Best Trees for Indoors

Trees are great things to have in your yard. They clean the air, they give shade and privacy, they are great for climbing and they are beautiful to look at as well. While many trees are just too big to think about growing inside, there are many trees that make wonderful accents to the inside of your home. Here’s just a few:

If you are a fan of the Victorian Era you may have seen pictures or seen movies of the time with parlour palms sprucing up the, well, parlour. The adapt well to low light and humidity and they are on the list of NASA’s 50 Plants That Clean the Air. And face it, they’re breezy and fancy and who wouldn’t want one in their living room in a large ceramic pot?

If you want a touch of Christmas in your home year round, what about a Norfolk Pine? They are essentially baby Christmas trees that love bright light and moist soil. At Christmas time you can decorate them with little bows or fairy lights, but they make a great addition to any room year round.

If you like big bold statements you’ll want a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in your living room. These trees have large sculptured leaves that give the air of the tropics without being weepy or wispy. These trees love light but don’t like drafts so keep them away from windows and doors and you’re good to go.

The Ficus is perhaps the most popular indoor tree there is, heck, they even make a fake version that you just dust once in a while and forget about. The real version is actually a weeping fig tree if you want to get technical, and they come in different textures and heights so they’re perfect for any room, any where.

Love the tropics but live where there seems to be perpetual winter? Then what about adding a Majesty Palm to your home? They are fan shaped and have that tropical feel to them and best of all they are slow growing if they aren’t getting strong sunlight. Throw on the heat, watch the palm tree and pretend you’re on the beach, even if it is January and there is a blizzard waging outside.

If you like more of a desert type tree then the Yucca is for you. They have thick woody stems and pointy leaves that come in a variety of blue to blue green colors and have yellow, cream or white tones to them too.

Invest in Your Home by Starting in the Basement

For those lucky homeowners who have basements, making sure you do everything you can to keep that basement clean and dry is vital for the ongoing stability of your home’s foundation and overall safety of your home’s environment. A number of nasty diseases can spawn from mold and mildew run amok in your damp basement. Here are some aspects to consider when doing a little basement waterproofing.

1. Go straight to the top. Water running off your roof can quickly seep into your basement if proper gutters and drain spouts aren’t installed. Gutters that are clogged or missing can cause a waterfall to land right next to the foundation and eventually seep into the basement walls. Check your gutters regularly for clogged areas or leaky spots and take care of the problem fast. You can install a mesh or plastic screen over the gutters to prevent large objects from getting trapped inside.

2. Where does your water run? Your yard should slope away from the house so that rainwater is also running away from the foundation and not toward it. If necessary, re-grade your lawn so that it drops about 6 inches for every 10 feet. If the equipment isn’t readily available to you, contact a lawn care expert to handle this task.

3. Do you have a window well or egress window? During a rainstorm water can easily collect in those wells and act as a holding tank for moisture against your foundation. You should cover those windows wells with a plastic window well cover. These are a few dollars at any local home improvement store.

4. Sometimes the water comes from inside. Cut down on condensation and internal moisture by using a dehumidifier. It’s also best to insulate your pipes and air conditioning ducts. Basement bathrooms can be a real source of mold and mildew buildup. Clean the bathroom regularly and properly ventilate the room so the moisture doesn’t have a chance to collect.

Once you’ve established that your basement is clean, dry and protected, revisit this area of your home regularly to stay ahead of any new problems that might develop. Your home and family will thank you for it.

Know How Acrylic Rendering Can Benefit You and Your House

Rendering has become one of the most acceptable forms of exterior coverage for residences, commercial places along with the workplaces. Whether you want to have a classic appearance to your house or want a contemporary look for your home, there is no better option than to put a cover on the wall. Available in multiple options and varieties, rendering can prove to be a fantastic choice on your part. The most common dilemma arrives when it comes to choosing rendering you wish to incorporate to your walls.

Among the most popular choices, cement rendering and foam rendering are considered to be the first preference of a significant section of people. However, if you think about affordability and quality of work at the same level, consider covering your wall with acrylic rendering. Take a look at the significant benefits that are related to the acrylic rendering before making any final decision regarding it.

Resistant to cracks

This particular type of rendering is known to be the most flexible among all the other options. Unlike cement, it does not just stick to the wall. Weather change is a prime reason that can cause the appearance of cracks in the walls if the material you are planning to use is not resistant to expand in heat. Acrylic is undoubtedly a flexible material that gets extended when the chances of cracks occur. Thus, you may expect a long-term durability from this particular rendering compared to the other options.

