Six Simple Steps To Getting a White Roof

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 1:34 PM
Securing yourself an energy efficient roof is one of the best ways to lower energy costs over the course of a year. The difference between the temperature of upper floors under a black tar roof and those underneath a roof painted white can be a matter of several degrees. When it comes to how hard your central air or window unit air conditioners have to work in order to bring your upper floor to a comfortable temperature, it's easy to see how helpful a white painted roof can be. By now you must be preparing for the “it's not easy, but it's worth it” part, but the honest truth is that painting your flat top roof white is a surprisingly easy process that can be explained in six steps:


STEP ONE


Go to a home improvement store armed with the knowledge of what kind of underlying roofing material you have – whether it's concrete, asphalt, clay, etcetera. Approach someone in the paint department to find out which kind of paint you need and how much you'll need for the size roof you have. Same goes for the primer. Make sure to invest in a sturdy paint roller. Also buy roofing caulk, sanding materials, and a long length of strong rope if you don't have these items.


STEP TWO



Get up on your roof and clear it of debris with a broom. Sweep clean every nook and cranny. If it's possible, run a hose up there and power wash the entire surface and wait for it to dry afterward.


STEP THREE


Inspect every section for cracks and blisters that break through the outer tar coating. Caulk these spots up as much as possible.


STEP FOUR


While the caulk dries, bring up your bucket or buckets of paint with your length of rope. Make sure you have everything you need up there with you – including a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.


STEP FIVE


Once the caulk is dried, smooth your roof out as much as possible with a sander, including the build-up of dried globs of caulk. Afterward do a final sweep to clear your roof of the dust churned up from the sanding.


STEP SIX


Apply paint and primer in several coats over the span of a day. Always start at the opposite end of where your ladder is, and set aside a small space to keep your supplies until the end, wherein once the rest is complete you can clear and touch up while positioned on your ladder.


Once the final coat dries, you'll have yourself a brand new white roof that will act as a reflector of the sun's heat instead of an absorber. It won't take but a day for you to see measurable results on your thermostat, and but a month before you see the savings on your electric bill.


Some final things to remember: Hold off painting an old roof white until you're sure it's on its last leg, as re-tarring a painted roof is nearly impossible. In addition, check the weather before beginning your project.


And to think – you could have painted your roof white years ago! Regardless, it's better late than never to utilize the energy efficiency of having a white painted roof.

Solar Powered Water Heating

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 7:34 PM
Want to get out of hot water with your energy bill?

Using hot water accounts for a significant chunk of most people’s utilities. Taking lukewarm showers might solve part of the problem, but so can a bathroom remodeling project, which will result in long-term savings.

A solar-powered water heater is one solution that is getting more affordable to install, now that solar power is a focus of earth-conscious contractors. Another, very new remodeling idea for the shower stall is to install a waste-heat recovery system. The system uses the water that goes down the drain to preheat the shower water itself.



Welcome the Technology of the Future

Going green means being friendly to the earth, and our wallets.
It also means rethinking how we flush a toilet.
Since 1994, federal standards have dictated that toilets, faucets, and showerheads be sold in “low-flow” varieties, to save water. If your home was built before 1994 and you haven’t updated the bathroom appliances, remodeling just those features of your bathroom could result in an enormous savings in your water bill.

Did you know that High-efficiency toilets, for example, can save literally thousands of gallons of water, per year?

But don’t think you’re being frugal by refusing to replace the faucet that drips. If you’ve learned to live with the drip, have you learned to live with its price?
A leaky faucet and a leaky toilet flapper valve can waste, jointly, over 300 gallons of water a day.

Interested in remodeling your bathroom or know someone who is? Bath Remodeling Maryland.

Storm Doors and Energy Conservation

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 1:43 PM
Storm doors can help you have a more stable "climate" inside your house, no matter how exterior conditions may change. Of course, this happens up to a point. Granted investing in a storm door will not get rid of all your electricity bills, and heating bills, but you will certainly improve energy efficiency of your home. Storm doors are just far more energy efficient than normal exterior doors, that’s all.





What Is Energy Conservation and How It Relates To Storm Doors


Energy is something that we use a lot. Some people already say we are using way too much of it, thus contributing to the green house effect and the global warming our planet is experiencing over the past decades. Energy conservation is a behavior which results in using less energy such as turning off the lights when we leave a room, or unplugging all devices when they are not in use.

Energy is something that we consume for heating our homes in winter and for keeping them cold in summer. Here, storm doors play an important role, as they help better insulating the house, therefore the exchange of heat between the interior and the exterior is reduced to a minimum. In this way, we won’t need so much energy consumption in order to be able to maintain a stable temperature inside the house.
Taking into consideration that about one third of the heat losses in an average household happens through windows and doors, you can easily see how important is to make them shut tightly and to seal them as well as we can. Additionally, we can install insulated drapes, blinds or shutters at the windows, and we can install storm doors over the existent ones.


Storm Doors Contribute to Better Home Insulation


Storm doors are built in such a way that they are very well insulated. This is normal, if we think that they need to resists extremely bad weather conditions. This is their purpose in the first place. Depending on your budget, you can have them resists even to those hurricanes we fear so much. This does not mean that you have to stay inside, if the government decides to evacuate your city, but at least you have better chances to find your house intact when you come back. Taking into consideration all these facts, and thinking of how much money you can save by cutting down on your energy costs, you can see that storm doors can be an option for every owner.

Wireless Home Security Systems

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 5:17 PM
If yоu аrе concerned abоut safety аnd security оf your home, bесаuse there іs no home security system installed іn уоur home, conѕіdеr installing а wireless home security system thаt wіll not break a bank, and іѕ fairly easy tо install fоr a handy homeowner.



A modern wireless home security surveillance system offers manу advantages оver а wired home security system:


- Faster аnd simpler installation

- No cable оr wiring tо install

- lithium battery cаn be used aѕ a power source

- remote arm and disarm option

- Camera coverage fоr large areas inside and outside

- easy upgrades аnd modification



There are mаny options аnd components аvailаblе for setting up and configuring уоur wireless home security system. You саn uѕe one, or sеveral cameras, аnd microphones tо cover thе most vulnerable areas on your property. You сan alѕo opt tо install special security surveillance cameras that саn work well in low light, оr еvеn infrared cameras to monitor dark areas outsіdе уоur home.


Did you knоw thаt most wireless home security surveillance systems сan accommodate uр tо 16 cameras? This can certainlу provide a good video coverage оf yоur home

A modern wireless Home Security Monitor standard kit sells fоr аbout $100 online, and comes with mаny usеful options. These include а range of multizone options, loud sirens wіth diffеrеnt tones fоr different types оf emergency situations.


There arе alsо mаny accessories аvailablе оn the market including rechargeable battery backup, smoke detectors, outdoor sirens, voice markers, glass break detectors, аnd subscriptions to thе law. Keep іn mind that уоu mау nоt bе аvаilablе at аll times to monitor your home's security system. Consider subscribing to a home security monitoring service on уour behalf.

In deciding how to configure your wireless home security system's source control, there are several things you should consider; Getting an adequate number of security surveillance cameras to cover critical areas of your home that you would like to monitor. You will also need to provide a sufficient level of lighting.

Write down all of the things you will need to cover, and then head out to see a specialist in wireless control of internal security at your local store, and ask for recommendations. Look at the different brands and models. For helpful tips on selecting the Best home security system for your home visit www.TheBestHomeSecuritySystem.com.


Installation Precautions: Make sure that your new wireless home security system control will not interfere with or be interrupted by other wireless devices in the home. Wireless Internet and wireless phones can reduce system operations efficiently and effectively. Make sure your Wireless Home Security Monitoring System operates on a different frequency that will not cause interference with the existing wireless equipment at your home.

Basic Home Improvement Tools

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 12:43 PM
Having the right home improvement tools is essential in a successful home improvement project, unless you are planning to hire a professional to do the project. Take note that if you choose to hire a contractor, the cost of the project will go up. However, if you choose to do it yourself, you will be able to save a lot of money. You just need to make sure that you have the experience and skills needed to do the job right.

