UPVC Back Door Options

upcs-doorsTraditionally, doors have been made from wood, but now there are a lot more options that don’t require quite as much maintenance. For example, UPVC is one material that is becoming more and more popular with householders in the manufacture of windows, doors and other products, such as soffits, fascia boards and guttering. UPVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and has a tough GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) coating that has lots of benefits – it’s heat resistant, doesn’t expand or contract, and is resistant to ultraviolet rays, which means it won’t discolor or crack from the elements.

UPVC doors can help reduce energy costs. They better seat heat indoors in winter and allow rooms to remain cooler in summer. They are excellent at reducing draughts and lowering noise levels. Air-tight seals ensure dust particles, germs and pollen are unable to get in, making life more enjoyable for those who suffer from allergies in the summer months.

One of the main concerns for householders when considering renovations is how much is it all going to cost? UPVC is one of the cheaper options to replacing rotting timber windows and doors, and once they are fitted then they are guaranteed to last for years. Additionally, maintenance on UPVC doors is minimal. They are fireproof, to boot.
UPVC doors are available in a diverse array of styles, colors and wood grain finishes. They are available in a glazed style that allows light to flood in, or in a solid version to provide extra security. They can be fitted with strong cylinder looks, toughened glass. Their unyielding construction provides additional safety against forced entry.
Also, consider bi folding doors for a contemporary, architecturally and striking look to the back area of your house. Also available in UPVC, these concertina style doors are unique and are a great way to connect the interior of the house with the outdoor space. Easily folded back, they open up the room to allow for a greater area for relaxing, dining or just hanging out. They’re also particularly useful for access if someone in the family has mobility problems.

Bi-folding doors are affordable, with a simple functionality, using a bottom or top rail concertina mechanism, rather than a top-hung system. To take full advantage of the large panes of glass and the amount of natural light it lets in, the door system has slim panel gaps, which also boosts its visual attractiveness.

Look online for trustworthy UPVC manufacturers who can provide guarantees and offer high standards as well as delivery.

Courtesy of ArticleCity.com

“Aging In Place”: Senior-Friendly Remodeling Tips

aging in placeIn the last few years, there’s been a significant adjustment in what is being offered to enable people to “age in place.” The trend is to provide alternatives that don’t give a home the feel of “an old folks’ home.”

As the baby boomer generation ages, the market for attractive, senior-friendly products has grown, as well. Nowadays, manufacturers are tempting buyers with things like grab bars that make you think “pretty,” rather than “old;” kitchen drawers that make you think “wow,” rather than “useful,” and kitchen faucets with temperature presets that make you think “elegant” rather than “avoids burns.”

Here are some other ideas for “updating,” rather than “senior-proofing” your home:

Changing the color inside a drawer makes it contents easier to see.

Installing LED strips around medicine cabinets or in drawers also helps people to see what’s inside more easily. LEDs don’t get hot, and they’re discreet and efficient.

Manufacturers have come up with a stepstool device that can be installed under a cabinet and can be opened with a light kick to the door.

There’s a trend towards drawers and cabinets that open by gentle touch and close automatically.

Bathtubs are now available with one side that can be raised and lowered with minimum pressure. Some are also available with a protruding seat. This has proven to be useful not just for seniors or for physically-challenged individuals who might need to transfer themselves from a wheelchair into the tub, but also for young parents who can sit there to bathe their children.

Battery-operated faucets are now available that will sense the body’s electric current and will turn on automatically if a human is within four inches, and turns off with a touch or within seconds after you walk away.

There are now kitchen cabinet designs that incorporate a drawer which holds stacks of plates and makes them easier to lift out, rather than removing plates from an overhead cabinet or shelf.

There’s no question that the aging of the baby-boom generation has fueled many such design innovations. People who no longer can get at pots and pans easily or set out  a spread for a party might feel less confident and less inclined to entertain.  This starts to isolate them.

This new trend in product design not only is helping a significant portion of the population to remain in their homes longer, but also to be more vibrant and more socially connected. This is a wave that is only going to get stronger as more of the population moves into the senior demographic.