Substrate Compatibility

The best part of using acrylic rendering for your walls is it is compatible with most types of wall bases. Be it timber or concrete; the application process remains the same. For this reason, reputed companies associated with render installation or rendering repairs are likely to suggest you this particular product over the other ones. Moreover, you can ask the professionals to apply this specific rendering material on your already painted walls as it will be compatible with the paints as well, unlike most of the traditional renders.

Attractive designs

One of the prime reasons for acrylic render to gain popularity over the other options is you can incorporate different designs and textures in the rendering, unlike its competitors. Carry out extensive research on this issue to know about some of the most popular designs in the market and use a preferable one. Create the finish of your choice on the exterior walls to add brilliance. It will quickly get dried up and sit on the wall firmly making it look uniquely textured.

Increased breath ability of the wall

Going through the attributes of the acrylic rendering will also suggest you that this particular rendering efficiently enhances the breath ability of your wall. Despite being stronger than the other traditional rendering, the mix is prone to get expanded naturally. It does not soak water and cause the occurrence of water leakage through the wall. Being water resistance, it does not welcome bacterial infestation or fungi formation throughout the wall. Therefore, it can be said that choosing acrylic rendering will lead you to switch into healthy living.

Home Improvement May Not Be For Everybody – Tips For Homeowners

Dealing with frustrating repair and improvement projects is an unwelcome prospect for many homeowners. The hassle and frustration they so often experience is not worth the effort they are putting in, so hiring a professional to help them with the more complicated projects is a good idea. Once they decide to do the work themselves, homeowners usually end up regretting their decision and scouring the phone book for a contractor.

With extensive home improvement projects, homeowners are usually best served hiring a contractor. Some homeowners do attempt these projects themselves with some success, but these are often few and far between. Not that they cannot accomplish the project, but the quality homeowners receive from contractors far exceeds what they are usually able to provide themselves. Home improvement is not for everybody, so realizing when it is far above their head is important and helpful in avoiding a costly project. Spending more money than they realize doing the work themselves, many homeowners regret their decision.

The training and experience a contractor brings to the table will help ensure the quality of the project. Helping with the planning and development stage of the project and providing excellent craftsmanship, professionals are able to provide a level of service far better than any amateur trying to pass themselves off as professionals. So when it comes time to choose the best route to take when facing home improvement projects, it is usually best to consider the work of a contractor. It may be one of the best decisions the homeowner can make for their home.

Choosing The Right Fence For You

When it is time for a new fence you have many choices to choose from. Choosing the right fence is very important if you want one that will last for years to come. Read this article and learn about the different types of fences that are available.

The first type of fence and perhaps the most common is the common plank style privacy fence. You can find these fences in heights up to 8 feet and they have many advantages. For example they are affordable and they offer a great deal of privacy compared to other fences. The downside to these fences is that they are vulnerable to wind, insects and rot. To extend the life you can get them made with cedar or even vinyl and with posts made from metal.

Another type of fence is the chain link fence. This has the advantage of also being quite affordable and being very durable. The downside to chain link fences is that they offer no privacy whatsoever and that they may not quite fit in with your neighborhoods style.

Wrought Iron is another type of fence that you might be interested in. It has benefits and drawbacks similar to those of chain link fences. It is very durable and offers little in the way of privacy. They are however expensive compared to other fences but they are more likely to make your neighbors happy as they are quite attractive.

The last fence style I will talk about is the picket fence. They are available in wood or vinyl and are an attractive alternative. If made from wood, they are vulnerable to insects and rot but the gap between the planks makes them less vulnerable to wind damage. They also offer little in the way of privacy and are reasonably priced.

Hopefully this has given you something to think about. If you are having a hard time deciding you should consult a local fence builder. They will be able to suggest something that will fill your needs.

The Benefits Of uPVC For Your Home Or Office

As far as building materials is concerned, you may have heard of uPVC. But what exactly is it? This article will give you the answer to this question in addition to shedding some light on the benefits of uPVC. After reading this article, you will come to know why local builders go for this material instead of other stuff out there. Read on to know more.

uPVC

Actually, uPVC is a short form of unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, which is commonly known as a high quality rigid PVC. Since it hard but won’t flex, it falls under the category of PVC. The beauty of the product is that it leaves out BPA or phthalates, so it is quite safe. Apart from this, it is safe and stable and can be used to manufacture mouth guards and dental retainers as well.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits you can enjoy if you go for this material.

