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May 2019

Properly Prepare Log Cabin for Winter

Clean The Outside

The first step is always getting the exterior of the house prepared, because it is what will be most impacted by inclement weather. Scrubbing it down and washing off dirt with a hose is a good idea. If dirt is trapped under snow it could remain there all winter, which isn’t good for the wood and could lead to damage later on down the road.

You should also clean out the gutters, which can become logged with water and cause the wood to rot through the Winter. Consider getting snap on gauuter covers and an extender that releases the water further from the house. These are an inexpensive investment that will keep you from much costlier repairs or lumber replacements in the future.

For your garden it is worth getting everything cleared and prepared for the next year, such as laying down special soils to heal the soil through the coming months. It may even be a good time to get some landscaping done, as many companies have lower prices during non-peak months.

Clean The Inside

Getting the inside cleaned is just as important as the outside. Why? Think of it as pre-Spring cleaning. Washing walls and windows, getting rid of dust and dirt and just getting everything aired out is an efficient way to prepare for the months you will be spending indoors. After all, you won’t be able to keep the windows open in the frigid cold.

This is a great time to get your ducts cleaned, clear out any vents, change your filters, clean the carpets and do other odds and ends that will make your house more welcome and clean.

Look For (And Seal) Any Leaks

There are several reasons to make sure there are no leaks in your house or gaps in the wood. First of all, gaps and leaks can let out precious warm air. If you have been noticing you have been using a lot more air conditioning over the Summer there is a good chance there is a leak somewhere. As the weather gets colder it is easier to find these leaks as there will be drafts in certain areas of the house.

Weatherstripping is an easy way to get rid of the more obvious places where this is happening. Air escapes around windows and doors all the time, leading to a jump in energy costs and a less comfortable climate around the house.

Another problem that may occur is warping in your wood. Log cabins can get gaps, which let in pests and undesirable critters that are best left outside. Fix these gaps as soon as possible, otherwise the problem will just grow.

Spray For Pests

Even if you don’t have any infestations that you know of, it can be a good idea to spray for pests before the Winter comes. As the weather gets more cold insects and vermin of all types can make their way into crevices in your home, making nests and take shelter from the winds and rains before it turns to snow. You may not know they are there until there are so many they can no longer be hidden. That is a common story for log cabin owners who end up finding signs of infestations come Spring.

Spend a few weeks laying down traps, poison and spraying. Pay special attention to attics and basements, as well as anywhere you may have found leaks. Spray along the outside as well as they may have not yet found a way into the house.

As Winter progresses you may have to spray again. Wooden houses are prone to certain sneakier pests such as termites, which can eat through your wood and cause damage to the exterior and interior of your house faster than you might imagine. Always be on the lookout for signs of their existence.

Put Up Energy Saving Curtains

If you have weatherstripped, checked and sealed leaks and still want to save energy and keep the house nice and toasty, consider putting up energy saving curtains. These are the thick blackout curtains that require reinforced rods to hang.

They are heavy, dense and don’t let any light into the room, making them perfect for days spent sleeping in, or those who have a night schedule and sleep during the day. These curtains also help keep the air inside from escaping so your house stays nice and warm during the colder months and nice and cool during the hotter ones.

If you don’t want to go with heavy curtains there is an alternative method. Get regular curtains and put another piece of fabric between them and the window. It isn’t the best way to keep in heat as some will still escape through the layers. But that additional barrier will be some improvement to a single sheet.

Home Staircase Design Options

Wood staircases are the most common and cost effective. They can either be made from framing lumber and covered in carpet, or the stair treads and risers are made from higher-quality hardwood. Solid high quality wood includes oak, maple, and walnut. Stairs made from framing lumber are the most cost effective type. If you are dealing with a higher end home, then you will likely have the option of hard wood stairs. These stairs can also incorporate wrought iron balusters for the handrail. The biggest downside to wooden staircases is that they make a bit of noise due to the wood changing size (depending on the season and humidity).

Concrete stairs are a great option for outdoor stairs or industrial style homes and areas. Concrete is very strong, solid and quiet. It can have a multitude of textures added to it, and a variety of color to provide even more design options.

Finally, metal stairs are the safest, strongest and the most versatile from a design point. There are two types of metal staircases, metal-only, and metal with accent materials. Metal-only stairs are what most people think when they hear of metal stairs. Metal-only stairs are very common for outdoor applications, industrial catwalks and parking lots. The accent materials are what make metal stairs more appealing in an interior setting.

