December 13, 2016
A great looking driveway is a great way to provide conveniently and secure off street parking while also enhancing the look of your home. When professional install block paving it usually looks like any easy job, but with the right materials and some manual work, it is not quite a major task as you may think. All you need to do is to follow this simple step by step guide.
For everyone else, you will simply have to hire a contractor who knows how to lay block paving. It’s a recommended way to go if you don’t have the time or the patience to learn the entire process properly. Starting it without having proper knowledge can lead to a lot of troubles.
Before you even start it is a good idea to have a plan before any ground is broken. You need to draw a simple plan of your home, sketching where you need the blocks to be installed. Once your plan has been finalized, layout lengths of string that marks out the dimensions of your purposed patio in position. Also, make sure the approximate location of any services like gas, cable TV, electricity etc are known.
The first stage of the construction process is to carefully remove the existing driveway this could be either concrete, tarmac or concrete flags. Depending on the size of the area, you can either use a shovel, mini excavator or hire a JCB to excavate the existing driveway. The minimum depth of a typical home driveway is 200-250mm below the finished paving level. This allows 150mm of hardcore, 50mm of your block paving and 50mm of sand. If your excavated area appears to be flat, it will be necessary to create a slight slope that will aid in dispersion of the standing water. This should be constructed with 1.80 falls along the length and 1.40 fall across the width. It is important to note that you need to dispose of the excavated materials in a manner conforming to statutory regulations.
You need to always cover your skin when handling cement. Using cement mixer, mix 6 parts ballasts and 1 part cement to create a concrete foundation for edge restraints that is 100mm thick. Use a spirit level and string line to make sure the edge restraints unit is placed on the foundation that will sit at the required finished level. The edge restraints can either be kerb unit of 60mm thick paving block. Mortar the kerb unit using a rubber mallet and trowel and again using concrete, form a hauch up at least half the block height.
The sub-base should be profiled in such a way that it matches the planned profile. A sub-base consists of granular material Type 1 that is installed in a minimum depth of 150mm. Using a vibrator plate compactor or use vibrating roller for large areas in layers of 50mm until the desired level is reached.
Ideally, you need to start from the right angle, place your blocks on the top of the laying course while ensuring they sit 5mm of the finished level. Depending on the desired laying pattern choose blocks from different packs in order to minimize the risk of color patching. Once the blocks are laid, cut a number to complete the area by using block splitter.
You need to use yard broom to brush the kiln dried sand into all joints and thoroughly compact using a vibrating plate compactor to ensure all blocks are at a desired finished level. Subsequently, top the sand and using compactor re-compact to ensure no joint is left unfinished.
This article has been created with the help of few good people. Advices and guidance was also provided by EKS Construction, UK based block paving company that operates locally.
November 30, 2016
When you put all distractions aside, the basic human needs can be summed up to only a few things. It is very unfortunate that the one thing we need the most amongst them – clean, fresh and quality air – is the one that its becoming the sparsest, even if you live outside polluted urban environments. But, before we start addressing this issue on a global level, let’s see what we can do to get more immediate results. Here are few ways to upgrade the air quality in your home.
Eliminate Possible Sources of Pollution
Indoor air pollution often occurs due to combustion or some sort of gas leaking. The worst-case scenario is when these situations are not drastic enough to be noticed immediately, so they reduce the air quality over a prolonged period. To avoid such problems, you should regularly inspect your heating and ventilation systems, and act upon the first sign of danger.
Avoid Dangerous Building Materials
Long-term air pollution is also a result of using the inadequate building materials. Unfortunately, although they are widely spread, lead, asbestos, and pressed wood all fall into this category. Removing them out of your house will take some time, but it’s worthwhile. Start the renovation by replacing your asbestos containing insulation with an eco-friendly alternative.
Keep Air Conditioning Under Control
Since they have a tremendous influence on the air we are breathing in our homes, air conditioners had to find their way to this list. Yet somehow, cleaning and changing the air filters is something that very easily slips from our minds. End this bad habit and schedule filter, vent and ducts cleaning for the next time you make any bigger cleanup action.
Install Air Purifiers
Air purifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be produced with some specific purpose in mind (e.g. allergy purifiers or smoke purifiers). However, they all share one common cause – they are using the purifying technology to improve the indoor air quality of your home. All you need do is to read a few air purifier reviews to find out which type suits you the best.