Low Maintenance

Windows and doors made from uPVC don’t need to be sealed or painted. As a result, the cost of maintenance is not that much with the passage of time. The reason is that these windows and doors are easy to clean with water and detergent.

Tough And Durable

Due to the durability of the material, it has been used for making sewer and water pipes for more than 100 years. You can get the idea from the fact that vinyl windows that were installed more than two decades back are still in use. Moreover, quality uPVC doors and windows go through different rests for ultraviolet resistance to make sure that they don’t fade in the sun.

Rot Resistant

Unlike other materials, uPVC is not prone to corrosion or rotting as time goes by. So, this is another great benefit of opting for this product instead of many others available in the market.

Thermal Comfort

You know metals are conductive. But uPVC doesn’t fall under this category. Therefore, windows and doors don’t transfer heat. As a result, you can enjoy consistent temperature in your rooms. As a matter of fact, the windows of your rooms will be a lot more efficient provided they are made of this material.

Tilt And Turn

These windows can be opened in two directions in order to allow you benefit from the cross ventilation, which is another great benefit.

Acoustic Insulation

With double glazed doors and windows, you can reduce the noise by up to 70%. So, you can have peace of mind especially if there is a lot of noise outside your house all the time.

Salt Erosion

You won’t have corrosion problem caused by salt-filled air. So, they are an ideal choice as far as coastal properties is concerned.

High Security

As far safety and security is concerned, these windows feature multi-locking systems that provides higher security for your house or office.

Long story short, if you are looking for the best doors and windows for your office or home, we suggest that you give a go to uPVC doors and windows due to the many benefits they offer.

What Might Be Involved in Hiring a Handyman

A well-skilled handyman is able to take on a wide-range of home improvement jobs within the home, which might be minor or extensive in nature. In general, a lot of us don’t have the skill, time or inclination to do the necessary home repair or maintenance work. Often we will look in the direction of the qualified trades person, which for general repairs around the home would mean the handyman who is the perfect for this type of work.

The handyman is essentially a person able to take on all-types of home repairs, maintenance issues, and needed improvements. As a jack-of-all-trades, the handyman is there to assist with those small to medium-sized projects in and around the home, which would otherwise be too small for a commercial builder or contractor to take on.

Deciding on the right handyman is always a vital decision. It often helps if you’re able to hire a worker who offers an all-round skill set, someone you can trust, and can work on their own to complete any project to a high standard.

Hiring a handyman can be done in several different ways, and doing your due diligence at the start means you are going to find to skilled professional who cares about the work they do. A great place to start in the search for a handyman is to get personal referrals, which might come for a friend, co-worker, or neighbor. Alternatively, you might want to search online for a local based trades person. Also, if looking online always look to find positive reviews next to a company’s name, which means other customers where happy with the service. Irrespective of the steps taken, you always want to check that the person being hired is qualified, licensed, and insured to carry out the intended work.

It is always a wise precaution to request identification from anyone that is about to enter and work on your home. Having a quote confirmed in writing is also suggested and this should highlight the work to be carried out, the cost of materials, and the clearing and disposing of waste material at the end of the job.

Also, avoid paying for a job 100% up front, especially if this is the first time that you have used a particular handyman. Often, you can pay 50% of the cost and the balance on the completion of a successful job. Although, you might have the pay the cost of materials from the get go. When paying a trades person in installments, get a receipt, as this proves your payment is made and also allows you to keep up-to-date records.

Steps to Choosing a General Contractor

Choosing the right General Contractor is an important process. Your home is a special place and you deserve to have a safe and comfortable living environment. The definition of the word “contractor” from Webster’s point of view is one that agrees to furnish materials or perform services at a specified price, especially for construction work. Here are some things to look for when choosing the right general contractor for your project.

– Don’t be scared to ask for references. If they hesitate to give their information then they are trying to keep you from finding something out. A good contractor has nothing to hide.

– Don’t be pressured into signing a contract. Explore your options and choose the right person for your project. And never sign if you don’t understand. Tell them to break everything down on the contract. For example, have each kind of material in its own space with the price next to it, then the cost of labor on its own.

Example: 10 2x4s @ $1.00 a piece — $10
Labor total $500 or $15 per hour

– If a contractor wants to be paid by the hour, be sure to have proof of all hours worked. Ask how they plan on keeping track of their time and if they can estimate how long a job will take.

– Get all estimates in writing. Make sure the contractor sticks to the original plans, unless you want something different.

– Never pay when a contractor demands cash payments, always have record of all payments.

