Guide to Finding the Best Hardwood Flooring, Bamboo Flooring, or Bruce Hardwood Flooring

It was “in” in the 60’s, out in the 70’s and 80’s and came roaring back in the 90’s and hasn’t looked back. Hardwood flooring is more popular today than it has ever been. With so many different choices out there such as carpet, tile or laminate, most new home builders are sticking with today’s popular choice, you guessed it, hardwood flooring. People are looking for comfort and versatility in their homes. It comes in a variety of styles and colors such as maple, cherry, oak, pine, teak only to name a few. One of the most popular manufacturers is bruce hardwood flooring. I will give you more details about them below. Another option to consider is bamboo flooring.

Health professionals conclude that traditional hardwood flooring or bamboo flooring is helping people with respiratory conditions live healthier lives. Carpets contain amounts of dust, dirt and bacteria which contribute to serious health problems. For over 100 years, bruce hardwood flooring has been the most recognized name in the industry. Their most costly “best” collections will give you a more uniform appearance in color with less character. The lower you go within the line, the more character you will see so product is very popular with vacation homeowners. As you move up in grade, the warranties are longer and the grading is enhanced. Product available include French White and Red oak, teak, Brazilian cherry and mahogany to name a few.

The one challenging thing about traditional hardwood flooring such as bruce hardwood flooring is the installation process. It is important that you use a professional to do your installation in order to get great looking results. You need experience to laying and finishing it so don’t cheap out and try to do it yourself. A fantastic product is bamboo flooring. It is distinctive and unique and uses the latest technology to turn a plain room into a conversation piece. The grain comes in either medium or soft brown shades.

Less Energy

Less energy! Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? How many times have you asked yourself “I wonder if the thermostat is working correctly”! I know I have asked myself this a time or two! Or maybe you don’t think energy loss is an issue because your home is only a couple years old. Think again! Energy loss is an issue, even today with energy codes as restrictive as they are. It wasn’t until the last ten years or so that energy codes started addressing the real issues such as air balancing, equipment sizing, duct sizing, and air leakage. These are some of the problems that hide within!

We are all for using less energy, and for the most part I believe homeowners, and home buyers are pretty well versed, and do their homework when it comes to energy efficiency. After all, how can we avoid it, energy is everywhere! We see it in the stores with high efficacy light bulbs consuming the shelves, wind turbines spread out along the plains, stickers on all of our appliances, and a political agenda that’s out of this world, which is an entirely different conversation in itself.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are very energy efficient homes being built today. But let’s not beat around the bush… it all comes down to the quality of the builder, the thoroughness of the third party inspection company and the local inspection authority. As long as they are all doing their part, the consumer is getting a quality product. There are many builders now that focus on “Energy Star” homes. Why? They use less energy and they know how important energy efficiency is to the consumer. But even Energy Star means nothing if the three parties are not doing adequate installation, testing, and inspections. Energy Star is basically a step above and beyond minimum codes. In addition, there is more testing involved with Energy Star. This is why it’s critical that testing and inspections are thorough and accurate. My point is, regardless of the age of your home, energy loss could be an issue.

So there are several different steps you can take to address energy loss and use less energy. Of course the more money you are willing to spend, the more efficient you can make your home. If you are looking at spending some real money, you can cover two big areas of energy loss with a furnace and window upgrade. In today’s construction windows are generally very efficient. Minimum code today requires a 0.35 U-Value, which is a pretty good window. This can change in different areas of the country. You can do better than this, but it will cost you.

High efficient furnaces are a very positive upgrade for using less energy. We are seeing a lot of these installed in new homes today, even though code does not require them. As a code official I see a lot of upgrades to high efficient furnaces. High efficient means 90%+ efficiency direct vent appliance. These are very efficient, and I hear costs for installation runs about $3,500.00 to $4,000.00. This is a cost you will recover.

Now that we’ve covered the expensive upgrades, let’s look at some inexpensive steps you can take to cut energy loss.

