Adhesives are a category of liquids and semi-liquids that have a huge list of residential and commercial applications. They range from complex epoxies with multiple components to simple wood glue. They often have the same properties, but some of them are more advanced than others. Some adhesives are more flexible while others are stronger. There are hundreds of types of each on the market, so it's easy to pick the wrong model for the wrong material. It's a mistake to think, for example, that wood adhesive is suitable for driveway cracks.
The word adhesive refers to glue. According to the word, it's glue that should adhere to the material its bonding. There is a wide range of products available that claim they can stick to everything within a minute. The truth is, it's not possible due to different properties of materials. For example, some are impervious to air or water, others are porous. Some are rigid, others are flexible.
All adhesives are different. Some require lengthy drying time, others can dry immediately. Some need pressure for a proper bond. Some dry because of a chemical reaction that happens when several active components are combined (take epoxies, for example) and others dry by evaporation. Application methods are also quite different. Note that even when a manufacturer says the bond is secured in a minute, it's best to wait for at least an hour.
Whatever surface you're sticking, you need to make sure it's clean, not dump or wet and free of dust. If necessary, hold everything together with a tape, temporary nails or clamps until everything is dry. It's worth checking setting times - and keeping in mind that they usually vary in summer and winter due to temperature differences and humidity levels.
When you use an adhesive, make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions, Work in a well-ventilated area since some of them contain solvents that give off fumes. Be cautious with superglues which can easily bond to your skin. It's also should be noticed that a lot of adhesives are flammable.
PVA (Polyvinyl adhesive) - Polyvinyl adhesive, also known as PVAs are general-purpose formulas that also come as wood and building adhesives. Although they often look white when you get them out the tube, they become transparent when they dry. There are also waterproof models, which are perfect for areas that can get damp.
Rubber-based contact adhesives - Rubber-based contact adhesives are specifically designed for rubber based uses. They come in clear or yellow liquids. Use these to glue wood, plaster, man-made boards or synthetic laminates. You should apply it to both surfaces and then press them together with tape, clips or heavier objects.
Epoxy resin adhesives (two-part adhesives) - You can stick ceramics, stone, metal, rigid plastic or glass to materials like glass or wood with epoxy resin adhesives. They are great for joints that should be waterproof as well as for the outdoor use. Note, that those in powder form can be toxic. Always check the product description and the labels, as some of these adhesives don't stick to certain materials.
There is also a second class of epoxy resin adhesives. They are fast curing and can set in several minutes. They are useful when time is important. They can stick to most materials but last less than those which take longer to set.
Hot glue - Hot glue is common for DIY work and crafts. It comes in a gun in which the glue sticks are melted and then applied to the material. It looks like a gel when melted and it solidifies to a solid afterward. Hot glue is very strong and works best if applied on substantial amount.
Flooring adhesives (rubber resin adhesives) - These are latex and synthetic adhesives that can stick floor coverings to floors. And they can withstand water and allow slight flexibility, so you don't need to worry that it will crack when you put furniture or walk on your floor.
Tile/coving adhesives (synthetic latex adhesives) - Tile/coving adhesives fill gaps, which makes them perfect for coving corners or fixing expanded ceiling tiles. You can also use it on floor tiles. Just like the previous type of adhesive, they are more flexible than others and don't crack that easy.
Filler adhesives (polyurethane-foam adhesives) - Filler adhesives are sold in pressurized cans and make perfect gap-filler in masonry, wood, plaster and stone because the foam expands after you spray it. However, you can't just remove them and will have to get a specially formulated solvent.
Super-glues (cyanoacrylates) - Everyone knows super-glues: these fast-working glues can stick to all kind of small objects, including glass, plastic, metal or plastic. But be careful because that can also stick to your skin, hair and clothes. And if you stick two wrong objects together, you'll have to get a superglue remover to tear them apart.
Silicone - Silicone can be used both as an adhesive and as a sealant. It can seal glass in windows but it can also be used to glue glass to metal or glass to wood. It is flexible, durable and waterproof. Silicone is a multipurpose material that is widely used to seal aluminum windows and in many other home improvement projects and construction works. There are many types of silicone, some of the, are designed for high temperatures such as those for car engines. Silicone can join plastic but it works best only if you can put a good amount if it.
Mastic - Mastic is a unique organic adhesive that comes from the resin of the tree. This resin is sticky and used in commercial application, construction, and tile installations as an adhesive. It comes in many forms, such as sticky paste, glue or thin liquid and often packed in a tube or a pail.
Using this natural adhesive has its strong and weak sides. Unlike other adhesives, mastic is premixed and ready to use straight from the tube, making it a time-saver. It's usually sticker and set more quickly than other adhesives, which is very handy for vertical surfaces where you want the tile to stay in place, like a kitchen backlash. While mastic has high bond strength and everyone can use it, it also has drawbacks. Since mastic can re-emulsify and react with water, you can't use it in areas that have any contact with water. If the mastic re-emulsifies, the tile will lose adhesion and fall from the wall. This can be a problem in shower and tub surrounds even if there is no direct contact with water or other liquids. Tile that is not sealed properly or a grout crack can allow moisture to get to the mastic. Besides, since mastic is made of organic components it is more prone to harboring mold if there is water present.
Another important drawback is that it cannot provide much structural support. You absolutely have to make the surface even in order to prevent tile lippage. Mastic can't be applied if the surface has minor imperfections. Thus, a lot of work should often be done before actually using mastic.
What Types of Materials Are You Going to Glue Together?
The adhesive you use should be suitable for both materials you're going to glue together. It's especially important if two elements are made of different materials. This can be a bit tricky if you want to glue plastic to something, because there are so many types of plastic out there and it's hard to find out which type you're dealing with.
Let's take wood glue as an example. The bond wood glue creates is usually the same as the strength of the wood. However, metal glue or plastic glue are often weaker. If strength means a lot to your project, you may think whether there is something you can do to reinforce the materials.
In most cases, when you glue two objects together, you need to fill a gap with glue. The size of the gap is another thing to consider as different adhesive work best with different gap sizes. Contact adhesive, for example, works well with medium-sized gaps. Cyanoacrylate, however, works only with very tiny gaps. Epoxy glue works great with wide gaps, but it also suitable for smaller gaps.
Sometimes you can find the word "thermoplastics" on an adhesive, meaning it can melt and lose its properties if the temperature rises. If you know this could happen, you should go for the thermosetting glue instead as it can withstand hot temperatures much better.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Adhesive
A room air conditioner is an absolute “must-have” for people who face hot air temperatures either in the summer or throughout the year. When heat becomes too unbearable and fans don't help, a good air conditioner can do the magic of turning a hot and stuffy room into a cool and comfortable place to be in.
Window room air conditioner is installed as a primary source of cool air in the room or as an addition to the central AC system. These units are made for three different window types: standard, slider and casement. This air conditioner takes hot air from the room, cools and dehumidifies and returns it back inside. This is the most popular air conditioner type. Its disadvantage is that it takes up the window space. Insert pic here.
Wall air conditioner is a unit that is built into the wall of a room. It has all the same properties as a window air conditioner. However, it requires additional wall opening to be created. The disadvantage of this unit is complicated installation. The advantage - it doesn't take up window space and can be installed at any height. These units have a better weather barrier than window air conditioners. Insert pic here.
Portable air conditioners are self-contained units. Usually, they have casters to simplify their moving from one room to another. These units have a long and flexible hose that needs to be attached to a window to exhaust hot air. Portable air conditioners are usually higher priced than wall and window units. Their two main advantages are: easy installation and portability. Insert pic here.
Split-system unit is a less popular type of room air conditioner. It consists of two parts. One is hung on the wall inside the room and one is installed on the outside. They can be used to cool more than one room or large premises. Their disadvantage is the cost. These units are priced higher than other types. They provide more security than window types since the windows don't need to be open. Insert pic here.
BTU is important to understanding the size of the air conditioner the user needs. The cooling capacity of most units varies from 5000 – 12 500 British Thermal Units. The general rule is: 20 BTU per 1 square foot of living space.
• Small window or wall unit's capacity ranges from 5000 to 6500 BTU. This capacity is good for up to 300 square feet. Usually these are the cheapest air conditioners
• Medium window or wall unit's capacity ranges from 7000 to 8 200 BTU. It will cool about 250 -400 square feet. Such units are heavier, harder to install and will cost about twice as much as the small ones
• Large window or wall unit's capacity ranges from 9500 to 12500 BTU. It will cool a space of about 350 – 650 square feet. These models are heavy and costly but can efficiently cool a very large room.
Other factors besides BTU need to be considered when choosing the size of the air conditioner unit such as:
• Ceiling height (for high ceilings the capacity should be increased by 5 – 10%)
• Window and doorway size (large windows and doors need larger capacity)
• Heavily shaded room (capacity should be reduced by 10%)
• Very sunny room (capacity should be increased by 10%)
• Number of room occupants (500 BTU should be added for each person if the number of
room occupants exceeds 2)
• Location. If the unit is located in the kitchen then the capacity needs to be increased by 3000 – 4000 BTU.
It is important to choose whichroom you want to place the air conditioning unit in. You need to consider such factors as the sunny or shady side, the amount of heat (kitchen or laundry room) and the size of the room
Efficient airflow. For built-in, portable and split-system units it is important to find a place with the best airflow. This question will best be answered by a professional technician. The right placement for perfect air flow might go against your décor plans.
Noise. Most of the room air conditioners are somewhat noisy. This factor must be considered when placing the unit near a bed. Also the external unit for the split-system might be very noisy and needs to be installed in a way to avoid bothering the neighbors.
Direct airflow. If the unit is installed, the airflow is directed straight at a place where room occupants are usually sitting/sleeping; it can lead to health problems. Accordingly, it would be best to install the air conditioner high enough to avoid direct air flow. This works with split-systems and wall units. Portable units can be placed in the opposite corner (if there is enough piping). Window units are fixed in one place so the airflow can't be adjusted.
Inverter technology. Usually, air conditioners are either working at 100 % capacity or not working at all. Inverter units regulate the speed of the compressor and maintain the preset temperature. Usually, such option makes air conditioners more efficient and less costly.
Reverse-cycle. Some air conditioner units have a heating option and can be used to heat up air in the winter. They don't cost much more than cooling-only air conditioners. These units are considered one of the cheapest ways to heat large spaces.
Mosquito traps. These are special protective screens on the window units that don't allow mosquitoes to get inside the room. Insert pic here
Adjustable louvers. They can be adjusted vertically or horizontally to make the air flow in different directions.
Remote control will allow distant operation of air conditioners which is compulsory for models that are hung high. Insert pic here
Presence sensor. This feature allows the air conditioner to sense if there is a person in the room in order to continue working. The unit will shut down if there is no one in the room. Some models are equipped with a sensor that directs air flow to the area where a person is. This minimizes operation costs.
Sleep mode. The air conditioner can be set to a sleep mode for the time when people are sleeping so it doesn't work as extensively as when the room occupants are awake. This option will also regulate the air conditioner to produce less noise.
Different fan speed. More expensive models will have variable fan speed. The more speed settings there are, the better you can regulate the airflow. This is another money-saving option.
Programmable unit. You can program such a unit to keep different temperature at different times of the day. Insert pic here
Timer. This option will allow you to set the time when you want your air conditioner to start working and the time you want it to stop. This is a cheap alternative to the programmable unit feature.
Intelligent cooling. Some air conditioners can be connected to your smartphone and operated remotely. This is a good option for the time when you want to come home to a cool room.
Slide-out chassis allow the unit to slide out for cleaning and maintenance.
Filter type is important to the proper air conditioner operation.
• Standard – most popular common type. Needs to be replaced every once in a while
• Washable – these filters cost more but they can be washed and reused. They are durable and will last
for a long time.
Extra features. Extra features are needed to make the room air conditioner operation more comfortable but they are not necessary for its proper work. Accordingly, if you are on a tight budget, such options as different fan speed, sleep mode and programmable units can be overlooked.
Cheapest models. The cheapest air conditioner model is the window type. These are the most popular models, accordingly, they are more widespread. It is easier to find a good promotion on such unit.
Energy-efficiency. Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a more expensive unit in order to save money in the future. Some options allow the air conditioner to consume less energy which in turn reduces the electricity bill.
Installation. Most of the room air conditioners can be installed without professional assistance. This allows a user to save a significant amount of money on installation. This is true for the most window, wall and portable units. Split-systems need to be installed by a technician.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Room Air Conditioner for your home.
