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Window Shades

Window Shades

In choosing the perfect window shades for your home, your consideration should not be solely based on the aesthetic value of the material but also its durability and the coverage and protection it provides for the interiors and furnishings of your house and of course for the occupants. Window shades should be able to give you the privacy and security you would require and protect your furniture from the harmful and damaging rays of the sun.

There are several types of window shades that you can choose from. From awnings, sunscreens, roller shutters, louvers, and shutters. It would be best to make comparisons before making any purchases depending on your needs and preferences.


Awnings are exceptionally effective at keeping out the intense heat of the sun, as well as maintaining your rooms cool and well shaded. There are fabric awnings that can be operated electronically, so it can be more convenient for you by just using a remote control you can adjust it.

Sunscreens/Outdoor Blinds

This type of window shade can help significantly reduce your energy bill and increase your privacy during daytime without having to sacrifice the view outside. However, you will need to use curtains during nighttime since this window shade doesn’t provide concealment.

Roller Shutters

This type of material can block the sun by almost a 100 percent and provides outstanding security. Roller Shutters are also often controlled from the inside of the house, either electronically of manually.


Louvres have flexible slats that would allow you to control the quantity of sunlight and wind that you would want to penetrate your home. The slats can either be vertical or horizontal and have customized designs to specifically fit any type and size of windows.


Shutters are portable screens that are usually made from wood or metal. This type of window shades are also highly effective in keeping away the glaring sun and can be a very good buffer against intense weather conditions.

After choosing what type of window shades you will be using you will need to decide which type of installation would you prefer, whether internal or external coverings. External coverings are known to be more energy efficient in comparison to internal shading since it effectively blocks the sun from penetrating the rooms of your house. Hence external coverings are more popular and commonly preferred installation.

There are also several choices to make on the structure for your window shades, whether you would want a permanent, retractable or a demountable one. Retractable awnings allow you to adjust the amount of light you would want to infiltrate inside. A demountable shade is also ideal since you have the option to take it and store away if the need arises.

Making Your House Stand Out in a Tough Market

Making Your House Stand Out in a Tough Market

Casa Batllo
Source: Flickr

Making Your House Stand Out in a Tough Market

As the real estate industry continues its downward trend, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell your home. Prices have dropped, there are more listings than ever to choose from and sellers are giving incredible deals to buyers. Here are a few tips to make your home stand out.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first way to draw attention to your home. Since it is the first thing that anyone sees, you want the “WOW” factor. I know people that have bought houses just because of the spectacular landscaping. I also know people who have not even bothered looking inside of a house because of the condition of the exterior. Make sure the exterior of the house is in tip-top shape so the potential buyer immediately wants to see the inside.

The following is your list of items to maintain curb appeal:

• Cut grass

• Trim all hedges and bushes

• Add mulch to beds

• Have flowering plants or potted flowers on the porch

• Keep toys out of sight and place in the backyard or in a shed

• Clean all cluttering debris such as sticks, garbage, old newspapers, etc.

• Replace all the light bulbs surrounding the house
You want the inside of your house to wow potential buyers just as much as the outside.

The following checklist gives ultimate interior appeal. Make sure all items are completed before the first showing of your house is scheduled.

• Clean! Every floor, window, closet and cupboard!

• Remove excess clutter, toys, paperwork and knick-knacks. Clutter makes counter tops and rooms appear smaller than they really are.

• Paint the walls in dirty rooms or where a room needs brightening. Bright rooms give the appearance that they are more spacious.

• Make repairs to anything needed – hinges, doorknobs, plaster, steps, plumbing, etc.

• Replace all burned out light bulbs.

• Wash all window coverings. Open all of the curtains and blinds before a showing. Natural light makes a room appear bigger.

• Open the doors and windows before a showing to fill the home with fresh air.

When the inside and outside are clean and neat, you may need to provide a bigger incentive to your potential buyers. If the house has repairs that you didn’t have the time or cash to fix, you can offer credit towards the purchase price. That way, you acknowledge the repairs and give the buyer a discount for accepting the home as is.

Another option is to offer an allotment if your house needs new carpeting or flooring. Buyers like allotments because they get the item new, plus they get to pick out their colors. A win-win situation for everyone.

The time spent cleaning, making minor repairs, and providing incentives for major repairs, will make your home stand out above the competition. Although these little fixes may require some time and effort, selling quickly in a tough market will be worth the effort in the end!

