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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Cowhide Rugs Are An Excellent Choice for Contemporary & Traditional Decor

How to Use Cowhide Rugs in Home Décor

Cowhide rugs may not be the first or most obvious choice for home flooring and decor, but their versatility, hypo-allergenic qualities, durability, texture, and naturally beautiful coloring make them the perfect option for a family home. Cowhide rugs are most often black and white or brown and white, making them complementary to almost every color in a home. The most obvious placement would be on the floor, most likely in a wide-open area. This creates a soft and safe space for babies and toddlers to play in. It can also go under coffee tables or couches to help fill in an empty area.

Cowskin rugs may be used in a variety of other settings though. One creative way is as a hanging piece. The rug can be hung in the back of a wide room as an accent piece and as a way to make the room feel slightly softer and cozier. This hanging option works especially well when the walls of the room are painted light blue, gray, or white tones. To make the area feel even cozier, there are a few decoration options to add to the rug. Small yellow lights can be strung around the rug, or framed photos tacked up on top of the “tapestry.” This creates a contrasting focal point while still not being too overpowering.

Cow skin has several other uses as well. For footstools or small chairs that are ugly, torn, or not complementary to the color scheme of a room, the cowhide rug can be draped over the top. It makes the furniture appear more high-end and comfortable to sit in. It also allows for easier cleaning of the furniture, as the rug can be removed and vacuumed or shaken out. Cow skin can even be used as a blanket. Its weight and softness make it a cozy living room addition for fall and winter. When not in use as a blanket, the rug can easily be draped over the back of the couch or placed back on the floor. The last option for cow skin may take a little more skill but will pay off in the long run. Smaller squares of cowskin rugs make excellent pillow covers. They can either be sown directly on to the pillow or fashioned into a pillowcase.

Both of these designs are creative and gorgeous and offer just a bit of interesting pattern to a room. While these skins can be quite beautiful and useful, it is important to remember to not use too much. Since they do have a unique pattern, trying to use this pattern in several locations in the same room can look unplanned and chaotic. Including these cow skins in your home will make any room look unique. Their durability makes them great for a family, while their sleekness also makes them elegant. For those who want the lighthearted ambience of a fur rug, but do not want to suffer through allergies, their hypo-allergenic qualities allow almost everyone to enjoy these gorgeous rugs. Visit cowhiderugs.co.uk to see a full range of cowhides.

Removing Snow And Ice in Your Home

Shovelling Your Driveway

Slips and falls can be prevented when you keep your driveway and walkway clear of snow and ice. It is very crucial that you keep some safety tips in mind each time you shovel.

Know if you must not shovel – There are certain people who are prone to injuries if they shovel snow. If you have a history of cardiac problems, avoid doing this activity.

Dress appropriately – It can be tempting to just run out and remove the snow and ice on your walkway regardless of what you are wearing. If you dress the right clothing for this activity, injuries can be prevented. It is highly advised that you dress in layers – wear a head covering, a scarf, warm socks, and gloves. Moreover, wear waterproof booth with slip-resistant soles.

Use the right shovel – Make sure to use the shovel that fits your body size and your level of strength. Choose one that has a handle that is the right length for your height. If you use one that has short handle, you may be leaning forward more. This will put you the risk of a back injury. Most importantly, choose one that is very comfortable to use.

Be cautious with deep snow – You must remove the snow when the ground is lightly covered. This will reduce the accumulation of packed, heavy snow. Instead of lifting the snow, just push it. But if lifting it is necessary, do not overload the shovel. And when the snow is deep already, remove it in layers.

Always stay hydrated – When you go out to shovel, drink a bottle of water. After that, drink regularly so you don’t become dehydrated. Avoid overexerting as well. This means that you have to take breaks often. You can go indoors to warm up. And if you feel any pressure or pain in your chest, immediately call your doctor.

Removing Ice

Aside from paying attention to your footing, here are other safety tips when doing this activity.

Purchase the right chemical products – An efficient way of melting the ice is putting a layer of rock salt on icy areas. Be reminded though that rock salt can damage concrete and metal surfaces. This is also harmful to plants. Prior to using any ice melting products, you must carefully read the labels.

