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Plaster Repair 101: Installing A Plaster Patch

Posted by on 11:51 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Plaster Repair 101: Installing A Plaster Patch

Large holes in plaster can be fixed as a DIY project by homeowners who know what they’re doing. Plaster patches aren’t complicated to apply, but if they are done incorrectly, they can develop cracks or can wind up being more rough than the original plaster. You can avoid these problems by following the proper application procedure. The following steps will help you apply a plaster patch that won’t crack or have a rougher texture than that of the original wall. Scrape Out Plaster Crumbs Before you can put new plaster into the hole, first you must clear out all the old plaster crumbs. Use a brush to sweep out old plaster. If necessary, wet down the lathe in the hole to remove the old plaster. Condition the Lathe Spray the lathe and plaster with a plaster conditioner. This product is designed to prevent the surrounding lathe and plaster from sucking out the moisture from the new plaster as it sets on the wall. This prevents the new layer of plaster from cracking before it’s had a chance to fully dry. Once you’ve sprayed the area with conditioner, allow it to dry for whatever length of time specified in the manufacturer instructions. Spread the First Layer of Plaster Mix the plaster with water until it’s approximately the consistency of peanut butter. Once this is done, use a margin trowel to spread the plaster on the lathe. The plaster should not sag. If it does sag, the plaster is too wet and you should add more powder to the plaster mixture until it’s thicker. Fill in the hole half way with plaster, then use a scarifier to create a rough surface which the rest of the plaster can adhere to. Wait for the first layer of plaster to become firm (though not completely dry) before proceeding to the next step. Apply a Second Layer of Plaster Use a taping knife to apply a second coat of plaster. This time, plaster mixture should be slightly thinner, approximately as thick as icing. To achieve this, you’ll have to mix an entirely new batch. Use the taping knife to smear the plaster in a smooth layer over the scratch coat. When you’re finished, this second layer should be flush with the wall, so there appears to be no seam between the original wall and the wet plaster. Wait for the plaster to dry. Sand the Surface and Reapply Plaster if Necessary Use sandpaper to sand down the plaster, then reapply another layer of plaster as necessary. Wait for the last layer of plaster to completely dry, then sand it down one more time. If you can’t get the texture just right, consider working with a painting professional, such as Painting By Jerry Wind. However, if your plaster looks smooth and natural, your plaster repair is ready to be painted to match the wall as soon as it...

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Trees And Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Posted by on 2:51 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Trees And Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

An air conditioning unit is an active cooling system that can only cool down your home once it starts to heat up in the first place. If you want to reduce the cost of cooling your home, then you need to look at ways to prevent your home from heating up in the first place. While there are many new technologies that can help to prevent heat gain, sometimes your best option is to go with a time-tested option. Trees can enhance the beauty of your yard, but they can play an equally important role in helping your home to stay cool. Shade Randomly planting ornamental trees around your yard will have little to no effect on reducing your home’s heat gain. For the best results, you will need to consider where the most sunlight will come from and then consider which type of trees will have the best chance of blocking the sun. For most of the day, the sun will attack your home from the south and from a high angle. Thus, you should plant tall trees with large crowns on the south of your home. However, in the evening, you can have a heavy attack from the western horizon. For the best defense, you will want to plant tall trees with limbs all along their trunks. Shaded surfaces will stay up to 35 degrees cooler than they otherwise would be, and the cooler the exterior of your home is, the less heat will leak into your home.  Evapotranspiration Trees are nature’s swamp cooler. They are constantly releasing water vapor which absorbs heat from the air. The air cooled in this way will then settle down onto your home and yard. Not only will this help to keep your home and yard cooler, but it will also help your AC unit to more effectively cool your home. The condenser coils located on the outside of your home are responsible for cooling freon. The more cool air that is available to the condenser coils, the more efficiently they will be able to cool the freon.  You might not think that trees will have much effect on the energy efficiency of your home, but by helping your home to stay cool, trees can reduce the strain on your AC unit. While strategically planting trees should not be the only step you take to keep your home cool, they can nonetheless make a big difference in terms of your cooling costs.  Contact a service like Affordable Comfort Heating and Cooling to learn...