Metal stairs with accents are very strong and versatile in design. In most cases, metal is the core material that gives unmatched safety and strength, and then an accent material such as wood, stone, or glass is used. This allows for unlimited creativity in design options. In modern and contemporary designs, it is very common to use metal structures with accented steps. Some examples are:

  • Metal structure with wood treads and handrail caps (treads can be butcher-block style with a mix of exotic woods)
  • Metal structure with stone steps and caps (granite, marble, quartz, and other commercially-available stones)
  • Metal structure with glass steps and/ or side walls (glass steps and side walls are very strong and offer quite a unique feature for the most sophisticated palates)

Not only do you get the strength and safety of the metal structure, but you also benefit from the style and beauty of accent materials.

Selecting the Right Roofing Contractor

  • The first and foremost thing you should look into when you are looking for a roofing contractor for the due work is validating the insurance claims of the contractor and subcontractors because in no situation, you would want to be held responsible for whatever happens during the period of the signed bond. Liability and insurance policy certificate is one of the primary concerns and hence always before you take any ultimate decision, ask for the insurer’s number and confirm the policy details.
  • The second tip is to look around your own locality for fostering the assistance in your home improvement vendetta as a roofing contractor. This decision is wise and smart because it becomes convenient to track down the quality of work the prospecting roofers actually do and it will help you narrow down the best roofer for your home, depending upon the referrals of other community members. Whenever needed for whatever trivial or non-trivial job, you can easily find them and though nowadays everything is written in the contract, it is always helpful to get a background check and that can be done and re-done when it is a local roofing contractor.
  • It isn’t always about the money you decide to spend. Sometimes, it is about honesty and trust in the workmanship. Part-time or non-established roofers might provide you with cheaper offers but in the long run, you might end up spending a lot more than what you would have had to pay if any reputed and well-respected roofer and his workers had been hired by you. So, monetary offers shouldn’t be the only criteria for selecting a particular worker.
  • Needless to say, you must have the power of choice. Before the work begins, make sure that you and the contractor are on the same page about the terms of payment and the amount of work that has to be completed in the decided time. It would be better if you pay at the end of the work, taking a look at the penultimate result and deciding whether the outline of the outcome has matched your needs. Put every term in writing so that later on, there is no dispute over anything and the home improvement plan is carried out well and fine.

Finding Qualified Homebuilders

Define Your Needs

You don’t have to have the floor plans in place, but you should know what size and type of house you want to have made. This will help you narrow your search by focusing only on professionals who have completed similar projects. For example, if you want a Tudor home, you would only consider, or at least have a strong preference for, contractors that specialize in that architectural style.

Consider Experience

Some new builders offer substantial discounts because they’re just starting out and they need to get their name out there. Unfortunately, this can cause problems if they make rookie mistakes and go over budget on your project. For these reasons, and many more, we strongly suggest that you find a contractor with a long and respectable track record. This should include experience in the type of abode you want to put up.

Always Check References

Experienced homebuilders should provide you with a list of customer references and referrals soon after you meet them. If they do not, simply ask for one. Find a way to follow up with their previous customers to ensure they have good reviews. You should contact at least a few former customers and ask if they are satisfied with the work the builder did. If all of the names on the list have nothing but great things to say about the contractor, you may have found your match.

Make Sure That The Builder Is Licensed And Insured

Believe it or not, not every state requires homebuilders to be licensed, which often makes finding a qualified contractor harder than it has to be. To simplify the process, ask every applicant if he or is licensed from the outset. You also want to inquire about insurance, since you could be held liable if they do not have the proper coverage.

Ask About Warranties

One of the key benefits of new construction is that the structure itself and most of its systems are covered under warranty. But because it may save them time and money on future repairs, some homebuilders do not offer extended warranties. As a customer, you should always look for a contractor who stands behind his work with structural warranties of ten year or longer on the abode itself. You will also want to ensure that all warranties are transferable to a new owner, should you decide to sell before they expire.

Flat-Front Cabinets

Raised panel doors have been around for centuries. They are characterized by the middle section being raised and making a groove in the middle of the frame and middle panel. A clear rectangle is created via that groove and helps to define each panel of each door. The shadows and lights that come from the cabinets give a feeling of depth. Many prefer this traditional styling or the American Colonial era.

Shaker style, or recessed panel doors are truly timeless. Dating back to the 1700’s, they feature a simple raised frame and are wildly popular today. Whether traditional or contemporary style, kitchens gain a lot from the straightforward design of recessed panel doors. The best part is, if the homeowner decides to switch up the style they can do so easily with Shaker cabinets.

