring can be costly, but installing it on your own requires only a small time commitment and a little knowledge.

Measure First

This may seem like a self-explanatory tip, but many individuals fail to measure properly before they make their flooring purchase. Proper measurements will ensure that you have adequate flooring and can complete installation without any major setbacks. One of the most important tips on laying this type of flooring is to purchase extra flooring just in case your measurements are slightly inaccurate. This will save you headaches in the future.

Make Repairs First

Before you begin laying your laminate flooring it is highly suggested that you repair any uneven or damaged areas of your sub floor. This will ensure that your flooring lies properly and looks appealing. Ply wood is the best underlayment material and makes a smooth surface for your flooring. It is essential that you measure your underlayment properly and nail it in to ensure that it is stable. Tips on laying this type of flooring will only be helpful if you properly install underlayment.

Choose Laminate Flooring That Is Appealing

Tips on laying laminate flooring also deal with the type of laminate flooring that you ultimately choose. It is best to select a laminate flooring option that is both durable, but also in the design and pattern that is most appealing to you. Laminate installation can be a hassle and you don’t want to have to do the job over again, because you are unsatisfied with your flooring selection.

Do your Rows In Order

Laying the laminate flooring planks requires precision and organization to ensure that the task is completed properly. A tip that you should consider involves using the last plank on a previous row as the beginning of a new row. This will make for more cohesion and easier installation. Laying this flooring on your own can save you money and allow you to gain more useful experience in the process.

Tile Flooring Tips

Tiling a floor, wall or any other surface enhances the beauty of the room and the décor but practical considerations play an important role in choosing the right tiles for a surface. Different surfaces have different needs when it comes to flooring. Some rooms like the bathroom or the laundry room for instance, are exposed to high amounts of moisture while other rooms like the kitchen counters are exposed to much wear and tear. Therefore, it is only natural that different kinds of tile are used for different rooms. Balancing the aesthetic requirements with practical considerations is a must if you want the tile surface to look good and last long.

The first step is planning. There are various kinds of tiles available for different surfaces. Vinyl, ceramic and stone tiles are some examples. Among stone ceramic, there are a variety of ceramic to choose from including marble, sandstone, slate, granite or travertine, to name a few. Natural stones tiles have become highly popular thanks to their unique beauty and good looks. The brown tones, beiges, reddish and golden hues of these tiles give a free hand to people who want to beautify the interior of their homes. Along with color variations, unique patterns are also available in stone tiles. However, stone tiles like travertine may not be ideal for certain surfaces. Since the stone is somewhat porous, it reacts quickly to acids. Any spills must be taken care of immediately to avoid permanent staining. Due to these reasons, one might want to keep stone tiles away from kitchens or laundry rooms.

Once you have decided on the kind of tile you want for a particular surface, it is time to choose colors and patterns. It is a good idea to take samples of certain tiles from the store and experiment with different patterns. It must be kept in mind that fluorescent lighting modifies the color tone of tiles. While light colors give an impression of brightness, dark colors are easy to maintain. Natural stone tiles may vary a little in color and pattern, therefore, it makes sense to buy a few extra tiles when making your purchase. Larger tiles may look better in certain areas and are definitely easier to clean. In certain cases, accented tiles may be the best option.

Tile prices may vary from place to place. Hand cut tiles are more expensive. Even so, it is important to look for reliable average rates before buying tiles for flooring and other requirements. Installation costs also vary from store to store. It is advisable to buy floor tiles from stores that specialize in the same as they have better selections. These days, it is possible to buy a huge variety of floor tiles from online stores too.

Wall Painting Techniques

To create a look of texture without the use of expensive paints or the use of a professional painter there are several techniques, applications and products to use in wall painting. Use this guide to matching your wall painting techniques with your home accessories and decor.

Faux Plaster

Creating the look of aged plaster is simple and less messy than using a joint compound blaster. To do this project you will need tissue paper-the kind you get in the gift wrapping section-enough latex satin paint to cover the walls, masking tape, drop cloths, a two inch brush and nap roller, disposable paint trays, and acrylic glazing. Tape off all baseboard and crown molding as well as door and window trim. After removing all furniture’s from the area, wipe down walls with mild soap and water and dry with clean soft cloth.

Crinkle tissue paper and set it aside

Roll on one coat of paint to wall surface

Smooth tissue paper over the wet paint with non-powdered vinyl gloves

Pat down the tissue paper gently with your fingers and apply a second coat of paint

While the paint is still wet, tear off any extra pieces gently and remove masking tape. Allow 3 to 4 hours of drying time. Once the paint is dry you can go back over it with a light acrylic glaze for an added antique effect called “tea staining”. This can be done with a medium mixed with glaze. This style works great with metallic wall art.

Suede Walls

Creating the look of soft suede is all in layers and brushing technique. A basic sponge painting application is used for this unique wall art look. You will need the following items:

Enough stain or semi-gloss latex paint to cover the area to be painted in two colors that are contrasting i.e. beige and sand, sky blue and pastel blue, light brown and tan.

