Monthly Archives: May 2014

All There Is To Know About Tarmac Driveways And Their Benefits

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Tarmac is a material which is quickly gaining more and more popularity around the world. It is also a preferred option when it comes to driveways.

Whether you need to refresh your old driveway and give it a new look or have a brand new driveway altogether, you can choose among many materials including gravel and clay tiles. But if you want an affordable solution that will last a long time, tarmac is the way to go.

Tarmac is asphalt-based and has a very dark color. If it has been laid properly on a solid foundation, it can last for 10 or more years without ever needing any attention. And while tarmac can be laid by hand it is recommended that this is done by a specialized machine.

tarmac driveways

Having a tarmac driveway has many benefits. Some of them include:

  1. Installation

Tarmac is very easy to install especially if the people doing it have the right machines for the job. If you already have a driveway of another material, tarmac can be laid right on top of it unlike other materials which need a brand new solid base. However, if you have a lawn you will need a brand new base and this might require a little more work.

  1. Time

Laying the tarmac is not at all time consuming. A professional who knows what he’s doing, will heat up the tarmac in the right paving machine to the right temperature and will be able to lay it in a matter of a day (or sometimes even hours). It is a good feeling to know that you can have a brand new driveway tomorrow.

  1. Durability

Tarmac doesn’t give up easy! It is a very long lasting and durable material that is also extremely resilient to heavyweight vehicles and big amounts of traffic which can crack concrete or break paving.

  1. Affordability

Tarmac is not only cheap to lay but it’s also cheap and easy to maintain and replace if needed. If your tarmac gets damaged for some reason, repairing it is very easy and most of the times you can even do it yourself. If your tarmac driveway is beyond repair you can lay a new layer directly on top of the old one without having to excavate it. This can save you a lot of money as well as time.

  1. Weather proof

Tarmac is very resilient when it comes to rain or any other weather conditions. It won’t lose its color or get damaged easily.

tarmac driveway

If you’ve already laid tarmac on your driveway, it is time to learn about the proper ways to maintain it. Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:

  1. Clean it regularly

You can use a broom to get rid of all debris and then wash your driveway with the garden hose. You should be careful with power washers as they might dislodge some of the small stones of the tarmac. However, if you use it on a low setting you should be able to get rid of small debris stuck between those small stones.

  1. Restoring color

Even though tarmac is a pretty resilient material, its color might fade a little with the years and this is completely normal. You can use environmentally friendly sealers such as an asphalt emulsion. It is very reliable and will restore your tarmac’s condition and color pretty well. Using a sealer is also a great way to protect your driveway from petrol and oil spills which can damage the tarmac over time.

If you have used a sealer for your driveway, you should let it dry for at least three days before you start using it again. It is also important to spray water on the tarmac on really hot days especially when you have used a sealer.

  1. Things to avoid

There are some things that just should not be on a tarmac. For example, kick stands of motorcycles can do some damage over time and it is recommended to avoid them on your driveway if you can. Lawn chairs are also very bad for tarmac and generally it is recommended that you only use your driveway for your car.

If you do have to use ramps, kick stands or something similar on your tarmac driveway, make sure you use a piece of wood. It will help distribute the weight and this way you’ll be able to better avoid pits and gorges.

So the overall result is that tarmac is a really great solution for your driveway. It will not put a dent in your wallet, it will look good and it will last you for many years if you choose the right contractors for the job. Make sure you do a thorough research and find the most professional company which has a good track record and a great portfolio to ensure the high quality and longevity of your new driveway. Driveways Solihull have many years of experience with tarmac laying and will be able to help you with this task.

7 Creative Backsplash Ideas

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A backsplash is an easy way to add style and pizazz to any kitchen, but many homeowners are looking for something a bit more unique. With that in mind, here are seven surprisingly creative backsplash ideas:

counter top

  1. Corks. Wine corks can create a beautiful backsplash while putting to use all those corks you have been saving! Install corks vertically for the best look. The eye should easily catch the small, circular shapes while appreciating the contrast in color. Though gluing them onto the wall one by one could work, try attaching them to a piece of premeasured wood instead. Then, attach that entire piece to your wall, and voila!

