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Great Patio Door

fiberglass-patio-doorThe patio door is more than just an entrance or exit to your home—it’s an architectural detail. Whether you are remodeling your exterior space or just want a fresh vibe when you walk through the door, a new patio door can instantly inject style in your home.

From fresh and modern to rustic and woodsy, patio doors have the ability to subtly transform any space. Below are some of our favorite materials to work with and descriptions of why each of them can be especially beneficial when it comes to selecting a brand new patio door design.

# Fiberglass: Maintenance Free

Similar to composite material, fiberglass patio doors are basically maintenance-free. They are perfect for homes with children and pets, as fingerprints and wet nose smudges are easy to clean off of the fiberglass surface. If you’re going for the look of wood but want to spare yourself a few pennies, fiberglass is a great option. Its twists, knots and warps mimic that of wood’s natural look at a much lower price point. This classic fiberglass style offers a low-maintenance, relaxed style perfect for the active family or the older adult couple.

# Composite: The Go-To

An ideal material for patio doors, composite wood offers high-quality design with low-maintenance requirements. A composite patio door won’t rust, dent, split or warp, and it’s perfect for nearly every climate, including those with high humidity and moisture. Composite patio doors are available in a variety of styles and silhouettes, from relaxed and rustic to tailored and traditional. The composite sliding door shown above pairs perfectly with tempered, high-performance insulating glass and weather stripping for energy efficiency.

# Steel: Safe and Secure

Steel, the economic option, is a great material for patio doors. It offers strength and durability while simultaneously adding style to your space. A good choice for most climates, steel patio doors are super resistant to rust and corrosion. They only require a minimal amount of upkeep and are often paired with other elements like polyurethane insulation to ensure maximum energy efficiency.

# Wood: The Cult Classic

Last but certainly not least, wooden patio doors come in a range of colors, textures and strengths. Depending on where the wood was harvested and which type of tree it is from, patio doors can range from a warm honey tone to cool oak color and are typically made of pine, fir, mahogany or alder. Oftentimes, wood patio doors are painted over or have a stain applied for a worn or polished effect. Very sturdy and strong, wood offers a different shape and silhouette to patio doors that differ greatly from synthetic materials like vinyl and composite.

# Aluminum: Lightweight and Versatile

Another alternative to wood, aluminum offers a lightweight option to homeowners looking to keep costs down. Aluminum is corrosion-resistant and performs well in most climates. These patio doors often come with enclosed blinds—a set of blinds hugged between two thin insets of glass—to help control light and heat within the home. This is a great feature for families with small children or curious pets as the cord to the blinds is contained within the door or up high where it is out of the reach of tiny hands.

# Vinyl: The Sturdy Option

Vinyl is a strong, plastic material used for its durability and cost efficiency. Over the years, vinyl has picked up some serious steam in design, lending its strength to both interior and exterior spaces. While a synthetic material like vinyl may not seem sturdy at first, it has proven itself to have an uncanny ability to stand up to most environmental elements and works remarkably well in nearly all climates.

Finding the right patio door is all about evaluating your lifestyle and needs as well as your home’s interior and exterior style. From composite glass to sturdy steel, there are many ways to show off your home’s style with one simple element. What is your favorite patio door style?

Step by Step Repainting Furniture

repainting-furniture# Remove the hardware

Why waste time taping hardware when you can simply remove it? Henkler recommends taking off hinges, door knobs, drawer pulls and any other removable hardware. The DIY expert suggests placing each piece of hardware in a small plastic bag and marking the bag with the exact location of where the piece of hardware came from so you can put it back in the right place. “Removing hardware will give your finished piece a more professional look, and it will ensure that the doors and drawers close securely when you’re done,” she adds.

# To strip or not to strip

According to Henkler, stripping the paint off of furniture is only necessary if there are multiple coats of previous paint. “Adding yet another coat of paint on top of existing layers of paint will make your furniture finish look thick, it takes away from the fine details of your piece, and it could result in doors and drawers not closing properly,” she explains. If you do need to strip, use a paint stripper or remover according to the product’s directions.

Product recommendation: Citristrip. Henkler uses Citristrip because it is an effective natural product that doesn’t smell or burn your eyes or skin. It takes a little longer to use, but you can do it indoors and it’s safer for the environment.

# Fix your furniture

If your piece of furniture has cracks or dings, fill them with a wood filler before you apply primer or paint. “You can use a spatula or even your finger to apply the wood filler, depending on the size of the cracks,” says Henkler. Let the filler dry completely and then sand the repaired area smooth.

