Important Winter Maintenance For Vinyl Siding


Whether you are a new homeowner, or have been living at your residence for several years, it is never too late to start a winter maintenance routine for your vinyl siding. After all, your home’s exterior is 100 percent exposed to the intemperate weather conditions that are known to occur this time of year. These conditions often lead to a long list of home siding damages that can affect your quality of comfort, as well as your bank account.

If you want to avoid costly repairs and replacements, protect your investment, and keep your home looking beautiful, it is necessary to take good care of your siding. In order to alleviate some of the natural wear and tear experienced by siding during the winter, you can implement some easy upkeep and protect your vinyl from inclement winter weather all season long. Continue reading to learn how you can get started.

Vinyl Siding Winter Care

Keep it Clean. Regular cleaning is an important part of winter maintenance. This does not mean you have bundle up in all your winter gear and bear the cold to clean it every week; instead, wash it once a month with a power washer. When using a power washer, be sure to always put it on a low setting to avoid any damage, and if the siding is already damaged, do not use a power washer at all. As for a cleaning medium, use a mix of Trisodium phosphate and soapy water. Simply apply, and then rinse from the top down.

Check for Damage. It is important to always keep an eye out for exterior damage to your home. However, on a routine basis, you need to closely inspect your siding for damages and defects. Catching a small problem early on can save you a lot of time and money. Weekly inspections are a good start, followed by a comprehensive inspection conducted by a professional roof and siding company. When inspecting your siding, look for cracks, gaps, and water damages; but also remember to check weep holes (holes punched in the bottom of siding for drainage purposes) for clogging issues and pest infestations.

Hire a Professional. You are not expected to be a siding expert, so it can be a challenge locating all the possible vulnerabilities and defects on your home. For this reason and more, it is very wise to hire professional siding maintenance on an annual basis to ensure your investment is well-protected. There are thousands of people and businesses that claim to provide this kind of service, but do not be fooled by fly-by-the-night or unqualified companies. Be sure to choose a company that has extensive experience and a good local reputation for quality service.

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

Do not have vinyl siding installed when the outdoor temperatures are below freezing. This can lead to contraction, expansion, and various other related defects. The installation process is a systematic and technical development that requires benign environmental conditions.

Do not paint vinyl siding. Not only does this void most manufacturer warranties, it can end up looking unattractive and unprofessional. Instead, consider cleaning services or overall replacement for best results.

When performing outdoor work like construction, concrete, staining, and anything else that uses heavy chemicals or dyes, it is recommended to cover any vinyl siding that is within range of these kinds of projects. It can lead to discoloration, corrosion, and more.

5 Remodels to Consider Before Moving Into a New Home


There is certainly a feeling of excitement after purchasing a new home, so expectedly, home buyers are eager to move in as soon as they can. But before moving into a new home, there are five specific areas to consider first. Making changes or improvements to these commonly over-looked areas will not only better protect your investment, but will make the home absolutely, and truly, all yours. Continue reading to review these five important tips if you are in the market for a new home or just recently purchased one.

Locks

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is that many home buyers get distracted with all the requirements and hassles of moving and settling into a new place, that changing the locks gets put on the back burner. And then after a while, you forget you are still using the same keys given to you at the time of closing. But it is very important to not let this happen to you. The first thing you should do before moving into a new house is change the locks. This can be done by a local door repair service, or it can even be a DIY project if you are good with tools. New locks are relatively inexpensive, but range in price depending on quality, brand, style, design, and more.

Vents

For those purchasing a new construction home, there may not be much need for vent cleaning and inspection, but it is still a good idea to clear out the dust collected during the building period. As for homes that have been around for a few years, or more, it is strongly suggested to get rid of all the years of dirt, dust, and dander that has accumulated in the ventilation system of the home. This can be done by a professional service for a relatively low price, and should take no more than a day to finish. Start your new journey in a fresh, clean home with a healthy indoor air environment.

Fuse Box

Another task to complete before moving into your new home is to set up the fuse box. Learning and labeling the fuse box will require more than one person, so be sure you have a helper with you to get this job done. Grab some labeling tape and a permanent marker, and then get to work! Start by first powering off any electronics plugged in, including radios and televisions. Then, have the other person turn on all the lights in the house, and go through each fuse one by one to assign it to an area of the home. It is recommended to bring a lamp with you to plug into the outlets and check them as well. Label each fuse clearly and you’re done!

