Repairing Laminate Floors

The best way to prevent your laminate floors from damage is to take care of them. By utilizing regular maintenance and care strategies you will be able to remove elements from your floor’s surface that could potentially damage their appearance. One way to protect your laminate floors is to sweep them regularly. This will remove abrasive debris that can dull your floor’s finish, cause gauges and discolor them. The second thing that you can do to keep your floors in good condition is to wipe up spills immediately after they happen. This will minimize damage to the floor planks and keep your laminate flooring from warping. Finally you can use a mild detergent or cleaning product to remove stuck on grime. Do not scrape your laminate floors as this will damage their finish.

If your laminate floors get damaged them you should try to address the problem as soon as possible to protect the integrity of your flooring. Repairing laminate floors can be tricky, especially if the damage makes it necessary to replace a plank. The easiest way to replace a plank is to use a skill saw to cut the plank from the floor. When cutting out the plank be careful not to cut too deeply. To fit the replacement plank you will need to cut off the tongue on the plank. After the tongue has been removed you will need to apply wood glue to the edges of the plank and fit it into place. Wipe any glue that floats to the surface. Finally tape down the plank to keep it in place while the glue sets up.

If your laminate floor is scratched or gauged then you can buy a repair kit to fix the problem. Most laminate flooring manufacturers will offer their own repair kits. These kits will have the right color wood putty to fill in the gauges in your floor seamlessly.

The Trouble With Granite

Your granite counter-tops are beautiful, and you were attracted to them because they are a natural product, but now comes all the news coverage of their potential health threat. How do you know if your granite counter-tops are giving off radiation?

The easiest way to find out is to hire someone with a Geiger counter to measure the levels coming off the granite. The truth is, most granite will emit a tiny amount of radioactive energy. What is coming off the granite counters is called radon progeny or radon daughters, and is the result of naturally occurring radioactive elements such as uranium or radium decaying. It can also emanate from basements, or any place the earth is exposed. In an outdoor setting it’s harmless, as the radon becomes diluted with fresh air. But in confined settings such as basements or kitchens, it can build up, posing more of a health risk.

If your counter is emitting just a tiny amount, this isn’t something to worry about. But some counters tested have hot-spots that emit levels of radiation that, with continued exposure, could cause health problems later on in life. And while some reports state that these dangers are more common in exotic colors like reds and purples, they’ve also been detected in the mottled beige to yellow counters that are actually quite common.

As gorgeous as granite is, it might be a good idea to have yours tested. The Environmental Protection Agency states that about 20,000 people die annually from lung cancer related to radon exposure. That’s not something to ignore. If your levels are low, like at or below 2-3 picocuries, it may be enough to install a good air exchange system in your kitchen. But if the level are high, replacing your counter may be the prudent thing to do. But don’t worry. Unless you’ve had these counter tops for decades, and work in the kitchen all day, you’re probably perfectly healthy. However, limiting your exposure to radon is always a good idea. It is probably best to consult a professional to determine whether your radon levels are high enough to be a concern.

If you haven’t bought granite yet, but are considering it, ask the supplier about radon levels. Find a responsible dealer that has invested in a Geiger counter. If the granite or marble dealer simply denies any risk, consider them uninformed. Of course they want to minimize the perception of risk. Their business depends on it. But a responsible business owner will test the product and only sell low to no-risk granite. That’s who you want to buy from.

Need Cash For Home Repair? Free Home Improvement Grant Money Can Help

If you have a home that could classify as unsafe, unsanitary, or inhabitable, you may qualify to receive as much as $50,000 in home improvement grant money to help repair your house. These funds are often provided by government agencies, but you can often find cash for home repair by uncovering private grant programs available to the public.

With a home improvement grant, the funds obtained can typically be used for material and labor costs. Each grant program has different terms, and you’ll want to be sure you are familiar with those terms in order to apply for the grant that is most appropriate for you.