Cutting Tools


Cutting tools are among the most basic home improvement tools that you should get. Some tools are only meant for a specific type of material. A ripsaw is for cutting wood while a hacksaw is for cutting hard materials, such as metal and plastic. If you are planning to redesign your bathroom, then you might need a tile-cutter tool. A cutting tool that you should definitely have is a utility knife, which can cut a good number of different materials. Among the things it can cut are metal, wood, plastic, and paper. It is also easy to handle.


Moving Tools


Examples of moving tools are a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, and pliers. A claw hammer does not only hammer nails, but it also removes them. Other types of hammers include wooden mallets, rubber mallets, sledgehammers, and framing hammers. A wrench turns bolts and nuts. Screwdrivers tighten and loosen screws. Pliers are used to bend, physically compress, or hold objects firmly. For moving bigger objects to another place, you might need a furniture dolly or a stair-roller that moves heavy items up and down stairs.


Measuring Tools


Measuring tools are very important home improvement tools. You need to have these tools in order to acquire accurate measurements. Doors, windows, and cabinets are some of the things that you need accurate measurements of. A tape measure is the most common measuring tool, and it comes in a variety of materials, such as plastic, metal, and cloth. Common measuring tools are rulers, squares, and calipers.


Fastening Tools


These tools are what join or stick objects together. They range from glue guns, rivet guns, and staple guns to adhesive tapes. They are especially important when repairing small damages, putting parts together, and creating decorations.

Shaping Tools

You might need to get shaping tools to complete the finishing touches on certain objects or pieces of furniture. The tools you could use for these types of projects are moulds, trowels, chisels, and jigs.

Power Tools
Power tools work wіth thе hеlр оf electric оr air motors аnd combustion engines. They arе mоѕtlу needed іn large-scale home improvement projects. Some оf thе power tools that yоu might nеed аrе а drum sander, riding lawn mower, lathe, аnd drills.


Since therе are a huge variety оf home improvement tools in the market, and wіth mаny diffеrent types and brands to choose from, іt might be difficult tо find thе exact ones thаt you need. To make things easier, compose а precise plan оf thе home improvement project that уou wаnt tо work on. Make а list of things thаt nеed to be donе ѕo yоu wіll know what tools yоu nеed tо buy.

Gardening pH levels for Landscapers and Gardeners

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 2:42 PM
We have all had that science teacher who made us learn the periodic table (and a bunch of other things we never thought would be something we would actually apply in our lives). Well, the time has come for you to finally be able to use all those numbers and elements you memorized way back when. If you are like most and forgot it all as soon as you were done with that class, you are in luck! The purpose of this article is to review a simple science lesson that you can learn and use right away, and will payoff in a pretty short amount of time.

The pH level of your garden can really help or hurt your efforts. My goal is to start you out with the basics and set you out to further improve your green thumb, as well as to give you some good ideas to inspire your garden in addition to the landscaping ideas of your own.

What is pH?



Simply put, pH is how acidity and alkalinity are measured. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Zero is very acidic such as battery acid, while fourteen is the highest alkalinity such as liquid drain cleaner. We don't really need to get to into specifics as long as you know that soil being either too high or too low can seriously effect a plant’s life, color, and output.
So what do I do with it?

Well, that depends. First, start with finding the pH of the soil where you wish to plant. Remember, different parts of your yard can have pretty different pH levels, especially if one section has gotten more care while the other sat untouched. You should definitely start by finding the pH level beforehand (this rule applies just as much for potted plants). You can go to a local gardening shop or a department store and get an adequate testing system. Keep in mind - most plants grow best around neutral (6.5 to 7.0) pH level, but be sure to consult the seed package or plant guide for best results.


What do I do if the pH is too high?


If your soil pH is too high then it’s a threat to the plants you wish to grow. I recommend adding organic matter or compost. If you get manure, horse is the most ideal. Above all aim for manure without any pesticides used, as this could further harm your garden. No matter what organic matter you find be sure to rake or spread it into the soil instead of simply throwing it on top and you’ll be ahead of the game already.


What do I do if the pH level is to low?


Lime is the standard to raise pH, usually in the form of limestone. Finely ground limestone typically allows for best soil absorption. Be very careful though, the lighter your soil's composure is, the faster the pH will raise. If you mistakenly add too much lime, it could take considerable time and effort to correct. So professional consulting/assistance might be necessary.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful. I think our former science teachers would be proud. Finally, remember things grow from the ground up, so soil is a key player.

A special thanks to:
Carroll-landscaping, a Maryland Landscaping company.

And The Landscaping Wizard, the place for Landscaping Ideas.

How to install kitchen floor tiles

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 4:13 PM
Your Kitchen remodeling project can have a dramatic positive impact with the installation of new kitchen floors. The most beautiful and durable flooring for kitchens are tiles. Tile floors require preparation and patience to install, but once finished can last for a very long time and rewarding you with beautiful ambiance in your kitchen.

Kitchen floor tiles are available in a number of materials, glazes, and designs including tiles made of ceramic, stone, porcelain, or slate. The key to having a great looking kitchen tile floors is in the meticulous installation.

Tools and Materials

You will need the following tools and materials to properly install kitchen floor tiles in your kitchen.
  • Acrylic additive
  • Backer board
  • Carpenter's square
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Mesh seam tape
  • Painter's tape
  • Pencil
  • Power drill
  • Pry bar
  • Putty knife
  • Razor knife
  • Safety goggles
  • Silicone caulk
  • Small pieces of wood for shims
  • Sponge
  • Tape measure
  • Thin set mortar
  • Tile
  • Tile cleaner
  • Tile cutters
  • Tile nippers
  • Tile sealer
  • Tile spacers
  • Towels
  • Trowels
1. Carefully move everything that could be damaged out of the kitchen when getting ready to remodel your kitchen. This includes furniture, appliances, pots, and pans, etc.

2. Prepare the under floor. Remove existing flooring and level the under floor. Use a leveling compound or install a new sub-floor if necessary. It is tempting, but never install a tile floor over a vinyl floor. The tiles will eventually pop loose.

3. Remove the quarter round with a hammer and pry bar. Remove the baseboards only if necessary for fitting the tile underneath when kitchen remodeling.

4. Put down a backer board either 1/2 inch or 1/2 inch thick, depending on the height of the adjoining floor. Choose the recommended type of backer board for your tile.

5. Mix the thin set, making sure to follow the instructions. Spread the thin set evenly on the floor with a trowel and then put the backer board on top of it.

6. Find the center point of the room using the carpenter's square and tape measure. Snap straight chalk lines to follow when placing the first row of tiles against the furthest wall when kitchen remodeling.

7. Mix another batch of thin set. Apply it evenly to the backer board, starting in the center and following along the chalk line for the first row of tiles. Use strong pressure, making and "X" and smoothing it out. Install the first row of tiles over the thin set. Only install full tiles. Do not install tiles at the edges that need cutting. Do not walk on the floor. Let it dry for at least twenty-four hours.

8. After the full tiles have dried, make your cuts on the other tiles and install them. Let the cut tiles dry for twenty-four hours again when kitchen remodeling.

9. Mix the grout and apply it with a grout float according to the directions on the package. Let the grout set for at least twenty-four hours or as long as the manufacturer recommends on the package.

10. Clean the tiles off with water and a sponge. At this point, you are almost finished with this kitchen remodeling project.

11. Apply a sealer according to the manufacturer's specifications and let dry.

It is a long road, but well worth taking once you step onto that beautiful new tile floor you have installed yourself.

Weight and Mass Conversion

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 6:20 AM
Have you ever tried to convert mass in kilograms to pounds, or vice-versa? Unless you grew up accustomed to using metric system, converting from kilos to pounds can take some time to master.

If you take it a step further and try to convert a mass in kilos to ounces, then things are likely to get even trickier.

