Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheap Carpet - Carpeting A Room For $20

Do you want cheap carpet that you can easily install yourself? Well, I once carpeted a large bedroom for a total cost of about $12. You read that right, and no, the carpet was not used carpet. I did it with carpet samples.

I bought them for 25 cent apiece at a closeout sale, and it took 36 squares of carpet to finish the room. The only other supplies I used were the staples, which cost about a dollar. Normally, you might pay a dollar each for squares of carpet. I found them available for half that just a few weeks ago, but in any case, this is cheap carpet.

This is an unusual style, though, and you may have to consider the resale value of your home. The bedroom I carpeted this way was in a rental mobile home, where cheap and unusual styles are the norm. Ordinarily, you will want to save this trick for areas like basements, playrooms, and maybe a children's clubhouse. Still, it doesn't look so bad - actually it looks just fine if you mix the various colored squares of carpet well.

In a children's playroom, the multi-colored floor is perfect. It is cheerful and colorful, and if a spill stains one of the carpet squares, you can easily pull it up and install a new one in its place. This is a nice advantage of carpeting a room this way.

Installing Cheap Carpet
The only things you will need to carpet a room with carpet samples or squares is a carpet knife and a staple gun. 5/8-inch staples have worked best for me. Begin at any corner. Just put the piece in place and staple it in two or three places along each side. Wiggle the stapler head down between the fibers, or between the border and the fibers, and the staples will usually be well-hidden.

When carpeting a basement floor, you can use carpet tape instead of staples. In either case, this is best done where padding isn't too important. Of course, you can use padding too, if you don't mind the complications, but without it, this is pure simplicity.

You might want to lay out the pieces first, to decide where each will go. When you come to walls, heating registers, and other obstacles, you can easily cut the pieces to fit. If you make a mistake, it cost you perhaps a dollar. Just start over with a new piece.

Before you start, estimate how many pieces you'll need, and call around to find a carpet store that has enough samples for sale. The carpet samples at different stores range in size, but are usually at least 18 by 18 inches. Using pieces that are all the same size is the easiest way to go. Even at a dollar, this makes it less than 50 cents per square foot to carpet a room. That's cheap carpet!

About the Author: Steve Gillman has worked in the carpet cleaning industry for years. For more carpeting ideas, carpet stain advice, and specific stain-by-stain removal instructions, visit ; Steven Gillman, Tucson, AZ Readmore »»

Home Lighting Design Tips And Ideas

Using the correct lighting fixtures and bulbs throughout your home is a skill that can help you enjoy the time spent at home even more. That's because home lighting can be useful for two intended purposes, the first being function, and the second being mood.

With that in mind, consider each room in your home and what it is mainly used for. What are the activities that often go on in that room? How much light will be usually needed for those activities? Are there any points of interest in the room that you would really like to draw attention to?

Asking these questions can help you lay out your home lighting design so that it fits both form and function. Most lighting fixtures that you choose for your design will most likely fall into one of three categories, general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Let's discuss each of these in greater detail.

General lighting is perhaps the kind of lighting that most people are familiar with. It's very simply the most prominent lighting source in the room, very often an overhead fixture. As its name implies, it provides a general, overall source of light for the entire room. These general type of lighting fixtures can be very simple or very ornate, but their first and foremost job is to provide sufficient lighting for the occupants of the room to be able to move around safely.

The next type of home lighting that we want to consider is called task lighting, and this is an area where many home lighting designs are found to be insufficient. The purpose of task lighting is to help illuminate a specific area for a certain kind of task that will be performed there. For instance, if there is a reading area in a room, it would be very appropriate to have either a floor lamp or a table lamp positioned very close to the seating arrangement with the correct bulb wattage to ensure that a person will be able to read comfortably not only for a few minutes, but even for a prolonged period of time.

Once again, this is where many home lighting designs fall short. Quite often, many folks expect a general lighting fixture for each room to be sufficient for the tasks that are performed there. But this is not always the case, especially with activities that call for focused reading over a period of time, or specialized tasks performed in the kitchen. So the proper use of task lighting can improve your enjoyment and effectiveness of tasks and activities performed at home.

Finally, consider also accent lighting. This kind of lighting fixture is not meant to provide illumination for activities in a specific room, as much as it is meant to focus attention on a particular feature or area of the room that you wish to highlight or set a mood for. A good example of accent lighting is when lights are focused on a painting on a wall. These lights don't really contribute that much to the overall light level of the room, but they do bring attention to the painting instead, which is what they are designed to do.

There is an almost endless array of lighting fixtures that can be used for all three kinds of lighting, whether it be general, task, or accent lighting. But try to think ahead and plan out each room in your home so that you can use each kind of lighting fixture to its maximum potential.

About the Author: Jim Johnson, More Details about discount lighting fixtures here. Jim Johnson is a successful web author who specializes in providing free consumer related buying information for the public on a wide range of products. Readmore »»

Tips On Lawn Aeration For A Beautiful Healthy Yard

One of the keys to having a healthy and lush lawn is to aerate it when needed. Sometimes what you may think are insect, under watering or fertilizer problems, are actually happening simply because you are not aerating the soil as frequently as you should.

Soil compaction is an enemy of a good healthy lawn, and it happens when the top 4 in. or so of topsoil become compacted to the point where nutrients, oxygen, and water are prevented from circulating around the grass roots properly. When you aerate the soil, you essentially are loosening it up to allow room for nutrients and air to circulate down into the soil. Soil compaction often becomes a problem in high-traffic areas where people and pets seem to frequent, rather than less traveled areas of the lawn.

A very cheap and inexpensive way to find out if your soil is to compacted and therefore in need of aeration, is to take a simple screwdriver out to your lawn after it has been watered and try to push the screwdriver down into the soil. If the screwdriver goes into the soil with almost no resistance at all, then there is no compaction problem that you need to be concerned about. But on the other hand, if you find it's difficult to get the screwdriver into the soil, then you'll need to aerate your soil as quickly as possible.

The really good news about lawn aeration is that for most yards it's a very inexpensive thing to do. In fact, if your yard is small to medium sized, and especially if the compaction is limited to just a small section of the yard, you can even use something as simple as a spading fork to aerate your soil in those areas. All you have to do is push the tines of the fork into the soil as far as you can and then rock them back and forth. Do this throughout the area that has the compaction problem.

Another very inexpensive solution is to purchase a sod coring tool that actually removes small cores of soil and deposits them on the lawn. These plugs that are left behind contain microorganisms from deep in the ground that can even help decompose the thatch that may have developed in your lawn. So using a coring tool can be beneficial in a number of ways for your yard.

If you have a larger yard, the two methods mentioned above may simply require too much labor to perform. So the best solution in this case would be a power driven core aerater that can be rented usually at a tool rental or local garden store. This machine essentially does exactly what a sod coring tool does, except it automates the process. It also will leave the core plugs on your lawn, which as was mentioned can be very beneficial in themselves, or you can also rake them up and remove them if you wish.

When aerating your lawn, its good too go in one direction first, and then go over the entire lawn in a different direction, perpendicular to what you had just done. If you use this method to go over the entire lawn at least twice you should get great results from your aerating.

If there are spots in your yard where the grass is sparse, you can also combine seeding and aerating at the same time. In this case, you'll need to go over the lawn perhaps six or seven times to make plenty of holes for the seed. But don't apply the seed right away. Wait for about a month or so to let the yard heal after the aeration first.

Lawn aeration is a very important, but often overlooked part of good lawn care. But if you follow the guidelines given above you should be able to have a beautiful, healthy, green lawn in no time.

About the Author: Jim Johnson, More Details about lawn tractor reviews here. Jim Johnson is a successful web author who specializes in providing free consumer related buying information for the public on a wide range of products. Readmore »»

Stylish Venetian Blinds

Most of us are familiar with Venetian blinds, those difficult to clean, laterally slatted strips of plastic with their annoying dangling cords that constantly seem to be caught up in a tangle. There is nothing that makes a room look messier than venetian blinds that are hanging in a crooked or haphazard manner. Thankfully, venetian blind manufacturers are making this type of window shade more functional, more attractive and easier to clean.

The key to using Venetian blinds successfully as a window covering is to make sure they are hung properly. If they are crooked then the strings will not act as properly as pulleys and create an askew effect. No matter how stylish your venetian blinds are they are not beautiful if they don't work.

In interior design, the old-fashioned plastic slatted Venetian blinds are out of style unless you are going for a decidedly retro look. However even if you are going for a retro look then you are much better off to choose Venetian blinds that are made out of anodized aluminum or painted silver. These tend to harbor less dirt and dust and just look right with some of the more popular 60's and 70's retro room designs.

Manufacturers are now creating venetian blinds in all kinds of interesting colors and textures by painting, coating or anodizing the slats. The most boring Venetian blinds that you could buy would be the nineties all black kind with narrow slats or the industrial looking cream colored ones that have decorated every institutional window treatment for over a century.

Some of the newer neon colors look good with retro sixties and seventies designs, as do metallic bronze, silver or gold blinds. Instead of white or black blinds for an all wood office you can now have rich looking blinds that are textured like leather and come in dark shades of olive, burgundy or brown. Spare industrial spaces, particularly offices also look more sleek and modern with venetian blinds in colors such as cherry red or celadon.

