4
Dec

Top Home Siding Material Options And How To Select The Best

House siding does not only protect the home from different elements, but it can also dramatically boost the appearance of your home. To get the best results when installing, repairing or replacing siding, you should factor in weather and climate in your locality because they are factors that can negatively affect the value of the home. Durability, maintenance, energy efficiency, affordability and aesthetics are the other very important factors you should consider when choosing siding for your home. Water resistant materials will of course translate to longer life spans and reduce replacement needs so have this in mind too when choosing the perfect siding material for your home.

1. Wood

Wood siding gives you the flexibility of choosing wood grade and species for your desired finished look. Grades that are more expensive with few defects and knots will give your home that natural beauty that shows through clear stain or a stain that is semi-transparent. If you wish to paint opaque stain, then less expensive grades will be just as good. Wood siding is easy to cut and shape and installation is also easy to do. The aesthetics of wood are superior and with proper maintenance you will enjoy years of service. It is however one of the most expensive siding materials you can choose for your home and you will need to repaint or re-stain every few years.

2. Fiber-cement

This is siding made from a mix of cement and wood fibers, sand and clay. It is a material that is gaining popularity among consumers because of the rugged durability, weather resistance and low maintenance. The liquid mixture makes it easy for the siding to be molded in such a way that it resembles painted wood, masonry or stucco. This material is fire resistant, rot free and termite proof. After installation of pre-finished fiber cement you will not need to paint, but you still can paint when you feel a need to change the colors. It is resistant to thermal contraction and expansion, so it holds up caulk and paint pretty well. It is, however a heavy material and specialty tools and techniques are required for best results.

3. Vinyl

New homes are now sporting this type of siding because it is durable, tough and it also comes in a wide range of colors and styles to match individual preferences. The color permeates through and does not reveal scratches or nicks. The standards today ensure this type of siding maintains shape even in extreme temperatures, retains color and resists high winds. The major advantages of vinyl include being lightweight hence installations are speedy and the fact that it is a material that can be retrofitted over the existing siding. Vinyl also comes with little maintenance, but with standard panels you could end up having visible seams that are not very attractive. You can however choose panels that are extra-long to eliminate the seams and have a beautiful smooth finish.

4
Dec

Tips For Landscaping Homeowners Should Take Note Of

Landscaping is one way to add more beauty to your home while at the same time increase its value. And so, many homeowners really want to have their own landscaped garden or lawn. However, it can be really challenging to have one especially if you do not have enough knowledge about it. To help you start your own landscaping, here are a few tips from the experts themselves.

– Always seek after the improvement of the overall appeal of your home. Some property owners are simply not inclined toward gardening and landscaping. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you belong to that group, you have to be aware that the state of your yard is one of the key things that potential buyers look at. If you are planning to sell your property a few years down the road, you have to make a few changes to make your property more appealing. With this in mind, you can create a beautiful landscape that will add more beauty and value to your home.

– Plan your next move once landscape design is ready. On the converse side of the coin, there are property owners who are enthusiastic about improving their landscapes. If you belong to this camp, one crucial mistake that you have to avoid is planting without making any definite plans. This can lead to problems related to the use of space, design and flow.

– Never take for granted the health of your grass and other plants. Weeds can undermine all the resources you have poured into landscape improvement. It may not be fun to pull off weeds from your yard, but you will be rewarded with a stunning landscape later on. Bear in mind that weeds can greatly damage the health of your plants. Like weeds, the presence of small animals like skunks and raccoons can undermine all of the efforts you have made to transform your landscape. Call in the experts to banish these unwelcome guests from your property or do research on the proper and humane way to get rid of these.

– Learn some landscaping tips that will make your lawn or garden even more appealing. Evergreens should be a staple on any landscape. However, if you only plant evergreens, you risk creating a boring landscape. Instead of relying solely on these plants, add a dash of color and texture by adding perennials to your garden. Additionally, always remember that one of the most important landscape maintenance tasks that needs to be done on a regular basis is trimming hedges.

4
Dec

Some Lawn Care Basics Every Property Owner Must Know

To maintain the healthy appearance of your property, all you need to know are the basic principles of lawn care. But what if you do know the basics? Well, good thing lawn care specialists have rounded up some of the basics so property owners can efficiently identify issues and apply the right solutions.

Important Things You Must Know When Caring For Your Lawn

Garden insects are categorized into 2 – the destroyers and the helpers. As the name implies, your main concern is to identify the destroyers. And these are the tiny crawlers and fliers eating the leaves of the plants and the blades of grass you have in your yard. If you see an insect destroying the leaves, better deal with them as soon as you possibly can to prevent them from causing further damage.