  1. Tile mosaic. Try purchasing several tiles of different patterns and colors that will help bring out the style of your kitchen. Lay the tiles out on a table or the floor and arrange them in different ways until you discover your desired layout. Snap a picture to help you remember the design, and then begin laying them. This is a somewhat simple way to add color and personality without the added expense.

  1. Wallpaper. Most people cringe at the idea of using wallpaper as a backsplash since it has a reputation of being a thin material hardly durable enough to withstand the water and grease to which it will inevitably be exposed. However, using vinyl wallpaper solves all of these problems, and it has the added bonus of being easy to clean. Make sure to have the right tools and wallpaper paste on hand to avoid a big, sticky mess.

  1. Mirrors. Adding mirrors as a backsplash can instantly make a kitchen look larger. Measure the space to be covered, and ask a local hardware store for help in cutting the mirror to size. For an extra touch, try adding a frame around the mirror. However, if your kitchen is already on the small side, sticking with a plain, unadorned mirror is best.

  1. Chalkboard. It doesn’t get much easier than applying chalkboard paint to your backsplash. This gives you the freedom to jot down recipe ideas, shopping lists, and other messages in a prime location. If you are looking for more of a design element, try using stencils and colored chalk to craft your own design. When you are ready for something new, simply erase and create again!

  1. Painted glass. Stop by a local hardware store or a frame shop and have a piece of glass cut to your measurement specifications. Then, invest in paint for use on glass; you can select the colors that best match your kitchen. If a solid color look is not what you are after, consider adding a pattern by using stencils or your own free hand, if you happen to be artistically inclined.

  1. Rocks. If a dramatic look is what you are after, then rocks may be the answer. Using rocks of a similar size is important, as differing ones can lead to an unplanned, haphazard look. There is no need to apply grout to all the nooks and crannies between the rocks, however. The idea is to make them look as if they are simply stacked on top of each other.

At RH Homes, our passion is helping homeowners incorporate their personal styles into their homes. For more information about these and other ideas to update your kitchen’s backsplash, contact our Columbus kitchen remodelers today.

Several Practical Basement Flooring Plan Options

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Having decided to put your unfinished basement to some use, you have to get it finished. But, finishing part largely depends upon the ultimate use you have in mind for this space at your disposal. You have to design it keeping in mind the ultimate purpose for which you intend using it gainfully. So, you start working on the floor plan, the most crucial factor for the entire project. Here, have a look at some of the possible ways and plans that you could consider for having a finished basement.

The options for exploiting the available space in the basement are many and one needs to decide which would most suit the prevailing circumstances. You may like to build a bathroom there to reduce traffic on the other bathroom. That’ll be a good idea, but you shouldn’t overlook the fact that every time you want to use that bathroom you have to use the stairs for going down and coming up.

basement plan

Another option will be to have a guest room there, in case there is none in the main house. Apart from that, generally teenagers in the family love to live there. Depending on the space available, you could have more than just a bedroom there. Perhaps you could have a kitchen or a pantry there. Or you may even consider having a bar there. You would have surely seen lot many people using the basement for storage purposes with the installation of appropriate closets. So, the possibilities are many and you need to weigh the pros and cons of the available options to decide what would work best for you.

One very simple and practical option that avoids having any walls, thus offering a spacious layout and works excellent for small homes is to just have a kitchen and bar there. Further, you may include here a room theatre and TV and thus have a great place for watching sports events and movies. There is the option of including pool tables and or dart boards and get a perfect place for entertainment. A bathroom may further be added for convenience.

basement Floor Plan

The next choice could be to transform the basement to be a full apartment. Perhaps, you would like to rent it out some day and add to your income. In that case, your house design plan changes drastically as it has to include one or more bedrooms and bathrooms plus a kitchen and a living room area. It’s not customary for basements to have dining rooms.

The possibilities of redesigning your basements are immense and you may include whatever you like to have there. It’s possible to have even fireplaces in the basements. Assess your requirements and look into different possibilities, weighing pros and cons of each before finalizing your plans.

Why Do I Need a Basement Dehumidifier?

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Summer is coming. For basement waterproofing companies, that means an influx of dehumidification system orders. If you are thinking about investing a dehumidification system for your home, it might help to understand why basements are inherently humid and just how much damage a humid basement can do.

Why Do Basements Get Humid?

Basements get humid because they are cool. Warm air naturally rises, and cool air goes down. Basements are also located in the cooler earth and are often not exposed to sunlight, so they don’t get warm like the rest of your house.

