Sunday, June 30, 2013

Renovate your outdated bathroom with a frameless glass shower screen

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home and it can be one the larger projects (along with the kitchen) to fix up. When you consider the amount of plumbing changes that may be involved as well as durable fixtures, the cost of simply updating the look, not just the functionality, may go beyond the average Joe’s budget. With this in mind, it is important to do your research when deciding to update your bathroom as there are ways to renovate your bathroom that don’t actually require completely overhauling the whole room, fixtures and all.

Bathrooms traditionally consist of a basin, bath and a shower – or shower /bath combination. In older bathrooms, the fixtures are often ceramic and a little out of date, especially when you are dealing with the older gaudy colours like pink, green and orange. You could paint over the existing fixtures to update the colour palette and you can try retiling – but this can put your bathroom out of action for a while and you risk air bubbles popping up if the job isn’t done carefully. Another option, one that is going to seem so simple and obvious when I mention it, is just replacing your shower screen! Your average framed shower screen can quickly create a visual barrier within the room, and when you have quite a compact bathroom, creating the illusion of space is very important. Frames also create more work when it’s time to clean but installing a frameless shower screen, like those from Frameless Impressions, you can instantly open up the space in your bathroom and reduce your cleaning time! A clear, frameless shower screen can turn a compact bathroom into one that creates the illusion of more space making your time in there a lot more enjoyable. Their flawless appearance adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any old bathroom.

Frameless shower

There is quite a bit of versatility with frameless shower screens too. You have the ability to choose which way the door opens or whether it slides and what kind of tint you would like, if you want one at all. They are sleek and sturdy, built with thick, heavy glass to make up for the lack of frame.Elderly people, children or people with physical disabilities will enjoy the frameless design as there is no danger of tripping on a step. There is also the freedom of creating a large, wall-to-wall shower if the extra room is available.

A frameless shower screen really can dramatically alter the appearance of your bathroom without breaking the budget. You don’t have to put up with those brown tiles and that mouldy shower curtain anymore when a comfortable new shower is this easy to achieve.

Guest Post By:

Ivy is a home renovation enthusiast who spends her time researching current and affordable renovation trends.

Ready to update your outdated bathroom?  Give us a call or send us an email for a free in home estimate! ~Gary B.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Make Your Backyard Beautiful

Backyard landscapingAs summertime approaches, you’re going to want to spend some quality time outside. If you’re lucky enough to live in a good location, you can go to the beach or maybe a neighborhood pool, but often your backyard is the place you’re going to catch the most sunshine and fresh air. In this case, it pays to transform your backyard into the place everyone wants to spend time. This is certainly possible, whether you’re on a budget or have an unlimited amount to spend on your backyard upgrades. Keeping your financial constraints in mind, you can upgrade your landscape, backyard fixtures, furniture, lighting, and a variety of amenities in order to have the best backyard this summer has ever seen.


One easy way to improve the quality of your backyard is to make sure your landscaping is up to snuff. If your grass is dying or non-existent, consider laying sod or sowing some grass seeds. Add flowers for a great smell and inexpensive splash of color. Make sure you keep any landscaping well groomed, as an unkempt lawn can quickly devalue your backyard. If your schedule doesn’t allow for consistent maintenance, consider hiring a gardener or at least installing an automated sprinkler system.

Building Structures

While you’re spending time in your backyard to get some sun, sometimes you need to escape into home improvement project new patiothe shade. While a tree or umbrella can serve this purpose, if you want a more permanent shaded area it’s certainly possible. If you’re on a budget, consider designing and building your own structure, a task which can be fairly simple with some limited construction experience. Structures can also provide great storage space, a play area for your children, and even an outdoor studio for working in the sun.

Furnishing the Backyard

Furniture is of the utmost importance when you’re planning to relax in your backyard. Before making any furniture purchases, consider your primary uses for the backyard, as well as any space constraints you might have. Do you use your backyard primarily for lounging, or are you planning to throw dinner parties? Let the function shape your furniture choices, purchasing whatever is needed to best enjoy your backyard time. Keep in mind that purchasing the cheapest furniture, if you are on a budget, is not always the best idea as the quality often isn’t too great. Instead, purchase middle of the line furniture which will last for several seasons. Taking care to bring your furniture into a sheltered area in inclement weather can greatly improve the life of your furniture.

