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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Make Small Room More Spacious

A room in your home becomes a quiet refuge  from the bustle of everyday life. However, if the room is
small, decorating it with dark-colored pieces of furniture  and painting or wallpapering the walls dark might not be  the best step. This is because dark colors tend to  constrict space — a small room becomes even smaller.  Thus, that feeling of pleasant seclusion can become so  strong that it will eventually give you a feeling of  confinement. That room in your home then becomes a place  you would rather escape from rather than relax into.

So what is the best way to decorate a small room? Decorate  the small room using bright, light colors. Bright and  light colors are meant to create the illusion of space.  If your furniture pieces are dark-colored, use light  colors with rugs or carpets, and wallpaper or paint.  White or light-colored walls can make a room seem much  more spacious than dark-colored walls.

Don’t think that you’re limited to white or beige. There  are several light colors to choose from — pale turquoise,  pale goldenrod, wheat, light pink, lavender, ghost white,  mint cream, ivory, linen, bisque…The list could go on.  Go to your local library for books on do-it-yourself  interior decorating or visit Home Depot to see a range of  paint colors you can choose from. You’re sure to find a  color that suits your personality and make that small  room look much more spacious.

Build A Wood Fence

Materials Needed:

Treatment preservative

Concrete

4×4 posts 8 feet in length.

2×4 for railing in either 8 or 16 feet in length

1×6 or 1×8 fence boards (your preference)

3 1/2″ galvanized nails

2 1/2″ flat head galvanized nails

Hardware for gate (hinges and latch)

Before you get started you must first figure out your fence line. This will help you calculate the materials needed to build your fence. When determining your fence line the best thing to do is talk to your neighbors. If you’re in disagreement you can look for the property survey markers or if all else fails have your property surveyed. It’s best to keep the entire fence on your property. Once you know the fence line mark it with a string line. Using stakes hammered into the ground run the line 2 feet past each end of the fence line. Secure the string tightly to the stakes.

Next you need to treat your posts by following the manufacturers recommendations. I would suggest treatment at least 8 inches above ground level. You can also purchase posts that are pre-treated from your lumber store if you wish.

Measure your post holes 8 feet apart. I wouldn’t recommend any further apart as through time your fence may sag or lean. Dig the holes about 28 inches deep. Make sure all posts are of equal distance apart. It’s now time to prepare your concrete for setting the posts. Mix your concrete with 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts gravel. Add water and mix to a thick consistency but at the same time wet enough to pour all the way around the posts. Fill each hole 6 inches deep. Now it’s time to place the posts in every hole. Use a level to make sure each post is plumb and barely touching the string. Finish filling each hole to about 2 inches below ground level. Double check each post making sure it’s plumb.

After the posts have set it’s time to add the railings. Make sure to set the bottom rail 8 inches above ground and be careful to have both ends the same height from the ground. Fasten the top rails by measuring from the bottom rail up to the desired position. Finally attach the middle rail central between the bottom and top rails.

Before you nail the boards to the railings you might want to consider staining or painting them first as it is easier than doing this after they’ve been fastened. If you decide to go this route you should also stain or paint the posts and rails prior to attaching the boards. Using a spacer to maintain equal gaps you can begin nailing the boards to the rails, using 2 of the 2 1/2 inch nails hammered on each rail. Use a level to make sure the boards are vertically plumb.

Now that your fence is up you probably want a gate. First you need to determine the size of the gate. I would recommend a gate no less than 3 feet wide. You should build a frame with the 2×4’s overlapping and attach a middle rail for durability and strength. To allow room for the hinges and latch make sure the gate frame is built allowing 1 inch narrower between the gate posts. Next attach the fence boards and finally install the hinges and latch.

Bathroom Plumbing

Every drain in your home plumbing system should have a trap installed as part of the line. This is simply a curved section of pipe that “traps” water in it. If you look under your sink you should see an example of a trap. This will usually be a straight portion of pipe from the sink connected to a curved section that dips down and then back up before connecting to another horizontal section where the water exits. If you were to look inside your wall you would see a “T” section where the pipe goes down to your septic/sewer and up to an external vent.