Cleanliness is very crucial. In fact, being clean is the best way to prevent an infestation. But it does not stop there because you also need to know the best repellants for common pests. For most bugs and rodents, ginger and hot peppers are very efficient. For tiny crawlers such as beetles, bugs, and caterpillars, an efficient yet cheap solution is garlic. And for cutworms, slugs and other insects, you can use eggshells.

Water properly. You might think that the yellowing leaves or grass always means water is lacking. Experts say that wilting and yellowing leaves can also mean that you have given your plants too much water and that your soil has poor drainage. The best solution here is a mixture of watering enough and integrating sand to soil in order to prevent plant and grass roots from drowning.

There are 3 main chemicals your lawn needs. In order for your lawn to be healthy, it needs phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. The ratio between these 3 in fertilizers will always depend on what your lawn needs.

Leaf Colors And What They Mean

Yellow Leaves – If the tips and edges of the leaves are yellow, this means that your grass and plants lack potassium. To solve this, consider burying citrus rinds in the soil. The yellow color can also be brought about by the lack of nitrogen. Adding nitrogen-rich boosters like coffee compost and grass clippings can solve this problem.

Yellow leaves but green veins – This may indicate iron deficiency. Testing the pH level of the soil and reducing the amount of phosphorous in the soil is the best solution.

White stripes on the vein – This means magnesium deficiency. Adding Epsom salts to the soil is indeed the best solution for this.

Discoloration on the vein – This means that the plant is low on zinc. The best help against this problem is kelp extract.

Darkening on the edges of the leaves – This problem may indicate lack of calcium. For alkaline soil, use gypsum. For acidic soil, you can use chalk or lime.

4
Dec

How Going Green Can Improve Your Life

Health and wellness, environmental impact, energy consumption, the economy – these are but a few major things that have a direct effect when we choose to go green. But what are these effects that we will be getting if we make a significant change in our lifestyle? Here are some of the benefits of choosing eco-friendly materials in our day-to-day living.

Going green can significantly extend your lifespan.

Think about eating healthy greens and local produce. You will be saving yourself from all kinds of chemicals and all other harmful ingredients that are being added to most processed foods in the market. Also, by using natural and non-toxic products at home, you are saving yourself from different kind of illnesses that might go with the chemicals that are used in making the things you are using every day.

Going green can give you cleaner air, water, and surrounding.

Our environment is becoming more and more polluted every day and the rate of the spread of pollution is much faster than the rate of restoration. The loss of biodiversity is putting every human and habitat closer to the risks of blight, disease and famine. By choosing to walk instead of riding public transport or by driving a bike instead of driving a car, you are reducing environmental pollution. The same goes with using energy saving appliance and eco-friendly pieces of furniture.

Going green can save you tons of money.

One common misconception about going green is that it is expensive. The reality is when you go green it means you are choosing to live a simpler yet sustainable life. It means frugal living. By using natural and local products, you can save tons and tons of money, which used to be spent on costly yet harmful products. Through buying from the local produce, going green also helps improve the local economy.

Going green helps you become self-sufficient.

When you began to think of living a truly sustainable life, you no longer rely on the unsustainable infrastructure coming from the shady political deals. Renewable energies and sustainable land care and other resources are necessary if you want to live off the grid of the typical environmental and political compass. Living a green and sustainable life means you have become self-sufficient.

So, why go green? Living a sustainable life is a deep personal choice that you have to make. Other than improving the quality of your life, it has a profound philosophical meaning that you have to embrace wholeheartedly.

4
Dec

Tips for Gardening in the Winter

Unlike animals that eat less and hibernate, plants will continuously grow throughout the year even when they no longer have leaves. Therefore, with every season there is a specific way to look after your plants without accidentally burning them with the frost.

When the weather drops to less than five degrees Celsius, your plants could easily die from the cold conditions. To avoid this, especially at night when there is no sun, cover your garden in a frost cloth. With this cloth, they are not completely blocked from the air but they are also containing some warmth.

Make sure that your garden receives water every two days at least. Water may seem cold but in winter when it’s warm outside and the pipes have been exposed to the sunlight of noon you can easily water the plants without worrying about high temperatures boiling the roots. The opposite applies is for summer and you should avoid watering at noon.

It’s important that you have the bushes pruned for the winter. By the time it gets to spring the branches will be stronger and less likely to die before the next winter. The same goes for plants that have dead flowers. Now that the season for flowering is over, cutting the ends off will allow the flowers to grow stronger. Cover the soil surrounding your plants with compost. This will allow the plants to receive all the nutrients they need and will keep the moisture closer to the roots.