Chimney and Fireplace

For homes that are not new construction, you definitely want the chimney inspected. Bats and birds can roost and nest in chimneys, especially in homes that are left vacant for extended periods of time. Also, there could be potential structural issues and even health concerns that a professional can point out for you. Have any issues repaired before you move in for a safe and functional fireplace.

Plumbing

The plumbing is the most important system in any home, aside from heating and cooling. Without proper working plumbing, a home is sent back to the stone ages. Toilets, faucets, baths, showers, laundry, and more are all everyday appliances that we use to function in life. For this reason, always be sure to have your new home’s plumbing system thoroughly inspected by a licensed professional before moving in.

Top 10 Renovating Tips


Having just completed a renovation in Albury, on behalf of a client who lived remotely, so needed someone to manage the process for them. I thought it was a great time to reflect and pass on some tips for all you would-be renovators that want to tackle it yourself.

1. Start with the end in mind

What I mean is in you’re renovating to sell vs renovating to put a tenant into the property at a higher rent than before vs renovating for yourself to live in, the budget, choice of fixtures and fittings and the amount of work you’ll do will vary.

In the case where you’re renovating for yourself to live in you’ll likely do a lot more than either of the two other options, simply because you intend to live there and derive the benefit from the money spent for a period of time.

Also, when renovating for sale or even for rental purposes, you need to keep in mind constantly, am I adding more in perceived value than actual cost? Am I getting a return on my money? Knowing where to draw the line is the key.

2. Have a budget

Don’t just start renovating with no budget in mind. You need to have an idea of how much everything is going to cost and track your expenditure through the renovation to make sure you don’t run out of money.

It may be OK to leave a renovation unfinished if you’re living there (albeit not desirable) however if you’re renovating for sale or to put a tenant in, you need to finish to be able to sell/rent the property out. Running out of money half way through doing the kitchen or bathroom is a sure-fire way to land yourself in trouble.

3. How are you funding the renovation?

If you have the cash on hand that’s great, not a lot of us do but if you do it’s the easiest and simplest way to fund any renovation, you know how much you have and can pay for materials and labour as required.

If you’re using borrowed funds, make sure you understand the requirements for those funds to be released, if it’s a loan against equity it might be as simple as the funds going into an offset account until you need them. If it’s a dedicated renovation loan you may need to provide or pay invoices and to be reviewed by the bank prior to getting paid. There are a lot of different ways this can be work and you need to make sure you understand what is required to access the funds.

4. Quotes

It’s not practical to get quotes for every single item, and in fact, in some cases getting quotes will actually make it more expensive. If the job is a small job requiring not a lot of time from a tradie, if they have to come to the site, quote it then come back and do the job you could end up paying more. Often for these smaller jobs the best course of action is to find a reputable tradesman in your local area and just book the work in to be done. As long as you understand their hourly rates and any callout fee’s.

5. Tiling in old houses

Almost without exception in older homes the walls and/or floors (especially if timber) are rarely square or straight. In the kitchen for example using larger format tiles for the splash back can help hide these sins.

If a new kitchen is installed it will be installed level and if the window is out by 10mm one end to the other, if you use 100mm subway tiles for a splashback, you’ll notice. However if you upsize to a modern 300mm x 400mm splashback tile you won’t notice the 10mm the old window is out of square (well most of us won’t).

Similarly old floors are often out. The renovation I just completed for a client, the floor in the kitchen was out by 67mm across the length of a 4m kitchen. We were able to deal with this by tailoring the kicker height along the kitchen but it pays to be aware of these items and plan for them.

6. Replace vs Repair

When planning a renovation particularly one that includes the kitchen and bathroom one of the first things you should do is assess the cabinetry and tiles. Are they just dated or are they actually in a bad state of repair? You may be able to reface the cabinetry or use a tile paint over the tiles if they are in good order. This could save you thousands in the cost of your renovation.