If your room looks dated or out of style then the culprit might very well be your window treatment. One of the most unfashionable looks is that throwback to the nineties - vertical Venetian blinds. They almost always come in one color and they have a way of institutionalizing your home or apartment. Unfortunately many of these floor to ceiling vertical Venetian blinds are difficult to replace with more fashionable blinds with horizontal slats. In this case you might consider concealing them with drapes or sheers when they are not being used to filter light.

Mini-blinds are also very eighties and not really in style although admittedly they do have some functionality when used to cover small or box shaped windows that are commonly found in bathrooms. Nowadays you can mitigate the old-fashioned look of the mini blinds by buying ones in a vibrant color.

To make a truly unique fashion statement you might also consider buying hand painted Venetian blinds. These blinds reveal an image when they are shut. Sometimes you can find these in the Chinatown area of your city or at specialty interior design outlets. Often the themes on these plastic slatted blinds are Asian in flair making them ideal for room with an Oriental or bohemian design scheme.

About the Author: Rene Knops, More Details about venetian blinds here. RenĂ© Knops writes articles on a number of different topics. For more information on Curtains and Window Blinds please visit Choosing and for additional articles on window treatment ideas Window Blind Articles. Readmore »»

Water Heaters - Which One For You

Well what can I write about water heaters. Well they heat water. Sorry, a bit of a Homer Simpson type answer about them but it shows you how interesting water heaters can be.

They are not really something you can get too exited about but they are something we cannot easily do without. We all want hot water. We need it to wash and bathe in and we need it to clean with. Some of us want to use it to warm our pools up, wash our cars, heat our homes or sit in our hot tubs but at the end of the day we all want hot water and the only easy way to get it is to use a water heater.

So thinking about it then, what types of water heater are there? Well there are four main types but most of us will only need to use one. I have three but I tend to use only one at a time, two at the most.

Solar water heaters. These types of water heaters rely on the power of the sun to heat your water. How efficient they are depends on the amount of sunlight they get so this usually depends on where you live. The more sunlight the better and the more intense the sunlight the better and if the climate is hot in the first place then the water is sort of pre heated to ambient temperature before the action of the sun. They are a good source of some hot water but are not really good enough to be classed as your main water heater so you will need a conventional water heater as a backup. Solar water heaters can also be used to help warm the water in your pool and for this they can be very efficient but again they rely on sunlight to provide a high enough water temperature. I have one of these and I am very impressed about how good it is as a water heater for my pool. It wasn’t cheap though.

Stove powered hot water. Using your stove to heat your water is the oldest method around. It has been around for a long time, (if you think about heating water in an iron or clay pot), but these days many of us have water jackets built into our stoves. I have a wood-burning stove so in effect my hot water is free as my stove is often on. It is efficient as a water heater and does the job pretty well. I do not have any grumbles about it and I am also one of these people who care about the environment enough to plant trees on my land to offset the carbon cycle when I burn timber.

Electric water heaters. This is the third type of water heater I have but it is my backup as it is relatively expensive to run but it is useful as within 15 minutes I can have hot water to use for a shower when returning from a vacation and the heating has been off. It is there as a standby for me but is very easy to use as I just switch it on and before long I have hot water. For many people who do not have a stove or fire type water heater this is one of the few choices you have and in this case they are very good. My first house had two sources of hot water. One was an electric powered shower and the other was the electric water heater which heated water in the hot tank. I had nothing else and it worked, but I found it much more expensive than using my wood stove or using solar energy.

The final type of water heater is a gas heater. These tend to heat both your hot water and provide heating for your house as well. Not all areas have a supply to gas although some people can also use a supply of bottled gas but this tends to be much more expensive than a piped supply. Gas heaters operate much faster than an electric water heater and they tend to be much cheaper to operate than electric if it is a piped supply so if you are looking to choose between the two then this may be your best choice.

Whichever system you decide to install, do your research first and work out which is the cheapest to operate. You will also need to look at the costs of the water heaters and the water heating systems you install and work out what is best for you.

About the Author: Ric Wiley is an established writer and Internet author. His latest advice site about Water Heaters can be found at Readmore »»

Bath Tile Designs That Transform A Bathroom

Bath tile designs can be created by you or purchased by you. There are many ways that they can help to add a bit of charm to any boring, old bathroom. Those that are looking for a way to transform their bathroom into something that is a bit more interesting can do so with the help of these designs. The goal here is not to worry about not having enough creative abilities or not being able to do the work. The goal is to create a design that is truly fitting of the look you are after.

First, Select A Pattern
The first thing that you need to do is to select a decorative bath tile design that you enjoy. This can be virtually anything that you like so long as it provides a pattern that is interesting. If your bathroom already has design features in it, try to pick up on any type of design pattern that may already be there. This will allow you to have a more in depth look to your tile that matches the room perfectly.

To find a few designs that you like, take a quick look around the web. Even if you are not creative, you can find them already done for you offered throughout the web. A bit of investment in time here really can transform a bathroom tile design.

Now that you have the design that you like, you will want to make sure that you can duplicate it. A short trip to the tile distributor will tell you this. Look for the patterns that are interesting and the colors that work with your bathroom. Make sure to take measurements with you so that you can determine the amount of tile needed for the design since there are many sizes available.

Worried About Doing The Work?
To help you to do your tile design accurately, make sure to make a grid on the wall that is measured out. This way, you can mark the grid with the colors that the tiles should be to help you to see what is happening and get the design moving right.

Experiment with various colors, textures and sizes. Look for something unusual or interesting. Make sure that you take your time with this project as it can really turn into a wonderful investment in your home if you do so. Most importantly, do not be afraid to get the job done with a little help from a professional if needed.

About the Author: Adam Peters contributes adding content continuously to, a free online magazine for interior design and decorating ideas, where you can find further information on bath tiles among many other complements to your home. Readmore »»

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Repairing Scratches in Hardwood Floors

Repairing scratches in hardwood floors are easier than you may be thinking. Depending on how many scratches there are, sometimes a simple repair kit will make the necessary fix in short time. If the damage is noticeably bad throughout the room, you may have to sand the floors.
Scratches can originate from a variety of items; shoes, moving furniture, dropped items, and other accidents. Many people feel scratches and dings add character to their hardwood floors. One of the main reasons for scratches in hardwood floors comes from moving heavy furniture, with no pads underneath the legs to protect the floor. Even animals with nails can leave their marks.

You should take some preventative steps to prevent yourself from creating the task of repairing scratches in hardwood floors. For example:
  • You should consider soft paw caps for dogs or declawing your cats, which will make sure their nails wouldn’t scratch the floor.
  • Either purchase pads that stick to the bottom of furniture or consider hiring a professional mover to carefully move your furniture.

Thanks to the ever-growing advancements in repairing scratches in hardwood floors you now have better options. A repair kit can help in fixing minor scratches. Repair kits come with different applications for any color of wood flooring from the lightest to the darkest and are generally easy to apply. Complete instructions come with the kit.

If there are multiple scratches, you may need to sand and completely refinish your floors. Repairing scratches in hardwood flooring using this method can be quite labor and time intensive. Sanders can be rented to remove the old finish. Next, you would have to thoroughly clean the floor before you re-apply finish. This is a very important step, as the application of the finish over a dust-laden floor can result in poor quality results.

Once you are ready to apply the finish, be sure to follow the specific directions for the product you’ve chosen. Most will require multiple applications to ensure a good long-lasting finish.
Repairing scratches in hardwood floors when the entire floor must be refinished can be quite a task for a do-it-yourself project. There are many professional refinishers available. As with any home improvement project, if you choose to hire a professional, get more than one quote and compare services of each company carefully.

Wood floors are a beautiful asset to any home. Taking these few steps to bring the old floors back to life will be very well worth it. After all, hardwood floors can last as long as the home if they are properly maintained.

About the Author: This article was written by Gregg Hicks of which provides Internet-based home improvement information and services. Offering homeowners a simple, quick, and free way to access, qualified home improvement remodeling contractors. Readmore »»

Vinyl Siding - Adding Value to Your Home

Many homeowners today want to increase the value of their home. When you want to sell your home, the first things that you think of are remodeling the inside and replacing the carpet. However, have you thought about adding vinyl siding to the outside of your home?

Vinyl siding seals homes against water damage while making the house look great. Vinyl siding is also easy to clean with a pressure washer. Vinyl siding costs depends on the color and style that you pick. There are many colors to choose from and they will raise the value of your home.

There are blues, creams, browns, and reds. Each color will add to the value of your home, however, choosing light colors that appeal to more will help sell your home. A darker vinyl siding color will make the house look small and unwelcoming, whereas warmer, brighter colors will make your house look larger and more welcoming.

No matter how small your house may look, using a bright color will help to make it look bigger. The most popular vinyl siding colors are the light browns and creams. These colors seem to be the ones that are making houses with vinyl siding more popular to buy. Another thing besides color is the vinyl siding cost. Costs for vinyl siding can vary depending on the brand, style, and color of the siding that is chosen.

The most expensive form of vinyl siding these days is the new vertical siding. Vertical vinyl siding, just like horizontal siding, will help keep the home safe from water damage. Vertical siding is also easier to clean. This is what makes it so special and somewhat more expensive. Vinyl siding, in itself, is easy to clean and maintain. A simple spray down with a pressure washer, or a quick wash and rinse with soap and a hose will help to keep the vinyl siding looking clean and new. The nicer the siding looks and the newer it is, the more value your home will have.