  • If water heater is located in the garage, keep garage door closed. Make sure your water heater is set to no lower than 130 degrees. Legionairre disease could be an issue at temperatures lower than 130 degrees.
  • Check weather-stripping around doors. Replace ALL areas where air can intrude or escape.
  • Check all electrical receptacles on the exterior walls for air intrusion. Install gaskets behind face plate. If possible, pull recepticle and wires out and caulk the knockouts in the back of the box.
  • Check for air intrusion around windows and sliding glass doors. Pull trim around windows or doors and caulk around the perimeter.
  • Verify insulation levels in the floor and ceiling. The ceiling should have no less than an R-38, vaulted ceilings R-30, and the floor an R-30. DO NOT use kraft faced insulation in these areas!
  • Install a programmable thermostat.

These are small things that can improve the efficiency of your home dramatically. Why, because the leading cause of energy loss is air leakage. When I say air leakage, I am also referring to duct leakage. Have you ever noticed one room is colder than the others? This is common, and is caused from three different things, duct leakage, improper balancing, and inadequately sized equipment. All three of which are now addressed heavily in the energy codes. In addition to the list above, you should include a duct blaster test, and an air balancing test. This can be done fairly reasonable by a local HVAC or energy retrofit company. You can also have your equipment sized, though improperly sized equipment isn’t going to help you unless you replace it. So this will depend on your budget.

Essential Cooling Fan Accessories for the Home Office

Cooling fans make up an essential part of these items that protect from heat damage, and this is why all major electronic equipment has these devices in built. However, chances are that you might need to replace them, upgrade them, or even install a cabinet cooling fan in a cabinet that has a number of important electronics for your business. Each cooling fan is not without its accessories, and these can make a big difference to the performance of your fans and the integrity and durability of your electronics. Here are several of these essential cooling fan accessories that you need to invest in for your home office. The first item that you should invest in is a reliable and durable fan guard, as this will help your fan work more efficiently and help protect it from impact damage and other accidents that can happen in a busy home office.

These generally come in plastic or wire designs, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. There are also mesh designs of fan guard for your electronics or cabinet cooling fan, which can be useful too depending on your specific needs. Although this might seem like too simple an item to give too much thought to, a fan guard can actually make a huge difference to your electronics. The reason behind this is that a cooling fan is essential to keep electronics cool -if electronics are not cooled down effectively then they will eventually become damaged, and will do so at an increased rate if the cooling fan is ineffective. Fan guards drastically affect air flow to electronics to help them keep cool, and therefore can help your electronic devices last a great deal longer. The next fan accessory that you should look to buy for your home office is the green power cord for your fan, which will help it work more efficiently and make great savings on your energy bills over time. These are a relatively recent and creative creation, so you may need to search for models of this from leading suppliers.

These cords work to detect temperature, thanks to an integrated thermostat. Once the temperature has reached a certain level – hot enough to cause damage to electronics – the cooling fan will become activated and will work to bring the temperature down. Once the temperature has hit a safe level the fan will switch off again, saving energy.

This is great not only for environmentally and energy-conscious office owners, but also those on a tighter budget. Having a green cord for your cabinet cooling fan can help make sure that you only use your fan when it is needed, therefore using less power and making some significant savings. The final accessory that you should invest in for the cooling fans in your home office is anti vibration mounts, as these can significantly cut the noise from this device.

A noisy office can be hard to work in, and vibrations from fans can cause damage to electronics. For this reason, anti vibration mounts can be a great purchase. Whether for your PC housing or your cabinet cooling fan, soft silicon anti vibration mounts can be fitted to absorb the shock of vibrations so that fans make far less noise and so they do not adversely affect the valuable equipment that you are using in your home office to run your business.

Spring Cleaning Tips to Make the Job A Little Easier

Spring-cleaning can seem like such a chore. You spend all day, or even a few days getting the entire house sparkly clean. As a busy mom, you will appreciate some of these cleaning tips that will make the job a little easier and faster. You’ll have more time to enjoy the nice spring weather outside.