20 Budget-Friendly Ways To Make Your Home More Livable

Budget friendly home improvementChallenging economic times may have you tabling major home projects like doing a major kitchen overhaul or adding a swimming pool, but that doesn’t mean that you should forego smaller, budget-friendly upgrades. There are many things you can have done that can really improve the look and the livability of your home, for mere hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars.

“Smaller projects can give homeowners immediate gratification. In just a few hours, we can paint your front door or update the hardware in your kitchen and suddenly your house has a fresh new look,” says Andy Bell, President and CEO of Handyman Matters. We asked Handyman Matters’ Bell to give us the top 20 projects he recommends for homeowners who want to protect their investment in their homes without breaking the bank. Before hiring someone to tackle anything on the list, he cautions homeowners to make sure that the business is reputable, offers a materials and labor guarantee and uses craftsmen who are experienced and trained to do the job you’re asking for.

  1. Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to make a big impact. If you don’t want to spring for a total exterior paint job, consider staining or painting the front door or your shutters in a bold, rich color.
  2. Install new accessories in your bathroom and transform the whole look of your room. Towel bars, mirrors, shelving, Pedestal sinks or modern vessel-styled sinks give maximum style with minimal effort.
  3. Safety upgrades like adding brighter light bulbs, replacing locks, or installing grab bars in the shower can bring peace of mind. Consider having it done for your parents as a gift. It may not be glamorous, but it is practical and shows you care.
  4. Outdoor living is the hot home improvement right now. Have a deck or patio built, and your backyard becomes a haven for partygoers.
  5. It’s like the fashionistas always say: accessories are what makes the difference. Get rid of your 50s-era cabinet hardware and have shiny new pulls and knobs installed. In just a couple of hours your kitchen has a whole new look.

15 More budget-friendly ideas:

  1. Install shelving & organizers
  2. Install low voltage under cabinet lighting
  3. Seal and stain deck
  4. Replace door knobs
  5. Install new fixtures
  6. Install weather-stripping
  7. Replace or add shower doors
  8. Install new railings
  9. Paint garage doors
  10. Install screen doors
  11. Install new counters
  12. Regrout or caulk tile
  13. Replace entryway tile
  14. Upgrade landscaping
  15. Resurface fireplace

The professional craftsmen of Handyman Matters have expertise in thousands of home repair and home improvement projects. To find a location near you visit, www.HandymanMatters.com

10 Ways To Save Money On Home Improvement Tips

This post is from Rob Jones, chief blogger and marketer at online flooring and other building materials company, BuildDirect. Rob writes about how to save money and stay within budget during a tough economy.

save money on home improvementThe simple fact is this. Sometimes, home improvements still need to be done, even in a struggling economy.

Sometimes this is because recessions tend to make selling properties harder, which creates a need to spruce up a property to make it more salable. Or, a home improvement project could be about necessary maintenance when you plan to stay in a property, which seems a more common trend these days. And the tendency for things to wear down over time doesn’t heed a recession.

So, what do you do when saving money on these kinds of projects isn’t just a nice-to-have? Well, here are 10 ways to make the most of your home improvement budget, whether you’re looking to do it yourself, to hire a professional, or some combination of the two.

1. Research, Knowledge, and Planning.
OK, I suppose these are really three items here. But, they’re related. And maybe this is an obvious one you’ve already taken into account. But, that’s how important this aspect of things is. Spending the time in getting a base of knowledge about building materials, budget concerns, and reputable contractors is your best bet to outlining where best to spend your money with the most return on your investment. Simply put, planning ahead and getting a bird’s eye view can help you avoid costly oversights at all stages of your project.

2. Hire A Reputable Contractor
When it comes to hiring credible contractors, it is smarter to pay more to get things right the first time, than it is to continually pay more later to address errors. And when interviewing prospects for home improvement contracts, don’t forget to ask your contractor the right questions. In the end, the right person for the job works out to be much cheaper.

3. Be a Savvy Negotiator
Part of keeping within budget is all in the negotiation skills. When you’ve engaged a contractor (see above), make sure that you have control of the pricing, especially when it comes to payment upon satisfactory completion of a job. Even when shopping for materials, your negotiation skills can make all of the difference to staying within your budget. But, more on that in a second.

