Advantages Of Exterior Venetian Blinds

exterior-venetian-blindsPreviously, exterior shades were only placed in commercial buildings like storefronts and showrooms. They were used to enhance security rather than for aesthetic purposes. Today, they have been re-engineered and remodeled so exterior Venetian blinds are also being used in houses.

Material

They are available in a variety of materials including metal, wood, aluminum and fabricated materials. They can be custom made to suit individual personal tastes and preferences. They can also be cut to fit precisely. Those that are to be used commercially such as over showrooms can be made of steel to also offer enhanced security. Steel blinds will usually be fashioned from stamped and pressed steel slats that have a membrane in between. The membrane gives them flexibility so that they can be rolled up.

Operation

These and other kinds of Venetian external shades are operable, meaning that they can be open and shut. One of the slats will have a handle that is built in for this. The blinds will have an upper and lower frame that reinforces them when they are shut. The heavy duty commercial ones will often be open and closed mechanically using a remote control.

Commercial

Commercial ones can also be used as a medium of advertising. They can have a logo or other design imprinted on them. If the design is well done, a logo or other imprint appears seamless. Commercial ones will usually be finished with paint retardant that ensures graffiti cannot adhere on them when they are down. Most of them have a lock that is attached to the one that is on the doorway. The blinds can also be placed over wide doorways and a remote can be used to slide them into the required position.

Technology

The most popular kind of exterior Venetian blinds are those with beaded slats. They are made with advanced technology that makes them rust proof and long lasting. They also come in various colors and designs so they offer a lot of aesthetic value.

Guide Rails

There are also those with a cable that have a delicate design and a stack height that is small. The flat slat blinds with guide rails are another option. They have flat slats and guide rails and small stack heights that make it possible to greatly enhance the look of a home.

Z-Shape

Obscuring shades are another alternative. These have Z-shaped slats that make them ideal for blacking out a room. The Z-shape facilitates tight slat closure and the plastic sealing at the front of the slats covers every gap so no light gets through.

Asymmetrical ones that can go over most asymmetrical windows that give a harmonized appearance are also available. The double section blind that comes in two sections can be separately adjusted and can go over sash or double windows.There is also the front mounted blind. They offer sun protection especially in the living room while also enhancing privacy. They can be controlled manually or mechanically. there are an array of designs sizes and colors available, there are exterior Venetian blinds for all homes and premises another option to consider is exterior sun control louvers.

Courtesy of EzineArticles.com

Give Your Windows A New Lease Of Life

interior-windowIf you’re considering changes to your windows, then take time to assess what you’d like your window fitter to achieve. Are yours a distinctive architectural feature or run-of-the-mill cheap replacements? Are they made from appropriate materials? Are they poorly sized or poorly framed?

Also, their condition is important. Get your window fitter to take a good look at them and tell you whether your frames are suffering from rot or letting in a draft. Do the windows let in enough light? Is there condensation on the inside of the glass? Can the windows be open to let in fresh air? Is there too much noise from outside traffic or neighboring homes?
By answering these questions, you’ll help define the positive and negative aspects, and what work needs to be done by your window fitter. It may come down to as little as stripping the paint from frames if the windows are in good condition. If the windows are generally fine but allow some draft, a window fitter can install better draft excluders. And if you have wooden sash windows that no longer function properly, then a specialist window fitter can re-cord them if you aren’t looking for replacements. You can also have your fitter install window locks, particularly on the ground floor. Toughened glass and double glazing will also help to deter intruders.

If the best option is simply to replace windows, you can opt for wooden framing or UPVC, which requires little ongoing maintenance.

Finally, don’t forget that window dressing will have a big impact on the look and feel of your home. For a more modern look, consider replacing heavy draperies with blinds or wooden shutters. If you wish to stay with curtains, look into heavily textured fabrics. For a bit of fun, you can paint the frames a bright color or install window boxes to vary the look in spring and summer.

Windows are a vital part of defining the character and feel of a building. Even small alternations can impact your home’s appearance.