Adding Amenities

Again, take some time to think about what your backyard is most used for. If it’s primarily a play area for children, consider adding a cheap above-ground pool or investing in a jungle gym, whether you buy one or make it yourself. If cooking is your passion, plenty of DIY projects are available to expand your cooking capabilities. While you might already have a grill, consider making a pizza oven, smoker, or a bar from which to serve drinks.

No matter your financial constraints, it’s easy to get your backyard in tip-top condition for upcoming summer festivities. Take into account your budget and upgrade your furniture, fixtures, and even cooking amenities as needed for the best use of your backyard area.

This article was written by Andre Hickson, a landscaping contractor, father, and home renovator. For more landscaping tips and ways to improve your home, Andre suggests consulting professionals, like the Dorchester Awning Company



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Creating a Woman-Cave

Woman-CaveThe “man-cave” is the space in a home where the man of the house can go to relax. The area usually includes features like a flat screen TV, a video game console, and a bar or mini fridge stocked with a variety of beverages and snacks.

Women need a place to feel at ease as well. So why not create a woman-cave in your home? Purchasing a few items to change the ambiance in your home space can immediately make you feel like you’re taking a mini vacation. Here are a few tips for transforming a room in your house into a woman-cave you’ll love spending time in.

Make an At-Home Spa

Few things are more soothing than a quality spa treatment. If you love to be pampered with massages, facials, and manicures, reserve an area in your home for a spa day in your woman-cave. Purchase a small fountain with smooth stones so you can hear the tranquil sound of the water running over the rocks. A humidifier or room diffuser is a smart buy as well since you can fill these devices with essential oils like bergamot and lavender that will make the room smell inviting. Fill a basin with warm water, sea salt, and olive oil to soak your feet and hands in; the mixture softens your cuticles and makes your manicure and pedicure look more professional. Play some relaxing music in your woman-cave to create a tranquil atmosphere while you pamper yourself. You can even make some spa-inspired treats for yourself like a bowl of fresh fruit dressed with citrus and honey or a carafe of cucumber water.

Stock Your Bar

Put a small refrigerator in your woman-cave just like your guy has in the man-cave. Fill it with your cupcakesfavorite healthy treats like yogurt or trail mix, or with indulgences that you only eat during your time in the woman-cave. These can include treats like your favorite flavor of cupcakes or a box of gourmet chocolates. Don’t forget to put a few small bottles of water, fruit juice, champagne, or the ingredients for your favorite cocktail in the mini fridge as well. These treats make you look forward to your time in your special space with even more excitement.

Create a Library

If you love reading, make your woman-cave into a library. Purchase a small bookshelf and fill it with books from your favorite authors. Decorate the walls with posters of the books or movies you like best. Play music in the background as you read or put a television in the woman-cave so you can watch the romantic comedies you love that no one in the house wants to see but you. Purchase a comfy chair or a plush rug for the woman-cave as well so you can watch classic films and cuddle up with that book you’ve been meaning to read. A few scented candles in the woman-cave provide soft lighting and fragrance that will make your home library even more appealing.

Make Room for Friends

While men tend to retreat to their man-caves when they want to get away from it all, a woman’s idea of relaxing often involves getting together with a few close friends. Make your woman-cave inviting for your girlfriends by purchasing a sofa that will comfortably seat three or four guests and a television large enough to make you feel like you’re at the movies watching the latest blockbuster starring the actors you and your friends love to swoon over.

Make the space your own by adding an accent wall in your favorite color to add a finishing touch to the woman-cave. Soft pastels make the room appear larger, while an eye-catching hue like turquoise or lime green emit a feeling of calm or creative energy that will make you look forward to the hours you spend in your special space.

This article was contributed by Chase Roberts, home & garden connoisseur, personal decorator, and all-around handyman. If you are a Texas resident looking to do some home improvements of your own, Chase recommends Houston Overhead Door, offering a garage door service in Houston.

Do you have a woman-cave in your home?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

24 Blogs Showcasing DIY Methods for Adding Crown Molding to Your Home

moldingIf you’re looking for an inexpensive way to improve your home, crown molding adds an elegant touch without breaking the bank. The addition of crown molding gives any room an automatic upgrade, making it appear more refined than those without it. Bookcases, kitchen cabinets and doorways can also get a makeover by adding some crown molding. To learn how to add crown molding around your home, read these 24 blog entries.