7. Electrical Work

It can be a good idea, particularly on older homes to have an electrician come and look at the existing board. Electrical legislation is changing all the time and depending when the last electrical work was done and what you need done a full board upgrade to bring it up to code could be required. This can be expensive. Also legislation requiring safety switches is in place already in some states and coming into force in others, best to check with a qualified electrician to find out what you need to do with compliance.

8. Plumbing Work

While all new homes are almost exclusively PVC plumbing these days if you’re renovating an old home be prepared to find some earthenware waste pipes that in some cases the plumber will have to make up a fitting to adjust to modern PVC waste pipes.

It also pays to be careful with demolition work around old plumbing fixtures as it’s very easy to damage earthenware pipes and if they crack and being leaking you could find yourself in for a much larger repair than anticipated.

9. Planning the Work

Once you have the scope of your renovation worked out, know the budget and what trades are involved the next step is to schedule it. You need to think about the logical order of doing things so that you’re not re-doing work or having trades damage the work of other trades.

Generally you want to do demolition work first, then any new construction, i.e. walls, cabinetry etc although some trades like plumbers and electricians will likely have multiple visits to the job for rough in work when it’s appropriate, prior to sheeting new work and to prepare plumbing points for cabinetry etc.

It’s best if you can leave finishing trades like tilers, painting and flooring till the very end. In some cases you may be able to have the painter start elsewhere in the home if there are area’s not having a fully renovation.

Always leave flooring to the very end, it should be the last thing to go in so that new flooring doesn’t have a chance to be damaged by trades or to get paint on it.

10. Review the Renovation

Probably the most overlooked stage of a renovation but it’s equally as important as the rest. Collate all your actual expenses, yes, including the receipts from Bunnings and add them up to compare them to your budget. Did you stick to your budget? You need to know how much everything actually cost you in order to be able to determine your return.

Don’t skip this step, even if you think you know the answer, or you don’t want to know the answer because you know you went over. Still do it, as it will help you plan the next one better by seeing the area’s your budget went over.

Small Kitchen Remodel Ideas


Your kitchen is one the most used rooms in your house and there are many reasons to do a kitchen remodel. It could be to update appliances or to purchase smaller ones, or expand the kitchen, especially if it is a smaller kitchen. When doing a small kitchen remodel make sure that you make it a pleasant place to spend time, is functional, and user friendly. Make a list of what you want to do after setting a budget.

When doing a small kitchen remodel the first thing that you need to do is set a budget because this is a project that can become expensive. You want to make sure that you do not run out of money part way through the project. If your budget allows it you can do a complete kitchen remodel that includes replacing the countertops, cabinets, floors, and buy new appliances. This can also involve hiring a remodeling contractor because with complete renovations you will want to make sure that everything is done according to the local building codes. Many people cannot afford this large of an expense so they do small things. One important thing to do when doing a small kitchen remodel is to maximize the space. Use items that are functional and decorative.

One example would be a pot rack that can be mounted on the ceiling. By installing this it can free up cabinet space and counter space. It can also add visual interest to the area. The same purpose can be accomplished by mounting hooks under the cabinets for holding coffee mugs. Utilizing the space under the cabinets can be a great place to hang items so you can free up counter space. To increase usable space you could trade in a large kitchen table for a smaller table, remove a large center island, or add built-in shelves. Use brightly colored curtains when choosing ones to decorate your windows. Do not overload your walls with a lot of decorative items as this will make the room look smaller.

Two simple ways to begin your small kitchen remodel is to change the cabinet hardware or repainting the kitchen. You can also paint or stain your kitchen cabinets. When painting the walls keep to light colors to give the illusion of more space. Also allow as much natural light as you can into the room. If you decide to retile the floor use larger tiles to also give a larger space illusion. You can also replace some of the appliances in the kitchen such as you could trade in your large refrigerator if you no longer need a large one with a smaller one. To gain more counter space when replacing your counter top replace your larger sink for a smaller one.

Kitchen Trends For 2018


The kitchen is the heart of every home. It is the place where families spend a majority of their time together. With the beginning of 2018, we can predict some brand new kitchen trends. Home designs present you a few of those trends that will pop-up this year.

Appliances

This year, very much like the year before, the matte-black trend is popular. The matte finishes are recommended, regardless if we are talking about bigger or smaller appliances.

