Category Archives: Home Makeover and Design

A Comparison of the Most Popular Countertop Materials

Granite kitchen countertopAmong all the surfaces in your home, your kitchen countertop sees the most action and suffers the most abuse. Because many choose the material to use for these countertops based on how beautiful they look, there’s a real chance that the countertop that they end up with isn’t up to your needs.

From a granite to a quartz kitchen countertop, here is a comparison of all the most popular countertops available. Salt Lake City experts look into all the pros and cons of these different materials to help you choose.

Laminate

This is the most affordable material. Apart from its low price, it’s also very easy to install. Where it was once derided for looking cheap, it has improved in terms of style and design over the years.

They are also fairly durable for the price — able to resist much better. The downside of laminate is that it can scuff and scratch easily. This builds up over time and can make your countertop look worn and older.

Granite

One of the most beautiful things about granite is that each slab is unique as it comes from truly natural sources. It’s far more effective at resisting heat, scratches, and scuffs that laminate is.

When sealed properly, its different types of finishes resisted stains fairly well. The material can get costly depending on the rarity of the design, and you do need to constantly reseal to make sure stains don’t build up.

Marble

Blue kitchen countertopAnother heat resistant material, marble also brings a natural stone kind of look without any of the grains and veins that other stone options display. It’s just as effective as most at resisting heat, although some staining can occur when exposed to prolonged heat. The disadvantage of this material is that it collects cuts and scratches, and you need to sand them down finely to fix those scratches.

Quartz

What makes the quartz kitchen countertop in Salt Lake City quite a popular option is that it emulates the look natural stone materials without needing the heavy maintenance. It’s a very strong and sturdy material that resists heat, staining, scratching, and nearly all forms of damage.

If there is one vulnerability to quartz, it’s that it can chip in the edges and corners. You can deal with this by applying rounded edges.

Recycled Glass

Apart from being very environmentally friendly, the scattered shards lend to this material a very contemporary and artistically modern look. If the glass is ground more finely, it also looks just as pretty — glistening in the light.

It can be resistant to many things that can potentially damage it, but that depends on the quality of the manufacturing process that made the glass you use. That’s why you need to choose carefully.

Your choice of material should depend more on your needs and the volume of kitchen work more than your design preferences. You want your investment in your kitchen countertop to go the distance based on how you use it.

Balance out the options available here and find the best one for you. This should be tempered by choice of a quality, dependable provider.

Emerging Trends in the Global HVAC Industry

Air conditioning

With energy costs on the rise, the HVAC industry is not alone in implementing new technologies and features to reduce the impact on the environment. Not just that, consumers are also able to do their bit and save money at the same time. Even small air-conditioning companies in Riverview, Florida are working on implementing the latest technologies to help customers in their area to stay comfortable while saving money. Here’s a look at some of the current trends in the HVAC market, which are hugely impacting energy use and comfort.

Current heating and cooling trends

Motion-activated AC: Really cool, this modern design uses sensors attached to aluminum rod that are suspended from the ceiling. The way it works is that the air conditioner kicks in only when people are in a room. Motion-activated air conditioners are not only compact but also great for reduced usage and lower costs.

Ice-powered air-conditioning units: These units work off frozen water. Water held in a tank is frozen overnight. Since electricity demand is lower at night, consumers save money during the day. Such equipment, with the right amount of tweaking, can provide ample cooling during the hottest hours of the day.

Thermal air conditioning: This technology is still in the development phase. Air-conditioning units powered by this technology use solar panels and, as a supplement, natural gas. This improves efficiency and also provides effective cooling by eliminating electricity costs altogether.

Heating trends that could save money and reduce carbon footprints

eco friendly home

Dual fuel using heat pumps: Heat pumps are most efficient when they work on technology powered by two types of fuel: a gas-powered furnace and an electric heat pump. During low temperatures, gas heat is used by pumps for maximum efficiency. If the temperature is higher than 35 degrees, electric heating kicks in. The initial installation costs are a bit high compared to conventional heating, but savings over a few years into the future can definitely make up the difference.

