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What Makes Western Red Cedar So Popular for Fencing?

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you look at wood fences, you’ll find that many of them are made from a type of wood called western red cedar. While this wood has an attractive look, with a reddish tint that fades into a grayish, beachy look over time, its appearance is not the main reason why it’s used for fencing. Here’s a look at some of the qualities that make western red cedar ideal for fencing. Insect Resistance You may have had an aunt or grandmother who kept her wood sweaters in a cedar chest so they weren’t bothered by moths. Cedar is great at repelling insects, thanks to the natural oils it contains. That fresh cedar scent that you may enjoy is very repelling to carpenter ants, wood bees, and other pests that may invade fences made from other woods. Since these insects can burrow down into a wooden fence, weakening its boards, keeping them away is essential. With any other type of wood, you may have to use chemical insecticides to avoid insect damage, but western red cedar takes care of this automatically. Lack of Water Absorption Some woods, like pine, tend to take on a lot of water. Not only does this make the wood prone to rot, but  it also causes the boards to warp as they absorb water and later release it. Cedar doesn’t absorb a lot of water, and it doesn’t warp easily. So, your boards will stay straight and true for years, even when you live in a humid environment where other fencing would warp quickly. Low Maintenance Because cedar naturally resists rot, you do not have to regularly seal or paint it. Some homeowners do choose to paint their cedar fencing once it has aged a bit, since they may not like the grayish color it takes on in old age. However, this is purely optional. With most any other type of wood, you’d have to apply a wood sealer every year or two. Even with such little maintenance, cedar fencing lasts longer than other types. You can expect your western red cedar fence to last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, whereas a spruce fence may last 4 to 7 years. Pine typically lasts about 5 to 12 years. So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, insect-resistant fence that won’t warp and bow, western red cedar really is a great choice. Add yourself to the list of homeowners who are happy with their...

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Purchased A New Wooden Bathroom Vanity? How To Keep It Looking New

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Wooden bathroom vanities are beautiful no matter the type of wood they are made from. Most manufactures that make wooden bathroom vanities put a sealant on each of their vanities to protect them from small amounts of moisture or humid air. Over time, this sealant starts to wear down and once this happens, water left standing on your vanity can damage it by causing stains, water spots, and mold and mildew. A lot of dampness will damage the wood over time. Below are some tips on how you can care for your new wooden bathroom vanity to keep it looking new. Remove Spills Immediately Any spilled water or any other type of liquid should be wiped immediately. Use a soft cloth to blot the liquid instead of wiping to protect the finish and sealant. If you wipe the spill and do this on a regular basis, you will eventually wear away the sealant. Keeping your bathroom vanity dry at all times is the most important thing you can do to keep it in good condition. Talk with your family about blotting up spills when they finish using the restroom and show them how to properly do this. Over time, it will become a habit for all of you. Remove Dampness After a shower there is generally dampness in the room, including on the vanity. The best way to keep this dampness down is to use a bathroom exhaust fan while using the shower. This fan is generally installed on the ceiling. Another way to lower the amount of dampness is by leaving the bathroom door open a little, and if the bathroom has a window, open it while the shower is being used. There are small, portable dehumidifiers that work well for this purpose. Simply have it turned on during the shower. This dehumidifier will remove humidity from the air, thereby removing moisture. Leave the soft, dry cloth close and instruct your family to remove the dampness when they finish using the bathroom. Do Routine Cleaning At least once per week, and more often if a lot of people use this bathroom, do routine cleaning. This simply involves wiping down the wood vanity with a dry, soft cloth. Rub very gently in the direction of the wood grain. Refer to the guide that came with the wood vanity on the proper cleaning products to use to clean the vanity if it becomes very dirty. Using the wrong type of product can damage the finish, which will eventually damage the wood. Ask a professional like Royal Bath Place how often you need to reseal the...