Remember to compare vinyl siding costs before you choose your color and style, and remember that vinyl siding doesn’t just add value to your home, it will make your home look and feel new again.

About the Author: Mark Kessler - his website Vinyl Siding 411 is a comprehensive resource for Vinyl Siding information, providing links for vinyl siding colors, installing vinyl siding, vinyl siding cost, liquid vinyl siding, vinyl siding paint, how to install vinyl siding, installation contractors. Readmore »»

Installing Laminate Flooring – Tips To Make Installation Easier

Installing laminate flooring is something that you can easily do yourself. Why pay professionals to do it when the instructions for how to install it are printed right on the package. In addition, all the manufacturers of laminate flooring have the directions for installing the flooring available on their websites. There are some differences in how to install laminate floors and installing hardwood floors, but you can use the same tools for both. The first step in installing laminate flooring is to calculate the size of the room and purchase the flooring of your choice.

When installing hardwood flooring, you have to leave the hardwood open for a time so that it can become acclimatized to your home. This is not the case when installing laminate flooring. When reading the directions as to how to install laminate flooring, you will learn that you have to install it as soon as you open the package. You also have to check all the planks before you install them to ensure that none of them are defective. You will get a refund for any defective planks, but not if you have already installed them. If you have difficulty getting the laminate planks to fit together, you should not put them together and take them apart more than three times. This could damage the laminate flooring and mar the effect when you have it completed.

If you are installing laminate flooring in your kitchen, you should have the cabinets in place beforehand. This is not the case when installing hardwood flooring, but you have to remember that the hardwood is solid wood, whereas laminate flooring is made from engineered wood. It does not have the same level of hardness. This means that you will have to learn how to install laminate flooring around the cabinets. This is also why you need to have a saw to cut the planks when you need smaller sizes and pieces to fit around the cabinets.

When installing laminate flooring in the laundry room, you should make sure that you have rubber pads underneath the washer and dryer. This is to make sure that these appliances are level so that they won’t damage your flooring. Although most people do not have laminate flooring in the laundry room, there is no reason why you can’t use this room of the house to learn how to install laminate flooring. You can even practice installing hardwood flooring on this small area before you tackle more visible rooms of the house.

You might be in need of a few tips for installing laminate flooring if you are just learning how to install laminate flooring. If you have to place the laminate flooring around pipes, one tip is to drill a hole in the plank about ¾ to ½ inch larger than the circumference of the pipe. Then cut the plank through the center of the hole and fit the two pieces of laminate flooring together around the pipe and glue them together. When installing laminate flooring, the flooring should extend under the doorframe. If you use a piece of scrap that you have left over, you can use this as a marker for the depth that you need to trim the doorframe.

About the Author: Peter Leigh. To find out more about Wood Flooring visit Peter's Website Wood Flooring Explained and find out about Installing Laminate Flooring and more, including Exotic Hardwood Floors, Wood Laminate Flooring, Refinishing Hardwood Floors and Bruce Hardwood Flooring. Readmore »»

Composite Decking – The Ultimate Choice In Materials For Your Deck

Composite decking is material that is made from recycled or pure plastic and recycled wood. The recycled wood used to make the composit material is usually wood fiber or sawdust. Some manufacturers use recycled pop bottles as part of the plastic component for this kind of decking material. Even though the prices of composite material are high, using composite decking as your choice of material for your deck has advantages that far outweigh the use of wood.

The composite decking material looks just like a plank of wood in size and shape. You can work with the planks of composite decking just as you can with wood decking, by sawing and fitting the ends together. You can cut the ends in any shape you wish, such as rounded, or you can use your router to give the composit decking a decorative appearance. If you check out the composite decking prices, you should also ask if the decking is suitable for this type of styling. Some of the brands of composite material for decking will develop air bubbles if you rip a piece of the plank and expose the surface.

Composite decking planks are colored all the way through. The type of composit decking material you buy will determine how much the material will fade over time. In the first 10 to 12 weeks, you should expect to see some fading of color from the composite decking material, but this is a natural process as the decking becomes acclimatized to the temperature and humidity.

If you purchase some of the composit decking that has hollowed edges, you need to pay attention to how the exposed ends are treated. Some of them have individual caps, while others just have a square end. In order to add a decorative edge to some of the composite planks, you may have to use a skirt edge on the decking.

When you use composite decking, you still have to build a wooden frame. You also have to look at the spanning ability of the composite decking material you want to purchase. This means reading about the ability of the composit decking to carry a specific load across a specific joist spacing. You should also compare different composite decking prices among retailers because one retailer may offer a cheaper price than another for the same brand of decking.

Installing composite decking material to the wooden frame is not a difficult process. The typical method of fastening composite decking is to use a nail or a screw. You can use galvanized nails, decking screws or stainless steel screws. Most experts recommend that you bury the screw below the surface of the deck. If you use hollow planks in your composit decking, the most common method of installation is by inserting the screws in oversized holes that you drill through the composite decking. Then you can fill in the holes with plugs of the same color as the decking.

About the Author: To find out more about Decking visit Peter's Website The Decking Guide and find out about Composite Decking and more, including Wood Decking, IPE Decking, Trex Decking and Pool Decking. Readmore »»

Pressure Washers

A pressure washer is based on the principle of washing using pressurized water. The high pressure from the machine, which is sometimes 100 percent higher than that from a garden hose, causes grime and dust to be washed away. Pressure washers have been commonly used in industries but they are finding applicability in household activities, too. Their affordability as well as ease of operation is making them a common household appliance. Pressure washers are now available a prices starting from $200 to $500 or more depending on the water pressure. They may be electric, hydraulic, diesel-based or gasoline-based.

Washers are also classified as hot or cold.

In a pressure washer, water from a garden hose is made to come out in a strong stream. This is because of an electric or gasoline-powered engine attached to a pump. This pump compresses the water and builds up pressure in the pump. The hose has a trigger that has the option of spraying the water either in short bursts or as a continuous spray. The water can also be adjusted according to use. Pressure washers can be used on wood or concrete and find applications in residential, commercial and industrial heavy-duty power washing for automotive contractors, industrial users and pressure washing businesses.

Gasoline based pressure washers operate at between five and seven horsepower and are more powerful than electric pressure washers. Some operate at 24 horse power. Electric pressure washers are preferred lighter cleaning jobs that require less pressure such as windows and glass doors. Using gasoline-based washers on glass surfaces may lead to cracking or breaking of the surface from too much pressure.

The most important things to consider when choosing a pressure washer are the PSI (pounds per square inch), which indicates water pressure, and GPM (gallons per minute), which indicates the flow of water. Higher PSI and GPM means greater power and more pressure. Also check the weight of the washer since more powerful washers are heavier and are more difficult to use.

Pressure washers are being designed with ergonomic handling options and easy adjustments. The main things to be considered while buying a pressure washer are the difficulty of the cleaning job, frequency of use and the cost. Pressure washers also come with various options like rotating nozzles for covering larger area, brush attachments including rotating brushes, detergent attachment and soap sprayers etc.

Pressure washers are available at most hardware stores. The Internet is a good source for locating a good pressure washer. There are several web sites that provide useful information as well as pressure washers for sale. These sites provide the option of comparing a wide range of pressure washer models, the manufacturing advantages, prices, discount options and warranties.

About the Author: By Richard Romando; Pressure Washers provides detailed information about pressure washers, hot pressure washers, electric pressure washers, pressure washer parts and more. Pressure Washers is the sister site of Blower Fans. Readmore »»

Weatherproofing Your Deck

Your deck is a favorite gathering place in summer and lets the whole family enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. In order to keep your deck functional and looking great for years, you do need to make sure the deck is properly weatherproofed. Taking the steps to weatherproof your deck now will insure your investment for many, many years.

Weatherproofing a deck isn’t difficult; it requires a minimum of materials and a bit of elbow grease. You should seal your deck to weatherproof it when it is first built and periodically (every few years or so) reapply the sealant to make sure the wood continues to hold up.
Materials that will you will need include a hose, dust mask, pail of water, safety glasses, deck cleaner, waterproofing staining sealer, broom, belt sander or sandpaper, and paintbrush. Try renting a paint sprayer if you can as applying the sealer with a sprayer instead of a brush can really save you some time.

It’s important to gather your materials together beforehand so that you have them ready the day you plan to weatherproof the deck, but what’s even more important is the weather. You must be certain that there is no rain in the forecast for that day and the next before you call over all your friends to help with your weatherproofing project!

After you have verified that there is no threat of rain and you have all your materials on hand, you should start by giving the deck a thorough cleaning. Make sure you get all the cracks and corners. If you find any rough spots sand them down. Carefully remove left over sawdust and debris with the broom. Always use a dust mask as well as safety glasses while sanding.

After the deck has been cleaned and has dried fully, you are ready to start sealing. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the weatherproofing seal. If you are going to use paint after you seal the deck, make sure that what you use for sealant will work with a paint overcoat.
Whether you are using a paint brush or sprayer, you must make sure to cover the entire deck - every crack and crevice, leaving no spot unsealed. This means paying close attention to things like railings, beams and wall supports if they’re present.

Once you are done sealing, you will have to resist the urge to get on the deck and enjoy it right away. You need to let it dry thoroughly according to the manufacturers instructions on the sealant. This might be difficult, but, making sure you can enjoy your beautiful deck for years to come is well worth the wait.

