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Finishing Your Basement Walls

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In the past, many homes were built with unfinished basements and the homeowner used those dark, bare, usually damp spaces for storage, laundry, or large collections of spider webs and dust bunnies. You may have bought one yourself and now, with the high price of new housing, you are looking to expand your current house to meet your family’s needs (do your covenants really allow 10 story ranch houses?). That unfinished basement seems be the answer!

Want to do it yourself? I suggest you begin by evicting the dust bunnies! Next, we need to finish the basement walls. Easy, right? Just slap up some drywall and tape! Wrong. Here’s how to do it correctly:

1. Look at the amount of moisture in your basement. Are the walls moist? Are there mushrooms growing in the corner? Is there standing water in any part of the area? (If you make the kids wear lifejackets when they go downstairs, you may have a water problem). You should call a professional for ideas on how to get rid of water seepage. It will be money well spent and will prevent many problems later.
2. Estimate the amount of drywall and furring strips (long, thin wood strips which enable you to attach the drywall to the concrete face) you will need. For every 4 feet of wall, you will need one sheet of drywall (we are assuming that your ceiling is less than 8 feet!) and 4 furring strips.
3. Screw the furring strips to the wall leaving a space of approximately � inch from the bottom of the strip to the floor in case water seeps in. Make sure the strips are plumb (use your handy-dandy level) and drill holes about 16 inches apart into the wall (use a masonry bit). Drive in hardened concrete screws with your even-handier-dandy drill.

4. Shim the furring strips to create a flat plane for the dry wall. (Is this the point where the author makes a bad pun about doing the shimmy?) Start with the strip nearest the corner and use a long level to see if it’s plumb. Use a shim, if needed, to bring it level. Repeat the process to make certain all the strips are plumb with the first.
5. Add insulation and a vapor barrier. Both are available at your local home improvement store. Placing insulation panels between the strips increases the R-value of the basement. The R-value measures the basement’s resistance to heat loss. All you have to do is cut the insulation panel to size and press it between the strips. The plastic vapor barrier will help minimize moisture penetration. Staple the barrier to the strips, but try not to get overly enthusiastic with the stapler and breaking the surface of the barrier. The more holes are in the barrier, the more moisture will penetrate.
6. Cut the drywall. Drywall should also be placed � in off the floor in case the floor gets wet. Use a straightedge or a T-square to mark the cut line on the drywall face. If you don’t have a straightedge or a T-square, use the edge of a furring strip. Drywall is easy to cut using a utility knife. Just cut through the paper facing. The piece to be cut off is then snapped toward the back of the panel. You can then cut through the paper backing with the utility knife. Easy, huh?

7. Screw the drywall to the furring strips. The best way to measure where you need to screw is to snap a chalk line along the drywall at each furring strip (do you remember how far apart you placed them?) Use 1 � inch drywall screws and be careful not to screw so deep that you break the surface of the face paper.
8. Finishing the wall. Ok, now for a bit of artistry! You can make the wall look really good – or really, really bad! Apply a layer of drywall compound in the cracks between the dry wall sheets. The layer should be about 3 inches wide, more or less. Then apply a strip of drywall tape and apply another thin layer of compound over the tape. Then fill in all the screw holes with compound. Try to make the surface and smooth as possible (easier said than done!). After the first layer dries (usually 24-36 hours,) scrape off any uneven ridges or lumps and apply a thin layer of compound with a wide putty knife. Sand smooth and you are ready paint!

You now have a blank palette ready for a wide range of decorating options: bedroom, play room, den, family room, game room, bonus room, office, gym, workshop or bowling alley. The choice is yours! The style is yours! Have fun!

