Keeping up with the latest window dressing trends

Like virtually every other aspect of interior design, window blinds and curtains are subject to changing trends and fashions. Here is what is currently hot in the world of window dressing.

Current window blind design trends

The first thing to note is that more and more households are selecting window blinds and shutters over more traditional window dressing options like curtains. Opting for made to measure blinds creates a tidier appearance of windows and reduces the amount of room needed to “store” coverings when not in use. The cleaner lines of made to measure blinds creates a neat finish to your rooms as a whole.

blind design

Made to measure fabric window blinds are in great demand, and wooden shutters are also experiencing a resurgence in popularity as people look to add a touch of glamour to their homes. Increasingly homeowners are spending more on their window coverings to create an elegant look that will last for years to come.

Many people are also now selecting multi-layer window blinds that incorporate blackout layers to reduce light seepage at night, while a sheer fabric layer allows sunlight into the room during the day. Simple and sleek designs are still by far the most popular however.

Current window blind fabric trends

An ever-increasing range of fabrics offer buyers a virtually unlimited choice of colours and designs for use with window blinds. Finding fabrics that match colour schemes for rooms is now as easy as finding good fabric for curtains has always been. Bold prints can create a focal point for rooms, whilst subtle pastel shades and stripes blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Striped designs are still the most popular of all fabric prints, although younger buyers are increasingly choosing bright, bold geometric or floral prints.

According to interior design experts, the most popular colours for use in window blinds at the moment are various hues of blue. Teal, aquamarine and soft green have all been identified as ‘in’. Brown on the other hand is the new basic, providing the common trend for the majority of current designs. Demand for luxury fabrics like silks, velvet and damask are also on the increase, but the overall design trend is still firmly towards more basic window blind fabrics like cotton. [Read more...]

Keeping Your Pool Clean and Safe For Children

Summer is on its way and it is the time when most people let their children play outside or when you spend time by the pool as a family. However, there are a few rules one must follow in order to keep the garden pool safe for children to use and avoid any accidents or potential health hazards.

Ensure the children are using the right equipment

Making sure the children are using the appropriate equipment before going for a swim is essential and can avoid many accidents. For example a child who cannot swim must wear their armbands or use their flotation device in order to stay safe.

cleaning the swimming pool

Make sure they cannot access the pool on their own

It is best children are supervised when using the pool in order to avoid any form of accident. Children should never be able to access the pool on their own. You can prevent that by fitting a fence all around the pool. A standard picket fence will often be sufficient enough and is relatively easy to put up.

You may also want to incorporate a gate with a key to the fence in order to further limit unsupervised access. That way the children can only access the pool when accompanied by a grown-up.

Keep the pool clean

Keeping your garden swimming pool is a must as it will avoid germs being spread and ensure the pool is safe to swim in.

Keep the pool covered throughout the winter months and clear the cover of any leaves so they cannot get into contact with the water.

Make sure the swimming pool pump is in working order as it will eliminate any dirty particles which might be present in the water.  However for pumping efficiency, it is best to limit the time at which the pump runs for improved pumping efficiency and lower energy bills.

Use an automatic pool cleaner in order to clear the dirt and grime that can be found at the bottom of the pool.

Troubleshooting Pressure Washer Parts

Faulty pressure washer parts may be the cause of your pressure washer malfunctioning. There are some parts that typically cause certain problems with pressure washers and these parts should be checked in order to fully repair your pressure washer. The following is a checklist of pressure washer parts that should be examined to make sure your pressure washer is repaired correctly.

Obviously, the first thing to check is the engine and fuel switches; make sure they are in the “on” position. If the power washer still will not start there could be defective wiring or a bad switch that needs to be replaced. Other rather apparent things to check is fuel and oil levels, make sure the water tap is open and working properly. Check that the choke and throttle levers are in the correct positions and are functioning properly. Make sure you have the proper nozzle attached for the type of pressure washing you want to do, and that the water screen is not clogged. Priming the engine by pull starting it several times may make starting easier and help keep the pressure washer running properly. Couplers or O-rings in the lance where the nozzle is set may be worn and need replacement. If you have a steam pressure washer, be sure to checking the heating mechanism to ensure it is working properly. And finally, the gun trigger should be held open when pull starting the pressure washer.