Product recommendation: Minwax High Performance Wood Filler.

# Rough the furniture surface with sandpaper

“You need to give the primer and paint something to stick to, so use sandpaper all over the surface of the furniture to lightly rough it up,” recommends Henkler. She uses a hand sanding block, which fits in the palm of your hand. “Sandpaper gets wrapped along the bottom of the block and the ends are secured in an opening on the block,” she explains. “You can buy them for a few dollars at home improvement stores.”

# Become one with your tack cloth

After sanding your furniture at each stage, whether it’s after stripping, priming or painting, use a tack cloth to clean the dust or debris from the surface. “After each sanding, you’ll need to remove the dust from the furniture surface to ensure you don’t end up with a grainy finish,” she explains.

# Get primed

Applying primer is a key step in getting a beautiful finish on your repainted furniture. “For primer and paint, I use a four-inch foam roller for flat surfaces and a Purdy one- to two-inch angled brush because these tools are easy to handle and reach into every corner and cover edges,” Henkler explains. “I recommend buying the highest quality brush you can afford so you don’t end up with uneven coats or paint-brush bristles in the primer and paint on your furniture.” Apply one light coat of primer and then let it dry. Sand the surface and use the tack cloth to remove dust. Repeat with a second light coat of primer, let it dry, sand the surface and again use the tack cloth to remove dust.

Product recommendation: KILZ Original interior oil primer. The DIY expert uses KILZ because it blocks mold and mildew while also blocking tannins from the wood from seeping up. KILZ oil-based primer will dry in 30 minutes. “You can also use KILZ latex primer, but it will likely need more coats,” she adds.

# Paint lightly

Henkler strongly recommends applying two to three light coats of paint rather than slapping on a single thick coat. “Light, thin coats are best because a thick coat will dry unevenly and likely peel,” she adds. “In addition, make sure you apply paint during optimal weather conditions — ideally when the temperature is around 75 degrees F and there is low humidity.” Extreme weather conditions can make paint dry too fast and crack, not adhere properly to the furniture or take too long to dry and invite dust, hair and even insects to mar your finish.

# Be patient with your paint

Let each light coat of paint dry completely and then lightly sand. Follow up with the tack cloth to remove any dust or debris before applying the next coat of paint. “Properly applying thin coats of paint, sanding in between and using a tack cloth will give your furniture a smooth, professional-looking finish,” says Henkler.

# Apply a finish

Once your paint is dry, use just your paint brush to apply a non-yellowing water-based polyurethane protective finish. Foam rollers can cause air bubbles to form in the finish. Henkler suggests applying one coat, letting it dry, sanding lightly, using the tack cloth to remove debris and then applying a final second coat.

Product recommendation: Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish. Henkler uses satin finish because it gives furniture a softer look, but if you want high sheen on your piece, opt for a gloss finish. It all depends on the look you want for your repainted furniture.

# Replace your hardware and set your furniture aside

After the paint has dried for 24 hours and is dry to the touch, replace the hardware in the exact spots from where you removed it. Then set your furniture aside for a few days to cure, which allows every layer of paint to dry completely and solidly adhere to the furniture. “For chairs, desks and any other furniture that gets heavy use, allow the paint to cure for up to five days, otherwise you’re going to leave marks in the finish,” says Henkler. “You went through all the trouble of repainting your furniture, so set it aside to allow the paint to properly dry and adhere to your piece.”

About Outdoor Lighting

outdoor-lightingMortgage holders trying to revive their bathrooms needn’t look any more distant than the restroom sink. Beyond question, the restroom sink can modify the general tone of your washroom. Selecting one specific sink style over another can without much of a stretch take your washroom stylistic theme from shabby chic to Victorian in a moment. It’s actual that paint and another shower drape can do ponders for a tired washroom, however these configuration components regularly work best just when consolidated with heaps of other outline components, for example, another mirror, another vanity, new ground surface, and so on. What’s more, frequently, finding the right mix for all these configuration components makes for a great deal of experimentation.

The following guide will give you helpful tips on how to install outdoor lighting for your home.

