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Bathroom Renovations

Flooring Is an Equally Important Aspect of Home Decor

The one aspect that most people tend to overlook while giving a makeover to their homes is flooring. Somehow, we have an assumption that it is not a very crucial part of home renovation and there is no need to waste time and thought over it. However, that is a completely wrong notion. When you think of your home, you have to consider it in totality. Each and every aspect of it is vital and you cannot afford to ignore any part. Why do most people spend so much money and energy in decorating their bathrooms then? When a guest comes in, he would not straightaway walk into your bathroom. But, in case he does, he will definitely deduce conclusions about your taste based on it. Therefore, you can understand you have to give equal importance to every nook and corner of your house.
People have really begun to concentrate on flooring and are looking for bankable options like hardwood flooring. This particular type of flooring comes in both unfinished and prefinished has its own features and advantages. For instance,one of the most prominent qualities that differentiate pre-finished flooring from the rest is this type of flooring, you do not require for unfinished flooring, the most advantageous aspect is that the seal is much more is because the finish is not applied board-by-board but on the whole flooring surface at a time. This easily seals the minute gaps existing between the flooring boards thereby protecting the floor against moisture.
Another reason why hardwood flooring enjoys considerable popularity among consumers is that it offers so much variety in terms of stain and surfaces. It does get exciting when you have a lot to choose from so that you can settle for nothing but the best. For instance, some flooring is evenly planned at the mill so that you get a refined and smooth surface. Again, there are hand scraped ones where the plank is hand worked in order to create a seasoned, contoured is mainly done for the purpose of giving a lived-in impression. The same variety can be found in the sphere of stains as well. This flexibility works strongly in favor of this particular form of flooring.
However,if you want to be a bit different, you can go for other options as well. For starters, there is timber flooring type appears homely and that is one strong reason why it appeals to a wide range of consumers. Add to it the rich colors they promise to offer. On one hand, you have species like Karri and Jarrah which are dark-colored while on the other there is Tasmanian and Blackbutt of the light-colored ,again,the Wandoo species boasts of honey present, recycled timber are also being used for flooring purposes thereby making a positive difference to the you want to do your bit for the environment, you can go for them and install them in your house.…

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Bathroom Renovations

Detoxing Your Space’s Space

The following is an excerpt from the book, Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In, by author/eco-shui design consultant, DeAnna Radaj. Enjoy!
Did you know that the air you breathe inside your house is more polluted than the air you breathe outside? In fact, the EPA considers poor air quality a top risk to human health. Indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air. But DeAnna, you’re thinking, I live in a quiet suburb not near a factory, so how can my air be bad? Carpeting, paint, household cleaners, fabrics, even the candles you light for ambience are all culprits in polluting your indoor air. Many of these things were created to make your life easier, however, they also give off vapors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause allergies (or make existing ones worse,) compromise respiratory problems, cause headaches and make life miserable for those with environmental sensitivities.
Over the last 30+ years, houses and office buildings have been constructed with energy conservation in mind. Doors fit tighter, if they open at all, and window drafts are a thing of the past! At the same time, a new wave of chemicals has been invented and injected into building materials, cleaners and household supplies. There are about 75,000 chemicals being used in everything from carpet pads to dryer sheets, window cleaners, dish soaps, hair products, air fresheners, bedding, aromatherapy products and pet supplies.
We talked previously about off gassing, but what exactly does it mean? Molecules break down and pollute the stale air inside our tightly sealed homes and offices. People often complain about “canned, dead air” inside airplanes, sick building syndrome at offices, or colds passed back and forth between family members. According to the National Institute of Health, we are “marinating in a broth of invisible toxins that cause everything from headaches to cancers.”
***The best way to get rid of “dead” air-open a window! Even in winter, opening a window or door for even a few minutes will help clear the dust and energize a space and it’s occupants. ***
What’s one of the simplest least expensive ways to clean the air in your home? Plants. In fact, one of the best ways to breathe clean air in your home is to have one plant for every 100 square feet of space. Plants clean the air by breathing in dirty air and trapping pollutants, and then expelling oxygen-rich clean air. Substances such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia (the afore-mentioned VOCs) are transformed, while keeping humidity levels steady. This in turn helps to keep allergies at bay. “If you are bothered by mold, stop it from growing by putting an inch of aquarium gravel on top of the potting soil. This will also help stop cats from digging in there as well,” states Avery Hurt in his article Freshen the Air from the March, 2006 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Although any kind of plant is beneficial, some plants do a better job of cleaning the air than others. They are known to be easy to grow and tough to kill. Fortunately, many of the best plants for cleaning the air also are traditional household favorites. These are a few:
Bamboo palm Boston fern
Rubber Plant Peace Lily
Spider Plant Corn Plant
English ivy Janet Craig dracaena
Did you realize that candles are one of the biggest indoor air polluters because of the materials they are made of, scented with and the prevalent use of lead-based metal wicks? If you burn a candle with a lead wick, every time it burns the lead is deposited on the walls, furniture and floors. Even these low levels of lead exposure can lead to lack of coordination, low-level fatigue and behavioral disorders.
In 1973, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission asked candle manufacturers to replace lead wicks with zinc. However, compliance is voluntary and often not checked. It is up to you, the consumer, to be informed and make smart purchasing decision. The best choice for wicks is organic, unbleached cotton wick.
***Australia succeeded in banning lead wicks in 1999. ***
Did you know that paraffin is a petroleum by-product obtained from oil refineries, and there are at least seven toxins (including benzene) in paraffin? Most fragrance oils used in candle making are also petroleum based. There are some good options however; candles are now made of palm wax, soy and beeswax. Also, when purchasing a scented candle, or any other aromatherapy product, look for items scented with essential oils and botanicals. These candles are available at most locations that sell this type of product. You may pay a little more, but these candles tend to last longer, have a longer lasting scent and don’t cause the sooting, smoking and blackening that can occur …

