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Choosing Vinyl Shutters For Your Home

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 285)
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Choosing vinyl shtters is wise if long lasting easy care is your goal. Many types of shutter materials are available incluing thermofoam, plastic, traditional wood and vinyl. It's now possible to get the traditional look of wood in a long wearing vinyl material Vinyl also comes in permanent colors so painting is eliminated.

There is also a wide selection of shutter types. Plantation shutters is by far one of the most popular available today. Plantation shutters offer both good looks and easy care to today's homeowner. Exterior decorative shutters can enhance the beauty of your home very inexpensively. A quality vinyl shutter can be placed on either side of each window for a dramatic, custom look.

When we talk about window shutters, it can often be confusing because they are also popular for interior use. This is especially true of plantation shutters. To help with the confusion simply remember that exterior shutters are either decorative or designed with security in mind. If you live in an area with hurricanes or heavy winds, an operable set of shutters can mean the difference between riding out the storm or severe damage to your home.

Tropical storms are especially hard on glass and need protection to keep water and wind out of your home. In this case, we recommend installing good hurricane shutters to protect both the inside and outside of your home.

A storm can do serious damage to your home's interior structure if the windows blow out. Great interior decorating window treatments are plantation shutters. All in all, the best way to protect your home is having a quality set of operational shutters installed on your home.

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Going Solar Who Is Who

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 453)
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You've made the decision to go with solar energy for your energy needs. In going solar, you need to know who is who. Let's take a closer look.

Who is Who?

Companies in the solar energy industry come in two main forms. One set provides the systems you need to produce solar energy on your own. A much smaller subset will sell you a form of clean energy.

If you want to skip putting solar panels or shingles on your home, you need to find a company that will sell you power just like a utility. Unfortunately, there isn't any nation wide company that solely provides solar electricity to customers. If you're willing to look a bit broader, Green Mountain Energy Company may be for you.

Green Mountain Energy Company is a "cleaner electricity" company. It only buys power produced from wind, solar, biomass, water, geothermal and natural gas. The power is then fed into regional power grids and you tap it from there. The advantage of Green Mountain is you are using cleaner power than a typical utility company, but not completely clean as you find when generating solar power yourself. The biggest downside to Green Mountain is you are still paying utility bills, often more than you would pay to the utility company in your area. That being said, Green Mountain is really the only company of its type.

When people refer to providers, more often they are discussing manufacturers and installers of solar energy systems. In the case of solar energy, there are a few big industry leaders.

BP Solar is one of the largest producers for solar energy solutions for residential, commercial and industrial platforms throughout the world. The company is a true leader in the field and provides simplified solutions for homeowners by combining the sale of solar energy systems with full installation. A very popular company with many homeowners.

Somewhat surprisingly, General Electric is one of the biggest producers of solar energy solutions. The company offers high end commercial solutions and custom made solutions using crystallized silicon solutions. It also offers pre-packaged systems for residential homes.

On the other end of the scale, Uni-Solar is the creator the new solar roof shingles that are gaining popularity with consumers, businesses and government agencies. The shingles sit flat on homes like regular roof shingles, getting rid of the bulky solar panel appearance. The Uni-Solar product is considered a fairly major break through in solar power.

Solar companies come in all types and forms. You can visit our site in the byline of this article to find companies in your area that provide the particular solar solutions you need.

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Make Homes More Energy Efficient While Remodeling

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 384)
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According to the National Association of Homebuilders, Americans spent approximately $215 billion remodeling their homes in 2005. So if you're planning to renovate, you may want to remember one point: It can pay to make your home more energy efficient while you remodel.

"Homeowners are putting extra emphasis on energy cost savings when remodeling their homes," explains Danny Lipford, homebuilding expert and host of the television show "Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford." "Projects that provide more energy efficiency have proven to help reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by up to 15 percent."

