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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Home Dehumidifiers

Decide what kind of control you would like to have over your dehumidifier. If you want to have full control over precise percentages of humidity, get a unit with a hygrometer and humidistat. These will sense humidity levels in the room and adjust accordingly. On the other hand, if you have an aversion to complicated electronics and are more of a hands-on person, buy a manually controlled dehumidifier.

If your dehumidifier is blowing out cold air, have the condenser coils replaced. The condenser coils are supposed to warm the dried air back up to room temperature before it is blown back out into the room. Unfortunately, these wear out quickly and must be replaced every season.

If your dehumidifier is blowing out humid air, the problem is one of two things. Most likely, the compressor is broken. Get it repaired or replaced. The other major cause of poor dehumidification is dirty or broken evaporator coils.

The evaporator coils are responsible for cooling the air, causing water to drop out and into the reservoir bucket. If your machine is blowing out humid air, the evaporator coils might be dirty or broken. Have a technician steam-clean them. If that doesn’t work, you might need to replace them.

If the machine is cooling and warming properly, but the air isn’t moving, check the fan and motor assembly. Be sure it is moving at full power, or you’ll be wasting money on electricity, since the compressor is still working to cool the air. If the fan slows down – or stops working entirely – get the motor replaced.

Tips to Increase Your House’s Value

Clean up your house

Clean your house thoroughly. By this I mean do everything humanly possible to cleanse your house. Clean the windows, the sink, vacuum the floor, scrub the toilet, take out the trash, make sure nothing appears to be in a sloppy mess.

Fix what can be seen before what can’t

Quite a few people believe that its important to work on the things you can see before the things you can’t, this attracts more buyers. For example renovate the exterior before the interior before the creaky floor boards. If the house looks like a dump from the outside most people will not be willing to have a look around inside.

Seal the driveway

Do you have a gravel driveway? Do weeds pop up, do you find yourself constantly raking gravel, do find that gravel manages to get into your house, do you get irritated by the loud noise of a car that’s driving on it makes? It may be time to end these problems and increase your houses value by sealing your driveway.

Is the property secure?

People will tend to pay more for a house they feel safe in, so consider;

– Installing a burglar alarm

– Installing a fire alarm

– Installing security doors

– Installing secure and reliable locks

Do you need new spouting?

Spouting will be one of the first things an appraiser or buyer will notice when they look at your house. You do not want them to see rusted, dirty, broken spouting. Putting in new spouting will increase the value of your house and decrease the maintenance required.

Are your windows up to scratch?

Windows are a powerful tool in your home improvement arsenal. If your windows are not aesthetically appealing or are in an awful state consider double-glazed windows, although possibly a bit expensive, are a good improvement. They will provide your house with superior heat insulation and sound insulation. If a room isn’t getting much light, consider enlarging the windows or putting in new ones. This will make the room a lot warmer and, “light and bright” which appraisers and buyer love.

Does the house need a power wash?

Unless you regularly clean your house with a scrubbing brush it will probably be a good idea to get your house power washed. Being inexpensive, this will help get rid of the grime, dirt, and any other disgusting build up on your house.


Curtains and windows will help with insulation but to really insulate your property you need to have a good insulator between walls such as fibreglass or foam. People will happily pay much more to be warm throughout the winter than spend the extra money on heating, so by doing this the value of your house can increase substantially.

If excess heat is an issue then consider installing an air conditioner. Again, people will always pay extra to feel comfortable.


Going back to the idea of “fix what can be seen before what can’t”, a roof improvement can be very beneficial to the value of your house. Firstly the roof needs to be cleaned, preferably power washed. If the roof is in that bad of a shape maybe a re-tiling is in order.

Things to think about before an open day.

– Make sure you have a plan and know what your doing on the day. Assign jobs to all family members or flat mates to get things done quicker in case there is a showing scheduled with short notice.

– Make sure everything smells nice and fresh, if you smoke do not smoke in your house for a few days before the auction. Open all the windows, use an air fresher if you have to.

– Get rid of all your pets for the day. They can be a nuisance especially if they are over friendly and may cause some allergic reactions.

– Your house should have a light and sunny atmosphere. Pull back all the curtains and blinds, turn lights if its dark or rainy.

