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Category Archives: Home Improvement

More Reliable Than Friends and Family

The moving guys really came through for me when no one else would help. I was faced with the daunting task of moving all of my belongings from my apartment to my new home. I asked some friends and family members if they could help me move, but they were all too busy to do it. I had a feeling they just did want to lift any heavy items. I was beginning to face the reality that I would have to move everything on my own, and then I thought for a second about hiring someone to help me.

Creative Design Bathroom and Kitchen Wall and Floor Tiles for Unique Home Interior

When looking for creative ways to design your bathroom and kitchen walls, and in looking for floor tiles for your home, it is always a good idea to consider ceramic tiles. While they are primarily used on floors, they can also be used for walls. In fact, there is a growing number of homes and establishments that use ceramic for their wall covering, and for good reason. They are available in a wide range of designs, patterns, and colours, and its unique texture instantly lends a rustic appeal to your home.

Here are other benefits of using ceramic for your floor, as well as your bathroom and kitchen walls:

  • It is very easy to clean

Unlike walls covered in paint, wall paper, or tiles made of other materials, ceramic is considerably easier to clean. All you need to do is wipe them from time to time with a clean washcloth – whether you want it damp or not is completely up to you. They are also highly resistant to abrasive chemicals, so you can rest easy that you do not have to be extra gentle in cleaning them. Whether you choose a matte, glossy, or semi-glossy finish, maintenance will always be a breeze.

  • It is resistant to moisture

Ceramic is highly resistant to moisture and humidity, making it very ideal for damp environments such as bathrooms and kitchens. Furthermore, it does not swell or deform when exposed to very high moisture levels. This characteristic is what makes it perfect for floor tiling, so you do not have to worry about anybody slipping. All you have to do is wipe your ceramic floor dry when it gets wet.

  • It does not stain

Unlike other wall coverings, ceramic wall tiles will not absorb or retain stains, so you do not have to worry if you splash food, oil, grease, or even paint on your walls. Coupled with its easy-to-clean characteristic, this makes it ideal for kitchens.

  • It is impervious to fire

Ceramic is naturally resistant to extreme temperatures, so you do not have to worry that your home will burn down if, say, you attempt to flambe and the walls catch a bit of fire. That said, it also does not react to frost, making it extremely safe for any indoor application.

  • It lasts long and does not fade

Ceramic does not fade nor lose colour, even when it is exposed to the elements, and will retain its pristine condition for many years even with minimal care. It is also durable and long-lasting and will not crack, fade, or break under pressure.


  • It is odour resistant

Another reason why you should strongly consider using ceramic to cover your kitchen walls is that unlike other materials, it does not absorb and hold odours. This is very important when you do a lot of cooking in your home, so you do not have to suffer through having to smell an unpleasant mix of odours.

  • It is an eco-friendly choice

The process involved in the manufacture of ceramic is very environmentally friendly, as the materials used are all-natural. Also, unlike some types of paint that emit VOCs and contribute to health problems, ceramic is completely free of harmful fumes and toxins, making it very safe to use in any area of your home.

  • It is resistant to moulds and fungus

Because ceramic is resistant to moisture and humidity, it is also resistant to mould, bacteria, and various fungi, making it virtually impossible for toxins and bacteria from developing on your walls, thus keeping your entire family healthy.

  • It is more affordable in the long run

Yes, initially, you will have to pay a higher amount for tiles made of ceramic. However, think of it as in investment, especially if you consider its longevity, attractiveness, and durability. You do not have to worry about repainting it every few years, or replacing it, unlike when you use wall paper. It will save you a lot of money on upkeep as well, because it is very low maintenance.

In choosing kitchen and bathroom tiles, remember to always consider your household’s lifestyle, as well as your habits. If you do a lot of cooking and washing, you will benefit from using ceramic as your wall covering. Consider also the overall look that you are trying to achieve, so that you can best choose the tiles that will go with the existing design of your kitchen and bathroom. Always take your budget as well, as some finishes may be more expensive than others. Consult your interior designer or your tile supplier, as they will be more than able to guide you in choosing the right tile for your bathroom or kitchen, and can help you get the best bang for your buck.