Basic Rules for Installing Exterior Lighting
– Check your local codes concerning exterior lighting. Carefully follow these code requirements
– Remember to use type Underground Feeder cable for installations involving underground wiring. The Underground Feeder cable requires a fuse or breaker inside the house at the starting point of underground wiring installation.
– For your exterior lighting installation, use only those materials that are approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL).
– Cable used for underground installations require a grounding conductor. Exterior fixtures must be grounded for complete safety.
– Use a conduit to protect the cable where exposed above the ground and where bends are made below the ground.
o Some local codes require the entire cable to be covered with conduit.
o Some local codes require outdoor circuits to be protected with one of two types of GFIs or Ground Fault Interrupters.
– Always remember to bury underground cable at least 18″ to 24″ deep. Cables buried at least 24″ deep are less likely to be bothered by spading forks and other tools commonly used around the yard.
– For any exterior wiring installation, be sure to use weatherproof equipment, such as boxes or containers.
– Turn off the electrical current at the main switch before starting any underground wiring tie-in.

Underground Installation From the Home
– Prior to installation, turn off the electrical current at the main switch box.
– For an underground wiring installation, mount a breaker or a fuse box. The breaker box should begin the installation, no matter the type of cable.
– Pass the conduit from the breaker box through the wall to where the weatherproof elbow will be placed on the exterior wall
–  Continue passing the conduit down from the weatherproof elbow to where it bends, 18″ to 24″ below the ground.
– Mount the conduit to the building foundation with conduit connectors.
– As stated before, some local codes require that the entire underground cable be entirely covered with conduit to protect the cable from yard tools.
– With carefulness and practice, you will learn to bend conduit easily.

Attaching Fixtures & Outlets to Buried Cable
– It’s important to plan your exterior yard lighting prior to starting installation.
– Strategize early to determine where to install weatherproof outlet boxes. Outlet boxes are useful in providing readily accessible receptacles for outdoor appliances, record players, radios, and Christmas lights
– Weatherproof outlet boxes serve as helpful outlets for spike lights, electric lawn mowers, and other electric appliance.

Weatherproof Switches and Outlets
– Weatherproof switches and outlet boxes can be bought in either flush-mount or surface-mount styles.
– Flush-mounted switches and outlets must always be installed in a weatherproof metal switch or outlet box.
– Surface-mounted switches and outlets are contained in their own weatherproof boxes and can be mounted directly to a flat surface.
– Weatherproof boxes can be mounted on posts or conduit when installing any switch or receptacle, other than the surface-mounted type.
– Flush-mounted and surface-mounted switches and outlets can be fully weather resistant when installed properly.

Installing Post Lantern Yard Lights
– To begin, dig a hole about 2′ deep with tilling spade.
– Pass cable up through the lamppost and fill the hole with about 12″ of concrete mix. Insert the lamppost into the concrete mix in an upright, plumb position. Use a long level or plumb bob to straighten the lamp completely before the concrete dries

– Protect the turn in the cable below the lamppost, using a bent piece of conduit.
– Use temporary stakes or four guy wires in opposite to hold the lamppost in an upright position until the concrete hardens.
-After the concrete hardens, fill in the hole with dirt and seed around the post for visual effect.

Create Awesome Decoration using These Things

We usually throw away what we no longer use, or what we can’t even sell. There is a practical principle you can use to ascertain if you don’t really need something any longer. Every mundane item you haven’t used in over a year that’s just lying around is probably ready to be thrown away. However, this cannot be applied to every possible item you own, and some of them have hidden potentials you weren’t aware of so far.

You can create some of the most beautiful decorations for your home or garden by simply modifying the items you’d originally throw away. Here are things we normally discard, which have a hidden aesthetic value you can tap into.

# Old Tires

Since we are on the subject of car parts, here’s another one you can use as a decoration or furniture instead of tossing it aside. Used up tires are no longer reliable, there’s no reason to continue using them and you can’t sell them. What should you do with them?

Turn them into furniture; that’s what. The most important thing to do here is just to make sure your tires are properly washed. Next, you can use some old pillows or any other sort of substance like rice, to fill the tires and use glue and rope to wrap them up. It can be hard to elaborate without a picture, but you can find all sorts of fancy tire DIY projects online.

You can make various other decorations and there are many different projects provided in the previous link. So, have fun making your own furniture.

# ld Hubcaps

The first thing on this list are hubcaps that you are no longer using. These don’t look good only on your wheels; they can also look great in your garden. With a little paint and plastic strapping, you can successfully transform old hubcaps into big flowers. You can put those in your garden or create a wall garden. You can use cable ties and attach them to the outer edge of your hubcap to act as petals. As far as flower stems are concerned, branches should do it.