– If you have the luxury of controlling the temperature of your house make sure the temperature is comfortable for all your guest.

– Clean your house thoroughly. By this I mean do everything humanly possible to cleanse your house. Clean the windows, the sink, vacuum the floor, scrub the toilet, take out the trash, make sure nothing appears to be in a sloppy mess.

–  Leave the open home unless your do not have a real estate agent there. If you have to stay, don’t let the buyers know your the seller and don’t approach or smother them unless they come to you. Try to stay out of their way.

Guide to Protect Your Hardwood Floor

1. Do not use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Murphy’s works great on wooden furniture, but don’t make the mistake of using it on your hardwood floors. You won’t notice anything wrong after applying it once, but if used consistently, residue will build up and leave your floor with a dull appearance.

2. Do not use a Wet Swiffer. A Dry Swiffer is great for collecting dust, dirt, and pet hair from your floors, and it is also less abrasive than a vacuum cleaner. However, a Wet Swiffer can cause major long-term damage. The chemicals in the cleaning solution can break down the urethane finish on your floor and leave it dull, faded, and lifeless.

3. Place area rugs anywhere that might collect water. Prime areas are in front of the refrigerator, by the dishwasher, and near any sinks. Make sure that the floor is protected in any spot that is susceptible to minor leaks and water collection. A pool of water is the quickest way to destroy your floor.

4. Use floor mats in spots where people step on the hardwood directly after being outside. In addition to protecting against wet or muddy footprints, floor mats will help collect any sharp or abrasive materials stuck in the treads of shoes. This step will help prevent accidental scraping or scratching.

5. Use felt pads when moving furniture. Or better yet, lift the furniture off the ground instead of sliding it across your hardwood floor. If felt pads must be used, please make sure that they are free of any debris. Even if a tiny little object like a staple is under that pad when heavy furniture is set upon it, your floor could receive some serious gouges.

Ladder Safety Tips


  • Ladders should be placed so each side rail is on level and firm footing so the ladder is rigid, stable and secure.
  • Boxes, loose bricks, or other loose packing should not support the side rails.
  • No ladder should be placed in front of a door opening towards the ladder.
  • The correct angle for a freestanding ladder is 4 to 1. For every 4 lengths up the ladder should stand 1 length away from the house.
  • Ladders should rise to a height of at least 3 feet above any landing place for people using the ladder.
  • Ladders should be securely fixed at the top and base so they can’t from move either points of rest. If this is not possible, then a person should stand at the base of the ladder and secure it manually.


  • Carry tools and supplies in belts or pouches around the waist, never in your hands.
  • Don’t use the top step of the ladder for standing or stepping.
  • If you have a fear of heights – STOP – don’t climb a ladder let someone else do it.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s warning stickers attached to the ladder. It is amazing how few people read this information.
  • Only one person at a time may work from a single ladder.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.
  • Don’t use a ladder if it is missing, or has a weakened, broken or otherwise defective rung or tread.
  • No metal ladder or ladder reinforced with wire should be used in the vicinity of any electrical conductor or any electrical equipment.
  • Always maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder (2 feet/1 hand or 2 hands/1 foot should be in contact with ladder at all times).
  • A ladder should not be used for any use other than its correct use as a ladder. For Example: Scaffolding.


  • Carry the ladder balanced horizontally, never up and down.
  • Watch your step while carrying the ladder to avoid tripping hazards.

Steps to Install a New Toilet

What you need :

  1. Toilet bowl
  2. Toilet tank
  3. Toilet seat
  4. Two 1/4″ bolts for bowl to flange
  5. Wax ring,
  6. 20″ water supply with fitting at valve or floor connection

Tools :

  1. Pair of channel pliers
  2. bucket
  3. screw driver

1. Shut off the water to the toilet, use a bucket and a cloth or a sponge to remove the water left in tank and bowl after you flush the toilet.

2. Using a pair of channel pliers, or a small pipe wrench (8″), remove the nut where the water line fastens to the ballcock valve under the left side of the bottom of the tank. Next use a small crescent wrench, remove the two 1/4″ nuts holding the bowl to the floor flange. Remove old toilet. Remove the water line from the valve or fitting at floor or wall.

