30 September 2020

Easy and Affordable Ways to Fix Up Your Home

As the fall and winter holidays get closer, you may be planning to have relatives visit or stay with you for a short period of time. Not only do you want to create a welcoming experience, but you also need your home to be in good condition.

Updating your home doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming either. So follow these easy and affordable tips for helping you get the most out of fixing up your home.

1. Get your air conditioner and heater serviced.

Your air conditioning and heating systems are used almost every day to keep your home comfortable. However, during this time, they also build up debris, dirt, and other gunk within the units. Make sure you get your HVAC systems serviced at least twice each year – ideally once at the start of spring and once in the fall.

To find a quality HVAC technician, read online reviews and search for highly-rated companies. You can Google phrases like, “air conditioning services in Pennsylvania,” to see some of the top names in that region.

2. Look for small problems that could become big issues.

The last thing any homeowner wants is an emergency plumbing crisis or electrical repair. These issues can make living in a house unsafe and require several days to fix. Evaluate each of the systems in your house to see if there are potential issues that could arise.

For example, when you notice strange smells or gurgling from your drains, it's best to call a plumber. Look for a reliable company that offers the services you need like a routine pipe inspection to make sure everything is working at its best. Do a quick online search by typing in the required service you need followed by your area such as, "sewer repair in Atlanta" or more specifically "sewer repair in Roswell" for that particular suburb.


3. Update your interiors with new art.

You might be surprised how small changes can have a major impact on your home. Taking a few small steps to rearrange the furniture or add a few new decorations can make your house feel completely new.

Try out a few creative ways to add new and unique art to your space. For example, a DIY kit from Paint Loose allows you to make beautiful creations yourself without the need to hire someone. You can also visit local art fairs and support local artists by buying their work.

4. Visit garage sales and thrift shops.

If you don’t have a large budget to fix up your home, look for ways to get home improvement tools on the cheap. Many thrift shops have sections for power tools (including lawnmowers and leaf blowers) that you can use for yard work. Garage sales and estate sales can also have some paint, unused home decorations, and other appliances that you can get for your home without spending too much.

Finding these resources can take a lot of shopping time and you may need to visit multiple yard sales and stores before you find what you need, but the results can be worth it.


5. Deep clean your space.

Oftentimes, your home doesn’t need major repairs, it just needs a little TLC and some deep cleaning. Spend a weekend diving into the details of your house to make sure it's spotless. This includes cleaning the baseboards, getting the dust off of fan blades, and removing clogs of hair from your shower drains. The effort will be worth it: your house will feel bigger than it was before and you can relax in the bliss of a clean home.

It doesn’t take much to make your house feel like you completely redecorated or repaired. By catching issues before they become too serious and finding creative ways to design your space, you can open your home to friends and family reassured that it looks good.

Aircon Not Working? Durham NC AC Repair Says It Can Be the Thermostat

Did you know that the number of Americans that have invested in an air-conditioning system in and around their house surpasses over 70 million and counting? This is according to the energy consumption surveys online source. This accounts for over 50% of energy usage in homes and is no wonder there is a need for certified professionals to help with these in case of any issues, of which they can typically have if not maintained properly. 

The common thing with any household appliances or systems is the advent of inevitable faults. Things happen, we get them repaired and we carry on with life as it is. One of these things that is the topic of conversation in this article is these air conditioning systems that take up half of your household’s comfort levels.

We cannot live without them anymore.  Be it in your own home or a hotel, restaurant, in the car, they are everywhere and they are here to stay, and the important message to take home in all of this is to make sure you have someone on call who can fix any issues on the same day. There may be a few different things that get negatively affected on these units which can lead to them not working anymore, or working in a wrong manner. 

One of these things is its thermostat. 

The Importance of the Thermostat

Any appliance that could either cool a room down or heat it, will inevitably have a thermostat. It helps it cool or warm a place to a set point and temperature. Something like the central heating of a building, or a water heater and some kitchen appliances such as ovens, stoves, and refrigerators, all have this in them to avoid them from overheating or going past the normal levels. If you haven’t guessed it by now, this is a very important element in most of your homes gadgets and acts as a safety feature https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermostat

Issues to Look Out For

Having said that, when the aircon stops working or blows hot air when cold is needed and vice versa, the first go-to would be the thermostat. This is because in on itself it can have various issues that we will investigate below. 

If your thermostat is old, you probably need to replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, they do not last a lifetime and at some point, will need replacing. It can break if used too much. A newer programmable one should be considered especially if you live in an old house which had it when you moved in. 

Sometimes they may need a couple of batteries as well and this can be indicated by a warning light or low power indicator on it. This is a simple fix, which just needs new batteries. Of course, if it does not have enough power, it will not work properly. 

Other times when the repair person had installed it, perhaps they did not do a proper job, in which case, replace them with a far more superior service alternativeire.com, and do not try and fix this yourself. These units are heavy and have lots of moving parts which can break or electrocute you, so leave it to the certified professionals to handle with the right tools. If you see any loose wiring, leave it off and give the experts a call.