The purpose of the trap is not to capture jewelry or other object dropped down the drain as many think but to hold water to prevent sewer/septic gas (and odor) from entering your bathroom. Every time you use the sink, shower, or tub some water collects in the trap blocking the gases and odor. If a component of your bathroom is not used frequently (i.e, the bath in a guest bathroom) then the water can evaporate and allow some gases to escape back into the bathroom. The good news is that this is very simple to prevent and/or fix. The solution: pour water down the drain. If you keep the trap full of water by running the water periodically you should not have any problems with odor. If this was the cause of your problem then the odor should dissipate in a short period of time once there is water in the trap.

Another possible cause for odor is the build up of slime, mold, hair, etc in the tailpiece (the portion of pipe that comes out the bottom of your sink) or overflow of your sink. The popup stopper in many bathroom sinks and tubs can also build up this “gunk”. Use a small flashlight to check and see if you do have any buildup. If you do, clean the buildup out (remember to use a cleaner that is safe for your sewer or septic system) and see if that addresses your odor problem.

DIY Home Security Projects

Install sturdy door and window locks

Each exterior door should have a dead bolt lock installed on it. The dead bolt must have at a minimum of 5 levers inside the lock and should be a double cylinder. They are more difficult of a lock difficult to pick.

The sliding glass doors are another favorite of intruders. The doors can be easily pushed off of the track. Patio bolts provide a good defense especially paired with a deadlocking handle.

Check the lighting around your home

How well is your home illuminated at night? Are the doors and windows dark or well lit? Motion activated lights are a great way to illuminate the outside of your home without having to leave the light on all night long.

Check the shrubs and bushes around your home

Have the bushes grown up so tall that you can not see the window from the street? If so, it is time to break out the hedge clippers and trim back the bushes. Tall bushes are a great place for a bugler to hide in and work on breaking into your home.

Add home security devices

If you already have a home security system installed, take an inventory of the accessories. There are a lot of home security accessories, such as sirens, strobe lights, motion detectors, surveillance cameras, and glass break detectors that can be added to your security system.

A commonly overlooked accessory category is fire and smoke detection. Consider adding smoke, heat and carbon dioxide detectors to your home security system.

A secure and locking mailbox

Why do you need one? Simple, two words identity theft. Around the first and fifteenth of every month people pay their bills. Their mail boxes are filled with credit card statements, utility bills and a host of other bills. For an identity theft, this is great information to use to steal your identity.

Video cameras

Video cameras have come down in price and the features that you can get in a camera are astounding. For the outside of you home invest in night vision video cameras that use infrared emitters to ‘light’ up the area they are watching.

Coffee Table Plans

Finding those perfect coffee table plans is easy if you know what to look for. First, use a search engine you are comfortable with using such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN. Once you have the search engine open, type in what you are looking for exactly like “coffee table plans” – exactly like that, with the quotes as well. You can also do “free coffee table plans” to find free coffee table plans for your home coffee table needs.

Of course, you will come up with a lot of “hits” for your search. Sifting through what you want or need is a little more complicated. First, you want to steer away from sites that are going to offer you free coffee table plans at a price. This is obviously a rouge and not free at all. Be on the lookout for such things and you will get what you want in no time at all.

Once you find some free coffee table plans, you should carefully examine those plans. Can you make all of those fancy cuts and such? Do you have the proper tools available for your coffee table? Do you have everything needed or can you get the needed materials? All of these questions should be examined before you decide to get busy with those free coffee table plans.

Whether you want a fancy coffee table of a basic coffee table, there are bound to be coffee table plans available if you look. Just find a couple you like and envision what that one will look like in your room. If you don’t think it will be a match, keep searching. Usually, you can find more than one free plans at any given website.

Sometimes, you will actually be able to create your own coffee table via an online program. Then, you will see a virtual image of the complete coffee table. Once you have the dream coffee table, you get a shopping list of exactly what is needed. I have really enjoyed the creation process more than I thought I would.

Obviously, not everyone is talented when it comes to creating masterpieces out of wood. It may be a good idea to hire a professional if you are not sure how to create a coffee table or if you have difficulty following coffee table plans. There are carpenters that will take the plan and create the coffee table for you. These can be hired for a good rate in most places.

About Basement Finishing

You will find that doing a basement is not really expensive as there are no outer walls to build. All you have to do is finish the inside and the best part is you can take your time building it as it is not a crucial part of your living quarters. You can do this work yourself and if you’re not sure of what you are doing you will find all kinds of advice as close as the internet.

