Friday, 22 September 2017

Choosing Kitchen Appliances: Things to Consider

Kitchen appliances are an investment into the future rather than an immediate expense, and while usually a costly project, they are intended to serve your household for years, if not decades to come. That is why choosing your essential kitchen appliances requires prudent planning that will get you the best results in terms of functionality, financial savings, design, and your personal satisfaction as well.

You will need to settle on a reasonable budget beforehand, and then proceed to take into account various factors that will determine the look, functionality, and feel of your brand-new kitchen. Here are the essential things to consider when choosing kitchen appliances.

The price tag

You might feel tempted to spring for the latest stainless steel range, but that might not be what you and your kitchen need. After all, are you looking to create a functional place in your home to prepare food, or a professional restaurant kitchen? What’s more, high-end ranges have quite a sizeable price tag attached, so not only will you be extending far beyond your needs, but your financial reach as well.

Balance is everything, and you can find extraordinary appliances that are both durable and affordable; you simply need to realistically assess your needs. Moreover, consider purchasing one appliance at a time instead of a complete set, and pick out different pieces from a multitude of ranges: you might need the latest refrigerator, but you might not need the latest generation dishwasher.

Overall quality and longevity

The price tag is somewhat able to give you a hint as to the quality and longevity of your appliance. However, more often than not, you’re paying for the brand and not the product itself, so it is always best to search for authentic online reviews rather than rely on the advertisements or the words of “professional” chefs within the industry.

Appliances should be designed to last for decades, protecting both your wallet and the environment in the process. Energy star certified Viking refrigerators are an excellent example of this, with sturdy frames, cutting-edge operating mechanisms, air purification systems, as well as a variety of easy access drawers with temperature and moisture controls.

Pick your essentials

Perhaps you don’t actually need a completely new set of appliances, maybe you only need a new fridge or a new, eco-friendly dishwasher or microwave. It is easy to fall prey to modern consumerism and believe that you need to completely equip your kitchen with the latest technological advances; however, that is rarely the case.

Be sure to be rational and prudent at all times, and you will be able to make a sound decision that will save you money, time and effort. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded by your local store clerk looking to sell as much as they can.

Go green

The aforementioned need to cut down on energy and water waste across the household becomes all the more important in the 21st century as humanity is faced with numerous ecological problems.

As natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce across the globe, now is the time to look for appliances that will not only allow you to decrease your upkeep costs, but also use less energy and precious clean water. Remember, the kitchen is the single most wasteful area in your home.

The perfect fit

Finally, you need to consider the overall impact your new appliance will have on your décor and kitchen setting. Choosing the wrong appliance can add to the clutter of the room and make it seem smaller than it actually is ‒ this is not a situation you want to find yourself in if you have a growing family.

Therefore, you also need to take the size of your kitchen into account when choosing your appliances so as to maintain the spaciousness of the room. Be sure to consider building custom-size countertops and even a kitchen island in order to make room for your new appliances.

As you can see, choosing your new appliances is not quite an easy task as one would initially assume. Be sure to consider these crucial tips and you will have no problems making the best possible decision for your kitchen.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Metal Roofs: An Insulation Guide

Corrugated metal is not an uncommon roofing material. In fact, it has been popular for quite a long time. A lot of buildings, offices, communal spaces and homes have metal roofs in order to reduce noise pollution and save energy. However, just like with any other type of room, insulation is the issue that needs to be tackled in order to achieve energy efficiency. With properly insulated metal roofs, you will retain the heat in the building while blocking the outdoor noises. If this checks all the boxes for you, read on for a comprehensive insulation guide for metal roofs.

Foam batting is the best option

If you are still thinking about what the best option when it comes to insulation material is, foam batting combines flawlessly with materials such as metal roof sheets. As you probably already know, fiberglass comes in roll-ups, whereas foam batting comes in panels (or, in other words, it is purchased in panels). It also offers you some wiggle room – it can be used on the inside or the outside of the sheathing. It is highly malleable, which is one of the most important traits of any material in the world of construction.

Staples will make sure it is fixed

When we talk about staples in construction, especially when it comes to roof insulation, we are not discussing your regular paper punchers. These staples can easily go through several inches of insulation and they are probably the easiest way to attach metal roof insulation and keep it fixed. Furthermore, they will not create large or particularly noticeable holes in the sheathing and you can always remove them if additional repairs need to be made (which cannot be said for most of other insulation fasteners).

