While most homeowners and housewives are too concerned with the modern kitchen equipment and furnishings, keep in mind that the lighting fixtures that can be fitted inside the area are equally important. Lamps and other lighting fixtures best for kitchen use are now designed for functionality and style, thus making it easier for homeowners to provide lighting for kitchen that can help enhance the overall looks of your home. But not all types of lighting can work inside the kitchen. Your kitchen is primarily designed for a purpose, and it’s best to keep this in mind when shopping for lighting fixtures. Here are some kitchen lighting solutions and recommendations that can create an impact in your kitchen.

Pendant lighting works inside your kitchen

Pendant lighting will add a modern touch inside any kitchen environment. This is a lone lighting fixture that hangs from the kitchen’s ceiling, often suspended through the use of a metal rod or cord. Pendant lighting also works as task lighting, thus can help focus the light on the working table. Shop for pendant lighting with appropriate wattage for adequate lighting when entertaining guests, whipping your favorite salads or when preparing food. Though designed as a stand-alone lighting, keep in mind that this can be used in multiples, often in ‘threes’.

Don’t forget layered lighting in the kitchen

Multiple lighting sources or layering can help create a comfortable and relaxing kitchen atmosphere. You can combine pendant lighting with wall sconces. Pendant lighting can hang just above the dining area, the kitchen island or the dining table. Wall sconces on the other hand can be used on walls to provide additional illumination and accent when dining and preparing food.

There are other lighting solutions that can be considered in the kitchen including ceiling-mount, recessed and even natural light. There should be a provision for natural right, through a strategically placed window in the kitchen. During daytime, allow natural light to enter the kitchen so that it will act as the natural illumination and in turn can also help you save electricity. If you are maintaining a large area for your kitchen, then use recessed lights for extra illumination. Under-cabinet lights can also supplement the choice lighting inside the kitchen area.

kitchen lightingKitchen lighting solutions may be primarily influenced by cost and personal preference, but it wouldn’t hurt to plan and not rush the selection of kitchen lighting. In an effort to create a lavish working area inside the kitchen, many homeowners tend to throw everything that catches their fancy. This is one mistake that every homeowner should avoid. Careful planning is necessary when designing or redesigning the lighting requirements of the kitchen. The idea here is to create a well-lit kitchen work area so that you can safely and confidently work on food.

foundation repair Earthquakes are something that we all have to deal with at one point or another. The Earth is constantly moving and if it wasn’t we would all be in big trouble. If the tectonic plates did not move there would be big problems, like elements from the core wouldn’t make it to the surface anymore, volcanoes wouldn’t erupt anymore, and the world would die. When the ground shakes under your feet, don’t be surprised, but instead be that person who is prepared and ready for such an event from happening. It’s quite obvious that our earth isn’t going to stop this anytime soon, so when your house is rocking, do the following:
Get out
No, really, you’re better off away from the structure than inside of it. Getting away from anything tall and man made will only increase your chances of surviving an earthquake since most fatalities occur due to debris falling and gas pipes exploding.
If you can’t get out, get to a doorway
Doorways are usually reinforced since they have to take the stress of a moving object day in and out. These will hold up pretty well during an earthquake and give you enough time to get out.
Keep calm
You need to remain calm, which can be a bit of a problem when everything is shaking. Take a breath, action with precision, and you will get through this fine.

speaker mount tips Speaker brackets and mounts are creative and cost-effective solutions for homeowners wanting to enjoy music outside their homes without having to worry about an unsafe and crowded floor space. Brackets allow homeowners flexibility in installing outdoor speakers on walls, and freeing up the floor space so it will become useful for other purposes. Though brackets and mounts may seem like basic and no-nonsense accessories for installing speakers, keep in mind that certain guidelines and tricks should be in place when installing speakers.

Start with sturdy and adjustable speaker brackets

Just like outdoor speakers, speaker brackets and mounts should be primed for outdoor use. Use speaker brackets and mounts that are weather-resistant and made from sturdy materials including aluminum and molded glass. Pay close attention to the weight ratings of the brackets and mounts- some brackets and mounts can accommodate 5 lbs worth of speakers. Another point to consider is adjustability- mounts and brackets should allow flexibility so speakers can be directed to a specific area outdoors.

Check the property’s wall type


Different strategies and tools should be considered when dealing with speaker brackets depending on the kind of wall materials used. For example, if you are planning to install outdoor speakers on concrete wall surfaces, then you’ll need a hammer drill that can penetrate into the concrete material. If you own a brick home, then a masonry drill may be used. After holes have been drilled, insert the concrete anchor into the drilled holes through stainless steel screws to hold the speaker brackets. You can use silicone seals to secure the brackets to prevent the formation of moisture.

