Monday, 28 May 2012

Cheap Hardwood Flooring - Perfect Choice For The Budget Conscious

Cheap hardwood flooring provides you with the opportunity to have elegant floors in your home without shelling out a bundle of money. You can buy both laminate flooring and hardwood flooring at cheap prices if you are a savvy shopper. Many flooring retailers regularly have sales during times when people are not buying many home improvement products or when they want to move stock in a short period of time to make room for more. Discontinued lines are also available as cheap hardwood flooring, but you have to make sure that you can get enough of it to complete your room.

When you buy cheap hardwood flooring, you are not sacrificing quality for price. There are many well-known retailers that offer cheap laminate flooring to customers when they have an overrun or too much inventory in their warehouse. When you go to buy cheap hardwood floors, you will experience a difference in that you won't be able to place a deposit down and then collect the flooring at a later date. You will have to pay the full amount upfront and take the flooring with you when you leave. The retailer may or may not include free delivery when it sells hardwood or laminate at a cheap price.

When you visit a showroom to inspect the cheap hardwood flooring available, the salesperson you deal with will still pay the same attention to details as if you were buying the hardwood or laminate flooring at the regular price. If you are not sure whether you want to go with cheap laminate flooring or choose to have hardwood floors, the salesperson will ask you questions in an effort to help you out. For example, the salesperson will want to know about the room you are remodelling, how it is used and whether or not you have small children or pets. In this way, he/she can help you choose just the right flooring. You can also ask to see the selection of cheap hardwood floors and compare it with the more expensive selections.

Another way you can get the cheap laminate flooring you want is to do an online search. This way you can get to see what the laminate flooring from each manufacturer looks like, get tips on how to install it and of course, compare the prices to get the cheapest one. If you find a store that has the cheap hardwood flooring you want, you can check to see whether there is a store near you or whether the retailer will ship the packages that you need to install cheap hardwood floors.

When you buy cheap laminate flooring you can bring the measurements of your room to the retailer. The salesperson has the expertise for calculating how many packages laminate or cheap hardwood flooring you need to buy. If the line on sale is a discontinued one, then you might have difficulty getting the cheap laminate flooring for a large room. It depends on how fast you can get to the store when you see an ad for laminate flooring on sale.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

All You Need To Know About Kitchen Sinks

With so many shapes, sizes, colours, and materials, one may not be enough.

In its most basic form, the kitchen sink is still what it always has been: a watertight basin where dishware, food, and even small children are washed. Manufacturers, however, are turning this mundane kitchen fixture into something that’s both more stylish and more functional. By experimenting with new shapes, materials, and features, designers are elevating the sink’s status from overlooked to centre stage.
Consumers are increasingly encouraged to see their kitchen sinks as workstations, not just as places to scrub pots and pans. Accessories such as cutting boards, colanders, and knife racks are helping to make sinks more useful even as a broader palette of materials is jazzing them up.
Stainless steel is still the choice of as many as 75% of all buyers. Yet offerings go far beyond traditional one- or two-bowl sinks to encompass large workstations that resemble cleaning and food- prep areas found in commercial kitchens. As sinks keep pace with the commercial-style appliances that many homeowners are installing, prices have risen accordingly.
The rest of the market offers an expanding array of choices, including enamel, solid surface, soapstone, copper, bronze, stone composites, and concrete.
It’s easy to understand why professional cooks favour sinks made of stainless steel: It neither absorbs food and bacteria nor rusts, and it is extremely durable, impervious to heat, and relatively easy to clean. Available in both polished and brushed finishes (polished versions are more difficult to maintain), stainless-steel sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes with as many as three separate bowls.
This economy model is made from thin steel—typically 20 to 22 gauge (ga.)—that is more likely to flex under pressure or dent when something heavy is dropped in the sink. When looking at steel thickness, remember: the higher the gauge, the thinner the steel. In less-expensive sinks, the bowls can be as shallow as 6 in., and deeply rounded inside corners can reduce the amount of usable room in the bottom of the bowl for washing.
The basic, no-frills, one-basin stainless- steel sink (left) still gets the job done—if it’s made of an 18-ga. or thicker steel and has a sufficient depth. The two-bowl model maximizes its area with tight corners.
Stainless steel is still the choice of as many as 75% of all buyers.
Stainless-steel sinks come with virtually any bell or whistle you can imagine.
Although sinks come in as many sizes as they do colours and materials, the de facto American benchmark is a 33-in. by 22-in. two-bowl design. It fits right into a standard 36-in. sink cabinet.
That’s not the biggest sink you can buy, but it should be adequate for most kitchens. Some sinks come with equally sized bowls, but he suggests two different sizes: one 10-in.-deep bowl big enough to handle a broiler pan or cookie sheet, and one smaller, shallower bowl used for washing vegetables and equipped with a waste disposer. “Although manufacturers have created three-bowl sinks, most people find no reason to have that third bowl. It’s more sink than you’re really going to need.”
How big should the sink be?
The key is getting a big pan all the way into the bottom of the larger bowl to avoid washing one end of it and turning it around to wash the other. Measure the largest pan you’re likely to wash in the sink, then choose a bowl that will handle it. Remember that thick outside walls afford less interior room than thinner ones. A stainless-steel sink has more usable room than a cast-iron sink, for example.
Smaller one-basin sinks (25 in. by 22 in.) may work better in a small kitchen, but the design is less flexible. One activity at a time is the rule, and a 10-in. bowl suit- able for scrubbing pots and pans may be difficult to peel and wash vegetables in.
Kitchens where two people work at the same time may benefit from a large two- bowl sink and a smaller prep sink. This option makes sense, says Krengel, when there’s enough room to handle two work areas, and only when both sinks have waste disposers. Otherwise, whoever ends up trimming and washing vegetables at the prep sink has to walk across the room to get rid of the waste, negating the convenience of a second sink.