Many older homes have crown molding, but newer homes rarely come equipped with it. While a lack of crown molding gives a room a more contemporary feel, if you want to add an elegant, polished touch then crown molding is the way to go. To learn how to add crown molding to the walls in your room, take a look at these six blog articles.


You can buy crown molding fairly inexpensively at home improvement stores, and adding it to a bookcase instantly transforms a plain piece of furniture to something with a little more character. Adding crown molding is simple enough for a do-it-yourselfer to do, and the most important thing to do is measure, measure, measure!  For tips on how to successfully figure out how to cut and measure crown molding, look at these six blog posts.

Kitchen Cabinets

Many kitchens are equipped with cabinets that end flush against the ceiling; by adding crown molding to the top of the cabinets you can give the kitchen a higher end, more finished appearance. The process for adding crown molding to kitchen cabinets is very similar to adding crown molding to a bookcase.  You have to have a surface to nail the crown molding to, so it’s often necessary to install a scrap piece of wood to the top of the cabinets.  This scrap can be as small as a one by one inch piece of trim.  Take a look at these six blog entries to learn more about how to install crown molding to your kitchen cabinets and to see what a difference it can make in the appearance of your kitchen.


By adding crown molding above a doorway you can make an outside entrance look grander or an inside doorway look richer. You can even add a piece of plywood above the door first and install the crown molding above that to give the room more architectural detail.  If you would like to try adding molding to your doorways, check out these six blog articles.

Author Bio:

Jeralyn Nelson is the content editor for “ She loves writing article on interior decorations. You can check out her recently published article at ““.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Benefits of Owning a Pool in Your Backyard

Owning a swimming pool has become a popular addition for many people.  During the summer, you’ll find families flocking to their backyard swimming pools (or those of their neighbors).  A pool can offer you numerous benefits that you will get nowhere else. Below are some of the reasons as to why owning a pool could be a great idea for you and your family:

benefits of owning a swimming pool

General health benefits

Apart from the entertainment benefit, a swimming pool provides you with many health benefits. Spending a few minutes a day in the pool helps to exercise your body with no risk of injury as those caused by high impact exercise.  Swimming is also a great aerobic activity!  If you’re trying to keep fit without the hassles of going to a public place like a gym, then owning a pool is a great option for you.  Personal pools are hygienic, easy to maintain and accessible at whatever time you choose to exercise. 

Helps save money spent on recreational activities

Someone who loves swimming or engaging in other recreational activities will find owning a pool to be beneficial especially when it comes to saving time and money.  You’ll no longer need to pack up the kids and head out to a public pool thus saving money in gas and time.  Your backyard will become the center of your families recreational activities.  There’s no end to the amount of fun you can have in your own private backyard oasis!

A pool can also help add value to your home

Having an in ground swimming pool in your backyard can easily add value to your home and even attract  buyers in the event that you plan to sell your home. Many prospective buyers will opt for a home equipped with a pool over one that does not have one. This is especially the case if the pool is properly designed, landscaped and built by a professional pool construction company.

A pool can add an aesthetic touch to your backyard giving it an alluring appeal. Just the look of the sparkling clean water in the neighborhood will transform your home into a charming place where everyone wants to visit and spend some time.  Always be sure to keep your pool maintained and the patio area safe and tidy!

Author About:

Jacqueline Mya is a passionate writer who loves to write Home Improvement related tips. By the way, you can find out more about Pool Maintenance Raleigh  as well as much more information on all types of services at Pool Repair Raleigh

What are your thoughts on installing a swimming pool in your backyard? ~Gary B.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Burglary by the Numbers


Infographic courtesy of:

We stumbled upon this infographic and were shocked by the number of burglaries that occur in the United States.  We hope you will find it helpful and, hopefully, prevent this from happening to you.  Knowledge is Power!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Everybody Hurts: The Most Common Household Injuries

first-aid-kitWhile we think of our homes as a place of safety and comfort, there are some common household injuries that you or your family may experience at some point. Below is a list of some of the most common household injuries, what you can keep on hand to treat them, and some preventive measures you can take to avoid them.

Cutting Yourself While Chopping Vegetables

This is an injury most of us are familiar with. If you do cut your hand in the kitchen, run cold water over your cut, apply pressure with a clean dry bandage and raise your hand above heart level until the bleeding stops. Keep the wound covered and change the bandage daily. You can use an antibacterial ointment to aid healing time and to prevent infection. If the bleeding will not stop or your cut is deep, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Follow the steps below to reduce your risk of a kitchen cutting mishap:

–Only cut on a flat, dry, sturdy surface; ideally a cutting board.