Do you know that those luxurious, relaxing showers that you enjoy taking can actually hurt your house? Humidity and moisture create a perfect ground for mildew and mold which significantly damage building materials such as wood framing and drywall, not to mention the damage to your health that they can make.
The good news is that you can get a bath fan heater that will remove moisture, mold spores, odors and everything that can lead to problems. Sometimes, these heaters are required by building codes (for example, when you don't have an operable window).
There are also many different sizes and types to choose from depending on the consumers preferences. Other aspects to consider are the noise level and the efficiency of the unit. The more efficient the product, the more money you can save in energy costs each year.
You will get the right amount of ventilation in your bathroom if you choose the right size of the fan. You should search for CFMs, or cubic feet per minute, as it indicates the ability of a fan to move air. Small heaters can't generate a lot of CFMs and are perfect for small bathrooms. Respectively, larger fans that generate higher CFMs are better for larger bathrooms. The Home Ventilating Institute has published recommendations and guidelines that everyone can check in order to pick the right size. However, there is a simple rule that you should follow.
• One square foot in the bathroom should have at least 1 CFM: For example, if your bathroom is 50 square feet, get a heater with 50 CFMs to achieve the optimal ventilation. Bathrooms larger than 100 square feet should follow these recommendations:
• Add 50 CFMs for a toilet
• Add 50 CFMs for every shower plus bath combination
Portable fan heaters:
Portable heaters are the lightest and can quickly heat up or cool down the room. They are also easy to operate - you just take it out of the box, plug in and this is it. However, cheap models can be noisy.
Convector portable fan heaters:
These are very tall but also light and thin - it's easy to move them around. Like the previous type, they heat up quickly but they are less noisy. Convector portable fan heaters are wall-mountable, which means you can put them out of the way. Of course, you will find instructions in a box with a heater but you should be prepared to drill holes in the walls.
Oil-filled portable fan heaters:
Oil-filled portable fan heaters are pretty slow to heat up but they are cheap to run. However, almost all models are heavy so look for those that have wheels as it makes easier to move them around.
Electric Wall Fan Heaters:
Energy efficient, easy-to-install and safe, these heaters can be mounted into a wall. They are often located far from sinks and bathtubs and there is no risk of electrocution. Besides, they are also fairly cheap. If you have a small bathroom, this could be one of the best choices.
Infrared Fan Heaters:
These heaters use infrared radiation, thus they are pretty cheap. They also help people who suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder during cold winter months. Bear in mind that you should keep these fan heaters away from the water.
Ceiling-mounted Fan Heaters:
Ceiling-mounted Fan Heaters are perfect for homeowners who want a permanent fan heater - these heaters don't clutter the room. This type of fan heaters is pretty safe as it is mounted on the ceiling.
Floor Fan Heaters:
Floor Fan Heaters are placed between special mesh mats under bathroom tiles. They prevent home owners from freezing off their toes on the bath floor again. They consume the same amount of electricity as a 300W light bulb, thus they don't add up to the electric bill. However, they are more expensive than others. People who want to renovate the bathroom and have a budget for it should consider this option.
Some fan heaters have advanced features such as the remote control for turning the device on and off from anywhere in the room or an LCD display that shows temperature. The most expensive models can also have a fan heater timer that is used to turn the heater on before you wake up or get back home so you don't have to wait for the heater to warm up. Many models also feature frost protection, which means that these heaters can work even when the temperature is below five degrees.
With this feature, a fan heater will heat up or cool down the room and when the comfortable temperature is reached, the heater will remain this temperature in the room.
Some cheap models can sound like jet engines; these models will retract you from enjoying a relaxing escape that is your bathroom. As you search for a bath fan heater, you will always want to consider noise level and choose quiet models. Bath fan heater sound is measured in sones.
A sone refers to a measure of sound as it related to how the sound is sensed by an average person. For example, one sone is like a quiet hum of a fridge in the kitchen at night. If you search for a quiet bath fan heater, choose a sone rating of two or one. Fans rated at four sones are noisier, while fans rate at five sones is not suitable for a bathroom.
Before you buy the heater, make sure that it meets qualifications for low wattage consumption, low sound emission, and have an efficient performance under static pressure. You can also get a model that has a motion sensor to help you make sure it works only when needed.
Another important thing to consider is the power of the bath fan heater. High power, which is measured in kilowatts, will be more suitable for heating bigger rooms. If you have a small bathroom, a low-power, quality portable heater (no more than 2 kW, for example) will do the job - and it is cheaper to run. However, sometimes the claimed power of the bath fan heater is not what is seems. Some models don't match the power they state on the box. It means you can buy a model that seems fine and then end up shivering in a cold bathroom. The only way to find out if you get the power that you pay for is to test the heater.
Unsurprisingly, bath fan heaters can get hot. However, if you read the instructions and use the heater accordingly, they are safe devices. Many models have a carry handle for moving them around, and they also have a safety cut out feature - you can switch off the heater if it gets hot. Never cover the heater up, never place anything on it, because it will increase the risk of fire. More expensive models also have a tilt protection feature - if the heater falls down it automatically switches off. This feature is necessary if you have a large dog or kids.
The design of bath fan heaters: The cheapest heaters aren't the most fashionable devices, but some of the advanced models have a lot of colors and designs to choose from. Some of them have futuristic looks, others look modern or minimalistic to suit your bathroom.
How to position the bath fan heater: In order to heat or cool down the bathroom, bath fan heaters need an inflow of air. Sometimes, more expensive models have inflow vents on the top or bottom. But if the model has a vent on the back (like the vast majority of the models), don't place it against the wall. Besides, oil-filled heaters should be placed in the middle of the room - when the room has a comfortable temperature, you can move it out of the way. Convector bath fan heaters can be placed anywhere.
Bath fan heaters can cost you as little as $15 for the cheapest model all the way up to $500 for more advanced models with many features. However, many manufacturers produce cheaper heaters - you will easily find a lot of models in the $15-$100 price range. More expensive models often have better designs and feature advanced safety. But you don't have to spend several hundreds to get a model that works efficiently and quietly. According to bath fan heater tests, there are models that cost $60 that can beat more expensive models.
Before choosing a bath fan heater, you should make sure you will get the one that is adequate for the size of the room. You will also want to consider your needs and wants with regard to features and noise level so that you will get the most for your budget.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Bath Fan and Heater.
Refreshing, relaxing or stimulating, a bath is still a desired means of hygiene. The size, type and style of the bathtub can enhance the experience! Bathtubs are the preferred venue for cleaning children, and even pets, and sometimes for items of clothing or household goods. The tub must be large enough to serve the home’s members and their purpose.
Purpose: If it is a means of hygiene only, then simple tub will do. But, if the tub will be used for massage after a work-out, or relaxation after a harried day of work and commuting, then an extra deep or whirlpool should be considered.
Location in the Home: A family bathroom, in which children or older adults will utilize the tub, would suggest a not-too-deep tub for easy access and use; or look at a walk-in tub for adults and even teenagers who may be injured in sports. A master bathroom may suggest a larger tub, even one built for two persons, that will provide a spa-like experience.
Size of Bathroom: The space available may eliminate some types and styles, such as stand-alone units, or whirlpools that require extra plumbing, motors and electrical access for sound or lights.
Water Heater Size: Tubs will consume 25 gallons to 150 gallons during use. Ascertain if the Water Heater will provide the desired temperature for the bath.
Floor Supports: Calculate the weight of the tub (cast iron is heavy) and the weight of the water in the tub, and the weight of the bather(s) to make sure the floor will support the weight.
Budget: A bathtub can range from $400 to $40,000 — depending upon the material from which it is constructed, the size of the unit, and the accessories. Consider carefully how frequently a whirlpool may be used and the cost when making a decision.
Acrylic is molded into a variety of tub shapes and sized. When reinforced with fiberglass, the tub price will increase. Acrylic will hold the water heat longer than some other materials. Does not chip and scratches can be polished out. Available in a variety of colors, acrylic tubs are the most popular and priced in the affordable range.
Fiberglass reinforced plastic tubs are lightweight an often feel flexible. While the least expensive, the topcoat will scratch and fade more easily than other materials.
Porcelain on Steel tubs are made by stamping steel into shapes and coating them with enamel. Easy to clean, these tubs are also inexpensive, but more durable than other materials, although if the enamel is chipped, the steel will rust.
Cultured Marble tubs are created by molding resin with limestone into the size and style desired. A gelcoat finish makes it easy to clean. Mid-range priced.
Cast Iron tubs are heavier than other materials, but are very durable. The enamel coating over the iron is easy to clean and maintains the water temperature for a long time. Cast Iron tubs are available in a variety of colors and shapes. Prices run in the mid to upper range, depending on the size, style and accessories.
Solid Surface tubs are made to provide a consistent look with the sink and/or the vanity countertop. These tubs may be heavy, but they maintain the water temperature and are easy to clean. Prices are on the higher end.
Copper tubs are extremely expensive and provide an aesthetic unparalleled by other materials. Expect to find these in stand-alone units to show off the material and color. Maintenance is not required, other than a wiping out after use, since copper is mold and stain resistant.
Stone or Wood tubs are carved from a solid piece and are extremely expensive. The weight also can pose a problem. The stone and wood will be sealed to make it waterproof.
Alcove tubs fit on three sides into an alcove that also will hold the shower. A front apron extends to the floor. Choose a left or right hand alcove tub, depending upon the drain location, which will be on the same side as the faucet and showerhead.
Drop In tubs fit into the floor or into a platform surrounding the unit. They are easy to get into and out of for children or older adults due to the platform surrounding the tub. The tub rim extends over the floor or platform, but the tub is supported underneath.
Undermount tubs also are installed into a platform, but the tub lip is hidden under the platform material. Support is maintained from underneath.
Corner tubs are space-saving or designed for more than one person. Located into a two-wall corner area, they are triangular in shape.
Freestanding tubs do not require walls for installation, but usually need more space to accommodate the tub and through the floor or through the wall plumbing. Created in myriad designs and shapes, freestanding units often are deeper for soaking. A claw foot tub is a freestanding top set onto claw-like feet. These are installed in older homes with a specific design.
Whirlpool tubs are Drop Ins or Alcove types containing strategically located jets that force recycled water onto specific body parts to provide a massage. The tub will require extra piping for recirculating the water, electrical outlets for running a motor, and additional space for the motor location. Also, whirlpool tubs may include music outlets and lighting for chromatherapy.
AirMassage tubs are drop ins or alcove types with small jets that forces air into the water for a soothing massage.
Walk-In tubs are designed with openings in the apron of the tub to permit access into a deeper tub. Walk-Ins are expensive due to creating a water-tight door in the apron. These tubs require the bather to remain in the tub until the water drains below the door opening. May contain whirlpool or air massage features.
Rectangular is the common size of a bathtub, but the height, width and depth can vary. Apron tubs will fit into alcoves and can be found in lengths of 48-inches, 60-inches, 66-inches and 72-inches. Widths run from 30-inches, to 32-inches, 36-inches, 42-inches and 48-inches. Depths can be as low as 14-inches and 17/18-inches to 20-inches and 25-inches.
Corner (triangular) tubs can be as small as 48-inches by 48-inches with a depth of 19-inches; 60-inches by 60-inches and 24-inches deep, or 72-inches by 72-inches and 20-inches deep. The measure of a corner unit also must be taken across the full length, such as the base of a triangle, not just along the walls into which it will be installed.
Freestanding tubs will be shaped as rectangular, oval, hour glass and range from 50-inches to 60-inches, 66-inches and 72-inches in length; 24-inches, 30-inches, 30-inches, 32-inches and 36-inches wide. Depths range from 20, 24, and 26-inches to 30-inches.
Drop Ins, including air massage and whirlpools, may be rectangular or even square, hourglass, oval and almost round and range from 48-inches to 60-inches to 72-inches in length, and 32-inches to 48-inches to 60-inches in width. Depths from 22-inches to 36-inches.
Walk Ins run standard from 48-inches to 60-inches long; 28, 30 and 32-inches wide and 38-inches deep.
Material is a large part of the cost, with the metal, stone and wood being extremely expensive and with fiberglass and acrylic in the lower price range.