Remove icicles – You need to get rid of any hanging icicles from gutters and roof edges. This will prevent injuries to children if they fall.

Make Home Child Friendly

Stairs

The stairs in home is the first one you should inspect. The danger of being careless when using stairs needs no explanation. Even adults easily get injured when they go up and down the stairs recklessly. And the injuries from stair-related accidents are often serious. Here are some ways to make stairs safer.

· Adding a slip-proof matting on individual steps

· Adding a soft rubber mat on the exact spot where the stair ends on the bottom to reduce injury

Bathrooms

The danger in the bathroom is slipping. Young and old people can fall victim to the lack of friction caused by soapy wet tiles. But sometimes, there is no way around it. Bathroom tiles will get wet and slippery. Here’s what you can do.

· Place anti-slip plastic or rubber mats on the bathroom floor

· Change the tiles with anti-slip tiles through renovation

· Add some soft cushion on the corners of the sink and rubber cushion on the toilet seat to avoid injuries.

· Make sure that the soap is secured in the tray so it does not accidentally fall off and cause an accident.

Kitchen

The kitchen is the place where you cook your food, but it is not the place for children to be alone by themselves. Unfortunately, they do sometimes come to the kitchen and play with whatever they can find there including knives, forks, and other sharp objects.

· Make sure that the oven has child safety features so they can’t open it and come inside.

· Secure knives in high places so children can’t reach it.

Electrical outlets

Electricity is important for our modern society, but they are not supposed to come into contact with human skin because they can cause myriad injuries. Most adults know better than to poke their bare hands inside an electrical outlet, but not children. One of the common causes of child accidents is electrocution. So if you have children, make sure your electric outlets are safe.

· Installing power outlet covers help a lot in keeping your child safe especially if the outlet is not being used.

· Covering outlets with furniture so it is difficult to reach by children

· Renovating the house to transfer outlets higher beyond the reach of kids

Protect Home From Winter

Icicles hanging from a drainpipe on the exterior of a house

The winter season brings with it challenges that aren’t purely seasonal in nature; the holiday season comes with a heavy increase in foot traffic around the house as people spend a lot of time indoors. This double effect can combine to do some real damage to your beautiful hardwood floors if you aren’t prepared. Let’s take a quick look at how the changing season can harm your flooring and how you can prevent this from happening.

Common Winter Elemental Damages

Gap formation: The air that your air-conditioning systems will be circulating throughout your home in the winter season is much drier than the type of air that circulates during the summer months. The effect this has on wood is that it causes it to slightly lose its moisture content, leading to the creation of small gaps where planks meet. You shouldn’t worry too much about this, as it’s to be expected. Once temperatures warm up, they will absorb a bit of moisture and return to normal.

Scratches and scrapes: Mud, salt, dead leaves, dirt, and snow can all combine to create unsightly scratches and scrapes on your floors once they are unintentionally brought into the house on the bottoms of boots and shoes.

Rot: If left to lie untouched for long enough, some of these winter elements can make their way into your flooring, causing the wood to rot. This is to be avoided at all costs, as serious cases might make it necessary to seek professional services to repair.
What Can I Do to Avoid Them?

Maintain temperatures: What leads to the creation of gaps in your flooring is the changing temperature levels and humidity. A good way to counteract this effect is to maintain your thermostat settings at a constant even temperature, avoiding turning your heat up and down.

Clean up: Regularly sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your floors prevents the build-up of sludge and leftover snow that might eventually lead to rot.

Take the shoes off: Simply taking off shoes and boots before coming indoors will go a long way in avoiding most of the winter-borne floor difficulties. Before they come indoors, have your family and friends take note!

Cover up: Rugs, carpets, and floor-mats are a great way to protect your floors, especially in high-traffic areas which experience the most stress. Unwanted elements simply won’t have the chance to get at your floors.

Exterior Wood Surfaces

You need your deck, log cabin, wood siding, or for that matter, any surface on your valuable property restored it is important to define exactly what you want done and then make sure you or the contractor know how to accomplish the task to meet your desired result. First, we need to define a few terms.

Restoration – The action of returning to a former owner, place, or condition. The act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, by replacing it, cleaning it, etc.

