Replacing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Sometimes all your kitchen needs for a new look is to replace the hardware on the kitchen cupboards. When you remove the hardware you have, your kitchen will be like a blank canvas, and you can let loose with your imagination. So say you like flowers and already have flower themed wallpaper in place. By using knobs and drawer pulls which are designed in a flower motif, you can then incorporate the flower theme into your cabinets as well. Or perhaps your kitchen is designed with antiques, you can add handles and drawer pulls made from buttons found at an antique shop or flea market.

new-knobsIn addition, installing the new hardware isn’t that difficult. You just need to count how many pulls and knobs you need. You may want to do a recount to make sure you haven’t missed any the first time around though. Then you will need to determine where on the cupboard you’re going to place them. The general rule is that if your cabinet door is on top, then the hardware is placed on the lower inward corner. If it’s a bottom door cupboard, the hardware is placed on the upper inward corner. If you’re replacing hardware on drawers though, then everything is centered. For the holes left behind, you can use wood putty that you gently sand and finish.

Also, make sure you place your hardware correctly so you don’t end up with uneven knobs and pulls. If you’re unsure of the placement, have someone else hold them where you want them so you can see how the knobs look to you. You can also make replica knobs out of tape and line them up on the door. Using your eyes then, as well as measuring, this will ensure where the hardware will end up. Just measuring alone isn’t always a good idea though in case a door is off or one cabinet is higher than the other.

Next, you want to remove all the glassware and items from the cupboard so everything isn’t covered in sawdust. Then carefully mark where the hole is going to be drilled. Drill the holes very carefully and slowly. After the hole is drilled, then insert the screw and attach the knob or pull. Then test it by opening and closing the cabinet door.

As you can see, just by doing something as simple as changing the hardware on your cabinet doors can give your kitchen a new look.

Kids? What’s the Best Countertop for You?

family-kitchenWhen you have kids, finding kitchen countertops which can stand up to the wear and tear is a priority. And while there are many different types of countertops which may answer that demand, below are the best three that are kid friendly also.

  • Laminate Countertops: This a pretty popular choice for countertops because of the variety of colors, the low cost of it and the wide variety of choices. Plus it’s also very kid friendly. Some of the characteristics are that it’s made from a non-porous material so not only won’t viruses and bacteria seep into it for easy wiping; but it cleans up with soap and a sponge or cloth. Additionally it doesn’t stain even if the stains sit for a period of time, and it doesn’t crack or chip easily since it’s impact resistant. Being that it is inexpensive too, you can always install now when the kids are small and then replace it when the kids are gone without wasting your money either.
  • Solid Surface Countertops: A solid surface countertops can be made from Corian or Swanstone which is a tough acrylic material. This type of countertop can come in over a 100 patterns and colors. And being that its kid friendly, you can get a great look and still have durability. It will resist impact, mild heat and staining, but it may scratch. If it does scratch, it can be sanded out easily by your contractor.
  • Granite Countertops: With the new sealants added to granite, you no longer have to worry about spilled juice or the top chipping. When granite is sealed properly, it makes it non-porous and it cleans easily also. Just make sure whatever contractor you use has the experience and know-how to be sealing granite surfaces.

Although the first two countertops can be installed by homeowners, the granite countertops are best installed by a professional contractor. The result will be better and you’ll be happier.

Storage under the Kitchen Sink

bottlesYou have to admit it, the storage area under the kitchen sink is the “catch everything that doesn’t have a place” area which messes up that which belongs under the sink. It’s dark under there though, and sometimes you haven’t even an idea what is hiding out in that area either. So what can you do to improve the situation; plus actually put that storage cabinet area to good use? Below are some ideas to bring that storage area into the light of day:

  • First of all, clean everything out from under the sink and see just what you have in there. You can make three separate piles. One pile to keep under the sink, one pile for things that really shouldn’t be under there which could be dangerous to children or pets and three, a pile of stuff which should be pitched out. This would be anything that’s expired, wet or just plain nasty.
  • Next, throw away everything that’s nasty into the trashcan. Then go to the pile of stuff that shouldn’t be under the sink and find a new home for it. If you decide to keep laundry detergent or furniture polish or items of that nature under your sink though, then installing a childproof lock will keep children and pets safe. That now leaves the items in the third pile which is things you actually want plus use under your sink.
  • At this point, you’ll want some type of storage container, shelves or a Lazy Susan so you have better access to what is going to be stored. Try to find shelves that use the height of your kitchen sink cabinet to its full advantage remembering ease of access. This way when you put something back, it has a real home
  • Another thought too, is to install stick on lights under your counter so you can see what you’re trying to grab.