Type and Size of the tub are the next considerations to impact upon the price. Apron/Alcove tubs are priced least expensive with whirlpool and air massage tubs increasing the tub. The more features, the larger the unit, the more it will cost. If electrical hookups are required to operate the tub, factor those into the price. Also, Freestanding tubs will require plumbing external to the unit, which will add to the cost, unless the plumbing is already installed.
Installation by a professional plumber will increase the cost, but may be required by building codes in the municipality.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Bathtub for your Bathroom.
Cabinet lighting is the most convenient and the most attractive type of task lighting for your kitchen. Designers agree that the path to a functional, beautiful kitchen space starts with proper lights. This guide will help you make the right decision as you choose lighting options for your kitchen cabinets.
Tape lighting is perfect for over-cabinet illuminations, while modular lighting system will be better for dust-prone areas. Thinking about types of lights you need is important as they can make your area more convenient and look much better.
They key factor when it comes to cost consideration is the type of fixture you choose. Simple models are affordable and cost less than $100. More intricate or expensive features can cost over $1,000 when all is done.
Task lighting provides enough light for common tasks like reading, playing games, or cooking. These lights are often brighter in design and are directed at work areas, such as kitchen countertops or desks to prevent eyestrain and make it easier to focus on a particular area. Moreover, task lighting should not have distracting glares or shadows that will interfere with a workspace. Although portable lights can do the job, home designers advise using track or recessed lighting for task applications because they blend better with a modern home design.
Accent lighting focuses on a concentration of lighting in one spot or on a subject and creates a point of interest or visual interest. For example, accent lighting can be used to highlight an architectural feature. In order to properly highlight a certain spot, the accent lights should be four times brighter than the task lighting. Accent lights usually point directly at their target, but some track and recessed fixture are also suitable for accent lighting.
LED. LED technology is perfect for cabinet lighting. Not only it is cost-effective and easy to use, LEDs are good for warm areas (like the kitchen) because of their cooler temperature. Besides, LEDs bring energy saving benefits, as the lamp lasts much longer, reducing maintenance costs.
Puck Lights. Puck lights mean small circular disks that can be installed in a pack that is wired together or individually. The biggest benefit of puck lights is their versatility. Puck Lighting can create a lot of light for a focal point, or even become a task light. Puck lights allow you to get pockets of light where you need it or to create uniformlighting when installing many of them in a row.
Linear Lights. Linear lights mean rectangular lights that complement other lights and wiring – in one unit. Linear lights are available in many sizes and colors and can be used for different applications. Some of the most common options are linkable, thin lights that come with LED, xenon, or fluorescent light fixtures. Linear lights allow for many creative solutions. Very thin options can be adapted to any surface.
Tape Lights. Most of the time you can find Tape lights sold in rolls of different lengths. These strips can be easily cut to fit your needs.
Under Cabinet Lights. This is a must-have element of any kitchen today; under cabinet lights add another layer of depth to any area, highlighting decorative surfaces and helping with tasks like cleaning or cooking. Linear or Puck lights with wide beam coverageare perfect for under cabinet lights.
In-Cabinet Lighting. In-Cabinet lighting helps to display decorative items in cabinets. A puck light spotlightshining from above or a linear light that ishidden behind the frame are the most popular options. You can also use sensors to turn the lights on when you open the cabinet door.
Toe Kick Lighting. Toe Kick lighting refers to a decorative accent lighting that adds interest to the kitchen. Flexible or linear lighting is perfect to achieve consistent coverage.
Shelf Lighting. This can either be decorative, such as open shelving, or utility lighting when more illumination is necessary, such as deep or dark cabinet spaces. Linear lighting, placed behind the frame, is quite common.
Cove Lighting. Cove lighting is installed above cabinets around the ceiling perimeter and provides a decorative layer of light. Linear lighting is used most frequently.Closet Lighting. Nobody likes dark closets. Closet lighting can provide the necessary illumination.
Fluorescent lamps are very efficient in providing a certain amount of light. Besides, fluorescent lights emit very little heat. This is important to remember if you are going to store anything in your cabinets. While fluorescent light fixtures cannot be dimmed, they are a good, inexpensive option.
Xenon lights are not as energy efficient as fluorescent and they produce more heat, but they also have thefull dimming capacity, and they provide a welcoming, warm light (if you like the glow of incandescent bulbs, xenon cabinet lighting is perfect for you). They are not cool to the touch, but the amount of heat produced is lower than halogen lights. However, heat output is important and must be kept in mind if you are going to install Xenon lights on the underside of food storage cabinets.
LEDs are the most energy-efficient option. They are cool to the touch, but also more expensive and give white light instead of a warm glow. However, some kitchen designs can greatly benefit from the blueish light of LEDs.
You can use light fixtures that mount on the surface under the cabinets for easy installation, or those that are installed into the bottom of your cabinets for a seamless look. Linear lights should be mounted on the surface, so you do not need large cuts into the structure. Some people assume that non-recessed lights will be jutting out unattractively. But if you do not specifically look for them, you will not be able to see them. If you still think that lights can be seen, add a small vanity panel to the bottom of the cabinet to completely hide them.
If you want to achieve the clean look of a flat bottom of your cabinets, choose recessed under cabinet lighting. Keep in mind that most of the time recessed options are puck lights. It is easier to recess circular, small puck lights than large fixtures.
When selecting cabinet lighting, it is important to think about the power source of your lights. Battery powered lighting can be the easiest solution, but you will be replacing the batteries quite often, which can be time-consuming, as cabinet lighting is hard to reach. Hard-wired is a good alternative. While wiring takes more effort during installation, once done, you will not have to bother with your cabinet lighting.
Cabinet lighting can be sold in packs, wired together, and with plugs included. To use this lighting, you will need an outlet somewhere inside your cabinets. Outlets that you may have for a built-in microwave can also be used for cabinet lighting. Just plug-in and enjoy!
If your wiring is not pre-wired to any plug, you will have to hard-wire your lighting. It is strongly recommended to get a professional to do it for you. Electricians can connect your cabinet lighting together and then hard-wire them so all wires are hidden. They can also connect your lighting to a switch for your convenience. If you still want to hard-wire yourself, call your lighting manufacturer for advice.
You also need to think about the voltage of your cabinet lighting. Low voltage cabinet lights operate from a lower voltage supply (12 or 24 volts). While each option can work great for your kitchen, choosing the correct one will depend entirely on your preferences.
Line Voltage. These are high quality, cheaper initial cost, and easy to install. They work off the voltage supply in your home, so you do not have to wire your lights to a transformer. You can connect them to power. Besides, line voltage lights can be used with standard dimmers instead of those made specifically for low voltage lights.
Low Voltage. There are several actions that have to be completed before installing low voltage cabinet lights. You should have a transformer to convert your voltage supply to a lower number, and if you are going to use accessories (such as dimmers) they will have to be compatible with your lighting system. However, they have two important benefits:theylast longer and use less energy. Besides, low voltage bulbs are smaller – so you have more fixture options to choose from.
You should not confuse Color Rendering Index, or CRI, with the color temperature. CRI does not measure the color of light, but rather the ability to render colors accurately. The scale ranges from 1 to 100 (the sun). A CRI of 85 is perfect for cabinet lighting.
It is important to consider the CRI when choosing cabinet lights because it can affect the entire look of your kitchen. Xenon lights have a CRI of 100, LED and fluorescent has a CRI range around 85-90.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Cabinet Lighting.
Cabinets in the bathroom mostly refer to tall linen cabinets or wall-mounted medicine cabinets. Base cabinets in the bathroom are called vanities. Used for mounting sinks and faucets, or for sitting to prepare hair and make-up, some of the designs now look like furniture, rather than the box type of the late 20th Century. Plumbing locations for the sinks, tubs and toilets will affect the size and location of the vanity. If the plumbing is moved to accommodate faucets or drains, the price of the project will increase. Electrical outlets for hair dryers, etc. must be GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) types due to water in the bathroom. This safety measure must not be overlooked.Type of bathroom— is this a family use room, a powder room used infrequently by visitors, or master bathroom with a spa-like feel? Vanity size will depend upon storage space needed ,Style of the home — the bathroom vanity/cabinets will blend with the ambiance of the surrounding rooms. Size of the room and doorways must be considered for installing larger furniture-type vanities. The height of the cabinet is important for choosing sinks, such as recessed or vessel sinks that will add to the overall height and affect installation of the faucet. The total height of the unit, with vessel sink, should not exceed 36-inches. The height of sinks should be 32-inches to 36-inches off the floor. Standard height vanities were designed to be 32-inches high and to accommodate a family with children who would need to reach the sink. Comfort height cabinets are 36-inches high for ease of use by adults.
Cabinet base-types were used for vanities for decades. The depth of the cabinet can be 17-inches or 24-inches. Heights are 32-inches or up to 36-inches with widths from 12-inches out to 60-inches. Cabinet base style vanities offer drawers, and closed shelves for storage.
Furniture vanities are the most popular types at this time and come in many styles for design purposes. Usually designed as stand-alone or freestanding units, but not always. Furniture vanities may be found with integral sinks, or be fitted for recessed and vessel sinks. Realize the top drawer of a furniture vanity will not be usable for storage since the sink and plumbing will close off the drawer area.
Freestanding units, such as many furniture type vanities, are easy to position in a room around plumbing, electrical and heating. They come in a wide variety of architectural styles and colors to work in any type of bathroom.
Built-in vanities require attention to detail for size of room, plumbing, heating and electrical. They also are created in many designs and colors for creating a functional yet beautiful bathroom.
Wall-mounted cabinets are used for vanities in accessible bathrooms and powder rooms where space is a consideration and storage is not the main issue.
Like kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities are constructed of a variety of materials.
Glass: Clear or tinted glass can be molded, cut and formed into contemporary styles of vanities as well as countertops and sinks.
Metal: A variety of metals are used to create contemporary and antique styles of pedestals for sinks.
Wood: Solid wood is rarely used in the bathroom unless in furniture style units. Engineered wood products like particleboard, MDF and plywood are used as the vanity box or base with a laminate surface imitating wood or wood veneer surface.
The size of the vanity is the biggest contributor to the price. Styling is also a large consideration.
Specialty materials such as glass fronts in the doors, metal work for decoration also impact upon the price.
Countertops and integral sinks can add to the cost of the unit when comparing vanities — but realize if they are not part of the package, the price of the sink and countertop must be added to the budget.
Plumbing and/or electrical — if they are needed to install GFCI boxes or to relocate pipes for faucets and drains — increase the cost of the project. Try to purchase vanities that fit the faucets and drains where pipes are originally located.
A comprehensive Guide on what you need to know before choosing the right bathroom vanity cabinet.
Kitchen cabinets are functional and aesthetic. The design of the cabinets and the color will create an environment conducive to meal preparation, and entertaining, if so desired. Functionally, the cabinets store the items necessary for food preparation, cooking and eating. When choosing cabinetry, keep in mind the purposes of the room, and the needs and desires of those using the kitchen! Factor in the appliances, their sizes and locations in the area, when deciding on cabinets.
Stock cabinets are mass-produced in basic styles and sizes to be combined into configurations that fit the room size and various functions. Styles and colors are limited with units ready to ship or in stock. Most frequently made of particle board or MDF covered with laminate or melamine; they are less expensive. A 34.5-inch height base cabinet is standard; with the countertop installed it will reach about 36-inches high. Widths range from 9-inches to 48-inches, expanding about every 3 inches. Wall cabinets are measured 12-inches high (for installation over the refrigerator or in combination with others), 36-inches and 48-inches high. Widths are sized like base cabinets. Cabinet depths are 24-inches for base cabinets, and 12-inches to 24-inches for wall cabinets. Tall pantry cabinets come in 84-inches high or 96-inches high to fit into a standard 8-foot high room. Widths are 12-inches, 24-inches or 36-inches wide and 12-inches or 24-inches deep.
Semi-Custom cabinets are manufactured for more variation in materials, architectural styles, and sizes. Adjustment in widths, increasing every 1-inch, and depths permit greater design configurations. These include stock cabinets with custom designed doors or accessories. Semi-custom cabinets usually offer more individuality in designing the kitchen.
Custom cabinets are created upon placement of an order on specific sizes, styles, wood and accessories. Custom cabinets are the most expensive since they are made to order. Since they are prepared upon specifications, these must be measured carefully and will take longer for delivery and installation. Hand-crafted, the box and drawer corners will be dove-tailed for strength.
Particle board: cabinet boxes and shelves may be made with this engineered wood product. Chips and pieces of wood are fused with adhesive and formed into sheets that are cut to be assembled into the box walls and shelves.