If you have a modern programmable one and it stops working, chances are it has not been programmed well enough, which may be something to get checked. Sometimes one cannot find the fault, and it could simply be with the programming of the device. 

Another very simple and common fault can be with the overall maintenance and cleanliness of the unit. Those that have been left for many months or years without cleaning, can often lead to failure to work. Some of them are easy to clean with a duster, while others, if they stop working, may need to be opened and the filter may need to be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water. But only if it's just the cover with no wiring or buttons on it. 

Keeping all these things in mind when it stops working or functions at half-mast, is something to pay heed to. 

29 September 2020

Tips for Choosing the Right Skirting Boards

Making changes to your home decor can be a serious project. Deciding how to go about the design would take a great deal of effort. And if you will be using skirting boards in any phase of the work, you want to get the right one. 

You won't have to be disturbed about this if you leave it to the professionals. But if you're going to install the skirting boards yourself, you want to be able to shop just the ideal type. You can find tips below on picking the best boards to work in your home design. 

The Scale of your Project 

The first thing that could be on your mind is how much of the skirting board you will be needing. A prior assessment will involve considering the scale of your project. How big or small is the area you need to be fitted? This will determine how much of the skirt boards you will use in your project. 

The size and pattern of the room is also another thing you want to keep in mind. A room with high ceilings will require tall skirting boards. You will also have to use shorter ones in a low ceiling room. As a rule of thumb, builders always advise you to use 1/18 of your room's height when shopping for the right size of skirting boards. 

The Designs to Choose

After doing the maths on how much board you will need to use in your project. You will also have to conclude on the type of design to go with. If you want them to play an essential role in decorating your interior or exterior wall, you should take the time to make your choice. 

Depending on your home's architectural style, you want to go for a design that would complement it. Traditional options may be ideal for contemporary style homes, while a more modern look would be best if you want something upscale. You can find more here on the different types of skirting boards available to choose from. 

Still, you will have a design that follows your detailing and decor needs. You can decide to work with a professional skilled with custom interior design and homebuilding. 

Color is an Important Factor as Well

As with everything about design, color is important. And if you are looking to introduce the wow effect in your home, you can achieve that with the right color effect. So when picking out the right skirting boards for you, you must consider the look and feel it adds to your living space. It is best to get custom orders for any color of your choosing, so you want to get creative with your design. 

Material Composition of your Boards

What is your skirting board made from? The material component is also something you want to think of when in the market for the best options. If you want something durable and long-lasting, then you certainly want to keep this in mind. But if you are on a budget, you can equally consider affordable options such as MDF. They are quality yet less expensive option compared to others. 

You should know that nothing can replace the workability and the quality assurance that comes with natural wood. You can also use wood options such as oak, Tulipwood, and pine for custom jobs that require precision machining. While MDF is a good option too, you should know that it is susceptible to cracks and damage than natural wood. 

Bringing Your Design to Life 

If you are a handy homeowner, there is a chance you can fix in your skirting boards without much hassle. There are tutorial videos available online to guide you each step of the way on how to place them correctly. You will have to own the tools for the job and also get the materials you need. There are useful suggestions here https://www.carpentry-tips-and-tricks.com/fitting-skirting.html on doing the job correctly. 

You can save yourself the troubles, on the other hand and get an expert to help you out. You will have to factor the cost of their services when planning your budget for the job. 

Final Note 

Skirting boards can be a great way to design your inside and outside space. And you want to be cautious about how you go about your home upgrade. Go for durable materials, and don't hesitate to use professionals whenever you require their services. 

Pine Discount Furniture vs. Austina Discount Quality Pine Furniture

Pine trees belong to the softwood family, which means that they are softer than other materials made of hardwood. You can read more about them on this site here. These trees grow all around the world, and they are shock-resistant and stiff, which makes them the right choice for furniture. The builders can also easily build and craft the pinewood during the manufacturing stage because they're softer than oak and other hardwoods.

The color of many cabinets and beds made from pine is creamy and light, although other materials used in the building stage can vary the shades. Others can produce white furniture, and others tend to lean on the yellowish hues.

The light color makes it easier for homeowners to paint the Austina quality pine furniture with the coats of paint that they wanted. Others may prefer the transparent coating that will let the wood's natural hues shine naturally. There are prominent grains that are sometimes distinctive in some cabinets, making pine a unique choice of wood.

Is this Good Furniture?

While pine is not exactly found in many homes because the majority may prefer oak varieties, it is still good to know that it is one of the best furniture choices. It belongs to the country and rustic style, and it's robust and shock-resistant. Some owners found delight in knowing that the pine furniture that they purchased decades ago gained a patina that made it look like antique. This is very appealing, and the dings and dents add up to that appealing look.

Of course, you mustn't just get the first pine furniture that you have stumbled into. Some sources, online like the Austina warehouse, can provide you with the quality you are looking for. If you are looking for pine furniture for the bedroom, dining, lounge, and any other pieces that will stand out in your home, you should look for a hands-on company that will directly help you. The services may range from delivery and setting up the backbreaking work of unloading, so this is something that you should look for in a shop.