Take Care of Humidity
Humidity causes mildew and mold which can cause allergies and respiratory problems. The best thing you can do to keep it under control is to test your DWV system for possible leaks. Also, you should make sure that the rooms that are heavily exposed to humidity are well ventilated. If your bathroom and your kitchen don’t have proper windows, be sure to install a ventilation unit there.
Plants have a huge impact on our health. Keeping them inside the house can bring you nothing but good. Of course, if your house is not fit to accommodate plants, you need make the necessary upgrades to make some room for them. If you are ready to go the length, you can turn one of your rooms into an indoor garden by expending the glass surfaces, or even upgrade your house with an entirely new room built with this purpose in mind.
Schedule Regular Cleaning
Finally, it is very important that you regularly clean sources of pollution, and prevent substances that cause respiratory problems. For start, try to mop floors and clean the dust every day and fit the rest of the schedule to your weekly and monthly routine. Just be sure that you use the cleaners that are not the sources of pollution, or you are just going to make things worse.
We hope that these few tips will help you improve the air quality in your home. Changing the world might take some time – make sure your family is safe and healthy until the fresh air is no longer a commodity.
November 27, 2016
Do you feel like your living room could use some touching up? Yes, every now and then comes a time when you simply get bored with the same old style and you want to do something different. Certainly, the best way to alter the appearance of your living space is to focus on changing the upholstery. Of course, when it comes to the style and design of the upholstery, it’s safe to say that the possibilities are endless. But, if you don’t have a specific style in mind or you’re simply in need of some additional inspiration, perhaps these 5 options will help you get a better idea of what you actually wish to accomplish with your living room redesign:
In the last couple of years, we had the opportunity to witness a complete cultural diversification in terms of interior design. Many professional designers have adopted the practice of using fabrics, materials, patterns and colours characteristic for different cultural backgrounds. With that, achieving a somewhat oriental vibe in our homes has become possible through the use of woven fabrics such as burlap, which not only feels great, but also gives out a natural look as well. These fabrics are usually made of jute fibres, which are common in countries like Bangladesh. This is a great option not just for upholstery, but also for wall coverings, curtains and cushions, as the fabric is quite durable and comes in a variety of colours and patterns.
Keep It Green
If there’s one movement that has overtaken the whole world, then it’s definitely sustainable development. Eco-friendly practices are becoming a part of our everyday lives and it’s quite common to see some of these ideas being implemented in interior design. The use of natural and organic home décor fabrics has become quite prominent and many individuals are opting for fabrics made of bamboo, hemp, linen and cotton. Not only do they reduce the overall impact on the environment, but they’re also quite durable and easy to maintain.
Vintage Is In
The practice of ticking is an old form of interweaving cotton or linen textile in order to keep the feathers from poking out the fabric and to maintain good durability. This was mainly used in mattresses and pillows, but nowadays this method of weaving is used in upholstery as well, as a method of achieving a more vintage and industrial aesthetic. Those who wish to evoke a countryside and rural ambience in their living spaces, can surely benefit from various forms, colours and patterns characteristic for this fabric.
Cover It Up
Another great idea to help you achieve a more distinctive look in your living room is to go beyond upholstery and consider other options of styling. For instance, draperies are commonly used for decorative purposes, especially around the windows and on other pieces of furniture as well. Of course, today, draperies have more than a decorative purpose and certain fabrics are designed to protect the furniture from heavy sunlight and create good insulation from both cold and heat.
Versatility Is Crucial
Lastly, what matters most when choosing the right style, is to be open to new designs. This is why versatility in fabrics is very important. If you’re still not quite sure what type of style you prefer, perhaps printed cotton fabrics are the best choice for you. The Fabric Store offers many available designs of this fabric, which ranges from floral designs and rustic tones up to contemporary styles and high-class finishes.
Redesigning your living room can be a fun endeavour, all you need is a bit of inspiration to spark your imagination. Whether you prefer a rustic, countryside ambience or perhaps a more modern feel to your home, it’s important to choose the right fabrics, colours and patterns to achieve the desired look.