Start out by taking a quick look through your cleaning supplies a few days before the big spring clean. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and cleaning rags. If your mop or broom is really worn out, this is a great time to invest in a new one. Check all bottles and containers of cleaning supplies that you like to use and see if you have plenty of them. There’s nothing worse than having to clean yourself up during your big spring cleaning to run to the store for a new bottle of Windex.

Get everyone in the family to spend some time with you the day before the big spring cleaning to pick up around the house. You don’t want to spend time picking up toys or washing dishes the next day.

Get up early and put on some comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Dress all the way down to your shoes and put your hair up. Take a few minutes to gather all your cleaning supplies and get going.

Tackle one room at a time. This works much better than trying to do 10 things at once. It will also give you a great sense of accomplishment to see each clean room.

Start at the top and work your way down. Use a broom or a mop with a soft cloth wrapped around it to get any spider webs and dust out of the ceiling corners. Dust the light fixtures. Keep working your way down cleaning counters, windows and windowsills, furniture. Finish by dusting the baseboards and giving the carpets a good vacuuming. Take the time to vacuum under the bed and move furniture to clean the floor under it whenever possible.

When you get to the bathrooms, start by spraying some all purpose or bathroom cleaner on all the appliances, especially anything that may have some build up on it, like the soap dish in the shower. Pour some Clorox in the toilet. Allow the cleaner to soak in while you get started on the ceiling, windows and counters. By the time you get around to the sink, shower and toilet, all you need to do is wiping them down and give the inside of the toilet a quick scrub with the brush.

Make sure you take some breaks, and drink plenty of water. Cleaning is a touch job. When you are done, enjoy a long shower, put on some clean clothes and put up your feet. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done and get some rest. You deserve it.

How to Apply Adhesive During EPDM Rubber Roofing Installation

EPDM rubber roofing – also known under its longer name of Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer roofing – is a popular roofing option that is both extremely durable and cost effective. This type of roofing material is commonly used on flat roofs, but also has uses on other surfaces as well.

In addition to lasting a long time and not being expensive to purchase, it is also relatively simple to install; for all of these reasons it has become one of the most widely used roofing products in the world, with an estimated 1.3 billion square metres of EPM rubber roof membrane installed worldwide.

To apply this type of roofing material, it is important to follow a few steps to adhere it to the roof surface. This requires a special adhesive which will provide a strong bond and allow for versatility when applying the roof membrane. Here are a few tips on how to apply this adhesive for best results.

Firstly, it is necessary to equip yourself with all the tools that you will need for the process. These include a 4 inch hand roller, pencils, safety glasses, a tape measure, and stirrers for the adhesive and solvent resistant gloves. Preparing all of these in advance will ensure that you do not find yourself without something essential mid-application of the adhesive.

In general, the type of adhesive that is commonly used with EPDM rubber roofing will adhere to all surfaces, including porous and non-porous ones. Some roof membranes and surfaces may require the use of a special adhesive, so make sure that you verify this with a professional before you start working on your roofing project.

Before applying the adhesive, you will need to make sure that the surface of the roof is absolutely clear of any dirt, rust or grease, as well as any moisture, as all of these can affect the efficacy of the adhesive and therefore the successful application of the rubber roofing membrane. Any moisture trapped under the membrane can also weaken the effect of the adhesive.

Once the roof protection has taken place and you have gathered all the necessary equipment, you can begin the process of applying the adhesive. You can apply the product to the side of the RUSS strip or the exposed decking. The product should also be applied to the relevant up stand termination or step down and to the backside of the roofing membrane.

Once the application of the adhesive on these surfaces has taken place, it is then time to press the two surfaces together. Before doing this, however, it is important for the adhesive to have become touch dry with no wet puddles. There should be no voids between the rubber roofing membrane and the receiving surface whatsoever.

After doing this, apply positive pressure to the membrane, working the membrane up the up stand to the required height. These particular areas should be rolled in order to achieve a strong bond between the rubber roofing membrane and the substrate.

