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Home Improvement

Houston Bathroom Cabinets

Bathrooms

Homeowners looking to improve their homes on a budget, or at least to get the most bang for their buck, should look at areas of their home where small improvements can make a big difference. A new deck or a fully renovated kitchen can’t be topped for transforming the look and enjoyment of your home, but these projects demand an enormous investment in time and money. Bathrooms, by contrast, are used every bit as much as kitchens, despite their smaller area. Of course, a full bathroom remodel, including a new tub/shower installation, countertop, and bathroom fixtures is no small project, either. Installing new bathroom cabinets, however, can usually be done out of pocket without the need for home financing that will be eating at your monthly income for years.

Houston Bathroom Cabinet Remodeling
If you’re looking into bathroom cabinets, you probably already know the answer, but the first question you must ask is whether your cabinets look tattered, don’t provide sufficient storage capacity, or both. To increase your bathroom storage, you need a new cabinetry design. This can mean installing larger cabinetry in essentially the same place as your old cabinetry, or it can mean putting in additional cabinets in a different location. Adding new cabinetry can be a potentially dangerous move, especially in a smaller bathroom. If at all possible, you don’t want to create additional storage space only to make your bathroom feel cramped.

The best idea is to look into the plausibility of installing built-in cabinets. Even shallow built-in cabinets can often create sufficient storage without muddling your bathroom space. Another useful idea is to move your bathroom storage out of the bathroom. Even when your bathroom walls don’t have space for new cabinetry, often bedrooms for master baths or hallways for other bathrooms will have the ability to accommodate built in cabinets. Nearly everyone has medicine, cleaners, and other bathroom supplies that can be stored near their bathroom, instead of in it.

Options for your Houston Bathroom Cabinets
While you might think that once you have plans for the layout of your new cabinetry, your project is set to begin. Yet, just as involved as the design of your cabinets is the type of cabinets and installation you’ll want. You’re probably aware that Internet-based manufacturers and huge chains such as Home Depot sell pre-manufactured cabinets, called stock cabinetry. You might, then, think that the old-fashioned craft of building cabinets from scratch is for DIYers. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Stock cabinets can be installed by DIYers, but these cabinets don’t have the same craftsmanship, life expectancy, or design options as can be provided by professional cabinet makers. Stock cabinets may simply be implausible for homeowners who need customized storage units, such as built in cabinets, corner cabinets, etc. On the other hand, if you’re generally happy with storage capacity, but need to do something about dinged about wood cabinets, the best answer might be having your cabinets refinished, not replaced. That said, stock cabinets certainly have their place, and if you need a fairly generic-sized cabinet, these cabinets can’t be beat for cost. Houston Bathroom Cabinetry Contractors
Even if you believe stock cabinets are what you need, there are still some very valid reasons to seek out the services of Houston bathroom cabinet contractors. The contractors may be able to advise you on which cabinet manufacturer to choose. They may also be able to open up the possibilities of semi-stock cabinetry, which is essentially pre-ordering stock cabinets with specific dimensions. Plus, unless you plan on installing the cabinets yourself, you’re going to need someone to install the cabinets, anyway. Chain stores often make a significant part of their profits by jacking up the price of installation. By seeking out an independent Houston cabinetry contractor, you’ll be able to safeguard against any over-charging practices these companies may employ. In the end, your Houston bathroom cabinet remodel can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Simply put, you can’t beat DIY stock cabinets for cost, and you’ll never match the design options and craftsmanship of a custom cabinet maker, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get the most from your money by seeking some form of middle ground.

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Home Improvement

5 Steps to the Perfect Guest Room

Though homeowners spend quite a bit of time on living rooms, kitchens, and bathroom remodels, guest rooms are one of the most often neglected spaces in the house. If you’re planning on having overnight guests within the next year, consider remodeling your guest room to make it more appealing and welcoming.

Step 1: Revitalizing Spare Room Walls and Flooring
First, examine the condition of the walls and flooring. Is the paint looking dull? Is the wallpaper outdated? Painting is the easiest and most inexpensive remodeling step, yet it can instantly create a fresh atmosphere that friends or family staying in your guest room will appreciate. Keep in mind that neutral or warm tones are generally the most inviting. If you want to put up new wallpaper, choose a nice soft pattern with a border to keep it simple.