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Host A Casino-Themed Party

Posted by on 9:00 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Host A Casino-Themed Party

You and your closest friends can have a blast at a casino-themed party that you host. The following ideas will help you plan a successful event that will provide everyone with non-stop fun and lasting memories. Dining And Beverage Area Set up a dining area under a rental tent or canopy from a party company, such as City Rentals. Use a deck of large playing cards to decorate each table’s surface. Place the cards in random areas on top of the tables and secure them with pieces of tape. Cover each table with a clear tablecloth when finished. Hang up fuzzy dice from the tent or canopy’s ceiling with pieces of twine and colorful tape. Purchase an ice luge to serve drinks to your guests. Have a money sign or dollar bill carved into the luge. Pour drinks through the channel that was added to the ice and invite your guests to collect their beverages on the other end in cups that have money symbols printed on them.  Casino-Themed Games Many rental companies have a variety of roulette wheels, poker machines, and slot machines that can be reserved for personal events. Place the rental games under a protected area so that they are not exposed to moisture during the party. Add some games of your own to enhance each guest’s experience. Bingo or card games do not require much money or planning to set up. Purchase inexpensive items to give away as gifts to each winner. Host each game yourself or ask for volunteers if you would like to offer two or more options at the same time. Dance And Relaxation Section A small piece of flooring can be set placed on the ground to provide your guests with enough space to dance. Set up disco or strobe lights to give the dance area an aura of a real casino. Purchase decorations that depict playing card or money symbols and place them close to the dance floor. Hire a disc jokey or play tunes of your own on a portable stereo. Arrange some comfortable lounge chairs and small tables that are covered with cash-themed tablecloths near one of the sides of the dance floor so that guests can relax and mingle with others while enjoying cocktails and listening to the music. After the plans for the party are made and the items that you have rented or purchased are set up, look forward to enjoying the event with your friends. Your guests will appreciate the careful planning that was completed prior to the event and will be ready to unwind and enjoy the...

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Four Things You Will Want To Know About Safety When Doing Maintenance To Your Roof

Posted by on 5:38 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Things You Will Want To Know About Safety When Doing Maintenance To Your Roof

The roof of your home can be something that needs maintenance, such as cleaning and small repairs. Doing these chores can also be dangerous, which is why you will want to follow some basic roof safety rules, such as using a ladder and fall protection equipment properly. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when you get on your roof to do common maintenance tasks. 1. Using A Ladder Properly To Avoid Falling When doing in household repairs and chores, ladders can be one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment. Step ladders are meant to stand on, but since you should never stand on the top step, they are not good to use for getting on the roof. To do roof work, you will want to use an extension ladder. The ladder should be extended past the point it is leaning on, and you should have it at a slight angle. 2. Getting On The Roof Safely When Doing Maintenance When you get on your roof, you will also want to be careful not to fall. You should climb on to the roof using the top of the ladder to grab onto. Also, never step on the run that is above the point where the ladder is leaning. This can cause the ladder to slide out from under you as you get on the roof. 3. Using The Appropriate Fall Protection Equipment When Need There is also fall protection that you may need when getting on your roof. This can be a harness and an anchor for cords. You will want to use fall protection on high and steep roofs. You can also use scaffolding for working on roofs, which may also be used with harnesses and ropes to protect you from falling. 4. Avoiding Hazards And Damage That Create Fall Hazards When doing maintenance on your roof, there can be many different hazards. Things like power lines and utilities should be avoided when doing maintenance. You will also want to avoid stepping on areas that have damage. Loose materials can slide out from under you and cause you to fall. If you want to avoid injury when you do maintenance to your home, it is important to stay safe when you get on your roof. If your roof needs major repairs or replacement, contact a roofing contractor like Ray’s Harford Home Improvement Contractors Inc to get the help you need with your roof...