Why does cool mean humid? Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as hot air can; that’s why humidity levels drop in the winter and go up in the summer. In other words, cool air has a lower relative humidity than hot air. That means that if you have two rooms – a hot room and a cold room – with the same amount of water in the air, the cold room will be more humid.

When hot summer air, which has a high relative humidity ratio, makes its way into your basement and cools, the air’s relative humidity ratio decreases. This leaves the cool air more saturated, or humid, than the hot air with the same amount of water.

Why Is That Bad?

Humidity can have several unpleasant and even dangerous effects on your basement, especially if you have a finished basement without any basement waterproofing done. Here are the six most common offenders.

Smell and Dampness: The first thing you might notice about a humid basement is a damp, musty smell. This makes the basement an unpleasant place to be.

Mold: Mold thrives in damp, cool places without sunlight. A humid basement provides an ideal home for mold. Mold reproduces by releasing invisible spores into the air, so an infestation can spread fast. If you use your basement for laundry, storage, or other activities, this can be a costly problem.

Allergies: Mold spores are common allergens, as is dust. Humid areas are harder to clean, since dust and spores can stick to invisible water particles. This means that a damp basement can cause all kinds of problems for those with allergies and asthma. Some of the health effects associated with mold allergies can be quite serious.

Condensation: If the air in your basement becomes saturated (can’t hold any more water), water will start to build up on surfaces in your basement. That can include the floor and walls, but it can also include other surfaces, such as a laundry machine, stored items, or clothing.

Insects: Just like mold likes cool dry places, insects are also attracted to this environment. A humid basement provides the perfect breeding ground for spiders, centipedes, cockroaches, and a host of pests.

If you are ready to invest in a dehumidification system, be sure to shop around before you make your choice. The best dehumidification systems don’t just remove water from the air: they also ventilate the basement and replace stale air with fresh air, reducing odors and allergens as well as humidity. With a system like that, your basement just might become one of the most popular spots in the house!

Plumbing Services Don’t Have To Be Costly

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You can try your hardest to keep drains and pipes in your home perfectly maintained, but every homeowner is aware of the fact that plumbing problems will inevitably arise sooner or later. If you turn a blind eye to them, things will become even worse with the passage of time. If you are a stranger to home repairs, you will have to give a plumber a call when faced with a problem of this kind. However, the amounts that plumbers charge for their services are often the reason why many people hesitate to call them. Well, you should know that plumbing costs can be reduced if you follow several basic rules.

Keep Your Drains Maintained

You’ll be surprised to know just how often clogged drains are the reason behind calling a plumber. As food remains and grease are usually to blame for such problems, there are certain things you can do in order to avoid this issue. First of all, never, and I mean never, let grease down the drain – don’t be lazy and simply put it in a container as any other piece of garbage. Additionally, regular cleaning aside, have a strainer installed in the sink in order to prevent food remains from clogging your pipes. Certain cleaning products can help you as well, but be sure to stick to the instructions for their use.

plumbing servicesimage credit: LPZ Plumbing Services

Choose Local Plumbers

In case you want to save some money and time, you should definitely go for local plumbers, as the cost of petrol that the plumber spent to come to your home is likely to make his service more expensive. In addition to this, if they are close-by, plumbers can to respond to any emergency lot faster than those based outside your area. This proved to be crucial for a number of homeowners, as it gives them confidence in the services they receive. And if you come across a problem after the repair, you can just call your plumber and he will come in a flash and deal with the problem.

Do Your Shopping Yourself

Shopping around is yet another way to preserve some dough, so you should visit several stores and compare prices, before you buy what you need for your repairs. Plumbers who bring all the supplies need for repairs when they come to your home will often seize this opportunity to earn an extra dollar or two. You should also take notice of the items that are on sale or have discounted prices, but whatever you do, you have to have a precise list of items needed for repairs so as to avoid buying wrong things.

Always Ask For A Warranty

A plumber should issue a warranty that will guarantee the quality of their work for the determined period of time. Work warranties serve to protect customers from further expenses if they face the same problem in the period covered by the warranty, i.e. any new services in that period must be free of charge. However, bear in mind that not all plumbers will give you a warranty for their work, so when you call one, simply check if they offer it or not.