Home Improvement Disasters: When To Get The Professionals In

Starting a re-decorating project can be incredibly exciting. Maybe you've just bought a brand new property with the intention of doing it up, and you can't wait to get your hands on that empty shell. Or maybe you're staying in the home you love, but giving it a full scale makeover. Whatever your situation is, re-decorating a home can be one of the most interesting yet stressful times in a family's life. A lot of the stress involved can come from DIY jobs gone wrong. We've all watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and thought that it looks pretty easy, right? Wrong! Whilst you don't need to be super skilled to paint a skirting board or put up a shelf, there are some jobs that it's just best to leave to the professionals.

Sanding

Sanding

Exposed floorboards are a great way to bring a room to life, whilst still giving it a rustic feel. They are easier to maintain than a carpet and you don't have to worry about your friend's kids spilling juice on the floor if it's wooden. However, if you've got your heart set on an authentic wood floor, there are a few things you're going to need to bear in mind. The first is that it's very unlikely that your natural floorboards are going to be in good condition. Once you've taken the carpet up, you are more likely to be faced with dirty, unsightly wood rather than the perfectly polished floor you had your heart set on. This is why most people proceed to sand and then polish their floorboards to make them liveable. But, sanding them yourself is not a job to be underestimated. It is noisy, messy, backbreaking work. Expect to be hunched over your sanding machine for a few days at least if you are doing a medium sized room. With the cost of renting a sander being as extortionate as it is, you may as well stick to the safe side and hire a professional to do it.

painting wall

Painting

Many people seem to think that there is little that can go wrong with painting a wall. In some cases, they are right - providing you do your research. But knowing what type of paint is right for what type of wall you have isn't actually that straightforward. For example, you need special humidity- resistant paint for your kitchen and bathroom. When it comes down to actually doing the job, a lot of people find themselves four coats down and still with the old colour showing through. Or, other DIY complaints include a patchy finish or paint all over your floor and ceiling. If this sounds like some of your previous attempts, contacting your a local decorating business for a painting quote.

Drilling

Drilling in itself has become much easier over the years due to the advances made in technology. However, if you are a novice there are still plenty of dangers to be aware of. Drilling blindly in a wall to hang up a family photo isn't always as straightforward as it may seem. Your home is an intricate building, and drilling in places you aren't sure of could really damage your home. Burst pipes, or minor electric shocks are all examples of when drilling can go wrong. Experts are used to dealing with drilling requests all the time, so keep you and your home safe by leaving this job to a professional.

 

Bringing a Touch Of Fall Magic Into Your Home

At the end of a long summer, it’s always nice when the weather starts cooling down again, and the chill returns to the air. It makes everything so much cozier at home, and there’s always the novelty of the change in fashion trends and home decor that a new season brings. If you’re looking to update your home in time for the fall, here are a few things to think about.

Think About Fall Fragrance

Fall scents are all about spices, vanilla, seasonal fruits and generally warm and homely fragrances. You can make your home smell like fall in a number of ways. First of all, purchase plug-in air fresheners in autumnal scents and dot these around in your home. Turn them up to the highest near entryways in living spaces to get the best effect. Have them on low in bedrooms (or turn them off in the evening) in smaller rooms so they don't become overpowering. Reed diffusers are also a good option. They’re more subtle, but if you put them near seating areas and on desks, people will catch the gorgeous scent when they’re nearby. You could also create a ‘simmer pot’ where you put a pan of whole spices on a low boil in the kitchen, which will fill the house with scent. Use things like cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves. You can add slices of apple and citrus fruits like orange and lemon too. This is an excellent choice for those who don’t like using too many chemicals in their home since it scents it naturally. Finally, scented candles are ideal, as you get the amazing scent as well as the pretty flickering light source.

Set The Ambience With Cozy Lighting

When you’re going to be spending more time indoors, and it gets dark more quickly in the autumn, it’s worth investing in some cozy lighting. This involves having a variety of light sources in each room so you can control the light accordingly. For example, along with your overhead light, you could have a bright lamp, a dimmer lamp a floor lamp and maybe even wall sconces. This allows you to create the perfect cozy lighting level and set a lovely ambiance in the room. If you already have a variety of light sources, you could switch out the bulbs to give you more control of the light levels.

