Carbonized Bamboo Flooring

Carbonized bamboo flooring is a type of flooring with carbonized finishing, offering a dark amber shade on the surface similar to the color of young teak. Usually, bamboo flooring is available in two colors: natural and carbonized or caramelized.

Carbonized bamboo flooring is obtained through a process called carbonization. The longer the process, the darker the bamboo flooring will be. Dark color on the bamboo flooring is acquired when bamboo undergoes pressure heating, which is a part of the process. During pressure heating, the sugar contents in the fiber darken and attain a coffee-colored tone on the surface. However, this pressurized heating might weaken the bamboo flooring from 20% to 30%.

If the freshly cut bamboo strips are carbonized within two hours and are not exposed to treatment with boiling water, the flooring gains 8% more hardness. Boiling water treatment is, however, used in the normal carbonization process.

Carbonized bamboo flooring is available in two varieties: vertical carbonized bamboo flooring and horizontal carbonized bamboo flooring. The difference lies in the alignment of the bamboo strips.

Carbonized bamboo flooring is not used in places with heavy traffic such as shopping complexes or office buildings. This type of flooring is best suited for use in residential buildings. Mishandling of this flooring can cause scratches and denting on the surface. Proper and timely maintenance is required for carbonized bamboo flooring.

The finish applied to the surface has to be durable and capable of protecting the flooring from scratches and other damages. All edges are to be sealed so that moisture content does not accumulate beneath the flooring. It is ideal if the room moisture level can be maintained using a dehumidifier or humidifier.

Rates for installation of carbonized bamboo flooring are similar to that of common hardwood floors but will vary from one region to another.

Government Insulation Grants – How To Apply

An idiot’s guide to applying for Government insulation grants in the UK.

Government grants for free loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are again available in England, Scotland and Wales as many homes in the UK still fall short of the required levels of loft and wall insulation.

A new Government home energy grant scheme which provides financial help to install energy saving measures including roof / loft insulation and cavity wall insulation is being funded by the major energy companies (British Gas, NPower, Eon, SSE, EDF & Scottish Power).

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) has been designed to save energy and help to meet the rising cost of domestic gas and electric bills.

Roof & Loft Grants

Around 25% of the heat generated by your heating escapes through your attic and out through your roof. Loft insulation is a man-made fiber which is placed between and over the joists in your loft or attic.

This prevents heat escaping from your home, which stays warm for longer. This means a reduction indomestic energy bills as it costs less to heat your home as your central heating or fire can be on for less time or set at a lower level.

Benefits of insulating your home

Insulating your roof and walls in can save around £500 per year on domestic heating bills. (These are estimated figures based on insulating a gas-heated, detached home with three bedrooms.) Energy Savings Trust.

Home Insulation Grants

Why Install Loft Insulation?

With no loft insulation 25% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, and around 35% escapes through the outer walls. This means that a huge percentage of your heating costs are unnecessary.

Loft insulation stops heat escaping

This means you spend less heating your home. By taking simple yet effective steps such as installing Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation you can save £100′s each year on unnecessarily high fuel bills. You will also be helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

Loft Insulation FAQ’s

In most cases installers take less than two hours to complete the installation, depending on the amount of loft insulation needed. The current recommended level for most roofs and buildings is 270mm (11 Inches).

Applying for a Government insulation grant?

The process for claiming free home energy grant is quite simple. Leave a few details about your home and heating etc. This will only take a few minutes. You will then be contacted by a Home Energy Grant Assessor who will arrange a time to visit you and discuss the grants which are available to you

Loft or cavity wall Survey

If you qualify for free Government insulation the verified Energy Grant Assessor will contact you, usually within 24 hours, to arrange a quick visit to your home. He /She will check a few things like the depth of any existing loft insulation if you have any.

Should you require cavity wall insulation he will check inside your walls to see if your walls are already insulated.

The next stage is to fill in a few details on a Government grant application form. The Surveyor will advise you on this. It is a straightforward form and you are only asked to provide a few details including some information about your home and your energy supplier etc.