What is the condition of the flooring? Is the carpet stained or worn? If so, replacing it with new carpeting will change the look of the entire room. If the carpet is in decent shape but a little matted down, you should consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner. If you have hardwood flooring, simply adding a new area rug will give your guest room a warmer touch and will make the area softer underfoot and more comfortable for visitors.

Step 2: Coordinate a Color Scheme
After deciding on colors for the room, try to coordinate comforters, sheets, window treatment, throw pillows, and chairs to match. A unified color scheme looks elegant and will make guests feel special.

Step 3: Increase Guest Room Storage Space
No one likes living out of a suitcase. No matter your guest’s length of stay, it is considerate to create storage space for their clothing and personal items while they are visiting. Clear out a drawer or two or make some space in the closet where they can hang clothes. Be sure to tuck some extra toiletries and fresh towels in one of the drawers as well!

Step 4: Remember Bathroom Access
How is the bathroom access from your guest room? Do guests have to walk down a long hall to get to the bathroom? If there isn’t a convenient bathroom near the guest room and space allows, maybe a small bathroom could be added and sectioned off within the room. This would require a larger budget but if it’s possible, your guests will be grateful.

Even a half bathroom could be added for extra convenience. This is an especially good idea if your family has frequent houseguests. A private bath in the spare room is a convenience that your company will appreciate, and will also cut down on crowding in the existing bathrooms when visitors come to town.

Step 5: Finishing Touches to Complete Your Guest Room
Sometimes the details can make all the difference in the world. Any of the following additions to your guest room will be much appreciated by all visiting guests: alarm clock, TV, radio, phone, reading lamp, fresh flowers or plants, and recent magazines or books.

Think about all of the things that make you feel comfortable when staying in someone else’s home and aim to include any luxuries you can afford in your guest room renovation. Even a few quick and simple touches can make all the difference, and your guests will surely thank you.

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Home Improvement

5 Bamboo Products for the Eco-Friendly Homeowner

With green construction practices and building materials sweeping the home improvement industry, bamboo has risen in stature to become one of the most beautiful, widely used, and eco-friendly hardwoods on the planet. From gorgeous hardwood flooring to easy-to-install outdoor fence, bamboo products are available to fit just about any homeowner’s fancy or remodeling needs.

Bamboo Products: What You Need to Know
While bamboo is generally referred to as a hardwood because of its beauty, density, and durability, it actually comes from the grass family. And it’s not just any grass or any plant. It’s the fastest growing plant known to man: Some bamboo shoots have been seen to grow up to four feet in a 24-hour period. If you cut down an oak tree, that’s all she wrote. Cutting bamboo, on the other hand, is necessary just to keep things tidy on a bamboo farm.

When harvested at the right time, when sugar levels are at their lowest, the resulting material is stronger than some hardwoods. Indeed, as the popularity of bamboo products have accelerated, manufacturers have struggled to keep up with demand, resulting in stories of discoloration and pest infestation. These inferior bamboo products have also created a belief that bamboo is cheaper than hardwood. In truth, all of these facts are true. Hastily harvested bamboo is likely to be cheaper than hardwood products, while solid harvesting practices can yield a product superior to many hardwood products. Look for the most trusted manufacturers, ask your local home improvement contractors which company they recommend, and don’t get sucked in by steep discounts.

The Top 5 Bamboo Products
So, with reliable and eco-friendly bamboo, what are the home improvement possibilities? The answer is just about anything or, more accurately, anyplace where you might use hardwood, you can use bamboo instead. Here’s a list of five of the most common bamboo home improvement products just to get you thinking about the possibilities.

 

  • Bamboo Flooring—With varieties rumored to be 100% stronger than red oak, and a stunning appearance that stops people in their tracks, bamboo is quickly becoming one of the most sought after hardwood flooring materials on the market. 
  • Bamboo Fences and Decks—Tired of chain link, but not sold on a cedar privacy fence either? Think about bamboo fencing. You can easily attach it to a pre-existing fence, or have a more formal, traditional wood frame built to fit your bamboo into. And, just like fencing panels, bamboo is a charming material for deck planks. 
  • Bamboo Veneer—Bamboo veneer is taking bamboo to places never thought possible just a few years past. From kitchen cabinetry to wall paneling, bamboo veneer allows you to outfit just about any area of your home with the rich, warm feel of this eco-friendly wood.

