Month: March 2016
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a type of flooring, but if you’re going for a specific kind of look or feel, some flooring types are better than others in some regards. Flooring companies are improving their laminate design collections, creating impressive strips and tiles that in many cases look just as professional as their tile or hardwood counterparts. As cheaper options like laminate and vinyl continue to become more advanced, there’s a growing crowd of home designers who feel that cheap flooring can be just as enjoyable and appealing as the more luxurious options.
As an expert working with Ellegant Home Design – 1002 W. Dundee Rd. Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004 (1-847-749-1098), I encounter many inquiries related to pricing and whether the extra cost of certain flooring types is really warranted. My response always depends on the client’s budget and preferences. Give us a call or stop by our flooring store for a free consultation, or continue reading to learn more about the price and quality differences between the most common types of flooring materials:
Stone is the most expensive out of the list, costing between $8 to $50 per square foot (installed). Aesthetically, stone materials like marble, granite, and limestone are some of the most appealing materials money can buy. However, this type of flooring is also difficult to repair, can be quite slippery when wet, and stones like limestone and marble can absorb stains if fluids aren’t wiped up quickly enough.
Carpet is one of the most reasonably priced flooring materials, ranging from $2 to $15 per square foot (installed). It’s also incredibly easy to replace and most people find it to be more comfortable on bare feet. At the same time, it does absorb pet dander, dirt, debris, and other pollutants, and it stains easily.
Ceramic and porcelain are mid-range tiles costing between $4 to $12 per square foot (installed). The grout lines between the ceramic tiles can be difficult to clean, and lower quality ceramics are prone to chipping. However, with proper maintenance and cleaning, ceramic tiles can stay in good condition for decades.
Laminate is one of the more budget-friendly materials at any flooring store, with the cost ranging from $3 to $7 per square foot (installed). While this material can often look almost as good as authentic tiles or hardwood floors, the downside is that it can scratch easily and it cannot be refinished, so you’ll usually have to replace it rather than repair it.
Hardwood can be relatively affordable at about $7 per square feet (installed) for the cheaper selections. The higher range of hardwood materials can cost $15 per square foot or more installed. However, even the more expensive hardwoods are typically vulnerable to moisture damage, and softer woods like pine can dent easily. Specially engineered wood can be installed for about $4-$18 and will shrink less than conventional hardwood.
Bamboo is surprisingly cheap given its exotic look, at only $4 to $8 per square foot installed. However, it can fade or darken if exposed to sunlight and it is vulnerable to water damage. On the good side, bamboo is a strong material that comes from an easily renewable organic material.
Vinyl is perhaps the cheapest flooring material at a cost of only $1 to $7 per square foot installed. It is difficult to repair and often will require replacement instead. Also, the lower costing vinyls can fade and discolor over time. You also need to be careful about getting moisture in between the cracks of vinyl tiles.
Linoleum is another mid-range selection that can fit within most budgets at only $4 to $9 per square foot installed. Linoleum can also scuff if it isn’t polished and it should be resealed annually to avoid unnecessary repairs or replacements.
In the end, it really does come down to the old adage “you get what you pay for.” In most cases, the most expensive flooring materials are also the most durable and aesthetically appealing. With that said, you can certainly find deals on great looking materials without spending a fortune. Be sure to research all of your options and check out the various types of materials in person at a local flooring store to make a more informed decision.
Vacuuming the house is a very tedious and daunting task for anyone including a clean freak mom. And using unreliable vacuum cleaner could add up to this burden. Do not worry because in this article, we will share some tips on how to buy a reliable and the best vacuum cleaner for your home.
Before you head to the mall to buy a new vacuum cleaner, you should see and answer these questions first for you to come up with the best decision.
You should answer this first question as honestly as possible. There is no need to be ashamed if you do not vacuum as often as you hope you would. Most people have busy schedule so it is indeed acceptable. However, you need to know this to be able to buy the most suitable unit for you. If you vacuum daily, then it is recommended to choose a stick vacuum cleaners ideal to your home. On the other hand, if you vacuum once a week or month, then it is best to buy canister model with a powerful motor to help you do your task efficiently.
If your house is full of hardwoods and tiles then it is best to choose canister vacuum since it cleans even the most hidden corners in your house. It allows you to do your cleaning in the entire house without having to exert much effort.
