There are many choices in roofing materials used on homes today. Deciding on the roof that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the type of roof you currently have, location of your home, climate zone, desired architectural look, maintenance, and cost.
20 Questions To Ask A Roofing Contractor
Before you get started on any new roof or repairs it is prudent to interview several roofing contractors and collect estimates. Experience counts. It’s best to work with experienced, reliable, honest professionals. Ask the following:
How long have you been a licensed roofing contractor and what’s your state license number? Verify this before considering any roofing contractor’s services.
How long has the company has been doing business under their current name?
Are they bonded?
Has the company declared bankruptcy within the past five years?
Will they provide business references from within the past year?
What terms of payment are anticipated?
How many employees will be assigned to your roofing project?
Will the foreman be on site? Are the employees working on this project employees of the roofing contractor?
What type of roofing system does the roofing contractor recommend? Will it require a complete roof tear-off?
What details can you provide regarding the roofing materials?
Is the warranty guaranteed?
What type of ventilation system does the proposed roofing system have?
Does the proposed roofing system meet the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for Federal Tax deduction eligibility?
What sort of maintenance will be necessary with the new roof?
Are there prevalent problems that occur with this type of roof?
How will the contractor handle any problems over the life of the roof?
What is the life expectancy of the proposed roof?
What benefits does this roofing system provide?
A new roof installation is a major investment. Move forward only when you are satisfied with the answers to the above questions.
Wood Roofs: Shakes and Shingles
Cedar shakes provide a traditional look with reliable, modern durability. They are a good choice for historic homes or homes in new developments with high appearance standards. Cedar shakes are an environmentally friendly option also. The life expectancy of cedar shakes is up to 30 years, if quality materials are used. A potential concern with cedar shakes is that many communities will require pressure-treated, fire retardant shakes, which lowers the fire hazard but increases the cost of the materials.
Composition shingles are widely used on homes in the United States. These are made of an organic or fiberglass base, then saturated with asphalt and coated with minerals on one side to resist weathering. Fiberglass shingles are more flexible and stronger than organic shingles. Both shingles come in a wide variety of colors. The life expectancy of composition shingles ranges from 20 to 30 years. Most manufacturers will cover a composition roof under warranty, if a certified roofer installed it.
Dimensional shingles are very similar to composition shingles, but are thicker, and can be used to create a better shadow line for each course of shingles. Dimensional shingles also have a much better lifespan, with an expectancy of up to 40 years.
Clay And Concrete Tiles
Clay tile is usually used in the traditional Spanish look. But, clay is now available in several other patterns. Tile is a very durable material and is able to withstand some of the harshest elements such as hail, wind, and fire. There is one drawback to tiles, however: their weight. They require certain structural standards for the frame and decking of the roof. They have a great life expectancy of 40 to 50 years. Tiles may need to be predrilled and nailed if you have a steep pitch roof, or even supported by metal brackets, all of which could increase the cost associated with this type of roofing system. Most tile manufacturers offer a minimum of a 50 year limited warranty on their products.
Concrete tile has essentially all of the benefits of clay tile. Concrete tiles also have the advantage of being available in a greater number of styles including traditional clay and slate.
Metal In areas where forests, moss, or heavy precipitation are present, metal roofs are a great solution for a new roof. Usually made of steel, aluminum or copper, metal roofs offer some of the best protection for your home. Metal roofs withstand high winds, shed snow and rain very effectively, and are fire resistant. Metal roofs are very lightweight, weighing about one quarter of the weight of tile roofs and nearly half as much as asphalt shingles. Metal roofing is generally more expensive than asphalt roofing, but cheaper than tile or slate roofing.
When properly installed a metal roof will usually last as long as the house with manufacturer warranties of 50 years.
Slate And Synthetic Slate A slate roof is the most expensive roofing material on the market. It is also the most durable and one of the more attractive solutions. Slate is cut from slabs of stone. The roof tiles are most commonly grey but do occur in a variety of subtle color variations. Slate roofs regularly last over 100 years.
Slate roofs require little maintenance, are resistant to mold and insects, and are fire damage. Slate is a heavy roofing material and can only be used on roofs that are properly supported for such weight. Most residential homes will require additional materials and labor to increase the roofs strength. Quality workmanship is a must for these types of roofs.
Synthetic slate tiles are another option. They are made from a mixture of slate dust and glass fiber resin, or a combination of cement and fiber. Synthetic slate isn’t as brittle as real slate, and it offers many of the same protective qualities.
Environmentally Friendly Roofing Materials Green roofs are on the rise in popularity. They are energy efficient and earth friendly. A green roof covers the traditional roof with vegetation that provides many benefits to the structure and the environment. A green roof will have a number of layers; a soil layer, and layers for drainage and waterproofing, with the vegetation layer on top. The roof may have an irrigation system installed for maintenance of the plants.
There are a number of advantages to having a green roof:
It reduces much of the heat from the roofs surface.
It’s a good sound insulator.
It reduces the amount of pollutants that run off with rainwater from roofs.
It retains much of the water in the soil and the plants will actually absorb some of the pollutants, purifying the water before it leaves the roof.
To determine what is the best flooring AND the right flooring, the first step is to evaluate your lifestyle. If the room is going to be used by children or pets, or you have little time for special floor care, a white plush carpet may not be the best choice. Light color carpets and tiles with wide grout seams will require more maintenance, and should probably be reserved for low traffic rooms.
Darker colors and patterned carpets are good choices for heavy traffic areas, and hard materials, like ceramic tile, and excellent choices for areas that will endure the most dirt, dust and moisture.
Consider also the design and architectural features in the room. Will there be unusually high humidity or water present in the room? Is there a lot of direct sunlight that might fade certain colors? Are heating and cooling vents in the floors? Does the room have radiant heat?
The most perfect choice in flooring will be a disappointment if it doesn’t work successfully with the other systems and architectural features in the room. The selections appropriate to any room features are extensive, so your design choices should not be compromised by the restrictions created by other features in the space
After you have determined what kind of flooring is best for your project, you can consider the look you want for your floors. For every kind of flooring there are seemingly limitless design options, so making the practical surface choice should not restrict your ability to get the look you want. Evaluate the look you are trying create: are you seeking warm and cozy, sleek and uncomplicated, clean and sterile?
The traditional matches between room use and flooring choices (soft carpets for bedrooms, tiles or vinyl for kitchens and baths, hardwoods or carpets for formal rooms) may be the obvious way to go.
Or, you may wish to take some design risks, and mix flooring materials for a special, one-of-a-kind look.
Using stone and hardwoods together, or combining various tile sizes and surfaces in one room, can give a room a special custom look, assist in defining space functions, or act as transitions from one room to the next.
Hardwood flooring has the advantage of being sturdy and strong, and maintains its value throughout its useful life. Engineered wood flooring, which is formed by layers of wood topped with a veneer, is slightly more expensive than solid wood flooring.
Wood floors have the disadvantage of being prone to scratches and gouges, and can warp, crack or discolor if exposed to prolonged extremes of wetness or dryness.
Hardwoods are easy to maintain with vacuuming and dusting, and require refinishing every 10 to 15 years. It can cost from $6 to $15 per square foot and can be done eaily enough by most flooring specialists.
Laminate floors, manufactured to resemble wood or ceramic tile floors at a less expensive price, are durable and easy to maintain.
This versatile, durable and affordable flooring option has become a favorite of builders and decorators.
Maintenance is a regular damp mop; laminate flooring may need to be replaced every 10 years. Laminates cost range between $2 and $10 per square foot.
