BI Home Improvement

Your Home Improvement Blog

New Solar Technology

Solar panel systems have always been criticized as bulky and unattractive. New solar technology is beginning to make such criticisms a thing of the past.

Solar Advancement

While everyone agrees solar energy is a clean, cost-effective energy source, there has always been one problem. The solar panel systems tended to be large and rather bulky. Frankly, they don’t add to the beauty of a home. While solar panel designs have improved over the years, a new development involving shingles is getting a lot of attention.

Photovoltaic shingles are a major design breakthrough for those who have a distaste for large solar panel systems. These shingles are, well, shingles. The replace the shingles on a roof, but have the physical appearance of a regular roof. Although they are black, they do not standout from the roof in the manner of panels. Instead, the they simply look like a regular roof and many people cannot tell the difference. Obviously, this seamless design is much better than the bulky designs of panel systems.

The technological breakthrough that makes this new technology possible is the invention of thin film photovoltaic cells. Known as “amorphous silicon thin alloy technology”, the designers essentially stepped back from traditional solar panel designs and did some thinking. What they realized is the materials used in panels were not the only ones that could be used. Without getting overly technical, the design team came up with a solution where more efficient cells could be built on a steel substrate. Each super thin cell was tailored to capture different spectrums of the sunlight. When layered on top of each other, they became extremely efficient at producing power.

The ultimate result is a system that can sit directly on the roof of a home or building, is more efficient than regular solar panels and far more appealing from a visual perspective. If you’re excuse for not using solar in the past was the bulky system, you need to rethink solar.

Will this new technology become the breakthrough we have been waiting for in solar power? It already is if you consider just the following:

  1. The United States Army is building a solar powered community using it.
  2. Museums in Beijing, China are converting to it.
  3. Habitat for Humanity is using the system on many of the homes it builds.
  4. Lockheed Martin is experimenting with the technology as a power source for high altitude flights.

In the opinion of many experts, this new technology represent a major breakthrough in solar energy. With energy prices exploding, solar represents the best solution to decreasing our dependence on limited oil and natural gas resources. Fortunately, the sun will be providing free power for the foreseeable future.

Improving your Home’s Value: Remodeling IDeas

If you want to improve the value of your home, then there are plenty of different remodeling projects that you will be able to do, which is pretty amazing to say the least. A lot of people do not want to remodel their home though, and this is because they think it will be overwhelming. But the benefits and the advantages of remodeling your home are well worth the effort and time that you will have to put into the project.

Simple Renovation Ideas
When you are planning to renovate your home, you will want to take into mind some different simple things that you can do easily. These can be issues like a plumbing problem, repairing a roof that is leaking, and simply repairing structural and mechanical issues with the home. Many of these little renovation projects can be done on a budget as well, because you can improve some interior aspects of your home, you can replace small things like a broken towel rod, you replace a faucet that is leaking.

Painting the Home

One of the best ways to improve the value of your home by more than 300% is to simply give your home a new coat of paint. There are so many different types of benefits you can enjoy from this, however make sure you can hire a professional to handle it for you.

Painting the Inside of your Home
Another project that can boost the value of your home is to paint the interior of your home. Just make sure you have professional painters handle this job for you.

Installing New Doors
Doors get worn out overtime, so you can really improve the look, feel, atmosphere, and value of your home by simply having some new doors installed.

Improving your Landscaping
Another renovation project you can do is landscaping, this can make the exterior of your home look a lot more beautiful. However, if you plan on doing some significant landscaping, then it would be a good idea to hire a professional to handle the job for you.

Putting in a Deck
A really good way to improve the exterior of the house is to install a deck, this can really provide you with a huge return on your investment, as well as add more space to the home.

So as you can see, you can do a number of different kinds of renovation projects without having to spend a fortune in the process. For more details, visit www.TubaMania.com.au.

Finding The Right Interior Doors

People are aware that often times, interior doors are one of the things that are neglected when they decide on remodeling their homes. Aside from privacy, there are a lot of things that doors can give to people. One of these things would be giving a different atmosphere in the interior of the residential property. To educate people in choosing the right interior doors, they will need to do so many things in the process. All these things are essential to help people find the best interior doors for their homes.