You can use spray paint to add colors before you assemble the whole thing. To attach the stems to your flowers, you can use plastic strappings and, if you have some big leaves, you can tie them to the branch. Once all of that is done, you get one giant flower. Moreover, instead of a branch, you can use plastic or metal poles for stems and you can use painted cardboard to act as leaves.

# Crutches

In the event that you had a fractured bone or a sprained ankle and had to use crutches to get around, you are in luck. Sure, now you are all healed up and the crutches only bring up bad memories, but there’s no reason to throw them in the dumpster, since they can be used for all kinds of things. This project is simple but brilliant, and you’ll have a nice small shelf that you can put basically anywhere.

All you need are three wooden planks that you should saw in order to get three different lengths (each one shorter than the other) and some glue. Turn the crutches upside down and place them together to form a triangle. Put one plank on the bottom, atop the handles for armpits, place the middle plank on middle handles, and glue the smallest plank as close to the top as possible. You can see in the picture above to check how it’s supposed to look.

# Wooden Pallet

You don’t need a whole new bed; all you need is a new mattress and some wooden pallets. You can also clean them and re-paint them, and then just stack them together one  on top of the other. It will serve as one big wooden pallet bed frame. The next step is quite obvious; just throw a mattress over your wooden pallet stacks and you’re done; it’s as easy as that.

Of course, you can add various features and use wooden pallets to create all sorts of decorations, but the bed looks really nice and it’s really easy to make.

Upgrade Home Trends

Are you feeling the need for a home update? We all get a little bored of our interiors from time to time and the summer is the perfect season to give your home a little refresh. It’s super important to enjoy the space you live in. An inspiring home environment is vital, especially if you work from home!

You need to be able to enjoy the space you live in, and keep it fresh. A few simple adjustments and accessories can go a long way. You should enjoy creating the space you spend your time in, so it’s worth the TLC. So why not check out these top trends to help give your home a stylish and contemporary new look! Apologies to your credit card in advance.

# Slogan Cushions

Say it all with a cushion! Slogan cushions are all over Pinterest right now, they add a quirky, humorous touch to your interiors and they won’t break the bank. H&M are a great destination for budget cushion covers that say it all! Dress up your sofa or statement chair with a few different style of cushions for a homely, yet contemporary feel.

# Falling Ivy

Move over succulents and cacti, it’s all about the ivy now. Dot around in various locations including window shelves and shelves, and let it elegantly fall. It adds a beautiful touch to your home, plus, indoor plants are said to enhance your mood and have a calming effect. Time to stock up on ivy! It definitely looks best against a crisp white wall, perfect interior design.

# Velvet Additions

Velvet is definitely *the* texture of the moment. It may appear a little daunting at first but there are plenty of ways in which you can work this trend into your current home. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a velvet sofa, instead, why not add a pair of velvet cushions to your existing sofa to give it a little update? Or you could meet the trend halfway and opt for a velvet statement chair. Either way, it’s definitely a style worth incorporating into your interior!

# Subway Style Tiles

I just love these subway style tiles. Subway tiles adds a classic utilitarian feel to any area. They’re also very easy to do yourself! It’s a great little DIY project, so clear a couple of days to get your hands dirty. All you need it dark grey grout and a de-grouter and you can get started! I love the simple, clean aesthetic look and they can be the upgrade your bathroom or kitchen needs, plus it’s super cheap so why not give it a go? The style of this bathroom is just perfect with these white tiles. Did you know that subway tiles got their names from the ceramic tiles used in the early twentieth century on the New York City subway stations walls.

# Unusual Wall Hooks

Quirky wall hooks are a total must-have! Not only do they offer a great storage solution for bags, hats and scarves, they offer a little quirkiness to your walls. Plus you’ll find your hallway becomes a lot less messy! These circular ones look great and offer a minimalist vibe. Keep your clutter at bay, whilst remaining truly stylish.

There are so many benefits to keeping your home fresh and updated. It can enhance your mood and create an inspirational area to thrive in. Just a few simple changes here and there can really make a difference, and it doesn’t have to cost the world either! Take some time off to get down to a little DIY. You never know, you might just surprise yourself.

Make Your Window look Great

New windows in a home really go a long way to upgrading the property. A window isn’t just about security and guarding against the elements, it’s also about lending beauty and attractiveness to the building.