Ceramic tiles are durable, decorative, and add value to the home. The great range of styles, colors and surfaces make tile an appropriate choice for any style, taste or budget.
Though they can be cold on bare feet and light colored tiles with generous grout seams can be more difficult to keep clean, ceramic tile offers both style and strength. Most commonly used in the bathroom, they can be used anywhere to make a beautiful and dramatic floor.
Maintenance is regular mopping or sweeping. Tiles will need to be resealed and grout stripped every 10 to 15 years. Tiles can cost as little as $.79 each, or as much as $10 each, depending on quality, size and style.
Carpeting is a less expensive option, easy to install, and available in many styles, fibers and colors. It may need to be replaced every five to seven years, depending on its use and quality. It is easy to maintain by regular vacuuming and annual deep cleaning or shampooing. Carpeting costs from $1 to $15 per square foot.
Vinyl floors are attractive, durable and affordable. Vinyl flooring is remarkably sturdy and wear resistant. One of the most attractive features of vinyl flooring is the incredible array of colors and designs available. It is extremely easy to maintain by regularly sweeping and mopping. Vinyl flooring costs from $1 to $4 per square foot.
Each flooring type has its own advantages and disadvantages. By comparing their particular features, you can determine which is best for every space in your home.
Are you looking for a way to save money on your electric bill this summer? When people think about saving on their electric bill, they usually think about turning off the lights, or not leaving the refrigerator door open, but what they don’t realize is that maintaining their AC system is one of the easiest ways they can reduce their electric bill.
With the summer heat, a fine-tuned AC system working at maximum efficiency can blow extra savings your way.
There are two AC system tasks that many people can do themselves. First is to replace the air filter. This is one of the most important and easiest things that can be done each month. Check out the manufacturers guide for a detailed description of the type of air filter your system uses.
Clogged air filters cost you money in two different ways. First, a clogged filter reduces air flow to the blower. That means your AC system has to run longer to move enough air to cool your home to the desired temperature. The longer your AC runs, the larger your electric bill.
The second way is that a clogged filter also lets dusty air get inside the unit. What happens to this dusty air? The dust begins to build up on the blower.
The blower works like a fan, with many “fan blades” pushing the air through the AC system and out through the vents. The dust build up reduces airflow which causes the AC system to run longer, which raises your electric bill.
Another disadvantage to dust build is that if enough builds up, it can cause the blower to become unbalanced. This condition puts an extra load or force on the motor which drives the blower. The motor works harder to overcome this force. The harder the motor works, the more electricity that’s used. If the dust is not removed it can damage the motor. The motor must then be replaced which can be costly.
The second task is to make sure your AC system compressor on the outside of your home is clean. A compressor which is clogged with grass, dirt and other debris will run longer to cool your home, and we all know what that means!
Aside from the maintenance tasks you can do, it is a good idea to have your system serviced annually by a reputable heating and cooling contractor. Call around and get several quotes before selecting a contractor. When you properly maintain your AC system you get to enjoy both a comfortable home, and lower energy bills.
Choose the Right Air Conditioner Repair Service
In cold climates, homeowners usually pay a high gas bill and a lower electric bill because they use their gas furnace more than they do their air conditioner. But in hot climates like the American South, the opposite is generally true: homeowners don’t use their gas furnaces nearly as much as they use their air conditioning systems, which can result in annual electric bills that are significantly above the national average.
If you live in Atlanta and are looking for a solution to your high annual electric bills, chances are that the optimal solution will focus primarily on implementing an air conditioning system that doesn’t use as much electricity. But in order to realize the optimal temperature control solution, you can’t expect for an air conditioning repair supplier to know the right solution simply because they service homes in the south.
Below, we list three things that you should look for in an air conditioning repair company as you search for an energy efficient heating and cooling solution for your new air conditioning installation.
Familiarity with Warm-Climate Weatherization Measures
In the 1990’s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) discovered that states in warm regions were saving less energy than states in cold regions due to increased air conditioning usage. As a result, in 1994, the DOE issued regulations for increasing cooling efficiency for homes in warmer climates. These measures include: providing circulating fans that circulate inside air, implementing ventilating fans that draw in cool air at night and addressing duct system inefficiency.
A heating and cooling company with knowledge of these measures can work with you to develop a cooling system that depends on more than what kind of air conditioner you use. For example, a company that is familiar with the DOE’s regulations will likely perform an analysis of your ductwork instead of immediately advising you to replace your central air conditioning unit.
Energy Efficient Cooling Equipment
Although implementing the DOE’s regulations can help reduce your annual electric bill, reducing it as much as possible usually involves replacing old AC systems with energy efficient systems. While energy efficient technology usually costs more than traditional technology upfront, it can bring long-term savings in the form of reduced utility costs that more than exceeds the price differential between energy efficient and non-energy efficient technology.
The energy efficiency of an air conditioner is based on its numerical SEER rating, with the higher numbers indicating higher energy efficiency. Implementing an energy efficient central air conditioner can require a significant investment, but the return on that investment is always worth it.
A Consummate Inspection of Your Home’s Cooling Profile
In order to arrive at a solution that makes the most financial sense, a heating and cooling company must perform a comprehensive analysis of your home’s cooling needs. In addition to determining the size of air conditioner that you need based on your home’s square footage, a responsible heating and cooling company will also analyze your cooling needs in relation to the following aspects of your dwelling: the presence of direct shade, window placement, energy efficiency rating of doors and windows and building envelop or lack thereof.
Only with these factors in mind can a heating and cooling professional make sensible recommendations for cooling your home in a more energy efficient manner.
How to Get the Right Air Conditioning Maintenance Schedule
If you’re looking for a central air conditioning maintenance schedule, then you may already know what you need, and which one will be most appropriate for you. Alternatively you might not know what to look for. Here’s what you need to consider.
1. You’ll need to think about why you need a heating and ventilation, central air conditioning maintenance schedule for your shop or office that your system is in. Have you suffered a failure or down time before? Is it a new, or an old system? Is it regularly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations?
2. You’ll also need to consider the implications of your business having to close due to heating and ventilation issues. If you had to wait several days for an engineer, could your business cope? What would your staff and customers do in the meantime?
3. You’ll want to know exactly what’s covered in your central air conditioning maintenance schedule, so that you know what to expect. There may be different schedules and levels of cover available. Air con failure in a busy server room, or a hotel, or a department store, might be more important than failure in a board room that’s only used a few times a month.
4. If you want your air con to have a regular central air conditioning maintenance schedule and servicing, then you’ll need the right one for your situation. Why not discuss your requirements with your air conditioning installation, or maintenance company, and see what they recommend?
5. Remember that prevention is better than cure, so if your heating and ventilation system is quite old, or you can’t remember the last time it was serviced, you might want to take out a central air conditioning maintenance schedule contract sooner rather than later.
6. It’s important that your repairs or servicing causes minimal disruption to your business. You don’t want to have to close for a day, or have your call centre staff interrupted whilst on the phone. Why not ensure that your chosen company can work out of hours for you?
7. You’ll want to make sure that your air con is working efficiently, and regular central air conditioning maintenance schedule and servicing can ensure this. You’ll need to know what the manufacturer recommends, and what how it can be done.
8. A heating and ventilation system that s working efficiently will be costing less to run, and so a maintenance contract will pay for itself over time, as well as offering the other essential benefits.
9. If you’re anxious to do your bit for the planet, then an efficient central air conditioning maintenance schedule is also better for the environment, as well as your staff and customers.