Bring In Warm Fall Colours

Obvious choices for fall colors are things like bright red, burgundy, berry, orange and shades of warm brown. But actually, any deep and rich color is great for this time of year. Think deep greens and purples, navy blue, rich pinks. Choose some complementing shades and bring them in as your accent color. This will instantly make your room look more cozy and warm. If you’re not sure, you could consider asking an interior designer for advice.

Display Seasonal Flowers

Fresh flowers are the perfect way to bring color, texture, and interest into your home. If you’ve successfully grown flowers out in your garden this year, you could harvest some yourself. Or you could go on a woodland walk and pick a bouquet of wildflowers and grasses to display in a vase. Alternatively, you could buy some from a grocery store or a florist and treat yourself to a big bunch.

Keep Your Garden Green! Helping The Planet By Protecting Wild Species

If you speak to a lot of people about conservation, they may be vaguely aware it's a good thing. They know we should be doing it, but above and beyond that they may not be sure what "it" is or even who "we" are. As a human race, yes, we need to practise conservation. It's good for the planet, right? So we need to make sure we're not doing things that involve going out into nature and destroying it. That's the trick, no?

Well...

It is important to be environmentally conscious. That much is a fact, no matter what your broader views are. Each of us has their own view as to where they are on that spectrum. On one end, there are those who recycle everything, don't drive a car and eat a plant-based diet. On the other are those who don't think anything we do affects the planet - or if we do, it doesn't matter. Top of the food chain has to count for something, right?

But, perplexingly, some people maintain the view that we can do what we want to the planet. If a species of a certain animal dies out, then it wasn't a good enough species to survive, yes? Survival of the fittest! That's what Darwin was talking about! Except he wasn't, but never mind. And what if the planet does destroy itself because of choices humans made? I'll be long gone by then anyway!

Well, it's true that we're not immediately facing an extinction-level event. We're probably all going to be gone by the time any of our actions have destroyed the Earth. That's the good news. But conservation is important for more than just avoiding the obliteration of the species. How we keep our planet has an impact on just about everything. A short-sighted approach to conservation, as edgy as you may feel it makes you, is negative for more immediate reasons.

The world we live in is a hugely complex ecosystem. There are plenty of theories as to what impact may result from certain actions. There are other things, though, that we can know for certain. Species of animals are not just important for their own sake. Whether human, cattle, bird or insect - or anything else - all are playing their own part. And what we can do, as humans, is to ensure that those parts get played.

To make a long story a bit shorter, the part we can play in conservation is to allow other species to thrive. What they do, as a result, allows complex and essential processes to take place. Including making your garden prettier and more practical.

Some people may feel that if bees die out, for example, that means there's one thing fewer that can sting you. But what it actually means is disastrous for the human race. And no, it may not mean we all die out right away - but resources will be placed under huge strain. Prices will be driven up. There will be a serious effect on people's health as artificial and chemical systems are put in place to do what nature should do.

So if you are wondering what you can do yourself, to assist with the ecosystem we all share, there are some options. You don't have to do any of them, but you'll be making a positive contribution if you do. And all of them can be done in the home - well, the garden anyway.

1. Keep A Fish Pond

pond

Having a pond in your garden where you keep fish may seem from the outside like a vanity pursuit - fish live in rivers, streams and seas! Having them in your garden to look nice and swim around is showing off, surely? Except no, it really isn't. Aside from providing a home and support system for the fish themselves, there is a lot more that can be achieved by keeping a pond.

For starters, the presence of a pond is a support system for more than the fish themselves. As long as it is well maintained and has plants in it - which it should - it will attract other wildlife and allow them to thrive. This wildlife includes frogs and toads, which keep populations of insects under control. This in turn allows other local wildlife to survive and carry on work that keeps the environment in good shape.

Not only that, but your garden benefits from the placement of a pond, with the sludge from the filter being a powerful natural fertilizer. Rather than spending money on chemical brands - which are bad for the environment - use that sludge! It's effective, saves you cash and has less impact on the planet. Just be sure to keep the water clean, as this makes it more supportive for wildlife. Living Water aeration pond aerators, among others, will help with this.

2. Beekeeping - It's Not Just For Hives Anymore

beehive

Now, most of us can't honestly say we pictured ourselves becoming beekeepers when we were kids. And even now, the idea of donning one of those suits and hats and going out to tend to the hives may seem outlandish. But as mentioned above, bees are of huge importance to the planet. Keeping them at your home or an allotment may not be a crazy idea after all when you realize how important they are.