You should have any verification documents ready. You will be told what you need during the initial telephone conversation when the home insulation survey is arranged.

What Are the Appropriate Plants for My Landscape

If you’re seriously interested in learning about lanscaping, you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about lanscaping.

Exploring nature is a rejuvenating experience. However, exploring the forest may not fit into the daily schedule. Why not bring nature right into your courtyard?

Landscaping Options

Landscaping brings nature closer to home. It includes many elements: the area, design, weather and others. The over all look depends on the owner’s taste. Some want the effect of water (pools, waterfalls, etc.) and some like rocks, stones, etc.

To create a very natural feel, you must use plants. They are most helpful in creating the total effect of the landscape. It should not be just any plant; it should be the most appropriate plant for the area and climate.

Best Choice of Plants for the Landscape

1. Groundcovers

These plants are indispensable to a landscape as they can serve as backdrops for trees, shrubs, etc. There are many types of groundcovers to choose from.

Sun-Loving

Sunny areas are considered problematic. Many plants do not like direct sunlight. Juniper groundcovers and hardy perennials are very helpful in resolving this problem.

Shade

These plants cannot stand the heat of direct sunlight. They should be used in areas that are not exposed to the sun except for short periods of time. Most of the shade-loving plants are low-growing or mid-sized.

So far, we’ve uncovered some interesting facts about lanscaping. You may decide that the following information is even more interesting.

“Attractive”

Many flowering plants attract birds, butterflies, bees, etc. It is important to choose plants that grow pollens. Plants like bee balm, holly hock and red columbine attract hummingbirds.

Aroma

The garden can be made aromatic by using foliage plants. The lavender perennial plant’s flowers provide therapeutic scent. At the same time, it serves as a beautiful border.

2. Wet Plants

Some landscapes come with wet areas like artificial ponds or waterfalls. To avoid leaving it bare, plants that thrive in wet soils are used to give beauty and natural effect.

3. Repellent Plants

More than coming up with a good landscape, it is also necessary to maintain it and keep it free from intruders. Some plants are able to repel pests like the deer. Some ornamental grasses and flowers are used for deer control.

4. Grasses

These are also helpful in the garden. There are varying kinds of grasses, the ornamental type and the functional ones.

Functional grasses are those that are used in the background. Lawn grass is an example. It serves as an outdoor carpet.

Ornamental grasses appeal more to aesthetics. They are used for decoration and for landscaping just like flowers. These can be mixed with trees and shrubs or can stand alone.

Plants are beautiful, but the appropriate ones in a certain design must be selected and properly situated. They must thrive and be able to serve their purpose. This is the only key to bringing nature closer to the home.

This article’s coverage of the information is as complete as it can be today. But you should always leave open the possibility that future research could uncover new facts.

College Students And Self Storage

If you are a college student, you might have acquired lots of stuff. You will face the problem of managing this stuff during the semester breaks, if you happen to live in an apartment which is away from your parent’s home. The break could be from a few weeks to several months. You need to carry your belongings all the way to your home by your car or by some other way. Moving your stuff like this is not always a perfect solution. Some stuff may not be welcome or you may not have enough space to accommodate all that stuff at your home.

The solution is, storing your stuff in a self storage. You can rent a storage unit at a self storage facility to store your belongings. The unit that you rent will be exclusive to you and no body else will enter it without your permission. You can keep your belongings in it during the break. Different sizes of storage units and different storage plans are generally provided by the storage companies. You can choose the best unit size that would suit your needs. If you are not sure of what size of unit to rent, you can always take the advice of the storage staff.

Your belongings will be very safe at the self storage. Most of the storage facilities have installed 24 hour video surveillance systems. Who ever comes in and who ever goes out will be recorded. Some facilities use normal locks while some provide sophisticated keypad controlled access. Individual door alarms are used for extra security. In addition to these, men on guard, gates and fences are also provided.

If you choose a self storage that offers wide range of different sized units, you can pay only for the space that you need. It is always better to choose a facility that is well connected by roads. It would be even better if the facility is close to your college.