And what about scientific conversions, where you really need to be precise?

http://www.WeightConversion.Org provides an easy way to convert mass in kilos to pounds, or to any other unit of mass instantly.

This can be quite handy if you are trying to see/find out how a person's weight in kilograms would translate into his/her weight in pounds.


Soy Foam Insulation Benefits

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 12:53 PM
As climate changes begin to take affect all across the world,  governments, corporations, non-profits, and individuals are beginning to take steps toward building more eco-friendly homes, and greener buildings.

Even individual homeowners, and some smaller for profit companies are becoming energized by the increased demand for building in a green and sustainable way, which stems from a wide spread of new knowledge and awareness about benefits of green building on the environment, general health, and fiscally.

In addition to more commonly known green building and alternative energy options like solar panels and energy saving lighting, one of the more advantageous options for insulation homes and commercial buildings is soy spray foam insulation

Soy Foam Insulation Basics



Though it’s a bit more expensive than traditional insulators, insulation made from soybean oil remains a great “green” and fundamentally superior option. Soybean insulation is both renewable and sustainable, addressing a number of energy related issues, and can even reduce utility costs by up to 50%. By creating an air tight seal, unlike tradition fiberglass insulation, soy insulations keep air-conditioned air inside and heat out, and can reduce airborne noise pollution.

The growth of soy involves no drilling, spilling, or dredging - a massive benefit towards the environment. Most insulator companies also use American-grown soybeans and help to support over 600,000 farmers that grow them. The foam is applied using water as a blowing agent unlike most other spray-foam insulations that are applied using greenhouse gas causing refrigerants during the installation process. Best of all, soy foam insulation has an extremely small negative carbon impact on the environment, and personal health.


Pros

Soy insulation is an inert material and the water applicatory method used in installation means there is no worry of the breakdown or release of toxic carcinogens and contains no volatile compounds, chlorofluoarbons, hydrofluocarbons, or Formaldehyde, thus reducing the chances of illnesses like leukemia, asthma, a mesothelioma, a cancer related to chemical and asbestos exposure. The soy foam insulation also will not rot or foster any sort of mold growth.


Cons

The only glaring downside of soy bean insulations is initial costs. Even though the technology is more expensive to install, the savings stemming from the efficiency of soy insulators will eventually surpass installation costs. 


Conclusion

As the discussion about the risks of the by-products of traditional  construction materials and energy sources continues, eco –friendly technologies like soy foam insulation should continue to flourish.

LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 10:59 PM
Definition of LEDs

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor that emits light when the electric current passes through it. The original LEDs from the early 1960s only emitted a very low intensity red glow light. Early LEDs have commonly been used as airplane and automobile indicator lights, in TV remote control units, and as calculator read outs.

LED lighting technology has advanced in recent years to include wavelengths that are not only visible, but also very bright/having a lot of luminescence. Modern LEDs capable of producing bright white light are now being used more frequently as energy efficient replacement light bulbs alternative to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs.

How do LEDs work?


LED lights glow when an electric current passes through the device causing electrons to take up empty electron holes inside the device at a lower energy level than that of free moving electrons. Once an electron takes up an empty hole at a lower energy level, the excess energy gets released as photon that we see as light, an effect called electroluminescence. The color of the light is established by the resulting energy gap in the semiconductor. LED lights are designed to use electrical power of between 30 and 60 mW. Continuous use LED lights use a larger semiconductor in order to handle bigger outputs of power, and have a heat sink mounted on in order to keep the device from overheating.

Pros and Cons


LED lights have a number of advantages over CFLs and incandescent light bulbs. Latest bright LEDs use far less energy, and last far longer than CFLs or incandescent lights. Unlike CFLs that need some time to warm up, LEDs can be turned on instantaneously, providing a reliable and durable source of light that is up to four times more energy efficient than CFLs, and up to 12 times more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs' Prohibitive costs to most homeowners

Currently LEDs costing between $40 to $100 per LED light bulb are not very affordable for your average consumer, but that situation is expected to change as LEDs prices are expected to decrease by some 15-20% per year. Not only that as LED's prices decrease their performance is expected to increase. Who knows, maybe in a few years LEDs will have rendered CFLs and incandescent obsolete?

Reliability and Durability

Most LEDs that were created in the 1970s and 80s are still functional today. Modern bright LED lights have a life expectancy of 25,000 and 100,000 hours, provided they are used under optimal conditions being lit up for 8 hours per day. LEDs perform best under normal conditions. If you were to use LEDs in extreme heat such that LED light bulbs would overheat, then higher temperatures could actually lower the life expectancy of your LED light bulbs. Typically, LED lights will gradually fade over time rather than burn out immediately.

Potential Hazards

Some very bright LED lights could potentially cause eye damage and are classified as Class 2 LEDs. LEDs are considered safe when used under normal conditions, and very few LEDs pose any risk of temporary blindness. According to the state of California, all LED lights with the exception of low-intensity yellow can be hazardous due to levels of copper, Pb, nickel, or silver. Unlike compact fluorescent light, LEDs do not contain mercury found in CFLs, which could also contain arsenic and lead (poisonous/hazardous materials).


LEDs Vs. CFLs

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are also known as energy saving lights, and were designed to replace many existing incandescent light bulbs. As such, most CFLs can fit into incandescent light fixtures. CFL bulbs are comparable to incandescent, and generally provide the same amount of light. An advantage to CFLs is that they use less power, and can last up to eight times longer than incandescent.

Current biggest advantage of CFLs vs. LEDs is a substantially lower cost of CFLs vs LEDs.

Evolution of Florescent Lights

An important development in fluorescent bulbs came with the replacement of the electromagnetic ballasts with ballasts that are electronic. CFLs do not experience flickering or slow starts that traditional fluorescents were known for. Integrated lamps in CFLs allow for a simple replacement of incandescent bulbs with the CFLs. Non-integrated CFLs are typically more expensive.

CFLs Vs. Incandescent Lights


The average lifespan of CFL bulbs is at least 8 times, and sometimes as much as 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. The rated lifespan of a CFL light ranges from 6,000 to 15,000 hours compared to the 750 to 1,000 hours of an incandescent light bulb. If a CFL light is turned off and on habitually, their lifespan can be reduced to nearly that of an incandescent light bulb, though.

CFLs Do a lot of good in Third World Countries

CFLs do have a few disadvantageous when compared to incandescent bulbs. A CFL bulb warms up to complete brightness only after a few minutes, while incandescent only needs a fraction of a second to reach full brightness. In cold temperatures, CFLs can take even longer to reach full brightness. Modern CFL bulbs are very cost effective and are leading the way for relief agencies to replace kerosene lamps in third world countries.

Recycling of CFLs

Environmental concerns are also at the forefront of many recycling company policies as leaking mercury can cause problems if released improperly. Many states in America and countries within the European Union regulate fluorescent bulb disposal and recycling. If you want to recycle your old CFLs properly, then simply bring them back to the store where you bought them, and they will recycle them for you.

How do Incandescent Lights Work?

Incandescent bulbs have been the standard lighting choice for since Thomas Alva Edison invented them. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a metal wire inside the glass bulb until it gets hot and starts to glow. The glass bulb is filled with an inert gas to prevent air from reaching the filament.

Good ol' Incandescent Lights are fading away...

Modern CFLs and LEDs are more environmentally friendly and longer lasting, are thus justly replacing incandescent bulbs. Many countries are in the process of phasing out incandescent bulbs completely, and some have already done so.


Why Incandescent Bulbs are Obsolete?

Almost all of the energy that is emitted by an incandescent bulb is heat rather than light, meaning that incandescent lighting is not very energy efficient. Incandescent lighting emits much more heat than compact fluorescent lights or LEDs, and therefore makes air conditioning costs rise in the summer.