–Cut away from your body, not toward it.

–Chop vegetables with your fingers curled under instead of in the direct line of cutting.

–Do not try to cut frozen foods.

–Do not use knives for things you can use scissors for—like opening a tightly sealed package.

–If you drop your knife accidentally do not try to catch it, instead take a large step backward.

–Sharpen your knives regularly as dull knives cause more injuries.


Burns are most common while cooking in the kitchen or from the faucet in the bathroom. If you or a burnsloved one has burned themselves immediately submerge the affected area under cold water or run it under cold water. If you burn your face and the area blisters or the cold water does not adequately reduce the pain after a few minutes, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Follow the steps below to reduce your risk of a burn:

–Always use real oven mitts when taking things in and out of the oven or when working with a hot pot or pan. Napkins, dishtowels, and aprons are not oven mitts.

–Avoid the temptation to “check” or move things with your fingers. Instead, use kitchen tongs designed for heat.

–When taking the lid off an item that has been on the stove or in the oven, make sure your face and body are not in the direct line of its steam and heat.

–Make sure the handles of your pots, pans, and utensils are not left exposed to heat. If they are, use your oven mitts.

–When frying things in grease use tongs and wear long, but not loose or bulky, sleeved shirts.

–Wait until hot foods have sufficiently cooled prior to serving such as coffee, tea, and soups.

–Install anti-scald devices on the faucets that your young children can reach.

–Reduce the temperature of your water heater to below 120 degrees.


Falls are the leading cause of fatal home injuries. Most falls happen while in the bathroom where it is wet and slippery. If you fall in the bathroom, carefully get up if you are able. If you feel like it is unsafe to move, call for help or bang on the wall or floor to attract someone’s attention. Call 911 if it is not safe for someone who has fallen to get up independently—don’t hurt yourself attempting to help someone up. Follow the steps below to reduce your risk of a fall in the bathroom:

–Place slip resistant mats inside your bathtub, even if it does not “feel” slippery to you. When soap grab bars in the bathroomsuds combine with water that can change in an instant.

–Place a bathmat with a rubberized bottom outside of your bathtub. This will reduce your chance of slipping by having something absorbent and rubberized to step onto.

–Add grab bars to your bathtub. While this may not be the most attractive addition it is a highly recommended bathroom safety feature.

It is wise to keep a first aid kit in your home so that you are prepared for any in-home injuries that unexpectedly arise. Being properly prepared can be the difference between a minor injury and a major injury.

This article was contributed by Samantha Greenbaum, health nut, marathon runner and weekend backpacker. For those in the Pearland, TX area looking for quick, efficient urgent care, Samantha suggests checking out Prime Urgent Care.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Focusing on Interior Design with a Home Remodel


Photo Courtesy of:  (

Maybe you are looking to redo the kitchen and get rid of those gaudy cabinets – or perhaps you are appalled by the color of the walls in your living room – or you hate that carpet in your dining room…maybe you want to remodel your whole house! Remodeling is common these days as styles and trends constantly change. What may have been appealing in the 90s may not look so great anymore and that is why homeowners across the country are looking into complete home remodels. When one goes on such a venture, it is crucial to keep interior design in mind.

What does interior design cover? It is a very wide field that extends from the pattern of the kitchen tiles to the placement of the television in the living room to the types of lights in the bathroom. Essentially, you are trying to lay out and decorate your whole home to the fullest extent.

Here are some key things to keep in mind as you go about designing your home:

·         Space- You will need space to move around, so any congested areas of a room should be cleared up.

·         Color- The color of each room should be taken into consideration. Many psychologists believe that room-painting-ideasthe wall colors affect moods. For example, green fits a bedroom because it is calming, red is best for a dining room because it encourages an appetite, and blue for an office because it encourages productivity, et cetera. Colors within rooms must be paid attention to as well. No homeowner would want the couches to severely contrast the walls; colors are meant to complement or match one another.

·         Furniture- Looking at how tables match the room matter too. What type of wooden table or table material would best match the floor and walls?

·         Flooring- Certain rooms, such as those that have a lot of moisture, need tile and others need laminate flooring. Since each room is different in color and settings, flooring needs to be viewed uniquely for each of them.