In most cases, as long as you do not violate the terms of the grant, you won’t need to repay the money. Grant are provided as cash awards and do not accumulate interest, and you usually don’t have to pay taxes on the money awarded.

Grants for home improvement may or may not be available in your area, but by searching a grant database you can find what grant programs you can qualify for. For instance, if you are a student or single mother, you may be able to claim grant money for other purposes, which cold free up you spending in other areas.

An up to date grant database will allow you to see exactly what programs are available and how much you can obtain if your application is accepted. Access to the database will also help you with the grant writing process so you can be sure you submit the best possible application to get the money you need.

Why Modern Home Design Is Oh So Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was not only considered one of the world’s greatest contemporary architects, but was also one of the most prolific and controversial public figures of his time. He was a writer, art collector, philosopher and visionary, all of which combined to inspire his craft. An outdoorsy child, Wright fell deeply in love with the Wisconsin landscape he explored as a boy. “The modeling of the hills, the weaving and fabric that clings to them, the look of it all in tender green or covered with snow or in full glow of summer that bursts into the glorious blaze of autumn,” he later reminisced.

Widely known for four distinct architectural styles, his work stemmed from his belief that buildings should be made from the land, and benefit the land.

  • Prairie: born out of his belief that we needed fewer, larger rooms that flowed more easily and incorporated low pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, a central chimney, and open floor plans which, he believed, was the antidote to the confined, closed-in look of the Victorian era.
  • Textile: these took on a more linear approach, combined with influences from Mayan architecture.
  • Organic: this drew from natural resources, combined with the influence of Japanese architecture.
  • Usonian: smaller than his sprawling Prairie style residences, these contained little ornamentation and lacked basements or attics. These houses were set up into zones, typically with three areas: living space, small bedrooms, and a kitchen-dining area. Built-in components and furniture allowed homeowners to appreciate the simpler, integrated space Wright intended.

Frank Lloyd Wright was clearly a man ahead of his time. The design of many of his homes once seemed light-years ahead of their time, and people often had trouble understanding his vision, yet almost all of our modern home design and custom home building construction puts to use the ideals he thought so important.

The works of Frank Lloyd Wright are unique. No two homes or buildings look alike. He built according to his vision of what the future would be. He saw the need for homes to be more fluid, more open, more live-able, and less restrained. His architecture both documented a time in history and yet managed to push the envelope with his modern philosophical approach to the future of building.

Wright stood for clean lines and simplicity. He believed that a well-built building complemented its environment and surrounding. He disliked the intricate detail and fussiness of the architectural styles that preceded him. His ideals, words and foresight continue to be used as inspiration for modern home design and custom home builders. The echoes of his style are evident in many of the contemporary homes we see designed today.

The Art of Hiring a Contractor

I will be submitting articles on hiring contractors to problem solving typical to not so typical home repairs and improvements homeowners come across. If you have questions, please feel free to submit to this article and I will try to answer your questions. However, for today I would like to discuss Home improvement contractors and the things to look for when hiring one.

In a prior life, I was a home improvement contractor for a number of years and have experienced situations from the other side as a contractor. There are things that a homeowner can look for when hiring a contractor. These things are obvious. First, notice punctuality, Secondly, look at the vehicle that the contractor arrives in. Is it in disrepair?

Think about it a contractor that cares about his business would invest in a vehicle that shows he is serious about business. Now I am not saying he has to show up in a 50,000.00-dollar vehicle. It should be presentable. Next, does he shake your hand when introducing himself? Ask questions, look for tell tale signs. References, a good contractor has a following. Is he licensed? Is he insured?

Taking time to notice these things should help in your decision in hiring a home improvement contractor. Remember there are good contractors out there sometimes all you need to do is ask questions. Only you the homeowner can avoid hiring a wannabe contractor. NEXT: Tales from the Home improvement contractors point of view.