The impact of bee extinction - and it's a less fanciful notion than you may think - is hard to sum up simply. However, in its most straightforward form, the argument goes like this. Bees fly from flower to flower collecting pollen to use in the hive. In doing so, they pollinate flowers, which encourages them to grow. As well as the flowers we keep and like to look at, bees also pollinate crops. So they benefit your garden, and the world beyond too.

Those crops include not only the vegetables we put on our plates, but also the food that is given to livestock, which become the meat some of us eat. They include natural fibers used in clothing and even the plants used to make medications.

So, without the bees to do this work, nothing grows, right? Well, not exactly. We would need instead to use artificial means of pollinating crops. This is possible, but would require more work on the part of us humans, and more machines, which require more fuel.

And if you're not beginning to see the problem, this means depletion of resources. It means more money spent on these processes. It means higher prices for just about everything. Not to mention the environmental impact of the fuel used for these machines.

Do you need to set up hives and put on one of those costumes to make a difference? Well, you can and it would do a big favor to the planet. But even if not, just erecting a bee hotel in your garden, which does not require the same tending, supports bee populations.

3. Provide A Refuge For Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs

A lot of pro-conservation talk makes it difficult to avoid sounding cutesy and hippie-ish. This last point makes it more or less impossible. How do you talk about protecting hedgehogs without sounding like you're cooing over a small, cute animal?

Well, it is important to note that hedgehogs play their part in environmental protection by providing pest control. Most of all, they keep slug populations under control. Slugs, if allowed to proliferate, will make a mess of plants you grow in your garden for food and for pleasure. They don't need to be eradicated, but by keeping the population under control we benefit our gardens and the Earth.

Is it relevant that the slug's main natural predator is widely viewed as one of nature's cutest creatures? Not practically, no. But if that's what it takes to persuade people to take an interest in their conservation, then that's fine. Hedgehogs aren't wonderful at defending themselves, despite the prickles. Their survival is at risk from pesticides, traffic and - I beg you not to picture this last one - badgers.

To ensure that your local hedgehog population is protected, there are various things you can do. These include setting up a wooden box refuge to allow them to protect themselves. If you are looking to keep slugs out of your garden, use non-toxic slug pellets, at hedgehogs will eat slugs. Before you start a bonfire, check the pile for any creatures, as hedgehogs particularly like to take refuge in leaf piles.

You can encourage hedgehogs to take refuge in your garden by leaving food out for them at night. They like cat food - it is suggested that poultry flavors are particularly palatable to them. And although there is a cliche that they like bread and milk, this is inaccurate. Like most mammals, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. While we're on the subject, don't give milk to cats either. It's bad for them.

To some people, it may seem like protecting and conserving populations of species other than humans is immature. It may seem interventionist, getting in the way of nature. But look at it this way - we're living in houses, driving in cars and drinking bottled water. We've got in nature's way enough, often in negative ways. Why not take the opportunity to redress the balance a little?

Why CCTV Drain Inspection Is Essential For Home Owners?

Drain blockage can be one major cause of frustration for everyone and every home owner tends to experience this at least once in their life time. As said, prevention is better than cure, and this applies even to drains. Getting the same inspected periodically can save from facing the problems related to drain blockages. There are multiple causes of a drain blockage, but the most common ones include, trees and leaves and tree roots, or Fat and grease being washed away in the sink can lead to blocking of the drain. Another cause of this problem is the falling of a foreign object down the drain or even hair being accumulated over a period of time. With the advance in technology the best way to avoid this problem is to employ the services of a company which uses CCTV for drain inspection.

Homeowners should be Aware that a CCTV Drain Inspection can Reveal

* Pipes which are misaligned.
* Pipe work and drains with a back fall that seems to have dropped.
* Tree roots which are growing into the pipes.
* Any foreign objects which are lodged in the pipes.
* Pipes which have collapsed. Pipe work which is crushed.

Top 5 Advantage of CCTV Drain Inspection

#1. Accuracy

As we are aware that the blockages in drains are excessively problematic if not tackled well in time. With the CCTV inspection you are given an accurate view which can be analyzed after being recorded. This helps in solving the problem from the core. With this inspection you have access to digital documentation and clear number of perspectives and visuals. The zoom feature helps to focus closer in recorded and live feature.