10. The cost of a central air conditioning maintenance schedule might be important, but it’s important not to buy solely on cost. You’ll want to get the right level of cover and support for your system and your business. There’s no point in choosing the cheapest option, and knowing that it won’t be what you need if your air conditioning fails.
Now you know what to look for in a central air conditioning maintenance schedule. You should now be able to choose the right central air conditioning maintenance schedule contract, and have the coverage you need.
Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
Ductless air conditioning systems are considered the simplest alternative to render cooling or heating in our homes. This article talks about split ductless air conditioning systems.
An air conditioner is one home appliance that is considered a luxury by some, while others see it as a necessity. It’s need mostly depends on the climate and area of the particular region in question. A majority of people are not aware of what ductless air conditioning systems are, although these systems are considered to have several benefits over other standard systems. If you are looking forward to installing an air conditioner in your house, then you should at least understand the process of ductless air-conditioning. Ductless air conditioning systems, also known as split system air conditioners and mini split systems, are well known to provide comfort and quality living into your home.
What is Ductless Air Conditioning?
Ductless air conditioners are cooling systems which function without the utilization of central air duct systems. These systems comprise of a wall or ceiling-mounted blower to render air conditioning in a room. They are increasingly becoming a popular option over conventional air conditioners, and are used peculiarly in small apartments, sunporches, and houses that are built without the duct systems.
Components in Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
These systems comprise of two primary parts. The first one is a cooling component that is located inside the house, and the other one is the air compressor which is fixed on the outside of the house. Both the components are connected using a conduit which consists of a condensate drain, suction tubing, refrigerant tubing, and a power cord. These ACs come along with a remote control, and are incorporated with built-in timers which are put into use for setting the systems’ cycle.
Function of Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
These systems are designed and made with a pair of refrigerant lines which are present between both the systems’ inside and outside components. The first pair is responsible for providing electricity, whereas the second one removes water or condensate. This process maintains a flow of cool air from the compressor component to the cooling unit which delivers the cool air inside the room.
Capacity of Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
For an average home, three of these systems are more than enough to provide cooling to the complete house without the use of air ducts. You may utilize a particular system for cooling only one single room or the whole house. This is due to the fact that every separate unit is incorporated with a thermostat which allows you to set different temperature levels for separate rooms they are situated in. Moreover, their fan also provides variable speeds.
Installation Costs of Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
Depending upon how big your house is, the installation expenses for an entire system range from approximately $2000 to $7000 if you’re looking at ac repair in Port St. Lucie. Ductless air conditioning systems cost is about twice than that of installing a window system and around 30% more than a central system installation, if your home already has ducts. If your house does not have ducts or the space to install them, it is generally less costly to install a ductless air conditioning system than a central system.
Choosing the Appropriate System
It is most significant that you choose the right size of ductless system for the purpose of comfort as well as operating expenses. The aspects that need to be considered when choosing one of the correct sizes are square footage of the space to be covered by the system, type of lifestyle, number of people residing, climate, number and kinds of house windows, thickness of insulation in the walls, insulation in the attic, and many others.
Advantages of Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
These ductless systems provide a range of advantages over conventional air conditioners. Just because you do not require ductwork, they are simpler and cheaper to install. Moreover, they also take less space to be installed, as a result, they are able to fit in any space which others cannot fit into. The noisiest unit is the outside one, so these systems are generally quieter than their counterparts. Read more on portable air conditioners.
Due to the spot cooling facility provided by ductless air conditioning systems, they are mostly employed in rooms that have machinery and desktop computers, which require a certain level of temperature to be maintained. They are certainly known to maintain any kind of cooling desired.
PPA OLSHARGB Home Accent Multicolor LED LIghting Kit Review
Feel like sprucing up your home or kitchen lighting? You should definitely consider LED lights. These lights are low maintenance, have very low power draw, and produce almost no heat. They’re small, tough and last many times longer than a conventional light bulb. The PPA OLSHARGB home accent multicolor led lighting kit is an excellent option for anyone wanting to add energy efficient, attractive and covert lighting virtually anywhere in your house.
LED lights for homes are a great and environmentally friendly choice for any small lighting projects. The set that this review focuses on, in particular, is a versatile and easily installed item. You can get fantastic deals online, and the lights are easy to install once they arrive, being light, easy to attach to a surface and dead simple to operate.
This lens will take a close look at the Home Accent PPA OLSHARGB Multicolor LED lighting kit, talking about everything from installation and ease of use, to price points and how they can save you money. Hopefully this will give you an informed decision, and help you choose the best home accents led lights that are right for you and your home.
PPA International Home Accent Multicolor LED Lighting Kit
A Great Home Accent LED Light Kit with Multiple Color Settings. The product we’re reviewing today is the PPA OLSHARGB Home Accent multicolor led lighting kit, which is available for sale mostly from online retailers. It’s a neat product because it’s incredibly versatile, and even a dummy like me can install it with ease.
When it arrives, it comes basically in sets of light ‘strips’, which can be affixed to basically any surface you choose. The Home Accent LED Lighting Kit isn’t dependent on hanging a certain way, so you’re free to attach it upside down, on the side of a wall or surface, or underneath a counter, ledge or cabinet. They’re lightweight, so simple adhesives keep them firmly in place.
It’s really reasonably priced as LED home accent lighting technology goes. Typically with LED light bulbs, you pay a premium first and make it back with energy savings and durability over the long run. With this product, the price is low and it will last a long time. A bonus with this kit is that it comes with a compatible remote control with all the settings. This way you won’t be fiddling around under the cabinet for the right switch.
Easily installed in the home, attaches to the floor, walls or ceiling with a simple adhesive, will last for a long time and will help you realize huge savings on your electricity bill. You can install these in the bathroom, living room, kitchen, anywhere you need them. That’s the beauty of these lights.
This home LED Lighting Kit comes with some great features. Rather than make you read through the technical specifications, I’ve compiled the best features in this list. If I have left out any important details, please post a question in the comments section and I’ll try to answer it as soon as possible.
1. They Are Very Energy Efficient:
This particular kit takes advantage of the technological superiority of LEDs as compared to conventional incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs: https://www.architecturelab.net/architect-lamp/. This particular system has an extremely low power requirement. For every foot of lighting (they come in 1 foot strips), the kit uses only 1 – 5 watts of power. 1 watt if you’re using the dim setting, and 5 watts if you have it at the brightest setting. Compare that to your standard 40 or 60 watt incandescent bulb, and you’re using a fraction of the power.
2. Durable Construction, Long Lasting:
LED home accent lighting has another advantage over conventional bulbs in that it’s extremely strong. They stand up to punishment better, and the bulbs themselves last for a really long time. How many times have you dropped or broken a conventional light bulb?
You can expect around 50,000 hours of use for this particular system. Unlike a rigid bulb, these light strips are actually flexible, and the lights themselves are around the size of a grain of rice. That’s why they are putting LEDs in most modern computers, flashlights and now light bulbs.
3. Easy Installation:
No drilling or mounting required! These strips are so light, they can be attached with double-sided adhesive tape. The kit comes with a supply of tape to help with this. As said before, they are suitable on any surface, and can be used to illuminate any portion of your home, so be creative.
4. Remote Control:
The really nice thing about the PPA OLSHARGB Home Accent Multicolor LED Lighting Kit in particular is the remote control that comes with. It’s a lot better than having to plug it in every time you want some light, or fiddle around hunting for the on switch. The remote has 24 buttons, allowing you to control the light levels (dim to high), and colors, and there are even flash and fade controls for your partying ways!