Enjoy All the Advantages of Affordable Venetian Marble

If spending got in the way of acquiring the super marble and granite looks and feel, read on about Venetian marble. Since recycling is everywhere in our fight to preserve the environment, salvaging natural marble brings us this solution to many dreams. Instead of the rather expensive cultured marble and granite, why not opt for the man-made Venetian marble?

How is Venetian marble made?

The reprocessed marble undergoes a procedure of pressing and heating with polymers and pigments. The result is a very strong, non-porous surface. Made of slabs in the factory, fabricators cut and polish it, ready for installation. You get VM in several attractive colors and enchanting edges for a fairyland feeling. Designs come to life in dreamy settings!

Among the Venetian marble, advantages are easy installations with little maintenance headaches, resisting bacteria and staining. Immense durability makes it appropriate for floors and shower enclosures, backsplashes and countertops.

Installations without seams

Without 48″ restrictions, Venetian marble is the first 60″ wide manufactured marble. With few seams, install it quickly and easily with little waste. Don’t you desire the most environmentally sustainable product?

Attractive color options too

Natural rock comes with many surface pits and marks from the wild underground through sustained earthly processes. Engineered stone is quite regular in coloration and surface consistency through the slab. Seams are minimal as a result and they suit applications where color regularity is preferred. Tibetan Beige and Coco Emperador are popular choices unless you opt for the more traditional colors like the Vanilla Sky and Melange.

How to maintain Venetian marble?

Compared to the conventional tile and natural stone surfaces, These marble premium surfaces present no maintenance issues. Simply wipe with wet cloth and even sponge and paper towels would suffice. If heavy stains occur, you need to use a mild soap. A neutral pH cleaner could also be used. A nonabrasive scrub pad will preserve the surface and result in many years of service with no hassles. A marble sealer is advised for additional protection. This marble being very durable, use it for backsplashes and countertops to provide the smart marble and granite look with a long life.

Venetian marble would introduce a great natural stone fantasy into the home or business at reasonable expense. Since many options exist, some are bound to meet your expectations, fancy, lifestyle, and budget. Survey our vast range of premium surfaces to make the best decisions.

Why TMT Bars Are Better Than Traditional Bars (HYSD)

When it comes to construction, it is very important to choose the right one. Construction becomes stronger and longevity depends on choosing the right type of building materials.

A few notable points before you take your decision for choosing the Steel bar.

TMT Bar

Thermo Mechanically Treated Bar
It is hard in outer-base and it is softer in core.
Highly weldable and corrosion resistant
It manufactures with hot rolled steel wires, which passes through water.
Highly Ductile
Ideal for all kind of Construction and Structures

Traditional Bar (HYSD)

High Yielding Strength Deformed bars
These bars have more yield strength
HYSD bars are not weldable as TMT bars and also non-comparative in terms of Corrosion résistance
The HYSD bars manufacturing process involves are both Hot and Cold.
Less Ductility
HYSD is also used for all kind of construction and structures but it is less recommended because of the less flexibility

So, what do we understand by HYSD

HYSD = Torsed/twisted steel (TOR Steel Bars)

HYSD = Cold Twisted Deformed Steel Bars (CTD Steel Bars)

HYSD = High Yield Strength Deformed Bars (Of course!)

AND, TMT Bars

TMT bars are manufactured by the quenching and tempering process which becomes the perfect for any construction because the outer surface becomes cool faster than the inner core. For this process, it becomes perfectly ductile. This technique is called Thermo Mechanical Treatment for which it becomes strong and flexible.

Advantages of TMT Bar

Earthquake proof

It provides the perfect combination of Strength & Flexibility that increases the longevity of the structure. It protects structures from an Earthquake.

Ease during the Process

It reduces construction and fabrication time because of its better Ductility and Bendability. Pre knit netting helps to eliminate the manual binding time.

Fire Resistant

It comes with high thermal stability unlike HYSD. It highly fire-resistant and protects buildings from fire.