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2 Budget Preparation Tips For Resurfacing Your Floor With Concrete Overlay

Posted by on 5:01 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Budget Preparation Tips For Resurfacing Your Floor With Concrete Overlay

If your concrete floor has become worn, you may decide to spread an overlay over it to improve its appearance and durability. As you begin the preparation work, however, you may discover you only have so much money in your budget. If so, use one or both of the following tips to prepare the floor on a budget. Repair Small Cracks With Silicon Caulk If your budget does not allow for expensive concrete bonding agents to fix small cracks in your floor, you can use a caulking gun, a tube of silicon caulk and a putty knife. While the caulk does not dry as hard as concrete, it does allow for shrinkage and expansion without creating further damage.  Starting at one end of a crack, place the tip of the tube at the opening and apply a thin layer along the length of the crack. Once you have reached the other end. lightly pull the putty knife along the crack to remove any excess caulk. Repeat with each crack and let it dry according to your caulk’s packaging instructions. Do not worry about sanding the caulk, since this is done in the next step. Roughen The Surface With A Sponge Mop And Sandpaper Before you apply the overlay, the concrete’s surface should be roughened a bit. This gives the overlay something to grip to, ensuring it stays in place longer without cracking or peeling. Ideally, you can purchase or rent a machine designed to do the work for you. However, if your budget is limited, you can do the job using a sponge mop, sandpaper and double-surface tape. To make your sanding tool, remove the sponge from the mop. Then, measure the width of the surface and cut three strips of tape to those measurements. Apply one strip of tape to the top, bottom and middle. Remove the backing on the tape strips and firmly press a piece of 500-grit sandpaper, which has been cut to fit the mop’s surface, to them. Press the sandpaper onto a sturdy surface to ensure it is securely affixed to the tape. Starting at the corner of the room, use circular motions to sand the surface of the concrete. After finishing a small portion, run your hand along the floor to make sure it feels rough. If not, apply more pressure while you are sanding it. As you proceed with sanding the floor, periodically check the sandpaper to make sure it still has grit. If not, replace it with a new sheet. Repeat until you have sanded the entire surface. Using the above tips can help save you money while preparing your mildly damaged concrete floor for an overlay. However, if you find you have extensive damage with large cracks and gouges in the concrete, you may want to speak with a concrete resurfacing contractor, such as Mara Restoration, Inc., for tips on how best to prepare and repair the floor for your...

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5 Ways To Avoid Toilet Clogs

Posted by on 3:18 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Ways To Avoid Toilet Clogs

Toilet clogs are one of the most frequent plumbing problems and can really put a damper on your day. When your toilet is clogged, it does not just lead to foul smells; it can also cause water damage to your home. If you take better care of your toilet, it is possible to avoid this annoying plumbing problem and save yourself money on plumbing repairs. Here are five effective ways to avoid toilet clogs: Keep the Lid Closed Everyone forgets to close the toilet lid from time to time. However, remembering to keep the lid closed can prevent a potential clog. If the toilet lid is always kept open, a random object, such as a hairbrush or toothbrush, can fall in it and cause a blockage. Do not Confuse Your Toilet for a Garbage Can Your toilet is not your personal trash can, so you should not treat it as such. In fact, the only things that belong in a toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Even throwing small items, such as floss, down the toilet can cause a clog. Avoid Flushing Too Much Toilet Paper Although toilet paper is fine to throw down the toilet, it can only handle so much. If you attempt to flush too much toilet paper down the toilet, a blockage can occur. It is a wise idea to only flush a few small sheets of toilet paper at a time. If you have kids in the house, show them the appropriate amount of toilet paper to use at one time. Do not Put Grease in the Toilet Even though grease is technically a liquid, it does not belong in your toilet. If you attempt to throw grease in the toilet, it will solidify and cause a major clog. Put the grease in a container and throw it in the trash. Get Rid of Tree Roots Does your toilet get clogged up every month no matter what you do? If so, there could be tree roots in your underground pipes. If this is the case, you should have a plumber (like those at Salinas & Sons Rooter Service) come to your home to fix the problem as soon as possible. Following these helpful tips can help you avoid those inconvenient toilet clogs. If your toilet ever seems like it is flushing slower than usual, have a plumber look at it. He could take care of the problem before it leads to a full blown...