3. Now you are ready to install your new toilet. Put the two 1/4″ bolts in the side holes of the flange with the bolt head in the flange. Put some of the old wax at this spot to hold the bolts straight up and across from each other. Put new wax ring on flange, flat side up if tapered.

4. Set new bowl only straight down so it centers on wax ring and both bolts come through holds on each side of bowl. Sit on bowl facing wall until your weight puts bowl flush with the floor. Put metal washers and nuts on bolts and tighten until snug. Do not over-tighten as you can crack the bowl. Tighten these again after toilet is completely installed and filled with water.

5. Next put 2″ rubber gasket on tank where it sets on the bowl, put rubber washers on bolts provided under the bolt head so they will be on the inside of the tank. Pick up tank and set on bowl over holes in bowl where bolts go through. Sit on bowl facing wall. Put bolts on from the inside of the tank into holes in bowl, put on metal washers and nuts and tighten. Hold tank level and tighten so it brings tank down level. Use a large screw driver inside tank and a crescent wrench or end wrench to back up nut under bowl. Tighten with screw driver. Hook water supply to tank, turn on water, check for leaks, and snug up the bolts holding bowl to floor. If there is a space between the back of the tank and the wall, put a spacer of sort there to brace tank. A piece of wood or hard rubber works fine.


At least twice a year clean out the inside of your toilet tank. When cleaning the toilet tank, turn off the water, flush toilet once, add small amount of cleaning detergent inside tank to water remaining and use a cloth or brush to clean. Also clean out holes under toilet seat and rim of the bowl as well as the 3/4″ hole in the bottom of toilet bowl. Replace rubber tank ball at this time if needed. Maintaining your new toilet will keep the plumber away and reduce your plumbing bill.

Consider These Things When Choosing a Floor

How much traffic will the floor get?

The amount and type of traffic that your room will see should be one of the largest deciding factors in the kind of floor that you choose. A family room floor with a ping-pong table and busy, active life needs a floor that will stand up to lots of foot traffic and the occasional spill. In addition, you want a floor that won’t show wear, will be comfortable underfoot, and easy to care for. Vinyl floor tiles or linoleum might be your best choice there, though a good, durable wood laminate floor might do well, as well.

What’s the moisture level? Is the floor likely to get wet or is the room naturally ‘damp’?

Some floors just aren’t suited for damp areas. A basement playroom with a high moisture content, or a bathroom are seldom candidates for a solid wood floor, though there are some choices in wood laminates that might work if finished properly. Instead, you might choose slate or ceramic tiles with area rugs for the bathroom for a dramatic look that wipes up well and keeps its gloss for years.

What’s your personal style? What mood do you want in your room?

Want a luxurious feel? A thick pile rug over polished wood is a classic, elegant look that is pure luxury. A floor to accent a spare, modern style? Stone or slate, polished to a high sheen is a beautiful backdrop for leather and steel furniture and ascetic lines. A wooden parquet floor can be a dramatic focal point in an open foyer, or can lend a touch of Continental elegance to a formal living room. Wooden floors can hit any mood from rustic to royal, and the choices of color, pattern and style in vinyl or ceramic tiles can fit any active room in your home.

Mistakes when Buy a Mattres

1. Don’t limit your mattress search to innerspring mattresses.

Innersprings mattresses have long been the standard and for that reason many people are inclined to shop accordingly. Recently that trend has been changing as more and more people are realizing the benefits of getting-edge sleep systems. Latex and memory foam beds are superior to innersprings in comfort, support, and price.

2. Explore what will best suit your needs.

It is easy to be swept up in advertising and form opinions about products without ever having tried them or done any further research. This is one of the biggest mistakes to be made when shopping for a mattress. Being dead set on having a memory foam bed can blind you to the possibility that latex, with its antimicrobial properties and breathability may be a better mattress for you. You may find that memory foam is what you needed, but it is important to keep your mind open.

3. Don’t be sidetracked by trends or gimmicks.

Though it may seem like fun to change the firmness of your bed every night through products like air beds, it is not worth losing the support your body needs. Find a mattress that is customizable but continues to offer support. For example, it is easy to customize latex mattresses to any firmness level without losing support, even for couples.