Other Considerations With LED Home Accents Lights
There are some other things you should ponder before you choose a light kit like this. First, think about your installation process. Where do you want to install the lights, and how will that work? You should also consider how many strips you might need for your particular application, and take measurements beforehand.
The neat thing about these systems is that they are modular: new strips can be purchased (separately), and they fit together end to end. You can potentially rig up a bigger lighting system in your house without having to buy multiple kits, or operating many light switches.
You can also purchase extensions separately, with connector cables to run in between. This is something you should strongly consider if you’re, say, looking to add accent LED lights to your kitchen with under-cabinet installation. The two strips in this set might not be enough for a bigger project, so consider purchasing additional light strips (see below).
Home Accent also sells extension cables separately, so you’ll have some flexibility if you have a large space or some separation between light strips.
One thing to consider is, these lights are not decorated at all. I recommend you place them somewhere partially hidden. Believe me, they are plenty bright enough, even from beneath a counter or under a ledge!
Maintaining the landscaping on your property can be a bit of a nightmare if you don’t know what to do or how to do it. Let’s face it, to do the job correctly you need the right kind of tools and equipment. Plus, you need some basic knowledge of pruning and plant care. When we took on the responsibility of a house and a pool sitting on almost an acre of land, we had no idea how difficult it would be.
Difficult? Translate that into hard work frequently done during the hot days of summer. We didn’t know how to take care of our trees and shrubs, and we didn’t have the right kind of equipment. To top it off, we let it go too long before we took effective action. That said, we’ve learned a lot and love our home and property! I hope you will enjoy learning from our mistakes because our journey in landscape maintenance is still a work in progress. Enjoy my photos of our landscaping and home.
The First Year – Learn the Lay of the Land
Just before we moved into our new home, the previous owner took us through the property to show us what was there. I made notes so I could remember the names of shrubs and trees and their locations. I highly recommend this if possible.
We discovered there is a cherry tree, already quite large. There were two pear trees, a plum tree, and two apple trees, all producing more fruit than we knew what to do with. We also had several Rhododendrons, azaleas, burning bushes, lilac bushes, forsythia, and some I still can’t identify.
A large tree on the side yard is a Linden tree. The Linden flowers are used to brew a tea and are known for the medicinal properties. We also have very large spruce trees, several varieties of pine trees, maple trees, hemlock trees, and hickory trees.
The previous owners had put a lot of thought into the landscaping, and I hoped we would be able to keep it up.
We followed all the rules that first year. It was a time of discovery. Every season brought new joy as we watched each shrub unfold its beauty. It was so nice having a mature landscape, with everything in its place. It was truly delightful to discover some new plant or tree displaying its glory.
We performed the basics of cutting, mowing and weeding to keep things looking nice. For awhile, all was well. Drought conditions were in full swing when we moved in so it took some time for the landscape to recover. When the recovery period was over, plant life began to flourish.
That’s when we began to get ourselves into trouble.
Tips – Some Do’s and Don’ts
After living in several homes throughout my life, I’ve learned one crucial point about landscaping. What is it?
Don’t tear out, cut down, or uproot anything unless you know for sure what it is!
Unless you are a horticulture pro, it is best to leave the landscaping alone for the first year, with the exception of mowing and pulling weeds. If you don’t, you run the risk of destroying the landscaping.
Some of the dangers…
*Pruning at the wrong time of year can ruin the chances of spring blooms.
*Uprooting “weeds” that turn out to be the new spring bulbs and perennials.
*Digging in seemingly empty flower beds uproots bulbs and displaces perennials.
*Pruning improperly can ruin the lines of a beautiful tree or damage the tree.
Some good ideas on learning what’s growing in your yard…
*Walk your yard, every inch. Mowing is a good way to learn the lay of the land.
*Examine the plantings to see their condition and try to identify them.
*Check with neighbors to discover what’s growing in your yard.
*Go through the four seasons to see how your house looks before beginning new landscaping projects or making major changes.
A Selection of Common Landscaping Shrubs
This is a list of shrubs that make up our landscape. There are more, but I don’t know all the names. Some of these were familiar to me when we moved in. Others I have come to learn since our move many years ago.
Of course we all know the type of plantings in a yard depends on where you live. When we lived in Florida, we were introduced to a variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants we were unfamiliar with. Another new learning experience!
These listed here are common varieties of shrubs found in the United States. Before you plant, check with local nurseries to see what they’re selling or check a planting guide to see if these plants will thrive in your locale.
Identify by flower or leaf…
Forsythia blooms in the Spring on old growth, so don’t prune until after flowering.
Rhododendrons bloom profusely on old growth providing a showy plant for spring.
Snowball Bush blooms in late spring with loads of showy snowballs.
Honeysuckle is one of my favorites!
Weigela blooms in late spring or early summer. Hummingbirds love it!
Barberry is beautiful, but has thorns and grows out of control if not pruned.
Lilacs are so fragrant and pretty! Prune after blooming.
After all the hard work of maintaining shrubbery and trees, it is refreshing to have something simple to manage like flowers or groundcovers! I particularly enjoy some lovely perennials in my few flower beds. I even adore the blooming weeds! My rule is: “if it blooms, it can stay”. Otherwise it’s liable to get chopped down, dug up, or mowed. The photo here is of a groundcover called “vinca”.
Annuals usually find themselves nicely arranged in a lovely pot or not so lovely pot I can bring inside when the weather gets cold. I hate spending all that money on flowers that get killed at the first sign of cold. So I try to bring in as many as I can, placing them on boot trays so when I water them, they don’t leak all over the place. I am quite pleased that several have weathered the winter season quite nicely!
Columbines come in a variety of colors and reseed themselves each season.
Daylilies are hardy and multiply like crazy!
Bleeding hearts prefer some shade, and come back each season.
The white bleeding heart is rather rare I’ve been told.
Hostas are hardy, prefer shade, and have a tall lavender flower.
Dainty violas are favorites. These grow wild each spring forming a beautiful ground cover.
A lot of people have no idea what poison ivy looks like. In fact I was one of the blissfully ignorant until a neighbor came up to me one day and commented that I must not be allergic to poison ivy. I asked what did he mean because I didn’t know we even had poison ivy. He laughed and said my dogs were rolling in it frequently, then I was hugging them. He and his wife were extremely allergic so were amazed when I seemed unfazed.
That all changed when we moved into our home. We have tons of the stuff growing everywhere! It grows up the side of our spruce trees, pine trees, fruit trees, and along the ground mixed in with Virginia Creeper. Not only do we have poison ivy, but poison oak as well. You will know them by their three leaves. If a plant has a three leaf formation, assume the worst and don’t touch it.
I finally met my match a few years ago when I foolishly decided to prune back a rather large poison ivy vine i.e. shrub growing next to the house behind the rhododendron. I cut and sliced and DID NOT WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR. Since I had never had an allergic reaction, I assumed I never would. I ended up with a good case of poison ivy rash that just about drove me crazy with the itching!
So don’t touch the poison ivy unless you wear gloves and long sleeves, long pants, and shoes. Clean all tools and handles on carts etc., anything you touch while contaminated. I took this photo to help you make the identification!
Fruit Trees – Fruit AND Flowers!
We are fortunate to have several varieties of fruit trees on our property. They have produced well, and the blooms in the spring are sweet-smelling and beautiful! I’ve learned to dry the fruit, make jelly, and share with friends.