One kind of interior doors that people might consider would be the solid core or hollow doors.

If you happen to look for interior doors in a home improvement store in your community, you will find out that interior doors have different designs and colors. Interior doors are not similar because even their prices might vary as you try to look for a good kind in your favorite home improvement store.

The prices of interior doors could vary since these doors come in different types. There are interior doors made from solid wood  which is commonly known as the solid core doors.

The material used in this type of door is solid wood which makes it very expensive. Since hollow doors are made from thin pieces of wood, they are known to be cheaper than the solid core doors.

Another types of doors are the stain grade doors and the paint grade interior doors.

As you buy an interior door, you would know that it may come from two qualities which are the paint grade doors and the stain grade interior doors. A stain grade interior door is actually made from wood which can be stained as well. On the other hand, medium density fiber board is the material used by experts to make paint grade doors. With the materials used between the two qualities, the paint grade doors are known to be cheaper compared the first one.

It is important that you also know what pre-hung doors and door slabs are.

Of course, you should not be surprise to find out that aside from expensive interior doors, there are also interior doors that are very cheap. One of the interior doors that are known to be very cheap are the door slabs. Door slabs are the interior doors that can be hung in your house with the presence of an existing door frame.

You need to bear in mind that door slabs are very difficult to handle. You have to make some necessary preparations to install these things. The frame and even the trim of the interior door is actually included when home owners are using pre-hung doors. In order for door slabs to be installed, the current door should be removed in the frame and let the new one be hung instead.

If you are considering the idea of buying an interior door, you will have to know the styles that are available for your interior door.

You can actually choose different styles of doors for your home. Whatever design you might be thinking for your interior door, you can always check this in the nearest home improvement store in your community. The panel door which consists of six square panels is actually one of the most popular door styles used by people in their homes.

It is important that you know how your interior door would swing as you use it in your home.

If you are trying to purchase your own interior door, you will have to know first  how this door swings. The way the door swings is actually dependent on the presence of the hinges and the door knob. Doors are actually created for right or left handed people. It is actually very easy for you to know what type of interior door would you get for your home. When you want a door with a door knob on the right, you are aware how this door would swing. The same goes on the left side.

As you know all these things, you would understand that purchasing interior doors must always be something that should be thought of properly. It is important that you educate yourself over certain aspects of interior doors to help you in the decisions that you will be making in the process. Choosing a good interior door is actually a guarantee that your home will have a more refreshing and beautiful look to your family and even your guests.

Rekeying a Lock: How Much does it Cost

The prices for rekeying a lock can vary greatly, because it can cost you anywhere from five dollars to as high as two hundred and fifty dollars for each lock cylinder.

There are a lot of aspects that goes into the price of rekeying a lock, because you will have to think about the location of the lock, the time you need the services and a wide array of other kinds of facts as well. Usually, you should expect to pay around eighty dollars or so under normal circumstances when you want to rekey a lock.

So before you hire yourself a professional locksmith, you will want to make sure you have a good idea of how much you are going to pay and what you need to do first. So here are some factors to think about when you are planning on rekeying a lock.

Rekeying your House: The Cost

If you need to have your house rekeyed, then you should expect a minimum fee of anywhere from forty dollars up to one hundred and fifty dollars depending on the location of your house, as the locksmith needs to travel to you.

The reason why there is a minimum fee is because the locksmith does not want to waste their time traveling to your house only for you to change your mind. If you call on a locksmith during the weekends, holidays, or even in the evenings you should expect that fee to go up quite a bit. So unless you are locked of your home or your car and it is emergency you should be strategic on the time of day you call up a professional locksmith.

The distance will have a big role on the amount of money you will spend, so finding a locksmith closer to you may be something to consider if you are on a tight budget. Or if you are having an emergency and you locked yourself out of your vehicle out in the middle of nowhere, it probably would be better to call up your roadside assistance company first rather than a locksmith. These people can help tow your car or even help you get in, because tow truck drivers are pretty good in getting into cars, as this is their job and if they cannot, they can probably take you to a good locksmith to help you out.

Besides the mobile fee you will have to pay, you will need to pay an addition five dollars to thirty dollars for each lock that is being rekeyed as well.