Natural sea sponges varied in size that are cut with some pieces off a larger sponge to get into corners

Disposable paint trays


Nap roller

Masking tape

Drop cloths or old bed sheets

Two-2 or 3 inch NATURAL hair brush with angled edge

Begin by taping off trim and moving furniture’s from the area. Paint the lighter color on the wall surface first with one or more coats. While the paint is wet, use a brush to apply secondary color to the sponge and lightly sponge the wall in a random overlapping pattern. With the second brush, moisten slightly with water and dip just the very tip of the brush in the secondary color. With a short quick back and forth motion, begin dry brushing the sponged paint and you will begin to see how the colors begin to blend. Dry brush carefully, so that the undercoat is not wiped off and continue to dry brush the wall surface until blended completely and the desired look has been achieved.

Interior Wall Painting

Welcome back to “What interior house paint goes where and why” for interior wall painting. Like my last entry “of what interior house paint goes on ceilings” I’m going to explain what materials {paint} to apply when painting walls. So put your seat belt on, stick your drop sheets down, kick the cat and the dog out of the room and get ready to be injected with good, honest solid information about interior house paint for walls.

Firstly there are two basic types of walls, you’ll bound to have one of them, cause if you don’t your house will fall down! (God I kill myself) Anyway they are:

1. Plaster or wet set walls. They have even been known to be called soft plaster walls.
2. Probably the most commonly used material in the building industry, Plasterboard or gyprock plasterboard.

We’ll talk about No 1 in this post, being painting plaster walls. These are the most important walls to get right because the biggest mistake people make when doing this type is not sealing their walls. The most common reason is cost cutting which is fine until the paint falls of the walls, then it’s a huge job. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s an ugly situation you don’t want to be in. Literally the whole house will end up this way and its a job that never ends so don’t scrimp on your sealer. Get it right the first time and believe me you’ll sleep better too.

So a good quality oil based sealer binder is the answer. It does exactly what it says. It seals from moisture and other elements and binds the surface together to give you a nice surface that your finish coats can grab hold of and stick hard to. You’ll get no peeling dramas or paint falling off later down the track and it’ll never have to be done again. Now try to use a good quality paint where it counts especially when it comes to painting walls. Walls get marked easily, animals lean against them and furniture scuffs up against them. The big one, if you have children, they see them as a big blank canvas and begin their first attempts at art class 101. I’m sure most of us have been there, right!

Now a pretty standard coating system for painting walls has always been and for 24 plus years of my painting life is low sheen acrylic – its very washable with might I add warm soapy water… a touch of dishwashing liquid usually does the trick. Low Sheen Acrylic is very user friendly and like I said if it’s a fairly premium product is very nice and easy to apply. So don’t forget when applying paints use two coats and get a nice thick durable coat on.

Hiring a Move in House Cleaning Company

When you move in into your new house, the first thought that comes to mind is will it be clean or do I have to slog on to for hours to clean it? No more worries at all. Gone are the days when we move to new house getting it pre cleaned was a tedious task. Now you can hire one of the agencies that provide move in house cleaning services. They have the team of maids, janitors, moving helpers and other cleaning helpers, who are well versed with their task.

Just before moving ahead and knowing more about house cleaning services, let’s discuss why we need this service. Well, when we move to a new house, all of us some dreams about it and want to make it a palace. But what if the day has arrived and the house purchased is dirty , cobwebs are there all over. It sounds yuck… Imagine yourself tidying around the home all alone for hours… but still of little help only. You would be tired and next day when relatives and guest are around, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself to the fullest.

To get the job done easily and without much efforts of your house move in services are a great option. But, before hiring a house cleaning company, check out the services they are offering. For example: to get bedroom and living area cleaned, few things that you can look in their service catalog include: removal of cobweb, vacuuming carpets and edging them, mopping of dry wooden floorings, hard floor surfaces; tidy room look, make beds, cleaning of window panes and tracks, hand wash and drying of marble, general dusting, damp cleaning of flat areas, dust furniture and bric-a-brac.

Similarly for the other places like bathroom or kitchen clean, ask the company for the check list. This will help you in knowing what work is done and what needs to be done. Kitchen is an important area, where cleanliness needs to be maintained. So small things like cleaning of range hood ( top and front ), tidying of base boards, wiping of appliances like microwave, toasters, refrigerators from both within and outside, is very important. Besides this cleaning of chairs and table, removal of cobweb, disinfecting sinks, countertops; thorough dusting, moping of floors and emptying trash helps in rendering a healthy environment to the kitchen.

Some people like to relax in the hot water tub and have all the luxuries that of a hotel / holiday inn. So they have mirrors all over, cabinets and drawers to keep the towels and favorite shampoos and oils. But if these places are not cleaned properly, then one might develop certain health problems. So one needs to get the tile walls, bathtubs, sink mirrors, sink counters, shower, shower doors toilet seat, cabinets and drawers cleaned and disinfected. This will stop the microbial growth also. Removal of cobwebs, and general dusting are primary things here. To get the feel of the new bathroom , get those chrome fixtures cleaned and polished.