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4 Ways To Keep Your Septic Tank Lid Out Of Sight

Posted by on 2:35 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Keep Your Septic Tank Lid Out Of Sight

If your new septic system uses risers to give easy access for cleaning or inspecting the tank, your yard now has its very own manhole cover. It’s probably plastic, in a shade of green that doesn’t match anything found in nature. Ready made septic lid covers are available, with any number of plastic rocks and round planters being offered as disguises. If you’d like something a little less obvious, here are some options for concealing that lid without compromising your own style. Create a garden path Use pavers or flagstones to create a path leading across the lid. Cover the lid itself with a decorative wooden bridge that can easily be moved. If wood isn’t your style, stack pavers or stones into a raised path across the riser. These will have to be moved and replaced each time the tank is accessed, so don’t use mortar to hold them together. Park the dog house on it A healthy septic system produces no odor, so Fido won’t know his house is perched on top of the riser. Set the dog house on a base of bricks or treated lumber to make room for the lid handle. So long as the dog house is sturdy enough to move, you won’t have any trouble moving it out of the way to pump the tank. Decorate the lid If you don’t want to use landscaping to disguise the lid, try painting it instead. Floral designs, geometric patterns, or even scenes of frogs and lily pads can turn an ugly manhole cover into a whimsical yard decoration.  Hide it with plants This can work very well if you keep two things in mind. First, you will need to be able to find the lid again in three to five years. Second, someone will need to get a large vacuum hose through the plants to empty the tank. Simply lay out a planting bed around the septic tank access. Choose your plants carefully; this is probably not a good location for expensive bulbs or things you don’t want damaged. Leave the area around the riser empty, and use bricks or pavers to create a base for a box planter. Choose a shallow planter that is light enough to be lifted out of the way. This can hold any plants you like, since it will be moved intact. Household septic systems are generally reliable, but if water backs up into the basement or bad odors come from the tank or drain field, the tank may need to be pumped immediately. Septic tank riser camouflage should blend in with the landscaping, but it should never make it hard to find the lid in an emergency. Contact a company like Schlegelmilch Plumbing & Well Drilling for more...

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Long Hair? 4 Super Gross Reasons Why You Should Clean Out Your Shower Drain Daily

Posted by on 3:35 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Long Hair? 4 Super Gross Reasons Why You Should Clean Out Your Shower Drain Daily

Long hair is an absolute menace to shower drains. In fact, hair is one of the most common reasons why shower drains slow down and clog up. Not only are clogs annoying and costly to fix, they are a little on the gross side. Standing in dirty, tepid shower water usually doesn’t make anyone feel clean and refreshed, but backed up water is only part of the problem. While you’re dealing with the aggravation and mess of a slow drain, disgusting things are happening that you can’t see. Since cleaning hair out of your shower drain is the best way to prevent clogs, following are 4 super gross reasons why you should do it daily.  Hair Resists Decay If food gets down your drain, it starts to decay very rapidly. However, hair can hang around for quite a while. Hair, which is made of keratin cells, is resistant to the enzymes that are responsible for decomposition. In fact, it can take up to two years, or longer, for hair to decompose. All of this means that hair clogs can remain in your pipes for years.  Hair Catches Everything When you shower, you wash grime, sweat and skin cells down the drain, which can become captured by hair clogs. The composition of a hair clog makes it much like a sponge that captures particles while allowing water to pass through. After dirt, skin and other organic matter gets stuck in a hair clog, it starts to break down, which can create quite a stink. What’s more, the smell tends to become worse with time.  Bacteria Accumulates in Hair As you can imagine, a blockage creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. What’s more, some types of bacteria, such as Serratia marcescens, actually feed off of soap and shampoo. So a clog basically sets up a cozy home for bacteria to grow in while you provide an endless stream of food simply by showering.  Clogs Make Showers Dirty Any time that water, soap residue and dead skin cells are allowed to sit in your tub or shower, you’re going to have a hard time keeping it clean. And a dirty tub is the perfect place for soap scum, bacteria and mold to accumulate.  To avoid these nasty repercussions, be sure to clean hair out from your shower drain daily. If, despite your best efforts, you get a clog, call your plumber (such as Kendall Plumbing & Heating Company Inc) right away. You don’t want hair to remain in your drain for long because it can get a bit gross down there. ...