MDF: Medium Density Fiberboard is an engineered product of finer wood fibers and adhesive fused to create panels for cabinet doors, box walls and shelves. MDF will be covered with a laminate or melamine for color and texture.
Plywood: Sheets of wood are fused together in various grain directions to provide a strong, wood-grained panel for cabinet doors, box walls and shelves. Plywood can be stained, providing greater variety in usage.
Solid Wood: Using the same wood species, cabinets will be constructed for staining. One species may be used for the frame and doors, while a lesser expensive species may be used for shelving. The box on cabinets may use a veneer of the wood applied to a lesser wood species or plywood for staining.
Stainless Steel: Offering a unique design, stainless steel cabinets give the impression of a commercial kitchen.
Laminate: A plastic fusing a picture of wood graining or solid color is created into a thin film then applied to the box, drawers and doors of cabinets.
Melamine: A plastic with an image of wood or solid color is fused over particleboard boxes and doors/drawer fronts.
Thermofoil: A thin vinyl film that is fused onto the box, door and drawer substrate of MDF or engineered wood product.
Construction styles will affect the cost of the cabinets. Corners on the boxes and drawers impact the strength of the cabinets. Joinery methods that permit the pieces to interlock with each other will cost more than stapling or screwing the pieces together.
Custom, Solid Wood will be the most expensive option, with metal such as stainless steel also pricy. Custom with plywood will be less expensive and custom MDF or particleboard even less expensive, but custom cabinets are the most costly of the options. Measuring, specification and installation should be done by a professional because mistakes in any of these areas will be pricy. Units that do not fit properly into the space must be re-made, affecting time and cost on finishing the area. Note the difference in All Wood and Solid Wood. Solid wood says what it means. All Wood can mean engineered wood products, such as plywood, with solid wood on the frame and door/drawer fronts. Prices will vary.
Semi-Custom Wood cabinets are less expensive than custom, but still more so than stock cabinets. Choosing wood for staining will provide for more customization, but melamine or laminate finishes provide an easy-to-clean surface that will stand up to wear and tear. The box, door/drawer finishes will affect the cost as well as the box and drawer construction material.
Stock cabinets are the least expensive in choosing cabinets. Using what is available and incorporating spacer bars to create the layout will produce a quick and easy solution for kitchen design and construction.
A comprehensive Guide on what you need to know before choosing the right kitchen cabinets.
With so many ceiling fans to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in terminology like blade span, sloped ceiling adaptable, or blade pitch. Still, there is a lot you should consider before buying the ceiling fan that will be appropriate for a specific area in your home. Do you need a fan for rooms with short ceiling to floor height? Or maybe a fan with lights to perform two tasks at once? Or a fan for the high ceiling that will rely on a downrod to suspend the fan? A big ceiling fan for your living room? There is a lot to think before buying a fan. If you want to brush up on all the terminology before making the final decision, this guide can help you. Browse the following chapters to get answers to any questions you may have about fans.
Ceiling fans are not like air conditioners and they don’t remove the humidity from the air or lower temperatures. But you can save money and energy by using a ceiling fan and turning off your air conditioning when possible, or at least turning the thermostat up a few degrees and let the ceiling fan do the rest.
Ceiling fans come in a variety of sizes, finishes, and styles. The three-speed, 52-inch diameter ceiling fan is the most popular. More expensive fans often don’t deliver better performance but have fancier finishes on the motor cover.
Here are some key points to understand:
• Save energy. The recommended temperature is 78° during summertime, but some people like it cooler. Using a ceiling fan costs little to run and can make your room feel 4° F cooler. Besides, fans don’t cool the room, they cool you, so you can just turn them off before leaving the house.
• Blade shape is important. You can get the idea of how well a certain ceiling fan moves the air by looking at cubic feet per minute numbers on its box. A higher number usually means better air movement, but a small difference in numbers really doesn’t matter. For example, tests show almost the same results for fans rated at 5,000 and 5,600 cfm. In addition, think twice before buying a fan with blades that have surface texture, such as bumps and ridges; they often make noise (compared to fans with small, smooth blades).
• Wobble. Modern fans come with balancing kits – weights that you should attach to the fan blades to make a difference in blade weight and remove the wobble. This is a simple process, but it also requires time and effort.
Before getting a fan, think about how you want to control it. Typically, fans are mounted at a box where light fixtures were formerly located. The light switch is replaced with controls that allow for light setting and different speeds. The controls should be made by the same manufacturer as a fan to eliminate hum. Besides, some fans can be controlled remotely, other have a pull chain.
Size really matters when you think about ceiling fans. Typically, a 400-square-foot room needs a 52-inch fan, 144-square-foot room will look and feel better with a 42-icnh fan. For rooms that are longer than 18 feet two fans are a perfect option. Besides, think where you will place the fan before buying it. The middle of the room is a perfect spot, especially if people gather somewhere close to it. Fans mounted too close to a ceiling will move less air.
Ceiling fans can be as cheap as $40 all the way up to hundreds dollars, depending on many factors. A high-quality ceiling fan has several advantages that you cannot find for $40. More expensive fans move air quietly and more effectively. Besides, they are often backed by a nice warranty – 10 years or longer.
Energy Star.Energy Star is a designation for a product that meets certain energy efficiency guidelines. Ceiling fans that have met the requirements can deliver exceptional benefitswhile using less energy. They move air up to 20% more efficiently than other models. The Energy Star ceiling fans with light kits are 50% more efficient than conventional fans and can save you a lot on utility bills.
Choose Your Style.From ornate to traditional, ceiling fans can have a retro-feeling or add a modern twist. Basic fan blades usually come in a paddle shape, but you can also find leaf and oval shapes, as well as blades with different textures. Motor-cover finishes include pewter, bronze, and brass. Popular blade finishes include oak, maple, cherry, and blades painted in different colors.
Installation Requirements.It’s advised to install a ceiling fan in the center of the room 7 to 9 feet above the floor, to attain perfect airflow. Some basic tips include placing the fan not closer than 24 inches from drapes and walls. Manufacturers can also have specific requirements for certain models. If you want to use your fan as a lantern, be sure your electrical box can handle the weight of the ceiling fan. If you don’t know, call an electrician or read the instructions.
Wet/Damp Rating.If the fan is to be placed in a porch, choose the wet rating. These fans have rust-resistant housing, moisture-resistant motors, all-weather blades, and hardware made of stainless steel.
You can get a light kit for ceiling fans in three different ways: included with the fan when you purchase it, integrated into the fan, or bought separately. These light kits are often sold as universal, so they can be used on many different models. Besides, ceiling fans are also light kit adaptable. However, sometimes the compatibility is only between ceiling fans and light kits of the same brand or the same size.
If you want a fan with lighting, be sure to find an Energy Star approved light kit. The Energy Star lighting is long lasting and efficient, so you won’t have to change bulbs very often. Light kits come in several common options: stemmed or branched kits that have globes and can point up or down, anduplight kits that point towards the ceiling and should be placed on top of the housing to cast a soft light.
Almost all Energy Star approved ceiling fans with lighting options use bowl lighting that can be attached directly to the housing of the fan or below the fan. Shade and bowl designs range from crystal, alabaster, and tiffany to clear. The price depends on the glass design, the size, and features.
Lightbulbs. Not all LEDs and CFLs can be used in ceiling fans. If your fan has bowl lighting, you should get bulbs that are intended for an enclosed fixture. If your ceiling fan has globes or cans for bulbs, you should find bulbs specifically designed for ceiling fans. Don’t forget that lighting will increase your energy bills. Halogens are less efficient than CFLs and CFLs are less efficient than LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are being phased out due to their low energy efficiency.
A ceiling fan should fit the overall design of the room. The style you choose should not interfere with the feeling of the room but add to its décor, just like furniture and accessories, but on the ceiling. If you have a large room, you may need more than one ceiling fan.
Connect With Color. There are so many fancolor choices that you can easily find the one that coordinates with other furnishings in your room. It will help create unity and balance in your room. For example, thewood color of fan blades can be the same as the floor color. Metal finishes can match the cabinet hardware, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, or kitchen faucets.
Blend In.Fans are quite big and a bit clunky to conceal. If you want yours to be less visible, choose a simple style and color that can blend with the ceiling. A flush-mounted ceiling fan will blend even better.
It’s recommended to clean all ceiling fans once a season because dirty blades can’t move air as efficiently as clean ones. A pollen or dust covered ceiling fan will fling the particles everywhere as it’s whirring away. And if you have a ceiling fan in the kitchen, cooking grease will become a dust magnet. So keep your ceiling fans clean, especially if you use them often. Doing so requires a little effort, a ladder, and an all-purpose cleaner.
Cover TheFurniture And The Floor. Spread old sheets or drop cloths over the furniture and on the floor that’s near or directly under the fan. A good tip is to cover an area twice as wide as your fan. Position the ladder so you can easily see the top of the fan blades. Remove the globes and wash them in the sink.
Dust Before Washing. Start by removing dust with a duster or a cloth. Then moisten a sponge or a cloth with the all-purpose cleaner – don’t spray it on the fan – and wash every blade. You don’t need to apply heavy pressure because it will only bend the blades and your fan will no longer work properly. Damp blades will attract more dust, so dry thoroughly.
SpecialTools. There is a special tool –a U-shaped, long handled brush – which you can find in home centers and hardware stores. With this tool, you can clean both sides of the blade at once. If you don’t have a tool at home, you can get an old pillowcase instead; slip it over the blades and pull back to remove dirt and dust. If you hate cleaning your ceiling fan, try car wax to prevent dust from sticking.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Ceiling Fan
One of the most popular power tools you can find on all job sites and in most home workshops is the circular saw. They can be used to cut masonry, wood, steel, ceramics and other materials. A traditional saw includes foot plate and a blade guard, and you can adjust depth and bevel. However, there are so many different types of saws that you need to prepare yourself before buying one. Here is a comprehensive buying guide that will help you find the best circular saw.
If you ask a professional about a saw, they will probably name a mitre saw, a circular saw and a jigsaw. However, hobbyists and beginners don’t need the mitre saw and jigsaw. What they definitely need, though, is a circular saw. They can be divided into two types: in-line and worm drive. The design depends on the amount of torque the motor provides and its location. In other words, the most powerful saw is not necessary the best.
In-line saws that are also called sidewinder saws have the motor placed perpendicular to the blade. They are really popular among homeowners since they are lightweight and compact. The motor is often on the right, which allows left-hand users a good view of a cut line. But you can also find models for right-hand users.
The main benefit of these saws is a small motor that allows for incredible portability of the tool. However, it also means lower torque. That’s why these saws are often used for small projects. For heavy-duty projects, it is better to get a model with higher torque.
While the in-line saws are more popular, the worm-drive saws are the main choice of professionals. They are heavier than the previous type of saws and can put strain on your arms. Most models are corded because batteries can’t handle the large motor.
The worm-drive saws can handle every project that requires a saw. It can quickly slice though concrete and stone.
Like other power tools, you should choose between a corded and cordless circular saw. A corded saw doesn’t need any batteries and you don’t waste time on charging them so you can work for as long as you need. They are better for cutting steel, masonry and other challenging applications. While you can’t go far from the power outlet, you can get an extension cord to work outside the house.
A cordless circular saw, on the other hand, can be used in places where a corded one cannot reach. Most cordless saws are smaller than their corded counterparts, which is necessary for work in confined areas. However, you need to charge batteries and most of cordless saws can only cut wood.
Whatever model you choose, it should be able to cut wood without bogging down. For hobbyists, a 15 amp in-line saw is enough to stand up to the densest types of wood. In-line saws run at lower speeds than worm-drive saws, thus ensuring more power on each push. However, not all in-line saws can handle tough wood like lumber; you will have to get a worm-drive saw to manage these projects.
Quality Blade Guard
You should make sure the blade-guard is snug-free. Blade guard can also be quite annoying when it accidentally stops the saw. This will happen if you’re trimming a small piece off. Many professionals pin back the blade guards, or even remove them. However, you can’t be fully protected if the blade-guard is disabled. Thus you should choose a model with a blade guard that can handle all angles and depths. Those models that have a large protruding lobe often work the best.
Speaking of safety, you should check the spindle lock that keeps the blade from moving when you switch them. You saw should also have a safety switch to prevent starts. Some models have an electric blade break which makes the blade to quickly stop. If your saw doesn’t have this feature, you will have to wait until the blade stops spinning.