For carpeted floors, it is perfect to use a canister with a motorized power head attachment. But if there are lots of spaces to clean and vacuum, a lightweight stick model is better.
According to experts, suction is one of the most important factors when choosing a vacuum model. Airflow and agitation or the ability of the vacuum to remove dirt especially in difficult areas like carpeted floors and edges in the room is an important criteria when testing out a vacuum cleaner.
Another consideration when buying a vacuum is when you have stairs to clean in your house. If you will deal with stairs in your cleaning then it is best to go for canister with long hose so it can reach the staircases and the railings. It is less tiring to vacuum with a long hose.
It is very delicate for people with allergies to smell dust much more to be exposed to it. You should choose a model that is sealed and has a HEPA filter that can trap dust, pollen, mold and other small particles that can trigger allergy reactions.
Some people go for the design when they buy things. There is nothing wrong about that. However, you should consider the functionality of the appliance.
Vacuum cleaners can indeed make cleaning task a lot easier. However, it could be a cause of frustration too if you buy a wrong model for your house. Therefore, we advise that you consider asking yourself the questions we shared above until you find the answer about the best vacuum cleaner to buy for your place.
The property market continues to have a positive outlook, but this does not have to mean staying within the UK for keen investors. Many global cities are performing much better, which could see you boost your portfolio.
Why move away from the UK?
For the last few years, London has been one of Europe’s best cities for investing in property, but a recent report shows that the city has now slipped to 15th position. The report from PwC and the Urban Land Institute known as Emerging Trends in Real Estate puts Berlin and Hamburg at the top of the list, with London moving down due to increases in property prices and reduced yields.
Where should you invest?
If you want to grow your property portfolio and move away from the UK, which cities should you consider?
For those who do not want to go too far, the Algarve in Portugal offers plenty of opportunities as the market has yet to fully recover from the recession, the Euro remains weak, and as a key tourist market, the rental market has good returns.
Medellin is a region that not many UK property investors have considered or even heard of, but with beneficial exchange rates on the peso, you can pick up a good bargain right now. In addition, as one of the safer areas of the country, it is a popular tourist destination.
The Middle East remains a positive place for investors, even though some of the regional markets have cooled slightly over recent months. Rental yields in the major cities are extremely attractive in comparison to other global hubs, with Dubai averaging around 7 per cent.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
This is a buoyant area to invest in if you are considering a Caribbean market to add to your portfolio. It is a beautiful tourist region, but it has not been overdeveloped or commercialised, so it still provides a local feel. It also boasts the world’s second-biggest barrier reef.
Making global investments
Even for experienced investors, moving into a new market can be risky if you do not know the area well and cannot easily check it out for yourself. It is vital that you conduct the appropriate research and due diligence before making any investments, and more investors are partnering with local agencies to acquire experience and insight into new areas. This enables them to make significant investments with more confidence and gain a better understanding of the market.
Building a solid, successful portfolio locally in the UK can be the perfect way to build up your skills and confidence before taking the plunge with an overseas commitment. Becoming accustomed to delegating work and spreading your time across various projects within the UK is great practice for operating overseas. Finding a local expert is essential whether you are investing in Britain or abroad. A dedicated property management firm such as Hamilton King can make the day to day administration of multiple properties much more manageable.
A successful move into the global property market could take your investment portfolio to another level and enhance your position in the industry. However, as with any investment, this is not without its risks, so it is vital that you choose the right market and understand exactly what the commitment involves.
The switch to natural pesticides and fertilizers for your lawn can bring about very good results in the growth of your lawn. It can also help to create a healthier environment, especially for children and pets. Whether you care for your own lawn and yard areas or hire a professional, it pays to look into those who specialize in organic lawn care. Benefits of having an organically grown lawn include:
– Keeping harmful chemicals out of shared waterways and ground water
– Can lessen incidents of illnesses like asthma in children and adults, and prevent skin or breathing problems in animals
– Cost less than synthetically created chemical components including pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers sometimes used on lawns
– Helps maintain a healthier balance in soil to minimize issues like mushrooms and moss
– Organic components won’t burn your lawn or cause bare spots like chemical components can
– Helps to ensure that beneficial nutrients are released into your soil in a slower way, creating a healthier environment for good microbes that work to nourish your lawn
One of the best benefits is that using an organic method to take care of your lawn keeps your lawn just as healthy and green as it would be if you were to use synthetic chemical products.