Lipford says that homeowners would be wise to seek every possible way to keep their homes energy efficient and resistant to moisture. He recommends that early in the remodeling process you should ask the contractor plenty of questions. Find out where he thinks you can maximize energy savings, where energy can be lost during a renovation, how to protect against potential weather damage and if he plans to use innovative products such as DuPont Tyvek Weatherization Systems Products that can help save energy while protecting your home.

The three key zones Lipford identifies as those to focus on to cut energy costs are:

ZONE #1: The Attic

Attic insulation can result in significant energy savings, reducing heating and cooling costs by using innovative building materials like DuPont Tyvek AtticWrap. "Some of the most effective solutions that help make homes more efficient are the ones you can't see and are important to focus on early in the remodeling process," says Lipford.

ZONE #2: The Walls

During construction, contractors can use a house wrap-such as DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap, which meets ENERGY STAR standards-under the siding. The wrap protects the house like a windbreaker, forming a protective skin around the walls, doors and windows. Installing house wrap can help lower heating and cooling costs by keeping outside air and water out while allowing moisture to escape. Without a quality house wrap, homes are more vulnerable to exterior deterioration, air and water infiltration and possibly mold.

ZONE #3: The Windows

Vinyl windows have become one of the most popular choices for superior energy efficiency and moisture management, especially when flashed correctly and installed with insulated glass panels.

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Use Creativity To Improve Your Home

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 476)
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It is important that you have a creative impulse when you are thinking about making home improvements. Even if you do not think of yourself as a creative person, you can consult design resources and look at other homes to develop your creative side.

To improve your home, you must first have a good understanding of the kinds of things you like. You should imagine your home with the types of improvements you are considering, taking in account your particular tastes and personality. For example, if you favor an exotic look, you could use jungle wallpaper and mirrored tiles. If you feel good when you imagine the potential changes as a reality in your home, by all means, go ahead and make it happen!

Many home improvements are surprisingly affordable. You can change the look of a bathroom for just a few hundred dollars. And while you may think that you can't do such complicated work yourself, you are wrong. If you can read instructions and follow them, you can do most home improvement jobs yourself. Remember, the cost of a remodel pales next to the value that it will add to your home - not to mention your attitude! Since you will be improving the quality of the home, you will be able to reap considerably more value if you want to sell it or take out a loan than it will cost to make most improvements.

Putting in new tile is much less expensive than you probably think. Mirror tiles, cork tiles, and ceramic tiles are relatively inexpensive. This is especially true for bathrooms where only a low number of tiles are usually required. Mirrored tiles may be about $100, but even if you wanted to put mirrors on every wall of the bathroom, you would still probably spend only a little more if you comparison-shop for your materials at different stores. You'll need to get certain tools and materials in addition to the tiles if you want to use them on wall or floors. These materials are not expensive either. You will need primer, sealer, and plaster if your walls have holes or cracks in them. Kits containing all these materials are available for about $20. Tools might cost a little more if you select the most expensive ones, but since you will then own these tools, it can be considered an investment. The tiles themselves will be the most expensive materials required to remodel a bathroom unless you decide to replace the fixtures as well.

The cost of a bath or kitchen remodel may seem high in the beginning, but you must consider that any improvements you make will add to the value of your home and also make you feel better about yourself. And your home will reflect more of your real tastes and personality.

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Care Free D Cor Artificial Plants And Silk Flowers

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 248)
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Flowers and plants are wonderful ways to add ambience throughout your home or office. Live flowers and plants can be a burden for a busy homeowner or office manager however, as they must receive the proper care in order to make the surroundings beautiful. A plant can die for any number of reasons, and a wilting plant or set of flowers will look tacky to visitors. Additionally, plants that are cared for will grow, and you will find yourself pruning and repotting your decorations a couple of times a year. Add to that the potential mess of fallen leaves and scattered dirt, and you will see why houseplants can be quite a chore even if you are gifted with a green thumb.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to real plants if you want to add that extra splash of color to your home. Artificial plants and silk flowers are a perfect low maintenance addition to the home or office in terms of decor.

