General

Home improvement jobs – DIY vs professional

When it comes to home improvement, maintenance and repair there are some jobs that should just be left to a professional. No matter how stubborn you are you can’t escape the fact that there are many jobs where you stand to do more harm than good by considering it DIY task.

While there are certainly many tasks that fall under DIY work, sometimes when they get too complex it’s a sign that you need to call a professional. These professionals are fully trained, licenced and equipped to deal with the issues that you can’t.

Let’s take a look at some home improvement jobs and when it’s appropriate to call a professional.

Walls

If you’re able bodied and have a stepladder you can take care of most wall painting and patching jobs yourself. Proper preparation is important here, so make sure you have taped off baseboards, door frames and windows so that they don’t get covered in paint.

You should hire a professional when your walls have experienced major water or structural damage. Sometimes a wall may need to be demolished and replaced, which is a two person job for professionals.

Floors

You can clean floors and repair small damages in them easily on your own. Vinyl seams can be repaired with adhesive and a brick and brown crayon can be used over scratched in wood floors.

A professional should be contacted to install and polish hardwood flooring. This work is quite tedious and can be very messy, so it’s best left to the pros.

Windows

Washing windows and repairing sills, treating rot spots and replacing glass panes are all things that you can do on your own. You should call a professional when replacing entire window frames.

Electricity

Replacing outlet covers and switch plates as well as replacing energy inefficient lightbulbs can all be easily done by a DIY’er. Professionals should be used for any job where there is direct contact with electricity as it can be highly dangerous from someone who isn’t qualified.

Plumbing

Small tasks like replacing a toilet flapper, upgrading a showerhead and unclogging a drain of hair can all be done by you. More complex jobs involving pipage should be left to a professional plumber to take care of.

Masonry

Replacing old mortar is something that can be done by anyone who does a cursory amount of research into how it’s done. New stoneworks that involve bricklaying would be better done by a professional who can ensure its structural integrity.

What are the differences between helium and air balloons?

What are the differences between helium and air balloons?

Although many people recognise that there is a difference between the standard helium and air filled balloon, when asked many people aren’t able to properly explain what kind of differences exist in the first place. It’s no help that most companies and industries don’t provide a clear cut elaboration on what is different between the two balloons anyways. In any case, it’s important to understand the difference because if you’re going to purchase balloon decorations for your party, you need to purchase the right balloons for the right situation.

When it comes to distinguishing between helium and air filled balloons, you’ll find a number of different factors in play such as:

 

The lasting time – When you’re looking at latex balloons that has been coated with Hi-Float to enhance the helium inside the balloon, it can last anywhere from around 9 to 10 hours. Foil or Mylar balloons on the other hand can stay afloat from anywhere between three to four days. With the correct materials used and helium used as the float mechanism, you can even find balloons that will stay inflated for up to a month.

 

Conversely, air filled balloons will not last anywhere near as long. It is important to note that taking balloons outdoors should be avoided as much as possible. Balloons will react badly once vulnerable to heat outside as the heat will increase the rate at which helium escapes from the balloon. So make sure to keep this in mind for when inflating balloons for your event.

 

The cost of balloons – When it comes to a price factor between balloons, it is important to note that when balloons are filled with helium it is much more expensive to sustain than air. However, it is important to factor in how long helium balloons will last. If you plan to use these balloons for a longer period, helium could be a much better investment than air filled balloons.

 

Shape, size, graphics and designs – Although both balloon types can both be customised to have the same kinds of written messages, or graphics and designs, it should be said there is a big difference here between helium and air balloons. Unlike air filled balloons, Mylar and foil balloons filled with helium can come in many different, special and unique shapes and sizes that air balloons cannot. For example it would be difficult for air balloons to shape as animals, characters or even people. If you’re looking to find an interesting character balloon, especially at a children’s birthday part, Mylar balloons with helium are the way to go.

 

Refilling balloons – When latex balloons have been filled with air and their ends are cut off, they cannot be refilled again. Conversely if you decide to go with Mylar balloons that are filled with helium, you’ll notice that you can actually refill them with helium once the helium inside begins to leak out. This will be much more cost efficient for you if you decide to use balloons over a prolonged period.

 

The density of balloons – Helium as an element is much lighter than air. What this means is when balloons have been filled with gases such as helium, they will generally rise much higher than their air equivalents. This can lead to much more fun parties, especially for kids or when designing specific party events such as weddings.

 

3 ways to save money on bathroom renovations

Whether we want a fresh upgrade or want to add to the selling value of our property, there comes a time when it’s necessary to renovate the bathroom. Because, like the kitchen, the bathroom is a complex room with lots of water features it can be very costly to renovate.

Many people get bogged down in the costs of renovating their bathroom and it quickly gets out of control as more and more unexpected bills pile up. To abound flushing away all your money, let’s take a look at the 3 best ways to save money on a bathroom renovation.