If you are experiencing low water pressure this may indicate an air leak or dirty pump valves that need to be cleaned. These valves may become worn over time or the valve spring may break and should be replaced. The nozzle may be causing low water pressure; check the nozzle’s settings and be sure it is set to high pressure. If not, this is a simple adjustment that could solve the issue.

Pressure washers that vibrate or feel unstable may have dirty pump valve that need to be cleaned before it will work effectively. The air may need to be blown out of the water supply. Any clogged filters and a clogged or damaged spray nozzle or tip may also cause the unit to vibrate and should be cleaned or replaced, if necessary. It is important to remember when replacing pressure washer parts that the replacement parts are made by the manufacturer of your pressure washer or are at least compatible with your machine.

How to Maintain a Metal Carport Shelter

Most consumers pay very little attention to their metal carport shelter once it has been installed. In order to extend the life of aluminum carports, it is important to handle repairs as soon as a problem occurs. This is easier said than done in most cases because unless you look at the shelter closely, you probably won’t see any problems until they become major. It takes about five minutes to do a good inspection of all of the components of your carport. Begin by first checking all of the joints and fasteners. You should immediately tighten any fasteners that are loose. If a joint is not sealed properly, leaks can occur causing even more damage than is necessary.

Next, you should check the roof for damage such as dents or cracks that could have been caused by a storm or other weather related event. Cracks pose the largest problem because they are the most likely to cause leaks to the surface below. Dents to the material on top of the shelter can cause water to puddle and in turn, the moisture may cause rust and deterioration of the material in that area.

Finally, you should check the beams and overall integrity of the metal carport shelter. Make sure beams and posts are level. A level shelter will stand up better to weather and overall exposure to the elements. If you find that your shelter is off kilt, it is important to remedy the problem immediately. If you are unsure of how to go about fixing such a problem, consult or hire a contractor to fix the problem.

Luckily most problems can be easily remedied without the help of a professional. Even rust can easily be sanded down and removed. Once done, the area can then be refinished with a protective outdoor paint or sealant. The same can be said for cracks. You can fill in the area with a caulking and then apply a protective finish to prevent more problems in the future. Dents on the roof top tend to be a little more difficult but again, if you find trouble doing the repairs yourself, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional contractor or builder. Carports don’t last forever, but if you take just a few minutes, every once in a while, to take a close inspection of the parts, you can easily add many more years of function to your aluminum carport.

Eliminate The Danger Of Your Old Garage Door With A Roller Garage Door

Are you one of those families that are still stuck with those old, heavy and dangerous garage doors? Fret no more! You can search and compare replacements from the comfort of your home through online garage doors retailers without having to break a sweat. A great option to go for is a roller garage door as they have many benefits.

Oftentimes, our very busy schedules prevent us from doing home repairs we committed to do months ago. I am sure that just like I, you have some friends that have been planning of changing their old garage doors due to the inherent danger and discomfort they had to endure all along. But then, because the old one is still functional, and urgent matters just keep on popping up from nowhere, this critical task gets relegated to the back burner more often than what one wanted.

To get the motivation to pin this reality down, let us go over the hassles of the old garage doors. First, they are very heavy to lift. It is so troublesome to open and close those doors. If one is not fit or healthy at the moment, another person will have to be called to help in the task. Second, it will always require conscious effort when one has to enter or leave one’s house. Whatever one’s physical condition is, he or she will need to go down off the vehicle to open the garage. Third, there is always the possibility that the garage door will be left unlocked, causing worry to the homeowner. Fourth, it is risky. While it is being lifted or closed down, miscalculation could hit something in its path. Or an unwitting adult or worse, an innocent child or an older member of the family may get in the way, causing damage and more trouble to everyone! Nobody wants an accident that is waiting to happen to keep on hanging over our heads, right? So, let us check out what can be done about this predicament-fast!

