Monday, May 13, 2019

7 Things to Consider When Buying a New Kitchen

~ This is a featured post. ~

A kitchen is the heart of a home. It is one of the most important rooms to get right when you are designing your home because it is one of the most difficult rooms to change. When the time comes to sell your home, the first rooms that prospective buyers will check will be the bathroom and the kitchen.

When the time comes to pick out a new kitchen for your home, you want to ensure that you choose the best kitchens available. There are a lot of different factors to consider when buying a kitchen and you will want to make sure that you factor all of them into your final decision about which kitchen to buy. The ideal kitchen should marry both form and function, making it just as good to use as it is to look at.

Storage
Your ideal kitchen should have plenty of space to store everything that you need to cook the meals you love. Needless to say, your storage requirements will vary depending on a number of factors. All that matters is that your kitchen has enough storage space for your individual needs.

Modern kitchens can offer a number of ingenious ways of using all the available space as efficiently as possible with regards to storage. For example, pull-out collapsible cupboards can unfurl to reveal a lot of storage space in a relatively small area.

Obviously, if you live alone, then you won’t need quite as much storage space as someone who will be living with a number of other people. Getting a new kitchen presents the perfect opportunity to declutter if you have been gradually accumulating new kitchen appliances for some time.

Custom Kitchens
If you have enough funds available, you might want to consider having a custom kitchen designed. You can either hire a professional kitchen designer to undertake this for you, or you could design your own using specialist software. For example, this design software enables the user to design a kitchen in unprecedented detail.

A custom kitchen design will give you complete control over all aspects of the final look. You will be able to tailor each aspect so it is perfect for your individual tastes. However, custom kitchens will generally be more expensive, although your individual tastes will impact on the price.

Surface Area
This is a similar consideration to the amount of storage space in your kitchen but will depend more on the type of food that you like to cook. Some people only require a small amount of surface space in order to do all the cooking they need to. However, many people like to spread themselves around all the available kitchen space.

As well as thinking about how much surface space you need, you will also need to consider which material you want the surfaces to be made out of. There are lots of materials to choose from, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. Make sure to research your options carefully before you commit to a particular material or look.

Appliances
The wrong appliances can completely spoil an otherwise perfectly good-looking kitchen. It is generally much easier to change your appliances to suit the kitchen than it is to alter your kitchen in order to make it match your appliances. Some people will prefer to design their kitchen and then find the right appliances to populate it. However, you could also do both in tandem if you prefer.

If you have a particular set of appliances or a particular aesthetic look that stands out for you and which you think can form the basis of your overall design, keep it in mind when you are selecting the other elements of your kitchen.

Color Scheme
Finding the right color scheme for a kitchen can sometimes be a real challenge. You might already have a color scheme in mind, in which case it should be easy to pick out the right paints and fixtures. However, if you are unsure, then there are a number of things to consider when deciding on a scheme.

If you like the more traditional, conservative kitchen look then you will want to stick to blacks, whites and other flat colors. If you want to go for something bolder, you could add in some primary colors to the mix. Regardless of the approach you prefer, it is a good idea to at least consider a variety of color options. If you work with a professional designer, they will be able to advise you as to what works and what doesn’t.

Lighting
Ensuring that your kitchen is adequately lit is a vital part of its overall design. There are lots of different types of kitchen lighting available to you. These range from ambient and low-lighting lights, to main lights that will illuminate the entire space. If your kitchen doesn’t receive much natural light, you will need to compensate for this by adding in more artificial lighting.

Conversely, if you are lucky enough to have a kitchen that lets in a lot of natural light, you might want to think about fixtures you can add that will maximize the amount of natural light coming in.

Flooring
Finding the right flooring means finding the right balance between form and function. You will want at least some of your flooring to be easy to clean, around the area where you prepare your food. This type of flooring often doesn’t look very stylish. However, this is one area where you should be prioritizing function over form. Carpet might look good in your kitchen but it will be a nightmare to clean.