It looks like it belongs in a professional’s kitchen. Commercial style appliances are a trend in the kitchen, from ranges and refrigerators to sinks.
Moderately priced stainless sinks are made from thicker-gauge steel—up to 18 ga.—and have deeper bowls with more tightly radiuses corners. Bowl depths of 10 in. are common, and because the steel is thicker, it is less susceptible to dent- ing and is quieter when a waste disposer is added. At the very top of the heap are commercial-style sinks made from even heavier 16-ga. steel. These sinks are very stiff and dent-resistant, and extra attention to sound-deadening material on the bottom makes them quieter and better insulated than low-end models.
A trend toward commercial-style appliances is pushing manufacturers to offer stainless-steel work stations that include sinks, cutting boards, integral drain boards, and the like. You’ll pay for what you’re getting, though.
Durable, nonstaining, and heat-resistant surface; wide variety of shapes and sizes; compatible with a wide range of countertop materials.
Economy sinks have shallow bowls with thin walls, which are noisy and flexible. Mirror-polished finishes may be troublesome to maintain. Commercial-grade sinks are relatively expensive.
Bronze and copper sinks have a more rustic, less polished look than stainless steel, with a lot of tactile and visual appeal. aesthetically pleasing with great tactile appeal; surface won’t chip or rust.
Limited styles and bowl designs; very high cost; copper will need occasional polishing.
Copper and bronze sinks certainly are pretty to look at, but before you reach into your wallet to pay for one, be sure you’re ready for the scrubbing it will take to keep it looking its best.
Highly durable non-ferrous metals are aesthetically pleasing with great tactile appeal; surface won’t chip or rust.
Limited styles and bowl designs; very high cost; copper will need occasional polishing.
Sinks made from the same solid-surface materials used for countertops have an ad-vantage over everything else on the market: a seamless installation. Although self-rimming designs are available, the usual approach is to glue the sink to the bottom of the countertop, eliminating the recesses and seams where food and grime can collect. In the hands of a good fabricator, seams are invisible. Although solid-surface sinks aren’t cheap—a 33-in. Double bowl sink are dependable performers. Made from acrylic or polyester resin with a mineral filler, they’re highly stain resistant and nonporous. The pattern or colour (and there are plenty to choose from) goes all the way through, so any surface nicks or dings won’t expose a different substrate below. Solid-surface sinks are more forgiving than cast iron or stone, and they can be scrubbed hard with a Scotch-Brite pad without damaging the surface. Minor blemishes can be sanded out, and major dings can be repaired by a pro.
Solid-surface sinks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, enough to satisfy most demands. Bowls of different sizes and depths can be bought separately and combined in the same countertop, allowing great design
flexibility. A skilled fabricator can cut apart solid-surface sinks and reform them into different shapes. Reliable ad-hesives make these hybrids leak-free with seams all but invisible. If there is a downside to solid surface, other than cost, it’s that the material may be hard to combine aesthetically with a full range of countertop materials. A solid-surface sink might look out of place with a natural-stone counter, for example, whereas an enamelled cast-iron or stainless-steel sink would not.
Solid-surface sinks mean seamless installations. In-stead of sitting atop the counter like the majority of sinks, a solid-surface sink is glued to the underside of the counter. The fabricator then uses a router to smooth the invisible seam between sink and counter.
Durable, nonporous, and repairable, with colours or patterns that go all the way through; good sound-deadening qualities; sinks can be glued into solid-surface counters for seamless connection.
Can be relatively expensive and may not be aesthetically suit- able with all counter- top materials.
Drop-in or undermount
Self-rimming sinks drop into a hole cut in the countertop. A metal flange, or rim, around the top of the sink provides support. Stainless-steel sinks typically are held in place with metal clips tightened from below (cast-iron sinks don’t need them). Self-rimming sinks are relatively easy to in- stall. However, the lip around the edge of a self- rimming sink is a great collector of kitchen debris, so these sinks are harder to keep clean than flush- mounts or undermounts. All self-rimming sinks should be sealed with a bead of silicone caulk to prevent leaks.
Flush-mount sinks often are called tile-edge sinks because the top edge of the sink is designed to be flush with a tile countertop. Flush-mounts are installed in much the same way as self-rimming sinks. Depending on the thickness of the tile and tile adhesive, though, the installer may have to shim or rout the edge of the counter substrate so that the sink and counter are flush. Caulk should be used to seal the sink in place as well as to fill the gap between the edge of the sink and the tile.
Undermount sinks are tucked completely beneath the counter, so crumbs, food, and other kitchen debris can be swept easily into the sink. Installation, however, is much more exacting. The clearance hole must be cut perfectly because the surrounding edge of the countertop is completely visible once the sink is installed. Heavy under-mounts, like those made from stone or cast iron, should be supported from below.
Solid-surface undermount sinks are unique be- cause they are glued to the countertop; seams are virtually invisible. There is no chance of a leak and no place for kitchen debris to collect. A really skilled installer can make custom undermount sinks. The downside is higher cost and greater installation difficulty. This job is for a pro.
A crylic sinks are made just like acrylic bathtubs and showers: A sheet of acrylic plastic is heated, then vacuum- formed in a mold and rein-forced with fibreglass and resin. The surface of an acrylic sink is nonporous, resists staining and cracking, and has good noise-dampening and heat-retention properties. Acrylic is not as hard as some other sink materials, so nonabrasive cleaners are recommended. Surface scratches can be removed with sandpaper, and the gloss restored with car-polishing compound. How- ever, acrylic is susceptible to damage from petroleum-based products and high heat.
Low cost; nonporous surface with good sound-dampening
and thermal proper-ties; dingy surfaces can be renewed.
Acrylic is relatively soft and can be damaged by high heat, abrasive cleaners, and petroleum- based products.
You don’t want to scrub too hard on an acrylic sink. The great news is that you may not need to. Some cleaners can scratch, but acrylic offers excel- lent stain resistance.
Tough, with plenty of design possibilities
Concrete countertops are hot. What about concrete sinks? While very durable, concrete is an unforgiving surface for glassware, and by nature is a porous material that must be sealed carefully so that it won’t leak. Sonoma applies three coats of a penetrating sealer called Porous Plus and recommends buyers reseal their sinks once a year. Concrete is susceptible to staining, especially from acidic foods like fruit juice or wine. For those who like a sparkling sink bottom, Sonoma can cast a stainless-steel screen into the bottom of its sinks, which won’t stain.
From a design standpoint, concrete is an exceptionally flexible medium, well suited to sculptural and colour customizing.
Durable; easily customized; good sound-deadening- properties; can be cast as part of finished countertop.
Expensive and heavy; may stain; must be resealed periodically.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Organizing & Cleaning Garden Sheds