November 26, 2016
There are a number of benefits associated with vehicle window tinting which include keeping out ultraviolet rays and keeping the interior cool. Many people love the enhanced privacy that comes as a result of window tinting. However, there have been countless horror stories of people who got their windows tinted only to later find out that the material used was either not good or the it was overly tinted to the point where they were fined. Below we look at a few tips which should help you get the window tinting you need without getting into trouble.
Always seek out a professional window tinting service. There are many shops that offer window tinting services but few are reputable in the sense that they will be honest about what is the darkest shade tint allowed by law in your state. Even if they know they may not tell you because they may have darker shades lying around which they figure out could be used without you knowing. This is why you should get a sample of the tint from the window tinting shop and show it to a police officer to make sure it is the right shade. Double check if the shop offers warranties in event that the tint suddenly peels off, loses its color etc.
You should know exactly what window tinting laws your state has and they should be strictly followed. Every state has slightly different laws. Also the laws for front and back tint as well as side window tints may vary. This is something you should know in advance prior to even considering a prospective tinting service.
Window tinting shouldn’t be carried out at home; it may be tempting to purchase a kit for DIY online and do the tinting yourself. That said you need the right tools and precise measurements to install a tint. DIY tints are often ones that peel off, start cracking or you see the tint bubbling. This is a waste of time and money because you’ll need to do it again after a month or so.
Never skimp on the quality of window tinting films; if there is something you should get the best of the best for it is your window. If you cannot afford the best then do go below mid-grade. You should ask the window tinting service about the qualities available and their prices. If you live in a particularly hot region you may want to spend some extra money to ensure that the tint lasts through the hot summers. Window tinting and hard water removal services can help you save lots of money on A/C usage in your car and prevent the color from fading, at the same time making your car look stylish. However, you should always be well informed prior to opting for any type of tinting.
November 16, 2016
Even though most plumbing problems are too complicated for a layman to handle on their own, calling a professional is not always an option. You see, every once in a while, an emergency arises and when that happens you need to react quickly. This means that you’ll have only tools that are in your household at your disposal, along with those skills that you personally possess. With this in mind, here are few plumbing emergencies you should always be prepared for.
To start off with a light-weight emergency, a clogged toilet is something that can happen to anyone. Now, sometimes, the issue will be a bit more complicated but in 9 out of 10 situations a simple plunger will do the trick. This tool costs next to nothing and operates on a simple pressure-and-suction principle. Needless to say, plungers are by far most effective in water because unlike air it doesn’t compress. Finally, toilet is not the only place that plunger can be used at, since you can also use it to unclog a sink or tub. For hygiene’s sake though, it would be smart to have at least two of them in your household.
Knowing the Whereabouts of Shut Off Valves
Another thing you need to know is the location of your shut off valves. In some situations, the damage has already been done and now it’s only about localizing the damage. This means turning off valves and placing rags and towels as barriers between the flooded area and the rest of your home. Turning the valve counter-clockwise will shut the water off in that entire section of your home, which may potentially even prevent pipes from bursting. According to people behind Your Choice Plumbers, even if you don’t have any plumbing experience, shutting off valves can at least buy you some time to call a professional.
Water Heater Hazards
While most plumbing emergencies are mainly clogging or leak hazards, when it comes to the water heater things are much more serious. Why? Well because this device uses both water and electricity in order to operate. For this reason, you need to know a safety procedure for turning off a hot water heater. The first step is shutting down its power and tagging the breaker (just to be sure). Next, you need to cool down the water and shut off the cold water supply and finally let all the hot water out. Naturally, different types of heaters require different approach, but seeing how they usually come with a manual, this shouldn’t be an issue.
You Don’t Always Need a Plumber
What this means is that just because your issue looks like a plumbing problem, doesn’t necessarily make it one. For example, some water heaters operate on gas and plumbers don’t usually deal with gas leaks. In order to recognize a plumbing problem, you need to know the symptoms and some of the most common are low water pressure, slow drains, noises or over-the-top water usage. For any of these, feel free to contact the plumber of your choice, since these particular problems may be too complicated for an average DIY repairman.
While it would be ideal to have every plumbing issue fixed by a plumber, sometimes you will need an immediate (temporary) solution. When this moment comes, it’s vital that you are well prepared. Look up some tutorial videos, get some basic plumbing gear and even ask a commercial plumber for an advice. If the problems in your household become a recurring issue, you may want to consider reworking your entire plumbing system. Sure, to some, this may seem extreme, but in the long run, it saves both your money and your nerves.