Methods Used To Care For Organically Grown Lawns
The best ways to care for a lawn that is being grown organically include:
– Using a three or four inch length on mowers used to cut grass. When grass is kept longer, chances for problems like bare spots from too much sun exposure are lessened.
– Watering just once a week if possible and giving it a good soaking at that time. For many lawns, this is all the watering they will need.
– Making sure the mower used is set up to leave the clippings on the lawn. Clippings act as a mulch and decompose, helping lawns to stay healthier. Large clumps should be removed, but most of the clippings can be left intact.
– Use natural compost materials and natural organic fertilizers for that extra support your lawn may need to keep it green and healthy.
By keeping a healthier habitat in our backyards, we can help create a more healthful living space. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide as they work to naturally give off oxygen, which helps clean and renew the air. If a lawn or yard is kept full of a wide variety of plant life, that helps prevent a wide scale devastation coming from diseases, insects or other pests. It also helps to support the wildlife living in the area.
Is Organic A Good Choice For You?
Weighing all the positive factors of having an organic lawn, including the cost saving benefits of not having to buy synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides, many homeowners come to the conclusion that it pays to at least try going organic when it comes to caring for lawns. Once a lawn is well established, it will normally require a minimum amount of upkeep to keep it green, lush and beautiful. The reward of a healthier environment for everyone makes choosing organic methods of caring for lawns a worthwhile venture.
Have you ever wondered what goes inside your sofa seat cushions to make them so comfortable to stretch out and relax on? While a variety of materials may fill furniture around the world, the most common seat stuffing is composed of polyurethane foam. The standard of foam is measured in grades based on its compression and density and it also is held to a separate measurement for how many years it is expected to last.
The compression of sofa foam is measured by how many pounds of pressure it takes to compress the material down to 3/4 of its initial bulk per cubic foot, also called its indentation load deflection (ILD). An average ILD for the bottom cushions of a couch would be in the low 30’s. Density is the weight and amount of foam that takes up the space of that cubic foot. According to The Foam Factory low density means less material with more air in the foam and would create an ideal softness for a back cushion.
Over time this material can degrade and the seats lose their wonderful bounce and end up looking like a deflated old balloon. This is because the polyurethane slowly disintegrates over time and generally the lower the grade of foam, the quicker that this will happen. The good news is that it is actually possible to purchase a sofa foam replacement for a sad looking cushion and restore it to a luxurious plumpness.
Remodeling certain areas of your dwelling can boosts its functionality. It can also increase your home’s value. It can also be easy for homeowners to go above their budget on a renovation. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to recoup the money when you’re ready to sell. The following are considerations to help in your decision making.
Neighborhood Home Value
Dressing up your home’s windows with curtains may be visually pleasing, but it won’t boost your home’s value. When you’re ready to renovate, you want to think about the other homes in your neighborhood. Prospective buyers will pay more money for a home that is move-in ready. They also won’t want to pay over fair market value. Your home improvement project should never exceed the other homes in the neighborhood. Concentrate on two or three problematic rooms in your home. The funds that you spend on the renovation with guarantee a bigger profit when you sell.
Determine the Cost of the Work
Financial planners will frown on a homeowner who buys a home and borrows money to fund the repairs. An FHA 203k loan allows you to borrow funds based on the home’s future value. If you’re amortizing the repairs into your housing investment, you will have instant equity. Long lasting repairs that are simple are also going to yield the biggest gains when your home sells. The most financially rewarding rooms are often the kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Renovated cabinets, counters and cooking areas are sure to generate a higher priced home than the other comparable dwellings. Before you tackle any project, you want to get several estimates. They should also be from reputable contractors. To cover any changes, you want to add 10 percent to that price. This can give you the most accurate estimate price for your remodeling project.
Amount of Time You Plan on Staying
If you plan on staying in your dwelling a considerable amount of time, it may pay to invest a larger sum of money. Over time, your home is sure to go up with the improvements that you make. You’ll also have the added benefit of being in a home that you enjoy and meets your specific needs. If you’re only in it for the short term, a major renovation doesn’t make sense.