Advantages to Consider


Pine furniture is more affordable and budget-friendly than its oak counterpart. The same pieces from oak wood are expensive, and they require transportation fees and more. The main reason behind the difference in pine discount furniture online pricing is that the trees grow faster, and they need lesser maintenance. The resulting wood can be sold at a lower price, which is ideal for budget-conscious homeowners.

Beautiful Natural Color

The color is another attractive feature of these kinds of cabinets or beds. They will fit well with your overall d├ęcor and furnishings. The versatile and creamy colors are great, regardless if you have a modern or classic feel of your home. The versatility will work well with various wall patterns, colors, and other minute details in your overall decorations.

Option to Change Color

The light color makes it easier for homeowners to paint or stain their pine furniture. They can get these at discount prices, and they achieve their desired color in the fastest possible time. The variety of paint, stains, and finishes are limitless. If you are one of the homeowners who likes everything to look more natural, you may want to opt for a clear coat that will retain the wood's original color.


The wood is very stiff and robust. The durability is what attracts many homeowners in the process. However, it is essential to remember that pine is still not as strong or stiff as oak, but it still stands a chance when one is talking about longevity and toughness.

Lighter Weight

For many people who are often relocating, these are the best choices for them. The furniture may be sturdy and heavy, but it's so much lighter compared to oak. If you want to rearrange everything often, you can have the option to move the pieces around because of their lighter weight. The movers will also have an easier time, and the cabinets may cost you less when you need to move to another state.

Distinct Look

The dark knots and the lighter colors may be what you are looking for. You can read more color ideas here: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/pine-bedroom-color-ideas-85809.html. This distinctive look will make your friends and family curious about your cabinets and tables since oak is very common. If a lighter ambiance is what you prefer, and this is your style, then the distinctive look will benefit you more than you'll ever know.

Less Impact on the Environment

Pine trees grow rapidly, and they are more sustainable than oak or maple. The quick growth means that when one has been taken down, the new growth will be fast, and there will be others that serve as a replacement. Most farms and plantations grow pine trees, which don't significantly impact many natural habitats. An oak will typically be cut down from ancient trees that may have taken centuries to grow, so they are not very sustainable in the long run.

Resistance to Swelling and Shrinking

Swelling and shrinking are very common because of fluctuations in temperature and humidity. With this said, pine is damage-resistant, and you won't have to deal with swelling and shrinking just for the furniture to retain its original shape.

A Final Word

Now that you have an idea why you should choose pine over oak, the next thing to do is look for discounted ones made from high-quality wood. You can check top-notch companies that are great in sourcing top-notch imported furniture in your area. If you have a specific cabinet in mind, you can get in touch with the specialists who won't have any hesitations to help you get your preferred pieces.

With this said, you may be ready to get a brand-new and premium pine furniture at discount prices. Don't hesitate to ask around so that you will get a durable and high-quality one that will last you for decades. This is an investment for you and your family that you can be proud of for years to come.

22 September 2020

Interior Design Tips for Your Kitchen Renovation

The planning and creation of your new kitchen is an exciting time but if you don’t plan and prepare for it properly, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. As excited as you may be for the renovation, it can also be a chaotic and stressful experience. Keeping the following tips in mind when undertaking a kitchen remodel can help keep the chaos at bay and the sleepless nights away.


Create a Mood Board

Deciding on a style you love and making it come to life in your new kitchen is most certainly an exciting part of remodeling. Out with the old and in with the new is as good as taking a vacation! Before the project begins, create a mood board of what you want your kitchen to look like, the colors and materials you want included and finishing touches you want added. You can create a physical mood board on a piece of project board, a pin board or do it digitally and craft one online

Source Quotes for Your Budget

The best design tip for remodeling your kitchen would be to create a functional budget and stick to it. You don’t want to start the project and run out of funds to complete it, which happens quite a lot. It is imperative to create a budget, keep it up to date and to stick to it. It is unfortunately part of your project management duties. Source at least three quotes per item or task to see more or less what you can expect to pay and construct a budget this way. Once you have sourced enough quotes, you will be ready to find a contractor to turn your kitchen into one of your dreams. Keeping within your budget will benefit your pocket and your blood pressure!

Focus on the Details

When planning a kitchen remodel or renovation, one often forgets about the details such as lighting applications, flooring, and window treatments because you are so focused on the counters, cabinets and appliances. Ideally, these aspects should be included in your mood board to incorporate the total look and feel you are striving for. 

Get Rid of the Clutter

Another great tip for your kitchen renovation is to take this opportunity to get rid of the unwanted, unused and broken items you have accumulated in your kitchen for years. Now is the time to tackle that drawer that you throw things into when you have nowhere else to home them. Make three piles of items to trash, donate and keep. Making space for your new items, and decluttering your kitchen in general, adds to the aesthetic and keeps your new remodeled space clean and tidy.