If you know the duration and what you will be storing, you may pay a little advance and reserve a unit for you. You may get early bird discount if you plan in advance. The storage units near the campus may fill up quickly. So, plan in advance.

To pack up your belongings, you will need boxes. Find out if your storage facility provides boxes.

Some storage companies provide pick up and delivery service also.

Do not keep too many things in one box. It will be difficult to carry such heavily loaded boxes.

Some items like toxic material, inflammable products, pets, plants, food etc are not allowed by the storage companies. You need to remove batteries from the electronic gadgets to avoid leakages.

Make a note of what you packed in each box. Pack related stuff together.

Tips on Finding the Right Home Water Filter

Installing a home water filter system is a wise decision. Water is used for drinking, cooking and bathing so when it comes with poor quality, it can make all family members sick. When homeowners look after the quality of water in their home, they also make sure they watch over the health of their family.

These systems cause changes in several liquid properties such as color, taste, odor, turbidity and iron content. A simple filter can easily change chemical-filled water but it can be challenging to find the right product that best fits a particular household’s needs.

When it comes to water systems, the “one size fits all” approach does not work since customers have their own issues.

Tips for Deciding on the Right In-Home Water Treatment System

Before buying a filter, identify water issues.

It is easy for a free water test to identify filter issues and their severity. It can detect problems such as acidity, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide gas and iron, to name a few. As soon as the water test results are released, homeowners should think of the important factors.

When it comes to deciding on a water filter, is it important to have a pH balanced water supply? If that is the case, they should buy a product that addresses this issue. If their biggest problem is about reducing the amount of chlorine, they should invest in a model that is capable of removing chlorine.

A lot of filters can address a multitude of problems and they can ask help from their water filtration company to find a system that best suits their needs.

Indoor or Outdoor Household Water Filters

When a home is built, it is usually difficult and more costly to have a water filter installed for water supply in the indoors and outdoors. Indoor filter installation is simpler and more cost efficient. If they are more concerned about filtering water indoors, the chosen water filtration company should focus only on systems for indoor use.

If they also like to filter the water outside to enhance landscaping or make sure that their kids’ water toys do not spread germs or catch harmful chemicals, their water filtration company can find the best system for the indoors as well as outdoors.

Determine the Flow Rate

Just like water softeners and heaters, it can help to know the amount of water that a household uses per day. Regarding all water filter systems for household use, a person who lives by himself is likely to use less water than a family with four members.

Thinking about the technology and size of the water system will allow them to save on expenses and water on the long-term. Following the above mentioned tips will provide the right water filter for the family, which would lead to better tasting water, a better home and better health.

Bathroom Wall Cabinet Choices

When you want a bathroom that is decorative, beautiful, and simplistic, you want appliances for that bathroom that reflect the most functional beauty they can reflect. This is not always a simplistic task, but there are some ways that are easier to accomplish this goal than others. For example, a bathroom wall cabinet is a great way to have added beauty and functionality to any bathroom. However, since it is not always the easiest of appliances to replace, many people do not think about this as a home décor option.

A bathroom wall cabinet is usually built into a wall, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, these cabinets hang from the wall via a mounting system you or the previous people installed. You have a lot of choices to choose from either way, but it is significantly easier to work with one that is mounted on the outside of the wall and not built in as may be the case. Go ahead, find out if you have an inny or an outy.

Well, now that you know there are a few ways to proceed. We can go ahead and discuss options, or you can change your mind and not continue with your considerations. I will continue because I am interested in what my options are at this point. Well, first I can choose one with mirrors or with no mirrors. There is a lot of material that can be on the front of these bathroom wall cabinets besides mirror. Glass is a good example. Once I have decided glass, then I must ask myself whether I want an foggy glass or a clear glass; then I must consider etched or not etched.

There are other popular options considered with a bathroom wall cabinet. I like a triple door cabinet, but some people prefer one or two doors on their cabinetry. The choice is one of convenience and style. There is literally no wrong choice with this portion of the decision. Actually, there is never a wrong choice. Whatever you want, you can have.