About the Author: Lee Dobbins writes for Home Improvement publications. See more on remodeling and home improvement at Readmore »»

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Intending to Buy a home with hopes to upgrade someday to a Bigger one - Think Again

Buying a home has been known as the American Dream. But once you've bought it, how long should you hold onto it becomes the big question. Well the truth is, most of the time its not your decision to make anyways. Or at least the decision is so painful you hesitate indefinetly to make the next move. Fluctuating interest rates and home values, job changes or layoffs, a growing comfortablity with the location, realization of new Real Estate fees and closing costs, etc. inevitably effect your decision to make that new home transition.

Most new home buyers say they will stay in the home for a few years then upgrade to a bigger one with all the equity they gain. Others say they will move to a bigger home once they have kids or when their salaries increase. All of these reasons sound reasonable, however much of the time they are not reality.

In regards to home equity, the unfortunately reality is that home values in the same location rise proportionaly to each other. As a result whatever equity you have gained in your starter home, by itself does not increase your purchasing power to buy a larger home. Yes, it may give you the opportunity to fiance a larger home, but in the end you also have a much bigger monthly mortgage payment. The next question is, can you afford the new mortage payments.

Before making the decision to upgrade to a new home, you next have to figure out what your net proceeds will be from the sale of you existing home and what your future mortgage will be and whether or not you can afford it. Too frequently we forget that a good portion of our home equity is lost to the real estate commisions and the closing and moving costs to transistion to the new home. Only after the net proceeds are calculated from the sale of an existing home can we understand how much additional funds we can put towards a deposit on another home. The key point to remember; it costs to move and it usually costs big.

Unfortunately home prices have far outpaced salary increases. Quite frankly that chasm seems to continue to grow. As a result, waiting for growth in your salary to buy the next bigger home is sometimes a poor reason to hold off from buying the bigger home in the first place, particularly if interest rates are low.

Once the kids arrive the decision to upgrade to a new home can become even more complex. Particularly when the kids get older and even if you are planning to live in the same general community.

The bottom line: You will probably be in a home much longer than you originally plan. Consequently, it is sometimes wiser to buy more home on your first home purchase rather than less. This is particularly true if interest rates are un-naturally low. So before you buy that first home think longer term and buy what you could be happy living in for 20 years, because you just might! Readmore »»

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Building a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower starts with a Shower Pan Membrane Liner

Planning a ceramic tile shower and don't know where to begin? Not sure how to install a Shower Pan Membrane Liner. See [Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation EBook]

If you are thinking about installing a custom ceramic tile shower then you will first need to consider installing a Shower Pan Membrane liner. The Shower pan membrane liner resides in the base of the shower stall under a layer of mortar and the ceramic floor tile. It is important that the shower pan membrane liner is installed correctly to ensure that no leaks will occur in the floor of the shower unit. If installed correctly the shower pan membrane will catch and direct any water that seeps through either the ceramic tile floor or walls to the shower floor drain.

For more information on installing a shower pan membrane liner, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation EBook from The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner. Readmore »»

Finding Hand Tools For Wood Working

When you mention woodworking, the first thing that often comes to mind is power tools. However, you will also need a variety of hand tools for your workshop. For the beginner, it can be confusing and difficult to decide what to buy. Building a collection can be expensive and often small tools are overlooked. There are some ways to build your collection inexpensively.

Hand Tools for Shaping Wood

o Clamps: you will need a variety of types and sizes. Fortunately, these are generally inexpensive. Pick them up whenever you find them on sale for a good price. Clamps are sturdy and long lasting, so it’s safe to pick these up used.

o Bench chisels: you will need about a half a dozen of these in a variety of sizes from ¼ to one inch.

o Stiff, wire brushes

o Saws: you will need a back saw, tenon and dovetail saws. These get used often in woodworking. If you buy these used, check out the teeth for damage. If in good condition, pick them up used. They will need to be sharpened.

o Planes are used for smoothing. Get a few different planes, at least a block plane and jointer to start with.

o Scrapers are needed for a variety of projects. Look for a paint scraper and a hand scraper to get started.

o Files: Get good size, sturdy files in a ten inch size. Look for smooth and bastard mill files to start with and add others later.

Other Hand Tools You’ll Need

o Hammer: get a good quality hammer. A 16 ounce hammer is a good, versatile hammer. o Mallet for driving chisels
o Allen wrenches in a variety of sizes o Screwdrivers in Phillips and flat heads. Get a good set in several sizes of each
o T bevel
o Tape measure
o Steel rulers
o Level
o Squares
o Awls: marking and scratch
o Pliers: channel lock and needle nose
o Putty knife
o Utility knife
o Protractor

Finding Hand Tools at a Good Price

Setting up your own woodworking shop can be expensive. It is tempting to go out and buy the cheapest handtools you can find in an effort to save money. Don’t do this. Cheaply made tools won’t last long and you’ll end up having to buy them again. Get good quality tools such as Armstrong tools, Stanley tools or snap on tools. Quality is important in the long run.

Used tools are a good choice, if they are in good condition. Antique hand tools and German hand tools are high quality and fairly easy to find. Hand tools tend to last longer, as there isn’t as much that can go wrong as with power tools. The quality and craftsmanship in older tools are often much better than in cheaper new tools. When you purchase used tools, inspect them carefully to be sure they are in good shape.

Handtools are often sold at yard sales. You will have to visit many to find everything you need for your workshop. Check out a few each weekend while you are building your collection. Check your local paper on Friday and Saturday. Many people advertise their yard sales and often include information on the type of merchandise for sale. This can save you a lot of leg work.

Flea markets are an excellent resource for finding tools. You will find more in one place than you will by travelling from yard sale to yard sale. You can often negotiate at a flea market to get a lower price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many dealers set their prices a bit higher in anticipation of people haggling with them. If you pay full price in this case, you may be paying a slightly inflated price.

One way to get a better deal is to shop toward the end of the day. Often, people are willing to cut the price just to get rid of the tools. Another option is to buy several tools from the same person. You may be able to get an additional discount for buying several items.

About the Author:Jack Blacksmith is a contributing author for a website with resources. The writer is publishing about hand tools and other areas in this field. Readmore »»

Roofing Q&A: New Roof And Re-Roofing Answers

* How do I know if I need a new roof?

The roof should always be checked. You should keep tabs of its state. The following are signs that you may need a new roof.
· Your roof is between twenty and twenty five years old.
· The shingles are excessively cracking, curling, or they are blistering.
· There are many shingles that are missing and/are torn or damaged.
· The roof is leaking in many places.

* How much does a new roof cost?

There is no definitive answer as to how much a new roof will cost. There are a variety of considerations needed before an estimate can be given. From that information, a price quotation or an estimate could be done.

Some of the considerations are:
· Size of roof · Materials to be used
· Location of house (this is needed to determine which materials would be best for that area's weather)
· Is it for a new house or a re roofing
· State costs and taxes
· Type of home

After that, you can have several contractors bid on the project to get the best price.

* When re-roofing, should I peel off old layers or simply add a new layer of shingles?

It is recommended that you add a new layer of shingles to your roof. Scrapping the old layers will just consume more time and energy, and at the same time by peeling off, the thickness of the shingles are decreasing, leading to possible leakages in the future. By adding new layers of shingles onto your roof, it protects the inner part of the roof and provides you relief against further leakages. Obviously, it would be a lot cheaper.

* What kinds of questions should I ask a roofing contractor?

Getting a roof contractor to do your roof needs a little certainty and guarantee. You can ask the following questions to the contractor to erase doubts regarding his/her services:

• Ask your roofing contractor questions with regards to their standing in their field of expertise. It will give you a hint whether they are really offering quality service to their clients.

• Ask questions with regards to their operation. This includes whether they have necessary permits and licenses to operate such business, and if they are carrying insurance in case there are unforeseen incidents that may happen during the construction.

• And lastly, ask questions with regards to the actual roofing constructions and the post-construction services and warranty. Inquire if they can explain to you in layman’s terms how they will construct your roofing, what materials are going to be used, and what services and warranties they offer in case leakages or damages happened to your roof within a time period after construction.

* What kinds of questions should I ask references of a roofing contractor? Sometimes, you need referrals from people who know the roofing contractor's work you are considering, especially when you are unfamiliar with that type of business. As the roofing contractor for references, especially from customers who have had work done by him. Questions like the following can be asked of your references of a roofing contractor:

• Initially, ask questions with regards to their relationship with the contractor. Maybe the contractor is a friend or a relative of your reference. That will give you an idea how well that reference knows the contractor.

• You can inquire if they have acquired the services of the roofing contractor. Ask them if they have personally witnessed the construction of their roof, and at the same time letting your reference talk about the quality of service.

• Lastly, ask queries on the reliability of their service, if it withstands the different outside elements surrounding the roof. In this way, you will have no doubt of the integrity of the contractor because the reference himself will tell all.

About the Author:Rae Fakner is a regular contributor to roofing- and construction-related websites such as Roofing Tips. Website: Readmore »»

The Easy Way To Install Vinyl Flooring

Installing vinyl flooring is one of those home improvement projects that is well within the ability of the average homeowner to accomplish. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you have done just one room you should have the confidence to be able to tackle almost any vinyl flooring job. Here is the easy way to install vinyl flooring in your home.