These are just few indicators that will help you in comparing the services being offered by a move in house cleaning company. It’s always good to hire a professional company. They clearly know the needs of the clients and plan the things accordingly. For this it is good to take the help of people who have got the similar job done for their home. You can also ask the company to provide references of people for whom they have got the job done. Some agents use their products and equipment for cleaning the house. For this they might charge extra. In case you want them to do so, then tell them if you are allergic to smell or ingredient that is been used in the product.

Solo Professional and the Janitor

I really got tired of trying to find a janitor who would come into the office for a few hours a month at a reasonable cost. For the past year or so, I therefore decided to do the job myself and have figured out a way to do it without being exhausted or resentful.

Here are some tips that will save you time and money when it comes to cleaning the office:

1. Supplies and Equipment – I purchased a few items to keep in my storage room so they are handy. A feather duster, garbage bags, paper towels, and air freshener are about all you need. The only piece of equipment that I have is a new upright vacuum cleaner with attachments.

2. Regular maintenance – When each client leaves after an appointment, I quickly check the room for things that need attention. Empty bottles are put in a bag on the door handle where they can’t be seen. Cushions are straightened on the love seats. Paperclips or bits of paper on the floor are picked up by hand. Books are straightened. This only takes a couple of minutes but offers good presentation for the next client.

3. Reactive tasks – I empty garbage cans when they are about half full. There are four in my suite of offices so one large black garbage bag is not only adequate for these but also allows me to empty the shredder at the same time. When I leave the office at the end of the day, I take the one bag with me for the trash bin.

If there is a need to vacuum – I vacuum. This is usually weather-related task that occurs when people bring in snow or mud on their shoes. Because I have a mat inside the front door and frequently work in sock-feet, I have noticed that clients usually take their shoes off and leave them on the mat. That helps!

4. “No show” dusting – It only takes a few minutes to dust each of my three rooms. Often I can complete this during one appointment time when the client cancels or does not show. Many times, I have found that I can actually do one room at a time in a break between my appointments.

Most of my clients are adults so there are seldom any fingerprints or sticky spots but when some do appear, a damp cloth can erase them in minutes.

If I thought that I had to spend an hour or two at the end of a long and busy week to clean the office, I likely wouldn’t be happy about it. Breaking the work down into little tasks that can be spread throughout the week, however, is an easy and satisfying way of doing things when they need to be done. It also reduces expenses by converting small periods of time into productive activity.

By the way, do you want to learn more about increasing your business profits fast?

How to Measure a Roof For Shingles

It’s time for a new roof on your house and you would like to have an idea how many shingles will be needed for your roof replacement. Skilled roofing contractors know how to do this. But perhaps you would like to know yourself. Measuring a roof is not always an easy task. There are a few basic things you will need to know for an accurate measurement.

Roofing Contractors have their own Lingo

The first thing you need to know is that shingles are purchased in what roofing contractors call “squares”. A square is an area that is 10×10 feet or 100 square feet. Normally for basic three tab shingles one square would require three bundles of shingles. Today’s architectural shingles are heavier and thicker. If you are using these it will take four or five bundles to make a square.

First thing to do is to draw what your roof looks like by looking straight down at it from above. Even if you don’t get the exact look a basic drawing will do the trick. The measurements you get will add up to give you the number of squares needed.

Although some are, most roofs are not just two straight sides. Many times there are dormers, valleys, and hip sections. That’s where it gets a little complicated. Seasoned roofing contractors are used to these and should have no problem in delivering the correct amount of shingles to your home.

How to Measure for your Roof Replacement

Let’s take a look first at an easy to measure straight roofing section. Go to the ridge of the roof and measure all the way across. Then measure the length from the ridge to the bottom of the roof. Let’s say the ridge length was 60 and the rafter length is 16. Multiply 60×16 and you will get 3,600. That’s 960 square feet or 9.6 squares.

If you have a hip roof you will measure the top ridge length, the bottom length, and the rafter length. Add together the ridge length and the bottom length and divide by two. Then multiply that number by the rafter length. For example: the ridge length is 20 and the bottom is 35. 20+35=55. 55 divided by 2 is 27.5. If the rafter length is 14 you will multiply 27.5 times 14. That equals 385 square feet. Remember we need squares so it is 3.85 squares.

The end of the hip roof or the triangle shape is an easy one. Measure the length from the top to the bottom and then the bottom edge. Multiply the length by the height and divide by two. Divide that number by 100 to get the amount of squares.

Adding Extra Shingles for Waste, Ridge Cap, Starters, and Valleys

Once you have all the different dimensions you will add those all up together. You then need to account for the extras. You will need to have extra shingles for waste, ridge cap, and starter shingles. One a straight two sided roof you should add 10 percent. For a hip roof add 15 percent.

You may have an even more cut up roof than that with dormers and valleys. These basic instructions will get you through that. Remember though, the more cut up your roof is the more you will need to add for waste.

Residential Roofing Contractors – Keeping them Honest

Roofing contractors regularly measure roofs and know how to accurately figure the size of your roof. Now when your residential roofing contractor comes to give you an estimate you will have a good idea how many shingles you will need…and if the contractor is giving you a precise bid.