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A Potential Health Risk of DIY: Asbestos

Posted by admin on April 25, 2017

When you renovate an older home, you can run across a lot of surprises. Some are great, like a beautiful hardwood floor hidden under an ugly, threadbare carpet. Others aren’t so great. But asbestos is one thing you never want to be surprised by. Knowing where asbestos might be found and taking precautions to deal with it safely are important steps to making sure your DIY project doesn’t put your health at serious risk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos is a mineral that occurs in the form of thread-like fibers. It resists heat and fire, which made it a popular building material in the middle part of the 20th century. Unfortunately, it turned out that while this material seemed potentially life-saving, it could actually be deadly.

The problem is that when asbestos is disturbed, it breaks apart, releasing those tiny fibers into the air. As the NCI explains, when those fibers are inhaled, they collect in the lungs and cause scarring and inflammation. And worst of all, they can cause cancer. Asbestos exposure can lead to both lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the membranes in the lungs and abdomen. In fact, almost all cases of mesothelioma are linked to asbestos exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that children and people who smoke are at particularly high risk of developing cancer from asbestos exposure.

However, the EPA also states that as long as the asbestos is not disturbed or damaged, the fibers remain where they are, posing no threat. Because of this, the US government never completely banned asbestos or required it to be removed from homes, which means that many older homes still have asbestos-containing materials in them. And if you begin tearing those materials out as part of a renovation, you could easily expose yourself and others to harmful levels of those lung-scarring, cancer-causing asbestos fibers.

So, what do you need to watch out for? First of all, according to OSHA guidelines, there are several common home products that should be assumed to have asbestos in them if they were installed prior to 1981. These products include ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, plaster, cement, caulk, and roofing and siding shingles.

Pre-1981 vinyl sheet flooring is considered particularly dangerous if disturbed. In fact, the EPA recommends that instead of removing and replacing asbestos-containing flooring, you should install the new flooring on top of it whenever possible. Vinyl wallpaper may also contain asbestos, although it’s generally considered less hazardous than other vinyl asbestos-containing products.

It’s also worth noting that since the US never completely banned asbestos, you can’t necessarily assume all products installed after 1981 are asbestos-free. If you have any suspicion that your renovation might disturb asbestos-containing products, the safest approach is to have a professional asbestos inspector assess the home before you begin the renovation. The EPA recommends that you hire an inspector who isn’t also an asbestos abatement contractor, or connected to one, in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

If asbestos is found and may be damaged or disturbed by the planned renovation, then the EPA strongly recommends having it removed by a trained professional. Asbestos removal done incorrectly can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, both to yourself and to any others who may be exposed, even if their only exposure is to invisible asbestos fibers stuck to your clothing or hair. This is one of those situations where, unfortunately, the best approach is not DIY.

Once the asbestos is gone, you can breathe easier knowing that you’ve taken an important step towards protecting your health and your family’s. And you won’t have to worry about coming across an unpleasant asbestos surprise.

The Front Door

Posted by admin on May 29, 2014

The front door is a standout feature of any home. It’s one of the first features that can grab attention and make a statement. It can also be used to serve as an introduction to the theme that carries through your entire home.

It’s no surprise then front door replacements are popular remodeling projects, and just as important of a consideration when building a new home. The hardest thing homeowners will decide upon when choosing their new door, is settling on which material to use. Different materials carry their own benefits and character.

Let’s take a look at today’s most popular options and the arguments for each one.


As a material, wood provides invitational warmth that no other material can compete with. The main benefits of wood come in the design options that are available. Wood is perfect for ornate features, and can be coupled with glass panels for an elegant yet homely look.

Where wood is versatile it’s also strong, but it can degrade over time. Exposure to the elements can cause warping or cracking of the door. In extreme cases this can lead to a degradation in the seal that the door creates, making it a less energy efficient insulator.

Composite / Fiberglass

Doors manufactured from either composite plastics or fiberglass are a more durable alternative to natural timber doors. They increase longevity and are better insulators too.

These types of doors are manufactured using outer shells that are filled with either fiber or foam insulation. They have a more uniform structure than wood and will stand up to the elements better. It’s almost impossible to dent or break a fiberglass door in any normal situation, so it’s this durability that sells many on a plastic or fiberglass option.

Composite and fiberglass doors are precision engineered. This can lead to inflated costs when compared to wood, but the investment makes sense over time due to the longevity of the product.


While many perceive metal to be a less personal building material, it can actually work wonders on both modern and period home designs. On timber constructions, a metal door can be used as an accent feature to create a striking look.

A door made from aluminum or lightweight steel alloy allows for clean looks in a durable and practical package. Like composite and fiberglass doors, metal doors contain insulation layers, making a home more energy efficient. Metal doors are another precision engineered product, so when they’re coupled with an aluminum frame they will create a perfect seal.

Metal doors can be expensive when compared to the other two options. There’s also less choice when it comes to design and finish. But for some tastes they will create the perfect aesthetic, and the durability and energy efficiency are factors that can’t be ignored.

If you’re a homeowner looking for a door for your new home or remodeling project, always keep this in mind: Aesthetics first, budget second. Make an effort to achieve the look that you desire, but don’t let yourself get too far ahead of what you can afford.

Whatever you end up choosing, your front door is what welcomes you and your guests in to your home. Make an impression that lasts.

Carpet Tiles-Squares

Posted by admin on April 10, 2013

carpet tiles used in man cave

Carpet tile may not be something many people think about using in their home there are applications that make sense.  They are great for a play room, a garage, a game room, media room, or a man cave.