 

  • Butcher Block Bamboo Countertops—If you’re installing bamboo cabinetry, why not a butcher block bamboo countertop as well? Constructed in parquet style, bamboo butcher block is beautiful for use as countertops and tabletops alike. And since bamboo is denser than almost any other hardwood, it’s perfect for use in kitchens and dining rooms where spills and messes are commonplace. 
  • Bamboo Furniture—Move over oak furniture, say hello to bamboo. We’re not talking 70’s era, rustic bamboo pole furniture either. From dining sets to coffee tables and nightstands, bamboo furniture is every bit as beautiful as oak, maple, and cherry, and much better for mother earth.

Why Not Bamboo?
In this time of environmental uncertainty, it’s our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. That starts and stops with how responsibly we use the natural resources at our disposal, and when it comes to wood building products, bamboo has no equal. Whether you’re thinking about a new dinette set or a total kitchen remodel, bamboo is a beautifully green solution.

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Home Improvement

Interior Design Styles

Home Building

A number of basic design styles apply to everything from furniture to interior and exterior home design. Here are some general guidelines for some popular design styles:

Contemporary/modern design features sleek, unadorned cabinets, plain panel doors and hardware that’s hidden or unobtrusive.

Traditional is more formal and elegant. Raised panel cabinet doors or clear glass panels separated by thin strips of wood are often seen. Rich wood finishes or painted white wood may be accented with sparkle from brass or brass-tone hardware.

Craftsman bungalow houses usually have low-pitched gable roofs with large overhangs and exposed rafters. Under the gables are often decorative beams or braces. A craftsman bungalow commonly has a generous front porch with a roof is carried on square, tapered columns. Stone or brick frequently is used for the porch’s base or columns. Masonry may also be used for a tapered chimney on one side of the house.

 

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Country features light stain or distressed-color finish, simple cabinet and door styles and unpretentious wood or ceramic knobs and handles.

Colonial style homes take advantage of classic architectural elements, notably symmetry, columns and formally framed doors and windows. These residences, often elaborate, typically have large front and rear porches, providing an opportunity for cross ventilation in sultry climates.

Victorian styles often reflect the romance of the 19th century with contemporary convenience. Common cabinet woods are oak or cherry and with the right color scheme, even white can be used. Many different types of hardware will work, from hammered iron to antique pewter.

High-tech design areas feature stainless steel, metal tubing, chrome and black accents. Kitchens often feature an industrial look with sleek metallic appliances and storage cabinets. Glass block or curving transparent window glass may be set in a wall.

Southwestern homes, with their stucco or adobe exterior and orange or red tile roofs, are gaining in popularity these days, especially in the west.

Likewise, log homes, which today include construction techniques that may or may not use whole logs to yield a house that looks like it’s built with logs, have a solid, somewhat romantic and secure ambience that attracts many people.

French country design is more of a style than a set of specifics. The rural homes of France that provide the basis for French country style are diverse in all but their charm. One common trait is the multi-paned windows extending to the floor, which are called French windows and that are used like doors, inside and out. The kitchen is enormous and comfortable, with exposed, sturdy beams and tiled floors. The living room is also large, often with a fireplace.

Mediterranean style favors stucco as it weathers well, especially in damp or sea-side areas), as well as bay windows or narrow, deep windows and doors flanked by slat-board shutters and painted vividly. Ceramic tile flooring, airy, large open living areas are also hallmarks of Mediterranean design.

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Home Improvement

Home Improvement Imports

Designers & Decorators

Whether it’s the form, function, or aesthetic of their home, Americans would do well to take a look at what’s going on in international communities. From adding a distinctive flavor to your home to reducing your monthly utility expenses, people in other parts of the world have developed innovative solutions over the past year and previous centuries. Take a look at these three areas of home improvements and whether it’s time for you to import one of these international innovations.