October 30, 2016
Congrats on getting your first apartment! But in order for your happiness to be complete, you need to equip it according to your particular tastes. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the process and prepare everything for your comfortable living. Let’s see what some of the essentials are for making your apartment a true home.
Even though this area of your apartment might seem unimportant at first, entryway actually provides you with that initial sense of warmth and coziness once you get home, which is all the more reason for dedicating it some of your time. Start with rugs – welcome one for the outside and another small one for the inside. Then you can look at your best options regarding storage. You definitely need something to place your shoes in and hang outerwear, and there are truly many different possibilities on the market, so make sure to have a clear idea of what you want your hallway to look like before purchasing any furniture. Of course, keep in mind the size of the hallway, too. If you want to save some money on this area, remember that you don’t need to get specific furniture for hallway. Even small tables and old cabinets can serve the purpose.
Now is time for some serious layout contemplation. Again, you need to assess the size of the room as well as think of a perfect furniture layout in order to get the best possible furniture for your needs. Basically, you need a sofa, chairs or armchairs and a coffee table. These are the basics. Then you can go about other bits and pieces such as adequate shelves for books and TV. Decoration comes last. Once you have the layout worked out and ready, it’s time to bring in some personality with photographs, paintings, curtains, rugs, cushions and even lamps.
Of course, bed is the first thing you need to think about when it comes to bedroom. If you don’t have a separate room for wardrobe then you need to get some dressers as well. Don’t forget about the mirror, too! You can save space by installing the mirror on a dresser door. Depending on the space you have, you can decide whether you want and need night stands and other cabinets. Other pieces include bed covers, pillows and all other bed necessities, rugs, curtains, lamps, alarm clock, etc. Some people use an area of their bedroom for computer work and fun, so if you fall into this category, you’ll also need a desk and a chair.
Kitchen and dining room
It might seem like the kitchen and dining room are the easiest parts of new apartments to furnish, but this is not really the case, simply because these areas require the biggest number of items. You probably have all the kitchen elements preinstalled, but do you also have a stove, fridge and dishwasher? Also, don’t forget about the dining table and chairs. But that was the easy part. Once you’re done with bigger stuff, it’s time to get enough of dishes such as plates, pots, cups, glasses, etc. as well as all other cooking utensils and cutlery. Moreover, don’t forget what smaller appliances you need in your everyday life such as a microwave, blender, toaster, coffee maker and similar. Food, spices, drinks also need to be taken care of as well as dish towels, sponges and soap, then paper rolls, aluminum foil, parchment paper and similar as well as a trash can.
After kitchen and dining room essentials, you can relax a little, because equipping your bathroom is not that hard, and it can be a lot of fun. Shower curtains, bath mats, toilet paper and plunger, towels and a toothbrush are a must, but then you can enjoy yourself while getting all your toiletries in check.
Apart from all the essentials for each room, don’t forget to buy all the necessary cleaning agents and mops as well as some tools for your emergency kit. It might take you some time, but as you finish each task you’ll only feel better and happier with yourself. Gradually completing the steps will lead you to your perfectly comfortable first apartment that you’ll be proud to call your home.
October 29, 2016
There’s something philosophical and also mythical about the concepts of light and darkness. From ancient times, dark colours were associated with evil forces, while light always represented calm, serenity and peace. The everlasting battle between black and white can be found even in interior design, where many people tend to avoid gloomy, sombre spaces and rely on bright, vivid colours for their living spaces. Of course, there are many benefits of bright living areas; not only do they exude with warmth and hospitality but they’re also more pleasant, healthier and comfortable. That being said, shedding some light into your home can be an easy undertaking, you only need a few ideas to inspire you.
Paint It White
While Mick Jagger might condemn us for saying this, but painting it black is no longer an option. One of the simplest and yet most effective ways to shine some light into your living space is to repaint your walls in white. The colour white doesn’t necessarily have to find its purpose solely on the walls; consider painting your staircase and furniture, as well as adding some white-coloured decorative pieces to achieve a complete beach house vibe. This simple, sleek and elegant design will give your house an airy and light sensation without going through much hassle.