Artificial plants can be purchased almost anywhere, as they do not require special care or storage from the retailer. Artificial plants can sit on shelves for long periods of time in stores, just as they can in your home. Artificial plants and artificial trees are manufactured in all the varieties found in real plants, and can be tailored to fit your space needs. You choose the artificial plant variety, the pot, and then walk your new d

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Tips When Buying An Air Purifier

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 428)
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With the rise in allergy sufferers, it is no wonder that air purifiers are growing in popularity. However, there are so many models available. How do you make sure that you are buying the right air purifier for your home? These air purifier buying tips should help you successfully choose the right model for you.

One of the most important things you should do when you are buying an air purifier is to figure out the square footage of the room or rooms where you will be using it. Don't take a wild guess. This is really an important measurement. A purifier that is designed for a smaller room won't adequately clean a room that is too big for it. To figure out the square footage of a room, measure the length of one side of the room and the width of another side. Multiply the two numbers together. This is the square footage. Once you know this number, you can look at the purifier's information to be sure it is supposed to clean a room that is at least as big as your room, if not larger.

Next, check to see whether the air purifier you are considering is designed to clean the pollutants that are in your home. Not all purifiers clean tobacco, pollen, dust, or pet dander. If your home has all of these pollutants, you will need to look for an air ionizer or a combination HEPA filter/air ionizer in your purifier.

Another important consideration for most people shopping for an air purifier is the loudness of different models. Usually, ionizer models are much quieter than HEPA filter models.

However, ionizers must be used in conjunction with a vacuum cleaner to be effective, since they do not actually remove dust and other pollutants from the room. Ionizers simply make all of the pollutants so heavy that they fall from the air and drop to the ground.

Before you make a final decision, you should also consider the life of the filter in the air purifier. Replacement filters can be quite expensive. Ionizers do not need any filters, but they do need to be cleaned quite often.

Finally, you should take a look at how often air is circulated through the air purifier and back into the room. The best purifiers circulate the room's air at least 5 times an hour. To find out how many times the model you are considering circulates air, look for the ACH rating, which stands for air changes per hour.

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Home Additions

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 202)
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Room additions can add square footage and value to your existing home, without the additional expenses incurred in the purchase of a new home. This is especially attractive to growing families.

Most room additions consist of extending the size of your home by adding the new room to an exterior wall. Popular room additions are new bedrooms, dens, living rooms, dining rooms, and studies.

Other popular room additions include increasing floor space by adding a second story room to your existing home, sometimes called a "pop-top." This can increase the value, functionality, and comfort of your home, without robbing you of lawn or garden footage.

And yet more ideas for room additions are garages, carports, porches, decks, or sunrooms. In all instances, the value and equity of your home is increased along with its usability.

A well-planned and executed room addition can make a dramatic difference, both in the livability of your home, and in its value.

If you are thinking of adding onto your home, it's a great investment now and in the future. Enjoy the extra space you can utilize now and still get the added value in the future if you decide to sell your home.

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Silk S The Thing

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 408)
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Soft, light and beautifully elegant silk has for centuries been a symbol of ultimate luxury and sheer opulence. From Chinese Emperors to European Kings, silk has always been displayed for the admiration of others. Today, very little has changed. When someone mentions a silk dress, suit or even silk bedding an image of luxury and wealth springs to mind. This is because over the centuries even with all the technological advances in fibres and synthetic yarns, silk is still the fabric of choice for the ultimate luxury items.

Silk bedding is no exception to this rule. Being stronger and harder wearing than cotton bedding, silk bedding can far outlast synthetic rivals. Silk is naturally strong, and silk bedding made using long-fibre mulberry silk is extremely strong. This is because the long fibres found in mulberry silk have a cumulative effect on the finished article, giving it both more flexibility and combined durability than shorter fibre silk products. This strength is part of silk bedding's attractiveness when it comes to durability. When silk is cleaned using a silk detergent, the silk fibres rejuvenate giving the silk elasticity and strength that far outlasts cotton and polyester, making silk bedding both a luxurious and wise long-term investment.