For vinyl or aluminum siding, you need to drill through the siding and into the material beneath like plywood so that the wooden screws can be anchored. Simply attaching the screws and speaker mounts to the aluminum siding is not enough since popular siding materials aren’t that strong to support the weight of the outdoor speakers and brackets. The easiest wall material to work on is wood since screws are easy to add in a secure manner.

All these should only serve as general recommendations since manufacturers of outdoor mounts and brackets often provide their product manuals. Use these manuals when using and installing branded speaker mounts and brackets. Do these checks even before you start the project of drilling holes for outdoor speaker and wiring for a secure installation of all outdoor speakers.

home deck refurnishing If you have an outdoor deck that has seen better days, you may want to put the time and effort into refinishing it on your own, rather than replacing it. Deck refinishing can be a fairly straightforward process, and the end result can be a beautiful addition to any home. There are several steps to take when going about a wood deck refinishing, from inspection of the deck to the final staining and sealing. To get started, you must inspect your deck, looking for structural problems that need to be repaired. These could include rotting or split wood, as well as loose boards.

Those who have a painted wood deck that is in need of deck refinishing will also need to strip or varnish off the deck paint to leave a smooth, clean surface. Wood deck refinishing is best performed on wood that is free from paint or other coatings. However, if you are planning on repainting the wood, you can simply sand it down rather than strip it first. If your deck currently has a clear or transparent wood stain applied to it, you can simply clean it with a deck cleaner, rather than stripping it. Oxygen wood cleaners can be particularly effective, because they will remove mildew, dirt, and other stains that may have attacked the existing wood over time.

Once this step is complete, the whole deck can be power washed. Finally, you will have a clean surface to continue your wood deck refinishing process. Due to the power-washing portion of deck refinishing, it’s possible that the wood fibers will have expanded with water. These can stick out, causing splinters. A thorough sanding after washing is the next step in preparing your wooden deck. It’s a good idea to use an orbital sander and the right grit of sandpaper to get a smooth finish. You will now be ready to choose a stain or sealer. There is a wide array of different stains, paints, and varnishes to choose from. It’s best to choose one that is waterproof to protect your deck.

At last, you can stain the newly cleaned and sanded wooden deck. For this step of deck refinishing, it’s best to start at the handrails and work your way downwards to the actual wooden boards of the deck. There are special brushes that can make this part of wood deck refinishing a cinch. With a bit of time and effort, you can turn your old deck into a gleaming work of art.

home wood care Preserving wood without CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate), other heavy metals, or silicone has proven a difficult task in the lumber and building trades. The creosote dipped railroad ties of yesteryear have given way to a host of alternatives, some more effective, and safe, than others. Safety, environmentally, in particular, has become paramount in wood preservatives and treatments.

The average consumer believes that treating a deck is done just to keep out water damage and dry rot, but professionals understand that often a greater threat to the longevity of wood as a building material is in its ability to repel pests. This is particularly true of home-building materials, which need to withstand everything from carpenter bees to termites. That’s why for many decades, the arsenic-laced treatments were favored. Now there is new technology making use of the preservative and anti-fungal and pest properties of heavy metals on a micro level, which does decrease their danger to mammals, but still can leach into the environment. A non-metal alternative is PTI (Propiconazole-Tebuconazole-Imidicloprid) which makes use of three commonly used agricultural pesticides.

A safer alternative is borate. Borate preservatives are comprised of boric acid, salts, and oxides. These preservatives contain no heavy metals, and have been proven an effective deterrent to both fungi and termites. Borates are among the most non-toxic preservatives for building, and are particularly suited for interior (dry) construction use. A newly developed variety of organaborates, coming out of Australia, are significantly more resistant to leaching from wetness. This is promising news for the lumber and construction trades as United Sates and other developed countries have regularly strengthened their regulations regarding the toxicity of wood preservatives. Organaborates may prove the most safe treatment for construction, as it is the least toxic to mammals of all sorts.

hardwood floor sealer Choosing between hardwood floors, tile, and carpet is a decision that may make or break the look of an entire house. Carpets will provide comfort each time you walk around your home, while hardwood floors may be somewhat chilly for your feet on a cold day. There are, however, numerous benefits to installing hardwood floors. Hardwood flooring will add aesthetic value to any room.. Additionally, hardwood is often associated with the modern look that many people try and achieve in not only their house, but also their office.