A Reliable Base Plate
A base plate is the part that breaks down most often. Those plates that are made of stainless steel can become a headache because they bend easily. Cast aluminum or magnesium plates are more durable but they will crack if you accidentally drop the saw. Fiber-reinforced plastic plates are the most durable; they are ribbed and thick.
Good Connection between the Blade and the Plate
Whether model you choose, its motor will be connected to the base plate. It allows you to adjust the depth and the bevel angle. Older models can have the pivot point placed in line with the blade guars, which will give you the bevel you don’t want. Models that don’t have a pivot point in line with the handle are more stable.
Smooth Bevel Adjustment
If you’re going to do framing work, especially roofs, you should get a saw with a smooth bevel function. The base should pivot without problems, too. Modern models have bevel stops that can be used in angles, but you should also be able to set the bevel to any angle you need.
Convenient Depth Adjustment
To handle many projects, you will need to adjust the depth of your cuts. Thus, you need to be able to move the base plate without problems. It is not that easy to do on circular saws with inboard levers that are tucked between the guard and the handle. Thus, it is better to get a model with outboard levers and keep one hand on the handle while adjusting the blade depth. Besides, you can quickly grasp the levers when they are coated in rubber. The depth scale should be marked – the larger the numbers, the better.
Clear Cut-line Visibility
If you want to make clear cuts, you need the cut-line marker to be aligned with the cutting edge of the blade. The best models allow you to cut either to the left or to the right of the line. However, when you can’t see your cut-line, your saw should provide a clear sight to the blade.
Electric breaks stop the motor within seconds after pushing the trigger, while saws without electric brakes require between 10 to 15 seconds to stop. The electric brake can quickly revise the flow of electricity to make the tool stop. The main reason why many choose electric brakes is to save limbs and fingers. Quickly stopping the brakes means less likely to get hurt or damage your work. Besides, most modern models have it anyway.
Just like other tools, circular saws have a wide range of blade sizes. But if you’re getting a corded model, you will probably get 7, 1/4 inches but cordless drills have two popular options, the 7, 1/4 inches and 6, 1/2 inches. Your choice should depend on your needs. For example, larger blades are heavier but allow you to make fewer cuts. Besides, it is more convenient to make angle cuts with bigger blades.
A shaft lock is a button that you can press to hold the blades still. Make sure your model has this feature because it makes blade changing much easier. Cheaper models usually don’t have shaft locks but middle-class and professional saws have.
There are saw models that come with additional features that are not crucial but can be quite useful sometimes. For example, professionals often choose saws with storage. Another useful feature is a LED light. And cordless models should have a battery gauge.
If your budget allows, you would love having both corded and cordless saws. Sooner or later you will start a project that requires both of these. Sometimes, you will need a corded saw and the next time you won’t be able to manage without a versatile cordless saw. Therefore, consider getting both of them.
The more expensive models usually have better quality parts and will last for generations with proper care. And if you use your saw on occasional projects, a good circular saw will deliver everything you need for decades.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Corded or Cordless Circular Saw
When choosing the design of your kitchen, you may find it more spacious to get an in-wall oven unit. But what about a stovetop to cook your spaghetti or soup on? What will you do in order to still have those necessities? The best option for you is to invest in getting a cooktop. This guide holds a few factors that you should take into deep consideration when you are picking out your new cooktop.
Size is a factor to be considered, especially when you are deciding on the placement of your cooktop. You could place the cooktop on the kitchen island or on the counter top. Where it goes is completely up to you. But when you decide where you want it, you need to measure how much space you would like to use and find a cooktop within that size range.
Cooktops normally range in size from 30 to 36 inches. But you can find some as small as 21 inches and some as large as 48 inches. Just remember, the bigger the cooktop, the more burners you will be able to cook with. Some come with up to six burners.
It would be in your best interest to make sure there is plenty of space from burner to burner. This way you are not juggling all the pots and pans as they basically sit on top of each other. Proper spacing can prevent a huge mess from happening. Also, most people will prefer the smaller burners in the front.
Get one with an easy clean-up. The best advice to is to find one with removable knobs or a rim that will make cleaning any kind of accidental spill a breeze. Some cooktops do however require some special cleaning supplies so as not to scratch the surface on smoothtop electric models. For gas tops, try to find sealed burners that would be dishwasher safe.
Ventilation over your cooktop is very important. You must be able to find a way to get venting so it can clear the air over wherever you decide to place your cooktop. It’s more vital if you decide to go with a gas cooktop. Some options that are available to consumers include: an overhead-chimney range hood, range hoods mounted under a cabinet, or downdraft vents. You just have to figure out what your budget will be when purchasing one. Some vents can cost up to $1500, while base models can be had for a couple hundred dollars.
The controls on your cooktop should be easy to be read and easy to get to. New touchpad controls are generally easier to use than knobs or dials. But they are also more likely to malfunction. However, if yours does have knobs and they are located on the front rather than the top, they are more likely to be accidentally reset by being bumped. They could be also be turned on by children. Thankfully some models have childlock safety options.
There is not a huge difference in response to a cooktop’s efficiency. Commonly, gas is less expensive than electricity. Most models now are very modern and sleek so as to fit just about any kitchen. Many find choosing a cooktop is just a matter of personal choice. Below I have listed the good and bad about every type.
Gas cooktops - Generally they are less expensive than electric. However, these require a gas hook-up and are normally harder to clean. They also have issues with maintaining consistently low temperatures. However, these are the cooktops that are most prefered by chefs. Chefs prefer them because they can actually see the flames in order for them to make correct temperature adjustments.
Electric smooth cooktops - Generally speaking these are much easier to clean than gas cooktops and they are fantastic at simmering. However, they are extremely vulnerable to damage that may come from dropped pots and pans or spills (especially of the sugary variety). These liquid substances can burn onto the top burners and cooktop surface. Many current users of these cooktops say that when they are brand new they look fantastic. The issue is that once they are brought into usage in daily life, they tend to get stained. These stains can hard to remove without scratching the surface of the cooktop.
Induction cooktops - These cooktops heat much more quickly than electric smooth tops or gas cooktops. They are extremely responsive in terms of quickly adjusting the heat as is needed for specific tasks, such as simmering sauces or for correctly melting chocolate (and not scorching it). On the downside, these cooktops are rather pricey and they require cookware that is made from iron or stainless steel. If you purchase one of these cooktops you will have to replace any pots or pans that contain aluminum or copper.
Finally, after deciding on your new cooktop, you must now decide if you have to have new pots and pans. Electric and gas cooktops have no specific cookware requirement. Yet many people do like to update their cookware in order to match the new look of their fresh cooktop.
Now if you have bought an induction cooktop, you will have to most likely replace your cookware. For an induction model, you need magnetic cookware in order for the pot or pan to heat up.
Some examples of cookware that would work are: cast iron, enameled cast iron, or stainless or enameled steel with an iron core for a base. Do not buy: copper, aluminum, or stainless steel without an iron component. The majority of people who already have induction cooktops would suggest that new buyers take a magnet when shopping for new cookware so they can see if what they like would be compatible with their new induction cooktop.
First, you have to decide what price range you can actually afford. The budget is one of the biggest factors. Your basic and standard cooktops cost between $350 to $750. With cooktops over $500, you find ceramic tops that will have ribbon heating elements.
Mid-range priced cooktops can cost between $750 - $1500. These are more high-end appliances that include better technological advances. Some examples are: electronic touch controls, low simmer burners, warming zones, and power boiler-burners.
The most expensive cooktops range from $1500 - $5000. These are top of the line. These cooktops come in bigger sizes with the possibility of having more burners. Induction and chef models appear in this price range. Most chef models include: fryers, griddles, grills, woks, melt-free burners (these are used to keep chocolate from scorching), and dual-stack burners.
In conclusion, there is a lot that you must consider when you are on the lookout for a new cooktop. But most importantly, you have to choose one that would best fit your kitchen and your lifestyle.
The biggest factors are space and the energy type that does the actual cooking. Yet style plays a key role in any appliance purchase. Taking time to choose properly will ensure this is the last cooktop you need for many years.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right "cooktop"
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right bathroom countertops and surfaces.
Vanities and cabinetry in bathrooms require surfaces that will stand up to moisture and solutions used by homeowners for their personal hygiene and beauty regime. Also, the surfaces will enhance to the aesthetic of the room’s design.
How many people will use the bathroom? If this is a family bathroom, then the countertops will receive heavy usage for hygiene products and appliances such as hair dryers, etc. If this is a master bathroom with a spa-like atmosphere, fewer people will be piling products onto the surfaces.
When purchasing vanities for the bathrooms, consider if the countertop is already integral to the cabinet.
Depending upon the surface chosen, sinks can be molded into the countertop instead of installed separately.
What is the budget for the bathroom? Countertops can be created from natural stones that will be expensive, or even man-made products that can be costly, or from practical products that will stand up to wear and tear. Professional installation may be required.
Laminate has been used for generations on bathroom countertops because of its durability, affordability and ease of maintenance. Colors and designs increase with trends. The construction of the laminate product will determine its ability to stand up to heat, scratches, and stains. Nonporous, it is water resistant and does not need maintenance other than cleaning.
Solid Surface materials are a mixture of natural minerals with resins, providing a range of colors and styles. Care should be taken when using heat or acidic products. Solid surface materials are nonporous and durable in a moisture setting. These may be known by brand names such as Corian® or Ceasarstone®, or Cultured Marble, Cultured Granite, which then identifies the mineral used in the composition. Easy to clean, these products require little maintenance and can be repaired if necessary.
Quartz is a man-made material of crushed quartz stone mixed in a resin. Created in a variety of colors and designs, quartz countertops can look like stone without the need for sealing and maintenance. Quartz is nonporous and easy to maintain and clean. Quartz can be heavy and may require additional support if the countertop is large.
Granite is a natural stone with warm colors that may contain veins. If more than one piece is needed, the veins will not match up in the design. Granite will be sealed and will require resealing to maintain its stain and water resistance. Heavy, granite will require professional installation.
Marble is a natural stone often used for vanity tops. White is the most popular color but marble will contain veins that will not match during installation. If short run pieces are needed, this is not a problem. As a soft stone, marble will require sealing and resealing to provide moisture and stain resistance. Marble provides a warm, generous feeling to the bathroom countertop and will require professional installation.
Soapstone is a natural stone that is ideally suited for use in the bathroom. Nonporous, it will not require sealing, but it is softer so scratches or nicks will show if not sanded out. Soapstone is available in a range of colors and patterns; professional installation will be required.
Countertops are one of the major investments in the kitchen. These surfaces will receive abuse from food preparation, cooking, entertaining, and even eating. Plus, they are one of the most visible features of the kitchen and will enhance the ambiance of the room.
What type of activities will be done on the surface? Food preparation, hot pots from the stove or oven placed on top? Will seating be included and food served or beverages during entertaining. The amount and type of liquids and solids to be dealt with on the surface will have an impact upon which surfaces should be chosen in which area of the kitchen. Island surfaces with cooktops or sinks may be different from island surfaces for seating and enjoying the food prepared.
Depending upon the surface chosen, sinks can be molded into the countertop instead of installed separately. Drains may be carved into the material or chopping blocks fitted within.
Edge Styles will change the look of the countertop. Depending upon the material chosen, a variety of edge styles are available. Consider the cabinetry design and style of the kitchen when choosing the edge.
What is the budget for the kitchen? Countertops can be created from natural stones that will be expensive, or even man-made products that can be costly, or from practical products that will stand up to wear and tear.
Professional installation will be required for several materials. A template will be made mapping out the area, noting the spaces for cooktops and sinks. The template is the pattern the fabricator or stonecutter will use to create the countertop. This step adds to the time needed to install the countertop.
Reinforcement of floor supports may be needed for some natural stones if used extensively throughout the kitchen.
Laminate has been used for generations on bathroom countertops because of its durability, affordability and ease of maintenance. Colors and designs increase with trends. The construction of the laminate product will determine its ability to stand up to heat, scratches, and stains. Nonporous, it is water resistant and does not need maintenance other than cleaning.
Solid Surface materials are a mixture of natural minerals with resins, providing a range of colors and styles. Care should be taken when using heat or acidic products. Solid surface materials are nonporous and durable in a moisture setting. These may be known by brand names such as Corian®, Silestone® or Ceasarstone®. Easy to clean, these products require little maintenance and can be repaired if necessary.