Hybrid Incandescent Bulbs

While the initial cost of an incandescent bulb is less than that of a CFL, the wasted energy costs are much greater, and replacement intervals are too short compared to CFLs. Some incandescent light bulb manufacturers had been working to raise the efficiency levels of the bulbs, but have been unable to reach their initial goals. Hybrid bulbs have shown to be as much as 30% more efficient than original incandescent bulbs, working to redirect and recycle the excess heat back to the lighting filament.

State of The Lighting Industry

While manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs are trying to hold on, modern consumers tend to opt for CFLs, as incandescent light bulbs are too old, and LEDs are still too expensive. In the mean time, LED lighting manufacturers are continuously working on improving the performance of their products and are gradually decreasing their costs in order to edge out their competition. Early adopters, and green building conscious businesses are not scared off by a higher price tag of LEDs and take advantage of all that modern LED lighting technology has to offer. They are the primary beneficiaries of the state-of-the-art lighting products such as dimmable LED lights designed to work with standard dimmers. As for the rest of us, we are holding on till the prices drop even further. Perhaps in a few years consumers will be more open minded and ready to pay a higher price for LEDs.

| edit post

LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Incandescent Lights

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 10:59 PM
Definition of LEDs

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor that emits light when the electric current passes through it. The original LEDs from the early 1960s only emitted a very low intensity red glow light. Early LEDs have commonly been used as airplane and automobile indicator lights, in TV remote control units, and as calculator read outs.

LED lighting technology has advanced in recent years to include wavelengths that are not only visible, but also very bright/having a lot of luminescence. Modern LEDs capable of producing bright white light are now being used more frequently as energy efficient replacement light bulbs alternative to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs.

How do LEDs work?

LED lights glow when an electric current passes through the device causing electrons to take up empty electron holes inside the device at a lower energy level than that of free moving electrons. Once an electron takes up an empty hole at a lower energy level, the excess energy gets released as photon that we see as light, an effect called electroluminescence. The color of the light is established by the resulting energy gap in the semiconductor. LED lights are designed to use electrical power of between 30 and 60 mW. Continuous use LED lights use a larger semiconductor in order to handle bigger outputs of power, and have a heat sink mounted on in order to keep the device from overheating.

Pros and Cons


LED lights have a number of advantages over CFLs and incandescent light bulbs. Latest bright LEDs use far less energy, and last far longer than CFLs or incandescent lights. Unlike CFLs that need some time to warm up, LEDs can be turned on instantaneously, providing a reliable and durable source of light that is up to four times more energy efficient than CFLs, and up to 12 times more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs' Prohibitive costs to most homeowners

Currently LEDs costing between $40 to $100 per LED light bulb are not very affordable for your average consumer, but that situation is expected to change as LEDs prices are expected to decrease by some 15-20% per year. Not only that as LED's prices decrease their performance is expected to increase. Who knows, maybe in a few years LEDs will have rendered CFLs and incandescent obsolete?

Reliability and Durability

Most LEDs that were created in the 1970s and 80s are still functional today. Modern bright LED lights have a life expectancy of 25,000 and 100,000 hours, provided they are used under optimal conditions being lit up for 8 hours per day. LEDs perform best under normal conditions. If you were to use LEDs in extreme heat such that LED light bulbs would overheat, then higher temperatures could actually lower the life expectancy of your LED light bulbs. Typically, LED lights will gradually fade over time rather than burn out immediately.

Potential Hazards

Some very bright LED lights could potentially cause eye damage and are classified as Class 2 LEDs. LEDs are considered safe when used under normal conditions, and very few LEDs pose any risk of temporary blindness. According to the state of California, all LED lights with the exception of low-intensity yellow can be hazardous due to levels of copper, Pb, nickel, or silver. Unlike compact fluorescent light, LEDs do not contain mercury found in CFLs, which could also contain arsenic and lead (poisonous/hazardous materials).


LEDs Vs. CFLs

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are also known as energy saving lights, and were designed to replace many existing incandescent light bulbs. As such, most CFLs can fit into incandescent light fixtures. CFL bulbs are comparable to incandescent, and generally provide the same amount of light. An advantage to CFLs is that they use less power, and can last up to eight times longer than incandescent.

Current biggest advantage of CFLs vs. LEDs is a substantially lower cost of CFLs vs LEDs.

Evolution of Florescent Lights

An important development in fluorescent bulbs came with the replacement of the electromagnetic ballasts with ballasts that are electronic. CFLs do not experience flickering or slow starts that traditional fluorescents were known for. Integrated lamps in CFLs allow for a simple replacement of incandescent bulbs with the CFLs. Non-integrated CFLs are typically more expensive.

CFLs Vs. Incandescent Lights


The average lifespan of CFL bulbs is at least 8 times, and sometimes as much as 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. The rated lifespan of a CFL light ranges from 6,000 to 15,000 hours compared to the 750 to 1,000 hours of an incandescent light bulb. If a CFL light is turned off and on habitually, their lifespan can be reduced to nearly that of an incandescent light bulb, though.

CFLs Do a lot of good in Third World Countries

CFLs do have a few disadvantageous when compared to incandescent bulbs. A CFL bulb warms up to complete brightness only after a few minutes, while incandescent only needs a fraction of a second to reach full brightness. In cold temperatures, CFLs can take even longer to reach full brightness. Modern CFL bulbs are very cost effective and are leading the way for relief agencies to replace kerosene lamps in third world countries.

Recycling of CFLs

Environmental concerns are also at the forefront of many recycling company policies as leaking mercury can cause problems if released improperly. Many states in America and countries within the European Union regulate fluorescent bulb disposal and recycling. If you want to recycle your old CFLs properly, then simply bring them back to the store where you bought them, and they will recycle them for you.

How do Incandescent Lights Work?

Incandescent bulbs have been the standard lighting choice for since Thomas Alva Edison invented them. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a metal wire inside the glass bulb until it gets hot and starts to glow. The glass bulb is filled with an inert gas to prevent air from reaching the filament.

Good ol' Incandescent Lights are fading away...

Modern CFLs and LEDs are more environmentally friendly and longer lasting, are thus justly replacing incandescent bulbs. Many countries are in the process of phasing out incandescent bulbs completely, and some have already done so.


Why Incandescent Bulbs are Obsolete?

Almost all of the energy that is emitted by an incandescent bulb is heat rather than light, meaning that incandescent lighting is not very energy efficient. Incandescent lighting emits much more heat than compact fluorescent lights or LEDs, and therefore makes air conditioning costs rise in the summer.

Hybrid Incandescent Bulbs

While the initial cost of an incandescent bulb is less than that of a CFL, the wasted energy costs are much greater, and replacement intervals are too short compared to CFLs. Some incandescent light bulb manufacturers had been working to raise the efficiency levels of the bulbs, but have been unable to reach their initial goals. Hybrid bulbs have shown to be as much as 30% more efficient than original incandescent bulbs, working to redirect and recycle the excess heat back to the lighting filament.

State of The Lighting Industry

While manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs are trying to hold on, modern consumers tend to opt for CFLs, as incandescent light bulbs are too old, and LEDs are still too expensive. In the mean time, LED lighting manufacturers are continuously working on improving the performance of their products and are gradually decreasing their costs in order to edge out their competition. Early adopters, and green building conscious businesses are not scared off by a higher price tag of LEDs and take advantage of all that modern LED lighting technology has to offer. They are the primary beneficiaries of the state-of-the-art lighting products such as dimmable LED lights designed to work with standard dimmers. As for the rest of us, we are holding on till the prices drop even further. Perhaps in a few years consumers will be more open minded and ready to pay a higher price for LEDs.

LEDs vs. CFLs vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 10:58 PM
Definition of LED

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor that emits light when the electric current passes through it. The original LEDs from the early 1960s only emitted a very low intensity red glow light. Early LEDs have commonly been used as airplane and automobile indicator lights, in TV remote control units, and as calculator read outs.

LED lighting technology has advanced in recent years to include wavelengths that are not only visible, but also very bright/having a lot of luminescence. Modern LEDs capable of producing bright white light are now being used more frequently as energy efficient replacement light bulbs alternative to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs.

