Browse Month by December 2016
Home Improvement

Why You Need Install An Adequate Ventilation System

A clean indoor environment is of great importance due to the many hours that you spend within your home. The indoor air that you breathe in should be fresh and clean to ensure that you do not get any respiratory complications. The only way your home can have a continuous supply of fresh air is through effective home ventilation. As long as your home has adequate ventilation, condensation which leads to a damp home will not take place. The structure of your home will not suffer decay and will remain intact for a long time.

Importance Of Ventilating Your Home

If your home is damp and has a musty smell, ventilation can help to keep your home dry and ensure that the indoor air is fresh and clean. Ventilation gets rid of the stale indoor air and replaces it with fresh air from the outside. There are different methods of ventilating your home such as the natural method. Natural ventilation is the free flow of air into the home from doors, windows and openings around the building. However, if you are living in a home that is insulated, you will need to have a mechanical ventilation system that will air your home.

The Use Of Mechanical Ventilation

You can opt to use mechanical ventilation in order to effectively get rid of stale air from your home. You can decide to install fans in the specific location where moisture build up and pollution is originating from in the home. For instance, you can install fans in the bathroom, kitchen or on the sub floor to get rid of moist air and replace it with drier air from outside. You can also decide to use whole house ventilation where the entire house is ventilated by a set of fans which bring in the fresh air and duct systems which get rid of the stale air.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is an efficient home ventilation system which captures the heat from the outgoing stale air to heat up the incoming fresh cold air. A HRV is made up of a fan which brings in the fresh air and another fan which gets rid of the stale air. The system has a core where the exchange of heat from the stale air to the clean air takes place.

The core where the transfer of heat takes place has a thin route through which the stale and fresh air passes. However, the stale and fresh air does not mix at any point during the heat transfer. An HRV is able to retain about eighty-five percent of the heat from the outgoing stale air which makes it an efficient ventilation method. During the warm summer days, the HRV can take the heat from the incoming air and transfer it to the stale outgoing air thus allowing you to enjoy the cool clean air.

Contacting A Ventilation Expert

In order to get the best home ventilation system, it is a good idea to contact a ventilation expert who will assess your home from the ground to the roof. The expert will then recommend a ventilation system that will effectively air your home. You should ensure that the system which is installed is quiet enough and has a warranty.

 

Home Improvement

Why You Need Hire Handyman

First impression is the last impression.’ And it holds true when you get ready to sell your home. But before going ahead, you may find out that your home requires repair work. There are some jobs you can do on your own, but others require expertise, knowledge and skill. Small repair work can also turn into a mess if you do not do it correctly. To prep your home for sale, you should hire a handyman who can finish off the job in a day’s time.

It is a wise decision to hire a handyman as it can prevent any wastage of your resources. A handyman is a person who can complete small jobs in a day’s time. Usually he will work alone and charge on an hourly basis. If you are looking to finish extensive amount of work, then you can hire a contractor.

Before you sell your home, there are various reasons to hire a handyman, such as:

  1. Perfect Finish

If you want your home to look good to potential buyers, then it should look worth the money. Numerous jobs such as applying a coat of paint to the bedroom wall, fixing faucets in the bathroom, or repairing the kitchen sink are simple and inexpensive. You can easily add the cost of the repair work to the home’s selling price. It will give a perfect finish to your home and make it a hot property in the market.

  1. Lack of Time

Selling a home already puts a lot of responsibilities on your shoulder. And if you divert your time in petty repair work, then you cannot focus on selling your home. It is better to get a to-do list ready for a handyman who can ease our burden.

  1. Expertise speaks for Itself

An updated home will attract more buyers and fetch you a good price. If you want a high-quality work, then it is always a good option to hire an expert. A professional handyman has the knowledge, expertise and equipment to efficiently and effectively do all the repair work.

  1. Increase your Home’s Value

You must make sure that your home is ready for sale in the market. An updated home will fetch more buyers and a good price. Also, potential buyers look for curb appeal. Thus, you can hire a handyman to work on the exterior of your home such as painting the walls and washing the deck. You can consider investing in all the areas that look outdated or need repair work.

Potential buyers always notice if the home is not maintained properly. They avoid buying a home that is in dire need of repair work. So, in order to avoid losing a buyer who will pay a good price for your home, you must make sure that your home is in a great condition. To get rid of the responsibility of looking into the repair work, hire a handyman to prep your home for sale.

 

Home Improvement

How To Choose Best Wood For Stairs

A new timber staircase can transform your hallway and give the whole property a boost. Even just replacing the banister rail will make an enormous difference to the look and feel of your home, and of course is much quicker and cheaper than installing an entire set of stairs.

Choosing which materials to use, however, is not always straightforward. We take a look at some of the different types of wood available for stair construction.

Scandinavian Pine

Also known as European redwood, this pale yellow softwood is produced in renewable plantations, making it a sound environmental choice. Attractive and affordable, with a knotty appearance adding character, pine is ideal for anyone on a budget. And of course if you’re intending to carpet or paint the staircase, you may feel there’s little point in splashing out on expensive materials that will only be covered up.

Southern Yellow Pine

This is the largest, hardest and strongest type of pine – tougher, in fact, than many hardwoods. Southern yellow pine is a durable, sustainable and cost-effective timber, with an appealing golden colour and distinctive large grain pattern. Grown abundantly in southern parts of the USA, it is ideal for staircases, floors and furniture.