First of all, your flooring material needs to be as warm as possible when you install it if you want it to go down correctly. So if the weather has been cold outside, it may be a good idea to leave your vinyl flooring in a warm room for a couple of days to let it actually heat up and become more pliable before you actually start to lay it down.

But once you are ready to get started, just simply roll the vinyl out into the room and see how it lays. Usually it's best to align the vinyl pattern with the most dominant wall, or the most visible wall in the room first and then work out from there. So do that and see how the vinyl fits with the rest of the room. If it all looks like it's going well, you can actually start to trim off the excess around the room. Just be sure that all areas of the room are well covered before you start trimming.

Generally speaking, a 2 -3 inch overlap is sufficient when you're trimming in the room. Once you have all of your general trim cuts made, and the excess vinyl has been removed, you can now start to roughly cut in the corners of the room to make sure that the vinyl will lay nice and flat up against all of the walls.

Now here is where a lot of folks have trouble with vinyl flooring. If there are fixtures in the room, like a sink or toilet for instance, they don't know how to cut around these obstacles. Actually though, there is a very simple and easy way to solve that vinyl flooring problem. What you need to do is to make a paper template of the floor before you lay the vinyl down in the area where the obstacles are.

This paper template needs to be made of very solid and tough paper that will not rip and tear easily. If you use the toilet as an example, you lay enough paper to cover one half of the toilet's footprint on the floor and cut the paper in so that it fits up nice and tight to the edge of the toilet. Then you use another piece of paper to do the same on the other half of the toilets footprint.
Then you can remove the paper, tape both sides together and it will give you a perfect pattern for the bottom of the toilet so that you can make a good, clean cut on the vinyl that will fit exactly right when you lay the vinyl down. Just repeat this process for each fixture in the room that cannot be removed, like a sink or tub.

Once you have the vinyl cut out in advance for all of the obstacles in the room and generally cut in for each corner of the room, you can now put down your vinyl adhesive and began to install the flooring itself. Be sure to use a utility knife that is both safe and sharp, as a dull knife will create more problems than it is worth. Make your final cuts up against the walls and finalize any trimming that needs to be done around the room fixtures, and you should be done.

Then just be sure to give the floor enough time to dry out thoroughly before opening it up for regular traffic. If you use these suggestions for installing a vinyl floor, it should be a simple and easy task to complete.

About the Author: You can find discount vinyl flooring and vinyl garage flooring by visiting our Home Improvement website. Readmore »»

Tips On Choosing Wide Plank Flooring

If you're faced with the challenge of replacing a wood floor in your house, consider the appeal of wide plank flooring, rather than the typical narrow widths you see in most homes. Here are some quick tips. A fuller version of this article can be seen at Kellogg Wide Plank Flooring.

1. Hue and Pattern.
Choose a wood with the hue and pattern that enhances the style and decor of your home. Which colors from your palette show best in the light and blend pleasingly with your furniture? Pines, birches, oaks, or hickories can open up a room, while walnuts, cherries, or stained woods can look more elegant or formal. Can you imagine your floor accented with knots, burled in flourishes, exuberantly-grained, or as clean and expansive as clear wood?

2. Durability.
Solid wood plank flooring is very durable and will last for generations. Maple, birch and ash are hardest, so you may want to leave these woods natural. Red and white oak, walnut and pine are easier to stain. For the early American appeal of a rustic lodge, imagine your floor in wide-plank pine, which will absorb stresses and wear them well.

3. Width of Plank.
The plank width should look proportional to the room. Wider planks up to 12-16" show better in larger rooms and reveal a wood's knotting or burling. Narrow-width planks tend to suit smaller rooms. Ask your supplier to confirm your choice of wood to beautify your home as well as to select the highest grade of wood that meets your budget.

4. Finish.
Proper finishing of wide plank flooring ensures its longevity and prepares it for any usage, including that of your kitchen. Tung oil is best for a natural finish, but you can adjust your floor's hue with any number of stains and finishes. Each will preserve your solid-wood floor for generations. Your supplier can plan the entire installation and ensure that the glowing tones and barefoot comfort of your wide plank flooring will please from your first look and first step. Readmore »»

Save On Outdoor Lighting And Think Solar Lights

If you want to save on your energy bill then solar powered lights are a great alternative. You are probably worried about the ever increasing price of electricity to, this is a cost effective way of illuminating your home's outdoor areas, solar lighting is the answer. How does it work? The first versions of solar lighting, use solar cells that did not produce ample power for a long period of time. As with everything solar lighting has evolved, newer technology uses LED (light emitting diode) lamps that offer much more powerful light that those using solar cells.

Solar lights are not as powerful as electric powered fixtures, they are better used for outdoor decorative lighting.Some places you can use them include walkways, landscape borders, patio and deck areas, as well as gardens. It's important to have a well thought out plan before you begin, you can even do a quick sketch before hand so you have an idea of how to place the lamps.

Solar light fixtures work off of the energy of the sun. These exterior lights actually collect energy from the sun, through solar cell panels. When night falls these lights illuminate by releasing the solar energy, which in return give your exterior areas light. These panels use NiCad or NiMH re-chargeable batteries to store the battery power collected from the sun.

Why are solar powered lights so popular, besides the savings on your electricityl? Unlike regular landscape lighting , that needs a professional electrician to do all the work, solar powered lamps can be installed by anyone. It also is fast and takes no time to do. Put the post into the ground and you're done. But remember to place the light fixtures in an area that has a lot of sunlight. A tip on generating the most amount of power possible from your solar lamp is to place them in an area that receives lots of natural sunlight. The more sun than hits the solar panel the more power the lamp will give off at night. And don't worry about the lights turning on in the daylight, these outdoor lights have built-in photo sensors, this feature enables the lamp to automatically shut off in the daylight hours. Typically you can expect about 9 hours of light per night.

Some types of solar outdoor lighting that you can install to illuminate your landscape and garden areas include, solar spotlights, patio lights, and path lights for walkways. If you are looking for a powerful light source for your home's outdoor areas, then choose an electric powered fixture. If you want accent lighting in your garden or landscape that offers a soft glow, then this maybe what you are looking for.

About the Author:Richard Gazzo providing info on all types of lighting fixtures, from track lighting, landscape lighting, table lamps, and floor lamps . leave all hyper links © Readmore »»

Insulating Foundations

Even if your home seems to be tightly sealed and well-insulated, if you have a foundation that's not insulated properly, you will experience a large loss of heat.
Foundation insulation can result in lower heating costs and may help avoid water vapor condensation problems.

Poor foundation installation can make below grade rooms very uncomfortable and can result in many problems, to much moisture, radon infiltration, and an influx of insects.
Foundation insulation is especially important if you have radiant heat system. This article will outline the various types of insulation available.

When insulating your basement you need to make sure you avoid moisture problems. Moisture can cause mold and can result in physical damage to you interior finished walls, as well as your carpeting. And mold can seriously affect your health.

For a newly constructed home, proper placed footing drainage and waterproofing should avoid most moisture problems. For an existing home, if your basement shows signs of moisture problems, these problems should be addressed immediately.

When insulation is installed on the dirt side of a basement wall it has a lot of advantages and some disadvantages also. On a positive note, it decreases what is called thermal bridging which cuts down on heat loss through the foundation. It also protects the foundation water proof coating from damage when backfilling, and acts as a vessel to protect against moisture.

In extreme climates, during freeze-thaw cycles it can also protect your home from unwanted water and reduces the possibility of condensation on basement surfaces.

Some disadvantages would be that it's expensive when installed in an existing building and it may still be vulnerable to an insect infestation.

Many experts believe that the best way to keep your basement dry is to insulate the exterior of the foundation walls with a rigid insulation board and a water-proof coating under that board that covers the entire foundation, from the footing all the way up to just below where finished grade will be.

A perimeter drainage system needs to be carefully designed and consist of perforated plastic pipe, per washed gravel, along with a good quality filter fabric especially in areas with poor soil drainage. This will help in keeping the rock free from dirt allowing the water to filter down into the perforated pipe.

For an existing home, adding insulation to the interior of the foundation is probably a more cost effective alternative. Plus, there's a wide selection of materials available for almost every type of insulation.

If your foundation wall is masonry blocks, you can fill the cores of your blocks with high-pressured foam. This works far better than most of the other methods.

When insulating a Slab-on-grade the following ways should be done. You should insulate under the slab along with the edges of the slab, and between the footings and slab. This will reduce heat loss from both the foundation and the slab.

Remember that all exposed insulation needs to be protected from the elements in some way, whether using cement, metal, or some other kind of membrane.

For new construction insulation follow these guidelines: first comes about four inches of gravel and under-slab drainage and plumbing pipes, a layer of radiant barrier that is approved for concrete use, then one to two inches or rigid insulation, followed by two to three inches or sand, and lastly is the floor slab.

A floating floor is another alternative, which consists of - a finished wooden flooring (top), rosin paper and two layers of ½ inch plywood or OSB. Followed by a stiff foam board insulation. This will be quite easy to install and isolate the floor from the earth below.

Regardless of the method you choose, by properly insulating your foundation you will make sure your radiant heat system runs efficiently and effectively for years to come.