Cleaning – Make (something or someone) free of dirt, marks, mess, especially washing, or brushing. The activity of removing the dirt from things and places.

Washing – To cleanse by or as if by the action of liquid (as water). To remove (as dirt) by rubbing or drenching with liquid.

Blasting – The shock wave of an explosion (in this case with water). A forcible stream of air, gas, or stream from an opening (in most cases water from a pressure washer).

Vandalism – Willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property. Willful or IGNORANT destruction. ANY activity that is considered to be damaging or destroying something that was good.

Most people want their valuable home, deck, or other structure restored to a “like new” condition. Sometimes this can happen by cleaning but that is not the case with wood surfaces. The goal for wood surfaces is to restore it to a former condition as defined above. To do this let’s address the other processes that contractors use. Today you get different trades that state they work on decks or exterior wood surfaces but how are they performing their work? There is a trend toward using an extreme amount of chemicals to “soft wash” wood surfaces. What these contractors are actually doing in most cases is spraying a higher than recommended dilution of bleach which lightens the surface and initially “wows” you with the result. A couple of items with this process, BLEACH DOES NOT CLEAN it lightens and remediates mold and mildew. Soap and detergents clean. When these contractors bleach your wood with too strong of a solution it can hurt landscape and other surroundings. Applying too much bleach can result in leaving it IN the wood where it will dry the wood out and could cause it to prematurely decay. Applying too much bleach, too strong to wood surfaces can cause it to burn the wood and cause excess fuzziness to the wood. The contractors who are selling you this service are not selling restoration services, they are basically selling you snake oil and taking your money while damaging your property. See vandalism above! The next item regarding restoration of wood is that most of these surfaces have grayed from exposure to the sun. What happens is that these surface wood fibers that have grayed need to be removed with a light amount of pressure or brushing and rinsing. Many of these contractors who are just applying bleach are just lightening the color of these fibers and not removing them. What happens next is when you apply a sealer or stain to the surface it fails and becomes blotchy in appearance quickly. This is because that eventually these fibers begin to separate from the wood surface because it was not properly prepped for coating. All wood restoration contractors know that the optimal final appearance is determined by how well the prep work that goes into it.

There are other contractors who “pressure wash” your wood surfaces to “restore” them. While this may not be a bad method, it is not if it used as a tool to rinse with only. Matter of fact, wood surfaces used with the right product always require less than 1000psi and in most cases 600psi or less is all that is needed. Softwood species like cedar requires less pressure while hardwood species like mahogany or Ipe withstand higher pressure. Many homeowners think that the pressure washer “cleans and restores” surfaces. This is so wrong, just ask a neighbor that has ruined or damaged a surface using a pressure washer in this way. Let’s look at this closer, how does pressure clean? Too much pressure will damage and possibly destroy your valuable property. The restoration process uses cleaners, restorers, strippers, brighteners and so forth to do the actual work. Actually, the first step is to remove grayed wood fibers or strip an older coating. In these situations we use surfactants that help lift and remove the wood fibers or older coatings from the surface where they now just need to be lightly rinsed off with no damaging pressure. A good analogy would be cleaning your oven, when you apply an oven cleaner to the surfaces and allow to dwell for 20 minutes it is an easy wipe down and clean. If you did not use the oven cleaner, you would spend a lot of time using quite a bit of elbow grease to clean. When cleaning and restoring surfaces this procedure should still be used, use the right product and allow to dwell to make the job easier. It is so important to make sure you or your contractor is using more than just pressurized water. Pressurized water is basically blasting the surface and blasting wood surfaces will not restore anything.

Low Cost Home Improvements

Keep it clean and keep it simple!

A clean and neat house is appealing and eye-catching. You can start improving the appearance of your house simply by cleaning out the debris. Try making your garden look like an ideal place with some weeding and cleaning out the flower beds. Paint the front door to give your home a more welcoming feeling.

De-cluttering is also a part of cleaning, so get rid of things you don’t need to make room for new ones. The first glance is usually enough for a selective buyer to quickly estimate a house.

Does the exterior of your home need repainting? Is there a walkway that you can highlight by introducing some flowers? Remember to keep it simple. Focus on making things neat and tidy.