If the locksmith says your locks are too worn out or it is not possible or is even a waste of time to rekey them, then you should expect around a thirty dollar fee to have a new lock installed for you.

If your locks are damaged, then it is better off to replace them with brand new and more secure locks anyways, so trust the judgment of the locksmith you are hiring.

Always shop around for some different locksmiths before hiring someone.

If getting your locks rekeyed is not an emergency, then you will want to think about calling up a number of different locksmiths and ask them some questions and get their rates as well.

Besides the rates, before you hire a locksmith it is vital to ensure they are reputable and professional.

A legitimate locksmith will have a license to work, so before you hire someone you will want to double check if they are licensed or not.

Another thing you may want to check out is whether or not the locksmith is part of the associated locksmiths of America as well. So always ask if the locksmith is insured, if they have certification, and if they have a license to be a locksmith before you spend any money hiring somebody.

There are a lot of reasons why it is important to check if they have the proper paperwork before you hire them. One of these reasons is if they break something or get injured and they do not have insurance, then it will fall upon your shoulders and that will be an expensive mistake you do not want to pay for.

Why Having an Attractive and Comfortable Bathroom is Important

The perfect lighting

We are living in the time and age where we go to the bathroom not merely to clean up ourselves but to have some relaxation time, away from the world and the stress around us. Here in this place, we get to find some peace, just in our bathtubs. According to experts and the majority really, the bathtub should be the main focus in the bathroom. You should make sure that the last place you get into before you go to bed or start your day to work should be this comfortable and beautiful haven. You have to make sure that the lighting is perfect and well-balanced.

When it comes to choosing the specific light that you are going to use, you need to make sure that you will be considering the most important aspects involved. You need to look into all of your options like those lamps that you can use while they are in contact with the water and since the bathroom is susceptible to moisture, it should be water-resistant to avoid accidents in its electrical wirings. You need to put in mind that you have to install these lights while you are renovating your bathroom.

For you to make your bathroom as comfortable as possible, you need to make sure that you put the luminaries in their right places.

One of the most important decisions that you have to make is how you are going to combine the effects of the lightings that you put in your ceiling and the ones that you place in the other zones of your bathroom. For some purposes, you may also want to look into installing light sources that are placed at intervals with one another so that you would be able to regulate the brightness of the room.

There are also movable luminaries that you can make use of. They have amazing features such as being movable and changeable from one color to another. Make sure that you have luminaries in your mirror but you have to see to it that they won’t be too bright.

The Materials that you use

We all know that the most popular materials that we use in our bathroom are tiles. There are so many different tiles that we can find in the market and they differ according to the quality, size, color, and surface. If you want to have an effortless yet stylish design, you can always turn to tiles.

The perfect material that you can use for your bathroom would be marble because with it, you can never go wrong. Because of the fact that it is naturally multicolor, there are a lot of patterns that you can try out and it can open to all kinds of possibilities.

If you want to give your bathroom a native yet unique feel, you can have some wooden finishing. There are so many types of woods that you can choose from such as mahogany, oak, pine, et cetera. Regardless of what you are going to choose, you always have to see to it that you are going to get only the ones that are treated with varnish that make it waterproof. You have to take note that if you decide on using wood, it would last for just 3 to 5 years due to being vulnerable to moisture.

Choose the right furniture and bathroom accessories

The furniture that you can use can vary from contemporary to classics, both of which are elegant and stylish.

The inspiration for the classic design is, as we all know, the royal apartments during the reign of the monarchs years ago. If you are wondering what these pieces of furniture are usually made of, they are actually made of polyurethane which is considered to be handy because of the fact that it can stand against moisture quite effectively.

The furniture pieces that we can get that are inspired by modern design are usually composed of those that make use of mirrors and some luminaries that give it a peculiar effect. This design makes use of both polyurethane, MDF, and natural wood plates. Glass doors are often seen in these modern designs as they mark the rise of decorative minimalism. They also emphasize lightness that does not compromise creativity.

Pruning Trees in The Fall

Is it Bad to Prune Trees in the Fall?

