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Monthly Archives: February 2017 - 2. page

Benefits of Buying Laminate Flooring

Aside from the usual hardwood, ceramic, and cement floors, more people nowadays are using laminate flooring for their homes. Before purchasing the laminate flooring for your home or office, keep in mind these facts, as well as benefits and advantages that laminate flooring carries.

The relatively uniform manufacturing process for all laminates makes little price variations in its products. Whatever the flooring’s style, type, or color, it’s still a photograph that provides the decorative surface. Laminate floors that have more exotic designs may be more expensive, but these are more durable and have extended warranties.

Laminate floors are installed using a -floating floor system- wherein a padded underlayment sits between the subfloor and the laminate planks. The planks are anchored by the edges, making this installation produce a hollow sound and a slight weight depression. Glue-less laminate floors make repairs easier if needed in the future.

One of the advantages of laminate flooring tampa is its realistic simulation of various natural surfaces. In the past, it was easy to spot laminate floors. Today’s technology, especially in the manufacturing procedures, allows companies to produce realistic visuals and quality textures. Many of today’s laminate styles consist of authentic wood or stone visuals to accommodate any room of your home. This is good for people who want the look and feel of real hardwood or stone without the cost and maintenance associated with natural products.

House owners can choose from natural colors, dark wood grains, and warm or cool tones to compliment a room dcor. As laminate wood flooring is made of synthetic material, it does not have the usual quirks of natural hardwood. It does not rot, fade, or crack with time. Maintaining its appearance is easier since owners won’t have to scrub and polish every once in a while.

Laminate stone and tile patterns also give the elegant look of tile, but without the additional concerns of cracking or grout cleaning. With low maintenance, superior stain resistance, and easy-to-clean surfaces, laminate flooring tampa is best for busy households, or those with a lot of children. These advantages and benefits make using laminate floors a good choice for you home improvements.

Edmonton Home Inspection – Use our Guide to Getting a Qualified Home Inspector in Edmonton

It is often said that buying a home is likely one of the most important purchases you will ever make. However unlike most purchases, there is no return policy or money-back guarantee. Once you buy a home, it is yours to maintain, repair and of course, pay the bills. This is why it is critical to know as much as you can about any problems or warning signs your potential home could have, before making the commitment to purchase it.

A home inspection by a professional home inspector is probably the best way to assess the condition of a home. However like any service provider, you want to make sure you are getting an honest, professional and unbiased assessment of the home you are interested in. Doing a bit of homework up front will help ensure that the inspector you hire is not only worth the money you pay him or her, but most importantly, that you will get the proper information you need to make that big investment decision.

One of the most common questions people have about home inspections is what will the inspector inspect and is it worth it. To answer the last question, you probably need the perspective of the first part. The following is a list of some of areas a good home inspector will cover:

* Structural system – including foundation, framing, crawl spaces, floor, wall, ceiling and attic structure.
* Exterior – includes exterior wall covering, flashing, trim, exterior doors, decks, porches, steps, eaves troughs, soffits, facials, grading, surface damage, retaining walls, walkways, patios and driveways.
* Roof System – Includes the roof covering, drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys and roof penetrations
* Plumbing System – Includes interior water supply, fixtures, faucets, drain, waste, vent system, water heating, fuel storage/distribution, drainage sumps, sump pumps and related piping.
* Electrical System – Includes service drop, service entrance conductors, cables, raceways, service equipment, main disconnects, service grounding, service panels, sub panels, conductors, overcurrent protection devices, lighting, fixtures, switches, receptacles and the ground fault circuit interrupters.
* Heating System – includes the installed heating equipment, the vent system, flues and chimneys.
* Air Conditioning Systems – Includes installed central and through-wall cooling equipment
* Interior – includes walls, ceilings, floors, steps, stairways, railings, countertops, cabinets, doors, windows, garage doors and garage door operators.
* Insulations and Ventilation – includes insulation and vapour retarders in unfinished spaces, ventilation of attics, ventilation of foundation areas and mechanical ventilation systems
* Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances – Inspect the system components, vent systems, flues and chimneys

Unless you know these systems well, it is highly recommended that you do get the services of a qualified professional home inspector. A good inspector is worth every penny and can save you thousands of dollars and plenty of hardship, with a small investment in their work upfront.