No frames or detailing are visible on slab cabinet doors in the kitchen. They are becoming more and more common when it comes to modern design. Anyone who wants a clean and contemporary design can’t go wrong with slab cabinets. Pairing them with sleek hardware makes them even more attractive. Since minimalist styles are all the rage, slab cabinet doors are the top choice for many.

Colors within the wood finish add depth, and whether or not they have a simple stain or are painted they will stand out in their own way. Look for MDF or medium-density fingerboard is best for painting to obtain a consistent color; but the stain can work with the natural grain to show its true characteristics. Regardless, there is a type for every desire and budget.

Adding details is a fun process after the finish and style are chosen. Decorative inserts including glass and million are a fun way to switch them up. Some even consider rattan, various woods, metal and veneers. Even molding and trim can be dressed up to customize them and make them even more amazing.

Whether one chooses shaker, raised panel, recessed panel or slab style doors they’ll be thrilled with the results that can work perfectly with any decor when implemented correctly.

Ideas for Using a Sunroom

One way to take advantage of your sunroom is to use it for dining. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can be a lot more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by nature, or if you have a great view of your backyard and other yards in your neighborhood. Depending on where your sunroom is situated, you could be eating breakfast or dinner while enjoying a sunrise or sunset. This is a nice change of scenery from the traditional dining room environment.

Another way you can use your sunroom is as a playroom for your children or grandchildren. Many sunrooms have direct access to the outside through a door, so young kids can enter and exit as they please. When they’re in the sunroom, they can play board games or watch TV with the sights of your outdoor landscape in clear view, and enjoy the feeling of being outdoors even when the weather might not be cooperating.

Finally, your sunroom is a great place to hold small get togethers, such as cocktail parties. The open, windowed nature of the room can make it feel bigger than it actually is, and the reflection of the lights off of the glass can gift the room an urban feel, especially at night. Speaking of night, the windows in a sunroom can give you a view of the moon and stars, as well as any lightning bugs that may be passing through. Sunrooms aren’t just for the sun!

The ideas listed above are just a few of the ways you can use your sunroom for entertainment purposes, as well as personal enjoyment. If you don’t already have a sunroom constructed and added onto your home, get in touch with a local sunroom building company to get started.

Deadbolt

Many designs are available from manufacturers. Different manufactures have various designs which offer solution to defend the lock from being picked or opened with force or any other method. However, most manufacturers offer product lines of deadbolts that promise higher levels of resistance to break and entry and defeating than other product lines by the same manufacturer

For a deadbolt installation, a locksmith will charge about $125. You yourself can buy and install one for only about $35. Given that the exterior door is made of wood, then deadbolt can be installed quite easily. In case you have a steel or fiberglass door, hire a locksmith to do the job. This is because machines such as takes heavy-duty drills and bits are used to cut into these tougher materials.

Deadbolt installation involves the drilling of two holes in the door. One hole goes in the edge of the door which receives the lock assembly. The other hole goes in the face of the door. This hole accommodates the lock cylinder. Deadbolt installation then involves drilling another hole in the door jamb which is for the strike plate. The¬†deadbolt¬†lock” comes with paper templates. You tape these templates to the door and the jamb which aligns the holes correctly. Finally, the lock mechanisms are assembled the door and the strike plate is screwed to the jamb, often using extra-long screws.

While installing a deadbolt lock always ask about getting a new deadbolt which can be keyed to exactly match your existing entry lock. A bonded locksmith can do this. He will require you to provide a copy of the existing key. In some cases, it may also be more practical to replace the entry lockset at the time of installation of the deadbolt with a model that is compatible with the deadbolt.

Many communities forbid the use of double-keyed deadbolts. This is because there is a key instead of having a latch on the inside. In case of a fire, a panicked victim might be unable to unlock the door if the key to the door is missing. In case you have a glass panel in your door and you want to increase security, you can instead use laminated safety glass. You can also use polycarbonate plastic.

Crafting a Simple Gazebo

The first part of the construction process is getting the area clean and leveled. The best part about the canopy style is that it is portable and can be constructed with little woodworking knowledge.

The first thing you will need to do when installing a canopy style structure is to review the plans and directions carefully. Ensure that you understand all the steps that are needed to install the structure. Verify that all the items that should be in the kit have been included. Organize the parts in order from the first piece that will be used to the last one.

Next, we will be laying out the position the building will be in. Try to get the area as level as possible. Remove all the trees, stones and anything else that may be present in the area. Use a shovel to move the dirt from any of the high spots and place it into the lower areas. Ensuring the area is leveled will make your construction process run more smoothly and also lessen the possibility of your gazebo falling.