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Basement Renovations

Don’t Leave Home Without This Checklist – How to Buy Car Battery

Cars are a very important part of our modern lifestyle – we use them to go to work, to visit our loved ones, to go to the grocery, to spend leisure time. Our hectic days are very dependent on our means of transportation, so it is very important to make sure that our cars are in tip top shape and always running well.
The car battery, of course, is a very important part of car maintenance. There is no definite time span when you should change your car battery, but if you buy car battery of high quality and the right kind, then it should last for a very long time and serve you and your car for many miles. Here is a simple checklist for things you should remember before you go out and buy car battery again:
Check the size that your car needs. Consult your vehicle’s manual so that you would know what size of battery it requires. Car batteries come in four basic sizes: 37, 75, 34/78 and 65.
Check the shelf life – it is better to buy car battery that hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for a long time (this greatly reduces its warranty and actual life span on your car). Get one that has been there for at least twelve months. (tip: to know when the battery was manufactured or delivered, check the label on the bottom for the shipping date code. The letter stands for the month is was manufactured, and the number stands for the year. So a battery with a M8 label means that it was manufactured on March 2008).
Check if the auto battery comes with a good warranty. Warranties for car batteries will usually have two warranty periods: the free replacement period and a warranty coverage period. The warranty information on a battery usually comes in the form of two numbers, i.e. 24/84. The first number is for the number of months for the free replacement period, and then the second number is for the warranty coverage. It is usually better to buy car battery that has a higher free replacement period.
After you have purchased your auto battery, it is up to you to take care of it and prolong its life. Most people make the glaring mistake of leaving their headlights on in the garage, and then coming back to a dead battery and a car that would not start. You can install an alarm in your car to prevent these kinds of mishaps. Also, check if the car battery you buy is designed for extreme heat or extreme cold, so that you can choose one according to your usual driving conditions. Buy car battery with these things in mind and you can enjoy longer trips and a safer ride on the road.…

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Bathroom Renovations

Creative Up-Cycle Ideas For Home Design

Upcycling is trendy, green and economical, but all too often, upcycled projects look – well, upcycled. We’ve all seen those oh-so-crafty projects that use old CDs to make artwork on the walls, or repurpose old sweaters into sofa cushions. While some of them look great in any apartment living room, the typical “saved from the trash” decorating project really does look like it was saved from the trash. It doesn’t have to be that way! 

It is possible to turn trash into treasure that really looks like treasure. It takes attention to detail and a careful eye for professional finishing of your project. These tips will help you create beautiful furniture and design accents for your home from throwaways that you find in your own garage or at a local yard sale.

Start with quality materials. The best way to end up with a high quality upcycled accent is to start with a well-crafted piece that needs cleaning, repair and updating. Keep your eyes peeled for items at yard sales and on the side of the road that fit your design scheme, and that are basically sound.

Use the right tools. Good tools can make the difference between a frustrating, time-consuming project that looks slapped together and a fun, easy-to-finish new piece of furniture or decor for your home. The tools are dependent on the type of project, of course. A decent sewing machine is a must for sewing projects, for instance, and an electric drill with a full set of bits will make woodworking projects so much easier.

