Steps to Reduce Bathroom Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that about 235,000 people go to emergency rooms each year with injuries sustained in bathrooms. Such mishaps increase with age, and accidents related to falls getting in and out of the bathtub are particularly hazardous and frequently fatal for seniors. Most of these catastrophes are easily avoidable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that about 235,000 people go to emergency rooms each year with injuries sustained in bathrooms.  Such mishaps increase with age, and accidents related to falls getting in and out of the bathtub are particularly hazardous and frequently fatal for seniors.  Most of these catastrophes are easily avoidable.

Advances in design and technology have brought all kinds of new products to the market, including curbless showers (removing the “stumble” factor), taller toilets and lighting that is layered in such a way as to prevent glare.

Tubs with water-sealant doors are readily available.  Grab bars no longer have to look institutional, but are more easily incorporated into a bathroom’s design and serve additional functions such as soap and shampoo holders.  Flip-up shower seats and hand-held shower heads have been around for decades, and are more functional and user-friendly now than ever.

Motion sensors on lighting and dimmer switches allow for handier access.  Adequate lighting becomes increasingly important as we age:  By 40, the average person begins to notice diminution in vision, and by age 60, we need three times as much light to see as effectively as we did when we were in our 20s.

Other new design features that increase safety and decrease the opportunity for mishaps include no-touch faucets, lever handles to replace doorknobs, drawers that can be opened with a nudge, and counters with knee space beneath, allowing for sitting and wheelchair access.

Lowering storage space to the point of use (shelves at waist-level, for example) is another improvement in bathroom safety design.  Features like these reduce hazards substantially and can allow people to remain living independently in their homes for a considerably longer period of time than they might be able to do otherwise.

For more tips on safety-proofing your bathroom or for assistance in remodeling, contact Handyman Matters at 1-800-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location near you.

Expert Advice: Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is becoming increasingly popular as more and more homeowners are using green materials in their homes to reduce their carbon footprint. Cork flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees that grow mostly in southern Europe, and strict guidelines ensure that the trees are unharmed during the harvesting process.

Cork flooring is becoming increasingly popular as more and more homeowners are using green materials in their homes to reduce their carbon footprint.  Cork flooring is made from the bark of cork oak trees that grow mostly in southern Europe, and strict guidelines ensure that the trees are unharmed during the harvesting process.

Benefits of Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is a good option for high traffic areas of your home because it is resilient and provides more cushioning than other flooring options.  Another benefit is that cork is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mildew and mold growth, as well as invasive organisms, making it a good choice for people who have environmental allergies.  It’s available in many colors, some occurring naturally in the bark and others man-made.

It requires minimal maintenance and can help with sound proofing.  Cork stores heat, making it warmer than most flooring options.  Also, it naturally absorbs shock which makes it a superior flooring option for individuals who have issues with their joints.

Drawbacks of Cork Flooring

Cork is more expensive than some other flooring types and should be installed by a professional.   It can be damaged by heavy furniture, so you should use pads to lessen the impact.  Cork is not a good flooring choice for people with pets, because animals’ toenails can damage the floor. It is sensitive to light, so shouldn’t be installed in rooms where the floor is regularly exposed to direct sunlight.  It is water-resistant, but will soak up spills if they aren’t cleaned up quickly.

The Bottom Line

Cork is an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious families, and can serve you well for years to come.  But it’s prudent to consider your lifestyle and the type of use to which it will be exposed.   Under the right conditions, cork is a comfortable flooring choice that excels in insulation and warmth.  Exposed to pets or frequent spillage, it may not be your best choice.

For assistance in installing cork flooring—and for other remodeling and repair needs—contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.

Summer Organizing For Your Garage

The best starting point for getting your garage in order is to separate items seasonally, which is why summer is an ideal time to undertake the task. And in summer, it’s time anyway to put away those winter items (snow shovel, snow blower, boots, skis, Christmas decorations, bags of de-icer, etc.) that you won’t be using again for another six months.