Modern Decorating Ideas – No Place Too Small!

It doesn’t matter what size or configuration your living space is; there is always a way to decorate accordingly and create the comfortable environment that you are looking for. In fact there are many ways to actually make a smaller living space feel bigger. And don’t forget that a 2 bedroom apartment can have similar square footage as that of a 2 bedroom home.

Online websites who offer home accents also offer free advice for apartment decorating ideas through their blogs. You can take advantage of their experience in order to create a plan and meet your budget with unbelievably low prices.

Smaller apartments require less accents but properly chosen can create an air of sophistication and style. Choosing smaller items won’t make your home look cluttered and can be strategically placed to create the flow of your motif.

A few modern decorating ideas that take up little room are:

– Faux Windows for rooms that may not have a window such as your bathroom or kitchen create the illusion of a larger space and are decorated with elegant outdoor scenes.
– Modern and decorative mirrors are perfect for the living or dining rooms and come with many intricately designed frames to match your decor.
– Window mirrors are great for your foyer, a dark hallway or even a two piece bathroom and create a more open look.
– Collage picture frames are very popular and are available in many designs to display the photographs that are special to you
– Wall clocks are plentiful and can fit into any decor whether more traditional, modern or retro.
– Storage boxes or trunks are an easy way to create more storage space and go well with your decor in almost every room of your house. In the living room, they can also double as an end table.

Decor ideas in your home are yours and meet the taste and ambience that you wish to portray. Lighting is an important factor as you go down the road to choosing the right items. Pole lamps or lantern lamps provide excellent lighting solutions without taking up a lot of space.

Begin your quest for home accent ideas online and save a lot of time, energy and expense by traveling to the many retail stores. If nothing else, they will give you a very good idea of how to proceed with your decorating at very reasonable prices.

Lessons Learned From A Failed Energy Efficiency Project

INTRODUCTION
You would think that energy efficiency is relatively simple: perform an energy audit, install the retrofits and then reap the energy savings. Unfortunately, it doesn”t always work that way. We performed an energy assessment of several stores of a major retail chain in the San Francisco Bay Area and identified a handful of low-cost retro-commissioning measures that had very promising potential. We quantified the expected savings and costs and returned after the project was installed. We then measured the savings using various methods and found either minimal or negative savings. The problem we discovered was that on nearly every measure, the contractors had repaired the hardware, but through various means had ensured that energy savings would not occur. This paper provides an account of the failed project at one store and the steps we took to remedy it. Specifically, this paper stresses the importance of Measurement and Verification and Commissioning of the retrofits.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The store, located in San Francisco, belongs to a well-known national retailer, whose name we will not divulge. The store is an aggregate of 3 buildings which have been joined together to comprise almost 1,000,000 square feet, of which over half is selling floor. Stock rooms and offices comprise the remainder of the space. The different buildings range between 8 and 11 stories tall.

The three buildings comprising the store were built at different times from the 1920s to the 1980s. Originally the buildings had different air handling, chilled water and hot water systems. Over the years, through energy conservation and facility improvement measures, the chilled water systems have been merged into one system.

There were no operating boilers in the store. Steam is provided to the store by an external vendor. Hot water is supplied to multi-zone air handling units and perimeter reheats in some areas of the store via heat exchangers.
There is one common cooling plant which houses two 500 ton centrifugal chillers (2004) which run all year. Chilled water is supplied to the Air Handling Units (AHUs) via primary/secondary chilled water loops. During the hottest months, both chillers run at around 90% full load””this happens about 5 days/yr. During the cooler months, one chiller runs at about 40% full load. If you have been to San Francisco you probably know that even in summer a typical day only reaches about 60 degrees . A properly designed and operating building in San Francisco should not need mechanical cooling most of the year, instead relying upon outside air to meet its cooling needs. This was obviously not the case .