Once your kitchen revamp is underway, remember to not rush the process as rushed projects can turn into costly mistakes and do-overs. Keeping these handy tips in mind when you are ready to start on your kitchen project will help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams. 

19 September 2020

The Home Maintenance Checklist Every New Homeowner Should Have on Hand

Your home represents a significant financial investment, and to maintain your property’s value and keep your home safe and comfortable year-round, you must perform annual maintenance. The average cost of annual home maintenance was $1,105 as of 2020, but you may have higher costs if you own an older home.

Investing in routine maintenance now can save you from the cost of emergency repairs tomorrow. Use this checklist to ensure you develop a thorough maintenance routine that will keep all the essential systems and features of your home in great shape for years to come.

Essential Systems Check


Turn to trusted HVAC technicians and cleaning specialists, such as Direct AC, for annual air conditioner maintenance service. Your air conditioning system should be inspected every spring to ensure it runs smoothly during the hot summer months. The air filter should be changed regularly throughout the year, and the coils and ducts should be cleaned regularly to ensure your air conditioning system isn’t spreading dust and allergens throughout your home.

 for leaks and look for signs of water damage, mold, or damaged floorboards in your home. All of these issues can indicate issues with your plumbing. Plumbing problems can generate expensive repair and clean-up costs. The plumbing experts with Advanced Plumbing Technology offer a free consultation. APT will thoroughly assess your pipes, and their team can produce a comprehensive replacement plan if your pipes are corroding. Lead pipes should also be removed to prevent health issues, such as kidney damage.

Check to ensure your sump pump is draining properly in the spring and fall. This will ensure your sump pump operates effectively during spring rains and when it snows.

Have your furnace inspected each fall. Replace the air filter to ensure the furnace can heat your home effectively. Allergens or pollen can build up in the filter, and if the furnace is blowing air through a dirty filter, it will send the allergens and pollen throughout your home. An annual furnace inspection can also ensure your furnace properly operates all winter.

Yard Maintenance


Yard maintenance is an essential part of your annual home maintenance plan. Every spring, you should check the lawn and reseed if there are bald spots. Remove any leaves or debris from your yard and plant flowers to improve your home’s curb appeal.

A certified arborist is qualified to inspect your trees to ensure they’re healthy. A tree inspection is an effective way of determining if there are signs of disease. Trees weakened by disease can be blown down in a wind storm or lose limbs, and ones that are close to your home could fall on the house. Trim long branches that are close to your roof or siding to prevent damage to your home.

Safety Check


Choose an annual date to check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector. Smoke detectors are activated when they detect smoke in the air. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to detect carbon monoxide, which is odorless and colorless. Carbon monoxide is produced by several household items, such as dryers, gas stoves, water heaters, furnaces, wood stoves, and generators. Ingesting carbon monoxide can be fatal, so this checkup is extremely crucial. Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector are working correctly and replace the batteries once a year.

Also, whether you use your fireplace regularly or not, your chimney still needs to be inspected and maintained. The chimney allows harmful gases to leave your home. If the chimney is blocked or dirty, it can compromise the air quality inside your home. If you use the fireplace regularly, creosote will build up inside the chimney. Creosote is flammable and can cause chimney fires. An annual inspection and regular chimney cleaning will help ensure the safety of your home.

Exterior Features


Inspect the exterior of your home every spring. Power wash the exterior to remove grime to prevent mold from growing on your siding.

Check the gutters every spring and fall to ensure they’re clear. Gutters remove water from your roof. If the gutters are blocked, the water may penetrate your roof and damage your home’s interior.

Spring is a good time to repaint your home’s exterior and stain the deck. You should also check your deck for loose or damaged boards or loose nails to prevent people from tripping or cutting themselves.

If you own a pool, you will want to ensure the valves and filters are in good condition and have the equipment inspected before using your pool.

18 September 2020

Four Things to Keep in Mind When Designing a Kitchen

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

There is no denial of the fact that designing a kitchen is the most crucial aspect when it comes to building a house. The kitchen is the beauty of the house and should be designed in such a way that it sets a style statement of your house. It represents you and should be designed according to your wants and needs. All the kitchens which you may have come across your entire life must be different, and each of them uniquely suits the needs of the family. A kitchen should be designed by keeping into consideration the functionality and purpose of different things. You may have seen many kitchens that aren’t even designed properly and pose a bad impression on the visitors. 

The way you design, plan, and organize your kitchen will have a significant impact on both the dining and the cooking. Starting off from the basic structure to furniture and decor, you have the opportunity to design everything according to your imagination. You can gather countless ideas from your friends, family, and internet, and picture your kitchen as the exotic zone of the house. 

The following are some kitchen design tips that can be taken into consideration when designing the kitchen. 

Go For an Open Kitchen Plan

Gone are the days when people used to be more inclined towards having a separate room for the kitchen. Today’s modern homes have open kitchens as they are more in demand. An open kitchen has a more welcoming and inviting atmosphere. The kitchen space is more open to entertainment as its open; after all, what’s better than a kitchen that has no barrier between it and the social space of your home. It looks highly sophisticated and luxurious. Open kitchens also give you an opportunity to keep an eye on your children, as they’ll be playing around in front of your eyes. 