Garden sheds come in all shapes and sizes and vary in price, but there is one thing they can have in common and that is clutter. The garden shed tends to be home for all the gardening tools and everything else that can not find a home in the house. So if you find yourself taking half-an-hour to locate something you need, it is probably time to take ‘the bull-by-the-horns’ and organize your garden shed.


Organizing a garden shed can seem like an overwhelming job, but if it’s broken down into smaller tasks it can be achieved without you feeling discouraged. The first step is to make a plan, such as: the completion date, what’s going to stay in your garden shed, what needs to be thrown, and what type of storage equipment you need. Last but least plan the treat you’re going to give yourself after each task is completed!

Dealing with clutter in your garden shed

Tackling clutter in your garden shed can sometimes be difficult to deal with because of the ‘just-in-case’ scenario. A few guidelines may help you decide if you need to keep it or pitch it: if you’ve no idea what it is, if you haven’t used it for over a year, if it’s broken and can not be fixed, or if it’s broken and you’ll probably never get round to fixing it! It can help to deal with one area of your garden shed at a time, for example, starting on the left-hand side and working round.
Once you’ve de-cluttered your garden shed the next step is to sort your stuff into your categories such as: gardening tools and equipments, hardware and tools, outdoor sports equipment, decorating paraphernalia, power tools, and outdoor seasonal decorations.