Experts Advice

Pruning trees is one of the most essential tree services. The right way, at the right time is very important. You need to know exactly how to prune and when to prune. According to popular beliefs pruning at the wrong time will kill your plants. Tree Services experts say differently. Though pruning should be done with proper intervals and in the right season, if done continuously without any time frame can result in damages or weakened plants. So, we need to learn the best time to prune a tree so that we give it more strength and better chances to grow.

pruning

The question most people ask is “Is it bad to prune trees in fall?” Let me tell you, the trees in fall are at their prime. It is advisable to wait till the trees shed leaves and get ready for the new season. The healing process is slowed down in the cold weather which is why pruning wounds close slowly making them more susceptible to diseases. Also the cold can harm their growth pattern dividing the strength left after the healing process. Usually October and November is better when the trees have shed their leaves. This way the arborist can look easily at the tree’s structure and current state.

The Right And Wrong Time

According to specialists and arborists, pruning is best during late winter or early spring before growth begins. Exceptions are always there, for different plants these pruning techniques differ and so does the time. The damage however is minimized if the rule is followed. You might want to get an expert’s advice for your tree type anyway.

The most wrong time is right after new growth in spring, it is because a lot of food stored in the roots of the trees is lost this way and the tree’s health deteriorates. This food is supposed to be replaced with new foliage before removal. Dwarfing of the plant is bound to happen if not done right. Which is the process in which plants get significantly smaller because of certain conditions, one being pruning at the wrong time.

Myth Or Real

The myth however you might have come across is that pruning causes the trees to die eventually, this is not the case. It might cause damage to the tree’s health slowly if done wrongly or at the wrong time. So, don’t get confused that you pruning your tree is causing any harm. Do take a look at the guidelines to pruning and be very careful. Consulting an arborist is the best way to take care of your plants.

How to Have a Great Bathroom

If you are planning to have a bathroom remodeling, you need to make sure that it is not only fashionable; it should also be functional and comfortable. You have to make sure that the moisture in your bathroom should not cause any damage to the accessories, fixtures, and furniture that you have inside. This means that you have to secure all the most durable materials for this particular space in your home.

It is very important that you are going to determine the end goal that you want to see before you start with your bathroom remodeling project. You have to identify what your main priority is: you may go with sanitary appliances or you want to focus more on the entourage. If you are going for the latter, you may as well think on how to make the bathroom like it is owned by a king. The overall new bathroom design will totally depend on your personal style and preferences.

There are a lot of things that you can do today because of the fact that the market offers us this kind of freedom. The only things that can limit you are your budget and the size of your bathroom.

Make sure you plan it out

There are certain rules that must be followed when it comes to having bathroom remodeling and installation. For example, the number of bathrooms that you should have in your home should be determined by the number of inhabitants. It only makes sense that you will have several washrooms if you are quite many in the house. This is very important so that no one would waste so much time just to wait for the others to finish. However, if during your planning process, you found out that you can’t have the number of bathrooms that you need to install, you might consider just having the bathroom where it can be accessed by people easily. You might also want to install more than one door in the bathroom so that you can always exit where you should go without having to pass by parts of your house.

There are different materials that you can use and they are marble, tiles, terracotta, wood, and so many others and there are also a wide array of choices when it comes to the accessories and fixtures that you can have. You need to consider the overall concept of the whole house if you don’t want your bathroom to stand seeming out of place. But if you want to go with some wild concepts, you are free to choose whatever you want.

Pick the right colors

It is very important that you are going to use the right color for the specific effect that you want to bring out. For example, if you want to make it look larger, you may want to go with light colors. There are tricks when it comes to this. The same thing can also go with the ceiling. There are colors that you can use for specific purposes such as cut, enlarge, and so many more.

If your bathroom is not that large, you may want to try out unsaturated colors that will make it look so open and bright. There are also other decorations that can give it cozy feel. Those that are deeper colors can give some island effect that will be emphasized by its relaxing surroundings.

What You Can Get from Cheap Bathroom Renovations

What can cheap bathroom renovations do for you? Any home owner has asked themselves this question more than once. The answer is simple. A well done bathroom renovation job can literally transform your bathroom into one of the most outstanding rooms in the house.

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A professional renovation company can bring your bathroom renovation dreams to life. Whether you want a new shower, a new bathtub, new tiles or maybe you just want a new look for the entire room. This sort of jobs are what cheap bathroom renovation companies specialize in.


