13 January 2020

5 Tips for Keeping Your Driveway Maintained

As one of the most used areas of a property, driveways unfortunately tend to be overlooked when it comes to home maintenance, that is until they crack or stain. To prevent problems further down the line, it’s important that you give attention to your driveway, and ensure that any repairs are made quickly.

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Caring for your driveway can not only extend its life, but help make sure it looks attractive to visitors and potential homebuyers. Whether you’ve recently moved into a new home, or you’re looking to sell your current property, here are a few key tips on how to maintain your driveway.

Prevent Cracks

Cracks in a driveway can become a real nuisance, so taking preventive measures can help stop cracks from forming in the first place. Sealing concrete on an annual basis - and asphalt every couple of years - can help stop water from penetrating, cracking, and freezing. Shrub and tree roots can also produce cracks by pressing up from underneath the surface. To rectify this, you will need to get rid of trees that are near drives.

Fill Cracks

If you notice holes or cracks in your driveway, it’s important that you patch them straight away. Make sure that you have a masonry chisel on hand, which will clear away loose materials. After you have done this, you can apply your crack filler and patching compound. Once the compound has dried, make sure that you seal the driveway entirely. Having a driveway that is level and smooth will also minimize the risk of any tripping accidents when visitors come to your property.

Minimize Water

If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, winter storms, and hurricanes, the last thing you want is for water and snow to penetrate your driveway. To reduce the risk of slips and falls, clearing a 2 to 3-inch strip around your driveway’s edges will give a runoff area for water and snow.

Plow Carefully

When snow hits your driveway, the last thing you want is for it to cause lasting damage to your driveway. When using a snowplow, make sure that you raise the blade enough to make sure that it does not scrape and cause damage to your driveway’s surface. If you choose to shovel, it’s advised to opt for a plastic shovel which can be used on uneven surfaces, as this will reduce the risk of it catching on your driveway.

Install a New Driveway

If your driveway is beyond repair and you want to start afresh, it may be time to install a new one. Companies like Richfield Blacktop are specialists when it comes to laying down asphalt and concrete driveways, as well as commercial paving. For those who are looking to move, investing in a new driveway can help make the exterior of your home stand out for all the right reasons.

How your driveway looks can be the make or break when it comes to selling a property. The last thing you want is for cracks and stains to damage your driveway. Making use of all the tips listed can help ensure your driveway is well maintained. 

09 January 2020

Bathroom Design for Teens


Your teenagers probably spend more time in the bathroom than you do. So it’s not a bad idea to dedicate a bathroom just to them. But how do you transform a bathroom from a young kid’s to a teenager’s? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Go from a Shower Curtain to a Showersreen

There’s a fair chance you’ve still got your old shower curtain up from when your children used to play in the tub. However, they’re teenagers now. Get rid of the Winnie the Pooh and superhero shower curtains and put in something more mature. Consider a frameless showerscreen. Make sure it's easy to clean and durable. Consider a semi frameless showerscreen with color accents to give the bathroom a touch of personality. 

Install Natural Materials 

Replace linoleum with stone tile or wood paneling. Note that engineered wood will handle the moisture far better than traditional wood floors. Replace knit bathmats with wool rugs and other natural materials. This isn’t just a move toward more mature d├ęcor, but it follows the trend toward more natural materials.

Give them the Storage they Need 

Don’t yell at your kids for covering the bathroom counter with stuff. Install extra storage. This may require hanging storage baskets above the toilet or rearranging the shelves under the sink. Perhaps you could get rid of the stack of hand towels in the linen closet, so your kids have more space for their own beauty items. Note that if things always seem to be a mess, it may be because the trash bin is too small. Put a larger trash bin in the bathroom, and you may not find tissues or makeup pads on the floor as often. Since your kids are getting bigger, there’s a fair chance they’ll need a larger laundry hamper too.

Improve the Lighting 

Consider upgrading the lighting. Replace overhead lights with recessed lights and put in a makeup or shaving mirror. This will show your teenagers that you understand their needs. Extending the mirrors from the top of the sink to the ceiling will reflect more light in the limited space while making it easier for a growing teen to see what they’re doing no matter how tall they are.