Copyright 2006 Larry Lang All Rights Reserved. Lang Enterprises Inc. Readmore »»

Tips On Outdoor Deck Lighting

When the summer months roll around, it's time to pull out the barbeque and start having those outdoor deck and patio get togethers. Decks are most likely to be in the dark evening hours, so it's important to have adequate light, as well as the right types of lighting and illumination in place for these situations. Deck and patio lighting will not only light up this space but it can add to the security around the exterior of your home in late hours. I have complied some useful tips to help you get the most out of your outdoor deck area.

First off it's important to provide accent and task lighting but, at the same time don't over illuminate the area so it looks like a football field big no, no! Don't light up the area like a Christmas tree, it looks cheesy, you want to provide enough light but don't overdo it.

When it comes to stairs you want light, you need to see the steps, the last thing you want is your guests falling down the stairs.

Avoid glare from the deck lighting or outdoor lighting fixtures, glare is the enemy of any lighting installation, try to hide the light source and use indirect lighting as much as possible. Another tips is to hide the light source, this gives your lighting installation a more professional look, you want to see the light, but need the lighting source.

If you have a certain plant or area that you want to focus on, you can use the moon lighting effect to achieve a soft but bright glow. This technique will give the plant a natural moonlight glow, giving your lighting installation a professional feel.

There are many types outdoor deck lighting from, step lights, path lights, pendants and outdoor wall lights to name a few. Styles range from traditional (wrought iron) to contemporary (brushed stainless steel). Try to give a complete look and feel to your deck area, or any room in your home for that matter. I recommend that you don't mix and match design styles it will make the deck look less than professional.

The most important thing I can recommend is to have a plan before you go forward, or you might end up missing something. Take your time and do it right the first time.

About the Author:Chris Vorelli is an author, providing tip on all types of light fixtures, from decorative lighting, landscape lighting and bathroom lighting. Find info on everything from floor lamps to crystal chandeliers. leave all hyper links intact. Readmore »»

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How to Hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor

Asphalt paved driveways are extremely popular and the most cost effective to install over most other driveway options. Hiring the right asphalt paving contractor however can sometimes be a challenge. If the paving contractor installs the asphalt driveway correctly the driveway should last 25-30 years with only minor maintenance.

Unlike concrete, an asphalt paved driveway is both strong and flexible and is ideal for colder temperature zones where constant freezing and thawing occur.

Asphalt paving, also known as Hot Mix Asphalt paving, consists of an aggregate of stone and sand mixed with liquid asphalt cement. The aggregate is carefully mixed and heated prior to being mixed with liquid asphalt. The mixture needs to be delivered to the job site hot else your newly paved driveway will not cure properly.

In order to ensure a quality paved driveway it is critical that the paving contractor first properly prepare the driveway for the Hot Mix Asphalt. Preparation includes removing topsoil or clay type soil and replacing it with a sub-base layer of crushed stone and gravel.

A typical asphalt paving job consists of the application of two layers of Hot Mix Asphalt over the sub-base layer. In some cases a paving contractor may suggest a full-depth asphalt application. This type of application is best if very heavy vehicles will be regularly parked on the driveway. With a full-depth asphalt application the entire driveway, including the gravel sub-base layer, is constructed using liquid asphalt cement. By additionally binding the sub-base gravel layer with the liquid asphalt cement a much stronger paved driveway is created.

When hiring any contractor you should plan on getting 3-4 quotes to get the best comparison of workmanship and price. Talk with friends and family members, as well as search the yellow pages or the internet to find local paving contractors in your area.

With any contractor you hire, make sure they are insured and bonded to protect you from any liability as well as to protect you from any sub-par performance on the contractor's behalf.

Lead times for paving a driveway can be up to several weeks, so plan appropriately when talking with your prospective paving contractors.

In order to obtain accurate quotes from the asphalt driveway paving contractors it is best to have a sketch of the home and the desired driveway footprint. You should also walk the site with the paving contractor and have him or you stake or paint lines where the paved driveway is to lay.

When talking to the prospective paving contractors make sure the subject of installing proper slopes and drainage is discussed. Otherwise you may wind up with water pooling on the finished driveway, or even worse, draining into your garage or home.

It is also critical that during the installation of all the various layers to the driveway that they are each compacted prior to the installation of the next layer of material. Quoted depths should be after compaction, not before.

Also, if there are any municipal pipes that need to be raised to the finished height of the driveway, find out if the paving contractors' quotes include performing this task.

In addition, confirm that the contractor will remove and reinstall any type of gate or door to the new finished level of the paved driveway.

With these few basic tips you are on your way to hiring the right paving contractor for your driveway.

For more help on how to hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor, see's Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that installation of your driveway will be accomplished on time and on budget.

About the Author: Over the past 20+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more home improvement information visit and Readmore »»

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Laying Vinyl Tile The Right Way

Vinyl Tile is still one of the best floor coverings to choose for kitchens and bathrooms. Ceramic tile is great, but the cost to have a professional install it can be prohibitive. The answer, vinyl tiles installed by you. You will save a lot of money you can use toward other home improvements you want to do.

Vinyl tile is also a great choice for other reasons. There are some beautiful choices of both style and color. There are so many different patterns and colors to choose from that you will want to take your time in choosing something that will enhance the beauty of your kitchen or bathroom.

In addition to that, vinyl tile is much better than linoleum for practical reasons. With a linoleum floor, one accident and the whole floor is ruined basically, because it is all one piece. When you buy vinyl tile, you buy extra squares. If an accident ruins one or two tiles, you replace them.

In this article I will help you learn how to install your own vinyl tile floor with confidence. I’m going to teach you the old school way of laying this beautiful floor covering. I call it old school, because I learned from tile layers that had been doing it for years before I started.

First, we need to start with the basics. I don’t know what is on the floor where you plan to put down vinyl tile, so I’m going to show you what our preparation goals are. We want a nice smooth surface to lay our vinyl tile on.

Some people will tile over existing tile. This can be okay, but it is not the preferred choice. To do this right, you need to remove whatever flooring is there now, until you are down to either a smooth cement or wooden surface.

If there are cracks and valleys or unleveled surfaces, they need to be filled and smoothed out before we can start laying your vinyl tile. On cement or wooden surfaces, you can use cement to fill in and smooth the surface. You can also install plywood over the existing floor to achieve the surface your vinyl tile needs. You caulk in all the joints after installing the plywood. You can use Durok as well.

The goal, as I said before, is to have a smooth surface before you begin to lay vinyl tile. Otherwise, your tile will crack wherever pressure is placed on the tile over existing rough areas.

Now, buying the vinyl tile you want is next. There is self-adhesive vinyl tile that is very inexpensive. However, remember you get what you pay for. The adhesive on these tiles is not of great quality and you will be replacing them often. They are usually very thin as well, so they are easily damaged.

The thicker the vinyl tile, the more expensive and durable it is. That is the rule of thumb. Choose vinyl tile that has about 1/8” thickness or above and you will have a floor that will last a long time. So choose your style and color wisely. It will be with you awhile.

Now, the tools you will need are next. You will not need a tile cutter. That isn’t the old school method. Using a tile cutter is tedious and slow, and your edges will never be tight. You will need a good razor knife, a small butane torch, a trowel with teeth along one edge for applying the adhesive, some old rags, and some mineral spirits.

A lot of experts will tell you to always begin in the center of the room when laying any kind of tile. However with kitchens and bathrooms, this is not always or even often the best method. Starting at one wall and working toward your cabinets is much better, because most of your tiles that need to be cut will be under the edge of the cabinets and not seen.

Starting along one wall, trowel on your adhesive, making sure there are ridges by using the toothed edge of your trowel. Do not go too far away from the wall as you will be laying tile there and don’t want to have to reach while doing so.

Let the adhesive dry for about 15 minutes so it’s very sticky. Lay your first tile at the corner and continue to lay a row, making sure you keep your tiles aligned. As you get to the end of your row, do not worry about the area that is left over where a whole tile will not fit in. We will take care of that last. However, remove the adhesive from that area so it won’t dry before we get back to it.

The adhesive you applied should have gone just a little further out than the row of tile itself, so now you have a row, with a little adhesive area waiting for the next row.

Now start back at the beginning. Apply a little more than a row’s width of adhesive, let it dry, then lay another row of tile, again making sure you align the tiles with each other so your lines are straight.

Once you have done the entire floor except those areas where a whole tile would not fit in, let the floor dry until tomorrow. Do not allow anyone to walk on the floor. The adhesive takes time to dry.

Now, once the adhesive is dry, we are ready to do the cutting in portion of your vinyl tile job. You should be able to walk carefully on the tiles without moving them by now. If not, you may have used too much adhesive and will have to wait longer, until you are sure it is dry.

Now, let’s cut it in. Go to where your first row that ended with a little space left over. Apply some adhesive to that area, plus on the floor, along the wall where you are going to put in your cut pieces of vinyl tile. Let that dry, just as you did before for 15 minutes.

Now, take a full vinyl tile, matching it up with your tiles already on the floor at the bottom, lean it at an angle to the wall. Let me explain so you are sure to understand. You place the tile against the edge of the last tile in the row as if you were about to lay it down, but just let it lean against the wall at whatever angle it has to.

Now, you will need your razor knife and your small butane torch. Be careful with the little torch that you don’t burn anything, please. If you are not comfortable with handling a small torch, this method is not for you.