This is all that is necessary to ensure the successful application of EPDM rubber roofing, although several precautions should be taken. One of these is to avoid stretching the membrane during application, as this can damage the integrity of the product.

In some cases, while you are waiting for the adhesive to become touch dry, condensation may form on the layer of adhesive. In this case, stop adhesive application and wait for the surface to dry completely. After this, you can reapply a coat of the product once again and proceed with the application as normal.

When reapplying adhesive in this case, apply a thin refresher coat that is approximately half of the normal coverage rate when applying to a surface that has previously been coated with adhesive. By following these steps, you are sure to achieve great results.

General Design Ideas For New Kitchens

Interior design of kitchens is a widely discussed area. Here are the general aspects that must be incorporated:

Make It Blend Into The Home

Sometimes, you may want to change only the kitchen in the entire home. For an open plan kitchen, you may have to touch up some sections of the adjacent rooms to match the new look. You might get away with the ‘face-lift’ if you have a traditional contained kitchen.

Get Extra Space

Space is one of the most valuable factors in design. While extra storage units may work, they may end up looking bulky or obstructing pathways. Think of new places to add pull out soft drawers and paneled cabinets. Discuss these with your kitchen installer so they incorporate it into their plan early enough if possible. You can get ideas from visiting showrooms and studying kitchen galleries.

During the ‘scouting’ period, it may help to get the installer whose ideas you love to do the job for you. They are the ones who know how they do it. It may prove disastrous sometimes to ‘hop’ and collect ideas. It does help to look around and settle for the most impressive however.


Never compromise on lighting. In fact, the more the better. If you have a large kitchen, one central fixture may not illuminate all corners. Discuss the viability and impact of having more lighting in as many areas as you can. This not only makes the room look bigger, but it also improves the safety and comfort of those in the kitchen.

Where the kitchen is to also serve as a dining area, you can have adjustable lighting to make mealtimes warm, pleasant and cozy.

Environmental Compatibility

Make your designs, materials and appliances eco-friendly. Have energy efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and freezing units. The Australian Government recommends that all households use environmental friendly products, with appliances having Energy Rating Labels. This is to make it easy for consumers to know which appliance is best for their homes and the environment as a whole. The tagline says ‘the more the stars, the more the savings’.

The best part of getting a new kitchen, apart from finally walking into your dream room, is having the minute details handled by a professional. Good installation firms will oversee the little things and diligently execute the bulk tasks for you. There are shady firms which do shoddy jobs but cover up on the surface. Get an installer with a proven excellent track record and glowing reputation. For one, you may need to actually see a sample of their work that has been in place for a considerable length of time.

Once your new kitchen is done, the idea is that it is built to last at least a generation before you feel the itch to get a new one to renovate. That need for a change is quite expected. Why else would you be getting new kitchens if you’re not moving into a new home?

As for the style, anything goes. Only make sure it suits your needs. Take into account your family size if you have one and of course, your tastes.

Finding Affordable Prices With an RTA Cabinet Store

Everybody is going to purchase their products from a different source. Some of the cabinets that are purchased for a home can be ordered. An RTA cabinet store is going to be able to give them better prices because the cabinets will be in a ready to assemble form instead of already assembled.

Many of these companies will be able to give their customers a better price when they are purchasing ones that are not fully assembled. This makes the shipping much easier as well as storage. There are a lot of options that people will consider when they are choosing RTA cabinets.

There are instructions included with each cabinet also. Everything will be measured and cut to the proper size. Most of the pieces will also be labeled to make the process much easier for everyone.

Everything will be included that is necessary to put the cabinets together. This is something that is very important. Cabinets should be affordable, yet durable.

Just choosing something that is within a budget is not always going to be a good idea. It is very important to make sure that people are getting something that is also going to be durable. Every company is going to offer something different so it will be extremely necessary to check out what a person is purchasing before they pay for a cabinet that they will not be able to use.

RTA cabinets may also be customizable from some companies. A cabinet store may be able to let their customers choose a certain type of wood or certain size. The type of doors on them will also be important to consider.