The durability of hardwood floors strongly outweighs that of carpet. Advances in modern technology have changed the way hardwood floors age. No longer will the wood warp and bend over time. Different hardwood floors are available for different rooms. For example, if you want to eliminate the tile in your bathroom and replace it with wood, there is special hardwood flooring treatment available that will resist the moisture that comes from a bathroom. Hardwood floors can prove to be a valuable investment for your home. Wood flooring will make your house much more appealing if you decide to put it on the market.

The maintenance of hardwood floors will be easier than that of carpet. You will not have to vacuum on a daily basis to pick up the dust and dirt that becomes lodged in the fibers of carpet. Additionally, the colors in the wood flooring may fade or deepen, and grain patterns may develop over time, making the wood look even more elegant than when it was first installed.

The dust that builds up in carpet fibers and grout are often allergens and other dangerous materials that can aggravate sinuses. Hardwood floors have no material that can catch these harmful particles.

The choices are endless when choosing wood floors. The high number of products available will allow you to choose exactly what you want, including color, design, size, wood type, and cost. Installing a hardwood floor can greatly alter the decor of your home. It is important to note that if you do choose wood for your floor covering, it is vital to use the proper wood floor cleaner in order to ensure that it is always sparkling. Nonetheless, choosing a hardwood floor will be a decision that will never leave you second guessing the removal of carpet.

home wood care When it comes to building materials, wood takes a leading role in many homeowners’ and companies’ list. Wood is highly versatile, durable, cost-effective and offers that old world charm and class that can’t be duplicated by other popular building materials. Also, when wood is responsibly sourced, it can also help protect the environment since it’s renewable and features a much lower carbon footprint. Thanks to these benefits, wood works for a number of applications, from building homes to constructing warehouses and buildings.

While wood brings out natural aesthetics and packs the durability, there are also some limitations associated with these wood building materials. Wood can deteriorate in time, and the rate of deterioration depends on the area and the kinds of hazards present. For example, in the southeastern United States, the warm and wet climate in the region can result in higher rates of deterioration.  Exposure of untreated wood building materials to moisture and wood-destroying organisms can destroy the wood, even before you can even realize its full potential. To minimize the risks, every homeowner or property owner should work with experienced professionals and use appropriate wood-treatment solutions.

Wood treatment solutions can work in protecting wood

Treating unprotected wood requires attention to details and the appropriate choice of treatment solutions. For starters, it’s best to first clean the wood surface before applying the choice treatment solution. General safety instructions should be followed based on what is indicated on the product label. For example, when handling a treatment solution, it’s recommended that the solution should not get in contact with one’s skin. And clothes should be washed immediately once it got contact with the solution. These safety practices and approaches to using wood treatment solutions can help ensure safety for everyone.

Borates-based treatment solution- Borates-based treatment solutions are EPA-approved biocides that can be used to protect and extend the lifespan of wood. Borates can work against decay fungi and insects, including termites, thus making these as appropriate solutions when protecting wood. There are different brands of borate-based wood protectors, including Bora-Care and PenaShield that can work on different types of wood and work against decay fungi.

Copper naphthenate- This solution has been around for decades and can also work against decay and action of insects. Traditionally, the solution is applied on benches, electric utility poles and other wooden structures.

Other solutions and active ingredients –There are other EPA-approved solutions and active ingredients that can help protect the wood. Some of these protective solutions include copper-8-quinolinolate that works against fungi, lodo-2-propyl carbonate for molds and permethrin (or other synthetic ingredients that end in ‘thrin’) for insects but not for decay fungi.

These biocides have been screened and tested to work on wood building materials for homes, buildings or even benches and electrical utility posts. Hundreds of products are available in the market, but look for those that have been tested and EPA-approved. And to fully maximize its potential, it’s recommended to check the labels for the active ingredients and apply the protective solutions as indicated.

concrete repair Concrete sidewalks, ramps, parking lots and garages around institutional and commercial facilities can perform reliably for years. But they can do so only if maintenance managers implement a comprehensive concrete-maintenance program that identifies small problems early and addresses them before they become larger and more costly.

By developing inspection guidelines focused on common causes of problems, combining them with effective repair procedures, materials and equipment, and specifying coatings to protect surfaces, managers can extend concrete performance life and minimize trip-and-fall hazards.

Effective Inspections

Managers tackling the challenges of concrete maintenance must accept two contradictory facts: Water is a necessary ingredient in concrete, as well as its single most destructive enemy. Without a vapor retarder to keep water out, concrete coatings on below-grade inside floors or walls soon will fail.