06 January 2020

3 Ways to Know If Your Potential New Home’s Neighborhood Is Safe


What are the first things you look for when moving into a new neighborhood?

Comfort, low noise, amenities, and accessibility are a few of the most common winning features of a nice, stress-free neighborhood. Though those attributes are worth looking for, safety should be the first priority whenever moving to a new place. Being able to walk freely and get a good night’s sleep depends on how safe you feel in your own house, after all.

You might have found the perfect new home for yourself and your family, but is the vicinity safe? Here are some easy ways to find out.

Get To Know Your Neighbors

The moment you move into a new city/neighborhood/home, it’s important that you get to know who you’ll be living next door to. That’s not only a matter of friendliness, but it’s also a security measure for all those involved.

Being friends with neighbors is a win-win situation because it ensures you’re all reliable people when it comes to everyone’s safety. Let’s see an example:

You’ve planned a trip, but you don’t feel safe being away for too long. In this case, a trusted neighbor could keep one of your house keys so you don’t lose it, and they could also keep an eye out for suspicious activity near your house. If there’s something wrong, they’ll contact you immediately, and vice versa.

It’s important, however, that you know more than just your neighbors’ names before handing anything of value to them. This might involve a background check that you can perform by doing quick research. An easy way to do it is to search mugshots on GoLookUp, which will show potential criminal records of whoever you’re looking for. It’s all 100 percent confidential, and it’ll spot from burglars to sex offenders.

Try not to skip this step. What makes a neighborhood safe is, essentially, who lives in it.

Make Sure There Are No Pest Infestations Around

The only thing worse than having pests in your home is when they’re coming from outside. Mice, roaches, mosquitoes...whatever they are, they’re even more bothersome when the issue isn’t your fault. What should you do in this situation?

If pests from your neighbor’s house are filing into your home, your family members could be at risk for health issues such as bacterial illnesses and respiratory infections. But before you call anyone out, call residential pest control to be sure your home isn’t the problem. If it’s not, you might want to approach your neighbor to discuss the problem politely, and even offer quality pest control services you might know about. Again, this will be easier if you get to know your neighbors on a personal level first.

Be Informed About Local Crime Statistics

Is there a lot of criminal activity in your potential neighborhood? You could be living close to a high violent crime rate neighborhood and not even realize it. Doing the proper research before you move will spare you from having to relocate or deal with risk.

To avoid this kind of threat, there are available tools that’ll help you find out exactly what goes on around the block. Online tools like CrimeReports and SpotCrime are crime databases that’ll give you information about criminal activity in a specific area, including yours. This early research, combined with the previous tips, will help you choose an ideal home in all important aspects.

Keeping your home’s interior safe with security cameras and alarm systems is highly recommended, but you’ll be even safer if there’s less danger outside. That’s why you must scan a prospective neighborhood for bad guys, be them human or nasty pests.

13 December 2019

Newest kitchen and bath finish is toast-worthy


Appliances and kitchen and bath fixtures are evolving toward softer finishes, including the look of the moment – a champagne, or soft bronze, finish. A unique blend of silver, bronze and rose gold, this warm finish complements most design aesthetics, and is a welcome contrast to cooler finishes such as stainless steel and matte black.

Originally appearing in kitchens, the champagne finish has been growing in popularity for use in bathrooms where it can be seen on fixtures, shower drains and heated towel racks. The finish’s understated golden tones bring a sense of understated sophistication to spaces.   

Incorporating a heated towel rack in a soft champagne finish is a stylish and affordable way to elevate style and comfort in the bathroom. Used in Europe for decades to keep towels warm and fresh, heated towel racks use the same amount of electricity as just a few light bulbs. Amba Products offers a wide array of free-standing and mounted heated towel racks, all of which are made of corrosion-resistant, high-grade stainless steel – delivering elegance and long-lasting durability. 