Ways to Pick the Right Carpet Cleaning Machine

A search of the internet reveals a large variety of carpet cleaners, each company advertising that its product is infinitely better than all the others are. With the number of features available for these machines, it is possible for those unfamiliar with the equipment to have trouble choosing a machine. It is important to understand certain features of carpet cleaners and which is best for your cleaning needs.

How Carpet Cleaners Work

A carpet cleaning machine injects a mixture of water and cleaning solution onto the carpet surface. For best results, the carpets and mats are pretreated with the cleaning solution. The cleaning mixture penetrates the carpet or mat and breaks down the dirt and impurities present on them. The machine then extracts the dirt and impurities from the carpet.

Most modern machines provide heated output, which makes the cleaning process quicker and more efficient. Such machines have a built-in heating element and output temperature that can range up to 210•°F.

However, the efficiency of the carpet cleaning process depends mainly on two other factors: the quality of the carpet cleaning machine and type of cleaning solution used. The quality of the machine invariably depends on the quality of its components and the technologies it uses. The major components of a carpet cleaner include the heating element, solution tank, and recovery tank.

Heating Element

The heating element produces the output temperature of the water or steam. While non-heated carpet cleaners do not contain heating elements, they are essential parts of a commercial carpet cleaning machine. More delicate fabrics that cannot withstand high heat can be cleaned with cold water machines and cleaning solutions. For more demanding commercial applications, heat is essential. Some more powerful machines contain two inline heating elements, instead of one tank heating element. Such machines heat the output to its maximum temperature within five minutes, as opposed to the 15 or 20 minutes needed by carpet cleaning equipment that use a single heating element.

Solution Tank

The solution tank of a carpet cleaning machine is where water or a mixture of water and a cleaning solution is kept. The size of the solution tank varies based on the nature of the cleaning process for which the machine is designed. Tank size can range from 4 gallons to 17 gallons. With a larger tank size, the operator can continuously run the machine much longer before having to refill. High-end machines, such as commercial rug cleaners, feature a large solution tank, while industrial machines feature auto fill.

Recovery Tank

The recovery tank of a commercial carpet cleaning machine is where the extracted dirt and impurities are dumped. The tank is usually emptied after the cleaning process. Here too, large tanks allow longer continuous working time. Most commercial rug cleaners have a recovery tank with a capacity of around 15 gallons, with industrial systems offering auto dump capabilities.

Low Flow Technology

Carpet cleaning equipment featuring low flow technology limits water waste and shortens the drying time of the cleaning surfaces. This technology controls the water output of the machine without affecting its productivity. Such machines are handy in places where water is scarce. In addition, low-flow carpet cleaners ensure that the carpets and mats dry very quickly.

Solutions Used

The cleaning solution used is also very important, as its effectiveness determines the efficiency of the overall cleaning process. Consider using green cleaners from reputable suppliers as your cleaning solution. Green cleaners are safe and non-toxic and will not damage fabric in any way. In addition, the can be more powerful than toxic detergents by way of advanced green technologies. The super-small micelles of green carpet cleaners work to encapsulate and crystallize dirt and stain particles, so that they can be easily extracted with a carpet cleaning machine.

Tips to Use Fireplace Accessories

Fireplace Screens

These are the most noticeable fireplace accessories, so you need to choose them carefully. Fortunately, screens come in a very wide range of styles and materials. You should look at the various types and choose one that suits your home. Here are a few ideas.

Iron: Wrought iron is ideal for a homey look and a more rustic feel to the room. This can be painted, or it may be plain black.

Ceramic: One of the more versatile materials, ceramic usually comes with pretty designs added, often in painted style. Ideal for a Victorian room.

Glass: For a more modern look, minimal metal with glass panels is perfect. The panels may be smoked, clear or even etched with an elegant design.

Copper: A shiny, red-gold color, copper is often used as a mesh in fireplace screens. It offers protection from the fire and a comfortable warmth to the room.

Other materials may also be used, but these tend to be the most common. They are what you’ll find in all fireplace stores and can be very nice additions to any room with a fireplace.

Tool Sets

The set of tools that stands by the fireplace should go with the fireplace screen that you’ve chosen. That means they need to be similar in style. Look for more delicate tools if you’ve chosen a ceramic screen, for example.

Tools usually come in a nice set and the main variation between sets is the handle design. This can be chosen to compliment your interior design and there are hundreds of different options available, so you can pick and choose which ones work best.