Make Sure That the Kitchen has Enough Natural Light

A kitchen is the place of your house where you spend a significant amount of time out of your daily routine. Being dependent only on tube lights and light bulbs is going to add a burden to your electricity bills. Therefore, it is essential to have windows inside your kitchen and allow maximum amount of natural light inside during the day. You can install window blinds to control the amount of light coming inside; for inexpensive custom roman shades click here. Installing windows will keep the mood of your kitchen fresh and full of air. 

Have a Proper Ventilation System

Having an efficient ventilation system is a need that is often ignored. It has to be understood that a kitchen can never be a comfortable place if it doesn’t have a proper ventilation system. When you cook, the hot air, being less dense, accumulates near your kitchen ceiling. It has to be wiped out; otherwise, it creates oxygen deficiency inside your kitchen. Because of high humidity, a person can’t stand there for too long, and this honestly creates a miserable atmosphere inside a kitchen. Different smells can accumulate as well and can be very unpleasant. Therefore, an efficient ventilation system is required to keep the inside environment of your kitchen bearable and pleasant.  Kitchen hoods are an essential part of the kitchen as they eradicate any odors, fumes, and pungent smells from your kitchen. 

Have Enough Storage Space

Having inadequate storage space is a common mistake made by many individuals while designing the kitchen. You need to carefully plan where you are going to place the cupboards. Make sure that the cupboards are easily reachable so that they can be used properly. Purchasing frequently used kitchen tools is the key to an organized kitchen. You can buy a utensil hanger and can place it over your counter to hang pans and spoons on it. Make sure that your kitchen counter has drawers to store different items. By following all these storage tips, it would be much easier for you to manage your kitchen and organize all the items in a proper manner. Significant storage space will also make your kitchen look tidy and big. 

16 September 2020

Best Tips to Improve Your Knife Skills

Photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

Knowing when to use the proper knife for the proper cutting is itself a skill that needs to be mastered if you want to become a good chef. Wondering how to chop, dice, or mince, the article brings all the crucial knife skills you should follow to make yourself feel confident while cooking. These skills can be used easily in daily life and will help you sharpen your knives skills.

Keeping the knives sharp

Dull knives are not safer for cooking so always use a sharp knife. You can keep your knives sharp by honing tools. It is better to sharpen your knives by a trained knife sharpener. Detergents have adhered effect on some knives. So it is better to wash your knives by hand. However stainless steel is safe for dishwasher use. They can be washed in the dishwasher.

Having the proper knives

Knives vary in their size like you must have a four-inch and an eight-inch chef’s knife in your kitchen. These knives must be included in your standard kitchen knife stand. An eight-inch bread knife that we also call a tomato knife is also a must-have knife.

Split and slice

You must place your thumb and index finger on the handle of the knife. Chefs call it “choke up”. The thumb and knuckle of your hands should have a hard grip on the blade in the handle while the rest of the remaining fingers wrap around the handle. All of this gives you extra control, which will help you in using the knife more easily. One more thing, you don’t want to hold your grip tightly as this will strangle the knife.  

Use it like as saw

You should use your knife like a saw, instead of moving up and down slice it through. It helps you in handling the food or vegetables more efficiently. You just need to hold your knife firmly and slice it through like a saw motion.  

Instead of visiting the stores, you can also buy sharp knives online. There are many websites that provide critic reviews to the knives that they are selling. You may use cheap discount codes purple and you can avail discounts while online shopping.

Cut in half to create a flat surface

Cutting, chopping, or slicing your round products in half will help in creating a flat surface. To do this, you must keep your knife above the height of your elbow as it will put more control and pressure. Now using gravity to your advantage, cut it through nicely and firmly.

The claw technique

Making a claw while cutting the food is very helpful. In the process, your fingertips must be towards the cutting board. It will help you in cutting more precisely and harmlessly. This skill takes time and a lot of patience. So while cutting the onion, hold the onion in the hand and make a claw. You can dice the onion painlessly. 

Following the above-mentioned tips, you can refine your knife skills and can easily become a master chef. 

15 September 2020

Luxury Tile Guide – Questions to Ask Yourself

Most new homeowners are very aware of how they want their homes to look and feel, where things go and what colors they prefer on their walls. From the biggest things such as the paint on the house, the furniture, and the floor selections, to the smaller more intricate things such as the type of tiles you want on your bathroom or kitchen area is a very important decision to make, because once they are laid out, there’s no going back. It’s for the world to see. So careful consideration is key in this department. Other information about this can also be found online

However, there is no need to worry about your options and what to go for, as this guide below has some great quick advice for you regarding this to help you make sure you choose the one that’s a perfect fit for the house, so you enhance the rooms as opposed to making them look dull or boring. 