Home Heating Costs: Latin-American Tankless Water Heaters
In truth, tankless water heaters are the dominant form of hot water in most places outside of the U.S., but a lack of reliability in the public water supply makes tankless water heating particularly popular in Latin-America. Of course, tankless water heaters are becoming more common in the U.S., as energy conservation becomes a bigger and bigger issue. Most of these new systems, however, are designed to provide hot water to the entire home and can cost quite a bit to install. Latin-American homeowners get around this issue by installing an electric shower head that heats the water as it comes out of your shower head. Rather than installing an expensive tankless water heating system, you can simply turn down your hot water tank to a minimal temperature for the rest of your home. This type of low-cost alternative is sure to be the sort of thing that more and more Americans look at, as they try to scale back their monthly expenses.

Most electric showerheads cost less than a $100 and use 50 percent less energy to heat your water. On the home improvement front, homeowner demand for tankless water heating systems has increased by more than 50 percent, according to ServiceMagic, leading online resource connecting homeowners and home improvement contractors.

Home Exteriors and Interiors: European and Middle Eastern Tiles
One of the very first home improvement imports was the clay-tile roofs European settlers brought with them. Further back, tile roofs are present in early Greek civilization, nearly 2,500 years ago. While roofing tiles have since expanded into slate, metal, even concrete, almost every form of tiled roofing has demonstrably better performance than conventional asphalt shingling. Most of these high-quality roofing materials will last 50 years or more, while asphalt may be good for only about a dozen or so years. Thus, though you may pay two to three times as much for your roofing installation for roofing tile, it remains one of the most cost-effective upgrades in the home improvement industry.

Meanwhile, decorative tiles, one of the hallmarks of Middle Eastern and Islamic art, are another part of the ubiquity of residential tile. Whether it’s a kitchen backsplash, a decorative accent for the dining room ceiling, a way to spruce up a bathroom shower, or to create dynamic borders for your flooring, decorative tiles and mosaics are a handy, underutilized home fashion. Indeed, with the most recent, drab decorating trends behind us, a renewed interest in vibrant colors would do good to look at this Middle Eastern tradition.

Tile installation of almost every kind is holding steady or experiencing growth in the residential sector, according to ServiceMagic. The tile project showing the fastest growth is glass tiles and blocks with an increase of more than 30 percent in homeowner demand from last year.

Home Design: The Chinese Courtyard
The Chinese courtyard residence, or siheyuan, is nearly 3,000 years old, but the principle and appeal remain alive today throughout the world. Popular in sunny climates in the western half of the U.S., you’ll probably never see outdoor entertainment areas in the same way with a residential courtyard. Meanwhile, American isolationism has hampered the architectural possibilities. Fighting over fences, hedges, and property lines is a pretty far cry from sharing a wall with a neighboring siheyuan. In many neighborhoods, many siheyuan are built adjacent to one another to form alleyways, known as hutongs. These walkways, however, aren’t so dissimilar from backyard walking paths. Here, too, is an interesting landscaping possibility, as Chinese neighborhoods frequently have ornate gates that mark the entrance to a hutong.

U.S. Home Improvement Exports
It’s a well-established fact that the number one U.S. export is pop-culture in the form of movies, music, TV, etc, but this is far from the only thing. Home builders are taking their business overseas, building American-style suburban homes in northern Iraq. Indeed, American infrastructure isn’t so much a national commodity as it is an international one. In fact, this past year, the Department of Commerce reported that amongst our 14 free trade partners, the U.S. was actually running a $2.7 billion trade surplus for manufacturing exports during the first five months of the year.

Recent cries for protectionism aside, it’s hard to doubt that international trade is still the driving force of a continuously developing global economy. As a homeowner, if you ignore international trends and innovations, you’re likely to be left behind the curve, whether it’s maintaining a sustainable, cost-effective home or displaying a bold, appealing home interior.

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Home Improvement

Standard Types Of Property Damage

There are two types of property damage that are actually recognized by insurance companies. These are classified by what causes the damage. The two basic types are those caused by natural phenomena and those caused by other people or living things. There are also many different classifications that fall under these two headings as well. One factor that matters a lot in cases like these is the thing that has been damaged. Property comes in different forms and values, such as vehicles, land, houses, trees and other things to which a person extends ownership.