Canopy Buying Tips

Canopy Buying Tips

LS&MS Railroad Depot — Jonesville, Michigan
Source: Flickr

Homeowners sometimes find that their homes are built such that some windows or doors directly face where sunlight and heat are at a maximum.
Excessive exposure to the sun is also a concern for decks, the house entrance and patios for specific seasons. In addition, it happens that one gets home and is unable to immediately find the house keys. If the door or front of the house is not adequately covered, fumbling for the keys can be an uncomfortable experience when one is under the hot sun or is being drenched by the rain. These problems can be resolved using canopies or awnings. These protective shades are generally cost-effective and feature lightweight skeletal frames. An awning or canopy can be made from a composite material, fabric or even aluminum, and some come in retractable models with manual or electric control.

1. Canpopies Are Just Plain Enjoyable

Retractable and roll-up canopies give the owner the option of fully extending the shade during summer and rolling it up during the winter. This is ideal particularly for the deck, which many use as comfortable place to take a nap. The shade also allows one to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the season. Some canopies are even wired into the frame, so that homeowners can also use what is effectively extended living space at night.

2. Avoid Having To Pay For As Much Air Conditioning During Summer

Figures from the US Department of Energy show that awnings can lower summer heat on windows facing the south by 65%, while eastern and western facing windows reduce such heat gain as much as 77%. This could, therefore, lower your total electricity bills during summer as you will need to spend less on air conditioning.

3. Reduce Monitor Glare And Protect Windows

The woodwork around windows is also protected from snow and rain by awnings and canopies, while furniture on the porch or patio are also shielded from the elements. Open windows are possible for a home even on rainy days with awnings. PC monitors and television sets near windows on sunny days will benefit from the reduced glare due to the awnings – an indication that the cooling effect of a canopy is not limited to the outside. The extension of this effect indoors has helped some homeowners limit use of air-conditioning during the summer and lower their electric bills.

4. Materials

Homeowners have a choice between outdoor fabric and aluminum as the material for their canopies. Advantages of an aluminum canopy include sturdiness and low-maintenance, although shape and color options are limited. If the shade is made of fabric, it would entail greater care and maintenance, although more colors and shapes are available for this material type. Both alternatives are possible for casement windows. Personal preference and energy efficiency standards are key guides to determining the canopy size and drop, or the amount of shade or coverage provided. The Energy Department sets 65%-75% as the maximum efficiency range for canopies covering windows facing the east and west. For the south-facing side, the agency recommends a lower coverage range of 45%-60%.

5. Style Vs Function

The choice in terms of size will involve a trade-off: some individuals may prefer larger awnings to maximize protection and coverage, while others may prefer smaller ones when more premium is placed on the decorative impact. If emphasis is given to aesthetics, many manufacturers already offer canopies and related accessories in various shapes, designs and colors. It should be noted that coverage by canopies or awnings can be enhanced by using side panels, although these are not necessary. Special canopy models are also in the market for windows that open to the outside.

6. Added Benefits

Some canopies are also designed for easy assembly and portability, making it possible to disassemble and transfer them to areas around the house where they are most needed. These mobile canopies typically feature braces or arms, rollers, horizontal rafters and fabric shades or vinyl blinds and are also applicable to recreational vehicles or trailers. Once the target area for shading is determined, homeowners can establish the ideal canopy width size and the number of sections needed for coverage. Since canopy cuts vary in size, knowing the measurements of the area will help the owner decide on the most cost-effective combinations. Some awning or canopy manufacturers offer track extenders to accommodate slight adjustments in measurement. Once measurement issues are settled, the owner now has the option to pursue installation as a do-it-yourself project or to seek professional assistance from authorized dealers.

Tips To Upgrade Your Home

NEW! Shirihama Stilt House @ TMD
Source: Flickr

I guess you could say I’ve been involved in-home improvement projects quite often in my life.
At this very minute my husband is finishing the drywall in our living room, and will soon be painting it. While it’s great to see the finished product, the process can be very messy.

Install a lazy Susan in those odd corner cabinets. It can be difficult to properly use the storage space they provide, if you have to get down on your hands and knees to search for the items in the back corners. A lazy Susan will allow you to reach your items easily every time.

Glue your wallboard in place before nailing it! A caulking gun and the right adhesive makes quick work of the job. The advantages of quicker installation are obvious. Another advantage is fewer nails. Furthermore, the glue holds the wall board tightly in place and the nails you do use are less likely to pop out in the future.

Carefully examine the benefits of rental equipment before securing it for a home improvement project. Any repair or renovation job can be made faster and easier by renting purpose-built equipment. Such equipment is not always economical, though. Before laying out money for rentals the canny homeowner will weigh the savings in time and effort the equipment offers against the expense the equipment adds to a home improvement project.

Doing a renovation to the home’s entrance can really add value to your home. As far as curb appeal goes, the entrance to your home plays a critical part in actually getting buyers through the door and gives them the first impression overall of the home when entering. Do not neglect this area of home improvement.