#2. Versatility and Flexibility

This drain inspection with a CCTV camera gives you a clear picture of the cause of the blockage and helps to find any missing objects which have been flushed down by mistake. Before you opt for this inspection by a specific company make sure that it has the right equipment so that the inspection is a thorough one.

#3. Cost Effective

This inspection is considered as ‘non-destructive testing’ and can be conducted without wastage of any time. This ensures there is saving on the money factor. It also assures that the pipes are intact after the inspection, which might not be so with other methods. Getting an exact picture of the conditions of the pipelines and the drains there is no wastage of time in assumptions.

#5. Clean Process

This type of inspection can be termed as a clean process as there is no requirement of any digging and excavation. In other words, the inspection costs are further brought down as there is no requirement of additional man-power and labor.

#6. Precise and Fast

Using this method of CCTV drain inspection, you not only save on the money but also on the time. In a short span of time you know what is wrong and get the same rectified so that you are saved from major problems in the future.

This inspection gives you a clear picture and helps you in solving the issue before it turns out a major one.

Before you make a choice of a specific company for CCTV drain inspection make sure of their reputation by asking for references and experience. You can also find out if the specific company is equipped with the latest technology used for this inspection. It is better to tackle this problem as soon as possible in an affordable manner. The longer you wait the more you will have to pay.

Office Maintenance Essentials You Need to Remember

People spend at least eight hours of their day in their workplace. So it’s important that you keep your office healthy with regular maintenance. There are a lot of obvious tasks here that business owners will think of. But there are others that might not come immediately to mind.

Carpet cleaning

People underestimate how dirty carpets are. In fact, carpets are actually pretty unhygienic. They absorb so much dirt and bacteria. You might think all that vacuum cleaning would keep it clean and healthy. Not so. Ideally, carpets should be washed wall to wall every two or three months. And I’m talking at least every two or three months. It can be tricky, considering people actually have to work on that carpet! But perhaps you could work with a commercial carpet cleaning service to figure out some out-of-hours work.

Lift maintenance

Have you ever been stuck in a lift? Let me assure you: it’s no fun at all, even if you’re not claustrophobic. A lot of business owners don’t pay too much mind towards the lifts (or elevators) in their work building. Sometimes, the lifts are the responsibility of the company who owns the building itself. (This is usually a given when you’re only one company and office out of several in the same building.) But a trusty lift is essential to a workplace. You can look into the likes of lift maintenance services by Hin Chong if you want to get them checked out or need a specific problem fixed.

Trash handling

Having someone keep a close eye on the trash situation in the office is a good idea. You might be wondering what I mean by “trash situation”. Basically, you’re going to have trash locations everywhere. There are the small bins that are located around the office. Paper recycling stations are probably in similar locations. Then there are the trash and recycling spots in the kitchen that are often overlooked. If you don’t make sure these things are being used properly and emptied when it’s time, there could be hygiene problems!

Window cleaning

Don’t ask us how, exactly, but windows always seem to get dirty. But it’s not exactly something you notice. Unless there are some really obvious dirty marks on the window, you tend to forget how clean it used to be. A really clean window is almost invisible. You average office window always looks a little cloudy. Of course, the solution isn’t to get out there yourself and clean it. It’s best to hire a window cleaning company to keep yourself safe.

The general vibe

When you and your employees spend every day in that work environment, you eventually get very used to the office design. This can actually lead you to overlook a lot of faults or flaws. Paint peeling from the walls isn’t uncommon, nor are scuff marks. A general dreariness can set in if you don’t have enough color in there. You should take some time now and then to consider the general interior design. Can you make things a bit fresher? Liven things up? These sorts of changes can boost employee morale.