There are so many things to consider when enduring an interior design project that many homeowners decide to call in an interior design specialist, someone who has specifically trained to format rooms well and match colors properly. The expertise of an interior designer can take a lot of weight off the shoulders of the homeowner and it can lead to some great results! Remodeling a home is no easy project, but it can be rewarding in the end as long as you take the proper considerations beforehand. It takes work to make your house beautiful!

Guest Post By:

About Emily Porter:

I am an interior designer based out of Houston, Texas. I love to provide and share knowledge on home interior design and improvement. I own my own interior design-focused blog, “Floors by Emily” and also do some freelance blogging for Floor & Decor, a factory direct flooring company.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Getting the Most out of your HVAC System

, heating and air conditioning account for up to 56% of the energy used by the average homeAccording to the most recent estimate by the US Department of Energy, heating and air conditioning account for up to 56% of the energy used by the average home. There are a number of steps that homeowners can take to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their HVAC systems beginning with the selection of the machine.

Making the right choice

When shopping for a heater or air conditioner, it is important to account for the climate in which you live. The intensity of the heat in the summer, the average humidity levels, and the depth of the coldest winter temperatures will all impact your HVAC system. Doing some research or asking a professional before you make your choice can ensure that you get the best possible performance out of your system all year round.

Performing minor maintenance

Performing routine maintenance on your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system can improve performance, reduce waste, and prevent expensive break-downs. Check your filters once a month, clean them if necessary, and replace them every three to six months to keep everything running smoothly and prevent early breakdowns. It is also wise to clean the condenser coils periodically, which you can do with a garden hose. Be sure to spray at an angle, rather than directly into the unit. This will clean the coils, but won’t allow too much water to work its way down into the condenser.

Placement of the unit can also impact its performance. Make sure that it is cleared of obstructions, as tree branches and other debris can get sucked in and damage the equipment. It is also important to ensure that the unit is level, since an uneven HVAC unit won’t work properly. Another important maintenance step is cleaning the air ducts out every two years. Depending on the system of ducts you have and the general layout of your home, this may be something you can do yourself, or may require an HVAC specialist.

Bringing in a professional

Hiring a professional to check out and tune up your HVAC system once a year is as important to performance and efficiency as taking your car to the mechanic. A contractor will check to be sure that all connections are tight and well-sealed; they will lubricate all moving parts to prevent friction and breakdown, check the refrigerant level and gas pressure, and adjust any blower components as necessary.

While there are many things that homeowners can do themselves to maintain their systems, these highly trained professionals will perform several other maintenance tasks, ranging from very simple to quite complex. They’ll check and clean the condensate drain and ensure that the unit is responding to signals from the controls to shut off or turn on. They’ll make sure that fans are running in the right direction, which is a surprisingly common issue. They’ll also verify that the belts aren’t crooked or loose, which will both reduce the efficiency of the machine, and cause the belts and moveable parts to wear out faster than necessary.

Sealing the house

The thermal envelope is one of the most important things to consider when looking for ways to home improvement new windowsimprove HVAC performance. If the doors and windows of your home are allowing large amounts of air to pass in and out, or if there are gaps in the weather stripping or insulation, you will continue wasting money and resources whenever your heater or air conditioner is running. By improving weather stripping and insulation, upgrading doors and windows, and ensuring that they are all properly installed, you can run your HVAC system knowing that you aren’t spending extra money to heat or cool the whole neighborhood.

Author Info:

Frank Newhouse is a freelance writer with years of experience as a property manager. He is constantly looking for ways to reduce waste, and enjoys writing as a way to share that knowledge. He currently writes for Air Conditioning Florida, which helps connect people in the Orlando area with the air conditioning services they need to improve performance.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Budget Home Improvements: Seeing Home Repair as an Investment

Exterior home improvement project includes replacement windowsIt may be that your house hasn’t seen any home improvement for quite some time: the bathroom is covered with wallpaper, the kitchen appliances are avocado green, and the shag carpet in your living room keeps asking you to a Gloria Gaynor concert. It just may be time for renovation.

Renovating your home not only makes it a more enjoyable and comfortable place to live, but it is a wise investment. However, not all renovations are worth the time, the effort, and the cost of improvement. According to a report by US News, there are certain renovations that offer larger returns than others.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchen-designMost realtors will tell you that bathrooms (specifically the master bathroom) and the kitchen are typically the most important rooms of the house. The kitchen, in particular, is the first area potential home buyers notice. This is where people tend to congregate, thus it needs to be both welcoming and modern.