Paper wrap can be very helpful

Lay down paper wrap on the sheathing. It will prevent water from accumulating in the small space between the metal roof and the sheathing. This is important for several reasons and the most important one is definitely the factor of mold. Since this space is damp and dark, mold can develop really quickly and cause all sorts of respiratory health issues to the residents. This is a specific problem that becomes really hard to detect or pinpoint once it has grown to dangerous proportions. People will usually search for the source of the problem in different places and this space between the metal roof and the sheathing will be the last thing on their mind. Therefore, make sure to put the paper wrap on the sheathing and prevent this problem from ever occurring.

Create the airflow

When you are constructing and insulating metal roof, there is an additional method you can apply to lower the chance of mold infestation – create small gaps to let the roof breathe. This can make metal roof maintenance much more manageable. These spaces between units of insulation should be no wider than 3 millimeters. If this is not done as precisely as possible, the problem of a leaking roof can emerge, which is followed by other issues.

Solving a small problem now can prevent a big problem later

You can argue there is hardly such a thing as an impregnable roof. This is definitely true when it comes to regular non-governmental and non-military buildings. For example, a constant flow of water will find its way through anything, and it can create big problems with your roof over time. Metal roofs are not immune to damage or corrosion. In order to stop these ever-evolving problems in their tracks, you need to be vigilant and give a professional a call as soon as you notice the need for any potential roof leak repair. Pay close attention to the state of your metal roof during and immediately after the rain season.

We all want to achieve the perfect balance between comfort and practicality. Homes and residential buildings usually go for different roof material, but metal sheets are just as good as your average roof tile. It is quite unfair to see people turning their back to metal roofs due to the very nature of metal – it cannot retain heat. However, with a bit of knowledge and solid insulation, it is a perfectly reliable kind of roof material. 


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Swimming Pool Solutions for Smaller Spaces

There is nothing like taking a dip in your own pool on a hot summer day. However, there is one particular problem you don’t know how to solve. You have the means and will to put a pool in your backyard, but you don’t have the space. Fortunately, people are resourceful thinkers. This is a unique problem but you don’t have to look around too much to find swimming pool solution for smaller spaces.

Swim spas

You could marry the lack of space with comfort and add a swim-spa to your backyard. It’s an ideal solution if you don’t have enough space and it’s an amazing solution for single people or entire families. It’s basically a smaller pool with a bridge that separates smaller spa section from the rest of the water. It comes with ample seating space and it’s a perfect hot-spot for relaxation after a hard day at work. Spa jets meant to massage you come with a variety of settings. In most cases, it is built to accommodate six adults, though if we are talking about children’s birthday party, it will probably hold more than ten children.

Plunge pools

This is a good solution if the space in your backyard is exceptionally small. Typically, this sort of pool won’t take up too many square meters from your yard but they will be appropriately deep, usually filled with cold water in order to invigorate your body. This way, you can enjoy a pool experience as if it’s a full-sized swimming pool. Even swim jets can be added in order to offer increased resistance for you to swim against. It’s a fantastic exercise. These pools are usually very durable and safe, with walls made of fiberglass.

Lap pools

Lap pools are fantastic variant for people who want to power-swim after work. It is very specifically designed for those who don’t have necessary backyard space but want to exercise, just like in the case of plunge pools. Contemporary lap pools offer a single depth throughout (dual entry steps, if they are even added, are really narrow), and they usually cover a great length but only enough elbow space for one person to swim. Maximum width is usually around 2.5 meters. The design is functional and practical, a fantastic solution for focused and hard-working individuals who enjoy healthy recreation.

Freeform pools

Freeform pools are truly unique beasts. They usually require creative input from the owner of the household, but you can also hire the help of professionals to assess the space and see what’s the best type of shape and size for you. The key feature of building freeform pools in your small backyard is versatility of shape and form. Irregular shapes and organic, natural style can also serve as a form of decoration to your yard. Likewise, these pools are usually made from natural materials (usually rocks) and designed to emulate the look of naturally occurring pond or a spring. These sorts of pools are not only recreational zones, they can also be turned into your own Zen hideouts.

Courtyard pools

Courtyard pool is mostly an umbrella term. This sort of pool offers features that mostly combine some of the above-mentioned additions. These solutions are ideal for cramped-up backyards and they are designed with multi-purpose modes in mind. They can serve for comfort and physical activity, depending on your mood. Swim jet systems, spa jets, seating areas, depth, it is all modifiable for your desired experience. Some of these courtyard pools can even be added to an interior, if you live in a sizeable mansion that take up most of the space on your lot.