A utility bill analysis identified an out of control building. Figure 1 presents twelve months of average usage per day versus average outdoor temperature. Each point represents a billing period. The superimposed red line represents the statistically insignificant trend. The lack of clear trend indicates that the building is either haphazardly controlled or that energy use varies due to some other variable. We believe mostly the former. During warmer periods (which are not that warm) the store uses more energy, indicating a variable cooling load based upon weather conditions. (An ideal system that uses outside air whenever possible should show a horizontal trend in this 48 to 66 degree temperature range.)

There are over fifty AHUs: a mixture of single zone, multi-zone, and variable air volume units. Each of the three sections contains different types of AHUs.
Electricity Costs for the store were over $2.5M per year. With the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, smart retailers were looking to cut costs wherever possible. One line item that could be cut was utilities. Saving 10% or more could add at least $250,000 to the bottom line.

BACKGROUND OF THE UTILITY PROGRAM
There may be several reasons why California uses less than 50% per capita of the energy than the rest of the country, but one major reason is the aggressive effort of the California Public Utilities Commission to cut energy usage. Commercial ratepayers of the investor owned utilities pay a fee in their utility bills that funds energy efficiency programs. These funds are then channeled to the investor owned utilities to promote energy efficiency. These utilities have over one hundred targeted programs aimed at different vertical markets such as: wineries, retail, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. Often these programs will include free energy audits or retro-commissioning services in conjunction with generous incentives to implement energy efficiency measures. In some cases, the utilities will pay for up to 100% of the cost for implementing the measures. The utilities administer some programs directly and outsource others. The outsourced programs are designed and administered by third party energy consultants.

Quantum Energy Services & Technologies, Inc. (QuEST), an energy consulting firm headquartered in Berkeley, administers a retail program for PG&E which covers the San Francisco Bay Area. This program offers retailers free retro-commissioning studies along with incentives to implement energy conservation measures found. The utilities give incentives to the building owners based upon the amount of energy saved. But in order for energy savings to be recognized by PG&E, these savings need to be measured and verified and then the savings calculations must pass a review by third party reviewers. Nobody gets paid if the work does not pass the third party review. The third party review process is necessary to prevent false claims of savings, or gaming of the system. The reviewers can be tough and require all assumptions to be documented and based upon published standards or guidelines. The drawback of third party review is that some measures are dropped as the Measurement and Verification (M&V) costs would be prohibitively expensive.

QuEST retained our company as a subcontractor to help out with the retail program. Our company performed Retro-Commissioning (RCx) services on 8 stores belonging to this unnamed retailer, and this paper is about one of the stores. However, the same story occurred at most of the stores. It wasn”t one failure, but many.

A NOTE ON THE LEVEL OF RCx RIGOR
RCx is different from energy auditing in that RCx typically involves a more detailed study of the building”s control systems and HVAC systems than energy audits. In addition, RCx typically focuses on repairing, recalibrating and reprogramming, rather than procuring new equipment. Simple paybacks for RCx projects typically are under 2 years. Examples of RCx measures are: repairing inoperable equipment, programming controls, demand control ventilation, and calibrating temperature sensors. Examples of energy audit measures (which are not considered RCx measures) are: installing energy efficient chillers, boilers or package units, converting single zone HVAC systems to variable air volume systems, and installing EMS systems. Energy audit measures often are more expensive and may have longer paybacks. On the other hand, true RCx studies are much more detailed, and thus much more expensive to conduct than energy audits. RCx studies usually involve data logging, functional testing of controls, operator training and post implementation commissioning which repeats much of the data logging and functional testing that was previously done. RCx is criticized by some as too heavy on the analysis, as it can require hundreds of hours of work just to perform the study, whereas energy audits consume much less labor.