The idea is to ask yourself a few important questions and then play the field. Let’s look at the things to consider. This is an important initial step that will help you set the tone of the overall room in question. 

Things to As Yourself When Choosing Tile Colors

Here’s a tip – before choosing on the hue to go with, look around for any existing colors that may already be there, such as the tones of the furniture as well as the mood you want to set because the bathroom will be different from the kitchen and any other areas in the house. 

1. What Size Is the Room? This is an important question to ask yourself.  As the logic goes, the lighter colors typically make a room look big and vice versa. If it’s a small bathroom and you want it to look bigger, use whites, creams, and pastels colored tiles for the walls and floor. Large kitchens, for instance, can get away with luxury tiles of a dark chocolate hue and burnt sienna.

2. What Kind of Tile Type Do You Desire? From glazed tiles to matte ones, the choices can be confusing, however when going for kitchen tiles, be it luxury of not, it’s best to keep it glossy, and stain-resistant due to obvious reasons or splashing and food going everywhere. This would be great for the countertops and the walls surrounding the stove and backsplash areas. If opting for a flooring choice, the denser porcelain types are your best bet, in both areas. 

3. What Hue Are You Going For? Ever heard of a color wheel or a color circle / spectrum? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_wheel this could be your best friend in any color situation. You can go with vibrant colors, that are from the opposite sides of the color wheel. Rich blue walls make a luxurious statement in any home and give the place a sense of positive energy, so for your lounge areas, entertainment rooms, and perhaps even your bedroom, selecting these hues, darker and slightly lighter, would make a significant gorgeous impact.   

Unless you want a more relaxing atmosphere, then you can go with the paler tones such as the lighter ones on the wheel, like the yellow, creams, and lighter blues. 

4. Pattern or No Pattern? Some tiles have brilliant patterns on them that stand out from the crowd and enhance any space when placed correctly. Mottled patterns or Carlanto luxury tiles, for instance, make for a nice layout in the entranceways and any high-traffic areas. Go with slightly darker tones here for a more luxurious feel. One can also opt for the terrazzo tiles with elegant motifs displayed on them, like lace, zigzag, or swirls. Mix this with browns, golds, and tans and you will be the envy of the neighborhood in no time.   

In the end, when choosing the types of tiles, you want to adorn your home with, treat it like a piece of art. Which ones do you want to stand out more and which ones not so much? Look at it through the eye of strangers, and ask yourself what would they think? Although, we would highly recommend, doing what is best suited for you and your family, as you will be living in the home and you need to be happy with the decision. Guests will appreciate that too. 

09 September 2020

Learn How to Do Steaming With Frozen Vegetables

Health guidelines suggest that people should consume as few as 2.5 and as many as 6.5 cups of produce daily based on your calorie requirements. There’s no stipulation that these need to be organically grown from a garden or freshly purchased from a health market.

Many people today are either budget conscious or aren’t really sure how to prepare a fresh vegetable for cooking, preferring the prepping already be done as with the frozen variety. But can these prepackaged selections be cooked using the same methods as their naturally bred counterparts?

In most cases, the packaging offers basic cooking instructions for the array of choices inside. But many people like to get creative in the kitchen and use various methods or styles in an effort to produce different flavors, which is absolutely a possibility. When roasting vegetables, it is a more extensive process, but it is worth the effort because the flavor is incredible and differs from other techniques.

Styles For Cooking Frozen Vegetables

For frozen vegetables, you should not defrost the package prior to cooking. The contents will lose their nutrients through thawing along with the overall texture and flavor, especially for those who choose to thaw them overnight.

As with most frozen items, none of these products are meant to be consumed until they have been fully cooked. You should avoid the desire to toss some into a breakfast shake or put them in a cold salad. These are nothing like frozen fruit products, unless they state they’re “ready to eat.”

Everyone has their preferred style for cooking. It’s actually subjective. There’s not necessarily any single best way that would suit everyone universally. So, let’s go over a few of those techniques that are among the most popular:

Stove top Steaming

The suggestion with this method is however you’re doing it, you’re most likely doing it incorrectly. But there are many people who are anxious to learn the process for steaming frozen veggies. In order for them to be of optimum taste and texture, this method works the best, so they say:

  • The bottom of your pot should be covered by no more than three inches of water.
  • Cover the water once it begins to boil with a steaming basket ensuring that it is above the water - may need to eliminate some water.
  • After placing the basket, place the veggies in the basket and cover the entire pot over with a lid.
  • These need to be closely monitored because they might cook quickly as the times for stove top steaming tend to vary depending on the items you’re cooking.

Some individuals attempt to use a food and vegetable steamer DIY in the microwave. Along with boiling, these methods are strongly frowned upon. In using both of these styles, the suggestion is that the nutrients are being depleted from the array of goodies found in the bag. The end result in each case is a soggy, limp, and flavorless product that’s basically not providing any health benefits for you.

These are merely suggestions. If you’ve been successfully boiling or microwaving your products with no poor results, thus far, you should continue to use the style, technique, method, that brings you the results you enjoy.

