6 Laminate Floor Underlay Tips

The more you know about the conditions at which your floor is going to operate, the easier you can prolong its life. As floors are affected from two directions, above and underneath, it’s important to provide good conditions on both sides. While you can always look after the surface as long as you follow the right maintenance tips, the underside of the floor is not something you can easily work with once the floor has been installed. That’s why having the best possible laminate floor underlay is essential.

1. Before you go on to look for an underlay for your laminate floor, take your time and observe your sub-floor. Is it concrete slab or timber boards? Find out as much as possible about its structure, any damage that it has or may potentially develop, the moisture level beneath, at and above it.

2. In order for the underlayment to work properly, your sub-floor has to be as level and as clean as possible. If it’s a concrete one, fill in any gaps that exist using a compound mixture and scrape off any adherent carpet and other left-overs. If it’s a timber sub-floor, nail properly all boards and use plywood sheets if necessary to level out the surface.

3. If the level of moisture in your area is high or has the potential to reach high levels over an year, and you have a solid sub-floor (concrete slab, stone, brick), use a damp proof filler compound to fill in any gaps. Make sure to give it enough time to dry out before moving onward with the job.

4. Depending on your budget and personal demands you can choose foam, cork, plywood or a combination of these. Additional layers of sound absorbing materials are also available, either separately or built-in, but might cost you more. Generally you would want to have the latter on upper floors where sound is more of a problem. Ground floors on the other hand are more susceptible to moisture and the aim there is to have good moisture insulation.

5. Before deciding on the type of underlay, check if your laminate flooring doesn’t come with an underlay of its own. Very often Do-It-Yourself laminate floors are pre-finished and don’t require additional custom underlay installation. That said, custom separate layers for shock and sound absorption are always an option. It helps reduce the “hard” feeling and reduce the hollow sound noise that are so typical when walking over laminate.

6. Damp proof membrane (DPM) is necessary when you have a solid sub-floor, especially if it’s a new one. Timber sub-floors on the other hand need to breathe to avoid the build-up of mold in the near future and DPM should be avoided. Installing foam to level out irregularities and create a cushion is often enough in these cases.

The important thing is to know your level of moisture before making any of these decisions.

How to Be Cost-Effective When Gardening

There is no doubt that having and maintaining a beautiful garden costs money. A lot of the plants, materials, furnishings and décor which are commonly used for gardens today are a bit expensive. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways on how you can work within your budget while having the garden that you have always wanted. Here are some tips.

1. First off, relax. As with other projects, you should never bite off more than what you can chew. If possible, divide your gardening project into smaller ones. If you have been planning remodel your entire garden, try to divide it into smaller sections that you can do over a certain period of time. For instance, you can work on one small gardening project every month for six months or until you finish everything. By doing this, you would not only be able to have the opportunity to save up for each project but also have more fun in doing them.

2. If you have been doing your research on the costs of setting up a garden, then you probably already know that a big chunk of the total cost goes to labor. This is why if possible, try to work on your gardening projects by yourself or with your spouse or family. You can enlist some friends, relatives or even turn it into some kind of wholesome family activity that your kids can participate in. Choosing to work on your gardening project without hiring professionals is great and very cost-effective, as long as you have the knowledge, tools and equipment needed to do the job. If you do not, however, be sure to consider the advantages of hiring professional landscapers and contractors. Setting up your garden without actually knowing what you are doing could just be a waste of time and money if you realize later on that you could not do the job by yourself.

3. It would also save you a lot of money if you would be growing your plants from seeds instead of buying the ones which are already grown. Aside from saving money, knowing that you were able to grow your plants from seeds is a lot more rewarding.

4. You can also get plants and seedlings from people you know who have their own gardens. There are some people who are more than willing to give you any surplus plants they have. You can even offer surplus plants you have in return. If you do not know a lot of people who tend their own garden, you can try joining a local garden club, which could give you the opportunity to meet other gardeners.

5. Instead of buying fertilizer, you can try making your own compost. You just need to do a bit of researching to know how to make it – you might be surprised how simple it is to make it, allowing you to not only save money but grow your garden organically as well.

6. When looking for gardening tools, equipment and supplies, try browsing yard sales and antique shops. These usually offer a wide selection of bargain gardening supplies and equipment that would help you set up your garden without burning a hole in your pocket.

7. Lastly, make sure that you would be taking care of your garden. To get the most out of the money you invested in it, take the time to know how to maintain your garden and how to take care of your plants. Through doing this, you would be able to have a beautiful garden that you and your family can enjoy for a long time.

5 Reasons Why You Would Love Using Rattan Furniture

Today, you will come across so many pieces of rattan furniture from different parts of the world where manufacturers and retailers claim that they have the best variety. As the prices of wooden furniture is hiking up these days, rattan furniture is coming up with a great alternative for households, offices and hospitality industry. Here in this article, I have listed five good reasons why you would love using Rattan Furniture.

Years of Popularity: Rattan has always been a popular choice for home décor and now is gaining huge popularity in furniture industry too. This is because rattan is relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and extremely durable and has an exotic aesthetic. It is flexible enough for both indoor and outdoor use – so here comes the reason for its huge success in patio furniture industry.