In order to make the most efficient use of ratepayer dollars, in QuEST”s RCx program the amount of engineering time was scaled down to minimize the time spent on work that does not directly lead to energy savings. Rather than write commissioning plans, and 100-page Master List of Findings reports, the interim deliverable is instead an Excel workbook that describes the measure, states all assumptions and measured values, and calculates the savings. Equipment is data-logged or trended before and after the implementation of the measures. Calculations are made in Excel so they can be verified by third party reviewers. Written reports come later, but are less extensive than typical RCx reports.

ONSITE INVESTIGATION
Two engineers spent 3 days onsite examining the store”s mechanical systems, uncovering problems, and identifying RCx Measures. Our work to this point was nearly identical to an energy audit.
Once the RCx Measures were identified, the list of RCx Measures was given to the customer who then decided which of them should be pursued. The list also was approved by the third party reviewer.

MEASURES FOUND
We found the store could save about $300,000 in both RCx and Retrofit Measures, which, with incentives offered a simple payback of less than six months. That is 12% of their energy spend. The following measure types were identified and approved by all parties:

Retrofit Measures
1.Install Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) on Multi-Zone Air Handling Units (AHUs).
2.Installation of VSDs on secondary chilled water loops.
RCx Measures
1.Repair economizer control on some air handlers. Many outside air dampers were rusted in place. A two by six was used to prop one open.
2.Repair a small number of faulty VSDs, some of which were in bypass running at 100% fan speed.
3.Reconnect static pressure lines. Some VSDs were running at full speed because the lines running to the static pressure sensors in the ducting had been previously destroyed by contractors.
4.Repair/Replace stuck chilled water valves. These valves were cooling whether the AHUs called for cooling or not. As a result, sales floor temperatures ranged from 62 degrees to 70 degrees.
5.Connect some AHUs to the Energy Management System. These AHUs were running wild and had no control at all.

DATA LOGGING
Once the measures were selected by the customer, QuEST engineers placed data loggers to measure pre-implementation temperatures and power. Temperatures measured included Outside Air Temperature (OAT), Return Air Temperature (RAT), Mixed Air Temperature (MAT) and Supply Air Temperature (SAT). Fan Motor kW were also logged for those units on VSDs. Spot measurements were taken of Fan Motor kW for AHUs that were not on VSDs.

SAVINGS CALCULATION
Energy savings were estimated using bin data simulations. Like-type AHUs were combined. Special care was taken in calculating energy savings to ensure that savings were not double-counted. Each energy conservation measure was modeled assuming the prior measures were already implemented. We integrated the interval data that we collected into the bin data simulations. To do this, we created regressions of our variables (RAT, MAT, SAT, kW) versus OAT. These regressions were used to project RATs, MATs, SATs and kW for other outdoor air temperatures that were not included in our sample.

INSTALLATION
Once we had estimated savings using our bin simulation models and provided measure costs, the customer decided which measures to implement. They then hired contractors to implement the measures. VSDs were installed and repaired, economizer dampers repaired, AHUs connected to the EMS system, etc.

M&V PROVES NO SAVINGS
Once the implementation was completed, QuEST engineers returned to the site and again data logged the same temperatures and power as before. The resulting data, RATs, MATs, SATs and kWs, was again regressed against OAT. Using the regression, RATs, MATs, SATs, and kW values were again extrapolated and placed into the bin simulations.

The resulting calculations demonstrated the unthinkable. Not only were the energy conservation measures we had recommended not saving energy, the affected systems at the store were using more energy than before! Actually, this could be seen from just looking at the interval data. It was obvious that the economizers and variable speed drives were not working as intended. The “repaired” economizers were letting in less outside air than before, and the variable speed drives were still commanding the fans to run at a constant load, but at a higher speed than before.

QuEST alerted the customer that their investments were not saving energy. Facility personnel then investigated the problems, found them, and corrected them.