Quartz is a man-made material of crushed quartz stone mixed in a resin. Created in a variety of colors and designs, quartz countertops can look like stone without the need for sealing and maintenance. Quartz is nonporous and easy to maintain and clean. Quartz can be heavy and may require additional support if the countertop is large.
Granite is a natural stone with warm colors that may contain veins. If more than one piece is needed, the veins will not match up in the design. Granite will be sealed and will require resealing to maintain its stain and water resistance. Heavy, granite may require additional structural support if used in large pieces and will require professional installation.
Marble and Travertine are natural stones often used for countertops. White is the most popular color but marble will contain veins that will not match during installation. If short run pieces are needed, this is not a problem. As a soft stone, marble will require sealing and resealing to provide moisture and stain resistance. Marble provides a warm, generous feeling to the kitchen countertop and will require professional installation.
Soapstone is a natural stone that that comes in shades of gray to black and is often used for kitchen countertops. Nonporous, it will not require sealing, but it is softer so scratches or nicks will show if not sanded out. Due to its softer nature, Soapstone can be carved with water draining channels around a sink, or cut to allow a chopping block to be set into the countertop. Soapstone is available in a range of colors and patterns; professional installation will be required.
Wood block countertops work well on islands used for food preparation. Maple, Red Oak, or Cherry are the most frequently used woods. Created with end grain strips or planks. Zebrawood is an African hardwood with a dark grain for adding drama to the kitchen. Even bamboo, when cut with end grain showing, offers an interesting design for butcherblock counters.
Stainless Steel is nonporous and resistant to all types of liquid spills, stains, and bacteria. Heat resistant, hot pots can be placed directly upon the surface. When it comes to scratches, stainless steel is not immune, but consistent use will provide a patina on the shiny surface and scratches become part of the allure. Dents can be a problem if the surface is not installed properly; a professional will fit the steel tightly to a wood substrate, which will reduce any visual dents. Stainless steel is bright and shiny, offering a particular attraction for some homeowners.
Concrete can be poured into any shaped mold and tinted with a wide variety of colors to produce countertops. Poured in place, the finished product has a unique look as it is finished smooth or with textured surfaces.
Tiles of Ceramic or Porcelain may be laid into a form to create a countertop. Once frequently used, tile countertops are not popular at this time due to the grout lines trapping liquids, stains, and bacteria. Tiles can chip and crack if pots are dropped on them; tiles are not easily replaced in this setting. While tiles can create an interesting surface, consider hygiene when making this choice.
Material costs are the greatest portion of the budget.
• Laminate is priced by the square foot, plus the cost of the backsplash if using the same countertop material will be priced by the linear foot is the least expensive of the solid material options. Prices are about half of the other materials.
• Quartz is comparable Granite and is the top of the line of manufactured surfaces
• Granite is an affordable stone for countertops and surfaces and is comparable in costs to Quartz and Soapstone.
• Soapstone is comparable in price to Quartz and Granite.
• Marble and Travertine are beautiful stones and that is reflected in the price. Within the Marble and Travertine family, prices can range due to where the stone comes from.
• Wood block will be priced based in the size and type of wood used. More affordable than stone or Quartz or Solid Surfacing.
• Stainless steel can be compared to Quartz, Granite or Soapstone, depending on the gauge of the steel. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal; Residential use gauge should be between 16 and 18; 14 gauge is used in commercial kitchens. Prices are based on the thickness of the metal and the finish.
• Concrete costs will be based on pouring in place or cast and shipped. Concrete countertops will be more expensive than most materials, other than the Marble family.
• Tiles of Ceramic or Porcelain are the least expensive and are based on the cost of each tile. • Solid Surface will range in price depending upon the manufacturer and the quality of the products used to create the material.
Edge styles will change the cost of the countertop with more intricate designs demanding an upcharge.
Maintenance costs will add to the budget over the lifetime of the surface. Natural stones must be sealed and resealed in the kitchen. Constant use will reduce the stone’s ability to resist water or stains. Drip water onto the surface; if it beads, the seal is still good. If the bead spreads out over the surface, it is time to reseal.
Installation costs must be considered. Laminate, Quartz and Solid Surfacing is less expensive to install while natural stones and concrete will be more expensive due to time and weight.• Weight of the material may necessitate structural supports and must be considered when choosing the countertop.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right kitchen Countertops and surfaces.
Choosing the Deck Lighting That is Perfect for Your Needs
Before you start planning your deck lighting, ensure you’re aware of different options available to you. From fun little accents to functional deck lighting, the combinations and the look you want to create are up to you! This guide will help you go through the available choices of style, layout, size, and more.
Before choosing deck lighting, you should think about energy efficiency, cost, eye health, style, light source, and a whole host of different factors. Lighting a deck does not mean putting up several floodlights anymore. Nowadays, deck bring fashion in the lighting schemes. Sensible, strategic use of different light fixtures is a big trend, and this guide will teach you how to plan and make use of creative and logical ideas.
One of the main factors to consider is sizing. Smaller areas look better with task lighting, while larger areas are more suited to floodlights. Besides, function and appearance also play an important role. Think about what you want to achieve and make sure you bought the right type of lighting.
Post Caps. From unique to functional,thepostcapstyles act as a finishing touch on your deck design by being placed atop the locations that punctuate the deck railing. Styles vary from handcrafted to powder-coat two classic finishes.
Rail Lighting. Low-voltage, side-mounted sconces on the railing posts add a nice glow to the illumination. Multiple styles allow you to customize your deck with lighting that adds decorative accents and warm highlights.
Step Lighting. Recessed lighting mounted underneath the steps blends perfectly with them– increasing safety and adding harmony to your deck lighting. Recessed LED lights can also be used to highlight features that you love the most about your deck.
LED. If you are thinking of the green movement, think of choosing LED lighting. LED, or light-emitting diode, is illuminated by the movement of electrons instead of using a standard filament that you can find in incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are cool to the touch and require less energy to operate. Most of them need a DC 12-volt transformer, but the newest options are rated for both DC and AC power. Carefully read the description before buying a LED bulb.
Incandescent. These bulbs create light using the filament. The filament glows when power is applied, producing light, and generating heat. Incandescent bulbs can work with line voltage and low voltage application.
LED vs Incandescent. Lights for your deck fixtures are usually xenon or halogen lamps, both of them are incandescent. Xenon bulbs are less bright compared to halogens, but they last up to 20,000 hours and can be handled with bare hands. They produce less heat than halogens and the color of light is warmer. Xenon bulbs usually don’t discolor plastic lenses.
However, many believe that future decks will be lit by LEDs, which last longer and help save on electricity bills. A LED lamp can last for 50,000 hours, after which the light will fall below the acceptable level. The most efficient LED lamps can produce the same Lumens per watt as fluorescents. Some people already use LEDs for their deck fixtures, but their cost, low light output, and blueish color have been some of the obstacles to wider acceptance.
Low Voltage. Low voltage lighting requires a transformer plugged into a wall outlet to convey power from 12 volts up to 110 volts. Installation doesn’t require professional help unless you have a transformer that has to be hardwired into an electrical system. Low voltage deck lighting is easy and safe to operate, but you still should contact your building permits department or the building inspector for your area before starting a construction project. Multiple transformers can power low voltage lamps.
AC Transformers. They are used to convert AC current to the voltage required for the incandescent bulbs.
Single Tap Configuration. These transformers have one terminal that delivers current reduced to a specific amount, most of the time it’s 10% of the incoming voltage.
Multi-TapConfiguration. These transformers have many terminals available, ensuring better stability and preventing early bulb burnout.
DC Transformers. These transformers aren’t common in US household application, but they are necessary for LED lights. They can convert AC voltage to DC power. DC transformers come in single tap configurations as explained in 3.1.2.
Line Voltage. Line voltage products use more electricity to create a larger amount of light when compared to the low voltage deck lighting. This product usually has to be installed with professional help, as the installation of Line Voltage requires a permit.
Solar. Solar lighting uses a panel that converts sunlight into electricity and is perfect in a situation when wiring is not an option. Solar lighting can’t produce as much power as line voltage or low voltage power, but it can be used for accent lights. The run time is usually based on the location and the season. For instance, in northern climates, solar lights can run for 10 hours during summer and 4 hours during winter. In southern climates, the same solar lights will run several hours longer.
Before you choose your deck lighting, plan the essential elements.
Sketch It Out. You don’t have to make a sketch of a perfect deck plan, but visualizing the layout of your future lighting objectives can go a long way toward achieving the design you want. Once you have an idea, mark the location of important features, especially if you’re going to have fixed items. These may include large planters, tables, seating, grills, or fireplaces.
Think Utility.What parts of your deck will you light for functionality, safety, or décor? This can include high traffic areas, stair treads, grilling, and so on. A combination of recessed stair lighting, post caps and rail lighting will produce the right amount of light without ruining the relaxing ambiance. As you decide on the locations, mark them on your plan.
Atmosphere. The fun starts with thinking about what kind of atmosphere you want to create. Do you want warm accent lights to soften the environment and add romance? Or bright lights to highlight architectural features and important details?Pencilin these locations as well.
Choose The Lights. Choose the lighting style and finalize the plan. As you go through the options, don’t forget about your deck balusters, spindles, and other material. You want the color, luminance, and style of your lights to highlight the existing features and your personality.
Measure Everything Carefully. When ordering lighting fixtures, ensure you are correct when measuring the size of your deck posts.
Transformer Essentials. To properly determine the size of a transformer you need, add up a total number of watts for each light bulb for your deck. Then you should add 10% for connections and cables that will also add watts to the system. The equation is quite simple: total light watts X 1.1 = transformer size you need.
Then choose a transformer that matches your total wattage, round the number up if necessary. You can also leave room to add more lights. For instance, 13 light fixtures @ 20 watts each will need a 300-watttransformer (13 X 20 = 260 total plus 260 X 1.1 = 286 watts, but 286-watt transformers don’t exist so you round up the number to a 300-watt transformer).
Wiring. Wiring gauge means how much your current wire can handle. Higher current always runs on thicker cable, which is usually indicated by a lower gauge number. Choose wires according to the type of lights, the location, and the layout. You should stay consistent when matching wire types. If you choose LED lighting, matching polarity is crucial.
Think where you will run the wires: hidden within the railing, under the deck, or under the handrail. Voltage drops can occur while current runs to each light fixture on the circuit. It could lead to insufficient voltage. To limit the drop, it’s recommended that you loop the main cable.
Loop Installation. Loop installation means light fixtures are arranged in a looped circuit, which reduces the possibility of a voltage drop.
“T” Installation. “T” installation means the transformer is located in the center of the lighting circuit, creating an equal distribution of power. This installation requires a heavier gauge wire running from the transformer. Choosethis if your lighting fixtures are far from the transformer.
Straight Installation. Straight or line installation means the wiring starts at the end of the lighting and follows the direct sequence to the transformer.
Split Load Installation. This is the best option when light fixtures run in several directions from the transformer. To reduce the risk of a voltage drop, place the transformer in the center of the light fixture run.
People often forget about the importance of controls when designing the deck lighting. Most of the time individual lights can’t be switched – entire circuits can. Of course, there are always exceptions, such as lighting at a grill, or solar-powered lighting. How you control your light fixtures depends on the purpose of your lighting. For example, you may want your safety lighting to come on after dark. Such task can be controlled with photosensors that switch on at dusk.
You can also vary the level of light by setting up different light circuits. You can achieve complete symmetry by alternating light on the railing posts so that each one will be on a different circuit. For a romantic ambiance, one circuit is what you need.
It’s always a good idea to put accent lights on their own circuit, as there are times when you want only accent lights to highlight a certain object.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Deck Lighting.
In terms of safety and aesthetics, nothing adds more flare than a deck. However, without a railing, the deck can be quite bland. Not to mention the fact that deck railings are required for decks located higher than 36 inches from the ground.
The most important features of any deck railing are style, material and performance. Railings come in a variety of colors and designs so it's easy to find the most elegant railing within the budget.
Speaking of performance, a deck rail should stand 36 inches or more from the deck boards. If your deck is higher than 10 inches from the ground, increase the measurement to 42 inches. Moreover, a deck rail should be strong enough to carry the weight of anyone who can potentially lean to it, or it will be knocked. Simply put, search for a deck that is hard to push over.