Organizing under your sink isn’t difficult, but it’s something that does get ignored. With these easy steps; however, you’ll be able to find items under your sink in no time.

The Different Between Fiberglass and Wood Doors

When trying to decide which type of security door to buy knowing the difference between a fiberglass door and a wood door can be helpful. Both doors can look very much alike in appearance but there are several differences between the two. It’s very important to research and find out which door is the best door for what you want it used for.

Both wood and fiberglass doors can be refinished, sanded and painted and when finished, it can be difficult to tell which is which. However, a wood door can fade or peel over time and a fiber glass door doesn’t have this problem. However, some people just like the feel of real wood especially when it needs to match trim and other wood areas.

Installing a wood door is usually a fairly easy process. If the door doesn’t fit it can be cut to fit, planed down or shimmed to fit almost any opening. A fiberglass door can be a little more difficult to work with. The door has to be ordered the exact size to fit. It can’t be planed or sanded down to fit into an opening. Adding hardware or deadbolts are also more difficult to install.

Fiberglass is very strong and it will last longer than wood. Fiberglass won’t bubble, crack or peel. However, a wood door may absorb water and become warped or form bubbles on the door. Also if a wood door isn’t properly maintained, it can rot. Fiberglass doors are hard to scratch and dent plus its energy efficient.

Other comparisons
Other comparisons between the two doors are that fiberglass won’t expand and then contract. This means that when the weather changes, a fiberglass door won’t stick to the door frame and it also won’t allow either hot or cold air to escape outside. Wood doors can move which cause unfinished area to show. The unfinished areas then may crack if exposed to unseasonable weather. These cracks may also allow cold or hot air to go through the cracks.

When choosing either a wood door or a fiberglass door, make your decision wisely for the area that you are deciding on.

Inexpensive Updates to Make Your Bathroom Look New

So, you want to have your bathroom updated, but your budget’s a little on the low side. The good news is that there are many different ways to give your bathroom a new look and stay budget conscious. First of all, you need to figure out what you can afford to spend on the remodeling though. If you have a small budget, you may just want to have cosmetic changes made. If your budget is a little larger, then you can focus on having larger changes made such as new bathroom cabinets. With all this in mind, here are some ideas on where to start.

The floor
There are different ways to use tile when you’re on a budget. If you only focus on the high impact areas such as the floor here, you can save money. If you have the extra in your budget, you can also have the floor inside the shower redone if practical. Plus, if you have a yearning for a tile which has an artistic bent, use it as an accent along with less expensive tile. The upside is that when the artistic tile is used this way, it’s actually more noticeable.

Granite countertops are trendy, but somewhat expensive. Still, by using granite in the bathroom you use less because the bathroom is a smaller room. Also here, because the more popular neutral colors are more expensive, think about a color that goes beyond neutral which is less expensive; but that works in your bathroom.

The walls may be the least expensive redo if you go with paint for a new look. Now the contractor will use a higher grade of paint with a satin finish to deal with the mold and mildew from bathroom humidity. In addition, the contractor may suggest painting the ceiling with a paint that’s especially used in bathrooms that resists mold growth.

Another way to add a little sparkle to the bathroom is to have your contractor update the sink facets, light fixtures; racks for your towels and drawer pulls. What’s good is updating these items can make a big difference in your bathroom appearance for very little cost.

As you can see, redoing your bathroom doesn’t have to break your budget.