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it

A total bathroom refit is where a lot of the money disappears, and it isn’t necessary a lot of the time. Unlike the living room, moving something in the bathroom is much more expensive simply because of how hard wired everything is.

If you leave everything where it is, you stand to save a big load of cash on the labour costs of moving and reconfiguring water connections.  A smart move is to use the money you save to instead upgrade the features rather than moving them.

Be careful about how much tiling you use

Tiles may be small individually, but the cost of them in a whole room can add up. This is especially true if you’ve misjudged the cost and have chosen a fairly elaborate kind of tile.

If you need to save money with regards to tiles, consider only covering half the wall or only in the sections that are in contact with water. This is why it’s smart to plan to cost of every detail ahead of time and not make decisions on a whim.

Stick to a minimalist approach

The best thing about the contemporary minimalist style is that it saves money as well as caters to the lowest common denominator of taste. This is important when reselling your home because you don’t want to alienate potential buyers with an overly elaborate bathroom.

Make sure to stick with one major focal point in the room, like the sink, and invest in that. For example, a minimalist bathroom with a special material vessel sink is sure to impress visitors.

The best way to save money is not to over-capitalise believing that you will get a scalable return on your investment. Only invest in bathroom renovations that are going to add value for the largest amount of buyers possible.

Tips for avoiding home design arguments

One of the biggest points of disagreement between couples is how to go about the design elements of their homes. Whether it’s the colour of paint, the length of a counter-top or just the style of showerhead, there’s plenty of room for disagreement between otherwise harmonious lovers.

The only way to move pasts these disagreements is to find an acceptable compromise. Let’s take a look at the following tips for avoiding common home design arguments between couples.

Make a room plan

Before you say “but we disagree on that”, listen to this first. You don’t need to make a plan that makes final decisions, only one that outlines what the functions of the room will be.

Determine how the room needs to function for the daily tasks of each person and work that into you decision making. Be realistic first and then make stylistic choices as you finish off.

This helps two people to see the other’s perspective from a pragmatic standpoint, which is much easier to relate to than their subjective evaluation.

Listen, listen, listen

Communication is important in all aspects of a relationship and this is no less true when it comes to home design. Make sure you and your partner are listening to each other’s suggestions and actually understanding them, not just grunting with acknowledgement.

Try and mix your styles together

While this isn’t always possible, it’s the perfect compromise if you can get it to work. Take your favourite elements of both your choices and see if they fit harmoniously into something new but that’s also practical.

Pick your battles

There are times to assert yourself and times you should just let the Wookie win. If a part of the home design is more important to your partner than you, sacrifice that bit for them so they feel like they got their way.

Ideally they would be doing this with regards to areas you find important. Both parties will be much happier if they each get areas they have full control in.

Hire a professional

A sure fire way to end the argument is to call in a professional arbitrator AKA an interior designer. They will cut the crap and give both of you practical advice based on their professional expertise.

While you might have your opinion vindicated by a professional, the same will likely be true of your partner in some elements of the home design. This option is best for those people who really can’t agree and just want to outsource the decisions to a design specialist.

The unspoken rules of working with a tradie

Having a tradesperson or tradie in or around your home is something that most if not all homeowners have to deal with at some point. Whether you’ve hired a plumber to unclog your toilet or bricklayer to create a new garden wall, there are several unspoken pieces of etiquette that are worth observing.

While the tradie should come and do the job you hired them for, there’s a lot to be said for being a gracious host and making their job a little easier. Let’s take a look at some of the unspoken rules of working with a tradie.

Communicate clearly and openly

Make sure that the correspondence and face-to-face communication between you and the tradie is perfect before any work starts. It’s important that you clearly express your expectations, requirements and any concerns you may have.

A tradie should be eager to help you understand what they’re doing and to put to rest any concerns you have.

Make their job a tiny bit easier

While you’re hiring them to work, not you, it’s nice to at least clear the workspace where they will be operating. If you have children, clear away the toys that are scattered around and make sure your pets don’t get in the way.

If the tradie is allergic to your pets be courteous and restrain the pet or take it on a walk while they work. If you have children it’s crucial that you keep them away from the tradesperson and their work as they run the risk of being injured by tools and equipment.

Don’t be the parent who has to restrain their children from attempting to touch the tradie’s tools. Plan ahead of time if you know your kids are going to be unruly.

Create a lunch space

If the tradie is working all-day-long, give them a designated area they can eat without disturbing your family. Simply give them a spot on the balcony or at the coffee table if necessary.

Don’t hover around them

If there’s one thing tradies hate its having a fairy god homeowner constantly buzzing around them. While it’s prudent to check up on them, hovering around all the work they do implies you don’t trust them to get the job done and just makes it awkward.

Show appreciation

While you don’t owe the tradie any more than the agreed payment, it’s nice to make a gesture of a glass of lemonade or something similar while they’re in the thick of their work. A token of pure generosity goes a long way in maintaining a rapport with a tradie you can rely on for future jobs down the line.