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How To Build A Fire Pit With Bricks

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Outdoor entertaining is a wonderful part of summer, and it offers so many different things for you to do. One option is to host bon fires at your home. You can grill some meats and veggies first, and then everyone can gather around your fire. To make sure your fire is safe, you may want to build a fire pit to use, and you can easily and affordably do this if you can get your hands on some cheap, unwanted bricks. Here are the three steps you will need to follow to create your inexpensive, do-it-yourself fire pit. Choose Your Location And Gather The Right Supplies  Before you begin creating your fire pit, you should carefully decide where it will be. When choosing your location, pick a spot that will be a good gathering place for you and your friends, and make sure the spot is far enough away from your trees, shrubs, and plants. Next, you will need to gather a few things, such as: A shovel Some gravel to use for the base Bricks Once you have these things, you can begin making your fire pit. Dig A Hole The first step is to dig a hole in the shape of a circle or square, whichever you prefer. You should try to keep the size of the fire pit around three-feet by three-feet, because this is an ideal size to hold a fire. As you dig, you will only need to go down around six inches or so into the ground. Once you get the hole dug, fill the bottom of the hole with gravel. Arrange The Bricks Around The Hole Finally, you will need to arrange the bricks to form a pit. You should start by placing your first layer of bricks inside the hole around the edges. Next, stagger the next layer of bricks on top of the first, and you will need to continue doing this until the fire pit is around one to two feet taller than the ground. You can use a level as you go to make sure the bricks are all even and straight. This is an easy way to build your own fire pit; however, you can also purchase fire pits that are already built. There are many different types, sizes, and styles of fire pits available, and these are ideal if you need one right away and do not have time to build...

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Three Ways To Make Your Backyard Look Even Better

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Uncategorized |

As a homeowner, the landscaping for the backyard may start and stop with keeping the grass cut and the bushes trimmed. However, to really enjoy the space, it might be time to do things that make the yard look even better. The three suggestions that follow can beautify your backyard without much work. Decorate with Pre-cast Stone Stone can be a beautiful material to decorate your backyard with, but it can be somewhat expensive, particularly if you want large pieces. That’s why it’s a good idea to use pre-cast stone instead. Pre-cast stone is actually created by mixing cement and various stones and pouring that mixture into a mold to form different shapes. Because it contains cement, pre-cast stone is usually not as expensive as natural stone. Moreover, unlike natural stone, pre-cast pieces can be a variety of colors, allowing them to be used in a number of visually-interesting ways. You can line a path with them or block off your flower beds, for instance. You can also use precast stone blocks to create a beautiful firepit. A firepit can provide hours of fun for talking, making s’mores and warming yourself when the temperatures start to dip. Of course, before making a firepit, be sure to look up; ensure that the site you’ve chosen isn’t underneath any trees or utility wires that could be affected by fire. You might want to put the pit in the middle of the yard to lower the chances that flames or flying embers will cause a serious problem. For more information, contact Harristone Pre-Cast – Merrillstone Natural Stone Products – G. S. Harris Co., Inc. or a similar company. Install or Erect Water Features Another way to make your yard a place that everyone wants to go is to add running water or a pond. You don’t need the kind of extravagant water fountains that you see in many major cities, but even a simple fountain with one spout can be a soothing addition to the space. A small pond surrounded by precast stone blocks can contain small fish. Try Different Lights If you’re like many people, you might use your yard at night. You may simply turn on the porch light or use candles to illuminate the space, but you can do a lot more. The right lighting can add drama to the yard and highlight different parts of the landscape. For example, well-placed spotlights can light up your flowers so that they can dazzle guests even after the sun has gone down. Deck lights can eliminate the need for candles so that you can see where you’re walking. If you aren’t quite sure how you should run the cords or set up the lighting, a landscaper can provide assistance. Whether you add pre-cast stone, lights or water features to your yard, you are sure to make your backyard look more inviting. Keep looking for new ways to make your yard beautiful; talk to a landscaper to get more...

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Installing Sinks And Faucets Into Granite Countertops: 3 Drilling Tips For Perfect Results

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Granite countertops are not only beautiful, but also a smart investment, as they are tough, durable and can last a lifetime. Granite countertops can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and are basically unbreakable unless you smash them with a hammer or drill through them with diamond core drills. Drilling perfect holes through the countertop in order to install faucets or sinks can be a difficult job. Here are 3 tips that will make it a lot easier. Use a Cutting Template Once you start drilling, you want to make sure that you’re not going to make a mistake and drill too much or too little by making a cutting template. This is particularly important if you will be using the drill to cut out an irregular shape. Measure out the precise measurements of the sink or faucet you will be installing onto a scrap piece of stone, tile, hardwood or even stone composite. Drill out the shape you need into the cutting template and center the template over the granite countertop. Use a clamp to keep the template in place before you begin drilling. The template will ensure that you stay within the lines. Clamp a Piece of Scrap Stone Underneath When drilling a hole into granite countertops, you should pay just as much attention to the underside of the countertops as to the top surface. If you are not careful, the diamond drill may chip away the underside of the countertops as the drill passes through. To prevent this from happening, clamp another scrap piece of stone or tile underneath the stone countertops. The scrap piece of stone will protect the structural integrity of the granite countertops and prevent excessive chipping. You should also go slow when drilling through to the other side. Let the Drill Cool As granite is relatively hard, you need to be careful when drilling. If you go too fast or if the drill gets too hot, the top of the drill can and will snap. To prevent diamond drills from burning up, you’ll have to go slow. In addition, let the drill cool for a bit after each hole. You can cool the drill by dipping it into cool water and using the water as a lubricant. The lubricant will not only cool the drill to prevent it from snapping, but will also prevent the surface of the granite countertops from being fractured by the heat generated. Conclusion Once you have installed the faucets and sinks into the right place, you’ll want to apply a sealant to the granite countertops. While drilling into granite countertops is not rocket science, consider hiring a company like Artisan Granite & Marble to tackle more complex jobs and designs for flawless...