Cheapen The Deal Building Your First Home

We all have a dream of owning our dream home. But the problem is that most of us can’t afford it. Even if we could, it might not be on the market. So what’s the answer to this issue? Well, you could build your home. But then there’s the problem of cost. A lot of people would love to build their home, but the cost is a scary thought. Building your home could cost twice as much as buying one on the market. But you might be interested to know that it could be a lot cheaper too. There are some great ways to save money and still be able to live in your dream property by the end of the project. Here are some of the best tips we can offer.

new home

Buy The Land At A Steal

To buy cheap land, you’ll have to search the market. It may be that the cheapest land is not in your dream location. But that won’t stop the house being a dream come true. Assuming you don’t build on a floodplain or land that’s unstable, you’ll still have a great property. The land is usually sold cheaply because the owner wants to shift it fast. Or because there is a detail that makes it a difficult sale. That could be a nearby busy highway or a close wood filled with critters. But if you’re happy to see deer perusing your garden that means you’ll get a great deal. It’s certainly worth looking into. Alternately, you may want to consider buying land that’s already in development. This is another way you can get the land you want cheaply. It won’t cost a fortune, and you might even get a few contacts with contractors.

new home for sale

Alternate Construction

An alternate construction is simply using materials to build a house that isn’t made of brick and mortar. For instance, steel framed houses or timber framed houses are both alternate construction. The issue with this type of home is that insurance and lending can both be a problem. That means if you ever want to sell a home you’ll be looking at a cash buy. Depending on how much the home is worth these can be quite rare. That’s why you shouldn’t necessarily look at this property as an investment. That said, alternate construction is a lot cheaper. You will shave about twenty-five percent off the construction costs.

little changes in home

Little Changes

It doesn’t stop there either. You can use cheaper materials inside the house as well. For instance, PVC is a considerably cheaper material for pipes than CPVC. You can schedule 80 PVC fittings for your new home online, and you’ll have all the parts you need. While you won’t save a fortune, these little savings will add up. As well as this, consider using aesthetic materials that look the part rather than the real deal.

Be Realistic

Lastly, we encourage you to be realistic. A dream home may not mean having an Olympic pool or an underground garage. But it could still be a great place to live that you build yourself, from scratch. That’s the real homeowner dream.

Freshen Up Your Apartment With These Home Decorating Tips

If you have just moved to a new apartment or simply redecorating your old one, there’s a whole list of things you should do. Especially when trying to freshen up your place, bring in something new and get rid of that old look, you have to be extra creative and really put your mind to work. What will you do, what will you change and what should you purchase? To help you answer all these questions, here is a list of things which you should do in order to freshen up the place.

living room

Lighten things up

Every living space deserves a change once in a while. If you are redecorating yours, consider lightening it up by changing the color of the walls for starters. If you used to have a dark tone, switch to a different one that will lighten the room. Cream, white and shades of yellow are great colors for a fresh change. Also, add a few additional lights around the house. Lamps can be places on your coffee table, night stand, near the stairway or even in the living room. No house can have too many lights.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Some people found out that by adding a few extra mirrors inside your house, you can actually make the place look bigger and airier. The trick is in making the light bounce around the room, which makes it feel lighter and bigger. Mirrors come in different sizes and design, so consider those that fit in your style. Make sure you place a few opposite the window for maximum light-bounce effect.

home living room

Replace or renew the furniture

It is about time you replaced your furniture set with a new one. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it, but look for great deals that will allow you to purchase several things at once, with a discounted price. We’re talking about chairs, coffee table, couch and sofa, kitchen table and maybe even your bed. All of these will eventually require a replacement, so it’s better to do it all at once if you have a deep enough wallet. Ensure that they match your new style. Smaller furniture can make your place look bigger, and vice versa.

Get a new rug

Rugs are a great addition to almost any room in the house. They complement the house with an additional taste of fashion, style and luxury, as well as a touch of freshness. Rugs vary in size, color, texture and shape, and depending on your room, its size and style and your personal liking, you can choose a rug that will fit perfectly. There are plenty of cheap modern rugs which you could purchase at your local carpet store or online. Don’t miss the auctions, they’re a great way to save a lot of money and still get a rare and awesome rug.

house living room

Change the curtains

Even though it might not sound like a big deal, curtains do give a strong sense of character to your apartment. If they are grey and transparent, it might feel like there’s a 50-year-old in the house, which is not a bad thing if you are an elderly person. But, if you are a young person with even younger family members, stick with something classy and colorful. Curtains are pretty cheap, but add a great value and style to your home.

Additional things which you may consider are adding more flowers, changing wallpapers, removing the clutter and changing your welcome mat. You don’t have to change everything, but since you’re redecorating, might as well change most of them. Bring out something new, inspiring and creative, and don’t be afraid to experiment.