Category Archives: Home Makeover and Design

Seven Great-looking Trees to Include in your Landscape

landscape with trees and flowersTrees are a wonderful addition to your landscape, be it on a residential or commercial property. They give gardens and manicured spaces a more natural appeal by adding a new dimension, texture, and color. If you’re looking to give your garden, lawn, pool area, or backyard an upgrade, considering planting trees. Other than adding value to your outdoor aesthetics, trees can also be wonderful sources of shade, flowers, and fruits, depending on the type and species you choose.

Before you go to your local dealer though, know that trees are not created equal. Some are loved for their beautiful and fragrant flowers while others offer an interesting foliage color only during a certain season. According to companies offering tree fertilization in Utah County, some trees need meticulous care and maintenance while others will be just fine even without your TLC.

To help you choose your tree, here’s a short list of some of the best trees you can include in your landscape.

Crabapple

Crabapple trees can be your garden’s centerpiece. They come in different varieties that bear red, pink, and white flowers; and produce interesting fruits of different colors such as red, orange, and burgundy. You’ll surely love its fall color as well. What’s more, it’s resistant to most diseases.

Saucer Magnolia

Saucer Magnolia trees are loved for their large flowers that come in white, purple, and pink colors. They look best during mid- to late spring. While this tree is generally hardy, you must find a species that best suits your climate. Some varieties are highly sensitive to late frosts.

Apple Tree

Never underestimate the gold ol’ Apple Tree. These trees are more than just a producer of sweet and juicy fruits; they are also magnificent bloomers. If you’re not interested in the edible fruits, crabapple can be the better choice, but really who would say no to a supply of fresh apples?

Japanese Maple

If you want a great-looking tree on summer, you’ll never go wrong with Japanese Maple. While this tree is more popular as an autumn tree, it also stays gorgeous during summertime. Japanese Maple’s vibrant leaves will surely stand out as they add a pop of color to your landscaped yard.

beautiful landscape

Birch

It’s not always about flowers and foliage. Sometimes you can make a statement by going for trees with interesting barks such as Birch. A great landscape tree, it grows fast and comes in different varieties. The River Birch variety is favored for its wonderful peeling and scaly bark. Due to its size though, most birch trees may not be suitable for small gardens.

Maidenhair

Maidenhair tree, also known as Ginkgo Biloba, is another beautiful deciduous tree. It has fan-shaped leaves that turn yellow in fall. It is hardy and grows easily in most regions. While most maidenhair can grow tall, there are dwarf varieties such as the Jade Butterfly that is perfect for gardens.

Fringe Tree

Fringe Tree is a great choice if you’re after a versatile plant that you can use as a large shrub or a small tree. This Eastern North American native tree displays clouds of sweet white flowers in late spring. These blooms turn into blue-purple fruits during autumn. As a bonus, birds love the fringe tree fruits.

There are a lot more tree species to choose from. Learn more about your options by talking to your local nursery or tree care service provider. They can help you choose the best tree for your property’s landscape.

3 Fireplace Upgrades for a Fresh Home Design

construction worker measuring fireplaceAsk any American homeowner and they’d say that a fireplace is an important feature that they’re looking for in a home. And often, this architectural element is designed to make it a focal point in a room. See how you can do the same for your home; here are 3 ways.

Upgrade the Fireplace

Fireplace replacement is the most common way to update or upgrade an existing fireplace. Traditional ones are slowly being replaced with systems that have temperature control and temperature sensors, making it a practical upgrade investment for any household. You get the same comforting feel of a traditional log fireplace without having to deal with soot and smoke whenever you use it. You get the same warm vibe but with fresher and cleaner indoor air. It’s also more efficient as it uses a heating element and propane to generate heat. Modern technology offers temperature control and sensors, resulting to a more comfortable temperature inside your home. Some designs also come with remote controllers so you can turn it on and off conveniently. If you’re upgrading your interior look, going for a fresh new fireplace upgrade is the best option for you.

Accessorize It

If you’ve done an upgrade or have just recently replaced your fireplace, adding a few accessories can instantly freshen up the look of your fireside. Never underestimate the transformative power of the a mantel; this small design trick goes a long way and packs a punch. A mantel can immediately liven up an otherwise utilitarian look and make it an interesting focal point in the room.

modern fireplace

You can also give it a different purpose when it’s not being used, like a temporary niche for a basket of books and throw, or a nice little spot for some scented candles during the warmer months. Another simple trick is to put up a screen in front of it; these screens come in different designs and materials, so you can be sure to find one that compliments the overall design of your fireside.

Update the Surround and Hearth

Another quick and easy design trick that we love is updating the surround and the hearth. This can instantly make this portion of your home stand out. Get in touch with a fireplace company so that you can get professional advice and can come up with a design that will blend seamlessly with your home’s current interior look. There are plenty of ways to update these portions of the fireplace and accessorizing it afterwards is the just quite like the cherry on top. This fun and simple to do design update is guaranteed to bring new life to your fireplace and give a fresh new look to the entire space.

So before jumping into a work-intensive and costly home renovation, zone in on the fireplace and see how this quick and easy improvement trick can highlight this architectural element in your home and instantly give your space a more elegant, warm, and welcoming vibe. Get in touch with the pros today to find out how you can update, upgrade, and accessorize your fireplace to give your entire home a fresh interior look.

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.