Source:  http://www.designingonline.com/services/home-improvement/finishing-your-basement-walls.html

Vinyl Fencing: The Last Fence You’ll Ever Have to Buy

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Vinyl fence is fast becoming one of the most popular fencing materials on the market. It’s stronger and more durable than wood, never needs to be painted, resists graffiti, and usually comes with a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for the last fence you’ll ever have to buy, take a peek at vinyl fencing. It might be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

Stronger and More Flexible
Maybe the most convincing reason to choose vinyl over wood is its strength and flexibility. Some manufacturers claim that fence made from vinyl is up to five times stronger and four times more flexible than comparable wood fences. This makes it ideal for just about any application, including fencing for your yard, your pool, or keeping your livestock at bay. Whatever you need fence for, vinyl does the trick.

Maintenance Free
Another big draw of vinyl fence is the fact that it’s virtually maintenance free. Because it is one color through and through it will never need to be painted, and scratches and scrapes will never be a problem. In fact, vinyl actually resists paint, making vinyl fence “grafitti resistant” since any unwanted paint jobs are easily scrubbed off. Finally, because it’s made of high quality vinyl, the only cleaning your new fence will ever need is a yearly hosing off with soap and water.

More Bang For Your Buck
For all of the above reasons, vinyl is perhaps the best deal you’ll find when it comes to fencing materials. It may have a slightly higher initial cost, but the long term savings in terms of repair, painting and other maintenance expenses means that over the course of its lifetime your vinyl fence will run about 1/3 of what other materials, such as wood, will cost you. Add to that the fact that quality vinyl fencing almost always comes with a lifetime guarantee and its clear why many people choose vinyl for their fencing needs.

Tools For Helping to Remove Stripped Screws

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Removing broken screws can frustrate people to the extend that they will just give up and move on. That is not a very good idea to start with. It is not that hard nor does it take more a than a minute or two. For newbies it might take a few times of removing to get a hold of the steps i am going to show you. There are two ways to remove a stripped screws. Remember to always wear protective eye wear. And try not to make the problem worse. If one of the methods do not work, move on to the next one.

Old fashioned ways to remove broken screws

  • Get a phillips driver than is a little bigger than the size of the screw to be stripped. Force the screw driver into the stripped screws and remove slowly and carefully. Use a manual driver rather than the power drill.
  • Try to snatch the screw out with tools such as Dremel.
  • Use a large flat head screw that will fit the broken screw and screw counter clockwise.
  • Drill the screw out with a bit same size or a little smaller.

New way to remove broken screws

  • Invest in a easy-out screw extractor which you can find under $20 and remove the stripped screws in less than a minute. Also these extractors come in different sizes, so get a kit and they will last you for years.

Remember to never get discouraged by these kind of little problems you face in you DIY projects, there’s always a fix for them.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Tools-For-Helping-to-Remove-Stripped-Screws&id=4333740

Tiffany Lamps

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Spending time in the showcase room of a home improvement center or wondering through a dedicated lighting boutique can be lots of fun but frankly it’s a pain in the neck. I mean this literately because you end up spending so much time looking up!

Shopping for light fixtures is not unlike shopping for fabric, it’s just easier to settle for something that you can readily spot, rather than dig through countless catalogues or swatch books.

Fortunately our lives are much easier and extensive searches on the internet can deliver remarkable discoveries. I kind of liken it to my impatience of going into brand name discounter shops. Even though countless clothes racks may hold incredible discounted designer finds, I frankly don’t take the time flipping through hundreds of shirts to find the right ridiculously priced coup.

When it comes to searching for home décor, especially when you really, really want to find that incredibly unique piece, why not let your fingers do the search? Let’s take home lighting for example. Other than the truly vast selection, it’s a good example because finding something to fit is easier than picking out clothing. In fact, each lighting piece will be listed with the specifications including dimensions and weight. That’s far easier than hoping that the size 12 pants you order are the same size twelve you wear.