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3 Tropical Beauties To Grow As Annuals In Northern Gardens

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Giving an exotic look to your northern summer garden is easy when using these fast-growing tropicals as annuals. The colorful leaves and flowers add a touch of the jungle to your landscape.   Croton The variegated garden croton, Codiaeum variegatum, is an extremely colorful plant with large, multi-colored leaves in shades of red, burgundy, yellow, orange, green, chartreuse and purple. It is a perennial shrub in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, but is easily killed by freezing temperatures. Crotons like moisture, so they should never be allowed to dry completely out between waterings or they will drop leaves. They grow well in shade, but their colors become brighter in sunlight. Leaf shapes vary from large, flat leaves to swirly narrow ribbons. They create a magnificent riot of color when displayed in a large planting of different sizes and leaf forms. Tropical Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, or tropical hibiscus, is a showy, fast-growing plant prized for its large, colorful flowers. Although it is only hardy to zone 9, it grows so quickly that it is often used as an annual shrub in more northern climates. The tree-forms, especially the weeping varieties, are exceptionally striking when used as a focal point in a larger planting. Over the years, fancy hybrids have been developed featuring flowers with multiple bright colors and ruffled petals that make a stunning showcase plant in any garden. Tropical hibiscus can be temperamental, dropping leaves for no reason at all, but as long as they are not kept too wet or too dry, this shouldn’t be a problem. Look out for their two most common pests: mealybug and hibiscus scale. Justicia Justicias range from large shrubs to small plants, but if you’re looking for something to bring fireworks to a shady area, these are a perfect choice. Hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11, they grow like wildfire during the summer months, putting out voluminous blooms. Justicia carnea, or flamingo plant, with its large pink powderpuff flowers is a striking focal point for a mixed container. Justicia brandegeana or red shrimp plant, puts out dozens of lovely red-and-white flowers with overlapping bracts that make it resemble shrimp. Justicia scheidweileri has gorgeous lance-shaped green leaves accented with white veins and spikes of maroon flowers. These three wonderful tropicals are easy to find in most garden centers during the summer, although you may have to look in the florist section for some. Ask your landscaper about these and many other fast-growing tropicals suitable for use as annuals for your northern garden. Visit to learn...

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How To Give An Old Wooden Dresser A Casual Beachy Look

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized |

The next time you come across an old dresser with a dingy finish and perhaps a few scrapes, don’t walk past it. It may look a bit banged up on the outside, but older dressers are made to last. As long as it’s sturdy and in sound shape structurally, you can re-finish it and get many more years of use out of it. One simple way to refinish an older dresser is by using diluted paint and sandpaper to give it a casual beachy look. Here’s how. Step 1: Collect your supplies. For this project, you’ll need: Sandpaper (coarse and fine grit) A large, 5-gallon bucket 1 gallon of latex paint in the color of your choice (light colors work best) A large paint brush A smaller paint brush Plenty of water Dry cloths A paint stirring stick Step 2: Remove the old finish. You’ll need to completely remove the old finish in order for your new paint finish to go on smoothly and uniformly. The easiest way to do this is by sanding. Use coarse sandpaper, and sand with the grain in all of the areas where the finish is still in tact. Stop sanding as soon as the finish has worn off of an area. Once you’ve sanded the whole dresser, wipe it down with a moist cloth to remove the dust. Step 3: Prepare your paint. Diluting the paint ensures it goes on in a partially see-through, rustic manner instead of looking solid and opaque. Pour your gallon of paint into the 5-gallon bucket. Then, add 1/2 gallon of water, and stir until the mixture is uniform. Step 4: Paint the dresser. Use the large paint brush to coat the larger surfaces, and use your small paint brush to get in crevices. Painting with the wood grain will result in a more natural appearance. Keep in mind that your paint is not supposed to cover the wood completely. It should let the wood show through in some areas. Depending on the style of your dresser, you may have to paint one side, let it dry for a few hours, turn it over, and then paint the other side. Step 5: Sand down the corners and edges. This step is option. If you’re happy with your dresser as-is, feel free to skip this step. However, if you want to give your dresser a more vintage, beachy look, wait until it’s completely dry and then take the fine-grit sandpaper and sand down some of the corners and edges. Enjoy your good-as-new dresser! Contact a used furniture dealer to find the perfect piece for this...