In winter, there is less sunlight during the day and plants don’t receive enough sunlight to grow properly. If you remove the shade or move the plants that are in vases on the patio tiles into a sunlit area, it will maximise their growing process.

Make sure that you remove any plants that are beginning to die or have had issues with insects. If insects have nested in those plants before, they will nest in them again. Closer to the winter season, insects will go into hibernation and the best place to nest is within plants that can barely stand. By the time it gets to spring time, you will have an infestation of insects eating up all your other plants.

Anything living needs just as much care as a human being and even though it seems like everything goes to sleep in winter, that doesn’t mean it will survive. Always make sure you take care of your garden because if you don’t the cold weather will not be kind.

The Paving Warehouse & Wonder Rock, masters in the art of simulated rock, are no ordinary stone masoners. The Paving Warehouse is South Africa’s leading manufacturer of simulated rock, with applications both indoors and outdoors, each stone cast is a classic.

4
Dec

Two Green Roofing Ideas From Fantasy and History

Why settle for shingles, a metal roof, or one of the other default options chosen by most homeowners? The real estate market emphasizes building or finding “your dream home,” and yet many buyers are ultimately limited to simple variations on the model homes in different subdivisions. When you watch movies that transport you to places like Medieval Scotland and Middle Earth, there are cozy houses that would be difficult to find in your community. However, with a little creativity and the right roofing choices, you can recreate the feel of a hobbit hole with the conveniences of modern technology. Here are just two examples of roofing ideas that could help you create your fantasy.

Thatched Roofing

Thatch was once one of the most common methods for sealing a home against the elements. Similar techniques are still in use in rural Africa and other parts of the world, and the techniques have been adapted for modern construction in America. Thatch was initially attractive to mankind because of the easy accessibility of grasses. When packed together by someone who knows the right technique, thatch can effectively block out rain and other elements for a number of years. The material does need more maintenance than a typical modern roof, and it will need to be entirely replaced after a few years. Originally, the low cost of the materials made replacement less troublesome.

In the movie Braveheart, Mel Gibson stands atop of his childhood hovel, replacing the thatch that was sufficient for keeping out Scotland’s perpetual rain. The scene resonates with many modern viewers who are nostalgic for the era when DIY techniques could re-build a thoroughly blighted property.

A few contractors in America will install thatch if requested, but the material is no longer as cheaply accessible as it once was. Professional installation is expensive with such an obscure skill, and the unconventional choice might complicate the process of getting the property insured. Thatch can be tight enough to stop falling rain, but creatures still tend to burrow through, particularly bugs and rodents. Still, for those who can handle the list of downsides, thatch can be a better choice for the environment than tar, metal, or manufactured shingles.

Earthen Roofing

Hobbit holes in Tolkien’s series were tunneled directly into hillsides, and there is a movement where people have started constructing underground residences. In addition to living like a hobbit, these homeowners typically have much lower heating and cooling costs because the hillside provides excellent insulation, keeping the living space cool in summer and warm in winter. As a less extreme compromise, green or grass roofing borrows a centuries-old idea by covering the top of the building with sod and vegetation. The Vikings used a comparable technique in northern parts of the UK, and a grassy-topped house would be less of an upset to your neighborhood than a hobbit hole.

As human buildings and cities cover progressively more of the Earth’s surface, the sheer number of metal- and shingle-covered spaces has become an ecological problem. Especially when combined with paved areas, the water simply runs off into drainage systems where it was absorbed. Plant matter and sod provide a compromise that also helps to insulate a building.

4
Dec

Your Roofing Solution

Why are so many people talking about the use of rubber for their roofing needs? This is a great material for keeping your roof looking great and being well protected from the elements. In many scenarios it is replacing the traditional methods and materials. As you learn more about EPDM membrane, you will understand the value it can hold for you.

What is it?

This is a synthetic product that is durable, flexible, and resistant to UV rays. As a result, EPDM membrane isn’t going to crack or buckle as traditional roofing methods will during the changes in temperatures and the weather. This material is very easy to work with so it can be installed in a fraction of the time it takes for traditional roofing.

As a result, you can benefit from the job being done in far less time with better overall results. Since the amount of time involved is reduced, you can save money on the labour costs. This is going to reduce the overall pricing for your new roof. There isn’t a home or business owner out there who isn’t interested in such savings!

There is no fire hazard with the use of this material on your roof. Some people worry about it since the product contains rubber. These products actually recycle old rubber too so they are environmentally friendly. Not only does it keep rubber out of landfills, but the longevity of the product means less use of materials for the long term.