These handy posts sit in the fireplace, holding the wood in and making sure things don’t come rolling out onto the hearth. These tend to be fairly visible, especially if you have chosen a see through fireplace screen.

Andirons are traditionally fairly simple. They tend to be squat and heavy so they can stop heavy logs from moving. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the more traditional versions. You can also find elegant ones that come in curved or crafted shapes and add a lot to the space.


A fireplace grate is essential since it holds the materials up off the floor and allows the ashes to fall down. This keeps the fire burning better, too, since the air can reach under the wood. While these are barely noticed, you’ll still want to put some thought into which grates you select. Cast iron is the best option since it will stand up to repeated fires, but you might prefer ceramic.

Log Racks

These sit by the fireplace and hold the firewood. They come in a wide range of styles to compliment how you decorate. Whether you want to go with a simplistic basket or a more elegant stand with elegant curls and designs, there’s something for pretty much every taste. Again, look for the style that compliments the room’s design.

Fireplace accessories can make or break the decor in a room, so be sure to choose very carefully. Everything from andirons to fireplace screens should be selected to compliment everything else in the room.


Tips to Apply Vinyl Clings

You can apply vinyl window clings to entrance doors, sliding patio doors, mirrors and other glass surfaces. They are available in a variety of patterns and designs, which can range from unique pictures to simple black window clings for protection against the UV rays of the sun. Moreover applying them to the windows transforms your room into a private haven. Applying the non adhesive vinyl window clings is quite easy and requires no additional effort.

You will need an application spray, a squeegee and a masking tape. To ensure good surface adhesion and avoid bubbles beneath the cling, you need to start out with cleaning the surface.

Use a detergent wash to clean the surface of the window and remove the traces of dirt and debris on it. Dry off with a lint free cloth and then use rubbing alcohol to remove any contamination from the glass.

You can either choose to apply the vinyl window clings to dry surfaces or wet the window before applying the vinyl cling to it. While dry application is usually preferred for smaller clings, as the scope of error in this case is minimal, wet application allows you to install large vinyl window clings with ease.

Moreover wetting the surface provides you the flexibility of removing and repositioning the clings in case of an error, which is unfortunately not true for dry application.

Spray the window thoroughly using the special application spray. Lay the vinyl window cling flat on its back and apply the application spray on the side of the adhesive. Remove the backing film and apply the vinyl cling to the window. Keep it taut as you set the edges of the cling to match the window’s sides.

Use a squeegee to remove the moisture and wrinkles that may form as you set the cling into place. Trim the edges with a knife and apply slow pressure as you do so. Slitting the vinyl to release air can cause the gap to widen excessively.


Added Security with UPVC Doors

UPVC is an acronym for Unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride. The “unplasticised” nature of the material means that no softening agents called “plasticisers” are used which makes it a suitable and strong material for large, solid structures such as doors and windows. It is certainly strong, and all uPVC doors and windows are accompanied by exceptional locking systems, impossible to open without the necessary key. The strong and durable nature of the material means that rotting cannot occur, the same of which cannot be said for wood of timber. Wooden window frames and doors that start to rot and split pose a huge security risk as they can be easily broken or smashed. Without constant attention, varnishing, sanding and general maintenance, wooden framed doors and windows don’t last very long, certainly not longer than just a few years. UPVC frames on the hand will last for decades and need absolutely no attention or maintenance work during that time. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth to remove any debris or dirt is all that is needed and your doors will stay looking great.

When looking to buy doors and windows however it is not just security that you need to bear in mind. The appearance is another important factor, after all the door is the very first thing anyone sees when approaching your house. Being house proud it is vital that a good impression is made that a nice front door can provide. UPVC comes in a range of finishes, so all tastes and designs can be accommodated. If you like the light, airy appearance of a white door then uPVC is perfect. If you prefer a more traditional wooden style then again, uPVC is the answer. With different colours and finishes available, uPVC provides the solution to doors and windows regardless of taste and required design. Wooden frames can become easily faded in the sun and the harsh outside elements and weather can severely affect the appearance. Nothing provides a shabby looking exterior to your home than badly weathered and split window or door frames.