We have a large white cherry which faithfully produces a bounty of white cherries each year. These are a favorite of the local birds and squirrels, meaning we have to rush to get any before they do.
Another favorite is a pear tree. It is rather old, but produces the best pears. Unfortunately, we lost another variety of pear last year due to some sort of blight.
An Empire apple tree is next on the list. It too is very overgrown, but it produces a bounty of apples and beautiful blooms in the spring. We have removed some low growing branches to make mowing easier.
Fruit trees require regular pruning if you do it right. We have always had the philosophy of leaving well enough alone, which is our problem. One year my husband decided to prune one of our apple trees, but he pruned the branches from the middle. The idea was to encourage new growth. The next year the plan was to trim the sides.
Unfortunately, the snow settled heavily in the middle of the tree during the winter, causing it to split down the main trunk. In the spring it bloomed profusely and even had tiny apples starting to grow, but sadly there was no way to save it. We had to take it down.
We have made a practice of not spraying our trees, and suffered the consequences of pests, particularly ants. However we are pleased we do not have to worry about chemical contamination of our fruit.
So there you have it, a good starting tutorial on Landscaping Maintenance. I hope this personal account can help you a bit. If you still have more specific questions, feel free to ask.
Much like a bedroom redesign, a living room redesign instantly updates the look of the room giving it a better sense of being.
In other words, it reflects you and the lifestyle you want. Moreover, your living room, apart from a large functional kitchen, is probably used most often for entertaining.
Furniture stores make it easy by selling entire furniture “suites,” or living room furniture sets whose pieces complement each other while providing you with functional seating. This is especially helpful if you’re having a hard time making redesign decisions for your living room. Eclecticism, mixing and matching different pieces of furniture in different upholstery fabrics, beautifully expresses your casual but elegant sense of style. Buying pieces for an eclectic style takes time to put together, so it may not be the best choice for a quick living room redesign.
Refresh Your Living Room with an Inexpensive Redesign
Redesigning your living room is a pretty big undertaking. It’s often easiest, and a lot less expensive, to start by updating living room design accents like pillows, side tables and lamps before you tackle the big pieces of furniture. Painting your living room instantly refreshes the look of the space, and a dramatic change in wall color- from eggshell to red, for example, can give all of your old furniture new life.
Consider using beautiful vintage or vintage-inspired upholstered fabrics to instantly update the seats on your wooden accent chairs.
You only need a staple gun- and a steady hand- to completely change the look of your seating. Fabric slipcovers made of beautiful upholstery are more readily available today, and you can find inexpensive slipcovers online or in discount department stores. Slipcovers for sofas, loveseats and chairs are easy to remove and clean and instantly redesign your living room for very little expense.
Some popular living room design ideas to consider:
Functional and family-friendly: if the dining room is larger than the living room, switch them! More space, less chaos. Consider two-tone colors on the walls. If painted horizontally, use the darkest color on the bottom to ground the living space. Add a storage cabinet or ottoman to bring daily order;
Merging styles – comfort vs. sophisticated: Neutral color palettes, bring furniture closer in toward the middle of the room for more cozy feel. Remove TV from being focal point upon entering room. Dark furniture, brown neutral paints makes for soft, inviting conversation away from pressures of the day.
Get a professional carpet cleaning service to come in and give your rugs and carpets a deep cleaning. It’s a small expense that can really brighten a room as carpets get dingy and loose their “spark” with time.
Make the Most of Kitchen Design Trends
Over the years, kitchen design trends have adapted to the changing needs of working families. Dining rooms are less and less evident in new homes and have been replaced with larger functional kitchens and entertainment rooms, comments Dr. Ferdinand. A kitchen design trend that seems to be sticking is the return of the kitchen dining table and the breakfast nook. Building seating into a nook or creating an area in the kitchen for a table has become a desirable floor plan for families on the go which allows for the transformation of the real dining room into an entertainment room.
An enduring and practical kitchen design trend, antique butcher blocks and new kitchen islands provide additional counter and storage space, too. In recent years, the trend has been to design built-in kitchen islands to complement counters and cabinets, instead of matching them. A dark wood kitchen island in the middle of a kitchen with all-white cabinets really pops! Whatever you decide to do, don’t be a slave to kitchen design trends; read about them, soak in everything you can, and then choose what’s right for you and your family.
Some popular kitchen design ideas to consider:
Stuck in the 70’s and can’t get out: Replace funky colored cabinets with natural wood cabinets (maple wood?), stainless steel appliances (modern). If home is small, consider eliminating the wall between the kitchen and living room to create more visual space. A custom island with a breakfast bar creates warmth and invitation;
Cramped kitchens: Think function and fashion but how to do it? Natural wood cabinetry, neutral colored countertops (limestone?) stainless steel appliances, tile floors and a breakfast bar that connects the kitchen with the living room (consolidates space).
Modern bathrooms are designed to be a place to achieve serenity. There are many elements that are used in today’s bathroom design. Modern bathroom design uses a geometric pattern that stresses the straight line. Design ideas don’t waste any element for today’s bathroom; mirrors, space, window treatments, neutral tones and stainless steel all become a part of the retreat from life’s stress. Newer items are making their entrance into modern bathroom design. Features like television sets are becoming common features incorporated into interior design.
As a general rule, the latest design elements are built around a minimalist. It has elements that are elegant, but simple and very few colors are used in the design. The interior painting scheme will use some soft, muted colors and neutral tones such as black and white are definitely in. Surfaces are generally very smooth in appearance and there are not a lot of knickknacks. Toiletry items are neatly tucked away as there is absolutely no clutter.
Many of the fixtures and features will help establish the geometric design. Many times sinks and faucets are wall mounted. Ceramic and glass are some of the most popular choices for materials for bathroom plumbing features. Cabinets are designed to have a smooth appearance and usually have touch latches to avoid clutter and maintain the sleek look.
For bathroom heating, heated floor tiles are among one of the most popular choices. For flooring that does not incorporate the use of heated floor tiles, large travertine marble tiles or engineered hardwood are used frequently. Plush wool rugs or Persian rugs are used to decorate the floors in modern bathroom design.
Lighting fixtures in the modern bathroom are used to create a soft effect. Incandescent lights are used in the vanity area and skylights are used for adding natural light. Window treatments that do not draw attention are used as part of the minimalist design.
Interior Design Resources
There are several elements to consider when performing any kind of interior design project. Sometimes our best ideas can come from seeing or hearing about what kinds of interesting things others have done with their designs. Thanks to the latest web 2.0 platforms we can see a wide variety of different styles represented and use them to rejuvenate our own creativity. The posts that will be shared here all have to do with various elements of interior design.
Perhaps you will be able to find some ways to express yourself through various design elements. Most of us know quite a lot about painting the interior of our homes, but we know less about other options such as wallpapering. Some posts will help you determine the style that you want in a room; or how to achieve the desired mood. The possibilities are limitless and those are what will be presented through these posts.
Many times we can overlook the obvious. Perhaps you can gain some ideas on what to do with that unused space. Maybe it’s time to create a home theater. Find out how to start and who to call for help. Virtually anything that has to do with interior design will be posted here. Through social bookmarking you can share and discover various ideas for your next interior project.
Renewed Interest in Showers, Tubs
You’ll also find that luxury showers are also becoming an important feature in bathroom designs this year. A simple way to add this to your space without having to rip out all of the existing tile is to add a rain head shower. However, if you are already remodeling, you may want to install additional heads or other water sources.