Before you start you should have your plans in place as to what you’re going to do with your basement. This means considering the state of your basement and what type of living space you have in mind. You may find that you will have to move some things such as water heaters, furnace or oil storage tanks or maybe your design can fit around these things. This is also the time to check your basement walls for any leaks that you may have. This is very important for the future use of your basement. It would probably be a good idea to seal all of your walls before you start building finishing your basement just to be on the safe side. It could save you a lot of problems in the future. You don’t want to put all this work into your basement and find out you have a leak later.

Infrared Sauna DIY

Before I go into explanations I want to warn you about safety. Building a sauna yourself may involve doing some electrical wiring. Infrared heaters used in a sauna usually have high power requirements – as much as 1000 Watt. Please, do not try to build sauna yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. Better ask or hire someone who has experience with electricity to do it for you. If you’ll set up a sauna in a bathroom keep in mind that as a wet place it has strict requirements for electrical wiring safety.

Infrared sauna with two infrared heaters

First way to set up a home sauna is described by Jim Clements in his article The Bathroom for FIR Sauna, in which he explains how to use two infrared heaters placed in a relatively small room (5×11 feet suggested). He uses two 500 Watt 9 Amp infrared heaters from THMI, saying that these heaters give similar experience as in an infrared sauna cabin. He gives no specific information about this heaters aside from wattage and don’t know if any other brand of heaters will suit for this sauna set-up. I think it is important that heaters should not have too high wattage (not above 600 Watt).

These two heaters should be placed on the either sides of the room (5-6 feet apart). As they are 9 Amp you should either use 20 Amp outlet or use extension cord from some other outlet in your house to split current between two 15 Amp outlets. Make sure that extension cord can safely handle power requirements of an infrared heater.

At pre-heating stage Jim recommends to turn heaters to a door or to a wall for heating to occur faster. Don’t place heaters too close to the walls or other objects due to the risk of inflammation. The heating time is usually greater than with infrared sauna cabin and can be from 30 minutes to an hour. When the room is heated you can use it as a common infrared sauna, just go and sweat there. You may want to place a towel under the door and not to use ventilation as it will let air flow to lower temperature in a room. You don’t necessarily have to use a bathroom for a sauna; you can use any suitable place or make a special enclosure.

As an addition for two heaters Jim uses a 250 Watt infrared lamp hanged on the room ceiling (in his description he suggests to attach it to a shower curtain rod. He says he uses a light bulb from Sylvania but I think other manufacturers will be fine. Try to get a lamp with not focused but radiant infrared light.

Infrared sauna with infrared lamps

Another way to build an infrared sauna at your home is proposed by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. On his page about sauna therapy he describes how to use three 250 Watt infrared light bulbs to build an infrared sauna. You will need three 250 Watt infrared bulbs (not clear heat, as he writes that they have wrong spectrum). He recommends using Philips, General Electric or Sli lamps. Also you will need three ceramic or plastic lamp sockets for the bulbs, fifteen feet of heavy lamp cord, medium duty male wall plug and a switch, or better, timer-switch which is capable to handle seven amps current.

Socket should be mounted on a 46′’ high by 15′’ wide (or 12′’ high by 24′’ wide if you want to mount it on a wall) board made from wood, plywood or veneer. They should form a triangle with the middle socket on the top of it. The top socket should be at chest level when sitting. Sockets should be wired in parallel. Connect socket wire to a switch. After attaching sockets to the board with screws you need to make a cover form hardware cloth to prevent bulbs from touching anything.

Be very careful when using this sauna, always secure a board to a wall to ensure that it will not fall. Do not allow children to play with or use it without your supervision.

Dr. Wilson also describes how to build an enclosure for your sauna with a set of pipes. They form a frame which can be covered by blankets or other fabric to create a small room which can be used for sauna sessions.

Comparison of two methods

The first method described, by Jim Clements, is much easier to implement than the second, by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. And what is more important it uses prefabricated equipment so no additional wiring is needed so the risk of harm or malfunction is low. Heaters are covered so they cannot be touched by design and all wiring is made at factory. The minus is that infrared heaters cost more than infrared heat lamps.

From the other side, Dr. Wilson’s sauna, if made well and accurate is no worse that the first one, but costs significantly less. To build it one should know how to do electrical wiring or have someone who will do it for them. This sauna’s safety depends on a skill of the person who made it and can be dangerous if done improperly.