Geothermal heating: These pumps tap directly into the earth’s energy via an underground pipe (looped), which absorbs heat and distributes it in a home. These pumps also provide hot water for free. Again, it costs big bucks to install a pump of this type but offers huge savings over time.

Heated floors: Electric wiring or water pipes under a floor can offer unparalleled warmth and comfort. Radiant heat put out by a floor heating system increases energy efficiency by at least 30% compared to a conventional one.

Ductless HVAC: Conventional HVAC systems use ducts to supply heating or cooling to a home. The uses of ductless systems are so efficient that they save 40% or more in heating and cooling bills. Installation is unobtrusive and simple.

Home automation: Smart homes and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the new reality. Most home appliances and other products powered by IoT have already led to substantial energy savings. Homebuilders and appliance manufacturers have already started to incorporate systems, making it so easy that a smartphone can be used to turn appliances and other gadgets on and off in a home from any location in the world.

All in all, technology is changing our lives. Its impact can be felt. We can feel the impact in the places we visit and inhabit, along with the pocketbook.

How to Keep Your Greenhouse in Great Condition

woman in a greenhouse

Now that you’ve finally built your dream greenhouse and have been using it for all your gardening chores. It has been a great shelter for all your plants and veggies so far, but if you wish to maximise its use and life, you should think about proper care and maintenance as well. Greenhouses are a wonderful amenity for gardeners but as with any outdoor structure, they’re also prone to wear and tear.

As an owner, you must keep it in tip-top shape so you can benefit from it even after the growing season. Here are some tips and reminders on how you can take good care of your greenhouse.

Autumn cleaning

The autumn breeze is a sign that your plants need the warmth and protection of your greenhouse. Before you take them in, know that it’s also a sign that the glass shelter needs a deep clean.

First, bring your plants, pots, supplies, and tools outside so you can run a thorough cleaning of your greenhouse. Scrub the windows and wash the flooring. Free the paths and bricks from dirt and debris. Get rid of pests and their eggs from the surfaces.

Once the interiors are clean, wipe the glazing from the outside until it’s spotless. Don’t forget to clean the drains and gutters. Clean the pots and tools before you take them inside.

Maintenance check

Take time to check the different parts of the structure for potential damage. Windows and door panes are particularly prone to damage so always check their condition. Broken glass is another common problem that needs immediate action.

In case there is damage, ask your supplier if they can provide you with the greenhouse part that you need. When damages are not repaired immediately, your plants may suffer and it may lead to other structural problems.

Spring cleaning

woman in a greenhouse

When spring comes, your greenhouse will again need some cleaning. Remove moulds, mildew, algae, and fungi on the shelves and benches. Pluck out weed and unwanted plants in and around the structure. Sweep dried leaves and debris. Let the light in by removing the winter cover. To bring your greenhouse back to life for the new season, thoroughly clean the glass parts inside and out.

Roofing replacement

Greenhouse roofs usually become dirty and dark due to the accumulation of debris and the growth of moulds. This happens in both plastic and fibreglass roofing. The problem with this is it minimises the amount of sunlight that enters the shelter.

If you think that cleaning the roofing is not the most practical option, consider buying a new one. Just talk to a greenhouse parts supplier and while you’re at it, ask about their replacement service as well.

Keeping your greenhouse in good working condition is easier than you think. All you need is the basic know-how and a little bit of patience in cleaning and checking its condition on a regular basis. Greenhouse maintenance may require some time, but it’s all worth it if you’re truly passionate about gardening. Take good care of your greenhouse and for sure, it will take good care of your plants.

 

Three Top Safety Reminders for Garage Door Owners in America

White garage doorThis is a wake-up call to all homeowners in America who uses a garage door daily. You should pay attention to the results of a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). It turns out garage doors are the cause of about 15,000 emergency consults in the United States in a year. Injuries from a garage spring repair gone awry in Provo can be serious enough to require hospitalization and additional rehabilitation. How can you protect yourself and your family from such incidents?

