April 28, 2015

Home Owners: Banishing Noise Pollution Once And For All

If you trawl the internet for long enough you will quickly start to see all of the factors that buyers prioritize when it comes to the purchase of a new home. Some of them are obvious, such as the size of bedrooms, while others maybe aren't - with some real estate agents telling sellers to brew fresh coffee before a viewing, because the smell is proven to have a positive effect on buyers!

We're not going to tell you to pull out a sledgehammer and get to work on your bedroom size, or buy a brand new coffee machine, this guide is for another reason. Noise pollution is something that can blight absolutely any home.

You could have a picturesque mansion, but if it's situated inappropriately nobody wants to live next to a barrage of noise, whatever the source, for years and years.

Rather than seeing buyers walk away time and time again, there are solutions to rectify this issue.
The first is probably one of the most obvious out there - just thicken your glazing. If you have single glazing, it goes without saying that the benefits of upgrading to double will be tremendous. Alternatively, triple glazing offers even more rewards - albeit at a much higher cost.

Of course, most readers will have probably already explored and executed these avenues. Therefore, we're going to concentrate the bulk of this article on a slightly different tip; window treatments.

On first glance, a set of window blinds or curtains surely couldn't make all the difference to blocking out that terrible racket outside. If you opt for one of the thin, traditional types - you're probably right. The material is just too thin to make a noticeable difference.

Over the years manufacturers have started to explore just how blinds can aid with noise-related problems though. Their solution was initially for cold rooms, and the need to insulate them. However, insulated blinds also perform superbly well in relation to noise prevention, and here's why.

These are blinds which are constructed with a honeycomb shape, effectively creating small pockets. The trick is, particularly in very noisy areas, is to purchase insulated blinds which are at least two or three levels thick. That means that there can be three cells, with each one acting as an insulating layer. Such inventions have been found to work wonders from a thermal perspective and science means that the same occurs with sound.

Will these blinds eradicate all of your outside noise once and for all? It's impossible to say without analyzing just how much your property is subject to noise pollution. Still, the difference they can make is tremendous and when compared with the benefits of upgrading to triple glazing, there really isn't much of dissimilarity. Unsurprisingly, they are much cheaper than performing such a major structural alteration to your home though, which is why this method could be one of the best solutions from a value point of view.

My Treasure

I am glad, yet somewhat sad…
My heart seems happy, yet I feel gloomy
Not because of you Phebie,
But only because I am me.

At first I thought you are too far
But now I feel just there you are.
If time will come that this will end,
I hope it’ll not just be around the bend.

For if it comes in time so sudden
My heart will bleed and will forever be saddened.
But, no, it should not be a very sad ending,
If both of us just go on loving.

Please give this heart of mine a second chance,
To beat in love holding your lovely hands.

Image result for my treasure

...got this poem from a very dear friend!
Thank you so much Boss!

April 25, 2015

Sliding Door Repairs that You Can Complete Yourself

A lot of people in this country have sliding doors to get into their garden areas. As a result, there is also a high need for repair. What most people do not know, however, is that they can complete many of these repairs themselves.

An out of Square Door
The first thing you need to understand is that, as a home ages, it becomes out of square. Basically, the house starts to settle. As a result, however, doors will start to jam and not open as easily anymore, and this is perhaps most noticeable in glass doors. Check the top and the bottom of your door to see how it is doing. If you notice a crack when you’re trying to slide the door, it is out of square.

You can generally fix this by adjusting the wheels. There should be some small holes at the bottom of the frame, often with a small cap on them to make the holes less visible. Simply lift the caps and use a screwdriver to move the wheels up or down until the door slides again.

You can also try to shim the door if adjusting the wheels doesn’t work. This is a little more intensive, because it means you have to remove the door trim. Once you do that, you will see that the whole door is shimmed into the opening and it is likely that it will be quite significantly out of square. Unscrew the door, square it back into place and this should solve the problem. Plus, it will make it more efficient as it will once again be able to keep your heat in.

Broken Mechanisms
It is also possible, as your door ages, that the handle or latch mechanism breaks down. This is reasonably easy to replace and you only need to find the hardware. Even if your manufacturer has long since gone out of business, or you don’t know who they are, you should be able to find parts online and in many hardware stores. Consider replacing all the different parts as long as you are working on some of the hardware anyway.

Dirty Door
Finally, you would be surprised at how often a sliding door appears to be broken when it is actually just dirty. As dirt accumulates in the track and along the frame of the door itself, blockages and obstacles will star to appear. These must be cleaned up and addressed if you want your door to continue to work properly.

If none of these solutions work, it is time to call in a sliding door repair company. A professional will be able to identify exactly what is going on and what is causing the problem, as well as how it can be fixed, if at all. Do not see this as a last resort option either. As glass doors are made from glass, they have the potential to be very dangerous. If you have tried the above three methods or you’re sure they are not the cause of the problem, then get a professional in straight away.

