Sunday, 28 April 2013

Applying Stucco on Exterior Walls

Stucco is popular building material used to cover unattractive materials such as clay brick, concrete, adobe, and cinder block. It is applied wet and it hardens into a very dense, rough surface. One of the best things about applying stucco on building or home exterior makes the structure stronger, more durable. Stucco also helps improve any building withstand extreme weather conditions.

Stucco consists of cement, sand, lime, and water which make this material waterproof and fire-resistant. It keeps mold and mildew from building up so the building can last longer than others. And if you decide to use stucco for your house or building, you don’t have to worry about the expenses as they are cost-efficient and requires very little maintenance. Follow these steps so you can apply stucco on your own:

Step 1:  Prep the Wall

Check for any damages on the walls such as cracks or holes and make the necessary repairs. You should also remove anything that can come in between the stucco material and the surface of the wall like dirt. Power-washing is the best way to do this so you can be sure no grime or mold is left. Sandblasting is advised for walls that have been neglected for a long time. For concrete, brick, or cinder block walls, you need to apply a coat of concrete bonding agent before applying the stucco. For wooden walls, you should install roofing felt with a metal netting prior to the application of stucco.

Step 2: Applying the Primary Coat of Stucco

Direct contact with stucco is harmful as it can burn and destroy your skin. This means you need to wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. It is essential to apply stucco on a moist surface so you need to spray some water on the wall first. Position two strips of thick wood laths on the top and bottom parts of the wall so you can get an equal amount of thickness as you level the surface.

Using a trowel, apply the first coat beginning from the bottom of the wall. Make sure the coat is applied evenly over the entire are maintaining the thickness of 3/8 inches. Use ample pressure on the trowel so you can reach the spaces on the uneven parts of the wall. Once done, let it set for a few minutes and begin the leveling process while the stucco is still wet with the help of either metal or wood straightedge. Place the straightedge on the wood lath then move it up and down to remove any residue. When you're done leveling the stucco, remove the laths carefully.

Step 3: Let the stucco dry completely

Drag a mason's float over the wall in circular motions to minimize any risks of cracking or shrinkage when the stucco dries up. Let it sit to dry completely for two days. As you are waiting for it to dry, you should regularly spray water on it to maintain its moisture. Once it dries up fully, apply the final coat of stucco by following the same instructions in step 2. However, the final coat should be as thin as 1/8 inch. It can take 6-7 weeks for the stucco to be entirely cured. This is the only time when you can paint over it.

Jove Arthur loves to read different articles related to the home improvement and construction industry. He is professionally affiliated with Door Emporium, one of the leading wood entry door manufacturers in the market, as online sales manager. 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Tips for Designing a Small Kitchen

Size isn’t everything, and whilst bigger can occasionally be better, great things also come in small packages. A small kitchen can be a delight to work in whilst maintaining a certain charm that larger spaces often lack. With the following tricks of the trade, you can use your small space to the fullest.

Appliances: Think Small

Many of today’s diminutive appliances work just as well as their much-larger brethren. A European appliance is usually smaller, and therefore takes up much less counter space – perfect for a smaller kitchen! There are even slimmer sinks available so you really can maximize your counter space, Make sure that you choose one that efficiently uses front-to-back space, and a wall mounted faucet will also allow installation of the sink as close to the wall as possible.

Get a Smaller Oven

A smaller oven won’t keep you from cooking delicious meals. A convection oven just two feet wide can accommodate a large Thanksgiving turkey, and many have attachable rotisseries for added value. Above your slimmer oven, use a similarly-sized cooktop (choose induction, electric or gas, but the former two may be a better choice because burners can easily be connected).

Take the Time to Chill

Your refrigerator is the biggest space user in your kitchen, and the most difficult to downsize. In the early 1990s, Sub-Zero released a compact fridge that’s only 27” wide; that company was also first to debut an under-the-counter fridge and freezer combo, which is perfect for your small kitchen. Since that time, other brands have come out with similarly-sized units.

Plan your Space

After you’ve picked out your appliances, it’s time to work on your kitchen’s overall layout. Your kitchen’s most vital part is the space between your sink and food prep area; as long as you have at least 36” of room, you won’t feel crowded. Even if your stove must be within a foot of your wall, you should strive to keep that amount of space open. It’s also a good idea to put your refrigerator against the wall and out of the highest-traffic areas.

Consider your Cabinetry

Opt for floating shelves instead of wall cabinets; glassware and dishes look great out in the open, and it makes access much easier. For food storage, use tall, narrow cabinets (you’ll be surprised at what you can fit inside). Make the cabinets no taller than 6’, to allow for easier access, and leave some open walls if possible.

Smart Shelving

Shallow, adjustable shelves at the back of cabinets are ideal for items like canisters, cans and bottles, and pantry door shelves will nicely hold canned goods and spices. Or, you can use a hutch instead of a tall, wide pantry, and put cabinetry above.