There are a series of things you can do horticulturally to enhance new windows and doors by getting the right plants to coordinate with the style of the property and windows.

# Sliding sash window

The thing with quite neutral windows such as these is to embellish both the inside and outside.

With windows like this I’d look to frame the exterior on the left and right using bay trees with a single clear stem and a topiary ball top. These would give it a real classical feel.

Underneath the window in front I’d also put a large window box. I wouldn’t mess about with lots of colours, I’d use vibrant vermillion-red geraniums.

On the inside windowsill I would put beautiful white phalaenopsis orchids, the moth orchid, to the left and the right. The contrast of the white with the red geranium would make the window look really classy.

# Casement uPVC window

These windows (main picture) often look lovely, but to stop them looking clinical a splash of colour and greenery can really make a difference.

In the right-hand corner I would put a yucca. A three-stemmed yucca with clear stems and groups of sword-like foliage coming from the top of it would really add a touch of softness and warmth to the room.

I’d definitely put a window box on the outside too, and plant it with pink and white flowers to complement the frame and to be an interesting contrast to the green yucca.

# Timber window

Window boxes would work well, again as big as you can get, as they hold more soil and therefore can hold more water, with a self-watering device on the outside.

I’d pick low-maintenance plants so that you don’t have to be opening the window to care for them all of the time, especially for any that you might put under upstairs windows. Then I’d use buxus balls on the inside with trailing ivy between them to give it that classical look.

The front of a property can look great with gorgeous timber windows. Adding climbing plants to the outside of a home like that would work really well. I’d plant a wisteria to grow up to the right side of the door and the left of the downstairs window and then across the house.

You can get a variety of different colours such as whites and pinks, but I would go with the classic purple, the Wisteria sinensis, which would look a treat and give a stunningly cosy feel.

# Modern grey window

Windows situated where there’s working space for a desk or home office work really well to brighten a functional space and open it to nature. However, it’s always nice to add some horticultural embellishment inside the building too, giving an element of foreground to the greenery and enticing you to look out and see a wider world of garden.

I would place on the right hand of the windowsill a low, not more than 25cm tall, chamaedorea palm in a nice white container.

Then suspended from the top right of the alcove I’d put a hanging container, either a macramé or a suspended pot. In it I would have tradescantia, a beautiful variegated-leaf plant that will hang down.

So you’ve got the palm going up and the plant trailing down, which would soften the corner and set off the framework of the window.

Worst Home Remodel to Selling

One of the best things about owning your own home is that you are free to make renovations or additions that suit your style. The downside? Many of these changes don’t appeal to others, making it harder to sell your house when the time comes. Here are a few to avoid.

Home renovation projects and upgrades are a great way to bring your own personality into your home. But that’s usually the problem when you go to sell your house — it’s way too “you.” We asked a designer and a few real estate agents what renovations and updates to avoid if you plan to sell your home soon, or a few years down the road.

# Fake shutters

These have somehow become the go-to addition on the outside of your house. “This can be expensive and, unless your house is colonial style, often just looks less than flattering,” says Solomon.

What to do instead: Install nice new windows that have a decorative element that’s timeless, like crosshatching or double-hung windows. Not only will they improve the look of the house from the curb, you’ll enjoy energy savings if replacing older windows.

# Swimming pool

“A major home improvement to stay away from would be the addition of an in-ground pool,” says Chad Dannecker of Dannecker & Associates in San Diego, California. “Not only are they expensive to install and maintain, in-ground pools usually take away from the home’s overall value,” he adds. “While everyone dreams of a beautiful pool, the cost is usually not recovered in the sale,” says Solomon. “The exception would be a fabulous infinity pool that takes your eye to an amazing backdrop of mountains or the ocean.”

What to do instead: Focus more on having a backyard that’s easy for entertaining, with areas for outdoor dining furniture, a barbecue grill and maybe even a small water feature like a fountain. If you really want a pool for the short term, an inexpensive above-ground pool for a few hundred dollars might be the best solution.

# An oversize outdoor deck

“Some people build decking that dwarfs the house, makes it look smaller and usually has little appeal,” says award-winning artist and designer Pablo Solomon. “Most decks require so much maintenance that you should build the smallest deck possible that fits your needs and the scale of your house and yard.”

What to do instead: Build a deck that’s useful for outdoor dining or entertaining, but keep the size in line with the house. “I also suggest using materials that last forever with little maintenance, like salvaged bricks, stone, concrete, etc.,” Solomon adds.