Depending on the area you live, you may want to start with a termite inspection. Hiring a home inspector at the start can point out defective areas of your dwelling. It’s best to get an opinion from a certified and licensed professional. This will alleviate surprises before you begin work on your home renovation project. If you’ve purchased your home in recent months, you’ve probably had an inspection prior to its sale. Refer to your home inspection documentation before any additional money is spent.
Discuss Your Improvements with a Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent may be handy when you’re looking to renovate. To get an accurate market value of your home, they’ll be able to provide you with a comparative analysis. Discuss with them the improvements that you’re thinking about making, and the costs. They’re professional opinion can help determine if you’ll be able to recoup the costs when you’re ready to sell.
Stick to Your Budget
Undergoing a major home renovation may be exciting. It can also be costly if you don’t adhere to your budget. Certain upgrades may make your life easier, but it could be costly if you can’t recoup later on. Stick to the remodeling projects that are in your budget. Any money leftover can be dealt with after you’ve finished.
A garden shed is a tremendously useful structure. It’s great for securing those high-value garden tools in a secure place without cluttering up your main living space. But an outbuilding like a shed can also serve a slew of other purposes. And many sheds in North Wales are being modified to serve those purposes.
With the proper permissions, one might use it as an outdoor shower, toilet, entertainment centre, or even a fully-fledged guest house. But naturally, in order to do so, you’ll need to ensure that the building is provided with things like water and electricity.
Though equipping an outbuilding like a shed with these sorts of amenities might seem like a significant upgrade, the work is actually surprisingly straightforward. Let’s take a look at how you might proceed.
It’s worth commencing with a note on safety. Electricity, and particularly mains electricity, is highly dangerous and potentially lethal if placed into the wrong hands. If you’re going to be messing around with it, then you should ideally know what you’re doing. If you don’t, then seek a certified contractor. They’ll not only be able to install cabling safely, but they’ll possess the detailed knowledge necessary to save you money and stress in the long run – for example, they’ll know exactly which gauge of cable is required to provide enough current for your needs.
You’ll want to run your electrical cable underground. Ideally, this can be done using a conduit pipe, which will allow for more cables to be installed further down the line, without the need for more excavation. Naturally, a garden is a place where a lot of digging is done, so you’ll want to bury the cable well. You should also use a steel mesh to protect your electricity supply – the last thing you want is for you or a future owner of the property to inadvertently plunge a spade through the mains electricity line.
Running water pipes from one end of a garden to another is quite straightforward. As you might expect, problems only arise when changes in temperature come into play. If your piping is not sufficiently protected from cold, then it’ll freeze during winter. Pipe freezes, clearly, are bad news; they not only prevent water from reaching its destination, but will cause bursts in the pipe, which will need to be repaired – meaning that you’ll need to dig up the garden again.
Fortunately, it’s possible to get a great deal of insulation from the soil itself. Bury your pipes deep and ensure that they’re properly shielded – particularly in areas where the pipes come up from the ground. Special sleeving can be bought from a suitable plumber merchant in North Wales, which will serve exactly this purpose.
Of course, water isn’t just a one-way street. Not only will you need a means of transporting clean water to where it’s needed – you’ll need somewhere for the water to go after you’ve flushed it away. Here we need to consider gravity – unless your building is on a hill, you’ll need to push it to the domestic drainage system. This will require a small pumping station, comprising a water tank and a pump – ideally one with a built-in macerator (a sort of blender which breaks waste into small pieces so that it can be easily moved along a pipe, thereby ensuring that things like toilet tissues, rags and sponges don’t cause a blockage). This will allow you to move waste away from your outbuilding using a narrower pipe.
If you’re going to be installing a water system in a mostly-wooden building, then you’ll need to ensure that you get enough ventilation. All of that moisture can, over a long period of time, have a profound impact on the wood – it’ll allow rot and mould to take root, and cause structural problems later on.
If you’ve installed a toilet, then this consideration will be all the more important. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to use an outdoor toilet that doesn’t have adequate ventilation, you’ll know what’s at stake.
