Monthly Archives: March 2017

Select the Right Material for Your DIY Flooring Project

How to Start Your DIY Flooring ProjectNothing sends a household into a tizzy like hearing the phrase, “let’s redo the floors”. No doubt about it, flooring is a big-ticket item, one that can add value and appeal to your home. If you are looking for a transformative DIY project this year, consider replacing your floors.

What is Your Floor Telling You?

How do you choose the best flooring material for your home? By listening to what your floor is telling you. Take the time to look at your floor. Where are the problem areas? Are you replacing it for aesthetic reasons or because it wears in certain places? There are pros and cons for each flooring product, so assess your needs and make the right selection.

Considerations When Selecting Flooring

  • Foot traffic – Find the wear patterns on your floor, then decide on a durable material for the entire house or different materials in rooms with less traffic.
  • Insulation – You may hate carpet but it does keep the floor warm in the wintertime. Hardwoods are less insulating and will amplify sound throughout your home.
  • Sunlight – Direct sunlight can discolor and break down flooring like carpet fibers. Look for products with UV protective coatings or materials.
  • Overall use – If you have kids and pets, your floors get cleaned a lot. Select materials that don’t require special care and can tolerate spills.
  • Moisture resistance – A kitchen, bathroom or laundry room need flooring that will not warp when exposed to moisture. (Leaks happen!)
  • Allergy protection – Carpets trap dust, mold and pet dander, so avoid them if someone in your house has breathing sensitivities.

Don’t Let the Options Overwhelm You

If it has been a while since you shopped for flooring, the options available will surprise you. From exotic hardwoods and laminates to vinyl that looks like tile and tile that looks like wood, your choices can be overwhelming.

7 Basic Categories of Flooring

  1. Solid wood – Still one of the most popular choices, hardwood flooring is durable and can be re-finished. Buy pre-stained boards to make installation easier.
  2. Engineered wood – A veneer of real wood is applied to a plywood center. While cheaper than hardwoods, they still dent easily and scratch. Depending on the thickness and quality of the top veneer, the boards can be re-finished a few times before needing to be replaced.
  3. Laminate – It has a photographic applique over a plywood center. Laminate is easy to install, resists stains and is now available in waterproof versions. Unlike engineered wood, its veneer cannot be refinished.
  4. Vinyl – Durable and easy to install, vinyl is one of the least expensive materials to use. It comes in sheets, tiles and planks and is great for high traffic areas.
  5. Linoleum – This eco-friendly alternative to vinyl can take a beating and is pet-friendly. Made from solidified linseed oil, it contains no harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Available in sheets or rolls, linoleum has a life span of 20-40 years.
  6. Carpet – Stain-resistant, insulating and durable, it is still an economic option for homeowners. Not a good choice for allergy sufferers, though.
  7. Ceramic Tile – Great for areas that take a lot of abuse. While a very durable material, installation requires accurate measurements, cutting and grout protection.

Happy Feet, Happy Home

Selecting one material to use throughout your home may not be feasible. That’s OK! Designers are mixing flooring from room to room and even in the same room. Find what works for your family’s lifestyle and go for it. Your feet and your home will thank you.

Expert Advice

From flooring nail guns and sanders to linoleum floor rollers and tile cutters, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment to handle your flooring projects. Just want to re-finish the wood floors you have? Our blog, What to Remember When Refinishing Your Hardwoods, has great tips to help keep you on track. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Leave a comment

Give Your Deck a Facelift and Boost Your Home’s Value

how to build a backyard deckReady to tackle a DIY project that will increase the value of your home? Consider giving your plain looking deck a dramatic new facelift. By adding a few extra touches, you can give your family’s outdoor living space the wow factor they (not to mention prospective buyers) will love.

Does Your Deck Add to Your Home’s Appeal?

Adding a deck or renovating an existing one is one of the top five ways you can improve the value of your home. It even ranks higher than adding an additional bathroom! Ask yourself – does my deck add to the appeal of my home? A lackluster outdoor space does nothing to increase your family’s enjoyment or to catch a buyer’s eye. Take the next step and improve the look of your exterior by renovating your deck.

Before Renovating Your Old Deck:

  1. Pressure wash – A clean deck makes it easier to determine its condition.
  2. Inspect the structure – Are there cracked or rotten deck boards? Are the supports in good condition? If your deck is old and in bad shape, you may want to rebuild rather than trying to fix it.
  3. Re-finish – If your deck boards are in good shape, weather-proof it with a sealant. You should do this every couple of years.
  4. Determine your design/budget – Know how much you want to spend, then come up with a game plan and design ideas.
  5. Production – Decide if you want to do all of the work yourself or hire professionals like electricians or landscapers to do certain parts.