As one of the leading renovation companies, we have a lot to bring to the table. For starters:

We are professional
As a well-respected renovation company, we only hire the best in the business. All our experts are professionals who have extensive experience and knowledge in the field. Not only are we very creative, but we have the aptitude and skill to bring any design to life. When you contract us to do any kind of renovation around your home, you can rest assured that the job will be well done.

We have an eye for design
More often than not, home owners have an idea of what they want done to their bathrooms, they just do not know how to express it. Our experts have an eye for design. We go out of our way to listen to what you have to say and ensure that we capture your vision exactly the way envision it. Furthermore, we give you additional options from which you can choose. Our experts have a keen eye for design and will outlay several possible options that could work perfectly with your particular home. All this is to ensure that you are fully satisfied with our service.

We’ll give your bathroom a new look
Once we are done with renovating your bathroom, it will have a wonderful, refreshing new look. All our projects are undertaken with extreme care and dedication. We go to great lengths to make sure that your home gets the facelift it deserves.

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We are affordable
This is probably one of the leading reasons as to why many home owners still do not have the kind of bathroom renovations that they dream about all the time. It is true, the cost of renovation can sometimes be sky high depending on what the homeowner wants. But as one of the leading and most affordable bathroom renovation companies, we have connections in the construction industry. These connections allow us to access the best material prices in the market and we pass those savings on to you.

That is why our services are some of the most affordable in the country. We can save you money and still give you the kind of bathroom that you have always envisioned. The next time you wonder ‘what can a cheap bathroom renovation company do for you?’ Give us a call and let us discuss the issue. We can give you favorable estimates on several renovation options that will completely transform your home. Our cheap bathroom renovations are exactly what your home needs.

Choosing Your Perfect Paint

paint buckets

Get the most design bang for your buck with a new coat of paint. Of all the improvements you can do around your house, painting involves the least amount of money and achieves the most dramatic results. You can paint an entire room in less than a weekend and update its appearance, mood and charm.

And although painting is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project, choosing the right paint for the right project is key to getting the job done.

Oil-based vs. latex

There are two common types of interior paint: oil-based and latex. Oil-based paint dries slower than latex, and cleanup requires turpentine or paint thinner. However, oil-based paint flows better, which results in a smoother finish. Once dry, it’s also harder and withstands scrubbing better than latex.

“Oil-based paint is useful where extra adhesion and hardness are required,” says Carl Minchew, director of color technology for Benjamin Moore Paints. “It is also useful for suppressing stains, such as tannin bleeding from cedar wood.”

On the other hand, latex paint dries relatively fast, and cleanup requires only soap and water. “Latex paint dominates the architectural market because of its ease of use, durability and quick drying properties,” Minchew says.

“Latex paint is available to fulfill virtually every need.” It’s also generally less expensive than oil-based paint, and it’s fade-resistant and environmentally friendly.

Sheen

Once you’ve decided on an oil-based or latex paint, you need to decide on the sheen, or the term used to describe the degree of light reflection paint has. Manufacturers use various terms to describe sheen, but the most common names include flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss.

Choosing the right sheen is as important as choosing the right color, as shiny surfaces have different appearances than flatter ones. “Sheen (or gloss) is largely a matter of taste, but there are practical considerations,” Minchew says.

Diana Passig, paint department manager for Lowe’s in Marietta GA, agrees. “The most popular sheens are eggshell and satin because they provide a low gloss on the wall, but are good for cleanup. Eggshell and satins can handle light cleaning solutions, high-gloss can take heavy chemical cleaners and flats can’t handle much more than a damp rag.”

Aside from appearance, there are several factors to consider when choosing sheen:

  • Overall appearance. Low-gloss finishes have a softer, smoother look, while high-gloss tends to amplify minor dents and dings in the drywall.
  • Ease of use. Low-gloss or flat paints are best for inexperienced painters—especially on walls and ceilings.
  • Serviceability. High-gloss finishes tend to resist marks and smudges, and they clean better than flatter paint. However, flat paints tend to touch up the best.

In general, use flat-finish paints on the ceiling to minimize glare; flat, satin or eggshell on walls; and low-gloss or semi-gloss on trim and woodwork. And avoid flat paint in mildew-prone or damp areas like the kitchen or bath.