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How To Keep Wood Blinds Mildew-Free

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Wood blinds bring warmth and elegance to nearly any room where they’ve been hung. Keeping your wood blinds free of blemishes like mildew is an important part of maintaining the beauty of your blinds. The following tips will help you keep your blinds free of mildew and looking their best. What causes wood blinds to grow mildew? Mildew often grows in moist, semi-dark places, so it’s not very common for wood blinds to grow mildew. If your wood blinds do happen to grow mildew, this may be a result of moisture against the window or the wall where the blinds are hung. What can you do to get rid of mildew on your blinds? If your blinds have mildew, you can treat the problem by cleaning the blinds thoroughly with vinegar and water. Put equal parts water and vinegar into a spray bottle, then spray the mildewed part of the blinds with the solution. Use a clean rag to gently wipe the blinds. You may need to do this several times to kill the mildew and clean the wood. When you’re finished cleaning the blinds, dry them thoroughly, then hang them up in a room with low humidity for a few days. If the mildew penetrates the finish of the blinds and can’t be removed with a rag, you can sand the mildew from the surface of the blinds with fine-grain sandpaper. The sanded sections of the blinds will need to be refinished when this is done. To refinish your blinds, purchase a stain that matches the color of the blinds, and apply the stain to the wooden slats. Test the stain on a discrete part of the blinds before covering the entire sanded area with the stain. Allow the stain time to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before putting the blinds back on the wall. What can you do to prevent your wood blinds from growing mildew again? You can prevent your wood blinds from growing mildew by doing the following: Promote air circulation around the blinds. Keep the slats in the open position so that the slats are horizontal instead of vertical. Address any humidity problems in the room where the blinds are located. Moisture and condensation on the window are generally the result of excess humidity in the air inside your home. This could be caused by a leak in your walls or poor ventilation. If the wooden blinds are located in a room that is naturally humid, like a bathroom or a kitchen, take care to keep the vents in the room turned on for a portion of each day. This will help rid the room of excess humidity. If the blinds are located in a room that should not be naturally humid, like your living room or a bedroom, have your home investigated for wall leaks, gutter leaks and roof leaks. All of these problems could contribute to high humidity in your home. Clean the blinds on a regular basis. Make it part of your regular cleaning routine to clean your blinds with vinegar. This way if mildew does grow on your blinds, you’ll be able to prevent it from becoming a big problem. If you’re interested, companies like House Of Drapery may be able to help with more information about...

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Two Ways A Locksmith Can Keep Your Homeowner’s Insurance Costs Lower

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Protecting your home involves the security of a homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, the cost of a policy can sometimes be expensive. Insurance premiums are based on risk assessments, which are especially important when it comes to burglary. The less secure your home, the greater the risk, so the more you have to pay for coverage. A locksmith can help in this area by making your home more secure and lowering your insurance cost, at the same time. Biometric Lock Installation When it comes to a break-in, it’s simply not enough for the homeowner to say that their home has been burglarized. Before insurance companies pay claims, there generally needs to be signs of forced entry, such as a broken lock. If your house key somehow ends up in the hands of a thief who enters inside, your home will be without the necessary signs of forced entry. With this scenario, not only do you run the risk of your claim being denied, your premium could also be increased. A locksmith can install a biometric lock to help you avoid this type of concern. Biometric units don’t use keys. They rely on fingerprints to engage or disengage the lock so there’s no need to worry about your key ending up in the wrong person’s hands. Additionally, since you have the control to remove fingerprints from the system instantly, you can better regulate who has access to your home. Assess Wear and Tear A lock that has far passed its expiration date can be troublesome since locks in this condition are generally easier to break or pick. A worn lock will generally show significant signs of rusting, it may be cracked in certain areas or it might be tarnished. In the event of a break-in, the insurance company might determine that your negligence in replacing the poor quality lock somehow contributed to the incident. This type of judgment could leave you with higher premiums to pay. It’s a good idea to have a locksmith come out and assess the condition of your locks from time to time, especially if you have had the same locking mechanism for a number of years. If the lock is worn, the locksmith can update the unit before you’re faced with this type of scenario. If you want to keep your home more secure and lower your homeowner’s insurance premium, speak with a locksmith, like Top Security Locksmiths, about which upgrades are right for your...