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How to Bring Some Daylight Into Your Basement

basement-windowEven if your house sits quite a bit lower in the ground with barely any basement wall exposed, it is still possible to install a light-bringing window by re-grading the soil along the basement wall on the side of the house. If that is impractical or too expensive to do on a large scale, then you can dig a window well. It is important to remember, however, that the grade at the bottom of each window is at least 4 to 6 inches below the window frame, so that rain water and melting snow can drain away from, rather than leak in, the sill. The same rule applies to your yard around the basement wall — allow sufficient space below the window frame for drainage.

An experience do-it-yourselfer can complete the job him—or her—self using the following steps. Depending on your available time and personal skill set, it may be easier and less frustrating to hire a professional to take it from here. With that caution in mind, here are the steps to follow:

You should wait until you have the actual window in hand before making the opening. If building your own custom bay window, it should be completed in advance so you can make the frame and opening to match. A stock window does not need to be double hung, but a casement window will be easier to open. Pre-assembled, ready-to-install bay and bow windows are also available in standard sizes. You may want to consider these before making the rough opening, or before building your own.

After your window location has been scouted out and the yard graded and lowered, create the opening for your window. All windows fit within a rough opening in the wall framing, so you will need to measure and mark where this opening will be. This rough opening is slightly larger than the overall dimensions of the window, measured at the outside edge of the jambs, and the extra space allows the window to be plumbed and leveled as needed. With a purchased standard window, there will be instructions for the size of the rough opening you will need to make. In this basement example, the measurement should be the dimensions of the window plus 2 additional inches. These extra 2 inches are for the wooden frame you will be building into the opening to attach the actual window to.

Always be sure to have the following safety items available for your protection: safety glasses, gloves, and a proper dust mask or respirator.
If your basement wall is made from cement block, you can break through it with a cold chisel and hammer. If your foundation wall is made from poured concrete, then a power chisel or a rented jackhammer should do the trick.

After the opening has been made, smooth the edges of the hole and butter those edges with a stiff mortar mix. Next, set in a 3-sided wooden frame of at least 2-inch-thick lumber that is as wide as the cement block or concrete is thick. The existing horizontal house plate that contacts the concrete basement wall from the floor above can serve as the top of the frame and the fourth side if your window is high up on the basement wall. Otherwise, make a 4-sided frame.

Plumb and level this frame while the mortar is still wet. This is the rough opening itself.
After the mortar has dried, set the window into the frame, line it up flush with the outside edges of the frame and carefully nail it into the 2 inch rough frame on all sides. Depending on how the window was built, you may be able to drive the nails into the rough frame parallel to the wall if it is a wood frame window, or, if it is in a metal casing, there will be a flange or edge you can use to nail perpendicular to the wall into the edges of the rough frame. Other possibilities exist; use your window as a guide if no instructions came with it or if it is custom built.

After it has been nailed into place, use narrow wooden trim on both the inside and the outside to surround the window and hide the attachment framing. You may want to put a small bit of insulation around the framed window before applying the trim, to lessen heat loss through the frame.

Note: If you live in an area that gets snow, check the snow level around the basement wall and window. Snow that has melted near the wall or window indicates heat loss. If this occurs, you may need to remove the trim, re-install your insulation and seal it a bit better.

10 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

What Is A Carbon Footprint?

carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon gas is emitted into the environment. Studies show that these types of carbon emissions have a potentially negative impact on the environment, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Most of us would like to do the right thing for the environment.

Here are 10 ways you can lower your carbon footprint:

  1. For starters, use the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements.home energy yardstick
  2. Add insulation. Additional insulation is one of the top ways to make a home more energy efficient, as it protects against air loss and saves money on utility bills.
  3. Replace your windows with double-pain, low-E glass. This is an expensive upgrade, but over time saves a considerable amount in energy costs.
  4. Use energy-efficient appliances. Newer, more modern appliances are designed with efficiency to lessen harmful effects on the environment. If your appliances are more than ten years old, consider upgrading to Energy Star rated models.
  5. Change your driving habits. Cars are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Carpool, bicycle, walk, and learn to consolidate your errands so that you are behind the wheel less often.
  6. Eat less beef. Raising cattle is a costly venture and cattle produce a lot of methane gas. Land is cleared of trees to create grazing land for cattle, and trees are important in reducing greenhouse gas.
  7. Look for ways to conserve water. Install a low-flow showerhead. In your yard or garden, incorporate landscape designs that minimize water consumption. Be more mindful of every time you turn on a tap, and don’t allow it to run longer than necessary.
  8. Buy and shop locally. Purchase products that have minimal packaging.
  9. Unplug unused appliances that could be drawing a current even when not in use. Replace standard light bulbs and use compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs instead.
  10. Recycle and re-use, everything from shopping bags to scrap lumber.