Consider The Layout
Another great way to make your home brighter is to give light an opportunity to spread across the living area. This means that you should invest a fair amount of time designing the perfect layout plan, so you’d be able to create a spacious surroundings full of natural light. The best way to do this is to opt for an open house plan, preferably with an additional opening to the backyard. It’s also a good idea to opt for low furniture pieces, as they’ll give an impression of a much broader space, as well as to consider implementing a minimalistic design into your living space, whose sole absence of clutter and unnecessary objects is going to keep your home open to the atmosphere around it.
Add More Glass
Opening your home to light can easily be managed by installing more windows in the living space and replacing traditional wooden doors with glass ones. While the idea of living in a glasshouse might be a bit unsettling, there are countless of ways to add glass features into your home, without sacrificing your safety. For instance, skylights and tubular light tunnels have become increasingly popular over the course of years and not only do they provide an excellent source of light, they’re also known to be quite stylish as well. Ceiling to floor windows are another wonderful option, but if you’re feeling bold, you can always opt for a glass roof.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
If you’re looking for quick solutions to open your home to light, you can always rely on the good old trick of using mirrors. Strategically placing mirrors around the room will help reflect the lighting and create an illusion of a much wider space. Of course, you can also try to add or change some accessories in the room to give it a brighter feel. Professionals from Beyond a Word Art recommend using dark-coloured art pieces to create contrast in the room so the rest of the space would appear even brighter and more alive. It’s an easy trick, but it does wonders.
Before you condemn yourself to living in a dreary, bleak house, consider a few easy tips and tricks to bring your living space back to life. Brightening up your house doesn’t necessarily have to be demanding or tedious and can greatly improve the quality of your lifestyle.
October 13, 2016
As a business in the process of gathering plant machinery, you may find yourself overrun with options. Buying or renting? New or used? Which model is right for you? So many questions and so many choices. This is why it’s important to suss out what your business needs before you even start looking. To make things a bit easier, here’s a list of reasons as to why buying used plant machinery might just be the best option for you.
Of course, the first and most obvious reason is the price. The cost of used plant machinery is always going to be cheaper than its brand new equivalent, meaning you’ll be able to get more for your money. This is especially good for small businesses – although even those with a bigger budget won’t say no to saving a bit of money, we’re sure. If you buy new it’ll be more expensive, so you may have to compromise on what you get, such as an older model or a lesser known manufacturer.
It’s Yours Forever
Although renting can be great, if you know you’re going to be doing a lot of similar jobs needing the same machinery, outright buying might just be the better option. You’ll pay once for a machine, rather than watching the rental costs stack up, and may even save money in the long term. There’s also something nice about knowing your businesses’ equipment is solely yours, isn’t there?
Make Money Back
Once you own your machinery, you can do whatever you want with it. This could mean using it to bring in more money by hiring it out when it’s not in use. After a while, the machinery may have paid for itself! You can also offer a permanent list of services rather than one-offs as you’ll always have the correct equipment. This can direct what your business specialises in and help your company to build up a reputable name.
Tried and Tested
If you’re buying used equipment, it’s more than likely not going to be a brand spanking new model. Although it can be tempting to want the latest thing on the market, it’s not always the most reliable option. Buying something that’s been out for a little longer means it’s been tried and tested, and you’ll be better able to find real-user reviews that have been working with the machinery over a long period of time. If there are any faults, it’s likely someone would’ve pointed them out by now.
As long as you buy your machinery from a reliable used plant equipement sales page, chances are your equipment has been well refurbished by a team of skilled experts. This means that parts may have been updated, new paintwork has been applied and it has been fully tested to work well. In some cases, used equipment is often checked more by re-sellers than new equipment out of the factory.
For many businesses, buying used plant machinery will be the best option. It means that you can outright own your equipment even if you’re on a budget, and the machinery you get will be reliable if you buy from a trusted seller. Despite what many think, you don’t always have to buy brand new to get the best equipment.
September 16, 2016
As we all know, using damaged gas appliances can be extremely dangerous – carbon monoxide poisoning is just one of many potential risks. This is the reason why we have to check all our gas units (and gas pipes) in order to be 100% sure they are safe for us and other people.