To beat this situation, it is best that we go through online shopping for the best garage door that fits our needs and our budget. There are different models and features to choose from. Generally, roll up garage doors are convenient to use because they are mechanically operated. It would only require a little push or pull, the press to a button which could be attached near the garage, or by remote control which is conveniently carried by the homeowner. Throw into this the beautiful colors, different materials and prices that fits your budget, and we are sure to get one that will not only eliminate the danger of the old garage, but will bring a new sight that is pleasing to the eyes and a comfort to everyone in the family.

Caulking Tips For A Professional Finish

Caulking doesn’t sound like a hard thing to do. And it really isn’t, but the effort you put into it can have huge rewards when done right. I consider caulking one of the basic home repair jobs that every aspiring handyman should learn how to do correctly. As with anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to caulk.
Caulking Tips For The Home Handyman

First off, I can’t stress how important it is to make sure any surface or surfaces that you’re cleaning be dry and clean. Proper prepping is very important to how well your caulk job will perform.

If you’re caulking two painted edges, like at window corners, make sure you clean any loose or old paint at the edges to be caulked.

When caulking tight corners, if you’re not good at freehanding, then use a piece of painters tape and apply it horizontally, leaving just a bit of the material exposed at the corner for the caulk to adhere to. Wipe the caulk away while it’s wet (you can use a wet finger to do this), the caulk should be pressed into the deep recesses of the corner when you wipe the excess away.

When you remove the tape, it should leave a neat bead in the corner.

Here’s another tip for caulking corners. Always cut the tip at a 45 degree corner. I will then mark the top of the 45 somehow so that I always know where the top is. You can use a pencil or scratch awl. I personally prefer a Sharpie. Now you have no excuse for making a crappy caulk line.

Finally, before putting the caulk gun and caulk up for the day, I prefer to leave a small glob at the tip. When this dries, it acts as an air tight seal so that air will not cause the whole tube to set up. Plus, when you get ready to use the tube again, you just pull this glob off and you’re ready to go. No digging old, dried up caulk out of the nozzle.

I hope this caulking tips will help you do a better and more professional looking job the next time your break the caulk gun out!

Professional Drywall Tips For The DIY’er

If it’s one thing that a lot of DIY’ers get into trouble with it comes to drywall home repairs. It looks easy enough on YouTube or in a book, but once you start slinging the mud, weird things can happen. No one told the drywall, tape and mud that it was suppose to be easy and trouble free. Then when you start talking about matching texture, the home DIY’er quickly realizes they may have bit off more than they bargained for. Hopefully, these drywall tips will help you become better at repairing drywall.

A good repair job will start by how you cut the piece that is to be repaired. I know some people who’ve tried to repair drywall between the studs. This is just ridiculous! I prefer that I have some type of backer between each side of the drywall patch. Preferably studs. If I can’t use a stud, there are commercial products designed to stiffen the new piece of drywall while you patch it. I myself will just use a 1×4 slid up behind the drywall patch and screw the edges in place. Make sure all edges are flush or you’ll have a noticeable repair on your hands.

The first thing you’ll need to make sure of is that you get the right kind of drywall mud. Most homeowners will find that the premixed all purpose drywall compound will be fine for repair work.

Mesh or Drywall tape? Again, I prefer the mesh for home repair work. Some will go with the adhesive backed mesh, but I haven’t had much luck with it when trying to repair a large section. I normally just get the non adhesive mesh and make it stick with just small amounts of compound.

I also like to use two strips of mesh overlapping. I think this gives the edges of the repair more strength.

Another mistake a lot of people make is putting too much mud on the seam or repair. More mud does not make for a better repair, actually it weakens the repair! Use as thin of a mud joint as you can. I prefer to let the joint set overnight and thoroughly dry. If you live in the SouthWest where the humidity is virtually nil, then you might be able to apply a second coat within a few hours.

For the best results, let the first coat dry thoroughly and sand it. Apply another thin coat and let it also dry thoroughly and sand it. The edges of your repair should be flush and blend in with the rest of the wall. If not, it’s your repair, if you can live with it, fine. If not, you can either start over or sand down the high spots and fill the low spots until they’re not noticeable, but I haven’t had much luck with this.