No matter why your backyard space is limited, it doesn’t mean you should give up on adding a pool to your area. The solutions are numerous and the designs are feasible. After all, your backyard is your own small kingdom, and nothing should stop you from creating a little getaway from daily worries that perfectly suits your sensibilities. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Transforming Your Backyard into an Awesome Party Venue

Australia is headed into the final stretch before spring finally sets in. Now is the time to start prepping your backyard to become the most vibrant and welcoming party venue of the oncoming season. While you might be thinking that there’s plenty of time to get to these chores, the month of August is actually perfect for restoring your backyard to its former glory – it’s not too cold, the weather is clearing up, and the setting is perfect for new flowers and plants to take root.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of time, money or energy to create everyone’s favourite new backyard, as true beauty and timeless appeal lies in the details. Here is the foolproof guide to transforming your backyard into an awesome party venue.

Rejuvenate the yard

First and foremost, your backyard needs a thorough clean-up after several months of neglect. You can start by de-cluttering the patio, lawn and garden of any debris, accumulated dirt and dust. After you’ve cleaned all the areas, you can move on to fixing any damage your exterior might have suffered from the winter elements, such as paint chips, dents, corrosion, or holes in the ground.

Be sure to remove any anthills and to tend to the garden fence as well. Now’s the perfect time to rejuvenate your flower garden by planting new roots and introducing potted plants around the backyard. When planting, mind the texture of the soil, it might need replacing, and don’t forget to decorate the patio with flowers and plants as well.

Plan the seating

Finally, you can bring out the furniture into the backyard and patio. As a rule of thumb, but depending on the size of your backyard, you want to situate the majority of the furniture on the patio and next to the entrance of the house, and reserve the back lawn for standing, dancing and mingling.

If you have a beautiful flower garden next to the fence of a striking view from your backyard, be sure to place a garden table surrounded by chairs for people to enjoy their cocktails while experiencing the scenery.

Prepare for the weather

No matter how much you want to greet the new, festive season with open arms, you need to remember that spring can be a cruel mistress. The weather can change in a blink of an eye, turning from a warm, sunny afternoon into a shower storm that, although fun, still shouldn’t leave your guests soaking wet.

The unpredictability of the weather requires the use of ample protection so it’s best to get a marquee or a shade umbrella. However, an umbrella might not be good choice due to its size and you might need more than one piece to cover the backyard, and at Sydney Shade you’ll find marquees that are both large and durable enough to withstand the elements and accommodate your entire party under its wing.

Plan the lighting

When it comes to prolonging an afternoon party into the evening hours, adequate lighting is the key. You want to introduce garden floor lights into your backyard and even hang up lanterns between the trees and from the marquee in order to create a true fairy-tale setting that will inspire warmth, passion, and lifelong memories. Be sure to avoid bright lighting, and instead pick the pieces that cast a soft, warm glow that mimics the setting sun, for an added dash of intimacy.

Pick the right tunes

No party is complete without an energetic and passionate playlist that will rattle the senses, evoke emotion and allow the good times to roll. Don’t just stick to one genre of music though, unless it’s a themed party, but try to appeal to all your guests’ tastes and preferences by creating a unique and dynamic playlist entailing everything from evergreens to contemporary artists.

Creating an awesome party venue is a fun and rewarding task. Be sure to follow these essential guidelines when prepping your backyard for the festivities that accompany the warm seasons and you will easily make every one of your parties the party of a lifetime.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

An Insight into Cost-Effective Plumbing Repairs

The plumbing pipes are the blood vessels of your household. If they get clogged or fall into disrepair, everything will go downhill from there. We can all do our part in trying to prevent any sort of damage to the pipes – utilizing stainless steel strainers in the sinks, not clogging your toilet with big chunks of paper, as well as using chemicals that are made to corrode the sediment in your pipes and wash it all away. Those are just some of the known methods that can help your plumbing last longer.

On the other hand, none of us can stop time, and everything that is used often will fall into disrepair sooner or later. We are all trying to save as much money as we can, but once the plumbing goes awry, the repairs won’t come cheap. Fortunately, with some knowledge under your belt, you can get some elbow room when it comes to the finances required for these sorts of fixes, so keep on reading if you want to learn more about cost-effective plumbing repairs.