Water expands by 9 percent when it freezes, causing spalling and cracking in exterior concrete walkways, floors, walls, and roofs. Concrete is alkaline and normally protects rebar from rusting, but water mixed with chlorides in de-icing compounds can penetrate to rebar and rust it, causing expansion and cracking. Water also can penetrate structural concrete beams and cause cracking, rusting the rebar and weakening the structure.

The first thing technicians must determine when inspecting concrete is whether the problem is structural or superficial. The start of a structural failure — for example, a deep crack in a structural concrete beam — requires immediate attention and documentation. A concrete engineer using non-destructive evaluation, such as ground-penetrating radar, infrared thermography, and impact-echo technology, can discover hidden problems.

Most concrete problems are superficial, but even these problems need careful and ongoing attention. A cracked curb or spalled walkway, parking-lot surface, or garage floor that is unstable can cause falls and broken bones that require surgery, rehabilitation, and months to heal.

Performing thorough inspections before the colder weather arrives can detect relatively small problems that technicians can repair quickly, preventing further water and ice damage. Inspecting concrete surfaces after cold weather arrives also can reveal new damage that technicians can repair quickly.

The key root-cause factors technicians should record during an inspection include environment, soil, drainage, nearby chemical waste, and on-site activities. They also should document essential facts related to the concrete surfaces in question:

  • What was the original purpose of the site, and what is its purpose now?
  • What is the history of past stresses, such as changes in the water table and violent weather?
  • What were the surface’s past conditions, such as snow, ice, load damage, abrasion, vegetation damage?
  • Is there evidence of soil causing concrete to settle or heave, or animals burrowing?
  • Is there vibration of the surface due to heavy truck or train traffic?
  • Is there evidence of settling, cracks, discoloration, erosion, efflorescence, dusting, rebar corrosion, or spalling? If so, what is the location of each such problem?

deck staining Whether your deck is made of pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, or teak, everything from the sun’s UV rays to rain and snow to simple everyday use creates wear and tear on the surface. Sooner or later it’ll need refinishing. Telltale signs that your deck needs a bit more attention than just a good scrubbing are: peeling; when water no longer beads on the surface; grey wood (an indication of dead wood fibers); and splintering (the wood is drying out).

As with almost any paint job, expect to spend most of your time prepping: A good strategy is to devote one weekend to cleaning and prepping, and the following weekend to applying the finish. No matter what the situation, time spent properly at this stage means the final finish will last longer and application will be quicker and easier.

Pro Tip: The best time to refinish a deck is in mid-to-late spring, early summer or early fall, when the surface temperature of the deck is above 50°F, but below 90°F, and when the humidity level is low to average. (If you can’t put your hand on the deck and leave it there without getting uncomfortable then it’s too hot.) Best times to work are in the late morning or late afternoon, when the surface is not in direct sunlight.

A thorough pressure wash is most likely needed.  In addition, mildew and mold must be removed by bleach or other products designed for that purpose.  Finally, sanding may be needed, as well as the replacement or repair of any wood severely affected by the elements.

By using an exterior stain or coating, you can keep your wood siding, fence or deck protected and looking its very best for a long time to come. If you have a deck or fence that is starting to look dull or run down, you may be able to save yourself money on a replacement and give it a face-lift instead. You’ll feel like you have a whole new deck or fence, and you’ll pay a fraction of the price. Coatings will help to lock in the stain or protect the natural wood. Coatings will protect against water damage and freezing, and they will keep the color looking vibrant longer.

home improvements molding When you are remodeling your home, you don’t need a huge budget to get the look you want. By making some smart choices, you can create a room that looks like it was put together by a top interior designer but will only have spent a fraction of the budget.

Here are a few accessories to try:

Plinth Blocks

These small blocks feature decorative carvings that you can add to moldings and mantles to add a little something extra. You can add a carved flower or plant at the bottom of your fireplace mantle or freestanding shelf, or you can put a square carved block between strips of molding. Instead of the typical, functional pieces that most people would expect to see there, you have a detailed piece that adds sophistication to the room.

Flex Crown Molding

While most crown molding looks like a variation on standard trim, flex crown molding looks like a carving on a small strip. It can make any room look more luxurious with just this simple detail. Just make sure to use it with the right wall coverings and art. You don’t want to make a room look too fussy with it.


Rosettes are tiny circular medallions that are sculpted to look like various flowers. You can use rosettes in a number of ways. They can be placed on ceiling tiles, in the middle of decorative wall molding or even on pieces of furniture. They make lovely decorative accents and don’t take up a lot of room or cost a lot of money.

Just because you’re on a limited budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the look of your home. Check out these wonderful accessories to create sophisticated décor.