We had a big confusion about gas safety certificate in the past, because people did not know who is really responsible for inspection and how often it should be done. Fortunately, this whole procedure became clear in 1998, when it is specified that homeowners and landlords are responsible for gas safety. In the so-called Gas Safety Regulations it is also specified that the certification process must be repeated every 12 months and that it must be conducted by registered engineer.
The most important thing we have to understand here is that this procedure is not something that should depend on our mood or judgement. No, it is a legal obligation that must be done according to strict procedures.
Here are a few situation when checking gas appliances must be done before 12 month period:
If you notice that something is wrong with your gas units or you just think they do not work properly, you should call an engineer right away.
If you notice strange flame. As you know, blue flame is a sign that your appliance works good. On the other hand, yellow flame almost always means that something is wrong with your appliance or gas installation
Strange odor in your apartment could be a sign of gas leaking
Call an engineer if you notice increased condensation somewhere in your house.
Of course, all above is related to legal obligations and what we must do if we want to avoid legal consequences. But there are things that go beyond any law and things that people should do because they want, not because someone ordered them to do so. Taking care about safety is one of these things.
So, despite the paragraphs specified in the Gas Safety Regulations, there are things we can do on our own to increase safety of our gas appliances even more.
First of all, there is no need to wait 12 months to check your gas installation. You can do it by yourself or by your tenants. If there are any problems like mentioned above, call an engineer right away.
Installation of the Carbon Monoxide alarm is always recommended. However, do not forget standard gas landlord safety procedure.
August 13, 2016
Property ownership and management is a business, thus, losing tenants, as clients can directly affect your ultimate success. According to JLL’s “The Costs of Losing a Tenant”, it can take up to two years for a landlord to regain lost income if even a single tenant is to leave a property. Of course, as a property owner, it is crucial to maintain a healthy portfolio of consistent, long-term tenants. But how do you improve your efficiency, record keeping and boost your tenant satisfaction rates, while working on a budget. Today, everything is available to professionals at the touch of a fingertip, and why should a property owner struggle to keep up with his responsibilities without the proper tools.
For today’s homeowner, a useful, well-designed app can be as essential as a hammer and a box of nails. Let’s say that you are planning to redesign your property, it is not enough to have a vague idea of how you want everything to look. You need specific examples to crystallize your plans. The Home Design app lets you create 2D floorplan of your property, select the doors, windows and furniture from a directory. After you are done with it, you can use a 3D mock-up of your house to start moving things around, until you come up with a perfect arrangement.
Priority Matrix is an award-winning and highly efficient task management application. While the designers never had homeowners in mind when they created Priority Matric, many homeowners have attested to the fact that they found it very useful to perform basic household tasks on time. Seeing just how many responsibilities an average landlord has on a daily basis, if you are a person that often forgets about urgent tasks around the house, you should definitely use this app.
This iOS app assists a homeowner to keep his or her property clean and neat at all times. It also helps you do your home tasks by providing you with a set of simple instructions. Furthermore, it allows you to set a schedule for your property maintenance regimes; furthermore, the app alerts you to make sure that you stick to the schedule. No matter if it’s home décor or cleaning guide BrightNest provides its users all the information they need regarding their home.
Let’s face it – things can always go wrong and disasters happen all the time, and when something does happen, it is great to have this app in your smartphone. My home Scr.App.book lets the user take pictures of his or her home, place bar codes on their possessions and sort them based on which they are in. This app is great to have if you want to determine how much insurance you are going to file claim fore, in case of a peril.
Retaining those tenants should be your number one priority, because they don’t have to comb different neighborhoods looking for “for rent” signs in order to find another place to stay. The internet has revolutionized the real estate environment with powerful search engines that can filter housing options in dozens of ways, in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, apps like Rental Rewards that allow users to automate the rent paying process are beneficial for both the owners and the tenants.
According to a survey conducted by Kingsley Associates, the likelihood of lease renewal is in fact tripled, when tenants are sufficiently satisfied with management. What’s more, the survey revealed that the relationship between a tenant and the proprietor is directly linked to overall satisfaction. The more a tenant feels a positive connection to the landlord, the more likely he or she is to vacate. Therefore, a landlord has to focus on maintaining a positive, attentive relationship with those who currently reside in his property.