To test my theory, I imagined transforming a spare quest room into the home office I have always dreamed about. It’s a quiet retreat with heavy silk drapery to close when the sun is too bright or I can’t be distracted by my swimming pool. Personal touches from years of global business travel adorn heavy furniture of recycled teak. My desk contains all the accoutrements needed to expand my laptop and watch my daily stock market reports on a 22 inch flat screen. An overstuffed recliner is the perfect spot for curling up with a good book, sipping a glass of wine, or watching the latest in my favorite television series.

My internet search begins with something simple, ‘Tips for lighting a home office.’ The instant search engine results in lots of great information I need to understand about task lighting and how to avoid strain on my eyes. There are lots of pointers to read about ambience and accent lighting. I’m intrigued with the massive list of chandeliers, pendant lighting, mini pendants, flush mount fixtures, semi-flush fixtures, wall sconces, outdoor lighting, bathroom lighting, ceiling fans, green lighting, the list is endless.

I decide to narrow my search to lamps; this should be simple, right? Seems I need to consider table lamps, desk lamps, floor lamps, accent lamps, and let’s not forget lamp shades. Other suggested search items include, cheap lamps, novelty lamps, discount lamps, and antique table lamps.

Antique usually means a higher price tag but I’ve always wondered about Tiffany Lamps; perhaps this is my time to learn something. So a few more fast searches and I learn that Louis Comfort Tiffany was the inventor behind some extraordinary glass products, the opalescent glass being one of many. Apparently Clara Driscoll, the head designer at Tiffany Studios, was really the creator of the famous leaded glass design. It should be noted that this style is associated with Art Nouveau or the ‘new art’ movement, so we’re talking early 20th century creations.

Not going much beyond ‘astronomical’ as the price to procure an original Tiffany lamp, I decide to better understand the options for reproduction versions. I learn that, generally speaking, ‘Tiffany lamp’ really is a term used for a Tiffany style or something called a Tiffany Reproduction lamp. Seems that the original Tiffany Studios went bankrupt after making their hand crafted pieces between 1900 and 1932.

These reproduced or Tiffany style stained glass lamp are known for the dark, rich colours and have shades containing many pieces of stained glass held together by a soldered web of copper. Although not all, most of the lamps have bronze bases. I think that works for me but can I find something in an affordable price range and will the style really fit my decor?

The Tiffany lamps seem to be grouped by four major categories with many subgroups:

• Geometric Designs

• Dragonfly and Peacock

• Wisteria, Fruit, and Vine

• Floral

I decide that geometric should be my place to start. Although I find offerings for table lamps, ceiling lights, floor stands, and wall lights, I keep to my mission for a table lamp. With a momentary divergence to understand light fittings, I’m now looking at hundreds of breathtakingly beautiful lamp options. I find a Mission model, stylish and richly coloured supported on a base with bronze antique finishing, which catches my eye. The dimensions clearly indicate that the lamp would fit nicely on my round side table and with shipping I’m under £60.

The price is right. The size is perfect. And without leaving my home, I can have a new table lamp within a week. This was so easy, do I buy now or search some more?

Source: http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_4984.shtml

Types Of Flowers for your garden

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Flowers are a breathless way to fit out your table’s centerpiece with, or place in a vase so that the intoxicating perfume can fill with room. They are also fantastical to add some color to your garden and there are some types of flowers that are compatible with vegetable gardens.

To make the most of these flowers you can take ones that are known to look good in the various seasons. This way you can have a garden or even a ground decorate that is filled with the various flowers from spring, summer, fall and even wintertime ground flowers.

The best way to prefer the right types of flowers for a fee garden will be to look at the versatile annuals. These flowers are divided into Leash varieties like sensible annuals, Doubting Thomas Hardy annuals and half doughty annuals. You can also plant biennials and some exotic flowers nitrogen your garden.

The doughty annuals are great plants to have for winter seasonal types of flowers. In this variety you can find flowers like Viola, pansy, foxglove, madwort and others. The sensitive annuals are good when you want a howler of colors during the summer months. These flowers include morning glory, petunias, impatiens, begonias and world amaranth.