Place the fingers of one hand on the top of the tile along the wall with very slight downward pressure. Wave the flame of the torch back and forth across the center of the tile about where you would like it to bend. Don’t let the flame linger on the tile to melt it. Keep a distance so it only gets heated up.

As it gets hot, the pressure from your fingers will begin to push the vinyl tile downward, bending it into place. As soon as the tile is bent to the point where it is flat against the floor and the rest against the wall, set down your torch, pointing it carefully away from anything or anyone, and take your razor knife and cut along the bend right at the wall. It will cut like butter.

Now that tile fits perfectly to the contour of the wall. It also, because of the light pressure you applied as you pressed it down, has tightened up that entire row, so the vinyl tiles will not separate later. This is a floor that will last a long time and answers the problem of the tiles separating later.

Continue that same process for each row and everywhere the tiles need to be cut in. Then clean up. You are now an old school master at laying vinyl tile!

One last warning, as I said before, if you are not comfortable using flame, you should go ahead and use a tile cutter. It may not be as tight, but you can still do a good job with it without endangering yourself. This article was intended to pass on an old school method I learned and have used to lay many beautiful tile floors that lasted for years. I hope that by passing it onto you, the old way will not be lost.

About the Author:D. David Dugan has a website, to help homeowners find all the information they need about remodeling, home repair, building decks and carports, room additions, and more. Readmore »»

Preventing Basement and Crawlspaces Mold

Mold is a very common basement and crawlspaces problem as it presents a real challenge in controlling air quality. Basements and crawlspaces are is usually damp and in many cases use as a storage area, providing optimal growth conditions to molds. There are two important aspects to basements and crawlspaces mold prevention:

1. Controlling Humidity Levels

The first step to mold prevention is to successfully control humidity levels. Start with measuring humidity levels and detecting any unusual readings. Take measurements every 3 months to keep track of any changes that may occur when the weather changes. If humidity levels readings are higher than 45 percent, your basement is likely to suffer from mold and you must take action to detects and fix any moisture sources to lower humidity levels. Regularly inspect your basement for any water damages that generate visible or hidden moisture sources. Act fast to fix problems such as leaks or standing water. Another way to control humidity is to allow air circulation. Although it may be hard to generate air flow in the basement or crawlspace it is important. You can improve air flow by keeping you basement tidy and opening the basement door from time to time and leave a fan running for a few hours. Consider installing a dehumidifier in the basement to reduce air moisture especially during warm months. If you detect any cracks in walls or floor, seal them immediately.

2. Smart Storage

If you organize your basement and crawlspaces you take another important step towards mold elimination. Try to avoid storing papers, clothes, in the basement and crawlspaces because these materials can be used as nutrition for molds allowing it to spread even faster if humidity levels rise above 50 percent. If you must store these materials in your basement or crawlspace, do your best to reduce the amount of these stored materials and discard if badly damaged. In addition, if you must store these materials in the basement or crawlspace, make sure to place them properly. Proper placement means that you need to store them away from outer walls, since that is where moisture is most likely to originate. For the same reason, raise these stored materials from the floor and place them on a table or a raised surface. Never store firewood in the basement or crawlspace because it is common for firewood to become likely to become moldy within hours from the minute humidity levels raise. When firewood becomes moldy, it generates airborne mold spores that may contaminate your indoors air quality and in some cases penetrate the HVAC system and contaminate your home by traveling through your ducts.
For more information visit Free guides are available

About the Author: Jonathan Meyer is an editorial staff member for, a leading restoration services provider for water and fire damages. To learn more about water and fire damage restoration, visit or call 1-877-SOS-2407 Readmore »»

Advantages of Kitchen Granite Countertops

Kitchen granite countertops are created by nature and fashioned by man are a beautiful, durable and cost effective choice for kitchens and baths. The term granite comes from the Latin root word granum, which means "grain."

Granite is often imported from Europe, Africa, Brazil and other regions of the world rich in natural stone. Granite is an attractive natural stone that will add color and warmth to your kitchen. Granite is an extremely hard material that will not blister, scratch or crack. The hardness of granite is rivaled only be the hardness of diamonds. In fact diamonds are used to cut and polish granite.

Over the last 10 years kitchen granite countertops have become popular with homeowners, after first being popular with designers for decades. Granite is available in hundreds of colors, from various shades of white to browns, reds, greens, blues, and black. The most popular tones are brown and beige.

As well as being hard kitchen granite countertops can take hot items, like pots and pans, and is very stain resistant to hot grease and oil if it is sealed with a silicone-based impregnator. It can easily be cleaned and cut for a basin. Granite has a cool polished surface that makes it an excellent surface for rolling out pastry dough. The polished finish of granite will not wear off.

Kitchen granite countertops are unique because no two pieces of granite are exactly the same, therefore granite provides an interesting design element and adds certain richness and texture to your kitchen not found in other surfaces. Kitchen granite countertops can create a brilliance and elegance that is only found in nature. Granite adds a personality and character to kitchen countertops that is unsurpassed. Kitchen granite countertops have a natural beauty that is capable of complementing any tone of wood or style of cabinets.

It doesn't matter if you are planning a new home or remodeling an existing kitchen, with granite kitchen countertops you can be sure that you will add to value of your home.

Kitchen remodelers and home builders have experienced a boom in the demand for kitchen granite countertops. Although it can be more expensive to put in granite countertops, they remain the odds on favorite choice for more upscale homes, since they keep their value better than most home improvements.

The investment you make in kitchen granite countertops should pay you back at least three times what you invested. If you are selling your home you will find that home buyers wanting kitchen granite countertops will be willing to pay more for your home than if you have ceramic tile or plastic laminate.

Planning out your kitchen granite countertop first involves selecting the right granite color. You should concentrate on the most popular colors. Even though granite tones are usually neutral, you may find that a certain color goes well for your kitchen design.

If you are replacing the old countertop material in your kitchen with granite, carefully diagram all the measurements for the granite installer. If installing new cabinets is part of your kitchen remodel ask the granite fabricator what they recommend for cabinetry.

Since you are using such a superior product as granite, you should think about the right type of sink to go with your new kitchen granite countertop. You should definitely consider going with an undermount stainless steel sink, as opposed to an overmount sink that would be difficult to clean around.

In addition to getting the right kind of sink installed, it is also important to select the just the right faucet to go with the sink. A stainless steel faucet would go well with the looks of a rich kitchen granite countertop.

The next important area is upgrading your cabinet hardware. The handles and knobs should also be of high quality in order to provide good accent to the overall look of the kitchen. Even if you are not replacing the cabinetry having high quality hardware with make those cabinets and the whole kitchen stand out.

So in planning your kitchen remodeling, just remember that kitchen granite countertops will make a provide a world-class addition and increase the re-sale value of your home.

James Mahoney is the author of many kitchen design articles and has a site about kitchen design ideas at Kitchen Designers He also publishes a newletter on kitchen design.

About the Author: James Mahoney is the owner of Kitchen Designers Learn about today's kitchen design ideas by visiting his site at If you liked this article and would want to subscribe to his information packed newletter visit: Readmore »»

Staining Instead Of Painting Your Patio

Staining your concrete patio is a terrific way to make it more inviting to your guests. There are many stain colors available to choose from such as varying shades of brown, blue, or even green. You will have one of those patios that people comment on as it will be unlike most they have seen.

Staining your concrete patio is a much better alternative to painting it. The stain will penetrate the surface so it won't peel at all. Paint is different in that it merely sits on top of the surface and is more prone to peel over time. Additionally, paints will become slippery when covered in water or mud, raising safety concerns. Similar to staining a deck, concrete patios must be periodically re-stained as the stains fade and lose effectiveness after 5 years or so.

One of the best stains to use on your patio is acid based. You need to be a little more of a do it yourselfer when using these, preferably someone with prior experience applying stains. The acid based stain will actually cause a chemical reaction and attach itself to the surface. It will become part of the concrete, giving it the most longevity of any of these methods.

Another good staining method is one that uses a water based solution. It is alot easier to install on your concrete which explains why it is also the most popular. It simply attaches itself to the patio and will give off water as it becomes dry. This makes it better for the environment as no chemicals are expelled in the process. The downside to this is that it is generally more sensitive to harsh weather conditions and won't last as long.

Before beginning the staining process you need to make sure the concrete is completely free of any grease or oil. This will give the stain the best chance of adhering to the patio. You can use a power washer and soap if needed to get everything off. As soon as it dries you can start the application process.

Concrete staining is a wonderful way to maintain your patio and keep it protected from the elements. It is easy enough to do for the average homeowner and will last for an average of five years. There are many colors to choose from to give your patio just the right amount of shading you desire.

About the Author: James McDonald writes for where you can find home remodel ideas and more for a variety of projects. Read our articles before your next do it yourself project to make sure you have covered your bases. Readmore »»

Monday, April 10, 2006

Framing Basement Walls

Framing basement walls can be a tricky endeavor. There are a number of different situations and obstacles that complicate the framing. As a result, stick building and improvisation are the key phrases when undertaking basement wall framing.

Perimeter Wall Framing

First, if you are planning to have a warm and comfortable basement, perimeter basement walls should be framed using 2”x4” construction, just like the interior walls. By using 2”x4” studs on the perimeter basement walls insulation can be installed to ensure a warmer room. If warmth is not a priority, and the installation of drywall is still required on the perimeter basement walls, then furring strips can be attached to the perimeter walls instead. Furring strips usually consist of 2”x2”s that are glued and nailed to the concrete basement walls.