# Unique bathroom or kitchen remodels

Bathroom or kitchen remodels are some of the most popular upgrades, but it’s best to keep your choices modern and not too over-the-top. “Do not do anything over-stylized,” says Rohrig. “No buyer wants to buy a home with a new kitchen or bathroom that looks horrible to them.”

What to do instead: Stick with modern choices for tile, backsplash, countertops and cabinets. “I’ve had several clients say, ‘I can’t pay that much for a house when I want to rip out their new kitchen.’ Neutrals are best because it will fit more of the buyers that are looking,” adds Rohrig.

# Elaborate driveways

There are some incredible materials and designs out there for your home’s driveway, but do they really add value to your home? “Elaborate driveway concrete patterns do not raise the price in most people’s eyes,” says Mike Rohrig, real estate broker with Park Place Real Estate in Beaverton, Oregon. Another driveway mistake? Turning your whole front yard into a parking lot. “While you may prefer to park three pickup trucks and two cars on what was once a front lawn so you can use your garage to work on motorcycles, most people prefer a yard and a garage,” says Solomon.

What to do instead: Keep the driveway design and materials simple, but add impact with flowerbeds or other plantings along the sides of the driveway.

# An overdone, oversize entry door

Solomon says that a great door is a great improvement if it fits the decor and the scale of the home. “It is like here in the Texas Hill Country, where I have a wonderful historic 1856 ranch,” he shares. “The millionaires with thousands of acres have entry gates that are usually tasteful and modest. The people with three acres and a single-wide trailer home have a gate fit for a Roman villa.”

What to do instead: Focus on making the entry to your home welcoming. Choose a pop of color for the door that adds interest, then add potted plants, a trellis, a rock pathway or other details that draw your visitors right to your door.

# Shelters

Call it a safe room or a doomsday prepping shelter, but experts call it a no-go if you plan to resell your home anytime soon. “Prepping is a lifestyle that has recently garnered a lot of momentum; however, in terms of home value, it will not help and also often detracts from the final valuation,” says Dannecker.

Choose Bathroom Redesigning Contractor, Here Its Tips

What is the scope, budget, and timeline for your remodeling or renovation project? What portions of the project can you complete yourself? Are there any building restrictions or hidden challenges to consider? Have you consulted with experts (interior designer, architect, etc.) to make sure all your bases are covered? What is your contingency plan if you will be without essential home areas such as your bathroom, kitchen, etc.? Now put your plan in writing, as a road map for everyone to follow. Outline each step of the project with a brief description, due date, and point person. Before the project begins, communicate your expectations both with contractors and family members, so that everyone is on the same page.

# Don’t pressured by sales tactics
High pressure sales techniques come from sales quotas and are imposed on workers to motivate them to do volume work rather than quality work. Making these goals assures their livelihood, but sometimes at your expense.

# Be a skeptic
As the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.”

# Find a ‘friend’ in the business
All things being equal, select a likable project partner whom you trust and with whom you can talk openly about your project, especially if problems should arise.

 

About Carpet

There are many good alternatives for extending the life of your carpet. Whether you need to remove a stubborn stain, revive color in a faded area, re-stretch your carpet to eliminate bumps and wrinkles, or patch severely damaged areas, a skilled technician, in many cases, can add years to the life of your carpet.

# Choose a carpet cleaning company based on service offered
What is the best carpet cleaning technique? There are various types of carpet cleaning and repair methods on the market today. Commonly used carpet cleaning systems include: hot water extraction or steam cleaning; dry powder/dry extraction systems; bonnet cleaning; hot carbonation extraction; and dry foam with extraction. While there are pros and cons to each process, industry experts agree most approaches can provide satisfactory results when performed by well trained professional technicians. Make sure your technician understands his product and can sufficiently explain the pros and cons of his system. Be sure to check out other services, such as upholstery and area rug cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, and water remediation services, that they offer and match these with other services you’ll need around your home.

# Hire a Professional
Although most carpet cleaning companies will not guarantee spot and stain removal efforts, they do employ techniques that can save your carpet or furniture in many cases. Rust, ink, animal feces and urine, and colored juices are common household culprits that can be very difficult to remove. Professional carpet cleaning companies know which detergents to use for various stains; therefore, they are less likely to “set” the stain by using the wrong products. When attempting to clean a stain on your own, industry sources recommend to do-it-yourselfers, use nothing stronger than club soda and water, before calling a professional.