4. Know the difference between firmness and support.

It is a common misconception that firmer is better. This theory has been debunked. As it turns out the human body does in fact have curves. The best mattress for you will relieve pressure points while supporting your body.

5. Don’t buy more than you need.

Many mattress sellers will try and sell you a whole new mattress set even if you already have a perfectly good box spring. If your box spring isn’t broken don’t replace it. In the case of a platform bed, which provides more under bed storage, a box spring is unnecessary.

6. Know what the exchange policy is.

Being stuck on an uncomfortable mattress that cost you a fortune is a miserable experience. Many retailers have exchange policies extending up to a month to ensure that you know the mattress you buy is the mattress you want. Know what the store’s policy is before thinking about buying.

7. Take into account the importance of a good night’s sleep.

A lot of people undervalue the time they spend in bed. A cheap innerspring mattress will not relieve pressure points near as well as memory foam or latex, which means more tossing and turning, and less deep restful sleep.

8. Don’t be too attached to brand names.

Name brand products are often very high quality. However, many smaller scale manufacturers and retailers generate comparable and often superior products at a fraction of the price.

9. Take into consideration the longevity of the mattress.

Mattress lifespan is important to consider because it affects the cost of the mattress relative to time. A good latex mattress will remain a premium sleeping surface for twice as long as any innerspring mattress. Be sure to ask about warranties on any mattress you are considering.

10. Be sure to know the features and benefits.

Knowing the features and benefits is the only way to decide which mattress is going to work best for you. To the uninformed eye a cover is a cover. To someone in the know, a cover is an amazing feature. Some covers are antimicrobial to reduce the number of allergens in the sleeping area. Some breathe better than others allowing excess moisture to be rapidly dissipated. Still others stretch to form to your body. Remember that there are important considerations when choosing a mattress cover.

Steps to Build Wood Stairs

Tools you will need:

  1. Circular saw
  2. Framing square
  3. Hand saw
  4. Carpenters pencil
  5. Measuring tape
  6. 4′ Level
  7. Masking tape

You will also need:

  1. 3 @ 10′ / 2″ x 12″ boards – Choose the best only, make sure they are straight with no check (cracks). Very Important!
  2. 2 @ 8′ / 2″ x 4″ boards
  3. 8 @ 8′ / 2″ x 6″ boards – Once again choose the good ones. These are going to be the steps so…
  4. 1 @ 45″ / 2″ x 6″ boards
  5. 1 sheet of plywood @ 1/2″ / 8″ x 48″
  6. Of course, 3-1/2″ framing nails and deck screws or nails for the steps.

Find the overall rise

We want to know the exact vertical distance from the top of the concrete pad to the top of the deck. Take one of the 8′ 2×4’s and rest one end on the deck and hold the other over the pad, Place the level on the 2×4 and level the board. Then simply measure from the bottom of the 2×4 to the pad. Lets say it is 64″. This is the overall rise.

Now determine the overall run

Before we can do this we have to determine how many steps we need.

So first..

Take the overall rise, 64″, and divide it by 7.25″, which is the typical height of 1 riser (step). This gives us 8.83, which rounds up to 9, So we will go with 9 risers.

Important: There is always 1 less tread then risers. Whether you go up or down the last step is onto the deck or the pad. So 1 less tread.

Now we take 10.5″, the width of a typical step, and multiply it by 8. This gives us 84″. This is the overall run.

While we are doing the math we need to figure out the exact rise of each step. We simply take the overall rise of 64″ and divide it by 9 and we get 7.111″ or 7-1/8″, or close enough to it. So each riser will be 7-1/8″.

Time for some layout

First thing. Grab your framing square. The long leg is the tread (step) leg and the short leg is the riser leg. Also, use the numbers on the outside of the square only.

Take some masking tape and wrap a piece around the framing square to establish you rise and run. Mark 10.5″ on the outside of the long leg and 7-1/8″ on the outside of the short leg.

Layout one of the 2×12’s on your saw horses or work bench. WIth the long leg of your framing square towards the end of the board start to line up the tape marks to the edge of the board facing you. Once you have the square in position mark the outside edge of it with your pencil.

Continue to do this until you have the required number of steps, 8 in this case. This first riser is always shorter by the thickness of the steps, for us that is 1.5″. This makes the first riser 5-5/8″.