Even though the contractors had made the economizers operational (as opposed to frozen), the damper actuators were not calibrated correctly. When dampers needed to be fully open, they were not. When dampers needed to be at minimum position, they were not. The variable speed drives were also installed incorrectly. Some wiring and controls issues were resolved and the units started operating as expected. Once these issues were resolved, M&V was performed again. We repeated the data-logging and placed this information into our bin simulations, and again projected the annual savings.
There are many ways energy efficiency projects can go wrong.

“Faulty recommendations
“Poor implementation
“Untrained staff who compromise all the energy conservation measures undertaken

Faulty recommendations may arise from a lack of understanding of how systems operate or should operate. Years of experience, and a good understanding of physics and control theory is necessary to make sound recommendations.

Poor implementation has many causes, but often can be traced to the mindset that having the right equipment will make the difference. But as the lessons learned here illustrate, installing the right hardware is only half the solution. It needs to be integrated into the system and operate according to a logical and beneficial sequence of operations.

The last item is especially troublesome because it is so common. Even if the right hardware is installed and controls optimized, small changes to the sequence of operations made to “fix” local problems may have large consequences on overall system performance over time. Changing supply air temperatures at the air handler to resolve hot or cold complaints may upset the balance of the system and cause problems elsewhere. Professors at Texas A&M University have pointed out that in the absence of continuous monitoring, a building”s performance will fall to the level of the least-trained operator within two years.

HOW TO AVOID FAILED ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS
There are a couple of ways to avoid projects that fail to produce savings. After equipment is installed, it needs to be commissioned by a third party, not the contractor who implemented the ECMs. Commissioning can be expensive, but it is worth it. However, just because the equipment has been deemed operational by the commissioning agent, that doesn”t mean it is saving what was expected. Commissioning will tell you if the equipment is working as it should. To determine if you are actually saving what was expected, M&V needs to be done on the building. Although M&V can appear as a waste of money to some, it caught this disaster before it was too late.

Unfortunately, building owners often value engineer commissioning and M&V out of their projects and leave themselves open to big disappointments in their energy efficiency projects. M&V is like insurance””sure, it costs money up front, but the reassurance of knowing the project is done correctly should be worth far more than the initial outlay. What other product would you purchase without verifying that you actually received what you paid for? Why should energy efficiency be any different?

CONCLUSION
Unfortunately, energy efficiency isn”t as simple as we would wish. Energy consultants may deliver quality energy audits and RCx studies, but merely implementing sound energy efficiency recommendations does not guarantee energy savings. The weak link is often in the commissioning of the measures to ensure they are doing what they are intended to do.
To avoid underperforming on your energy efficiency measures, we suggest the following three strategies:

1. Commission what you implement with third-party commissioning experts. Commissioning agents are not interested in selling hardware. They are interested in making systems operate at peak performance. They understand physics and control theory and can identify and repair problems quickly.

2. Track your energy savings using M&V. Even using something as simple as utility bill tracking software can provide some insight into building performance. An increase in monthly energy usage when a decrease was expected would have triggered an investigation into the cause. Verifying performance at the system level (as we did), while more difficult and expensive, would have isolated the problem much more quickly and accurately.

3. Provide proper training so that your facility staff doesn”t override or bypass your energy efficiency projects. Although we barely treated this topic in this paper, this is probably the single most effective step you can take. Your staff is the brains behind building operation, despite what EMS vendors may say. Having the smartest control system will do no good if it is operated by the dumbest operators.

Improve Your Kitchen With These Easy Ideas

The kitchen is a very popular part of our home, one that needs
our constant attention to enrich its physical appearance and structure.
Kitchen improvements can be easily done a little at a time. You don’t
have to tackle everything in one go. Many times small changes make a big
difference in the appearance of your cooking area.

For example
the type of cabinets you buy can effortlessly improve the design of your
modern kitchen. There are many online magazines and websites that can
give you ideas on what is best to buy. There are many great pictures
that can be readily checked out for more ideas. If you have an old
fashioned set of kitchen cabinets, you can replace them with modern
types that have two doors or even the latest designs with sliding glass
doors. Adding your personal touches to these designs are quite easy as
well.