Everything You Need to Know about Wooden Loft Ladders

People are always looking for innovative ways to increase the space they have in their home. One way to achieve this is by turning the attic space into a living area, such as an extra bedroom or office. The best way to reach these rooms is through a wooden loft ladder.

Types of Wooden Loft Ladders
There are a few different types of loft ladders to choose from. You could pick a stationary ladder, a fold up ladder or a sliding ladder. Choosing a wooden rather than a metal ladder has a number of benefits. Firstly, wood is far more beautiful. Additionally, it will always look right, regardless of your overall décor. Plus, if you choose a fold up or sliding ladder, it will be much less noisy.

Choosing Your Ladder
Before you choose from the different loft ladders that are available, you need to know what your space constraints are. Also, you must think about how often you will use the ladder, and whether it is a problem if it is permanently in the way. Answering these questions will help you choose the right ladder. Stationary is great and convenient, but if you only have limited space, it can get in the way. Hence, if you have to keep a walkway clear, you may want to choose another type of ladder.
This is where the extending or sliding ladder comes in. This means it is attached to the loft latch and slides down whenever you want to use it. It is a perfect space saving solution and very convenient in tight areas. Generally speaking, these ladders are very easy to use, although you do have to be able to reach them.

How to Buy a Loft Ladder
The most convenient way of buying loft ladders is through kits. There are a number of kits available in store and online, and they are great because they include all the hardware that you need as well. Do make sure you have chosen a sturdy ladder and that it can support the weight of the heaviest person in your house and then some, and that it is built to last. If you install the ladder as a DIY project, do make sure you follow all the instructions properly so that it is a safe ladder to use.

If you are upgrading or remodeling your attic space, you may want to make sure that your ladder matches your floor or overall décor. Luckily, you can choose a range of different finishes and wooden stains. You can also choose to pick laminate, which allows you for greater design options and it tends to be cheaper as well.

You can also ask a company to come and install the ladder for you, which means that the ladder will be installed safely and that you have some warranty on it as well. This can be particularly beneficial if you have already installed the floor and don’t want to damage it.

April 24, 2015

Five Thrifty Tips to Remember When Shopping for Clothes

Clothes shopping can be a trauma at times. Local shopping malls are usually extremely busy, especially during peak shopping times such as weekends and holidays, so finding a bargain is tough. What normally happens is that you go along, with every intention of coming back with just one item, and end up spending a fortune. So how can you avoid over-spending on clothes and ending up with a closet full of garments that don’t fit?
photo from google photos

1. Have a Clear Idea of What You Are Looking For

There is little point in shopping for clothes with zero idea of what you are looking for. All that will happen is that you’ll end up buying clothes that don’t suit or are stupidly expensive. Instead, have a plan and decide in advance what you are looking for. Not only will this save you time, but it will also save you from buying something you don’t need.

2. Price Check Online

Many items can be bought online cheaper than they are available in the stores. Always do a price check online before you buy. This is especially important if you are looking for a particular item – for example a dress your favourite celebrity crush wore out last weekend. If you have the time to look, you may even be able to find a cheaper version made by a discount brand.

3. Use Coupons

Coupons are a great way of scoring some big discounts on brand names and items from popular stores. For example, Debenhams voucher codes from couporando.co.uk can be used to buy fashion clothing online for a discount price, so sign up for as many coupon schemes as you can and keep a close eye on your in-box for the best deals.

4. Be Willing to Buy Second-Hand

There are zillions of bargains to be had by shopping in thrift stores and second-hand clothing emporiums. One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. It can take a bit of effort to source the best items, but checking out second-hand stores in more affluent areas is a good place to start – if you are lucky, you may even come across a few designer garments for a knock-down price. Websites such as eBay are also good for second-hand fashion bargains.

5. Go Shopping with a Friend

The rationale behind this tip is simple. Shopping alone is more likely to lead to impulse buying, which in turn leads to buyer’s remorse. We have all been there: you see a gorgeous dress in the window of a store and rush in to buy, assuming that because it looks fantastic on the mannequin that it will look equally fantastic on you. But the colour doesn’t suit you and it fits in all the wrong places, so you never wear it. Taking a friend along means you can ask for honest advice before you buy and avoid making any expensive fashion mistakes.
photo: google
Being thrifty is a lifestyle choice. Don’t follow the crowds and buy fashion clothing the moment it hits the racks. Instead, take your time and look for quirky garments that are cheap and classy enough to stand the test of time.

April 22, 2015

3 Ways to Remove Stains from Wood Furniture

Few things are more frustrating than spilling something on your wood furniture and having to deal with the resulting stain. Simply wiping the wood down with conventional cleaners will almost never do the trick, and using too much water can actually make the situation worse.