1. Never put aside signs of potentially disastrous problems

Safety sensors are there to ensure your safety. When you wake up one day, and the sensors seem to be misbehaving, do not put that aside. It won’t do anyone good if you keep neglecting a malfunction. When a person or an animal walks under the door, he or she must have the confidence that it will hold itself up. A door that does not reverse when you block the beam with a broom to test it is a disaster waiting to happen. Do not invite disaster. Instead, report the problem immediately.

2. Regular maintenance keeps you safe

Repairman fixing a garage doorOlder doors may already be running on empty. That is, the springs that work the door may already be nearing the end of their lifespan. A well-built door will serve your family for many years. Nevertheless, it is a machine that is subject to physical laws, and all machines wear out eventually. When torsion springs wear out, they may not show signs early on. In some instances, the only sign of a problem is breakage, and a door that refuses to close, or a door that suddenly crashes down into the ground. Regular maintenance will reveal signs of wear and tear that a homeowner would not be able to discern. A professional technician would be able to identify potential issues and make the necessary recommendations to avert a disaster.

3. Learn to differentiate petty concerns from large issues

In a machine with many moving parts, something can suddenly let loose, break into smaller pieces, or stop working properly. A garage door may look bulky and huge, but it is made up of many smaller parts. A well-oiled machine should not give you any problems, but anything that falls to neglect, or is not fully understood can be a disaster in the making. Protect your family with updated and relevant safety information about your garage door.

How to Make Your Fridge Last for Two Decades

Modern kitchen

Filling your home with the latest home appliances is going to leave a sizeable dent in your wallet. With careful selection, you can pick a durable range of equipment that will serve you for a long time. If you’re paying top dollars for these appliances, it only fair to expect them to help you for a long time.

Modern refrigerators have an average lifespan of about 14 years, but you can push this to about 18 years with the help of fridge repair services in Utah. However, you must remember to handle your unit with great care.

Go Easy on Your Compressor

The compressor is among the most crucial parts of your fridge. It’s both a pump and a motor that helps move the refrigerant through the system. When the temperatures in the fridge rise beyond a set point, the sensor signals the compressor to start operating. That’s what causes the fridge to run in cycles as it ceases the pumping action when the temperatures get to necessary lows.

Overworking the compressor increases the wear and tear, leading it to breakdown prematurely. Replacing a compressor can set you back at least $1,000, which can leave quite a dent in your wallet. Making it easy for the fridge to cool down lessen the compressor’s workload. Luckily, that doesn’t take any special skills. You only need not overfill the unit, leave it empty, or put hot food inside it.

Keep the Temperature Under Control

Hand opening refrigerator

The fancy parts and mechanisms in a fridge are all geared toward one thing: controlling the temperature through air circulation. Therefore, for a refrigerator to function as expected, the air needs to move around freely. Overfilling the unit limits airflow, causing temperatures to rise and forcing the compressor to work harder than necessary. The same case happens when you leave the fridge empty.

The cold food inside the fridge draws some of the heat inside the unit, causing the temperatures to drop. Empty spaces dissipate heat quickly, causing the compressor to work more. Hot food in the fridge raises the temperature, causing the unit to overwork. Preventing massive temperature fluctuations inside your refrigerator keeps it running smoothly without overworking it.

Keep the Unit Clean

A refrigerator is just a metal box that keeps food fresh by tapping into smart science to keep the interior temperature between 0-50 degrees Celsius. Keeping your unit sparkling clean increases its efficiency. The simple act of cleaning the unit with warm, soapy water not only eliminates odors but lowers energy consumption as well.

Food debris on the unit’s gasket, the plastic sealing strip on the door, can break the airtight seal, causing it to consume more energy. Wiping the seal periodically and coating it with a thin film of Vaseline keeps the gasket elastic and creates a better seal. It’s vital that you clean your unit at least twice a year. Dirty refrigerator coils pose a risk to the device as they restrict the airflow, causing it to overheat.