It really isn’t difficult to make a few choices to have a more energy efficient, eco-friendly lifestyle. By living green, you will feel better, live more comfortably, and be doing the right thing for the environment.

Do You Know How To Use Window Coverings?

window-converWindow coverings serve an important role in your home, giving you privacy and also protecting your furniture and décor from the harshness of prolonged, direct sunlight. But the range of choices is so wide, including blinds, shades, shutters and curtains, that some homeowners have a hard time deciding which they prefer, or whether they can mix their window coverings according to the room where they are installed.

There are no hard and fast rules about what you should use, versus what you could use. The decision is up to your tastes, preferences, and what works with your decorating scheme. What you decide is great for one room, may not fit in another, so you switch from blinds in the bathroom to window shades in the bedroom, and that is just fine, as long as you are happy with the way the décor looks when you’re done.

For example, the living room is where most people entertain visitors and family, and because it is often a public room, people tend to go for more distinguished or striking
window coverings, that may include shutters or curtains, and occasionally a combination of both. Window coverings serve an important role in your home, giving you privacy and also protecting your furniture and décor from the harshness of prolonged, direct sunlight. But the range of choices is so wide, including blinds, shades, shutters and curtains, that some homeowners have a hard time deciding which they prefer, or whether they can mix their window coverings according to the room where they are installed.

A beautiful set of lined drapes, with sheers underneath, and topped by a decorative swag, are not only functional, but very decorative and can be coordinated with the
furniture, or serve as an accent to the overall scheme of a room. Sometimes simplicity creates an equal impact, with a set of antique slatted shutters that fold out from
underneath a pair of brocaded lined drapes.

Window coverings are an expression of your personal tastes. The attention you give the details and accessories that go into making them a part of your home decor, shows your creativity and sense of style.

Courtesy of ArticleBase.com

Author: monika

Save Energy with UPVC Windows

uPVC-WindowsIf you have just moved into an older property that needs improvements, one of the first projects you should concentrate on is insulating your home. The benefits you will achieve include saving money in the long run on energy bills, ensuring your family is nice and warm during the cold weather, and adding value to your home.

Most utility companies have a website where they can work out your home’s current energy bills and consumption from a questionnaire you fill out online. Based on your answers, they make suggestions on ways you can reduce these bills, primarily concentrating on improving your insulation by incorporating draught proofing systems.

The attic is one of the main places where heat tends to escape, since warm air will rise. The walls of your home also need insulation to stop the outside elements from creeping in. If your property is a relatively new build, then rolled insulation should be put in the interior walls. An alternative is to blow in cellulose insulation, either from accessing the interior or exterior walls.

Basements need to be insulated to prevent moisture, cold air and dirt from coming up through the floorboards. Without it, cold air will make its way into the house, causing your heating system to work harder. A significant amount of energy is lost in the process. Consider adding fiber glass insulation between the joists in the crawlspace ceiling to keep the cold out and your home comfortable.

Installing energy-efficient composite doors or UPVC windows will help keep the warm air in where it belongs. UPVC windows and doors, along with attic insulation, will ensure your home is efficiently insulated.

UPVC windows also have other benefits; they can improve the sound insulation of the property by stopping noise from outside from seeping in, and keeping any noise you make from being overheard outside. They provide a high level of security, too, as they are strong and make it considerably more difficult for anyone to break in.