You can unify a few alien types of flowers with your usual garden flowers also. Lobster Claws and parrots hooter flowers will look good when they are interracial in with Gladioli and delphiniums. These peak mixes are great to place in corners where you want to have a go of color. To heighten the effect of these types of flowers you can select a vase that will bring out the superb color of these flowers.

We all love how roses look and smell, like different colors of roses and each will represent in different events. These beautiful flowers are known to look great with other types of flowers too. For example you can have baby’s breath, carnations, tulips, and daffodils mixed in with red and white roses. You can even plant low ontogenesis rose bush-league and surround them with a rug of pansies.

As you see the many dissimilar types of flowers that we see in our gardens look beautiful because their many dark glasses seem to run into each other complementing and bringing out the vivid coloring. These are not the only types of flowers that we can have in our homes you can have other types of flowers in our home by choice. Today you will see many unlike types of flowers that can be used.

These types of flowers can be real flowers that have been dried and arranged in dissimilar landscape painting pictures. Silk flowers that have been fertilized with efflorescence of life scents so that they look and smell like the real flowers are also used.

With all of these types of flowers both real and man made you may be at a departure for choice. There is no need to occupy as all of these ground choices are first-class to have in your homes.

Paint to Impress Home Buyers

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First impressions make a huge difference when selling a home. One of the best ways to make your house shine is to apply a fresh coat of paint inside and out. New paint gives the home a clean look and tells buyers that the house is in “move-in” condition. It could quickly pay off in the faster sale of your home— possibly at a higher price.

Before putting your house on the market, consider these tips for freshening up your abode with paint:

Select neutral colors
Neutral colors harmonize with almost any décor. For exteriors, keep it simple with white or another neutral color. Now is not the time to awe the neighborhood with your unique taste.

Use the appropriate paint
Pick the type of paint that’s right for the job. Exterior projects require different paint than interior work. For example, paint manufacturers offer many paints for special uses such as covering vinyl siding and protecting high-traffic interior spaces.

Prepare the surface
A properly sanded and cleaned surface will make paint look better and last longer. Wash the walls with water and detergent, patch cracks and nail holes with spackle, and sand the walls smooth, as appropriate.

Finish all the painting
Your house shouldn’t look like a work in progress, so finish any project before your home goes on the market.

Getting the Right Window Cleaning Service

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Ever since glass was used for windows, window cleaning has been an essential part of a building’s maintenance.

Window cleaning is a necessary expense for both businesses and domestic buildings. Many high rise buildings nowadays are mostly built from steel and glass and most of the buildings are covered with windows. As time passes, building administrators need to maintain the cleanliness of these building windows, so that’s why there is a need to hire cleaning companies to do the job. Residential buildings also need cleaning providers to maintain cleanliness.

When looking for a reliable service provider, make sure the company that provides the service has years of experience cleaning commercial and residential types. A service provider with no experience will only give you problems rather than providing a good service. It will take a lot longer for them to finish and work may be of low quality. Experienced and expert window cleaners use the right cleaning tools that can produce better results than using regular cleaning methods like using a newspaper or a cloth.

Here are some tips to help you save time and money on getting a cleaning service for your windows.

1) Hire someone local. Since cleaning windows is regular maintenance work, getting your usual cleaner who is located within your locality can help make the job easier. They already know what to do with your windows and you’ll be assured of getting the usual quality service.

2) Search online. Use your favorite search engine and type in keywords like “Melbourne window cleaning” or “window cleaning services Melbourne” so you can get the closest search engine result for the services you need. Some search results may not give you what you are looking for right away but don’t give up until you find the right provider.

3) Ask around. Make sure the company is accredited by well known health and safety organizations and have been providing quality service to both commercial and residential establishments for years. Ask your friends, co-workers and other businesses who their cleaning service is.

Source:  http://ezinearticles.com/?Getting-the-Right-Window-Cleaning-Service&id=4277080