Many people tend to run down their refrigerating units, and it costs them thousands of dollars. Proper maintenance and usage of a refrigerating unit increase its service life, saving you lots of money.

Your Quick Guide to Preparing Your Home Before Installing an Air Conditioner

Worker installing a new air conditioning unitYou may notice that your room is getting uncomfortable, that you sweat easily and feel humid. On top of that, the paint is peeling and you notice the appearance of dark spots on your walls, which are surely black molds. The diagnosis: Your room has humidity problems.

Having excess moisture in the air may invite pests and allergens. The paint may peel, and the moisture may eat away at the wooden components of your home. It is now time to keep this problem at bay.

One reliable solution would be an air conditioner, as the air will be filtered through it. It can also make your room cooler or warmer depending on the season. However, before you buy an air conditioner, you need to know the right specs that suit your room.

You will also need to prep up your room. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind before welcoming your air conditioner. These are approved and recognized by leading providers of air conditioner installation services in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Get the right unit

As mentioned, you need to find the right unit for your room. You just cannot install a unit that does not suit the specifications of your room. A big air conditioner for a small room may seem impractical, as it may make the room cooler and warmer than it should be. If you want to get the best unit, you should talk to experts and explain the lifestyle you have.

Fix the insulation system

Working insulating a houseWhile your air conditioner can make your room much more comfortable, you may want to fix the insulation system as soon as possible. This will help you make the most of your new appliance unit — it doubles the effect or benefit of the air conditioner.

If you have wooden partitions, you can add foam insulation in between. Do not forget to repair your ceilings and add another layer of insulation between them and the roof.

Change the layout of the room

The layout of your room may already be permanent, but you should consider changing some aspects, as the placement of the air conditioner will certainly change a lot of things. What you should do to your room is move the obstructions from the walls, such as paintings, shelves, and cabinets that may possibly block the air conditioner. If you must, you can get rid of the extra items that you do not actually need.

Close the gaps

Rearranging the items in your room may expose your space’s imperfections. Among them are the cracks and holes on your walls. These are certainly big no-nos, as they may affect the performance of your air conditioner. With that, you will have to seal the holes and caulk the cracks. While you are at it, you may want to repaint the entire space.

These are just some of the things to keep in mind if you want to prepare your room for your new air conditioner. Consult your air conditioner expert to maximize the use of your new unit.

Learn About Fire Ants and the Harm They Can Do to Your Household

large fire ants

Some pests are more dangerous than others are. A fire ant’s bite can be burning and sharp at first and will then itch on the next day and turn into a white blister. If a fire ant bit you, you would be fortunate if you only get one bite. The insects are vicious, and when something or someone disturbs the mound, they will attack en masse. You must avoid them when you can. For your household, the best thing you can do is prevent them from entering the property.

A harmful insect

There are two species of red fire ants –Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri. Both species originated in South America and now thrive in 13 states. They have a poison that stuns the prey allowing the tiny animals to overcome mammals larger in size, and with grave efficiency. They work in large groups, and when someone steps on the mound, they would not let up until the intruder leaves or is overcome. When they gang up on other creatures that have bothered their repose, they become ruthless very quickly.

Red ants have venom, and when they sting some people respond with a red patch—a hive, which may be accompanied by dizziness, and in some cases difficulty with breathing. Red ants are harmful insects. Some insects are useful, but others are venomous, destroy crops, and infest homes. Both harmful and helpful species coexist with us in this world.

Hive mentality–how the colony works

Some fire ants are reddish black, while others are reddish brown.  Some members of the colony may be small—about an eighth of an inch, while others are about a quarter of an inch in length. We must be able to deal with them with knowledge of their habits and behaviors. We must be able to protect our homes from the potential damage and discomfort them y may cause.

Fire ants do most of their work in the spring and summer, and they are active until early fall. Where temperatures are warmer, they are active year-round. The mounds of fire ants may rise about two feet from the ground, but some colonies maintain flat mounds that are hidden and not readily evident under some turf. You must consider calling for the services of a pest control company in Framingham to deal with them appropriately.