Linear drains are another area of the bathroom where a champagne finish can create a style statement. Not only do these clean-lined drains create a seamless, contemporary look – they can be located almost anywhere within the shower, adding versatility. LUXE Linear Drains offers a full line of stainless steel linear drains and tile insert drains for residential settings, available in a variety of designs, finishes and sizes, including custom options.

For a bolder approach, consider adding a retro style refrigerator in champagne and making it the focal point of the kitchen. Elmira Stove Works offers its Northstar line of midcentury modern style appliances – including ranges, refrigerators, microwaves, wall ovens, range hoods and splash backs – in champagne as a custom color. Opting for smaller countertop appliances in champagne is another great way to incorporate the finish in the kitchen.

As more homeowners desire to differentiate their kitchens and bathrooms, adding elements in a champagne finish can create a look that is at once distinctive and subtle – setting these spaces beautifully apart.

Top Home Building Trends in 2020


Many new home building trends are expected to emerge in 2020. Many interior designers are now infusing recyclable materials in their home design plans. People are becoming more conscious about environmental problems, so they're interested in stylish environmentally friendly properties. Integrated living spaces are also becoming more popular. Kitchens are now more closely connected to living rooms. Many people like to socialize while they cook. Patios may also be more closely connected to the living area.

Designs are also becoming more stylish in unique ways. Creative fixture designs are making a comeback, and people are thinking of new ways to upgrade doors and windows. Sliding doors are becoming a lot more popular. They are convenient, and many people like to use them to save space. Sliding doors don't have to swing outward, so homeowners can put furniture next to them. You may want to use sliding barn door hardware to set up a sliding barn bedroom door. These are becoming very popular options for children's bedrooms.

You might also be interested in creative wallpaper options. Fabric wall coverings are becoming very popular. This is an affordable and luxurious way to decorate a bedroom or living area. Some people even like to match the wall design with the upholstery. This can give the house a very upscale look. Marble wallpaper is another interesting option. This looks great in homes with stone tile floors.

Popular floor materials include granite tile and hardwood. Hardwood is always a popular choice, but many people are now choosing to paint the wood to make it match the walls and ceiling. Installing granite tiles is a great way to make a living space look more modern. Many people prefer to use these tiles because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

2020 Home Renovation Ideas

Making the home's interior match can be a serious challenge. Many people like to use mirrors or window trim to tie a home's look together. Changing the lighting may also be important. Many people overlook light fixtures when they design a home's interior. Quality lighting is vital, and you should look at the placement of windows and hallways to determine the best place to set up light fixtures. Ambient lighting can make a hallway look much more inviting. Some people like to install LED track lighting. The lights are energy-efficient, and you have many different options to select from.

Popular Wall Colors

Neutral color tones will be a lot more popular in 2020. Paler shades of blue and red are now more appealing than solid color tones. Matte black finishes are also making a comeback. Many people are combining black tile with matching fixtures. Green is also becoming a very popular interior design color. Vivid colors are becoming less popular, but some creative designers use an occasional splash of red or purple to brighten a room. Some people like matching the interior with the exterior. If the exterior of a house is stone, then the inside wallpaper might be beige or gray. Interior designers look at the entire home's interior and exterior designs. The themes should be consistent throughout.

Tile Trends

Tile technology is becoming very sophisticated, and manufacturers can now create synthetic materials that strongly resemble their real counterparts. These materials are being used to decorate walls, floors, and ceilings. Synthetic materials may be preferable in showers because they are often more durable than real materials.

Dimensional tile is also becoming very popular. This sort of tile pops out of the wall, and designers create many fascinating three dimensional designs. You might want to use bas relief tile to make a room look more sophisticated. Printed tile designs are also very appealing. You can use a collection of different tile patterns to vary the room's design.

Blending different materials is also becoming a popular idea. Combining tile floors with matching carpeting can add enough variety to make the room feel fresh and exciting. Some people like to mix wood and tile. It's important that the colors remain uniform throughout the room. Contemporary plant designs will also be popular in 2020. Artists combine leaf-print wallpaper with real plants to create a beautiful organic look within a home. Many artists are also looking at using natural sunlight to make a home look more vibrant. Skylights in bathrooms and living rooms are becoming much more popular.