Bathrooms, on the other hand, aren’t really known for crowds. Instead, they are known as places where people can relax and pamper themselves. When a bathroom remodel is done correctly – with a custom shower, dual sinks, stellar lighting, or granite countertops – they can yield an average investment return of 62 percent.

Additional Notable Areas

Other renovations that are worth the investment include adding more livable square footage and new finished basementwindows. When it comes to the former, more is definitely better. Turning an attic into a bedroom or finishing a basement can have a positive effect on the selling price of your home. People are drawn to homes that offer larger areas in which to play, rest, or simply hang out.

Adding windows can also be quite profitable. New windows may be expensive, but they add value to your home in several ways. They are aesthetically appealing, but they are also practical. Old windows tend to leak, letting in cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer. This leakage can sky rocket the cost of heating and air conditioning.

Home Offices and Sunrooms

On the flip side, home offices and sunrooms aren’t typically the best investments. While working from home has become commonplace in the job force, most people don’t require a full office to do it. Usually a computer and some storage cabinets can suffice. Home buyers often find that there are other things they would rather do with this space.

A sunroom renovation may be equally futile. This is particularly true in areas where the weather is extreme. In states with winter weather, sunrooms are usually too cold; in states with hot summer weather, sunrooms can get way too stuffy to be comfortable. Thus, they are really only good investments in areas where the weather is mild for most of the year. There’s no point to a sunroom if you can’t use it.

To Build or Not to Build

Making the choice to remodel, modernize, or build an addition is a big decision. It takes a significant amount of commitment and money. However, as demonstrated above, certain updates may well be worth it. Renovating may also be necessary.

According to CNN, remodeling is surging among homeowners, who are hopeful with the surge in home values. In fact, spending on home improvements reached $131 billion in 2012. This was the highest mark since 2006. With so many improvements, homeowners might have to renovate merely to keep up with the Joneses.

This article was contributed by Chase Roberts, home & garden connoisseur, personal decorator, and all-around handyman. Chase recommends Remedy Roofing for homeowners in Dallas looking to make a great long-term investment in their home.

Bruzzese Home Improvements specializes in kitchen and bathroom renovations, additions, window replacement and pretty much all your home improvement needs.  Give us a call or shoot us an email to schedule your free in home estimate! ~Gary B.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Common Moving Mistakes

moving man with boxNobody likes to move but with a little planning and preparation you can make your next move as painless as possible. Here are some tips to get organized.

Plan Ahead

If you’re moving during a busy time of year—half of all moves happen in late spring and summer—book your moving company or your truck ahead of time. College towns see huge activity in early May and late August. Call them at least three or four months ahead of time. Otherwise, you risk having to use the cheapest company or paying your friends down the street in pizza to help move your possessions.

Get an Estimate

A moving company should provide you with an estimate. The estimate is based on the size of your home, the furniture you’ll be moving, and how far you’re moving. Ask at least three companies for estimates, and ask plenty of questions to avoid hidden fees.

Protect Your Valuables

A lot of moving companies won’t handle expensive or potentially dangerous items such as jewelry, weapons, alcohol, or gas grills. Plus, you would probably rather transport your personal documents, family heirlooms, and priceless items yourself rather than abandoning them in the back of a moving van. Leave room in your car or your suitcase for these items and make sure they’re insured if at all possible.

Clean BEFORE You Pack

Purge your home of accumulated junk. Go through the closets, the kitchen cabinets, the bathrooms, and the entertainment center looking for duplicates, unused items, broken and irreparably damaged items, clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a year, outgrown toys, and other unnecessary items. Then make a pitch pile to toss in the trash and a donate pile to take to a local charity. If your home needs an especially thorough cleaning, consider getting a dumpster. Donate the rest of the items to a secondhand store or shelter. As a bonus, these donations are tax-deductible.

Keep Records

If you’re moving for your job, the cost of your move is tax-deductible, but you must keep thorough moving taxesrecords of mileage, storage, gas, truck rental, and insurance. Otherwise, you’re likely to be subject to an audit. If your business is paying to relocate you, they will also want to see thorough financial records.

Pack Smartly

Don’t plan to put an entire bookshelf’s worth of books in a single box unless you have hired a bodybuilder to help you move. Many moving companies sell boxes with recommended contents and weights. Use those as a guide. If you’re packing-challenged, buy pizza in exchange for the help and advice of a friend or family member who can help you get organized. Strategic packing will prevent broken belongings, sprained backs, and chaos during the unpacking process.