One important aspect of crafting a simple gazebo is ensuring that you are using the simplest techniques at all time. This canopy gazebo is one such structure that will use a limited amount of tools. You will need screws or small bolts to secure certain parts. Refer to the instructions to identify what method to use at specific points.

After installing the flooring for the deck, the next step will be to assemble the building. Use the instructions to identify where the canopy should be and then unfold the canopy and set it directly in the sunshine. Remove all the crimps and creases. Canopy structures come equipped with parts that either snap or zip together. Proceed to snap the pieces that should be snapped and zip the parts that should be zipped.

When all of the walls have been mounted successfully, identify the pieces that should be used to construct the roof and assemble them on top of the walls. Finally, proceed to attach the completed structure to the deck or flooring.

Construct the canopy one step at a time following the instructions that are included into the kit. Cover the flooring using mulch or crush stone, to keep away dirt or mud. It is recommended that you clear the area that surrounds the gazebo to a minimum of 5 feet around the actual structure.

Natural Stone Cladding

Stones are not only beautiful construction materials, but also investments as they enhance the resale value of your home. You may be surprised that even tenants look for homes with modern amenities and trendy designs. However, using natural stone veneers excessively is also not advised as they make your home look crowded. Installing only where they are required is a sensible option which saves time, money, and also makes your home look exquisite.

Stone claddings help you access luxury at lesser cost and keep up with the times. Here are some advantages that go along with these revamping materials.

  • Protection from weather. Constructions made of concrete are vulnerable to the action of environmental agents such water, heat, and microorganisms. Covering the walls using stone veneers shields your wall from degrading agents and makes it look exquisite.
  • Beautify walls affordable. Numerous color combinations and features make stone veneers the attractive choices for homes. Stone wall clads are an inexpensive way to give your walls, the most beautiful revamp.
  • Heat resistance. Natural stones absorb radiation and release them gradually, keeping the room temperature constant, helping you avoid dependence on room heaters. When used outdoors, they resist temperature well and remain strong for years.
  • Non-porous. Stone cladding are non-porous materials which protect your walls against attacks of environmental agents, thus enhancing the life of your walls.
  • Man-made. Stone cladding are composites of stone pieces glued together as tiles. Stone claddings can also be man-made, usually of concrete, resembling the looks of materials such as wood, stones, ceramic, etc.

Ways Water Enters Basement

The Footer

(A Footer is a 12-Inch-Deep by 16-inch-wide slab of concrete around the bottom of you Foundation) From a bird’s eye view the Footer looks like a side walk around your basement. It is place in the hard pan clay of the bowl in which your home’s foundation is built.

Cracks in the footer are caused by pressure from water forcing its way underneath the footer washing away the clay and gravel surrounding the footer. As the earth beneath the footer moves the footer cracks and moves.

Floor

(Floor is a slab of concrete poured after the Footer and Walls are placed in the home.)

Newly poured concrete and dry concrete do not bound together. Since the floor is poured separately after the footer and walls are built there is a natural seem between the wall, footer and floor. This is where water first appears. Usually you will see water in the corner near the where the wall, footer and floor meet.

The reason this occurs is due to the hydrostatic pressure that is created when water forces its way around the walls, underneath the footer and pushes on the floor. Hydrostatic pressure is pressure that is exerted at equilibrium at a given point within fluid due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases in proportion to depth from the surface due to the increased weight from the fluid exerting downward force from above. This pressure causes water to enter through the natural seem between the wall, footer and floor as well as push water up through the center of the floor.

The Wall

(Wall is usually made from Cinder Block, Poured Concrete, Brick or Stone)

Wall cracks are created through several different ways:

  • Lack of Parging and Tar – When you home was first build the builder puts a layer of parging and tar on the outside of your foundation wall. Over time the tar wears away just as the asphalt on you roof wears away and needs to be replaced. As the parging and tar disappear, water and ground acidity have direct access to your foundation wall.
  • Improper Backfill – When the builder used a bull dozer to push in the backfill around your foundation the pressure against a wall caused a crack.
  • Ground water – Water accumulates in the backfill area of your home and starts to pressure on your wall. Ground water gathers the Acid in the ground and deposits it against the wall of your home. Acid starts to eat away at the wall of you home and creates cracks in the foundation wall.
  • Settlement – When the home settles in to the ground clay the walls move slightly and crack.
  • Water is absorbed into the foundation wall and the area above the freeze line. The depth of the freeze line is 24 inches in Virginia. As the temperature cools and warms the wall expands and contracts. This causes cracks in the foundation wall.