How do LEDs work?


LED lights glow when an electric current passes through the device causing electrons to take up empty electron holes inside the device at a lower energy level than that of free moving electrons. Once an electron takes up an empty hole at a lower energy level, the excess energy gets released as photon that we see as light, an effect called electroluminescence. The color of the light is established by the resulting energy gap in the semiconductor. LED lights are designed to use electrical power of between 30 and 60 mW. Continuous use LED lights use a larger semiconductor in order to handle bigger outputs of power, and have a heat sink mounted on in order to keep the device from overheating.

Pros and Cons


LED lights have a number of advantages over CFLs and incandescent light bulbs. Latest bright LEDs use far less energy, and last far longer than CFLs or incandescent lights. Unlike CFLs that need some time to warm up, LEDs can be turned on instantaneously, providing a reliable and durable source of light that is up to four times more energy efficient than CFLs, and up to 12 times more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

LEDs' Prohibitive costs to most homeowners

Currently LEDs costing between $40 to $100 per LED light bulb are not very affordable for your average consumer, but that situation is expected to change as LEDs prices are expected to decrease by some 15-20% per year. Not only that as LED's prices decrease their performance is expected to increase. Who knows, maybe in a few years LEDs will have rendered CFLs and incandescent obsolete?

Reliability and Durability

Most LEDs that were created in the 1970s and 80s are still functional today. Modern bright LED lights have a life expectancy of 25,000 and 100,000 hours, provided they are used under optimal conditions being lit up for 8 hours per day. LEDs perform best under normal conditions. If you were to use LEDs in extreme heat such that LED light bulbs would overheat, then higher temperatures could actually lower the life expectancy of your LED light bulbs. Typically, LED lights will gradually fade over time rather than burn out immediately.

Potential Hazards

Some very bright LED lights could potentially cause eye damage and are classified as Class 2 LEDs. LEDs are considered safe when used under normal conditions, and very few LEDs pose any risk of temporary blindness. According to the state of California, all LED lights with the exception of low-intensity yellow can be hazardous due to levels of copper, Pb, nickel, or silver. Unlike compact fluorescent light, LEDs do not contain mercury found in CFLs, which could also contain arsenic and lead (poisonous/hazardous materials).


LEDs Vs. CFLs

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are also known as energy saving lights, and were designed to replace many existing incandescent light bulbs. As such, most CFLs can fit into incandescent light fixtures. CFL bulbs are comparable to incandescent, and generally provide the same amount of light. An advantage to CFLs is that they use less power, and can last up to eight times longer than incandescent.

Current biggest advantage of CFLs vs. LEDs is a substantially lower cost of CFLs vs LEDs.

Evolution of Florescent Lights

An important development in fluorescent bulbs came with the replacement of the electromagnetic ballasts with ballasts that are electronic. CFLs do not experience flickering or slow starts that traditional fluorescents were known for. Integrated lamps in CFLs allow for a simple replacement of incandescent bulbs with the CFLs. Non-integrated CFLs are typically more expensive.

CFLs Vs. Incandescent Lights


The average lifespan of CFL bulbs is at least 8 times, and sometimes as much as 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. The rated lifespan of a CFL light ranges from 6,000 to 15,000 hours compared to the 750 to 1,000 hours of an incandescent light bulb. If a CFL light is turned off and on habitually, their lifespan can be reduced to nearly that of an incandescent light bulb, though.

CFLs Do a lot of good in Third World Countries

CFLs do have a few disadvantageous when compared to incandescent bulbs. A CFL bulb warms up to complete brightness only after a few minutes, while incandescent only needs a fraction of a second to reach full brightness. In cold temperatures, CFLs can take even longer to reach full brightness. Modern CFL bulbs are very cost effective and are leading the way for relief agencies to replace kerosene lamps in third world countries.

Recycling of CFLs

Environmental concerns are also at the forefront of many recycling company policies as leaking mercury can cause problems if released improperly. Many states in America and countries within the European Union regulate fluorescent bulb disposal and recycling. If you want to recycle your old CFLs properly, then simply bring them back to the store where you bought them, and they will recycle them for you.

How do Incandescent Lights Work?

Incandescent bulbs have been the standard lighting choice for since Thomas Alva Edison invented them. Incandescent bulbs work by heating a metal wire inside the glass bulb until it gets hot and starts to glow. The glass bulb is filled with an inert gas to prevent air from reaching the filament.

Good ol' Incandescent Lights are fading away...

Modern CFLs and LEDs are more environmentally friendly and longer lasting, are thus justly replacing incandescent bulbs. Many countries are in the process of phasing out incandescent bulbs completely, and some have already done so.


Why Incandescent Bulbs are Obsolete?

Almost all of the energy that is emitted by an incandescent bulb is heat rather than light, meaning that incandescent lighting is not very energy efficient. Incandescent lighting emits much more heat than compact fluorescent lights or LEDs, and therefore makes air conditioning costs rise in the summer.

Hybrid Incandescent Bulbs

While the initial cost of an incandescent bulb is less than that of a CFL, the wasted energy costs are much greater, and replacement intervals are too short compared to CFLs. Some incandescent light bulb manufacturers had been working to raise the efficiency levels of the bulbs, but have been unable to reach their initial goals. Hybrid bulbs have shown to be as much as 30% more efficient than original incandescent bulbs, working to redirect and recycle the excess heat back to the lighting filament.

State of The Lighting Industry

While manufacturers of incandescent light bulbs are trying to hold on, modern consumers tend to opt for CFLs, as incandescent light bulbs are too old, and LEDs are still too expensive. In the mean time, LED lighting manufacturers are continuously working on improving the performance of their products and are gradually decreasing their costs in order to edge out their competition. Early adopters, and green building conscious businesses are not scared off by a higher price tag of LEDs and take advantage of all that modern LED lighting technology has to offer. They are the primary beneficiaries of the state-of-the-art lighting products such as dimmable LED lights designed to work with standard dimmers. As for the rest of us, we are holding on till the prices drop even further. Perhaps in a few years consumers will be more open minded and ready to pay a higher price for LEDs.

Comparing Utility Company Rates to Cut Your Expenses

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 12:45 PM
Many consumers aren’t aware that there are actually more than one company in the local area that is providing utility services to consumers and therefore the customer can easily compare the prices that are available for the services, reducing the cost of the household expenses.
Researching the local utility companies that serve the area can be an effective way to reduce the overall expenses in the home. Sometimes, a fraction of a percentage of the base power or heating costs can actually lead to a chunk of money saved through the course of the year.

In addition, there are some utility companies that provide the customer with a bonus for obtaining a quote from the company or signing up for services. These types of bonuses can be an effective way to save money while making use of the utility services and can help to ensure that the homeowner is not paying more than they should be for the utility services that are being provided.

Using the internet, the customer can compare the costs of the utility companies. This way, the customer can easily find that they are able to compare the base rates for the utility companies and determine whether there are any credits or fees that are applicable to the customer changing utility companies. This way, the customer can easily compare the cost of the utility companies without having to make a special visit to the company or even use time making phone calls to the companies.

What should the consumer consider when it comes to comparing the rates of the utility companies? Some companies offer the customer introductory rates, which should be considered in the overall costs. Considering when these rates increase can be an effective way to have an accurate portrayal of the costs from changing companies.

How to Save Money on Your Electricity Costs?


Consider making your home more energy efficient by performing a free energy audit of your home, which will show you the places responsible for heat loss in your home and give you options for installing energy efficient upgrades and retrofits such as eco-insulation and energy efficient exterior improvements. You can also take a simple step towards better energy efficiency in your home by replacing conventional light bulbs with CFLs or even LED light bulbs that cost quite a bit more upfront, but add up in energy savings over time.