Carpet tiles are pieces of carpet that come in a tile form, allowing them to be installed individually. In most cases, they require no padding underneath and are easily kept in place with the use of adhesive or an interlocking design. While carpet tiles have been popular for commercial use in the past, they are now becoming a popular choice for residential homes as well. Whether you are installing new flooring in a playroom, family room, home office or a bedroom, carpet tiles can work well in any area of your home. Of course, before you make your final decision, it is important to take a closer look at these tiles, their pros and cons and other important considerations. Some information sourced from https://www.bestcarpetvalue.com/carpet-tiles-list.aspx

The Pros of Carpet Tiles

If you are considering carpet tiles, you’ll quickly find that these tiles come with many great pros. One of the main pros to consider is how easy it is to replace a single tile. If a carpet tile is stained or damaged, you can easily remove that single tile, adding in a new tile to fix the problem. Traditional carpet is all one piece, so you would end up placing the entire area of carpet if you had a stain or damage to one area.

Ease of installation is another pro to consider. In fact, installation is so easy that you can easy take on this project without the help of professionals. If you go the do-it-yourself route, you’ll also be able to save quite a bit of money. Since you are installing the carpet tile by tile, it makes it easy to create unique designs with your carpet. The easy maintenance is also a big pro to consider, since you can easily keep the carpet clean with regular vacuuming and spot cleaning.

The Cons of Carpet Tiles

While carpet tiles offer many pros, a few cons must be considered too. One con is the cost of carpet tiles. They can be more expensive than purchasing traditional carpeting, especially if you have the tiles professionally installed. However, you can offset this higher cost by doing the installation on your own. Another problem is that these tiles often wear faster than traditional carpet, especially in areas that get a lot of carpet. Once tiles get heavily worn, they may begin lifting a bit around the edges, which can be dangerous and displeasing aesthetically.

Important Considerations

Overall, carpet tiles make an excellent choice for homeowners, since the pros seem to outweigh the few cons. However, if you decide to go with these tiles, a few things must be considered. Before making your purchase, always consider the density and thickness of the tiles, since the dense, thicker tiles usually last longer, although they may cost a bit more. Also, pay attention to quality when making your purchase. The cheapest tiles may not offer the best service, so it is better to choose quality over a low price.

Reused Springs for Bar-stools

Posted by admin on April 3, 2013

spring bar stools

I like ideas that reuse old items and keep them out of the trash. These old truck springs make great bar-stools and look great in this kitchen

Save On Your Energy Bill Through Simple Air Conditioning Maintenance

Posted by admin on October 23, 2012

Keeping your air conditioning system properly maintained helps your home’s heating and cooling system last longer, operate more efficiently and just as importantly to most of us, keeps energy costs lower. There is no substitute for annual maintenance by a professional air conditioning repair service, but, according to Conditioned Air Solutions (www.conditionedairsolutions.com) there are some things that you may be able to do yourself to keep your home’s air conditioner and heater working properly in between regularly scheduled service.

Change Your Air Filters

This is the easiest HVAC maintenance task of all and is one which you can (and should) do yourself. If your air conditioner sees a lot of use in the summer, the filters should be changed at least monthly; in especially hot weather where your AC is running almost constantly, you may want to check the filters even more often.

Clogged air filters force your system to work harder, which can reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner. They also mean higher energy costs, so don’t neglect to check your home heating and cooling system’s filters regularly and change them when necessary.

Clean Your Condenser Unit

Central air conditioner systems which have an outdoor condenser unit need to be cleaned as needed. Opening up the unit to clean the cooling fins may void your warranty – check this beforehand and if this is the case, leave this job to the professionals. However, leaves, dirt and other debris can and should be removed from the exterior of the condenser unit. Like a dirty air filter, a dirty condenser can’t cool your home as efficiently, placing strain on your AC system and resulting in higher energy costs. read more »

HDMI Cables for Home Theater

Posted by admin on October 1, 2012

If you are installing a home theater system than you will probably need to become familiar with cables. Your viewing and listening experience will  be affected by your choice of cables.

HDMI cables deliver the greatest picture and sound quality possible inside of a single cable. Using these cables is ideal if you want to preserve the sound quality when you convert digital to analog.

DVI cables feature somewhat of a new type of connection that provides superior visual quality. They make sure the video signal stays safely in its digital form, which ends up providing a really great picture quality. There are no universal standards at the moment for DVI cables since it’s still in development.

Component video cables  are the best non-digital choices for high-def video. While they appear almost the same as composite cables, their signal quality is better. Component video cables divide the video signal into 3 cables, thereby optimizing the sharpness and the clarity of said image. read more »

Time for Outdoor Living

Posted by admin on May 16, 2012

I love the summer. It’s such a great time to make your outdoor living space inviting and beautiful. I spent the last two weeks working on a project to make my outdoor living space much more pleasant. I improved the deck, painted the furniture, added a lot of new plants and lighting. It’s now my favorite “room” in the house.

Time for a Bright Pink Kitchen?

Posted by admin on March 17, 2012

Although I love black and white kitchens,  springtime has put me in the mood for some bright colors. It’s amazing what a coat of paint, new window treatments, and some knickknacks can do to freshen up a kitchen. I realize the attached pictures has a little more than a simple face lift but I think there are so many great ideas in this show. Look at the cabinet hardware; it’s is elegant and so simple. The pink is not my style but man it pops! No look at those lime vases in the background. This kitchen would just not be the same without that splash of lime. The chandelier is over the top great.

Look at a lot of pictures, get great ideas, and go to town this spring.