When you next find yourself in the position of needing to choose a new kitchen, make sure that you carefully consider all the available options. You can customize your kitchen to a large degree these days, so you will have plenty of choices to make. If you are new to the world of kitchens, consider consulting with a professional designer instead of trying to do it all yourself.

A Guide to Choosing and Installing the Right Hardwood Flooring for Your House

~ This is a featured post. ~

When renovating a home, you have to make many decisions. The purpose of all those decisions is to add to the beauty and style of your house in a cost-effective manner.

Choosing the right category of flooring is another difficult decision to make. Although when renovating a house, the flooring is the first thing that comes to the mind of the user, it still is the most complex decision due to the limited options available.

The debate on which flooring is the best is never-ending. If you have chosen hardwood, then we have compiled a step-by-step process for choosing the right hardwood and then installing it.

The process of installation of a hardwood floor needs guidance and the input of a qualified installation service professional. However, having an insight into the process and the science that goes behind it will provide you a better understanding and make choosing an installation service easier.  

We know that the installation of a hardwood floor can be a strenuous task. This is why it is important to find out more before you go about installing the floor.  

Step 1 - Points to Consider
When choosing flooring option you need to be wary about various factors. The factors can be both internal and external. The residents of the house and your family should be your top priority before choosing a hardwood floor.

Consider the needs of your family before making a decision. Having pets around means that the hardwood floor is under the threat of constant scratching by the long nails your pet has. Maintaining your pet regularly and ensuring that the animal is well kept is an important aspect that you need to consider.

Another factor is the presence of babies or toddlers in the house. A disturbed sleep cycle can affect the health of the young ones. We all know how easily distracted a young toddler can be while sleeping, a sudden light or sound is enough for waking the baby.
The addition of underlayment products in a hardwood floor provides a base and extra insulation to the floor, this limits the noise in the house and ensures that the baby does not wake up by a slight sound on the floor above.

Step 2 - Study the Options
Once you are perfectly sure about your need for the hardwood flooring, the next step is to choose the right type of flooring.

Now, this is where the challenge lies; in order to choose the right hardwood flooring, you need to be perfectly sure about the specifics that you are looking for.

Selecting between Solid or Engineered Flooring
Like all other home appliances, the flooring has also been subject to technological upgrades.

Traditionally, users choose thick planks of solid timber as hardwood flooring. However, we have numerous engineering companies that add a thinner top layer of hardwood that’s bonded with other layers. It prevents the movement of hardwood from expansion and contraction during seasonal changes.

However, despite the added insulation, some homeowners still prefer using solid wood because of its more comfortable and quieter nature.

Choose the Type of Finish
There are two types of finishes available: Oil and Polyurethane. Both finishes have their own look and effects.

Oil adds a more sophisticated look to the flooring in addition to penetrating the wood. Polyurethane creates a top coat on the surface of the wood, acting as a deterrent to the regular wear and tear that other flooring go through.

The Wood types
Although you may find many options, Oak and Walnut are the kings of hardwood flooring in the US.

Oak is popular for the durability it offers and for making the floor of the house look aesthetically pleasing. Walnut is a popular choice because of its deep color, making it suitable for rooms where a darker finish is required.

Picking a Pattern and Determining Plank Width
Picking the grain pattern is the result of the options available due to the variety in log-cutting styles. Logs are cut primarily in three different ways: Plain-Sawn, Quarter- Sawn, and Rift- Sawn. All styles of log cutting produce a different result and texture.

Home d├ęcor experts believe that there is no good or bad texture amongst these three. It is the application of these textures, however, that makes it fit the look of your house.

Determining the plank width requires an accurate understanding of the style that you want to depict. Usually, hardwood flooring has a plank size of two to three-inch strips. However, exceeding the norm is now considered as a sign of luxury.

Step 3 - Installation
Once you have finalized the type and texture of your hardwood flooring, the next step is installing it.

The installation process depends upon the type of hardware flooring being installed. A step-by-step guide will help you understand the process of installation

The Installation Method
The first step is to determine the method of installation. Installation techniques vary depending on the dimensions of the hardware product.