# Vacuum carpets weekly
Frequent and thorough vacuuming will greatly increase the life of your carpet and area rugs. Be sure to invest in a quality vacuum cleaner with a high HEPA rating which, by definition, removes 99.97% of airborne particles at least 0.3 micrometers (µm) in diameter. This is also beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers because the HEPA filter traps the fine particles (such as pollen, dust mites, and feces) that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Most industry sources also recommend professional carpet cleaning once or twice per year.

# Clean Air Conditioning system regularly
Air filters are designed to remove pollen, dust, ragweed, and bacteria from the air in your home. Over time filters become dirty and less effective, causing stress on your system and making it less efficient. As a result, more particles pass into your home’s air and, ultimately, settle into your carpet. Similarly, your HVAC duct system gets dirty over time, becoming a source of accumulated dust that eventually works its way into your carpets.

Maintenance Decks, Here It Tips

# Upstairs, Downstairs

Expand your entertainment options and utilize your underdeck. This underdeck features a screened-in porch and Tigerwood and composite decking for both levels. To maintain the beauty of composite surfaces, never use acetone or other solvents for cleaning. Warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush work best. Tigerwood does not require a sealant unless you want to retain the natural color instead of letting it age naturally.

# The Superior Viewpoint

A sweeping view can be yours if you opt for an open deck design like this one made of pressure-treated wood. Tip for DIY installation: If the wood is wet when first purchased, you can install the boards close together and the gaps will not be very wide when natural shrinkage occurs. If the wood is already dry, you need to leave some room between the boards so they can expand naturally over time.

# Deck Zen Zone

You can commune with nature and enjoy spectacular sightlines in anopen deck design like this one made of ipe wood, which is low maintenance (use only soap and water for cleaning). It will need UV protection to prevent it from drying out. A natural finish like teak oil is good for preserving the color of the Ipe (avoid colored finishes) and may need to be applied 2-3 times during the first 18 months of deck usage.

# The Gardening/Entertaining Design

In this practical dual design you can enjoy both gardening and entertaining on a Trex deck. To help maintain the deck’s attractive, natural appearance, a semi-annual cleaning with a composite deck cleaner is recommended.

# Pergola in the Corner

A pressure-treated pine (PTP) deck gets a stylish upgrade with a pergola and dining area. PTP structures are economic and practical due to a lifetime warranty against rotting and termites but they are subject to cracking and cupping in prolonged hot weather. To prevent this, hose the deck down occasionally to minimize heat exposure.

# Fresh as a Spring Day

This spectacular natural setting is utilized to full advantage in this elegant Sedona Azek Deck with Dekorator balusters. To maintain the warm, earthy tones of an Azek deck, use only cleaning and maintenance products recommended by the manufacturer. You also need to avoid using rubber or vinyl products (welcome mats, planters) on the deck as they may cause discoloration.

# Green and White

A dazzling white dual-purpose deck stands out against the lush green lawn and stone fire pit in a design that includes Trex Transcends decking featuring a rain escape system with hidden downspouts, Azek railing posts and Techno-bloc pavers. Trex Transcends decks are easy to maintain with soapy water and soft brushes for cleaning. If removing ice or snow, use a plastic shovel. To remove hard water mineral deposits, use white vinegar or a product recommended by the manufacturer.

# The Ultimate Backyard Layout

You can create a private backyard oasis with a design like this one which includes a spa pool, courtyard, built-in chimney/grill area and dual purpose pressure-treated pine deck. PTP decks have a light hue when first installed but will turn gray with weathering and sun exposure over time. To maintain the original color, you can use semi-transparent stains, opaque stains or transparent sealers on PTP.

# A Pool Set in Stone

A backyard patio/pool combination from Kane Landscapes features a fountain, entertainment areas and a raised patio of concrete, stone veneer, rectangular Penn and Bluestone. To maintain the natural beauty of your stone surfaces, do not use abrasive cleaners (like tub & tile products), vinegar or other acid cleaners. Instead use a recommended cleaner from the manufacturer. You can also preserve the stone’s color with a stone sealer.

# Is it Wood or PVC?

It might look like natural wood but this sleek, handsome backyard deck is made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which is resistant to rotting and oxidation. PVC eliminates the need to sand, stain or strip your deck and all you need to maintain one is regular cleaning with soap and water.