Strength: Rattan furniture serves both function and form. Rattan chairs, rattan tables, rattan beds not just look stylish but these are affordable and long-lasting as well. Rattan is considered as one of the strongest woods in nature, which has a solid core and grows wildly and abundantly in South-East Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Various Uses: The exotic nature of rattan makes rattan furniture especially appropriate for use in homes and rooms with a tropical or Asian theme. It is widely preferred by hospitality industry and is often used as outdoor furniture for patios. Not just outdoors, rattan furniture is manufactured for indoor use as well. There are many companies which offer beautiful dining sets, living room furniture sets and even bedroom suites made of rattan. Virtually any kind of furniture can be made from rattan, from tables and chairs to desks and bed frames to sofas and décor.

Long-Lasting & Easy to Maintain: Here I am mentioning two points together as they go side by side. Since rattan is a natural material, furniture made out of it stands for a long period when maintained properly. Unlike furniture made of wood, rattan furniture is easy to maintain as it does not require any kind of periodic moisturisation with oil and also it retains its shape, colour and strength for a number of years. No special chemicals and materials are required to clean rattan – just wiping it with a damp cloth is all you have to do. Unlike metal lawn chairs and tables, rattan stands up well to all kind of climatic conditions when kept under a patio.

One more thing that I would like to mention here is that sometimes people take rattan and wicker as similar or interchangeable terms. But actually, they are not! Rattan is a type of wood while wicker is a style of weaving that uses various materials such as cane or bamboo to cover pieces of furniture. There are numerous types of wicker weaving patterns that can be woven over a rattan base, however. So, there are possibilities that you will find some wicker chairs or sofa sets when looking out for rattan furniture. In that case, read on the specifications and details provided by the manufacturer carefully and then go ahead with your choice.

Examining Electric Fireplaces Vs Vent Free Gas Fireplaces – Differences Between Each

Electric fireplaces and vent free gas models both have advantages over wood-burning models. Neither requires the expense or work of having a vent installed. But there are major differences between the two.

How Electric Fireplaces Differ From Vent Free Gas Models

Simply stated, an electric fireplace is safer. Though a vent free gas model is a better option than a messy wood-burning one, it still produces real flames and the dangers that come along with having a fire inside the home. Vent free gas fireplaces are different from vented gas versions in that they are designed to produce a very hot flame that completely absorbs the gas via combustion. Since they do have some combustion but no vent, moisture can build up forming condensation on the inside of the room’s windows.

Gas appliances are generally safe when built and installed to code; however, understanding gas hook-up procedures and applying them is not something an amateur should attempt.

Gas appliances produce real flames that can cause house-fires and deadly carbon monoxide if they malfunction or are unattended. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, produce heat without actual fire. Since there is no combustion, there are no fumes or emissions that require a vent. They are constructed of materials that are cool to the touch, so children and pets are safe within their proximity.

Electric heaters are also much less expensive to operate. The cost of using an electric version is only an estimated three cents an hour without the heater turned off and eight cents with the heater turned on. On the other hand, gas versions cost approximately 17 to 24 cents an hour, based on the local utility rates.

The Ease Of Installing An Electric Fireplace

As previously mentioned, vent-free gas models require a professional to install them safely and to meet local safety codes. But electric fireplaces come factory pre-wired, making installation a snap.

Installation is quick and easy. Once unpackaged, the unit is ready to be placed inside a mantel or cabinet. Some electric fireplaces have glass doors that may need to be installed on the front of the unit. The second and final step is to plug in the unit. Since most electric models are freestanding, they can simply be placed where desired without having to do masonry work or making holes in walls. And since electric models don’t have any combustion, there’s no need for ventilation to run from inside of the house to the exterior of the home.

A Solution For Any Room

One of the biggest advantages to electric fireplaces is their versatility. There are many options to choose from. Many of the different plug-in fireplaces are portable and can be moved as needed from one room to another.

The popular Amish style fireplace model is a perfect solution for those who would like to enjoy a fireplace in any room of the house. The Amish style fireplace is mounted on casters so that it can be moved from room to room as needed. While the casters provide portability, they are inconspicuous, making the Amish style fireplace look like a traditional mantel fireplace when placed against a wall.

Wall mount electric fireplaces come in a variety of designs and finishes that can fit in with any lifestyle. Because they are mounted directly to the wall, these models provide space saving solutions that are ideal for condominiums, lofts, and apartments. And because they are mounted much like a mirror or artwork is, they are a great option for renters who want a fireplace, but cannot have a built-in unit.

Electric fireplace inserts are another ideal option for people who have an existing built-in masonry fireplace but don’t run it because of the mess, expense or safety hazards associated with them. A log insert can be placed inside the firebox and with very little installation-just sealing off the flue-the fireplace can once again be enjoyed.

Homeowners who want a permanent fixed fireplace, but don’t have a traditional one to convert, can opt for a built-in electric fireplace. Built-in versions can be built into new construction or retrofitted but do require carpentry and electrical hardwiring in order to be installed.

There are several kinds involving different levels of installation. Cabinet models have the look of a traditional mantel model but stand against a wall thus not requiring any recesses to be built into the wall. However, these built-in electric fireplaces can be recessed, hardwired, and provide a flush mount look.

Electric fireplaces and vent-free gas models have just one main similarity: Neither requires ventilation to operate. But with all of the advantages of electric fireplaces including safety, convenience, portability, ease of installation and cost-effectiveness, it’s easy to see why they are becoming increasingly popular in homes across America.