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Tricky Windows: What To Do With Your Front Door

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Craftsman and French doors frequently feature glass panes, though these aren’t the only styles with windows. The glass panes help open up the profile your front door presents. However, they also open up your front room to the sunlight and people looking in. Cover your front door window while still maintaining the open profile. Double Curtain Rod Door windows are tricky because the curtain can end up flapping every time you move the door. One solution is to mount two curtain rods. If your door is steel or has steel strips around the pane, look for curtain rods with magnetic installation. Some are even made for doors, so they come in two-packs. Otherwise, simply purchase two thin rods that fit the dimensions of your door. Either match the door color or select a neutral hue to keep the curtain rod in the background. Gauzy Curtains Since the point of having glass panes in your door is to create a light profile, you probably don’t want to black out the window. Therefore, look for gauzy curtains. Some manufacturers make curtain panels especially for doors, so they have two pockets for the curtain rods. However, you can also select a lightweight fabric that suits your front room and have it accommodated to fit the window. The panel should stretch between the two rods without being taut or loose. Creative Curtains If you’d like to add some color or style to a foyer, consider getting creative with the front door curtain. Look for a fun print that adds a touch of whimsy to guests’ entrance. You could even upcycle an old quilt, canvas or other fabric. Again, hang the panel with double curtain rods, and ensure a snug fit. Pleated Fabric Shades On the other hand, perhaps you want your door window treatment to maintain a low profile. If that’s the case, consider having custom pleated fabric shades from a company like Spotless Shade & Blind CO installed. This window treatment works well for any door window style, though it’s especially useful for full-length windows. Likewise, as Better Homes and Gardens points out, pleated fabric shades disappear when you roll them up. Mini Blinds Another low-profile option is to hang mini blinds. Similar to the curtain rods, some manufacturers even make magnetic versions for steel doors or steel-rimmed windows. Otherwise, look for blinds with narrow louvers that fit the glass pane’s dimensions. Again, either match the door color or select a light neutral shade to minimize the blinds’ impact on the d├ęcor. Control the light and outside view by dressing your front door...

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Using Structures To Add Height To Your Landscape Design

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Height is what can take a plain yard to a gorgeous landscape. There are many ways to add height, from growing plants of various heights or adding terraces to the yard. One of the simplest ways is to incorporate structures into the landscape. The following options can get you started. Option #1: Trellises Trellises are perhaps one of the least expensive options. You can get them in a variety of styles, from wood and vinyl to steel or wrought iron. Some can be secured into the ground with a long stake, while others are installed much like a fence panel with a support on either end. Although trellises are attractive on their own, they truly shine when covered in vines, such as ivy, or when dripping with flowers, such as from a climbing rose. A benefit of trellis panels is that they can be used to create living walls in the yard, such as to screen off an unattractive area or to provide privacy to a patio. Option #2: Obelisks Garden obelisks primarily serve a decorative purpose. Some are made to resemble certain items, such as an actual stone obelisk or even a wire-frame of the Eiffel Tower. Others are made of wood lattice or metal and are specifically made to be covered in plants. Heights range from a couple of feet to over six feet tall. Those made for plants look especially striking covered in quick growing vines, such as morning glories or black-eyed-susan vines. They also work well to make climbing vegetables, like beans and peas, look more ornamental. Option #3: Pergolas Pergolas can range in size from small ones meant to cover no more than a single garden bench to large ones that cover an entire patio area. These consist of four upright supports with a flat lattice top. Although you can grow nearly any type of climbing plant on a pergola, the most striking options are plants like wisteria. This is because the hanging flower bunches look striking overhead. Grapes are another popular option for growing on a pergola. Option #4: Arches Arches work well for marking an entrance. Use them as an entrance to the garden itself or place them over a pathway that leads to a bench or secluded garden bed in the landscape. Stepping through an arch adorned with climbing roses evening-blooming moonflowers can feel as though you are stepping through to another world. Contact a local landscape design specialist for more ideas on adding vertical height with structures in your...

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