Plumb it like a pro

One of the first things that come to mind when talking about cost-effective repairs is the do-it-yourself treatment, and sure enough, most of us can do some of the minor fixes (as replacing a shower head, for instance).

If a bigger problem emerges, a cost of such repairs can go from $100 to $250. Most of the plumbers have a call-out fee that ranges from $60 to $100, and if you take a bit of time out of your day to learn how to use a wrench, that could keep some money in your pocket, provided that you really know what you are doing, otherwise you’ll end up paying more than if you called a pro to tackle the issue when it occurred.

If your entire house has fallen into disrepair due to inexpert tackling of plumbing issues, the bills can get astronomical really fast. The worst-case scenario that includes replacing the pipes can get you up to $15000 dollars, which makes expenditures on routine maintenance sound particularly reasonable.

Practical ways to save money

Of course, there are ways to save money even when calling a plumber is necessary. You can focus on functional repairs, which means you’ll spend money on the parts of your pipes that are exposed or damaged and draw the line there. This will end up saving you at least 50% of the worst-case scenario’s price.

You can also replace the plumbing during your home renovations. The pipes will be exposed during the renovation anyways, so why not use the chance to inspect the pipes for potential issues and do the necessary patchwork. This can cost you up to $1000 dollars, which is a bargain considering what it can end up costing in case the pipes start bursting and the drains start clogging.

Routine maintenance

Some of the most common in-home plumbing issues include leaking interior water lines, leaking shut-off valves and blocked or clogged drains. Most of these problems emerge because of wear and tear. Basically, all of these problems can be avoided with routine maintenance.

This is the key thing when it comes to the topic of cost-effectiveness. Routine maintenance might appear to be an extra investment you can easily do without. However, having your plumbing checked and problems prevented before they blow out of proportion is very favorable for your wallet.

If push comes to shove, you’ll need someone to deal with the problem effectively, as these fully licensed specialists for blocked drains from Epping, who boast years of expertise behind them and offer 24/7 emergency services in case you ran into some nasty surprises.  So once the repairs are done, make sure to ask the repairmen if they have routine maintenance included in their services.

When it comes to drainage and pipes, no potential problem should ever be underestimated, because once it hits hard, your entire household is at risk. First of all, the dank odor will not only lower the quality of your life, but it will also come as a hindrance to your neighbors.

On the other hand, clogged drains can affect your household in direct and destructive ways – destroyed walls, ruined floors and furniture are all the extra financial expenditure that goes beyond the price of an entire plumbing repair. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Optimising Your Home for Movie Watching

If you’re a huge cinephile and enjoy not only movies, but the whole viewing experience, then this is the guide for you. Sure, going to the cinema is great, but sometimes you just want to relax at home with a great film and avoid all the fuss of going to the cinema and having to spend endless hours looking for a parking spot and standing in line for tickets. If you want to turn your home into a small movie theatre, here’s what you should know.

Home for Movie Watching

Position your furniture  

Think about your favourite seat at the movie theatre and try to recreate it a home. The best spots are usually somewhere in the middle, so you might want to move your TV or furniture around to achieve that same line of sight.

Comfort is key

You can always get comfortable when watching a movie by yourself, but if you have friends or family over, it can get a bit tricky. You can’t possibly have enough pillows and blankets for everyone, so make it a “bring your own blanket” event. This way everyone will be super cozy.

Lights out

This step might seem simple, but in reality it’s trickier than you think. It’s easy to turn off the lights in the room, but if your friends like to check their phones constantly during the movie night, it can ruin the experience. So, try to make a game out of it. The first person who touches their phone has to serve drinks and snacks for the night.

Home for Movie Watching

Get snacks and drinks

If you want to achieve a complete cinema experience, you must get refreshments. You can equip your home with a snack bar, or if you want an extra authentic atmosphere, get seats with cup holders. Some cinema suppliers even offer home-sized popcorn machines, vending machines and coolers.

Consider the size and the resolution of the screen

Before you invest in a high-definition TV or a home theatre, you might want to think about the perfect resolution for your space. To achieve the optimal viewing experience, you need to sit far enough from the screen so that you don’t see the pixels or need to move your head, but also close enough to see all the details and subtitles. For this, you need a TV that has a good resolution and colors. However, resolution is not everything.  