Corrosion Resistant

Its manufacturing process makes the bar anti-corrosive. Water Treatment during its formation prevents it from coarse carbides generation unlike HYSD bars.

Elongation

TMT Rebars are highly recommended to use for weld joints without any strength reduction due to having less carbon in it.

Rib Strength

External rib across the entire length gives superior bonding strength during RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete).

Environment-Friendly

Superior Tensile Strength and elongation cause great saving which helps to reduce transport cost. It also saves 17% to 20% over normal bars.

TMT bars are always recommended and considered to be of all construction and while you are making your dream home as well. It is the backbone of all prestigious and valuable construction.

Types Of Mounted Mailboxes And Their Benefits

Keeping belongings safe is a must. Because of this, more and more homeowners invest in storage items like cabinets and drawers. Apart from that, individuals can also make use of other storage units to secure their items. For instance, when receiving mails and packages, it is best for homeowners to own a mailbox.

There are numerous types of mailbox individuals can choose from. These include freestanding, brick in and even mounted mailboxes. As of now, homeowners prefer to make use of mounted mailboxes. Of course, installing such box can be stressful. However, this type of letterbox can provide wonderful features that can benefit you. To know more, below are some of the most popular mounted mailboxes and its benefits.

Post Mount

One of the most common mounted mailboxes homeowners make use of is the post mounted letterbox. When using such letterbox, individuals are required to use a post and mounting board. As of now, post mounted letterboxes are made from galvanized steel for maximum rust resistance and durability. Apart from that, these boxes also feature a powder coat finish to make it more appealing. With regard to security, it is equipped with a lockable rear door. And, it is very visible which helps individuals send your mails and packages to your home easily.

Fence Mount

Another popular mounted mailbox is the fence mount. This type of letterboxes can be mounted into wood, brick and steel fences. Other than that, fence mounted boxes are made of sturdy galvanized steel and powder coated for added durability and style. These mailboxes also feature a stainless steel face-plate to make it more visible. Finally, a fence mount letterbox also has a key lockable rear door for better security.

Wall Mount

Finally, homeowners can also make use of wall mounted mailbox. This type of letterbox is installed into walls. With this mailbox, homeowners are rest assured that their mails are secured since it is created from sturdy 304′ grade stainless steel construction for durability & rust protection. Plus, it also features a weather shielded wide mail slot for all your A4 mail & documents.

Of course, there are cases when installing mounted letterboxes can be difficult most especially if you do not have the right fitting items. Fortunately, reliable providers can provide you with fitting items to help you make tasks easier and more efficient. Some providers also offer other home improvement products to make homes more appealing and valuable.

The Art Of Starting A Major Renovation

You have an idea about what you would like to accomplish with your home improvement renovation. You went over it and now the timing is right for you to start and complete in 2 months. Does that sound good? Well hold on there. You need plans, yes plans.

You see the building inspector is also interested in you home improvement project from a building up to code standards point of view. Well, this now involves an architect. I hope you thought of that and figured it into your time allotted for completion. This is the most common mistake a homeowner makes. You see Architects are very busy even more so than a home improvement contractor. Therefore, a home improvement contractor is useless until you can furnish him with plans. In addition, any contractor that says he can build without them is going to make both of your lives very interesting.

Now you must choose an architect. This also is a tricky task. Because they are so busy, you can wait for drawings for months. In addition, you need to scrutinize architects just as you would a builder. Because unbelievably there are some lets just say some architects out there that will not have your deadline in mind.

What have you learned? You need to start the process in the winter so that you can begin the project in the spring. Taking on a major home improvement renovation is a time consuming and stressful decision. You can avoid most of this stress by starting early enough so as not to rush. Then you can save all of your stress for when you are ready to choose cabinets and tile.

10 Things You Have To Know About Wooden Garages

Wood structures are pretty much the hottest fad in the real estate world right now. Log cabins are growing in popularity, backyard sheds made of lumber are hot ticket items and gazebos are an obsession. Even wooden garages are a big hit and you may be considering getting your own to take advantage of the many benefits it can provide.