Natural Phenomena

When someone talks about a natural phenomenon, it refers to a perhaps fluky, but fundamentally unavoidable occurrence that is powered by nature. Property damage that is caused by a natural phenomenon can come from an earthquake, a fire caused by lightning, flooding and many other scenarios. These examples can actually spawn other injuries and trauma to property as well. The damage that these examples cause can be devastating and extensive. The act of nature that might have destroyed a person’s real or personal property can stem from any number of things and may also be covered by most insurance policies. It is most difficult to try and claim any compensation from such acts of nature, because there is no person or entity that can be held responsible for them. Insurance policies come into play only when a person has filed for coverage for a specific act of nature that is covered by the company. Many firms and companies have included flooding and earthquake in their policies, especially in areas prone to these events. Property damage by fires can also be caused by malicious entities that are motivated to start them.

Willfulness or Negligence

In cases of willfulness or negligence, the acts are caused by a person or entity which has deliberately set about to do it or has neglected to do something to prevent it from happening. Persons or the person who have caused the destruction may be charged in a criminal case if suspected to be guilty of it. This is especially true if there is extensive damage or if a person or persons have been hurt as a result of willfulness or negligence. If the items are replaceable, the guilty party will be asked to replace or repay them according to their value. Irreplaceable items will be valued according to their sentimental value. Property damage can also be rectified according to the cost of repairs necessary, as well as the cost of losing these items until they have been repaired or replaced. Insurance policies for these events and properties are also provided by reputable firms and companies. They need to assess the entire estate, or at least the specific items that will be included in the policy.

The destruction of real or personal properties can be a big deal for many people. This is not only because of the monetary value that has been attached to these items, but also because of the sentiment that comes with some of these properties.

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Home Improvement

Protect You and Yours from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Protect You and Yours from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for hundreds of deaths each year and thousands of hospital emergency room visits. It happens when an overabundance of carbon monoxide is produced by fuel burning appliances, fixtures, or vehicles in your home, after which dangerous levels of this odorless and invisible gas builds up. Hot water heaters, fire places, furnaces and gas fueled ranges are just a few of the usual suspects when it comes to this easily preventable tragedy.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
You probably already know that carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless. In fact, it is virtually impossible to detect on your own aside from experiencing the physical symptoms that are a precursor to carbon monoxide poisoning. These symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you or anyone in your home experiences these symptoms, get out of your home immediately and call your local fire department to check and see if you have a problem that needs to be addressed. That these symptoms are usually the only signs of carbon monoxide in your home is a pretty clear mandate that you need to install a carbon monoxide detector. You may not think your home is at risk, but if you any, any gas appliances, these carbon monoxide detectors are a must. Even paint supplies, charcoal grills, cigarette smoke, and kerosene- and propane-fueled appliances can be sources of carbon monoxide.

Prevention is the Best Medicine: Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The scariest aspect of carbon monoxide poisoning is the fact that most homeowners never get the chance to attribute physical symptoms to carbon monoxide buildup. They lose consciousness and without immediate medical attention may never wake up. While you cannot detect the presence of carbon monoxide buildup in your home, carbon monoxide detectors can. These simple units, which resemble smoke detectors in appearance and function, can be lifesavers when installed properly throughout your residence.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Installation Guidelines
Carbon monoxide detectors are an easy, inexpensive, and very effective defense. If you don’t have them already, talk to an electrician in your area about getting them installed in your home to keep you and your family as safe as possible. When installing carbon monoxide detectors there are a few basic rules to follow. First of all, install them on the ceiling or on a wall at least 5 feet above the floor. Since carbon monoxide is often produced by open flames, it tends to rise with the heat. Detectors installed higher up in rooms and hallways will give you earlier warning than those lower down. Also, be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors near all of the sleeping areas in your home. Often carbon monoxide poisoning happens at night, when the victims aren’t awake to recognize the onset of physical symptoms. A properly placed carbon monoxide detector will wake you up in time to vacate your home if it senses dangerous levels of the gas.