Internal Wall Framing

The internal walls can be built on the ground and then simply raised in place, however due to inevitable variations in basement floor heights the walls should be built slightly shorter and then shimmed into place. If this is not done, you may have some difficulty raising the wall as it may get wedged between the floor of the basement and the ceiling/floor joists. Also, if the home is built on clay soil the basement floor may move slightly up and down based on the water content in the ground. If the home is built on clay soil, then you should use L-Shaped steel framing clips to attach to the walls and the first-floor floor joists. These clips will enable the walls to breath (move up and down), but give the support necessary to ensure the wall remains vertical.

When building basement walls there are typically many obstructions (pipes, duct work) that you need to build around. Thus, it is sometimes easier to stick build walls around these types of obstructions.

Stick Build Framing

To stick build walls, first nail a top plate perpendicular to the floor joists. Next, secure a bottom plate to the concrete floor using concrete nails and an adhesive such as Liquid Nails. Make sure you use pressure treated lumber on the bottom plate as it is in contact with the concrete and will wick moisture over time. The top and bottom plates should be parallel to each other. Use a plumb line to ensure they are parallel. Finally install 2’x4” studs every 16” along the plates. Make sure you measure for each stud prior to cutting, as the floor to ceiling distances will vary.

Boxing in Ductwork

Soffits may need to be built if ductwork needs to be boxed in or if planning to install interior lighting. Soffits are not structural and thus can be framed using 2”x2”s. Similar to any wall framing, use two parallel 2”x2” plates and connect them using vertical stud members. Secure a 2”x2” top plate to the floor joists and then stick nail in a 2”x2” stud on both ends of the top plate. Next nail the bottom plate to the two studs to create the basic wall. Finally, install on 16” centers, 2”x2” studs along the entire length of the plates. Pending the situation you may need to build the same framing structure on the other side of the ductwork. Once you have completed the second soffit wall simply install 2” x 2” cross member stud pieces (lookouts) between the two soffit wall sections. You will want to make sure you use a chalk line and a level during this task to ensure the soffit walls remain straight. Again, as the soffit is being stick built, measure every stud prior to cutting.

Framing the Ceiling

If drywall is to be installed on the ceiling then you may need to add effectively a horizontal wall. Basically the same process is done as with building soffits, however 2”x4”s are used for providing clearance for pipes hanging below the floor joists. If there are no pipes or wiring hanging below the floor joists, then 1’x3” strapping may be able to be used. Simply nail them perpendicular to the floor joists on 16” centers.

For more help on finishing your basement, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your basement remodeling project goes smoothly and you get the finished basement you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that finishing your basement will be accomplished on time and on budget.

About the Author: By Mark J. Donovan Readmore »»

Sunday, April 9, 2006

How to Plan and Estimate Costs for a Bathroom Remodeling Project

Remodeling a bathroom can be an exciting and fun experience, particularly if your bathroom has outdated baby blue or pink tile covering the walls. Planning and estimating bathroom remodeling costs prior to starting the project however is critical for ensuring a completely positive experience.

Today many new bathroom remodeling jobs include Jacuzzi tubs or whirlpool baths, along with separate showers. In addition there are a multitude of toilet, vanity, countertop and sink styles to choose from. Costs for these items vary widely.

If planned properly a bathroom remodeling project can be accomplished on a shoestring budget and still look like you've completely transformed the room. It depends only on your creativity and level of sweat equity. All new bathroom fixtures are not critical in remodeling a bathroom. Many fixtures can be restored to a brand new appearance with just a little time and sweat equity. In some cases, such as with toilets, it is frequently the preferred route. Older toilets use more water per flush than the new models. Though the new ones are environmentally friendlier, they have a reputation for clogging and thus many people choose to preserve their older toilets in a bathroom remodeling project.

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. It is usually where you start and end your day. Thus the return on investment for remodeling a bathroom is fairly high. Consequently it makes a great deal of sense to spend some money and remodel a bathroom, even if you do not plan on being in the house for a long time.

A bathroom remodeling project however can be a messy and annoying home improvement project. Frequently bathrooms are right off bedrooms or in the master bedroom. Consequently they can cause significant disruptions and cleanliness issues with your home. And the length of the disruption can take as long as a month or more, even when well planned out.

To mitigate the disruption of a bathroom remodeling project, planning is absolutely essential. The first item to consider is whether you will do it yourself, or hire a general contractor. Regardless of what route, a homeowner needs to first sketch out some bathroom remodeling ideas to ensure the bathroom design and cost estimates will meet their targeted functional requirements and budget. If a general contractor is to be hired these initial sketches will be helpful in communicating your bathroom remodeling plans and ideas.

During the planning phase, you should identify the main objectives of the future bathroom. Is a Jacuzzi or whirlpool tub desired? Is a pedestal sink preferred over a traditional vanity? You should research the latest products on the market including: cabinets/vanities, countertops, toilets, shower/tubs and flooring. Also, homeowners are now more frequently using tile in bathrooms, both on the floors and walls. Tile adds a look of elegance to a bathroom that is not captured with vinyl or Linoleum flooring materials.

It is also important to consider any structural changes to the existing bathroom area. In particular, if a Jacuzzi or whirlpool tub is to be installed a deck area will probably need to be framed in. In addition, if overhead lighting is desired then soffits may need to be framed in.

Your initial sketches of your bathroom remodeling plan should include the basic layout of the bathroom with the toilet, shower/tub and vanity locations identified. In addition, dimensions should be included in the sketches. Also, if there are already known preferred manufacturers for the various bathroom utilities then they should also be included on the sketches. Once the sketches have been completed it is time to contact a remodeling general contractor. They should be able to work from your sketches to develop a firm fixed quotation on the bathroom remodeling project.

For more help on remodeling your bathroom, see's Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your bathroom remodeling project goes smoothly and you get the finished bathroom you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that your remodeled bathroom will be accomplished on time and on budget. Readmore »»

Friday, April 7, 2006

Share Your Home Facts and Photos on

Is your home your Castle? Then let the world see it!

Share Facts and Photos of your House or Latest Home Remodeling Project

A webpage for each House and Home Remodeling Project at

Show off your CASTLE and/or tell us about your latest home improvement project. We want to hear the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on your latest home improvement project.

Add your house or latest home improvement project at HomeAdditionPlusShareHome. We will create a separate page for it and enable site visitors to view your castle and hear your stories about your latest home improvement project.

Mark J. Donovan
Editor and Publisher of and Readmore »»

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

How to Plan for a Kitchen Remodeling or Renovation Project

Deciding to remodel your kitchen is one of the best investments you can make. The kitchen is where people spend most of their waking hours while at home. It is where they cook, eat, and gather with the family. It is also where they talk and share ideas about the latest trends and fashions. Consequently, it is not surprising that the kitchen would be on the top of the list of home improvement projects. Having an up to date, modern kitchen, allows people not only to function better with new cabinets and appliances, but also enables them to feel that they are indeed living in modern society.

Kitchen remodeling however can be a very messy and disruptive home improvement project. And the length of the disruption can take as long as a month or more, even when well planned out.

To mitigate the disruption of a kitchen renovation project, planning is absolutely essential. The first item to consider is whether you will do it yourself, or hire a general contractor. Regardless of what route, a homeowner needs to first sketch out some kitchen remodeling ideas to ensure the kitchen design and costs will meet their targeted functional requirements and budget. If a general contractor is to be hired these initial sketches will be helpful in communicating your kitchen remodeling plans and ideas.

During the planning phase, the homeowner should identify the main objectives of the future kitchen. They should research the latest products on the market including: cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring. If the kitchen is more than 5 years old, there are a lot of new products to choose from. For example, Silestone is quickly surpassing Granite and Corian, as the premier countertop surface as it is extremely hard, elegant in appearance, and comes in many colors. For cabinets, the trend appears to be towards lighter colors as they help the appearance of lightening and enlarging a room. In regards to appliances, the Stainless Steel look appears to be in. And for flooring, vinyl or wood is the trend. Tile looks nice, however, it can be unforgiving in a room where things tend to get dropped. In addition, if there is no radiant heating planned for the floor, tile has the tendency to feel cold on the feet.

It is also important to consider any structural changes to the existing kitchen area. Is a new kitchen island desired, or will walls or doorways need to be moved or installed?

When developing your kitchen remodeling plan, it is important to note that professional kitchen designers like to think of a triangle when starting a new kitchen design. The three points of the triangle include the Sink, Refrigerator, and Stove. Make sure your sketches consider this, as it will ensure a good functional kitchen. Also, consider adequate walking areas and space for an eating area, such as a table or center island, with applicable space included for chairs. I would suggest that the walking areas be wide enough for two people to walk through at the same time.

The sketches should also include dimensions, as these will be needed when meeting with the general contractor or kitchen designer. Finally, consider where the existing outlets and power for the stove are, and assess if additional outlets will be needed or old outlets relocated.

For more help on remodeling your kitchen, see’s Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your kitchen remodeling project goes smoothly and you get the finished kitchen you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that your remodeled kitchen will be accomplished on time and on budget.

About the Author: By Mark J. Donovan. Over the past 20+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more home improvement information visit and Readmore »»