If you are serious about installing new windows and doors, then carry out any research carefully. Don’t just sign up for the first company that crosses your threshold. Pricing on these products can vary widely, so take the time to shop around to discover the best deals and the best materials.

If consulting with professionals, get more than one quote for your windows. To get an accurate comparison, ensure these are for the same specifications and quality with each inquiry. This can serve a double purpose, as well. If you carry a lower quote into the next dealer, you may be able to encourage them to give you a similar or lower price. Many are willing to reduce in order to gain your business.

Do some research online, as well: You’ll find a superb selection of UPVC windows, doors, roofing products and conservatory roof styles to suit every home.

Courtesy of ArticleCity.com

Treatments for Large Windows

large-windowsFloor-length curtains and draperies are the best choice for large windows. These types of window treatments are classic and traditional choices for wide windows. These large curtains and draperies are an excellent alternative to panel track blinds or vertical blinds, which are common choices for modern homes. Also, remember to consider the size and styling of the curtain rod and curtain grommets which also serve as accessories to curtains.

Graphic shapes and patterns on curtains and draperies give a modern feel to a room. Bold colors also liven up a neutral-colored room. These designs provide better dimension and depth to any dull room. However, be careful in choosing colors and patterns when you’re putting in window treatments for smaller rooms. Dark colored treatments should be avoided because they make a small area look even smaller.

Blinds are a whole other deal when it comes to putting them on large windows. It’s much harder to choose blinds. A vertical window blind, such as a vertical blind or panel track sliding blind, usually works best on windows that are wider than they are tall, and they add height and formality to a room. Horizontal window blinds on the other hand, such as wood blinds, work best on windows that are taller than they are wide, and enhance a cozy and casual decor.

If you plan to go for blinds, consider a piece that can cover the size of your window while still providing the light control, privacy and functionality you’re looking for. Wood blinds are very heavy and not a good choice for large windows where the blind needs to be raised often. Try coordinating panel track blinds for your large windows with roman or roller shades on your smaller windows.

Shades as window treatment for large windows can also be a challenge. Solar shades are perfect for large windows especially if the room gets a lot of sun exposure. Solar shades filter harmful UV rays and regulate a nice and comfortable temperature for a room. You should opt for shades that are easy to use and control. A simple roll up and roll down mechanism goes a long way.

Finally, tie in your window treatments with matching beddings and upholstery for a more unified interior design.

by Chris Lontok

Courtesy of ArticleCity.com

How to Clean Windows Quickly and Effectively

window-cleaningWith a task as tedious as cleaning your windows, it’s best to do it right the first time. You don’t want to discover later that the sun is shining through the glass, illuminating the smears and streaks you thought you’d worked so hard to remove.

To do the job properly, it’s a matter of preparation beforehand. Once you get the steps down, you can speed through the task and spend more time enjoying your windows than actually working on them.

Collect the proper tools for the job.

Invest in a strip applicator (also known as a strip washer) with a long cloth head and a squeegee. There are several window cleaning kits that include everything you will need.

A squeegee prevents the action that wiping glass with a cloth will cause: Scrubbing merely moves the dirt around and creates a static charge on the glass which serves to attract even more dirt.

Since streaks are caused by the cleansing solution drying before it can be squeegeed off, it’s always better to wash your windows on a cloudy day.

You can use an industrial cleaner purchased at a store or create your own homemade solution from a few drops of dish soap blended into a bucket of hot water. Keep in mind that the technique you use is much more important than the cleaning product, so don’t be tempted to spend a lot of money on a higher-end product when a cheaper one will probably provide the same results.

Clean both sides of the window.

Apply your solution with the strip applicator all over the glass. Start at the upper left hand section of the window, pulling it over the pane in a reverse-S pattern, unless you are left-handed. Then start at the top right. At the end of each S stroke, wipe the blade with a lint-free cloth. Cloth diapers or old linen napkins are good for this task. Repeat the S motion until the window is largely clear of the solution.

Detail the edges of the glass with a damp (but wrung-dry) chamois. This will soak up the wetness without leaving any streaks.

Dry the windowsill with a rag; excess water can erode windowsills or remove their paint.