You should also consider getting the right size screen. If you want to create a real media room, you should get a contemporary home theatre with a projection screen, but if you want to watch movies in your living room, you might want to scale everything down a bit. You should also consider the size of the cabinet or surface that will support your TV.

Enjoy the good sound

Sometimes, the resolution and size of your screen are not everything. Good sound can contribute to your watching experience just as much as the image. You can get a full surround sound setup (which can be a bit costly) or get a good sound bar with a subwoofer. This will immensely improve the sound quality without making a hole in your wallet. Also, feel free to experiment with different positions of your speakers, because every room has unique acoustic properties.

Home for Movie Watching

Pick the right film

If you want to avoid any uncomfortable situations when watching with your family or friends, make sure to pick the appropriate film. Take time to check out the synopsis, reviews and ratings. If there are too many sex scenes or obscenities, it can make everyone uncomfortable and ruin the night.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on installing a real home theatre or a simple flat screen, these tips will be the key to a memorable viewing experience. Now, invite your friends and press play! 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Painting Your Home for the Market: An Expert’s Guide

Once you’ve set your sights on selling your home, you wish to do everything to make it appealing to potential buyers. Painting the interior is a great way to impress anybody who walks in. By refreshing the rooms with a new coat of paint, you’ll definitely increase the chances of closing the deal at a fair price.

Painting Your Home

Which rooms should you paint?

Identify the priorities and paint them first. It would be best to start with the rooms where the walls are damaged or the paint is chipped. The next in line should be high-traffic rooms, like the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Painting the foyer is essential as it is the starting point for a prospective owner’s tour of the house.

The choice of colours

If you are painting to sell, the market should be your guide. Ask yourself who your potential buyers are. A family with young children will appreciate washable walls, while an elderly couple will love simplicity and classic colours. Remember that a new paintjob doesn’t need to match your own taste, but make the home as universally attractive as possible. By depersonalizing your home, you will make it seem like anyone can live there. According to real estate agents, light warm colours like beige and taupe are considered a safe card for creating an inviting indoor atmosphere.

How much paint should you buy?

After you have settled for a couple of colours, the next step is estimating how much paint you need to buy. Professionals advise to multiply the length of each surface by its height and add another 30% on top. One gallon of paint should be enough for 350 to 400 square feet. One way or another, always buy a bit more so you can use it for touch-ups.

Preparing the rooms

Either remove the furniture from the room or place it at the centre and cover it with canvas or plastic drop cloths. Additionally, place drop cloths on the floor and remove the fixtures like window coverings, switch plates and outlet covers. Protect windowsills, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter with a painter’s tape. You can use it on everything else you need to protect. Before you start with painting, make sure all the surfaces are repaired and cleaned properly, as paint won’t adhere well to dirty or uneven areas.

Safety tip: If your home was built before 1978, the chances are that it was decorated with lead-based paints. There are lead-paint testing kits available. Avoid scraping and sanding lead-based paint as it poses a serious health hazard, especially to children and pregnant women.

Priming and painting

Applying a coat of primer isn’t always necessary, but it will make the paint adhere better and last longer. However, if your walls are stained or you are applying a light-coloured paint over dry walls, you should use primer. Use a brush or a roller and apply primer in 6-ft square sections, using a zigzag pattern or overlapping ‘W’ strokes. After the primer has dried, pour your paint in the tray and start applying it in the same way as the primer. Adding premium paint thinner will help the paint apply to surfaces more evenly, and you will prevent bumps from occurring in the painted surfaces.

Safety tip: Open the windows when priming and painting to ensure your working area is well-ventilated.

Metal surfaces

When it comes to metal surfaces (as wrought iron fence, for instance), using quality rust converter or rust protection paint can significantly improve their appearance. As decorative coatings, these solutions help hide unsightly dents, joints and scratches, and can make any imperfect metal surface look brand new.  

Painting Your Home

Cleaning up the mess

When the job is done, fold up the drop cloths and close your paint cans. Dispose of empty paint or thinner cans in a proper way. If warm soapy water isn’t enough for cleaning the brushes and rollers, use turpentine. After your painting tools are clean, make sure they are dried completely before storing them away. Remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid stripping any fresh paint. The longer the tape stays on, harder it becomes to remove.

Following this guide, you will be able to paint your home for sale in a matter of days. Your chances to sell will increase dramatically and in the meantime, you will enjoy a freshly decorated interior.