There are usually a large array of bathroom wall cabinets at the local home improvement store as well as with many retail chains. The only limit is your imagination because even if you cannot find what you are looking for locally, you can search via the Internet. The Internet leaves a whole new shopping world at your fingertips. However, many companies will charge extra for heavy and bulky items. Make sure you understand the complete fee associated with the bathroom wall cabinet before you buy it on the Internet.

If all else fails, you can create your own. However, I am not that adventurous or brave. I choose to shop the Internet for a style that pleases me, then I shop the local market for my needs. This is not always an option and should be handled with caution. I have a tendency to spend a lot more than what I would spend on a bathroom wall cabinet when I go window shopping.

A bathroom wall cabinet is a great addition to any bathroom. However, you must proceed with caution or you will get more than you bargain for. In addition, there are so many choices that you must be prepared. A smart shopper is a happy shopper!

Renovation Rules to Follow

I once heard someone describe renovating like falling in love. When you first begin, everything is new and exciting and nothing can tarnish the dreams you have for the future. But as reality sets in, the money starts flowing out, the dust starts to fly, and you can’t find anything in the mess that is your home, the dream starts to tarnish. Help avoid renovation regret by following these basic rules.

The excitement of seeing your new home being built can be heady. But stress can ruin the experience of watching it come together.

Know your Space

Before you start gutting and changing things, live in your space to better understand how best you want – and need – it to function.

Prioritize

What will be most important for you about the newly renovated space? Extra space? More functional layout? Better storage? Something else entirely? Keep the end in sight and focus on that when allocating your budget.

Do it Right

Find out what you need in terms of permits and get them before you begin. Be sure to schedule inspections along the way to prevent having to tear out work when the inspector arrives.

DIY or Professional?

Do you have the skill and the time it will take to complete the work? Asking for help may save you significant time, money, and stress in the long-term. But before you sign on the dotted line, do your research. Ask for proof of insurance and, in Ontario, Canada, WSIB coverage. For some trades, such as plumbers and electricians, you also want to be sure they have a license.

Put it in Writing

Communicate with all members of your team to ensure you’re on the same page. Put details in writing and have a signed agreement with all professionals hired. Include a clause that stipulates the final payment will not be issued until after final inspection and satisfaction with the completed work.

Map it Out

Consider taping out your plans onto the floor. If you want a kitchen island but cannot move around the space without stepping on the taped island, reconsider your plans before you spend the money.

Scales drawings are essential! I also highly recommend 3D renderings to get a better sense for the flow of the space pre-build.

Create a Scaled Floor Plan

Have you ever heard the expression “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs?” The same thing often happens with our homes since pieces on display in giant showrooms often appear smaller than they truly are. Creating a floor plan that maps out everything – furniture, cabinets, lighting, etc. – will create a truer sense of what will fit. Consider hiring a design professional to help you with this and ask for 3D renderings to be included in the package.

Measure Everything. At Least Twice

There’s nothing worse than waiting weeks for a new purchase to arrive only to find out upon delivery it will not fit down the stairs or through a doorway. Measure carefully. And then measure again.

Be Inspired

Whether you browse magazines or use online sources such as Pinterest, Houzz, or Cultivate, create a design file. What do you love? What do you hate? Creating one source makes it easy to make decisions and move forward.

Create a Wish List

While drawing inspiration, create a wish list of what you want. Have you seen the perfect area rug? Do you know what appliances you want for the new kitchen? Research styles and prices and create your dream list. Just try to keep some realism to the dream.

It’s All in the Details

Renovations and builds are a lot more work than many think. There’s more to do than just select paint colours and finishes when creating a functional space. Expediting orders and managing contractors can be a full time job in and of itself.

Stick to the Scope

Scope creep – the addition of tasks to the original project plan – are a double edged sword. It will be cheaper to expand door openings while the contractors are still there and before they’ve laid the flooring and installed the mouldings. Adding additional tasks will impact the timelines and the budget; do not expect the contractor to do it as a “favour.” Any changes to the Scope should be documented in writing, either via a change order, an amendment to the original Scope, or through the creation of a brand new Scope that relates specifically to the new tasks being added.