Here are ten things you should know about wooden garages before you buy.

You Have To Regularly Keep It Clean – This is a big deal and one too many people ignore. Dirt may just slide off of metal siding but it can cause damage to wood. When you get a wooden garage you are committing to keeping it clean and maintained. That will keep pests out of the corners, or from burrowing into the lumber.

Staining Is Necessary – Another element to maintaining your wooden garage is staining it. This has to be done every three to five year to maintain the integrity and health of the lumber. If you don’t do it the logs will crack, blanch and possible let in pests like termites. The wood may also become warped or even rot from the inside. Luckily it isn’t an expensive investment, is simple to do yourself and there are many environmentally friendly chemicals to choose from for the tasks.

It Is Prone To Pests – As mentioned above, wood is attractive to pests. Termites, spiders, ants, rats, mice, even racoon..they like the wood. For the most part this won’t be an issue as long as you stain your wood, keep the garage clean and look out for cracks. But if you find a hole you should fill it as quickly as possible to avoid an infestation.

Materials Can Be Expensive – Looking at the cost of building a wooden garage you may be shocked by the discrepancy in cost when compared to metal structures. The other side to that argument would be how sturdy lumber tends to be, as well as how attractive it is. People who buy wooden structures are essentially investing in the property. When you look at it that way you will see why the cost can be worth it.

Pre-fabs Are More Cost Effective – If the price tag on a custom built wooden garage is a deal breaker it may be time to consider an alternative. Pre-fabs are much more inexpensive, fitting into most budgets. They come in multiple sizes with various features, such as automatic doors, or even manual double doors for a more rustic look. These will average between $1500 and $5000 for most models, though more complex garages can be more.

You Can Fix Them Yourself – This is a big plus for a lot of folks who don’t want to have to turn to a contractor to fix future problems. Wood is easier to work with than metal and you can replace whole logs if you have to. Any lumber seller, from hardware stores to wood based recycling centers, can help you find the right size, color, shape and weight to make a repair. But in many cases you can just to small patch jobs to take care of problems. If you maintain your garage properly it might never even come up. On the other hand, if you do need someone to come and fix it for you it isn’t hard to find contractors who can deal with wood. Metal repairs can cost more.

Damp Can Ruin The Wood – It can’t be said enough, you have to stain your wooden garage regularly! Staining seals the wood and keeps moisture out of the lumber. When the stain begins to breakdown it will no longer repel water. The damp will push its way into the logs and start to rot it from the inside. Warping will form, pushing the logs out and causing gaps where the wood has shrunk. Heat will make it expand again, exacerbating the problem. Cracks will form in the surface, letting in more damp and in some cases various pests. All it takes is a bit of rain when the garage isn’t properly fitted and you will have to replace full logs. Make sure you prevent it!

They Can Be Used as More Than Garages – Some people are choosing these structures, but not for their cars. Wooden garages make great sheds, extra rooms and even guest houses. Depending on the size you select (and that of your car) you might be able to share the space for multiple purposes. All it takes is a bit of imagination and you can turn it into anything you like. Because of the low price it might also act as an alternative to more expensive structures you were considering putting on your property.

They Improve The Look Of Your Property – Let’s face it, metal garages are ugly. They take up too much space, make weird noises in storms and are just an eyesore. Wooden garages look great, have a classic feel and are popular for a reason. If you want to make your property look as good as possible, especially if you are considering a sale in the future, this is a great step to take. Throw that metal garage in the trash heap where it belongs.

They Can Increase The Value Of Your Home – This is one of the biggest reasons people choose to go with wooden garages. There are many different upgrades you can do to increase the value of your home. Some people put in swimming pools, others go with guest houses in the backyard. Others put in a rock garden or install solar panels. Wooden garages are a practical upgrade the looks good while being fully functional. That gives it an edge to many of the other improvements, especially given the lower cost.