Improve How Your Deck Works for You

Think of ways to improve how your deck functions. Are there things you can add that will make dining outside easier? Do you want to create a mood (Zen and relaxing) or a feeling (romantic or rustic) in your outdoor area? Your deck project can run the gamut from adding design elements like cushions and pillows to constructing adjacent levels for seating.

Items That Dress Up Your Deck:

  • Lighting – If you like to cook outside, increase the lighting near your grill area. Add pod lights to the steps for added safety.
  • Railings –Use different materials like steel cables, glass panels, composite or vinyl to contrast the deck boards and add interest.
  • Additional entryways – To improve the flow and functionality, add another door onto the deck or a second set of steps to the yard.
  • Builtin seating – Add them around the perimeter to provide extra entertaining space.
  • Pergola or canopy – A shady place to sit and relax is always a winner.
  • Decorative planters – Build them onto the railing or as freestanding units that fill awkward or vacant corners.

A Wide Range of Materials are Available for Your Deck

If you do have to re-build all or sections of your deck, check out some of the new building materials available. While pressure-treated lumber is still the most commonly used material, composite and vinyl are gaining in popularity. They are durable, maintenance-free and often come with warranties but cost more than wood. Cedar, redwood and hardwoods like Ipe and Jarrah are fast becoming favorites due to the natural weathered patina they develop over time.

DIY Deck Spectacular

Give your deck a facelift and boost your home’s value. Add a few of our DIY projects to your Spring to-do list and transform a bland looking space into a spectacular entertainment area. Reap the rewards of your hard work well into the Fall and beyond. Party at your house!

Expert Advice

From pressure washers and post hole diggers to drills and band saws, our staff can help you choose the right tools to renovate or build your deck. Need advice on how to re-finish your space? Our blog, Seal and Stain Your Deck in 3 Easy Steps, has great tips on what you need for the final step of this DIY project. Don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by our store if you have questions about pricing or how to’s — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Leave a comment

How to Reap the Rewards of Backyard Farming

backyard farmingFamilies question where their food comes from and why it costs so much. To stay on budget, many turn to backyard farming, which helps stretch their dollars. Urban agriculture is a booming business and many first-time farmers are taking the challenge. If you have been considering starting a garden or raising some chickens or bees, we’re here to help.

5 Things to Know Before You Start Backyard Farming

  1. Know Local Laws – Communities may restrict the size and placement of gardens and what animals you can raise.
  2. Start Small – If you are new to growing vegetables or herbs, consider planting containers first. The next year, if you want more, do plots or raised beds.
  3. Talk to Your Neighbors – You may love chickens but your next-door neighbor may not appreciate your rooster’s wake up call. Consider sharing a portion of your yield.
  4. Do Your Homework – Raising chickens, bees or goats takes routine care. Research online to determine which breed to buy and how to build their shelters.
  5. Join a Co-op – Find a community garden club or organization to join. You’ll gain helpful information while making new friends.

Invite Some Chickens to Your Home to Roost

Many people think raising chickens is a complicated undertaking but far from it. If you love fresh eggs and how cute these feathery critters are, start building a roost. Designs range from the simplest wood and wire structures to elaborate two-story creations. It is entirely up to you.

When raising chickens, keep in mind:

  • Choosing the Right Breed –Do you want chickens for the eggs, to eat or both? There are many different breeds. Your climate makes a difference, too. Hearty breeds like Silkies that have lots of fur-like feathers are best suited for colder climates. Some breeds are aggressive so select ones that are compatible.
  • Daily Care Requirements – Chickens eat bugs, worms and seeds but they still need a balanced diet of high protein chicken feed. Fresh water is a must.
  • Protecting Your Flock – Build an attached wire enclosed run onto your coop for your birds to exercise. Never allow them to roam unsupervised. Even in urban areas, there are still plenty of predators (cats, coyotes and hawks) that can injure or kill your chickens.
  • Interacting with the Birds – Chickens are social animals and need interaction. They consider you part of their flock so get to know them.
  • Life Span of Chickens – Hens live from eight to 10 years and their egg production drops off after three to five years. Decide whether you want to keep them as pets, or (you know) ask them to dinner.

The Buzz About Bees

Despite their stinging reputation, bees can peacefully co-exist with animals like chickens. The birds instinctually don’t go near the entrance to the hive and bees appreciate having the chickens eat the pests that can destroy their hives.

Benefits of Adding Bees to Your Backyard Farm

  • Nutrition – One hive can produce 40 plus pounds of honey depending on the climate.
  • Pollination – Having bees in your garden boosts the volume of flowers and vegetables you produce.
  • Ecosystem – By increasing small local colonies of beehives, you help support the overall bee population. Our world depends on bees to pollinate food sources and keep them growing.
  • Commerce – Not only will you have ample honey to sell, you can harvest the beeswax to make candles.