Allocate your Budget

Having a budget is a great start. But be sure to keep at least 10-15% available for contingencies. If you’re already at your upper limit, scour your budget to see where you might be able to cut back in case something unforeseen arises during the process.

If you are thinking of doing some of the work yourself, what can you realistically do on your own? A bad taping job, for example, will be forever apparent no matter how much paint you apply.

Know when to Splurge. Know when to Save.

If you’re planning on including a great accent tile, plan to let it stand out by using a simpler, more price-conscious tile to go with it. Prioritize your wish list. Do you need to spend upwards of $5,000 for an authentic Barcelona chair? Or could you live with a replica that costs less than $500, thus freeing up some of your budget for other things?

Expect the Unexpected

Have you ever watched design shows on TV? Yes, in some cases, they create drama for better programming. But the reality is, contractors and design professionals do not have x-ray vision that allows them to see behind your walls before a job begins to know about plumbing, electrical, rot, or other potential issues. Surprises happen. Trust your design team and know they are working with your best interests at heart to complete your work on time and on budget.

How to Buy Used Woodworking Tools and Equipment

If you are new to woodworking or if you have been doing it for some time it is obvious that one of the major expenses incurred is the variety of woodworking tools required. We all need to get the best value for our money and reduce expenses at the same time. It is possible to purchase used tools and equipment if you follow a few common sense rules. This is knowing which tools to purchased used and who to buy from. Once you understand this you will be pleasantly surprised at how much money you will save and have in your budget to focus on the projects you would like to build.

Where to Find Used Tools and Equipment

There are many places that you will be able to find used woodworking tools and equipment to add to your shop. A few good sources can be Craigslist, woodworking forums on the internet, flea markets and even auctions in your area that you can find using your local newspaper. If you take some time and look around I am sure that you can find other sources as well. You want to keep in mind that you do not want to jump at the first thing you see. Take the time to determine if you are getting good value or simply wasting your money. You will find that a lot of things out there are really not worth buying. One thing that I pay particular attention to is the availability of replacement parts on a piece of equipment. You certainly do not want to buy a piece of equipment that you will have trouble getting parts for if you need them.

Another thing to consider is the purpose that these tools or piece of equipment is meant for. If you are a professional woodworker or a hobbyist moving toward a business you need to be especially careful. You cannot invest in a piece of equipment that is not up and running and contributing to the bottom line. This is a sure way to go out of business. If you are in one of these categories it is important that you develop a relationship with a business that sells used tools and equipment professionally. By doing this you are more likely to be happy with your investment and the reseller will get to understand your needs and do what they can to help you.

How Old is Too Old

It is only natural to wonder how old a piece of equipment can be without being considered useless. Many people are surprised to find out that this is not a big consideration as woodworking tools and equipment are often reconditioned. The things to look for are the availability of replacement parts that we mentioned earlier and the age of the motor. If you are buying a 20 year old piece of equipment that still has the original motor you are most likely looking at an upcoming problem. This is another reason you want to be in a relationship with a professional reseller. They can provide valuable information in this regard.

Do not sell yourself short by only focusing on the cost. The purpose of buying used woodworking tools and equipment is to get quality at a reasonable and reduced price.

Avoid a Break-In Through Your Garage With These 8 Tips

Your garage door is an entry to your home. And, if you’re like many people, you may not lock the door into your home. It may not make a difference. If a thief can get into your garage, they can shut the garage door and take all the time they want to break into your home.

Here are 8 Tips to Make your Garage Safer.