Cut ’em out

Now use you circular saw to cut out the stringers (technical name for 2×12 with stair marks on it) being sure to cut on the waste side of the line. When you cut into the corner with a circular saw the blade misses some of the wood on the bottom side of the board. This is fine, simply cut up to the line and stop, then finish the cut with your hand saw.

Now use the first stringer as a template for the other two. Lay the stringer onto the 2×12’s and trace around it. Then cut out the other stringers the same as the first.

Reinforce the stringers

Align one of the 8′ 2×4’s along the bottom edge of the string and mark it to fit the profile of the ends of the stringers. Cut the 2×4 and secure it to the bottom edge of the stringer. Repeat this for one other stringer. These help to strengthen the stringers and reduce “bounce” in the stairs. Use the framing nails to secure them.

Assemble the stairs

The plywood is used to attach the stairs to the deck. Secure the sheet of plywood to the top end of the stringers. The two outside stringers are nailed flush with the edge of the plywood while the third stringer is centered on the sheet. Simply nail through the plywood into the face of the stringers using framing nails. 4 into each stringer will be enough.

Now take the 45″ 2×6 and nail it in between the bottom of the outside stringers. The 2×6 will fit into the notch cut into the center stringer. This provides the right spacing for the bottom of the stairs and secures them to the pad.

Attach them to the deck

Move the stairs into their final position. make sure they are level across the stringers and that the risers are plumb. When the stairs are positioned correctly nail through the plywood into the side of the deck. Use some 3″ concrete nails to secure the 2×6 spacer to the concrete pad.

Install the treads

Cut the 8 – 8′ 2×6’s in half, be sure to cut them square. Starting at the bottom of the stairs, start placing the 2×6 stair treads. Simply center them on the stringers and use some 3″deck nails to attach them. You can also use an exterior adhesive to assure that they don’t move.

Continue to work your way up the stairs until you reach the top.

Things to Consider when Decorating with Oriental Rug

1. Size of the Rug – Area to be covered

Size up the room and the area you want to cover.

The most common area rug sizes are 4-by-6 and 6-by-9 feet. They work well under a coffee table.

An 8-by-10-foot area rug or larger can cover an entire room.

Smaller area and scatter rugs can be ideal for adorning smaller spaces–a hearth! , a bedside, the area in front of a kitchen sink–with a splash of colo r and warmth.

2. In the Home

Living Room

In a living room the area rug would most likely be placed in front of the sofa and under the coffee table

To place a room-sized area rug on a hardwood floor, choose an area rug which allows eight inches (twenty centimeters) of wood to be exposed around the rug’s perimeter.

Measure the open space up to the sofa and chairs making sure that the individual seated will have both feet on the area rug.

More than one area rug is acceptable.

Dining Room

There should be room to pull the chairs out from the table with the back legs of the chairs remaining on the area rug.


Look for Busy & Dark patterns

Dark wool rugs are great for this

Hallways & Entrances

Dense Patterns

Wool pile (Most durable) with cotton foundation (strong and does not loose shape) is ideal.

Very light colors are not suggested


Do not recommend a room size Persian/Oriental area rug for the bedroom. Most of the pattern will be hidden under the bed in the dark making the rug prone to moth damage.

Instead, use multiple area rugs. A rug at the foot of the bed and two on each side Or use several scatter rugs to fill areas around the bed as needed. It will actually cost less and compliment your furnishings better.


Begin with the end in mind. Visualize the finished look of the room. Do you prefer the sparse, uncluttered look or you have a room rich with colors and textures?

Remember that a rug is th! e largest splash of color in any room. Select your rug first, and then the upholstery to blend with the rug. Furniture should enhance the rug design or colors found in the rug

Next comes window treatment and walls; neutral shades are recommended.

Elements of a rug design can be further incorporated into the overall design scheme. For example, if the rug is floral, add framed prints or flowers in similar colors.

Conversely, should your focal point be furniture, choose a rug to pick up the colors used in your furnishing patterns. Patterns can be mixed if they are coordinated by color.

Don’t get discouraged if you are having problems finding an area rug to blend in with your decor.