Overall Value

EPDM membrane is a wise investment that offers overall value. It will reduce the risk of your home or business experiencing roofing leaks or damages. It also extends the amount of time before your roof needs to be replaced again. All of this adds up to time and money being saved. The materials do well in all types of temperatures including extreme heat or cold.

This material also reduces the risk of mould or mildew forming. The moisture can create damages to the structure of the roof. When that occurs, you will have to invest money in replacing the wood frame under it. Prevention is very important so you don’t have to experience those types of expenses.

Warranty

Check into the warranty offered for EPDM membrane products. This can be very enticing if you are still on the fence about this type of roofing material. Some of the products offer a warranty of up to 30 years on the materials. The warranty relating to the installation will vary depending on the contractor you hire to complete the work.

Such a warranty can be extended due to these materials being waterproof. There is very little risk that you will ever have an issue of water damages into your home or business. It is very reassuring because such damages can be expensive to clean up. Items can be damaged or destroyed. Don’t take a risk with items that aren’t replaceable.

Types of Roofing

Flat and lower pitched roofs are the best fit for EPDM membrane products. This is why you mainly see them used on commercial entities. However, there are many homes that fit this description so they can be used for them as well. The materials are lightweight but able to hold quite a bit of weight. They aren’t going to be damaged due to snow on them or blow away.

High winds can be a contributing factor to various forms of roofing damages. You need to be confident the product you have in place is going to be stronger than the weather. Since EPDM membrane is stretchable, it can be fitted perfectly to the design and shape of your roof. There won’t be areas that are compromised, encouraging damages because of a lack of coverage.

4
Dec

7 Essential Tips for Commercial Roofing Maintenance and Protection

Commercial roofing is a critical but often overlooked part of successful business operations. A building’s roof shields it from the elements, helps to maintain a comfortable indoor climate, and protects the people and assets inside. Proper maintenance and regular inspections ensure that this important covering continues to do its job without having an adverse impact on profits.

Check for Problems After Extreme Weather

Surface damage caused by weathering or environmental hazards is usually most visible after heavy rain, high wind, or snowfall. Visual signs, such as standing water or bubbled materials, often signify trouble. Flashing, the material that protects the seam between the structure’s walls and its cover, should be inspected for loose or missing sections.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Biannual inspections are the best way to keep commercial roofing in optimal condition. A professional examination is recommended, although some building owners check for damage and then call their contractors for an in-depth diagnosis. In best practice, inspections are scheduled in early spring and late fall, just after the harshest seasons.

Stay Alert to Signs of Water Damage

Neglected repairs eventually manifest inside the building. Stained ceiling tiles and discolored walls may indicate deteriorated or damaged decking material, while bulges or cracks could signify more extensive damage. Discolored or rotting window frames also suggest moisture or water damage that may be roof-related, as do signs of mold on the inside or outside of the structure.

Keep Gutter Systems Clean and Clear

The gutter system carries water away from the building. Clogged gutters or drainpipes often prevent proper drainage, causing rain and moisture to accumulate in certain areas. Systems should be cleaned twice per year, although storms and high winds sometimes necessitate more frequent cleanings.

Elevate or Remove Nearby Trees

Overhanging trees pose several hazards. Dead or storm-damaged branches may fall, puncturing or scratching the roof. Trees also drop leaves, pine cones, sap, and other debris onto the surfaces beneath them, often contributing to deterioration. Property owners should regularly remove dead branches threatening their buildings and keep healthy limbs trimmed so that they do not touch the structure.

Ward off Summer Sun

Harmful UV rays may decrease the lifespan of traditional commercial roofing, and hot sunny days typically increase energy costs. Cool Roofs are cost-friendly solutions. Coatings and single-ply membranes offer protection to flat coverings, and pitched types benefit from light-colored tiles or coated metal. These products can decrease rooftop temperatures by 50 to 60 degrees during summer.

Invest in a Commercial Roofing Maintenance Plan

Many contractors offer maintenance packages to extend the life of a structure’s cover. These programs typically include regular inspections, as well as other preventive care services such as resealing. A maintenance plan provides peace of mind, and it makes it easy to detect problems early, minimizing unexpected expenses in the future.

The life expectancy of commercial roofing materials ranges from 25 to 40 years, or more. Proper maintenance, timely repairs, and the right preventive care are the most cost-effective ways to maximize the performance of a structure’s covering.

4
Dec

Top 4 Ways to Protect Your Roof From Damage

Roof damage can range from rust and small rainwater leaks to holes caused by ice dams. It is a serious problem because it leaves your house much more vulnerable to the effects of the elements. The good news is that you can take effective and affordable measures for protection. Check out the best ones and apply them timely.