Cleaning your garden shed

Now that you have everything in neat piles, you’ll probably need to give your garden shed a clean to remove the resident spider/s and spider webs, oil-stains, dried putty, paint, and general dust and dirt. Here are a few tips:

Spider webs – use a stick with some duct tape wrapped around with the sticky side facing outwards. A large broom or a vacuum cleaner is also effective.
Oil stain – remove as much liquid oil as possible with paper towels. Place a cloth saturated with hydrogen peroxide on the stain, wipe the area dry and wash your garden shed floor with a wood cleaner.
Hard putty – brush on paraffin oil. This dissolves the linseed oil in the putty and softens it for removal.
Oiled-based paint or varnish stains – carefully rub the affected area with a cloth dampened in a formulated paint remover.
Dirty surfaces – spray cleaner directly onto the surface and wipe clean. For caked on dirt, spray on the cleaner and allow it to soak for several minutes, before wiping clean. Rinse thoroughly with water and wipe clean.

Storage ideas

To utilize every inch in your garden shed so you can maximize your storage and work space there are several options available to keep your categerised stuff together:

Hanging hooks – they are excellent garden shed organizers for keeping your garden tools in one place.
Shelving – keeps your equipment tidy and in one place.
Containers – ideal for keeping your bits ‘n’ bobs in. Don’t forget to label them!
Pegboards – makes a handy area for hanging small tools, paintbrushes, and extension cords in your garden shed.
Tool box – try to purchase one that will grow with your collection, especially if you enjoy DIY or car maintenance.


Garden sheds can hold a huge amount of ‘stuff,’ and a clean and organized one can enhance the enjoyment of owning a garden shed.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Tips for Choosing The Right Bathtub

Many people spend a considerable amount of time in the bathroom.

Some people feel that spending time in the tub rejuvenates their energy and revitalizes their spirit.

Whatever the reason for spending some time in the bathroom, one thing is certain, the bathtub is one of the most important aspects of the bathroom.

If you are building a house, or if you are renovating or redesigning your house or bathroom, you shouldn't just choose any bathtub. Apart from considering the colour that will go well with the colour of the bathroom, or the latest design, or the manufacturer, there are other things that should be considered.

* Size of the tub

Aside from the obvious point, that this is important in checking how the bathtub will fit the designated space, this also needs to be considered for other reasons. Should you go for a one-person or two-person bathtub? Remember that if you choose a two-person tub, this will consume more water than a one-person tub.

The bathtub size is also interdependent with the capacity of the water heater. A bathtub usually requires 65% hot water. For some bathtubs, the hot water content may require up to 40 gallons. Consider then if after dispensing 40 gallons of hot water, will your water heater still have sufficient hot water for the rest of the household, or will it have enough time to reheat some water for consumption.

In this case, you may have to choose a smaller bathtub or upgrade your water heater so it will be able to supply enough water for a bigger bathtub. Another option is to install an instant water heater to the water source leading to the bathtub.

Also make sure that, with the bathtub's size, you get enough support for your head, neck and back.

* Material

Choosing the material for your bathtub depends on several factors: on how often you will use the tub, durability, ease of maintenance and budget.

Fibre glass is a cost-effective material, however, it doesn't have the durability of acrylic or porcelain bathtubs. Wooden and marble tubs are good-looking but these require much maintenance and may not last long. Cast iron tubs are the most durable, although these cost a little more than other materials. 

* Depth

The bathtub's depth is important if you are considering using the bathtub for therapeutics. Many people enjoy soaking in a warm bath to rejuvenate the lost energy and to ease the pain in tired muscles. Soaking in a tub even reduces the stress levels that most people resort to a warm bath before going to bed.

However, few people know that there are special tubs designed for this purpose. Soaking tubs are designed to allow a person to immerse the whole body with comfort unlike that with a standard tub that is only designed to soak the lower part of the body.

* Functionality

Tubs with jets, such as whirlpool tubs, look very enticing, but will you be using the jets often? Consider the importance of the additional features and how will these features impact your power and water consumption.

* Features for the handicap and the elderly

People with handicap and the elderly rarely use the standard bathtub due to risks for additional injury. Check bathtubs that have features that allow easy entry and exit from the tub. These tubs also have grab rails and grab bars to prevent accidents while soaking in the bathtub. Check for ADA compliance if you want these features for your bathtub.

* Design

Most bathtubs come in cream and white, but are also available in other colours such as brown, maroon, pink, green and blue. Shapes are usually rectangle, oval, and round, but heart-shaped designs and corner styles are also offered.

These are important so the bathtub will match the colour and the design of the bathroom. It also makes the bathtub inviting and makes soaking a comfortable experience.

With these tips, you can surely choose the bathtub that fits you.