If you have small holes in your wall, you can repair them by using spackling paste. Simply apply the paste to fill the holes and wait for it to dry. The paste may expand and crack, so you can apply a little more paste if needed. When dry, sand away any excess until the dried spackle is flush with the wall. Then paint the wall any color you desire.

Freshen up your kitchen with flowers and fruit. A beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers or a bowl of brightly colored fruit will perk up any kitchen. This is an inexpensive fix and will brighten up the kitchen instantly. Seeing a vase of fresh flowers on even the dullest of days will instantly improve both the kitchen and your mood!

Remove an old vinyl tile with heat. Old vinyl tiles often need to be replaced. Getting them up without damaging the tiles around them, however, can be a challenge. Place a dry towel over the tile and then heat it with an iron. The adhesive should loosen and the tile can then be easily removed using a putty knife.

We have a home which is over 100 years old and updating it has been an ongoing process over the past five years. We have a new dining room, two new bathrooms and half of a new kitchen. Recently, my husband installed four new windows and put new siding on half of the house. I can’t wait for the whole thing to be done!

How Creating Curb Appeal Will Help You Selling Your Home

How Creating Curb Appeal Will Help You Selling Your Home

Colourful House Facades
Source: Flickr

You may not know and realize how important of curb appeal to your home. It is a common sense that if you have an attractive and clean home on the outside, this will make someone want to see the inside. This strategy is very useful when you are attempting to sell you home; great curb appeal is just as important as having a home show beautifully on the inside. If the outside is not clean this can deter a potential purchaser from even booking a showing to see your home, even though the interior could be spectacular.
It is better to get others’ opinions in order to take an objective look at the outside of your property. To enhance the appearance of your home there are a few inexpensive things you can do. The most important consideration is the state of repair of the property. You must repair everything that needs repairing, which includes any cracked windows, broken railings, loose screens, crooked shutters, loose awnings, broken light bulbs, etc.
When finishing with repairing, you then turn to cleaning and unculttering processes. The garage should be cleaned out and items thrown out that have not been used in a year. Remove old tires, paint cans, bicycles, loose shrubs and broken lawn furniture from the yard.
Clear all pathways of any debris. Trim all shrubs and remove dead branches. Clean out the eaves. Don’t forget the back yard! A new paint job can add tremendous curb appeal. Paint front doors, garage doors, trim and shutters a contrasting color to the brick and siding for a dramatic effect. Use only one color for uniformity and balance. Too many colors look busy.
Siding can be power washed to refresh the appearance. Flowers and flower pots can add tremendous color to a boring front yard. Place flower pots and large outdoor plants in a variety of colors on the front steps, walkways, or porches. Hang flower pots from the ceilings of verandas or hang on railings. Buy plant hooks and hang flower pots from them, which can be placed on the sides and front walls of your home. Plant a few flower beds with some green perennial plants for contrast. This is fairly inexpensive, but can add a lot of appeal to your yard. There are many books on landscaping at the library that can help you with this. Nurseries can offer helpful suggestions as well.
Spotlights focused on your flower beds can brighten up the yard at night giving it a very homey and welcoming feeling. This is also good for safety. A well lit home is a deterrent for burglars.
Lastly, add a decorative wreath and outdoor floor mat to the front of the door. This just adds the finishing touch and offers a welcoming appearance.

How To Choose Awnings For Your Home Or Business

How To Choose Awnings For Your Home Or Business

Before, awnings just served as protection from the sun and rain for houses.
But now, awnings are included as part of a house’s or building’s architecture not only for its primary purpose, but also to add charm and create a statement.

If you are still unconvinced about the architectural beauty of awnings, you might want to have them installed for the following reasons:

* It protects the window frames from the rain, sun and snow. Most window frames and windowpanes are made of wood. We all know how wood responds to environmental changes. Even with sufficient wood coating and polish, wood deteriorates faster when exposed to the harshness of the weather conditions.

* Your house may have a porch or a patio and you have some furniture there, where you relax as you read a book or have a cup of coffee with your friends. Such furniture, regardless of the material, wears out faster when exposed to the sun and rain.

* When it’s raining, you normally keep your windows shut, blocking fresh air from coming in through the windows. If your house has awnings, during rain showers, you can keep your windows open and still prevent rainwater from getting in.

* When you are watching TV or using the computer, you usually have the windows shut, or the curtains or blinds down to reduce the glare. If awnings were fitted, you wouldn’t need to block natural light from the rest of the room since the awnings will reduce the glare on the monitors positioned near the windows.

* A major effect of having awnings, according to a study, is that it can reduce summer heat increase by 65% for windows facing south, and 77% for windows facing east and west.

So if you are now convinced that you would like your house or your building to have awnings, don’t just go out there and get one. There are things that you need to consider.

* Material

The most commonly used materials for awnings are outdoor fabric and aluminum. Those made of outdoor fabric come in a variety of color and shapes; however, these require more maintenance than aluminum ones.