Every feature of each cabinet will be something that somebody will want. Not everyone likes every single cabinet. That is why there is a variety of different ones to choose from.

Many homeowners want to increase the value of their home by choosing certain types of cabinets. Bamboo cabinets are growing in popularity also. This is because they are very durable and moisture does not bother them, like it does other types of wood.

Every home will also need to have a different sized cabinet. The size can also affect the cost. There are some rooms of the home that will need several different cabinets, but others will only need one or two.

The kitchen is usually where most of the cabinets are going to be found. It is important that the ones that are chosen are going to be functional. If they are not, then it could be a waste of money.

Some of them will be mounted on the floor while others are mounted to the wall up above. Every home will have different places that these could fit. There are a lot of people that dream of having a lot of kitchen cabinets to store away all of their dishes, pans and small appliances.

The size of the kitchen often affects this though. It is not necessarily something that is easy to change either. Every homeowner will come up with a solution to try to get their kitchen easily accessible and with lots of storage spaces.

When somebody is remodeling or building, they will have a lot of things to think about. They will need to make sure that they are carefully planning everything. Every kitchen and bathroom will need to have certain things in them so that everyone is able to do what they need to.

Every RTA cabinet store is going to have a different selection of cabinets to choose from. Finding the styles and colors that a person wants is going to be very important. Every style is going to be available in different sizes as well. Some of them will allow them to order custom sizes that they need, but not all stores will allow this.

The 3 Biggest Risks Associated With Wild Raccoons

Raccoons are a common presence in urbanized areas. Properties that are located near bodies of water, forests, and woods, also commonly experience nuisance raccoon problems. Although raccoons are truly innocent and fascinating mammals, they pose several dangers and should be controlled in a safe and humane way. If you still think raccoons are not a threat, continue reading to learn the top 3 biggest dangers raccoons pose to society.

1. People

The first and most significant risk posed by a wild raccoon presence on your property is the risk of harming people, especially children. Raccoons are known carriers of several viruses and infectious diseases, including serious ones like Rabies, leptospirosis, Distemper, and raccoon roundworm, as well as less serious ones, like lice, fleas, ticks, and more. Although raccoons do not generally bite or attack, they will if they are provoked. For instance, young children who may stumble upon a baby raccoon in the yard that they think is abandoned, but in actuality, the mother raccoon is nearby and ready pounce if she feels her pup is in danger.

2. Pets

Pets are often victims of raccoon attacks because they unintentionally provoke them simply by being curious and taking a sniff. This is why pet vaccinations are so vital for the safety of your dogs and cats. This includes vaccines for Rabies, leptospirosis, Distemper, Lyme disease, and raccoon roundworm. It is also vital to give your pet a flea, tick, and heartworm medication regularly.

3. Property

Raccoons are very clever, and they have excellent memories and problem solving skills. This is one reason why they are common offenders of attic and crawl space invasions. They can use their human-like paws to grasp, rip, and pry. They tear down attic insulation, chew up electrical wiring, soil floorboards and ceilings with their droppings, and more. However, even if raccoons cannot access the inner parts of a home or building, they can still cause a load of structural damages to a property. They will tear up lawns looking for grubs, wipe out gardens, pry off siding, rip off roof shingles, rummage through garbage cans, steal bird seed and pet food, and so much more.

Dealing With a Raccoon Problem

If you have a raccoon problem, you will need to take control by eliminating whatever it is that attracts them to your property. For example:

Only take the garbage cans out to the driveway on the morning of trash pickup day, do not leave pet food and other sources of food and water outside (bird baths, squirrel feeders, bird seed, pet food bowls, stored bags of pet food, etc.), installing motion lighting or sound machines to scare raccoons away, putting up fencing to protect your gardens, and eliminating shelter options like compost piles, log piles, pet houses, and more. You will also need to contact a licensed raccoon removal and control company to inspect your property and ensure there are no entry points for raccoons to enter.