Sauteing On The Stove

This is a favorite noted to offer incredible flavor and texture with the array of products in the packaging. Sauteing is done in a skillet, making for fast cooking time which allows the veggies to keep their taste and maintain the crunchy texture, not to mention the nutrients are preserved.

  • The skillet will go on a medium-high heat on the stove top with the contents poured in. 
  • A tablespoon of whichever cooking oil satisfies your dietary plan needs to be added to the ingredients. 
  • These will remain uncovered cooking for approximately 7 minutes or until they have been thoroughly heated with your stirring frequently throughout the process.

Grilling In The Backyard

If you enjoy a good barbecue, this will be the best method of cooking frozen vegetables for you. These are ideal for summer family get-togethers that even the kids might enjoy, and there are no dishes to be cleaned up after.

  • Using a vegetable basket or perhaps some aluminum foil for wrapping the veggies, add some cooking oil of your choice over the ingredients and seal them.
  • The grill should be placed on a medium heat where you will simply place them on the rack. 
  • You don’t want them to char, so it’s important to continue to flip while they heat.

Roasting/Baking In The Oven

This is an easy technique, but it is one that will take a bit longer than most of the other methods.  Waiting on roasted vegetables can often take as much as a half hour. But these offer a delicious flavor unique again from the other styles.

  • The oven should be preheated at 400 to 450.
  • The roasting pan will be coated with cooking oil of your liking in a thin layer. This pain will go into the oven to heat up before the packaging will be emptied into it. The hot pan allows the ingredients to thaw and cook nicely.
  • Use cooking oil to toss the packaging contents and then place them in a single layer to the hot pan. Halfway through cooking time - about 15 minutes, you should flip.

Final Thought

There are daily nutritional requirements, or more so recommendations, for people in order for the body to function at its optimum level. Produce is a big component in that process. It doesn’t matter if they’re organic, store-bought, frozen, steamed, as long as you’re indulging yourself. Learn here the variety of steaming methods you can incorporate for the ultimate in veggies.

It might seem challenging to get the recommended allowance, but if you think of produce as merely a side dish, it can prove challenging. You can do so much more with veggies and fruits than dessert or a tag along. These can be front and center if you get creative and investigate new recipes. Just have fun with it.

08 September 2020

How to Find Affordable Contractors General Liability Insurance

Every contractor and their business is susceptible to certain risks which may be beyond their control. Although most will put up safety measures and precautions to ensure they are protected against any of such risks, the best form of protection or precaution to have is insurance. This is because even with the best safety measures, you cannot determine or tell what will happen.

While an insurance policy does not particularly prevent an incident from happening, when and if it does happen, it mitigates the effects on you and your business so that it is not adversely affected.

Having contractors' liability insurance is therefore something that every contractor needs and cannot do without. Examples of claims that this type of policy will cover include:

  • Bodily injury 
  • Damage to property 
  • Personal and advertising injuries
  • Product and completed operations as well as 
  • Medical payments. 

A common mistake companies tend to make is to assume that general liability covers all their insurance needs. This is not the case. It does not cover:

  • Negligence
  • Theft
  • Automobile accidents
  • Criminal prosecutions
  • Intentional damages or 
  • Contractual liabilities. 

Also, workers on the project or those that belong to the company are not covered. It is strictly for third party claims. That is, claims involving people not directly related to the company or project. All of these are covered under different policies.

Why You Need a General Liability Insurance as a Contractor

Anyone can be sued for any reason and at any time. As a business owner, you do not want to be in a position where your company is sued and you have to pay legal fees and damages that may run into several thousands of dollars or much more from your company resources.

Below are some reasons why it is critical for your business:

It Protects You and Your Business

As mention above, you or your company can be sued for any damage or injury to a third party not related to your business. Getting a general liability helps take care of any legal fees, medical treatments, or repair that may need to be done so that you can focus on your business. In essence, it safeguards your business against going bankrupt or getting into financial trouble and debt.

It May Be a Requirement by Law

Some states require that contractors in certain industries must have various kinds of insurance of which general liability may be one. So depending on the state where your company is located, it may be compulsory that you own a general liability coverage. Also, when bidding for a project, it is almost always a requirement.

It Is Always Required by Clients and Vendors

You will always have to work with different clients and other companies. Most will request for your policy before they sign a contract or work with you. They do want to protect themselves too in the event that any accident happens.

You can read more about general liability here.

Buying Affordable General Liability Insurance

General liability is more affordable than many contractors and business owners think. The cost can vary based on factors such as the kind of business that you do and its size or even your location.

Some companies give flexible options depending on the financial standing of your business. Whether you have good or bad credit, you will be able to find a program that will suit what you need. This is especially true if your cash flow is good. With this, you can always find competitive financing from such insurance companies.

You should also know that if a situation arises where the policy you purchase is not enough to cover the claims against you, there is the option of purchasing extra coverage to add to the main policy.