Large, luxurious spa tubs are also a wanted feature in bathroom updates for 2019. As the economy improves, people are looking for ways to incorporate luxury into their home. Spa tubs add that sense of luxury and in recent years have become significantly more affordable, making them a must-have for the modern bathroom designs of today.
Bathroom window treatments are a large part of the bathroom design. Some decorators consider the windows to be the icing on the cake. They can help pull all the bathroom design elements together. There are several different types of stylish bathroom window treatments.
There are different types of shades that are complementary of modern bathroom design. Roman shades, woven shades and other types of shades made of fabric can provide privacy as well as texture and interest. Cellular shades are a very popular choice for NJ bathroom windows. They are specially designed using small honeycomb panels which can trap air. This unique feature makes them very popular for protecting the area from summer heat and winter cold.
Various types of curtains are also still popular choices in many bathrooms. Café curtains are short versions of drapes that only cover the bottom portions of the window while leaving the top part open. And top treatments are just the opposite; they cover the top and dress up the window. When they were first created they were designed to cover hardware used with draperies. But they have become a very popular window treatment.
Painting Your Bathroom
You would think that the smallest room in the house would be the easiest to decorate or paint. But choosing a great color scheme is just part of creating a refreshing or relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom. There are several aspects that must be considered when selecting paint colors for the bathroom.
Think about the lighting in the room. Is it bright, or dim? These can either one have varying effects on the colors used in the bathroom. Colors can also be selected that can make a dark room brighter and vice versa. A room that has little light can be painted a white, or other lighter color and can be brightened.
You will also want to think about the size of the bathroom. For bathrooms that are very small in size you will want to use paint colors that are light such as pastel shades. This can help create the illusion that the room is larger. You will also want to avoid a lot of dark colors, especially if there is not a significant source of natural light in the room.
The main thing is to determine what effect you hope to achieve and then do so in a well balanced way.
Best Bathroom Paint Colors
When homeowners decide on a bathroom remodeling project, they likely have bathroom painting on the top of the list of things to do. Many times they have a color scheme in mind and the interior paint colors are chosen to help pull the entire theme together. There are some colors that work better than others for this very important room.
Yellow is one of the best colors for a bathroom design. This is certainly one of the first colors that will be seen in the mornings and it can help you wake up. Using yellow for bathroom painting helps make the room very bright. It works very well when there is some natural light entering the room. The yellow will make the room have a fresh glow.
Shades of white are still great options for bathroom painting projects. These types of colors are very relaxing and calming. The neutral hues work very well with many different colors too. Using off-whites like cream can make colors like peach or green stand out.
Light blue or sages are among some of the cool colors that have a very relaxing effect. Sage blends well with lavenders and blues can work well many different colors as well.
Modern Bathroom Design Ideas
The latest in modern bathroom design will combine a minimalist, or industrial touch, with natural elements. The focus is on straight lines as well as materials that appear natural. Some of the most popular materials in bathroom design and remodeling are granite counter tops with stainless steel fixtures. Contemporary plumbing fixtures such as faucets and sinks are mounted directly to the wall. Some of the popular modern finishes like oil rubbed bronze or brushed steel are chosen for faucets.
One of the modern design techniques for bathroom flooring is to use over sized tile such as mosaic glass or marble. Tiles can be used all around the bathroom depending on the desired effect. Many modern interior designers use tile in the shower, the floor and even on the ceiling. Sometimes for additional effect, tiles that look like pebbles or rocks can be the perfect decoration.
The modern bathroom design is all about functionality, as well as being decorative and stylish. Larger bathrooms can add another sink in the vanity so that that grooming in the mornings goes much faster. Some NJ modern design incorporates a small TV into the décor. Separating the tub and shower in larger bathrooms is very popular. Free standing showers are enclosed using contemporary glass structures.
Types of Bathroom Cabinets
There are many different types of bathroom cabinets from which to choose. Many are very stylish and complementary of the bathroom design while also being functional and providing sufficient storage space for valuable bathroom items.
Which style and type of bathroom cabinet will work best for your bathroom design will depend on how much space is available and how much additional storage space is actually needed. For instance, for storing linens such as sheets, hand towels and bath towels a free standing cabinet might be the right choice. Space saving models that fit snugly over the toilet is an option for smaller bathroom designs where there is limited space to work with.
There are also several types of wall cabinets that do not require any floor space at all. These can be very complimentary of the bathroom’s interior design.
The various types of bathroom cabinets used also have many modern design options available. Many have hinged doors that will latch to keep objects safely tucked inside. Other units have glass doors to add a touch of elegance to this all important room. And many have open shelving units with the contents displayed for easy access and use.
Designing a Small Bathroom
Choosing a good bathroom design can be quite a challenge when it is a very small room. Some worry that when it is a small space there will not be many interesting interior design options. This is not true at all. While there are a few minor limitations because it is a very small space, there are plenty of modern design elements that can be used to make a simply intriguing bathroom design.
When you choose the color scheme for the bathroom’s interior design, use light colors with soft patterns. Using bold patterns and dark colors can be very overwhelming in a very small space. Choose a couple of softer colors to build your color scheme around.
Try to put all the bathroom plumbing along one wall. If it is at all possible try to put the sink, toilet and shower or bath head plumbing on the same wall. This will give you more walking space in the bathroom. Also make sure that the shower or tub, if there’s room, is placed at the furthest end of the bathroom.
If it is possible place a bathroom window above the tub on the outside wall. This will allow some extra light into the bathroom so that the space will not be as dark.
The Most Important Room in the House
There may be some argument as to which is the most important room in the house. Many may say that the kitchen is; but when it is all said and done, the bathroom is the only room in the house that every single resident and visitor will visit on a daily basis. This is the only room in a home that must function properly. When the kitchen is not working properly it is a major inconvenience; but it is more than just a major disruption when there is any sort of bathroom plumbing malfunction. This is why bathroom design is so important for this small, yet important room of any house.
It is important to include a modern design that helps create a comfortable atmosphere for those who frequent this room. Each part of this room will have to do its part to make sure the room is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. New Jersey bathroom plumbing fixtures must be complementary of the interior design as well as functioning properly.
There are many features that help keep this important room functioning properly. There needs to be storage available to hold toiletries and other items that are used on a daily basis. Bath and face towels should be stored in an easy to reach place for convenient use.
Bathroom Remodeling Tips
There are some cost effective ways to complete a bathroom remodeling project. This is the perfect time to take a look at what needs to be changed with bathroom plumbing, bathroom windows and changing up the bathroom design.
Bathrooms are pretty small in general with most of them being 250 square feet or less. But this does not lessen the importance of proper planning and choosing an effective bathroom design to start with. For instance, if the toilet is installed and then you decide it needs to move 2 feet to the right you are talking about another major bathroom plumbing project. Take your time when thinking about bathroom design and decide what you want and where you want it before you begin the bathroom remodeling project.
There are also some simple ways to save money. If something can be repaired rather than replaced you may be talking about quite a large amount of savings. Also, if you can keep things like a shower, bathtub or toilet in the same place while making improvements you can be money ahead. As an example, a bathtub can be refinished rather than replaced.
Some items are nice, but not necessary. Marble floors, granite counters and designer paint can be replaced with more affordable, but still attractive features that are complementary of the overall bathroom design.
Bathroom Design for Girls
Bathroom designs for girls do not have to be elaborate to meet the feminine interior design needs. It can be as simple as choosing a theme that will reflect her personality. Using a simple color scheme along with a few decorative items can be all that is needed to have a very acceptable modern bathroom design. Try to use an interior design theme that can stand up as girls mature through the years.