Start with a plan. Before you lay a finger on your project, decide exactly how to tackle it. Have a clear idea of what you want your finished piece to look like. Examine your starting piece to figure out what needs to be done to make it look the way you want it to look, then follow through on your plan step by step.

Clean and repair first. Any redesign or upgrade needs to start with a clean, sturdy base. Sand away any rust from metal pieces, and clean all surfaces of your piece. If joints are loose or rickety, tighten them up. Repair any parts that need repairing. Don’t let your eagerness to dig in overcome your good sense. This is a vital first step that will ensure a quality result.

Pay close attention to finish and detail work. The difference between a “craft project” and a striking piece of home decor is in the detail and finish work. Finish all seams on sewn work. Countersink screws on wood pieces. Clean up any corners and edges. Install the right hardware. Do whatever it takes to give your finished piece that finished look.

Creativity is great. Having an eye that can see a gorgeous planter in a paint-dripped old wooden ladder is a gift. When you couple that funky, creative side with meticulous crafting and attention to detail, you can truly lift a “home made” piece into the realm of “hand crafted design”.…

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Bathroom Renovations

Marble Applications In The Home and Office

Marble has been used within the hotels, commercial establishments and a variety of residential applications for many years, however the increase in popularity is nothing short of phenomenal when one considers the explosive growth of sales of marble for home and office applications of the natural material of marble and related products within the home improvement context.
One of the most popular additions of marble within the home and office is that of flooring and flooring tiles. This provides the setting with an air and grace in terms of d?�cor, and is practically second to none when it comes to those wishing to create that grand look within an entrance hall and even a staircase, that is normally the first sight that greets the visitor to the home or office in question. In so far as design of the marble itself, there are so many different options available that one is really spoiled for choice and can practically select an option that matches the exact look and feel required within any desired setting within which the marble will be installed or applied.
Specific to the flooring designs and options when it comes to marble, one can choose from the marble tile options, which allows for a relatively easy installation process, as well as replacement repair when a specific tile is broken, although this may not occur easily based upon the strength of the materials in question. In so far as the actual design options, and going beyond that of the availability of colours of marble, some of the most common designs include that of the inlaid medallions. These are ideal at the entrance of the home, and often times even complimented with an overhanging chandelier or similar type of attention grabbing light structure. The inlaid medallions can be as complex or as simple as one wishes, and the application of this certainly requires the services of expert within such marble applications. Common medallion designs include the square marble medallion and the round option, with additional more sought after options including complete floor design, bordering and subtle design options for those seeking a slight change to the neutral approach.
Marble is additionally incorporated into the home with columns and pillars, almost recreating the scenes of ancient Greece or Roman influences within the home or office setting. This also makes it ideal for implementation around a large fireplace or hearth and additionally providing that timeless classic look and feel to the setting within which it has been applied.
In so far as the selection of the marble itself, it is often times best to do so with the guidance of experts or specialists. This will allow the discerning shopper to realize the actual requirements of any treatments or related care of the marble which in turn will allow for extended longevity, beauty and durability regardless of where this natural material has been installed within the home or office environment.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Septic Tanks – Ensuring Water Quality

Understanding septic systems capabilities and limits is needed to ensure water quality. A septic system is a type of On-Site Sewage Facility and is a self-contained, underground waste-water treatment system. By using natural processes to treat the waste-water on-site, septic systems do not require the installation of miles of sewer lines, making them less disruptive to the environment. A septic system consists of a septic tank, a distribution system and a soil absorption system, also called a drain field. The septic tank is a watertight box, sometimes made out of concrete or fiberglass, with an inlet and outlet pipe. The septic tank treats the waste-water naturally by holding it in the tank long enough for solids and liquids to separate. The waste-water forms three layers inside the tank. Solids lighter than water float to the top forming a layer of scum.
Solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified waste-water. The layers of sludge and scum remain in the septic tank where bacteria found naturally in the waste-water work to break the solids down. The sludge and scum that cannot be broken down are retained in the tank until the tank is pumped. The layer of liquid flows from the septic tank to the drain field. A drain a series of trenches lined with gravel or sand and below the ground. The drain field treats the waste-water by allowing it to slowly trickle from the pipes out into the gravel and down through the soil. The remaining impurities are trapped and disposed of in the soil. The excess water is eliminated through percolation into the soil, and eventually returning to the ground water, through evaporation, and by uptake through plants and transpiration.
The Center for Watershed Protection notes that septic systems can be effective methods of water treatment, however failures are common in many areas. Even properly functioning septic systems can leak and are not designed to effectively deal with most of the phosphorus and nitrogen load found in the water it treats. Pathogenic fecal bacteria are also a concern. The primary concern for a municipality is proper maintenance of septic systems, and in some cases the total load of partially treated pollutants that can impact local drinking water and wildlife. A solid understanding of septic systems capabilities and limits, and a good government plan is needed to ensure water quality.…