Furthermore, improper scrubbing or wiping the wood with the wrong materials can cause further damage, which may be irreparable if the wood is degraded or the stains reach far enough below the polish. Fortunately, if you haven't yet ruined the stained spot with a failed cleaning attempt, it is relatively easy to remove both light water stains and dark iron stains from wood furniture using the following techniques:

Removing Light-Colored Water Stains

First, if you have white stains on your wood furniture, try rubbing some mineral oil onto the spot using a soft cloth. Let the oil sit on the spot overnight, and if it appears to be working the next morning then repeat with another rubbing.

If the stain has been absorbed into the wood's finish but has not yet made its way into the wax layer, and mineral oil isn't getting the job done, then rubbing the areas with mineral spirits on a soft cloth may work. Be sure to wear gloves while doing this in an area with good ventilation. If the mineral spirits get rid of the stain but leave the spot looking duller than the rest of the wood, then cover the furniture’s surface entirely with mineral spirits and then apply a coat of good quality polish formulated for wood furniture.

If mineral spirits aren't effective, try rubbing the spot with a mixture of baking soda and toothpaste. Rub with the grain until the discoloration is diminished and then clean the spot with an oil soap. Sometimes it can take a couple applications of this mixture before the stain will start to come out. Once the stain is gone, use furniture wax to coat the wood.

Use Sandpaper to Remove Dark Stains

Sometimes you can get rid of dark stains by simply removing the stain’s finish with some sandpaper. Rub the spot with #100-grit sandpaper moving back and forth along the wood’s grain. Once you're done with the initial step of removing the finish, the edges of the spot can be feathered with #150-grit sandpaper.
Next the stain itself should be sanded with the sandpaper (#150-grit) and here the edges can be feathered with fine steel wool. Once the stain has been sanded out, use a tack cloth to eliminate the dust from sanding, and then put on varnish, just a couple thin coats, that will blend the sanded spot to the original finish. The edges of the newly varnished area should be feathered to smooth out the difference between the new and old varnish. Finally, polish the wood with a high quality product.

Removing Dark Brown or Black Iron Stains With Bleach

Oxalic Acid Wood BleachShould the stain be too far down to reach with aggressive sandpapering, you might need to resort to using oxalic acid wood bleach to penetrate deeper into the wood and remove the stain. Put on the bleach over the stained spot using a brush and wearing rubber gloves.

Next comes the waiting game. Let the bleach sit on the stain for a time, a few hours is recommended. The spot will slowly begin to fade to the original color. Check on the stain periodically, and once the color of the wood has been restored to its original state, wipe the area clean with a wet sponge to prevent excessive bleaching and fading. 

After cleaning the bleach off you'll need to counteract the chemicals on the area by applying vinegar. After allowing the wood to dry, the wood can be stained if needed. Finally, apply a few light coats of varnish to the spot, smooth the edges of the varnish with #1000-grit sandpaper, and wax the entire surface with a wood polish.

April 1, 2015

The Programmable Timer: It's Not Just a Fancy, Unnecessary Function for Blinds

Anyone who has studied the blinds industry over the last few years is probably fully aware of the technological developments. In other words, forget Nest and all of the other energy devices that have hit the market over recent years - the window blinds industry is inundated with inventions that can beat such products hands down.
There was once a time when motorized blinds were associated with an epic rolling of the eyebrows. After all, what person in their right mind wants to control their window treatment using a remote control or other device? The answer, at least several years ago, was either a show-off or someone with more money than sense.

However, fast-forward to the modern day and the landscape has changed. If you have the money to fund the initial installation cost, motorized blinds could be one of the best investments in technology you make. As you may have gathered from the title, we're going to specifically concentrate on the programmable timers that most of them are accompanied by nowadays.

This is arguably the biggest development in the blinds industry. While solar shades, insulated shades and all of the other different mechanisms may have taken the industry by storm and probably delivered the most sales, the motorized product with the programmable timer is the one that can make the biggest difference.
Timer switch on wall next to porch light

It doesn't matter which type of blind arms your home; as long as it’s motorized the possibilities are endless. The ability to manipulate your blinds through different portions of the day should never be underestimated, firstly from an energy efficiency perspective. While the solar solutions and other mechanisms can work wonders in this regard, even if you have just a basic blackout product it can perform even better alongside a programmable timer. It can allow optimum amounts of sunlight in through the course of the day when the home is unoccupied and ultimately, lower the reliance on synthetic heating methods.

This technology also shouldn't be forgotten from a security point of view. Most of us have firmly bought into the idea of leaving the lights on as we depart for work for the day, particular during winter, in a bid to deter would-be thieves when darkness falls. Suffice to say, if it’s obvious that the blinds have been manipulated and moved through the day, it’s a sure-fire indication to potential intruders that your home is occupied. In other words, you’re sending them away.

Already, we’re starting to see that the programmable timer is hugely powerful. Some people will still get these blinds installed for show, while others might have them for more practical reasons such as the inability to reach certain windows. However, the real power rests in the programmable timer and if you are one of those people who wants to “tech-up” their house in whatever way possible, this nifty feature could be the ideal way to achieve the above whilst satisfying several every day needs in the process.