Sometimes, all your insurance needs can be bundled into a business owner's policy (BOP) which makes it more affordable than buying each policy separately. It is up to you to decide if you prefer this or if you want to buy them separately. All you should do is ensure that whatever policy you purchase does cover all the risks that you will likely face.


The importance of an adequate insurance cover, especially general liability to a contractor, cannot be overstated. It comes with several advantages for your business and you do not have to break the bank to get one. Talk to your insurance company or agent and find out the various options that are available to you based on your company size. You may be surprised at how affordable it can be.

06 September 2020

Halfway Through the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season - What's Still to Come

As we enter into September this marks the halfway point for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. This season includes all areas of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. And for anyone that lives in this region, it’s been a very busy season so far, with Hurricane Laura just having made its way through the Gulf and then on land last week. 

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But what does the 2020 season still hold for the region? Will residents be in for a bit of a break or is there still a lot of unpredictable and volatile weather to come? Let’s take a closer look.

Predictions Have Now Been Updated

It was back in May that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its initial storm season forecast stating that there was a 60% chance it would be an above-normal season. A month earlier the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project team seemed to have that same finding, as they predicted 16 named storms in the season. So how have the predictions changed?

Well they haven’t changed for the better if you’re one of the millions of residents in the path of the Atlantic hurricanes. Just last month on Aug. 6 NOAA updated its predictions and said the remainder of the season would be "extremely active", upping its prediction to 19 to 25 named storms, and seven to 11 of those becoming full-blown hurricanes.

Looking back at how the season has played out, the first named storm of the season was Tropical Storm Arthur back on May 16, which was before the official start of the season. 

At the time of publication there have been two new named storms - Nana and Omar, that are both forming and could threaten the coastline yet again. They have now become the 14th and 15th named storms of the 2020 season. In fact, they have now become the "earliest 14th and 15th named storms ever formed". That certainly doesn't bode well for anyone hoping the season would calm down and wind down a bit early.

What's even more unsettling is that even though the storm season is at its peak, some experts believe it may get worse before it gets better.

Homeowners Are Urged to Stay on Top of Repairs

Of course for any homeowner that has suffered storm damage, as Advantage Construction points out, it’s important to stay on top of repairs and not allow them to go by unaddressed. Leaving something in rough condition means it’s that much weaker come the next storm. Whether you're dealing with missing shingles, water damage, downed tree limbs, or any other damage, it's important to deal with it as soon as possible following the storm.

A Season that Will Go Out with a Bang

So it appears as though the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is far from over and doesn’t have any plans of fading quietly into the night during the back half.

03 September 2020

Routine Garage Door Maintenance: 7 Things You Should Be Doing

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A garage door can provide decades of use if it is properly maintained. As a frequently used item, garage doors depend on the extra care to prevent wear and tear and breakdown. Keep the garage door on your home in tip-top condition longer by following the seven routine maintenance tips below.

1. Observe the Garage Door

Sit back, look, and listen to the garage door. Strange, unusual noises indicate trouble with the garage door. Don’t ignore the unusual noises. Observe the way the door opens and closes. Does it open and close smoothly? Are all of the garage door parts in place and free of damage? Listen, observe, and learn so much about your garage door.

2. Tighten up the Hardware

With the average garage door opening and closing more than 1,000 times in a single year, the hardware is bound to loosen due to movements and vibrations. Every few months, examine the hardware and tighten all bolts and rollers with a socket wrench.

3. Replace Weatherstripping

Examine the weatherstripping on the garage door. If it appears cracked, ripped or torn, or has other signs of damage, replace the weatherstripping. Sold at home improvement stores, weatherstripping is inexpensive and easy-to-install on the grooves of the door. Weatherstripping ensures the garage door easily opens and closes.

4. Lubricate the Door

Lubricating the moving parts keeps the garage door functional for many years ahead. It takes minutes to oil the garage door and can be done by anyone. Talk to a garage door professional to learn more about the types of spray lubricants available to coat the overhead springs and door.

5. Clear the Tracks

Dirt, pests, leaves, and other debris accumulate inside the tracks over time.  Clear this debris from the tracks to prevent difficulty in opening/closing the door.  Use a level to check the plumb while clearing the tracks.

6. Check the Cables

Cable lifts attached to the garage door allow it to open and close. The doors are extremely heavy and on the left and have a significant force that can cause great injury if they fall on top of someone. Visually inspect the cables, but leave any repairs to professionals.  Many problems may cause the cables to work improperly, in turn causing the garage door to malfunction.

7. Keep it Clean

Garage doors are a part of the home’s aesthetic appeal. Keep it clean and tidy to ensure maximum curb appeal. Clean doors with a mild all-purpose cleaner and a sponge the same way you'd clean your vehicle. Steel doors and wood doors alike may have spots, stains, or discolorations that wipe away with a little effort.  Removing spots and stains voids wear and tear and garage door breakdown.

If your garage door endures damage despite your best efforts, find the best garage door maintenance and installation in Beaverton, OR as soon as possible. Professional garage door repairmen bring the skills and expertise to your home that ensure thorough repairs.