Durable Materials for the Family Bathroom

When contemplating redoing the family bathroom, there are a few things to consider when making choices for the materials. First of all, a family bathroom’s countertops and cabinets may be splattered with toothpaste specks, hairspray and makeup by bathroom occupants. Also, when the kids are sick, the thing you do with the cough medicine; in its bright shiny kid colors, is pour it into the spoon over the sink. It may make it into the sink; or not, when your child jars your hand while trying to avoid taking it. That means you will be cleaning so you want durable material used in bathroom cabinets and counters.

family-bathNow a bathroom vanity and cabinets made from solid wood is one of the best materials if it’s within your price range. Solid oak is the strongest material; followed by birch, maple, oak and poplar. These materials will support the weight of countertops and won’t warp, sag or droop over time from the countertop or sink basin.

However, if you’re on a budget, then solid plywood is another option. This material is the middle road between price and quality. Plywood is made when at least two thin layers of wood are laminated to each other. The grain lies at right angles in plies that alternate. When the direction of the grain is varied, it makes the plywood equally strong in all directions. True, it isn’t as strongly made as the solid woods, but it will last a long time if the moisture in your bathroom is under control.

Also wood veneer cabinets can be used in the family bathroom and are less expensive than solid wood cabinets. Veneer is made by gluing a thin layer of wood to a board of a medium density such as plywood or particle board. Veneer stands up nicely to rooms that have a moisture fluctuation, such as bathrooms. You can have veneer stained just like wood too; however, if you’re only having the front of the cabinet veneered, make sure the rest of the cabinet is made from wood that is similar; or it will take the stain differently.

Redoing the family bathroom may involve a lot of choices; just make sure that durability is at the top of the list.

The Best Pool Cover for Your Pool

family-poolWhen deciding which pool cover’s best for your pool, what do you consider? Well you want something to keep the weather out, the leaves and debris out and a cover which doesn’t retain too much water. So to help you select, below are three types of pool covers and the pros and cons:

  • The standard pool cover within the $75-$225 range: This cover will keep out sunlight as well as debris, but it’s only made from a tarp like material. To use this, the pool is simply covered and then the cover is held in place with filled water bottles or something similar. It doesn’t hold much rain weight though and needs to have water pumped off of it throughout the off season.
  • The security cover with in the $1200-$3000 range: This cover resembles a trampoline and is held on with spring-loaded straps. The straps are connected to the cover and then the straps are anchored into concrete to hold the cover securely in place. One type of cover here is made of mesh which keeps leaves and debris out. Plus; it will support a heavier weight load, and it doesn’t need a pump to remove the excess collected water because it passes through. However; the water will be murky in the spring and need treatment. This cover can last between 10 and 15 years.

Another type of security cover is made from vinyl and doesn’t allow water to pass through it. It does make opening the pool easier in the spring, but it does require a cover pump to remove any excess water from the weather. Solid covers don’t last as long as the mesh do either.

  • The automatic cover within the $500-$1500 range: The broad range in price is because this type of cover comes in many different forms. They do keep unwanted swimmers out of your pool, and they make great solar covers. One problem with these covers though is that the vinyl wears out in about 5 years and the replacement cost can be pretty expensive. Another problem is that they can overheat the pool causing algae. Also, these type of covers can break down .

In the end the best cover is really what your specific needs are.

The Security Benefits of a Solid Door

solid-doorA security door is just what the name states it is, a door that makes the front door to your home more secure. These doors can be simply a storm security door or a screen security door which come in a wide variety of styles and colors. A custom made security door is the way to go if you want to make sure the fit of the door is tight though.

Additionally, a well-made security door has a strong frame made from steel or wrought iron. So then, this type of frame will give you more protection from home invasion attempts. Because the frame is so strong, it will last longer than the less expensive doors made from plastic or wood too. As far as the screening, in an ordinary screen door the screen is made from vinyl, but for a security door; stainless steel or aluminum is used to provide for better security.

Another thing to keep in mind in your security door is to make sure the door has non-removable pin hinges. If a thief can’t get to the hinges, then the door can’t be removed for unlawful entry. Also for maximum protection, install heavy duty deadbolts in your doors which are opened by a key or keys.