Like I said before, small things can do big changes. You
don’t always have to buy new cabinets, you can just as well paint them
over with a fresher color that will enliven your kitchen area. The paint
color can match easily that of the walls or your ceiling. There are
many colors available that you can try to really show off your personal
style and flair.

Proper lights also play an important role in kitchen
improvement. Changing from an old style chandelier to modern spot lights
can make a big difference in the appearance of the room. Also the use
of the right type of light bulbs can add that extra cozy ambient and
feel to it. Depending on your needs, you might want to make the room
look larger and roomier, or smaller and tighter, and you can easily
achieve this with proper lighting.

When it comes to adding modern
appliances to the kitchen, this is an area that many homeowners are
really thrilled about. There has never been a better way to modernize
your kitchen than adding a multi function gadget or appliances that not
only can save electricity but also some of your precious time by doing
many tasks at the same time.

Ways To Make Money From Singapore Properties

st way – buy low, sell high
Very simple strategy. Timing is key to success for this strategy. Opportunity for buying low is during recession, when sentiments in job market and economy are low (the lower the better). This is a great time to enter the market ‘coz prices will be depressed. Some investors like to buy when prices are “relatively attractive” or “affordable” according to their means. Some investors may choose to buy in only when there’s signs of uptrend (so they are buying at the base of the upturn).

So how do we know whether it’s the bottom? During the bad times, many will say “it’s too risky, it will go lower, let’s wait”. Do understand that real estate is inherently an illiquid investment, as opposed to the equity market. The periodic charts / graphs / data presented (on a macro scale) will be good indicators of how the real estate market is moving. The stock market chart may show volatility (up 1 day, down the other, up 1 week, down the other) but real estate market data will trend for quite some time before peaking or bottoming (we also won’t know exactly how long, that’s a question which only the market has an answer to).

Many home buyers like to think that today’s prices are “too expensive” relative to last month / last year’s price. We will only support such thinking if the broad data shows “all-time highs”, otherwise smart buyers should understand that its not only you who is buying at this “higher price”. If others are buying around the same price, then it is only natural that the market forces will continue to push the prices even higher because each buyer-turned-seller will continue to ask for higher prices to gain profit, and that is how everyone plays the game (well, at least until the bubble bursts).

2nd way – buy at a discount
Simple strategy but often neglected. So, you may be curious as to where exactly can you find properties at a discount? Most real estate articles will teach you to look for foreclosures (auctions), urgent sales, etc. So, we won’t say more about those.

There’s another type of property which we believe can be considered as “discounted” – old apartments in worn-out condition. A word of caution – you should be somewhat interested in doing renovation works, talking to designers and contractors if you are interested in trying out this type of discounted properties. And always remember the 3 golden rules of real estate – location, location, location.

In fact, you can also find discounted properties in new condo projects as well. How so? … stay tuned to our updates and we will tell you more =)

3rd way – buy to lease out
Rental yield (your rental returns on your property purchase) is a fundamental way many people make money from properties. If you are looking into this strategy, may we suggest purchasing 99 year leasehold properties (in a great location) instead of freehold (in the middle of nowhere)? Tenants are willing to fork out higher rental for (1) convenience, (2) comfort. Tenants will not pay you more because your property is a Freehold tenure (even if you had to pay the seller / developer more). Tenants will pay more if your property is near a subway (MRT), or has wonderful facilities, is nicely furnished and lets them hugely enjoy their limited period of stay in Singapore.

We have a list of properties near subway (MRT) which will be updated onto our blog soon. Your can stay updated on our blog via email or you can see the updates on our twitter page and facebook page as well.

Essential Insights Regarding The Installation Of Tile Effect Laminate Flooring

Flooring is the most significant aspect of a beautiful house. However large or sophisticated your house may be, if your flooring is not up to the mark, it will make your fantastic house appear dingy and poor. It is important that you get the best possible. Talking of best, only one type comes to mind and that’s tile effect laminate flooring. You will find numerous reasons why you would wish to choose tile effect laminate flooring more than the other kinds accessible. True indeed that there are various kinds and you don’t have to really feel limited to just one type but you will find also some features which you are surely looking inside your perfect flooring. Tile effect laminate flooring offers you the highest number of positive functions and this is the cause why it’s also probably the most popular kind of flooring today.