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Basement Remodeling

Bamboo Flooring: The Amazing Growth, Manufacture and History of Bamboo

Bamboo flooring, widely in use from ancient times, is now making a dramatic comeback around the world and particularly in Melbourne. For the Chinese, bamboo has been an important part of their culture for many thousands of years. It was, and still is, used for a wide range of applications including: Houses, floors, kitchen utensils, furniture, paper, construction, weapons and even the shoots are eaten as a delicacy.
Modern bamboo flooring is made differently from its ancient cousin. It is refined, treated, pressed and polished for long life as well as great looks. This is essential for modern-day practicality and appearance which means that modern pre-finished bamboo flooring is extremely fast to install, long-lasting and beautiful!
Bamboo is actually a grass and there are many varieties of bamboo around the world. It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and can grow up to 100 cm in a day. It is literally possible to see a bamboo shoot grow! Bamboo essentially consists of a stem with a hollow tube-like structure, interspersed at intervals with vascular bundles in the cross section.
There are about 1450 species of bamboo in the world. They occur in Northern Australia, the Asian continent, sub-Saharan Africa and in the Americas. Europe is more or less the only place which does not have a native bamboo species.
Bamboo grows to its full height and girth in the space of 3 to 4 months. Initially there are no branches but as the bamboo grows older, the culm or “stem” hardens and begins to sprout branches. It is considered fully matured in its third year and ready for harvest within 3 to 7 years.
Bamboo, as a flooring material, has caught the imagination of many people as when laid, looks unique and has a beautiful, long grain signature. Most bamboo floors are made from the bamboo commonly known as Moso which is largely manufactured in China. It has characteristics similar to hardwood timber flooring which means it is strong and durable. It also has powerful resistance to insects and if manufactured correctly, is very resistant to moisture. Over and above all this it is considered very eco-friendly due in large part to the huge amount of carbon it absorbs during its rapid growth.
There are different techniques used in manufacturing bamboo flooring and this largely depends on local preferences, availability of bamboo and viability. In lower-end markets it is mainly cut, treated and then nailed to beams or larger bamboo pieces. With bamboo flooring Melbourne, the flooring is far-more sophisticated as it is highly processed and refined to appeal to modern customers.
The bamboo manufacturing process that is normally used is as follows: Firstly, the culms have their outer skin and nodes removed. They are then cut into equal sized lengths which are then sliced into strips of the desired width. The strips are then boiled in a solution of boric acid to remove the starch and sugars present in the bamboo which if not removed can attract insects and cause rot. It is then dried and planned so that all the pieces are uniform.
The next stage is the colourisation process. It is either used in its natural colour or it is carbonized to give it a darker shade. This is done by carefully steaming the bamboo under controlled pressure and temperature conditions. This imparts a brownish colouration to the bamboo. Since carbonized bamboo is softer, it can reduce the hardness of the surface significantly.
The pieces are then stuck together using an adhesive which is then heat-pressed to cure the adhesive. During final processing, planing, sanding and milling is then done to give it a smooth finish. An ultraviolet curing lacquer is then applied to the surface of each board.
There are different designs available in the production of pre-finished bamboo flooring. They are typically available in a vertical or horizontal design. In a vertical design, the plank will have each component piece stood upright on the narrow edge and laminated using side-to-side pressure. This gives it a uniform looking surface. In a horizontal bamboo floor design, the individual pieces are arranged horizontally on their wide edge and then arranged side-by-side before being laminated under high pressure. In this type, the nodes of the bamboo will be randomly visible.
Pre-finished bamboo flooring mostly comes with a locking system. The individual planks have interlocking joints which easily lock into place. Using a combination of careful plank alignment and different colour shades, a range of attractive designs can be produced.
Bamboo flooring Melbourne leads the way in highly finished, practical and beautiful flooring. There are many strong advantages with bamboo flooring and installation is much faster than for tradition hardwood timber flooring. On top of all that it’s very environmentally friendly and has been proven over …