Archive for August, 2010

Window Accessories – Shutters

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

storm-shuttersShutters are a popular accessory for windows because they can add both style and functionality to a home. They come in three major types: interior, exterior, and storm (or hurricane) shutters.


Although many models of shutters have some practical purpose, interior shutters tend to be more decorative in nature. The exception to this general rule occurs when there are deeply recessed windows. Then, anything attached to the exterior of the home would be difficult to access from the inside.

Louvers are often an integral part of the design of interior shutters. These give you the ability to adjust light levels easily and ensure privacy. Shutters also provide unique character to the home’s décor since they are a much less common accent than blinds.


Exterior shutters tend to be more practical and will usually provide a bit more seasonal protection from the elements. The additional air cavity between the shutter and the glass helps protect the window panes from ice, rain and wind. Exterior shutters can usually be easily opened or shut from inside the house.

Of course, some exterior shutters are just for show. They are simply designed to add visual interest to the outside of the home. These are permanently fixed in an open position on either side of the front windows.


Storm or hurricane shutters have very sturdy design features. They seal in the windows completely during extreme weather events. Many models can handle winds over 70 miles per hour and can withstand some debris hitting them. These are especially necessary for homes located along the coast where they are potential targets for tropical or water enhanced winter storms.

In areas in the U.S. where blizzards are common, shutters may also be used for additional insulation. Maintenance includes making sure they are in working condition and protecting them from the elements with a good coat of paint or varnish.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips: Wallpaper Trim

Friday, August 13th, 2010

wallpaper-borderFor best results, wallpaper trim used in kitchens should be located high enough that water and grease splatters will not reach it. This might be two thirds of the way up the wall in a kitchen with a vaulted ceiling, or at the very top of the wall for a standard 8 foot ceiling.

Prepare and clean the surface area. This may involve smoothing out the area where the border will be located with a sander. If you do this, take extra care to clean off any sanding residue.

Mark lines (in pencil) where the top and bottom edges of the wallpaper border will be. Don’t simply rely on measurements. These are only guides. Stand back and double check visually to make sure that the positioning is correct.

Use wide masking tape to cover the area directly above and below the border. This prevents the primer coat from messing up exposed areas of any painted wall. A latex or acrylic interior paint will usually work fine as a wallpaper primer. Brush on the primer between the taped up boundaries and let it dry overnight.

Leave the tape in place to act as guides between which you can place the strip of wallpaper trim. For best results, don’t simply rely on the coated paste that comes on the back of the trim. Use additional paste to increase adhesion. This is especially critical on any textured surface where the border will tend to separate from the wall as it dries.

If there are ripples or puffy areas in the wallpaper trim after it has dried, you can steam iron it. Set your iron on its cotton setting and place a dishcloth between the surface of the iron and the wall. Use lots of steam to soften and shrink the wallpaper border as you press it flat.

Spiff Up Your Bathroom With Sealer Trim

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

grungy-tubTub sealer trim is a good alternative to re-caulking for beginners and can be used in most standard bathrooms. It will not mildew or become grossly discolored with the passing of time. It also prevents the buildup of mold and bacteria because of a special anti-microbial compound embedded into the material. When installed properly, it can create a professional looking finish along the edges of the tub.

There are two basic widths – one for the tub/floor lining and one for tub/wall seam. Each strip is a single piece with a factory built score line that ensures a proper 90 degree fold during installation. Tub/floor trim will have one side that is wider than the other. Traditionally, the wider edge goes on the tub and the shorter edge on the floor. However, you can reverse this if you need to cover a gap between the floor tiles and the bottom of the tub.

Step by Step Instructions

Before securing the trim in place, clean up the area where it will be attached. Remove any mildewed caulk, loose grout, or debris. Wipe down the area with rubbing alcohol to make sure it is clean. Let it dry completely for a few minutes before continuing.

Measure and cut the trim to size along each adjacent wall or floor. Take one side of the bathroom trim at a time and pre-fold it along the score. Next, remove a few inches of the adhesive paper from the back. Press the trim into place with your fingers and secure it to the wall and tub edges. Continue to peel the paper backing a few inches ahead of where you are working.

The edges that meet at each corner should overlap. Although you can leave them this way, most installers prefer to cut the folded corners along a 45 degree angle (mitered) so that the two connecting sides will fit snuggly. The idea is to get a tight fit. That way, the trim will provide a lasting seal and grime won’t accumulate in the corners.

Trendy Bathtub Ideas For Your Bathroom Remodel

Friday, August 6th, 2010

slipper-tubWith many bathroom remodel projects, replacing the tub is a major decision. This item serves as the focal point for the room. Comfort and style are both important when you are selecting a new bathtub. Here are several options to consider that will make your master bath look trendy and give you a luxurious place to soak at the end of a long day:

Pedestal and clawfoot tubs are available in many stylish shapes. From the classic slipper tub to boat and bowl shaped basins, there is sure to be a model that will fit with your décor (or set the tone for a new motif). Chrome, glass, acrylics, ceramics, wood, and even concrete may be used to create a unique exterior surface texture for these bathtubs. The faucet and controls offer another set of options to play with. For example, you can have them installed as standalone pieces completely outside the tub.

A tub that is sunk into the floor can give your whole bathroom a spa-like feel. If you enjoy being able to step down into the bathtub instead of having to hike your leg over the side, this is an ideal solution. The surround can feature elegant marble, granite, tile, or wood planking.

Special Considerations

One thing to watch for here is size – some oddly shaped tubs won’t be right for your available space. However, if you really have your heart set on a particular bathtub you can always consider enlarging the master bath and blending it with the master bedroom as a single space. Specialty tubs may also require reworking of your plumbing. So, plan ahead for extra expenses in installation.

Stone Coated Metal Shingles For Roofing

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

stone-coated-metal-shinglesDo you want the strength and durability of a steel roof without the “commercial building” look? Several manufacturers offer stone coated metal roofing products that might be just what you are looking for. Steel shingles are lightweight compared to other roof materials – including asphalt shingles. They don’t require as much special care in handling as tile; many products in this category can be safely walked on during installation and maintenance.


Stone coated steel is more resistant to wind damage than most other roofing products. It is advertised as being able to withstand winds of up to 120 mph. These panels are much more fire resistant than cedar shakes (steel has a Class A rating). Plus they are not porous so you don’t have to worry about moisture damage from freezing/thawing. These features add up to a product that some manufacturers are willing to back with a 50 year warranty. From an environmental standpoint, metal roofs can be made with a significant percentage of recycled content. Then, at the end of the roof’s life, it can be recycled.


The decorative coating on these metal shingles is generally a combination of stone granules, ceramic, and polymer sealant. This highly durable surface can be provided in a very wide array of colors. The steel panels can also be molded to look like wood shakes, ceramic tiles, or traditional shingles. Each panel may be several feet square – and some models have interlocking features that further reduce the chances of leaks at the seams.