There are strict measurements that all deck railing manufacturers have to follow. The deck rail should be able to withstand the force up to 200 lbs. per square foot otherwise it cannot be sold. The balusters should be designed close to each other - so that a five inch ball will not pass through the railings. This is important if you have kids who can endanger their heads being stuck in between rails.
Composite Deck Railing
Composite Deck Railing is the most popular option thanks to multiple advantages of the material. Composite is a very durable material which makes it an easy to maintain option that can withstand any climate. This railing is made from a combination of wood particles, such as plastic, sawdust and mulch. Then everything is combined to create a maintenance free and high resistant decking material.
These railing boards look like the real wood but cheaper and do not require any additional maintenance. The textured wood grain is one of the key features of these materials, which allows for a beautiful but durable result. It will stay in place for many decades even in heavy foot traffic or under harsh weather conditions.
However, composite deck railings are not perfect. If a traditional wood is damaged, you can just perform a spot repair or restore, which is not possible with composite railings. If the damage occurs, you will have to replace the entire board. Moreover, color choice is also limited. They are paint like natural wood and have a stain finish. Manufacturers provide different colors that imitate wood tones but you cannot get pink or blue composite deck railing.
These railings are offered by the vast majority of companies. They only require occasional cleaning and provide deck uniformity that is harder to achieve with other materials. They can be expensive, though, so they are not the default railing selection. Some manufacturers combine composite railing systems with metal or natural woods to keep the price lower.
Installation is easy as these railings come in a kit that is no more than an afternoon project. You can install everything yourself with all pieces easily fitting together. The average price for this type of a deck is around $200 for the 6 inches railing.
Wood Deck Railing
Wood is a traditional material for deck railings. It is the most customizable and can fit any style. You can even create a new design by yourself by using different wood species and different finishes. However, different combinations will vary in cost. Consider wood railings as a blank canvas, these are the most versatile of all railing types available on the market.
• Pressure Treated Lumber: This material is commonly used for outdoor wood projects. Pressure treated lumber can hold up additional moisture and does not fade over time. This is the relatively cheap material that you can find in any home improvement store. These benefits make pressure treated lumber a common choice for homeowners looking to make a railing themselves. This material can be shaped, painted or stained to fit all kind of different designs. This wood material is more porous than those listed below and you can easily refinish it yourself to match the style of your deck. Pressure treated lumber can cost you around $20 per square foot.
• Cedar: Cedar is one of the most durable materials and this is what makes it so popular. If you want to see the beautiful wood grain as your deck railing design, this may be the perfect material for your wants. This material is naturally pest and rot resistant, so you do not have to care about its maintenance. Of course, you can also seal or stain the railing if you feel like doing it. However, cedar is not completely maintenance free. You will need to treat cedar railings every two years. It is more often than a composite railing, but cedar will hold up longer that an average composite deck railing.
• Mahogany: Mahogany is famous because of its unique color. However, it is also very durable and you can use it for outdoor projects. There are different species within this type of wood. Some of them are naturally rot resistant, others are not. Mahogany can give your deck a traditional look. As a rule of thumb, the richer and darker the color, the more resistant the material will be. If you need an advanced material protection but love the natural color of mahogany, use a clear sealant to keep the material from graying. The only disadvantage is that mahogany is not produced locally so it is more expensive and can cost you $35 per square foot.
• Redwood: Redwood is also pretty durable and can be used for outdoor applications. It can stand up against UV rays. It is also naturally insect resistant. Unlike other materials that grey over time in sun exposure, redwood will keep its rich red color and can be sealed for better protection. However, multiple benefits of redwood make it the most expensive option for your wooden deck relining. The average cost is around $60 but you are paying for low maintenance nature of redwood.
Metal Deck Railing
Sometimes you do not want to get a traditional look. Some homeowners prefer to go in a different direction with their deck railing designs. Metal railings are the most popular in industrial and contemporary style houses. However, this durable material can easily fit in a Victorian style house as well.
• Steel: Steel is the most common building material, but it is not the most popular when it comes to deck railings. It is very durable as you could expect from a metal but it is vulnerable to rusting with constant sun exposure. This can significantly affect the design and integrity of your deck. If you still want to use this material, there are ways to prevent rusting. You should use either powder coated steel or galvanized steel as they are less affected by UV rays and weather. They both coat your railing in a protective barrier that will prolong the life of your railing.
• Aluminum: When compared to the previous material, aluminum is much wider used in residential outdoor applications. Aluminum is rust resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions without requiring any special maintenance. The most common finish for this material is powder coat. Whether you need a bright centerpiece or a subtle color, you can achieve it with aluminum.
• Wrought Iron: Wrought iron railings are often used in traditional style homes. They often have ornate spindles with designs molded into one another. Wrought iron railings look beautiful but they have the same maintenance issues as steel railings. There are not any effective protective finishes for this material which means you cannot avoid rusting with exposure to the sun. Wrought iron is more susceptible to corrosion and rust.
Glass railings have a lot of benefits and become more popular. They also offer security and safety for your pets and children and they are low maintenance. But because they are made of tempered glass, it will stay as beautiful as it was when you bought it even after many years.
Cable railings are also known as rope railings and they feature vertical or horizontal cables in place of glass or spindles. Frames can be built with steel, wood, aluminum and so on for different settings. Cable railings are the most expensive, but keep in mind that horizontal cables are not safe for young kids who may want to climb them.
The price will depend on different factors such as railing material, design, and installation costs. For example, grade 316 stainless steel railings are quite expensive but you can easily find a cheaper option that would be as beautiful and durable as stainless steel.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right Deck Railings.
Decks are an outdoor reflection of the family’s lifestyle. While some are smaller and just used for relaxing, others will be extensive, may use several levels and include an outdoor kitchen, spa or sauna, and several seating areas.
Local building codes may have an impact on the size of the deck and the materials to be used. Check with the Building Department before making any purchase.
Slope of the property or level of the structure on which the deck is to be attached. Second and upper floor decks will require additional supports. Yard slopes will have an impact upon the supports to be used.
The activities to be conducted will have an impact on the materials used, the size and shape of the deck. If cooking on the deck, or installing a fire pit, preplanning is vital. The weight of a spa or sauna will require extra supports.
If the deck boards are to be installed in a pattern, consider that extra support may be required.
Family members and pets will be using the area, so heat and splinters produced by the deck may be a consideration.
Location on the property or on the structure is important. Consider privacy from inside and neighbors; shade may be important to the activities and will have an impact on the deck board materials.
Budget is vital. It will have an impact on the material used, the size, the installation methods, and the desired result.
Pressure-treated deck boards: The least costly and most often installed material for decks, Southern yellow pine is treated with one of several preservatives:
• Waterborne, copper based preservatives prevent termite attack and fungal decay. Copper Azole (CA) and Alkaline Copper Quat (ACQ) are used in exterior residential, as well as commercial and agricultural construction.
• Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) contains micronized copper and biocides, providing less copper leaching from the material. For use in outdoor and landscaping projects.
Pine must be kept clean and maintained frequently to reduce swelling, cracking, splitting and warping. Standing water also will cause the deck boards to deteriorate. Splinters may surface over time and use. Pine is a softer wood and will require supports at frequent intervals, such as 16” on center when using 5/4 X 6 boards.
Redwood has a natural color desired by many homeowners ranging from a light beige to a full red. The natural oils of redwood make it resistant to insects and rot so it will not be treated with chemicals, but note the beige outer areas do not contain the natural resins that resist insects and decay.
Redwood is graded for use by its appearance, with over 30 grades determining its use. Redwood’s red color is the heartwood; cream shades are the sapwood. Deck boards can be chosen from heartwood grades or sapwood grades, but if the redwood will be on or near the soil, heartwood grades — Clear All Heart, Heart B, Deck Heart, Construction Heart — should be used. If not coming into contact with water or soil, Deck Common, Construction Common, Clear, B Grade, Deck Common or Construction Common may work well.
A stable wood, redwood will not warp or split easily; although it should be kept clean and maintained every few years with a clear finish to keep its natural beauty and reduce moisture absorption. Redwood decks have a lifespan of about 20 years.
Cedar — Western Red Cedar — is frequently used as decking materials due to its beauty and natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect infestation. Cedar decks have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Dimensionally stable, Cedar does not warp; lightweight, it is easy to handle and install. Unfinished Cedar ranges in color from a light amber to a reddish brown with a satin luster. Cedar accepts stains and finishes easily.
Grades of Cedar from the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association range from Architect Clear — to be used when only the best will do — to Custom Clear — encompassing A & Better, B, C and D & Better S4S. Knotty grades include Architect Knotty and Custom Knotty, which is used as an economical choice when building knotty decks.
Hardwoods, especially tropical hardwoods are popular due to their durability and long life span. Hardwood decks, when installed correctly, can be expected to last from 25 years to 50 year, depending upon the species and regular maintenance. Tropical hardwoods naturally resist mold & mildew, insect infestation, and fire. Strong and dense, tropical hardwoods can handle heavy foot traffic. They also do not shrink and expand extensively in changing temperatures and climates.
Hardwoods can be more difficult to work with; dense, they do not cut as easily and may need predrilling for installation. Darker colors are hotter to bare feet. If natural fading colors are not desired, oil finishes must be applied to retain original colors. Hardwoods are more expensive than alternative wood decking materials.
Tropical Hardwoods should be kiln-dried. Cut ends should be sealed with a oily wax sealant and butted to the next cut end during installation. Ventilation around the deck boards and underneath the surface is important when using hardwoods. While hardwoods absorb less moisture and will expand less than softwoods, space is needed between and underneath so the boards to not cup.
• Ipé (pronounced e-pay) is the most popular of the tropical hardwood deck materials. A Brazilian wood, the color runs from dark brown to olive brown. It turns gray with age. Ipé does well in wet areas, such as around pools, Ipé is the densest of the tropical hardwoods and should be pre-drilled for screwing during installation. It is stronger and heavier than other hardwoods. . Available from some suppliers as pre-grooved or tongue and groove for installation with a hidden fastener system.
• Massaranduba is a Brazilian hardwood also known as Brazilian Redwood due to its dark brown color and straight grain. It is dense and strong, and works well in shaded areas as it will fade if not maintained. Available as tongue-and-groove or pre-grooved for installation with a hidden fastener system.
• Cumaru is called Brazilian teak for its warm golden to reddish brown coloration with dark grain accents, but is denser and stronger than teak. Cumaru is almost as hard and dense as Ipé.
• Garapa is a Brazilian hardwood with a yellow or amber coloring; known as Brazilian ash. It will gray over time, but the lighter color makes it less hot to bare feet. Regular maintenance should retain the natural yellow/amber coloring. Available in pre-grooved and tongue-and-groove boards for easier installation.
• Tigerwood is a Brazilian hardwood with light golden brown to reddish brown with dark brown streaks. Available from some suppliers as pre-grooved or tongue and groove for installation with a hidden fastener system
• Teak is one a fine choice for decking due to its natural oils, which eliminates the need for preservatives or sealants.
• Cambara is a South American mahogany with a light to medium brown coloration and course graining. While it looks like mahogany, it is harder and stronger than mahogany. Cambara can be stained or painted and should be regularly maintained for a long life. Cambara is not termite resistant. Available from some suppliers as pre-grooved or tongue and groove for installation with a hidden fastener system.
• Machiché is a tropical hardwood of reddish brown to dark brown hues with a large grain known as Caribbean Cherry and Black Cabbage. With a density similar to Ipé, it is easier to work with. It will patina to a silvery tone naturally. Available from some suppliers as pre-grooved or tongue and groove for installation with a hidden fastener system.
Composite decking is a product of combining wood fibers or recycled paper with recycled plastic. It will not splinter, warp, crack or peel. Due to the manufacturing process, the composite material will not attract termites. Low maintenance, it does not require much upkeep other than a sweeping and washing — be careful with powerwashers, though. If used on high, powerwashing may damage the surface of composite decks. Even though wood is contained in the product, these boards do not absorb significant amounts of moisture. Because they contain plastic, they will expand in high heat climates. The life expectancy on composite decks is at least 25 years.
Colors range depending upon the manufacturer, and surfaces may be smooth or grained to look like wood. Colors fade, as with natural wood. A plastic surface may be applied over the composite to resist staining and scratching and to reduce facing.
Profiles may be slotted or tongue-and-groove to assists in installation with hidden fastener systems. Boards are produced in several profiles, including scalloped, hollow, open flange, or textured both sides, smooth both sides or a combination of the above.