UPVC is an ideal material to use in the home for windows, doors or even a french door. UPVC doors provide a solid layer of security in your home making break ins far more unlikely. They are also extremely attractive and a uPVC front door provides an excellent first impression to any visitor coming to your house. It is also one of the most durable materials which means every day wear and tear will not harm the frames and they stay well protected against even the harshest of weather. Once they are installed there is little work to be done to keep them looking great and there will be no need to replace them for decades. Wooden alternatives are prone to decay, rotting, warping and fading in the sun without constant maintenance and care. UPVC is a cost effective way to secure your home and dress it in an attractive way which makes them extremely popular throughout the UK and beyond.


Main Carpet Care Problems


Water damage is the #1 potential threat to your carpet. Water damage can be caused by flooding, leaky pipes or appliances, or other sources. The important thing is to first determine whether the water source was sanitary or not. Rain or water from a pipe leak are considered sanitary, whereas a wet carpet may be caused by a toilet overflow, and though unsanitary, may still be salvageable. A carpet that has been flooded by raw sewage or groundwater should not be salvaged. Anything more than a minor spill should be dealt with by a professional, but for small flooding occurrences use clean white towels and fans to dry the area.


Dirt, of course, is the enemy of any carpet, but there are steps you can take to minimize the amount of dirt that reaches your carpet in the first place. Use entry mats or rugs wherever possible – a large percentage of dirt can be absorbed before the room is entered. Dirt can actually damage the fibers through abrasion. It’s also a good idea to move furniture periodically, avoiding repeated foot traffic in the same areas. Regular vacuuming is important and it’s worth investing in a good vacuum cleaner with rotating brushes. Periodic professional cleaning is also strongly recommended.


It’s not always a simple matter to deal with stains. Effective stain removal is a science, with ph factors to consider among other things, but the homeowner can do a lot to treat stains without necessarily calling a professional. The important thing to keep in mind is to catch the stain before it has time to set. If it’s a wet stain, blot it with white clean cloth or paper towels first and try to absorb as much as you can. If it’s more dry or solid you can use the edge of a spoon, but before you treat the stain it’s wise to check a stain treatment chart, or better yet, if it looks like it has the potential to leave a permanent stain, call a professional. Better to pay for cleaning than to buy new carpet!

Mold or Mildew

If there is any indication that there is mold or mildew an any of your carpets, it’s crucial for your health that it be dealt with. Mold and mildew can cause mild to severe health problems and unless it’s a small are which can be treated with vinegar or ammonia, for instance, it’s strongly advised to call a carpet cleaning service.

Stained Glass Window Clings

To design the window cling you need to open the graphics programs and choose the size of the glass window cling. Purchase or download a clip art for the cling decoration from the vast number of clip arts available online.

If you are artistic then you can even design patterns such as flowers, animals, cartoon characters or novel abstract designs. Use simple bright colors and dark outlines to create your design as this allows easy printing. Intricacies in the design and use of varied shades in the clings might be lost when you finally print out the cling.

Before you can print it out on static cling sheets it is a good idea to first obtain a test printout on a plain sheet of paper. This will help you ascertain how the final product would appear and also make changes if required. Once you are satisfied with the output load the window cling sheet in the printer and print the image.

Use a craft knife to cut the image to size and reduce the excesses. Now peel the backing of the glass window cling and place it on the window. It is a good idea to clean the window completely to remove any dirt and then slightly moisten the window before applying the glass window cling. Make sure that you smoothen out the edges of the cling as you apply it so as to remove any bubbles or wrinkles beneath the cling.

With easily available materials and the technology at your fingertips to assist you, these faux stained glass window clings are easy to make and can transform the look of your house especially in the holiday season.

Follow this step-by-step guide to make a sun catcher stained glass window cling. However do not just restrict yourself to simple everyday designs and instead think of innovative patterns and designs.


Proper AC Filter Maintenance Tips

Proper filter maintenance is crucial to your unit! Filters are designed to pull particles out of the air while letting the air pass through easily. As the filter fills up, the space for air to pass through is reduced, making your air conditioner work harder to suck air through the filter. This extra work will reduce its lifecycle and it is much more wallet friendly to change an air filter once a month (more in summer and winter months when your unit runs almost constantly) than it is to replace your entire air conditioner!