A steel door as a security door is a good option too if you want both durability and security. Steel doors won’t crack or warp either, and they’re stronger than fiberglass or wood doors. If any dings or dents do happen, they can be fixed with an auto-body repair kit too. Now; pricewise, steel doors cost less than other security doors if you buy them without glazing or hardware. As far as body type for comparison, a steel door has an inner frame which is made of wood or steel. Inside, the cavities are filled with a high-density type of foam insulation. Too, the door’s steel surface may have a wood grain pattern which is embossed or it can be smooth.

Make sure the door you chose also has good energy efficiency properties. These types of doors have better insulation which lets them hold in the heat during the winter and the cold during the summer. Most of these doors, also, include weather stripping that’s built-in on the bottom of the door to keep the weather elements out.

Security doors are made so you can sleep better at night.

Custom Storage Features in Your Master Suite

You’re redoing your bedroom, and you are finally getting that walk-in closet and more storage space; things which you have always dreamed about. Now you just have to figure out how much space you need for your real wood custom designed closet. After you decide if you want electric or natural light in the closet, you also will need some type of organizing system. So, where do you start first?

master-closetHow big should your closet be?
At the least, a master walk-in closet needs to be about seven by ten square feet if two people are using it. This gives you room for shelves on the walls, more storage area and room to move around in. You can add bins to store sweaters and even small drawers to tuck away your lingerie too. Plus; if you budget extra space, you can make your custom closet more elaborate later.

Other suggested features
So you’re looking over your plans for your master closet, and you see that you have more room to expand than you thought; what can you do with this extra room? Well, with that extra room, you could put in more cabinet storage space for all those little extras. Also, how about a built-in laundry hamper or mirrored walls? You can even consider building a center island with storage underneath and a countertop for easier unpacking from trips. Additionally, there can be installed a special custom pull-out for belts, ties and scarves. You can install compartments and drawers which are lined with fabric too as well as a custom built-in ironing board for those quick “get the wrinkles out” pressing jobs. Also an accessory-plus-jewelry station to keep adorning items in one place would be quite the touch.

If safety features are a concern, consider having hidden compartments too in your closet installed as well as a fireproof safe. It would be the perfect place for expensive jewelry to be placed or important papers such as the house deed, wills or insurance papers.

As you can see, having the custom closet of your dreams can be easily attainable and the answer to all of your bedroom closet needs.

The Difference Between Hard and Soft Woods in Kitchen Remodeling

The main difference between using hardwood for remodeling a kitchen and softwood is either the presence of porous material or the absence of porous material in the wood. Hardwoods are different sizes and shapes and also porous. Softwoods don’t have pores, but have veins instead. Now hardwoods are more resistant to different types of damage such as dents and scratches. But some softwood can be harder than hardwood; for example, balsa, which is considered a hardwood, is softer than yew, which is considered softwood.

planksWhen putting down flooring, either hardwoods or softwoods can be used. It depends on what you want to pay, your taste in wood and what goes with your décor. Hardwood is a higher cost than softwood will be though but with Hardwood there is less maintenance. So if you use softwood; as an example, it requires more maintenance to keep the floor looking like new.

The whole key is proper floor installation. If installed properly and with the stained applied correctly, even an inexpensive floor will look expensive. However, if the workmanship is shoddy, then it doesn’t matter how much the wood costs; the floor will just look bad.

Now, in cabinets, the wear and tear is on the cabinet doors and the front of the drawers where the utensils are, and they wear regardless of the type of wood. Putting the utensils in and out scrapes even the hardest of woods over time. Also, fingernails will scar wood where you grab the knob or door handle on the cupboard. All this activity will scar the wood and wear down the finish regardless if your wood is hard or soft. One way to make the cabinets more durable though is to make sure the finish on the cabinets is heavy and dense. The heavier and denser the finish is then the more durable. Then they’ll be able to stand up to every day wear and tear.

It all comes down to what you want in your kitchen for storage or otherwise and what pleases you aesthetically. But if you only choose the wood for your kitchen based on its durability instead of how it looks, you may end up being very unhappy with the outcome.