There are lots of different color schemes that can be very complementary for bathroom painting for girls. Pinks with browns or dark green coupled with lavender can be used for interior painting projects. For a more feminine bathroom design use a splash of soft pin or purple on the walls. For a less feminine approach to bathroom designs for girls, try something like a garden theme and incorporate fresh flowers. Ladybugs or butterflies can yield a feminine environment without being too overwhelming.
Use matching, color coordinated shower curtains, towels and bathmats for decorating. Various types of bathroom window treatments can be very complementary in this type of bathroom design. Colored shades or blinds can add the right touch. Or frilly, curtains can be used tastefully.
Bathroom Design for Men
Keeping things simple and avoiding frilly decorations are the two main ideas behind men’s bathroom design. The idea is to create an area that exudes manliness and strength. To achieve these two objectives it will take the perfect color combination. The right shades of blue or green can work great for interior painting in the bathroom. Brown or gray make great masculine colors and some shades of green work. Beige or tan makes good complimentary neutral colors.
It’s okay to build the bathroom design around a theme such as oceans, lighthouses or just some basic geometric patterns. Just using the right color combinations can be enough to make the room look masculine and well kept. Interior painting can be done in a neutral tan or beige and masculine colors like brown, black or navy blue used for accessories such as towels, the shower curtain or rugs.
When it comes to window treatment frilly curtains are not the best option for window treatments. Wooden shutters would work well; and so would roman shades or mini-blinds. Depending on the design it might be best to just replace the window with frosted glass. The window treatment will depend mostly on the theme and color scheme of the masculine bathroom.
Before you buy fine furniture, take the time to do some research.
Consider the space that you have available in the rooms you are furnishing. Have a tape measure handy and a list of the measurements that you want for each piece of furniture while you’re shopping. In addition, think about doorways, stairwells, the availability of elevators and balconies for moving furniture into your home. An oversized mattress box spring might need to be “split,” or cut in half, by the store. An oversized couch may not be an option unless you have an oversized door!
If you’re buying for a home office, look for fine furniture that’s well-built, ergonomically designed and suited to your work needs. If you’re buying furniture for your home, look for comfort, durability and solid construction. Make sure to ask about available days and times for delivery before you make your purchase; you might get your furniture delivered more quickly you include it in the deal. And, find out how long it will take to complete customized design or alterations. Many companies will customize orders from swatches or even photographs.
Before You Buy Fine Furniture: Comparing Furniture Prices and Alternatives
Before remodeling your entire home with all new furniture, there are a few things that you should consider. Keep in mind that furniture financing options may make a difference in how much you spend. You may have a year or more to pay off a large piece of real wood furniture or a furniture set. But stick to your furniture budget regardless of available financing options. It’s all too easy to fall in love when you’re buying fine furniture and very easy to fall for “no payments for 5 years” rhetoric; in the end, you always pay, either through higher prices or higher interest rates. Set your emotions aside and don’t overextend yourself. Even if you’ve found the “perfect” furniture set, comparing prices at other stores or websites may yield a better deal or at least grant you leverage in negotiations.
Compare Furniture Prices Before You Buy
Compare prices for furniture online and in stores before you buy. And, ask friends, family members and business colleagues for their recommendations about where to buy furniture. Questions to ask might include: Do you feel like you got the best deal when you bought your real wood furniture? Where the retailers service-minded or did they forget about you after you wrote the check? Did you compare prices for similar pieces of furniture with other retailers? You might unearth some issues that you hadn’t contemplated that will help you make a more informed furniture purchase.
More Ways to Get the Best Prices on Furniture
June and July are traditionally the months when indoor furniture goes on sale. Conversely, compare prices for patio furniture in the summer and winter and you’ll quickly find that costs are cut in the winter months. You can avoid middlemen when you buy furniture directly from a manufacturer, such as www.firstathome.com. You’ll get the benefit of the manufacturer’s low overhead costs and the highest quality furniture at rock bottom prices. Buying unfinished wood furniture is also another alternative to saving money for a quality piece. You’ll have to seal, stain or paint the wood yourself but sweat equity costs nothing.
Alternatives to Consider When Comparing Furniture Prices
Consider the pros and cons of buying used furniture made of real wood. You may get a better deal by buying used furniture as long as you can live without a warranty. Outlet malls sometimes have great deals on real wood furniture, especially in January and July. Be aware that the furniture for sale in an outlet mall may have been returned, so carefully check it over for any defects and ask the salespeople if they know the history of the piece.
Wheeling and Dealing Your Way to Better Prices on Real Wood Furniture
Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price when you’re thinking about spending a lot of money on real wood furniture in one store. Furniture stores often offer on-the-spot discounts, especially at the end of the month when they need to make their sales quotas. Make sure to clarify that you still want to finance the furniture for same as cash or zero percent financing regardless of the deal.
If you buy furniture online, ask about financing options before you make your purchase. Make sure that you understand and agree with all shipping and handling costs, including costs to return the furniture if necessary.
When You’re Ready to Buy Fine Furniture: Finding the Right Retailer
Make sure you find a reputable furniture retailer when you’re ready to buy. Find a furniture company that produces each piece of real wood furniture in their own factory warehouse. They’re very knowledgeable about the furniture they create, they use superior craftsmanship in their designs and they can offer great deals by selling directly to you.
You should only work with furniture companies that provide top-notch customer service. You’ll get a feel for this quickly when you call to compare prices on furniture. Look for furniture retailers who employ helpful, friendly, informed salespeople and customer service representatives.
Research Your Furniture Retailer to Find Out More
Research a furniture retailer’s reputation before you buy. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if any reports have been filed against the company. Online message boards, customer testimonials and recommendations from friends and family can also tell you a lot about a company’s reputation. And if you’re buying real wood furniture online, look for indications that the website is secure. This should be clearly indicated on the furniture company’s website.
Furniture Return Policies, Warranties and Guarantees
Find out what sort of warranties and guarantee a furniture company offers before you buy. Make sure the furniture warranty and the guarantee suit your specific needs and address your unique concerns. You should be able to return furniture or get a replacement if it arrives with any sort of defect. Look for lenient return policies that allow you to return the furniture if it wasn’t what you wanted. Note that custom made pieces and sale items may not be returnable. Finally, keep all of your receipts from your furniture purchase; you may need them in the event of a return or for the warranty.
Yeah, I get that you know what a roof most likely is, but do you really know all the terminology and different sorts that are around? After all, a roof is a very large design aspect of any house. And lets face it, some roofs are amazing while others can be a real eye sore. So especially if you’re building your home from scratch, it’s really important to understand how different roofing styles can impact the overall design of your home‘s exterior.
A roof is a structure found on the upper of buildings. It’s shape can vary, from a steep V shaped gable, to flat, to semi-spherical to abstract. The most common roofs found worldwide, however, are gabled, as they are the cheapest to build and most effective at repelling rain.
Roofs are one of the most important constructions know to human beings. They protect us (and our possessions) from wind, rain, snow and hail, and keep heat in our houses when it’s cold outside. They have been used and built for millenia by humans (and indeed some animals) all over the world.
Roofs often have three layers: the innermost layer is the frame, commonly constructed from wood or metal. This provides support for the surface of the roof. Next is an insulation layer, commonly of waterproof material, to act as a seal between the inner and outer layers of a roof (although some older building may not have this layer). Finally, the outer layer is the layer to which the elements are exposed, common materials for this include slate, tiles, sheet metal (commonly lead, corrugated iron or copper) or, in older buildings, thatch.