Changing your filter regularly is also good for your health. The filter pulls dust, pet hair, smoke and other irritants out of the air. These pollutants can aggravate your allergies or asthma if you have them, and, according to The American Lung Association, they can even cause cancer! I know it seems like everything causes cancer these days, but if something as simple as changing your A/C filter can help prevent it, why not do it?

There are two basic types of filters: reusable and disposable. Disposable filters do cost less than reusable ones, but the cost difference isn’t too great, and you don’t have to replace a reusable filter every month. However, you do have to clean a reusable filter every month. Either way you choose to go, your air filter needs monthly maintenance.

Don’t know how to change or wash your filter? Here are step by step instructions!

Change your filter:
1. Turn off your system.
2. The filter will be located close to the intake-outtake blower (in most homes it’s close to your control box). There may be a door or panel that swings or lifts open; open it and remove the filter.
3. Before you install your new filter look around the edge to find an arrow. This arrow tells you the direction of the filter. Make sure the arrow points to the blower and is not installed backwards (check the direction of your old filter before you take it out or just as you remove it if you’re not sure which way it goes in)
4. Lastly, turn your system back on and make sure it’s functioning properly.

Clean your filter:
1. Again, turn off your system, locate and remove your filter.
2. You will want to clean your filter outside, if possible. Use a brush to remove caked on debris.
3. Vacuum the filter with your hose attachment.
4. Wash the filter with running water. Using a spray attachment on your water hose works best. Just remember to spray in the opposite direction as the air flows. In other words, spray from back to front (the debris is on the front of the filter, spraying from back to front will more efficiently clean your filter).
5. Let your filter air dry completely before replacing.
6. Turn your system on and make sure it’s functioning properly.

Your return vent (the vent that houses the filter) is usually located close to the thermostat. If your thermostat is on a staircase, the return vent is usually on the slanted ceiling above the stairs. Otherwise, the vent is usually located close to the floor under the thermostat or close to or on the ceiling above the thermostat. If you cannot find your return vent or just need help changing your filter, call your AC contractor.


Tips to Build Concrete Pond

Excavate a hole of almost about 15cm (6 inch) deeper and width should wider than the required size. You need to shape the shelves and secure the surface with soil. To prevent the wet cement from sliding to the bottom slope, make sure that the sides are not steeper than 45 degrees.

Remember, if your garden soil is heavy clay, then it has the tendency to shrink in the summer season. This sort of soil is not good for your concrete. It is better to lay 8cm (3inches) of moist builders’ sand layer. For those having sandy soil, no need to lay the layer of moist builders’ sand.

Next step is to apply the base layer. You need to line the hole with a 5cm (2inches) thick base layer of concrete. To get the stronger and durable pond, it is better to adjust the ratios rather than constructing the pond with a single strength of concrete. There are three stages involved in building a strong, durable concrete pond. The first stage involves the base layer. The base layer should be: seven parts of gravel (15mm), one part cement and three parts builders’ sand.

The mixture should be stiff but moist, so that you can easily apply it. Always prepare the mixture near the construction site so that it will not get dry before you apply it. Always wait overnight to dry the first layer before apply the new layer to get the strong joints. Apply the mixture of base layer to the hole. Wait for an hour or so, then take a stiff broom and brush the drying surface to make some rough patches. These rough patches help the second layer to hold the surface firmly. Leave the surface to dry for a night.

On the next day, use 5cm (2inches) of mesh wire netting to cover the base layer to strengthen the concrete. Make sure that you overlap the strips of wire by about 10cm (4inches) and tread it with your feet into the curves of the pond. Now you have to lay another layer of the concrete which should be 10cm (4inches) thick. The ratio of ingredients should be: one part cement along with waterproofing agent, three parts gravel (15mm), and two parts builders’ sand. Use trowel to level the surface and the edges. Also use sacking or horticultural fleece to protect the surface from sunlight. You have to wait for about two weeks before further tasks. In hot conditions, sprinkle the water on the surface.

After two weeks, apply the third and last layer over the entire surface. The layer should be 5cm (2inches) thick with the ratio of: one part cement, waterproofing agent, and four parts builders’ sand. Allow the surface to dry for couple of weeks.

In the end, apply waterproofing primer and sealant. Wash the interior and remove any debris or dirt. Fill the pond with water.