Once you have the edges flush, then comes the next part. Some people will just throw texture up on a piece of sheetrockk and then paint it. I’m a little different. I guess it’s because I’m a perfectionist. This is how I do it.

I will prime the new sheetrock with a good primer. Original Kilz is my favorite if you can stand the smell. I then let the primer dry completely. Then I’ll texture the patched area. Just make sure you match the texture first. Don’t use Orange peel if you have a knock down texture. I know this may sound elementary, but you’d be surprised at how often this happens.

Also, I shy away from that texture in a can stuff. I’ve tried every brand I could find and just haven’t found any I thought was acceptable. Save yourself the trouble and pass on it. For repair jobs, I use a Wagoner Power Tex texture gun. This little gem works wonders on repair jobs. You can choose the type of texture you want to apply by changing the nozzles. It’s also very easy to clean up afterwards.

The Wagoner Power Tex is not an air operated texture gun. It operates on electric and has a small motor at the rear that blows the air through the gun. It’s very effective for small areas.

As for texture, I’ve used the powdered texture you mix up. But I really prefer premixed joint compound for repairs. I add just a little bit of water to thin the compound up. If it’s too thick, it won’t work in the Wagoner.

You’ll do yourself a favor it you practice with the Wagoner Power Tex on a scrap piece of cardboard before you try it on your wall. Practice until your results look like the texture on your wall and then spray the repaired area. After I’ve sprayed the repaired area, I let the texture set 10 to 15 minutes so it can start setting up (for knockdown texture). I’ll then knock it down and call it a day.

Just like my joints, I let the texture set over night and dry completely before doing anything else. Once they are completely dry, I might ever so lightly hit the area with a fine sander if I think it needs it. I clean the area up, prime it once again before painting. After that coat of primer has dried, I’ll then paint the area. If it’s a large area, you may have to repaint the whole wall to get it to match. Hey, it was about time you repainted that room anyway. Right?

I hope this will help you on your next drywall repair job!

How To Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean And Safe For Swimmers

No pool owner wants their pool maintenance routine to feel like a chore. Luckily with the high-quality pool chemicals that are available on the market, the emergence of automated robotic cleaners and the efficiency of pump and filtration systems, it should only take a couple of hours a week to keep your pool safe, hygienic and clean. In this article we’ve broken the process down into four basic steps. Here’s how to keep your swimming pool clean and safe.

Your first step is to test the pool water on a regular basis. This will tell you what chemicals are needed and in what amounts. Using test strips that are simply dipped in the water is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. If you want to get a little more precise, get hold of a more advanced test kits that can read pH, alkalinity, total chlorine levels, free chlorine levels, phosphate levels and levels of dissolved solids.

Your second step is to add the chemicals that are needed. You need to ensure your primary sanitizer (such as chlorine or bromine) is present in required concentrations, that you add a pool shock treatment on a regular basis and that you maintain the pH and alkalinity of your pool using water balancers. You may also occasionally have to add a clarifier to clear up water that has turned cloudy and use an algaecide periodically to prevent any algal contamination. If you pool is being heavily used or there has been heavy rain that has washed contaminants into the pool, its a good idea to shock treat the pool more often. Remember to ensure that the pool is not being used when you add any pool chemicals.

Your third step is to run your pump and filter system for around 10 hours each day. That is normally enough to ensure that the entire volume of water used in your pool is pushed through the filter system. Sand and DE filters need to be back-washed on a regular basis.

Your fourth step is to skim any surface debris from the pool on a daily basis, clean out your skimmer baskets, brush around any hard to reach areas and vacuum your pool. When it comes to pool vacuums there a number of options on the market. Some like suction side and pressure side vacuums run off your main pump and filter system. But there are also truly automated models, such as blue peal pool cleaner, or the nitro robotic cleaner. They are completely integrated and self-contained units and do not require any complicated installation. These will help you learn how to keep your swimming pool clean and safe.