Carbon Monoxide Remediation and Repairs
If you have a problem with carbon monoxide in your home, you’ve got to identify the source before you move back in. Calling in an appliance repairman to inspect your furnace, hot water heater and range and make sure they are running efficiently is a good first step. Other than that, think about things you may have done to cause the buildup. Did you burn coal or charcoal indoors? Did you leave your car running in an attached garage? Is your fireplace (wood or natural gas) venting properly? Any of these can cause deadly concentrations of carbon monoxide to materialize as well.

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Master Bathroom Remodeling

Bathrooms

A small affordable remodeling project that can have a big impact is a master bathroom remodel. Any changes you make to your master bath are guaranteed to make a difference in your daily routine.

1. Increase Your Space
If space is an issue in your master bath, consider a remodel that will expand it in any direction possible. Extra square footage will open up your cramped bathroom and increase the possibilities.

Taking out a wall and replacing it with a window allows natural light in the bathroom and creates a more open feel. Choosing the right window treatment is important since you want sunlight to come in but at the same time you’ll need something that gives you privacy.

If new windows aren’t an option, consider adding skylights.

2. Add Storage Areas
Since most people have many hygiene products, a bathroom remodel is the perfect time to increase your storage space to ensure better bathroom organization. Add bathroom cabinets, drawers, shelves or even carts to store all of these necessary items.

Cabinets that have molding and glass fronts increase the appeal of the bathroom by giving it more character. If you can’t replace your cabinets, consider adding decorative knobs and pulls to update the look.

3. Change Your Flooring
Ceramic tile is a rich choice for bathroom flooring. Using a natural tone such as ivory or taupe will keep the bathroom light.

If you think ceramic tile will be too cold to walk on in the winter, radiant floor heating provides heat from below your floor, keeping your tiles, feet and the rest of your room very warm. If installing a new heating system isn’t within your remodeling budget, strategically place throw rugs in the areas where most needed. If you are just curious about the subject, click this link to read more about radiant floor heating.

 

4. Create a Relaxing Environment
Adding a comfortable chair gives your bathroom a luxurious touch. Being able to take a break and sit down after a relaxing bath is nice.

Again using soft, natural colors in your bathroom will create a calming environment. And, if you use a neutral color overall, you can add bright accessories, such as towels, curtains, vases to liven up the room without clashing with existing decor.

Consider replacing light fixtures to allow the option of having softer light for those relaxing evenings in the tub as well as brighter light for getting ready in the morning.

Fill the room with scented candles, plants, flowers and art. All of these extras help beautify your bathroom.

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Home Improvement

Do I Have Mold in My House?

The most infamous toxic mold, stachybotrys atra, is actually quite rare, so it is unlikely that you have it, but there are plenty of other more common molds that can make people ill. And any mold can certainly be fatal to your shoes, clothing, etc!

Molds are always present in our environment, but they can become a problem in any structure if excessive water or moisture problems are not appropriately and quickly addressed. Thus, your first step should be to inform your landlord about this. Left unattended, mold can rot lumber, drywall and other building materials so it behooves you to find out if there is mold in the house, and if so to remedy the situation to avoid increasingly more costly property damage.

Also, if you believe you are experiencing mold-related health problems, you should consult your doctor to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms. If he/she determines that your health problems do stem from mold, a written physician’s report may help encourage your landlord to take steps to hire the appropriate professionals to properly rectify the problem.

Mold Growth
Molds can grow from moisture trapped inside a structure due to inadequate ventilation (a common occurrence in modern air-tight, energy-conserving construction); from a leak from a broken pipe, roof, window or wall; or water seepage from alongside or under the dwelling, which is a landscaping/drainage problem. Perhaps the original leak was already repaired months ago but undetected water flowed to a sealed cavity in another part of the house and it taken this long to grow in a closed, dark, damp environment.

The public has become increasingly aware of the health risks associated with molds. Certain sensitive people, including the elderly, young children and those with respiratory ailments, often suffer adverse affects from prolonged exposure to or increased levels of molds. Common symptoms include eye, nose and throat irritation, excessive colds, nausea, compromised immune systems and respiratory complications such as lung infections or asthma. However, completely healthy individuals with no history of allergies can also react to amplified levels of molds.