One might make use of technology in order to improve ventilation. By pairing the fan with a timer or humidity sensor, you’ll be able to ventilate the room only when it’s required. In most cases, ventilation can be retrofitted to an existing shed. If you’re looking to create something that will generate a lot of moisture, like a Scandinavian-style outdoor sauna, you’ll need a specially-designed building to cope with the steam.
There are growing numbers of people migrating to different countries for a lot of reasons. Usually, it is for employment opportunities. When there are better paying jobs offered overseas, most people would grab the chance. If you are in the same situation right now, then it must be tough. There are a lot of things that you have to consider. On one hand, you want to grab the opportunity that may never come again. On the other hand, you think about the life you will leave behind and what kind of life is waiting for you and your kids.
When you have finally decided to move and grab the chance, there are a lot of things that you need to prepare for.
Travel documents and visa details
This must be settled before you decide to leave. You must already have a signed contract that is legally honoured to avoid problems. Your employer must have already issued an invitation letter that you can use to process the visa. You must have also booked the flight in advance. When all these details are secured, you can focus on moving.
Decide which items should be left behind
When you are moving to a new country, you can’t take everything with you. At some point, you have to dispose of most of the possessions you have, or sell them. You can also donate some to charity. In the end, you should only take essential items so that you won’t have a hard time moving.
Think about your kids
When you are moving with your kids, you need to arrange beforehand important details like who will take care of them while you are working or which school they will go to. You must also think about the availability of food that they can eat or key places for them to have fun.
Know the laws, traditions and culture
Everything is different in the new country that you are moving to. You will surely have a hard time adjusting. However, if you know what to expect even before you move, then it will be easier for you. Take time to read about local cultures and norms. You will act accordingly if you know what the rules are.
Hire a moving company
Even for international relocations, there are moving companies that can help you. Moving to another country can be very stressful. With the help of a removal company in Gloucester, then the job becomes easier. You can just pass them some of the burdens so that you can focus on other important tasks. You can find a lot of companies doing removals in Gloucester that have a proven track record. If you want to make sure, you can visit www.andrews-removals.com.
Image: nokhoog_buchachon at Freedigitalphotos.net
Marble worktops enhance any kitchen or bathroom in which they are a feature, but without regular care and cleaning they can become dull after years of use. So how can you restore the lustrous finish which makes your marble worktops the centre of attention? Here’s a quick DIY guide to polishing marble worktops to maintain them in optimal condition.
First, you’ll need some essential items to polish your marble worktop (or floor) and it’s best to make sure you have all these to hand before starting the polishing process. Many specialists such as marble worktops London firm JR Stone stock the necessary items to get this job done quickly and successfully.
Clean sponge and mild, non-abrasive cleaner
Variable-speed polisher or grinder (and felt polishing pad)
Clean, dry cloth (or brush) to apply the sealant
Marble sealant and polishing compound
Polishing and sealing process
1. Thoroughly clean the marble worktop using a mild, non-abrasive marble cleaning solution. Normally you apply this with a cloth or sponge and then wipe off with a clean cloth and allow the marble surface to thoroughly dry before moving onto the next step. If there are any stains on your marble worktop, try removing them with a specialist marble stain remover before polishing.
2. Using the special marble polishing compound, apply a small quantity to the surface, and use the wheel of the polisher to work it into the marble worktop by moving the polishing wheel across the surface in a uniform motion – don’t apply to much pressure; let the polishing compound and buffer do the work. For tricky corners or other sections where the buffer won’t reach – apply the compound and rub with a soft cloth to get the same effect.
3. When you’ve finished polishing the entire surface, remove any polish residue with a soft, dry cloth and then wipe over the entire surface with a clean, damp cloth and leave to dry.
4. The marble worktop should be left for 24 hours to thoroughly dry after polishing. The final step is to apply the marble sealant which will help protect the worktop by providing an impermeable barrier against moisture, oil and other liquids, helping the marble maintain its new lustrous finish. Apply the sealant with a clean, soft cloth or brush and leave to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your marble worktop is then ready for use. It’s a good idea to reapply a fresh coat of sealant at least once a year, or more frequently if the marble worktop receives heavy use. For the time it takes – it’s well worth it for the added protection against buildup of mould and protection against stains. Your marble will keep its lustrous sheen and elegant appeal for many years to come.