Passig says she recommends painting kitchens and bathrooms with paint that is designed to help prevent mildew from developing. “And if you’re painting a room that is dark and doesn’t have too many windows, go with a satin sheen because light from lamps can bounce off the wall and give you more light,” she says.

The right color

Choosing Your Perfect PaintIf you’re considering a new color—especially a bold or vibrant shade—buy a small can and paint a section of the room.

“Paint at least a one-foot area either beside or directly across from a window.”

Passig says. “This will give you a chance to see if the paint is something you can live with.”

Keep your flooring, window coverings and fabrics in mind, as well. “Most of the time, the color will have to work with existing furniture and carpet. These don’t have to limit creativity, but they can provide some direction.”

Passig also suggests choosing a feature in the room for inspiration. “If there is something vital that you want to bring attention to, like the fireplace, bedspread or wallpaper, that’s where you want to begin,” she says.

Consider coverage as well. Repainting with a new color may require several coats of paint. Using a similar color to the existing paint can save you time and money.

Prepping the surface

“The most important step in a paint job is the surface preparation,” Minchew says. “A new coat of paint simply can’t do its job over a poorly prepared surface.” To ensure your paint goes on smoothly, follow these steps:

  • Clean the surface of peeling or chipped paint, dirt, grease or chalk. Look for signs of trouble, like water stains, excessive mildew, blistering or severe peeling and repair damages.
  • Patch holes, cracks and other imperfections with a premixed spackling paste, and sand the patched areas once they are dry.
  • Dust and wash the ceilings, walls, baseboards, windows and door moldings.
  • Clean wallpaper can be painted over, but in almost all cases, it’s best to strip it, because once you paint over it, you’ll never be able to remove it. If you do paint over it, test in an inconspicuous area and wait a few days to see if the pattern bleeds through or the paper begins to peel.
  • Use a primer on any new construction to condition the surface for paint, or where you’ve made repairs so they blend in.

Quality counts

No matter what you do, choose high-quality paint, because performance matters. “Quality paints apply better, last longer, and are easier to clean than inferior counterparts,” Minchew says. “Better paints cost more to produce, so they cost more to buy, but it is important to look at the cost of a paint job as a whole, and not just the price of the paint.”

Considering that the surface prep and the labor to apply the paint are the same, the additional cost for a high-quality paint is really very small. In return, you get a more durable paint, a much better color selection and easier application.

What Do I Do If I Am Locked Out Of My House?

locked out of houseWhen heading out of the door to school or work, it always seems like there are more and more things we need to remember including keys, lunch, cell phones, backpacks/briefcases, etc. Losing the keys to your home or locking them inside can induce quite a bit of panic. However, you need not panic.

If you ever encounter such a situation, all you have to do is simply follow the steps outlined in this article, and you will gain entry into your house. The key thing is to ensure that you are always safe when attempting to access your locked home and avoid breaking any windows or doors.

  1. Check The Entry Doors – The first thing that you should do if you find yourself unable to gain entry into your house through the regular entrance is to check any other door on your property in the hope that it might be unlocked.
  2. Check For Open Windows – If your home has any ground-level windows that you can reach easily, you can try giving them a shove and see if they will pop open. Should the window be equipped with a window screen, you will need to remove it first.
  3. Contact Somebody Else That Lives In  The Home – In case you live with a loved one, spouse, or roommate, you can try to call them to find out whether they are around to help you gain access. This will only work if you did not lock in your phone in the house too. You might also need to wait for a few hours for the person to arrive.
  4. Call In A Locksmith – Considering that you probably don’t leave any doors or windows unlocked, the first two options are unlikely to help you gain entry into your locked house. Contacting someone else that lives with you in your house might seem like an excellent idea but has its shortcomings. The person might be far from home and waiting for them could take up too much time, your phone might also be locked in the house.

A better alternative is to call a locksmith to help you access your locked home. The locksmith will come equipped with all necessary tools and will have you back in your house within a very short time.

In conclusion, if you are ever locked out of your house, you should try the four ideas discussed in this article. However, of the four, calling in a locksmith is the most effective option that will definitely help you gain access to your locked home.