Once again, I want to warn anyone who wants to build a sauna that you must do it only if you are sure that you’re doing. You should be familiar with electrical wiring and should have skill and knowledge to do it right. Authors of the original articles or me can not be responsible for the misuse of a sauna or any problem with poor construction. Remember – safety first.

Guide To Vacuum Cleaner Repair

The very first thing you need to consider in vacuum cleaner repair works is find the source of the problem. Always consider asking this three questions:-

1) What has causing it to malfunction?

2) How does it happen?

3) Is it easy to repair? (Very important. If it is not, send it to a real specialist)

Damage to the parts of vacuum is the one that always cause problems. You need to check the whether the belt of the vacuum cleaner is still functioning or not. How are you going to know whether it is still working? Make sure the belt does not snapped or got stuck around the brush that is located inside the vacuum cleaner. You will have to unscrew the small plate located on the brush in order to have a better look into this problem.

If you really want to repair the vacuums yourself, you have to clean up the vacuum agitator brush from any dirt, dust, debris or hair. In order to do this, cut the damage belt with a new belt and screw the plate back to its original position.

Some people prefer to use a bagged vacuum cleaner,. The only drawback is the bag need to be change regularly and swap it with a new one once it is full. The dirt will cloak the hose when the bag is fully overloaded if you forget to change the bag and you have to spend unnecessary cost to repair it where you can avoid this in the first place.

Sometimes, the vacuum cleaner does not have the suction power as before after you have used it frequently. You might think it is due to bag overloaded but after you have changed it, the suction power is still weak. To make things right, check inside the hose. There might be something slightly bigger than the hose that block the circulation of the vacuum cleaner. Use a small stick or broom that can fit inside the hose and push it out.

If you have notice, there are only 3 things that cause the malfunctioning of a vacuum cleaner:-

1) Damage belt

2) Agitator brush problem

3) Blockage of the host

Stainless Steel Sinks

  • Stainless steel is relatively lightweight as compared to other materials. They are available in varying sizes and thicknesses, so their weights vary accordingly. The weight of stainless steel sinks is usually dependent on the gauge of the steel. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the steel. Homeowners commonly choose gauge numbers 18 and 20. Thinner stainless steel thinks (gauge 20 or higher) usually dent and scratch easily, so it might not be highly recommended.
  • Stainless steel sinks are relatively easy to clean and they tend to stay looking new for a longer period of time as long as they are cared for properly. You would not have to worry about leaving orange juice stains overnight, as it can easily be cleaned the following day. Stains can cause dulling and scratching however, so it is still best to wipe debris and spills as soon as possible. Putting rubber or plastic mats in the sink can protect it from scratches and protect its shiny surface.
  • There are lots of durable and beautiful stainless steel sinks that do not have rims or seams. The absence of seams gives a very modern and sleek appearance. These are usually made from one single solid steel sheet. Seamless sinks are easiest to clean and to keep clean. There are no crevices or cracks where bacteria, germs and grime can hide in.
  • Stainless steel sinks come in various styles so that you can easily find one that will suit your kitchen theme and style. They are also available in various colors, sizes, and finishes so that it is compatible with any kind of cabinetry or furniture.
  • Stainless steel sinks come in single, two-bowl and three-bowl models, each with varying depths. Depending on how much kitchen work and washing you do, there are a wide variety to choose from. For instance, if you wash lots of pans daily, you can choose a deep, two bowl sink to make sure that there is room for soaking, and for multi-tasking. You can specifically choose one that will best suit your kitchen needs.

Carriage House Garage Doors

Well, let’s start with cost. You can dress up a plain two-car garage door for under $300. Or you can replace the door or doors for anything from $700 to the sky’s the limit ($30,000 or more). But keep in mind the goal. You want you home to have the same appeal as those houses you drove past without upstaging you house. What good is that? Then you’d have some major remodeling to do to. You don’t want that. Be realistic. Visit your local decorative hardware showroom or garage door manufacturer. I suggest these over your standard lumberyard/hardware store because the decorative hardware store and the garage door manufacturer will be better equipped to walk you through the process, they will offer many more options than the big warehouse stores and they know what they are talking about. Your cost may be a little more but the look will be stunningly different than the big box warehouse store could offer.

Next consider the value added to your home. For far less than adding an addition, or upgrading a bathroom you have added value to your home. Its street appeal has risen greatly and after all – that’s what people see first.