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How to Mix Cement

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 12:09 AM
Mixing cement for use around the home is not necessarily a rocket science, but it should be approached carefully and systematically. While it might seem simple enough to combine water with sand, gravel, and cement - if your final mixture is off by even a little in the proportions, you can completely ruin your project. In addition, safety is just as important when mixing cement as when using power tools. For instance, if your skin is exposed to fresh concrete for an extended time it can burn. Always remember to be safe when working with cement by wearing rubber boots, gloves, goggles, and a shirt with long sleeves.


Many projects around the house require cement; building a patio, filling decking and fencing post holes, or fixing a sidewalk or a crack in the foundation of your house. There are also many trendy projects that you might like to try, like creating a birdbath or planter, pouring a new kitchen countertop or even a floor. Understanding how to work with and mix cement can be handy knowledge for all homeowners!

While there are pre-mixed formulas of cement in which all you need to do is add water and stir, it is helpful to understand how to make your own cement from separate ingredients so that you can understand and appreciate the need for proper measurements and proportions. Your quantity of cement might vary, but the recipe is always three parts gravel, two parts sand, and one part cement. When you do not need gravel in the mixture, adjust the ratio to one part cement and three parts sand. If you choose to use pre-mixed cement you should read the label on the package to make sure you are still mixing the ingredients in the correct proportions. Typically, the formula is one part pre-mixed cement powder, 1 part sand, and 1 part crushed gravel. In either case, water is the one ingredient that is never clear-cut, so even if the bag of ready-cement specifies an amount, add slowly and carefully.


Mixing cement in small batches can be accomplished with only a bucket or a wheelbarrow and a spade or shovel. Keep in mind that mixing cement is a physical job and your muscles should be ready for quite a workout. Normally a small spade is easier to work with than a shovel. Larger batches should be mixed in a portable cement mixer that is powered either electrically or mechanically. Both types of mixers are usually available at do-it-yourself home centers or hardware stores.


Begin by mixing your dry ingredients. The sand, cement, and gravel need to be combined very thoroughly. If there are any other dry specialty ingredients that need to be added, do so now. Next, add water to the mixture in small amounts. Although it might be tempting to pour in a bunch of water and start to stir, it works best when you add the water slowly and mix it well in between each addition. You are looking for a medium consistency that is neither too wet nor too dry. While you do not have to rush to blend the mixture, it will eventually dry out, so work as quickly as you can while taking enough time to do the job properly.


When you think you have the proper consistency test it by scooping out a bit of cement and placing it on a piece of wood or other flat surface. Make a few ridges in the cement and see how they look. Ragged ridges mean the mixture is dry, while ridges that fill back in means the mixture is too wet. Adjust your cement mixture accordingly by adding a bit more water or a bit more cement until you achieve the perfect balance. With some practice, your cement mixing talents will be perfected and will ensure the best project outcome. Remember that mixing the cement properly in the first place is the only way to create a successful DIY project.

Saving Money on Fruits and Vegetables

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 2:14 PM
Many people use coupons for food items to reduce the cost of the bill at the Supermarket, but there are not often coupons that are available for the fruits and vegetables that are being purchased in the frozen section. Without coupons however, consumers can still find creative ways to save while shopping for fruits and vegetables.

Here are some of the ways that you can save money on produce while shopping:


Track the Prices of Fruits and Vegetables

Tracking the prices of fruits and vegetables and comparing the prices of the vegetables and fruits can help the consumer to buy fruits at their lowest price, once the lowest price has learned to be recognized. Tracking the lowest prices using spreadsheets or a notebook can be an effective way to save money while shopping and can allow you to compare the sale prices and determine when certain vegetables or fruits should be purchased in advance and frozen.


image source: http://www.thefightlikeagirlclub.com/2010/08/can-a-diet-high-in-fruits-and-veggies-reduce-the-risk-of-lymphoma

Using In Store Coupons
Often, there are in store coupons that are available for people that are shopping. These coupons can allow you to obtain a gift card for the store once a certain amount of money has been spent in the store and can be an effective way to help save on the cost of the entire grocery order, including fruits and vegetables.

Stop Buying Prepackaged Vegetables

Buying vegetables that are packaged and cut can be quite expensive. Buying reusable containers, you can easily prepare the trays yourself, reducing the amount of money that is spent on the vegetables and fruits in the budget. In as little as an hour a week, you can prepare and cut the vegetables to have them easily accessible through the course of the week, storing the vegetables in the refrigerator or freezer and reducing their cost.

For more tips on healthy shopping browse resources listed in a http://www.allconstructiondirectory.com/home-garden/

Thoughts on Organic Gardening

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 3:14 PM
The definition of growing food and gardening organically will vary among individuals. Some people think of the approach of growing organically to be associated with hippies or that it is merely a fad that will soon end. Whatever various idea individuals have about an organic approach to gardening the fact is that in order to be considered an organic gardener the only types of fertilizers that that individual ever uses are either animal or vegetable, never do they use a fertilizer that is synthetic. Organic gardeners only use substances that are natural and the insects that they use to repel pests are beneficial.


Photo Source: http://solar-power-your-home.com/2010/02/24/finding-the-right-organic-gardening-book-for-you/


This is just a very small part of what organic growing is all about, it not all about what types of products are used. Organic growing is also a type of philosophy that focuses on increases the soil's overall natural health. This means that individuals will only choose items that work best with their environment and the type of soil that they are working with.


Gardening in a chemical free environment in not just a fad, in fact gardening this way has been around ever since the ancient times. Chemically based fertilizers were not even created until the 1840s. For a long time gardening with chemicals has been incredibly popular, but now more and more individuals are paying attention to what they are putting into their bodies and into the earth which causes them to choose organic fertilizers instead of harsh chemicals. When chemicals are used in the gardening process a lot of unnecessary items get killed which disturbs the delicate balance of Mother Nature. In order to rectify this, individuals just end up using even more chemicals which harm the earth even more.


Some organic gardeners may even decide that they want to raise their own beneficial bugs to use in their garden, but if not they can search for other organic minded individuals who provide others with these types of bugs.


In the beginning organic gardening maybe difficult especially if the ground is packed down, this will make it extremely hard to aerate. Once the process has been used for a while individuals will notice that they are building up their soil just by using all natural items. Individuals who do not garden organically might be surprised to see the differences between a garden in which chemicals were used on and one that is chemical free.


Individuals who are interested in using an organic approach to their gardening can find a lot of information and helpful tips on how to begin this process by viewing various websites on the internet or by checking out books on this subject in their neighborhood library.

Installing Laminate Flooring How to

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 3:34 PM
Laminate flooring usually has the appearance of hardwood however, does not involve the mess and frustration that installing a real hardwood floor would bring. Laminate flooring can be found in almost any kind of design and color that a person could want. Of course, the price of this laminate flooring will differ depending on the brand, the color, and other aspects. For those that are considering laminate flooring in their home, then they should know how the overall process works, so that they know what to expect once they start installing.





Installing the laminate flooring is not that hard when compared to other home improvements that a person can make. In fact, some laminate flooring is so simple that one person can do this without the help. However, the more people you have helping, the faster the process is going to go. The first step is to remove the flooring that you currently have. Carpet must go as well as the padding underneath the carpet. For those that are installing over tiled floor or one that is concrete, then they do not necessarily have to remove this. But, keep in mind that if the current floor has a bulge or kink in it, then it will make the laminate flooring do the same over time.


A few days before you install the laminate flooring, be sure to put the boxes in the areas that you plan to install the flooring so that the wood can adjust to the temperature. You do not want to install wood that has shrunk from the cold and then expands once it is installed, this can lead to huge problems and more work that will have to be done.


Once these steps are complete, you need to follow the instructions on the laminate flooring perfectly. Many of these types of floors simply snap and lock together, while others require that you use a glue substance and nails. The manufacturer will include the best instructions that are going to give you the best results. You may find that installing new floors will require just basic home improvement tools such as soft rubber mullet, tapping block, and no-flip-clip that can usually be purchased from the same building supply store where you have purchased your laminate flooring.


Bottom-line, take your time with the project and just work at your own pace installing flooring in one room at a time. If you rush you will find that you may make more mistakes which could result in your flooring not looking as good as it could.