1. Run Frequent Comprehensive Checks

If you live in an area with a cold winters and frequent summer storms, you should run full inspection in the spring and in the fall. If you live in a place where hurricanes are common, you should do it before the hurricane season comes.

When you get up, watch out for damaged, curling or missing. Inspect the metal sections and components for rust. Pay close attention for fungus and algae growths. These are usually small spots whose color ranges from grey to green. Don’t forget to check the flashing too. It should be completely solid. Check the mortar and/or caulking for cracks.

If you notice even the tiniest of problems, opt for roof repair right away. The sooner you act, the better protected you will be. This will also help you save money.

2. Trim Tall Trees Regularly

If you don’t do this, branches can be broken during a storm or heavy snowfall and cause substantial damage to your roof. You will benefit from working with a specialist who can trip the trees to be safe and look great at the same time. In general, you should not have trees too close to your house. When you decide to plant new ones, choose species which can withstand heavy winds and snow.

3. Keep the Gutters Clean

Cleaning the gutters once or twice a year is sufficient in most cases, but you may have to do it more often, if you live in a place with lots of tall vegetation. An alternative solution is to install gutter guards. Consider models which are resistant to damage and have openings which allow rainwater to flow from the roof to the gutters at a high rate. The sloped protectors work better for keeping leaves and other debris off the gutters compared to the flat ones.

4. Install Reliable Attic Insulation

This measure, along with timely roof repairs, is intended to minimize the risk of ice dams. They are formed when the snow on the roof is melted by the heat coming out of the attic. Good-quality insulation will keep the heat inside the house, thus protecting the roof from damage and will make your rooms warmer and your energy bill down.

The most popular types of attic insulation are loose fill and batts. The choice between the two depends on the structure of your attic and roof. When it comes to the material itself, it should have high R-value and be highly resistant to water damage and mold. It makes sense to invest more in better-quality insulation which you will be able to keep for a long time to come.

4
Dec

How to Care for Your Rustic Furniture

Rustic furniture today is an integral part of any home that is simple, yet stylish. From living rooms, to kitchens, bathrooms, dining areas, and bedrooms, any part of the house can be fitted with a furniture piece of this kind. Coffee tables, sofa tables, TV consoles, kitchen cabinets, islands, vanities, dressers, cupboards, and even beds can be built to suit the rustic style. These articles lend a simple yet endearing charm to abodes, and elevate the appearance of homes to a completely different level.

Unlike other types of furniture, rustic pieces require minimal maintenance, but without proper care they lose their sheen and charm. Here are some simple, yet effective ways in which you can care for your rustic furniture, and keep them brand new always.

Cleaning

Rustic styled furniture benefits the most from frequent dry-dusting. The best way to clean them is using a dusting mop with soft bristles, or a soft, dry microfiber cloth. Run the cloth/duster over the surface of the wood surface to remove any loose dirt or dust. To clean tricky corners, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.

Cleaning with water is not advisable for rustic wooden furniture. However, when the surface develops stains or stubborn residue, you can use either plain water or water with a mild detergent, to clean the article. For this, dilute one teaspoon of mild liquid soap in 1 gallon of water. Dip a microfiber cloth or soft sponge in the solution, wring out excess, and clean the surface in smooth, circular motion. Rinse the cloth or sponge with plain water and wring out completely. Clean the wooden surface again to remove soapy remnants or residue. Finally, wipe the surface with a soft, dry towel thoroughly.

Harsh cleaning products, oils, and waxes are harmful to rustic wooden furniture, and can damage wood. They should be avoided at all costs when cleaning such articles.

Maintenance

Besides cleaning, rustic furniture needs maintenance and protection over use.

• Very high or very low levels of moisture affects the wood adversely, causing it to warp and split. Maintain humidity between 35% and 45%. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep your rustic furniture in good condition.

• Wooden finishes tend to fade, and lose their sheen when exposed to UV rays and sunlight. When placing rustic objects near windows, or in open areas, opt for UV protection. You can also protect them by looking for spots that have maximum shade.

• Use good quality polish to maintain and protect the surface of rustic wooden articles. Opt for a liquid or semi-solid polish, as aerosols may introduce contaminants or silicone oils that are harmful to wood.

• Furniture of rustic nature used in the kitchen and dining areas need a little more care than those used in other areas of the house. Always use coasters when placing drinks or jars on the table surface. Liquid spills can form ring shaped stains on the wooden surface if glasses or cups are left directly on the table. Hot vessels too can have a damaging effect on the surface of rustic furniture. Use a protective layer between hot dishes or cooking appliances, and the surface of the furniture piece. This helps prevent spots and stains from forming on the surface of the furniture.