18 June 2018

Saving money with DIY plumbing

As I got ready to write this post I went back to my portfolio on Houzz to see if I had any bathrooms posted there. Sure enough:


I'm a one-time kitchen and bath designer and although I don't ply that trade as a profession any more, my years in those particular trenches left me with an unshakeable sense of what I can and cannot do when it comes to working on my house. Iworked on many, many bathrooms over the years and three years ago I designed and managed the renovations of two baths in the home I share with my partner Frank.

I'm pretty handy and I did do some of the tile work in the master bath and I hooked up the new faucets in the hall bath. I'm capable of more than that of course, but I know that there's a profound difference between my swapping out a P trap under a lavatory sink and what would surely be a ruinous attempt of my trying to re-route water supply lines for a shower. I have a strong sense of my skill level and I wouldn't hesitate to swap out a shower fixture or a toilet. By the same toekn, I would never dream of trying anything having to do with rough plumbing.

Rough plumbing pretty much means plumbing behind the walls and fixtures are any part of a bathroom you can see.

I see the same programming on HGTV and DIY that every body else sees and a lot of those shows spread a message that with the right "can do" attitude anybody can tackle any household project. That's simply not true and as I say all the time, plumbing is a profession for a reason.

What just about anybody can do is make cosmetic changes and keep up with maintenance tasks. Painting a bathroom is a simple cosmetic change that just about anybody can take on. Changing out things like towel bars are relatively easy to take on too.

You really don't need to hire someone to do routine maintenance either. If your toilet's running all the time you just need to change the flap valve and provided you follow the instructions, you can complete that without the help of a plumber and save at least $150.


Clogged drains are another maintenance task that you shouldn't need to call a plumber over. I'm a brand ambassador for Roto-Rooter and their line of home plumbing products. Shower drains get clogged with hair and soap scum and when that happens, they slow down. If you're experiencing a slow drain, get some Roto-Rooter Gel Clog Remover or Hair Clog Remover and try that first before you call a plumber.

Follow the instructions on the bottle and the odds are pretty good that you'll fix your problem and save a bundle at the same time. I like these Roto-Rooter products more than the other brands that are out there. Roto-Rooter products are more concentrated and they just work better. Roto-Rooter products are readily available at retailers you already patronize, so give them a try.




Mean Green keeps my patio clean

Excuse the bad rhyme in the headline but sometimes I can't help myself.

This is my patio as it looked a couple of days ago.


It's a beautiful space and Frank and I are fortunate that the previous owners of our home put such a premium on outdoor living. In warmer months, our patio serves as a dining room, a kitchen and a living room and we spend as much time keeping it looking good as we do enjoying out time out there.

Since we live in Pennsylvania, we usually get full use of that outdoor space for less than six months out of the year. During the cold months, that patio becoes almost an afterthought. My birdfeeders are out there and other than keeping the snow away from the patio doors, it's the birds who spend the most time out there.

When the weather starts to turn at the end of April, cleaning up that patio becomes my job. Typically, that clean up is an onerous task that involves a pressure washer, buckets of soapy water, hand and deck brushes and a lot of cursing on my part. Of all the spring clean up projects that have to happen, getting the patio into shape is my least favorite.

This year however, I tried something different.


As I've mentioned earlier, I'm a brand ambassador for Mean Green and Mean Green Super Strength made my least-favorite task a lot less onerous.


I added Mean Green Super Strength directly to the reservoir of the hose end sprayer I normally use to apply liquid fertilizer to my plantings and it had the effect of spraying this amazing cleaning product with just the right amount of pressure to clear away an entire winter's grime without me having to use a brush or dust off my pressure washer.

All I did was spray everything down with my Mean Green Super Strength solution, let it sit for about five minutes and then spray everything off with clean water. Mean Green is biodegradeable so I didn't have to worry about what the runoff was going to do to my flower beds. It was a real breakthrough moment for me.

As the summer progresses, I'll use more Mean Green Super Strength out there to keep our outdoor space ship shape.

You really ought to give this stuff a try. The Mean Green line of products including Mean Green Super Strength are available at Lowe's. So what are you waiting for?

09 June 2018

Undiscovered Bahamas: Top Things to do in The Exumas

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If you’re looking for an ultimate escape – a vacation in the Exumas located in the Bahamian paradise is what’s in store for you. You’re most likely swim with the charming pigs and gentle nurse sharks, see giant starfish, and even feed wild but friendly iguanas.