Don’t Forget the Plants

Whether you only have one or two small potted plants or a whole indoor greenhouse, make sure you’ve arranged for your plants to survive the move. The lighting and climate in a moving van isn’t exactly hospitable to most plants, so make sure you have a plan to help your plants reach your destination safely.

Don’t Forget the Pets

A cat, dog, or moving dogguinea pig can’t exactly live in the back of a moving truck for days either. If your pet isn’t used to traveling long distances in a car or an airplane, make sure you have a motion sickness medication or sedatives on hand, just in case. Keep your pet’s papers and registrations with you at all times, particularly if you’re planning to cross state lines.

This article was contributed by Chase Roberts, home & garden connoisseur who’s experienced his fair share of stressful moves. Chase recommends Next Exit Logistics, heavy equipment haulers who offer a wide variety of services, from local freight deliveries to transcontinental hauls.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Guide To Sound Testing Insulation

sound testingSound insulation testing is required on all house conversions or New Build developments where two or more dwellings are connected either by a party wall or party floor.

The testing needs to be carried out by an Independent Acoustic Consultancy with either A.N.C or UKAS Accreditation. Without this Accreditation, any test report produced could be refused by the Local Authority Building Control as invalid, meaning that the properties will need to be re-tested at additional cost to the developer.

Not all dwellings need to be tested however. In fact, it is the party floor or party wall that is tested; not the dwelling as such. One set of tests is required for every 10 dwellings. A set of tests would normally consist of:

• Two Airborne Wall Tests

• Two Airborne Floor Tests

• Two Impact Floor Tests

Obviously, party walls can only be tested if the dwellings are connected horizontally. Additionally, for any walls or floors to be tested you need to have habitable rooms on both sides of the partition. The test rooms also need to be a minimum of 25mᶟ in volume.

Where the residential unit is above a commercial unit, then Impact Tests are not required as the noise risk is perceived to be from the commercial unit into the flat; not the other way round.

Where the commercial unit is perceived to generate a larger amount of noise such as a music shop, public house or night club, then an increased level of acoustic performance is deemed necessary. This would normally be controlled by the Planning Department or Building Control Department.

Please see below for a range of sound insulation testing scenarios:sound testing

3 storey building

• Two Airborne Floor Tests

• Two Impact Floor Tests

2 storey building

• Two Airborne Floor Tests

• Two Impact Floor Tests

1 storey building

• No tests required

Connecting 1 storey buildings

• Two Airborne Wall Tests

• No Floor Tests

Connecting 2 storey buildings

• Two Airborne Floor Tests

• Two Impact Floor Tests

• Two Airborne Wall Tests

Connecting 8 storey buildings

• Four Airborne Floor Tests

• Four Impact Floor Tests

• Four Airborne Wall Tests

Sound testing is a fundamental part of home improvement and understanding the basics can allow you to improve your home.

Guest Post By:

Louise Orr

Friday, June 7, 2013

Choosing the Best Home Insurance

I’m Covered…Right?

Choosing the best home insuranceHomeowner’s insurance provides people with protection against the unexpected. You never know what may happen, which is why it is best to always be prepared. The right insurance policy will protect you from basic incidents, but what about damage related to flooding, fires, and earthquakes? Many homeowners do not thoroughly read through their policy to find out what they are actually paying for. Don’t be surprised if an insurance company rejects your infestation claims, such as termites, as it may be considered an “additional coverage” option.

Mortgage Loan Requirements

If you have a mortgage loan, you are usually required to obtain insurance. Some mortgage providers will work the policy right into your loan while others may ask you to find the insurance independently. Comparing quotes and the policy limitations is vital to selecting the best insurance provider. If you have a vehicle, contact your insurance provider and find out if they can offer you a bundle plan. This is a great way to save on the monthly premiums you will need to pay. The costs you pay in monthly premiums are based on the following criteria:

• Claim history

• Education level

• Financial history

• Job stability

• Age

• Location

While the cheapest plan may be the best financial decision on a monthly basis, there is a good chance it can come back to haunt you. Consider how much money you will need to spend if your home is damaged from a natural disaster. If you failed to pay the extra $5-$9 a month for earthquake coverage, you could lose your home and all your belongings. Always plan for the future when selecting insurance.

What Does My Policy Cover?