When the window is dry, rub it with a well-washed cotton T-shirt or a crumpled newspaper. Either will leave the glass shining, and the newspaper, in fact, will leave behind a dirt-resistant film.

When you move to the other side of the window, be sure to clean it with strokes the opposite direction of the ones you used to clean the first side. That way, if you see a streak when you are finished, you will immediately know which side of the glass it’s on.

Windows should really be washed twice a year, as soon as it gets warm enough outside in the spring and just prior to the autumn cool-down. If you follow these steps, you can soon have your window-washing down to a science.

 

Ten Simple Ways To Make Your Home Safe For Every Generation Who Lives In It

Most of us start life depending on our parents to take care of us. But as they age, chances are the roles will reverse. And, whether you provide additional help in their own homes – or move aging parents into your home – how do you prepare to meet the new needs of aging adults? Luckily many simple, quick, affordable – and even stylish and savvy – updates can  make homes safer and more enjoyable for you, your family and your parents. Here are some tips from Handyman Matters:

De-clutter: Both kids and older adults have reduced reflexes and balance. Spruce up the look of your home – and avoid tripping hazards – by removing clutter and items you no longer use (especially obstacles in walkways).

safe shower for seniorsSafe shower: Showers can be an enjoyable and luxurious part of anyone’s day – if they are safe. While you probably don’t want to renovate the shower, simple additions of bath safety products can make it safer and more enjoyable. Start by adding rubber grips to the bottom of the shower to avoid slick surfaces. Next, take a seat with a comfortable shower chair and enjoy a shower massage with a multi-function hand held shower head. You might also want to consider adding some grab bars around the shower to ensure entry and exit from the shower are safe.

Save resources, save money: Eco-friendly adjustments not only can make you feel good about preserving natural resources for your family, they can also help lower energy costs (ideal for tight budgets). Simple steps can include replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, insulating doors and windows and swapping faucets and shower heads with new water-saving models.

Handy handles: In the course of a day, you grip many objects – from cups and pens, to door knobs and faucet handles. Swapping out door knobs or faucets with knobs for lever-handle models can make these everyday tasks a bit easier – especially for smaller or arthritic hands.

Get a grip: For any age, stairs are a falling hazard in homes – whether it’s one step or 20. To increase safety, add hand rails or decorative hand grips in high-traffic doorways where there may be a step, such as the garage or front entry.

Let there be light: Did you also know that by age 60 the average person requires 15 times more lighting than when they were 10 years old? Brighten up the home with additional reading lamps in bedrooms and family rooms, under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen, motion-sensor lights near entrances and night lights in hallways.

Safe and secure: Your home is your safe haven … so make sure it is protected. In the bathroom where slick surfaces can be falling hazards, add functional – yet fashionable – grab bars. And, in case of unforeseen falls or other home accidents, home security systems can give you peace of mind to know that fire-, medical- or emergency-response is available for you and your loved ones at the touch of a button.

Flat flooring: According to the Home Safety Council, falls are the leading cause (66 percent) of all nonfatal home injuries. To help you – or your loved ones – avoid becoming a statistic, remove throw rugs or ensure that they have a non-slip backing to provide more firm footing.

Low-maintenance lawns: With busy lifestyles, it’s tough to keep up landscaping. Making a few modifications to the yard can help ease the burden. Replace large grassy areas that require frequent mowing with rock gardens or mulch beds. Additionally, choose drought-resistant perennial plants and shrubs to save time and money on watering – and ensure you don’t have to plant new each spring.

Be prepared: Are the washer and dryer in the basement? Are the bedroom and bathroom upstairs? Since stairs can be difficult to navigate for children or aging parents, having all the necessities on one floor is ideal. While it may not be in the budget to move everything to the main floor now, gradually start getting ready by wiring a closet or small room for the laundry – or planning to expand a half bath to a full bath.

With a few minor updates, you can breathe easier knowing your home is safer for your loved ones – both young and old. For more information on safety products and other helpful tips or assistance in  “safe-proofing” your home, contact your local Handyman Matters location today. Click here to find a location near you or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME (866-349-6946).

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