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Improving Traditional Insulation With Continuous Insulation

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Insulation prevents unwanted heat transfer through the walls of your home, helping to keep your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Effective insulation is critical not only for the comfort of your family, but it also plays a major role in energy efficiency and keeping heating and cooling costs in check. While the traditional pink fiberglass blanket remains one of the most widely-used forms of insulation, homeowners may be able to lower energy bills and maximize comfort with more advanced insulating materials and techniques, such as continuous insulation. How Traditional Insulation Works If you took a peek inside the average residential wall, you’d likely find a series of 2×4 wooden studs installed every 16 inches, with thick layers of fiberglass blankets stuffed in between the studs. While this fiberglass does a pretty good job of insulating the wall, unwanted heat energy can sneak through the walls via the studs. That means there’s a 2-inch gap between the insulation every 16 inches around the perimeter of your home where heat sneaks in during the summer and out during the winter. This process where energy transfer occurs through the studs is known as thermal bridging. Why Thermal Bridging Matters When you stick with the tried-and-true methods of insulating between studs, up to 17 percent of heat energy in the home escapes thanks to thermal bridging. That means higher energy bills and an added chill in the air each winter. If you have a high-end home with steel framing rather than wood, you could be losing up to 50 percent of heat energy through the metal studs. Preventing Thermal Bridging Some homeowners attempt to combat the effects of thermal bridging by changing their construction techniques. For examples, replacing plywood wall sheathing with structural insulated panels — called SIPs — can reduce thermal transfer, but it costs much more than standard stud framing. Others reconfigure the framing to use fewer studs, but this only reduces thermal bridging without completely eliminating it.  Continuous Insulation The most effective way to prevent thermal bridging and reduce energy costs is to add continuous insulation. In this technique, foam insulation is added over the exterior side of the plywood sheathing so that there is no potential for thermal bridging. The finish siding is simply fastened directly over the insulation instead of directly to the sheathing. This continuous insulation can take the form of rigid foam panels or even spray foam, which comes in different versions, depending on the level of insulation your home requires. Best of all, you can still use traditional fiberglass within the wall cavity, effectively doubling up your insulation for maximum benefit and...

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Secure Fences Make Safe Summers: Tips For Designing Child-Proof Swimming Pool Fencing

Posted by on 4:42 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Secure Fences Make Safe Summers: Tips For Designing Child-Proof Swimming Pool Fencing

If there are kids in your life aged 1-4, and you have a swimming pool, pond, or hot tub, you should know that drowning is a leading cause of death in this age group. In fact, drowning is second only to birth defects as the most common cause of death in very young children. You should also know that the correct fencing significantly reduces the risk of anyone being harmed by gaining access to your swimming pool, hot tub, or pond. When you plan your water-feature fencing, go the extra mile for safety’s sake in the following ways: Make sure barriers are 4-sided and tall. The barrier around many pools is a 3-sided yard fence with the home making up the fourth side. But a pool surrounded by a proper 4-sided fence inside the yard reduces accidental drowning by 83%. Fencing contractors install special childproof fencing that fits this criteria. The fencing comes in panels that connect to each other, allowing the barrier to conform to the dimensions of the swimming pool area. The bottom supports are set several inches below grade to secure them. Although most swimming pool barrier laws require such fences to be at least 4 ft. in height, experts recommend a fence at least 5 ft. tall, and some municipalities require it. Be certain that no lawn furniture, deck boxes, or other items are placed close enough to the outside of the fence where small children could use them as a way to climb the fence. Pay attention to gates and latches. Design pool access gates to open outward and without handholds or horizontal components that might allow a child to climb over them. The doors should be self-closing and self-latching, so that if they’re accidentally left open by a careless adult or child, they will swing closed and click shut automatically. Alarms on gates are also a good idea. There are numerous alarm systems on the market that will alert your household when a pool gate has been opened. Some smart home systems offer apps that allow you to receive alerts on your phones and devices as well. There are many design considerations when creating a fence intended as a pool barrier. Children are curious and resourceful, so fences must be constructed in a manner that will deter climbing by children determined to access your pretty, sparkling pool. Professional fencing installers know exactly how to design a protective pool or spa fence to your local specifications, so contact a company such as JC Fence CO when it’s time to install protective fencing at your...

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