4. Shop For Your Own Materials
Maintaining control over your own budget is important, once you’ve done your research. If you can cut down on the time a contractor will spend on research and shopping for you can also cut down on your bill when the job is done. And you can ensure that the materials used are top quality, and that no corners are cut to preserve your contractor’s fee.

5. Buy Online
OK, disclosure time. If you haven’t noticed, I work for a company that sells building materials online. So, this may look kind of self-serving. But, the simple fact is this; when companies don’t have the overhead costs of bricks-and-mortar locations, there are savings to be had. And (in our case) the demands of getting building materials in large quantities directly from the place they’re made and into your hands when you need them will cost you less without sacrificing on quality. When in the position where a large scale project is an absolute requirement, buying online with these conditions in place is your best option.

6. Get Those Manufacturer Rebates!
In this age of green building, and in heavy competition between manufacturers for your consumer dollar, it makes sense to see where you can leverage offered rebates and incentives related to energy savings after a purchase. This is the part where your research can allow you to see who has the most compelling rebate program. Make it one of the first things you ask , particularly when buying tools or appliances.

7. Concentrate On The Smaller Projects
As the Good Book, and 60s folk-rockers the Byrds (via Pete Seeger), tell us: for everything, there is a season (turn, turn, turn, if you will). Sometimes, those big jobs, as important as they are, can wait while a recession rages. In the meantime, there are often smaller, and therefore less costly, projects that can make a big difference to how comfortable your are in your home. Completed smaller projects can make an unexpected difference not only to the look of your space, but to how you experience it, too.

8. Use Re-Purposed Materials
You’d be surprised what people will give away for free or sell very cheaply, including materials that you can re-purpose for your home improvement projects. Check out Craigslist to see about things like mirrors, or used lumber, or extra tiles leftover from someone else’s project. Otherwise, if there’s a rebuilding center nearby, investigate it to find what you’re looking for. Not only is it a smarter use of your resources, it’s a smarter use of everyone’s resources.

9. Invest in Efficiency
Maybe it seems counter-intuitive, but when it comes to things like new, Energy Star appliances, an upfront costs can make all the difference to a long term expense. This is what I mean by investing in efficiency. Energy Star appliances, new windows, and even bigger ticket items like skylights which reduce your need for lighting during daylight hours, can take a chunk right out of your energy bills. And if you’re looking to re-sell at some point, it can add to the sale price too.

10. Do-It-Yourself
In the end, this is a great question to ask: can I do that job myself? As mentioned, sometimes hiring a professional is absolutely the more inexpensive thing to do in terms of avoiding costly errors, and saving on the time spent. But, depending on your skills and experience, sometimes taking care of that key project yourself is just the ticket. Seek out seminars on things like flooring installation, or tile setting. Lowes and Home Depot regularly host them for free. And then, go for it! The pride of accomplishment can be a significant benefit to go along with the money you can save.

Rob authors the BuildDirect blog and the BuildDirect Green Building blog, too. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuildDirect.

June Home Maintenance Tips

June is here! Here is a short home repair checklist to help you avoid expensive repairs later and keep your home safe and efficient.

  • Tighten Loose Screws & Nails on Porches & Fences – Wood expands and contracts with changing temperatures and weather.  Boards will loosen and warp if not maintained.  To ensure your porch or fence lasts, tighten screws and hammer protruding nails carefully to make sure you don’t cause the wood to crack by over tightening.
  • Test & Adjust Gates – The bottom boards can break and gates can sag as they get older.  Boards may need to be replaced and sagging can be fixed by adding diagonal cross bars of woven metal or wood to straighten.  Gates can also sag if they do not have enough hinges.  To save money, many fences are built with 2’ x 3’s instead of 2’ x 4’s and 2 or 3 hinges are used instead of 4.  If a sagging gate has less than 4 hinges, adding hinges will prevent future sagging.
  • Clean & Seal Fence and Porch Area – Do this once each year to extend fence and porch life.  Make sure that once you use one kind of product for this that you continue to only use the same type product every year in the future to prevent any incompatibility problems.
  • Fill Up All Sinks & Check Drains for Leaks – Visually check for leaks and check drain speed by filling up sinks and watching how fast they drain.  If you’ve noticed water build up in the sink, while using it, it’s at least partially clogged.  Use a natural product like Bio-Clean to unclog your drainpipes.
  • Change Furnace Air Filters – Filter out allergens and keep your furnace running efficiently by changing your air filters.  We recommend microbial type filters. Change monthly or as recommended by manufacturer.
  • Test All Smoke or CO Detectors Push the button on the unit to check it – a few minutes doing this each month could save your family’s life in a fire.
  • Have Air Ducts Cleaned Every Other Year – It’s important to make sure the service you choose uses equipment that sucks and scrapes anything inside the ducts out to their truck or at least outside your house.  Make sure to use a service that provides video of the before and after and that any seams that need to be patched are patched with metal tape, not fabric.