Watch out for an invasive species

isolated fire ant

Solenopsis Invicta or the red imported fire ants are considered an invasive species in America. They are not as easily dealt with as you would think, and that is why you must entrust them to a pest control company with a license that is valid on the state where you live.

Fire ants are dangerous, cause multiple stings that burn, and itch from the venom they produce and transfer to their victims. Many children have been found allergic to the fire sting bite. Some may manifest life-threatening reactions. They are dangerous to household pets as well. You must be able to protect your family from these harmful insects, and elicit help from the best exterminators in your region.

Is Your New Home “Cool” Enough for the Florida Weather?

A View of Florida

You’ve finally found your dream home in Florida. It’s quaint, near the sea and fits right into your budget. Moving to a new address all the way across the pond may be difficult, but with a house as lovely as this, you’re probably more than motivated to have your slice of paradise.

Before you call any moving company in West Palm Beach, FL, though, consider this: the hottest 2018 summer day in the state reached a whopping 94°F (around 34.4°C). The heat index — what the temperature feels like — is about 103°F (around 39.4°C). That’s a world away from London’s cool, grey weather.

Dealing with the scorching heat is part of daily life in the Sunshine Coast. As a newcomer, you might not be accustomed to the sweat and humidity. The best compromise is to find a home that keeps you cool and comfortable without raking up electricity bills. Choose one that leverages passive cooling.

A Home that Passively Cools

Passive cooling is a design strategy that cools and ventilates a building without relying on mechanical or electronic devices. The building — or, in your case, your soon-to-be-home — should tap into natural elements, such as breezes, nighttime air and shade. Think of it as a structure that’s designed to keep out heat — an attractive prospect in a state that’s known for its sunshine.

It’s counterproductive, not to mention expensive, to buy an ordinary home then renovate it to incorporate passive cooling designs. The trick, consequently, is to look for these cooling structures during house hunting.

Add these items to your checklist when you’re looking for a new abode in Florida.

A Cool Façade

They say your home is an expression of your self-identity. While it might be tempting to paint your home with colours that are as bold as you are, remember that light hues reflect the sun’s rays, while dark ones absorb them.

Also, passive design would discourage you from choosing a home sporting the bright Pantone Color of 2019. Narrow your earmarked homes to those with grey, beige or neutral facades and roofs. Bland, yes, but they will help keep you cool in the sweltering Florida heat.

The Presence of Shade

a house under renovation

If you don’t want to use your air-conditioning system too much, reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home — a feat that’s trickier when you’re in the Sunshine State.

Thick, reliable window treatments are your best friend. Houses with shutters and blinds are ideal. It’s a bonus if you can identify windows that welcome the most sunlight during the day. See if you can plant a shady tree nearby to shut out most of the sun’s rays, as well.

Deciduous trees are a smart choice because they lose their leaves during the fall, letting in generous amounts of heat.

Leveraging the Breeze

A big part of passive cooling is taking advantage of the prevailing breeze. Air movement is crucial to keeping indoor temperature comfortable. So houses with skylights, clerestory windows, vents and louvres are less likely to make you sweat.

Additionally, it’s better if the long façade of the house has windows and faces the direction of the prevailing wind. The openings should have the same size. Open plan spaces and the presence of openings at different levels also maximizes air flow.

Does passive design sound like too much trouble? If you’re moving to a humid place, the extra effort will pay off later. Your ideal home is not just pretty décor and nice plumbing. It should also be designed to keep you cool in your hot, new address.

Hardwood Flooring: What Makes It Great?

Hardwood Flooring Designs

If you want that classic but warm and sophisticated feel in your home, there’s no better floor type than hardwood flooring. However, not all people are convinced that good old wood will be able to give your home the functionality it needs. Are you one of them?

Know more about it and understand why households in Orange County, CA install hardwood flooring in their homes. Maybe, it will help you realize why you should too.

