Archive for October, 2009

Pedestal Sinks Slim Down Your Bathroom

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Small guest bathrooms are a favorite location for pedestal sinks. The narrow silhouette of this sink style offers additional room to maneuver in cramped spaces. However, this type of fixture has no under-sink cabinets. A wall mounted medicine cabinet isn’t large enough to hold towels and extra toilet paper, so you will need to create storage space. Over commode shelving is the perfect complement for a pedestal sink. It makes use of an area in the bathroom that is usually left blank or fitted with a single towel rack.

Remodeling Considerations

It is possible to install a pedestal sink yourself. However, hiring a professional is by far the easiest approach. The interior of the column doesn’t offer much space to work when you are trying to run the pipes through it.

The sink is not fully supported by the pedestal – it also bolts into the wall for greater stability. If the studs aren’t at the correct distance, install an additional cross piece in the wall for support. This will require cutting into the drywall, so watch out for wires and water lines.

Decide which is more important to you from an aesthetic standpoint: the sink – or the faucets. Do you have your heart set on a particular 3 piece faucet set? If so, you will need to buy a sink that has three holes correctly spaced to accommodate the faucet style you selected.

When you replace your existing wall mounted or cabinet sink with a pedestal sink, you will have to refinish the wall to cover up the outline left by the old unit. This is a good time to put in new wallpaper or apply a different paint color.

Fancy Options

Pedestal sinks may be small, but they can be an elegant accent for any bathroom if you pick the right materials. Instead of plain porcelain, try concrete art pieces or contemporary glass for a touch of class.

Wainscoting – Adding style to any room

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Wainscoting. I picture something in a home out of the 1700s, say, Ben Franklin’s era. Would this work in my home?  Wainscoting (often mispronounced Wains-coating) is a facing or paneling, usually of wood, applied to the walls of a room.

The lower part of an interior wall, finished in a material different from that of the upper part. This is topped with a chair rail. It looks smart, and Wainscoting can add style to any room in your home.. Selecting the style, design and materials can be dizzying. There are so many options.

Choices range from simply cutting wall panel to the height specifications with a chair rail along the top, to fancier, pre-cut  hardwoods or the very durable, maintenance-free synthetic materials.

If you plan to DIY, you will need these tools:
combination square, level, tape measure, clamps, utility knife,  chop saw, hammer,  radial arm saw,  circular  or table  saw. Or use a coping saw, hand saw and miter box.

You’ll also want to have dividers, a cordless drill–driver, pneumatic nailer and jig-saw. There’s more: wood glue, construction adhesive, 8d and 4d finish nails, wood shims and wood filler Better to have these tools at the ready, rather than making extra runs to the hardware store during the project.

Sounds like a real chore, doesn’t it? Fear not! Variations on this process: paint the lower portion of the wall, instead of installing wood panels. Sponge painting that portion of the wall, with a chair rail dividing that and the upper wall, is a unique effect.

Otherwise, spend a Saturday afternoon selecting wallpaper, rather than paint. Line the lower wall with your choice of wallpaper. You may want to paint the chair rail to match one of the colors in the wallpaper.

Bay Windows – Create An Indoor Getaway

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

A bay window with a window seat is a lovely alternative to an outdoor bench. Bay (or bow) windows curve outward and generally feature multiple panes that overlook your back yard. This makes a great lookout for parents who need to keep an eye on their kids playing outside. You can also use this as a bird watching station or a place to soak up some warm sunlight and read a book without battling mosquitoes.

4 essentials you will need to create the perfect bay window seat:

Sheer Curtains – This isn’t the place for louvered blinds. You need to be able to sweep your window treatment to the side so you have a clear, unobstructed view. For a romantic effect, use ribbon tie backs.

Sturdy Seating – Have this installed by a professional or get a kit to DIY. Don’t try to create a window seat from scratch unless you have fairly advanced carpentry skills. Otherwise, it may collapse at an inopportune moment. Add cushions for greater comfort.

Shelves – You need a place to set your coffee cup and plenty of room for your favorite books. Make these shelves the same height as the seat to keep the nook from feeling cramped. Choose wood with a light finish or paint your shelves to offer a bright contrast to the walls as an accent.

Squeegee – Nothing ruins your view more quickly than smudges and grimy handprints. If your bay window goes from floor to ceiling, invest in a long handled squeegee to keep it sparkling.

Gutter Maintenance Tips

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Gutter maintenance is not a favorite household task for many homeowners – especially those who have a fear of heights. However, learning to inspect and clean your gutters now can save you plenty of money down the road. How? Clogged gutters allow water to spill over the edges and pool near the foundation of your home.

Soaker hoses that keep the soil around your foundation from drying out are a good thing. A flood of water that turns the entire area into mud can be very bad. Unstable soil conditions may cause your foundation to shift – repairs can cost thousands of dollars. To avoid this, follow these simple steps:

  • Trim your trees so that the branches end 3 feet from the edge of your roof. This will limit the amount of leaf and twig debris that falls into your gutters.
  • Put on your rain coat and do a full inspection of your gutters during your next heavy rain storm. Note areas where water is running over the sides instead of down the spouts. These are indications of clogging. Also, look for seams that are not properly sealed. These will be dripping.
  • Set up your ladder and test it for stability before climbing up to look in your gutters. Have a friend or family member standing by just in case you fall. Only climb up far enough to peek over the edge of the gutter.
  • Some home maintenance specialists recommend using a hose with a spray nozzle to wash clogged material out. Others say this can cause leaves and twigs to lodge in the drain pipes where they will be difficult to remove. Try to scoop out most of the debris by hand and then rinse the rest of it out with the hose.
  • Use gutter caulk to fix any seams that need sealing. For more complex repairs or if you aren’t sure how to do this, call a handyman. The cost of repairing (or even replacing) your gutters is not high if you shop around.

Recycled Glass Adds Sparkle to Kitchen Countertops

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Are you redoing your kitchen countertops or a center island? Now you have a new, high end option that rivals granite and marble in beauty and durability. Recycled glass bound in a cement matrix offers unrivaled versatility. Select a crystal flecked material that catches the light for understated elegance. Or, choose an artistic mix of colored glass made from crushed bottles and porcelain – even old traffic light lenses.

Installation and Care

Recycled glass kitchen countertops are installed in the same way as marble and granite. In other words – a professional needs to be involved. The only exception is if you purchase recycled glass tiles. These tiny tiles are often used as decorative accents in ceramic tile countertops.

Most recycled glass slabs must be sealed regularly. However, they don’t require quite as much maintenance as marble. The sealant may not be heat resistant, so don’t place hot pans directly on the countertop. The glass can be wiped down with a damp cloth or cleaned with a gentle detergent.

Eco-Friendly Benefits

Unlike stone kitchen countertops, this material isn’t quarried from the ground. This means production requires less energy and doesn’t tend to degrade the environment. Recycled glass makes up 75-85% of the finished product. Some manufacturers use renewable, corn-based substances for the resin binding mix. Brands such as IceStone and ECO by Cosentino have achieved varying levels of eco-friendly recognition with “cradle to cradle” certification.