– Ask them if they will guarantee their work and for how long. If something happens because of the contractors negligence it is the contractors responsibility to fix their mistakes.

– Always make sure the contractors will clean up after themselves. Some contractors will leave you to clean up after their work. Get it in writing and specify everything that needs cleaned up and how.

– Only make final payment when all work is done. That includes cleaning up. Make sure you are satisfied with the work and go over everything that was done before you hand them the final payment.

The contractor you choose should be able to put new insight on your project, and make suggestions on things you may not have thought of. They can tell you the proper materials and should use all the safest most efficient ways to complete your project in a timely manner. But, always remember, it is your project and everything should be done your way. The contractors work for you!

The Important Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

If you are on the market for new home siding, it is no surprise that you are considering vinyl. Vinyl plastic exterior has been a long-time favorite for both residential and commercial properties, and for many reasons. Although there are a few drawbacks you need to think about, this material is almost always a safe investment. Continue reading to review some of the common pros and cons of vinyl siding.

Pros

Vinyl siding is mostly admired for its extreme versatility. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, textures, and more, which makes customizing the look of your home an easy task. Aside from versatility, vinyl is very low maintenance. Caring for it is simple, and there is very little you need to do to make it last a long time. Furthermore, installation is quick and easy, and the cost comparison to other options on the market is very low. It is one of the most affordable choices for residential siding you can buy.

  • Very durable;
  • Lasts between 30 and 40 years with good care;
  • Endless color options and schemes;
  • Very low maintenance;
  • Easy to clean and care for;
  • Insulated options increase energy efficiency;
  • Cheapest siding option on the market;

Cons

There are not many drawbacks to vinyl siding, however, there are a few attributes that are important for you to know in order to make an educated decision. For instance, it is not waterproof. Although it is water-resistant, poor installation can let water leak behind the panels and cause rot, mold, and mildew. Also, many homeowners have complained that the color option is too permanent with vinyl siding. Whatever color you choose, it will always be that color. That is because plastic exterior siding cannot be repainted like other siding materials.

Another common con to this material is the potential for the boards to warp, bend, or dent. This can happen from a string impact or extreme summer heat. Homeowners also complain that whole panels must be replaced because there is no patchwork in vinyl siding. Some additional common complaints about vinyl siding include:

  • 90% of homes have vinyl siding, so it’s not always the most unique;
  • Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and even high winds can rip panels off;
  • Faulty installation can lead to water leaks, rot, mold, and decay;
  • It can crack in extreme cold weather, and warp in hot weather;

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Your family is at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if there are any appliances in your home that use gas, oil, coal or wood. Because carbon monoxide does not have any color, smell, or taste, it is not easy to determine when it is present. Carbon-based fuels are typically safe to use, but they become a health hazard when they do not burn properly.

When carbon monoxide is breathed into the body, it combines with the haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. When carbon monoxide is mixed with haemoglobin, the bodys cells, tissues, and organs cannot receive oxygen, and they begin to die. Over time, even small amounts of carbon monoxide in the blood over time can be fatal or cause paralysis and brain damage.

Someone with carbon monoxide poisoning may incorrectly diagnose the symptoms as being caused by another ailment. The symptoms of CO poisoning are very similar to common illnesses, such as viral infections, the flu, food poisoning, and fatigue: nausea, vomiting, headaches, tiredness, and stomach pains. Other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include problems with vision, trouble breathing, erratic behavior, and chest pains.

Many homes contain gas appliances and flues, and these can both cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Sadly, an average of twenty UK residents die from CO poisoning each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Improper installation of gas appliances and flues along with the lack of recommended maintenance cause the majority of residential carbon monoxide incidents. A constant supply of fresh air is essential for a home that operates carbon-based fuel appliances.

The best protection against CO poisoning is being prepared. You must be aware that wherever there is carbon-based fuel being used, the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning exists. Everyone in the home needs to know the dangers and signs of CO in the air. A properly installed carbon monoxide alarm can give you an early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide. Make sure your alarm has a British or European approval mark and complies with British Standard EN 50291. These audible alarms are especially useful if carbon monoxide begins to fill the air at night while everyone is asleep.

Insist on a CORGI-registered technician when you install a flue or gas appliance in your home. CORGI-registered installers are trained to set up your appliance or flue accordingly to safe procedures. Once your appliance or flue is installed, have it inspected once a year by a CORGI-registered professional to make sure everything is operating properly and there are no safety risks to your family from carbon monoxide. To prevent CO problems from your flue, hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean it every year.