Easy Installation

Hardwood floors are easy to install, which means it will take a significantly shorter time as compared to other floor types. Finding a contractor to help you will also be easier.

Low Maintenance

woman cleaning floor

There will come a time when dust, debris, spills, and other kinds of damages will be done to your flooring. With hardwood, maintaining its cleanliness is easy. Regular sweeping and wiping with hardwood-friendly solutions will do the trick. As for the damage, you can easily replace only the damaged part, making it very cost efficient and practical.

Durability

Because it’s made of wood that underwent bits of processing to achieve its finish, hardwood flooring is durable. This makes it a common choice for homes with kids, pets, or simply spaces that have a lot of foot traffic and activities.

Variety

Hardwood comes in different types and finishes. This is one of the reasons homeowners enjoy choosing hardwood for their floor. Whether it’s for the living room, master’s bedroom, or any kind of room, there’s a type of hardwood flooring that can match your theme and needs.

Better Air Quality

Hardwood flooring doesn’t accumulate dust and dirt as easily as carpets. This means rooms with hardwood flooring are cleaner, and this promotes better air quality, which can help reduce the risks of allergic reactions.

Now that you know the amazing benefits of having hardwood flooring, maybe it’s time to give it a shot and have it installed in your home too.

How to Create a Lived-in Look for Your Modern Rental Home Without Losing Your Deposit

a wooden texture

The Ultra-Modern aesthetic is a popular choice among homeowners due to its practical features, wide appeal and reasonable costs to construct. If you prefer a new development for a rental to have access to updated and modern amenities, chances ours, you will also come across a modern, but stark and cold living space that can be tiring and uninspiring, especially if you crave character in a home. However, signing a lease also means some restrictions on the extent of modifications you can do in a space.

You don’t need to settle for a space that you don’t love, after all, home is where you expect to spend a lot of time in. You can introduce character and a lived-in look in the space without losing your deposit. Read on to learn strategies to achieve just that.

Incorporate Pieces with Unique Character

A modern space can look cold and impersonal when styled using a minimalist strategy so veer away from this approach. Select bold and interesting pieces as furniture to contrast with the modern backdrop of the space. Live edge wood slab dinning or coffee tables are a good choice to break the modern monotony in the space. Vintage furniture also offers character in a space in dire need of one. One or two vintage accent chairs can transform the space significantly, especially if it comes with warm textures and vivid colors.

Also, do not shy away from conversation pieces that represent your personality. Display your collection of trinkets and knickknacks to make the place truly your own.

modern living room

Use A Variety of Textures and Colors

To tone down the hard, modern features of your home rental space, you can incorporate a variety of textures with a definite complimentary or contrasting color strategy. Bring in tufted couches in rich leather or velvet for a start and build from that. If you are acquiring a furnished unit with a modern but generic couch, throw on a beautiful quilt to add some visual interest. Aside from your bedroom, you can also add textures to the different areas of your home using accent pillows and shams.

Put these soft yet decorative items around your home, on top of chairs and couches. You can even pile oversized pillows on the floor for a casual look. For window treatments, you can add drapes to frame your roll-up shades to provide added color and texture. To define spaces while incorporating soft finishes in your contemporary rental home, use area rugs to provide a break from the shiny and modern finish of the floors.

Bring the Outdoors In

Lastly, to effectively transform your modern space make it cozier and lived in, don’t forget to bring the outdoors in. Not only does it soften your space, but it also provides air cleansing qualities in your home. Position a tall snake plant on an empty corner or hang succulents using macramé hangers in varying lengths to provide vertical variety. Use vintage china to create a miniature indoor garden that can serve as a quirky centerpiece. Make your very own customized terrariums that can be placed inside bathrooms to breathe life into the space.

You don’t need to write off a modern rental option especially if it suits your location and amenity requirements just because the living space is too contemporary and generic. You can transform the space dramatically for a personalized, lived-in and cozy look without modifying the property drastically and going beyond the lease restrictions.