Most homeowners assume that insurance companies will pay for flood damage. The problem is that Always practice fire safety in your homethere is a fine line in each contract. Your plan may cover flooding from a natural disaster, but it may not cover flooding due to a broken pipe inside the home. However, in most cases separate flood insurance is required for coverage. Fire damage is another thing that you must research. Insurance plans usually will not pay for expenses related to fire damage due to negligence. Therefore, if you accidentally leave your curling iron on and it starts a fire, you will need to assume the costs.

Some homeowners do not realize that liability coverage is part of their insurance plan. A person who falls or is injured on your property can sue you for damages. Depending on your plan, the insurance company may step in and try to settle the case. In most situations, they will pay for medical expenses related to the injury. Make sure you are buying enough liability coverage if you have pets or a home that could be considered dangerous (due to an icy porch, etc.).

Did you know that in the event of a fire or other emergency the insurance company will pay for a hotel room? This is another area where you must read the policy as it may state that the company will only pay for a specific number of days during which your home is deemed “unlivable.”

What You Need To Know

When searching for an insurance company, find out what it would cost to replace your home. Once you know this cost, get an estimate of the assets and belongings inside the home. Now, take this figure and add $10,000-$15,000 to get the ideal coverage limit for your home. It is important to document everything that you are listing in the homeowner’s insurance policy. This will guarantee replacement or financial compensation for items that are damaged.

Homeowner’s insurance is vital for your family in the event of an emergency. Take the time to plan ahead and prepare your family for a disaster. Keep enough money in your bank account to pay the deductible and allow the insurance company to take care of fixing your home.

Guest Post By:

This article was contributed by Kelly Springwell, DIY-er, house flipper and safety nut. Kelly knows disaster can strike your home in the least expected ways, which is why she recommends New England Termite Control, quick and affordable pest control services.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Feng Shui At Home

Feng Shui Arrangement And Decoration At HomeCreating a lovely and truly comfortable home environment is a dream we all want to achieve and accomplish. However, it is very difficult to combine the modern and elegant with the convenient and cozy. Sometimes that balance is missing in a premise or even in the entire house which actually leads to a serious problem and lapse in a home’s flow. There is one ancient and old,but still interesting and attractive, eastern art that symbolizes the beauty, comfort and harmony we need to maintain our personal snugness and calmness at home.

Feng Shui is an old but still modern and contemporary flow that drives balance, peace, love and harmony into your home. The only thing you have to do is to learn some basic information about this ancient Eastern flow. Then, you can easily perform some Feng Shui home decoration in your home with no difficulties. Feng Shui is the symbol of balance, peace, love and harmony inside a home because ancient Eastern people used to believe that the home is the protective stronghold of a person and the home is where people`s problems and spiritual life starts.

In a Feng Shui-decorated and organized home, there must be placed five particular elements which Feng Shui Arrangement And Decoration At Homeare balanced and arranged in harmony. Wood, fire, metal, earth, and water are the powers of the Feng Shui Art. As soon as you start placing the furniture and the decor in each of these premises in your personal home, consider the elements that will symbolize these forces. Wooden furniture such as elegant coffee tables or a massive dining table in a Gothic style could perform the wood present, while the fire may be expressed by a lovely fireplace in the corner. The Eastern wise men believed that in each of the corners of the premise should be placed one single symbol from the Feng Shui doctrine.

Feng Shui Arrangement And Decoration At HomeWater may be either a decorative fountain in the living room, if you have enough free space, or a vase with fresh flowers. In order to bring in something that will symbolize the earth, you may either put a super cool globe or a décor in earth nuance – brown or green. Finally – the metal – is the easiest element from the Feng Shui tendency. Metal pieces of furniture or metal shelves on the walls are the perfect solution for your interior design. However, Feng Shui is also about the balance of the colors at home. According to the Eastern flow, they should be perfectly combined if you want to achieve a healthy and harmonious atmosphere at your home . The positive energy should be coming from one single bright nuance – green, red or yellow – and the surrounding area should be colored in a neutral palette – white, beige or light blue.

Guest Post By:

Bio: Ella Andrews is writer and blogger with great flair for home decoration and home maintenance themes. Ella is constantly searching for new sources of inspiration. Therefore she is presently focused mainly on stylish and sophisticated home decoration thematic. For further helpful tips, visit:

Do you use Feng Shui in your home?  We’d love to hear your comments!