4. Using Multiple Area Rugs

Should you use one rug or two?

  • One rug is the general rule as it coordinates the room together and helps select fabrics for furniture, curtains, etc.
  • In a very large room, more than one rug can be used to separate the room. The designs of the rugs should be different enough to create spatial separation, but similar in color and quality to maintain the integrity of the room space.

Two or more rugs should complement each other

  • One needs to be dominant in size
  • They should be similar in at least design/color/size
  • Smaller rugs should not look like clones

5. Color

If redecorating an already furnished room, choose a rug to pick up the colors used in your furnishing patterns

Paint or paper the walls in colors found in the rug when color coordinating.

Look for a rug that is commonality with the existing color of the walls.

A rug with a bold, overall design can be the focal point of a room with a chair and sofa in solid or subdued patterns.

Light colored rugs make a room look more spacious, and deeper colors lend coziness to a room.

6. Durability

For floor rugs wool is usually a preferred choice as it resists daily wear better than synthetics. Wool has many wonderful qualities- deep, rich color tones, high durability and relative ease of care. For more information you can read article Advantages of Wool over Synthetic Fibers.

Silk rugs are better used for walls, throws etc. Living rooms are ideal to showcase silk rugs.

Chromium dyes are strong and deliver consistency and durability of color.

Vegetable dyes give the rug a patina of color, a casual look that is very attractive.

7. Shape

Let your decorating style determine your rug shape.

Don’t be limited to the idea of getting a rectangular rug.

A circular or octagonal-shaped floor covering can add flair and elegance.

8. What is the dealer return policy?

You should at least have one week risk free trial period to experience the rug. You can test the wool texture, dye quality (take a moistened paper towel and run it along the edges & center, the dye should not bleed out) & see if it fits into your home décor.

Tips to Hiring a Contractor

1. Plan your project carefully. Clip pictures, make sketches, write a description. This will help you accurately convey to the contractor what you want the finished product to be.

2. Make a list of contractors. Ask your neighbors or friends for the names of reputable tradesmen. Contact material suppliers — lumberyards, for example — and ask for recommendations.

3. Get at least three written bids for the project, but don’t give in to the temptation to automatically accept the lowest bid. A higher bid may be worth the price in better materials, workmanship and reliability. If you get a very low bid, the contractor may have made a mistake or forgotten to bid on everything you wanted. If they have deliberately low-bid, they may use cheaper materials or take shortcuts to make a profit.

4. Many states and provinces require registration and/or licensing. For the USA, provides a starting point for your state and type of construction. Click on Verify Contractors License. If licences are required in your jurisdiction, be certain to ask to see your contractor’s licences and be sure that it’s not expired.

5. Ask for references and then check them out. Look at the projects and ask the previous clients if they are satisfied with the quality of work done, if it was started and completed on schedule and if it is complete.

6. Get a signed, written contract and be sure you understand it. The Construction Contractors Board of Oregon claims that the single biggest cause of homeowner-contractor disputes is the written contract: not having one, having a poor one, or having one everyone ignores. A good contract should include:

  • The company name, address (not a post office box) & phone number, the name of the builder, contractor and licence number, if applicable
  • A detailed project description
  • A materials list
  • A statement that all necessary permits and inspections are the responsibility of the contractor
  • Starting and completion dates
  • Warranties of workmanship, the length of the warranty, and specifically what’s covered and what’s not
  • Contractor’s guarantee that he carries liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage
  • A statement that clean-up will be done by the contractor
  • The total price and payment schedule
  • Be wary of hourly, time and materials or cost-plus pricing where the final price is not determined until completion of the project. Although it may seem higher, a fixed price may give you the best protection and price.
  • Be cautious about upfront payments for more than 15% of the contract price.
  • The schedule and criteria for each instalment should be clearly defined in the contract.
  • Any instalments should be not be required on a certain date, but correlated to work completion.
  • Do not pay cash. A reputable builder will ask for a check.

7. Make any changes to the project in writing with a “work order change” to avoid misunderstandings and surprises.

8. Keep pets and children away from the construction site. This will ensure not only their safety, but also that of the workers. In addition, it helps keep the project on schedule.

9. Inspect the work regularly.

10. Pay directly and promptly according to the contract.