The 6 most popular home improvement projects

Whether you are looking to sell your residence or simply make it better for living in, there are thousands of different home improvement projects that are worth your time. Because most home improvement is designed to increase resell value, success is usually measured by how much of a profit each of these projects generates on top of the final sum.

Many of the best home improvement projects will occur on the exterior of the house as this is the first thing seen by potential buyers and realtors. Let’s take a look at the 10 most popular home improvement projects.

New front door

Many people are realising how much value they can add to their homes just by upgrading the façade or the property. The front door is an part of the house that’s gets a lot more attention that people tend to give it credit for.

This is because, subconsciously, the entryway of the building gives us a vibe about the property as a whole. If you don’t want to entirely replace the door then a new coat of paint or an updated doorknob are great upgrades too.

Include a patio or deck

Recent trends show that home buyers are favouring homes with outdoor spaces like decks and patio’s. These outdoor entertainment areas let people buy into a relaxing lifestyle amongst nature and it’s easy to see why they add so much value to a property they are included in.

Add rooms

While this isn’t always possible, adding new rooms to the house is one of the best things you can do to improve its sell value. Bedrooms are especially precious to home buyers, many of whom are looking for large homes with room for child rearing.

Renovate kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are the two most complicated and closely inspected rooms in any house. Buyers want modern looking bathrooms and kitchens that are hygienic and don’t have any unforeseen plumbing issues associated with them.

Lighten up the space

Buyers prefer well-lit rooms that favour natural light wherever possible. If there are rooms in your home that you know don’t get enough light, remedy this issue with dimmable lights that buyers will love.

Make your home energy efficient

With a growing consciousness for the environmental impact of human living, buyers are increasingly favouring homes with some kind of eco-sustainable inclusions. This can include natural gas heating, incandescent lights and special types of shower and bathroom set ups.

The Best Uses for Bifold Blinds

Bifold blinds are slightly different to regular window coverings as they fold across rather than up and down.
They are suitable for wide windows as they are sturdier than standard blinds, which allows them to maintain their shape. They have a classic effect and are often made from wood.
You may have never considered these as an option for your home or office, but you should! Here are some of the best uses for bifold blinds:

They can cover glass sliding doors

Glass sliding doors can be obtrusive and these types of blinds can disguise them with something much more appealing. The beauty of this design is, they allow you to let some air flow in without having to leave the door wide open.

Additionally, you can even use them to filter the light, which is perfect in summer when the hot sun is hitting the glass. Instead of placing a bulky curtain over your sliding door and using a fly screen, this can often be a more practical option.

The end result is going to be more aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing on functionality.

They can be used as room dividers

 

This style of blind isn’t just for windows; you can use them to create a room divider and make a whole new space. This is suitable for living areas or kids’ bedrooms when extra privacy is required.

You can keep them permanently closed, or open them with little effort when you want to go back to a more open plan design.

The room divider design uses hinges and can be made to fit your room, and varies to match what you would use on your windows or doors. They are fairly strong and can be neutral to match your walls, or can be in a bold colour if you would prefer a feature wall.

If your desk is stuck in the lounge room, you can create your own office by simply using a blind! This versatile option is going to cost far less than a brand new wall.

 

They offer protection and privacy for outdoor use

Blinds don’t have to be limited to indoor use, you can install them on your outdoor areas too. This works well for those spaces where you don’t want a permanent wall. Think about using them around your carport or pergola, as you can close them at night for additional security.

When you add these to your outdoor entertaining area, you can make it weatherproof. You can choose completely enclose the space, just one side, or mix and match. When the wind hits or the rain is drizzling, these blinds will allow you to enjoy the outdoors with some added protection.

If you have a spa or outdoor pool, these bifold blinds will keep out the dust and create your very own secluded oasis in your backyard. Just remember, if you are using these outside they will need to be designed specifically for this purpose.

 

They are perfect for oversized windows

Indoor blinds of this type are made with both hinges and tracks for smooth opening. They suit large, oversized windows which are too awkward for traditional pull down blinds. These blinds generally have shutters, which allow you to filter the light to suit the day.

Being able to block out the light, and giving your home a unique touch, makes them a stand out feature. As there is a selection of colours and designs to choose from these blinds suit most homes. Whether you have a modern, sophisticated abode or a cute, country style villa, there is something to fit.

These blinds look sophisticated and won’t ruin the look of your home. White is a popular option as it will never look outdated. Easy to clean, you only need to give them a wipe over with a damp cloth on a regular basis to remove any dust.

When you choose a product which has high quality craftsmanship, it should last you a very long time. Unless you have some building skills, it is best to have these fitted by an expert. Often windows or doors are unusual sizes and the blinds will need to be custom fitted.

Before you visit your local retailer and purchase a packet of plain old curtains, take your time to do some research as you may prefer the look of a blind. The custom made possibilities are endless and blinds have evolved over the last few years.

You no longer have to battle with a cord, only to have it tangled as you are left with something lopsided. Bifold blinds are much easier to manage and better quality.