Something quite new on the bedding scene in recent years is a silk filled duvet. These duvets, as one would expect are filled with silk rather than the more traditional fillings of down and polyester. Sleeping under silk brings a whole new experience, one that Chinese Emperors have allegedly enjoyed for generations. Silk, being a natural fibre is healthier than sleeping under synthetic polyester. Dust mites find silk an inhospitable environment to live in which makes silk filled duvets very attractive to anyone who suffers from hay fever and dust mite related allergies.

Silk duvets are unlike other duvets in that they help our bodies to regulate their heat throughout the night. Long fibre mulberry silk duvets are layered by hand placing the silk in an intricate grid pattern. This allows some of the heat we generate throughout the night to escape, and this in return keeps us cool. Because our overall temperature is kept regulated throughout the night, we sleep better. Simple and yet such a clever idea. Why we haven't we been using these duvets for years is a good question, but they are here now and after using one going back to conventional duvet is simply impossible.

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London Builders How To Choose A Natural Stone Part One

(category: Home-Improvement, Word count: 620)
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Natural stone has been used as a material for premises interior furnishing for a long time now. It is used for walls tiling and floor tiling, wall columns, worktops, fireplaces, interior design elements. However, to provide a long term of service of all these items it is necessary to make a correct choice of stone and materials for finishing. This means to take into account service conditions of the materials used for the exterior and interior decoration.

It is rather easy to do it; you should just know inherent characteristics of the type of stone you like and the problems which you can face in the process of its usage. These problems have become fewer over the years as many centuries ago natural stone was exposed only to mechanical treatment and now there have been developed lots of means of its protection, adding to its prolonged and more comfortable maintenance.

However, house refurbishment or flat renovation demand to choose a proper natural stone for the decoration and knowledge of some useful tips would help to avoid even pinpricks in the future.

Hallways decoration.

Since it is the hall that we immediately see when we enter the house, we shall start from it. In this small but important chamber natural stone is generally used for finishing of walls and floor. As a rule, walls are not exposed to aggressive influence of moisture, mud, chemicals or chafing, therefore, any type of natural stone finishing will be appropriate here. On the vertical surfaces both picturesque elements with rough chips such as limestone, and smooth tiles will make a favorable impression. Polished marble and granite look especially effective.

There are fewer options for floor making: it is unreasonable to use stone with porous structure - it won't serve long and will need too much time for care. Granite is the undisputed leader among materials for floor tile. It is strong and wear-resistant enough; rich scale of colors of this natural stone allows not only combining it with any designer's decisions but making an accent exactly on the floor covering.

Stone texture.

Special consideration should be given to stone texture, since regularity of care and its complexity depend much on the surface: whether it is smooth and polished or rugged. Smooth surface is easier to clean, but with the lapse of time there appear worn-out zones in the areas of the highest usage. It is a little bit harder to clean rugged surface, because dust and street mud get into the smallest hollows.

Natural stone care and maintenance liquids allow you to simplify cleaning: mug protective liquids which are regularly applied on the tile will considerably reduce the time for cleaning and provide a perfect result. By the way, the same liquids could be applied to the wall tiles too.

If you are keen on smooth tile (well-polished dark granite reflects walls and ceiling of the lighted hall like a mirror, giving the apartment more grandeur), use the anti-slip tapes. They are easy to apply, absolutely invisible and provide a good result. Just remember to renovate protective film from time to time.

Bathrooms decoration.

Bathrooms decoration in general deserves special attention as the object of natural stone decoration. Bathroom tiles, being constantly exposed to the influence of water and steam, with the lapse of time amasses lime scale on its surface and with very high humidity mould can appear. Certainly, there is a way out: in the first case to put filters for water purification and softening, and in the second one - to provide good ventilation. However, to provide long service of natural stone you should correctly select its type.

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