Advantages Of Laminate Flooring

COST: Times are tough and you will need to be economical. This kind of flooring is extremely affordable and that’s simply one of the main factors why you need to be choosing this type of flooring. Cost is the first thing you see in anything you buy, for sure. So your first criterion is fulfilled easily.

VARIETY: Most of you might be under the impression that just because it’s cheaper, it may not have any variety or styles and may appear extremely monotonous. That is not the case here. You’ll find an excellent variety of patterns and designs to select from and you are able to pick the ones you adore the very best. The selection may wind up confusing you just a little. You might not know what type to choose and therefore, you should be just a little careful. Make certain you keep in mind the purpose and location you need tile effect laminate flooring after which decide so that it goes perfectly nicely for your room or workplace.

MAINTENANCE: Upkeep is really a large issue for numerous. High upkeep can be a huge problem especially for those who don’t really have the time. If you’re amongst those that are searching for some thing that doesn’t need a great deal of caring and is totally free of scratches, you’re indeed looking for tile effect laminate flooring. It is even weather resistant and thus, you have essentially nothing to worry about.

INSTALLATION: You don’t really require an expert to install tile effect laminate flooring for you. You can simply do it without professional help and that is the beauty of it. You can install with ease and in just a little time. Sometimes, you don’t even require adhesive and all you should do is put the pieces together like in a puzzle extremely effortlessly.

These 4 advantages are probably the most perfect and wanted functions in any kind of flooring. Tile impact laminate flooring offers all these together and thus it is the best choice for you.

Beautifying Your Kitchen In Apple Kitchen Decor

If you are interested in decorating your kitchen and are trying to come up with an interesting theme, look no further. A country apple kitchen decor or simply an apple kitchen decor is a great idea for any kitchen, no matter how big or how small it may be. Here is some information on decorating your kitchen in an apple kitchen decor.

Theme Ideas

The best way to do an apple kitchen decor is to not go overboard with the decor. You do not need to have apples everywhere in order to show that you are trying to have an apple kitchen theme. Instead, try to include apples in small doses and colors like red and green to show the apple theme.

You could easily do a simple and nice apple wall boarder that would make the theme pop instead of going for fully wallpapered walls covered in apple wallpaper. The subtle hints are much more appreciated than the full blown apple assault.

In addition to a wall boarder, there are many other things you can do to stick with your theme and create an apple kitchen decor. As was mentioned previously, colors can show your theme and decor just as much as a wall covered in apples. You could easily do a candy apple red for the wall color in your kitchen and put some small apple accents elsewhere. For example, you could do red walls with apple dishtowels hung over the stove handle.

Where to Find Items

You might be wondering where to find your apple kitchen decor items. The first place to look is in almost any department store. Apple kitchen decor is a very popular theme for a kitchen, so chances are you will be able to find some sort of apple decorations for your kitchen.

However, if you do not see anything that you like at a regular department store, you can always look in antique shops for your apple kitchen decor items. There are countless items in antique shops that will match with an apple kitchen decor. Make sure to look deep in the stores as these smaller items might not be easy to find.

Whether you buy new or antique items for your apple kitchen decor, make sure to first, keep it simple. Do not overwhelm your kitchen with apples. Second, use colors to aid in getting your theme across. If you use colors and small accents correctly, you will not even need large apple items everywhere in your kitchen to show your apple kitchen decor!

How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Houston, TX Homes

The best time of year to make home improvements on home efficiency is before cold weather arrives, especially in Houston, Texas. Doing an inspection for checks to find drafty areas of the home is beneficial in making the home more comfortable and in saving money. Determine what do-it-yourself and professional repairs need to be done to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from invading.