When redesigning your smaller kitchen, keep in mind that you’re probably overestimating the amount of space you’ll need and use. It’s easier to work in a small space if you only keep the essentials in your kitchen; after all, gourmet chefs work in confined spaces and make some of the best food in the world! With an efficient layout and appliances, you’ll have a kitchen that will become the hub of family life in your home.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tips and Tricks to Consolidate Space in a Small Apartment

Do you somehow always find yourself just a little bit cramped? Is your kitchen just a little too crowded to use properly, your living room dimensioned a bit oddly, and your bathroom too small to hold your stuff? Join the club. Let’s take a look at a few simple, practical ways to help you make the most of the space that you have so that your home will be more aesthetically pleasing, easier to organize, and less stressful to live in.

Expand your Kitchen

Many of us have this irrational idea that kitchen things necessarily belong in the kitchen. What’s actually important is that your stuff is within easy reach when you’re cooking. If you’ve got space near your kitchen it might be time to expand outward. My incredibly tiny kitchen is situated directly next to a small dining area that opens up to the living room. This dining area is about 3 feet wider than it absolutely needs to be, so to take advantage of this I moved my dining table and chairs to one end of the area, and put a hutch in the cleared area to balance it out. That then can play host to my microwave, toaster oven, coffee machine, dishes, cutting boards, and bowls. This clears up enough space in the kitchen to keep the counters entirely clear and ready for use at all times.

Use Your Walls and Ceilings

Don’t forget to make use of all of the surfaces in your apartment, and we’re not just talking about the horizontal ones. Set up shelves, hutches, cabinets, and wardrobes to help you store your stuff vertically. If you can remove all of the clutter from your environment you can turn a previously cramped space into something downright roomy.

Of course, while it’ll look nicer all of that isn’t going to help much if all of your usable space is now covered in nice decorative items instead of the clutter that we just cleared up, so let’s address decor. If you want to indulge your artistic or botanical side but don’t want to fill your floor and counter space (also end tables and coffee tables) with knick knacks, planters, and vases, consider hanging your plants from the ceiling in baskets, setting your small decorative items up on small decorative shelves, or hanging canvas artwork on the walls rather than setting them on end tables.

Partition Your Living Room

Lots of apartments come with unnecessarily long rectangular living rooms that are virtually impossible to set up in a manner that effectively makes use of all of the space. An easy way to solve this problem is to partition off a section of your living room and turn it into a small office workspace. You can use anything from a full blown false wall to a decorative folding panel screen. This will cut your living room down to size so that your furniture, coffee table etc… can fill out the space properly, all while providing a spot for a computer and work related documents.

Edward Stuart is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher for Canvas Art. He frequently blogs on the topics of art, art history, design, and home decor.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Tips About Dream Home Furnishing

Buying a home is perhaps the ultimate American dream. Of course, signing on the dotted line isn’t the end of buying your dream home – in fact, it’s only the beginning for many people. After completing the sale, furnishing your home, making it livable and attractive, are the next big projects any new homeowner must tackle. After all, the home must be a comfortable and relaxing place for you and your family. If you want to turn the home of your dreams into a reality, consider these tips for furnishing your home.

The Bedroom

The bedroom, perhaps, will be your most important focus when it comes to furnishing your home. It is, after all, your most intimate space, the place where you go to relax and take your cares away, plus spend time with your partner. That said, you should carefully consider your bed and bedroom furniture. The size is the first thing you should think about. Now, if you have a lot of space, then consider something like a king platform bed, which is very roomy, even for two people and has a modern look. If you don’t have a lot of space, then going down to a queen would perhaps be a good alternative, but even if you’re single, then the smallest size you should go is a full sized bed. Of course, don’t forget additional furniture like bedside tables and dressers to complete your bedroom’s look.

The Living Room

The living room is the next most important room in your new home. After all, this will be the center of activity, the place where you will spend a lot of time with other family members and entertain your guests. You’ll need a good size couch that’s big enough to accommodate the people in your family, plus additional seating to balance out your living room.

The Kitchen and Dining Room

The kitchen and dining room are, of course, important as well because this is where you will prepare your family meals and partake in them. For most people, dinner is the centerpiece of family life, that time we all come together and share our day with everyone.  If you have the space, you may want a small kitchen table for informal meals like breakfast, although most kitchen spaces will already have counters or nooks and all you’ll need are the right chairs. For your dining room, you will have to think about how many people you want to seat, but you should have enough for everyone in your family, plus at least 2 extra places. Many people prefer the traditional wooden dining table, and who wouldn’t? Many kinds of hardwoods look great as dining room tables, and add a warmth and richness to the dining room. However, those who prefer a more modern look should go with materials that suit their tastes and style, like glass and metal.

Furnishing your dream home doesn’t have to be difficult. You should think about the style that best suits your home and your personal tastes, and cover the basics for your bedroom, living room, kitchen, and dining room and the rest will easily fall into place.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013