Hemlock

An attractive and versatile softwood with a soft sheen, hemlock has a straight, light-coloured grain that can be varnished to a rich golden colour. Moreover, it is practically knot-free and easy to work with. This makes it a great substitute for more expensive timbers such as oak or ash, so is worth considering if your budget is limited. Hemlock can also be stained, varnished or painted.

Oak

There are various types of oak, with white oak considered the best option for stairs. Prized for its strength and durability, it has a beautiful knot-free grain that never seems to go out of fashion. In fact, so dense is white oak that it is almost water-tight, which is why it is used to make, among other things, boats, wine barrels and outdoor furniture.

Another advantage of white oak is that the grain is very stable, with few variations in pattern and shade. This makes it easier to match up new stairs with existing oak fittings such as skirting boards, floors and doors. It also takes wood treatments very easily.

There are two main sources of white oak: the USA and Europe. American white oak is more widely available, and therefore less expensive, with a straight grain and pale biscuit colour. European oak is a slightly darker, golden honey shade with a distinctive wavy grain pattern.

Ash

This premium hardwood is even tougher than oak, with a largely straight grain and attractive colours ranging from cream to pale brown. The most abundant type is American white ash. Heavy, hard and highly shock-resistant, it makes excellent stair treads. Because it has an open grain, ash is very flexible, so can be shaped to produce a variety of curved stair parts.

Sapele

This reddish-brown hardwood looks similar to mahogany, and indeed belongs to the same family. With a distinctive tight, interlocking grain, it provides a strong and cost-effective alternative for use in furniture, flooring and cabinets as well as stairs. Sapele is harder and more stable than mahogany, with a dense structure that is highly resistant to rot and almost completely water-tight. This makes it ideal for outdoor as well as indoor use.

Idigbo

Native to West Africa, idigbo is a pale yellow-brown hardwood with a variable grain that can be straight, slightly irregular or interlocking. It is often chosen as an economical alternative to oak, and can be stained, varnished or painted. Although idigbo is not quite as durable as oak, it offers a good level of strength with little shrinkage, and can be shaped to produce attractive curved stair parts.

Walnut

There are several types of walnut tree, but the one most often used in staircase construction is American black walnut. Strong and stable, this premium hardwood has a mostly straight grain and ranges in colour from dark chocolate to a pale brown. Black walnut is expensive but versatile and extremely hard-wearing. It can be carved into elaborate shapes, making it ideal for intricate stair components such as balusters, volutes and newel caps.

 

Home Improvement

Benefit Space Save Stairs

Space saver stairs are becoming more and more popular. Also known as alternating tread staircases, loft stairs or paddle stairs, they can provide a convenient way of reaching an attic or basement where a standard staircase wouldn’t fit.

The stairs are so compact because they are designed with alternate handed steps, effectively halving the number of treads required – so the overall footprint of the staircase is much smaller than normal stairs. They can, however, take a bit of getting used to. So, are space saver stairs worth having? Let’s look at some of their best and worst aspects.

Advantages of space saver stairs

Convenience – Anyone who has ever wrestled with folding loft steps will appreciate being able to simply walk up a set of permanent stairs when they need something from the attic.

Safety – As a fixed structure, space saver stairs are much sturdier than any ladder. That said, the design needs to be right. As each step takes more strain than the average staircase (due to the steep pitch), the treads should ideally be at least 32mm thick and made from a strong timber such as oak or ash. Pine and similar softwoods are liable to crack so should not be used. Slip-resistant surfaces for the treads are essential. You will also need a robust handrail, preferably on both sides. Provided all these conditions are met, there is no need to worry about safety.

Style – These stairs are available in a wide range of designs and materials, so you can choose one to suit your home’s character and d├ęcor. The cut-away steps are considered by many to be an attractive design feature – and you can even paint or stain them different colours for extra effect.

Cost – As there are fewer treads in space saver staircases they almost always cost less to produce than standard stairs, making them an economical option for home owners on a budget.

Drawbacks of space saver stairs

Restricted use – These types of stairs are not intended for use as a main staircase, but are only suitable for access to a single room such as an attic or cellar.

Unusual design – It can take a little while to get to grips with the alternate tread arrangement, as you only place one foot on each step. Some people find it easier to start off on their left foot rather than their right, and vice versa. Many stair manufacturers are able to accommodate individual preference, and arrange the steps accordingly.

Pitch – Obviously, these staircases have to be steeper than standard stairs otherwise they would not have a reduced footprint. This does make them a little harder to climb than normal stairs, which is why strong handrails are particularly important with this type of design.

What about building regulations?

Legal requirements are frequently interpreted differently according to where you live, so always check with your local building control officer before ordering a staircase. The main points to remember are: The stairs should only lead to one room; they cannot be used as the main staircase; they must be straight; you must fit a handrail where the drop is greater than 60cm; the maximum pitch (steepness) permitted is 42 degrees; and you need to allow a minimum head room of 1.9m.

To sum up…

Space saver stairs can be a stylish and practical option, but you need to do your homework thoroughly first. Measure carefully to check you have enough room, speak to staircase designers and consult your local building control officer before committing to a purchase.