Two hot spots of every home:

The two most closely inspected rooms of a house are the kitchen and the master bathroom. If you are looking to focus on two hot spots, these are the interior rooms where the most value can be added during a sale, so make them look their best to increase your return on investment.

Is your kitchen may be in need of an upgrade? A well updated kitchen will dramatically increase the value of your home, so focus on spicing up this room to grab buyer attention. Renovating your kitchen using modern décor is going to instantly improve the value of your home. Many times a buyer will compromise on other rooms and will buy a home just because its kitchen is well-maintained and inviting.

The same holds true for bathrooms, especially the master bathroom. You will charm open house-goers with modern upgrades like dual vanities and soaking tubs in your master bath. Replace the faucets and clean up the bathroom counter. We would again emphasize on simplicity because for easy maintenance.

What to Invest in?

So, you’re done de-cluttering, cleaning and upgrading. What’s next? Well, if you are willing to make a good upgrade investment, it is recommended to divide your renovation plan into four parts to bring impressive improvements to your home. Here are the four areas you may want to seriously consider upgrading:

Lighting: If you are not satisfied with the lighting system in your house, replace it.

This would entail buying lighting fixtures and other equipment for each room to make it look consistent and attractive.

Plumbing: Many old homes have rusty pipes and some leakage in the plumbing that needs attention. Your home will not sell fast and at a price you have in mind if you haven’t already upgraded the plumbing system.

Flooring: Most people nowadays look for hardwood floors or alternatives that are easy to manage and provide health benefits instead of carpeting. Tiled floors are also fairly acceptable. If you think this improvement would bring you higher profits, make the investment without delay.

HVAC Replacement: Today new energy-efficient HVAC systems are being introduced to the market that incur a one-time cost and help you save huge amounts of money on utility bills. You can add a unique selling feature to your house by making this replacement part of your home improvement strategy.

Advantages uPVC For Home Or Office

uPVC

Actually, uPVC is a short form of unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, which is commonly known as a high quality rigid PVC. Since it hard but won’t flex, it falls under the category of PVC. The beauty of the product is that it leaves out BPA or phthalates, so it is quite safe. Apart from this, it is safe and stable and can be used to manufacture mouth guards and dental retainers as well.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can enjoy if you go for this material.

Low Maintenance

Windows and doors made from uPVC don’t need to be sealed or painted. As a result, the cost of maintenance is not that much with the passage of time. The reason is that these windows and doors are easy to clean with water and detergent.

Tough And Durable

Due to the durability of the material, it has been used for making sewer and water pipes for more than 100 years. You can get the idea from the fact that vinyl windows that were installed more than two decades back are still in use. Moreover, quality uPVC doors and windows go through different rests for ultraviolet resistance to make sure that they don’t fade in the sun.

Rot Resistant

Unlike other materials, uPVC is not prone to corrosion or rotting as time goes by. So, this is another great benefit of opting for this product instead of many others available in the market.

Thermal Comfort

You know metals are conductive. But uPVC doesn’t fall under this category. Therefore, windows and doors don’t transfer heat. As a result, you can enjoy consistent temperature in your rooms. As a matter of fact, the windows of your rooms will be a lot more efficient provided they are made of this material.

Tilt And Turn

These windows can be opened in two directions in order to allow you benefit from the cross ventilation, which is another great benefit.

Acoustic Insulation

With double glazed doors and windows, you can reduce the noise by up to 70%. So, you can have peace of mind especially if there is a lot of noise outside your house all the time.

Salt Erosion

You won’t have corrosion problem caused by salt-filled air. So, they are an ideal choice as far as coastal properties is concerned.

Using Spray Foam Insulation at Home

Spray foam has been very popular in the recent times and has popped up as an efficient home insulator. There are two compounds used in its making, isocyanate and polyol resin which are known to expand in volume when mixed together. If the compounds are stored separately, they can be retained for a longer period of time. When they are mixed, they form foam and must be applied immediately. When this is applied to an area, it hardens after a short interval of time and acts as an excellent insulating layer. Moreover, it is durable as well.