The best starting point for getting your garage in order is to separate items seasonally, which is why summer is an ideal time to undertake the task.  And in summer, it’s time anyway to put away those winter items (snow shovel, snow blower, boots, skis, Christmas decorations, bags of de-icer, etc.) that you won’t be using again for another six months.

Put all of these to one side (or in the yard or driveway) to give yourself the necessary maneuvering room to pull out the summer-friendly items that will see a lot of use in the coming months.  Pull all of these to one side, as well.

With the space you’ve cleared, you have the opportunity to do a couple of things including inventory taking inventory of what’s left and dusting/sweeping the vacated areas.

Are there unlabeled boxes, bags and trunks?  Now is the ideal time to inspect each and to take a moment to label each for future reference.  Use the same strategy for arranging these as you do the seasonal items.  Start with a simple list:

 

  1.  The things you will need easy access to
  2.  The things you aren’t likely to need either in an emergency or anytime soon
  3.  The things you don’t need at all

 

Be honest with yourself about item #3.  There’s nothing wrong with having a sentimental attachment to a few things, but let’s face it.  The line that distinguishes a smart saver from someone who’s simply a hoarder comes down to realizing that you can’t be sentimental about EVERYTHING.

After things are winnowed down and the remainder dusted and tidied and the floor swept (or perhaps hosed down), inspect your available storage space.  Could you do with some more shelving or a pegboard on which you can hang small items for quick and easy access?  Now would be the perfect time to make this type of adjustment.

Obviously, the winter items should be stored next, in the less-accessible areas, followed by the summer tools and recreational items, as well as those items likely to see everyday use (hammer, saw, screwdriver, tire pump, broom, rake, etc.).

Now is also the ideal time to make sure that tools and appliances are in good working order.  Check electrical cords for frayed sections; clean and rewind extension cords.  Position ladders horizontally or in other ways that will discourage children or pets from climbing on them.  Store paints and other potentially harmful chemicals on high shelves, taking care not to confine them in small spaces where spontaneous combustion could occur.  Check and change batteries in your flashlights and smoke detectors.

This cleaning phase is also the ideal time to check the garage flooring to make sure concrete isn’t chipped or cracked, and that mold and fungus aren’t gaining a foothold in those dank corners.

All of this sounds like a massive undertaking, and it certainly can be just that.  But it’s a rewarding one that reaps great benefits in safety and convenience.  If tackling this type of undertaking is more than you feel comfortable doing, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist in all aspects of garage cleaning, from repairing concrete floors to building shelves, to installing smoke detectors and anything in between.

For assistance, call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at the top of the page to find a location near you.

 

Choosing the Right Doors and Windows for your Home

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat the seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat that seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

  • Windows

Older windows can cause a huge amount of wasted energy when it comes to heating and cooling your home. In fact, just the heat lost through the windows of an average home accounts for 10-25% of its heating costs.

New windows are designed with this problem in mind, and they have been improved in several ways. For one thing, they are double-paned, and each pane is coated with a UV protective film. This will reduce the strain on your air conditioner, especially in the hottest months of summer. In between the panes, a low-emissivity gas is injected, which will further insulate and slow down the transfer of heat.

  • Doors

Traditionally exterior doors have been made from wood, which is not a particularly good insulating material. This means that it allows hot and cold air to pass in and out of your house, regardless of how hard your air conditioner or heater is working.

If efficiency is your priority, consider a steel or fiberglass skin with a foam insulation core. These doors will slow down the rate of heat or cooling transfer between the exterior and interior, and some will be five times as insulating as its solid wood counterpart. Another advantage of these new doors is the magnetic strip that is often built in, which will serve as weather stripping and create a tighter seal against the outside.

If your home has a sliding glass door, you’ll want to keep in mind the same information used when shopping for energy efficient windows. If the door opens, you’ll be losing energy, but you can reduce the amount of waste by choosing the right product and ensuring that it is installed properly.

Author Info:

Frank Newhouse is a freelance writer who enjoys helping other homeowners save money and reduce their environmental impact. He currently writes for Air Conditioning Florida which helps people in the Orlando area stay cool by locating the air conditioning services they need.