You may want to spend your entire year boating and floating through the 365 cays, as what locals say, one cay per day. Majority of the cays are uninhabited and some are under the ownership of celebrities. Don’t worry about the place where you’ll spend the rest of your dream escape. There are numerous vacation homes in the Exumas to choose from which will truly offer a one of a kind experience from a relaxing ambiance to waking up to the stunning views every day. 

Discover the paradise of the Exumas. Let’s make the most out of your stay in this undiscovered series of islands in the Bahamas.

Let the journey begin

You can start your adventure on Great Exuma’s northern shore which is the Barraterre. You may rend a boat together with a trusty captain and guide to show you the best spots in the area. Are you curious about the color of water? It seems like a gradient from sea green to sapphire. It will definitely be the beautiful water you’ll ever see in your entire journey.
 
The Starfish Reserve

Here, tons of starfish will welcome you as they are being seen almost covering the ocean floor. It may be your first time to them that big! It is fine to pick them up for as long as you don’t keep them out of the water for a long time. Since the water is too shallow, you can easily find them.

Conch shell diving

Not too far from the Starfish Reserve, your guide will dive into the water and come up with several conch shells. It will be later used to make tasty conch salad. It is the Bahamas’ version of ceviche. Its ingredients include the raw conch that will be pulled out from the shell, chopped onions, peppers, lime and orange juices and some spices that they want to add up to.

Little Farmer's Cay

Here is where you find a little civilization which comprises of around 70 people. Of all the cays, it is the said to be the first one to be inhabited. It is about 40 minutes if you’re coming from Great Exuma. You’ll find a restaurant and a small grocery in the island, a place where locals gather and play dominos.

Little Galliot Cay sandbar

It’ll definitely a one of a kind experience where you can step on a footprint-less stretch of pristine sand so be ready and make your first mark. It is ideal to visit in the morning during low tide. Spend a couple of hours to hang out here where complete solitude ambiance is just so perfect. 

Thunderball Grotto

As you cross the water from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, you’ll see the Thunderball Grotto. It is a marine cave which is a perfect place to explore the world down under for snorkelers and experienced scuba divers. It’s somehow a bit of work as you paddle inside but to tell you honestly, it’s work all the effort. This grotto was featured in one of James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again.

Staniel Cay

You’ve landed on the activity hub in the cays. It is also a favorite destination of yachters. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the only full-service marina that can be found in the cays. The restaurant in the club is the best place to have your lunch, dinner and ever a place to be for the nightlife.

Big Major's Cay

Here’s one of the highlights of your Bahamian paradise getaway, swimming with the lovable pigs at the Big Major’s Cay. They are so friendly. As you come to the island they automatically dive right in and swim to welcome you. Don’t forget to bring some scraps to feed them. 

Allan's Cay

Another highlight of your dream escape is can be experienced in Allan’s Cay. Get ready with your grapes and stick. This destination is home to hundreds of wild but friendly iguanas. Just put a grape on your stick and they’ll crawl towards your position. It’s really an exciting experience!

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

This is a protected area and the first of its kind in the world. It boasts of some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the Bahamas. Since it’s rich with marine biodiversity and still unspoiled to the point that the water has essentially never been fished, you’ll definitely be amazed of the world down under. Other activities that you can engage yourself with when in the area are hiking and bird watching.

Compass Cay

It is notably known as an unspoiled deserted island boater’s paradise. The setting here seems to be tie up your boat and grab a Kalik Beer while hanging out with fellow boaters that came from the different part of the world. Here, you don’t need to be afraid to swim with the harmless and friendly nurse sharks. They are adorable.

Shroud Cay

If you go around at the back of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park by means of boating, it is possible for you to climb to one of its highest points. If you want to do it, you need to be prepared as you’ll wade through around shoulder deep water and be ready to climb a rocky path. Don’t worry, it may take much energy and effort, but it’s okay. The 360 degrees view is so stunning!

Norman's Cay

Be ready to taste the best cocktail and excellent Bahamian cooking in one of the best restaurant in the Norman’s Cay, the MacDuff.

04 June 2018

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Gutters

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Are you a commercial business looking to replace your gutter system? You may not know, but when replacing your gutter system for the first time there are many different factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure that you choose the perfect system for your business. One of the big decisions that you will have to make is whether to opt for residential gutters or commercial gutters and this decision is normally based on the type of property that it is needed for. In this article, we will be taking you through the main differences between residential and commercial gutters, so you can choose the one that will be best for you.