12 Steps To “Going Green” In Your Home

go green at homeIt’s easy to talk a good game about going green, but not always as easy to walk that talk.  But here, with the assistance Dan Fritschen, the owner of remodelormove.com and a practiced hand at implementing reasonable ways to be greener at home, is a list of easy-to-implement practices and products for reducing your home’s carbon footprint:

  1. Don’t rebuild or remodel from scratch without considering re-purposing what you already have on hand.  Remember to weigh disposal costs and landfill burden.  In the case of cabinets, for example, re-face, don’t replace.  When possible, use other’s cast-offs.  Check out www.freecycle.org to find everything from free cabinets to windows to light fixtures.
  2. Choose sustainable or recycled materials when updating floors.  Farmed oak, bamboo and cork all offer greener, comparatively affordable flooring choices.  Tiles made of ground-up discarded porcelain sinks and toilets also look better than you’d think.
  3. Use Low-VOC paints. These have fewer volatile organic compounds and are easier on the planet.  Also, you won’t get a paint headache while using them.
  4. Opt for green sheets. Linens made of organic cottons are usually pesticide-free.
  5. Save water with every flush. This is an oldy-but-a-goody, and well worth remembering.  If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, then put a brick in your toilet tank.
  6. Consider motion-sensitive lights or put outdoor lights on timers.  Even better, install solar lights outside.  These soak up the sun’s rays all day and give them back at night.
  7. Put dimmers on light switches. For every ten percent you dim the light, you save the same amount in electricity and you double the life of the bulb.  If you dim by 50 percent, you cut your lighting bill in half and extend the bulb’s life five times.
  8. Switch disposable for reusable. Use cloth instead of paper towels and napkins, and washable plastic containers instead of disposable plastic bags for lunch.
  9. Be a borrower and a lender. If you’re going to need a tool or a piece of equipment only once or temporarily, borrow or rent it.
  10. Look for Energy-Star rated appliances. They save on energy bills and are easier on the environment.
  11. Buy antiques or secondhand furniture. The world has enough stuff.  Let’s fix it up and pass it around.

When it Comes to Windows and Doors, Play it Safe!

Window and Door SafetyBelieve it or not, windows and doors can present potential hazards in your home. According to the National Centers for Disease Control, up to one-third of home accidents can be prevented with modifications and repairs. The following are recommendations for window and door universal design elements to help ensure safety in your home:

  • Doorways and hallways should be a minimum of 36 inches wide.
  • Place doors to allow for 18 to 24 inches clearance on the door handle side to easily open and close doors.
  • Door thresholds should be no more than 1/2 inch high above the adjacent floor. If you prefer, install mini-ramps or transition wedges.
  • Door locks should be sturdy yet easy to operate. Consider keyless locking systems for maximum convenience.
  • Install a pocket door if you don’t have the floor space necessary for a hinged door.
  • Select front doors with a view panel to make it easy to see who’s arrived at your door.
  • For added privacy on sidelights and patio doors, consider options like the cordless between-the-glass blinds and shades on Pella’s Designer Series sidelight collection so that you can enjoy a view and still conveniently cover the opening at desired times.
  • Make sure windows are easy to unlock, open, close and lock, and require minimal maintenance.
  • For greater safety and convenience, select double-hung windows that tilt in for easy cleaning, or casement units that open with the maximum clearance to allow easy access to both the exterior and interior glass surfaces from inside the building.

Your home houses what is most important – your family! Keep them safe by following these helpful tips, and don’t forget, if you need assistance making these modifications and updates to your house, your local Handyman Matters is just a phone call away. 866-FIX-MY-HOME.