Hardwood flooring might need to be stapled or glued to a wooden subfloor, whereas engineered flooring can be mechanically fastened and glued.

The installation of a floor requires precise DIY knowledge and experience. Remember that you have spent a fortune investing on these hardwood floors and a slight mistake can turn out to be very costly.

Acclimatize the Floor
It is necessary that the wood acclimatizes to the climate of your room. To ensure this, move the packaged boards into the room and allow the moisture on the wood to adjust to the conditions of the room.

Additionally, monitor the humidity in the room because moisture in the air often leads to movement within the hardwood. A humidity level between 35-55% is ideal in this regard.

Prepare Your Space and Install
It is good to be confident in your abilities but a flash of overconfidence can lay all the hard work to waste. This is why we recommend watching a tutorial before going about installing the hardwood.

Hardwood can be installed over existing flooring. Before you proceed, you need to ensure that all surrounding doors can still open once the flooring is installed.

Install the flooring using the manual instructions, begin by rolling out the underlayment, and use it to bond the layers of hardwood. The process can be a lengthy one and hence, needs patience and focus.

Once done, apply the finishing touches by tracing for contours that can be cut and fit according to the instructions of the installation guide.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

3 Home Improvements That Will Increase Your Property Value

~ This is a featured post. ~

When making home improvements, it’s very important to evaluate how they will affect the value of the property. If you have no intention of selling the property and want to live there for the rest of your life, then making improvements for your own enjoyment is fine. But if you intend at one point or the other to sell the property and turn a profit, you have to consider which option will add the most to your home’s value and which ones will allow it to sell faster. Let’s take a look at some of the renovations that could increase the value of your property and give you a better return on investment.

Installing New Siding
Not only can re-doing your siding add to the value of your property, but siding that looks like it has deteriorated will be a sure deterrent for prospective buyers. And it’s a renovation that doesn’t cost much either. You could have vinyl siding installed for as little as $11,000 and you’ll be able to recuperate most of these costs upon sale.
Things like insulated vinyl siding will be a winner, especially in markets like Sacramento, since it helps prevent damage and fading from UV rays. If this is where you live, you should consult with a reputable contractor who does siding Sacramento. They will be able to give you the best options for your budget and the kind of return you’re expecting.

Remodeling the Kitchen
Kitchen remodels are usually winners with most buyers, but they also can get tricky. While minor and reasonable remodel projects can work, you could easily go overboard.
Instead, you should stick to doing things that won’t break the bank, like replacing lighting fixtures or adding features like counter lights, changing or repainting the cabinetry, adding new countertops, or going for new stainless appliances. What’s great about adding new appliances is that you’ll get to take them with you once you leave, even though they’ll make the kitchen look better to buyers. Even doing simple things like changing the range or adding colorful window treatments could do a difference.

Basement or Attic Conversion
People demand more from their homes nowadays, and transforming unused spaces like the attic or a basement into actual living spaces could be a huge selling point. People like the idea of being able to transform a room into a playroom, office, or study. And this is a much better idea than adding an extra room to the house, since you’ll have to pay much more and deal with the foundation costs, framing, and dirt work. Adding a new room could cost you double what you can expect to convert a room, and you could recuperate up to 83% of the cost of a room conversion upon sale.
Make sure that you consider these options and always take the costs and ROI into consideration when making any decision. These renovations will allow you to make your house more attractive and valuable, even with a minor investment.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Amazing Benefits of Wood Mulch for Your Garden

~ This is a featured post. ~

Home gardens benefit from wood mulch as much as forest plants. Wood is a good compost, offering a natural texture that helps plants grow, reduce weeds, and provide a lot more benefits.

A 15-year study that examined a farm using wood mulch as compost found that the nitrogen level in the plants increased over time. The results show that using wood mulch as compost lead to enhanced plant growth.

In this blog post, you will learn what exactly wood mulch is and the best ways to ensure its proper use in your garden.

Wood Chip Mulch: What Is It?

Many expert gardeners have a lot to say about the benefits of mulching with wood chips. Using wood mulch provides the required nutrients for the plant. Wood chips are organic, and they break down nutrients over time.

