Archive for October, 2010

Bathroom Ceiling Textures

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

bathroom-ceilingThe existing look and feel of ceiling textures in your bathrooms was probably determined at the time your house was built. Different builders tend to create their own unique patterns based on their preferred technique. The end result depends on what kind of trowel is used to spread the “mud” and exactly how it is applied. Some contractors use a spray gun for quick applications such as a popcorn style ceiling. Others create a combed look by swirling motions with a special comb style trowel. Textures can also be “painted” on to the ceiling with a roller.

When you are doing repairs, you want to try to match the texture that is already present. However, it may be simpler to start over. If you are removing an old ceiling texture to make way for a new look, be aware that popcorn coatings installed before the early 1980’s sometimes contained asbestos. A licensed professional may be needed to remove this material for safety reasons.

Tips for Ceiling Refinishing

Bathrooms are humid environments. The drywall joint compounds and mud that you use to create the ceiling and wall textures should have some sort of fungicide mixed in to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Also, the paint covering the ceilings should be safe for use in wet areas. This is especially true near any shower. A semi-gloss paint is usually a good choice.

Mud comes premixed and should be very wet when purchased so that it can be easily manipulated. If you must add water, make sure you know exactly what you are doing. Any inconsistency will cause cracks during the drying phase. Work fast and spread the material thin. This will help ensure a consistent layer over the entire drywall

Replacing Bathroom Drains

Friday, October 29th, 2010

drainAre you planning to replace the faucets in your bathrooms? Consider installing new drains as well. Matching the style and material of the drain to the faucet is a design detail that is often overlooked. Sometimes replacing a drain seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. That may be the case when the old drain flange or cover is corroded or damaged – making it difficult to remove with a wrench.

In such cases, you may be tempted to simply buy a plug or stopper to fit over the drain instead of replacing it altogether. This cheap fix costs only a couple of dollars and is a viable short term solution. However, with an “inside out” wrench you can usually remove any stuck parts easily making this home improvement project simpler than it first appeared. Then, a new flange and drain cover can be installed without much risk of damaging the threads on the existing drainage pipes.

If you are installing a basin or a tub, a new drain is a must. It is just a whole lot easier to work with all new parts including drain pipes, traps, and tail piece rather than trying to make the old components fit together with the new. If the drain in question is in the bath or shower, you must find a way to gain access to the pipes behind the tub. Most homes built in the last 30 years have an access panel hidden in a closet, hallway, or garage (some place that is not noticed very often). If your home doesn’t have one, it best to find a way to build an access panel so that maintenance in the future will be a whole lot easier.

Glass Block Windows For Bathrooms

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

glass-block-windowsGlass blocks are an ideal medium to create custom shaped, semi-private windows, room dividers, and walls (especially in bathrooms). A series of prefabricated glass blocks in the form of a panel can be used to replace any traditional window. Used as building blocks, these glass cubes add a nice finishing touch to modern construction. In fact, they are much more versatile than many other types of building materials.

Glass blocks refract light and obscure the view – creating plenty of privacy. At the same time, up to 80% of all light freely passes through them. This vastly reduces need for additional interior lighting during the day. They also maintain much greater security than plate glass windows.

Glass blocks are tough. They are water proof and will not easily break, chip or scratch. If damage does occur, an individual block can be readily replaced instead of the entire window. This is true even for individual blocks pre-cast in a panel. They are mortared together with a latex and acrylic mix that creates a superior water resistant seal and protects against thermal shock.

Many shapes and sizes of blocks are available. Modern styles include beveled edges that allow the construction of curved surfaces. They are available in a vast array of colors and designs. This creates an opportunity for introducing inventive architectural concepts in your bathroom.

Secure Windows For Sunrooms

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

sunroom-wallSunrooms need windows that serve two purposes. These windows should open and close easily so you can ventilate the room and keep your energy costs for heating/cooling manageable. They should also make it difficult for an intruder to get inside. This is especially important for an attached sunroom that opens into the main section of the house. With any glass walled room that isn’t regularly shielded with privacy blinds or curtains, burglars have the opportunity to see valuable items on display. They need to have a reason to believe entering will be difficult or dangerous.

Windows that are secure and difficult to break can help deter a potential burglar from making an entry attempt. All windows in the sunroom should have appropriate contacts to set off an alarm if someone tries to open them from the outside. Placing alarm monitoring company labels in highly visible spots can also be a deterrent. Installing security window with safety locks may create additional barriers to entry.

Large casement and awning windows used for sunrooms tend to be some of the most secure on the market today for a couple of reasons. Generally, they won’t open wide enough to let an adult through. The crank used to open and close casement and awning windows can act as a security device by significantly slowing a burglar down. As long as the window is in good working condition, it is next to impossible to disengage the mechanism from the outside – and it is difficult to break.

Tips For Refurbishing Kitchen Cabinets

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

refurbished-cabinetsSometimes refurbishing existing kitchen cabinets can be difficult or not worth the time and expense. This is generally the case when mold or water has caused the materials to warp or rot resulting in pervasive structural damage to the body of the cabinets. However, when you can reuse your existing cabinets, refurbishing is a very cost effective way to give them a new look. The first step is to evaluate each cabinet’s condition and functionality.

What parts need to be repaired? It may be a very simple task to fix interior shelving or replace missing screws. If damage is limited to one panel or a single drawer, it may be possible to repair the problem area with some DIY carpentry work.

How is it possible to make cabinets in kitchens look new – even if they are not? As surfaces age they often accumulate scratches, dents, and other roughed up spots. Depending on the scope of the defects, it may be a simple procedure to sand or fill them in with a little wood putty before applying a new finish.

For cabinets made of composite materials, adding a new laminate facing can cover up a multitude of surface problems. Solid wood cabinets can be sanded down (or treated with a stain stripping product) and then brightened up with a fresh coat of stain and sealant. For cabinets that have already been painted in the past, introducing a new color theme with an application of medium gloss paint is a good option.