Each manufacturer will provide advice on installation systems. If boards are not slotted or flanged for installation, face screwing is recommended. Some manufacturers offer color-coordinated screws. Boards should be supported every 16-inches and space between board ends considered depending on the climate.
Since these boards contain plastic, several types can be heated and curved to provide design considerations not available with wood products.
Plastic deck boards are produced from pure plastic (PVC) with no wood fibers. PVC will not rot, stain or fade nor will it absorb moisture. PVC decking weighs about half of many composites. These boards can be installed at 24-inch joist spacing. Plastic deck manufacturers may offer a lifetime warranty on the decking materials.
Aluminum decks are created from powder-coated aluminum to reduce heat build-up on the material. Waterproof, stain and insect proof, the aluminum will not warp and is fireproof.
Aluminum decks are installed gapless making them appropriate for second and third levels of a building as they do not leak and provide a waterproof area below. Aluminum decks support 240 lbs per square foot live load so upper level decks are safer and snow loads will not damage them.
Finishes have non-skid surfaces and are created in several colors, even wood grain designs. No painting or preservatives are required, making them maintenance free.
Material choice will be the biggest portion of the budget.
• Tropical hardwoods, especially Ipé, are more expensive than the other materials; Cumaru costs about 2/3 of Ipé with the other hardwoods falling in the middle of those two.
• Pressure treated deck boards are the least expensive of the choices.
• Cedar is cost effective with Redwood, but Redwood heartwood will be slightly higher in cost.
• Composite decking varies widely depending upon the manufacturer, the profile, and the color. The price of composite materials is more than the softwoods available and less than the tropical hardwoods.
• PVC decking costs more than Composites but less than Tropical hardwoods.
• Aluminum decking will be more expensive than softwoods but less than Composites, PVC or tropical hardwoods
Maintenanceshould also be considered when looking at the budget:
• Composite, PVC and aluminum will need no or little maintenance. If the composites scratch, a sanding will remove scratches. Oily liquids should be wiped up immediately.
• Woods will need maintenance to maintain the beautiful colors. Scratches and stains can be removed by sanding. Penetrating oils will need to be applied every 2 to 3 years, or more frequently to retain the beauty of wood. If the deck is in full sun, annual application of preservatives will be necessary.
Installation costs can increase depending upon the method used. Face screwing is the quickest, least expensive option, but will leave a rough edge. Hidden fastener systems add to the time for installation and the costs due to the price of the system.
• Ipé is so dense that predrilling of screw holes is necessary. These can then be plugged with matching material to make them invisible. Other tropicalhardwoods are less dense but the price of the material suggests using a hidden system or plugging screw holes to maintain the beauty of the surface. Stainless steel screws should be used in tropical hardwoods.
• Cedar requires the use of stainless steel screws as other materials will stain the cedar. Screws should be one-third longer than those used in hardwood.
• Composite and PVC deck manufacturers will recommend specific installation systems. If face screwing, leave room from the edge of the board to eliminate damaging the edge face
• Aluminum decks are purchased with an installation system that permits the boards to hook into the next board, but an adhesive or sealant is required in the hook area to create a waterproof unit.
• Grooved or flanged boards will make using hidden fastener systems quicker and easier. These boards cost more to purchase, but save time in installation.
Lifespan is a consideration. How long does the homeowner plan to live in the house and use the deck? Pressure treated decks may need replacing in 15 years; tropical hardwoods last from 25 to 50 years; Composites will last at least 25 years and PVC decks are warrantied for the lifetime of the owners… Read warranties.
Designs in the deck, such as angling the floor boards or creating a medallion in the middle, will increase the cost due to time for installation and extra materials needed to create the designs.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right "deck and decking material"
Humid indoor air can cause damage to your home and furnishings and also promote the growth of mold and dust mites. Purchasing a quality dehumidifier can erase those issues. Controlling humidity levels is important because too much moisture in the air can cause health problems like allergies and asthma to worsen. Purchasing a quality dehumidifier is a smart way to solve all of these problems.
Healthy living does not mix with mold and mildew. These spores are truly harmful to humans on many levels. When allowed to thrive in moist conditions, these little organisms can harm our health in tiny ways as well as major ways over time. Humidity levels below 50 percent make it impossible for mold to grow. That's where dehumidifiers come into play. These appliances fight mildew and mold by keeping the air drier. This is great for many areas of the home, including wetter spots like crawls spaces.
High humidity can greatly increase common household allergy triggers like dust mites, mold spores, and airborne bacteria. By drying out the air with a dehumidifier, these triggers can’t make you miserable anymore.
Unless you have an affinity for cockroaches and spiders, you need to dry out damp spaces in your home. Dehumidifiers help keep the pests out that love moist environments to grow their own little communities.
Besides inviting pests like silverfish, moisture can cause damage to your very home by rotting out the wood structures. So as you can see, moisture and dampness are pests in and of themselves. Dehumidifiers are a super safe "pest control" that protects you and your house by balancing the humidity level.
Dehumidifiers work a lot like air conditioners. Warmer, moist air comes through the dehumidifier and then crosses cooled coils. This process causes the moisture in the air to condense on the coils, thus the moisture is pulled from the air by lowering the temperature.
As always, you need to determine a solid budget for buying any new appliance. Prices for dehumidifiers range from $200 to over $1,000. You want a quality product worth your money, but you obviously don’t want to spend more than you need to.
Getting the right size dehumidifier is key to getting results. Smaller units running constantly may not get the job done of a large unit that runs just a quarter of that time. Capacity is usually measured in pints of moisture removed. So you have to calculate the square footage of the problem space along with the specs listed on the dehumidifier you're checking out.
• Large capacity dehumidifiers are generally used for rooms 500-1,000 square feet. For large, moist areas, buy the largest capacity model you can afford. If not, you will only be returning a unit that isn’t up to the job.
• Medium capacity units should match similar spaces inside the home. Medium units for medium rooms or areas. These models can remove 45 to 50 pints of moisture a day.
• Small capacity dehumidifiers are capable of up to about 25 to 40 pints of moisture every day. These can dehumidify small, damp spaces that aren’t super moist, and they are typically one of the cheapest options.
• Portable humidifiers are the go-to models for most users. They are mobile so they can adapt to needs quickly. You could use these units in the common living room in day time and move it to the bedroom at night for more comfortable sleeping.
• Whole house dehumidifiers are offered as portable units or add-ons to your existing central heating and air conditioning system. Manufacturers claim they can take care of an area up to 3,000 square feet. Even though the initial cost of buying one of these units is higher, they allow you to run your air conditioner much less. They are fixed units, so call a pro installer unless you are a DIY pro of sorts. There are also some accessories that aren’t connected to the main system.
There are three types of home dehumidifiers: heat pump dehumidifiers, chemical absorbent dehumidifiers, and dehumidifying ventilators.
• Heat pump dehumidifiers take water from the air by using a heat pump, much like an air conditioner pump. First, a fan sucks the indoor air across a very cold coil, which then causes the moisture to condense. The droplets drip into a bucket inside the unit or can be pumped to a drain through a hose. The dry air is then warmed by a second, heated coil and exhausted at room temperature. They are a little costly but they’re considered the most effective.
• Chemical absorbent (desiccant) dehumidifiers are most effective in warm climates. They use a chemical drying agent, or desiccant, on a heat exchange wheel to absorb H2O. Damp air is sent outdoors through the vents. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a lot of energy and are more commonly used by industries than homeowners.
• Dehumidifying ventilators use sensors along with an exhaust fan. The sensor turns the unit on as needed so the humidity is controlled with no effort from the homeowner. These units are not suited for hot climates since they pull in air from the outside to work their humidity balancing act. No one wants hot air added to the home when other type units don't have this issue.
Quiet operation gets rid of that awful, annoying sound which comes from the unit if it’s in a common area or close to where you sleep. Another plus of this feature is that they save on energy costs.
Internal pumps automatically pump water vertically to a water basin for continuous operation.
Mobility is a large factor when it comes to your new dehumidifier. Really try to find one with casters so it can be rolled around the house. Having a long power plug allows you to place the unit wherever you want/need.
Direct drains offer continuous operation with a gravity feed to a floor-level drain, so you never have a bucket to empty.
Filter indicators alert when the air filter needs to be cleaned.
Energy efficient dehumidifiers that carry the Energy Star label will save you a lot of cash.
An auto humidistat can sense moisture level in the air around the unit and will automatically shut the unit off to save energy once the proper humidity level is reached.
Low temperature settings allow units to keep trucking in temperatures as low as 41°F.
Auto-defrost prevents units from freezing in conditions below 65°F.
Auto reset will restart the unit to its previous setting if power is lost due to a storm or other electrical issue.
Electronic controls let you select a basic humidity level—normal, dry, very dry.
Digital controls let you program a specific humidity level with percentage points. This is easier to understand than maybe a basic setting for some users.
Some dehumidifiers have larger tubs or drip pans which don’t need to be emptied nearly as often. Because this is a lot more convenient for you, the cost will be a little higher. Generally, the more water a dehumidifier can extract and hold, the higher the price tag. Shop around because prices can vary. Dehumidifiers with front-loading buckets are easiest to empty. Most portable dehumidifiers are equipped to be self-draining, and come with a drain-hose connection. This set up requires some planning as to where the water will be drained to. Some dehumidifiers use evaporation technology, so no drain hose is necessary. insert photo here
The unit will collect a large amount of water in very damp or even wet conditions, so the internal bucket will need to be emptied on a regular basis. Most units offer a direct drain feature which doesn’t require the bucket to be emptied but it requires a floor-level water drain. It is possible to avoid regular emptying of an internal bucket even without access to a floor-level drain, by buying a unit with an internal pump feature that can pump water vertically up to a sink.
Buying a humidifier is a great investment for your home, saving you money in the long run. Dehumidifiers are available as large or small units like many appliances. Options for moisture amounts the machine can remove are also a consideration, as well as some fancy high tech features. With careful consideration and a well thought out budget, there’s no reason you can’t buy a humidifier perfect for you.
A comprehensive guide on what you need to know before choosing the right "Dehumidifier".
When you are looking for a dishwasher there are many things to consider. These are things most people do not think would be important, but in actuality they could be key factors. Details are crucial to buying the perfect dishwasher to fit your needs and one that you will use for many years to come.
Buying a new dishwasher shouldn’t be stressful. It should be carefully thought out though. Planning ahead with future consideration along with getting the best unit for the money will save you time in the long run. You want to get the right dishwasher the first time for your specific needs.
Space configuration for your new dishwasher is vital. You must measure where your dishwasher is going and see what size would best fit.
The standard size dishwasher is 24 inches. If you have space for a 24 inch dishwasher, go for it.
But say you live in a much smaller space. This would mean that you would have to downgrade the size of your dishwasher. Now, you do have a few options. The first being to get a smaller unit. This size would be 18 inches.
The second option could be to get a portable dishwasher. Portable dishwashers have finished sides for a sleek look, may have chopping blocks, and they can hook up to the sink for water. When you are done, simply tuck it in the closet until the next time you need it.
When buying a new dishwasher, most people must consider the pricing.
Standard American-made dishwashers are the cheapest on the market at between $200 and $300. Now, if you want something “sleeker” or more modern, you are looking at between $600 and $800 for a dishwasher. These higher end models would be in stainless steel and have more features. For instance they may offer water pressure detection for controlling pressure depending on the amount of food left on the dishes. Adding pressure gives a much better cleaning to your dishes than what a standard dishwasher could.
For more features than you can shake a dirty spoon at, you’re looking at $1,000 - $1,600.
Like any appliance, you could certainly spend extreme amounts beyond the $1,600 range.
Your dishwasher (just like the rest of your kitchen) should reflect your lifestyle.
Getting a more expensive dishwasher will lead you to having a nicer looking kitchen area. Modern kitchens need a modern designed dishwasher that will reside there.
But if you live a simpler life, say in a condo, you should go for the less expensive model. Also, a big lifestyle factor in deciding on your dishwasher is how many people do you normally have over?
Do you host parties regularly? Or is it just you and one other person?
More people equals stacks of dirty pots, pans and plates. So you should consider buying a dishwasher with much more capacity. The biggest capacity most dishwashers have is 12-16 standard piece settings.
For those that live alone or with just one roommate, it would be in your best interest to invest in a smaller dishwasher at six standard place setting capacity.