In addition, the nutrients protect the soil and provide ground cover. Wood mulch can also reduce the weeds resulting in a clean look.

Mulching with wood chips helps even out soil temperature levels. This helps reduce erosion and improves the soil structure. Using the mulch also conserve the moisture thereby reducing the risk of pests and other plant diseases.

Why Use Wood Chips Mulch?

Wood mulch greatly benefits the plants as well as the ecology. The mulch is readily available for free. You can find wood mulch everywhere.

The great thing about wood mulch is that it doesn’t get blown away similar to other lighter mulch. One study examined 15 organic mulches and found that wood chips are much better at moisture retention, weed control, and temperature moderation.

Tips to Apply Wood Chips Mulch

Wood chips mulch should be applied to a garden at a depth of at least 75 mm for the best performance. This will give the best weed suppression and water holding capacity thereby preventing the soil from becoming dry out quickly.

Before you apply mulch to the garden, you need to consider the natural characteristics of the soil. Consider adding fertilizer to the garden soil before adding wood chips mulch. This will ensure adequate nutrition of your plant.

For heavy clay soil, you may need to improve soil drainage first by adding a sandy loam soil. Consider adding a good organic garden mix to the soil.

An important consideration during summers is ensuring that the soil retains water. The soil can become water repellent that can suffocate the soil. To address this issue, you must option.
  1. You can add a wetting agent to the soil. The wetting agent will lessen the surface tension and help the soil to retain water for a longer period. Make sure to water the soil and keep watering for up to one week before adding wood chip mulch.
  2. You can also add organic material such as Nitro Humus in the soil at 25 percent per volume of compost. The organic matter will act like a sponge retaining moisture in the soil. It can also help the water to penetrate deeper thereby promoting the growth of the plant root.

How Often Should You Add Wood Mulch?

You can apply wood chip mulch around the plant at any time. Consider mulching newly potted plants after watering them. Due to the abundance of wood mulch, fall is the best time to collect wood chips for mulching.

Moreover, you can contact a wood chipping service to extract wood chips from fallen trees.   

How much mulch to apply to the soil depends on the density and texture of the mulch. Most bark and wood mulches consist of fine particles. They should not be more than 3 inches deep after they are settled. Wood mulches of pine bark and pine needles are a course that allows excellent air movement. These should be kept not more than 4 inches deep.

Don’t put a large amount of mulch near the trunk or stem of a plant. This is important as excessive mulch near the plant could suffocate the roots resulting in poor growth and soil conditions.

Myths about Using Wood Chips Mulch

Some people say that wood chips mulch should not be used. They claim that it leads to nitrogen deficiency. Although it’s true that the nitrogen is deficient at the soil where wood meets the soil, the bottom of the soil will still receive nitrogen. This is the reason you should leave the mulch at the top of the soil. In addition, you can use high nitrogen compost below the mulch to ensure adequate nitrogen for the plant. 

Wood chips obtained from branches with leaves are a great source of nitrogen for the plants.

Another concern regarding wood chips mulch is that the pH may be acidic. Although the original wood mulch is slightly acidic, the soil produced by the decomposition of the chips will not have a high pH level. No study has confirmed that the wood chip mulch could lead to increased acidity as claimed by some expert gardeners. So, you should not worry about the soil turning acidic and harming your plants when you add wood chips mulch.

The fact of the matter is wood chips mulch provides a lot of benefits to the plants. They provide adequate soil covering. In addition, the mulch leads to reduced need for weeding. Water retention ability will mean that you need to water less in the garden. This will create the perfect condition for the plants to grow healthy.

While inorganic mulches such as pebbles last for a longer period, but they don’t add as many nutrients similar to wood chips mulch. In addition, they also don’t condition the soil for maximum water retention similar to wood mulch. Still, you can add gravel and pebbles during the winter as they keep the soil warmer and promote plant growth.

Wood chips mulch is much better as compared to other organic and inorganic mulches. You can rest assured of healthy plant growth when you use wood chips obtained from the ground or a wood chipping service.
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