# Elevated Viewing

Want a deck with a commanding view of your natural surroundings? This composite deck is ideal for homeowners who want a long-lasting, low maintenance material compared to natural wood. Keep in mind that PVC decks can fade, buckle and harbor mildew after prolonged periods of hot or cold weather. But you can use a manufacturer’s suggested brightener to enhance the appearance and regular cleaning with soap and water will reduce buckling and mildew.

# Penthouse Showcase

A penthouse deck from Tabor Design Build offers a bird’s eye view of the surroundings in a stylish combination of a ClearVue aluminum and glass railing system, LED rope lights and Azek Tahoe decking. Azek decking is available in a variety of color palettes and is impervious to moisture and insects. Azek decking is also stain resistant and can withstand spilled wine and other liquids and foods that would mar ordinary surfaces.

# Sun and Shade Balance

This expansive ipe deck from MOSAIC Group offers ample room for both full sun and shade activities. Ipe is a durable and visually striking hardwood increasingly popular among homeowners. Tips for DIY installation: Use pre-grooved boards which will save you time in assembling; Carefully inspect all boards in advance to weed out any that may be slightly bent or warped; Use a face mask when installing to prevent irritation from the sawdust.

Finishing Your Basement?, Avoid These Mistakes

# Using the Wrong Materials

The waterproofing experts at Royal Work Corp. recommend using below-grade materials to keep your finished basement from trapping moisture and promoting mold growth. Don’t use fiberglass insulation against concrete walls. Instead, use a closed cell spray foam or XPS foam board to provide an excellent vapor barrier and high insulation value.

The paper coating on standard drywall will encourage mold growth so make sure you use a below-grade, mold resistant gypsum board. Interlocking panel systems are a great way to save time and space. Convenient wiring and drainage channels are built in to save even more installation time.

# Installing Flooring

I don’t recommend installing hardwood flooring in the basement area. A better choice includes laminate flooring. There’s a large selection of patterns and designs available to fit with any decor choices. They’re also scratch and moisture-resistant, so they are perfect for any application. If you want a softer surface, wall-to-wall carpeting is fine but be sure to select synthetic fibers that will resist mold and mildew.

# Checking Window Frames

Inspect window frames to make sure they’re structurally sound and sealed properly. You can apply caulking and weather stripping to keep snow melt and spring rains from seeping inside. Check with your local building department before finishing the space. Building codes may require a larger window for egress.

Take a walk around the outside of the house to be sure soil slopes away from the foundation. Diverters should be installed to take roof water safely away from the house too. Clean out gutters and window wells to ensure water doesn’t pool along the foundation. This will help keep the basement dry and your new room comfortable.

# Blocking Access to Equipment

Once you decide to finish your basement, you’ll probably want to hide all the unsightly utility equipment. Putting up walls may keep the furnace, hot water heater, sump pump and electrical box out of sight, but occasionally you’ll need to access them. Be sure to leave sufficient space for maintenance and repair work. Two to three feet should be enough area to work comfortably.

Keep shutoffs accessible in case of an emergency. It’s important to keep the area well lit and ventilated too. Consider adding a battery backup and alert system to your sump pump. If the unit is hidden behind a wall, it’ll be easy to ignore any problems until it’s too late.

# Overlooking Moisture Problems

Creating a perfectly dry finished basement should be your number one priority. You may be anxious to get started on your project, but overlooking moisture problems now will lead to major headaches later.

A thorough inspection of the basement area should be done. Look for stains, white powder, cracks and water leaks on the foundation walls and floor. Cracks less than 1/2″ can be repaired with concrete-patching compound or hydraulic cement. Condensation issues can be detected by taping plastic sheets on the floor and walls. Water droplets on the bottom side indicate you’ll need to seal the concrete. A dehumidifier will take care of any condensation that has formed on the top of the plastic. Apply waterproof paint to the concrete walls after repairs are complete to provide additional moisture protection.

# Forgetting Comfort

It’s easy to get so caught up in how your new room looks that you may forget to address how it feels. To keep the area warm and comfortable during cold months, install a separate thermostat and put registers at the floor. Electric baseboards are a great supplemental heat source and a direct-vent gas fireplace will warm up the room while creating a little atmosphere. Even simple area rugs will warm up cold feet on laminate flooring.

Don’t forget to switch over to central air to cool your new basement area in the warmer months. It will keep the room air dry too, so the air quality will stay fresh and odor-free.