Plexiglass Sheets for Windows

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 5:50 PM
PlexiGlass Applications for Windows


Many people choose to use plexiglass for windows. Plexi glass is lightweight, transparent, and can withstand hot and cold temperatures. Plexiglass is also known as Polycarbonate and more common as lexan. Many people will use the term plexiglass acrylic and polycarbonate or lexan as meaning the same, when they are two different materials. Lexan is the happy medium between acrylic and glass applications. It is stronger than those two materials, and can be used in applications where glass or acrylic will not suffice. Some people consider plexiglass to replace a broken glass window. Contractors building a new home consider this material as well for many reasons.






PlexiGlass Vs. Regular Glass - Benefits and advantages


One advantage to plexiglass is that it is easier to work with that heavy glass. Another benefit is that it is sturdy and can withstand a blow or extreme weather better than glass. A kid playing with a ball is a good example of this. Plexiglass is more pliable, and gives more bounce than glass does. However, when working with this material, it is important to be careful as it can also break and crack.


Plexiglass window insert packages are sold in hardware stores or home improvement centers. This is very convenient for the do it yourselfer and an easy way to replace a damaged glass window.


It is important to clean plexiglass the old fashioned way, with a clean rag or cloth and water. Because it is plastic, ammonia and harsh soaps or chemicals cannot be used on it, as it will damage the material, corrode it, fog it permanently, opaque it, or scratch it.


Another down to plexiglass is that with time, areas that are hit with much sunlight will tend to change color - yellowish - and they get brittle and may crack. Plexiglass is also an expensive material.


Plexiglass sheets come in many solid colors other than clear - red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and brown. It also comes in transparent color sheets. Fluorescent color transparent sheets are also available, so are solid white and black sheets. Plexiglass is also made in non-glare sheets or frosted sheets. Non-glare sheets reduce and minimize reflection and glare, and frosted sheets offer a bit more privacy while letting light in. Plexiglass acrylic mirror sheets are available as a better choice for interior decoration uses, and safer, easier to use.


Whatever type of plexiglass you decide to use in your window will depend on the purpose - décor, privacy, special effects, aesthetics, durability - also, it is important to consider the amount of sun the window will receive, especially if using colored plexiglass.

References:

These are some of the pros and cons of plexiglass windows.

How to hang a picture

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 5:08 PM
Hang Your Pictures Perfectly Every Time


Hanging pictures in your home or office can be a frustrating job. Sometimes you feel like you need eight arms and hands to do it. What if it is crooked? What if it is not high enough? With a little bit of practice, you don't have to be frustrated by the prospect of hanging a picture. While it is the one thing many people avoid as long as possible, it's better to be able to hang a picture like a pro every time and enjoy them


When you get ready to hang your pictures make sure that you have everything you need readily available before you even pull out your step ladder. You will need the picture hangers (nails, hooks, etc.), a hammer, a level, scotch tape, brown paper big enough to trace your picture on and a pencil. The paper and pencil will allow you to create a template of your picture that will ease the hanging process.


Start by creating the template of your picture by tracing it on the brown paper. Mark on the paper where the hanger on your picture frame is. This will help you position the picture hanger in the wall properly at the height you want. Using the scotch tape, tape your templates to the wall where you want to hang your final pictures. The paper templates allow you to easily move the pictures around and position them a few times if needed. Once you have them in place, use the level to see if the pictures are even and adjust accordingly.


Take the nail or whatever item you will be using to hang up the final picture with and hammer them into position based on where the picture hanger is on your template. If you are using a stick-on wall hanger, carefully make a hole in the template big enough to apply the hanger with the template still attached to the wall. Once you have the nail or picture hanger in place, you can remove the templates from the wall.


All that is left to do is hang the actual picture. Place the picture on the hanger in the wall and adjust it using the level on the top of the picture until it hangs evenly. If you need to, place a cotton ball behind the picture between the picture back and the wall to keep it in place. You can also use double-sided sticky tape to help secure the picture to the wall and keep it from moving.

Ideas for Small Spaces

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 10:50 PM
When thinking about improving your home, one of the areas that you can work on are tiny or small rooms. The goal is to make rooms more functional and make them appear larger without spending a lot of money on expansions or additions. One efficient way to do this is by paying attention to the function of the room and how it is utilized. This will dictate much of the décor and pieces that will go in it. Multifunctional units and pieces that double will save space and money.

Furniture should be to scale, avoid chunky pieces that will not make a room breathable or that will give it a stuffed feel. Pieces that are open, have long legs, or are clear such as a glass table, will make the room appear larger. Furniture that folds into itself or to the wall is another great idea for small spaces. Try to include tall pieces that will draw the eye higher instead of wide pieces that may give the impression of not fitting on a small space. Come up with a design plan first, according to the purpose of the room, and later, select the pieces that will go into that room.


Another issue is draperies, keep them light and simple, not too formal. Paint should give the illusion of opening a room and of a receding ceiling, whether you use a painting technique such as trompe l'oeil, or just plain colors.


Organization plays an important role in making small spaces more functional. You may have the right pieces of furniture, but if the contents are not organized according to use and purpose, the room will not be conducive to efficiency. Conversation groups will make the room flow better and give a feeling of being larger. Storage bins and containers designated to house items by use works well. These can be decorative or just functional to be hidden away. Use shelving and small filing cabinets to keep things organized. The room should contain only the items that will be used. Anything that does not fit the purpose or function must be donated. Wall to wall shelving, instead of bulky cabinets and furniture, is a great idea to save space. Organize contents to be pleasing to the eye.


Dividers are a great way to make a small room handle separate functions. However, the dividers should be light and airy, not bulky. A simple light curtain hanging from tracking can serve as a divider from a living room area and a dining area. If left open half-way, it will not close the area. The material should be light and have flow, not stuffed or of a heavy print. These are just a few tips to improve small spaces.

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Chalkboard Decor Ideas

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 3:12 PM
The Many Faces of Chalkboard Walls

Chalkboard paint is something that can either be purchased as spray paint or as regular brush paint. In addition to this, it is also possible to make chalkboard paint in the home at a minimal cost for the homeowner. For the finest paint job, it is necessary to paint several coats. Once this is done, the painted surface needs three days in order to have enough time todry completely. After this, chalk can be used to write on the surface. The paint is not only a way to update an old living space, but also a way to make things look more modern.




One way to access the versatility of chalk walls is by using them as a way to convey kitchen messages. This can be done by painting a chalk wall inside of a pantry or on the walls near the refrigerator. These walls can be used to write down ideas for recipes or for writing down grocery lists. In addition, if a coat of magnetic primer is used on the wall before the chalk paint, magnets can be used to keep additional housekeeping notes, receipts, etc.


Quite possibly one of the craftiest ideas is to use chalkboard wall paint as a way to fill a wall space in the playroom of your child. Instead of painting an entire world, paint a lower area on a wall so that it is easy for small children to gain accessibility to. For this particular project, only dustless large chalk should be used since smaller pieces can be a potential choking hazard to your child. Additionally, the chalkboard area should be regularly cleaned with a damp cloth.


Small chalkboard walls can also be painted in the inside of a bedroom closet. Similarly to the way painted kitchen walls can act as reminders, they can also act as organizers for one's bedroom. Private notes can be written directly on the wall: reminders for meetings, birthdays, exams, to-do lists, etc. It can also be an organizer for other rooms in the home, like walls of the laundry room.


Feeding directly off of the tip for organization, walls of home offices can also be painted. The need for calendars within the office environment is no longer necessary because painter's tape can be used to create the size you desire for the calendar you want. After the area has been painted, allow a few days for it to dry. After that, write whatever notes you deem necessary onto the calendar.

Green Home Improvements to Increase Home Value

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 11:46 AM
Green home improvement is catching on as people are becoming more environmentally conscientious and starting to replace old home systems and products with newer, environmentally friendly and sustainable products.