The typical chrome, bronze or stainless-still finishes are replaced with smooth matte-black ones. We can obviously see that the number of matte-black fridges, dishwashers and ovens is increased. Black is becoming the new white for those who are prepared to push the boundaries. You shouldn`t be pretentious with all this blackness if you don`t want to lose the natural look of the matt finishes.

In the past, designers have used their skills to hide appliances from sight. Now we are making them a feature statement in the kitchen. Nowadays, modern appliances are made to highlight their beauty, not their functionality.

Flooring

The flooring kitchen trends for 2018 have diverged; from hand-made carpets and rugs, concrete or marble floors to graphic floor tiles. If the carpet is a hand-made creation with carefully coloured threads and unique patterns – it becomes a piece of art. Concrete is still popular, especially with under-foot heating. Natural cork has come back, which is nice because it captures a softer finish. Marmoleum is proving to be popular, too. It requires regular maintenance and care to keep it looking beautiful.

In terms of the graphic floor tiles, home designs have one important advice for you: either keep the surrounding scheme light and neutral to let your floor tiles take centre stage, or pull out a colour from your tiles to bring to your cabinetry.

Colour

In general with kitchens, designers are always advocating the natural look no matter if we use darker or lighter tones. Last year, the grey and black were favourite colours among the designers. The prospects are that the trend will continue over 2018.

You can combine matte-black cabinetry with warm metallic sinks and tapware in brass, copper or gold metal. Keep your palette simple if you don`t want a chaos in your kitchen.

Customisation and personalisation

Now more than ever your kitchen can feel personal and unique. With the rise of custom-made furniture and personalized appliances, the concept of the kitchen is pushed to the next level. You can create a design that works best for you and your lifestyle. Also, remember to consider your type of cooking, as this has a big impact on the design. For example, if you love to cook – invest in quality appliances to make this everyday experience more enjoyable.

10 Innovative Ways To Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen


Your kitchen is a place where you spend a considerable amount of time every day. However if the kitchen is small the same tasks appear very cumbersome and difficult to manage. To guide you we are providing 10 classic ways in which you can maximize the space in a small kitchen.

1. Opt for more wall storage- The shelves in your kitchen can be enlarged to accommodate more objects and containers. Try and fit all those things on the shelves which otherwise lie scattered on the countertops. This manner you can also reduce the clutter in your kitchen.
2. Integration of appliances- When you get a modular kitchen made you can always make sure that appliances like microwave and dishwashers are integrated in the panelling itself. Doing that saves you space on the kitchen slab and reduces the amount of stuff that is outside.
3. Hanger for pots and pans- Cookware is one of the few things that occupy a lot of space. To free some space you can install a hanger where such pots and pans can be accommodated. That ways a lot of your cabinet space can also be used for other purposes.
4. Open Wall shelves- The shelves that are made will be more convenient if you leave them open. Skip a full installation of wall cabinets and use the open shelves to keep your crockery and items that are worth displaying.
5. Pull out counters- If you think there is still shortage of space invest your money in pull out counters. This could be used for meal preparation and once over you could close it and keep it hidden. Such a counter does not interfere with your kitchen d├ęcor style also.
6. Consistent finishes- When you keep a consistent look for your kitchen it looks neat and even the limited space available looks more. Such fine finishes also provide an elegance to your kitchen which is otherwise difficult to get.
7. Corner space usage- There is a lot of space in the corners which are otherwise not used. Those who understand the importance of this space create modular kitchen attachments which uses the corner much more efficiently.
8. Scalability issues- If you have a small kitchen then do not go for large-scale features and bold pattern usage. Minimize use of multiple textures and spaces and selected only muted tones for the kitchen. This makes your small kitchen look spacious despite its constraints.
9. Use multi-functional appliances- When you have space issues you should definitely look at buying appliances which are capable of handling multiple tasks. That ways you won’t have to share space for two-three devices and your work will be made convenient.
10. Skinny cupboards and shelves- Store more things at one place by installing slim cupboards and shelves. Such narrow shelves and cupboards can be installed in corners and places which are otherwise not so useful.

With these tips, you can comfortably create a beautiful and homely kitchen even if space is less.