Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Renovating That Moldy Old Bathroom

However much you may have thought through the options while making that dream home of yours, it seems that there are always improvements that can be made at home. Taking a decision to renovate your apartment is not an easy one since these projects can cause havoc with your daily routine. One such project that can really disrupt your entire household is bathroom remodeling. This is especially so because once the project begins this room will need to be off limits for several days.

Although the bathroom is often the smallest room in your house, it is one of the most important rooms. Many aspects make bathroom renovating a serious project. You can save money as well as avoid undue hassles if a bathroom makeover is handled methodically.

The first thing required to be settled is to prepare a schedule for bathroom use to accommodate family members and plan for guests if any are coming over during the renovation.

To avoid overshooting your budget it is recommended that you finalize the fixtures that you would like to put back again and the ones that you need to replace before actually beginning the process of remodeling. Once you list the fixtures you will realize why bath remodeling often takes more time than anticipated and disrupts budgets. The main fixtures involved in bathroom remodeling include the tub, shower, toilet, sink, cabinets, lighting and flooring.

Storage is another aspect that needs to be kept in mind as certain decorative fixtures, like a pedestal sink, leave no room for storage under them. For a well functioning bathroom it is essential that there be storage space for storing towels, toiletries and cleaning supplies.

While going in for expensive fixtures like whirlpool tubs it will be better if you talk to friends, neighbours and relatives who might have installed these, as they take up a lot of space and are expensive to repair.

Lighting and flooring are two aspects of the bathroom that are often over looked. If you have natural light it will be better to go for lighting that will complement it and still retain privacy. In the absence of natural light, try to create one using the kind of lighting that you prefer. You could chose to have a bold, strong lighting environment or a relaxing, dim environment for your aroma bath.

Easy cleaning should be the foremost consideration when completing the bathroom renovation project. Although they cost more than other surfaces, natural stone or ceramic tiles are the easiest to clean and last a life time. Bathrooms are messy and in turn can mess up the house. Being able to quickly clean up surfaces is a great time saver and can also ensure that you avoid slipping on wet surfaces later.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Transforming Your Garden With a Natural Stone Patio

There is such a wide range of natural stone now available that whatever type of garden you have there is sure to be something suitable that will transform your outside space whether it is a small courtyard garden or has acres of space. But knowing that there are suitable natural stone tiles out there is the easy part - choosing which tiles are right for your patio is harder.

And it is not just the colour that you need to get right - the surface finish is even more important - does it need to be slip-resistant, will there be young children playing on it, does it need to be hard-wearing? These are some of the questions you will have to ask yourself before you even begin to look at the choices available.

In addition, natural stone will have unique characteristics depending on which quarry it came from and may also have a special finish depending on the manufacturer. So one type of slate, for example, may not be the same if it has come from different quarries or was cut and finished by a different manufacturer. Most natural stone has an indefinite life-span (think of all the ancient buildings made of natural stone that are still standing across the world) but if it has a special finish then another consideration is the longevity of the finish - will it be hard-wearing and last many years or will the special character of the finish disappear under the effects of harsh weather?

Clearly the choice of finish is not simply about its beauty at the time of laying the natural stone but also how it will look in a few years' time since a patio is not the type of structure to be frequently changed although one of the advantages of natural stone is that there is an active second-hand market for pre-used tiles if you do ever decide to replace them.

Depending on their size and thickness, most natural stone tiles can be laid as a patio onto a bed of sand although some slate tiles may require a bed of mortar. But any areas that will be used as a driveway or parking for vehicles will need a concrete base.

Natural stone tiles are available in a huge range of shapes and sizes from widths of 300mm and this range of sizes can allow you to design a unique layout for your patio. This might be a regular pattern or many people choose a random layout which can look equally attractive, particularly for a large area in a rustic setting. But even with just a single shape and size you can achieve a stunning patio, for example, rectangular tiles laid out in an offset pattern like brickwork can look particularly effective in a small area.

Although natural stone tiles can be expensive, the advantages of a natural stone patio are that it will look beautiful from the day it is laid for a lifetime and is available in such a variety of colours and styles that it will suit any type of home; rustic, traditional or contemporary. Its colour might weather but will not fade as coloured concrete alternatives do. It is resistant to harsh weather conditions and is relatively low maintenance, with only the possibility of the pointing needing replacing at some stage.

Whilst there are cheaper alternatives to natural stone on the market, and you can use porcelain tiles for a patio and even some ceramic tiles providing their water absorbency level is low enough, nothing quite beats the organic look of natural stone tiles on a patio.