Radiant Heat Barriers
Call reliable local insulation contractors in Houston, TX to determine what type of protection the attic needs. They may make several recommendations to prevent energy inefficiency in what is typically the least efficient room in the home. Foil radiant heat barriers placed in the attic further prevent heat from leaving the home. This means the heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the house at a pleasant temperature level, leading to further energy savings. These can be installed quickly and, once again, saved money may make it pay for itself in the long run. Foil sheeting costs a little bit more than the typical spray-on Houston radiant barrier, but it is worth the extra investment for those who can afford it. It blocks about 97 percent of the Houston sun’s heat from entering the home in the hot summer.

Chimney
Keep the flue closed in the chimney when it is not in use. Not only does this prevent cold, blustery air from blowing in, it also prevents animals seeking shelter from roosting in the attic for the wintertime. Invest in glass or metal doors in front of the fireplace. Keep them closed when the fireplace is dormant. Use fireproof mortar as needed to fill in chinks in the bricks.

Doors
Add storm windows to exterior screen doors. If they already have them, be sure to lower or raise the windows as winter rolls in. The less chance cold air has to sneak into the home, the less warm air must be generated to combat it. Add a draft blocker in front of doors with gaps beneath them. This is not only useful for the exterior, but interior doors as well. A chilly room that is seldom used harbors cold air which escapes into the warm house.

Crawlspaces
Like attics, Houston crawlspaces can harbor cold air and allow warm air from the rooms above it to escape below. Add insulation to prevent air from escaping to unused portions of the home, such as the crawlspace and attic.

Resin Benches And Other Uses For Polyresin

Plastics have long made our lives easier as a material used in almost every aspect of our daily lives. You can find types of plastic in every room of your house but have probably overlooked the prevalence of this simple substance. One particular kind plastic, polyresins, are especially durable and moldable and are commonly used in patio furniture, like resin benches, in art, as statues and figurines and as household accessories.

What is Polyresin?
In its basic form, polyresin is a compound mixture of plastic (polymer) and resin. Resin is a term used to describe any number of nonvolatile solid to semi-solid substances derived from certain plants, including types of pine. When heated together they create a malleable material.

There are also many additives that can change the strength, weight, look, etc. of the compound. Polyresin looks similar to fiberglass in appearance but is a more flexible material that also closely resembles PVC piping. Some materials are even just covered with a polyresin coating to further ensure durability.

Why is Polyresin a good choice?
Polyresins, like other types of plastic, are some of the cheaper options when it comes to manufactured materials. Resin benches are almost as durable as heavier wood and metal benches, but come with a much lower price tag. At the same time, many plastic products are now made from recycled materials so there is less waste.

Polyresin is popular for one because of how flexible it is when heated. It can easily be molded into a variety of shapes, that, once dry, are nearly indestructible. One kind of polyresin is called alabastrite. This compound actually integrates ground stone material, so it’s more popular as a sculpting material like ceramics than in something like resin benches. Alabastrite can easily be molded into candleholders and other ornaments and gives the appearance of stone while being cheaper and more lightweight.

Another benefit is that polyresin isn’t susceptible to color loss since the coloration is even throughout, but if the factory coating starts to grow dull in appearance, the plastic takes particularly well to spray painting so you can breathe new life into resin benches without much effort.

For use in crafts, polyresin can be purchased in blocks for carving and other projects. In heated form, the plastic can be mixed with metallic tints and paint flecks for different looks and finishes. Especially in commercial use, manufacturers like the material for how much detail can be applied when molded and with a consistent texture to match.

In furniture, resins are valued because of their ability to hold up in most kinds of weather. Polyresin is waterproof and strong, able to withstand rain, snow, sun and most any weather condition aside from extremely cold temperatures. It will never rot like wood furniture or rust like metal and is easy to clean, easy to store and available in a wide variety of styles.

Resin benches and other polyresin products are just another example of how plastics will continue to enrich our lives while protecting the environment by replacing non-renewable resources like lumber.