Mold Types
There are so very many types of molds in our environment and they are so small that visual detection may not be possible until damage has progressed to an advanced stage. Thus the first step to remedy a mold problem is to hire a certified Industrial Hygienists (IH) from an environmental testing service to take samples and analyze the results in a lab to identify all the specific molds present.

If testing reveals elevated levels of molds, the IH will write a remediation protocol for restoration contractors to follow. Remediation could be as simple as HEPA vacuuming, washing/cleaning of the area with a biocide or diluted (10%) bleach solution, thorough drying, and encapsulation or painting. More involved remediation can require vacating the premises while the work is performed. In these cases, full containment combined with negative air pressure techniques would be used in conjunction with many other steps.

Mold Testing
Finally, the IH will perform clearance testing to ensure that levels of molds inside the structure are lower than those outside. It is important to note that all the remediation work will be for naught if the original source of the water or moisture intrusion is not permanently rectified.

Unfortunately, just testing for molds can cost hundreds of dollars and there are no governmental agencies to oversee or require testing, abatement or remediation of molds in structures. If your landlord will not address the problem, your only recourse may be to move out. For other remedies you might consult your attorney.

If you decide to move out, avoid bringing your problems along through cross contamination. Many molds can lie dormant indefinitely, only to be reactivated by contact with moisture. Often it is not even the mold that causes problems, but rather their spores, which can become air-borne and inhaled, ingested, or transferred to other areas or objects through the heating and air system or improper handling/cleaning. Therefore, be sure to have all your belongings professionally cleaned before using them again or moving them to a new location.

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Home Improvement

Make the Most of Your Kitchen with a Food Pantry

Kitchens

There are few additions to a kitchen remodel that make more sense than a food pantry. A food pantry is simply an extra room or storage space dedicated to housing everything from cereal boxes to canned goods. And when it comes to saving cabinet space, and making your kitchen a more convenient area to work in, a pantry can be an absolute godsend.

Food Pantry Design
If you are in the middle of a major kitchen remodel, or are just looking for a way to maximize space and increase organization, installing a food pantry is one of the wisest decisions you can make. Where a lot of homeowners go wrong, however, is in the conceptual phases of designing their kitchen pantry. Too often, the pantry is relegated to a cramped closet, out of sight and out of mind. While that might be your ultimate goal, incorporating a few more innovative designs into your food pantry design can be the difference between a dark, cluttered, storage area, and an accessible and attractive kitchen addition.

Accessibility is Key
When designing a pantry, remember that you shouldn’t just be thinking storage. If that were the case, a closet stacked with shelves would do the trick. An ideal pantry makes organizing your food-stuffs and other kitchen items easy, and makes accessing them a breeze as well. That being the case, think about a more open and accessible food panty for your new kitchen.

Avoid a Cave
One of the biggest pantry mistakes is building a deep, narrow, pantry space. These might be great storage areas, but they are unattractive and inconvenient when it comes to preparing meals and putting away groceries. Sure, you want your pantry to be hidden from sight, but you also want to be able to get what you need, when you need it. Incorporating a narrow, accessible pantry into your kitchen, covered with attractive sliding, or folding, slatted doors, is the perfect solution. Your food storage items will be hidden from sight, but all you’ll have to do is slide open the doors, peruse the narrow shelves, and you’ll easily find what you’re looking for.

 

Better Yet, Utilize Custom Cabinetry
A narrow closet covered with folding closet doors is a fine solution for many kitchens, but if your kitchen remodel is of the dream variety, consider installing a pantry designed of customized cabinetry instead. A full wall, custom cabinet design, fitted with rotating shelves, storage shelves on the cabinet doors, and covered with the beauty of custom built cabinetry, will serve you well and look great at the same time.

Saving Space
Of course, not everybody has the space to incorporate a full food pantry into their kitchen design. Not to worry. For those homeowners struggling to optimize the space they do have, think about adding cabinetry that doubles a food pantry. Lazy Susans, rotating cabinets, and pull out shelving, can add tons of space to an otherwise cramped kitchen. No matter what your food pantry needs are, there’s a solution out there for you. Talk to a kitchen remodeler, or other contractor, about designing the perfect set-up for all your food storage needs.