 The Installation Process

One of the biggest differences between commercial and residential gutters is how they are installed. Residential gutters are designed to be installed in your home. They will be installed on the edge of the roof and this is normally a shed, gable, or hipped roof. With commercial guttering, these are normally installed in commercial properties which are often bigger and you will also often find that they have flat roofs.

The Size and Style of the Gutter 

Another big difference to consider when choosing between residential and commercial guttering Is the size and style. The size and style used for a residential property will not be the same as that of a commercial property. In a residential property, you will tend to find that U-shape or K-style gutters are used, however, in commercial properties the preferred choice is often commercial box gutters. When getting commercial box gutters, you will first get a quote for the cost of the job. If you are happy with this quote, the work can then begin. The first stage is to remove the previous gutters and they should be recycled if this is possible. If not, then they should be disposed of properly. The next stage is to have your new commercial box gutters installed. This is done with either steel or aluminium and they will be affixed to the building with industrial strength brackets for long term secure fastening. The final inspection will then be carried out to ensure that the new guttering system is performing to the best of its capabilities.

Negative Repercussions

It is vitally important that you understand the difference between residential and commercial gutters as choosing the wrong one can have disastrous consequences for your home or commercial property. If you do not have the proper coverage then you risk having your gutters not being able to do their job properly. This can then lead to leaks in the roof and your gutters becoming damaged. This can result in lots of time and money being wasted trying to correct this problem and changing the gutter system.

Laws and Regulations 

Depending on where you live, there can be different rules and regulations that you need to follow when you are having new guttering systems installed. Make sure that you check out what your local laws and regulations are. This is particularly important if you own a commercial property as it is likely that there could be regulations about the gutter size, how they are installed and where exactly the water drains out.


Don’t Always Opt for the Biggest Guttering System

A common mistake that many people can make it opting for the biggest guttering system that they can which is often true in residential properties. The thought behind this is normally that you can achieve better coverage and it will require less maintenance, however, the experts will tell you that this is not the case. Just because a guttering system is bigger, this does not necessarily mean that it will be a better fit for your particular property. It is also worth remembering that big gutters can also require more maintenance than small gutters as they can end up collecting more debris.

The Aesthetics 

As well as all of the practical advice above to take into consideration, it is also important that you think about the aesthetics of the guttering system that you are choosing. When you put a large commercial gutter system on a residential home it can appear bulky and take away from the lovely look of your home. What’s more, it will also cover the fascia board and trimming that you want to carry out to keep your home looking the way that you desire. Take a look at other houses that you like and see what gutters they have installed. This can give you a better idea of what exactly you should opt for, just make sure you are looking at places with a similar style of roof!

30 May 2018

The Items You Need to Improve Your Home D├ęcor


No matter whether you are decorating your very first home or are looking to overhaul just one room that needs sprucing, interior design is lots of fun and is the ultimate way to put your own stamp on a home to make it yours. However, interior design can be a tricky, and costly, process and so it is vital that you are not wasting your money on unnecessary purchases. In this article, we are taking you through the items that you should consider implementing in your new interior design project that will instantly lift a room.

Plants 

One of the easiest ways in which you can spruce up your home is to bring the outdoors, in! Really, this type of purchase can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. This can range from anything from a gorgeous bonsai tree to a simple fern. It is also important to consider the maintenance of plants and so you may want to opt for one that is not going to require a whole lot of attention from you. Plants come in a tonne of different shapes, sizes and colours, so no matter what the colour scheme is of your home, you should be able to find one that fits with your room.

Rugs 

A good investment to make in any room when it comes to interior design is a rug. This can add colour, warmth and texture to any room and it is definitely an essential for any room that has a cold wood or tiled floor. Always try to check it out in person before purchasing online so you can get a better idea of its real size and how it will fit in your room.

Artwork

Another easy way to add some gorgeous finishing touches to a room when having an interior design overhaul is to get good artwork. We would recommend getting a focal piece for a room as not only will it add that little something extra to your room, it will also act as a great conversation piece. At an online art marketplace such as Fine Art America, you can choose from a wide range of wall art prints including framed prints, canvas prints, art prints, metal prints, acrylic print and posters. With millions of unique products to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect artwork for the room you are designing.

Chairs

No matter whether you are changing up the interior design of your kitchen, living room, or dining room, chairs are normally always involved and can be a great feature in any room. Opt for a comfortable feature chair that everyone will want to sit in and that adds personality to a room.

Pillows

Finally, don’t forget the importance of a good pillow. Pillows provide the homely feel to a room and you can even match them to your artwork for a polished and sleek look. We would recommend keeping away from the unusual patterns and textures and opting for classic styles with soft edges and clean colours.

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