Those made of aluminum are sturdy and require less maintenance. These awnings, however, have limited design and color options.

* Angle

It is recommended that for windows facing east or west, the size of the drop should be 65-75% for the best efficiency. For a window facing south, the drop can just be 45-60% since less coverage is needed, as the sun has a higher angle from this direction.

* Side panels

Side panels may alter the architectural feel of the awnings. Side panels are also beneficial in adding coverage in a different direction.

* Stationary, Retractable or Freestanding

Roll-up and retractable awnings allow you to permit the sun to shine into the house during winter.

Retractable awnings are also good for patios or decks. These awnings have a mechanism that allows it to be extended as far as necessary.

Retractable awnings can also have motors and switches for ease in retraction. Some also have sun and wind sensors to automate the retraction.

Retractable awnings are not for heavy rains, high winds and snow, though. So make sure these are properly protected from such weather conditions.

Freestanding awnings may also be used for patios, decks or terraces. Business establishments, as these also double as an advertisement, usually use these.

* Size

Small awnings are used for their decorative effect. If you would like to maximize the protective function of awnings, choose the bigger ones.

* Style

The most popular styles are traditional with closed sides, traditional with open sides, dome style, double bar standard, waterfall, quarter barrel, gable walkway and semi-circular entrance.

To check the most applicable style for your house design and the direction of your windows, consult an architect.

* Color

Apart from considering what color goes well with your house or establishment, if possible, choose a light-colored awning since it does not only block direct sunlight light other awnings, but this also reflects sunlight. By doing so, it lessens the amount of heat that comes in.

Also to minimize the heat that comes into the house, make sure that there is a gap between the side of the house and the top of the awning to prevent the heat on the awning to be transferred to the house.

Keep these tips in mind when consulting your architect while designing your house or business establishment.

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automotive window tinting

Project 52 #13 - Blues
Source: Flickr

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The Ultimate Comfort – Top 5 Reasons For Getting an Awning

The Ultimate Comfort – Top 5 Reasons For Getting an Awning

Awnings are an economical and efficient way to shade a deck or patio from the hot glaring sun or cold winds and rain. The great thing about choosing an awning is that you could go with a design whereby the awning is out all the time or if you prefer a retractable awning that can be pulled back when you want to enjoy sunlight and open air. As you will discover in this article, there are many reasons why you should buy an awning. To get you started, we will provide you with the top five!
Design and Adaptability
One of the greatest benefits of both the standard and retractable awning is that they can enhance the design of any architectural building. In other words, when choosing an awning for your home, no matter what the structure design, the awning will add curb appeal. Because of this, you enjoy the functionality as well as the adaptability of the awning.
Standard awnings have been used for centuries for their beauty and functionality, offering endless possibilities for enhancing any structure and décor. However, in recent years, the retractable awning was developed only further adding shape, dimension, and color, thus producing style and character that can actually increase the value of a home.
Massive Selection
Another benefit of the awning is that with such a wide selection of shapes, sizes, and colors, they can be used in the front or the rear of the home. With this, you can emphasize a unique architectural feature or improve the overall appearance of the home simply by choosing an innovative design.
For instance, if the front of your home lacks drama, you can make an impact simply by adding a standard or retractable awning. On the other hand, if your home is already architecturally sound, then you could use retractable awning or a subtle color to soften the entrance. Because of such a great selection, you can dramatically change the appearance of your home, both front and back.
Energy Efficient
If you have a home that receives the hot afternoon sun, or perhaps is not protected from harsh winter elements, then you are paying too much on your energy bill. Using an awning is an excellent way to maintain inside temperature. When you consider that 20% of the work performed by an air conditioning unit is due to solar radiation through windows, you can see how an awning would benefit. In fact, studies have been performed on both standard and retractable awnings showing that as much as 77% of heat gain within the home can be reduced by using an awning.
Extended Living Space
By adding an awning over a deck, patio, pool area, carport, or grilling area, you can actually extend your living space. For instance, if you love to have family and friends over on the weekend for barbecues but because of the hot sun, the party ends up in the house, crowded and uncomfortable, then an awning provides additional space where people can mingle and eat without feeling the intensity of the sun.
Wood and Siding Protection
When a home’s exterior, whether wood or vinyl siding, is constantly exposed to the sun, it will begin to fade and wear. Again, if you have an area on the front or backside of your home that is in direct sunlight, an awning would protect the home from damage. In this case, a retractable awning would be an excellent choice, using it during the heat of the day and closing it up in the cooler hours.
Just as an awning will protect the exterior of your home from the sun, it is also beneficial against hail, wind, snow, and rain. Then, if you have outside furniture that is also exposed, it too would be protected.