Styles of roofs
Roofs can be found worldwide in many different styles, some of which are listed here…
The classic upside-down V shaped roof, found on many buildings worldwide. In more complicated forms, gabled roofs can have more gables protruding out of the main gable, commonly with a window on them. The Dutch gable is also a famous piece of architecture, where a protruding gable has an ornate shape around it. A crow-stepped gable featues the “stairs” up the side of each gable found commonly in northern Europe. Gabled roofs are cheap and easy to build, structurally reliable, and are great for shedding rain and weather. Gabled roofs also use the simplest roof trusses.
Outshot and Lean-to Roofs:
A lean to roof is the roof of an “extension” style roof sloping down from the main building on to a protruding sub room. If the roof slopes directly from the roof of a main building onto the lean-to roof, it can be described as having a “catslide”.
Hip roofs are commonly found on bungalows or other small structures, and are extremely common in America as part of the classic “4-square” style.. They are similar to simple gabled roofs except that the two would-be vertical sides of the building are tilted inwards. On square buildings, they are tilted inwards so far that the roofs represents a four-sided pyramid, sometimes referred to as a pyramidal roof. Hip roofs have great advantage over gabled roofs as they require much less bracing against the wind, they are in fact self bracing. The fact that they are far more streamlined only enhances this effect. A downside of a hip roof is the restricted attic space.
Of French origin, a Mansard roof has two gradients on it: an initial shallow gradient, and then an immediate change to a steeper gradient towards the end of the roof. However, a Mansard roof may sometimes have a flat top as the first gradient, then a steep gradient around the edges, resulting in an upside-down tray shape to the roof. The mansard style was popularized in France in the 1600s, and then gained extreme popularity in America, with many iconic houses and buildings boasting a mansard roof. These sorts of roofs are perfect for a roof restoration as they are expensive to build and are not often found in newer homes.
As a gabled roof, but with the two longest sides in a mansard style.
The distinctive flat roofs found in warmer, dryer areas of the world, where the need to shed rain is at a minimum. Classic flat Roofed cities include Jerusalem. Flat roofed homes can, however, become extremely hot in sunny weather, some methods to induce cooling of the house include covering with thin sheets of asbestos, and pouring water over the roof. Special sun-reflective paints are also available, roofs coated with such are known as ‘cool roofs’.
Roof Truss Design
The shape of the roof is most houses all depends on the shape and style of the Roof Truss Design. A roof truss provides support and stability to the roof and evenly distributes the weight of the roof away from the exterior walls.
A Roof Truss is generally made of wood for residential use and steel in commercial use. They are generally triangular in shape because this provides the best stability and support. There is no other shape that can withstand the same amount of tension or compression load.
If you are building your home from scratch and are in the process of deciding what style of roof to have, you should take careful consideration in your decision. A Roof Truss should definitely not be chosen on looks alone as there are more important factors that need to be considered such as; the stresses that the building may encounter, the size of the open plan and weather conditions.
The majority of home builders order roof trusses from Roof Truss Manufacturers because is very labor intensive, so it is generally a lot cheaper and more time consuming to order prefabricated roof trusses. Sometimes the roof truss may have to be built on site if delivery is a problem or the design is a specific type or size that is not readily available.
Creating a Roof Truss Design
The start of a Roof Truss Design starts with a sketch which in normally done by an architect. The sketch of the ceiling is drafted first then the roof truss is drawn in showing how the truss will support the walls and roof of the structure that is to be supported.
Feature Roof Trusses
Feature trusses also referred to as Oak Trusses or Bolted Trusses can add a beautiful feature to any room. They are generally hand crafted and add an outstanding centerpiece to new or existing homes. They are extremely aesthetically pleasing and can create open and spacious feeling to any room and they can be designed to suit architectural character of the property.
So there you have it, a quick introduction to the different style roofs. So which one is your favorite?
This particular question opens up a huge can of worms for professionals in the industry and their clients. What many salesman want to say is, “YES! How quickly would you like them installed and will you be paying with Cash or Credit Card?” But, in all honesty, rarely are people ever that upfront about how they view your business. Here is where we often see a huge difference in expectations from the perspectives of the consumer versus the mindset of the retailer or Window Coverings Professional.
The Consumer mindset –
I just moved into my new house. I finally closed the loan, the real estate agent is calling me seven times a day, I have to think about landscaping, remodeling that downstairs bathroom, work is hectic and, realistically, about a hundred other things are pressing down on me. On top of this, I really don’t want to walk around my house and let the neighbors possibly see me naked; I NEED WINDOW COVERINGS.
At least this shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ll check out the “big box” home improvement stores, and maybe a low cost window covering specialty store as well and see if I can find some cordless top down bottom up cellular shades on discount. I want to get a fair price so I’ll call at least two places, and maybe three. I will tell them I need some blinds, and let them take care of it from there. If the installation costs aren’t too much I might even have the store install them for me.
For consumers, the bottom line is often being too busy and unsure of the best way to get window coverings.
The Retailer mindset –
I REALLY NEED TO MAKE SOME SALES. The store has been slow lately and I have mouths to feed, I hope we get calls and the opportunity to get some people a quote. When people call, I know they are usually price shopping so I have to give them the lowest possible price and outbid my competition.
I wish I had better training on all the options available to customers, but my boss keeps pushing these one particular blinds because, as he says, this product provides the customer with a good price and it is one of the best profit margins in the store. OK, I need to review what it is I’m supposed to say…Hmmm, ”I can get you a quote on some blinds right away. Please give me your sizes and I’ll have a quote ready for you in a day or two.” I just have to send the measuring guy over there and he will hopefully get those numbers to me soon so that I will have time to do the bid. It might be nice to actually meet a customer someday.
For retailers, everything is usually sales driven as volume is the key to their pricing (and their business).
The Window Coverings Industry Professional mindset –
“I know the woman who left me a message this morning is very busy but I want to make sure that I help her get exactly what she really needs. I’ll return her phone call and discuss a little about what she’s looking for and set up an appointment to see the areas in which she’s having problems. I know the woman said she wants blinds but so often customers ask for a particular window treatment solution and change their minds when I can explain to them and show them that what they’re asking for won’t do the things that they want.
It’s important for me to give everyone a personal consultation and ensure I help my customers get solutions to their problems, not just a product with the most features or benefits. After all, what good are all those features and benefits if the product doesn’t do what the customer wants? I enjoy helping people, and I hope this woman lets me do what I enjoy. She may feel overwhelmed, but I know I’ve been trained well, I’ve worked in this industry for many years and with just a brief initial visit I will be able to provide her with the perfect solutions for her specific problems. If only people knew that we can provide superior service along with great quality products at very competitive prices they would be shocked!”
For industry professionals, the bottom Line is relationships, and personal service is the key.
In a perfect world, we all try to come together with other people and relationships to make sure that we get what we need.
Take a good marriage for example. Both sides need to listen to the others opinion and work hard to satisfy the other’s needs.
Usually when a person feels valued, they are willing to do the same for you. In business, it is no different. A professional should only be thinking about how to make the customer happy. There needs to be a great deal of communication about your specific desires and needs for your home. They will, in turn, find the products and solutions that are best “married” to you. Remember, the industry professional hopes to have you for a client for many years, and hopes that you will refer him or her to your friends. So, think long term and hire a professional to assist you with your project. It may take a little more time but you are sure to have a better experience and your choices will give you the exact solutions you were looking for.