Goats Get the Job Done

Another animal to consider is the goat. Turn these four-legged lawn mowers loose and no weed is safe. Corporate America is even on-board! Google uses them for “landscape management” at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Besides the lawn service, you will have an ample supply of goat’s milk for cheese or bath soap plus all the cuteness you can stand. Just check to see if your community allows them before falling in love.

Reap the Rewards of Backyard Farming

There are so many benefits to be gained from backyard farming. Providing healthier food for your family, improving the environment and experiencing the joy of tending to some amazing creatures are just a few. Take the challenge to become more self-sufficient and live a greener lifestyle. You’ll be happy you did.

Expert Advice

Ready to tackle this year’s vegetable garden? Our blog, Yard/Garden To-Do’s Part 2: Planting a Vegetable Garden, will help you decide what you need to get started. Whether it’s tillers and wheelbarrows or nail guns and circular saws, our helpful staff can help you choose the right tools for your next DIY gardening project. Don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by our store if you have questions about pricing or how to’s — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, spring checklist | Leave a comment

Light ‘Em Up! – Your Outdoor Space Needs a New Grill

Light ‘Em Up! – Your Outdoor Space Needs a New GrillAdmit it. Like a runner on the starting blocks, you are waiting for grilling season to start! While some folks grill year-round, the majority of us hate standing out in the cold, waiting for steaks to finish. If you are considering kicking your outdoor kitchen up a notch or just buying a new cooker, now is the time to start planning.

Move That Idea Off the Back Burner

If you want to build an outdoor kitchen or redesign your deck area for better dining, work up your plans now. Decide what you want to do, how much professional help you might need, and your total budget. Once you decide, keep an eye out for pre-Spring sales.

Some things to consider for your outdoor cooking plans:

  • What type of grill or cooker to buy?
  • What fuel source (gas, charcoal, electric) do you want?
  • Do you need add-ons like burners (warming or cooking) or deep fryers?
  • What material do you want? Ceramic, steel, cast iron?
  • Does it need to be stationary or portable?

Choose a Grill for Every Cooking Style

  • Direct Heat – This is the typical charcoal or gas grill. The heat/flame is directed at the food, cooking it. It is prone to flare ups from grease dripping on flames.
  • Indirect Heat – Same concept as the direct heat grill but a ceramic device is placed between the heat source and food to prevent charring.
  • Ceramic – These insulated cookers (like Big Green Egg or Primo brands) are 400% more efficient at using charcoal, heat evenly and are safer than standard grills. They are also much more expensive compared to standard gas/charcoal grills.
  • Flat Top Griddle – A solid metal surface like most commercial kitchens allows you to cook a variety of foods. The downside? It does not grill the food.
  • Infrared Grills – Heats evenly with high temperatures. Cooking is not affected by wind or rain.
  • Electric – Portable units are quick and easy to use but should not be left outside.
  • Smokers – Primarily pellet fueled, they are good for low, slow cooking. Some do come with a wider range of cooking temperatures.

Find a Clean Source of Fuel

Before you buy another bag of the traditional charcoal, check out some eco-friendly fuel sources for your grill. Cheap charcoal emits cancer-causing toxins when burned that wind up on your food. Like you do with food, read the labels. Here is a rundown of some different materials to burn in your grill:

  • Natural Lump Charcoal – Contents should be hardwood material and any binders (to make the briquettes) should be free of glues and toxic chemicals.
  • Coconut Shell Charcoal – Chemical free, they use recycled waste shells as the main source. Burns just like traditional briquettes.
  • Propane and Natural Gas – A cleaner, more economical option but grilling purists say the taste is not the same.
  • Electricity – Unless you have ready access to an outdoor outlet, you will be running extension cords. Most are portable table-top grills that can be used indoors and outdoors.
  • Flame Disk – A disk made of ethanol biofuels that lights quickly. The ash produced can be recycled.

Design Around Your Family

If your family loves eating outdoors, create an area where you can relax. Consider hiring an outdoor design consultant to help with your plans. They can advise on the right materials and layout to use on your DIY project. Include modern conveniences like refrigerators and ice makers to make dining outside even easier.

Grilling Season is Almost Here!

Warm weather is fast approaching so get ready for grilling season! Whether your specialty is steaks and burgers or smoked turkeys, there are some incredible grill options available to you. You may have a hard time choosing, but no one says you have to buy just one!

Expert Advice

Need to re-design your outdoor dining area to accommodate a new grill? Our blog, Boost Outdoor Entertaining Potential with New Design Elements, has some great ideas on how to add pizzazz to your patio. Whether you need nail guns, ladders or pressure washers, our helpful staff can help you choose the right tools for your next home project. Don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by our store if you have questions about pricing or how to’s — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, spring checklist | Leave a comment

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