What You Should Expect From a Home Inspector

In buying or selling a unit of house, it is essential to have it inspected first by the experts before you decide on what to do with it. That is called home inspection. Home inspection is an inadequate, confidential and persistent examination of the features and condition of a house. This is often done especially when you are about to sell your house to your new buyer. But this does not go between you and your buyer, a home inspector is responsible and more reliable in doing such actions for your safety and contentment.

A home inspector should be trained well and has certifications from the agency where he is employed to perform the said inspections. The inspector does certain checkups and tests, roaming around the perimeter area of the house checking every detail. After he had inspected the whole house, he then makes an inspection report signed and verified and that report together with its certificate will be handed unto you if you are the buyer or to the buyer of your house. You can use the knowledge you have gained from the inspector on deciding on the price of the house or in pending the real estate. The inspector will describe to you the condition of the house at the time of his inspection but be aware that the inspector cannot guarantee you the life expectancy, future condition and efficiency of the house systems and components.

In home inspection, the usual areas that a home inspector inspects are the roof, basement, heating system, rooms, electrical wiring, air conditioning system, plumbing, structure and many other aspects of the house especially those areas that are intended for scheduled repairs and maintenance. But be always aware that there are really times that a home inspector cannot relay every condition of the house to you whether in a good or bad conditions. It is still better to double check it and have it inspected in a scheduled basis.

There are said to be four types of home inspection: delivery inspection, structural inspection, plumbing inspection and heating ventilation and air-conditioning inspection. These four types are the main concern in every home inspection examination. Since, these four are the most complicated and the most important and the most concerned of all the areas and features a house. The four also connotes on how to set price and deal in selling or buying a house depending on its condition and efficiency.

When you are to have your house inspected, there are tips given to you as preparation that could put everything at ease and safety. You should clean the entire house first before letting the inspector roam around your house. This could help him inspect the house easier and at maximized time. Be aware of the time when the inspector might arrive at your house. They are professional people so be professional enough to cater them. For a more reliable and accurate inspection reports, keep all the connections connected, as well as the heating and air-conditioning system to check if everything is working well. Always keep a work place for your home inspector for him to be comfortable and at ease.

Now, that you already know what to do in a home inspection service, get yourself prepared and decide wisely for your home. In the event that a home inspector will give you negative reports, immediately do actions for repairs and maintenance to help the value of your house continuously increasing.

Choose the Right Kitchen Design for You

The kitchen remains the most visited place of every house. Especially for your mother, this place is very important as she spends the most part of her day cooking and preparing food for you. It is also the first place which a buyer will want to see if you are going to sell the house. That is why it is sensible to choose the proper design for your kitchen.

Finding the right design for your kitchen area is quite difficult. There are a lot of designs from which one can make a choice. The numerous colours, textures, materials can almost make you lost and unable choose one out of the many.

Things that you should be keeping mind while you are designing your kitchen area is that what are the things you are going to have in the kitchens? Consider the taps, sinks, cooking appliances, the electronic appliances. Accordingly, make space for your kitchen. Ask your electrician to make extra plug points so that you do not face any difficulty in using more than a device at a time.

Make enough storage places to store the containers. Make separate place to keep dishes and other utensils. Ensure all these places are within the reach of the user. This will make pit easy to work in the kitchens and also make the working smooth.

There are particularly three types of kitchens, namely the ex-stock kitchens, made-to-fit kitchens and bespoke kitchens.

The ex-stock types are ready design that can be delivered to you within a short time. These fit according well to the composition and the dimensions of the kitchen. You can pick the colour you want but there is almost little scope for changing as the things are already available for installation.

Made-to-fit kitchens are those that can be customized according to your wishes. These are less restricting than the ex-stock kitchen though have to admit that certain limitations are there. You can choose the base patterns but not the individual design of your kitchen.

The best option to choose is the bespoke kitchen. This is because it allows maximum choice of the users. Though a bespoke kitchen takes a long time to get prepared but you will get all the things the way you want it to be.

For better analysis and use of your kitchen space you should hire a professional designer. They will take measurements of all the depths, heights, and angles and deliver you the kitchen that you have always dreamt of having.

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