  1. Unplug. If you’re going away for a weekend or a longer vacation, unplug your automatic garage door. Sure, you’ll have to have someone go through the front door and plug it back in before you can pull into the garage. That’s a small inconvenience for making it harder for a thief to enter while you’re away!
  2. Make The Emergency Release Tamper-Proof. You may have seen it on TV – if not it’s on the Internet. Watch a thief break into a garage door with just a wire clothes hanger by hooking the emergency release. The fix is very low tech. Get a zip tie and tie the emergency release lever to the track. That’s a “how to” that’s also available on the Internet.
  3. Go High Tech. Consider one of the new automatic openers that let you control the door from your smart phone. Someone left it open? You don’t have to worry or run home – you can close it. Another option is an automatic opener that closes the door after a certain length of time.
  4. Light It. Put motion-activated lights on the outside of your garage. No power plugs? Select from the many new solar light option. You’re not using any power and they come in motion-activated models.
  5. Lock Your Car. Lock it up all the time! If you keep your garage door opener in it (that’s not the best idea), it’s super important. At least lock that opener in the glove compartment! It’s best to lock your car even when it’s parked in the garage.
  6. Lock The Door. The door between the garage and your house should meet the same standards as your front door. Make sure it’s not hollow-core (law may require that it’s fire rated) and it should have a deadbolt. If someone accesses your garage, make it hard for them to get inside.
  7. Out Of Sight Is A Good Thing. If your garage is filled with expensive power tools or anything else that is either expensive or precious to you, put it in a box or a cabinet. Don’t leave them hanging out in plain sight. Another good step, frost the windows or put up blinds.
  8. What’s Your Code? If you’ve moved up to a key pad on the outside, give that code some thought. Your address or 1-2-3-4 probably isn’t your best bet. It’s easy for a thief to try 0-0-0-0 or something that simple to see if it works.

Be sensible. Good safety habits and locked doors all protect what’s in your garage and your home. Keep your things and your home safe – and, keep your family safe. Be sure to have a yearly garage checkup from a registered garage door service company at least once a year to make sure those high-tension springs and cables are in good shape and there’s no accident waiting to happen.

Throw Out That Bathroom Carpet!

When most people think of restyling their bathrooms they instantly think it will be an expensive job. New bathroom suites can cost a lot to purchase and even more to install by a registered plumber. Replacing wall tiles can quickly get messy, and blinds that can withstand a bathroom environment can be difficult to find.

Take a look in your bathroom, now look down at the flooring, the part of the bathroom that’s used the most. It gets stood on, dripped on, and spilled on all the time. Baths and showers can often soak parts of your bathroom flooring on a near daily basis, shampoos and other toiletries get spilled or leak over your flooring, and around the toilet area there could even be spills of another kind, especially in homes with younger children.

When did you last renew your bathroom flooring?

The average bathroom floor takes a lot of use so needs to be hard wearing and easily cleanable, it should be cleaned with disinfectants regularly to ensure a safe, hygienic environment in your bathroom. It should not be a carpet!

Carpets are made from fibres that by their very nature absorb liquids when spilled on them, they are very hard to clean and are almost impossible to disinfect. Repeated soaking by water quickly rots most carpets, and unless you spend money on expensive carpet protecting chemicals, the vast majority of stains will be very hard to remove.

Damp, rotting carpets are a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and fungi, throw into the mix toiletry spills and you will quickly get a picture of a very unhealthy environment.

Change that bathroom carpet today!

Alternatives to carpeting a bathroom include natural stone such as limestone or granite, ceramic tiling, or vinyl flooring.

Natural stone flooring can have a dramatic effect to almost any type of bathroom large or small. Stone such as granite has natural waterproof properties to it and is extremely hard wearing, although it is one of the most expensive flooring options available.

Ceramic tiles are an ever popular option for bathrooms. They are relatively inexpensive and come in a wide range of styles and colours to match up with any existing bathroom colour scheme. Ceramic tiles are also hard wearing, easy to clean, and straight forward to install.

Vinyl flooring is the lowest priced option for renewing your bathroom flooring. However, it is water resistant, easy to look after, and also available in many designs and colours, making it a excellent option for many homes. Its low cost also allows you to replace this type of flooring on a more regular basis if required.

Update your bathroom today, replace that old, tired flooring and make your bathroom a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful feature of your home.

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