Spray foam insulation is better

If spray foam insulation is compared with other types of insulation in terms of their effectiveness, this is highly effective. It has a high R value ranging from 6 to 7.7. The effectiveness of insulation is measured in terms of an R-Value. When the R-value is higher, the density of the insulator is higher and hence the effectiveness is also more. If this insulator is compared with that of fiber glass insulation, which has an R-value of only 3.5, you can get an idea about the better product. In case, you are looking out for this services in the UK, you won’t be disappointed with the varying options that are available.

Opting for spray foam insulation is beneficial

One of the major benefits of spray foam insulation is its application process. The entire process is very easy and without any hassles. Regardless of the surface, horizontal or vertical, the insulation can be applied. The foam can be easily sprayed across the designated surface area in an absolutely uniform manner. You don’t need any cutting mats or measuring for the application. Furthermore, the wearing and tearing of this insulation is relatively less and its durability is also longer.

What makes spray foam an efficient insulator?

• The application process can be finished in a short period of time. It gets hard and sets within a very short period of time.
• The application of this is also very easy without the requirement of any measuring and precise cuts.
• The spray foam has an expanding nature. Hence, when it is applied on a surface area, it starts expanding. Hence, the insulation is watertight and airtight, providing an excellent seal.
• The insulation via spray foam is simply outstanding. It will keep the interior of your home warm during the winter months and vice versa in the summer time. Basically, this can insulate your home pretty good.

In case, you have been planning to get your home insulated, it is highly recommended to apply this and provide the right insulation in your home.

Can spray foam insulation help in the prevention of mold infection?

You will be happy to know that there are specific variations of this which includes microbial agents as the ingredients. It can be beneficial in the prevention of the mold growth in your home. In case you reside in a humid place, there is every possibility that your home might be infected with mold, which are often undetected until they becomes too severe.

Get Home Back In Shape After Water Damage

1. Remove all movable items immediately. This should be done after powering off and unplugging all electronics. Remove furniture and all electronics and any other movable item you have around the house to safer dry areas. Carpets should also be pulled out for cleaning and disinfecting to save them.

2. Find ways to get rid of the water in the house. You can use buckets, towels and mops to soak up the water. In case the sewer lines backed up, then consider pouring out the collected water onto the lawn or other surfaces that are permeable instead of pouring into the drain. If using a wet-dry vacuum, then be very careful to only plug it into outlets that are away from the areas that have water. Extension cords should not be used either and for flooded basements, think about renting a sump pump.

3. Dry out all affected areas. After you have mopped the water dry, you can use dehumidifiers and fans to dry out the affected areas. If there is no rain you can open windows and allow circulation and quick drying. You can then use a disinfectant to get rid of bacteria that may have come up, especially if the water leaks are from sewer lines or toilets. The disinfection should be done on walls, floors and furniture that is not upholstered.

4. Dispose damaged items. If the water sat for long them it is inevitable that you will have damaged items. The same will be the case for sewer water on some items. If possible, organize the damaged items so they can be recycled, especially electronics, furniture and toxic liquids.

5. Hire water damage restoration services. Apart from offering repair services for your leaky pipes, water and sewer systems and unblocking drains, the experts can also help in cleaning up the water, drying home structure and contents as well as sanitizing and deodorizing your home.

Important To Hire A Licensed Contractor

State Requirements

In each state, there is a licensing board that has specific requirements for the professional contractors. The requirements in one state may be different from the requirements in another state. Moreover, the type of license is also different based on the state.

Licenses for General Contractors

The requirement for license depends upon the aspect of a certain construction project. General contractor is the person who is responsible to deal with you i.e. the owner of the property. The professional will work with you, supervise the entire project, buys the required material and hires some subcontractors. The subcontractors will report to the general contractors and not you. Since the license doesn’t authorize any pro to do each and every job in the project, you should do your research and find out what someone can do in your state.

Other Licenses

In the majority of states, special licenses are granted in order to allow the professionals to do certain jobs. For this, each candidate has to prove that he or she is competent enough to do work in an area like plumbing, roofing, and electrical. Moreover, if a GC doesn’t have a special license to carry out a project, they may go for a subcontractor who is qualified enough to carry out the work.