Cork Flooring Suits Those On A Budget

When budget is a factor in the choice of flooring, why not have a look at the different types of cork flooring on the market today. It is practical and relatively easy to maintain as well as being anti static and non slip making it a safe choice especially if you have children or older people living in your home. Buy the thicker cork board tiles as they will last longer and in the long run will prove better value for money. There are three main reasons why this type of flooring is a good choice:

Comfort

Cork flooring provides a comfortable, soft feeling underfoot as well as acting as an insulator. It is not suitable for use in areas of your home that are exposed to strong sunlight as it will fade. You can buy different varieties of cork floor tiles. Some people prefer to buy the composite tiles which are a mix of cork and vinyl backing. This is much more hard wearing than 100% natural cork flooring although it is not as environmentally friendly. If you want your floor to keep looking great make sure it is correctly laid and properly sealed.

The type of home you live in is a factor in your choice of flooring

If you live in an apartment building you should check your lease to see if there are certain conditions mentioned regarding the choice of flooring in your home. Some buildings, particularly the older ones, have restrictions on the type of flooring you can use to prevent being a noise nuisance to your neighbors. Also there is a safety consideration as some flooring such as ceramic tiles can be very heavy and the structure of the building may not support it properly. Natural cork flooring shouldn’t cause you any problems as it is both lightweight and an effective noise reducer.

Keep your health in mind

If you or your family suffers from hay fever or other allergic reactions you need to choose the right type of flooring. You may have been told to pick a natural carpet such as those made from 100% wool or natural fibers. The problem is that carpets can hide certain pests such as bed bugs, dust mites and animal fleas. Laminate and wooden floors may seem like the answer but these can become very dusty very quickly. Laminates can release chemical gases depending on how they were made. Cork board flooring on the other hand is 100% natural and has yet to be linked to any form of allergy.

Not only that, but cork flooring is a green alternative because it’s a renewable resource. The tree where cork is taken from is not killed, it just produces more cork!

My Swimming Pool Lights Don’t Work: A Troubleshooting Guide

Swimming pool lights look great at night, and they make it safer to swim. If your light suddenly switches off there are several reasons for this problem. In this article we will review step by step what you should do to find the root cause.

Preventive measures

First of all, know that when handling water and electricity you need to take prevention measures. Make sure every switch related to the pool lights is turned off. Start with the pool light switch itself, move on to the circuit breaker and switch it off. Next, tape all switches to prevent someone from coming in and turning it on while you work. Put up a sign as well, you can’t be too careful with this.

Check the circuit breaker

To find out what the problem is, your first stop should be at the circuit breaker. Is it tripped? by now you should have the pool light switch off, so turn on the circuit breaker, and if it immediately trips, it means you have a short circuit. You will need an electrician to help you further with the problem.

Check the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

If the circuit breaker does not trip, your next stop should be at the GFCI. This is itself a circuit breaker, much more sensitive because it is designed to prevent swimmers from getting an electric shock from the pool lights. If you don’t know where this switch is, try looking at your main panel box for your house, a sub-panel box near your pool filter device or an electrical outlet close to the pool.

Once you find it, check if the switch is tripped. It should have a test button, make sure the pool light switch is off, and press it. If the button pops, it means there is power up to this point and it’s on. If it doesn’t, press the reset button. If this button trips, you’ll need an electrician to find out what the problem is. If it holds, try your pool lights and see if they work.

Finding out the cause

Your light should come back on. If it doesn’t you may have a burned out bulb, but if it does, then what may be happening is that there is water in your light fixture. The light’s heat vaporizes the water which in turn makes the GFCI switch trip. This can also happen if there is humidity around the outlets that are on the same circuit as the GFCI; cover them up to keep this from happening.

Problems such as this are seldom included when calculating inground pool prices, but they’re a natural occurrence in pools. If you followed this guide you’ve probably encountered the problem. The question now is how to solve it. Well, if water in your light fixture is the problem, you will need to take it out and dry it, but there’s a set of steps for that procedure by itself. Make sure to research how to do it properly, so you can have your inground swimming pool lights back on in no time.