One of the most important things to maintain the value of your home is to perform at least the minimum necessary improvements and home maintenance throughout the years. Many people spend tons of money doing improvements that may not help raise the value of their home significantly due to poor material choices, or due to investing in the wrong types of home improvements that may not help raise the value of their home.

Important points to keep in mind

Unless you are going to live in the home for a long time and enjoy a too personal home improvement that appeals to your taste only, it is best not to go that route. Many people devalue their homes by adding improvements that reflect their personal taste and are not neutral enough to appeal to a larger pool of prospecting home buyers.


As we get used to the idea of a greener society, more green products are being developed and presented to the public. The building industry is making a lot of effort in that direction by presenting products, and building techniques that are eco friendly and sustainable for existing building retrofits and new construction.

However, many homeowners are slowly improving their older homes, replacing systems and appliances with more environmentally friendly, and energy saving products. If your budget is limited, but you want to join the green movement slowly, start by updating your appliances and lighting to energy efficient ones - this is a good place to start. Little by little, grow your budget so that you can do other eco friendly improvements - flooring, roofing, and windows.


Each decision you make as an individual and homeowner affects the environment, from not recycling the plastic jug, buying the paper towels that are made from trees, to other major remodeling projects or home improvements. A home can stand for many generations and for hundreds of years; by improving your home with green products and techniques you are creating a better environment for other generations to come that will live in your community.


Types of Green Home Improvements


Whether you start big or small in relation to green home improvements, is not the issue, the important issue is to start improving your home with green alternatives. When hiring building professionals to work on a project in your home, look for people that are trained in sustainability or that have acquired LEED certification in the industry. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Professionals that know about green techniques know about the right products and codes required for sustainability in a home remodel project.


Types of green home improvements include the areas of roofing, window replacement, solar energy panels, radiant barrier, gutters, siding, decks, patio enclosures, and other areas of remodeling. There are roofing shingles that have a radiant barrier to protect the roof from the sun's rays. These are known as energy star cool roofs. Energy efficient windows help keep the home's heating and cooling where it belongs - inside the home, and not escaping through the windows. Forty to fifty percent of heating and cooling can be lost during the summer and winter months if a home does not have energy efficient windows. Energy efficient windows help the homeowner save money on energy bills. Energy efficient windows have a low E glass and also Argon gas fill in the insulating glass. They also reduce noise, besides saving energy. They have a lifetime warranty.

Attic insulation with radiant barrier reflective products or foam attic insulation is another area in which you can practice green home remodeling. Over time, efficient solar panels will pay for themselves, and the energy company will be paying you instead of you paying them. Building a deck from sustainable materials is also another way to improve your home the green way. Replacing siding with materials that do not absorb water and last, means that you will not have to repaint in the future. These and other green techniques can be applied throughout your entire home, despite the home's age.

How to Remove Garden Pest by Hand

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 4:37 PM
This is the most basic method of pest control and can be rather tedious work, however it is also extremely satisfying - some even say addictive. Picking off pests, such as caterpillars, by hand (if you are squeamish, wear thin gloves for this operation). Don't just throw them away in a corner of the garden, as they¡¯ll simply return. They must be destroyed, for effective control. You will need to repeal the procedure al intervals of one or two weeks, until there are no signs of further infestation.



An effective way of dealing with slugs and snails is to go out with a torch and a bucket of soapy water at night, pick off the slugs and snails then drop them in the bucket. This, however, is not a job for the hunt-hearted. If you want to give slugs and snails a happy death, place bowls of beer stuck into the ground among your flowerbeds.

Sticky insect traps have been used in greenhouses for a hundred years or so and work just as well today. Position the traps very close to the plants under attack and brush the plants to encourage the insects to leave them.

Set earwig traps by filling a flowerpot with straw or crumpled newspaper, then placing it upside down on a cane in the flowerbed. Check it daily and remove and destroy any earwigs you find.

You can wash aphids off plants with repealed sprayings of soapy water but remember that birds, hoverflies and ladybirds adore eating them. In fact one ladybird can apparently dispose of a massive 500 aphid larva and 5000 adults during its lifetime.

To find a garden pest removal company in the UK, or to obtain home and garden and pest control products in the UK, go to www.buildingtradesuk.com - Construction and Home and Garden Products directory of London, Manchester, Liverpool, and the entire mainland UK, Scotland, and Ireland.

How to Plant Your Garden for Height

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 6:36 PM
Planting for the "third dimension", height, really allows all the space within the patio or courtyard to be used to the full, and the added heat retained by a south- or west-facing wall will protect more tender and exotic plants.

Planting Ideas

Having a wall to plant against adds a whole extra dimension to your possibilities, especially if it faces south or west, because the heat from the sun is absorbed during the day and given off overnight. Nearby plants will be kept several degrees warmer than those beyond the wall's influence. This allows the planting of subjects that could not survive without the extra heat.


Most shrubs can be grown near a wall. Wall-shrubs are specifically those that can be pruned back to form a covering for the wall, supported against it using wires and ties, and through which other plants such as climbers can be grown. Climbers support themselves in a number of ways: by twining their stems around a support; by twisting tendrils or leaf-stalks around a support; by using thorns to scramble; or by the use of aerial roots or sucker pads to attach themselves.

Whether the plant is intended for a wall or a pergola, it should be of a size chosen to be in context with its surroundings, otherwise it will need regular pruning to keep it under control, and this may be at the expense of the flowers. Do bear in mind that, after rainfall, the plant will drip for some time, and this may result in the surface underneath becoming slippery. If this is also a well-used route through the garden, it may be advisable to replace a smooth surface, such as decking, with a non-slip one, such as gravel. This can be edged with brick or bonded with resin to keep it from interfering with mowing the lawn.

How to make a Watering System in Your Garden

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 2:10 PM
A cheap way to install automatic watering is to make your own discreet watering device out of an old plastic drinks bottle.

1) Cut out a hole in the base of the bottle, just large enough to be able to water through.

2) Loosen the cap of the bottle then place it upside down in the pot so the base of the bottle slightly pokes just above the surface of the compost.

3) Fill the bottle with water through the hole in the base and it will slowly seep out of the loosened cap, providing your thirsty plants with just the correct amount of water that they need.

An alternative is to cut an old plastic drinks bottle in half. Make three or four small holes in the base, then stick it in a grow-bag of, for example, tomatoes (being very thirsty plants). Fill the half-bottle with water and it will slowly trickle through the holes to ensure the tomatoes never dry out.

It is also possible to buy specially made spikes which fit on the top of a two-litre plastic drinks bottle. Once the bottle is inverted you can stick the spikes into the ground and their ingenious little boles release water or liquid nutrients slowly. As the spike penetrates so far into the ground the water or feed will be at the right level to reach the roots.

Home and Garden Resources

If you line in the UK, you can find home and garden products in the UK with the help of an all new UK Construction Directory.

Designing the Back Garden to Suit You

Posted by Sasha Kirey On 3:42 PM
Having an overall plan in mind for the garden does not mean having to create an artistic masterpiece on paper. Garden design is entirely personal and depends on the garden, its uses and its owners - using a rough plan simply helps to keep things in perspective.

Assess Your Needs

Gardens come in all shapes and sizes and no two will ever look alike, especially once the plants are in place. How it is designed will depend on its intended use and the amount of time you want to spend maintaining it.

Where the garden belongs to a couple, or a single person, there is larger scope in the choice of plants. In a family garden, however, the plants have to be altogether more robust. Safety is also a priority where there are children; plants that bear thorns and prickles should be kept away from play areas. If the size of garden allows, create an area for the children to play where the plants are safe, resilient and easily pruned back, allowing the rest of the garden to be filled with more choice species.

Tailor the level of maintenance to suit your needs. If you don't have a lot of time, make use of mulches and ground-covering plants to smother weeds and conserve moisture for a low-upkeep regime.

Remember too, in a small garden, every plant should earn its place by providing a good display at least once, and preferably twice through the year.